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> Postcards from Tamriel, Stories and such that fall somewhere between a snippet and a thread
Acadian
post Nov 23 2014, 12:07 AM
Post #101


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



I'm simply delighted that Jerric both enjoyed the thought and is able to make good use of Buffy's gift. Our hope was to reduce the amount of Jerric Juice the big Nord has to schlep around all the time without making a gift that was overpowered.

I hope no one else made the mistake I almost did. You see, when I saw Jerric's signature on his letter in bold, I just took that as a way to make his sig stand out. For some reason, it didn't occur to me straightaway that it was a link. Happily I got myself sorted out. Buffy and I were treated to not only a fabulous shot of the sexiest man alive, but I am in awe of your skill with poses, photoshoot setup and especially that you actually crafted Jerric's Stone for your game!

It is wonderful to know that Jerric and Co spent his birthday safe and sound at the Bannered Mare - one of the very nicest taverns one could ask for.

As far as Buffy's reaction to Jerric's letter and picture. . . IPB Image


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Grits
post Nov 3 2015, 07:06 PM
Post #102


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From: The Gold Coast



Here is a postcard from Valdi in Rorikstead at the dawn of the Fourth Era. It doesnt go anywhere or do anything, it just is. ESTROGEN WARNING: There are no werewolves in this story. If you are squeamish about female bodily functions, you might just give this one a miss. smile.gif


Blood Moons

The sun went down behind the mountain before I heard his feet on the porch stairs. I could tell because the back windows had gone dark. He shouldered the door open with boots in one hand and grocery sack in the other. I felt my face get warm, and that tight feeling came into my chest.

Hello, my love, and he gave me that smile.

My tongue still got tied up in knots whenever we saw each other, whether it was first thing in the morning or after a time apart. Today it had only been a few hours. Id tried not to think about him all afternoon, which made it seem like forever.

Did you get some rest? he asked. Its gonna be a late night. Pa says Jouane told him be ready for a raid. Dont know how he knows, but he knows. He dropped the sack on the side table and shoved his boots underneath. His axe went on the rack by the door.

Harvest time meant raiders until the crops had all been carried to market by the caravans. No matter how far he roamed, Erik liked to be home by autumn to defend his village. Our village, I kept telling myself.

My fingers were tangled up in work, cheesecloth and string and little wads of tundra cotton all arranged at one end of our big kitchen table. I emptied my hands and climbed over the bench, my eyes full of him. I didnt say I missed you, or I want you, or any of the love talk that you hear on a Loredas night at the Frostfruit Inn. I just walked into his arms and kissed every bit of skin I could reach, and then I pulled his face down to mine and kissed him some more.

He tasted like Mralkis Autumnfest ale and smelled of woodsmoke. I ran my hands up under his tunic and he yanked my collar to get at that spot on my neck. Next thing I knew I was laid on the table with my work scattered everywhere and both of us fighting with my belt. I should have learned by then not to wear trousers around the house.

There was a thump downstairs and something rolled. We froze. Then there was a noise like someone kicking at a door frame. Which was probably exactly what was happening down there.

Dammit, Erik muttered. I forgot She was here.

She was my friend, hadnt been for long but wed been through the kinds of things together that make you invite her to stay with you as long as she likes, as long as she needs. And then you remember that you should have checked first with your husband. Erik has my back in this like he has in everything else that has happened since the first day we set eyes on each other. That only makes me feel worse when my choices pain him.

Also, until recently, She had been a vampire.

Erik put me back on my feet as easily as hed stack a bundle of kindling. I watched him toss tufts and string back into the basket while I straightened my shirt. I had been making little pouches of cheesecloth stuffed with tundra cotton. Theyre good for soaking up blood.

He picked one up by the dangling string. Youre making moon mice already? Didnt you just..? His eyes rolled up as he counted days. Erik is no scholar, but I aint either.

Yes, I said, holding out the basket. I wont have my time again for six weeks or so. Not until Masser is waning. These arent for me.

He dropped the moon mouse into my basket, face blank.

Theyre for Serana, I told him.

Oh gods, said Erik.

She hasnt had her cycle in a thousand years, Id wager. I dont know what they used back then, but Im sure she hasnt thought about what shell use now.

Oh gods, he said again. What makes you think..?

Erik has a way of not saying the lady words but still getting the message out. I cant blame him. His Ma died when he was born, and he grew up without a sister to torment.

Women tend to cycle close together when theyre under the same roof for long, I explained. I just finished mine. I guessed that hers would start back up some day. And shes been so snippy and tense. I mean, more than usual. Seranas transition from vampire back to Nord had not been easy on her.

Something broke against the stone floor downstairs. Something that had been glass.

Oh gods, said Erik. Sweet Mother Mara.

Folk always want to pin lady troubles on Mara, even though its Kyne who made us. The way it works with women and elven lasses Ive always thought a male must have come up with it. The elves are lucky and dont get theirs as often, but that means fewer elves. Some Nords say thats also lucky. The elves seem to suffer more with it, though. At least Lildereth does. But then I dont know a lot of elves, so maybe its just her. And once I think on it, its mostly the rest of us that she makes suffer.

She might want a length of sheepskin instead, I thought aloud, with the fleece boiled clean and the hide side oiled against leaking through.

Eriks scars and freckles stood out like ink, his face had gone so white.

Sorry, I said, sort of surprised. Erik wasnt shy about anything at all once the clothes came off, and a little moon blood had never slowed him down before. Probably because he wasnt the one who washed the linens.

He sat down hard on one of the chairs we had drawn up to the fireplace. I dont think he planned to. Dont be sorry, he told me. Youre the one who thinks of things and Im the one whos sorry. What if we have a little girl some day? We could have a pack of girls. Youll be the best Ma there ever was, strong and kind, teaching them your way with sun-fire and a shield. And Ill just be there to What do I know about girls? Ill be there to chop wood and scare the boyfriends.

I sat down in the other chair before my knees gave out. What kind of Ma will I be? The kind who drags her brats through hideout and cave, always ahead of the law but always looking over her shoulder? Id grown up wild. That was all I knew. I couldnt even tell him he was wonderful, my mind was so full of how I was nothing.

Wed never had this talk before. I was still making my teas the way Abiene showed me to keep my womb empty, still counting the days in fear when my time was due, terrified it hadnt worked. Had he been counting days too, hoping wed made us a child?

Erik, I croaked. My throat was all funny. Love.

He took my hand and squeezed it. I could see he remembered about my family. Well figure it out, he said. His face was strong again. When youre ready, when were ready. Or when the time comes and surprises us. Well figure it out together.

I could hear Seranas hard heels coming up the stairs. It bothered Erik that she wore boots in the house, and now it bothered me, too. But I felt awkward saying something, and I know he never would since she was my friend. She was already breaking things. Maybe this was a good time to tell her.

Serana appeared by the shield rack. Her knuckles showed white on the stair railing. I could see that lust on her face, the same as in her vampire days when she thought I wouldnt see her blood hunger. She had left her vampire appetites behind, but she sure was hungry for something now. And her human eyes were fixed on my man.

I was standing in between them before I knew Id moved. What the hells is this? I drew a breath.

Serana bent her neck to look around me at Erik. First she hissed, then the words came out in a whine. Did you go to the bakery? Did you bring back something sweet? She paced over to the bookcase, her hands restless on her arms and lower back. Gods, I want some iced cakes. What did you buy at the market? By Molags maul, I have to have something sweet!

Erik was out the door before his chair finished tipping over. His boots still sat by the door.

Hes going now, I told her. Hell bring back something salty, too, Ill wager. I motioned for Serana to join me at the table so we could talk.

I wasnt much for hugs and touching, but Serana relaxed as soon as I put my hands on her back. I wasnt much of a smiler, either, but I couldnt help it when I thought of Erik running barefoot down the street. Hell be the best Pa there ever was, strong and kind, teaching them his way with an axe and bow. When the time comes well figure it out together. And were going to be just fine.






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Jerric's Story * Darnandex * Morning Star Screenshot: Cyrodiil Meadow
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SubRosa
post Nov 3 2015, 09:05 PM
Post #103


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Between The Worlds



Looks like I guess the meaning of Blood Moons had nothing to do with Werewolves! wink.gif

She was not too hard to guess at either. I love how she is She. At least its not Valdi's reanimated sister in the basement (though an ex-vampire is close).

I don't have to guess what the tundra-cotton cloths are for either.

Hope they have plenty of chocolate at the market!

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Nov 4 2015, 12:33 AM


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Acadian
post Nov 3 2015, 11:38 PM
Post #104


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



Gosh there was so much to like here as you explored a perhaps overlooked consequence of transitioning from Daughter of Coldharbour to Nordic woman with more than a thousand or so years of possibly pent up hormones. ohmy.gif

The aspects of fertility that Valdi shared with us dovetail perfectly with previous glimpses into this area shared by Abiene, Teresa and Buffy. The elven implications were particularly close to home fertility comes infrequently and more harshly. I also loved Valdis observation of what Buffy has experienced; indeed, every spring and autumn, she and her almost constant companion Superian come into heat on the same internal clock. wink.gif

Moon mice! Poor Erik! laugh.gif

*

And finally, let me comment on your current Distracted screenshot of the month. I dont know whether I envy Jerric or Lil more. wub.gif


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mALX
post Nov 4 2015, 12:35 AM
Post #105


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From: Cyrodiil, the Wastelands, and BFE TN





Aw, nice screen! ("Distracted") I didn't know you were doing that too! (like Acadian)




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Grits
post Nov 19 2015, 04:43 PM
Post #106


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Joined: 6-November 10
From: The Gold Coast



SubRosa: Yikes, no Clarissa in this basement! ohmy.gif Serana may have been demoted to mortal, but She will always be a bit larger than life. Thank you!

Acadian: Thank you, Acadian! I love spending time with Jerric and Lil. Each seems to make the other even more who they are. How sweet that Buffy and Superian share a cycle. happy.gif

mALX: Thanks, mALX!

This post has been edited by Grits: Nov 19 2015, 04:43 PM


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Grits
post Nov 20 2018, 01:52 PM
Post #107


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From: The Gold Coast



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Svanja and the Ghost Fox

As told by her brother Jerric


Once upon a time about thirty years ago there was a lass called Svanja. She lived in Kvatch with her sister and two brothers, five cats and three dogs, and Ma and Pa who loved them. Svanja was the youngest because this was before I was born.

This lass had a kind heart, a strong will, and a mouth full of sass. She also had a fair amount of energy, even for a Nord child. Sometimes her loving Ma and Pa and two brothers and sister could use a break from Svanja. At those times if school was out and she was willing, Svanja got to stay with Ongve and Shasana in Anvil. She loved them as family.

Shasana and Ongve were hand-fasted in the old Nord way as Ongve did not care for priests and their chapel weddings. Still childless at the time, they possessed the patience that comes of restful sleep. They lived in Anvil’s Harborside district where houses were small and close together. Folk grew flowers in pots and kept their windows clean. Shasana and Ongve did not have to keep a close eye on Svanja.

One of Svanja’s visits took place during a particularly hot and dry summer. County Anvil summers are always hot and dry, so you can imagine that if it was memorable, it was rutting hot. Svanja had passed her ninth winter. Back home in Kvatch she had been given an axe and begun to learn how to use it. She had a good pack, sturdy boots, and an excellent sense of direction. Svanja had also become a decent shot, but she left her bow behind when she wandered. Svanja loved animals, even the mean ones, and had no taste for hunting.

Shasana had a friend who lived in Brina’s Crossing, a village straight north of Anvil but farther by road. On this day Shasana gave Svanja a basket to carry to her friend. Whatever was in the basket is long forgotten. Maybe Svanja never knew. Anyway, who cares why one lady sends a lass with something to another lady? Only the two ladies, that’s who.

Svanja had half the day to get there and half the day to return by nightfall. Few folk traveled after dark when all manner of miscreant and beast came out to hunt. The occasional Legion patrol could not be counted on to save someone foolish enough to walk alone at night.

She hopped out of bed that morning when the first of the fish carts rumbled by. Svanja didn’t mean to go out the Dock Gate and take the long way around the city walls, but that’s where her feet went. Skipping along the harbor as the stars faded, she noticed that the tide was out. That meant tide pools on the rocky strand past the lighthouse. With such an early start she surely had time to see what gifts the sea had bestowed overnight. The breeze off the water wasn’t quite cool, but it was still a breeze. Svanja pulled off her boots and socks and was soon creeping through the tide pools.

Spider stars picked their way through the crevices, lifting their legs three at a time. Tiny fish flashed pink and silver as they darted through the salt lettuce. Delicate sea horses clung to marsh grass roots, nipping at the water strider bugs on the surface. In one pool Svanja found a baby diamond-backed skate and gently carried it to the surf.

A fish eagle’s call drew her attention out to sea. A cloud bank had formed low against the western horizon, painted all the colors of Aetherius by the rising sun. Morning was well underway, yet here she lingered far from the road to Brina’s Crossing. Svanja’s young legs made up some time, running over the dunes at an angle to meet the road. She spent the journey alternately jogging the flats and walking up the steepest parts, always staying within sight of someone.

Shasana’s friend offered Svanja a late lunch, and of course she accepted. It can be certain that Svanja thanked her hostess, carried her dishes to the scullery, and did not run while indoors. This is known because Svanja’s Ma raised her well. By the time Svanja stepped back onto the road, shadows stretched along the ground.

Home before dark, she thought. The long way by road would make her late. Svanja was a good girl, but at nine winters she was not thinking of Shasana’s and Ongve’s worry when she failed to return by nightfall. She was thinking of dire wolves prowling the hills, mountain lions slinking through the hollows, and bandits high on the outcrops over the road, all waiting for dusk to begin their hunts.

There was also the matter of ghosts. Some said that ghosts were always around us, you just couldn’t see their nature unless it was dark. Some said that ghosts would never hurt the righteous. And some said that ghosts were not to be feared unless they were angered. But if you were dead, Svanja reasoned, wouldn’t that make you angry?

Svanja crossed the road and climbed through the rocky verge until she could see Anvil’s red tiled roofs and the lighthouse peeking out between the hills far below. On a clear day she might see all the way across to the shores of Valenwood. But today was no longer clear. The cloud bank had moved over the sea toward Anvil. Now it filled the western sky, towering over a flat, dark base. This morning’s breeze had turned to a wind that hissed through the dry grass, answered by grumbling thunder. The air felt heavy and smelled of cookfires.

Svanja began her descent straight south through the hills. Her brother Petr had told her of a stone mouse that ran up his trouser leg and turned to itchy dust when he clapped a hand over it. Svanja doubted the truth of that story, but she’d seen enough serpents and lizards to be cautious with her footing. Gusts of wind blew the plants across her path, making it hard to see where she stepped. When she spotted a game trail winding slightly east across the hillside but generally down, she took it. At a level spot Svanja paused to tie the rain cover over her pack. Wet hair wouldn’t bother her, but she didn’t want her supplies to get soaked.

Kneeling in the dust she saw a flash of orange-red on the ground ahead between the waving grasses. Svanja stayed still for a moment, watching. When whatever it was didn’t move, she crept forward to investigate, wary that it may spring at her.

The grasses parted to reveal a fennec fox, its small leg caught in the cruel jaws of a foothold trap. Flesh had torn from bone in its desperate struggle, but now the little creature’s pain and fear were over. Its antics would never grace County Anvil’s golden hills again.

Svanja freed its leg, her eyes clouded with tears. She followed the chain to where a ring secured the trap under some rocks. They were too heavy for her to move, so she smashed at the links with her axe until they broke. Her last stroke cracked the axe head from its handle. With a curse, she flung the trap away down the hill. Her broken haft sailed after it.

The little fox was with Kyne now. Svanja made a soft bed so that its body wouldn’t lie twisted in the dust, then smoothed its fur from nose to tail once she laid it there. “I’m so sorry, dear one,” she whispered.

An antelope leaped over her head from the rocks behind, landing in puffs of dust and springing away before she could yelp. Seven more followed, ignoring the Nord child in their panic. Svanja squinted against the wind and saw smoke low along the hills. Too much for a camp fire. The storm behind it showed angled slashes of rain. Svanja turned and began to jog along the game trail, a nameless worry nipping her heels.

Thin squeaks and chitters drew her attention to an outcrop above her track. When she held her breath to listen, the clatter of brittle wings sounded over the wind. Nixads! Svanja scrambled up to find a flutter of the aerial creatures in distress, one of their number tangled in a snare. She had never been so close to one. While a part of her shivered with delight, she approached carefully. In pictures they were drawn with sharp nails and beak-like jaws for crunching bits of the magicka-infused stone they favored.

Svanja knelt to look, gently swatting away the three that buzzed around her head, screeching and scratching. “Stop it, you!” she murmured. “I’m no mage, stealing your gem chips. I’m here to help!”

The snared nixad’s complaints rose to a shrill keen as she bent over it. An upper section of its wing had snapped at the strong edge and torn through the membrane. Ma insisted that her wandering daughter carry strips of linen for a splint, a bundle of poultices for wounds, and one healing potion for emergencies. Svanja was a good girl and listened to her Ma, but she wasn’t so good that she replaced supplies as soon as she used them. Upon unrolling her kit, Svanja found herself with only one poultice and the healing potion.

“Your wing is broken, small one” she told the nixad. “I’ll heal you.” Her clever fingers made quick work of the snare. The injured nixad thrashed and bit as she freed it, but when she pressed the poultice to its straightened wing, it stilled. Magicka heals quickly. The nixad began to trill.

The others stopped their attack immediately, joining their voices in celebration. When Svanja opened her hand the healed nixad twirled into the air. She laughed along with their bug song as they swooped up and away.

A clap of thunder drove the smile from Svanja’s face. Storm clouds had overtaken her. The campfire smell was stronger. When she stood up to look, she saw that the band of smoke reached from the foothills below to the slope above her, too far for her to escape up hill. Orange light glowed at its base. Svanja picked up her pack and began to run.

More animals dashed past her now, too many for her to count. A new noise sounded under the wind’s roar, as loud as the growling thunder. It was the voice of the fire.

A woman’s scream jerked her attention to a short distance down the hillside. Svanja’s reckless scramble toward it turned into an uncontrolled tumble. Her pack caught on something and yanked her to a stop, legs sliding over the edge of a pit. The scream came from below as Svanja hoisted herself back up, horrified at her mistake. There was no woman in the pit. That cry came from a mountain lion. When it screamed again, Svanja saw fangs as long as her hand. She knelt shaking at the edge, a lump in her throat. If she let the lion out, it could kill her.

The lion leaped up at her, clawing for the edge. Svanja lunged away as it fell back down, her own shriek lost in its cry. “No, no, no,” she moaned, first crawling and then limping away down the hill.

Something was wrong with her knee. Svanja rummaged for her healing potion. The ground was alive with small rodents and the reptiles who fed upon them, all fleeing the fire. A badger trundled past, bumping against her in its terror. A boar followed, knocking her to the ground. When the lion screamed again, Svanja’s pack slipped from numb hands. She turned back to the pit.

Smoke stung her eyes as she searched for a branch that would hold the big cat. The first she found was too heavy for her to move. The next was too short. Then she saw a sturdy sapling on the ground, perhaps cut and left unused by the trapper.

Her knee collapsed when she tried to drag it. Svanja clutched it with one arm and braced her strong leg against a rock, pushing and pulling her way along the ground. Now the wind carried ash and heat. Breathing through her tunic helped. Svanja’s world narrowed to the tree and the lion pit. One rock at a time, one push at a time, she reached the edge.

The great cat escaped as soon as the tree dropped down, so swift that Svanja missed its leap. Its golden belly flashed over her, then she was alone with the wind and fire. Lightning flashed an instant before the thunder, but the rain was not coming fast enough. She looked into the pit, empty now but for the branches and tarp that had concealed it. Should she slide down and hope that the fire would pass over? Should she try to find a rock to climb on and hope the flames didn’t reach?

Svanja was a caravanner’s daughter and had the vocabulary to prove it. She used it now to curse the trapper who had caused such pain. She cursed the hedge mage or hunter whose careless fire raced toward her driven by the wind. And she cursed her fear when she dropped the pack with its healing potion. She would never find it in the smoke.

But this Nord was not finished yet. The branch that had been too short now helped her rise. She angled her path downhill but also across the slope to gain more distance from the fire. Even dragging a leg, Svanja was quicker than some creatures. A spine-footed tortoise marched along, soon to be cooked alive in its shell. Svanja picked it up and rolled it into her tunic. They passed an orange and black mottled jewel lizard next. She tucked it beside the tortoise. New purpose drove her forward. As she lifted a young spotted sloth to her shoulder, Svanja spied another small shape through the smoke. A fennec fox stood watching her. It trotted away a few steps and turned to look back.

Svanja limped after it, near panicked by the heat and roar at her back. When her path was blocked by a boulder, Svanja heard a sharp yap from above. The fox stood atop it, looking down at her. For a moment it disappeared, then popped back up. It barked again, ears pricked forward.

“But that’s uphill,” Svanja coughed. She turned and took a few lurching steps down.

“Arp! Arp!” The fox stood in her way, four feet firmly planted and ears pinned back. Its tail lashed the air. “Arp!”

“All right!” Svanja cried, her throat raw. “Show me!”

The fox led her back to the outcrop and around to the uphill side. By now the fire’s roar nearly drowned out the booming thunder, and lightning barely pierced the smoke. The fox yapped again, then jumped down a crack under the boulder.

Svanja knew a hundred reasons not crawl into a dark crevasse. Now she knew one in favor. She clutched the lizard and the turtle through her tunic. The sloth had such a grip on her neck that she feared it would choke her. She lay down flat and the four of them slithered after the fox.

Dark, cool, and the trickle of water. Svanja cradled the turtle and the lizard, finding them both un-squashed. She placed a soothing hand on the dusty sloth. Overhead the fire sounded like an arena on Loredas. The fox stood alert, looking up at the crack through which they had come. A soft blue-white glow surrounded it.

Svanja wondered if Ma would give her doll away, and who would get her books. Snowball would have to pick someone else’s shoes to barf in. She thought about Sigur Evinsson with his quiet ways and kind smile. They were supposed to grow up and get married and have three strong children all red-haired like their pa. Now poor Sigur would never know because Svanja hadn’t told him yet. Most of all she thought about the fire. How long would it hurt while she burned?

After the fire passed, the rain came. Svanja had to shift her position when the trickle below became a rushing stream, but the cavern did not flood. The lizard crawled away while Svanja was sleeping. When a ray of sunshine pierced the cavern’s gloom, the sloth released Svanja’s neck and began its slow journey up the rocks. The turtle waited until Svanja had climbed out and placed it on the mud before emerging from its shell.

Shasana did not scold her for being late, for breaking her axe, or for losing her pack to the fire. She simply lifted Svanja onto her back and carried her down the blackened hillside. That afternoon Ongve made his first visit to a chapel of the Divines.

Some say that when you see a ghost and a ghost sees you, a little piece of your soul travels with it. Svanja couldn’t say why she searched the hills above Anvil every time she came to stay with Ongve and Shasana. She searched over the winter holidays with her two brothers and her sister, who were for a time quite happy to put up with her sass. She searched in the spring when the grass grew back green, and in the summer when the hills turned golden again.

After Svanja finished school and took up her work, she still returned to walk the hills when she visited Anvil. In time her husband with his quiet ways and kind smile joined the search at her side. Later she brought their three strong children, two red-haired like their pa and one blonde like her mother. But Svanja never saw the ghost fox again.



.


This post has been edited by Grits: Nov 20 2018, 02:29 PM


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TheCheshireKhajiit
post Nov 20 2018, 03:49 PM
Post #108


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^
That’s a nice little story G! Very timely given the horrible fires over in Cali.

This post has been edited by TheCheshireKhajiit: Nov 20 2018, 04:10 PM


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"Family is an odd thing, is it not? Defined by blood, separated by blood, joined by blood. In the end, it's all just blood."
-Dhaunayne Aundae

May you walk on warm sands!
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Acadian
post Nov 20 2018, 09:08 PM
Post #109


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What a wonderful treat to see a new short story from you! You have absolutely lost none of your delightful ability to enthrall with words.

Jerric’s ‘voice’ as storyteller is perfect – just rough-edged enough to remind us who is narrating.

And a wonderful story it is! The brave little Nord saved by the ghost fox that she took the time to care about and give a proper send off to wherever little foxes go when they die. Svanja may be young and small but she displayed a heart as big as all the Gold Coast as, despite the mortal dangers of fire and fangs, she saved every troubled critter whose path she crossed.

The ending was perfect. Bittersweet but left me with a smile. Beautiful work, my friend! happy.gif


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SubRosa
post Nov 20 2018, 10:48 PM
Post #110


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That was a wonderful tale about Grizzly Adams Svanja and the Ghost Fox. In a short period you painted a very clear and vivid picture of her. Best of all, throughout it all she remained true to her character, right to the bitter end. Which is what saved her. Well done!


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treydog
post Nov 21 2018, 01:00 AM
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Your talent is undiminished. The sights and thoughts and events make me long for wander along the shore and the hills of my childhood once more.


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Acadian
post Nov 21 2018, 04:24 AM
Post #112


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From: Las Vegas



Oh, and Happy Birthday to Jerric today! cake.gif


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mALX
post Nov 21 2018, 09:18 PM
Post #113


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From: Cyrodiil, the Wastelands, and BFE TN





Aw, this was a really nice surprise! Also: Happy Birthday to Jerric!




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Grits
post Dec 1 2018, 02:08 PM
Post #114


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Joined: 6-November 10
From: The Gold Coast





TheCheshireKhajiit: Thanks, Khajiit! My mom and I once stumbled into the aftermath of a forest fire. It was a unique kind of scary.

Acadian: Thank you, Acadian! Jerric’s first draft had a lot more of his flavor of speech, but a lot got cut when I tightened things up to fit the story into one post. I’m happy to hear that it still sounded like Jerric. He had a great birthday. Thank you for the good wishes!

SubRosa: Young Svanja seemed so real to me that I couldn’t really tell what was coming through in the story, which made editing tricky. I thought immediately of Teresa when Svanja turned out to be such a nature lover, I’m very glad that you liked it. Thank you, SubRosa!

treydog: Me too, long free days where no one wondered where we were and there were no cell phones. Thank you, treydog!

mALX: Thank you, mALX! He had a great birthday.


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Jerric's Story * Darnandex * Morning Star Screenshot: Cyrodiil Meadow
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treydog
post Jun 12 2019, 07:22 PM
Post #115


Master
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Joined: 13-February 05
From: The Smoky Mountains



So here is another installment from the earlier (mis)adventures of Athynae and Athlain. Or mostly, Athynae's younger brother, Rahvin Sarethi. Hope you all enjoy this little bit of "before the Bloodmoon Main Quest" madness.

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One Fredas morning, I went to see Rahvin. As breakfast (with its attendant sweet roll dessert) was over, I knew he would be in the rickety structure he proudly referred to as “The Lab.” The capital letters were understood from the way he uttered the phrase.

It was never a good idea to just walk in- there was a good chance you would get shot at, engulfed in, or otherwise assaulted by his latest “experiment.” On this particular day, before I even tapped on the door, I could tell that things were going worse than usual. First, the odor emanating from the gaps in the wooden plank walls was of a... quality... I had never encountered before, not even in the guar pens. Second, I could hear Rah talking to himself. That wasn't unusual, but this time it sounded as if he was... chanting? That could turn out very badly. If he had found an old scroll or spell book, we might have Daedra running loose in the streets. Although interrupting him in mid-recitation might be more dangerous than awakening his older sister- an act often compared to kicking a sleeping dragon- it was necessary. So I stepped to one side of the door, just in case, and knocked loudly.

The chanting stopped and nothing emerged for some time, other than a few more wisps of evil-smelling vapor. At last, Rahvin's voice answered, sounding more distracted than usual. “What?”

“Is it safe to come in- or are you still writing poems?” I admit it; I liked to tease him, because he took everything “scientific” so seriously. He made up for it by being a really good person, and by participating in word games with me. Much to the disgust of almost everyone else in our families, we both loved puns and would go on long “pun runs,” which Aunt Serene said were “evidence of the decline of education, civilization, and sanity.” But she smiled when she said it, so we kept it up. And it also drove Athynae to distraction, which was an additional bonus.

He ignored my jibe, as he usually did, and called, “Athlain! Come in. I have a... ah... situation... here and could use your help.”

That was the point at which someone else would have remembered an important appointment somewhere, like possibly Balmora or maybe even Summerset. But Rah was my friend and there was a note of distress in his voice that I could not ignore. So I went in.

The lab- sorry “The Lab,” was in an even greater state of chaos than usual- beakers and vials were overturned; streaks of some dark substance ran across the walls, the floor, and even the ceiling; papers were strewn all over; and in the midst of it all was Rahvin, sitting on the floor with his hands in front of him, appearing as if they were clasped in prayer. Before I could even think of what to ask first, he gestured with his hands, which were still held tightly together,

“Lizards,” he said, as if the word was a curse, followed by, “glue.”

At the mention of “lizards,” I made a more careful scan of the room. Rahvin was a brilliant, fine person, and a good friend- but sometimes his scientific shorthand could be misleading. When he said “lizard,” it might mean anything from a tiny gecko to a Daedroth. But nothing seemed to be moving in The Lab; especially no green, 8-foot tall, mouth-filled-with-pointy teeth creatures from Oblivion. And that meant I could focus on the second part of his cryptic remark. A close look at his hands showed that they were, indeed, glued together.

There were times to rush ahead and times to consider carefully. This, I decided, fit in the second category. Rah with his hands disabled was Rah unable to make the problem worse. So I grabbed a stool, checking first for any explosives, adhesives, adversarial animals, or other potential problems that might prove detrimental to my well-being and/or appearance. “I think you should begin at the beginning.”

“It was like this,” he began. “I have been working on a new kind of secret ink, one that works like regular ink, unless it is used with special paper- which I have also been working on. It's that blue paper over there,” he pointed with his chin, but I decided it was better to stay in the relatively clear space where I was. “Anyway, one of the ingredients for the ink is made from some Bitter Coast insects, and it has an... acrid odor.” For Rahvin to acknowledge that anything he worked on actually smelled was a major admission, so it must have been truly, monumentally bad.

“So, apparently the desert lizards around here; you know, the light-colored ones.... Apparently, they really like those bugs. So they have been sneaking into The Lab and knocking things over and leaving tracks everywhere. And I couldn't catch them. So I decided I would use some of the paper that didn't work to patch the gaps in the walls. But to do that, I needed to makes some glue...,” his face was a study as he admitted, “which smelled worse than the insect parts. But I think there may be a commercial market for it.” He paused for a moment before adding, “And actually, the paper-making is pretty smelly, too.”

He made as if to rest his chin on his hands, but thought better of it before he made his predicament worse. Not being able to talk with his hands was obviously making things hard for him. “So I glued the paper up last night, figuring that would keep the little beggars out.” He shook his head. “But when I got here after breakfast, they had just... gone ahead and pushed their way in. Except they got stuck to the paper and were all over the floor. And... and they were pretty annoyed- I could tell. Some of them had even... pulled their own tails off trying to get free.” He looked sad as he said that part; Rah, for all his scientific turn of mind, was a champion of all creatures, especially the small ones. “I mean, I know that they will grow back, but... still.”

“So, I... ah... thought maybe I could re-attach the tails, with some of the glue. And there's an oil that's safe, but acts as a release agent for the adhesive. So I took some of the oil and some of the glue and started trying to turn the lizards loose, and give them back their tails, but they were still pretty agitated and... anyway... they're gone, and I got my hands stuck together and they all scarpered off. So... if you could bring the release agent, I would appreciate it.”

I sat in stunned silence for several minutes before I could speak. At last, after looking around, I said, “So let me get this straight. It all started because you had inky stinky pink lizards leaving black tracks all over the shack. You couldn't catch them because they were careful (and because of the numerous gaps in the walls). So you accidentally made blue gluey traps which snared the critters and caused them to become annoyed and lose their tails, thus turning them into angry, sticky, tricky, truncated inky stinky pink lizards. This made you sad. And then your own problem arose when you tried to re-attach the tails with your new glue and got stuck, turning yourself into a blue, new glued reptile retail adhesive Sarethi.”

He looked thoughtful as I finished my summary, and then pointed out plaintively, “But the glue isn't 'blue,' the paper is.”

At that point, there was nothing more to say, so I poured the release agent over his hands and got ready to help him clean up The Shack- sorry- The Lab. And that was when 'Thyna appeared.

“What in the name of Azura have you been doing in here, Rahbrat? This place smells even worse than it usually does. You missed morning tea, so I figured something was up.” She smirked at me and added, “And seeing as your partner in misfortune and mayhem is here, it must have been spectacular.”

I shook my head vehemently. “Oh no- not this time! For once, I got to the scene after the mayhem was managed. At least Rahvin has the courtesy to not involve me in every one of his 'great plans for a really fun adventure.' Unlike some other Sarethis I can think of. And he also didn't douse me with all the foul-smelling substances he concocted.” No, as a matter of fact, I was not over the “let's hunt cliff-racers- you be the bait” incident, nor was I ever likely to be.

“Fine! But since this one was not my fault, I would still like an explanation. Just in case I need to explain the 'not my fault' part to anyone.” She had folded her arms and was going to start tapping a foot any minute. Everyone who knew Athynae recognized those danger signs.

“You probably want to sit down for this,” I advised, “and... look where you sit before you do.” Yes, there was a small part of me that briefly considered letting 'Thyna get glued to something. But the kinder, better, and above all- sane- part reminded that other one that she would eventually get free. Once she was seated, I summed up Rahvin's adventures in invention and invasion and attempted interdiction of insect-seeking outdoor inhabitants. And at the end, I just couldn't help myself, “So, you see, it was all because of the angry sticky tricky truncated inky stinky pink lizards that your brother turned himself into a blue new glued reptile retail adhesive Sarethi.”

Athynae's eyes had crossed by the time I got to the end, and she opened and closed her mouth several times, but no words came out. And that allowed Rahvin to again point out, with the long-suffering air of a scientist whose feelings are hurt when others fail to meet his standard of accuracy, “Yes, yes; it's all true. Except that the glue isn't blue. And also, once I used the oil to let them loose, they got really slippery.” He looked thoughtful for a moment before adding, “And now that I think about it, those lizards had short legs and no visible necks. I think they might have been... skinks.”

I inhaled deeply and began, “He thinks they're skinks; which would mean....”

Before I could get any further, Athynae held up a hand. “Don't! I'm still considering whether to kill you or die laughing. Or possibly both.”

I tried, and probably failed, to look innocent, but could not help saying, “Oh no, I wasn't going to say anything about slick pink skinks; I was just wondering if I could make one of them into a stylish pendant for you. A really slick neckless pink skink necklace? What do you think? ”

The resulting bruise was definitely not pink, but somehow she had managed to make it look like a lizard- or possibly a skink.

After we had calmed down a bit, we started to clean up The Sh... ah, The Lab. It was going fairly well, as Rah had made plenty of the solvent to counteract his glue. I was impressed that he had actually had the foresight to do that- he was incredibly smart, but sometimes he would get so focused on one thing that it could have... unfortunate consequences. Our current situation being a prime example. As we worked, having to fetch water from the well every so often, I looked around and tried to gauge my distance from Athynae before I commented, “You know what would really help in here? A sink, I think. Except what if the water attracted the lizards? What if the slick pink skinks came to the sink to get a drink?”

I had forgotten that distance was not a barrier to 'Thyna- if she could see me, she could throw something and hit me. At least it wasn't a glue pot- or the stinky skink ink. However, it was the last, nearly empty bottle of solvent. Rahvin smiled and said, “Not a problem! I can mix up more- I just need to check the formula first.” And it was then that we discovered that the solvent formula was glued, face-down, to the top of his work table.

Meanwhile, 'Thyna had another concern. “So... these... slightly not-red lizards of yours,” not only would she not wear the color, she also had trouble saying the word, “where did they go- exactly?”

“What do you mean, NayNay?”

“I mean your sh... Lab backs up against Skar, which is where our house is, which is where my room is, which is where my bed is. So if any of them ran into the ventilation shafts...,” she twirled a throwing star in her fingers before concluding, “and one of your icky slick formerly sticky yucky lucky plucky lizards slides into bed with me....”

He looked stricken and pointed at the throwing star, “You wouldn't! You wouldn't hurt an innocent skink! Besides, they're really small....”

Her smile would have caused a slaughterfish to consider becoming vegetarian. “Oh, I wouldn't hurt the lizards... You, on the other hand- I will deliver you trussed up like a caught cliff-racer to the red-headed dastardly duo.” And then her mind caught up with something else he had said and she added, “So- if the skinks are 'really small,' does that mean they are.... 'dinky?' ”

Rah remained oblivious as I fell to the floor, weak from laughing. “You should be safe I would think. The insect ink is the link to the skinks.”

And, as usual, Athynae got the last word, “You should be less concerned with what you think, than with what will happen to you if my room is invaded by your angry slick quick formerly sticky tricky truncated inky stinky dinky pink skinks!”










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ghastley
post Jun 12 2019, 08:28 PM
Post #116


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I'm now wondering what IRL situation inspired this. And did it involve six thick thistle sticks?


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SubRosa
post Yesterday, 09:08 PM
Post #117


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Between The Worlds



I just came off of re-reading The Case of Charles Dexter Ward for the dozenth time, and your description of The Lab immediately got my hackles up for Mythos-related danger. The odor, the chanting, I wonder if he has a worn copy of Borellus in there...

A very amusing interlude with dinky pink skinks, blue paper, and Sarethi glue.


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