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Journal of a Wanderer - Semi-Hardcore Morrowind Playthrough

Discussion in 'Morrowind Discussion' started by Neriad13, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    Journal of a Wanderer -
    [​IMG]
    To be updated sporadically!

    Be sure to check out the Wanderer's Album too.

    Rules:

    - Eat two meals a day (made up of three servings of separate items in order to preserve a healthy diet. Two small kwama eggs make one serving and three portions of saltrice are a healthy helping).
    - 25 difficulty.
    - Sleep for eight hours a night.
    - No use of Creeper or the Mudcrab Merchant.
    - No use of potions during hand to hand fighting.
    - Always wear street clothes under armor.
    - No changing armor in the midst of battle.
    - Sleep in street clothes unless camping in the wilderness (flexible).
    - When unequipping armor items, set them down after doing so.
    - Change clothes only in privacy.
    - To use a found piece of armor or clothing, head to a smith or clothier and pay a 50 gold resizing fee. Store-bought armor comes pre-sized.
    - Only repair or have repaired armor and weapons if you're not wearing them currently.
    - Shops are only open between the hours of 8AM and 5PM, with the exception of inns, cornerclubs and faction (which you belong to) -affiliated shops.
    - Wait one hour upon:
    A. Reading a book.
    B. Repairing one piece of armor or weaponry.
    C. Suiting up in any armor.
    D. Disposing of a corpse.
    E. Stripping a corpse or automaton of clothing items, meat, salts, hides, organs, wax, cuttle, jelly or scrap metal.
    F. Learning a new spell.
    G. Writing a journal entry.
    H. Mining one piece of ore.
    - No waiting in any other situation.
    - No looting diseased creatures or people.
    - All DB assassins will be console-killed and ignored until the titles of Nerevarine and Hortator are reached.
    - Upon dying, walk to the nearest safe area, rest or wait for one day and leave whoever took care of you 150 gold.
    - If stricken by disease, public transportation is not allowed and the only people who will do business with you are Divine and Almsivi priests.
    - If caught in a dust storm, be sure to be carrying a piece of fabric and a bottle. If not, duck into the nearest windbreak, building or cave and wait out the storm.
    - Only loot hides, meat, salts and organs from a corpse or plant life from growing plants if you've got an unenchanted dagger on you.
    - Only loot Dwemer automatons if you're carrying an unenchanted axe.
    - Mine only if you're carrying a miner's pick.
    - If caught in a crime by an Imperial or Hlaalu guard, drop all Dwemer items, glass ore and ebony ore.
    - If killed by an Imperial or Hlaalu guard, drop all ebony ore, glass ore, stolen and Dwemer items. If any other type of guard, drop only stolen items.
     
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  2. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    16th Last Seed, Arrille’s Tradehouse, Seyda Neen, Vvardenfell

    I feel sick. Nothing I eat here seems to sit right with me and the alcohol probably didn’t help either, though it did feel good going down and it had been a long time since I’d had a fire brewing in my belly.

    But more importantly, I feel sick at heart, cut loose to be lost in a foreign wilderness, with no home to go back to. I haven’t the faintest idea of what I’m going to do. I don’t know a thing about Morrowind, my pockets are empty and the thick stench of the swamp soaks into everything here.

    Though I wouldn’t turn around for the world. No, I think I’ve caused quite enough trouble in Cyrodiil to last for several human lifetimes. Truthfully, I breathed a sigh of relief when the barred prison carriage passed the border, leaving the people who’d have reason to poison me in my sleep far behind the comfortable confines of the Imperial seat’s limit.

    But the niggling question still remains – now that I’m free to begin anew…what should I do? I have no connections, no friends, next to no money (the Census and Excise Office handed me a pittance to get me to a city called Balmora). I’ve been handed a package to deliver to a man I’ve never met in my life and told to obey him “as I would the Emperor Himself.” Which is funny, as I have a bad history concerning the Emperor’s laws. And, for that matter, keeping my nose out of things in which they probably shouldn’t be in the first place. Of course I had to read the damn package first – though it was all in code and I couldn’t make heads nor tails out of it – and only then read the accompanying note threatening and warning me off from doing so. That has certainly done nothing for my stomach issues.

    I don’t think I’ve gotten used to the feeling of being on dry land again. I can still feel the boards of the ship heaving on the dark sea beneath me, still feel the dankness of the hold pressing in around me. The scent of body odor and my own seasick vomit still wafts up to my nose from time to time. It could be my imagination or it might just be the clinging odors of my old, threadbare, too-much-traveled clothes, stuffed in a bag at my feet. I probably ought to find a place to dispose of them before someone complains. I know that Altmer who owns the place wasn’t too pleased to see me walking through the door in them.

    17th Last Seed, Seyda Neen, Vvardenfell

    I’m such an idiot. You’d think after everything I’d been through, that I’d be able to possibly, maybe, improbably learn something from my mistakes. Apparently that’s not the case. Thinking to build up a little capitol before departing this dung-hole, I decided to do a little freelance thieving. It had been so long since I’d snuck about with sticky fingers. It was exhilarating. I passed in and out of houses like a ghost, stuffing valuables down my shirt, popping locks with ease. I hadn’t had a bad haul either – the lighthouse keeper’s chest had yielded a lovely steel dagger and as it turns out, a snivelly little local elf had an extremely well-stocked booze cupboard. But I had to have more. I had to try out the biggest houses in town, though guards patrolled directly in front of them. I’d gotten drunk with my success. I pushed myself harder and harder, confident in my skills, overjoyed to be working at them again. I was caught fiddling with a lock. The guard demanded my stolen goods. I clutched my new dagger and the precious haul of booze. I was certain I could outrun him. I’d done this a thousand times, after all. I’d come through so much worse than this before.

    I ran for it – and the guard’s sword slashed my ribcage before I could even gallop five steps. I’ve gotten horribly rusty and weak. Incarceration does that to a person. My confidence was so foolish.

    The lady who lives across the street helped me out – patched me up and fed me some strange bitter-sweetish sort of porridge (I shall not ask). I couldn’t pay her enough for her services, though I gave her my entire supply of money. It’ll just have to be an outstanding debt, my first, but probably not my last, seeing as how things are going.

    And now I’m really in trouble. All I have are the bloodstained clothes on my back and the package for the man named Caius Cosades. I’m a thousand times worse off than I was before and sick to my empty stomach. I don’t even have the money for a stilt-strider to Balmora anymore.

    There’s only one thing I can do now, now that I’ve been pushed off the ledge and have hit the rocky shoals at full force, unarmed and lacking even the rudimentary tools of my trade.

    Thieve some more.

    18th Last Seed, Seyda Neen, Vvardenfell

    I feel quite a bit better now. I spent a fairly comfortable night in a local, thankfully absent fisherman’s shack, sleeping in his gently swaying hammock. I made a hearty dinner out of his food supplies and did the same for breakfast. Sure, eating mysterious dried meats and eggs with the oddest texture I’ve ever seen hasn’t done much for my stomach issues, but it did fill me up, which is the main issue here. I still have enough food for a day or two to spare as well. What I’ll be eating afterwards remains to be seen.

    I cleaned the place out entirely too, though I felt badly about stripping the man’s little makeshift table of even his knife and fork. I want to sell every little thing that I possibly can. Maybe if I just keep stealing old bottles and plates and crude flatware, the combined weight of their tiny worth will buy me a ticket out of this hole.

    18th Last Seed, Balmora, South Wall Cornerclub

    Today was a great day – better by far than any day I’ve had since arriving in Morrowind, not to mention the best continuous bit of luck I’ve had in years. I managed to convince the Altmer to buy my mound of junk for a price far greater than its measly worth and toss in a fairly respectable robe to wear into the city to replace my soiled shirt. I ended up with eighty septims total, more than enough to pay off my debt and buy a ride to Balmora. I thumbed my nose at the pit called Seyda Neen and tossed my trash on the ground before hopping onto the town stilt strider. Divines bless me to never return.

    The ride to Balmora was much more pleasant than I’d expected. The height of the beast made me nervous at first and the sight of its exposed organs was a little off-putting, but I soon began enjoying the ride. The air was fresher up here and I could lay back, relax and enjoy the view. I saw a bit of the countryside – I traveled through rolling green hills, saw fields of flowers, smiled at minute villages tucked into the grass. The swamp was far behind by the time I pulled into Balmora. It was a surprisingly short ride and I was a little disappointed when the caravaneer poked his massive steed into position at the platform and bade me step out.

    It was also raining when I arrived and I was none too pleased at that. But it soon stopped after I did a bit of wandering and the day became as sunny as ever. After a bit of asking around, I located the South Wall Cornerclub to which I had been directed. I chatted a bit with its inhabitants, bought a new set of lockpicks and probes, as well as a few good throwing knives (Divines forbid I shall ever have to use them).

    At one point I ran into a Khajiit named Habasi Sugar-Lips. Purring, she noted my purchases and asked if I’d like to join the Thieves’ Guild. I was taken aback – and then honored. I accepted her offer on the spot, gratified to have steady work at last and a definite place in the world. She gave me a job right away and my fingers couldn’t say no.

    I was to steal a diamond from an alchemist, a prim, prissy Altmer on the rich side of town. She eyed me disdainfully as I stepped into her shop and took note of the jewels sitting beside her. Those ones plainly weren’t going anywhere, not unless I was prepared to run away with them. And that wasn’t an option, given what had happened last time I’d tried that. The shop’s guard was eyeing me as well, with a certain amount of bored hunger in his eyes.

    I tried a different tactic. Beside the alchemist’s bed there was a small chest. Trying to be as still and quiet as possible, I popped the lock. The guard noticed and came bounding after me. Cowering, I hastily shoved my pick into my satchel and made the most innocent face I had.

    He didn’t buy it and held out his hand for my fine. Sighing, I handed the money over and let him rifle through my things. When he was satisfied, he turned his back and headed back to his post.

    That was when I struck – plunging my hand into the chest when no one was looking and scooping its contents into my bag without a sound. I was sweating profusely. My breathing seemed far too heavy to not be suspicious. But I held it together, walking slowly, calmly from the shop, my visage a picture of serenity. It took everything I had to not run once I’d made it outside. But once I put a little distance between myself and the shop, I laughed aloud and sped back home to the cornerclub with my prize in tow.

    I’d gone above and beyond – not merely stolen a diamond, but three. Sugar-Lips accepted one of them, purring, paying me with an invisibility potion before advancing me to the guild rank of “Wet-Behind-the-Ears,” which, strangely enough, is quite preferable to being called “Toad” all the time.

    I sold the rest of my bounty and felt fat and rich. The cornerclub’s bed was cushy and soft and I felt myself sinking into it. I knocked back a celebratory bottle of sujamma and then opened my bag to enjoy a filling dinner, only to discover that the jerk had taken all my ill-gotten food supplies.

    So, I ended up with a small dinner of bread but a large sense of satisfaction. I’ll definitely get some rest tonight and go on a shopping spree tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll finally be able to score some armor.

    Because it’s a definite possibility that I’ll be needing it for my next job. I’m to pickpocket a key from a Hlaalu retainer and know for certain that my fingers aren’t as nimble as they once were.

    And still, as I drift off to sleep in the best spot I’ve been in so far, the issue of Cosades nags at me. I know exactly where he lives now. It’s right down the street from my Thieves’ Guild home. I wonder if I’ve passed him on the road. If he knows that I’m meant to be coming. If I can trust him at all.

    Like it or not, he’s bound up with my release from the Imperial Prison and I have him, if no one else, to thank for the end of my incarceration. I have so many questions that he might be able to answer, that I’ve been trying to forget with all my might, to shove under a pile of rubble like I’d never seen them. I don’t want to be a part of something big. All I want to do is live and breathe free air. Is that so much to ask?

    I’d better stop before I break down any more. I’ve got guild friends to impress, after all. I’ll think about it tomorrow. It’ll all happen tomorrow. Tonight is for drink and cheer.
     
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  3. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    19th Last Seed, Balmora, South Wall Cornerclub

    I killed a man today. It wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve done that. That was what made my life into such a mess to begin with, after all. One would think that after making mistakes, that I’d learn from them, but, as always, it never seems to be the case. My skull’s too hard and my mind’s too thick. A century of life experience hardens a person to learning. Time passes and I begin to think that I’ve seen everything there is to see.

    But there’s always more time. That’s the way it is with elves – we hardly ever run out of second chances. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve realized something and been born anew. If I try, if I keep my mind open, maybe, just maybe the Divines can find it in themselves to forgive me.

    Though I highly doubt it, seeing what I did next.

    His name was Ondres Nerano. He was friendly enough, from what I could tell in the brief period during which I knew him. Smart, too. He didn’t like the feel of my hand in his pocket. He lashed out at me with his fists, raining down blows on my new chitin armor. He called for guards and I panicked, striking at him with the tanto that I’d swiped from the cornerclub across the street. It was over before I’d realized what I’d done. He wasn’t armed and wore no protection. My blade cleaved so swiftly through his sunken chest. He bled to death at my feet and I must admit that the sight gave me a tiny tinge of sick pleasure, of cruel triumph. I pulled his precious key from his cold pocket, peeled a few valuable pieces of jewelry from his corpse and went on my way. The guards outside never heard his screams and no one came to help him in his empty, drafty house.

    Sugar-Lips was none too pleased with me and refused to pay me for my efforts. I understood where she was coming from – death is bad business all around. She also sent me away on my next job, in a fishing village to the southwest of the city. I feel like I’m being exiled, punished for what I’ve done. Or perhaps sent away until the scandal dies down.

    But I must admit that I’m afraid to leave the civilized areas. I don’t know what’s out there in the wilderness. Alleyways and dusty attics are my stock in trade. I’ve never liked being on the road for too long and know nothing about what sort of beasts or bandits I’ll meet out there.

    At any rate, I’ll finish selling my haul, pack for the journey tomorrow and head out as soon as I can. I’ve got more than enough funds, after returning to Nerano Manor and shamelessly stripping the place bare. The owner I buried beneath a few loose floor tiles of his own main hall. With luck, it’ll be a while before he’s discovered. Or I’m implicated in his murder.
     
  4. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    20th Last Seed, Hla Oad

    I’ve procured some excellent accommodations for myself in this wretched, swampy place. I’ve filled my belly with stolen food and am languidly reclining on my brand new hammock. The filthy water below can’t touch me and if this cabin’s owner is gone for a while, I believe that I can make myself at home here for quite some time.

    But though I feel well, had an uneventful journey and find the accommodations more comfortable than I’ve expected, the truth of the matter is that I’m in it pretty deep. Or will be the moment I act. Upon arrival, I was informed by a local that this is Cammona Tong territory. I don’t know much about Vvardenfell politics yet, but what I was told back in Balmora was that they’re the rivals of the Thieves’ Guild – and more bloodthirsty than their Imperial counterpart. Hla Oad is a village of smugglers and thieves and none of them are on my side.

    I’ve wisely opted to keep my mouth shut about my affiliations. No one here knows who I am – at least, not yet. The Cammona Tong let me wander about their smugglers’ cave and conduct business with its members. Their smith even put a polish on my blade and sewed up a tear in my armor. But information he could not give me. I slipped him a handful of gold and praised his solid work, only to be rewarded with a blank stare and the revelation that he didn’t know a thing about any stolen Dwemer artifacts.

    I searched the cave relentlessly, going through crate after crate of illegally obtained weapons and armor and coming up with nothing. I can only assume that the artifacts I’m supposed to reclaim must be in the locked chest right beside the culprit himself – a flea-bitten khajiit who’d nabbed them from the Thieves’ Guild originally. It’ll be beyond difficult to pull one over on him. The best I can hope to do is pop the lock on the chest, shovel its contents into my bag and teleport right out of there with a scroll I’d bought from the Mages’ Guild before the khajiit slashes me to ribbons.

    I get more confident in my plan the more I write about it. Yes, I think it would work. I might even get away without a scratch. I feel like I’ve just taken a swig of sujamma and gotten a burst of courage.

    But a sour taste remains in the back of my throat. I saw another aspect of Morrowind culture today that I wasn’t quite prepared to see. Of course I’d known that slavery was legal in the east. It’s an ancestral Dunmer right, or so I’ve been told. They’re needed on the big plantations to keep costs of food growth down. I think my parents might have even kept a slave or two before they moved their business to Cyrodiil, but that was centuries ago and far before my time.

    Actually meeting a slave is an entirely different experience. She was nearly skeletal, shaking in the dank chill of the cave and patches of her orange fur were missing. There was an odd shackle made of dark metal, bound around her thin wrist, glimmering of enchantment. Looking at it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and my skin crawl.

    Her…keeper…offered me a job, to take her to a client in Balmora. I told him that I’d think about it, that I had a bit of business of my own to conduct before accepting another job. Trying to keep my breathing steady, I turned my back on them and gracefully speed-walked back up to the surface. I wished that I hadn’t seen anything. But I don’t think that I can let this one rest. I have to find some way to get her out of there, preferably before I start something bad with the Cammona Tong and seal off the only escape route she might have.

    Sure, I’ll take that job – but the goods won’t ever make it to their final destination.
     
  5. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    22nd Last Seed, Ebonheart Docks

    I can’t stop smiling at what I’ve done. I don’t remember being this happy for a long time. It was probably the gold that made me so pleased with myself. I wasn’t expecting payment and a nice surprise like that is always good for boosting self-esteem. But I’d like to think that the reason for my personal pleasure goes beyond material gain. Yesterday, I helped someone - changed a life permanently for the better rather than the worse.

    Her name is Rabinna and I’ll never forget her. I stopped in the Hla Oad tradehouse to sell off my pittance of ill-gotten housewares for pocket change and then headed below to conduct a nastier bit of business. Keeping my face straight, I accepted the job I’d been offered, took the shaking khajiit by the wrist and briskly led her above ground. We walked a little ways into the stinking swamp. I could hear her whimpering behind me and struggling to drag her claws through the thick muck that was the ground. When I saw the roofs of the nearby huts vanish in the morning mists, I snapped out of my act and asked her what was the matter.

    Stone-faced and tired, resigned to her fate, she told me that she’d been forced to swallow many packets of moonsugar. That was to be the true payment of her master’s debt. Most likely, she’d be killed for them. Bile rose to the back of my throat and an overarching urge to tear her master limb from limb rose in my mind. But that was foolish – I’m no fighter and he’s surrounded by friends. In fact, I think I’d best stay away from the smuggling cave entirely. And clear out of town before he realizes that his delivery has been delayed indefinitely.

    Rabinna and I sailed to Ebonheart together, to locate someone she said would help her. A rickety little fishing ship propelled us out of town. We hid belowdecks and I sat in the darkness praying to whoever would listen that no one saw us board the vessel. After a few too many hours of seasickness, we pulled into port and I located the Argonian Mission without too much trouble. By this point Rabinna was suffering much worse than I. I just about had to carry her through the door. And when I’d kicked it open and pulled her in, an Argonian healer gently took her from me and what appeared to be the leader of the place filled my pockets with gold before cheerily sending me on my way.

    I stepped out a little dazed but feeling as though I’d just had a long, luxuriant nap next to a warm hearth. The rest of the day was spent touring the city, gawking at the sights and breathing in the fresh sea breeze.

    The place is one big Imperial fortress and seat of the Emperor’s power in Vvardenfell. The architecture made me homesick for the paved streets and clean buildings of Imperial City, but on the other land, the large amount of legionnaires patrolling the streets can make a thief incredibly uneasy.

    I rented a bed for the night in ‘The Six Fishes,’ the only local inn and had a lovely sleep in the cushy bed, beneath a window that let in the cool night air. I also had a grand time burgling the basement, but that’s beside the point.

    And now, here I am. Sitting on the docks, waiting for my ship to pull in, to take me back to business as usual. I love the sound of the waves slapping stone and wonder, if I swim far enough, if the sea can take me back home. There’s no going home now, I know that well enough. But one can dream, in an effort to stave off homesickness.

    Today, I sail back to Hla Oad. Today, I steal from right under the Cammona Tong’s hairy nose. Divines preserve me.
     
  6. Neriad13

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    22nd Last Seed, Balmora, South Wall Cornerclub

    It’s over. One way or another, the business is finally concluded and I’m free of it. But it wasn’t easy.

    No, it all started in utter failure. I chose wrongly and I paid for it. The chest I’d chosen to pick before making a run for it held nothing Dwemer in the least. Terrified, I grabbed what little it did have and vanished in a burst of light. It felt terrible – like I was being torn apart and then forcibly shoved back together. I arrived with a heavy thud in the courtyard of Moonmoth Fort, my hair in all probability standing on end and my pupils down to pinpricks. I sat there panting for a minute, trying to catch my breath and bearings. I felt so stupid. I’d done it again. But at least no one had died for it this time.

    I dragged my hide back down to Balmora, paid to have my bounty removed by the Guild and collapsed on a bar stool, wanting a drink but too light-headed to hold one. I didn’t want to face Sugar-Lips in disgrace again. I made up my mind that I wouldn’t.

    After a few deep breaths, I ran down the weathered path beside the Odai and climbed the hill to reach Hla Oad once again. Baring my teeth and kicking down the door, I dove at the second chest, cracking its lock in seconds as the Cammona Tong yelled and dove at me. And there they were – the remnants of a lost civilization that I’d paid so much to find. Saluting them with a smirk, I teleported right out of there before their furious faces. It wasn’t quite so bad the second time around. Perhaps I’d begun to get used to the spell. Or, more likely, I knew that I’d finally accomplished something, spell be damned.

    The walk back home was wet and cold, but the rain washed all the swamp muck away. Like a proud child, I held out my goods for Sugar-Lips’ inspection, soaking wet and grinning from ear to ear.

    She purred, running her paws over the warm bronze surfaces of the artifacts and handing me some very good lockpicks and probes as payment.

    I’m so tired now. The sound of the rain pounding on the roof lulls me to sleep. It’s been a while since I’ve been in this bed, in this room and I find that I have missed it more than I thought. It’s home for now, though it isn’t my sunny room in Cheydinhal.

    There’s another job waiting for me, but I think I’ll spend some time taking it easy for now. The contents of the Nerano library are stacked in the corner. I was planning to sell them, but I think I’ll be reading them first. Tomorrow seems as good a day as any to kick back for a little bit.
     
  7. Neriad13

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    23rd Last Seed, Balmora

    I’m ridiculously excited – and nervous too. I can’t seem to stop cracking my knuckles loudly and drawing the ire of any who pass by. That’ll have to stop shortly. I had better be quiet once I get in there. But it seems like such a perfect heist! The stars are aligning for me, or so I can hope. But I mustn’t get too cocky – goodness knows where that can lead.

    But, I should backtrack before explaining, if this is to be my last will and testament. I spent the day comfortably dozing in my bed, nibbling at loaf of bread and reading a few of those “borrowed” books before hauling my hide out to do a little training with Chirranirr. Thoroughly woken up and a bit bored of only reading about places, I thought it best to take a light jog around town. Naturally, my feet led me to Hlaalo Manor, the site of my next job. I wasn’t terribly keen on doing anything just yet. I just wanted a look at it, a casual glance. It wasn’t like I had anything better to do.

    I was dismayed to find that it only had one door at ground-level and that it was directly facing the post of a Hlaalu guard. I felt sick at the thought of breaking in that way, if it was indeed the only entrance. But then I took note of the guard tower next door and wondered if it was connected somehow. Brushing past the irate guards inside, I again found myself disappointed. It wasn’t going to be that easy. Nevertheless, I climbed the ladder to the roof and sighing, took in the view of Balmora from above.

    Everything looked so neat and orderly, like toys lined up on a shelf. I wondered if the city was really so corrupt as the local rags said. I guess it has to be, to support a guild of thieves. Though it isn’t nearly as bad as Hla Oad. We at least don’t live in filth and trade in flesh.

    That was when I saw it. The balcony on the upper level of the manor. The door that led directly into what must be the master chamber. That was when a vein of glee opened up in my heart and the pervasive lethargy that had absorbed me since yesterday dissipated entirely. I could jump it easily, as the buildings are so close, though the drop might be a little far for me. Part of me wanted to jump down there this instant, to get it done now. The part of me that was still rain-soaked said no.

    Rubbing my chin, I skipped down the stairs, formulating a plan of attack. On the way home, I made a stop at the Mages’ Guild for a rising force potion and a few vials of invisibility. I’d do it tonight, under cover of darkness.

    The wait was agony. I paced a hole in the floor. I tried to read a bit more, but the words swam before my eyes. I buffed a scratch out of my blade, though it hardly needed repairing.

    And now it’s almost time. I dangle my legs over the river nervously, watching the sun slowly fall beneath the surface of the horizon, glimmering on the gentle current below. The view is spectacular. The sky blazes with hues of orange and red, dying the streets colors they aren’t typically accustomed to.

    It reminds me of something else – something disturbing that I’d read and seen and felt. I was half-asleep when I read it but my weariness-clogged brain took enough of a note. I’d picked up ‘The Cantatas of Vivec’ on a whim out of the pile. I’d thought the book was a load of tripe for the most part. A volume of nothing but wretched lovesick poetry with no drive or purpose. But what do I know of Dunmer verse? I wasn’t born here and I never claimed to be learned on the topic. And then, partway through, I hit a certain segment. It spoke of red rivers and ashen skies, of rocky spires lit by the spirits of the dead.

    How long beneath red-reeking clouds
    must flickering watchfires burn?” the poet demanded, as though calling to me.

    How many lifetimes of labor and lament
    will it take to seal this restless tomb?

    I’ve been there. I’ve breathed the ash and trod the bloody earth. In my dreams, perhaps. I didn’t know it at the time. I’m still unsure – the ride to Seyda Neen was nothing else if not a seasick blur. I’ve tried to put it out of my mind, but I swear I can feel the heat of the place on the back of my neck, just thinking about it.

    But there isn’t any time for that presently. My pockets lack weight and the stars are out to guide me to my task. Shadow wraps around the close streets of Balmora and my element draws near.
     
  8. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    24th Last Seed, Balmora, South Wall Cornerclub

    It was the cleanest mark I’ve ever done in my life. It all went off without a hitch – well, except for the part where I twisted my ankle something fierce, but that was only well after I’d safely gotten away.

    The burglary was too easy. I flew up to the balcony, gingerly prodded the lock open and slipped in. I found the vintage brandy I’d been sent for within minutes. There was a bit of a scare when I opened a door and found a resident of the manor staring right back at me, but she seemed to be too absorbed in her own thoughts to take any notice of me.

    I also found a small key on the floor beside the dusty bottle. I have to wonder what it goes to. More treasures stored deeper within the house? At any rate, I found it wise to get out before getting into any more trouble. I’d gotten what I came for and I didn’t want to risk it. Further “cleaning services” will have to take place later on, off of Guild time.

    I was filled with weary joy when I stepped outside again and felt the cool night breeze on my brow. The stars gleamed like jewels in a fold of black velvet. Using a scroll I’d bought earlier I took off into them, leaping into the sky, high above town. I soared over building after building, slowly drawing closer to the ground, flying over the unsuspecting heads of the people below. I began to get a little worried when I made it to the river and still found myself fairly high above the ground. I had no idea when the spell was due to wear off and wished that it would let me down before it flickered out.

    It happened when I was still midair. I found myself flailing in empty space and then plummeting to earth. I landed on the bridge to the working class side of town with a sickening sound. It was a painful end to a beautiful flight. Though I suppose that it might have been worse. I might’ve miscalculated and landed in the river itself instead.

    Grimacing, I limped back home and planted the brandy firmly in Sugar-Lips’ outstretched paws. I was paid one thousand septims for my efforts. It’s the most money I’ve ever seen since arriving here! Most likely I’ll blow it on more training from Chirranirr. And maybe some booze. I feel so much stronger after working with her, working off the pale, thin body that I’d become in the Imperial Prison.

    As for my ankle, a good night’s rest seems to have done wonders for it, though it still twinges a little when I put weight on it.
     
  9. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    26th Last Seed, Balmora

    I don’t know what to make of what I’ve seen. It was a strange experience for sure and one I’d hope to not be repeating any time soon. Last night, I’d returned to finish clearing out the Hlaalo Manor. I found the house empty, but for the lone inhabitant that had startled me the other night. Sugar-Lips had told me prior to my mission that the place’s owner had died recently. It looks as though he had no other kin, or at least, no one else to keep watch over his earthly possessions.

    Sweeping through the ground floor, I located another bottle of vintage brandy and snapped it up immediately. While I do have a desire to know its flavor and would no doubt relish the feel of its probably spectacular fire sliding down my throat, the thing is too valuable for drinking. It’s probably vinegar by now too. Yes, that’s it.

    At any rate, I dug out a few rare herbs from barrels and sacks and found not much else of value in the place. Seeing as my pack was still light, I went to town loading up on housewares. I must’ve made a noise stacking plates because before I knew it, there were pattering footsteps coming down the stairs and an aghast set of eyes on my back. I turned toward her, my face frozen in terror, a stolen bottle of mazte in my hand, halfway into the bag. She started crying. I would’ve run but she was blocking my second-floor escape route.

    So I ended up talking to her instead. Her name was Uryne and she’d been Ralen Hlaalo’s servant for years. She didn’t know what she was going to do now that she’d seen his murder. She didn’t have anywhere else to go and the only thing she had was a brief glimpse of the murderer himself.

    I don’t know what she expects me to do. Maybe she just wanted someone to talk to, even if it is a thief who comes to strip the walls of her master’s belongings. She didn’t turn me in and she didn’t seem angry. It may be dangerous, but maybe this is the least I can do for her. Or perhaps I should just take her tip and stay away from a red-headed Dunmer with bonemold armor and a Dwemer war axe.

    On top of that, I’m to go to Pelagiad for my next job and don’t relish the thought of the journey terribly much. For the moment, I’m content in Balmora. When night falls, I’ve been wandering about, doing a bit of freelance thieving where I can without getting caught. Most of it is of the petty sort – plates and jugs, goblets and spoons. Once in a while I come upon something good. The home of a khajiit named Tsiya yielded a bottle of skooma which I sold to the local khajiit trader for a tidy sum, after handing him a nice bribe to facilitate further business together.

    But soon enough, I’ll be off again. Perhaps even tomorrow. We’ll just have to see how good tonight’s haul is.
     
  10. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    27th Last Seed, Balmora

    I had a massive haul of potions last night. They were guarded by a hefty lock and I went through lockpicks trying to free its contents, let me tell you. Not to mention that the chest’s owner, an Altmer sorcerer, was quietly humming and reading a book mere inches from my operation. And now I feel like an apothecary, what with all tonics that I’ve got now. I’ve got a dozen disease-curing balms, half a dozen of every attribute-restoring potion you could ever think of and I hardly know what else. I like to think that I’m coming up in the world – that I’m finally beginning to make something of myself.

    Whether it’s anything to be proud of is an entirely different topic.
     
  11. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    28th Last Seed, Balmora, South Wall Cornerclub

    I had a terrifying run-in with the law last night. I’d decided to expand my operation to the local shops and just before I’d popped the lock of a chest in ‘The Razor Hole,’ the guard I’d been so craftily avoiding caught me at it and grabbed me by the collar. Worse still, I’d left all my funds at home and had nothing on me with which to pay the fine.

    He threatened me with jail and my blood ran cold. I don’t know what came over me. There was just this icy rage that built up behind my eyebrows in a matter of seconds. I would not be jailed again – and I would not hand over my hard night’s earnings.

    Sucking my mouth dry, I hacked up the biggest loogie I’ve ever made in my life and launched it directly into his bone-molded face. He gurgled in rage and swung his sword at me. It sliced into my shoulder, spilling blood down my clothes and dripping onto the floor. Nearly crying, I seized a scroll of Almsivi Intervention that I’d been carrying for days and found myself standing in the courtyard of the local Dunmer temple, spilling blood into the dust of its front hallway moments before the second blow would have fallen.

    The bleeding I stopped with a little healing magic that I’d picked up from the Mages’ Guild. But that didn’t fix the light-headedness or the pervasive shivering that stole over me after that. I stumbled home in the dark, having had far more than enough adventure tonight.

    I don’t know much about Almsivi and my faith is not terribly strong in any area, but perhaps it is prudent that I should leave a donation at the temple today. Their scroll most probably saved my life and I can’t explain how glad I was to see the curved clay archway of the temple last night.

    But if this means that I’m going straight, whoever would think that is most definitely wrong. This only means that ‘The Razor Hole’ is getting robbed tonight – cleared of anything and everything that I can get my hands on. Its punishment will not be light. And besides, I know for certain that I broke the lock on the chest I paid so much to open when the guard grabbed me. So long as no one’s noticed, the work that I started will be finished in no time.
     
  12. Uther Pundragon

    Uther Pundragon The Harbinger of Awesome
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    Only read some of it so far but so far some good stuff!
     
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  13. bulbaquil

    bulbaquil ...is not Sjadbek, he just runs him.

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    Just out of curiosity, what race is this character?
     
  14. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    28th Last Seed, Balmora, South Wall Cornerclub

    My visit to the temple today was unexpectedly interesting. I spent a long time wandering its halls in wonderment and confusion. I’d never seen anyplace like it before. The flickering shadows dancing on the warm earthen walls, the pits of cremated remains, the smooth, round architecture. I was amazed that my ancestors, or people very like my ancestors, at least, had built and used things like these for centuries. And I’d grown up unaware of my entire heredity, a whole country away. I wasn’t afraid of the dead either, though their ashes nearly filled the roof and the air was saturated with the scent charred bone. There was something very comforting about the whole setup, though for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why that was so.

    Ashamed of my ignorance and a little bashful, I examined the shrines in the temple, to saints I knew nothing about. There were bowls for donations, but I didn’t know if it was proper to thank these particular saints for their religion’s life-saving capabilities.

    I decided to seek out the help of a priest, or rather, the head priestess of the temple. She was warm and open, smiling broadly and shaking my hand when I approached her. She asked me if I’d like to join the temple. My blood froze and I shrunk back into myself at the question. A cowardly, petty thief couldn’t possibly be a part of that…right?

    She didn’t seem offended by my answer. Instead, she just carried on, chatting amicably about her religion, her daily duties, the latest gossip. She pointed me to the Tribunal Shrine and I gladly left a donation there, though I didn’t know what to say in prayer besides a stuttered “T-Thank you.”

    And then somehow, it happened. I ended up dumping my entire life story on her. Or at least the bits of it that were closest to the surface of my thoughts. I told her about all my fears and anxieties, how I’d never wanted to be here, how strange everything was to me, all the trouble I’d gone through already since arriving against my will, the mysterious duty I’d felt to track down a murderer though once I found him I’d have no idea what to do with him.

    The last bit interested her. I told her all about Uryne and Ralen Hlaalo, conveniently leaving out the part where I’d found out about all this while robbing the dead man’s house. She rubbed her chin and said that Uryne’s description sounded exactly like a man named Thanelen Velas, a member of the Cammona Tong who spends his days drinking at the Council Club just across the river from my own home base.

    A chill crept down my spine at her words. I’d had no idea that the Cammona Tong was so close and moreover, that they might have something to do with the murder of a prominent Hlaalu nobleman. It’s bad business to tangle with them all around. The most I thought I could do was continue to lay low and stay out of their way.

    But even so, I feel an odd twinge of thieves’ pride at the chance to take the Tong down a peg, no matter how small. And I can’t help but see the image of Uryne, bursting into tears as she walked down the stairs, over and over again in my head.

    I’ll have to arm myself. I’ll have to be ready to face him, should it come to blows. I feel an odd amount of excitement about the task, though I’m quaking in my chitin boots as well. I don’t know when I’ll be able to do it – maybe a week from now, maybe a month. Maybe I’ll just end up wussing out in the end. Who can say? But I’ll see if I can’t do something and get out with my life intact.

    As for my self-proclaimed mission in The Razor Hole, it seems that I’ve once again talked big and embarrassed myself in an even larger fashion. My anger was still fresh this morning, though it has certainly died down by now and been beaten back by the futility of the effort. The lock I’d attempted to pick was still just as fresh as ever. Whether I’d been seeing things last night or the shop owner was actually clever enough to replace the lock is irrelevant. This isn’t a crime that I could get away with. The place is just far too well-guarded and its locks, too complex. Someday, when I’m a master thief, when I’ve risen above the petty crimes of houseware and fork thievery, I’ll be back for him. It’s all I got to console myself with for the moment, anyway, to staunch the flow of my stinging shame.
     
  15. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    Dunmer. :)
     
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  16. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    31st Last Seed, Pelagiad, Half-Way Tavern

    Pelagiad is a beautiful place. It feels so like home – like one of those quiet little farming villages tucked away into the folds of the Cyrodiilian countryside. Like the locals say, if you didn’t know better, you wouldn’t even believe that you’re still in Morrowind. If there weren’t giant mushrooms growing off in the distance, that is.

    I had no idea how stifling the air in Balmora was until I made it here. Away from the dust of the busy city, things are so much quieter and fresher. It’s as though I’m on vacation. Though I have been hard at work and making a pretty penny off of it too.

    The job that I’d been sent to complete was finished in a matter of hours. I don’t believe that I’ve ever done anything easier. It was all Sugar-Lips’ plan though, so I can’t take credit for thinking it up myself. It was all to free a guild operative who’d been locked up by blowing the cover on his jailer’s illegal activities. With a word, I made an orc quake in her shoes and do whatever I wished. A bit of boot-licking would have been funny, but may have been pushing it.

    I’ve decided to stay for a few days longer, until the languid country lifestyle starts to bore me. There’s an excellent inn in town and to my surprise, quite a few guild operatives to be found as well. Everyone is so friendly and open here, though the place is swarming with legionnaires from the nearby fort.

    However, most of today I spent in study with a Nord priestess whose name I’m unable to pronounce. I’d made a good amount of coin from my ventures and she knew quite a lot about Restoration. I learned a few more healing spells, how to cure disease, how to restore attributes that had been lost through injury or illness. In the back of my mind, in the midst of my peaceful reverie, I’m silently planning my attack on the murderer in the Council Club. When that Dwemer axe comes my way and he wants my head, I had better know a way to stop the inevitable bleeding.
     
  17. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    2nd Heartfire, Balmora, South Wall Cornerclub

    At long last, I’ve finally made it home. My bed is calling out to me, the Guild Mother’s in a good mood, I’ve got a packload of loot to spare and my friends are glad I made it. Though the way back from Pelagiad was considerably more interesting than the walk there and not in a good way.

    I took a nearly-disastrous wrong turn somewhere along the way and sighted the very first Dwemer ruins I’d ever seen in my life. I was amazed. They were unlike anything in this world – towering brass spires, jagged pipes, burnished domes. My jaw hanging agape, I walked along the path gazing upward at them, ignoring the rest of my surroundings. I didn’t notice the sudden change in the density of the air, the burst of heat from the earth beneath me, the sound of the ground rumbling below my feet – or the leathery horde flying straight toward me, until it was too late.

    I tried to run but they slashed at my back, knocking me to the ground and cornering me against a volcanic hill. So I fought. Drawing my sad little viperblade, I slashed at them with what little enchantment it had left. My vision growing dim and the blade slipping from my quivering fingers, I recalled the spells I’d learned in Pelagiad and frantically tried to cast them to save my own life.

    I couldn’t do it. Again and again I tried and again I failed as the cracked earth drank my spilled blood. And then something caught – a spark bloomed from my fingers and restored my vitality, giving me just enough strength to power through and dispatch the last of them. Panting, my brow streaming sweat, with the winged menaces in a haphazard pile at my feet, I sealed up the last of my wounds and ran at full speed back the way I’d come.

    And so I dragged myself through the city gates well after dark, never more glad to smell the stink of my home or trod its filthy pavement.

    Sugar-Lips gave me a sizeable payment for my work, pushing my current funds to well over four thousand septims, the best haul I’ve had since arriving. I think that I’ll perhaps invest in some scrolls with it, or better weapons. Maybe it would be prudent to look for a Restoration trainer in the temple. I’m feeling more confident by the day about facing Thanelen Velas. Though thoughts like that could just as easily lead to an axe in the face.

    And as Sugar-Lips patted me on the back tonight, purring and offering to share her handful of moonsugar, she set me another task to accomplish, come morning. She says that she’s heard of “a master of security” who lives in the town, who could do a great deal for the security of the South Wall. All she knows is that he’s an Altmer.

    In my tired state, I just about burst out laughing in front of her. I’m fairly certain I know exactly who she’s talking about. Funnily enough, I’d met him some weeks ago when I broke into his house, planning to rob the place. Instead, I found myself face to face with Hecarinde, a dapper elf in silken finery who cheerily assured me that he was in the Guild. When I’ve got money to spare, I’ve been popping in on him for lessons in sneaking. I can vouch for his skills – he’s been able to teach me beyond what Chirranirr could, sweet as she is. Not to mention that he’s quite funny and great company.

    But I have to wonder at Sugar-Lips’ motives in wanting to secure the cornerclub. Does she feel that we’re danger here, making our headquarters so close to a Cammona Tong hotspot? She acts like a mother hen to all of us here, gathering us under her wings, shielding us from anything particularly dangerous, chiding us for doing wrong. I have to hope that she’s merely being protective and that the danger isn’t growing as I merrily thieve away.
     
  18. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    4th Heartfire, Balmora

    I feel like I’ve graduated – like I’ve passed all the tests and have been let out into the wide world, for better or ill. Habasi has no more jobs for me. The Guild is well at ease now and my services are no longer required in Balmora. She recommended that I try out the branches in Sadrith Mora and Ald’ruhn, that she’d send me her best references to the operatives there.

    I have no idea what it’s like out there or which city I’d like to make a move to. For the time being, I’ve decided to just let the decision sit with me as I spend a few quiet days about the city. I’ve found a good teacher in the Mages’ Guild, a rough, brutish Orsimer woman who rants and raves at the drop of a hat, but who has a profound skill in healing. Bit by bit, I’ve been getting her to teach me, though she does complain whenever I ask a question. I’ll probably spend all of today in her presence once again, strengthening my skills and dodging her temper. Somehow, though I can’t understand it, I almost enjoy seeing her rant, especially when it culminates in a book getting thrown across the room. Invariably, her colleagues shake their heads and carry on with their labor while she, somewhat bashfully, rushes over to pick it up herself. She really does have a respect for the knowledge contained within.

    But even though I’m content with my lot at the moment, the intel that Sugar-Lips gave me after successfully recruiting Hecarinde is a thin worm of worry wriggling in the back of my mind. In a low voice, she confirmed my suspicions. The Cammona Tong is on the move. She believes that they, led by a man named Sjoring Hard-Heart will strike a blow against the Thieves’ Guild very shortly. I asked if I could help, but she just shook her head. I can’t help but think that she’s protecting me from all this – sending me away to guard me from trouble, like she did when I had a murder charge on my head. Part of me, the bizarre, foreign, quietly-strengthening part that isn’t a coward, does want to stay and do what little amount of fighting I can with the rest of them. But it isn’t to be. I’ll try to slip out before anything happens, like Sugar-Lips has ordered me to. I certainly don’t like to make her displeased.

    In other news, this morning I awoke early and found that I couldn’t get back to sleep. After a bout of tossing and turning, I decided to pick up another piece of religious propaganda from Ondres Nerano’s library and see if it couldn’t lull me back to sleep. It was a strange book, rife with foreign phrasing and high concepts. It was meant to draw the distinction between “good daedra” and “bad daedra,” which is quite a load of horse dung where I come from. So far as I’ve been taught, daedra are daedra are daedra and they’re all bad with no exceptions. I’ve never known anything else.

    Nevertheless, I kept on reading, my eyelids growing heavy according to plan. And then I hit the section on Azura. It said that she was the “Anticipation of the God-Sorcerer Sotha Sil,” whatever that means. But there was much more to it than that. She is a divine mystery, she is dawn and dusk, she is the progenitor of the Dunmer race, a sort of all-knowing mother figure. For some reason that I can’t explain, it struck a chord with me.

    I never had much of a mother – she was more rumors and hearsay than flesh and blood. But I remember the arms of a mother around me in times when I was scared. I feel them even now, whenever I’m in danger or torn over what to do. I feel as though I know her already, though I’d never known much more than a whisper about her.

    Ah. And there it is. I believe that I just heard an entire shelf of potions come crashing to the ground. The Orc awakes and it’s time to move.
     
  19. Neriad13

    Neriad13 Premium Member

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    5th Heartfire, Balmora, South Wall Cornerclub

    I was passed an odd bit of info by Phane Rielle, one of the guild fences today, as I was selling him a few books that I was done with. He said that Larrius Varro, the Imperial Commander up at Fort Moonmoth had been looking for me and was asking for me by name.

    It’s got to have something to do with Pelagiad, or rather what happened in Pelagiad. I might have, maybe, just possibly, improbably, even for me…broken into a Legion guard tower that was situated in the center of the main thoroughfare and stolen an entire garrison’s worth of equipment under the nose of the sole guard on duty. And then sold it all at the local armory. That was probably a bad move, seeing as how every sword is stamped with the Emperor’s insignia.

    I think it’s for the best that I avoid this one for quite some time. And if I should see any legionnaires supplementing the local Hlaalu garrison, I should most probably find a building to duck into for a few hours.

    On the other hand, I think I’ve made my decision about the location of my upcoming great escape. Last night I read up a bit on the customs of the Telvanni and found out how deeply entrenched slavery is in their part of the province. I wonder if there’s some way to help – some way to undermine them right behind their oblivious backs. If I can save just one more life like Rabinna’s, it’d all be worth it. However, a wizard is a frightening thing to pinch from. I don’t relish stealing from someone with the power to turn people inside-out. But then again, a wizard must have some excellent enchanted pilfer-ables that it would take a skilled hand to pry free.

    At any rate, from what I’ve heard, Sadrith Mora is lush and green and Ald’ruhn is a desert. That about seals it for the moment.
     
  20. bulbaquil

    bulbaquil ...is not Sjadbek, he just runs him.

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    Heh. Silly Legion ^_^
     
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