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.

Friday, February 10, 2006

15: The enemy strikes

This morning at the Flowers of Gold the only topic of conversation was last night's debacle at the arena. Rothis died honorably, which doesn't change that he is dead. The Hlaalu, Brethas Deras, was completely within the agreements of the duel, and no one can say that his victory wasn't honorable. To those who saw it, particularly my fellow Redorans, it seems tainted, but that really doesn't make a difference. As I said, Rothis is dead. One less to stand against Dagoth Ur.

I don't think the Hlaalu are intentionally in league with Dagoth Ur, I just think the interminible house wars play directly into his plans. I was considering this over a breakfast of kwama eggs and guar bacon when a messenger burst into the dining room and rushed to my table. He did not have the air of good news about him. The loss of a minor house noble in Vivec is not a good thing, but it didn't rock House Redoran to its foundations. The rivalry with the Hlaalu is inconvenient, but it has gone on for a long time and is not likely to be our downfall. Death reaching into the very home of a member of our house council must be the work of Dagoth Ur. I left immediately for Ald-ruhn.

Chaos met me when I stepped off the guild guide platform. Potions of protection, cures of disease, enchantments of all kinds; keeping the customers orderly was an unfamiliar task in Edwinna's guild hall. Even though most residents of Ald-ruhn are not actually members of House Redoran they are generally devout, and favor the temple for their purchases. As the Archmage I had to be pleased that business was booming, but the dire cause weighed against me. The creaking of the roof told me that I could look forward to a raging ash storm when I stepped outside, adding to the general malaise.

The townspeople are doubting the Redoran's ability to protect them, and with good reason. If the manor house of a councillor can be overrun by corprus monsters, right here in the capital, where is security? If councillor Brara Morvayn's own husband can be killed and consumed, who is safe? I found the council in emergency session, and was not allowed to enter. I went to Sarethi manor and waited for my patron to return.

"It is a dark day for our house Arvil Bren," he said by way of greeting.

"How is Lady Morvayn?" I asked.

"Well. As well as could be expected. She and a few retainers have established a temporary residence in her offices at the council hall. She was out of town. Her husband was less fortunate."

"So he is dead?"

"Dead. Or worse. Their house is overrun. Some of their personal guards escaped the carnage. They have the corprus disease. Bolvyn Venim believes that we cannot order guards into the house. In the face of the corprus they may refuse and we will have a general revolt. I offered to lead them myself, but he has forbidden it. He says we cannot have the council exposed to corprus."

"He's right. He also knows that if you were successful while he cowers in his manor his grip on the council would be broken." I had not the least doubt that that was part of Sarethi's motivation when he volunteered.

"He isn't cowering. What is there to do? He has no more idea than I have."

I had an idea, but I wasn't ready to say so. "Lord Sarethi, I met the Lady of Maar Gan not long ago. If I went to her offices now would she see me?"

His red eyes, which have seen a great deal over his centuries, narrowed. "She is distraught, but perhaps. Almost certainly if I accompany you." He was ahead of me already. How I will ever be able to sail the undercurrents of a Dunmer council I cannot guess. Centuries of experience; they have centuries of experience.

We were quickly allowed entry, and settled comfortably. It took a while for the Lady to join us, understandably. She was composed, but beneath the thin surface clearly distraught. I was shocked by her first words.

"I should have taken you more seriously," she said as soon as she saw me.

"My Lady?" I was completely thrown off balance.

"Red candles. You told me about red candles. The sixth house cult and red candles. One of my servants favored red candles, but I didn't pursue it with her. Now my husband is dead."

"Where is the servant?" Sarethi asked.

"Dead also, I assume. The guards say she didn't make it out of the house when those monsters appeared."

"Did they describe these monsters?" I asked. The description was clear enough. Not monsters. People, people far gone with corprus disease.

"I have battled them before," I said. "In the corprusarium at Tel Fyr they can be treated."

"Treated? There is no cure for corprus," Sarethi said.

"Divayth Fyr has a cure." They both looked at me, disbelief clear on their faces. "It has only worked once," I said. "It worked on me."

"The legend of the Nerevarine," Sarethi said. "Despite all you have done for me, and the house, you are on dangerous ground Arvil Bren."

"The Nerevarine?" Lady Morvayn said, puzzled. "What brings that up?"

"In the Ashlander legends the Nerevarine overcomes the corprus disease Brara," Sarethi said. "Claiming to have been cured is a heresy."

"Claiming to be the Nerevarine is heresy. I survived Fyr's cure is just a surprising fact. A fact that is overwhelmingly important right now." I faced Sarethi. "Venim says you can't enter Morvayn Manor, and he might be right, you might catch the corprus if you did. I won't." I turned. "Lady Morvayn, it would be my honor to reclaim your home."

I was pleased that the conversation had taken what I thought to be a turn beyond Sarethi's expectations, but I could see that he was already cycling through the consequences and complications. "This is Ald-ruhn. Bolvyn Venim is the local authority..." he said.

"You know he will refuse," I said.

"We are talking about MY house," said Lady Morvayn as she pressed a key into my hand. A feral grin flashed across Sarethi's face. I would risk my life, Venim would lose face, and Lady Morvayn would bear his displeasure. Sarethi was the master and I was the pawn. Again.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is masterly. You skillfully weave round the Morrowind plot a fascinating description of intrigue, suspicion and suspense. This is why we all keep reading, even though we know the end of the story. It's not many writers who can do that. It's why we all kept on hoping you hadn't given up, and logged on day after day,in in the hope of maybe......another journal entry to see us through another day!!

- Angela

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you get the Sarethi just right! I quite liked him when I did this bit but you do become his agent a bit!
Nice to see you back Tim, take care


2:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe I just haven'y been reading your journal for a while Tim, but I think you're adding much more life to the story since you came back to us with day 10.
I hope t is just that you're more motivated, cause that's better than me being unfamiliar!

- Noozooroo

8:16 AM  

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