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> Buffy - Book 3, We're Having a Crisis Here!
SubRosa
post Feb 7 2020, 05:38 PM
Post #61


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I wonder, has Buffy ever considered publishing her journal as a book(s)? I think the tale of her adventures would give Tamrielans a welcome alternative to Castra Scribonia's Woman Gone Wild...

If this was taking place in the real world, then The Order of the Lamp would be really creepy. A secret death squad that goes around killing people whom they deem are evil. Given that this is a fantasy world, and they are divinely aligned, I take it that they are a genuine force for good taking their orders from genuinely beneficent deities - like Mara and Julianos (little teapot and all). In which case it is a good thing they are there, and even better that they are coming out of the shadows to stand against Dagon. It is very plain that Boderi's patron is Julianos.

While it seems pretty plain that this is going to be focused on the Oblivion Crisis, the numerous references to Mannimarco (Manny? The Manster? The Mannimaniac?) that at some point Buffy might get involved in the Mages Guild questline as well, perhaps in Book 4?

I am hoping the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the one who calls Buffy. May the pasta be with you!


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Darkness Eternal
post Feb 9 2020, 05:53 AM
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Great detail on the ancient Order of the Lamp! I enjoyed reading about their works and responsibilities. Fascinating how after all these centuries they are still around, in one shape or form, at such a crucial moment in time when Oblivion Gates are opening all over the place. One can say there hasn't been a better time to discover more about them in these present moments.

I think it is very appropriate for Buffy to find out more about them. She fits perfectly as one of these holy paladins!

That breakfast in the beginning sounded delicious by the way!


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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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Acadian
post Feb 12 2020, 12:52 PM
Post #63


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From: Las Vegas



ghastley- Though Buffy’s historical depiction of the Order of the Lamp is recognizable from lore, we have freely taken liberties and filled in some gaps to our own purpose. That such knights were, first and foremost, paladins and why Vanus Galerion insisted upon it is such an example. Thank you!

Grits- That Dame Boderi’s revelation of her true identity gave you shivers is music to my ears! I so hoped for such a reaction. Thank you!

Lopov- I’m glad you endorse Buffy’s ‘supporting role’ in the crisis instead of being ‘The Chosen One.’ Being in support suits her nature much better. We view the Oblivion Crisis primarily as a familiar backdrop for Buffy's journey of personal growth. Thank you!

Rider- Looking back over the years, I’m surprised I remained blind to the signs. Only when I read The Deed of Paksennarion by Elizabeth Moon recently did the clarity of Buffy’s destiny snap fully into focus. The author’s depiction of what a paladin is all about literally sang to my heart, gave Buffy the courage to consider it and provided the inspiration to finally bring this book to life. Thank you!

SubRosa- In Buffy Fiction, paladins will be beacons of light in a dark and dangerous world. You are right to identify the challenge of avoiding self-serving motives and zealotry that can sometimes infest mortals claiming Divine inspiration. Our weapons against that will be incorruptibility and compassion. In Buffy's world, the Divines choose only a small number of paladins, and do so with great personal attention. As you say, a genuine force for good in a fantasy setting.

The attention to Mannimarco was relevant only to address what I felt was a potentially awkward historical timeline. ESO has the Worm King in what seems to be Molag Bal’s inescapable and permanent grip of torment at the end of the Planemeld – well before lore says he did battle with Vanus Galerion later in the Second Era and, much later, resurfaced to plague the Mages Guild in the Third Era. My hope in the last episode was to allow for the possibility that he somehow survived Molag Bal. Though I don’t rule it out, I have no current plans to present the Mages Guild questline. Rather, I’m leaning toward transitioning Buffy’s story to the Second Era (involving time travel of course) after this book. I much prefer writing where we’re playing instead where we were two games ago. tongue.gif Thank you!

DE- I’m pleased to hear you suggest that it's appropriate for Buffy to discover more about paladins before committing to that path. As we’ll gradually learn, there is a great deal about them that she does not know. She correctly understands they are beacons of Divine light but it will be Acadian who eventually reveals the limitations and hardships that such a life entails. And Buffy's godmother, Azura, is likely to complicate things as well. Thank you!

*

Previously- The morning of Buffy’s departure for Leyawiin, she and Boderi shared a private breakfast. Boderi turned the conversation to the Order of the Lamp. Buffy knew that the Order had been comprised of paladins empowered and devoted to the Nine whose role had been to combat the evil use of magic. Boderi then surprised Buffy by revealing that the Order was still active but had been operating clandestinely – until now, and that Dame Boderi was a Paladin of Julianos who had been serving as the Order’s Palatinus for decades. Finally, Boderi asked Buffy to consider the path of a paladin herself.

* * *


~ Part 3 – Aide from Leyawiin ~

Episode 9


I stood among a score of passengers under the midday sun. We waited as cargo was carried down a ramp mating the dock to the ship’s lower cargo hold. Among the crates and barrels still waiting to be loaded aboard was a mule and three sheep. I was grateful that Superian traveled safely as a spirit within me.

My thoughts returned to Boderi’s proposal that I ask the Nine to call me to their service. Though I traveled with the spirit of a paladin inside me, I was far from sure I totally understood what being one entailed. I knew, however, that before I decided anything I needed to talk to Acadian and probably some priests.

Oh, and Azura. It was the Mistress of Twilight who had touched me with her hand of fate and thrust the abilities of a Slayer upon me. Would she be angry if I considered serving the Nine? She would have no right to be. After all, I never asked for her interference in my life and considered being a Slayer more curse than blessing. I should speak to her about it though. . . as well as the fact that I loaned her Star to Mazoga and Agronak. I pushed such thoughts aside for now – my quest to Leyawiin and Bravil took priority.

Aside from myself and an Argonian dressed in a loam blouse and faded gray skirt, the rest of my fellow waiting passengers were men. Mostly merchants and artisans by the look of them.

After a gangplank was rigged to the main deck, a Bosmer at the far end waved us onto the ship. “Welcome aboard the Peony Princess. My name is Fillimir, ship steward.” The leather-faced elf had black hair slicked back into a short queue and was dressed in a burgundy tunic trimmed in black with matching pants over sturdy sailcloth shoes. After explaining some of the ship’s rules and meal times, he exchanged our tickets for waterwalking amulets, which we donned. “We’ll usually be in sight of land. In case we go down, stay calm, move away from the ship and walk to shore. These amulets don’t grow on trees, so I’ll need them back as you debark at your final destination. I’ll show you the galley on our way down to where you’ll sleep. This way please.”

We followed the steward below the weather deck, past the galley, through several passageways and down one more deck before he announced, “This is the passenger berthing compartment.”

As we passed a doorway from which hung a canvas curtain, he commented, “That’s the head - for cleaning yourself up and doing your personal business; if you want a full bath, wait till port or tie yourself to a line and splash around over the side.” He paused by the next opening along the bulkhead. “My office. You can usually find me in there or checking the galley.” Drawing open the canvas that covered a doorway across from his office, he revealed a small cabin. “This is where our two lady passengers will sleep.” Finally he gestured out toward the main compartment. Along the bulkheads on both sides were strung hammocks, three high. “You men sleep here. The Captain doesn’t tolerate any nonsense, so stay out of women’s berthing unless you want to swim to your destination.”

Once the Argonian and I entered our cabin, she slid the curtain closed and extended a scaled hand. “Quill-Weave. Are you going to Anvil as am I?”

“Buffy,” I said as my hand met hers. “Only to Leyawiin. I have business there. Do you live in Anvil then?”

“Yes, I am a writer and heading home after doing some research here on The Imperial City maze of a sewer system and the lost souls who call it home.”

“There is certainly plenty of mystery beneath the city,” I commented.

“What is your business in Leyawiin . . . I mean, if I am not being too nosy?”

“I’m just couriering a message for my guild of mages.”

“You don’t look like a mage – not with the way you’re dressed and those bowstring calluses on the fingers of your right hand.”

I held out the open hand of which the observant Argonian spoke. From its palm flickered to life the magenta arcane flame of my guild. As orange eyes widened, I closed my fingers to extinguish the beacon of guild recognition.

“It seems I was mistaken, magister.”

“I get that a lot. It seems buckskin-clad Bosmeri mystic archers are rare.” I then grinned. “But don’t worry, I’m not going to turn you into a scamp or anything like that. Your name and the ink stains on your own hands mark your profession well enough though.”

She held up her stained fingers. “So they do.” Looking at the three hammocks strung above each other, she added, “You want top or bottom?”

“May I have the top?”

“Perfect,” she replied. “I prefer the bottom. Most of us scaled folk like being low or even underground. I don't snore but sometimes my tail thrashes around in my sleep. It will be safer for you being above me."

I chuckled, then countered, “Being a short elf conceived in the treetops probably explains my preference for high perches.” Suddenly I felt the ship move. “We’re underway!”

“Old hat to me,” replied the Argonian as she opened her worn travel bag.

I began to change clothes as Quill-Weave carefully arrayed her writing supplies on the single small table.

“You know,” she continued, “after my current book, I’m toying with writing one about the guilds of Cyrodiil. May I ask you a question?”

“Of course,” I replied, wriggling out of my buckskins.

“Everyone knows that a display of the arcane flame marks one as a member of the Mages Guild – just as the red and white medallion worn by members of the Fighters Guild serves to identify them. From interviews with mages, I have learned that the ability is bestowed as a mage begins their course of study at the Arcane University.”

“That’s all correct,” I confirmed as I tugged an ivory skirt with emerald trim over my hips. “During the ceremony, the mage is infused with a tiny portion of the guild’s arcane flame that she can henceforth display as you saw me demonstrate.”

“If a member of the Fighters Guild is expelled,” Quill-Weave explained, “they forfeit their amulet. Fleeing without surrendering it generates a writ from the guild to track down the disgraced fighter and recover the symbol of their guild – by whatever means is necessary. My question is, how does your guild preclude a disgraced member from still displaying Mages Guild credentials?”

“Well, we try not to kill them if that’s what you’re asking.” I pulled a white peasant blouse over my head. “We’re not the Dark Brotherhood, after all. When a mage is expelled from the guild and does not willingly surrender it, their tiny piece of the arcane flame acts like a beacon to those trained to locate and recover it.”

Quill-Weave was scribbling busily. “I assume the guild has mages whose duties include enforcement of such things?”

“You assume correctly. I’m sure you can appreciate that the specifics are more effective if not disseminated beyond those who use them.”

She paused her note taking to look at me and nod her understanding. “Very enlightening. I like the mystery angle; readers eat that stuff up. When someday I finish the book, Buffy, where may I send an autographed copy for you?”

“What a thoughtful gesture!” I replied. “It will reach me if sent to the Arcane University.” We chatted a bit more as I pulled a brush through my hair. Before I excused myself to head topside for some fresh air, we agreed to meet later in the galley for dinner.

After getting lost and having to ask one of the crew for directions, I finally emerged on the busy main deck. Sails billowed and sailors bustled. I found what looked like an out of the way spot on one side of the ship. I held the railing with one hand to steady myself against the ship’s movement and kept the other near my skirt in case an errant breeze lifted it. Closing my eyes, I savored the wind in my hair and sun on my face.


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Renee
post Feb 12 2020, 02:31 PM
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That'd be fun. Instead of life jackets we get waterwalking amulets.

That does make a lot of sense. Buffy has no problem being higher when she sleeps, while Quill-Weave has no problem sleeping low.

Quill-Weave sounds like she actually writes some material for publishing. Unlike Casta Scribonia. I can remember when I was new to the game. One of my characters spoke to Casta and Casta bragged about writing all these books. laugh.gif None of which are in the game apparently. And that was actually my first thread in the old Bethesda forums. "What's up with Casta Scribonia?" Where are all these supposed books she writes? Somebody accused me of being a troll! indifferent.gif But i was serious. I had to prove my intent in that thread!

Anyway, let's see where this trip leads, as they head south to the land of frequent rain. I wonder if it'll rain constantly in Leyawiin like it does for a lot of my characters.
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ghastley
post Feb 12 2020, 03:14 PM
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I always like the everyday magic in everyone's stories. If you're in a world with magic, it will get used whenever it makes sense. Water-walking away from a wreck is better than just being floated, as it saves a rescue trip, so the authorities would mandate that. tongue.gif

@Renee: you've got me trying to recall if Quill-Weave has any books in the game. I think she does, but I don't remember which.

The flame "ID" coming at the same time as Adryn reminds us that not all mages can do all the schools has now got me wondering what happens if a mage is "allergic" to fire? biggrin.gif


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SubRosa
post Feb 12 2020, 04:34 PM
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I hope no one puts Buffy in a crate!

I think Azura would feel that she has the right to be angry about anything she chooses to Buffy! That is one of the perks that comes with being a god (or godlike being).

I love the name Peony Princess for a ship. It could be a tavern as well.

Waterwalking (and breathing) amulets sound like a great idea for shipgoers who were not blessed with being born Argonian.

So is the head at the head of the ship? wink.gif

Sewer research? Now that is a crappy job Quill-Weave.

Yowch! Being a slight elf when a trail is thrashing about sounds like being a long-tailed cat in room full of rockers!

Very neat world-building with the inclusion of the Guild's arcane flame. At first I thought that rather than it being gifted upon them, they should learn to create it themselves as a sign of their ability. But then I realized that would mean any mage not in the guild could recreate it themselves and fake it. The whole situation of leaving the guild and tracking rogues though the flame is fascinating. It also implies that the Guild could use it to locate any member, like a magical GPS.

QUOTE(Renee @ Feb 12 2020, 08:31 AM) *

That'd be fun. Instead of life jackets we get waterwalking amulets.

That does make a lot of sense. Buffy has no problem being higher when she sleeps, while Quill-Weave has no problem sleeping low.

Quill-Weave sounds like she actually writes some material for publishing. Unlike Casta Scribonia. I can remember when I was new to the game. One of my characters spoke to Casta and Casta bragged about writing all these books. laugh.gif None of which are in the game apparently. And that was actually my first thread in the old Bethesda forums. "What's up with Casta Scribonia?" Where are all these supposed books she writes? Somebody accused me of being a troll! indifferent.gif But i was serious. I had to prove my intent in that thread!

Anyway, let's see where this trip leads, as they head south to the land of frequent rain. I wonder if it'll rain constantly in Leyawiin like it does for a lot of my characters.

You are such a troll Renee, everyone knows it... laugh.gif

According to the UESP Wiki:
She is a famous author who writes stories about the adventures of outlaws and low-lifes in her books, such as "Red Crater" and "The Goblin with the Golden Arm". One of her neighbors keeps rats as house pets, and during the related quest, you will find out exactly how much that bothers her.

Quill-Weave is currently working on a series of books named after Cyrodiil's Doomstones, though she believes that the Doomstones have no magical powers


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Darkness Eternal
post Feb 14 2020, 01:51 AM
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Again, it so handy to have a pocket-mount able to travel in such a form.

I can sympathize with Buffy's regarding thoughts on Azura. Daedric Princes, even the ones considered to be often good and benevolent, have a very harsh track record and often put mortals in positions and spots they don't want to be in.

Great reference to the Interregnum. Not many people remember the details of that time period. I'm certain scholars and mages would be more inclined to know about it, and of course old organizations. I think Mannimarco did of course escape Molag's grip. I agree that it was sort of odd with the different timelines, but fan theories aside, its cool to see it mentioned here.

“You men sleep here. The Captain doesn’t tolerate any nonsense, so stay out of women’s berthing unless you want to swim to your destination.”
laugh.gif laugh.gif

The exchange between wood elf and argonian was great, and its interesting how their racial habits extends even to their sleeping ones.

To Leyawiin!

This post has been edited by Darkness Eternal: Feb 14 2020, 01:51 AM


--------------------
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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Acadian
post Feb 19 2020, 02:01 PM
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Renee- I’m glad you agree that waterwalking amulets for river and coastal ship travel seem to make sense. I bet the weather will indeed be mostly overcast and/or rainy in County Leyawiin. Perhaps with a few bolts of red lightning. . . . ohmy.gif Thank you!

ghastley- Like you, SubRosa and others, I like to try to show some practical uses for magic in such a magical world. Thank you!

SubRosa- With Buffy considering aligning with one of the Divines, what Azura might have to say about it seems like a prudent consideration. Buffy will learn the names of some of the Peony Princess’ sister ships and I hope you will enjoy them also. I’m glad you like how we are using the MG’s arcane flame. I confess it was partly inspired by the FG’s amulets that you introduced in Teresa Fiction. Thank you!

DE- I felt obliged to address how the traitorous Worm we left to eternal torment in the Second Era in ESO could somehow survive to later battle Vanus Galerion (in support of Order of the Lamp lore) and even infest himself upon the Third Era (in support of the MG questline in Oblvion). I find it great fun to try and weave the wide range of racial characteristics found in Tamriel into matter-of fact-normal considerations that might not occur to those of us without pointed ears, tails, fur or tusks. Thank you!

*

Previously- Buffy boarded the Peony Princess to begin her journey from The Imperial City down the Niben to Leyawiin. After meeting her Argonian cabin mate and settling in, she made her way up to the ship’s main deck to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.

* * *

Episode 10


“What lady so fair, whose golden hair shames the very sun, graces my port rail?”

I turned to look up at a handsome Redguard. A loose fitting white shirt was gathered at his waist by a scarlet sash and its wide sleeves danced in the wind. Well-fitted black trousers were tucked into knee high suede boots of the same color. His roguishly smiling lips parted to say, “Torlin, first mate of this fine vessel.”

“Buffy,” I managed to reply without stammering.

“Buffy,” he repeated. “What a beautifully exotic name! In all my travels, I’ve never met anyone who shares it.”

“Nor have I,” I said, feeling rather flustered by his blatant charm and attention, “so I suppose it is rather rare,”

He lifted my hand briefly to his lips. “Welcome aboard.”

“Thank you,” I replied. As he leaned against the rail and unabashedly watched me, I looked around, trying not to display my self-consciousness. Behind us now was the wide bridge spanning the Upper Niben at its juncture with Lake Rumare. Ahead, I could see another vessel closing quickly. It sailed by almost silently, save for the cracking of sails in the wind and what sounded like commands being barked to its deck crew. “Beautiful,” I said. “What ship is that?”

“Barenziah’s Breeze,” replied Torlin amiably. “One of our sister ships, and bound for The Imperial City. While not as fair as yourself, she’s a beauty all right.”

I imagined my peasant blouse did little to hide the flush I felt rising above its off-the-shoulder neckline, but I didn’t draw attention to it by looking down to see. “When I picked up my ticket at the Imperial Trading Company, the clerk told me we’d arrive at Leyawiin early tomorrow. How many stops do we make?”

“Just one at Bravil before sailing overnight to Leyawiin. About four more days from there on to Anvil, including numerous stops.”

“At what cities?” I asked.

“Well, after Leyawiin, we sail to Duncori Walk and Senchal in Elsweyr. Then on to the land of the Bosmer.” Brilliant white teeth flashed briefly before he continued, “Our Valenwood ports are Haven, Southpoint, Greenheart and Woodhearth. Next is one of the Summerset Isles for a stop at Skywatch before finally arriving Anvil. After a few days port call for the crew, we bring aboard a new load of passengers, mail and cargo then retrace our route back to The Imperial City.”

“I’d love to visit those cities. Someday.”

He smiled. “Tis a shame that Leyawiin will break my heart by stealing you away on the morrow before I can show you those ports.”

I smiled demurely and, as I lowered my eyes, could see now that my shoulders did indeed display the blush I felt. “How fortunate your crew is to have a first mate so gifted by the silken tongue of a bard.”

“You wound me, lovely lady.” I looked up to see sparkling eyes that belied both a crestfallen face and dark hand placed dramatically over his heart to stem imaginary bleeding.

“Oh, I’d wager the numerous ports you visit provide plenty of lovely ladies to tend your wounds. I find this talk of ships fascinating though. How many such vessels does the Imperial Trading Company operate and where else do they go?”

“Let’s see, there’s our own Princess of course. And you saw the Breeze just heading north.” He began counting off on his fingers. “The ITC also operates Nymph of the Niben, Mara’s Tear, Black Swan and Dragon’s Tongue. Six. They all run the same route when not undergoing maintenance in our home port of The Imperial City. The Rihad Trading Company overlaps us at Anvil and serves the northern provinces.”

“Thank you, Torlin. I had no idea how all this worked.”

“You’re most welcome,” he replied. “We’ll dock at Bravil within the hour. Our loadmaster will oversee the on and offloading. My duties in port are actually quite light. The town is quite an unsavory den of thieves, beggars and black marketeers. ‘Tis hardly a place for a cultured unaccompanied lady. I’d be honored to escort you ashore, share a dinner and get to know you better. Have you had the misfortune of visiting Bravil before?”

“I grew up in the beautiful forest city that is cleansed by the Niben and nurtured by the Great Chapel of Mara. After losing both parents, the city and its people became the family who raised me.” I smiled sweetly.

The Redguard was speechless for a long moment. When he spoke, the roguishly bardic manner was gone. “Forgive my poorly chosen words, Buffy. I feel as if I’ve eaten half my boot.”

“Apology accepted, Torlin. I admit that it takes time spent in Mara’s city to fully appreciate her subtle charm and that your perceptions are shared by many visitors.” I paused to give the man a reassuring smile. “I greatly appreciate you teaching me so much about ship travel within the Empire, however I must decline your kind offer. The length of our port call here is too short for me to say all the hellos and goodbyes that going ashore would require. And I’ve already promised my cabin mate that I’d quietly remain aboard with her for dinner in the galley.” I then poked a small finger into his ribs playfully. “Besides, you’d hardly want a Bravilian waif as your dinner date. I might steal your heart and sell it on the black market.”

My joke elicited the intended laugh and seemed to ease his lingering embarrassment. “Methinks ‘tis I who have learned from you, fair and wise lady. We’ll need to rig for the wind and make our turn toward Bravil soon. I hope to see you again before you leave us in Leyawiin.” He kissed my hand once more, then treated me to a charming grin and exaggerated bow as one hand almost swept the deck. He then turned and, before I knew it, was barking orders about sails, coming around, riggings and such to the crew.

I watched the resultant deck activity for a time and felt the ship turning. My gaze shifted out over the bow. The City of Mara soon began to grow out of the distant trees, backlit by the golden brilliance of a westering sun.

I sighed. Torlin was handsome, worldly and charming. Part of me was flattered by his attentions, even though I was sure that any young thing in a skirt would draw his eye as easily as I. He probably had women in each of the numerous ports he had mentioned. And good for him, I thought, for I certainly wasn’t ready to move beyond the memory of Savlian yet. I had tried twice and. . . it had not gone well.

In Valenwood an elf named Vandrelis from one of the mammoth-hunting plains tribes had courted me, eliciting hopeful stirrings in my heart. Though I balked after his first kiss, confessing my lingering grief over the loss of Savlian, he was both patient and attentive. I found myself beginning to hope he would kiss me again.

As the chief’s son, Vandrelis was next in line to lead his tribe and explained how important it was to him that any mate be able to provide an heir to succeed him. For a Bosmer to conceive, her totem must be defeated by that of her mate as the couple shares intimate pleasures. Vandrelis' totem was a tiger. His curiosity was piqued as I informed him I had two totems. When I told him that one was a butterfly, he was pleased. Dismay, however, was his reaction as I reluctantly advised him that my second totem was an ice dragon. We sadly agreed that I was not what he needed. There were plenty of wood elven maidens whose totems could be defeated by his powerful tiger, but I was not among them. The potential for love to blossom was over before it really began. Acadian had gently consoled me that knowing Vandrelis’ priorities so early in the courtship was better than learning them later.

I stared out over the bay as I recalled a subsequent attempt at romance after returning from Valenwood. Caccian Apinia was a member of the Bravil guard force and took quite the fancy to me. Unlike some under the command of Captain Viera Lerus, he rejected corruption and was both firm and fair in his duties. I was drawn to both his sense of honor and skill as a warrior. I had accepted an invitation from him for dinner at the Silverhome. Well, I ended up drinking too much and blubbering about Savlian. Between the wine and emptiness in my heart, I became clingy as he walked me home, even inviting him to come inside for the night. He gently declined.

Once fully sober the next day, I realized how chivalrous the man had been to not take advantage of an inebriated and vulnerable elf. I was so impressed that, when he asked, I readily agreed to try dinner together again – without the wine. This time, when he delivered me home, we chatted comfortably outside my door. Then he took me gently into his arms and our lips met. Instead of welcoming his kiss as I hoped I might, I stiffened as waves of guilt washed over me. I pulled away, crying and apologizing. I had selfishly implied to this kind man something I could not deliver. He was wise enough to understand, and our evening ended with a friendly but sad hug. The last thing he said that night still hung heavily in my heart: ‘You told me that Captain Matius’ final words to you included the hope that you live your long elven life. Until you truly embrace his wishes, no man can compete with the ghost of your hero.’

Had it not been for the steadfast strength, unconditional acceptance and vehement reassurances of my paladin that night, the next morning would have found me at the bottom of the Niben. Beneath the same waters that now lapped against the sides of the Peony Princess.


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SubRosa
post Feb 19 2020, 05:57 PM
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Is Buffy shaming the Sun again?

Torlin has some serious thirst for Buffy. You certainly described what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the male gaze quite well.

I do love the names, especially Black Swan, thanks to the ballet and movie.

The misfortune of visiting Bravil! The cad! Buffy should steal his heart and sell it on the black market! laugh.gif

Caccian was quite right. No one can compete with a ghost.


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Renee
post Feb 20 2020, 04:03 PM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ Feb 12 2020, 10:34 AM) *


You are such a troll Renee, everyone knows it... laugh.gif


rollinglaugh.gif Well it explains why I constantly get those Where am I? pictures wrong. I fess up now. I have never actually played a Bethesda game. indifferent.gif

QUOTE
He smiled. “Tis a shame that Leyawiin will break my heart by stealing you away on the morrow before I can show you those ports.”


OH my gosh! blink.gif I agree with Dame Buffy, this Redguard probably says this to all the pretty ladies. wub.gif

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‘Tis hardly a place for a cultured unaccompanied lady. I’d be honored to escort you ashore, share a dinner and get to know you better. Have you had the misfortune of visiting Bravil before?”


Torlin and my Kahreem both have the flirty gift. wub.gif These words could literally have been said by my Redguard thief.

I like that he has no idea who she is, that she is actually an adventurer who faces down all sorts of enemies, and so on.

Vandrelis appeared in Book II, correct? I seem to remember their encounter, especially them exchanging totem information.
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ghastley
post Feb 20 2020, 04:59 PM
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Does this mean that your Leyawiin is that of Open Cities Reborn, (or at least similar) where the Niben is actually navigable through the city? I always preferred it the way that mod rebuilt it, especially as it re-created the concept art, without breaking any of the quests there, or making any dialogue nonsensical.

I also started wondering about the stop in Skywatch, as Lathenil of Sunhold wrote that the seas around Summerset were impassable during the Crisis. But then, he managed to get out to Anvil himself, so it's likely that did not apply to Auridon, and he had another way to get between the islands that didn't require a boat. If any port would still be open, it would be that one.





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SubRosa
post Feb 20 2020, 07:40 PM
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QUOTE(Renee @ Feb 20 2020, 10:03 AM) *

Vandrelis appeared in Book II, correct? I seem to remember their encounter, especially them exchanging totem information.

Vangelis did the music for Chariots of Fire...


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Lopov
post Feb 21 2020, 08:44 AM
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Quill-Weave! At first I thought that the mentioned Argonina will be of no particular importance, but it turned out to be our favorite writer. A nice bit of conversation, the Fighters Guild is quite ruthless when it comes to retrieving the amulet by any means necessary. Water-walking amulets are a clever addition for the passengers, in case the ship would sink. laugh.gif

I was thinking of Vandrelis as Buffy began her conversation with Torlin, although I didn't recall Vandrelis' name until you brought it up. I'm thankful for some insights into events from previous stories. I enjoyed a conversation between Buffy and Torlin, although I assumed that she'll accept his offer to accompany her. tongue.gif


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Grits
post Feb 26 2020, 05:16 AM
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Ooo, Quill-Weave! As ever I adore the touches of practical magic in Buffy’s world.

I then poked a small finger into his ribs playfully. “Besides, you’d hardly want a Bravilian waif as your dinner date. I might steal your heart and sell it on the black market.”

I love it! biggrin.gif

It was sobering to realize that Buffy’s bleak night after the date with Caccian happened so recently. Darkness and light wove all the way through this episode.


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Acadian
post Feb 26 2020, 01:51 PM
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Previously- Buffy continued her voyage toward Leyawiin. Meeting the ship’s charming and flirtatious first mate elicited painful memories of her failed attempts at romance after the loss of Savlian. As the ship prepared for a brief port call at Bravil, Buffy elected to remain aboard for a quiet dinner with her cabin mate.

*

SubRosa- I’m glad that Buffy’s feminine reactions (voluntary and otherwise) to Torlin’s gusher of charm rang true. I did have fun making up those ship names! As you can see, Buffy still has work to do reconciling Savlian’s ghost with any possible future romance. At this point, I’m proud of her for at least being willing to try.

Renee- How neat that Torlin’s smooth charm reminds you of the Weet Bandit! Buffy’s diminutive size and ‘elf next door’ look are not likely to intimidate anyone. . . so she has learned to rely on speechcraft as well as any advantage to be gained from being underestimated. You are exactly right that Vandrelis appeared in Book 2. Thanks for remembering!

ghastley- It always seemed absurd that the Niben’s delta area around Leyawiin precluded navigation to/from Topal Bay, but the only mod I used to correct it was imagination. In Buffy fiction, it is not landlocked and those using the Yellow Road to and from Leyawiin rely on a ferry to cross the fully navigable Niben. We’ll see that in the next couple episodes. Regarding Skywatch, I confess I did not delve deeply into possible impact of the crisis on Auridon. I figure it is reasonable that Auridon could be struggling but still viable with at least one functioning port.

Lopov- I thought Quill-Weave, as a traveling writer, would be a perfect cabin mate and opportunity for Buffy to explain a couple guild things that are unique to Buffy fiction. Buffy’s saga is so sprawling that I figured reviewing her failed courtship with Vandrelis from Book 2 would be prudent.

Grits- Quill-Weave’s dry but curious manner was fun to write, as was Torlin’s over-the-top charm. I appreciate your comment about weaving fun and humor into this past episode, while finishing on a rather sobering note.

* * *

Episode 11


The port call in Bravil was predictably uneventful, given that Quill-Weave and I had stayed aboard for dinner and crawled into our hammocks early.

At some point during the night a gentle sense of motion had alerted me that we were underway. The soothing movement of the ship likely contributed to my sound night of sleep.

I awoke with warm fur in my face. Kitsune liked to sleep curled up with her nose covered by her luxuriant tail - and she often extended the courtesy to me. Easing the vixen aside, I noticed no hint of daylight yet penetrated our cabin’s single small porthole.

Careful not to awaken Quill-Weave below me, I managed to quietly dismount from the rope and canvas hammock and get my feet onto the deck. After summoning a towel and wrapping it around myself, I padded across the passageway to the washroom to pass water, wash up and clean my teeth. 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.

Once outside the cabin, I knelt down and whispered to Kitsune, “Your sense of smell is much better than mine. Will you lead us to the galley?” She did so. Though early, I talked the cook into some cold roasted mutton and hot tea.

Finally, I emerged topside into the damp predawn air. Dark shadows, which more light would soon enough render as trees, slowly slipped past both sides of the ship. I leaned against the starboard rail and waited for daylight to become more than a vague promise.

I smiled as a pale green butterfly appeared and fluttered around my head. “Good morning, Dawn,” I said. The diminutive creature had frequently appeared during most of my life, but only around sunrise. Though she was a mystery to me, I had come to welcome her brief visits.

By the time I finished an orange that I had grabbed from a barrel in the galley, I could make out the Green Road whenever it came close enough for the Niben’s gentle waves to lap at its cobblestones. Reeds along the river’s edge and weeping branches of willow trees confirmed we were in County Leyawiin.

Soon, there was enough light that I could make out the sharp broken rocks of a closed Oblivion Gate as we slowly sailed past. The corpses of several Daedra on the charred ground nearby silently testified that the gate had not long been closed.

Ahead of us, and on the other side of the river, towering gray walls announced our proximity to Fort Redman.

My tiny winged visitor suddenly disappeared. A moment later, the sound of distant thunder reached my long ears.

“Could be a storm ahead, lads. Standby to rig for foul weather.” My head turned to see the ship’s first mate issuing orders. The Redguard turned to me and lowered his voice, “Good morning, fair Bosmer. You may want to retreat below deck. Wouldn’t want such a lovely flower of the forest blown overboard.”

“Good morning, Torlin,” I said absently, for my attention was focused on the sky ahead. When a bolt of red lightning slashed across the rapidly forming black clouds, my heart sank. “I know that sky. It brings neither wind nor rain; rather, it proclaims an open Oblivion Gate.”

Torlin’s eyes widened briefly before he decisively turned to address the deck crew. “We’ve got an Oblivion Gate ahead. Steady as she goes and we’ll safely sail right on by.” Turning back to me, he said, “I need to notify the captain. Once again, I thank you, my lady.” The Redguard spun on his heels and quickly made his way aft toward the pilot house.

I retrieved both bow and quiver from the enchanted satchel at my waist and settled them onto my back.

Within minutes, the flaming maw came into view. The scorched meadow it claimed was just south of Fisherman’s Rock along the Niben’s east bank. As we sailed closer, I could make out a large green banner, emblazoned with the rearing pale horse that marked it as belonging to Leyawiin’s Order of the White Stallion. Several knights stood guard as some number of their comrades were undoubtedly inside attempting to wrest the sigil stone from its tower.

Acadian quietly remarked, “I see their mission has changed from slaying black bow bandits to closing the jaws of Oblivion.” I nodded, thankful for the comfort that the old paladin’s spirit within me provided.

As we sailed past the gate, my eyes turned again toward the west bank to see Water’s Edge come into view. Half a dozen sheep stood nervously together in shallow water bleating their disapproval of the incessant angry streaks of lightning tearing at the thunderously protesting sky. Several residents were already outside and, between fearful skyward glances, dutifully tending the small community’s rice plants. The wetlands crop, along with fishing, provided the bulk of their diet and livelihood.

I watched Water’s Edge slowly disappear behind us, then shifted my gaze forward over the starboard bow as the Peony Princess continued south. I was surprised when a stone building of imposing size grew from the trees along the Green Road. As the ship drew abeam, I could make out a familiar banner. A wide smile grew across my face. “So, it’s true,” I whispered to Acadian. “The humble lodge used by Mazoga and I after we were dubbed has been replaced by a magnificent hall that, by the look of it, could host more than a score of knights.” The low stone wall surrounding the compound also enclosed a stable, sparring area, forge, vegetable garden, henhouse and well. I saw no sign of activity outside the lodge, though two of its several chimneys issued wispy clues of life inside.

The impressive facility soon slipped behind us. A pair of sailors across the deck along the port rail were discussing another closed Oblivion Gate now visible just east of the river. The more of these gates I saw, the more my fear of them was joined by other emotions. Heartache and worry for the brave souls who struggled to close them. Fury toward the Daedra Lord of Destruction for unleashing his rapacious flaming teeth into the beautiful forests that I loved.

A loud crack of thunder dispelled my ruminations. It should have been getting quieter since that open gate was now well behind us. I looked out over the bow as Leyawiin’s distant gray walls began to come into view. On the eastern shore of the Niben, near the Yellow Road ferry landing stood another towering set of stone teeth! Flames belched forth, angrily licking the sides of the portal as a number of soldiers, augmented by portable barricades, had established a defensive perimeter to contain and channelize Daedra. The river itself did provide somewhat of an additional barrier behind the soldiers. Daedra could swim but, while doing so, they were slow and helpless targets for any archers atop the city’s walls and towers. The dock area seemed safe enough for the moment.

By now, Torlin was back on deck and tersely issuing orders to the crew. The ship began to turn toward the city’s wharf area.

After, well. . . forever it seemed, the ship kissed her pier and lines were cast to and from the deck to secure us. As longshoremen maneuvered two ramps toward our cargo bay access and weather deck, I heard Torlin admonishing a Nordic sailor that I understood to be the ship’s loadmaster, “All hands are at your disposal to quickly get Leyawiin cargo off and on. The Captain wants the Princess back underway and away from this flaming swamp in less than an hour!”

Fillimir, the ship’s steward, along with two passengers carrying their travel bags appeared on deck looking bewildered and more than a little frightened by the angry sky and nearby flaming portal to the Deadlands. With but a glance from me, Kitsune disappeared. As soon as the pier and weather deck were mated, I pressed the waterwalking amulet that had been issued to me upon embarkation into the steward’s hand and ran down the gangplank. 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.

This post has been edited by Acadian: Feb 29 2020, 08:39 PM


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Renee
post Feb 26 2020, 02:56 PM
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She can summon a towel??? Man, if I had that ability I'd be summoning my car keys every day!

Nice, she has a butterfly follower (sort of). I like seeing those ruined Oblivion gates in my post-Crisis games.

Oh no. indifferent.gif Red lightning. That can only mean one thing.

QUOTE
“So, it’s true,” I whispered to Acadian. “The humble lodge used by Mazoga and I after we were dubbed has been replaced by a magnificent hall that, by the look of it, could host more than a score of knights.”


Translation: Acadian installed a White Stallion Lodge at some point. smile.gif Kidding. Maybe this is just imagination, because one thing I know from reading old Buffy posts in the old forums is you didn't have that many mods. I think you stated you had a mere 30 at the most.

She casts Water-Walking and rushes off. Now Torvin the Flirty must be wondering who the cute dame he flirted with really is.

This post has been edited by Renee: Feb 26 2020, 02:57 PM
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ghastley
post Feb 26 2020, 04:33 PM
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When I saw "I could make out a large green banner, emblazoned with the rearing pale horse that marked it as belonging to Leyawiin’s Order of the White Stallion. Several knights stood guard " I was already anticipating the expansion I read a bit further down.

So now I'm wondering how long this is after the events that created the Order. And whether all the Marauders in Rockmilk Cave suddenly got a legitimate job? tongue.gif


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SubRosa
post Feb 26 2020, 05:38 PM
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How thoughtful of Kitsune to warm Buffy's exposed face with her tail! biggrin.gif

Uh oh, the Twilight Butterfly returns! We know who that is...

Hopefully that coming storm is not the sound of an open Gate. Oops, I guess it is!

I see the LOWS is on it. I wonder if the bandits are taking advantage of the authorities' divided attention?

It was nice to see old familiar places again like Water's Edge. And newly refurbished ones like the LOWS headquarters.

There sure are a lot of those darn gates!

"flaming swamp" is not a phrase one often hears!

Buffy being who she is, throws herself into the fray. I was expecting this from the first open gate they saw.


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ghastley
post Feb 26 2020, 05:47 PM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ Feb 26 2020, 11:38 AM) *


"flaming swamp" is not a phrase one often hears!


Except when it's actually a will-o-the-wisp - which do infest that area in the game. Mazoga needs to be protected from those until she gets her Daedric gear. I forget what happens when the wisps meet the daedric creatures. If they're not in the same faction, they could become allies!


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haute ecole rider
post Feb 27 2020, 06:50 AM
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Sigh. I'm listening to the Oblivion OST as I read this, and it sure brings back many memories as does this leisurely trip (eh, with a fair bit of tension due to those nasty Gates) down the Niben to Leyawiin unfolds.

QUOTE
After, well. . . forever it seemed, the ship kissed her pier and lines were cast to and from the deck to secure us.
This shipfaring soul loved this turn of phrase - how appropriate for sailing ships of all kinds!

Of course, like Julian, Buffy and her Paladin just can't leave those fellow knights to defend against those Gates!


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