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Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 20 2021, 10:27 AM

Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum - just moved from which is closing. I have been writing Lena's story for the past half a year or so, she travels in Cyrodiil and Skyrim, does stuff and lives her life. This is not a novel - it has a beginning but no end, until she dies, which is hopefully not for a long while yet. It is a saga, a feuilleton - as they used to say in the old days - the story develops as it is being written, bit by bit. I hope you like it.

I have more than a hundred entries written already, so I am not going to repost them all here, unless you really want me to. They are all published in my blog: which I started as a way to keep track of things for myself and keep everything in one place.

I shall now repost a few of those entries here, so as to introduce you to the characters and some key points that get referred to later on.

The running story takes place in the 4th Era, taking off in year 4E201. I had to twist the arm of the lore a bit to correct false accounts on a few things that allegedly took place in the 200 years since the Oblivion Crisis. But we all know how easily false accounts become "historical thruths", so I have no qualms about that. 😀 And yes, a lot of people that Lena met back in the day, were still around 200 years later. Considering how much mixing has been going on in Cyrodiil between men and mer for thousands of years, most people have some Elven blood in them, so the question of life span becomes rather academic.

Thank you for reading and I hope to engage with you all! You'll see me around - and I'll be reading so many good stories that people have posted here!

Yours -
Lena Wolf


I am Lena Wolf. I was born on the 17th of Sun's Height, 3E417, in Cyrodiil to a Breton mother, and therefore was declared Breton. I have never been to High Rock, so when Hadvar promised to inform High Rock of my execution in Helgen later on, it made no sense at all. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. When I was 4 years old, my mother died of swamp fever, and our Argonian neighbour took me in. She was old already then, so we called her Gran. Gran always hinted that my unknown father was not unknown at all, just that it was best to keep it quiet until time comes. Time for what? Who knows. Wait and see.

As I turned 16, Gran got older still, and one day said there was something very important that she had to impart to me before her passing. She still couldn't name my father, but, she said, when the time was right, I should go to Skyrim to find out. How was I to know when that would be? Oh, not for a while yet, not for a long while. And she died.

Freedom at 16 proved exhilarating at first and cold and hungry soon after. Having tried this and that without much success and having had enough of goblins stealing my sweetrolls, I walked into Bravil's Mages Guild hoping to steal one of theirs. Instead, I found myself being thrust at a dinner table and loaded with all sorts of food, sweetrolls included. The mages took me in, taught me magic towards which I appeared to be inclined, taught me alchemy for the body, soul and enemies, and gave me a reason to venture into the caves in search of wisp stalks. The guards kept joking seeing me returning from my expeditions with yet another rusty sword or piece of armour, but the local smith fixed them up for me and taught me a few moves. Finally the goblins were getting their come-uppence!

Fighters Guild was not for me. Yes, I dealt with the headmistress's son in Chorrol and with the cowardly elf in Skingrad, and yes, the lich took some effort and lots of Freds to defeat, but I got bored with the routine and sort of quit. Well, got busy elsewhere. Free-lancing with Dark Brotherhood proved infinitely more fun, they didn't mind my vampirism, and Oblivion gates needed taking care of, too.

That disaster sorted, life got back to normal. Of course by then I found a cure for vampirism and joined the Arcane University, right on cue to face the King of Worms. Fortunately, Uncle Sheo decided to look in on us right about then, and the Shivering Isles provided a spot of sanity in a world gone mad. I still spend every autumn there.

So what do I do these days? I live. I potter about. I keep my home free from goblins and rats. I roast dreugh for dinner. I occasionally take a contract for another Ayleid sculpture or another bag of Welkynd stones. There's always a lich in someone's basement or a bunch of scamps needing a good home. And one day I'll go to Skyrim to find that important thing, but the time hasn't come yet.

28 Last Seed, 3E433 – Lena’s Story begins

Lena Wolf's story begins at 16. Being quite young and still inexperienced, that last sweetroll she stole finally landed her in the Imperial Prison, and the story of the Oblivion Crisis was set in motion.

Everyone knows how that went, so we'll skip the details. Lena delivered the Amulet of Kings and was sent to Kvatch to fetch Martin, but went to Bravil first, stopped by the Mages Guild there hoping for a sweetroll that wouldn't land her back in Imperial Prison, got caught by the mages, but not handed over to the guard but fed and accepted into the guild instead... And what with one thing and another, she got completely side tracked by everything happening at once, including closing many Oblivion gates and fighting necromancers and vampires. She didn't realise what the Porphyric Hemophilia thing was until one morning she woke up a vampire herself! The mages still treated her well like before and she could progress in the guild, but the Fighters Guild wouldn't even talk to her - "We don't want your sort here!" The same with most merchants, but not all - for example the chap at the Main Ingredient in the Imperial City wasn't afraid at all and traded as normal, so we always shop there whenever we're in town.

Lena must have killed some non-bandit by mistake because Lucien turned up at night, and there of course at the Sanctuary she met another vampire and no one was bothered by her occasional feeding (although she usually didn't feed on guild members but rather on beggars and often went hungry as it came with benefits, not just curses). So eventually she progressed far enough in the Mages Guild that the Count of Skingrad hinted that perhaps they could help each other...

By the time she cured her vampirism and got to finally ousting Mehrunes Degon out of Cyrodiil, nearly 3.5 years have passed, bringing it to Sun's Dawn 3E437. The 3rd Era was coming to an end. Then Uncle Sheo decided to look in, and a mad prophet turned up in Anvil.

The Oblivion Crisis affair had her run around a lot and win a prestigious title, and I guess she should carry that title with pride, but in truth she'd rather forget about the whole thing, as well as Martin's panicked reaction there. Some Emperor he turned out to be! Perhaps it's true that you need to grow up as one.

With the Dark Brotherhood she advanced rather far, although not quite to the top. She only joined because Lucien said that being a vampire was fine and also he knew her mother. He probably lied about that, but who knows. She didn't mind the work, I guess she is not a do-gooder. So she wasn't even considering questing for the Knights of The Nine and simply killed the prophet. Oops! He, err, ate something rotten, it appears.

But the one title she enjoyed was that of Lord Sheogorath. What fun we had! Sanguine practically moved in to the New Sheoth palace, and Hircine had the time of his life running around the countryside chasing Gnarls. Why, even Vermina melted seeing the whole population of Dementia having nightmares all on their own. Meridia of course had to lecture everyone on their lack of virtue, so we sent her packing. But then Sheo himself returned, and in his usual charming manner first joined in and then kicked everyone out, Lena included. Jygg messed up his head, I'm telling you.

As for the Thieves Guild, Lena declined their every invitation. She's no thief. Gosh, I think I found a virtue!

The 4th Era saw Lena venturing out again, from now on always avoiding to deliver any suspicious amulets, and being watchful of the Hemophilia thingy. She had plenty of dealings with daedra - no, the closure of the Oblivion Crisis did not in fact prevent the daedra from entering the Mundus in the future, but it did cool things off a bit.


12 First Seed, 4E195 - Flotsam

Lena Wolf returned from her stay in the Shivering Isles only to find that nearly 200 years had passed in Mundus in the meantime. She was no longer a "current" citizen, having missed the census for so long, and all her property had been repossessed by the Empire. Even her Mages Guild membership had been revoked. This was more than upsetting, and Lena boarded the first ship out of Anvil. It was bound for the Northern Realms.

The Northern Realms were kingdoms on the other side of the Great Maelstrom of the Middle Ocean. The journey was long and perilous, and even time itself was said to dilate along the way. People rarely made the journey more than once in their lifetimes, except for the ship's crew of course. Those sailors were tough, and inspired confidence. Lena was leaving.

The Northern Realms were at war. A constant war with each other and with the Southern kingdoms where Nilfgaard was building an empire. This had been going on for so long - for centuries - that people mostly ignored it, except when the menfolk got drafted to fight for the current king. The people still kept to the old country names, paying no heed to the king in charge.

Lena found herself in a small border town named Flotsam. It was a port on a major river and proved as refined as its name suggested. But the town had no resident healer, and Lena saw an opportunity. Her skills in magic and alchemy could be put to a good use, and with the help of a local herbalist she updated her herb knowledge and opened a practice.

Despite all odds, life in Flotsam proved quiet and largely uneventful. Trade flourished and there was no shortage of work for a healer. One day an old witcher walked in, badly wounded, looking to buy some herbs.

"I can't let you go anywhere" - was Lena's response. "I've got a bed free, you need to rest."

But despite Lena's best efforts augmented with the witcher's special potions, the witcher was not recovering. His wolf medallion kept buzzing - magic or danger, it was both, and he was dying.

The old man knew something though, or had seen something. He gave Lena his medallion and said that she should search for a white wolf with the same sort of trinket, and that it would make her complete once she found him. And then the old witcher died.

Wait, didn't we hear such a story before? First her Argonian grandmother telling her on her deathbed to search for something extremely important in Skyrim, and now this story about a medallion-wearing wolf?

But one day at the market Lena bumped into a fellow with white hair, and a shiver went down her spine. Yep, he wasn't looking where he was going and got her with the tip of his enchanted sword. A few choice recommendations were ready to roll off Lena's tongue when she spotted a wolf medallion around the fellow's neck. So, instead of giving him a piece of her mind, she politely enquired whether Master Witcher would be good enough to stop by her practice after hours because she needed his expert advice on a small, ah, matter. Flattery will get you everywhere, and come evening, the White Wolf turned up at her house.

"I am Geralt of Rivia - at your service."

Recalling the words of the old witcher, Lena was expecting a certain turn of events that would make her complete, at least for the night. But boy was she mistaken. The shiver that went down her spine back at the market, wasn't from any sword enchantment - it was her wolf medallion buzzing like mad near Geralt (Lena took to wearing the medallion because it went with her last name so nicely). The old witcher had re-enchanted the amulet with her essence, so it responded quite violently to another being with a similar essence. Lena and Geralt were related.

Having talked through most of the night, they got through a lot of Cyrodillic Brandy and Argonian Bloodwine, and having eliminated the impossible, the only remaining conclusion, no matter how far-fetched, was that they must be siblings. Having given up her first child with the unknown but obviously important Nord, Lena's mother kept the second child, and swore to raise her daughter in ignorance of the great heritage that made her son into the White Wolf and hoping that the little girl would be spared world-shattering responsibilities. Ha!

Since that chance meeting in Flotsam, Lena and Geralt never really lost sight of each other, although never paraded their connection either. As both of them were in the habit of regularly freaking out local world leaders, church heads and powerful sorcerers, it seemed prudent not to aggravate matters too much.

Geralt got embroiled in local politics despite his best judgement, then the war broke out for real with the Nilfgardian Empire invading the North. Death and destitution was everywhere. Lena made her way to Novigrad and boarded a ship back to Cyrodiil.


Hauk Serc-Hanssen

Iver and Hauk Serc-Hanssen were twins born under The Lord on 21 First Seed 4E151. They were Nords, and as such were expected to become warriors. Nords value their traditions, and Nords living in Cyrodiil do so even more, although admittedly many of them have taken in too much of the mildness of Nibenay to be called sons and daughters of Skyrim. So when the boys started showing above average abilities in magic, their parents blamed the very soil of Cyrodiil for "mellowing" their children. The Serc-Hanssens were definitively the Nord sons of Cyrodiil.

"Well, if they are going to be mages, let them be battlemages at least" - was their father's verdict. And the boys were enrolled into education with the Mages Guild as well as training with the Legion.

At twenty, Iver and Hauk had joined both the Arcane University and the Imperial Legion, and have completed their Battlemage training. Then the Great War broke out. Iver was drafted into regular forces, but Hauk was sent to Skyrim to a special unit - scouts, messengers, liaisons, logistics, that sort of thing. At least, this was the official designation.

Nobody knows what that unit actually did in Skyrim, and those who know will never tell, so it's safe to assume they were maintaining a covert front behind the enemy lines. The unit wasn't large, so it was easy to disperse it without a trace after the war. Some even claim that the unit never existed - after all, Hauk had been seen on the front lines of many official campaigns... or was that Iver? Who could tell! They were twins, after all...

After the war, Iver and Hauk left active service with the Legion and returned to the Mages Guild, doing smaller assignments, training new apprentices, and generally settling back into a civilian life style. Iver got busy with the Guild and the University, while Hauk... well... Hauk kept disappearing from time to time, for several weeks or even months on end, then suddenly coming back looking like he had spent all this time outdoors and in cold water. Hauk looked out of place among mages that never left the comforts and security of the walls of the Imperial City, so he left his Mage's Staff and a few other important things with Iver at the University and joined the Legion again. Or had he ever left?

Years later, when Travis became the Arch Mage and banned necromancy, Hauk got into an argument regarding limiting the types of spells available to battlemages - the "code of conduct" was Travis' idea and Hauk disagreed. But arguments with the Arch Mage are doomed to failure, so not wanting to be banished from the Guild altogether, Hauk boarded a ship to Antaloor and was gone for several years - enough time to cool things off. Upon his return he was made to understand that although formally he would still remain a Mages Guild Evoker, he did not need to expect any assignments or promotions from the Guild.

At 50, Hauk found himself bored with nothing to do, and no family to take care of. Neither he nor Iver ever married, but Iver was still busy with the University and with the Guild, while Hauk... he wasn't exactly too old for the Legion, but there were no wars going on, apart from the usual regional conflicts that were as repetitive as they were pointless. Would he be interested in training up some recruits? No, thank you. Well, then... exactly. They had nothing of interest for him either.

One day Hauk stopped by the Arcane University to see Iver when he spotted a new member - a new apprentice, he was told. She didn't look new, she looked like she had done it all before and was simply going through the motions. She was also making some custom spells that were much too complex for a new apprentice. Who was she? Things didn't add up.

A few enquiries with the older members of the Guild made it very clear that whoever she was, Lena Wolf was not a novice and not a youngster, despite her youthful appearance. There was mystery there, some darkness perhaps, but Hauk was not a shiny new penny either. Lena was muttering to herself about doing some adventuring to raise funds for a house... raiding some Ayleid ruins in search of ancient statues and Welkynd stones... doing some contracts for the Fighters Guild - the sorts of things that "regular" warriors would rather avoid, like fighting liches and wraiths... What fun! Hauk would introduce himself and offer to join her. Let the new life begin.


5 Sun's Dusk, 4E201 - Lena and Hauk meet

Skyrim can wait. Back in Cyrodiil Lena still has a lot to do. She needs to get back her house in Bravil which got repossessed by the county under the feeble excuse that Lena had been absent for a couple of centuries. So what! She had business in the Shivering Isles - time passes differently there, and longevity is not an issue for a vampire anyway... ex-vampire... What does it matter?!

The house got taken, and there's nothing left to do but to buy it again. Which requires funds, which in turn requires some serious adventuring.

Thinking these serious thoughts, and possibly muttering to herself, Lena spent some time at the Arcane University making custom spells and picking ingredients in that lovely garden of theirs, as well as shopping in the Market District. There, quite absent-mindedly, she bumped into something shiny. Looking up and shielding her eyes, she realised that she was looking at a highly polished suit of steel armour, probably the best looking steel armour in the whole of Tamriel. Inside it was a tall Nord on the better side of 40.

Hauk Serck-Hanssen was a Mages Guild battlemage, currently doing what all soldiers do in peace times - nothing. Hauk was a Mages Guid Evoker, just like his twin brother Iver (who insisted on dropping his last name out of false sense of modesty), but unlike Iver, Hauk was not a "proper" battlemage. "It doesn't become a battlemage to meddle with schools of Illusion or Conjuration - such mind-altering magic is for vampires and necromancers!" - you'd think Arch Mage Travis would have outlawed those schools along with Necromancy, given half a chance. Hauk took no notice of this new order of decent behaviour, and as a result his assignments became far and few between.

Picking up Lena's muttering about "needing to raid a few Ayleid ruins for Welkynd stones" and "going goblin hunting in Skingrad County", he put on his most gallant expression and introduced himself - "On behalf of the battlemages, may I welcome you to the Arcane University--" and then cleverly did not say "Recruit" or "Apprentice". Because this is not how you get into the good books of a young and pretty Breton who somehow does not seem to be in her early 20s as her looks might suggest.

But instead: "Can I be of some assistance on the goblin hunt, not that you would need any, of course?"

Why, what do you know! Adventuring with a friend is so much more fun! Lena's University life just got more interesting.


24 Sun's Dusk, 4E201 - Dragons - The White Wolf

Later at Olav's the conversation was light, both Lena and Hauk avoiding the topic of dragons. Then Hauk could avoid it no longer.

"Tell me about the dragons in Skyrim."

"Well, there isn't that much to tell. I went over the border about a month ago - just before we met, in fact. You've heard about the Skyrim bandits that used to terrorise the border regions, well, I read they were finally defeated - again, so probably not for the last time. But it was safe to cross just then. My adoptive grandmother told me on her death bed that there was something important I had to do in Skyrim, but I never knew what. To do or to see or to find out - that was all unclear. I've been to Skyrim before a few times and nothing particularly important happened, so I didn't think this time would be any different.

"But this time it started strange and it continued even stranger, which is why I returned to Cyrodiil within a week.

"Firstly, as I was crossing the border, I got arrested by the Imperial Legion and sentenced to beheading - although they admitted that I was not on the list."

"That sounds a bit harsh!" Hauk interjected, although he could believe it perfectly. "Did they at least know what you've supposedly done?"

"I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was captured together with Ulfrick Stormcloack - the rebellion leader. He was the one they were after, and everyone else - me and another fellow - was coming along for the ride."

"Sounds about right. So how is it that you're still alive? Although I can see now why you are not in Skyrim."

"Oh, that has nothing to do with it. Just as they were getting started with the executions, a dragon attacked and sent everyone running for cover. It was breathing fire and chaos was complete. One of those rebels was trying to pull me to come with them, but I followed an Imperial soldier instead."

"That seems like a strange decision considering that the Legion was going to execute you!"

"Not really. The Legion is methodical and prefers to err on the side of caution - better execute one too many than one too few - but they are also level-headed, and I figured they'd reconsider my sentence, especially since I wasn't on their list to begin with. The rebels on the other hand, looked hot-headed, and anyhow I did not want to get embroiled in Skyrim politics."

"So who sent the dragon?"

"No one knows. But I think no one sent the dragon. I think this was a coincidence and the dragon business is unrelated to the rebellion. They also have Thalmor patrols everywhere searching for the cult of Talos - and that too is unrelated."

"Yes, we got ourselves in a right mess with the Thalmor."

"Well, that Imperial soldier took me to a nearby village - his uncle was a blacksmith there, and they made me welcome, I don't see why. But apparently helping the guy fight the rebels back in Helgen counted as 'saving his life', although I was mostly trying to save mine."

"I bet you fought bravely and impressed him, plus you didn't put an arrow between his shoulder blades. That counts for a lot in Skyrim."

"I suppose so. They asked me just to do one thing for them - to go to their local town and inform the jarl about the dragon, ask him to send some guards to this village in case a dragon turns up there. Ok, that's the least I could do. Plus, I ran into my brother there, and figured I'd be staying for a while."

"You have a brother?"

"I do. It's a long story for another time. He stayed in Skyrim, so if we go there together, you can't avoid meeting him."

"I wouldn't miss it for the world! When are we leaving?"

"Not tonight."

"I see" - Hauk felt that there was more. More about the dragons, more about the brother, much more of everything. Perhaps the best thing was just to let it develop at its own pace. Too bad that Nords are not blessed with patience... "Well, let's get back to the dragon then. Did you go to see the jarl?"

"I did. He thanked me and mentioned some errands that I might do for him, in case I was in need of coin. Fine, life was getting back to normal. Until a couple of days later a dragon attacked a watchtower causing chaos in the jarl's palace. Of course they will never admit it was chaos, but why else would they ask me of all people to help fight the dragon? 'You survived Helgen, you know more about dragons than anyone here!' I knew how to run away from one... but sure, I joined them."

"So how do you fight a dragon?"

"How do you fight any flying creature? With arrows or spells, what else can you do? We got it down and got it killed. An I absorbed its soul."

"Whoa!!" That was something else. It wasn't just about slaying a fearsome ancient monster, it was about taking over its power too. "You are Dragonborn?" Hauk knew exactly what it meant, what it implied and why Lena needed time to get her head around it. Each Dragonborn throughout history had a mission to accomplish, and choices to make, and none of it was easy.

"Yeah, that's what I discovered." Lena was relieved that she did not have to explain what it meant. She wasn't sure herself yet. "The Greybeards called me, but I haven't gone to see them, not yet anyway. Instead, I returned to Cyrodiil to get my head in order."

"And your brother?"

"He is not Dragonborn, if that's what you're asking. But he'll be there for when I am ready to go to Skyrim to find out more."

That wasn't what Hauk was asking, and they both knew it. But should Lena drop another bomb by saying that her brother was the White Wolf? Did Hauk even know who that was? Yeah, he probably did. He seemed to know a lot of things...

"My brother needed some time for himself. He's been through a lot in the last few years, so he came to Skyrim to get away from it all for a time, to get his own head in order. Our father was a Nord - that much we know - so Geralt figured Skyrim would be a perfect destination, a perfect change of pace."

"Geralt?" Yep, Hauk knew that name.

"My brother is the White Wolf."

Things were making sense now. The famous witcher was not Dragonborn, but it took more than an average person to become a witcher at all, and Geralt was quite a character. The news of the Northern Realms did not reach Tamriel very promptly, but eventually things became known, and some of them were even true. Hauk heard of the Wild Hunt that was tormenting the Northern Realms, and of the frost and ice that the Wild Hunt left in its wake. They were said to be wraiths - but what would wraiths want with the living? Why would they abduct whole villages at a time? Hauk thought it more likely that they were beings of flesh and blood coming from another realm looking for slaves, and the frost was simply their magic. The witchers would fight them, and it was said that an apocalyptic battle recently took place. The Wild Hunt was gone. For now or forever? The White Wolf was involved somehow, some said it was he who defeated the Wild Hunt king, other said no, the White Wolf was captured and was a prisoner himself, and someone else had to free them all... Whatever of it was true, it wasn't a walk in the park, and if the White Wolf was now here in Tamriel, then the Wild Hunt must have been dealt with. It wasn't in his character to run away. "His Nord blood wouldn't let him" - Hauk thought. "He finished his mission and came to seek out his roots."

"So what now? Are you going back to Skyrim at all?"

"Yes, I'll have to, I need to find out more, at least. But there is no rush, and my home is still here."

"Yeah, in Bravil" - Hauk remembered the effort that Lena put into getting back that house.


The publican had been topping up their ale and mead for a long while already. Whatever those two were discussing, was keeping them drinking, and there's nothing wrong with that. Besides, they mentioned Skyrim - what better topic could a Nord wish for under his roof?

The regulars were finally going home, but Lena and Hauk didn't feel like sleeping. The conversation still hung in the air, and they just sat there, drinking silently for a while. They were getting more and more at ease with each other, no longer needing to talk.


31 Evening Star, 4E201 - Lucien Lachance

"What did Lucien want?" - Asked Hauk at breakfast at Count's Arms.

"He... I thought you were asleep!"

"I was, until he banged the door on his way out. Who else comes to visit you in your sleep?"

That was solid logic, and there was no point arguing.

"He wanted me to rejoin the Brotherhood" - Lena conceded.


"Yes. I was suspended after I refused to kill everyone in the Cheydinhal Sanctuary."

"And you lived?" - that was most unusual. The Dark Brotherhood wasn't just another Guild, transgressions came with a death sentence.

"Oh, they were sending assassins after me for a time until it transpired that the traitor was much higher up than anyone in the Cheydinhal Sanctuary - he was a Black Hand, and he was out for revenge after Lucien personally. That's a completely mad story" - Lena shook her head. "Then I was no longer the target and they let me be. Now they decided it was time I returned to the family."

"And will you?"

"Already have."

Hauk wasn't surprised. After Lucien's visit the night before, Lena disappeared for 24 hours. She returned during the night. Lucien's ways were rubbing off on her.

"So, if you were given a contract on my life, would you kill me?"

"First of all" - Lena was getting cross - "they would not give me a contract on a friend unless this was a test or a Purification Ritual. And second of all, this would be against my principles, so I'd kill the contract giver instead, and they know it. So you're quite safe from me" - Lena smiled.

"You put friends above your oath?"

"I do not serve Sithis. I have rejoined because Lucien did know my mother - he hadn't lied. When I refused to purify Cheydinhal, he exclaimed 'Just like her mother', and I learned later that indeed their paths had crossed."

That was as much as Lena was willing to tell, that was obvious. So Hauk dropped the topic.


5 Morning Star, 4E202 - Lucien's offer

I've been promised the abandoned house in Cheydinhal for keeping a cool head and sparing them all back then. I was to perform the Purification Ritual with which I would break the tenet to never harm a brother. But were I to refuse, I would break the tenet to never refuse a contract. I did not believe the "evidence" and chose to refuse the contract. Another assassin was sent to perform the Purification, and failed. I had to face the Wrath of Sithis, but it wasn't my first wraith... Living assassins were sent after me, all in vain. Then the "evidence" that I discarded, was proven to have been fabricated. The traitor was much higher up and he was after Lucien Lachance personally, which of course broke a tenet of the Brotherhood. I was cleared, but it was considered best for me to stay away. Until now.

Lucien came to see me a week ago - they wanted me back. But they owed me, not just their lives, but their continued existence as members of the Brotherhood. Would I accept a promotion? Surely, I would make a superb Black Hand. No, thank you. I do not serve Sithis, and I dare to say it - I'll kill his wraith again if I have to.

"You are just like your mother. And your great-uncle, he too went rogue." Lucien hadn't lied, I received my great-uncle's will - he left me his sanctuary near Leyawiin. But he served Sithis, and I don't. I just want a normal house.

"A house? I think we can arrange that" - Lucien brightened up. "The Count here is not keen to have an ugly abandoned house in the city, but we are very persuasive. Plus, he still remembers - less than fondly - Morag Tong from his native Morrowind. I think he would be pleased if the house was no longer abandoned. But would you be willing to allow access to the Sanctuary through it?"

As I am the only member who likes to use that door, it isn't much of a problem. New members have to earn the right to use direct access, so new members need that route through the house, but I was the last new member to join, and that was 200 years ago. I would not worry. After the traitor used a new member - me - to try to get to Lucien, Lucien has been reluctant to accept anyone else.

"Go see the Count in a couple of days. What do you want to call the house?"

"The Wolf Sanctuary."

"How befitting" - Lucien smiled.


5 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - A visit to Lucien

Lena knew where Lucien lived and how to get there bypassing the guards. Of course she did, she spent a lot of time there herself. It was time to let Lucien know about her little enterprise. Lucien knew what's been done already and guessed rightly that she had plans for more.

On a piece of parchment Lena wrote a list of names.

She sealed the letter and left it on the table.

She returned a few days later. There was a brand new silver dagger where the letter had been. The barrel with poisoned apples had been unlocked. A bouquet of flowers lay on the bed: goldenrod, morning glory, lily of the valley, blue hyacinth. Good fortune, my dear - yours, always.

"The choice of a lily is... unusual" - Lena thought. "I would have expected something more neutral..."

She took the flowers. She knew that Lucien would see them in the Wolf Sanctuary kept fresh and understand her acceptance. But she wasn't laying ambrosia fruit on her bed.


14 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - Death and Resuscitation - Wolf House - Prince Sheogorath

"This isn't as crazy as I thought it might be" - Hauk was saying at breakfast.

12 Sun's Dawn

Having breakfast at noon is not crazy at all if you only went to bed at 4 a.m. as they did. They brought the tongs and calipers to Tove, and he paid Lena 5 septims for each one, resulting in a very tidy sum.

"Oh I insist - for your trouble."

"That wasn't crazy after all to drag them all the way to here" - Hauk started to see sense.

After that they had a job to do at Xedilian.

"Now that I had to kill the Gatekeeper again, I need to fix Xedilian" - Lena was trying to explain it to Hauk. "It will attract people that don't belong here and make them belong."

Xedilian was overrun with grummites. They had removed the resonator crystals and attached them to their magic staves which made them so much more dangerous. At one point four Deathbringers and a Magus swarmed on Lena and Hauk from all directions and got them surrounded. Lena was using a lot of poisons but they weren't as effective on these grummites as they were on the ones in the hatchery. The battle was ferocious and Lena got knocked out - and couldn't get up. When Hauk finally dispatched the last of the grummites, Lena was still on the ground. Not unconscious but dead. One of the Deathbringers apparently kept hitting her after she lost consciousness - he was determined to live up to his title.

Hauk tried healing spells on Lena, cure poison and cure paralysis, smelling salts and aloe sap, to no avail.

"Ok then, it's the old-fashioned way again" - he thought removing her armour for CPR.

Resuscitation was successful. Lena sat up, still dizzy but alive.

"That was some battle... Thanks for bringing me back" - she said watching Hauk sorting through a pile of potions, clothes and pieces of armour that he dropped in the rush to get her heart beating again. He was still casting healing spells at her and at himself, and the sweat on his torso was shimmering in the mist of restoration magic.

"We'll need to take a break now" - he said wrapping Lena in some robes from their pack. "You need to warm up - don't bother wearing these, you'll be warmer in a wrap."

Being a Battlemage was clearly different from being an Adventurer, and having gone through the Great War behind the enemy lines taught Hauk survival skills like no training ever could. He actually knew what he was doing.


After a rest with some food and drink, they put their armours back on and decided to continue going through Xedilian. After all, they seemed to be nearly done.

"So this is the frog that got me?" - Lena stood over a grummite that lay where she had gone down.

"That's the one" - Hauk confirmed. "He just wouldn't quit which probably saved my own life - I would have been overwhelmed by an extra one joining in."

"I'm glad you weren't" - Lena looked at Hauk realising that were the roles reversed, she would have done everything in her power to bring him back.

13 Sun's Dawn

Xedilian was restored and the first group of adventurers was taken care of. Knights of Order appeared too, and were dispatched. Lena and Hauk stood outside again, it was mid-morning. They hadn't slept, but neither of them wanted to just now.

"What's next?" - asked Hauk.

"We could walk back to Passwall and rest at the inn there for a while" - Lena pointed West - "or we could start towards New Sheoth and get distracted along the way" - she pointed North East grinning.

"East" - said Hauk and started walking.


It didn't take long and they ran into another ruin and decided to investigate. Xalara housed some zealots, and obviously had to be thoroughly searched for the Fork of Horripilation.

The Fork wasn't there, but they found some substantial loot in an urn held by a statue.

"Good thing real Hungers aren't nearly as big as this one" - remarked Hauk admiring the statue. "Very decorative though."

He was definitely getting into the spirit of the place.

Xalara was a bit of a labyrinth with traps, sliding wall panels, collapsed sections and newly dug out bypasses. They kept coming out near the entrance which would normally be welcome, but in this case it wasn't because Lena was determined to search every nook and cranny for the Fork. Of course it was all for naught, but you wouldn't know it until you'd done it.

Exhausted, they decided to eat the zealots' food and sleep in their beds. It was getting quite late anyway.

14 Sun's Dawn

In the morning they set off for New Sheoth, this time intent on getting there without distractions. The landscape was swampy, but the water wasn't deep, and they didn't expect any creatures apart from baliwogs. Then suddenly Lena got knocked out.

"Whaaa-?" - Hauk heard her yelp but couldn't see what attacked her. Summoning a dremora just in case, he felt a little like that Orc adventurer that fell victim to Xedilian's magic - how do you fight the unseen?

The next moment Hauk was hit from above by a Skulking Scalon - a creature with a power to turn invisible and jump high and far. So this was what knocked out Lena - a scalon's touch also carried an electrical charge.

Hauk staggered, but his dremora swung into action, and soon the scalon lay defeated.

"Ugh, those scalons can really surprise you" - Lena was saying wringing out her skirt. The swamp wasn't deep to walk in, but it did get you thoroughly wet if you fell in.

New Sheoth wasn't far, and they didn't tarry and longer.


"We need to go see the Prince about Xedilian but not in these wet clothes" - Lena said as they entered Crucible. "There's a house here that we can use - it was left to me by a chap I did a favour for." There was no need to explain what the favour for Hirrus Clutumnus was.

When Hirrus left Lena the house, she went to have a look and didn't like it. Too much blood, torture tools and self-flailing in there. But now her wet clothes under her iron armour were chilling her to the bone, and she was ready to make use of the house even with Hirrus' spirit still hanging about.

They entered. Someone had redecorated. Gone were the torture tools, blood stains and cobwebs. Gone was the gloomy atmosphere - it's amazing what a few tapestries can do. It was still a Dementia house, but it was now clean and welcoming.

Dylan. It had to be.

But Dylan himself wasn't there, so Lena and Hauk spent some time in the Wolf House - as it was now known - to freshen up and rest. There was food, good wine and mead, and even fresh sweetrolls... nothing that Hirrus would have kept there.

In the afternoon they went to see the Prince. Lena put on a Red Finery dress that she had found in the cupboard. Hauk couldn't take his eyes off her.

The Prince was galant, as always, making jokes and never letting you forget who was in charge. Lena let him get on with it, not argueing or reminding him of things past. They both knew it was just a façade. He sent her to get acquainted with the new Duke and Duchess - Thadon and Syl, again? Well, yes, the same ones, or may be their twins... But they won't remember you, so don't you worry. But didn't I cut Syl's heart out last time? Yes, you did, but we don't let such minor details get in the way. Off you go now and enjoy your felldew.

Coming out of the Palace, Lena noticed that the Flame of Agnon wasn't burning - the Saints and Seducers must have been quarreling again. She had work to do.


15 Sun's Dawn 4E202 - Another letter from Lucien

"Before I get embroiled in Shivering Isles politics, I need to return to Cyrodiil for a bit" - Lena was saying to Hauk at breakfast. "There are a few things I need to take care of, on my own." She looked at him somewhat uneasy.

"Of course" - Hauk nodded. "Give Lucien my regards. I'll stay here - can I use this house?"

"Please do" - Lena gave Hauk a long look. He was planning something. "But I don't think I'll be meeting Lucien" - she added.

"You'll see."


Returning to Cheydinhal, Lena found a letter waiting for her on the table at the Wolf Sanctuary. It was from Lucien:

Darling Wolf,

Come and see me at your convenience. We have business to attend to.

Yours -

She went in the evening, planning to sleep at the fort if necessary, while waiting for Lucien to appear. She didn't have to wait long.

"I need you to go to Skyrim" - said Lucien pouring the wine. "There's a group there that calls themselves the Dark Brotherhood and is taking on contracts, but we don't have a branch in Skyrim and the Night Mother does not talk to anyone there. Go see what they are all about."

Lena heard of them when she went to Skyrim before, but because the Dark Brotherhood had a regional structure, she didn't expect to know any of them. Now it turned out they were imposters, which went some way to explain why they tried to kill her - and didn't know who she was. No one verified their contracts, obviously.

"How do you want me to approach them?" - she asked Lucien, helping herself to cheese and grapes.

"We'll bait them - we'll spread a rumour that you've gone after one of their contracts. They'll be in touch."

"If the Night Mother doesn't speak to them, then where do they get their contacts from?"

"From rumours, mostly. People know how to summon us - the real us - and so they perform the Dark Sacrament over and over, thinking that more is better, no doubt. Then, when no one comes, they start talking about it, and sure enough, soon afterwards someone appears."

"Your friendly neighbourhood assassin, here to help" - grimaced Lena.

"Quite. Ham or mutton?" - Lucien was taking roast off the spit.

"Mutton, please, and some of that orange chutney on top."

Two old friends sat down for dinner. Nothing unusual about that.


19 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - Back to Skyrim

Skyrim calls. But Lena wouldn't leave without seeing Hauk first, after all he was waiting for her in the Shivering Isles, and she didn't know how long she would be gone.

"And this time I am coming with you!" - Hauk was adamant. Ok, let's go.

Lena and Hauk crossed the border to Skyrim and reached Riverwood without anything significant getting in their way.

"Hello, brother" - Lena noticed Geralt on the porch of Sven's house. "Have you been talking to Sven's mother again? You know she spreads rumours."

"Yep, and where else do you think witchers get their contracts from?" - Gerald grinned. "Good to see you, sis. And I see you brought a Nord to Skyrim" - he nodded at Hauk.

"This is Hauk, we've been adventuring together back in Cyrodiil. Is there any food at the cabin? It's been a long way."

Lena always kept the hunter's cabin well stocked with supplies when she was around. She hoped that Geralt didn't leave it empty. He didn't, and soon the three of them were sitting by the fire with mead and roast.

"Hadvar is back in Riverwood" - Geralt remarked casually. "Something must be going on by the border. He claims he is on leave, but I don't believe him. He asked about you."

"Did he now? In what way?"

"Either he was sent to get you to join the Legion, or to prevent you joining the Stormcloacks."

"Well, there's no danger of that - I have no wish to meddle in Skyrim politics."

"Too late for that, I'm afraid. They all want you now - you're the Dragonborn. Why are you back, actually?"

"I need to find out more about this Dragonborn business, why I never noticed anything before, what it does exactly, except letting me shout, which is kind of neat but not world-shuttering. I mean, other people can shout too, and they are not proclaimed to be Dragonborn. Didn't Ulfrick kill the High King by shouting at him? Yet no one calls Ulfrick Dragonborn."

She didn't say anything about her investigation for the Dark Brotherhood. This was her business alone. Hauk was watching the exchange between Lena and Geralt and thinking how close they seemed, even though he knew they could not have spent that much time together - they only met fairly recently. And the difference in years... Geralt was much older then Lena, as he didn't "skip" nearly two centuries as Lena did while residing in the Shivering Isles. Yet he wasn't 250 years old as he should have been... Time must pass differently beyond the Great Maelstrom. Geralt looked just over 50, but was probably pushing 100 - you can't tell with witchers. His age only showed in the things he said - wisdom coming from experience.

The roast was significantly diminished and the mead bottles around them were nearly all empty, when they heard footsteps coming their way.

"Hadvar!" - Geralt saw him first. "I see you've heard Lena is back. Come and join us, before all of the roast is gone."

"This is--" Lena started introducing Hauk.

"Hauk" - Hadvar didn't look surprised at all. "Hello, old friend!"

Was that a secret handshake or some such that they exchanged?

"We've met during the Great War, but Hauk returned to Cyrodiil afterwards and I stayed in Skyrim" - Hadvar offered, making it clear that this topic was now closed. This meant only one thing - there was so much more to that!

The conversation turned to lighter things, to stories of recent adventures in Cyrodiil - Ayleid ruins, caves, battles with beasts and undead, comparisons of draugr of Skyrim with skeleton heros of Cyrodiil, that sort of thing. It was already dawning when Lena finally declared she needed a nap and went into the cabin, and Geralt went to Sven's house where he was staying - Sven's mother insisted he should use their spare bed. Hauk and Hadvar stayed by the fire a bit longer.

"How do you know Lena?" - Hadvar asked.

"Met her through the Mages Guild."

"Tracked her down?"

"No, that was a real coincidence. I spotted her at the Arcane University, thought she looked out of place somehow, made some enquiries... Then introduced myself and we've been adventuring together ever since. I was getting pretty bored without any work, you know. I didn't know she was Dragonborn until later."

"That she is, but it doesn't mean much in itself, I think we both know that. It's what she does with it, if anything."

"Is that why you're here?" Hauk didn't believe that Hadvar was hanging around exclusively on Legion business.

"Well..." - Hadvar looked a bit uneasy. "The Legion is not going to interfere unless she tries to join the Stormcloacks, which we don't believe she will."

"And?" - Hauk was not to be put off that easily.

"And... Are you two... Should I leave her alone?" Finally! The real reason.

"We are just friends at this stage" - Hauk wasn't about to burn any bridges either. "But she is not wearing an Amulet of Mara."

She wasn't, not at that point anyway. It wasn't that long since Lena returned from the Shivering Isles, found her citizen rights suspended, went to the Northern Realms, met Geralt, came back to escape the war there, ran around the Imperial bureaucracy to get her rights reinstated, and she was still in the process of recovering her repossessed property, and now also this Dragonborn affair added on top. Lena's life was too tumultuous right now for the Amulet of Mara! Perhaps later. Hadvar and Hauk both saw that, and each was willing to wait.


20 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - Hauk and Lucien

Jarl Balgruuf had made Lena a thane of Whiterun, granted her permission to buy a house within the city walls and assigned her a housecarl - Lydia.

"This is all extremely inconvenient" - Lena noted thinking over her investigation for the Dark Brotherhood at breakfast. "I hope the group here isn't going to be spooked by my status and will still take the bait and contact me."

Lucien had arranged for rumours to be spread that Lena was the one who murdered the woman at the orphanage in Riften in response to some young lad's summons. One small detail however: it happened before Lena returned to Skyrim, but Lucien summised correctly that the group of Skyrim assassins wouldn't know the difference. Information wasn't their strong suite. All Lena had to do now was wait for them to take the bait and contact her, and being a thane - even just in title - was very inconvenient for that.

"Jarl Balgruuf just wanted to be the first to claim the Dragonborn" - Hauk seemed to have read her thoughts. "You are here for Lucien, aren't you? No, no, don't tell me - it's your affair." He broke five eggs for an omelette.

"How did you know?" - Lena needed some answers now, and Hauk saw that.

"I didn't, but I guessed. You had no intention of going to Skyrim before, in fact in the past four months you've repeatedly said you were not ready. Then suddenly you were leaving immediately. It stands to reason you got an assignment to follow through, and that could have only come from Lucien."

"It could have come from any number of sources - the Fighters Guild, the Mages Guild, the Legion, the... what do I know!" - Lena wasn't satisfied as yet. The omelette bubbled and squeaked in the pan filling the hunter's cabin with enticing aromas.

Hauk gave her one of his looks taking his eyes off the pan for a moment - oh please!

"The Fighters Guild does not operate in Skyrim, they are terrified of the Companions, so no. The Mages Guild or the Legion - I would have known, as I'm a member of both, and in fact you haven't joined the Legion yet, so don't exaggerate. What is left? A personal favour for someone? Possible, but I doubt it would have carried this urgency."

"Ok" - Lena conceded that he could have just deduced that, accepting a plate with half an omelette that Hauk handed to her. "But how did you know I was going to meet Lucien when I left the Shivering Isles? I didn't know it myself, I was just going to do a few things and come back."

"I know Lucien."


Lena was pretty certain that Hauk had never been a member of the Dark Brotherhood. Of course one did not need to be a member to have heard of Lucien Lachance, but Hauk's knowledge of him seemed to be more than hearsay.

"Our paths have crossed during the War. No, he wasn't after me and I wasn't after him, but we appeared to have had the same target, although with a slightly different purpose. I wanted information, and I reached the target first. Admittedly, there wasn't much left to do for Lucien when he appeared, but I let him fulfil his contract. We had a chat and parted ways. So I got the feel for the man."

"Which doesn't explain how you knew I'd be meeting him" - Lena wanted to know more, Hauk's delicious omelette disappearing quickly.

"When Garrus mentioned that someone gave you flowers that you carefully kept fresh in an urgently ordered urn, I knew it was from Lucien. Garrus was teasing me of course, but I knew just why you kept them - a reminder of things past, a recognition of his gratitude, more than gratitude - lily of the valley, was it? Of course you kept it, regardless whether you felt the same or not. And goldenrod and morning glory - back to business, sister. You've been promoted, whether you know it or not, so a special assignment wasn't far off. I wasn't certain of course when it would come exactly, but I didn't think it would be too long."

Lena suddenly saw a whole different side of Hauk. There was a lot more to him than met the eye, even after some four months of adventuring together, all the fights, the wounds and the campfires shared. With everything he just said, he still hadn't told her a thing about his duties during the Great War - that information wasn't his to give, the Legion was keeping its secrets. The same as Hadvar - be convincing without revealing anything of importance.

"I see..." - Lena started thoughtfully, picking at a bunch of grapes, deliberately, one by one. "Well, since you've figured out that much, you won't be surprised when something odd happens. Come with me to High Hrothgar, I need to follow up on that Dragonborn business anyway, and I could use the company while... well, I could use your company" - she concluded firmly, looking straight at him.

"Not taking Lydia with you then?" - Hauk gave her a wink, slicing up some cheese. "'I'll protect you with my life!' She's very eager, you know."

"'I am swooooorn to carry your burdens' - yeah, right" - Lena was particularly annoyed by that line. "She'll only get in the way and get herself killed. I'm not the kind of thane she was hoping to get assigned to. Although you might have been one - we can bring her along, if you like."

Was it time for another one of Hauk's looks? Perhaps. But he kept it to himself and just laughed.

"Ask Wolf to come too" - he said. "I think he's had enough of Sven's mother."

Posted by: Renee May 20 2021, 12:49 PM

Hey!!!!! smile.gif smile.gif smile.gif Glad to see you made it here, wow, what a surprise! cake.gif is CLOSING??? Wow, but maybe it's for the best. Maybe they will come up with a forum which is more handsome.

I shall catch up on Lena's adventures, dear. Have a Fishy Stick.

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 20 2021, 01:15 PM

Thanks, Renee! smile.gif
Yes, I guess they figured 7 days should be enough notice for anyone. Tells you something about their attitude to their forums... There won't be a substitute - we are to use Discord instead. :-O So Macole got me onto here (thanks, Macole!), seemed like a great place to share stories. :-D
If you haven't read Macole's final story on Beth, you better hurry before it's all gone come Monday. He's done with Jandaga but I'm not done yet with Lena Wolf...

Posted by: Renee May 20 2021, 01:21 PM

Okay, I'll have a look at this weekend. Gosh, it's just so odd that place is gonna be gone. It makes me glad I didn't really post any really extensive works of fiction over there. sad.gif

You will notice Chorrol is a much smaller place. Same faces every day, and so on. I've always likened to a small country pub, in which you'll see everyone you know in the village, and get to know us well. Beth's forums are more like a sports bar with loud music, occasional fights, and also a lot of folks moving through (in the Skyrim and Fallout 4 / 76 forums, anyway).

Anyway, I'll shush now. smile.gif I'll let others welcome ye here, my dear!

Posted by: ghastley May 20 2021, 05:03 PM

Mine’s a pint!

Posted by: Acadian May 20 2021, 07:08 PM

Welcome to Chorrol, Lena!

What a fun saga so far! I'm about halfway up to present since your first post is much too long to fully savor in one sitting. So far, I like the smooth way you have handled time/distance to connect Oblivion and Skyrim. Though not familiar with the Witcher series, it seems like you certainly are.

Looking forward to finishing up your first post in the near future.

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 20 2021, 08:30 PM

Thank you! smile.gif I must warn you that I do bring multiple worlds together. But you don't need to know any of them really to follow the story - I explain what is required. Those are just my favourite characters, and so they all eventually board a ship and sail over the ocean to Tamriel. smile.gif

As far as the Witcher goes, he's Lena's brother and is quite a character in himself. My Geralt - the way I imagined him and played him in the Witcher series - has very little to do with the "real" Geralt - the one from the books. So just as well that you don't know him - he is not the same person. He he. It's all wrong here. wink.gif

I won't post anything new for a few days - the first post is indeed so very long. But you can see that individual entries are not terribly long, so it won't be too bad in the future.

Thanks for reading! smile.gif Glad you like it. smile.gif

Posted by: macole May 21 2021, 04:24 AM

QUOTE(Lena_Wolf @ May 20 2021, 07:15 AM) *

Thanks, Renee! smile.gif
Yes, I guess they figured 7 days should be enough notice for anyone. Tells you something about their attitude to their forums... There won't be a substitute - we are to use Discord instead. :-O So Macole got me onto here (thanks, Macole!), seemed like a great place to share stories. :-D
If you haven't read Macole's final story on Beth, you better hurry before it's all gone come Monday. He's done with Jandaga but I'm not done yet with Lena Wolf...

Glad to see you made it through Acadian's rigorous vetting rolleyes.gif

Hope you enjoy Chorrol as much as I do. The residents here have complained very little about the ramblings of an old spyrys. Personally, I think they are in for a treat when they see how you weave characters from different games into you story.

As for the Jandaga and his Ladies their story continues here uninterrupted. The last post in the Beth forms is like a ten thousand year jump to the future and in part is base on my real life experience. That's maybe more than anyone wants to know. embarrased.gif

Anyways, I save everything I have written so if anyone wants to see a far in the future ending I can do it.

Posted by: RaderOfTheLostArk May 21 2021, 05:31 AM

Welcome aboard, Lena_Wolf! Nice to have a new face around here...

...But I'm sorry, did you say is closing? As in the current forums?

I had to double-check the date of this thread's beginning post and see if Renee was confusing the old forum closure with this one. I thought I was going crazy. So they're really closing the current forums down, huh? Kind of strange after how much they made a fuss about switching to them in 2016/2017, but whatever. I haven't legitimately been on there in a few years. I'm not sure if Discord is the best solution, but it is what it is.

Anyway, welcome again to you, Lena! And h/t to Renee for bringing back the fishy stick. I wonder if that has still been a thing on

EDIT: We also have an Introduce Yourself thread in the General Discussion Forum if you want to put something there as well.

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 21 2021, 09:56 AM

Thank you, Raider! smile.gif Yes, Bethesda forums are going down... Rather unexpected, but there you have it.

Thanks for pointing me at the Introductions thread - I posted my hello there. Haven't had time to explore the forum yet, but will do in future.

Yes, I know about the fishy sticks... munch-munch... I even had one from M'aiq the Liar at some point, don't remember in which game... yeah, it's quite a thing. biggrin.gif

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 21 2021, 10:15 AM

21 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - Helgen bypass

Lena, Geralt and Hauk set off to Ivarstead in the morning. From Riverwood, the shorter route was to circle the East side of the mountain, passing by Helgen.

"Is the place still closed?" - asked Lena pointing at some charred corpses displayed outside the main gates. "Did everyone just run away? The devastation wasn't that bad, surely."

"It's not the devastation that's keeping most people away" - Hauk replied sending a few fireballs to the top of the Helgen wall. "It's the bandits. After the initial confusion, they quickly moved in. Hadvar told me" - he added seeing Lena's raised eyebrows and her usual 'How did you know?'. "The Legion should have stayed at Helgen after the dragon flew off, but most soldiers were killed trying to contain the panic and save civilians, and Talius was too slow sending a new contingent. By the time they figured out that the danger had passed, the place was overrun with Thalmor followed by bandits - they appear to be friendly to each other somehow. The remaining Stormcloacks ran off to the nearby camp - so much for the Real Sons of Skyrim. So now you can't even pass by Helgen without getting peltered with arrows from the walls."

"We'll have to sort this out at some point" - said Lena, sending a few arrows of her own.

"I thought you weren't going to meddle in Skyrim politics?" - laughed Geralt. "Way to go, sis."

With the bandits' shouts still following them, they continued up the hill, only to be promptly attacked by a Stormcloack "patrol".

"What on Nirn...?" - Lena swore getting off her horse and spinning to face her attacker. "Put away that thing - you'll hurt yourself!"

It only takes one strike with a blade to put down even the heaviest fighter - provided you get his heart. She did. Geralt went for a decapitation, which was equally effective.

"They didn't seem to be such great warriors" - commented Lena, rather surprised at the easy victory. "Why pick a fight then?"

"They probably thought we were easy prey. Their camp is just behind those trees, and I bet they are out of mead - as well as everything else" - Hauk commented, looking over the bodies. "Look - poorly healed scars, frostbite and their stomachs stuck to their spines. Supply problems, clearly."

Feeling a little guilty for killing people in need, our party continued on.
(click image to enlarge)

"Haemar's Shame" - Lena pointed at a cave entrance. "There's a shrine to Clavicus Vile in there. Last time I was in Skyrim, his dog had me go clear the vampires from this cave. It was another one of Clavicus' deals, of course."

"How so?"

"The vampires asked Clavicus for a cure and he told them to assemble at his shrine. Then he banished his dog Barbas, knowing that Barbas would pick up someone who'd help him to get back. Of course that involved going through the cave and killing all the vampires. That was the deal - they were now cured of vampirism. They had not specified that they wanted to stay alive."

Lena shook her head.

"So what did you get as a reward?" - asked Hauk. "Was it the Umbra or the Rueful Axe or may be the Mask?"

"Nothing. I declined it all, and now Clavicus Vile is indebted to me" - Lena grinned.

"Oh - you are his worthy student!"

They laughed at the story descending the mountain pass into the frost-free landscape below.

Posted by: Renee May 21 2021, 05:01 PM

Ah, so is Lena and her posse officially Imperials? Or did they just get caught up with the wrong Stormie at the wrong time?

"So what did you get as a reward?" - asked Hauk. "Was it the Umbra or the Rueful Axe or may be the Mask?"

"Nothing. I declined it all, and now Clavicus Vile is indebted to me" - Lena grinned.

Good for her! cake.gif

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 21 2021, 05:05 PM

Well, they are from Cyrodiil, so I suppose that makes them Imperial. Hauk is certainly Imperial, as he's with the Legion. Lena has not joined any faction yet, but I can tell you a secret - she's not joining Ulfrick, that's for sure. wink.gif Her brother is neutral - or so he claims.

Posted by: Acadian May 21 2021, 09:59 PM

Lena, thanks for the additional info you provided in your comment verifying a little more about weaving characters from other worlds/games/times into Lena's saga. Wonderfully creative - and a clever tool to support a neverending saga.

I did finish your first post and, in total, it does provide a good feel for Lena's complex comings and goings and her massive range. Nicely done and you have an engaging writing style!

I noticed that you added another episode, but I'll get to that within the next couple days. smile.gif

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 21 2021, 10:59 PM

Thank you, Acadian, glad you enjoyed it! I promise to hold off posting for a bit... although I wrote a few more episodes. They are like busses - you wait for days, and then several come at once. (Sorry for the tired joke!) I try to write them in such a way that missing a few episodes would not prevent you from following the story. It's like in life - sometimes you miss stuff and only hear about it later when it comes up in some other context. But I felt that a decent introduction was necessary, hence the very long first post.

I shall also be adding pictures in future! biggrin.gif

Posted by: Acadian May 22 2021, 11:54 PM

Well, I'm caught up as Lena continues her adventures, currently in Skyrim. Again, I like your idea of treating time freely and using characters from other games. May we expect to see such characters as Aloy, Minsc & Boo, Sir Keldorn at some point? tongue.gif

Having played Oblivion and Skyrim extensively before moving on to ESO in 2016, there are lots of nostalgically familiar moments here - with your own creative and welcome twists added.

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 23 2021, 06:02 AM

Acadian - thanks for reading smile.gif I know who Aloy is, but the other ones I had to google... ohmy.gif No, not them - I never played those games. But this story already has Jowan from Dragon Age Origins. I didn't include any of it this time because the first post was getting too long already. Jowan is currently exploring the Imperial City, so he's busy. smile.gif But we'll bump into him again later. The other games that are likely to be involved are: Two Worlds, Risen and Fable.

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 23 2021, 06:30 AM

24 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - Ivarstead - Ghost - Proving

They arrived in Ivarstead in the afternoon.

"Finally - some new faces!" - the innkeep was very welcoming. "Do come in!"

21 Sun's Dawn

Ivarstead was not a large village, but its location was very much at a crossroads, where the Whiterun-Riften thoroughfare split off North towards Windhelm. If there ever was such a thing as a Skyrim thoroughfare. The inn should have flourished though - and not just from High Hrothgar tourism. Yet it all looked a bit too quiet...

"It's the bandits. Nilheim might seem far away, but they ambush the road, so people stay away" - he explained. "That and that ghost..."

"What ghost?" - asked Lena sensing the real problem.

"In that barrow across the road" - the innkeep waved his hand. "He appeared about a year ago, out of nowhere. Haunts the barrow - chases everyone away!"

"That doesn't sound like a ghost to me" - Geralt whispered into Lena's ear.

"Has anyone gone to investigate it?" - asked Lena, not hoping for a 'yes'.

"No" - the innkeep didn't disappoint. "The guards say the Jarl isn't paying them enough to deal with ghosts, and none of us wants to either."

"You--" Lena started saying something unwise when Geralt pinched her in the small of her back - the only place he could get to that wasn't covered in armour.

"Don't" - he whispered. Then continued to the innkeep: "Well, would you mind if we took a look? We'll see if this ghost likes us better."

The innkeep looked at them as if they were mad, but had no objections to the enterprise, especially if they were to buy some food and drinks first. That did sound like a good idea, and after a meal and a few rounds of ale, they were ready to go.

"You two go" - said Hauk. "It doesn't look big enough for three people. And I've got an errand to run."

They left the inn together, then Lena and Geralt crossed the road towards the barrow, and Hauk crossed the bridge going South.

"Legion business" - noted Lena. "There's a camp that way."

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Shroud Hearth Barrow was a typical Nord crypt with draugrs resting in their alcoves. Some of them would occasionally get up, disturbed by the intruders, but that was nothing out of the ordinary. A series of linked gates spiced up the adventure, with the inevitable poisoned darts pelting you if you pulled the levers in the wrong order. Lena wasn't keen on the poison, but Geralt just laughed - his witcher blood could take much more than that.

The extraordinary thing in this barrow was the ghost. Yes, there was one, it was true. May be not a real ghost, but certainly a ghostly apparition - he greeted them as they entered, howling quite theatrically: "Leeeeeave this place! Leeeeeeave this place!" But when they paid no heed to his warning and proceeded, he retreated further into the barrow, howling some more.

"This is not a ghost" - Geralt said firmly. "Not a ghost, not a wraith, not an undead shadow - this... err... apparition is a living man. Somehow."

"There's magic that can make you ethereal, although it is quite rare" - suggested Lena. "We'll need to get to him to find out."

They proceeded through the barrow, pacifying some more restless draugrs along the way, and finally entering a secret chamber hidden behind a sliding wall. The "ghost" was inside, now ready for a fight.


Spectral magic finally dispersed revealing a body of a Dunmer. His journal was right there on the desk - he was searching for a claw needed to unlock the ancient part of the barrow, holding great treasure - or so he believed. He couldn't find the claw, and too much of the spectral magic turned his brain...

"Oh! As simple as that" - the innkeep was shaking his head reading the journal. "And we fell for it!"

"Spectral magic is very rare..." - started Lena, but Geralt poked her again: don't.

"Here - take the claw" - the innkeep pulled it from under the counter. "It hasn't done anyone any good, and why should it be kept here at the inn? Use it, leave it at the barrow, do what you want with it - nobody goes into the depths anyway. Just don't leave it unlocked when you are done - the dead in there are said to be restless. We don't want to be overrun by ancient draugr as well!"

Lena stashed the claw in her pack. It was past midnight and they left the barrow exploration for another day. Hauk just returned from his errand too, so they rented rooms for the night and proceeded sampling the local mead by the fire.

"If anything unusual happens during the night" - Lena started turning to Geralt - "don't panic and let it happen."

"What are you expecting to happen?" - Geralt looked at her shrewdly.

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"I don't know, we'll see. If nothing occurs, we'll go exploring the barrow tomorrow and stay here for another night" - Lena added as if it explained anything.

"You think they'll be imitating Lucien?" - Hauk obviously had an idea what she was expecting.

"I think they will, and I want to see just how good they are and what exactly they will do." Then turning to Geralt again she added: "Don't worry. Wait for me here - for days, if need be. I'll be back."

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22 Sun's Dawn

"Well, that is a surprise" - a woman's voice said from the dark, then someone pulled off a sack that was covering Lena's head. She didn't recognise the place. "You picked up one of our contracts" - continued the woman. "Now you owe us."

Ah, yes, they fell for it.

"Who are you and what do you want from me?" - Lena decided to play ignorance.

"I am Astrid, the head of the Dark Brotherhood - the Dark Brotherhood, that's right." She checked for the effect of her words, and Lena quickly arranged her face in a suitable expression of horror and admiration. "Aretino's contract should have been ours" - she paused again, and Lena added a bit of fear to her expression. Astrid seemed to be satisfied. "You can repay your debt by killing one of these... err... subjects."

She pointed at three figures kneeling in the next room, their hands bound behind their backs, sacks over their heads.

"Kill any one of them, and your debt will be repaid, and what's more - we'll welcome you into our family." Astrid seemed to be sure she was making an offer that Lena could not refuse.

"All right" - said Lena, and thought to herself: "Better do it right. She seems to go for the theatrics."

She killed all three subjects before they could start protesting.

"Very good - I'm impressed!" - Astrid looked really taken. She told Lena how to find the Sanctuary, and how to enter. She would welcome her properly there. "Oh - and here's the key to this cabin. See you soon, sister!"

Astrid vanished. "Teleport" - Lena thought.

She exited the shack, finding herself on a moor, far from Ivarstead. The Sanctuary too was a good distance away. She whistled for her horse, Roach appeared and Lena rode South.

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24 Sun's Dawn

Two days later she walked into the Vilemyr Inn in Ivarstead and found Hauk and Geralt playing Gwent at rather high stakes.

"Finally!" - Geralt greeted her. "That took a while."

"I told him not to worry" - said Hauk, folding the cards. "And he was losing anyway. Did you learn what you were hoping to learn?"

"Yes" - Lena replied. "I might have to follow up on a few things before we can return to Cyrodiil, but I need to think on that first. And go up to High Hrothgar."

It was late afternoon, and she didn't want to climb that mountain in the dark - she would go tomorrow. This night her sleep would be uninterrupted, and she needed a good rest after all that running around. The innkeep was pleased to have guests staying for a while, especially thirsty ones as these, so please, there's no need to rush - we've got rooms, food and mead at your convenience. How nice.

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 23 2021, 09:09 PM

25 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - High Hrothgar

"You should go alone" - said Geralt when Lena was finally ready to climb up to High Hrothgar. "It's up to you to do something with it."

Lena opened her mouth to argue, but Geralt gave her that look - don't even think about it. She closed her mouth, checked her blade and turned to leave.

"Wait, take this" - Hauk handed her a book. "Just in case."

She opened it - it was a Summon Dremora spell tome.

"Skyrim is shielded - you cannot summon any of your clannfears or daedroths, but dremoras do come through. It's best to be prepared." Hauk watched Lena take in the spell.

The climb started out easy, and quickly got harder and colder. Skeevers were replaced by wolves, wolves by ice wolves, ice wolves by...

"What was that!?"

Lena was flung down the steps with some force, but her iron cuirass kept her ribs from being smashed. A frost troll. She could just make it out against the blizzard.

The troll was approaching fast - Lena hid behind a rock. Quick - think of something!

Dremora. Time to try out the new spell!

"A challenger is near!" - roared summoned dremora. He fought bravely but the troll proved too much for him. Not waiting for the first dremora to disappear, she summoned another. And another. Then... wait...

The blizzard was getting really thick and she could hardly see what was happening, but the last dremora seemed to have defeated the troll and was coming towards her. He would be banished any moment now... surely his time was up...

"Here - take my arm" - he said helping her up.

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"Sanguine!" - she wrapped her arms around his neck. "What are you doing here?"

"Rescuing you, by the looks of it" - he laughed. "You summoned me to fight that troll."

"I'd never... I summoned a dremora!" - protested Lena.

"I am a dremora" - Sanguine pursed his lips.

She kissed him.

"It's been too long!" - she smiled. "But how did you get here? I thought you were back in your Realm after Sheogorath kicked us all out of his Palace."

"What Realm? I never bothered to build one - you know that!" - he laughed. "I've got a few islands, true, but the real fun is down here in Mundus. You got yourself noticed absorbing dragon souls and whatnot, and I thought you might need a hand."

"As long as it doesn't involve any goats, giants or hagravens, thank you" - she winked at him. "I've got to go see the Greybeards, but I didn't expect frost trolls along the way. It's supposed to be peaceful up here!"

"Perhaps they updated their security, or perhaps it was a test of your mettle" - Sanguine joked. "Either way, the troll is dead and the way is clear - as far as we can see, which is about three steps ahead in this blizzard. Come, I'll walk with you - I still know how to fight."

It was only now that Lena noticed an enchanted greatsword on his back. He came prepared.

IPB Image

"What have you done with the Rose?" - asked Sanguine.

"Lost it in a drinking game" - Lena blushed.

"That's my girl!" - laughed Sanguine patting her on the back. "If you want another one, you only have to ask - I'm sure I can come up with a suitable princely task for you!"


The weather at the top was remarkably clear, without any trolls in sight. Sanguine was taking his leave.

"Be careful now, little one" - he said, kissing Lena goodbye. "Don't let the Greybeards bore you too much. I'll be watching."

He waved and disappeared. Lena entered High Hrothgar.

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 24 2021, 11:06 AM

25 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - The next task

"Apparently, being able to absorb the dragon language straight from the dragons, doesn't make me a 'proper' Dragonborn yet" - Lena was saying to Hauk and Geralt in a rather annoyed tone. "I now have to go and fetch some horn from one of those crypts."

"And how is that going to prove you're Dragonborn?" - Geralt didn't get it either. "Anyone can go into the crypts, fight the draugr and get whatever is hidden in there, you don't need to be a Dragonborn for that! Unless there's a special test for you in that particular crypt?"

"There's no other way to find out but to go there" - said Hauk pragmatically. "Where is it?"

"Up on the moors, not far from Morthal."

"Charming" - Hauk shivered. "Never liked that place - too many monsters."

"Monsters?" - Geralt looked up. "As in - unnatural creatures to be slain by a witcher, or just unpleasant wildlife?"

"Both. Dangerous giant spiders and chaurusses, rogue draugr and skeletons, vampires, mad wizards, and of course unfriendly necromancers - they've got it all. Oh, and bandits and an occasional assassin - I believe they have their training grounds there." Hauk looked at Lena - "Isn't that where they took you?"

"How did you know?" It was becoming predictable, but Lena couldn't resist.

"Penitus Oculatus."

Of course. Just what exactly was Hauk's role in the Legion? It was pointless to ask - he'd never tell.

"Sounds wonderful" - Lena concluded. "Shall we set off straight away or shall we look around here some more? There are crypts to explore and bandits to slay" - she produced a bounty note for Nilheim.

"Let's stay here a bit longer" - Hauk wasn't keen on leaving. "The mead is good and the innkeep is friendly, so why not hang around some."

None of them was particularly keen to go to the moors just yet, so they decided to stay in Ivarstead for a few days.

Posted by: macole May 24 2021, 08:19 PM

Just the mention of monsters will get Geralt's attention every time.

Posted by: Acadian May 24 2021, 08:53 PM

Nice that Shroud Hearth Barrow is once again free of unghosts. Gerralt sure know his foes!

Oh, so that's what Astrid does if you let her live through your first encounter. Well, Lena does need info and to infiltrate deeper still.

"What have you done with the Rose?" - asked Sanguine.
"Lost it in a drinking game" - Lena blushed.
"That's my girl!" - laughed Sanguine patting her on the back. "If you want another one, you only have to ask - I'm sure I can come up with a suitable princely task for you!

- - Awesome!

So the Graydudes want Lena to head off to the other end of Skyrim to fetch a horn.

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 24 2021, 09:59 PM

QUOTE(macole @ May 24 2021, 08:19 PM) *

Just the mention of monsters will get Geralt's attention every time.

I think he might like it there on the moor. It might remind him of the swamps of Velen with the chill of Kaer Morhen.

QUOTE(Acadian @ May 24 2021, 08:53 PM) *

Nice that Shroud Hearth Barrow is once again free of unghosts. Gerralt sure know his foes!

Witchers are trained monster slayers - and I mean unnatural monsters predominantly from other worlds. Witchers can also lift curses and they know some simple magic. But most of all they indeed know their foes - this is the key. They have extremely acute senses due to mutations that they accrue during their formative years. Only a third of all youngsters make it through the training - the rest die as their bodies cannot take the mutations. But those who live have exceptionally fast reflexes, acute senses, amazing stamina (all-purpose), very high poison resistance and greatly extended life span. Plus of course the knowledge of monsters and elite fighting skills - primarily swords, but they are trained to use any imaginable weapon. In other ways they are just people, in so far as a supermutant can ever be "just" a person. Oh, and they cannot sire children, which makes certain things easier.

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 25 2021, 12:22 PM

26 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - The Sanctuary

“Well, since you like the mead here, you won’t mind if I pop out for day or so, will you?” – Lena looked at Hauk and Geralt with a most innocent expression. “You can play around with your new bow, too” – she added turning to Geralt. “Or lose it to Hauk in Gwent.”

Geralt wasn’t used to bows. Of course he knew how to use one – mostly in theory – but he always preferred his sword and a fire spray. But now with the dragons around, he was lacking a ranged weapon, so started training with the bow. They picked up some bows from the draugrs in the crypt, quite decent ones, judging by the new scars on Geralt’s neck. Now he wanted to return the favour.

“All right, you go do your thing” – Hauk replied looking up from his roast. “I’ll keep him busy – the soldiers at the Imperial camp here are getting bored and could use some practice. They’ve never fought a witcher before, either” – he added, grinning.

“Be fair now” – Lena smiled complicitly – “let them attack all at once.”

She hugged her brother, waved to Hauk and left into the night.

“Ah, raw meat” – Arnbjorn greeted Lena at the Sanctuary – “Astrid told me all about you. I don’t like you, and I will never like you, so you best remember that – I love my wife. But you can’t be all bad, since she brought you in.”

“Nice to meet you too, Arnbjorn” – Lena was a bit bewildered. Was that a challenge?

“I’m a werewolf, and I love my wife” – Arnbjorn repeated.

“Ummm…” – Lena wasn’t sure what he expected her to say.

“Don’t listen to the puppy” – Babette joined the conversation. She was just a girl… a child… What sort of a group was this?

Lena’s face must have shown her confusion, because Babette explained: “I was a little girl… once. About 300 years ago. Vampirism keeps you remarkably fresh.”

“Yes, I know” – Lena thought. “But who are you feeding on, Babette?” But she didn’t say anything.

The rest of the group was just as colourful. An ex-Shadowscale, a Redguard in desert garb (in Skyrim?), a grumpy old wizard, a Dark Elf who loved books, walks on the beach and unicorns…

“…and then I stabbed it with a crochet needle, just for fun.” She couldn’t crochet though, that was obvious – she actually said “crochet needle” – what a give-away. They are crochet hooks, of course, not needles… Let’s hope she could tell her swords from her axes better.

“I’m just an old man who doesn’t like to talk” – the wizard said rather unconvincingly. Then told Lena how he was such a prodigy since an early age, doing all sorts of advanced magic as a child, then setting their house on fire – quite by accident – then…

“Yeah, I get the idea” – Lena thought, listening, nodding, and offering gasps of surprise in all the right places. “That monkey suit fits you to the tee.”

The Dark Brotherhood armour design was… err… unusual, to put it mildly. They had leather armour and mage tunics and trousers, some gloves, some boots, some hoods – you could mix and match as you wanted. Black and red design. The armour was skin-tight and made her look like a giant spider woman, the mage’s tunic had big triangles on the front and back, just like a jester, all with a big Black Hand on red background. “So much for being a secret organisation!” – Lena thought in disgust. “Or have they gone commercial?”

She packed away her suit of gifted armour and excused herself for not wearing it: “I’m not good with light armour – always preferred heavy. I’ll switch to it when I’ve got my skills up.” They didn’t insist.

The Sanctuary was quite a cosy place all in all. They seemed to have taken over an old crypt, but there were no draugr alcoves – perhaps those had been cleared. There was a word wall though.

“Pretty, isn’t it?” – Babette commented seeing Lena studying the Wall. “That’s supposed to be in Dragon Language!” Babette pointed at the hieroglyphs. “No one can read it though.”

“You have no idea” – Lena thought but remained silent.

“Silence suits you” – commented Astrid joining them. “Gives you an air of mystery.”

“Oops – time for some small talk!” Lena thought and said with a smile, turning to Astrid: “Oh, I am just taking it all in! It’s amazing!”

“Isn’t it?” Astrid seemed quite pleased with herself. “I see you’ve been getting to know your new family.”

“Yes! And what about you? Tell me about yourself!” Lena said enthusiastically.

“Well, I killed my uncle and liked it. Then I killed again – and liked it even more. Life has been getting better ever since.”

“We have a lot of fun here” – added Babette.

“Can’t wait to join in!” Lena said, thinking that it was best not to ask about Sithis – he was a god of death and chaos, not pleasure and fun. She found a copy of the original Five Tenets, still framed on the wall, but smudged with ale and blood – you could hardly read the text. No one bothered reading it, clearly. “Are there any rules I need to be aware of?” – she asked, just to be sure.

“No, we’ve done away with the Tenets long ago” – answered Astrid. “All that discipline, and look at the state of the Dark Brotherhood now – we are the last group in Tamriel!”

“Oh, I see” – Lena answered, trying not to laugh.

The last group in Tamriel? I like to think of them as the Dark Knitting Circle” – she heard Sheogorath’s voice in her head. Yes, my Prince! You are right, as always.

Nazir had some contracts that no one wanted – just a few boring murders, not paying much, and under no time pressure.

“The targets aren’t going anywhere, so take your time” – he said, giving Lena the details.

“Yeah, why not just wait until they die of old age” – Lena thought making notes of locations. One was in Ivarstead – she might do that one first. She wasn’t planning on doing much work for them, but she wanted to see a few initial contracts through, to get a feel for how things were handled.

“I don’t want to get invested in someone who might be dead in a week” – said Nazir, cutting short their conversation. “Come back alive, and we’ll be the best of friends.”

“Oh, there’s no danger of that” – thought Lena, referring to both his statements. She thanked him for the contracts and took her leave.

It was raining dead hunters – there was one just outside the Sanctuary, and another one further up the road. There was no sign of struggle or wild animals anywhere.

“Sheo – is that your doing?” Lena asked into the emptiness. “I liked burning dogs better.”

She got no answer, and took it for a no. Was that a sign that she had embarked on a path of evil? Oh please keep up, it was way too late for that… Arkay embraced them all and never scorned her, and she didn’t much care for the rest. The god of death? I know him well… Welcome, Assassin.

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 26 2021, 07:30 AM

27 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - Nilheim - Riften

"Shhh - you'll wake him" - Hauk pulled Lena to the side. Geralt was still asleep in the other bed, it was 4 a.m. "You've got blood on your armour, you should be more careful - the guards here don't like murder." Hauk was wiping some smudges off Lena's cuirass.

"How..." - she started, but he put a hand over her mouth.

"Shhh..." - he looked at the door. "The guards have just been here looking for anything suspicious" - Hauk whispered into Lena's ear. "Give them half an hour and they'll forget about it, but you do need to lay low just now. They probably saw you come in."

And without another word, he quickly removed her cuirass and pulled her into the bed with him.


Lena saw where this was going and didn't protest - she trusted Hauk completely. He had far more experience in covert matters than she did - she'd simply get arrested and pay the fines, but it was far better not to get arrested.

"Oh - pardon me" - a guard walked into the room looking for Lena, and finding her in Hauk's embrace. "False alarm" - he added turning to another guard with a wink.

The guards left, and Lena raised her head to look over Hauk's shoulder. She saw shadows in the hall - the coast wasn't clear yet. She dived back.

The innkeep stuck his head into the door, looking at his guests with interest. The witcher was still asleep, clearly enjoying the comfort of a rather wide bed all to himself - here was a man who valued comfort when he had it. But the other guest... a Nord but not from here... and that girl - the witcher's sister... a much, much younger sister, by the looks of her... She was gone all day, then returned at night, and look where she's now... Well, love birds, you don't need to hide from me, I've seen worse.

The innkeep smirked and left.

"Thank you" - whispered Lena. "I'll be more careful next time."

She was tired after her long journey back and forth - the contract wasn't the only fight along the way.

"Skyrim has an awful lot of bandits" - she whispered to Hauk. "It must be the civil war, I don't remember it being that bad before. I am exhausted. Not all of that blood was from the contract."

She nestled next to her friend and fell asleep.

Hauk stroked her hair gently, thinking to himself again: "If only..."


"You can sleep some more, there is no rush" - Geralt looked into the room as Lena was about to get up.

"You heard me come in?"

"Of course I heard you, I'm a witcher" - he grinned. "I just didn't think it would help to show it."

"Well, I'm awake now, might as well get up" - Lena was putting her armour on. "What's for breakfast?"


It was a beautiful day, and Lena, Geralt and Hauk decided to ride East and see about those bandits at Nilheim that the Jarl wanted removed. As they approached the bridge to the tower, they saw a merchant sitting on the ground by his broken cart.

"Can you help me?" - he asked. "Bandits have attacked my cart and killed my horse. My camp is just over the bridge by that tower - get me there safely, and you'll be rewarded."

"Ai" - said Lena getting off her horse with a smile - "it will be our pleasure. Always up for a reward."

Of course this was a trap, but this time it were the bandits that got caught in it. Lena summoned a dremora already before the "merchant" declared that they would now be killed, and Hauk and Geralt were ready to join in while the bandits were still unsheathing their weapons. A short but fierce fight followed.

"We shall indeed be rewarded - he didn't lie" - laughed Lena. "But we will need to go to Riften for it. Shall we ride there today? The weather is lovely."

The weather was indeed lovely, and so they rode on.


"You have committed crimes against Skyrim and its people" - a guard stopped Lena's horse as they approached Riften. "Pay your fine and surrender any stolen goods."

"I think you're mistaking me for someone else" - Lena replied. "I don't steal. But I'll pay the fine since you asked nicely."

The fine was for an assault. She couldn't remember assaulting anyone unprovoked and not seeing it through.

"They couldn't prove murder and settled on an assault charge" - Hauk was explaining afterwards. "People rarely dispute assaults because everyone does it, just not everyone gets caught."

Ah, yes. She was in Skyrim.

The bounty for the bandits of Nilheim far outweighed the fine, and they still had plenty of coin for a meal and a room. They would stay the night, and go North West tomorrow.

Riften was strange. At the market Lena was approached by some fellow in expensive clothes insisting that none of her wealth had been earned by honest means...

"That depends what you consider honest work" - Lena thought spinning around. "You probably think I'm a wannabe thief and am going to be flattered."

"Well..." - she said hesitantly.

"I've got a proposition for you..." - Brynjolf suddenly broke off as Hauk stood behind Lena. "Well, I'll be at the Bee and Barb later if you want to talk."

"He's Thieves Guild" - Hauk said in Lena's ear. "Our paths had crossed at some point. I think he'll be staying out of your way now."

"Oh, that is interesting" - Lena was watching Brynjolf walk back to his stall on the market. She would remember his face.

They walked around the market some more, looked at the stalls, the Temple of Mara, the wooden houses on the main street. If it was supposed to remind Lena of Bravil, it didn't. Riften had the canal, the bridges and the wooden houses, and even the same patron Divine, but there was no Lucky Lady here and the atmosphere was decidedly different.

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"I don't know you - you looking for trouble?" Lena was stopped by an aggressive looking character. "The Black-Briers don't want strangers poking their noses into their business."

"So, there is a business that needs poking, then?" Lena looked him straight in the eye. "Ogre" - she thought. "Equal in force and intelligence."

Maul wasn't used to not have an effect. He stared at Lena menacingly and clutched his fists. She smiled sweetly, but kept her gaze cold. Geralt appeared from a side alley - Maul didn't know him either. The dilemma of what to do next must have overwhelmed him, because he turned around and walked off without another word.

"What was all that about?" Geralt followed Maul with his gaze.

"I have no idea" - replied Lena. "A local bully, perhaps?"

"Another member of the Thieves Guild" - Hauk commented, catching up with them. "This town is drowning in them."

"The Jarl's steward didn't think that the Thieves Guild posed any threat" - Lena related her conversation with the steward earlier.

"That's a convenient stance if you can't solve the problem" - Hauk shook his head. "The Black-Briers are a powerful family, and they support the Thieves Guild. They also often call on your friend Astrid, but the relationship there is more strenuous, I understand. The Black-Briers are demanding customers."

Lena was listening with astonishment, although by now she should have known better.

"How..." - she started, but Geralt touched her arm.

"Let the man have some secrets" - he said. "It gives him an air of mystery."

They laughed and went to the Bee and Barb.

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 26 2021, 06:46 PM

28 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - The road to Windhelm

"Let's ride North to Windhelm first, then turn West to Morthal" - Lena was saying at breakfast at the Bee and Barb. "I've got business near Windhelm, and it will be fun to stay right under Ulfrick's nose - right, Hauk?" - she winked at him.

"Oh, don't mind me, Windhelm is not off limits for Imperials, you know" - he replied, focusing on fried eggs on his plate. "Gosh, Argonians can really cook when they want to."

They set off after breakfast and tried to avoid too many distractions along the way. At Shor's Stone Lena started wondering how to get to the top of the mountain, as there was no obvious path - just ragged cliffs.

"What's on the top of the mountain?" - asked Geralt examining the rocks.

"I don't know for sure, but many mountain tops here have Word Walls and some have dragons to go with them" - answered Lena trying to guess whether there was a Word Wall on this mountain top.

"All right, let's see if we can find a way up - sounds like fun" - Geralt agreed.

They circled around the mountain, coming to the Northwind Mine first, but deciding against going in - a mine would go down, not up, surely. Then they found an ascending path on the West and came to a delightful spot - Clearspring Tarn. There was a cave below with a hunting bow on display and a troll ready to eat it. They killed the troll and left the bow where they found it.

"This is good for deer, not people" - remarked Lena examining the enchantment. "Leave it for the hunters."

After a short break by the pond, they continued up, and with a little persuasion their horses jumped over some rocks and landed on a platform with a Word Wall. There were no dragons in sight, just three confused skeletons in a bad mood. The skeletons taken care of, they looked around - the place was a camp, with several tents and bedrolls, some occupied by more skeletons. Then they spotted a set of doors leading into the rock.

"I bet there are more skeletons inside" - predicted Lena looking at Geralt.

"Your bet is off - that's too easy" - he laughed. "Of course there are more skeletons inside. Dead miners and guards, by the looks of it."

"Probably killed by the dragon last time one was here" - added Hauk.

They went in to clear the skeletons. The mine passage was quite short, descending quite steeply. Soon they came out on the other side.

"Why, that's the Northwind Mine!" - Lena exclaimed looking around. "It does go up when you look at it from this end. How odd."

So they were now where they had started a few hours ago. They rode straight North this time until they saw Dwelmer steps going up the mountain on the East side of the road.

"Oh - a Dwelmer ruin!" - Lena was getting excited.

"If we go in there, we might not come out for days - they can be very extensive" - Hauk was running his fingers along the relief on the metal door. "Perhaps we should come back another time."

This was sensible, of course. And boring. Lena went up some more steps and found another door - it wasn't locked.

"We'll just take a peek and come right out" - she said and quickly slipped in before her companions could argue.

Fortunately, this particular hall was quite small and looked like a storage locker. There were ingots of Dwarven metal, some books, and a translucent shard.

"I bet this shard is important for something!" - Lena exclaimed pointing at it but not picking it up. "I'm not touching it - it is bound to send me on a quest that I have no time for."

"Then make a note in your journal and let's go" - Hauk was itching to investigate it as well, but he knew this wasn't the right time. "This is Mzulft, by the way."

"How did you..?" - Lena started, but her companions just laughed.

Continuing up the mountain a bit further, they came to an Imperial camp. It was nearly 3 p.m. and high time for a break and a late lunch. The commander was in his tent, so they went to say hello.

"Optio" - the Legate greeted Hauk. "Back in Skyrim again, I see?"

Optio? Wow.

"On private business mostly this time" - Hauk replied shaking his hand. "We were just passing, and I wanted to say hello."

"It's quiet around here" - the Legate looked at his soldiers tending to the food. "Neither the Stormcloaks nor the Thalmor like Dwelmer ruins much."

They laughed as if it was an insider joke. May be it was. The Legate was old enough to have gone through the Great War.

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After lunch our party continued on to Windhelm. They arrived in the evening, and went straight to Candlehearth Hall. The bard was singing "The Age of Oppression", but otherwise the atmosphere was agreeable.

"I need to pop out for a bit - I won't be long" - Lena said to Hauk and Geralt once they got settled down with mead and roast. "Save me some roast."

She went back out into the blizzard.


Lena returned to Windhelm within the hour - her business didn't take long. She walked around the city a bit - it was rather dark and brooding, with overbearing stone buildings. She came to the Palace of Kings - the seat of Ulfrick Stormcloak. It was a grand building, certainly, but "magnificent" wasn't the term for it. Menacing, rather. Lena didn't go in and turned left instead, continuing her walk. Everything was decorated with eagles here - or were they vultures? There was a bird figure on every fence post, giving the area a feel of a battlefield.

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"Interesting choice of decoration" - Lena thought. "I'm not sure how I feel about that."

She noticed that one of the houses was for sale.

"You've got to be friends with Ulfrick to buy it though" - she thought, half-considering it. "But I still remember that old charm spell..."

Walking down the steps she came to the Hall of the Dead. Like everything in Windhelm, it was big, and to Lena's surprise, it looked empty. There were plenty of alcoves, but only a few were occupied - by skeletons, not draugr. The priest wasn't forthcoming, and didn't even want to talk.

"Strange" - Lena thought. "But where is the shrine to Arkay? Surely, they've got one?"

After a while wandering through empty halls, she found it. She always offered a prayer for the soul that she'd just released.

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As always, she received Arkay's blessing.


At the Candlehearth Hall entertainment was in full swing. Geralt was fighting two of the locals - apparently they provoked him.

"You say you're a Nord? Then prove it!"

"You want to fight me? Against the two of you, if I was kneeling with my hands bound behind my back and a sack over my head, then may be I'd be your equal. No, not even then."

Two minutes later no one was doubting that Geralt was a Nord. Mead and songs followed.

A mercenary in the corner had been looking at Hauk for some time. Finally he walked over to them.

"Mind if I ask" - he addressed Hauk - "were you not a travelling book seller some years back?"

"I might have been, why?"

"I'm Stenvar - I was but a lad then - you stayed with us on the farm during the War."

"If you say so" - Hauk's face was impenetrable. "I did stay with many families - accomodation during the War was hard to find, and a man has got to eat."

"I still have the book you gave me - The Book of The Dragonborn. I was fascinated by dragons, and look what happened - they are back."

"Umm... it is probably not your fault." Hauk's face was still impenetrable but Geralt and Lena were having a hard time not to laugh.

"Now I'm certain it's you!" - Stenvar wasn't offended, instead he laughed heartily. "I also now know that you were with the Legion at the time, Optio."

"You obviously also know that I am still with the Legion" - Hauk remained calm. "But I am no longer undercover and my rank is not a secret. Not even in Windhelm."

He looked around. A few people looked up at the mention of his rank, but War veterans were still respected in Windhelm, even if they were not with Ulfrick. Besides, Geralt's little display just before was enough to cool down most hot heads in the room.

"I wasn't thinking - I apologise" - Stenvar was getting red in the face. "I am a mercenary now, so mustn't take sides - mercenaries cannot be choosy." He crouched and lowered his voice. "I just wanted to ask - do you still do magic? I tried but it never came to anything."

"Of course, I am a Battlemage." Hauk snapped his fingers and a spectral rabbit hopped over the floor and into Stenvar's lap.

"Pumpkin!" - Stenvar exclaimed a little too loudly. Several people laughed. "You remember!"

"Pull up a chair and share some mead with us" - Hauk was now smiling. "Of course I remember."

Posted by: Acadian May 26 2021, 08:53 PM

The Dark Knitting Circle! And they have the goofy armor to back it up. tongue.gif
May I ask your inspiration for Babette? Her character seems familiar somehow.

Plenty of traveling as Lena's crew continues on to Riften then Windhelm.

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 26 2021, 09:10 PM

QUOTE(Acadian @ May 26 2021, 08:53 PM) *

The Dark Knitting Circle! And they have the goofy armor to back it up. tongue.gif
May I ask your inspiration for Babette? Her character seems familiar somehow.

Plenty of traveling as Lena's crew continues on to Riften then Windhelm.

The characters of the Dark Brotherhood are the real deal! And the armour too. Most of the dialogue is taken directly from the game. I didn't invent almost any of it... Not even Arnbjorn with his "I don't like you - I love my wife" line. I wonder what he'd say to a male Dragonborn? But he really seems to think that she's coming on to him... some ego there. ohmy.gif

The whole Dark Brotherhood line in Skyrim is a parody of the line in Oblivion, and I don't mean it nicely. Which is why I have a "solution" in mind. wink.gif

The Dark Knitting Circle is not my idea either. It comes from a mod that replaces all loading screens with Uncle Sheo's wisdom. biggrin.gif So yeah, Lena heard Uncle Sheo's voice in her head. It's all true!!! I don't write fiction. wink.gif

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 27 2021, 09:03 PM

1 First Seed, 4E202 - Dawnstar

Going West from Windhelm and aiming for Morthal, they somehow ended up in Dawnstar.

"This doesn't look like a moor" - Geralt noted looking over the frozen landscape. "Are you sure we're going in the right direction?"

"It's Dawnstar over there" - Hauk pointed at some houses in the blizzard ahead. "We've veered North too much."

"We followed the road!" - Lena protested. "But since we're here, let's at least stop for lunch."

Dawnstar was a nice little village... err... hold capital. It did have a port however, with a longship moored in it and with a passenger boat taking you to Windhelm. They also had a blacksmith, an alchemist, an inn and a... Mythic Dawn museum.

"Oh, that brings back memories" - Lena grimaced. "I don't think I need to visit that - it might end badly for the owner."

They went to the inn for lunch.

"Why did you not mention that you were an Optio?" - Lena asked Hauk making short work of her roast potatoes.

"The same reason you never wear your Imperial Dragon armour" - Hauk smiled at her. "I am not an open book, and neither are you."

True. May be this is why they liked each other so much.

"While we are here, by the way" - Hauk changed the topic - "we might want to take a short detour North - there's an old Sanctuary there, from the time when the Dark Brotherhood still had branches in Skyrim."

Lena raised an eyebrow.

"Yes, I know about that" - Hauk continued before she could ask anything. "I also know that it's been abandoned for a very long time. The enchantment on the door should still hold though, because no bandit was ever able to make it into their home - and no undercover Legionnaire either." He winked. "But you might be able to enter - or not, if the current group hadn't managed to break the enchantment yet."

This was interesting and warranted an investigation - they would ride there after lunch and stay the night in Dawnstar.

"Pardon me - I am a priest of Mara" - a dark elf approached their table. "I wonder if I could ask for your assistance."

"We are not looking to get married just yet" - Lena looked at him suspiciously. She didn't like priests of Mara, finding them too interfering in people's private affairs.

"It is not about that" - the priest didn't take offence. "This town is suffering from nightmares - perhaps you've heard, and I believe they come from an old shrine of Vaermina nearby. I was hoping one of you would come with me there - there will be fighting to be done, no doubt, too much for me alone."

"Do you know what exactly is going on?" - asked Lena, still eyeing him with suspicion.

"Not exactly, no, but I have an idea which needs verifying" - the priest was evasive.

"Who is Vaermina?" - asked Geralt with interest.

"A Daedric Prince of nightmares, in a nutshell" - answered Lena. "Well, a female Prince, but they don't call them Princess for some reason. Too cute, probably." She grinned.

"This sounds interesting, I'll go" - Geralt agreed. Then turning to the priest he added: "Let me finish my lunch and I'll come and find you."

The priest walked away.

"You two can take care of your respective business here in the meantime, and I won't be getting in your way" - he added shooting a glance at Lena and Hauk and returning to his stew.

It was true that Lena had business in Dawnstar, but she did want to go to Morthal first to get that horn from the crypt and be done with it. But it was not to be. Ok, Dawnstar first then.


Geralt went with the priest to a tower nearby. The priest was more than evasive - he was clearly hiding something. He also seemed to know too much about Vaermina, and mostly about Vaermina followers and their secret rituals. Geralt tried asking some careful questions, but got no satisfactory reply.

Then everything became clear. A group of orcs had attacked the tower wanting to kill everyone inside for the nightmares that they were having. The people inside were no match for the orcs, and after heavy losses they decided to seal the tower and place everyone inside in suspension in order to protect Vaermina's artefact. Geralt was to pass through the magical barrier and face the devotees and the orcs inside. There he was to find the artefact and the priest would then destroy it to lift the nightmares. Why the nightmares had started just now was unclear, since the artefact had been there for a very long time. Geralt wanted answers.

Inside the suspended realm, Geralt found three people deciding to erect the barrier, one of whom looked familiar... yes, it was the priest, and Geralt was looking through his eyes. He had been one of Vaermina's followers, yet he ran at the last moment leaving his companions to die in suspension with no means to escape or get help.

"And Mara accepted him as her priest just like that?" - Geralt thought, his opinion of Mara dropping markedly.

There were choices to be made. Kill the priest or spare him, destroy the artefact or claim it for yourself. Either way, the nightmares would be lifted, Vaermina said.

Geralt could never refuse a woman, so he killed the priest and took Vaermina's artefact.

"A crystal skull..." - he thought turning the staff in his hand. "Reminds me of a raven's crystal skull... another time, another realm... lilac and gooseberries..." He inhaled deeply - he could almost smell it. He never told Yennefer where he'd gone to. He was wondering whether she'd find him anyway.


With the business taken care of, our three friends gathered at the inn. It was only early evening, and although the sun had set, the aurora and the moons were giving plenty of light. They decided to ride to the old Sanctuary.

"Well, there's the door, but it won't open" - said Lena, having tried to unlock the enchantment. "My enchantment from Cyrodiil won't work of course, and the local group hadn't been able to break it either. Good."

The Sanctuary in the South that Lena had visited, also carried an enchantment - but it had been tempered with. It was secure enough to keep casual trespassers out, but it wasn't the original thing - Lena could tell. It felt wrong. The enchantment on this door however felt different, so it could well have been original. Whether anyone could still open it, remained a question that even Lucien wouldn't know the answer to. But the Night Mother would.

There was nothing else to do here, so they returned to Dawnstar. The news of Geralt's adventure in Vaermina's tower spread fast - no one cared for what happened to the priest, they only wanted the nightmares to be lifted, and with the skull in Geralt's possession, they were all sure their troubles were over. You'd think they would all rush to their beds for a good sleep, but no - celebrations were running into the small hours, and our party could hardly get any sleep at all. But they would still ride to Morthal in the morning.

Posted by: Lena_Wolf May 28 2021, 03:23 PM

2 First Seed, 4E202 - The Moor - Ustengrav

Riding West from Dawnstar, they soon saw the landscape change - they were coming onto the moors. Ustengrav was on the Eastern edge, and they decided to explore it before going into town. But first Geralt wanted to walk around the moor. It was obvious - the place touched him.

"It is cold, yet not freezing, there's the mist over the water, the buzz of dragonflies and the splashing of fish" - Geralt was getting poetic. "And rambling of walking bones right over there!"

A rogue skeleton put to rest, they continued wandering and trying not to get their feet too wet. The horses seemed to like it well enough, grazing on deathbells and nightshade. They were Nord horses - those mild toxins didn't harm them.

"I could well retire here, you know" - Geralt said looking at Lena.

"You? Retire? Whatever would you do with yourself?" - Lena couldn't quite imagine her brother chopping wood and making stew for the next couple of centuries.

"Well, provided Yen gets here, of course" - he looked into the distance with a longing.

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"Did you tell her where you were going?"


Lena put her arm around Geralt's shoulders.

"But the djinn was gone, yet you both still felt the same, yes? Well then, she'll find you. She is a powerful sorceress."

"But what if..." - he didn't want to continue.

"Was that another test?"

"Ciri wanted her in Nilfgaard."

"Ciri is now the Empress - she made her choice. And what she said when she went to fight that Elf - did you forget?"

Ciri was Geralt's ward, and a daughter of an Emperor. She was also - in Lena's opinion - a selfish brat. Geralt had revered her though, which is why Ciri's disdainful remark to him was so painful: "What do you know of saving worlds? You are but a witcher." Lena could not forgive Ciri that, and Geralt of course could never forget it.

After that epic battle when their world was saved, Ciri took over the throne from her birth father and became the Empress of Nilfgaard. She decided she wanted Yennefer by her side as her adviser, and what Ciri wanted, Ciri got. Yennefer however wasn't that easy to manipulate, not even by Ciri - her unofficial ward. Lena believed that Yennefer would choose Geralt over Ciri in a heartbeat.

"Come, Wolf, you know her, she'll find you" - Lena stood before Geralt with her hands on his shoulders. "Give it time - it's not that easy."

A spectacular appearance of Yennefer stepping through a portal would have been nice right now, but it didn't happen. Finding Geralt on the other side of the Great Maelstrom was going to take time.


Ustengrav was just another crypt. Yes, it was extensive, and it had many draugr walking around, and even a remarkable waterfall grotto with an open sky and a Word Wall. It was all very impressive and a nice adventure in itself, but nothing looked like a test for a Dragonborn.

Then they came to an interesting setup of three stones and three consecutive falling gates. As you approached a stone, its associated gate was raised, and all three had to be raised for you to pass, yet you could never stand close enough to all three stones.

"Ok, you stand by that stone and you by this one" - Lena told Hauk and Geralt to take positions.

No, that didn't work. The stones wanted the same person to activate them all.

"So this is the test, then" - Geralt observed. "Do you have a trick to stretch yourself from here to there, Dragonborn? You don't even have a tail."

"I don't need a tail!" - Lena was feverishly thinking what to do. She stripped most of her gear and tried sprinting between the stones, which worked and got all the gates lifted at once, only to drop back to the ground by the time she got to the passage. She tried that again. And again. Hauk and Geralt stood there with their arms folded watching her with amusement.

"You may want to strip some more" - Hauk was being helpful. Lena wanted to punch him in the ribs, but again he was wearing armour, so she just glared at him instead.

Oh, wait. The Greybeards taught her this shout... It might just do the trick.

The Whirlwind Sprint shout got her through the gates, but only just. She'd been running back and forth for a good half hour before she finally cleared the gates and pulled on a chain from the other side to lock them open. Phew, what a test.

"So then, a Dragonborn is supposed to be swift, first and foremost" - Lena summarised her experience while getting dressed. "I'm ready for a snack now."

"Let's pass through those gates first" - Hauk was examining the mechanism. "They are not going to stay open for long."

Through the gates and up the corridor, more draugr were waiting, but eventually they found a suitable chamber for a lunch break.

"I was expecting something where you'd have to breathe fire" - Hauk said disappointedly. "Not run around in your knickers - as amusing as that was."

"I can't breathe fire" - said Lena defiantly.

"Isn't that what Firebrandy is for?" - Geralt chimed in.

"Well, if you are going to make fun of me, then at least pass me the cheese." She was going to be teased about this for the rest of her days, she just knew it. Best laugh it off then.


"Oh, that is an impressive hall - and there's an alter at the end!" - Lena exclaimed when they entered what looked like the main chamber. "The horn must be here."

There was a horn-shaped cradle on the alter, but no horn. Instead, there was a note asking the Dragonborn to come and see a "friend".

"What? In Riverwood?" - Lena was furious. "Is it the innkeep or the barmaid, do you think? And I thought you had to be Dragonborn to get here!!"

Hauk and Geralt backed off - Lena was almost breathing fire.

Alas, there was nothing else to do but to pack the note and leave.

"Whoever they are, they didn't make any friends here" - Hauk said to Geralt in a low voice. "Your sister has got quite a temper."

Geralt watched Lena put down a small crowd of draugrs with fire and rage.

"She'll cool off eventually" - Geralt said, keeping his distance. "This is what I must look like when I'm angry" - he thought to himself. He knew exactly how she felt.


It was quite late when they came out of Ustengrav, rather disappointed with the whole adventure. There was a fire pit and some bedrolls by the entrance, and they decided to camp right there for the night rather than go to Morthal. Lena was still fuming.

"I'll take the first watch" - she said. "I don't feel like sleeping."

Some hours later Geralt got up to take over, but instead of sleeping, Lena walked off into the moor.

No, she wasn't suicidal. She had spotted an abandoned shack nearby, and wanted to check whether that was indeed the place where Astrid had taken her. She still had the key.

The shack was covered in blood outside.

"Deer blood" - Lena noted, tasting it. "How theatrical."

Inside it was as she remembered it - damp, dark and dirty. The corpses of the subjects that she had killed were still there, now starting to smell. She looked around for a trace of the teleport.

"There it is" - she saw a faded imprint of a rune. "A single use portal. Astrid must have an activator with her, or a special spell. Their mage is really something."

This was clearly a custom spell created specifically for this purpose. Hauk was right - this was their training ground. Lena made a note to pay more attention to the mage next time she was at the Sanctuary, even if it did mean sitting through more of his stories of greatness.

She returned to the camp, now relaxed. She didn't have the horn, but at least she learned something at the shack, so the trip wasn't a complete waste. She could sleep now.


3 First Seed, 4E202 - Delphine

The road to Riverwood was uneventful. Lena was unusually quiet and pushed on without distractions, Hauk and Geralt followed, sensing that it was best to let her be. In Riverwood Lena went straight for the inn.

"I am here to rent the attic room" - she told the barmaid.

"Well, we don't have an attic room, but you can have this one on the left" - replied the barmaid taking her money.

"This better be good" - Lena thought to herself going into the room and closing the door.

She didn't even have time to sit down when the barmaid came in asking her to follow. They crossed to the room opposite, where the barmaid opened a secret door leading to a cellar.

"Close the door and follow me" - said the barmaid in a commanding tone. She was no barmaid.

Lena decided to play along for now and see where this was going.

The cellar was set up as a small command post - armour, weapons, medicines, poisons and other supplies where here, as well as the crafting stations. There was a map of Skyrim on the table with some locations marked on it. It wasn't about the Civil War.

Delphine the barmaid gave Lena the horn and said that she was with the Blades. That figured. Elite troops who behaved like elite, weren't Lena's favourite people, and Delphine certainly fitted the profile - superiority incarnate.

"And if you prove to me that you are Dragonborn, I promise to tell you everything" - she said with an air of making an offer that Lena could not refuse. And this is where she was wrong.

"Thanks for the horn. I don't have to prove anything to you. Good day" - Lena said coldly and left.

The Blades weren't just the Emperor's personal guard, they were also dragon slayers, or had been, when there were still dragons around. There weren't many of the Blades left - the Thalmor were very thorough. But any troops can be rebuilt, and the Blades were no exception - fighting skills could be trained, no one was born a swordsman. What they needed however was a Dragonborn - someone who could permanently destroy dragon souls. The Blades' interest in Lena was obvious - they wanted her to fight and destroy dragons, now that the dragons were returning. They weren't interested in anything else. Lena didn't need to hear Delphine's story to figure it all out. She didn't know who else was around and how Delphine planned to rebuild the Blades, but she didn't care either. Find some other Dragonborn.

Thinking these thoughts, Lena returned to the hunter's cabin where Hauk was making stew.

"Well? Did you get the horn?" - he asked, stirring.

"Yes, here it is" - Lena turned it over in her hand. "It's a hunting horn."

"It's not what it is, it's where you got it from that matters though" - noted Hauk. "It was the barmaid, right?"

"Yes. She's with the Blades" - replied Lena rather reluctantly. She was annoyed and didn't want to talk about it.

"Yeah, I thought so" - Hauk smirked. "Never seen a barmaid command the ale to stop fermenting before."

Geralt returned with some venison and rabbit, and the mood much improved. They would have to go to Ivarstead again, but at least for now they could relax.

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"I've got a house West from here" - Lena said at dinner, looking at Geralt. "In case you've had enough of Sven's mother. I hear she doesn't let you out of her sight when you are in Riverwood."

It was Geralt's turn to get annoyed.

"True - the woman is very persistent. Where is this house and why have you not said anything before?"

"It's not that far, but far enough" - Lena pointed down the road West. "It's by the lake there, near Pinewatch, if you know it. But I haven't been there in a long time, it might have squatters now. Pinewatch is a bandit base, after all. The Jarl granted me rights to the Lake View in exchange for some favours." Lena looked up from her bowl, and seeing a bemused expression on Geralt's face, she hastened to add: "Bandit removal favours. The Jarl is not very scrupulous who he associates with, and has regular disagreements that need 'resolving'. He wanted to make me a Thane, but I refused."

"Yeah, the Jarl of Falkreath has quite a reputation" - Hauk adding grinning.

"Well then, we need to ride there and see what it's like" - Geralt liked the idea. "I could use a break from Sven's mother."

Posted by: Lena Wolf May 29 2021, 02:39 PM

4-5 First Seed, 4E202 - Lake View - Helgen - Ivarstead

"This is brilliant!" - was Geralt's comment when he saw the Lake View house. "And there is even a necromancer down by the lake for my own personal pleasure."

"Well, the house is yours to live in if you want it" - Lena laughed. "Be gentle with the necromancer though - I think it's just a novice conjurer."

Geralt looked tired. Something was bothering him, and Lena thought it was probably Yennefer - that she hadn't followed him yet. But he didn't tell her where he was headed! Finding someone on the other side of the Great Maelstrom was difficult even for an accomplished sorceress like Yennefer, and you had to think of looking there in the first place. But logic was useless in the matters of the heart.

"Why don't you stay here while Hauk and I go to Ivarstead" - Lena suggested. "We'll come and see you before going back to Cyrodiil."

Geralt agreed.

4 First Seed

The way to Ivarstead went through Helgen. The Western gate was unlocked, and after dispatching a few bandits, Lena and Hauk decided to look around.

Wooden houses were all destroyed - burned by the dragon or just collapsed under its weight. The watch tower still stood, with the Imperial banner moving slightly in the breeze. Even the execution block was still there. Lena shivered - she did not cherish that particular memory.

The Southern and Eastern gates were locked, and there was a lone Imperial soldier on the Southern wall.

"Shall we walk over to him and see why he is there all alone?" - Lena suggested, thinking he might need help.

"No, not like this" - Hauk patted his steel plate armour. "Not unless we're dressed in Legion armour. He is confused, he'll think we are hostile - I've seen a lot of that during the War. I'll send word from the next camp."

They slipped quietly towards the Eastern gate and unlocked it.

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Ralof was standing on the other side, looking lost.

"Hello" - he said. He didn't recognise Lena. It's been months and months since the dragon attack.

"What are you doing here? Why don't you go to the camp just up the road?" Lena remembered a Stormcloak camp nearby.

"Camp? What camp? Why?"

Lena looked at Hauk but he only shook his head.

"Well, there's food in the tower" - she turned to Ralof.

"I'm Ok, there are rabbits here. And snowberries."

She noticed a small campsite under the trees by the wall. Ralof would be Ok for a few more days, then she'd take him to his sister in Riverwood if he was still there on their way back. The Legion might do it if they got there first. She thought of letting the Stormcloaks at the camp know, but recalling their last encounter, she reconsidered. If the Stormcloaks were resorting to robbing passing travellers for food, then Ralof was better off on his own.


The innkeep in Ivarstead was glad to see them again, they stayed the night and Lena would go up to High Hrothgar in the morning.

"I don't have a double bed for you love birds, but I think you won't mind" - the innkeep winked at them.

They didn't mind. Skyrim beds were wide enough for two people, and were far better than scant bedrolls that they had to share so many times before. Love birds - no, friends - yes.

5 First Seed

"I'll go with you this time" - said Hauk in the morning. "Sanguine might not appear every time, and dremora churls aren't that powerful against frost trolls."

Lena had told him how she was surprised when Sanguine appeared instead of a churl last time she went to High Hrothgar.

"There might not be a frost troll there this time" - Lena objected. But then changed her mind: "But still, I'd be glad of your company."

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She was uncomfortable with this whole Dragonborn business. She didn't like Delphine but felt that she would not be able to avoid her for much longer. Lena still remembered quite vividly the disdain of the Blades last time around - during the Oblivion Crisis. They made her an "honorary" Blade, meaning: you are not good enough to be one of us, but we have to follow orders. Yet it was she and the "mere" city guards that were closing those damned Oblivion gates while the Blades stayed away in the Cloud Ruler Temple. She never wanted to deal with another Blade ever again, but it looked like she had to this time.

And the Greybeards. Wise old men? Or monks keeping secrets from the unworthy populace? Why was the Thu'um so important to the Nords in the first place? They never explained it properly, always saying evasive things like: "Follow the path of the Voice". Which path was that? The one with a frost troll along the way, it seemed.

She asked Hauk about the Thu'um but he didn't know any more than anyone else. He could tell her the legends and stories that every Nord child grew up with, but he didn't know where they came from, exactly.

"You will probably need to follow up on this and see where it leads you, if you want to find out" - he said. "I've got a feeling you'll get embroiled in everything along the way, Civil War included. Can't say I envy you there."

"Do you think I should join the Legion sooner rather than later?"

"I would not rush that" - Hauk looked at her searching. "You have other business as well. General Talius does not approve of Lucien Lachance."

"They would not need to know."

"Oh, they already know. Why do you think Hadvar is here? They are keeping an eye on you."

Lena would never join the Stormcloaks but this surveillance by the Legion wasn't exactly pleasant either.

"So what about that execution?" - she suddenly remembered the Helgen incident. "Did they actually mean to behead me?"

"No, not then. You were not Dragonborn yet" - Hauk seemed certain. "They don't want to behead you now either - they need you. And if you behave yourself and keep Lucien out of Skyrim, they may even forgive you your little hobby."

"Ok, I promise not to assassinate any important generals" - Lena joked.

"Be careful with that. Wars bring a lot of work for any group of assassins, even one as mediocre as Astrid's."

What?! How did he... Lena opened her mouth in surprise but Hauk was already laughing, so she didn't say anything.


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"Ok, since you already know, I'll tell you" - Lena stopped her horse and turned to face Hauk. "These assassins are strange. Strange that they don't know - or don't care - that I'm Dragonborn, strange that they have no idea that the Dark Brotherhood is not dead... and now they think they've got the Night Mother here because Cicero brought with him a woman's corpse. It seems too ridiculous for anyone to believe."

"Wishful thinking, perhaps?" - you didn't need to be with the Dark Brotherhood to know that the Night Mother wasn't a mortal woman.

"It's as if they use our name and symbolism to get work - I doubt they'd get any otherwise" - Lena looked uncertain. "They've taken over an old Sanctuary but it isn't theirs by right. They say they've done away with the old ways in order to survive, but I think Astrid simply used the name to build a brand new group that has nothing to do with us. There have never been any 'old ways' here - it's just Astrid and her rule."

"You don't like it."

"I... no."

"You could change it."

Lena looked at Hauk wondering what he was suggesting.

"I don't want to build my own group, even under the Night Mother, if that's what you mean" - she said slowly. "I am an Assassin, not a Listener. That's a very different job."

"I know just how you feel" - Hauk said after a pause. "The same reason why I am an Optio and not a Legate."

"Yeah - field work. Offices are not for us" - Lena said smiling complicitly.

They had already been to High Hrothgar to deliver the horn - and nothing noteworthy happened. They were now headed back to the Lake View where they would spend the night and set off to Cyrodiil in the morning.

Posted by: Lena Wolf May 29 2021, 04:17 PM

Note about Ralof

Poor Ralof is actually really standing by the Eastern gate of Helgen in my game, feeling lost. I started this playthrough with an alternate start (Fast Alternate Start for PS4) as a Dark Brotherhood assassin, so I didn't go through the Helgen tutorial. However, "Before the Storm" quest is still started when you go talk to Alvor, and there you find Hadvar saying you saved his life. So this is then the default. Ralof however is left in Helgen and never moved to Riverwood as he would be normally if you followed Hadvar.

Of course this gives me an idea. I didn't like existing Helgen rebuilt alternatives, so I might come up with something myself. Also, Ralof would make for an interesting friend with a good story, as long as you don't pair him up with Hadvar... hmmm... cool.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf May 29 2021, 07:31 PM

7 First Seed, 4E202 - Report

Lena was gone for three weeks, and now once again she was sitting at dinner with Lucien. She brought her report on the Dark Brotherhood group in Skyrim.

"It's a bunch of murderers. They kill for the pleasure of killing."

"Well, an assassin should not be avert to killing" - Lucien smiled. "What do you mean, exactly?"

"Exactly what I said: the only thing that drives them is the pleasure that they derive from taking a life. They don't care who or why. They don't serve Sithis or anyone else - only their own Pleasure."

"You don't serve Sithis either, or so you said."

"I don't. I serve the Brotherhood though."


Lucien gave Lena a long look.

"I was one of the young assassins sent to eliminate any and all of the members of Crimson Scar - your great-uncle's group" - he said still keeping his eyes on Lena's. "We were warned that the Crimson Scar members were superior to us in strength and skill, partly because they were vampires. For once, we were told to come back alive - retreating if necessary. 'Kill just one of them and come back' - we were told. 'There will be many more visits until we've killed them all.' It was a very unusual approach for the Dark Brotherhood."

Lucien was watching Lena's reaction. He knew that she had read her great-uncles journal and was aware of the events.

"In the end I killed your great-uncle."

Lena didn't divert her gaze.

"He was a crazy man and Sithis would have been pleased with either outcome. Whoever spills more blood. But Uncle had turned on his brothers first by turning some of them to his side, and thus he betrayed the Brotherhood. You were right to kill him."

"You do not blame me then?"

"No, Lucien."

They sat in silence for a while.

"Why did you disobey my order back then and refused to perform Purification?" - it seemed that Lucien had wanted to ask that question for a long time.

"I did not trust the 'evidence'. It didn't make sense to me. I could not see anyone in Cheydinhal to be traitors or why I should be above suspicion. I thought you might have been framed to give that order. I didn't trust where it came from. I served my family."

"And paid dearly for that. I am glad however that you proved to be a better assassin than the ones that were sent after you."

"Is that why you wanted me to rejoin?"

"You are my Silencer, I never replaced you" - Lucien answered simply.

"But... I refused your order! I was exiled, I never made it past Assassin" - Lena protested. "And I'm still climbing up through the ranks all over again."

"When you refused and several other assassins failed to purify Cheydinhal, the traitor panicked. He started substituting dead drops for Silencers of the other Speakers, and indeed several important people were killed before we figured out what was happening. But because it wasn't my Silencer doing it, and because I myself was exiled at the time - oh yes - when the others found the traitor, found his diaries, everything, my exile was called off, as well as the hunt for you. You were already gone - to the Shivering Isles, as we now know. I made you my Silencer then."

He got up, took a package from a chest and put it in front of Lena on the table.

"Of course, you didn't know it. Now you do. These are yours."

"Black Hand robes!" - Lena touched the folded robes as if to ascertain they were real. The cloth felt smooth, the enchantment tickled.

"Your current climbing through the ranks is just a formality, and because you refused a promotion - remember?" - he smiled.

"I asked for a house instead" - Lena smiled back. "But what good was it to you to have an absent Silencer?"

"I didn't want anyone else. I would wait for you to return - and you have."

"You've waited 200 years."

"It was worth it."

Lena looked up, then continued patting the robes, smoothing out the wrinkles, sliding her hand into the glove.

Lucien brought another bottle of Tamika West Weald - Lena's favourite.

"So what of the Skyrim group - should we eliminate them?"

"No, leave them be. They keep the name of the Dark Brotherhood known in Skyrim" - Lena raised a toast. "Here's to your ghost, Lucien - they believe you to be dead along with everyone in Cheydinhal!"

They drank and tried not to choke with laughter.

"My ghost?" - Lucien was amused.

Lena snapped her fingers and a Spectral Assassin appeared before them.

"You summon me again, sister" - he said. He did look a little like Lucien. He looked around, didn't see any threats, and just stood there, with his arms folded.

"Their mage came up with this spell."

"He doesn't recognise me" - said Lucien. "Whose ghost is it?"

"I have no idea" - said Lena. "I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't anyone's ghost at all. Their mage is quite gifted, this apparition could be completely synthetic." She dispelled the Spectral Assassin.

History books recorded the Purification of the Cheydinhal Sanctuary as completed with the Dark Brotherhood collapsing some time after that. But we all know that history books have little to do with reality. It seems that the Skyrim group imagined themselves to be the only surviving Dark Brotherhood group, and Cicero only confirmed their belief. Cicero however had never been a member of the Dark Brotherhood, just as the Night Mother could not be killed because she wasn't any one woman.

Lena didn't want to speak of the Skyrim group any more.

"Astrid told me to join the Thieves Guild to help deal with the fines and jail sentences. Me - Thieves Guild!!"

"I can see you doing it with only one purpose, and that won't be to deal with the fines" - Lucien nodded.

"Despicable" - they said together and laughed. More wine and cheese followed.

"I..." - Lena started hesitantly. She had to get something off her chest. "I wasn't away all of this time..." - she fidgeted. "I was coming and going... especially in the beginning. I had things that needed taking care of."

"I know" - Lucien didn't sound surprised. "The cure for vampirism being one."

"Yes" - that was not all, clearly. Lena continued to fidget. "And... I came here many a time, and I stayed here while you were away."

"And took some of my poisoned apples, yet left other excellent poisons behind. I know. I wasn't always away."

Lena knew of course that Lucien could just disappear, yet she had never checked to see whether she was alone.

"Is that why you replaced that narrow cot by this double bed? Added other furniture? I was expecting to run into someone else here, but never have, and after a while decided you just wanted more comfort."

"I came in late one night and you were asleep in my bed. This was the first time I saw you after you'd disappeared. I slept on the floor, and left before you woke up. Borba was very accommodating regarding the furniture. She's very discreet, too."

Borba. Of course.

"You kept my flowers" - Lucien said after a pause.

"I... I was surprised at the lily of the valley" - Lena said. "Are you sure?"

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"That I love you? Of course." He paused. "I require nothing of you, you keep your freedom. But if you ever... I'm here."


Lena was overwhelmed. She stood looking at Lucien, not able to move or say anything, and she didn't know what she would say. Tears ran down her face, yet she was smiling, her heart beating fast. She took a step forward and stretched out her arm - and touched Lucien on the shoulder. It was as if she had expected him not to be there. No, he was there, she hadn't dreamt it.

Lucien watched Lena's reaction in silence, giving her time to regain control. When she didn't, he stepped towards her and pulled her into a tight embrace - the way friends do after a long separation. For this was what they were first and foremost - old friends.

"Stay here tonight" - he said wiping her tears. "You need a good rest. I'll vanish and give you peace."

"I..." - Lena found her voice. "No, Lucien, don't go."

She got into bed and fell asleep, exhausted. It had been a long day.

Posted by: Renee May 30 2021, 03:32 PM

I am going back to the beginning, just because it'll answer some stuff, and flesh out some other stuff. Over at Beth's forums we were deep into Lena's story, so let's find out how it starts.

Having tried this and that without much success and having had enough of goblins stealing my sweetrolls, I walked into Bravil's Mages Guild hoping to steal one of theirs.

Awesome! This is like a lot of 16 year-olds who have been thrust onto the streets, I'd imagine. Just so you know, Acadian's Buffy also grew up in Bravil.

Oh okay good. So she gets taken in by the Mages Guild. Could she perform any magic at that point? Or I suppose they saw something in her, and wanted to take her in; steer a young Lena on the right path.

She went to jail for stealing a sweetroll. unsure.gif

And became infected with vampire's disease. Mages Guild had no prob with this, but the FG kicked her to the curb!

I am glad she told Thieves Guild to fokke off. Not that they haven't got their place in Tamriel, but for some reason I don't think being in TG suits her.

Did you (and her) enjoy closing Oblivion gates? How long did she spend doing so, roughly? I'll let you know later why I ask these things.

I like how you continue her story into the 4th Era. As you know, I have done this with basically most of my PC characters, as well. smile.gif A lot of my characters on console (PS3 or Xbox) lived in the 3rd Era, and did most of those quests in the vanilla game, whereas a lot of my characters on PC live in the 4th Era. It's how I explain all the modded content in their games, which weren't around before!

Whoa, she meets Geralt! As in THE Witcher. emot-ninja1.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf May 30 2021, 08:26 PM

QUOTE(Renee @ May 30 2021, 03:32 PM) *

So she gets taken in by the Mages Guild. Could she perform any magic at that point? Or I suppose they saw something in her, and wanted to take her in; steer a young Lena on the right path.

She might have been able to do some simple magic, she was rather gifted, being a Breton and her mother having been a mage. Not that she remembered her mother really - she died when Lena was four. But I think mostly the mages saw some potential and tookher in, you know how Kud-Ei is. smile.gif

She went to jail for stealing a sweetroll. unsure.gif

Not just a sweetroll, or rather this wasn't the first time she got caught. It was the famous "one sweetroll too many" situation. The City Watch had figured that a short stay in jail might make her think twice next time.


Did you (and her) enjoy closing Oblivion gates? How long did she spend doing so, roughly? I'll let you know later why I ask these things.

It took about 3.5 years to get it all sorted... If anyone tells you that the Oblivion Crisis was over within a week, just laugh in their face. wink.gif But of course there were other things going on as well, and as a vampire, she had to stay out of the sun... She closed a LOT of gates. It was easy enough once her illusion skill got so high that she could get 100% chameleon with rings and spells, but the sun was always a problem, or molten lava as is the case in Mehrus Dagon's realm. On the flip side however, Xivilai blood proved very nutritious. If you could get them to sleep first, that is. Or paralyse them for long enough. Dremora too - Sanguine is still being careful.

But did she enjoy it? It was fun at first, but became tedious after some time.

Posted by: Lena Wolf May 30 2021, 10:22 PM

8-10 First Seed, 4E202 - Dark Fissure

After that long conversation with Lucien the night before, Lena still felt overwhelmed. She was vaguely aware of Lucien moving around the room while she slept, so he didn't leave. He was making breakfast when she got up, and he didn't look tired - he must have slept too. It seemed this wasn't the first time, as he said, but it was the first time that Lena became aware of what she had been doing: staying in someone else's home without their permission. This was going to have consequences.

8 First Seed

Lucien finished cooking. A classic fry-up with a bloody steak for Lena.

"You look pale" - he said.

Last night, when he hugged her, his neck was so close to her face... and all she could think about was how good that vein looked... and that scent...

She had been drained, overwhelmed and exhausted - the things they discussed literally turned her world upside down. Two hundred years was a long time to wait. He must have been part-elf, because he didn't age much and he wasn't a vampire. An Imperial with a Breton name...

Lena's mind was mulling over these thoughts while she finished her steak. She was feeling better now, and the visions of Lucien's veins faded away. She looked up. Lucien met her eyes, smiled and nodded.


"Your eyes are back to amber" - he said.


It was time to get going, Lena had things to do, and Lucien probably did as well. She tried on her new Black Hand robes. Yes, she would be using these today. They were just like mage's black robes, almost the same, no insignia, nothing like the flashy outfits of Skyrim assassins that made them stand out a mile and be noticed - and perhaps that was the point.

"No need for advertising here" - she thought.

9 First Seed

It was almost 9 a.m. but Lena hadn't slept yet. With her business in the Imperial City completed, she stopped by the Arcane University to make some custom spells and to plunder their garden. She then went to her house on the Waterfront to practice the spells and brew poisons and potions. She was going to travel alone for a while and wanted to be prepared. She hadn't noticed that she'd been up all night.

"Well, I can sleep there" - she thought. The Mages Guild wanted her to do some surveillance and it could well take days on end, even a week if she was unlucky. She packed a bedroll and some provisions and set off to the Dark Fissure.

10 First Seed

Midnight came, and Masser was in Revenant. This meant that Masser stood just at the right angle in the sky to send a beam of purple light. What luck that it happened on the first night! It was a weekly phenomenon.

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The necromancers had set up an alter to convert grand soul gems into black ones under this light. Lena observed the ritual from the one place where the necromancers weren't looking: above them.

After that she decided to have a closer look at the alter. One of the alcolytes was still there.

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"Unwise" - Lena thought. "My black robes are not the same as your black robes."

She had enough information for Raminus Polus, but she was tired and decided to spend the day in Cheydinhal. She was also due at the Sanctuary to report on her job in the Imperial City. Raminus could wait another day.

Posted by: Lena Wolf May 30 2021, 11:31 PM

10 First Seed, 4E202 - Family

"Precise and discreet, as usual" - said Ocheeva handing over the bonus. "We expect another contract soon, if you want it."

"I do" - Lena looked determined. "I've been away far too long."

"Nonsense" - Ocheeva smiled warmly. "He always knew you'd be back."

Lena looked in Ocheeva's amber eyes and saw her adoptive grandmother before her. She too could see everything plainly.

"How..." - she hesitated. "Why did the others allow him to appoint an absent Silencer?"

"He didn't give them any choice. The Night Mother reluctantly agreed, the others followed. He was very busy doing everything himself, especially during the War there was a lot of work."

Lena fidgeted.

"I suppose I should be going... I'll be around, just leave a note upstairs when you need me." She stood up to leave.

"Oh" - she sat down again. "There's an ex-Shadowscale among the Skyrim assassins. Claims to be the last of his kind. I thought you might want to know. I'll be going back there at some point, in case you need anything."

"Thank you, dear" - Ocheeva smiled. "He's just a fool. His cell collapsed or else he was made to believe that it collapsed, and now he thinks he's the last one. They probably put him there on purpose too - without him knowing it. Not all Shadowscales are blessed with brains, you know. But I'll send word, all the same."

Ocheeva took Lena's hand.

"Those robes suit you. Don't worry about anything, dear. Things will fall into place when the time is right, and it isn't for a while yet."

Was that Lena's grandmother talking? Or was it just the Argonian way?


The news of Lena's reinstated rank spread quickly through the Sanctuary, not the least because she was wearing her Black Hand robes.

"Good to see you're really back, sister" - Antoinetta Marie greeted her. "I'm glad you didn't get killed... err... you know!" - she beamed at Lena. "I still think I should have Ocheeva's job, and I don't mind telling you this, since you know talent when you see it, too."

This had become a running joke in the Sanctuary over the years. Antoinette Marie was ambitious, and believed herself to be an exceptionally talented assassin. While she certainly had her merits, she was... shall we say... too talkative. And her cooking made Vicente ill.

"I thought you were gone for good" - Gogron joined in. "I was probably the only one surprised when you reappeared. I'm not that subtle!" - he chuckled. "Is it true that you're a Silencer? Have been all this time? Is that why Ocheeva and Vicente were out on jobs more often than usual? To fill in?"

Gogron was definitely not subtle - and not trying to be, either. "Bonus - what bonus?" - he used to say and chuckle. But he never missed his mark, doing things his way.

"Don't you start, Gogron" - Telaendril gave him a tender look. Then turning to Lena, she added, smiling: "He's such a brute! We're all glad you're back, wearing those robes. Even M'raaj-Dar, although he'll still say that the new recruit isn't fit to polish his boots..."

"We are also all glad to still be alive" - Teinaava hissed into Lena's ear. He was the only one to mention the failed Purification. "After that Argonian heart, I wouldn't take my chances against your Sufferthorn, Silencer."

Vicente was crossing the hall when he saw them talking.

"If I could have a word..." - he smiled at Lena.

She followed him to his quarters.

"I know you cured your vampirism, but that cure has some negative effects, does it not?" - he smiled again. "And I don't mean the looks - you obviously fixed that. That cure also leaves you weakened, your blood doesn't regenerate as well as it should. You noticed it, no doubt."

Lena was thinking of all those encounters with ghosts and liches that seemed to affect her far worse than anyone else. Like those ghosts in the Benirus Manor, and Hauk offering his neck to her afterwards. May be he wasn't joking.

"You are no longer a vampire, but you can still drink blood - and assimilate it into your own, like a vampire. You don't need it to survive, but you can still use it."

That explained those sudden urges... It seemed Hauk wasn't joking.

"Ah - but you no longer have the fangs. Or do you?" - Vicente seemed to have researched this topic very well. "Janus Hassildor and I had a long talk with your cure potion on the table. When Janus' wife could not be saved by it, he had to rethink his own existence. He offered me the cure too - we go a long way - but neither of us wanted it in the end. We had no one among the living that we would want to grow old with."

Lena was listening, and wondering just why she had been so eager to take that cure back then. She was young and inexperienced, she had assumed the cure would make her like before... and was bitterly disappointed when it didn't. This was a lesson in not assuming anything and not giving in to wishful thinking. The witch had never promised to make her like before - she only promised to make her mortal.

"I just wanted to say" - Vicente saw shadows passing over Lena's face - "now that you've taken that cure, you might need blood to recover from a bad fight."

Hauk wasn't joking.

"I have bottled blood here, as you know, just ask when you need it. Sister."

Sister. Lena was really back with her family. And Hauk... he knew what an ex-vampire would need... and was willing to provide it. Lena finally knew who her friends were.

Posted by: Lena Wolf May 31 2021, 04:35 PM

12 First Seed, 4E202 - Othrelos

"Someone killed Othrelos in his house in the Imperial City" - Garrus was saying to Lena over dinner. She had returned to Cheydinhal and bumped into him in the street. Garrus was just coming off duty, so they decided to catch up.

"Othrelos?" - Lena raised an eyebrow. "Who was he?"

Garrus smirked.

"It's Ok, I'm off duty, I won't tell anyone" - he winked at her. Garrus Darelliun was the Captain of the Cheydinhal City Guard, and Lena's friend. "He had a small non-fatal stab wound, but mostly his heart ripped apart as if from electrocution. His girlfriend found him."

"While holding the bloody dagger, no doubt. Was he seeing someone else?"

"He was, but they never found the dagger" - Garrus confirmed. "Leave the dagger there, next time. Or leave some dagger, anyway, I doubt you'll part with yours." He pointed at her Sufferthorn.

"So, she zapped him then" - Lena wasn't giving up.

"No scorch marks. It was poison, just like Fathis Ules. We are not all idiots, you know" - Garrus looked at her smiling. He was such a tease!

"Poor man... Othrelos, you said?" - Lena smiled back. "Scornful women can be quite dangerous, as Fathis Ules also found out."

"I wonder who's next" - Garrus mused. "They seem to be going for the Thieves Guild, and there have been reports of a peculiar wraith haunting the abandoned house in Anvil. Appeared fairly recently."

"Peculiar - how so?"

"It speaks - whispers - of the wrath of Sithis."


"Oh please! I know it's your doing" - Garrus looked Lena in the eye. "I am not Adamus Philida, and this is Cheydinhal, so don't worry - this is not going on report."

Lena wasn't worried about it going on report, but speaking about Dark Brotherhood business was against the rules. Except in this case.

"I heard Countess Umbranox put out a contract on her husband's life" - she said. "He didn't stay with her very long after he was unmasked as the Grey Fox a long time ago. Apparently he got bored with honest life and disappeared on her. So here's another scornful woman."

"I've heard the same" - Garrus nodded. "But what's with the wraith?"

"I hear the lady wanted him to be afraid first, a quick death being too merciful for her liking."

"That explains the deaths of the other Thieves Guild members, too. Very good indeed!" Garrus did not approve of the Thieves Guild.

"How do you like your Captain's duties, now that you are no longer stuck patrolling the throne room all day?" - asked Lena changing the topic.

"Much better!" - Garrus refilled their goblets. "That Regina Regis is also whipping the guards into shape as I never could. As a second in command, she runs the barracks now, while I... why, I get to stroll around town and talk to passers by!"


"So where are you off to next?" - Garrus asked after a while.

"South. To face some necromancers for the Mages Guild at Nenyond Twyll and to retrieve something from a tomb at Water's Edge for the Fighters Guild" - Lena went through her journal.

"Is Hauk with you?"

"No, he's been called away."

"Well, if you'd like company..." - Garrus put on his most charming smile - "I'm sure I can get time off."

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It's been a month since their last adventure together, and Garrus was getting bored. Lena couldn't refuse him, even if she wanted to.

Posted by: Lena Wolf May 31 2021, 05:23 PM

What follows happened over a month ago - this is how Garrus and Lena met.


2 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - Garrus Darelliun

Garrus Darelliun was pushing 40. Born too late to fight in the Great War, he grew up in its shadow, admiring the great heros and wishing he'd be just a bit older to join them. Instead, he joined the Imperial City Watch.

The Imperial City had many attractions for a young man, many attractions in female form. He was quite the ladies' man and was having the time of his life until one of the ladies turned out to be a rich heiress not willing to share. He heard the wedding bells ring, dropped everything and ran - he applied for a transfer to Chorrol where there was an opening at the Castle.

Chorrol was boring. After the pleasures of the Imperial City, Garrus was suffering from the lack of entertainment. Chapel services on Sundas and getting drunk at The Grey Mare was just not cutting it for him. He started looking at the castle maids... Quite shapely girls, for the most part. Garrus' life improved for a short while until the Captain took him to one side and said that the Countess did not appreciate such libertarian tastes in her guards, and Garrus was either to stop it immediately, or else to seek transfer.

"I'd choose transfer" - advised the Captain. "The Countess is very pious. Emfrid and I have to sneak around so much to keep our relationship under wraps - we don't really want to get married, not now anyway. But in Chorrol you are either married or you practice abstinence. If I were you, I'd choose Cheydinhal - it is basically a Dunmer and Orc city, they have very different ideas of propriety. You'll fit right in."

The Captain was right. Cheydinhal was a bit strange at first, but Garrus quickly found his pace. The ladies were very friendly indeed.

That was 15 years ago. The ladies were still friendly, and Garrus was still popular, but he started to wonder whether he was missing out on something in life. Marriage and family? Nah, that couldn't be it. His own house? But as the second in command, he had his own room at the barracks and was quite content, so that wasn't it either. Something intangible, something to do with the heroes of the Great War that he used to admire as a boy... Something that Borba mentioned about that new girl in town - an adventurer, she said. Adventurer...

Garrus was pondering this and that standing guard in the throne room of the castle, when Lena walked in saying that Aldos Othran had lost it, attacked a guard and was killed, and now Llevana Nedaren wanted to finish Ulrich Leland in retaliation for her friend. Oh no! Garrus wouldn't stand for murder, but had no issues with a bit of snooping around. He gave Lena a key to Ulrich's room and hoped she had the skill to remain undetected. She did - she brought the evidence that put Ulrich in prison and promoted Garrus to Captain. Lena got her reward and left, and Garrus resumed being bored.

Adventurer... what was it like? Who was this girl? She looked so young, but somehow seemed to be older...

One big boon of being the Captain of a City Guard was an almost unrestricted access to the Imperial Archives, in particular if you had an excuse. Lena taking over the Abandoned House was a good excuse to request her file, even though the Count didn't ask for it for some reason.

Lena's file made for interesting reading. Born some 20 years before the Oblivion Crisis... with a string of petty thefts - mostly food... was briefly jailed at the Imperial Prison... turned up in Kvatch and Bruma... was a registered vampire but no assaults... member of the Mages Guild... some unconfirmed rumours of... reducted... then nothing. Vanished. Disappeared from the face of the Nirn. And then almost 200 years later she reappeared, started reclaiming her citizen's rights. There was no reason to refuse, and she was no longer a vampire. Proceedings took time, but now she's fully reinstated. Age? Unknown.

When the renovations of the Wolf Sanctuary were complete, the Count asked Garrus to verify that the building was conform planning regulations.

"Planning... regulations?" - Garrus never heard of them before.

"Well, you know, it's been abandoned for so long, and there is that well behind it, and I hear there's a passage in the basement that needed to be blocked - just see that it's all safe to use, will you? We don't want any accidents to befall our citizens, do we?" - The Count looked at Garrus with significance. Could the rumours be true? That there was a reason for that house to be abandoned? And if Lena now owned it, it must mean that she... Oh!

If an inspection of a sensitive nature was to be made, Garrus was the man for the job - the Count knew his people. Garrus didn't disappoint.

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"You are always such a welcome sight!" - he greeted Lena when she came to see him in the throne room in response to his note. He was genuinely glad to see her, glad for the opportunity to make her acquaintance. As the Captain of the Guard, it was not normally his duty to guard the throne room 13 hours a day, but the Count hadn't yet appointed a replacement, and Garrus was stuck in the castle until 10 p.m. But in this case he didn't mind.

"Can I come after 10 p.m.?" - He didn't have a choice, and Lena couldn't refuse.

The inspection went well. The well hadn't been touched and looked completely abandoned, like before. Lena didn't need it because she had plumbing done in the basement. Oh yes, that door was locked, and she hadn't seen anyone coming or going... Better not ask if she had the key.

Lena showed Garrus around her new home. It was simple and comfortable.

"You called it the Wolf Sanctuary" - said Garrus. "I can see the sanctuary in it. I hope to never see the wolf."

He smiled. Lena smiled back. He stayed for dinner.


"I've got to run - I'll be late for duty" - the bells on the chapel marked 6 a.m.

"When was the last time you were on leave?" - Lena asked.

Garrus could not remember. He was sure he was owed some. Definitely.

"I'll speak to the Count, he is waiting for my report anyway. Come and see me at the castle... after you've had some sleep. I'll be patrolling the throne room."


Some time in late morning Lena went to the castle. Garrus was standing in the throne room wearing a set of ebony armour.

"I got time off!" - he beamed. "The Count got someone new to patrol the throne room - a certain Regina Regis, my newly appointed second in command. She looks just like me - it's uncanny."

Garrus looked at Regina sideways.

"The Count was happy with my report and when I mentioned that I might travel with you, he immediately declared that I could have as much leave as I wanted. I hadn't taken any in 15 years! So I went to Borba's - she wasn't happy to wake up this early, I can tell you - but she softened up a bit when I said I was there for this armour. I've been eyeing it for months, but had no use for it until now."

"Come on then, my handsome knight!" - Lena smiled. "The world better watch out."

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Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 1 2021, 11:44 AM

13 First Seed, 4E202 - Shadowhunt - Robes - Arena

While Garrus was arranging his time off, Lena decided to take care of some chores and to test her new bow - a bonus from the last job. It was an unassuming but exceptionally light steel bow named "Shadowhunt" with a quad enchantment: weakness to poison, damage health and magicka, and turn undead. Good both for necromancers and their creations. So she went to the Dark Fissure again to clear it out.

The bow worked wonders. It also had an exceptionally high charge: 115 uses, 6700 units of charge.

"How do you even make that?" - she wondered. "A grand soul gem can only hold 1600 units, and the same for a black gem that can take sentient souls. What kind of a soul gives 6700 units of charge? A god?"

Let's hope not. She remembered Feyfolken - a book she read about a quill enchanted with an unusually large soul. Too bad no one knew whose soul it was.


Dark Fissure had a large chain of caverns with necromancers and undead, as expected. Shadowhunt performed admirably, delivering a poisoned arrow from stealth for maximum effect. Although necromancers could rarely be silenced, they would become confused when their zombies turned around and ran away. Even liches who were normally immune to turn undead spells, stopped their approach, although did not retreat.

The caverns inside Dark Fissure looked ordinary except for one where someone made a home, guarded by a couple of wraiths and liches. This must have been some important necromancer!

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Unfortunately he or she was not at home, and Lena decided not to abuse their hospitality.

"Somehow I don't think they would take it as kindly as Lucien did" - she thought, blushing slightly at the thought of her trespassing on Lucien's privacy all these years. She felt uneasy about it now, but it was much too late for that!

She was enjoying her new robes as well. It was clothing, so did not hamper magic, and although it did not provide any shielding, it had a five-fold enchantment to raise her skills of blade, marksman, sneak, illusion and speechcraft. In addition, the boots were so light and quiet, that they gave no penalty on sneaking at all.

"Nice not to have to sneak barefoot over these sharp stones" - she thought.

She took a closer look at the necromancers' robes and hoods. Black robes with a necromancy symbol on the front, no enchantment. But gosh were they heavy! And the hoods - as heavy as the robes.

"Whatever they are made of!" - Lena wondered. "This hood alone weighs as much as my robe, boots and gloves taken together." She patted the fabric. The necromancer robes felt soft. "Oh, this is velvet!" That was quite luxurious, and explained the weight. Her own robes were silk, however.


Having finished clearing the Dark Fissure, she returned to the Imperial City - she needed stealth for her next assignment and decided to enchant a plain black silk robe and hood with chameleon so that together with rings and spells she could get full concealment. Problem was - she didn't have a black silk hood to go with the robe.

"Well, I could use this blue mage's hood - it's nice and light" - she thought. "But blue doesn't go with black."

Oh girl - you are enchanting with chameleon! No one is ever going to see the colour of that robe or hood! But no, she knew what colour it was, and that was enough to put her off. So, where does one get a black silk hood? Because obviously, a black velvet hood from the necromancers set was not going to work with a black silk robe...


"Pssst, over here!"

Someone called out from behind a bush.

"Huh?" - Lena turned to look. She had just left Roach at the Chestnut Stables and was walking towards the Market District along the City Wall - much quicker to walk on the outside than through the city districts.

"Pssst, look what I've got for sale! You won't find this at your local store, that's for sure!" - Shady Sam beckoned her to see his wares. Potions, poisons, lockpicks and skooma.

"Ummm... I see" - Lena said, looking him over. He was wearing a black silk hood. "I want your hood, and I'll even pay for it" - she said.

"What - are you with the City Watch?!" - cried Sam, drawing his sword.


"So, one black silk hood sorted" - Lena thought picking up the hood. "Idiot."


The rest of the day was uneventful. Lena finished her chores - shopping, enchanting, spell making - and stopped by Hauk's house to say hello - she missed him. But Hauk wasn't at home, he'd been called away on Legion business after their trip to Skyrim, and was being kept busy still. Outside the Tiber Septim Hotel Lena ran into Jowan who was still staying in the Imperial City. He looked busy and a bit bashed up.

"What have you been up to?" - she asked, looking over his bruised face.


"What? You are competing?"

She thought it was probably unwise. Jowan was a mage, not a fighter.

"Yeah, I watched some fights, placed some bets, lost a lot of money" - he said, looking up. "Then I thought - I can do it just as well as they can. And yes, now I'm competing."

"Well, you are obviously not dead yet" - Lena was dubious about this whole idea. "Try to stay that way, will you? If you need money, you can always come with me - wraiths and liches might be a safer bet than angry Arena combatants."

"Ah - but they don't realise I'm a blood mage" - he said, grinning. "They draw my blood and think they are winning, and that's where they go wrong..." He lifted up his tunic to show some poorly healed gashes. "But you are right - this is getting too much. I'll need to take a break and let it heal first."

They agreed to meet up again soon, and parted. Lena was shaking her head. "Well, I hope you're still alive next time I'm here" - she thought to herself about Jowan. He was clearly getting himself into trouble again.

She picked up Roach and rode to Cheydinhal. Garrus was probably already waiting - they would set off South in the morning.

Posted by: Acadian Jun 2 2021, 07:36 PM

I like Lena's analysis of the merits of silk vs velvet for her robes. And the need for a matching hood of course. tongue.gif

Posted by: macole Jun 2 2021, 08:01 PM

Poor ole Shady Sam, should've sold the hood when the price was right.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 2 2021, 09:14 PM

QUOTE(Acadian @ Jun 2 2021, 07:36 PM) *

I like Lena's analysis of the merits of silk vs velvet for her robes. And the need for a matching hood of course. tongue.gif

A girl has to have style. smile.gif Even when in 100% chameleon. tongue.gif

QUOTE(macole @ Jun 2 2021, 08:01 PM) *

Poor ole Shady Sam, should've sold the hood when the price was right.

She tried to persuade him but he just got so angry... and you'd think he'd be able to tell who is who. I mean - in his line of work!


14-16 First Seed, 4E202 - Arkved's Tower - Charcoal Cave

Lena and Garrus set off from Cheydinhal going roughly South West towards the White Rose River following up on a job for the Mages Guild. Going through the forest, they were passing close to the shrine of Vaermina.

14 First Seed

"I happen to have a black soul gem" - said Lena. "What say you if we go talk to Vaermina and see if there's anything she wants doing?"

"Isn't that unwise?" - Garrus never dealt with a Daedric Prince before. "Aren't they all out to kill you?"

"Nah, not all of them" - Lena tried to sound reassuring. "Vaermina is all right."

Garrus was still not convinced but Lena marched to the shrine and placed a black soul gem on the altar. Vaermina had a task for her.


"See, it's not as bad as that! We just need to clear this fort" - Lena was saying as they entered Arkved's Tower. "The man really made a home for himself here!"

The first chamber was set up as a dining room with fine furnishings and silver tableware. They continued on. The second chamber appeared empty, only furnished in cobwebs.

"Ok, this is a little weird" - Lena conceded looking up. The room wasn't empty - there was a dining room set up... on the ceiling, suspended upside down. "He's a mage all right, but that's just silly."

The third chamber had two Xivilae waiting for them.

"Finally!" - Garrus exclaimed drawing his claymore. "Now you die!"

No, Xivilae weren't impressed. They summoned a clannfear each, and soon Lena and Garrus were both knocked out. Getting up and trying not to attract attention, Lena summoned a daedroth, stepped back and took up the Shadowhunt. Poisoned arrows with the heavy enchantment from the bow found their mark, and Garrus saw one xivilae going down and taking his clannfear with him. With the forces evened out, the other xivilae went down fairly quickly too.

"Who were they?" - asked Garrus standing over the corpses.

"Xivilae" - answered Lena with regret, cutting out the hearts. "Proud creatures, it's a pity to see them bound in Mundus like that. It seems we are in for more daedra."


Arkved had created his own piece of Oblivion in the tower, complete with a rocky oasis amid a sea of lava. Daedra were numerous and fierce, apparently rather annoyed to be stuck there. Garrus was having the time of his life.

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"Was it like this during the Oblivion Crisis?" - he asked Lena, walking among the corpses.

"Yeah, except that the corpses were mostly of mortals, not daedra" - she answered, trying not to step into too much blood. "But inside the Oblivion gates it was all red with lava like in that oasis. And full of daedra."

"Have you closed a lot of gates?"

"I... yes." She didn't seem to want to go into the details. "Come on - we're not done yet."

The decor in the tower had changed - there were now decomposing corpses everywhere, ready to be raised as zombies. There were traps and more daedra. In the final chamber they found Arkved, sleeping. He used Vaermina's orb to enter eternal sleep with eternal dreams. He did not fear the nightmares.

"What will happen to him now?" - asked Garrus when Lena picked up the orb.

"He will die in his sleep, eventually. It will happen anyway, whether the orb is here or not. He won't wake up because he doesn't want to."


Vaermina was pleased to have her orb back and gave Lena the Skull of Corruption.

"It's yours again" - she said. "Do try not to lose it like last time, will you?"

"Last time?" - Garrus looked at Lena suspiciously. "When was that?"

"A while back" - she answered, sliding her hand over the staff. "In another life." It certainly felt that way. The Dunmer at the shrine smiled in understanding.

16 First Seed

It was 5 a.m. when Lena and Garrus stood on the bridge by the Charcoal Cave looking at the Imperial City. They haven't slept the previous night, having cleared Fort Sejanus and the Charcoal Cave on their way towards the Faregyl Inn that should be close to Nenyond Twyll - their actual destination.

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"Well, Faregyl Inn isn't far" - Lena said checking the map. "But the Imperial City is right there - and my house on the Waterfront. We could drop off the loot, get some sleep and still not lose much time."

"I could use having my armour repaired as well" - Garrus was looking at the dents and scratches. "Those Xivilae with their clannfears weren't joking."

"Clannfears make for very good dogs" - Lena laughed walking North to the City.


By the time they got to her house and had a bite to eat, it was past 6 a.m. Getting up from the table, Garrus looked rather stiff.

"You seem to have a broken rib" - Lena said watching his movements. "Let me help you out of your armour."

"I thought you'd never ask!" - smirked Garrus risking another broken rib.

It seemed ebony armour could not stand up to Xivilae's warhammers for very long - Garrus had serious injuries, and his Atronach birthsign kept absorbing much of Lena's healing magic. She used what potions and salves she had at hand rubbing into the bruises, much to Garrus' delight. But jokes aside, by the time she was done, they were completely exhausted, fell into bed and slept well into late afternoon.


It was nearing 8 p.m. when all the chores were done and Lena re-packed her bag again.

"Arrows, bows, daggers, Honorblade, silver blade, staff, poisons, potions, provisions, wine, robes, shadow gear, gems, repair hammers. It's all here, I guess" - she checked her pack. Necromancers were not to be taken lightly.

"Those robes" - Garrus pointed at a set of black robes - "you changed into them in the Charcoal cave when we got separated, right? I practically walked into you - couldn't see you at all."

"There were too many bandits for me to battle head-on" - she said. "I went quietly. Black robes don't stand out in a dark cave" - she smiled.

"There's more to it than that" - he gave her a long look. "You move differently in them and fight better, more powerful and precise. And that bow - I've never seen a steel bow take out a massive orc with two shots."

"Well, that arrow was poisoned" - Lena smiled. "And, well, this is professional gear."

Garrus laughed.

"Professional. Of course" - he laughed again. "The Count is right not to interfere."


The sun already set when they crossed Lake Rumare on their way to the Faregyl Inn. They would spend the night there and go looking for Nenyond Twyll in the morning.

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Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 4 2021, 11:03 AM

17-18 First Seed, 4E202 - Nenyond Twyll - The Leyawiin Sanctuary

"What are you doing here?" - Fithragaer greeted Lena and Garrus as they entered Nenyond Twyll. "All the other battlemages are dead - the necromancers were waiting for us! I'm the only one left - follow me!"

And he charged into the ruin without looking.

"Wait!" - Lena tried to stop him. "Ruins have... traps... oh no!"

Fithragaer promptly ran into a rising floor trap.

"Battlemages are not used to Ayleid ruins" - she said turning to Garrus. "Hauk told me. They just charge in, and get caught out like this one. What a shame!"

"It's a good thing you're not on your own then" - Garrus said checking his blade. "It sounds like the necromancers mean business. Come on, let's be on our guard."


After much fighting, they found the mage that had infiltrated the necromancers. He had been found out, and turned into a zombie. Lena killed him again - there was nothing else she could do. It was sad news to bring to the Mages Guild.


"The Mages Guild can wait" - Lena told Garrus when he suggested to return to the Imperial City with the news. "Their battlemages are dead, their informant is dead, and the necromancers are dead, so there is no rush. I cannot believe they would send battlemages into an Ayleid ruin without preparing them for what might lie within."

"May be that's why they sent you to Vahtacen and not the battlemages" - Garrus reminded her of that adventure. "I wasn't prepared either, but at least you knew what to expect."

They were walking towards Bravil. Lena wanted to rest, re-supply and continue South.

18 First Seed

They got up late, and by the time their errands were done, it was past midday.

"Let's just travel to Leyawiin today, and see about the Fighters Guild business tomorrow. It's just outside the city" - Lena was ticking things off on a list. "There's an old Sanctuary nearby that is supposed to be refurbished now, we can hopefully spend the night there."


"Well, it is a bit odd. It was my great-uncle's, who went rogue from the Dark Brotherhood and became a vampire. He then changed his mind and found a cure, but the Dark Brotherhood had caught up with his group. That was over 200 years ago, but they had only just released it to me. It was empty last time I visited, but should be furnished now. I am not sure what to expect" - Lena explained. She looked up from the papers, and saw Garrus looking at her in amazement.

"Wow! Of course we should go see!"


"Shhh, it's all right" - Lena and Garrus entered the shrine of Sithis at the Leyawiin Sanctuary. There was someone there, kneeling. He jumped up, dagger in hand. Garrus took up his claymore. "Rest with Sithis" - said Lena.

"Mistress!" - the vampire kneeled before her.

"Where did you come from and what are you doing here?" - she asked. Last time when she came here with Jowan, the place was empty.

"Rowley Eardwulf brought me" - he kneeled again. "Said the Sanctuary was being brought to life. I'm yours to command, Mistress!"

"Then get up and answer my questions properly" - Lena was getting annoyed, yet she could also sense that the vampire was terrified. Garrus still held his claymore at the ready. A silver claymore.

"Rowley Eardwulf was with your Uncle" - the vampire managed to control his shaking. "He escaped before the Dark Brotherhood came here, so he wasn't killed. He took a few young recruits with him, myself included - he wanted to build his own group... he knew the Dark Brotherhood would come for your Uncle..."

"But he is not a vampire" - Lena recalled Rowley's features. Old, but not a vampire. Perhaps an ex-vampire. She took a dislike to him from the start.

"No, he took the cure, Mistress!" - the vampire kneeled again, then got up, remembering that he was told not to kneel. "His group did not do very well... the others were all killed, I'm the last one. So he sent me here... I haven't killed anyone in a hundred years!" - he said with horror. "Sithis will have my soul."

"All right, come with me" - Lena said, putting her arm around his shoulders and looking pleadingly at Garrus to put away his claymore. She remembered all too well what it was like being a solitary vampire. "How old are you?"

"Probably three hundred. I lost track of time..." - he said, sensing the warmth of her mortal blood and... something else. "You... are not a vampire... but you were, once."

"Yes" - she answered. "I am about your age, but not entirely. It's complicated."

They came into the dining room. In the brighter light the vampire saw Lena's robes.

"You are a Black Hand!" - he kneeled again, covering his head with his arms in defence.

"Yes" - Lena said, lifting him up. "But I am not here to kill you."

The Sanctuary didn't have a proper bed - there was just an ornate coffin. Lena had no intention of sleeping in it.

"I shall be changing a few things around here" - she told the vampire. "You can have that coffin or would you prefer a normal bed?"

"I..." - he wasn't used to be asked his opinion. "I... whatever you decide, Mistress..."

"Right..." - she looked at him shaking her head. It would take some work to make him into a person of his own, but she wasn't giving up on him. "Stay here - I see you've got someone to feed on" - she pointed at a sleeping prisoner. "Don't feed on anyone else - some Orcs will be bringing new furnishings, I'll warn them about you. I'll be back later, then we'll see." She turned to leave, then stopped. "What is your name?"

"Fenris Bero."

"House Hlaalu?" - Lena raised an eyebrow. The family name was famous.

"Once" - Fenris looked embarrassed. "Not since I... turned." House Hlaalu disapproved of vampires.

"All right" - she said, now really turning to leave. "We'll talk more later. I am Lena Wolf."


"Well, that was interesting" - Garrus looked at Lena with mixed emotions once they were outside again. "Mistress!"

"Yeah, I didn't expect anyone there" - Lena admitted. "That Rowley character was only going to furnish the place. With the very things that he had removed from it after the Dark Brotherhood was done there."

"So what are you going to do about that vampire?"

"I'm not going to kill him, if that's what you are asking" - Lena shot Garrus a glance over the shoulder. "Rowley will have to explain the meaning of this, first. Then..."

"Rowley won't be missed" - Garrus said, touching Lena on the arm. "I can see where your loyalties lie."

They were about to enter Leyawiin.

"Garrus" - Lena started, turning to him. "I am not a model citizen, and your association with me might well cost you your career. Just tell me if you'd rather we never met."

He looked her in the eye, then smiled.

"The Count would rather have someone around who knows what's going on" - he touched her robes. "I am not spying on you, and you would never take me on a job, but those Ayleid ruins need exploring, and weren't there necromancers to be kept in check? You are not just an assassin."

He took her hand and they entered Leyawiin.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 5 2021, 02:57 PM

19 First Seed, 4E202 - Water's Edge

At the Three Sisters Inn the usual happened. It was nearing midnight, and all three sisters were sitting in the dining room, chatting. Lena and Garrus walked in, looking to rent a room and have something to eat.

"They have very nice rooms, but the hostess is a bit odd" - Lena told Garrus before entering. "You'll see."

As they entered the dining room, Shuravi got up to greet them.

"If you are looking for a room, I've got just the thing for you - all the comforts... oh, it's you" - she recognised Lena. "Sharing with yet another man, I see?" She looked Garrus over head to toe.

"And still no wedding ring" - smiled Lena. "Hello, Shuravi. We'll take the suite, and some dinner too, please."

"Well, you can have food, but no wine! There's enough going on as it is."

Garrus and the other two sisters were watching with amusement. In the suite, Garrus couldn't resist.

"Sharing with yet another man, eh?" - he laughed. "Some lifestyle you've got!"

She was about to punch him in the ribs, but alas, he was wearing armour.

"If you don't want to share with me, you can sleep out in the hall" - she said instead.

"Oh, I am not complaining" - he said unclipping his sword. "What's for dinner?"


In the morning they went to see Biene Amelion in the village of Water's Edge about the Fighters Guild job.

"I need my grandfather's ceremonial armour and sword from the family tomb" - she said - "to pay off my father's gambling debts... Some people came and dragged him off into the night, and now I fear I'll be next! That debt is over 1000 septims!"

A voice in Lena's head said: "Just give her the money and skip the tomb visit." But Lena brushed it aside - skip the tomb visit? What a strange idea!

The tomb was just on the other side of the water and seemed to have quite a lot of warriors buried there, or rather left unburied in their rickety coffins. No wonder that they were now walking around brandishing their weapons!

Garrus cursed under his breath and started punching them.

"Why are you punching them?" - Lena asked between the fights. "What's wrong with your sword?"

"Nothing" - Garrus smiled. "They are just not worth dulling the blade. Besides, punching wraiths doesn't even scrape your knuckles."

As they progressed through the caverns, Lena started spotting pieces of ceremonial armour lying in the dust. Gauntlets, shield, boots...

"This is odd" - she turned to Garrus, picking them up. "It looks like they belong to the same set, and they are definitely ceremonial - mighty heavy and not that protective, but surely pretty. This may well be what we're looking for. But why is it all disjointed like that?"

"I blame the skeletons" - Garrus replied, shifting a pile of bones to the side. "I bet the armour pieces were not entombed but just laid onto a slab. The skeletons must have dragged them all over the cave. We'll probably need to make sure we've got them all."

They went through the caverns, fighting more undead and picking up a few more pieces of armour. In the final chamber they found a cuirass and a sword on a slab. Garrus seemed to be right. Collecting everything, they returned to Biene.

"Oh thank you so much!" - she was plainly ecstatic. "You have no idea what this means to me!"

Yet she only wanted the cuirass and the sword.

"Biene, you will need the whole set if you want to make any money on this" - Lena tried telling her, thinking to herself that there was no way Biene was going to raise 1000 septims even with the whole set. It was long out of fashion.

A voice in Lena's head said again: "You could still pay her debt and keep the fancy armour..." Light armour that was heavier than heavy with the protection of a cloth? Light armour that she wasn't skilled in? "But pretty!" - the voice said.

"No" - Lena said loudly. Garrus and Biene stared at her - no one else had heard the Voice. "Umm... no, you have to have the whole set" - Lena corrected herself. "We gathered it all anyway, so here - take it."

She dropped the remaining pieces before Biene, nodded to Garrus, and they left.


"That was a bit... strange" - Garrus said once they were back on the road, walking towards Bravil. "She didn't seem to know what she was doing there."

"Yeah..." - Lena was thinking of the voice in her head. "Oh wait, I think I know why."

She pulled him into the forest.

"There" - Lena pointed up the hill.

A statue of a dainty gentleman with a cane was surrounded by several people in varying states of undress.

"A shrine to Sanguine?" - guessed Garrus.

"No, Sheogorath."

IPB Image

The people were distinctly odd, as one might expect. The Prince would accept a lesser soul gem as an offering, provided it came with some yarn and lettuce. Lena didn't have any yarn, so she let it be. Summoning Sheogorath at the shrine while she could just go to the Shivering Isles was... well... a bit crazy. Besides, the Khajiit village nearby was still recovering from the burning dogs plague she had helped to unleash onto them last time.

"And this also explains your odd behaviour" - Lena turned to Garrus. "Punching the wraiths, indeed!"


They reached Bravil just before midnight. They were tired after a long trek and all the fighting, but glad to be back in the world of reason and clear thought. The skooma den was open as usual, and the gate to the Shivering Isles shone brightly in the night. Home at last!

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 6 2021, 04:45 PM

20-23 First Seed, 4E202 - Vanishing touch - Rowley - Borba

"That's been another great week" - Garrus said in the morning looking wistful. "I've got to get back to my duties."

"We haven't found all that much loot this time, I'm afraid" - Lena was looking at a couple of bows they picked up on the way, but there was not much else, really.

"Oh, don't worry about that" - Garrus was ready to leave. "You paid for my armour repairs, weapons, food, lodging, everything - so that's my share. I'll take your promise to come and find me again." He smiled.

"Without a doubt" - Lena got up to kiss him goodbye. "There are always more wraiths in need of punching."


"Well, now that he's gone, I should go about my own business" - Lena thought, going through her journal. "Fort Sutch... where is Fort Sutch... Oh, all the way on the Golden Coast. Right, never mind, Fort Sutch it is. Then Chorrol, Imperial City, and back to Cheydinhal. I better call Roach, that's going to take a few days..."

Roach was such a wonderful horse. You could whistle for her, and she'd come from gods know where, ready to travel anywhere in Tamriel (almost). But even she had a weakness: rum. Rum as they served it at the Bloated Float - and mind you, it was not on the menu. Whenever Lena stayed for any period of time in the Imperial City, and especially if Lena had taken the subway to quickly travel between the districts, Roach would disappear to the Bloated Float and stop responding to calls. There was only one thing that could get her to respond in such situations: better rum. Not the usual Captain McGee variety, but the feared Abecean Medusa dark rum. Which is why Lena made a mental note to stop by Anvil for a refill.


Lena called, holding a bottle of Abecean Medusa rum at the ready. Roach appeared. The bottle disappeared. They were off. Bravil - Skingrad - Kvatch - Anvil. Would they make it in a day?


The road from Bravil to Skingrad wasn't a road - Lena decided to ride through the forest to save time. Roach wasn't keen on that - there were always more beasts in the forest, and the ground was often rocky and difficult to navigate. True; but not if you were invisible.


Yes. One of the custom spells that Lena had prepared. Vanish and run, on touch. She was getting quite good at Illusion.

They arrived in Skingrad in the early afternoon. Roach needed a rest and Lena needed to refill her restoratives and poisons - she had used up most of the stock on the necromancers. So she stopped by her house for a few hours. No, they wouldn't reach Anvil in a day.

The road to Kvatch had quite a few bandits, trolls and minotaurs out and about, but the new Vanish and Run spell worked a treat, leaving them all rooted on the spot looking around in confusion. Lena didn't bother to fight them, just rode on. But Anvil was still far, and the climb to Kvatch was steep and long, and so they turned off South West already before Kvatch and reached the Gweden Farm in time for the evening drinks.

21-22 First Seed

The next day saw Lena go to Anvil, Fort Sutch and Chorrol, taking care of business and staying at the Motierre House for the night. She was rather early paying for the next month's supplies for the Battlehorn Castle, but Emfrid didn't mind. In the morning Lena set off for the Imperial City.

22 First Seed

Hannibal Traven was saddened by the death of his informant, although not so much by the deaths of the battlemages, Lena noted with disgust. She wondered just why they had been so poorly prepared - perhaps that warranted an investigation. Traven seemed to wage the war on necromancy at the cost of many, many lives. Lena's ever rising rank within the Mages Guild started to lose its luster.

Shaking her head and not in the best of moods, she went about the other business in the Imperial City - to see the trader who refurbished the Deepscorn Hollow. That just wouldn't do.

IPB Image

"Hello, Rowley Eardwulf" - Lena said approaching him at the Wawnet Inn. "I have gone to see what you delivered to the Deepscorn Hollow. I have a few, ah, questions."

She sat down at the table next to him.

"Whatever you mean!" - protested Rowley. "It is all first class gear!"

"Really?" - she smiled, setting her elbow on the table and smoothing her glove. "Like the dirty old rugs and tapestries fit for the best of skooma dens of the Imperial City sewers, perhaps? Or like a dining table for just two in such a huge place? Or perhaps like a complete lack of beds? I believe my great-uncle used to have a group of assassins there, he wasn't living alone!"

"But you understand... That was over 200 years ago... Things perish over time..." - Rowley stuttered slightly, but still kept firm.

"Perhaps. However, you charged me for the unperished variety. I want half of that money back."

"But I haven't got it!" - he was starting to become nervous, the purse being the weakest body part of any trader. "I supplied you with a servant and a prisoner, almost free of charge!"

"Ah yes, about the servant" - Lena looked at him twisting her ring. "You never mentioned any servant last time."

"But he's there to please you! In every which way! He's a vampire, like you-- oh, like your great-uncle!"

"Opened your eyes now, have you? My great-uncle never kept slaves."

"Well, slaves... Slaves are good - slaves are obedient. Vampires make great slaves, surely you must know. He will do whatever you say, or just deny him blood - and I mean whatever you say..." - Rowley finally noticed Lena's gloves and rings. "Oh!"

"Ah, you recognise the robes" - Lena smiled. "Then I suppose you know why I've come."


She was back in Cheydinhal just before nightfall. A report to the Fighters Guild and to the Sanctuary on finished assignments, an to Lucien personally on a few other matters. A visit to Borba's would have to wait until tomorrow.


"I have completed the Purification of Crimson Scars" - Lena told Lucien among other business.

"Completed?" - Lucien looked up from the papers. "Did we miss someone?"

"Rowley Eardwulf."

"Ah" - Lucien sounded disappointed. "I've heard rumours that someone had escaped, with a few new recruits, but then they were all thought to have been killed through their own ineptitude. Apparently not so."

"Rowley was no longer active as an assassin" - Lena explained. "He stripped the Sanctuary after you were done and was running a small trade business of sorts. The recruits that you mentioned were indeed all killed, except one, whom he was employing in another capacity."

"Go on" - Lucien was listening with interest.

"As a slave. Fenris Bero is a vampire."



"Well, well! And now?"

"Now he calls me Mistress and I have no idea how to make him into a proper person again."

23 First Seed

"It is so good to see you again!" - Borba was remarkably friendly when Lena entered her shop in the morning. "I've seen you wear your new robes last night. So very elegant."

Oh! Of course. The robes. Borba was supplying Lucien's place, after all.

"Thank you, Borba" - Lena beamed. "I wonder if you could supply some furniture to a place near Leyawiin?"

"Refurbishing your great-uncle's Sanctuary, are you? That Rowley Eardwulf would rip you off blind and leave you with rubbish" - Borba grimaced. "Just as well he's been taken care of."

How on Nirn..? Yes, how did she know? But it was better not to ask.

"Yes, I shall need new furnishings, and also to take away some of the... odd stuff that's there."

She gave Borba a list.

"That's no problem, give us a week or so - it's a bit out of the way."

"Oh, and I must warn you: there's someone there" - Lena wasn't sure how Borba would react to a vampire - many Orcs were quite averse to them. "A servant. I told him to stay out of your way, but still you should know - he's a vampire."

"I see" - Borba said slowly, looking thoughtfully at Lena. "A servant you didn't quite expect, right? Yes, that would be Rowley's style... to shift them off his hands once he tired of them..."

"You mean - there are more?" - Lena was picturing a dungeon filled with slaves.

"Oh no, not now, but there were more - in the past. Then the Empire got really tough on slave trade and Rowley just kept them for his own pleasure... err... service. You know, he wasn't very kind hearted" - she added quite unnecessarily. "There's a prisoner there as well, I take it?"

"There is" - Lena confirmed, thanking Whoever for Borba's professional touch.

"Well, not to worry. We are not all afraid of vampires" - she smiled. "You could always shop here back then, too."

That was true. Borba was one of the few traders who had had no issues with Lena's vampirism at the time. Lena paid Borba with the funds recovered from Rowley - only rightly so - and left the shop with a light heart.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 6 2021, 09:39 PM

23-24 First Seed, 4E202 - Arena

"Hauk! I missed you" - Lena waved to Hauk spotting him in the Elven Gardens. "How have you been?"

"Busy" - he replied, kissing her on a cheek. "After our trip to Skyrim, the Legion wanted my services again."

IPB Image

It was only now that Lena realised what was so odd about Hauk: his armour. It wasn't his usual steel set but Imperial Dragon.

"Yeah, they had me dress up" - he grimaced. "I haven't worn this since the War ended. But apparently it's inspirational for the recruits."

"Would you like to clear out some damp zombie-infested caves with me instead, Optio?" - Lena laughed.

"By Akatosh! When do we leave?"

"As soon as we find Jowan. He's getting himself into trouble again. Arena."



"Then we have no time to lose! Let me change out of this monkey suit, and I'll meet you there."


Jowan was in the ring, facing a heavily armed Orc.

"They are pitting a lightly armoured mage against a heavily armoured Orc!" - the bookie announced excitedly. "Place your bets, place your bets!!"

Lena didn't want to place a bet, but she had to in order to get to see the match. She bet a small amount of gold on Jowan.

"A strategic bet, is it?" - someone behind her noted. "She's betting on the mage - who will likely be killed - so she won't lose much money, but if by some miracle the mage does survive, she'll cash in a tidy sum against the odds!"

"I just hope the mage does survive" - Lena thought, feverishly trying to remember what they did with dead bodies - in case Jowan got killed and would need resuscitation. It's been a long time since she had competed herself...

The match had started. The Orc charged at Jowan, but Jowan evaded - he was quick - and fired some spells at the Orc. The audience applauded as the sparks and flames reflected off the shiny shield. The Orc charged again, Jowan evaded again, firing some more spells. They danced like that for a while. The Orc was getting burned, singed and frostbitten, but still he advanced. He had a mace, not a sword - he wouldn't draw blood. This Orc came prepared.

Jowan wasn't tired yet but he knew he could not win this way - the Orc was strong and kept drinking potions against elemental damage. One hit with that mace would crush Jowan's skull...

"And I would not be able to resuscitate him!" - Lena thought watching them.

Jowan drew his sword - the Orc raised his shield - Jowan slit his own wrist and cast a spell. The audience erupted in applause.

With a thump, the Orc fell to the ground, paralysed. A Spider Daedra fell on him, her fangs bared. A Nether Lich shot a spell from his staff. The Orc was now but a corpse.

Lena rushed down to the Bloodworks.

"Jowan!" - she brushed aside the Bloodworks master. "Not now, Owyn."

"Wolf!" - Owyn recognised her. "I didn't know the bloodmage was your protegee."

"Well, now you do. Jowan!" - she finally spotted him at the Basin of Renewal. "That's enough for today - come with me. Owyn will pay you later."

Jowan's wrists were still bleeding, so the Basin wasn't having much of an effect. Hauk came in, having changed out of his Imperial Dragon armour into blue robes. Owyn stepped back.

"Welcome, Optio."

"Hello, Owyn."

Did everyone know each other here? The other combatants stopped their practice and were watching the scene in disbelief. Wolf? The Wolf? Grand Champion that had disappeared? And Optio? He looked familiar... Wait... Heavy raiment... Gladiator. So this bloodmage... Oh!


Jowan was lying on the bed in Hauk's house while Lena and Hauk were trying to stop the bleeding from his veins. He was covered in cuts, at different stages of healing. Some had festered.

"Well, he is not going to die, but he's in no condition for any kind of adventuring" - Hauk concluded, turning to Lena. "And he needs looking after, or he'll run off to the Arena again."

"I'm not dead yet, you know" - Jowan piped up. "I can hear you."

"Good" - Lena came closer. "That was some spell you cast back there."

"Yeah, paralysis and a double summon" - Jowan smiled. "It only works when one is dead and the other alive."

"Illusion, Conjuration and Necromancy" - Lena noted. Then turning to Hauk she added: "He summoned a Spider Daedra and a Nether Lich. That Orc stood no chance."

"I see the need for blood" - Hauk nodded. "You would only be able to cast one of those spells normally. Is that how you've been surviving?" Hauk pointed at Jowan's cuts.

"Yes" - Jowan nodded. "I probably made it to Myrmidon now, Owyn thought that Bloodletter was ironic."

"You..." - Lena started telling him off, then remembered what Jowan told her about his best friend back in Ferelden. She did not want to become like her. "Jowan" - she started again. "It's your life of course, but please don't waste it - we still want you to come with us to fight wraiths and liches."

That was the right thing to say, and Jowan brightened up.

"All right, since you insist" - he got up and cast a healing spell onto himself. A rather special healing spell - his wounds promptly knitted together, infections banished. "Blood magic can be used for healing, too" - he smiled. "If there's a reason for it."

24 First Seed

"I didn't close my cuts to get decapitated by a hangover" - Jowan moaned the next morning, waking up on the floor in Hauk's bedroom. "How much mead did we drink?"

"A couple of barrels" - replied Lena from the bed. "You didn't want to sleep in the bed for some reason."

"I am not used to sharing a bed Skyrim style" - he said, getting up rather shakily. "I leave it to you two."

"Mmmm?" - Hauk was waking up as well. "If you want privacy, there's water in the basement - you can wash there. Although we've seen you naked already."

Jowan disappeared to the basement.

"He'll get used to it" - said Hauk filling the bath. "In the field modesty can kill you."

Lena didn't argue. Instead, she took advantage of the commotion to get into the bath first.


Washed and dressed and with almost clear heads, Lena, Hauk and Jowan sat at The Tiber Septim Hotel next door at breakfast.

"So, where are we going? You mentioned wraiths and liches?" - Jowan asked slicing a watermelon.

"There are a few Ayleid ruins in the Niben that need investigating" - Lena was pouring over a map. "We would be gone for a while, it's completely out of the way of everything."

"Sounds fantastic" - grinned Jowan. "I've had enough of civilization."

Posted by: macole Jun 7 2021, 02:24 AM

I didn't expect Jowan to use such drastic measures.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 7 2021, 06:27 AM

QUOTE(macole @ Jun 7 2021, 02:24 AM) *

I didn't expect Jowan to use such drastic measures.

Do you mean against the Orc or to close his cuts? Both were possible in Dragon Age. There he would summon a daemon from the Fade, and that surely is equivalent to a Spider Daedra and a Lich. Paralysis came as a freebie with the daemon. But it would take almost all of his blood, nearly killing him - which is why Lena and Hauk were fussing over him that much. Jowan shouldn't be doing it too often, but you know, he's not very level-headed... smile.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 7 2021, 10:41 PM

24-25 First Seed, 4E202 - The Niben Basin

It was well past midday when Lena, Hauk and Jowan finally set off from the Imperial City towards the Niben. It was foggy and cool, and they were able to make good time jogging and walking along the Ring Road, crossing the Upper Niben and turning off to the Yellow Road going South East. They passed by Cropsford where they were greeted as saviours by the Bretons who now managed to build their houses on that land. A very warm welcome indeed, but no, you're not getting any food here, and neither can you spend the night. Oh great.

So they continued along the road hoping to stay at the Crestbridge Camp, only to discover that no such camp any longer existed. Oh, there was an abandoned campsite, sure, but no tents, no fire, nothing. It was nearing 9 p.m.

"So, what do you want to do?" - asked Lena. "We can go and clear out the fort over there" - she pointed to the other side of the Corbolo River - "or walk around in the wilderness hoping to find another campsite, or else pick up the pace and aim for the Imperial Bridge Inn - we should probably get there by midnight."

"The inn" - said Hauk and Jowan in unison. "Don't want to wander around in the wilderness in the middle of the night looking for a campsite that might or might not be there. And that fort - we've been there already, it took forever to clear out and didn't Garrus nearly drown in that one? Or was it somewhere else?"

Lena couldn't remember in which fort it was exactly, and Jowan didn't want to find out, and so they marched on aiming for the Imperial Bridge Inn.

The inn was welcoming and accommodating as usual, with a wide selection of alcoholic drinks to accompany the meal. However, their heads were still slightly buzzing from the mead they had consumed the night before, so they thanked the publican and focused on the food. There were just the two single beds free, but plenty of floor space. Against his protests, Jowan was thrust onto one of the beds - "You still need to rest!" - and Hauk took the floor, for a little while at least.

25 First Seed

"Explain this to me" - asked Jowan at breakfast. "Are you two lovers?"

Lena and Hauk looked at each other, then Hauk answered: "Officially - no, unofficially - may be."

"What?" - Jowan was confused. "How is that?"

"Well..." - Lena started, not so sure what to say.

"We are friends, first and foremost" - said Hauk firmly. "And we've been travelling together for, what? - half a year now?" Lena nodded. "And things happen in travels."

"Things that don't happen off travels or with other people" - Lena added, blushing slightly.

"Wolf is not ready to make any choices or decisions, it's not the time" - continued Hauk. "No, we're just friends" - he smirked and winked at Jowan. Lucky for him, he was already wearing armour.


Mackamentain was a bit odd.

"Tombs of the Undead?" - Lena read an inscription above the door. "I've never come across undead that would still be entombed..."

And sure enough, they were not. Wraiths and zombies raised by the necromancers perhaps, unless the necromancers were just visiting.

The next door was even more interesting: "Necromancer's Asylum".

"Well, let's hope Mr. Umbacano likes them bloody" - said Lena pointing at an Ayleid statue. "I certainly don't want to know where this one has been" - she added stashing it in her pack.

IPB Image


Going East from Mackamentain, they found Deserted Mine that wasn't actually deserted but occupied by bandits. It provided quite a bit of gold and had a Minotaur Lord locked in behind some rickety planks.

"What does a beast like this do in the deapths of some forgotten mine, barricaded like that?" - wondered Jowan.

"Who knows!" - said Hauk. "Minotaur are supposed to be intelligent, sentient even. Although I think this one might have been touched by Sheogorath. The bandits probably put up the barricade for their own safety."

"Yeah, except that I was able to break it down with a single punch" - interjected Lena. "Perhaps it's rather the bandits who had been touched by Sheogorath."

It didn't really matter, because they were all dead now. Lena, Hauk and Jowan stayed in the mine for the night.

Posted by: macole Jun 8 2021, 04:52 AM

QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Jun 7 2021, 12:27 AM) *

QUOTE(macole @ Jun 7 2021, 02:24 AM) *

I didn't expect Jowan to use such drastic measures.

Do you mean against the Orc or to close his cuts? Both were possible in Dragon Age. There he would summon a daemon from the Fade, and that surely is equivalent to a Spider Daedra and a Lich. Paralysis came as a freebie with the daemon. But it would take almost all of his blood, nearly killing him - which is why Lena and Hauk were fussing over him that much. Jowan shouldn't be doing it too often, but you know, he's not very level-headed... smile.gif

It was against the Orc. I haven't played Dragon Age in a long time so Jowan's use of the blood magic was unexpected. Really didn't know it would take so much.
This is one reason why I like reading other's accounts on the use of magic. Seems like everyone takes a slightly different approach to how the spells work and how the casting affects the caster.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 8 2021, 07:43 AM

QUOTE(macole @ Jun 8 2021, 04:52 AM) *

It was against the Orc. I haven't played Dragon Age in a long time so Jowan's use of the blood magic was unexpected. Really didn't know it would take so much.
This is one reason why I like reading other's accounts on the use of magic. Seems like everyone takes a slightly different approach to how the spells work and how the casting affects the caster.

There is a lot of blood magic in Dragon Age but almost none of it is available to the player because Jowan could not be recruited into the team. However, some rules are spelled out, the most important being that while a blood magic powered spell is active, the donor cannot be healed. The donor not necessarily being the caster... in fact, for more powerful spells like summoning a demon, so much blood is required that the donor usually dies. Some spells take the blood of several people...

But Jowan isn't evil, so he wouldn't use another person's blood unless it was unavoidable. He is prone to go for spectacular effects though... and being in the arena, he just couldn't resist. smile.gif

Not all spells require so much blood of course. In fact, most spells only require a little - blood acts simply as a Fortify Magicka stimulant. So when an opponent draws Jowan's blood, Jowan can use it to his advantage to cast a stronger spell of the usual kind. Effective, if not spectacular.

There is blood magic in Skyrim (Equilibrium spell) to convert health into magicka, but in Oblivion you could only get a much weaker version to fortify magicka without replenishing it. And fortify magicka spell costs too much magicka to cast to be useful.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 8 2021, 07:55 PM

I realised that I had not introduced Jowan properly into this thread. Jowan is from Ferelden (Dragon Age Origins). He messed things up so badly, that there was nothing left for him to do but to board a ship - any ship - and leave Ferelden hoping to arrive Elsewhere.

What follows happened a few months back, soon after Lena met Jowan in Anvil. Jowan tells Lena about his past.


28 Morning Star, 4E202 - Conversations - Jowan reminiscences

"Turn over and let me treat your back" - Lena was saying to Jowan at the inn after their expedition to the Bramblepoint Cave. "Not wearing armour has its disadvantages. Those minotaures got you pretty bad."

Jowan was covered in deep cuts from minotaures' horns, and although his general health could be restored with healing magic, the bruises had to be treated with aloe vera to avoid infection. Lithnilian noticed Jowan's bruises, as well as Jowan's scars.

"Scars over the veins - you are a Blood Mage, aren't you? Not from Tamriel? Fascinating!" - There was no judgement in Lithnilian's voice, just interest. An Altmer sorcerer not of the first youth, he knew of many things not from Tamriel. "I would be thrilled to hear from you about Blood Magic, we know so little about it here. Perhaps tomorrow, when you are feeling better?"

Jowan was a bit taken aback, but Lithnilian seemed genuinely interested, so why not - one mage to another, they could have a conversation. Lena didn't mind hearing that too.

"Oh, you are a mage as well, of course" - Lithnilian looked at Lena with understanding. "And more. The Sufferthorn blade, the Black Band, the Spelldrinker amulet... Yes, so much more..." He was as discreet as he was observant.

"The potions you gave me will be extremely useful, thanks" - Lena referred to very strong Resist Magic potions that Lithnilian gave her as thanks for retrieving his notes. "My birthsign is the Apprentice."

"Indeed!" - Lithnilian beamed. "I'm glad I guessed right."


The next morning after breakfast they sat outside the inn enjoying lovely mild weather and beautiful views over the South bank of the Silverfish River. Lithnilian wanted to know how blood magic worked in practice - if blood was a material representation of life force, then of course it could be converted into magicka to power spells, or may be it could be used as is for some special rituals, not unlike Necromancy spells creating animated undead out of corpses. How much magicka would blood actually yield? Would it not kill the mage in the process? Oh - a mage could use someone else's blood instead of his own, you say? That opens up so many new possibilities, of course! And yes, I see why the Tevinter Magisters got so involved with that... But does that not corrupt one's spirit? Oh yes, Sithis will have claimed them long ago... And so on, and so forth.

For Jowan speaking about Blood Magic freely was not just strange - it was unreal. It turned his life upside down and ended any possibility of freedom back in Ferelden, and even though it carried no such punishment in Cyrodiil, it was a non-topic, something that wasn't spoken of. If Necromancy got banned by the Mages Guild, then surely Blood Magic would have been banned even earlier, had it been better known here.

"Well, I don't think Necromancy should have been banned" - said Lithnilian. "I'm not a member of the Mages Guild, so I don't speak for them, but as a fellow mage, I think it was a short-sighted move by the Arch Mage - look how many mages quit and were forced to devote all their time to Necromancy instead of just dabbing in it now and again. Mannimarco does not tolerate part-time members. Surely, Hannibal Traven must have expected this to happen. He must be going for an all-out war, and it is the mages on both sides that are to fall in it." Which was exactly what happened in Ferelden with the war against Blood Magic. Lena made a mental note to try to stay alive.


It was mid-afternoon when the discussion came to a close, and the innkeep declared that she was out of crab sandwiches, grapes, pears and oranges - she wasn't missing a beat in keeping her guests well fed.

"I'd like to take a walk now" - Jowan turned to Lena. "I feel a bit heavy with all the memories. Shall we see what's on the other side of this bridge?"

Nothing like a nice walk to clear your head. Wandering through the woods and enjoying filtered sunshine, Jowan was visibly relaxing, and other memories were coming to the fore.

"I got myself into a right mess back in Ferelden" - he told Lena. "I was just in my early 20s, I should have been graduating, but the First Enchanter kept pushing back the date. I thought he didn't trust me to deal with the demons in the Fade, but now I see that he was trying to protect me from the fate awaiting a Blood Mage, which is death. If it wasn't for my so-called girlfriend at the time, I would have talked to someone, but I never said a word of my worries, not even to my best friend, let alone the First Enchanter."

"Your so-called girlfriend?"

"She was an Initiate with the Chantry - you know, she was going to be a Priestess, and so had taken a vow of celibacy. Except that she came to regret it and apparently thought to herself to find a mage willing to go rogue for her and help her escape from the Chantry while in the process completely ruining his own life. That mage was to be me. Well, she was pretty" - he added defensively. "Very... umm... not like a nun." He smiled. Lena knew what he meant. "I was completely smitten, I admit."

"But she wasn't actually in love with you, was she?"

"No, I found out about her plan later... When I was waiting to be executed, or made tranquil, or something... My best friend saved my skin in the end, I should have trusted her with everything, but how do you talk to a girl about another girl? It was awkward, you know. I made such a mess!"

It was hard to argue with that. Lena just walked silently next to Jowan, letting him tell her what he chose.

"My best friend, she... Well, we've been friends since we met at the Tower as children, aged five or six or so, our respective parents having abandoned us for being mages. That was normal in Ferelden, by the way, there was no other way. You either was taken to the Tower or you became an apostate - a rogue mage, and that wasn't a life either. As we were growing up, we remained best friends. We each had adventures with others - you know, short-lived little things, nothing serious... except may be Elisa's flick with that templar, Cullen... but I think it was far more serious on his side than on hers, and he was older too. May be I was jealous and so didn't tell her about Lily's plan to elope until the very end..."

Lena had a few thoughts on what Elisa would have said to that plan, but she remained silent. Jowan continued his story.

"So when the plan went wrong, Lily immediately backed out of everything calling me a 'Blood Mage' and looking stricken with horror - which didn't help to reduce her sentence for breaking her vows, by the way... At that point I did something stupid - I used blood to boost my magicka to help me escape, and in doing so I proved to everyone that I was in fact a Blood Mage."

Ouch. He must have regretted it the moment he'd done it.

"Of course the templars caught up with me after some time... I found I could not live on the run. I got myself into more mess... Then at some point Elisa walked in - she didn't know I was there, it was a coincidence. It was thanks to her that I wasn't executed then and there..."

"She was a good friend" - Lena ventured.

"Yes... Well... She..." - Jowan was struggling. It was obvious that he wanted to tell this story, and he trusted Lena enough for that, but it seemed that he was confused by his own feelings on this... on what he was about to put into words, for the first time even to himself.

"I had misunderstood her for years. When she came to see me in prison later, she offered a way out for me - I could join the Grey Wardens, the group she joined after Lily's and my escape plan failed. But there was more... She said she had loved me for years, that she'd just been waiting for the right time to say it, and, well, we were still so young then. I felt cornered. If I were to refuse her offer, I'd be executed, but if I were to accept it, how could I not accept her love as well? If she hadn't said anything about her feelings, if she'd only offered to join the Grey Wardens, I would have gone with her - she was my best friend, what a better place for me to be than by her side? But love changed everything..."

The sun was starting to set and the sky in the West was coloured pink. Soon the pink turned red, filling more and more of the sky. The red turned sanguine. And finally the night swallowed all.

"But did you love her too?" - Lena asked after a long pause.

"I don't know, is an honest answer. I was so confused, I still am. I thought I loved Lily, but after her betrayal, I definitely didn't, so did I just stop loving her or had I never loved her? Love is such a volatile thing... How do you manage it?"

"You don't. It manages you."

The stars were abundant, and Secunda showed its pale face in full. Lena and Jowan settled on a hill looking into the sky from high grass.

"So how did you escape execution?" - Lena asked, hoping to move away from love woes.

"Cullen - the templar that Elisa had a flick with - he got me out and helped me onto a ship. He said he did it for Elisa, because I was her friend, but I think he did it for himself, because he wanted Elisa and this good deed would put him closer to her. Whatever his motivation, I'm grateful - I'm alive."

Love was a weird thing, and there was no getting away from it. They sat there, looking at the stars, each thinking of the people in their lives, and what they meant to them. Was there true love among them? The stars weren't giving any answers.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 9 2021, 01:09 PM

26 First Seed, 4E202 - Hame

"Where to next?" - asked Jowan stretching in the fresh air outside of the Deserted Mine where they had spent the night. It was safe but stuffy.

"That way" - Lena pointed vaguely North. "Into the mountains."

It was a lovely morning, and they walked on the slopes enjoying the view and trying not to slip into the canyon below.

"Wait - are those Ayleid stones on the other side of the canyon?" - Hauk pointed East. "Shall we go see?"

If there was ever an invitation to adventure, this was it.


Hame housed necromancers.

"Mages Guild necromancers" - pointed out Hauk seeing a Mages Guild banner in one of the halls. "Well, ex-Mages Guild now, of course. I wish we didn't have to fight them."

But there was no way around it - the necromancers were bitter for having been cast out like that, made to live in ruins... They would not tolerate explorers.

After the first encounter, Lena changed into her black robes, crouched, dipped an arrow in poison...

"Let me go first, hang back a bit" - she told Hauk and Jowan. "It'll be easier that way."

The ruin was spacious and dark, with mist hanging low. Bluish light from the Welkynd stones lit up the mist hiding everything from view, torch light included. Lena cast a night eye spell with life detection.

"Ah-ha! There you are" - she muttered under her breath. Shadowhunt sent out an arrow.

"Aaww!" The arrow found its target. The fight didn't last long.

They went through several halls in this manner, the only thing to watch out for being the traps.

"Now I've seen the Assassin" - Jowan was looking at Lena in admiration. "That must be some poison."

"I am not taking any chances" - she replied. "Traps are already bad enough."

Traps were bad here. Two rising floor traps in sequence: one flat and one with spikes, so if you didn't get squashed to death, the impaling would do the trick. There was a necromancer on the other side whom Lena shot with a poisoned arrow. He ran towards her... and... well... you'd think he'd know better than that, but no.

Getting through the traps unharmed was nearly impossible. Both Hauk and Jowan got caught out, even though they did try to follow Lena and jump over the corners. Jowan passed out and had to be pulled off the platform to avoid getting crushed indefinitely. Hauk's armour took most of the damage, and now looked it.

"Here - lie down on this slab" - Lena told Jowan when he came to, moaning.

"I'm not lying down on a slab!" - he protested. "That's a sarcophagus!"

"Oh come on, she's not going to turn you into a zombie!" - Hauk joined in, and Jowan reluctantly agreed.

His ribs were crushed, his limbs were broken in several places, and he was only keeping himself alive with magic. They spent some time casting bone repair spells and rubbing salves into most of his body. One of the traps was still rising and falling rhythmically next to them, with the weight of the dead necromancer triggering the mechanism.

"You don't want to end up like him" - was all Lena could say. "Have you thought about wearing armour?"

"I have" - Jowan admitted. "But light armour wouldn't save me here, and I am no good with heavy - it slows me down. I have been practicing shield spells instead."

Well, it was something. They continued into the ruin.


"Oh - look at this great hall!" - exclaimed Lena stepping into a hall in Hame Silasel and turning to Hauk and Jowan just behind her... and watching a grid rise from the floor cutting her off. "Oh."

This was a great hall indeed, with a fire brightly burning in the centre, which made everything else appear even darker. Lena lit up a torch. The hall seemed to be deserted. There was a table with some food in the corner, a Mages Guild counter with alchemical equipment in the middle, and not much else. The door on the opposite end was locked, requiring a key.

"I hate these magical locks" - thought Lena fiddling with it with Nocturnal's skeleton key. "No, it won't give. I need to find the real key. What a bother."

The key could be anywhere... this was like searching for a needle in a stack of hay in the dark with a donkey munching on it. Sooner or later the donkey would swallow the needle.

"Ok, here's one of those Ayleid buttons" - thought Lena. "As good a start as any." She pushed it and heard a wall panel sliding down and a groan behind it, with the stench following - no, preceding it.

"Ugh, a dread zombie. Better not come close!"

She summoned a clannfear and shot a few fire balls at the zombie - job done. In the depth of the hidden corridor was another Ayleid button. She pressed it and heard another wall panel sliding down on the opposite side of the hall. No groans came from there, just chill.

"A wraith, perhaps?" - Lena thought summoning a clannfear. Clannfears are not brilliant against wraiths, but they are fast and can sense danger in the dark. The clannfear ran across the hall but did not enter the now open second hidden corridor. Was it afraid of the icy cold coming from within?

Perhaps. And anyway, it found something else to play with - a couple of skeletons. Correction: a skeleton champion and his summon.

It took several clannfears to lay to rest the champion. The final clannfear stood there looking at the shattered bones, then edged towards the hidden corridor - the icy cold was still emanating from within. The clannfear ran and hid behind Lena.

"Ok, ok, good dog" - Lena patted it. "I'll call Toothy to deal with the wraith." She summoned a daedroth.

The daedroth could barely fit under the low ceiling of the hidden corridor, but he caught attention of the wraith. A few frost spells and Toothy was banished back to Oblivion. This was a Gloom Wraith without a weapon - a wraith of a powerful mage. Very dangerous.

"Just one of those frost spells would kill me" - thought Lena. "Better not get hit. And Toothy will need help."

She summoned another daedroth, and started shooting fire spells at the wraith using the daedroth as a cover. The battle was long, with Lena jumping out of the way of spells and summoning daedroth after daedroth. Eventually the wraith was defeated. Behind it in the depth of the hidden corridor was another Ayleid button. Lena pressed it. Another wall was sliding down.

"Here we go again" - she thought. "What now? A lich?"

The hidden corridor behind this sliding wall opened onto a chamber. Someone was inside.

"So, they locked themselves in. They are not going to be happy to be disturbed!" She remembered the Benirus Manor and the way Lorgren Benirus had locked himself in the basement while transforming into a lich. She shuddered.

She dipped an arrow in poison and crouched, ready to shoot.

"Wait a minute" - a voice said in her head. "What if the key to the exit is in that room somewhere? Like on top of a chest or whatever they've got inside? You shoot this guy, he'll start shooting back and your clannfear will make a mess of it all - you will never find the key! Better go in quietly first and look around."

Lena put away the bow and cast an invisibility spell. Still crouched, she sneaked past the guy - a necromancer of course - and looked around the room. She spotted a key ready to slip from a book it was on. Now or never.

She grabbed the key, dispelling her cloack, then quickly cast the cloack back on and moved. A powerful shock spell hit where she had just stood. She ran out of the room - still cloacked - and summoned a clannfear. No need to hide any longer, the battle was on.

You cannot silence a mage with a staff but you can still stab them. Lena wondered why he had locked himself in like that, but figured there must have been a reason. She also wondered if he was planning to ever come out - and then how - since there was no obvious way to lower the sliding wall from within. Key or no key, he would not have been able to get to the door to begin with.

"Suicide or murder?" - she wondered. But it mattered not.


"Finally!" - Hauk rushed towards her hearing a door being unlocked not far from where they had entered Hame Silasel. "When we got cut off by that grid, we backtracked here and found this locked door. We figured that was the exit. What happened?"

"I'll tell you later" - Lena looked pale and tired. "There was some food and beds near the entrance - I need to lie down. There was a wraith" - she looked at Hauk, and he nodded. He too remembered Benirus Manor.

"Will you take blood this time?" - he asked, checking her eye colour.

"'You might need blood to recover from a bad fight'" - Vicente's voice echoed in Lena's mind. "I'll try not to" - she said turning to Hauk.


The way back to the entrance was complicated, they took a wrong turn and found more necromancers. The chamber looked like a zombie laboratory.

IPB Image

"A decomposing body on a slab, tied down and freshly decapitated" - Lena had never seen necromancers at work. "Oh, and here's the head. And a silver warhammer at the ready in case things went wrong, I guess."

"But they didn't expect any trouble from the living" - Hauk observed. "I still think it was wrong to ban Necromancy. These mages were meticulous in their work, and the bodies they used were no recent kills. We've just murdered some decent folk" - he added with regret looking at the dead necromancer.

"Yeah, it's too bad they tried to kill us" - Lena reminded him.

Jowan was looking at all this in silence. He was still struggling to understand why some of the Necromancy practices were classified as Conjuration and thus allowed, while others would get you banned and hunted.

"How is summoning undead or raising a revenant any better than making zombies?" - he asked, not really expecting an answer.

"It isn't" - Hauk replied. "Traven re-classified it, or he'd lose the entire Council of Mages rather than half of it."

They left the room shaking their heads.

Once again they navigated the two rising floor traps, getting caught out, cursing and casting healing spells. By the time they reached the hall near the entrance, the improvised bedroom looked exceedingly welcoming.

Posted by: Acadian Jun 9 2021, 06:48 PM

I enjoyed your reflections on necromancy. As a healer, Buffy will quietly admit that her craft is not complete without at least an academic knowledge of necromantic principles. A lifebringer must understand the process of death to fully grasp her craft. Not to mention necromantic insights on repairing dead or heavily damaged tissue.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 9 2021, 09:06 PM

QUOTE(Acadian @ Jun 9 2021, 06:48 PM) *
A lifebringer must understand the process of death to fully grasp her craft. Not to mention necromantic insights on repairing dead or heavily damaged tissue.

Exactly. Which is why Arkay is the God of both Life and Death. There is not one without the other.

Of course Traven has a personal vendetta with Manimarco. Considering how easily Traven sacrifices the lives of Guild mages who happened to practice a bit of necromancy, I would call him evil.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 9 2021, 10:23 PM

27 First Seed, 4E202 - Cold dream - Shopping in Cheydinhal

Lena was cold. She was lying on a bed in an Ayleid ruin. All was quiet, save the breathing of Jowan and Hauk sleeping on the bedrolls nearby. Lena was hungry, too.

She got up to get some food. Next to the bed was a crate serving as a table with parts of a skeleton on it. And blood stains. Blood.

Icy chill enveloped Lena - she was now shaking. She remembered the wraith she'd faced the day before - a Gloom Wraith with devastating frost spells. Lena didn't get hit by those spells, but the cold emanating from the wraith was enough to freeze the blood in her veins. Perhaps Lena had underestimated the effects.

She tried to put those visions out of her mind and to warm up by moving around. She sprinted into the next chamber and stretched. A dead necromancer was lying against the wall. Was he still warm?

"I'll just--" she was at his neck before she could finish the thought. No, the necromancer was already cold. That wouldn't do.

"But his flesh must be still rich..." - she caught herself thinking, unsheathing her dagger.

"You will always be mine, little one" - a voice said gently in her head. "Don't fight it now."

"Namira!" - Lena cried. "No!"

She forced herself to sheath the dagger and move away from the corpse.

"You'll see" - the voice replied. "With time."

Lena had to clear her head and to warm up, somehow. She ran down the stairs, past Jowan and Hauk, still sleeping. She was very quiet. It was the hall with the traps. Blood. The slabs were covered in blood from yesterday's attempts to cross them. The room started spinning... already dim lights went dimmer still... blood shone brightly on the first slab - it was warm, it was steaming...


Lena woke up on the bed in the first hall. She was warm. She remembered the strange dream she had... cold... hunger... corpse... Namira's voice... steaming blood... She shivered. An arm pulled her closer. Hauk.

"You fainted by the traps - it's a wonder you didn't get crushed. You were ice cold. We got you on the bed and I've been trying to warm you up" - he said in her ear. "Don't do that again."

So... it wasn't a dream.


It was a chilly morning with overcast skies as they stood outside Hame.

"Which way now?" - asked Jowan. "Can you even walk?"

"Of course I can walk, stop fussing over me" - Lena snapped without conviction. "We need to find an inn or a town - we are out of food." They ate the last bits of fruit for breakfast.

"We also have expensive loot to sell" - added Hauk pointing at their bulging pack. "And the prongs of that Ayleid statue are tearing holes in the bag."

"Cheydinhal then" - decided Lena pointing North West. "Through the mountains."


They reached Cheydinhal in the afternoon, their legs sore from climbing. The two inns by the gate had enough food, mead and wine between them to cover several meals. Lena bought it all. Borba was pleased to see her, and bought all the rings, scrolls and potions that Lena cared to sell. They took the Welkynd and Varla stones to the Mages Guild.

"Oh my goodness - nineteen Welkynd stones and five Varlas!" - Eilonwy was extatic. "Don't you want to keep them for yourself?" - she paused at the Varla stones. "It's much cheaper than recharging with gems or... mmm... here." She shot a glance at Uurwen.

"No, that's fine" - Lena replied. "We've got plenty of gems, too..."

Eilonwy's eyes widened as she saw a bag full of gems.

"In fact, I wanted to sell these smaller ones..."


They stopped at the smithy to drop off their armour for repairs.

"You want this fixed?" - Tertia Viducia was holding up Hauk's cuirass that looked like a sieve. "I can do it, but it'll cost you! You might be better off buying a new set."

"No, I don't want a new one - this one's already worn in. It actually fits" - Hauk insisted. "Fix it, please. And... polish it" - he smiled.

"All right, but it won't be ready until tomorrow" - Tertia took the armour into her workshop.

Lena decided not to add her armour to the work, Tertia had enough to do as it was. She stopped by the Fighters Guild. The porter wouldn't let her past the door.

"Hey, I'm a member, you know!" - she had to remind him.

"I have no contracts for you, meat!" - Burz gro-Khash was his charming self. "Go see Azzan in Anvil."

"Shut it, gro-Khash" - Keld of the Isles was equally courteous. "I've got a thick skin, but he's rough" - he turned to Lena. "If you choose to spend your time with me..."

"Ahem" - Hauk came in and now stood behind Lena.

"Ah, well, I'm a Guardian, you know" - Keld continued in a more neutral tone. "Didn't get to this rank by picking fights. I'm cautious."

The porter finally conceded to repair Lena's armour, and soon they could leave.

"Why do you even bother with them?" - asked Jowan, having watched this whole exchange with increasing scepticism. "Does it at least pay well?"

"No, it doesn't" - confessed Lena. "I... I am not even sure! Azzan in Anvil is nice, but the rest of them throw nothing but insults at you. Just like the Skyrim assassins" - she looked at Hauk. "I wonder why I bother."

With the shopping done, they finally made it to the Wolf Sanctuary. It was time to eat, bathe and relax - they've done enough adventuring for one day.

Posted by: Renee Jun 10 2021, 04:22 PM

Hauk's story is really interesting, being a special forces sort of guy, going off on missions and maybe not coming back for days or weeks. viking.gif Yes, I wonder if Hauk and Iver might have traded places on occasion...

Back in Cyrodiil Lena still has a lot to do. She needs to get back her house in Bravil which got repossessed by the county under the feeble excuse that Lena had been absent for a couple of centuries.

laugh.gif laugh.gif

I like how Hauk first notices Lena making some advanced magics in the AU, and then wonders who she is. redwizardsmile.gif

"You have a brother?"

She has a brother? wink.gif This is a wild story, Elena. Especially how Hauk knows who the White Wolf is even before she is able to tell him.

I just finished that part where they are drinking in the inn, Hauk and Lena. One of these days I'll finish Post 1. laugh.gif It's looking like that'll be some time around Christmas. santa.gif Okay, Thanksgiving, if I really buckle down.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 10 2021, 04:52 PM

QUOTE(Renee @ Jun 10 2021, 04:22 PM) *

Hauk's story is really interesting, being a special forces sort of guy, going off on missions and maybe not coming back for days or weeks. viking.gif Yes, I wonder if Hauk and Iver might have traded places on occasion...

That's an interesting thought... Iver has more to him than meets the eye, I'm sure. After all, they are brothers. But they disagree on a few points, Necromancy being one. Or may be Iver is just more cautious - he wouldn't be seen crossing the Arch-Mage. I hope Lena can tell them apart, though! ohmy.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 11 2021, 12:38 PM

QUOTE(Renee @ Jun 10 2021, 04:22 PM) *

Especially how Hauk knows who the White Wolf is even before she is able to tell him.

The news from the Northern Realms don't reach Tamriel very quickly, but eventually they do, and some of it is even true. ;-) The White Wolf is famous in several different ways (not all good), so of course Hauk had heard of him.

I just finished that part where they are drinking in the inn, Hauk and Lena. One of these days I'll finish Post 1. laugh.gif It's looking like that'll be some time around Christmas. santa.gif Okay, Thanksgiving, if I really buckle down.

As long as you don't specify the year, you're fine. laugh.gif That first post is just a few bits to introduce the story, you might have read them on Beth already (unless you missed them there as well, that is) - but no pressure. biggrin.gif The story does get wilder still, if you think what you've read so far was wild... then buckle up!!!

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 11 2021, 01:09 PM

28 First Seed, 4E202 - Shrine of Azura - Sedor

"Well, now that we are in Cheydinhal, why don't we go North" - Lena suggested at breakfast. "I've always wanted to explore those ruins along the Northern road to Bruma."

"Have you been to the shrine of Azura?" - asked Hauk. "A sight to see."

"North it is!" - chimed in Jowan with enthusiasm.

The views were so beautiful that Lena didn't even insist on going at a run.

"For once!" - Hauk sounded relieved.

They got to the shrine of Azura - someone told Lena that the worshippers there were friendly. Well, they didn't attack, that's a plus.

"Do you mind - I'm trying to concentrate!" - one of them cut off Lena rather abruptly.

"Oh, Ok." She tried another one. "Hello!"

"You are in a holy place! State your business!"


Did this go for "friendly" these days? Jowan turned around and walked off to enjoy the view of the mountains - he wasn't that patient.

"Tell me about this shrine" - asked Lena.

"People are filled with malice and prejudice these days. I won't speak with you unless you convince me of your good intentions" - said the worshipper, squinting in suspicion.

Lena turned around.

"Sheesh... speaking of malice and prejudice..."

No, Azura could sort out her own troubles, if that's what her worshippers were like. There were plenty of other adventures to be had. They turned West.


"Oh look - a cave" - Jowan noticed a wooden door in a rock. "I wonder what's inside - since there are no signs of anything here."

They tried the door, but it was locked.

"Another one of those magic locks" - said Lena stashing away Nocturnal's skeleton key. "Forget it - let's move on."

The continued along the mountain path.

"Isn't that an Ayleid ruin up ahead?" - Hauk pointed at some pillars. "That's more like it!"

Sedor housed ogres. Particularly large and ferocious ogres. The fighting was intense, with Jowan having to dash around to avoid getting hit - one hit by one of those ogres would definitely knock him out, if not crush his skull. Hauk took most of the crushing blows, and his armour was now dented all over again. Lena used a lot of poisons, and that was a big help, but still it wasn't easy.

Then, when they thought they were done, an arrow came from behind and got Jowan in the neck.

"Aaww!" - he spun around. "Bandits! Where did they come from?"

"Never mind that!" - bellowed Hauk. "And now you'll pay!" - he charged at them.

That arrow was poisoned, and Jowan was out of the game until the effects wore off. Lena pushed him into a side chamber and followed Hauk, summoning a clannfear - "Go get them!". Finally Jowan managed to get the arrow out of his neck and clear the poison - he was ready to fight again.

A scream and a thud made him jerk, then he heard people running in panic. He ran into the hall and saw Hauk on the ground with a dagger stuck to the hilt under his arm at an angle. A puddle of blood on the floor was quickly deepening.

"They got his heart" - he thought.

The screaming continued - it was Lena going against three bandits at once, one with a warhammer...

"Not good!" - Jowan thought. "She'll be next."

He slit his wrist and cast a spell. Everyone fell to the ground. Time seemed to stand still.

Hauk was dead.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 11 2021, 05:19 PM

28 First Seed, 4E202 - Hauk is dead - The Fade - Demons

"Send me after him! Send me into the Fade!" - Lena failed to resuscitate Hauk. "I've repaired his heart but he hasn't returned!"

"If he went to Sovngarde, there is no way back" - said Jowan grimly.

"He can't have! Not that fast! I don't believe it - I refuse to believe it! Send me there - I need to see for myself" - Lena was pleading now. "If he tells me he wants to stay, I'll let him."

"You've never been to the Fade" - Jowan was dubious. "You might not find him there, or the way back for that matter. I shall not be able to help you."

Lena was kneeling over Hauk's body. He fell in battle with the bandits, he wasn't just knocked out - one of the bandits had pierced his heart. Hauk was dead. Seeing him fall and not getting up, Lena was filled with rage and lost all caution. Jowan saw it and thought she'd be next to die. He slit his wrist and cast a mass paralysis spell. Everyone fell to the ground, as if time itself froze. Jowan threw the bandits into the side chamber and locked the gate. Paralysis was wearing off.

Lena was silently crying.

"I've got to try. Send me into the Fade. If I don't return, then so be it."

"All right" - Jowan was giving in. "But you realise that someone will have to die to let you do it? The ritual takes that much blood, and I can't give mine - I need to keep the portal open."

Lena looked at the groggy bandits in the chamber.

"Is the one that pierced his heart in there?" - she said with a hiss. "Use him! Use two, if you have to." Her icy look made the bandits stop groaning. "I won't be praying Arkay for their souls. Sithis take them."


Lena was walking through an icy landscape, struggling to stay upright against the blizzard. She could hardly see a thing. How would she find Hauk here? But she must try.

She noticed something ahead, glowing. A fire. She came closer. A campfire was burning cheerfully, with a pot of stew bubbling over it. The ground was warm, grassy. There was no blizzard, no wind. Hauk was sitting on a bench by the fire.

"Come and join me, Wolf!" - he called. "The stew is almost ready."

Was it that easy? Lena was wary - she knew of the illusions in the Fade, of spirits and demons that would try to bind her and keep her there, Jowan told her, he tried to prepare her as best he could. But this was Hauk, he was here, alive, smiling, she could just sit down with him on the bench and never leave...

"No" - she said, backing into the blizzard again. "You are not Hauk" - she sounded uncertain.

"Oh but I am!" - said Hauk, taking off his cuirass. "Look - here is the scar where you fixed my heart."

Lena took a step forward against her will. She had to see it, touch it, be sure.

"Come" - Hauk took her hand, pulling her gently towards him. "Kiss me."

"No, you are not Hauk!" - Lena screamed. "He'd never say that, never like this!"

She jumped back.

Hauk's face changed, he grew taller, he had a whip. It wasn't Hauk.

"You dare resist me, mortal?!" - the demon cried with Hauk's voice. He cracked the whip.

Lena ran into the blizzard.


"'You won't be able to fight in there as you are used to'" - Jowan's voice sounded in her head. "'You won't have your weapons' - that's what he said" - she thought trying to figure out what to do. "But magic? What about magic? What did he say about magic? 'Spells might not work the way you'd expect.' Oh" - she recalled. The danger she was in, started to dawn upon her. And the fact that she would probably wander in the Fade forever. Jowan wasn't exaggerating.

The blizzard lightened up, she saw a cave. Snowberries were growing by the entrance, bright red against the snow.

"As red as the blood I spilled in Whiterun that night" - Lucien came out of the cave. "Come inside."

She entered.

It was Fort Farragut.

"Come, let's have dinner" - Lucien waved towards the table. He walked over to the fire, started taking roast off the spit. "Ham or mutton?"

"Mutton with orange chutney, please..." - Lena murmured, recalling this scene. "You are not Lucien."

"Am I not?" - Lucien turned around, smiling. "But I am an assassin, sister."

He bared his dagger, advancing.

Instinctively, Lena drew her Sufferthorn. Wait, Jowan said she wouldn't have any weapons, so how..?

She was holding flowers - goldenrod, morning glory, lily of the valley, blue hyacinth.

"Ah, you kept my flowers" - Lucien said, his dagger vanishing. He was now close, pulling her into an embrace. "I love you." He kissed her.

"Lucien..." - she could hear herself say, or think. She so longed for him. At last...

"No, you are here to rescue Hauk, and this is not Lucien anyway" - a voice said in her head. "Lucien would never do that!"

She brushed the voice away. She didn't care.

"No, wake up!!" - the voice was getting stronger. "Now!"

A sharp pain in her neck made her jerk. A vampire.

She tore herself away, pushing the vampire with all her force. Her neck was bleeding profusely, a chunk missing. The vampire looked famished, his hunger fuelled by the sight of fresh blood.

"Run!!!" - the voice screamed in her head. She ran.

She was back in the blizzard, there was no cave and her neck wasn't bleeding. "Hauk, where are you?" - she thought looking around. Every direction looked the same.


"Stay sharp" - a voice said behind her. She twisted around. Hadvar. "Come on - this way."

Hadvar beckoned her to follow, he seemed to know where he was going. She followed.

They walked through the blizzard for a while, Hadvar leading, Lena not seeing how he knew the way. But Skyrim was his home, so she figured, he must have ways. They came to a crypt.

"In here" - he said. "I've set up camp, we can wait out the blizzard."

Lena was tired, frostbitten and hungry, so she agreed. She could not go back into the blizzard now anyway, she'd just die there. Hadvar passed her a bowl of stew.

"What are you doing back in Skyrim?" - he asked. "Not joining the Stormcloaks, I hope?" The polish on his Legion armour was reflecting the fire.

"Stormcloaks? No, not me" - Lena answered, eating and sensing that something was odd. But what?

"General Talius will have them all hang one day" - Hadvar said, looking straight at her. "The Legion always prevails."

"Where is Hauk?" - Lena asked, surprising herself. She didn't expect an answer.

"Oh, he was here" - Hadvar replied. "He wanted to stay in this crypt, but I told him it wasn't his time."

"What?!" - Lena jumped up. "So where did he go?"

"Back out" - a draugr was sitting where Hadvar had been. "To Sovngarde."

Lena ran towards the exit, then returned. Something that draugr had said...

"It wasn't his time, you said?" - she turned to the draugr.

"Sit down" - he resumed stirring the stew. "There is no rush, he won't get there yet." The draugr's piercing blue eyes were fixed on Lena's. "Why have you come?"

"I..." - Lena started, uncertain. "He fell in battle, and I was too late to bring him back."

"Then you must let him go" - the draugr said. "A Nord must die in battle."

"Perhaps, but not yet - it is not his time, you said it yourself!" - Lena felt that the draugr was tricking her.

"And who are you to him to demand his return?" - the draugr's gaze was hard to bare.

"I..." - she stumbled. "'Wolf is not ready to make any choices or decisions yet, it's not the time'" - Hauk's voice sounded in her head. Was it the time to make decisions now? Here, in the Fade?

"No, it's not the time" - another voice said in her head. "Get up and leave - this draugr won't help you."

"I am his friend, and I shall find him" - she said firmly and got up. The draugr followed her with his icy blue gaze.


The blizzard had stopped. A bright aurora was colouring the sky green, reflecting in the ice. The moons made the night into day. Lena was standing on a mountain top, overlooking the land below. She saw a camp by the water, with people gathered around the fire. She hoped they were hunters rather than bandits, and approached.

Several people sat by the fire, chatting and passing mead around. She saw Hauk - a pretty Dunmer girl was next to him, he was holding her close. They kissed, then went into a tent, lowering the door flap.

"They've been at it for days now" - one of the hunters said, looking at Lena. "Come and sit with us, you can wait for him if you like, but it might be all night" - he laughed, winking at her.

She sat down. What was she going to do? She had no claims on Hauk, she couldn't deny him a romance if that's what he wanted... Those slanted sanguine eyes always made him melt...

"What, here, in the Fade?" - a voice in her head sounded sceptical. "A bit too convenient, don't you think?"

"A Desire Demon?" - she thought, recalling Jowan warning her about them. "I think I met two of them already..." - she blushed to herself. "But if that's a demon there in the tent, then is that the real Hauk that she's seducing?"

"Or perhaps the whole scene is entirely for your benefit?" - the voice suggested. "A Rage Demon trying to get you jealous? A Despair Demon trying to make you give up?"

Was there a way to tell?

She looked at the hunters. They were chatting, drinking mead, roasting slaughterfish and salmon, and not paying her any attention. Wait, one was different... White hair... Amber eyes... Cat eyes...

"Come with me" - he said, pointing at another tent. "You asked for help at your practice" - he smiled, fingering his wolf medallion. "I am at your service."

She knew him, she was sure she knew him, but how? She could not recall. She was drawn to him... Another Desire Demon? She wasn't sure... she had to follow.

"I can teach you to fight better than anyone, I can make you into the Ultimate Assassin, I can give you more magicka than you can imagine, even rid you of the curse of the Apprentice" - the man with cat eyes said. "And of course" - he snapped his fingers - "I can give you any luxury you could possibly dream of." The barren tent was now overflowing with velvets and silks, fruit, wine, fine food - anything. "Just say the word. And you can have it all - there is no need to choose" - he smiled, inviting her to join him on the cushions.

"No need to choose..?" - Lena repeated, looking at him. "And what would you want in return?"

"Nothing!" - he laughed. "Stay here, enjoy yourself, learn, grow, or just relax and lay back - it's your life! Have it all."

"And... what about my friends?" - Lena was fighting a nagging feeling that something was off.

"Friends?" - the man looked at her in disbelief. "You mean the ones that thrust you here without a way out? Or the ones that turned away because you were a vampire? Or may be the ones that just wanted you in bed? Because why else would they bother? Which ones do you mean?"

A string of memories rushed through Lena's mind. Yes, she knew exactly who he was referring to. But wait, was it really that bad? What about... this other guy... what was his name again? Why was she here anyway? And where was "here"?

"Here is in this tent in Skyrim" - the man answered, as if he'd read her thoughts. "Your face speaks volumes - I don't read minds" - he smiled.

It all made sense now. She was lost, but now she found a place where she was wanted. The man was nice, he wasn't making advances, he was offering her food and drink, books to read and spells to learn. Why not stay a while. Relax.

She let herself fall on the cushions and closed her eyes.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 12 2021, 10:20 AM

28 First Seed, 4E202 - The Fade - Memories

"Wake up!" - a shock spell zapped Lena. "Up, up, on your feet now!" - a voice shouted in her head. She'd heard this voice before.

"What?!" - she got angry. "I'm warm and well fed, and the cushions are soft, what do you want from me? I'm not going anywhere! I am done!" She fell back onto the cushions, her anger fizzled out.

"Up, I said!" - the voice shouted, a shock spell zapping her again.

"Aaww! Get away from me!" - Lena rubbed the singed spot and went back to sleep.

"Now!!" - the voice bellowed and a rather more powerful shock zapped Lena.

"Hey!!" - she was on her feet. "I'll show you! Get lost!!"

The zapping continued, coming from the Ether itself, it seemed, as Lena could not see her opponent. She ran out of the tent.

The land around the tent was barren - not icy, not covered in snow, not even rocky. It was just grey, dull, stretching in all directions as far as the eye could see. She turned around to go back to the tent, ready to forget this interruption - there was obviously nothing to come out for. Zap! A lightning bolt got her to whip around.

"This way!" - a voice said and another lightning hit a bit further on. "March!" Zap.

"Ok, ok, I'm going" - Lena mumbled. This was the easier thing to do. Go see what the voice wants, then get back to the tent and sleep.

The voice led her for a while, showing the way with lightning bolts and zapping her into obedience.

"How much further?" - Lena complained. "What do you want from me?"

"I want you to find yourself!" - the voice replied. "Surely, the Sloth could not have sucked all of it out yet?"

The Sloth... The man with cat eyes? The nice tent to rest for as long as she wanted... Yes, the Sloth Demon... "'He'll make you forget everything you knew, you'll sleep in his domain forever - be watchful'" - Jowan's voice sounded in Lena's memory. "'Friends? What friends?'" - she recalled the man with cat eyes. "What have I forgotten?" - she thought with horror.


The landscape changed in the distance. Lena no longer needed the lightning to show her the way, she went towards the change. Swamps. Overcast skies. Stench. Corpses everywhere - soldiers. A battlefield. She looked around - she was in the middle of it.

She saw fire in the distance. Not a steady burning campfire, but flashes of it, as if someone was using fire spells. She walked towards it. A different stench mixed into the stench of corpses - rotten flesh. Walking rotten flesh. Ghouls. One man was fighting a whole pack - a witcher.

He was successful. He stopped, turned the last ghoul over with his boot. Looked around, found the nest, put a bomb inside. "Filthy beasts" - he muttered. Then fell to his knees, exhausted. He was bleeding. White hair, amber eyes. Cat eyes. Wolf medallion.

"Geralt!" - Lena remembered the scene, remembered finding him there, pouring a potion down his throat.

"Hello, sis" - he had said.

She rushed to him now, she'd do it all over again, she grabbed his shoulders... he wasn't there. The vision faded away like smoke. The land around her was barren and grey again.


"He made me forget my brother!" - Lena was getting angry at the Sloth Demon. "But that wasn't all. What else?"

"Don't get caught out again, if you want to return" - a voice said in her head.

"Return? Return where?"

Wait, this was important. If she had to return, she first needed to remember why she had left, and where she was now. Because she must have had a purpose... Do something and return.

The voice was silent. She had to work it out on her own. At least she didn't need to be zapped into doing it now.

She started walking, doesn't matter which way, she already figured out how this place worked, whatever it was. You walked, things appeared.


She saw a fort in the distance. A crumbling wall around it, but the tower still intact, like any old fort in Cyrodiil or Skyrim. She entered. Something was different, but she didn't know what.

"Here we go again" - she thought. "What kind of demon now?"

She went through some passages and entered a large well-lit chamber. A strange contraption occupied most of free space: three tripods with mirrors and crystals, focussing a beam of light in the centre. A dark-haired woman in black and white was fiddling with it.

"No, he isn't there" - Lena heard her mutter. "Perhaps Philipa would know?"

She cast a spell and an image of another woman appeared where the beams crossed.

"Gosh, you look dreadful" - was her greeting.

"And nice to see you too, Philipa" - the woman in black and white said. "Do you know where Geralt has gone to?"

"Why would I?" - she looked indifferent. "I'm not the one who's desperate to sleep with him. Swallow your pride and ask Triss."

"I have" - the black-and-white woman answered. "She doesn't know. And I checked - he isn't with her."

"Well" - Philipa raised an eyebrow and looked around the room. "Perhaps you need to search somewhere else entirely. Since you've left our realm already. Why don't you ask her?" - she pointed at Lena and disappeared.

Lena was watching it and thinking that surely, she must know who they were... Who the woman in black and white was, at least... Geralt... she was looking for her brother. But why?

The woman in black and white spun around and saw Lena standing there, not recognising her. She zapped her with a shock spell. "Wake up! Remember me!" - her voice was familiar. Yes, somewhat changed, but it was the voice that's been following Lena around, and the shock spell only confirmed it.

"Stop zapping me" - Lena said. "I know you but I can't remember."

"Damned Sloth Demon!" - the woman clenched her fists. "Follow me" - she commanded and walked out. Lena followed.


"Well, if this doesn't work, then I don't know what will" - the woman gave Lena a steaming potion. "It's a memory potion. If it works, it will likely overwhelm you, all memories rushing in at once. You'll faint, but I'll be there, and when you come to, eventually, you should be all right. And remember everything."

"Should be?" - Lena didn't like the sound of it too much.

"Oh, just drink it! What have you got to lose?"

What, indeed? She drank. She fainted.


Lena woke up in a bed in a circular chamber, probably a fort. A dark-haired woman in black and white was sitting at a desk with her back to her. A faint scent of lilac and gooseberries filled the room.

"Yen?" - Lena sat up. "Are you a vision?"

"Not a vision, and it's good to have you back!" - Yennefer jumped up. "You remember me, what else?"

"Geralt is waiting for you" - Lena remembered Geralt's tired face back in Skyrim.

"But where is he? I searched everywhere..." - Yen broke off. "No, we'll talk about this later. What else do you remember? Do you know where we are?"

"'Send me after him! Send me into the Fade!'" - a voice echoed in Lena's mind, and she saw herself kneeling over Hauk's body. Now she remembered.

"The Fade. I am here to find Hauk."

"And not to succumb to demons" - added Yennefer smiling. "But I think you've learned a thing or two by now. Come, I'll help you."

"Thank you" - Lena took her hand. "Wolf is in Skyrim, he misses you."

The fort vanished. Yennefer had pushed Lena into a portal.


Mountains. Lena stood on a slope of a mountain, she was high enough so that all was white around her, but below, in the canyon, she saw grass and trees in bloom. This wasn't Skyrim - these were the Jeralls in Cyrodiil.

"Wait, wasn't it where we got into that fight with the bandits?"

She looked around, yes, it probably was. A figure was standing on a mountain slope further ahead - a man, perhaps? She started towards him.

"Hauk!" - she was close enough to recognise him.

"Hello" - he said, with a blank face. "Nice view from here."

Lena was taken aback - this wasn't the reaction she had expected. He didn't seem to even recognise her, or if he did, he didn't seem to care at all. Was that another demon? Or was that Hauk after a demon was done with him? She had to be cautious. "Don't succumb to another demon" - she heard Yennefer's words in her head.

"Hauk" - Lena started carefully. "Have you eaten? There's a campsite nearby, I've got mutton on the spit."

She didn't know if there was a campsite nearby, but she figured it would appear, if she wanted it to. Roasted mutton was Hauk's favourite, if he didn't respond, it wasn't Hauk.

"Whaaa--?" - he looked around, as if seeing her for the first time. "Wolf? What are you doing here?"

"Roasting some mutton, it seems" - she smiled. "Come on." She took his hand. It was warm.


"Wake up, wake up!" - someone was casting healing spells at Lena. The room was spinning. Wait... perhaps she should open her eyes.

A face of a dark-haired young man was coming into focus. "Come on, you're back, you must be back!" He was pale, but still casting spells.

"Jowan?" - Lena recognised him. "You've done it!" - she kissed him. "Hauk?"

"Sleeping" - Jowan looked embarrassed. "He's been back for a while already... But you... What took you so long? I could barely keep the portal open."

"But you have" - Lena got up. "I... got side-tracked" - she said, blushing all over. "Demons..."

"Say no more" - Jowan smiled. "I've been there, you know. You help someone, you think you're done, you let your guard down, and that's when it happens."

"Yeah..." There was no need to specify which demon got her - again.

"You're back, that's what counts" - Jowan said firmly. "The rest stays in the Fade."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 12 2021, 04:30 PM

29 First Seed, 4E202 - The Hidden Camp - Bruma - Rubies

"Is it midday already? How long have I slept?" - Hauk was crawling out of a low tent in the Hidden Camp. "Is this Sedor?" - he pointed at an Ayleid ruin nearby. "I feel like I drank too much last night... The dreams I had - you wouldn't believe!"

He sat by the fire with Lena and Jowan, stretching.

"Careful with that" - Lena touched his side. "It hasn't properly healed yet."

"Whaa--?" - Hauk looked at her suspiciously.

"Some of those dreams..." - Jowan started cautiously - "they were not all dreams, I think."

Hauk stared at them.

"Ok, stop beating about the bush and tell me what happened."

"You... died" - said Lena. "I had to repair your heart - it was pierced - so be careful with that scar in your side."

"Riiiight..." - Hauk touched the scar. "Yes, I see. This explains Sovngarde. Except... they didn't let me in. Said someone wanted me back... They'd let me in if that person stopped searching."

Lena turned bright red.

"I am sorry, it wasn't easy... It took me such a long time... And I did stop... once" - she looked at Hauk apologetically. "I couldn't have done it without Yen."

It was Hauk's turn to go bright red.

"You went after me..?"

Now Jowan was getting hot under the collar.

"Stop it, both of you!" - he jumped up. "It was all my fault, I opened the portal! Sacrificed two bandits to do it, too! Sithis will be pleased now."

"What?" - Lena and Hauk said in unison, staring at him.

"The more I do it, the closer he gets" - said Jowan, sitting down. "It's not that I do it a lot... But I had to this time!"

They sat in silence for a while, letting it all sink in. Just what each of them was willing to do for the others, including Hauk of course - he died, remember?

"Well..." - Lena took their hands. "I think that makes us friends."


"Do you want to spend another night here?" - asked Hauk, getting up. "Or shall we get going?"

"Are you sure you're up to it?" - asked Lena, looking uncertain.

"I didn't say let's go fight some more bandits" - he winked. "I was thinking more along the lines of following the road to a town - Bruma or Cheydinhal - and spending the next night at an inn."

"I wouldn't say no to a bed inside a house" - seconded Jowan. "And I've never been to Bruma."

"Bruma it is then" - Lena got up too.

IPB Image

The road to Bruma was remarkably devoid of fights, not counting a few wolves. The views were magnificent and the fresh mountain air did everyone a lot of good. They reached Bruma in the early evening.

"Jerall View Inn, I think" - Hauk looked at Lena and Jowan. "They've got better beds."

"And food" - added Lena. "Unless you wanted to go drinking at Olav's first?"

"Drinks first" - said Jowan decisively. "Then eat and sleep" - he gave them a wide grin.


"Iver!" - a tall Altmer girl ran up to Hauk and squeezed him in an embrace, kissing him before he could say anything (he didn't try). "Where have you been? It's been ages!"

"Ummm..." - Hauk's attempt at replying got swallowed in another kiss.

Lena and Jowan were watching with amusement, as well as the rest of the clientele at Olav's.

"Ahem" - Olav touched the girl on the shoulder. "Camia? That's not Iver."

Camia jumped back as if she got burned.

"What?! How?"

She was shifting her gaze from Hauk to Olav and back, Hauk looked perplexed but otherwise rather pleased with himself. Olav cleared his throat again.

"This is Hauk, Iver's twin brother."

Camia went so red, it couldn't be healthy.

"Here - sit down" - Olav pushed a chair towards her. "They look completely alike, so don't blame yourself for the confusion."

"I am very pleased to make your acquaintance" - said Hauk. "And to find out that my brother has such a charming friend."

"Oh I'm so sorry" - Camia found her voice. "Gods know what you must think of me!" She went red again.

"I wouldn't worry" - said Lena. "Hauk gets it all the time."

The look of outrage on Hauk's face was enough to diffuse the situation. Everyone laughed.


"...and then he zapped that ogre with such a force, that it just fell over and died!" - Camia was telling the story of how she met Iver. Apparently, he saved her from some ogres out in the wilderness.

"Yeah, that sounds about right" - confirmed Hauk. "Iver was always good with his shock spells. But if I may - what were you two doing there in the first place?"

"Hauk!" - Lena protested. "What kind of a personal question is that? Ignore him, Camia."

"Well, we were looking for rubies, of course" - said Camia as if it was self-explanatory. "In the Red Ruby Cave? To bind Fire Atronachs with long term binding" - she explained seeing that it wasn't in fact self-explanatory. "I'm from the College of Winterhold. I met Iver here in Bruma - the Mages Guild kindly sent a battlemage to help - that was Iver."

"And did you find any rubies?" - asked Lena knowing that the answer would be "no". Cave names were never so obvious.

"No, strangely enough, we didn't" - said Camia, still surprised by it. "Just the ogres." She looked at them all and didn't see any of them surprised. "Say, you look like you know your way around caves..."

"Err... rubies are rare..." - Lena started.

"If we find any, we'll be sure to save them for you" - interrupted Hauk. "I'll have Iver bring them over to you in Winterhold. A trip will do him good."

Camia blushed but accepted the offer with thanks.


"So what are you going to do about the rubies?" - asked Lena when they were on their way to the Jerall View Inn for the night.

"I have a few at home" - winked Hauk. "From Skyrim, in fact. They are a lot more common there, but Camia didn't seem to know that. Iver needs to go see her, or else he'll be fit to join a monastery soon."

Did anyone think that Bruma was the city of romance? No? Then they should reconsider.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 13 2021, 11:26 AM

30 First Seed, 4E202 - Bruma Mages Guild - Walking in the Jeralls

The first thing to do in the morning was to stop by the Mages Guild and see if they had any poisons in stock as Lena had used up a lot of hers in all the fighting.

"No, we don't really sell poisons, you know" - said Selena. "They don't make the right impression on people, according to the Arch Mage. I have a few ingredients you could use, but even that..."

"Traven and his rules of good conduct again!" - fumed Hauk. "Does the man have any grasp of reality? We need poisons for goblins and ogres, for Akatosh's sake!"

"Well..." - Selena looked sympathetic. "There's a cave not far from here - the Silver Tooth Cave - it's full of wisp stalks and cairn bolete mushrooms, although it does have goblins inside. But there's quite a lot of milk thistle and wormwood along the way, too."

"Yes, we passed it yesterday..." - Lena looked at Jowan and Hauk. "There was a fort nearby as well... But you must promise to hang back and let me take the lead in the fighting" - she turned to Hauk. "Until you're fully recovered."

"I'm recovered!" - protested Hauk. "I'm a battlemage, remember - I've had my share of cuts and scrapes over the years!"

"Yeah, and how many times have you died from a dagger in your heart before?" - asked Lena not giving up.

"Dagger in your heart? That sounds dangerous" - Jeanne walked in. "Nobody can survive that."

"Quite" - Lena replied, looking at Hauk with significance.

"Of course a Warlock like yourself would have no problem repairing the tear, I'm sure" - Jeanne continued. "Still, I'd say it would be a very cruel practical joke. Unless of course Hannibal Traven thinks otherwise" - she smiled brightly. Selene shook her head, suddenly remembering that she had a potion to mix. Volanaro walked out of the room.

"What?" - Jeanne looked around, perplexed.

"Nothing" - Lena and Hauk replied, and Lena turned to follow Volanaro. He had some interesting spells on offer.

"A Warlock, wow, congratulations! You've done well!" - Volanaro greeted Lena when they were out of Jeanne's earshot. "I remember when you came here for your recommendation... both times" - he winked.

"Yeah, these ranks keep stacking up" - said Lena - "even though it isn't magic that I do to earn them, but plain fighting. You'd think it was Fighters Guild. Doesn't feel right."

Lena looked at Volanaro - a mischievous smile was playing on his lips.

"Well, you remember that little joke we played on Jeanne? She was searching for her Manual for days... Can't cast a single spell without it, I think it is enchanted" - he winked. "But jokes aside, things might change here in a not too distant future. You do know why we are the only Guild Hall without a specialisation?"

"I do" - said Hauk. "But Wolf was away at the time, I think she might have missed it. I'll fill her in."

"Please do" - Volanaro shook Hauk's hand. "Considering her rank advances, she is likely to become involved."

Jowan remembered reading some books at the Mages Guild in Anvil.

"Oh, from before the..." - he caught himself. "Sorry. I read your charter - some pages were missing..."

"Exactly" - said Volanaro, looking at Jowan's wrists. "Come and join us after... you know. When things will have changed."

"Oh!" - Lena caught on. "If Kvatch was for Alchemy, then Bruma... I see. Yes, we shall probably see each other again then. Traven seems to think I'm his puppet."

"Does he know the colour of Warlock's robes?" - asked J'skar appearing next to Volanaro.

"He must be colour-blind" - said Lena, smiling.

"He is not" - replied J'skar. "J'skar thinks that Wolf has to be careful. Traven is trying to get her killed."


After some discussion, they decided to take another walk in the mountains, picking some milk thistle and wormwood along the way. Whether or not they'd make it to the Silver Tooth Cave, would become clear later on.

"We should take Jowan to the Frostcrag Spire" - said Hauk. "That's a sight to see!"

That was a good idea, and they could pick ingredients from the garden there too, although Lena admitted that she still hadn't furnished it.

"You own a mage's tower?" - Jowan was impressed.

"It was left to me by some long-lost relative" - she said blushing slightly. "Quite the eccentric, it seems, although probably not as evil as that other great-uncle."

The Frostcrag Spire was the same as last time: impressive on the outside and bare on the inside.

"And those teleports" - said Hauk shuddering. "Did I tell you how much I hate them? And here you have to use them to get from one floor to the next!"

"Yeah, not my idea of a home either..." - said Lena. "Perhaps we'll come across a mage who would be pleased with it."

It was nice to visit, but not to stay, and they continued their walk. They came to the camp on the Gnoll mountain and stayed there for lunch enjoying the views of Bruma. Then they took the Northern path back, passing by the Dragonclaw Rock.

IPB Image

"That is the way to Skyrim" - said Lena looking wistful. "Through the Pale Pass and onto Helgen."

"And you want to go there again" - said Hauk, reading her face.

"Yeah..." - she looked at him. "If you're coming with me. And no business this time, just exploring." She turned to Jowan - "This goes for you too, Jowan. There's a lot to explore in Skyrim."

Jowan looked at Lena and Hauk and shook his head.

"That's too cold for my liking. You two go, I'll wait for you here in Bruma" - he smiled. "I think Volanaro will make for an interesting acquaintance."

They returned to Bruma discussing preparations for the trip. They never made it to the Silver Tooth Cave - the goblins got off easy this time.

Posted by: macole Jun 14 2021, 04:58 AM

QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Jun 13 2021, 05:26 AM) *

"Yeah, not my idea of a home either..." - said Lena. "Perhaps we'll come across a mage who would be pleased with it."

Passing through Bruma I happened to read an add on the bulletin board. Thinking of picking up a suitable home for a mage I took advantage of the offer only to find that I too was underwhelmed by the tower.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 14 2021, 07:54 AM

QUOTE(macole @ Jun 14 2021, 04:58 AM) *

QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Jun 13 2021, 05:26 AM) *

"Yeah, not my idea of a home either..." - said Lena. "Perhaps we'll come across a mage who would be pleased with it."

Passing through Bruma I happened to read an add on the bulletin board. Thinking of picking up a suitable home for a mage I took advantage of the offer only to find that I too was underwhelmed by the tower.

I know. Lena is willing to give it away... almost free! biggrin.gif She went to see what the upgrades were... Overpriced was an understatement. And all strictly for a single person without visitors or - gods forbid - friends who might spend the night. Why, there wasn't even a bathroom or a pool! It's almost like that Rowley Eardwulf character who clearly swindled her out of the actual contents of the Sanctuary - was a whole group of assassins supposed to share a single coffin? In particular AFTER they cured vampirism? Didn't think so. But then Rowley was a swindler, of course, whereas this Altmer lady in the Imperial City seems to have the actual stuff... Lots of magical artefacts, true, but so poor in life's comforts. So Lena figured it wasn't worth while. But someone might like it - with a few changes to the decor, I should think.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 14 2021, 10:19 PM

31 First Seed - 2 Rain's Hand, 4E202

The day saw Lena and Hauk cross the border to Skyrim, turning West from Helgen to say hello to Geralt at Lake View. Lena had something to add to that, too.

31 First Seed

"I saw Yen" - she said at dinner.

Geralt dropped his spoon, splashing the stew on the table cloth.

"What?! How?"

"Umm... She's been searching for you" - Lena decided to circumvent the question. "I told her where you went, she'll be coming over now, I'm sure."

Geralt smiled, his scars almost fading. Then the looked grim again.

"You didn't answer me - how could you have seen her?" He correctly deduced that not answering was not good news.

"I... umm..." - Lena wasn't quite sure how to say that she went into the Fade after Hauk when he died.

"She went after me" - said Hauk - "to get me to come back after some bandit stabbed me."

"Riiight..." - Geralt was taking it in. "And you came back... both of you... obviously. How did you do it?"

"A blood mage opened a portal..." - Lena really didn't want to go into it. "It's not important! The important thing was that Yen was there, looking for you - asking Philipa to help for Akatosh's sake! You should have told her where you went... She'll have to exit the... Fade... and then make her way to here... It'll be a while still, but she's on her way, so be patient."

This all came out as a flood.

"The Fade?" - Geralt blinked. "She went into the Fade looking for me?"

"She... well... she said she looked everywhere, asked everyone... No one knew. I suppose she thought you might have died" - suggested Lena. "Or may be it was an easier way to search? Sort of like from above?" - she offered hopefully.

"Right, no more tests then" - said Geralt, still looking worried but lightening up. "I'll need to see about finding a house - my own house now. She'll be here in a few months."

Having Yennefer arrive after all that trouble and not find a suitable accommodation was a far more dangerous prospect than travelling through the Fade.


"What brings you two to Skyrim again?" - asked Geralt when they were sitting out on the deck drinking mead. The evening was beautiful.

"We just wanted to relax" - said Lena, looking at Hauk - "and Hauk needs to recover from his wound."

"I'm recovered!" - protested Hauk. "I think it is you who needed a holiday. How many demons did you face?"

"Too many" - agreed Lena.

"Well, that's what friends are for" - concluded Geralt. "Like Letho going after the Wild Hunt with me... Even when I couldn't remember anything, I still knew he was a friend. Such things stay with you no matter what." He looked at Lena and Hauk and smiled. "So you decided to come to Skyrim to fight some draugr for entertainment, have you?"

"Dwelmer automatons, we rather thought..." - Lena smiled. "Those ruins we came across last time? We want to explore a bit."

1 Rain's Hand

Lena and Hauk set off in the morning going North. They didn't have any particular plan, but knew that there were quite a few Dwelmer ruins in that direction. Passing on the East side of Whiterun, they spotted a path into the mountains and took it. It led them to a cave, skulls and bones on sticks announced the falmer inside.

"And probably chaurusses" - noted Lena looking at Hauk. "What do you think?"

"In we go."

The Shimmermist Cave lived up to its name - warm mist hung in the air, and it shimmered. Literally. Quite romantic, if it wasn't for the poison-spitting giant insects and vicious falmer, also looking like insects in their chaurus chitin armour. One of the passages even opened onto a Dwelmer chamber, complete with a Centurion spraying superheated steam.

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"Wow, you broke it!" - Lena could hardly believe her eyes when she finally caught up with Hauk, having led away a falmer nightstalker. "I didn't think it was possible!"

"Of course it is possible" - Hauk looked rather pleased with himself. "Shock spells disrupt their crystals, you know."

"Yeah, that's if you manage to zap them before they squash you with the hammer or boil you alive."

The fun had begun.


Continuing further North, they stopped at the Nightgate Inn for the night.

"Oh, there are two Dwelmer ruins not far from here" - the innkeep said when he heard what they were after. "Just to the South."

2 Rain's Hand

The weather was bitter cold, with the blizzard so thick you could hardly see three steps ahead of you.

"Let's hope we find those ruins quickly and go inside" - said Lena shivering. Her iron armour left her arms exposed, and she was slowly freezing.

"Have you considered wearing some furs under that armour?" - asked Hauk, but Lena pretended not to hear.

Irkngthand looked impressive. A large courtyard with a three-story building, all promising an interesting exploration. By the time Lena and Hauk had dealt with the bandit welcoming party, Lena started looking like a frost atronach.

"You need to warm up - now" - said Hauk, pulling her towards the entrance. "There's a campsite with a good fire right over there."

"Wouldn't it be better to find the door and get inside instead?" - Lena protested, looking around.

"Yeah, but do you see a door? Didn't think so" - Hauk was adamant. "We've scaled this side of the building several times now, and there is no door, well, there is one - but it's all blocked up. We'll look for another entrance later - once you've been defrosted."

He had a point. Lena had also conceded that her armour wasn't keeping the cold out, and pinched standard steel armour from the bandit chief. It was too big, but could be adjusted to fit her reasonably well.

"But it's so heavy!" - she complained. "Don't throw away my iron set - I'll see about padding it with fur later. And... can you carry it, please? I can't carry both..." Women.

Hauk sighed, but stashed her armour in his pack. Breton women were neither strong nor frost-resistant, but they did have certain other good points...


After a good rest and a meal, they decided to check whether the ruin could be entered from above - through a make-shift hatch in the roof. They found the hatch, but it was locked.

"Another one of those magical locks" - Lena gritted her teeth. "No, it's no use. What about that other ruin that the innkeep mentioned? Let's move on."

Raldbthar was just to the South East.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 15 2021, 11:23 PM

2-3 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - From Ralbthar to Ivarstead

2-3 Rain's Hand - Ralbthar

Slept inside, found some hay piles in falmer huts. The falmer had fires going, so cooked some food, too. Found an Aetherial Shard and a mechanism that we could not activate.

Took an elevator to the surface - the entrance is above the main entrance to Ralbthar.

3 Rain's Hand

It's still early, and cold. We rode East then South - found Mara's Eye pond. Beautiful. There's a small island in the middle, a boat moored on its shore. There must be something there.

Found a trapdoor, a small cave inside - also quite beautiful, if not for the vampires. But plenty of gold, so it's all worth while.

Hauk says I should have taken the vampire's armour - one red, one black, both sexy. Mmm... no. No, thanks.

Going South - passing Gallows Rock. Let someone else clear it out.

South of that - a shrine to Talos. Did you know that they now want you to pay 100 septims every time you want a blessing? It's not an "offering" if you get something in exchange, it's a purchase. I'll need to invest in Cure Disease potions.

Cradlecrush Rock. Don't want to get crushed today. Ride on.

Crossing the river, we see a spider, it picks a fight. Hauk zaps it. Spider spits venom. Hauk gets angry - "A true Nord never backs down!" This doesn't apply to true Nord spiders though because it tries to run away. Eight legs or not, but Hauk is angry and spider stands no chance. Note to self: avoid making Hauk angry.

We proceed South. Holiday is in full swing.

Stumbled on a path up the mountain with arches and steps - a crypt. Went to have a look-see. The door is unlocked, there's a young chap inside - Golldir. Seems nice. Asks us to help him deal with a necromancer - some family feud, and he decided to take it out on their dead. Goldilocks - err, Golldir - is terrified of the place, got locked up there as a kid or something. But he's brave enough to ask for help and admit a weakness, all good points in my book. We'll have a quick snack and go in. It's lunch time - Roach is already munching on thistle outside.

That necromancer was evil. But a strong mage! Used interesting teleportation magic - Dunmer. Telvanni? Probably not. I wish I had a friend in Morrowind.

We are headed to Ivarstead, but make a detour to see the geisers. Always impressive.

Mistwatch - bandits. At least they have the decency to warn. Leave them be.

Darkwater crossing. Volunteered to deliver a message to Windhelm. Wait, weren't we going in the opposite direction? What was I thinking!

Another detour to the Rift Imperial camp. Padded my iron armour with wolf fur, got rid of the heavy steel - the quartermaster was happy. "Oh look at this perfect sabretooth cat pelt!" - he said. "The commander will be pleased." We stopped for a meal because of course Optio Serck-Hanssen had to have a chat with the Legate. Well, at least it got us free mead.

Ivarstead - Vilemyr Inn. "Hello, love birds!" Oh, the innkeep remembers us. Ok, never mind.

Hauk's armour got scratched in the fight with the draugr, he spends the evening polishing it. I watch (he doesn't wear a shirt). Not sure how much sleep we'll get. But there's no rush to get up in the morning!

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 16 2021, 09:22 PM

4 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Geisers - Windhelm - White Phial

There was no need to get up particularly early, and so they didn't. But eventually Lena was up - the smell of fresh sweetrolls tempting her out of bed. Hauk followed.

"Now that I promised we'd take this note to Windhelm, we actually have to go there" - she said, checking the saddle on Roach. "Straight through the geisers?"

"Let's go!" - Hauk was in the saddle going North.


"Straight through the geisers, she says!" - Roach was complaining loudly, even though Lena couldn't make out a word of it. "More like straight down the waterfall and off a cliff! For your information, there is no straight road between Ivarstead and Fort Amol!"

Lena was gingerly nudging Roach to descent down a nearly vertical cliff. In her defence, there were plenty of stepping stones and Roach didn't fall once.

"Do I look like a mountain goat?" - Roach wasn't going to let her indignation go unnoticed. "Or the Shadowmere? You've been around Lucien too much, that's what! It got into your head! Oh" - they stood on a road by Fort Amol - "and now someone zapped me!"

"I'll see you burn!" - a mage charged at them casting shock spells.

"Umm..." - started Lena unsheathing her sword, a fire playing in the other hand. "That's the wrong spell for burning."

But before she could do anything, the mage dropped dead at her feet.

"There's a perfectly good road down the mountain, you know" - Hauk said, putting out his own shock spell. "Do you want to clear out the fort?"

"Nah, leave them be" - Lena got into the saddle. "We are on holiday, remember?"


"If there ever was trouble, this is it" - Lena said nudging Roach away from the cabin. "The sort of trouble we should walk away from."

They found a riverside shack with a large bear sleeping peacefully inside, having dismembered and eaten the previous inhabitant.

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"Shouldn't we avenge the unfortunate person inside though?" - asked Hauk moving away too.

"And what would that accomplish? It won't bring him back. Let's go."

The bear continued snoring.


In Windhelm they finally sold the loot that they didn't want to keep. War time prices meant that they didn't get much money for it. Still, it was enough for a meal and a room, and a few bits and bobs, too. They dropped off the note at the White Phial, sold their surplus ingredients and... got saddled with another fetch quest.

"If you don't want to help people, you shouldn't be asking them about their problems" - remarked Hauk when they were outside. "Wasn't there something else we needed to fetch from that very same cave? For another old alchemist?"

"A ring of perfect mixtures" - Lena recalled. "If this was a hidden laboratory of some alchemical genuis, then it is not surprising that it would contain several interesting items."

Back at the market a local farmer selling fresh produce asked Lena to deliver some nightshade extract to the court wizard.

"I'm stuck here manning the stall all day" - she said. "Would you be so kind? Gets you to see the Palace from the inside, too."

The woman was nice, so Lena agreed.

"How do you feel about going into the Palace?" - she asked Hauk as they approached the entrance. "Do you want to skip this one?"

"Whatever for?" - Hauk raised an eyebrow. "It's not like I'm wearing Imperial armour. And even then... Windhelm doesn't consist exclusively of Stormcloaks, you know."

"Not exclusively..." - Lena thought - "But close! Certainly among the Nords..."

But - what was it? "A true Nord never backs down!" Oh.

She needn't have worried though. Ulfric was too busy discussing the war with whoever he was discussing the war with, and the door to the upper level of the Palace was right by the entrance. The court wizard by the name of Wuunferth the Unliving (!!) turned out to be an elderly mage interested in any and all aspects of magic and no aspects of politics. Ulfric didn't need him, and he needed Ulfric even less.

"We are doing well leaving each other well alone" - he said. "Oh - the nightshade extract... thank you. Poisonous of course, but it also has other uses..." He didn't elaborate, and Lena didn't think it was her place to ask.

After the Palace of the Kings they needed a breath of fresh air and went to the Grey Quarter - the New Gnisis Cornerclub, to be precise. A lot less stuffy than the Palace, but instead filled with the air of discontent. The Dunmer were not treated fairly! No? No less fairly than the Nords in Morrowind. It goes both ways.

After lunch it was time to go find this treasure trove of alchemy - the Forsaken Cave.

The weather turned for the worse with the blizzard getting heavy, the icy wind howling. Lena's padded armour did a decent job of keeping the cold out, but her Breton blood wasn't sufficiently frost-resistant.

"You are turning blue again" - said Hauk. "You need a drink." He handed her a bottle of Nord mead. "It may not taste as sweet as Honningbrew or Black-Briers, but it keeps the cold out better."

Indeed, it worked. Lena felt warmer and the cold didn't seem to get at her so much. She made a mental note to buy Nord mead wherever she saw it, whatever the cost.

Forsaken Cave led to Forsaken Crypt, the burial place of that famous alchemist Curalmil. Of course, his draugr was guarding the phial.

"Umm... Curalmil does not sound like a Nord name" - said Lena looking at the pacified draugr. "What is he doing in a Nord crypt as a draugr?"

"Ancient Nords were more accepting of foreigners than modern ones" - said Hauk grimly. "If he made his life in Skyrim and was considered one of the people, they'd bury him in the Nord tradition. And it seems he was respected in life - he practically presides over this crypt."

They found the phial, but it was broken.

"Something tells me Nurelion is not going to be happy" - said Lena with regret. "Can't say I blame him. Well, let's take it back as it is."

They returned to Windhelm in the dead of night. The Candlehearth Hall was welcoming, as usual.

Posted by: Acadian Jun 17 2021, 12:34 AM

Poor Roach, the mountain goat cliff runner! tongue.gif

'The Dunmer were not treated fairly! No? No less fairly than the Nords in Morrowind. It goes both ways.'
By Julianos' little teapot, this is ever so true! Having traveled most of Tamriel, the Dunmer of Morrowind and Altmer of Summerset are notably worse about treating outsiders than the Nords of Skyrim. That said, a breath of fresh air after leaving Ulfric's palace is always welcome.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 17 2021, 11:37 PM

5 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Stenvar - Ansilvund

"Well, what do you fancy doing today?" - asked Lena after they delivered the broken White Phial to Nurelion.

"Mzulft" - said Hauk decisively. "There's that Aetherium shard there, and of course the ruin proper. As well as a few caves nearby - who knows, they could be interesting. And..." - he hesitated. "Let's take Stenvar with us. The boy looked bored, he could use an outing."

"Hardly a boy any more" - Lena smiled. "He looks fully grown to me."

"Still a welp" - Hauk grinned. "And will probably complain about the cold in the caves. He always liked forts as a kid, always running off, and his mother going after him. His mother! She was a fine woman..." Hauk trailed off in memories. "I stayed with them quite a lot."

"Sounds like you knew his mother really well" - Lena prompted cautiously.

"Yes... Her husband had run off soon after the wedding, gods know what he was thinking - just as the War started. I met her right after that, running a farm on her own."

"So Stenvar..?"

"Is not mine, I don't think" - Hauk was looking into the distance. "I think she was already pregnant by her husband. But we'll never know, I guess. And" - he looked at Lena sternly - "he doesn't know it, so please refrain from any mentions of me possibly being his father."

"I think by now he would have guessed!" - Lena exclaimed. "He's old enough to know how these things work!"

Hauk glared at her.

"I said no. I don't want it talked about."

Well, that was final.


Lena was walking up to Stenvar's table at Candlehearth Hall and already heard his well-rehearsed pitch: "If it's a mercenary you want, then the strongest one is right here... Oh hello" - he recognised her from their brief encounter last time. "All on your own this time? Sorry, I forgot your name."

"Wolf" - said Lena. "And yes, I do need some backup - planning to explore Dwelmer ruins on the Eastern border."

"Wolf?" - Stenvar swallowed. "So that white-haired fellow last time..."

"Is my brother" - finished Lena. "But he's not here today. Coming?"

"Wouldn't miss it for the world!" - Stenvar was on his feet.

"Your fee" - Lena handed him a purse.

"No, I couldn't..."

"Yes, you can. Or shall I just drop it off with the innkeep here?"

"Well, that's a bit excessive... I do owe her money, but not that much..." - Stenvar stashed away the purse. "Let's go."

"Hello Stenvar" - Hauk stepped out from behind a column. "Keeping well, I trust?"

"Optio..." - Stenvar did keep his voice down this time. He looked at Lena and Hauk and back at Lena again. "So why do you need me?"

"We had a hard time with Centurions in the last ruin" - Hauk offered. "And we thought it would be fun to meet up. And please just call me Hauk."

"If I knew you'd be there, I would have never taken the money!" - Stenvar exclaimed with indignation, reaching for the purse.

"Which is why Lena went to see you alone" - Hauk stopped his hand. "Keep it, you will be earning every bit of it, I promise."


Mzulft was a disappointment - it was locked.

"Blasted magical locks!" - Lena cursed putting away Nocturnal's skeleton key. "We'll have to see if Farengar in Whiterun has something to open such things. But until then we can't get in!"

The Stony Creek cave nearby provided a welcome opportunity to blow off some steam. The bandits were clever - they used runes and traps in the narrow passages, and Lena got knocked out a couple of times. But then Stenvar and Hauk coming behind her caused some surprise...

"Oh, this is one nice bow!" - said Lena picking up a bow from the chief. "Wait, this looks familiar... Look Hauk - it has a randomised enchantment! 'The Edge of Ruin' it's called... It was Syl's. I wonder what it is doing here?"

"Wasn't it yours at some point? I remember you talking about it" - asked Hauk examining the bow.

"Yes, it was... Or one just like it" - mused Lena. "A lot of things went missing while I was travelling between here, Shivering Isles and the Northern Realms..."

"Shivering Isles and the Northern Realms?" - Stenvar whistled. "And I haven't even been to Morrowind!"

"You stick with us, and soon you'll wish you never left Candlehearth Hall" - laughed Hauk.

Leaving the cave and following a dirt road South and into the mountains, they found a camp in front of a wooden door. A mage picked a fight.

"Now why is it never possible to talk to them calmly?" - asked Hauk looking around. "I do hope I just knocked him out rather than killed - he was just a novice!"

"He was told to guard the place" - said Lena. "His self-importance overruled his thinking. Let's go in."

Ansilvund looked like a mine, but turned out to be an excavation site of a Nordic crypt. They were greeted by draugr and more mages.

"This is strange" - said Lena looking at draugr wrapped in linen stacked along the walls. "Necromancy?"

"Looks like it" - agreed Hauk.

Stenvar sighed. "I prefer to fight bandits. At least when I kill them, they don't get up!"


It was snowing lightly when they came out. Ansilvund was the crypt of Holgeir and Fjori, now being defiled by Lu'ah al-Skaven in a misguided revenge after her husband fell in the Great War. A woman in grief using the grief of Holgeir to... what, exactly? There is no logic in grief.

They sat at the camp by the entrance, they needed a break. They didn't speak.

IPB Image

Lena couldn't help but think of that dagger through Hauk's heart and her own venture into the Fade after him. Jowan had given a piece of his soul to let her do that... She would never forget it, or the grief she had felt seeing Hauk dead on the ground.

She put her head on Hauk's shoulder, he pulled her close. She was silently crying. Hauk stroked her hair, letting the tears run.

Stenvar looked up from the fire, raised his eyebrows in a question. "I'll tell you later" - Hauk mouthed to him. For now they'd just sit there, by the crypt of Holgeir and Fjori, holding each other close.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 18 2021, 11:27 PM

5-6 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Tolvald's Cave - Kagrenzel

It was getting late, so they decided to spend the night at Ansilvund making use of the campfire and bedrolls inside. Lena turned in early, but Hauk and Stenvar sat by the fire for a while.

Stenvar was waiting for Hauk to tell him why Lena had been crying, but he didn't want to ask. When they were sure that she was asleep, Hauk passed Stenvar a bottle of mead, moved closer and started to talk quietly.

"It was just last week. Some bandit sneaked up on me and put a dagger through my heart."

Stenvar froze.

"I died. She went after me."

Hauk took a sip from his drink, staring in front of him.

"To Sovngarde?" - Stenvar whispered.

"To the Fade - the place you have to cross to get to Sovngarde. I stood there in front of the gates, but they wouldn't let me in - said someone was searching for me. They'd let me in when that person stopped searching."

They sat there in silence - it wasn't a story you heard every day.

"Which is why we came here for a bit of diversion" - continued Hauk. "Some diversion this crypt proved to be! But may be it's for the best. We'll try to find a Dwemer ruin tomorrow."

"Her grief was so intense" - said Stenvar looking at Lena sleeping. "But she's so young! Just early twenties by the looks of her..."

"Yeah, she looks early twenties... but she went through the Oblivion Crisis."

"Two centuries ago?" - Stenvar was taken aback.

"Yes, she was in her early twenties then" - Hauk confirmed. "But she isn't as old as that. Those other realms she spent time in - time passes differently there. She has probably lived around 50 years in all."

They sat drinking mead in silence for a while.

"You've got to keep her close, Da" - Stenvar said quietly.

"Yeah..." - Hauk was lost in thought. Then - something Stenvar had said jerked him out of it: "Da?"

"Oh, I figured it out a long time ago" - Stenvar smiled. "You must be."

"It's not certain. It could be your Ma's husband."

"That worthless git? No, I'd rather it be you."

"I wasn't around enough. Not what a father should be" - Hauk looked at Stenvar with unease. "I loved your mother though."

"It was the War - you were in the Legion. You were around more than many others. And you kept coming back until she died..."

"At which point I abandoned you!" - Hauk sounded guilty. "Something a father should have never done."

"I was almost twenty already! You didn't need to look after me any more!" - Stenvar protested.

"Yeah, I suppose you grew up by then..." - Hauk passed Stenvar more mead. "But still..."

"I'm glad you are back" - said Stenvar. "Ma was happy around you. We both were."

They sat by the fire deep into the night.

6 Rain's Hand

"Oh, something smells good!" - Hauk woke up to the aroma of toasted sweetrolls. Lena was cutting up fruit for breakfast. Stenvar woke up too.

"Did you two drink all the mead you could find here last night?" - she asked pointing at a pile of empty bottles.

"We might have done" - Hauk grinned.

"Where's my armour?" - Stenvar looked bewildered.

"Oh - here" - Lena tossed it to him. "I found some pelts, thought you could use a bit of extra padding, seeing how you kept complaining of cold yesterday..."

"Oh" - Stenvar turned bright red. "Thanks."

"It's like I said..." - Hauk laughed, but Stenvar glared at him and Hauk didn't continue.


"There's supposed to be a Dwemer ruin here to the East" - Lena was pouring over a map. "Kagrenzel. And no, I am not holding the map upside down."

"We must have taken a wrong path up the mountain" - said Hauk soothingly. "But here is a cave - you never know, it could be fun."

Tolvad's Cave was not a cave but a cave system. It was large, complicated and filled with falmer. Some Dwemer pipework was visible too, but whatever stood here once, had long collapsed. The caves also housed several ghosts of unfortunate Dunmer fleeing the eruption of the Red Mountain some two centuries ago.

"I suppose it is not surprising to find them here, so close to Morrowind. And they almost made it!" - said Lena with regret. "But the falmer got them..."

"The falmer nearly got us as well" - Hauk reminded her. "How many did we fight at once in that chamber with the waterfall? A dozen? More?"

"Definitely more if you count the chaurusses too" - Stenvar joined in. "This is a dangerous place."

It was nearly 6 p.m. when they came out, not sure what to do.

"Well, it's getting too cold to go searching for that other ruin" - said Hauk. "Let's return to Ansilvund for the night and try another path tomorrow."

They retraced their steps, and just as they were ready to dismount, Lena spurred Roach on and was gone up the mountain.

"Hey, don't get too far ahead!" - Stenvar shouted spurring on his own horse. Lena had found another path.

Indeed, that was the right path to Kagrenzel, and they soon saw Dwemer steps and stonework. They entered.

"Is that all?" - said Lena, disappointed. "Just the one chamber?"

They stood in a chamber with a high ceiling supported by several columns. In the centre there was a pedestal with a glowing orb over it and a couple of fresh corpses underneath.

"That orb looks like trouble" - said Hauk.

"Exactly!" - exclaimed Lena excitedly and grabbed it.


Lena came to lying on the ground feeling thoroughly wet and cold. Someone was removing her armour. She decided not to look.

"How are we going to get it to dry in here?" - someone said. The voice sounded familiar.

"We'll have to make a fire" - another familiar voice answered. "Or go without - we've got some clothes in the pack."

"She's still out though. And cold. Why is she not warming up? I mean, I hate cold but I warmed up already!"

"She's... well... she's got a condition."

Someone was rubbing Lena's body with oil - lavender? - as she slowly noticed the feeling returning to her fingers. The fog started to clear, too. She opened her eyes.

"Hauk!" - she tried to say, but no sound came out of her mouth.

"She's waking up!" - the other voice said. Stenvar.

"Oh good" - Hauk put away the oil. "Drink this." He brought a goblet to her lips, helping her to sit up.

It smelled... familiar. Lena drank.

Colour returned to her cheeks almost immediately. She sat up on her own, now holding the goblet, still drinking. The fog lifted.

"More?" - Hauk rolled up his sleeve, removing the clamp from his vein.

Yes, she needed more. Stenvar went pale.


"She was a vampire once" - Hauk was explaining it to Stenvar while Lena was sleeping off the lavander oil. "She took the cure, and she doesn't bite necks any more, don't worry. But she doesn't regenerate as well as she should, and sometimes she needs blood to recover. The cure isn't perfect."

Stenvar was still looking shocked.

"I fought some vampires before" - he shuddered. "They were terrifying. I didn't know it could be cured."

"It's hard to obtain - practically impossible for most, and as you can see, the side effects are... rather deadly."

They were sitting on an edge of a deep pool of water - the pond under a waterfall. The water was coming directly from above - so high, you couldn't see the source.

When Lena had touched the glowing orb in the Dwemer ruin, some mechanism was activated, the floor tilted and they were dropped into this pool right under a pounding stream. The shock of the fall and the ice cold water made Lena black out, and if it wasn't for Hauk and Stenvar, she would have drowned. They pulled her out, and while Stenvar was getting out of his own dripping wet armour, Hauk cut his vein and prepared a goblet of blood.

"She'll be back to normal when she wakes up" - said Hauk checking the bandage. "And she'll be angry with me for this - or at least she was last time I offered."

"Mmm... thank you, Hauk, I'm not angry" - Lena was waking up. "But what are we doing here?" She looked around.

"Didn't I tell you that orb was trouble?" - laughed Hauk. "Come on, there must be a path to the surface somewhere."

They followed the stream and eventually came out in the Stony Creek cave, now devoid of bandits after their visit the day before. Still wet and cold, they stood outside.

"Well, what now?" - Lena turned to her companions. "Where do we spend the night?"

"Ansilvund" - they pointed up the mountain.

Ansilvund. Again.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 19 2021, 09:03 PM

7-8 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Whiterun - Assassin's End - Irkngthand

"We need to go to Whiterun to see Farengar about opening those magical locks" - said Lena in the morning. "Then we can return here again and try entering Mzulft." [1]

"That's assuming Farengar actually has something suitable" - noted Hauk. "But if anyone does, that'll be him."

They set off West from Ansilvund riding over the geisers. Everything was quiet until Hauk and Stenvar got into a fight with a couple of giants at the Broken Limb camp.

"What?!" - Lena couldn't believe her eyes. "Are you two that bored?!"

"Always wanted to fight a giant!" - shouted Stenvar. "We can take them together!"

"What did they ever do to you?" - Lena shouted back, but no, Stenvar wasn't listening. "Surely Hauk should know better!" - she thought, but apparently he was having too much fun.

Thump! Thump! Thump! The giants got angry. Their thundering clubs shuddered the ground - there was no way for Lena to use any kind of targeting - bow or spells. Then... something flew through the air. No, not something - someone. Hauk got sent flying, landing in a pool, knocked out.

"He'll need a hand getting up" - figured Lena rushing to him.

"Ooh thanks" - he said. "Those giants aren't joking."

Next it was Stenvar flying through the air, landing on rocks and needing a healing hand. Lena gave up targeting giants and just kept running between Hauk and Stenvar trying to keep them alive.

Eventually, the giants were defeated.

"Well, at least let's get their cheese" - said Lena checking the mammoth cheese vats. "And let's find a road and just ride to Whiterun, ok?"

"Only if you promise not to touch any strange orbs" - laughed Hauk. He had a point.


Farengar had what they wanted - a ring of unlocking. Mzulft would be open to them now.

"Can you two hang back here for a few hours?" - Lena got up from a table at the Drunken Huntsman. "I need to check on something."

"I thought we said no business this time!" - Hauk protested.

"It won't take long, I promise!"

Lena was out the door. Some things never change.

There was a rumour of an old Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary East of Whiterun [2], and she had to investigate. She found it - and was able to enter, her enchantment from Cyrodiil obviously worked. A Dark Guardian recognised her - this one was a ghost.

"Sister" - one of the assassins greeted her with a nod.

"How does he know?" - she wondered. "And who are they?"

"We are not really here" - an assassin in Daedric armour addressed her, seeing her confusion. "We are the memories of the assassins that were here long ago, when the Dark Brotherhood still had branches in Skyrim. You were able to find the cave, and then to enter the Sanctuary, so you are a Black Hand. We greet you." He bowed.

"But I wasn't able to enter the Sanctuary in Dawnstar" - Lena remembered that failed attempt.

"The Dawnstar Sanctuary had been corrupted" - an assassin in mage robes joined in. "As was the one near Falkreath, as you have undoubtedly noticed. But this one is better protected, so the enchantment still holds. The Dawnstar Sanctuary has been sealed against misuse."

Lena walked around the Sanctuary. A dormitory, a store room, an armoury - everything you'd need, without the fuss.

"Are you bound to this place forever?" - she asked the assassin in Daedric armour.

"Not forever" - he replied, looking up. "We shall depart, now that you are here - even if you don't stay. You've found this place, and our task is complete."

"Thank you" - Lena murmured. This was certainly an interesting turn of events.


"Right, see - I'm back, and it didn't take long" - Lena walked into the Drunken Huntsman. Hauk was talking to a dremora, with Stenvar eyeing them suspiciously from a far corner.

"At least with that dremora hanging around here, Nazeem has not dared to come in!" - Jenassa was saying to Stenvar. "He seems harmless. Pays for his board, too!"

"That's not just any dremora" - said Lena in passing. "Sanguine!" - she ran up to him. "What are you doing here?"

"Drinking mead, thank you very much!" - Sanguine laughed. "And catching up on gossip" - he nodded at Hauk. "I hear you've been getting yourself into trouble again?"

"I never!" - Lena protested. "What have you been telling him?" - she turned to Hauk.

"Oh, you know, of daggers and strange orbs" - he winked. "Here - have some mead."

But Lena didn't want to stay too long.

"Come on - time to go" - she urged Hauk.

"Go where?" - he looked at her in disbelief. "The sun has practically set already."

"Enough time to make it to the Nightgate Inn before midnight" - Lena insisted. "I want to try Irkngthand tomorrow, now that we can unlock that door."

"I told you she's recovered" - Hauk turned to Sanguine. "Don't worry."


They rode in silence for a while, Lena going steadily North. Stenvar levelled his horse with Hauk's.

"She is friends with a Daedric Prince?"


"To the point that he's looking in on her?"


"What else are you not telling me?"

"Oh, there's plenty. You'll find out in time" - Hauk laughed.

8 Rain's Hand

"Well, here's Irkngthand" - said Hauk as they approached the ruin. "The entrance is on the top floor, and there's no way to get to it... unless you want to drop in from above?"

"Exactly" - Lena smiled.

Stenvar looked perplexed.

Dropping in from above meant climbing the mountain first. They spotted a path going up and took it.

"No, not again!" - Lena watched in disbelief. "Did you decide to kill all giants in Skyrim?"

But obviously they had to have the cheese, and so... Hrmnph. With the Tumble Arch Pass cleared, they continued their ascend.

"This doesn't look good" - said Hauk. "A Word Wall with a massive sarcophagus next to it. I bet it's a Dragon Priest."

"A what?!" - Stenvar started asking when he got hit by a firebolt that almost toppled him over. "Oh I see!"

The fight was intense at first, but then Krosis levitated a bit too far from the edge and... fell off. You wouldn't normally expect an ultra powerful Dragon Priest to commit such a silly error, but there he was, stuck between the rocks, not able to rise or to shoot spells upwards. Ha!

Lena summoned a fire atronach that graciously floated level with Knosis tickling the Priest with its own fire spells, all the while rather enjoying the firebolts. That, and Lena's and Hauk's ice spikes and thunderbolts eventually got him killed. Incredible.

Just below Shearpoint was a small plateau from which one could jump onto the roof of Irkngthand, and then hopefully onto the ledge with the door.

"I'll go" - said Lena. "Follow if you can, but don't worry if you can't. Wait for me down in the camp." And she was off before anyone could object.


Lena came out after 1 a.m.

"Finally!" - Hauk looked worried. "What sort of time do you call this?"

"The time to explore the ruin while avoiding the fighting" - Lena smiled. "For the most part." She dangled a sack with 21 falmer ears. "There was far more where this came from, and I didn't collect them all either."

"Anything else?" - Hauk looked suspicious.

"Yes, I ran into Brinjolf in there." [3]

"Oh" - Hauk's eyes darkened. "What did he want?"

"Well, he wasn't there for me. It seems I walked into something - he was evasive. I lost him somewhere among the falmer slave pens, I think" - she winked.

"So that's why it was locked" - Hauk concluded. "Damned Thieves Guild."

"So can we go back to the inn now?" - Stenvar yawned. "It's too cold out here."

The Nightgate Inn beckoned.

"Let's hope we can share in the fun in Mzulft" - said Hauk getting into the saddle. "That's another ruin with a magic lock."

"We'll find out tomorrow!"

[1] PS4 mod "Ring of Unlocking".

[2] PS4 mod "Dark Brotherhood in Whiterun" with my own story.

[3] While Lena was exploring, a Thieves Guild quest "Blindsighted" got triggered. She tried to follow it through, but it glitched in the end, so she left the way she came. Brinjolf might be permanently stuck there now, so beware.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 20 2021, 01:53 PM

9-10 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Mzulft

They reached Mzulft before lunch and unlocked the door. All seemed quiet. Someone had disposed of the automatons already. Soon they came upon the first body: a mage, possibly from Cyrodiil.

"Mages Guild?" - Lena looked at Hauk. "No, these are not our robes. The Synod - a new group. They must have mounted an expedition, then things seem to have gone very wrong."

"Those machines back there were pretty broken" - noted Stenvar. "So what killed the mage?"

"I give you two guesses" - said Lena, fingering the sack with falmer ears.


"And let's not forget their insectoid friends!" - reminded Hauk. "There's one right there!"

"Well, you wanted to fight something that would bleed. Green blood ok for you?" - teased Lena.

Following the first flying chaurus, they came to a chamber where the mages had set up camp. Alas, all they found were more corpses. Falmer and chaurusses were lurking in the rocky passage ahead.

"Falmer are blind" - Lena turned to her companions. "So let's take advantage of it. Be very quiet and you can easily sneak up to them."

She cast a muffle spell and crouched, Hauk did the same. Stenvar shook his head and crouched. Lena went ahead, signalling them to wait. One, two, three falmer hit with poison arrows, not dead, but no longer at full strength, and they still couldn't hear her. She summoned a dremora and ran back.

The battle was sharp and short, with the dremora taking the heat with archery support from behind.

"There can be no other end" - the Churl returned looking pleased with himself.

"Thank you, my friend" - Lena said, patting him on the arm. He smiled but didn't answer.

"You talk to him?" - Hauk asked when the dremora was banished. "I thought they despised mortals."

"They do" - Lena confirmed. "But it doesn't hurt being polite. Besides, it is usually the same one that keeps turning up."

"I never paid attention to the ones I summoned" - admitted Hauk.

"Well, may be that's why they despise mortals" - smiled Lena.


It was nearly midnight but they were still wondering through Mzulft. They were getting tired and hungry.

"We should make camp or find a quiet corner to rest" - said Hauk. "This ruin goes on and on."

"What - sleep here? Among these machines?" - Stenvar didn't sound enthusiastic.

"Not among the machines" - Hauk corrected him. "I did say find a quiet corner. The Dwemer had living quaters here too."

They entered what looked like a town square with doors leading in four directions. All was quiet, someone killed the falmer and destroyed the automatons.

"The Synod mages" - Lena pointed at another dead mage. "They've put up a good fight!"

In one of the corridors between two locked doors stood a Synod mage over a falmer body. The first living Synod mage.

"Hello" - Lena greeted him. "I am so sorry for your friends. Come with us - you'll be safe now."

But he just stared at her and shook his head.

"There's an Imperial camp nearby" - said Hauk. "We'll send some Legionnaires to get you out. Stay here."

The mage looked up at the mention of Legionnaires and nodded.

"Let's go" - Hauk beckoned them on. "He's in shock."

They walked away. They would explore the door behind that mage later, first they needed rest. One of the other doors from the central square led to what looked like living quarters. There was a table there and a bed - all made of stone. They decided to spend the night in that chamber.

10 Rain's Hand

Sleeping on a stone bed was as uncomfortable as sleeping on the floor, so they didn't argue about places. Still, it was safe and they were tired. In the morning they went to investigate the last remaining corridor behind the Synod mage.

The mage wasn't there - he seemed to have found a quiet corner for himself too. They unlocked the door - and found another mage, and a camp. Behind it was a huge Dwemer sphere - a mechanism of some sort.

"This must be what the mages came to study" - said Lena. "Impressive!"

The second mage didn't want to leave either, so they let him be. There was another corridor branching off - and another locked door.

"Blessed be Farengar and his curiosity" - muttered Lena putting on the Ring of Unlocking again.

The lock clicked. The door led outside.

"What?!" - Stenvar couldn't believe it. "We could have been out already last night! I would have preferred to sleep with the bears rather than among those machines!"

"We didn't know where that corridor led" - Hauk tried to be reasonable. "It could have very well been another falmer infested passage, and we were tired and needed rest. Sometimes you just have to know when to stop."

Stenvar had to reluctantly agree than another long fight with the falmer could have turned out badly for them at that point.

They climbed down the cliff and found their horses waiting where they had left them - they were directly above the entrance.

"Well, where to next?" - asked Hauk looking around. "We've cleared this area, I think."

"The Imperial camp" - said Lena pointing up the mountain. "We promised those mages to send help. Then we'll see."


"And you are sure those ruins are not haunted?" - the soldiers that the Legate had sent to the ruins wanted confirmation.

"I guarantee you - they are not. And we and the mages before us have cleared out all of the falmer and chaurusses too" - Hauk sounded reassuring. "Most of the mages died doing it, sadly."

"When Optio tells you it's safe - it's safe!" - said the Legate glaring at them. "And you've got your swords, don't you? Off you go now, bring those mages here if they want to come, but don't insist if they don't."

"I don't blame them" - said Stenvar. "It's nothing like fighting bandits."

They sat by the fire recounting to the others what was inside Mzulft. Somehow fighting Stormcloaks paled in comparison.


"Should we be returning to Cyrodiil?" - asked Hauk looking at Lena. "See how Jowan is getting on with Volanaro?"

"Yes, I think it's time" - she looked pensive. "I've got a job to do in Skingrad, too... and another one also in Skingrad - that one's for Mages Guild. Something that the Count asked specifically for me!"

"Vampires - it must be" - concluded Hauk. "He knows you can be trusted."

"Well, we can go together, and even bring Jowan - it isn't as secret as that." Lena turned to Stenvar: "I guess we part ways then. Take care of yourself, Stenvar."

"Come and find me again next time you're around" - he got up. "I'll be getting bored at the Candlehearth Hall."

Lena and Hauk got up too, headed back to Helgen and over the border to Cyrodiil.

Posted by: Renee Jun 21 2021, 06:07 PM

"Yes. I was suspended after I refused to kill everyone in the Cheydinhal Sanctuary."

Very much agree with this decision, and so does my one character who was going through Dark Brotherhood years ago (way back in 2011).

"How do you want me to approach them?" - she asked Lucien, helping herself to cheese and grapes.

This amused me. She's got a meeting with the Speaker about something so serious, and she's eating grapes with cheese. biggrin.gif

Interesting how Hauk and Hadvar already know each other. I am up to Sun's Dawn 20 by now.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 22 2021, 09:21 AM

12-16 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Skingrad vampires

Lena and Hauk arrived in Bruma on the 12th, almost two weeks after they left.

"Good holiday?" - Jowan greeted them. He's been staying at the Mages Guild - Volanaro managed to convince Jeanne that it was a charitable thing to do to allow Lena's friend to stay with them, considering that Lena was a Warlock and had the ear of the Arch Mage.

"Yes, I think it was a good holiday, all things considered" - Lena decided. "I have things to do in Skingrad, so why don't we take a coach to there, and I'll fill you in on the way."

13 Rain's Hand

"What happened to the unicorn?" - asked Hauk at breakfast the following morning. They were staying at Lena's house in Skingrad where she used to have a stuffed unicorn in the bedroom. The unicorn was now gone, replaced by an alchemy lab behind a partition.

"Sent it to Skyrim" - she smiled. "Geralt was talking about getting a house of his own, so he'll need it. I doubt Yennefer will be able to bring hers from the Northern Realms."

That was that. She didn't take any further questions.


"Well, what do you think we should do?" - Lena turned to Hauk after they spoke to the Count of Skingrad. "Talk to the vampire hunters or go see the vampires for ourselves first?"

"I don't think we need to see the vampires" - said Hauk. "The Count wants them gone, it's understandable."

"Ok, hunters then. Let's ask around town."


"We're here to protect!" - said Eridor and continued talking until Lena couldn't take it any more.

"They are in the Bloodcrust Cavern!" - Lena had enough of it. "Go get them." Then turning to Hauk and Jowan, she added: "I have a headache! Let's go to the Two Sisters Lodge for a drink."

The Lodge teamed with vampire hunters.

"Well, there are no vampires here!" - Mog gra-Mogakh told them. "So stop sneaking around and start buying drinks!"

Which they did. Were they ever going to hunt the vampires?

IPB Image

"Well, they are not in a hurry" - said Lena in the evening. "I've got another job to do, and it may take a few days, I just don't know. Why don't you two keep an eye on the hunters while I'm gone? I'll leave in the morning."

"Is that far away?" - asked Jowan.

"No, it's right here in Skingrad. A closed party of some sort" - Lena explained. "And it is likely that everyone will have their own objectives there. I don't really know what to expect."

"Well, be careful" - said Hauk. "We'll keep an eye on the hunters."

15 Rain's Hand

Lena was gone for a day and a half, returning in the evening. She looked tired but satisfied.

"Unbelievable!" - she let herself drop into a seat with a goblet of wine. "The small talk nearly killed me!"

"I'm glad it didn't" - laughed Hauk. "But I know what you mean."

"Any news about the hunters?"

"Not as such, but they seem to have disappeared."


"Mog gra-Mogakh complained that they scampered without paying, and that now she'll have to clean out their rooms as they left their 'filthy smelly stuff' behind" - explained Hauk. "I think they might be dead."

"We'll need to go check the cavern tomorrow, in case any of the vampires survived" - Lena was looking thoughtful. "I wonder what made them come so close to the city, and not any city, but Skingrad specifically. Were they hoping that the Count would welcome them with open arms?"

"Probably not, but there might be a reason. We should ask" - agreed Hauk.

"Aren't they just going to try to kill us on sight?" - Jowan couldn't quite imagine what this conversation would look like.

"That's what we need to find out" - answered Lena, looking straight at him. "When I was a vampire, I didn't attack people on sight. Many vampires don't stop being people. Some however do turn into wild predators attacking everyone. We need to find out what these ones are like."

"Tomorrow is going to be interesting" - concluded Jowan.

16 Rain's Hand

"Was that a hunter?"

They were standing over a corpse near the entrance of the Bloodcrust Cavern.

"Hard to say" - Hauk turned him over. A pale face stared at them. "He is not wearing armour - just clothes - but he's got a sword and a shield. Yes, probably a hunter - sucked dry."

They entered the cave. Another corpse - Eridor. No bite marks.

"Hello!!!" - Lena shouted into the cave passage. "Can we talk?"


"You dare come in here?!" - a vampire appeared, claymore at the ready.

"Yes, I do" - said Lena calmly. "Not afraid to get infected and you won't like my blood. I want to speak to the head of this coven."

"And they?" - the vampire glared at Hauk and Jowan.

"They will kill you and spill your blood unless you cooperate. Now."

The vampire hesitated but then sheathed his weapon and asked them to follow. The matriarch was waiting in the next chamber, having listened to the exchange unseen.

"You wanted to speak with me" - she turned to Lena. "Speak."

"What is it you seek so close to Skingrad?" - asked Lena.

"We seek the cure - the Count has it" - the matriarch bared her fangs. "We shall terrorise the populace until we get it."

"Have you asked the Count for it?"

"No, but isn't it obvious? He is just sitting on it!"

"Well..." - Lena looked into the faces of the vampires at the back of the room. "You do realise that it has side effects?"

The matriarch stepped towards Lena and bit her neck. Lena didn't look worried - and Hauk held back Jowan who wanted to attack. The bite was but a scratch, a drop of blood appeared, the matriarch tasted it.

"Yes, you would know" - she said with satisfaction. "Come - we need to talk."


"As simple as that" - Lena looked at Janus Hassildor with urgency. "Leave them be, and you will never need to worry about vampires in Skingrad because these ones will defend their turf. And there will be no attacks on your people - they'll be keeping captives."

"Oh?" - Count Hassildor wasn't convinced yet. "Captives? Any of my citizens?" - he looked angry.

"No, just a pair of vampire hunters" - Lena smiled. "They weren't up to the job, it seems."

Count Hassildor smiled.

"Very well" - he looked at Lena intently. "But how did you convince them to forgo the search for the cure?"

"I told them that I still had to drink blood - and Hauk showed where he cut his vein for me... when I was close to death."

"You spoke to Vicente then" - the Count relaxed.

"It was a huge shock to learn that I still needed blood... but I've accepted it now. Some of the vampires in that coven may prefer suicide instead."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 22 2021, 03:54 PM

QUOTE(Renee @ Jun 21 2021, 06:07 PM) *

"How do you want me to approach them?" - she asked Lucien, helping herself to cheese and grapes.

This amused me. She's got a meeting with the Speaker about something so serious, and she's eating grapes with cheese. biggrin.gif

Well, they are having dinner. biggrin.gif Just because it's a business dinner, there is no reason to ignore grapes and cheese. wink.gif Besides, these two have a history together, they are not exactly strangers.

Interesting how Hauk and Hadvar already know each other. I am up to Sun's Dawn 20 by now.

Well, they are obviously both in the Legion. And I always felt that there was far more to Hadvar than just being an ordinary soldier. He's not saying much, so that can only mean... yep, there's a lot more to him than what meets the eye! biggrin.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 22 2021, 04:21 PM

16-17 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Obligations - Fenris Bero

"Well, that was interesting" - Lena looked at Hauk when they were outside Castle Skingrad. "So Mannimarco has returned. Traven will want to know that - but should we hurry back?"

"I wouldn't hurry" - Hauk said slowly. "If Traven hasn't figured it out for himself yet, he isn't much of an Arch Mage."

Lena nodded. The information was important, of course, but she felt that the Count had simply used it to ask Lena's help with the vampire hunters. She would have given her help regardless though.

"Well, if we are not going to worry about Traven for now" - she continued, lost in thought. "Then there are a few obligations I need to follow up on. Namely, trouble has been brewing in the Shivering Isles with the Saints and Seducers quarrelling again, and also I need to check up on the Leyawiin Sanctuary - I had asked Borba to fix it up."

"Then I suggest Leyawiin first" - Hauk looked at her intently. "This seems important somehow. Surely it can't be just about the furniture?"

"It isn't..." - Lena blushed. "There's someone there. A slave."

"What?!" - Hauk and Jowan looked indignant. "You..?!"

"I didn't!" - Lena protested. "I didn't buy a slave! Or at least I didn't know I was buying a slave! I was buying the original furnishings left behind by my great-uncle, and suddenly there was a slave there as well."

"What does the trader have to say about that?" - Hauk looked stern.

"He... well... Let's just say he was a swindler and a slave trader, so I had to have Borba change the furnishings, but I can't just abandon that slave. Especially since he's a vampire."

"Riiiight..." - Hauk whistled. "That explains your sudden warmth towards the vampires in the Bloodcrust Cavern. So what do you intend to do?"

"I wish I knew" - Lena looked uncertain. "There's also a captive there - for the vampire to feed on. I tried to wake him up, but he seems to have been infected with Narcolepsy, so there's nothing I can do for him. And the vampire needs to feed. I want to make this slave into a free person again."

"That might not be so easy" - remarked Jowan. "In Tevinter - a neighbouring kingdom of where I'm from - slavery is so common, that many slaves have accepted it and don't even want to be free. And that's where Magisters kill and bleed their slaves for blood magic rituals - and the slaves... they just think it's normal! People get used to all sorts of things..."

"Then we should go to Leyawiin and check on this slave" - concluded Hauk. "What's his name?"

"Fenris Bero."

"What?! And you kept that for last?!" - Hauk laughed. Jowan looked at them with a blank face. "I'll tell you later" - Hauk promised. A lesson in the history of Morrowind was on the cards.

17 Rain's Hand

They took a coach to Leyawiin, arriving within a day. The Sanctuary was just a short walk from the city.

"Mistress!" - Fenris Bero kneeled before Lena as they entered the central hall. "You have returned!"

"As I said I would" - Lena replied. "Is there any food in the stores?"

"Yes, the Orcs filled it up" - Fenris pointed at the storage. "I haven't touched anything."

"Right..." - Lena looked at Hauk and Jowan. "Can you two take care of dinner while I talk to Fenris?"

She took him into the study and closed the door.

"Please don't kneel, you are not my slave."

"But Mistress!" - Fenris was confused but he remained standing. Lena sat down.

"Tell me about your life with Rowley."

"Well..." - Fenris seemed hesitant. "He... started by sending us out for assassinations, as he said, but he always insisted we bring back loot, and that's what got the others killed. I was lucky, I guess. Then, when I was the only one left, he kept me in his house... I tended to his garden and made his poisons for sale, and he... kept me chained most of the time... He'd come for satisfaction often enough, and if I performed well, he'd give me blood... Just enough to survive."

Fenris dropped to his knees, but Lena didn't insist he'd get up. His story echoed what she'd heard before.

"Then, when I was no longer good enough, he'd beat me, keep me hungry, not give me any water or food at all, and no blood... Then once I was weak and beaten, he'd come for satisfaction again... But in the last few years I was never good enough for him... He used to have other slaves, but they seemed to have gone... or died... Then suddenly he brought me here and said that I had a new master now - a Mistress - and good riddance. You bought me, and I am sorry I am probably no use or satisfaction to you either..."

Lena listened wondering more and more what to do with him.

"Fenris" - she started. He looked up. "Rowley is dead - I killed him." Fenris froze. "And you are not a slave here. Do you wish to leave?"

"You are sending me away, Mistress?" Tears ran down Fenris' face and he was shaking all over. "I... I have no where to go."

Lena had said the wrong thing. She sat down on the floor next to Fenris and put her arm around his shoulders.

"I am not sending you away" - she wiped away his tears not unlike Lucien had wiped away hers some weeks back. "I killed Rowley Eardwulf because he was a traitor - to my great-uncle, to the Dark Brotherhood, to all of you new recruits, and certainly to you. He did not deserve to live."

"And he was with the Crimson Scars, and you are with the Dark Brotherhood. I am ready to die by your hand, Mistress!" - he looked resolved.

"He was with the Dark Brotherhood before he was with the Crimson Scars, and that is why he had to die" - Lena replied. "But you are a different matter. You were not involved, and I absolve you. It is in my power - I am a Silencer."

"And who is your Speaker?"

"Lucien Lachance."

They were already sitting on the floor, so Fenris could not kneel. Still, he could prostrate himself before Lena, and there he was. Every attempt she made to tell him that his enslavement and suffering were over, seemed to have gone wrong. How do you bring back someone who's been a slave for over 200 years?

She let him lie there for a little while, then she propped herself up on an elbow and started stroking his hair. After a while, Fenris looked up, his grey Dunmer skin having a white undertone, his vampire eyes light pink.

"When was the last time you fed?" - Lena asked.

"I haven't touched the prisoner" - he said. "I hadn't earned it."

Weeks, then. Perhaps months. Now, try not to say the wrong thing again, Lena.

"I shall have work for you" - she said, lifting him up by the shoulders and looking straight into his face. "But I need you at full strength. Feed on the prisoner. Eat the food. My companions and I will stay here tonight and leave tomorrow, but I shall be back in a few weeks. You will need to come with me then. Be ready."

Fenris straightened up.

"Yes, Mistress."

She got up and left the room to join Hauk and Jowan at the table.

"Well? How did it go?" - Hauk asked.

"He's a slave" - Lena answered grimly. "He doesn't know how not to be."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 22 2021, 11:01 PM

18 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Bravil - Shivering Isles

"Go on - you need to do it on your own" - Hauk and Jowan were seeing off Lena as she prepared to enter the Shivering Isles. "Sheogorath wanted you to do those tasks for Syl and Thadon, and you don't want me there getting under your feet" - Hauk smiled. "As much as I would love to." He kissed her on a cheek. "Jowan and I will explore Bravil while you're gone - I don't think Jowan appreciates the finer points yet" - he winked.

"Well, all right" - Lena conceded. "But don't let me catch you in that den when I'm back."

"No, we'll keep to the chapel."

Mmm. Whatever. Lena stepped through the portal.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 22 2021, 11:50 PM

18-21 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Lady Syl

Lady Syl wanted me to find a conspiracy against her and suggested I enlist the help of her Court Torturer. How could I refuse!

"I like assertive leadership" - said Herdir. Well, we'll get along fine then.

Most people had nothing to say, but they all got a good zapping anyway - leadership needs to be asserted, not merely assumed. Cutter got a triple doze because she asked for it. Literally.

But what do you know - Lady Syl was right this time - there was in fact a conspiracy against her. Some people want her dead. But how complicated! A Black Sacrament is all you need, and someone comes and does the job for you - me. Oh wait, we have no branches in the Shivering Isles.

After a day of fun torturing everyone... err... making enquiries, we got a lead on a secret meeting location, and then I had to sneak around and listen in. I got bored, got stuck at Bernice's chatting with Ushnar and his terror of cats (and Khajiits), then ran around after Bisha to try and get him to leave - and missed the secret meeting. Never mind, there's always tomorrow. Got a nice skinned hound as a reward.

Slow investigations have their merits - provided there's enough wine in stock.

Lady Syl was pleased with the result, and the head of the conspiracy was executed. She's right not to execute everyone involved though - she'd soon run out of citizens.

And here it is - my Ruin's Edge. Not "The Edge of Ruin" that I found in Skyrim. Although the enchantment is similar, the Skyrim bow is a fake - much too heavy and takes way too much charge to work.

On to the next task now: get the chalice for Thadon. It's a tricky one - I'll have to take felldew to enter the cave, and continue taking more felldew to keep fighting the elytra. But in the end there's the chalice - it clears up the built-up addiction. Yeah, I've done it before... But last time I was a vampire, and that addiction didn't do much to me at all. This time it will be different, I can tell...

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 23 2021, 05:40 PM

21-23 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - The chalice

"Come on - take it" - Dylan held Lena tightly around the waist, his low voice hissed as he spoke into her ear. He dropped his mace and held her close to his bare chest. "Now."

Lena was dizzy, the room was spinning in her sight, but she was still resisting.

"No, I can't!"

Dylan unclipped his collar, and his upper armour dropped to the floor. It was hard to refuse a Dark Seducer. His scent was sweet, enticing, irresistible.

"You must" - he hissed, holding her closer still.

The room was spinning faster and faster, Lena was about to faint, to slip away into the white whirlpool ahead... The darkness behind her was rushing in too, swallowing her... Which would devour her first - the velvet darkness or the blinding white light, sharp as her Sufferthorn... Sharp as...

She bit Dylan's neck and drank. She had fangs again.

22 Rain's Hand

Lena woke up in a feather bed in what looked like a party room. There was wine, fruit and felldew everywhere, as well as several fresh corpses. Dylan was next to her on the bed.

"Ah, you are awake" - he said, now not trying to speak softly. There was a fresh bite mark on his neck, he looked a little pale, noticeable even on his dark blueish skin. "Thadon tried to get you killed. Ex-vampires cannot have felldew."

"But I'm alive?" - Lena was trying to remember what happened. Thadon had sent her into this cave with elytras, she had to have felldew to enter, then to have more to survive, then...

"Yeah, alive, but only just."

Dylan must have followed her, she vaguely remembered him joining in the fight with the addicts when she reached the chamber where they were feasting - the chamber with the chalice.

"I remember getting the chalice - and your help in battle" - she looked at him, now noticing the bite marks. "Did I..?" - she touched Dylan's neck lightly and a drop of blood oozed from the bite.

"You had to have blood" - he said. "Fresh blood of a living being, not a corpse. Blood not tainted by felldew" - he glanced at the corpses of the addicts. "You would have died - the chalice would have killed you."

"And you--"

"I am not mortal, but it seems to have sufficed" - he looked at her fondly. "I missed you."


Lena couldn't go anywhere just yet, she was still dizzy and weak. Dylan collected the fruit around the room and brought it to her, carefully avoiding wine and felldew. Lena ate, biting into the fruit and touching her incisors with her tongue after every bite - they seemed to have returned to normal sized teeth.

"Your fangs have retracted" - Dylan noticed her worry. "You are not a vampire."

"So what am I then - a part-vampire?" Lena didn't like this. Although she had drank blood once since she took the cure, she hadn't bitten any necks - she thought she had lost her fangs. Apparently, not completely.

"You are an ex-vampire. You lost your immortality but not your addiction."

He caressed her face and looked into her eyes.

"Amber. That's good. I'll take you to the Wellspring again. Thadon can wait."

He rolled over onto his back and closed his eyes. Lena was going to say something, but he was already asleep, his long wake over.

23 Rain's Hand

"Hello, Thadon" - said Lena approaching the table in the House of Mania. "Here is your Chalice."

"You..." - Thadon stuttered - "how are you..."

"Alive?" - Dylan prompted him, emerging from the shadows. "That was a mean trick you played, Thadon."

"Not any meaner than what she did last time around!" - Thadon retorted glaring at both of them. "You!" - he turned to Dylan - "You were supposed to be dead! Mazken scum!"

Dylan didn't seem to be offended, rather amused.

"Dead? Me? You need a sip from that chalice, Thadon."

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"Well now, isn't that fun!" - Sheogorath appeared at the table. "It all turned out splendidly, it seems!"

"My Lord" - Thadon bowed.

"Thadon - tszt - tszt! You knew she was an ex-vampire - I told you!" - Sheogorath wagged his finger in front of Thadon's face. "Good thing she had friends, eh? Or may be bad thing for you, because now she'll go after Syl again. Cutting the heart out and all that nonsense - very bloody."

"But My Lord--" Thadon started, but Sheogorath wasn't listening.

"I see you haven't forgotten us completely" - he turned to Dylan. "I shouldn't allow that sort of thing, you know, rebellion and all that, but since it is all in good fun... I'll let you off. Will she turn into a Mazken now that she drank your blood?" - he looked Lena over. "No, probably not - as pale as ever. More blood! More blood is what she needs, keep trying. I'm sure Thadon can supply the felldew."

"My Lord..." - Thadon started, looking bewildered. "You knew this would happen? That this... scum" - he glared at Dylan - "would rescue her?"

"Of course I knew, I'm the Prince! Knew, know, did I know? May be not! But suspected!" - Sheogorath was piercing Dylan with his gaze. "Mazken scum, you say? Well, she seems to like him! Tastes good - and not just the blood! But there's no accounting for taste, is there?" - he looked at Thadon. "Not the way you carry on with Syl, I shouldn't think!"

Thadon was finally realising that there was no reasoning with Sheogorath - Wide-Eye had been making him signs for a while already. Nothing happened in the Shivering Isles without Prince's knowledge and approval, and if it did, then it didn't last. Thadon should stop embarrassing himself.

"Well done and run along now" - Sheogorath looked at Lena again. "Find something to do. Or it will find you - you never know what it'll be!"

Sheogorath vanished. Thadon was still glaring at Lena and Dylan, clutching the chalice to his chest. It was time to leave.

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"Did you have trouble with Sheogorath after I left?" - Lena asked Dylan once they were outside.


"Because you left the Mazken order?"

"No... well... it depends what you call trouble" - he looked at her sideways. "I was banished for a while. To Oblivion, you know. He only brought me back when you returned."

"What?!" - Lena was outraged. "I'll have to have words with him. He's to leave you alone."

They entered Crucible.

"How may I serve?" - a Mazken guard greeted them, glaring at Dylan. There was a lot of glaring going around that day.

"Oh, don't mind him" - said Dylan, referring to Sheogorath. "He's not as crazy as he likes to appear. Let's have something to eat."

Sickly Bernice was happy to serve them food and drink, but avoided talking to Dylan. Mazken didn't normally come to her taphouse, certainly not male Mazken, but she dared not contradict the Duchess' Inquisitor - Lena. Not after that Inquisition she'd been subjected to... If it was food and drink they wanted, food and drink they got, she had rooms too, no questions asked. Not like in that other inn in New Sheoth...

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Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 23 2021, 10:12 PM

23-24 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Dylan

"Thank you for decorating this house" - Lena and Dylan entered the Wolf House in Crucible. "I wasn't fond of Hirrus' tastes" - she smiled.

"I know" - Dylan smiled back. "I didn't lose my memory just because I've been banished."


When Lena had become the sitting Lord Sheogorath, she tried to make some changes to the Palace Guard - she requested that male Seducers should also serve in the Palace. This was an outrageous request - their ranks were much too low for that kind of honour. But she was the Lord - albeit temporary - and her will could not be ignored. Yet only one male Seducer appeared, the others had chosen to please their Mazken superiors instead.

Dylan was not like the other Seducers - he was curious. He wondered what his new duties would be, what kind of services were required of him. Why did she request a male? Surely, that could only be for one thing...

Actually, no. Lena was mistrustful of women, mortal or daedra. She had been betrayed by her "best friends for life" all too many times, she hated rivalry, bigotry, jealousy and small talk - all the vices that she associated with the fair sex. She preferred men, and she had learned to avoid the ones that were only after that one thing.

After some initial misunderstandings, Dylan decided that Lena wanted a bodyguard. He still couldn't see why she'd prefer a weaker male, but figured she must have felt inferior compared to a female Seducer. After all, Lord of the Land or not, Lena was still a mortal - an inferior race in every respect.

Dylan accompanied Lena to every cave and ruin that she delved into. Her people needed her help, be it with fetching the never ending bottles of Aquanostrum, or with rooting out an overgrown nest of elytra or grummites - there was always something to do. With every expedition, with every battle and with every healing session afterwards, Dylan's attitude was slowly changing.

"What happened to you?" - he asked Lena once, suddenly noticing her wrinkled face covered in sores, her stooped posture and her swollen joints. "Your appearance does not reflect your essence."

"I was a vampire, I took the cure, and this is the side effect" - Lena replied.

No, that couldn't be right, he wouldn't stand for it.

"That cure crippled you" - he said with indignation. "How do you cope?"

"Oh, it doesn't hurt" - smiled Lena, running her hand over the swollen knuckles. "And I am used to being shunned."

"I'll take you to the Wellspring tomorrow."

This was the first time that Dylan took the lead in their partnership - he was no longer a bodyguard, he was now Lena's friend. He found his purpose and he would never return to the Mazken order.

24 Rain's Hand

They spent the night in the Wolf House. The air was thick with the mix of their scents. It had been too long.

"Dylan" - Lena was devouring a sweetroll for breakfast. "Come with me to Mundus - you'll get lonely here again once I'm gone. I'll be back, I will always come back, but I can't stay here."

"And I'll be here when you come back" - Dylan replied with a smile. "If not always like this night."

Lena looked at him with a question in her eyes. "Why not?"

"Because one day you will choose one man for yourself, and you mustn't choose me. I belong here, I shall wait for you, and I shall always remain your friend." He looked her in the eye, then took her face in his hands. "However, until such time--" he kissed her.

Posted by: Acadian Jun 24 2021, 01:07 AM

Oh, I remember bits and pieces of Shivering Isles - including Syl and Thadon. How bittersweet about Dylan.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 24 2021, 09:04 AM

QUOTE(Acadian @ Jun 24 2021, 01:07 AM) *

How bittersweet about Dylan.

Dylan... he still needs to find his way, too. He tells Lena not to choose him - but when was the last time she listened to reason? ohmy.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 24 2021, 09:57 PM

24-25 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Cylarne

"The Saints and Seducers are quarreling again - the Great Torch is not burning, I'm sure you noticed" - Sheogorath looked at Lena with significance. "So you know what you've got to do!"

Indeed, she knew what to do. Go to Cylarne, have them fight it out, get the flame, bring it back to New Sheoth and relight the Great Torch. Simplicity itself.

"Well, this will take a few days" - Lena turned to Dylan when they were outside. "Last time I had to do a lot of negotiating between them..."

"But you sided with us - that's the important bit" - Dylan reminded her.

"And may be this is why this time I'll side with the Saints" - said Lena.

Dylan followed her quietly for a little while, until they got onto the gallery around the Palace gardens. Then he pulled her into a corner with her back against the wall.

"You do not side with the Saints" - he hissed, trying to keep his voice down. His gaze was intense - he meant it.

"No, I had no intention to" - admitted Lena. "I am sorry for teasing you, Dylan."

He took a step back, releasing her, but didn't say anything. His gaze was still intense.

"There is more fire inside him than I ever knew" - thought Lena watching Dylan sideways. "Much more!" Had she forgotten that he was a daedra?


The way to Cylarne was long, and they got side tracked as usual. The night fell but they were only half way - on the coast near the Breakneck Camp. The views were worth it though.

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They spent the night at the camp. There wasn't much to eat there, and they nearly cleared their supplies. They would need to pick fruit and mushrooms along the way.
25 Rain's Hand

"Leave that greenmote alone!" - Dylan was trying to prevent Lena from eating it. "You know it's poison, just like felldew."

"But Thadon eats it every day!" - Lena protested. "Along with the rest of his courtiers. It's not poisonous in small amounts."

"Thadon also indulges in felldew, but you can't. Leave it alone."

Perhaps she should listen to the voice of reason for once.


They reached Cylarne in the evening. This time Lena decided not to negotiate but to help the Mazken defend the Altar of Despair. Dylan was pleased with that - he didn't look forward negotiating with the Aureals.

The Mazken won, their losses were significant, but nothing like the losses on the Aureal side. Dylan fought bravely, proving them all wrong for excluding males from service.

Then Grakedrig Ulfri sacrificed herself on the Altar of Despair to light the Flame of Agnon.

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"This is the greatest honor that can be bestowed upon a Mazken" - said Dylan, looking wistful. "I wish it could be me."

Lena looked at him in horror.

"She will be back, of course" - he smiled. "Reborn at the Wellspring."

Cylarne now belonged to the Mazken, and Lena wanted to look around the other half of it - the Underkeep that used to house the Aureals. It was partly flooded but otherwise seemed inhabited - the urns held the usual healing potion supplies. The walls were decorated with tapestries of Mania and the Aureals.

"This section seems to be permanently occupied by the Aureals - look at the decor" - she turned to Dylan. "The same as the other section seems to be permanently Mazken. This would make sense, given the two Altars and the duality of this land. So why the quarrels?"

"How can it be any other way?" - asked Dylan, looking perplexed. "Sheogorath is the only one to possess both sides, the rest of us are either one or the other, so we fight. Otherwise we would be the same." He took Lena's hand. "You have chosen a side too - you've never requested male Aureals to serve in the Palace."

"It is true" - Lena agreed. "I don't like Saints - they are haughty. But I tend to prefer Bliss... although I love that house in Crucible..." She smiled. "But you should see my houses in Cyrodiil - Mazken tapestries and Mania rugs..."

"And that's why he chose you as his Champion" - said Dylan, kissing her fondly. "Come on, you've got a Great Torch to light."

As they came out of Cylarne, they ran into an Obelisk of Order. You had to put three Hearts of Order into it to shut it down, and Lena had four hearts in her pack, so she figured the job would be finished quickly... Not so. The Obelisk would only shut down once the Priest of Order was dead. Eleven Knights of Order later, Lena and Dylan finally prevailed, having been knocked out multiple times in the process. The Obelisk seized to function.

They continued on. Literally ten steps further ahead they saw another Obelisk... Thirteen knights had to be fought at that one, plus the priest of course. The Greymarch was really on.

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It was 5:30 a.m. when they reached Camp Talltrees, finding a Heretic consorting with a Knight of Order. But not for long.

"We should stop here and rest" - said Dylan. "You haven't eaten anything since the morning - and no, greenmote doesn't count."

He was right, of course. They ate the fruit and mushrooms that they had collected along the way. Lena wasn't sure about sleeping with the Flame of Agnon burning on her, but Dylan convinced her not to worry. The way to New Sheoth was still long.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 26 2021, 06:40 PM

27-29 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Ebrocca - Cann - The Sanctum of Decadence

"Why did you light the Great Torch for Mania?" - asked Dylan in the morning. "While you gave Cylarne to the Mazken?"

"The quarrel over Cylarne was between the Mazken and the Aureals, but the Torch is for the people of the Isles. I lit it for Dementia last time, so now it was Mania's turn. Besides, I like the dress. Well, either dress, really. You know I can't choose between them - I belong in both halves."

"As a true Lord Sheogorath must do" - he smiled. "So what's next?"

"Sheogorath wants me to become a Duchess of one one of the halves, but like I said - I can't choose. Or rather: I don't want to choose this time" - Lena got out of bed. "Are we out of sweetrolls?"

Greymarch could wait - breakfast was far more important at that point.

"Besides, I have other obligations" - she continued. "Sickly Bernice wants her Aquanostrum, there are Obelisks to shut down, and I still haven't found the Fork of Horripilation for Big Head - he had lost it again. So get up - we've got things to do. I wonder whether they've got sweetrolls in Bliss?"


"Ebrocca" - Dylan figured out where Lena was headed when they passed Highcross without stopping. "Why are we here?"

"The skeletons have been bothering people, so we need to go and calm them down a bit" - she smiled.

"I hate fighting the undead" - Dylan cursed under his breath but followed Lena inside.

Ebrocca had buttons everywhere - buttons that either caused the floor under you to open or some spell to be fired at you, none of it beneficial to your health. Lena pressed such a button, fell through the floor, fought some skeletons in an enclosed cell. There was no way out, just another button to press. She pressed it, fell through the floor, had a great skinned hound to fight, found another button... This continued for some time, and she started wondering what was on the lowest level, and hoping it wasn't just an enclosed cell.

Fortunately there was a way out, or at least a way deeper into the ruin, and it wasn't another fall. She went through a door and found Dylan on the other side. He had pressed another button and had a similar journey - it seemed it made no difference which button you pressed, really.


"So... Clanfather Malifant, dead again" - Lena stood over the body of an elderly mage whom they have finally killed, for the third time in a row. "Let's hope he'll stay dead for a while now."

"You know he'll rise again" - said Dylan. "And someone will have to come and kill him all over again, three times in a row."

"And I shall be back to do it again, yes" - Lena looked at Dylan with a smile. "The work is never done."

They checked the coffins stacked around the main chamber, removing any weapons - there was no need to arm those skeletons any further.

"Ok, this will stay quiet for a time" - Lena was satisfied. "We can go."

"Provided we find a way out!"

Eventually, they did.

28 Rain's Hand

"While we are in the area" - Lena looked around as they woke up the next morning - they were staying at the Frenzied camp. "Cann is nearby - and we ran into some heretics around that place. They might have the Fork of Horripilation - we should go and check."

"Go and do a lot of fighting, you mean" - Dylan sighed. "Ok, but then we need a good breakfast first. Even if there are no sweetrolls."

They had no sweetrolls but they did have fruit and mushrooms that they had collected the day before - Mania was full of sweets. Most of it was nutritious, if also mildly hallucinogenic.

29 Rain's Hand

"Twenty-seven hours!" - Dylan was quite indignant. "Twenty-seven hours it took us to go through those ruins, and for what? Still no Fork!"

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"Well, we did stop a number of times to eat and rest" - Lena was trying to calm him down.

"Thank Sheogorath for that!" - she wasn't being very successful. "And we're out of everything now, so still have to go picking fruit before we can find a camp and get some rest! And will probably have to fight more heretics for some dirty bedroll!"

"Definitely more fire inside him than I ever suspected" - thought Lena. Dylan was no longer restraining himself - Lena was no longer his Lord of the Land. She was glad of it.

Cann was a very large ruin, designed for entertainment it seemed. It had a large lobby area, an amphitheater, participant rooms, and many open chambers for small performances.

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It also had traps, sliding floors, spellcasting statues - the usual. And heretics, at least thirty heretics with angry hunger summons, as well as the actual hungers. It has been a tiresome business. And indeed, they did not find the Fork of Horripilation anywhere.

"I have an idea" - Lena brightened up. "Follow me."


"What?! Dunroot Burrow?!" - Dylan couldn't quite believe it. "Look, if you want blood, just ask!"

"No, this is not what I had in mind" - smiled Lena. "What Thadon forgot to mention, is that there is no need to go through the burrow to reach that room with food and beds where they had the chalice. And that's where we're going - no felldew needed."

Dylan brightened up. They went around the big tree, then down the hill, and they stood in front of the ornate wooden door to the Sanctum of Decadence. The hall was empty.

"Finally!" - Dylan sighed a sigh of relief. "There's still plenty of food and wine here. Let's stay a while."

He unclipped his collar, letting his armour drop to the floor. It was time to relax and unwind.

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Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 27 2021, 09:47 AM

30 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Sheogorath

"My Prince" - Lena approached Sheogorath's throne. "I must speak with you."

"Oh how good of you to visit!" - Sheogorath smiled. "Let's hear it then!"

"Leave Dylan alone - he said you banished him when I was gone. After you banished me, I should add" - she glared at him. Lena was not afraid of Sheogorath. "Dylan deserves better."

"Says you!" - Sheogorath was amused. "You are not the one who created him though! That was me! And he defied me!"

"Well, technically he didn't" - Lena smiled slyly. "You made me Lord Sheogorath, remember? And I - Lord Sheogorath - ordered male Mazken to serve in the Palace. So it is in fact all the other ones who didn't come, that defied you."

Sheogorath laughed.

"Well said, well said! Did you hear that, Haskill? I chose well!" - he turned to Lena again. "But what would you have me do, otherwise? The boy was lonely, I did him a favour. I brought him back as soon as you returned."

"He must learn to deal with it" - Lena looked at Sheogorath sternly. "Like mortals do. We can't just be tucked away when things turn sour - we have to go through it."

"But he's not mortal, is he?" - it was now Sheogorath who looked stern. "Tame him too much, and he'll fall to pieces when you die. Which you must, one day! Then he will have to spend an eternity grieving."

"Or learn to live with it, like we do" - Lena was not giving up. "Besides, there are ways for mortals not to die."

Sheogorath looked at her, a mischievous smile playing on his lips.

"You are full of surprises! There are ways, she says..." - he looked at Haskill. "What do you think, Haskill? You're an immortal mortal yourself - by my grace. Should we grant her wish?"

"My Lord, I'm sure you don't need my opinion..." - Haskill started in his usual tone, but then changed his mind. "I think you should let him go. If he wants to return, he will."

"Well, well" - Sheogorath whistled. "Even Haskill dares to speak up. Good for you, Haskill! But don't do it again." He turned to Lena. "No, I won't. Not yet. May be later. Come and see me again once you make up your mind - and if you choose him. What is he to do if you choose another? Even I am not that cruel - wrong Prince, ask Clavicus Vile for something like that."

Sheogorath was looking at Lena with those amber cat's eyes of his, quietly smiling. Amber cat's eyes, like those of her brother... Sheogorath wasn't mad at all.

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He was right, and Lena was ashamed of herself now. She hadn't thought it through. "'What is he to do if you choose another?'" - Sheogorath's words echoed in her head. "'Tame him too much, and he'll fall to pieces when you die.'" Indeed, she hadn't thought of that. Eternity was not something that mortals were good at comprehending - even those who'd been immortal once.

"Thank you, My Prince" - she bowed. "You are right, of course."

"Run along now" - the Prince said kindly. "Come visit us again - and bring some cheese next time. I've had enough of yarn and lettuce."

Posted by: Renee Jun 27 2021, 02:59 PM

20 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 -- I love the reasoning, how Hauk figures out Lena came to Skyrim due to DB affairs. Also that she finds it inconvenient that she just became thane. This is the first time I'm reading Lena gains a house, but doesn't immediately go crazy decorating it. biggrin.gif

You've been promoted, whether you know it or not, so a special assignment wasn't far off. I wasn't certain of course when it would come exactly, but I didn't think it would be too long."

Lena suddenly saw a whole different side of Hauk.

And THIS is why she's kept him as her most faithful companion so far, right? If the guy is good at gleaning information she'd think was safely within her private thoughts, this is why he's been with her most prominently. It's the sort of thing which grabs one's attention, early in a relationship. To know that somebody is paying attention.

Well also, he knows how to cook, apparently. cool.gif

Love the part when she makes fun of Lydia. "I am swoooorn to carry your burdens..." laugh.gif

Holy [censored] am I done with Post One??? panic.gif woo hoo! cake.gif Sorry it's taken me so long to read, but I hate skimming stuff. If I'm going to get into someone's tale, I'm not going to skim.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 27 2021, 03:28 PM

QUOTE(Renee @ Jun 27 2021, 02:59 PM) *

20 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 -- This is the first time I'm reading Lena gains a house, but doesn't immediately go crazy decorating it. biggrin.gif

She didn't get that house yet. The Jarl granted her the right to buy it, provided she had the coin. The coin to buy and decorate it - quite a considerable sum. She didn't have it, as it happens, and when she viewed Breezehome and all the options, she was distinctly underwhelmed, especially since Lidya would be living there too. Whatever happened to privacy? Surely, her property didn't need protecting inside the city walls? That's what city guard is for... Anyway, Lena even looked at some extension proposals from independent architects. Make a grand house out of it - add a cellar! And you can have your sleeping coffin there too, and a cattle cell with a prisoner... That brought back some memories that Lena would rather not have brought back. Begone, Architect! Before I change my mind...

Posted by: macole Jun 27 2021, 04:43 PM

QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Jun 27 2021, 03:47 AM) *

30 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Sheogorath
"Says you!" - Sheogorath was amused. "You are not the one who created him though! That was me! And he defied me!"

"Well, technically he didn't" - Lena smiled slyly. "You made me Lord Sheogorath, remember? And I - Lord Sheogorath - ordered male Mazken to serve in the Palace. So it is in fact all the other ones who didn't come, that defied you."

Sheogorath laughed.

"Well said, well said! Did you hear that, Haskill? I chose well!"

A very good exchange between Lena and Sheogorath. I find your approach to Daedra Mortal relations very interesting.

As one who has never played through the Shivering Isles MQ, is there options at the end or becoming the mad god a fixed ending?

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 27 2021, 04:57 PM

QUOTE(macole @ Jun 27 2021, 04:43 PM) *

A very good exchange between Lena and Sheogorath. I find your approach to Daedra Mortal relations very interesting.

Thank you! biggrin.gif When I was in my early teens, I read quite a few books from European Romanticism period (18-19th century). Many stayed with me to this day, in particular "Melmoth the Wanderer" by Charles Maturin (1820). He raises some of those questions.

As one who has never played through the Shivering Isles MQ, is there options at the end or becoming the mad god a fixed ending?

No, there are no choices, unfortunately. You become the Lord of the Land, although you are of course not a Daedric Prince - hence Lord Sheogorath but never Prince Sheogorath.

The MQ also ends with you becoming the Lord. There are tasks to do - your people need your help, but it isn't spectacular. Not the sort of thing that Lena got up to... Although some might say she only dreamt it.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 27 2021, 09:13 PM

30 Rain's Hand - 3 Second Seed, 4E202 - Aquanostrum - Rotten Den - Obelisks

By the time they got to the Knotty Bramble and fought off the sentries, it was nearly 10 p.m.

"Knotty Bramble is a large cave system and the grummites in there guard their hatchlings well" - said Lena turning to Dylan. "Let's not go in just now. Passwall is not far, we can spend the night at the inn there - and have a decent meal. Then return here tomorrow."

Dylan didn't argue - it was a brilliant idea, as far as he was concerned. He had enough of fruit and mushrooms.

1 Second Seed

"Do you have to stop at every root stalk, withering moon and watcher's eye that we come across?" - Dylan was getting impatient as Lena kept stopping to take cuttings from the plants along the way.

"Yes, I do" - confirmed Lena, getting up. "We need more poisons - the grummites are getting stronger further in. I haven't got enough today, have to keep them for the last, so want to be better prepared for the next time. Unless you enjoy getting knocked out all the time of course" - she winked.

No, Dylan didn't enjoy getting knocked out.

"Well, all right then" - he conceded. "But if that's the case, perhaps we should just go collecting ingredients in some easier cave."

"Easier cave? Which one is that?" - Lena laughed. "If it isn't grummites, it'll be gnarls or elytras, and I don't know which is worse."

They got Aquanostrum for Bernice.

"Why do you even bother with her?" - asked Dylan. "You know Aquanostrum is not going to cure her Hypochondria."

"True" - agreed Lena. "But it makes her feel better, for a time. Just because her illness is in her head, it doesn't make it any less real."

They spent the night at the Inlet Camp near Fellmore. No fighting was required. The bedrolls were not of the first freshness, it's true, but the camp had roofed shelter which was welcome in that pouring rain. They ate smoked balliwog legs with lettuce and alocasia fruit, washing it down with Fellmore Red. The air was warm and damp, absorbing their tiredness as a sponge. It rained all night.

2 Second Seed

"Rotten Den?" - Dylan looked at Lena suspiciously. "Zealots. So I take it you want to go in to search for the Fork?"

He was right.

Rotten Den was big and complicated - twisting tunnels with traps and spellcasting statues, and of course zealots with their Flesh Atronach summons. And no sign of any kind of storage where there would be a chance to find the Fork of Horripilation. But then eventually they came into a tunnel with nothing but a hole in the floor. Lena jumped, Dylan didn't.

"I'll just see where this leads you" - he shouted through the hole.

The tunnel that Lena landed in was also empty, except for a hole in the floor. She jumped again. And again. Eventually she found herself landing almost on top of Shambles. Great.

Lena was alone, and she wasn't really after shamble remains, but after the Fork. So she summoned a daedroth as a diversion, cast a chameleon cloak and sneaked past that shambles. This was a smart move - her 30% chameleon allowed her to move unseen, plus she could reinforce it with complete invisibility when necessary. There were a lot of shambles on that level, and she even discovered why: in one of the caverns there were stacks and stacks of coffins, and they were not empty. Someone tied them down with roots - apparently the occupants were keen to get out. Several shambles where pacing among the coffins.

"Shambles are not human or mer" - Lena was thinking. "But they are undead and always turn up near coffins. I wonder if there is a connection..."

But she had to focus on remaining undetected and on checking for chests or urns, so she dismissed these philosophical thoughts until later.

"The Sanctum! That's what it is!" - a tunnel suddenly came into room with stone walls and floor and a giant grummite statue. A zealot was praying to it.

IPB Image

There was a chest by the statue, but alas - no Fork.

After some more wandering in the tunnels among the shambles, Lena found another root door. Dylan was waiting on the other side.

"I found another way, and figured you'd come out here sooner or later. Did you find the Fork?"

"No" - Lena grimaced. "Just lots of coffins and shambles."

"Oh I am not regretting missing that!" - Dylan laughed.

They've gone through the entire den, and still didn't find the Fork. It was well past midnight. At least they could make use of a rather nice camp in one of the caverns.

IPB Image

3 Second Seed

"Ok, but now we go straight to New Sheoth" - Dylan said in the morning. "Please? I am not actually a warrior - our girls do that."

"I'm not a warrior either" - laughed Lena. "I just get into a lot of fights for some reason."

"Oh - and you are certainly not seeking them out, yes, I see" - Dylan shook his head.

Coming out of the Rotten Den, they went to New Sheoth in a straight line. Although this was supposed to be the shortest way, it was far from the easiest. They encountered an unmarked zealot shrine with six zealots (and six summons), a camp with grummites (including a magus deathbringer), seven gnarls (some elder), seven or eight loose grummites, and two Obelisks of Order. The first one was easy to shut down - they got lucky - so they only had to fight five knights and a priest, but the second one kept reactivating itself, and they ended up fighting a small army of knights (sixteen in all) and the priest (revived four times). Oh, and an odd scalon and baliwog, but they lost count of those.

Finally, they stood at the gates of New Sheoth. It was 3 a.m.

"Am I the only Mazken fighting those knights of order?" - asked Dylan with a sigh. "It certainly feels like it."

"You probably are, at this point. Patrols don't venture into the countryside." Lena felt that Dylan needed some sympathy and reassurance. "You are also the only Mazken to make your Mazken girls jealous." She put her arms around him and gave him a long kiss - in full view of the guard by the gate. That worked - the guard glared at them.

"How may I serve?" - she asked, baring her teeth in a grimace that didn't look like a smile.

"Thanks, but you don't compare" - answered Lena, taking Dylan's hand and opening the gate. "Come" - she turned to Dylan. "Bernice will have food for us, and then we can finally rest up!"

Dylan followed her through the gate, watching the glaring Mazken guard from the corner of his eye. He felt good about himself. Perhaps a lesser warrior than his female counterparts, but still appreciated. He could live with that.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 28 2021, 10:44 AM

4 Second Seed, 4E202 - Back from the Shivering Isles

"It's time for me to go back" - Lena looked at Dylan and took his hand. "Don't get too lonely without me - find something to do. I'll be back."

"How do you deal with it? When you leave your friends for a time?"

"You get busy with something else, and you make new friends."

"I've left the Mazken order. They won't talk to me."

"No... Well... Two things I can suggest" - Lena looked pensive. "First - ask Sheogorath to release you. Then you can travel to Mundus and to other realms, this will take your mind off things." Dylan shook his head. "Second - talk to the mortals living here. They might surprise you."

"Mazken don't talk to mortals!"

"No? You're talking to one now..." - she smiled.

Dylan looked confused.

"Well... May be I'll just get lucky and Sheogorath will banish me again... until you return" - he said hopefully.

"I think he won't" - Lena recalled her conversation with Sheogorath. "I think he'll let you learn to live like mortals do - without escapes."

She hugged Dylan and kissed him on the cheek.

"You'll figure it out. Ask Jayred Ice-Veins - he's around here somewhere. He's a nice guy and fun to be with - you can go hunting together."

"He's that crazy Nord hunter" - Dylan looked perplexed.

"Perhaps. But he can tell you a thing or two about being mortal."

"You mortals are confusing" - Dylan finally gave up trying to make sense of it all. "But perhaps you're right. And you can bring your friend next time - I won't stay away. After all, if it weren't for him, you would have died in that cave with the chalice."

It was now Lena's turn to look perplexed - and outraged.


"Nothing. Ask him." Dylan smiled. "Go on - do your thing. And I'll go look for Jayred."


Jowan was staying at the Mages Guild, so when Lena returned from the Shivering Isles, she found Hauk alone in her house in Bravil reading a book.

"Ah, you're back!" - he greeted her. "Good to see you."

Lena sat by the fire, keeping her gaze on Hauk as he went back to his book.

"What?" - he felt it after a while.

"I saw Dylan."

"About time."

"You knew he'd be there?" - she said, her eyes narrowing.

"No, I didn't. But I had hoped he'd show up without me around. I made some enquiries last time."

"I nearly died! Thadon tried to kill me with that felldew."

"Which is why I made enquiries after he gave you that task last time. I didn't trust him. But I too would have had to take felldew to enter the cave, so my blood would not have saved you. Mazken don't need felldew to enter."

"Right, so you knew that Dylan would show up."

"I knew that someone would come to your aid, I was promised that. Seducers can be friendly, you know" - he winked.

Lena was torn between anger and gratitude. Then something else rose in her - doubt.

"So you weren't jealous?"

"Of Dylan? Oh yes" - Hauk looked at her, searching. "With a good reason, I see. But I'm glad you had fun." He went back to his book.

Lena opened a bottle of Tamika West Weald, poured a goblet for herself, got a bottle of mead for Hauk.

"Dylan doesn't want to come to Mundus" - she said. "And there was something he said... about choices."

"It's too early" - Hauk replied not looking up from the book. "You're not ready yet."

They sat in silence for some time, Hauk slowly turning pages, Lena wondering why several people had been telling her the same thing recently - that she wasn't ready to make any choices yet. When would she be ready? Would she ever be?

"You worry unnecessarily" - Hauk suddenly put down his book. "It's written all over your face" - he smiled. "You have some real friends - myself included - there is no need to choose between us, there never will be a need to choose between your friends. It hasn't been all that long since you returned from that long stay in the Shivering Isles. There are other people in your life that you need to get to know better, people who..." Lena looked up. "Ah, you know who I mean." Hauk nodded. "And yes, I'll be jealous. But I love you - and that means I have to let you find yourself. There, I said it now."

He kept his eyes on Lena for a while, then went back to his book. He wasn't turning any pages.

Lena sat watching him, sipping her wine. Then she got up and went over to sit next to him on the settee. She put her head on his shoulder. He pulled her close. They sat together, like that evening in Ansilvund, but this time Lena wasn't crying. She was quietly smiling - she found peace. She knew what she had to do next.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 28 2021, 11:12 AM

Something about Jayred. What follows happened a couple of months back, when Lena returned to Mundus but Hauk remained in the Shivering Isles. Apparently, this was when he made "enquiries" regarding Thadon's task to retrieve the chalice. Besides that, Hauk also wanted to explore the Isles for himself a bit, and who better to do it with than Jayred Ice-Veins.


15 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - Hauk and Jayred

Lena left the Shivering Isles to attend to some business back in Cyrodiil, but Hauk remained in Crucible until her return. He wanted to explore these lands for himself.

Hauk was no stranger to finding his way in foreign lands. In Antaloor he became a mercenary, in Skyrim during the Great War he was officially a travelling book merchant, but here in the Shivering Isles he decided to see whether the smiths in New Sheoth would be interested in amber and madness ore. Their rivalry was amusing, too.

He went out of the gates of Crucible and ran into Jayred Ice-Veins.

"Oh hello" - Hauk greeted Jayred from a distance. "Do you want to go hunting together? I am looking for amber and madness ore."

"Do the bones call to you too?" - was Jayred's usual greeting, but he agreed. "I don't normally go into caves and dungeons, but together we won't have a problem. I wonder what kind of bones we'll find there?"

Two Nords set off on a hunt... The wild life stood no chance.


16 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - Swampgas Hole - Bones

Hauk and Jayred set off from Crucible going South. They ran into a few lone creatures whom they defeated quite easily. Climbing the Jester's Spine Mountains at the Heretics Horn, they were attacked by a pair of particularly aggressive zealots - they found the Howling Halls.

"I hope there are no balverines here" - commented Hauk recalling his less than pleasant encounters in Albion.

"What are they?" - asked Jayred with interest.

"Werewolves of sorts. Similar to the ones in Skyrim, except balverines prefer to stay in their beast form."

"Like some in Skyrim, too. Ever met Farkas?" - Jayred grinned and was going to add something when he got knocked over by a scalon emerging from its invisibility cloak.

"Bloody water balverine!!!" - howled Hauk charging.

The scalon dealt with, they entered the Howling Halls. There were no balverines inside, but they were met by three angry zealot patriarchs emerging from twisted passages. The battle was fierce, and Jayred was struggling to get a good line of sight for the bow. Flesh atronachs could jump as well as the scalons, and the zealots were quick on their feet and deadly with their shock spells. Six agains three, counting the summons, unfair as always.

"I don't like to fight humans" - Jayred was saying getting up after another knock-out. "I prefer beasts. Hunting."

Hauk had been knocked out too, repeatedly. But as long as a mage is alive - even if unconscious - his summon keeps on fighting. Hauk's zombies were no match for the zealots' flesh atronachs but they were more than a match for the zealots themselves - and perceptive to tell a mage from a summon. At length, they won.

The zealots must have been planning something important though because the main part of the Howling Halls was locked and barred. The three patriarchs inside and the two outside were clearly just the sentries.

"I'm glad we could not get in" - said Jayred when they were back outside. "Let's go find some beasts instead."

Following the mountain ridge South, they noticed that some of the larger mushroom trees had cave entrances between their roots. The first one seemed to be a dead end blocked by roots, yet promising creatures inside. After a bit of nosing around, they found another entrance. Swampgas Hole was inhabited by gnarls.

"Great - beasts!" - Jayred was getting excited. "Not exactly bones, but fun to chase!"

He came to regret this shortly afterwards. Five Elder Gnarls swarmed on them in the first swampgas hole - there was a reason the cave had this name. They were pinned down and knocked out over and over. Again, Hauk's summon fought on - a Skeleton Guardian, steady, tough, long lasting, and not using spells.

"I wonder if they make for good firewood" - said Hauk collecting bark and amber.

"No, they smoke too much" - replied Jayred extracting arrows from them.

It took them 36 hours to go through the entire system. They found a bedroll in the depth with a skeleton still resting on it, and decided it wasn't a good place to make camp.

Back outside, it was pouring with rain which was pleasantly cool on their bruises and their hot heads. With the armour completely thrashed and weapons badly degraded, they decided to return to Crucible for food, rest and repairs. They stopped by Bernice's to pick up supplies but didn't want to eat there with her incessant coughing - the Wolf House was just across the street.

"That was some punch-up!" - Jayred was saying with satisfaction taking a good bite out of a smoked baliwog leg. "I wasn't beaten up like that since Jorrvaskr! And that was a while back. How many times did you go down? 50? 100?"

"Something like that" - Hauk agreed helping himself to more mead. "Those gnarls can really swarm."

They examined their spoils: 43 pieces of amber and 45 pieces of gnarl bark, plus half a dozen scalon fins, and other odds and sods.

"We'll sell the loot tomorrow, those enchanted rings and armour will fetch a good price" - said Hauk turning over a pair of Elven boots. "I'm not keeping it - leave the Elven stuff to the Elves."

"I don't want any money" - said Jayred. "But I wouldn't mind a new bow - Cutter makes good ones from madness ore. I'd prefer that to the bright yellow ones from amber."

They talked about weapons and armour, durability and weight, usefulness and comfort, comparing different types and agreeing in the end that the best ones were the ones you got used to. The pile of baliwog legs was shrinking, but there was still plenty of mead left.

"Was that you who killed the Gatekeeper with Lena?" - asked Hauk picking up another smoked leg.

"Yes" - Jayred replied opening the next bottle of mead. "She needed bone arrows for that."

"Did you get to know her well?"

"She's got good bones."

"Whaaa-?" - this wasn't what Hauk was expecting.

"Oh, nothing of the sort" - Jayred looked up. "We never... Why, is she your girl?"


"Ahhh - but you want her to be" - Jayred nodded with understanding. "I saw the way you look at her."


"Just because I'm here now, it doesn't mean I wasn't elsewhere before. Or had a girl before. But she didn't have very good bones."

"What happened to her?" - asked Hauk hoping to steer the conversation out of dangerous waters.

"Nothing, she found someone new. He didn't have very good bones either, so they suited each other. I let her be."

"Was that why you left?"

"That, and the War. Too many bones left to rot - too many dead bodies on the battlefield. All pierced with arrows, ours and theirs. Nords, Elves, Imperials, everyone. All are equal in death - no Sovngarde for anyone. Nords left to rot, not embalmed and put into crypts. Their bones perish. Skyrim perishes. So I came here - plenty of bones and not many Nords. And no war."

They ate in silence for a while.

"You've got good bones too" - said Jayred looking at Hauk.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 28 2021, 08:59 PM

5 Second Seed, 4E202 - Interlude in Bravil

"There are a few things I need to take care of on my own" - Lena said to Hauk in the morning. "Fenris Bero being one."

"You've decided what to do with him then?" - Hauk looked up from his sweetroll.

"He knows botany and alchemy - he tends to the garden and knows to make poisons, Rowley taught him. I'll have him be our alchemist, somehow. He can pick ingredients in the woods too, but he'll need training in making potions... But may be I have an idea" - Lena smiled. "I'll take him to Skingrad."

"Oh!" - Hauk caught on. "That'll take some careful handling, but if it works out..." - he nodded in approval.

"How is Jowan?" - asked Lena. "I hear he's staying at the Mages Guild?"

"He is" - confirmed Hauk. "Kud-Ei is trying to make him to join" - he smirked. "I don't think he will, given his past experiences with a similar organisation, but who knows. Anyhow, Kud-Ei declared that the Guild should welcome a lonely mage without any family here, and I think he appreciates it."

"She means it too" - said Lena, looking into the distance. "She also gave a home to a certain sixteen year old who came to steal their sweetrolls."

"She's been asking about you" - Hauk said softly. "Perhaps you should pay her a visit. Sounds like one of her friends might be in trouble, and she knows you're discreet."

"I'll go see her today" - promised Lena. "And... Hauk?" - she looked at him apologetically. "What you said yesterday about me needing to get to know other people... I'll need to do that, you're right. I might be gone for a while."

"That's Ok" - Hauk took her hand. "You do that. I'll return to the Imperial City - the Legion has been asking for me anyway. Come and find me again when you're done."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 29 2021, 08:17 PM

5 Second Seed, 4E202 - Manifesto Cyrodiil Vampyrum

Lena arrived at the Leyawiin Sanctuary in the early evening.

"Mistress!" - Fenris greeted her as she entered. "You have returned."

He looked much better than last time when Lena saw him - he was clearly taking care of himself.

"Ah, you are looking better" - she said. "Well done. But you need to feed more often still - I want you to blend in, you will need to travel. Of course people will still recognise you for a vampire when they look closely, but not at a fleeting glance."

She did not want to say that most people in Cyrodiil wouldn't pay him more than a fleeting glance because he was a Dunmer... Instead, she tried a different approach.

"Since the Dunmer already have sanguine eyes, your vampire eyes won't stand out too much" - she smiled. "And your face will look healthy if you feed often enough. Here - read this" - she handed him a copy of Manifesto Cyrodiil Vampyrum.

Fenris looked at her in surprise. "But you are no longer a vampire!"

"True, but I was. It counts."

What did she mean by that? Fenris was confused but didn't dare to ask. He took the book with reverence - as a slave, he wasn't allowed to as much as look at it, but now... he couldn't refuse his Mistress... but that book wasn't written for slaves...

"The book is not cursed" - Lena saw Fenris' hesitation. "It simply teaches how to blend in with the society, as far as possible - you will never be able to blend in completely. Even the best of us couldn't do it..." Her voice trailed off in thought.

IPB Image

"Us?" - Fenris wondered to himself, but again didn't dare to ask.

"Anyway" - Lena returned to reality. "We'll be leaving for Bravil and then Skingrad in a few hours. You won't be able to feed for several days, so make sure to feed well before we go. We leave when I wake up."

She left the room, her black silk robes rustling softly as she walked.

"Thank you, Mistress" - Fenris murmured, not daring to believe the conversation they've just had.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 29 2021, 09:26 PM

5-6 Second Seed, 4E202 - Leyawiin to Bravil

Lena and Fenris left the Leyawiin Sanctuary soon after sunset to allow them plenty of time to reach Bravil before the sun rose again. Lena wanted to collect some plant cuttings along the way for alchemy, and with the usual fights with wolves, bears and bandits, the trip could easily take them all night. They had to be indoors by sunrise. It was a long time since Lena had to think of this, but she slipped back into the routine with a surprising force of habit.

They entered her house in Bravil just as the first sun rays coloured the sky pink.

IPB Image

"Bravil at sunrise..." - Lena stopped for a moment taking in the familiar sight. In a few minutes the skin would start to burn. She unlocked the door and they entered her house. Fenris let out a sigh of relief.

"Don't tell me" - she looked straight at him. "Rowley had you stay out during the day as punishment?"

"Yes" - Fenris' reply was barely audible.

"'Vampires make for excellent slaves, as you well know'" - Rowley's words echoed in Lena's mind. He had mentioned denying them blood, but of course there were other ways to get compliance, too... Lena shuddered.

"Well, you don't need to worry about that any more" - she said. "You can sleep here" - she pointed at a bedroll spread by the fire. "There is food in this cupboard, and you're welcome to the books, in case you wake up before me. I haven't slept much in the last two days" - she smiled. "We leave at sunset." She turned to her own bed.

If you can't feed, you have to eat and keep warm - Lena still remembered that.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 29 2021, 10:50 PM

6-7 Second Seed, 4E202 - Bravil to Skingrad - The coven

The trip to Skingrad was uneventful - they took a direct route along the border, picking more plant cuttings along the way. They made good time, approaching Skingrad several hours before sunrise.

"Before we go into the city, there are some people I want you to meet" - Lena opened the door to the Bloodcrust Cavern.


"Wolf?" - the sentry greeted her. "Good to see you. Bernice is inside."

"Hello, Aldryn" - Lena smiled. "This is Fenris - I want him to meet Bernice."

Aldryn nodded with understanding.

Lena and Fenris walked through the caves greeting several other people along the way. Vampires. Was that a..?

"Bernice!" - Lena saw her at the back of a cave. "Everything is quiet, I trust? The Count?"

"Hasn't bothered us at all, thank you" - smiled Bernice. "I see you brought a new member" - she nodded at Fenris.

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"Well, may be not quite a member" - Lena looked around the room. "But I was hoping for a favour... an arrangement, perhaps?" - she smiled at Bernice. "This is Fenris Bero, he is my... assistant - he does alchemy. I was wondering if perhaps you could allow him to make use of your captives in exchange for..."

"Of course he is welcome!" - Bernice interrupted Lena. "No exchange is required. We owe you. Millie!" - she called. "Can you take Fenris to feed, please?"

When Millie and Fenris disappeared into the passage, Bernice turned to Lena.

"He is your slave, is he not?" - her gaze was stern.

IPB Image

"Yes" - Lena admitted. "I bought him without knowing it, but I cannot abandon him now. I tried telling him that his enslavement was over, but he..."

"Doesn't know how not to be a slave?" - Bernice finished the sentence. "Yes, I've seen it often enough. So what do you intend to do?"

"He knows alchemy, and I want him to focus on that" - Lena looked at Bernice and smiled. "Thank you for letting him feed with you. I have a house in Skingrad and with the abundance of plants around here, he should be staying a while. Let him supply you with ingredients at least - he can make poisons, but not potions yet."

Bernice was listening and nodding.

"And I suppose you want him to blend in?"

"He'll need to."

"Yes" - Bernice agreed. "Very well, we have an arrangement. I'll speak to the others. He should come every night."


"Bernice is the Matriarch of this coven" - said Lena when she and Fenris were outside, going towards the gates of Skingrad. "We have agreed that you can come and feed with them every night that you stay here in exchange for alchemy supplies. She'll tell you tomorrow what kind of ingredients they are looking for."

Lena stopped and turned to Fenris. He looked surprised and confused.

"Ingredients..?" - he murmured. "Coven... You help vampires?" - he finally breathed.

"Some of them, yes" - answered Lena. "I killed many, too. It depends."

"Manifesto Cyrodiil Vampyrum" - Fenris' face lit up with understanding. "Blend in."

"Exactly" - Lena smiled. "Tailor your lifestyle to your requirements. Plenty of people are out after sunset, not just the vampires."


"So, this is my house" - Lena ushered Fenris in. "This isn't my main residence, but I stop here often enough, and usually with friends. There is a bed on the upper floor and also in the basement. I set up a small work area upstairs, so perhaps if you were to settle there, then I'll take the basement?"

She led him upstairs, showing him around. Tables, cupboards, book cases, alchemical appliances... Fenris started to relax. He eyed the big double bed with suspicion, and Lena made a mental note to add a single bed for him... She had already shipped the unicorn to Skyrim.

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They sat down for a meal - was that dinner or breakfast? It was morning, but of course their nights and days had switched places.

"Not everyone wants the cure" - Lena said when the conversation turned to the coven. "Most vampires have no access to it anyway, and it has side effects. If I had known in advance..." - she broke off. "But it's done now. Have you considered the cure yourself?" - she looked at Fenris. "My great-uncle had a pool built in the Leyawiin Sanctuary."

Fenris looked at her in surprise. "I never had a choice! But I've heard of the pool. One of the recruits had used it... he died soon after that - he had become weak and couldn't regenerate."

"Yes, that's one of the side effects" - agreed Lena. "But it does remove the disease. Anyway, I understand if you are not thrilled by it, but you're welcome to that pool if you want it."

Fenris shook his head. "If you don't mind, Mistress... please... no."

"Mistress..." - Lena thought looking at him. "This is going to take a while..."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 30 2021, 11:50 AM

7 Second Seed, 4E202 - Fenris in Skingrad

"Hello, Falanu" - Lena walked into All Things Alchemical followed by Fenris. "How have you been keeping?"

"Oh, fine, thank you. Your usual?" - she asked, turning to fetch boxes of nightshade, peony and sacred lotus. "Oh!" She saw Fenris.

"This is my assistant - nothing to worry about" - Lena smiled reassuringly. "He knows how to behave, and he has some botanical and alchemical knowledge too. May I present - Fenris Bero."

Falanu stared at him in disbelief for some time. Then she caught herself. "You better come through" - she locked the shop door beckoning them to follow her upstairs.

Once they were seated around a table, Lena took the lead.

"Fenris has been away from Morrowind for over 200 years, and he didn't have many opportunities to keep up with the events." Lena took a deep breath. "Falanu - Fenris was given to me as a slave, that's what he's been for most of the time since he turned."

A light of understanding shown on Falanu's face.

"However" - Lena continued - "to me Fenris is an assistant and his condition not a threat. He is going to take care of my alchemy supplies, collecting ingredients, preparing poisons and remedies, and making sure we never run out of things. I have a house here in Skingrad, and he'll be staying here some of the time. I was hoping he could make purchases at your store on my behalf."

Fenris sat quietly watching Lena and Falanu and not daring to touch his drink. Falanu seemed to lighten up with every word Lena said. Then there was a sigh of relief. She picked up her goblet and started drinking slowly, looking at Fenris, lost in thought.

"Fenris Bero..." she said softly. Fenris jerked slightly, looking up. "I remember you... a long time ago. You disappeared. So that's what's happened... Cousin."

Fenris winced. "I was ostracised, as soon as the disease set in" - he said. "I have no cousins."

"You need not worry" - said Falanu, smiling. "I have been ostracised too, for another reason. We can be cousins now."

Lena felt that it was necessary to diffuse the situation.

"Well, I am sure you will have plenty of occasions to catch up" - she raised a toast. "Here is to new beginnings!"

Fenris sat motionless at first, then caught himself and raised his goblet too. They drank and exchanged pleasantries.

"Thank you, Falanu, but we should be going" - said Lena after a little while. "Lots to do. Fenris will be staying in Skingrad for a time - settling in and all that."

"Oh, of course!" - Falanu came out of her trance. "Yes, please come in to the shop when you need anything. I shall also gladly buy your surplus ingredients, as usual. Or offer some training" - she looked at Fenris and smiled.

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Posted by: Lena Wolf Jun 30 2021, 05:38 PM

8 Second Seed, 4E202 - Reflections

Lena was tired. She left Fenris in Skingrad and hoped that re-connecting with his roots through Falanu might help him find himself in time. Some of the vampires in Bernice's coven seemed to have had checkered past, too - marred by slavery, perhaps. Most people did not choose vampirism, it usually got them by surprise, or there was no means to cure the precursor disease... And while some succumbed to it mentally as well as physically and became vicious predators, many remained the same people as they were before the infection.

Vampires in Cyrodiil largely chose to learn to live with it - and even to advance in society. That meant regular feeding, at least once a day. For some, like the wife of Janus Hassildor, this was unacceptable, and usually meant suicide. But others accepted their fate and found ways... Captives, usually, because bottled synthetic blood, like bottled breast milk substitute, could not sustain them fully. Yes, Lena remembered that time all too vividly - and recent events had shown that she wasn't free from that curse after all. Not completely.

So... Fenris was a vampire, her slave, her property, her responsibility. She wasn't about to waste him. The Dunmer had long lives of their own - Queen Barenziah had lived for a thousand years. Vampires were immortal, of course - Fenris had a lot of time ahead of him still, and Lena was determined that he wouldn't spend it all as a slave.

Lena was riding towards Bravil, thinking these thoughts. Bravil never judged.

Posted by: Adella Jun 30 2021, 11:56 PM

I will keep this brief as I do not wish to break up the post flow of your tale.
I like it…read a fair bit…not all as yet, but it entices!
I did not exist until Skyrim, but my host, my ‘otherhalf’, indulged a lot of Oblivion and this tale pulls up all those old memories. The Shivering Isles being bigger than many entire games itself. Yes, it is well recalled with your prompts as Lena ventures. Thank you. goodjob.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 1 2021, 08:16 AM

QUOTE(Adella @ Jun 30 2021, 11:56 PM) *

I did not exist until Skyrim, but my host, my ‘otherhalf’, indulged a lot of Oblivion and this tale pulls up all those old memories. The Shivering Isles being bigger than many entire games itself. Yes, it is well recalled with your prompts as Lena ventures. Thank you. goodjob.gif

Thanks, Adella! biggrin.gif Glad you enjoy it. Not much has changed in the last 200 years since the Oblivion Crisis, it seems, and history keeps repeating itself on many accounts. Doesn't it always - people tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. Lena is experiencing a lot of deja vu - but then again, it's never quite the same the second time around.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 1 2021, 08:21 PM

9-10 Second Seed, 4E202 - Sanguine

"Offer a bottle of Cyrodilic Brandy and My Lord Sanguine might speak with you" - one of the worshippers at Sanguine's shrine told Lena. "But don't be offended if he doesn't" - he hastened to add, looking her over.

"Actually, I think I shall be offended if he doesn't" - Lena replied to the horror of the worshipper.

She placed the bottle on the altar.

"Ah... another mortal has come to beg for some excitement... Oh - hello! What brings you here, Wolf?"

The worshippers stared at Lena with envy and disbelief.

"I need to speak with you, Sanguine" - Lena told the statue. "Privately" - she looked around at the glaring faces of the worshippers and glared back at them.

"Very well, meet me in The Three Sisters' Inn in Leyawiin - the upper floor room. There's also something we need to do at the castle there."

The worshippers got up to leave.

"No, you don't!" - Lena jumped in front of a Bosmer who appeared to be their leader. "Sanguine is to meet me, not you, and in private. Meaning: you are not coming!"

"Nobody is meeting My Lord in private without my blessing, and you are certainly not getting it!" - the Bosmer retorted, baring his teeth in a growl.

"Oh yeah? Watch this!" - Lena bared her own teeth. She snapped her fingers and summoned a dremora. This was looking distinctly like a toddler squabble.

"I honour my Lord by destroying you!" - the dremora roared automatically, but then looked around and didn't see any threats. He turned to Lena with a question in his eyes.

"Tell them who is your Lord, please" - she asked him, smiling.

"I serve My Lord Sanguine" - he replied, turning to the Bosmer. The Bosmer paled.

"And if Sanguine wishes to see me privately, do I need a blessing from one of his worshippers?" - Lena asked the dremora with a mischievous smile.

The Bosmer did not need a reply. The other worshippers were already cowering behind the statue, not wishing to offend the dremora in any way - whether he served Sanguine or any other Prince.

"My Lord will meet his lover without your blessing" - the dremora glared down at the Bosmer. It was rather fun to watch.

"Thank you, my friend" - Lena patted the dremora on the arm. "I should better be going - Sanguine will be waiting."

She dispelled the dremora and mounted Roach to leave. The only thing missing from this scene was Lena pulling her tongue out at the Bosmer. But who's to say that she didn't do it after she rode off.


"Do you wish to rent a room?" - Shuravi asked when Lena entered the inn in Leyawiin. "I have one on the second floor free."

"I am expected on the third floor already" - Lena answered with a smile. "Has the room been paid for?"

"For a whole week, yes" - Shuravi looked at her with suspicion. "By a dremora!"

"Thanks!" - Lena replied quickly and was gone before Shuravi could serve her a sermon on the devastating effects of consorting with daedra.


"Why did you call me?" - asked Sanguine after they exchanged the usual greetings. "You sounded concerned."

"Yes" - Lena rubbed her chin. "Do you remember Dylan? That Mazken that's been following me around back on the Isles?"

Sanguine's eyes glazed over at first, but then he remembered and nodded.

"It's somewhat vague, but yes, I remember. There was a lot of brandy involved - and all that felldew..." - he trailed off, smiling to the memories.

"Sanguine - get back here" - Lena tugged at his sleeve, smiling, too. "Focus, please. Dylan. Help him."

"Help him?" - Sanguine repeated, surprised. "What sort of trouble is he in?"

"He's lonely" - Lena took Sanguine's hand. "And you know better than any other how to deal with mortals... and the feelings that come from that."

"Well... may be I do" - Sanguine smiled. "Daedra don't feel the same attachment to one another as we can feel towards mortals, it's ironic. And you're the first one for him, then" - he nodded. "But why doesn't Sheogorath just banish him while you're gone?"

"Because I asked him not to" - Lena went red. "I hadn't thought it through. So now Dylan will have to learn to deal with it."

"And naturally you run to me for help!" - Sanguine laughed. "Not Mara, Dibella, Azura, Vaermina, or even Hircine - no, you ask me! Yet each of them could provide a solution, too."

"Stop it, Sanguine!" - Lena jumped up and sat on his lap. "He needs to learn to deal with it, not drown it in sorrow or something. How do you deal with it when one of your mortal lovers dies?" Lena's face was close to Sanguine's, her eyes level with his.

"I grieve, how else" - he answered softly. "It is the way of things. I drink, remember?" - he smiled. "I have been careful of late to only take cursed mortals as lovers - vampires, werewolves, that sort of thing - but some have had the audacity of taking the cure..." - he kissed her.

"And losing their immortality" - Lena finished after a pause.

"Yes" - Sanguine was looking into her eyes again. "But you never forget the ones you loved."

"You'll help him then?" - Lena's voice was but a whisper.

"If Sheogorath allows" - Sanguine nodded.

"He'd better!"

10 Second Seed

"So, what was it you wanted me to do here at the Castle?" - asked Lena. It was late morning and they were still in bed.

"Oh, right" - Sanguine smirked. "The Countess needs a bit of cheering up."

"Meaning?" - Lena looked at him with suspicion. You could never trust Sanguine in these matters.

"She needs a bit of a diversion, a bit of frivolous entertainment" - he chuckled. "You'll need to get yourself invited to one of their stuffy dinners, and then you'll cast a spell and everyone will be naked."

"What!?" - they laughed at the mental image of the pandemonium in the castle dining room. "But it will land me in prison!" - Lena frowned.

"Nonsense!" - Sanguine waved it off. "You'll just cast one of your illusion spells - vanish and slip away or something. You assassins are good at that" - he winked. "I'll give you the Rose as a reward. And I booked this room for a week" - he added, smiling.

"Well, all right then" - answered Lena, letting herself fall back onto the cushions. The Countess could wait.

Posted by: macole Jul 1 2021, 09:35 PM

Personal relationships with the princes and to have a reason for speaking to them is so much more fun than simply walking up to throw an offering on the alter to get a quest.

The party crasher quest cracked me up the first time I played it.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 1 2021, 11:17 PM

QUOTE(macole @ Jul 1 2021, 09:35 PM) *

Personal relationships with the princes and to have a reason for speaking to them is so much more fun than simply walking up to throw an offering on the alter to get a quest.

The party crasher quest cracked me up the first time I played it.

Thanks! biggrin.gif That quest is fun indeed! Did you manage to do it without going to jail? And to watch what happens afterwards? laugh.gif

Posted by: Acadian Jul 2 2021, 01:34 AM

What a fun and creative treatment of Sanguine's quest and how you have woven it into a much bigger picture/relationship with Sanguine. A fun read! smile.gif

Posted by: macole Jul 2 2021, 04:38 AM

QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Jul 1 2021, 05:17 PM) *

QUOTE(macole @ Jul 1 2021, 09:35 PM) *

Personal relationships with the princes and to have a reason for speaking to them is so much more fun than simply walking up to throw an offering on the alter to get a quest.

The party crasher quest cracked me up the first time I played it.

Thanks! biggrin.gif That quest is fun indeed! Did you manage to do it without going to jail? And to watch what happens afterwards? laugh.gif

I believe I did but it was some time ago (10-years maybe), long before this current story. What I remember is that I stood there watching everyone running around stark naked (undieless body mod). Don't remember if I used invisibility spell or potion which requires precise timing or if I wore several items enchanted with chameleon to total 100. I'm sure that I had to restart several times.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 2 2021, 08:18 AM

10 Second Seed, 4E202 - Stark Reality

"You forgot to tell me that I'd be stripped naked by that spell - that is, all my stuff vanished!" - Lena appeared in The Three Sisters' Inn upper floor room, her invisibility cloak finally dispelling. "I had to keep casting the cloak all the way from the castle!"

"But did you have fun?" - Sanguine laughed. "Don't bother getting dressed - supper is already here." He pulled her into the bed, there was wine, cheese and fruit at either side. "How did it go?"

"Well..." - Lena couldn't stay angry with him for long. "I had to time it quite precisely, to disappear before the spell hit, but it worked! Everyone got absolutely frenzied. I couldn't resist staying to watch!" - she laughed at the memory. "Then the oddest thing happened - the guests all returned to the table, and carried on as if nothing was the matter!"

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"No!!!" - Sanguine roared, laughing. "And I missed that!?"

"But then the Countess returned - all dressed up again, and had us all arrested for indecent exposure!" They laughed at that and drank some wine.

"But you are here and not in jail" - Sanguine remarked.

"That bedroll was dirty" - Lena winked. "As dirty as those clothes they gave us - I left them there, too. I wasn't going to stay. And of course your spell had all my money vanish - so I couldn't even pay the fine!"

"So you cheated" - Sanguine kissed her.

"Magic is not cheating" - she returned his kiss. "I understand now why you booked this room for a week."

"I may have expected a delay, yes" - Sanguine winked.

"Good thing I left my stuff here before going - or you'd have me ride all the way to your shrine in the nude!"

"Aww, you cheated again!" - Sanguine laughed heartily. "You know what to expect by now."

"You should chastise that Bosmer at the shrine. He tried to tell me I couldn't see you without his blessing - and he tried to come here instead of me!"

"He is confused" - conceded Sanguine. "It's Mephala who likes men, not I."

Lena didn't get to complain any further. The evening with Sanguine was just beginning.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 3 2021, 12:22 PM

11 Second Seed, 4E202 - Dessos - The Order of Virtuous Blood - Rufio

Lena woke up late, opened her eyes and saw Sanguine sitting up in bed watching her. She smiled to him and stretched out her hand to caress his face. She always slept well in his company.

"I do miss the time in the Isles" - she said. "I felt at home there."

"There's nothing to stop you from going back, you know" - Sanguine smiled at her. "And let another two hundred years slip by."

"No, it's not the same" - she sat up as well, reaching for sweetrolls. "I still feel at home there when I go back - and I shall never stop going back there. But it's Sheogorath's Realm again - not mine. My place is here, in Mundus. Besides, I have friends now."

"Now you see why I never bothered with a Realm of my own" - Sanguine got a sweetroll too. "It's the people that make up a life, not the land."

"Speaking of which - I've got work to do." Lena stretched and got out of bed. "After I retrieve my money from the chest at your shrine" - she winked. "And the Rose of course! I missed it."

"You need to get better at those drinking games if you want to keep it for longer" - Sanguine laughed. "And in future if you want to see me, just ask Dessos - he'll let me know."

"Dessos?" - Lena turned to him in surprise.

"Your dremora. It's been the same one for a long time already, you noticed. He insisted" - Sanguine smiled.

"Oh!" - Lena blushed. "Thanks."


Lena got to the shrine of Sanguine in the afternoon, having stopped just once along the way. She didn't dare to go to Bravil as she had no money and she was sure there was a bounty on her head for breaking out of jail. She had no wish to go back to jail just because she had no coin on her to pay the fine.

The worshippers at the shrine pretended not to see her, even when Sanguine spoke to her through the statue. Lena smirked and left them to their jealousy.

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Lena got to the Imperial City in the early evening. She stopped at her house on the Waterfront for a quick break before going into the city - she had a job to do there.

Passing through the Temple District, she was approached by a Dunmer woman asking her with great urgency to go see a certain Seridur, right there in the district. Lena thought it might have been a trap, but decided to go anyway.

"It is good to finally meet you, Assassin" - said Seridur. "Your reputation precedes you."

"Oh?" - Lena gave him a blank stare.

"That Altmer noble killed in the skooma den... that Dunmer agent killed in his house... and of course Fathis Ules hitting his head on the stone steps of an inn in Chorrol... Do I need to go on?" - Seridur smiled. Something in his face didn't look right.

"Oh I see!" - Lena said. "And you think somehow that those unfortunate deaths are linked to me?" - she smiled.

"No, of course not!" - Seridur laughed. "It was just a little joke! Please follow me."

Lena followed. A Dunmer in daedric armour stepped aside to let her pass.

"I am Seridur's bodyguard and... assistant" - he said.

"Yes..." - Lena thought. She sensed where this was going. The question was whether they could sense her.


"Welcome to the headquarters of the Order of Virtuous Blood!" - exclaimed Seridur when they entered the basement. "The Order of vampire hunters!"

"How ironic..." - Lena thought. "But what a clever disguise." No, Seridur couldn't sense her, and the other two members were not vampires.

They wanted her to track down and kill a certain Roland Jenseric who, Seridur claimed, was a vampire. Why, Seridur saw it with his own eyes! Roland kissing a girl in a back alley, and then the girl was dead with two puncture marks on her neck! That proved it - Roland did it!

"So you see, now you must go and slay him!" - Seridur said triumphantly.

"Well, that is certainly quite a task!" - Lena said, pretending to be in awe. "You need a professional assassin for this. Have you considered contacting the Dark Brotherhood or perhaps Morag Tong?"

The Dunmer vampire hunter in the room twitched, the Argonian changed colour, but Seridur remained calm.

"It is too risky" - he said. "Claudius Arcadia will rot in the Imperial Prison for the rest of his life for performing the Black Sacrament. Even though there is no law against it. Which is why we need your help!"

"Well..." - Lena looked into the expectant faces of the other two vampire hunters. "I can certainly look into it... although I still think you need professional help."

"Payment will be forthcoming, do not worry" - Seridur said with a smile.

"Oh - I would not require payment for doing the right thing!" - Lena exclaimed. "The Mages Guild wouldn't stand for it!"

"Mages Guild?" - Seridur was taken aback.

"Mages Guild Warlock at your service" - Lena bowed her head. "I thought you knew who I was?" She gave Seridur her brightest smile and thought to herself: "Feeding too often dulls your senses."

She turned to leave.

"I'll be in touch."


First of all Lena had to follow up on that business with Claudius Arcadia. Was it true? She found him in the Imperial Prison complaining to anyone who'd listen. Yes, he prayed to the Night Mother and got arrested for it! And there wasn't even any law against it! And the City Watch confiscated his house, too! The unfairness of it all! Arrghhh!

"Quick - unlock this door so that I can escape!" - he cried excitedly.

"And go where?" - Lena looked at him with regret. "There's a guard on every corner, and this section is not the one with the underground passage."

"Passage? What passage?" - Claudius' eyes lit up.

"Get yourself transferred to the other section, and who knows - I might visit you again" - Lena replied. "Compliments of the Night Mother" - she smiled.

She left and wondered who it was that Claudius wanted killed - and why. She had to investigate his house.


"Only assassins and thieves are out in the Imperial City at night" - thought Lena passing through the Market District at 2 a.m. where she just bumped into Carwen canvassing the shops.

Claudius' house was across the street from Hauk's, in the Talos Plaza district. A public notice on the door stated that the house had been seized by the City Watch. Lena thought it was likely that a watchman would be inside, so wrapped herself in a chameleon cloak before picking the lock and entering.

She found the scene of a Black Sacrament in the basement. But who had been the target? There were no clues there. The ground floor was deserted, but upstairs she found the watchman sleeping in Claudius' bed. No matter, she still went through the chests and desks until she found a diary. She was surprised that it hadn't been taken away as evidence, but there it was.

"It worked!" - she read. "A man visited me and money has been exchanged! Rufio will die!"

"Rufio?" - Lena smiled to herself. "Yes, Claudius, the contract has been completed."

She took the diary. There was no need to leave evidence lying around. With her other business in the Imperial City completed, she decided to go home and get some sleep before riding to Cheydinhal.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 3 2021, 01:19 PM

12 Second Seed, 4E202 - Thieves Guild - Travel plans

"Fathis Ules - Master Thief, top fence; J'baana - Master Thief, master of security; S'krivva - Shadowfoot, doyen; Othrelos - Shadowfoot, master of covert affairs; Orrin - Shadowfoot, high level fence. That's the entire top of the Thieves Guild, plus the Guildmaster, of course - the current Grey Fox. And Corvus Umbranox." Lena was going through the list. "There are plenty more members, but I don't think we can eliminate all thieves in Cyrodiil, and neither should we wish to."

"Agreed" - Lucien nodded. "How close are you to completing?"

Lena shot him a glance.

"You know how close I am - these deaths are not exactly low profile" - she smiled. "But fine, have it your way: Fathis Ules - 1 Sun’s Dawn, Othrelos - 8 First Seed, S'krivva - 5 Second Seed, J'baana - 11 Second Seed. I released the wraith of Sithis in Umbranox' abandoned house on 15 Morning Star, so it's been nearly four months. The last two deaths being so close together should make him think it'll soon be him, but no, not yet."

"In particular with J'baana hiding in the Imperial City prison" - Lucien smirked. "But of course you've been there on several occasions already." He paused, reading through a parchment. "Lady Umbranox wishes her husband 'to suffer the anguish of being hunted for at least six months before he is killed' - it says here" - Lucien read from the contract. "You are on schedule" - he smiled.

They sat sipping their wine for a while, each making notes and looking through more papers.

"What did the Night Mother say about this contract?" - Lena ventured a question that's been bothering her for a while now. "It requires publicity and is remarkably vague on detail."

"The ultimate target was clear from the start, so she couldn't refuse" - Lucien frowned. "I had to negotiate adequate compensation, considering the breach of privacy for the Dark Brotherhood - we are not the Skyrim assassins. But the Night Mother approved that you should be the one to handle it, given your previous work in Anvil - she is fully aware who it was that provided that anonymous tip on the identity and whereabouts of the real traitor."

Lena looked up in surprise.

"But how did she know? I was in hiding from the assassins all the while..."

"And yet you tracked down the traitor. She knows." Lucien was watching Lena across the table, pondering something. Then finally he asked: "Why did you do it?"

"To clear my name" - Lena answered automatically.

"No, why did you really do it? Not the official version, please" - Lucien smiled.

Lena sat back in her chair, lifting her eyes from the papers to meet Lucien's, still watching her.

"He had to be stopped. Everyone at the Sanctuary was being hunted, and you disappeared - in hiding or exile, I didn't know, but it wasn't good. The others didn't know the details, so they couldn't help, and I couldn't find you, so I had to act on my own. Until someone gave me that anonymous note suggesting to investigate a certain address in Anvil..." Lena broke off, seeing Lucien shaking his head. "What?"

"Not how you did it, but why?"

"Oh..." - Lena looked confused. "I never thought of that... I couldn't not do it."

Lucien felt that she was holding something back, but decided not to press her any further. He sensed that it was something to do with the Sanctuary, with himself, perhaps... He watched Lena across the table, thinking of the time when she just joined his group, so very young, yet determined, a vampire, but dealing with it, not giving up, not turning into a beast. She was an assassin, but not just that - she was more, so much more, like her mother. Lucien didn't know her mother very well, but from what he knew and heard, the resemblance was striking, and not just skin-deep. He couldn't help but take an interest in this young half-Breton half-Nord brought up by an Argonian from an early age... But surely she was too young for him. Back then - yes, but now? She kept coming back to his fort, he wondered why. She never checked to see if he was there, and sometimes he was - cloaked in chameleon, he moved silently, yet she must have noticed. She never showed it if she did. She would spend the night there, sometimes touching him in her sleep. Was she aware of that? It seemed she wasn't.

Two hundred years was a long time to wait, she said. Perhaps. Lucien wasn't just sitting and waiting though - life continued, he was busy, not having a Silencer to share the work, and Ocheeva had always insisted he shouldn't neglect his own needs either... Ocheeva could always see everything plainly. Yet with every woman he kissed, he felt an increasing emptiness and a growing longing for that one half-Breton half-Nord that kept coming to his fort while he was away.

Then one day Lena reappeared, and not just in his fort - she was back in Mundus, looking as young as when she joined them. Was it really she? He had to watch her for a while. Yes, it was she, vampirism cured, looks restored, experience gained. The Shivering Isles - that's where she'd been! That explained everything - why they could not find her when she was being hunted, why she completely vanished afterwards with only brief appearances at long intervals, and why she hadn't aged two hundred years like everyone else. But she wasn't in her twenties either - no longer a child, far from it. And she was still an assassin.

The Night Mother agreed it was time to call her back. Lena didn't need asking twice - she was happy to be back with the Sanctuary, all the old friends that she'd missed. She refused a promotion when Lucien offered it to her - no, she wasn't made to be a Black Hand... "Well, you'll change your mind in time" - he thought and didn't insist. She was back in his life - that was all that mattered.

Then there was this contract from Lady Umbranox, and the Night Mother gave it to him - to his group, but of course there was just one person he'd give it to. The Night Mother agreed, she'd been expecting it. Lena took the contract, drew up a plan, left it in Lucien's fort for his approval. Lucien was going to write a note in reply, but then he left her flowers instead - goldenrod, morning glory, lily of the valley, blue hyacinth. Would she understand the meaning? He was sure she would. Good fortune, my dear - yours, always. Yours. A lily of the valley would send a much stronger message than a rose.

Lena kept the flowers, but didn't give a response. "Are you sure?" - she asked. Yes, he was sure. She was his missing half. But whether he was hers... time would tell.


"Come with me to Skyrim" - Lena said suddenly.

"You're asking me to accompany you?" - Lucien wasn't used to being an escort.

"There's work to be done there, as you well know."

"Work that you are more than capable of doing yourself" - Lucien interjected. "Even if you don't want any of your friends to help, you could ask your brother."

"You know about Wolf?" - Lena should have expected it, but she didn't.

"News travels fast. He's famous."

"In his own right, yes. But..." - Lena realised that further discussion was pointless. Of course Lucien knew about her brother. She had to lay more cards on the table. "I want to spend time with you."

"If you don't know me as yet..."

"I know you, Assassin!" - Lena interrupted. "I want to know Lucien now."

"They are one and the same."

"Are they? Did the Assassin give me that lily of the valley?"

Lucien looked up sharply.

"Very well, my Barenziah."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 3 2021, 08:09 PM

13-14 Second Seed, 4E202 - Vampires of the Imperial City

Before Lena could go to Skyrim, there was one unfinished business she had to follow up on: Seridur. She had to choose between Roland and Seridur - which one would she believe? She chose to believe Roland.

Having asked around following Roland's tip, she discovered that Seridur was known to take regular trips to the Memorial Cave, always carrying food and other supplies. Lena went to investigate.

The cave housed a small group of vampires whom Seridur was obviously supporting. Lena tried talking to him, but he attacked, and the other vampires joined in. There was no other way but to slay them.

There was however something strange about this group: the cave was set up for Necromancy, with several dread zombies and wraiths roaming in it. The only way these undead would have been ignoring the vampires was if the vampires had raised them. Were they then necromancers as well? Stranger things had happened.

IPB Image

Lena found a dead captive in a cell. Vampires would normally keep him alive. It all seemed that they were more interested in raising the dead than in maintaining their own existence. Could a vampire ascend to lichdom? Could an undead become undead?

IPB Image

Lena checked the corpses, collecting vampire dust. Almost all Elves. They did say that the Elves in the Imperial City looked out for each other. She checked Seridur. No vampire dust. His eyes hadn't been red either. Was he perhaps an ex-vampire like herself? That would explain many things. And if he wasn't drinking blood anymore, he would not have been able to sense her past vampirism either. Lena recalled that incident with Thadon's chalice - her fangs had returned and she bit Dylan's neck and drank his blood. No, she wasn't a vampire any longer, but that blood had woken up her senses again. Not so with Seridur.

So what did really happen in that back alley in the Imperial City? Roland's girlfriend came to stay with him, but after a time started taking solitary walks in the evenings. Roland suspected an affair, followed her and caught her in Seridur's embrace. Roland claimed that Seridur was biting her neck, but what if it was a kiss, not a bite? Seridur turned on Roland, pushing away the girl, she slipped and fell, cracking her skull on the stones.

Both men were now blaming each other for her death, Roland out of jealousy, Seridur to protect his vampire friends. The Order of Virtuous Blood was a sham of course, but did Seridur really have to die? Lena never got a chance to find out what those vampires were like, but admittedly it didn't look good. So be it, her hand had been forced.

14 Second Seed

It was well past midnight when Lena came out of the Memorial Cave. The whole affair left a rather unpleasant taste in her mouth - she felt like she was being used. She rode straight to Roland's cabin to tell him of the outcome, and she didn't care if she had to wake him for it. At least she was certain that he wasn't a vampire.

Roland didn't mind being woken up in the middle of the night. He thanked Lena and asked her to see him in Seridur's house - he intended to carry on with The Order of Virtuous Blood.

"Well" - Lena thought on the way back. "They are not exactly competent. For all their talk of great knowledge, they didn't suspect Seridur - or me, for that matter! And they should have. What a waste of space."

She turned her thoughts towards her upcoming trip to Skyrim - Lucien would be meeting her in Bruma, then they would take the Pale Pass North.

Posted by: macole Jul 3 2021, 10:13 PM

History repeats itself once again. Seridur experimenting in lichdom, now that's an interesting twist.
Really, the OVB hasn't had an accomplished vampire hunter since... oh, what's his name? I can't seem to remember.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 4 2021, 08:00 AM

QUOTE(macole @ Jul 3 2021, 10:13 PM) *

History repeats itself once again. Seridur experimenting in lichdom, now that's an interesting twist.

I always felt that quest was weird. Both men lying, neither of them a vampire. Then the cave not looking anything like a vampire den, except for the vampires within. Really strange.

Seridur's excuse for insisting that it should be us to go handle the "vampire": "We are just three old men, we are no match for a vampire." Well then, if the three of you cannot handle a single vampire, then what are you doing calling yourselves vampire hunters? huh.gif

Really, the OVB hasn't had an accomplished vampire hunter since... oh, what's his name? I can't seem to remember.

Yes, I've heard of him. Ja...something or other? I hear he had enough of them and retired to wine making on the Gold Coast.

Posted by: Renee Jul 4 2021, 01:38 PM

Up to post 11 now. That makes so much sense, about the Stormcloaks who made their camp just to the east of Helgen. Never thought of it that way. So they rushed away from Helgen, maybe found that spot, that dell in the middle of the forest. Made camp for the night, and then never left.

"Look - poorly healed scars, frostbite and their stomachs stuck to their spines. Supply problems, clearly."

In my imagination, this is how I imagine the huge disparity between low-leveled enemies (such as, let's say, Level 1 through 5 bandits) in one area, but higher-level enemies in another area. They are malnourished / sick / diseased if they're low-leveled, which makes them easy prey for our characters. Yet often in a lower-leveled environment there will be a boss who matches our character's level, or nearly so. This boss takes most of the food, most of the things which keep the rest of the party in poverty. The boss allows them to live there, which (from their standpoint) is better than braving it out somewhere in the wilderness. But they can't get rich / better-nourished under such conditions since the boss is taking the lion's share. Protection in numbers seems to be the main idea.

You were right, Lena. Now that I've finished Post 1, the rest of these are quicker reads. smile.gif

Posted by: macole Jul 4 2021, 06:23 PM

QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Jul 4 2021, 02:00 AM) *

I always felt that quest was weird. Both men lying, neither of them a vampire. Then the cave not looking anything like a vampire den, except for the vampires within. Really strange.

The vampire hunting mod I use fixes that a bit. Seridur becomes a nasty one. Before he is cured of his affliction, he goes into a long discourse on how he's going to taste all the young maidens in the Imperial City.

Yes, I've heard of him. Ja...something or other? I hear he had enough of them and retired to wine making on the Gold Coast.

That's the plan but just like Borne, Wick, and Corleone; he keeps getting pulled back in.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 5 2021, 08:23 AM

QUOTE(Renee @ Jul 4 2021, 01:38 PM) *

"Look - poorly healed scars, frostbite and their stomachs stuck to their spines. Supply problems, clearly."

In my imagination, this is how I imagine the huge disparity between low-leveled enemies (such as, let's say, Level 1 through 5 bandits) in one area, but higher-level enemies in another area. They are malnourished / sick / diseased if they're low-leveled, which makes them easy prey for our characters.

As you travel the roads of Skyrim and meet Stormcloak patrols, you often hear them complain of supply problems. They say they are cold and hungry and Ulfric doesn't care to fix it. They say it themselves! Justifying to one another the need to raid passers by because they've got to eat! So I just pulled it into the story here.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 5 2021, 08:52 AM

14-15 Second Seed, 4E202 - Bruma

"Hello!" - Hafid Hollowleg greeted Lena at the Jerall View Inn. "Your room is ready."

"Nice to see you again, Hafid" - Lena smiled. "But how did you know I'd be coming?"

"Weren't you the one trying to break up a fight between a Legion soldier and a Bruma city guard just outside the gates? Again?" - he laughed.

"Point taken" - Lena laughed too. "I just think it's such a waste!"

"Oh don't worry about it, it's not to the death. Nothing a good helping of mead wouldn't cure. Dinner?"

"Yes, please" - Lena looked around the room, spotting Lucien at the corner table. "I'll be over there."

"You're with... Oh!" - Hafid's face broke in a broad smile. "Of course!"

15 Second Seed

"Do you have a plan?" - Lucien asked when they met in the dining room for breakfast.

"The same as in Cyrodiil" - Lena answered. "We'll need to make our way to Riften."

"Yes..." - Lucien looked in the distance. "But perhaps we should first pay a visit to a certain group in Falkreath."

"You mean..?" - Lena's eyes widened.

"No-no, just to talk" - Lucien smiled. "Bring the game out into the open. And - you lead. It'll be fun to watch" - he smirked and winked at her.

Lena smirked too: "All right. I know just how to approach them."

"And then? Straight onto Riften or do you want to see your brother first?"

"Wolf first" - she said firmly. Lucien nodded.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 5 2021, 11:59 PM

16 Second Seed, 4E202 - A visit to the Skyrim assassins - About mother

"You thought I fancied you" - Lena whispered into Arnbjorn's ear locking his arm behind his back. "Why would I when I've got him?"

Lucien readied his blade.

"Who are you?" - asked Arnbjorn suddenly realising that his mistrust of Lena was well founded. Werewolves could sense things and he was the only one of the Skyrim group to mistrust Lena to the point of dislike.

"I am Lucien Lachance's Silencer."

"But..." - Arnbjorn broke off. Information wasn't Astrid's strong suit, it got them into trouble many times before. They didn't mind killing the wrong people - one could always fix that - but now she had led a traitor into their midst. "Lucien Lachance has been dead for 200 years and we are the last Dark Brotherhood group in Tamriel" - Arnbjorn recounted the official version of events.

"Ai, that's what you'd read in the Imperial Chronicles" - agreed Lena. "It was a convenient way to take attention away from the real Dark Brotherhood, but we were never gone anywhere."

"You have come to perform Purification" - concluded Arnbjorn.

"No, because you are not the Dark Brotherhood, you are just a bunch of murderers. Ah-ah!" - Lena pressed her silver dagger to Arnbjorn's side as he tried to twist out of her grip. "I'm not done talking to you yet."

"So what do you want?"

"To warn you. Tell the others we'll be watching. We know who you all are, and we let you live at our discretion. We have no branches in Skyrim, so you may continue calling yourselves whatever you like. But remember how easy it was to get to you."

She released Arnbjorn's arm.

"And you may want to drop that Black Sacrament business since it does nothing for you anyway. Your contracts simply come by courier - didn't Astrid tell you that?"

And while Arnbjorn was gasping at the idea that his Astrid wasn't entirely open with him regarding their group - and what else then? - Lena and Lucien vanished and left the Sanctuary.

IPB Image

"What do you think they'll do now?" - Lena asked turning to Lucien, as this was his idea.

"They'll go after us - or try to" - he seemed amused at the prospect. "We need to stay alert, but I wouldn't worry too much. Let's get a dog or something."

"They are not entirely useless though" - Lena was more cautious. "Penitus Oculatus has been after them for years, in vain."

"And you infiltrated them within a week" - Lucien pointed out. "We could have wiped them out now if we wanted to. Penitus Oculatus has the wrong methods."

They rode in silence for a while.

"Why did Arnbjorn think you fancied him?" - Lucien asked.

"I have no idea!" - Lena protested. "No, wait - I think I know. I paid attention to him, talked to him, asked personal questions - I did the same with each of them, of course. They all thought I was getting to know my new family, but Arnbjorn must have sensed an ulterior motive - werewolves are good at that. And naturally he assumed I fancied him."

Lucien smiled as if it had been an entirely innocent question.

IPB Image

Approaching Lake View Manor, they saw Geralt chopping wood in the yard.

"Are you hiding from Sven's mother again?" - Lena teased him.

"Yes" - Geralt grimaced. "She keeps going on about her son and how wonderful he is. Makes me sick." Then turning to Lucien he added: "Hello, Lucien. You look remarkably fresh for someone who's been dead for 200 years."

"Geralt" - Lucien nodded a greeting.

They've never met before but each recognised the other from rumours.

"Don't get my sister into any more trouble than she would do herself" - said Geralt half-jokingly. "She's very good at it as it is."

"She doesn't let me" - replied Lucien returning Geralt's gaze.

Geralt's stay at the Lake View had its benefits. He valued comfort when it was available, so there was hot water in the kitchen, food in the larder and roaring fire in the grate. They sat down for dinner.

"Tell us about our mother" - said Geralt filling Lucien's goblet. "I understand you knew her?"

Lucien looked up. There was another man who knew more than he let on.

IPB Image

"I didn't know her very well" - answered Lucien. "She was a few ranks above me when I just started. She gave me some training and some advice, as is the custom. She was particularly skilled at healing... if you survived her fireball, that is" - he chuckled. "Not all recruits did."

"Yes, she was a mage, we knew that" - Geralt indicated this wasn't enough.

"Well, there isn't much more to tell, really. She quit soon after I joined."

"Quit?" - Lena was astonished. "You don't just quit the Dark Brotherhood!"

"You did, for a time" - Lucien looked at her and smiled. "She was very persuasive. I later learned that there was a man involved - someone rather high placed, that she wanted to be with. Your father, I surmise."

"So she was allowed to leave as a favour to him?"

"No, I don't think so. Rather as an assurance of the Dark Brotherhood's continued existence" - he paused, tasting the wine. "We are powerful, but we are not all-powerful. We wouldn't want to go against Morag Tong, for example."

This wasn't much, but it fitted with what they already knew about their parents. And again there was no real clue of their father's identity. He was a Nord, but there were many Nords in high places at the time, including the very top... But no, Lena wasn't a Septim - she figured that out already during the Oblivion Crisis. It was someone else...

"You mentioned before that mother went rogue" - Lena remembered something Lucien once said. "What was that all about?"

"She... refused an order, like someone else here" - Lucien winked at her. "It wasn't a Purification order though, but she refused a contract. That in itself would get her exiled, but she killed the contract giver instead."

Lena laughed.

"She was making sure that no one else would pick up that contract in her stead. How did she know who issued it?"

Assassins weren't usually informed of all the details.

"I am not sure" - answered Lucien. "She must have gotten it from the Speaker or even from the Listener - no one else would have known. Healing wasn't her only strong suit - she was also adept at illusions."

"Ok then" - Lena conceded. "Who was the target?"

"Your father."

Suddenly a whole different picture was emerging.

"So..." - Lena was laying out grapes on the table in a row, as was her habit. "She was allowed to quit because she had defeated Sithis' wraith every time, having taken care of the contract in her own way. With the contract giver dead, the plot or the coup or whatever was shattered, and the Dark Brotherhood was keen not to have been a part of it." Lena started eating the grapes now, in the order they lay on the table. "She protected the person important to her - exactly what I would have done" - she concluded picking up the last grape.

"I know" - Lucien said, having followed the grape manipulations with his eyes. "I cannot help but admire it."

"And her death later?" - asked Geralt.

"Swamp fever, I believe" - Lucien turned to him. "Nothing to do with us. There was quite an epidemic."

Again, this fitted with what they already knew. Yes, even gifted mages died of swamp fever.


It was getting late and Lena and Lucien intended to set off for Riften in the morning. They checked on the horses and readied some supplies. The evening was drawing to a close.

Geralt put his arm around Lena's shoulders in a big brother way, and led her out onto the deck. The stars were bright in the clear sky.

"Leave him alone" - he said. "He isn't your lover."

"But--" Lena gasped, lost for words. "But he said he loved me!" - she protested.

"Which isn't the same thing!"

"But you and Yen - how many times you've broken up and came back together again, and all the while--"

"Me and Yen" - Geralt interrupted - "have started out as lovers, you haven't. Do you share his feeling?" - he looked at Lena sternly. "Do you? Or are you just taking advantage of it?"

She didn't know. Feelings were complicated, she was confused. She was never spoken to like that, either. Who did he think he was? Oh right, her brother.

Lena thought of all those nights she spent in Lucien's fort, believing or pretending to believe that he was away. Why did she go there? Because it was convenient and she needed a place to stay, or because she sought something else? Friendship? Companionship? Safety? Excitement?

Geralt was watching Lena's face. "Do what you came here to do, and don't get killed, either of you. You are mortal again - remember that."

"Even vampires can be extinguished" - Lena said automatically.

Lucien came onto the deck too.

"It's a beautiful night but we wanted to leave early tomorrow. Better get some sleep" - he looked at Lena and Geralt as if he knew exactly what they'd been talking about. He probably guessed - he was, after all, much older than either of them.

He was right, of course. It was time to get some sleep.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 7 2021, 06:29 PM

17 Second Seed, 4E202 - Riften - The first assassination attempt

Lena and Lucien arrived in Riften in late afternoon. It has been a long journey and they decided to relax for the rest of the day - walk around town, have a meal and retire early.

"Welcome if you've got the coin, or else hit the road!" - they were greeted at the Bee and Barb.

"We've got the coin" - Lena smiled.

"Oh hello - back again?" - the innkeep recognised her. "With a different friend this time? We're fully booked though, so you'll have to share."

"What's the occasion?" - Lena looked around the crowded room. "It's busier than usual."

"A wedding. The Temple of Mara keeps us busy."

"A perfect backdrop for an assassination" - Lucien whispered in Lena's ear. "A lot of strangers in town. We should be watchful tonight."


The rooms might have been all booked, but the guests were still feasting downstairs, and the upper floor of the inn was deserted. Lena and Lucien entered their room and closed the door.

"We'll have to take turns sleeping" - said Lucien looking out through a crack. "They might well make a move tonight."

"I have a better idea."

Lena snapped her fingers summoning the Spectral Assassin.

IPB Image

"Sister?" - he greeted her.

"I need you to stand guard while we sleep" - she told him. "Wake us if someone enters."

"I am an assassin, not a bodyguard" - he protested. "I am Lucien Lachance."

"No, I am Lucien Lachance" - said Lucien. "You are an apparition. Brother." Then turning to Lena he added: "What if one of the other assassins tries to summon him as well?"

"Then they won't be able to. There is only one Spectral Assassin, and he's here."

She walked over to the Spectral Assassin who looked rather confused.

"He's right, you know, you can't be Lucien's ghost because Lucien is still alive and well and standing before you. But it doesn't matter - we still need your help."

"I serve the one who summoned me. But who am I? Am I still an assassin?"

"Without a doubt" - Lena tried to sound convincing. How do you cheer up a ghostly apparition? "Krex created you, and made you believe you're Lucien's ghost. But I think you're your own man instead."

That seemed to have worked. The Spectral Assassin sat down and prepared for a long wake.


Lena woke up as if a bucket of cold water was poured over her. The Spectral Assassin was holding her by the shoulders.

"Wake up" - he whispered. "There's someone in the hall, and I think they've come for you."

Lucien was on his feet and behind the door before the Assassin finished whispering. Lena prepared her daggers but didn't get up, instead she closed her eyes almost completely. The Spectral Assassin crouched behind her - his smokey shape barely distinguishable in the dark.

The door opened slightly - someone was peering in. Faint candle light reflected off their hand. An Argonian. Was that the ex-Shadowscale from the Sanctuary?

With one jump he was on top of Lena with his daggers against her throat, but she had been expecting him. She blocked his strike, and kicked him off. A short struggle followed.

"So... Arnbjorn didn't lie..." - he groaned. "You are a Silencer. And you've got Lucien Lachance's ghost with you, too."

"No" - Lucien stepped out of the shadows. "That's a Spectral Assassin. I am Lucien Lachance" - he said, sheathing his dagger. "You can go and tell them that. If you live long enough."

The Argonian crawled out of the room.

"The next one we'll kill" - said Lucien noticing confused looks from Lena and the Spectral Assassin. "Don't you worry, they'll try again. But not tonight - besides, it's already morning."

The sun was starting to rise, but Lucien returned to bed.

"That's something I picked up from your friend Hauk" - he told Lena. "A swift death is not always the right answer. Come on, let's sleep some more."

She dispelled the Spectral Assassin and settled down next to Lucien for another nap.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 7 2021, 10:10 PM

18 Second Seed, 4E202 - Broken Helm Hollow - Gabriella

"We shouldn't be staying in Riften" - said Lucien in the morning. "It's too easy for the assassins to get to us. Let's find a cave just outside town to stay in."

"What about the Broken Helm Hollow that Grosta was talking about?" - suggested Lena. "If it's just bandits, it won't be too hard to clear, and there should be a camp inside."

The hollow was just outside Riften, and indeed was easy enough to clear. It had everything they needed - a camp site with a good fire and a cooking pot, several bedrolls, and fresh water just outside. The cave even had a lockable door and a trap by the entrance.

"Still, we should also block the entrance with a boulder for the night" - said Lucien, looking around. There didn't seem to be another entrance.


Racket, stifled screams and swears woke them up. Someone just tried to enter the cave. With all the noise that they'd made, Lena and Lucien had enough time to retreat into the shadows.

Gabriella. After the traps, she caught herself, became careful - much too late of course. She looked around the cave, saw the campfire with glowing embers, the empty bedrolls, she tried to peer into the dark corners of the cave, but didn't dare to use a night eye spell, so didn't see either Lena or Lucien, even when looking straight at them. Perhaps she decided they were not in?

"I know you're here" - she said. "But I made a fool of myself and alerted you. Come out and fight!"

She should know better than that, really. That's a stupid suggestion. Why on Nirn would they do that?

Lena dipped an arrow in poison, silently took out her Shadowhunt. Gabriella heard the arrow being released, but at that range she was hit almost immediately. She turned towards Lena and felt Lucien's blade on her neck. He moved as Lena shot.

"We won't let you go, you know" - he said. "We've warned you people enough, but still you come. It's your call."

He cut her throat.


Gabriella was sitting outside the cave, as if enjoying the morning sunshine. The door was locked and the boulder was back in place blocking the entrance. It was much too early to get up.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 8 2021, 09:18 AM

19 Second Seed, 4E202 - Preparations - Nazir

"So, we have a plan then" - Lucien concluded, summarising their conversation over breakfast. "Did we miss anyone?"

"There might be more members that I'm not aware of" - Lena looked pensive. "But this town is not exactly keeping quiet about who's in the Thieves Guild, so those members would be rather low-ranking, I would have thought."

"Not important enough" - agreed Lucien. "And if they think they are - we'll notice."

The plan was to remove the Thieves Guild from existence. Of course it would never be possible to remove all thieves from existence, no matter how much Lena would have liked to do that. And they didn't think they could touch Maven Black-Briar - they didn't think they should touch her, rather. She was the patron of the Thieves Guild, true, and as corrupt as could be, but she was also a supporter of the Empire, and thus could be useful in the Civil War. Besides, there didn't seem to exist a single uncorrupt noble in Riften anyway. No, Maven Black-Briar would be spared.

The day would be spent getting the lay of the land - walking around town, discovering all its secret passages, exploring the Ratway, and not actually doing anything suspicious. Although two people nosing about was going to be suspicious in itself.

"Let's hope we won't get into too many fights" - said Lena. Lucien looked bored.


When they returned to the Broken Helm Hollow, they found the boulder removed and the trap disarmed. Gabriella's body was no where to be seen. They had visitors.

"Well, this will be interesting" - smiled Lucien.

They entered silently, keeping to the shadows, but they knew they could not be completely hidden. The cave looked empty - the assassin was keeping to the shadows, too.

"Babette or Nazir" - Lena breathed into Lucien's ear. "The others are too blunt."

"Nazir" - answered Lucien pointing at a fleeting glow in the far corner - Nazir's curved sword briefly reflected Lucien's shooting light. Of course it gave away their location, but that being the entrance, it was obvious already anyway.

They split up, quickly moving to the opposite corners of the cave - left and right from the entrance. Nazir was now between them, he would have to choose whom to attack first. Lena decided on a diversion and summoned a dremora in the middle of the cave.

"I smell weakness!" - roared dremora, taking up his greatsword and turning towards Nazir. There was no hiding from a dremora.

Nazir shot an arrow at the dremora - he was good. The dremora stepped back, momentarily stunned, then lunged forward. Another arrow - and he was banished.

Unfortunately for Nazir, this was exactly what Lena had expected to happen. It was only a dremora churl - they made a lot of noise but were not that hard to defeat. The noise, the commotion and Nazir's attention fixed on the dremora allowed Lena and Lucien to reach Nazir before the show was over.


"Well, that's another one of them dealt with" - said Lucien propping up Nazir's body at the cave entrance. "At this rate, they'll hunt themselves into extinction."

"Babette might come at night" - said Lena, looking into the distance. "I believe there are some vampire covens nearby, she might be staying there. She might even have Arnbjorn with her - she calls him 'puppy' and I think he likes it. Not that he'll ever admit that, of course!"

"We better poison the trap then" - reflected Lucien. "And the boulder. They'll have to touch it to move it. Fighting a vampire and a werewolf in tight quarters is not going to be easy."


The night was quiet - nobody came. In the morning they carefully disarmed the trap and moved the boulder slightly, to see if there was an ambush outside. All seemed clear. They readied their blades - just in case - and moved the boulder to the side. They stepped out. Nothing. No ambush. All was quiet.

"Nazir's body is gone" - noted Lucien. "They are changing their tactics - we might have impressed them after all." He looked pleased.

Posted by: Renee Jul 8 2021, 06:40 PM

Am up to post 19. Wow, so she rid all three subjects Astrid presented to her! indifferent.gif The parts when Geralt keeps pinching her back had me laughing.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 8 2021, 07:07 PM

QUOTE(Renee @ Jul 8 2021, 06:40 PM) *

Am up to post 19. Wow, so she rid all three subjects Astrid presented to her! indifferent.gif

She had to get it right. This wasn't the time to be merciful. wink.gif

The parts when Geralt keeps pinching her back had me laughing.

I think he quite likes being the big brother. biggrin.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 8 2021, 10:03 PM

20-21 Second Seed, 4E202 - The Ratway

"They won't get me as easily as that" - said Lucien emerging from a back passage in the Ratway. He was casting healing spells, but still bleeding.

"Lucien!" - Lena rushed to him. "You've been poisoned." She pulled him into one of the prison cells and onto a cot. "You need to lie down."

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"I can't cast spells lying down" - he protested. "And it isn't the first time I've been poisoned. Comes with the job" - he smirked.

"Yes, but now I'm here" - Lena could be stubborn too. "Come on - on the cot!"

Lucien looked bewildered but obeyed.

"I forgot already what it was like to have a partner" - he said. "Ok, do your thing, I won't interfere. Just - don't rip the robe to shreds, will you?"

Ripping the robe into strips for bandages was exactly what Lena was going to do...

"Oh, right - the enchantment" - she caught herself. "Ok, let's see what else we've got."

There was no shortage of suitable clothing on the corpses around them, and soon Lena was engrossed in the old fashioned healing techniques of cleaning the wounds, extracting the poison and covering the patient in bandages - preferably starting with the face. She could do without helpful hints, thank you very much. Lucien allowed her to proceed with it all, even refraining from the hints - and Lena wouldn't dream of bandaging up his face without a need. His face wasn't injured.

"Where did you learn all that?" - asked Lucien when she was finished.

"Magic can only get you so far" - she said. "The real healing is done by your body, I'm just giving it a hand on the right level." She smiled. "And no, I didn't learn it at the Temple... just picked it up along the way." She thought of all those "crazy" people in the Shivering Isles that had taught her, people that dared to prefer bandages to magic. "It's a useful skill, I found."

The prison cells in the Ratway Warrens were definitely not the most luxurious lodgings in Skyrim, but they were safe, certainly for now, and Lucien had to rest. So they decided to stay there for a day or two.


The new tactic of the Skyrim assassins turned out to be to warn the Thieves Guild and have them wait in the Ragged Flagon armed to the teeth. Babette herself was no where to be seen, though Lena was sure it was Babette's doing. But even without her, the fighting was intense - much too intense for a couple of assassins, even skilled ones. The Spectral Assassin really showed his colours here - such as they were - he was an assassin and he was going to prove it, and contrary to a regular summon, he was not bound by time and would only be banished once he was defeated.

The thieves expected two people, not three. They led away Lucien into the Vaults and quickly closed the gate behind him, separating him from Lena. Their plan was obviously to get Lena first, as she was the weaker one of the two. Then they would overwhelm Lucien in sheer numbers, reinforced by a dozen or more of local lowlife waiting there.

The plan worked at first - Lena and Lucien got separated. But Lena wasn't going down easily - she summoned the Spectral Assassin, and together they dispatched their immediate opposition at the Flagon. Following into the Vaults, she sent the Assassin after Lucien - he had no problems passing through locked gates - while Lena focussed on clearing the passages around her. Those numbers had to be brought down.

Eventually Lucien emerged from the section he was in - one of the thieves had a key to the gate. The Spectral Assassin fell in battle, and Lucien looked pretty bad himself, yet he was still alive.

21 Rain's Hand

"So, what have you learned about me so far?" - asked Lucien at dinner. Lena had reluctantly agreed that he did need to sit up for eating.

"That you make a decent patient" - she smiled. "And also that you need to be more careful - and not attack five assassins at once!"

"What?! They weren't assassins - just thieves with daggers! Don't tell me how to do my job! I've been at it far longer than you..." - he broke off. Were they having an argument? "You provoked me" - he said much more calmly, looking at her suspiciously. "Why?"

"You are a very level-headed assassin" - she said. "But I wanted to see what lay beneath the still waters."

She looked him in the eye. He didn't divert his gaze. They sat there, keeping eye contact, until one of them would break it - but who? They were equally strong willed.

A rat sneaked up to them and grabbed a piece of roast.

"Hey!!" - two fireballs went after it, charring it.

"Well, I guess it's a tie" - said Lucien, smiling.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 9 2021, 06:47 PM

22 Second Seed, 4E202 - Sapphire - Assassin's End

"We didn't get everyone we wanted" - Lena went over her list. "I've checked all the corpses, and four important people were not among them: Sapphire, Brynjolf, Karliah and Mercer Frey. Also Maul wasn't there, but he's closer to Maven Black-Briar than to the Thieves Guild. How is your wound? Let me see."

She motioned Lucien not to get up from the cot.

"It's... fine" - he groaned and rolled his eyes but let her check the wound.

"Ok, your insides will stay inside - it closed" - Lena was satisfied. Abdominal wounds were not to be taken lightly. "Still, you should take it easy for another day. Sapphire is hanging around The Bee and Barb - I'll see what it's all about, she seems to be waiting for something."

"I'll come with you" - Lucien insisted. "To keep reminding you not to attack her out in the open. You are too hot-headed."

Lena was going to protest but then thought better of it. Don't be hot-headed.


"He owes me a debt, and that's that" - was what Sapphire had to say about Shadr.

Lena took the easy way out and offered her a bribe. It worked. Sapphire moved away - to the Ratway.

"And this is where you kill her without witnesses" - Lucien smiled. "And get your money back, of course."

One more corpse didn't make much of a difference. Someone would have to clean it all up, before the rot set in.

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"Not bad, Silencer" - Lucien was watching from the side. "A bit crude, perhaps, but I didn't think you needed any help."

"I didn't know you watched us train" - Lena looked surprised.

"Oh but I have. It is the duty of a Speaker to watch over his Silencer - as well as the other members of his group" - Lucien smiled. "Of course, the others have Ocheeva and Vicente watching over them as well. But you - you just have me. Come on, we're done here. I've had enough of the smell."


"I think I know where Brynjolf is, and I wouldn't be surprised if Karliah and Mercer Frey were somewhere in the same area" - Lena said at lunch at The Bee and Barb. "It was about six weeks ago, but I did bump into Brynjolf at Irkngthand. He looked concerned, and lost, somehow."

"Well, they are the top of the Thieves Guild, are they not?" - Lucien looked up from his slaughterfish stake. "And they weren't here, so that's as good a lead as any. What's the nearest inn? Nightgate?"

"It is" - Lena nodded. "But I have another place in mind where we can stay" - she smiled at the memory.


"You'll see."

Lucien frowned - he didn't like not to know what was coming, but decided to let Lena have her little surprise.


"You are holding the map upside down" - Lucien laughed when they stopped at the same signpost for the third time.

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"I am not!" - protested Lena, rotating the map. "But look - this signpost shows Whiterun - South, and the next signpost on the same road sends us right back!"

"Perhaps we missed another turn in between?" - Lucien suggested, still laughing.

Lena was furious at the map, at the signposts and at their mutual contradictions, and Lucien was finding it very amusing.

"It is definitely more entertaining to travel with you than by myself - I don't tend to argue with signposts." He peered at the map over her shoulder. "It doesn't show the roads - not very helpful."

"I know!" - Lena rolled her eyes. "These new 'terrain' maps are useless for actually finding anything..." She folded the map. "Well, let's trust this signpost and look for that other turn that we might have missed..."


"Through here" - Lena pointed at a barely visible fissure between some rocks near Whiterun. "Did you know about this place?"

She turned to Lucien, but he shook his head - he didn't know. Lena smiled.

The fissure opened into a cave which led to a familiar door.

"The Whiterun Sanctuary?" - Lucien looked at Lena in surprise. "I've heard that it was well hidden, and here it is! But can we enter?"

"We can" - Lena put her hand onto the door. "It knows us - the Black Hand enchantment."

The door opened and they were inside.

"Well, well!" - Lucien looked around.

"Sister. Brother" - the assassin in daedric armour greeted them. "Good to see you again, sister."

"And you, brother" - Lena smiled. "But I thought you were going to leave?"

"We will" - the assassin confirmed. "Will you be staying?"

"Just for a few nights. We still have no branches in Skyrim, we are on business here."

"Of course" - the assassin nodded. "The Sanctuary is at your disposal. We decided to stay until someone moves in."

He walked out of the room.

"Who is he?" - asked Lucien, following him with his gaze.

"A memory of an assassin who used to live here. This is what they all are - guardians of sorts."

They walked down the corridor greeting other assassins. It felt like home.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 10 2021, 10:00 AM

23 Second Seed, 4E202 - Irkngthand

"Well, have you come to your senses, lass? Ready to make some coin?" - Brynjolf was standing by the entrance of Irkngthand, waiting for someone.

"Sure" - Lena beamed at him. "Fancy meeting you here!"

"I saw you here already before" - Brynjolf said non-committally. "Why are you back?"

"There were some chests inside that I couldn't open last time" - Lena said quite truthfully. "I came to have another go. There should be a lot fewer falmer in there now, too."

Brynjolf grimaced.

"Foul creatures! That's exactly why I haven't gone in yet. But" - he beamed at Lena - "why don't you come with me? I'll help you with those chests."

"Ok, let's go" - Lena nodded.

"Except..." - Brynjolf looked uncertain. "I've been waiting for a friend of mine, but she's not here yet. She should arrive shortly, we'll have to wait."

"You go on, I'll wait here" - Lucien leaned against the wall. "When she arrives, I'll tell her you went ahead."


Even though Lena tried to avoid most of the fighting last time, the ruin was littered with broken Dwemer automatons and dead falmer.

"I'm sure it wasn't me who killed all of those!" - Lena commented. "Someone else had been here in the meantime. Oh and look - that chest - I couldn't open it, but now it's open and empty!"

"Frey" - Brynjolf frowned. "He got here first!" He swore. Then turning to Lena, added: "There's a legendary Dwemer artefact in the final chamber - a giant statue - have you seen it?"

"I couldn't enter the final chamber, the lock was too hard for me to pick" - Lena made herself look ashamed.

"Ah... Well, if you join us, we can fix that" - Brynjolf looked happy. "Come on, it shouldn't be too hard to get there, now that Frey killed whatever was left over after your exploration."

They continued through the ruin, there were still traps in full working order and more Dwemer automatons released from their crevices. The falmer were mostly dead, until they got to the Grand Cavern - those were mostly still alive.

"I sneaked past these ones last time" - Lena turned to Brynjolf. "It's not too hard."

They sneaked past without an incident, all the way to the final door that Lena could not unlock.

"Here, let me" - Brynjolf stepped forward. A few moments later, the lock clicked.

They heard soft footsteps behind them. Lena swung around, sword at the ready. It wasn't a falmer - it was a Dunmer woman.

"No, no - it's Ok" - she gestured. "I'm Brynjolf's friend."

"Karliah!" - Brynjolf turned around, smiling. "Just in time. Come on."

They entered the final chamber. A giant Dwemer statue stood in the middle, with a man jumping about, removing the gems from its eye sockets.

"Frey!" - Brynjolf cried out. "Stop right there!"

"Oh? Why should I? And who did you bring with you? Is she going to make waves?" - he smirked.

"You must return the Skeleton Key!" - Karliah joined in. "It belongs to Nocturnal!"

"I won't! It is nothing but a key to unlimited wealth! My blade will be stained with Nightingale blood today!"

He cast a spell, causing a cave-in - the door behind them was now blocked. Brynjolf and Karliah started fighting.
"What..?" - Lena looked at them in disbelief.

"It's his power" - Brynjolf explained, parring with Karliah. "We cannot stop ourselves. You must kill him, or we'll stay here forever."

Lena looked back at Mercer Frey.

"So... the door behind us is blocked, thanks to your little trick" - she said coldly. "And there is no other way out. How were you planning to leave?"

"I have my ways" - he answered, rather more angrily than was called for, Lena thought. She suspected he didn't have a clue. Then he attacked her.

The battle didn't last long - Frey's disappearing tricks didn't fool the Spectral Assassin that Lena had summoned.

"I am not a thief" - Lena said in Frey's ear. "I am an assassin." She put her blade through his heart.

Brynjolf and Karliah stopped fighting - the spell was lifted.

"Oh good" - Brynjolf rushed to Frey's body. "Quick - get the Skeleton Key."

It was too easy. As Brynjolf kneeled over Frey's body going through his pockets, Lena put her blade through his heart too.

"Assassin?" - Brynjolf looked up, going pale. Then he was dead.

Karliah watched, bewildered. Then she ran at Lena, sword drawn - or at least she started running at Lena, because the water in the room was rising, and Karliah got swept off her feet at that point. So was Lena. They were going to drown.

"Let's find a way out first" - Karliah shouted. "Then I'll kill you!"

"Ok - except for the last part" - Lena shouted back.

They tried the door - pointless, it was completely stuck. Some rocks in the ceiling looked to be loose, and there was a draft coming from there, but they couldn't reach them. Not yet - but the rising water was bringing them close. They climbed onto the statue, put their shoulders into it - and a small avalanche of rocks tumbled down, revealing a passage.

"That's it - let's go!" - Karliah pulled herself up into the passage. Lena was just about to follow, when the water suddenly started receding - the door must have given way and opened.

"I'll go that way" - Lena told Karliah. "You can try to kill me another time. Give my regards to Nocturnal - I prefer not to kill Nightingales."

"Oh?" - Karliah was confused. "You seem to know an awful lot. Who are you and why are you here?"

"I am an assassin, and I don't like thieves" - Lena replied.

"You are not with Astrid's group" - Karliah looked suspicious.

"No, I am with the Dark Brotherhood" - Lena smiled. "The real one, that is."

"That explains a lot" - Karliah nodded. "So the Ratway?"

"Yeah, it was us."

"Well..." - Karliah turned to crawl further into the passage. "Shadow hide you."


"It's a good thing I followed you" - Lucien greeted Lena as she squeezed through the opening in the door. "You can't trust thieves."

"Thank you!" - she smiled at him, blushing slightly. "Still watching over me, I see."

"Always" - he smiled warmly.


"I didn't kill Karliah" - said Lena, stretching her hands towards the fire at the Nightgate Inn. "She is a Nightingale. Admittedly, so was Mercer Frey, but he was also the Guildmaster. He had killed Gallus - the third Nightingale, and this was what the quarrel was all about - Brynjolf muttered as much along the way. I thought Nocturnal should keep one guardian."

"Without the Thieves Guild ranks to back her, she alone won't be able to do much harm" - conceded Lucien. "And we do respect Nocturnal."

"I don't understand what the fuss with the Skeleton Key is though" - Lena mused. "I did a favour for Nocturnal back in Cyrodiil, and she gave it to me - or one of the copies, anyway. But the Nightingales here claim it must remain in the Sanctum, or else. Doesn't make sense to me" - she shrugged.

"I doubt it was Nocturnal's idea" - Lucien nodded.

They sat in silence for a while.

"What are you going to do with the Grey Cowl of Nocturnal once you have it?" - asked Lucien after a pause.

"Return it to Nocturnal" - Lena looked into the distance. "It's like you said - we respect her. Shadow hides us."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 10 2021, 07:44 PM

23-24 Second Seed, 4E202 - Fort Dunstad - Dawnstar Sanctuary

"Here - have a look at this bounty letter" - the innkeep at the Nightgate Inn slid a piece of paper towards Lena. "It seems that bandits have taken residence in Fort Dunstad again - they are bothering people from there. You two look like you could take them on" - he looked at Lucien with significance.

"Whatever gave you that idea?" - Lucien looked up, raising an eyebrow.

"I never forget a face" - the innkeep winked. "During the War. Don't tell me you're a mage - that was the other fellow." Then turning to Lena, he added: "Give him my regards, will you?"

"I shall" - Lena smiled. "Thank you for not knowing any of us."

They took a room for the night - it was too late to go back to the Whiterun Sanctuary, and Lena was tired after her Irkngthand exploration.

24 Second Seed

"So what do you think about this Fort Dunstad?" - asked Lena at breakfast. "Shall we do the Jarl a favour?"

"Why not - practice makes perfect" - Lucien nodded.


Fort Dunstad was a rather large Imperial fort, complete with a tavern on the grounds - The Stumbling Sabrecat. Unfortunately, the bandits had killed the barkeep.

"It would have been a really nice place with the Legion still around" - Lena sighed. "I like the cat above the fireplace."

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"Well, the Legion is not here" - Lucien interjected. "But the bandits are. Come on - we're not done yet."

It wasn't that hard to clear the bandits. The fort had several separate areas - the barracks with a kitchen, the commander's quarters and a large prison. The prison cells were filled with skeevers...

"How odd" - commented Lena, warming up the bandit chief with her fire spray while Lucien put a blade through his heart. "Why would the chief choose to sleep in a prison cell?"

"Makes him feel at home, I guess" - smirked Lucien.

They found more skeevers in the barracks - cages full of them. Then finally all became clear in the kitchen.

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"Do you know what this reminds me of?" - Lena looked at the skeever roast in disbelief. "Goblins. In Cyrodiil they are the only ones to keep rats for food!"

"They shouldn't have murdered the barkeep. Chances are, he had better supplies" - Lucien nodded. "We're done here. Let's go to Dawnstar - they've got a decent inn."


"We should check on the old Sanctuary while we are here" - said Lucien at lunch.

"I've been there" - said Lena. "I couldn't enter, it's sealed."

"Ah" - Lucien smiled. "But now I am here."


They approached the Sanctuary door. Lucien touched it.

"What is the greatest illusion?" - a hushed voice asked.

"Innocence, my brother" - answered Lucien.

The lock clicked. They entered.

"Dank and dimly lit, but still home" - said Lucien, looking around. A guardian ghost drew his weapon but did not attack. "They recognise us - enough to allow us in."

The Dawnstar Sanctuary had not been used in a very long time. Rubble and cobwebs gathered in the corners and the air was somewhat musty with fungus and skeever smells.

"How did you know the password?" - asked Lena.

"I've been here before" - Lucien cast a shield spell. "There's a trap ahead, it will deactivate once we are through."

"Blood everywhere..." - Lena noted. "What happened here?"

"Greed" - Lucien shook his head. "This group took rich prisoners. They tortured them in the cellars for ransom. Of course they killed them afterwards, but someone was still able to follow the money trail. There's a cave behind that stained glass window - it leads into the cellars. Intruders came in through that - there was a bloodbath."

"Was everyone killed?"

"All the intruders, yes, and most of the assassins. The Sanctuary was deemed compromised though, and sealed. Until now."

"But is it safe now?" - Lena looked uncertain.

"Yes, it is. This was over a century ago" - Lucien touched the old walls, they were covered in dust. "The Night Mother asked me to check in. She thinks it might be time to return to Skyrim."

"Interesting" - Lena was kindling the fire in the grate. "What about Astrid's group though?"

"What's left of it, you mean?" - Lucien grinned. "Wasn't there one or the other person among them worth keeping?"

"Krex - the mage" - Lena looked up. "He doesn't like the way things are done. Everyone else worships Astrid."

"That's a start" - Lucien nodded. "There are no provisions here - what have we got with us?"

"Plenty" - Lena started putting food on the table. "Enough for a couple of days."

"Good. Because there's nowhere else I'd rather be right now..."

They were home.

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Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 11 2021, 05:21 PM

25 Second Seed, 4E202 - Barenziah

The last couple of days had been strange. Lena and Lucien had completed their Thieves Guild mission, which meant they were ready to return to Cyrodiil and to their separate lives. Yet something was holding them back, they were finding things to do that took them North - away from the Cyrodiil border crossing. They talked - but only about the immediate matters, not the reason why they were not going back.

Finally, Lucien took the lead.

"We're done here" - he said - "but you are not yet ready to return. And neither am I."

"You..?" - Lena looked surprised. "I thought you were just doing me a favour with this trip."

"Getting to know each other works both ways" - Lucien pointed out. "I saw sides of you I never suspected to exist. Like that healing" - he touched the side of his abdomen where Lena had treated his poisoned wound.

"Oh, that skill..."

"I don't mean the skill. Yes, that too, but what I mean is that you took charge and... what you did to get the poison out."

She looked up.

"Well, I had to do it to clean the wound - the cloth got inside. I had to take it off" - she shrugged. "You needed help. And..." - she smiled - "You didn't stop me."

"No, I had to see what you'd do..." - he gave her a long look. "It's like I said - getting to know each other goes both ways."

They sat in silence for a while, drinking spiced wine. The Sanctuary was quiet around them.

"Perhaps I should have another look at that wound" - Lena smiled, blushing slightly. "You know, just in case..."

Lucien got up, taking her hand.

"Then come" - he pulled her in an embrace. "You don't know how long I've been waiting for this..."

He had called her his Barenziah. But was he her Symmachus or her Nightingale?

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 11 2021, 07:38 PM

26 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Dawnstar Sanctuary

"I can feel your affection" - Lucien held Lena's face in his hands, looking into her eyes. "And I can see your confusion. Don't worry, time will tell."

Their kiss was long, they didn't want to stop. They had each been waiting for a night like this for such a long time.

"Confusion, yes..." - Lena said softly. "You are a part of my life more than you know. Have been ever since you came to see me back then..." She kissed the palm of his hand, intertwining her fingers with his. "Who was it I had killed? It was a mistake, I think - I only meant to kill bandits. But I was grateful for it."

"Is that why you haven't said a word that night?"

"You remember?" - Lena smiled. "I lost my voice, I think..."

"I thought you were but a child, or nearly - so very young" - he stroked her cheek. "I told Ocheeva to keep an eye on you - we've had trouble enough with Antoinette Marie. But you were very different from the start. So determined, so meticulous - like your mother, even though in truth I only knew her very little. But I've heard a lot."

They now sat at breakfast, Lena staring at her sweetroll.

"Lucien" - she started hesitantly. "You deserve better. You've waited patiently for two centuries, didn't even kick me out of your home, and here I am not able to make up my mind." She looked at him apologetically.

"Oh that..." - he paused. "Why did you keep coming to my home? I wondered about that."

"I've been asking myself that recently" - Lena looked pensive. "I wanted to be with you."

"Then why did you never check to see if I was there? Sometimes I was."

"And what would you have me say?" - she looked at him in disbelief. "'Hello Lucien, I missed you'?" - she smirked.

"Is that what you felt?" - said Lucien slowly.

"Yes, that's what I felt. That, and shame. I would not have wanted you to see me the way I looked. Well, you have seen me, of course" - she blushed.

"After you've taken the cure?" - Lucien raised an eyebrow. "That... Yes, I see why you wanted to stay away. I would have still been glad to see you... I was glad to see you when you came."

He took her hand, bringing it to his lips. His long black hair fell forward as he bowed his head in a kiss. He looked Elven.

"Don't rush it" - he said. "Your feelings will clear up in time - as your looks have done. I'll wait." He looked at her releasing her hand. "But next time you come to my home and decide to stay overnight, I won't pretend not to be there."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 11 2021, 11:20 PM

26 Second Seed, 4E202 - Silverdrift Lair - Windhelm

Emotions can be draining, expressing emotions can be exhausting, in particular for people who are usually quite reserved and private, like Lena and Lucien - yes, Lena, in spite of her outbursts of rage every now and again. Rage is easy, love is hard. After such an emotional night and morning, they needed time to relax, they needed a diversion. They rode to Windhelm.


"Hey!" - Roach reared up, a dead spider at her feet.

"Whoa!" - Lena nearly fell off. "Where did that come from?"

She got off the horse to harvest spider venom - and retrieve an ebony arrow. Lucien.

"How very romantic - throwing dead spiders at my horse's feet" - Lena grinned at him.

"I thought you preferred your spiders dead, but I'll try to keep them alive next time, if that's what you want" - Lucien laughed. "Anything for you, dear!"

They continued on.

"That's close enough!" - two bandits shouted at them from the steps of the Silverdrift Lair.

"If I ever heard an invitation..." - Lena muttered, drawing her bow.

"Aauww!" - "Let us end this little ga... Ahh..."

"I thought we were going to Windhelm?" - Lucien raised an eyebrow, getting off his horse. "Or shall we end their misery?"

"Let's" - Lena nodded. "I am feeling charitable today" - she smiled. "Besides, this is apparently a 'lair' - I wonder how it differs from regular crypts."

They went in.


"Well, Dragonborn, now I see why you go into these crypts - to learn a new language" - Lucien watched Lena study the Word Wall. "But next time you use that shock wave, make sure I'm not in range, please - that blew me right into a fire trap."

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"Sorry" - Lena blushed. "Next time don't get ahead of me when I'm drawing breath! I can't stop it then."

"I wonder how often dragons end up frying each other by accident?" - he smiled.

"I'm not a dragon" - Lena smiled back. "I can't even do it as well as some of the draugr... But then again, they had more time to practice."


Candlehearth Inn was warm and welcoming as usual. No one was paying any mind to a pair of mages in black robes - because who else would wear plain black robes besides mages? They had a late lunch, then went to walk around town.

"I haven't been here in a long time" - said Lucien. "It brings back memories..."

Windhelm hadn't changed much, although the Snow Quarter was now the Grey Quarter, and the docks were inhabited predominantly by Argonians. Some Nords were outspoken supporters of the Stormcloaks, others were not saying much - supporters of the Empire were not welcome here.

"There is an aura of death here" - said Lucien as they walked around the more upmarket parts of the city. "An aura of death and a stench of blood. Literally." He rattled the handle of Hjerim. "Locked. I wonder..."

Lena walked over to the house next to it.

"This one doesn't feel right either" - she said. "I can sense something..."

Blood trail led to the cemetery. There they found a young woman lying dead on one of the graves. She was naked and pale, but her belongings were right there next to her, including her coin purse.

"We have no time to deal with this" - the guard was saying. "Nobody had seen anything again, and I have no clue how to find the murderer."

"Again?" - Lena picked it up.

"Yes, again - this is the third young woman killed in this fashion! But like I said - I don't even know where to start looking!" She seemed angrier than usual.

"Well, can I help perhaps?" - Lena asked hopefully.

"You have to take that up with the steward at the Palace" - the guard sounded annoyed as well as angry now. "We can't have just anyone walk around claiming they are on an official business! But if he allows it, then be my guest!"

With that, she marched off - too busy to attend to a mysterious murder.

"That's City Guard for you" - was the general response from the onlookers.

"Let's have another look around" - said Lucien following the blood trail back up the stairs towards Hjerim. "This house seems important - lots of blood here. But we cannot do anything right now - perhaps later" - he said taking Lena's hand and pulling her into a back alley. "Fair maidens shouldn't be walking through back alleys" - his eyes twinkled. "Wasn't that the mystery you were solving in the Imperial City just before we left?" He kissed her. "Haven't you learned anything?"

"I have" - Lena returned his kiss. "There were no vampires involved."

Tova Shatter-Shield was about to enter her house when she heard strange noises coming from the back alley of her late daughter's house next door. Worried that the murderer had returned, she went to investigate.

"Oh, pardon me! Do carry on" - she laughed, nodding approvingly. No one could accuse the Nords of shunning passion.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 12 2021, 01:00 PM

26 Second Seed, 4E202 - Vampires of Windhelm

"You are not a mortal!" - a vampire reeled back from Lena, having bitten her neck. Her blood looked black on his lips, his skin turning blue.

"I am a mortal" - Lena spun around, silver blade in her hand. "Just not a virgin mortal!" - she hissed, her fangs bared, her eyes red. "And I am famished!"

She put her blade through the vampire's heart - her blood had weakened him already and he didn't resist. She ran back towards the entrance where Lucien was dancing with three thralls. One was a pile of ash already, the other was bleeding out. Lena fell onto the third one from behind, burying her fangs in his neck and pinning him down on the ground.

"Ahhh..." - the thrall let out an ecstatic sigh, his body limp like that of a kitten picked up by the scruff.

A few minutes later Lena got up, her lips cherry red with blood, her fangs retreated and her eyes amber. She touched the bite mark on her neck.

"That stupid vampire should not have touched me" - she said, matter-of-factly.

Lucien was watching, leaning against a wall.

"It's nice to see you haven't lost your touch" - he grinned. "That was some jump!"

"I couldn't do it now" - Lena smiled, licking her lips clean. "Not after I fed."

"So what now?" - Lucien nodded at the thrall. "Should we kill him?"

"Kill the other one" - Lena pointed at the second thrall that was bleeding out. "But this one will protect us now. Well, me - because I drank his blood."

The thrall scrambled up from the floor.

"Mistress" - he went down on one knee, looking at Lena pleadingly. "I am your servant."


"This is quite a nice little place" - said Lucien after they examined the underground lair. "We could stay here unless you expect more vampires to turn up?"

"We've killed them all, I think" - Lena looked on as the thrall was moving the bodies towards the trapdoor. "They don't like venturing out during the day" - she winked at Lucien. "I don't think the thrall lied - he's bound to me now." Then, turning to the thrall, she said: "Wait until the night to take the bodies out, then dump them on the graveyard. Try not to get caught. And here" - she handed him a coin pouch. "Go get us some food and drink from the market. Buy some beef - you need to get your strength up."

"Yes, mistress" - the thrall gave her a broad smile, taking the coin pouch. "I shall have more blood for you." He left.

"Mistress... Is he your slave now?" - Lucien was following the exchange with interest.

"No, not a slave. He's a servant and, well, cattle. But he likes it - Skyrim vampires can turn mortals into thralls who crave being fed on. It's an addiction. A particular strain of vampirism. In Cyrodiil we just infect our cattle with Narcolepsy, so they sleep all day, but a conscious and willing thrall is so much better."

"We?" - Lucien raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah... I accepted it now" - Lena sighed. "I am not a regular mortal - the cure didn't go far enough. You've seen what I can do... what I have to do sometimes. And I have to nurture it to remain human when I turn."

"Like a werewolf" - Lucien nodded.

"Molag Bal will be pleased" - Lena glared at something only she could see. "There he is - grinning."

"I don't approve of rape" - said Lucien, putting his arm around Lena's shoulders. "Makes me think he couldn't get Lamae to go willingly. I've never had any such problems myself... Forget Molag Bal" - he sent a shooting light to where Lena was looking. "There's nothing there."

Lucien's touch was calming, and soon Lena regained her composure.

"Imperials" - she thought.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 13 2021, 09:49 AM

27 Second Seed - 1 Midyear, 4E202 - Windhelm murders - Dawnstar Sanctuary

"Well, we should look into these murders, since I promised" - Lena said at breakfast. She and Lucien spent the night in the underground lair guarded by the vampire thrall. It was far more secure than Candlehearth Hall.

"The last victim had deep cuts on her body" - said Lucien in reflection. "And although I spotted bite marks on the neck, they were somewhat old - not the cause of death."

"Agreed" - Lena nodded. "Her murder is probably unrelated."

The thrall walked into the dining room carrying more food.

"Susanna used to come here sometimes" - he said. "The old masters wouldn't have killed her."


They walked around town, asking questions. Tova Shatter-Shield gave them the key to her late daughter's house that had so much blood near the door. They found a necromancer's laboratory in there, and some journals. So, it was necromancy - the women were being killed for the tissue in their bodies. But who was the necromancer?

"It's the court wizard, it's got to be!" - several people said. "He is named The Unliving for a reason!"

But Lena didn't think so. She spoke to him before - he was an old mage, very quiet and experienced, he would not be caught out quite so easily. No, it was someone else. He gave her a clue as to when the killer might strike again - and where - the murders were ritualistic, dates and places of importance. And he was right - the killer had struck a victim right in front of a guard, and for some reason it was up to Lena and Lucien to chase and kill him. The guard just stood there, gawking. Too busy to assist.

"And this is why this city is going to the dogs" - Lucien said in disgust when they left the Palace. "Not only are they not investigating a murder, they are not even pursuing a murderer when he strikes in front of their eyes!"

"Perhaps then this is the perfect setting for a new Sanctuary?" - Lena turned to him with a smile.

"It would have been, but with so many Dunmer around, Morag Tong is never too far away" - Lucien shook his head. "Better not step on their toes."

"Then let's return to Dawnstar" - Lena said as they entered the underground lair.


28 Second Seed

"All this place needs is a bit of a clean up" - Lena walked around the Dawnstar Sanctuary, straightening out a few things here and there. "And to strengthen that glass."

The big stained glass window in the common room was very impressive with the light of the icy cave behind it shining through. And although it wasn't completely shuttered, it had some cracks - large enough for Lucien to squeeze through. Still, it was keeping the snow out.

"Not my idea of security to have a window to a cave with an exit to the surface" - smirked Lucien. "This is how the intruders got in - as well as all these animals that the troll was feeding on."

The cave was littered with carcasses of the unfortunate deer and goats that fell into the opening. If it was big enough for a deer to fall through, then a person would have no problems getting in either.

"Of course with the Sanctuary being abandoned for so long, nobody was bothering with it, but should we return, things will have to change" - Lucien's face looked decisive. "I have a report to write - let's hope there's still ink and parchment here somewhere."


Writing of the report took three days. With Dawnstar so close, they restocked their kitchen and other necessary supplies. They were in no rush to leave - there were books to read, garden to tend to, clutter to straighten out... and lots of love to give. After all, they had two hundred years worth of catching up to do. Cyrodiil could wait.

1 Midyear

"We should be getting back to Cyrodiil" - Lucien said at breakfast. "Are you ready?"

"Yes, let's" - Lena smiled. "I've had enough of snow in summer."

"Give Hauk my regards, will you?" - Lucien smiled too. "I hear he's back on Legion duty. Tell him our previous arrangement still stands."

"Arrangement?" - Lena asked in surprise, but then thought better of it. "No, never mind. He mentioned your paths had crossed during the War - that's all I need to know."

Lucien nodded.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 14 2021, 08:00 PM

1-2 Midyear, 4E202 - Lake View - Cheydinhal

"I bought a plot of land on the moors" - said Geralt at dinner. Lena and Lucien stopped at the Lake View on their way back to Cyrodiil. "I am having a house built."

"Wow, that's great news!" - Lena beamed. "Here - take this money" - she dropped a heavy purse in front of him. "Courtesy late Thieves Guild."

Gerald grinned.

"I can certainly put it to good use" - he lifted the purse. "But doesn't your Brotherhood require a dividend from the job?"

"We do" - confirmed Lucien. "That isn't all that we recovered."

This job was unusual. It was Lena who performed the Black Sacrament for the members of the Thieves Guild, and the Night Mother wisely gave the contract to Lucien. The payment for the Brotherhood would be of no issue, they were certain. Between the Thieves Guild and the bandits that they cleared along the way, the surplus was significant, and it was now on the table.

"Make sure to leave a large empty room for Yen's megascope" - Lena winked at Geralt. "And that other thing."

"Oh no - she is not bringing that! It won't go on a ship!" - Geralt protested.

"No, I suppose it won't" - Lena agreed. "Which is why I sent you mine from Cyrodiil. I expect you will soon hear from the shipping company."

Geralt looked up in surprise.

"You didn't!"

"I did" - Lena gave him a broad grin. "It's got Hircine's blessing, so be gentle with it. It was the only unicorn in Cyrodiil."

Geralt shook his head, laughing.

"Count yourself lucky she'll never make you use it" - he winked at Lucien. "The only thing even less suitable is a live unicorn!"

"Oh I wouldn't mind, myself" - Lucien grinned complicitly. "But not to worry - there's always the Shadowmere."

2 Midyear

They rode straight to Cheydinhal - they both had paperwork to complete.

"What's next for you?" - Lucien asked at dinner. They were back at his fort.

"Necromancers and ruin crawling" - Lena grinned. "I'm not sure where I'll be - Traven is bound to send me all over the place."

"Well, in that case..." - he took her hand. "Why don't you stay here tonight."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 14 2021, 09:47 PM

2 Midyear, 4E202 - A woman's scorn

"She will die for it" - Rayenna muttered under her breath. She saw them - she peered through the trapdoor of Lucien's fort and saw him and Lena make love. She watched long enough to see Lena's face - this was important, Lucien never brought women to his fort. This wasn't just any woman - this was Rayenna's rival, and she had to die. Too bad she was a Sister - Sithis would just have to accept it. Rayenna was another Speaker's Silencer. "How could he choose her over me?" - she thought with scorn. She had been making advances towards Lucien for a few years now, and she was such a striking looking woman, what was he thinking? To prefer this child?

"You should leave now" - Sa'sinar touched her shoulder. "Let's say you never came here at all."

Rayenna jerked.

"You followed me?" - her eyes narrowing.

IPB Image

"A Speaker must take care of his Silencer" - Sa'sinar smiled. "Your infatuation with Lachance is not exactly a secret." His ears went back and his eyes narrowed, too. "Sa'sinar hopes Rayenna is not planning anything foolish. Wolf is her Sister, and Lachance's Silencer!"

"You..." - Rayenna looked at Sa'sinar with suspicion. "You didn't look - how did you know?"

"Sa'sinar hears things..." - his ears went up again. "The Night Mother knows. You should leave them be."

But when was the last time a Redguard woman took anyone's advice? Or accepted defeat?

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 15 2021, 05:09 PM

3 Midyear, 4E202 - Rayenna

"I have to speak to the Night Mother" - Rayenna insisted. "There is a traitor in our ranks."

"The Night Mother speaks only to me" - Ungolim's face was impenetrable. "And I speak to the Speakers. Why are you here? Are you accusing Sa'sinar?"

This wasn't going according to plan. The Dark Brotherhood had a strict hierarchy, and Ungolim - the Listener - was not about to allow Rayenna to break it.

"It's not Sa'sinar" - she replied, looking away. "But remember what happened last time there was a traitor? He played on the rules and the hierarchy - and this is what got several Black Hand members killed. We have to consult the Night Mother."

Ungolim remembered all too well what happened last time - he was one of the intended victims. He was attacked on several occasions, and had to kill several of his brothers and sisters in self-defence. The Night Mother didn't blame him or them - they didn't know who he was - but Ungolim still felt like he was betraying the Brotherhood. But to summon the Night Mother this early... No, he would need to have proof first.

"Very well, if you want to keep it between us, I'll allow it" - he looked at Rayenna, searching. She was a fairly new member, joined after those dreaded events. She didn't even know that Ungolim was around then. "Bring me the details and some proof, then we'll see." He wouldn't dismiss her claims just because she was fairly new, after all, it was a fairly new member that found the traitor last time.

Details and proof was something that Rayenna didn't have, for the simple fact that there was no traitor. She wanted to confront the Night Mother for allowing a Speaker and his Silencer to be romantically involved. She was going to argue that it undermined their efficiency and was bad for business. It was a weak argument, but worth a try.

But now Ungolim wanted details and proof - and Rayenna had worked herself into a corner. If she admitted that there was no traitor, she would be punished for attempted subterfuge. If she did nothing, Ungolim would start an investigation suspecting her to be the traitor. If she carried on and fabricated some details and proof... well... she hoped she'd never be discovered.

"I shall bring you proof" - she said, looking determined. "Give me some time."

Right, Rayenna - start thinking, she told herself. She went back home to Anvil - the sea always helped her to keep calm. Her father used to work at the docks, she didn't know her mother - her father refused to tell her who she was. "She left you when you were but a babe and scampered to Hammerfel with that lover of hers - and good riddance!" - he'd say, looking dark. "You have me, that should do."

They lived in the Castle, like many dock workers - the Countess kindly allowed working folk to use the cellar. "Better in the Castle under the watchful eye of the Guard, then out in the caves with the smugglers" - she used to say.

When Rayenna grew up and started earning a living of her own, she rented the cellar of the Anvil lighthouse.

"You seem a nice young woman" - Ulfgar Fog-Eye was careful who he rented the cellar to. He heard of some trouble in the past... Some said the place was cursed - but surely, that was just superstition?

Rayenna worked at the docks with her father at first, but then when he died, she started venturing out into the wilderness. She would run into bandits, kill them, take their loot. Nobody cared - those were bandits who'd kill for the loot as well. So... how was she different? She became a bandit herself - she'd ambush and kill anyone who came into her "hunting grounds" as she called them. She fancied herself a lioness stalking her prey.

One day a Khajiit came to see her. She attacked him, but he easily disarmed her, pinning her down.

"Khajiit could kill you now, but he will not, for Khajiit has an offer for you" - he said.

"But who are you?" - Rayenna breathed on awe.

"This servant of Sithis is called Sa'sinar. He wishes to invite Rayenna to join his family."

He knew her name. This was an offer she could not refuse.


Rayenna took her new duties seriously. She was determined and careful, executing her contracts with precision. She was praised by her superiors and quickly rose through the ranks. Once she made Assassin, her contracts became more complex, requiring planning, preparation, patience and stealth. They were testing her abilities - only a small number of assassins would ever make it to the Elite. Of course, there were no openings, but the Brotherhood always kept a shortlist of candidates ready for the times when an opening appeared. One day Sa'sinar offered Rayenna to become his Silencer.

"Sa'sinar's previous Silencer was killed while performing a contract, and Sa'sinar had to finish the job himself. He wishes Rayenna to take on this role. Does Rayenna accept?" - the Khajiit spoke formally, not something he did every time. Brought up in Cyrodiil, he was just as fluent in the Cyrodilic way of speaking as in the Khajiiti way, but he always used Khajiit for serious matters.

"I shall be honoured" - Rayenna beamed.

Being a member of the Black Hand meant that Rayenna was introduced to the other Black Hand assassins. If the Brotherhood had learned anything from the last traitor business, it was that the Black Hand had to know each other. The reason that attack went on for as long as it did, was that the Silencer that was being set up to murder the other members of the Black Hand, had no idea who they were. That would never happen again.

Introductions were made, but they didn't go beyond a handshake and a name - no background information was shared. Thus Rayenna knew that Ungolim was the Listener, but she had no idea how old he was or how long he had been with the Brotherhood. He didn't look old, and she didn't stop to think that for a Bosmer, that said nothing about his age.

Like everyone, Rayenna had heard of Lucien Lachance. Like most, she believed him to be dead - until she met him during the introductions. No, he wasn't dead, and he didn't look old, either. He looked in his prime, and his quiet confidence completely won her over. He was polite, welcoming her to the Black Hand and wishing her every success in her endeavours.

"Sa'sinar is known for his wisdom" - he said, smiling warmly. "I can see he chose well."

Rayenna melted. Those damned Imperials had a way with people.

Lucien Lachance had become Rayenna's personal project - he was the man for her, she decided. She was a lioness, and she was stalking her prey.

Rayenna met Lucien on many occasions - she made sure to create them. It was always business-related, but she would add an informal element to it too - a dinner or even a shared trip. Lucien never tried to evade her, and although he did not respond to her attempts at flirtation, she was sure he'd come around eventually. She just had to keep at it.

"Your attention to Lachance has become quite obvious" - Sa'sinar told her one day. "You would do well to be more discrete."

"But I am not doing anything!" - Rayenna protested, blushing a vivid shade of red. "We have common projects, that's all it is!"

Sa'sinar smiled a toothy grin, baring his fangs.

"Khajiit has seen this before" - he said, fixing her with his gaze. "Redguards are passionate, Rayenna is passionate, but Lachance must not be the object of her passion."

Rayenna stared at him, lost for words.

"I'm just saying - leave him alone" - Sa'sinar softened his tone. "He is your Brother - remember that."

Rayenna respected Sa'sinar, he was her mentor, he was her Speaker, and he seemed to see right into her soul. But she could not stop.

Lachance was popular with women, she discovered. Women that had nothing to do with the Brotherhood, women that didn't tend to ask questions. Oh, he was no monk. She didn't mind that - those women didn't matter, and otherwise he was unattached. She found his fort, found the hidden entrance directly to his living quarters. There was a crack in the trapdoor - one could just peer inside. It was a comfortable place, she thought, nice furniture, a fire, everything one would need... plus, undoubtedly, laboratory equipment in the other corner of the room. And no evidence of a woman. Good.

Rayenna was satisfied. She was taking it steady and slow, and she was sure of her success, eventually. And then...

"Hello, I am Lena Wolf" - a new Silencer was being introduced to the Black Hand. Lucien Lachance's Silencer. But she was just a slip of a girl! Early twenties, no more. What was he thinking? And why some of the Black Hand acted as if they'd met her already?

"I've met them already" - Lena smiled brightly, noticing Rayenna's confused looks. "Just last week - there was another meeting. But it is so good to finally meet you too."

Her smile was charming... irresistible... infectious... One couldn't not instantly like her... It was as if she used a charm spell, except of course she didn't... Surely, Rayenna would have noticed a spell being cast! Well...

Rayenna smiled back, feeling euphoric. Something about that girl wasn't quite right...

Rayenna never met a vampire before that hadn't turned into a beast. Or an ex-vampire still in possession of her powers. She fell for it - she was in love.


"Wait... what?!" - Rayenna caught herself fantasising about Lena. "You fall for women now?" - she said sternly to herself. No, Rayenna wasn't falling for women, she was sure of it. But she couldn't help herself. "Should cut down on the brandy" - she finally decided. "Better go see what Lachance has been up to - haven't seen him in a while" - she thought. Surely, that would provide a diversion.


"She will die for it" - Rayenna muttered under her breath. She saw them - she peered through the trapdoor of Lucien's fort and saw him and Lena make love. "Traitorous scamp!" The charm vanished, replaced by hatred. "How could he choose her over me? She's but a child! Oblivion take her" - she thought with scorn.

"You should leave now" - Sa'sinar touched her shoulder. "Let's say you never came here at all."


Sa'sinar was right - Rayenna should be cautious. She wanted Lena removed, yes, but she still wanted Lucien for herself. That required careful planning. An obvious murder wouldn't do.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 16 2021, 10:53 AM

3 Midyear, 4E202 - Adamus Phillida

Lena was walking around the Imperial City looking for Hauk. He wasn't at home, not at the Tiber Septim Hotel, and not at the Foaming Flask. He did mention that the Legion wanted him back on duty, but what would that mean? Perhaps she should try the Bastion.

She found Hauk in the Legion Offices talking to Adamus Phillida.

"I just know it - who else could have gotten inside the Imperial Prison and out again, completely unseen?" - Phillida was saying. "It's the Dark Brotherhood - they got both Valen Dreth and J'baana."

"But you are not even certain they were both murdered!" - interjected Hauk. "What's your proof?"

"Dreth was found with a poisoned arrow stuck in his neck - I'm pretty sure he didn't do it himself!" - Phillida was getting agitated. "J'baana... he died apparently of a heart attack, but I don't believe it. Poison, more likely - there was a small cut on him. Not unlike Fathis Ules and Othrelos, and he was Thieves Guild too."

"Ok, this does look suspicious" - Hauk conceded. "Someone seems to be after the Thieves Guild."

"It's the Dark Brotherhood, I tell you!" - Phillida spun around and finally noticed Lena standing at the door. "Good morning citizen, how can I help you?"

"My apologies, I was just looking for Optio here" - Lena greeted Hauk. "On a Mages Guild business" - she hastened to add.

"And you are..?" - Phillida's eyes narrowed.

"Lena Wolf, Mages Guild Warlock, at your service" - Lena gave him a bright smile. Some titles were more convenient than others.

"Oh... I've heard of you" - Phillida softened. "Handled some necromancers recently, have you?" - he shuffled some papers on his desk. "We've had some reports of graveyards being dug up, and Traven insists it's necromancers, but the corpses were still there, it's the jewellery that went missing" - he smirked. "So unless they are making zombie amulets, I think it was something else."

"Do you still need me for anything, Commander?" - Hauk turned to Phillida. "You know where to find me if you do."

"No, thank you, Optio, sorry for taking up your time" - Phillida was courteous. After all, Hauk's rank was higher. "I was just hoping that with your experience in covert affairs, you might be able to help me see what I'm missing... There must be a way to pin them down somehow!" - he clenched his fists. "But every time we identify a Dark Brotherhood assassin, it is only when we find his corpse! Well, at least they are not immortal - that's a consolation. Oh what would I give to see one standing before me!" - he glared at Lena and Hauk, then caught himself, rearranging his face in a smile.

"You never know - you might get your wish" - Hauk said, shaking his hand. "Good luck to you."


"Good to see you" - Hauk turned to Lena when they were back in the City proper and could drop the act. "Lunch?"


The Feed Bag had a few people in, having lunch, drinking mead and wine, discussing shopping and the latest fights at the Arena - all providing a comfortable din to drown out a conversation.

"So, you've been busy" - Hauk smirked. "J'baana! Right under the noses of the Imperial Watch, too! There's no hiding from your Brotherhood, is there?" He laughed. "Masterfully done! Better than Valen Dreth, I must admit."

"I didn't have much choice with Valen Dreth - I shot through the bars. But you're right - it was too obvious." Lena made herself a crab sandwich. "What did Phillida want from you?"

"To help him find evidence in a collection of statements and crime scene sketches. But all he's got is a string of suspected murders, and even if he thinks it might be the Dark Brotherhood, he can't prove anything. And even if he could - he doesn't know who you all are!" Hauk attended to his own crab sandwich. "Completely futile, if you ask me."

"Ocheeva worries about him though" - Lena mused. "Several assassins were killed recently while performing a contract - or attempting to perform a contract, I should say - and they were wearing our armour, even had some papers on them... Ocheeva was livid about the papers, because now Phillida knows what our armour looks like."

"That's the drawback of having a uniform" - Hauk agreed. "Which is why I never wear Legion armour on assignments."

"I doubt you carry any Legion papers, either" - Lena smiled.

"No, of course not" - Hauk smiled back. "And don't you worry - Phillida will get no help from me. I am not with the City Watch."

"Oh I am not worried" - Lena bit into an apple. "Lucien sent his regards."

"I heard The Ratway turned to blood recently" - Hauk was starting on the cheese. "The Riften City Guard had to call in the Legion to help clear it up" - he chuckled. "Even though the Jarl supports the Stormcloaks!"

"Let me guess - the Stormcloaks do not do the dirty work of hauling corpses out of the sewers, do they?" - Lena poured herself some wine and passed another bottle of mead to Hauk.

"No, they don't" - Hauk laughed. "The entire top of the Skyrim Thieves Guild taken out! Maven Black-Briar was livid."

"Maven is lucky to be alive" - Lena noted. "We only spared her because she doesn't like Stormcloaks."

"So, what's next?" - Hauk hovered over the cheese selection, then picked up a piece of creamy goat cheese.

"Lie low for a bit" - Lena turned to a bowl of berries. "Do some adventuring - Mr. Umbacano has been reminding me about that High Fane job that I agreed to do. Months and months ago! It seems Claude Maric has been dragging his feet too."

"Dangerous ruin?" - Hauk's eyes lit up.

"Undoubtedly" - Lena grinned. "Although how it compares to other ruins, I am not certain."

"Well, there's only one way to find out!" - Hauk emptied his mead bottle. "When do we leave?"

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 16 2021, 10:12 PM

4 Midyear, 4E202 - Lena's romance

"I missed you" - Lena kissed Hauk good morning. "But if we want to get to the East edge of the Nibenay Basin by tomorrow, we should be getting out of bed."

IPB Image

They spent the night at Hauk's house in the Imperial City, having done all the preparations for the trip the day before. They would just stop by the Tiber Septim Hotel next door for breakfast, and be on their way. Jowan was still staying in Bravil, and they were glad to spend time together, just the two of them.

After that intense trip to Skyrim with Lucien, Lena felt the need to relax and unwind - and Hauk was so easy to relax with. She would have to choose between him and Lucien eventually, but she wasn't ready to choose yet. In fact, she was even more confused about her feelings now than she was before the trip. She was ready to go to Oblivion and back for either of them, she'd done it already and would do it again, both friendships would remain intact. More than friends, they were family. But romance... that was on an entirely different level.

Lena's life did not resemble a typical young woman's life. It started out ordinarily enough, as a young girl Lena had her friendships and childhood romances, then youth romances up to the point when she caught vampirism at the age of seventeen. She was instantly shunned, all her young friends abandoning her in horror. Only the Mages Guild was still treating her like before - but they were all older people, her mentors and advisers, and certainly no one interested in romance. Her fellow young associates and apprentices were shunning her as well. At times Lena felt that her only option was to find a vampire coven to join, but ironically the vampires that she met, treated her with hostility - she was too "fresh", she had to prove herself first. Would she succumb to the disease mentally and turn into a beast? Many vampires did, and no coven was ready to accept a young fledgling risking to develop into a liability over time. One older vampire took pity on her and gave her a book - Manifesto Cyrodiil Vampyrum. "Follow it, if you want to be one of us" - he said. "Come back in twenty or thirty years, then we'll see." She had to survive that long, and not allow her personality to be destroyed. Fortunately, the Oblivion Crisis kept her busy, providing the necessary distraction.

How long was it before Count Hassildor offered her help finding a cure? She couldn't say for sure, but it was at least four years - or may be more? It was difficult, and took a long time to get everything that was needed - perhaps another year? Two? It didn't matter. Eventually the day came when the witch gave her the potion - "Drink it and you will be mortal again." She drank. Yes, she was mortal again - her eyes were no longer red and her fangs had retreated. But she looked like an old woman, stooped, wrinkled, covered in sores. And she was weak.

The one thing that Lena was longing for the cure to restore was her place in society. People were no longer afraid of her, true, and she could shop wherever she wanted, but she was still in her twenties, yet her youth was gone. Young people continued to shun her just like before. Loneliness persisted.

And then a miracle happened - Dylan took her to the Mazken Wellspring and Lena's looks were restored. She looked to be in her early twenties again.

In the Shivering Isles that didn't really matter. The Shivering Isles had no problems with Lena's vampirism before or with her old woman's looks afterwards - but everyone there was too consumed with the Greymarch destroying the Realm. And Lena was too busy.

Lena's return to Mundus some twenty or thirty years later proved to be a bit of a shock, and not because nearly two centuries had passed there in the meantime. She was suddenly getting a lot of attention - romantic, erotic, vulgar - all sorts. It was flattering while it was novel, but became annoying soon afterwards. None of it relieved the loneliness either, and Lena was no longer in her twenties. She soon tired of casual fun.

She went about restoring her life in Cyrodiil - her Mages Guild membership, her house in Bravil, her citizen's rights. "You will no longer be alone, child" - Dagail told her. "I have seen this." She proved right - Hauk appeared a month or so later, not entirely without Dagail's help. They struck a friendship, went adventuring together, then gradually grew to like each other more and more, and now Hauk was Lena's closest friend - a friend she could be intimate with.

Lucien was a different story entirely. She had known him for all of her adult life - since he came to offer her a place within the Dark Brotherhood. Oh, she fancied him straight away - but he was the head of her group, and therefore off limits. And of course he was a much older man - Lena wasn't even eighteen at the time. She told herself to forget it.

Then the traitor made his move, setting events in motion, and Lena couldn't just walk away. She sensed who the attacks were aimed at - the traitor was after Lucien, and she could not allow it to happen. Oh, the traitor was going to destroy her whole Cheydinhal family in the process too - and she couldn't allow it either. Things she had done to protect them all... closing Oblivion gates paled in comparison. And then she was gone - to the Shivering Isles. At first it was to avoid the assassins - she was still being hunted. She would come to Mundus sometimes, and would go to Lucien's fort - to make sure he was all right, she told herself. She didn't dare to go to the Sanctuary. After a while she noticed that the hunt had been called off, yet still she didn't go to the Sanctuary, but just kept coming to Lucien's fort. One day there was a change of furniture - his narrow cot was replaced by a nice double bed, with other conveniences added. Yet there was no sign of another person living there, and Lena chose not to think about it, completely ignoring her suspicions. He was off limits.

And then he wasn't. That revelation truly turned her world upside down. All those feelings, her longing, her passion, her shame for ignoring the obvious, came rushing in - and overwhelmed her. That evening Lucien helped her deal with it - whatever else was going on, he was her oldest friend and her Brother. She went with that.

When Hauk died and Lena went to the Fade to get his spirit to come back, she faced many demons. Twice was she tempted by a demon pretending to be Lucien - she escaped the first time, but the second time, after Hauk's spirit returned to Mundus, she let the demon have its way. She got what she longed for.

"Leave him alone - he isn't your lover" - Geralt told her when she and Lucien stopped at the Lake View on their way to Riften. Was it that obvious? She wouldn't be forward, not with real Lucien... But Geralt could see through her - he was no stranger to passion himself - and one to break the rules for it. Did they get it from their father or from their mother? Or from both?

"But next time you come to my home and decide to stay overnight, I won't pretend not to be there" - Lucien told her that morning. He was her lover now, as well as her Brother and her intimate friend. Life was complicated.

Posted by: Renee Jul 17 2021, 01:02 PM

"Skyrim is shielded - you cannot summon any of your clannfears or daedroths, but dremoras do come through

Clever explanation. smile.gif

That frost troll on the side of High Hrothgar is particularly tough, I remember the first time one of mine almost got his or her ass kicked by it. indifferent.gif There's some explanation, like it's high in level, or scales far above the player or something. Interesting that she summons somebody who knows who she is! devilsmile.gif

Post 20-- Yes I can see staying in Ivarstead a few days, especially with its pleasant autumn weather & golden sunshine. The crypt across the road makes for some definite adventuring fun too, without needing to trek anywhere for supplies. Only a couple things are missing. In my Skyrim, I added a smith area outdoors and also a cottage whose owner buys & sells. Now it's even tougher to leave, sometimes.

Woo, I've read Page 1!

Posted by: Adella Jul 17 2021, 01:20 PM

QUOTE(Renee @ Jul 17 2021, 01:02 PM) *

"Skyrim is shielded - you cannot summon any of your clannfears or daedroths, but dremoras do come through

Clever explanation. smile.gif

That frost troll on the side of High Hrothgar is particularly tough, I remember the first time one of mine almost got his or her ass kicked by it. indifferent.gif There's some explanation, like it's high in level, or scales far above the player or something. Interesting that she summons somebody who knows who she is! devilsmile.gif

Just an aside…With Mr. Troll being so slow you can use any rock/tree or just sufficient wide space to circle and get past without taking a hit.

To end Mr. Troll when you are too weak to battle him….Just lure him into High Hrothgar where the Greybeards will dispatch him for you.

Warning! Enter the monastery just before the Troll gets to the entrance steps….otherwise he will spawn inside, infront of you and then you are screwed!

You can….and I have (with an extra spawns mod) get Seven of them into High Hrothgar all at once. The chaos is fabulous.

Right…Sorry, lets get back to reading Lena goodjob.gif

A. biggrin.gif

Posted by: Renee Jul 17 2021, 02:22 PM

QUOTE(Adella @ Jul 17 2021, 08:20 AM) *

too weak to battle him….Just lure him into High Hrothgar where the Greybeards will dispatch him for you.

I never thought of this. Only problem is, if we're going up that mountain and it's our first time, we don't know where the Greybeard temple is, yet. Or if there are other trolls ahead which are just as tough as that one. indifferent.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 17 2021, 05:23 PM

4-5 Midyear, 4E202 - Fort Entius - Malada

"It is good to be back on the road, my friend" - Lena turned to Hauk as they stepped onto the long bridge across the Niben. "And not to expect assassins on every corner." She winked.

"Indeed" - Hauk grinned. "Assassins or... whoever."

IPB Image

The bridge was stretching before them. They pressed on.


"Oh look - someone had the good grace to restore Crestbridge Camp!" - Lena exclaimed as they approached the location. Last time they were passing there, there was nothing but an empty fire pit there. They stopped for lunch.

"Malada is a distance East from here" - Lena was pouring over the map. "We could take the road South and spend the night at the Imperial Bridge Inn, then take North East from there... or we could try going cross country." She looked up at Hauk with a question.

"Well, it's only just past midday, so we have time" - he looked around. "Let's try cross country. Besides, there might be other interesting things along the way" - he winked and grinned. They were going to get side-tracked.


"Oh look!" - they came to a fort next to a bridge across the river. "Shall we?"

Fort Entius was quiet, except for a few rats.

"What? Nobody there?" - Hauk was disappointed. "No vampires or necromancers or not even beasts?"

The lower part of the fort was flooded, but they found some nice loot in old chests. Then...

"Ouch!" - Lena got hit by a powerful shock spell, nearly knocking her out.

"Stay back!" - roared Hauk, summoning a daedroth. Lena summoned a clannfear and focussed on healing. The room ahead was ablaze - someone was casting inferno spells, along with the bolts of lightening. This was not a place Lena could survive...

When the inferno blasts stopped, she cautiously advanced and saw that Hauk had forced a mage into a corner. The mage was constantly healing herself and Hauk wasn't getting very far.

"Let me..." - Lena thought, crouching and dipping her Sufferthorn in poison. "This will soon be over."

She didn't need to get the heart, but she did it anyway.


They took the bridge over the river and found a dirt road going East. They followed it and soon they saw white stones of an Ayleid ruin.

"This must be it" - Lena pointed at the ruin. "But what's with the advance guard?"

There was a camp nearby with two occupants in full top-notch armour.

IPB Image

"Beautiful countryside, isn't it?" - they said in a greeting. "We are just here for the fresh air."


"Claude Maric's men" - said Hauk when they were out of earshot. "They'll attack us when we come out. Be ready."

But first they had to be ready for whatever lay within.

First, there were beasts and traps.

"That's too easy" - Hauk looked suspicious, even though the fighting was nothing like easy. "You remove that carving and all Oblivion will descend onto us." He pointed at the panel that Umbacano wanted.

"Well, there's nothing else for it" - Lena said, resigned. "Ready?"

She pulled on the carving and it came away with ease, causing the wall behind it to collapse and two side pockets to open at the same time. If the skeleton Champions and their summons were not bad enough, the Nether Lich behind the rubble added a certain spice to it all.

The rubble prevented the summons from getting to the lich, and Hauk was too busy fighting five skeletons - the lich's summon appeared in front of the rubble.

"Well, there's nothing else for it" - Lena thought, rubbing her Spelldrinker amulet and downing a spell absorption potion. "I'll go down of course, but hopefully not before I manage a summon."

She readied a clannfear spell, took out her Sufferthorn and climbed over the rubble.

The lich shot a blast from his staff and Lena went down, but her clannfear was already charging the lich. Lena never got a chance to use her Sufferthorn.


"Ugh!" Lena felt wet sandpaper rubbing her cheek. The clannfear. "Good dog" - she patted the clannfear, just before the summon was banished. Hauk stood among two piles of bones, casting healing spells.

"It never looks quite as bad afterwards" - he said, pointing at the bones. "Just the two piles now... no one would believe me if I said there were five of them!"

"No one who never fought the undead" - Lena corrected him, smiling. "But we know better. Come on - there's a door behind that lich."

They could have just returned the way they came in, but here was a door previously concealed behind a wall... How could they resist?


"Oh no! This is bad" - was all Lena had time to think before darkness swallowed her and she went down. Gloom wraiths.

Cold, so cold... Lena came to, shaking. She scrambled to her feet - quick, a summon! A Hunger should do it...

Freezing cold was bracing her... She came to again. Something was wrong - the wraith was growing stronger.

"Hunger is a living creature!" - Lena thought. "The wraith is leeching its life energy... I need something else..." She summoned a headless zombie. Remarkably effective, if rather mundane.

"Hush!" - a second wraith screeched, hitting Lena with a freezing silence spell. Darkness again...


"You are not dead, so rise!" - a voice sounded inside Lena's head. "Let the cattle know their place!"

"But wraiths are not cattle?" - Lena thought to herself, but decided not to argue. She rose, feeling stronger. The wraiths were extinguished - Hauk sat in a far corner swallowing potions, looking pale. She rushed to him.

"Here - let me" - she started casting healing spells. She had more magicka somehow.

"Thanks... Oh!" - Hauk looked up. "Wow."

"What?" - she stopped casting.

"You are a vampire."

"Temporarily... I hope" - Lena smiled weakly. "Ever since I resumed drinking blood, it's been getting stronger every time. The wraiths must have triggered it."

Hauk started taking off his cuirass.

"What are you doing?"

"You need blood."

"No, not now" - Lena stopped him. "And not from you - you've lost enough of it to the wraiths" - she pointed at several deep cuts that were only just closing. "There is a welcoming committee outside - remember? They are not expecting a vampire" - she winked. "Let's rest here."

5 Midyear

"Hello there!" - Claude Maric was waiting for them by the entrance. "You are getting rather good at it" - he smiled. "I am even starting to like you. Now hand over the carving."

"Oh, it's no trouble" - Lena beamed at him. "I can carry it to Mr. Umbacano myself, thank you."

"Are you sure?" - he raised an eyebrow. "Well, that was... foolish. Kill them!"

Three mercenaries attacked, Claude Maric vanished.

"The sun is rising, I need blood" - Lena thought feeling a slight tingle on her skin. It was nearly 6 a.m.

Leaving two mercenaries to Hauk and his daedroth, she led away the third, paralyzed her, pulled off her daedric helmet. The woman looked up in horror watching Lena bare her fangs. She felt Lena's hand gently turn her head to the side, exposing the vein...


"Ah, I needed that!" - Lena rose, a drained corpse at her feet. The sun tickled her face, but did not burn. She heard battle noises and ran towards them, summoning a clannfear. Hauk was still fighting - Lena was only gone for a few minutes.


"Well, that's the three of them" - Hauk turned around, sheathing his claymore. "Maric is gone though. Oh, you look better!" - he smiled at Lena. "Had your fill?"

"I have" - she grinned. "Maric's horse is here though. If we lead it away and then release it, it should return to Maric, in theory."

"In theory, yes" - nodded Hauk. "Or it might walk all the way to the Imperial City stables, for all we know. But it's worth a try, I suppose."

IPB Image

They followed the horse for a while but it was headed straight for the Imperial City, so they left it alone and turned South West hoping to reach the Imperial Bridge Inn by the evening. But they came upon the Nayon Camp on Lake Canulus first.

IPB Image

"It's lovely here, let's stay a while" - Lena was looking into the distance. "We haven't slept the night, so why not here."

Why not indeed! It was already late afternoon anyway.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 17 2021, 05:39 PM

QUOTE(Renee @ Jul 17 2021, 01:02 PM) *

"Skyrim is shielded - you cannot summon any of your clannfears or daedroths, but dremoras do come through

Clever explanation. smile.gif

Yeah, after the Oblivion Crisis, Skyrim invested in extra security. wink.gif Too bad they didn't think to make it dragon-proof too. rolleyes.gif

Interesting that she summons somebody who knows who she is! devilsmile.gif

Well, she summoned a random dremora... You never know which one will turn up. wink.gif

Woo, I've read Page 1!

Woo-hoo! You're getting on with it!! biggrin.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 17 2021, 11:07 PM

6-8 Mid-Year - Oblivion - Home - Imperial City

"Oh look - there's a bridge across the river over there" - Lena pointed at a hanging bride in the distance.

"This is the shrine of Peryite" - noted Hauk. "But something is wrong with the worshippers - they are not moving."

IPB Image

Lena touched the statue.

"My foolish worshippers have transported their souls to Oblivion wishing to be close to me" - Peryite spoke. "I would have you go after them and make them return. Planes of Oblivion are no place for mortal souls."

Lena looked at Hauk.

"Well, I'll go. It's not as hard as that, and I've done it so many times before..."

Hauk nodded.

"All right. I'll wait here."

She touched the statue again.


Oblivion was hot, Peryite's Realm being much like Mehrus Dagon's. Lena cloaked in chameleon and moved around without fighting. One by one she found the souls and sent them back. Still, it took her all day.

"How was it?" - Hauk greeted her when she returned. "I saw the worshippers coming to life one by one."

"It was hot and now I'm thirsty" - Lena replied, rummaging in her pack for a bottle of mead and handing one to Hauk. "I need a snack."

They sat at the shrine for a while, eating crab sandwiches. Then they walked over to the Imperial Bridge Inn for the night.

"Oh hello" - Lithnilian greeted them. "I've been making excellent progress with the Welkynd crystals in the Bramblepoint cave since you kindly cleared it out" - he beamed at Lena. "I have also been able to persuade that Legion soldier to come with me and stand guard. So much better!" Then, turning to Hauk, he added: "I won't be going to bed for a few more hours, in case you wanted to retire early." He smiled.

"Why - thank you!" - Hauk beamed. "It has been a long day for us, indeed."

He looked at Lena. She got up and they went upstairs.

7 Mid-Year

"Why don't we go via Bravil" - Hauk said softly watching Lena look wistfully over the water. They stopped at Fort Grief to refill the stash, and Lena got home sick.

IPB Image

"Thank you" - she mouthed, squeezing his hand.

A short stop for a round of shopping and lunch was enough to lift Lena's mood, so they continued on to the Imperial City in the afternoon.

"We should take some time to rest and repair our gear" - said Hauk as they were approaching the Imperial City. "And it's too late to see Mr. Umbacano today, it will have to be tomorrow. Let's stay at my house."

Lena didn't argue. She was tired, her body ached all over and Hauk's house had a bath while hers didn't...

8 Mid-Year

They went to see Mr. Umbacano in the morning, receiving a reward for the carving and a task in negotiating with a rival collector. As they left the Umbacano manor, a Legionnaire approached Hauk with a message.

"Optio" - he saluted and left.

Hauk's face was impassable as he was reading the message, then he folded it and turned to Lena.

"I am being called away - I am sorry. I'll be gone for some time." He took her hands into his. "You take care of yourself in the meantime."

"You too" - they kissed goodbye. "Make sure I don't have to go looking for you in the Fade again."

They parted and Lena went to see Hannibal Traven at the Arcane University. It was time to finally tell him that Mannimarco had returned.


"What?!" - Traven was livid. "And you waited to tell me about it this long?! How dare you!!"

"I am so sorry, Sir" - Lena decided to appear frightened. "I thought you knew! I mean, even I could have guessed something like that, what with all the necromancers around, and you being the Arch Mage..." - she went bright red. "I just could not imagine you did not know!"

"Well..." - Traven softened his tone. "I suspected something like this, of course. And..." - Lena was looking pleadingly at him, such an innocent young girl that she was, so charming... "Well, never mind, my dear, it's fine. It doesn't make a difference, really..." He smiled warmly and stroked her cheek. She blushed, but kept her gaze down. "Innocence herself..." - Traven thought. He had not read her file - not important enough. He could see she wasn't a vampire...

"I need you to check on the Bruma Guild" - Traven shook off his trance. "We haven't heard from them for a while, it is unusual. Please see that everything is alright there."

"Of course" - Lena nodded, smiling brightly. "I won't be long."

She left.

"Such a bright young girl" - Traven thought looking at the teleport platform where she disappeared. "So pure... so unspoilt..."

Posted by: Acadian Jul 18 2021, 12:33 AM

Oh, I remember Peryite's quest! Buffy used that quest as a 'training ground' to learn how to fight daedra and survive in the Deadlands before trying to help close the Oblivion Gate at Kvatch.

Lena knows how to push the right buttons with Traven. tongue.gif

Posted by: macole Jul 18 2021, 05:51 AM

Peryite got some real bright worshippers. They ran off to the Deadlands of Mehrun Dagon. No wonder they're stuck.
I have to look at it that way otherwise if that was supposed to be Peryite's realm then I'm severely disappointed.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 18 2021, 07:53 AM

QUOTE(Acadian @ Jul 18 2021, 12:33 AM) *

Lena knows how to push the right buttons with Traven. tongue.gif

Lena went through the entire Oblivion Crisis as a vampire. She learned to live with it, mostly going hungry to allow the skills to sharpen (and to avoid biting too many necks). She would feed before going into town, but even so she could never blend in completely. So when she needed anything from most people, she would have to use her charm power to even get them to talk to her. She learned a lot about buttons... wink.gif And Traven is too preoccupied with his personal vendetta to pay attention to anyone else.

QUOTE(macole @ Jul 18 2021, 05:51 AM) *

Peryite got some real bright worshippers. They ran off to the Deadlands of Mehrun Dagon. No wonder they're stuck.
I have to look at it that way otherwise if that was supposed to be Peryite's realm then I'm severely disappointed.

I wonder whether he even has a Realm of his own. It appears he might be just working in the "generic" Oblivion - the "public space" created by Lorkhan. This would mean of course that Mehrun Dagon used the same space too. And may be he did! Who knows.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 18 2021, 01:29 PM

8-9 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Sanctuary rumours

The day was spent doing chores. Lena went to talk to the collector of Ayleid artefacts who was refusing to sell one of her items to Mr. Umbacano. She claimed that Umbacano was evil - seeking to waken up some dark power of the Ayleids, and her artefact was the key. She suggested that Lena should retrieve another similar artefact from a ruin that - oh look! - she happened to have a key to.

"Give him the substitute and he'll never know!" - she said, beaming.

Lena was doubtful that Umbacano wouldn't know, but decided to retrieve that other artefact first. But not alone, and not today, this would have to wait.

After that, Lena made a dash for Chorrol - her monthly payment for the supplies to the Battlehorn Castle was a week overdue. Emfrid didn't mind, but Lena made a mental note that it was getting tiresome. Perhaps she should switch to a quarterly schedule.

Then she was on the road again - to Cheydinhal. As the Imperial City came into view, Roach wanted a rest, so they stopped at Alleswell. The publican still had no food or drink to offer and his Most Unpleasant Sisters told Lena to go away. So she turned around, patted Roach on the back and promised her a nice long rest at the Roxey Inn instead. "And you can chat to your pal the Legion horse there as well" - she added.


Lena got to Cheydinhal by 10 p.m. She left Roach at the stables and walked home. As she was crossing the bridge by the chapel, she saw the Eastern gate. Beyond it was Fort Farragut - and Lucien.


Lena stood by the trapdoor, ready to enter, when a little voice in her head said quietly: "Perhaps you should knock." Wasn't that what people usually did before entering someone else's house? She knocked, then lifted the trapdoor slightly, looking in. Lucien stood below, smiling. "Come in."

9 Mid-Year

In the morning Lena went to see Ocheeva at the Sanctuary about another contract.

"What is he like?" - Antoinetta Marie pulled Lena into a dark corner as soon as she entered.

"What is who like?" - Lena looked at her, confused.

"Lucien. What is he like?" - Antoinetta's eyes burned with the hunger for gossip.

"He is an assassin" - Lena frowned, doubtful. "And our Speaker. You know that!"

"I don't mean that!" - she shook her head. "What is he like... a man - you know!" - she winked.

"What?!" - Lena went bright red. "How did you..?"

"Oh come off it - it's the talk of the Sanctuary! Someone saw you!"

"What?! Who? How?" - Lena was so taken aback, she wasn't making sense, not even to herself. They were careful - how could anyone have seen them?

"Oh, don't worry, I don't mean it badly" - Antoinetta touched Lena's arm. "It wasn't me, I don't even know how the rumours started, and anyway, it's not unheard of - Gogron and Telaendril have been at it for ages. I was that close but you got there first!"

Lena stood there, gasping.

"What? I... What do you mean - you were that close?" - Lena's eyes narrowed suspiciously.

"Antoinetta dear, I believe you owe me a septim!" - Telaendril was standing over her shoulder.

"Oh all right, she just got lucky!" - Antoinetta grimaced, passing the coin to Telaendril.

"Gossiping again, are you?" - Ocheeva joined them, looking at each of them in turn. "Shame on you, Telaendril, Antoinetta, for making bets like that! As if either of you ever stood a chance!"

"Can someone please explain to me what is going on?!" - Lena exploded cutting through the conversation. "What's all this betting about?" - she glared at Antoinetta and Telaendril.

"Well, since you put it this way..." - Telaendril grinned. "Antoinetta has a crush on Lucien, and she's been trying to get into his bed for... well... since before you joined the first time" - she winked. "Without success, or else everyone would have known."

"Like you never tried it yourself!" - Antoinetta looked angrily at Telaendril. "You forgot to mention that bit, I guess."

"Anyway..." - Telaendril raised her voice slightly. "As you were a vampire when you joined, we didn't think you stood a chance, but then you returned, looking all young and fresh, and Antoinetta here bet me a septim that she'd have Lucien first before you do! And she lost."

"That's enough of that now!" - Ocheeva said sternly. "You've had your fun, now leave it be."

"No, wait" - Lena rubbed her chin. "You said someone saw us. But we... well... we have been discrete. They had to spy on us to see us. This could be a serious matter."

"Then..." - Ocheeva looked pensive. "You have to tell us where they could have seen you."

"In Cyrodiil? Lucien's fort" - Lena offered. "In Skyrim... no, they couldn't have, I am certain."

"You have to tell Lucien - if his fort is compromised, it is indeed a serious matter" - Ocheeva wasn't smiling. Everyone went quiet - they still remembered the last traitor. "Antoinetta, Telaendril, I need the two of you to find out how the rumour started - and when. Especially since it isn't just a rumour. When did you..." - she sighed and smiled at Lena. "Sorry, dear, it's private, I know, but it could be important - when was the first time that they could have seen you?"

"When we returned from Skyrim" - Lena answered, looking at them in turn.

"So... It is either an incredible coincidence, or..." - Telaendril looked at Antoinetta - "there is another woman wanting to get into Lucien's bed."

"Count half of Cyrodiil, I think" - Antoinetta winked. "It is only this hard if you are with the Dark Brotherhood!"

"So... she's one of us" - Ocheeva said heavily. "She is an assassin."

They didn't like the sound of this. Antoinetta wasn't jealous of Lena, well, not jealous enough to do anything about it besides teasing, but who knew what that other woman was like.

"Night Mother preserve us from a woman's scorn" - Telaendril breathed.


Rayenna's plan was working. First, she was going to destroy Lena's reputation, then she would suggest ill intent. Judgement would be swift - Lena would be declared a traitor to the Brotherhood, and that would not only get her killed, but also get her out of Lucien's favour, bringing Rayenna to the fore. It could not fail.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 18 2021, 09:50 PM

9-10 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Bruma Mages Guild - Hannibal Traven

"I shouldn't delay that Bruma job" - Lena thought as she was leaving the Cheydinhal Sanctuary. "Better go there straight away."

The trip took her most of the day - she arrived in Bruma in late afternoon. Still, it wasn't too late to go to the Mages Guild.

IPB Image

"Good to see you!" - Jeanne Frasoric greeted her. She was wearing Necromancer robes, and the Mages Guild had Necromancer tapestries adorning the walls instead of the standard Guild tapestries.

"Oh wow, what a change of decor!" - Lena exclaimed, looking around. "How come?"

"Oh you know - if you can't beat them, join them!" - Jeanne beamed. "Mannimarco came around - such a charming man, so good looking! - and asked whether we wanted to restore our previous specialisation. Well, this was before my time, you see - Traven appointed me here, so I had no idea! Necromancy was what Bruma Mages Guild did before! How could I refuse - of course I agreed, it was only right, and so you see..."

Lena raised her hand trying to stop this flood of babbling.

"Please, Jeanne, not so fast!" Jeanne stopped talking abruptly. "Mannimarco was here? When?"

"Oh no that long ago" - Jeanne was evasive. "He came a few times..." - her eyes glazed over. "I was hoping he would stay here - I was ready to let him have my room even - but he insisted on leaving, don't see why really, surely some cave cannot possibly be as comfortable as a nice warm house..."

"Jeanne!" - Lena had to raise her voice to bring Jeanne out of her verbal trance. "So he came here and what? Did he threaten anyone?"

"No! Well, yes" - Jeanne fluttered her eyelashes. "He let slip that if I didn't agree he would have no choice as to remove me, you see... He is far more powerful than Traven! And so handsome..." Her voice trailed off.

IPB Image

"Right" - Lena shook her head. It was obvious - Jeanne followed whoever she thought held the power. Perhaps the others had more to say.

"Well yes, Bruma did specialise in Necromancy before Traven became the Arch Mage" - Selena confirmed. "We weren't killing anyone though!" - she hurried to add. "There's no need for that - old crypts are filled with bodies. But of course when you start driving people out of their homes because you disagree with their area of research, it does breed resentment..."

"And Mannimarco?" - Lena prompted her.

"He and Traven go way back - they were rivals at first, and became mortal enemies over time. Traven does misuse his position to scorn Mannimarco, and Mannimarco is obviously just as touchy and volatile for allowing Traven to get to him." She looked at Lena with regret. "And the rest of us are the victims in this clash of egos. Not worth dying for."

"Selena is primarily an alchemist, so it doesn't matter to her as much as it does to us" - Volanaro joined in. "But we had all our work ripped away from us and outlawed. When Traven took over, we had to either abandon everything and fall in line, or leave - and I mean leave civilisation. Many did that, and it mostly got them killed, but we stayed put, kept our heads down and waited. It didn't take that long for trouble to rise above ground level."

"So what now?" - Lena asked, turning to the sound of footsteps.

"Now we return to our old research" - J'skar appeared next to Volanaro. "We do not threaten anyone, but Traven is not welcome here." He gave her a toothy grin.

"Whether Mannimarco will win in the end or not" - Volanaro added - "we do not believe that Traven will remain Arch Mage for much longer. Tell him - the Bruma Mages Guild will not be destroyed."

Lena nodded, looking into their faces.

"Well, I'll certainly tell him that. He still thinks I'm just a young apprentice eager to please" - she grinned at them and winked. Jeanne looked surprised - she too seemed to have taken Lena's apparent age at face value.

"What of Jowan?" - asked Volanaro. "He is welcome here - he's not just a Blood Mage, you knew that, I suppose?"

"Yes, we've seen some of his spells" - Lena smiled. "He's been staying in Bravil - you know Kud-Ei, always the caring type."

"Well, tell him - we've got a place for him if he wants it."

Lena got a clear idea who was really the head of this Guild Hall - and it wasn't Jeanne.

10 Mid-Year

Lena spent the night at the Jerall View Inn and returned to the Imperial City in the morning.

"Traven is not going to like this!" - she thought. She was right, of course.

"They WHAT?!!!" - Hannibal Traven went white with rage when Lena told him that the Bruma Mages Guild went back to practicing its old specialisation. "How dare they!!! I'll have their heads!!!"

Lena stood there, watching him in amazement. She wasn't surprised at his reaction but at the threats - of death, no less.

"Well, I don't mean that literally, of course" - Traven caught himself belatedly, noticing Lena's stare (to which she prudently added a touch of horror). "So we can assume then that they have all resigned."

"Yes, I think that's the gist of it" - nodded Lena.

"Right. Well, this is more serious than I thought" - Traven said grimly, having finally gained control over his temper. "I'll need to think it over."

He paced the room up and down a few times.

"We have come to depend on you" - he stopped in front of Lena, looking into her eyes. She smiled timidly, lowering her gaze slightly. "Yes..." - Traven's voice trailed off. "Come and see Polus in a few days, he should have something for you then."

Lena left.

"Dirty old man" - she thought. She didn't care for the way Traven looked at her.


"Well, Roach, we've got a long road ahead of us" - Lena patted Roach on the back. "We are going to Anvil."

Roach heaved a sigh - you could just see her thinking: "And I hope you don't expect me to make it in one day!"

No, Lena didn't expect that at all. She was planning to stop in Skingrad for the night.


"Mistress, you have returned!" - Fenris Bero greeted Lena when she entered her house in Skingrad in late afternoon. "Will you be staying? I shall prepare dinner for you."

"Well, at least he did not kneel this time" - Lena thought. She smiled at him: "Yes, please, I'll be spending the night. How have you been?"

Fenris looked well, and not just physically. Spending time with Falanu seemed to have worked wonders.

"Have you been back to the Leyawiin Sanctuary at all?" - Lena asked, thinking of the captive there who needed food.

"Indeed I have - several times" - Fenris beamed at her. "I can even travel during the day now, if the sun isn't too strong. I never knew it was possible..."

Lena shook her head. "Of course it is possible, if you feed often enough..." She smiled, remembering her own discoveries back then. "But be careful - feeding too often makes you weak, takes away your powers. You need to find a balance."

Fenris was listening intently. He had been a vampire for so long, yet all he knew was constant hunger. This was a different life indeed.

"I bought you a horse" - Lena nearly forgot. "It's at the stables - just give them my name. It will make your travels easier."

"Thank you, Mistress!" Fenris dropped at her feet. "You are so good to me."

Lena stifled a sigh, thinking: "Here we go again." Then, lifting Fenris up by the shoulders, she said: "It's how life should be. You'll see."


Lena took time to bathe and rest, she had another long day of travel tomorrow.

Posted by: macole Jul 19 2021, 06:10 AM

When I first played Oblivion, Jeanne Frasoric was my favorite character. I literally cried when she died in the destruction of the Bruma Mages Guild.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 19 2021, 07:00 AM

QUOTE(macole @ Jul 19 2021, 06:10 AM) *

When I first played Oblivion, Jeanne Frasoric was my favorite character. I literally cried when she died in the destruction of the Bruma Mages Guild.

Oh I am sorry, Macole! I guess my attitude to her showed now... but I still think she didn't have to die. And she didn't! biggrin.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 19 2021, 02:00 PM

11 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Anvil thieves

Lena arrived in Anvil in mid-afternoon. Her armour needed repairs after all those fights with bandits, trolls and minotaures along the road, so she stopped by the Fighters Guild.

"Fancy meeting you here!" - Maglir greeted her in the hall. "Eager as ever, I see" - he looked somewhat disgusted.

"Actually, I just..." - Lena started, but the porter interrupted her.

"Azzan wants you in his office" - he said. "Go to it."

Lena rolled her eyes but went to see Azzan.

"We've got thieves trouble" - he said. "I hear you are the one to deal with such things." He smiled, looking at her expectantly.

"How did he..?" - she thought but didn't ask. "What can I do to help?"

"Rumour has it, they are holed up somewhere nearby, but we don't know where exactly" - Azzan shuffled some papers on his desk. "Find out. Then deal with them - and take Maglir with you. It's time he found out he had to work for his pay. Go to it."

He dismissed her.

"Wow, this isn't the Legion" - Lena thought. "I wonder if Azzan noticed?"

As Lena exited Azzan's office, Maglir was already waiting for her.

"Come on - let's get it over with and get paid!" - he said with a scowl.

"So, Azzan had told you about this job already, had he?" - Lena looked at him in suspicion.

"He wanted me to take it on my own but I refused" - Maglir said angrily. "I have no death wish! He said he'd find someone more senior to help me. And that fool is you!" He added triumphantly. "So let's get going."

"No" - Lena shook her head. "You wait here for now. I need to gather information first - the work of the mind, you know" - she smiled sweetly. "I'll come for you when I need brawn."

She brushed past gawking Maglir and into the living quarters. She needed to change into her robes - she had another job to do first. A job at the castle.


"Well, what do you know - another thief dying of a heart attack" - Lena stood over Orrin's corpse, checking that he was dead. "Thieving is a dangerous occupation."

IPB Image

"You look different" - Maglir looked at Lena in surprise when she returned to the Fighters Guild.

"I'm a mage - remember?" - Lena smiled. "Hrota Cave. Let's go."


"Stay behind me and don't rush ahead" - Lena told Maglir as they entered the cave.

"Don't tell me how to fight!" - he retorted with a scowl.

"I thought you didn't have a death wish?" - Lena said softly, raising her hood.


"Aauww, they are raising zombies!" - of course Maglir rushed into the fight and spooked too many thieves at once. And yes, they were all spellswords with enchanted weapons - and they summoned zombies. It seemed Maglir didn't count on that.

Lena sent a few poisoned arrows, and soon the fight was over.

"It's not fair!" - Maglir complained. He took quite a beating.

"Here - let me" - Lena started healing his wounds. "We are not here to play fair, we are here to win."

She offered him some of her poisons, but he refused.

"Suit yourself" - she shrugged.

The rest of this job went pretty much along the same lines: Maglir took the lead, letting his iron armour make as much noise as possible as he walked through the cave. Lena was sure the thieves could hear him from the moment they entered. So she crouched and tiptoed behind him, her bow at the ready, silently taking out the thieves with her poisoned arrows as they engaged Maglir and her clannfear.


"Phew, that was quite a fight!" - Maglir grinned contentedly, rising after a knockout. "I've shown them! Err... well... We've shown them, of course."

"Of course" - Lena smiled.


"Why do you mages insist on wearing robes?" - Maglir asked as they passed a mage they'd killed. "Surely, they don't protect you at all."

"We try not to get hit" - Lena pocketed some nice enchanted arrows from the mage. "Robes allow for easy movement, they don't make noise and blend into the shadows."

"Wait - that sounds like assassins, not mages..."

"That sounds like anyone wishing to survive against overwhelming odds" - she looked at Maglir. "How many spellswords were in this cave? Eight? Nine? Plus their summons? Against the two of us - that's hardly a battle I'd rush into head on, armour or not."

"Point taken" - Maglir nodded, massaging a bump on his head left by a mace that knocked him out. "Let's return to the Guild."


"Amazing job!" - Azzan was ecstatic. "I see great things for you two in the Guild!"

Lena and Maglir exchanged surprised glances.

"I hereby name you Protector!" - Azzan turned to Lena. "Report to Chorrol for duties."

He turned around and walked away, effectively dismissing her. Lena turned to Maglir who was laughing.

"You got the short straw! You've got duties!" - he was nearly crying with laughter. "I've got duties too - the tavern!"

Lena silently retrieved her gear and went to the Benirus Manor for the night.

Posted by: Acadian Jul 19 2021, 06:16 PM

Ooooh, Maglir! He needs a one hour paralysis spell administered at the door to the dungeon to keep him outta the way methinks! I'll admit Lena exercised a lot of patience. tongue.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 19 2021, 08:21 PM

12-14 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Mages Guild in disarray - Fighters Guild babysitting - Lindai crown

"So, it is perfectly possible to ride from Anvil to the Arcane University in one day" - Lena was patting Roach on the back. "And no, magic isn't cheating" - she grinned. "I just gave you a little boost, is all."

Arch Mage Traven looked crestfallen.

"The Council of Mages is in disarray" - he said. "We could not agree how to handle the Necromancers - and I fear that we've lost a lot of good people." He paced around the chamber. "Two of our most senior mages took important artefacts for 'further study' - whatever that might be. You need to recover University property and return it here."

"I'll see what I can do" - said Lena, turning to leave.

"We have come to really depend on you, you know" - Traven said, as if to himself.


"Come on, Roach - it's not that far" - Lena wanted to go to Chorrol now. It has been a day of riding. Reluctantly, Roach agreed.

They arrived rather late in the evening, Roach visibly tired, and Lena feeling a little guilty. It was too late to go to the Fighters Guild, so she left it for tomorrow.

13 Mid-Year

"I've got a mission for you" - said Modryn Oreyn. "But it's a bit hush-hush." He looked around. "I need you to take Viranus Donton out into the field and show him a good time."

"Excuse me?!" - Lena cried with indignation.

"I don't mean that!" - Modryn looked stern. "He needs some field work to boost his confidence, so I am sending the two of you on a contract to find some poor idiot in Nonwyll Cavern. Your job however" - he looked at Lena with significance - "is to protect Viranus and to make sure his mother the Guildmaster doesn't know about this until after the fact. Which is why he must stay alive! Do I make myself clear?"

He did. Modryn Oreyn had a way with people, but not a particularly nice way. Lena's new rank of Protector clearly meant "babysitter".

Viranus Donton was a nice enough young man. He was ready to leave when Lena stressed that the poor missing person might well be in mortal danger, so they had to make haste - no time to check in with Mother.

Nonwyll Cavern was empty, apart from the corpse of the unfortunate person that they were supposed to find. A broken shield lay next to him, and it looked like he'd been dead for some time.

"This is strange - what killed him?" - wondered Viranus.

"There were trolls in this cave some time ago" - Lena recalled. "My friend and I cleared them out. It must have been them. I seem to remember seeing this poor man already then."

Well, there was nothing else to do, so they returned to Chorrol.

"Hmm, suspicious" - Modryn didn't like it. "But none of our business. Well done keeping Viranus out of trouble." He handed Lena an enchanted dagger. "Here is your reward - off the books. And while you are here..." - he looked her over. "Maglir has defaulted on a contract again - now in Bravil. And it wasn't even that hard a job! Go there, fulfill the contract, find Maglir and..." - he clenched his fists - "send him to me!"

"Wow!" - Lena thought. "Those sanguine eyes can positively glow! Something tells me - Maglir won't be coming."


She had lunch at Oak and Crosier, considering her jobs.

"Fort Ontus for Traven, South West from here; Fort Teleman also for Traven, all the way near Leyawiin; Bravil for Modryn; Leyawiin for Ocheeva... oh - and Lindai for Umbacano, and that's nearby..." She poured over the map. "May be I should just do that first, Roach is in no shape to travel today anyhow."

Of course Lena could simply buy another horse, but she didn't want to. Lindai it was then.

14 Mid-Year

Lena returned to Chorrol at 5 a.m. Lindai wasn't a very large ruin, but it had many dread zombies that took a long time to put down. There was also no shortage of other interesting undead.

Lena found the crown - just as the collector predicted. It had a strong enchantment.

"I wonder whether Mr. Umbacano is going to know that this is the wrong crown" - Lena thought. But whether or not to steal the original for him was a decision for another day. Motierre House was quiet, and Lena could finally relax.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 19 2021, 08:45 PM

QUOTE(Acadian @ Jul 19 2021, 06:16 PM) *

Ooooh, Maglir! He needs a one hour paralysis spell administered at the door to the dungeon to keep him outta the way methinks! I'll admit Lena exercised a lot of patience. tongue.gif

As it transpires, she should have frozen him solid when she had the chance - there's more Maglir trouble brewing! tongue.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 19 2021, 09:32 PM

12-14 Mid-Year, 4E202 - The Anvil lighthouse - Cheydinhal investigation

"Oh, this is interesting!" - Rayenna noticed some oddly shaped bricks in the lighthouse cellar in Anvil that she was renting. "I've never noticed them before." She never looked behind the tapestry before, either. "What's that - they come out!"

Two bricks appeared loose and could be removed, revealing a cavity behind them. It was dark inside, but Rayenna thought she saw something. She put in her hand and retrieved an old journal. There wasn't much written in it, but it contained several folded sheets of parchment. Rayenna swallowed her dislike of spider webs and thrust her hand all the way in, feeling for any other objects inside. She found more folded sheets of parchment and a scroll. She laid out her finds on the table and set down to study them.

First her attention was drawn to the old scroll with a wax seal. The seal had been broken long ago, the parchment dried out somewhat, fraying at the edges. She carefully unrolled it and read:

Last Will and Testament of Greywyn Blenwyth, Assassin

I, Greywyn Blenwyth, a servant of Sithis, hereby entrust my estate Deepscorn Hollow to Lena Wolf - the young daughter of my distant paternal Cousin Lillian 'Lily' Delafere, my only direct relative. Should Lena Wolf not survive to adulthood, I then entrust the estate to Mathieu Bellamont, a distant maternal Cousin of Lillian Delafere. My intent hereby is to pass on the Sanctuary to another Assassin, so that it may be used to its purpose. I have no doubt that little Lena will follow in her mother's footsteps.

May they walk in the shadow of Sithis.

Dated: 2 Second Seed, 3E 421

Next she examined the journal - it was disappointingly empty. Just some scribbles as if someone was cleaning their quill. The folded sheets of parchment however were letters - and what letters! A correspondence between a certain Lena Wolf, Assassin, and Mathieu Bellamont, Speaker.

Allow me to welcome you to the Brotherhood, dear Cousin, and let me congratulate you on your rapid progress. Your mother's blood runs thick in your veins - aa well as your Great-Uncle Greywyn's. Please forgive my liberty - for we are quite far removed in the family tree connected through our mothers, yet our choice of occupation speaks volumes. Our Breton heritage wins over all else, and so I feel as your true Cousin. I pray you may accept me as such.

Extending my warmest regards --

Mathieu Bellamont


It is pure joy to hear from you, Sir, and to learn that I have a Cousin! No matter how far we are removed in the family tree, we are still family, which is all that counts. Please rest assured that should a situation arise where my loyalties come to be tested, you can count on my unreserved support in your every endeavour.

Sincerely yours --

Lena Wolf

These appeared to be the oldest of the letters and the ones that were best preserved, perhaps cherished - they were inside the journal. The other sheets of parchment seemed to have had water damage that washed away the ink in places, some were torn, some had singed edges, looking like they've been salvaged from a fire. With her best effort, the most she could decipher were just a few words: "dead drop replaced", "bonne chance", "Lachance" and "Applew..." - the last part of the word had been washed away. She wasn't even sure it was "Lachance" she was reading and not "la chance", as correspondence between two Bretons was likely to be peppered with Breton expressions anyway. But "Lachance" gave her a jolt, so she settled on that.

"Who was Mathieu Bellamont?" - Rayenna wondered. "He must be dead because I haven't met him... These letters look old - is this the same Lena Wolf as that floozy in Lachance's bed? Probably not - surely, she isn't old enough!"

Rayenna was confused. Normally quick-witted, she sensed the importance of these papers and of those scraps of words... If only she could link them together! But the Dark Brotherhood Archives were not even open to Listeners, let alone Silencers, so she had no chance of finding out anything there. But perhaps there was another way... After all, they were all citizens of the Empire. Wasn't there a friendly Captain of the City Guard in Cheydinhal? She heard rumours he was partial to ladies...

13 Mid-Year

"No, I need to speak to the Captain himself!" - Rayenna was adamant. "It is a sensitive matter!"

"Anything you can say to the Captain, you can say to me" - Regina Regis was not giving up. "I am his second in command, and it is my duty to deal with public complaints first."

"This isn't a complaint" - Rayenna grinned. Where direct assault didn't work, charm might do better. "It's a personal matter. Of a delicate kind" - she winked to Regina. "I'm sure the Captain would like to hear about it from me rather than from someone else."

"Oh, I see" - Regina smiled. "Well, he is in the habit of dining at the Newlands Lodge, you can try talking to him there. If you get a chance" - she added, grinning.


"Captain" - Rayenna approached Garrus Darelliun at the Lodge. "It is Captain, isn't it? I haven't mistaken you for someone else, have I?"

"I am Captain Garrus Darelliun" - Garrus rose from his seat. "How can I be of service?"

"I wonder if I could have a word..." - Rayenna put on her most charming smile - "in private. I have a... ah... delicate matter I would ask your help with. A most delicate matter" - she looked at him with significance, blushing slightly. "I took a room in this Lodge - come with me, please?" She looked at him pleadingly.

"Certainly, my lady" - Garrus smiled. "I'll do my best to assist."

Several people in the room followed them with their eyes. "Well, that's the Captain gone for the night - let's just hope he won't be late for duty tomorrow!" - they chuckled and went back to their drinking.


Rayenna didn't find it hard to get Garrus to relax and start helping her with her delicate matter. She massaged his ego as well as his torso, and soon he was eating out of her hand. Or so she thought.

"I was looking around Cheydinhal and discovered that one of the houses is called the Wolf Sanctuary" - she said nonchalantly, falling back on the cushions. "That's a strange name for a house!"

"Not really" - Garrus replied, turning to look at her. "It belongs to someone named Wolf. It's a Nord surname, I believe."

"Oh how exciting!" - Rayenna sat up. "A Nord! He must be tall and strong, with those blond braids - and wearing furs of course!" Her eyes glazed over with a vision, her mouth half open.

Garrus laughed. "Actually, it's a girl - and she's a Breton."

"Oh" - Rayenna tried to look disappointed, but Garrus noticed a grin of satisfaction on her lips. "A Breton with a Nord surname?"

"It happens" - Garrus became evasive. He had suspected that Rayenna's motive was exactly as she had said - she needed help with a delicate matter - getting classified Imperial information out of an unsuspecting Captain of the Guard. He wanted to know what it was she was after - yes, he too could play the game. "Forget that girl" - he whispered, nibbling on her ear - "You still have spots I haven't fully explored yet..."

Information gathering did have its pleasant aspects, and besides Rayenna still had all night to question him...

14 Mid-Year

"So, this is the house of Lena Wolf" - Rayenna picked the lock and stepped inside. All was quiet - Lena was out of town. "Let's see if I can find anything of interest."

She went through all the drawers, knocked on the walls looking for loose bricks, pulled back every rug and every tapestry - and came up with absolutely nothing of interest, except a solid door in the basement with an equally solid lock that she couldn't pick.

"That house stood abandoned for a very long time" - Garrus had told her at some point. "It had a hole in the wall in the basement leading to a cavern - rats were coming out of it by the legion. We didn't want to brick it over in case it flooded again, so we fitted a heavy door. It's as good as a wall, that." A cavern... Rayenna wondered about that. But then again, it wasn't unheard of...

She had to admit that her expedition to Cheydinhal didn't yield the results she was hoping for. Borba wasn't making a secret of supervising the works on the house.

"House refurbishments is what we do!" - she beamed. "We offer the best quality goods and the lowest prices in all Cyrodiil!" - she added proudly.

"So what can you tell me about Lena Wolf?" - Rayenna decided to be blunt. After all, she was talking to an Orc.

"She's with the Mages Guild" - Borba bared her fangs. Was that a smile? "Quite high up, I believe - a Warlock or something!"

Rayenna knew that - that was public knowledge. It seemed that public knowledge was the only type of information that Rayenna was getting in this city. Were they hiding something or was there simply nothing to find? She couldn't read Orcs or Elves and she melted before the Imperials... she would have to think of something else.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 20 2021, 03:47 PM

14-15 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Bravil - Maglir - Mages Guild

Lena got up in mid-afternoon without any desire to chase after necromancy artefacts for Traven, even though Fort Ontus was not too far away. Instead, she decided to go to Bravil and see what Maglir's problem was now.

She rode cross-country and made it to Bravil in under four hours.

"I am Blackwood Company now!" - Maglir declared proudly. "More work, more pay and no Oreyn to breathe down my neck!"

Lena wasn't surprised. She was annoyed that Maglir wouldn't tell her what his contract was so that she could fulfil it - she had to return to Chorrol for that.

"Well, not today" - she tought. "Good riddance, anyway, one less idiot to babysit."

She went home and sat on the porch for the rest of the evening. The moons were dark and the quiet night brought peace to her thoughts.

IPB Image

15 Mid-Year

"Good to see you all" - Lena entered the Mages Guild in the morning.

"Come have breakfast with us" - Kud-Ei greeted her from the dining room. "Warlock! Or is it Wizard now?" - she smiled.

"I lost count" - Lena grinned, joining them. "'Traven's errand girl' is probably more to the point."

"You don't like it?" - Henantier looked at her intently.

"So far I didn't have to do anything that I disagreed with" - Lena returned his look. "But I feel that I shall have to make choices with my current assignment."

"Oh of course" - Kud-Ei nodded. "He sent you to retrieve those 'stolen' artefacts, am I right?"


"Well, use your judgement and remember that the Mages Guild is not the only professional group of mages in Tamriel" - Kud-Ei considered her sweetroll for a moment. "Or even in Cyrodiil. In particular around Bruma."

"How is Volanaro?" - Jowan joined the conversation. "I hear there have been changes at their Guild Hall."

"Volanaro asked me to tell you that they are holding a place for you if you want it" - Lena answered with a smile. "They have returned to their old work - and no one had to die. So they no longer answer to Traven."

"Do they answer to Mannimarco then?" - Ardaline looked up, worried.

"If I know Volanaro" - Henantier turned to her - "they will not answer to anyone. Instead, they will form a new group with more and more mages joining in. Like the whole of Mysticism, for example, and much of Conjuration. But not before Mannimarco is either dead or gone back to the Sommerset Isle - Volanaro is careful."

Several people around the table nodded in agreement.

"I fear Traven's censorship has touched us all" - Kud-Ei added. "He has now banned half of Illusion spells as well, because commanding creatures or people is apparently 'evil'."

"So what is he left with?" - Delphine started counting on her fingers. "Restoration, Alteration and Alchemy?"

"Half of Alchemy, you mean" - Ardaline shook her head. "We are not to study or make poisons, remember? As if you can study half a science!"

"Even with Restoration - spells like Absorb Health come from Necromancy, don't they?" - Jowan looked around the table. "Anyway, that's how I was taught..."

"This is correct, of course" - Fathis Aren said slowly. "And this is how we used to teach it in Morrowind as well - in particular in House Telvanni. Much of it is a matter of perspective. The same as Damage Health which for some reason falls under Destruction, yet it isn't an elemental force."

The table went quiet for a while.

"Well, I should be getting back to the Castle" - Fathis said, getting up. A shuffle of chairs followed - breakfast was finished.

"If I may?" - Fathis touched Jowan's arm. "I have heard of the way of things in Ferelden, and I understand your reluctance to join any organisation" - he said quietly. "But you might find Bruma very welcoming in spite of the cold."

"Thank you - and I agree" - Jowan smiled. "I think I shall take Volanaro up on his offer."

"That would be a good move for you" - Kud-Ei turned to Jowan. "And I wouldn't be surprised if our paths crossed again in the future."

The people were going about their business, and the Guild Hall grew a lot quieter.

"If I can have a word?" - Kud-Ei asked Lena. "I've heard what happened in Nenyond Twyll - those battlemages going in completely unprepared. This wasn't the first time that Traven neglected to provide adequate information. You may want to look into that - from the Legion side. Perhaps some of your friends might help - or their family members." She looked at Lena with significance.

"Of course" - Lena smiled. "Say no more, I'll investigate."

One more job on Lena's list, but she would have to wait for Hauk's return first.

Lena had a lot of things to do, but she worried about Lucien - in case his fort had been compromised, and what that would mean for him and for the whole Cheydinhal group. For if a Speaker was targeted, his group usually found itself in a lot of trouble. She decided to return to Cheydinhal.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 20 2021, 08:09 PM

15 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Suspicion - Lena's choice

Come immediately. Ocheeva.

Lena found a message in the Wolf Sanctuary. She went downstairs. Lucien was staying in Ocheeva's room.

"Close the door" - Ocheeva shot a glance into the corridor. "I don't suspect anyone here, but we don't want gossip."

Lena closed the door and joined them at the table.

"We believe they are after you" - Ocheeva said, fixing Lena with her gaze. "Now, I know what you are going to say - that you've dealt with worse back then, but it is no reason to underestimate them now."

"Do we know who they are?" - asked Lena calmly.

"I have an idea" - said Lucien. "You need to be very careful. If my suspicion is correct, she is exceptionally skilled and determined."

"But no - wait" - Lena shook her head. "You said 'she'?" - she looked at Lucien. "So it is like we thought - another woman wanting your attention. She didn't try to kill me yet, so I don't think that's her plan. She wants you - she will first make sure you hate me, so that she could have you for herself afterwards."

"Exactly what I told you" - said Ocheeva, also looking at Lucien.

"Ok, intrigue then" - Lucien shook his head. "I found a small crack by the trapdoor in the fort, by the way" - he added, turning to Lena. "It's been closed now, but Ocheeva insisted I should stay away for a while. Then check if the crack reappears."

"Good" - Lena nodded. "I think we have to wait and see what she does next. Unless you want to search her house? I assume she has one?" - she looked at Lucien.

"I already have - there was nothing there, but I placed some bait. We'll have to wait and see. We shall know at least if we suspect the right person."

Ocheeva got up to leave. "I'll be in the training room." She closed the door behind her.

"That foolish woman stands no chance" - Lucien held Lena in an embrace. "But you must be careful, nonetheless." They kissed.

"It could still be someone else, with an entirely different motive" - Lena looked into Lucien's eyes. "Targeting you, and only using our relationship as a diversion."

"Oh, I have my share of enemies, certainly" - Lucien nodded. "Which is why I am staying here for now. If they are after me, they'll have to change tactics, and we will notice."

Lena was looking into Lucien's eyes, feeling his embrace, and she suddenly realised that her feelings for him transcended friendship. This was the time to make her choice.

"I love you" - she said. "I have no doubt."

Lucien smiled and kissed her, then just held her in a tight embrace.

They didn't know how long they stood there, when there was a light knock on the door and someone opened it slightly, then shut it again.

"Come in!" - Lucien said loudly, releasing his embrace but still holding Lena around the waist.

Vicente appeared at the door.

"I was looking for Ocheeva, I apologise" - he said. Then, looking at Lena, he added: "Remember that bottled blood. Happiness can drain you more than sorrow. I am glad you've finally found each other."

He smiled and left. Vicente was much older than all of them. Lena's eyes were red.


"Hello Borba, how have you been?" - Lena entered Borba's shop.

"Good to see you" - Borba beamed. "Garrus left you this message" - she handed Lena a note. Lena read:

We need to talk - it's urgent. Garrus.

"Tell him I'll be at home all evening, he can come for dinner" - Lena looked up.

"Of course" - Borba nodded. "He stops by when he's doing his rounds. Anything else I can do for you?"

"Yes" - Lena hesitated. "I need the same beverage that you supply to Vicente" - she smiled timidly. "And I need it regularly, but not in the same amounts."

"The cure didn't go far enough, did it?" - Borba said with understanding. "I've heard others say the same. But that drink doesn't keep - you'll need fresh supplies, whether you use them or not."

"Yeah" - Lena sighed. "So be it."

Lena could not risk being knocked out by wraiths and not being able to recover. She decided to carry bottled blood with her the same way as she carried healing potions. There was no getting away from it - she wasn't a regular mortal.


"Hello - anybody home?" - Garrus knocked, then put his head through the door.

"Up here - come in!" - Lena answered from upstairs.

They sat down for dinner.

"A very good-looking Redguard woman came asking questions about you" - said Garrus after the usual greeting. "She was very thorough - wanted to know about your past. She probably went through your things here too."

"Oh" - Lena sat up. "Tall, dark hair worn loose, unusually fair skin for a Redguard, piercing green eyes - right?"

"Yes" - Garrus nodded. "With many well-concealed scars all over her body. A Sister of yours?"

"Sounds like it - we have a suspicion."


"She... Well, I might as well tell you, since she came fishing here already" - Lena sighed. "We believe she is jealous of Lucien and me - she saw us... umm... being intimate... and... well... we are not sure what she'll do, but it doesn't look harmless."

Garrus sat back in his chair.

"So... you made your choice."

"I have." Lena felt a weight falling off her shoulders for telling this.

Garrus smiled at her. "I thought it would be him. You were very touchy when I asked you about the flowers."

"But I wasn't sure then at all!" - Lena protested.

"No, you needed time to understand it, but... he's been a part of you for a long time - it was plain to see."

With serious matters out of the way, they spent a pleasant evening chatting about Lena's recent adventures in caves, forts and ruins of Skyrim, Cyrodiil and Shivering Isles. Garrus looked a bit wistful at times, but Lena assured him that as soon as this matter with the Redguard woman was resolved, she would make the time for more adventuring - and she would take Garrus along. Sometimes there was nothing else to do but wait.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 22 2021, 11:59 AM

17 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Adamus Phillida's retirement

"You..?" - Adamus Phillida felt a blade under his ribs but he could not move. "Assassin!" - he breathed, looking at Lena in the mirror, surprise written on his face.

"Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear" - smiled Lena. "You wanted to see one standing before you - and now you have. We were never far away."

"So I was right!" Phillida wanted to raise alarm, call the guards, but paralysis gripped his throat and all he could manage was a quiet hiss. "And now you've come for me!"

"Yes" - Lena nodded. "You will die of a heart attack."

"But why? I am retired now" - the old Commander looked at her pleadingly.

"You know how we operate. Someone did not wish to grant you retirement" - Lena shook her head. "But I can grant you a painless death and a prayer to Arkay for your soul."

"Arkay will not hear you, Assassin!" - Phillida breathed, his face contorted with disgust.

"Oh but he will - he always does, I always get a blessing." Lena put her hand on Phillida's shoulder. "The God of Death knows me well." She nicked his skin with her poisoned blade. As Phillida's heart skipped a beat, he looked at Lena's reflection in the mirror, suddenly realising that what she said was all true. Arkay was waiting for him, and she would send him off with a blessing.


Adamus Phillida was found dead in his quarters in Leyawiin barracks seated at his dressing table, his heart ripped apart as if of electrocution. A sudden heart attack, no wounds, just a small cut in his side under the ribs. The City Guard had nothing to go on, but a certain Captain shook his head upon hearing about it. "Why am I not surprised" - he thought to himself. "Keep poking a cloaked dragon, and one day he'll poke you back."

Posted by: Acadian Jul 22 2021, 12:33 PM

Nice job of painting Phillida's last moments. goodjob.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 22 2021, 03:16 PM

QUOTE(Acadian @ Jul 22 2021, 12:33 PM) *

Nice job of painting Phillida's last moments. goodjob.gif

Thank you, Acadian! biggrin.gif This is how I played it. Cloak and dagger. smile.gif Illusion and Alchemy are great schools of magic.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 22 2021, 03:33 PM

17 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Leyawiin Sanctuary, a prelude

"I see you still honour Arkay" - Lucien joined Lena on a pew in the chapel in Leyawiin. "Phillida?"

Lena nodded. They sat quietly for a while.

"Any news?" - Lena asked.

"Not yet, but we need to warn Fenris."

"Let's go."


"Mistress! You have returned" - Fenris kneeled before Lena as she entered the Leyawiin Sanctuary. Then, remembering that she had told him not to kneel, he looked up but didn't rise. Lucien stood behind Lena.

"Hello Fenris, good to see you" - said Lena, lifting Fenris up by the shoulders. "You look well." She smiled at him.

"You will find poisons in the chest, and I have been learning making potions too" - said Fenris, glancing at Lucien sideways. "I shall prepare dinner for you."

She let him leave.

"I like what you've done with the place" - said Lucien, looking around. "Much better than the way it was on my last visit." He smiled. His last visit was over two centuries ago - when the Dark Brotherhood came for the Crimson Scars and he killed Lena's great-uncle.


They came into the dining hall just as Fenris was dressing the table. He kept his head low and was shooting sideways glances at Lucien.

"Fenris, this is Lucien Lachance, my Speaker and friend" - said Lena.

Fenris froze, looking into Lucien's face, now that Lucien had removed his hood.

"I believe we've met before" - said Lucien. "You were one of the young recruits that escaped right after our first visit. We never found you again."

"Until now..." - Fenris' voice sounded hoarse.

"Oh, I've known about your existence for a long time already, do not worry" - Lucien smiled. "You have been absolved."

Fenris relaxed, then dropped to his knees before Lena again.

"Thank you, Mistress - I know this is your doing."

Lena looked at Lucien in exasperation, then lifted up Fenris by the shoulders again.

"I told you not to worry" - she said. "With Rowley Eardwulf's death Purification has been completed. Please - let us have dinner. There is something we need to tell you, Fenris."

They sat down for dinner and Lena told Fenris that an assassin had been making inquiries about her - with unknown intentions. Fenris looked shocked.

"It is quite possible that they will come here looking for documents or anything else that they think they could use" - said Lucien. "How are your fighting skills, Fenris? That assassin is skilled."

"I can fight" - Fenris looked up. "Although I shall have to practice" - he looked into the distance. "It has been over a century since my last job, but I am still a vampire" - he smiled. "I shall go slightly hungry to sharpen my reflexes."

"Good" - Lucien nodded. "One of our Brothers will join you - Teinaava, and..." - he put an enchanted dagger before Fenris - "this might help, too."

"Paralysis?" - Fenris touched the dagger.

"Indeed" - Lucien smiled. "If you can capture the intruder instead of killing her, it would be ideal. Yes, we believe it is a woman, but at this point it is still just a suspicion. We could be wrong. Be careful - she is not after you, but she won't hesitate to kill."

"I shall be discrete" - Fenris smiled, clipping the dagger to his belt.


"The main entrance to the Sanctuary is under water" - Lena turned to Lucien after dinner. "Was it like that when you were here last?"

"No, it must have sunk later." He looked into the water, barely making out the door. "But don't you have another pool here too?"

"Indeed" - Lena smiled, leading him to the purifying pool with a salt formation next to it. "We don't need the salts but the pool itself is quite nice for regular bathing. And Fenris stays away from it like from the plague" - she winked.

"Well then" - Lucien closed the door. "We should test the waters."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 23 2021, 09:33 AM

18-21 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Phillida's message - Imp hunting - A letter from Hauk

"I shall return to Cheydinhal" - said Lucien during breakfast at the Leyawiin Sanctuary. "Teinaava should arrive here today, then all we need to do is wait. He will return to Cheydinhal once an intruder has been caught. Fenris will be able to keep her subdued after that, I trust?" - he looked at Lena with a question.

"Never fear" - Lena smiled. "Fenris will need to feed after a fight like that, especially since he'll go hungry before it. Have you not seen how much blood Vicente keeps in store?"

"Very well, then there is nothing to do here for us until then" - Lucien nodded. "What are your plans now?"

"Imperial City - Phillida job is not quite finished yet" - she winked. "Then Chorrol Fighters Guild, then wherever they send me, but I suspect it will be Bravil."

"Good, makes it easier to send word when it's time."

19 Mid-Year

"Am I supposed to be impressed?" - the new Commander of the Imperial Watch opened his desk first thing in the morning and saw a finger with Phillida's signet ring where he expected to find his inkwell. He poked the finger with his quill. "Disgusting."

He looked around, making sure no one had seen him, then, without touching the finger, he rolled it off his desk with a couple of quills, dropping everything into a basket and covering with crumpled bits of parchment.

"Yuck!" - he shivered. "But I get the message!" - he told someone unseen. "I have just as much desire to touch you people as I like to touch that finger!"

The door to the Imperial Legion Offices opened and closed silently, although no one was seen to go in or out.


"He quit, did he?!" - Modryn Oreyn was livid as Lena brought him the news of Maglir's switch to the Blackwood Company. "We took him in when no one else would, and this is how he repays us!! Unbelievable!"

"Not so unbelievable" - Lena thought to herself, as it was out of the question to actually say anything to Oreyn right now. "Maglir had been trouble from the start - my trouble!"

"Well, you'll have to fulfil his contract" - Oreyn looked at Lena angrily. "Don't just stand there, go to Bravil Mages Guild and see what they wanted! Now!!"

Lena turned around and left without another word. It appeared that fire-breathing dragons were back in Cyrodiil too.


"Imp gall! I need imp gall!" - Aryarie was pacing the Guild Hall nervously. "I am stuck because of this damned Fighters Guild!"

"Ah, it must be her" - Lena thought, entering the hall. "Aryarie, I'm here on behalf of the Fighters Guild" - Lena said to her with a smile. "Was it imp gall that you wanted?"

"Yes! Finally!" - Aryarie turned around, she did think the voice was familiar. "Oh! Warlock... sorry, didn't realise you were with the Fighters Guild too..." - she blushed a bit. "But I am rather stuck, so if you don't mind..."

"Of course" - Lena beamed at her. "Imp gall it is." She turned to leave, then changed her mind. "For some reason once you pass Conjurer, the Mages Guild stops paying you for your work."

She walked off, leaving Aryarie seriously doubting her ambitions to make Magician.

20 Mid-Year

Hunting imps was a breeze, even if it did take all day. Lena took it steady and slow, taking care to extract the gall carefully, and to check for any chests along the way - caves like that were often used by smugglers. The chests didn't disappoint, and there was even a minotaur to play with.

"I'll need to remember this cave" - Lena thought to herself. "Lots of imps in here, and they will be back, no doubt."

Aryarie was delighted with the imp gall, even more so because Lena actually knew how to cut it out without destroying it and how to keep it fresh.


"I have a letter for you" - an out-of-breath courier stopped her as she was leaving the Mages Guild. "Something I'm supposed to deliver... Let's see now..." - he fumbled in his bag. "Oh - here, marked 'urgent'!" He handed her a sealed parchment. "Well, better be off!"

"But - who is it from?" - Lena cried after him, but he only waved and disappeared around the corner. "Hmmm..." - Lena thought, breaking the seal. Something told her, it wasn't good news.

If you are reading this, I have been taken into Boethia's Realm. It is unlikely that I will return. It has been a privilege to walk with you. Goodbye.

"No!" - Lena's first reaction was to panic, but she steadied herself, folded the parchment and went home. "Think it over first, something isn't right."

Lena thought the letter sounded strange, not quite how Hauk would put it. Her first instinct was that this was a trap, so the thing to do was to go to the Imperial City to look for him. Lena decided to leave right away, even though Roach disliked travelling at night. She arrived before sunrise and went straight to the Bastion, but the guards told her that she had to wait for the morning. She checked his house and most taverns to pass the time - she didn't really expect to find him, but she couldn't sleep anyway.

21 Mid-Year

In the morning, Hauk was still not around, and no one at the Legion Offices would tell her anything. "Should have expected that!" - she thought. Yes, he could simply be away on Legion business. Or he could be in Boethia's Realm. Would she take that risk? No, she wouldn't.

Cursing for the lost time, she bought a daedra heart and set off for Boethia's shrine in the Valus Mountains. She approached the statue, the heart in her hand.

"I wish to enter your Realm" - she said.

"Compete in my Tournament, win, then you can roam my Realm" - answered Boethia, opening a portal.

Lena entered without thinking.

The Realm consisted of an arena. There were no prison cells, no changing rooms, no training grounds - and Hauk wasn't there. Perhaps there were other islands in this sea of lava? If so, she could not see any.

"Boethia does not take captives" - her first opponent told her. "We are here to fight - one of each race. If your friend is not among us, he isn't here."

One of each race... She would have to wait for the Nord. And then? What if it was Hauk?

Posted by: macole Jul 23 2021, 04:17 PM

Boethia's quest, at the time I couldn't rationalize doing the sacrifice in order to gain entrance to her realm so I never did this one. Looks like you have a very good reason to perform entrance ritual.

This should be interesting.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 23 2021, 04:24 PM

QUOTE(macole @ Jul 23 2021, 04:17 PM) *

Boethia's quest, at the time I couldn't rationalize doing the sacrifice in order to gain entrance to her realm so I never did this one. Looks like you have a very good reason to perform entrance ritual.

This should be interesting.

I think you might be confusing it with Mephala's or with Skyrim. Here it just required a daedra heart to be brought to the statue - and you're in! (And you had to be at least level 20 to have at least a miniscule chance of surviving it. biggrin.gif )

EDIT: Unless of course something else happens. I am just about to touch the statue in the actual game, and I've never done it before! ohmy.gif

Posted by: macole Jul 23 2021, 07:13 PM

QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Jul 23 2021, 10:24 AM) *

QUOTE(macole @ Jul 23 2021, 04:17 PM) *

Boethia's quest, at the time I couldn't rationalize doing the sacrifice in order to gain entrance to her realm so I never did this one. Looks like you have a very good reason to perform entrance ritual.

This should be interesting.

I think you might be confusing it with Mephala's or with Skyrim. Here it just required a daedra heart to be brought to the statue - and you're in! (And you had to be at least level 20 to have at least a miniscule chance of surviving it. biggrin.gif )

EDIT: Unless of course something else happens. I am just about to touch the statue in the actual game, and I've never done it before! ohmy.gif

Yes, I was thinking of the Skyrim Boethia quest. embarrased.gif

Either way, it'll be fun to revisit this one.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 24 2021, 02:21 PM

21 Mid-Year, 4E202 - The Tournament of Ten Bloods

An arena lay before Lena. She would fight one of each race, and hope that the Nord was not Hauk. Boethia's Chosen... Hauk did not worship Boethia, but he did have the mace of Molag Bal - may be this was Boethia's revenge?

IPB Image

"Focus on the fight" - she told herself, brushing these thoughts aside. "The first one is an elf - definitely not Hauk. Survive!"

The elf made short work of Lena's clannfear - he was a mage... and a fighter... the worst kind. Lena went down twice...

"Focus!" - she told herself angrily. "There's nine of them still to come! You won't get far this way!"

Nine or ten - she wasn't sure whether she'd have to fight a Breton or not. It didn't matter.

Lena wasn't a warrior, she was a stealth assassin preferring ranged attacks from cover. There was no cover here - this tournament would be her death. Unless...

Coming to, she wasted no time summoning another clannfear. It wouldn't be deadly, but it was fast and charged the elf, giving Lena an opening. She poisoned her blade, cloaked and crept from behind...

"What?!" - the elf spun around in surprise, feeling the wound, sensing his life energy ebbing away, with great fatigue taking over his body. "Where..?"

" she?" - Lena finished his sentence in her mind while her clannfear delivered the final blow. The elf couldn't heal fast enough.

"One down..." - Lena thought going through his pockets and picking up healing potions. She would be needing those.

There was no time to rest. Lena's boots were shattered already, so she kicked them off and pulled on a pair of shoes. Her iron cuirass and grieves were weakened but still held, and of course nothing could break the shielding enchantment... she hoped.

Another elf... a mage. She poisoned her blade again and cloaked, dodging the shock spells. He was using a staff, so he wouldn't be silenced. His skeleton was engaging the clannfear. "Hero or Champion" - Lena thought, noticing that the clannfear wasn't winning.

Lena crept up behind the mage, came quite close, still cloaked and almost ready to strike, but he sensed her then. "Life detection?" - she thought, but it didn't matter, invisibility was not going to work. She lunged with her sword.

"Aauww!" - the elf spun around, a warhammer in his hands.

"How..?" - Lena caught herself - "Don't stop to wonder!" He was a battlemage. Dodge, lunge, paralyse, apply more poison...

It wasn't a fair fight, but you didn't get points for fairness.

"Eighty six healing potions!" - Lena went through his pockets once he was down. "This explains the robes - and the noise he was making. Well, they didn't help..." She didn't take the potions - she had enough of her own, and didn't want to be slowed down by all the extra weight.

An Imperial... a Khajiit... a Nord... Lena was hit, poisoned and burned, but her poisoned blade always found its mark. Her armour was all but shattered now, but the enchantment still held. There was no time for repairs.

"A Nord?" - she looked into the face of a young woman she just defeated. A wave of relief washed over her - it wasn't Hauk. So... this was a trap. She wasn't done yet, there were more opponents to come. How many? She lost count.

IPB Image

"I am disappointed" - she heard Boethia's voice. "She was quick and strong, I shall miss her."

"What?" - Lena turned around, but of course Boethia wasn't showing his face. "Oh" - she looked at the Nord girl again. "He must have liked her... I wonder if this means that things will get tougher from now..."

It did. The next opponent was an Orc. She dispatched Lena's clannfear in a single hit, and when Lena tried paralysis, the spell was absorbed. The Orc retaliated - and Lena went down, over and over again. What now? Vanish and Heal potion bought Lena a little time, but the Orc had fully healed herself by then. "Dessos" - Lena thought, preparing to summon her dremora. She needed cover to apply poison again - twice or three times, and of different kinds.

The fight was fierce, and Dessos was banished twice, but in the end the Orc could not heal fast enough, with three poisons ravaging her body. She died, but not before Lena was bruised and cut beyond simple healing.

"Whoever said that axes were blunt, never felt one on their own flesh" - she thought, wincing at the pain. She gulped down another potion - it took the edge off the pain and made her feel stronger, but she wasn't fooled. Lena's wounds were deep, it seemed she could not stop the bleeding, not all of it, anyway. Yet, she still had a long way to go... "Better get on with it - I won't last much longer" - she thought.

A Redguard... Lena could swear the opponents were getting tougher and tougher. His strike was so strong, he paralysed the clannfear, banishing it with the next hit of his mace. Dessos didn't fare much better, although he didn't get banished that fast. Poison seemed to glide off the Redguard's skin doing barely any damage...

"It cannot be!" - Lena thought. "There must be a way..."

No, he had no weakness for Lena to exploit and the fight was wearing her down. But the Redguard was but a man, not a god, with his only weakness being his mortality... The poisons got him in the end - his heart ripping apart as if of electrocution.

"Phew" - Lena sighed, kneeling to check his pockets. "Nothing. You ran out of potions, my friend." She would be soon running out of potions too.

But who was next? Lena didn't see anyone, but summoned a clannfear nonetheless - and saw it burn. An archer. The clannfear charged - and was banished before it could reach its target. She summoned another - the archer had moved and Lena lost him again. A Bosmer? This wasn't a forest, yet he seemed to hide in plain sight. Lena had to be quick. She poisoned her sword, cast life detection and charged.

"Huh?" - the Bosmer was still shooting arrows at the clannfear. But the poison took away his stamina first, and he couldn't lift his heavy battleaxe to get to Lena. The clannfear found him, he banished it with another fire arrow, but Lena had the time to apply more poison onto her blade...

The Bosmer went down with a sigh. She won another battle, but the tournament wasn't over.

IPB Image

Lena was feeling tired. She could barely walk, from pain and exhaustion. She started shivering - how could she be cold on this island surrounded by bubbling lava? Red mist wafted into her vision, black spots started replacing the fires... She would pass out soon... Surely, that would count as a failure, she would be left for dead... No, she could not allow it - there was one more thing she could do. Blood.

Borba's bottled blood cleared away the mist, but Lena was still shivering. Another bottle. She felt warmer. How many more fights were still ahead? Better not be too many, she had no blood left...

"Showing your face here was the last mistake you'll ever make!" - a hoarse voice brought Lena out of her near-stupor. Quick, another opponent!

Lena had barely any strength left, but she willed herself on her feet, summoning her dremora. While Dessos was engaging the opponent - an Argonian - Lena poisoned her blade, flanking her. She hit without conviction - that was the best she could do. She hoped the poison would work... Or would it? Weren't Argonians resistent to such things? Ouch.

The poison didn't do much, but Dessos managed to land a few strikes with his fire-enchanted claymore, and the Argonian tried to run back and put some distance between them, switching to a bow. A single arrow banished Dessos in a cloud of red mist - it was enchanted. "Damage Health and probably everything else for good measure" - Lena thought, shuddering. She summoned a clannfear again - for speed, then hesitated selecting a poison. "Let's try one with an elemental effect" - she thought - "since Influenza Subita didn't do much. Oh, here - Napalm."

She ran up to the Argonian hoping and preying that clannfear would still be holding her opponent's attention - Lena's magicka was nearly out. She hit once or twice, then cloaked with the last of her will, and waited. Would the poison suffice?

She was feeling weak, she could barely stand. She fell to her knees, her armour weighing her down. Red mist was swirling in from all sides again, and darkness closing in... She heard Boethia's voice, but could not make out what he was saying... "...Breton..." Breton? Did he say Breton? So then, she won!..

The darkness closed in and she was gone.

Posted by: Acadian Jul 24 2021, 02:53 PM

Wow, what a nailbiting series of fights! Sounds like Lena won but barely. Whew!

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 24 2021, 03:38 PM

QUOTE(Acadian @ Jul 24 2021, 02:53 PM) *

Wow, what a nailbiting series of fights! Sounds like Lena won but barely. Whew!

She may have won... But did she survive? ohmy.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 25 2021, 09:26 AM

22 Mid-Year, 4E202 - The Tournament of Ten Bloods, the aftermath

"Sanguine?" - Lena opened her eyes with difficulty and saw a dremora kneeling over her. "What... happened?" Her tongue seemed to have doubled in size.

"Bloody Boethia - whatever possessed you to enter his tournament? This isn't the Imperial City Arena!" - Sanguine was casting healing spells at Lena. "Look at you - you're a mess!"

"But... I won" - Lena tried to smile, but her mouth wouldn't stretch.

"You won..." - Sanguine shook his head. "You were the one still barely alive while the others lay dead, yes. And all of it for what? A sword! Unbelievable."

Lena raised her head and looked around. She was lying in a clearing, it was early evening. A gentle breeze moved through the light foliage around her. She smelled a campfire, heard the birds chirping. It seemed familiar.

"Where are we? This isn't near the shrine."

"No, you never made it out of Boethia's Realm" - Sanguine sat cross-legged next to her now, stroking her face. "I brought you to one of my islands."

Lena's face felt better, she could speak almost normally now.

"What do you mean - never made it out? How did you..?" No, speaking was still painfully difficult.

"Boethia does not care for his contestants. You won the fight, yes, but you still had to walk through the gate on your own, and you couldn't. As to how I knew..." - Sanguine smiled. "Dessos. He took quite a beating himself." Sanguine jerked his head towards the fire. Lena turned and saw a dremora tending to his wounds, his armour in a heap next to him.

"Oh I am so sorry!" - she cried, although it came out more like a growl. "I was mostly summoning clannfears, but sometimes I just needed help..." She tried to get up, but her legs refused to cooperate and she fell back onto the bedroll with a thud. "I am a mess, you're right" - she admitted.

"You mortals are too fragile for this" - Dessos said without turning. "Yet you are undaunted. Strange."

"Yeah..." - Lena smirked. "That's us."

She felt drowsy - Sanguine gave her a potion.

"You need to rest now" - he said, getting up. "Was anyone with you?"

"No" - Lena mumbled, falling asleep. "This was my own foolish idea..."

This wasn't entirely true - Lena had been tricked. That letter wasn't from Hauk - it was sending her to her death. Murder by Boethia's Tournament... A stroke of genius, she had to admit. It's just... she didn't like to be the target.


Lena woke up on a clearing, turned to her side and saw two dremoras and a Mazken sitting by the fire. She was still in Sanguine's Realm. Her body felt as if every bone was broken, but she was alive.

Sanguine heard her move and turned around.

"Ah, you are awake!" - he smiled. "Good. You need better healing than this, Dylan will take you to the Shivering Isles."

"Wait - before we go" - Lena sat up, wincing. "Here - take a look at this" - she produced a blood-stained letter from an inner pocket. "This is why I was there. This was a trap - the letter is a lie. Lucien needs to know."

Sanguine read the letter, his face turning grim. Dylan clenched his fists. Dessos put on his armour.

"Someone wants you dead" - said Sanguine.

"I know" - Lena nodded. "That's not new. Tell Lucien to speak with Ocheeva - this is an intrigue, not a plain murder, and we still have no proof. Tell him..." - she winced at the pain again. "Tell him that if I find him dead when I return, I'll go into the Void and make him come back. Sithis can't have him yet."

She tried to get up, but again her legs wouldn't cooperate. She swore.

Dylan came up to her, lifting her up and holding her around the waist, her feet barely touching the ground.

"Ready?" - he asked, preparing to cast a spell. She nodded, he opened a portal and they disappeared into it.

"She would go against Sithis?" - Dessos looked at Sanguine in surprise.

"And she would likely succeed, too" - Sanguine grinned. "A lot of passion in this one..."

Posted by: Acadian Jul 25 2021, 12:02 PM

Ahah, nice followup. Saved (sort of) by Sanguine. Handy to know, Sanguine is. You mortals are too fragile for this! tongue.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 25 2021, 12:46 PM

QUOTE(Acadian @ Jul 25 2021, 12:02 PM) *

Ahah, nice followup. Saved (sort of) by Sanguine. Handy to know, Sanguine is. You mortals are too fragile for this! tongue.gif

Sanguine is still a Prince, he's got powers, even if he's drunk most of the time. smile.gif He's very fond of Lena, may be one day she'll tell the story... Or may be he will, if he stays off felldew long enough. biggrin.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 25 2021, 02:42 PM

22 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Bernice's Taphouse

"Aquanostrum is what she needs - Aquanostrum!" - Sickly Bernice was proclaiming between the coughs. "That's what's keeping me alive!"

"She's not wrong, you know" - Ushnar chimed in. "But once you start drinking it, you'll never stop - it's worse than skooma!"

"Skooma?" - a voice piped up from a heap of rags in the corner. "You've got some skooma? Friend? Pal? To share? Oh pass the skooma already!"

"There's no skooma here, Caldana" - Ushnar cut her off.

A disappointed sigh came from the rags and Caldana went back to sleep. The gathering in Bernice's Taphouse went quiet for a moment, everyone trying to think of something that would help Lena heal.

"Why don't you take her to the Wellspring again?" - asked Earil, looking at Dylan. "It worked last time, didn't it?"

"It doesn't heal" - Dylan shook his head. "It regenerates. There was no disease to cure last time, no wounds to close. It simply regenerated her skin. I'll take her there if she keeps any scars after this, but she needs to heal first."

"It's too bad that Muurine is dead" - Cutter said with regret. "She was a gifted Necromancer, she would have known what to do."

"What?!" - Una cried in disbelief. "Necromancer! We want to keep her alive, not turn her into a zombie!"

"Una" - Cutter started speaking slowly, as if explaining things to a child. "Necromancy deals with life as well as death - they are one and the same. Muurine would have been able to find the cause of her illness." Cutter rolled her eyes, shaking her head. "It can't be just wounds - I cut myself all the time, and I've never needed anything beyond simple healing."

"Sticks! Fresh sticks! As long as they are fresh, there's nothing better!.." - Gloorolros' voice trailed off as everyone stared at him.

"Aw, fribble!" - Bolwing swore, trying to pick out Big Head's fork from a pile of cutlery on the table. "This... Yes?" - he looked at the others. "Is this the right one? Can you understand me?" They nodded. He brightened up and continued. "Where is Ahjazda? She's not here. She's an alchemist - a good one. She knows potions that heal wounds of the soul, too."

"Keep that crazy cat away from me!" - Ushnar shuddered. "I would not take anything from a cat!"

"We know, Ushnar" - Una patted his arm. "Calm down now, come and see me at the museum again - we'll keep the cats out" - she spoke soothingly.

"Oh, of course, dear... err... Una, I mean" - Ushnar mumbled. It was his luck that Orcs didn't blush much.

"Wounds of the soul" - Arctus mused, looking into the distance. "I always knew she was Demented, yet she lit the Great Torch for Mania this time - that must be the wound in her soul."

"No, it's not!" - Tilse walked in. "What? Don't stare - we care for her just as much as you do." She joined them at the table with a challenge in her sanguine eyes. "It's love, don't you see?" She looked around the table. "Why did she go there? To save someone. Bring him to her, and she'll recover" - she concluded triumphantly.

Everyone looked at Dylan. "You know her best. So?"

"No" - Dylan shook his head. "She knows he wasn't there, she's not worried about him. And..." - he looked at Tilse - "he's not the one she loves."

"I wish I had friends like this" - Earil sighed. "That would go to Oblivion and back for me..." - he looked wistful.

The room fell silent again. Bernice refilled everyone's goblets with her summer wine, adding a goblet for Tilse.

"Hey, this is good!" - Tilse looked up, having sampled the wine. "I should have trusted Ahjazda, she keeps bringing it over, but I..." - her voice trailed off as she felt everyone's stares. "What? Didn't you know? About Ahjazda and me? Oh..." - she blushed, visible even on her dark Dunmer skin.

"Love, eh?" - Earil grinned. "I see where you are coming from, sister!"

This lightened up the mood, so Bernice put smoked balliwog legs on the table and everyone suddenly realised that serious discussions called for sustenance.

"But what are we going to do?" - Arctus felt they had to make a decision. "About the healing?"

"Well" - Earil started firmly. "Heal the wounds first - that's the easy bit. Then we'll see. May be Ahjazda does know something we don't" - he looked at Tilse - "since she's... you know..."

"What?" - Tilse rose from her chair slightly.

"...more open-minded than most of us" - Earil finished his sentence. "Carrying on with a Manic like that."

Tilse snorted but didn't say anything. Everyone started reciting their favourite healing recipes, the ones that closed the wounds of the physical nature. Somehow they were all pretty much the same... and Dylan knew them already. He didn't learn anything new, and yet he felt more at ease and almost certain that the treatment would work. Why was that? The ways of the mortals were strange indeed.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 26 2021, 07:40 AM

25 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Hauk in Crucible

"Dylan" - Hauk nodded a greeting as he entered the Wolf House in Crucible. Dylan was making potions downstairs. "How is she?"

"Sleeping" - Dylan looked up from his work. "Or resting, anyway. She will be glad to see you."

Hauk dropped off his gear in the corner and changed out of his armour into a robe.

"Here - take this to her, it's nearly time" - Dylan handed him a potion.


Lena was awake. She was sitting up in bed, trying to read, but the words on the page kept moving, making her dizzy. She heard voices coming from downstairs... familiar voices. Hauk? She strained to hear.

Hauk softly opened the door and looked in.

"Ah, you are awake!" - he smiled. "Here - drink this" - he handed her the potion.

Lena was going to say something, but he thrust the potion into her hand.

"Drink this first" - he said firmly.

Lena sighed and obeyed. Then, as Hauk bend towards her to take the empty vial, she leapt up, wrapping her arms around his neck. "You're alive" - she whispered.


"If I didn't know better, I would have said you shouldn't have done it" - he smiled. "But I know you" - he sighed, stroking her cheek. "So I'll say: you need to be better prepared."

"There is no preparing for something like that" - Lena shook her head. "Well, may be for the fights themself... But if I had known what this Tournament was... that I would have to fight one of each race, if I had understood what the letter implied - that I would have to fight you... I don't know what I would have done" - she looked at him with horror. "The nightmares of that possibility are still haunting me."

"But it didn't happen" - Hauk was holding her hand in his. "Put it out of your mind, don't let that assassin win."

Lena nodded slowly. "Dylan has been saying the same thing, but it isn't that easy." Then she looked up, remembering something. "How did you find out? Sanguine?"

"Yes" - Hauk nodded. "I saw Lucien too."

"Then... you probably guessed" - Lena smiled uneasily. "I've made my choice" - she said with difficulty.

"Yeah... I guessed" - Hauk was still holding Lena's hand. "I must say I was expecting it" - he smiled softly. "You be happy with him."

Lena leaned forward, grabbing Hauk's arm as if to stop him from leaving.

"Oh, I am not going anywhere" - he said firmly. "It is now twice that you've gone to Oblivion and back on my account - you are not getting rid of me that easily. Besides, I didn't think that Lucien was keen on Ayleid ruins, so you need me." He gave her a broad grin.

Lena smiled too, letting go of Hauk's arm.

"Dagail was right" - she said, her voice trembling slightly. "This time I have friends."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 26 2021, 10:09 AM

16-19 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Rayenna's investigation

"Where is Deepscorn Hollow?" - Rayenna was pouring over a map, not finding it. "It was his Sanctuary, so it would have been secret, but not in a town since it's an estate." Cyrodiil was too large to search every possible cavern. She wasn't having any luck. "Well, it isn't surprising really that it's not on the map." She folded it away. "Ok, let's try something else: who was Mathieu Bellamont? And what are these scraps of paper? And why did I find it all here?" She stared at the papers that she had retrieved from their secret hiding place behind the tapestry in her home, but the papers didn't answer. "There must be some clue that I'm missing..."

The sea always helped Rayenna to think, so she went out the door of her rented lighthouse cellar and strolled along the pier. It was a hazy morning and the Castle of Anvil was only showing its outline.

"Morning, Rayenna" - Ulfgar Fog-Eye greeted her. "Still getting up early, I see? It's good to see you back here, I already started to wonder whether you still wanted that cellar."

"Of course I do" - Rayenna smiled. "This is my home." She looked him over, taking in his worn clothes - he wasn't a rich man. "Say, Ulfgar" - she started tentatively. "Would you sell it to me?"

"I would, but I can't" - he looked at her with regret. "The Countess owns the lighthouse and the cellar now, and although she lets me rent it out, she won't sell it, not after what happened here before."

"What happened here before?" - Rayenna was unsure what he meant. She grew up here on the docks, surely she would have heard all the rumours by now?

Ulfgar looked around, checking that no one was listening in, then he came close to Rayenna and said as quietly as he could manage: "The Dark Brotherhood. There was a madman living here, he was a member but tried to destroy them from within." Ulfgar looked over his shoulder again. "They say the cellar is cursed - that his spirit still dwells in there."

Rayenna looked shocked.

"The Dark Bro..?!" - she cried out, but Ulfgar quickly put his hand over her mouth.

"Sshhh..." - he looked horrified. "Are you trying to get us killed? They are everywhere!"

"You have no idea" - Rayenna thought, relaxing. Ulfgar let go of her. "When was that?" - she asked in a low voice.

"Oh, some two centuries ago" - Ulfgar scratched his head. "But people remember. Not many even want to come near it now." He looked at her with a worried expression. "You are not going to move out, are you? Now that you know?"

"Of course not" - Rayenna assured him with a smile. "I never noticed any curse, I think it's just stories."


Rayenna didn't think those were just stories - she now had a lead. She didn't believe in an angry ghost in her cellar - she knew there wasn't one - but she suspected that the madman from the Dark Brotherhood might have been that traitor that she heard talk about. She never knew his name - could he have been Mathieu Bellamont? That would explain so much...

She went around the port, greeting everyone and carefully fishing for that old legend about a curse in town. She heard a lot about the Benirus Manor, but not much about the lighthouse. She brought it up at the Flowing Bowl. Maenlorn froze, then quickly caught himself.

"Oh, that's just old superstition!" - he beamed at her. "You don't want to listen to such nonsense!"

"Wait - he's an elf" - Rayenna thought, searching his face. "He was probably around then." And she asked with a smile: "How long have you been running the Flowing Bowl, Maenlorn? I've known you all my life..."

"Oh, we've been here longer than that" - he smiled evasively. "Caenlorn is still talking about leaving, but we are well settled in here by now. Valenwood is not for us."

"He's changing the topic" - Rayenna noted. "I won't get anything out of him. But what about his brother? Perhaps he's more talkative."

She found Caenlorn wandering around the city, looking bored. "Ideal" - she thought. She walked with him, carefully steering the conversation towards old legends. It took a lot of manoeuvring, but eventually he told her something that she wanted to hear.

"Bellamont was his name - a Breton" - Caenlorn was looking into the distance. "I remember him because he always used to argue with Maenlorn about the food. Not good enough for him. Then he vanished one day, and the Countess took possession of the lighthouse. The man had been mad - you should have seen his cellar when we cleared it out... Blood everywhere... bones... And a severed head - flesh decomposed beyond recognition! It was a shrine of some sort, you could tell. A shrine to the severed head! Mad, I'm telling you..."

Caenlorn shuddered - it wasn't a pleasant memory. Rayenna learned what she wanted. Bellamont was the traitor whose name was not spoken. And he was Lena's cousin - a cousin to whom she had pledged loyalty. Surely that meant that Lena was a traitor herself? Except... that was two centuries ago, and the girl in Lucien's bed was in her early twenties.

"She's an imposter" - Rayenna decided. "She must be. She was a Breton, they are not that long lived. Even if she did have an Altmer for a Great-Uncle" - she remembered that mention in Greywyn Blenwyth's will. "Even if she was still alive, she would have looked older. No, it can't be her."

Now Rayenna had to prove that Lena Wolf was an imposter. "Why is it that with every question answered, I get another that's even harder to figure out?" - she thought in frustration. "How am I going to prove that? Unless..."

Deepscorn Hollow was the key. Whether Lena Wolf was an imposter or the original, she would have papers, documents, journals, something - she must! And she would be keeping it in Deepscorn Hollow. Rayenna had to find it. She didn't know where to start, so she decided to start with what she knew - the living Lena Wolf was with the Mages Guild, so why not start asking about her there.


"Lena Wolf?" - Carahil was looking at Rayenna in surprise. "She's a Warlock now, has been helping the Arch Mage fight the necromancers." Carahil looked proud. "She might not be the most powerful mage in the Guild, but she's resourceful, and we need people like her. Why do you ask?"

"Oh, no reason" - Rayenna smiled, trying to charm Carahil.

"Your charm spell needs work" - Carahil scowled, unimpressed. Rayenna made a quick exit. May be it wasn't her brightest idea to use magic against the head of a Mages Guild chapter...

17 Mid-Year

"Bruma - I should try Bruma" - Rayenna thought, riding North. "The Nords can't keep their tongues on a leash after a few rounds of mead, and why would they anyway - I might learn something there."

The Mages Guild hall looked strange with the skull and bones banners adorning it.

"This Guild Hall specialises in Necromancy, as it always has" - Jeanne told her proudly. "It is just another magic school - we are no threat to anyone."

Rayenna didn't get a good feeling about the place, and there were no Nords here, so she decided to try a tavern instead. Olav's Tap and Tack looked the part.

"Lena Wolf?" - Olav scratched his head. "Oh, you mean that Breton girl that always shows up with that Nord in tow?" - he grinned. "I even put a double bed for them in one of the rooms. Inseparable, they are."

"The Nord?" - Rayenna asked hopefully.

"Oh I see now" - Olav winked. "It's not the girl you're after" - he laughed. "A battlemage - Hauk. He's with the Mages Guild, of course. As is his twin brother, sometimes people confuse them." He laughed at a memory.

"Are they close?" - Rayenna decided to look jealous. "Hauk and Lena, I mean?"

Olav nodded. "They are. I hate to break it to you, but you better look for another Nord" - he winked and smiled.

"Oh great" - Rayenna thought, looking him over. She didn't like Nords that way, so she hastened to thank him and leave. But now she had a name.

She wasn't sure what to do next, but decided to ride to the Imperial City - the main road out of Bruma led South. She passed a shrine of Namira along the way.

"Daedric Princes send mortals to perform dangerous tasks for a reward" - she remembered how it worked. "Some tasks are more dangerous than others... Perhaps even too dangerous... Say... it's worth a try!"

19 Mid-Year

The First Edition in the Imperial City had what she wanted - The Book of Daedra. Rayenna settled down in a far corner of the All Saints Inn to study it. She purposefully chose the quietest inn in town so that she could be undisturbed.

"Boethia's Tournament of Ten Bloods... hopefuls have to fight one of each race to become Boethia's Chosen, who then fight new contestants in future Tournaments... fights to the death..." - she read. "That's it! She's an assassin, not a warrior, she won't survive one of each race" - Rayenna closed the book. "I know I wouldn't" - she shuddered. "Especially if she panics and goes unprepared..."

She got ink, quill and parchment out of her pack. "Let's see now..." - she took the quill in her left hand, made a few trial scribbles, then wrote:

If you are reading this, I have been taken into Boethia’s Realm. It is unlikely that I will return. It has been a privilege to walk with you. Goodbye.


She folded the parchment, sealed it, and wrote an address:

To Lena Wolf, Warlock of the Mages Guild - URGENT

The Black Horse Couriers were known for their speed and efficiency. Rayenna took the letter to their offices, paid the urgency surcharge without negotiating, and left, smiling softly.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 26 2021, 04:35 PM

20-21 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Rayenna's trap

Rayenna spent the night at the All Saints Inn in the Imperial City. She felt relieved that she had finally found a way to get Lena Wolf killed without attracting suspicion to herself, so she allowed herself a day of rest. The Imperial City always fascinated her - such grand structures, so well preserved after thousands and thousands of years since they were built. How was it that these buildings still stood in their full glory while all the other Ayleid structures were reduced to rubble, at least above ground? It was an interesting question to ponder. She spent a relaxing day and returned to the All Saints Inn for another night.

21 Mid-Year

Rayenna was a light sleeper. She was awakened by some knocking downstairs, she strained to hear and realised that someone was trying to wake up the innkeep. Then she heard voices... She opened her door a crack and listened intently.

"So you haven't seen him?" - a young female voice was saying, sounding agitated.

"Seen whom?" - the innkeep was sleepy, struggling to understand what the woman wanted.

"A Nord battlemage... in Legion armour... no, probably rather in steel armour... Was he here?"

"When?" - the innkeep finally woke up. "The last few days? No." He sounded irritable, not surprising considering that he was woken up in the middle of the night, but then he softened his tone. "Sorry, lass, no, I haven't seen anyone by that description here. You look tired, why don't you take a break from your search - you won't find him in the middle of the night."

"Thanks..." - the female voice sounded familiar. Was it... Lena Wolf? Rayenna got a jolt. "Thanks, but I couldn't sleep anyway... Sorry to have disturbed you."

She left. Rayenna heard the front door open and close and the innkeep sigh and settle down into his bed again.

"Yes!!" - Rayenna was ecstatic. "She took the bait! She'll be gone to Boethia's Realm by tomorrow!"

Rayenna's excitement kept her awake, but she didn't want to go to the common room. The Book of Daedra was next to her bed, and she picked it up again. The chapter on Azura was rather boring, and Rayenna soon nodded off to sleep.


"Masterfully done!" - a voice woke her up. She looked around - she wasn't at the inn. She was in a cave - a large cavern with strange luminescent mushrooms as the only sources of light. Something fuzzy brushed by her - she jumped back. Spiders. Giant spiders.

"Where am I? What is this place?" - Rayenna asked. She waited, standing still, but there was no answer. "It's a dream" - she thought. "It must be..."

Her eyes adapted to the darkness and she could now make out the rocks and the critters in the cave. They were giant spiders or something similar, but they didn't attack. The mushrooms looked familiar somehow...

"Blackreach" - Rayenna thought. "It must be Blackreach. But how? Does it extend all the way to Cyrodiil?"

Rayenna read travel accounts about Blackreach in Skyrim, saw drawings and colour plates of strange rock formations and these luminous mushrooms. No one knew how big Blackreach really was, there were some old Dwemer exits in Skyrim, but what if it was much bigger than that?

"And how did I get here in the first place?" - wondered Rayenna, carefully picking her way between the rocks towards a larger source of light. She wasn't yet sure what it was.


"Welcome, Assassin!" - a Dunmer sat on a throne in an Ayleid chamber. The centre was illuminated with a large wrought iron brazier containing aquamarine crystals. The light did not reach the walls.

Rayenna approached, her hand on the hilt of her sword.

"There is no need for that" - the Dunmer pointed at her hand with a nod. "We are no threat to you... today."

Rayenna felt the air move and heard the slightest noise coming from the darkness. They were not alone.

"Who are you and why did you bring me here?" - she asked, her voice even.

"I am but a messenger" - the Dunmer replied. "And we brought you here to convey a message from our Lord."

The Dunmer fell silent, waiting for Rayenna to ask the next question. When she didn't, he continued.

"Go to the shrine of Mephala, speak to His followers, summon the Prince. Hear His task, fulfil it, and your reward will be what you seek."

Rayenna raised an eyebrow. "And how do you know what I seek?"

"I do not" - the Dunmer fixed her with his gaze. "But My Lord knows."

"And if I refuse?" - Rayenna thought she already knew the answer, but decided to test the waters anyway.

"My Lord will not be denied" - there was fire in the Dunmer's sanguine eyes. "My Brothers will see to that."

A green light shot from the darkness, and Rayenna felt her muscles spasm, paralysed. She passed out.


"Well, that was interesting" - Rayenna came to on a cold stone floor. A rat was sniffing her curiously. "Shoo" - she flicked the rat on the nose, the rat recoiled in surprise, then jumped onto Rayenna with a hungry squeak. Rayenna's dagger slit its throat before it made contact. "Ugh" - she threw off the rat and got up. She was in an Ayleid ruin. "So, it wasn't a dream."

The ruin was in a poor condition, with many cave-ins. Rayenna stumbled and nearly fell, landing on a carved stone tablet with a scrap of parchment next to it. Someone was trying to translate the text. "Meridia... Terror of the Most Terror..." - she read. That didn't make sense, so she let it be.

The animals inside the ruin didn't present much challenge to Rayenna, but some mage was less fortunate - or less skilled - and was now but a corpse, lying next to another stone tablet. Past him was an old stone door, and it took all of Rayenna's strength to get that open.

The door led into a flooded cave.

"Oh great" - Rayenna cursed, she was hoping for fresh air, but instead she faced a minotaur. And another. Some imps, too. "How do they even get in here?" - she wondered, but that didn't matter. Eventually, she saw daylight coming through a wooden gate - she was finally outdoors.

Rayenna stood on the City Isle, it was late morning. She walked to the nearest gate - to the Market District - and then to the All Saints Inn.

"Good morning" - the innkeep saw her in surprise. "I didn't see you leave. Breakfast?"

"Yes, please" - Rayenna smiled. Thinking didn't work on an empty stomach.

Posted by: Renee Jul 26 2021, 06:02 PM

I enjoyed reading about Lena's induction and introduction into the Dark Brotherhood. She certainly has a lot of questions about how they run things. smile.gif

The Dark Brotherhood armour design was… err… unusual, to put it mildly. They had leather armour and mage tunics and trousers, some gloves, some boots, some hoods – you could mix and match as you wanted. Black and red design. The armour was skin-tight and made her look like a giant spider woman, the mage’s tunic had big triangles on the front and back, just like a jester, all with a big Black Hand on red background. “So much for being a secret organisation!” – Lena thought in disgust. “Or have they gone commercial?”

The 'so much for being a secret organization' part. *nods* Yes, I have always very much agreed! It's like--how much more can you stand out, while trying not to stand out? Ha.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 26 2021, 06:20 PM

QUOTE(Renee @ Jul 26 2021, 06:02 PM) *

The 'so much for being a secret organization' part. *nods* Yes, I have always very much agreed! It's like--how much more can you stand out, while trying not to stand out? Ha.

Of course that would explain all those "Pssst! Hail Sithis!" comments from perfect strangers. I mean, how on Nirn do they know that she's with the DB? Oh, yeah, the armour... tongue.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 28 2021, 02:19 PM

22 Mid-Year, 4E202 - In service of Mephala

"How am I going to do this?" - Rayenna was sitting at the shrine of Mephala, covering her face with her hands. Mephala had set her a task: go to the settlement of Bleaker's Way, find and kill the heads of the families, place false evidence on them to suggest another family's meddling, don't get caught. This required stealth, something that Rayenna still struggled with. She could creep up to her target for the kill, but stealth for the sake of stealing was not her strong suit. She wasn't sure how to obtain the fake evidence before she could start on the murders.

Well, there was nothing else for it - she had to try.

The village was busy, but eventually Rayenna found a moment when no one was around and broke into Hrol Ulfgar's house. She was good with the locks, just not with sneaking around - in her bandit days she would kill the owners first, then work on the locks without rush, but now the opposite was required.

"Better be quick about it - I don't want to be caught in this house" - she thought. She wasn't here for the riches, she needed something of significance. She looked around, trying not to make any noise, then finally spotted a signet ring on a dresser. "Ulfgar" was etched on it, this looked like a heirloom, so she pocketed it. She exited quickly and was glad that no one saw her.

It was several more hours before the village square was empty again and Rayenna could try the lock on Nivan Dalvilu's house. Finally, she was in. It was a small house and she quickly spotted an elegant dagger on a low table.

"Decorative more than practical" - she thought. "Dalvilu" was engraved on the hilt - another heirloom. She pocketed it. Suddenly she heard someone opening the door. She crouched in a dark corner - it was Nivan Dalvilu returning home.

IPB Image

It was only early evening but she planned to murder them at night, so what was she going to do? Sit quietly until he goes to sleep or murder him now? Was she even able to sit crouched for six hours without losing feeling in her legs?

She was pondering these questions when...

IPB Image

"What are you doing here?" - Nivan Dalvilu noticed her presence.

"I'm... Umm..."

Rayenna decided to bring forward the execution, then put Ulfgar's ring in Dalvilu's pocket.

She waited until past midnight before she ventured outside and into Hrol Ulfgar's house.

Hrol Ulfgar was asleep, and Rayenna crept up and stabbed him. She underestimated the Nord's skill however, and a full blown battle ensued. Good thing they were inside his house, so no one noticed.

"Phew, never underestimate a Nord!" - thought Rayenna when it was all over. She put Dalvilu's dagger into his pocket. "Now just to mention this casually to someone..."

The inn was still open, and Rayenna mentioned overhearing that Hrol Ulfgar had been killed by one of the Dalvilu... And the villagers were at each other's throats.

"Looks like they never really got on" - she thought. "It was like bringing a match to a haystack."

She didn't linger and returned to the shrine of Mephala.

"Well done, Assassin!" - Mephala's voice sounded from the statue. "You should consider joining my ranks. But now for your reward - you were promised that what you seek. Deepscorn Hollow lies East of Leyawiin on the shore of Topal Sea. Go now, Webspinner!"

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 28 2021, 04:13 PM

23-28 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Rayenna at the Leyawiin Sanctuary

"East of Leyawiin, on the shore of Topal Sea" - Rayenna was pouring over a map at the Roxey Inn. "Well, there's nothing here, of course. I'll have to go and see."

The trip was going to be long and she bought supplies for the road. She could have reached Leyawiin in a day - her black horse was swift - but Rayenna was uncertain. She didn't know what she would find, and whether she would find anyone there or not. And what if she found no proof of Lena's deceit? She decided not to think about it. Just take one thing at a time - she was too far down this road to stop now.

28 Mid-Year

"Ok, I'll do it tonight" - Rayenna told herself. There was no point in delaying it any further. She had found a ruined farm house half sunken into the sea - it was the only point of interest along the shore of the Topal Sea, not counting Tidewater Cave filled with trolls.

Rayenna was losing her touch, or rather losing her head. She found the cave first and entered without an investigation. The next thing she knew was a troll kicking her in the ribs. She gathered her strength and ran towards Leyawiin gates with all the speed she could muster.

"Redguard adrenaline is not supposed to be used to run away!" - she told herself in shame, but shame was better than death. The guard outside the gates finished the troll.

"Don't you worry about that, Miss!" - he called after her.

It took Rayenna two full days to nurse her ribs back to health. She avoided the Tidewater Cave from then on and continued her investigation of the shore line, now a lot more carefully. The sunken farm house seemed abandoned, there were no trolls or any other animals around, and there was a small camp just North of it, without any bandits.

"This is strange" - she thought. "A nice camp like that would normally have tenants. Unless... someone clears them out every so often."

Back at the abandoned farm house, she took off her robe and dived into the water. The door seemed to function, the hinges were clear of rust, but it was locked. Rayenna pulled on it a few times, but without a waterbreathing spell or a potion, she could not keep her breath long enough to fiddle with lockpicks. "Perhaps there is another way it" - she thought. "This must be the place."

After some time she found a trapdoor a little distance away. It too was locked, but it wasn't submerged, and Rayenna set to work on the lock. A short time later it clicked.

"Strange" - she thought. "Why was it so easy?"

No, it couldn't be. She was the hunter here, not the hunted. She was the one setting traps. It could not have been a trap set for her! She refused to believe it. She checked her weapons and went through the trapdoor.

She stood in a short corridor leading into a chamber - she could tell by the light coming from it. She crouched and edged forward until she could peek around the corner. An Argonian stood with his back to her, reading a book. He wore... Dark Brotherhood armour. No! It was a trap. But it also confirmed her suspicions. She needed to enter, to search this place... She would kill her Brother for it. Once he was dead, no one would know what really happened. She attacked.

Teinaava was expecting her, and yet he was surprised - Rayenna was quick and quiet. "And that is why she is a Silencer and I am not" - he thought. But he was no novice either. They fought, Teinaava tried not to kill her - they wanted to capture her instead. He tried to give Fenris an opening to stab her with his paralysing dagger.

Rayenna was winning - Teinaava was bleeding heavily. Another assassin joined the fight - a Dunmer, she noticed. He wore clothes, not armour, his hood hid his face almost completely, but Rayenna saw the paleness of his skin on his hands. He was quick - he diverted her finishing strike from Teinaava, and stabbed her with the other dagger. She fell, paralysed. "Enchantment" - she thought. She would have been resistant to poison. "It shouldn't take long, I'll recover" - she readied her mind to pounce back. The Dunmer turned her to her side, kicking away her sword. He was behind her. A sharp pain in her neck seemed to cut through the paralysis, she wanted to move, but instead... she felt being drained until she passed out.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 29 2021, 08:31 AM

29-30 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Lena is back in Cheydinhal

Lena walked into the Cheydinhal Sanctuary.

"Oh - you are back!" - Antoinetta Marie ran up to her. "We were so worried!" She hugged her warmly. "You are not angry with me, are you? For before?" She looked at Lena with a troubled expression.

"No, I am not angry with you" - Lena laughed. "Good to see you!"

"Lucien is not here" - Antoinetta said apologetically. "But Ocheeva will want to speak with you... I assume" - she added and winked.

Lena went to see Ocheeva, shaking her head.


"So there's still no news, and Lucien has got work to do" - Ocheeva was saying matter-of-factly. "He won't sit still, you know him" - she smiled. "At least he agreed to stay here for now."

"Yeah..." - Lena nodded. "Let me leave him a note."

I am back - I miss you.

She folded the parchment and left it on Lucien's bed.

"I'll be upstairs" - she smiled at Ocheeva.


"You have very interesting friends" - Lucien dispelled his cloak finding Lena nodding off over her book, a wine glass in her hand. "Careful, you'll spill that" - he steadied her hand.

She raised her eyes to meet his. "Sanguine?"

Lucien nodded. "That was... unexpected."

"He saved me" - she rubbed her eyes, the book sliding off her lap. "I would have died there without his help. That assassin is clever."

"Sshhh..." - Lucien kissed her, raising her from her chair. "It's late, let's get you to bed, we'll talk tomorrow."

"But..." - Lena grabbed his arm.

"I am not leaving" - he said, smiling. "No need to venture into the Void just yet."

30 Mid-Year

They were still asleep when there was a knock on the basement door. Lucien woke up first, reaching for his dagger under the pillow. He wasn't used to sleeping in Lena's house.

Before there was another knock, he was on his feet, casting chameleon instead of bothering with clothes. Lena woke up too.

"It's from the basement - someone from the Sanctuary" - she said, shaking off her sleep. "May be there's news."

They heard the door creak and a voice calling into the house: "Hello!"

"Up here!" - Lena shouted, then hastened to add: "Just a minute! Give us a moment to... Oh, hello Antoinetta."

Antoinetta's grinning head appeared at the top of the stairs.

"Good morning!" - she said. "Don't mind me... Oh!" Lucien's chameleon ran out just as he was clipping his dagger belt - before any clothing.

"What news, Antoinetta?" - he asked completely unphased, picking up the other weapon belts.

"Teinaava returned during the night" - she said, watching Lucien with rapt attention. "They caught an intruder."

"Then it's time to go" - he turned to Lena. "Let's speak with Teinaava first, then you ride to Leyawiin and I shall gather the others and follow." He finished with the belts. "You can tell Telaendril" - he looked at Antoinetta - "that you've seen more than she, and perhaps she'll return your septim" - he winked. "May I get dressed now?"

The time for waiting was over, it was now time to act.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 29 2021, 02:27 PM

30 Mid-Year, 4E202 - Teinaava's report - Lena at the Leyawiin Sanctuary

Teinaava confirmed that the intruder to the Leyawiin Sanctuary was Rayenna.

"We heard someone approach - sound carries under water" - he grinned. "There were some splashes, but no one entered. Then we knew they were looking for another way in. I stood in the hall with my back to the hatch, while Fenris crouched in the shadow. He is very capable, you know" - he looked at Lucien - "very stealthy, very controlled. Anyway..." - Teinaava stretched uneasily, wincing somewhat. "Then someone entered, and before I knew it, they were upon me. Remarkable! She is a Silencer, all right."

"So she attacked first?" - Lucien didn't sound surprised.

"Indeed" - Teinaava confirmed, bowing slightly. "Of course, she had to - she was intruding. Fenris paralysed her while I was keeping her busy, then..." - Teinaava looked at Vicente who was listening from a short distance away. "I've never witnessed a vampire attack, and I count myself lucky that I didn't have to fight one like Fenris."

Vicente smiled. "Impressive, isn't it? I take it he was hungry?"

"He was" - Teinaava nodded. "But you will find him well fed now - he's been keeping Rayenna subdued."

"He must take a lot of her blood each time for it to work" - Vicente came closer. "She hasn't got long to live this way."

"We aim to resolve it swiftly" - Lucien turned to him. "Will she live a few more days?"

"A week at most" - Vicente confirmed. "If Fenris is careful."

"We don't need a week" - Lucien was satisfied. "We leave now."


Lena was the first to arrive at the Sanctuary, late at night. She entered to the sound of groans coming from the cells. She tiptoed down the stairs.

Rayenna was sleeping in her cell, groaning in her sleep. She looked pale but not sickly. Lena turned back and went upstairs, looking for Fenris.

"Mistress!" - he greeted her in the dining hall. "I have done as you asked, but too much blood has dulled my senses. I didn't hear you come in." He looked guilty.

"It will pass, do not worry" - Lena smiled. "Thank you!"

"I found this in her pocket" - he handed Lena a packet. "Documents."

"Bait" - Lena smiled. "You read them?"

Fenris looked down. "I should not have... I deserve punishment." He kneeled.

"Well, it is not a problem" - Lena unwrapped the packet. "We didn't tell you not to read them." She scanned the papers. "I see Lucien was thorough. But these are copies - not the originals."

"But they suggest..." - Fenris looked up at Lena. "They suggest that you supported the traitor."

"They do, don't they?" - Lena chuckled. "Clever Lucien to select these. Mathieu Bellamont and I exchanged those letters when I was still just an Assassin - before the Black Hand decided to Purify Cheydinhal. And of course I did not suspect his involvement until much later. He never contacted me after that - because I refused to perform Purification throwing his plans in disarray. And by the time I figured him out, I had other priorities." She lifted Fenris by the shoulders. "I had to choose which promise to break, and he stood no chance."

"Why?" - Fenris looked into her eyes. "He was your family."

"So was Lucien, Ocheeva and the others - not all family ties come from blood, and Mathieu Bellamont was a very distant cousin. We never even met until I discovered him."

"And then?"

"And then I told him that he had lost me." Lena returned Fenris' gaze. "Family ties can be broken."

"Yeah, I know." He nodded and turned away.

Lena felt uneasy - she touched a nerve, but there was no other way to put it. She left Fenris alone for a while and went into the cells to return the packet of documents to Rayenna's pocket.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 29 2021, 06:29 PM

1 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Rayenna's interview

"What now, Rayenna? Sa'sinar is most disappointed" - the Khajiit stood outside Rayenna's cell at the Leyawiin Sanctuary.

"I..." - Rayenna heard her name and tried to open her eyes. She felt drowsy, her body didn't obey her. She wasn't paralysed exactly, but she had no strength to move. She tried to remember what happened. "I... found a traitor" - she finally managed to speak. Why was she so sluggish? "She plotted against the Brotherhood... Her Great-Uncle and her Cousin were both traitors!"

"And whom do you mean?" - Sa'sinar bared his fangs. This wasn't a smile.

"Lena Wolf, of course!" - Rayenna was awake now.

"What proof do you have?" - Sa'sinar's face was impassable now.

"Letters... notes... and a will!" - Rayenna fumbled with her robes, retrieving a packet. "Here - see for yourself!" She passed it to Sa'sinar through the bars. He took it.

"And what were you doing here?" - he asked, without unwrapping the packet.

"Why, this is her Great-Uncle's Sanctuary!" - Rayenna tried to shake off her tiredness, but her body was hurting too much. "I came looking for more proof of her deception! I wanted to know what she was planning, but..." - she broke off, massaging her neck.

"But?" - Sa'sinar was still impenetrable.

"I was attacked" - Rayenna looked up at him.

"Attacked?" - a faint smile touched Sa'sinar's lips. "But you were trespassing. And were you not the first to attack?"

"How do you..?" - she started, then saw Teinaava's figure appear behind Sa'sinar. "There! He's behind you!" - she cried, pointing at him.

"That" - Sa'sinar turned, pointing at Teinaava - "is your Brother from Cheydinhal, do you not recognise the armour?"

Colour drained from Rayenna's already pale face, making her look more like a ghost of herself. Yes, she did recognise the armour. She recognised it the moment she entered, seeing Teinaava in the hall with his back to her. But prevention was better than cure, she always used to say, and so she attacked. No one would know how it went once he was dead. But then... as Teinaava responded in kind and they were locked in combat, someone else stabbed her, and she fell, paralysed. Then something happened. She felt a sharp pain in her neck and everything went black.

She woke up in a cell, she tried the door - it was locked. She found her lockpick, but her fingers were so clumsy and sluggish, she could not work the lock. She tried a spell - if fizzled out. She was tired, so tired. Perhaps if she slept a bit, her strength would return.

"Sa'sinar wonders" - his ears turned to the sides, as if to listen to every sound from every direction. "Why did Rayenna suspect Wolf in the first place?"

This was a trick question. He knew exactly what started this, but he was giving her a chance for a neutral explanation. She hadn't prepared for a question like that.

"I... felt it" - she finally managed. "A woman's intuition, you know" - she smiled brightly, it was worth a try.

"Intuition..." - Sa'sinar turned his ears forward, facing her, now listening to everything she had to say. "And does Rayenna's intuition tell her where Wolf might be now?"

"Oh, is she missing?" - Rayenna's delight brought some colour to her cheeks. "I really wouldn't know where she'd be..." She was grinning ear to ear.

"It seems she received a letter" - Sa'sinar suggested.

"From a friend? That must be it!" - Rayenna nodded as vigorously as her painful neck would allow. "Abandoned all her responsibilities and took off after her friend - I told you she was not to be trusted!"

"Yes, we found a letter" - Sa'sinar reached inside his robes. "This one" - he handed a blood-stained note to Rayenna through the bars.

"Oh my - Boethia's Realm!" - Rayenna beamed. "No one returns from there" - she passed the note back to Sa'sinar with satisfaction.

"Really?" - he turned one ear to the side. "I didn't find it that hard myself." He touched the hilt of his sword - a one-handed katana, burning with a fire enchantment.

"Goldbrand!" - Rayenna paled. "I've never seen you carry it..." - she raised her eyes at Sa'sinar.

"Sa'sinar is not vain" - he answered simply. "But he is not the only one to carry it - the sword is not unique. Sa'sinar still wonders, however..." - he fixed Rayenna with his gaze. "Why does the handwriting in that letter resemble Rayenna's handwriting so closely? Sa'sinar compared it to Rayenna's reports... One could almost say they were written by the same hand."

"Almost, but not exactly!" - Rayenna cried in indignation. "I am being framed!"

"Rayenna thinks so?" - Sa'sinar turned his ears to the sides again. "Sa'sinar hears other opinions as well."

What was the point of these questions? Sa'sinar was Rayenna's Speaker, surely he was on her side? She'd just given him the proof that Lena Wolf was a traitor... or at least that her great-uncle and cousin were traitors, making her untrustworthy. Rayenna couldn't find out anything about Lena's mother, and assumed that she died young - she did hear rumours that Lena had been brought up by her grandmother. An Argonian grandmother? It was hard to believe, but stranger things had happened. The one thing that Rayenna still couldn't understand, was Lena's age. She couldn't have been in her twenties, not if it was indeed one and the same Lena Wolf as that mentioned in the will and in the letters. When Rayenna came to this Sanctuary, she was hoping to find proof that this Lena Wolf was a different person, an imposter, hijacking a long-dead assassin for... what, exactly? Who knows, this wasn't important! The important thing was to get her removed, by whatever means necessary, Boethia's Tournament included. But Sa'sinar was now asking her all these questions... not looking at the proof she'd given him... not releasing her from the cell... What did it all mean?

Suddenly Rayenna understood it: he was waiting for a confession. He did not mention that evening when he caught Rayenna spying on Lucien Lachance's fort, but he knew of course that it was the root of it all. What was she to do?

"I am very tired now" - Rayenna said, half-closing her eyes. "My body hurts, and my neck hurts even more for some reason. My mind is in a fog, too, and I don't even know what I am saying. Please - can we continue this later?"

"Rayenna does not have a 'later'" - Sa'sinar looked straight at her. "The vampire that has been feeding on her, will finish her next time he feeds."

"No! You cannot allow it!" - she cried, jumping up from the floor with newly found force.

"Sa'sinar cannot afford to have a Silencer who allows her passion to cloud her mind, to send her Sister to a certain death, to get caught, and then not to have the courage to tell her Speaker about it!" - Sa'sinar's face was perfectly still - he was boiling with cold rage. "This" - he threw Rayenna's packet back into her cell - "was bait. Placed in Rayenna's home by Lucien Lachance for Rayenna to find."

Rayenna was lost for words. She was finished, this was the end. Her plan failed. Yet she still had a glimmer of hope - if Lena was dead, she could not defend herself.

"I should have told you" - she sat down, keeping her gaze to the ground and slumping her shoulders. Perhaps Sa'sinar would forgive her, one more time. "But those documents - do they not show that Wolf was a traitor?" - she looked at Sa'sinar with hope in her eyes. "At least the traitor is dead now, isn't she?"

"It is all true - these are copies of real documents from the Archives of the Dark Brotherhood" - Sa'sinar nodded. "But who do you think Wolf really is? Do you really think that Lachance would make just anyone his Silencer? After he was without one for two centuries?" He shook his head in disappointment. "Rayenna will wait for the Night Mother's judgement. The vampire will not touch her until then."

He turned around and left - he'd heard enough. They have all heard enough - Ungolim, Lucien and Lena were standing just out of sight, they had decided that Sa'sinar should conduct the interview on his own. Ungolim would consult the Night Mother, but no one expected her forgiveness.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 30 2021, 12:09 PM

3 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Rayenna's sentence

Ungolim returned from Bravil, ready to deliver the Night Mother's judgement on Rayenna. He and Sa'sinar went down to Rayenna's cell in the Leyawiin Sanctuary. It has been two days since Sa'sinar's interview with her, and as he promised, Fenris was not feeding on Rayenna since then. She regained a little strength and was sitting on her bedroll awake. She did not try to escape as she knew it was pointless.

"You have broken the Brotherhood's tenets" - Ungolim addressed Rayenna through the bars. "You have attempted to get your Sister killed. You have broken into her property and attempted to murder your Brother. You have not had to courage to confess. The Night Mother made her judgement. Are you ready to hear it?"

"'Attempted'?" - Rayenna was surprised. "So she still lives?" - she asked, not trying to conceal her disappointment.

"Indeed she does" - Ungolim confirmed. "Which is why your punishment is not death."

He waited for her to ask another question, but Rayenna just sat there, looking at Ungolim and Sa'sinar in turn. Sa'sinar spoke.

"Rayenna is no longer a member of the Black Hand. She will return her robes. She is no longer Sa'sinar's Silencer. Rayenna's rank has been dropped to Murderer."

"Initiate rank" - Rayenna murmured. If this was all, it was a most merciful sentence indeed.

"You will be exiled" - Ungolim's gaze was hard on Rayenna. "Every time you sleep, you will face the Wrath of Sithis in the very place where you sent your Sister to die - Boethia's Arena. You will fight for your life, and if you die there, Sithis will devour your soul."

Mercy was not in the Night Mother's nature.

"For how long?" - Rayenna asked, her lips barely moving.


Her life was forfeit.


Rayenna stood on the shore of the Topal Sea. She wore plain black robes, having left her Black Hand robes behind. The faces of Ungolim and Sa'sinar were fresh in her memory, with their closed and disappointed expressions. The Wrath of Sithis would certainly be deadly, and she deserved it, she thought. Deserved it for failing. The image of Lucien's hard and cold eyes on her would haunt her dreams far more than Sithis. She lost her prize. He was there, watching her leave, his hand around Lena's waist. And Lena... no, she wasn't in her twenties, she was at his side and it was where she belonged.

Rayenna looked around, considering what to do. Her horse should still be at the stables, she would go home to Anvil, and then... time would tell.

Posted by: macole Jul 30 2021, 04:54 PM

A life time of not so pleasant dreams.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 30 2021, 05:02 PM

QUOTE(macole @ Jul 30 2021, 04:54 PM) *

A life time of not so pleasant dreams.

Indeed. But the wraith would only attack her once every night. So defeat the wraith, then sleep peacefully.

This is based on the original punishment if you break one of the tenets. In the game you only have to fight the wraith once, and you are forgiven. You can can break a tenet three times, and the wraith becomes stronger each time. When you defeat it the third time, you are kicked out of the Dark Brotherhood. However, this treatment is reserved exclusively for the player. If you talk to the other members, some will tell you here and there that the wraith would be attacking you in your sleep for as long as your exile lasts, and it is never as short as one night. And there's no such thing as quitting the DB - if you offend them more then once, your next sentence is death. But of course it would have been too harsh for the player... Or would it? Anyway, I used that to come up with a suitable punishment for Rayenna for her betrayal of the Brotherhood.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Jul 31 2021, 09:24 AM

3-5 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Holidays on the Topal Sea

"You should take some time to rest" - Ungolim was saying to Lena and Lucien. "This was a most unpleasant business." He shook his head. "But I hope we won't hear from Rayenna for a while - you both know what she's facing." He gave them a long look, then smiled, as if shaking off a memory, and continued, turning to Lena: "This Sanctuary is beautiful. And your... err... associate... Fenris - he is most impressive."

"He is" - Lena nodded. "But he is not ready to join us yet. It's too soon." She looked straight at Ungolim. "He has not freed himself yet."

Ungolim returned her gaze.

"I see" - he finally nodded. "So be it." He turned to leave. "Don't rush back."

Rayenna was to face a wraith every time she slept - the Wrath of Sithis. Yes, both Lena and Lucien knew exactly what was awaiting her as they had each been exiled for a long period of time while Mathieu Bellamont was ravaging the Brotherhood. Lena was also being hunted for perceived treason. The assassins could not follow her to the Shivering Isles, but the Wrath of Sithis found her anywhere. The exile and the hunt were called off when she finally managed to unmask the real traitor - with Lucien's help, and in the nick of time, as the assassins were circling around him too. When it all came to light... It wasn't so much the wrath of Sithis that some of the other Speakers had to face, but the wrath of the Night Mother - for being careless, for jumping to conclusions, for making it possible for the traitor to progress so far. She didn't haunt them in their sleep - she killed them where they stood.

Rayenna would lie low for a while... but she was too strong willed to let the wraith take her. They all felt certain she would be back, one way or the other. But for now they could relax.


Fenris stood in a far corner of the hall, his keen hearing allowed him to follow the conversation. He was flattered by Ungolim's praise, but he felt uneasy about the suggestion that he might join the Dark Brotherhood. It was like Lena put it - he did not feel that he belonged to himself yet, and he liked his Mistress. He would take his time - after all, he was immortal.


Lena and Lucien took Ungolim's advice and stayed at the Sanctuary for two more days. Fenris was doing all the chores, and they had no excuse not to rest. They walked along the shore of the Topal Sea, watched the moons cross the starry sky and spent a lot of time doing "nothing" in the most inventive ways.

"Such heavy breathing will attract trolls" - Lucien pulled away from Lena letting her catch her breath. He smiled in amazement, watching her. "Where do you hide all that passion?"

She pressed his hand to her chest, her heart racing. "In here" - she smiled. "It's been locked up for too long."

"Sanguine was right - your Nord blood runs hot."

"Sanguine?" - Lena laughed. "What else did he say about me?"

"Nothing that I haven't discovered for myself" - Lucien took her into his arms. "Look" - he pointed up - "the Apprentice is ruling the skies this month. It's your birthday soon, but you have no age."

"Well..." Lena considered the stars above them for a while. "Perhaps it's for the best. This way I am never too old for anything."

She jumped up, pulling Lucien on his feet with her.

"...such as a midnight swim" - he thought, following her into the warm waters of the Topal Sea, casting waterbreathing just before diving. Their clothes stayed on the shore, but Lucien quickly grabbed his dagger belt - slaughterfish were never far away. "She didn't bring any weapons" - he noticed. "Mages."

The waters were warm but murky, and Lucien quickly lost sight of Lena. He wasn't a mage really, and couldn't cast a life detection spell. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain in his leg - a slaughterfish bite. He twisted, spun upside down and stabbed the space where the fish would have been. The water was now not just murky, but also red. The pain in his leg was gone - someone touched it with a healing spell. Lena. He felt her arms around him, her hands sliding along his body searching for more wounds... "Mmm..." - he closed his eyes for a moment. She tugged him to follow her out of the cloud of red mist.

They were quite a distance from the shore, and the water was almost clear there. They came up for air, their heads bobbing on the waves.

"We can swim in peace now" - Lena said, kissing him and covering them both with a cloud of waterbreathing. The other slaughterfish would swim to the blood, so as long as they stayed away from it, the fish would leave them alone.

They couldn't speak under water, but there was no need for that. Lucien never considered using waterbreathing for anything other than to cross submerged passages, but Lena showed him a whole new application. She kept renewing the spell, and he felt unexpected appreciation for the Argonian ways. Their bodies felt almost weightless in the water, and movement was slow and fluid, possible in every direction, not constrained by gravity, not requiring a solid foundation below. A few twists, and the notions of "up" and "down" lost their meaning.

The moons were sinking into the horizon when Lena and Lucien finally came ashore, exhausted. Several slaughterfish were floating on the water, dead.

"Look, they got into a fight with each other trying to eat that first one that bit you" - Lena pointed at them. "We should bring them to Fenris to cook for dinner."

Lucien nodded. "Serves them right." His dagger was digging into his side, so he unclipped the belt. "You swim under water like an Argonian."

"I was raised by an Argonian, remember?" - Lena laughed. "I used to wear a waterbreathing ring at first, but by now the spell is like second nature."

"You should teach our children that" - Lucien looked at her, smiling.

"If they come..." - Lena stretched out to touch him. "I think my past vampirism had destroyed all that."

"But the Mazken Wellspring would have restored you" - he sounded certain. "You might be with child already."

"But then..." - she sat up, looking worried and alarmed. "I mean... I can't be sure..."

"I know" - he stroked her face, smoothing out her frown. "The child will be ours, regardless."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 1 2021, 02:16 PM

7 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Preparations for Nenalata

"Hauk, are you in?" - Lena opened the door to Hauk's house in the Imperial City after he didn't answer the knock. She heard some rumbling from below, it sounded like he was training. She went to the basement.

Hauk was attacking a training dummy with a sword in his right hand and a spell in his left - shock on touch, she noticed.

"I didn't think you needed to train any more" - she said after a while. "Surely, you've done this often enough already!"

"I have" - he nodded, putting down the sword. "But it never hurts to keep it fresh. It's good to see you" - he whispered into her hair as her embrace knocked the air out of him.

"I missed you!" - Lena declared, releasing him so he could catch a breath. "That dreadful assassin business is over, it's time for an adventure!" She poured them mead from the keg and dropped onto the bench under the minotaur head. "Umm, I hope that head isn't going to fall on me" - she looked up - "like on that poor Bosmer in Bruma."

"It's not" - Hauk laughed, settling down next to her. "As long as you don't cut the strings" - he winked.

IPB Image

"How did you..?" - she started, her eyes growing wide. She never told him about that job. She got no answer though - Hauk just laughed into his mead.

"So, what's that about an adventure?" - he asked, grinning.

"Mr. Umbacano wants me to accompany him to Nenalata."

Hauk looked at Lena with suspicion. "And this bothers you - why?"

"Well, I got him an Ayleid crown..." - Lena was staring into her mead. "I actually had to steal it from another collector." She shot Hauk a glance. "And you know how much I like stealing."


"Well, I did it because that collector suggested I present Mr. Umbacano with another Ayleid crown instead, and that somehow seemed even worse."

Lena fell silent, still studying her mead.

"And?" - Hauk prompted her. "Come on, let's hear it! It's me you're talking to, remember?"

Lena looked at him, gathering her thoughts.

"That other collector claimed that Umbacano wanted her crown in order to awaken some ancient Ayleid power, something dreadful that would destroy us all. I thought she was exaggerating, but now that he asked me to take him to Nenalata, I'm not so sure. You remember it, don't you?"

"I do" - Hauk said heavily. "Near Fort Grief. Lots and lots of high level undead, very angry, lots of traps too, and we couldn't get through to the last chamber."

"Yeah..." - Lena nodded. "Garrus nearly died several times, and I had to hide from their spells." She shuddered. "But it's not that which worries me."

Hauk looked at her with understanding. "If that was just the welcoming committee, then what is hiding in the locked chamber? And why does Umbacano want to go there, now that he's got that crown?"

"The Crown of Nenalata" - Lena nodded. "Exactly."

They sat drinking their mead in silence for a while.

"So, when are we leaving?" - asked Hauk, grinning.

Lena leapt onto his lap, her arms around him again. "Not before we're done here... I missed you - didn't I say?"


"Does Lucien know?" - Hauk surveyed heaps of clothing thrown off in a hurry around his basement. "What you're doing to me?" He kissed her again, rolling her over onto her back on the thick rug.

"Well, I never told him directly" - Lena blushed a bit. "But I never denied anything either, and he knows you're more than a friend. You didn't send me away" - she looked at him with a smile.

"It's between the two of you, of course" - he was serious now, sitting up and stroking her cheek. "But I still want to stay your friend - and his, too. So if you don't tell him, I will. Or we never do it again."

"You know we can't promise that" - she kneeled behind him, running her fingertips over the tops of his shoulders and watching his body respond as it always had. "We share too much."

"I'll talk to him" - he closed his eyes with a moan, falling back onto her. "Later..."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 2 2021, 03:17 PM

7 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Hauk and Lucien

Hauk knocked on the trapdoor to Lucien's fort but there was no answer. He lifted the door and peered inside, and not seeing anyone, he entered and left a note on the table.

We need to talk. I'll be waiting as usual. Hauk.

He walked to the main door to the fort, entered and settled down to wait by the entrance, far enough from the guardians roaming the fort. It could be a long wait.


"Hauk" - someone touched his shoulder, awaking him from his slumber. Lucien. "Come on."

They walked over to Lucien's trapdoor and went in.

"So, what's on your mind?" - asked Lucien, putting wine and mead on the table.


"Ah" - Lucien didn't look surprised. "Well, I know about you two - it's not exactly news."

"Yes, but things have changed between you and her."

"Yes and no" - Lucien was watching Hauk and sipping his wine. "She and I go too far back to feel threatened by our attachments to other people. You mean too much to her to just give you up. That would cause a great wound, and I love her too much to allow it."

"I always wondered about that side of you" - Hauk returned Lucien's gaze.

"What side?"


Lucien laughed. "I am an assassin, I haven't got any."

"I recall different" - Hauk's eyes became hard with a memory. "Those times that we met during the Great War... I would have continued, but you insisted they'd suffered enough."

"They told you all they knew" - Lucien's eyes were hard too.

"I had to be sure."

"I was sent after them for that very reason."

"Why send you? A novice could have killed them at that point."

"Not with you around. Would you have let a novice disturb you?"

"No, that's true" - Hauk smirked. "I would have locked him up until I was done - in the best case."

"Exactly" - Lucien nodded. "The target wasn't the challenge - you were."

They sat watching each other in silence for a while, each reliving the same memories. Then Lucien got up to turn the spit - the roast was ready, he took it off and started carving it. Hauk silently passed him the plates, dressed the table, sliced up the tomatoes - this wasn't the first time they shared a meal.

"I understand it was you who prompted Lena to have me come to Skyrim with her" - said Lucien, returning to the present.

"Not in those words, but yes" - Hauk studied his mead. "I always felt her heart had been taken long before we met. She had to face it."

"Still not comfortable with uncertainties, are you?" - Lucien smiled.

"Can't say I am" - Hauk grinned at him. "Must be my Nord directness. Which is why I'm here. She would leave it untold but I couldn't, especially since she's been to the Wellspring again."

"Don't worry about that" - Lucien was quite serious. "The child will be either yours or mine, even if it isn't clear which for some years. We both have dark eyes and dark hair, and Lena's father was a Nord, so unless the child has sanguine eyes, we won't know."

"Does your father still live?"

"He does, I think. But he stays away for obvious reasons."

Hauk nodded. "Rayenna may have had Mephala's help."

Lucien looked up. "Deepscorn Hollow?"

"We think so. As a reward for starting the feud in Bleaker's Way."

"Then things are more serious than we thought" - Lucien looked into the distance, thinking. "It won't be immediate, but she could become a major threat, if she joins Mephala."

"I can take a message if you like" - Hauk looked straight at Lucien.

"You know how to find him?"

Hauk nodded. "We maintain contacts in Morrowind as well, I'll find out."

"Then do it."

It wouldn't be the first time that a Legion operative took a message to a Morag Tong assassin. All Hauk needed to know was whether Azarath Salvel was alive at least until recently. He would either find the man himself, or learn of his death. He'd have to prepare things first, but they felt there was no immediate rush - Mephala would certainly let Rayenna get a good taste of the Wrath of Sithis.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 4 2021, 09:29 AM

8 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Vindasel - Sardavar Leed

"Wake up and let's go!" - Lena was tugging on Hauk trying to wake him up. She'd been to Chorrol the day before to arrange for the month's supplies to the Battlehorn Castle, she got up before the first light and returned to the Imperial City when most people were just about waking up. Most people except Hauk who was still asleep, not being an early riser.

How do you wake up a Nord who probably had had too much mead last night? Was there such a thing as too much mead in a Nord's eyes? A bucket of cold water would have done the trick for a Breton, but Lena was pretty sure that Hauk wouldn't even notice. But fire... he was sensitive to fire, born under the Lord. But burning him would be cruel, no she wouldn't do that. Well, may be just a little...

Lena readied a beginner's fire spell - it wouldn't even leave burn marks, it was more of a warm touch. She turned it onto herself - she was now smouldering all over. "It feels like being back in Oblivion deadlands" - she thought. "No, that isn't a nice way to wake up" - she dispelled the fire, changing her mind. May be she'd just let Hauk sleep until he woke up on his own.

"Is it morning already?" - a sleepy voice came from the bed. It was impossible to tell the time in a room without windows. "Why is your face so red?"

"Good morning!" - Lena exclaimed, startled. "I was thinking of ways to wake you up."

"And it made you blush like that?" - Hauk was grinning. "I'm not quite awake yet, so go on!" But Lena just shot him one of those glances, and Hauk gave up with a sigh. "Ok, what's the rush?"

"It's time to get going towards Nenalata" - Lena was pouring over a map. "Mr. Umbacano will be expecting us in two days. It won't take us that long to get there, but I thought perhaps we could take a detour some place nice."

"Such as?" - Hauk looked up.

"There are four Ayleid ruins, six forts and two caves directly along the way" - she grinned at him. "Take your pick."


Vindasel greeted them with two storm atronachs by the entrance.

"Have we been here before?" - Lena asked, looking around.

"No" - grinned Hauk.

They went in.

The ruin was empty. There were traps and Welkynd stones, rats and mudcrabs, but nothing of significance. A far chamber was set up as a camp site. A woman in full ebony armour was pacing it, her hand on the hilt of her sword. Lena and Hauk stood on the gallery watching her.

"Friend or foe?" - Lena wispered to Hauk.

"Foe" - he wispered firmly.

Lena nodded, knocking a poisoned arrow and crouching. Shadowhunt sent a silent shot. The woman jerked, cursed and ran towards them with a... cry of joy? Bandits were getting stranger by the day.

The fight would have been fierce if Lena's poison hadn't worked, but it had. The woman got sluggish and slow, and even though her sword strikes were still strong enough to paralyse a daedroth, she couldn't do it also to a battlemage and a clannfear at the same time. Lena had an arrow at the ready for another shot, but the hulking daedroth completely blocked the corridor in front of her. Ten seconds later it was all over.

"Huh... That was quick" - Lena kneeled over the woman. "All ebony... Oh! And look at that sword!"

She took the sword that shimmered with an enchantment. "Umbra" was engraved on the blade.

"Clavicus Vile's sword" - she showed it to Hauk. "It eats souls."

"It sends life energy of a defeated enemy into a soul gem" - Hauk corrected her.

"That too. But it also eats souls" - Lena passed the sword to Hauk. "Feel for yourself."

The sword hummed in Hauk's hand.

"It's like the Dawnfang. I think I like your Honorblade better" - he looked at Lena, returning Umbra to her.

"Agreed." She dropped the sword. "Clavicus can come and fetch it himself."

"Thank you..." - the woman wispered, touching the blade. Her hand was bleeding now, and a shimmer of magic covered her body. She closed her eyes and let out her last breath. Umbra took her soul.


"Remind me never to enter this place again!" - Lena said with a shudder when they stood outside. Hauk didn't argue.

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They continued on the Ring Road East to the next Ayleid ruin - Sardavar Leed. A spider daedra and a storm atronachs greeted them by the entrance, so they went in. The layout inside was complicated, with a conjurer or a daedra waiting around every corner. Lena and Hauk got separated and had trouble finding each other again, and although they often could see each other, it was on different levels without a clear path from one level to another.

It was past 11 p.m. when they finally got together, having cleared the main section. They found the conjurers' living quarters as well as a door leading deeper into the ruin. They knew they couldn't sleep not knowing what was waiting for them further on, so they stopped for a short break and continued.

Sardavar Leed Lattasel turned out to be a small chamber with a huge poison trap - as you stepped into the central section, walls rose around you and noxious gas started pouring into the sealed chamber. As soon as they entered, a daedroth ran to greet them, setting off the trap. The walls stayed up long enough to fill the chamber with gas, then dropped briefly, only to rise again. The daedroth died of poisoning, and a conjurer shared its fate. Even Hauk got caught in the trap for a short time, but he escaped when the walls dropped again.

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"This is one dangerous trap" - he cursed, casting healing spells. "That gas is extremely potent... Hey!!" - he spun around when a clannfear rammed him in the back.

"That's not mine!" - Lena cried, summoning her own clannfear.

A conjurer behind a grate swore they would die on the spot - "And now you die!"

"I'll send your bloody soul straight to Sovngarde!" - Hauk replied in kind summoning a daedroth while Lena was frantically searching for the button that lowered the grate.

The conjurer fell even before the grate was fully lowered - one swipe of Hauk's daedroth was enough.

"Don't make promises you can't keep" - said Hauk to the dead conjurer.

"The same goes for you, Hauk" - Lena felt she had to defend the dead man's honor. "He wasn't a Nord."

"I was speaking metaphorically" - Hauk objected. "There must be some other place where his people's souls go..." He kneeled to look into the conjurer's face. "Breton. Where do Breton souls go?" Hauk looked up at Lena.

"Don't ask me - I have no idea!" - she shrugged. "I guess we'll see."

"You are going to Sovngarde, of course" - Hauk said firmly. "You are half-Nord and you are Dragonborn."

"Uriel Septim was Dragonborn, and he was an Imperial" - Lena objected. Were they really discussing life after death?

"Then he's gone to Sovngarde too, he must have done."

"Let's not rush to find out, shall we?" - Lena took Hauk's arm. "What we need in this life now is food and sleep. Come on."

They returned to the main section of the ruin and eventually found a way to the conjurers' living quarters. It was past 2 a.m. and a high time for a meal and a rest.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 5 2021, 08:56 AM

9 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Culotte

"Well, where next?" - Lena and Hauk were walking on the surface of the Upper Niben. "We have all day - Mr. Umbacano won't be expecting us until tomorrow." Lena surveyed the shores.

"There - that submerged ruin" - Hauk pointed East. "Culotte, I think."

They entered. A foul stench greeted them.

"Ugh, zombies" - Hauk grimaced, readying his fire. "Best to burn them from a distance."

Culotte was a crypt. Rows of sarcophagi filled a large hall, and that was it. Zombies were roaming between them.

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"This isn't what I'd call an adventure" - Lena turned to Hauk, wrinkling her nose.

"No, more like a civic duty" - Hauk nodded. "Come on - now that we are here, we ought to put them down. They will rise again of course, but still..."

It took several hours but eventually the crypt of Culotte was quiet once again. It was early evening when they stood outside inhaling deeply, trying to clear their lungs of the stench of decomposing flesh.

"We should spend the night in Bravil - we are out of provisions" - Lena pulled last two bottles of mead out of her pack. "Of course we have some food at Fort Grief, but it's only what keeps..."

"Yeah, I could use a good meal" - Hauk nodded. They had to get ready for Nenalata tomorrow.

They were crossing the Niben when Hauk decided to do some fishing battlemage style.

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"See - you don't just get the fish, it comes seared already!" - he grinned.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 5 2021, 09:29 AM

10 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Nenalata

The morning started out rainy. Lena and Hauk crossed the Niben feeling wet from above as well as from below. Mr. Umbacano was waiting for them near the entrance to Nenalata.

"It's best if we scout ahead first" - Lena told him. "There bound to be undead inside."

"By all means!" - Umbacano looked relieved. "I'll wait here until it's safe!"

Lena and Hauk went in.

"Something tells me that Umbacano can defend himself perfectly well" - she turned to Hauk. "But I didn't want him under our feet."

"Indeed" - Hauk nodded. "Did you bring your Spellbreaker? It will look better on your arm than in your pack" - he winked.

"Right" - Lena fumbled with it. "I'm not used to carrying a shield, but I'll need it, I fear. And this" - she put on an elven helm.

"This looks old!" - Hauk whistled. "Is that the other Ayleid crown? No wonder you didn't want Umbacano around."

"Yes, that's the one - it has strong magic resistance."


"Phew" - Lena dropped onto a sarcophagus half way through Nenalata Wendesel. "How many wraiths and liches was that so far? A dozen?"

"Probably, not counting their summons" - Hauk dropped next to her. "I lost count, I admit."

"Six portions of ectoplasm and seven handfuls of bonemeal, and I haven't collected them all" - Lena looked in her pack.

"That'll be plus seven never ending skeleton hero summons" - Hauk was examining a large dent in his armour. "With dwarven battleaxes!"

"Yeah, my armour is completely shattered" - Lena observed, stripping. "I'll need to mend it first..."

"You can't mend such damage here" - Hauk pointed out, picking up her grieves. "Better change into something else, or wear it for the sake of the enchantment."

"I know" - Lena pulled out a fancy blue dress. "My raiment of Arden-Sul! Trust the Manics to come up with a battle dress like that... All silk and lace and gold thread embroidery. Crab sandwich?"

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With the attire sorted, it was high time to have lunch.

"At least you didn't get knocked out by the wraiths this time" - Hauk noted, making short work of the stack of crab sandwiches. "Although..." - he looked into Lena's face by the light of his torch. "It might be the light, but you do look pale."

"Yeah... I'm cold, too" - Lena admitted. "But there might be an advantage to that" - she said, smiling. "Remember Malada?"

"Your vampirism got triggered" - Hauk nodded. "It was useful against the living, but we are expecting more undead."

"If it really kicks in, it will make me much stronger... for a time" - she smiled at him. "I want to try it."

"Or you might collapse in the worst possible moment" - Hauk shook his head. "But I suppose you have to experiment..."


"So, this is it" - they stood in the final hall, having cleared another half a dozen of wraiths and liches. "Umbacano will have the key for that." Lena ran her fingers along the carving. "Wait... this looks familiar."

"The stone tablet from Malada" - Hauk nodded. "I bet that's the key. But we haven't got it, so let's go bring him here and see what happens."


"Oh yes, this is it!" - Umbacano stood in the final hall. He pressed the tablet from Malada into the socket on the wall and chanted an incantation. The tablet was important, but it wasn't all.

The wall opened and they entered the throne room of the Ayleid King of Nenalata.

"Finally!" - Umbacano was jubilant. "It falls to me to restore our glorious Empire!" He sat on the throne wearing the Crown of Nenalata.

"Somehow I don't think he means the Empire of Tamriel" - Hauk said in Lena's ear. "He must be a descendent of the last King of Nenalata. He is a High Elf."

Lena nodded. "Prepare for battle."

Umbacano's incantation caused more wall panels to slide open releasing six nether liches. The throne room swarmed with a dozen undead - some of the liches summoned wraiths rather than skeletons. Umbacano himself became hostile and joined the attack. He might have summoned something as well, it was hard to tell.

Lena and Hauk got separated, and Lena got battered by the skeletons. She tried to ignore them and get to the liches, but she couldn't heal fast enough, not with the liches and wraiths shooting spells at her as well. It was all she could do but to keep her summons going in between the knock-outs.

"Dessos" - she thought. "We need better help."

Dessos was less effective than a clannfear against the skeletons but more effective against the liches and wraiths. The skeletons kept banishing him though.

"Right, here we go" - Lena though. "A sacrifice is required."

She swallowed a potion to fortify her already very considerable magicka reserve and summoned Dessos with long term binding. Then she hit four skeletons in succession with a ranged fire spell and ran into the adjacent chamber. The skeletons followed, with a wraith joining them as well. She wasn't going to fight them - she wanted to lead them away. She went down repeatedly over and over again, but the skeletons stayed with her, hitting her every time she regained consciousness. She was going to have a lot of broken bones... and she was growing colder with every hit of the frost spell from the wraith.

"So much for all that spell absorption" - she thought. Although it would have been a lot worse without it.

She heard Hauk cursing from the next room, and Dessos roaring, at least they were still there, fighting. She would get up to her feet as soon as those damned skeletons were banished... But the liches had summoned them with long term binding too, they would not be banished until they were defeated...

"The Royal Guard" - she thought. Those were no ordinary undead.

One by one the wraiths and skeletons were banished as Hauk and Dessos defeated the liches. But even a single skeleton was enough to keep Lena down. The fighting in the main chamber continued. Lena heard a scream - was that Umbacano? Then - "Your life is forfeit, mortal!" followed by a loud slam of metal against stone. Another frost spell hit her and everything went permanently dark.


"She is not waking up" - Lena heard a deep and hoarse voice far away. "But I'm still here..."

"Then she's still alive" - another deep voice answered.

Everything inside her hurt... Every bit of skin hurt too. Every bone seemed to be broken. Again.

"Let it go and rise a pure-blood" - a powerful voice spoke in her head. "Leave your mortal life behind."

"Molag Bal?" - Lena thought she knew the voice.

"I shall raise you above the half-breed you once were. You will know the true power of a pure-blood."

"'You might be with child already'" - Lucien's voice sounded in Lena's memory.

"And my child?" - she asked.

"You will bare a pure-blood" - the voice answered. "And nothing will desecrate my gift - there is no 'cure' for a pure-blood!" The voice sounded triumphant. "Your pain will seize. Rise and take your place of power! Or die as cattle."

Lena's body wanted to say yes - the pain was intense, her head was spinning, she needed blood. She wasn't a proper mortal anyway, so why bother with the pretence...

"Exactly" - the voice answered her thoughts.

"So why haven't you taken me already?" - she wondered. It wasn't like Molag Bal to ask for permission.

"He needs consent" - another familiar voice sounded in Lena's head. "Ironic, isn't it? We can all devour mortal souls for breakfast, but we cannot own them without consent. Not any more, that is."

"She will still serve you, Sheogorath" - Molag Bal snapped irritably. "Get out of my way!"

"Typical" - Sheogorath mused. "I am not in your way - we're both in her head! Which is mad, if you ask me!"

A treacle of warmth was spreading through Lena's body. Where was it coming from?

"She needs more, let me" - a deep hoarse voice sounded far away.

"Bloody liches, I wish I didn't lose so much blood fighting them" - a familiar deep voice cursed.

"You mortals have less blood to begin with" - the hoarse voice was familiar, too.

"Well, I guess I won't be dying today, Molag Bal" - Lena said in her head defiantly. "A mortal and a dremora are trying to bring me back."

"Then suffer your mortal pain, you fool! But remember my offer."


Everything in Lena's body was hurting. She felt the cold of the stone floor she was lying on. She opened her eyes and saw Hauk's pale face above her. He was sitting with his back against the wall, Lena's head resting on his lap. He was asleep and he looked exhausted.

Lena raised her head and saw Dessos sitting against the other wall by her feet. He was covered in burns and cuts, but bruises were not showing on his dark skin. Steel and daedric armour was lying further in the chamber. Swords, staffs and battleaxes were piled up in the corner.

Dessos must have heard Lena move because he opened his eyes and looked around.

"It worked" - he said and smiled.

Hauk woke up too.

"You gave us a fright" - he said, stroking her hair.

"But you two prevailed" - Lena smiled, looking at them in turn.

"How did you survive? Those skeletons and wraiths were relentless" - Hauk shot Dessos a glance, still looking at Lena. Dessos nodded.

"Molag Bal" - Lena stretched, preparing to sit up. "He wanted to raise me as a pure-blood, but Sheogorath interfered."

"Pure-blood what?"

"Pure-blood vampire." Lena sat up and turned to prop herself against the wall. "Then your blood brought me back."

"Ironic" - Dessos smirked. "Molag Bal's own curse turned against him."

"How is it that you are still here?" - Lena turned to Dessos, realising that she had summoned him in what felt like a previous lifetime.

"Long term binding" - Dessos reminded her. "I cannot leave until you release me, or my body dies."

"Oh" - Lena blushed. "Right." She tried to scramble to her feet.

"There's no rush" - Dessos stopped her. "I'll go when you two are both able to walk. Lord Sanguine would be displeased with anything less. You might still need my blood."

They spent a few more hours in that chamber next to the throne room of the last King of Nenalata. Healing potions flowed as freely as mead, and everyone was glad that Lena had stuffed her pack full with provisions before setting out in the morning. They slept some more, and eventually they were able to walk. Dessos accompanied Lena and Hauk to Fort Grief and only agreed to leave after they cleared out the rats. Lord Sanguine would have been displeased with anything less, of course. But Lena wondered whether it was Sanguine's will that Dessos was following, or his own.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 6 2021, 08:26 AM

11 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Cheydinhal home

"Gods, that was something else!" - the events of the day before were still fresh in their memory. "I could use a rest now" - Lena was nibbling on her cheese sandwich.

"Cheydinhal?" - asked Hauk, watching her face. "I'll be staying at the Mages Guild there from now on." Lena squeezed his hand in thanks.


They got to Cheydinhal in late afternoon, stopping at Fort Farragut first to leave a note for Lucien. He wasn't in, and Lena briefly considered staying at his fort to wait for him, but then she changed her mind. The Wolf Sanctuary was a better home.

I'm back - will you join me? Wolf.

It was a bit awkward... They both were so used to living independent lives. They were still independent of course, but Lena wanted to see Lucien more often than just once an eternity. She hoped things would fall into place somehow.


Lucien returned to his fort in the middle of the night, bleeding - his target had put up quite a fight. But no matter, it wasn't the first time. He was looking for frost salts to press to the wound, when he noticed a note on the table. Lena was back.

What Lucien would normally do with a wound like that, was to stop the bleeding with a healing compress, take a cold bath to cool the fever, and then sleep it off. But now Lena was back, and he knew that she'd come to check on him in the morning. Normally he would just cast chameleon because he wouldn't want her to see him... But somehow none of what used to be normal applied any more. He wanted to see her even though he knew she'd start fussing over his wound. He'd have to change his habits, well, at least some of them. He put a healing compress to stop the bleeding, packed some of his spare clothes and stepped on the ladder to leave.

"Better move some of the blades as well" - he thought, making another pack. "Then I'll be able to leave straight from her place..." Things started to change.


Lena woke up to the sound of the front door clicking shut. Someone used a key to enter. She heard light footsteps on the stairs, her hand closing on the Sufferthorn under her pillow. She could see the top of the stairs from the bed. Lucien.

She was next to him in a split second.

"I missed you too" - he laughed, reciprocating her embrace. "Ouch."

"You are hurt!" - Lena pulled back, looking him over.

"Yes, but it's no longer bleeding" - he said dismissively. "And you had your bones broken again, and worse!" Now Lucien was looking Lena over.

"Yes, but it's mended" - she smiled. "Bath?"


Evidently, they both knew what to do.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 6 2021, 05:44 PM

12-13 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Mages Guild politics

Lena walked into the Cheydinhal Mages Guild looking for Hauk.

"Good morning, Warlock" - Deetsan greeted her. "If I could have a word?"

"Of course!" - Lena smiled warmly.

"Not here - walk with me" - Deetsan hissed - Argonians weren't good at whispering.

She went out the door and Lena followed.

"I've heard what happened in Bruma" - said Deetsan when they were behind the Mages Guild Hall. "This is most distressing, but not surprising. You should know that Traven was very displeased with you not eliminating them all, although of course he couldn't very well order an execution. He wrote to all Guild Hall heads to warn about you as a potential Necromancy sympathiser - we are to report anything suspicious. Don't worry, I am not about to report anything, and besides there isn't anything to report, but if eventually there is, then, well, it won't be reported..." - she broke off, with what looked like a blush on her cheeks. Did Argonians blush? Must have been the wind.

"Thank you" - Lena smiled. "These are turbulent times. Not all necromancers are out to murder people..."

"Of course not!" - Deetsan breathed with relief. "We are quite safe here with Alteration, I think, but other Guild Halls don't fare as well. Traven has now banned summoning any undead as well as spells that absorb life energies."

"But Summon Skeleton is the only novice summon!" - cried Lena. "How is anyone to learn Conjuration without it?"

"I wouldn't be surprised if he banned the whole of Conjuration" - Deetsan's eyes narrowed. "Be careful what you say around Trayvond though - with his views..."

"Yes, I remember" - Lena nodded. "He wouldn't practice Illusion, Conjuration or... Necromancy. Yeah, I remember him saying that."

"Anyway, we should get back before the others start getting suspicious" - Deetsan started walking towards the hall. "Do what you have to do and let's hope not everyone will be dead by the time Traven and Mannimarco settle their little dispute."


Back at the Mages Guild Lena found Hauk in the basement tending to his armour in old Falcar's room - none of the mages wanted to use it, so they converted it to guest quarters. A couple of letters lay on the desk.

"Letters from Iver and Jowan" - Hauk nodded towards them. "Both asking to meet" - he shot Lena a glance. "Iver specifically asked for you, something must be going on."

"I think I know" - Lena sat down with a sigh. "Nenyond Twyll. Those battlemages that perished there, had no idea what to expect. Kud-Ei mentioned it wasn't the first time either."

"May be" - Hauk didn't seem convinced. "It's not like Iver to get involved in politics though. I suppose we should just go and see. When you're ready to leave" - he smiled at her.

"Tomorrow? Imperial City first, then we can go to Bruma from there" - she nodded. "I suppose it was Volanaro who wanted a word, rather than Jowan. But it will be good to see them both." She fell silent for a while, thinking of something. "Hauk - why don't you join us for dinner tonight?"

"'Us'? Lucien's getting used to being seen around town, is he?" - Hauk laughed. "Of course I will come."

"Lucien is getting used to the idea that people know him in this town" - Lena nodded with a wink. "Even if most of them are smart enough not to say so in his face."

13 Sun's Height

Iver was shooting shock spells at a training screen with obvious anger.

"Oh hello!" - he saw Hauk come in. "Wolf not with you?"

"Plundering the alchemy garden" - Hauk grinned. "Lunch?"

"Yes, better not here."

They picked up Lena on the University grounds and walked into the City.

"The King and Queen tavern" - Iver insisted. "It will be busy but not rowdy, and less chance to bump into someone we know."

Lena and Hauk exchanged glances, but followed.

"So, what's going on?" - Hauk fixed his brother with a steady gaze when they finally had their plates full of food in front of them at the King and Queen tavern.

"Traven is dropping battlemages" - Iver said angrily. "We are being moved to the Legion."

"Oh?" - Hauk raised an eyebrow. "I didn't receive any communications like that."

"You wouldn't, he practically dismissed you already years ago" - Iver rolled his eyes. "He's getting rid of us in groups, I haven't had the notice yet either, but some others already had theirs."

"So what do you want me to do?" - asked Lena unsure.

"Contact me if he sends you on a mission with battlemages" - Iver looked straight at Lena, just as Hauk would have done. They still looked nearly identical, having aged in the same way. "None returned from Nenyond Twyll, or from three other missions since then. And I for one don't want to be sacrificed."

"More Ayleid ruins?" - asked Hauk.

"Some" - Iver nodded. "But it's not the ruins that worries me, it's how he phrases the assignment. He wants a frontal assault..."

"...and this is not how you survive a battle" - finished Hauk. "I see."

"But why?" - Lena looked at them in turn. "Why would Traven want to hunt down battlemages?"

"Not all of us" - Iver shook his head. "Like I said - some are being transferred to the Legion, mostly the young ones who joined only recently. But those of us who've been around for a while... I think he is afraid we'd refuse to fight old friends who joined Mannimarco."

"Or even worse - join your friends and Mannimarco" - Lena nodded slowly.

"You could leave until this is over" - suggested Hauk without conviction.

"No" - Iver shot him a glance. "It's not as bad as it was for you then. I just need to survive until I get transferred to the Legion. With you out and about, the Legion will keep me in the Imperial City and in full view."

"And no one will be certain which Serck-Hanssen they've seen strolling around" - Hauk smirked. "Yeah, that's an old trick, Optio." They laughed and turned their full attention to the food on the table.


Lena and Hauk left the Imperial City after lunch heading North to Bruma. To save the time, they crossed Lake Rumare behind the Imperial Prison, coming out immediately at the start of the Silver Road. The trip was uneventful, bar the usual bandits, ogres and minotaers stalking the roads. It was past midnight when they arrived in Bruma.

"There you are, Optio!" - a boy with a Skyrim accent greeted Hauk as soon as they came in through the gates. He looked around searching for something. "Olav has been expecting you! He did say you'd have a wolf with you though..."

"I am Wolf" - said Lena laughing. "What's going on?"

"Someone is waiting for you!" - the boy shouted, running off.

The public room at Olav's was filled with people drinking, most of whom had already had more than enough to make the conversation slow and repetitive. Olav was standing in the corner surveying his guests, undoubtedly watching for the signs when it was time to throw the next one out.

"Optio, Wolf" - he greeted Hauk and Lena as they came in. "I've kept your room free for you, you'll find a package on the bed. Unless you wanted supper first?"

"Supper first" - said Hauk, taking a seat. "Unless..." - he looked at Lena, impatience written all over her face. "Go see what's in that package, it can't be such a great secret if they left it on the bed in an inn!"

Lena dashed to the room - her curiosity got ahead of her supper.

"We are to go to the Cloud Ruler Temple" - she handed Hauk a note that she found on the bed. "I recognise the handwriting" - she grimaced.

"We'll see tomorrow" - Hauk nodded. "She can wait."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 7 2021, 09:32 AM

14 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Cloud Ruler Temple

"I thought the Cloud Ruler Temple was ravaged by the Thalmor" - Lena turned to Hauk as they walked out of Bruma's North gate.

"They made a big fuss about it but in truth there was nothing to do here - the Blades had been gone for a long time already. This unit didn't survive the Oblivion Crisis" - Hauk explained, making long strides towards the Temple. "The next Emperor didn't trust them to protect his person" - he smirked.

"So the Blades are really disbanded, are they?" - Lena looked into the distance where the Temple outline appeared in the fog.

"I didn't say that" - Hauk winked. "I only said they were gone from here."


A leather-clad figure came onto the road from behind a rock, facing them.

"Optio, Champion" - she greeted them. "Thank you for coming."

"Delphine" - they nodded a greeting.

"I apologise for my poor information earlier - I do know now who you both are. And you are right" - she turned to Lena - "you have nothing to prove to me, Champion."

"Please call me Wolf or Warlock" - Lena grimaced. "Champion is a title from another lifetime."

"As you wish" - she bowed her head slightly. "But you are also Dragonborn, I'm sure the Greybeards are right, and so the Blades need your help again."

"And I won't be joining you again" - Lena said, looking straight at her. "'Honorary Knight Sister' is not my idea of an honour."

"Well... All right, I won't say I wasn't going to offer it" - Delphine smiled. "But I have something better for you: help us and I shall tell you about your father."

Lena went pale.

"This is blackmail, Delphine" - she said quietly.

"This is a fair trade" - Delphine answered. "I have information that you want, and you have the skills that I seek."

"To put towards achieving goals that I do not care for" - Lena objected.

"Well, if you are not interested" - Delphine raised an eyebrow - "then I'm sure someone in Morrowind would get a writ for a certain Speaker and his Silencer."

"Like I said - a blackmail" - Lena smiled, her eyes cold. "I shall help you, Delphine, but I want your information and proof upfront, so that the extent of my help could be weighed against your payment. And Morag Tong... that's just a hazard of my trade."

Delphine had overplayed her hand - there was nothing left but to agree.

"Olav has the documents" - she said with a sigh. "I trust to see you both in Riverwood soon."

She disappeared behind the rock.

"Why did she want you here as well?" - Lena wondered aloud.

"She thought I'd support her" - Hauk smirked. "But it doesn't work that way - wrong unit."

He turned around and started walking towards Bruma. Lena sprinted to catch up.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 7 2021, 04:32 PM

14 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Wolf Asgarsen

Lena's heart was racing with anticipation as she and Hauk entered Olav's Tap and Tack. Olav had the documents revealing the identity of Lena's father - or so Delphine had said. Olav smiled in greeting and pointed to their room. A package was lying on the bed.

"This is it" - Lena breathed, unwrapping it. "Let's see..."

The package contained an old scroll and two letters with broken seals. Lena started with the scroll.

To the Commander of the Second Legion Wolf Asgarsen -

Imperial Legion order of 27 Second Seed, 3E396

In view of recent unrest throughout the Empire, your Legion is permanently assigned to maintain peace in the Southern and Western reaches of Skyrim, and in particular the Pale Pass area, both in Skyrim and Cyrodiil. You are to eliminate any and all potential threats before they arise. Your base is to be the Pale Pass Fortress.

Wolf Asgarsen... The name was certainly suggestive, but the date was more than twenty years before Lena's birth. Besides, just because there was a Legion Commander by that name, it did not yet prove anything at all.

"Do not succumb to wishful thinking" - Lena told herself, putting the scroll aside.

She opened one of the letters. It had no date or signature.

The Commander has undesirable connections. His lover is a Dark Brotherhood assassin, which, as I am sure you agree, presents danger to the Empire. Neither our secrets nor our troops may be safe, should Asgarsen's loyalty to his lover prove higher than that to our cause. I propose the elimination of both - Wolf Asgarsen and Lilian Delacour.

The second letter looked similar - the same kind of parchment, the same simple wax seal without a mark, the same signs of ageing.

We have performed the Black Sacrament, and the money has changed hands. Ordering a killing of a Dark Brotherhood assassin by another Dark Brotherhood assassin was a stroke of genius, my friend! The contract has been accepted, now we wait. Asgarsen hasn't got long to live!

The letters fitted with what Lucien had told Lena and Geralt already. It was something, certainly, but it wasn't a definite proof. Lena decided that these clues would buy Delphine some of her services, but no loyalty.

"At least the parchment is the actual Legion issue" - Hauk noted, having examined them as well. "They might well be genuine, or else someone simply had genuine Legion parchment at hand."

"They are clues, not proof" - agreed Lena. "I suppose I'll need to investigate this in Skyrim somehow."

"The Second Legion had links with Falkreath" - said Hauk. "You might find something in the archives there, if any archives were kept at all. Not about this Dark Brotherhood business - this is clearly clandestine - but about the Commander himself."

"Yes..." - Lena mused, lost in thought. "If I can find out more about him, it might answer a few questions."

She folded the letters and the scroll and stashed them in her pack.

"That Imperial order also said that the Second Legion would be stationed at the Pale Pass Fortress" - she looked at Hauk, puzzled. "But we've been there looking for that necklace for the Countess, and all we found were ancient ghosts, remember? From the time well before that order. How could the Legion have been stationed there then?"

"It couldn't have been" - agreed Hauk. "Not where we have been, anyway. Perhaps there is another fortress somewhere around there? May be closer to the modern crossing into Skyrim? We do still call it the Pale Pass, even though it isn't the same trail."

"And also" - Lena continued - "assuming this is all true, then would it not suggest that my mother had lived in Bruma or nearby?"

"Do you not remember?" - Hauk looked at her searching.

"No, I was too little" - Lena shook her head. "My mother died when I was four, and I don't remember her at all. I grew up on the Niben. But I was born elsewhere, gran did mention that..." - she strained to remember. "But she didn't say where exactly. Only that I should go to Skyrim to learn about my father."

"Then that's where you should start - in Falkreath" - Hauk said firmly. "There are too many unknowns this side of the border."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 7 2021, 06:15 PM

14 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Bruma Mages Guild

"Good to see you!" - Volanaro greeted Lena and Hauk as they entered the Mages Guild in Bruma. "So you got my note."

"Yes, we figured it was from you" - grinned Hauk. "How are things?"

"Fine, quiet for now" - Volanaro smiled. "Jowan is here somewhere - he's been showing J'skar some of his spells. The same effects, different technique - very interesting." He wanted to say more, but restrained himself - the two mages before him were no academics. "I just wanted to fill you in on what we've done and heard around here."

"Gladly" - Lena nodded. They walked to the dining room - a conversation always went better with wine on the table.

"Since we no longer report to the Arch Mage" - Volanaro started - "we've reinstated our enchanting and spellmaking altars - they are in the alchemy hall, if you need them. Selena now also sells poisons, not just potions" - he smiled. "She will gladly buy any suitable ingredients from you, for more money than you'd normally get elsewhere. You would not believe the demand on poisons that we are seeing! It's almost nearing the demand for mead."

"How is Jeanne holding up?" - asked Lena, grinning to the memory of the pranks they played on her.

"She's her usual self" - Volanaro chuckled. "Still working on that scamp. But truth be told, her Illusions are far better than you would expect. She must have been holding back because Traven considers that school 'evil'. And..." - he looked around, then lowered his voice - "she can levitate."

"Oh!" - Lena and Hauk exclaimed in surprise.

"There isn't much known about her past" - Volanaro continued in a low voice. "But it would appear she spent time in Morrowind. So..."

"...what else can she do?" - Hauk finished his sentence with a chuckle. "Oh Jeanne!"

They chatted about other mages they knew, then Lena thought of her assignment from Traven to retrieve two missing artefacts.

"I suppose you've heard that the Council of Mages fell apart and Caranya and Irlav Jarol left the Imperial City, taking each an important artefact" - she started, looking at Volanaro. "Traven wants me to retrieve those items, but I don't think it will be that straightforward. Any thoughts?"

"Caranya is a necromancer" - Volanaro answered after a moment's pause. "She used to come here often enough - we had common projects. But I would not have thought she'd join Mannimarco fully, she's too independent."

"So you don't think she took the Necromancer's Amulet for Mannimarco?" - Lena asked with hope in her voice.

"No, I don't" - Volanaro smiled slyly. "She will probably say it, but I am pretty sure she'll keep the amulet for herself. Unless she plans to use it to weaken Mannimarco instead."

"How so?"

"That amulet raises your magical abilities, true, but it also significantly drains your life forces. Caranya might use it in the most unpredictable ways." He laughed softly. "I would not be so sure whose side she is on."

"And Irlav?"

"He isn't a necromancer, I don't think so" - Volanaro scratched his head in doubt. "A conjurer, rather. What did he take?"

"The Bloodworm Helm."

"Oh, yes, that makes sense" - Volanaro nodded. "It fortifies your summoning ability, while allowing you to absorb life energies from others. Akin Blood Magic, I would say. And I bet he has no plans to bring it to Mannimarco."

"Just using the crisis for his own ends, then" - Lena nodded.

"Conjuration has suffered a lot from Traven's bans too" - Volanaro agreed. "Irlav had to give up all his studies on long term binding. He mostly worked with daedra, but he can summon undead, too - hence his interest in Ayleid ruins. He won't be giving up that helm easily though."

"Well, may be he doesn't have to" - Lena mused. "My personal goal here is to minimise bloodshed, not to help Traven wage his war."

Posted by: Renee Aug 8 2021, 03:15 PM

"Can you help me?" - he asked. "Bandits have attacked my cart and killed my horse. My camp is just over the bridge by that tower - get me there safely, and you'll be rewarded."

Ha, I know this guy. emot-ninja1.gif Skyrim has a bunch of little clever moments like this. Seems like Lena and Hauk didn't fall for this ruse.

Another thing. You have beautiful sunny weather in your game apparently, all the way to Riften. I only am noticing this because on Xbox, this is what I have noticed too. The sun shines a lot in the Rift, definitely more than 50%. But I've heard a couple gamers who play this game on PC often see much more overcast weather. And that's without any weather mods added. One of my friends has claimed "the sun never shines in my Riften". Odd.

I am enjoying this whole segment into Riften, by the way. First she gets accosted by the guards, yet she makes more money from defeating Nilheim. I love that you add NPC dialog into these chapters. Even the scene where Maul seems as he's about to confront Lena, but then he walks off without doing anything. Adds a bit of edge. Skyrim has a lot of edgy stuff going on when it comes to ordinary townspeople, just like TES 4 has a lot of goofy, nonsensical stuff going on. It's good that you've captured this.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 9 2021, 09:25 AM

QUOTE(Renee @ Aug 8 2021, 03:15 PM) *

Another thing. You have beautiful sunny weather in your game apparently, all the way to Riften. I only am noticing this because on Xbox, this is what I have noticed too. The sun shines a lot in the Rift, definitely more than 50%. But I've heard a couple gamers who play this game on PC often see much more overcast weather. And that's without any weather mods added. One of my friends has claimed "the sun never shines in my Riften". Odd.

The Rift is usually sunny on PS4! biggrin.gif It's often foggy in the morning, but then the fog clears. I have no weather mods, so this is just as it comes.


A note to faithful followers of the story: Lena has been arguing with Roach lately, and it is never a good idea to argue with your horse. So she's stuck in Bruma for a few days until Roach cools off - Roach is jealous of Luna (Hauk's horse) who is apparently younger, prettier and has bigger... you know what. wink.gif But once this is sorted, they'll be off again. biggrin.gif

Posted by: Renee Aug 13 2021, 01:13 PM

"Pardon me - I am a priest of Mara" - a dark elf approached their table. "I wonder if I could ask for your assistance."

"We are not looking to get married just yet"

Har har. laugh.gif

Interesting how Geralt is the one who went into the temple near Dawnstar. See, Lena can't get to everything. A lot of us approach these games in the same way. One character won't do every quest, and so on.

I am up to post 31

Posted by: macole Aug 13 2021, 04:44 PM

QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Aug 9 2021, 03:25 AM) *

A note to faithful followers of the story: Lena has been arguing with Roach lately, and it is never a good idea to argue with your horse. So she's stuck in Bruma for a few days until Roach cools off - Roach is jealous of Luna (Hauk's horse) who is apparently younger, prettier and has bigger... you know what. wink.gif But once this is sorted, they'll be off again. biggrin.gif

rollinglaugh.gif Companions, they're all the same no matter what the race. It's Luna's long flowing tail that gets to Roach, I bet.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 13 2021, 11:04 PM

QUOTE(macole @ Aug 13 2021, 04:44 PM) *

rollinglaugh.gif Companions, they're all the same no matter what the race. It's Luna's long flowing tail that gets to Roach, I bet.

No doubt. Girls. tongue.gif

We are almost ready for an update on the story! I have moved my game from Xbox360 to PC, and well, it took a lot of work to get the controller to function. It was all working beautifully for two days, but then Windows did an update and broke everything again. mad.gif Wasted another day implementing a more stable solution. But now it works! Then spent time and more time with that giant UESP book - heros like Jandaga should stay away from it lest their spirit gets irreversibly corrupted by the evil forces within. And this is nothing compared to the OBSE CSE book - that one comes straight from Sithis!

Anyway, we now have a heavily rewritten Companion Share and Recruit mod that made it possible to get Luna from Skyrim so that Hauk doesn't have to walk. Handy considering how much traveling they are doing. They are about to set off again! Stay tuned. biggrin.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 14 2021, 11:25 AM

15 Sun's Height, 4E202 - The mountain road

"That necromancy business really needs addressing" - Lena was saying at breakfast. Olav was serving full Nordic fry-up, and Hauk was not about to pass it up.

"Well, then we should get on with it" - he nodded, not taking his eyes off the sausages sizzling on the grill. "Which one is nearer - the Amulet or the Helm?"

"The Amulet at Fort Ontus" - Lena checked her notes. "That's South West of Chorrol. The Helm is at Fort Teleman, that's all the way East of Leyawiin."

"Wow, that's a lot of travelling" - Hauk whistled.

"Your horse has arrived" - Humilis from the stables entered the tavern. "She got here last night, and is ready for you now."

"Oh, that's great news!" - Hauk beamed at him. "I'll be over shortly."

"Your horse?" - Lena raised an eyebrow. "Arrived? From where? Are there not enough horses in Cyrodiil?"

"Not like that, there aren't" - Hauk grinned. "Luna is a Nord horse, the one that I've been riding in Skyrim. It took a while to get the paperwork done, but now she's here."

"In Bruma. Of course" - Lena nodded. "But you know, Roach is also a Nord horse and I bought her right here at the stables."

"Don't argue."

"I'm not arguing! I'm just pointing out that you are not making any sense!"

"It's like with women: if I wanted a Nord woman, I'd look for one in Skyrim rather than in Bruma."

"I see. Which is why you settled for a half-Breton from the Niben. Makes perfect sense."

They stared at each other, grinning, then burst out laughing. The day was starting well.


It was late morning when they eventually set off towards Chorrol. The air was crisp and clear, the snow was glistening in the sun. It was the height of summer... But the Jeralls never shed their white garb.

"Let's take the Northern route" - Lena steered Roach North and around Bruma city wall. "Past Applewatch, then West."

"Do you know where that trail goes?" - Hauk looked uncertain.

"That way!" - Lena beamed. "We'll find out, I'm sure."

IPB Image

The views were breathtaking. The road kept climbing and climbing, and eventually they reached a place of worship dedicated to a mudcrab. The worshippers were talking gibberish with an air of wisdom and self-importance.

IPB Image

"That's Hermaeus Mora" - Hauk laughed at Lena's suggestion to make a sandwich. "Come on - these people are too far gone already."

The path continued West featuring hanging bridges and stone steps, still climbing. And then they stood on what felt like the top of the world.

IPB Image

"It's Skyrim to the right of here and Hammerfell to the left" - Hauk pointed at the mountain tops in the distance. "We are right at the three-way border point where Colovian Highlands become the Jeralls."

They stood there for a while, marvelling at the view. Suddenly they heard heavy breathing from behind. A daedroth came up the road, turning a corner. It roared, casting on its shield.

"What on Nirn?!" - Lena whipped out a clannfear and started casting paralysing fireballs at the daedroth. "Where did it come from?!"

"Mora's idea of entertainment, I bet!" - Hauk swore in a language Lena didn't understand. "You bloody..!" - the last word was swallowed by the roar of Hauk's dremora. The daedroth was indeed soon quite bloody.

"Let's get going before Mora sends more clowns" - Lena commented, pulling out daedroth's teeth. "It's still quite far to Chorrol and the sun will soon set."

From that point on the trail started descending, as the Jeralls morphed into much warmer Colovian Highlands. The snow gave way to grass and shrubs. It looked promising at first - the horses were no longer slipping on icy patches, but the descent became very steep. They found more stone steps and platforms designed to help with the incline, no doubt. This would have been very helpful indeed on the way up, but less so on the way down. The horses were now slipping on the narrow steps and required regular healing - they were no mountain goats! The fact loudly pointed out both by Roach and Luna.

It was late in the evening when they finally reached the Northern Gate of Chorrol. They were tempted to go into the city straight away, but the horses deserved a good rest as well, so they circled around the city wall to the Southern Gate and the stables. It was nearly midnight when Lena and Hauk entered the Motierre house where they would spend the night.

IPB Image

Posted by: Renee Aug 17 2021, 01:11 PM

They made her an "honorary" Blade, meaning: you are not good enough to be one of us, but we have to follow orders. Yet it was she and the "mere" city guards that were closing those damned Oblivion gates while the Blades stayed away in the Cloud Ruler Temple. She never wanted to deal with another Blade ever again, but it looked like she had to this time.

Sooo true. rolleyes.gif We do all the work. I appreciate it now, but back in those days I was wanting some help at times!

Oh wow, I didn't know you can get an alternate start on PS4! As you've noted, they can change things with NPC placement and situations during early quests. Same thing happens sometimes on PC.

I am up to post 33.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 18 2021, 11:05 AM

16-18 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Fort Ontus - Fort Teleman

Fort Ontus lay high in the Colovian Highlands and it took the better part of the day for Lena and Hauk to reach it. They could see it from below, but the mountains rose steeply and the trail was hard to find. Eventually they stood by the entrance, taking in the view.

"Well, let's go and see what Caranya has to say for herself" - Lena looked wearily at Hauk. "Do you think they'll attack us on sight?"

"I think not" - Hauk shook his head, but checked his gear nevertheless.

The fort was quiet. Several mages were pacing around somewhat nervously, but they didn't attack.

"You need to speak with Caranya before you do anything!" - they urged Lena further into the fort.

"Well, I thought you were Traven's lapdog, yet here you are!" - Caranya greeted them. "Traven is misusing his power and I have a few choice words for him! Are you here to try and take the Amulet back?"

"Well..." - Lena looked at the zombies on the altars and the Necromancy banners in the hall. "What do you want with it?"

"To keep it away from Traven" - Caranya winked.

"And Mannimarco?"

"And Mannimarco."

"Well then..." - Lena looked at the other mages listening in from the distance. "I'll let you be."

Caranya smiled, the mages sighed with relief.

"I'll be here. This work is quite delicate indeed."


"Volanaro was right" - Lena was saying to Hauk on the way out. "Caranya isn't giving away much. But I see no need to kill her just so I could return the Amulet to Traven. Remarkable that he was so intent on having it back and didn't spare a thought for the mages that he was losing from the Guild."

"Well, the Necromancers that go rampant killing people are of course dangerous" - Hauk was watching the mages in the fort. "But these are Guild mages - were Guild mages - and I don't see them as members of that cult. We need to distinguish between them - something that Traven is not willing to do."

It was early evening when they stood outside Fort Ontus again. They were headed to Fort Teleman next, which was at least a two day journey. They would spend the night in Skingrad, then review their plans in the morning.

17 Sun's Height

They got up late because they went to bed late, stopped at Salmo's bakery for breakfast and set off for Bravil cutting through the forest. It took them all day and half of the night, and it was 3am when they eventually fell into bed in Lena's house, exhausted.

18 Sun's Height

The same pattern of getting up late after a long day repeated itself, and it was nearly midday when they finally set off from Bravil following the road South. They crossed the Niben at Fort Redman, then rode steady East past the shrine of Nocturnal. They reached Fort Teleman in early evening.

As they dismounted their tired horses, Hauk got hit by a shock spell and they heard rattling of walking bones. Necromancers.

"I thought Irlav wasn't a necromancer?" - Lena wondered aloud, battling a skeleton. "And this is an actual undead and not a summon."

"Yeah, the summon is over there, occupying your clannfear" - replied Hauk, battling a zombie. "But neither of them know shock spells, so there's a mage somewhere around here as well."

The mage was staying away on the upper level of the fort tower, but eventually also he was defeated.

"Necromancers" - Lena looked at his robes. "Unfriendly ones. I hope Irlav is Ok if this fort is overrun!"

They went in. The fort was indeed overrun with necromancers who were battling some daedra.

"Long term summons" - Hauk pointed out, cutting out a heart from a fallen Xivilai. "These must be Irlav's sentries. Too bad they can't tell friend from foe."

They fought through more necromancers and daedra who were also fighting each other, trying not to get caught in the crossfire. They found a zombie altar in a central hall and Necromancy banners.

"A bit enthusiastic, don't you think? Hanging up your banners before you've defended your enemies" - Lena mused, walking around.

The second section of the fort greeted them with fighting as well, a couple of necromancers made it as far as that and were fighting mages in Guild robes. Lena and Hauk joined in, and soon the necromancers were defeated.

"Irlav is further in" - the mages said. "Thank you for helping us repel this attack."

They found Irlav in the furthest chamber - a cave with a toppled statue of Nocturnal.

"I am sorry we should meet under such circumstances" - Irlav said. "But we are finally getting to some real work here. I imagine Traven sent you to retrieve the Bloodworm Helm?"

"Indeed" - Lena nodded.

"Well, tell him he can't have it" - Irlav looked cross. "As much as I prefer to stay at the Imperial City, I grow tired of all the senseless restrictions that he's been imposing. It's rough out here, but we manage."

"You got overrun by necromancers though" - Lena tried to reason with Irlav, although she felt it was futile.

"Indeed, we need better defences. We shall post more sentries in the first section of the fort. They are hostile to everyone, unfortunately, so it's best you don't come here anymore" - Irlav said with finality indicating that the conversation was now closed.

Lena looked at Hauk who said nothing the whole time. If she wanted the Helm, she would have to kill Irlav and his mages for it.

"Very well, I'll let you be. Goodbye."

She turned around and walked off. Traven would have to come and kill Irlav himself if he really wanted that Helm back.


The Blackwood was swallowed by low hanging mist and the clouds were hiding the moons and the stars above.

"This is no weather to wander through the woods" - Lena said running her hand along Roach's back and finding it moist with the mist. "But it is also not the weather to camp outside. I suppose we could spend the night at this fort, now that the necromancers are dead?"

"We could, but I would prefer not to" - Hauk said heavily. "Irlav didn't exactly welcome us here - or anyone else, for that matter. There is an inn nearby - the Drunken Dragon, should be to the West."

"Should be?" - Lena peered into the mist.

"Just follow the compass, it's too easy to get lost here. And keep your eyes peeled."

Lena sighed, preparing to get lost.

"Why is it called 'The Drunken Dragon'?" - she asked suspiciously.

"Because you have to be drunk to find it" - Hauk smirked, handing Lena a bottle of mead. "Here, this will take the chill out."

The night was warm, but the dump soon permeated their clothes and the chill set in. It took several mead bottles before they stumbled upon a mine entrance and a road.

"Oh that's a good sign!" - Hauk smiled approvingly. "The inn was built for the workers. It should be just up the road."

It was. They could not imagine a more welcome sight.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 18 2021, 11:51 AM

The Mages Guild quest line

I always felt that this quest line was too linear - there were no choices in it at all. So I decided to change it. biggrin.gif I tried to modify the quests themselves, with only partial success, so there won't be any "Alternative Mages Guild Quest Line" mod released because I can't figure out how to make it right... and because I don't have to - I can fudge it through the console. wink.gif

With this said however, I do have an alternative story, and you see it here in this narrative. Lena could have chosen to kill both Caranya and Irlav and thus to follow the original line. But she chose not to.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 19 2021, 12:39 AM

19 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Imperial City

"If we ride straight to the Arcane University, we should be able to get there before the evening" - Hauk said at breakfast at the Drunken Dragon Inn. "I am eager to get it over with."

"As am I" - agreed Lena.


"Well, that was most unpleasant" - Lena wrinkled her nose as if she smelled something bad. She just finished talking to Arch Mage Traven regarding the Necromancer's Amulet and the Bloodworm Helm which she left with the mages who took them.

"Traven was displeased, I take it" - Hauk smirked. "So, what now?"

"He'll have to think on that, apparently" - Lena shrugged. "But he doesn't have a lot of mages left who are willing to do anything for him. I am to see Raminus in a few days."

Lena and Hauk crossed the bridge from the Arcane University and entered the Imperial City.

"Optio" - an out-of-breath guard approached Hauk. "I have a message for you." He handed Hauk a note and left. This was getting repetitive.

"They want you back for a while, don't they?" - Lena guessed as Hauk was reading the note.

"Yes, but it shouldn't take long. I'll leave a message in my house when I'm done - come and find me again." He kissed her goodbye and walked off.

Lena sighed, walking among the trees in the Arboretum. Suddenly she felt tired of all the travelling and running around, may be she should just rest for a few days. She sat down on a bench, lost in thought.

"It's a lovely afternoon, isn't it?" - a voice said in her ear.

"What?" - she jerked. Lucien sat next to her.

"Come with me" - he said, getting up. Lena followed.

Lucien walked to a well in the corner, then disappeared into it. The well led into the sewers, and after a short walk he and Lena stood before a metal door in the wall, like many other metal doors in the sewers of the Imperial City. Lucien unlocked it with his key, motioning Lena to enter, then locking the door behind her.

"We don't want to be disturbed. This is a magical lock - it cannot be picked" - he smiled. "Come."

The corridor before them resembled every other corridor in any Imperial fort. It turned a corner and opened onto living quarters with remarkably nice furnishings. It felt warm and cosy.

IPB Image

"Oh wow!" - Lena gasped. "I did not expect such comfort in the sewers!"

"The sewers have many chambers like this, although most are just dump and dirty ruins housing thieves, goblins or skooma addicts - hence the need for a good lock. Most chambers have chimneys and wells too, all I did here was clean it up." He got food and wine out of the cupboard, motioning Lena towards the table. "It's time for dinner, isn't it?" - he smiled.

"It is" - Lena nodded, pulling him into an embrace. "I am famished." She kissed him.

Lucien snapped his fingers and their clothes fell to their feet.

"Sanguine?" - Lena laughed.

"Dibella" - Lucien ran his hand up and down her spine making her arch and moan. "The cloth was getting in the way."

Indeed. Love making worked so much better without it.


Lucien was such a tease. He would not enter Lena at her call, he just kept caressing her, touching, kissing and fondling her until she could take it no more - her heart racing, her mouth dry, her groin hot and humid.

"Now" - he whispered, kissing her on the mouth, sharing his moisture with her. Lena felt him move in, with that first contact already sending sparks into her brain. Every move that followed released another charge, until her whole body was tingling.

Lucien picked up the pace somewhat. The tension that had been building up inside him, the tension that he'd been holding back, was ready to erupt, yet he would only release it a little at a time, sending sparks into his brain each time he touched the wall. There was no need to rush it - the journey was its own reward.

As Lena's breathing started to slow down, Lucien knew she would soon be exhausted - it was time to stop holding back. Picking up the pace with a stronger push every time, he felt Lena tremble under him, wrapping her legs around his waist. She was in ecstasy and with one final push, so was he, squeezing Lena in a tight embrace and lifting her up as his body arched.

They fell back onto the cushions, still holding each other. Lena only unwrapped her legs when her hips started hurting from being locked in the same position for too long. Lucien released his embrace and rolled over onto his back, still looking at Lena and stroking her face. She took his hand, kissing his palm and intertwining her fingers with his, like on their first night, like every night they spent together. Her mind took her back to their first meeting when Lucien came to offer her to join the Brotherhood. He was 42, she wasn't even 18, and no, their union would be impossible, she told herself, not with that age difference, not then and not ever. Besides, they only just met, she didn't know him at all... But the heart wants what the heart wants, he stood right next to her as he spoke, and as she breathed in his scent, she knew that no other man could take that special place in her heart the existence of which she forbade herself to acknowledge.

Lena woke up hungry, her head on Lucien's shoulder. He was already awake too.

"Shall we have dinner then?" - he asked, smiling. "Or do you want a bath first?"

"Umm... both, I think" - Lena got up, grinning.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 19 2021, 11:06 AM


Lucien Lachance was born in Morrowind under the Lover on 11 Sun's Dawn, 3E392 to an Imperial mother and a Dunmer father, a Morag Tong assassin. Lucien took after his mother - he was an Imperial. The relationship between his parents was clandestine, and after some years his mother left for Cyrodiil, taking him with her - Arnesian War started in Morrowind in 3E396.

In 3E413 Lena's mother Lillian Delacour had a son. As she was a Dark Brotherhood assassin, and her son's father was a high placed citizen of the Empire, their relationship was clandestine and they decided to send the boy away to the Northern Realms to be raised as a witcher of the School of the Wolf. He later became known as Geralt of Rivia, or Geralt the White Wolf. He was half-Breton, half-Nord, but his father's blood won over and Geralt was a Nord.

Lucien Lachance joined the Dark Brotherhood in 3E415 at the age of 23.

Lillian Delacour left the Brotherhood in early 3E417 after she executed the issuer of a contract on the man she was with - Geralt's father. She was pregnant with her second child.

Lena Wolf was born in Cyrodiil under the Apprentice on 17 Sun's Height 3E417. She was a Breton like her mother, but her father's Nord blood ran just under the surface.

In 3E421 Lucien was involved in the elimination of the Crimson Scars. Lena's mother died of swamp fever in the same year. Lena was 4 years old. She was adopted by their Argonian neighbour whom she saw as her grandmother.

The Oblivion Crisis broke out in 3E433 when Lena was 16 years old. Her adoptive grandmother died of old age. Lena joined the Mages Guild and went about closing the gates. Lena caught vampirism in 3E434 at 17, and joined the Dark Brotherhood soon after. Lucien was 42 years old when they met.

The Purification of the Cheydinhal Sanctuary allegedly took place in 3E436, except of course it didn't. Lucien was in exile for over a year while Lena was chasing the traitor, also exiled and hunted. It was Lucien who figured it out eventually and started feeding her tips as to where to look. It was safer for both of them not to be in contact, and although Lena guessed where the anonymous tips were coming from, she never met Lucien during that time. He could not be the one to reveal the identity of the traitor - he might not be believed, it had to be Lena. The plot was brought to conclusion in 3E437.

The Oblivion Crisis ended in 3E437, starting a new era with the following year.

The Greymarch in the Shivering Isles was concluded in 4E2.

Lena's vampirism was cured in 4E6.

Lena was spending a lot of time in the Shivering Isles, visiting Lucien's fort from time to time, but never meeting Lucien himself. Dylan took her to the Wellspring for the first time in 4E103.

Hauk Serck-Hanssen was born in Cyrodiil under The Lord on 21 First Seed 4E151 to Nord parents. He and his twin brother Iver both joined the Arcane University and the Imperial Legion. When the Great War broke out in 4E171, they had just completed their Battlemage training. Iver was drafted into regular forces, but Hauk was sent to Skyrim to a special unit - scouts, messengers, liaisons, logistics, that sort of thing. At least, this was the official designation.

Hauk met Lucien on multiple occasions during the War, as their assignments crossed - they were both sent after the same targets, albeit by the opposing sides. Hauk - to gather information, Lucien - to tidy up any loose ends. Hauk reached the rank of Optio and was made the Knight of the Dragon Legion for his service during the Great War.

Hannibal Traven became the Arch Mage of the Mages Guild in 4E191. He banned Necromancy and introduced a "code of conduct" for battlemages - something that Hauk strongly disagreed with. Not wishing to be banned from the Guild, in 4E192 he boarded a ship and left for Antaloor and then Albion. He stayed away for six years, returning to Cyrodiil in 4E198. The Legion made it clear to Hannibal Traven that Hauk's continued membership of the Mages Guild was in the interest of the Empire, and unless the Arch Mage wished to find himself an enemy of the Legion, he would do well to leave Optio Serck-Hanssen well alone. Hauk therefore retained the rank of Evoker, never to be promoted.

Lena returned to Cyrodiil in 4E193, found her house in Bravil repossessed and her citizen rights suspended, so she boarded a ship and sailed to the Northern Realms where she met Geralt in 4E195. She returned to Cyrodiil the following year.

Geralt the White Wolf came to Skyrim in 4E201. He was aged nearly 100 years, considering time dilation in other realms. Lena discovered she was Dragonborn.

Lena and Hauk met in the Imperial City in Frost Fall 4E201. Hauk was 50 years old.

Lucien came to see Lena at the end of Evening Star 4E201 offering her to rejoin the Dark Brotherhood. He was 246 years old. Lena was about 50 - it was hard to tell with the time dilation.

First Seed 4E202 brought the revelation that Lucien had appointed Lena his Silencer back in 3E347, never replacing her all this time. Lucien told Lena he loved her, offering her a bond, if she wanted it. What kind of a bond? He left it open.

In Mid-Year 4E202 Lena accepted a bond with Lucien, a bond that she never thought possible until recently, forbidding herself to even acknowledge that it was what she always longed for.

This Chronology is being updated as events unfold.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 22 2021, 10:12 AM

20 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Cheydinhal

When Lena woke up in the morning in Lucien's Arboretum bolthole, Lucien was already up and dressed, having breakfast and preparing to leave.

IPB Image

"I have work to do" - he said, preoccupied. "You take your time - just pull the door shut behind you, and it will lock itself. You can always open it from inside - you are not locked in here, but you cat get yourself locked out."

"I'll be fine" - she came up to him at the table, embracing him from behind his chair. "You seem tense."

"Well..." - he sighed. "I have to see a potential client with strange conditions, and then I have a contract to fulfil that might prove a challenge."

"Is that why last night..."

"What?" - he spun around, looking worried. "Too intense?"

Lena pulled up a chair, sitting down next to him, still not letting go of him. She shook her head slowly.

"No" - she smiled. "You sensed me perfectly. But you couldn't relax yourself."

"Yeah, it's true, I suppose" - he smiled back at her. "Not till the very end." He paused, looking in her eyes. "You are getting to know me."


Lena didn't stay long after Lucien left. She still felt tired from all the travels of the week before, and she felt like she needed some time to get her head in order. Normally she would go home to Bravil, or may be even cross to the Shivering Isles, but now she wanted to go to Cheydinhal. When Lucien brought some of his gear to the Wolf Sanctuary last time, Lena realised she didn't have the right furniture for two people. Oh, he was not moving in, it was still her house... But things had changed. She no longer needed a second bed upstairs for friends to stay the night, they wouldn't anyway, not now that she was... what? "No longer unattached" - she thought. It took some getting used to.


"We can have it all changed for you straight away" - Borba was all smiles, taking Lena's order for a change of furniture. "We have it all in stock, Magra can be there tomorrow morning. It's best if you supervise, just so he doesn't touch anything he shouldn't, in his enthusiasm." She turned to Magra, giving him a hard long look. Magra looked up briefly, muttered something unintelligible and went back to his work of fixing an old chair. Lena watched with amusement.

"Magra been giving you trouble?" - she chuckled.

"Well..." - Borba beamed at her. "May be a little. You've got to nip that sort of thing in the bud. Especially with Orcs - can't keep his hands to himself, to say nothing of the other parts of his body." She looked over at him with a mixture of anger and tenderness. He muttered something again, this time Lena could catch "Orc" and "not our way". Borba seemed to have heard everything clearly though. "Not our way?" - anger won over, she looked at Magra with her eyes narrowing. "If I can do it, so can you. Not here in Cheydinhal - never where you live. Besides, she's an elf! You'll be the laughing stock of everyone we know, carrying on like that with a Dunmer!"

"At least she's not a human!" - Magra retorted with anger of his own. "How many Bretons have you squashed?"

"I can't help it if they are so fragile" - Borba shrugged. "I like Bretons, they've got style." She beamed at Lena again. "Don't worry, they aren't dead. Just ruffled a bit, is all" - she winked.

Lena nodded, with a twinkle in her eye. But she felt it was best to change the topic.

"I need some skooma" - she looked straight at Borba. "Do you know where I can get some?"

"Yes" - Borba nodded, looking at Lena with a neutral expression. "For yourself?"

"No" - Lena smiled, noting to herself that Borba didn't seem to judge. "For someone in the Shivering Isles."

"Caldana" - Borba chuckled. "She's safer there than she was ever this side of the Gates of Madness. Just see our branch in Bravil - tell them I sent you, and they'll let you in."

"So, that's the trick then" - Lena grinned. "They'd never let me in, not in all these years."

"They don't want the same thing to happen to them as what happened to S'krivva" - Borba winked. "Good riddance, by the way. Her sister moved into her house, I hear. And that one is an actual dealer in Elsweyer imports - we will soon be getting some as well."

"So you don't deal with the likes of S'krivva?" - Lena was a bit surprised. Borba's business was stretching the law in places, after all.

"Thieves Guild? No" - Borba shook her head firmly. "The Tong disapproves of that. Camona Tong" - she added with an afterthought. "Not the other one."

"Of course." Lena paused, thinking of something. "Well, if there's anything we can do for you..."

"We'll be in touch in the usual way" - Borba beamed, closing the topic.

They exchanged glances of understanding, and Lena left the shop.

It was a beautiful summer evening, the air was warm and the insects were buzzing about, even after dark. The frogs already started their chorus in the pond, and night blossoms were opening their petals. Lena went up the path to the castle, turning off into the gardens, now fully finished.

"Magra does know his stuff" - she thought, walking along a winding path. Cheydinhal gardens were once again a place to be.

IPB Image

-------------------------- on Nexus.

Posted by: Renee Aug 23 2021, 02:41 PM

Wow so Lucien eliminated one of Lena's ancestors! She doesn't seem upset about this, though. Maybe she didn't even know him, eh?

"Why did you disobey my order back then and refused to perform Purification?"

Because it's too heavy handed? Because it's unnatural to eradicate an entire guild full of assassins, merchants, and hangers-on, when only one traitor deserves punishment? Because, oh, perhaps our character has finally gained what he or she feels is equal companionship amongst a group of equals?

I like the way you did it, quest-wise. However you did it (my memory isn't so good so I don't remember how). Never made sense to me to kill everyone. rolleyes.gif If a Mafia boss has an underling who is skimping money, yet the boss doesn't know who is doing this, does this boss then murder his entire clan? nono.gif

Anyway, the scene with Lucien is touching. The guy makes my skin crawl, but if Miss Wolf enjoys his company to the point she's upset as he fades away, I feel happy for her.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 23 2021, 02:57 PM

QUOTE(Renee @ Aug 23 2021, 02:41 PM) *

Wow so Lucien eliminated one of Lena's ancestors! She doesn't seem upset about this, though. Maybe she didn't even know him, eh?

Well, Lucien is an assassin, so what else is he going to do? Lena too is an assassin. She knows how it works. Besides, she didn't know her great-uncle, and from reading his diary back at the Deepscorn Hollow, and mostly from seeing that overly creepy shrine to Sithis, she got a distinct impression that he was raving mad. Good riddance.

"Why did you disobey my order back then and refused to perform Purification?"

Because it's too heavy handed? Because it's unnatural to eradicate an entire guild full of assassins, merchants, and hangers-on, when only one traitor deserves punishment? Because, oh, perhaps our character has finally gained what he or she feels is equal companionship amongst a group of equals?

I like the way you did it, quest-wise. However you did it (my memory isn't so good so I don't remember how). Never made sense to me to kill everyone. rolleyes.gif If a Mafia boss has an underling who is skimping money, yet the boss doesn't know who is doing this, does this boss then murder his entire clan? nono.gif

I think there may be arguments for and against it, but I disagreed with it exactly because I thought that the "evidence" was too thin for such a desperate measure. I mean, they hadn't even tried to find the traitor! That made no sense to me, and even less so to Lena. wink.gif

Anyway, the scene with Lucien is touching. The guy makes my skin crawl, but if Miss Wolf enjoys his company to the point she's upset as he fades away, I feel happy for her.

Well... Like you said so yourself in this very message: she found friendship and companionship within the Brotherhood, so no, Lucien doesn't make her skin crawl. She is an assassin too, remember? Besides, after what they've been through, they must be close friends, at the very least.

Posted by: Renee Aug 23 2021, 03:05 PM

QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Aug 23 2021, 09:57 AM) *

I think there may be arguments for and against it, but I disagreed with it exactly because I thought that the "evidence" was too thin for such a desperate measure. I mean, they hadn't even tried to find the traitor! That made no sense to me, and even less so to Lena. wink.gif


Up to post 37

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 23 2021, 04:11 PM

21-23 Sun's Height, 4E202 - The Jeralls - Pale Pass

While Magra and his men were moving furniture in and out of the Wolf Sanctuary, Lena was thinking of all the changes that happened in her life over the past few months. The change in her relationships with Lucien and Hauk, her growing contempt for Arch Mage Traven, the temporary return of her vampirism and the continued need for blood, and most of all - the possible revelation of her father's identity: Wolf Asgarsen, Commander of the Second Imperial Legion. It was only a clue, not a proof, she needed to find out more about him, she needed to link him to her mother, to be sure of it, yet all she had now were just a couple of suggestive letters, which may or may not have been forged. Hauk thought she should start looking in the Falkreath archives, and it was a sensible thing to do. But that required a longer stay in Skyrim... but may be... what if... she started from the other end? Assuming he was indeed a real person, and the Imperial Order that she was now looking at, was not a forgery, then where was the Pale Pass Fortress where his men were stationed? Which trail did they call the Pale Pass?

21 Sun's Height

When Magra was finished with the furniture, Lena had a hearty lunch and rode North East of Cheydinhal into the Jerall Mountains. Roach complained of the steep ridges that Lena made her climb, but climb she did, until they stood on the Dive Rock.

"We'll camp here for the night" - Lena patted Roach offering her some carrots and apples.

22 Sun's Height

The next morning they continued climbing North East, all the way to the, and there, standing on the border of Cyrodiil, Skyrim and Morrowind, they turned West, following the Cyrodiil-Skyrim border along the ridges of Jerall mountains. They found several trails that weren't too steep and could be used to cross the border, but none of them had any forts or fortresses near them - just, caves or ruins - nothing suitable to house the Legion. They passed the overlooking Sedor, and Frostcraig Spire appeared in the distance - they were nearing Bruma.

IPB Image

"The old Pale Pass is by the Dragonclaw Rock" - mused Lena. "The new one is by the Cloud Ruler Temple, but that's a narrow staircase not suitable for troops. There must be a better pass somewhere nearby. Further West perhaps?"

She was about to continue on, when she noticed a roof among the rocks to the South. Not a fortress, but a house. A house, here? She never saw it before... She led Roach down the slope - remarkably easy. Could this be the old Pale Pass?

The was abandoned. It was more than a house - it had underground guest quarters, stables and a smaller cottage next to it. It looked like a lodge or an inn.

IPB Image

"Well, if this used to be an inn, then this must be the site of the old Pale Pass" - Lena decided. But the sun had already set, and the air was too frigid to venture out. Besides, Roach discovered the stables - and hay - and was not leaving. Lena decided to stay the night - she had enough provisions for several days.

23 Sun's Height

In the morning Lena had to bribe Roach with several carrots into continuing their exploration of the Jerall peaks, which inevitably involved a lot more climbing. Going due North from the lodge, the climb was easy at first, but then the way was blocked by several boulders.

"An avalanche" - Lena thought, looking around. "Perhaps this is what blocked the Pass."

Indeed, if those rocks had not been there, the climb would have continued to be quite easy, crossing the mountain ridge at a fairly low point. Beyond it lay Skyrim, with what looked like an easy descent.

"This area looks to have been carved in the rocks" - Lena mused. "Perhaps the pass is not natural, but man-made. After all, if such an easy crossing existed in Reman's times, the Akaviri would not have been stuck in the ancient Pale Pass with all its dangers."

She led Roach North, descending the mountain ridge. A few larger rocks stuck out of the ground at odd angles blocking their way - results of other avalanches, perhaps. They manoeuvred around them, nearly tripping at times. Lena dismounted and went on foot, with Roach following. Still, there were no structures in sight...

"Are you all right back there?" - Lena turned around, hearing Roach's complaints. She sounded hurt. "Here, let me" - Lena prepared a healing spell. "Oh wait!! What is that?!"

She stood in front of a heavy iron-clad door, she only saw it because she had turned around. Roach's renewed complaints reminded her of the healing. She led the horse to a small platform in front of the door and told her to wait. Would the door even open?

With a lot of effort, the old door nudged open, and Lena slipped inside. It looked like an Imperial fort. All was quiet except for the rattling of walking bones and whizzes of wraiths...

"I don't really want to fight them" - thought Lena, her curiosity preventing her from just turning around and leaving. She cloaked in chameleon, gaining full invisibility with rings, spells and a potion. She went past the skeletons without being noticed. She sneaked past a wraith. The wraith sensed something - it was not being fooled, not completely, but Lena sprinted and the wraith lost track of her. This wasn't going to be that easy.

The corridor opened onto a large chamber with rows of beds - the barracks. This definitely looked like a fort. Lena looked into some of the chests - clothes, Imperial armour, steel weapons. She continued on, sneaking past more skeletons - there were no wraiths there. She came to a mess hall, with several doors leading off it. Kitchen, stores, another hall.

"Commander's chambers and office" - Lena thought, looking around. A heavy oak desk was still presiding the room, another door led to private quarters. Lena's heart leapt: she would learn something here. But first... she hit the floor, paralysed. A wraith drifted through the door from the private quarters, its hand raised with another spell. Frost seized Lena and she passed out.


"Dessos - I need to call Dessos" - was the only thing Lena could think about, as she was trying to still her shaking. She was freezing. She was lying on a cold stone floor in an old fort - yes, the Commander's office, she remembered. The wraith must be still nearby. Lena tried to stay as quiet as she could, lifting herself up in preparation to cast the spell. She was stiff and shaky, but her magicka was intact. Not enough for a long term binding, but may be enough for a few minutes... She cast the spell. Dessos appeared, unsheathing his sword and turning towards the private quarters - he sensed the wraith. Lena couldn't join him in the fight, it was all she could do to keep herself from fainting again.

"A pure-blood can leech life energy even from a wraith" - she heard a familiar voice in her head. She ignored it. "My gift comes with many boons" - he cooed.

"And yet Lamae defied you!" - Lena thought back crossly.

"I can do the same with you as I did with Lamae!" - Molag Bal roared in her head.

"No, you can't" - Lena uncorked a bottle of blood. "We have Dragonfires. You have to be summoned, and I am not doing that." She drank and warmth spread through her body. Dessos came through the door, sheathing his sword.

"My time is nearly up" - he said. "That wraith is down, but there are more. You must use long term binding..." - the end of his sentence was lost as he was banished.

He had a point, how could she be so careless. A fortress full of undead, and she went in all alone, unprepared. She blushed at her clumsiness. The blood had restored her somewhat, but she was far from being at full health. She had to eat and rest, but not with all the undead around, yet she had not enough strength for a long term binding spell.

Lena went into the Commander's private quarters and lay on his bed. It smelled slightly musty, but was dry to the touch. She crawled under the covers - the sheets were clean, if old. Lena lit the fire urns, and the air was warming up. Her eyelids felt heavy, she was so tired... She was asleep before she could reconsider.

Posted by: macole Aug 23 2021, 05:13 PM

QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Aug 23 2021, 10:11 AM) *

21-23 Sun's Height, 4E202 - The Jeralls - Pale Pass
They passed the overlooking Sedor, and Frostcraig Spire appeared in the distance - they were nearing Bruma.

I really like the look of the Hesu mods. Do you use many of them? They would take a lot of patches for me to use them at the moment.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 23 2021, 05:39 PM

QUOTE(macole @ Aug 23 2021, 05:13 PM) *

QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Aug 23 2021, 10:11 AM) *

21-23 Sun's Height, 4E202 - The Jeralls - Pale Pass
They passed the overlooking Sedor, and Frostcraig Spire appeared in the distance - they were nearing Bruma.

I really like the look of the Hesu mods. Do you use many of them? They would take a lot of patches for me to use them at the moment.

They are beautiful but also quite extensive, like those Landscape mods - I forget the umbrella name. No, the Skyrim Temple is so far the only one. I'm still experimenting with different things, but those isolated settlements in the mountains work well, unless you also use landscaping mods to improve the mountains... Which I don't. I'm building Skyrim - I've got several mods already, including both Skyrim Improved, Skyrim Alive, and Ghastley's Falkreath. There are a few conflicts, but not many. I shall probably end up merging them all into one and cleaning it up. Need to get rid of the werewolves too - there's an infestation at the moment. ohmy.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 24 2021, 10:27 AM

23 Sun's Dawn, 3E417 - Pale Pass Fortress

She felt anticipation. She was focussed and collected, held firmly from all sides, cradled in a perfectly comfortable position. They were moving, smoothly but swiftly. A leap - she felt flying through the air. A soft landing. Another leap. A jump down, with a long fall broken by something soft. More swift and smooth movement. Rising anticipation.

She heard muffled voices ahead - men, laughing and talking, walking away. They continued moving, her heart beating faster.

They stopped, she felt warmth - the heat was coming from one side. A voice - quite close, male, talking quietly. Then gasping in surprise as she felt a jerk. Her heart skipped a beat, then a wave of calm engulfed her. Satisfaction.

She felt strain, movement, muscles tensing. A shuffling noise, then a thump. A deep breath, heartbeat slowing.

They were not moving. She felt warm, the heat was coming from one side again - she was leaning against something warm. It was pleasant, she started to relax, but anticipation wouldn't let her sleep. Time was passing - many heartbeats.

Suddenly there was a clanking noise, quite sharp yet muffled, and hard footsteps - someone was coming towards her, making a clanking noise as he walked. His voice sounded rough and disgruntled.

They moved smoothly and quietly again to intercept the heavy footsteps, the noise still muffled. A jerk, and the muffle fell away, the clanking footsteps now very close. Her heart raced, a hoarse grunt sounded right into her ear. Then a thud, and something heavy brushed against her side.

Muscles tensed, they moved with difficulty and strain, with a shuffling sound. Then a thump and release. A deep breath brought relief and satisfaction.

They moved again, anticipation rising, and something else - excitement and joy. She heard a man's voice, felt someone's touch - soft, caressing. She felt love and a heavy weight on top of her - a man, she could feel his heartbeat, hear his voice. Love engulfed her, love and joy.


"I have a rather special contract for you" - a Speaker addressed Lillian Delacour. "You are to eliminate a Legion Commander." He passed her a scroll. "Here are the details."

Lillian unrolled the scroll. Pale Pass Fortress.

"I see" - she said slowly, lifting her eyes to the Speaker. "Tell me, who issued this contract?"

The Speaker met Lillian's gaze, looking into her eyes for a long moment before replying.

"His lieutenants."

"Both of them?"


"Very well."

She turned around and left. The Speaker thought he knew what she was about to do. Once performed, the Black Sacrament could not be refused, but conditions were always negotiable. The Speaker took a leap of faith with this contract, but Sithis would be pleased either way - two lives would be taken. Lillian was one of his best assassins, and he was not about to accept a contract on her life.


Lillian had no doubt that the Speaker understood her intentions. The scroll he gave her contained the details of the Pale Pass Fortress, the details that she knew already quite well. The men knew her - she was the Commander's woman, although no one knew she was a Dark Brotherhood assassin. No one except those two, it appeared.

"They've got the nerve, I'll give them that" - she thought, choosing her poisons. "But a quick death? I don't think so." She picked two vials of a lingering paralysing poison. "They should enjoy the fruits of their plot."

She strapped herself into her armour, taking particular care to secure and protect her growing belly - she was four months pregnant.

She moved smoothly and swiftly, dropping into the fortress through a hatch just behind the store room. Some soldiers were still in the mess hall, talking and laughing, but they would soon retire to the barracks - it was getting quite late. She peeked out of the store room door and saw them walk away. She silently crossed the mess hall into the kitchen - the first lieutenant was there. He could never resist an extra slice of roast and more mead than his wages would afford.

But he was not drunk, not tonight, he was muttering to himself. He heard her - he turned around, taking in her armour. She never wore it to the fortress before, of course.

"The assassin" - he thought with satisfaction. Lillian removed her hood. "No!" - he realised the foolishness of their plot, but it was too late. Lillian's dagger had nicked his neck, and he fell to the floor with a thud, paralysed.

He was heavy, but she was still strong, she pulled him up and moved his limp body behind some crates. He would take several hours to die - long enough to witness everything else that was to come. She closed the door, sat next to the stove and prepared to wait.


The second lieutenant returned from duty late, the soldiers were already asleep in the barracks. There would be some food in the kitchen though, and his mate would likely still be there, getting drunk. He walked heavily, his armour clanking around him. His mate must have heard him - the kitchen door opened...

"What?!" - he startled, seeing a slender figure of an assassin dashing from the kitchen, a dagger in the palm of her hand. He fell with a thud before he could pull out his sword - she shot a paralysing spell at him first, then nicked the skin on his neck.

He was heavy, with all his armour on, but she pulled his body into the kitchen too, setting him behind the crates. It was quite an effort, but also he had to witness her triumph.

Lillian straightened up and left the kitchen, leaving the door open. She opened another door - to the Commander's office, and from there to his quarters.

"Lily?" - he heard her footsteps. "What..?" - he saw her armour.

"Your lieutenants" - she smirked. "They are in the kitchen. They'll be dead by the morning. It seems they've finally had too much mead."

"Those bastards" - he swore. "Come, let me help you out of that armour. The men must not see you like this."

With her armour removed and stashed, Lillian didn't bother with clothes as yet. Wolf kissed her, caressing her belly, pulling her into the bed.

"This child we keep" - he said firmly. Love engulfed them, love and joy.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 24 2021, 02:18 PM

24 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Pale Pass Fortress

Lena woke up in the middle of the night, she'd had a most unusual dream. She was inside her mother's womb, witnessing the events that took place in that very fortress so many years ago. Was she imagining it? Surely, it was wishful thinking, her mind playing tricks on her, showing her what she wanted to see. She could not have possibly remembered anything that happened before she was even born.

She stretched, nestling in the Commander's bed. Her father's bed... Could it really be true? She would get up and search the room before her imagination got carried away any further. She sat up and suddenly remembered the wraiths. If that dream was true... she knew whose wraiths they were, and why they wanted her dead - a child of their assassin and their Commander whose life they wanted to end. If it was true... She had to know.

"But not without Dessos" - she thought, stopping herself. Gathering all her magicka and will, she summoned Dessos with long term binding.

"Ah, that's better" - the dremora greeted her with a smile.

She fell on the cushions, exhausted by the casting.

"I need to look around, this might be my father's fortress" - she said. "And if what I dreamt is true, the wraiths are of his two lieutenants that my mother killed because they had issued a contract on my father's life. Or they could just be wraiths without a special purpose."

"You need to recover first" - Dessos sat down on a chair across the room. "You are not strong enough yet. Sleep, and I'll guard you - no wraith will enter here."

She thought it was probably wise of him not to wander around the fortress disturbing the undead - all she needed was peace in that one room. She fell asleep.


Lena woke up several hours later, refreshed. Dessos was still sitting on the chair across the room, his helmet on the floor next to him. He looked tired.

"Dessos!" - she exclaimed, worried. "What happened?"

"The other wraith" - he said wearily. "I think you might be right - it had a purpose. But it's all quiet now."

"But you?"

"Still here" - he smiled.

They needed food, and Dessos needed healing, so Lena got out of bed and went about it - her pack was by the Commander's desk where she dropped it when she came in last night. Both rooms where quiet now, although there were skeletons in the barracks and elsewhere in the fort. Not with any particular purpose, just remains of the soldiers that perished in the never ending wars.

Lena went about searching the Commander's rooms in the hope to find some documents, something to confirm or dispute her dreams. The desk was filled with scrolls and missives, it took a long time to go through them all. Yes, this was the office of one Wolf Asgarsen, the Commander of the Second Imperial Legion. The dates were right, and all those documents shed some light on his duties over many years.

"Hauk would want to see these" - she thought. None of it was relevant to the present day, but she thought he'd be curious to examine this piece of the Legion history. None of it was personal, either.

She finished with the desk and looked around, searching for a likely place to store personal correspondence. Something hidden, something not looking like a chest, not attracting attention...

"Something like this" - she thought, running her fingers over a tapestry in the bedroom. She felt magic coming from behind it, she pulled the tapestry aside and found a small door in the wall - a safe. The door had no lock to pick - it was enchanted.

"What am I going to do with this?" - she said loudly, disappointed at this new obstacle.

"Lay your hand on it" - Dessos came up behind her. "It could be simple blood magic."

She laid her hand on the door, and nothing happened.

"I am not his daughter" - she said, disappointed.

"Or you are not doing it right" - Dessos tried to encourage her. "Try your actual blood."

She drew blood and smeared a few drops on the door. Nothing. Tears were rising in her - she so wanted her dream to be true, she grew close to Wolf Asgarsen in the last few days, and yet it seemed he wasn't her father, and it was all for naught.

She sat down on a chair, tears now running down her cheeks.

"What..? Don't cry, please" - Dessos was looking at her with worry. "I do not know how to handle this. You mortals are so fragile..." He broke off, confused and uneasy.

"It's Ok, it will pass" - Lena smiled at him. "I'm just frustrated, that's all. I found no proof that I'm Asgarsen's daughter, and I found no proof that I am not, either. Perhaps there is no proof to be found at all."

"Well" - Dessos was more comfortable with direct problems. "You've found this safe, which is locked - it must be important. Focus on it. If it isn't a blood enchantment, then what kind of enchantment would it be? Something that Wolf Asgarsen alone could use?"

Lena stared at Dessos, struck by this thought. She had assumed that the enchantment would allow Asgarsen's descendants to open the door, but what if he didn't think of that? What if it was only meant to keep his men out?

She got up, readying her thu'um. Of so many words in the dragon language that she'd learned, she could only use a few - she was not keen on the idea of consuming dragon souls for the sake of another thu'um. She decided to try Unrelenting Force.

"No" - she caught herself. "I learned it from the Greybeards. They are not Dragonborn. It is a well-known shout. No. But how about--"

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"Krii Lun Aus!" - she focussed her shout on the door, taking care not to affect Dessos who stood behind her.

The lock clicked.

"The assassin's thu'um" - Dessos nodded. "Well done."

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 24 2021, 11:24 PM

24 Sun's Height, 4E202 - The letter

Lena opened the door of a safe in the Commander's quarters and retrieved a heavy scroll. Dessos stepped back to give her privacy. She took the scroll to the desk and started reading, unrolling it little by little.

To my children - Wolf and Lena

You must know that you were born of love. Your mother and I were foolish to give away Wolf, and we tried to do better with Lena. I can only hope that Gods will bring you together one day.

I am Wolf Asgarsen, Commander of the Second Imperial Legion. Your mother was Lillian Delacour, a Dark Brotherhood Assassin. She died of swamp fever four years after Lena's birth. It is all true.

Wolf, we gave you away. We told ourselves that a life of a witcher must be better than a life of a Dragonborn, but in truth we were afraid. Afraid to fail you as parents, with our respective occupations, with our clandestine affair. We were still meeting in secret, not daring to show that a Commander might have a woman that wasn't his wife, for we would not marry - Mara meant nothing to us. As a result, we failed you before we even begun.

Lena, by the time you arrived, we were no longer hiding in the shadows. The Commander had a woman that wasn't his wife, and the Nirn did not fall to Oblivion. But your mother could not reveal her occupation, as I am sure you cannot reveal yours. So she quit the Brotherhood - you might find it surprising. She quit in form only, she never quit in truth. Your adoptive grandmother was an Assassin too, a Shadowscale, she grew old by the time you were born - too old for work, but she too never retired. Assassins never quit.

I do not date this letter, but as you surmise, I have watched Lena grow up from a distance. Again, I have failed as a parent.

I leave this letter locked away behind the Assassin's Thu'um so that either of you would only find it if you are both Dragonborn and Assassin, as I am now. Dragonborn I have always been, Assassin I have become. Whether Sovngarde will be open to me or whether Sithis will claim my soul, I do not know.

Trust not what you read, only what you see. Make your own judgements, use your own wisdom, question your leaders. Do not repeat my mistakes.

Lena closed the scroll and put it back into the safe, but the door would not lock.

"I want to make a blood enchantment" - she turned to Dessos. "Do you know how to do it? So that my brother could open it as well?"

"It's simple - give us some blood..." He pressed her bleeding hand to the door and cast a spell - the lock clicked shut. "What will you do now?"

"Go home" - Lena answered without thinking. "It was rather too much to take in." She smiled at him. "I'll ride to Bravil."

Dessos nodded. "Call me if you need me."

"Thanks, Dessos" - she kissed him on a cheek. Did he blush? Who could tell on that dark skin... "I'll sneak past the skeletons, don't worry. Say hello to Sanguine for me."

He smiled and she dispelled him.


Lena stood outside the heavy iron-clad door patting Roach and feeding her carrots.

"I am sorry I left you out here for so long, but there is nothing to eat in there" - she said guiltily. "I know it's late" - the moons were already out - "but if we cross the mountains, we'll spend the night in that house on the other side - the one with the stables and hay."

Roach seemed to understand that, and pushed her nose against Lena's hand. Now that the trail was familiar, they crossed the mountains quickly, and soon the roofs of the old inn were in view. They would sleep there, then head South in the morning.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 26 2021, 07:15 PM

25-26 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Bravil - Skingrad

The road from the old Pale Pass Inn to Bravil was uneventful. In the mountains Lena had to keep to the road, but in the Nibenay Valley she took a shortcut along the Niben. After all, this was the area where she grew up, and although not many of the hamlets and fishing huts survived the Oblivion Crisis, she didn't need them as landmarks to guide her. The nature reclaimed most of the land, and there was now a bluebell meadow where her grandmother's cabin had stood just behind the Inn of Ill Omen. The events of the last few days brought back a lot of memories, and now she took a detour and stood surrounded by the wild flowers, seeing the cabin and her grandmother with her mind's eye.

"When the time is right, go to Skyrim to find your father" - she suddenly remembered her grandmother's words. Wait, did she say "find"? Lena always thought she meant "find out about your father", but what if she had actually meant it literally?

That thought had a lot of implications that Lena wasn't ready to contemplate, so she brushed it aside. She had enough to digest as it was. She mounted Roach and continued on to Bravil.

She arrived in early evening, and as usual it was raining. Lena welcomed the rain, she sat on the deck in front of her house and let the drops wash away her worries. Many people sat out on their decks too, it was a warm and quiet night. People of Bravil were used to the rain.

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"Tomorrow I'll get back to work" - Lena thought, sipping the wine. "The Umbranox contract is due. I wonder who is the Grey Fox now?" She mused, wondering how hard it would be to find Nocturnal's Cowl. At any event, Anvil was her destination, and she would set off in the morning.

26 Sun's Height

Lena arrived in Skingrad late in the afternoon. She'd been riding all day and Roach was now tired and required rest before continuing on to Anvil. On a whim, Lena decided to check in at the Summermist Manor - a place to stay for travelling members of the Black Hand. She unlocked the door with her key and entered. Fafnir greeted her.

"Good to see you!" - he said, smiling. "It's been a while. I'll be serving dinner shortly, if you want to join us. He's upstairs, by the way."

"He?" - Lena raised an eyebrow.

"Lucien, of course" - Fafnir smirked. "Rayenna's antics are the talk of the Brotherhood. It's been a while since we had something quite so juicy to discuss - a Speaker and his Silencer being an item, and another Silencer getting all jealous... That's a classic!" He laughed whole-heartedly. "So everyone knows about Lachance and his Wolf now."

"Umm..." - Lena hadn't thought about that side of things, although she should have expected gossip. "It shouldn't be much of a surprise though, at least not for those who've known us for a while already."

"Indeed" - Fafnir nodded. "But not everyone knows your history. Rayenna didn't, for one. So for those who don't know it, it all comes completely out of the blue. Do not worry however - I keep history in the past."

Fafnir was the Keeper of Secrets. He lived in the Summitmist Manor and appeared to be a mere majordomo serving travelling Brothers and Sisters. In truth however he was controlling rumours within the Brotherhood. It was all well and good to gossip about someone's love affairs, as long as it didn't involve classified information such as the circumstances of a treason two hundred years ago. People knew that something had happened, but unless they witnessed it at the time, they were not entitled to any details. Besides internal rumours, Fafnir also controlled communications to the wider world, such as the famous story about the Purification of the Cheydinhal Sanctuary and subsequent collapse of the Dark Brotherhood, all of which became common knowledge, yet none of which was true. It was also Fafnir who supplied Lucien with the documents to serve as bait for Rayenna. The archives were situated in a sealed cavern system below Skingrad, accessible only from the basement of the Summitmist Manor through a hidden teleport. Not many people knew it existed, and no one besides the Keeper of Secrets was able to use it.

Fafnir appeared to be a Nord. Yet he had been with the Dark Brotherhood longer than any other living member, vampires included, and some believed that he had been with Morag Tong even before that. Who was to say?

Fafnir was looking at Lena and smiling. "Go on, dinner won't be ready for another hour."

Lena ran upstairs. Lucien was sitting in an armchair reading, he looked tired. Yet he leapt to his feet hearing Lena come up the stairs.

"How did you know I'd be here?" - he breathed into her ear, holding her close.

"I didn't" - she whispered back. "I was passing Skingrad on my way to Anvil and decided to stay the night. And came here to check for no reason."

"No reason?" - he smiled, releasing his embrace and looking into her eyes.

"Other than wanting to see you." She looked him over. "You are hurt."

"Bloody vampires" - he grimaced. "Yes."

"Mandrake root?"

"Already taken."

"Well then, after dinner we go back to my place and indulge in the Wolf Spa."

"You are full of surprises" - he laughed. "I'd be a fool to argue."

The library was cosy, and Lena browsed through the books and newspapers picking up something to read. Fafnir started dressing the table on the other end of the room.

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Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 28 2021, 04:02 PM

27 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Porphyric Hemophilia

Lena woke up in the early hours of the morning because Lucien was thrashing in his sleep next to her. She touched his forehead - he was burning with fever.

"Porphyric Hemophilia" - she thought, recalling her own experience. "The mandrake root didn't do enough."

She tried to wake him, but the was gripped by the dream. At least he would remember it when he woke. There was nothing she could do for him until then.


"I had a most disturbing dream" - Lucien said at breakfast. He was no longer feverish. "I dreamt that I craved blood."

"You were thrashing too" - Lena gave him a searching look, but his eyes weren't red yet. "When were you infected?"

"Two days" - he said, and she realised that he must have had the same dream also the previous night.

"Mandrake root didn't work" - she stated the obvious. "Why did you not say anything?"

"I hoped a second increased dose would cure it. I don't feel it now."

"You don't feel it during the day!" - Lena exclaimed crossly. "We have no time to lose. Have you been to the chapel?"

Lucien looked at her in disbelief than laughed.

"You are joking, right?" - he smirked. "I've been taking lives for over two hundred years, and you think The Nine would give me a blessing?"

"Have you tried?" - Lena insisted.

"No, but isn't it obvious?"

"We are going to the chapel" - Lena said in a such a tone that even Lucien decided not to argue.

"Fine, you'll see for yourself" - he shrugged.


"I am the Priest of Julianos, and you can call me 'Your Grace'" - the priest greeted Lena and Lucien when they entered the chapel in Skingrad. Lucien shot her a look - I told you so. She led him straight to the Altar of The Nine, ignoring the priest.

"Do it" - she ordered Lucien. "Prey and let's see."

He knelt before the altar, saying a short common prayer, touched the altar, and nothing happened. He got up and walked over to Lena, sitting down on the pew next to her.

"What did I tell you?"

She sighed. "All right, try Arkay - he always gives me a blessing. Or try Dibella" - she recalled Lucien casting Dibella's spell.

"Dibella might still remember me" - he grinned. "But Arkay? I never prayed to him before."

"Then do it now." The finality of Lena's tone did not invite discussion.

Lucien got up, walking over to Dibella's altar. He looked over his shoulder - Lena was kneeling before Arkay.

"This is futile" - he thought. He knelt before Dibella's altar and said a common prayer, just as a favour to Lena.

"And so you come to me in your time of need, Lucien" - a voice said in his head. Lucien startled and looked up at the stained glass window.

"Dibella? You remember me?" - he thought in surprise.

"That is an insolent question" - the voice said without anger. "Mortals always assume the Gods to have the same weaknesses. Yes, I remember you. Why do you seek my blessing?"

"I contracted Porphyric Hemophilia and the time is running out. I need a cure" - he gave a direct answer.

"Eat some mandrake root" - the voice said with a mocking undertone.

"It didn't work."

"Then turn into a vampire - it is an advantage to an assassin, is it not?" The voice was calm, no longer mocking.

"It is. Yet I cannot allow it this time."

"This time?" - Dibella seemed to have taken an interest. "Oh yes of course - Purgeblood salts. How many times?"

"A few" - Lucien wondered whether Dibella could read his memories. "But it gets harder every time. I cannot risk it."

"So what changed?"

"Lena - it would be bad for her if I were to turn" - he admitted to himself more than to Dibella.

"You could use the salts again to revert it" - the voice objected.

It was true, and Lucien knew it. He never told Lena about his past infections - if Purgeblood salts were used soon after vampirism set in, and certainly before the first feeding, there were no side effects to the cure. Except the ever growing resistance towards the salts and growing difficulty in curing Porphyric Haemaphilia with conventional means. At some point he might become immune to both.

"It might not work again - I cannot take that risk" - he repeated, but Dibella remained silent. He needed to say more. "Not now that Lena is with child."

"Ah, you sensed it" - Dibella sounded pleased. "I see my teachings were not wasted then. But what if the child isn't yours?"

"It does not matter."

Dibella did not reply. Lucien decided to be patient - perhaps she was testing his resolve. He was looking at the stained glass window above him and wondering how his love for Lena would weigh up against all those lives he took in the name of Sithis. What happened to their souls? Did Sithis truly devour them as some claimed, did they turn into ghosts or did Arkay care for them like for all other dead? He never thought about it, until now.

"You have to ask Arkay about that" - he heard Dibella's voice again. "As for the weighing up of your deeds... It depends whom you ask. There is a reason there are nine of us - we do not all judge mortals in the same way."

The voice fell silent again, and Lucien wondered how much longer he was expected to kneel at the altar before he would know Dibella's judgement.

"Love beauty and honor its mysteries." A wave of healing washed over him. "And watch your step. Remain true to yourself." The interview was over.


Lena finished her prayer to Arkay, receiving his blessing. She returned to the pew, noticing that Lucien was still kneeling at Dibella's altar. "At least she responded" - she thought. She didn't hold out much hope for any of the Divines giving a blessing to Lucien, considering that he never visited any of their shrines, and with his occupation... "Only Sithis would give a blessing to him" - she thought, regretting not restoring the shrine of Sithis at the Deepscorn Hollow - for just such an eventuality. But it was too far away anyhow, there was no time. She prayed to Arkay to grant Lucien a blessing, but Arkay refused. "He must offer his own prayer, and then we'll see" - was his answer. She was lost in thought and worry, when she noticed a halo of healing rise around Lucien - Dibella had granted him a blessing. "Dibella?" - she thought. "Well, well..."

"There's something I need to tell you" - Lucien walked over to Lena, taking her hand. "But not here."

Back in the privacy of Lena's house he told her of his past vampirism infections, hastening to add that at the time the Black Hand refused to grant Lena access to her great-uncle's sanctuary at Deepscorn Hollow, even though he tried to insist. "We have vampires in our ranks, and it isn't a problem" - was the consensus. "If she really wants a cure, she can find it herself, there are other ways." Of course, Lena's vampirism was well past the first feeding at that point, so the cure would not have been without side effects anyway.

"I understand now why the mandrake root didn't work" - Lena nodded. "But Dibella granted you a blessing" - she said tentatively, hoping to hear why.

"My mother was devoted to Dibella and she brought me up in that way too" - Lucien smiled. "But I've never offered a prayer since I joined the Brotherhood, I didn't think it would be welcome. It seems I was wrong."

Lena was nibbling at the grapes, waiting for Lucien to continue, but he didn't say any more. Perhaps it was between him and Dibella.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Aug 29 2021, 11:33 AM

28 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Corvus Umbranox

"I've been waiting for you, Assassin" - Corvus Umbranox turned to face Lena as she walked up the stairs of the abandoned house in Anvil, a wraith following her. "I won't be much of a challenge now, your wraith has been sucking the life out of me every night."

"Yet you kept coming back to this house to rest" - Lena raised an eyebrow.

"Then perhaps you are a better mage than you know - the wraith haunted me in my sleep, regardless of where I was."

Lena smiled, realising that it was indeed the true Wrath of Sithis. If she had been granted the power to summon it... She wasn't sure what to think of that.

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"Anyhow, I am glad you are finally here" - Corvus continued. "You destroyed my Guild and the Skyrim Guild, yet hadn't come for me so far... I was to watch it all - I get it" - he smirked. "Was it my wife's idea?" - he glared at her.

"No, the idea was mine" - Lena put a lot of charm into her smile. "But it was to fulfil your wife's wishes."

"Which were..?" - his brows furrowed.

"To make your life a misery for at least half a year before your demise."

"Ah" - he grimaced. "That figures."

"Tell me" - Lena looked at him as if she wished nothing more but to continue their pleasant conversation. "Who is the Grandmaster of your Guild these days?"

"I am, of course" - Corvus smiled.

"Then where is your cowl?"

Corvus frowned. "I am not touching that any more. Not with Nocturnal's curse on it - and no one has been able to lift it."

"So where is it then?"

"Why do you care?" - he looked at Lena with suspicion. "You are not a Nightingale."

"No, I am an Assassin" - Lena agreed. "But shadow hides us both. I would return the cowl to Nocturnal."

"Well, it's in Kvatch, if you must know" - Corvus said defiantly. "It is stashed away in a safe place."

"Where, exactly?" - Lena's patience was running thin, although she tried to hide it.

"Have you been to Kvatch at all?" - Corvus raised an eyebrow.

"Not recently."

"Riiiight" - the light of understanding shone on his face. "Not after... I see" - he nodded. "Well, you will find it cleaned up these days, it smells a lot better too, although some of the folks who lived through that nightmare, still cannot shake it off." He paused, looking Lena over, as if trying to remember something. Lena waited for him to continue. "Your face seems familiar... haven't we met?"

"I doubt it" - Lena shook her head. "I was never a member of the Thieves Guild."

"No, but those stories... About a young Breton girl closing all those gates... Blond, amber-eyed... Went into the gate at Kvatch, didn't you?"

"That was a long time ago" - Lena said dismissively. "In another lifetime."

"It seems not" - Corvus sat down behind his desk, rammaging through some papers. "Champion of Cyrodiil" - he pulled out a scroll, looking at Lena with a mocking smile. "Here is a request for the retrieval of one suit of Dragon Legion Armour made for a short female of a slender build." He looked her over. "Yours, I presume. It is said to be in an unused condition." He was now grinning ear to ear, finding the situation highly amusing.

"And have you managed to retrieve it yet?" - Lena asked indifferently.

"No, we are still searching" - he looked puzzled. "You were supposed to be dead. For some two hundred years, yet here you are."

"And you were supposed to be happily married and preside over Anvil with the Countess at your side, yet here you are, and I have a contract on your life" - she retorted with irritation.

"She is doing very well without me" - he spat angerily. "Have you seen the new harbour? Do you know how much that cost? And where the money came from?"

Lena had indeed seen the new harbour - the construction was going on for some time, but now that it was finished, it made Anvil into a real Ocean Harbour town. She wondered what took them so long, not suprised by the development.

"They've done a good job."

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"On my money!" - he glared at her again. "It had been long enough since my disappearance that the Empire had released my private funds to my wife! And what does she do? Go and spend it all on a fancy harbour!"

"Well no, let's be fair now" - Lena smiled slyly. "Some of it was spent on a fee to the Dark Brotherhood." She thrust her dagger into his heart - she'd had enough of that conversation. The Wrath of Sithis vanished with a screech.

"Well, that fulfils the contract" - she thought with satisfaction. Corvus Umbranox was a most irritating man. She pulled his corpse off the chair and sat behind his desk, looking through the papers.

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As the Guildmaster, Umbranox only had the most important contracts - "requests", as he called them. She looked at the one for her suit of Dragon Legion armour - the signature meant nothing to her. "Some crazy collector of Oblivion Crisis memorabilia" - she figured, dismissing it. There was a request for a staff hidden in the Arch Mage's quarters, allegedly belonging to another mage; an important ring given as a gift to a lover who had since vanished; a propylon index allegedly stolen from the rightful owner and now residing in the Imperial Archives of Dwemer Cultur and Artefacts; a dagger... no, two daggers: Mehrune's Razor and the Eviscerator. These requests attracted Lena's attention - the Eviscerator was her great-uncle's dagger, she found it in one of his stashes in the Deepscorn Hollow. It was wanted by one... Rayenna, residing in the Anvil Lighthouse. She gave no whereabouts of the dagger, but agreed to pay a hefty sum for its retrieval, including the disclosure of its whereabouts. Lena stashed this scroll in her pack - she had the feeling Rayenna would be back some day. The second dagger - Mehrune's Razor - was wanted by one Silus Vesuius from Dawnstar in Skyrim. There was a note on the parchment in another hand - Sundercliff Watch, East of Lake Canulus. "Well, this sounds like an adventure!" - Lena mused, copying the note into her journal. "We wanted to explore that area anyway."

The other papers were of no interest to her, she put them back into the desk and closed the drawers.

The evening was misty when she came out, you could hardly see the next building in the fog. A passing guard stopped her.

"There's been a report of an assault at the abandoned house - someone heard the screams. You're just coming out of it, and am I going to find a dead body inside?" - he asked rather politely.

"Yes, I am sorry to say that the resident had met with an unfortunate accident" - Lena nodded. "Fell off his chair and had a heart attack."

"I see" - the guard rubbed his chin. "We have orders from the Countess to watch out for him - he was known to have a weak heart. I'll clean up the corpse, but you still have to pay a fine for assault. Or go to jail" - he looked at her with hope.

"I'll pay the fine" - Lena produced her purse to the guard's disappointment.

He took her 40 septims and went busily about his business - to arrange for a clean-up or to find the nearest tavern, whichever came first.

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"Fourty septims is all that man's life was worth to the law" - she thought. "At least our fees are much more proportionate."


Countess Umbranox had comissioned the following improvements to the harbour: and, with her own modifications to the original plans.

Posted by: macole Aug 30 2021, 06:44 AM

Those are two nice additions to the Anvil docks although I'm sure that a little dusting and sprucing up was in order.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Sep 3 2021, 11:24 AM

29 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Kvatch

"So, the Cowl of Nocturnal is somewhere in Kvatch..." - Lena was musing over her morning coffee at the Dockside Coffee House in Anvil. "Perhaps I should go see, a lot must have changed in two hundred years."

Lena never returned to Kvatch after that disaster during the Oblivion Crisis. Kvatch had burned, it was horrible, and she could do without the flashbacks. Those blood fountains in Dagon's Oblivion Deadlands... She shuddered. She hadn't been a vampire yet, but she had to drink that blood to survive, and in her mind it became a precursor of what was to come - years of drinking blood to survive... Molag Bal could not have come up with a better catch. It was unfair to the city, but Kvatch did not hold any nice connotations for Lena, and so she stayed away. But perhaps it was time to face her nightmares.

She set off in late morning, arriving at the Kvatch intersection in an hour or two. She would normally take the road on the right and continue on to Skingrad. She stopped for a moment, then took a deep breath and steered Roach left.

The climb up the Kvatch hill was quiet. Nature had all but reclaimed the burned terrain, and no evidence of refugee camps remained. Except of course Lena could see it all with her mind's eye. She steeled herself and continued.

The gate to Kvatch was unguarded. The portcullis was up, and when Lena tried the door, it yielded - there was nothing to stop her from entering. Surely, it couldn't be that bad... Corvus Umbranox did say the city was well cleaned up... Why, there were even some horses in the stables by the gate, so surely someone had arrived and was now inside. Not dead, Lena hoped. Come on, push that door...


Kvatch was peaceful. The streets had been resurfaced and re-paved, and no evidence of burning remained, save for some dark patches here and there. The castle was completely rebuilt too - it looked totally different.

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"We simply built a new castle" - the Count explained. "The old one crumbled, and rather than trying to repair it, we demolished it and started again. We have also done away with the wall separating Kvatch West and East - it's all one city now!"

The Count's enthusiasm and cheer seemed genuine, if a bit rehearsed. The Court Steward rolled his eyes.

"The Count gets tired of people still treating Kvatch as a disaster zone. It isn't!"

No, it was indeed nicely cleaned up. Lena walked around the city - it was barely recognisable. All of the buildings had been rebuilt from scratch, just like the castle. All except the chapel, which for some miracle or perhaps through the protection of Akatosh, had not been destroyed.

In the square by the statue Lena saw a familiar face.

"Sigrid?" - she recalled the only surviving mage from the Guild of old. "How have you been?"

"Oh I'm all right" - she looked at Lena with a vacant expression. "Just out for a stroll. The mages are in the Guild Hall down that way" - she pointed the street leading to the Arena. "It's fine, really, it's just the smell... I wish you couldn't smell the burning bodies, that's all I ask... I mean, look at them - just under the surface. It's a little better inside the house, but here in the square... It's even worse on the East side, so I never go there - the smell just cuts your breath..." She looked around, seemingly forgetting all about Lena, and walked off.

"Poor thing" - Lena shook her head. There was no smell in the air.

Lena walked towards the Arena, tried the door - it was locked. "The Arena is temporarily closed for maintenance" - the notice on the door read. She wondered how long it had been closed - a couple of centuries, perhaps? But no, it looked in use... May be she was being overly pessimistic.

The Mages Guild was just across the street. It was a small building - not like the stately halls in other cities. "There can't be all that many mages here" - Lena thought. She entered.

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"Hello, Warlock" - a young red haired Breton greeted Lena. "Welcome to the Kvatch Mages Guild."

"You know me?" - Lena didn't think they'd met before.

"I know of you" - the mage smiled. "You are rather famous for going against the Arch Mage's wishes."

"Oh" - Lena blushed, her cheeks matching the other mage's hair in colour. "I couldn't just kill those people for the sake of Traven's trinkets" - she shrugged. "He can do it himself, if he wants them back."

"I quite agree" - the mage beamed. "We have no problems with necromancy here, thank goodness, even though there is no shortage of bodies in the Chapel Undercroft... and below it. As well as under the streets. They were burnt into the rock, it was not possible to remove them - the Count had to make difficult decisions, he's done his best."

"But some people have not moved on" - Lena observed, thinking of Sigrid.

"Indeed. Which is why we are here. It's just the two of us, and the alchemist in the shop by the chapel. We are new to the town, well, relatively new. We try to help these poor souls, they say our herbals help them sleep. But I've been trying to understand why they can't move on, it's been long enough, surely... Something is keeping them rooted in those events."

"Are there many people like this here?"

"Half a dozen" - the mage sighed. "You'll meet them around town. But there's plenty of fresh folk, too."

They chatted a bit more, then Lena continued her tour of the city. A cluster of wooden shacks stood between stately homes and some smaller middle-class buildings. It was a nice arrangement.

"Oh hello! You finally got here" - someone spoke right next to Lena. She spun around, recognising Batul gra-Sharob.

"Batul!" - she smiled warmly. "You remember me! How have you been? How have you all been here in Kvatch?"

"Oh, we're getting by - trying to make the best of it" - Batul smiled. "I've lost everything, but you know, I've been building it back up, too. We've been waiting for you to return."

"For me? Why?"

"Because you are our hero, and you belong here, Wolf."

"I am no hero!" - Lena protested. "I got lucky! It's Matius and his men who are heroes!"

"Oh, we honour them too, but they are all dead now, of old age. It's been too long for most humans. A few guards from the old days are still around, and they can't shake off the nightmares. We need you to help us, again."

Lena looked into Batul's eyes, serious, sane and pragmatic, as always.

"Ok, what do you want me to do?" - she felt herself being drawn into a task she was not going to enjoy. But how could she refuse?

"I don't know" - Batul answered flatly. "That's just the problem. The mages have been trying to work it out too. Why some of us can't move on. Stay a while, look around, see if you can find some answers. We even have a house here waiting for you - this one" - she pointed at a nice middle-class house down the street. "The Count didn't want to keep it reserved at first, but we the old folk insisted. It's brand new like everything else here" - she hastened to add. "And it's all yours."

"Thank you" - Lena murmured, hoping not to betray their trust. She walked over to the house - there was a sign on the door: "The Wolf Residence".

"We had it magically sealed" - said Batul who followed Lena and now stood behind her. "Only you can enter - it's a blood enchantment, from the blood that you left behind." Lena turned around sharply, a question in her eyes. "Bandages, clothing, bloody handprints" - Batul answered. "There was plenty to choose from in the Chapel Undercroft, and not just yours. I hope we didn't mix it up - try to open the door." Lena touched the door - the lock clicked. "Good" - Batul was satisfied. "It will lock by itself after a while."

"Why do you lock a house that's not lived in?" - Lena asked, feeling surreal.

"Thieves. They've been skulking about. Who knows what they're after - there's nothing to steal here!" - Batul bared her teeth in anger. "It's not like our city had burned down to below its foundations or anything!"

Thieves. "Perhaps they weren't trying to steal anything, but to hide something..." - Lena thought but didn't say it. She thanked Batul and promised to stay a while and see what she could find.

"Good, I'm glad you're back" - Batul smiled, calming down. "See you around." She turned and walked off. Lena entered the house.

It was as Batul had said - brand new, well appointed and nicely furnished, but nothing over the top. "Not a mansion" - Lena thought with satisfaction. There was a desk on the ground floor and a nice cosy lounge with a fireplace, and upstairs was a spacious bedroom, some drawers, some cupboards, a table - the space could be used in many ways. A suit of armour was laid out on a work table - Dragon Legion Armour. Her armour. "How..?" - she wondered, she hadn't seen that suit since... well... since shortly after she got it. She left it in Bruma, in that house that got repossessed while she was away. She had asked the Countess about it, but the Countess was evasive and didn't give an answer. So, that's what happened to it... How strange. May be the Thieves Guild was trying to steal something after all.

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It was all too much to take in, and Lena's head was spinning. She went downstairs into the lounge and sat by the fire with a bottle of wine and some food from her pack. A little peace and quiet would do her good. She'd eat and rest, and leave everything else for tomorrow.


Kvatch is mostly with some graphics from

Posted by: Lena Wolf Sep 3 2021, 12:05 PM

QUOTE(macole @ Aug 30 2021, 06:44 AM) *

Those are two nice additions to the Anvil docks although I'm sure that a little dusting and sprucing up was in order.

Indeed! In particular I wanted to connect the harbour with the castle, so I had to build a bridge... I found several mods for Anvil harbour, and for some reason none of them had a bridge there, except a much larger mod (in Russian only), that also modified the city itself and the environments, making it into a real Mediterranean city. But I didn't want to change the city, just the docks... So the Countess rolled up her sleeves and went on marking up all those building proposals with her own ideas. biggrin.gif

Posted by: Acadian Sep 3 2021, 07:19 PM

I greatly enjoyed Lena's return visit to Kvatch. It has indeed cleaned up beautifully and I'm so glad you took the time to give Kvatch the TLC it deserves as a very special place. I was especially pleased to hear Lena declare the truism that Savlian Matius was, and always will be, the Hero of Kvatch.

Posted by: Lena Wolf Sep 3 2021, 08:25 PM

QUOTE(Acadian @ Sep 3 2021, 07:19 PM) *

I greatly enjoyed Lena's return visit to Kvatch. It has indeed cleaned up beautifully and I'm so glad you took the time to give Kvatch the TLC it deserves as a very special place. I was especially pleased to hear Lena declare the truism that Savlian Matius was, and always will be, the Hero of Kvatch.

I am so glad you liked it. smile.gif I hope you'll like what is still to come - this isn't just a one time visit! biggrin.gif

Posted by: Lena Wolf Sep 3 2021, 09:00 PM

30 Sun's Height, 4E202 - A tour of Kvatch

Lena woke up refreshed in The Wolf Residence in Kvatch. She made herself some coffee and ate the last sweetroll from her pack for breakfast. Today she was going to walk around the city.

The city of Kvatch was wrapped around the Great Chapel of Akatosh, with the Castle taking up the North West corner. The City Gate was at its South most point, and traditionally there had been Kvatch West with the Castle and extensive gardens, and Kvatch East with the Arena and the majority of the populace. The Chapel was facing West with its main doors, and the central square with the statue was just to the North of it, with an alley going towards the gardens and the bridge to the Castle. This square used to be called the Plaza, and was the main feature of Kvatch West. But new Kvatch did not have a walled East side, so the Count was proudly referring to the whole city as Kvatch Plaza. "No one is cut off from either the Chapel or the Castle, no one is excluded. We are one town" - he would say. He did have a point, Lena quite liked the new arrangement. The city felt spacious and open, resembling Chorrol both in type of construction and layout - she wondered whether that was the Count's inspiration.

She went to see the gardens, and found a vineyard instead.

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"Blackrock wine is the best in Cyrodiil, even if I do say so myself" - a Redguard working the vineyard told her. "Here - have a bottle. You are Wolf, aren't you?" - he looked her over. "Heard Batul saying yesterday that you've finally arrived. We live next door to you, I'm Chark Blackrock" - he shook her hand. "We are new to the city, my wife Siona and I, well, I say 'new', but it's been a good twenty years that we've come to live here. It's a good place, so why not."

"So you are not suffering from the flashbacks of the Oblivion Crisis?" - asked Lena, trying to approach the topic carefully.

"No, not us" - Blackrock looked sombre. "It's the old folk - the ones that lived through it all. There's a group of ex-refugees on the East side, an ex-priest, Batul and Sigrid, and a few guards. The rest of us are all new."

Lena thanked him and continued her stroll, not going to the East side for the moment.

There was a cluster of shops by the Main Gate - Missy's Dry Goods, The Forge, the Mages Guild alchemy shop, and The One Coin Inn. "I wonder what one coin will get you here" - she mused, but did not enter. She returned to the statue and looked at the buildings facing the Castle. There were just a few of them, with plenty of space left for trees and flowering shrubs. She noticed the Fighters Guild sign, but like the Mages Guild, the building was much smaller than its counterparts in the other cities. "At least they returned" - she thought. The street turned East towards the Arena, with the Mages Guild Hall on the right. She noted a cluster of houses in the South East corner of the city between the Arena and The Wolf Residence - she would talk to those people later. She was standing next to a General Goods store, and remembering that her cupboards needed filling, she went in.

"Welcome to my store, what can I do for you?" - a Dunmer shop keeper greeted her cheerfully, and Lena thought he must have been one of the "new" people. She bought some food and wine and was about to leave, when the shop keeper urged her to see his home wares downstairs. "Straight as you come down the stairs, all along the walls" - he pointed keenly. "I have tapestries and paintings for sale, everything you see there! And all the vases and pottery too!" It seemed he had built himself quite a nice little gallery, and was very proud of it.

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"Thank you, I'll have a look" - Lena answered politely, hoping that he wouldn't follow her there, as she had no intention of buying any of it that day. The Dunmer left her alone. She went through the gallery, ready to turn back towards the front door, but there was another exit at the end, so she went through that door instead.

She came out facing a city wall. "Wait, this can't be right" - she looked around. "I should be facing the Arena with another house to the left and the Mages Guild across the road to the right." Instead, there were two gates in a wall just in front of her, with the Chapel of Akatosh to her right. Confused, she turned around and was looking down a densely built up street wrapping around the Chapel with the Undercroft at the end of the street.

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This was Kvatch, but not the one she just left. This was Kvatch East of before. "Before the Oblivion Crisis?" - she wondered whether she