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> Postcards from Tamriel, Stories and such that fall somewhere between a snippet and a thread
mALX
post Dec 29 2012, 11:08 PM
Post #61


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I am back home, but without a working PC. Will come back to read this when I get something working here, my laptop isn't very good for reading. sad.gif Urk!


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ghastley
post Dec 30 2012, 10:04 PM
Post #62


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Kjelling grunted a reply, eyes on his meal. Then he froze with a turkey leg in the air and his mouth hanging open.

It appears that Jerric doesn't take after his father. Nothing would have stopped that turkey leg! biggrin.gif


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King Coin
post Dec 31 2012, 09:26 PM
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ghastley hit the line I liked the most! Thanks for sharing this day in Jerric's family's hectic household! To imagine that after all that she still desired another child. Strong woman she was.


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mALX
post Jan 1 2013, 10:22 PM
Post #64


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QUOTE

But it was true that she was partly responsible for Meja’s unease. The young woman’s blatant fertility was a grain of sand in Sonstra’s eye. The last time of her moons had come and gone with no sign of Mara’s flower blooming. Sonstra had to admit that her cycles had ended. Though she and Kjelling had not planned for more of their own children, having the choice removed was the first taste of her age’s bitter medicine.


Loved this little detail thrown in, you couldn’t have expressed her emotions on this more eloquently!

QUOTE

Kjelling grunted a reply, eyes on his meal. Then he froze with a turkey leg in the air and his mouth hanging open.


Uh…do I detect Jerric’s inherited personality? Is this late gift Jerric on the way? HA! I knew it !!! Absolutely LOVED this little insight into Jerric’s beginnings!!!!!!! Awesome Write!





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ghastley
post Jun 3 2013, 09:33 PM
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This thread needs a bump, so I hope Grits doesn't mind a postcard from Clark. This is a snippet that never quite fit into anything else.

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Clark's Tales of the Bear Riders were being published by the Black Horse Courier's press as a subscription. The public could purchase each monthly chapter separately, and then have them all bound into a single volume when the series was complete. He'd already sent them the Claudia chapter, and it was just appearing in the bookstores around Cyrodiil.

He met Simplicia in the Market District, on his way to sign copies at Phintias' First Edition. She thanked him for the mention she'd got, as the one who told the Champion about Claudia in the watch-tower. "I'm famous now, and that makes people a lot more generous," she told him.

He hadn't used anyone's real names in the story, but it seemed that everyone knew who he meant. He asked if that got her any extra trouble from the watch-captains, as they hadn't appeared in quite the same light in the tale. "Oh, no, they're too busy keeping out of sight now everyone knows what they're like!" she laughed. "And the patrolmen see it the same way as the public."

There was a line of people waiting at the door of the First Edition, with a couple of extra watchmen keeping them in order. Inside, Phintias had put a stack of copies next to the small table in the corner, which was cleared off apart from a quill and inkwell. He seated himself behind it and nodded to Phintias to let the first customers in. They filed past Phintias, who took their money and announced their names, so he could make the inscriptions personal.

It seemed that everyone in the city came through over the next few hours. His hand was tired, and he'd worn out a dozen quills, before the last one left. There were only a handful of copies left from the pile he'd started with. He took one and wrote Simplicia's name on it, before signing his own.

She was delighted to have her own copy. "Most people just assume a beggar can't read," she told him. "I'd have bought one myself if it didn't mean going into a shop. I don't like being inside. I always feel like the walls are closing in on me. Silly, but I can't help it."

Simplicia was worried that she had nowhere to keep it dry. She just had a sack that she kept her food in, and it didn't matter if vegetables got a bit damp. The sack was just to keep them clean. He was going to get her a chest from Jensine's but Simplicia stopped him. If she had anything that locked, people might think she had something worth stealing. Not all thieves were in the Guild, and some of the freelancers would even steal from beggars. He fetched a small crate instead, one that had held flour, and had a lining to keep out moisture. That was perfect, and he put it under her sack at the head of her bedroll.




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mALX
post Jun 3 2013, 10:05 PM
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I LOVE this! Not only is Simplicia one of my favorite game characters anyway, but Clark publishing his memoirs and having a sold out "book signing" for them - you had me in stitches and touched at the same time (for him getting Simplicia that crate) - Awesome Write !!!




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Grits
post Jun 4 2013, 12:57 AM
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mALX said it for me too, it’s great to see Clark’s success in the big city! Getting the special crate for Simplicia was so sweet. He has a real touch with the ladies.

I loved getting a postcard from Clark! smile.gif


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SubRosa
post Jun 19 2013, 01:02 AM
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I have a postcard from Cyrodiil. This is a scene that came to me a few nights ago, that I wanted to get down on pixels while it was still fresh in my mind. It will fit somewhere into the Aela fic, probably as a prologue. I am not sure the exact date yet, except it takes place in the spring or summer


Aela - There Goes The Neighborhood

?, 4E001

Aela stretched out on the warm sand of the beach, wearing nothing but a linen wrap around her small breasts, and a similar strip of cloth around her hips. She shut her eyes against the bright rays of Magnus overhead, which delightfully toasted her pale skin. Her arms reached out to either side, and her slender fingers dug through the amber grains of sand below. She let her breathing slow, felt her body relax, and sent her thoughts drifting through the beach underneath her.

She felt Bawnwatch Island stretching out around her. The sand turned to black topsoil as it receded from the waves of Niben Bay. Hard stones slept within the dirt's cool embrace. So too did the twisting roots of cottonwood, sycamore, and willow trees that dotted the long, crescent-shaped island. She felt the foundations of the deserted village's small homes pressing down upon the ground near the center of the isle. They were just south of the small ridge that ran the length of the isle like a spine, shielding the settlement from the north wind off the bay. The wooden piles of the bridge that connected one corner of Bawnwatch with the mainland to the south bit down into the soil like teeth. Yet the land endured it all with grace. In fact, the dark, rich ground gladly nurtured the life which sprang from its breast. At the same time it slowly absorbed the cold, hard rock and unliving wood that thrust down into it. In time, Nirn would have its way with all.

Aela was greeted by the spirits of the island. There was the soft, dark energy of the soil, contrasted by the hard, flinty essence of the deep rock. Then there were the bright, playful flower spirits, the somber quintessence of the trees, and the humble life force of the brush. About them all glowed the hot and vigorous animal spirits: patient Turtle, bounding Rabbit, sly Rat, wise Serpent, watchful Eagle, and hungry Raven. Finally she felt the sylphs riding the winds high above the island, and the undines frolicking in the deep waters of the bay.

Aela let the physical world slip away as she danced with the spirits. She could think of no other way to describe how she interacted with the vital essence of the world. No words were spoken, even conscious thought became inadequate. There was nothing but the deep, powerful feeling of kinship that resonated within her as her divinity joined with that of Nirn. She felt the threads that bound her to everything else in the world. Her fingers played along those strings, and the music filled her soul with rapture.

Magnus rode higher in the sky as she danced, and Nirn rolled away underneath his fiery gaze. However, the music of Aela's dance was interrupted by the grinding of cold, dead wood into the warm sand of the beach. Human feet crunched deeply into the ground a moment later, each step resonating through the membrane of sand that covered the looser soil and hard rock beneath.

Aela opened her eyes and breathed deep. Rising to a sitting position, she felt the physical world spin about her. Bracing herself with one hand in the sand, she held the other to her head until the spell of dizziness passed. Squinting in the glare of the sun, she stared down the beach at the dory that had been pulled out of the water less than twenty paces away. Leaning over it was a man with the pitch black hair and olive skin of the Nibenean race. He wore the threadbare clothing of a peasant, and lifted a simple wooden toolbox from the innards of his boat. As he turned to face her, Aela saw that he was young, perhaps not even two decades old, but his body was lean and solid with muscle.

Screenshot

He stared as Aela rose to her feet. The Breton Witch took a moment to brush the sand from her backside, and found that he was still staring when she was finished. That is when she remembered that she was practically naked. But Aela did not fool herself into thinking that he was dumbstruck by her beauty. Aside from her long, brown hair, her body was a far cry from the ideal feminine form. Where other women were shaped like an hourglass, she was more like a minuteglass. She was taller than most women of her race, her shoulders were too broad, her hips too narrow, and her breasts too small.

Screenshot

Instead she imagined that like any fine, upstanding Imperial, the image of a scantily clad woman must come as a shock. It simply was not proper for a woman to be so attired in the presence of a man after all. Or perhaps he was horrified by what he beheld?

"What brings you here fisherman?" Aela frowned as she walked to the peasant. She found her gaze traveling to his left arm, to the midpoint between wrist and elbow. There was something there that tickled at her memory. Calling up her magicka, she felt the energy burn hot behind her eyes as she stared at the Nibenean's arm. She saw through the warm, healthy flesh, to the strong bone underneath. There it was, the telltale ghost of an old break that had cut clear though the bone, now knit back together so well that naught but a faint line remained to whisper the tale. Whoever had healed that had been very good, Aela considered, very good indeed.

The Nibenean opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. He licked his lips, took a deep breath, and tried again.

"Greetings," he began. "I'm from Thistledown, my name is-"

"Severus," Aela interrupted him. "Severus Afer. I remember you now. You broke your arm - what was it - five years ago? You've grown since then."

"Aye," the young man lowered his head sheepishly and ran his fingers through his hair. "When I fell out of that tree, I thought I might be able to fly, if only I could manage to miss the ground. Didn't work though…"

Aela stifled the urge to laugh at Severus' unassuming humor. She knew that peasants did not come for social calls. They only came to Bawnwatch if they needed her healing. Since he looked healthy as an ox, she imagined it must have been someone else in his family that was ill.

"So is it a potion you need?" She decided to cut to the chase.

"No, not at all," the fisherman said. He stared back at her, almost expectantly, or was it almost dreadfully? Aela came to realize that he was afraid of her. It was no great revelation. Thanks to the propaganda of the Mages Guild and Imperial Church, she knew that the word 'Witch' struck fear into many peasants. They were 'rogue mages', immoral, unskilled, heretical, and untrustworthy. Worst of all, Witches like her cut into the profits of both Imperial organizations…

Aela knew that being a two-spirit only made it worse. Few humans seemed to be capable of even imagining what it was like to be born into a body that did not match one's identity, or that it was even possible. "The gods made you that way, so you should be happy that way," was the usual mantra. How dare anyone gainsay that? It was no surprise that the only time people like herself appeared in bard's tales or plays it was as villains, or comic relief.

"So what brings you here?" the Witch asked.

"The village." Severus licked his lips again and nodded to the broken down houses rising up at the edge of the beach. "I'm here to work on a house."

"You what?" Aela blinked once, twice, and wondered if she needed to heal her ears.

"I'm going to repair one of the houses," he repeated, "in the old village."

"What are you talking about?" Aela stared back at the strange man.

The Nibenean's fingers clutched hard around the wooden handle of his toolbox, enough for his knuckles to show white. "I am here to stay," he repeated. "I'm going to live here, with my family."

"You can't do that." Aela felt the words spill from her tongue before she even had a chance to think about them. "Turn around, get in your boat, and get out!"

The fisherman stood his ground however. "I will not," he insisted. He pointed to the crumbling stones of one home with a callused finger. "That house was in my family for generations. I grew up there. It wasn't until the mudcrabs came that we all had to leave. I got a right to live here, as much as you do."

"So now that I've gotten rid of the crabs, you're coming back." Aela felt a volcano rising within her. Standing with her hands on her hips, she spat lava at the young man.

"No, No, No!" Aela waved a finger in his face. "This is my home now. I led the crabs back to Castle Irony. I killed the vampires there. I made this place livable again. You are not going to drive me out of here!"

"I never said you don't have a right to stay here," Severus gave back evenly. "All of us folk from up and down the coast know what you've done, and what you've done for us." Now he rubbed his once-broken arm absentmindedly. "But there's plenty room here for me, my wife, and our baby. We aren't gonna do nothing to get in your way, of whatever it is you do out here."

"And how long until more of you come here, and I start hearing about how it's not safe to raise children around me? Because I'm unnatural? Because I'm a Witch? How long before the snide remarks, the hushed laughter, and the curled lips? How long before I have to go, or else?" Aela felt her face burn with a heat that had nothing to do with the sun, and did her best to keep from shaking with rage.

"No one will ever count me as one of the wise," Severus said. "I'm just a dumb fisherman. But it seems to me that maybe if folk got a chance to know you, they might feel a bit more hospitable. Instead you sit here all alone on this island, and leave people to make up stories about why. We don't know a thing about you, and cause of that people get scared, and their stories get scarier."

Aela ground her teeth as she stared back at the man. Part of her wanted to reach out with her magicka and rip his heart from his chest. But she knew that she could not do that to a defenseless man. Whether or not he knew it was another thing. But even if he did not, he was still not budging.

"Why can't you go someplace else?" Aela grumbled. "You must live somewhere now, go back there. There's villages all up and down the coast, go to one of them."

"I'm the third born son of a fisherman," Severus explained. "The eldest inherits our house in Thistledown. I get nothing. My other brother went to serve in the Bravil Guard. Another one's in the clergy down in Leyawiin. I'm lucky I've got this boat. But that's all I've got. I don't have two drakes to rub together, and I got a wife with a baby on the way. There ain't no room in that house for us, not with my parents, my brother, and his wife and kids. I've got no money to buy land, and I won't build a house in the middle of nowhere and get my family killed by goblins or bandits. I've got nowhere else to go."

Aela fumed. Severus told a believable tale. It was one she had heard - and seen - played out all of her life. She was a firstborn herself. She would have inherited her family's estate and business in Wayrest if she had only remained male, and in her family's good graces. Her younger brothers would have had to live at her sufferance, become wandering mercenaries, or join the priesthood. It was the same for all younger siblings in every human land.

But this was her home, hers! After all that she had done to make it so, it was not right for someone else to come along and intrude, to force themselves into her quiet, peaceful life. She had the right to live without the constant stares, the muttered jibes, the sneers, and the self-righteous hatred that so many humans had for anyone that was different from them.

Clenching her hands into fists, Aela turned from the fisherman and stormed up the beach. Her fingernails dug into her palms, turning the skin red underneath by the time she finally reached out to open the door to her home and stomp inside. Sighing, she stripped off her sandy underclothing and pulled on a plain flax bodice and skirt.

Staring out the window, she watched as Severus strode up the beach to the empty house across the street from her. Setting down his tools, the young man rolled up his sleeves and went to work. He started by gathering up all of the rotten thatch from the long-collapsed roof and throwing it to one side. Then he went to work repairing the damage that ten years of wind, rain, and plant life had wrought upon the untended home. He started by cutting down the ivy and other vines that had crept up the walls, wormed their way through the crumbling mortar, and dislodged or loosened many stones.

The Nibenean clearly had his work cut out for him. Soon he stripped off his shirt and wrapped it around his waist. His bared chest glistened with sweat as Magnus rose ever higher and brighter in the sky. Yet he toiled on, pausing only rarely to take a sip of water from a skin before continuing on with his work. In time he had cleared away all of the invasive plants, and began piling up the fallen or loose rocks from the walls.

He certainly had a lot of nerve to come out here, Aela thought. She could only imagine the tales the farmers and fisherfolk told about her. Yet still here he was, resolute in his desire to make a new life for his family.

"There is nothing that can stand in the way of an honest man." Aela recalled the old Imperial saying. Not that Imperial and honesty were words often associated with one another…

Aela sighed as she continued to stare at the interloper. What was she going to do? She could try to scare him off, but that had hardly worked so far. She could make life so unpleasant for him with snide remarks and insults that he might finally grow exasperated and leave. But she was not going to stoop to the same level as the people - students and faculty alike - who had tried to run her out of the University. So what did that leave her with?

Either fight it or embrace it, Aela thought. Which would it be?

Setting her jaw with firm resolve, she strode out from her home and crossed the street to where Severus worked. He looked up as she raised a fist skyward, and gaped as a disc of blue energy formed in the space between them. It fell to the ground a moment later, leaving a colossus of stone looming within its wake. The archaean stood as tall as the houses around them, and his body was entirely comprised of rocks fit together into the rough shape of a man. With a grinding of stone upon stone, the small mountain turned to stare expectantly at Aela.

She nodded to Severus and the house he was working on, and the nirn spirit lumbered into motion. The ground trembled as his massive feet ate the distance between him and the Nibenean. The fisherman dropped the stone he was carrying, and held his hands out before him to ward off the giant.

"Now just wait," he sputtered. "There's no…"

The archaean ignored him however, and reached down to pick up the stone the fisherman had dropped. The spirit swept it into the pile of loose rocks that Severus had built, then scooped a mass of them up into both of his granite paws. One more titanic footstep took him to the side of the building, where he proceeded to lay out the stones upon the battered walls. Each stone melded perfectly into place with the others around it, and Aela could see that the nirn spirit was reshaping them with his magic as he went, as well as creating fresh mortar between the pieces.

She knew that in no time at all the archaean would have the walls restored to their original condition. To better than that in fact. No mortal builder could work stone like a spirit of the land. Afterward she could ask a tree spirit to rebuild the timbers of the roof, and lay on fresh thatch. She imagined that the exterior would be restored before Magnus fell from his zenith. Then there would just be a matter of furniture, and cleaning the interior.

"Thank you kindly," Severus extended his hand to Aela, "neighbor."

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Apr 28 2014, 03:03 AM


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ThatSkyrimGuy
post Jun 19 2013, 02:20 AM
Post #69


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What a great postcard! Aela seems to possess what I could only call "Earth-sense". A sixth sense that makes all that is good (and bad) about the land around her as palpable as any taste, smell, or sight. And a trans-gendered character...truly unique. You deftly touched on the prejudices of "normal" folk, and just as deftly showed how Aela could rise above that with her own actions. Great stuff here Ms. Rosa! salute.gif

Nit - Instead you sit here all alone on this island, and leave people to make up stories about why. We don't know a thing you, and cause of that people get scared, and their stories get scarier."
I suspect you meant to type "about" between thing and you.


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Grits
post Jun 19 2013, 03:33 AM
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An Aela postcard, yay! What a fantastic idea to have nirn spirits repair the house.

I think this would work very well as a prologue. Aela’s thoughts reveal a lot about the culture in her Tamriel as well as about Aela herself in a very natural way.

This was fascinating to read. smile.gif


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Acadian
post Jun 19 2013, 07:43 PM
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SubRosa, nice to see a snip from Aela’s fic! A vicious circle, is it not? Aela has isolated herself because she feels shunned and misunderstood; yet her very isolation perpetuates her feelings of persecution. A wonderfully creative step in the right direction as she reluctantly calls Rocky the Stone Golem into play for construction duty. tongue.gif

Nits: ’That is when she remembered that was practically naked.’ - - Missing a ‘she’ before ‘was’.
"Thank you kindly," Severus extend his hand to Aela, "neighbor." - - Extended vs extend of course.


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haute ecole rider
post Jun 20 2013, 06:28 PM
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A delightful episode on a lovely island! I always wondered who lived there, and thanks to you, now I will always think of Aela whenever I go there in-game.

Yes, you did well to illustrate the prejudices and short-sightedness of humans (and mer, in some ways). And you did very, very well to show how the typical reaction of the targets of such discrimination tend to feed the stereotypes instead of working to counteract them. Bully for Aela for calling up Rocky the Builder to help her neighbor instead of fighting! Embracing change is a challenge, but will pay off in the long run for her, I suspect.

I have to admit that I've been missing Teresa's updates, and am waiting for the next one. There is a next one, right? Though how you can top that latest episode is kind of difficult for me to imagine!

I have to edit the team's business plan today, so forgive me for not putting on my editor's hat for you. I'm going to be cross-eyed by the end of the day!

This post has been edited by haute ecole rider: Jun 20 2013, 06:29 PM


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SubRosa
post Jun 21 2013, 08:18 PM
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ThatSkyrimGuy: Aela also appears in the TF, though not until the later chapters. I have always found her to be one of my interesting characters to write about, because she is such a complex person.

You will also see her ability to commune with the world in the TF as well, when Teresa starts doing it. Though she does not have the experience or magical skills as Aela does. It is not really a special gift, just a byproduct of how they practice their religion: Witchcraft. In the TF, it is something all Valenwood-born Bosmer naturally do as part of their spirituality, as well as anyone else who follows that path. Just how deep of an experience they have depends on the person of course.

Thanks for the nit. Those are the types that tend to slip by me, where it is not a misspelling, but something missing.


Grits: I am glad you liked it. That story was inspired by what you said over in the TF about Aela maybe moving out of her hermitude on Bawnwatch Island and getting more involved in the world. That got me thinking, if Aela won't go to the mountain, maybe the mountain should go to her? So I decided to force her into dealing with people.


Acadian: Aela is indeed caught in a nasty circle. Being around people exposes her to their prejudices, and not being around them only feeds their prejudices. Sometimes there is just no happy option.

You had me laughing about Rocky. laugh.gif What a perfect name! Or maybe he could be The Rock Dwayne Johnson.


haute ecole rider: I always think of Aela when I go to Bawnwatch now too. It's too bad the island is so small in the game, otherwise I would put a house there.

Writing about Aela tends to bring out a lot of her experiences with prejudice. It is something that she can never completely escape from so long as she is around people, and is a major force in her behavior

I do have one more chapter left in the TF. After that I do not plan on any more. I am not sure when I will get it done though, as I have an idea for an Aela and Ungarion prequel in my head right now that I think I will get down on pixels first.

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Jun 22 2013, 07:17 PM


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Darkness Eternal
post Apr 1 2014, 10:45 PM
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Postcard! An excerpt from one of my stories titled Tomorrow is Promised To No Man. This is part one. I'll post part two later on smile.gif

=Tomorrow Is Promised To No Man=


Primo clutched his belly with one hand while he held an empty sack with the other as he trekked through the Great Forest with a tremendous pain knotting over his stomach. He walked weakly through the thickness of the shrubs tangled around his pigskin shoes. The wool covering the sides of his body offered little protection against the invasive branches that occasionally poked out to scratch him, as if saying his presence was unwelcome here.

The smallfolk hereabouts shunned the place; it was said to be haunted by the ghosts of people who were killed by some fell beast that had dwelled there. Primo heard about the legends of the forest, and about the victims, but ghosts did not frighten him. He used to hide in the crypts of Bravil when he was little, and play games of and monsters and maidens in cemeteries. Yet even so, the hair on the back of his neck stood up whenever he wandered deeper into the forest. He was thankful it wasn't night. Bad things happened at night.

The midday sun was enough to warm his skin from the gentle breeze blowing past him.

How strange, that even a breeze is making me uncomfortable, Primo thought. I guess being nearly starved to death makes everything pleasant feel that way. I wish I had some food. But beggars can't be choosers.

Primo pushed his way out into the clearing, past the overbearing congregation of trees and plants that nearly suffocated him. The ground beneath his feet gave way to greener and smoother pasture, and he realized he came into another person's territory.

A farm, he noted. He stopped, releasing his hand from his belly for just a second as he watched the pleasant sight before him; sheep, goats and cows wandered freely within the confines of a large wooden fence , while oxen plodded along the riverbank in search of grass. Not too far off he could see a lone cottage sitting there, smoking from the roof.

Smoking . . .

Fire . . .

Cooking . . .

The Imperial boy smiled widely. "Thank the Divines!"

His thanks could be doubled as his eyes saw a garden just beside the cottage. The garden could only have been blessed by the gods themselves. It was full of vegetables; carrots, garlic, leek and lettuce, potatoes and tomatoes. Not counting what he could find if he saw the other half had the cottage not obscured his view.
Primo cast a cautious look around him as he did many times before in the cities. But instead of guards or Imperial soldiers, he saw the fleeting glance from the grazing livestock all around him that were far too concerned in the grass beneath their noses than a starving lad in their midst.

In this part of Cyrodiil there were little guards and men of the law. No figures of authority to throw him in jail should he be tempted to grab a few crops. Most of the people here were commonfolk: crofters, fieldhands, fishermen, sheep and swineherds, the sons of innkeeps and traders, masons and tanners. There were no snotty highborn lords or merchant princes or counts here that would have him sent to the noose for so much as looking as a steaming chicken breast.

Here . . . they'd be too busy blaming it on foxes and rats.

They were poor folks, just like him. No bright future, no hopes of any grandeur. It wouldn't be right stealing from them. But he'd been so hungry, though, and the farm before him was too much a temptation. The bread and cheese he had stolen from an inn had given out six days ago, back in the thick of the wood many miles off.

They are farmers, thought Primo after some consideration. They have a home and food . . . I don't.

When his hunger demanded action, Primo sprung into a low sprint as he rushed to the cottage. The sheep scattered from his presence as he ran past them to the side of the building. The windows were open, and the smell of burning meat waved out of them to tempt his nose with tantalizing promise. His stomach reacted to it by crying and rumbling. The smell of roast mutton drifted from one cookfire, and at another he saw a boar turning on a wooden spit. He peeked further in and saw a man working it.

A tall man.

A very tall and muscular man.

Primo's eyes grew bigger as he analyzed the brute from head to toe. By Azura's teats, could one call this a man?

The Imperial in the cottage was the biggest Imperial he'd seen in his life. He looked to be in his mid thirties. He had straight black hair that hung down to his shoulders, and his skin was brown and leathery from a decade of exposure to the burning sun. There was nothing about his appearance to suggest he was a man of wealth or importance, yet Primo could sense his calm inner strength. The man's arms were as thick as his own head and through those arms veins ran under his skin like rivulets. His chest was broad and massive and hairy, but no visible scars were there. From what Primo could see, the man's face was clean-shaven yet it was thick with shadow. Even the inside of his ears seemed to be growing a lot of hair that looked more like fur than anything else.

His clothes were modest. His faded brown shirt was mended here and there with old leather patches, he had a woodman’s axe slung across his back. There was a patch of deerskin on the right shoulder, and the brown sackcloth pants he wore was frayed.

He was oblivious to Primo's presence as he focused on rotating the pig in the fire. Just beneath the giant was a timber wolf that had the attributes of a dog. The canine, too, was too busy slobbering at the sight of a spinning pig than the boy watching them through the window.

Sometimes, Primo thought, being ignored isn't always bad.

Primo bent again, and decided that it would be best to act now. While the man was inside, he could grab the crops and stuff them all in the sack and turn upon heel and bolt the hell out of there.

Alright, Primo. Go to the garden, steal the veggies and run as fast as you can.

The lad swallowed hard and took one more peek. The man was still there, rotating the swine while the vicious-looking wolfhound watched.

Now or never.

Primo ducked and snuck around the cottage and hopped over the fence and into soft soil. The farm was large and the garden was no different. The man probably wouldn't notice a few missing crops. Though he was skinny and malnourished, he had the unshakable confidence in himself that he could carry a heavy sack of food in his back. He had strength for that.

Primo began plucking the food from the dirt, ripping carrots and lettuce and everything else the black ground had to offer. One by one he stuffed them in the sack as quickly as he was able, only looking back to check if the giant man and his hound was there.

They weren't.

The lad smiled despite the feeling that his heart would give out from beating so fast. He would feed good today.

After two minutes or so Primo had a full sack of food. He tied the top and hauled it over his back. The hard part was done. All that was left now was to run into the forest, make for Lake Rumare and eat his food under the bridge. Maybe kill a mudcrab or two to add to the meal.

Damn begging for coin. Thieving is much more productive, yet risky.

Primo made his way around the cottage to make a dash for the direction where he came, but stopped just behind the corner of the house when he saw the man standing over a chopping-block. His huge hand dropped a heavy log that Primo knew for certain only two hands would be able to carry yet he did it effortlessly.

The man dropped the thick wood and raised the axe that was in his hand. The axe went high above his head, stood there for a second and came down with such quickness that Primo thought he had blinked. The thick wood chopped cleanly in half and the stub of the block splintered at the force of the blow.

Divines, this man is strong!

Primo watched the man do it once more and the sheer strength and speed was dumbfounding just as it was intimidating.

I better get out of here. I hope the man isn't quick on his feet as he's strong with that arm.

Primo turned around to run when he came face-to-face with a wrinkled muzzle and a set of white canines. He dropped the sack, fell back on his rump and began scrambling backwards. The hound was there, snarling at the thieving intruder. He wasn't happy and he was obviously hungry.

That makes two of us!

Primo scooted back and back while the dog advanced forward, jaws snapping and saliva spitting in all directions. The hound's eyes were wide and savage and mad. Its bark was loud, too loud.

"Shhh," Primo whispered reaching into the sack. He grabbed a potato and tossed it at the dog's snout. "Shhh. Here, take it."

The dog didn't so much as look at the vegetable. But it only enraged him more.

When he crept closer, Primo closed his eyes. He felt something grab him from behind. A pressure thickened and tightened around his neck and he was compelled to reopen his eyes. He was being dragged from the ground and the hound was running to pounce on him. Primo yelped but before the dog could bite him he felt his feet lift from the ground and up in the air.

"Down," said a harsh, throaty voice.

Primo tried to squirm but the grip on his neck was too strong. He kicked his feet to break free but to no avail. He was being taken away. "No, wait. I'm sorry! Sorry!"

Everything happened so quick and so fast that Primo had trouble registering it. All he felt was the weight loosen around his neck and the hard crunch of his chest on the chopping block. He looked up and saw that same Imperial man raise his axe in the air.

Primo froze. He couldn't move. He couldn't say a word. He didn't even blink.

The axe dropped.

It came down hard and swift.

Primo felt nothing but the wind in his ear and the sound of metal against wood. He looked to his side after a moment and saw a patch of his brown hair severed from his head, spread about the axe's sharp tip.

His hand flew to his head and felt a missing patch of hair there. I almost died. I almost died! He could've killed me!

He looked up at the man, and his face was even more terrifying than the dog. His eyes were a bright tint of honey, and his face was expressionless. Neither angry nor happy. Just plain.

The man folded his arms across his chest and stared down at him.

Everything darkened. Was it because the giant eclipsed the sun or because he losing consciousness?

Primo couldn't focus. The beating of his heart was louder than before, and he was quite sure his bladder failed to contain the fluids. His pants were soaked.

Apologize, Primo.

"I," he swallowed. "I . . . I . . . I . . . I . . ."

The Imperial stared. Not a word came from his lips. He didn't move a muscle. He could've been a statue.

A statue that just almost took my head off.

"You're trespassing," the man finally said low but gruff voice. "You came here uninvited. You tried to steal my crops."

Primo was at loss for words.

The Imperial bent down, snapped the axe from the wood and held it over his shoulder. "Lost your tongue, you little runt? Thieves that stole from me lost a lot more than that. What's your name, boy?"

"Pri--Primo."

The man sized him up. Surely thinking how skinny of a runt he was. How his arms looked like thin sickly branches in a winter's cold or how twig-like his body was. Maybe he was thinking how easy it would be to kill him then and there. The man's piercing eyes lowered, and so did his hand. He grabbed Primo by the collar of his shirt and hauled him up to his feet. His grip released, and Primo's legs felt like rubber.

"How old are you?"

"Twelve." Primo answered the Imperial. The man kept his eyes on him, and only occasionally looked from one direction to another all around him. Attentive and alert. Maybe he was looking to see if there was anyone else there. Maybe accomplices that would threaten to steal his food.

"You look hungry."

Primo's stomach just remembered, and so did he. He nodded gently, still feeling the hot mess between his legs and further down at the sides. He felt his face flush at the yellow puddle gathered around his feet.

"Get my crops from that sack and bring them inside."

Inside is where there's meat to be had.

The thought of hot food made Primo's belly rumble, but he didn’t trust this man. Not everyone who spoke to him friendly was really his friend. Especially after they nearly damn decapitated him over some lousy crops.

What he might be really doing is trying to lure me inside so he can cook me! But would he need to try and use words? With big hands like that, all he could do is just toss me into a damn cauldron and stir me as stew.

He thought to say no to the man, but because of his hunger and his fear, he only obliged. He nodded, picked up the full sack and walked to the side of the man's cottage. When he turned around, the man was there staring at him with those eyes of his. The dog, standing at the man's side like a loyal hound, did just the same.

They uttered no word or sound but the look in their eyes said Don't you dare try to run. If you do, we'll catch you.

The lad felt a cold in the pit of his stomach.

See Primo, this is what hunger gets you.

This post has been edited by Darkness Eternal: Apr 1 2014, 10:50 PM


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And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.”
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haute ecole rider
post Apr 2 2014, 12:13 AM
Post #75


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



Umm, from the frying pan into the fire? blink.gif

The boy's name puts me in mind of Chinese and Korean naming customs - it was not unusual for the kids in the family to be named Number One, Number Two, etc, especially among the poor farming families. smile.gif


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Grits
post Apr 2 2014, 01:27 AM
Post #76


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From: The Gold Coast



Hmm, I think I recognize the giant Imperial. We shall see! smile.gif Hopefully Primo will get a meal and not another free haircut! ohmy.gif


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Jerric's Story * Darnandex * Morning Star Screenshot: Cyrodiil Meadow
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treydog
post Apr 4 2014, 02:25 AM
Post #77


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Joined: 13-February 05
From: The Smoky Mountains



Yes- well... (shuffles feet and looks around). First- many thanks to Grits for creating this space. And for allowing the rest of us to borrow it. Which I plan to do in just a moment.

The first character who appears in this "not-a-story" should be familiar to some of you... As to the work itself, I have no clear idea of where it will go, if anywhere. And that is my reason for putting this fragement here. Happy reading!

----------------------------------------

Somewhere, Divayth Fyr was laughing. The ancient wizard had understood the price of immortality, and the long list of things one should not do with it. Like fall in love. Or father children. It was all ash now, ash and dust.

“Baria,” he whispered, marveling at how a wound could hurt so much, even centuries later. It was another “miracle,” a wound so painful it should have been fatal, but was not. That would have been too easy. His hand strayed to the well-worn hilt of his dagger, squeezed convulsively, and then relaxed.

“That door is shut,” he reminded himself, as he had done before, times beyond counting. She had exacted that promise from him, the last promise.

“Swear to me. Swear! Upon your honor and upon your love for me.”

And, of course, he had. He could deny her nothing. Even so, he had courted death in a hundred provinces, in a thousand ways. But… he could not bring himself to cheat, to close his eyes and welcome the end. He was no justiciar, to quibble over petty points. It did not matter what hand held the blade, if he simply gave himself to it.

So he continued, even though scars covered scars and faded with time. Time. Yes. The great enemy. More elusive even than death. It was Time that brought him here, or rather the avatar of Time. Akatosh. Whispers came to one who had all the days of the turning of the Mundus to listen, to sort, to link myth with legend with rumor.

The Empire tottered, poised on the edge of collapse. Once he had vowed to dance on its grave, but now… now he knew there was something worse. Which was why he found himself crossing the Jerall Mountains, following a scrap of history so thin as to be transparent. Or perhaps, if the words of the seers were true, it was his blood calling him home. No matter the reason, Trey was going to Skyrim.

* * * * *


Akavir was long ago, but he still remembered the Tsaesci. Even after he got over being startled by their appearance, he had trouble with their way of thinking. Except for the part about honor and obligation. That he understood, even if he was never entirely certain what impulse had sent him to that place, beyond a desire to go far from Morrowind.

And so he had missed most of Dagon’s War; had not been there to help the children. It was just as well, though. How much help did they really need- from a reformed thief who despised the Empire and refused to even carry a sword? So they found themselves in the middle of the crisis- just as their parents had done 20 years before. But at least they had had a bit more choice in the matter- if anyone who had fallen under the gaze of the Daedra ever really had a choice.

He wondered where they were now and what they were doing. Giving fits to the Thalmor, most likely, if it was up to Athynae. And his son- well, Athlain might have resigned from the Legion, but he had not given up all he had learned on his way to a knighthood. If Athynae was looking to put a spoke in the wheel of the Thalmor wagon, Athlain would be right there beside her, White Gold Concordiat or no.

One could serve the Empire without agreeing with all its decisions. And councils were more limited in their choices than individuals. If the youngsters were trying to tie a kink into the Thalmor’s bellies, maybe he would meet them, and lend a hand. It would be good to see them, even though it would probably break his heart all over again.

He was so distracted by thoughts of that imagined reunion that his first hint of the ambush was the blade leveled at his throat. He did some rapid calculations- the sword was steady and it had not spilled his life- yet. So- a professional- and one who wanted him alive. Which meant it was time to be very still- a promise was still a promise, no matter how many years had passed. Only his eyes moved, studying the hand that held the blade. Olive-skinned, battle-worn, with a few scars among the calluses. An Imperial. Confirmed a moment later by the calm voice that commented, “Don’t know what you think you are doing here, Breton, but this is a Stormcloak smuggler’s route. And my orders are to catch anyone coming across the mountains. Now that you’ve sprung our trap, my patrol has our quota, so we’re going to bind your hands and load you on the cart with the rest of the bag.”

The Legion veteran suited word to deed and then told his men, “Mount up; we’re going to Helgen.”


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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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haute ecole rider
post Apr 4 2014, 05:17 AM
Post #78


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From: The place where the Witchhorses play



And so Trey (and our little hot-diggety-dog doggie!) are heading off to Skyrim next? Hmm, could be very interesting!


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McBadgere
post Apr 5 2014, 10:45 AM
Post #79


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Joined: 21-October 11



I do loves that "Not-a-Story"™ hugely...So short and yet the history it hints at - the A&A-Team kicking Dagon's nuts...arse...Self back to Oblivion etc...Plus Trey's personal stuff...Was pretty awesome stuff that...

Love it!!...Hope there's more to come... goodjob.gif ...
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Grits
post Apr 12 2014, 02:53 AM
Post #80


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Joined: 6-November 10
From: The Gold Coast



My heart ached for Trey by the end of the first paragraph. Wherever this goes I’m grateful for the glimpse of those years between Vvardenfell and Skyrim, even after he sat in his stronghold and wrote My name is Trey. wub.gif


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Jerric's Story * Darnandex * Morning Star Screenshot: Cyrodiil Meadow
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