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 26, 2005

Twelve: Skink's research

I took the familiar walk from Seyda Neen to Balmora. Even in the swamps of the Bitter Coast far from Red Mountain there are blighted monsters. I do not see how anyone can claim the ghostfence is working to contain Dagoth Ur. Containment is not a solution. Perhaps in the security of the High Fane the leaders of the temple cannot see that, but out in the countryside it is painfully obvious.

When I arrived in Balmora I went directly to the Southwall Cornerclub. Ahnassi was not there. Habasi told me that she was on an 'errand' for her. An errand in the thieves guild no doubt involves stealing something. Something that the guild believes it will put to better use than its former owner. Better use than Ahnassi would, no doubt. The challenge of opening locks and secret passages draws her, not the resulting gains. I have seen her take some prized possession, wait a week or two, then defeat the improved security measures to return the loot to its place. Habasi promised to tell Ahnassi that our home appears to be safe and that I am looking forward to seeing her there.

I was disappointed, and wandered into the guild hall obviously downcast. I will have to be more careful. The manner of the Archmage can have too much of an effect on the guild; another weight on my shoulders. Fortunately with Ranis running the hall in Balmora I had some room for error and learned this lesson with no damage done. I ate lunch with my fellows, then met with Ranis. She agreed that the situation with the Telvanni is stable, and that confronting the problems of Red Mountain holds the greatest promise for resolving everything.

She listened as I recounted my experiences with Malven, then nodded gravely. "In the shelter of Vivec City it is harder to see certain realities Archmage. She is no fool though, and I'm sure you got your point through. I will follow up with her in your absence." With that assurance I took transport to Sadrith Mora.

I delivered the charged soul gem into Skink's hands. "This will help, Archmage. Our research continues." The hardy Argonian looked tired.

"Do not wear yourself down in your studies, Skink," I cautioned him. "We need your eyes on the Telvanni. Finding Dagoth Ur's weaknesses may lie down a path that I must travel, not in your lab."

"Perhaps so," he said. "But perhaps this can help." He handed over a badly eroded bit of a letter. I read what could be made out, and consulted his attached notes. "It is a report describing a manuscript," Skink elaborated. "You can see that it refers to the manuscript as 'the vampires notes' here." He pointed out the reference. "Then it suggests here that the writer of the manuscript was cured. It is not clear whether this vampire was a blood vampire..."

"Or one of Dagoth Ur's ash vampires," I finished.

"Right," he said.

"Where did this come from?" I asked.

"It is an ancient temple document. The cured vampire would have been one of theirs. Perhaps an Ordinator. They suppressed the manuscript and hid the writer. That doesn't tell us anything, either form of vampire among their ranks would be an embarrassment."

"Suppressed," I mused. "But does the manuscript still exist?"

"We have sent our mages to make discreet inquiries. Jobasha, the rare book dealer in Vivic City may know something of this book," Skink said.

Jobasha is the most prolific collector of books in all of Vvardenfell, but is under constant scrutiny from the temple because of his outspoken opinions against slavery. He can be difficult to get information from. "May know something?" I asked.

Skink nodded. "Malven spoke to him herself. He said he does not have such a book, which we tend to believe, but she thought there was something left unsaid."

I took the opportunity to explain my concerns about Malven, though in this case I was glad she had accepted Jobasha's claim and backed off.

"We are sure Arvil Bren that if you were on the trail of this information you would not have left without it. Malven is perhaps more diplomatic than you, but she will serve well. She is a balance for Ranis in your council," he said. I turned that over in my mind. "Which leaves us with Jobasha and the book he may not have heard of," he finished.

"Jobasha is an old friend, and I stand differently with the Khajiit than Malven would. In this case diplomacy was certainly correct. I'll talk to him. If he knows anything of this," I motioned towards the scraps of message, "I'm sure he'll tell me."

"It is a slender reed in the marsh," Skink concluded, "but even a slender reed can mark the bank."

Wisdom from Black Marsh; I do appreciate the diversity of my friends.


Anonymous mikekearn said...

I've said it before, and I will probably say it again: I love your writing! The way you flesh out characters is incredible, and that bit of "Wisdom from the Black Marsh" was really cool. Can't wait for more.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

collect these into a book and then give the idea to bethesda softworks as a novel. They will take hold right away.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I took the familiar walk from Seyda Neen to Balmora....." It's sentences like this that relate your readership so strongly to Arvil Bren's journal - "Oh, yes, I know just the route he means - I've walked that way myself often."is the reader's reaction - it's like looking at someone else's holiday photos and recognising just the area they went to as somewhere very faliliar. Very emotionally satisfying!
And of course, as the plot thickens for Arvil Bren, the adrenelin rushes he describes are also horribly familiar!!!!!!

- Angela

12:57 AM  

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