Monday, April 24, 2006

Oblivion silliness

But what is all this fear of and opposition to Oblivion?"1

My name is Turthalion, and I don't remember my past. I came to a few months ago in a prison cell in the Imperial City. Through circumstances I probably shouldn't mention in detail, I escaped, with a little help from our soon-to-be-deceased emperor (I wasn't involved, honestly).

So there I was, free in the world, with not a gold piece to my name, and no idea of my history. I'm not sure how that happened, as I have no prior history of amnesia that I know of. Though I suppose I wouldn't remember it if I did. Hmmm.

I've been struggling though. No money to speak of, and everything is so expensive! I did manage to find a few knick-knacks exploring some dungeons, but none of the merchants I went to see could afford to buy the items from me--at least, not at anything close to their real value.

I joined the Mages Guild in Chorrol, and that gave me access to their excellent library, and after reading a lot of the books, I noticed no one seemed to mind if I took them to my room at night to read. So the next day, I guess I forgot that that copy of "On Morrowind" didn't belong to me, and I took it over to Renoit's Books, and she was happy to give me 7 gold for it.

I went back to the Guild, and asked around, and no one seemed to have missed the book, or if they did, nobody minded. So I picked up a few more. And then a few more. No one seemed to care at all! Maybe the Guild books are all out of date.

The strange thing is, Renoit adamantly refuses to buy a book I borrowed from a friend in Bruma. See, I borrowed it without permission, but I'd done a bunch of things for this friend, and figured he wouldn't mind. But somehow, Renoit knows exactly where it came from, and I can't sell it to her. But she hasn't uttered a word of complaint about me selling 17 copies of "On Morrowind" to her. I'm surprised she even wants to carry all that stock. I mean, how often does she sell a copy of that in Chorrol? Not very often, as it turns out, as I've been back months later, and she's still got them all.

I've slowly been learning about magic as well, and I've seen that do some pretty wild things, but it's nothing compared to what I saw the other day.

So there I was. I had built up a pretty good supply of steel arrows--I like them better than the iron. They fly a little better, and do more damage. I guess I had about a hundred of them. I was visiting A Fighting Chance in the Imperial City, just browsing, but I was holding my bow... easy to forget, as I spend most of my time with a Chameleon spell active. Well, somehow, I accidentally started drawing back on the bow, ready to fire one of those steel arrows, while facing Rohssan. I panicked. I should have just wheeled to point the arrow at the floor, but my brain was flustered. Quickly, I turned to take inventory of my items, thinking that would avert the catastrophe.

It seemed to work, but I thought, in order to ensure that the arrow doesn't fire once I stop checking my inventory, perhaps I should drop these steel arrows. I tried, but as every archer in the world knows, you can't drop a quiver of arrows that you're in the middle of firing. So I couldn't drop my steel arrows, but I thought I'd drop the only other arrow I was carrying, a single magical arrow that inflicts the target with cold frostiness (not to be used on your spouse). I dropped that arrow instead.

Then, I stopped taking inventory and turned back to face Rohssan, and with a sudden burst of magical energy, the single arrow I dropped multiplied as it fell, into one hundred single arrows. Rohssan just stared blankly at me as I hurriedly picked them up, listening apprehensively for him to claim that they belonged to him, simply because they were on his shop floor.

Mumbling something about having dropped a bunch of my arrows, I left the shop. Outside, I leaned up against the wall, and took a deep breath. What had just happened?

I wasn't sure, but I knew my arrows had been involved. Hastily, I ran all over the city, buying up all the iron arrows I could, until I had 350 of them in a quiver and on my back.

Then, I found a nice secluded spot, and with trembling fingers, pulled back the string of my trusty Bow of Lightning. Once again, just before releasing the arrow, I took stock of my inventory. I tried to drop my 350 iron arrows, and failed. I then dropped my single glass arrow, and stopped checking my inventory.

With a quiet but steady tinkling sound, the glass arrow multiplied into 350 arrows as they dropped, lining the ground in front of me. I picked them all up quickly.

I don't understand exactly what is going on, but I know it's going to cut down on my arrow costs. And, in a somewhat tentative experiment, I've discovered that local merchants can't tell the difference between a purchased arrow, and one generated through this process. Assuming I can continue to create them at will, my money worries are over...

1James Thurber

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