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 24, 2005

Day Seventy-nine: Depths of Nehuleftingth

Senilius Cadiusus is a fine scholar, but I would not choose him to lead an expedition. The traits that make a good scholar do not necessarily make a good leader. This morning he showed me the great hall known as 'Test of Pattern'. You would never have guessed that his colleague and friend was lost, or that he felt in any way responsible as the leader of the expedition.

Great machinery groaned throughout the hall, steam wisping from joints in the intricate piping. Three alcoves spaced along the left side of the hall held great boilers, heated by some unknown process. On the end of each boiler was a large handcrank.

"What happens if you turn these cranks?" I asked.

"I don't know. We have been trying to decipher these runes, but haven't had much luck," he replied.

"Well, Anes was in this room when he disappeared. These cranks are just like the one at the entrance to Arkngthand. He must have used one of them to open a passage to the lower levels, and now he is stuck there. Why haven't you gone after him?" I must admit, my voice was rising. I could not imagine why no one had tried to help the lost Anes Vendu.

"This is complex machinery," he said with disdain. "One cannot just start turning cranks and making adjustments."
"A man's life is at stake! You are the leader of this expedition! You can't just sit on your hands!" I was wrong. That is exactly what he had been doing, and planned to continue doing. With a great huffing sigh he turned to stalk back to his camp. I quickly grabbed the nearest crank and spun it violently. The cloud of steam that burst forth burnt me severely, but at least the edge of it scalded that pompous fool as well. "Well, that didn't work," I said as I activated the healing enchantment in my shield. Senilius sputtered with rage, but I really had no use for anything he had to say.

The results at the second crank were very much like the first, and again my healing shield restored me, but the third and final crank turned with effect. A large section of the opposite stone wall pivoted inward, revealing a stair. Footprints in the thick dust revealed that this was indeed the direction taken by the lost researcher. They led down. None came back up. At the bottom of the stair stood a typical Dwemer round steel door. It was shut. "Follow those tracks and I'm sure you will find your friend," I said coldly.

"That level is unexplored. We need a support team. You will have to report to Edwinna..." He saw my face and his voice trailed off.

"I will be reporting to Edwinna, but I wouldn't count on her assigning you any more men. You haven't shown the slightest interest in taking care of the team you have. Case in point, it is clear as glass that I'm going to have to go down there and find out if Anes Vendu is alive, and keep him that way if he is. You would leave him there to starve with a sprained ankle." I stomped down the stairs without bothering to see if he was following. He didn't.

I seriously doubted that Anes would be lying around with something as minor as a sprained ankle, but I was hoping. The faint hope expired as I slipped through the steel door. The hallway on the other side of the door was free of dust. I suppose the Dwemer centurions keep things tidy when they don't have interlopers to kill. The passage opened into a chamber lined with a double row of columns. Between the columns I could see that the hall continued on the other side. The ruddy glow of a lava pit shone in the distance, illuminating two pacing centurions. I crouched in the shadowy corner and watched.

These centurions were neither spider like nor rolling spheres. They walked like men, but where there would have been a right hand there hung a huge ball of gleaming Dwemer metal, studded with spikes. That metal ball was bigger than a man's head, and I estimated it to weigh hundreds of pounds. They paced back and forth, each turning its great metal head to look down the passage as they passed. Steam oozed from their joints. Occasionally one would pause to raise its great mace, like a flexing of great metallic muscles. The mighty ball would spring outward on some sort of extension of the arm, then retract; like a punching fist. I crept down the hall, trying to ignore the shakiness in my knees.

One of the centurions spotted me, and turned ponderously to thunder down the hall, his companion close behind. I raced into the chamber, a conjured spear leaping into my hands. The awesome constructs were more agile than one would expect, but still somewhat limited by their great bulk. The heavy Dwemer metal shells were proof against even the magically keen edges of my spear. I jabbed at the joints of their legs, and danced away through the columns. The wisps of steam turned into spurts and streams, and oily liquid gleamed as it flowed down the metal limbs.

The damage began taking a toll on them, slowing them further, but I knew the battle would turn with one strike from their giant weapons. I raised my point, and added the massive shoulder and neck joints to my targets. Finally, with a last gushing of steam, one of the giant machines ground to a halt. Its metal face almost seemed to express puzzlement. The arm slowly extended, lowering the great weight of the mace, and the stilled form swayed slowly, rocking on its motionless feet. Then, with an immense crash, the metal carcass fell face first to the stone floor. Seeing its companion fall had no effect on the second behemoth. It continued to slash at me, the huge mace whistling through the air. Eventually it too ran out of steam and collapsed. Oil pooled around them as the great shells cooled, their internal fires extinguished.

I found Anes Vendu, dead. His dagger and magic had wrecked a sphere centurion, but he had been smashed lifeless by a bonecrushing blow. The chamber in which he lay held barrels, chests, and shelves laden with artifacts, but it appeared that his only interest had been a heavy book, bound in green cloth covers. I took the book, and the rolled excavation report from his pack, and returned to the upper levels.

Senilius demanded the book. "That is the key. That's what we were seeking. The Hanging Garden. Look, it is written in the language of the Dwemer, but translated into old Aldmeris. With this a scholar versed in Aldmeris could translate other Dwemer works."

I did not give it to him. Anes Vendu earned it. The expedition's leader did not. I hefted a Dwemer axe which will bring a good price from Mebestian, and clutched the book as I cast my recall spell. I'm sure I will find a more suitable scholar.


Anonymous Anis said...

hello Tim..
Great blog u have here, especially the journal of morrowind. I;ve been playing this game just a month ago and become addicted.. I've been reading walkthrough but yours is different.. it gaves the rationality behind our action. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, other fans of morrowind. Keep up the good job :)

10:15 AM  

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