Frost in Morrowind

Edward Frost's time in Morrowind has come to an end; but his struggles are recorded here for any to read. A year in the making, and spanning one hundred and fifty chapters… Violence, suspicion, loss, betrayal, revenge, power with a price, a fight for survival, ages-old mysteries... all thrust in the way of Edward Frost, a man simply trying to rebuild his life.

Chapter 1 can be found here.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Chapter 143: To silence someone

Sirilonwe and I gave Barilzar his final rest. He wielded magic of terrifying power, but seemed incapable of fighting off two opponents that could move as quickly as us. I scattered his bones (which were chill to the touch) about the ancient crypt once the great liche ceased to move. On one of his bony fingers, I found what Almalexia wanted: a small, unremarkable ring with 'Mazed Band' inscribed around the outside. It was surprising, after the fabulous tales we had heard of it: the plain-looking ring did not even have an enchantment placed upon it... at least, not one I could discern.

Barilzar's massive Daedric claymore represented possibly the largest single chunk of Daedric metal I had ever seen: I had Sirilonwe strap it to my back so that I could put it in my little museum.

It was not yet midnight, so we used Almsivi Intervention to return to the Mournhold temple, hoping to catch Steward Hler before he retired for the night.

"That's the Mazed Band, is it?" The Chief Steward said. I noticed that his eyes were absolutely fixed on the ring in my upturned palm, but he made no move to come closer for a better look. "Interesting... I won't be the one to take it, though. Take it to the Archcanon, if you please."

Sirilonwe whispered to me as we walked the narrow corridors to the Archcanon's office:

"Did you notice? He looked afraid."

I nodded, but said nothing. Perhaps Hler had been making inquiries about the ring during our absence, and had heard the same stories of terrible power as we had. Perhaps he had lied when he said he did not know much about the artefact. Whatever the case was, we soon found that Archcanon Drin appeared similarly wary about the Mazed Band.

"You've found it? Excellent, excellent." The Archcanon did not rise from behind his desk. "Almalexia will want to receive it directly. Our Lady has expressed a desire to speak with you personally, should you retrieve the ring. Normally I would emphasise what an honour it is to speak with the goddess, but you of course already know what it is to deal with the gods." Drin's gaze flicked to the Wraithguard on my hand. "She will speak with you now; if you would both proceed into her chapel."

Almalexia's chapel - which I had never seen the inside of - was the central chamber of the Mournhold temple; all the other hallways and chambers were arrayed around it in a ring. The chapel was apparently where Almalexia lived - in the centre of her devoted priests and servants. I was extremely curious to meet the living goddess - for obvious reasons. It was comforting to think, too, that our meeting would be under much more pleasant circumstances than my forced entry to Vivec's palace. I was actually invited.

The experience of seeing Almalexia for the first time was perhaps closer to what I had originally expected meeting Vivec to be like. Her chapel was dimly lit, and the living goddess stood on a wide, circular dais in the centre of the great chamber, looking as if she was floating in the dark. She radiated a warm, orange glow - and after a moment I realised that the majority of the illumination in the chapel actually came from her alone. In her presence, there was nothing like the uncomfortable sensation of being drawn towards her like a tide going out to sea (as there was with Vivec - before the severing of the Tribunal's ties with Lorkhan's Heart, at least). I did not feel much of anything, really, when I looked at her; just the certainty that she knew vastly more than I did, and had seen things - amazing, miraculous things - that I would never see.

Her heavily-tattooed skin was not of two colours, like Vivec's: it was entirely golden (making me wonder how she had escaped the physical transformation imposed upon the Chimer by Azura... assuming that the story of the Chimer being made into the Dunmer was true, obviously). Her hair was a vivid, fiery red; and apart from a long skirt that resembled a kind of loin-cloth, a small chest-piece, and an elegant set of pauldrons, she was not wearing very much. Her manner of dress was quite similar to Vivec's, in other words.

It was exactly midnight when I met Almalexia. She and I did not speak for long.

"You are the one Vivec told me about, then." She said, appearing to take little notice of Sirilonwe. Her voice was pleasant enough, but had an odd buzz to it. "I see you still wear Wraithguard. It is quite the gift, that object. A... 'godly' gift, one might say." She gave a slight, reserved smile. "On that note... I believe you have something for me?"

I held Barilzar's Mazed Band out, and Almalexia's golden fingertips brushed my palm as she took the small ring. Her skin was hot to the touch - almost to the point of burning my hand. She held the ring in her palm, and stared at it for such a long time that I thought she might have forgotten we were there. Then:

"It seems quite mundane, doesn't it?" She remarked, looking up at me. "The embers of its power burn hot within, though; even if the ring is cold now. I will bring the power out of it again." She paused again, and this time, I was the thing she stared at. Eventually she said: "You have been a pleasant surprise to meet - for a vampire, especially. I must thank you for retrieving this;" she gestured with the closed fist that held the Mazed Band; "it was a great service. I might call upon you again in the future. For now though, you have served well, and need do nothing more."

There was no doubt I was in the good graces of the Temple in Mournhold. I could not do much better than being praised by the goddess herself.

Now all I needed was to get close to the king - and right then the king's lapdog wanted us to find the anonymous writer of 'The Common Tongue'. We tried the Winged Guar tavern again, but no-one there was any help; not even our drunken Nord friend who had previously confessed to being very fond of the writer's work.

"We could try the bookstore." Sirilonwe suggested. "Who else would know about local writers?"

We had of course visited the bookstore only the previous night; to confront Bedal Alen, one of the conspirators condemned by Captain Delitian. The owner of the store was awake when we arrived - and staring at the door to her shop. Her eyes were naturally blood-red - seeing as she was a Dunmer - but they were puffy, and I could tell she had been crying. She was obviously distraught; waiting for the return of her lover - Bedal Alen. I only got a glimpse of her eyes; she hid them as soon as she saw that we were not the one she was waiting for. Fortunately for us, this seemed to have precluded her from noticing that we were vampires.

"It's late;" she said thickly from behind her hands; "what do you want?"

"Apologies for coming at this hour of the night, Sera;" I said; "but we're trying to find the writer of The Common Tongue..."

"What makes you think that I'd know someone like that?" She replied indignantly. "Go bother Weerhat the pawnbroker. He has all sorts of shady contacts. Now, if you don't mind, it's well past closing-time."

We left the poor woman alone after that. It had been an uncomfortable encounter for me. Sirilonwe was upset too:

"Can't we tell her what happened to him?" She pleaded.

I shook my head slowly.

"Sorry. It's too risky. We can't start telling people that we let men sentenced to death for treason go free."

It was a night for petty crime, it seemed. A short moment later we were breaking into the pawn store. The owner - 'Weerhat', we assumed - a mud-red coloured Argonian, was asleep when we found him. Sirilonwe and I both sat on the edge of his bed and held him down by his arms and legs. When the Argonian woke up and realised who was pinning him to the bed, he let out a long, choking hiss of fright.

"Be quiet, please -" I told him - "and hold still. We're looking for the writer of The Common Tongue. Do you know who it is?"

"Yesss-ss-ss!" Weerhat exclaimed desperately. "A name we've heard! Trelsss-ss Varisss-ss-ss. At the Craftman Hall! A name is all we know - pleassse!"

I sent my Sleep spell into his body, and the Argonian collapsed back into a deep - but perhaps not peaceful - slumber.

"Trels Varis, at the Craftmen's Hall." Sirilonwe repeated, as we left the pawn store.

The early hours after midnight was a good time to have a quiet look around inside the Craftmen's Hall - a place we had passed in Godsreach several times, but never entered. The darkened hall smelled of a variety of raw materials: sawdust, resin, crushed stone, and heated metal. It smelled of industry. Over all that, I could sense the sharp aroma of...

"Ink." Sirilonwe said.

"A printing press, do you think?" I murmured.

We followed the scent to a door on the ground floor with a heavy lock. A faint but regular clanking sound could be heard behind it. Through the door was a ladder down to the basement: a dim, modest room that was playing host to a basic but effective printing press. A group of four Dunmer men were hard at work; arranging letter-blocks in a frame, and mixing ink. They all froze in place when they realised a pair of vampires had found their printing room. One of the men - with large, brilliantly red eyes - stepped forward and demanded to know what we were doing there.

"Trels Varis?" I asked.

The Dunmer twitched involuntarily at the name. It was definitely him. I went on:

"We are here to stop you printing lies about King Helseth."

"They are not lies;" he bristled; "and what do you mean to do? Do you intend to kill us?"

I shook my head.

"Not if it can be helped."

Even as I spoke, however, I noticed one of the other Dunmer men edging towards a glittering Dwemer blade on a nearby shelf.

"That is not a good idea." I warned him.

But while my attention was on him, the other men all snatched up weapons and leapt to the attack. There was nothing to be done. I cut the two nearest ones down with two strokes, and the third was lost in the icy explosion of my Blizzard spell - which also happened to shatter the printing press into splinters. Trels Varis was the only one left, and he vaulted up onto a table to jump at Sirilonwe, his blade raised high above his head.

With one great downward swipe, I slammed him into the floor at Sirilonwe's feet - dead. Sirilonwe had not moved at all during the very brief fight - she had not needed to.

"That might have gone a little better." She said.


Anonymous I'm a nerd hear my roar said...

Edward Frost: The templegoing terminator.

Friday, June 23, 2006 9:45:00 pm  
Anonymous David said...

Lol, the templegoing termninator...seems quite the appropriate description. Once again Joseph, fantastic work! Keep it up!

Saturday, June 24, 2006 11:21:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been a little late on reading, and so this was the latest entry before I had read chapter 142. I had a question from that chapter, but since it wouldn't have gotten answered had I posted it there, I will ask the question here.

Why does everybody say that Balmora is the second largest city on Vvardenfell? It seems to me that Ald'ruhn is half again as big. What's up with that?


Saturday, June 24, 2006 3:24:00 pm  
Anonymous I'm a nerd hear my roar said...

the population in Balmora is more concentrated.
The houses are near each other,
and there is usually two separate apartments in each house.
where it lives at least one person.

So if we are talking about population,
Then Balmora is the second largest

Saturday, June 24, 2006 6:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Matar said...

Well. Not much to say really 'cept, have you tried Lilacor?

Sunday, June 25, 2006 12:12:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay, Matar has finally started bugging joseph about Lilarcor! Again! That is what he is known for around here!


Sunday, June 25, 2006 1:00:00 am  
Anonymous Matar said...


Sunday, June 25, 2006 2:08:00 am  
Anonymous i'm a nerd hear my roar said...

what is Lilarcor?

Sunday, June 25, 2006 5:08:00 am  
Anonymous Constant said...

Lilarcor is an intelligent blade, It's in a mod created by Craig Critchfield and is located in Arrille's tradehouse.

Intelligent weapons are naughty. They say... scary things.

Liked the chapter too, good work.

Sunday, June 25, 2006 7:38:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scary like what? Like I'm gonna claw your insides out and feed them to you? Things like that?


Sunday, June 25, 2006 11:08:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Noozooroo, it bugs you constantly. Says weird things about you and others. Freaky-Deaky...

Morrowind Trivia - Where is The Yassu Mine?

Sunday, June 25, 2006 11:27:00 am  
Anonymous Person said...

BTW That above post was me...

Sunday, June 25, 2006 11:28:00 am  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks again, everyone. :-)

Noozooroo and I'm a nerd hear my roar: I was actually thinking the same things when I wrote that - especially wondering if Ald'ruhn was actually bigger. Frost mentioned Balmora because he has described the size of Mournhold's partitions using Balmora as a reference once before: I was keeping him consistent. The Roaring Nerd is right about Balmora being more concentrated, though - and on further thought, I tend to think that Balmora and Ald'ruhn are almost the same size - and Balmora may be a little bigger.

I'm not comparing these in the Construction Set or anything though - and then there's Sadrith Mora, too: I mean, it takes up almost that entire island...

So I could be wrong about a lot of things there. :-)

- Joseph.

Sunday, June 25, 2006 11:42:00 am  

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