This is the autobiographical journal of Arvil Bren, a somewhat reluctant hero who has been placed on an unknown quest by powers that he barely knows exist. Follow his journey as it is updated daily, Monday through Friday, and enjoy! These are the most recent entries in Arvil Bren's third journal; Politics of the Redoran. His first journal can be found in its entirety here. His second journal, Trail of the Archmage can be found here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Day Eight: The Emperor's Blade

With yesterday's harsh lesson still showing in the stiffness of my joints I rose well before dawn, packed, and headed for the strider port. What an amazing creature! Riding on a plush seat set in a hollow in the back of a thirty foot tall insect as it strides across field and marsh was an experience that is hard to describe, and is not for the squeamish. The caravaner directs the great beast by applying pressure using a set of levers and cords. These controls are attached to various internal organs and structures, and a delicate touch is required to avoid injuring the vehicle. The ride is comfortable and surprisingly smooth, and the long legs eat up the distance. I arrived in Balmora shortly after dawn, finding the city shrouded in a soft mist.

With much to accomplish on this trip and little idea where to begin I thought my first order of business should be delivering the Emperor's documents to Caius Cosades. I reasoned that no matter what came of the delivery I would be able to get some local information from him. What an underestimation that turned out to be! I started my search at the South Wall Cornerclub, where I expected to possibly catch an early rising proprietor or serving wench. Wrong again. The denizens of the South Wall were just settling in from their night's activities. It wasn't hard to recognize the place as the local Thieves Guild hangout, as the first person I met when I walked in was a pawnbroker who clearly would not have many questions about the origin of any goods that came her way. When I asked her about Cosades she referred to him as an 'old sugar-tooth', and I was even further taken aback. On the Emperor's business, directed to a den of thieves, in search of a drug addict; I considered chucking the whole project and joining the Guild, but the strangeness of the situation got the best of my curiosity. At the direction of Bacola Closcius, proprietor of the South Wall, I headed into the poorest quarter of Balmora in search of the old sugar-tooth.

Caius answered his door and admitted me to a mean little apartment. He was shirtless and rumpled, and the room is furnished in minimal junkiness, prominently featuring a skooma pipe that looked heavily used and hastily hidden, poorly. Without giving any details I suggested that I had been sent to Balmora to seek him out. He expressed surprise that anyone would be that interested in an 'old man with a skooma problem', and frankly I was getting more surprised by the minute myself. With some reservations I handed over the package of documents.

As he rapidly scanned the first page, apparently decoding it in his head, he seemed to transform in front of my stunned eyes. What had seemed a somewhat shrunken old man was a product of magnificent muscle and breath control. With a full breath and a release of the calculated slackness Caius became an obviously fit, well muscled man who I would definitely not want to take on hand to hand. The puzzled and diffident expression fell from his features, replaced by a confident and powerful presence that filled the small room seemingly beyond its capacity, and when our conversation resumed it was clear that his reach did extend far, far beyond the scarred stone walls.

With no further dissembling Caius introduced himself as the Emperor's man in Morrowind, spymaster of the Blades, the Emperor's hidden eyes and ears throughout the provinces. For reasons unknown to me, and also to Caius though the rest of the documents I delivered may make them clear, the Emperor directed him to induct me into this organization, and I am now a novice in His Magesty's intelligence service under the orders of Caius Cosades. When he asked if I was ready to follow his orders there was some question in my mind, but I showed no reservation. I don't know what would have happened had I refused to serve, though I have to wonder if I would have left the room alive.

My first instructions as a member of the Blades were certainly easy enough to take, especially since they were accompanied by two hundred gold drakes. Some of the Blades maintain an open presence, providing services and contact points. Caius gave me a list of some of these stationed throughout Vvardenfell district, which is apparently my turf, and directed me to meet them as soon as possible. I am to meet them quietly, as I am not to be one of these openly acknowledged support personnel. He gave me some suggestions on establishing a cover identity, and my head is still swirling from the complexity of the tapestry of politics and society here in Morrowind. In addition to the usual Guilds, Morrowind politics are dominated by clan affiliations, culminating in five 'great houses'. I will be moving cautiously in aligning myself with any particular threads. At least some knowledge of the weave seems necessary first, for my own survival.

While Caius definitely agreed with my circumspect intentions, he suggested that the benefits of membership in the Mage's Guild and its generally loose structure would suit my immediate needs. The local Guild Steward, Ranis Athrys, welcomed me to the ranks. Not warmly or enthusiastically, but access to the guild hall supply chest and a bed in the sleeping area rewarded me tangibly if not with freindship. Caius suggested that Ranis' apprentice, Ajira, would probably be a better contact. Being an outlander herself she is certainly likely to be less stiff with me, though the cat-people of Khajiit province are not obviously warm to my own Breton origins either. I met her briefly, but it was already late by the time I got down to the guild hall's main rooms, which are in the basement, and it has been a long day. I will take on establishing myself with my guildmates in the morning.


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