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, March 17, 2005

Day Seventy-four: Fooled only once

Once again my pilgrimage has been augmented by my recall spell. With the extra errands assigned along the way I don't feel bad about that. This time it wasn't due to a near death experience, I was just so laden down that I could barely walk. I don't feel bad about that either.

This morning I was enjoying breakfast at the Redoran hostel, picking up what I could as some Buoyant Armigers swapped stories, when the shrill voice of Viatrix Petilia rang through the room. "Arvil Bren! What are you doing! I need to get to the shrine!" I took a last sorrowful look at my half eaten omelet, grabbed a slice of toast laden with scrib jelly and followed her out.

"You told me you wanted to get here in two days, I got you here in one. I don't expect gratitude, but you could have let me finish my breakfast in peace," I grumbled around a mouthful.

"You and your breakfast are not my concern," she snapped, but thankfully after that she resumed yesterday's sullen silence.

We passed through the ghostgate and followed the short path to the shrine. I stood guard as she made her offerings and led her back. She received a blessing from Vivec's shrine, I got mine at the gate when we parted company. I wonder if Tuls inflicted this shrew on me as a test of my newfound humility. More likely he was just glad someone could escort her to a place far away, and hopes she will not find escort back.

Free of my traveling companion I sped down the bottom of the foyada. The cliff racers gave me numerous opportunities to practice with my shortsword and shield. While I have gotten very adept at spearing them out of the air, the lack of reach of the shortsword calls for entirely different stratagems. Blocking the lancing tail as it strikes, while slicing at the buffeting wings with the blade eventually wears the beasts down. Enough rips in the membrane of the wings and they settle slowly into range of the sword. Not as efficient, but if I am to shed my reputation as a spearman first, mage second, I will need to get used to the less obtrusive weaponry.

I made no pretense when I reached the Daedric ruins. I conjured a spear and held it at the ready as I activated my amulet and melted into the shadows. This time I intended to get a full lay of the land before charging into battle, but if I got caught it would not be without my most lethal weapon in hand.

The vast ruin sprawls up the southeast side of the foyada, but I confined my initial search to the lower pavilions. In my previous encounter I apparently did severe damage to the flame atronach. In his place an even more powerful storm atronach paced, sparks crackling along the surface of the thick cloud that gives substance to its humanoid form. I skirted the area carefully, and spotted the dremora leaning in the shadows. The daedric armor blended well with the swirling engraving of the ruin. Its flat black color suited the shadows almost as well as my own powerful chameleon spell.

The dremora are without substance in our plane; basically appearing as an animated suit of Daedric armor. When slain, the armor dematerializes back to the plane of the Daedra, but the spirit of the Dremora is frequently bound into their weapons, leaving them trapped in this solid inanimate form. Daedric weapons are highly prized for their keen edges, durability, and their capacity for enchantment. They are heavy, but extraordinarily valuable. If I could find someone who could afford them I could be hugely wealthy as I have gathered quite a collection, much of it today. I don't know if this dremora was the same one that struck me down, armed with a different weapon, or if the axe wielder had retired to his own plane to be replaced by this figure, which stood stock still with a mighty warhammer at port arms across its chest. Same one or different, this one would pay the price.

I again struck from behind. An atronach has no sense of honor, or mercy, or anything else. They are a conjuration embodying the elemental violence of their plane of origin, and to assign them any human values is to court death. Before striking I cast my most powerful defensive spells, and conjured a fresh spear, then gulped down most of a jug of sujamma. Though it dulled my wits, the potent liquor swelled the strength of my arms, and I drove the spear through the monster in one shattering blow that scattered wisps of cloud onto the hot wind blowing down from Red Mountain. This time I did not pause to survey my handiwork.

I did pause, but only for the carefully timed moment I had planned. I stepped forward into the swirl of dissipating cloud, holding my spear loosely in one hand and unlimbering my shield with the other. I did not put my arm through its straps, just pulled it off of my back. I knew the dremora would be closing on the now even less protected target, but the gleaming steel of my shield served a better purpose in my hand. I appeared to be looking down into the remains of the shattered elemental. I was actually watching the dremora's stealthy approach, reflected in the shield.

The great circular swing of the Daedric hammer would have ended the battle, crumpling my steel armor like paper. Would have, but once that great weight was committed to its arc I dropped to my knees and pitched forward, rolling into my own swiping blow. There was not much behind it, but with the dremora being dragged around by its own attack it was enough to knock it off its feet, the hammer thudding into the sandy floor of the foyada. As the spirit scrambled to regain its footing and its weapon I disrupted it further by flinging my shield as I rose. When I was first learning how to fight the drillmaster would scream at us 'first afoot carries the day'. He would repeatedly knock us down as we tried to stumble to our feet. I hated that old man then, but I would thank him today. I was first afoot, and pinned the thrashing dremora to the ground with a mighty thrust through its middle. Two powerful foes defeated, and I was unscathed.

I gathered my shield and turned at the sound of claws scrabbling over stone. In light of what I had just done the appearance of the scamp struck me as more comical than threatening. Perhaps it was the sujamma still clouding my senses. The small Daedric servant did catch me a nasty scratch with its claws before my shortsword sent it into a panicked frenzy, but after the atronach and dremora the battle was an anticlimax. Afterward I explored the rest of the ruins, finding the door to the shrine and no additional guardians. I half dragged and half carried the mighty hammer to the door. I have no idea what I will do with it, but it is far to valuable to have been left to be buried in the blowing sands.

Inside the shrine my spells served well. A brief area of silence and a vicious spear thrust from the concealment of my amulet's chameleon spell felled the guard without raising alarm. The cult's leader, taken by surprise, fell quickly, her netch leather armor shredded by the conjured spear before their other guardian dremora could reach the fray. The creature stood over its fallen master scanning the surroundings, but my amulet kept me hidden long enough to strike again. The dremora was quickly reduced to a mighty Daedric two handed sword, which clanged to the stone floor.

My appearance in her hallway was no less surprising to Ahnassi this time, but the awesome treasures I clutched in my hands did not have exactly the same effect as my former blazing arrival. The cult had accumulated quite the arsenal; hugely valuable, but mostly of no use to me. The exception being an ebony shortsword. Though not on a par with Daedric weaponry it is vastly superior to steel. I will have to think of some suitable enchantments for it.


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