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.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Day Seventy-seven: The Altmer scholar

I rose this morning and hurried to Balmora. I opted against using the guild guide for transport, because I wanted to meet with Caius before seeing Ranis at the guild hall. He appreciated the effort, but agreed that I should keep up with my duties to maintain my cover. My other tasks will carry me back to Ald-ruhn in due time, and that is where my next mission for Caius lies.

That settled, I went to the guild hall, arriving in time for lunch. As it turns out my arrival was perfectly timed for Ranis, who immediately pulled me into her office. "Arvil! Well met, conjurer! I'm glad you got here when you did. It gives me a chance to talk to you privately. Itermerel will be returning shortly though, so we need to be quick!." I didn't ask any questions, figuring that was the quickest way to get all the information. I was right. Itermerel is an Altmer, and a scholar. He was having lunch at the Eight Plates. He needed an escort to Pelagiad. That was the basics. Nothing there that had to be said before he got back. Then came the key piece of Ranis' assignment. "He has notes on his research. I want them. I don't care if he makes it to Pelagiad or not, but I want those notes."

I met Itermerel when he got back from lunch. Like all Altmer he is tall and very thin, with a yellow tinge to his skin and a connection to magica that gives him a ready command of spellcraft but leaves him vulnerable to it in turn. Unlike many Altmer he is very personable. Before we had passed the city gates we were chatting amiably about the wildlife of Vvardenfell and the road ahead. A small corner of my mind was already cursing Ranis and her assignment, then things got worse.

We weren't more than a hundred yards from the gate when a nix hound charged up the bank from the Odai River. I fired a quick shot from my bow that struck home, but was not really necessary. Itermerel had launched a fireball that reduced the rampaging monster to a charred hulk. Just letting him die from the challenges of travel in Vvardenfell disappeared into the dustbin of forgotten ideas. Clearly, if he was going to have to die for me to get his notes it would have to be me that killed him. Having seen the devastating effect of that fireball I wasn't really sure I could, even if I wanted to.

I began digging through my mind for an alternative. Pelagiad is my home ground. He plans to stay for at least some time at the Halfway Tavern. Ahnassi could steal the notes. That seemed workable. Then an even better plan fell into place. Actually it was well along before I even recognized that it was working.

After the scorching of the nix hound we resumed the trek. I commented on the effectiveness of his spell, and that opened a floodgate. Five minutes later the scholar paused to apologize. "I'm sorry for lecturing my friend. It is just that so few people are interested in my work. I took your simple question about my enhanced fireball and was off racing you through a full analysis of oblivion flows in void space. Forgive me."

I told him there was no need to apologize, and that in fact I was very interested in his work. It started out as a way to keep him talking while I thought about ways to get the notes. It took much of the afternoon before I recognized that it was the way to get his notes; a direct appeal to his scholarly ego! The march took most of the afternoon. We went the long way; down the Odai and around the badlands at the end of the Foyada Mamaca rather than cutting across. Every passing cliff racer, and even a charging Kagouti, provided laboratory demonstrations of his theories. In between he explained. Almost everything he said went far over my head, but I caught enough words that I could ask a question whenever he started to wind down. By the time we reached Pelagiad he offered to let me copy his notes as a way to improve my understanding of his theories.

We had dinner at the Halfway. Ahnassi was charming, Itermerel urbane and personable, and very complimentary to his newfound student. I brought his notes home and spent the rest of the evening copying rapidly so I can return them in the morning. For all his compliments I must admit that the whole subject is far beyond my grasp. If Ranis actually gets anything from these notes I will be impressed, and surprised.


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