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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Day Ninety-eight: Lure of the enchanting lab

This morning I delivered the airship blueprint to Edwinna. I should have waited until after breakfast. She disappeared into her chambers muttering something about cogs and power cells and may not emerge to eat for days. At her door she turned as if stirred by sudden memory. "Arvil, talk to Tanar. You need a plan." Tanar Llervi has her quarters and lab downstairs. She is a Dunmer, a highly skilled enchanter, and an able smith who makes her own weapons at a full forge in her enchanting lab. Her laboratory is envied throughout the mage's guild in Vvardenfell. I shrugged and went to find her.

I told her what Edwinna had said, and about the blueprint I had brought. "Well, she will be no help," Tanar said. "She knows she got you into this mess too. Two men were here yesterday; outlanders. They didn't ask directly about you, just said they needed a mage for hire. Specified they needed someone who was familiar with weapons as well, like a battlemage or a nightblade; a heavy hitter. By the time they were done there was no one that could suit them but you. Edwinna told them there was no one in the local who could suit their needs and they left, but they were seen asking around the strider port and then they settled in over at the Rat in the Pot. We had them watched. They were taking turns out in the streets until late last night; watching. Watching for you."

Two of them. My blood ran cold. After so many failures the Dark Brotherhood is sending out their assassins in pairs. "Were they ever left alone in the guild hall?"

She nodded and bit her lip. "I'm sorry. They bought some minor enchantments before they started asking questions. One of them said he had a money belt under his robes and asked if I could step out while he took out the gold to pay me. Everything in my lab is locked so I saw no harm stepping into my quarters."

We joined the others at breakfast. Tanar got everyone's attention, then told them "Edwinna is secluded in her library. Arvil Bren the conjurer is the ranking guild member here, and we have a problem." She turned to me, and everyone else did too.

My mouth opened once, twice, a third time. Finally I thought of something to say. I just followed the hall steward's lead. "We need a plan." Once I got going it was pretty easy to outline the problem. "Two Dark Brotherhood assassins are very likely to appear tonight in Tanar's lab. They will be looking for me, but no doubt they intend to kill her and anyone else that gets in their way. One option is that I could leave town. If I depart in an obvious enough fashion they will very likely follow, but if they don't keep track of me they will likely recall to their marker here. As you know I have some experience fighting these assassins. Two of them popping up in the depth of the night is not something to look forward to, or a possibility you can ignore. I would rather fight them here and now than leave you to contend with them. Think."

Ideas came and withered under scrutiny, but eventually something took form. By lunchtime the details seemed to have been ironed out. Tanar and one of the Ashlander students wandered off to the Rat in the Pot to put the plan in motion. Apparently it worked. On a high stool at a worktable in her lab perched a sack of grain, supporting the inconspicuous brown robe Ahnassi had pressed on me. My hair, bound in its usual guar tail, adorned a gourd set on the top. It will grow back I suppose, but having it cut off was a sacrifice made only under extreme duress. A scattering of books on the table, with one open binding the robe sleeves by the cuffs in a mostly natural position completed the scene. It was far from perfect, but provided a distraction in the brief disorientation that follows a teleportation spell.

Tanar laid it on thick, complaining to her lunch companion about being ousted from her lab by that 'arrogant conjurer'. Her complaint included that all I was doing was reading, nose buried so deep in my books that I hadn't even responded when she stormed out of the room. She presented me as an appealing bait, then set the hook by concluding 'at least he will be gone by tonight. He never sleeps here any more since that assassin tried to get him. No one really knows where he goes at night, but at least it's somewhere other than here."

I could have stayed all night in the cramped cabinet I suppose, but I was very pleased when the soft pop of a teleportation spell sounded in the room early in the afternoon. I quickly cast my most powerful protective spell, then called upon the barkskin spell of my Breton heritage as I sprang from the cabinet. A slashing wakizashi had just shattered the gourd, scattering my sacrificed hair, and the second assassin was popping into place in the center of the room. I rammed my spear through him cleanly before he even had his bearings, shreds of heart meat frozen to the spearhead as it burst from his chest.

The first assassin, not pleased with having slain the gourd and grain sack, spun into a defensive crouch. His Daedric wakizashi rang off my shield as I drew the ebony lifetaker. The duel was challenging, but the outcome was fixed by magic and preparation. With my defenses at their peak it was almost beyond even his great skills to inflict any damage, while every minor wound my opponent received augmented my own health. Healing magic actually collected around me, restoring my wounds as fast as I received them. Soon a second black clad body sprawled on the floor.

I left Tanar a set of the black chainmail for her part in the plan, and brought the other here to Balmora. Galbedir may not have as fine a lab, but the guild in Balmora has accumulated some powerfully charged soul gems. I have been practicing the slashing style of the wakizashi, and even though I am very pleased with my ebony lifetaker shortsword I could not pass up the opportunity having two Daedric blades in my possession presented.

My own skills as an enchanter are sufficient for some things, but I destroy a lot of soul gems in the process of getting one to take. Fine with lesser gems, but the rare and powerful gems I will leave in the hands of the experts. I traded one of the immensely valuable Daedric wakizashi to Galbedir. One thing that makes Daedric weapons so valuable is there propensity to enchantment. They can hold a far more powerful spell than any other weapon. Galbedir, in her turn, used a powerful gem and enchanted my remaining wakizashi for me. The Daedric Lifestealer; it is a masterpiece.


Blogger frootat31 said...

Very descriptive on dealing with the Brotherhood. I like how there was some planning, and the 'dummy' was a nice tocuh.

7:40 AM  

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