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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

42: Ashlander honor

Aharasaplit was not hard to find. As I had been told there were plenty of paths to choose from heading roughly towards the southwest coast. I proceeded cautiously, skirting the roving bands of Orc barbarians. The Nords of Dagon Fel cursed these marauders, but suggested that it would not be worth the effort to eliminate any that I ran across as there would just be more to take their place. The barbarians live off the land, which keeps their numbers small, but consistent. Once I reached the coastal path I climbed over a final ridge to reach the beach. At the western end the small camp stands on the sand under the looming ridge.

I approached the camp openly. Without being certain that Zallay Subaddamael would even actually be at this camp I hoped to avoid any unneccessary bloodshed. I was successful I suppose.

Three Ashlanders lived here in this camp. Their backgrounds varied, from being cast out of the major clans to being born in the wilderness to outcast parents. They all accepted their lot, though they could not have been called happy. Zallay was their leader, older, and familiar with the ways of the larger clans. In fact his knowledge was vast, from having traded and raided in all corners of Vvardenfell. His experience and wisdom has given me a great confidence in the Ashlanders, and hope for the coming dark days. It is unfortunate that the qualities that gave me that confidence are the same qualities that made his death inevitible.

Yesterday I donned the ring, the Moon and Star of Nerevar. Though it is beautifully crafted and glowing with enchantments it did not draw too much attention. Magical rings on the fingers of mages are not that unusual, though this ring certainly is. The Nords of Dagon Fel did not seem to notice, and I left this morning with the ring still on my finger. To my surprise even the outcast Ashlanders recognized the ring immediately.

"You are the Nerevarine," Zallay said as soon as he came out of his yurt. He turned to Shanat, who had gone in to get him. "You were right, that is the Moon and Star." He turned back to me. "The Nerevarine, in distant Sheogorad, looking for me. I am honored, but very much concerned."

"He is raising the army! The time has come to sweep the outlanders from our lands." Tibdan Shalarnetus is young, by Dunmer standards, and his eyes flew wide only after everyone else had looked at him. "I mean no offense," he murmured with his eyes turned down. Obviously the idea of Nerevar returning as a Breton is going to take some getting used to.

"I understand," I said. "I have seen for myself that some outlanders do not respect the ways of the Velothi or even the great houses. I also know though that Dagoth Ur respects no one, and no life; Outlander, House Dunmer, Ashlander clans, or Velothi nomads such as yourselves. Dagoth Ur and his minions are the enemy."

"But Nerevar did not come here to recruit the three of us," Zallay said. The certainty in his voice gave me pause. I wondered what insight had prompted it. He continued. "The Nerevarine would start recruiting with the four clans. If he ever got around to us in Sheogorad it would only be after nearly every Ashlander had been rallied. None of that has happened, so that is not why he is here. So again, why have you come seeking me Nerevarine?"

I hesitated. He read my hesitation, the red eyes missing nothing. "Ah," he said, "I see. The Urshilaku have obviously recognized you, so you are a friend to their clan...including Kurapli no doubt."

"Yes," I said. My hand slipped to the hilt of the stormsword.

Shanat said "He is here to kill you Zallay!"

"Yes Shanat, he is." I could not believe how calm he was. "Draw no weapons!" His eyes flicked from one of his men to the other. "You will not draw swords on the Nerevarine!" His voice cracked like a whip. They actually flinched. Truth be told I suspect that I did too. "What it took for this Breton to get that ring is beyond even your wildest imaginings of honorable combat Tibdan. Safe to guess that he would slay all three of us like scribs."

"So Nerevar has returned, and I am to die for my 'crimes'."

"You violated the hospitality of their hearth..."

"I raided the camp of a rival! That is our way. It has always been our way! The four clans grow soft, like the house people." Then he grew quiet. "My methods were perhaps not traditional, but they were not dishonorable. And it is a great honor that it is you they have sent to have vengeance." He turned again to his followers. "My friends, it is time for you to return to the clans. The Urshilaku know the coming storm, they will welcome your blades. The Nerevarine will vouch for you with them." He turned again to me. "I cannot go back, and you have no choice but to kill me, but these are strong blades that will serve your cause."

"I welcome them."

"Then I welcome my death, if you can indeed deliver it." He motioned his men back and stepped back himself. "Come Nerevar let us get this over with." He drew a huge iron claymore from the scabbard on his back. "I see that you wish this were not so, but it is as it must be. I could not serve in your army without offending every Ashkahn of the clans, and if I live it could only be to serve. They could only accept me if I came under the Moon and Star, so my hope for life is that Azura chose you only to bring the ring here to me. If that is so then you will die."

The stormsword hissed from its sheath. "You have made this easy. I thank you for that."

"It is always easy to do the honorable thing," he said.

It wasn't easy. He was a magnificent swordsman. Eventually he fell, and his spirit will no doubt be welcome among the ancestors. His men will leave in the morning to make their way to the Urshilaku camp with his ashes.


Blogger Mikhail the Shmikhail said...

Fantastic entry.

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Ramza said...

well done

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really make me appreciate the Ashlanders more. Thanks for putting so much thought into your hobby. I find your work inspiring as about the only way of legitimizing the insane amount of time a game like Morrowind requires.

9:14 PM  

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