Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Adventures in Morrowind Part 10 - En Route to Vivec

PART 10 

A khajiit in the South Wall Cornerclub told me a rumor that a ranch had opened up in Seyda Neen, with contracts available to hire animal assistant for adventurers to bring on longer journeys. He also told me that a number of mercenaries had shown up in the town, of varying skill levels and usefulness, also willing to join on with an adventurer. After my unsuccessful earlier attempt to find hired help in Balmora, I was excited to ride a silt strider south to see what sorts of new friends would be available.
Imagine my excitement at seeing this gentleman! As annoying as he had been in the hold of the ship, Jiub had proven himself invaluable by stealing food and other goods from the guards, making the journey far more pleasant than it would have been otherwise. He was happy to see me back in Seyda Neen, and agreed to join my group as a resident thief.

In addition to Jiub, I also managed to form an alliance with a rogue wizard, Grimm, adept at a number of magics and quite charming in his own malicious way. He lit a guard on fire and got me in trouble.
Some of my initial attempts at building a relationship were taken the wrong way. He said, "Listen guy, I'm not a fag or nothin', so back off."
Apparently kissing with tongue is a romantic thing in Vvardenfell. Strange place indeed.
I bought the pack guar to come with me. He doesn't have a name yet. I want to see if he gets killed or if we have to eat him before I get too invested. I've lost too many friends that way to feel good about it.

This gentleman accosted us when we were leaving Seyda Neen for Vivec. Instead of giving him the gold, we gave him steel and I saw my allies in action for the first time. The mage cast fireballs and poison, damaging the gentleman severely, while Jiub went in and pummeled him with his fists. He also went invisible, which was an interesting and novel trick I had not seen before.
Hoping that it would make him more effective in combat, I gave Jiub the Dwemer Jinksword I had been using earlier. From there on, my enemies had a tendency to suddenly freeze and become much easier to hit. Thanks, Jiub!
Further down the road, another bandit tried to shake us down and he received much the same treatment.

On the road, I saw this farmhouse. Tired and hungry, I asked the farmer for bed and board for the night in exchange for some of my large sums of gold. Instead, he refused to talk to us, even about the latest rumors, and told us to be on our way.
I fear my wizard friend may have a short fuse! He lite this man's pants on fire and before I knew what was happening, there was nothing left but this pathetic corpse. I'll have to be careful with my new friends. They may get me in some serious trouble.

Further down the road, coming over a ridge, I suddenly came face to face with a number of the enormous floating animals I had seen from the road before. Their glowing blue undersides lit up the night around me, casting strange shadows on glades of huge mushrooms that the beasts seemed to be grazing on. They didn't take notice of us, and I told Grimm the wizard, to keep his spells in his pants and stay close behind me. And quiet. Especially quiet. They continued grazing and we passed unharassed.

These smaller animals lurked in the forests nearby. They seem to be similar, but their glowing parts are on the tops of their bodies and they are about half the size. I also did not bother them. Something about these animals unnerves me and I do not wish to get into any kind of combat with them.

Further on down the road we discovered a building with a young dark elf in front of it. She explained that these animals were called Netches, a herd beast kept by the brave folk of Vvardenfell for their leather and the production of other goods. The larger males of the species were called Bulls, and the smaller females were called Betties, and the genders were artificially balanced to ensure faster breeding and greater aggression. I am not sure why they would want these animals to be more aggressive, but I moved on as quickly as I could. I guess they get spooked. I do not want to spook them.

The house owned by the young lady that explained Netch breeding to me had this door in it, guarded by two burly-looking orcs and with a rather complicated lock. Whatever is behind this door must be of some value, to be so carefully and expensively protected. Surely worth getting to, but the presence of my companions reminded me not to be overhasty in my actions. I moved on toward Vivec.

Across the river, a sizable plantation caught my interest. It looked like a small town, perhaps the size of Pelagiad, and I had some goods I wished to offload onto some poor stupid merchant, so I waded the stream and moved toward the village. The lights were on, but on the other side of these adobe buildings were makeshift huts and a number of netches.

This guy had a great hat! I wanted to talk to him about the village, but he insisted on regaling me with complaints about an Abolitionist movement trying to free the slaves. I had seen the lizard dudes and cat dudes running around, but this was sort of sinister. I wonder how one goes about being an abolitionist? I didn't want to talk to this guy about it because his helmet made me nervous. If someone wearing that hat won't bash your head in for sport, who will?

This fancy Dunmer told me that the plantation belonged to a guy named Orvas Dren, a brother of a Hlaalu duke. Apparently Dren is actually the power behind the throne of House Hlaalu, as well as being a strong supporter of Cammona Tong. Considering my recent assassination of their Balmora branch, I thought this might be a dangerous place to hang out, so I made up my mind to explore quickly and then vamoose with some haste.
This guy's armor is awesome! I would give my left nut for a set of it but who knows where to find this kind of stuff. Everyone seems to just sell steel and iron around here and this looks like it's made out of something altogether more exotic. I could just kill this guy and take it, but my instincts told me this was a terrible idea.

This guy totally didn't give me any useful information but his shield was awesome. I want to work for this Dren guy but only because the uniform apparently consists of random pieces of great armor. Maybe this dude will sell me his shield in exchange for, like, a shirt or something.

This desk was trapped and locked, so with no one looking I disarmed the trap and used a scroll to pop the lock. I was hoping there would be juicy information that I could use to free the slaves or take down the Cammona Tong or something but instead all I found was a small stack of gold coins and a skull. I kept the skull to put in the Council Club, feeling like that was some strange kind of justice.

This shelving unit in Dren's bedroom fortified my decision to figure out how to work for the guy. Look at all this great armor! That funny helmet up top with a face on it was cool, but that obsidian chestpiece was pimp as hell and seemed scary durable to boot. Those greaves are Daedric, whatever that means, and thus scary as hell but awesome, which is what I think Daedric means as an adjective.

Here's my boys with Dren. His armor is cool and he is dreamy handsome, but even after I gave him the three hundred gold I had liberated from his desk downstairs he wasn't interested in talking to me about anything except that stupid cold place everyone seems to want me to go to. Solstheim, I think. Guess I'm not getting a job on your dude ranch, brah.

This man on a balcony was just way too interested in that job I did in Balmora. When I asked him about the Cammona Tong, he told me about the general that had hired me to wipe them out and mentioned that I had been seen talking to him shortly before that handful of fatalities. What the hell! I don't know why I had to go to jail for a month if everyone was just going to know I was killing people for hire. This is totally going to get me into trouble I don't want and it's all the Imperial Legion's fault.

The road from Dren's ranch led north and I followed it for a ways, just to see what I could find in the hills surrounding the Ascadian Isles. A small tomb near a competing ranch had a couple of these poor bastards in them, lying stiff on big stone things with a couple of keys around. It wasn't as extensive as the tomb I had explored earlier in the week but it had a couple of cool things in it and a whole bunch of Bonewalkers. It may have been a much tougher fight if I hadn't been accompanied by Jiub and Grimm, but I made the pack guar stay outside since he seemed to be a little bit of a pussy anyway.

In the last room of the tomb, I took a brief rest, figuring that I had cleared the place out pretty thoroughly and should be safe. While resting, I realized that I had begun to strike the weak points of enemies without having to aim consciously. While my skills are increasing, a pleasure in itself, the fact that my decision making processes are becoming so divorced from my deadly strikes is worrying. Sure, I'm cool now, but what if I get hit in the head and lose some of my ability to regulate my own reactions? What if I snap? It's one thing to take out the joints of a wandering skeleton, but what if I settle down and have kids and then those kids piss me off? Will they look like scamps?

Disaster struck in the tomb! When I opened a Nobleman's chest containing a set of orcish armor and some Sujamma, two especially beefy skeletons rushed into the room and began laying about with fierce blows, much stronger than the skeletons I had been fighting prior to this skirmish. Grimm's magic saved the day, his healing abilities keeping me going long after my potions ceased to make a difference, but his focus on me spelled doom for Jiub. In the melee, one of the skeletons scored a lucky blow through Jiub's midsection, spilling viscera all over the dusty floor of the long-empty tomb. Enraged, I struck blindly at the skulls and joints of my skeletal foes and they clattered to the ground, their weapons throwing clouds of bone grit into the air as the enchantment left the animated bodies. Jiub lay dying on the ground, desperately trying to stuff his intestines back into his steaming body cavity.
"Jiub," I said, "Oh, Jiub, it wasn't supposed to be this way. You came all the way to Vvardenfell on that terrible ship and now this..."
"No, Slow Loris," said Jiub, "This was how it had to be. Finish me now, leave me in peace in this tomb. My spirit will join the restless spirits of the dead in this place and you will go on to fulfill your dest-"
I stabbed him in the face before he could start talking about destiny. That sort of thing was just way too much commitment. I looted his body and put him, naked, in one of the sarcophagi left empty by the skeleton warriors.

I hadn't realized before how attached he had been to me. With his lack of skill with armor and blade, his death was an inevitability anyway, but I felt some regret that it had come so quickly.
Regardless, the skeletons were carrying some good shit. I picked up a silver two-handed claymore and swung it through the air. It was too heavy to swing quickly, but once its inertia was up it was unstoppable. I took Jiub out of his box and tested it on him. His limbs came off like slabs of butter in a warm room. Awesome. I put the pieces back and made my merry way back to the road.

Swimming through the river, I saw this strange fellow in the bed. I swum down and pried it open, only to find a pearl nestled inside. Excellent! I also took out the meat. Delicious!

I wasn't prepared for the size or grandeur of Vivec! After Balmora, I'd assumed that Dunmer architecture was unavoidably bland and rather unassuming in scale, but this blew that assumption right out of the water. Vivec sprung out of the marsh triumphant, reaching a good sixty or seventy feet into the air and dwarfing even the largest mushrooms that I had seen on my travels.
The dancing elf in front was, I assumed, part of the city experience, a piece of local entertainment. I went up to here to inquire about her pricing.

Instead, it appeared she was, like Grimm and Jiub, and adventurer looking for a little action. She was a sharpshooter and claimed to be of some renown, but the recent mortality of Jiub weighed heavy on my mind and I rejected her offer to accompany me on my journey. Perhaps I would pick her up on vacating Vivec, but for now I had to concentrate on finding my way around this strange new city and seeking out the contacts Cosades had demanded I get in touch with.

What's Next?

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