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 29, 2004

Day Eighteen: Breeding netch

Gnaar Mok may not be the most hospitable place in the world, but after Hla Oad it's nice to have a place to lay my head. The trade house here is called the Druegh-jigger's Rest, and is apparently named for some local sea creature. When the Harpy docked with the dawn I was not received with open arms, but presenting myself as a simple hunter who had been basically run out of Hla Oad got me directed to the Rest.

In addition to its other functions, the Rest serves as a gathering place for the thieve's guild, whose main operative locally is a Khajiit called Wadarkhu. He is gruff, and the way the others talk about him he is strong medicine. Apparently strong medicine is needed here. The thieve's guild is embroiled in a major gang war with the well entrenched Cammona Tong. The Tong is Morrowind local, almost exclusively Dunmer as far as I've seen, and heavy on bigoted posturing. I don't think my cover in the Mages Guild or my service to the Emperor would be served by involving myself directly with the Thieves Guild, but I'm starting think that any of these Cammona Tong that get belligerent with me I'm just going to skewer. If for no better reason than that they are heavily into the slave trade.

I kept my opinions on the Tong to myself mostly, but did curry some favor with Wadarkhu. When he saw I was a hunter he took an interest, and told me about a recent attack his boat had suffered from a pair of netch. I've seen these huge creatures floating in the air, but they have always seemed very docile. Wadarkhu informs me that when they breed they become aggressive and dangerous, and apparently this breeding pair has staked out a territory north of town. I gathered as much information as I could before setting out. The larger netch, with six powerful tentacles dangling from an oval gasbag, is the bull, and will fire bolts of magical poison before closing to attack. The round betty netch is more aggressive, though smaller and with only four tentacles.

Armed with my bow, my poison antidote, my new knowledge, and the best wishes of the locals I set off to the north. It did not take long to identify the culprits. While most netch drift slowly along the breeding pair was jetting around in a jagged pattern. I circled patiently. The opportunity I looked for was to have the two netch separated by a significant distance, and headed in opposite directions. In their random charges they eventually complied and I sprinted to intercept the bull, which was nearest.

I did not get very close, and skidded to a halt nocking an arrow. Aiming high on the gasbag I released, and quickly drew and fired again. One arrow thumped harmlessly off the heavy hide, but the other pierced through and the netch jerked in the air, tentacles flailing as it turned. I started running. I made a couple of erratic moves and used trees for cover as much as possible to spoil the beast's aim. Success. My maneuvering and the pursuit brought me and the netch very close together without any poison bolts fired, and I dodged through the battering tentacles while stabbing up through the softer underside with my spear. With a loud sigh of escaping gas the netch settled to earth, dead I suppose, but I ran my spear through it several times to be sure.

While making sure of the bull I kept a wary eye in the direction of the betty, who had stopped dashing about and was turning in slow circles. Obviously she was looking for the bull, but had not seen him drop through the tree cover. I sighted carefully and launched an arrow, then another, and another. The betty netch either had a tougher hide or is just a lot more durable. My arrows did not slow the creature's charge for an instant. Again I tried to make use of the trees, but this netch was faster and more maneuverable. As our courses converged I called once more on my Breton heritage and toughened my hide for the beating I could surmise was inevitable. I barely completed the spell before I was engulfed in a swirl of thrashing tentacles. As I ducked and rolled I unslung my new steel halberd. The blade left deep gashes in tentacles as I drove the point up into the gasbag hovering above with rapid strokes. More than once I was knocked off my feet, but always I kept my point up, holding the monster off as I gathered myself to continue the fray. Suddenly, with a bursting rush of gas, the full weight of the creature was falling on me! I braced the butt of my halberd on the ground and angled the falling mass away with the blade to avoid being crushed beneath it. After untangling myself and my battered halberd from the sprawling tentacles and flattened gasbag of the netch I healed myself with my belt, cut out some large patches of quality netch leather, and returned to Gnaar Mok.

Having resolved a problem for them the locals greeted my return with much greater appreciation, and I was grateful for their hospitality. I will be bunking in a hammock in the Rest tonight, and I cannot imagine the Dark Brotherhood finding me in this remote corner of the Bitter Coast.


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