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.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Chapter 147: Weather Witch

"Ashstorms in Mournhold." Almalexia said. Her manner was more controlled now, but her intent was still alarming. "You shall be my hand in this, but I shall make it possible. It has been discovered that the Dwemer ruins beneath the Plaza Brindisi Dorom are those of Bamz-Amschend, home of the 'Karstangz-Beharn'; the mythical machine created by the Dwemer to control the weather."

"Mythical?" I managed to ask. I felt a little leery of addressing her in her current mood.

Almalexia's smile was grim and ferocious in her anger.

"Mythical no longer, now that the ruins have opened up beneath my city. The 'Karstangz-Beharn' - which means 'Weather Witch', more or less - is real, and you will go down into Bamz-Amschend for me, and make the machine to create ashstorms in Mournhold - in the whole of my holy city, even. The people shall know that it is the will of a god that brings the ash here: the ashstorms of Vvardenfell do not reach the mainland on their own - this far from the Red Mountain. This is how I shall make it possible..."

The living goddess stepped lightly across to a strongbox in a dim corner of the chapel, her feet making no sound on the floor. In a moment, she returned with an item I recognised: a Dwemer coherer, like the one Caius had given me to bribe Divayth Fyr with. This one was oddly warm to the touch, however.

"Take that to the machine. You will be able to divine the workings of the Weather Witch, I'm sure. You cannot have arrived at this lofty point in your life through stupidity. Once this is done, these heretics will have no choice but to acknowledge the power of the Tribunal... the power of Almalexia!"

Needless to say perhaps, Sirilonwe and I were locked in earnest conversation after leaving the temple.

"Don't you remember what Vivec said?" Sirilonwe exclaimed. "She is obsessed with power, and with her divinity - and its loss."

"I know, I know;" I admitted; "it seems a little extreme... But really, how could there be a machine that controls the weather? Through incredible magic maybe - or divine power; but a machine? If this 'Karstangz-Beharn' is even down there, I believe all we'll find is a strange old machine that doesn't work."

"I have seen too many strange things - half of them while accompanying you - to discount anything out of hand." Sirilonwe insisted. "What if it is real, and it does work as Almalexia says it will?"

She did have a point. Before coming to Morrowind, I would never have thought it possible for a god to walk Tamriel like a mortal person: but there the Tribunal were. Of course, they had been revealed to have only stolen a semblance of divinity from the remains of a god - but what they had accomplished in their lives could still (almost literally) be called incredible.

"Well... if the Weather Witch does work and we really do end up creating ashstorms over the city, would it be that bad? Ashstorms here would be alarming and uncomfortable, yes; but not dangerous. And... if you think about it -" I said slowly, ignoring Sirilonwe's incredulous expression - "it probably would accomplish exactly what she wants - with no loss of life. No, I mean it: people are really dying because of what that madman Romari is preaching! I agree with you that Almalexia's reaction was a little worrying, but this might be for the best..."

And so, labouring under an uneasy silence, Sirilonwe and I made our way down into the Bamz-Amschend ruins, just on midnight. We would at least see what could be found down there.

Bamz-Amschend had obviously been explored by members of the Temple - for how else could it have been identified as the location of the Karstangz-Beharn? I wondered how deeply those explorers had gone.

Probably not that deeply at all, was my conclusion: the place was patrolled by quite a number of Dwemer constructs: it seemed that they had been victorious over the invading fabricants we had seen. The massive hall that had been host to the confrontation now echoed with the clanking, hammering racket common to all Dwemer ruins, but it was not nearly so loud as it was in the more confined, cramped spaces of the average ruin.

Bamz-Amschend was interesting: the architectural style was recognisably Dwemer - a telling point being that it was almost entirely solid metal - but it was still very different to what I had seen in the ruins on Vvardenfell. Perhaps it was a variant style more common on the mainland parts of Morrowind. The spacious halls were dimly lit by a ghostly, yellow-green glow from a series of luminescent coils on the walls, encased in glass tubes.

It actually seemed to me that the place had never seen looters: and perhaps no-one had seen the inside of Bamz-Amschend since the time of the Dwemer! Dwemer artefacts lay undisturbed everywhere we looked. There were many piles of armour and weapons, especially: left as if the wearers had all stripped down and walked away naked. Of course, the story of the whole Dwemer race suddenly disappearing from Tamriel all at once threw some light on the reason for the piles of armaments.

Strangely though, most of the piles were accompanied by a mound of ash - making it appear as if the wearer had burnt to a cinder - rather than simply disappeared. Perhaps some calamitous event took place in Bamz-Amschend before the wholesale disappearance of the Dwemer.

Deeper into the ruin, we found a series of chambers that appeared to be workshops, judging by the workbenches, tools, desks, and metal scraps and contraptions to be found there. We even came across a number of remarkably well-preserved books, that seemed to be Dwemer technical manuals on a range of topics. The Dwemer text was unreadable, of course, but Sirilonwe happily gathered them all up to take back to the Mages Guild for study; stowing a number of them in my soon-bulging pack.

The books were not the only extraordinarily well-preserved items to be found, either. In a storeroom filled with metal drums and strongboxes, we found a couple of very interesting - and perfectly sealed - cloth packages, filled with black powder. I could not make heads or tails of them myself, but Sirilonwe assured me that they were 'explosive chemicals', and that she had read that the Dwemer used them in excavation and mining operations. I was unsure what use they would be - compared to a fire spell from the College of Destruction, but Sirilonwe said that such packages could be very potent; and not just for those who were inept at magic.

They turned out to be a very convenient find, actually: because just a little deeper into the ruin was a passage blocked by a rock-fall. I could tell that the passage continued on the other side: I could hear Dwemer constructs clanking back and forth. Being the expert on fiery and explosive magic, Sirilonwe set one of the packages among the fallen rocks, and drew me back down the long corridor a considerable way. From there, she sent a magical flame streaking down the corridor, to ignite the package.

... And it was quite a concussive blast. It was some time before my ears stopped ringing. But still: it had worked perfectly; a space large enough for us to crawl through had been cleared at the base of the rock-fall.

Our explorations took hours; it was already past sunrise (according to my pocketwatch) when we finally came across a huge domed chamber, with a strange, bulbous device sitting in the centre. It rested on a platform suspended over a large pool of water, and near it was a series of three levers. I made my way gingerly along a narrow beam to reach the central platform, Sirilonwe following in my shadow.

The levers did nothing but clank and grind back and forth in their tracks when I tried them, so I took out the Dwemer coherer and began to examine the nearby machinery. My theory was that the coherer might act something like the tiny gems set into my Magery ring: if I could set it into the machine, perhaps it would unlock its power. My idea turned out to be correct: I found a likely-shaped slot, and fitted the coherer into it. The large bulbous device above us began to emit a low hum.

On my second attempt, the levers caused a panel the size of a silt strider's body on the far wall of the chamber to shift aside, behind a square section cut from the wall. It shifted with deafening grinding, creaking and groaning sounds to reveal a series of panels, all marked with different symbols that appeared to signify different weather conditions. The machine was definitely the Karstangz-Beharn.

I could not work out exactly how the levers worked. Sometimes the panel shifted only one place, and at others, it span around and around without stopping. Much to Sirilonwe's consternation, I began throwing levers at random, until the panel eventually stopped on a symbol that seemed to represent clouds of ash spewing from a volcano: ashstorms, hopefully.

To be honest, I still did not expect the machine to actually do anything beyond what we had just witnessed, but I had done as Almalexia had asked; so she could not fault my intentions, at least. Hopefully not, anyway. In any case, we had to teleport directly home from Bamz-Amschend. Reporting to Almalexia would have to wait until the sun set again.

You can imagine my astonishment when we returned in the evening to find that the holy city had been suffering ashstorms all day! In addition to the worried talk on virtually everyone's lips, the trees that lined the streets of Mournhold bore testament to this fact: they were not suited to such weather, and their normally full and green leaves were shredded and limp. Sirilonwe and I pushed through the howling, gritty wind to the temple.

"You have done well, Edward Frost." Almalexia's warm glow pulsed slowly. She seemed much calmer than the night before. "We are seeing results already: many people that once followed that evil cult have come to the temple today to repent. I have sent my Ordinators to deal with Romari and any that still stubbornly cling to the 'End of Times' cult. I shall see to it that the ashstorms remain until they have all learned their lesson."

Sirilonwe and I again exchanged uneasy glances.

"And now," Almalexia continued, without waiting for me to say anything (I got the impression she was used to addressing people, rather than holding conversations with them), "I am afraid I must lay a sad burden on you... One of my most faithful servants, one my own elite guardsmen, the 'Hands of Almalexia'; has lost his mind. Salas Valor now spews vile untruths about me to anyone who will listen. He has abandoned me completely - but I pity him, for I know his actions are not those of a sane mind. He haunts the streets now, and his wild and distracted manner frightens the people. Even my Ordinators are afraid to confront him - and well they should be: the bodies and souls of my 'Hands' are fortified by my divine magic, and their armour and weapons blessed by the glory of my touch. In his current state, my poor Salas poses a grave danger to my people."

The living goddess paused, deep in thought, and I took the opportunity to ask the obvious question:

"What happened to him? Why has he become like this?"

Almalexia was silent for a moment longer, and appeared quite genuinely sad.

"Salas was my most trusted servant, but recently his behaviour became erratic, and he turned quiet, and unresponsive. I am afraid... that I allowed him to become too close. It is impossible for god and mortal to meet on equal ground... but perhaps he came to think..." Her words had slowed, but now her expression hardened. "I regret this state of affairs, and am sorry that I might be partly responsible for his condition, but I am tasked with the protection and welfare of my people. He is a threat now, and must be removed from the streets. I believe you - both of you - are capable of doing this. There are not many who could."

I was openly staring at her. Could she have been talking about a romantic relationship between her and this Salas Valor? And now she was as good as condemning him:

"You may have to do battle with him... and bring upon him the peace and understanding of blessed death."


Anonymous Sab Liath said...

I remember this quest! my first and hopefully last fight with an ordinator!

Monday, July 03, 2006 1:43:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is gonna be interesting.This guy is a hard nut to crack...
Anyway you'll get a nice armor for your museum :D

Monday, July 03, 2006 8:34:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ive always like the white robed that the Ends of Time cult leader wore, it fit quite nice on me if i do say so myself

Monday, July 03, 2006 10:34:00 am  
Anonymous DaBigPman said...

white robes are the shit!!!! yeah good job joe

Monday, July 03, 2006 1:47:00 pm  
Anonymous Person said...

Hmmm. I always thought that what Almalexia was implying a romantic relationship but I'm still not sure.

Liked the Title's Double Entendre.

Morrowind Trivia - What is the name of the Nord in the Plaza Brindisi Dorom?

Monday, July 03, 2006 6:19:00 pm  
Anonymous Random said...

He's that naked dude, is'nt he? This was a diffucult mission, i did it when i was lvl 13. one hit - dead (woodelf) Noticed you haven't put the encounter with Gaenor in yet though, he's harder than the ordinator.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 1:50:00 am  
Anonymous DaBigPman said...

i could never figure out how to activate that naked nord quest. I killed the woodelf in one hit when he didnt have the aromor on. Stupid me gave him al the way to 100,000 gold then didnt have a million so i killed him to get it back...allas he didnt have it. Talk about a furios me because autosave kicked after i killed him!!!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 3:18:00 am  
Anonymous master inferno said...

The Nord's name is Forstaag the Sweltering (I may have misspelled his first name).

Great chapter, Joseph. I can't wait to see how you have Frosty deal with the Ordinator.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 4:01:00 pm  
Anonymous Person said...


Morrowind Trivia - Who has Sunder?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 7:07:00 pm  
Anonymous I'm a nerd hear my roar! said...

An ash vampire.

is that specific enough?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 7:11:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Person: "Morrowind Trivia - Who has Sunder?"

Frosty, of course... :D

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 10:43:00 pm  
Anonymous Person said...

Nerd: Nope. :)

Anon: :p Obviously he has it now. But who had it before?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 10:58:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joseph,

Could I please see more pictures of you?(besides the one on the profile)

Thanks you

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 3:57:00 pm  
Anonymous Z said...

Oh my gosh! Thank you so much! I never would have guessed to use the Satchel Packs. I love the way it's in story form. Now I have enough scrap metal to see the Robot Arena, hehehe. And now I have a nice Ogrim Titan Soul Gem. That Daedric place was so awesome.
Well, off to kill some Salas, or whatever his name is.
My game crashed after I talked to him. ,_,
- Z -

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 9:50:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
A assist breather have to worry about always be the case in the united states going to be the at the outset aid purse This has to be that because an all in one drowning scenario may occur any a period and also going to be the victim may chock to educate yourself regarding death if necessary attended for additional details on immediately. A keep breather causes it to become concentrated ep into going to be the drowning victim's mouth area preventing going to be the victim back and forth from chocking.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013 11:38:00 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home