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Darkness Eternal
post May 11 2017, 12:56 AM
Post #161


Master
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Joined: 10-June 11
From: The Hunting Grounds



Acadian: Werebears typically do due to their strength alone. Their hardiness and power are not to be underestimated, especially for a werewolf. But what helped her was the dagger in the eye wink.gif

Cold beyong imagening. If it weren't for her lycanthropy, she'd be dead. But Vera has always been a survivor as we've been shown before. Thanks Acadian!

BretonBlood: Indeed. Overtime a lycanthrope's attribute inscreased based on their devotion to Hircine and kills they've made. We've seen this in Bloodmoon, Skyrim and Elder Scrolls: Online.

Vera chose the only place to hide herself. It isn't pretty but she has another day to survive.

Thanks!

mALX: She could have sliced his throat, but she'd be pursued until she was caught and killed for killing a man of the Legion. She didn't kill him out of fear of her being hunted.

Vera might have her revenge. Wait and see wink.gif

She's almost out of this mess, but not quite there yet.


=Blood Coin: Past Wisdom=


Down within the carcass of the mammoth, there was quiet. There was calm: the cold did not come through. Encased within the body of the animal like a moth larvae within a cocoon, I threw my mind into the calm, quiet void, let the quiet calm swell to envelop everything I was. As storm blew away, I lay in a fetal position, remembering better times and better days, which were far and few in my life but there nonetheless. My thoughts took me back to Cyrodiil several years back in my childhood moments growing up in nobility.

Like such noble Cyrodilic family names as Sextus and Tharn and Decumus, and Septim and Hassildor, and Benirus and a score of others, the patronym Castius was an illustrious one, but with the present Castius, the name had lost almost all of its luster. My grandfather, by his own family name, should have gone to become a scholar or someone of worth; instead, he took to hunting and becoming an adventurer. It was not his fault; nor was it our fault that the family had so declined in status. It was said that his father (a true scion of the distinguished old tree but a man with a character defect and a weakness for the bottle) had long ago slid down the social ladder, by marrying a Nordic woman, which accounted perhaps for the yellow hair and sallowish complexion of the son.

My grandfather—Carterious—was a runty, hyperactive adventurer with a sourly intense, purse-lipped, preoccupied air and a sometimes rampaging temper. He also had a ridiculously foul mouth, from which I learned my first dirty words. It was with delectation, with the same sickishly delighted apprehension of evil that beset me that I heard my grandfather in his frequent transports of rage use those words forbidden to me in my own home. His blasphemies and obscenities, far from scaring me, caused me to shiver with their splendor. I practiced his words in secret, deriving from their amalgamated filth what, in a dim healer's way, I could perceive was erotic inflammation.

“Son of a bitch whorehouse cur fetcher bastard shyte ass Azura's great teats!” I would screech into an empty closet, and feel my little ten-year-old pride rise. Yet as ugly and threatening as my grandfather might sometimes have appeared, I was never really daunted by him, for he had a humane and gentle side. Although he might curse like a High Rock sailor at his wife(gods rest her soul) and son and daughter, at the assorted dogs and cats that thronged the place, at the flock of sheeps, one of which he once caught in the act of devouring his new gold-suede shoes, I soon saw that even his most murderous fits were largely bluster. This would include his loud and eccentric dislike of Stendarr. Much later I surmised that his tantrums probably derived from a pining to return to his aristocratic origins, and concluded that it was a matter of his lycanthropic condition.

And I recalled, with a luminous, mnemonic clarity that amazed me, a long-ago day when he virtually predicted my presence in a forsaken place like this. At eleven I could read the Black Horse Courier with contemptuous ease, but I was not quite old enough to avoid being troubled by the fantasy—reality spiced up with a touch of horror. In the front seat of the carriage my mother, shivering very much, gazed stolidly forward through the fading light of a Frostfall afternoon while my father worked at the broken wheel of our carriage.

I was the classic youngest child—snotty, self-absorbed—and I offered neither solace nor help in times of need. There was a thick cloud of rage in and around us that one evening. For good reason, we were not always a happy little family. But we generally kept our tempers and were decent with one another, being wellbred and imbued with many of the more gentle Colovian and nobilistic ways. Indeed, our love for one outside our manor grounds. My grandfather, a patient man, was enraged because he could not fix a certain part in his crossbow and never found the parts he needed at town, coupled with his misfortune of the carriage wheel; he was a well-schooled man and well taught in various weaponary, and never could reconcile this with his one-time incompetence. I heard him whispering his curses: “To Oblivion with this! To O-b-l-i-v-i-o-n!"

My mother was in a quiet, stony rage because the hours before dinner, where we all sat, I had misbehaved, and had misbehaved again after she corrected me, making some brattish remarks about my sister's infatuation of her doll collection, which caused her to cry out, in words I had never heard her use before:

“Vera, just shut it! You should be like your sister.”

I was in a rage because of my guilt over the word I’d said, yet ego-stung and enraged at her rage. By demoralizingly slow and painful degrees she was being killed by what she truly was, for each year the amount of unpopularity with the local villagers had risen, and superistitious notions suddenly became reality. This, too was part of the overall rage they felt. I was supposed to be aware of her condition, formally, but wondered why I never did, since I was neither stupid nor blind. A minor crisis other folks would greet with a show of humor or equanimity made my mother and father, and eventually me at some point, become frazzled and exhausted because of the way it represented in microcosm the oncoming disaster none of them could face or bear. Sulky, halfhearted, I tried to restore a touch of goodwill. I said: “I like Praxedes' dolls. She takes good care of them. And why are those dumb peasants coming this way?"

My mother was silent. When she spoke, a soft undertone told me that she had curbed her anger at me; she had always been blunt, though, and now she said what was on her mind. "You need to be nicer to your sister, that's all. She's older, so you should respect her. You shouldn't be so inflammatory like your grandfather."

I remember asking what “inflammatory” meant. I gazed back out at the bleak fields and the monotony of the landscape, the holes in the road down which, toward us, now came an incredible carriage, swaying and top-heavy with half a dozen farmhands and swineherds in overalls and the homemade, patched and repatched clothes of those destitute years. It slowly crept past us, the horse snorting, its human cargo a jumble of rolling eyeballs and flashing teeth and agitated wavings and jumpings. “Do you need any help?” I heard the rider call out. But I could sense that this only added fuel to my grandfather ’s fury as he nodded them on their way.

“ ‘Inflammatory,’ ” my mother said, “I describe that ugly word you used ten minutes ago about these people you see here in this countryside. A word like that is inflammatory. And disgusting.”

She was unfair. She had already upbraided me violently; now she had recommenced the attack. Her unfairness began to restore my rage. Whatever I was on the verge of saying in protest was cut off by my grandfather, who flung out his hands and sat beside a horse in despair. “I can't fix the damn wheel! Spokes' broken, bottom shattered. Damn it. It was your idea for me to take us when we should have had one of the servants do it! Our home is not for miles!” His hands were black, full of splinters, quivering with tension.

“Why didn’t you let those men help you?” my mother said.

“Grandpa,” I heard myself saying, “The Legion soldiers had trouble with those dirty Nord bastards in Bruma.” Inside me there was an intense need for retaliation, so I then employed a touch of the Black Horse Courier's story’s straight truth and my honest vocabulary. “They cut down a bunch of slimy dumbasses.”

“You stop that kind of language!” she exclaimed, stirring to turn around and face me, in a jerky movement that must have caused her pain. “We don't talk like that!” She glanced at my grandfather.

“Why do you read the courier near her? Why do you consciously expose an eleven-year-old to such things?”

“Listen, Carmana, we have new folks working in the Courier,” he said, making a fatigued sound. “Don't know how long these will last."

“There’s something profoundly immoral about publishing the deaths of some upstart Nords. You have to learn how to be less aggressive.” my mother retorted, “especially when they can be read by some children.”

“Learn how to be less aggressive!” he echoed her mockingly. “How can you be so idiotic? I hate to say this,
but I think you’re an idealistic fool You ought to have your head examined! Little girls like her won't live long if they don't learn how to toughen up.”

I was stupefied. The words had thrust a dagger through my chest. His dignity and forbearance had been such an abiding part of his nature that tones like these seemed—there was no other word—monstrous. Please! I had never once heard him lift his voice to my mother; her affliction had caused him to bestow on her daily an almost reverential tenderness. But now—this fury. It may have been only his aggregate frustrations—the wheel, his family stranded in a backwoods nowhere, the crossbow, the bickering, my misbehavior, some unfocused anxiety. Whatever, he began to harangue my mother with a bully’s scorn. His manner sickened me. At first she flinched as if he had hit her; then she drew back and stared at him as if he had gone crazy. I lightly stroked the edge of my shoulder and said gently: “Mother, I’m afraid.”

“What are you afraid about?” he replied. "You have Nord blood. You'll do no good in the lands of your mother should you go there. It is cold and hard and mean, that’s Skyrim, and the men who walk it. Not like the stories your wet nurse once told you. Well, piss on the stories and piss on your wet nurse. This is the way it is, this is life. Cold. Hard. Mean."

“I don’t know,” I said with a tremor, my young mind reflecting on the story of the dead Nords and the impermanence of life. “Dying. It scares me. I don’t know what it means—death. I never saw anyone die—.”

“Death isn't anything to be afraid about,” he blurted in a quick, choked voice. “It’s life that’s fearsome! Life!" He suddenly he arose from his knelted position, scattering dirt and pebbles on the ground and when he roared “Life!” again, I shuddered.

Life is where you’ve got to be terrified!” he cried as pointed at nothing in particular. “Sometimes I understand why young beautiful lasses out there get into trouble! Where in godsdamned Oblivion are the men out there who raise their daughters the right way? Roliandus is a fool, Carmana. Your husband is a damn fool. He's always been the biggest problem! I was told to have a certain respect for that sackless cur instead but he is always problem. He isn't raising the girls right! If he finds out . . . if he finds out!"

"Father—" began my mother.

"Carmana, don’t you realize the whole world is not a nice place for people like us—it never was, is, and never will be? What do you think I’ve been doing with myself these past years? What do you think I have been expanding that crypt? What do you think I've been taking Vera out to hunt with me? To know how to notch an arrow, and skin a deer? Passtime? Why do you think I've ranted on about Praxedes, trying break that softness in her? Do you think I'm doing it because I'm a cruel old man? No, my dear”—the “dear,” usually so gentle, had a hard, sardonic tone—“people out there are cruel and evil, and they will always be cruel and evil. Are you so blind that you can’t see the poverty back at that village, and those hate-stares of the townspeople while we ride by carriage—a good-for-nothing carriage, as we have seen demonstrated, but the kind of carriage very few people are privileged to ride in, in the midst of these paupers. It is simple, my dear. We are the blessed few in the world with privilige to have a home, a history.”

He paused for an instant, then said: “I did what I had to do to get to where I am today. If I was soft and weak I wouldn't be here and neither would you. Don’t you see—”

Suddenly he came to a halt. Knowing my grandfather as well as I did, I sensed there was no way he could long sustain this harsh, aggressive mood. And indeed at that very moment he turned away from my mother and looked straight ahead down the field, and at the same time raising his hand to touch consoling fingers against her shoulder. I saw her relax again; the perplexity and momentary shock softened, faded into a pale calm, and I relaxed too, feeling the hunched-up muscles in my arms and legs go limp with relief.

“Oh forgive me, Carmana,” he said at last, in a distant grieving voice. “I’m sorry to raise my voice like that. But I can’t help thinking”—again he hesitated, as if searching for words, and for what seemed a long while the only sound in the field was that of our breathing, a trio of different rhythms— “I can’t help thinking of the generations—as I once told you, I think: every direct ancestor hurt or mutilated or dead. The great-grandfathers. All of them scarred. My grandfather in that hunt in the north, killed by the Skaal in Solstheim. My own father half-blinded and mutilated so badly in Skyrim that he hobbled and jerked like a cripple in his final moments. I alone got away from those the dangers of this world because I was smart." He turned to her briefly. “I suppose you could say that I was blessed by—”

“Don’t,” she whispered, and slowly let her head fall against the back of the carriage. I knew it was because of my presence. Years before, beyond the limit of my earliest memory, her hair was brown, though remarkably soft and lustrous because of her determination to keep a trace of her former beauty, that through the ages had been terrible affected by stress. A disturbance I could never fathom. Her hair was sometimes wild and unkempt. And now the glossy strands of it next to her brow had become damp and darkened with tears. “Don’t say any more, please,” she said.

It was plain that he was ravaged inside by what he had caused himself to spill forth. He had also (I think unwittingly) allowed a meditation on this dangerous life(that I was ignorant of) to flow to the edge of an unspoken thought—a prophecy concerning his only two grandaughters and heir. As always, as much as I adored him, I was embarrassed by the emotionalism that impelled him, with passion at once fierce and clumsy, to twist around and with both arms embrace my head and my mother ’s as if trying to merge them into one, murmuring: "No matter what happens to us one day we must be strong until the end. Strong . . . until the end. The time will come when you'll have to rise Vera, and thus prove to the best out there that your spirit never dies. Don't ever lose hope. Don't ever be weak."

This post has been edited by Darkness Eternal: May 11 2017, 12:58 AM


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"Every human spends a night or two on the dark side and regrets it. But what if you only exist on the dark side? We just want the same things that you do: a chance at life, at love. And so we try and sometimes fail. But when you're something other, a monster, the consequences are worse. Much worse. You wake up from your nightmares. We don't."
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BretonBlood
post May 11 2017, 03:19 AM
Post #162


Agent

Joined: 9-March 15



This was a really nice chapter reflecting on Vera's past. It kind of helps explain why she is the way she is, and it was nice to see the family dynamic in this chapter.

So Vera's grandfather Carterious is half-Nord and half-Imperial, although the way I understand ES lore when two races have a child the child takes the race of the mother, so Vera's mother is a Nord and her father is an Imperial, so she is a Nord? Lol a litler confused but learning her family history is really interesting.

I like what Carterious is doing though, he is trying to teach Vera that the world is cruel and that if she is to survive she needs to know this, especially if she is a werewolf.


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“People love that cliché ‘Time heals all wounds’ but live long enough you realize that most clichés are true. It’s amazing what even the smallest passage of time can accomplish…the cuts can close, the imperfections it can smooth over. But in the end it comes down to the size of the wound, doesn’t it....”
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Acadian
post May 11 2017, 10:29 PM
Post #163


Paladin
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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



I love the incongruity of Vera’s womb of warmth within the mammoth to the dream of her not so perfect family.

It was wonderful to review those important to her past, Carterious, Carmana, Praxedes (I’ve loved that name since you first used it). I suspect the harsh merit of Carterious’ views on raising young ladies is not lost on Vera. By that I mean the tough-natured Vera is still alive, whereas the gentle spirit called Praxedes is not. kvright.gif


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mALX
post Aug 9 2017, 06:24 AM
Post #164


Ancient
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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Cyrodiil, the Wastelands, and BFE TN




There were so many amazing passages in this last chapter that I hesitate to quote any of them because it may look like the ones I left behind weren't just as profound - but I have to at least quote this one, if no others:

QUOTE

There’s something profoundly immoral about publishing the deaths of some upstart Nords. You have to learn how to be less aggressive.” my mother retorted, “especially when they can be read by some children.”


What a line! What a passage! What a scene this whole chapter was!

And the whole time I'm reading this, I'm remembering Kraven meeting with Carmana in Hircine's realm. I already knew Carterious from Vera's first story; and then from Kraven's time in Hircine's realm; but this is only my second time reading about Carmana! Is her story going to reveal those early years and what lead to Vera's incarceration in the insanity ward?

Half of me is dying to know what Vera suffered in her childhood that lead to that incident; the other half is champing at the bit to see the story progress forward!!!

I have loved Vera since you first introduced her; and knew there was a dysfunctional overtone in the relations of her family members (most specifically influenced by Carterious) - but it was also hard to dislike him due to sensing all along that he was (like he was) for the protection of his pack.

It is very exciting to me that you are bringing Carterious and Carmana back into her story, because maybe it means we will be seeing the merging together soon of Kraven's stories and Vera's!

Awesome Write !!!!




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Kane
post Aug 17 2017, 09:39 PM
Post #165


Mouth
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Joined: 26-September 16
From: Cast adrift on the currents of time



Vera has come a long way from the burning house in the Great Forest. I hope she battles through the cold, because I want to see her take revenge on Vanton and co.!

Side note, I'm a bit confused on where to start with your other tales. Before I delve into Kraven, where does his story begin? smile.gif


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We are going to have to act, if we want to live in a different world.
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Darkness Eternal
post Nov 13 2017, 04:45 PM
Post #166


Master
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Joined: 10-June 11
From: The Hunting Grounds



Thanks guys for the feedback and I humbly apologize for not coming back and giving you guys an update on this story. I will come back and finish this tale sometime next week. I had reached a huge writer's block and haven't been able to find any great ideas with Vera's story, but I have been brainstorming and I have several chapters down already. The climax is down on virtual pen and paper, too wink.gif

Thought I'd give you guys an update. But I haven't given up on Vera's story. Bear with me smile.gif

Thank you all for your support!
QUOTE
Side note, I'm a bit confused on where to start with your other tales. Before I delve into Kraven, where does his story begin?


Hey Cain, sorry for the delay. Here's Kraven's story in Chronological Order.

The Slave.

The Victory That Broke The Chains.

A Most Dangerous Game.

Per Aspera Ad Astra.

S


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"Every human spends a night or two on the dark side and regrets it. But what if you only exist on the dark side? We just want the same things that you do: a chance at life, at love. And so we try and sometimes fail. But when you're something other, a monster, the consequences are worse. Much worse. You wake up from your nightmares. We don't."
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Kane
post Dec 7 2017, 09:03 PM
Post #167


Mouth
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Joined: 26-September 16
From: Cast adrift on the currents of time



QUOTE(Darkness Eternal @ Nov 13 2017, 10:45 AM) *
Thanks guys for the feedback and I humbly apologize for not coming back and giving you guys an update on this story. I will come back and finish this tale sometime next week. I had reached a huge writer's block and haven't been able to find any great ideas with Vera's story, but I have been brainstorming and I have several chapters down already. The climax is down on virtual pen and paper, too wink.gif

Thought I'd give you guys an update. But I haven't given up on Vera's story. Bear with me smile.gif

Thank you all for your support!
QUOTE
Side note, I'm a bit confused on where to start with your other tales. Before I delve into Kraven, where does his story begin?


Hey Cain, sorry for the delay. Here's Kraven's story in Chronological Order.

The Slave.

The Victory That Broke The Chains.

A Most Dangerous Game.

Per Aspera Ad Astra.

S


Heh, bit of a delayed reaction on my end, too. Thanks for this!


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We are going to have to act, if we want to live in a different world.
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Darkness Eternal
post Jan 8 2018, 05:34 PM
Post #168


Master
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Joined: 10-June 11
From: The Hunting Grounds



Author’s note: The past few months have been time-consuming and hectic. I haven’t had much inspiration to write and have encountered a writer’s block that’s kept me from going forward. Namely here is reintroducing Astien’s story-arc, Brynjolf's death and Draken again since this tale seemed to go off on different directions. I also have to admit I have been writing new chapters for Order Vampyrum, but I’d like to finish this story. I can’t have three active stories. Thank you all for your attention and patience!

Previously on Blood Coin: After being betrayed, raped and left for dead in the wild by bandits, Vera is rescued by the Imperial Legion. Though she is nursed back to health, she knows well she’ll fare no better in their hands for her past crimes. She flees into the frozen and uncharted wastes of the north and encounters a werebear . . . Surviving this encounter with nothing but fangs, claws and a dose of courage, she hides from the cold in the carcass of a mammoth.

=Blood Coin: Black Wings, Thieving Claws=


How long I sprawled there inside the mammoth I could not have said. The snow will bury it and me just the same. It would be a peaceful death, I’d imagine. They say you feel warm near the end, warm and sleepy. It would be good to feel warm again, though it made me sad to think that I would never see the green lands, the warm lands beyond Skyrim. Lands like the Summerset Isles or High Rock. Lands like Cyrodiil. My home.

I could feel the snowflakes falling on the mammoth, its body no longer keeping me warm as it had in the beginning. Soon it would freeze over with me inside. Let me sleep and never wake, let me begin my second life. The ancients books say we werewolves forget. When the humanoid flesh dies, our spirit lives on as a beasts in the afterlife, but every day his memory fades, and the beast becomes a more and more, until nothing of the person is left and only the beast remains.

I wouldn't mind forgetting about my life.

A gust of freezing air, accompanied by an endless squawking, interrupted my rest. What in Oblivion? I cracked open the meaty curtains of the mammoth’s flesh with all of my strength to look toward the sudden noise, cautiously peeking through the crevice. My eyes widened in alarm as I saw an army of ravens picking at the tangled mess of mammoth remains which I had removed to make room for my stay. Glaring sunlight blinded me with malevolent rays. This disturbance wasn’t anything like a couple engaged in lewd activity in some tavern in Windhelm, these were loud and chaotic birds that could lead predators my way.

Move! My brain shouted. Go away!

I stirred inside of my dead home, pushing myself against the fleshy walls in order for me to make a move outside to the choir of winged black bastards. I screamed as loud as my throat could allow, and the booming thunder of my mad voice drowned out the world as a violent surge of wings darkened the sky but for a moment. The ravens fled.

All but one . . .

The single raven landed with a thump and a scrabbling of claws. “Caaaawwww,” it screamed into my face.

“I hear you, you stupid bird.” My vision was dim, my body felt hard. Grey light leaked through the hole in the carcass, promising another bleak cold day. “Get out of here!” I wriggled an arm out from under me to shoo the raven away. It was a big bird, it looked old and bold and scruffy, utterly without fear.

“Cawww,” it cried, flying to a piece of meat in the snow.

The raven flapped down and landed on the snow, strutting toward the remains, head cocked curiously. I hesitated. It picked up the red, snow-clad thing and closed the distance between us, opened its beak, and gave a harsh, raucous rattle of distress. I had no inkling what this meant.

This bird is too clever by half.

It shook and shook the meat with its beak with strength unlike that of an ordinary bird, and suddenly the inexplicable happened; the piece of meat wasn’t meat at all but, rather, a red satchel. Out of it fell bottles of potions. I stared. Those potions aren’t mine . . .

The raven brought one of the vials before me, and dropped it beneath my gaze. As it rolled over, the words The world is cold, you needn’t feel the same was revealed to me. I reached out and grabbed it, uncorking it with trembling hands as the fumes reached my nose. This potion wasn’t unfamiliar to me.
I drank its contents at once, and suddenly warmth came to my chest, like unexpected fire.

In haste, I crawled out of the mammoth and back into the frozen wilderness that felt not-so-cold. I picked up the knapsack and searched through the supplies within, and to my surprise I found blue robes, a set of boots and a fur cloak of sorts. I wasted no time in getting dressed.

“Caaaaww!”

The crow was still there, watching me intensely with those black beady eyes. Intelligent eyes.

I stared back at this creature with a hundred thoughts racing through my mind about its abrupt appearance as well as this mystery knapsack but I had to face my reality. I was in the middle of nowhere, miles away from civilization. I was still nursing my interior wounds. Remembering backward is the easy thing. If one could remember forward, they could save themselves . . . I had to focus on the future, but on what?. What’s left for me now?

What’s left but pain and hurt? Memories of the assault I suffered plagued me, and I have begun to cry, aware of those men’s hovering faces like ghostly apparitions in front of me and whispering voices. I struggle briefly, picking up my crossbow and belongings buried in the snow. My grandfather’s words were faint: “Don't ever lose hope. Don't ever be weak." But it was beyond all hope: I cannot manage a single word. I felt that I was going to suffocate on the sobs that mounted upward in my chest. My distress was so great that his words were miles beyond comprehension—a muffled echo I can only dredge up from memory years later.

I looked for my Daedric dagger, that priceless relic of the past given to me . . .

“ . . . . Caaaawww?”

Turning to the raven, I was caught unawares by the sheathed dagger resting in the snow beneath a pair of small feet. The bird didn’t look afraid as I approached it. All I had to do was shoo it away and get my blade back. But it seemed to . . . smile at me. Strangely.

Then it took to flight with my dagger in its grip!

I screamed as I chased after it but it was too late. The bird was already in the skies, flying about awkwardly with my Daedric artifact. I put past my mind how such a small creature had such strength, running through the snow after it as I cursed.

This was a region of snow vast and deep and drifting as the tundra. In my mind’s eye I not only see but cringe at the blinding dazzling white hills stretching for miles, tufted and puckered with broken trees. Snow began falling about a minute or so. After these provisions, I had no reason to be concerned. With furs covering my entire body, I stood ready to withstand whatever challenges the elements might present. This raven wasn’t getting far from me. I had tracked the bird for some time when I crested a spot in the Winterhold Region. I stopped, awestruck.

Fusing the heavens to the ground, the mountains stood before me. A few clouds swirled around the highest peaks, furthering the illusion of a wall reaching forever upward. My eyes watered from the glare of the sun against snow, but I could not look away. Nothing in my years in field prepared me for such mountains. My mother had spoken often of the enormity of the mountains in Skyrim, but I assumed her stories were infused with the standard dose of bedtime story embellishment. In actuality, I thought, my mother's portrait had been woefully inadequate.

My awe of the mountains grew in the moments that followed, as I crossed my way through the terrain in hopes of getting back my dagger. Their great mass was a spot, a mark fixed against time itself. Others might feel disquiet at the notion of something so much larger than themselves. But for me, there was a sense of sacrament that flowed from the mountains like a font, an immortality that made my quotidian pains seem inconsequential.

Fine powdery snow was blown against my face from the ground. Above, the sky was clear—a hard wintry blue like ceramic. I climbed through the peaks, scanning the horizon in all directions until I found the damned bird flying with my knife land up the hill. The whistling winds and thick pelting snow showed no signs of letting up as I slogged my way through the thick path, my finger itching to set loose a bolt on that thieving crow!

Cawwwww!”

The raven appeared through the trees, up a steep and slippery slope, which I navigated with almost wolf-like agility. Upon climbing the terrain, I saw the creature land on the mouth of a cavern, and proceed to peck at my dagger. I stopped, frowned, and aimed my crossbow at it.

Caaww—That was fun, wasn’t it?” croaked the bird to me.

My mouth dropped open—stunned, confused, unbelieving—I lowered my weapon. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It spoke. The bird . . . spoke.

The raven expanded in size and mass, feathers fell to the snow and the animal took on an entirely different shape. It became a white-robed woman! This woman’s pale freckled face shone as if she’d scrubbed it, hard. Her faded hair fell in lank coils and wisps about her head as if she’d given up on it. Her eyes were moist, shifty, alert. She was a Breton from what I could tell. She pulled back her hood, and the glossy strands of hair the color of rust have become unloosened, which all unconsciously gave to her beauty the faintest touch of wantonness.

“What sorcery is this?” I whispered.

The woman picked up the dagger, and inspected it thoroughly. “An odd question, skin-shifter. Aren’t we both children of Hircine?”

This post has been edited by Darkness Eternal: Jan 8 2018, 05:35 PM


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"Every human spends a night or two on the dark side and regrets it. But what if you only exist on the dark side? We just want the same things that you do: a chance at life, at love. And so we try and sometimes fail. But when you're something other, a monster, the consequences are worse. Much worse. You wake up from your nightmares. We don't."
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Acadian
post Jan 9 2018, 07:31 PM
Post #169


Paladin
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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



Oh, this was great fun to read – once I realized that Vera was going to make it. Your portrayal of the mysterious and helpful raven was absolutely magical. I had many of the same questions about the raven as Vera but, unlike her, felt the raven was leading her to good purpose.

And so! A were-raven is it?


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BretonBlood
post Jan 11 2018, 10:16 PM
Post #170


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Joined: 9-March 15



Yes I was waiting to see what happened next in this story and you didn't disappoint! I loved the description of the area in this, the way the sky was clear thus the sun would shine brightly off the pale snow, a perfect description as I think anyone who has walked in snow has experienced that. It does hurt your eyes.

And I knew the Raven had to be a witch of some kind! I have played ESO so I know all about those sneaky witches, I can't wait to see what she has in store for Vera. Great chapter DE!


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“People love that cliché ‘Time heals all wounds’ but live long enough you realize that most clichés are true. It’s amazing what even the smallest passage of time can accomplish…the cuts can close, the imperfections it can smooth over. But in the end it comes down to the size of the wound, doesn’t it....”
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mALX
post Jan 18 2018, 01:50 AM
Post #171


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From: Cyrodiil, the Wastelands, and BFE TN





Once again you have astounded me with one of your famous twists! This was a spectacular chapter! I have to admit that I thought the Raven would be ... Draken (or Raven, one or the other). but now I'm not so sure!!! You never cease to amaze me with your writing!!!! Awesome chapter!!!







This post has been edited by mALX: Jan 18 2018, 01:54 AM


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Darkness Eternal
post Jan 19 2018, 12:18 AM
Post #172


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From: The Hunting Grounds



Acadian: Thank you, Acadian! The raven’s intent could be helpful in the end.

Actually, she’s witch of Glenmoril. They have been known to polymorph into wolves and ravens.

BretonBlood: Bloodmoon also had them, primarily. They are duplicitous as we’ve came to learn through the Companions questline in Skyrim.

mALX: Thanks mALX! We’ll see more of Draken soon, I promise that. Until then stay tuned!


Previously on Blood Coin: Vera is given aid through mysterious circumstances; a raven steals her dagger, and reveals itself as a witch.

=Blood Coin: Something Wyrd=


The Witches of Glenmoril Wyrd.

I first remembered the name from a terrifying story that my grandfather had told me one night. As the stories go the witches of Glenmoril were women who lay with Daedra and practiced the blackest of sorceries, vile things, evil and soulless, who tricked men in the dark of night and sucked life and strength and soul from their bodies. The truth was far more complicated as I’ve came to learn. I recalled instantly a witch I met once named Mabrelle five years ago, who helped nurse my wounds after a lycanthrope attack on a khajiit caravan. More vicious deeds of mine came to mind, such as repaying such kindness from Mabrelle by butchering her daughter and taking her head by Hircine’s unrelenting command. One of my many sins.

“This belongs to Hircine now.” The young woman retreated back into the cavern with my blade, and as I ran to confront her out from the cavern came another. She was older, ugly, with mismatched eyes and short, grey hair. The very definition of a witch.

I never turned my gaze from the old crone, that terrible face, wrinkled and horrible and wise. She devoured my entirety with her eyes, coming toward me with her pebbly jowls and croaking voice. I thought I’d managed to dominate my fear but I was wrong. The despondent mood I’d been trying to ward off overtook me while I stood there. I was seized by a somber unfocused anxiety; I tried to make it disappear but there was no way I could beat back the waves of panic in the presence of this woman. I kept talking to myself, falling into a little monologue: Just stay calm, relax, everything’s going to be all right.

“Why are you here, girl? To run from the cold?”

“Yes—No—“

“You want me to kill your baby? Heal your illnesses?”

“No! I have no child—“

“You come for an enchantment, then? You want some dandy man to wooed by your likes, eh?”

“I want my dagger back, please!” There was a pause, one which though somehow avoiding disrespect still flirted perilously with the notion of contempt, and the “please” came only a cagey half second before the crucial, unbearable instant. It was odd, bold, and I felt a surge of anger.

“You and me got nothing to talk about here. You want a salve for your heartache; I can fetch something for you. You want herbs to ease any cuts, I can give you that. You want to poison someone you hate; I’ll grant you that and laugh as I do it. But if you think you can get this dagger back you best turn around and leave. Because what I have is only power you don’t want, little girl!”

“This dagger belongs to me ,” I said, with a trace of bitterness, and a similar disdain.

I stood there steadfast and strong, with my animal grace and with my breath coming warmly and steadily with a contemptuous frown on my lips. Along with my anger, I felt a chilly shiver of excitement, as if I’d had received a personal and even physical challenge from this old hag’s defiance. And although both my conscience and predicament forbade me to, I felt now, too, an irresistible desire to bait and goad—something I’d never lower myself to do in a situation such as this.

“I’ll hurt you if you don’t return the dagger to me. You’re not the first witch of Glenmoril I’ve faced before.”

“You seek to threaten me with death? If you seek to threaten me, threaten me with life. You should understand why we took this dagger and why you’re no longer fit to have it.” The old hag said. Instead of a request it sounded like a suggestion, and one so astonishingly bold and crusty that I heard myself say “What are you talking about?” before I had even thought about it.

Relaxed, the witch absently fingered a mark on her cheek and said, in a level cold voice: “This artifact came from the Hunting Grounds. It has been used by many a hunter over the centuries and at last found a way into Tamriel. It was to be presented to Hircine, but somehow fell into your hands and it has been sorely misused.”

“Misused?”

Her voice had an cold quality, frigid with conviction. It was a voice free of sloppy accents—not cultivated, not even educated perhaps, simply reasonable even when obscene. Without explanation, the sense of authority in the voice stirred in me a strange and fugitive sort of respect but—possibly because of this respect—sent renewed outrage pulsing through my muscles and bones. I could feel the tension in my back and in my arms as I stood there and heard the words, saw the witch’s great graceful body go loose, slumped in an attitude of slovenly, insouciant power.

“The currency for the powers of Oblivion are souls, child. Souls. Since you possessed it, you’ve only took a life with this blade once and since then that one now roams the Hunting Grounds as prey. Once you become owner of the blade, you are given a profound responsibility.”

I listened vacantly to the wind and raised my eyes from time to time to watch snowfall sifting a hushed blizzard across the grey horizon, my mind bewitched by all the horrors—cold, rape, a savage attack from a lycanthrope—and fumbling hopefully still for some excuse to mitigate my crushing sense of guilt that I damned a man into an eternity to Oblivion. There had been a time of fighting back, it was true, which had made me testy, unhinged me—but gods, I’d been unhinged before in battles; was what I did to Lazare such a flagrant sin against the law of the gods—the most tremendous one I could remember having committed?

Suddenly I stomped forward, thinking of my recent lost battle with those men in the burning visions of this cold day, and in the imprisoned space of my mind it seemed to come back amid a tumult and murmuration of rushing rivers, wild waves, rushing winds of chaos. Justice. Justice! Revenge!

The episode shook me up terribly and left me in a state of black oppression. Why this was so difficult for me to explain to her. Obscurely and unshakably I was haunted by the event for days afterward, without success pondering the reason why I have suffered so. Was this payment for my sins? Consequences? Since Lazare’s death I had been feeling a persistent, perhaps unnecessary guilt—one I tried to bury. But it emerged, like my fiery emotions from my recent attack.

“I—I—I was—taken against my will by a group of men. I flattered those men with my pain, turned into a doll for their sick amusement. I lost my dignity in the cold, freezing bloody dirt! I lost it! With the back of the hand, my face numb as my aching body burned they forced themselves upon me with their fat, heaving bodies! They beat me senseless! I was cut open like a pig! Never again . . . I’ll kill them all with that dagger, and you too witch if you don’t return it to me!”

“An unforgivable transgression has marked you for life, child. Join the others. You think you've suffered. You think you know blood. You think you've walked on oceans of corpses. Spread them from here to the horizon and I have walked to the ends of Tamriel! You’re a weak, misguided, vainglorious little girl. How dare you presume to speak to me of death? You know nothing of the sort. I could leave you out here in the cold for the wolves and the ravens.”

It was then that I knew something about myself. I wanted something more than that dagger. Most people in the midst of disaster have yet one hope that lingers on some misty horizon—the possibility of love, gold, the assurance that time cures all pains, no matter how great. But I, gazing at this witch, had no such assurance; my deposit on all of life’s happiness had been withdrawn in full and my heart had shriveled within me like a collapsed fruit. All I wanted to be alive. To grasp some meaning.

I will not yield to this, I said to myself. I will not yield to this.

And the thirst and hunger ravaged me again, as did the cold I now felt, and the thoughts storming my mind. I looked at the witch, thinking I will not yield to this despair.

I broke.

“I'm sorry! Please help me! I have nowhere to go! I won’t survive out there for long. You’re a servant of Hircine just as I am. I can help you if you let me stay for a few days. I’m a werewolf. I have the blood of ancients running in my veins.”

"I know what you are, pup." There was a constrained and agitated motion in the way she removed a rusty knife from her gown, and in how she grabbed my hand. I did not move, confused, frozen. She cut my finger with her blade and proceeded to draw from it precious blood of mine.

The witch’s eyes were wide. She was surprised, mystified as she searched my eyes, into my soul. She didn’t smile; yet there was something there. Some untold emotion as she turned away from me.

“You can enter now. Leave everything you were behind you outside of this cave,” the crone said as she turned to me. “And everything you are, bring with you.”




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"Every human spends a night or two on the dark side and regrets it. But what if you only exist on the dark side? We just want the same things that you do: a chance at life, at love. And so we try and sometimes fail. But when you're something other, a monster, the consequences are worse. Much worse. You wake up from your nightmares. We don't."
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BretonBlood
post Jan 19 2018, 03:28 AM
Post #173


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Well well, we find out that Vera hasn't been using the dagger as was intended.

And why did the witch need to take blood and where are they entering? Could they potentially be going into the Hunting Grounds? Will Vera get to have the dagger back and send those bastards that tried to rape her to the hunting grounds??? We will have to see.


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“People love that cliché ‘Time heals all wounds’ but live long enough you realize that most clichés are true. It’s amazing what even the smallest passage of time can accomplish…the cuts can close, the imperfections it can smooth over. But in the end it comes down to the size of the wound, doesn’t it....”
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Acadian
post Jan 19 2018, 08:09 PM
Post #174


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



So far the witches of Glenmoril are neither good nor helpful to Vera. I still think somehow that is going to change.

Hmm, out of the ice and into the Hunting Grounds? Can’t wait to find out more about where she’s going.

I’m also curious about the dagger and its role going forward – since I recall it was given to her long ago by a young Kraven that she barely knew.

“You can enter now. Leave everything you were behind you outside of this cave,” the crone said as she turned to me. “And everything you are, bring with you.” - - Wonderfully phrased, this!


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