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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Maxymiuk's Avatar

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    Default Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind


    Ok, so who here hasn't at least heard of the game?


    I didn't.

    Riiiiiight.

    Originally developed in 2002 by Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind quickly became the company's most iconic title.

    Four years later a contender for that position was released, but failed due to being populated entirely by rejects from the Uncanny Valley.

    You know, I'll just be lazy and point you to the Wikipedia article.


    So what's the big deal?

    Morrowind was released with a construction kit, giving it near-inifinite modding potential This has kept the game's community alive, and going strong to this day. Just a cursory google search will get you thousands of mods and fanfics, the game's wiki, active forums... So I figured hey, why not join the fun.


    So this LP thing...

    When I originally conceived of the idea, six months ago or so, I was going to do this traditionally, letting people vote on what race to play, what skills to choose, etc, etc. Then I realized what a bad idea that was.

    So the second variant would have me give you several characters to choose from, and I'd play the one who got the most votes. But then, as I started developing those characters and thinking about how their stories would play out, I realized that there's only one that I really care for and can see enjoying writing about all the way through to the end. Therefore, this LP will have almost no reader participation. All the choices have already been made. Sorry.

    I hope my writing will at least somewhat make up for it.


    Schedule?

    Ahahahahahahahahaha, ahem.

    I already have the entire first part written and ready to go, but I'll be doling it out piece by piece, once every few days in a doomed attempt to maintain a buffer. Once that's gone, I'll try for weekly updates, but I make no promises, as a single update takes me about 12 hours of work to make screencaps for, write, edit, then edit some more until it's readable (actual gameplay time per update is about 15 minutes, plus another 15 minutes to revert to a previous save and get better screencaps).


    You've mentioned mods.

    Yes, I did. Though the mods I use are mostly visual, to make up for the fact that the game was released in 2002. Here's their list:

    Better Bodies v2.2
    Better Heads v2
    New Beast Bodies v3.3
    Better Books v1
    (these all replace the default bodies, heads and books with high-res versions, making them a lot easier on the eyes)

    Improved No Glow v1
    (gets rid of the ugly "plastic wrap" effect on magical items)

    Morrowind Nights
    (not a mod as such, but rather an .ini file edit, making the game's nights actually dark enough to require a light source to get around. I play with this mostly because the night skybox ends up looking awesome as a result)


    I experimented with high-res terrain texture packs, but found most of them way, way too vivid for my taste (even, paradoxically Darker Morrowind, so don't go suggesting that). I definitely prefer the default "faded" look for the world. Though if anyone could point me towards a good clothes texture pack that replaces current clothing with its high-res versions (as opposed to the packs that make you look like an Anita Blake vampire), I'd be immensely grateful.

    Other than the above list, the game is purely vanilla. I'm not even using the cliff racer genocide mod.


    Anything else we should know?

    This will be far from an optimal playthrough. I'll try to show as much of the game as I can, but ultimately I'm trying to make the blank slate the game hands me into a (somewhat) realistic character, so its going to be their needs, desires, views and actions that dictate what happens next. Neither should you expect to see me dabbling with alchemy or enchantment cheese. I never used it and don't plan on starting now. For that matter, I'll be avoiding off-screen (and on-screen for that matter) grinding and skill building - I'm letting this character develop organically.

    Oh, for the lore buffs out there - I'll stick to canon for the most part, but expect me to run roughshod over the game's storyline whenever I think it'll serve the story better. So no complaining, mmkay? Unless it's about how bad my writing is.


    Wait, who the hell are you anyway?

    I'm Maxymiuk. You know, that guy responsible for the Space Empires IV LP.

    Anyway.

    Enjoy the show.

    Table of Contents

    Part I - Only Questions
    - Chapter I - Unmerited
    - Chapter II - Requital
    - Chapter III - Mistakes
    - Chapter IV - Questions

    Part II - Spurious Choice
    - Chapter V - Distractions
    - Chapter VI - Caius Cosades
    - Chapter VII - Choice
    - Chapter VIII - Discretion

    Part III - Errand Girl
    - Chapter IX - Fieldwork
    Last edited by Maxymiuk; 2009-12-08 at 05:48 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Maxymiuk's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    Those of you who followed my previous LP would've probably seen this already. Still, give it another go, as I've changed some things based on the critique I've received.

    Also, I apologize for the image quality. I can't get my screencap program to work with Morrowind, so I'm using the game's own screenshot function. Unfortunately, the images get saved as .bmp files and when I convert them to .jpeg, it shows.

    Part I – Only Questions

    Chapter I – Unmerited
    Spoiler
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    "Mara? Mara! Wake up."

    I felt a hand on my shoulder, shaking me. I knocked it off and turned away, wrapping my arms around me to keep off the cold.

    "Mara! What's wrong? What happened? Are you hurt?"

    The hand returned, more insistent. I had the impression that I should know the voice it belonged to.

    "Damn it, Mara, you can't stay like this. Get up!"

    Jiub. That's what his name was. Another prisoner like me. We were on a boat together these past-

    He must've gotten impatient, because I felt two hands seize me around the torso and hoist me up from the floor. Hold on, the floor?

    I staggered and would've fallen down again if Jiub wasn't already holding me. There was suddenly a giant hammer pounding at the inside of my head. And I was cold. So very cold. I was shivering all over. I felt weak, too weak to stand. I needed to lie down, just wrap myself into a tight ball to ward off the chill and...

    "Oh no you don't," Jiub leaned me against a crate and took off his shirt, which he then had to force over my head, since my arms weren't being very cooperative. Then he sat down and held me against himself, warming my body up with his until I stopped trembling.

    "So do I get to find out what you were doing here?" he asked finally. "Other than freezing to death?"

    I shrugged. Didn't know either. Last I remembered, I was in my hammock, falling asleep. Then you were shaking me awake.

    "Last I see you, you're sound asleep," he was thinking along similar lines. "Then that mule Marius drags me upstairs to fix his scabbard again – I told the idiot to let the glue dry properly - and when I get back, you're half-naked in the larder. Didn't take you for the sleepwalking type."

    I shook my head. I'm not. I was - I had a dream. There was a voice, and… warmth?

    "Anyway, think you can get up now? Not that I mind or anything, but if anyone comes down here and sees us like this - you know how Imperials are."

    By now the hammer in my head was small enough to use on pins. I nodded cautiously and slid off him. He was instantly on his feet, holding my arm in case I stumbled.



    "We've docked half an hour ago," he said, and the tone of his voice told me everything I needed to know. "I'm sorry, Mara."

    I trembled, but this time it wasn't because of the cold. Vvardenfell. Morrowind. I suspected this was where they'd take me, but up until now I hoped I was wrong.

    "This isn't how I'd want anyone to see my homeland," he sighed. "You least of all."

    I put my hand on his shoulder and shook my head softly. We talked about this already. Not your fault, Jiub. Not your fault you'll work off your sentence within a year, then be given your pay and set free to do whatever you please. Not your fault I'd probably spend the rest of my life bend over picking saltrice.

    "They sent me down to tell you to head up onto the deck, actually," he shrugged apologetically. "But then I found you like this and you know. We should probably head up before they start ge-"

    Too late.



    Marius. And you could've spotted his leer a mile way.

    "Should've known I'd find you two down here," he drawled in a voice that, in his opinion, made him sound droll and suave. "Couldn't bear not to say your goodbyes, could you?"

    It made him sound like a drunk, stuck up idiot. Which wasn't too far from the actual truth.

    "Lay off the booze, Marius," Jiub didn't even look at the guard. "You know it's time to do that when you start seeing things that aren't there."
    "Watch your tone, ashface," Marius sneered. "Or one day I might just pull off those rings of yours, nose and all. And I see what I see. You're here, she's here, you're not wearing a shirt, she's wearing yours... didn't reckon you for the type, Jiub, I really didn't."



    "She was cold, you son of a guar," Jiub snapped. "Look at her, can't you see she's sick?"
    "Of course, of course," Marius smiled infuriatingly. "She's got the itch and you had just the thing to scratch it, right?"
    "Then at least she's got someone for that," Jiub shot back. "All you have is your left hand."

    Marius's face flushed bright red, and the Imperial brought up his fists, snarling a challenge, while Jiub dropped into a defensive posture. They were about ready to go for each other's throats, when I stepped in between them. Not that I could've stopped either of them if they decided to have at it, scrawny and weakened as I was, But I hoped seeing me might remind them just who they were getting all male about.

    Jiub was the smart one, so he backed off immediately. As for Marius, it helped that I worried him in the first place – he didn't really know how to deal with someone he couldn't get a visible reaction from.

    "He's not worth my time anyway," he muttered, turning away. "And as for you, you were supposed to be off this ship twenty minutes ago. So move it."
    "Give us a moment, Marius," Jiub said.
    "You're joking, right? Haven't had enough yet? I said, she's already late, so-"

    I cut him off, raising my hand with three fingers outstretched. Three more minutes.

    "Fine," he knew when to back down – it helped that Jiub was still acting all muscular behind me. "But only three minutes, you hear that? In three minutes I see you up on the deck, or you're getting dragged out there in chains," he turned around and walked away.

    "I'd like to see him try that," Jiub muttered, so I turned around and subjected him to a long stare. "Oh don't give me that," he scoffed. "People like him, they always push to see how far you'll let them. You have to push back."

    I rolled my eyes at that. There's a difference between pushing and willfully provoking, Jiub. Now he'd be finding you the dirtiest jobs he could for the next few months.

    "Besides," he continued, "you're too good to let his kind say things like that about you."

    I threw up my hands in exasperation. Like any of that mattered. What Marius thought of me was the least of my concerns right now.

    "But you're probably right, as usual," Jiub sighed. "I shouldn't have let him get under my skin like that. I'm sorry. Shouldn't say goodbye with an argument anyway."

    I nodded in agreement. We may know each other for less than a month, but I like you Jiub. And I'll miss you, Dear Seryn, but I will. I only wish I could tell you that.

    "Look," he rubbed the back of his scalp bashfully, "I know things will probably be hard for you here, but promise me you won't do anything stupid, alright? Once my time's done, I'll come back to Morrowind and find you. I'll find you, and I'll buy your freedom. You have my word on that."

    I nodded. Whoever had the pull to get me shipped out here, would've had the pull to make certain I wouldn't know a free day for as long as I lived, but I nodded anyway. What else could I do?

    I leaned forward, putting my mouth near his ear. "Thank you," I breathed. "Fare well."
    "Goodbye," he said firmly and, without warning, pulled me into a short, fierce embrace. "Take care of yourself, Mara. And get them to have a doctor look at you – you're still shaking. Now get going, or they might really decide to drag you out of here by force."

    And I walked away. Jiub was right, I was trembling all over, my legs especially considering giving out. But it wouldn't do if I spoiled the moment by falling flat on my face. Especially not with Marius watching from the top of the stairs.

    "The sad parting of a thief and a pirate," he sneered as I climbed up to meet him. "Truly, a tragedy for the ages. I might even shed a tear for you two over a bottle one night."



    I walked past him without a word, but then, he was used to that. Besides, I had more important things to worry about. I've just realized that I forgot to give Jiub back his shirt.


    ***


    They've been having me stay below the deck for the past few days – Jiub said we've been sailing past some islets, and I guess the guards were afraid I'd make a break for it given half a chance. So when I opened the hatch, the bright morning daylight blinded me, as well as rekindling the all but forgotten headache. I stumbled up the last few steps, shielding my face, and stood on the deck, blinking like an idiot and waiting for my vision to clear. Still, I took the time to smell the air, trying to guess where we might've docked. There was the breeze from the sea – clean, fresh air after last night's storm. But it was rapidly losing ground to the freshly tarred rigging, the wood smoke from nearby chimneys and the unmistakable rank of stagnant swampwater. A town or village in the fens then. Made sense. Wouldn't do to see the Legions getting themselves involved in slave trade, would it?

    Finally, the bright, swirling spots went away and I could actually see the place where we've docke-



    What the hell was that?!

    My shock must've showed, since the legionnaire - Morgan was his name, I think – glanced over his shoulder to follow my gaze.

    "Oh. Just a silt strider, Mara," he smiled. "Look scary, don't they? Don't worry, they're harmless. Folk here use them to get around the island. Now come on, they're already waiting for you."

    I bet they were.

    I threw a furtive glance to the right. Two steps and I'd be over the side. Even if they had longbows ready, I could just swim under the surface until I was well out of sight. And once I was clear, I could...



    ...do what, exactly? Hope for another coastal village where I wouldn't get reported as a runaway slave to the first legionnaire they saw? Play hide and seek on an island I didn't know anything about? Go feral? No, call me a coward and a shame upon my kind, but at least I wasn't stupid.

    Morgan, probably seeing my hesitation, took a step closer.



    "I hear there's a fish you'll find all along the coast here, that the locals named after the way it kills," he mentioned casually. "They usually hit the peak of their breeding season right about now."

    I decided that I don't like Morgan very much.



    There was already a legionnaire waiting for me on the pier.
    "You Mara? Here from Imperial City?"
    I nodded.
    "You're late. Come on."



    I followed him to the door.
    "Go in. You want Socucius Ergalla - old guy in a brown robe."
    A man of few words. Him, I could like. I went in.

    Inside was a well-furnished room occupied by two men. One of them was a legionnaire in polished armor, the other had to be Socucius. He had the gall to smile when he saw me enter.



    "Ah, there you are, we've been expecting you."

    I bet you were.

    "Allow me to be the first to officially welcome you in Seyda Neen. Now, you need to be recorded before we proceed. A formality, I'm sure you understand. We have a standard form for this," he unrolled a length of parchment and laid it out on the table. "Of course, if you don't understand something, or for some reason aren't able..."

    I could read and write, thank you very much. I reached for the quill and looked over the form. Name, age, birth signs... the usual bureaucratic obsession with detail.



    I dipped the quill in the inkwell and put it to the paper. Name: Mara-No-Voice. Parentage: Unknown. Age: 36. Occupation: Alchemist. Place of birth...

    Five minutes later I was done. Socucius looked over the parchment for errors, signed it, then scattered sand over the ink.

    "Very well, everything seems to be in order. Now you need to take this to Sellus Gravius, the officer in charge here. Out the door on your left, take the first right, then just keep going," he explained. "You'll find him in the next building. I wish you a good day," he added, without even a hint of irony.

    I walked past the legionnaire and through the door, with the parchment in hand and confusion in my mind. Something felt off here. Where was the armed escort? Where were the chains? I've practically been given the free run of the building.

    What if this was some sort of cruel joke? Maybe they were hoping I'd get lost, or go somewhere I shouldn't, or even steal something. Then they'd laugh at me as my new master all too happily showed me what happens to disobedient slaves.

    Right about then, my body decided to inform me that we weren't on speaking terms anymore. I stumbled into the wall and just barely managed to catch a hanging tapestry before falling over. It creaked ominously, but held under my weight.



    Jiub had been right. I was sick. The dizziness, the headache, the shivers... I probably had a fever too, now that I thought about it. But why? How? I didn't get sick. Ever. Were there rats on the ship? Maybe one bit me. I couldn't remember if I ever heard any.

    This was bad. Sick slaves got a hammer to the head before they infected other slaves, this much I could be certain of. I needed to put myself together before anyone saw me like this. Come on Mara, move.



    I slid along the wall, into the next room. The first thing I saw was the large egg lying on shelf. I think I've seen them in the market back home once or twice. Local stuff, I think, Jiub mentioned them once or twice. Karma eggs? Maybe I'd swipe one, get some strength back. No, my stomach let me know it wasn’t' going to cooperate.

    I continued to the table. Lots of silverware laid out for a meal - this was probably where Socucius ate. Valuable. And tempting. But I could already see them waving me through the door with a big ol' sack of loot over my shoulder. There was also a flagon standing by the plate, but the last thing I needed now was to get drunk. Though some water I could go for - unfortunately, the pitcher was empty. And... what's this?



    A lockpick - of all things - was laid out along with the cutlery. What was it doing here? Who knew. But this I couldn't just pass by. Into my sleeve you go - I also picked up the fork for a moment and used its teeth to loosen a few threads in the shirt's fabric, which I then used to keep the tool in place.



    Through the door was a small courtyard between two buildings. And no, even if my limbs weren't trembling like a willow in a windstorm, I probably couldn't have made it over. But the grand escape plan was forgotten the moment I spotted the barrel under the wall. It was full of rain water.



    A few minutes later the barrel was somewhat less full, while I busied myself studying the ring I spotted lying on its bottom. The band was plain tin, inset with a flawed piece of jade, but there was no mistaking the tingle of magic I got from touching the rim. It was very weak, probably the work of an apprentice, but the rune engraved on the inside of the ring's band identified it as a restorative spell. And given my current condition, this was the best thing I could've hoped for.

    Unless, knowing my luck, it was a cure for warts, or something equally inane. Well, one way to find out. Like with most magic items, activating this one was a simple exercise of will. It glowed briefly as the spell stored inside discharged. And surprise, I actually did feel better. Not by much - it was a weak enchantment, after all - but enough that I walked through the next door instead of crawling.



    Sellus Gravius looked the part of a Legion officer. Golden armor, golden boots, even a thrice-damned golden laurel in his hair. He was probably making quite the impression on this collection of huts in the middle of a swamp. I wordlessly handed him the parchment, and he wordlessly looked it over and placed his signature on it. Then he opened a strongbox on the shelf, counted out a small pile of septims and poured them into a leather pouch, which he then handed to me.

    I stared at it blankly.

    "It's your release fee," he explained patiently. "Every freed prisoner gets a handful of septims, to feed themselves until they can find an honest job. Not that you lot ever do anything but piss it away, but law is law."

    Oh.

    Wait.

    My what?!

    I froze in shock – which beat the alternative of sitting down on the floor in shock – while Sellus took a scroll case from the shelf and pushed it towards me across the table.

    "You'll take this package to Balmora, to a man named Caius Cosades. You can get there by taking the road east, through the mountain pass, but I'd recommend taking the strider – much faste-."
    Wait, wait, wait, wait. I help up my hand. Hold on, stop, pause, time out.
    "You have a question?"
    You could say that, yes. Hells, I had five. Asking them would be another matter – I was not looking forward to this.

    "You know how to write?" Sellus interrupted. I nodded eagerly. "I thought it didn't look like Socucius's penmanship. Here," he pushed his inkwell across the table and handed me a clean piece of paper.

    I took it gratefully. I guess someone told him about me ahead of time – which only brought up another question to ask. I sat down by the table and scribbled quickly on the parchment, not particularly concerned with style, as long as the words were readable. I handed him the page and he studied it, frowning occasionally.

    "First," he said finally, "your assumption that the Legions would have any involvement in the slave trade is an insult to me and to every soldier that ever wore our uniform. We may have to abide by local laws, but we do not condone them, and what's more, every legionnaire is still subject to imperial law, which explicitly forbids the ownership and sale of people. Is that clear to you?"

    I nodded. I wasn't naοve enough to believe the "every soldier ever" bit, but he seemed to believe it, so I guess I could believe him when he said there's wasn't a gang of thugs waiting to put me in chains the moment I stepped out the door. Probably.

    "You're being released," Sellus continued, "in accordance with the orders I have received pertaining to your person. Why you're being granted your freedom, and why you were brought here, I cannot tell you, as I do not know that myself. I was only told to send you to Caius Cosades – I assume he will have more information for you. Though I will tell you that these orders arrived two weeks ago, by an imperial courier ship from the capital."

    Sellus paused to let that sink in. If he wanted to get me worried, he succeeded admirably. It was never a good sign when someone higher up the food chain got interested in bottom feeders like me, and an imperial courier meant that those orders came from about as high as you could get.

    "If I were in your shoes," the officer added, "I'd also consider where you are. Our ships usually dock in Ebonheart, yet you were set ashore in a backwater town in the swamp, that serves as a resupply post for the Legion on this island."

    I nodded in understanding. Someone wanted to keep my arrival as low-key as possible. Which meant that there would be someone, or someones who wouldn't like finding out I'm here.

    But why? Why me? What did I do?

    I reached for the parchment again and a few moments later I handed it back to Sellus with a new question. Reading it didn't make him happy.

    "I am under direct orders not to restrict your movements on the island," he grunted with a sour look on his face. "So yes, I suppose you could simply 'chuck the package into the nearest bush' and forget about everything. However, I'm hoping you'll realize that this wouldn't be a wise thing to do."
    Yeah, I realized. I just wanted to know whether I should expect a troop of legionnaires breathing down my neck everywhere I turned. I nodded and reached for the package – as I did so, I've noticed Sellus relaxed visibly.

    "I wish you luck, Mara-No-Voice," he said as I stood up. "And I hope that the chance you were just given will inspire you to avoid running afoul of imperial justice in the future."

    Alright, that was completely uncalled for.
    Last edited by Maxymiuk; 2009-08-27 at 10:30 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Celesyne's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    Maxym, I followed your Space Empires IV let's play almost religiously, to the point I've acquired and am learning the game, and somehow missed this in the original thread. I don't have anything constructive to add to your writing other than to say: You truly are great at what you do, and once again your story is already gripping and has me bubbling waiting for more.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    Wow. This is, like, the exact opposite of my and Zarah's MWLPs. Whereas I'm basically using my character as a vehicle for drive-by snarkery and meta-commentary, you're actually establishing this is as a coherent, fictionesque narrative. Huh.

    I might want to keep an eye on this one. Good intro, anyway.
    Spoiler
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    <-I won this from Dr. Bath.
    Spoiler
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    Titan in the Playground
     
    chiasaur11's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    Well, I'm readin Ruts and Alec Meer.

    No reason not to add a third to the pile.

    (once I catch up on Rut's stuff. No computer of my own is no fun.)
    Remember how I was wishing for the peace of oblivion a minute ago?

    Yeah. That hasn't exactly changed with more knowledge of the situation. -Security Chief Victor Jones, formerly of the UESC Marathon.

    X-Com avatar by BRC. He's good folks.

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    Artanis's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    Looks like I have some new reading material



    And man, fifteen minutes of gameplay per update? Wow...this is gonna be a novel by the time you're halfway to Vivec

    I look forward to it
    Last edited by Artanis; 2009-08-26 at 09:57 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesegear View Post
    Girlfriend and Parents: Why do you spend so much money on that stuff?
    Me: Would you rather I spent all my money on alcohol like others in my peer group?
    G&P: You keep spending as much money as you want!
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    Bossing Around Mad Cats for Fun and Profit: Let's Play MechCommander 2!

    Kicking this LP into overdrive: Let's Play StarCraft 2!

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    Don't quite see why capturing as BMP then converting to JPEG should make a difference to the image quality--BMP isn't a lossy format. And that "better faces" mod makes everything look wrong to my eyes--I remember what Sellus Gravius looked like when I played the game, and the face he's got now is completely different!

    However, very interesting read! Looking forward to the next instalment.
    Last edited by factotum; 2009-08-27 at 01:33 AM.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    Quote Originally Posted by chiasaur11 View Post
    Well, I'm readin Ruts and Alec Meer.

    No reason not to add a third to the pile.

    (once I catch up on Rut's stuff. No computer of my own is no fun.)
    Are you up to the part where I had to help the annoying, incompetent NPC and travel somewhere? Because I think I'm up to the part where I have to help the annoying, incompetent NPC and travel somewhere.
    Spoiler
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    <-I won this from Dr. Bath.
    Spoiler
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
     
    chiasaur11's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    Quote Originally Posted by Rutskarn View Post
    Are you up to the part where I had to help the annoying, incompetent NPC and travel somewhere? Because I think I'm up to the part where I have to help the annoying, incompetent NPC and travel somewhere.
    Shocking.

    I for one am shocked.
    Remember how I was wishing for the peace of oblivion a minute ago?

    Yeah. That hasn't exactly changed with more knowledge of the situation. -Security Chief Victor Jones, formerly of the UESC Marathon.

    X-Com avatar by BRC. He's good folks.

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    I should start reading these to pass down time at work. It gets so boring here.

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    Quick question:

    Sick slaves got taken out behind the shed and shot before they infected other slaves, this much I could be certain of.
    I understand what you're saying here, but are you hinting at the existence of firearms in this game? Or was this a mistake?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 13_CBS View Post
    I understand what you're saying here, but are you hinting at the existence of firearms in this game? Or was this a mistake?

    You can still shoot someone with a crossbow, no?

    But I see what you're saying. Yeah, definitely no firearms. I'll see about changing that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxymiuk View Post
    You can still shoot someone with a crossbow, no?
    I don't recall crossbows existing in Morrowind, either.

    But it's a small detail. Otherwise, quite the interesting story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 13_CBS View Post
    I don't recall crossbows existing in Morrowind, either.

    But it's a small detail. Otherwise, quite the interesting story.
    There's a steel crossbow and a dwarven crossbow, both are quite hard to find.
    As for the Let's Play, it looks interesting enough. Good to see some appreciation for Argonians.
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.
    Interested in the Nexus FFRP setting? See our Discord server.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    There's a steel crossbow and a dwarven crossbow, both are quite hard to find.
    Oh yeah...I remember those now. I think I was getting this mixed up with Oblivion, where someone had to add in a crossbow mod.

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    This is a pretty impressive Let's Play. Different style than i am used to, but definitely good. Also fun to actually see someone play an Argonian, i think that is fairly rare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxymiuk View Post
    You can still shoot someone with a crossbow, no?

    But I see what you're saying. Yeah, definitely no firearms. I'll see about changing that.
    Maybe say they were put to the sword. It was more commong to stab someone then just clean the blade, rather than completely waste an arrow or crossbow bolt.

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    As an addendum to certain events in this update, I'm playing the game with the difficulty slider set to +25. It makes things, ah, interesting.

    Chapter II - Requital
    Spoiler
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    Freedom, I've decided, cannot be enjoyed on wobbly feet.

    Whatever aid the ring had to offer, I've used up dealing with Sellus Gravius. As he showed me out the door, I was already starting to feel dizzy again. Outside, I've barely noticed the surroundings, and after a few steps had to lean against a wall, clutching the package to my chest. Just needed a moment of rest, is all. I'd wait for the ground to stop spinning, then I'd find a quiet place to lie down.

    "Hoy, you alright?"



    Sweet Seryn, anything but a Bosmer. Any time but now.

    "I'm Fargoth. What's your name? You don't look too good. I haven't seen you around here before. Have you come off that ship? I like sailing. Did you meet Socucius? You smell funny. What's in that package? Is it a ring? I had a ring, but Socucius stole it."

    Someone kill me now.

    "I don't like Imperials," the elf continued running his mouth. "They make us pay taxes. If you don't pay them, they take your things. He took my ring. It was a nice ring. It had a green stone. It was magic. Have you seen a ring like that? I miss my ring. You sure you haven't seen it?"

    I shoved my hand into my pocket, grabbed the ring and thrust it out at him. For all I knew, it was just a story he gave to everyone who visited the outpost. I didn't care. Right now I'd have given anything, just to make him cease that infernal prattle.

    "My ring!" he exulted. "You found it! Yes, thanks you, thank you, thank you! You're a nice person. I like you. I like you very much. Can we be friends? I want to be friends with you. You got my ring back. Oh. Oh!" he broke off suddenly. "But now that I have my ring, Socucius will want to take it away again. I'm sorry new friend, but I have to hide it. Yes, I have to hide it right now!"

    And with that he skipped away. Bosmer. If the blight took them all, it wouldn't be a day too soon.

    I continued dragging my way along the wall. A few more steps, come on. There has to be some shelter here. A shack, a cave, even a clump of bushes will do. Something, anything. Just a few more steps. Come on, get around that corner.



    The lighthouse drew me immediately. It was out of the village, across a bridge, on a small, muddy peninsula - there wouldn't be many who'd wander around there. Judging by the state of the walls, it was in poor repair – likely abandoned. In other words, a perfect place to rest.



    I somehow made the distance between the wall and the bridge without falling over, but as a consequence I had to practically crawl across the bridge and up the steps. Almost there. Just a few more steps. Just a few more. Here's the door, I'll just get in, lie down somewhere, and sleep. That's all I need. Sleep.



    Locked. Damn it. I might've known. I...






    ***


    Her name was Thavere Vedrano and she was the lighthouse's keeper - she lit up the beacon at the top every night, so that imperial patrol boats didn't run aground. She came home one day to find a stranger unconscious on her doorstep, shivering in fever. A smart person would've chased away the stranger, fearing contagion, or called the guards to do it for them. Fortunately for me, Thavere had a different idea what smart is.

    Or maybe she was just lonely.

    I don't know how she got me all the way inside and up the stairs. I may have been on the thin side after five years of prison diet, but she didn't have much meat on her either. All I knew is that she made a bed for me out of old sacks, bought me medicine to bring down the fever, fed me, and even gave me a book to read once I could stay conscious for longer than a couple hours at a time.

    I tried to give her my money - the medicines and extra food couldn't have been cheap - but she'd shake her head, smile and say "You will need it more than I."

    She didn't seem to mind how one-sided our conversations were. Didn't even ask my name, though I eventually wrote it out for her anyway.



    I recovered quickly - surprisingly so, all things considered. In fact, on the third day I woke up feeling better than I have been for months. While eating breakfast Thavere brought me, I've decided: I'd be leaving today. I'd give her my money - put it on the table and walk out, if I had to. It probably wouldn't be enough to repay her, but I'd need to leave myself enough for provisions for the trip to Balmora. I'd have to hope this Cosades character would throw a few coins my way for the delivery.

    I heard a knock on the door downstairs. That immediately got me curious - Thavere didn't have many visitors. The door opened, then closed, and I heard the sound of conversation. Two voices – Thavere, and a male voice. Now, usually I'm not one to eavesdrop, so I was just going to stay where I was until he left, but then I clearly heard the word "Legion." Suddenly I was worried - was it someone looking for me? Was I in trouble? If so, why? I didn't have time to do anything yet – not that I was planning to. This warranted at least a bit of ear fishing.

    The lighthouse stairs were made of slabs of stone, held up by mortar and thick wooden beams., They didn't creak, but shoddily put together as they were, I had to watch my step in case the slabs shifted and clacked against one another. That, and claws aren't the quietest things to drag over rough stone. I'd need to see about getting some cloth to wrap around my feet, if I was going to make a habit of sneaking around like this.

    Not that I would. Make a habit of it, I mean.



    "...days ago. Did he maybe come here during that time, or communicate with you in any way?"
    "No, no. I haven't seen him since, hold on, since the fifteenth. Why, is anything wrong?"

    They must've been talking right by the door, since I couldn't see either of them, but I caught the distinct tang of something I've became very familiar with during my time on the ship – grease, oil, and armor polish.

    "That's what we're trying to find out, Ma'am. Did he talk about any travel plans, or anything of the sort?"
    "Not that I recall. Here, you're not trying to say he ran away with the money?"
    "Unfortunately, we have to consider this a poss-"
    "That's ridiculous! Processus is an honest man. He'd never do something like that! He worked for you for how long, fifteen years? And that's how you repay him? Accuse him of, of theft? Shame on you! What if something happened to him? What if he's hurt? Did you think of that?"
    "That's why I'm here, Ma'am. You've been seen buying medicines in the tradehouse, so we wanted to see if he's with you."
    "Oh, no, he isn't. If he was here, I'm sure he'd have let you know." Color me impressed, this wasn't even changing the subject. It was outright treating it like it didn't exist. "You know how serious he is about his work."
    "I see. Sorry for wasting your time, Ma'am, but if you find out anything about him, please let us know."
    "But you are looking for him, yourselves, right?"
    "Of course, Ma'am. We've sent messages to all neighboring towns and cities. If they see him, they'll let us know. Now if you'll excuse me..."
    "Yes, of course. Goodbye."

    The door opened and closed. I was about to sneak back upstairs, when Thavere called out:

    "He's gone. You might as well come down then."

    I complied, trying to look appropriately contrite. What else was I going to do, dash upstairs and take a flying leap off the balcony?



    "I didn't hear you, if that's what you're wondering," she smiled faintly. "You dislodged some dust from between the steps – luckily for you, he was wearing his helmet. No, no. No need to apologize. I'd be curious too if soldiers came visiting. But don't worry, they aren't after you."
    I pointed at myself indignantly. Me? Shock and outrage, Ma'am. Haven't had a dishonest thought in my life.
    "And I'm sure you arrived here on an Imperial transport because the legionnaires were concerned for your safety. But I apologize," she sighed. "I don't mean to pry. Besides, I've noticed you're not very talkative in the first place."
    Like I haven't heard that one before. I indicated the door and tilted my head to one side.
    "He wanted to know if I've seen a friend of mine. They say he's gone missing," she snorted. "But you can tell they're thinking 'took the money and ran'. They don't know what gratitude means, let me tell you."
    Friend.
    "I'm worried about him. He usually drops in every couple of days, and now it's been almost five since I saw him. It really isn't like him to disappear like that - especially not during tax season."
    I tilted my head again.
    "He's a tax collector for the Census Office. And I can tell what you're thinking right now, so cut it out, you hear?"
    Who, me?
    "I know what happened," Thavere wrung her hands. "He got lost in the fens. I told him a thousand times, don't go there Proci, it's too dangerous. But no, he had to run around the swamp. It helped him think, he said. It's all mud and pits out there - he probably tripped, broke an ankle and can't get back."
    Or fell into the water and got eaten by Morgan's fish. Right, sorry, let's think positive. Get a search party going?
    "I should probably ask Hrisskar to go look for him. He's our hunter, he knows the swamp."
    There you go then.
    "Oh, but he won't do it. He hates Processius."
    Not saying anything.
    "Truth be told," she sighed, "not many people here like him. They just see his job and resent him for it. But he's a really sweet man once you get to know him. Caring, honest, maybe a bit too wound up, but wouldn't you be if everyone cursed you behind your back?"
    I usually worried about the ones cursing me to my face. Had that happen once and next thing I knew, I was in prison with a ten-year sentence.
    "Oh, hey," she brightened up. "You know your way around swamps and such, right?"
    What?! Way to perpetuate the stereotype there, lady. I'm city folk, through and through. Wouldn't know a tree from a sheep.
    "No! Sorry, sorry," she waved her arms in protest suddenly. "I couldn't ask you to do it. You've been sick, you're probably still weak, besides, it's not like this is any affair of yours. Sorry, just forget about it. I wouldn't want you to get hurt as well."
    Right. Glad that's all settled then.


    ***


    Here's the thing about debts: you never repay one. That would imply exchanging value for value. It's always disproportionate. You either keep underpaying for your entire life, or you overpay in a manner so grandiose, there can be no doubt that yes, it's all settled between you.

    Not sure whether looking for a tax collector who may, or may not be dead was the former or the latter.



    Still, this couldn't be too hard, right? From what Thavere said, the worst I could run into out here were either rats or mudcrabs. The mudcrabs were too slow to get me, and the rats I could deal with. Now, if we were in the Imperial City, then maybe I'd be worried. The sewer rats there were vicious bastards the size of cats, completely unafraid of anything or anyone. But they only ever grew that large because they had it easy feeding on the heaps of garbage the people produced. Out here in the country, where they'd have to hunt and fight for every scrap of food? They were probably twitchy little things that would run at the first sign of trouble.

    I've decided to stick to the road, at least at the start. If Processius really did get hurt and couldn't make it back to town, the smart thing to do would've been to try and put himself somewhere where he could hail a chance traveler for help. Besides, if I did run into any trouble, I'd want to have a straight shot back to Seyda Neen. Last thing I'd want would be to get lost too.

    I devoted the next couple of hours to testing my body, to see how just how much of a recovery I've made. I stretched, I jogged, I leaped from stone to stone – silly-looking things for anyone who would've seen me. I even considered going for a swim, but one look at the pools of water here made me forget about the whole idea.



    I really hoped Processus didn't fall into one of those.

    Once I started feeling the first signs of weariness, I slowed my pace to a leisurely stroll. I concluded that, if anything, I was actually stronger than before falling sick. Stronger than since getting thrown into prison even. Strange.

    I'd have to take another look at those concoctions Thavere was giving me. I hadn't tasted anything odd about them, but then, I knew next to nothing about local medicines. She may have had good intentions, but I didn't need an addiction to stimulants on top of everything else.

    As I traveled through the swamp, I noticed things that up until now I've only seen laid out in the capital's market, usually costing an arm and a leg. Coda flowers, Hypna Facia, Bungler's Bane, Russula... my hands practically itched with the desire to harvest the bounty I saw here. But, first, I didn't have any way to carry them with me, and second, chances were I couldn't afford even the most basic mortar and pestle.

    This led to the problem of me finding a job. Once I was done mooching off of Thavere, what I had wouldn't last me a week. I'd need work. Scratch that, I'd need to find someone willing to even consider hiring a scrawny lizard in threadbare clothing that smelled like something died in it (and for all I knew, something did). Morrowind didn't have the opinion of the most civilized province in the empire, but people were people everywhere you went - appearance was everything. And the way I looked now, I could easily be mistaken for an escaped slave, or a pickpocket. The former I'd like to avoid, and the latter I hoped to never have to do again.

    I was following the road up a hill, when I heard a scream up ahead. It was faint, but it grew louder by the second. My first instinct was to run for it, but instead I hurried up the slope. Just as I was approaching the top, the scream cut off abruptly. A good cue to leave, if I ever heard one. But to hell with it, I could always run once I knew what would be chasing me.

    No need to put myself at any more risk than necessary though. I took cover behind one of those giant trees that grew all over the place as I topped the hill, and instead of going out into the open, I elected to clamber up the pile of boulders on the left and take a careful peek.





    Not good.

    I knew better than to break cover immediately. Something caused that body in the middle of the road, and just because I couldn't see anything right now, didn't mean it wasn't still around.

    After ten minutes all I've seen was a mudcrab wandering around a couple hills over. I crept out of my cover and carefully approached the body, almost certain I'd see the face of the Imperial Thavere described to me.



    Oh, never mind, it was just some Bosmer.

    How did he die though? I looked around, to make sure nothing was creeping up on me, then checked the body for wounds. And winced. His legs have been viciously crushed - broken bone pierced skin in multiple spots, with blood flowing out onto an otherwise expensive-looking robe. His pelvis had been shattered and partially driven into the abdomen. If I didn't know any better, I'd have said he fell from a great height.

    I glanced at the sky anyway, in case it decided to rain more elves.

    He could've been a mage. He certainly dressed ridiculous enough for the part. You heard all kinds of stories about botched teleportation spells. Getting stuck halfway through a wall, or arriving with some of your organs missing - compared to that, ending up hundreds of feet in the air sounded downright plausible.

    I rifled through his pockets, trying not to get too much blood on me. Hey, he wouldn't be needing his things anymore, and otherwise they'd just end up in the stomach of the first big animal to sniff out the corpse. I recovered a handful of coins, a miraculously undamaged sword - a magical one, at that - three scrolls, and what looked like a journal. The other things I laid aside for a moment and read the journal, just in case it provided a clue how he died. It did. After checking the scrolls to make sure, I wasn't surprised to find that his own idiocy was to blame. The duration on those spells was far too short to allow a safe landing.

    I stuck the scrolls and the journal behind my belt, then looked at the sword. On one hand, I haven't held one in my life. On the other, it was still a sharp piece of iron, and it couldn't hurt to have a weapon handy. At worst, I could always sell it later. Magic swords were a dime a dozen these days, but septims were septims.

    I gave the body one last look before leaving. I suppose I could've also taken the hat, as it was relatively undamaged. But I wasn't quite desperate enough yet to rob a corpse of its clothes. And it was a very silly hat.

    I sighed. Processius probably wouldn't have gone out that far anyway. Time to turn back and head off the road.


    ***


    It was late evening by the time I've found Processius - at least I hoped it was him, since I was tired, sore, dirty, and hungry, and if that was someone else's body, they could rot there for all I cared.



    I'd also like make a complaint. Those weren't rats.



    Rats aren't supposed to be larger than a dog, alright? Or have teeth longer than mine. Or red eyes. Or that vicious look on their face. I wasn't going anywhere near these hellions if I could help it.

    Which could make things a little tricky, since it was probably the body that drew them here in the first place, and they were in my way. But don't let it be said that I couldn't outsmart a bunch of overgrown rodents.

    I crept away and circled around the large boulder on the left, until I reached the edge of the water. I'd simply swim around it and get to the body from behind.



    The mudcrab that crawled forth to greet me didn't look too friendly, but I didn't have the patience to deal with his type. I leaped, landed on its shell, heard it grunt as my weight squeezed it into the mud, rebounded, and made a head dive into the water. A few strokes and I was climbing onto the shore on the far end of the peninsula.

    Beat that, slowpoke!



    Looks like it wasn't interested in playing anymore.

    I crept up the shore, hiding behind a clump of ferns. From there, I had a good view of the body. Definitely male and almost certainly an Imperial. Early stages of decomposition, judging by the smell.



    Now I just had to confirm his identity. Thavere said he'd be wearing a gift from her - a signet ring. but I couldn't see anythi-



    Ohshi-

    The rat hit me in the chest like a furry catapult stone. I stumbled and fell backwards, the sword flying out of my hand and the beast landing on top of me. I barely managed to throw up my arm, so that its teeth sunk into my bicep instead of the throat.

    OFF! I caught it by the scruff of the neck and threw it away. It twisted in the air, landed on all fours and immediately leaped at me again. I didn't expect that, and it left four deep gouges in my chest with its claws. I threw it off again, but then I hissed in pain when I felt sharp teeth latch onto my ankle - a second rat had come around the rock and joined his friend.

    The pain helped me focus. I had to get up, or they'd eat me alive. I kicked at the second rat. It leapt out of the way, but I wasn't interested in hitting. I threw my legs up, over my head, rolling backwards, down towards the water. But as my feet came down, I dug my claws into the ground and pushed off with my hands, letting momentum bring me upright and - thank Seryn - within reach of the sword. It was on now.

    The rats, unconcerned by my weapon, leapt at me again. I ducked under the first and heard it splash into the water behind me. The other I sidestepped and slashed at with the sword as it sailed past. Damn it! Unused to the weapon's weight, I brought it up too late and barely grazed the rat. But that was apparently enough for the weapon's enchantment - the sword surged in my hand, and shot a blue lightning bolt at the creature.

    Which landed heavily, but stood up, blinked a couple of times and attacked again. What did it take to bring down one of those things?!

    This time it knew better than to leap and moved along the ground instead, attacking my legs. I danced out of reach and brought down the sword in a sweeping arc, but it ducked aside and bit me on the right leg, hopping away before I could recover and retaliate.

    We danced around each other for awhile, me managing to keep the beast at a distance with the blade. Suddenly, I remembered: I knew a spell! A friend of a friend taught it to me once, called it "thieves lil' helper." It was little more that a trick - made you seem to be a few inches off to the side of where you really were, enough that a dagger'd hit a rib instead of sliding through, or an arrow would clip you instead of slamming into your thigh.

    Did I even remember it? I leapt away from the rat and brought up my free hand, making what I thought were the right gestures. It worked... I think.

    Which was when the first rat crawled out of the water and latched itself onto my tail. So much for magic then. I snapped my tail around, flinging the beast straight into a rock. I paid for that with a set of clawmarks on that limb, but the rat hit the stone head-first, stunning it for a moment. Seeing my chance, I leapt forward and thrust my blade into its body. It twitched a couple times, as the sword's discharge surged through its body, then lay still.

    The second rat took this opportunity to jump up and sink teeth into the inside of my thigh. I fell forward, gasping in pain, and it ran up my back and bit into the side of my neck. In desperation, I beat at it with the sword's hilt. The angle was very awkward, and I clipped myself on the head a few times, but I finally managed to connect and heard the crack of ribs giving way. The rat fell off me and I scrambled to my feet, slashing at it wildly.



    This time it didn't get out of the way fast enough.


    ***


    It was completely dark by the time I made it out of the swamp. The lighthouse's beacon showed me the way – its beckoning flame was the only reason I made it back at all.



    I slinked through the village (though limped would've been the better word), avoiding the legionnaires who patrolled the village with lit torches. I didn't want them to see me like this - torn up, caked in mud and dried blood, carrying a sword and a sack of coins, stumbling every few steps, as I tried not to pass out from blood loss. There'd be questions I couldn't answer, no matter how much they might insist, so it'd be best to avoid them altogether.



    Made it. I just hoped Thavere was still up. And that she wouldn't kick me out after I gave her the bad news.


    ***


    As it turned out, I wasn't allowed to explain anything. Thavere immediately – that is, once she realized it was me and not a bog hag after her teeth - sat me down, stripped me of the rags that used to be my clothes, fetched water, alcohol and bandages, and set to patching me up. All the while giving me an earful about did I know what she went through waiting for me to come back, did I think she was here just to put me together every time I stumbled into her house, did I know how lucky I was to be alive, did I know that half an inch to the left and the bite of my thigh would've punctured the artery, and did I realize she didn't carry needles hard enough to stitch up my hide and how ugly the scars would look. This went on for as long as it took her to finish, and for some time afterwards, as she brought me a blanket to wrap myself in, heated up a pot of stew and set a kettle to boil.

    It was only after she watched me eat two plates of the stew (not that you'd catch me complaining), and handed me a mug of something called bittergreen tea (it lived up to its name), that she finally asked, "Well?"

    I handed her the piece of parchment I've found on the body. It was a list of names, with numbers next to them - villagers, and how much they owed in taxes. At the bottom it bore the signature of one Processus Vitellius, imperial tax collector.

    "So you found this lying somewhere in the swamp?"

    I recall hearing someone say once that hope always dies last. That people will do anything - even lie to themselves - as long as they can hold on to the possibility that the worst didn't, that it couldn't have happened.

    I tapped at Processus's signature, then slid my hand down my face, fingers pulling my eyelids shut as they slid past. I heard Thavere choke off a sob. Sorry, dear, I couldn't exactly break it to you gently.

    "H-how did he... I mean, did he fall, was it an animal tha-"

    Head shake. The body may have been decomposing, but there was still no mistaking the bruises. I brought my hands up - hissing softly, as that stretched the scabs on my chest - and fastened my fingers around my neck.

    "Murder!" she gasped. "Someone murdered him? Who? When? Why?"

    Five days, if I'm any judge - I raised five fingers. Who? Someone with a grudge, or their own debt to pay. Speaking of which… I lifted the bag I brought with me onto the table. Thavere undid the straps around the neck and blinked - it was full of septims.

    I leaned over the parchment again and tapped every name on the list that's been checked off - then I pointed at the bag.
    "It's all here?" she understood almost immediately. "S-so it wasn't a robbery?"
    I shook my head. 'Fraid not. You saw something like that back in the city, it was usually done for personal satisfaction. 'Course, then you nicked the stuff anyway, before anyone else got to it.
    "I- I see," Thavere nodded, her voice quivering. "So he was murdered because someone wanted him dead."
    That'd be my first guess.
    "T-thank you for finding him, Mara," she laid her hand on mine and squeezed it gently. "I'm sorry you got hurt doing so. You're probably exhausted too - I should've sent you off to bed immediately. Go now. Rest. We both should. Things usually look better in the morning."
    I nodded and stood up. You're right. I need sleep and you need privacy to grieve. I'll leave you to it.

    I recall drifting off to the sound of Thavere's stifled sobs.
    Last edited by Maxymiuk; 2009-08-28 at 10:22 AM.

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    Nice! One nitpick: Argonians must have really weird anatomy if they have an aorta in their leg...

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    That was a hell of a fight scene
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesegear View Post
    Girlfriend and Parents: Why do you spend so much money on that stuff?
    Me: Would you rather I spent all my money on alcohol like others in my peer group?
    G&P: You keep spending as much money as you want!
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    Bossing Around Mad Cats for Fun and Profit: Let's Play MechCommander 2!

    Kicking this LP into overdrive: Let's Play StarCraft 2!

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Nice! One nitpick: Argonians must have really weird anatomy if they have an aorta in their leg...
    *headdesk* I knew something sounded off about that. ARTERY. It was supposed to read "artery."

    Fixed now.
    Last edited by Maxymiuk; 2009-08-28 at 10:09 AM.

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    Holy mother of epic rat fights, Batman.....

    Once again you make me wanna pick up an old game i never beat, simply because the combat system frustrated me. Oh, well, not like I can play too many games at once, so re-installing i shall go.

    Since, I cant find a normal Morrowind thread, anyone have some really good mods suggestions? I has both expansions, and have never gotten a character much farther than actually getting to Vivec. If there was any way to mod the combat system to work like Oblivion, I'd jump on it in a heartbeat, as is my normal Obliv. archer character is almost infeasible. Heh, ok suggestions on mods if you please, preferably looks better and gameplay = more fun tweaks.

    Once again, Maxym, I folow your let's plays more closely than the book I'm currently reading, keep it up my good man.

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    I'm used to call you admiral maxymiuk. Now what should I call you?
    You got Magic Mech in My Police Procedural!
    In this forum, Gaming is Serious Business, and Anyone Can Die. Not even your status as the Ensemble Darkhorse can guarantee your survival.

    Disciple of GITP Trope-Fu Temple And Captain of GITP Valkyrie Squadron.
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    The OTP in the playground.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fri View Post
    I'm used to call you admiral maxymiuk. Now what should I call you?
    Neravine Maxymiuk?
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    All Avatars by Elder Tsofu!


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    Lord Maxymiuk should suffice.
    Excellent avatar by Elder Tsofu.

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    The original meaning of the phrase "made from whole cloth" had an inarguably positive connotation. With your average peasant family in the 1500's being, to put it gently, piss-poor, most of their clothes were hand-me-downs that usually resembled a collection of patches, typically made from rough homespun fabric. Thus, having a shirt "made from whole cloth" - sewn from a single piece of cloth "fresh off the loom" was something seen as rare and special, with the garment usually reserved for special occasions, such as church, or weddings.

    The shift in meaning came about sometime in the mid-1800's, with the advent o industrialization, and consequently mechanical looms. With quality fabric becoming cheaper and more readily accessible to the general populace, some tailors still engaged in shady practices to make an extra buck, by trying to pass off patched cloth as whole, or stretching it, to make it seem like it had greater length.

    Consequently, the phrase meaning "made up of wholly new, previously unused fabric" came to be associated with "wholly new, previously unused (false) facts." And while the original meaning may still be occasionally encountered, especially in tailoring circles, the general public understands "made from whole cloth" as referring to something which has no connection to already established truths or events.

    Now where were we...


    Chapter III - Mistakes
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    I woke up early - the air in the lighthouse was cold enough that it must've been dawn. I curled up again and pulled the blanket tighter around myself, but sleep wouldn't come. Something felt off.

    Of course! I sat up and immediately, then lay down again, as every wound and half-healed bruise on my body staged a formal protest. Thavere wasn't in the lighthouse. By now she'd be moving around downstairs. Quietly, so as not to wake me, but there'd still be the occasional creak of the floor, a clatter of a bowl, subtle shifts of light as she moved in front of windows, and a hundred other little hints that communicate someone's presence in the house.

    I checked that none of my bandages have slipped during the night, then wrapped the blanket around myself again - it was really cold in here. Thavere must've been gone long enough for the fire to go out. I mouthed an oath and got up to my feet stiffly, grunting in pain with each movement. A quick glance out the window told me that it was at most an hour after dawn.



    I noticed the clothes laid out on the railing - she must've left them there for me. I examined the shirt - the fabric was old and faded, but still in good condition. The trousers, to my delight, had a hole made in the back for the tail, and the legs have been widened to allow feet as awkwardly shaped as mine to fit through. I doubted there was an Argonian tailor in town, so she must've made those modifications herself, after I fell asleep - did that woman go to sleep at all tonight?

    It was impossible to miss that these clothes have originally been made for a male. And that they were very similar to the ones Processius was wearing.

    I heard the door open downstairs and someone enter. Thavere, no doubt. I put on the clothes and went down to inquire about breakfast. And to thank her for the gift, of course.

    I saw her when I was on the second to last flight. She sat by the table, looking at herself in a polished brass mirror. When she heard me coming down, she turned around, then immediately turned away again. But not before I saw what she didn't want me to see.

    There's a joke you'll hear in the capital's taverns once the beer gets flowing. It goes like this: "How do you tell if a Dunmer's got a black eye? You give him one! Haw, haw." But there was no way you could take the livid, dark purple bruise around Thavere's right eye for her natural skin color.

    "I didn't think you'd be up yet," she said to the table. "Do the clothes fit? I think the shirt might be too large. I'll tighten it later today. I bought a belt to sew into the trousers. You'll need the extra strength around the waist, otherwise they'll rip apart over the tailhole. Oh, I need to get the fire going again, so breakfast might take awhile."

    I had a choice here. She obviously didn't want to talk it, so I could respect her wishes, do nothing, and wait to get fed. Alternately, I could do the smart thing.

    I threw a couple logs into the fireplace and blew on the embers until they caught flame again. Having eliminated her excuse to get up, not to mention warming my face and hands, I pulled up a second stool to the table and sat down, leaning forward slightly and resting my elbows on the table. And I waited.

    She got up anyway and busied herself around the room. She poked the fire a couple times, rearranged a few sacks in the pantry under the stairs, took out a few of those eggs - kwama they were called, not karma - and some vegetables, put them on the table (I started peeling them) set a pot of water to boil, and even took the broom from the corner and swept some imaginary dust out the door. But you could tell that I was getting to her - her movements were a bit too abrupt, her posture a tad too tense.

    "I went to the Census Office," she said finally. "I told them about Proci. They were very sad to hear about him. But very happy to get the taxes back. Socucius Ergalla gives you his personal thanks."
    To have a septim, and not to have a septim is two septims, as the saying goes.
    "They'll look for the murderer, of course. 'All attacks on imperial officials must be dealt with swiftly and mercilessly', is how they've put it. They're even offering a reward of five hundred septim to anyone who finds and kills him."
    That almost made me lose my poise. Vigilantism? In Tamriel? Sanctioned by the Legion? Was she serious?
    "So I told them who it was. They didn't believe me."
    Whoa, wait! My hand shot up into the air. Stop, pause, back up. You did what?!
    "Oh, well, it was obvious," she bit her lip and looked down. "I had a lot of time to think when I was sewing. Everyone called Proci an imperial bloodsucker, but only Foryn – he's out best fisherman - ever did it to his face. They'd get into these shouting matches - they'd insult and threaten one another, so loud that the whole village could hear them. They both got banned from the Tradehouse for a month, for almost starting a brawl. If there's anyone here who'd do something like that, it'd be Foryn."

    I made one hand into a fist and slammed it into the outstretched palm of the other. Merchant cant for "show me your coin's good." Show me the proof.

    "Socucius said the same thing. So I went to see Foryn. And..." her eyes brimmed with tears." Oh, Mara! He had it! He had the ring. The one I gave to Proci!"

    Right, the signet. Processius didn't have it on him, and it was too dark for me to look for it. I got up, took Thavere by the hand, and led her back to her seat.

    "He hid it when he saw it was me," she sobbed. "When I challenged him about it, he got nasty. He said nobody would believe me, because I was a crazy imperial whore. Then he threw me out of his house."

    I sat by Thavere, holding her hand and listening to her cry, though what I wanted to do most was to scream "What were you thinking?!" at her.

    "And they won't believe me," she whispered. "Even if I tell them what I saw, they won't do anything. They can't, not without proof. Mara, I don't know what to do."

    I knew.


    ***




    I didn't know what to do.

    First thing I did after getting Thavere calmed down (and breakfast), was to head to the Census Office to see Socucius. I waited through his heartfelt thanks, then handed him a piece of paper with the question I had - I used a page from the dead Bosmer's journal to write it down. It took him a moment to understand what I was asking, but when he did, he frowned deeply.

    "This is a somewhat crass way to put it," he remarked.

    I shrugged. I originally wanted to write So since when are you subcontracting justice?

    Then he explained and I listened.

    Basically, it was politics with a helping of theology. It went like this: while Morrowind was formally part of the empire, which mandated the presence of the Legion as a peacekeeping force, in practice it enjoyed many privileges and exceptions to imperial law – say, legalized slavery. Socucius glossed over the exact reasons for this, but I got the impression it had something to do with the imperial throne stepping carefully around the three living gods the Dunmer supposedly had prancing about.

    How it related to this situation: say the legionnaires believed Thavere, kicked down Foryn's door and dragged him off in chains. Say they even found evidence and executed him for murder of an imperial official. Justice was served, everyone's happy, right?

    Wrong. Someone complains to the Tribunal Temple in Vivec. The priesthood starts screaming about imperialist oppression of the Dunmer race, and petitions the Duke, who calls in the Knight of the Imperial Dragon to explain his men's actions. Then the capital gets involved, and before long there's a stream of diplomats going back and forth between Ebonheart and the Imperial City. Meanwhile, back here there's drunken brawling between "uppity ashheads" and "imperial n'wah."

    Since the emperor wants to avoid a bloody revolution, the Legion stationed on Vvardenfel doesn't really do much. They have their forts and coastal outposts, they chase down bandits and smugglers - criminals that no one in their right mind would defend - and they're allowed to react if they see actual fighting in the street. Other than that, they're under strict orders to keep the peace and stay out of trouble.

    Thus, bounty hunters. Or rather, as Socucius corrected me, independent agents. Here his explanation got a bit hazy again. The locals accepted this because of something tied to old traditions - Jiub talked about the island's laws being a "pile of tribal netch dung," but I guess I didn't pay close enough attention. Far as I understood Socucius, whoever went after Foryn would be acting on behalf of Processius in some convoluted form of sacred vengeance. And if the Legion decided to pay me for it afterwards, then that was their own affair.

    Apparently, it all worked. Somehow. Which still didn't explain why half the village hasn't kicked down Foryn's door by now - to have five hundred septims, and all that. Being the suspicious soul that I am, I asked what's the catch. The answer was what had me pacing around up here for the past hour.

    Down below, I saw the search party return - while I was in the Census Office, they also asked me where Processius's body was, and I described the way there as best I could. Looks like it's been enough - the tarp on the cart the legionnaires were dragging had a distinct bulge underneath. The dead tax collector hasn't been a Vvardenfell native, so they'd be shipping his body back to Cyrodil for burial. Come to think of it, I don't think Seyda Neen even had a graveyard. Wonder what the locals did with their dead. Threw them into the swamp?

    I saw Thavere come out of the Census Office as the cart stopped by the door - she went there after I let her know that the search party has gone out. I could tell she didn't want to parade around with a black eye, but I guess seeing Processius one last time was more important for her. She lifted the tarp, then turned away sharply, as the soldiers stood around looking awkward. One of them spoke something, perhaps a few comforting words, but she shook her head and started walking back towards the lighthouse. I think she was crying again.

    Local custom or no, the Legion wasn't about to pay someone to chop up a person and pronounce their guilt on the basis of them not being able to put up much of a protest at that point. So if whoever put an axe through Foryn's head didn't want to be declared a murderer themselves, they'd have to present themselves for questioning to the Legion commander. And there'd be magic involved.

    They'd bring in a licensed imperial mage. There'd be two independent witnesses present to ensure the procedure was being followed correctly. The only questions asked would concern proof of Foryn's guilt. That didn't change the fact that the Legion was violating the unconditional ban on compulsion magic that was held as a cornerstone of imperial law through all of Tamriel.

    You got caught using a charm spell - even to knock down a price in a store by a couple septims - and the guild mages would be kicking down your door. If there was even a hint of magic about any major business dealings, your company was soon crawling with imperial agents. Even the worst criminals wouldn't use it - it just wasn't worth the trouble that'd come your way if the Legion got wind of it, and the thieves' guilds would usually put a dagger in your neck long before the law got involved anyway.

    It was insidious, it was vile, and there was no defense against it - not unless you were a mage yourself, or willing to sink thousands of septims into protecting yourself. Just imagining what it would feel like being powerless to resist the mage, answering any question, trying to do your best to please him... it was enough to make me retch. Sorry Thavere, but this went far beyond what I owed you, far, far beyond what I was willing to give. Nearly getting eaten alive by rats was enough to pay my debt. The best thing I could do would be to leave before I put any more strain on your finances.

    Except that, some small part of me piped up, if you leave and she stays, she's going to die. Foryn knows she knows he's the murderer - he knows she's seen the proof. People may not believe her, but for as long as she stays alive, she's a risk to him. So in a month, two maybe, once the noise over the tax collector's death has died down, he'll strike again. And if he's smart, this time there won't be a body to find. "That crazy bat from the lighthouse finally lost her mind," people will say. "It was Processius' death what's done her in. Probably went wandering around the swamps and drowned." The Legion will find a new lightkeeper and that'll be that.

    But I've paid what I owed. More than I owed… no, no I didn't, did I? She saved my life. I only brought her grief and expenses. Saving hers was the least I could do. The interrogation and the mind control? You always overpaid.

    Besides, this went beyond debt. Thavere's home was a safehouse. Sanctuary. A place to hide from bad luck catching up with you. When Foryn hit her, he dared encroach upon it. He violated it. And if you didn't do anything to protect this sanctuary, you didn't deserve to have it. Or any other for that matter.


    ***


    This time I was the one to rise early. Thavere didn't need to know what I was up to. She had enough to be upset about as it was.

    I dressed quickly and slipped out the door leading to the fire beacon, only instead of going up, I slid under the railing and dangled from the catwalk for a moment, before letting go and dropping down. My bitten leg gave a warning twinge as I hit the ground - after two days my wounds were well on their way to healing up, but they'd probably bother me for some time yet.

    As I made my way through the village, I glanced at the overcast sky and sniffed the air. We were due for a storm within the hour.



    Or even sooner than that - the first drops pattered on the roofs and whispered across the water as I approached the entrance to Arrille's Tradehouse. I hurried inside.

    When I indicated I needed to buy a few things last night, Thavere believed this meant I'd be leaving soon and told me Arrille carried most of what I'd need. He mostly stocked food, drink and everyday commodities like cutlery, or clothing. But he also catered to travelers passing through the village, so I could count on him having a weapon or two, some armor, rations, restorative potions and the like. He also owned a taphouse upstairs and rented beds, but I had no use for either of that.



    Thavere warned me about Arrille being "a bit of a snob," so I wasn't surprised when he turned up his delicate Altmer nose at me the moment I stepped through the door. La-di-dah to you too, good sir. I can see the holes moths ate in your finery clear as day from where I'm standing.

    "Are you here to buy something?" he demanded when he noticed me noticing. "If no, I have no time to waste on you."

    Fortunately for him, I had no time to waste either, or I might have gone out of my way to be a nuisance otherwise. Instead, I looked over his selection of merchandise.



    It was impressively meager. A few dented swords, a rusted-through cuirass, a dull axe, clothing that looked suspiciously second-hand, a dagger that had its blade made of bone of all things, a few books that I'd have dearly liked to buy but didn't have the money for... But nothing drew me, nothing jumped out at me. Arrille was starting to clear his throat impatiently, while I was starting to wonder if I'd find anything that could be of any use to me. Until my eye caught a glint of silver.



    It was a staff - a fancy one, covered in complex designs and the head carved into the shape of some unknown monster. I picked it up and inhaled in surprise - the staff had been varnished with a thick layer of silver, and there was a green gem socketed in the monster's mouth. And, unlike everything else I saw here, it was in fairly good condition. The Altmer would probably want at least a hundred septims for this, especially now that he saw I was interested in it.

    But damn it, I liked that staff. It had a solid weight, it had good balance, it could double as a walking stick, making it a fairly inconspicuous weapon - and a weapon I knew how to use, at that. I'd probably need to scuff it up a bit, so it wouldn't reflect light so much, but other than that, it was just what I needed. So I sighed and laid it down on Arrille's counter, then took the sword I found in the swamp and laid it right beside the staff. I had yet to meet a merchant unwilling to barter, but I wasn't looking forward to the haggling. While waving your arms around like a madman was an integral part of a trader's language, it nevertheless still required words for context and meaning.

    "Wait one moment," Arrille was studying me carefully. "I think I know you."
    Um... good?
    "You're the one Fargoth told me about, aren't you?"
    Bad?
    "The 'nice liza-', excuse me, the Argonian that got him his ring back,"
    Er... yes? I nodded cautiously.
    "Allow me to give you my heartfelt thanks in that case," Arrille actually smiled at me. "Ever since he got it 'stolen' - lost it, more like it - he's been running around the village, complaining about it to anyone who'd stand still for long enough. And since I have to mind the store all day," he sighed. "At least now he's too busy looking for a good place to hide it - at least until he forgets it somewhere again. Well then, you want this staff, yes? And you want to trade in this sword? Oh, it's enchanted," he said when I pointed to the rune engraved on the hilt. "Let's see then..."

    In the end I also decided to get some body armor - Processius has been strangled, but I didn't want to get caught off-guard if Foryn pulled a knife on me. The problem was, everything Arrille had on display was too bulky and heavy - it would hinder me more than it would help. The Altmer merchant, very helpful now that he knew it was me that dealt with Fargoth, saw my dilemma and suggested a solution.

    "You'll note it is flexible enough to absorb impacts from blunt-headed weapons such as maces or staves, but hard enough to deflect edged weapons, while still being lighter than any armor made from hide. It won't stop a solid blow from a Nord hammer, or an axe, but if you're expecting weapons of that caliber, you should be wearing something heavier in the first place. The effect is achieved by gluing together multiple layers of chitin, then affixing them to a thin leather vest. Most such sets of armor originate from ashlander camps - they developed them to get around during ash storms, so most helmets you'll see come with a mask and goggles to help protect the face against the wind. All in all, I'd recommend this for anyone who needs to get around quickly and safely."

    Like all merchants, Arrille couldn't talk about anything without trying to sell it to you, but once you got past the fact that he was offering me armor made of dead bug shells (and given their size, it was no bug I ever wanted to meet), he at least seemed to know what he was talking about. And I had to admit that he did - the armor he showed me really was far lighter than you'd expect given its size. It yielded where it should and held firm where necessary, and seemed as if made just for me. It wasn't expensive, but it wasn't cheap either, even considering the discount Arrille was giving me. In the end, I purchased just the cuirass, and at the last minute also grabbed a long, green robe and a large satchel with a shoulder strap - the latter because I needed something to carry my belongings around, few as they were, and the former since it was raining, and I'd need something warm to wear anyway if I ever had to spend the night outside. And it was loose enough to conceal my new armor - what Foryn wouldn't know couldn't help him.

    After some haggling, which on my part mostly involved raising fingers, I ended up handing over the sword and the Bosmer's journal, and still paying Arrille sixteen septims. My moneybag was suddenly feeling woefully light.



    By the time I exit the tradehouse, the rainstorm was in full swing. Taking what little cover the roof overhang provided, I quickly strapped on the armor and slipped the robe over my head. It wasn't very comfortable - I'd have to see if Thavere could adjust it for me, and in particular make a tailhole in the back, but it would do for now.

    No use delaying then. If I were the wagering type, I'd say Foryn would be thinking about breakfast right about now, and nothing distracts better than an empty stomach.



    Alright, this was a bad time to think "what if Thavere made a mistake?"

    Whether she did or not, he still punched her in the face. That warranted a beating, regardless of his supposed innocence. No backing out now. I yanked open the door.

    Let's make something clear right now. I'm not a mute. My vocal cords were severely damaged about eleven years ago, but I can talk if I need to. It's just easier to have everyone think I can't, since the damage never healed completely - I still find speaking painful, and uttering more than a few words at a time is impossible, and even the ones I manage sound more like my death rattle. Thus, I only ever open my mouth if the situation demands it.

    This one did.



    "Murderer!" I rasped at the Dunmer inside the shack and lunged at him from the doorway. As expected, he was frozen in shock, both at this sudden invasion of his home and the wheezing accusation. I scored a solid blow on his left cheek, and his head flew back, striking the wall behind him. I shoved the staff's length under his chin and shoved him against the wall. "Give up!" I kneed him in the stomach for good measure.

    And that was the entirety of my plan. At this point, he was supposed to fold up gently, fall unconscious from lack of air, and wait peacefully until I fetched the guards.

    As he reached up to grab the staff with both calloused hands, and started pushing it away, ropy muscles bulging on his arms, I realized two things. One, that I really should've paid more attention to how Processius died.

    And two, that I wasn't anywhere strong enough to hold him back.

    I dug my claws into the floor and put my entire weight behind the staff, but he was still managing to push me away. I felt my shoulder, the one that got bitten, give a warning twinge, and decided to change tactics. I stopped pushing against him and pulled instead, simultaneously jumping aside, hoping to send him flying into the opposite wall.

    He somehow saw it coming and followed my motion, knocking me off balance and into the table. Then he took one hand off the staff and punched me in the side of the head. And punched me again. And again. My vision swam, but I grimly hung onto the staff, because I knew that if he got control of it, it'd be over. At last he shoved me into the corner between the table and the fireplace and, though I fought it, he pressed the haft against my neck. The only difference was, he knew what he was doing.



    "Who the blazes do you think you are, pondscum?" he spat into my face, panting. The only way I could respond was with a strangled wheeze. "Accusing me? Trying to kill me? Is this a joke?"

    He paused to punch me in the right eye.

    "It's the reward, isn't it? Septims' all you filthy beasts can think about." Another punch, this one straight in the nose. "Kept making money off me when I was alive," punch. "Thought you could make more when I was dead," punch.

    "Cause don't tell me you're doing it to avenge that N'wah," he grabbed the staff with both hands and shoved me sideways, into the edge of the table. I hit it with my side - the armor hidden under my robe took most of the impact, but I still gasped at the sudden pain in my kidney. Before I could recover, he had me pressed against the wall again. "He was a bloodsucker. Filth. Wasn't enough that he took my money and gave it to the soldiers, oh no. Kept taking some for himself. Always had nice clothes, fancy jewelry, ever notice that? Flaunting it in my face, thinking he's better than me."

    He let me push back slightly, but that was only so that the next punch he threw knocked the back of my head into the wall. I think I blacked out for a moment.

    "So I showed him who's better. I left him in the swamp, along with his money. Bet he didn't expect that. Bet he thought I was after his money," he chuckled. "No, I didn't want his precious septims. I wanted him."

    I reached out to the side and my hand found a plate on the table. I threw it at Foryn's head, but missed and earned another blow to the nose for my trouble.

    "You're the one that found him, no?" he sneered. "Thought that made you a hero or something. Thought you'd be a hero a second time. Think again!" he punched me in the stomach.

    Right into the multi-layered protective plate of dead bug. It still knocked the wind out of me, but judging by his face, it must've hurt. I grit my teeth and shoved him away, then cast the "lil' helper."

    Foryn recovered and threw another punch at my head - or at least at where he thought my head was. Instead, he hit the wall. That hurt him even more.



    "GET OFF ME!" I roared like a gravel avalanche and raked his face with my claws. He stumbled away, letting go of the staff and I instantly swung it, connecting with the side of his head. Then, before he could recover, I hit him again. I shoved the end of the staff into his stomach, then swung it upwards, catching him on the nose. He fell to his knees, retching and gushing blood, and I hit him on the head again. And again, and again, and again.

    And once again, for good measure.



    And... no, enough.

    I limped over to the stool, and sat down heavily, letting my head fall on the table. Idiot, idiot, idiot. You thought Foryn was a simple murderer, didn't you? A murderer would've hit Processius over the head with a rock, stabbed him in the back with a knife, panicked and either ran for it or massacred him to make sure he's dead - just like you just did. But no, he choked him. Very deliberately. What were you thinking, going after him alone, armed only with a glorified stick? If he didn't take his own sweet time to enjoy killing you... So much for the great plan, by the way. Bring him in alive, let him explain himself under a charm spell. Now you get to turn all sparkly-eyed and eager for some imperial bloodhound. Don't even think about running, cause you aren't going to walk a hundred feet in your condition. Hells, you won't walk ten.

    Once I felt that I could move without throwing up, or falling over, I slid off the chair and kneeled by Foryn's body, trying not to look too closely at what I did to his head. I patted down his pockets and pulled out the ring. Oh, good. Thavere could have this back, at least.

    As I was getting up, I noticed the book by the hammock. The book I would take as well. I earned it.



    Let's go find a guard.


    ***


    I was given a day to recuperate. While the garrison had healers on hand to deal with my injuries, the list of which I had the distinct pleasure of having recited to me - broken nose cartilage, loosened front teeth, detached retina in the right eye, extensive bruising on the throat and the right side of my torso, not to mention the multiple cuts and scratches all over my face - I also had a concussion, which they preferred to let me sleep on. It gave them time to get a licensed mage here from Ebonheart, I gathered. He arrived early in the morning, and I was pronounced well enough to be questioned – I didn't feel anywhere well enough, but I guess my opinion didn't matter much.

    The guards led me into a small office. The commander, the mage, the scribe and the witnesses were already there. We went through the whole legal song and dance of "On the day of the 22nd of Last Seed, someone or other acting in the capacity of such and such..." and "Do you understand that you are here to defend your actions regarding this and that..." The mage explained the entire procedure to me, making sure to mention the neutral witnesses sitting behind me who'd watch for any signs of misconduct on his part. He also explained, mostly for their benefit, that in my case the confession would take the form of yes/no questions and a written testimony. Then we began.

    "You may feel as if your head was enveloped in a thick towel," the mage said and cast the spell. He described the sensation fairly dead-on, I had to say.
    "I, Cruorius Canissus confirm that the charm spell has successfully taken effect on the accused," the mage said for the scribe's benefit. "I am ready to begin questioning."
    "You have my leave to do so," Sellus Gravius nodded.
    "Very well. First, I will ask you a series of simple questions, which you will answer by either nodding or shaking your head for 'yes' or 'no' respectively. Do you understand?"
    I nodded.
    "First we will confirm your identity. You are Mara-No-Voice, Argonian female, thirty-six years of age, as per your documents in the Census Office, is that correct?"
    I nodded.
    "You arrived on Vvardenfell from the Imperial city eight days ago, via a Legion cutter, is that correct?"
    I nodded.
    "You are a convicted thief, granted mercy and released from prison by the power of imperial amnesty five years before the end of your term, is that correct?"
    I nodded. Could he lay it on any thicker though?
    "You are incapable of speaking due to damage done to your vocal cords and communicate through sign language or writing, is that correct?"
    I nodded.

    Hey, wait a minute.

    "Take this ink and parchment," he pushed them towards me across the table, "and use them to describe your involvement in the events surrounding the murder of Processius Vitallius. Do so as clearly and concisely as possible, but without omitting any details relevant to the case. Pay particular attention to explaining what led you to believe that Freeman Foryn Gilnith murdered Processius, and demonstrating whatever proof you have that confirms this version of events."

    By the time the mage was done giving me instructions, I recovered from surprise enough to follow them without missing a beat. But even as I put the quill to parchment and began describing how I came to learn of the tax collector's disappearance, a large part of my mind was still busy wondering what in the hells was going on.

    I lied. Which was impossible, since I was charmed. Ergo, I wasn't. Only the mage said I was. He would know, if anyone did. Judging by how he was acting, I was being a good little spellslave. But I lied. The nod was reflexive - I was expecting another "yes" question there. But here's the thing - I shouldn't have been expecting it. I shouldn't have had any free will whatsoever. Did the spell fail somehow? He thought it didn't. Hells, I still felt it inside my head, the same way you feel someone's standing behind you when you read, looking over your shoulder. Only it wasn't doing anything.

    A trick! It had to be a trick. The spell just made me think I had any free will in order to... what, exactly? Catch me in a lie? No, too convoluted. If I were properly charmed I would tell them the truth anyway.

    Alright, so maybe it's actually an elaborate charade to get around the bit where what they'd otherwise be doing is extremely illegal everywhere else. People questioned this way are either in on the joke or too terrified about being found out and suddenly found guilty of murder and cheating imperial justice to boot. No, that made even less sense. Fear makes for a poor motivator. It could be supplanted by promises of protection. Or an even greater fear. Someone, somewhere would've talked.

    One thing I could be certain of: if this game we were playing had a positive outcome, achieving it hinged on me acting along like I knew what the rules were. So I'm good and charmed, writing an account of my actions that isn't going to have an untrue word in it. Because it's what really happened. And since at the moment I'm incapable of lying, it is what really happened. so I only need to avoid going off on tangents - clear and concise are my watchwords.

    So I wrote what I've learned from Thavere and how I learned it. I wrote about the ring and Foryn's admission of guilt. I finished and the mage, the commander, and both witnesses read my account over carefully before placing their signatures under it. I was also asked to give my signature, so I did. Then Cruorius dismissed the spell. I didn't know how a person suddenly regaining control of their thoughts and actions reacts, so I settled for giving the mage a vaguely unfriendly stare.

    "Just doing my job," he shrugged at me, so I guess I chose correctly. "If you experience any migraines, fainting spells, temporary blindness, sudden disorientation, or start hearing voices, it's normal and can't be helped."

    I noted he excused himself rather quickly at that point.

    Since I've been officially declared a free person (again), I could do as a please - though not before Sellus pulled me aside for a moment and rather sternly told me to stop being a local sensation and get to Balmora already. I nodded empathically, then went to see Socucius for the reward money. From there, I walked straight to the lighthouse. It was time to let Thavere tell me how much of an idiot I've been.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    My original character was a dunmer, and then I realized it made sense for him to be the nerevarine.

    I still don't understand how they can explain the nerevarine to be other race than dunmer. Like Imperial. Or an argonian. How the heck?
    You got Magic Mech in My Police Procedural!
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  28. - Top - End - #28
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Maxymiuk's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    Quote Originally Posted by Fri View Post
    My original character was a dunmer, and then I realized it made sense for him to be the nerevarine.

    I still don't understand how they can explain the nerevarine to be other race than dunmer. Like Imperial. Or an argonian. How the heck?
    There's actually an explanation for that, though I'd prefer to keep it as an eventual plot point, so spoilers please for anyone who wants to give it away.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Morty's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    Hm. Nice to see that the heroine of this playthrough isn't a homicidal robot like most of Morrowind protagonists. I also like the explanation about why is vigilante justice approved of by Imperial authorities.
    And yeah, there's an explanation about why the Nerevarine can be an outlander - my first character was a Breton - though I can't recall is precisely.
    Last edited by Morty; 2009-08-30 at 08:58 AM.
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  30. - Top - End - #30
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Fear not, for I am watchful. Let's Play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    Quote Originally Posted by Fri View Post
    I still don't understand how they can explain the nerevarine to be other race than dunmer. Like Imperial. Or an argonian. How the heck?
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    The whole idea is that the character is a reincarnation of Lord Nerevar, so why shouldn't he be something other than Dunmer?

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