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.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Day Twelve: The shipwreck

I awoke this morning before dawn, driven by my need for some sort of healing magic. I am not very skilled with restorations, but Arrille at the tradehouse knows a fairly simple healing spell that I should be able to master. Being a trader, however, he will require compensation for his time to teach me this spell. I have accumulated quite a supply of alchemical ingredients, some of which are quite valuable. Rather than surrender them I settled in with my own lab, determined to make something valuable out of the more common ingredients that I have in abundant supply.

Interesting how magical energies collect in the flesh of ordinary creatures. The scrib is a large insect, the young form of a kwama actually; kwama being almost man sized from what I hear. The shell of the scrib is filled with a jelly substance, which is edible and in fact quite tasty. This jelly is known to boost a persons will, enabling them to better control and resist many magical energy forms. Today I found that when mixed with juices extracted from the meat of the local rats this jelly forms a potent restorative that will negate magical poisons. I only succeeded in making one flask of this antidote, and I will be keeping it for my own use.

I continued my experiments more profitably. The foragers who scavenge the areas around a kwama nest often have a coating of a waxy substance known as cuttle. I had sensed a magical property in this cuttle and have been collecting it whenever a forager tried to scavenge me to take back to the nest. Thinning this cuttle with a light oil and mixing in scales from the slaughterfish (which I have in a discouraging abundance) I created a fluid which when applied to the feet will recreate the effects of my own waterwalking spell for a brief period. While it will not last long enough for a stroll around the bay it will certainly be of value for crossing the narrow straits between islands here in the lowlands of the Bitter Coast, and Arrille cheerfully traded his time for a few vials of this.

Armed with my new healing capabilities and a good amount more caution I set out for the shipwreck. I walked, on land, the long way around. Giving up my previous complaints I took the opportunity to map this part of the coast thoroughly. Nine-Toes will be pleased. I have a complete map of the area southeast of Seyda Neen, all the way to the bridge on the Ebonheart road which crosses into the Ascadian Isles region. In the process I found an egg mine, where the eggs of the kwama are harvested for food and trade. I considered checking on the availability of scrib jelly and kwama cuttle, but there was no one about the entrance and I did not want to take the time to delve inside.

Eventually I arrived back at the littered beach near the stern of the grounded hulk. She lies almost completely on her side with her decks to the sea, about three quarters submerged. After killing the first wave of slaughterfish I clambered up onto the exposed hull and walked her length. The perspective was strange, standing on the hull looking almost straight down the deck into the water. Right at the waterline a door to the stern cabin hung loosely, moving with the swirling currents. Its hinges, which had been on the left side, now held the panel of the door from the top. Further forward a deck hatch also swayed rhythmically. In the almost vertical deck the weight of the hatch no longer held it firmly closed and through it the ship seemed to breathe, exhaling as the small swells ebbed away, the hatch thumping closed with the next swell. I considered whether it was really prudent to enter that maw.

I cast a series of spells, allowing me to breathe water throughout my explorations of the ship. I started with the aft cabin, dropping into the water and scrambling quickly through the door. Inside, the sideways angle of the ship was even more disorienting. As I climbed out I was welcomed by a gathering of slaughterfish which I dispatched, but only after I was bleeding from several more bites. These wretched creatures are the most cursed aspect of my life in Vvardenfell. I returned to the beach, had a lunch of crab meat, and used my new healing spell to recover my well being.

Gathering my courage I again plunged off the hull. As a swell exhaled from the interior of the wreck I propped the hatch with my spear and rode the next swell inside. Through the water I could feel the thud of the hatch closing behind me and fear closed in as well. The boards of the hull had dried and warped where they were above water, and light filtered through, but the interior was still dark and gloomy. Once again I found it disorienting, and the movement of floating crates and barrels did not help. I studied the tangles of wreckage with a chilling premonition.

My fascination with the shipwreck proved worthwhile. Though the cargo was of no particular value in its waterlogged state I recovered two crates of food from the galley and some odd bits of armor. I also learned the value of maintaining my composure. In making my way back to the hatch I got tangled in a snarl of ropes and broken planks. The more I struggled the more enmeshed I became, and I knew that even though my water breath spell doesn't take all that much magica I would eventually run out and drown. Operating underwater, with my legs tangled in the wreckage, I calmly transferred all my newly acquired goods to my pack and released the crates to make their own way. Blotting my previous failure from my memory I completed the gestures perfectly and found myself standing at my appointed mark in my own shack. Seawater sluiced from my clothes as I collapsed with relief.

While I may have yet to master the school of mysticism, I do feel more the master of myself as I lay down to sleep tonight.


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