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 25, 2005

Day Sixty: This is a problem

I have been in Morrowind for two months. Two months. The changes Vvardenfell have wrought on me in two months are hard to believe. I arrived penniless, now I am wealthy beyond my grandest ambition. I was in prison when my father died in a cell down the hall. I arrived here totally alone, now I have a home, a mate, and good friends; Drelasa at the Halfway, Nelos and Maurrie, Mebestian the trader. I arrived a criminal, but Larrius Varro, the Legion Champion at Moonmoth Fort, has apparently put in a word at the fort here. The legions treat me with respect, not suspicion; respect even beyond what they give the average citizen. I could enjoy a great peaceful lifetime in Pelagiad. I could, except there is another change. I arrived here the way I did because I was a common criminal who cared for nothing beyond myself. Now the problems of an entire land and its people are settling onto my shoulders.

Nine-toes appeared at my door this morning. I said a hurried goodbye to Ahnassi, and accompanied the Argonian to Seyda Neen. Elone the Redguard, who tends bar at the tradehouse, welcomed us quietly as we slipped unseen into her house. Nine-toes' skills in the school of illusion are impressive. The duration of his invisibility spells would be far beyond my abilities. Elone served him a restorative to build his reserves of magica, and he slipped back out of the house. I drank tea. When Nine-toes returned he was not alone. Caius and Tyermaillin, the high elf healer, appeared at his side. This was a counsel of the Blades, called out of respect for the seriousness of the situation. I was glad for the tea, I needed a clear head.

Elone spoke first. "Caius, I've said many times that you worry too much. I'm sorry. I am disappointed in myself for not having been able to find out anything about what is going on, but I have seen, clearly, the scope of it; whatever it is. Smuggling has ground almost completely to a halt, at least in terms of the usual black markets. Part of that can be laid at those feet," she pointed at me, "since he decimated the Cammona Tong for whatever reason got into his head, but the independents are gone also. A lot of them have just disappeared, others show up to drink, but they are very quiet about what they are up to. They have money to drink, lots of it, but they seem to have no goods to sell."

"None to the usual buyers Elone," Caius said, "but they are plying their trade." The spymaster gave a nod in my direction.

"Our contact among the smugglers in Vivec says the same thing; sources of the usual black market goods are drying up. People she used to do business with are too busy now, busy with a new player; the Sixth House cult." I spoke clearly, calmly. I was honored to be in this counsel, and wanted desperately to be looked at as more than a wild card, my vendetta against the Cammona Tong aside. "I believe this cult also accounts for those who disappeared, and they are no friends of the Cammona Tong either. I was in a cave to the south, a hideout my Thieve's Guild contacts reported as a Tong waystation. It had been taken over, and I would guess the Tong operatives account for at least some of the corprus stalkers roaming the cavern."

"Corprus!" Tyermaillin interjected. "Are you saying this cult uses corprus disease to eliminate their opposition? That's absolutely monstrous."

Caius made it even worse. "Not just to eliminate opposition," he said. "They use it to control their followers. Strength, power, freedom from hunger; there are those who take it on willingly, choosing the cult and a life of mindless savagery."

"In the cave I saw a corprus stalker, feeding on itself," I reported. "Their wounds heal so fast that taking a chunk to eat is no problem for them. I don't understand how they can grow back more than they cut off though."

"Corprus is more like a curse than a disease," Tyermaillin explained. "It has a huge magica factor that fuels the growth. All of the blight diseases do, but corprus is by far the strongest."

"So the current Sixth House cult is somehow connected with a blight disease, which should be contained on Red Mountain," said Caius. "Red Mountain, coincidentally the ancestral home of House Dagoth, the defeated sixth house of the Dunmer. The Tribunal Temple contends that the ghostfence contains the blight, an curse unleashed by Dagoth Ur as his citadel fell, but anyone afoot in Vvardenfell can see that the containment is not complete. Reports of blighted creatures are on the rise, and the Empire is about to impose a quarantine on the island."

Nine-toes put in a thought that was in my own mind as well. "Unleashed by Dagoth Ur? If that is so, how does it continue. Magica loses its focus quickly. Even the mightiest spells do not long outlive their caster."

"Quarantine? On the entire island?" Elone said. "If there is no legal shipment out of goods, and the smugglers all belong to the Sixth House, the entire population will be at their mercy!"

"A lot of people will get hungry, certainly," Caius concluded, "and the Sixth House has a solution to hunger. But you credit them for something they lack Elone. They have no mercy."

"Caius, you are saying that the Empire is playing directly into their hands. You have to stop them," said Tyermaillen.

"I'm open to suggestions," snapped the spymaster. "The Emperor is not going to ignore the spread of the blight, he has to respond somehow, and a quarantine seems effective, from the outside. He was concerned that someone would step up to the mantle of Nerevar and unite the Dunmer in revolt. I fear that only the legendary Nerevarene can keep them from being united by whatever has taken up the cause of House Dagoth."

As we left, the invisibility provided by Nine-toes' illusions hid somber faces. My own perhaps more than the others. To them the idea of the Nerevarine being the answer to the problem of the Sixth House falls in the area of hope; wishful thinking. To me the idea is terrifying. I might be the Nerevarine. I might have to be.

I was not surprised by the hiss in my ear. I am getting used to Nine-toes I guess. "Arvil Bren, I respect your command of magica."

"You are a master of illusion..." I began, but he waved me to silence.

"Yours to speak Arvil Bren, and ours to listen, but not the usual softskin spreading of compliments. It is time for thought. The Tribunal of the Dunmer are 'living gods', who have survived since the time of the great house wars. Their enemy in those wars, Dagoth Ur, they say cast the blight, like a spell. What does this make you think?"

I wanted to tell him I thought something else, something other than the obvious conclusion he had reached. I wanted to, but I couldn't. The immortal Tribunal's enemy is just like them. Dagoth Ur is still alive.


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