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.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

24: To trap a soul

This morning I rose with the rest of the hunters. It seemed clear that I earned some respect yesterday. Over breakfast I was included in the conversation more than before, but it didn't take long for that to get difficult. They trust their Ashkahn and their Wise Woman, but it is difficult for them to consider an outlander as a possible Nerevarine. I did not press the claim, but I did not back away from it either. Truthfully I just wanted to change the subject.

The opportunity to turn the conversation came from a hunter named Tussurradad. He said something about a golden creature that he saw yesterday. I pressed for details, and he gladly became the center of attention.

His description was concise, and as I asked about specific details it was clear that he had seen a golden saint. These rare constructs are summoned from a distant Daedric plane. They are basically nothing but an intangible spirit animating a gilded shell of pure enchantments. They are the most potent charge that can be contained in a soul gem, allowing the enchantment of the most powerful items. I asked where he had seen this creature and was pleased that it was not far away.

"But," he said, "the ruins of Assurnabitashpi house a shrine to Mehunes Dagon. They are horribly accursed. Hunters circle wide to avoid it. It is a very dangerous place outl...Arvil Bren."

I let his slip pass. "A dangerous place for a dangerous creature, clan brother. But a reward of great power to the bold."

Kurapli, the clan's armorer spoke up. "I have heard these creatures are often armed with great Daedric weapons; weapons of inhuman sharpness, like the summoned weapon of a conjurer."

"They are," I agreed. I put the Daedric shield I carry on the table. "Their weapons are like this shield. It is bound over from the Daedric plane permanently. It can turn the edge of the deadliest sword. It is an artifact of another plane that would rarely be found in an armorer's shop, and then would likely not be for sale. There are few opportunities to own a thing like this. I cannot turn from this one. Where is this ruin?"

I set off to the west as the other hunters conferred. There was little doubt that the morning's hunt would be delayed. They did not go their solitary ways, but climbed to a hilltop where they apparently had a view of the ruins. I would either impress them, or die.

The ruin of Assurnabitashpi is vast, and would be a source of great wealth to a hardy adventurer who dared to enter the shrine. I may be willing, but today it was not neccessary. It also would not have been ideal to leave my clansmen watching an empty ruin and a closed door. Instead I stood challengingly in the open, calling down the guardians of the cursed ruin.

First to catch sight of me were two great ogrims. They lumbered out of the ruins on their great legs, like the trunks of twin trees. Ogrim are not fast, and these two charged with the half hearted gait of monsters that are accustomed to being outrun by their intended victims. Ogrims are also not very smart, and they had covered half the distance between us before the recognition showed on their huge grey green faces that I was not taking to my heels. They faltered a step in their surprise, then accelerated their charge with a great gleeful roar. I'm sure my observers could hear it from their distant vantage.

The staff is far from my favorite weapon, but the powerful destructive spells woven into the fibers of my staff of office make it serviceable. It serves me well because the spells are unleashed on impact. A jab with the head or butt of the staff, normally a weak blow doing little damage, will unleash a storm of elemental energies on my enemy. The explosions provided a good showing for my observers.

The ogrim tried to use brute strength, which they have in abundance. To be caught in their grip would have been a terrible death, but the same lack of speed that has them so often outrun makes them vulnerable to a quick footed opponent. My time in Vvardenfell has honed me to a fine physical edge, but I wanted to push myself as far away from risk as I could. When their charge was within moments of completion I called upon a spell of the school of restoration to fortify my speed even further, making my advantage over my lumbering foes insurmountable.

I danced lightly aside as great arms slowly gathered air. The scaly green titans seemed to be wading through water they were so slow in comparison. I struck a huge round foot with my staff as it passed, and the explosion of magica sent the ogrim sprawling on its great belly in the dust. I released one hand and let the force of that foot kick the staff in a blurring whirl around my other hand, grabbing it again very close to its silver shod tip. It had just enough length at this full extension to rap the other ogrim lightly across the back of the neck as it lumbered past. The resulting fireball streaking from the tip of the staff sailed wide and exploded against a distant block of rubble, but the ogrim's head was shrouded in a cascade of elemental sparks. He howled in agony and rage as he dragged himself to a skidding halt.

As I said, I am not overly skilled with the staff, and without its enchantments neither of my foes would have been badly hurt by those initial blows. However, even without great skill the broad back of the fallen ogrim was an easy target. With my enhanced speed I was on him before he could gain his knees, much less his feet, and I brought the staff down with both hands in a whistling arc that went straight over my head. The stout steel shaft is very resilient, and reinforced by the enchantments woven through the essence of the metal. Even so the force of that impact brought the weapon into a great bow as it fell across the scaly green back. It sprang straight, driving the beast face first into the ground in an explosion of fire and sparks that ended its life.

Confusion flickered across the face of the other ogrim as it turned to find its partner already slain. I brought the staff to the ready, gripped in both hands across my body, head to my right and slightly raised. "You are going back to the plane of the Daedra, foul beast," I challenged. The creature had learned not to charge, and it stalked forward with its arms outstretched. Though certainly not nimble it could lunge from side to side, and clearly hoped to sweep me up in the crook of a great arm and crush me. Many of the green scales of its head and neck were blackened, and cracked as it moved allowing a thick grey blood to ooze through.

I spun the staff. With my heightened speed the ogrim seemed to be motionless, viewed through a gleaming disk. With a lunging step and a move that I learned from Wyan the smith I turned the staff from its vertical spin, bringing all of its velocity into one sweeping blow to the outside of the opponent's knee. The attack was designed to come in below a swordsmans shield and strike the vulnerable joint between his armor and his boots, but it was an effective way to keep my staff and myself out of the beasts grip. The blow fell lower on the huge ogrim, crashing against what could be called a shin. It was like striking a stone column. The impact rang through the shaft like a great gong, and the staff fell from my numbed grasp. The ogrim crashed down to one knee, engulfed in flame and again wreathed in huge sparks of elemental energy. I conjured a spear and rammed it through the titanic neck.

The ogrims lay dead. I gathered my staff and shook the dust from my robes. Fortunately the battle had not lasted long. Drawn unerringly to the clash of arms the golden saint emerged at a trot from the ruins. It came on quickly, but with control, a huge Daedric axe ready in its hands.

The enchantment of my staff was nearly spent, and a golden saint relies on great skill rather than the clumsy strength of the ogrim. I felt that I needed my best to match that skill. I dropped the staff to the gritty sand and conjured another spear. The mighty axe sped in great whistling arcs, but I kept just out of reach, backing and dodging. At one point I took a fierce blow that rang off the shield strapped high on my left arm that spun me sprawling to the ground, where only a frantic roll evaded the overhand blow that would have split me in two. But while my defenses were seldom breached the great reach of the spear allowed me to prick away at the misnamed saint. "You are more of a demon, spawned from the plane of the Daedra, nothing but a curse in this world," I jeered at one point when my spear had struck a particularly telling blow. The creature fought on in silence. The only sound it made was a sort of hissing sigh when it finally collapsed to the ground.

As it struggled to rise I cast the spell it dreaded most. Mystical energies coursed around it in a purple cascade. That broke its silence, and a searing howl of despair erupted from the golden helm. I drove the spear through, pinning it to the ground, a deathblow that would have dispatched the spirit back to the plane from which it was summoned. Would have, but did not. Instead its life force was channeled by the spell surrounding it, channeled into the soul gem glowing hot in my hand.

My clan marveled at the Daedric axe. It is a great prize. A prize that can be made all the greater if enchanted with the powerful soul of the creature that wielded it.


Anonymous Arthmodeus said...

Excellent! Great uses of spells and description.

3:49 AM  
Blogger Mikhail the Shmikhail said...

Loved this entry, especially the description of the Ogrims and the soultrap.

1:00 PM  
Blogger avaric said...

Great description on the enchantments the staff has And the stupidity of the ogrims.

11:38 PM  

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