19 Frost Fall
I spoke with Athyn about the best way to approach the Telvanni, Being an outlander as well as a Khajiit, I figured this would be no easy task. Athyn agreed that the Telvanni councilors would be 'reluctant', as he diplomatically put it, to confirm a 'slave race' as Hortator of their aloof House. He recommended two things. First that I talk to a Master Aryon in Tel Vos, whom Athyn judges as the most open-minded and after I mentioned it, that I go forward with the construction of the offered Redoran stronghold. He claims the Telvanni would be more willing to negotiate with me if I came from a position of greater strength and permanency.
So it was back to Ebonheart for me, though first to Balmora to stock up on potions, then to Vivec for the walk across the water into the small Imperial town. One would expect the town to be a bit more accessible, being the seat of Imperial authority on Vvardenfell, but you either walk or take a boat. I am surprised there is no Imperial Mages Guild in the Imperial town, but the place is quite cramped. Perhaps they ran out of room.
The trip to Ebonheart, be it over water or land, was uneventful as it usually is. I was not troubled by any guards during my very brief stay in Vivec and predictably encountered no trouble in the Imperial capital either. Finding the Duke of Ebonheart was quite a chore though. I expected him to be in the main chamber of the fort, but he was on the second floor, a fact which occurred to no one I asked to tell me of.
The Duke's adviser, Llaalam Dredil, asked that I deliver a letter for him as soon as I entered the second floor. I was anticipating a journey across Vvardenfell, but he only needed the letter delivered to an employee of the East Empire Trading Company there in Ebonheart. I do not know why he needed a heavily armed Khajiit to do this as opposed to...anyone on the street, but I agreed to the task, figuring it to be quick. The letter was addressed to a Khajiit, J'Zhirr and was neither sealed or encoded. It spoke of price increases on the various goods the Company dealt in. Notably, the price of 'D. Artifacts', which must have been Dwemer artifacts, has increased by thirty-five percent. Perhaps I should be spending more time in the ruins after all.
I spoke to the Duke after receiving the letter and he was very cordial. I was careful not to mention his late brother, for I do not know how widespread the knowledge of my involvement is. When I asked him about the construction contract for the Redoran stronghold, he gave one to me for free, thanking me for the services I have done his House as Nerevarine. It was in that way that I learned, much to my chagrin, that the Duke holds double-duty as the Grandmaster of House Hlaalu. It is curious that he referred to me by the Ashlander title of 'Nerevarine' instead of 'Hortator', but his gratitude is certainly appreciated at a time when I am being silently (and apparently ineptly) persecuted by the Temple.
The construction contract contained a lot of details that had not occurred to me. One, other people may be residing at my future fortress and the contract limited such people to no more than fifty individuals within at least four hundred feet of my residence. Two, I was entitled to my own soldiery of no more than ten men-at-arms, though I wonder what the reaction of the Dunmer will be when seeing a member of the 'slave race' commanding soldiers on their land. I have a strong feeling I will have to resort to hiring outlander mercenaries, if I hire any at all.
With no other business at the castle, I walked down to the harbor to deliver the letter. J'Zhirr was easy to find and gave me a letter to give back to Llaalam. I suppose I have had worse jobs. J'Zhirr's letter was an affirmation that Llaalam would be paid ten thousand Septims for 'services rendered', as J'Zhirr put it. Despite such a sum, I was only paid seventy-five Septims for the delivery of J'Zhirr's reply, but then I did not have to do much either. Seventy-five Septims two months ago would have been a pretty good reward, but today is barely worth a mention.
The only way back to Ald'ruhn was via the Vivec Mages Guild, so again a nice boring walk to the cantons, then a trek upwards within the Foreign Quarter, and finally into the Guild. From there I teleported to the Ald'ruhn guildhall and found Galsa Gindu, the Redoran estate manger, within the Redoran apartments in Under-Skar. I handed over the required funds with the contract and she briskly informed me that the stronghold would be built in 'Bal Isra', somewhere halfway between Ald'ruhn and Maar Gan. I hope it is an easy walk. Galsa estimated that construction would begin in a few days and asked that I return to her in a week.
Having done that, I had the rare luxury of having nothing much else to do. It was well into late afternoon when I left Under-Skar, so I did not feel like starting with anything new. I bought some healing scrolls at the Mages Guild and was told that Ajira had left word for me to visit the Balmora Mages Guild as soon as I could.
Ajira nervously greeted me when I popped into the Guild and told me that a high-ranking Imperial solider had come alone to the Guild, looking for me. The man's name is Larrius Varro, commander of the Fort Moonmoth garrison. He has a reputation as a man who enjoys cutting through bureaucracy of the Imperial variety and rumor has it that he has embarked on a personal crusade against corruption, though whose is a question no one is answering. I assured Ajira that I was not in trouble and she seemed relieved, though greatly so when I told her the man would not be coming back to the Guild.
Currying anyone's good favor at this point seems like a wise idea, so I will speak with him tomorrow. It does not seem that I will be in the bargaining position Athyn recommended for quite some time unless I find some other way to boost my reputation and prowess with the Dunmer people.