22 Last Seed
Mornings seem to be the safest time of day in Morrowind, my walk from Pelagiad to Vivec, though time consuming, was without event. I've been told however that the east of Morrowind, especially the northeast, is far more dangerous than the relatively civilized area I've so far been restricting myself to.
I reached the city of Vivec by early morning and the view was certainly worth the walk. Vivec is an impressive collection of nine blunt, pyramid-shaped structures the Dunmer call "cantons", each one the size of Balmora. The cantons each serve a specific purpose, one as the "Foreign Quarter", one each for the Great Houses, one as a giant arena, and others owned by the Temple for administrative purposes. I wanted to return Piernette's bowl before I got distracted visiting the city, so I followed Ygfa's directions, crossing a small bridge just north of Vivec and following a dirt path which eventually wound its way past Piernette's farmstead. She was grateful to receive the bowl back and promised to put in a good word with the merchants of Vivec, hopefully netting me easier negotiations and better prices.
It is surprising how many farms there really are outside of the city. If you stay to the main roads, you barely see them, but once you start wandering the packed dirt roads they seem to occupy every square foot of the grassland, some farming Vvardenfell's plants, others herding netch or guar. The individual farms are very small and a close-knit community seems to have formed among them. I stopped to chat with a few farmers on the way back to Vivec and heard the latest rumors from the city. Apparently, the duke's daughter, Ilmeni Dren, is openly abolitionist, though the official Imperial policy, and therefore the Duke's, is more hands-off. She has been seen with Jobasha, a bookseller in Vivec who is a well-known abolitionist. While I have been and will be freeing all the slaves I encounter, I have no desire to entangle myself with Morrowind's politics.
Returning from Piernette's farm I met Teris and his guar, Rollie, loitering at a small crossroad. As I approached, he waved his arms, asking if I was interested in making some easy money. Always wary of "easy" money, I asked him what his terms were. He required an escort into the Foreign Quarter canton in Vivec, specifically to a clothing shop to make a delivery. Why he thought an escort was needed for the remainder of his very short trip was beyond me, but I was happy with the one hundred Septims he offered, so I agreed to escort the man and his guar into Vivec. Halfway to Vivec he commanded the pack animal to stay, stating that they were not allowed within the city limits. He shouldered his delivery of cloth and we continued onwards.The man was cordial, but seems to have a strange attachment to his guar.
The Foreign Quarter canton is organized in tiers and is very easy to navigate, despite its size. Teris's clothier had a shop on the lower level of the canton and I was paid not one hundred Septims, but two hundred, once he delivered his goods. I could hear him muttering to himself how much Rollie would have enjoyed sightseeing. An odd man, but one who pays well.
Among the rumors floating about the canton is one that there is a murderer or vampire loose somewhere in Vivec. Several outlanders have been killed, but two Ordinators have also been killed, both without being able to draw their weapons. The Office of the Watch is advertising a reward leading to the capture or death of the criminal or criminals involved. I may look into this later.
While in the Foreign Quarter canton I stopped at a Fletcher's shop to see about exchanging my crossbow for a lighter weapon. While it is easy to carry and use, the weight of the weapon and the bolts is a hindrance. I wound up trading the crossbow and ammunition for a standard, and much lighter, Imperial short bow with fifty arrows. The fletcher, a Bosmer named Aradraen, was kind enough to rig a special harness for the bow so as to not interfere with my spear. She also dabbles in enchantments and sells a very wide range of magical ranged ammunition, most of it out of my price range for now.
While on my way to the top of the canton to visit the Mages Guild I was approached by a man handing out leaflets which stated that there was an alchemist whose shoddy products were poisoning people. The alchemist is in the Foreign Quarter canton, but I don't feel any great need to investigate what is probably a childish attempt by a competitor to remove her.
Today seems to have gone on far longer than it actually has and I'm now in the Vivec Mages Guild's guest quarters, preparing for tomorrow. I may visit the Office of the Watch tomorrow and see what sort of reward they are offering. Otherwise, I plan on visiting a few more cantons tomorrow to see what can be found. I haven't forgotten that I have a greater responsibility on my shoulders, but I do not yet feel ready to start on that business. I need better equipment and more importantly, a lot of magical training, before I can be confident of fulfilling my duties.