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> Buffy - Book 3, We're Having a Crisis Here!
Lopov
post Feb 29 2020, 08:12 PM
Post #81


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QUOTE
Once back in my cabin and aided by a nighteye spell, I pulled on my buckskins and arranged my hair into a ponytail. I then left the sleeping Argonian.


That's kind, because if using a candle, Quill-Weave could be woken up by sudden light, but with a nighteye spell only Buffy saw the light.

I enjoyed descriptions of various people and places along the Niben.

Torlin became Torval along the way. wink.gif

Looks like "calm" episodes are over for now, it's for some action! viking.gif


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Darkness Eternal
post Mar 2 2020, 04:08 AM
Post #82


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Torlin the Redguard is such a charmer.

Barenziah’s Breeze. I quite like the name! And how slick for Torlin to sneak in a flirtatious compliment. Silken tongue of a bard indeed!

"Oh, I’d wager the numerous ports you visit provide plenty of lovely ladies to tend your wounds."
I've thought about the same thing. No doubt he works full time as a both a sailor and a ladie's man. Methinks someone's been leveling up his speech. laugh.gif

I like how Buffy reminded us of Vandrelis. Though there are many potential suitors, there's a strong chance none might live up to our heroic and dear Savlian, though time will certainly tell.

This was a superb chapter!

You provide such a rich description that takes us there with Buffy. I felt like I was back in Cyrodiil again, seeing the Green Road past the waves of the Niben, and the tell tale signs of the Oblivion gates. It seems that the knights' noble goes shifted from bandits to a more dangerous foe. I like this about them; it matters not the evil-doer, all will find justice. You end in a nice cliffhanger here that has me anticipating for some action! When the Mystic Archer sets sight on her quarry, they better prepare.

Woe to those Daedra.


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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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Grits
post Mar 4 2020, 03:36 AM
Post #83


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What a peaceful dawn trip along the Niben. I love how the Order of the White Stallion has grown, as has their purpose.

Yikes, another Gate to Oblivion! Flaming swamp, indeed. I remember feeling exasperated at the number of Gates that crop up right around there. Buffy’s emotions make the crisis feel personal again.

Rather than hoping the nearby ferry was ready to go, I cast my own waterwalking spell and ran directly across the river toward the Oblivion Gate to offer my help.

Go Dame Buffy!


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Acadian
post Mar 4 2020, 12:55 PM
Post #84


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Previously- Buffy’s journey continued as the Peony Princess made its way along the Niben from Bravil to Leywawiin. Along the way, she noted several Oblivion Gates closed or being closed by Knights of the White Stallion. Approaching Leyawiin, there was another open Oblivion Gate dangerously close to the city. As soon as the ship docked, Buffy sped to the aide of Leyawiin soldiers trying to defend against the portal to the Deadlands.

*

Renee- Buffy’s skill is primarily in bow, illusion and restoration. Her conjuration and destruction skills are more mundane – like summoning a towel or or heating bathwater. The butterfly is a manifestation of Azura who, as Buffy’s godmother, has always secretly kept an eye on her. The intro to Book 2 revealed that knowledge to readers but Buffy remains unaware. It will become clear even to Buffy later in this book. Thank you!

ghastley- Though most of what we present that differs from vanilla is imagination, we actually did have a nice mod that expanded the White Stallion Knights Lodge into something similar to what Buffy described. Though Buff and Zoga killed their boss, the Black Bow Bandits still persist but much diminished. Thank you!

SubRosa- I’m pleased you remember the twilight butterfly from the opening of Book 2. Buffy, of course, remains clueless but will discover who Dawn is later in this book. Glad you enjoyed Buffy’s observations while sailing down the river. Thank you!

Rider- Nice to hear that you enjoyed Buffy’s tour down the Niben via ship. I enjoyed presenting a glimpse of ship life through Buffy’s non-nautical eyes. I expect Buffy realizes that getting an audience with Count Caro is not likely with his city under siege from numerous Oblvion Gates. So just as surely as Julian would, Buffy will offer her assistance. Thank you!

Lopov- As I mentioned to Renee, Buffy’s pretty good with mundane uses of magic (like nighteye). Glad you enjoyed Buffy’s observations of life along the Niben. Thank you for pointing out my error on Torlin/Torval so I could quickly fix it. You are right; looks like some action ahead for the little knight. Thank you!

DE- I’m glad you enjoyed Torlin and some of the Imperial Trading Company ship names we came up with. The episode where Buffy reviewed her failures at romance was a powerful one for her – your endorsement of the episode means a lot. Coming from a master of description such as yourself, I am humbled by your kind words regarding Buffy’s observations along the Niben. I hope you will similarly enjoy Buffy’s observant walk through Leyawiin on her way to the castle in a few episodes – once she helps close that pesky Oblivion Gate! Thank you!

Grits- It was fun trying to ‘paint’ the dawn banks of the Niben as the Peony Princess sailed into County Leyawiin. By the time we got to her destination I’m glad Buffy’s exasperated reaction to yet another Oblivion Gate ‘fit’. I'm hoping the end of this next episode inspires another 'Go Dame Buffy!' tongue.gif Thank you!

* * *

Episode 12

As I approached the flaming portal, I noted that spiked anti-cavalry barricades had been emplaced to channelize emerging Daedra into an awaiting formation of city guards. I recalled how Savlian had also used such chevaux de frise barriers to good effect during his lengthy defense against the Oblivion Gate at Kvatch.

“Dame Buffy?”

The familiar voice drew my eyes and attention away from the defensive arrangements. Errant strands of brown hair framed an exhausted face. Smudges of dirt, blood and Daedra innards stained the surcoat of Leyawiin’s guard commander. Caelia Draconis had been the first to provide aid to Kvatch. It was her example, and letters to counterparts in other cities, that helped swell Savlian’s forces to numbers that allowed the eventual recapture of his city. “Captain Draconis, I thought we had an understanding between us that did not require titles.”

Bypassing my extended hand she hugged me and, as we brushed cheeks, whispered into one ear. “Things are desperate here, Buffy.”

As we disengaged, my hand lingered at the small of her waist long enough to magically ease her fatigue. There was little I could do about how overdue she was for a bath. “How can I help, Caelia?”

“I could use another mage in the ranks,” she replied. As I glanced over the defenders, I recognized a journeyman in tan robes from the Leyawiin chapter of my guild. I returned S’drassa’s wave, but his feline grin contrasted with the drooping ears and limp tail that proclaimed his weariness. “Deputy Guildmagister Agata has managed to keep at least one of Dagail’s mages out here and has stopped by regularly to check on them and supply us with potions.” As Caelia’s gaze returned to the gate, she said, “Damn that Jovanah for charging in there by herself!”

“Jovanah?” I asked. It was then I noticed a small singed flag planted near the flaming portal. Its black dragon imposed over a red diamond background identified it as belonging to the Imperial Legion.

“County Leyawiin’s new forester,” lamented Caelia. “I know she wants to prove herself, but she picked a damn fool way to do it!”

The gate flickered briefly as a massive pale blue form emerged. S’drassa’s fireball was chased by half a dozen arrows – including my own – and the frost atronach quickly fell to join numerous other daedric corpses.

Unfazed, Caelia continued, “I’m loathe to send others inside. If Jovanah pulls that sigil stone, anyone not holding on to her will perish.”

I nodded my understanding. “How long has she been in there and how much water did she take?”

“The gate opened five days ago and Jovanah was first on the scene. She barely took time to plant her banner, so I’m sure she has no more than one skin of water.”

I sucked in my breath. “As a solo forester, she would have tried to sneak and avoid fighting. Those tactics, while slow, don’t require anywhere near five days to reach a sigil stone.” I shook my head. “If the Daedra didn’t kill her, then the relentless dry heat of the Deadlands and lack of water did.”

“You’re sure?” the guard commander asked.

“I helped destroy the first gate at Kvatch long ago. I closed another north of Bravil by myself just a few days ago.” I nodded sadly. “I’m sure.”

The officer winced and her face softened somewhat. “She would’ve made a fine forester had the eagerness of youth not outpaced her judgment here.”

“I’m sorry for the Legion’s loss, Caelia. What forces do you have with the training to close these things?”

“Leyawiin’s Knights of the White Stallion are so trained,” she replied. “They closed one of the nearby gates by securing the area, sending in half a dozen knights, killing every Daedra inside and claiming the sigil stone.”

I almost smiled as I recognized the tactics of Sirs Mazoga and Agronak. “They sound impressive.”

“Aye,” she agreed, “but they’re currently busy with two more gates flanking the river up Water's Edge way.”

“We sailed past,” I remarked. “One of those gates is already closed. Knights are still inside the other.”

“After already dealing with several gates simultaneously the knights will doubtless be exhausted and in need of healing – as well as repairs to their weapons and armor.” Caelia frowned. “I can’t ask them to close this one as well without rest.”

“What of Leyawiin’s chapter of the Fighters Guild?” I asked. “Have any of them received the Legion’s Oblivion Gate training up at the Arena?”

“A few of them have but Guildmistress Vilena Donton just ordered them all to Bruma. They left yesterday, offering no details of their mission.” She spat on the ground. “My guards aren’t trained for this, damn it! That leaves me with limited options – all of them bad. I could hold the line out here and hope that endless small waves of Daedra and exhaustion don’t attrite us to the point we become overrun before help arrives. Alternatively, now that we believe Jovanah has failed, I could send my sergeant of the guard with a detachment of soldiers into the gate to close it, and live with the ghosts of those who don’t return.” Her eyes glistened but her face was hard as steel as she stared at the flaming portal. “Or I can do what I know I must and lead the detachment I send into the gate myself. If I survive, I expect to be relieved of command for violating the Legion’s policy that a commander remain with the bulk of her unit. I’ll be damned, though, if I’ll send my soldiers into something I haven’t trained them for without me at their side!”

I understood Caelia’s dilemma about her location when splitting a command. Savlian had explained that commanders were expected to use subordinates to lead detachments. At Kvatch, however, no one had ever closed an Oblivion Gate or had any real idea of the hazards within. . . or if closing one was even possible. For reasons similar to those just voiced by Caelia, Savlian ordered that just he and I enter the Oblivion Gate there and attempt to close it. The Legion would say that, despite our success, Savlian made a reckless decision and violated policy. I, on the other hand, adored him for the selfless courage of his choice. Just as I respected the decision Caelia was prepared to make.

I made a decision of my own. “There is another way, Caelia. Leyawiin’s knights must be exhausted by now and, as you say, your soldiers – including you - are not trained for this task.” I looked up at the Imperial officer. “I am both rested and trained. If you can augment my one waterskin with the loan of another, I will close this gate.”

“Are you sure?” Her eyes reflected. . . worry, hope, fear? Perhaps all of these things, I decided.

“Yes,” I stated with all the authority and confidence I could muster. “My business in Leyawiin is with Count Caro and I’m quite certain he will not grant me an audience while his city is under siege.”

She handed me her waterskin. “We’ll hold the line out here. That’s one thing we’re trained to do.”

I added the skin to the other full one in my satchel, then slipped on three rings. The heat emanating from the gate instantly eased, and all nearby life blossomed into pink glows. “I should be back within a day. If this gate still stands after two, assume I have failed and continue to hold the line until you can send in a contingent of White Stallion Knights as soon as they've recovered from their current tasks.” Before Caelia - or I - could change my mind, I stepped off for the gate.

The last words I heard before entering the flaming portal were Caelia’s. “Good luck, brave knight.”


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ghastley
post Mar 4 2020, 03:22 PM
Post #85


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If the current "occupant" of the gate is a forester, the Daedra are already alerted to the sneaky archer style. That's going to make things harder for Buffy.

Are the legion all Imperials in your story? The game makes them that way for voicing reasons, but it's a bit arbitrary. Jovanah isn't all that Imperial-sounding a name, but then names aren't always chosen by mothers.


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Mods for Oblivion and now Daggerfall and Skyrim. Fan fiction, too.
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SubRosa
post Mar 4 2020, 06:49 PM
Post #86


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I appreciated the use of chevaux de frise at the entrance to the gate. They are such a simple and effective means of defense, that anyone with an axe and a few trees ought to be using them.

Looks like Captain Draconis could use one of Aela an Loria's Cleanse spells.

Looks like a great opportunity for Buffy to lend the Leyawiin guard some on the job training at closing gates.

And off Buffy goes, being Buffy to the end. Well, hopefully not the end.


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Grits
post Mar 5 2020, 02:59 AM
Post #87


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Oh no. It’s sad to lose a forester. My wager is that Jovanah is a Nord, as she charged in like one.

I love how the defenders shot the emerging atronach down with barely a pause in conversation. That and their weariness showed how time had passed while it was open.

Caelia’s Gate-side remarks reminded me of Savlian. It is no surprise that Buffy is willing to go in to help her friends, even knowing that she may share Jovanah’s fate. Gooo, Dame Buffy!! happy.gif



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haute ecole rider
post Mar 5 2020, 04:38 AM
Post #88


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This made me chuckle and groan at the same time: [quote“Yes,” I stated with all the authority and confidence I could muster. “My business in Leyawiin is with Count Caro and I’m quite certain he will not grant me an audience while his city is under siege.” [/quote]

Uh huh, and just about every other noble in Cyrodiil . . .

Oh, no, a forester has been lost in there? I remember Julian going into that one so Marsias our forester would not have to face them alone.

I'm with Grits on this one: GO DAME BUFFY!


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Acadian
post Mar 11 2020, 12:21 PM
Post #89


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Previously- When Buffy arrived at the Oblivion Gate threatening Leyawiin, she found the city guard struggling to contain things. The county’s forrester had already entered the gate and failed to close it. The guards were untrained for the task, the Fighters Guild was deployed to Bruma and the White Stallion Knights were busy with other gates. Rather than allow Leyawiin’s guard commander to lead untrained soldiers into the Deadlands, Buffy volunteered to close the gate herself.

*

ghastley- We’ll see that Buffy’s solo survival advantage inside a gate is her experience and arcane training. Though most in the Legion are indeed Imperial, there are a number of exceptions in Buffy’s world. Astute of you to note that Jovanah is indeed not an Imperial name – we’ll learn her race in today’s episode. We’ve used Nords and Bosmer as Imperial Legion battlemages at the University. And Buffy’s heard of a Redguard Legion veteran named Julian of Anvil.

SubRosa- As I verified my nomenclature for chevaux de frise, I was thinking that you would appreciate it. tongue.gif Buffy’s Tamriel would be a cleaner and better smelling place if Buffy knew the Cleanse spell that graces your fiction! This will be the last Oblivion Gate we have planned for Buffy to close, so we’ll linger inside this one for an entire episode.

Grits- Jovanah did charge right into that gate like a Nord on Jerric Juice! We’ll learn her race in today’s episode. Thank you for your kind recollections of Savlian. We are beginning to see that Buffy’s grieving is moving beyond self-pity. Her reflections of Savlian going forward will be more along the lines of cherishing memories, recalling the things she learned from him and, when required (as it will be when she gets to Bravil), aggressively defending his legacy.

Rider- Oblivion certainly did throw gates in the way of gathering allies for Bruma! Fortunately for Buffy, others are simultaneously soliciting aid from the other nobles. My hope is that by limiting Buffy’s recruiting efforts to two cities, we can more fully develop the situation in each without risking repetitiveness. Unfortunately, Jovanah lacked the wisdom from years of experience that served Julian so well for the deadly work of closing Oblivion Gates.

* * *

Episode 13


Upon entering the Deadlands I lifted my fist and spilled a cloak of invisibility over myself. Scrambling to the top of a large boulder to better survey this realm, I crouched stealthily before my spell expired. A clannfear charged below me and right out the gate. Caelia’s guards would deal with him.

I could see the sigil tower at the end of the path straight ahead. Although the number of patrolling Deadra were few, the trail’s length was flanked by some sort of slender sentry towers.

The first challenge, however, was a rift in the Deadlands cutting directly across my intended course. I slid down from the boulder and made my way to the edge of the chasm. The gorge was as deep and wide as where the Larsius River passed beneath the bridge leading to Bravil’s main gate. Except here, shifting rock had destroyed the bridge, and the river below was angry lava. I lamented to Acadian, “Too far to jump, even with a running start.” After scanning the horizon to my left and right, I frowned and added, “Going around would require nearly a full day and almost all my water.”

“Are you not skilled in Alteration and Restoration?” offered the paladin.

“By Kynareth's wings, you’re right!” I stowed both bow and quiver inside my mage satchel then cast several spells. With nearly a third of my weight feathered and my ability to leap dramatically augmented for a short time, I took a running start and jumped from the edge of the gorge.

The feeling was both exhilarating and terrifying as I sailed over the deadly lava below. As the rocky ground on the other side rushed up at me, I realized I hadn’t thought much about landing. Upon touchdown, I gracelessly collapsed into a ball and rolled several times. Scrambling to my feet, I quickly checked for hostile glows. Seeing none nearby, I healed a few bruises then retrieved my bow and quiver.

I could better see the sentry towers now. Each was roughly twice the height of an Altmer and topped by some sort of small mechanism.

In the distance, I spied a scamp. When the emerald spell I cast swirled into its target, my newly recruited assistant sprinted toward me. I studied the sentry towers between us, noting that none of them reacted to the small Daedra’s passage. As the creature neared, I rewarded its service with a lethal arrow.

“I think we’re in luck,” I said with a smile. “It seems these sentry towers are either inoperative or not sensitive enough to notice a small target like me or a scamp. I hope.”

“Either that,” replied Acadian, “or they are able to distinguish Daedra from Bosmer.”

I frowned and sighed. “You’re probably right.” I cautiously approached the nearest of the sentry towers. Sure enough, the top of it began to whirl ominously and glow.

I dove to one side, pulling the bow in close to my body as a fireball narrowly missed me. Rolling as I hit the ground, I was quickly on my feet and behind a protective boulder. Fireballs continued to harmlessly strike the stone shield between me and the fire sentry at a regular interval that I counted out to be six seconds.

The spell that grew in my right fist was a powerful one to ward against magic. Combined with my father’s Bretonic gift of magic resistance and the ring of resist fire I wore, I hoped it would be enough. Regardless, the spell’s brief duration would require speed and timing.

As soon as the next fireball hit the boulder, I cast and ran. Once in the open, I set my course for the shelter of another large rock slightly farther along the path. Another fireball passed close behind, but the next one found me just as I leaped to safety. Thankful for my precautions, I passed a healing hand over my slightly singed elven rump.

After scanning again for foes, I repeated the cast and run process. I learned and improved as I went, resting at each stop to allow my endurance and magicka to recover.

I was well into my second waterskin by the time I found myself safely hidden in a narrow gap between two large rocks at the base of the sigil tower. Assisted by my detect life rings, I studied the movements of three Daedra that patrolled around the towering dark structure. Once I understood their pattern, I exploited a narrow window of time and scrambled from the safety of my stony crevice to the tower’s entrance, and inside.

No challenges or glows of life met me on the other side. After magically warding the door behind me, I cast numerous weak, but persistent frost spells into the ceiling and walls where they lingered – effectively illuminating the entire large chamber. The pale blue glow from my spells revealed several corpses littered about the stone floor.

One was human.

I knelt by what I could now see was a Redguard clad in the bloody leathers of an Imperial Legion Forester. After gently passing a hand over the woman’s face to close her blankly staring eyes, I quickly searched her body and pack. Among the personal effects that I stuffed into my satchel for delivery to Caelia, was Fanador’s book on how to close Oblivion Gates. Guilt tugged at my heart as I realized she had tried to use the same stealthy tactics that Savlian and I did inside the Kvatch gate. “I’m sorry, Jovanah. Stealth without magic would not have let me succeed either. That you made it this far is testimony to your determination and skill. I will honor you by finishing what you boldly started. Farewell, sister. May the Nine ease your path to a peaceful rest.”

I stood and quietly admonished myself, “Focus on the task at hand, Buffy, lest you join this brave forester.” I took a long pull from the second waterskin before continuing.

The screeching challenge that welcomed me as I entered the next chamber prompted a panic-casting of my invisibility spell. As I slid to one side to vacate the spot of my last visible presence, I quickly assessed the threat. I yielded my cloak of invisibility to command the nearby angry clannfear with illusion magic. My new ally quickly charged the twin flame atronachs who also guarded this chamber. The distraction allowed me to sprint up a ramp to the only door besides the entrance and slip through it. Thankfully, this room was empty and I quickly warded the door behind me.

The next level once again required recruiting a temporary Daedric distraction, but the chamber above that was ascended without detection.

Climbing a ramp that led to yet another door, I quietly slipped into the next area and, again, warded the door behind me. The ample light coming through the translucent red-domed roof, and humming of a sigil stone confirmed that I had arrived at the tower’s pinnacle.

Two glows guarded this level and I stealthily crept close enough to evaluate them while remaining unnoticed. Between the ramps and teeth-like stone pillars, it took a few moments for my moving foes to reveal themselves as a dremora mage and frost atronach.

I studied them while debating how best to proceed. Invisibly running for the sigil stone? Hoping that perhaps the slow swirl of a command spell could catch one of the moving targets and turn them against each other? Possibly using the superior speed of an arrow to kill the mage first?

My options suddenly became very limited when the black-robed dremora moved closer and looked around suspiciously. “I sense a disturbance in the tower’s force.” Her voice had an otherworldly echo to it. Black-gloved fingers opened to spill pink magic that I knew all too well. “I see the glow of your life force, little mortal. Welcome to the place of your death.” Her hand spiked toward me, releasing a burst of dark red magic.

I answered with a spell of my own but hers traveled much faster. A feeling of panic rose as I felt the link to my precious magicka sever and watched her easily sidestep the slow swirl of my illusion.

I sprinted for the other side of the large circular room, making several erratic turns to complicate her spell targeting. A bolt of lightning flew past, barely missing me. I had also inadvertently strayed close enough to alert the frost atronach. I dove behind a pillar. The column of stone shielded me from both the crackling spark-filled explosion of the mage’s next spell, and the booming chill of the atronach’s frost magic.

Protected for a brief moment, my hand dove into the pouch at my waist and emerged with a potion. Spitting its cork from my teeth I guzzled the dispelling elixir. Even before the empty vial hit the ground, I felt the relief and power of magicka once again surging through me.

Keeping the pillar between the mage and I, illusion magic swirled from my fingers to the atronach. After it struck, the ice monster turned, and its next spell was directed toward the dremora spellcaster.

Since the mage could both divine my location and curse my magic, she represented the far bigger threat.

When I stepped out from behind the protection of the stone pillar, my bow hosted a fully drawn arrow. My readiness to quickly slide from side to side to avoid the mage’s spells was not needed, for as I saw her hand thrust a fire spell at the atronach, I loosed. Her corpse had barely hit the ground when I cast yet another illusionary swirl toward my remaining frosty foe. He answered with a ball of icy fog.

As our slowly moving spells passed each other, I easily sidestepped his. The atronach, however, made no attempt to evade mine. As it blossomed into his chest, he turned to flee in terror.

I sprinted to the angry pillar of flame in the center of the chamber, atop which was suspended the buzzing and humming object that powered this horrid realm.

Grasping the sigil stone, I was engulfed in the familiar blinding light and roaring protest of collapsing stone. I surrendered to the sensations of swirling, tumbling and falling that I knew would return me to Nirn.


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SubRosa
post Mar 11 2020, 01:27 PM
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I really liked your description of Buffy spilling a cloak over herself.

Alright, Buffy is buffing up like a superhero! She will be patrolling the streets of Detroit with Stormcrow in no time! laugh.gif Seriously though, I did like the idea of using both feather spells and strength fortification to assist with an augmented leap.

I was actually thinking that the towers could sense a daedra from a Tamrielian. I will see when I scroll farther down.

Looks like the head-Paladin and I think alike!

Nice little trick of using frost spells for illumination!

I was afraid that we would find Jovanah within. Her remains are a grim reminder that while Buffy makes it look easy, closing gates is serious business for one not as experienced and well-prepared as she.

I was guessing a clannfear from the screeching challenge.

A disturbance in the Force? Yikes! He's on to Buffy! But some clever use of cover, and a potion saved for the inevitable eventuality of a silence spell, and the Buffster showed that a cool head and preparation will prevail.


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Renee
post Mar 11 2020, 02:45 PM
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Yeah, Dame Buffy! She can close that gate. Nobody else in the vicinity seems qualified.

Hey, she puts on her Detect Life rings. Did she also have Resist Fire? I like when she says "I should be back within a day."

Nice, she uses Feather for an actual purpose other than carrying extra weight. See, none of my characters ever use this spell. They always sell Feather potions + scrolls. Never thought of using them to add agility, though.

She's drinking water as she explores the heated Deadlands.

Uh oh, looks like Buffy's been spotted by a Dremorwizard. indifferent.gif But she can do her invisibility / summon trick, right? Nope, not this time. Interesting that she hasn't fired any shots, yet. Maybe her bow is more of a backup in this situation.

Wup! Spoke too soon.

Phew. Sigil Stone in hand, and back to Cyrodiil she goes. smile.gif
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Darkness Eternal
post Mar 13 2020, 03:48 AM
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Chapter 12:

From the serene jungle of Valenwood and back into the fray. Buffy wasted no time in taking the fight to the Daedra, and again she means business. Good to see Caelia Draconis, and a reminder in how instrumental she was in retaking the city.

My hand lingered at the small of her waist long enough to magically ease her fatigue. There was little I could do about how overdue she was for a bath.
This was a very nice touch!

The need to prove one's skill can be dangerous in a place like Tamriel, and an all too common folly of the young. Jovanah's venture into Oblivion gave me little hope, and Buffy's prior knowledge and experience in the Deadlands. If the denizens of the realm did not kill her, the fierce and fiery realm may have. But there's always a chance, right? Hopefully.

Though pressed with concerns, Buffy's bravery was the much needed answer to Caelia's problems. Entering Oblivion on one's own will takes courage, and in this case, a selfless heroic spirit.

Chapter 13:
You painted a fiery picture of the Deadlands as most of us have remembered it. Once again Acadian proves helpful and offered good advice as Buffy's leaps over the voracious lava below. It was quite amusing, if I must say, seeing her land unceremoniously on the ground. That was a nice touch, and seeing her putting her healer skills to work felt great.

“I sense a disturbance in the tower’s force.”
biggrin.gif laugh.gif I totally got that.

I don't think there is anything more terrifying than encountering a Daedra, especially in their own realm . . . especially one trained in the arcane arts. Buffy reminds me just how useful potions and elixirs are; they certainly come in handy in dire moments like these. A shame Jovanah did not make it, but her bravery will not be unremembered, for sure. Not everyone is capable for such a tremendous task.

Buffy's fight with the lady Dremora had me on the edge of my seat, and her determination and wise use of her magick capabilities made short work of the Dremora and the pesky frozen fiend! This was a great chapter!


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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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ghastley
post Mar 13 2020, 04:08 AM
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I liked the way Buffy knows to just make the atronch flee, as she's about to collapse the tower on him. Most would feel the need to destroy it first, and then leave.



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haute ecole rider
post Mar 14 2020, 02:33 PM
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QUOTE
I knelt by what I could now see was a Redguard clad in the bloody leathers of an Imperial Legion Forester. After gently passing a hand over the woman’s face to close her blankly staring eyes, I quickly searched her body and pack. Among the personal effects that I stuffed into my satchel for delivery to Caelia, was Fanador’s book on how to close Oblivion Gates. Guilt tugged at my heart as I realized she had tried to use the same stealthy tactics that Savlian and I did inside the Kvatch gate. “I’m sorry, Jovanah. Stealth without magic would not have let me succeed either. That you made it this far is testimony to your determination and skill. I will honor you by finishing what you boldly started. Farewell, sister. May the Nine ease your path to a peaceful rest.”


This is sad - but for the Grace of Akatosh goes Julian! I rather suspect that Julian's years of experience in the Legion fighting alongside battlemages had thought her that magic and sword&board does mix. I recall how she utilized that little healing spell so frequently in her first forays in the Deadlands she had to use the magicka wells to replenish her own pool. And I recall how quickly she adopted the detect life spell and the chameleon enchantment on her armor!

Reading this latest adventure of Buffy's bought back many memories of all those gates Julian closed. She does not miss them. At. All. wink.gif


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Grits
post Mar 15 2020, 08:17 PM
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That’s a clever use of the Feather spell! Buffy’s mage satchel really shows its worth here.

Smart to ward the doors as Buffy passed through the tower. The arcane part of arcane archer shone throughout this adventure!

Preparation saves the day with that potion. Well done, Dame Buffy!


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Lopov
post Mar 16 2020, 10:22 PM
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As others have said - a very clever use of Feather spells. Like Renee's characters, mine sell those potions / scrolls as well.

I was hoping there'd be a slim chance for Buffy to find wounded Jovanah hiding somewhere but by closing the gate Buffy avenged her.

Impressive that she managed to avoid almost all denizens of the deadlands by a clever use of her spells.

That mage proved to be a challenge but "fortunately" it had the atronach nearby, so Buffy could turn the atronach against her. I like it how you described that she sensed Buffy's presence and struck first.


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Acadian
post Mar 18 2020, 12:53 PM
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Previously- Buffy entered an Oblivion Gate threatening Leyawiin and navigated the perils of the Deadlands. After locating the body of the Legion Forester who had preceded her by several days and fighting her way to the sigil stone, she managed to close the gate.

*

SubRosa- When Buffy was ‘flying’ across that gorge, I did think of Stormcrow. smile.gif Buffy and I were delighted long ago when we figured out how to illuminate dark chambers by tossing persistent weak frost spells into walls and ceilings in TES4.

Renee- Early in Buffy’s TES career, we lifted the two ring restriction so, yes, she wore a very effective combination of two rings of detect life and one with resist fire inside the Deadlands.

DE- Getting her magic severed by a Daedric spellcaster quite inflicted a déjà vu terror in Buffy’s heart. She vividly recalls that is exactly what led to her inability to prevent the mortal damage Savlian took during their final battle back at Kvatch. There, her potions had been crushed. Though there was no opportunity to describe it in this episode without breaking the flow, she now uses custom vials made of light mithril steel and never adventures without dispelling potions. So glad you got my Star Wars ‘force’ reference.

ghastley- Heh, I think Buffy’s choice to turn the atronach with fear, grab the sigil stone and flee was more that she could ‘smell the barn’ and anxious to exit the Deadlands. Knowing that pulling the sigil stone would kill any Daedra inside was just a bonus.

Rider- I well-remember Julian being a skilled warrior who gradually embraced magic to augment her traditional soldierly skills to good effect. I think Buffy’s lack of physical strength that causes her to eschew melee is what drove her to augment her bow with magic. After a couple failed attempts to teach Buffy to use a dagger, it was Daenlin who pointed her toward Kud-Ei and the guild of mages to increase her survivability.

Grits- Buffy (and her greaves) hates dangerous surprises so warding the sigil tower doors behind her seemed natural. Though Buffy tends to rely on her bow for actually delivering raw damage, she’ll readily admit that she could survive without her bow; she couldn’t survive without her magic. Her skill evolution is slow and gradual, but she has changed her primary self-perception from archer to mage.

Lopov- Buffy’s pretty creative with ‘utility’ spells like summoning hunting knives, feathering heavy items, lighting up dark areas, etc. Illusion is her primary school of magic and it proved its worth through most of the Deadlands. Against the dremora mage, however, it displayed its drawbacks of traveling slowly and not actually doing direct damage.


* * *

Episode 14


After bouncing once and rolling twice, I scrambled to my feet and gratefully inhaled Leyawiin’s cool damp air. By the time I had stuffed the sigil stone within my satchel to silence it and healed my bruises, Caelia Draconis was upon me.

“Thank Zenithar!” she exclaimed.

“How long?” I asked.

“You were in there over the middle of the day – about seven or eight hours.” Her face clouded. “Did you find any sign of Jovanah?”

I nodded solemnly as I produced the forester’s personal effects and gave them, along with the now empty waterskin I had borrowed, to Caelia. “You may truthfully pass along to the Legion and any family Jovanah had that she died bravely.”

“Thank you, Buffy.” She gazed at the steam rising from the broken gate’s flickering and glowing remnants for a long moment. “Once again, Leyawiin is in your debt. You mentioned you have business with Count Caro?”

“Yes,” I replied. “I’d appreciate any help you can provide arranging an audience. It involves martial assistance relating to the Oblivion Crisis, so you should attend as well.”

“Can it wait until tomorrow morning?” In response to my frown she continued, “Look, we’re both exhausted and need some cleaning up. . . actually, a lot of cleaning up. Besides, my hope is that by morning the White Stallion Knights will have that final gate closed. I’d like to have their knight commander at this meeting.”

“You’re right, Caelia,” I admitted.

“I’ll make the arrangements then,” she stated. “Will you require quarters at the castle?”

“No thank you,” I replied. “I’ll stay in the Mages Guildhall.”

“Fine. I’ll pick you up there midmorning on the morrow and escort you to the castle. That will give us the opportunity to privately discuss something you should know before we meet with Count Caro.”

“What might that be?” I lifted an eyebrow.

“The Count recently had Alessia Caro executed for treason.”

A score of questions swirled in my mind, but before any could reach my lips, Caelia held up a hand to stay my words and continued, “Like I said, there are things we need to discuss.” As a soldier approached, she added, “But this is not the time or place.”

“Captain?” The Imperial’s helmet was tucked between his arm and the singed fabric of his Leyawiin surcoat. The tired face was streaked with soot and his closely cropped hair bore flecks of gray.

“Dame Buffy,” said Caelia, “this is Ignatius Varro, my sergeant of the guard and second in command.”

“Pleased to meet you, Ignatius.”

Rather than shaking my offered hand, he formally touched the back of it to his lips. “I see Milady’s reputation as one of Leyawiin’s first knights is well deserved. Thank you for destroying this gate.”

“Report,” ordered Caelia, limiting the reply I could give Ignatius to what I hoped was a graciously humble smile.

“I’ve directed a withdrawal from this position and asked S’drassa to thank his guild for their assistance,” the soldier began. “Our guards are returning to the barracks to get themselves healed, fed and tend to their gear. I’d like to get them back into the semblance of a routine. A rider’s been dispatched to the knights dealing with that remaining open gate up north. He’ll notify them that this one’s been closed and remain there until he can bring us word of the final gate’s closure.”

“Outstanding job, Sergeant.” Caelia then turned back to me. “By your leave, Dame Buffy. I’ll call for you in the morning at your guild.”

She waited for me to nod, then the two soldiers turned and began walking toward the awaiting ferry. I watched their backs for a time as they talked and opened the distance from me.

Alone, under a gray afternoon sky, I gazed at my handiwork. The collapsed pillars of a closed Oblivion Gate were normally rather unremarkable stone that went cold as soon as the portal was closed. I noted, however, that the detritus of this one continued to mock the surrounding forest with an orange glow. Sigil stones were infused with a variety of effects, but I didn’t need to check the one in my satchel to know that its magic was fire. No matter how many vines the spriggans planted in the name of Kynareth to reclaim this patch of woods, the small flames that flickered from these rocks would likely take years to eventually die out.

“Superian, I need you,” I said. The combined spirit of mare and dragon stirred within me. A bluish white mist - the color of ancient glaciers and ice dragons – formed in my hand. As I opened my fingers, the vapor quickly expanded and solidified into the fully tacked up form of Superian. I hugged my precious mare’s neck and mounted. Kitsune appeared and, after circling my waist, settled into her spot between my hips and the saddle’s pommel.

We slowly rode the short distance to where the Yellow Road met the Niben, and didn’t mind waiting the few minutes it would take for the ferry to return.

*

After carefully examining my sigil stone the guild’s storekeeper, Alves Uvenim, opened a display case containing two others. The teeth-tingling discordant hum of three sigil stones forced both hands over my ears. When she quickly added mine and closed the case’s transparent cover, the noise blessedly stopped. As I lowered my hands, the Dunmer pointed at my stone through the clear barrier and emitted a low whistle. “That transcendent fire stone is worth a great deal.”

The amount of coin she then offered rendered my eyes likely the size of saucers. I managed to nod acceptance while finding my voice. “That’s much more than my traveling expenses require. Can you give me a hundred gold now and credit the rest to my guild account?”

“I think that’s a prudent choice, Buffy. According to the Black Horse Courier, the Legion cautions that the roads just aren’t safe anymore.”

She began counting out gold. “Did you hear about Countess Caro?”

“Yes,” I replied as Alves filled my silk coin purse. “Captain Draconis will call for me in the morning and has promised to share more details of the lady’s fate during our walk to the castle.”

“I couldn’t wish such an end on anyone, but part of me wouldn’t blame our local Khajiit and Argonian friends if they held a celebration.” She dropped in the last coin. “Is there anything else you need?”

I stowed the purse in my satchel, then glanced down over buckskins that were streaked with black soot and white dried sweat. I was pretty sure my face and hair looked no better. “A bath, and rather badly I should think.”

“Oh, you’ll love the new tub Agata had installed downstairs! I hope to see you later at dinner.” Slender blue-green hands opened the top drawer of her sales counter and began rummaging among the parchments and journals within. “Now, where’d I put my quill?”

I suppressed a giggle as I realized the long feather nestled in her dark hair was not a fashion statement. “Is that it behind your left ear?”

“Welcome back to Leyawiin, Buffy.” The interruption came from behind, but I recognized the Nordic voice as that of the deputy guildmagister.

Smiling, I turned. “Thank you, Agata. I hope to stay for a day, perhaps up to three.”

“That’ll be fine. Boderi Farano sent word by courier dove to expect you. I’ve assigned you Kalthar’s old bed downstairs for your stay.” She looked me over then wrinkled her nose. “You need a bath, Journeyman.”

“Yes, Agata.”


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SubRosa
post Mar 18 2020, 01:47 PM
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Thank Zenitor!

The Countess has been executed for treason? Wow, did not see that coming. I suspect the plot might be thickening indeed!

It looks like Buffy might be richer than Zenithar now.

I hope Kalthar's old bed has had a bath as well!


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haute ecole rider
post Mar 18 2020, 04:51 PM
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Countess Caro executed?? blink.gif blink.gif

Julian asks: How does this affect Count Caro's relationship with Countess Arriana Valga, the Countess Caro's mother?

I admit I had that relationship in the back of my mind as I wrote the relevant chapters of OHDH and made a (so far unkept) promise to myself to explore it further in potential sequels . . .

And a Bath! In the GUILD HALL?? My my the Leyawiin Chapter is moving up!



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ghastley
post Mar 18 2020, 05:30 PM
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Is it really a bath, or did one corner get flooded? biggrin.gif

I don't really remember what was down there before, but It did look like a rebuild was in order.


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