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, July 20, 2005

Eight: The business of alchemy

Craetia the alchemist was the first to test my willingness to help with problems rather than cause them. She raised it at the breakfast table, hesitantly. I eagerly started asking for details of the problem, as I really was wondering what to do with myself for another day in Vivec. Malven smoothly interceded. "The Archmage is our guest at meals, so his business needs to be conducted elsewhere Craetia. From his eager response I'm sure he'll be looking for you in his office shortly." I stuck a forkfull of kwama egg in my mouth to hide my grin. Before the plates were cleared I clattered down the stairs with Craetia in tow.

Aurane Frernis is an alchemist with a public shop in the waistworks of the foriegn quarter. Craetia told me that she is a member in good standing, though not active in her involvement with the guild. She also told me that Aurane Frernis is highly skilled, and very diligent. Then she produced a folded leaflet. I was glad that she had briefed me ahead of time. From what the leaflet says one would think Frernis a pretender at best, more like a dangerous fraud.

"Where did this come from?" I asked. She explained that she had found it in the plaza, and that apparently they were being handed out by a Redguard on a regular basis. She had tried to bring it to Trebonius' attention, but his response had been that he was far too busy to meddle in the business of alchemists. "He may have been busy," I said, "but this is a smear on the reputation of the guild, one way or another. It definitely needs to be taken care of. It also is something that would normally be brought to the attention of a guild steward, so let's go talk to Malven."

I let Craetia deliver the same report to Malven as she had delivered to me. Malven lightly suggested that this would be something a guild steward would handle without the Archmage in any other guild hall, and the two of them set out a course of action. I was a bit disappointed not to be in the thick of things, but pleased with the rising level of accountability in the staff. Craetia was astonished at being tasked with further investigating. As she went out into the plaza Malven chuckled. "The apprentices here are not accustomed to being assigned any duties that can actually be done. Trebonius gave them duties, but since they were clearly impossible no one ever really thought to actually do anything." Since it was her first foray into the duties of a mage I decided to keep an eye on Craetia's progress. As it turned out I have the chance to contribute something of my own as well.

When I went out into the plaza I could see Craetia in animated discussion with a Redguard, who held a stack of the leaflets in his hand. He was a burly sort, as Redguards often are, and I nodded to myself thinking 'he will present a good challenge for her'. I struck up a conversation of my own with an Ordinator. He was pleased that the new Archmage is a follower of the temple, and remembered me from the business of the Dreamer Prophet some months ago as well. My good standing with local law enforcement serves me well, I am glad I made the effort.

I was pleased to see Craetia depart with the leaflets, the crestfallen Redguard seething in her wake. As she left the plaza I approached and introduced myself. Domalen the Redguard was not a happy man. "There is hardly any work in the city if you aren't a dark elf, and what there is always seems to lead to trouble," was the gist of his complaint. It was challenging for me not to probe further into the origin of the leaflets, but I wanted to build my trust in Craetia. Whatever she had learned about the situation would suffice. Instead I directed my attention towards affairs outside the sphere of the guild.

"Domalen, I have Redguard friends, and it seems to me that Redguards are raised to be at the least a fair smith, and usually quite skilled," I said. He agreed, and claimed to be a fair hand himself. "Well," I suggested, "whatever work you've been getting in trouble with, perhaps you'd be better off working with Alusaron." I pointed towards the shop across the plaza. "I have it on good authority that he has fallen upon a substantial contract and could use some help, and that a new supplier has offered him such favorable terms on premium merchandise that he can afford it." The man's eyes fairly lit up in his head. Passing out leaflets is no job for a man-at-arms. "Let me introduce you," I said and headed across the plaza. The terms I gave Alusaron will certainly not break me, since I paid for all the armor and weapons I have to sell with blood, and most of that not mine, and it is good to have friends.

When I got back to the hall Craetia was already there, excitedly giving her report. The confrontation with the Redguard had done wonders for her,and she certainly got all the information that was needed. The subsequent meeting with Aurane Frernis had also gone well, and our staff alchemist now had a valuable contact that could, perhaps, be brought more actively into the guild; although running an apothecary shop is a fairly demanding pursuit. Craetia gave me a beaming smile and went chattering back to her lab. "She is a skillful alchemist," Malven said quietly. "A few more successful little duties like that and we can promote her."

"You can promote her," I smiled back. "As the Archmage I think my duty lies more in the direction of promoting you. I'll cheer for her though, you can be sure."

She laughed; that quiet Dunmer laugh that was so familiar to me from being with Ranis. Even the Dunmer of the great houses are not so far from the harshness of the Ashlands. Their humor tends to the ironic, and they can give that quiet laugh even when the fate being dealt harsh blows is their own. Today it was full of good humor. Malven is pleased with the way things are playing out in the hall, as am I.

"Archmage there is something more here," she said, turning the conversation on another tack. I nodded for her to continue. "The source of the leaflets; the Redguard told Craetia they came from a competitor."

"That makes sense," I said. "I hope the competitor isn't one of ours too."

Again the laugh, only this time it had the familiar coldness behind it. "No, not ours. Galuro Belan. A Telvanni. I didn't think that sending Craetia would be appropriate, but I think someone should speak to her about her slanders. I could go myself..."

"Ah, but is that what a guild steward would do?" I asked.

"No," she replied immediately. "A guild steward would assign the task to someone appropriately skilled for the job. Unfortunately this hall is in such a state that I don't have the options that another hall would have. Perhaps I should contact Ranis, she undoubtedly has someone available for this sort of thing. And I will get this hall up to par, count on it."

"I have no doubt about that. And actually Ranis might be a little harder pressed than you think. She relied pretty heavily on one person to do this kind of dirty job, and he isn't as available to her now," I explained.

"What happened to him?"

This time it was my turn, and I gave a passing impression of the dry Dunmer laugh. "She pushed him into becoming the Archmage. I'll pay this Galuro Belan a visit. High time the Telvanni got a taste of the new order."


Blogger frootat31 said...

I love the way you're encompassing how a archmage might conduct himself! I wish Bethesda had offered more of a challenge in that regard to the game. Very good journal entry!

6:45 PM  
Anonymous mikekearn said...

I loved the way Arvil refered to himself in third person towards the end. I always enjoyed reading things like that, since you know what's coming, yet it's still funny to hear.

12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

frootat31 and mikehearn sum it all up perfectly! as always, a really good journal entry. Thank you!

I tended to generally just go straight through the main quest when I played Morrowind, and I find it really interesting to read about other quests and adventures that Arvil Bren gets involved with.I like the very natural way you introduce these skirmishes - often the result of chance introductions or conversations.

- Angela

12:33 AM  

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