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.

Monday, April 10, 2006

37: Among the Zainab

The Zainab were no more welcoming than they were the last time I was here, but this time I could not just move on to the next Ashlander tribe. The Zainab are the ones who have been raiding around Vos, so the Zainab are the required target of my 'trade mission'. I was met at the edge of their encampment by a proud Zainab who never did bother to introduce himself.

"What do you want Outlander?" he demanded.

I bit my tongue and tried a civil approach. "The question isn't what I want as much as it is what you want. The local House Dunmer would like to trade with your people."

"We need nothing from the soft ones from the houses. Their big buildings, their fancy clothes; these things mean nothing to us. So crawl back to your masters outlander, we have no need of you here."

So much for the civil approach. "Watch your words. I am a clanfriend of the Urshilaku. You can say what you like about the house Dunmer, but have a care when you speak to me of 'masters'."

"The Urshilaku call you clanfriend? No surprise, I suppose. That Cult of the Nerevarine that leads them has made them all collectively crazy. They have even called an outlander Nerevarine, if you can imagine!"

"Too far."

"Too far, what?"

"That was too far. I am clanfriend to the Urshilaku, accepted by the Ashkahn and the ancestors of the Ashkahn." I snapped my bow free and raised it high. "This is the Bone-biter, bow of Sul-Senipul, delivered to me by his ghost deep in the burial caverns. You Zainab are a proud and respected people, as are the Urshilaku. You will show respect for my clan as I show respect for yours, or we shall duel, and you shall die having dishonored yourself with your poor hospitality." Bone-biter glowed an angry red in my hand, and there was a chortling sound of disturbed ancestors echoing hollowly in the air.

My adversary slipped slowly from anger to sullen resignation. "My pardon, clanfriend and honored guest if my words gave offense." He slinked away.

A nearby woman who had watched the exchange offered a tentative smile. "Our men are proud warriors clanfriend of the Urshilaku. They are good men, but not...graceful. He meant no harm."

"I know. No harm done. I know it is strange having a clanfriend arrive representing the house Dunmer."

"The soft ones," she said with a laugh. "I heard. Our men would never admit any need that the Telvanni could fill. They would rather drag themselves back to the wise woman every time they are sick, but the bottled magics of the Telvanni would be very useful to us clanfriend, and our women would gladly trade for them. Once they are in our hands the men will be happy to have them."

I had the information I needed and considered a hasty retreat, but it was too late. "Now you are a clanfriend?" roared a voice that I recognized as the Ashkhan, Kaushad.

"Yes, I am, a clanfriend of the Urshilaku" I said, showing sufficient deference to his rank but pointing out that it was not his place to pass judgment on the actions of another tribe's Ashkahn.

"Sul-Matuul does strange things, but he is wise, and that is the Bone-biter. Sul-Matuul sent you to be judged by his ancestors, and you passed, I assume."

"I did," I said simply.

"I would have you as friend to our clan then outlander, if you pass my test as well."

Kaushad proposed a more pragmatic challenge, or perhaps he assumes that all the ancestors will see things the same way so there would be no point in sending me to his. In any event it falls to me to contend with a vampire that has taken over a nearby tomb. If I succeed he will give his permission for the women to trade with Aryon.

I was concerned that the crew would be getting restless. Although I expected to be using Grytewake as a command center I did not expect to spend another night tied to the docks of Vos. They have done well with the trading though, and in my absence Turedus Talanian made a substantial purchase of ebony. They will be able to resist the song of the sea for another night at least.


Blogger Xikorolkel said...

Good way to tie in another Ashlander endorsement.

Have I mentioned before that I absolutely love this story?

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying all this enormously. I didn't join the Mages Guild, so the main plot is coming from a different angle to the one I played. It makes for very good reading. Thank you for continuing Arvil Bren's journal, it makes gripping reading.

- Angela

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having never completed the main quest in the way intended by Bethesda, reading more about the main quest is very interesting. Although I wonder, does Tim have Oblivion yet?


12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he most likely does, but i think we all want him to at least finish the main quest befor he attempts the oblivion main quest.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Yes I have Oblivion...currently playing a very well done patch system to make up for my unsupported (gentle word for obsolete) video card.

I am also playing Morrowind...with a character governed by a systematic reduction in skills every time he levels up that is very challenging.

Neither of those has any bearing on Arvil Bren.

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great chapter as usual, BTW, could you give me a link to the patch system and what card do you have??

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is kind of funny how the men are too proud too trade, but the women would gladly trade for cures to disease and the blight.


8:05 AM  
Anonymous Mike L. said...

I'm also curious about this patch system of which you speak. I'm about to get Oblivion, but not sure my card can support it. Another fine chapter by the way. The Morrowind world is so much richer for your work here.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Rex Little said...

Mike, before you get Oblivion I suggest you make sure all your system specs--not just the video card--will support it. The Oblivion forums at have recommended and minimum specs.

I won't be getting Oblivion for a few years, because my computer doesn't measure up.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

I put a little 'public service announcement' about Oblivion on the sidebar. I've seen Oblivion run on a machine built specifically to exceed the recommended specs, and it is visually worth doing...but as far as having a great playable game it is fully possible on far less machine than Bethesda would have you believe...and Oblivion is flat out fun to play, even with the 'reality' of the graphics toned way down.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous mikekearn said...

I love when Arvil has a chance to flex his authority, no matter where it came from. I must agree with xikorolkel in his saying that it's a great way to get another Ashlander endorsement.

As for Oblivion, well, I haven't gotten it to work on my PC yet. I just go to my friend's house a lot, and play it on his brother's computer, since his brother works a lot.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Edward Ott said...

wicked cool what you have done here. i loved reading your writing. i look forward to reading more.


10:36 PM  

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