Apr 8 2005, 12:26 AM
Although I had decided to approach House Hlaalu first, I still had some reservations. When I had researched the Great Houses, I had learned enough about Hlaalu and its councilors to be wary. In particular, I was concerned about Crassius Curio. Although he wasn’t the acknowledged leader of Hlaalu, the Imperial councilor was one of the powers to be reckoned with. And even if he was peculiar, he was also extremely able. Add to that the fact that he resided in Vivec, which was full of Ordinators, and my problems were multiplied. Sul-Matuul had warned me that the Temple guardians would be likely to try to kill me first and ask questions after if they knew that I had declared myself Nerevarine. Of course, so far as I knew, no one had denounced me to the Temple- yet. Oddly, that fact made choosing to start with Hlaalu a wiser choice. Theirs was the only House most of whose councilors lived in or near the main seat of the Temple. Better to get in and out before word of my claims reached too many ears. The truth was that I wouldn’t have been happy to be obligated to anyone whose motives I didn’t trust, not just Crassius Curio. The fact that he was a decadent Imperial simply made it worse.
Despite my fears, the Hlaalu councilor was as gracious as ever when I asked to speak with him. He invited me to sit and asked how he could be of service to “one of Redoran’s rising stars.” That complimentary title was his way of telling me that he had sources of information and that he knew who I was. Realizing that the best response would be directness, I asked Crassius to tell me how Hlaalu went about naming a Hortator. The councilor explained that the title was largely honorary, but nevertheless required the unanimous support of the House Council. To achieve that support, one would have to demonstrate that there was a need for a war leader- that a true crisis existed. He then provided a description of the Hortator’s role,
“A Hortator is a champion who leads by inspiration. He challenges opposing heroes in single combat. He goes on long, desperate quests. He goes alone into the citadels of the enemy. He confronts the dangers no one else in the House is strong enough... or courageous enough... to face.”
Much as I disliked that summation, it certainly matched the situation Azura had trapped me into, so I asked if I could become Hlaalu Hortator. As I had expected, Crassius asked for a “small consideration” of 1000 drakes for his vote. He was honest enough to point out that Orvas Dren would NOT support me as things currently stood and that a number of the other councilors would not defy Dren. I willingly paid the bribe and asked Curio for any advice on the other councilors. He listed them and their probable reactions- Dram Bero would likely support me- if I could find him. Yngling Half-Troll would probably need to be “removed.” Nevena Ules and Velanda Omani would follow the lead of Orvas Dren. He suggested that it might be possible to trick or bribe Dren- he could be found at the Dren Plantation. Lord Curio then casually mentioned something that took my breath away- Orvas Dren was the head of the Camonna Tong and was rumored to be involved with the Sixth House. Although my initial reaction was to sharpen my blades and take the shortest path to the Dren Plantation, I restrained the impulse. Considering the influence Dren seemed to wield, killing him might very well prevent me from being named Hortator. And, much as I hated to admit it, sometimes duty took precedence over justice. Finally, Curio gave me directions on how to find most of the other councilors and I took my leave.
Although my mind still whirled with the thought that I would have to go ask a favor of the head of the Camonna Tong, there were other councilors closer by who I could hopefully persuade. Yngling Half-Troll lived in a manor house atop the St. Olms canton, and rumor had it that Dram Bero could also be found somewhere in Vivec. As was true of most Hlaalu councilors, Yngling retained an interesting variety of “hired help,” including a Nord, a Bosmer, and an Orc. Whatever else he might be, Yngling certainly wasn’t biased. Although Crassius had suggested that House Hlaalu wouldn’t mind if Yngling just “disappeared,” I saw no reason to handle their internal squabbles for them. If he was willing to listen, I would do my best to convince Yngling to support me out of his own self-interest. After hearing my story, the Nord proved himself to be as direct as those folk usually are-
“Well, tha’s very interestin’, I’m sure. But it will take 2000 drakes if you want my vote.”
That seemed a small price to pay to achieve my goal and to avoid having yet another death on my conscience, so I willingly paid. It was also gratifying to avoid getting entangled in the Hlaalu power struggle. If Crassius wanted Yngling removed, he would just have to find someone else to do the deed.
The thought of finding someone reminded me- I still needed to find Dram Bero. A few careful questions and judiciously spent coins revealed the fact that the elusive Hlaalu councilor was occasionally seen on the St. Olms plaza, the very place where I found myself. Considering how the Hlaalu seemed to prefer to settle disputes, I wasn’t surprised that one of their councilors chose to conceal his whereabouts. It’s hard to assassinate someone if you don’t know how to find him.
Apr 8 2005, 12:27 AM
The only thing duller than the next few stages of my dealings with House Hlaalu would be retelling those events, so I shall refrain. I will only remark that I found Bero and he gave me his support. One interesting event did occur which had nothing to do with Hlaalu. While I was seeking information on Dram Bero, I heard rumors about a man named Danar Uvelas, who had gone missing. His wife, who ran a small apothecary shop in St. Olms, was anxious for any word of his whereabouts. As an orphan, I was always moved by stories of missing family members and the loved ones who waited for news. I suppose my interest in such cases was fueled by my secret wish that there was someone, somewhere, who cared about my well-being. Also, after dealing with Hlaalu, it seemed that a favor for someone in need might balance the books a bit, or at least make me feel better. So I sought out Moroni Uvelas, who had the haunted eyes and care-worn face of someone who has loved unwisely and seen too many promises broken. After I had spoken with her long enough to gain her trust, she explained that her husband was a skooma addict and that he tended to hide out in the underworks of the canton when he was on a binge. Usually, he would return after a few days, broke and suffering from the effects of the drug. But this time he had been gone for over a week, and Moroni feared that he had finally succumbed to some disease or perhaps even died in some dark corner. Although she was afraid to find out for certain, she was even more afraid to go on living without knowing. I reassured her as best as I could, and promised that I would go immediately to find the missing man. Azura and Hlaalu and prophecy would just have to wait.
The “underworks” is really just a fancy way of saying “sewers.” All of the debris and detritus of the cantons finds it way down into the noisome canals and tunnels. Some of that debris is the sort that makes its way there under its own power- people with reasons that are compelling enough to put up with the stench and the rats. Because the man I sought was an addict, I had to check all of the canals, as well as the walkways. It would be easy enough for someone to fall in and drown in a drug-addled state. And I had made a promise that I would find Danar, living or dead. As I splashed down a dark, twisting tunnel that connected two of the main canals, I saw a hunched figure lurching toward me. When I called out, “Danar,” the figure seemed to stiffen momentarily as if in recognition of the name. As I drew closer, the true horror of Danar’s fate was revealed to me. The being that I met was no longer Danar Uvelas, even though it still wore the clothes his wife had described to me. What I met in that echoing tunnel was a corprus stalker. Hopeless though I knew it to be, I tried to break through the madness that the disease had wrought, praying that some spark of Danar still survived. But it was no use- the foul creature simply shambled forward and clawed at me. The struggle was mercifully brief, for I had no desire to do else but end the creature’s pain. As he fell, I caught the glint of silver on the ring finger of one misshapen hand. The ring was a marriage band, inscribed in Elven script- “To Danar, My Husband.” It gave me some comfort, that, even at the worst moments of his addiction, Danar had not pawned the ring. And now it was up to me to carry it back to Moroni and to tell her that she would not have to listen for his knock any longer. Deliberately telling an untruth is wrong in the eyes of some religious folk, but I obviously do not hold such beliefs. And even if I did, I think I can be forgiven for telling Moroni that I found her husband curled up, as if asleep, in a dry section of the tunnels. I told her that he appeared to have gone peacefully, with a slight smile on his face. And I gave her the ring he had kept throughout the worst of his troubles. In return, she gave me several potions of Cure Common Disease, a generous gift from someone who had so little.
Whatever inner peace I received from that episode was severely tested when I went to speak with Orvas Dren. The Dren Plantation was somewhat north of Vivec, and was clearly a prosperous enterprise. The sight of the slave quarters caused a tightness in my chest and an involuntary twitch of my sword hand. Remembering my purpose, I firmly stepped on my more noble impulses, and asked a retainer whether Orvas Dren was home. After an insolent glance at my appearance, the retainer responded that Lord Dren might be home, but that he probably had no desire to speak with anyone of “my sort.” Through clenched teeth I replied,
“Perhaps that is a matter for Lord Dren to decide?”
The guard simply yawned elaborately and pointed toward the villa, then said,
“Do what you want, pal. It’s your funeral.”
When no more encouragement appeared to be forthcoming, I shrugged and entered the house. After wandering around and being gratuitously insulted by guards and servants, I finally found Lord Dren on an upper floor. He was relatively young for someone who held so much power in Vvardenfell, but his eyes were peculiar. It took me a moment to grasp that what I was seeing was the same lack of expression as might be found in the eyes of a dead man. When he first saw me, Dren reached for his sword, but then seemed to have another thought. He released the hilt and sneered at me,
“The servants’ entrance is around back, and the slaves work the fields. Decide which you are and find your rightful place.”
With great restraint, I told him that, if he was in fact Lord Orvas Dren, then I was in the right place. I added that I had come to him because I wanted to be named Hlaalu Hortator. With a smirk, he said that I had showed uncommon sense in coming to him, then asked,
“What is it worth to you? Why do you want to be named Hortator?”
For what seemed like the thousandth time, I ran through the story of the prophecies and how I fit into them. Dren was less than impressed.
“That's the worst story I've ever heard. What makes you think I care about these prophecies? If you're the chosen one, why do you have to come to me? Why aren't you Hortator already, eh? I believe you have wasted enough of my time. Goodbye.”
Sometimes, a dismissal is actually a dismissal. Other times, it is the opening of negotiations. The key is to recognize which is which.
I knew that Dren, like most of Hlaalu, would be susceptible to bribery. In his case, the difference was that it wasn’t about the money, it was what the money signified- respect. So I gritted my teeth, bowed to the leader of the Camonna Tong, and offered him a “gift” of 2000 drakes. With that preliminary out of the way, we were able to get down to business. Dren again asked me why I wanted to be Hortator, what was in it for me? Knowing that his bias against the Empire would provide a lever, I told him that defeating Dagoth Ur would be the key to throwing the Empire out of Morrowind. That was exactly what he wanted to hear. His sneer was replaced with a calculating expression, and he told me,
“I have long believed it was a mistake to turn from the old gods. Perhaps Azura is with you after all. And perhaps not. I will tell you that I've spoken with Dagoth Ur. He promised me the same thing. That he will drive the foreigners from our lands. But I am not one to ignore opportunity, nor am I one to be troubled by rubbing two sides of a coin. If you are a Breton of your word, I am your ally. I will tell Velanda Omani and Nevena Ules to support you as Hortator of House Hlaalu.”
I had to do many distasteful things on the path of prophecy, but I tell you now that shaking the hand of Orvas Dren was more disgusting than wading through the sewers of Vivec. But I was driven by necessity, and so I clasped his hand and answered his phony smile with one of my own. However, I was not foolish enough to turn my back on him when I left.
Apr 8 2005, 12:27 AM
The remaining Hlaalu councilors were only too happy to do whatever Orvas Dren told them, so I was able to quickly return to Crassius Curio. That peculiar Hlaalu noble congratulated me on my success and gave me a belt which was the symbol of the Hlaalu Hortator. As I prepared to leave Vivec, a feeling of some unfinished business nagged me. It was as if I had seen or heard something and not grasped the full implications- and I had an idea that it was important. I recalled the last few days- my business with House Hlaalu was mercifully over; the only other recent task I had undertaken was the unfortunate affair of Danar Uvelas…. And that was when the answer came to me, or rather the question- how did Danar Uvelas catch corprus when he had never left Vivec?
Perhaps my own experience had colored my thinking, but I believed that corprus was rather difficult to catch, unless one ventured inside the Ghostgate- or entered a Sixth House base. And since Danar had spent his time in the underworks of Vivec, that seemed to indicate that something worse than rats lived in those dank tunnels. The first place I decided to check was St. Olms itself. When I had been looking for Danar, I had noticed a guarded door, but hadn’t thought I needed to find what lay on the other side. Now I did. Whatever it was, I owed it to the people of Vivec to seek out the source of the evil that festered beneath their very feet. To this day, I cannot explain my actions even to my own satisfaction. I no longer had any illusions about being a hero, if I ever had. Perhaps it was the fact that I had been infected with the dread disease myself and felt an obligation to protect others. Perhaps I felt the need to atone for making a deal with Orvas Dren, instead of cutting him down where he stood. In any event, I felt compelled to cleanse Vivec- at least of the more obvious evil. There was a fleeting moment when I wondered why this task should fall to me, with all those Ordinators parading around. After all, weren’t they supposed to be the soldiers of the Temple, dedicated to seeking out evil? Of course, to do that, they would first have to admit that a problem had grown up right under their superior noses, a problem that they had neither sensed nor stopped. Far easier to polish their armor and mouth platitudes about the greatness of the Tribunal than to actually do something.
What I found underneath Vivec was…surprising. There were no fewer than three Daedric shrines, along with worshipers who were less than happy to see me. Under the Hlaalu canton, in the ancestral vaults, I was unsurprised to find a large amount of contraband, including moon sugar and more of the cursed ash statues that had been used against Redoran. There were also several smugglers who weren’t going to be able to make their next delivery. Of more interest was what, or rather who, I found under the Arena canton. Through a partially concealed trapdoor, I discovered extensive quarters, dining rooms, stores, and practice areas. And I also found Eno Hlaalu, the head of the Morag Tong. As I had no desire to do business with the “official” assassins guild of Morrowind, I made my excuses and got out of there as quickly as possible. The Telvanni underworks were by far the cleanest- no debris, no rats, no lurking Daedra worshippers. Whether that was because the Telvanni were naturally fastidious or because no one was dumb enough to set up a base in Telvanni territory, I didn’t know. The wizards also had an area I simply couldn’t resist- the door was clearly marked “Telvanni Monster Lab.” No self-respecting adventurer could pass up something that invitingly labeled, and I was no exception. Apparently, the Telvanni had learned rather more about the ancient Dwemer than they were admitting to anyone- the “Monster Lab” contained a number of the mechanical guardians usually associated with Dwemer ruins. From the Dwemer metal, soul gems, and other tools scattered about, it was clear that they had unlocked the secrets of constructing the spiders, spheres, and steam guardians that still patrolled the Dwemer strongholds. Unfortunately, whoever was working in the lab was not so kind as to leave any plans or drawings lying about, so I wasn’t going to be able to animate any metal monsters of my own.
Finally, in the last place I wanted to, I found the evidence of Sixth House malignancy. In the Redoran Ancestral Vaults, I was set upon by a lame corprus beast. And beside one of the canals, I found a small shrine, complete with corprus meat and a sacrificial victim. Again I was reminded that the Sixth House seemed to be targeting Redoran in particular. It could not be a coincidence that Varvur Sarethi and Brara Morvayn had been attacked via the ash statues, and that I now found Sixth House magic being worked beneath the Redoran canton. And I had to wonder if it had truly been free will that had led me to choose Redoran as my House, particularly when Hlaalu had seemed better suited to my “talents.” Regardless, I had made my choice and I did not regret it. I destroyed the foul shrine and cleansed the stone-work as best I could. Although Vivec was now safer and cleaner than it had been, it would only be a matter of time before the evil crept back in. The Temple and its guardians seemed to be oblivious to the danger that threatened, and I now knew that it was up to me to take the fight to Red Mountain, to Dagoth Ur. But the time for that battle had not yet come. I was Hortator of Hlaalu, but Telvanni and Redoran yet remained. The path to Red Mountain ran through Sadrith Mora and the towers of Telvanni power. I only hoped that I had grown strong enough to face those ancient Dunmer wizards and their terrible magic.
Apr 8 2005, 01:06 AM
Excellent storytelling, treydog. I especially like the way that Trey is beginning to realize that his actions might not just be driven by his own desire.
Apr 8 2005, 01:07 AM
Awsome, amazing... two thumbs up.
Are you a writer trey? I mean do you like work for a newspaper or somehting?
Apr 8 2005, 06:49 AM
This part grasped my heart harshly....as "being a Redoran", so Trey found evil at that particular place, it scared me, but made perfectly sense. You really did it again treydog........for the first wanting me to stand beside Trey in the fight against evil , for the second wanting me to aid and protect him.... :embarrassed:
I´m very touched by this you know....
Apr 8 2005, 02:35 PM
Go Trey! Cleanse those cantons!
Apr 8 2005, 09:39 PM
way to go, and p.s. the corprus beast is realy the lady's husband? drat i always kill it i mean him....
Apr 8 2005, 10:37 PM
[quote=Soulseeker3.0]way to go, and p.s. the corprus beast is realy the lady's husband? drat i always kill it i mean him....[/quote]
well..it just might be so......only the author knows!
Apr 10 2005, 05:11 PM
A most welcome update, to a wonderfully well written story. To coin your own phrase,
Apr 11 2005, 11:27 AM
S.G.M.! Now that I know what it means!
Keep writing, treydog. We love it!
Apr 16 2005, 01:49 AM
The Telvanni councilors preferred to live in isolation- for a number of very good reasons. First, each worked in his or her own way to accumulate power and to unlock the secrets that would allow them to gain still more. Not one of the wizards wished to have another observe their progress too closely. Then there was the fact that one could choose to advance in House Telvanni by means of assassination. The Telvanni attitude was that if someone was able to slay a councilor in his or her tower, surrounded by physical and magical protections, then the slayer deserved to be rewarded. If Redoran respected honor, and Hlaalu respected money, it was safe to say that Telvanni respected power, particularly magical power. In any event, between their jealousy and their (justified) paranoia, the councilors resided in towers or “Tels” scattered around the eastern side of Vvardenfell. And, because they were too busy (and too cautious) to be bothered to congregate in one place, they had developed a uniquely Telvanni solution to communicating . Each councilor employed an accomplished Telvanni retainer as a “Mouth.” These Mouths served as the means by which the councilors communicated with one another and with the outside world. They stayed in contact by means of a magical connection that may as well be called “telepathy,” even if that is not precisely accurate. The point of all this is: it was a very bad idea to show up at a Telvanni tower uninvited and unannounced. Startled Telvanni wizards tend to blast strangers with magicka and leave their servants to sweep away the charred remains. Therefore, I knew that my first stop would have to be Sadrith Mora and the Telvanni Council Hall, wherein the Mouths gathered. In my travels throughout Vvardenfell, I had tried to listen more than I talked and to retain most of what I heard. Therefore, I did not walk into Sadrith Mora completely unprepared. Athyn Sarethi, Caius, and several others had mentioned that Master Aryon was the most “progressive” of the Telvanni councilors. Although he had many of the characteristics of that House, he was young enough to listen to a non-Telvanni. Perhaps even open-minded enough to listen to someone claiming to be the Nerevarine.
With that in mind, I purposely sought out Galos Mathendis, Mouth for Master Aryon. Reflecting his master’s more liberal nature, Galos listened politely as I told him that I wished to be named Telvanni Hortator and why. When I had described all the events that brought me to this point, Galos looked thoughtful as well as concerned and said,
“That's not a pleasant story. And it means trouble is coming, for all the Great Houses. I'm afraid you'll have to speak directly to Master Aryon on a matter of such importance. His tower, Tel Vos, is north along the coast.”
That certainly made sense- no Telvanni wizard was going to accept a story like mine without a chance to examine me personally. Anyone could claim to have passed the other trials and to be the Incarnate, could possibly even convince one of the Mouths. But it would be a special sort of fool indeed that would try to deceive a Telvanni master in his own seat of power. Before I departed for Tel Vos, Galos also gave me a copy of the Brown Book of the Telvanni, which listed the current councilors, their residences, and the names of their Mouths. The book also recorded the House’s continuing objection to any ban on slavery in Vvardenfell and their refusal to restrain the unauthorized expansion of Telvanni holdings. Again I could see that Redoran had been the only Great House where I really fit in.
Regardless of the Telvanni’s feelings about slavery, or anything else, what mattered was convincing them to name me Hortator. That being so, I made my way north to Tel Vos. Even the exterior of that wizard tower showed that Master Aryon was different from the “traditional Telvanni.” His tower appeared to be composed of an Imperial fort or similar construction in and around which a more standard organic Telvanni tower had grown. Having no idea exactly how to find the councilor, I entered the first door that I found and wandered through the maze-like interior. While engaged in that practice, I discovered a couple of the reasons why it was a bad idea to poke one’s nose into a wizard’s lair. In this case, those reasons were a Flame Atronach and a Winged Twilight. Strange pets these Telvanni chose to keep. I hoped Aryon wouldn’t miss those two. At last, I found a guard who rather grudgingly told me that Master Aryon’s chambers were through a south-facing door near the top of the tower. Armed with that knowledge, I used a Levitation potion and rose upward to search amongst the higher reaches of the more tree-like segment of Tel Vos. Once I had located and entered the proper door, I met an Imperial mercenary named Turedus Talanian, the head of Aryon’s household guards. Once Turedus satisfied himself that I had not come on a mission of assassination, he relaxed a bit. He felt that it was probable that his master would be willing to at least listen to my story. As I turned toward the stairs, I heard him mutter something about, “…which is more than most of these daft wizards will do.”
Master Aryon was not precisely what I had expected, as my only real experience of Telvanni wizards had been Divayth Fyr. For one thing, he seemed quite youthful for a Telvanni master. However, as I looked more closely, I realized that his eyes held the same sort of intensity and focus. Young though he was, Aryon had earned his place in House Telvanni through skill and ability. When I explained my desire to be named Hortator and related my story yet again, Aryon asked me to give him a few moments to consider what I had told him. I waited anxiously as he sat staring into the distance for a period of time. Very soon, he returned to the present, focused his intense gaze upon my face, and spoke,
“Yes, I understand. You are willing to take the responsibility, and I am willing to vote for you as Hortator. I think the other Telvanni councilors will also cooperate, though some might need a little persuading. Master Neloth is ill-tempered, Mistress Dratha doesn't like men, and Mistress Therana is losing her mind. Archmagister Gothren is another problem. He will not refuse you directly, but will delay indefinitely. I recommend that you to kill Archmagister Gothren.”
That blunt speech took me aback- I wasn’t used to people talking so directly about their peers. Particularly troubling was the recommendation that I kill the Archmagister. When I asked on what grounds I could justify such an act, Aryon told me,
“Archmagister Gothren never directly refuses requests; he just delays indefinitely, never giving an answer. I don't know of any solution, other than killing Gothren. I'll tell you plainly. I stand to gain if Archmagister Gothren dies. I say this so you won't think I'm trying to trick you. My advice is still good. Gothren won't name you Hortator, but he'll never come out and say so. And in House Telvanni it is customary to settle disputes in this manner.”
In the beginning, I had feared the Telvanni because of their great magical powers. Now I began to wonder if all those years of isolation and dabbling in the arcane hadn’t unbalanced every one of them. I could not imagine Athyn Sarethi so matter-of-factly telling me that my best course of action would be to kill Bolvyn Venim. And I had reason to believe that Athyn wouldn’t exactly be heartbroken if something did happen to the Redoran Archmaster. But the first Telvanni councilor I encountered told me to kill the head of the council as casually as someone else might order a drink. Shaking off my confusion, I thanked Aryon for his support and his advice and got out of there. No matter what Aryon said, there must be a way of becoming Telvanni Hortator without trying to kill the Archmagister. And I could also sound out the other councilors first. As it soon turned out, Aryon was by far the most rational of the lot.
Apr 16 2005, 03:36 AM
Great job Treydog!!
Apr 16 2005, 09:10 PM
Apr 16 2005, 09:11 PM
ok, am I the only one that doesn't get the whole s.g.m. thing??
Apr 16 2005, 09:27 PM
[quote=Soulseeker3.0]ok, am I the only one that doesn't get the whole s.g.m. thing??[/quote]
iI admit it took me a while but...
Apr 16 2005, 09:29 PM
oh... *goes to a corner and hits himself*
Apr 17 2005, 04:04 AM
[quote=Soulseeker3.0]ok, am I the only one that doesn't get the whole s.g.m. thing??[/quote]
Have to admit, the first time I saw it as "S.G.M." I didn't know what it meant either.... :embarrassed2:
And I'm the one who originated the "phrase" (in Minque's thread, I think.)
So don't feel too bad about not seeing the meaning.
Apr 17 2005, 04:08 AM
[quote=treydog][quote=Soulseeker3.0]ok, am I the only one that doesn't get the whole s.g.m. thing??[/quote]
Have to admit, the first time I saw it as "S.G.M." I didn't know what it meant either.... :embarrassed2:
And I'm the one who originated the "phrase" (in Minque's thread, I think.)
So don't feel too bad about not seeing the meaning.[/quote]
yay i'm not the only one!!!
Apr 17 2005, 04:10 AM
personally i think its a fine qoute but i think we should find another one. One thats more expressive. I seem to find myself writing the same thing over and over about peoples stories.
Apr 17 2005, 04:36 PM
[quote=jonajosa]personally i think its a fine qoute but i think we should find another one. One thats more expressive. I seem to find myself writing the same thing over and over about peoples stories.[/quote]
I agree, I also quote that phrase over and over again.....and for a reason...Yay treydog.....great to have another Trey to read, I can imagine there´ll be some thinking to do for our friend dealing with those cunning Telvannis...... :goodjob:
Apr 19 2005, 01:38 AM
I resolved to try Master Neloth next, as Tel Naga stood in the center of Sadrith Mora. By returning to Sadrith Mora, I would also be able to speak to the other Mouths and hopefully discover how their patrons might react. One thing seemed certain- my dealings with the Telvanni were likely to prove unpredictable. Still, happy to have a plan, even one that probably had small chance of success, I made my way to the Council House. The Telvanni guards seemed to have become used to seeing me around, as indicated by their cheery greetings, such as: “Annoying outlander,” and “Find someone else to bother.” Although the sense of fellowship was similar, the Telvanni hails lacked the zest of the Vivec Ordinators’ “We’re watching you…scum.” Still, I was happy to see that I was making a good impression on my Telvanni hosts. Ignoring the guards, I besought Arara Uvulas, Mouth for Master Neloth. Believing that the tone of Arara’s message to Neloth could affect my chances of success, I offered the Mouth a “gift” of 200 septims “for her valuable time.” How valuable her time really was, since she seemed to spend all of it standing on a platform staring into space, I did not bother to contemplate too deeply. The bribe lightened her frown considerably and she listened politely, if impassively, to my tale. I wondered why I couldn’t just ask all the Mouths to pay attention and tell the blasted story once, but that was not “how things were done” in House Telvanni. All of the other obviously eavesdropping Mouths would pretend that they had no idea who I was or what I wanted, and I would get to run through the whole exercise again, and again. I suppose that when you spend your days standing on a platform, staring into space, and mentally communing with an ancient wizard, you take your amusement where you can find it.
As I had expected, Arara told me that the matter was too important for her and that I should speak directly to Neloth. His tower of Tel Naga arose from the center Sadrith Mora, a massive structure of spiky branches and bulbous growths. Although the tower was impressive in its immensity, it seemed somehow misshapen, as if the mind that had guided its growth was somehow cramped and unable to stretch to new heights. I wondered if a Telvanni tower’s shape reflected the mind of its resident wizard; and, if so, what that might mean for my mission. There was but one way to find out, so I took a deep breath and plunged ahead. Surprisingly, the two retainers I encountered in the Tel Naga entry hall were quite pleasant. Either Arara had kept her promise, and sent word ahead, or these Telvanni were unlike most others. After a quick look around the entry, I espied a doorway to the upper tower, perched in a balcony-like opening across the hall from me. Clearly, the only way to reach the interior door was via levitation- standard practice in most Telvanni residences. Knowing of that particular affectation from my time in Tel Fyr, I had mixed a sufficiency of potions to serve the purpose. Although I had learned to cast a levitation spell, it was chancy at best and tended to wear off at unfortunate times. So I was quite happy to trust in better living through alchemy, and imbibed a potion which allowed me to float across the hall, through the door, and up the central “fly-well.” A number of chambers branched off of the well at different levels, but I suspected that Neloth would follow the practice of using the highest chamber as his workspace.
In that chamber I found a fiercely scowling, ornately dressed Dunmer, who was in the process of complaining about something to a Telvanni retainer. When he saw me, he stopped in mid-tirade and transferred his glare to me. A look of relief flitted across the retainer’s features before he schooled them to stillness. From Aryon’s description, the personable Dunmer in the gold robes must be Master Neloth. His response to my initial greeting confirmed his identity, as he growled,
“Whatever you want, the answer is no.”
As Neloth’s grumpiness was well known, I had been prepared for his surly response. With a theatrical sigh, I allowed my shoulders to slump and cast my eyes downward as if my hopes had been crushed. I also let the bag of gold I was holding in my left hand clink invitingly as it just happened to swing against my leg. Glancing upward, I saw Neloth’s eyes sharpen at the sound.
“Alas,” I intoned in a grief-stricken voice. “To have traveled to fabled Tel Naga to give this gift of 1000 septims to the renowned Master Neloth in furtherance of his research, only to be turned away. Where shall I go now? Perhaps Master Aryon or Baladas Demnevanni will be more interested. Forgive my thoughtless intrusion, Master Neloth. I should have realized that something as insignificant as 1000 septims would not concern so great a wizard.”
With another sigh, I began to turn away. Neloth’s scowl had been replaced by a look of greed and startlement. He snaked a bony hand out to grasp my shoulder and said,
“Wait, Outlander. Perhaps I was a trifle hasty. My studies have not gone well of late and other issues have vexed me. But even so, I would not be so uncouth as to turn down a thoughtful gift.”
His eyes unerringly focused on the bag of coins and lit with glee as I passed it over. Thus encouraged, I launched into my story. Even though Arara was supposed to have communicated all of this, I knew that the Mouths didn’t always tell their patrons everything. And I could understand why Arara would not want to provoke the unpredictable Neloth. It soon became clear that Arara’s judgment had been sound, for Master Neloth’s face quickly went through several interesting variations of color, none of which spoke of a healthy blood pressure. His frown returned full force, and he said,
“What are you going on about? Prophecies, visions, superstitious jibber-jabber? Don't interrupt me with that nonsense. Go bother some bone-through-the-nose shaman or bug-eating wise woman.”
Perhaps there was some elegant and clever solution to this situation. Possibly I could have discovered some artifact or ingredient that would have improved Neloth’s disposition. But such a solution would take time, a commodity I feared I did not have. What I did have was gold, and I would spend it like water if I must. I clapped a dramatic hand to my forehead and said,
“Forgive me, my lord. What I meant to say was that I have another 500 septims to aid you in your research.”
As I had hoped, that thawed the old boy right out, and he said,
“Well, why didn’t you say so? Hortator? War leader of House Telvanni? Is that necessary? Why doesn't anyone tell me about these things? So. Do you want the job? Are you qualified? Good. Then go ahead. I don't care. Be the Hortator. Now go away.”
Not the most ringing endorsement, perhaps, but good enough for my purposes. I quickly disappeared down the central fly-well and contemplated my next move. Therana and Dratha, the two female Telvanni councilors, were left. Each presented a problem- Therana was reputed to be so far around the bend she was likely to meet herself coming the other way, and Dratha disliked males, whatever their race. I had a feeling that my previous problems with women had done nothing to prepare me to deal with those two.
Apr 19 2005, 03:27 AM
great Job Trey. expecially on the bribeing parts thaqt was creative.
Apr 19 2005, 01:32 PM
I've never seen bribing portrayed in that fashion before....good work! :goodjob:
Apr 19 2005, 09:01 PM
Hope Alexander reads this...
It shows clearly the deviousness of his precious Telvanni....
Oh my treydog.....as great as ever :goodjob: may you never stop writing this....
Apr 19 2005, 09:32 PM
:goodjob: :goodjob: :goodjob:
Apr 24 2005, 04:58 PM
As I returned to the Council House, one aspect of my musings about the ways of the Telvanni bore fruit. As all of the remaining Mouths were in the same chamber, I would speak to all three at the same time rather than scurrying back and forth between Sadrith Mora and the various Tels. Besides, unlike the councils of the other Great Houses, it seemed that the Telvanni did not particularly care how the others voted- at least on this issue. Therefore, I told my story to Felisa Ulessen, Mouth for Therana; Raven Omayen, Mouth for Dratha; and Mallam Ryon, Mouth for Gothren. None of them told me anything I did not expect- Therana’s “attention could be hard to get and hold;” Dratha did not like men- I should “do anything possible to improve her disposition;” and Gothren should hear what I had to say as soon as possible. As the Archmagister’s residence at Tel Aruhn was the closest, that suited me. A short stint of water-walking found me outside Tel Aruhn, and Gothren’s retainers were as rude as any Telvanni I had yet encountered. In fact, several of them even went so far as to explicitly state that they would not speak to me because they didn’t like me or my “kind.” Whether they meant Bretons or members of the Mages Guild or Redorans I did not bother to inquire- their animosity was of the greatest indifference to me. All that mattered was being able to convince Gothren to support me as Hortator. Ignoring the insults and hostility, I levitated to the upper hall and found the Archmagister flanked by two Dremora Lords, clearly, summoned guardians. No wonder Aryon wanted me to take on the chore of disposing of Gothren. The Archmagister was scarcely more civil to me than his retainers had been, but his style of dress told me that he was a vain Mer, susceptible to flattery. After I had praised his great wisdom and obvious magical pre-eminence, the pompous old wizard unbent enough to hear the purpose of my visit. As Aryon had predicted, Gothren did not say yes or no; he simply asked for more time. With the consummate skill of a politician, he used a great many words to say nothing-
“No. Wait. Let me think.... Yes. I understand perfectly. Your story makes sense. Your proofs are persuasive.... But a decision on such a remarkable matter is a grave responsibility, and not to be taken in haste. I will need some time to reflect and consider, and to confer with the other Telvanni counselors. Leave me.”
Knowing that I would get no more from Gothren, and that I needed two additional votes, I graciously took my leave. Perhaps Aryon was correct, and the Archmagister would never give me a favorable response. But I did not know that, and I also wasn’t sure how the rest of the House would react to an attack on their leader. Finally, I wasn’t sure that I was prepared to challenge a wizard and his summoned guardians in his lair. That seemed like a remarkably effective way to commit suicide.
Tel Mora, home of Mistress Dratha, was relatively close by, so I left Tel Aruhn and prepared to go north. Just before I departed, I remembered a detail of a previous visit to Tel Aruhn and stopped in to see Bildren Areleth, the apothecary. After making a couple of purchases, I set out to discover if my powers of persuasion could sway Dratha. When I reached Tel Mora, I decided to talk to everyone I could, in hopes of finding some clue as to how to approach the eccentric Dratha. To my surprise, the people of Tel Mora were quite friendly, and I began to wonder if the talk of Dratha was all just a joke. Most of the tradespeople repeated the same story- that Mistress Dratha had been around forever, did not like men, but might still give me some work. Somehow, I got the impression that any work she offered me would be of the “go away, and if I am lucky you’ll get yourself killed” variety. When I reached Berwen’s Tradehouse, I was reminded of why it was important that I see this through. Berwen was a Wood Elf, with the slanted eyes and blonde hair common to her kind. She also appeared to be in a state of extreme agitation, and rushed through the usual greetings in a breathless fashion. As she paused for a moment, she took in my armor and weaponry and asked if I had been sent to “deal with the corprus stalker.” I admitted that it was the first I had heard of it, but that I would be glad to listen and help if I could. Berwen explained that the creature had somehow gotten into the store and she had managed to barricade it inside an upstairs room. Normally, Master Aryon would have dealt with it, but he was very busy. No one else was willing to risk catching the dread disease, and the stalker’s presence was ruining business, not to mention Berwen’s ability to sleep. I promised to do my best, and made my way up the stairs. Behind a stack of crates was the result of Dagoth Ur’s madness, his desire to create an army. The beast had once been an elf, but was now a monster, shambling back and forth, roaring. With the blessing of my immunity to corprus came the responsibility for dealing with those who had not been so fortunate. It was not a role I cared for, but I could not put it aside, either. The creature haunting Berwen’s storeroom and I were inextricably linked- if not for the manipulation of Azura, it could have been me roaring my mindless fury at the world. I conjured a bound bow and dispatched the poor beast as mercifully as I could. I felt no pride nor thrill in the death- it was simply necessary, and I was the only person who could handle it. As the stalker wheezed its last breath, I said a silent prayer to whatever powers there might be that his soul would find rest, untroubled by the madness of the gods and their creations.
Apr 24 2005, 05:10 PM
Simply amazing, you give Trey a heart that no one else I think could.. GJ :goodjob:
Apr 24 2005, 05:17 PM
Awww my dear Trey....having to kill that corprus thingy.....and now he´ll be encountering Dratha soon...woah, that might just be an experience for him, we all know what Dratha thinks of men.......
Hmm he will naturally try to persuade her with courtesy and kindness...and what woman would reject Trey at his best??
Apr 24 2005, 07:38 PM
Another great part. Keep it up. :goodjob:
And start editing at the library!
Apr 26 2005, 01:36 AM
My somber mood served me well when I finally made my way into Dratha’s tower. The first person I encountered in the upper tower was a Redguard warrior named Nanine, who was so friendly that I began to wonder if the stories about Dratha were just an elaborate joke. That notion was quickly dispelled when I reached the top of the tower and met the mistress of Tel Mora herself. Whether she was truly “older than dirt,” as some of the residents had it, I could not say. However, she was certainly one of the oldest Dunmer I had ever seen, and time had not mellowed her. Her legendary dislike of males was clear in the look she gave me- the sort of look one usually reserved for the material one finds on their shoes after crossing a pasture. After several seconds of her glare failed to incinerate me on the spot, she intoned,
“What is this man doing here? Is it lost?”
That was not precisely an invitation to state my case, but I had to try, just the same. Putting on my most humble expression, I said,
“I crave your pardon, Mistress Dratha, but I need to speak with you on a matter of some importance.”
Rather, that was what I started to say. I actually only got as far as, “I crave…” before she raised one imperious eyebrow and said,
“How did this man get in here? Hello? Who's supposed to be on duty? Will someone show the poor thing out? It must be lost. Utterly and completely lost. Body and soul. Lost in the darkness that surpasses understanding. Do I make myself clear, manling?”
Wonderful. And everyone had said that Therana was the one who was supposed to be crazy. Worse than her words was the sincere tone in which Dratha delivered her speech, expressing an absolute belief. Whether she had always hated males or grown into this state over time, I could not say. And it didn’t matter- all that mattered was that I get her to listen to me and convince her to vote for me as Hortator. With that goal firmly in mind, I bowed respectfully, stepped around the corner, and doused myself with the Telvanni Bug Musk I had purchased from Bildren. The stuff was supposed to make even a diseased Ogrim seem attractive; I only hoped it would have some effect on Dratha. Again, I presented myself to the old harridan, only to find that the Bug Musk was at best marginally effective. Perhaps she had worked with magicka for so long that it did not affect her as much as it would a normal person. Although she didn’t throw me out, she still didn’t seem inclined to listen to anything I might say. My usual course, bribery, might not work. And I shuddered to think how she would react to flattery. But one thing I knew- Dratha was Telvanni. And the Telvanni respected power and enjoyed exercising their power over others. I could not possibly hope to impress her with my own power, but perhaps if I groveled before her with sufficient humility…. So I fell to my knees and wailed,
“Oh, great Mistress! I know I an not worthy to clean your shoes, but I crave a moment of your time.”
That melodramatic effort worked well enough to get her to elaborate further on her feelings about males.
“Oh, b'Vek. I think it's a man. It's wearing a man's skin. For now. Listen. Very carefully. There is nothing wrong with males. There's nothing wrong with rats, per se. I just don't like males. Or rats. So I think you'd best be going. While you can.”
That seemed to be progress- although she was still threatening me, she hadn’t actually tried to fry me…yet. So I continued,
“Mistress Dratha, I would speak with you regarding the need to select a Hortator…”
Her muttered, “Oh, bVek, I think it’s a man…” seemed to be the only encouragement I was going to get, so I abased myself still further and said,
“Mistress, you control not only my destiny, but the fate of every creature on Vvardenfell.”
Struck by a sudden inspiration, I continued,
“I have come to you at the command of the goddess Azura. She compels me to seek your aid.”
Her response was nearly enough to send up in flames the carefully constructed humility I had cultivated, but I restrained myself.
“Oh, that's so pathetic. Look at the poor bunny. Oh, I suppose now we must be merciful, and at least listen to it.”
Although that was more or less the reaction I had courted, it was a monumental struggle not to answer the rage that sang in my blood. Only the memory of the corprus stalker and the thought of all the others who would be condemned by my actions stayed my hand. With a shuddering breath, I composed myself and continued, telling the story of my encounters with Azura and the prophecies.
To my everlasting astonishment, Dratha reached down and helped me to stand, patted my arm in a nearly friendly fashion, and said,
“Hmm. Well. I'm glad we listened. And glad you persisted. So there's something to those old prophecies after all. I shouldn't wonder. Pig-headed Battlemages don't pay attention to Lady Azura's portents as they should. And you are the foretold Nerevarine? Well, then. You shall be our Hortator. You have my vote. And my blessing. And this scroll. It will come in handy where you're going.”
The scroll would allow me to summon a Golden Saint and was a princely gift, indeed. It almost made up for all I had been forced to put up with. If Azura’s intent had been to ensure that I learned the virtue of humility, I felt that I was the prize pupil. And I also decided that the goddess had a truly rotten sense of humor.
Apr 26 2005, 04:08 AM
Heh I'm not sure if that was supposed to come out funny or not (maybe it jsut to late) but I found trey humilating himself like that was hilarious (Forgive my spelling, Im north carolinian
Apr 26 2005, 10:04 AM
hehe tht was funny. He huiliated himself just to get her vote. I always just bribed her
Apr 26 2005, 09:51 PM
Great job Treydog!
May 2 2005, 02:55 AM
[quote=Channler] Im north carolinian
Just caught up on your story treydog...great as ever!!
May 2 2005, 03:03 AM
[quote=Channler](Forgive my spelling, Im north carolinian
Are you saying all north carolinians spell bad... Cause thats insulting to me you know.
great next part trey! :goodjob:
May 2 2005, 10:28 AM
Are you saying all north carolinians spell bad... Cause thats insulting to me you know.
Well even the sun has it´s flares ....
May 3 2005, 12:37 AM
I considered confronting Gothren again after receiving Dratha’s vote- it seemed likely that the Archmagister had counted on her misanthropy to thwart my quest. Between Dratha’s reputation and Gothren’s delaying tactics, I would have enjoyed watching his face as I casually mentioned my accomplishment. In the end, tempting as that notion was, I let it go. After all, there was still one more vote to win, and it was far from a sure thing. If I confronted Gothren too soon, he might bend his considerable power to ensuring that I never even got a chance to speak to Therana. It isn’t prudent to become too much of an annoyance to someone who can summon and control Dremora lords. So instead, I found myself traveling to Tel Branora, at the extreme southern tip of Vvardenfell’s east coast. As I made the long trek, I considered what I had learned about House Telvanni. So far, I had met with four of the councilors, including the Archmagister, and I was not impressed. Of them all, only Aryon commanded my respect- for his pragmatism, if nothing else. But the others…? Beyond living for incredible spans of time in hard to reach towers and keeping dangerous pets, they seemed mostly interested in thwarting each other at every turn. It was as if the accumulation of power had become an end in itself, a way of keeping score, and they no longer even considered how that power might be used. They were like a bunch of children fighting for possession of a single toy in a room that was filled with equally interesting things to play with. They were rude and eccentric and dangerous…and those were their GOOD qualities. It was no wonder that someone like Divayth Fyr chose to go his own way- for all of his arrogance, he at least sought a cure for a disease that was feared throughout Vvardenfell. As for the others, again excepting Aryon, they seemed to be locked into ever tightening spirals of madness. Which meant that meeting Therana was going to be…interesting, given that even the other Telvanni considered her insane.
My arrival in Tel Branora was accompanied by a driving rainstorm, complete with thunder and lightning, and I tried not to think too hard about omens and portents. The entirety of the village was the dock and a couple of shacks on stilts, so I asked the shipmaster for directions. Nireli Farys looked somewhat put upon, but warmed up after I crossed her palm with a few coins. She pointed out the tower itself, which stood to the east, and noted that all the available services were located within. She then named the main inhabitants- Therana, of course; her second-in-command, Darvasa Vedas; and guard captain, Mollimo of Cloudrest. Then, almost as an aside, she mentioned someone named Trerayna Dalen, “Therana’s Telvanni challenger.” When I asked for a further explanation of that last, Nireli would not say any more than that it was Telvanni business and that I would be wise to stay out of it. That suited me perfectly; I had my own business with the Telvanni; whatever they chose to do amongst themselves was of no consequence to me.
As I made my way toward the tower, I noticed a half-dozen people huddled in the lee of a tall boulder, trying their best to stay out of the rain. Their leader was obviously a Dunmer woman in sorcerer’s robes, who was also noticeable due to the fact that the rain drops seemed not to fall upon her. The rest were accoutered in a mix of bonemold and steel armor, and carried themselves with the arrogant grace of mercenaries. As I came closer, the leader called me over with an imperious gesture, saying,
“Outlander. I would speak with you.”
When I cautiously approached, she said,
“I am Trerayna Dalen, of Great House Telvanni. I would advise you to stay out of things that do not concern you. This affair is between myself and Therana. I want no help and I will tolerate no interference.”
The part of me that had gotten into so much trouble over the years longed to respond to her arrogance with sarcasm, but I bit back on answering that what she wanted or tolerated concerned me not at all. Instead, I gave a nod of acknowledgement and continued along the path to the tower. As I approached, I could not help but to shake my head. Why did all of these Telvanni assume that everything that happened in the world was about them? It seemed to me that isolation and the pursuit of power took a toll on their ability to recognize that a great deal of the world was sublimely indifferent to them and their activities. It also made me rather thankful that Azura had intervened to prevent me from achieving my ambition to become “Trey, the crazy old alchemist in the tower.” Although that did not balance the books of what the goddess had done to me, it was a down payment.
Therana’s tower was composed of a thick central spire, with curved branches forming walkways to the various levels. Doors had been cut into the spire at several places, and I began looking for one that would lead to the Upper Tower. Before I could enter, a figure dressed in Dwemer armor and one of those Telvanni helms that looked like a squid was swallowing his head stopped me. He introduced himself as Mollimo of Cloudrest then said,
“Outlander. Would you like to earn some gold? Take care of Trerayna Dalen for me. She's a petty annoyance, but Mistress Therana won't let me leave the tower to take care of her. Don't be fooled by her thugs. The armor is impressive, but there's not much inside it. Kill Trerayna Dalen, and I'll pay you 1000 gold.”
I put the Altmer off for the moment by telling him that I would think about it, and continued into the tower. Although I had become more philosophical about some things, it still annoyed me to be taken for a hired sword. Perhaps my outfit confused people- certainly the Daedric sword I carried was an impressive weapon. Then, my friend Sul-Matuul had told me where I could find some glass greaves to go with my cuirass. And the gods knew I had killed more people than I cared to remember since coming to Vvardenfell. The fact that most of those killings had been self-defense did not ease my conscience all that much, though. The deaths weighed upon me, but I wondered if something in the face that I presented to the world said, “Killer, stay away.” Mollimo was an experienced mercenary- was there something about me that made him think I was in the same profession? Regardless, I had never killed for money. And I never would.
The interior of Tel Branora was disturbing. First, the place seemed to be hot and stuffy, filled with the scent of dried herbs. But underneath the herbs was an odor of something less pleasant, something the should have been buried long ago. The entry hall was “decorated,” that is the only word, with peculiar arrangements of kwama eggs. As I moved deeper inside, I saw more signs of disorder or struggle- overturned bookshelves, their contents strewn across the floor, plates and cups scattered in confusion. Yet the people I met, while not friendly, seemed unconcerned by the chaos, as if the disruption was normalcy. At last, I made my way to the central flyway and found Therana’s chamber. Inside I found a cadaverous-looking Telvanni woman and a Khajiit slave. The chaos of the rest of the tower was repeated here- gem stones were tossed on the floor and a cheery fire was fueled by books. The mad eyes of the Telvanni glared at me and her dust-dry voice croaked,
“What are you here for? Are you here to feed the spiders?”
May 3 2005, 12:37 AM
Spiders? Why did she have to mention spiders? I have admitted before that I have a phobia regarding undead- that, in fact, they scare me. But at least the undead are, or at least were, human. Spiders are alien creatures, with far too many legs and a bad habit of running toward you when they are startled. It had been a great relief to me that I had not encountered any of the giant arachnids that were known to inhabit other provinces of Tamriel. In truth, I had sort of considered the absence of spiders a fair exchange for the lack of horses. But now, Therana was asking me if I had come to feed the spiders…. And that was the sort of question that could have a number of meanings, all of them unpleasant. Realizing that I had been standing there, mouth agape, for some time, I shook myself and replied,
“No, Mistress Therana, I am here on House Telvanni business.”
Her response to that attempt was even less rational than her initial greeting.
“It's a funny sort of house, with all those glowing blue crystals all over it. Did I ever tell you about when I was a little girl? I always liked going to the house. That's where everyone keeps their toys. Are you listening to me? You'd better be. Yes, that's better. No need to do that. I'd offer you something, but I'm all out of kwama eggs.”
In truth, listening to her dry voice as she nattered on about nothing was causing my eyes to glaze over. Therana had no need of powerful spells- she could simply talk an opponent to death. Seeking to get her mind onto a different track, I waved a hand to regain her wandering attention and said firmly,
“Actually, Mistress, I wanted to speak to you about the Telvanni Hortator.”
The look of vacant madness in her eyes was replaced by one of concentrated thought. Almost against my will, I dared to hope that my words had gotten through. Then she spoke.
“It's a steel box, of course. You keep things like bittergreen roots in it, keeps 'em fresh, with a little netch blood. Or is that a hormador? Yes. Or spiders. In the box. Spider eggs. Keeps 'em fresh. With netch blood. You wouldn't have any with you, eh? Spider eggs? Nice fresh ones? So, go ahead. Show me the hordador. Hormador? You got it with you? Always happy to get some fresh spider eggs. Or spiders? When I was a MUCH younger, we grew our own spiders...”
I stifled a groan. She was thinking about a humidor! Maybe if I waited long enough, she would work her way around to the point. It would help if she would stop talking about spiders, though. Truth be told, there was something rather spidery about Therana herself, now that I thought about it. As I pushed that speculation away, I realized she was still droning on:
“...In hormadors. Big ones. Needed 'em big, for the spiders. What? Spiders? You listening? Spiders. That's what I said. Big ones. So you need a big hortator. Ours was steel, with silver plating. Kier-jo used to polish it. Cute little kitty. Had it since it was a bitty kitty. Gone now, of course. Dropped dead. They get old, and you have to get new ones. Never quite as good as the old ones, of course, but what can you do. Oh! There you are, Trey! What was your name again?”
Again, as she droned on, I felt my attention wandering. The overheated, stuffy atmosphere and Therana’s voice were putting me to sleep. A sudden sizzling sound roused me from my stupor and my eyes flew open to see the sorceress glaring madly at me as a partially formed fireball danced on her fingertips.
“Are you listening to me?” she growled.
“Yes, Mistress Therana. Absolutely. Spiders,” I babbled in response.
Clearly, just letting her talk wasn’t going to work. I needed to get her attention, hold it, amuse her sufficiently to listen to me, and then get her focused on naming me Hortator. Simple, really. No harder than juggling bottles of naptha and lit torches while riding a half-trained horse at a full gallop over a cobblestone street. While singing the Cyrodiilic anthem. All 50 verses. In Orcish. Despite my monumental irritation with Azura, I was sorely tempted to call upon the goddess for help. But then I would be indebted to her, and who knew where that might lead? No, I was just going to have to handle this one myself. While I had been musing over my bleak prospects, Therana had managed to put herself to sleep where she stood and her face had assumed a rather child-like quality. If one could imagine a several thousand-year-old, spider-obsessed child, anyway. But that gave me an idea. I had been attempting to deal with the cracked Telvanni as an adult. What I needed to do was approach her as I would a child- granted, a child who could fry me where I stood, but still…. Moving carefully and quietly, I gathered up a half-dozen of the rubies and emeralds that were scattered around the room.
Clearing my throat, I did my best vocal impersonation of a trumpet fanfare and intoned loudly,
“Ladies and gentlemen! Children of all ages! Prepare to be amazed by the prestidigitatory talents of the Great Treyfini!”
That roused Therana, and she looked up with a cut-off snore as I began juggling the gemstones in a shower over my head. Once I was sure I had her full, wide-eyed attention, I began throwing the gems into the air and catching them one at a time. All except the last one. When it didn’t “come down” I began to look around, then reached behind her left ear and “produced” the large emerald. True to my expectations, she was as entranced as a small child.
“Goodness. Where did you learn how to do that? Can you do it again? Oooo! Very pretty! Do it again! Oh, please? Please?”
Next, I placed the gem in her hand and closed the spidery fingers tightly around it, saying, “You, too, can do magic. If you concentrate very hard, rap your fist three times with your other hand, and say the magic words, the gem will vanish. She goggled at me, then said, “What are the magic words? Tell me, tell me!”
I looked around conspiratorially and then said,
“The magic words are, ‘I name Trey Hortator.’”
Her lips moved silently, then she spoke clearly,
“Oh, certainly. I have a hormador around here somewhere, if you'll just.... Oh. You want to be a Hortator? Certainly. Go right ahead. Right after you do that thing again.”
When she opened her fist, the emerald was gone, replaced by a ruby. Her eyes glowed with merriment and she cackled,
“That's amazing! Oh, goody, goody....”
With that, she fell into a deep contemplation of the light sparkling in the depths of the stone and fell asleep. And I quickly left the way I had come. She had said the words, and all that was left was to tell Gothren. I had a feeling that the look on his face was going to be almost as entertaining as my impromptu magic act.
May 3 2005, 12:58 AM
That...was...the best part of your story i've every read! I laughed throught the whole thing. Who would have ever thought that jugling would capture Therana's attention. I gotta try that next time....
May 3 2005, 01:07 AM
lol. THAT'S the amazing thing i did to get her attention in game....
May 3 2005, 03:04 AM
LOL great job treydog, that was so good.
May 3 2005, 10:15 AM
[quote]No harder than juggling bottles of naptha and lit torches while riding a half-trained horse at a full gallop over a cobblestone street. While singing the Cyrodiilic anthem. All 50 verses. In Orcish. [/quote]
Incredibly amusing... :hugesmile: :rofl: But surely one has to pity the poor Therana....
[quote]“What are the magic words? Tell me, tell me!”
I looked around conspiratorially and then said,
“The magic words are, ‘I name Trey Hortator.’” [/quote]
WoW..such a smartass......have to try that sometimes.....
Just wonderful, treydog, just wonderful :goodjob:
May 3 2005, 09:51 PM
[quote=minque]No harder than juggling bottles of naptha and lit torches while riding a half-trained horse at a full gallop over a cobblestone street. While singing the Cyrodiilic anthem. All 50 verses. In Orcish. [/quote]
Lol, I must agree that was so darned funny, i can almost imagin it.. lol keep up the awsome work!
May 4 2005, 03:07 PM
Great treydog! :lickinglips:
May 4 2005, 07:53 PM
lol that was funny. I always wondered what i was doing that was so great lol
May 4 2005, 08:18 PM
Hope this discribes enough for u... :shocked: Wonderful!
May 7 2005, 04:50 PM
A part of me felt guilty for fooling Therana into naming me Hortator. Even though her combination of magic ability and madness made her dangerous, she also struck me as a lonely person, with no family and no friends. Add to that Trerayna Dalen was lurking around Tel Branora just waiting for a chance to kill her…. Perhaps some of my concern came from the fact that I myself was now supposed to be “immortal.” Although I could still be killed by accident or intent, I was proof against disease or the effects of aging. How well would I cope with watching everyone I knew or cared about growing old and dying? In its own way, immortality was a curse more virulent than corprus. Of course, chances were that Dagoth Ur and his minions would solve that little problem for me. Assuming, of course, that I was ever able to confront the head of the Sixth House. And also assuming the Archmagister Gothren and his Dremora Lords didn’t beat Dagoth Ur to it. The scheming House leader was not likely to be terribly thrilled with that fact that I had not only survived meeting with Dratha and Therana, but actually gotten their support, as well. No doubt he had counted on the contrary nature of the Telvanni councilors to prevent any consensus. His reaction to my success was likely to be…unpredictable. I considered consulting Master Aryon again, but he had already made his position clear. And I was inclined to think that he had given what he considered the best advice he could. He had been honest enough to admit that Gothren’s death would be to his benefit, and that made me believe that he had been equally honest regarding the Archmagister’s delaying tactics.
Knowing that Gothren stood squarely in my path did not mean that I should simply rush headlong into a fight with him, though. Challenging an accomplished wizard in his tower was a risky undertaking, and I needed to prepare. Although I could not wait forever, I could at least make some potions to improve the odds. Although I had been chosen by Azura, I preferred to put my faith in something more substantial- like several feet of enchanted metal with a sharp point at one end. Even the most accomplished wizard would have trouble casting spells without a head. With that in mind, I managed to mix some potions of Reflection, as well as a few to protect me against elemental damage. I suppose I could have used some of my soul gems to make some rings or amulets that would protect me. But I did not want to take the time, because I feared that was a commodity which might be in short supply. Then, too, there was the fact that I tended to forget about such items in the heat of combat. The last thing I needed was to be fumbling through a jeweler’s case of rings and amulets while the Archmagister and his Dremoras tried their best to kill me. Better to rely on my speed and my steel. Having done all that I could, I traveled to Tel Aruhn and levitated to the upper tower. Gothren pretended to be surprised to see me, and made me go through the whole story again. Then he attempted his standard delaying tactic, pontificating about the significance of the position and adding,
“I said, I will need some time to reflect and consider, and to confer with the other Telvanni counselors. And I told you to leave me. Don't make me repeat myself.”
Not to be put off, I politely persisted,
“But Archmagister, there is no need for consultations- all of the other councilors have already agreed to give me their votes.”
His politician’s mask slipped at last, and he grated out,
“Very well. I have heard your story. And you are not one of us, so I suppose I'll have to explain. Or you'll just keep annoying me. I have no intention of naming you Hortator of House Telvanni. It is not in Telvanni interests to name an unknown and unreliable outlander and outsider to such an important position. My opinion will not change. If you persist in bothering me, you will regret it. This discussion is over.”
Although his answer irritated my already frayed nerves, I was careful not to challenge him immediately. I still hoped that there might be another way, so I took my leave and went to Tel Vos to consult with Master Aryon. Perhaps, now that I had the support of all the other councilors, there was some means of forcing a conclusion short of killing Gothren.
As I levitated to the balcony outside Master Aryon’s chambers, I took the opportunity to look out over the vista that lay before me. Thus it was that I glimpsed a female figure in Redoran colors disappearing southwest into the Grazelands. I could not be sure, given the distance, but I thought it was the same elusive Imperial woman I had seen before. What would a Redoran woman be doing speaking with Master Aryon? Of course, Athyn Sarethi had told me that Aryon was the most reasonable of the Telvanni, so perhaps this was a similar situation. Perhaps House Redoran was trying to forge closer ties with House Telvanni during this time of crisis. Although the mystery puzzled me, I had more pressing matters to consider and put aside my questions as I entered the tower. I found Turedus, Aryon’s guard captain, in a cheerful mood, whistling a jaunty tune and chuckling. He greeted me in a friendly fashion and then said, almost to himself,
“Potions! Who would have guessed? That young woman will go far!”
Before I could ask what he was talking about, he recovered his professional manner and said,
“Master Aryon will be happy to see you, Trey. Go right up.”
Knowing a dismissal when I heard one, I climbed the steps to Aryon’s work-room and explained my dilemma. Although he was sympathetic, he was not able to offer any alternative.
“The fact that you were able to get as many councilors as you did to agree is impressive. That shows a remarkable resourcefulness and skill- proving to me that I was correct in supporting you. However, I did warn you that Gothren would be difficult. Now that he has plainly stated his position, he will not change it. I fear that my previous advice still stands- you will have to kill him. Do not be concerned about repercussions in House Telvanni- our attitude is that any Master who allows himself to be killed is no longer competent to serve. In other words, if you succeed, no one will be sorry.”
Left unspoken was the corollary- If I failed, no one would be sorry, either.
May 7 2005, 04:57 PM
Great Trey! Very very very nice! :drool: Like the excitement thing u have in your stories, keep on writing! :lickinglips:
May 7 2005, 07:51 PM
nice Trey, nice. now then on to the buisness of telling us who the Redoan chick is.