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, January 10, 2005

Day Twenty-six: Fjol's bridge

Having my own home is wonderful, even with the isolation; but tonight I enjoy the company here at the guild hall and wonder. Someday will I be able to sleep without fear of assassination? Live openly, and among friends, perhaps family? What fate has set my feet to what appears to be a lonely path?

I took ship this morning, sailing with the dawn to Hla Oad wearing a mixed set of bonemold and steel, the first step in converting my pile of trade goods to more portable assets. My growing loyalty to the Empire could not allow me to return to Balmora without at least a token search for Larrius Varro's bandit. On the docks of Hla Oad my scalp crawled. Every Dunmer, and most others, gave no sign of hospitality. The snarled "outlander" from just behind me after they had passed, the averted gaze, or worse, the glare burning with hatred; all spoke of the influence of the Cammona Tong. I am perhaps being infected with their hatred, but thoughts of burning Hla Oad to the ground crossed my mind. I left quickly.

Not far from Hla Oad lies a bridge, and as I approached a large Nord in the fur armor of Skyrim stepped from the brush. He held a mighty Nordic axe loosely in his hand; not threateningly, but ready for use. "I am Fjol, Breton, and this is my bridge," he said. Very matter of fact, not hostile, but again the air of readiness.

"Did you build this bridge? Has the Emperor himself given you title to this bridge? Or House Hluulu, which I suppose would be the authority here.," I replied, shifting to the other side of the road and freeing my hands. No gestures of spellcasting, but enough to let him know that I would be willing to defend myself.

The Nord gave a roaring laugh. "The Tong would be the authority here, if I was beholden to any. If you were Cammona Tong Breton I might even allow you to pass, though the road beyond be dangerous...outlaws you know. You'll certainly be safer with a lighter purse. A hundred gold septims and you may use my bridge."

At the mention of the Cammona Tong my blood boiled. "If you call the Tong master, you will make another notch on the shaft of my spear. My count is eight, and just giving them that information would be worth more than a hundred septims. You would be well served to flee with that information while you can."

The Nord's blue eyes narrowed. "If the information be so valuable, what price shall I have for your head!?" His voice rose to a roar at the last, and the axe rose in a glittering arc.

With a quick word and a gesture the devil spear leaped to my hands, and carrying forward with its momentum I dealt the Nord a grievous blow. The raging blood of the people of Skyrim gushed red, but he was not slowed. The mighty Nordic axe crashed down, rending steel and flesh and cracking bone. I fell to my knees, the haft of my spear digging into the soft soil. With the spreading bar of the spear pressed to his flesh Fjol could come no closer, and he paused to yank the wicked point from his chest in another gout of blood. Either of us could die from the injuries we had already been dealt, but the battle lust was upon Fjol, and he would speed my death with another blow from his axe if he could. My own more calculating Breton heritage carried the day, for I saw no shame in gulping a healing restorative during the brief pause in his advance. I rolled painfully to avoid his next chopping blow.

"You should have chosen a weaker opponent!" Fjol roared. He swiped sideways, dealing me a thunderous blow with the flat of the axe, but the restorative had already knitted my ribs, and was continuing to work. There was nothing it could do about the torn edges of steel from my breastplate that dug into my raw flesh though. I continued my roll, eventually getting one knee and a foot underneath me. From this half kneeling position I could wield my spear to some effect, at least enough to hold Fjol briefly at bay. With another sideways swipe the huge Nord knocked my spear aside and charged. With no spear to stop him I had no choice, and rose from my knee in my own low driving tackle to meet him head on. Though he was far larger my heavy armor made me a fair match, and we collided with the force of a catapult shot on a castle tower. I thrust my fingers, with the thin steel plates of my gauntlet, into the gory mess of fur armor and Nord flesh that my spear had made of his side.

Fjol howled with furious agony as he tossed me aside. I staggered, but did not fall, and lunged to recover my spear. The great Nord stood swaying, blood gushing with every labored breath. Bloody foam flecked his lips as he growled "I shall not fall Breton, you must strike me down." He leaned heavily on the haft of his axe, eyes blazing a cold fury. I could have waited. I know the mighty barbarian would have eventually collapsed to die on his knees. He deserved better, and I drove my spear through his throat.

I sold my armor to Wyan, and gathered a great bag of supplies for my armory. He did not comment as he helped me off with my breastplate, opening my wounds as the jagged steel pulled free, but he did nod his respect. That is all the acknowledgement a Redguard would ever give to a battle wound. "I could give you more for this if you repair it first," he said. "It would honor me if you used my forge."

I dined at the South Wall. I wanted to get to know the regulars there, and be known by them. I still do not want to join their guild, but given my opposition to the Cammona Tong their friendship is a comfort. Of course I did not tell them what I had done, or where I was living, but they clearly accepted a relationship rooted in a timeless wisdom; 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'. A Bosmer scout, Arathor, was particularly taken with my bonemold boots, which glow softly from the mild enchantment. He gave me more insight into the advantages of the medium weight armors, and we drank far into the night.

I rose in the silence of the depth of night to write, surrounded by the sleeping mages of Balmora. Ajira, somewhat a mistress of the local brews, laughed as she put me in my bunk. "I tried to tell friend Arvil Bren. The sujamma has a kick like a guar, puts hair on your face." She padded out with a parting swish of her orange and black striped tail before I could get my thickened tongue to answer. It's good to have a friend to thank in the morning.


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