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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.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

25: Old Redoran society

After writing in my journal last night I looked around my room at the guild hall in Ald-ruhn and heard the sad voice of Lord Ramoran echoing in my ears. I could not rest, and opted to use my recall spell and come home. Waking up this morning in my own bed with Ahnassi curled against my side purring softly reminded me just how much is at stake.

The walk through the Ascadian Isles to Vivec also refreshed me. The glorious trees towering against the sky, the crystaline water of the innumerable lakes; it is so different from the Ashlands, or even the more hospitable West Gash. How the Hlaalu managed to get possession of it in the districting no one will ever know, though it no doubt involved some shady dealings.

When I arrived in Vivec City I went directly to my office and sorted quickly through the latest mountain of reports and requests. Most of the reports come from my guild stewards and provide me with information, some of immediate value, some that I will likely need at some point. Their few requests are almost always well reasoned. The rest of the paperwork, mostly requests, comes from the council headquarters in Cyrodiil. Usually these are of no value whatsoever, and are couched in the most condescending and demanding terms. I am tempted to make a stamp that says 'can't do this due to the Emperor's embargo, perhaps you've heard of it' and have an apprentice stamp and return everything that comes from the mainland.

My tasks complete and my desk cleared I was ready to start the search for Navilie Saren. I called for Malven. As the guild steward it is part of her job to keep up on the significant families and individuals of the city. She met my expectations.

The Sarens are an old and powerful family, with long standing ties to Great House Redoran. In fact, a Saren elder served as the Redoran ambassador to the temple here in Vivec before Vvardenfell was reopened. My first thoughts upon hearing that were that he didn't do the best job of it, since House Redoran ended up with a vast tract of the Ashlands. That wasn't the most relevant part of the story though. The Saren family expected, understandably, that the move to Vvardenfell would have a great effect on their own standing with the house, and apparently there was even some talk of a seat on the house council. Their fall from such lofty goals seems to relate to my quest. I continued my research. Malven's view, as a Dunmer who has left the conflicts of the great houses to serve with the guild, served to fill in details that the archives of annual Red Books in the Vivec temple library left unsaid, but with her help I was able to reconstruct events, at least in theory.

In the rough and tumble days of the recolonization, power within the house shifted more towards Bolvyn Venim, who had seized the council chair on the strength of his position on the move. The Sarens, being already established here, detracted from the consolidation of his base of support. To stave off any division Venim pushed through a restructuring of the council that awarded seats to those who were financially and physically capable of wresting a secure stronghold from the wilderness of the Redoran district, which effectively excluded the old guard of Temple loyalists who were already serving the house here in Vivec, and at Ghostgate and Molag Mar. Among the new rising stars was Hlaren Ramoran. This background of internal conflict within the house put the Sarens squarely on the opposite side from Ramoran, so I'm sure his attentions to their daughter were not welcomed.

Once I exhausted the other resources I went to the Saren home in the plaza of the Redoran canton. Even though they lost the power struggle they live in an opulent manor and continue to play a vital role in the relations between the House and the temple. Tiros Saren was not happy about meeting me. With Bal Isra under construction perhaps I am cut in the same rising star mold that embittered him against Hlaren Ramoran so long ago.

"We do not discuss Navilie. She is a disgrace to our family." That was all he had to say when I told him that she was the reason for my visit. Eventually, through a combination of applying pressure as a representative of the council and a liberal bribe I got his tongue loosened.

Navilie runs a shop out of a squalid apartment on the canal level of St. Olms canton. Canal level apartments open directly to the outdoor decking that surrounds the cantons. The temple, which collects rent on all property in the city, tries to maintain a level of piety and decency but even so there will always be areas where certain vices flourish in a city of this size. The canal levels of St. Olms and St. Delayn cantons are rife with the petty criminals that can be found in the underbelly of any city.

Tiros Saren had called her business a 'consignment shop', and perhaps among her wares there were some goods that had been placed there to be sold by the owners. Much of it, I suspect, was reclaimed from the trash bins and sewers of the city after being cast off by the higher strata of Vivec society. It was sadly appropriate that Navilie Saren, herself cast off by that upper strata, would find such a nitch for herself in the swirling currents of canal level society.

"I cannot allow Hlaren to see me," she said. "If he has attained any wisdom along with his position he would know that my disgrace is far too great and he would reject me anyway. If he has not I would be his ruin."

"Being cast out by your family because they disapproved of a suitor, that isn't such a disgrace that it can't be overcome. Being a shopkeeper, even of such a shop as this, is a respectable trade. Not everyone can dine at the tables of the nobility. Hlaren wouldn't be the first council member to be involved with a shopkeeper, and not likely the last."

"Shopkeeper," she laughed a dry, bitter laugh. "You think I can make a living hawking these low cast offs? Battered bits of armor, threadbare clothes; sometimes these are needed by the desperate, but how much do you think the desperate can pay? My family threw me out, just like they would throw out anything else that might be sold in this shop. When I was first cast out I was the only commodity I had to trade, and I'm still the most valuable. I cannot tell you how many times I've been bought and sold. You still think I'm fit for a lofty councilman?" The bitterness fled from her features, shut off like a light, replaced with a lascivious grin filled with wanton promise. "But perhaps fit for his outlander errand boy, if only for a moment."

I fled. I don't know what I will tell Ramoran, but I couldn't face him with that on my conscience.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Mike L. said...

I guess "The Real Barenziah" is right; Dunmer women are a bit promiscuous. Ha! I guess Arvil is better off with the Khajiit.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

heheheh.....

funny.....

-Noozooroo

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yay, he spent time with Ahnassi like I told him to!

-Noozooroo

7:47 PM  
Blogger Xikorolkel said...

I love the fact that we get instant feedback from the author. Good job as always, Tim.

6:09 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

and I love getting instant feedback from the readers...

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, dude... what level is Arvil anyway? Not that it matters, but we are really curious.
I solved this quest really easy just talking to the dunmer lady next to Ramoran ;)
I like your story better. Keep on the good work.

-Habib

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just reading the comments on day 9 and one of the people suggested that the story wasn't interesting because Arvil was too powerful and that was why Tim wasn't writing........is that why there has been a considerable lack of action and fighting? Or is it just that Arvil has better things to do?

-Noozooroo

P.S. Tim, if you read this comment please respond, because no offense, but you dont post comments very often...

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wait a minute... you did comment this entry....

uh...heh

-Noozooroo

5:11 PM  
Anonymous mikekearn said...

I like how in the end, even with all of Arvil's skill in diplomacy, he still finds himself uncertain in the face of a lustrious woman. I thought that part was well done.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Xikorolkel said...

There's a simple solution to being overpowered if that's a problem. It's called the Console and the ability to set your level to a lower one of choice; just be sure to save first in case there are unforeseen side-effects. (Oh, and come up with a good story-line reason for your decline in abilities.)

2:35 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

I've thought about that. Arvil isn't my actual Morrowind 'playing' character so I don't worry about it. For those who want a challenge pick ten skills that you are willing to never use as your majors and minors then just train them up to get you to the minimum level required to get the mission at the rare points where there is one.

12:34 PM  

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