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> Life Beyond Main Quest, A place where old habits continue, and new habits develop . . .
haute ecole rider
post Aug 25 2013, 09:53 PM
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Master
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Joined: 16-March 10
From: The place where the Witchhorses play



Hi all,

Julian continues to tell me her ongoing tale. There are many questions left unanswered by Old Habits Die Hard, and she will do her best to answer them!

So here we go again . . .


Evening Star 29, 4E01

"Julian." A voice from my childhood reached me beneath the murmur of injury and illness. I looked up from my patient to see the aged Breton standing in the doorway of the hospice.

I acknowledged him with a nod, then turned back to the injured man before me. "That leg is healing well, Ancus," I assured him. "Another couple of weeks, and you'll be swimming again in the harbor."

"Thank ye, kind lady," relief flooded the beggar's tone as he lay back on the narrow cot. "With these old joints, that's the only way I can keep active." I nodded my agreement. I recalled seeing Puny Ancus swimming every morning at dawn in the calm waters of the harbor, between the moored ships and the lighthouse. At these times, he moved without pain or stiffness. I suspected it gave him the same benefits that the Way of the Crane provided me. I smiled at Ancus and grasped his shoulder before I moved to the front of the hospice.

"I see Ancus is doing better," Tandilwe joined me for a few strides. "Thank you for helping with him."

"He may be a homeless beggar," I answered, "but he is my neighbor just as much as everyone else in the Waterfront."

"I wish more people felt the way you do," Tandilwe murmured before moving to her next patient's bedside.

Finally I reached the doorway and Traven. I put my palms together before my chest and inclined my head to him in the mages' greeting. "What can I do for you, Archmagister?"

"How are things with the Waterfront folks?" Traven stepped back into the late afternoon overcast. I followed him and glanced at the darkening sky. No red thunderclouds. Though it had been two weeks since Mehrunes Dagon had been banished back to the Deadlands, I still could not shake my new habit of scanning the sky for telltales of those Oblivion Gates.

"The hospice is half full now, sir," I turned my gaze back to Traven's face. "Most of the patients are recovering well."

"Then we can expect to see you at the Arcane University soon?" Traven led me to the nearby cemetery at the eastern end of Waterfront Isle. Fresh graves still waited new stones, their temporary wooden markers beginning to weather in the winter rains.

I hesitated, glancing back at the rough shelter of the hospice. "I'm not certain," I spoke slowly. "There's still so much to do here --"

"Julian!" A child's voice cut me off. I turned to see a Bosmer girl run up to me, a furry bundle in her arms. "See, you were right! Mausie is doing better!" The kitten mewed in protest at being dangled in the girl's hands as she held the animal up for my inspection.

I knelt to her level and cradled the tiny creature in my hands. Her dignity restored, the kitten submitted to my gentle probing with an astoundingly powerful purr. Her legs gave no indication of the trauma suffered just two weeks ago, when the Gate opened at the southwestern corner of the Waterfront Isle.

"Yes, Brynn," I assured the girl, "Mausie is all better. She'll grow up to be a healthy cat." I tucked the tabby-stripped creature into the child's cradling arms. "Keep feeding her small amounts of meat once a day. No more milk, remember what happened the last time?"

"Eww!" Brynn's face crinkled in disgust. "No more milk!" She shook her head emphatically before running off.

Traven's eyes on me were both thoughtful and amused. "I see you've still the soft spot for animals." I felt my cheeks warm at his reminder of my childhood obsession.

I returned to my full height. "Animals have suffered just as much as mortals here," I muttered more to myself than to Traven. His smile widened briefly, then faded on a sigh.

"Julian, you went to a great deal of effort to gain the necessary recommendations for entry to the University. In your place, any other candidate would have run to Raminus Polus to claim his spot on the student rolls. Yet you hesitate."

I considered his words. How to explain? These people have so little, yet they've suffered as much as those living on City Isle. I live here now, how can I turn my back on them? "Archmagister," I took a deep breath. "Who will help these people recover? Who will make certain there are enough healing potions to go around?"

"The Watchmen and the Temple can help here."

I shook my head. "The Waterfront is not a place where citizens trust the City Watch," I reminded him. "And there simply aren't enough Temple healers to go around."

Traven bent to one of the temporary markers and set it straight in the sandy soil. "Julian, I've seen enough of your spell casting to know that your magicka has grown considerably since those days when you struggled to heal your own scrapes and bruises. Yet you have not learned to control it, as you know how to control the sword in your hand." He met my gaze. "This can create a dangerous situation not only for yourself, but also for others around you."

"I've been careful, Archmagister," I knelt beside another grave and tidied the wilted blooms propped against the wood panel.

"Tandilwe tells me you've been up late nights replenishing healing potions for the next day," Traven apparently tried another approach. "Do you realize that alchemy consumes magicka as well?"

I glanced up at him, startled. No wonder I feel so tired these days! "As long as they need healers in the hospice," I nodded at the rough-built shelter just a few paces away, "I'll stay here and help as much as I can."

"Are you worried about the tuition?" Traven's abrupt change of subject caught me off guard, and I could only nod. "Silly girl!" Traven chided me. "If you had bothered to speak to Raminus Polus about the admission process, he would have told you that the Anvil and the Bravil Mages Guild chapters are sponsoring you!"

I stared at Traven. "S - sponsoring?" I stammered. "What does that mean?"

"Each Guild chapter has the option to sponsor a student of their choice and to pay up to a quarter of that student's tuition, for as long as that student remains enrolled in the University full-time." Traven's smile widened at the astonishment I knew showed in my face. "Between Anvil and Bravil, half of your tuition is covered."

I stared at the overcast sky, momentarily glad I was still kneeling. Anvil makes sense - after all, Carahil and Felen Relas knew me when I was a child, they know me better than anyone else except maybe for Traven himself. But Bravil --! "Why Bravil?"

"Kud-Ei is very impressed by the way you handled certain challenges during your recent visits to Bravil," Traven answered. "She feels very strongly that the Mages Guild needs more members with your real-world experience, and fewer - ah - ivory tower warriors."

I lifted my brows at his terms. "Ivory tower --?"

Traven chuckled. "One dangerous habit scholars must beware is the tendency to get so buried in their books they forget to look up at the world around them. Such as a certain pair of young mages more obsessed with playing pranks on their clueless chapter head than with figuring out how to keep the folks warm on those cold mountain nights."

I stifled a groan at the memory of the dressing-down I had given Volanaro and J'skar my first night in the Guild. Yet they taught me a few useful spells, I found myself defending them.

They did not understand the practical value of those spells, Traven shook his head. They learned them only because they could. You, however, chose to learn spells that would be of use in your travels.

I rose to my feet and turned to face Traven. Isnt that the best use of the magicka you are born with? I shook my head. I understand wanting to know more, Akatosh knows how many military history and strategy books Ive read through the years! If not for those seeking knowledge for knowledges sake, how can we expand our understanding of the world around us? I shook my head. Like the nirnroots. Why have no new ones grown in so many centuries?

Travens brows rose. I see you have been talking to Sinderion! He chuckled. All the more reason for you to enroll at the University. Perhaps you can change Kalatars boring lecture on the runestones!


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Captain Hammer
post Aug 25 2013, 10:39 PM
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Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy! Julian Is Back, Baby!

Am I glad to see this. Julian's finally confronting that most daunting challenge of her new post-Martin-turning-into-a-Great-Bloody-Dragon life: University enrollment.

It's nice to see you keep up with Julian's significantly ahistorical homestead on the Imperial City waterfront. And it's really nice to see Hannibal Traven being his usual Everything-an-Archmage-should-be self. Including remarks about healing cats (instead of putting them in Necromantically-quantum boxes). Okay, I'll stop with the Tamriel physics jokes.

That said, the reminder that Traven knew Julian in her childhood was a great opening, a perfect remark about the one guy that would take a while before outlawing a form of magic that makes the usual life & death distinctions a gradient because there's a lot to learn there.

Think Julian will be running into Falcar any time soon?


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SubRosa
post Aug 25 2013, 10:54 PM
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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Between The Worlds



Yay, Julian is back!

I put my palms together before my chest and inclined my head to him in the mages' greeting.
I liked this little bit of world-building. It reminds me of the Minbari greeting in Babylon 5.

And I see Julian still has a soft spot for animals as well. I wonder how Paint and Blanco are faring?

"The Watchmen and the Temple can help here."
Leave it in the hands of Rorschach and The Comedian! ohmy.gif

Trust Carahil and Kud-Ei to look out for Julian!

I enjoyed Traven's very down-to-Nirn manner, and his stress on the practical value of using magic to solve real problems over simply the pursuit of knowledge undertaken by parchment princes. It shows that he still lives in the real world, in spite of that bedroom he has in that ivory tower.

Edit: So what happened to Julian being On Her Majesty's Secret Service? Did she quit after the Crisis? Did they let her quit? (lets face it, the spy agency that only lets people retire by killing them is about as old a chiche as there is).

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Aug 26 2013, 07:08 PM


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Grits
post Aug 26 2013, 12:02 AM
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From: The Gold Coast



How marvelous to hear from Julian! Indeed my curiosity about her LBMQ has not dimmed in the time since the end of her main quest adventure.

I'm so glad she's still telling you her story! smile.gif


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McBadgere
post Aug 26 2013, 01:38 PM
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*Wonders how people can write two excellent stories at the same time while he struggles to write one...*

*Sigh*...

Excellent story...Dodgy title... laugh.gif ...But excellent start to a story nevertheless... biggrin.gif ...

Loved the way she seemed to be looking after everyone...Brilliant touch that...

Fantastic stuff, brilliant, as ever...

Nice one!!...

*Applauds heartily*...
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ghastley
post Aug 26 2013, 07:03 PM
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I love the way you turned Puny Ancus' probably unintended swimming into a feature of this piece. The quirks of the game can be a fun inspiration sometimes. (That makes no sense, so let's make it make sense!) I've seen at least three explanations of the fire at the Old All Thing Alchemical, and they've all made the stories better.

So is Julian about to do the whole Mages Guild quest line? Or will it diverge from the standard?



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treydog
post Aug 27 2013, 01:28 AM
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Master
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From: The Smoky Mountains



(Contented sigh).

Basically- what everyone else said.

It is so wonderful to hear Julian's familiar voice once more. (And I do, you know- I imagine it has a slight roughness from years on parade ground and battlefield. Not quite the "Dunmer rasp" of Morrowind fame, but just a slight burr, softened by her Anvilian background...)

Simply grand.


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Acadian
post Aug 28 2013, 03:24 PM
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Paladin
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From: Las Vegas



A warm welcome back to Julian, as we find her once again rescuing kittens this time from the detritus of Dagon.

I recall that she has her mothers interest in alchemy, and the University should be an excellent place to develop that. Time will tell, if she gets embroiled in the affairs that challenge the Mages Guild. I hope she indeed finds a way to regrow Nirnroot! Because the Nirnies dont regrow, Buffys only ever collected the one sample at the bottom of the Cheydinhal Mages Guild well.

With the number of wonderful fanfic tales here at chorrol, supporting two simultaneous stories from the same writer doesnt fit my dance card. Aside from time constraints, it would also confuse and split my meager ability to focus, since I like to strongly associate a writer with only a single story/primary character at a time. Ive been unhappy with my results in attempting to keep up with the twin (sometimes three) simultaneous stories of Darkness Eternal for example. SubRosa has sidestepped this situation by pausing Teresa to feature Aela for a time. Since Julian and I share much water under the bridge, and her story features wonderfully familiar sights, people and events from within the game Oblivion, Ill be following this one. smile.gif

Again, its so nice to have Julian back!


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haute ecole rider
post Aug 29 2013, 12:01 AM
Post #9


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



First, I apologize for giving everyone the impression that this will be an ongoing story.

It's not.

It's rather more a sporadic journal format where whenever Julian and I find time to chat, she will tell me a little bit more of her life after the MQ. But her story is no longer the main story - that is and will remain Cardonaccum for the time being. Julian is content with her new role as a secondary story. I will just post notices in Cardonaccum whenever I post a new tale from Julian's life, but they will be few and far between.

Julian will not be pursuing the Mages Guild quest line . I doubt she'll even seek out the Mages Staff - she will continue to have difficulty seeing herself as a mage. Rather, she will focus instead on becoming a healer, and I do foresee her seeking Master's Training from our beloved Oleta at Kvatch. No, someone else is destined to take on Falcar and Mannimarco and become Archmagister. I do see a friendship forming between the two, however, as both share a common concern in figuring out how to save the Nirnroot from extinction.

Julian says Paint and Blanco are doing well. Paint is living out his days in contentment at Weynon Priory, and after the fall of Dagon, Julian takes Red and Jasmine back there to keep him company. So it's almost like old times for Paint. Blanco is still hanging out with Aelwin Merowald. Julian just swims across the lake from her little shack on the Waterfront to see him - quicker and more refreshing than taking the long route through the Temple District and over the Great Bridge.

As for Her Majesty's Secret Service, that is a topic for an upcoming (short) tale. I also plan to use this segment to introduce some other POV's as well - Baurus and Steffan's come to mind. Much as SubRosa did with Vols in the TF, I plan to give a few beloved characters from Julian's story voices of their own. If there are any other voices you would like to hear from Old Habits Die Hard, please let me know and I will see what I can come up with!

And for those who were impressed by Narina Carvain as seen through Julian's eyes (and yes, I'm very impressed by her myself too), I plan to write a short story of how she came to the County Seat of Bruma. Once I've mulled over the details, and once Cardonaccum is finished, I will write it!



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Captain Hammer
post Aug 31 2013, 05:13 AM
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QUOTE
First, I apologize for giving everyone the impression that this will be an ongoing story.

It's not.


And there was sadness.

QUOTE
Julian will not be pursuing the Mages Guild quest line . I doubt she'll even seek out the Mages Staff - she will continue to have difficulty seeing herself as a mage.


And the sadness spread throughout the land.

QUOTE
No, someone else is destined to take on Falcar and Mannimarco and become Archmagister. I do see a friendship forming between the two, however, as both share a common concern in figuring out how to save the Nirnroot from extinction.


But then Fall gave Winter the slip, and went straight into Spring. And there was much rejoicing.

QUOTE
As for Her Majesty's Secret Service, that is a topic for an upcoming (short) tale. I also plan to use this segment to introduce some other POV's as well - Baurus and Steffan's come to mind. Much as SubRosa did with Vols in the TF, I plan to give a few beloved characters from Julian's story voices of their own. If there are any other voices you would like to hear from Old Habits Die Hard, please let me know and I will see what I can come up with!


And lo did they eat Sir Robin's minstrels, and there was much rejoicing throughout the land.

Which brings me to the List of Names I'd like to hear about.

For now, it's a simple start, all focusing in Cheydinhal. Does Farwil Indarys become the better Mer that his father the Count wishes him to be? And do the suspicions about Captain Ulrich Leland ever come to something?

And seriously, stop with all the awesome ideas. It's starting to get a little freaky that I can't find you on the shelves in my local bookstores.


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My fists are not the Hammer!
100% Tamriel Department of Awesomeness (TDA) Certified Grade-A Dragonborn. Do not use before 11/11/11. Product of Tamriel.

Awtwyr Draghoyn: The FanFic; The FanArt.
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haute ecole rider
post Apr 5 2014, 10:16 PM
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Master
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From: The place where the Witchhorses play



@Captain BamBam: Thanks very much for that enthusiastic endorsement of Julian's LBMQ. I am happy to present you with Julian's biggest challenge yet: University Enrollment. Though we have to go through the Admission process first. Just to make things formal, you know. wink.gif

@SubRosa: I'm delighted to finally get into the world-building I've always wanted to do with this game. Now that we are free of the constraints of the MQ, Julian is fully into exploring the strange land that is Cyrodiil. Having spent her childhood on the Gold Coast and her adulthood in various provinces (though not Morrowind, unfortunately), she finally gets the opportunity to get to know her homeland better.

@Grits: Julian is one of my most pervasive characters. After living with her story for three years, and feeling the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat (de feet? Every soldier knows that one! laugh.gif ), she is a hard one to forget. Every time i play Oblivion, no matter the character I'm rolling, she's always there, that voice in the background that provides the commentary. While I adore just about every one of my characters, Julian is the one I'm having the most difficulty letting go of. She certainly isn't letting go of me!

@McB: By the time I wrote this little segment, I had already written 39 chapters of Cardonaccum. So it wasn't difficult to pick up Julian's story as I was taking a little break from Lady Cora's anyway. Unfortunately, now I've caught up with all those chapters, so I'm back to writing Lady Cora once again. But it is now time for a little comic relief with Julian. Writing her LBMQ like this is great - I can write these little bits as they come, and keep up the pace for Cardonaccum.

@ghastley: I always thought Puny Ancus went swimming for his health. Summer or winter, it's the first thing he does when he gets up. So I put it in Julian's story that it's how he deals with his joint ills. wink.gif

@treydoggie: It's interesting to hear how you perceive Julian's voice. For me, yes, I agree with the roughness, but I'm not so sure about the burr. More of a Latin accent, where the r's are rrrrolled in the back of the throat and she struggles still with the j's ('Yoolian', rather than 'Julian', that sort of thing.) Still, I won't argue with the Chorrol dachshund!

@Acadian: I don't intend to post in this as regularly as I am in Cardonaccum. I do hope this infrequent pace doesn't challenge your ability to keep up with both. As for Lady Cora's story, we are entering what will be familiar ground to our paladin as she makes landfall in Cyrod. Though things are happening four hundred years earlier, so not all is quite the same. I do hope that you will continue to support Cardonaccum, for your insight is always invaluable.

LBMQ so far: Archmagister Traven has visited Julian at the Waterfront hospice where she has been busy healing the poor in the aftermath of Dagon's invasion. Finally convinced to enter the University, Julian musters the courage to head out to that island on Enrollment Day, when young hopefuls from all over Tamriel hope to gain entrance into the University.

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Morning Star 8, 4E01 - Enrollment Day at the Arcane University


I pushed the tall copper-sheathed door open and entered the lobby. Within, several young men and women turned to face me. So much attention at once spurred a brief impulse to turn tail and run, but a familiar face approached me through the crowd.

Julian! Tar-Meenas jeweled eyes sparkled in the magelight as she caught my hand. Sso glad you came! She drew me down to the floor and into the chaos of Enrollment. Have you completed the admission process yet?

Admission process? I repeated stupidly. A ripple of snickers passed around the room, but stilled at a fierce glare from the Argonian. All I know is that Master - Archmagister Traven told me to report to Raminus Polus. Now a hush fell over the aspiring students, and their stares turned from amusement to something else.

Sso he did! Tar-Meena winked at me. Put thesse kidss in their place, no? she whispered sibilantly. None of them are meeting with the Steward to the Magess Council, nor have they ever sspoken with so exalted a perssonage as the Archmagisster himsself!

I winced. So much for keeping a low profile. Everywhere I go . . . I didnt intend to . . .

Never mind, Tar-Meena shook her finger at me as she continued to draw me after her toward one of the rear doors. Lets go find Raminuss and get thingss sstarted. Then we will get you enrolled in ssomething!

I hesitated briefly as she stepped through the portal into the part of the University open only to mages. But at her impatient gesture, I followed her through the door out onto a circular terrace that embraced the rear part of the Archmagisters Tower. Popping, crackling sounds reached my ears as I inhaled deeply of the cold, damp air typical of winter on the Imperial Isle. People of all races, wearing green baggy robes or tailored blue robes strolled around. Here and there small clusters of two or three mages stood engaged in intense conversation, their hands sometimes gesturing, sometimes spurring magicka into visibility. Tall Altmeri and slender Bretons seemed to predominate, but I was encouraged to see a couple of Redguards as well. So maybe I wont stand out so much, after all.

One of the blue-robed mages turned, his brown hair shining darkly in the winter air. I recognized the weathered face and brown eyes of Raminus Polus as his gaze met ours. A smile passed over his features, and he spoke something to his companions. As they drifted away, he strode quickly over to us.

Julian! He greeted me warmly. Finally! I cant tell you how delighted I am that you are finally here. He nodded at Tar-Meena, who bowed respectfully to him before moving away. Come, lets get the paperwork started. Several of our examiners are free at the moment, so we should be able to expedite things quickly for you.

Um, examiners? I repeated. Paperwork I understood, having dealt with plenty of it as pilus in the Legion. But the thought of exams gave me the shivers. I hated answering esoteric questions that lacked relevance to the practical reality I dealt with every day.

Polus must have sensed something of my unease. Merely an assessment of your skills, he advised. We want to have an idea of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as learn your primary areas of interest. This will help us develop a plan for your course of study. He winked at me almost playfully. No need having you study basic destruction when you have already advanced to shock spells!

I glanced sharply at him, wondering how he knew my magical repertoire. Did he see me in action? When?

I am a battlemage, remember, he reminded me gently as he led me down from the balcony toward one of the tall buildings backed into the encircling wall. I fought in the Temple District alongside the Palace Guard. Many of us did. We walked across a verdant garden, mostly green this time of the year. I caught a mingling of scents from various alchemical plants and glanced around, seeking their locations. To my amazement, every green plant within sight was instantly recognizable from The Pocket Guide to Cyrodiilic Flora.

We maintain an extensive Alchemical Garden, Polus caught my interest. Julienne Fanis is looking forward to meeting you. She is talking about recreating the Fire of Life potions your mother used to make.

I- Im not certain I recall the recipe, I began, but Polus shushed me with a gesture.

Fanis loves an alchemical challenge. Im certain the two of you together can accomplish something. He led me into the building. Without hesitation Polus started up the stairs, nodding briefly to the two mages who stared at me curiously. Come in, he waved me into a small room. Have a seat, he pointed me to the chair beside the desk. He lowered the drop leaf and began rummaging in the pigeonholes. Where is it? He pulled sheets of papers out, glanced through them, then placed them back before moving to the next compartment. Where did she put the blasted things? he muttered to himself, intense concentration on his face. Suddenly his expression transformed into victory. Aha! Here we go! He placed the sheet down, seated himself, and opened the bottle of ink. Dipping his quill into the black liquid, he scribbled on the form. Lets see, its the eight of Morning Star, four ee one. Now he looked up at me.

What is your registered name?

Julian, of Anvil, I replied. No surname. Mother never gave us one.

Polus worked as efficiently as any bureaucrat as we worked through the admissions form. At the bottom of the first page, he waved his left hand over the sheet. The gleaming ink dried beneath the green flickering from his fingers, and he shuffled the sheaf to the second page. Hmm, his eyes scanned the paper. Best you fill this out yourself, he rose to his feet and motioned for me to take his seat. Take your time, Julian.

I obeyed his unspoken command. Seated before the desk, I picked up the page and squinted at the tiny characters. Polus waved his fingers at the candle, and the light increased to a more comfortable level. He stepped back as I studied the application.

Hmm. A list of spells I know. How long I have known each spell. How often I use each spell. Areas of interest. Why do I want to study at the Arcane University? Why do I want to study my chosen areas of interest? Gods! I hate essay questions!

I put my head down and bent to my work. The first part came easily with a little thought. For my areas of interest, I wrote Restoration and Alchemy. But the last two questions gave me pause. Why do I want to study at the Arcane University? Havent I learned plenty on my own? Ive learned how to heal animals from Marz and Cirroc, how to restore magicka on all creatures. The Pocket Guide to Cyrodiilic Flora has expanded on the little knowledge I absorbed from my mother. So why do I want to study here?

There are no right or wrong answers, Julian, Poluss voice quietly cut through my puzzlement. Only what you feel or think. This is not that kind of examination. We have none of that here. He chuckled softly to himself. Despite what some of our instructors may think.

Finally I finished my writing, and set the quill down carefully on its little rest. My head ached from the effort to fit all my scribblings into the tiny spaces allocated for the answers. As Polus scanned over the sheet, I rubbed my eyes with finger and thumb.

Because everyone expects me to? Polus repeated my words. Is that why you want to study at the Arcane University?

Why should I want to? I countered. My mother was an alchemist without any formal training beyond what she learned in Hammerfell. Everything Ive learned about healing has been from the Chapel Healers. And Ive healed some pretty bad injuries.

But have you ever wondered why things work the way they do? Polus met my gaze from his place beside the diamond-paned window. Beyond I could see gathering clouds chasing away the blue sky.

Yes, but as long as things work the way theyre supposed to work, what does it matter? I countered.

Poluss brow lifted. What if things dont work the way theyre supposed to? What then?

Ah, well . . . For some reason my mind darted back to the buried halls of Sancre Tor and my battles with the undead Blades. The unexpected behavior of Casnars undead bones and how I had to adapt my fighting tactics to counter his, and how he had adapted to mine so quickly.

You have a curious mind, Julian, Polus stepped beside me to search through the pigeonholes again. He found what he sought and held it up to the light. Julian has asked fundamental questions about the Sigil Stones and her experiences with them. How are they fueled? What makes them stronger the longer they keep a Gate open? If they are fed by mortal souls much as Mundane soul gems are, what happens to those souls when a Sigil Stone is used to enchant an object?

I blinked in surprise at hearing my questions to Carahil echoed in Poluss voice. Did she tell Polus what I was asking? I was merely curious if she knew the answers! That was just idle speculation, sir, I muttered.

Idle speculation! Polus exclaimed. What about this? Julian has expressed a strong interest in the quality of magicka possessed by those considered dumb beasts. Unlike most of her race, she does not consider them lacking in intelligence. Though she seems surprised to learn that others share her opinion as well.

That was Marz, I inhaled slowly. She taught me how to restore Paints magicka after that will owisp attack.

Echoed by Cirroc and Orania at Bruma, Polus fingered a few other sheets of parchment. Already I am forming a clear idea of your skills and talents, Julian. But have you ever asked why anyone would want to study at the Arcane University?

I thought back to my conversations with various mages. Jskars voice purred in my memories: If you can get to the Arcane University, they let you make your own spells there. Athragars enthusiasm for the opportunity: Training and spells, training and spells. It gets so boring after a while; maybe someday I'll be able to move to the Arcane University. Adriennes fascination with books: You should see the library they have there! It's the only place worth visiting in the Imperial City, if you ask me. I only make the trip if I can't find a specific book here. Everyone has different reasons for wanting to study here, I suppose, I said finally. To craft new spells. To read new books. Little heel-pounding Jeanne popped into my minds eye. To meet powerful people.

None of those appeal to you? Those somber brown eyes held the faintest twitch of humor.

Lets say I fail to understand that sort of appeal, sir, I answered. But as for myself, I only want to learn restoration and alchemy so I can become a better healer.

Why a healer? Polus replaced the parchments in the desk and motioned for me to follow him. Why not a battlemage? You certainly have the combat experience, and Boderi Faram is certainly interested in speaking with you.

No more fighting for me, I shook my head. Im done.

Thats a good enough answer, Polus nodded approvingly. But thats not to say your experience cant be of benefit, if only for training the youngsters. Ill let Boderi speak to you about that.


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McBadgere
post Apr 6 2014, 12:52 PM
Post #12


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QUOTE(haute ecole rider @ Apr 5 2014, 10:16 PM) *


@McB: By the time I wrote this little segment, I had already written 39 chapters of Cardonaccum...


dry.gif ...Pfffft...I'd already written 39 chapters...Pah...It's only a small, little thing that's not really all that important...[/cheekymocktone]...PFFFFTTT!!....

tongue.gif biggrin.gif wink.gif ...

I'm so only joking...And far more than a little envious... laugh.gif ...

Fair dues, you write so much, and it's always amazing work...

I loved this trip into the university, and seeing Julian's lack of...Surety?...Is that the word?...She's unsure of why she's there, exactly...Loved that about it...

Brilliant stuff...

Nice one!!..


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SubRosa
post Apr 6 2014, 09:54 PM
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4E01. Well that is saying something right there.

I loved the unintentional name dropping! biggrin.gif So much for scornful students! Not everyone gets their admission papers filled out by the headmaster of the school!

And hello Raminus Polus. He seems well informed on Julian's magical abilities. That speaks well of him. Oh, I see he was there on the spot during the final battle. It is nice to know that in your world, the Mages Guild did not just sit on the duffs and ignore the end of the world like they do in the game.

I suspect that Julian's unconscious thought about the plants betrays where at least some of her interests lie..

I do echo Julian's question of why would she want to go to the Arcane University? Raminus seems to be supplying the answers quite well. Though it begs the question of what is she doing there in the first place if she is not interested in the University?


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Acadian
post Apr 6 2014, 10:57 PM
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First day of school! Julian wears her age, race and fame a bit awkwardly here (as we would expect), but Im sure that will soon fade.

People of all races, wearing green baggy robes... - - Hee! I see newbs still have to wear those awful green bags! tongue.gif

Why not a battlemage? You certainly have the combat experience, and Boderi Faram is certainly interested in speaking with you.

No more fighting for me, I shook my head. Im done.

Thats a good enough answer, Polus nodded approvingly.'
- - Good enough answer indeed, Julian! Oh, did you change Boderis last name from Farano to Faram intentionally?

Nicely done!


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treydog
post Apr 7 2014, 02:07 AM
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Ever and always, I look forward to seeing how Julian's life progresses...

And this vignette does not disappoint. Fame does not rest easy on her shoulders- she sees herself only as a person who "did what needed to be done." Which echoes what Audie Murphy said about his actions- (paraphrasing from faulty memory)- "It wasn't about being brave. I just saw what needed to be done and did it."

QUOTE
I hated answering esoteric questions that lacked relevance to the practical reality I dealt with every day.


I understand her feelings on THAT one. And I can also appreciate Raminus' probing questions about needing to understand how things work- or what to do if they don't

QUOTE
No more fighting for me, I shook my head. Im done.


Trey wishes her good fortune with that one. He, too, had his fill and more. (Of course, he was a lot grumpier about it....)

Wonderful writing, again showing why Julian has a place in so many of our hearts.


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Grits
post Apr 12 2014, 01:20 AM
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What a change to see Julian out of her element and uncertain among the students. In saving the world she rose to the occasion, but filling out forms allows room for self-consciousness. I was not surprised at Julians interest in healing and alchemy, since I vividly recall her healing Sai and eating the daedra heart in OHDH. Sectioned it like a pepper. ohmy.gif


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haute ecole rider
post Jul 4 2017, 05:07 AM
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So, I've been AWOL playing ESO and working and not much else.

However, a recent conversation in-game with a fellow Chorrolite (can't recall, but I think it was Grits. Or maybe it was mALX. Acadian, perhaps? anyways, one of those three) led to a mention of a small tidbit of Julian's life beyond the Main Quest that I think her loyal fans will find interesting, and perhaps as satisfying as she did . . .

This little episode was written when I was stuck with writer's block, as a means to give me a lodestar for her development in OHDH. Having written this, I was able to progress the story to its bittersweet end.

So, without much ado:

This episode takes place two years after Saint Martin's transformation into the Avatar of Akatosh. Julian has progressed in her Mages Guild training, but has never forgotten her friends in a certain destroyed town. She is tasked with bringing vital news from the Elder Council.

Leaving my pack behind, I stepped out of the newly-built Mages Guild chapter house. People passing by glanced more than once at me. I thought I knew why. Instead of my usual mail armor, a blue velvet gown clung to my body, falling in a full skirt to show just a peep of blue suede shoes. My white hair was piled high atop my head, secured with the ebony sticks. The only jewelry I wore was the Jewel of the Rumare, in its accustomed place on the little finger of my right hand. My one concession to my soldier persona was the plain katana strapped at my hip.

Turning north, away from the newly-repaired gates, I started past the Chapel of Akatosh. Its bell tower restored, the church dominated the gate plaza once again. Glancing at it, I saw again Martin’s tired face, the despair in his gaze the first time we met. Tired no more, I thought. Akatosh, I miss you, Martin. You were a good friend to me. I’m sorry I never saw you as anything more than just that - a good friend. But I promised you, no regrets. And I have kept that promise so far, and intend to do so until the day I die.

The street, still showing signs of the devastation that had visited Kvatch just a couple of years ago, led me past the Chapel towards the market quarter. Entering the bazaar was like entering a maelstrom, with stalls crowded cheek by jowl with each other, goods on display, and merchants shouting for business. More than a few recognized me, and hailed me variously by my name, as the Hero of Kvatch, and as the Champion of Cyrodiil, all the while offering me the best of their wares. With polite smiles, I weaved my way past them, and continued north. The arena rose on my left, still ruined. Children played among its tumbled stones.

It wasn’t long before I reached the Castle moat. Matius would likely be in there, I knew. He had been madly working on the restoration of the Castle, in anticipation of the new Count’s appointment by the Elder Council.

“Hail, Julian!” a familiar voice reached me from the direction of the arena. Stopping to look in that direction, I spotted a tall Imperial, with a shock of black hair highlighted by a white patch above the right temple, heading in my direction. Steffan! His grin matched mine as he reached me. “I’m glad to see you here, today, ma’am,” he greeted me. We grasped left wrists soldier fashion, then he stepped back to look at me up and down, still holding my wrist in his left hand. “You clean up good, Julian,” he teased me. I chuckled.

“What are you working on now, Steffan?” I asked him. He jerked his thumb over his shoulder at the ruined Arena.

“Measuring that old ruin,” he remarked. “Matius is thinking of - what was the word he used? - repurposing the Arena for something.”

“I’m certain the Kvatch residents would prefer to see the Arena rebuilt,” I commented. Steffan shrugged, his gaze darkening momentarily.

“Not many of those left,” he said quietly. “Most of the people you see here are immigrants.”

“Aye,” I agreed, looking around. “So, nice job on the Mages Guild,” I continued, looking back at him. “Almost as nice as Cloud Ruler Temple, if I may say so.”

“Ha,” he shook his head. “Thanks, Julian, but I can never match that workmanship.” Now he nodded toward the Moat Bridge. “I see you’re headed for the Castle. Looking for Matius?”

Hearing a slight edge in his voice, I held Steffan’s gaze. I thought he was getting along with Matius? “Yes, as a matter of fact, I am,” I responded. “Official business. You might as well come along and see.” I quirked an eyebrow at him. “I’d appreciate the escort, Steffan.”

He crooked his right arm, the handless one, at me. “Gladly, ma’am,” he said cheerfully. Slipping my hand into the crook of his elbow, I fell into step beside him.

We walked across the moat in companionable silence. That’s what I like about Steffan. He never pries. He just is. His company was as comfortable as I remembered it. Walking next to him, I found his presence sufficient to keep the terrible memories of Kvatch destroyed at bay.

As we entered the County Hall, we looked around, Steffan certainly seeking Matius, and I evaluating the changes in the damaged chamber. The debris had long been cleared away, and the scorched walls scrubbed clean. Now new banners displaying the Kvatch Wolf enlivened the walls. At the far end of the chamber, workmen fitted red carpet to the curving stairs leading back to the private chambers.

In the midst of it all, Matius, dressed in plain work clothes, was calling out instructions to the banner-hangers. “A little higher on the left - no, your left, not mine! Yes, that’s it!” As people saw us and paused in their work, Matius became aware of the hush and glanced over his shoulder. The intent expression on his face transformed in a grin when he recognized me.

“Julian!” he strode over to us, arms outstretched. “Come to see the progress we’re making?” He enfolded me in a hug, then stepped back. Much as Steffan had done, he eyed my frame admiringly. “You’re looking good these days, Julian,” he said, more quietly. Now he met my gaze. “News from the Elder Council?” Beside me, Steffan inhaled sharply.

I nodded. “Do you still have the Count’s ring, Matius?” I asked softly. In response, Matius pulled the chain around his neck, bringing the heavy signet ring from beneath his homespun shirt. Unclasping the chain, he slid the ring off and held it to me, his expression somber.

“Who is it?” he murmured.

Lifting my right hand to his, I plucked the ring from his palm, grasping his wrist in my left. I slipped the ring onto the third finger of his right hand. Meeting Matius’s stunned expression, I took a step back, drew my katana, and saluted him as a Legion officer. Snapping the sword sharply downward, its blade ringing softly in the profound silence, I knew I had the eyes of everyone in the County Hall on us. “Hail, the Count of Kvatch, Savlian Matius!” I said in my command voice, curtseying in a deep bow. Beside me, Steffan made me proud, dropping to one knee in the Blades homage. His voice, still rough, echoed mine.

Around us, the workmen and cleaning women followed suit, silently at first. Then a murmur grew around the hall, swelling into accolades as the good folk realized who now led them.

Matius’s expression was an amazing study of conflict. First he went pale at my words, then slowly flushed at the salutations around him. He looked at me, then hastily gestured for Steffan and me to rise. With a smile at his consternation, I met his gaze. He drew closer to me. “I don’t want to be the Count of Kvatch -” he began. I took his right hand in both of mine and leaned to his ear.

I never wanted to be the Hero of Kvatch,” I answered. “Or the Champion of Cyrodiil. I did what needed to be done. As did you. Now deal with it.” Pulling the folded parchment out of my belt purse, I handed it to him. “From the Elder Council, my lord.” Again I curtseyed to him. “By your leave, my lord.” I stepped back as Matius, the writ in his hand, was swamped by his people.

Steffan offered me his arm, and again I accepted it. We walked out of the County Hall, as people ran past us to spread the news. “That was rather a sudden surprise, wasn’t it, Julian?” Steffan leaned down to me. “I wonder if you had something to do with it.”

“Hmm,” I shrugged. “High Chancellor Ocato asked my opinion. I merely told him what I thought.“ As I looked ahead, I saw people moving through the marketplace, spreading the news.

When we reached the bridge, we were forced to the right side to make room for people running for the Castle. Suddenly, three boys, urchins really, dashed between Steffan and me. Pushed to the side, I lost Steffan’s elbow and found myself falling against the low railing of the bridge. Steffan’s horrified face whirled before me, then I was over the side of the bridge, dropping to the moat below.

Cold water embraced me as I submerged into the murky depths. Oh damn, this dress is ruined! Oh well, I’m not cut out to be a noblewoman anyway. Looking up through the water, I could just see Steffan’s form at the railing. Don’t dive! Striking upwards, I broke the surface. “Don’t dive, Steffan!” I called up at him. “The water’s too shallow!”

He was already moving along the railing, heading for the bank. My skirts tangled around my legs. Thank you, Merowald, I thought for the umpteenth time, but continued treading water. The bottom was just below my feet, but the water would be over my head if I stopped treading. I didn’t want to scare Steffan any more than he already was, but the ludicrousness of the situation overcame me, and I started laughing.

At the bridge rail, I saw Matius, holding the smallest urchin by a pointed ear, looking down at me and shaking his head. He said something to the boy, and sent him running for the castle. Then he leaned on the bridge railing, looking down at me with a grin.

Steffan reached the bank and stripped to his breeches and boots before hitting the water in a shallow dive, cutting the distance between me and the bank in half. He swam out to me just as my skirts became too heavy and pulled me down. His left hand caught my right elbow, his right forearm slipping under my left shoulder, pulling me back to the surface.

“Steffan,” I was still laughing. “Stand up, you’re tall enough for it.” His expression changed from panic to consternation as his feet struck the bottom, and his head remained above the water.

“But you’re not!” he panted, still keeping my head above the water. I lifted my right hand from his shoulder and showed him the ring on my finger.

The Jewel of the Rumare,” I said, smiling. “Water breathing enchantment.” Laughing again, I splashed him playfully. “But I appreciate your heroics.”

“You do, eh?” he answered, his blue gaze growing intense. His hold shifted suddenly, and I found myself scooped up into his strong arms. Stifling a yelp, I reflexively wrapped my left arm around his broad shoulders. He turned and started wading for the bank, laughing at my own consternation. My confusion didn’t last long though. Joining in Steffan’s infectious amusement, I swung my legs playfully, splashing the water. Oh well, we’re both soaked. It doesn’t matter.

By the time we reached the bank, Matius and the Dunmer boy, staggering under large woolen blankets, waited for us. Steffan set me down on the muddy bank and took the blankets from the urchin, tossing one at me. “Before you catch your death of pneumonia,” he said gruffly.

“I’m a Redguard,” I countered, though I was glad of the woolen cover, for the water was freezing! “Redguards don’t get sick.”

Wrapping himself in the other blanket, Steffan arched a sardonic brow at me. “And I’m half Nord,” he countered. “Nords don’t feel the cold.”

“All right, both of you,” Matius said with a grin, one hand coming heavily down on the urchin’s thin shoulder. The boy winced at Matius’s grip, and looked down, digging his toe into the mud. He mumbled something. Matius shook his shoulder gently. The Dunmer looked up at us.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” he said to me. “For pushing you in t’ water.”

“Easy, Ma- my Lord,” I said, looking up at at the new count, trying to still the chattering of my teeth. “Apology accepted, young man,” I adopted my mildest pilus voice. “Next time, look where you’re going. The next lady to land in the moat may not be so lucky.”

“Come up to the castle and warm up,” Matius suggested. “I think we can find a change of clothes to replace that dress.”

“Actually, my lord, I thought I’d go to the Mages Guild,” I answered. “The rest of my gear is there.” Not to mention a hot fire.

“All right,” Matius nodded at both of us. “Ma’am, Steffan.” Still holding the urchin’s shoulder, he turned and hiked up the muddy bank, back to the crowd waiting for him.

“I don’t think that young boy is going to get off easy,” Steffan commented, rubbing his head with a corner of the blanket until his black hair stood up in spikes. Looking up at him, I became acutely aware of his nearness, the muscles in his chest and arms, that intense blue gaze. Oh, in the name of Oblivion. Giving in to the impulse, I reached up to his neck and brought his head down to me, kissing him full on the lips. All the pent-up feelings I had suppressed so long surfaced, and I wrapped my arms around his shoulders, leaning into him.

Steffan’s arms came up around my back as he responded to me. Shivering, I tightened my hold on him, not wanting to let him go, ever. He eased me back, his eyes dark. “Julian, you’re cold,” he said. I shook my head.

“No, that’s not why I’m shaking,” I murmured, hearing an odd note in my own voice. He heard it too, and looked away.

“It’s probably audacious of me, but my house’s closer than the Mages Guild,” he said quietly, wrapping the blanket around my shoulders. “And the fire’s banked, it should be easy to get it going.”

I smiled at him. “Audacious?” I answered, leaning into him again. I was rewarded by the flash of his grin. “You? No,” I shook my head. “Rather, I think it’s very practical of you.”

“Hmm,” he turned away from me, picking up his discarded clothes and boots. He shoved them at me. “Hold these for me,” he ordered.

Automatically, I took them, exclaiming, “You’re making me carry your - whoops!” This time I couldn’t stifle my yelp as he swept me up in his arms again.

“It wouldn’t be proper to make my lady walk in the mud, now would it?” Steffan remarked, carrying me up the bank. Laughing, I started swinging my legs again. Proper? Me going to his house to change clothes? Riiight! People were staring at us, but I didn’t care.

Reaching the street, Steffan put me down again, taking his bundle from my arms. Again, as before, he proffered me his elbow. As before, I slipped my left hand into it. Steffan led me along the moat, past the ruined arena, towards the residential quarters beyond.

He was right, his small house was closer than the Mages Guild. He let me into the interior, tossing his clothes onto a nearby bench and moving to the fireplace. A moment’s fiddling, and a healthy fire was crackling merrily away.

I met him in front of the hearth, embracing him again, seeking his mouth. “Um, let’s get you out of these wet clothes,” he murmured against my lips. His left hand started working at the laces on my ruined dress. “You may be a Redguard, but you’re a bit thin-skinned,” he whispered.

“Thin-skinned?” I murmured, still kissing him. “Me?” My hands started wandering over his back, working down to his breeches. “You may be part Nord, but it’s frost resistance, not water.”

We caught our breaths at the same time, pausing to look at each other. Steffan had his left hand and right stump on my shoulders, ready to push my dress down. I had my hands on the waistband of his breeches, about to do the same.

Steffan groaned and brought his head down to me, kissing me fiercely, sliding the wet velvet off my shoulders. “Let’s get you warmed up -” he half-growled into my mouth.

“Hmm,” I purred back, my hands already busy. “What’s this? Your friend? He needs warming up, too -”


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Acadian
post Jul 4 2017, 07:42 PM
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What a delightful and welcome post-Oblivion Crisis followup!

We learn that life goes on in Kvatch and its rebuilding is vigorously in progress.

The Council wisely listened to Julian’s counsel, I see. Indeed, I can think of no better choice to lead the city of Kvatch than Savlian Matius.

And finally, Julian and Steffan move past their tentative affections into something wonderfully more!

Well done! smile.gif

It is such fun seeing how Kvatch progressed in Julian’s world. In Buffy’s world, the Mages Guild chose Sigrid Firewalker as Archmagister of the Kvatch branch. The Council assigned the mantle of Countess Kvatch to the Champion of Cyrodiil, Sir Mazoga. Kvatch’s arena, under the guidance of the Countess, was repurposed into an open air theater for the performing arts. Who knew? blink.gif


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treydog
post Jul 5 2017, 12:47 AM
Post #19


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What an excellent July 4th treat! Julian- and your writing- have not suffered at all in their absence from the fan fiction section. As ever, reading about your magnificent Redguard is like walking into a room and seeing a friend from long ago. The time between means nothing- the connection is as instantaneous and complete as it ever was. Thank you so much for sharing this interlude with us.


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Grits
post Aug 3 2017, 06:07 PM
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First, how marvelous to see Julian again! Especially as she makes her entrance flawlessly coifed and in a blue velvet gown. After all of the blood and ashes in OHDH, it was a treat to see her cleaned up and formal on Elder Council business.

The walk from Mages Guild to County Hall provided all of the news I was eager to hear about the past two years in Kvatch. That edge in Steffan’s voice said volumes! I agree with Julian -- Savlian Matius has more than earned the leadership of Kvatch, even though that’s not why he did it.

Oh no, the dress! A worthy sacrifice since its loss helped to (finally!) get these two naked. I confess it was me who shamelessly campaigned for an update to Julian’s LBMQ, though I may not have been the only one! Thank you for sharing this, Rider! It was a joy throughout.


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