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> Buffy the Bowgirl, Book 1, Thread 2, Do You Know the Way to Kvatch?
Acadian
post Sep 12 2010, 03:37 PM
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Welcome to Thread 2, or the second season of Buffy's Book 1!

This book began with Buffy being briefly incarcerated in the Imperial Prison and will end as she attempts to bring freedom to the city of Kvatch. It is a sprawling story that will require more than 150 episodes, spread over five threads. Appropriately, I have nicknamed Book 1, 'Do You Know the Way to Kvatch?'

Thread 1 included episodes 1-26.

*

Please allow me to offer a small summary of Thread 1 that I hope might prove useful as a review, or for those who are joining us in progress:

Buffy witnessed the death of Uriel Septim VII in the Imperial Prison. She eventually delivered the Amulet of Kings to Jauffre, who treated her rudely. Buffy's response to this, of course, was to drop the amulet on his desk and storm out.

At one point in her travels, Buffy encountered an Oblivion gate at Kvatch. Terrified, she quickly heeded the orders of Savlian Matius to leave the area. In their brief encounter however, Buffy seemed drawn to the brave Captain Matius - quite struck by his noble and selfless bravery. She was confident the Empire would resolve the situation that she considered well beyond her meager ability to influence.

Our orphan from Bravil then began to refine her confidence and skills toward adventure, even recently graduating from the Arcane University as a mystic archer.

*

Now, for those newer readers who would like to catch up to us in one short sitting, you might find this helpful: Buffy – The Executive Summary Thread.

*

When we last left Buffy, she had just earned the Star of Azura. It seemed her immediate plans were to dispatch some minor chores in the Imperial City, then head home. We now join Buffy, in the City of Mara.

* * *

27 Graduation Party


"Hmph, she doesn't look like much of a mage to me," snorted Fathis Aren. "More like a half-dressed wood nymph running around with a bow most of the time. Thankfully, somebody at least coaxed the little forest creature into a proper dress tonight."

The Bravil guild was assembled at the dining table enjoying a meal in celebration of my graduation from the Arcane University. It had been delayed for several weeks because our guild head, Kud-Ei, had been visiting relatives in the Black Marsh. I was seated across the table from Fathis Aren. His words silenced the room.

I set my fork down and said icily, "I wasn't aware that your approval of my appearance was required." Fathis had been abusive towards me for some time. I guessed it was because I had, on more than one occasion, deflected his amorous advances. It seemed he liked 'wood nymphs'. I might have thought that humorous but, at the moment, there was nothing suggesting humor in the dark elf's dangerous manner. There was also no doubt that his magic skills vastly exceeded my own. To make matters worse, my bow was at home. It had never occurred to me that I might need to defend myself within the sanctuary of my own guild. Despite the blue gown that Delphine had kindly 'coaxed me into', I felt quite naked.

The Dunmer sorcerer coldly returned my gaze, seemingly unimpressed. "I'll caution you, young Apprentice, to mind your tone when addressing the Staff Wizard to the Court of Bravil." His hand was glowing menacingly and just a hint of sparks danced from his fingers as they drummed the surface of the table.

I felt my anger simmering as I slowly stood up. I knew I couldn't cast a spell to defend myself if I was seated. I was unsure if the powerful wizard across the table was similarly constrained, or whether his sparks were just for show.

Fathis' eyes remained locked on mine as he leaned slightly forward. With one elbow on the table, he slowly raised that ominously glowing hand towards his ear. The slight sparking between his fingers intensified slightly.

Kud-Ei, from her seat at the head of the table, stood as I did. "You just hold it right there Fathis!" The glaring Argonian crossed her arms defiantly over her chest. "I'll do anything for my girls. You may be someone important over in that castle, but this is my guild house. What has gotten in to you? Did the Count yank your chain today? If you think you can come in here and try to intimidate one of my mages, you have another thing coming. You just stop this nonsense right now and mind your manners, or get out of my guild! Is that clear?"

By now, Delphine Jend was also on her feet, with deadly resolve in her eyes. I realized Kud-Ei could instantly paralyze the sorcerer or take control of his mind if she chose. Delphine on the other hand, could freeze Fathis solid, then shatter him like a block of ice. Fathis might have been a match for one, but he could not hope to survive the pair of formidable guild mates now standing on my behalf. Mystical energy and tension pulsed through the room, causing the hair to rise slightly from the back of my neck. The power of these giants of magic dwarfed the pathetic flare spell, or even dancing cobra that I could cast.

If there was any emotion in Fathis' red eyes, it didn't show. He continued looking directly at me while addressing the head of the Bravil guild. "Why Mother Kud-Ei, I meant no offense to your young charge." The glow slowly faded from his hand as he reached for the goblet in front of him. "In fact, let me propose a toast to your newly returned graduate." He raised his goblet.

Fathis caused us no further trouble that evening. I had always admired and looked up to Kud-Ei. I now loved her dearly, and was so very proud to be one of 'her girls'.

After dinner, Ita Rienus pulled me aside. "Don't worry too much about Fathis. He fancies himself quite the ladies' man, and I know he's been pestering you. You're an attractive young elf with a beautiful heart and spirit, Buffy. To Fathis however, I suspect you simply represent another potential notch for his bedpost. That his advances have turned to insults is, oddly enough, encouraging. It means he realizes he's lost this conquest. I'm sure he'll move on to another soon.

Still shaken by the encounter, I asked, "Did you see how cold his eyes were, Ita? Do you think he will try to hurt me?"

"Oh my, he did scare you, child." The older Imperial's eyebrows furrowed with concern. "I truly don't believe you're in danger. Even though he's not in our chapter, Fathis is still subject to the rules of the Mages Guild Charter just like the rest of us. He won't cross the Council of Mages by hurting a member of the guild. It would risk his cushy position at the castle."

"I'm sure you're right. As much as he angers and frightens me, I hope someday he finds that special woman who can capture his heart," I smiled sweetly and added, "so she can break it and leave behind a crushed shell."

Ita's eyes widened, then she returned my smile. "Well I guess it's true enough that Oblivion hath no fury like a woman scorned. . . but enough of this kind of talk." Changing the subject, she said, "You look as pretty as the Dangerous Delphine tonight."

"Thank you." I blushed. "I'm afraid I didn't give her much to work with, but you know our irrepressible Delphine; she couldn't resist the challenge." I held up my arms, clad in blue velvet, and playfully spun around once. "Here I am, in one of her dresses. She even provided some of her jewelry for the night, and taught me another way I can arrange my hair."

Ita stabbed a finger at the air over my shoulder. "Look, here comes the Diva of Destruction hersel-"

"Oh there's our graduate!" Delphine breezed into the conversation. The bubbly Breton smiled and fussed busily with the neckline of my dress as she continued, "Now, isn't this much nicer than wearing those. . ." she wrinkled her nose, "animal skins you and Daenlin seem to favor?"

I couldn't help but smile. "Thank you for the fashion assistance, Delphine - and for standing on my behalf at dinner."

She frowned and lowered her voice - both were unusual actions for Delphine. "Listen, if that green bag of wind who does parlor tricks for the count bothers you again, you just let me know. I'll turn him into a chicken!" Without pausing for breath, her face brightened and she was off to another subject. "Don't worry about those destruction grades you got at the University, Buffy. We'll have you blowing things up before you know it. Why, we'll start with crates and barrels," Delphine's hands started dancing descriptively, "then work our way up to small buildings, then -" her eyes darted across the room. "Oh is that Carandial I see? You ladies simply must excuse me." As quickly as she had whirled into the discussion, Delphine was off again.

Ita shook her head, but smiled fondly as Delphine flittered away. "I get tired just watching her." The Imperial's eyes suddenly sparkled as she plunged a hand into the folds of her burgundy skirt and produced Azura's Star. Placing it in my hand, she said, "Thanks for letting me study this for the past couple days. It is indeed everything we had hoped for, and I know it'll serve you well."

"I'm very fortunate to have earned Azura's favor, Ita. I think she liked me. Thank you for sharing the legend with me and putting up with my badgering questions."

Another guest that evening was Ungarion. The Altmer owned 'A Warlock's Luck', the magic shop in Bravil. He was not a member of the guild, but visited us routinely. As the evening was winding down, he approached, smiling. "Let me add my congratulations and welcome home to you!"

"Why thank you Ungarion. I'm pleased that you joined us tonight." I looked up into his eyes and could see that he had more to say. Tilting my head pleasantly, I invited him to continue.

Ungarion dropped his voice and lowered his head towards me. "Buffy, some of your recent. . . ah, how shall we say this. . . adventures have come to my attention. In fact, there is a matter I would very much like to discuss with you," a single eyebrow climbed his forehead as he added, "privately. Would you do me the honor of sharing a meal in my store tomorrow after hours?"

I was intrigued. The high elf was a respected merchant and had always been kind to me. After a moment I replied, "Ungarion, I'd be pleased to. See you tomorrow then."

After the party was over and I was home in bed, I thought about the events of the evening. Buffy, what were you thinking, standing to confront Fathis Aren? Were it not for the intervention of Kud-Ei and Delphine, you could easily be dead now.

When I was insulted, I did or said dangerously stupid things. I was sure Fathis had hoped I would cast a silly flare spell or some such at him. Yes, that would have given him a handy self-defense justification to turn my bones into ash - which I had no doubt he could do. I thought about Boderi's characterization of me. Someday, my dragon spirit would really get my butterfly butt into trouble.

The episode with Fathis reminded me of my confrontation with Earana in Chorrol, after giving the 'Fingers of the Mountain' book to Teekeeus. My angry words overrode prudence there also. Were it not for the watchful Chorrol city guard, that incident could have meant my death. Unlike Fathis however, Earana was not a member of the guild. She was not restricted by the rules - but neither was I.

I had been back to Chorrol on several occasions since my first encounter with the rogue mage. Each time she had become more threatening. I was convinced that her death or mine was inevitable. Further, I firmly believed whoever chose the conditions and struck first would survive, while the other would not.

As I drifted off to sleep, my thoughts turned to Ungarion. What sort of mysterious business did the merchant of magic trinketry have in mind? Oh well, I would find out the next evening.

* * *
From Buffy's scrapbook: Screenshot

This post has been edited by Acadian: Oct 28 2011, 10:24 PM


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hazmick
post Sep 12 2010, 03:57 PM
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Kud-Ei! hoorah! I loved your description of the mages' stand-off and the description of the magic at Fathis' fingertips. Do I detect a future confrontation with Earana? I'll be eagerly awaiting the next chapter!

P.S: Buffy looks good in that dress, nice screenie!

This post has been edited by hazmick: Sep 12 2010, 03:59 PM


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"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

"...a quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business."
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haute ecole rider
post Sep 12 2010, 04:38 PM
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Oooh, that Fathis!

I found out on UESP Wiki that he is merely an Associate in the Mages Guild. After performing a few of Raminus's quests, my PC of the moment usually likes to pull rank on that Dunmer! biggrin.gif Also, Julian will find out on her next visit that due to all the summonsing she has done in closing OG's, that she now has more skill in Conjuration than that egoistical Castle Wizard! Of course, both he and Count Terentius are welcome to each other.

There was a lot to like here. I really enjoyed the ongoing development of Ita Renius and Delphine the Diva of Destruction.

And Buffy needs to learn to count to ten!


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Zalphon
post Sep 12 2010, 04:39 PM
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I love how you captured the attitude of Fathis Aren.


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SubRosa
post Sep 12 2010, 04:57 PM
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Yay for Kud-Ei, and I see Delphine this time around as well! The scene with Fathis reminds me of a somewhat similar one in Sharpes Rifles, where an officer is acting like a complete boat at dinner, with Sharpe and his lady just a few tables away. Finally Sharpe turns and loudly declares "There are ladies present, one would hope there would be gentlemen as well!" Naturally, a duel nearly followed.

Well I guess it's true enough that Oblivion hath no fury like a woman scorned
Indeed it does not, especially when put in such a setting-friendly manner.

Someday, my dragon spirit would really get my butterfly butt into trouble.
Yep, that is our Buffy. Hopefully experience will temper her, well, temper. wink.gif

And such an adorable picture. Buffy certainly does clean up very well! The necklace/neck seam remover mod you are using goes perfect with that dress.

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Sep 13 2010, 03:59 AM


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treydog
post Sep 13 2010, 12:08 AM
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It is always good to have friends- having a winning personality and earning that friendship certainly helps.

QUOTE
"I'm sure you're right. As much as he angers and frightens me, I hope someday he finds that special woman who can capture his heart," I smiled sweetly and added, "so she can break it and leave behind a crushed shell."


Good on you, Buffy!

And now Ungarion is up to something- mysterious- which may also find our blonde bow-bearing Bosmer beauty's butterfly butt in trouble.


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Grizzly20
post Sep 13 2010, 03:53 AM
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Excellent writing Acadian! Looks like our little Bowgirl has a date. Buffy looked really nice in that Blue Velvet outfit by the way. smile.gif
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D.Foxy
post Sep 13 2010, 06:55 AM
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And now Ungarion is up to something- mysterious- which may also find our blonde bow-bearing Bosmer beauty's butterfly butt in trouble.


ohmy.gif
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Naughty Trey!!! You also have caught the Foxy disease!!!

This post has been edited by D.Foxy: Sep 13 2010, 06:56 AM
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Destri Melarg
post Sep 13 2010, 10:09 AM
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Congratulations on thread number two (or should I say three?)! cake.gif

Like everyone else already said, the stand-off and the way that Buffy’s guildmates came to her defense was just great. I am also curious to know what Buffy plans to do about Earana and what Ungarion wants to speak to her about.

But my favorite thing about this chapter is the way that you characterized Delphine:
QUOTE(Acadian @ Sep 12 2010, 07:37 AM) *

She frowned and lowered her voice - both were unusual actions for Delphine. "Listen, if that green bag of wind who does parlor tricks for the count bothers you again, you just let me know. I'll turn him into a chicken!" Without pausing for breath, her face brightened and she was off to another subject. "Don't worry about those destruction grades you got at the University, Buffy. We'll have you blowing things up before you know it. Why, we'll start with crates and barrels," Delphine's hands started dancing descriptively, "then work our way up to small buildings, then -" her eyes darted across the room. "Oh is that Carandial I see? You ladies simply must excuse me." As quickly as she had whirled into the discussion, Delphine was off again.

To paraphrase Ita; I got tired just reading that! laugh.gif


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mALX
post Sep 13 2010, 03:25 PM
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First off, congrats on the new thread!!!


Treydog already picked out my fave line - ARGH !!!! Lol. I recognized most of this, but you have touched it up, and this one is my fave of the two !!!


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Remko
post Sep 14 2010, 05:08 PM
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Diva of Destruction.... laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif


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Acadian
post Sep 15 2010, 03:54 PM
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Chapter 27 resolved a potentially dangerous encounter with Fathis Aren during Buffy's graduation party at her guild hall. She later accepted an invitation from Ungarion to discuss some 'private business' the following evening.

hazmick- Thank you! Yes, Kud-Ei was the hero of this mages' standoff. I do believe Buffy is foreshadowing here about Earana - within a few episodes in fact.

Rider- Ah, good to know about Fathis - I guess anybody can be castle wizard in Bravil! tongue.gif The solid Ita and bubbly Delphine were great fun to write! Yes, Buffy and her temper. . . .

Zalphon- Thank you. Fathis is an interesting character. I know you like Dunmer.

SubRosa- Thank you! As ever, you picked up and mentioned much of what we were trying to do here. I remember, and thank you for suggesting we turn Buffy's spirit from an 'adventurer' to a 'dragon' - it is turning out to be durable and fun - particularly when combined with her frail and flittery butterfly side. I'm glad you liked the screenie.

treydog- Thank you for the kind words. Buffy the Bravilian Bowgirl loved your alliteration! Being the only mystic archer we have ever encountered, Buffy sometimes feels a little out of place in the mages guild; she was therefore overwhelmed at the display of support from her fellow mages.

Grizzly- Thank you! Buffy felt a little awkward without her buckskins or Arena raiment, but I agree with you that she looked pretty good in one of Delphine's dresses. As Rider has pointed out with Julian however, women never seem to believe it when told they look nice.

Foxy- Yes, a mysterious date with Ungarion. Hey - it's business - no ifs ands or butterflies. rollinglaugh.gif

Destri- Thank you! Buffy spends the next two episodes with Ungarion. Thank you so much for quoting the passage featuring the whirling dervish of energy.
Delphine: panic.gif
Ita: huh.gif
Buffy: blink.gif

mALX- Thanks for mentioning the same line trey quoted. I liked that it highlighted the contrast and contradictions in Buffy's young, powerful emotions.

Remko- I'm so glad you enjoyed one of Delphine's appropriate nicknames! Thanks!
* * *

28 The Black Market, Part 1


Bravil's streets were now dimly lit by flickering lanterns as I stepped from my home. Lighting a torch to brighten my path, I crossed the wooden bridge. Once the river that split the town was behind me, I turned right and soon found myself standing beneath the sign for 'A Warlock's Luck'.

In response to my knock, I heard several tumblers fall into place before the door swung open. "Ah, welcome. Please come in." Ungarion graciously ushered me inside and relocked the door behind me. "You look positively enchanting tonight."

"Why thank you Ungarion." I extinguished my torch and leaned it against the heavy wooden door. Seating myself in the chair offered by my host, I nervously smoothed my skirt. The mild smell of incense was overpowered by delicious smells coming from the simmering pot over a crackling fire. "Whatever you're cooking smells wonderful." My eyes were drawn to all manner of mystical curiosities that adorned the tables and counters. Parchments, bearing runes I did not recognize, filled the scant available wall space between tapestries.

"Something to drink perhaps?" the Altmer smoothly asked. "Wine, brandy?"

"Some Tamika's would be nice." I said pleasantly, trying to mask my wariness.

Ungarion poured some wine for me and Cyrodiilic brandy for himself. He then sat across the small table from me and raised his silver goblet, along with one eyebrow. "The boar stew will be ready soon. Shall we get down to business?"

After a token sip of wine, I responded, "Ungarion, what's this all about? Why the mystery?"

"Well, my dear, the mystery is necessary. What we are going to discuss is not something one talks about in public." Ungarion swirled the brandy, took a sip and lowered his goblet to the table. "Buffy, I presume you are aware that if you scratch the surface of Bravil, you will find quite the underbelly of a black market."

"You invited me here to reveal there's a skooma trade in Bravil?" I relaxed a bit. "Do you forget I've lived here all my life, silly?"

"No my dear." Ungarion shook his head with an indulgent Altmeri smile. "I have no interest in peddling refined moon sugar slop for the addicts across the street to swill. Nordinor can more than provide for their self-destructive habit. Now, as you know, I am an enchanter, merchant and retired adventurer. That positions me perfectly to quietly attain and move some rather. . . ah, unique merchandise items. The same darker aspects of my past that prevented me from ever being accepted into the guild of mages have provided a network of connections that quietly serves me well."

"So," I said, beginning to understand, "you run a side business trading in exotic and perhaps illegal items. What exactly are you getting at?"

"I think we can help each other, Buffy. But dinner is ready." The Altmer rose and brought stew, bread and cheese to the table, while I refilled our goblets.

"This is a wonderful meal Ungarion," I said truthfully between mouthfuls. "What is it you think we can buy or sell from each other?" I had started just touching the goblet to my lips instead of drinking from it. I figured I was outmatched enough here without any help from Tamika.

Ungarion raised a small bag from the floor and rolled the item it contained into view upon the table. Orange sparkles danced across its black surface and swirled above the sphere that was slightly larger than an apple. A disconcerting humming sound made my ears tingle as the object exuded magic into the air. "This, Buffy, is a sigil stone."

I couldn't tear my eyes from the tiny lights. They were like fireflies, hypnotically hovering around the stone. "Where did it come from? What does it do?" I put my hands over my ears.

Ungarion returned the distracting stone to its bag. The dancing lights followed it inside and the noise was silenced. "They often, but not always, come from the planes of Oblivion. Sigil stones can be used to open and maintain portals, or gates to the domains of Daedra. Of more interest to us however, is the fact that they can also be used to create enchanted items. Different stones have different strengths and abilities. Most of the effects are similar to what you can create at your enchanting altars, but often much stronger."

"But where do you get them Ungarion? Surely you don't travel to the planes of Oblvion!" I asked as I remembered the flaming gate I had seen at Kvatch.

"That is indeed one place they may be found," the Almer explained. "A sigil stone however, is simply a purified morpholith that has been inscribed by a Daedric Prince. . . or Deadra Lord if you prefer. No one can fathom the ways of such beings, or why they might traffic in these stones. Regarding the planes of Oblivion, the dragonfires normally prevent portals from forming. With Emperor Uriel dead and no successor crowned, the Temple of the One is now dark for the first time in recent memory. Centuries ago however, there were several periods when the dragonfi. . . . Ah, forgive me. I see I am losing you."

"Please Ungarion, get to your point." My feigned irritation was an attempt to conceal the intellectual inadequacy I felt. Morpholiths? Dragonfires? Ungarion was talking well beyond the level of my studies at the University.

"Let me phrase things a bit more simply for you, my dear." The Altmer continued. "Do not be so arrogant as to think you and I are the only adventurers to have walked Tamriel over the centuries. Further, do not presume to understand the ways of Daedra Lords. The exact nature of my sources are not important to this negotiation. What should be of concern to you, is deciding if you might be interested in acquiring one or more of these stones from me."

I was unprepared for this. Ungarion had just turned much of what I knew about enchanting upside down. My mind was swirling with confusion and possibilities. I tilted my head and narrowed my eyes. "What type of effects, and in what strengths can you provide?"

"Ah, I see you are interested." Ungarion's eyes brightened. "There are many effects, and the stones come in different strengths. Further, I can only supply what my sources are able to provide. Let's approach this from a different direction. What types of effects do you want that your precious University enchanting altars cannot provide?"

Could it be? My pulse quickened. I thought of the times Superian and I had been startled by foes. It was difficult and dangerous to travel with her, being unable to see approaching life signs - I couldn't cast my spell astride the mare. I knew exactly what I wanted. I tried not to show my eagerness. "Tell me Ungarion, can these stones enchant the mystical effect of detect life? And I don't mean the short ranges I can enchant at the University's altars."

Ungarion smiled. "I just so happen to have two such stones. They can each detect life signs up to a range of almost two hundred feet."

After picking up my goblet, I lowered my eyes and pretended to drink. I needed a moment to compose myself. I set the goblet down and said as calmly as I could, "Tell me, Ungarion, could these stones be used to enchant rings? If so, I might be interested - at the right price."

* * *
From Buffy's scrapbook: Screenshot

~ Author's Note: ~

Ungarion's ability to sell the occasional sigil stone or other limited exotic merchandise at exorbitant prices does not exist in the normal game, of course. Feeling strongly that it should however, I have incorporated the ability into Buffy's game - albeit with significant restrictions.

This post has been edited by Acadian: Oct 13 2011, 07:38 PM


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Destri Melarg
post Sep 15 2010, 04:21 PM
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So Ungarion brought Buffy to his house and plied her with food and drink (which was excellent BTW) all so that he could make a sale? No wonder The Warlock’s Luck is always empty, people are waiting for dinner! biggrin.gif I half-expected him to ask Buffy to be one of his sources, given her adventurous nature. At first I thought Buffy had dropped her goblet when he told her that he did indeed have two stones of detect life. I laughed at the thought that whatever shrewd haggling Buffy might wish to engage in was blown by some spilled Tamika’s. I hope Ungarion doesn’t try to gouge her here. It would be nice for Buffy to have a source for the, shall we say, exotic item.

A nit?
QUOTE
Bravil’s streets of were now dimly lit by flickering lanterns as I stepped from my home.
It appears that Buffy was so eager to hear Ungarion’s proposition that she took an extra ‘of’ from the house.

This post has been edited by Destri Melarg: Sep 15 2010, 04:21 PM


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hazmick
post Sep 15 2010, 04:27 PM
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That Ungarion, he's a sly one. I wish someone would sell sigil stones in-game...and give me food...and wine... biggrin.gif
I, like Destri, was also expecting Buffy to be cast into Oblivion to find these stones, I am thankful that She's only buying one. laugh.gif


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"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

"...a quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business."
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mALX
post Sep 15 2010, 04:32 PM
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ARGH! Buffy looks so small next to Ungarion!!! Oh, I loved this scene in the original too, Buffy is quite the negotiator !!!

This post has been edited by mALX: Sep 15 2010, 04:32 PM


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haute ecole rider
post Sep 15 2010, 04:41 PM
Post #16


Master
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Joined: 16-March 10
From: The place where the Witchhorses play



Sometimes I wish I didn't have to go inside the darned Gates to get a sigil stone! Ugh! The Deadlands are some of my least favorite places in TES - even SI's Dementia is preferable!

I loved what you did with Ungarion here. Making him an illicit dealer in sigil stones just adds a certain depth to the web that is Bravil. I keep thinking of Shanghai a hundred years ago, when all kinds of nasty stuff was going on then (and still is, to a certain extent I imagine). The fact that Buffy is going to get involved in this just adds another depth to her character.

This rewrite is better than what I remember of the previous one. I really liked your description of the sigil stone.


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treydog
post Sep 15 2010, 08:46 PM
Post #17


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Joined: 13-February 05
From: The Smoky Mountains



QUOTE
"You invited me here to reveal there's a skooma trade in Bravil?" I relaxed a bit. "Do you forget I've lived here all my life, silly?"


Those words juxtaposed with the screen-shot… laugh.gif “Next you’ll tell me water is wet.”

QUOTE
I figured I was outmatched enough here without any help from Tamika.


That University education was not wasted on our elf!

The description of the stone and of Buffy's reaction were the sort of first-rate storytelling I have come to expect from you.

An excellent meal, a pedantic Altmer, and a startling revelation. My mind and my belly are both well-satisfied with this chapter. I have a feeling that Ungarion will want something other than gold in payment- no, not that, either! He has been around Bravil too long to make the mistake of trying to extort that sort of “favor” from Buffy!


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The dreams down here aren't broken, nah, they're walkin' with a limp...

The best-dressed newt in Mournhold.
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SubRosa
post Sep 15 2010, 09:14 PM
Post #18


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Between The Worlds



One of my favorite Altmer - Ungarion. I always loved his sense of humor in the game. He takes on a much darker feel in the BF, which is not a bad thing at all. You have made him into a something of a scoundrel, which is always good for man, as it gives him a bit of mystery and excitement. Here we see him with quite the tempting offer. Yet one has to wonder what the price might be for such rare and powerful treasures he has to offer...

I figured I was outmatched enough here without any help from Tamika.
One of those lessons a certain stringy Bosmer is still working on... wink.gif


nits:
'A Warlock's Luck
Did you mean for there to be a closing single quote here?


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Grizzly20
post Sep 16 2010, 01:26 AM
Post #19


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Another excellent read from Acadian! smile.gif I foresee many adventures in Buffy's near future, perhaps quests to obtain gold to purchase the Sigil Stones that he offers? Perhaps, perhaps Buffy will take no part in the illegal underground Black Market, although she did capture a human's life essence for her powerful bow. tongue.gif Can't wait for more!
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Acadian
post Sep 18 2010, 01:18 PM
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From: Las Vegas



In Chapter 28, Buffy discovered that Ungarion was quietly running a high end black market operation. As he showed her a sigil stone, and explained some details about them, the possibilities got the bowgirl's attention. She is quite interested, but equally curious about what the merchant may want in return.

Destri- Thank you. A dilemma: 'The Black Market' story would carry its impact better if presented all at once, but I find much of the detail gets lost if a post is too long. For better or for worse, I opted to split this story. I hope the second half will increase the stakes and tie some things together. Thank you so much also for catching that nit so I could fix it.

hazmick- Thank you! I hope you enjoy the second half of her 'dinner' with Ungarion.

mALX- Thank you! The screenie once again shows the contrast between a 1.1 height Altmer and Buffy, who at 0.9, is the same height as Daenlin. I fear Buffy may be outclassed here by the professional merchant. laugh.gif

Rider- Thank you for favorably comparing the rewrite to the original. It is some of the richer detail we included that pushed this chapter into two episodes. I hope you enjoy the second half. Argh! It just occurred that if Buffy wants sigil stones, she should simply seek out Julian - I hear she has loads of them! biggrin.gif

treydog- Thank you for noting that the sigil stone physically affected Buffy right up to the tips of her pointed ears. You are correct that Ungarion will want more than gold in payment. And you wisely point out he is not likely to be seeking that kind of payment. wink.gif

SubRosa- Thank you! Buffy will display the beginnings of some fine verbal dueling skills in part 2, but alas, there is no doubt she is outmatched by the polished, yet likable merchant. Thank you so much for catching that nit.

Grizzly- Thank you for the kind words! I hope part 2 answers the questions.

All- Now, the conclusion of 'The Black Market' -
* * *

29 The Black Market, Part 2


Ungarion considered my questions for a moment.

"Infusing sigil stone enchantments to rings? Certainly. As far as what I would require in payment, that brings us to the other side of negotiating now doesn't it?" The experienced merchant smiled. "More wine, dear?"

I waved a hand over the top of my goblet. "No thank you. Please continue."

"I was talking to Daenlin recently. Really, Buffy, he is so very proud of you. Why you should have seen his old eyes sparkle as he told me about the bow you created." The Altmer's chatty manner suddenly became quite serious, and he looked directly into my eyes. "In fact, he mentioned exactly what the bow does and how many charges it has."

Ungarion paused to allow the effect of his words to sink in, before continuing. "Daenlin loves you like a granddaughter, however he lacks sufficient knowledge of magic to realize the betrayal hidden within his words. I, on the other hand, am quite familiar with the specifics of enchanting. Now, where in the world did a young elf like you get a grand soul?"

I felt a warm flush as the blood rose to my face and neck. I was sure the white blouse barely covering my shoulders did nothing to conceal my embarrassment. My bow, Slayer, had indeed been enchanted with a black soul gem containing the captured grand life force of a bandit. "I think you know the answer to that. Just like you also know the answer could expel me from the guild."

Dismay at having this dark secret discovered was quickly replaced by concern and anger regarding whatever leverage Ungarion thought he might try to exert over me. I chose my words carefully, opting for simple truth. "Ungarion, you need to realize that my loyalty is not to the guild of mages; rather it is to individuals who are kind to me - like Kud-Ei and Daenlin. Has my trust in the kindness you and I have displayed towards each other in the past been misplaced? It would sadden me greatly to leave the guild, but if you think I will allow you to manipulate me over my use of a black soul gem, you have another thing coming. There is nothing illegal about what I did. Can you say the same about your activities?" It was my turn to raise a single eyebrow. Your move Ungarion.

The Altmer's face, which had remained inscrutable during my little speech, softened. His smile reappeared and he held up one hand disarmingly. "Buffy, speaking as one with less than a. . . stellar past myself, please trust that I have no intention of revealing our little secrets. My intent was simply to highlight that we share a mutual appreciation for discretion. The guild doesn't need to know of your necromantic predilections. Similarly, neither the Legion nor the city guard need to know the details of my little. . . enterprise. Now, that said, I have customers who would pay dearly for black soul gems."

"I'm interested then - now that we understand each other. These two sigil stones you mentioned, what exactly is your price?" I felt a bit more in control, as I touched the goblet of Tamika's to my lips and pretended to drink.

"Ah yes! Down to business." The Altmer grinned and rubbed his hands together. "Each stone will cost you a black soul gem, plus a rather substantial amount of gold." He then quoted a figure that made me grateful I didn't have a mouthful of wine.

"Ungarion! That's more than Count Terentius demanded when I bought my small house." Why did I feel like an insect inside the lair of a rather brilliant, but oily spider? "Is there no way to lower the price?" As soon as the words left my mouth, I realized my pleading tone revealed too much eagerness.

"I'm afraid not," said Ungarion. He seemed to now be enjoying himself. "Any necromancer could supply me with black soul gems. I would prefer, of course, to deal with a more. . . trustworthy source such as yourself. On the other hand, you cannot imagine the risks involved in obtaining these sigil stones. I'll tell you what. If we make a deal right now, I'll throw in a couple rings for no extra charge and we'll send you out of here tonight with a pair of enchanted detect life rings. Need I remind you that between the two stones, that is a range of nearly four hundred feet?"

The merchant was experienced enough to have seen right through my feigned efforts at 'mild interest at the right price'. I blew an imagined strand of hair from my face in resignation. "Deal." Ok, Buffy, there goes most of the gold that just a couple weeks ago you were bragging to Daenlin about. "I'll need to retrieve the required payment from my home." Rising to my feet, I added, "I can be back in a few minutes."

After a quick run home, I was soon seated again across from Ungarion, a large bag of gold on the table between us. "You may trust that I have the gems. Now, make the rings."

Ungarion stood, and without inspecting its contents, moved the heavy bag to the floor behind his sales counter. He then reached into a display case and produced two unremarkable silver rings. "Wait here." He disappeared up the stairs.

I opened my pack, removed two black soul gems and hid them within the silken folds of my green skirt.

Several minutes later, Ungarion padded down the stairs and placed two softly glowing rings on the table. "Try them."

"I'll trust you," I picked up the rings and looked Ungarion directly in the eyes, "after all, I know where you live, and I apparently don't have to tell you how dangerous my bow is."

Ungarion's eyes widened slightly, but his face remained pleasant. The spider apparently had not quite expected that response from the insect seated across from him. "Point taken, my friend. I promise you they will perform as I have said. Now, the gems?"

"Oh yes." I placed two black soul gems on the table.

Ungarion inspected the pair of dark stones, holding them up to his ear to ensure they were empty. He smiled. "More wine, my dear?"

"I think not. In fact I shall call it a night, Ungarion," I lied. "Thank you for dinner."

"Certainly." Ungarion unlocked the door to his shop and lit my torch for me. "Should you require more. . . shall we say, hard to find items, let me know, hmm?"

I walked home quickly. The smooth and experienced merchant had clearly flustered and outmaneuvered me. I didn't care.

Just a few minutes later I emerged from my house. The silk skirt and peasant blouse had been replaced by a hunter's vest, along with buckskin greaves and boots. My quiver and bow were on my back. I ran all the way through the dark town and out the city gate of Bravil before I stopped.

Pink glows erupted everywhere as I slid the two rings on. There was the guard on post at the end of the bridge. Behind the stables building were Superian and Carandial's bay, Aetherious. Gazing towards the Niben, I could see several crawling pink glows - mudcrabs - all the way down by the shore!

Superian didn't understand my excitement, but nevertheless became infected with it as I saddled her. She was prancing sideways, snorting and bobbing her head as I led her from the stables. I then mounted my precious mare, turned her north along the Green Road and let her choose the pace.

As we rode under the stars, I reveled in the feeling of confidence and safety. Finally, I could detect threats before they approached Superian and I. My new rings solved the problem of not being able to cast a detect life spell while riding. In fact, they would free me of having to recast my spell while on foot as well. I thought back to the countless times I had wished for this.

Reluctantly, I turned Superian back towards Bravil. Ok, so I was almost broke (again). And well, yes, I was dealing in black market goods. But I figured at the end of the day, a girl's gotta have what a girl's gotta have.

* * *
From Buffy's scrapbook: Screenshot

This post has been edited by Acadian: Oct 13 2011, 07:41 PM


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Screenshot: Buffy in Artaeum
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