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.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

43: Barbarian shrine

In returning to Dagon Fel I tried to avoid the Orc barbarians that plague the trails of Sheogorad. I found that the ridgelines provide as good a route as the paths. I avoided many Orcs at the expense of having to battle innumerable cliff racers. Then my intention got sidetracked.

Orcish smiths are among the best in the Empire. In fact there are some people who think the Orcs have only been accepted as citizens because of the armor their smiths produce. I think they might be right. They do not have many other good qualities. Among the worst is that they refuse to give up worshipping what all the races of men and elves have come to know as the 'bad' daedra.

I hid on the ridgeline above the statue of Molag Bal that the Orcs had raised. Roving bands of barbarians I could pass by, but this was a presence that was impossible to ignore. I was also considering the need to outfit an army, and the gleam of Orcish armor triggered my deeper tones of avarice. Even though one Orc was clad in steel plate there were at least three full sets of Orcish mail in the valley below.

Four Orcs, or possibly more, would not be easily overcome if I just charged up the path into their valley. I pondered the terrain. The sides of the valley rose steeply, more like a canyon; a box canyon with their statue rising at the head. Cold rain drizzled from a low grey sky. I crept around both sides of the canyon, cautious about loose rocks which might roll down and reveal me. I took particular note of any places where the Orcs might gain access to the ridges. There weren't many.

I chose my first site carefully and drew the Bone-biter bow. I have made little use of the enchantments of this artifact of the Urshilaku, but today it was invaluable. My experience as a target of the Bone-biter, when it was in the ghostly hands of Sul-Senipul, reduced me to stumbling to my knees. Orcs have a tendency to fly into a berserk rage, which can leave them a bit clumsy to start with. The opportunity was perfect.

I drew back an enchanted arrow and aimed carefully. I expected the first shot to be the only easy one and I wanted to make it count. The arrow flew true, dissolving and lengthening in flight into a small but effective bolt of elemental lightning. The target crashed to the ground, providing some confusion about the source of the attack. The Orcs provided even more confusion. They might have thought the bolt had fallen naturally from the overcast. When the second struck they looked around dumbfounded. With the third they finally recognized they were under attack and scattered.

At first they were not sure where the shots were coming from and were not very effective about seeking cover, but fairly soon they were all sheltered by boulders in the bottom of the canyon or spires that rose from the walls. I watched for movement as I crept along the ridge. Two of them broke from cover, racing towards one of the steep scrambles that could get them to the top of the ridge. A streak of magic blasted down on them from the bow and the one in the lead tripped, sprawling full length on the muddy slope. The other I hit in stride with a spark arrow, then dropped slightly down the far side of the ridge to get fully out of sight and ran.

I came back to the ridgetop some fair distance from the slope they had rushed to climb. A second bolt drained away the coordination from the Orc who had made the most headway at a critical point in his climb and he tumbled down the slope. From the bottom of the canyon one opened fire with a crossbow. I sent her scurrying for cover with a hail of arrows.

I continued working my way around their position. Blasts of tangling magic from the bow kept them off the more climbable slopes. Lightning struck them in swarms from each new vantage until they could find new cover. Eventually they all lay dead somewhere near the feet of the statue of their blood thirsty god.

I left them on the base of the statue after I stripped off their armor. It took two trips to bring all the finely crafted weapons and armor here, to the End of the World. I crated it up to leave with the clerk until I send someone to get it. My pack is loaded with Dwemer artifacts, some beautiful limeware pieces for Ahnassi's table, and the mask of Clavicus Vile. Even neutralized as it is I cannot just leave an item of such dangerous power behind.


Blogger Scott Hanson said...

Ah, so the mask was not left behind, eh? I wonder what was buried in that blood red cloak yesterday? Maybe we'll never know...

7:57 AM  
Blogger Scott Hanson said...

Great battle tactics. Doing strategy like that in-game seems cheese-play, but writing it as a narrative makes for an excellent adventure, good work!

7:59 AM  

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