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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.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Day Ten: Tomb Raider

I rose early and refreshed. The day dawned gray and rainy, which I have accepted as the norm for the Bitter Coast. It's only water, and I tell myself that the rain drumming on the shells of the mudcrabs makes it easier to sneak up on them. The humor being that if it was any easier to sneak up on a mudcrab they would have to be presenting themselves on their backs in front of me. For the most part they seem to depend for safety on their appearance, which is very much like a medium size boulder. A good crab will yield a couple pounds of succulent flesh and they continue to be the staple of my diet, and I am also now using crab meat to concoct my restoratives.

I followed the beach around the bay to my date with the undead. Wanting to be as fully prepared as possible before entering the crypt, I activated my devil spear and hooked a curative potion to my belt for quick access. When activated the devil spear harnesses the power of a captive Daedric spirit, becoming supernaturally sharp and also light as my writing quill in my hands. It also briefly surrounds me in crackling electrical energies which help to shield me. So armed I burst through the door. My nemesis, the skeletal archer, unleashed a torrent of arrows as I charged, most of which were deflected by the devil spear's magic. The shaft of my spear I braced under my arm, and I allowed my steel breastplate to build momentum as I hurtled down the stairs on the bare edge of control. Forsaking a final shot the skeleton tried to dodge, but with the barest flick of adjustment my point followed its frantic movement and struck home, splintering ancient ribs and shattering the magical articulations of the creature. Seeing that the fallen monster was trying to regather itself to rise I swung my weapon to and fro, scattering bones until they fell to dust.

As I recovered my breath I surveyed the chamber. Two stone altars flanked a triangular shrine at the further end of the room, and I edged cautiously around a central support pillar for a closer look. Guttering torches lit my way. Mounted in brackets on the walls and central pillar, they burn with the ancestral energy of the tomb and require no fuel. When I tried to remove one it was extinguished, only to light again when restored to its proper place. A chill ran briefly down my spine, and I turned a wary eye on a wooden door, behind which lay I knew not what. On the altars stood great burial urns, one on the left and two on the right. The two on the right were a matched set, and I assume they held a husband and wife. The decorated face of the shrine depicted Saint Veloth, an illustrious ancestor god of the Dunmer Temple, and identified the tomb as belonging to the Thelas clan. I opted not to further disturb the Thelas ancestral spirits by removing the bonemeal from the urns, but did sift through it quickly with an arrow shaft to check for any useful items or jewelry.

In fairly short order I realized that I was scuffing about in this outer chamber not because I expected to find anything of value, but because I was delaying my entry into the inner crypt. Once again I activated the devil spear, and standing slightly to the side yanked open the door. A howling spirit burst upon me immediately, and its spectral face showed bleak surprise as it impaled itself on my spear. The feeling was quite uncanny. In my hands the spear was solid, but at its tip it was obviously completely embedded in another plane of existence, a plane where the ghost had real flesh and could be felt pulling down my point with a surprising weight. I had no time to appreciate this oddity, and jerked the Daedric sharpness of the blade free from the once more dead hulk, leaving it to splatter into this earthly plane in a shower of gooey green ectoplasm. Freed, I was able to dive clear of the doorway.

My frantic dive was the result of seeing yet another skeletal archer at the bottom of the stair beyond the door, and I thought that I had moved in time. A searing pain followed instantly by horrible numbness told me otherwise and I crashed to the stone floor in a heap, completely paralyzed by a field of coruscating green magical energies. There are curative potions so powerful that mere possession of them would have given me enough muscle control to gulp it down and be released, but alas I did not have one. Fortunately I had landed out of line with the door and sheltered from further assault. I listened for the sound of bony feet on the stairs, but heard nothing. Apparently once I was out of sight the guardian returned to inert watchfulness.

After some time the magical energies of the arrow dissipated and I rose shakily to my feet. I pulled the spent shaft from my thigh and used my ring to heal the wound. Crouched low, I peered cautiously around the doorframe. As expected, the skeleton stood immobile at the bottom of the stair. Calling upon the magical nature of my Breton heritage I toughened my skin until it resembled dragonscale. Though I can maintain this state only for a brief period I counted on it getting me down the stairs without being paralyzed again. I then cast my most effective spell of concealment and crept through the door.

My most effective spell of concealment is not all that effective, and as I passed the midpoint of the stair the skeleton's empty eye sockets flared with magical life. I again activated the devil spear, adding its protective field to my defenses, and dodging from side to side I bounded down the remaining steps. Arrows scattered, flying wide, caught in the crackling field of the spear, or deflecting off of my armor or hardened skin. The skeleton scrambled back, trying to avoid the reach of my spear while firing wildly. I continued my charge and we rapidly covered the length of the chamber, passing between another pair of urn bearing altars.

At the far end opposite the stair lies a ceremonial fire pit, filled with the ashes and bones of untold generations of clan Thelas. Set in the raised lip of the pit are upturned spears, adorned with skulls. My adversary clattered off one of these as it negotiated the step up, and the devil spear found lodging in the brittle animated bones, crashing my opponent backwards into the soft ash bed. With quick thrusts I sent the creature to rejoin its fellows, just another bunch of undistinguished bones in the pit. As my various protective spells expired I surveyed the chamber, noting with a significant easing of tension that there were no more doors.

Catching my eye immediately was a softly glowing scroll lying next to one of the urns. The scroll will be useful I'm sure, as it holds powerful mystic energies which will transport the reader instantly to the nearest Dunmer Temple. This bit of magic would be the major prize for my troubles here. Apparently clan Thelas is not wealthy. I carefully picked the locks on two chests set near the pit, but found only small trinkets of minimal value. Of Mentor's lost ring there was no sign.

I emerged from the tomb into a rainy afternoon, disappointed but in good health and definitely the better for the experience. The mouth of the tomb opens directly onto the shore, sheltered by two small islands that lie across a narrow straight. When I stepped out a large mudcrab on the nearest isle yanked its legs underneath itself and did its best to become just another stone. I waded across, dispatched the crab, and resolved to explore the two islands and collect any useful plant materials I could find. After skewering a number of mudcrabs, slaughterfish, and cliff racers, with my pack bulging with leaves, stems and fungi, I called it a good day's work.

Standing in the pouring rain, with the sun settling in the west, I gave myself a moment of smug satisfaction. Among the new spells I learned in Balmora are some mystical travelers aids that I was very pleased to learn. Last night I cast a spell here in the shack that placed a magical mark upon it. There on the beach I hefted my pack and cast a related spell which would return me to the exact spot where I had cast the mark...in theory. After repeated attempts, with my magical energies too depleted to try again, I set out on the long trudge through the rain. The school of mysticism has never been my forte. I arrived late, wet and tired, and will sleep well in my cot this night.

2 Comments:

Blogger Scott said...

I had to sign up to put a comment here. Very cool idea! This makes me want to play the game including the beginning stages which I have grown accustumed to getting through asap. Bravo! I am looking foward to future installments.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Thanks Scott...while I exist at the timeline of Morrowind, my publisher has committed to posting one day of my journal every Monday through Friday in your timeline. keep checking back and enjoy!

11:06 AM  

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