[Note: Beowulf plays Morrowind with Tribunal and several of his favorite mods installed, including those alluded to here: Less Generic NPCs – Sedya Neen, Lilarcor, one hand version, Slave Warrior Jessica, Maboroshi’s Natural Skins 2.0, and a variety of facial beauty mods.]
Beowulf is tired, and groggy. He is apparently a prisoner on an Imperial ship, sailing to who-knows-where. He his not sure what he has done to incur the Emperor’s ire, as he had been a faithful agent for the many years, before even Daggerfall. But here he is, and has been for weeks. He had puked his guts out for days before finding his sea legs, and is weak from the experience. If fact it almost seems like he has lost all his skills and abilities, and is somehow having to start all over again.
He is facing a fierce looking elf with a hideous scar on his face. The elf is speaking kindly to him, asking his name, and telling him he is here, wherever here is. Then the same nasty, self-important Imperial oaf who dumped him in the hold is coming for him, and is apparently anxious to get rid of him. On his way out, he waves goodbye, and winks, at the cook, an adventurous lass who has snuck down to the hold several times in the last week to exchange pleasantries with him. He will miss her, more or less.
Beowulf’s eyes squint, as he sees the light of day for the first time in three weeks and inhales the sweet smell of . . . fish. Well, there is no doubt what kind of village this is. He is given the bum’s rush off the ship, and by the time he turns to look at it again, the crew is already making preparations to depart. So he is stuck here, in beautiful Sedya Neen. Another Imperial stooge stands on the dock and asks him silly questions. Of course, he is a Nord, as any fool can see from his face with blue tattoos, and blond mustache. He is a man –the cook can testify to that (he smirks). And yes, he does seem to be getting a bit grey.
The Imperial toady inside asks him more stupid questions. Yes he is an adventurer, and he has an unusual set of talents, including those of a warrior, although his tongue has always been nimble, people seem to like him, and he can wrangle a mean deal. If push comes to shove, he can also pick a lock or heal himself a bit. And yes, he was born under the sign of the Lady. Any fool can see that, well certainly the lady fools, anyway. He is, after all, Beowulf: warrior, lover, and scalawag.
More papers, a few things to steal (at this point he is definitely not above theft), including a dagger (he has a heart in mind for this already). And then a barrel with a magical ring and other stuff, and another smug Imperial. He smiles, takes his orders, and decides not to kill the stooge. He is, after all, the new guy in town. Anyway, this is starting to sound like the last time. Can’t the damned Emperor just tell him what he wants? It’s not like he has a choice. Oh, well, he will go search out this Caius guy, but not before he figures out where the hell he is, and how he is going to survive.
Outside, he ignores the Imperial guard, and then trips over the whiny elf, Fargoth. Beowulf gives him back his ring, and appears to make a couple of friends in the process, including the local trader – good move. Anyway, Beowulf is not really fond of magic. The town seems heavily guarded for a fishing village (ugh), and the locals seem none too pleased about it. The local tax collector has already been offed, as he is to find out.
The local elves are of the dark variety (calling themselves Dunmer), and could most kindly be described as weathered. Most of them are not a bit too happy about Imperials, and dislike Nords less only by comparison. Condescending is probably the appropriate word, and he is getting real tired of being called “outlander”. Still, these Dunmer have a quiet dignity about them. Oh, there are the requisite ladies of negotiable affection (one of whom later gives him a freebie in exchange for a favor – but that is another story), and young Indrele looks hot for a blue elf (but only she has eyes for the bard). The lighthouse keeper, however, he singles out for later attention. She turns out to owe him favor, and is in need of companionship.
Beowulf searches the town and environs, killing anything that looks at him cross-eyed, and stealing anything that isn’t nailed down or guarded (he knows the drill). He manages to accumulate a lot of salable junk, and a very nice war axe from a tree stump. He goes to the trade house, where he finds the trader friendly (especially for a fence), and one of the ladies downright accommodating. He buys some decent heavy armor, and finds his first real friend, Lilarcor. The trader seems to be anxious to get rid of the sword; it is only later that Beowulf realizes why. Well, surely, he will never be lonely again.
Thus outfitted, Beowulf goes off to seek his fortune. On the way out of town, he meets the divine Jessica, who is to brighten his days and nights considerably in the future. But for now, he can’t afford a slave.
Beowulf flips an Imperial coin and decides to proceed right out of town. After all Balmora is in that direction. He skips the silt strider for now – doesn’t trust the looks of it, and can’t stand the concept of steering by manipulating vital organs. He will damned well walk.
Right outside town, he runs across a party of three, including a hot wood elf archer named Terabya, a passable Imperial warrior named Bana (with a nice set of glass armor), and her brother Mitas Malaccia. They want help ambushing smugglers, and Beowulf is game; he can use some action. He dozes a bit while waiting for something to happen and finds himself attacked by an assassin. He demonstrates his displeasure with his sword, and will wonder about it later. Jeez, they didn’t have to bring him all the way to the boonies to kill him.
The smugglers show up later, and Beowulf gets his first exposure to the drug trade (and finds something that even the trader is too scrupulous to fence). After Beowulf single-handedly cleans up the mess, Mitas lets him take all the spoils, and vows to be there later if Beowulf needs help. As expected, Mitas and company are never seen again, but Mitas does tip Beowulf to a woman who is asking about him. Well, that sounds interesting, anyway.
Beowulf decides to stick around town a while and see if he can track down the lady (the Emperor can, after all, wait for a while; Beowulf has his priorities). He soon finds a ship moored North of Sedya Neen. Onboard are the eccentric botanist and alchemist Caius Fuhlar, and his adopted daughter Ariela (a warm blooded lady if Beowulf has ever seen one, especially for a Breton). Caius apparently adopted this child at the tender age of three, and conveniently forgot he was raising a girl. All he wants is help gathering plants.
The girl’s mother appears to have been a bit suspect, a sorceress or the like, though she wanted the child well cared for. Ariela has grown into a woman, and a bard, and a bit of a wanton. She seems to be already be fleeing a significant affair. Beowulf decides that, overall, she might be fun to travel with, even after she turns out to have a moon sugar habit.
The ship’s captain, Marelius, (a bit of a drunk, and an apparent junkie too) warns him about Ariela, after he decides to trust Beowulf. He says he actually saw her kill a man, just for pleasure, and saying something about “never playing with the Children of the Night”. Beowulf wonders what’s up with this, and why Marelius has told him. Why should he care if Beowulf goes off with Ariela.
He remains undeterred. After all, the lady appears to fancy him, she responds well to sweet talk, and she is even willing to take off her clothes upon request, after he has buttered her up a bit. Beowulf is not used to being this persuasive, although the clothes thing is a bit of a tease. He ends up sleeping alone, and the clothing thing gets boring after a while. [Apparently Ariela is a bit capricious about who she disrobes for – Beowulf was lucky.]
Ariela is, however, a good bit strange. She certainly does not like being told what Marelius has said about her and sulks for a day after that. She is full of mysterious innuendo about Beowulf and her; she calls him her love, and talks about a future together for them (that’s a bit scary), and about sailing a boat in the sky or something. But then she talks about him being her lover or her puppet (Beowulf doesn’t like that either, the puppet part). She also appears to enjoy reminding him that he is a bit fragile since he hit Sedya Neen. Well, that will improve with practice
Otherwise, Beowulf enjoys talking to her, because he is never sure what she is going to say or do next. One day, she gets mad and appears to make it rain – just like that – spooky. Of course, she denies it. She talks about playing with fire, but then says she is searching for her mother. One day she tells him a story about a man ho came to her dressing room and said she should travel to Balmora, her and the “others”. And she has strange dreams and talks about Children of the Night gathering near the temple (maybe that guy Marelius did know what he was talking about).
So, while Beowulf goes about his duties depopulating and robbing the local dungeons and tombs, and saving the world from slavery, Ariela fights by his side, and is pretty good too. She gets a little huffy when he heals her, but he does have to lay his hands on her, after all. She starts talking about going to Balmora, but then about going to Pelegiad, first. One night, she flat-out warns him about the Children of the Night. This is one spooky lady, but she seems to like him, and he still likes her.
Eventually, they run out of things to do in Sedya Neen, and so they head for Pelegiad. Ariela warns Beowulf not to talk to strangers, and says she is being followed by a Redguard. They run into a very testy Khajiit named Jairyarti at the first crossroads. It turns out he is not pleased that Beowulf has waylaid the smugglers before, and decides to exact vengeance. It also turns out that Jairyarti is a magic user, with a dangerous pet Clanfear, and Beowulf barely escapes with his life. Mitas and co., predictably, don’t turn up for the festivities, although Ariela makes a good showing with her blade.
As soon as they turn toward Pelegiad, Ariela ups and walks out on Beowulf, giving him a guilt trip about him spending all of his time looking at her (well, that part is true), and a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t make much sense. Beowulf shrugs (women! he thinks) and continues on toward Pelegiad. He doesn’t get very far before he runs into Shayna, the Redguard Ariela had been worried about. The lady appears to be in the middle of a fight, and tells Beowulf to butt out, but he has never been able to resist a damsel in distress, and she is outnumbered three to one. Besides that, she’s kinda cute, in a sullen way.
They make short work of the aggressors, but Shayna doesn’t seem very appreciative, and she just starts to boss Beowulf around, which is the wrong thing to do. He tells her to take a hike and, surprisingly, she does. He goes on to Pelegiad, where he is met at the entrance by the Redguard, Celas Badji, who tells him he has to see a guy in a red robe. Wonderful, more intrigue.
The guy in the robe turns out to be Varder Moravias, a big shot in the Imperial Legion who appears to be heading the group investigating the Children of the Night. He fills Beowulf in on a lot of the details of the investigation, and tells him that Ariela is in the tavern with a prostitute. He finds out later that the prostitute, Hygina Vadia, has killed the local Imperial agent in Terrun, a crime that Varder attributes to Ariela. There seem to be a lot of strange inconsistencies like that, and Beowulf, frankly, doesn’t trust anybody.
Anyway, Varder makes it clear that Beowulf is to cooperate with the Legion, or else. Beowulf nods – been there, done that – and accedes. He goes looking for Ariela in the tavern, where he finds a supposedly tipsy female Imperial Guard who is just dying to drag him upstairs (at least until after he goes upstairs – then it is all “move-along”). He also meets the delightful Ahnassi (but that is another story). Upstairs he meets a couple more interesting women, one of whom won’t talk to him, but no Ariela and no prostitute, just a couple of locked doors.
Eventually, Beowulf figures out that he is going to have to pick the lock on one of those doors, and do it in front of witnesses. This proves to be difficult, as Beowulf’s security skill is still about 15, and he has a limited number of journeyman lock picks. Eventually, he gets the job done without being reported to the guard and, luckily, he has selected the right door.
He barges in on Ariela and Hygina, who are standing there nude and negotiating about something. But it seems pretty clear what they have been doing together. Once Beowulf speaks, Ariela grabs her clothes and leaves quickly, telling him to meet her downstairs. He tries to talk to Hygina, who also immediately gets dressed, and doesn’t even seem interested in turning a trick. Now that, he finds strange – who is this woman? Still, he goes downstairs and picks up Ariela, who is suddenly sweetness and light again, and asks him to carry a blank scroll of some kind for her.
They proceed on to Balmora, and Ariela again warns him not to talk to strangers and says that she is being followed. They do pass two suspicious characters, that look like they would try to kill them if he said anything, so he doesn’t (well, the second time anyway). As soon as they get near Balmora, Ariela splits again, saying she is being followed, and says she will meet Beowulf there. She also makes a promise he finds hard to resist. Her scroll disappears also.
Beowulf, of course, searches Balmora and finds only a Khajiit who promises to sniff Ariela out, but doesn’t, and Shayna, the Redguard with the attitude. According to her, it is all his fault that Ariela is missing, and his job to find her. And, eventually, Beowulf does find her, upstairs at Nelcarya’s of White Haven in the upper part of town.
Well, this time Ariela decides to sleep with him, but only after he takes off his boots (and everything else also). It is so good, that they both fall exhausted, and need a couple of hours to recuperate. Beowulf is good for another round, but Ariela tells him to come back later.
Beowulf goes to dutifully report in to Shayna, who doesn’t seem to be in the least bit interested. So, after dark, he goes back to Ariela, who is now very spooky. She tells him a bit more about the Children of the Night and how she is the “chosen” of the cult, and is supposed to “ascend” this night on the souls of three others, who will be found in high places. She seems pretty ambivalent about the whole idea. Well, Beowulf is not fond of the idea at all, and he wonders just who, and what, Ariela really is.
He decides to go tell Shayna what he has found out, but she is, again, not interested. So, lacking a better idea, he goes to do what Ariela asks of him. The first Child, he finds on top of the north guard tower, As soon as Beowulf talks to him, he dies, leaving a soul gem. The second one is a good bit harder. She turns out to be a high elf on a bridge. He has to go all the way out on the bridge to talk to her, whereupon she jumps.
Beowulf goes down to the riverside and sees the woman in the river, still very much alive. A fanatic priest named Byos tells him to go kill the woman and harvest her soul. That was not part of the deal. The only other option is to battles the priest, so Beowulf does, and finds himself battling all the other observers on the river bank, as well as the jumper. He ends up having to kill them all, which is not particularly difficult. Sadly, he takes the second soul gem and goes.
Eventually he finds the third one at the silt strider port. Funny, he could have sworn she was not there before. He goes to talk to her, and she seems like she really doesn’t want to die, but she does anyway. Beowulf feels really bad about all of this, but he cant figure out what else to do. When he goes to get the third gem, he finds Shayna instead. Suddenly she is interested again, and has gotten the soul gem herself. She essentially tells him that she has saved the day and he is a jerk for not trusting her, as if he didn’t try. Then she disappears.
The Agony of Defeat
At this point, Beowulf is firmly convinced that he has screwed up, but he can’t figure out how. So, against Shayna’s advice, he goes back to Ariela to give her the bad news. She already knows, and tells him to leave her to her fate, which is presumably not going to be good. He is reluctant to do this also, but eventually does. He wanders around all night, and then comes across the Khajiit with the nose. While Beowulf has been wandering, Ariela has been kidnapped, it seems. The Khajiit observed this and said they were on their way to Hla Oad, and that she smelled different now, whatever that means. She also dropped her diary, which the Khajiit gives to Beowulf. He will read it later.
After an exhausting run, Beowulf stumbles into Hla Oad in the afternoon. Here he again meets Varder, who tells him that Ariela has just been spirited away by boat, and left speaking Beowulf’s name. Damn. Varder isn’t very sympathetic, and essentially tells Beowulf to go home and contemplate his sins. What Beowulf does instead is plop his weary body down under a tree and read Ariela’s diary.
The diary explains a lot about Ariela and the Children of the Night, and how she got herself into this mess, and shows the scene with the prostitute in a different light. Beowulf can at least take comfort in the fact that he has killed the evil Father Byos, who sounds like the source of Ariela’s misery. He is also touched to find that Ariela did have feelings for him, ambivalent as they were.
Almost immediately after that, Beowulf stumbles into a battle near the river Odai, between the Hlaalu guard lead by a guy named Sion, and some weird half dressed Dunmer. Of course, he helps out. After the battle, Sion thanks him for his help and reveals that this was his last assignment for House Hlaalu, and that he was going to work for a guy named Varder This is all just a little too much for Beowulf to assimilate. Of one thing he is very sure. After getting through this, Beowulf is going to be very careful who he sleeps with in the future.
Maybe he will understand more after he plays Part Two.
Beowulf has long since retired as Administrator of Dragonsight, where he first wrote about Children of the Night, and more recently as Administrator at Euro-RPG, where he ran the roleplay forums. He does not play Morrowind much any more, but he will certainly play Children of the Night, Part 2. He can currently be contacted by PM at Euro-Morrowind, or at firstname.lastname@example.org .