Monday, June 4, 2012

Morrowind Day 10 - The Machinations of Ajira

25 Last Seed
My first task after I had breakfast was to sell the Sugar I had taken off of the smugglers' ship in Ebonheart. With nearly forty bags of the vile stuff, I hoped that I could sell them all between Ra'Virr and Ajira. Unfortunately, Ra'Virr had not yet finished moving the previous stock I sold to him, so he only had money enough for a few bags. 

Ajira had not been awake yet when I had gotten up, but she was up and at her laboratory when I came back from Ra'Virr's. The gift of the mushrooms she requested was very much appreciated and I was unexpectedly rewarded with several healing potions. She asked if I could place a soul gem in the desk of the Enchanter upstairs, Galbedir. The two of them have a friendly rivalry going and the gem, which I did place on her desk as requested, was actually a piece of glass. It is Ajira's hope that Galbedir will unknowingly waste her time experimenting with the inert glass gem. The task seemed harmless enough and I'm sure Galbedir will realize her error soon enough.

Returning to Ajira after this small, amusing deed, she announced that she now needed me to collect flowers for her, similar to the mushroom collection she had requested. She requested Gold Kanet, Stoneflower, Willow Antler, and Heather. Of the four, I already had three of them, lacking only the Stoneflower petals. I left what I had with Ajira and promised to return with the petals. In exchange, she purchased the remainder of the Moon Sugar for nearly nine hundred Septims. 

Ajira recommended that I look for the Stoneflower Petals near Lake Amaya near Pelagiad. I did not want to go that far for mere flowers, but a fruitless visit to the Balmora alchemist left me little choice. By the time I got back to the Mages Guild with the petals it was already late afternoon and I knew I wasn't returning to Vivec today. The reward was worth it for someone of such limited skill at magicka as myself: six potions of energy restoration. With these I might be able to actually cast something successfully. Probably after using up all six potions.

Ajira started energetically flinging flowers and mushrooms all over her desk, intent on creating some sort of potion, when she accidently elbowed one of her bowls off her desk. The ceramic bowl had no chance against the polished stone floor of the guild and shattered into dozens of pieces. She didn't pause in her work, sweeping the broken pottery underneath her desk with her foot and slapping a handful of coins on the desk with a request for me to run to Ra'Virr's and buy another bowl. She was engrossed in whatever she was doing and my acceptance of this task seemed to go without saying, so I grabbed the money and left.

Ra'Virr greeted me like a long-lost friend, lamenting that he still didn't have enough money to purchase the rest of my Sugar. This did not come as a surprise, it had only been fifteen minutes or so since I had last set foot in his shop. Though he strikes me as an odd character, his goods are what he says they are and befriending a merchant of somewhat shady means in one of the largest towns on Vvardenfell will certainly pay off in the future.

His pleasure at finally selling me something makes me suspect he has similar thoughts about a Khajiit that walks into his shop loaded with pounds of valuable, illicit goods. Acquiring the bowl was a matter barely worth noting and I left him enjoining that I return soon, when he has more money.

I returned to the Mages Guild, expecting that I could finally be free of Ajira's tasks and go back to Vivec, but I heard her hissing and muttering as soon as I walked into the basement. The Guild Guide, Masalinie, had retreated into the sleeping area, waiting out Ajira's temper with the bored patience of someone who has obviously been through it before.

The cause of Ajira's agitation was the sudden disappearance of her reports on the mushrooms and flowers I had collected for her. I set the bowl on her table, certain that I'd become involved in this sudden calamity. Ajira was certain that Galbedir had stolen the reports so that she couldn't hand them into Ranis on time. I suspect that Galbedir realized the truth of the fake soul gem sooner than Ajira had planned on and took a small revenge of her own.

Masalinie wound up being an unexpected source of assistance. She admitted to seeing Galbedir rustling around Ajira's laboratory as she was returning to her Guild Guide post earlier. Galbedir had fled with several scrolls tucked underneath an arm and Masalinie saw her ditch one of them in the sleeping quarters. 

She didn't hide it very well, I spotted the scroll almost immediately, it having been lazily thrown between two dressers. The contents of the scroll was far more amusing though. Ajira has written her reports to make it sound like she went out and collected her requirements, but anyone reading them who has been outside of Balmora for more than an hour will realize this was not the case. The report on the flowers was the one in the sleeping area and Ajira, to her credit, did present a very good report on the actual flowers. I thought her last paragraph classifying Lake Amaya as dangerous was amusingly self-serving and she could not help but point out that she had to do two reports to Galbedir's one.

I found the other report quickly, courtesy again of the other members of the Mages Guild. Marayn Dren, quiet as most Dunmer are, told me that he saw Galbedir carrying a scroll upstairs, but until now did not connect it with the disappearence of Ajira's reports. The second scroll was hidden a little better, tucked between the barrels at the foot of the staircase leading to Galbedir's workshop. This report, the one on mushrooms, was again very well done academically. It is obvious that Ajira is a competent Alchemist, but the final paragraph proudly stated that Ajira worked very hard traveling all over the Bitter Coast for these mushrooms and that she deserved to be promoted ahead of Galbedir because of it. I like Ajira, but I wonder who she thinks she is fooling. Ranis no doubt knows that Ajira never left the Mages Guild. 

I suppose it isn't really my concern. Having secured both scrolls, I returned them to Ajira, who gleefully handed over several very powerful potions, three of which are elemental shielding against fire, frost, and lightning. Two of them are equally powerful magicka absorption vials, which will be a massive help against any spellcasters.  While Ajira is competent, these potions seemed a bit beyond the skill level I have witnessed. The glass vials bear the maker's mark of the College of Winterhold in Skyrim, though whether the concoctions within also hail from the North is a question probably best left unanswered.

Ajira has no more duties for me at the time, once (if) I attained the rank of Warlock she will have additional tasks that she hinted may be a bit outside normal Mage Guild assignments. Whether I wind up climbing the ranks of the Mages Guild remains to be seen. Ajira suggested I see Edwinna Elbert in Ald'ruhn for more assignments, she expressed a slight dislike of Ranis, her method of leadership are not to Ajira's taste.

My involvement with the machinations of Ajira and Galbedir have not gone unnoticed by Ranis and I have been promoted a single rank, to Apprentice. Ranis stated I qualify for Ajira's coveted rank of Journeyman, but my magicka skills are so weak that it would be an embarrassment on her part. I don't much care really, though it does drive the point home that I need to work on my magicka skills. 

I spent the remainder of the evening studying alchemy with Ajira, who was more than happy to accept my money in exchange for lessons in the preparation of flowers and mushrooms. I retired to bed late in the evening, having learned quite a bit from Ajira, whom I count now as a friend, my first on Vvardenfell.

I absolutely need to go back to Vivec tomorrow and collect my treasures presently rusting in the sewers. Rats are not the only scavengers prowling within the dark corners of Vivec and I am loathe to leave the armor there one more day, should it remain there even now.

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