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, February 04, 2005

Day Forty-five: Things we do for love

I made a quick dash this morning to Balmora to check in with Hasphat. He has solved the riddles of his puzzle box. He made a key that he thinks will fit a door somewhere in Arkngthand. He was quite proud of himself, and I was also much impressed by his ingenuity. I was honored and surprised when he gave me the key. The right thing to do would probably have been staying in Balmora and having lunch with him, but I felt pressed for time, although I was trying not to admit to myself why I was anxious. I told myself that I had left quite a treasure in the cave near Pelagiad. I told myself that I was focused on the business to transact with Mebastian Ence. I told myself everything but that I was looking forward to seeing Ahnassi. Then I ran into a stunning display of what love can do to people.

I thanked Hasphat for the key and promised him that any unique artifacts I found when I returned to Arkngthand I would share with him, then used my recall spell to return to the cave. All seemed well, my treasures undisturbed. I opened the door to let some fresh air clear the mustiness that had set in, and my sense of well being evaporated. Not far away, along the main road, a swirl of smoke rose curling into the air. Someone had a campfire burning; probably cooking their lunch. I crept out of the cave and into the underbrush, curving away from the unknown campsite.

When I reached the main road I headed north, maintaining the air of a nonchalant traveler. When the campsite came into view I was surprised to see a lone Breton woman; quite a beautiful woman in fact. When she saw me approaching she hurried to meet me, fairly shouting down the road to ask if I had seen a bandit lurking about. Completely misunderstanding her I began to pledge myself to her defense, thinking this would restore some calm. She would have none of that. She was not fearing robbery, in fact she had already been robbed. She was waiting, in hopes for the robber's return. Somehow in the course of having her jewelry stolen she had become quite smitten with the rogue. I shook my head in amazement. Then she mentioned the name; Nelos. If only I had been prepared to keep my features better composed I thought to myself.

She saw the flash of recognition and sprang at me, eyes blazing into my own. "You know him!" she cried. "You must tell him I wait for him. You must!" She removed one of her intricately embroidered gloves and pressed it into my hand. "You must deliver this token to him!" I wanted to point out that he already had her jewels, and one would think that was token enough, but I could not bring myself to break such a fair maiden's heart. I took the glove and continued to the north until I was safely out of sight, then ducked into the bushes and transported back to my cave. I had not the least expectation that Nelos Onmar would be interested in Maurrie Aurmine's glove, and wondered how I could go back and tell her in a way that would be least painful. I also considered selling the glove and joining Nelos in disappearing from her life forever so as not to have to face her with any bad news.

I set up my armory there in the cave and put a fine new point to my spear, restrung my bow, and polished up my bonemold armor. Then I loaded a pack with as much Dwemer material as I could unobtrusively carry and used the intervention scroll that put me at the nearest Imperial Shrine; in this case right in the courtyard of the fort at Pelagiad. There was a secret thrill in appearing there laden with contraband artifacts, but the guards had no reason to suspect and treated me with nothing but respect as I made my way out into the village. The trader Ence had already had lunch, but agreed to join me for a drink at the Halfway Tavern. We left his guard to watch his shop and crossed the street to conduct our business away from that worthy. The guard is provided by the Imperial Legion; it would not sit well to deal in Dwemer artifacts right under his nose.

The Halfway was quiet, and Drelasa Ramothran provided me a wonderful meal. She also came to our rescue when Ence and I reached an impasse in our negotiations. It turned out that I had brought too much; more than Ence could afford to pay a fair price for with the gold he had available. I thought he was just being obstinate, and was slowly losing patience with my fellow Breton. As could be expected, the more agitated we became the more formal and stilted our conversation, until we were both so stuffy that we could hardly understand each other. Drelasa stepped in with the kind of smooth light tone that only a master of the publican's trade can produce, and like magic our good will was restored. In the sudden eye in the hurricane of rhetoric I could see the problem clearly, as could Ence, and we worked out a deal that favored both of us and Drelasa as well.

Ence gave her a very good deal on a large stock of liquor, which gave him sufficient gold to take all my artifacts at a bargain, but fair, price. For my part I promised Drelasa to spend a quantity of my newly acquired gold raising good sport in her tavern, to help reduce the sudden excess in her inventory. The deal struck, I followed Ence back to his shop and enlisted the assistance of his guard to carry the liquor back to Drelasa. Ence took the opportunity to stash his new artifacts, and the guard got word that the Halfway Tavern would be the place to be this evening. Things were really starting to shape up for a wild time. Then in walked Nelos.

Drelasa immediately accosted him about providing entertainment, and he agreed to play his lute in return for a reasonable tab at the bar. Then I approached him, holding the glove. He looked at it curiously, then raised his laughing red eyes and cocked an eyebrow. "What's this, Breton? Has some damsel given you a glove and you seek my advice? I am a bit of an expert, and would gladly help you, but I am a bit parched..." Ever the rogue. He had just settled for free drinks for the evening, but had to maneuver for more.

"Actually Nelos, the damsel sent the glove for you, not me. I too would gladly offer advice, on such matters as where to find her for instance, but like you I am a bit parched, and unlike you I don't have an open tab." I slid onto a seat beside the raffish Dunmer and grinned.

Drelasa set down two tankards and laughed. "These first lot are on the house, no ones tab but mine," she sang. "Nelos, you may have met your match in Arvil Bren. Watch your step, you two might talk each other into serious trouble before the night is through." We could not help but join her merry laughter as she sauntered away.

We raised our glasses and I came out with the story of Maurrie's glove as concisely as I could. To my surprise the rogue seemed touched immediately upon hearing her name, and positively moved as I continued to tell him how she had demanded I find him. I have seen my father lie with utter conviction, and express the complete range of emotions without feeling a twitch. I know a fake. Nelos was not faking. He had genuinely fallen for the girl. Again I shook my head in disbelief. He called to Drelasa for a quill, ink, and paper.

"You must take her this note Arvil Bren, I cannot go for I have promised to play," he said with his voice cracking with emotion. I calculated; he could get back in time, if he hurried, but he probably would not come back if he went to the girl. I took the note.

When she saw me coming down the road at a trot Maurrie leapt to her feet. "Did you find him?" she cried. When I told her that I had she threw her arms around me, and I struggled to bring his note out of my pouch. She read it rapidly, then again slowly, small moaning sighs breathing from her lips. I have never seen two people so in love. "He could not come because he is playing music at a tavern?" she asked. Then continued before I could answer, "How far is it? Will you take me there?" She abandoned her camp, and we rushed back to Pelagiad.

As we walked Maurrie chattered about a friend of hers that she thought I should meet. Having found her love she wanted the same for me I suppose. I'm sure her friend in distant Tel Aruhn is a charming and beautiful woman, but the heady atmosphere of being the go between for this surprising couple was overpowering me, and I could barely hear her for thinking of my tiger Ahnassi. We are so unlike, but there is something about her. When we arrived at the Halfway Tavern Maurrie leapt into Nelos' arms and I thought she was oblivious to me. Being new friends Ahnassi and I did not greet each other quite so flamboyantly, but apparently something was obvious. Maurrie caught my ear and whispered "I see you won't be visiting Emusette any time soon Arvil Bren." She smiled a dazzling smile at Ahnassi and swept back to Nelos.

I had spent my day running errands for love; the love of others. This evening love made a direct demand of me. As we danced Ahnassi drifted back and forth from bright happiness to a strange melancholy that she would pass off when I mentioned it. Finally I sat her down and pressed through her reluctance to find out the problem. She came out with the answer and tears welled in her eyes. "I must leave Vvardenfell," she said. I was stunned.

"Why?" was all I could manage to stammer. Suddenly how much I cared for this exotic beauty was crystal clear. As she explained my blood roared in my ears, and the edges of my vision narrowed until all I could see was her face. Ahnassi is Thieve's Guild, and the Cammona Tong is threatening her. Her oaths as a monk prevent her from acting, other than in her immediate defense. She sees no alternative but to leave. "Who has threatened you?" I grated through clenched teeth.

"His name is Daren Adryn, friend Arvil Bren, but I cannot ask you to take his life..." she started, but stopped when she saw my face. At mention of the name my temper scaled a new height. Daren Adryn was the Tong boss in Gnaar Mok. He was responsible for selling me out to the Dark Brotherhood when they came looking for me. He had cost me my home. Now he would cost Ahnassi hers. My seething blood crystalized, like bitter ice.

"You have not asked, my beautiful tiger. Your oath is intact. Now here is mine. You need not fear this man. You need not fear his minions. The Cammona Tong of the Bitter Coast may still walk, briefly, but they are dead men."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Mebyon:

Better and better. I can't wait to see how you deal with Daren Adryn and his mates!

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ecellent Chapter, I have a feeling the next xouple will be the best ones yet.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Thanks! I was hoping people would appreciate this turn. Yesterday was a record breaking day for return readers...I am honored and thankful to you all.


2:07 PM  

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