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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.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

23: Hunting

The Ashlanders are solitary hunters. After a coarse breakfast I set off into the wastes alone, as did the other members of the clan. I hunted alone, but not unobserved. Through the early part of the day I was well aware that the other hunters were watching from distant ridges. I rose to the challenge.

Stealth plays a large part in the hunt. With my conjured bow I could bring down a cliff racer from a fair distance, but that would not have impressed my clanmates. I watched. I followed the patterns of the great soaring creatures, learning the air currents that enabled their flights. When I had isolated a promising site I approached, slithering along the sand. The racers were bound to return to ride the rising air current. A hidden blind among the trama vines, a deadly shot from close range, and I passed the test.

By the late morning I had brought down three racers, and tracked a kagouti into a canyon where I could slip to an elevated spot and fell the great beast without allowing it to charge me. My distant monitors seemed to be satisfied and had gone about their own hunting. I had covered a significant distance to the south-west by then, and set off on a little hunt of my own.

Dividing the northern Ashlands of the Urshilaku from the western foothill region of Mar Gaan there is a deep foyada that cuts down the northwest slope of Red Mountain. This canyon may well run all the way to the shores of the Sea of Ghosts; I don't know. I do know that crossing that canyon involves following a very sketchy path through the wastes. I have found that path on some crossings, but more often I've resorted to a levitation spell. Yesterday was no exception.

When I crossed yesterday I passed directly over an ancient Velothi tower in the bottom of the foyada. There were ample signs that the tower is occupied. I wanted to know by whom. Who would be taking this remote outpost, so near Red Mountain? I expected to find the Sixth House cult.

With the threat of Dagoth Ur looming over all of Vvardenfell it seems to me the Great Houses would be setting their differences aside, or at least not openly be antagonizing each other. That would make sense, but I suppose over the long lives of the Dunmer they accumulate too much bitterness to set aside.

I crept to the door, and was surprised to find it ajar, partly torn free of its hinges. I slipped cautiously inside. The entry chamber held decorative columns that cast deep shadows in the light from the doorway. The torches hung askew on the walls, extinguished. In the broken light a battered corpse lay in a crumpled robe. I listened. There was no sound. I crossed the chamber.

In the hallway beyond I stopped again. A sound? I wasn't sure. To the right, or the left? Or no sound at all? I drew in magica, shaping it through the school of mysticism. The walls around me grew hazy, shimmering, and faded from my reality, leaving an undifferentiated grayness. Then to my left dim lights took form, like distant fireflies. I focused, and the lights, the energy of trapped souls, became more distinct. Enchantments, enchanted swords, and one was moving, coming towards me.

The mist cleared in the blink of an eye. I slipped quietly but rapidly down the hall to my right. The signs of battle were everywhere. The hall opened into a chamber. Typical of the quarters of retainers. Scorch marks marred the walls. Beds overturned, one burned. Another body, stricken down by a mighty blow from an unknown sword. Unknown, but quite possibly one of the enchanted blades I had detected.

Secure that I would not be attacked from this side I returned to the entry. Though I could no longer sense the enchanted sword I could hear the bearer approach. The tread of boots, bonemold boots by the sound of it. I blended into the shadows among the pillars.

The distinctive armor of the Redorans swept around the corner, a glowing blade leading the way. He approached the door, the visored helm sweeping the chamber. He could not see me. As he prodded the door, obviously looking for a way to secure the portal, I slipped into the passageway. Again the surge as magica flowed through me, creating a barrier of silence that filled the hall.

"Who are you, and what happened here?" I asked the back of the armored figure.

He spun, dropping into a warrior's crouch. The blade gleamed wicked in the dim light. "Back mage!" Then his voice raised to a shout. "Another! Here!"

"They can't hear you. For the next minute it's just you and me. I don't want to fight." Though I didn't want to fight I did not want to underestimate the warrior. House Redoran harbors the most respected warriors of the Dunmer. I conjured a spear. "What happened here?"

"This is Redoran territory. You may think that having yourselves declared as rogues by House Telvanni gives you free reign to settle anywhere, but it does not..."

"Telvanni? Trust me friend I am no Telvanni..."

"A mage, in this tower of magery. Where is your mage lord?" He prodded the robe clad corpse with the toe of a bonemold boot. "Like this one, you are a Breton, a retainer. Where is your master?"

"Once more, I am no Telvanni. If there was a Telvanni here alive I'm sure that would be painfully obvious."

"Enough lies!" he roared as he leapt to the attack.

His sword was powerful, as was he, but the Daedric spear struck through the bonemold easily. Blood flowed freely, and the spear lodged in his chest. I left it there, hampering his movements. I released the bonds of magica, and the shaft of the spear separated from the staff it had taken shape around. I spun the staff in a blurring arc and fended off a wild swing of his blade. Loss of blood began to take its toll and he struggled to keep his feet.

"I wish you had listened Redoran. I am no Telvanni. In fact these Telvanni would have been more inclined to kill me than almost anyone else that could come through that door." I hoped that I could reason with the wounded warrior, and perhaps use my restoratives to keep him from death. Instead, his final charge drove the spear completely through his body. He got close enough that I could see the red eyes glaring through the slotted visor as the life winked out of them.

I used my amulet to conceal me. At the end of the left hand passage I found the main tower. Stairs led to an upper level. I crept to the top. Two Redorans; one standing, the other seated at a desk; they did not see or hear me. I slipped past, away from the stairs. They continued to speak, agreeing on the content of the report that lay on the desk. This was the chamber of a Telvanni mage. Another slain retainer lay on the floor in a pool of blood.

The Redorans were drafting a request for reinforcements. The tower is in their territory. I certainly saw no reason to interfere. I left as quietly as I came and returned to the hunt. The enchanted sword of my opponent made a fine gift for the Ashkahn.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Gothos said...

Nice use of the Detect Enchantment spell.

1:53 AM  
Anonymous Bravo 1 said...

Stunning post, I too really like how use worked in detect enchantment, I should try using those myself sometime. ;)

I hope you flesh out the whole respect by hunting thing. I've always liked how you take the game's quests to the next level.

2:23 AM  

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