Sunday, May 20, 2012

Morrowind Day 8 - Murder in Vivec

23 Last Seed
I woke up and went to the Hall of Justice to inquire about the murderer. The office I was directed to was a dual office shared by the Officer of the Watch and his second-in-command. The junior officer, Tarer Braryn, asked if I knew where the Mages Guild was as soon as I stepped in the door. Surprised, I answered that I had just left from there and he asked that I have a word with the Archmage about rescinding the curse of a rash he had bestowed upon Tarer when the latter had insulted him while drunk. I agreed and he handed me a book as a gift to smooth things over with the Archmage.

The Officer of the Watch, Elam Andas, was interested in my offer of assistance, but warned that nothing could be done for me officially, but he would be willing to reward me personally, off the books so to speak, should I be able to either capture or kill the murderer. There were no witnesses to any of the murders, but an outlander in the Hlaalu canton had been threatened by a Dunmer woman with a dagger and netch leather armor. The description seemed a bit generic to me, but I started my investigation at the Hlaalu canton.

No one in the Hlaalu canton could remember seeing a Dunmer woman that fit the murderer's description, but since all the successfully murdered victims seemed to have died without a fight, I gathered that the woman was some sort of rogue assassin perhaps and quite adept at not being seen. The Hlaalu sewers could certainly hide someone, but exploring it revealed no clues and one madman who babbled incoherently about Dagoth Ur's revival, stating that it was the Hour of Wakening for the Sixth House. He was crazy and spoke longingly of the day when Dagoth Ur would drive the foreigners out of Morrowind, but his actions seemed limited to speech, so I left him muttering in the sewers.

My investigation continued in the Foreign Quarter canton and bore fruit quickly. One of the residents recalled overhearing a sewer cleaner at a local cornerclub, talking about a young Dunmer woman slinking about the sewers. He had also complained about a gang that had set up there, but I was not nearly as interested in that, though that turned out to have bigger consequences than the murderer.

The Foreign Quarter's sewers are built much as the Hlaalu canton's are, with the exception of additional storage chambers. I found the body of a fully armored Orc laying in front of one of these chambers, his throat slit. I guessed that the Orc had been searching for the murderer as well, so when I cautiously stepped into the chamber I expected to be dealing with the woman. Instead, evidence suggested that the Orc was probably guarding the chamber and became a victim of opportunity. The chamber has been transformed into a Daedric shrine, complete with a giant statue of some sort of humanoid creature. I found the bodies of two more Orcs dead in their bedrolls, their throats having been slit unceremoniously while they slept.

This would not be a very noteworthy thing, other than the evidence of my drawing closer to the murderer, were it not for the fact that one of the sleepy Orcs had been in posession of a full suit of rare Orcish armor, which was laying next to him, polished and ready for the morning that never came. The armor is comprised of a thick soft leather backing, to which is attached expertly designed metal plates. The standards of the Orcish armorers is so high that most people mistake Orcish armor for plate armor, rather than the scale armor that it technically is. I could wear the armor comfortably, but I was carrying so much that I couldn't manage to sling the armor along as well. Hopefully it will remain there until tomorrow, when I can reclaim it.

I was a lot more nervous after encountering the murderer's latest victims. To kill two Orcs while they slept is a difficult thing itself, but the shrine's guard had been awake, but died without defending himself. Uneasy, I tried casting the few defensive spells I had, but they predictably failed until I could not draw any more energy. As it was, I had an entire minute of warning before she attacked me. I had just exited one of the giant canals that run between the sewers when I heard a shout. Incredulously, the murderer was charging at me with a dagger at least forty yards away from the far end of the sewer. I had time enough to fire two arrows, both of which missed, before she was close enough to stab me.

Every blow from the dagger, no matter how slight, made my armor feel heavier and my limbs more exhausted, while she gained vigor and strength with each strike. The dagger itself was only chitin and was not doing any damage to my armor. Trusting this, I bodily hurled myself at her, using the weight of my armored body to knock her off balance. Her dagger drove straight into my chest as I lunged, but skidded along the Imperial chain as she was hurled into the foul, drifting sewage. I'm sure that would have ultimately been fatal, as she swallowed a great deal of it in her effort to climb out, but I wasn't feeling patient at that point. A quick gulp of restorative had me feeling far more energetic and I have no shame in admitting I stabbed her to death while she clambered up the small staircase leading out of the water. Her body sank back into the muck of Vivec and I did not have the energy to pull the body out.

Elam Andas accepted my assurances and told me he'd dispatch Ordinators to fish the body out. He offered me either the helm and cuirass of the Ordinators, which I would not have been able to wear in Vivec, or a magical belt he called the "Belt of the Armor of God". Unwieldy name aside, the belt was legal to wear anywhere and far lighter, so I chose that. I'm not sure yet of its exact magical properties, but it does have some strong signatures on it.

Seeking to relax after the morning's ordeals, I wandered about Vivec for a few hours and stumbled into the Glassworker's Hall on the top floor of the Saint Delyn Canton after misinterpreting the symbol on the sign outside the door as being related to alchemy. All the employees turned to stare at me as I walked in and I was just about to apologize for intruding when one of the workers asked if I was interested in making some money. It seems I cannot walk around in peace without someone offloading a business proposition to me!

Alaryne Indalas is her full name and she handles the import/export side of the Glassworker's Guild. Her previous (illegal) source of Dwarven limewire had dried up and she asked that I "acquire" some simple cups and bowls out of an Imperial trading vessel docked nearby at Ebonheart. She offered me what seems like the massive sum of 1,500 Septims for five cup and five bowls and I told her I would see what I could do. Fifteen hundred Septims would go a long way towards paying for magical training and her proposition is definitely more attractive after reviewing my successful casting rate. I'll prowl around Ebonheart tomorrow and see if I can't manage to get inside the ship.

Before turning in for the night at the Mages Guild, I spoke briefly with the Archmage. He appreciated the "gift" Tarer had provided and gave me a potion for Tarer that would clear up his rash. He also handed me a potion of levitation, which will be useful in the broken terrian of the foyadas.

Tomorrow I'll deliver Tarer from his suffering and make a brief visit to Ebonheart. I also need to find a place to call my own, I am quickly outpacing my limited ability to carry my possessions everywhere. 

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