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, April 21, 2005

Day Ninety-nine: Paranoid or protective?

I woke this morning with the deep satisfaction of success. I think I will have at least a little time before the Dark Brotherhood tries again. When they do I will meet them with their own Daedric weapon, charged with an enchantment that I probably could not have afforded without the supply of priceless weaponry that they seem willing to throw into their assault. It started out a good day. Still a good day in the end, but the slippery slopes of Mage Guild politics seem to be reaching out to grab me.

Ranis called me into her office as soon as I had finished breakfast. The attentions of Galbedir and Ajira have cooled somewhat in light of my lack of response, but since I am keeping Ahnassi and my life in Pelagiad deeply hidden from the danger of the Dark Brotherhood there is still a pleasant undercurrent here. I was smiling when I passed through her door, even though I anticipated an unpleasant task. I underestimated how unpleasant it might be.

Ranis is not known for subtlety or slow build ups; "I believe there is a Telvanni spy in the guild; in a position of significant influence in the guild."

"Hold on Ranis. If this is headed towards me going to some guild hall and killing someone in cold blood and plain sight you are really going to have to come up with some hard evidence. Hard evidence and approval from someone..." I trailed off. I couldn't think whose approval would suffice; Archmage Trebonius maybe?

"I'm not talking about killing anyone," she protested. "Alright, I have said that often enough before, but really I don't want any action taken. I just want you to find me some of that hard evidence you would be looking for if I did want action taken."

"Then you would want me to take the action. No deal Ranis. I want no part of this. Tashpi was no necromancer. You could have sent me to get her to join the guild. There was something personal there but I took you at your word that her dying was guild business. Now you are on the hunt for a spy. Why?"

"To protect the guild! Okay. There were better ways to handle Tashpi. Maybe better ways to handle a lot of things. But that doesn't change that House Telvanni would destroy the guild in Morrowind if they get half a chance. There is a spy. That arrogant buffoon Trebonius refuses to see it; refuses to see anything going on. We Dunmer live ten times longer than you or him. The Telvanni plan, and move, and grind away at us. I want to find the spy to discredit Trebonius further. I admit that too. But that is also for the good of the guild. He is a disaster as the Archmage of Vvardenfell. I need your help. Not to discredit Trebonius, but to guard us against a Dunmer Great House that he does not understand."

I sighed. I squirmed. The red eyes bored into me. "I'll investigate Ranis. But so help me I am not gonna kill anybody over this." Then I looked her square in the eye. "And I let Tashpi go. She is fleeing to the mainland. She is no necromancer so I didn't kill her for being one. If there is something I should legitimately kill her for tell me before she gets off of Vvardenfell and I will track her down. If you want her dead as a personal grudge hire an assassin." She did not move. "Sorry I lied about killing her."

She nodded slightly. "I'm sorry I lied about her being a necromancer. You have come a long way since you walked in that door Arvil. A long way indeed." I wasn't sure if she meant the first time I walked in the door, or if she meant just in the few minutes since I came in and sat down today. Either one would be true I think.

We went over everyone in Ald-ruhn. I have spent a lot of time there, and really didn't think there was a spy. Ranis slowly came to agree. Edwinna runs the guild hall as a reflection of herself, and she steers clear of intrigue. Since she keeps herself so far removed Ald-ruhn would not be a very effective place for a spy to exert any influence. Then I brought up Ranis' own hall. It was easy to see her bristle, but she nodded. "My ego says that could not happen here, but this is for the guild not my ego." But in the end we agreed no one in Balmora fit as a spy for the Telvanni. Caldera? A new hall, struggling to get established, not fertile ground for intrigue. That left Sadrith Mora, a thorn in the heart of the Telvanni capital; or the headquarters itself in Vivic City. I came to Sadrith Mora first.

I couldn't just barge into the hall and start looking for spies. I've done a couple favors for Skink-in-trees-shade, the Argonian steward of the hall, but I am far from well known here. The guild is quartered in the Imperial fortress called Wolverine Hall, and space is at a premium. Skink suggested that it would be best if I stayed in the town proper for the duration of my stay, and that to stay in the town I would need Telvanni hospitality papers. More like lack of hospitality papers. As an outlander mage and member of the Imperial Mage's Guild I feel lucky to have not been attacked in the street. The open hostility of the Telvanni certainly supports Ranis' theories.

The papers come from the proprietor of the Gateway Inn, which is the only place anyone who is not a Telvanni retainer is allowed to stay. All very inconvenient, but at least it is all in one place. Telvanni architecture involves growing huge trees that have naturally hollow stems, which are trained and distorted into corridors and rooms. The curving grace is nice from the outside, inside it is a twisting maze. Finding my way through the maze of the Inn left me hoping not to have to enter any more buildings, but that was a vain hope.

Everyone in the Gateway Inn it seems is talking about the haunting, including the very irritable proprietor. A fine room called the south turret room has been rendered uninhabitible by a spirit. The spirit can be driven away, but returns in very short order. Rumor has it that it has been slain over a thousand times. Thinking that it would soften my reception a bit I offered to take a look at the problem. My mistake; I was summarily accused of arrogance among questions regarding my ancestry. Mage Mistress Arara Uvulas, I was told, has already looked into it. Where this expert had not found the source of the haunting it was easy to dismiss me out of hand I suppose. Instead of searching for the spy I found myself searching for Arara Uvulas at the Telvanni Council Chambers; a veritable rat warren of passages.

Arara Uvulas is a mouth. The Telvanni councilors are far too busy and self important to actually attend council meetings, so they are represented by mouths who speak for them. What happens if a mouth says the wrong thing I have no idea. She represents Master Neloth, who can't attend despite the fact that he lives right here in Sadrith Mora. I am not impressed with the Telvanni. Once I had the worthy mouth's attention she told me what she had determined about the haunting. She found no sign of a restless spirit or ancestral influences; not surprising since the Gateway Inn has not been there all that long. She said that banishing the ghost was easy; which I had already done once myself. A slave told me he had beaten the spirit out of existence with a broom once, just for sport. Then she got to the crux of the matter; she had no idea why it kept coming back and suggested consulting an expert in the school of conjuration. I wanted to say 'no kidding, wish I'd thought of that', but I don't think mouths are chosen for their sense of humor.

Rather than root around the plant buildings of the city looking for a conjuration expert I returned to the guild hall, where I should have been looking all along. While everyone seemed quite amused by the problem, Uleni Heleran laughed more than anyone. Coincidentally she offers training in conjurations among her other services. Not coincidentally actually. Uleni conjured the Gateway haunt herself, as retaliation for an incident regarding hospitality papers. I offered to forget about it. No one else had identified the source of the haunting and I had no desire to turn her in. She was of a different mind and gave me some forged 'hospitality papers' for the ghost. She instructed me to give them to Angeredhel with her compliments. I will wait until morning. I don't think he will appreciate the joke, and my room is uncomfortable enough already.


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