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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 10, 2006

26: War Council

Looking back on this day I think I might have been avoiding the issue of reporting back to Lord Ramoran. I woke up this morning in my office at the guild headquarters, slowly climbed the stairs, looked at the guild guide platform, and did not get teleported to Ald-ruhn. Instead I walked back down the stairs and slumped at my desk.

"Did you find the one you seek, Archmage?" Malven asked as she passed by after breakfast. It was a simple question, and she obviously expected to get a simple answer. She didn't break stride until she heard my non-committal grunt in response. "Hmmm?" she said as she turned. "That was not the decisive Archmage we have all gotten familiar with."

"I found her Malven," I admitted, "but I don't really know what to do with her."

Her raised eyebrow was a question, but I didn't really think discussing the situation with her would give me any clue what to tell Lord Ramoran. She hovered over my desk, wondering what to do now that she had stopped. I couldn't just sit there all day doing nothing, but I did not want to get up and go. Following her gaze to the brown book on my desk gave me a straw to grasp. "Yes, that's the current book of the Telvanni," I said. "Send messages to the other stewards and see if they can be here this afternoon." She hustled out of my office relieved.

I picked up the book that I had gotten from Baladas. Each great house publishes an annual book, detailing their progress for the previous year and their agenda for the next. Among the useful information in the manual are the names and residences of all the current council members. I let my eye drift down the list. The only familiar name was Baladas.

Malven returned promptly. "Skink has some things to juggle in his schedule, but can be here before dinner. The others have no problem with meeting then. Will that work for you?" I nearly leapt from my chair. "That will be fine," I said. She nodded and went to finalize the planned meeting, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I could tell myself that I was staying on guild business, not just hiding from Lord Ramoran.

I left the guild hall and just wandered through the city. The mists rising from the waters surrounding the cantons hung in the air, and glistened on the stone surfaces of the decks and ramps. The nearly endless lifespan of the Dunmer make childhood a very brief interlude, so there are few children to see in Morrowind. I thought of bright laughing Breton children, who would be skidding down the damp slick ramps endlessly. I am now one of those immortals, not just walking among them, and mated to a Khajiit. There are no happy Breton children in my future either.

I stood on the lowest decking of the Hlaalu compound near the bridge. A kagouti on the distant shore browsed among the comberry bushes. I watched the huge creature, recalling the first I had encountered. At that time, new to Vvardenfell, it was all I could hope for to drive the monster away without being killed. Had my limited skill with the spear guided it to the beast's mighty heart, or had it just been good fortune? "That one is too close to the trail," came a voice at my shoulder. I turned to see the gilded helm of an Ordinator.

"The kagouti?"

"Yes. Suffering from the yellow tick as well it seems," he said. The kagouti was balanced on one massive leg, clawing a raw, bloody patch behind its ear with the talons of the other. He hefted his mace, but seemed hesitant.

"This is going to make a mess of your uniform," I suggested.

He sighed behind the mask. "Has to be done though. The yellow tick will torment the poor creature until it claws itself to death, if it isn't driven into a mad rage first. We can't have that." He took a reluctant step towards the bridge.

"Wait," I said. Ordinators are well known for their skill in combat, and I had no doubt that this plucky individual would end the kagouti's torment, but getting clubbed down with repeated blows of the mace did not seem a merciful death.

A golden glow seeped from my palms, and I pressed my hands together briefly, then drew them rapidly apart. The glowing magica stretched, coalesced, bent. With a soft pop it solidified into a powerful Daedric longbow. I caught it deftly as the weightless magica transitioned into solid form. I drew a shaft from the unobtrusive quiver that is always concealed beneath my robe.

"Do not make the beast angry, Wizard," said the Ordinator.

"I won't," I whispered as the wisp of magical bowstring feathered against my cheek. With a hiss the string snapped through the air and the shaft was away. Motor memory guided my hands and a second arrow was on the string before the first reached its distant mark. Reflex, but in this case unnecessary. The Kagouti fell silently as the razor sharp broadhead burst through its eye into the walnut sized brain. Death came instantly, and painlessly, dropped like a thunderbolt from the cloudless sky. "And it's Master Wizard, or Archmage," I added absently. "Arvil Bren to my friends." I extended my hand as the bow returned to its own Daedric realm with an audible pop. "There won't be much blood if you want to drag the carcass away, but mudcrabs are immune to the yellow tick and I would assume they will make short work of it."

"Yes, I'm sure they will," he said, turning an eye to the water. "Thank you... Master Wizard." He couldn't quite bring himself to the familiarity of my name, but he did shake my hand. I have come a long way from the 'outlander scum' that I was called in my first trip to Vivec. I picked up lunch from the Flowers of Gold, guar steak sliced thinly on a hard roll, and took it to the temple courtyard of the High Fane, and basked in the sunshine while I ate. An idyllic day, overall.

My 'council of war' was anticlimactic. The guild is as ready as it will ever be, but if pressing my claim to the Hortator title of House Telvanni calls for blood to be shed it will certainly fall to me to shed it. My stewards promise that they can fend off any retaliation, at least in the short term. It is well that the legions have not withdrawn. Skink's chapter would not survive without the shelter of Wolverine Hall. I will have to move against the Telvanni with haste.

2 Comments:

Anonymous mikekearn said...

Archery is one of my favorite things ever -- both in real life and in Morrowind. I loved how you did it here, with the Daedric bow. Very cool.

I can't wait to see where this all goes, but with Arvil leading the path, it is sure to be interesting. :-)

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like this chapter. It is by far one of my favorites, but I don't know why.

I think maybe the entry after this hould be titled "War Council" because Arvil didn't do anything like that in this chapter.

I just realized that I always have to criticize your work. I like it a lot, though

-Noozooroo

6:01 PM  

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