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, May 10, 2005

Day 112: Hospitality of a Telvanni

Mehra Drora was a great help to me in my study of Vivec's Ash Mask and completing the shrine of justice pilgrimage, but her information about Gnissis' other residents may prove even more helpful. The story of the mask is another astonishing tale of Vivec's heroism in the war with Dagoth Ur. The mask itself is a dull bluish grey; as one would expect. It looks very solid for being made of ash, but I was not allowed to touch it. The mask is guarded around the clock by an Ordinator.

The mask was formed when the magic of Dagoth Ur swept over Vivec and a band of his followers who were camped for the night. A layer of smothering ash covered them, hardening into shells on the corpses. Vivec himself was not killed, but awoke imprisoned in this ash casing. As he wept for his lost followers the power of his tears weakened the ash and he was able to free himself, tearing the mask from his face intact to become the prize relic of the Gnissis temple. According to the legend he then restored his followers to life and continued the war on Dagoth Ur. Not to question temple doctrine, but I find it odd that no mention is made of any names or subsequent deeds of any of these followers.

When I completed my studies and left a cure disease potion at the shrine I set out to meet a distinguished citizen of Gnissis. He would not likely appreciate the 'citizen of Gnissis' part, but he is certainly distinguished, and knows it well. The politics of Gnissis are complicated. Due to the sacred sites the temple maintains jurisdiction, but it is technically in Redoran territory. The Imperial Legion has built a fortress here as a result. Whether their intent is to keep the peace or take advantage of the discord in their own land grabbing way is a matter of some conjecture. Adding to the swirl of questions is Baladas Demnevanni, a rogue Telvanni wizard who has taken over the ancient Velothi tower of Arvs-Drelen, located on the edge of town.

Baladas adds to the swirl of questions, and provides no answers. He lives as a recluse, having necessities delivered by local merchants who leave the goods in an antechamber just inside the door. He appears to have no retainers or kin. Some of the merchants report that the tower is cleaned and maintained by a crew of skeletal servants. All report that the aged wizard wants only to be left alone. A Telvanni so far outside of Telvanni territory was too good an opportunity to pass up though, and I am glad I seized it when I had the chance.

I entered the tower warily, but openly; announcing my presence as one would expect from a guest, invited or not. I ignored the passage to the depths below the tower. Whatever isolation Baladas was living in, I was sure it would not be in the dungeons. The lower level of the tower offered a guest room; obviously seldom if ever used, but well maintained. Across the hall is a room that appears to be some sort of treasury. I took a brief look, then slammed and locked the door before the skeletal guards could reach me. No doubt Baladas could summon more, but dispatching them would not likely invite hospitality.

I climbed the ramp to the next level of the tower to find my way blocked by a securely locked door that challenged my spell of opening. I met the challenge of the door and cautiously passed through. Standing on a summoning platform in the center of the room was a horrible creature. I learned later that using my opening spell on the door had freed the monster from its bonds, alerting it to the task it had been summoned for; turning away any visitors. The daedroth is a towering humanoid form topped with a monstrous reptilian head, with a long snout lined with sharp gnashing teeth. While physically intimidating the creature's most powerful weapons are magical, as I found out immediately.

With a wave of its scaly hand the creature cast a powerful spell, and despite my frantic dodge I was inundated in green venom. The daedroth taps such a reserve of magica that it does not bother with targeted spells. As I fled the room I could see that it had painted a vast area with glowing poison. I gulped restoratives and poison cures as I crashed down the curving ramp. Behind me I could hear the snapping of the mighty jaws.

I reached the bottom of the ramp and the poisonous spell completely dissipated. I spun to face the horror charging down upon me. To my surprise the beast skidded to a halt and unleashed another powerful explosion of magica, bathing the corridor in snapping electrical discharges. My trusted spear became a lightning rod in my hands and I was forced to abandon it as shocks ran over my skin like a swarm of angry bees. The restoratives still coursing through me reduced the damage, and I hoped the effects of the powerful brew would outlast the spell. I cast my most powerful shielding spell and called upon the innate abilities of my Breton heritage to protect me as the monster leapt in with sharp grasping talons and snapping maw.

The Dwemer metal bracer on my left forearm was proof against the sharp teeth and crushing power of the creature's jaws, but it rolled with such sudden violence that my arm was pulled from its socket. Without the magical protections I had in effect it would probably have been torn completely off. I howled with agony, but managed to slash the creature's belly with the wakizashi. The sharpness of the daedric blade separated the scaly hide and glowing gore gushed forth. The jaws relaxed momentarily and I pulled free. The enchantment of my sword struck and the daedroth's own life force flowed into me, binding my separated shoulder.

The monster was handicapped; holding its entrails in with one great clawed hand. Then in a coursing flash of restorative magic the huge gash was healed. I struck again with the lifetaker, leaving a minor wound. The creature resisted the spell of the blade and raked me with its claws as I spun away. Then we crashed together a final time.

Once the snapping electrical charges had dissipated I had unlimbered my steel shield, and in the final exchange I managed to smash it sideways into the widespread jaws. The steel flexed under the pressure, but held for the brief moment needed for the wakizashi to slash across the throat. I released the grips and let the shield fall with the daedroth into a splashing shower of its glowing blood. The lifetaker drained the last of the beast's ebbing life forces into my own flagging reserves.

From above, on the ramp, came a sardonic voice. "Impressive outlander," was all he said, then Baladas turned and headed back to his study in the uppermost reaches of the tower. From the top of the ramp he shouted back down. "Clearly you won't be dissuaded. There is a guest room. Rest, and clean off that gore. I will see you tomorrow."


Blogger Mikhail the Shmikhail said...

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1:38 PM  

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