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 04, 2005

Nineteen: Juggling

I awoke this morning from a fitful doze. The brief sleep did little for me, and I had to rely on restoratives that I brewed in my lab. Fortunately I have learned well. I have also learned that there are times that call for walking alone. By the time I crossed the double bridges over the Odai and turned in the south gate of Balmora I had restored my spirit, the part that is beyond the reach of any alchemist's brew. Then I put aside the questions of trials and prophecy that are the lot of the Nerevarine. As the Nerevarine, if I am, I will shape the future of Vvardenfell, but today I needed to be the Archmage of the Mage's Guild.

Under Trebonius the mages were in some ways sheltered, and in other ways restrained. For me to be out of contact for the last few days was a trial for them; on both counts. While Ranis is among my most trusted advisors it was good to appear unannounced in the hall in Balmora and put things into perspective. My best friends in the guild, in all of Vvardenfell actually, needed to see that me being the Archmage was going to change some things...and that it was not changing some others.

I came in upstairs, through the enchanter's shop. Galbedir was momentarily shocked, and I laughed at her expression. It took a minute to sort out that I was her friend, her customer, and the Archmage, all in one untidy package. I dumped a bundle of various weaponry that I had claimed, some already enchanted and some ideal for enchanting. Our opening round of negotiation was strange. Her opening price was absurdly high. "Galbedir, what are you doing?" I said.

"You could demand whatever price you wish Arvil Bren. I know that."

"And you might think that since I'm your friend your shop doesn't have to be profitable, but it does. I'm not going to stop Ranis from seeing to that." At the mention of Ranis' name her eyes widened. "Tough spot." I grinned. "It would be best if at times like this you treated me as a customer, not the Archmage, and not your friend."

Ranis was a bit more difficult. The hall in Balmora has been her personal turf. I don't think Trebonius ever set foot there. When she saw me coming down the stairs her mouth fell open. I had never imagined Ranis at a loss for words. "Let's go in here a moment," I said, opening the door to her office. She recovered well, but it was a defining moment. It had always been her that used those words.

Ultimately the resilience of the Dunmer won through, and I took something from that. Ranis did not expect to have an Archmage who would just walk into her hall. That is what she has. When her expectations turned counter to reality she moved on; the Dunmer way. "Our lives are long Arvil Bren, we see the world change around us, and we adapt." Will that help the Great House councils accept me as the Nerevarine? The Ashlander clans? I can hope.

Our new relationship was reflected in the way she responded to my needs. It is necessary that any hall can serve as a base for me. Ranis left her office and gave a flurry of instructions. In short order word had gone out through the guild guides to every hall that I was available in Balmora. Hopefully that not only gave them a chance to report anything I needed to resolve, but also will have them all better prepared for my possible arrival.

By the end of the day I had heard from Ald-ruhn, Sadrith Mora, and Vivec City, and given a handful of decisions and opinions. There was nothing critical, but it made clear that I expect to keep my hand on the direction of the guild.

At the dinner table everyone was a little uncomfortable. I tried to imagine what it would have been like if Trebonius ever had visited the hall. His demands would have revolved around the show of false respect that fed his pompous ego. It gave me an inspiration. "My work is over for the day," I said. "I assume my usual bunk is open." To sit here at the library table, where I have sat so often, writing in my battered journal as I always have; it's a comfort to me, and to my friends.


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