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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.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Day 145: Reunion

The trek through the sewers was easier today. Knowing where I was going helped. I only had to fight my way through the undead legions when they were directly blocking my path, and even then I could avoid some of them. If there was a way to sneak around them and get out of sight using only a single charge of my amulet of shadows I opted for that rather than a fight. I wanted to have all of the magica I possess available when I reached the Dark Brotherhood stronghold.

The guard posted in the entry chamber today was more alert, perched immobile on a boulder and scanning the water. I matched him, with only my eyes and nose above the waterline. I knew there had to be a guard, and I was patient enough to carefully scan every inch of the cavern until I made him out, a dim outline in the darkness. Then I scanned some more, making sure he was alone.

Ever so gently I raised one hand above the water far enough to flick a small stone. The pebble struck rock, then clattered down. The assassin had his sword in hand before it splashed gently into the water. I maintained a frozen immobility. The guard studied the water in an obvious quandary. Clearly calling for help for nothing would be an embarrassment. I waited. As the guard slowly sheathed his sword I flicked a second stone.

The second time he was quicker, and didn't distract himself with the sound of his own sword. He locked onto the spot where the stone hit the water, and carefully studied the face of the cavern wall. When he slid down from his perch and approached the water I slipped beneath the surface and cast my water breathing spell once again. Held to the bottom by my heavy armor, I slid on my back into the shallows. Though his image was broken by the shimmering surface I could see the guard standing at the water's edge peering into the dimness. He began to back away, then turned to return to his post. With two fingers I tapped the top of my watery shelter.

The guard spun at the sound of the splash, again drawing his blade. The tension took him, and this time he stepped into the water, still seeking the lurking foe at the far wall of the cavern. My spear took him in the throat as I hooked him behind the knees to drag him down. Blood spread in a crimson stain across the pool. The black armor was barely heavy enough to hold him under. I pulled the corpse into deeper water, stripped off the valuable armor, and placed a rock on his chest.

Ever so cautiously I crept to each twist in the passage, peering around corners interminably before moving on. The rest of the path was clear. Soon a large cavern opened before me. Two great buildings flanked what had been an avenue, which was now roofed over with a mass of stone frozen in a great wave. The once molten rock gave mute testament to the furies unleashed in the ancient battle. Great droplets had struck the buildings, but they had stood, only to be entombed beneath the surface.

Deeply hidden from the light of the sun the once fine manor houses now served as the underground headquarters of the vile assassins. I watched the activity as the black armored villains went about their business. Like any headquarters most of the activity revolved around waiting. Assassins are accustomed to taking their battles to their prey, and here they mostly idled, though occasionally one would emerge from one of the buildings moving in the hurried officious manner that is common to the carriers of orders anywhere.

Despite my gnawing worry for Ahnassi I remained patient. Though they waited in idleness I knew they would respond quickly to any attack, and my experiences with them left me uncomfortable with their vastly greater numbers. Taking them on in their own place also gave them an advantage, an advantage I set out to nullify through careful examination. An ornate ledge on the crumbling face of a building, an outcrop from the wall of rubble filling the far end of the street, a ladder leading up to what could be a chamber in that jumbled mass; I took these things in as I lay unmoving on the stone floor. I also counted my enemies. Between five and eight seemed to be lurking among the ruins. How many were in the buildings I could not guess. I hoped that however many there were they would not hear anything through the thick stone walls.

Like any battle a well formed plan was key, and like any plan of battle it had to be adapted as soon as the battle began. Overall though it went well. I slid back out of sight, rose to my feet, and prepared myself. Spells to fortify my speed and agility as well as augment my armor swirled around me, and I drew a handful of thin clay tubes from my pack. The parchments inside these tubes crackled with magica, magica that could be released in a torrent simply by reading the incantations. With a word I activated my amulet of shadows to disguise my movements, then read the first scroll I had selected. With a crackling sound and a smell of brimstone an atronach burst forth through a brief gap in the barriers of the fiery elemental plane, summoned to do my bidding. I activated my levitation boots and flew into the chamber, my flaming minion charging behind.

As one would expect the great flaming monster suddenly bursting into their midst commanded the attention of the enemy. The wisest among them no doubt knew that a wizard was responsible, but no amount of wisdom could allow for much of a search in the face of the atronach, which began casting spells of its own as soon as it turned the corner and saw the scurrying black clad forms. Balls of elemental fire flew from the outstretched arms to burst among them. I sped to the ledge I had selected as my first perch and cracked open the next of my chosen tubes. The atronach must have felt almost at home. Its own gusts of elemental fire were quickly supplemented by my own. As fast as I could read the scrolls they would erupt into flames and streak towards my targets to burst in mighty flares of scorching heat. My vantage point served well. Assassins who dove for cover trying to evade the blasts from my summoned ally had no opportunity to wonder where the devouring flames that enveloped them had come from.

With the initial fury of its connection to its own plane spent the atronach could no longer launch its flames across the distance, and it rushed forward to engulf survivors in its scorching embrace. I had planned to continue the barrage with flaming arrows, but circumstances dictated otherwise. I leapt down from the ledge to block the door to the building as a badly burned assassin hurried towards it, no doubt expecting to raise the alarm within. My spear made short work of him, but I was quickly assailed by another. This one had avoided the fiery assault, and from the way he barked orders at his fellows he was clearly of a senior rank. "The atronach will burn out, just keep it at bay," he shouted. "The wizard is here!" He circled, using his blade to swipe aside the jabs of my spear, looking for a chance to leap in close that would neutralize my weapon. I backed against the wall as the sound of assistance joining my opponent came ominously to my ears.

I flung the spear crossways, waist high. It would do no damage, but it gave me a precious second. Not long enough to read a scroll, or even weave a spell of my own, but long enough to activate my boots. I took a vicious cut on my leg as I rose, but escaped to my ledge. Two badly burned assassins had joined their superior, and that worthy was scrambling to gather my own spear to use against me. I quickly drew out a final scroll and read. The summoned atronach was a bit surprised at appearing in mid air, and roared with fury as it fell amongst the startled assassins.

Being driven to its knees by the fall did not deter the elemental monster, and with one backhanded swipe fire consumed the last remaining life from one badly charred foe. The lead assassin roared with anger at the other fleeing apprentice and lunged forward to drive the spear into the chest of raging flames that rose before him. The atronach bellowed as it swung both blazing hands together in a mighty clap that sent an eruption of flame along the spear's shaft. I don't know if he was already dead or if the shot ended his misery, but I put a flaming arrow into the leader's head as it shriveled in the heat. The atronach, though badly wounded, bounded after the last fleeing opponent. I didn't know if the conjuration would last long enough for the monster to catch up, so I brought him down with another arrow. When the spell expired the atronach disappeared, leaving behind the smoking corpse of the man it had dove upon.

I stood on the ledge surveying the carnage. I considered which of the two buildings to enter first, then I looked up at the opening high above the street. A beautifully striped face smiled down at me. Ahnassi! I could not take time for ladders. My boots lofted me directly to the lip of the opening. Magica draining bracers were locked to her arms, and she was shackled by just enough chain to reach the opening she peered down from, but she was unharmed. I threw my arms around her.

"We must flee! There are many more evil men here!" she said in my ear. "They are skilled, and silent, and carry darts that dragged me down into sleep. We must get out of here while we can."

Reluctantly I released my embrace. "We are on our way dear one," I said, as the razor edge of the Daedric longsword parted the chain. Ahnassi is a master of stealth, but what was called for was a rapid departure. I took her in my arms and activated my boots as I leapt off the ledge. She clung to me and I took comfort from her arms, as well as her darting eyes. I knew she would spot any danger of pursuit, which allowed me to focus on getting us clear as quickly as possible.

Our reunion was sweet, but brief. I led her directly to the palace. When we entered, wet and bedraggled, with Ahnassi still trailing a short length of chain, I was afraid we would be turned away by the guards, but fortunately the mage Effe-tei was not far from the entrance and came to my call. "You are ready to return to Vardenfell Arvil Bren?" he said. "It will be our pleasure to transport you."

"Not me Effe-tei, only Ahnassi." Her eyes flew wide, and I could see an argument forming. I took her by the shoulders. "The Dark Brotherhood will be right after us. I can't keep being a danger to you..."

"But you cannot leave me. You are my mate, by Khajiit tradition. I do not release you. We will face this danger together." Her eyes narrowed and the hiss in her voice spoke of a bad end for any who tried to come between us.

"I'm not leaving you Ahnassi." I pressed a bag with a full set of black chain armor into her hands. "Take this to Wyan, the smith at the fighter's guild in Balmora. He'll get those bracers off of you. Then I want you to hide, the Balmora Khajiit are my friends, and I'm sure you know them. They can tell me where to find you."

"When will you come for me? Where are you going?" she asked.

"Back to finish what I started. This is the end of the Dark Brotherhood." I turned away from any argument as Effe-tei cast the spell to send her home.

10 Comments:

Anonymous talkkno said...

SO... does this mean trinbaul obvoivusly wont be complted the tradtional way?

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Zelda_Zealot said...

I hope it at least gets completed, although I doubt it wont be left to rott in the dust. Tim is not that mean.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous talkkno said...

but.. tribual is suppoly to take after morrowind mq rember. i rember one of the devsaying that.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Zelda_Zealot said...

That does not mean it wont be done right away. Oh and great post Tim, loved the steathieness, I hope to see more soon.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Enix said...

Cheerio! Quite the dashing assault on the vipers nest! Wonderful display of tactics as well.

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

STUNNING ! !

- Angela

2:55 AM  
Blogger Liszt_Maniac said...

This is by far your best chapter yet, except maybe for the first few. The temperature must have been pretty high with all that fire. As always, I am greatly anticipating the next chapter.

3:43 AM  
Blogger frootat31 said...

Great chapter. I was on the edge of my seat, worried for poor Ahnaasi! I particularly liked how you mixed stealth and all-out ambush tactics!
I really enjoyed his method of hiding underwater. Very good- as always.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Scott Hanson said...

Quite exciting! I am playing my character along with your story. I can't wait to see the next chapter when you go back and give the Dark Brother hood the what-for!

This has become my morning ritual. Thanks for writing every day.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is the funniest chapter i've read thus far. The details on the confusion of the brotherhood and how the antronoch jumped on a guy and roared as it fell, couldn't help but laugh.

12:41 AM  

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