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> I am Lena Wolf, Lena's life as it happens
Lena Wolf
post May 9 2022, 03:55 PM
Post #381


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Yes, magic seems to be the thing that morphs and changes the most. After all, how many ways are there to stick a sword into someone? But with magic there's an almost infinite pool of possibilities. Morroblivion is interesting in this respect because it tries to reconstruct Morrowind magic with Oblivion rules. smile.gif


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macole
post May 10 2022, 05:18 AM
Post #382


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QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ May 9 2022, 09:55 AM) *

Morroblivion is interesting in this respect because it tries to reconstruct Morrowind magic with Oblivion rules. smile.gif

Not any easy thing to do. Magic in each game had their own pluses and detractions which makes it hard to say which I prefer. I do like how you resolved the Ancestor Ghost dilemma.

This post has been edited by macole: May 10 2022, 08:56 AM


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Lena Wolf
post May 10 2022, 09:11 AM
Post #383


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QUOTE(macole @ May 10 2022, 05:18 AM) *

QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ May 9 2022, 09:55 AM) *

Morroblivion is interesting in this respect because it tries to reconstruct Morrowind magic with Oblivion rules. smile.gif

Not any easy thing to do. Magic in each game had their own pluses and detractions which makes it hard to say which I prefer. I do like how you resolved the Ancestor Ghost dilemma.

Thanks! smile.gif I was surprised to find Ancestor Ghost spell on Hauk when I started, I figured he'd only get it if he was a Dunmer... But of course since he's the hero of the story, he's supposed to become the Nerevarine, so he must have Dunmer roots, even if he's unaware of them. A Nord born in Cyrodiil... why, he could have any kind of roots! wink.gif

I don't remember enough of TES3 Morrowind game to compare magic mechanics - I didn't play it enough. But compared to TES5 Skyrim, I prefer Oblivion, even if it is mostly because of the animations... ohmy.gif I just find Skyrim "ready weapon/spell" animations really clumsy, unnatural and static. Umm, I want to cast a light spell, so I should get my sword out... Really? kvleft.gif Sorry, rant over. smile.gif


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Lena Wolf
post May 13 2022, 04:00 PM
Post #384


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10 Evening Star, 4E202 - Travels - Eno Hlaalu

"Aren't there any horses in Morrowind?" Hauk was talking to a Legion soldier at Fort Moonmoth. "Or do you always have to walk everywhere?"

"There are no horses here, no," the Legionnaire shook his head. "They don't do well on volcanic terrain or during ash storms, plus there's nothing for them to graze." He looked around wistfully, remembering lush meadows of Cyrodiil. "But if you're looking for personal transportation, you can get a guar."

"What, you mean to ride that thing?" Hauk raised an eyebrow in disbelief.

...

"Yeah, they are not exactly built for the Nords," Sjorvar Horse-Mouth shook his head, glancing over a small herd of guar under his care. "But you'll get used to it. If anything, you can use them to carry your gear!"

"I was hoping to move faster than on foot, actually," Hauk was handing over the cash. "We'll see. If that's all there is, then that's that."

Nord pragmatism was a good thing, because it took a few tries before the guar allowed Hauk to mount it. There was no saddle, so Hauk had to hold on to the guar's shoulders. But all in all, it worked out pretty well.

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"This one is a lot bigger than many other guar I came across," Hauk returned to talk to Sjorvar again. "I can get used to it. But why no saddle?"

"They don't like it very much," Sjorvar coughed uncomfortably. "They need to be trained for that. This one is a beginner's guar, meaning it's not used to be ridden yet. It's not very fast and we'd rather not aggravate it with a saddle. But you've done all right!" He slapped Hauk on the back. "Come back when you are ready for a faster one."

Hauk nodded, thanked Sjorvar and left.

"Come on, Henk, let's go," he patted the guar, getting onto its back. "We are in no rush."

...

Back in Balmora Hauk wondered what to do with Henk the guar. What did guar eat? Plants and insects, he hoped, so he took it to the one green patch near Balmora - the patch by the Temple. There, to his surprise, he saw two armoured guars pacing up and down.

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They seemed rather uncomfortable with their armour and saddle. Were they envious of Henk the guar who wasn't burdened with such things? Or was Hauk just imagining it all? "They do look impressive though," he thought. "House Hlaalu" was embroidered on their covers. "Well, official guars as well," he clicked his tongue, patted Henk and left, confident that he'd picked a good spot to station his guar.

Now that Hauk had transportation, he could venture further afield - he was not keen on point-to-point transport like the silt strider because it only went to major cities leaving him to walk everywhere else. His duties for Caius were taking him to an Ancestral Tomb South of Pelagiad, and his search for the Propylon Indexes was taking him to Vivec. He would be away for several days and planned to set off in the morning. But first, he paid a visit to the guild hall of Morag Tong.

"Yes, can I help you?" He was greeted by a friendly Dunmer - may be not that friendly by Cyrodiil standards, but certainly much friendlier than an average Dunmer in the streets of Balmora.

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"I have a message for one of your members," Hauk started cautiously. "But I need to deliver it in person and so I need help locating him."

"Oh?" The Dunmer raised an eyebrow. "And you are..?"

"Hauk Serck-Hanssen, Optio of the Special Division of the Imperial Legion," Hauk introduced himself, omitting his recent appointment as an agent of the Blades. He wasn't even certain that it was real. "But the message I carry is not strictly Legion business."

"Yes, we've heard of you," the Dunmer nodded. "Not the first time in Morrowind, are you?" Hauk smiled. "Well, who is it that you are looking for?"

"Azarath Salvel."

"Ah!" The name was clearly familiar to the Dunmer, and he paled a little. "You will want to speak to our Grandmaster about that." He swallowed hard. "In Vivec--"

"Eno Hlaalu, yes, I know," Hauk nodded. "It's not the first time," he smiled. "I'll see myself out."

The Dunmer followed Hauk with his gaze. "By the Ancestors, The Animal is back and he's looking for Azarath Salvel..." he shivered. "A message, he said... For all our sakes... Let the Whispering Lady and the Night Mother be one and the same after all..." He hoped in his heart that the message that Hauk carried, would not start another bloody war between Morag Tong and the Dark Brotherhood. Some said that the Night Mother was just another re-incarnation of Mephala. Others claimed that she was not, and that Mephala was jealous of the Night Mother's proximity to Sithis. And although no one seriously believed that the Black Hand of the Dark Brotherhood were the actual children of the Night Mother, the claim did give them an aura of superiority, and Morag Tong was having none of that. Mephala was amused by the strife, not caring for the lives of mortals, even if they were her followers. Some even whispered that it was Mephala herself who fueled the wars of assassins...

Gilyan Sedas sighed, and as Hauk left the guild hall, he too went out, walking around the building and quietly opening an unassuming door set into the rocky hills surrounding Balmora. Few were aware that the door even existed, although it wasn't hidden or enchanted in any way - it was simply grey, unlit, set into a grey rock in a back alley of the Guild Hall of Morag Tong, and that alone was enough to dissuade most people from venturing there.

The door led into a crypt - a typical crypt resembling many Ancestral Tombs in Morrowind, complete with Ancestral Guardians. They turned to Gilyan, but let him pass, recognising him for one of their own. It wasn't a family crypt, it was a crypt of Morag Tong, used for those members who didn't have a family crypt of their own. Some whispered that the descendants of the Sixth House were buried there... May be, but Gilyan wasn't worried about that. He walked into the depths of the crypt and knelt before a shrine. He said no prayer, for he did not believe that the Dread Father was hearing prayers at all. He simply knelt, postulating his devotion to the Old God. The meditation brought Gilyan peace.

...

Vivec was vast. Hauk remembered getting lost in it more than once. Each canton looked the same to him, and each level in each canton looked even more the same... How was anyone finding their way in there?

"The key to finding things in Vivec is to first find the right canton, and then stick to it until you find the right place," someone told him years ago. That was useful if you knew where you were going... Plain sightseeing that worked in other places, was just going to get you hopelessly lost in Vivec. So, having left his guar by the entrance to the Foreign Canton, Hauk proceeded straight to the Arena Canton, descending to the lowest level into what looked like the sewers. There he found an unassuming door like any other - the entrance to the headquarters of Morag Tong.

"Optio," he was greeted respectfully by a thrall inside. "The Grandmaster is awaiting you." Of course, the word had already been sent.

Hauk entered a room deeper in where Eno was seated at a low table. He gestured Hauk to shut the door and join him.

"Back in Morrowind, I see," Eno observed, passing Hauk a glass of shein. "And looking for one of our men?" Eno's gaze was penetrating.

"Indeed," Hauk nodded, sipping the drink. "I've got a message for him, semi-official, but the Mother is aware and does not object. It concerns his son."

"Ah," Eno nodded, not looking surprised. "I expected something sooner or later. What is it?"

Hauk tilted his head, watching Eno out of the corner of his eye. Should he reveal it before even speaking to Azarath himself? Could he avoid revealing it? Was it even necessary? He decided on a half-way approach.

"A Dark Brotherhood assassin is expected to seek favour with Mephala in an attempt to take revenge on Lucien Lachance for not making her his love interest. She is a talented assassin and is expected to do it through Azarath Salvel," he summarised the matter. "Although Mephala may well approve of this, such course of actions is not in the interest of either organisation." He watched Eno's reaction.

"Indeed," Eno nodded. "This would be most unwelcome to all of us, the Legion included." He paused in thought. "Name?"

"Rayenna. She's a Redguard, very attractive, very deadly."

"She hasn't contacted us here yet," Eno sat back, relaxing. "So it's not too late. We shall warn Azarath to be watchful." He rose from his seat, signalling the end of their interview.

"But I still need to speak to Azarath myself," Hauk insisted, also rising.

"So, what is it that you haven't told me?" Eno's eyes twinkled.

"His son just got married and the child is soon to be born." He was about to add something, but didn't. Eno noticed and understood the unsaid part.

"It is Lucien's business, not ours. But very well. Azarath will contact you."

The Dunmer took family ties very seriously, and the fact that Hauk did not say "his child" but only "the child" told Eno about the uncertainty around the child's father. Yet it had no bearing on Morag Tong, and although they would continue keeping tabs on Lucien and his new family, they would not interfere directly. Taken together with the affair with Rayenna, Eno considered it serious enough to allow a meeting between Hauk and Azarath, even though he deduced what else Hauk was going to say to Azarath that he didn't say to Eno. "This day had to come," Eno thought, watching Hauk bow good-bye and leave. "And he is much closer to this than he would like to appear," he smirked. "The father of the child, perhaps?" Eno walked over to his desk and wrote a note in triplicate, then called a thrall to have the notes delivered to the Morag Tong guild halls. They read:

Master,

Gather all information on Lucien Lachance and his newly wed wife, as well as Optio of the Imperial Legion Hauk Serck-Hanssen and his possible ties to the Dark Brotherhood and in particular to Lucien Lachance. He is allowed contact with Azarath Salvel and is to be offered assistance.

Be warned of a Redguard assassin named Rayenna who is likely to seek favour with the Lady of Whispers for personal revenge on Lucien Lachance. This is deemed detrimental to our organisation.

Be watchful.

...

"Azarath will be in touch," Hauk smirked as he leaned on the railing of the Arena Canton in Vivec, looking at the busy passages beneath. "They still won't tell me where to find him." He didn't really expect it though, not even after all these years passing messages between the Morag Tong and the Legion - he was still an outsider, and would always remain one. The Legion had dealings with the Dark Brotherhood as well, and for that reason alone the Morag Tong would never fully trust an Imperial agent, not even one they'd known for thirty years, not even one like The Animal. "And I bet he deduced the lot from what I said and didn't say," Hauk thought. "Well, it cannot be avoided," he decided. He was making progress, and that was all that mattered. "Would Rayenna be already here?" He wondered, spotting a few Redguards in the crowd. "Probably not," he shook his head. "Let's hope not." If there was ever a place to hide, Vivec was it.

This post has been edited by Lena Wolf: May 14 2022, 12:44 AM


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post May 16 2022, 02:53 PM
Post #385


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17 Evening Star, 4E202 - Vivec - Suran - The first dream

Hauk didn't like Vivec City. The place was huge, with those canton islands looking all alike, with people being equally unfriendly everywhere. Some places were crowded, other places where completely empty. Where was everyone? Hauk was standing on a completely deserted outer ring of the Foreign Canton looking at gondolas in the canal. Why did you need gondolas when you could just walk from one canton to another? Or was he not the only one to constantly lose his way there?

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"Hey, watch where you're going!" Someone pushed him from behind.

"Whaaa---" Hauk turned around - the place had been deserted just a few moments ago, but now there was a thick crowd coming right at him. Wait, he wasn't moving, so what..?

"You outlanders are all alike!" A young Dunmer was coming at him with a dagger drawn. Hauk too pulled out a dagger, but then quickly put it away. Although self-defense was of course legal, he didn't trust the Ordinators to see it as self-defense, should Hauk kill the young Dunmer in the altercation. In fact, one of the Ordinators was calmly looking on from a nearby doorway. Instead, Hauk cast invisibility and stepped aside. The Dunmer looked around in bewilderment... and attacked another passer by, killing her on the spot. But since she too was a Dunmer, the Ordinator got involved this time, killing the young Dunmer as well. Hauk's invisibility spell ran out just as the Ordinator was getting up from checking both victims for life signs or gold or both. He squinted at Hauk, his sanguine eyes burning with rage through the slit in his helmet. "Outlander!" He roared, his sword drawn. Ordinators did not need law, it appeared, they were considered infallible in their judgement, and this one just decided that the whole incident had been obviously Hauk's fault. "Well, they are certainly as I remember them," thought Hauk, casting invisibility again and moving away. "Time to leave Vivec City."

...

Riding through the countryside of the Ascadian Isles with its many farms and plantations, Hauk was reflecting on that spectacular rumour that Vivec City had been destroyed in the year 4E5 with some Dwemer artifact that was brought to life for the sole purpose of getting rid of the Tribunal. "This is really strange," he thought. "Not so much that the whole rumour was obviously false, but that it emerged in the first place - wasn't it Nerevarine who killed Lord Vivec back then? I think it was." He scratched his head wondering whether Lord Vivec had actually become immortal, because obviously he was back from the dead. But then again, Hauk himself had returned from the dead once, and he didn't think it made him into a god...

Musing this way, he found himself on a shore of a lake looking at a town across the water. There were no bridges that he could see, but the lake didn't look very deep or very wide, so he left his guar to graze and swam to the other side. There he entered Suran.

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It was a lovely leafy town, but the streets were strangely empty, save a few guards and a couple of arms-bearing citizens. "Where is everyone?" Hauk asked a friendly-looking Orc vixen. She reminded him of someone... Dar-Pha. "Wish you were here," Hauk sighed to himself.

"Oh, there aren't a lot of folks living here to begin with," the Orc smiled at him. "It's just a small village really. We provide services to the surrounding farms, is all."

"Is that so?" Hauk smiled back. "And what are those services?"

"Just the usual," the Orc grinned ear to ear. "A smith, a healer, a slave trader, a whorehouse and a temple. A few other shops too, but nothing over the top."

"Bare necessities," Hauk agreed, with a grin of his own. "And no inn?"

"No need," the Orc shook her head. "All the farmers either spend the night at Desele's or simply return home - they all live nearby anyway. And the guards keep clearing out skooma-addled rough sleepers, but you might still find a hammock or a bedroll tucked away somewhere if you look closely." At that moment a cliffracer made a dive at them, and Hauk realised the necessity for carrying arms in this town.

With the cliffracer taken care of, Hauk continued walking around. "Not a big town, certainly, but still strangely empty," he couldn't shake off the feeling that it was too empty, even for a small town.

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"Just hope it's not the same as in Valenwood," he thought.

All that walking around made him tired and hungry, and so he went to Desele's House of Earthly Delights as that was the only place in town serving food.

...

"Welcome to my house!" Desele greeted him. "Do make yourself at home! How can we be of service?" She winked at Hauk, gesturing at the girls dancing on stage.

"I was looking for something to eat, actually," Hauk smiled timidly. "But there's no other inn in town..."

"And you've come to the right place!" Desele beamed at him. "We serve food too." She said something to a Khajiit standing next to her, and the Khajiit disappeared into the kitchen. "Anything else?"

"Not at the moment," Hauk thanked her and decided to make the best of his time talking to other customers. Drunk people with their minds on other things were his favourite conversation partners - they were too distracted to think carefully what they were saying.

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...

"...and he couldn't remember a thing afterwards!" A very drunk Imperial was telling Hauk in between sips of beer. "Imagine that! He could have killed someone while sleepwalking!"

"Rona is really something else," a Nord joined their conversation. "Just look how she moves..."

"So that's why everyone is afraid to leave their houses, is it?" Hauk turned to the drunk Imperial.

"What? Oh that... yeah, may be, and all the escaped slaves, too..." He had a long drink, finishing his beer and signalling for more. "Like the one I'm looking for. I'm a slave hunter, you see. Except that them slaves aren't wanting to get back to their masters, they aren't!" He looked at Hauk defiantly. "Ever tried to catch an Argonian under water?" He glared. "Don't!" His beer arrived and he seemed intent to catch an Argonian in it, so Hauk left him to it.

"What's that about people having nightmares around here?" He asked Desele as she seemed to be the only person there who wasn't drunk.

"Oh that... Ssshh... We don't want the Temple to hear about it. But yeah, people have been having nightmares. It's Vaermina's work, if you ask me! But hey, I'm not complaining - we've had a lot more business since the nightmares started. Want to stay in my bedroom?" She dangled a key in front of him. "It's 84 septims a night, dear, escort not included. Guaranteed nightmare-free!"

"Ummm... Let me think about that," Hauk felt the weight of his coin pouch, thinking that 84 septims was about eight and a half times the going rate... especially since escort was not included! "How much is with escort?" He asked, grinning.

"More than you could afford," Desele smiled. "Sorry dear, but the girls are all booked up, and to shift prior arrangements is above your pay grade, I'm sure." She turned away, signalling the end of conversation.

"Don't worry, you're not the only one who gets to look but not touch," the Nord said in his ear. "Rona will talk to me, but one look from Desele and she goes back to dancing..." He sighed, exasperated.

...

"Let's see if I can find that hammock or bedroll around here," Hauk thought, leaving Desele's house. He wasn't paying 84 septims for the privilege of sleeping indoors, with or without escort. He hoped he didn't wave that no-nightmares guarantee too quickly though...

"Ah-ha, that's it!" Tucked away between a corner of a building and the city wall, there was a cozy hideaway with all the paraphernalia for an aspiring skooma addict. "Or an Imperial agent in need of a cover," Hauk smirked, settling down to his daily task of making notes for Caius. "No skooma in Suran," he wrote. "Almost." He corrected himself.

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The next morning saw Hauk return to Balmora, taking a detour to the Ancestral Tomb where he needed to retrieve a certain skull for Sharn gra-Muzgob from the Mages Guild - Caius' informant. "The Dunmer protect their dead with gods know what," she warned him. "Such a prejudice against Necromancy..."

The tomb was in fact filled with products of Necromancy in the form of skeletons and bone walkers, besides a single legitimate Ancestral Guardian, so Hauk was very much in doubt whether that particular Dunmer family was indeed all too prejudiced or whether rather they wanted to keep their Necromantic materials from being plucked from their own Ancestral Tomb. Be it as it may however, he needed that skull because Caius wanted Sharn's notes, and sure enough, five bone walkers and seven skeletons later, he found it, complete with a Dagger of Judgement next to it - the person in question appeared to have been assassinated. "Charming," he smirked, pocketing the dagger. "But here's the skull, along with my payment." Victims of murder were particularly valuable to Necromancers because they had such angry ghosts.

The way back to Balmora seemed long and tiresome - Hauk got hit by multiple curses and was feeling sluggish and numb, but Henk the guar faithfully carried him home, despite of the skies darkening, the wind picking up and finally a thunderstorm erupting right above them.

In Balmora, having picked up the notes from Sharn ("No, I am NOT a Necromancer!" she protested loudly, stashing away the skull), Hauk went straight to Caius, and finding him asleep, stood for a moment hesitating whether it would be safe enough to wake up the Spy Master. But then he thought that delaying the notes by not waking him up, was probably going to be more dangerous.

"Ah, you got the notes," Caius looked satisfied. "I shall need time to study them. Find something to do. Dismissed."

As Hauk was crossing the square on the way to his house, he found two dead bodies on the ground. People were going back and forth, stepping over them but otherwise behaving as if nothing was the matter.

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"What happened?" He asked a passer by.

"Oh, that fellow grabbed a dagger and attacked someone, so the guard intervened," was the reply. "Two guards actually, because that poor sod went completely berserk! He even managed to kill that one guard before the other one cut him down! Whatever got into him..." the passer-by shook his head.

"This is terrible!" exclaimed Hauk. "Was he a disturbed soul?"

"No... Well, yes, actually," the passer-by looked over his shoulder and lowered his voice. "He did say the other day that he'd been having disturbing dreams..." He looked over his shoulder again. "And now this." He sighed. "Stay safe." He nodded and walked off.

Hauk returned home, dropped his gear in the corner and stretched on his hammock without even having anything to eat. All the tiredness of the long day seemed to have come down on him at once. He fell asleep immediately.

...

A tall figure with a golden mask was leading Hauk among the dead as through a wedding celebration. He heard many voices, but no lips moved. Hauk strained to breathe, but his chest didn't move. The tall figure spoke with each figure as he passed among them, laughing and joking, as if they were alive, but they made no reply. Hauk tried to cry out, but without breath, his tongue fluttered in vain.

...

Hauk sat up, it was 2 a.m.

"Sovngarde?" He wondered. Yet the figures in his dream did not look like the Nords. "Must be all that fighting the undead," he reasoned, going downstairs and opening the drinks cabinet. "And this stuff!" He flicked away an empty mazte bottle. His hand probed for something at the back of the cabinet, he grabbed it and pulled it out. Mead. He drank it in one go. "Ah, that should clear it up," he sighed with satisfaction, returning to his hammock. He fell asleep and didn't have any more disturbing dreams.

This post has been edited by Lena Wolf: May 16 2022, 03:45 PM


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post May 19 2022, 03:49 PM
Post #386


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19-21 Evening Star, 4E202 - Ald'ruhn

"Some story indeed," Hauk was muttering to himself leaving Fort Moonmoth where he went to see Larrius Varro, the Legion Champion. Having showered Hauk with condescending advice, he told him a story about a "bad Councillor" and a "good officer" and how the "bad Councillor" was accepting bribes from "bad people" that the "good officer" was trying to put behind bars for crimes against men, mer and the Empire, not necessarily in that order. The "good officer" had a dream, you see, of a little bloodbath for the "bad people". As simple as that. "And he wants me to administer that bloodbath," Hauk smirked. "Yeah, right. Like I'm with the Dark Brotherhood or something." He didn't even need to ask around to know who the "bad people" were - the Camonna Tong, of course. Just as Morag Tong was legal in Morrowind advertising their services of assassinations, Camonna Tong was sort of legal, supported by House Hlaalu and perhaps others, and very much at home in this Province of Law and Order that was Morrowind. Bathing them in blood was not only dangerous, but most importantly, pointless. "Kill those four or five members, and another batch will take their place," Hauk was shaking his head. "No, I'll have nothing to do with it." Larrius would just have to take out a writ on them before someone takes out a writ on him first.

Hauk was getting rather disappointed both with the Mages Guild and the Fighters Guild. Convincing two strangers to do the bidding of the Mages Guild and charming a thief into handing over a "code book" were questionable assignments in themselves, made even more questionable by the suggested alternative solutions: "And if you can't convince them, kill them." He would talk to the two mages in question, but if they refused, as he felt they would, he would not press the matter and certainly not kill them, especially since one of them was a Telvanni and the other one was expected to join the Telvanni, and Hauk was in no rush to get in the bad books with House Telvanni. As for charming the thief... he felt he would have more luck with a mating kaguti. Charming a Nord woman was a tall order on the best of days, and since Sottilde refused to even talk to him, he felt it would be harder than usual. Besides, once charmed, she would be wanting satisfaction of a different kind, and Hauk didn't fancy it. Not with her. He had his principles, you know. Did Eydis really expect him to stoop that low? Eydis Fire-Eye didn't care one way or the other, he figured. There was another Nord woman he wasn't able to charm... or didn't try hard enough. "If I wanted Nord women, I would have gone to Skyrim," he reasoned. He shook his head and decided to try the guild halls elsewhere.

20 Evening Star


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Ald'ruhn was a strange city. Every "house" was a crab shell and the central plaza was inside the biggest shell of them all - the Skar. Hauk had only a vague memory of this city from his previous visit many years ago - last time it was obscured by a nearly constant ash storm, so the houses looked like hovels of ash. "As do crabs when they bury themselves in the soil," he smirked. The weather was clear this time however, and despite it being past midnight, there were some people out and about.

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"Well, hello!" Hauk was greeted by a young and enthusiastic Dunmer woman in a side alley. "New in town? I can tell you all about the services we offer!" She beamed at him.

"Umm... Thanks," Hauk smirked. "Perhaps another time." After a day riding his guar, the only service he was interested in was a bed - just for him alone, thank you. He pushed a door - it was an inn. Plenty of people inside, just finishing their last drinks. Hauk tried talking to each and every one of them, but no one would rent him a bed.

"Get away from me! What do you want?" An aging Dunmer woman nearly screamed at Hauk.

"Oh, sorry ma'am, nothing of the kind, I'm sure," Hauk backed away, showering her in apologies.

"Are you a messenger? You must be a messenger!" A richly dressed Breton almost bumped into Hauk. "No? Oh... I'm waiting for a message from my airship..."

That caught Hauk's attention, and after some cajoling, the Breton explained that he had built an airship based on old Dwemer designs, hired a crew and sent them off to an expedition to Solstheim to recover a "certain item" from a secret barrow that could only be identified from above - hence the need for an airship. But it'd been a long time and he hadn't heard anything from them and feared the worst - that they ran off with the item, or crashed the airship, or died, or... whatever.

"Are you for hire? Are you? Would you find out what happened? Please? I simply must have that amulet... err... item! Oh, and see if anyone survived, too. The women..." After some more shein, the Breton finally revealed that the special item was an Amulet of Charm that made the wearer irresistible to the opposite sex. Hauk looked him over and nodded - he could see why the Breton would need that amulet but doubted it would do him any good. "I, on the other hand, could use something like that on Sottilde..." he thought. But the amulet was all the way on Solstheim, so all Hauk could do was to promise to look into it when he went there and suggest to the Breton to sober up and get a grip on himself in the meantime, "Which would also help with the ladies," he added, grinning.

As entertaining as this was, it didn't solve Hauk's need for a place to sleep, so he left the inn and wandered around town some more.

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All the beds at the Mages Guild and the Fighters Guild were taken, and several people woke up with angry looks - what was he doing making a racket at three in the morning? Desperate, Hauk entered a place called "The Rat in the Pot", and although the name was obvious enough, he was too tired to care. He spotted a free bank and was asleep immediately.

21 Evening Star

Hauk woke up rather late but he felt refreshed and decided to go see the stewards of the two Guilds that would not have a bed for him to sleep in. He wanted to clear this up for the following night and see about some better duties than the ones he got in Balmora. Not that he was particularly interested in advancing with either guild, but Caius ordered him to maintain that cover.

The Mages Guild was again useless - "We have no spare beds, sorry, but why don't you join us for breakfast?" which he did. May be not so useless after all. He bought some spells and cure disease potions, although they had nothing against the Blight. Yes, they could help him to cure paralysis, so Hauk bought two vials of that - one for an unfortunate Nord he found standing naked on a road to Ald'ruhn (what was it with people there wanting to strip naked every Nord they laid eyes on?), and the other vial to keep in his pack, should he face the same predicament himself.

"Oh, and since you have obviously nothing to do--," a grumpy Dunmer mage turned to him, "find me the Chronicles of Nchuleft." Hauk had heard of that book - it was very rare, he would likely have to go to Vivec for it, but at least it didn't require charming anyone, he hoped. With a sigh, he left the guild.

The Fighters Guild was just across the street, but when Hauk looked over his shoulder, he saw a small crowd following him around.

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"Whaaa--?" he stopped in surprise.

"You want to join the Thieves Guild," an Orc told him in no uncertain terms and glared. Hauk could almost hear "...or else!" added to that, so he glared back. The mutual glaring continued for a few minutes, but when Hauk turned to leave, he found the crowd following him around town. He smirked to himself thinking that this hadn't happened since he was competing in the Arena and some annoying fan just wouldn't leave him alone claiming that he was his "most favourite Gladiator ever". But here in Ald'ruhn people started noticing the little procession, and Hauk didn't care for that kind of fame. Quickly, he dived into the Fighters Guild. Fortunately, the crowd didn't follow.

"Got the code book job, did you?" The steward smiled at him. "It's all right, but do try not to kill Sottilde. Nah, she isn't as tough as that, you can charm her. Or is the follow-up going to be a problem?" Persius winked, and Hauk could do nothing else but laugh politely and bow out. He did however spot a large dormitory that he didn't see the night before and sighed with relief - surely he would be able to sleep there.

The necessities taken care of, Hauk decided to have a look inside the Skar, or the Manor District. All the rich people holed up there, apparently, and the shops were supposed to be better stocked, too, "and naturally charge double for everything," Hauk added to himself. The entrance was through an unassuming hatch. He entered and found himself... in Antaloor. The Swallows. The barren landscape devastated by a magical explosion. There was an encampment there where Hauk got his Sight... Surely, Eric was somewhere over to the left?

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Hauk shuddered, cold sweat beading on his forehead. His eye was on fire - the one he had sacrificed for the Gift of Sight. Oh, you couldn't tell from looking at him, but one of his eyes had been replaced. The Sight proved to be a curse, not a gift, just as people had warned Hauk, for it allowed him to see what really happened, in all its graphic detail of suffering and death, and he could neither forget it, nor turn it off.

"What is it, outlander?" A guard eyed Hauk suspiciously, bringing him out of his reverie and back to Ald'ruhn. "Lost your way?"

Hauk jerked and looked around. He wasn't in Antaloor, this was Morrowind, and Eric was no where to be seen. What lay before him was not an encampment in the Swallows, but the interior of the Skar, although the darkness, the strange smells and sounds and the network of hanging bridges and wooden platforms were all too familiar...

"Thanks, I'm alright," Hauk stammered to the guard and took a few steps along a hanging bridge to prove it. He didn't feel like staying there very long, or like shopping there, no matter how well stocked the stores might be. But he felt it his duty to get the lay of the land, or of the crab shell in this case, and find out what was behind the numerous doors along its perimeter. "House Redoran Council Chambers and rich people's manors, no doubt," he guessed, and went about marking them on his map. One of the doors opened to a spacious interior lit with dim red candles - the Morag Tong Guild Hall. "Yep, they are here, under the Skar, while the Imperial guilds are in the lower part of town, right next to a Thieves Guild hideout. I guess that tells you who's who," he smirked.

"Welcome," a Dunmer greeted him. "Is there anything we can assist you with, Optio?" The word had clearly been sent.

"Not at the moment, thank you," Hauk smiled. "Unless you have any interesting spells on offer?"

"Of course," the Dunmer nodded. "We do trade with the general public," he coughed uncomfortably. "Or no so general public. You'll find the traders here in this hall."

Once again Hauk reflected how useful Morag Tong Guild Halls could be, even if they wouldn't let him sleep there.

...

It was the middle of the afternoon when Hauk emerged from under the Skar feeling like he'd had enough of the place for years to come. He unrolled his map, wondering what to do next. His search for Propylon Indexes was sending him to Maar Gan, and Caius wanted him to visit Gnisis and sign up with the Legion there, but either city was too far away to set off now. However, Ald'ruhn was quite close to the Ghostfence - an impenetrable barrier meant to keep the Blight from spreading all over Vvardenfell, or at least this was its function last time around, some two centuries ago. The structure was never taken down though, and Hauk was curious. "Also, if you believe the reports about the eruption of the Red Mountain, all of Vvardenfell must now be under ash and lava, totally obliterated. And yet here we are, seeing no evidence of that. Apart from the ash storms and the foyadas, of course." The reports seemed to have been exaggerated. Curious, Hauk decided to take the path going North East from Ald'ruhn right into the Ghostfence. "If it is still working, I should not be able to pass. We'll see."

IPB Image

The ground was scorched and the trees burned, and the only patches that weren't black, were covered in ash. There was no lack of wildlife, however - cliffracers, alits, netches, rats, kaguti, they were all there making Hauk's trek more interesting. Most of them were diseased, and before Hauk even got close to the Ghostfence, he was already infected with two types of Blight that all but wiped him out. "Good thing stubbornness is not an attribute that Blight can affect," he smirked to himself. Then zap! and he went down under a powerful shock spell.

"Ash slaves?" Hauk shook himself awake, looking at a nearly naked Dunmer preparing to send another bolt of lightening at him. The Dunmer was only wearing a dirty loin cloth and wrist irons. Hauk rolled away and summoned a Flame Atronach, expediting all of his available magicka - the Blight was taking its toll. With his Willpower suppressed, Hauk was out of magicka and out of breath, barely able to stand, and stealth remained the only viable approach. That, or Divine Intervention to whisk him away to safety. "And where's the challenge in that?" He smirked to himself, collecting ash salts from the defeated slave.

Zap! Another bolt of lightning sent Hauk flying, and this one was much more powerful than that of the ash slave. Whatever it was, Ghostfence was not keeping it out!

Zap! Zap! Zap! ... But the Flame Atronachs that Hauk kept summoning, were wearing down the zapping mage, and eventually he ran out of magicka long enough for Hauk to aim with his bow and administer a few helpings of Mage's Bane poison to interrupt magicka flow. Then all he could do was watch how the mage tried to punch the Flame Atronach and got burned to a crisp for his trouble.

"This one wasn't an ash slave," Hauk was looking down at a strange creature on the ground. "Looks like a zombie, or a bone walker, as they call them here, except... what's that hanging off its face?" Strips of flesh were hanging down from the face and chest of the creature... person... whatever. "This was a person once," Hauk noted with regret. "Is this... Corprus?" He shuddered, realising that here was something much worse than the Blight, and that he walked right into it. He scraped some of the hanging flesh for further analysis and looked around. He could see the pillars of the Ghostfence just ahead, as well as the ghostly mist stretching from one pillar to the next, but he could also see that animals walked under it or flew over it completely unhindered... "That's bad," he thought, shaking his head. "Very bad indeed." He got up and followed the road leading him right through the Ghostfence into what was supposed to be inaccessible territory. He met no resistance.

The area ahead was all charred with dried lava - there was no doubt that the Red Mountain had erupted at some point, and more than once, and would do so again. Yet there were plenty of animals around, and some of the tough vegetation of the Ashlands, like trauma roots and scathecrow plants, were coming through the ground. Most of the animals were blighted, however. The trek was difficult but educational, Hauk was sure to stop and mark his location on the blank scroll that Caius gave him - these roads into the "inaccessible territory" would prove important. He saw a Dwemer ruin nearby, with roads branching off towards it, he marked them, but turned West instead, heading towards Ald'ruhn. He would need to get his afflictions cured before venturing there. And then, suddenly, the skies turned red.

IPB Image

"Ash storm?" He wondered. No, the dust was red, not grey. Then it died down as suddenly as it came on. Not waiting for the storm to resume, Hauk proceeded West as fast as he could, emerging behind the Temple in Ald'ruhn completely out of breath and out of energy, partly because it was once again three o'clock in the morning. Kicking off his boots by the entrance, he tiptoed into the Temple trying not to wake anyone, paid a 35 septim "donation" for the cure of his Blight Disease, then with renewed energy quickly crossed town to the Fighters Guild and fell into a bank in the dormitory. Sleep was the sweetest of brides after all.


--------------------
"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post May 23 2022, 08:07 PM
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22 Evening Star, 4E202 - Azarath Salvel

"Keeping busy, I see," a hooded man in a dark robe stood over Hauk, waking him up. The bodies of bandits and smugglers that Hauk had "cleared" for the privilege of sleeping in that cave were piled up in the adjacent cavern. "You wanted a word."

IPB Image

"I see where your son gets his habits from," Hauk smiled, sitting up. "Yes." He gestured for the man to take a seat. "We haven't been formally introduced--"

"And yet we know who we are," the man interrupted Hauk. "Too many words can be detrimental."

"Very well," Hauk agreed. "You got the warning?" The man nodded. "The details are as graphic as you can imagine them, which fuels the want for revenge. Plus, she's been exiled."

"Ah! I wasn't told that!" The man looked up.

"Because I did not tell them that. But you should know. Also, the woman who sparked her jealousy is the one that your son married."

"That... explains a few things," the man pushed back his hood revealing a black hand tattoo on the side of his face. "And the child?"

IPB Image

"Either his or mine." Hauk felt uneasy saying this, but he'd come this far and was not going to leave it half finished.

"Tell me about my son's wife," Azarath Salvel sat back.

Hauk took a deep breath. "Lena Wolf, daughter of Wolf Asgarsen and Lilian Delacour, born in the year 3E417. Cured vampire, mage assassin, Champion of Cyrodiil, and now also Dragonborn. What else do you want to know?"

"Interesting..." Azarath mused. "Wolf's daughter? Does she have a brother?"

"She does," Hauk nodded. "You knew Wolf Asgarsen?"

"I know Wolf Asgarsen," Azarath corrected him. "He is not dead."

They sat in silence for a while, Hauk hoped that Azarath would say more without prompting, but he didn't.

"What do you intend to do about Rayenna?" Azarath asked a direct question.

"Nothing," Hauk shook his head. "I am to locate her and put a trace on her, but I was so far not able to find her, let alone figure out what putting a trace on her actually means."

"Yes, if she went to the Lady of Whispers, it won't be easy..." Azarath stretched for a beer, watching Hauk out of the corner of his eye. "How's your Mysticism? Your Mages Guild banned most of the spells."

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"I'm not bad, I guess," Hauk smirked. "But I didn't realise you were a mage?"

"I'm not, but I know what it takes," Azarath remarked. "You will need help."

"I thought as much," Hauk nodded. "Where do you think I am going?"

"All right," Azarath looked him up and down again. "Father of my future grandchild," he smirked. "Anything else?"

"It's time you appeared in your son's life, I think," Hauk said after some hesitation. "He does not remember you at all."

"No, he was just a baby last time I saw him..." Azarath looked into the distance, bringing back the memories of days past. "And once he joined the Brotherhood, I had to stay away. But Eno tells me it is less of a problem now... What changed?"

"I wouldn't know, I am not one of them," Hauk shook his head.

"And not one of us, and yet here we are, Animal," Azarath smirked. "You are my son's friend, are you not? You must know more."

"I think the Great War and the attempts of the Aldmeri Dominion to wipe out both your organisations brought some peace between you," he offered. "You no longer kill each other on sight, am I right? So, there you are." Azarath nodded but didn't look fully convinced. "And also... certain events some two hundred years ago shook the Brotherhood to the core, and raised Lucien's reputation high enough that having a Morag Tong Brother as a parent is no longer a problem. Besides, the Mother knows."

Azarath squinted at Hauk, taking in the information. "You know my rank."

"I am an agent," Hauk smiled.

"Well..." Azarath rose. "I hear you, but it's too early." He turned to leave. "Tell him..." he hesitated. "Tell him that we have an Ancestral Tomb inside the Ghostfence. When he is ready to meet, he should visit there." Azarath walked off, then returned. "I'll see you again." Then he really left.

"If I didn't know better..." Hauk mused watching Azarath disappear into the depth of the corridor. "The way he moves..." Family resemblance was undeniable.


--------------------
"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 2 2022, 01:56 PM
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22-23 Evening Star, 4E202 - Joining the Legion

"Yeah, we could use new recruits!" An Orc Legionnaire beamed at Hauk in Gnisis. "We are decidedly understaffed." He looked over a large central square that was quite deserted.

"I'm not so sure that me joining would really solve your staffing issue," Hauk smirked, following the Orc's gaze. "May be if a few dozen of me joined..."

"Stop talking and snap to it!" The Orc barked at him and glared. It was the Legion, all right.

Hauk was about to put the Orc in his place, but then thought better of it. Not now, not yet. Let General Darius do it - it would be more fun to watch.

Before going to see General Darius however, Hauk decided to look around town. It wasn't all that empty after all. It had two outdoor bars and a market, an egg mine, a silt strider station and a trade house, a number of typical Redoran crab shell houses and an Imperial fort. There was indeed a large empty space in the middle - larger than a square but not quite an avenue - and Hauk figured it was used for group drills. "Practicing their parades, no doubt," he smirked to himself.

IPB Image

The sun was going down and people started trickling into the bar on top of the silt strider platform. Sailors. If there were sailors about, there must be a port nearby. Indeed, a short walk towards the mouth of the river, and suddenly Hauk got all home sick.

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An Imperial ship. Probably sailing to the Imperial City. A chat with the captain revealed that yes, they were sailing regularly between Gnisis and the Imperial City. Five days and 800 septims would get you there. Hauk sighed - he neither had the time nor the money...

Feeling rather melancholic, he didn't fancy taking orders from any Generals just then, and decided to enjoy his freedom while it lasted, for he knew for a fact that as a fresh recruit, he'd be immediately overloaded with tasks that no one else wanted to do... regardless of his rank in the Imperial Legion. "You may be an Optio with the Special Division, but here you are just a fresh recruit," he pictured the General telling him. That could definitely wait until tomorrow.

Back in Gnisis Hauk looked for an inn but there wasn't one. He couldn't sleep in the barracks because he wasn't one of General Darius' men, and the sailors all but booted him out of their bunkhouse. There were no Guilds, and Hauk wasn't sleeping at the Temple. The sun had already set by then, and finally Hauk spotted some candlelight coming from under the heavy wooden beams supporting a platform above...

IPB Image

"What are you two doing here?" He addressed two people sitting in that nook, bending over a candle.

"What does it look like we are doing here?" One of them smirked. "Keep quiet and join us if you like. The stuff's in the crate."

They had bedrolls too, Hauk noticed. He found a place to sleep.

23 Evening Star

"You may be an Optio with the Special Division, but here you are just a fresh recruit," General Darius told Hauk in the morning, suppressing a smirk. "Can't have it any other way, or the troops would revolt," he explained somewhat apologetically. "You'll work your way up in no time, I'm sure. Besides, we use a slightly different rank structure here in Morrowind - after Agent you jump straight into Champion and from there onto the Knights, and I doubt you'd be interested in that."

"Indeed not," Hauk nodded.

"And since your enlistment is only a cover..." General Darius winked and Hauk could hardly believe it, "yes, I received word from Caius," he clarified. "Members of the Blades get no preferential treatment here either. Is that understood?" The General's tone suddenly became commanding, and Hauk snapped to attention.

"Yes, sir, understood, sir," he straightened up and mentally congratulated himself for spending an hour polishing his armour the night before. Presentation was everything.

"At ease," the General waved at him. "All right, Animal, don't get your knickers in a twist. I've got a few jobs for you," he passed Hauk a scroll. "Go get yourself local gear and make sure to be seen wearing it, too. And I want no excuses about the wrong type of armour hampering your magic! I know all about you battlemages..." General Darius looked through a few papers on his desk. "And go see the drill master - he'll want to train you. Or try to train you. Don't be too hard on him," he added and winked again. There was more to the man than what his General's uniform was letting on.

...

"Well, let's see what you are made of... Recruit!" The drill master took up a fighting stance. "Try to get this sword out of my hand!" He smirked, watching Hauk move uncomfortably in the Legion chainmail that he was issued. He was used to heavy armour and he had to swap his claymore for a standard issue Imperial broadsword. Nothing wrong with the weapon as such, but it didn't have quite the same reach.

After a few rounds circling the room with tentative attacks, Hauk realised that the Orc drill master was taking it seriously. Taller and broader than Hauk, and undoubtedly with a greater battlefield experience, the drill master easily repelled any and all of Hauk's obvious attacks, but had so far not issued a counter, still letting Hauk show his mettle first. "All right, let's try something different," Hauk thought, noting that the blade of this practice sword was very dull, but the drill master didn't tell Hauk to wound him, but to get the sword out of his hand... which was probably more difficult.

Lunging forward in another mock attack, he summoned a scamp that shrieked and clawed at the drill master, distracting the Orc for a brief moment, but long enough for Hauk to come close and touch the Orc with numbing frost, so that Hauk's next strike with the blunt sword at the Orc's wrist made the hand open almost by reflex. The Orc dropped his sword. Hauk dispelled the scamp.

"Treachery and deceit, is all you battlemages are capable of," the Orc grunted, rubbing his hand. "Well played though. Not regulation, but well played." He grinned. "In your own armour and with your own weapon, you'll make for a passable soldier." He put the practice sword away signalling the end of their training session. "Did General Darius give you duties? Go to it. Come back to me when you make Spearman. Which will be in about thirty minutes, I reckon." He smirked, sitting down and opening a bottle of beer. "I'll be waiting."


--------------------
"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Renee
post Jun 12 2022, 04:36 PM
Post #389


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It's true, I read some Lena Wolf, and I get the urge to play Oblivion. It's been months since I've played OB. Jeez, maybe I haven't even played at all in 2022! ohmy.gif I don't think I have! That'll probably change to-day.

Page 5, Post 100-- Lena's in Skingrad > All Things Alchemical. Falanu knows exactly which ingredients to fetch for her, too. Whoa, she locks the door after she meets Fenris. That's rather peculiar. Okay, she's knows Fenris from her past.

That's a pretty pic of Falanu's shop.

Page 6, Post 101== She's headed to Bravil. This post is rather unique, in that there is no dialog. smile.gif

Yes, vampires. Some of them succumb, some of them even enjoy their new existence. Others struggle. Very true.

Page 6, Post 104-- Quite some posturing and teeth-baring going on here, as she meets up with Sanguine's worshippers.

"I honor my lord by destroying you!" laugh.gif I love the things NPCs say in this game, even Daedric ones!

QUOTE
"Do you wish to rent a room?" - Shuravi asked when Lena entered the inn in Leyawiin. "I have one on the second floor free."


You know about this, right? We pay for the room, and it's forever available for free, if I remember correctly. This is one of those things overlooked by whichever dev was writing the room quest for Three Sisters. One of those things "fixed" by the Unofficial Patch on PC, iirc. rolleyes.gif Hey, not all glitches and things missed by the devs are bad!

Whoa, she meets with Sanguine directly. I've never done any of the Shrine quests (not that I recall), so this is new territory for Renee and her characters. Looking forward to the next update, which looks like some sort of gala.

But for now... time for some gaming (thank you).

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 12 2022, 11:23 PM
Post #390


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QUOTE(Renee @ Jun 12 2022, 04:36 PM) *

Page 5, Post 100-- Lena's in Skingrad > All Things Alchemical. Falanu knows exactly which ingredients to fetch for her, too. Whoa, she locks the door after she meets Fenris. That's rather peculiar. Okay, she's knows Fenris from her past.

Fenris' surname is Bero. If you played Morrowind, you know the significance of that name (or otherwise you can look it up wink.gif ). Falanu's last name is Hlaalu. She's not just "House Hlaalu", she is an actual Hlaalu. Now put it together. biggrin.gif

QUOTE
QUOTE
"Do you wish to rent a room?" - Shuravi asked when Lena entered the inn in Leyawiin. "I have one on the second floor free."

You know about this, right? We pay for the room, and it's forever available for free, if I remember correctly. This is one of those things overlooked by whichever dev was writing the room quest for Three Sisters. One of those things "fixed" by the Unofficial Patch on PC, iirc. rolleyes.gif Hey, not all glitches and things missed by the devs are bad!

I don't use the Unofficial Patch. I tried it, and I think most changes I simply never noticed, but the ones that I did notice, I regretted. For example, the Honorblade of Chorrol looks like an ebony longsword in Bethesda's version. However, there is a silver sword in the CS that is labelled the Honorblade of Chorrol. So the patch switches the model from ebony to silver... sad.gif I don't think it was a mistake by Bethesda, I think rather they first thought to make it a silver sword but then changed their minds and made it ebony. Considering how much they are fussing about it, it is surely more than just silver!

QUOTE
Whoa, she meets with Sanguine directly. I've never done any of the Shrine quests (not that I recall), so this is new territory for Renee and her characters. Looking forward to the next update, which looks like some sort of gala.

This is a really funny quest! Not so easy to pull it off properly, either. Note however that Lena meets Sanguine in person only in my story, not in Bethesda's. But Lena and Sanguine have been friends for a long time already, ever since she took over from Sheogorath running his Realm for a while... So yeah, of course they meet in person. It isn't that uncommon - Sanguine turns up in Mundus quite regularly. A certain story with goats and giants in Skyrim comes to mind... rolleyes.gif



--------------------
"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 20 2022, 02:18 PM
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22 Evening Star, 4E202 - A Floating Rock Fortress

"So you say that rocks always fall to the ground?" Keld looked menacingly at the other drinkers in the High Inn in Ivarstead. "And I say not so."

"What's in the mead?" One of the customers whispered to the inn keeper. "Or is he just not right in the head?"

"There's nothing wrong with my mead," the inn keeper shook his head but didn't get offended - this wasn't the first time Keld had been claiming that rocks didn't always fall to the ground. "Keld isn't mad. But this sure is one mad story." He smiled at the people around the bar, not wishing to spoil what was coming.

"All right, I'll bite," the first customer turned to Keld. "What's all that about the rocks not falling to the ground?"

"Enchanted they are," Keld grinned, happy to have found an audience for his tale again. "Up over the old aqueduct above Fort Talos."

"Wow, hold on. Fort Talos? Where's that?" Another customer chimed in, signalling the inn keeper for more mead.

"It's not far from here," someone else interrupted before Keld could reply. "Just take the road to Riften, you know, along Lake Geir. You'll pass under a giant waterfall - and that's Fort Talos."

This was making no sense. The waterfall was Fort Talos? There was certainly something wrong with the mead.

"All right, I see," the first customer winked at the others. "So I'm new here and you locals are just pulling my leg. There's obviously no such thing as a fort which is a waterfall. Stop beating about the bush."

"Ten septims there'll be a brawl," one of the locals leaned to the inn keeper. "My money is on Keld, this newcomer doesn't look tough to me." The inn keeper nodded and scribbled something in his book. More discrete bets followed.

"He isn't lying," Keld raised his voice over the din. "Fort Talos is a waterfall, with an aqueduct above where rocks float in mid-air. When this side of the mountain collapsed, it buried Fort Talos under the rocks and it sunk into the lake, but some of the rocks didn't fall to the ground."

"Well, if that were true," the first customer squinted, "then there'd be no way up onto the old aqueduct, so there's no way in Oblivion how you'd know about the floating rocks."

This made sense and a few people nodded, refilling their mugs.

"If you were man enough, you'd have found the way up," Keld squinted back. "Rather than just sit there saying it can't be done!"

"What?! Get up you lying coward - if you can still stand - and let's see who's man enough!" The newcomer was quick to start a fight, it seemed. He jumped up from his seat, his fists at the ready. The others started forming a circle, pushing Keld into it. He put up his fists, and blows followed.

...

"You are tougher than you look," Keld was rising heavily from the floor, his face bleeding. "Good fight," he grinned, spitting out a tooth. "Where d'you learn to fight like that?" He looked over the newcomer, now noticing something wrong. The man looked in his sixties, but his hair was already snow white, and his eyes... "You part Argonian?" Keld tried to focus his vision, now blurred by a bruise quickly swelling under his eye. "Orange eyes? Split pupils?"

"What? Cat's eyes?" Another regular had a better look at the newcomer. "He's a... oh no!" He shook his head and retreated to the back of the room.

"A witcher," Geralt was patting the dust out of his clothes. "Yes. I slay monsters. So, let's hear it about those floating rocks."

He sat down on the bench, with cheers and calls for more mead all around. No one held a grudge.

"So Fort Talos did sink into the lake," Keld said by way of restoring peace. "But only its entrance part like... You know, the bit that looks like a fort. There's a door there still, and if you force it open, you can enter, but of course it is all flooded in there."

Everyone nodded, with several people starting on the stories of giant slaughterfish that they'd caught in the lake as well as inside the flooded fort. The slaughterfish were getting bigger by the minute.

"Oi, shut it! This isn't a fisherman's tale!" Keld glared around the room and the conversation subsided. "So yeah, the fort is still there, and it's got slaughterfish all right, and something far worse, too. Draugr."

"Under water?" Geralt raised an eyebrow.

"They aren't breathing any longer, dumbhead," Keld grinned at Geralt. "They don't give a goblin's piss for air. Undead, they are."

"So. An old flooded fort filled with water draugr. Now get to the floating rocks!" Someone around the table was getting impatient.

"And that's just it!" Keld glared at him. "Don't interrupt! I've been there, and you? Eh?"

"Oh, I meant nothing by that," the other person quickly backed down, calling for more mead for everyone at the table. "Just an observation."

"Observation..." Keld glared at him again, but accepted the mead and continued. "So when the fort sunk, it broke the passages that were connecting it with the old aqueduct high on the mountain. The aqueduct and its towers are still there, there's a spring inside the mountain, and that's where the waterfall comes from."

"That waterfall is a sight to see," someone else chimed in. "And those towers... ancestors knew how to build, no doubt."

IPB Image

"Ever seen it at night though?" Another person joined in. "There's that eerie white light around it, and the flame in the torches is white, not orange red as right flame should be."

Several people turned around to look at the fireplace, as if making sure that the flame in the grate of the High Inn was right orange red.

"Undead, that's what it is," the first speaker confirmed.

"Enchanted," someone added.

"Spooky," a voice came from the back.

"There's a wraith up there," another person suggested.

"Not a wraith - a Dragon Priest," Keld had to raise his voice again to make it heard over the chatter. "And you wouldn't know." He glared around the table again for good measure.

"A Dragon Priest, you say," Geralt asked with interest. "Did you defeat it?" He looked straight at Keld.

"I... err... not exactly," Keld turned red and got very interested in something inside his mead mug.

"There's no shame in that!" One of the others exclaimed. "Defeat a Dragon Priest! Why, no mere man can do it, not even a Nord!" He looked at Geralt with a challenge.

IPB Image

"They are tough, granted," Geralt nodded soothingly, not wishing to start another brawl. "The one in Blackmoor had an army of draugr with him as well. What about this one here?"

"Blackmoor? You've been to the Blackmoor Watch?" Keld looked up at Geralt, respect showing in his eyes. "It's true then, what they say? That you returned from there and had great treasures with you?"

"Great treasures are an exaggeration," Geralt chuckled. "But yes, I've been there, and the fight was tough. I wouldn't go into another one like that if I can avoid it. Besides, you can never really kill them - only a Dragonborn can do that."

"A Dragonborn... that's a myth though," the skeptic at the table objected.

"Not a myth, but you ain't it," several people hushed him.

"So what happened at Fort Talos?" Geralt wanted to get back to the story. "How did you get to the aqueduct if the passages are all caved in?"

"That's just it - I don't know," Keld replied uneasily. "One moment I was down in the flooded fort fighting the draugr and the slaughterfish, and the next moment I stood on top of that aqueduct..." He stared into his mead, but found no explanation there. "The view was breathtaking. Then an arrow flew past my face, and I knew I wasn't alone..."

"You must have touched something, a portal of some sort," someone suggested.

"May be," Keld nodded. "I was being knocked about a bit."

"So then what?" The same impatient person urged him on. "You're standing on top of that aqueduct enjoying the view and someone shoots arrows at you?" His tone was mocking and Keld didn't like that.

"Oi, get out of here!" He rose menacingly. "You ain't been there, get back to your rats and goblins!"

The rest of the people at the inn agreed and the impatient person was escorted out.

"Adventurers," the locals were returning to the table, shaking their heads. "Just because he climbed up to Ivarillion, he thinks he knows it all. And Ivarillion isn't even 'open for business'."

"Why? What's that about?" Geralt got curious, sensing a job for a witcher.

"Oh, it's a shame, that, really," the inn keeper spoke loudly over the din of the conversation. "We used to get a lot of tourism here for that - it isn't nearly as high up as High Hrothgar, and far less dangerous to climb. People used to flock there so that they could see a real Ayleid ruin without the monsters or undead about. But it's all stopped now," he sighed. "Some of those tourists must have been necromancers in search of a new home, and before we knew it, they took over the ruin, so it's now filled with monsters, undead and Akatosh knows what other horrors!" Many nodded and exchanged hushed comments. "We've put a notice on the board, perhaps someone like yourself can go in there and clear them out?" He looked at Geralt expectantly. "There's a reward in that, too. Unlike Fort Talos."

"I'll think it over," Geralt replied non-committally. "So what happened on the aqueduct?" He turned to Keld. "Those were draugr archers shooting at you, I take it?"

"Ai, that they were," Keld nodded, smiling gratefully for the return to his tale and for the seriousness of Geralt's tone. Geralt wasn't one to mock someone being apprehensive about draugr archers. "Coming at me from the towers, they were. Glowing eyes and all." He shuddered. "It didn't help that we were so high up, either. I don't have vert-... verto-... err... I ain't afraid of heights, but it's unnerving the first time, like." He took a gulp of mead, and many people did the same, with nods going all around.

"But you cut them down all the same," Geralt prompted him.

"Shattered their bones," Keld grinned, patting his axe. "And that's when I saw it - the floating rocks."

"Ah-ha, so they exist?" Geralt exclaimed with a poorly concealed surprise.

"Of course they exist, I said so right from the start!" Keld's voice was getting a little too high-pitched with clear annoyance and a promise of another brawl.

"Of course you did. Please continue," Geralt looked at him apologetically.

"It's not easy to believe, I know," Keld was cooling off. "But there they were - floating in mid-air. Big ones, small ones, all sorts - just hanging there. And I had to walk under them, as I was sure that if there was an exit, it would be at the back, behind the towers. Of course this is where the Dragon Priest was hovering too, I could see him there."

"Did he attack?" someone asked impatiently, and others hushed him.

"No, actually, he didn't attack," Keld looked up, still surprised. "He offered me a sweetroll and commented on the nice view." He smacked his lips. "Of course he attacked, what did you think, dumbhead?" He glared at the person who asked that question. "As soon as he saw me, he attacked."

"But you're here, so you survived," Geralt thought it was best to intervene.

"That's it - survived," Keld nodded, turning a bit red again. "Focused on finding a way out and dodging his attacks. Used up all my magicka casting healing spells, too. Found that exit, and the next thing I knew I was standing at the foot of the aqueduct, on the shore of the lake, just by the waterfall."

"Another portal?" Geralt sounded interested, noting the details.

"It was a trapdoor," Keld nodded. "It was covered with rubble and I thought it would be hard to clear it all off with the Dragon Priest attacking, but as soon as I grabbed the ring, I was teleported."

"A lucky escape," Geralt approved. "I wish more fortresses had such trapdoors."

A murmur of conversation went around the inn, this time about various trapdoors that people had opened and all the wonders and horrors they'd found within. Slaughterfish were back too, in ever increasing sizes.

With the main tale now told, the inn returned to its usual mixed entertainment with card games and arm wrestling, but Geralt asked to rent a room for a few days, may be a week.

"You are going up to the old aqueduct, aren't you?" The inn keeper looked at him shrewdly, accepting an advance payment. "Well, I'll keep the room booked for you. And if the next batch of slaughterfish turns out to have white hair in their stomachs, we'll know where it came from, won't we?" He winked.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fort Talos, the trouble in Ivarillion, Blackmoor Watch and many other things will appear in the next release of TWMP Skyrim Alive.


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Renee
post Jul 2 2022, 04:56 AM
Post #392


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Page 6, Post 109 -- Ha, no kidding? Sanguine's quest strips all those guests down to their under-clothes! ohmy.gif

Cool. I like that Lena feels her home is Mundus, not the Isles. These pics are great, by the way. OH NICE.

She's speaking with Seridur! Does this mean she'll be doing Order of Virtuous Blood? evillol.gif I hope so. I'd like to see her take on this series of events.

QUOTE
The Dunmer vampire hunter in the room twitched, the Argonian changed colour, but Seridur remained calm


The Argonian changes color! laugh.gif That's so full of win!

I was wrong about the Order, darn! Not saying she should join, I'm just saying it'd be an interesting take if she did.

In the next post, is the quest she's doing (to kill Thieves Guild members) an actual Beth quest? I've never completed Dark Brotherhood, not sure if I ever will, so just curious.

I enjoyed the description of her coming back to Mundus too. I like the way that part is written.

Up to Post 112.

QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Jun 12 2022, 06:23 PM) *

I don't use the Unofficial Patch. I tried it, and I think most changes I simply never noticed, but the ones that I did notice, I regretted. For example, the Honorblade of Chorrol looks like an ebony longsword in Bethesda's version. However, there is a silver sword in the CS that is labelled the Honorblade of Chorrol. So the patch switches the model from ebony to silver... sad.gif I don't think it was a mistake by Bethesda, I think rather they first thought to make it a silver sword but then changed their minds and made it ebony. Considering how much they are fussing about it, it is surely more than just silver!


I agree. Doesn't seem like a Bethesda mistake.

I tried an unofficial patch for Skyrim which basically broke my game. I forget which patch is was, but after installing it my Skyrim was lagging and freezing. Going from indoors to outdoors in Windhelm guaranteed a CTD. mad.gif

QUOTE

Note however that Lena meets Sanguine in person only in my story, not in Bethesda's. But Lena and Sanguine have been friends for a long time already, ever since she took over from Sheogorath running his Realm for a while... So yeah, of course they meet in person. It isn't that uncommon - Sanguine turns up in Mundus quite regularly.


Okay. Yes, this is also true that the various Daedra can show up in different forms, directly in Tamriel.

This post has been edited by Renee: Jul 2 2022, 04:57 AM
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Lena Wolf
post Jul 2 2022, 09:00 AM
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QUOTE(Renee @ Jul 2 2022, 04:56 AM) *

Page 6, Post 109She's speaking with Seridur! Does this mean she'll be doing Order of Virtuous Blood? evillol.gif I hope so. I'd like to see her take on this series of events. [...] I was wrong about the Order, darn! Not saying she should join, I'm just saying it'd be an interesting take if she did.

In my first playthrough so many years ago, when Lena became a vampire by honest accident at level 1 (me not understanding how things worked yet), she went through the whole Main Quest as a vampire, which took a mighty long time. During this time she also stumbled upon the Order of Virtuous Blood quest, was invited in, completed it, was made Sister, etc., etc., all while being at full vampirism most of the time. No one objected. So these vampire hunters are either daft or completely incompetent. This put me off them for good, hence all the sarcasm in this second playthrough.

QUOTE
In the next post, is the quest she's doing (to kill Thieves Guild members) an actual Beth quest? I've never completed Dark Brotherhood, not sure if I ever will, so just curious.

No, this is my fiction. Both Lena Wolf and I really despise thieves, and Lena would never steal, except to eat.

However, parts of it exist as quests in my game already within a completely reworked Dark Brotherhood quest line. I too disagree with the linear progression and zero choice there. One day Lena will write her memoirs about those dreadful events during the Purification Crisis, and then she'll play through my modified quest line. But even so, I don't know if I shall ever release this mod.


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"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 3 2022, 02:00 PM
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28 Evening Star, 4E202 - The Valkyrie

When Geralt entered Windhelm, celebrations were in full swing.

"Who's the poor sod that's been strung up?" Geralt asked at the bar.

"Oh, just one of the Valkyrie bandits," the barman brushed it off passing Geralt his mead. "The City Guard raid the Valkyrie Towers every so often. Of course most bandits get slaughtered then and there, but the Jarl insists on proper process and so the Guards have to arrest at least one. Just so he could be hung at the gallows, proper like."

"We do things proper here in Windhelm," a large Nord sitting next to Geralt joined the conversation. "These are all proper Nords, too," he looked over the crowd. "The Greyskins don't come in here." He spat with disgust and looked straight at Geralt. "And who would you be?"

"Geralt's the name."

"Yer ain't a Nord."

Geralt didn't answer. He drank his mead, making sure not to waste any, for once a brawl breaks out, bottles and mugs go flying. "Wait for it..." he started a mental countdown. "Five, four, three..."

"Answer me, m'wa!" The large Nord swore in Dunmeris, and Geralt smirked.

"I'm as Nord as they come," he answered calmly, taking care of the remaining mead.

"Then prove it!" The heavy punch was thrown even before the verbal challenge. Geralt dodged, and the Nord's fist hit the bar. Everyone went quiet, then two more men stepped forward, fists at the ready.

"If I was kneeling with my hands tied behind my back and a sack over my head, then may be I'd be your equal," Geralt spoke slowly into the silence, measuring up his opponents. "No, not even then." He shook his head, jumping off his stool in an elegant pirouette, making use of the extra height. Legs are far stronger than arms, and the two standing challengers got the full swing of Geralt's back kick, which sent them flying before they could even comprehend what happened. With them out of the way, Geralt landed facing the large Nord still sitting at the bar.

The Nord was faster than he looked. His enormous fist grazed very close to Geralt's jaw, too close for comfort. A punch like that was likely to remove the jaw, not just knock out some teeth. The Nord grinned, seeing worry in Geralt's eyes.

Geralt did not play fair. A kick in the groin with a punch under the ribs, and the Nord couldn't help bending over, ready for Geralt's pincers - a hit over the back of the Nord's neck forcing it down, right onto a sharply set and fast moving right hand, impaling the Nord's jaw from below. One twist, and Geralt could have broken his neck.

The Nord fell with a thump. He wasn't dead, for Geralt didn't do the final twist.

"That Nord enough for yer, m'wa?" Geralt looked into the faces staring at the large Nord slowly getting up, rubbing his neck. The barman put another mug of mead before Geralt.

"Never seen swords like that," he jerked his head at Geralt's swords propped up against the bar. "Not Dwarven, not Elven, not Imperial. Where be ye from, Geralt?"

"From here," Geralt shot a glance at the barman, swinging the swords onto his back. "Skyrim. I am the White Wolf."

"He's a Nord, there can be no doubt!" The large Nord finally got up and found his stool. "New in Windhelm though. Or... wait... scrawny... white hair... orange eyes... muttered somm'aht about being bound with a sack over his head..." The Nord's nose suddenly stopped bleeding and colour drained from his face. "White Wolf?" He swallowed hard. "I never said anything against an Asgarsen!"

...

The Candelhearth Hall was hot and loud. After the brawl, everyone seemed to recall another such brawl some months previously, when again Geralt had to prove he was a Nord. Cheer and song followed, and mead was flowing freely again, which went some way of explaining the collective loss of memory afterwards.

"Back in Windhelm, are yer?" A tall fellow in full armour sat next to Geralt. "Last time you had your sister with you, and my... err... her friend." The fellow blushed somewhat. "I remember the same brawl then."

"They never learn, do they?" Geralt smiled at him. "Stenvar, is it?" He squinted. "Still fishing for work here?"

"Ai," Stenvar grinned. "You remember." He blushed again. "It's my spot, I do get work often enough," he said a bit defensively. "But you... here on business?"

"No, actually," Geralt shook his head. "The truth is that that large Nord probably knows more about my father than I do," he smirked. "I am here to find my roots."

"Well..." Stenvar whistled. "That's a tall order... Most Nords here don't know their roots beyond their grandparents... What are you going to do?"

"What any adventurer does - poke my nose into every crypt and ruin, just like my sister," he winked and slapped Stenvar on the shoulder, laughing. "And you know what she's like!"

"But then..." Stenvar suddenly brightened up. "I wouldn't tell her that, that's crazy, but you... Do you know the legend of the Valkyrie Bridge?"

"The one with the tower that the City Guard keep raiding so as to have someone to string up with due process?" Geralt squinted.

"The same," Stenvar nodded. "The mighty bridge over the White River not far from the Dunmereth Pass. There's a mystery there, and a curse, and from what I've seen, that legend is no legend but the truth!"

...

The Valkyrie used to escort the Nords to Sovngarde, protect them from the dangers of the Void. No Nord was foolish enough to refuse this protection. No Nord except Skjor the Unbending.

Skjor died in battle as befits a Nord, and the Valkyrie were ready to escort him on, but Skjor wasn't called the Unbending without a reason. Skjor refused. He had a battle to finish, and he wasn't going to let his opponent win.

"There is no way back to the living," the Valkyrie tried to reason with him. "You are dead now. Let us escort your soul to Sovngarde."

"And what songs will I sing in Sovngarde?" Skjor was adamant. "Those of my defeat? No! That I will not! Out of my way, fishwives!"

And with that he attacked the Valkyrie.

Skjor was not only unbending, he was also foolish. Of course he stood no chance against the Angels of Death, and as his body was already dead, it was his spirit that perished then. Alas, the insult he dealt to the Valkyrie, wasn't that easily forgotten, and they turned away from the Nords. From then on, every Nord had to cross the Void on his own, and many perished before reaching Sovngarde.

The Valkyrie Bridge is where it happened. It is said that the four insulted Valkyrie still haunt the tall towers of the bridge, each of them holding something of Skjor. A piece of his armour or his weapon perhaps. But they don't have it all, the rest is scattered in the Valkyrie tombs under the towers.

The insult brought on a curse, too. In their rage, the Valkyrie turned against the crew of a passing ship, slaughtering them all, and as those were soldiers, they became draugr, still wearing their armour and wielding their weapons. No ship is safe passing under the Valkyrie Bridge, having to survive the attacks of the dead. And if that wasn't enough... Misfortune attracts misfortune, and the waters under the bridge are filled with Sirens distracting the sailors before devouring them alive...

...

"That's as good a legend as any I've heard," Geralt nodded approvingly, calling for more mead. "I did hear some strange noises as I crossed the bridge."

"Ay, trouble is never far away from that place," the large Nord joined in the conversation. "Which is why the Jarl is not keen on having bandits skulking there as well, even though no matter how many of them he strings up, they keep coming back..."

"That's the way of bandits, ain't it," someone else put in. "That being right by the Dunmereth Pass and all. It's a shame about that curse on the passing ships though."

"Isn't there a way to lift that curse?" Geralt looked into the faces of the people around him. Many shook their heads, all sombered.

"Lift it?" The large Nord looked at Geralt with amusement. "Yer being a witchhunter or somm'aht? No mortal man can lift the curse of the Valkyrie."

"Well... There's been speak of a way..." A voice sounded from the back of the room, but Geralt couldn't quite make out who said it. "You ought to tell him, you know. He beat you fair and square."

"Ai... Arright!" The large Nord nodded, turning to the voice but not seeing the speaker either. "There is a way... But no mere mortal can do it!"

...

After the spirit of Skjor was ripped to shreds by the enraged Valkyrie, a new dark presence emerged in its place. Skjor reincarnate, if you will. Some say that the Dread Father himself created this soulless spirit, or may be it was the way of the Void all along. The spirit dwells in one of the tombs under the Valkyrie Bridge. Defeat it, and the curse will be lifted.

But it isn't as simple as that. The spirit of Skjor is immortal, invulnerable to any and all attacks, as numerous adventurers and daredevils have found out. Skjor wears his old armour, wields his old sword... Or rather, the spirit that is Skjor, is clad in spirit armour and wields a spirit sword, the same as those of Skjor of flesh and blood. Only one wearing the real Skjor's armour and wielding Skjor's sword has a glimpse of hope to defeat the spirit. Skjor must face his twin.

...

"That's a tall order, that," Geralt nodded. "A job for a witcher."



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Valkyrie Bridge is a part of the upcoming release of TWMP Skyrim Alive. The legend comes alive there, and now you know what to do. Can you face Skjor the Unbending?

This post has been edited by Lena Wolf: Jul 4 2022, 09:52 AM


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Lena Wolf
post Jul 7 2022, 10:48 AM
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3 Morning Star, 4E203 - The Jarl of Hjaalmarch

The new year 203 of the Forth Era found Geralt riding through the forests of the Pale, delving into the many Dwemer ruins there, and finally concluding that as entertaining as it was, it didn't help him to find his roots. His father wasn't a Dwarf, so why was he searching in the Dwemer ruins? Perhaps because they were too much fun to pass up...

Finally however Geralt arrived in Morthal. The town was hiding on the moors among the tall pine trees and the mist hanging over the water. The inn had food and rooms, and that's all that Geralt wanted after days upon days sleeping in caves.

"You should go see the Jarl when you feel up to it," the inn keeper told him. "He likes to know who's staying in Morthal."

Sensing that there was more to the request than just satisfying the Jarl's curiosity, Geralt decided to oblige. The Jarl's longhouse must have been the one building with a roof fully intact, rather than patched up like all the others.

"I am the Jarl of Hjaalmarch, Sigfrid the Fair," the man on the throne told him. Geralt noticed the Jarl's bed behind the throne and the housecarl's bed in the corner, and besides a few benches and cupboards, the house didn't have anything else - there was no room.

"I thought the Jarl of Hjaalmarch sat in Snowhawk," Geralt smiled and bowed.

"What? Oh, you know..." Sigfrid grimaced. "The Jarl sits in Snowhawk, ai, and pays us no mind. Might not even know we exist! But Morthal has been ruling over the moors since the Second Era, and while I may not be the actual Jarl of Hjaalmarch, I am the Jarl of these parts!" He looked at Geralt with a challenge, and Geralt nodded.

"Have it your way, Sigfrid, I don't meddle in politics," Geralt replied soothingly. "I hear you wanted to see me, and here I am."

"Ai, that I did," Sigfrid nodded, smiling. "I've heard of you, White Wolf. Heard you came to Skyrim in search of your roots. Asgarsens have lived here for centuries. In one of these crypts you'll find what you are searching for."

"And..?"

"And... You'll stay in Skyrim. Nay, you are staying already," Sigfrid chuckled. "But have you got a house to live in? A house that is truly your own?" He gave Geralt a sharp look.

"Err... no," Geralt shook his head. "But you happen to have one for sale, am I right?"

"Windstad Manor," Sigfrid nodded. "A splendid house out on the moors."

"I'll take a stroll out there and have a look," Geralt smiled. "What filth should I be watching out for? There's a problem with it, of course."

"It's right what people say of you then," Sigfrid grinned. "Straight to the matter. Ai, there's a problem. The kind of problem we'd need a witcher for. Go out there, here's the key. Be watchful at night, mostly, for then besides the filth, you'll also face danger. It's been like this for a while, and none can venture onto the moors any more. But you can help us, and then the house is yours for a mere thousand septims."

"So, you'd have me solve your problem, and then still pay for the house?" Geralt raised an eyebrow and almost turned to leave.

"Yes," Sigfrid's tone was sharp. "The house is worth far more than that, and we need the money to support an orphanage."

"An orphanage? I saw no children in the village," Geralt objected.

"And yet there is an orphanage on the moors," Sigfrid's brow furrowed. "But that's a story for another time. Go, look around, you might even stumble upon it, it ain't a lie."

Geralt pocketed the key to Windstad Manor, picked up his swords and went to look around on the moors.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This doesn't sound like Skyrim or ESO! - I hear you say. No, this is TWMP Skyrim in Oblivion. Morthal, the moors and the troubles there are coming in the next release of TWMP Skyrim Alive. Snowhawk already exists, and it is a grand city indeed, built well before my time.


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Acadian
post Jul 7 2022, 04:13 PM
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Nice job bringing Morthal to life. Looks like Geralt's intended rest is to be cut short out on the moors.


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Lena Wolf
post Jul 11 2022, 01:17 PM
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3 Morning Star, 4E203 - Windstad Manor

Something in the appearance of the Jarl of Hjaalmarch in Morthal made Geralt want to fulfil the Jarl's request - go and look around the Windstad Manor. A path going into the moors was a good start, and Geralt took it.

Geralt loved the moors since the first time he set foot in the area a few months earlier. He'd had no time to look around then, and so he took the opportunity now. He came off the path and simply wandered through the shallow water with its low hanging mist and dry patches in between. Pine trees were standing tall around him, save for the clearings here and there, where the trees had been cut for one reason or another, but young pines were already taking hold. Like last time, the air was cold but not freezing, and the salty smell of the sea indicated the way to the shore. To a Northener like Geralt, this landscape looked idyllic...

"What now, you filth?!" Geralt spun around unsheathing his silver sword in one motion. Not a spider, not a chaurus, what was approaching him from behind, was a zombie. "You shouldn't be here!" He bellowed, cutting the zombie's head off and realising that it had no effect on the zombie's advance. In fact, it seemed to have only made it angry.

The zombie hastened its step and took a swipe at Geralt. Geralt dodged. The zombie swiped again, still advancing. Geralt kept dodging, but walking backwards isn't easy for someone who needs to see where he's going. He tripped and fell onto something soft. A giant hairy spider.

Compared to the zombie, the spider was a blessing. Not that aggressive to start with, spiders would normally prefer to run off, but having a grown man land on its back, made it decide that the line had been crossed there. It reared, throwing Geralt off, then turned and spit. Geralt's vision went blurry and he staggered, which was quite a feat, considering that he was sitting in a puddle on the moor. The poison wasn't that strong, but it was very disorienting. The spider poised for another spit and a pounce, but stench and groan right behind it made it reconsider. It turned around...

"Take this, you filth!" Geralt was back on his feet lunging at the zombie with his silver sword while the zombie was attacking the spider... With Geralt and the spider momentarily united against a common threat, the zombie was finally defeated, but not before it lost all of its limbs to Geralt's sword. Was the torso still alive? It was hard to tell, but it was disarmed, quite literally... "Ironic," Geralt smirked to himself. Unfortunately, in the heat of the battle the spider took quite a few hits from the zombie and now succumbed to its wounds, its green blood oozing from the abdomen. "Thank you for joining the fight," Geralt honoured the spider, for it was only an animal, not a monster. "Now, where did this filth come from?" He turned his attention to the mort flesh scattered around. He wanted to take a closer look, perhaps to identify the type of the zombie, get some clues, but the stench was so strong, that he had to reconsider. "That's a dread zombie, it must be," Geralt concluded. "They carry diseases and will infect you even when they are dead," he thought, backing off. "Well, deader than what they were before." It was getting very confusing. How do you kill a zombie? Isn't it already dead?

This incident reminded Geralt that there was a reason the Jarl asked him to look around the moors, and it wasn't sightseeing. He heard groaning further ahead and realised that zombies must have been a part of the problem - he knew better than to hope there would be nothing else. "At night you will also face danger," he recalled Jarl's words. So, there was something worse than zombies, but it only came out at night. Yeah, he thought he knew what that could be...

But since it was still morning, he had time before then, and Geralt decided to head to the Windstad Manor and see what he could discover. There should be clues inside.

...

Geralt liked the house as soon as he saw it. Windstad Manor was set on a high shore looking out onto the sea. The moors surrounded it from the other three sides. There was the a fairly large house built of whole logs, solid and spacious, with stone foundations going into the ground. "Another storey underground," Geralt thought. A turret at the front was large enough to serve as an annex, yet not overbearing as a castle tower would have been. "Yen would like that," Geralt's mind wandered. "She would put her megascope on the top floor, those windows should let in enough light..." But Yennefer wasn't in Skyrim yet, and Geralt shook off the memories and the longing. Next to the main house there was a smaller one, with a well by the door. "A bath house?" Geralt smiled to himself. A large stable on the other side was perfect for Roach, and large enough for several visitors' horses too - Roach disliked overcrowding. "The Jarl knew what to offer me," Geralt smirked. There was more to the man than just his title, a symbolic title too, for the real Jarl of Hjaalmarch sat in Snowhawk and paid no mind to the affairs of the moors.

But before Geralt could settle down in Windstad Manor, he had to clear it of the filth. Expecting zombies inside, he drew his sword and entered the house.

...

"Don't you touch me!!" Geralt's enraged bellows must have been heard all over the moors. Indeed, the house was swarming with zombies, and Geralt aimed to put them down without getting infected with those horrid diseases that they were carrying. Most zombies weren't that hard to put down - they weren't dread zombies like the one on the moor, and they would normally quickly succumb to fire, but Geralt was reluctant to use fire in what would soon be his own house. Filth and mort flesh he could scrub off, but replacing burned timbers would be a much bigger job. So his sword was his only weapon in that fight.

It was a little harder than usual, but still, after a while all the zombies in the house were reduced to bits of mort flesh strewn over the floor. With the house and the turret finally quiet, Geralt set out looking for clues as to what happened.

The first clue was obvious: a body of a mage on the floor in the bedroom. No blood. The man had been sucked dry. "Just as I thought," Geralt nodded to himself. "Vampires." Which didn't explain the zombies.

Assuming that the dead mage was the previous owner of the house, he must have been quite a scholar. There were books and scrolls in tall bookcases everywhere, and the turret contained an impressive library. Geralt went through the books - besides the usual scholarly texts and popular literature, he found a number of rare books on necromancy and several more on vampirism. It seemed the mage had studied both. Was he a necromancer who got vampirism? The two factions didn't get on, but necromancers were just people, and therefore susceptible to Porphyric Hemophilia. So what if they got infected? Which faction would they be with?

However, the dead mage hadn't been a vampire, Geralt noted upon investigation. But he must have been a necromancer - a handbook on making zombies and a laboratory in the cellar seemed to point to that. So were the zombies his, created for protection from vampires, perhaps? A necromancer's private army?

The house yielded no further clues, and neither did the bath house, and Geralt decided against staying on the moors for the night - he was in no rush to meet the vampires. He wanted more information first, so decided to return to Morthal and ask around. Someone must be able to tell him what happened there.

...

"You have been out on the moors," a middle aged but still attractive Redguard woman approached Geralt as he was walking in Morthal. "I am Alima - the healer. You need my services."

"Do I?" Geralt smiled at her. "I was careful not to touch any of those things. But of course there's no harm in cleansing anyway." He allowed Alima to cast a cure disease spell over him. "It's nice to see a shrine out here," he added, looking at a statue of Dibella.

"It's from our ship, I insisted we retrieve it," Alima smiled. "I am a Priestess of Dibella, although now-a-days I just stick to healing services," she winked. "This place is too small for Dibella's Temple, and with the two younger women around... Well... You know. Youth has its perks," she concluded.

"As does experience," Geralt smiled, looking into her eyes. "I'd take experience any day." But then thinking that Morthal was perhaps indeed too small for it, he looked away and changed the topic. "You mentioned a ship - your ship. What happened?"

"We are from Hammerfell, Karim and I," Alima shot Geralt a grateful glance. Morthal was indeed too small for frivolities. "Karim is my husband. We used to sail the seas on a large merchant vessel, and the sailors would have no other shrine on board than that of Dibella. There were several of us, from the Temple... But the ship capsized not far from here, some people drowned, some were lured by the Sirens, and some - like us - made it ashore. We stayed here, in Morthal. We brought a few things from the sunken ship, and there are still some trinkets on the bottom of the sea. Karim spends most days by the shore, fishing. Well, reminiscing... diving, sometimes. There's something he's still searching for..." Alima's eyes glazed over, and Geralt thought she was seeing the sands of Hammerfell floating over the moors. "But anyhow," she returned to reality. "We brought the shrine from the ship, and now Morthal has a proper altar," she concluded, clearing some dirt off the stonework.

"Tell me about the people here," Geralt asked. "Like you say, it's a small place."

"Well, there's the self-appointed 'Jarl'," Alima smiled. "You've met him. Sigfrid the Fair. He does right by the people on the moors though, so everyone calls him 'Jarl' without the sarcasm. Then there's Felion the mage, he does all sorts of studies, in particular the ones you're better off doing in the woods away from civilization..." She smirked. "But he's a good sort, really. Then the two sisters - the younger women I mentioned. They pick mushrooms and plants in the woods, sell most of it to Felion, but they'll trade with anyone. Just walk around town, you'll meet everyone. The guard house is largely empty as we don't have guards, but it is there so that Legionnaires have somewhere to stay - we call on the Legion when things get dire on the moors."

Geralt thanked Alima for all her help and wondered whom he should ask about what happened at the Windstad Manor. "The innkeeper", he decided, especially since it was time to have something to eat.

...

"Windstad Manor?" The innkeeper was taking roast off the spit. "Yeah, that's bad business. The previous owner was a mage, a scholar. He built that house so he could live out his life quietly among his books. That didn't work out though," he sighed.

"Yeah, I found his body in the house," Geralt nodded. "Vampires."

"Vampires have been living around these parts for centuries," the innkeeper confirmed. "But they've been always keeping to themselves. No nightly attacks and no kidnapping of people. It's said they have thralls, so don't need other folk for feeding, like. May be. It doesn't matter. They were quiet neighbours and never did us any harm." He paused and focussed on roast potatoes.

"But that changed," Geralt prompted him.

"Ai," the barman looked up. "One of those ruined forts in the mountains got new tenants - necromancers. Dibella preserve us from that filth!" He spit and kicked a rat back into its hole. "Before we knew it, skeletons started roaming the moors - the necromancers took to digging up old graves."

"Skeletons?" Geralt sounded dubious. "I came across..."

"Zombies?" The barman interrupted him and gave the rat another kick. "Yeah, it started with skeletons. The Jarl would have none of it though, a few of us went to that fort, but the necromancers were too strong, so he called in the Legion. By the time the Legionnaires arrived, things went out of hand." He paused again, busy with the vegetables.

"The vampires didn't like their new neighbours, right?" Geralt guessed.

"They didn't!" The innkeeper raised an eyebrow. "It's true what they say that necromancers and vampires don't get along. I am not entirely sure what happened... But suddenly there were zombies out on the moors, and no one was safe! And the vampires started coming out at night, attacking everyone... And they've never done so before!" He looked up, still perplexed by it.

"So the Legion..?" Geralt suspected that the Legion hadn't handled it in the most tactful manner, or else that they got the wrong culprit.

"Yeah... well... Necromancy is legal in Skyrim, regardless of what the mages in Cyrodiil say... Yeah, we've heard of that. Vampirism however is not legal. So what could the Legion do? They took the side of the necromancers and tried to exterminate the vampires... A futile attempt, if you ask me," he shook his head.

"Did it not occur to them that vampires don't make zombies?" It was Geralt's turn to raise an eyebrow.

"It did," the innkeeper nodded. "But the law is the law, and the Legion has to uphold it, whether it makes sense or not." He sighed, setting a full plate of roast meat, potatoes and vegetables before Geralt. "They perished, all of them," he added with sadness. "The very necromancers whose side they took, slaughtered the Legionnaires and used their bodies to make more zombies..." He sighed again. "Bad business, that."

"And now?" Geralt's focus was shifting from the conversation to his dinner.

"Now you are here," the innkeeper suddenly brightened up. "A witcher. A man who can find the clues and solve a mystery. The White Wolf. You'll defeat whoever needs defeating, you'll rid the moors of the zombies and send the vampires back to their lairs. Then you will settle in the Windstad Manor and will come here for my roast for years to come," he concluded with a smile. "That's the plan, at least."

"Right," Geralt grinned. Finally someone was making sense.


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Renee
post Jul 17 2022, 01:25 AM
Post #398


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Yikes, so she became a vampire during your first playthrough. Were you on PS3 at the time? Even if you wanted to cure this, chances are it's not possible on PS3 (Game of the Year version, anyway).


I'm up the part when she is dealing with Roland and Seridur. Yes indeed, this is a compelling quest. Is Seridur really what they say he is? evillol.gif And now that I know she was a vampire the original time you did OVB, I can see how silly she must feel, since they can't even detect they're trying to use her to do their bids.

Whoa, Lena's mother was supposed to kill Lena's father? blink.gif Did I get that right?

There's a ghost Lucien, and a physical Lucien. 🥶

Up to Page 7 now, yuah. All the pictures are great, as always!

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Acadian
post Jul 17 2022, 08:36 PM
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Fortunate aid from that spider out on the moors. I didn't realize that necrodudes and vampires didn't get along. Were it not tragic, it would be funny how badly the Legion gooned up their intervention in the necro-vamp war.


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Lena Wolf
post Jul 18 2022, 07:01 AM
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QUOTE(Renee @ Jul 17 2022, 01:25 AM) *

Yikes, so she became a vampire during your first playthrough. Were you on PS3 at the time? Even if you wanted to cure this, chances are it's not possible on PS3 (Game of the Year version, anyway).

I was on Xbox 360 and got the cure with the original quest, but it only comes on much later in the game, when she had done a few Mages Guild quests at the Arcane University. I wonder what if you never join the Mages Guild or never enter the University? Does the quest even come up then? blink.gif But yeah, that's why she had to do the whole MQ as a vampire.

QUOTE
Whoa, Lena's mother was supposed to kill Lena's father? blink.gif Did I get that right?

Yes. Which is why she broke the rules. But it is all rather vague at this point, Lucien mostly just knew it from rumours. Perhaps things will clear up later. wink.gif



QUOTE(Acadian @ Jul 17 2022, 08:36 PM) *

Fortunate aid from that spider out on the moors. I didn't realize that necrodudes and vampires didn't get along. Were it not tragic, it would be funny how badly the Legion gooned up their intervention in the necro-vamp war.

Vampires are undead while necromancers are mortal, so I guess they are fair game for vampires to feed on, and so necros object (just as everyone else). And then once they defeat a vampire, can they even use that undead body to make zombies? Do you need fresh bodies for that? Not sure... indifferent.gif Plus, vampires rise again after a time, unless you manage to get them to disintegrate into ash completely somehow. Necromancers are jealous because the only way for them to rise again is to transform into a lich, which they all aspire to of course, but only very few accomplish - too difficult. Which probably explains why liches are the only undead to hate vampires.

You don't often see vampires and necromancers face each other in the base game, but it happens on a few occasions (by design or accident, not sure), and then they sure do fight.

Zombies don't normally attack other undead (including vampires) unless they are doing the bidding of their masters, as they do here. So then all gloves are off!


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"Innocence, my brother."

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