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, February 22, 2005

Day Fifty-seven: Breaking the bond

I returned directly to the Daedric shrine this morning. No one had been inside in my absence. I don't know if the corpses outside the door had been effective as a warning or as bait. I had to battle through a swarm of rats to get to the doors. Once inside I began gathering all the valuables and trade goods together in a room behind the statue, which had served as quarters for the cult's leaders.

The bonemold armor, Dwemer shortsword, and enchanted crossbow bolts were the only real notables among the cult's goods, until I looked in a bowl that had been placed on the altar. Glittering gemstones winked back at me in the torchlight. Diamond, ruby, emerald, pearl; treasure in its most convenient and beautiful form. I dumped the bowl's contents into a pouch. My Breton sense for magic again served me well.

The dremora are servants to the greater Daedra, and apparently this one was tasked with guarding the offerings placed on the altar. He appeared behind me, and without the tingling sense of magic setting me on guard his first swing would likely have crushed my skull. Instead the Daedric club smashed into my shoulder. I fell with the blow to soften the impact and rolled frantically away, taking a sound kick in the belly as I went. The club fell again as I retched up my breakfast. I took the impact on my upraised arm to protect my head, and felt bone crack. Though I could barely speak I managed to summon my spear.

The dremora circled warily, my much longer weapon holding him at bay while I regathered myself from his surprising attack. My left arm blazed with pain as the broken bone grated with every movement, but I kept the wicked point of the spear in front of his feints so that he could not charge in with club swinging. The impasse ended when my spear disappeared, leaving only the shortsword in my hand. The sudden turn of events gave me a split second of surprise to take advantage of. I ran, casting my most powerful healing spell as I went. The dremora was closing rapidly as I crashed out the door and vaulted over the bodies strewn there. Again surprise came to my assistance as the dremora stumbled over the corpses of the dispatched cultists. I activated my spear once again and landed a telling blow in the dark Daedric flesh of its ribcage. The dremora howled its outrage as it was dispatched back to its own plane of existence, leaving only its heart and the heavy Daedric club to mark its brief passage through our world.

Gathering the remaining goods went without incident, and I transported them to my cave. In Pelagiad, over lunch with Mebestian Ence I dealt another load of Dwemer artifacts. His business is booming. After lunch I went to Ahnassi's house. We sat on the stone fence that surrounds the village and watched the netch floating across the blue sky. I told her about J'Dhannar; the progress he was making. I asked if she wanted to go see him. It's funny how quickly it has become natural to me to watch her tail for clues to her mood.

"Good friend Arvil Bren, I no longer want to see J'Dhannar, but we must both agree to break our mating bond. I cannot walk with him any longer, but if he does not free me I must walk always alone, as must he. I wish for him to walk on warm sands, always. I am so very glad you are doing this thing for him. Perhaps without the skooma he will not want to be alone any more, and I will be free." I left her there rather than test her resolve. It was a long walk back to Vivec. I did not hurry.

When I transported back to Ald-ruhn the mages were just breaking up from dinner. Edwinna, the local guild steward, sent for me. It was asking a lot to house J'Dhannar here in the guild hall, and I wondered if there would be a calling to account. There was, but not exactly as I expected. She is once again in search of a rare book, and said that since I am spending so much time flitting back and forth to Vivec I could acquire it for her. I mentioned Jobasha's rare book store, but she said this book was too rare even for him. The Chimarvamidium is so rare that there may be only one copy in existence, and it is in the guild hall in Vivec. She wants me to 'borrow' it for her. Assignments for Edwinna might not be much better than my assignments for Ranis in Balmora. At least she doesn't want me to kill anyone.

J'Dhannar welcomed me back warmly. Free from the skooma he is very personable, and I hoped the time was right to tell him the whole truth. "You know I was looking for skooma addicts in Vivec. I've let it seem like a quest for knowledge, or a humanitarian mission of some sort. There's more to it."

"Go ahead friend Arvil Bren. I will listen. Whatever your purpose, I offer my services."

"You better hear me out before you make any offers J'Dhannar," I said. "I went to Vivec on a mission, but since I was going a very special friend asked me to look for you. Ahnassi." His tail gave one sudden twitch at mention of her name. Had I not been spending so much time with Khajiit I wouldn't have recognized his surprise.

"Ahnassi. My mate." His eyes slitted down as he spoke. "You love her. If Khajiit mating bonds were like humans, you could have just killed me. Instead you had to find me and wrest my life away from the skooma. The ways of the divines are strange indeed, good friend." His tail swished gently, not agitation, just deep in thought. "Arvil Bren, you do not know the ways of the Khajiit. It is very rare for a mating bond to be broken. Ahnassi and I cannot meet, we must both tell another that our bond is broken. That other must be someone we both trust absolutely. You can see how difficult that would usually be. For one who would be the new mate can hardly be friend to the old, yes? But you have given me my life good friend Arvil Bren, I cannot but trust you. I have treated Ahnassi badly. I and the skooma. There will always be a place for her in my heart, but I can walk with her no more. She deserves better than to walk always alone. Treat her well."

I sighed with relief. Then I wondered. Ahnassi had not actually said anything about mating with me. What does she intend to do with her new freedom? And would I be ready for the kind of commitment the Khajiit expect in a mate? Before I got too caught up in this line of thinking I was brought back to another direction. J'Dhannar asked what mission had taken me to Vivec City in the first place, and how it had gone.

"Actually, I could use some help with that too," I admitted. "I am to find a Khajiit named Addhiranirr. She reportedly lives in St. Olms."

"You do not work for the Census and Excise, do you Arvil Bren?" That brought agitation to the swishing tail. Clearly the Census and Excise is not considered a source of friends.

"No, not at all. She is a friend of a friend, and he hopes she can give him some information she may have picked up in her travels."

"My good friend Addhiranirr is very well traveled. You would be hard pressed to find her, she is always hiding from the Census and Excise. Arvil Bren my good friend, I have enjoyed the warm sands of this fine place long enough. The mages have been most kind and hospitable, but I must move on and start life anew. Tomorrow I will go with you to Vivec and find Addhiranirr, then I shall take ship home to Elsweyr."

Fate, which sometimes seems so cruel, is smiling on me; at least for now.


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