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.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Day Forty-four: The political cauldron of Caldera

My loyalties are plagued by conflict tonight. The Emperor did not release me out of a newfound vein of good will. I am sure I am being manipulated somehow, used as a pawn in a game to bring the province of Morrowind further to heel. It is in my nature to rebel; disappear and let the Empire sort its problems out on someone else's back. But everywhere I turn the Empire shows more good than bad, and the firm loyalty of my fellow Blades operatives seems to be seeping into me. Tonight I sleep as a guest of Surane Leoriane, a fellow Breton and a member of the Blades.

She is a tremendously skilled mage, and an exceptional trainer. In our home province of High Rock she could be living a life of ease and comfort. Among the Redguards, mighty warriors but hardly skilled in the arts of magic, her healing skills alone would give her luxury like a queen. She has spurned all that to come to the backwater of the Empire, Vvardenfell, where she watches the operation of a mining company. She watches for corruption. I see it as corruption that the Emperor can just declare all the ebony in the nearby mines to be imperial property, then give out mining rights as reward, or whim. This town of Caldera, placid on the surface, boils with unknown intrigue just below.

First question on everyone's mind is how House Hlaalu ended up administering the mines in the first place. When Vvardenfell was opened to settlement the Tribunal Temple lost what had been total control of the island, but only relatively small districts were given to the houses Hlaalu, Redoran, and Telvanni. This rich ebony mine would seem to have remained under Temple control. Mining being a secular activity there could be an argument made for bringing in one of the great houses, but given the existing districts that should have been the Redorans. Surane does not want to look at it, since it is outside the scope of her investigations, but some sort of high level graft brought the Hlaalus here in the first place. Now the imperial accountants are in a stew, thinking the Hlaalus are skimming away the profits. What did they expect when they took the Hlaalu's bribes? Now Surane is tasked with stopping the current graft, but encouraged by her own loyalty to not accidentally stir up something she doesn't want to know out of the past.

To me the real quagmire is the question of slavery. In submitting to imperial rule without actually being conquered the Dunmer held the right to their ancient traditions, and slavery is allowed in Morrowind under imperial law. But the slaves are mostly Khajiit and Argonians; imperial citizens. They don't just spring out of the ground, at some point they are captured, obviously illegally, but once in Morrowind they are bound by law. The Empire won't stop the slave trade since their own ebony mines require the slaves to operate. At the same time the Dunmer are furious that escaped slaves that successfully get out of Morrowind cannot be legally recovered, leaving the lawful slaveholders at the mercy of underground organizations who spirit slaves away to their homeland. It is a tangled web.

Just as tangled in my own head. No matter how the profits generated on the backs of slaves get divided, it will never seem fair to me anyway. The seizure and distribution of mining rights started out corrupt, what purpose is served by cleaning it up partway now? But Surane is so clear, so focused. Since I have no idea which way to turn I am left to turn her way by default. Which brings me once again to serving the Empire, for good or ill. I'm afraid it will always be some of both.

I walked from Ald-ruhn, thinking I would have time to think, sort out my loyalties. Perhaps I did, but once again the destination created more questions than the journey answered. Fortunately I can walk on tomorrow for Balmora, leaving the problems of Caldera in Surane's capable hands.


Blogger frootat31 said...

I love this morrowind journal! It brightens my day, adds a new dimension to the world of Morrowind, and enriches the realm of the game for me.thank you so much for this!

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