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, February 06, 2006

13: Return to the tomb

I again took the silt strider to Molag Mar. Today I hurried through the morning mists of the Ascadian Isles to the strider port just north of Vivec City and reached Molag Mar around noon. This time the ride was somber. My overconfidence shattered, I was plagued by doubts. I wondered if this errand was too far off the path of the Nerevarine, if Azura had guided the golden saint's hand in an effort to put me back on course. No matter. I knew I could not move forward without returning to the tomb. If nothing else, failure would lose the support of the Redoran treasurer, a fatal blow to my quest to be called Hortator.

I did not enter Molag Mar, or follow the trail that had led me to the tomb the first time. I left the strider port and levitated over the ridge to the south, descending directly before the stone arch that marked the entrance. By speeding on my course like an arrow in flight I left no room for hesitation or doubt.

I crept silently down the stairs. The door at the bottom of the stair stood slightly ajar. I pushed it gently with the tip of the ebony spear I had armed myself with for this rematch. The chamber within was spattered with gore. The golden saint, mightiest of the Daedric servants, obviously considers cleaning up to be a task for lesser beings. The spot where I fell was marked by a pool of blood, dried to blackness in the torchlight.

The golden saint, with its great glass axe, was absent. A storm atronach paced the chamber. I charged, the sharpened ebony point sheared through the binding mists, and the elemental energies burst their bonds in a roar of thunder. The misty form writhed as the atronach tried to maintain its unwelcome presence in the mortal plane, but a crushing overhand blow from the ebony shaft drove it to the floor, where it stilled and began to dissipate.

I had been knocked to my knees by a similar blow from the saint's axe. The glass axe had cleaved through my shoulder and deep into my chest. In a sense I too had dissipated, gulping the recall potion I carry for the most dire emergencies. I have no idea how Ahnassi kept me from bleeding to death when I appeared at the house. Released from my conscious control it had wrecked havoc, but perhaps the magica stream that channels through me helped keep me alive, even though it had overwhelmed all efforts to heal my near dead body.

I had no time for these considerations as I stood in the entry chamber of the tomb. A daedroth burst into the chamber from the columned passage leading into the depths. A bolt of green ichorous magica streamed from its taloned hands, and I dodged towards the exit as it splashed off the walls.

The daedroth leapt in pursuit, crocodile jaws snapping. Using my position on the stairs to bring my weight down with the blow I drove the spear through the heavy scales of its hide. It roared in pain and fury and released another blast of poison. I countered with a resistance spell, leaving the spear lodged in the beasts heaving chest, and backed rapidly up the stairs. Clawing at the heavy spear that hampered its climb kept the daedroth from charging after me, and I rained arrows upon it from the top of the stair until it lay dead.

In a small chapel off the entry chamber I found two of the three artifacts that Faral had sent me to recover. Had I found the third I may have left the tomb rather than seek vengeance on the golden saint. I was not conceding to fear, I was just willing to leave the creature with its victory. Perhaps.

Marshalling my courage I crept further into the tomb. The steps from which the daedroth had emerged were wide and shallow, with a row of columns down the center holding a high arched ceiling. I checked carefully behind the pillars. A passage led onward, and I pressed on.

The passage ended in a gallery, a wide balcony surrounding a central stairwell. A scamp, one of the least of the Daedric servants, scurried about. The creature was barely tall enough to be seen over the stone parapets. I crouched low, nocked an arrow in the Bone-biter bow, and rose slowly in the shadowy arch of the passage. The arrow caught the scamp just below its pointed ear, a bare inch above the parapet.

The stairs descended from an opening in the parapet, flanked by stone trioliths faced with gold. Just below the floor level dark waters lapped at the stone steps. I placed a small offering on each of the shrines. The water was cold.

Aided by a water breathing spell I searched the depths until I found a narrow passage. I felt through the darkness until it opened into a wider hall with a higher ceiling. A stair led up out of the water at the far end, but I wanted to see more. A spell of buoyancy to counter the weight of my equipment brought me to the small pocket between the ceiling and the surface of the dark water. I could see into a large chamber above the stair.

Clawed feet crossed my view in an oddly hopping gait, followed by a dragging segmented tail that ended in a fearsome stinger. I eased forward to see more of the monster, hoping that it would again cross my field of vision; a strange thing to hope for. Above the clawed feet rose a shapely female figure, marred by huge bat-like wings and crowned with a visage of furious hatred.

My early training in archery came, fortunately, from friends of my adopted father. Friends of unsavory character made in the thieves' guild. While I learned the traditional erect stance of the bowman that young nobles are taught, I also was trained in the more subtle stances that stealth may demand. I crouched on the steps with the water lapping around my chest, holding my bow horizontally to keep both limbs free.

The nightmarish creature of the void died of rage. The shrieking face twisted in fury. The venomous tail lashed the water in front of me. The taloned feet sliced through the air like razor sharp daggers. But the great buffeting wings held the creature out of the passage. In its madness it could not manage to fold its wings to enter, and in its outrage it could not stay away from the narrow opening despite the hail of arrows that eventually dropped it to the stone floor.

The creature did not have the calm malice of a golden saint. I did not realize the depths of that icy resolve. The saint could stand idly as the monster battered itself against the constraints of the chamber. It watched as the monster collapsed with its icy blood flowing from a dozen wounds. It lurked in the shadows of the chamber until I had crept in to prod the lifeless creature with the ebony spear. The whistle of the falling axe alerted me, but not really in time.

Once again the great glass axe struck. Once again my lifesblood splattered the unfeeling stone of the Redas tomb. Once more the dry triumphant laughter of the golden saint rang in my ears. This time though I kept my feet. Holding my lifeless left arm clamped to my body with my right hand I fled the chamber, instantly turning the watery passage redly opaque as I dove off the stair. I clung to consciousness and gulped a restorative potion that began a rapid healing process. As soon as my arm began responding to my control I started casting additional spells to hasten my recovery.

The saint pursued me into the water; a mistake on its part. Magica swirled and flowed, freeing my movements from all encumbrance while the water slowed the glittering arc of the great axe. I struck the armored chest with my open palm and the warrior was enveloped in magical flame and a blinding scalding steam. It recognized its error and began a thrashing retreat from the clinging water. A second spell of destruction again veiled its sight with steam as well as blistering the metallic skin. Beneath the billowing steam and blood clouded waters I struck with my shortsword, severing golden tendons from the heel, reducing the mighty warrior to a crawl as it returned to the chamber.

I stood over the fallen foe without malice. I dispatched him quickly, without a sense of revenge, and without weaving the spells that would have trapped its energies in a soulgem. Although it would be of great value in my enchantments, I chose not to bear the reminder of my close brush with death.

A large ash pit dominated the chamber, and gleaming on the lip of it rested the Redas waraxe. I seized this third relic and slowly wove the spell of recall. This time my appearance at home was triumphant, to Ahnassi's great relief.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I remember this quest. loved the rboe especially.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nostalgic........I remember Golden Saints are VERY scary. I initially thought they would be on my side, since in one quest one comes to fight on your side, But never again! S-C-A-R-Y. Arvil Bren dealt well with it!

- Angela

6:18 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Well, 'dealt well with it' the second time. I well and truly got throttled the first time, leading to the near death experience entry.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought it sounded very true to life..or was it..death? - enthralling - we all relate well to "near death experiences" in Morrowind!!

_ Angela

11:57 AM  

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