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, June 23, 2005

Day 144: Old Mournhold

The city of Mournhold was almost completely destroyed in ancient times during a battle between Almalexia and Mehunes Dagon. The current city was built over the ruins. The twisting sewers connect pockets of these ruins in a complicated warren of underground passages. A warren that provides shelter to all sorts of fell creatures and evil men. Evil men like the Dark Brotherhood.

Starting my search from a sewer grate in the Great Bazaar before dawn gave me the opportunity to drop into the tunnels unseen and unquestioned. Immediately I could see that the worked stone of the sewers intermingled with natural caves as well as passages that wormed through the compressed mass of rubble that in many places is all that is left of the old city. My water breathing spell was required in many of these passages as they dipped below the water line. The first I explored in fact dead ended in a small flooded chamber where a previous explorer had met an unfortunate end. He must have died from wounds, as he had a potion in his possession that would have allowed him to draw air from the water long enough to get out.

I returned to the sewers and continued my explorations. Any time a long passage seemed to lead too far from the entrance I turned back. The Ordinator had said 'under the Grand Bazaar', and I resolved to thoroughly explore the limited area before moving on. This strategy met with success, unless the assassin I found had taken a liking to the particular cave he was in. It seems more likely that he was posted there as a guard, and that the headquarters of the Dark Brotherhood lies beyond. I will find out tomorrow. Unfortunately by the time I had found this possible lair the long day of creeping through the sewers and tunnels had spent my time as well as my energies and I was forced to retreat unseen.

The approach to the guarded cavern is flooded, and I walked carefully along the bottom breathing water. Numerous boulders and broken blocks of ancient stonework allowed me to climb close enough to the surface to slowly raise my head, obscured by the chameleon spells of my amulet. Had he remained immobile the black armor of the assassin would have rendered him nearly invisible and I may well have emerged from the water directly into his blade, but he was unwary. His movements were definitely the movements of a man on a guard post; at a guard post with no expectation of assault. I slipped slowly back beneath the water and left as I had come. Hopefully they will be no more wary tomorrow.

They probably do not feel a great need to be alert, as this part of the vast underground network teems with the restless undead of old Mournhold. I was continuously beset, on my way in and on my way out, by skeletal warriors, spirits, and gruesome bonelords. I had thought the spells of the bonelords would be the worst danger I would face from these undead monsters, but I found that I was underestimating the dangers.

At a sharp corner in a passage I was beset by two skeletons. The first leapt forward swinging a great silver sword with both bony hands, and I was momentarily glad to see it. The mighty blade drew sparks as it glanced off the wall, and in the narrowness of the passage it seemed I would be able to face them one at a time as the second could not pass the claymore's great arc. The creature had no desire to pass. The second skeleton was the animated remains of a great wizard, battling beyond death, a lich.

The bony frame of my sword wielding foe offered little obstruction, and targeted bolts of elemental fury burst against my shield, or worse, directly against my armor. Although it did not stop them all I could not do without the enchanted protection of the shield, so I could not manage my spear and was forced to draw the Daedric longsword. I have been practicing, but it would certainly not be my weapon of choice. The heavy blade gave a great accounting though, and I may have to practice more and get comfortable with it. While a jabbing spear is perfect for holding an opponent at bay, and frequently out of reach with their own weapons, it is not overly effective against the limited target of a skeleton. Not so the sweeping longsword, particularly a keen edge backed by the tremendous Daedric mass. A bone-shattering pass or two through the undead warrior and it was reduced to fragments and dust. I charged towards the lich.

Being basically raised in the thieves guild I had a lot of opportunity to learn lessons from the mistakes of others, so as not to have to make those mistakes myself. The urge to flee the powerful magic of the animated dead is very strong, and automatic. With a sword champion such as I had dispatched that may even be for the best, but to flee from a lich is death. Their mastery of the elemental magics of destruction can strike accurately over a great distance. Being in close invites no more damage, and with luck the lich can be struck down before too much is done. Luck was with me. I found myself charred but alive, lying atop the moth-eaten robes that had hung limply over the bony shoulders. My weight, my armor, and the momentum of the charge had carried the spellcaster over backwards to a crushing end against the stone floor. The skull, separated from the neck by a smashing blow from the flat of the sword that had also torn away the lower jaw, rocked slowly back and forth. An eerie glow in the eye sockets faded ever so slowly, flickered, and went out.

Tonight I am assessing the wide array of scrolls that I have picked up in my travels. Frequently I have traded enchanted or enchantable goods for these icons of controlled magica. The spells scribed upon them are intended to burst forth quickly, and reliably, in the face of rapidly approaching danger, and without consuming the resources of the spell caster. I suspect that to reach and invade the Dark Brotherhood stronghold will take all that I have.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant. Gripping. even though I haven't been to Mournhold, the pace and excitement carried me on, wishing you every success in your new venture against the Dark Brotherhood (such a terrifying name!). I'm glad Arvil Bren also feels like running away as well sometimes,I quote:- "the urge to flee is very strong, and automatic" -- YES, it is !! So it is consoling to know that I am not alone in wanting to run away!

Excellent adventuring ! I'm really enjoying the Mournhold detour!

- Angela

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, you seriously rock! As with Angela, I don't have the Tribunal saga but you paint such a great picture of it that it doesn't matter. In fact, i was intending to buy it, but I think I'd prefer just to read Arvil's accounting of it! Can't wait for the assault!

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never get the urge to run away, I just click the mouse repeatedly. I guess I'm like a Nord...

~a music lover

5:12 PM  
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