Saturday, June 22, 2013

Morrowind Day 53 - Jailbreak

6 Frost Fall
The day started with my full intention to devote it to duties for House Redoran as part of my larger plan to try and unite the Houses. Naturally, no one is going to listen to a Khajiit outlander, but one that is reasonably well-known in a Great House may be listened to. The threat of Dagoth Ur and the Sixth House is real. That the Houses would rather argue among themselves and ignore the larger problem is something that someone needs to correct and unfortunately that 'someone' seems to be myself. 

My life being what it is, I started the day fully anticipating being able to fulfill my goal. I ate a quick breakfast in Balmora, then visited Neminda in Ald'ruhn to deliver my report on the hapless trader Mathis Dalobar. She thanked me and immediately the inter-House arguing reared its head: my new task was to retrieve a valuable Redoran bonemold helm from a thieving member of House Hlaalu in Balmora. Neminda cautioned me not to strike the thief before being struck, lest he be able to declare a moral victory and smugly point out the murderous intent of House Redoran...or something like that. 

The Hlaalu thief was one Alvis Teri, last seen bragging, and wearing, his new acquisition at the Eight Plates eating house. So naturally I went back to the Mages Guild, teleported back to where I started from, and visited the Eight Plates. Alvis was easy to find, the Eight Plates is just one big room with a bar and tables and he was the only one in there wearing a full helm.
I know little of the five Great Houses (less of the hidden Sixth one), but of the three on Vvardenfell it is House Hlaalu that is looking after and for the money. Knowing this, I offered to buy the helmet from Alvis, who willingly parted with it for two hundred Septims. Perhaps a decent sum for him, but still a paltry one for me. There may have been a more "honorable" way of dealing with the situation, but I am valuing expediency in the execution of my House duties. Actions concerning the Nervarine prophecy or actions against the Sixth House are far more important, now that the choice is wholly mine.

Neminda was pleased and elevated me to the rank of 'Lawman' of House Redoran. Her next task involved an old acquaintance: Drulene Falen, the guar herder who I slew the mudcrabs for a while back. This time her guar were disappearing due to a more dangerous foe: bandits. According to Neminda, a group of bandits were holed up in an ancestral tomb near a the cluster of farms which Drulene's was a part of and they had been raiding the farmers for livestock and crops for some time now. The farmers have petitioned House Redoran for assistance and I am to be the official response. On my way out of Ald'ruhn I spied the couple who I reunited a long time ago. They were seated against the hillside and either ignorant of the danger or heedless of it, having a picnic. I was too far away for them to see me and I left them alone. I can only wonder when I will be braving Nix-Hounds for their sake again due to their recklessness.

Druelene was pleased to see me again and mentioned that she had seen guar tracks leading away from her farm to the south before rain washed them away. Obviously no fighter herself, she had no illusions about taking back her stolen property from armed men desperate enough to steal farm animals and was content to wait for a response from House Redoran, of which her family had been a part of several generations ago. Why not now? She never offered that story and I did not ask.
Her guar were barely fifty yards away, hidden just out of view by the rolling hills of the grassland and peacefully grazing outside of a small tomb. I expected the usual skeletons and bonewalkers, maybe even one of those floating things, but the tomb may have been completely abandoned. Other than the bandits, the only guardians were two starving rats which I put out of their misery.
The fight against the bandits is barely worth mentioning. As I guessed, they were desperate, poorly equipped, and not too bright. There were only two of them, neither of which had anything approaching armor, and only one with a respectable weapon: an Orcish battle axe, the acquisition of which must have been quite a tale. The other simply had a rusty iron dagger. Odd.

Drulene's reward for the return of her guar was more hackle-lo leaves to chew on. Neminda was less grateful: the only thing I got from her was more orders. These were much easier to handle though. While I was out rescuing animals, a local Redoran councilman named Athyn Sarethi had been assaulted in his home by assassins. By the time I had come back from Drulene's farm, the Ald'ruhn guards had barricaded the entrance to the manor and were preparing to storm the place. Neminda's orders were to go in alone and bring Athyn out so that the guards could storm the manor without worrying about him. She mentioned that as a councilman, Athyn technically had authority over me as a Redoran retainer, so his orders were to be obeyed.

The guards stationed at the manor entrance let me pass when I told them Neminda had sent me and I could see Athyn and the manor's dead guardsman from inside the entraceway. The man nearly died of fright when he heard me coming, but he relaxed when he saw me. Evidently Khajiit assassins are not very common in this part of the Empire. It is a good thing they are not, for I could have done a much better job than the two assassins which came running at me from further inside the house. I pushed the councilman towards the door and heard him running up the short flight of stairs as I prepared to meet the assassins.

I expected better than what I got. The men were armed predictably: chitin daggers and short swords enchanted with paralysis and poison. Neither wore armor, though good assassins don't need it if they do their jobs correctly. These two did not and their weapons barely scratched my Dreugh armor as mine effortlessly cleaved into them. The battle probably lasted less than a minute. I emerged from the manor bloody, but none of it was my own. Athyn thanked me and assured me he would remember my deed when it came time to pay the favor back. 

Neminda was just as pleased, for the bandit problem was the last item on her list of outstanding duties and the slaying of the assassins made her look even better, I assume, to those higher up in the House. I now need to find one of those higher-ups to sponsor me if I am to pursue further duties within House Redoran. This is probably what Athyn was referring to.

I had business elsewhere though. I cleaned myself up and teleported to the Vivec Mages Guild in order to visit my friend at the ever-ominous Temple canton. On my way through the cantons of Vivec, I wound up passing through the Redoran compound and visited Faral Retheran, the House Redoran steward of Vivec. She had a task for Balmora. Something about a slandering Hlaalu. I am beginning to notice a pattern here. I agreed to look into the matter and moved on.

A gondolier ferried me to the Temple canton for a few gold pieces and I entered the library, looking for my contact. However, she was nowhere to be found and I resorted to prowling about the priests' private quarters, looking for her room. Helpfully, each door has a small metal plate next to it with the name of the occupant. My friend's quarters was locked, but not very securely. I unlocked the door with a quiet word of magic and slipped inside. So far I had not been seen by an Ordinator and I definitely wanted to avoid becoming involved with them.

The room was sparsely furnished and probably typical of the rooms for the lower caste of the Temple. The only hint that anything was amiss was a note left on the dresser for one "Amaya", the code word that my friend told me she would use to indicate she was in trouble. The letter continued on to say that she was in the Ministry of Truth delivering documents and to be sure to remember to bring two Divine Intervention scrolls she had "forgotten" to bring with her. She said that the guard at the Ministry of Truth, Alvela Saram, would help me sneak into the Ministry. As the Ministry of Justice is really the huge floating rock above the Temple canton, my friend was considerate enough to leave a few Levitation potions in her room.

So at eight in the evening, Levitation potions and scrolls of Divine Intervention handy, I drank one of the potions and floated uneasily up to the scaffolding ringing the rock. There was one guard on duty outside and she asked if I was there to visit anyone. When I told her I was trying to visit my friend, she gave me a key to the three entrances into the rock. She was sympathetic towards the Dissident Priests, but cautioned me against committing violence against anyone inside the ministry. She seemed relieved to hear my plan largely consisted of not being noticed.

I was expecting the inside of the Ministry to be luxurious and opulent, but the inside was a network a rough-hewn rock tunnels into which thick wooden doors were set, very much like any number of the smuggler dens and mines I have found myself in. One might expect sneaking a prisoner out of the Ministry of Justice a riveting tale, but in reality I simply made sure my Invisibility never wore off and magically unlocked any doors I encountered. There were Ordinators patrolling the tunnels, but only singly and never in any sort of coordination.
Behind one of the locked doors was the prisoner holding area, more a pit than anything else. Opening the door removed my invisibility, but I was lucky enough to walk through at just the right moment when the Ordinators were looking the other way. After I was invisible again, I sneaked down to the holding area and starting trying the cell doors. They were all locked, but gave up easily to my unlocking spell. There were three doors and the first two I tried housed common thieves, neither of which had any inclination of leaving cell. The third door held my friend, who was a great deal more eager to leave.

We did not spend much time talking. I gave her a Divine Intervention scroll and told her of our mutual friend's recall back to the Imperial City. She seems to think her imprisonment and his leaving to be connected, but I am not so sure. Before activating the scroll, she told me to look for a woman on the docks of Ebonheart and tell her I wanted to go fishing. This woman would deliver me to a secret monastery of the Dissident Priests, where the lost prophecies of the Nerevarine are kept. With that, she activated the scroll and disappeared. 

Per the plan, I was not to activate my own scroll for five minutes after her departure, as to not raise suspicion about ending up together at Ebonheart. Rather than do that though, I drank my last Recall potion. Better to spend the night at home than in an inn. Once I was home, I immediately barricaded the door with all the spare furniture in the room and laid down in my hammock to write this.

I will immediately pursue the lost prophecies tomorrow, but I cannot lose sight of House Redoran, whose favor I may need to call upon in the days ahead.

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