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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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Day 147: No wizard returning

I woke this morning before dawn and left the temple, again shrouded in robes. I discarded the robe in a canal in the Godsreach district before I approached the Winged Guar, in case it was being watched. I assume that it was. My door had been expertly opened, and a silver dagger skewered my taunting note to the desk. "We knew you would hide, but not forever" was scrawled across the bottom. I think they were hoping I would hide. Assassins thrive on the fear and extended tension. If I hid I would eventually get complacent again, and be found. That I could not risk.

I ate breakfast and thought carefully of strategies. In a book that I read an army gets mislead about the tactics of their opposition. Anticipating a barrage of spells they assault under cover of reflective spells of their own, expecting the enemy to be destroyed by their own reflected magic. The defenders rely instead on a hail of arrows, and the reflective spells prevent healers from restoring the attackers to fitness. The Dark Brotherhood could make the same mistake. Again I was thankful for my father's advice. Although we Breton's are reknowned as magicians and wizards he always demanded that I be well versed in combat. I revisited one of the smiths and purchased a half dozen spears.

Before teleporting to my mark in the depths of the Dark Brotherhood stronghold I activated my amulet. I expected little traffic, and had selected a spot where my appearance would be sheltered by the twisting passage, but it was critical that I not rouse any alarm. I could do nothing about the swirling mystical energies of teleportation except hope. As they dissipated my hopes were weakened. Voices came from the chamber that had been Ahnassi's prison. The first one saying "what was that?" I pressed my back against the stone wall.

"What was what?" came a second voice, somewhat dulled from sleep. "It was a long night. If you are gonna chase shadows go join the patrols out in the sewers."

"It wasn't a shadow, it was a light. I'm just going to make sure that wizard isn't lobbing magica around the main cavern." Footsteps scuffed on the stone floor.

I cast a silencing spell and charged the corner. Of course the swirling magica gave him another light to chase, but he never had the chance. There is a trick to holding two spears. The head of the second has to be far enough back that it doesn't touch the target. The first spear I left buried in the curious one's chest. The second was ready as I burst into the chamber.

Although he had sounded sleepy and complacent the second assassin was more skilled and rose well to the challenge, but I had the passage behind me. I could jab and back away, staying out of range of his shortsword. Assassins need to be discreet, they are not well versed with spears, which cannot be hidden. His best hope was that in backing down the passage I would stumble over the body of his cohort. I didn't, and he joined him in death.

These two were coming off whatever duty had kept them through the night. It seemed unlikely there would be any disturbance from the main cavern below. I set out an array of spears and crept to the lip of the steep drop to the cavern floor and peered over. Despite their casualties of the prior day the cavern was thronged with black clad assassins. Likely not the entire Dark Brotherhood organization, but enough.

Once again I took on the concealment of my amulet and a silencing spell, then slipped over the edge. The door to one of the ancient manor buildings was not far down the rubble slope and I gained it undetected. There was no immediate guard within, but the voices of many assassins muttered down the hallway. I cast a locking spell on the door to bar any assistance, or at least delay them, cast an array of protective spells and swept down the hall.

Even with their numbers the advantage of my longer reach could not be overcome, though I was briefly in trouble when the opposition was joined by their leader. He emerged from a private chamber through a heavy metal door. He was wary, bending low and then coming into the hall in a diving roll that gave him opportunity to survey the situation. He came to his feet sheltered against a wall and immediately began casting a spell. Backing away as I was there was no way to stop him, and his minions kept pressing despite all the wounds I had inflicted on them. I backed around a corner as my questing spear found a throat, eliminating another opponent. The leader pursued, and I could see that the result of his conjuration was a great Daedric longbow. I added more lateral movements, using the two remaining assassins for as much shelter from the bow as I could until they too fell before my point.

Now the matter of range was working against me instead of for me, with the archer skittering backwards between volleys of arrows that burst into flame as they sped toward me. I dropped my spear. To wield the spear I had kept my Daedric shield strapped high on my arm, but I needed it more accessible. Grabbing a short blade gleaming with venomous magica from one of the corpses I sprang to the attack.

I took some hits before I managed to corner my enemy, but behind the shelter of my shield I gulped magical restorations that overcame not only the wounds but the burns from the enchantment as well. He dropped the bow and drew his own blade. Skill? Purity of motive? The will of the divines? Who can really say what carries the day in a swordfight between evenly matched opponents? For whatever reason, on this day it was mine to prevail. Dandras Vules, holder of the Dark Brotherhood contract on my life, collapsed at my feet. I found the contract and pocketed it, but any further investigation had to be deferred due to an incessant pounding at the outer door. I cast my recall spell once again.

Looking down into the main cavern I had a clear view of the numerous assassins. When they looked up they had an equally clear view of me, but they were scurrying about like kwama with a fire in their nest. It would not be long before they got through the door to the manor if they kept trying. They stopped trying when I opened fire with my bow. The approaches to my position were long, narrow, and steep, and offered scant cover. When some managed to get close I would drop the bow and grab one of the spears I had placed near the final ladder to be climbed to reach the lip of rubble where I stood. I could have held off an army, and basically I did. Twenty-six assassins died today.

I expect there will be more. Tonight I am sleeping in a darkened room behind a metal door. Not Dandras Vules room. Any assassin that returns to the headquarters and sees the carnage will likely go there. I am in a room not far away, perhaps the chamber of some leutenant. My door is locked tight, Dandras Vules' door is rigged with an array of swords that will clatter loudly if the door is opened. I feel as safe as I ever have since arriving in Vvardenfell

4 Comments:

Blogger Liszt_Maniac said...

Two spears. Nice touch.
Is the strategy book a specific book from the game, or is it just something you made up for your conveniance?

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is amazing writing - I do hope it will be published one day; I should be the first to buy a copy, to reread Arvil Bren's exploits all over again, at leisure!

Thank you again for another gripping episode. This sort of writing is way above the average and deserves a much wider audience, I think.

- Angela

1:23 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Thanx. The strategy is from a book in the game. When I get home and can run Arvil back to his library I'll see if I can find it again. One of the things I really like about Morrowind is the vast array of books, and that even though the developers could have just left them as objects with some having functionality they chose to provide actual text for them all. Some of them are pretty interesting.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Liszt_Maniac said...

That was the highlight for me too. My friends think I'm crazy for reading them all. Especially the ones that increase your skills.

7:29 PM  

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