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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.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

29: Nerevarine and the Tribunal Temple

I am making my way back to the northern Ashlands. Fate has left me little choice but to report to Sul-Matuul with two of the three tokens he requires and then return to Kogoruhn for the third. I am sure that I must fully complete the challenge. He did not set a time limit for my performance, but I want Sul-Matuul to know that I have been to Kogoruhn rather than just wandering the island.

I checked in with all the guild stewards. The guild guides made that a simple matter once I arrived in Balmora. Things seem to be progressing smoothly with the guild. The Telvanni are quiet, at least for the moment. There has been no further deterioration in the health of the Emperor, so the concern about the legions being withdrawn is not pressing.

I ended my tour in Ald-ruhn, thinking that I would catch a strider to Mar Gaan. Unfortunately that will have to wait until morning. Ash storms, blighted monsters, loss of trade due to the embargo; these things are taking their toll on Vvardenfell's economy, and its people. Caravaners are finding that the dangers of their routes are hardly justifying their profits. I could probably have made Mar Gaan on foot by sunset, but my attention went to the Shadow Shield that I am carrying. I went to the temple rather than press on today.

Tuls Valen was happy to see me. We caught up, since I had not seen him in several weeks. He had heard about me becoming the Archmage. "Congratulations Arvil," he said. "When you said that you needed a break from the pilgrim's trail to attend to your duty to your guild I didn't realize you meant to take over!"

I laughed. "I don't know if that was really in my mind then Tuls. As I remember it I was mostly wanting to rest my feet and it seemed a good excuse."

If you hadn't done so much to prove yourself in the temple that wouldn't be funny," he said. "Few acolytes complete the pilgrimages that you did in anywhere near as short a time. Perhaps the long lives of the Dunmer make us complacent."

"I can understand that," I said. I can understand long lifespan now better than Tuls could possibly guess, but I left that unsaid. I have a strong friendship with the leader of the Ald-ruhn temple, and I planned to put it to a strong test, but I wanted to ease into it.

We chatted on, and in fairly short order the schedule of the silt striders brought us around to the blight, and the ghostfence. "Tuls, you are here in Ald-ruhn. This is sort of the front line in the battle, being in the Ashlands. The hierarchs in Vivec City aren't seeing what you see."

"I make my reports," he said. I could see his defenses starting to rise.

"No doubt, no doubt at all. But I don't know if a report can carry the first hand experience of the ash storms, or what it's like out in Mar Gaan."

"True enough," he agreed cautiously. He thought he knew where I was headed, and it was making him uncomfortable. If he had really known we would likely have come to blows. I kept going, slowly easing deeper.

"You sent me to Gnissis to see the ash mask. Vivec himself would recognize the urgency the ash storms should bring to us, don't you think? He wept for his people, choked by the ash. He would surely not want us to stand around as if nothing is happening here."

"The Tribunal created the ghostfence to contain the terrors of Red Mountain..."

"Yes they did," I interrupted, "but did they mean it to work forever?"

He stopped to consider that a moment. "I would think so," he finally said.

"Well, we know that is what the doctrine has become, and I'm not trying to line either one of us up for persecution, but really I haven't seen anything in Vivec's writings that says they did, or didn't."

He thought, then sighed. "Neither have I, really. The ghostfence was built to contain Dagoth Ur, and it has..."

"But here in the Ashlands we know that it really isn't any more," I finished for him. "Tuls I have something to show you." I drew out the Shadow Shield. The gleam of the Dwemer metal shimmered through its haze of enchantments. "Do you know what this is?"

"I might," he said. "If it is what I think it is you should not have it."

"That suggests to me that it is exactly what you think it is. The Shadow Shield; an artifact of House Dagoth."

"Where did you get this?" he asked. "The Shadow Shield was forged by the Dwemer for Dagoth Morin in the ancient times, before the wars."

"I know. I got it from the tomb of Dagoth Morin, in the crater of Red Mountain."

"They let you bring this out through Ghostgate?"

"I didn't come out through Ghostgate Tuls. I didn't go in that way either. I went in under the ghostfence, through a tunnel complex the Sixth House is using for the same purpose."

"They have tunneled under the ghostfence!" His eyes narrowed. "Arvil, there are those who would say this whole conversation is blasphemy." I didn't suggest that the canals between Red Mountain and Kogoruhn were there all along, but I suspect they were.

"I know Tuls. Listen, it was not my intention to prove anything. I didn't want to go to the crater of Red Mountain, believe me. I didn't actually know that was where the tunnels led until I got there. But I did get there, and that really can't be undone."

"And you have told me. And I believe you. And that really can't be undone either." He took a deep, sighing breath, coming to grips.

"Tuls, the ghostfence is not containing Dagoth Ur. We can see that all around us. The hierarchs in Vivec City may have reasons for not wanting to believe that, but it is the truth. And the temple owes it to the people to deal with what is, not necessarily what the hierarchs would prefer to believe. That would really be the will of the Tribunal."

I didn't press him any further. I had already shaken my friend to the very core. There was no doubt that he could have branded me a heretic, but he let me go.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Bookworm said...

Copenhagen, Denmark

Great writing as usual.

12:46 AM  
Anonymous ms. pinky starfish said...

Awesome journal.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Mebyon said...

Smashing!

4:07 PM  

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