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.

Monday, September 12, 2005

41: Sorkveld the Raven

I am somewhat of a hero here in Dagon Fel. The innkeepers and customers here at the End of the World are in universal agreement that no one will mourn the necromancer and his minions. At every opportunity I have explained that the Mage's Guild does not allow the necromancy that was Sorkveld's specialty. I think I can expect our members to be greeted with a bit more hospitality from the Nords of this remote village in the future, should any have reason to come here.

Sarnir, the clerk who runs the End of the World, has given me more information about Aharasaplit camp. He also has given me a room that I can use for the duration of my stay in Sheogorad. Sorkveld's tower was rich with artifacts. Some from its origins as a Dwemer stronghold and others no doubt accumulated during Sorkveld's unsavory activities. Another that is wrapped in a blood red cloak and hidden deep in a chest, locked with the most powerful locking spells at my command.

I arrived at the tower unannounced and uninvited, so I did not expect a joyful welcome. I was not disappointed. The round iron door was opened by a burly Nord clad in bonemold armor, including a closed face helm. In his meaty fist he held a great mace of Dwemer metal. He held it ready, not raised threateningly but still clearly letting me know that I was not welcome. I could not complain since I was using the spear of Erur-Dan as a walking staff, but I had at least pushed my helm of Dwemer metal up to reveal my face. No light banter would create any comfort between us.

"Hail bold warrior. I come from the Imperial Mage's Guild, and seek counsel with your master."

"But he seeks no counsel from you stranger. You would be best served to leave Sheogorad and crawl back to wherever you came from."

"Ah. That doesn't solve the problem though. The Empire considers Sheogorad to be part of the Vvardenfell District, and the new Archmage of Vvardenfell has taken a personal interest in Sheogorad, specifically in Sorkveld the Raven."

A Dunmer woman in glittering robes spoke from the bottom of the stair. "The Raven has no interest in your Archmage that I know of. If he does he will pay a visit I'm sure. Right now he is not to be disturbed."

"What are you doing here?" I asked. "How have you appeased your ancestors, who know you serve a necromancer?"

"I study the ways of the outlanders. My ancestors honor knowledge, knowledge that may be needed to defend our land from your Empire. I use only outlander bones and ghosts."

"Well, that seems very noble of you sister mage, but I think very few of your race would approve. Necromancy is prohibited by your people, and the guild in Vvardenfell supports them in that."

At the mention of necromancy the warrior had shifted his shield and his stance, drawing himself ready for battle. "Mage, it is time for you to leave," he said.

"Recognizing that there is no solution, friend?" I said. "Dagon Fel is too remote for a simple promise. The only way I can be sure there will be no necromancy practiced here is if your master takes ship, or dies. I wouldn't be here if I wasn't capable of matching his skills." I lowered my spear point. "You," I gestured to include the Dunmer woman, "do not have to die for him. You are free to leave with him, or without him."

"You've chosen the wrong opponent, mage," said the armored Nord, hefting his mace. Magica began to coalesce in the Dunmer woman's hands. I sighed.

With the door at my back I had no room to back away, and the mace wielding warrior would quickly be too close for the spear to be effective. I struck the woman and a cascade of venomous magic spread over her from the wound, disrupting whatever spell she was crafting. I released the spear, hoping that it would stay lodged between her ribs and disrupt her control. The Nord's mace crashed against the shadow shield, driving me back against the door.

I drew my stormsword. The razor sharp edge of volcanic glass sliced across the Nord's bonemold shield, hewing away part of the resinous material. Glass on bonemold does not draw sparks like a steel sword striking a metal shield would, but the stormsword's enchantment does not care what it strikes. Huge sparks leapt from the impact and the Nord howled in pain as he dropped back down the stairs. The stair gave me the advantage of height. I crouched, so that my shield could deflect his mace away from my legs, and rained blows of the stormsword down on him.

Things were going well until I suddenly sagged under a great weight. All of my equipment was glowing with a light purple haze of magica, and I immediately recognized that the Dunmer woman had struck me with a burdening spell. The Nord whooped a savage war cry and leapt to the attack. I fell back, sitting heavily on a higher step. Fortunately, the Dunmer had chosen to confront me using alteration magic, the school in which I am the master. The stormsword fell at my side, but with a few quick gestures I countered her spell with my own, a feathering spell that reduced the weight back to normal and beyond, and I took it back up.

The Nord took advantage of the opportunity and his heavy mace smashed into my shoulder. Typical of the Nord he was gripped with battle lust and over committed to the attack, thinking to quickly finish a fallen foe. Being sprawled on my back on the stairs was certainly not my preference, but any circumstance can be turned to advantage against a sufficiently unwary opponent, and the Nord was just such an opponent.

For a long time I have worn a special pair of pants under my armor. They are exquisitely crafted, and that workmanship allows them to hold a significant level of enchantment, powered by the spirit of a golden saint. I call them the pants of strongleg, and they have allowed me to carry the heavy loads of armor and loot that I have often gathered in my travels. All of that enchantment focused in my left leg as it folded under the weight of the Nord, my foot planted firmly against his bonemold encased torso. With all the strength and enchantment I could muster I straightened that leg and launched my adversary into an arching trajectory that cleared many of the steep steps before he landed, tumbling into a broken heap at the bottom of the flight.

"Your turn," I snarled as I sheathed the stormsword and bounded down the stairs. Alteration magic chorused around me, and a blasting purple bolt struck the Dunmer, crushing her to the floor. She began gesturing frantically, drawing together her own feather spell. "Alteration is my field, not yours, necromancer." Another blast of purple light and her hands fell at her sides, pinned by the now insurmountable weight of her sleeves. I took up the fallen spear of Erur-Dan. "I wish I could count on you fleeing this place when that spell wears off, but you are too dangerous and you made your choice." Hatred glared from her red eyes as I raised the spear.

Suddenly the cuirasse of the savior's hide that protects my body was pierced and an ebony shortsword slid between my ribs. Bloody froth spewed from my lips as I gasped in agony. I turned , swiping with the spear, and a crouching Bosmer clad in chitinous armor of insect shells leapt away. I choked out the shadow shield's word of activation and shimmered into invisibility. "Not fair!" raged the Bosmer. I hid from you fair and square, mage! No magic required. But how long can your spell last, eh?" He backed against a wall, his ebony blade still dripping with my blood weaving in front of him.

I collapsed onto the stairs, trying vainly to make as little noise as possible. "Is that the sound of a fall?" asked the Bosmer gleefully. "Will your spell wear off so I can finish you, or will it just expire with your life to reveal your lifeless husk? Don't worry, our master will have you on your feet and hulking about in no time." The problem with invisibility spells is that they are broken by almost any action. I could not just lay there on the steps with my lungs filling with blood, but gulping a healing potion would bathe me in the blue light of restorative magic. I had no choice.

"More spells?" screached the Bosmer as he leapt forward. I scuttled, crablike, up the stairs on my back, trying to give the healing magic time to bind my severe wound. His ebony blade rang against the shadow sheild. Drawing on my last reserves of magica I drew a fiery shell of elemental energy around myself, scorching my enemy and giving me precious moments to gather myself.

I had dropped the spear when the stealthy blow struck. I drew the stormsword and held off his furious assault as tissues continued to knit under my right arm. Second by second my sword got more mobile, and the Bosmer got more desperate. Eventually I was fully recovered, and the Bosmer fell with his breastplate shattered by a slashing blow from the keen glass edge. Lightning played over his corpse.

Time was of the essence. The Dunmer mage was beginning to stir as the burdening spells that held her down ran out their course. A sweep of the stormsword severed her head.

A ladder led into the upper level of Sorkveld's tower. I did not want to face the necromancer with my own reserves completely depleated, so I quickly drained a flask of magical elixer refined from the heart of a daedric monster, carried in a base of comberry juice. Brimming with magical energies I cast a chameleon spell and a levitation spell, then threw open the trapdoor. While not as effective as invisibility, the chameleon spell is not disrupted by action, and made me difficult to see as I hurtled up through the trapdoor, continuing upward until I was pressed to the ceiling of the tower room.

"You interrupt me?" roared the necromancer. He wore blood red robes and a helm of adamantium that included a strangely calming mask. "Look! Gaze upon the features of Clavicus Vile; the greatest necromancer of all. See your doom!" He brandished a steel axe that glowed with elemental energy, sparks dancing along the wicked edge.

I dropped to the floor. "Necromancer," I said. "You defy the law of the land, and the rules of the Mage's Guild. You defile the dead, and the living. The tortured spirits that you have bound and betrayed await you."

"They may be waiting for this Nordic husk, but they will wait forever for Clavicus Vile." The necromancer gestured and a partly decomposed corpse rose from its slab. I struck quickly with the venomous spear before the horrific stench of the bonewalker could sap my strength. "Nicely done. You may be more worthy of my mask than Sorkveld. Perhaps you will slay him." The axe crashed against the shadow shield and elemental lightning splashed around me. Clavicus Vile may have professed unconcern about the demise of his host, but he wasn't going to surrender.

Eventually the greater reach of my venomous spear carried the battle and the Nord fell, his sparkaxe clattering to the floor. Eerily, even after he had fallen dead he continued to speak. "Victory. Now claim your prize; the power, the glory...the mask of Clavicus Vile." The voice was strangely compelling, and I found myself on my knees next to the body. Clasping the helm in both hands I lifted it off the fallen Nord's brow. The corpse stopped speaking, but the voice droned on. "Yes. Yes. You are powerful! Only one such as you could safely wear the mask and harness its power. The mighty spirit of Clavicus Vile would be yours to command."

I turned the helm and raised it in both hands. "Yessss," hissed the voice. Magical energies swirled over the inner surfaces of the mask, and through the eyeholes I could see that the interior of the tower gleamed with exotic energies. I began to lower the helm. "Yesss"

"No!" I flung the helm aside with a shudder. "No." The spirit of Clavicus Vile, bound into the mask for eternity, shrieked in rage. I fumbled into my pocket and slipped the Moon and Star onto my finger. "You are an ancient evil Clavicus Vile, but Arvil Bren belongs to me, and I am just as ancient." I seized a skull from a skeleton lying on a shelf and shoved it into the helm.

Red light flickered in the empty eye sockets and glared through the mask. "Nerevar!" The voice was disjointed, whispering above the chatter of teeth as the bare jaws clattered together. Guided by the Moon and Star I reached out, and tore away the lower jaw. Bound forever to the silenced skull, the mask of Clavicus Vile will never threaten again.


Anonymous Paul said...

Fantastic! If I ever needed a reason to come here - this entry is it. A perfect example of using creative writing to bring to life a peice of the game... I love it.. Possibly one of the best entries yet....

Makes me look at the Helm in an entirely different light

5:59 PM  
Anonymous mikekearn said...

Gee...did we just find out what is wrapped in a blood red cloak locked forever in a chest in an abandoned necromancer's tower never to be found again? Perhaps...

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Alex. said...

That was an exelent entry. I love the ending!

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am on my second Fighter's Guild mission in sheogerad, and I've passed this wizard's tower several times and considered whether to go in - on reading today's journal heading, I thought "Great! Maybe i'll see what Arvil Bren does, and take my cue from him" - on reading further......."Maybe not, or at least, maybe not today!".

Brilliant as ever! Tank you, please keep writing. Good to see you're getting more new fans - once Arvil Bren is read, you're hooked!....I know, I've been reading almost since the first entry!

- Angela

- Angela

1:31 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Very, very nice... and an intriguing end, with Arvil speaking of himself in the third person.

What could it mean? :-)

- Joseph.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Scott Hanson said...

Well done! I love reading the magnificent action you write into your stories. The following game I am playing has so much more life to it because of your journal.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could really put your writing to work, make money off of it. I love that game and I love your story. Even though I play Evil in the game ^.^

8:14 AM  

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