Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Morrowind Day 75 - The Unlikely Champion of the Telvanni

28 Frost Fall
~~~
I was in a rush today to be named Hortator of House Telvanni, though why I was optimistic that it would be done today is a mystery. Of the three houses, I anticipated that the Telvanni would be the most difficult owing to me being an outlander and a Khajiit as well. I proceeded with the construction of the Redoran stronghold in an effort to improve my legitimacy with them and I can now say at the end of the day that there would have been no improving it at all, least not with the Telvanni.

Only two councilors remained to be convinced of my apparent divinity: Mistress Therana in Tel Branora and Archmagister Gothren in Tel Aruhn. Therana sounded like the easiest of the two to convince, so Tel Branora was the first destination of the day. Unfortunately it is the most remote of the Telvanni towers and it took quite a walk from the fortress of Telasero to get to.
Morning outside Telasero
Walking from Telasero to Tel Branora would mean passing by Molag Mar and through the large peninsula, where I would have to contend with either passing around or through a Daedric ruin. While I feel the ruin would not cause me much (ha) ruin, my decision to bypass this route entirely by water-walking to Tel Branora stems from a desire not to be distracted as I usually am.

However, as I was walking across the water I realized that the effort to walk all the way to Tel Branora would take more skill and energy with spells than I had, so I was forced to hop on to land now and again to reduce my dependency on magic. My first landfall proved darkly comical, for I stepped on to the shore almost directly in front of an ancestral tomb guarded, unusually, by a sword-wielding skeleton loitering outside the door.
The comedy was due to the skeleton's unthinking optimism in its chances. It ran towards me as soon as I was seen, but it was poorly armed and probably poorly summoned. One sideways swipe of my simple steel spear severed the skeleton's spinal cord and sent its upper half into the water while its lower half crumbled to a pile in front of me. I did not even bother to explore the tomb.

I hopped back on to the water and explored a large island just off the coast. There was one of the reptile-looking Daedroth wandering around, but it was more susceptible to my steel arrows than the flying ladies were. Another Daedra wandering around though...definitely worrying.
After several more island hops, I finally was able to see Tel Branora in the hazy distance. I had spent nearly all morning just getting there and it was early afternoon by the time I stepped through what looked like some sort of gate. I tried to ask about Therana with what few people I saw outside, but all of them rudely asked what business I would have with a Telvanni councilor. Pretty much the response I expected.

I assumed that Mistress Therana would be at the top of the mushroom/tree tower, so I drank the only levitation potion the Ald'ruhn Mages Guild could scrape up and drifted upwards to look for the entrance. I floated around the tower ready to cast my meager Slowfall spell, but spied a door before the spell wore off. It is odd that the Telvanni guards would allow a well-armed Khajiit to simply float into their master's home. If I was Telvanni, my tower would have archers ready to shoot down any unannounced petitioners on sight.

The top most entrance was unguarded and the two guards inside barely glanced at me when I walked in. They or someone had taken the trouble to position what were either ancient Kwama eggs or simple rocks in decorative shapes around the room, which is a first for any Telvanni tower I have been in. It was only a small taste of the eccentric nature of Mistress Therana, which I soon found myself dealing with.

I made the mistake of asking one of the guards where the lady was to be found and when asked why, I replied that I had concerns related to the Nerevarine prophecy. While I had not said the concerns were regarding myself, the guard laughed and said Telvanni did not care about prophecies, religion, or superstition and that I could call myself the Nerevarine if I wanted, because the Telvanni did not care. Pleasant fellow, Bosmer mercenary by the sound of it, though his full helm made it difficult to be sure.

Mistress Therana was in a small room filled with crystals growing from the floor. A half-naked Khajiit male was with her, quietly feeding a small fire from a pile of expensive-looking books which he occasionally left to replenish. The room had two bed rolls in it, one smelling of Khajiit and one of Dunmer, though I could be wrong due to the smoke in the room. The implications are certainly...disturbing, actually.

The lady herself was said to be kept alive by necromancy, but whatever magic sustained her body was starting to lose its hold on her mind. I would not say she was crazy in a dangerous way, but Therana is definitely not holding on to reality with two hands, so to say.

When I asked her about House Telvanni she told me a story about when she was a little girl and offered me a kwama egg before realizing she had none. A question about the Telvanni councilors resulted in the loudly whispered advice not to trust any of them, for Telvanni always made bad councilors. She thought the Nerevarine was the title of a play and that the Hortator was a container for alchemy ingredients. Maybe she thought I said Retort?

All I needed was her agreement to vote for me if she ever wound up finding her way to the Telvanni council to actually vote. The story about her Hortator/Retort changed from one about bittergreen roots to one about spider eggs, then to an 'itty bitty kitty' named Kier-Jo than I took to be a Khajiit she once owned, not a cat. According to her 'they' never last and she keeps having to buy new ones. The Khajiit slave that was still alive and in the room left at this point and did not come back.

I interrupted to ask her about the Hortator vote, but she got huffy and threatened to throw me in the basement with a bunch of spiders...then made no move to do that either. She stared at me for a few seconds, then bade me a good morning and asked what she could do for me.

Uneasily, I asked her about the Telvanni Hortator again, but figured it would be best to let her talk until she exhausted her story. Never before have I heard so much of a story that ultimately meant so little. When she was done rambling she expressed surprise that I was still standing in front of her and asked what I needed. This time my reply that I needed her vote to become Telvanni Hortator was granted. I think. She did ask why I wanted to be a steel box, but I took that as good enough and left the addled woman's company.

My next stop was Tel Aruhn, home of Archmagister Gothren. Dealing with Therana left me in no mood to walk all the way up the coast from Tel Branora, so I popped home and simply teleported to Sadrith Mora. The walk from there was a short one and the Guild in Sadrith Mora had a few Levitation potions for sale.

My curiosity for Telvanni towers had long been spent by then, so I wasted no time levitating to the top of the Tel Aruhn tower. The Archmagister was easy to find and the small audience chamber he was sitting in was made all the more smaller for the two Dremora he had guarding him.
Had I spoken to the man during my first month on Vvardenfell I would have been impressed. Intimidated even. But not by now. These Dremora were only armed with Dwemer equipment while the larger Dremora I have been fighting are usually armed with Daedric or Ebony weaponry. Perhaps the Archmagister should have updated his spell or something.

My encounter with him was mercifully short. He absolutely refused to ever declare me Telvanni Hortator, stating that it would never do to name an unknown and unreliable outlander to the position, let alone one of the 'slave race', as he put it. To further prove himself a fool he threatened dire action on his part if I insisted on bothering him again.

I guess I snapped. I slipped my spear from the loops on my back, whispered the enchantment's incantation, then rammed a now-Daedric spear through the neck of the closest Dremora. He died instantly with a gurgling sort of howl and I rammed the butt of the spear into his comrade's face, temporarily putting him out of the fight.

Gothren did not shout for the guards, which was yet another foolish decision and I dispatched the second Dremora just as he finished casting a spell on me...but nothing happened. He seemed surprised and I turned on him with my spear as he completed another flurry of words and gestures. This time his intended effect took hold, literally, for I was paralyzed. A third spell started to sap my energy as he danced around with a dagger, futilely attempting to stab me through my cuirass. The paralysis did not last long and my energy was not greatly drained, so he wound up dying before he could cast a fourth spell, poetically run through with my spear and pinned to his throne. If I had the actual Daedric spear I would have considered leaving it there for the artistry of the scene, but alas, I could not do that.

And that was the end of the greatest mage the House Telvanni had...though as I think on it now, he was really the greatest politician the Telvanni had, not the most powerful mage. Divayth Fyr at the Home for the Blighted is certainly a more powerful mage, but a disinterested one. I can think of several others I estimate are more powerful as well. Strange are the lives we lead sometimes.

On the bright side, his robes held nine magicka restoratives and four powerful fatigue restoratives, all of which I took. His dagger, ironically, was Daedric and should have been able to pierce my cuirass, but the man simply did not know how to fight and therefore made the weapon ineffective. He might have made more use of it by throwing it at me.

It was a tired trip from Tel Aruhn to Tel Vos and fortunately I had to only contend with three Kagouti on the way, for I was utterly exhausted...probably more from dealing with Therana than Gothren. Aryon was pleased to see me so quickly and congratulated me on collecting all the votes. He anxiously inquired as to the Archmagister's health and was not displeased to hear the mediocre mage has taken a permanent vacation from his position. Aryon rewarded my effort with a robe he called the 'Robe of the Hortator'. The robe's enchantment will temporarily boost my magicka energy, but that's of limited use to me.

With the acceptance of the Telvanni to my title of Hortator I have completed the Fourth Trial of the Seven Trials of the Incarnate. The Fifth Trial was to be named Nerevarine by the four Ashlander tribes, so now I must make plans to meet with the Archcanon of the Temple. Events seem to be moving quickly, but signs that Dagoth Ur may be moving quicker is my constant concern.

No comments:

Post a Comment