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> I am Lena Wolf, Lena's life as it happens
Renee
post Jul 18 2022, 01:22 PM
Post #401


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Joined: 19-March 13
From: Ellicott City, Maryland



QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Jul 18 2022, 02:01 AM) *

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.


Pretty sure a cure quest comes up in our journal. My second character (whose name has been forgotten by me) visited Fort Carmala after delivering the Amulet to Jauffre. Back then I was literally new to the game. Did not know about UESP, did not know Bethesda had its own forums, none of that! Yet I remember learning there was a way to cure her vampirism. She'd gone the entire 3 days, with me being clueless about this. Became a vamp, and it was too stressful for me at the time. Literally, I'd only been playing a few hours! devilsmile.gif

It was actually one of my first bits of spontaneous roleplay actually. I couldn't handle dealing with no daylight at the time, biting necks and so on, so that character wound up committing suicide-by-guard, attacking an Impie right in the middle of the Temple District. sad.gif .... and it's a good thing I chose this route, too. I was on PS3, with the GOTY version. I had no idea the cure quest is broken with that version.


This post has been edited by Renee: Jul 18 2022, 01:24 PM
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Lena Wolf
post Jul 19 2022, 02:05 AM
Post #402


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From: Bravil



7 Morning Star, 4E203 - The lich

"Three days!" Geralt woke up on a dirty bedroll in yet another fort ruin. "Three days I've been chasing around necromancer forts, dodging zombies, fighting invisible enemies, shattering walking bones! I'm getting too old for this." It was another morning after a hard day's battle. Or rather he assumed it was morning - there was no daylight in the fort. At least now, after he reduced zombies and necromancers to piles of body parts, the fort was quiet for a while - until the undead rise again. That wouldn't be for a while yet though, and Geralt took the time to attend to his injuries.

Getting scratched, bitten, cut up and impaled was nothing new for any seasoned witcher, and Geralt had the scars to show for it. But fighting zombies was different - the wounds would always fester, and even a witcher's superior regeneration wasn't able to stop it. Fortunately the fort had a lot of healing potions and salves, because believe it or not, necromancers suffered the same festering wounds if things went wrong with zombie making. So, after a hearty breakfast on the necromancers' provisions, he dipped into their medicine chests, not trying to ration any of it. Even though he had cleared that fort, as well as two other forts, he still didn't find anything revealing the identity of the necromancers' leader, although he was certain there was one somewhere nearby. He felt that until he found the leader and dealt with him, fresh necromancers would move in and the problem would remain...

And whose body did he find in Windstad Manor? That could not have been the leader, Geralt was quite certain now. Questions just kept piling up.

Thinking these thoughts, Geralt decided to make another sweep through the fort. Without the distraction of unfriendly occupiers, he could focus on searching every chest and box, every nook and cranny in that fort, as well as in the other two. This was going to be a long day...

...

"Ah-ha!" In fort number two he suddenly noticed a gaping hole in a wall in a dark corner. "That's what I missed!" Geralt brightened up, quickly scrambling towards the hole, yet trying not to touch any of the zombie parts covering the floor. The hole led into a cave tunnel which ended with a sturdy wooden door. "Locked!!" He swore, getting out his lockpicks and setting to work.

After a good half an hour of swearing, and having broken half of his picks, he had to admit defeat.

"This lock is too advanced, I'll need to find the key," he sighed. "There must be one, surely."

That meant going back to searching through everything and anything in the fort.

...

"Now, look at that!" A rusty key fell out of some items he was shaking. Back at the locked door, Geralt was in for a disappointment however - the key didn't fit. He tossed it into a corner with a flowery swear, spent another hour or two searching the fort, was just about to go to fort number three... But a little thought at the back of his head told him that perhaps he'd been a bit premature throwing away that key, perhaps it would unlock something... With a sigh, he retraced his steps, only to spot the key under a pile of zombie parts. "That figures," he grunted. Wrapping his hand in some necromancer  robes, he carefully moved away mort flesh, trying to avoid touching it at all costs. Grabbed the key, wiped it off, stashed it away. Fort number three would be next.

...

"That's just another dead end!" Geralt had been searching through forts all day, he was tired and hungry, and still he didn't find anything of importance, or anything that his rusty key would unlock. He slumped into a chair, picking up a bottle of mead from the table, started drinking, raising the bottle higher and higher and tilting his head...

And then he saw it - an upper gallery. He gulped, nearly getting the mead up his nose. It had to be it - that gallery had to contain something, as that was the only space in that fort that he hadn't searched yet.

But how to get there? There was no staircase, no ladder and no stepping stone nearby, yet from the opposite end of the room Geralt could see that the gallery had a corridor going into the depth. Did he have to enter it from the other side? But how to know what it was - which fort, cave or tunnel? That seemed like a puzzle he could not solve. No, there must be a way. If that gallery was important to the necromancers, they would have a way up there... Wait... necromancers were mages, and mages loved portals.

...

"Ugh!" Geralt shuddered, emerging on the gallery. "I hate teleporting!" He promptly decided he'd jump back to the lower level rather than go through the teleport again.

The gallery indeed had a corridor going into the depth, which had a door that was locked.

"Naturally," Geralt smirked. The day was continuing the way it had started. But then, remembering the rusty key, he decided to try it before wasting the rest of his lockpicks on the lock. It fitted. Readying his sword, Geralt pushed the heavy door, expecting more zombies.

Nothing. The short corridor was empty, except for another door.

Not ready to stop just yet, Geralt pushed the second door, which wasn't locked. It opened onto another section of the fort, filled with fresh and willing necromancers...

...

"That's enough!" After several more hours of hacking and slashing bodies in various degrees of decomposition, Geralt had had enough. "I've had it with this filth!" Somehow the necromancers in that section were stronger, and their zombies deadlier. Was he going in the right direction?

But anyhow, the fort was now quiet, and Geralt settled for another night on a dirty bedroll. He only hoped it was a necromancer that used to sleep on it before, not a zombie...

Tired and nearly falling asleep, he spotted a book by the bedroll, a book that didn't look like a manual on corpse preparation. Opening it, he found it to be Jorgen Rammstein's book on the dungeons of Skyrim. "Just what I need - a bit of light reading," Geralt smiled to himself, finally relaxing.

"Know that the musty air of old caves is infused with spores that make you confuse one dungeon with another. The further in you go, the more likely it is that you are getting confused," Geralt read. There was also something about the dungeons getting harder and harder with each subsequent level. Or was it just because the adventurer was getting more and more tired?

"Those damned spores!" Geralt was running out of fresh swears. "Why did I go through that door? Why did I not look around first?"

Cursing himself, he returned to the short corridor with nothing but two doors. Nothing? Was he sure? No, because he hadn't even looked!

A little box under a pile of stones held another key. That key looked significantly more impressive than the rusty key he'd found earlier. It could have been Ayleid or Dwemer, something very ornate and clearly belonging to an advanced lock. "Like the one in fort number two," Geralt smiled to himself. Finally, progress.

...

It was well past midnight, and may be even past the following dawn when Geralt got to the locked door in fort number two. The ornate key fitted, the lock clicked. He pushed the door, then hesitated. Did he really want to go through there? He'd been up for at least thirty six hours, he hadn't eaten anything,  he was tired and his reflexes were slowed... But he also felt that he was nearing the climax of his necromancer hunt, and there was no question of rest. He just couldn't.

Pushing the door more decisively and drawing his sword, he entered the cave.

...

The stench of zombies was everywhere. Nearly every cavern had an altar or two with freshly cut decomposing corpses on it. "Are they required to wait until the body starts decomposing?" He wondered. The bodies on the altars were not moving however, and his attention quickly switched to the ones that were.

Past the zombies he found their masters. These necromancers were older, more seasoned and better skilled than the ones in the other sections. "I'm getting close," Geralt thought. The undead diversified - it wasn't just zombies and skeletons, wraiths made their appearance too. And then finally - a lich.

The lich was half-walking half-floating in the best part of the cave that had a smooth stone floor and was furnished with luxurious furnishings. Evidently, liches too preferred quality beds. Did liches even sleep? Geralt started to ponder that, but a sudden drain of his strength reminded him it wasn't the time. The lich had summoned a skeleton - a high level skeleton, Geralt noted - and was shooting curses from his staff as well as from his wrist. He had a sword on his belt as well. "Not your common lich!" - was all that Geralt could think when he got bashed over the head with something heavy. Apparently, not all necromancers had been cleared.

...

"This one isn't a human or an elf!" Geralt heard voices in a fog. "I've never seen anything like it! Argonian eyes! Is he a hybrid?"

"He could be, just watch his reflexes," another voice agreed, and Geralt felt a sharp pain under his knee causing his leg to jerk.

"And still he isn't out," the first voice sounded worried. "I'm running out of embalming fluid!"

"Amazing," the second voice agreed. "Still bleeding." Sharp pain of a fresh cut finally woke Geralt up. He opened his eyes slightly to see what was going on. He was lying on an altar and two necromancers were fussing over him, jars and bottles everywhere, mostly empty.

"What in Oblivion did they pump into me?" Geralt thought, mentally shaking off the slumber, but trying not to move so as not to alert them prematurely.

"He is a witcher," the third voice approached. It sounded hoarse and strained. "A mutant. He is a human, or was a human once." Geralt saw the red robe of the lich. "They don't succumb to the usual treatment." Red burning eyes stared into Geralt's as the lich lifted Geralt's eyelid with a bony hand. "He's still awake!"

The alarm in the lich's voice was Geralt's cue - a heavy axe was already falling onto his neck, as the necromancers quickly decided to go for a headless zombie with Geralt.

Roll! The altar didn't have restraints - no need. There was a sword on the floor, no matter which, Geralt grabbed it, stabbed whatever was approaching, not being able to see properly, as the blows were now coming thick and fast, sword, axe, mace, hammer - the necromancers had it all. Geralt rolled, dodged and stabbed wildly.

After a while the stream of blows thinned, and Geralt quickly finished off the remaining necromancers. The lich wasn't there, but also it wasn't the cavern with the luxurious bed. Looking around properly, Geralt found his swords, swallowed some potions and prepared for the real battle.

...

Once again the lich was half-walking half-hovering over the smooth stone floor in his "chamber". A skeleton stood at the ready with his weapon drawn. The lich raised his staff...

But this wasn't Windstad Manor, there was no need to hold back fire. Geralt's fireball knocked the skeleton off its feet and it vanished, another fireball hit the lich squarely in the chest, and although it interrupted its casting of a new skeleton, it didn't seem to harm him otherwise.

"Yes, a witcher," the lich croaked. "Knows some rudimentary magic - Witcher Signs, they call them. That was quite a good one though," he seemed to be talking to himself, making mental notes, while sending a few fireballs towards Geralt, which Geralt dodged. "Wonder what other Signs he knows?"

"He is toying with me!" Geralt was getting angry. He wasn't a mage, it was true what the lich had noted - Witcher Signs were only rudimentary from a mage's point of view. A fireball, a shock trap, a force shield, force push and a command spell - that was all. And this lich seemed to be immune to all of them. Of course Geralt also had a witcher's silver sword.

A dance ensued. A cut here, a stab there, and the lich seemed to jerk every time Geralt landed a blow. The lich switched to his sword as well - a claymore that he wielded single-handed, just like Geralt wielded his... The similarity was chilling.

A lich half-floating over the ground, gently turning away from his opponent's sword. A man pirouetting all around the lich, dodging and attacking, twisting, turning, rolling away, coming back and landing blow after blow, all aimed at preventing the lich from casting. A high level skeleton would tip the scales to the wrong side.

Silver was precious. Far more precious than its cost, and that meteorite dust mixed into it that had Geralt fight a dozen monsters for, it was so worth it. With every blow, with every little cut the lich weakened.

...

An ancient lich in a red robe lay on a smooth stone floor covered in Geralt's blood. The lich's red burning eyes were extinguished. This wasn't just a lich - this was a Revenant, the real owner of the Windstad Manor.

Picking up his journal to study later, Geralt finally stepped out of the ruined fort into the crisp morning air - whichever day it was. He walked through the moors towards Morthal, noticing a spider here, a chaurus there, all the usual moor creatures. The air was sweet, devoid of the stench of decomposing flesh. The zombies had gone.

...

"You look dreadful!" Alima clasped her hands seeing Geralt walk into town. "Quick - we have a spare bed in the house, you need healing!"

"Dibella be praised," Geralt smiled at her, accepting the care and attention. Everything else could wait.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 24 2022, 10:14 PM
Post #403


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Joined: 18-May 21
From: Bravil



10 Morning Star, 4E203 - Cheydinhal house extension - Governess - Mephala - Engorm

"This is now one of the better houses in the city," Garrus was congratulating Lena and Lucien on the completion of the extension to the Wolf Sanctuary. "And with the other building works complete, it is your own house now, rather than an extension of your office." He looked at them and smiled. "Are you planning to have more children?"

"We..." Lena blushed.

"Yes," Lucien said at the same time. "I hope," he looked at her. "But let's not get ahead of ourselves - the first one has not been born yet."

Indeed, it wasn't time yet, but they were glad to have the works completed well before the extension was actually needed. Besides, they still had to find a suitable governess - Lena refused to stay at home longer than necessary.

"If you are looking for a wet nurse or a governess," Garrus seemed to have read their minds - "Tivela Lythandas' 'cousin' Nilara Rothalen just came to live with them, arriving from Morrowind. I don't know all the details, but Tivela is not thrilled with having a younger woman under her roof, but apparently she could not refuse."

"Nilara Rothalen, you say..." Lucien was trying to remember something. "I've heard this name before."

"Crimson red hair, violet eyes... quite young, for an elf," Garrus prompted him. "Might have crossed paths with your organisation."

"Oh, you are well informed!" Lucien laughed. "Now I know who she is. Thank you - she might be suitable, but we'll need to talk to her first."

"Of course," Garrus smiled.

...

"Nilara Rothalen is an assassin," Lucien said to Lena later, when they were alone. "Tivela, her 'cousin', was briefly with the Dark Brotherhood in Morrowind before she married Rythe - and this was the reason why they came here. She was only an initiate, and the Brotherhood let her go on the condition that she would provide shelter to a Brother or Sister in need of it. Nilara was careless with one of her contracts and killed a member of Morag Tong who was sent for the same target, so she is now hiding from them, and the Brotherhood sent her here."

"But would she not bring the danger right into our house?" Lena objected.

"The danger of Morag Tong? It is already in our house, with Rayenna now being among them. At least Nilara is skilled and knows what to look for. I shall request her formal transferal to our Sanctuary - even if we do not employ her as our governess."

"Are you sure about Rayenna?" Lena looked worried. "You didn't say anything when we were in Anvil last."

"That was a few months ago," smiled Lucien. "She hasn't been seen at the Sanctuary since, and the lighthouse cellar has been locked up, with no one coming or going. We asked Ulfgar for the key, he was reluctant at first, but then his curiosity got the better of him. No one had been there for months."

"That does not prove anything," Lena objected. "I was gone for two hundred years, remember? What's a few months?"

"True," Lucien had to agree. "But we have to assume the worst."

Lena agreed with Lucien's arguments, but at the same time, if Rayenna did not in fact join Morag Tong, Nilara would indeed be bringing new danger into the house... It was impossible to decide without knowing all the facts. Which assumptions should she believe?

...

Lena approached the shrine of Mephala with an offering of a nightshade.

"What do you want of me, mortal?" Mephala's disdainful voice sounded from the statue.

"I have a message from Sanguine for you," answered Lena, hoping that Mephala would hear her out. "Regarding one of his followers."

"Go on."

Phew... She wasn't being sent away, yet. "Sanguine believes that he would be better suited for your service than his."

"Why is that? Does that follower harbour plots of murder?"

"No, but he secures sexual favours through deceit and coercion. And then takes more than what is offered."

"Ahhh..." Mephala fell silent, and Lena started to worry her offer wasn't enough. But after a while Mephala continued. "Bring him to me and we'll see."

The worshipers at the shrine were watching Lena with interest.

"My Lord means bring that follower here," one of them clarified. "Then we'll summon My Lord again."

"Yeah, I got that, thanks," Lena smiled. "I didn't think the Lady meant Spiral Skein."

A round of laughter followed that comment as Lena rebuffed that novice's trap - not only did she know that Mephala chose to appear female, but she was also aware of Mephala's Realm. Lena shrugged her shoulders, giving the followers one of her looks - this isn't my first Daedric Prince, you know.

...

"Engorm - good to see you!" Lena approached the shrine of Sanguine, greeting the very Bosmer who crossed her last time she was there.

"You again!" He bared his teeth. "Looking for another audience with My Lord?"

"Oh, I don't need to come here see him," Lena brushed it off, Engorm scowled, the other worshipers listened intently, keeping their distance. "I am here for you."

"Ah, I knew you would fall for my charms sooner or later," Engorm smiled broadly, the other worshipers giggled. "Well, what are you still doing with those clothes on?" He winked.

"You misunderstand," Lena smiled pleasantly. "I want a private audience," she tugged at her belt tentatively.

"Well..." Engorm's smile looked a bit forced, perhaps he sensed that something was off. "If you insist... There is a cave nearby that we use for such things," he pointed at a mound behind him. "Shall we?"

"Shouldn't we prepare first?" Lena got Cyrodilic Brandy out of her pack. "Get in the mood and all that?"

The sight of the bottle caused the others to throw caution to the wind and rush to get to the drink, but Engorm didn't move.

"Got another one? We won't get anything out of that." Lena produced another bottle, offering Engorm a filled goblet. He drank, with some hesitation - odd for a follower of Sanguine, and Lena saw that her plan wasn't working as well as she had hoped. Still, there was no other way but forward.

"Let's go," she put her arm around his waist and led him into the cave.

...

The first cavern was lavishly decorated with rugs and tapestries, and had a large bed in the middle. Lena unclipped her weapon belt and removed her boots under Engorm's watchful eye - he was more interested in seeing to the removal of the weapons than in discovering what was under them, she noticed, slightly hurt. "But no, he prefers men," she reminded herself. "Don't take it personally." She poured more brandy and this time Engorm drank without hesitation.

"I can offer you exactly what you want," she said in a languid voice.

"Oh yes, or so you would think," Engorm's speech started to slur, but he was still watchful. "I've seen it all, girl, there's nothing under that robe that would surprise me, is there?" He looked bored.

Lena tried her best, but Engorm was just not focusing on her, keeping a watchful eye on his surroundings. The brandy wasn't having as much of an effect on him as Lena had hoped it would - clearly practice reduced his sensitivity. He was making her work for it. "Perhaps I should be more direct," she thought, looking around. One side of the cave looked odd, like it could have a hidden door in it, so Lena cast around for a switch.

"Let us skip straight to the interesting part," she dropped her robe and pulled the switch in one motion, then leapt to Engorm and sliced the belt of his own robe with her hidden blade. She wasn't naked, but he was, he gasped at her tight black negligee firmly securing her pregnant belly - her assassin's gauntlet wasn't the only thing she was wearing. "Come," she said, pulling him into the secret chamber.

She didn't know exactly what was in there, but if the rumours were true, she knew what to expect. The smell of blood and other bodily fluids was strong but not unbearable, and Lena noticed that Engorm found it exhilarating and - finally - intoxicating. She quickly strapped him to one of the devices - she had no time to figure out what was what. A whip lay on the table, she took it.

"Or do you prefer the blade?" She looked into his bewildered face. "Didn't I say I could offer you exactly what you wanted? I didn't lie."

"But normally I'm the one with the whip!" He exclaimed, still looking confused.

"What would Sanguine say to this, I wonder?" Lena looked around, playing with the whip. "Oh, you've even got an Iron Maiden! Complete with the elixirs," she gave him a look of appreciation. "I think we'll start with that. Ah - an aphrodisiac." She lightly nicked his skin with her blade and dropped the elixir into the wound. "Feeling better, I see," she looked him over with satisfaction. Now she was getting somewhere.

Engorm was normally the one administering these treatments, it was his own private paradise, it was his game. He did not kill his victims - oh no - but if some of them suffered from ruptured hearts, it was only because their pleasure was too intense to bear... and so was his, at that point.

"But we make love!" He protested, following Lena's whip with his eyes. "Or at least... I make love to them!"

"I am not sure if they see it that way, especially once the elixirs wear off," Lena said thoughtfully. "But you will be able to decide for yourself later today, I have no doubt." She nicked his skin a little more forcefully, dropping another elixir. "Euphoria. You will enjoy anything I do. Anything." Engorm moaned, his hands cuffed and unable to reach where he wanted. Lena sat on a chair in front of him looking bored, and started reading a book.

...

Engorm's body was covered in small nicks where Lena was dropping various elixirs for him to experience. She made sure to keep his heart from overloading - a rupture was not in her plans. It has been several hours since they went into that cave when the other worshippers decided to look in on them.

"What on Nirn is this?" They stopped at the threshold of the secret cavern, not daring to enter.

"Oh, haven't you seen this room before?" Lena turned to them, smiling amicably. "It's Engorm's private audience chamber. We are just having an audience."

The worshippers ran off, gagging and downing more Cyrodilic Brandy. Lena sighed. "I suppose I should inform Sanguine," she said to herself, summoning Dessos.

"What..?" He started, unsheathing his blade, the smell of blood making him think it was a battle.

"No, no - nothing of the sort," Lena rushed to stop him hitting Engorm. "I am sorry to call you to this, but Sanguine needs to see it. We are at his shrine, and this is Engorm's idea of a good time. I've been just helping him to appreciate it more fully," she turned to Engorm who was still moaning ecstatically in his bonds.

"This isn't Sanguine's way," Dessos looked around with disapproval. "Wait here."

A few minutes later Sanguine walked in, followed by the other worshippers who saw him appear near the statue.

"What in Oblivion is this?" He turned to Engorm who only moaned. "What have you done to him?" He turned to Lena instead, looking rather angry. An angry dremora was bad enough, an angry Daedric Prince was best avoided, even if he was a little drunk. Lena swallowed.

"I am sorry for not telling you before I started, but I had to be sure," she stammered a bit. "I didn't know what I would find here, exactly. I gave him some of his elixirs, I've done nothing else! He is not dying," she added hastily.

"I can see that," Sanguine softened a bit, having examined Engorm closely. "This... room... should not be at my shrine! You two," he turned to the other worshipers who cowered before him - "see that this is removed." They nodded vigorously. "And you..." He turned to Lena with a sigh, but still angry. "Now Mephala's remarks make sense! You should have told me. What are you going to do with him? But I think I already know." He shook his head, his anger vanishing. "Get out of here," he turned to the other worshippers who quickly ran off, then taking the whip out of Lena's hands and dropping it into the corner with contempt, he led her into the front cavern and closed the secret door. "That smell is getting to me," he said, sitting down and gesturing Lena to do the same. "Why are you doing it in this way?" His eyes were hard on her, even without anger.

"I need a favour from Mephala," Lena looked into his eyes and tried not to divert hers too quickly. "So I needed to impress her. I heard rumours of Engorm's exploits, and I didn't like him last time we met, so I made him my victim. This is only half of it... The other half is the favour itself. It will require... some nerve on my part."

"And a lot of luck to stay alive, but the sound of things," Sanguine shook his head again. "All right, I see. Don't tell me, keeping me in the dark is clearly a part of it." Lena nodded. "Just promise me to call Dessos when things turn dire - it's not worth dying for."

"Thank you," Lena whispered, a weight off her shoulders. "Dying would be indeed completely counter-productive." She smiled, stroking her belly.


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

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Renee
post Jul 28 2022, 02:34 PM
Post #404


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From: Ellicott City, Maryland



I am up to the part when L and L are planning to rid Riften of its Thieves Guild. But they're sparing Maven Black-Briar because she supports the Empire. Just curious why. Not that they should or shouldn't, that's all part of the story/roleplay. smile.gif But I'm just curious why, from Lena's point of view (and maybe Lucien's as well).

I like the way you use hyphens during dialog. To separate what is being said from who is saying it. Helps break up the text a bit, which makes reading a little easier on the eyes. Like a little pause, there.

Lena using bandages to heal Lucien is something we also had during my long-ago table-gaming days. It wasn't all just magic; eventually we (my gaming buddies & I) decided to add a "Medicine" skill to our game. This way, healers would not be 100% reliant on magic.

Oh yes, Skyrim's in-game "terrain" map can be pretty frustrating! laugh.gif Whoa...she got Brynjolf.

Up to page 7 / 128.
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Lena Wolf
post Jul 28 2022, 03:20 PM
Post #405


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From: Bravil



@Renee - We're sparing Maven in Riften because if she's removed, the new Jarl will support the Stormcloaks. Although that does not determine the outcome of the Civil War, it is still a feather in Ulfrik's cap, and at least for a time Imperials will have a hard time in Riften. Since Lena and Lucien are both from Cyrodiil, and since Hauk is with the Legion, they don't like Riften to fall to Stormcloaks even for a time. Maven is of course corrupt as they come, but the other candidate is not any better. Given the choice between two corrupt politicians, they choose one that is closer to their side of the Civil War. Besides, she isn't with the Thieves Guild herself, and so is not a direct target for the task of removing the Thieves Guild. It is not possible to eliminate every thief on Nirn - there would be no one left. laugh.gif

Regarding bandages, to me this is a continuation of the Alchemy skill. I play with a Battle Fatigue and Injuries mod that makes you and all NPCs sustain damage to attributes that can only be cleared with sufficient sleep, although casting Restoration spells can ease it for a time. So when Lucien appears from the tunnels casting Restoration spells, he is temporarily healing his wounds, but ultimately he'll need alchemy and sleep to really recover. And of course for someone to suck the poison out of the wound, or else that would keep eating at him. I think poisons should be much longer lasting than what they are, just like the real thing - a sharp poisoning to begin with, and then an ever festering wound chipping away at your health for a long time, unless you take an antidote (cure poison).

Brynjolf - he had it coming. We hated him from the moment he came up to Lena claiming that she hadn't done a day of honest work in her life. Pffft. Look who's talking. Lena is no thief (stealing sweetrolls doesn't count wink.gif ).


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

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Renee
post Jul 28 2022, 08:14 PM
Post #406


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Cool. So it's like they spared Maven to go for the greater outcome, I get it.

I like the sound of that injuries mod. What's it called?
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Lena Wolf
post Jul 28 2022, 08:51 PM
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QUOTE(Renee @ Jul 28 2022, 08:14 PM) *

I like the sound of that injuries mod. What's it called?

Like I said: Battle Fatigue and Injuries. smile.gif It is highly configurable, and I did make changes to the defaults, but I didn't modify the mod itself.


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

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Renee
post Jul 29 2022, 01:01 PM
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Awesome, thanks. I use a realism mod which makes lack of food/water/sleep cause attribute losses so adding Battle Injuries will really make my game edgy!
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Lena Wolf
post Aug 1 2022, 01:11 PM
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20 Morning Star, 4E203 - A favour from Mephala

"Well, mortal, you are still alive, it seems," Mephala looked Lena over. "Some bleeding here and there, but that's to be expected. Your child is still alive, too, do not worry - I wasn't trying to kill it. I promised, didn't I?" Lena could only moan in response - she was still gagged. "All right, I let you rest a bit. I'll come back later."

Mephala left the room. Lena was bound to a large bed, she was cuffed and gagged. Her bonds were loosened slightly now so that she could lie more comfortably. She wasn't wearing anything besides the bonds. A xivilai approached, bringing her wine and cleaning her wounds. Nothing serious, it seemed.

...

"I wish to summon Mephala," Lena stood at Mephala's shrine a day earlier. "I brought the worshipper that we talked about." Engorm, previously a worshipper of Sanguine, was standing behind her. His hands were bound and his feet were tied only allowing him small steps - he didn't come willingly.

"Ah, mortal, you return!" Mephala spoke through the statue. "And you brought me the other worshipper!"

There was a flash of light and Lena and Engorm found themselves in The Spiral Skein. The cavern was dark, and glowing mushrooms stood out all the better in the gloom.

"What is this?" Engorm looked around, frightened. "Mephala's Realm?"

"Indeed, mortal, previously a worshipper of Sanguine," Mephala approached them and spat at the mention of Sanguine's name. "I have plans for you. This is your new home." She snapped her fingers, and a Xivilai stepped forward from the darkness and led Engorm away. "As for you..." She walked around Lena, looking her over. "What is it you want? You need something from me, I can sense it."

"I offer you this worshipper and hope that you would hear me out," Lena said cautiously. "I do have a favour to ask of you. And only you." She looked into Mephala's eyes and tried not to blink too much. The Prince's eyes were deep blue, with moving swirls of lighter blue in them, like whirlpools in a bottomless ocean. They seemed to pull Lena in... She blinked and steadied herself, waiting for Mephala's answer.

"You have some nerve, mortal," Mephala said approvingly. "But are you prepared to pay the price for my favour? It will not be granted freely."

"Anything but my life," answered Lena. "For the favour concerns it. Or rather, the life of my unborn child."

"I see," Mephala nodded. "You wish me to protect your child - and you by extension - from Morag Tong, no doubt?" Mephala smiled, feeling sure that she guessed right.

"Yes," Lena nodded. "There is a Redguard woman - Rayenna - who will likely turn to Morag Tong with the purpose of killing my child, and possibly me. While I can stand up to her for my own life, my child is too young to do the same. Rayenna must be prevented from murdering it."

"I should ask you how you know all this, but I won't waste time on such pleasantries. You have clearly given it some thought," Mephala looked at Lena with approval. "I can delay Rayenna's actions for a time, but I will not stand in the way of her plans forever. Do you accept my offer?"

"How long is 'for a time'?"

"A month to start with. And if I am pleased with your first payment, you may come back to prolong my protection," Mephala smiled contentedly.

"So, you know of Rayenna. Is she with Morag Tong already?" Lena asked, trying to sound neutral, but her anger was coming through.

"That is another favour!" Laughed Mephala. "But all right, I'll give you that information freely: yes, Rayenna is mine, even if your Brotherhood does not know it yet."

"I see," Lena swallowed. "In this case, I accept your offer, provided my child remains unharmed while you are taking the payment."

"Promised," Mephala smiled and snapped her fingers. Another Xivilai came forward from the dark. "Take her to the chamber, get her ready. Do not harm her or her child - be careful with that, mortals are fragile," she said to the Xivilai. "I shall be there shortly."

...

After three sessions with Mephala, Lena was still bound to the large bed, still gagged, and bleeding rather more. Her skin was bruised and cut in places. None of the wounds were life-threatening, but all of them were painful.

Mephala got off the bed, looking satisfied.

"It will do for today," she said and snapped her fingers. A Xivilai stepped forward from the darkness. "Untie her," she turned to him. "Let her wash and give her her clothes back. No, you can't have her - I promised she should live," she answered a question in Xivilai's eyes. "She would die under you. You can have another." Mephala stretched, letting the Xivilai rub her body. "Then send her back to the shrine in Mundus." She kissed him with a long, passionate kiss, delightful yet familiar - they've known each other for an eternity already.

Lena was hurting in so many places, it felt like pain all over. But she was alive, and not knocked out, she heard Mephala's words and sighed a sigh of relief. Mephala turned to look at her.

"Ah, you did not pass out," she smiled. "Well done, mortal, you pleased me. Come back in a month - I shall be waiting."

Mephala left the room while the Xivilai started to untie Lena's bonds. A little later she reappeared at the shrine, to eager glances from the worshippers. But she wasn't going to tell them of her deal with their Prince.

Roach was grazing on the meagre grass of the Valus Mountains, and Lena felt that she should at least take Roach into the valley. She mounted, even though riding a horse was particularly painful just then...

At the first sight of green grass, she dismounted, patting Roach on the back. "Cheydinhal is that way - straight through the forest, you'll manage, won't you?" She looked into Roach's eyes, and the horse nodded and took off. Lena summoned Dessos. He appeared, ready for a fight as usual, but one look at Lena told him all he needed to know.

"Take my arm," he said, and when she did, he opened a portal and stepped through it.

...

"You are a mess," Sanguine smiled at Lena offering her another sweetroll. "Mephala doesn't joke. At least you are alive. Both of you."

"That was the deal," Lena winced at the pain, as Dylan was rubbing oil into her bruises. "Protection for my child."

"That explains why you are bleeding where you are bleeding," Dylan looked up, shaking his head. He too knew her body intimately. "And I have no oils for that."

"It will pass," Sanguine nodded. "Of course, as long as you are pregnant, Mephala won't touch you there, if that's the deal. But what are you going to do once the child is born? I assume it isn't a one time payment but a subscription?"

"Subscription," Lena smiled at the phrase. "Yeah, monthly. I don't know, I'll just have to bear it, I guess."

"Going to the Wellspring that often isn't advisable," Dylan shook his head again. "And what Mephala likes to do... well... it can easily prevent you from ever having a second child."

Lena looked worried, then shook her head.

"Let's not talk about it right now. My son is not due for another three months."

"Your son?" Sanguine looked at her with suspicion. "How do you know it's a boy?"

"Mephala told me," Lena sighed. "Well, she's very thorough... She didn't exactly stay away..."

"She!" Sanguine got furious. "Have your seen what 'she' actually has on her body? She! Indeed!" He got up, clenching his fists and pacing around angrily.

"Yeah, I know full well what 'she' has on her body..." Lena could not resist the humour of the situation. "You could say, I've just had a hands-on experience!" She laughed. "Except that my hands were tied, of course."

"Well, at least your spirit is not bruised," Dessos joined in, helping Dylan with the oils. "You mortals are so fragile, I always say. Especially females. How is it that you are still alive?"

His hands were careful, he was touching her lightly. It felt more like a caress than a massage. Perhaps it was a caress.

"We are strong in a different way," Lena smiled. "Truth is, I don't know. We just make do with it."

The four of them were lounging by a lake on a carpet of soft grass. It was early evening. Two Dremoras and a Mazken were tending to the cuts and bruises on the body of one Breton woman after her encounter with the Daedric Prince of Sex and Secret Murder, for where else would she go after such a painful event but to the Daedric Prince of Pleasure... Sanguine went by many names, and he wasn't always kind to every mortal. He wasn't a "nice guy" - but hey, he was a Dremora. To Lena however he represented all that was good, as ironic as it might sound. He was good to her, period. He was good to all of his lovers. Sanguine did not believe in celibacy. But that evening none of the three men around Lena made any advances beyond a caress, and she was completely at ease with them.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 2 2022, 12:01 PM
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25 Morning Star, 4E203 - The quiet life

After her ordeal with Mephala, Lena needed a bit of rest. She returned to Cheydinhal and was spending her days lazying about the house, catching up on sleep, taking long baths and slow strolls, and generally allowing her body to recover. Lucien noticed the change but didn't say anything, acting as if Lena's demeanour was common to her, which of course it wasn't.

"You seem to be taking a break from everything," Garrus commented one morning, meeting Lena slowly strolling through Cheydinhal gardens. "Haven't seen you relaxing like this for a while... well, never actually. You know the chapel has pretty good healers, in case you're feeling the strain." He lunged to steady Lena who stumbled on something and nearly twisted her ankle. "Here's a bench, why don't we sit down for a moment," he added, smiling.

"I... thanks, Garrus," Lena smiled uneasily, accepting Garrus' assistance. "I guess I am feeling the strain." She held a hand to her side, supporting her belly. "I prefer fighting monsters," she smirked. "Although I am still not absolved from it."

Garrus turned, giving Lena a long look.

"Not the goblin kind, though," he said thoughtfully. "Well, if there's anything that the City Guard can do to improve your safety... You know."

Lena nodded - Garrus seemed to have figured out what she was going through, even though she was sure he didn't know the exact details. She hoped no mortal did.

"I am not ill," she smiled. "I'm just..."

...

That evening the dinner at the Wolf Residence was subdued. Both Lena and Lucien seemed preoccupied, there was something each needed to say, yet dreaded saying it. Eventually Lucien took the lead.

"You seem a bit under the weather these few days," he started cautiously, shooting Lena a sideways look. "Some say the last three months of a pregnancy can be the hardest."

"Yeah, it is getting a bit harder now, but..." Lena took a deep breath and decided to say her piece then and there. "I want to go home, Lucien. Home to Bravil and the Shivering Isles. The Shivering Isles, mostly. I am not doing very well."

"Then you must go," Lucien sounded relieved, although not completely. "If you want me with you, say it." Lena shook her head. "I thought so," Lucien nodded.

They ate quietly for a while, then Lena became restless again.

"But it doesn't mean that I..." She started speaking anxiously, looking at Lucien with worry.

"I know," he interrupted her firmly. "In a way, I've known you longer than you've known me," he smiled, taking her hand. "Although much of it was admittedly in your absence. You will be back, this time the same as before. And while you are gone, I shall be away too."

"You..?" Lena looked up in surprise.

"There is something I need to take care of," Lucien said somewhat evasively. "In Morrowind." He paused, taking a sip of his wine. "The time is pressing somewhat, it needs to be done before the child is born, but I felt uneasy about leaving you here. So if you go to Bravil and the Shivering Isles, so for the better."

"Rayenna?" Lena thought that Lucien would be planning something.

"It concerns her, yes," Lucien smiled. "But there are other things, too. We need to make sure that the Brotherhood in Morrowind does not take her move to Morag Tong as a provocation. We need to avoid another war of assassins."

"Yes..." Lena sounded hollow, having suddenly realised why Hauk went to Morrowind too. "But assassinating her won't be easy."

"And I don't expect to get to her, not now that she's under Mephala's protection," Lucien said, watching Lena's face closely. "So, you knew this," he noted. "I see. I thought as much." Lena nodded slowly, and Lucien continued. "No, Rayenna is out of our reach for the moment. Which is why Hauk is talking to Eno Hlaalu and I need to go to Mournhold." He paused again, watching Lena. "You will be safe from all of this in the Shivering Isles," he added, smiling softly.


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

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macole
post Aug 2 2022, 04:53 PM
Post #411


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I've been catching up; Mephala is definitely not a very nice playmate. Are we going to see a bit of Mournhold now?


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Vampire Hunter,
Endure and through enduring grow strong.
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Lena Wolf
post Aug 2 2022, 05:06 PM
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QUOTE(macole @ Aug 2 2022, 04:53 PM) *

I've been catching up; Mephala is definitely not a very nice playmate. Are we going to see a bit of Mournhold now?

We are. I am so engrossed in making the Skyrim mod, that I haven't been playing at all, so it might take a couple of weeks. But I'll be returning to Morrowind - Hauk has a job to do finding Rayenna, and Lucien is going to Mournhold to speak to the Morrowind Listener of the Dark Brotherhood. This part is not actually in game, they have only very limited line on Dark Brotherhood there. However, I have Mournhold, and I am excited to explore it because it is both in Morroblivion and in Tamriel Rebuilt. I do hope they don't collide. ohmy.gif And if they do, I'll have to make a patch or find an explanation... It's all Mephala's fault, obviously. wink.gif

I gave Mephala a darker and more hands-on role than what you see in Oblivion and Skyrim Daedric quests, or even in Morrowind. Mephala is not just the Prince of Secret Murder, but also the Prince of Sex, and I am sure it isn't the nice variety. It is all based on the lore pages, so should be reasonably conflict-free... just may be a bit more explicit than what you normally read.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 8 2022, 09:57 AM
Post #413


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30 Morning Star, 4E203 - Scorpio

Lena finally got to Crucible in the dead of night. Dylan was no where to be seen, she stopped by Sickly Bernice's for some food, then was about to go straight to her house when she noticed a familiar face in a dark corner of Bernice's dining room. No, it couldn't be! Must be a trick of the light, she figured. She looked again.

"Hello," she approached a mage in the corner who was paying no attention to her, absorbed in his book. "This trick won't work again, Scorpio," she sat down next to him.

"Hi, Wolf," he smiled at her. "It's been a while."

"You are back."

"I never left."

"Not true!" Lena exclaimed hotly. "You disappeared in the Rift, you wouldn't come and wouldn't let me find you!"

"You would have never left Gransys, I had to do something," he objected. "It was time for you to return to your world, your life."

"That again!" Lena looked cross. "I was happy with you."

"I am not mortal," he objected. "And that wasn't a life. Always repeating the same thing. We knew it by heart in the end."

IPB Image

"That's true," Lena nodded. "I am grateful to you, you know." She leaned to him and he pulled her close. "Look." Lena produced an amulet shaped as a hand that she was wearing on a long chain under her clothes. Scorpio took it, and the mark on the palm of his hand glowed brightly.

"The jeweller who made it told me about it," he nodded. "And about your plunge into the sea afterwards. He blamed me for your suicide, you know. The same as the rest of them."

"But you knew I would not die," Lena pressed her cheek against the top of his arm. "Otherwise you wouldn't have done it. What did you think I'd do when you disappeared?"

"Something stupid," he grinned. "Like attacking a flock of harpies or jumping off a cliff."

"But an arisen can die! Many of them have died! Why was I any different?"

"You were not of that world."

Sickly Bernice was watching them from behind her counter. She couldn't hear every word, but she heard enough. She walked over to them.

"This handsome young man has been waiting for you for weeks now," she looked at Lena with reproach, shooting an appreciative glance at Scorpio. "You should come more often, Lord Sheogorath," she smirked. "You mustn't abandon your flock."

"The Prince is back on his throne, and I distinctly remember losing that title," Lena objected. "What is going on, Bernice?"

"I'm just saying," she sat down at the table with them and poured herself a goblet of wine. "Enjoy it while you can! Wish I could..."

"Bernice!" Lena looked stern.

"All right, all right, don't bring out the torturer - he's enjoying it too much," Bernice shook her head. "You need to go see the Prince. Do the whole thing again. The Knights of Order are back."

"I've seen them," Lena nodded. "We've fought a lot of them with Dylan - poor Dylan, he took all the heat... Speaking of which - where is he?"

"Passwall," Bernice said with disgust. "The Fringe cannot decide whose side they are on. Typical."

"Strange... I haven't seen him when I was passing there today," Lena mused.

"No, he'll be down the catacombs," Bernice shook her head with sadness. "Grummites, you know. They are working with them."

"Whom?"

"The Knights of Order."

"Impossible!"

"But true!" Bernice was adamant. "There's a lot more to grummites than people think. They've got aquanostrum, for one." She drew herself up.

"No, they use the natural spring to rear their young," Lena shook her head. "But anyway. It can't be happening again, surely?"

"Oh yes, you'd better go see the Prince," Bernice got up, taking her wine with her. "Lord Sheogorath."

Scorpio was watching the exchange and smiling to himself.

"I was right to make you return. You are wanted here," he said.

"But what of you?" Lena looked into his eyes, but they were calm, devoid of emotion. "You wear that mask well, but I know better." Scorpio smiled at that, his eyes springing into life.

"It's what's expected of me in Gransys. 'Pawns have no emotions, no will of their own' - remember?" He winked at her.

"Yes, well, I think we debunked that story pretty quickly," Lena smirked. "But you didn't answer my question."

"Oh, you know how it is for us - my arisen had died, so I was dismissed into the Rift," he shrugged his shoulders. "They don't allow new arisen to pick pawns who'd already been claimed."

"Where do you come from?" Lena suddenly realised she didn't know. "I mean, the dragon comes every fifty years, creates another arisen, who then needs a fresh pawn, and this has been going on for ever and a day. There must be new pawns for this to work."

"We... well... we are not daedra," Scorpio looked at her sideways. "We are not created and we are not immortal in the same way. We are people who had been cursed." He rubbed the mark on his hand and it glowed brightly. "We all had lives before... we can have lives again... but it is rare."

"You mean you are from Gransys?" Lena looked at him round-eyed.

"Yes," Scorpio nodded. "But I lived a very long time ago. I spent an eternity in the Rift before you picked me."

"And now?"

"Now? You know the fate of a pawn whose arisen had died!" He smirked. "You are dead to Gransys."

"Well, you are here," Lena pointed out. "How did you do it?"

"The same way as those pawns did it that we met in the underworld in Gransys," he sipped his wine. "I left. It's not true that we have no will of our own. It took a while, but I found the portal you came through, and here I am."

"You've been to other worlds," Lena realised.

"Yes, this wasn't the first portal I tried," Scorpio smiled. "And I didn't know what your world looked like. I've been to Albion, too."

"No!" Lena turned bright red.

"Yes," Scorpio grinned. "Dumpling."

"Oh gods..." Lena moaned, shaking her head.

"Not to worry, I am still your friend," he grinned again. "And I hear you are married again."

Lena nodded. "This time it's for real though."

"Yeah, I heard the stories," he nodded. "But the child? They say it's not his."

"Who says that?" Lena sat up, shooting an angry glance at Bernice.

"Yeah, Bernice and the rest of them," Scorpio confirmed. "They wager it's from your other friend, the battlemage."

"Hauk... yeah... they are probably right," Lena agreed, in a much quieter tone. "I just don't know."

"They say it's a Nord's child - they can tell by the shape of the belly," Scorpio didn't seem to believe it himself.

"Nonsense," Lena shook her head. "Nonsense, and you know it."

They chatted all night, Lena had completely forgotten about sleep, and even Bernice decided to forgo the slumber in favour of eavesdropping. Finally faint sun rays started coming through the windows and Bernice put the coffee on.

"Oh thank you!" Lena accepted a cup with gratitude. "Did you enjoy our conversation?"

"I..." Bernice was taken aback, but didn't blush. "Whatever do you mean? I'm a sick woman!"

"Quite," Lena grinned, then turning to Scorpio she added: "Oh never mind them, they mean well."

...

"Was there any particular reason you came here or was it just your regular time out?" Scorpio asked Lena when they finally left Bernice's Taphouse.

"Nothing special," Lena shook her head. "I come here regularly. Of course I'll need to go see the Prince now, you heard what Bernice had said. And other things will come up as well, no doubt. Where are you staying?"

"I bought a house in Crucible," Scorpio smiled. "I'm staying. Gransys is dead to me."

"That's nice!" Lena hugged him right there in the street, and all passers by stared. Displays of emotion were for the Maniacs! "Dementia for you, then?"

"Remember Bitterblack Isle?" His smile was sad. Yes, Lena remembered. It was the place many pawns went to after their arisen had died, a place of despair. Compared to Bitterblack Isle, Dementia was overly manic.

"Plus, Bernice likes you," Lena grinned. "Handsome young man."

"She's too young for me," Scorpio retorted. "I don't date women under five hundred."

"Five hundred what?" A passing Seducer guard overheard their conversation. "Years mean nothing when you're immortal," she smiled at Scorpio.

"Oh, I didn't mean anything," he smiled back. "I'd date you any time, darling."

"Find me later," the Seducer gave him a big grin and continued her patrol.

"Well, well!" Lena chuckled. "You've been busy!"

"I like them," he grinned. "They are friendly. Not like the Saints next door."

Lena and Scorpio looked at each other, each reading the same in the other's eyes. They were glad to walk the same world again. Their romance was over, but their friendship remained. They knew each other's secrets, sins and desires, and it was fine. Their bonds were stronger than that.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Scorpio was Lena's companion in Gransys - Dragon's Dogma. He finally made it to Tamriel to be Lena's companion there, when he's not busy dating Seducers, that is. He is an elemental sorcerer and brings new spells with him which he might teach Lena some day, once her mastery of the elements is high enough.

Scorpio is one of Lena's Companions to be released at a later date.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 9 2022, 04:50 PM
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31 Morning Star, 4E203 - Lord Sheogorath

"So, who is it going to be this time? Thadon or Syl?" Prince Sheogorath was squinting at Lena when she came to see him. "Although I know the answer, of course," he smiled.

"I would rather not kill either of them," Lena suggested hesitantly. "Especially since you are going to recreate them afterwards anyway."

"What? A break with tradition?" Sheogorath cried out in indignation. "You must earn the respect of the people, and get either the Mazken or the Aureals to serve you, and you can only do that by becoming the Duchess of either half!" He looked furious. "I explained it last time already!"

"But My Prince..." Lena's voice was shaking a bit. "Must we follow the same path every time?"

"Yes, we must! Always have done!" Sheogorath was still angry. "Who are you to break with tradition, anyway?" He glared at her. "Oh, wait, yes, the one Champion who actually got things done..." He reminded himself. "Better than those clowns... or clouds... whatever." Suddenly he smiled radiantly, his anger gone without a trace. "So, how do you propose to get the Mazken to serve you then? For it will have to be the Mazken, of course, what with your special favourites and all," he winked. "Well, woman, speak up!"

"I gave them Cylarne..." Lena started cautiously.

"Cylarne - yes, and then lit the Great Torch for Mania!" Sheogorath objected. "What were you thinking?" He glared again.

"But I am of both sides, I cannot choose," Lena gathered her courage. "And it is pointless for me to replace the Duke or the Duchess because it won't last since I'm supposed to replace you in the end." She looked straight at him, noticing that his eyes were smiling.

"One of both sides, yes," he said softly. "As Lord Sheogorath must be."

"My Lord, if I may," Haskill suddenly joined the conversation. "Perhaps this Breton should do other tasks to prove her worth again."

"An excellent idea, Haskill!" Sheogorath beamed. "He does get them from time to time," he added quietly, turning to Lena. "That's why I keep him around. That, and the parties, of course." He shot a sideways glance at Haskill, who rolled his eyes. "He loves that, he does," Sheogorath smirked. "But enough of that! So what shall we have you do? If you are going to break with tradition, then do it right! Do something different! Go! Do it! Chop-chop!" He flicked his hand.

"Do what..?" Lena stared at him, perplexed.

"Prove that you are still Lord Sheogorath," he replied quietly. "What would I do in your place? Figure it out and do it. Come back when done. Then we'll see."

Prince Sheogorath sat on his throne, quietly smiling at his Champion, certain that she would rise to the challenge and step into his shoes once again, and fill them. All she needed was a gentle nudge in the right direction.

...

"The Prince wants me to do something to prove my worth as his Champion," Lena was saying to Scorpio over lunch at Bernice's. "But he didn't say what," she sighed. "Last time he had a whole series of tasks all planned out, but this time it's up to me." She poked her smoked baliwog leg with suspicion. "The Greymarch is just beginning, he's still the Prince, he's still here, but I need to prepare to replace him when the time comes. Which is when exactly? How much time do I have? It is all so confusing," she complained, lifting her eyes at Scorpio and finding him grinning. "What's so funny?" She asked defiantly.

"You are," he smiled. "You know exactly what to do, yet you convince yourself that you don't."

"What..?"

"Things have been different here lately," Bernice joined in, having listened to the conversation in her usual manner. "Some of the new residents are quite mad," she shook her head. "Why Sheogorath lets them in, is beyond me!" She rolled her eyes. "Of course he might not have. Everyone can get in now, since you killed the Gatekeeper - again!" She glared at Lena.

"But I had to..." Lena started hesitantly. "Wait... What are you saying?" She gave Bernice a long look. "Rebuild the Gatekeeper?"

"That's the obvious bit, yes, but that won't stop the Greymarch," Bernice nodded. "Gosh, woman, even I can see what needs to be done!" She threw her arms in the air in desperation, quite an unusual display of emotion for a Demented like herself.

"See, it's that obvious," a little voice in Lena's head piped up. "You must be finished well before your child is due, and even before your next visit to Mephala," the voice continued. "Do I really need to spell it out to you? You're supposed to be Me!" The voice added with anger.

"Yes, My Prince," Lena replied out loud, making Scorpio and Bernice look up. "I've got three weeks," she added, looking at Scorpio. "Everything needs to be finished in three weeks. Come on, we've got work to do." She got up decisively, beckoning Scorpio to follow. Then dashed back to the table to pick up her half-eaten smoked baliwog leg. "Finish this on the way," she nodded to Bernice, patted her belly and really marched towards the door this time.

...

When Lena and Scropio reached Passwall, they found it changed. Obelisks of Order were everywhere, not looking orderly at all, Knights of Order were rushing back and forth fighting everyone they could find, and grummites... well, grummites were no where to be seen.

"Of course not, what did you expect?" Scorpio raised an eyebrow when Lena commented on it. "They are only animals!" He shrugged. "What I would rather like to know, is whom are these Knights fighting?"

Sounds of battle were coming from just ahead, but they could not see what was happening as several obelisks were blocking their way. Then a bone arrow flew past Lena's ear nearly grazing it.

"Jayred Ice-Veins!" She exclaimed, rushing forward. "We must help him!"

Jayred had climbed onto the roof of a nearby house and was shooting arrows at the Knights of Order below, while the knights were attacking the obelisk that had risen near the entrance blocking the door...

"Not very clever, are they?" Jayred shouted, grinning. "But tough! Too bad they've got no bones under that armour... Hey, watch out! They've seen you!"

His words of warning were drowned in the clanking of metal, now that the knights saw Lena and Scorpio approach and figured that'd make for more rewarding sparring partners than the obelisk they'd been attacking. However, they were no longer at full strength under Jayred's arrows, and soon they were reduced to piles of shiny metal.

"What is going on?" Lena turned to Jayred as he climbed off the roof. "Your eyes!" They were grey and cold, just like the shiny metal around them. "What happened?"

"We've been turned, the Fringe fell to the forces of Order," Jayred shrugged his shoulders. "Except that turning my eyes grey won't make me join these tin soldiers," he prodded one with his boot. "I was lucky to be outside when they descended. Most people are trapped in their houses - look, there's an obelisk blocking every door!"

"This is actually good news," a voice said from behind. "This way they won't get killed." Dylan appeared from the rubble. "I sent word - the Mazken should be here soon."

"But not soon enough!" Scorpio exclaimed pointing at a fresh group of knights running towards them. "Here they come!"

Lena tried to circle around them looking for an obelisk that brought them forth, but couldn't see anything active - all the obelisks in the Fringe were passive, static things, no more dangerous than any rock. The active obelisk must have been hidden. She had to talk to Dylan, see what was going on, regroup, think it over... But there was no time for any of that, the knights kept coming in waves, and each of their crushing blows could easily kill her on the spot...

The battle was fierce. Jayred quickly climbed onto the roof and was raining arrows onto the knights, while Dylan and Scorpio took the heat of the melee combat, allowing Lena to do something stealthy. Except that none of her usual methods would have any effect here - you could not assassinate a knight with a stab through the heart because they had no beating hearts, they were immune to poison and impervious to most magic. In addition, Lena's growing belly made her movements slower than usual, and she didn't have armour capable of protecting it. There was only one thing for it: climb onto another roof and shoot arrows at them. She couldn't match Jayred's skill of course, but as they say, every little helped... And so she summoned a daedroth.

The daedroth roared as he cast his woad, shaking tip to toe. "Go get them, Toothy," Lena encouraged him under her breath, focussing on regaining her magicka for Toothy's replacement. As the daedroth starting thrashing through a group of knights and metal limbs started flying in all directions, Scorpio took a step back, seeing his chance to strike. Scorpio was a sorcerer, but his spells required concentration, something he couldn't muster in the heat of a melee battle, so he let his axe work instead. With the daedroth effectively taking his place, he tucked the axe into his belt, planted his staff into the grey soil before him, and started charging his spell.

...

"What was THAT?!" Dylan was looking around, prodding some of the metal bodies with his boot. Not shiny, they were corroded and charred by a massive explosion that blinded everyone for a second. An explosion that should have killed them all, knight, mortal and daedra, but that somehow only struck the knights... Toothy the daedroth took a few more swipes at the collapsed knights, crushing some of the pieces into dust. Then he too stood still until Lena dispelled him.

"That was one of the bigger ones, wasn't it," Lena rushed to Scorpio who was sitting on the ground holding onto his staff. "Here, drink this," she handed him a bottle of mead. "Sorry, I haven't got the proper potions," she added apologetically. Scorpio accepted the bottle with a nod, still too weak to speak. "The stronger the spell that he casts, the more energy it costs him to cast it," Lena explained it to Dylan and Jayred. "It's not just magicka that he uses, but also his physical strength, so right now he is exhausted," she added, handing Scorpio another bottle and a loaf of bread.

"Mead will set him right," Jayred nodded his approval.

"We need to find the obelisk though," Lena looked at her companions with worry. "Otherwise the knights will just keep coming. Yet I haven't seen anything active around here - these are all just rocks!"

"It's inside Xeddefen," Dylan jerked his head in the direction of the ruin. "I've been patrolling it these past few weeks, saw several obelisks growing there, and there was that sound... like what you hear around the active ones. Didn't see where it was coming from though, it could be underground."

"We'll have to go there to deactivate it," Lena's face was set in resolve.

"Delve into a crumbling ruin, avoid the grummites, try not to get impaled onto a rising obelisk, find the source of the strange noise, fight waves upon waves of Knights of Order, then somehow manage to overload an active obelisk while avoiding death by electrocution courtesy the local Priest of Order... Why, that's a job for Sheogorath's Champion," a hoarse mocking voice sounded behind them. "You do that. We'll just stay here and await your return."

"There is no need to be so haughty, Grakendo Udico," Dylan turned to a group of Mazken standing behind them. "This is exactly what Wolf will do."

"In her condition?" Grakendo measured up Lena's belly with a glance. "Mortals have a tendency for disfiguring afflictions."

"You see, not all of them are actually friendly," Lena said to Scorpio, rolling her eyes. Then, turning to Grakendo Udico, she added: "Yes, this is what I'll do. Again. I distinctly remember you being rather more polite last time."

"Last time you were our Duchess," Grakendo pointed out. "This time we are only here because one of ours sent word," she squinted at Dylan. "Even though he isn't a warrior and is officially expelled from the Order. Why My Lord even lets him walk this Realm--"

"Enough!" Lena decided to take control. "We can discuss it later. The Realm is under attack! Is it not your duty to Your Lord to protect it?" She glared at Grakendo. "So do it! While I and... err--" she shot quick glances at her companions, "While we go and deactivate the obelisk somewhere inside Xeddefen," she finished firmly.

"Well, if you put it this way..." Grakendo started another sentence, but a fresh wave of Knights of Order appeared from the dust cloud ahead. "Prepare for battle!" She shouted, addressing her troops and dismissing Dylan all in one glance. Jayred leaped to the rooftop, Scorpio shook off his tiredness rising to his feet, and Dylan took the lead putting himself between a charging knight and Lena's belly.

Dylan, Lena and Scorpio flanked the raging battle and ran towards Xeddefen.


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

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Renee
post Aug 15 2022, 12:50 AM
Post #415


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They are in Fort Dunstad, which is a fun place to visit. Oh wow. They are in Dawnstar Sanctuary.

In Silverdrift Lair Lucien calls her "Dragonborn". Did she do all the Main Quest in Skyrim, or she just has DB powers like shouting?

Yeah that is true--when bandits in V say "That's close enough!" what better invitation is there to ignore them? laugh.gif

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 15 2022, 10:04 AM
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QUOTE(Renee @ Aug 15 2022, 12:50 AM) *

In Silverdrift Lair Lucien calls her "Dragonborn". Did she do all the Main Quest in Skyrim, or she just has DB powers like shouting?

Never did the entire main quest - got bored. In this playthrough she went up to High Hrothgar where she was told to go fetch a horn, so then she went to fetch a horn but found Delphine's note instead. If only the Dragonborn could get in there, it makes Delphine Dragonborn, right? mad.gif Makes no sense. So she went to see Delphine who promised to explain everything as soon as Lena proves she's Dragonborn. "I have nothing to prove to you," says Lena and leaves. Delphine is a Blade through and through, it's amazing that no one can see it. Hauk had figured it out as well - "Never seen a maid command the ale to stop fermenting," he noted. And Lena had had enough of Blade business back during the Oblivion Crisis, and didn't want to see another Blade ever again. So she never went back to Delphine, which of course means this is the end of the main quest for this playthrough.

QUOTE
Up to page 7 / post 132

Wow! You're catching up! ohmy.gif goodjob.gif


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

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 15 2022, 04:37 PM
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1 Sun's Dawn, 4E203 - Xeddefen

"Finally! I've been waiting. What took you so long?" Shelden stepped from behind a false wall in a dark corridor inside Xeddefen after Lena, Dylan and Scorpio put down the last of the Knight of Order in the room.

"Excuse me?" Scorpio turned around, his axe at the ready. "And who might you be?"

Shelden was visibly taken aback by such blatant ignorance, so his reply was uncharacteristically muted.

"I am Shelden, the Mayor of Passwall of course," he mumbled, eyeing the axe. "You must be  new here!" He concluded, brightening up. "And obviously you need my help!" He added excitedly. "Of course you need my help!" He drew himself up and put on his usual aura of superiority. "Well, I am glad to provide it. I shall escort you out of this place. Follow me!" He turned towards the dark corridor littered with piles of metal that just before was the Knights of Order. The sight of so many fallen knights seemed to have shaken him, because he turned around again to look at Lena and Dylan. It seemed he only just noticed them.

"It's all right, Scorpio," Lena decided to diffuse the situation. "Shelden is one of the residents." Shelden perked up at that and was about to object to the "one of the residents" designation, but Lena didn't give him a chance. "Shelden, you can follow us. Stay behind us and try not to get killed - these knights mean business. We need to find the main obelisk before we can leave though. Or you can stay here and wait until it's all over - it might be safer that way."

"Stay behind and wait for the whole thing to collapse around me?" Shelden shook his head vigorously. "No, thanks," he added firmly. "Have you seen the state of the masonry? Why do you think this is a ruin in the first place?" He glared at Lena. "It is only kept together by grummite egg mounds, but since the grummites are no where to be seen, I'm not staying either!" A column suddenly collapsed next to them, illustrating Shelden's point.

"Suit yourself," Lena shrugged. "I'm not pulling you out like last time."

"Last time--" Shelden started protesting, but the others were already too far down the corridor to hear. "Hey, wait for me!"

...

Xeddefen was exactly as the Mazken commander predicted it to be, minus the grummites. Obelisks were suddenly rising under their feet, Knights of Order were everywhere and the buzz of lightening was heard in every corridor, yet the main obelisk must have been deeper in still. Fighting through endless waves of Knights of Order while trying to avoid getting crushed by falling rubble and collapsing masonry was both tiresome and disheartening. But the buzz of lightening seemed to be getting stronger, which meant that they were moving in the right direction - towards the main obelisk.

"It cannot be much further, the noise is almost deafening here," Dylan noted when they finally sat down for a rest. "We should take a break and prepare for battle," he added, handing out cheese, bread and ale to his companions.

"Prepare for battle?" Shelden looked at him as if Dylan had just said something crazy. "Battle? And what have we been doing so far then?"

"Getting to the main battlefield," Dylan grinned, speaking over Shelden's continued objections. "Look, Mayor, we can debate afterwards. You know what's coming - you've done this before!" Dylan's deep hoarse voice covered Shelden's, and Shelden had to give in, rolling his eyes in defiance. After all, Dylan was a daedra.

...

A huge obelisk shut down with a screech, and the lightening powering it gave out the last spark. The floor was covered in scratched and battered metal limbs and weapons, no longer as shiny as they had started out. Four people were wading through it knee high.

"Come on, we've got to get out of here," Dylan helped Lena climb onto higher ground. "With the obelisk shut down, the walls will start collapsing around it - they were only held in place by the same current that kept the obelisk open." He pointed at a column that was about to explode, with cracks visibly running through it. "Try not to get squashed!" He shouted, pulling Shelden from under the falling stone just before he could be flattened. "Mayor."

They ran for their lives. Caved in corridors had plenty of evidence of similar collapses in the past, as this was not the first Greymarch in the history of the Shivering Isles. Shelden seemed to be either out of breath or out of common sense because he kept falling behind, and Dylan and Scorpio kept urging him on, with variable success.

"What are you doing?" Scorpio shouted. "You will perish here if you stay behind!"

"I will find a way out!" Shelden shouted back. "I am the Mayor! I know this place! I don't have to follow anybody!"

Lena only shook her head. She found it hard to navigate the debris, to dodge falling stones, to duck under wrought masonry, all while holding tight her belly and trying to protect it from any accidental bumps. "Next stop - Cutter's Weapons," she promised herself. "The elf must be able to make me some armour. Surely, I am not the first heavily pregnant woman in an epic fight, am I?" She smirked to herself, wondering just how many heavily pregnant heroins came before her. All sensible women were spending the final three months of their pregnancies in the comfort of their homes making baby clothes. But then again, Prince Sheogorath would not have picked a sensible woman for his Champion.

"Ah! You are the worst escort ever!" Shelden's angry voice brought Lena back out of her considerations on pregnant heroins. Shelden's constant falling behind finally got him cut off - a falling grate blocked his way. Now he would really need to find his own way out.

...

The Fringe lay in ruins with metal limbs and Mazken bodies covering much of the ground. The fighting must have been ferocious on the surface as well. Lena, Dylan and Scorpio climbed out of a hole in the ground and walked towards Passwall. All was quiet, no more waves of Knights of Order were emerging from Xeddefen. Yet sharp screeches were heard every now and again - some of the obelisks were retreating into the ground, until the next Greymarch.

"Well, Passwall survived it again, thanks to my efforts and leadership!" Shelden had found a way out too.

...

"What do you suppose we should do next?" Lena moved her eyes from Dylan to Scorpio watching them consume one grilled grummite egg after another. The obelisk blocking the door to the Wastrel's Purse had retreated and Drewen was serving all those things she prepared while being locked inside - the noise kept waking her up and she found cooking to be a welcome distraction.

"Gosh, that elf can cook when she wants to!" Dylan commented, shooting her an appreciative glance. "Do what, sorry?" He realised suddenly that Lena had asked something.

"This wasn't very different from last time," Lena mused. "Sheogorath wants me to do something different to prove my worth again," she explained, noticing Dylan's confusion. "So I figure retaking the Fringe wasn't it. There's got to be something else."

"Bernice hinted at rebuilding the Gatekeeper," put in Scorpio.

"But that's exactly what I did last time after retaking the Fringe..." Lena sounded unsure.

"That doesn't mean it shouldn't be done this time again!" Dylan objected. "Without the Gatekeeper, there's too much riff-raff getting in."

He had a point, that chore needed doing. So Lena decided to stop worrying whether or not it was different enough and just take care of it next, especially since Xaselm was literally around the corner.

"I'm not sure Relmyna will be thrilled to see me again," Lena sighed, "but what needs to be done, needs to be done. We'll go tomorrow," she added decisively. After all, they earned some rest first.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 19 2022, 11:38 AM
Post #418


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2-4 Sun's Dawn, 4E203 - Relmyna

"Well, look who's here again!" Relmyna squinted as Lena entered the room. "Former Lord Sheogorath. What do you want?" She glared and bared her teeth.

"Relmyna, we have a job to do, the same as last time," Lena was hoping for a civil conversation. "We need to rebuild the Gatekeeper."

"We?" Relmyna glared. "You killed my baby, you killed both of them!" She exclaimed with grief and anger. "So you can rebuild him! Or use that thing inside your belly to take his place!"

Ouch. Before Lena could register what she was doing, she flew at Relmyna, knocked her on the ground and had her dagger at Relmyna's neck. Stop! Stop. As much as she hated the woman, she needed her to rebuild the Gatekeeper, and Relmyna knew it and grinned.

"Well, Assassin, why did you stop?" Relmyna said mockingly.

Lena got off her and put her dagger away. She was burning with rage and restraint - she was trying to restrain her rage resulting in a huge internal battle. This job was going to be tough.

"Let me handle it," she heard Scorpio's voice in her ear. "Take Dylan and leave the room."

Lena obeyed.

...

The doors of Xaselm were made of thick iron and bronze, but even so flashes of light and high pitched noises were coming through. After some time, Scorpio returned, scorch marks and fresh scars covering his arms.

"We need to go to the Gardens of Flesh and Bone to collect a few things," he said calmly. "But I suppose you already knew that. It's the same as last time."

"Relmyna?" Lena ran her eyes along Scorpio's new marks.

"Alive and well," he smiled. "We need her. Oh, and this... I'll tell you later."

As they were making their way out of Xaselm, they bumped into Nanette Don walking down the corridor, lost in thought.

"Oh, hello!" She greeted them joyfully. "Back again?" Her smile was somehow strained. "Relmyna is further in."

"We already spoke to her," Lena replied, scrutinising Nanette's face. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing! Nothing at all!" Nanette protested. "Why do you ask?" Then, casting a quick glance at Scorpio's scars, she asked with worry: "Relmyna..?"

"Alive and well," Scorpio repeated. "All you have to do, Nanette, is show her that you've mastered her methods."

"I would not dare!"

"You must."

"I can't!"

"Then why are you here?"

This was a fair question. Nanette gave Scorpio a sharp look, then turned and continued her way into the depths of Xaselm.

...

The Garden of Flesh and Bone was in Passwall, so they retraced their steps. The sun was already setting - this was enough excitement for one day. They hoped that Drewen had cooked something again.

"What did you do?" Lena asked Scorpio at dinner, but he wouldn't tell her, saying that he'd rather enjoy his meal.

3 Sun's Dawn

The Garden of Flesh and Bone was a dungeon like any other, with the usual dangers strewn inside. They had to collect four items, and it took them through every corridor and tunnel, sometimes repeatedly.

"This Garden is different somehow from what I remembered," Lena was saying when they sat down for a rest. "More Flesh Atronachs, may be."

Neither Dylan nor Scorpio had been there before, so they couldn't answer, but somehow each of them doubted that the Garden had changed.

"May be it is you who had changed rather than the Garden," Dylan suggested. "You know that Flesh Atronachs make no difference. So what's troubling you?"

"Nothing," Lena suddenly got defensive, surprising even herself. "May be it will become clearer later. Better tells us what you did to Relmyna," she turned to Scorpio.

"I treated her the way she treats others," Scorpio shrugged his shoulders. Horrified looks on Lena's and Dylan's faces made him laugh. "What did you think I'd do?"

"But you are still alive and largely in one piece," Dylan put in.

"As are most of Relmyna's subjects," Scorpio nodded. "You know what her interests are, don't you? She studies flesh. She thinks it's the fifths element."

"So Flesh Atronachs..." something dawned on Lena. "They are her invention, aren't they?"

Scorpio nodded. "She doesn't kill people to resurrect them afterwards like Necromancers do. She transforms them while they are still alive. Using surgery."

That sounded painful and revolting, and Lena pushed away the bowl of stew that was before her.

"I've had enough to eat," she grimaced. "So, did you cut her up?"

"No, I joined her in the study of pain - another of her interests, and of course related to the flesh," said Scorpio, continuing with his own stew. "Look, if you can't stomach it, don't ask. As you say, I am still largely in one piece, as is Relmyna. Her purpose is not to kill but to torture, and I gave her a taste of that. I don't think anyone else did. Of course she responded in kind, she is an exceptionally powerful sorceress - much exceeding my abilities. I am surprised that she allowed me to do what I did at all. She must be a masochist in part as well as a sadist. So there. Now you know. Finish your stew."

This lecture was delivered in a matter-of-fact tone that made Lena shiver. Yes, Scorpio had many facets to him, and his immortality meant that suffering could continue forever. Suddenly Lena realised why so many dejected pawns made their way to the Bitterblack Isle - a place of pain as well as despair. Pain had become their normality, and they stopped seeking diversion from it, instead they embraced it.

"I am glad you came here instead," Lena said softly. "Bitterblack Isle was terrible. Dementia is nothing like that."

"Even if it has one or the other sado-masochist in it," Scorpio smiled. "Yes."

4 Sun's Dawn

The following day saw them collect the remaining items from the Garden of Flesh and Bone and head to Xaselm. "Best get it over with straight away," said Lena, finding it sickening to look at the bits of flesh and sacks of blood in her pack. Relmyna was going to use that to create a new Gatekeeper. No, they didn't actually come from her womb, although Lena suspected that the seeds for the Garden of Flesh and Bone did. "Sickening," she said under her breath, supporting her own pregnant belly.

Entering Xaselm through the back door, they found themselves right in Relmyna's laboratory.

"Oh hello!" She greeted them with an unexpected cheer, not taking her eyes off Scorpio. "Back for more?"

"No, we are back to make a new Gatekeeper," Lena replied, stepping forward. "You leave Scorpio alone!"

"Or what, little girl?" Relmyna sneered. "I could kill you on the spot. Or remove that bulge on your front."

"Now, now, ladies, stop it!" Both Dylan and Scorpio lunged forward seeing the flash of Lena's dagger and the sparkling of Relmyna's lightening. With hostilities averted, they really had to focus on the job at hand.

"Normally it's Sheogorath who chooses what goes into the new Gatekeeper," Relmyna pointed out. "But I haven't seen him in a while... Not since... oh..." she seemed to be lost in thought, which must have been pleasant, as she started smiling. Then, returning from her reverie, she added with a scorn: "But since he is not here, you will have to do."

"Why can't you choose the parts yourself?" Lena asked, suddenly realising that she never gave much thought to the ritual of creating a Gatekeeper.

"A child must have two parents," Relmyna rolled her eyes. "Even one born from magic," she added. "Didn't you realise that you had killed your own child with the last Gatekeeper? You created it with me, you were its parent!" She watched as Lena stood dumbfounded and terrified by this revelation. Relmyna's study of pain wasn't limited to its physical manifestations, and she knew very well that mental pain was far superior.

Lena pushed away the pain and the guilt. She couldn't have been an actual parent to that monster, could she? It was just Relmyna's trick, that's all. And the new Gatekeeper had to be created, regardless. She shot a glance at Scorpio noticing him watching her face. "I can do this," she told herself. And then she recalled Sheogorath's words: "Figure out what I would have done and do it." He would have fathered a monster with Relmyna, and make that monster - his child - to be fated to die in the hands of his future champion, a champion who would then have to father another monster fated for the same thing... And if that champion died prematurely, it would have to be Sheogorath fathering monsters over and over again. And now it was Lena's turn.

"Let's do it," she turned to Relmyna. "I am Lord Sheogorath."


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

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Lena Wolf
post Sep 12 2022, 12:54 AM
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6-7 Sun's Dawn, 4E203 - Another emergency

"So, you figured it out," Sheogorath smiled at Lena when she stood before him in Crucible, having defended the Fringe from the forces of Order and rebuilt the Gatekeeper with Relmyna. "Well done. Yes, of course it's like last time - how did you think I knew what you were supposed to do?" He winked. "It's the same thing over and over again, every time. With some variations... like now." He nodded at a Mazken and an Aureal approaching the throne. "What is it?" He turned to them. "Not both of you this time?"

"My Lord, the forces of Order have broken into our Sanctuary and cut off the Wellspring!" The two missionaries exclaimed in chorus. "We are doomed!" They looked definitely panicked.

"See, this is what happens if you don't take sides," Sheogorath turned to Lena. "Had you replaced the Duke or the Duchess, only one side of Madness would have been affected, but now both of them are in trouble! It's all your fault!" He looked furious.

"No, it isn't!" Lena retorted, not fooled by Sheogorath's fury. "It's the forces of Order doing it! Not me! Definitely not me! I'll have nothing to do with Order!" She exclaimed hotly, surprising even herself.

"Well, you aren't exactly orderly, I'll give you that," Sheogorath chuckled. "So, what are you going to do about it?"

"What is there to do?" Lena smiled at him. "Go and free their Wellsprings, of course. Starting with..."

"Mazken!"

"Aureals!"

The two missionaries exclaimed simultaneously.

"Mazken," said Lena. "But you knew that already." She looked at the uncharacteristically joyful faces of the Mazken guards in the throne room and equally uncharacteristically dejected faces of the Aureals. "Oh, don't worry, I won't desert you. I'm only letting you wait because you're tougher," she winked at the nearest Mazken, and the Mazken nodded.

Out in the yard, Lena turned to Dylan and Scorpio.

"Dylan, you'll need to sit this one out. You are not coming with us," she said quite decisively.

"Why..? What..?" Dylan was taken aback.

"While the Wellspring is blocked, any Mazken killed remains killed, right?" Lena glared at him. "And you are asking why?"

This wasn't quite like that, to be fair, but yes, with the Wellspring blocked, there was a risk for the fallen Mazken to actually be permanently destroyed. And Lena was not prepared to take that risk with Dylan.

"Run ahead and tell the Mazken to prepare," she turned to the messenger. "I'll join you shortly - I know the way."

There was something she needed to do before yet another battle.

...

"You want what?" Cutter's eyes grew so big, Lena thought they were in danger of popping out of the sockets. "There is no armour for pregnant women!" She exclaimed with desperation. "Pregnant women don't fight!"

"Well, but look here, Cutter," Lena tried to reason with her. "I'm sure you've heard what's going on, you read the papers, don't you? Or at least frequent Bernice? Then you know we're in for a series of epic battles, and I happen to be the Champion. Please? I need something to protect my child!"

She stood there, in Cutter's smithy, hugging her belly for the full effect.

"Well, I suppose I could come up with something..." Cutter softened, measuring up Lena's shape. "How soon do you need it?" Then looking up at Lena, she read the answer on her face. "Yesterday, right? Literally. Ok. You'll have it by the morning," she said dismissively. The Mazken would just have to hold out until then.

7 Sun's Dawn

As usual, Cutter surpassed herself and produced a "pregnant woman's" Madness cuirass, much to Lena's delight and gratitude. With that, she and Scorpio set off for the Pinnacle Rock - the Mazken Sanctuary.

"It's a disaster!" The Mazken Captain met them at the door. "They've captured the Commander and are about to block the Wellspring! Then we'll be all petrified! Forever! Death! Death!!! Noooooo!"

Leaving panicking Captain behind, Lena gestured Scorpio to follow her inside.

"I've been here before - Dylan took me to the Wellspring a few times. It's easy enough. We go in, find that Commander, then go further in, and there in the depths there's the Wellspring, blocked by some Order crystals, no doubt. Lots of fighting before us, so get ready."

"What's that about being petrified though?" Scorpio squinted at her.

"Pay no mind to that," Lena shrugged. "They think that if the Wellspring gets blocked, all Mazken will immediately be petrified - turned to stone. Nonsense. The only Mazken that get petrified, are the ones standing right by the Wellspring, everyone else continues like before. There is a risk of being permanently killed if they fall in battle though. The risk we mortals face every day," she added with a shrug.

"Right," Scorpio nodded. "Good thing I'm not mortal."

The first wave of Knights of Order was upon them.

...

Going through the corridors of Pinnacle Rock was as straightforward as Lena had said, but even so, the Knights of Order made it anything but easy. The battles were intense, the Knights were tough, and Lena and Scorpio were getting tired.

"Where is this Commander?" Scorpio was peering into a dark corridor, something was flickering in its depths. "If she is not completely overjoyed to see us..."

Another wave of Knights interrupted him. It is said that every disaster has a silver lining, and in this case it was shimmering ever brighter right ahead of them. A wall of Order Crystals stood in the middle of a hall, with sparkles of lightening jumping from crystal to crystal. The crystals formed a cage, and a Mazken warrior was inside.

"There she is," Lena smiled at her. "Wait, there's a trick to these crystals..."

She walked around the room searching for something, while Scorpio held his axe at the ready - he expected another wave of Knights of Order to jump out of the crystals any minute. But that didn't happen. Instead, Lena found the "trick" and the crystals just crumbled.

"Impressive, mortal," the Commander stepped over the shiny rocks. "How did you know what to do?"

"Oh, it's... well..." Lena hesitated. "I've done something similar last time, it's the same as..." Last time Lena was helping the Aureals with exactly the same predicament.

"WHAT?!" The Commander flew into a rage. "Don't you dare say that! It's nothing like... Arrrghh!!"

Scorpio froze on the spot, not understanding what just happened. The Commander was glaring at Lena and Lena looked guilty, shuffling her feet and blushing a little.

"Well, would you like me to put it back up?" She finally said, sighing and looking at the Commander. "And then try to find a definitively different way to crumble that wall?"

"Well..." The Commander was cooling off. "That wouldn't be very productive, would it? Only a mortal could come up with such a stupid idea, really..."

"Err..." Lena decided to move things along. "Shouldn't we hurry to the Wellspring?"

"Yes, of course!" The Commander exclaimed automatically, her sense of duty pushing everything else out of her mind for a moment. "It's that way..." She turned to show the direction, but Lena had already grabbed Scorpio's arm and was running down the corridor. "Hey, how do you know where it is?" The Commander cried out, running after them.

"Been there before!" Lena shouted back. "Got the cure..!"

Another wave of Knights of Order put an end to that discussion.

When the dust settled, the Commander was looking pleased with herself and evidently decided to forgive Lena her earlier transgression.

"Why did she get so angry before?" Scorpio whispered in Lena's ear.

"Last time I did the same thing for the Aureals," Lena explained, also in whisper. "Their Sanctuary has exactly the same layout as this one, their Commander was captured in a cage of crystals exactly like the one here, and their Wellspring..." She looked around to make sure that the Mazken Commander was still out of earshot. "Their Wellspring is housed in exactly the same way as the one here. It's Sheogorath's duality, of course they are one and the same, or rather two sides of the same coin. But they won't hear about it! Not even a suggestion of a possible similarity between the Mazken and the Aureals can be tolerated..." At that point the Commander turned towards them, and Lena loudly concluded: "Shall we go then? We're done here, right?"

...

The next section of the fort held the Wellspring.

"It's right through there..." The Commander started pointing down the corridor, when suddenly she froze... No, she was petrified.

"It's blocked already," Lena gently touched the Commander's arm, feeling only stone under her fingertips. "The forces of Order have blocked the Wellspring," Lena turned to Scorpio. "This is what the Captain outside was so afraid of. Well, it's up to you and me to deal with those Knights and Priests now."

She cast on a shield, drew her sword and summoned a daedroth. Scorpio took a few steps forward, peering into the darkness where shiny shapes started appearing. Then quickly he stepped back, hiding behind the daedroth.

"Buy me a minute, will you," he shot a glance at Lena and she nodded, hunching forward her shoulders and gathering fire in her left hand. The daedroth shook casting on his shield, then lunged forward. The battle was on.

The Knights of Order were making a lot of noise when their metal limbs hit the stone floor and walls of the fort around them. They were also making a lot of noise while running, dodging and attacking - sometimes hitting other Knights instead of Lena and the daedroth. It was a complete chaos, with sparks and bursts of light flying everywhere, but Lena's objective was not to advance but to hold the line, protecting Scorpio behind her. He didn't need much time, it would only take a minute...

"Falling anvils, really?" Lena laughed, realising just what those falling rocks were reminding her of. The Knights got an anvil each, hitting them with a great force and knocking them on the ground. The daedroth gleefully stomped on the ones that weren't quite dead.

"A trick I picked up in Antaloor," Scorpio grinned, sipping a restorative potion. "Just as effective as rocks but so much more fun." He corked the bottle, looking serious now. "Quick - get that Priest while he's down, more Knights will be here in no time. I'll start on another spell..."

"Falling Sigil Stones this time?" Lena's eye twinkled.

"You'll see..." The sorcerer was entering his trance.


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"Innocence, my brother."

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macole
post Sep 12 2022, 03:51 PM
Post #420


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Great job! Falling anvils, sounds like a Midas Magic spell. Iwould have liked to have seen that one.

This post has been edited by macole: Sep 12 2022, 03:52 PM


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