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, May 18, 2005

Day 118: Open war with the Sixth House

Tonight I am a guest of the Imperial Legion. Buckmoth Fortress is just south of Ald-ruhn. I've passed it many times, but never had occasion to stop here. Until now.

I woke this morning and slipped quickly into the crater region of Red Mountain to complete the pilgrimage. The shrine blessed me with a powerful defensive shell of magica which lasted most of the day. If I ever have to return to the crater I will definitely stop at the shrine for this blessing as the crater is fraught with perils. Today the magical shielding enhancing my armor was wasted on the innumerable cliff racers of the Foyada Mamaca.

I reached Balmora in the early afternoon, slipping into town over the eastern ridge cloaked in the powerful chameleon spell of my amulet. Caius' house is set directly against the hillside, allowing me to leap onto his roof. At the signal pounded from above Caius affects the darting glances of the skooma addict and opens his door to survey the street, as if in the depths of a paranoid delusion. I glided undetected through the open door as he paced furiously, peering around the corners of his home. With a last backward glance Caius came back inside and closed it to complete the act. Seeing the powerful leader of the Blades emerge from the pretense of the aged sugar-tooth is always a welcome shock. His cover is perfect.

My own cover, Caius declared, is laughable. "Arvil," he said, "when you arrived here I told you to establish a trade of some sort. I meant some way to explain your presence in Vvardenfell as you went about your business that would keep people from wondering. When people wonder what you are up to they pay attention to you and a spy doesn't want attention. You, on the other hand, have become the center of attention everywhere you have gone. No one thinks you are a spy, but moving about with any subtlety seems completely beyond you."

I sat on the edge of the bed, since Caius' spare room offered no other seat. I really could not think of anything to say.

The spymaster continued. "The Mage's Guild has no idea that you are a spy. Sharn keeps an eye on things for me there. She says there is a pretty widespread desire to see you become the Archmage, and those who don't want that predominantly want you killed. The current Archmage, for example."

I shrugged. He was right. My cover in the Mage's Guild has turned into a beacon. "By the way," he said, "the Telvanni want you deported." My mouth opened and closed, but I still had nothing to say. "Meanwhile, your private war with the Cammona Tong has slowly filtered into almost common knowledge in Balmora. The Hlaalu don't want you deported, but only because Orvas Dren doesn't want you to get away."

"Caius," I said, "I really didn't mean for all this to happen. Things just seem to...get out of hand."

He shook his head, partly in disgust, partly in amusement. "I know," he said. "I used to have this plan about a fake Nerevarine. The Temple, by the way, is awash in two rumors. The Ashlanders are abuzz that there is a mad outlander claiming to be the Nerevarine so the Ordinators are looking into that. Then Tuls Valen in Ald-ruhn has been talking about you, the outlander pilgrim who follows Vivec's path without any resorting to silt strider or easing of the burdens in any way. There's talk of promoting you in the temple ranks, but some say you are rising too fast for an outlander. If, make that inevitably when, they determine that both of these rumors revolve around the same person the temple is liable to explode."

"You said I should join the temple Caius. It wasn't my idea."

"Join it, not take it over! Can you do anything halfway? Nevermind. You can't. I know that even though you probably don't." He rolled his eyes and leaned against the edge of his desk. "Forget it Arvil, you just are what you are. At least amongst all your exploits no one would guess you have time to be in the Blades. I have a mission for you."

He drew out a scroll of paper. "This is a dispatch report from Raesa Pullia at Buckmoth Fort. My contacts in the Imperial Legion acquired a copy." He unrolled the parchment and referred to it intermittently. "The legion has started looking into the activities of the Sixth House Cult, and they sent a scouting party to investigate a base, rumored to be on the coast somewhere. The scouting party was wiped out to the last man, and that last man staggered into Buckmoth distorted beyond recognition with corprus disease. She thinks the garrison at Buckmoth needs additional support before they take any further action. That support is not coming any time soon; not the way she expects anyway. Despite your high profile you can still present yourself as a mercenary. Find out all you can from her, then find out all you can about this base...then destroy it."

I told him about the bases I had discovered in the northern ashlands, and at Mamaca.

"Well, the Sixth House already considers you an enemy then, so nothing new there. Try not to get recruited into the legion while you're about this. With your misguided ideas of being inconspicuous you'd probably end up a general."

I cast a teleportation spell and appeared in the courtyard of the Balmora temple. Teleportation is a terrific thing for an agent, since it leaves no tracks. I could just as easily have been coming from anywhere as from Caius' nearby house. Before anyone could recognize me I hurried to the guild house and teleported to Ald-ruhn, then quickly used another spell, arriving at the entry to the Imperial Shrine here at Buckmoth Fort.

I don't know if I qualify as a mercenary. Raesa Pullia was happy enough to accept the services of a high ranking mage, but had little to offer as payment. I do have Imperial authority to march into any known or suspected Sixth House stronghold and investigate, with no repercussions should violence ensue and rights of salvage for any treasures or goods found to be held by enemies of the empire.

They also provided a bed, which I am about to gladly use. Tomorrow may be a long day.


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