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> Kidnapped! (Playground), RP Playground
Uleni Athram
post Nov 14 2014, 02:39 PM
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Evil never dies. It simply evolves into another form of monstrosity. It's like a never ending tapeworm with one million faces that could transform into another million shapes, a repugnant and persistent predator that never stopped finding cracks to manifest itself. He always questioned himself how it could be done. How evil could finally be vanquished. The sheen of the wine glass, its shape made beautiful by the whispers of candlelight, gave him no answers for that, only a burning and shadowed reflection. He dug his eyes there, drinking deeply for visions as much as he did for relief an hour ago.

He let his eyes droop, and his calloused fingers massaged his wrinkling temple.

Times like these make him question whether he had the energy to lead. He was weary to the bone, and his world had no color anymore, only a distressing sepia of what ifs, could'ves and should'ves. When you run a marathon, and you see yourself run, run, run, there comes a time when you make a certain amount of distance.... when you make it further than you realized, you ask yourself if you could get a little bit of a breather. A little bit of a break.

He deserved it, didn't he? He survived the Crisis, didn't he? He fought against the baying hordes of Dagon and came out the triumphant one, didn't he?

The last thought broke all of his inhibitions and he roared a primal roar that bespoke of unending grief, inescapable confusion and unquenchable rage. With pitiable desperation he reached for the whole bottle instead of the glass, and gulped it all down, savoring the burning trail it made on his throat and chest.

He just turned 20 this morning and he already knew why men twice his age drank.

Damn the Crisis, damn the Daedra, damn the Dawn! Damn them all to a black, ancient void bereft of anything resembling hope! Damn them all!

With a surge of inner hatred and borrowed determination from the bottle, Aenius Gratian rose from his chair and stormed out of his tent-office hybrid, a gleam in his young but hardened eyes.
**

The Rebuilding of Kvatch, as was usual with anything associated with Imperial bureaucracy (particularly after a massive Crisis that left the Empire a bloody mess), was slow as a testudo formation on thin ice. The veterans, foremost among them the indomitable Savlian Matius, was busy in the Imperial City petitioning the Elder Council for real assistance, not promises that gets crucified the moment it leaves lips. The ones that were left for Kvatch's protection was mish-mash of hardened guardsmen and green horn recruits.

And they simply weren't enough to go around.

Thirty eight guardsmen tasked in the protection of several hundreds. It was head-bursting as much as it was laughable. It was fortunate that all of them were linked in this tragedy's aftermath and went beyond themselves to help each other; if it weren't, the guardsmen would simply be crushed under the pressure of protecting people several times their number. To help the beleaguered Watch, the civilians established an enclave of sorts, basing their headquarters in the collection of tents on the foot of Kvatch's hill. From his vantage point on the surrounding hills, the sun behind him, Acilius could see that there were several proper buildings erected there now, too. Probably halls of some kind where everyone would meet and gather around in.

Acilius memorized every detail and made notes.

He then joined the mass of humanity gathered there, on the lookout for the young Captain that was hiring mercenaries.

*********************************

OOC: Its been a while since I RP'ed, or wrote for that matter, and it shows. UGH! But anyway, let's do this!


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Acadian
post Nov 14 2014, 09:17 PM
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* Buffy *

The facility wasn’t fancy – in fact the horses were tethered outdoors under limited canopy provided by several trees. The dry feed, tack and other supplies were stored in tents. The trough was full of crystal clean water and the horses stabled here seemed in good condition and comfortable enough. The young hostler that helped Buffy to strip the tack from Superian and groom the mare had a good hand and heart with horses.

“I’m not sure how long we’ll be in Kvatch and,” Buffy paused awkwardly as she produced a very light coin purse, “well, I’m afraid this is all I have for payment at the moment.” She dumped the contents of the pouch into the man's hands and quickly added, “Ship passage from Solitude used most of my assets, but the guards in Anvil said there might be work here for a scout or bounty hunter.”

The Imperial pocketed the coins and said reassuringly, “This’ll take good care of your mare for several days. Scout or bounty hunter work, eh? I didn’t see any weapons in yer gear. . . you some kinda mage?”

“Some kinda, yes,” Buffy replied with a crooked smile.

After looking the elf up and down a bit dubiously, the stable hand offered, “The guard captain here, Aenius Gratian, is hiring mercenaries I hear. Dunno what for though.”

“Thanks,” Buffy replied earnestly. She turned on her heel, blew a kiss over one shoulder to her mare and headed out into the sea of tents that was punctuated by small columns of smoke from numerous cooking fires. She was saddened, but not overly surprised, how slowly progress toward rebuilding Kvatch seemed to be going.

Buffy hadn’t gone too far when a tattered banner marking the local guild of mages came into view. She whispered, “Acadian, I’ll keep an eye out for this. . . Aenius Gratian but, since I’m broke, we’ll probably stay in the guild tonight. I hope Sigrid Firewalker’s still the guildmagister here. Perhaps she can craft some new potions and poisons for me if I offer to provide a bit of conjuration training to her apprentices.”


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Uleni Athram
post Nov 16 2014, 05:58 PM
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***************
Aenius' first stop was the Mages Guild. A handful of their members, including a couple of veterans, managed to survive the initial onslaught and establish a restoring presence in the former refugee camp. With the former settlement now a small city in its own right, they were now busier than ever, they, like the guardsmen, have had their hands full with providing magical services and lending their mighty aid in the rebuilding of the city. Admittedly, they faced a certain kind of tribulation that Aenius and his fellows didn't.

Mistrust and a gnawing fear.

This sprung from the fact that this whole Crisis was started by a cult that used magic; a demonic kind of magic, set apart from the higher mysteries the Mages Guild practiced, but magic nonetheless. It was a slow burning venom that needed only the smallest of entry, and right now Aenius could see that while they were still co-operating, there was an obvious rift between the civilian populations and the magicians.It was a sad affair, really, but Aenius was confident that the mages could outdo the misgivings laid upon them with rigorous efforts to aid and prove that they were different from the Dawn; Aenius himself was no stranger to situations like these, where every eyes were set against him. But enough rumination, he thought, as he neared the temporary Guild Hall. It was wooden, three story affair with tattered, blue banners proclaiming it to be the residence of the wizards.

He could see that there was an Imperial apprentice handing out potions to passersby in a rickety kiosk marked with a poorly worded board that boasted "'Un Poshunz Fer 'Un Persan"; by the building's side was a heavily armored Khajiit teaching practical uses for basic spells to a crowd of people listening intently. Standing on a second floor veranda was an Argonian washing massive amounts of dirty blankets with a water spell before drying them off with a radiance of warm fire.

And although the Levitation spell was technically outlawed, he could see a jovial Bosmer running fast in mid-air, descending from place to place as he transported various items that would've took a certain amount of time delivering were he to use the ground as most mortal couriers did. They were a sight to behold, these mages. And a damn helpful one, too. He then sensed a presence walking towards him, and when he turned his head he beheld the approach of his gigantic second in command. He stood a good two feet taller than the rest of the crowd, but what can you expect from a seven foot tall, son of Skyrim? Aenius Gratian was bred to be a leader ever since he joined the Legion, but Gunnar Bjorksson commanded a different kind of authority. From his massive and muscular body decked in heavy Kvatch armor, to his great helm and greater battle-axe, this Nord that held off three Dremora single-handed easily smashed through the crowd to stand by the much smaller Imperial.

"No takers," Gunnar rumbled by greeting, "some of the mercs that did come said pay was low, risk too high. The more vocal ones got my boot. Ain't no one from the locals; understandable, building Kvatch after all."

Gunnar was what the old timers in the barracks called a "Second-Chancer," and it showed. He had the posture of a syndicate enforcer, not the straight and disciplined form of a Guardsman, and he regarded all those who looked on him with a nasty glare that dared. But while retaining his old habits from his years in the Orum Gang, Aenius was glad Gunnar was beside him. He might be intimidating, but at least he was genuine in his loyalty to Kvatch.

"Not surprised," the Imperial replied, after a moment of thinking. "But in any case, keep handing out the posters to anyone who looks promising. Tell Windios and Varena to gear up, too; who knows, maybe we can hook two or three sellswords today and start now."

Gunnar nodded his helmeted head.

"Understood. What about you. though?"

Aenius, keeping his attention to his second in command, said, "I'm going to see if the Mages Guild could spare any potions. We might also need a battlemage; the reports say the Dawn are hiding out in Brittlero- OOF!"

In his inattention to what's in front of him, Aenius never saw the blonde elf that stood in his path. He crashed into her with a resounding clang of metal against body, and the Imperial cried out in alarm and surprise. It took him a moment to get his bearings, since his surprise and reaction rattled him out more than the impact, but realizing that the entity he offended was much more smaller in size than he was, he immediately went to her aid.

"I'm so sorry, citizen, but I didn't see you were there. Are you hurt?"

From his back, he could hear the retreating footsteps of Gunnar and his mocking but good-natured chuckles amidst the general cacophony of the settlement.

He regarded the person in front of him with an apologetic expression. She was blonde, yes, but now he could pinpoint a race and nothing could refute the fact that the woman before him was a Valenwood elf. Had tanned skin, too.
*******************

Acilius was now wearing a rice hat that concealed his face, and he was among the gathering of people that listened intently to the heavily armored Khajiit rambling on about the more diverse uses that one can do with basic spells. The Blades taught him that art of social stealth, and they taught him well. It was easy to blend in, and easier still to stalk the Guard Captain. It was child's play to spot him, as this Aenius Gratian walked with steely purpose, and besides, who else would wear a white cloak over a guard uniform? He saw the other guardsmen and they did not wore such a grandiose thing. This Aenius also had an ebony sword with a golden lion-pommel. Acilius was pretty sure that was not standard issue.

He watched the Imperial now as he conversed with a humongous person, this one also in guard armor, and then coughed to hide his laugh as the Captain crashed into a Bosmer. He strained his ears on their conversation, hopeful that maybe he could gleam something from it. He thought about directly talking to the man himself, but like the Blades taught him, trust no one and question everything. Particularly in this day and age where enemies wear the faces of friends. So he stalked him, and watched him.


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Acadian
post Nov 16 2014, 09:14 PM
Post #4


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* Buffy *

At least the building was wood instead of canvas. Inside were numerous mages who Buffy did not recognize. She walked past one who was busy teaching spells. The alchemist had a queue of customers. A cheerful looking fellow Bosmer with his hands full of supplies quickly floated past - a few inches above the ground.

Acutely aware of her empty coin purse, she knew she at least had a place to stay here. Although licensed by the guild to sell basic training in illusion and conjuration, she would prefer more. . . hands on work. That’s why word that the Legion here at Kvatch was hiring mercenaries intrigued her.

As Buffy pondered her options, she was suddenly knocked from her feet!

After landing rather ungracefully on her rump, she heard a man’s voice, "I'm so sorry, citizen, but I didn't see you were there. Are you hurt?"

As the stars and moons dancing before her eyes yielded to clarity, she looked up into the concerned face of a soldier. She took his offered hand and the man effortlessly lifted the small elf to her feet. “No, I’m not hurt.” Because the man’s face still registered concern, she smiled to reassure him and added, “Due to my size, I know I can sometimes be overlooked. Really, I’m fine.” The Imperial wore a white surcoat adorned by the black wolf head of Kvatch over his armor. “Oh, my name’s Buffy.”


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Callidus Thorn
post Nov 16 2014, 10:33 PM
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Gideon strolled along the road to Kvatch, the head of his Dwarven warhammer resting comfortably atop his right shoulder, where it could be brought to bear at a moments notice. He'd already had to use it once that day, fighting off an overly ambitious highwayman. In the aftermath of the Oblivion Crisis the Legion had yet to fully reestablish their patrols, and so outlaws were a greater threat to travellers. He'd been told that mercenaries were being hired to fill the gap before leaving the Imperial City, after being given his orders from the Guild.

If he was honest, and Gideon always tried to be, there was more than a little appeal to the notion. He would never be allowed to rejoin the Legion, not after being dishonourably discharged for disobeying orders. But mercenary work, legally sanctioned, would be the next best thing.


Nodding to the guards as he passed, Gideon made his way towards the Mage's Guild. He couldn't keep the smile from his face as he saw what some of them were doing. His training had centred around combat, pocusing on healing, offense, and defensive spells. To see magic in ways he'd not been trained in always filled him with joy and wonder, if only from witnessing it as something more than a tool for battle.

Sighing, with just a trace of wistfulness, he shook off his thoughts. His orders were to report to the Head of the Kvatch branch when he arrived.


************************************************************

OOC: Urgh. sad.gif

This post has been edited by Callidus Thorn: Nov 16 2014, 10:41 PM


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Uleni Athram
post Nov 17 2014, 05:27 AM
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Gunnar was certain there would be no volunteers ever since the first batch of mercenaries chickened out. Low pay, his rosy and Nordic ass. If those third-rate sells words would be honest with themselves, then they would admit that they were afraid of the Daedra that lurked in Brittlerock Cave. You would've thought that maybe they'd more than willing to banish Daedra to Oblivion but that was evidently not the case. The reputation of the grotto as a focal point of strange Daedric energies preceded it, it seems. If all else fails, and there were no hands willing to lend aid, then Gunnar was pretty certain they'd go in there with only the four of them. Against an enemy that held an unknown amount of manpower. Aenius can't hold off the magistrates in the City forever. Sooner or later they would need results. Results that would probably be of Aenius and the three guards being dead in various and brutal ways.

Personally, Gunnar was glad for it. Nay, eager for it. The doses he took were beginning to dull in effect, and it was getting harder to get a hold of a willing dealer. Time was, gold and a little bit of guardsman authority would get you a handful of Sugar but bow those dealers wanted something else in exchange. They wanted food and shelter now, and the old ways didn't fly no more.

Gunnar always snorted moon sugar for their calming effects. To keep the memories at bay. This Crisis failed to take him in the battlefield; now it tried take him in his sleep and dreams. Without the Sugar, insomnia threatened to take over. And the last time he didn't sleep...

A blur of gold in the backdrop of the grey city caught his eye. It was surprisingly a man in a set of dwarven gear, with a similarly dwarvish warhammer being hefted on his pauldrons. He walked with the orderly gait that could be only be attributed to a former Legionary. Gunnar, having his feet on both sides of the law, could sniff a soldier-boy miles away. This bronze-plated man was heading towards the Mages Guild, so Gunnar thanked his lucky stars.

"You there," he rumbled at the man, standing in his way. "You must've heard about the recent kidnappings perpetrated by the Dawn; well, we guardsmen are looking for helping hands. You look tough enough. Interested?"


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Darkness Eternal
post Nov 18 2014, 02:46 AM
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Cardius was at the Mages Guild quartersHe wore a dark tunic, black trousers, lightweight boots of the same color, and a hooded robe. His embroidered black robe was of rich weave, the cowl of which was raised, concealing in shadow his face. The overcast skies that allowed the sun only partial show cast the area in a gloomy atmoshpere. Down was the town of Kvatch.

What remained of it.

A sharp sabre rested in its sheath beside him, and on his horse was his Akaviri katana that was just as deadly. But it wasn't the only weapons he had at his disposal and he knew he would let his enemies know that, but by then it would be too late.

From reports and rumors, a Daedric Shrine lay beneath Brittlerock cavern. Northwest of Kvatch, the first town that suffered a blow from Mehrunes' Daedric Horse, the place would be an ideal safe haven for surviving members of the Dawn.

Their Prince banished, their leader slain, they were weak and vulnerable compared to what they were before. Scattered like sheep. Before they could grow as they once was Cardius was eager to make certain they were nothing more than a lost legacy of men and women who spoke dead oaths that will forever remain on dead lips.

It had taken a time of suffering with heavy losses, and an heir to the throne with a champion to put a stop to the Mythic Dawn. That was the official version-now he's part of an ongoing hunt for the last survivors of that strange and deadly sect.

From the stories being told, a child would imagine them to be monsters five meters high sucking the lifeblood out of the Empire. Now it turned out some of them still existed and were in action, and young men to grizzled warriors and mages went forth to do battle with them alone or in groups.

Could they really be so reduced, these fanatical Emperor-murdering villains that had so nearly held Tamriel in thrall?

Cardius expected as much. Still he couldn't underestimate his enemy. The Dawn had murdered the Emperor and his heirs in a day. In a day the foundation of the Empire had been taken out, snuffed out like a flame and what remains is chaos. There was no telling what could happen in the future, but one thing was certain.

Cardius could foresee by learning from the past.

The Empire in chaos? He moved in chaos, and from that he would help bring order.

Confusion? That could be perfected into bringing about clarity and clear focus to the Empire's next steps.

Fear? Fear was a tool that, if used correctly, could surrender a desired effect. Respect, order . . .

He'd start by taking out threats and the Mythic Dawn is a threat. A reduced threat but a threat nonetheless.

He made his way into the camp.



This post has been edited by Darkness Eternal: Nov 22 2014, 01:01 PM


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And yet I am, and liveā€”like vapours tossed.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass belowā€”above the vaulted sky.ā€¯
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Uleni Athram
post Nov 18 2014, 04:33 PM
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Aenius banged his fist on his mailed chest and gave the Bosmer, Buffy she called herself, the Legion salute. He had to admit, it was mostly for show. She had the look of magic user, alright, but she was different from the usual pencil-necks reconnoitering around with noses in tomes. From one thing, she wasn't from around here. That much was obvious; she looked at the local mages as strangers, not as fellows. And the second trait she had was... well, she had a healthy glow about her. Not an arcane one, but a natural hardiness that could only come from being in the field. Battlemage, perhaps? Maybe a spellsword? Didn't have any steel with her though...

In any case, first impressions were the key in everything.

He subtly puffed out his chest more and laid a mailed hand on his sword pommel. He caught the ray of a dull sunshine bleeding through a window and angled his face just enough to highlight the beautiful features on his face; namely, his aristocratic cheekbones and deep set blue eyes.

It was not meant to allure; it was meant to cement that he was a person of authority, of trust, and of reliability. A captain of the guard should look the part, after all.

"Well then, citizen Buffy," he said, "I hope Kvatch, such as she is, proves to be of use to you in your stay with us. Pardon my saying so, but I haven't seen you before here. Are you .. a spellsword for hire, perhaps?"

From his satchel he fished out a large sheet of musty paper. On its front were the large front letters, "BOUNTY IN BRITTLEROCK CAVE"

He handed her one.

"We're currently hirirng mercenaries in assisting us in the capture of the criminals responsible for the recent kidnappings going on. You look like an able ... err, mage. Maybe you're interested?"

He turned on his heels to walk towards the potion kiosk, when realized he didn't give HER a name.

"I'm Aenius Gratian by the way. Captain of the Guard."


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Acadian
post Nov 18 2014, 06:49 PM
Post #9


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* Buffy *

The soldier in front of Buffy slammed a fist into his chest in what Buffy recognized as a Legion salute. Flattered by the gracious gesture, she took a moment to study his aristocratic features and blue eyes as he asked if she was a spellsword for hire. He then handed her a bounty notice for Brittlerock Cave and asked if she might be interested.

Buffy was acutely aware that the doeskin coin pouch strapped to her belt did not have its customary weight resting against her hip as she briefly pondered his offer.

Perhaps not wishing to pressure her for an immediate answer, the soldier began to turn away, then stopped and introduced himself as Captain Aenius Gration - the very man Buffy had been told to seek out for work.

"I'm glad we bumped into each other, Captain," said Buffy, chuckling aloud as she realized the pun carried by her words. She then took a deep breath and continued, “I am indeed looking for such work and am well skilled in forest craft, stealth and several magicks – most notably use of my conjured mystic bow. I have, on occasion, worked for the Legion as both scout and bounty hunter and would be happy to do so again – depending on the pay and exact nature of the job of course. My needs are not great, and I trust the task is honorable?”


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Callidus Thorn
post Nov 18 2014, 09:27 PM
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Gideon cast a critical eye over the Nord that towered over him. Clad in the armour of a Kvatch guard, a veritable mountain of a man, with a weapon to match. But his manner and bearing were coarser than one would expect from a guardsman, displaying instead a bluntness more common among thugs, right down to the lack of an introduction. Typical among those who were hired muscle at one point or another. It certainly matched his stance; devoid of the crispness of Legion or even Guard training, but still emphasised his size. It was clearly meant to invoke fear rather than respect. But intimidating anyone with Legion training, especially a Battlemage, took more than bulk.

Meeting the Nord's gaze, he snapped to attention before replying. "That depends on the nature of the help you're looking for. But regardless, until I have reported to the Mages Guild, I cannot know if my duties will provide me with sufficient latitude to aid the Kvatch Guard. Should I find that I am given the opportunity to do so, I assume your Captain would be the one to speak to? Where would I find him?"


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Uleni Athram
post Nov 20 2014, 03:27 PM
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Aenius hmm-ed as Buffy told him of her skills. He wasn't surprised to know that she was versed as a scout; a majority of the Wood elves were, after all. But he was glad to know, and thanked the Divines, that not only could she loose arrows as an archer, she was an experienced user of the arcane too. Against the Dawn, magic was of great help. One never knew what kind of devilry they were in possession of, and it was comforting to know that Buffy could have the potential to dispel it before it got the better of them. She showed interest, even proclaiming her past work for the Legion.

Aenius held an apologetic hand.

"The pay would be 300 gold and the heartfelt thanks of victimized Kvatch. That's all we can offer, sadly; with the Rebuilding well underway, all finances, no matter how meagre, must go there. In fact," here he gave a grimace, "the bounty reward comes from my own meager salary. That should tell enough how dire the situation here is; and with the damned Mythic Dawn kidnapping people left and right, its enough to drive a man mad!"

He coughed. He didn't know the reason why he suddenly opened up on a total stranger. But there was something about Buffy that told him she understood.

"The task is honorable, yes. We're rescuing a young child from a remnant of the Mythic Dawn. I have reason to believe that this sect of the Dawn could very well be the last." He scratched his beard, a gleam in his young eyes. "If its true, then we may very well end the bastards that put us through so much pain. I can finally avenge..."

He coughed again.

"If you're interested, then please stop by my office later in the evening. There would be a briefing there, and more details would be informed to you; hopefully you won't be the only mercenary present."

He gave her a salute, signalling the end of the conversation, and went towards the potion kiosk.


****

Gunnar clenched his teeth and fists. Battlemage. One of the most promising mercenaries for this operation and he was a damned battlemage. He didn't like any warrior who got all fancy with placebo tricks; to his suspicious eyes, it was like borrowing power from devils and other sinister forces. Why take that route when a simple warhammer to the face could suffice?

The Nord handed the Battlemage the bounty poster.

"There would be a briefing in the evening; place would be the Captain's office, right down there, near Batul's blacksmithy. If you find yourself done with your business with the wizards, come over there and join us. Pay's not bad, and the risk's not too high if you keep your head down."


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Acadian
post Nov 20 2014, 05:23 PM
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* Buffy *

A kidnapping by the Mythic Dawn had caused the captain enough concern to put up some of his own salary toward the bounty. Buffy was struck by the selfless nobility of the man standing in front of her. If things went well, perhaps she could recover enough bounty or loot from the kidnappers to handsomely cover her needs. If so, she would forego the bounty – for she imagined the captain’s pay was not exorbitant. She could sense the earnest passion for his cause, for it was carried clearly in his tone, manner and words. He ended the conversation by inviting her to a meeting in his office that evening to learn more if she was still interested.

“I’ll be there,” said Buffy quietly to the back of the departing Legion officer.

Buffy did manage to catch the Bosmer mage who was busily shuttling supplies to and fro as he floated by again. She learned that he was the deputy guildmagister now and that Sigrid Firewalker was still guildmagister for the Kvatch branch. The elf was a bit curt – obviously in a hurry, but before floating away, he told Buffy she was welcome to use the guild’s bunkroom for visiting mages during her stay. Relieved that she would not be camping out of her mare’s saddlebags again, her thoughts turned to seeking out the guild’s facilities for a hot bath. No doubt they would be humble but, like most mages, she could heat her own water.

As she turned for the living areas of the guild, she noted two steel-clad figures in conversation. One was a mountain of a Nord in Kvatch guard armor. The other man was smaller and wearing golden armor of dwemer make. The haft of a matching warhammer protruded over one shoulder. Although his face was somewhat obscured by a blue mage’s hood, the features that she could see spoke to Bretonic blood and several decades of age. She thought she saw an errant wisp of black hair peeking from the hood as well. Assessing him as a battlemage, she was encouraged to see him take one of the bounty posters from the big Nordic soldier.

Buffy’s thoughts then turned again to a warm bath. And recalling what she knew of the Mythic Dawn.


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Darkness Eternal
post Nov 22 2014, 01:18 PM
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Supplies for the task would be ideal right now.

Cardius entered the Mages Guild facility where many guild members were housed. As an young-age Arcane University graduate, he didn't need to see the residents' expressions to know he was welcomed in their midst. Sigrid Firewalker appraised him with a fleeting look and a smile before she attended to the others. Cardius took a moment to look about his surroundings, and also took a moment to analyze himself, too, before he ventured any further.

The bunkroom was full of mages from all walks of life and practitioners from different schools. Alteration, Mysticism, Destruction, Illusion and all else. Cardius could tell a mage and his school by looking well at their clothes and even their demeanors.

He graduated as a very proficient spellcaster, particularly in the areas of destruction and illusion. He'd prefer not to confess to the others that he also had knowledge of ancient daedric powers seldom used in the world today. Knowing full-well the growing hatred for Daedra, and a righteous hatred, that is, he knew just how unwise it would be to reveal he had studied daedric spells and delved a bit into the forbidden arts.

Cardius did not know alchemy, however. Not to the degree that he would like, and so he relied on others to make some of his potions. Potions that would heal almost any injury was something he'd like. He could create these himself but there was no time to collect the necessary ingredients and procuring someone to do the searching was an ideal choice . . .especially since his manservant was occupied with keeping the castle in order.

"Lord Cardius," Sigrid said as he approached her. "I wasn't expecting you to be here so soon!"

"In these desperate times, my friend, we must move quickly and in haste lest the enemy get the better of us. How does the evening find you?"

"Very well," she said with a sigh. "We're managing. How about yourself?"

"Splendid," he said, taking his eyes to the counter stacked of potions behind her. "Do you have what I asked for?"

"Yes," Sigrid told him, and this brought a toothless smile to Cardius' face until she said, "the ingredients, I mean. The potions aren't yet ready."

He frowned. "That is unfortunate. I need them by early this morning. You couldn't hasten the production by then? I will pay you more than I should. Fair payment."

"Perhaps you'd like to clarify the need for such urgency?"

Cardius held his hands behind his back. "No."

She looked at him and held her hand beneath her chin. "I'll see what can be done."

Cardius nodded and bowed, "Gratitude."

The Imperial his way out, passing by the living areas of the Mages Guild.


--------------------
And yet I am, and liveā€”like vapours tossed.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass belowā€”above the vaulted sky.ā€¯
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Acadian
post Nov 22 2014, 11:35 PM
Post #14


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



* Buffy *

With platinum hair spilling over both shoulders and halfway down her back, the squeaky clean elf was now attired in a forest green and loam colored mage tunic over breeches and boots of undyed buckskin. She sat enjoying some bread, cheese and a small goblet of Tamikas as she reviewed the area around Brittlerock Cave on her well-annotated doeskin map.

She was pleased that at least her need to restock some potions had been taken care of. The Breton woman Buffy had struck up a conversation with in the bath was so amused by the wood elf’s ability to summon a towel, that bartering a quick spell lesson for a small supply of restorative elixirs was the fortuitous result.

Once her light meal was finished, she rolled up the map and rose to her feet. Her hair was now dry enough that she restrained it into a loose ponytail using a thin strip of leather. As the meeting with Captain Gration to learn more about what his task entailed was not for some time yet, she decided to revisit the main area of the guild. Perhaps someone there might know more details of this kidnapping.

The Imperial that caught her eye there wore a dark cloak over similarly somber clothes. A sword rode at one of the man’s hips. His black hair was cropped quite closely in the manner popular among Legion soldiers. He was clean shaven with fair Colovian skin. The young face was rather unremarkable save for a pair of strikingly pale eyes. They were intense, but almost colorless.

As his gaze met hers, Buffy smiled politely then demurely looked away to avoid appearing flirtatious. Seeing Sigrid on the other side of the room, she exchanged waves with the beautiful and buxom Nord who served as the branch’s guildmagister.


--------------------
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post Nov 24 2014, 02:24 PM
Post #15


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Joined: 10-June 11
From: Coldharbour



Cardius took a seat in a table close by, settling himself comfortably as he mulled over about the task given. It was no breaking news that the Brittlerock Cave was a sanctuary for bound Daedra and Mythic Dawn agents. The Empire hired the likes of freelance bounty hunters and mercenaries to do the job. As an agent of the Empire, having worked and laid the groundwork for many years, he expected to be sent on this errand alone given his earlier accomplishments. There was little to complain, though.

More men and women working together against a common enemy had far more advantage than a lone agent. He was content with that. It meant he didn't have to do all the work himself even if deep down he wanted to take the fight to the Dawn, one by one. A Mythic Dawn-free Tamriel would be the next step to peace.

More enemies of the Empire will arise, but one group at a time . . .

The Imperial saw many mages come in and out of area to either purchase potions or ingredients or to learn new spells or to be at leisure. The former had seen many Daedric ingredients sold and bought. In the wake of the Crisis, the vendors had plenty of Oblivion-spawned goods, from Bloodgrass to Daedra hearts. Cardius had a fat order on the latter. The hearts of the Dremora warriors were valuable. Coin was well-spent in procuring them around Cyrodiil. The means of creating his potions while not lost, was delayed and reevaluated into another method given the death of his servant in the field while looking for the source.

One person who entered was a young-looking Bosmer woman. Among the rest she stood out the most given her short stature. But though she was short, Cardius knew it wouldn't take away from her possible skill or knowledge in things of the arcane. Nor would it remove her unique beauty.

Her leather-bound hair was a special blond and her eyes as blue as the waters of the coast. Her skin, unlike his own, was very sun-touched. It was quite obvious she took to the adventurer's life. If that didn't betray her, her green outfit did. Cardius could tell a field mage when he saw one, having been in the university for some time now. She looked modest enough and smiled at him in what he recognized as genuine politeness. She seemed to him aware of her surroundings, and looking at her eyes Cardius saw they had a sharp edge to them.

Looking at her made him think. Her appearance was familiar, not by sight but by reputation. True many of her kind were short and some of them made decent mages but he has heard of a blond blue-eyed Bosmer before . . .

"Excuse me," Cardius called out with a voice that wasn't loud for many to hear but just enough to get her attention. He gestured at the seat across from him. "Come, please take a seat. I must ask you something."

There weren't many in the room save for her, Sigrid and two others who spoke amongst themselves in laughs, playfully arguing on the nature of transliminal bridges.


--------------------
And yet I am, and liveā€”like vapours tossed.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass belowā€”above the vaulted sky.ā€¯
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Acadian
post Nov 25 2014, 12:17 AM
Post #16


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



*Buffy *

As Buffy started to head for Sigrid, the darkly-clad Imperial with pale eyes sat down at one of the guild’s small tables and quietly asked Buffy to join him, adding that he wanted to ask her something.

The elf knew she could speak with Sigrid anytime, and she realized that the guildmagister’s focus would be on running the guild – not local crime or any bounties the Legion might be offering. This mysterious man, on the other hand, appeared to be no stranger to action. It was clear from his comfortable manner in the facility that he was a guild member. The long blade at his hip suggested spellsword, while his clean cut appearance made Buffy wonder if he had some experience with the Legion. Curious at what he might want to ask, she accepted.

“Why, thank you,” said Buffy as she placed one knee on the chair that the Imperial indicated. This was followed by other knee. As she settled back on her heels, the advantage of her peculiar – some might say childish – manner of sitting became clear. Even so perched, her head was still lower than that of the Imperial seated across the small table from her. “My name’s Buffy. I take it that, like me, you’re not a resident of the guild here?”


--------------------
Screenshot: Buffy in Artaeum
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Darkness Eternal
post Nov 25 2014, 01:43 PM
Post #17


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Joined: 10-June 11
From: Coldharbour



= Cardius =


The young Bosmeri mage thanked him and went to take a seat across from where he was. Cardius hid his look of amusement when she settled down into the chair with a child-like manner that made him wonder just how old she was. Some of the Mages Guild looked young but were very, very old through life-prolonging magic and ancient elixirs. Some men like Janus Hassildor had succumbed to another method, as well. Cardius had the opportunity to speak to him personally on several occasions. This woman, though, might just be the age she appears.

She introduced herself as Buffy and the name was indeed familiar just as the woman. She carried herself with a childlike innocence. Her skin was clean and without blemish, and she smelled like she got out of a bath. He could detect a faint bit of nightshade in there, too . . .

Ah.

"My pleasure, Buffy," Cardius said. "No, I'm afraid I am not a resident here. Only passing through." He looked at Sigrid and another fellow who came through the front entrance looking for enchanted rings before turning back to Buffy. He reached out to greet her warmly. Not yet smiling. "I am Cardius."

It may be possible she's heard of him. Being an inquisitor was something that filled the tongues of the people, only when his methods became righteously harsh against the enemies of the Empire. But he wasn't limited to that. As a genteel nobleman, a former court-mage and a fellow high-ranking member of the newborn Vigilantes of Stendarr, promising to rid Cyrodiil of witches and vampires. He was an accomplished man. He was proud of himself, but not arrogantly so.

He scanned her blue eyes thoroughly. "Buffy," he said her name again. "Ah, second-place winner in The Tournament of Archers. I remember. You're name is quite widespread."

He set his hand on the table, unintentionally showing a ring of steel with a crimson gem hugging his finger. His voice came like a whisper to avoid detection from eavesdroppers. "I've been meaning to ask: will you be one set to foot to Brittlerock Cave?"


--------------------
And yet I am, and liveā€”like vapours tossed.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass belowā€”above the vaulted sky.ā€¯
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Acadian
post Nov 25 2014, 05:05 PM
Post #18


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



* Buffy *

If the man was amused by Buffy’s odd manner of sitting that compensated for her lack of height, it did not show. She found a bit of discipline was necessary to avoid staring at his unusually pale eyes. The Imperial introduced himself as Cardius, and confirmed that he was not a resident of Kvatch. As a member of the courts of both Leyawiin and Solitude, and welcome in several others, she recognized the polished manner and speech of one who was no stranger to courtly ways. Was he, like her, a minor noble? Perhaps a court mage?

She smiled and nodded graciously as he mentioned that her name was familiar from a Tournament of Archers that took place in Bravil back when the Oblivion Crisis was limited to one gate besieging Kvatch.

As his hand came to rest on the table, she noticed the curious ring encircling one finger. She was about to ask him about it when he turned the conversation to Brittlerock Cave. Perhaps the two travelers had a common purpose in Kvatch? Given his manner of dress, he hardly looked needful of coin. Of course, one could say the same of her - well-dressed with an empty coin purse.

“Yes,” she replied. “I’m a mystic archer and scout, but find myself a bit low on funds at the moment. Word of work for the Legion drew me here. My understanding is the Mythic Dawn has kidnapped a local lad and may be holding him in that very cave. In fact, there is a meeting this evening in Captain Gratian’s office for those interested.” She tilted her head. “Is that what draws you here as well?”


--------------------
Screenshot: Buffy in Artaeum
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post Nov 25 2014, 07:36 PM
Post #19


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Joined: 10-June 11
From: Coldharbour



= Cardius =


A mystic archer, this one was. She did have a reputation before her. Winning a tournament is no small feat, and though she came second place, her use with the bow is something to respect and be weary of. He was content she was on his side instead of being against him. There was no room for animosity here.

She answered his reply with an unwavering yes. She was indeed going to Brittlerock cave and the reason was just as simple as the others: to refill the coin purse. Many folks were short on coin these days. Some were eager to look to make quick septims by working as freelance agents for personal gain. Cardius knew some who did it to get back at the Daedra. There were some who did it for both. To personally restore a lost home by taking the fight to the Dawn. In any case, the Mythic Dawn had trouble coming their way.

Cardius nodded at Buffy's question. "I'm here for Brittlerock," he said. "I am aware of the meeting. The Empire has already come to me for this task." He told her because he trusted her enough only because he remembered reports of certain people who helped fight the Daedric horde of Dagon. She was one of them. "I'm here for supplies."

He turned his head slightly to the side and stared at her with his pale eyes. "You can saw what draws a man like myself here are the Daedra. I've been fascinated by their kind, you see. I've studied them for many years now, and most of the cults who worship them." To balance his interest with concern for the people, he added, "I am here to protect Imperial interests and our future. The lad who was kidnapped can be a number of things; sacrifice, a lure to bring us to them or worse. It befalls people like me to do something about it. There is a chance that he is yet alive, and that he is privy to the Mythic Dawn's plans."

He locked his fingers together. "Dark days are these, Buffy. The Empire is crumbling. Perhaps when this is over you would like to work for the Vigilantes of Stendarr? If not to join you can aid them for funds should they be low again. We are in need of able-bodied men and women who can help against Daedra and the vampire menace."


--------------------
And yet I am, and liveā€”like vapours tossed.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass belowā€”above the vaulted sky.ā€¯
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Acadian
post Nov 26 2014, 12:00 AM
Post #20


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



* Buffy *

“While I respect the Vigilants and their Order,” Buffy smiled with a hint of apology, “I’m afraid the unfettered spirit of the forest is entirely too strong within me to ever permit rising beyond a free knight errant. The minor title was granted by Count Leyawiin as reward for service to his county and, happily, its nature requires neither fealty nor obligation to Leyawiin.”

Hoping to maneuver things away from any potential awkwardness about how jealously she guarded her independence, the talkative elf continued, “It seems, however, Kvatch is lucky indeed to have one of your Order interested in this kidnapping. From what I’ve seen, the Vigilants are indeed passionate about purging Daedra and vampires – as well as those who would consort with them such as the Mythic Dawn. Hopefully the effort will result in the safe return of the young man who was kidnapped by them.”

Considering herself fortunate to be talking with someone so specialized in combating Daedric cults, she was eager to learn a bit more. “My limited encounters with the Mythic Dawn were during the Oblivion Crisis. Do they still clad themselves in red robes and favor bound Daedric armor and weaponry?”


--------------------
Screenshot: Buffy in Artaeum
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