17 Frost Fall
I woke at 6am at the Erabenimsun Camp, but decided staying for breakfast would not be a good idea, for obvious reasons. An Almsivi Intervention scroll dropped me off at Molag Mar, from which I walked to Telasero fortress to use the Propylon chamber to teleport me to Caldera.
From there I teleported to the Ald'ruhn Mages Guild and stopped at my house briefly to deposit a few valuables that I simply could not leave behind, such as a Daedric club I had won off of a Dremora. Useless to me as a weapon, but a potent symbol of my prowess, should it ever come into question.
While taking a rare moment to rest, I pondered who in House Redoran would be able to point me in the right direction towards being named Redoran Hortator. I had prevented the assassination of council-member Athyn Sarethi, so I figured he would be most willing to answer my questions.
He was very helpful, providing not only his thoughts on being named the Redoran Hortator, but also of Hlaalu and Telvanni, pointing me towards Crassius Curio in Vivec and Orvas Dren for House Hlaalu and Master Aryon of Tel Vos for House Telvanni.
For House Redoran, he promised to recommend that I be named Redoran Hortator if only I would rescue his imprisoned son from Redoran Archmaster Bolvyn Venim. Apparently Bolvyn has claimed that the Athyn's son, Varvur Sarethi, has delivered to him a dishonorable slight and claimed 'private justice', whatever that is. Athyn is not fooled however, for he knows that Bolvyn has kidnapped his son to curtail his influence over the council, of which Bolvyn's has been wavering as of late. If I can return his son to him Athyn will work on the other council members on my behalf, smoothing the path in front of me as it were. He cautioned me to avoid violence within Venim Manor or the other council members would never support me. There is always a catch.
I had expected that the manor would be under tight security, but petitioners are common to all of the councilmen and access to the manors and their persons are pretty open. The extensiveness of the manor was certainly unexpected though for I gave no thought to the idea that the Dunmer would dig under Under-Skar and Venim Manor was large enough to almost be a small town on its own.
Unfortunately for Bolvyn this lack of security seems to have made his guards a little less than diligent, for I found a note stating where Varvur was, with the key sitting right on top of it! I did not have enough time to snatch the key before the guard came back, so I pretended to be lost and headed back the way I came. As soon as I was out of sight I used my Invisibility spell and sneaked back to the key, timing my pace to arrive there when the guard's routine patrol placed her as far away as possible. I quickly swapped the key with one I had forgotten to throw away and hurried to the tapestry the note had said the door laid behind.
Finding the man proved hazardous enough, but I thought that getting him out would be even more so. This was not the case, for the 'private justice' that Bolvyn had claimed against Varvur meant that he could not afford to harm him in any way, lest he bring the wrath of the Council upon him. With that protecting us, we were able to simply walk out of the manor without any opposition from the guards. Fortunately, we left soon enough to avoid meeting Bolvyn, an awkwardness I was glad to dodge.
Athyn was true to his word. With his son returned, he not only agreed to sponsor me for Redoran Hortator, but also told me that he had some House tasks that I could help him with, if I wanted to advance further within the House. I passed on that for now, becoming Hortator is certainly time-consuming enough!
He did not believe that the other council members would disagree with him in choosing me, but that Bolvyn would never accept a Khajiit as Hortator. Athyn's suggestion was to secure the nomination from the entire council, then challenge Bolvyn to a formal duel. With the rest of the council in my favor, he would likely see the duel as a way to remove me.
According to the Redoran Red Book of 3E 426, the council is composed of the Redoran Archmaster, Lord Bolvyn Venim, Master Lord Miner Arobar, Master Lord Hlaren Ramoran, Mistress Lady Brara Morvayn, Master Lord Athyn Sarethi, and Master Lord Garisa Llethri. Lots of 'Lords' and 'Masters' in that list, but with the exception of Bolvyn, each accepted me as Redoran Hortator, largely on Athyn's urgings. The Lady Brara was a bit different: she recognize the Moon-and-Star ring and stated she would have accepted me as Hortator on that alone.
While stumbling through the very large Redoran Council apartments, I walked into a room and was immediately accosted by a Dunmer woman who told me that I must be the Khajiit she had heard about and that she was cleared to build me a small dwelling, courtesy of House Redoran, if I brought her a construction permit from a Duke Dren in Ebonheart, plus five thousand Septims for construction costs. This is the first I have heard about me being able to build anything at all on Vvardenfell and I will keep it in mind if I ever find myself in Ebonheart with some free time.
With the rest of the council naming me Redoran Hortator, I visited the Redoran Archmaster in his manor. He never let me spoke, sneering that I had 'beguiled' and 'deceived' (somehow) the rest of the council, but that he would stop my "foolish ambition" within the Arena at Vivec, essentially challenging me to a duel instead. I accepted, of course.
I left the manor and stopped at my own home. The Archmaster had been clad in full ebony armor when I met him, but had no weapons on him. Unsure of what I was to face, I re-equipped myself with my Daedric weaponry, including four Daedric arrows, and teleported to the Vivec Mages Guild.
I have no expectations of anyone else ever reading this journal, so I can say without any arrogance that I was not apprehensive about my duel. I have fought battles against the demonic creatures of the Sixth House alone underneath mountains while flanked by choking lava. One Dunmer lord, well-armored and armed as he may be (he wielded a Daedric dai-katana, a real rarity!) simply failed to produce any worry.
We met at opposite ends of the large Arena, but he brought only his sword, leaving me free to fire four of the powerful Daedric arrows at him. Two missed, but my third shot impacted his breastplate with a ear-splitting *crack*, momentarily pausing his charge as he gazed down with (presumably) amazement at the jagged gash in his armor. The arrow had been powerful enough to crack open a seam on his breastplate and while I did try to fire my last arrow into the gap in his armor, I completely missed.
The rest of the combat was he and I continually circling each other, watching and waiting for the other to slip. I confess entirely to take several painful hits from the two-handed sword and I only managed to hit him once...but it was once enough. I drove the spear through the gap, the spear's edges screeching against his armor and yanked it out once I felt the spear tip strike the back of his breastplate. He collapsed to his knees, blood flowing out of his mouth as he looked up at me in disbelief. With a gurgle, the Archmaster of House Redoran fell flat on his face, dead.
I took his sword, but left him with his armor and the three Daedric arrows I recovered.
I made my way back to Athyn, who formally named me Redoran Hortator and gave me a ring to prove my status. He also gave me a sealed package that he said came from a contact high within the Temple's organization. He also gave me a public notice declaring that I was an Imperial spy and an enemy of the Temple. He warned that the Ordinators would mark me for either arrest or death and to avoid Vivec for quite some time.
The sealed package is from the Temple's High Archcanon. Should I succeed in being named both Nerevarine and Hortator of all three Houses, the package instructs me to speak with the High Fane in Vivec, Danso Indules, to facilitate a meeting between myself and essentially the Tribunal Temple to discuss how best to collaborate against the Sixth House.
By that time it was late in the evening and I took the rare opportunity to retire to my own home for the night. The Daedric Dai-katana rests alongside the bow and spear now and I've gratefully shouldered the far lighter bonemold bow and chitin spear I have grown used to.