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Nimue's Journal - Day 3

18 Last Seed
After two days in Seyda Neen, I was beginning to get itchy feet. After all, I was imprisoned for a long time. When I finally got the courage to ask one of the townspeople what year it was, I was shocked to find that I'd been in the prison for close to four years. No wonder my skills are a bit rusty. I was also beginning to feel a bit guilty about ignoring my orders. Sellus Gravius might not be the nicest person in the world, but he did give me orders. That wouldn't concern me, but I did agree to take on the mission. If I ignored it, I would be as bad as he seemed to think I was. That wasn't something I wanted to be.

I packed the things I wanted to take with me and left the rest behind in Foryn's hut, that is, the hut that was formerly Foryn's hut. I locked the door and set off for the silt strider platform. I must admit that when I got outside, it seemed like it might be a better idea to wait until tomorrow. The sky was filled with dark clouds. About the time I was passing Fargoth's hut, the sky opened up and started to dump buckets and barrels of water on my poor head. (Note to self: Buy a helmet in Balmora!) I had just about decided to go back to Foryn's and stay inside where it was warm, when Fargoth hailed me.

"Hello, this is an unexpected pleasure!"

Didn't he know that I was the one who had taken his secret stash? Someone must have seen me and told him about it. But no, all he said was, "They've taken everything I have again! If you hear anything, please let me know."

I almost told him the truth, but I just didn't have the heart. He seems to like me so much, it would be a crushing disappointment for him to find out that the one person he trusts stabbed him in the back.

By the time I got to the silt strider platform, I was about as wet as it's possible to get when you're wearing a leather cuirass. My hair was completely soaked and dripped constantly in my face. When I got to the platform, the woman greeted me with "We make a special trip, just for you. Same low price." Gee, and I haven't even mentioned my friend Vodunius yet. When I did, she explained to me that he often sent business her way. She named what seemed to be an extremely low price for the trip to Balmora, and I eagerly accepted. We climbed into the seats on the huge bug's back, and the next thing I knew, we were on our way.

The trip only lasted a few hours. Those silt striders moved incredibly fast with those long legs. The view was so magnificent that I didn't want the trip to end. You can see for miles in every direction from the top of one of those things. I was looking around at the scenery and enjoying myself when suddenly I realized that my companion had notched an arrow into her bow and was constantly scanning the sky in every direction. When I asked her what the problem was, she didn't say anything, but pointed off into the distance where I could see an enormous flying thing soaring above the hills. It looked something like a cross between a lizard and a bird. It had no feathers and enormous leathery wings.

I gulped and had to fight the urge to crouch deeper in the seat. "Do they attack often?"

"Every chance they get. You must be a stranger if you've never heard of a cliff racer. But they're nothing. Wait 'til you see a netch."

Great, something that's worse than those cliff racer things? Morrowind was looking less friendly all the time. For the remainder of the trip, I asked about the local animals. When the topic of the bug thingies came up, the driver explained to me that they were called scribs and she also explained that they weren't banging their heads on the ground, they were banging their tales. Frankly I thought that both ends looked remarkably the same. Oh well.

When we arrived in Balmora, the silt strider stopped to let me off at a platform on the top of the city walls. As my silt strider disappeared in the direction of Seyda Neen, the new silt strider attendant greeted me with, "We make a special trip, just for you. Same low price." Where have I heard that one before? I was more than ready for lunch, and so I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I asked the first friendly looking person I saw for directions to the South Wall Corner Club.

"Easy. Cross the river and go through that archway. The South Wall Corner Club will be the first place on your right."

After sufficiently filling my face, I asked the bar tender about Caius Cosades. He told me that the owner might know. I went back upstairs and asked the woman standing by the door. "That old sugar tooth? I don't know where he's staying these days. Maybe Bacola, the owner would know. You can find him upstairs."

After I greased his palm with a bit of gold, Bacola admitted that he certainly did know where he was. Leaning closer, he continued, "Why waste your time with that old wreck when you could stay here and have a much better time."

Boy, I don't mind telling you that I was glad to be wearing armor. Even so, he made me feel as though I was completely naked. At least his directions were accurate. I left the corner club and walked up the stairs. When I reached the house at the other end of the street, I took a deep breath and knocked softly on the door.

I heard scrambling noises from inside. Pets? Then a shaky old man's voice invited me to come inside. I wasn't so sure I wanted to, but I went in. The man who greeted me looked as though he had once been powerful. He was naked to the waist and constantly posed in ways that would attract my attention to his "manly torso." The home was a mess. Seemed like everything the man owned was just scattered around the the floor of the tiny house. Empty wine bottles, dirty plates and cups covered every space not occupied by his clothes or books. The air had a cloyingly sweet odor as though he'd been making candy.

I introduced myself to him and explained to him that I had been told to report to him with the package. He read it quickly, constantly glancing up at me as he did so. "So," he said. He cleared his throat. "So..."

"You are to work for me now as a member of the Blades. We are the Emperor's spies. We are everywhere and nowhere. I have been instructed to give you certain missions to perform in the name of the Emperor."

He looked me over carefully (What is it with all the dirty old men around here?) and then said, "Well, are you ready for your orders?"

When I indicated that I was, indeed ready, he said, "Well then, the first thing I want you to do is take advantage of the training that is available to you as a member of the Blades. Here's 200 septims. Go visit the trainers, buy yourself some decent armor and then get yourself a little bit of experience. Join one of the guilds or the Imperial Legion. You need to set up a cover identity for yourself and if you are a guild member, nobody will question you.

"You can stay here whenever you're in town. Feel free to make use of my home, my bed (here he leered at me suggestively) or anything else you need. I only ask that you respect my property and not take anything that doesn't belong to you unless I give it to you myself." Then he gave me a list of the Blades trainers he felt would be most useful to me and said good-bye.

Since the first two trainers on his list were only two doors up the street, I decided to start there. Rithleen was extremely kind and generous. She gave me a cuirass and helmet and told me that I should either use them or sell them to help pay for my training. We talked a bit about Balmora and about the Blades. She too told me that I was welcome to sleep in her house. At least she didn't leer at me. I was sure that I'd be much safer here than in old Caius' house, so I thanked her and said I'd be back after I explored the town a bit. I took off my old leather armor and put on the new cuirass she had given me. Leaving my helmet behind for the time being, I set off to explore Balmora. Maybe I'd have a chance to unload the leather armor.

The sun was clearly moving down the western sky as I walked down the steps from Rithleen's place. Rithleen had told me that outlanders do better in Balmora than anywhere else in Morrowind and I'm beginning to think she's right. I wandered around the town, checking out the shops and guild halls. Everywhere I went I was greeted with smiles. Almost everyone I ran into seemed to find me pleasing and interesting. I was invited to join the Fighter's Guild, the Mage's Guild, and the Tribunal Temple.

The thing that surprised me the most was when I was invited to become a member of House Hlaalu. One of the Hlaalu's spent a great deal of time explaining to me that House Hlaalu had the most understanding of business and would suit me better than either of the other two houses. Well... maybe, but I don't know just yet.

I told each of them that I would have to sleep on it and I would be back. By that time it was pitch dark outside. The night sky was filled with clouds of all colors. I was so busy looking up at the sky that I nearly fell in the river! I stopped at the South Wall corner club for a bite to eat on the way back and was invited to join the Thieve's Guild. I carefully explained that, while I had no problem with them, I wasn't cut out to be a thief. My conscience bothered me when I sold old Foryn's junk for a few extra gold. Sugar Lips, the Khajiit who had invited me into the guild, seemed to be very understanding. She told me it was no trouble, no trouble at all, but I wasn't so sure. I decided it would probably be better if I didn't spend a lot of time in the corner club from now on.

When I got back to Rithleen's house, she made a huge pot of hackle-lo tea and we sat down to talk. I was glad that she was so willing. I was having trouble making up my mind what guild I should join, or even whether I should joining a guild at all.

We talked for hours. If it wasn't for the hackle-lo tea, I wouldn't have been able to stay awake long enough to write my notes for today. I just wasn't sure what I should do. Sometimes freedom isn't the best thing. Too much freedom can be as restrictive as not enough. I had so many choices and I couldn't select one. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

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All text and graphics Copyright 2002, Nimue's Grotto. All rights reserved. Questions? Comments? Send e-mail to: nimue@the-lair.com.