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, December 05, 2005

8: Power of the Hlaalu

I have received a land grant from the Duke. Since the land is in Redoran territory and the grant was approved by the Redoran administration that was really a forgone conclusion, but the experience has certainly given me an insight into the governance of the Imperial province.

The Dren family has a long relationship with House Hlaalu, and it seems clear that Duke Vedam Dren would not be impartial in any dispute. The outrages of the Cammona Tong, for example, would certainly meet greater resistance if the head of the Tong were not the Duke's own brother. This level of corruption would be completely intolerable, but the Empire bears the brunt of the costs and I have little interest in their problems. Dagoth Ur and the blight are problem enough. I must keep an eye to the future however. If the Empire withdraws House Hlaalu will be far more vulnerable, and House Redoran must be poised to rise.

So I find myself performing a service for Archmaster Bolvyn Venim, even though the Archmaster is the key opposition to my own rise in the house. Our house has two key points that strengthen our position; superior warriors and honorable behavior. That honor is being widely smeared by the Hlaalu.

The rumor is that Bolvyn Venim is having an adulterous affair with the wife of another Redoran council member. I have heard nothing of this in Ald-ruhn, and cannot imagine such a rumor spreading elsewhere without being heard at the source. Such a smear could easily be a Hlaalu ploy. Perhaps it is only paranoia, but I even thought I saw a bit of a smirk from the Duke when he mentioned the 'honor of House Redoran'.

So I am here in Balmora. The Eight Plates, the Southwall, the Lucky Lock-up, the Council Club; a thorough pub crawl in the company of my old friend Arathor. The gregarious Bosmer provided the perfect opportunity to hear all the gossip, and clearly the source of the rumors about Venim was a petty Hlaalu noble, Ondres Nerano. I paid him a late visit.

"Either prove your words, or pay for them," I challenged, after I had explained why I was there. I briefly hoped there would be proof...proof that could bring Venim down. But there was none.

"I don't have to prove anything about Redorans," Nerano blustered.

"No you don't," I countered, "but I would think you would want to. I'm returning to Ald-ruhn in the morning. If I return with this rumor it will go nowhere, but if you have proof it would surely disrupt House Redoran. So if you don't produce proof it is clear you don't have any."

"Nor do I need any! I don't fear the overblown reputation of Redoran warriors, and I certainly don't fear you."

A duel was obviously in the offing. Killing a Hlaalu noble in the middle of Balmora would have been a problem, and would have done little to reduce the already prevalent rumor. A non-lethal duel would serve better, and terms were quickly agreed upon.

Arathor served as my second, and a member of Nerano's household was his. We all agreed that truth would obviously side with the victor, so if I won Nerano would publicly apologize for repeating a tale which had now been proven to him to be false. For my part if he won I would provide him with 'confirmation from a member of house Redoran' that the story was true.

Nerano proved to be a stout pugilist. The Hlaalu pride themselves on their skill with short blades, which tends to train them for quickness of hand. Fortunately my own practices with the spear and heavier armors gave me a base of endurance that my months of traveling on Vvardenfell have raised to a high standard.

He circled steadily to his left, firing stinging jabs. I slipped most of them, but must admit that they hurt when they connected. When I did slip past the jab he would quickly cover up, with his forearms protecting his head and his elbows in tight, preventing serious blows to the body. A most frustrating foe.

Frustrating, but not unbeatable. I'm sure that he has beaten many other fighters who impatiently wore themselves out with useless blows against his arms, but tonight he met a wiser opponent. When he covered up I backed off rather than let him lean his weight against me and wear me down. Sneaking my own jab between his hands after I backed off eventually broke him down. A cut opened above his left eye, and drizzling blood began to cloud his vision.

Blinking furiously he stepped up his own attack, packing flurried combinations behind the consistent jab. I counterpunched effectively while slipping most of his blows. Eventually he had to yield. The honor of the house has been redeemed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you! Great stuff.

- Angela

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Rex Little said...

A good thing Arvil never joined the Thieves' Guild. Long before joining House Redoran, he might have killed Ondres Nerano to get the key to his mansion. Then he'd have no one to duel, and his story would end right here.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rex:No it wouldn't. That just wouldn't have happened in the story.
Have a little common sense, for everyone's sake.


1:18 PM  

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