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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, March 03, 2006

23: Arrangements

As expected, there was really not much the Hetman could do about the taxes. It's not really like a revolt. The townspeople of Gnisis really just have no money with the eggmine shut down. Abelmawia may have wanted the taxes paid, but he wasn't terribly concerned. It took some digging to sort out why not.

"Where was Lord Ramoran when the legion shut down our mine?" he finally burst out. "If this village gets protection we get it from the legion, not Great House Redoran." I suppose I was shocked, and it showed. "Pardon, Lord Bren. I have been loyal to the Redoran banner for centuries, but the people here ask me these questions and Lord Ramoran hasn't been giving me any answers for them."

"Here's an answer for them. A question you can ask in return. Who is going to protect them if the legion goes back to Cyrodiil?"

"The house Lords can barely protect themselves! Ald-ruhn is being overrun by monsters from Red Mountain and the Redoran forces are at Ghostgate, and Molag Mar, and who knows where else, but they...are...not...here!"

"Those places; those are the key points that contain the biggest danger we face. The legion can come and go; the legion can call it a success if House Dagoth is contained to Vvardenfell. It's your home and mine that are lost, not theirs, not the Emperor's. This village, far from Red Mountain; the battle against Dagoth Ur won't be fought here. But if Ghostgate falls, or the exaggerations you hear about Ald-ruhn turn into the truth, then we are all lost. Your people think Lord Ramoran should have his eyes turned on you, but his eyes are on Red Mountain, as they should be."

"All well and good," he said, "but ultimately it doesn't matter. There's nothing to pay with. General Darius is not likely to be impressed by your arguments and open the mine."

There wasn't much more for me to talk to the Hetman about. I went to the local tradehouse, headquarters of General Darius of the Death's Head legion.

"Those people killed one of my men!" he bellowed as soon as I mentioned opening the mine.

"General, 'your man' was living down in the mine, selling off..."

"He was guarding a valuable find! Historical artifacts! Who knows what may have been learned? These miners that you are so concerned about could have been working on the excavation for years, but they had to steal from the Emperor. I have nothing for them, or for you. You've gone native Breton, that's your problem."

"I don't know who did your investigation, or where you got your ideas, but I can tell you that none of the villagers had anything to do with killing that theiving Orc...and he wasn't guarding any interests but his own. He and his partners took out everything they thought was of value, there was nothing to guard but the secret."

"And how would you know?" he roared.

"I was there. I killed him."

Veins popped out on his forehead and his neck. For a moment I couldn't help but think of Trebonius. It must be a common trait with angry Cyrodiils. He got some semblence of control before he spoke. When he did his voice was icy. "What did you say?"

"I said I killed him. I killed the Orc in the eggmines. There were no artefacts left in the ruin. Your Orc had a crew from before he joined the legion. They cleaned it out."

"You just admitted to killing a trooper. Why should anything else you have to say matter?"

"Because it's the truth, for one thing. Your trooper was removing artefacts from a Dwemer ruin. A ruin that should have been turned over to the Mage's Guild as soon as it was found. The guild heard rumors and sent me here to investigate. When I tried to enter the ruin your trooper made the mistake of trying to stop me."

"So you killed him."

"It was him or me. And if I hadn't shown up when I did your Orcs could have lost us one of the most important finds in history. Fortunately they were so busy with Dwemer metal trinkets they missed the most valuable thing that they found."

"What?"

"A book. A book that revealed the truth of what happened to the Dwemer."

"You found this book?"

"I did. It's in the hands of the mage's guild, no thanks to your troopers."

"Doesn't change that you killed a trooper in my legion," he said.

"No, it doesn't. It also doesn't matter. I'm the Archmage of Vvardenfell. You can report to your superiors, they can complain to the guild council in Cyrodiil, they can look for someone to come here to replace me or promote someone here. They won't find anyone there who wants to come to Vvardenfell to die, and my stewards are more interested in containing the local threats than pleasing the council."

"So you think you can take matters into your own hands because we're out here on the frontier," he said.

"Don't you?" I shifted my eyes deliberately to his sword, then looked him directly in the eye. "You could extract justice for your fallen soldier right now."

I watched his eyes. I had no desire to fight a General in the legion, but it was really up to him. Apparently he felt the same way. After a minute that seemed to stretch endlessly he said "Well, if he was stealing the artefacts I suppose justice has already been served."

"Not for everyone. The miners have been suffering ever since, and by rights they should have gotten some benefit from the find."

"That's too bad. Everything was looted so there's nothing for them, unless you plan to give the book back."

"No, but there is something I can do, as long as you open the mine and let them get back to work."

At dinner Baladas laughed until I thought he would fall out of his chair. "It's probably just as well you fell in with the Redorans Arvil," he finally gasped. "Any Telvanni worth the name would have roasted the pompous fool and been done with it. Then the miners could fend for themselves. See how long they like that before they come crawling for protection to Ald-ruhn. But not you. You end up hiring the whole town."

Most of the town, I guess. I contracted with the mine for kwama eggs, scrib jelly and meat; enough to feed a substantial population in and around my stronghold. That gets the miners back to work. The legion will provide security for shipments into the Ashlands; a source of extra funding that makes keeping the mine open in the general's best interest. Overall a very satisfactory solution.

6 Comments:

Anonymous mikekearn said...

Arvil Bren is not only a skilled fighter and mage, but is very skilled in the art of diplomacy as well. A very nice read.

However, on the 28th paragraph, General Darius starts his sentence "well..." without a capital letter. A very minor mistake, but one I just happened to notice. Still a great entry.

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very neat deal, that. Congratulations Arvil Bren!

_ Angela

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see why Baladas was amused. I actually thought Arvil was trying to start a fight! But I love how you take things that could happen in real life and make them happen in Morrowind!

-Noozooroo

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Random said...

Very skilled diplomacy, that was. I would'nt have thought to have that in morrowind, using the mine for income for your stronghold.

Anyways, a good chapter

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, Tim. Keep on the good work. I ask a question in the name of other curious readers: what level is Arvil?
Love your blogg. I love the way you do politics.

-Avatar

5:11 PM  
Blogger Xikorolkel said...

Politics, combat, it makes little difference to me. What I love about this story is the characterization and plot-cohesion, and these last two entries especially did a great job at both.

3:53 AM  

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