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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.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Day Fifty-six: In the shrine of the cult

J'Dhannar was surprised to see me return intact this evening. When I told him this morning that I was bent on avenging the skooma addicts of St. Olms he suggested that I stay out of it. He is making progress, but he still questions the worth of his fellow addicts, and himself. That I risked my life this way today may help him see that even skooma addicts deserve to be respected as people. Had I known the danger I would face I might have taken his recommendation.

I returned to the sewers of St. Olms canton with the directions J'Dhannar had reluctantly given me. The entrance to the shrine was not difficult to find, and easily identified by the heavily armored guard posted outside. Obviously a warrior; her plate mail fairly glowed with the care and polish that she had lavished upon it. The well worn pommel of her longsword did glow; with enchantment. I stopped at a respectful distance.

"I am seeking Danar Uvelas. He is a skooma addict and I hear he has joined your cult," I said.

"We allow no sugar heads outlander. Your own head I may have to remove also." Her hand went to her sword, drawing it out slightly. The blade glowed venomously. "How did you find this place? Speak quickly and you may yet live, or at least die painlessly."

"Now that! That is a hard offer to decline, you pompously stuffed tin suit. The only problem with it is that you are far too heavily laden to come close to claiming my head. I will however enjoy sending yours floating downstream with the rest of the dung." I was already running before I finished speaking, and with a word to trigger my boots leapt out over the stinking channel. I lofted across, turned, and landed smoothly. Fifteen feet of murky water separated me from the livid warrior. She raced towards a nearby bridge.

I drew an arrow from a special quiver. A quiver of arrows that I have carried for a month or more, since I found them in a tomb and claimed them from the bony clutches of a skeletal archer. I did not call upon the power of my bow, these arrows do not call for great force. My would be assailant skidded slightly as she turned to race along the deck towards me. She almost laughed as the slim shaft clattered off the heavy steel breastplate. The laugh died as the paralysis magic froze her in mid stride.

Her outstretched sword arm left a gap between the breastplate and shoulder piece of her armor. I found it with my next shot and pain flickered in her immobilized eyes. "This will be a slow death. The same as you would likely have inflicted on me. But not as horrible as what you inflicted on Danar, and who knows how many others." I lofted back across the canal to get an angle, and drove another shaft into the gap above her steel boot, destroying her knee. The paralysis wore off, and she fell. I walked to the bridge and crossed. "You wear no helm, I could end this with a single shot, like a pumpkin on the practice range. Or I could paralyze you again and roll your steel clad carcass into that miasma flowing beside you. Or I could just let you bleed out through those minor wounds you seem to have picked up."

"What do you want outlander?" she grated through teeth clenched in fury. I knew if I stepped one step closer she would lurch at me with the longsword. Even on one leg she would be dangerous.

"What is the source of the disease? Why do you allow this infection in the city?"

"We follow the will of the Daedra. The coming of Dagoth Ur will cleanse this city, and all of Morrowind, and the Daedra will rejoice. The blight is just the beginning outlander. Serve the Daedra, or you will be driven forth with the rest of your kind."

No denial. No remorse. I put an arrow through her head. She deserved worse, but I wanted the armor. It will fetch a good price when Moroni Uvelas sells it. Not enough to make up for the loss of her husband, but something. She was grateful.

When I returned to the shrine there was no indication that they had noticed the loss of their guard. I slipped in the door as quietly as I could, but there was nothing I could do about the water sounds echoing through the sewers. When the door shut behind me and deadened the noise completely I knew that I had been revealed the second I opened the door. If I hadn't guessed the outcry "Intruder! Now you die!" definitely made it obvious. I gulped a potion of invisibility and scuttled for a corner.

The main chamber of the shrine holds a mighty statue of one of the major Daedra, I am not sure which. At its feet is an altar. Its head towers above. I glided through the chamber from pillar to pillar and took stock of my adversaries. A roguish Dunmer woman in netch leather armor and a cruel visaged Dunmer in bonemold waved swords in slow arcs, seeking their invisible prey. At the altar a man, possibly an Imperial of Cyrodiil, stood with cocked crossbow, his back to the statue, eyes darting warily to all corners of his vision. It was hard to choose who would be most dangerous. The Dunmer warrior's sword arm rippled with muscle. The longsword he wielded was of Daedric manufacture. That arm, with that great weight of sword, could drive a stout man to his knees with one overhand chop, even if armor or shield prevented major injury. The bolt in the crossbow of the Cyrodiil flickered with magical flames. The woman's shortsword made of gleaming Dwemer metal oozed with green poison. J'Dhannar's warning echoed loudly in my mind.

I rounded the statue to be out of all sight when the potion wore off, then cast the native shielding spell of a Breton. I drew my shortsword and freed the spirit of the spear that lurks within it. I sprang atop the statue's mighty foot, and lunged down to jab at the crossbowman. I landed too close for him to get good aim, but took a searing wound when his bolt grazed my hip. I crashed my spear across his face in a two handed grip, driving his head into the stone of the statue. Then spun to my right driving the butt of my spear under the charging Dunmer's sword arm and into his ribs. The momentum of his charge and the weight of his sword added to the blow and drove the air from his lungs in a rush. Though neither was seriously hurt, two of my opponents were momentarily incapacitated, and I turned my spear on the third.

The Dwemer metal of her sword slashed through my dark chainmail, and its venom coursed into my veins. I swept my spear head down too late to intercept her thrust, but the razor sharp edge sliced through the netch leather gauntlet, flesh, and bone, severing her wrist. I brought the point back up across her throat as I lurched for the cover of a supporting pillar. A crossbow bolt, hurriedly aimed, smeared fire across the stone inches from my head. I activated my boots and floated up behind the pillar, then around to land on the statue's broad shoulder. As I rose I clutched my healing belt, sending charge after charge of restorative energy to battle the poison wracking my body. As I clung there high above the floor I looked down into the lifeless eyes of the woman. Her companions did not think to look up, searching again for an invisible adversary.

Having completely discharged my belt I downed a powerful restorative potion and dropped to the floor below, cushioned once again by the enchantment of my levitating boots. Before my feet touched the floor I had struck the Dunmer warrior in the middle of his broad back with a paralysis arrow. I began a rapid exchange with the crossbowman. I breathed the command, freeing the Daedric longbow enchanted within my more ordinary weapon. The quickness and accuracy served well against the crossbowman, who could not fire as rapidly, and was limited in his mobility by the process of cocking the crossbow. The mighty Daedric bow allowed my arrows to strike with as much power as his bolts. He fell, with an arrow lodged in his left eye. I had no time to celebrate as my final remaining enemy leapt to the attack.

The great Daedric longsword hissed through the air, the first slice missing by inches as I dove off of the altar, dropping my bow. I grasped the hilt of my shortsword and gave the urgent command as I rolled to my feet. My spear sprang forth into my hands. My conjured spear strikes with similar weight to the Dunmer's mighty sword, but feels feather light in the hands. As we thrust and parried I could see that fatigue would be a factor, even for his massive muscles. The bonemold armor, the heavy sword; eventually they would take their toll. My opponent, for his part, counted on the spell which had obviously conjured my spear to give out, so he did not rush. His mistake. My shortsword has a powerful soul, and even though the spears it summons don't last all that long it has many charges, and can be activated in the thick of the wildest melee.

It was the fourth spear that finally found its way over the flagging shield and punched through the armor of the Dunmer's left shoulder. Not a serious wound, but blood flowed, and the duel continued. The fifth spear again found the mark, deeper still, as the shield was becoming unwieldy on the wounded left arm. This time the point was lodged in the armor and flesh, giving me purchase to hold the distance between us. I was momentarily beyond his reach, and his eyes blazed with fury as he panted for air with sword lowered. Loss of blood and exhaustion had dulled my enemy, while the battled had heightened my Breton awareness. I sensed the instant the spell would expire, and lunged against the spear. The Dunmer lurched, driven back, then was thrown completely off balance as the spear disappeared. My rush brought me crashing against him, neutralizing the powerful swings of his great blade, and my modest shortsword slid under his breastplate to open his belly as we crashed to the floor.

I stripped the corpses of any valuables, weapons, and armor and dragged them out the door. With the guard from outside as a fourth I propped them seated in pairs, back to back. The arrow in the eye, another shot through the head, the severed hand, and the muscular Dunmer with his entrails dragging; they made a gruesome display. I scrawled across the doors in blood "to enter is to die". I doubt the cult will be practicing their dark rituals tonight. I will return in the morning to search the shrine for valuables. The great Daedric longsword is safe in my room. It is far to valuable to have been left behind, even temporarily.

1 Comments:

Blogger frootat31 said...

Wonderfully 'grusome' in detail. I like how the fight scenes are more than just slash and banter, but more like a dance with even battle tactics mixed in. Great work.

1:41 PM  

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