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, April 07, 2006

36: Trade terms

Again I will sleep in Telvanni territory in the cabin of a ship, but this time it rides a safe harbor instead of the rocky shores. The Grytewake is moored at the docks of Vos, an ancient farming village on Azura's Coast. Overlooking the village is an outpost built in a bygone age by an Imperial force. Master Aryon has taken over the great stone fortress. The thick stalks of the huge Telvanni mushroom twine through the archways and support the giant caps of Aryon's private chambers, accessible only through levitation. I made it as far as the antechamber.

One of the crew was first ashore, a Dunmer chosen by Wadarkhu for his diplomacy. In the hold, in addition to the ebony, we are laden with the typical products of the Bitter Coast. Our envoy made some small trades with the local farmers, and the keeper of the public house. He might have made a small profit, but if he did it was consumed in slipping bribes to the Telvanni guards. He managed to keep them from searching our vessel, but certainly did not make fast friends of them. Early in the afternoon he secured a meeting with the commander of Aryon's guard, Turedus Talanian. I went ashore dressed appropriately for a merchant captain and levitated to the tower entrance.

Turedus Talanian is a veteran of the Imperial Legions and from his commanding presence it is clear that he was an officer in Cyrodiil, quite likely of substantial rank. How he came to be Aryon's champion, and de facto ruler of Vos is a mystery. I did not get to see Aryon. Apparently he is seldom seen, secreted deeper in the tower where his studies will not be interrupted by the minutiae of managing his holdings. It was clear that the only way I would ever see him was to work my way deep into the good graces of Turedus Talanian.

After an exchange of introductions, and a gift on my part of Cyrodiilan liquor, he dismissed the guards and we settled at a table in the upper dome of the antechamber. With the embargo the imported liquor has become very scarce, making it a very effective bribe. Clearly he felt no need for the guards. The well worn pommel of the ebony broadsword at his waist demonstrated that he had been a stout field officer, not an insular general directing troops from the safety of a command pavilion.

I intended to use the rare brandy to broach the subject of our more valuable, but less legitimate, cargo. The commander had his own ideas, and I determined that it would be easiest to get into his good graces by helping him. He would have been confused had I not easily accepted his request. In the guise of a merchant trader I'm sure I seemed like the perfect man for the job. Now I have to figure out how to carry it off.

"I am a warrior," he said. "I have discipline, and I can maintain discipline. Aryon seldom has his feet on the ground, in more ways than one, and he counts on me to keep the troops and the farmers on track. Vos is not a wealthy village, but the folk are good hearted and hardy, and it is not a difficult task. The Ashlanders though; they are a problem for me." I nodded, polite and respectful. He is a military man, a commander; he did not have to talk with me, he was satisfied talking at me.

"They are unpredictable, and sneaky, and they seem as interested in raiding just to be raiding as they are in whatever loot they acquire. They have a permanent camp not far from here, and I've considered leading a strike force and wiping them out, but there are so many small bands scattered through the area that it might just cause more problems. Aryon insists that we can befriend them." The expression on his face made it clear what he thought of that.

"Is there some way I can be of service to you and Master Aryon?" I asked.

"You are a merchant," he said. "My men say that most of the goods you bring are from the swamps of the west coast, but some are from the Ashlands. Obviously you have experience with Ashlanders. The Zainab tribe of the Grazelands may be a bit different, but perhaps you could negotiate with them for us. If we could establish some sort of trade it would, hopefully, incline them toward leaving us alone."

"A sensible approach," I agreed. "I would certainly be willing to be your representative in this, but..."

"Go on. I know merchants, there is bound to be some cost in getting your help," he said.

"Not a cost necessarily. I would consider it a mutual opportunity. In addition to the agricultural products that my partners have been trading with the farmers and shopkeepers of you village we have access to certain luxury goods. Trading those goods is vital to the profit of our voyage, but certainly they are not accessible or useful to the common folk of the village. However, Master Aryon may well find them most useful in his research, or choose to have the raw material worked by an appropriate craftsman."

"So you would like to sell us these goods? Goods that you have not yet named I notice."

"I have heard of Aryon's museum of Dwemer artifacts, so I'm sure he has a somewhat...liberal view of Imperial trade laws." I looked at the bottle of brandy briefly. "Clearly your own views are just as important here, and with your Legion background I was thinking that my crew and I should just be moving on..."

"I am no longer with the Legion," he said. "You said raw materials. What do you have?"

So I told him about the ebony in our cargo, and also mentioned my own frequent access to Dwemer artifacts. He could possibly trade for the ebony on his own authority, but Dwemer artifacts will gain me the access that I need to Master Aryon. First though, I must open negotiations in some way with the Zainab tribe.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice chapter. I'm enjoying seeing Avril engaged in a long stream of diplomatic meetings. It is a welcome change from the usual going from a to b posts.


12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to be niggly, but Aryon actually had that Imperial fort built for himself, which is self evident by the mini-mini quest in the dungeons.

But your ways just as good. :^)

8:03 PM  
Anonymous mikekearn said...

Arvil's new approaches seem to be a very unique way of doing things in Morrowind, yet strongly remind me of more than one occasion in Oblivion. Either you've been playing just a bit, or your writing has enough of a realistic feel while inside the Tamriellic lore that it seems like something Bethesda would actually do.

Either way, I love it.

1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like this...a king's ransom at the bargaining table.And of course Aryon has yet to meet the Archmage or Arvil the merchant.By time Aryon realizes he's dealing with the guild Arvil will have already done him a favor in addition to all that ebony.This is good storytelling with the game material!

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Chapter. I have a question, have you ever considered switching Arvil Bren to Oblivion.

5:51 PM  

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