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.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Day Sixteen: Intriguing mages

The ways of mages astound me. It becomes more and more clear to me that the guild runs on personalities, petty alliances, and intrigue. I am very comfortable here, unlike my home in Seyda Neen, which has obviously been marked as a regular stopover for passing assassins or sleeping in the wilderness with a wary eye for rats, crabs and other scavengers who can't tell sleeping from dead. But comfort I think would have a cost. By maintaining myself as a visitor rather than a resident I can hopefully avoid becoming too embroiled in the cheerful infighting, if I haven't already.

I awoke this morning among my fellows, who were bustling about getting on with the business of the day. As I left the breakfast table Ajira approached me, slipping a soul gem into my palm. I sensed mischief afoot, and wondered if there was a diplomatic way to stay out of it given that Ranis has me somewhat assigned to helping the wily Khajiit. What I was trying to avoid was getting involved in Ajira's bet with Galbedir. Khajiit and Bosmer have warred on and off throughout history, and here in the guild this battle has been reduced from violence to a steady bickering. Mostly reduced anyway, according to the Orc Sharn gra-Muzgob the debate escalated not long ago to erupt in battling atronachs conjured from the elemental fire plane. There was no avoiding Ajira's feline hiss. My new assignment was to secrete the gem in Galbedir's desk. It is a fake, and will likely throw one of Galbedir's assignments into complete disarray. I had a tough time with sabotaging Galbedir. Like all Bosmer she is very open with her feelings, and when a wood elf likes you you know you are liked. Galbedir likes me, and in two visits to Balmora she has been probably the friendliest person in town. I justified my actions by telling myself that she did do her part in causing the rivalry with Ajira, and the current bet over which would make journeyman rank first was what really opened up this can of worms. I'm just the latest worm in the fray, so to speak.

I did complete the task, slipping the stone into Galbedir's desk, but partly in atonement and partly because she really is a good enchanter I probably overpaid her for helping me enchant my belt. Even though my gem with the cliff racer's energy is not all that powerful we put almost twice as much healing magic in the belt as my ring could manage. The belt will serve me well, and the practice and sale will look good for her. Hopefully she won't mention who the buyer was, at least for a while. Perhaps I can tell Ajira that I was making the purchase to distract her while I placed the gem.

No matter how the plotting of the bettors turned out, I thought it best to be out of the guild hall, and under the pretext of picking up healing potions from Tyermaillin I reported to my contacts in the Blades. Again I got the potions at a terrific discount, and Tyermaillin gave me a small pouch of coins to deliver for him to Nine-Toes, ostensibly as payment for some ingredients he wanted from the Argonian hunter. With that as an excuse I could stop at his house without raising questions.

Nine Toes was very pleased with my additions to his maps, and agreed that it was probably time for me to leave Seyda Neen. The next village up the coast is called Hla Oad. It is nothing but a tiny fishing village and I don't know if I will even be able to find lodgings there, but it should offer me some shelter from the assassins, at least for a while. With Hla Oad as a destination Nine Toes also suggested that I see Larrius Varro, champion of the Imperial Legion garrison at the nearby fort. Fort Moonmoth lies a short hike beyond the city walls, and I sauntered out the gates enjoying the bright midday sun.

Larrius Varro greeted me warmly, though obviously he is burdened with his duties. Maintaining Imperial law in a region dominated by the 'business first' leadership of the Dunmer great house Hlaalu must be quite challenging. When he heard that I was considering a hunting expedition to Hla Oad he requested that I ease some of that burden for him. Apparently some Nord bandit has declared the local roads to be his private tollways, and Varro suggested, in a roundabout way, that even though it was officially the Legion's problem to deal with he would welcome any unfortunate accident that might befall this Nord. Again I find myself questioning my motivations. There was a time not long ago where I would have praised the Nord for his ingenuity, as long as I could slip by without paying him overmuch. Now I seem constantly coming down on the side of the authorities.

I returned to the guild hall as evening fell, and enjoyed a hearty meal and good company. Ajira has moved on from fungus to flowers, and gave me a new list of ingredients she would like me to find. The undercurrent strains among the apprentices provided much amusement, and I considered betting that I would be a journeyman before either of them. As the newest member I thought better of it, but I'm sure it gives my Breton ancestors a chuckle as I head for bed.


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