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, July 19, 2005

Seven: No simple shopping

Skink's early indications from the Telvanni capital indicate that they are not making any sudden changes in the wake of Trebonius' death. The Telvanni council does not actually meet in person. Each member is represented by a 'mouth'. With the mouths having to get their master's position after such a sudden turn of events it will likely be some time before the Telvanni themselves know how they will respond. As the only Telvanni council member who knows me personally Baladas will probably have to be consulted heavily, and given his isolation in distant Gnissis that will certainly take time.

Malven is managing the guild hall quite well, and my hands off approach is beginning to show signs of acceptance. There is a vast difference between an Archmage who you bring trouble to and one who brings problems to you. The staff here is starting to recognize that. At dinner I said, lightly, that I was getting slow from inactivity and suggested that there must be problems plaguing the ranks here in Vivec that I could lend my attentions to. We shall see if anyone comes up with anything interesting.

Left on my own I can find trouble anywhere. After breakfast I told Malven that I would be out of the city for a while and transported myself to Ahnassi's house. Upon inspection of the door seals and other security measures I believe it is safe for her to return home, and I set out for Balmora with a light heart. The lightness of my heart did not, however, counter the weight of my pack. I took the opportunity to load myself with another bundle of loot from the Dark Brotherhood's stronghold to sell to the armorers of Balmora.

Too much of a load as it turned out. The armorers gladly emptied their tills for the fine black mesh armor and adamantium swords I delivered, but among them they could not muster a fair price for it all. The thought of the pile still left in the house had me briefly considering giving them a ridiculously good deal, but Wyan provided what seemed an excellent alternative. I returned to Vivec City by guild guide, had lunch, then crossed the foriegn quarter plaza to meet Wyan's friend Alusaron.

Alusaron, like Wyan, is a Redguard, and a very skilled armorer. Unlike Wyan, who has cast his fortunes with the fighters guild, Alusaron has opted for the greater risks and rewards available to an independent merchant. He does not have the sure business that a guild armorer has, but his great skill should be enough to draw clients. He must rent his own shop space rather than just setting up his forge in the guild hall, but he does not share his profits. A difference of style more than substance I suppose. But a difference that made a big difference to me.

Alusaron could not just empty his cash drawer. Expenses must be met, and even a good opportunity to profit on the items I had to sell could not sway him. There was just no way he could be sure of sales replenishing his gold in time. I got the feeling that business was not going as well as he hoped.

"No Arvil Bren," he said when I asked,"it is not going well of late. I have a competitor; a Dunmer. He does not have my skills at the forge, but he is a shrewd businessman. He uses his 'connections' to land the large contracts with the temple guards and Dunmer great houses, then sells individual pieces for too little for me to compete. And I have to pay for this guard," he tilted his head towards the Ordinator who stood patiently by the door, "or his 'contacts' could put me directly out of business. Truthfully I think they will anyway. Since he moved his shop in next door I am barely making the rent."

It certainly wasn't something an Archmage should get involved in. Alusaron is Wyan's friend, and Wyan is my friend. A friendly armorer in Vivec City with a strong business will be of value. That is not what got me involved. The way this Dunmer smith, Ralen Tilvur, did business sounded too much like the style of my old nemesis, the Cammona Tong. That is what got me involved. Fortunately we came up with a plan that would work without any public involvement on my part.

I visited Ralen Tilvur's shop a while later. I wear a robe appropriate for the Archmage, but underneath is the ebony mail that has seen me through many battles. As I examined the armors and weapons in Tilvur's shop, mostly cheap items of fur and hides and sharp plates of chitin I had to agree with Alusaron. I would not let Tilvur work on my armor with a polishing cloth, much less the tools of the armorer's trade.

I made a cheerful exit and lurked in the plaza chatting with the Ordinators and passers by, watching for Tilvur's next customer. It did not take long. As I saw that the tall Dunmer was heading towards the shop I disengaged from the conversation I was in and ducked into the doorway of the guild hall. In that shelter I activated my amulet of shadows, then scampered unseen across the plaza to slip through the closing door of the shop.

Tilvur was certainly more cordial with the Dunmer customer than he had been with me. If I had had any lingering doubts about my actions they would have been dispelled, but I had none. At an opportune moment when their conversation would mask any sound from the tumblers I cast my unlocking spell on the locked door to Tilvur's office, quarters, and workshop. When Tilvur saw the man to the shop's front door there was no way for him to hear the other door that opened and closed. I relocked the door behind me and sped down a stair.

It did not take long to find the latest contract. I slid it up my sleeve and cast my intervention spell, appearing in front of the temple on the High Fane at the southern end of the city. Without the contract it is beyond doubtful that Tilvur will hit upon the right combination of blades, maces, shields, and armor to fill the ten thousand septim order. The buyer will not be harmed. Alusaron will have the needed pieces in stock on the date of the expected delivery. There will be no missing the superiority of his wares. He will pay handsomely for the pieces I provide then.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading for a couple months now, and like so many others, I have become hooked on my daily dose.

I even fired up the old morrowind and played through it using a different character than I normally would, as well as not 'cheating' by taking advantage of the level up system...this blog rekindled my love for an excellent game...thanks.

But most especially (and this pertains to todays installment) I love how you fill in all the blanks and the back story. I always felt bad doing this particular quest. However, with a few cleverly phrased lines you put my mind at ease...Yeah, that damned dunmer bigot got whats coming!

keep up the good work and if you ever finish that novel or publish anything, you've got a built in audience here.


8:44 PM  
Anonymous mikekearn said...

It's true, what chappy said. That was always one of my favorite random quests, but there was always this feeling of "That's still stealing....isn't it?" Now, thanks to your superb story-telling skills, my worries are forever put to rest.

12:18 AM  

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