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Spectre's picture
2017-07-23 21:18
Last seen:
6 months 3 weeks ago

Today, the Bellman has some exclusive, shocking news for you! After much careful investigation, three of our most experienced reporters have discovered an alarming pattern in the recent spate of assassinations on Vvardenfell: All of the victims were ranking members of the Thieves Guild! We reached out to the Ebon Tower for information, but they were just as surprised as we were! At a loss for leads, we asked around the Fighters Guild, the East Empire Company, and in desperation, even the Mages Guild, but to no avail. So we decided to figure it out ourselves.

While hard evidence remains elusive, our skilled analysts always came back to the same culprit: The Camonna Tong. The Cammona Tong are well known as a society of "businessmer" for "[Dark Elven] interests". But in practice, their actions are only "business" in the same euphemistic sense that a common brigand might consider his highway robbery to be his "business". In Morrowind, they smuggle chartered goods by the boatful, and casually murder anyone who might know too much. With the comparatively benign Thieves' Guild decapitated, a dark cloud descends over the Imperial province of Morrowind as their Dark Elven brutality lowers the standards of decency even among criminals.

The Cammona Tong's ascendency directly undermines the Empire's law, and kills the Empire's citizens. This must be rectified, and against such creatures, only force is justified. Send this paper to your nearest Imperial Legion outpost, and have them buy a copy for every last legionnaire! For until the shining light of Imperial oversight penetrates the dusky murk of Dark Elven delinquency, all of us must live in darkness.

I will not revise this any further; if there are problems, somebody else is welcome to rectify them (if this version even gets used)

The story behind the first paragraph is essentially that somebody noticed the pattern, and they sent someone around Old Ebonheart to ask for leads instead of mounting a more expensive and thorough investigation involving leads on Vvardenfell. This is half-implied by "asked around the Fighters Guild" which makes it sound like they just asked around the OE guild hall. Which they did. But they try to pass it off as a very effortful and sophisticated journalistic endeavor.

Earlier in some drafts on Discord, the Bellman asked the Imperial Legion if they were responsible, but I altered that on the basis that the Thieves Guild has some Imperial sanction. Also, they asked at the Ebon Tower specifically, which is slightly removed from Vvardenfell, and not a great place to try to get answers (but it's local, and they know that their audience would take it seriously). Another detail is that waltzing into an Imperial Legion garrison and saying "Hey, I'm with the press, and wanted to know if you guys carried out some extralegal killings" seems too tactless for even The Bellman, although I don't actually know whether the Empire has a concept of wrongful killing by the authorities, but I'm guessing that it does.

My headcanon for their "analysis" is basically that two or three guys sat in a room for a while and speculated until they found something believable, then shrugged their shoulders and had a writer make it sound like they did a lot more work The second paragraph accordingly starts with a disclaimer that implies they went on a long and hard search for solid evidence, but I believe this is deliberately misleading. They basically told the writer of the article their best guess, and told them to ham it up on the whole "savage scary natives" angle.

The only inconsistency is that they even noticed the pattern of the killings, which implies a lot of competence and maybe a few informants. An alterative is that somebody outside of the Bellman made that observation first, and they counted their conversation with him as a "careful investigation". 

Rambling aside, my vision for this article is that it was basically cobbled together and exaggerated by a handful of buffoons who coincidentally got it right. Whether this contradicts the broader vision for the Bellman, I don't know. Maybe they had interns do it because it was a story they knew they wouldn't be able to get information for. Not strictly necessary to get these details ironed out, since they're completely invisible to the gameworld, but still.