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> An Argonian's Account, Haa-Rei's adventures in Cyrodiil
ghastley
post Jul 14 2015, 07:20 PM
Post #41


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QUOTE(hazmick @ Jul 10 2015, 01:25 PM) *

I opened it carefully. The box contained several books (Almost all of which were about the Dwemer) as well as some carefully wrapped Dwemer artifacts which I’d needed a special licence to transport - the core of a centurion, several pieces of metal, and a sturdy metal cup. (The latter would be accompanying me on adventures. The metal would be brilliant at keeping tea hot without burning my hands.)

A couple of things caught my eye in this one paragraph.

I just love the idea that Dwemer stuff needs a licence to export. Should I assume this will factor into the story again later?

I'm confused how a metal cup doesn't burn the hands. Does it have an insulated handle you didn't mention?


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Darkness Eternal
post Jul 15 2015, 03:25 PM
Post #42


Master
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From: Coldharbour



I've read the first few chapters. As I'm using a phone I can't comment much right now but I very much like Haa-Rei. This is a fresh story full of humor and wit, and the character is a fantastic character. I will give my full review and feedback as soon as I can! Great work Hamzick!


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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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hazmick
post Jul 17 2015, 05:43 PM
Post #43


Mouth
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Joined: 28-July 10
From: Northern England, Southern Tamriel.



Acadian - There's always something mysterious going on with Argonians. They're an odd bunch. tongue.gif

ghastley - The Dwemer license idea comes from the fact that selling Dwemer stuff is supposedly illegal, yet plenty of people seem to have Dwemer relics. As for the cup, it's just one of those mysteries that may never be solved... biggrin.gif

DE - Welcome to the story, I'm glad you're enjoying it! Looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts. laugh.gif






Previously
Haa-Rei was reunited with Deeh, the old Argonian who had raised him for several years, and we learnt some more about the goings on in Leyawiin. Our adventurers are to have a day off tomorrow, and Olorin wishes to meet with Haa-Rei at the local mages guild...

Chapter 14


I’ve always disliked early mornings, and that day was no different. After a cup of tea and several torturous minutes of walking, I arrived at the Leyawiin guildhall. It was one of the larger buildings in the city, painted bright yellow and featuring a fancy stained glass window above the door. In any other city it would look rather odd, but it fit right in nestled among the other brightly coloured buildings.

The inside was similarly decorated, with rich carpets and polished wooden bookshelves and benches – the latter were occupied by mages of various races engaged in what I can only assume was intellectual conversation about spherical conjunction or transplanar liminality. In the centre of it all stood Olorin, chatting with an even older (as if it were possible) Bosmer woman. I wasn't sure if it was the carpets or the mages, but everything had a very distinct musty smell. Would it kill them to open a window?

“Ah, Haa-Rei. Good morning. May I introduce the head of this branch of the mages guild, Dagail.”

Dagail was indeed very old, and was dressed in the finest robe I’d ever seen. A thick burgundy affair, with swirling gold and red patterns. Her grey hair was fashioned into a large point, like a mountain. She was exactly how you’d picture the head of a mages circle. The only problem was that she didn’t appear to be…all there. She was staring off into the distance and my cheery “good morning” was completely wasted on her. Olorin simply chuckled as if this was normal and ushered me into an adjoining room, leaving Dagail to her thoughts.

“Is she ok?”

“Yes…well, no. That’s part of what I wanted to talk about.” Olorin reached into the depths of his tattered grey robe and handed me a roll of parchment.

“Mages Guild recommendation? For me?”

“I’ve seen your conjuration abilities, and with a little nudge from the guild you could become a master in no time. What do you think?”

Me? A mages guild member? I suppose stranger things have happened, and it would be a good opportunity. I’d never considered myself a mage though, and didn’t relish the idea of studying or wearing one of those hideous robes. I’d have to think about it.

Olorin didn’t seem surprised, and actually looked happy enough that I didn’t flat out refuse him. “Of course, of course. In the meantime though, have a word with Dagail. She could use the help of an adventurer such as yourself.” And with that, he hobbled off into the crowded hall, leaving me with no choice but to talk to the distant Dagail.

“You want wisdom? No, you want words,” Said Dagail as I approached. “Words are…difficult. They come and go. The voices, though. So loud they are, they drown out the words…”

Oh by the Hist this is going to be a long conversation.

“…Without my amulet, my stone to lock the voices away, the words will never come and stay.” Before I could reply, her eyes glazed over and she stared back into nothingness once more. I’d need some help with this one.

Help came in the form of Agata, a middle aged Nord mage who’d overheard my conversation. Apparently Dagail was some sort of seer, and had visions which had recently taken a turn for the worst on account of a lost amulet. All I needed to do was find the amulet. I returned to Dagail to see if she could shed some light on this.

Amidst the jumble of random words and nonsense she repeated the same phrase several times, “blood ran blue”, and the word “fort”. Growing up in Leyawiin, I knew the area very well – the amulet must be at Fort Blueblood, to the south east.

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The fort was nothing special, and on the surface it was actually little more than a heap of rubble, watched over by a lone marauder who fell with one of my arrows in his chest. Fur armor was no match for my new bow.

The inside of the fort was no better, with hallways full of dust and rubble. In my short time as an adventurer I was yet to encounter a group of bandits that cleaned up after themselves.

Making my way through the corridors, I quietly dispatched several more marauders. My legion training came in handy with those wearing heavy armor, and my Hist wood companion made short work of any weak spot I could find. Thankfully they were poorly equipped, and none too observant.

Finally I reached an area that looked important enough to conceal a magic amulet. The heavy oak doors groaned in protest as I opened them, and two imps waited to great me with shock magic. I darted behind an old pillar and summoned Thiazzi to help out. The imp’s spells were absorbed by the thundering bulk of the atronach, who responded with spells of his own. Several exchanges later left the imps dead, reduced to smoking heaps on the cold stone floor. After making sure the coast was clear I dismissed Thiazzi and searched for the amulet, finding it in an otherwise empty coffin. The absence of any large and conspicuous chests made this the only alternative. Footsteps announced the arrival of a potential threat, and I readied my bow as I turned toward the doorway. It was a mage.

“I-I’ll take that. The amulet.” He was dressed in the blue robes of the mages guild, and judging from the mud-stained hem he had followed me from Leyawiin. He seemed so out of place that I almost laughed, but the look in his eyes and the slight scent of decay stopped any such thoughts.

“You’re from the guild? What are you doing here?” I actually had a pretty good idea why he was here, and his plan probably included my corpse joining those of the imps.

“I knew you were looking for the amulet. I knew you’d find it, and I had to stop you. Hand it over.” His face resembled that of a particularly large and ugly baby, but for the thick black eyebrows which seemed to cast a shadow over his eyes.

“Why do you want the amulet?” I asked, setting my bow down on the coffin behind me.

“I took the other one, and that should’ve been enough to get rid of her! I was going to give it back to her once I’d gotten what I’d wanted. That’s not so wrong, is it?” Ah, so he’s not on team Dagail and thinks a change of leadership is in order. “Why? Why did you have to ruin everything!?” He gestured towards me and cast a spell.

A fork of lightning hit me square in the chest, sending me flying against the wall and the amulet spinning across the room. The mage rose his hand, summoning a zombie, and began scrabbling through the rubble for his prize. I attempted to summon a creature of my own, but my magicka had yet to recharge. I was on my own.

Drawing my sword, I met the zombie head on. Smoke rose from my burned armor, causing my eyes to water but the creature's lazy arms were still easy to avoid, and I stepped to the side before bringing my dwarven blade down to (literally) disarm it, before bringing the blade back up to behead it. A puff of foul smelling smoke signaled its departure. The final groan of his summoned ally got the attention of the mage, and he turned just in time to see my sword arching through the air towards him.

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Olorin was waiting when I returned to the guildhall.

“Everything went well, I assume?” He smiled.

I looked down at my chest. The lightning had left a large scorch mark, but I was otherwise unharmed. I handed him the amulet with a nod.

“Olorin. I want to join the guild.” This was going to be an interesting experience.

This post has been edited by hazmick: Jul 9 2016, 01:09 AM


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Haa-Rei

Cirinwe

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

"...a quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business."
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Acadian
post Jul 17 2015, 09:17 PM
Post #44


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From: Las Vegas



I noticed you identified Dagail as an Altmer. In game, she is Bosmer (Buffy’s an expert on such matters). It’s your story of course so changing things is fine if it suits your purpose; I only
point it out in case the change was unintentional. smile.gif

Speaking of Dagail, you captured her ‘not all thereness’ perfectly.

So, it’s off to Fort Blueblood then, is it?

Haa-Rei does an elegant job of clearing the fort and finding that missing amulet.

Uh oh. . . a disgruntled guild mage. . . . A tough fight, especially while still low on magic from his previous fight, but nice to see that Haa-Rei handily prevailed despite some scorching. I quite like Dagail and it’s always nice to see Kalthar get his comeuppance.

Haa-Rei a guild mage? This is going to be an interesting experience indeed!

As ever, nicely done, hazmick. goodjob.gif


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Grits
post Jul 19 2015, 10:20 PM
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Joined: 6-November 10
From: The Gold Coast



That was a delightful woodland encounter with the spriggan. happy.gif Haa Rei’s flame atronach friend Eithne is charming.

I loved the description of Haa Rei’s room at Deeh’s house. Ooo, a Mages Guild quest! That situation of being out of magicka in that tomb is a familiar one and always makes my stomach churn. Neatly handled by Haa Rei!


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Destri Melarg
post Jul 24 2015, 07:26 PM
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Mouth
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Joined: 16-March 10
From: Rihad, Hammerfell



‘An Argonian’s Account’

I was really excited to read this because I love the varied ways our fellow Chorrolites handle the non-human characters... and argonians seem to receive the least amount of love. I admit to being a little worried early on because Haa-Rei sounded a bit too ‘human’ for my own personal taste, but little things like the observation of how much emotion he has to show when humans are about were extremely effective in dispelling those concerns.

Acadian hit the nail on the head when he complimented you on you handling of the Imperial City. ‘Full to the brim’ would be a cringe-worthy cliche at any other time but Haa-Rei’s well-established love of tea enables him to pull it off. The approach of your three adventurers briefly reminded me of the opening pages of The Hobbit. Haa-Rei’s handling of the ‘initiation’ is a fantastic way to show us that this character uses his wits more than his ‘scrawny’ muscles in a fight. It also gives us some insight into Jotnar given that he made no move to engage the storm atronach that suddenly appeared in front of him. I find myself loving Haa-Rei already!

The clearing of the fort kept me on the edge of my seat. I also thought it strange that Olorin didn’t try to contribute more than detect spells and being a decoy. Something tells me that you’re establishing something with his character that I’ll see come to fruition somewhere down the road... and now I’m so invested that I just have to know what that is.

I enjoyed the stop at the Faregyl, but I have to admit that I can’t see Abhuki, S’Jirra and Alix (the man, not the mouse) without thinking of mALX’s characterizations of them. It’s interesting to me how Alix seems to come across as so benign... considering his status as a master of the sword. I don’t think I’ve ever actually done the potato thief quest. I’m eager to see how it turns out.

_____


Okay I’m back, and now I have to resort to lecturing:

“You are hereby and forthwith prohibited from ever denigrating your own writing again. Get it? Got it? Good!”

Your ability to write romance is extremely effective without being flowery or heavy-handed. Your deft touch even elicited a momentary lapse into ‘hopeless romanticism’ from Acadian. That is the very definition of good writing! goodjob.gif The one place where it seemed a bit forced was their conversation on the bridge in Bravil, but you even redeemed that with the wonderful payoff of the parchment left on the berry bush.

I am hesitant to point out spots where the use of language can be improved because I know that we are getting the story through the filter of Haa-Rei’s head, and his way of dispensing words may not always be optimal. That said there is one spot where I would give advice simply because it will probably come up again somewhere along the line:

QUOTE
The uneasy feeling which had crept up on me yesterday was still hanging over me.

You don’t need the ‘on me’ if you’re going to end the sentence with ‘over me.’ Conversely, you don’t need the ‘over me’ if you want to keep the ‘on me.’ Either way works to communicate the same idea.

Speaking of that uneasy feeling, I just love the subtle way you’ve mixed that in with the idea of all native argonians being recalled to Black Marsh. I find it interesting that Haa-Rei is irritated by the idea of not being included even as he finds himself back in Leyawiin with an uneasy feeling that he has already attributed to the Hist. Hmmm...

I also had a chuckle at the fact that he is so willing to share his status as a Blade with Deeh. Apparently Haa-Rei has no secrets from those he trusts!

I can certainly understand not wanting to dwell on some of the minor quests that Haa-Rei has to complete over the course of your story. But, compared to the wonderfully detailed encounter with the minotaur on the road, the clearing of Fort Blueblood seemed a bit rushed... particularly the final battle. It so far is the only ‘meh‘ in this otherwise fantastically engaging story that you are telling.

That’s all from me for now… but I will be back!


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hazmick
post Aug 8 2015, 04:56 PM
Post #47


Mouth
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Joined: 28-July 10
From: Northern England, Southern Tamriel.



Acadian - Oh dear, I'm getting my mer mixed up! Please apologize to Buffy for me. I like Dagail too, and defeating Kalthar is always made easier by his terrible character design. tongue.gif

Grits - Glad you enjoyed the Spriggan encounter, and Eithne. Haa-Rei is very fond of elemental ladies. (Is Dunmer guard captain an element?) biggrin.gif

Destri - Thank you for joining us! And thank you for your kind words. I always try and put little bits of 'Argonianess' into the story, but I also don't want it to be too Argonian...if that makes sense tongue.gif

Interesting that you mentioned The Hobbit too, as one of my characters is based off of (and named after) one of Tolkien's.

Again, you're correct in assuming that I have future plans for some characters. I know what I want to happen later on, but I'm not sure how or when we'll get there. Makes it all the more exciting.

I know what you mean about the Faregyl residents. I had to remind myself several times that they're not married, and don't have an adopted child causing mayhem somewhere in the world. I also like the idea that Alix the man could probably save the world with his super sword skills but instead prefers to put his feet up and eat bread all day.

Never hesitate to lecture. I can't improve if I don't know where I'm going wrong.


EVERYONE - Now for something completely different...


Chapter 15


Journal of Jötnar

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The old man says I should keep a journal while I’m down here. Something about ‘treasures of potential historical significance.’ I swear I only understand half of the words he uses most of the time. I have to practice my letters though, and I owe him that much. My writing never sounds good.

Anyway. We’re in Cyrodiil now. I got leave from the Legion so I can chase after whatever it is we’re here for. It’s too warm down south. Everyone drinks wine all day and sits around getting fat. Soldiers in the capital have good armor though.

We got a new member for our team. Seems like my idea for another rogue was worth listening to. He’s an Argonian. He’s green. So skinny a light breeze might knock him over. Shy as a maid on her wedding day, and he looks tense – his eyes are always moving but you can never see what he’s looking at. Nice sword though. Dwemer. Real Dwemer, not a modern forgery. Don’t get the real stuff from sitting around in a library – anyone who can get through a Dworfen Dwarfen Dwemer ruin is worth it. He can do magic too - damn near soiled my breeches when that storm atronach popped up. He had it under control though, sitting there casual as you like. Nice lad. Sjöfn likes him.

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

Damn rain. It rains back home, sure, but this rain isn’t cool and refreshing. It’s still too warm. The lizard took point. Moves like a cat. Can’t wait to see him fight. Speaking of fights, I’m itching for one.

Found a bandit fort. Got a whole floor to myself. Almost managed to cut a guy in half with one swing. Need to get the angel angle right next time. Sjöfn was with me, but she just shoots stuff. The old man and Haa-Rei (that’s the lizard) took the other floor. Took down a big orc. Wish I could’ve seen it.

Found an inn. Sjöfn and the lizard are helping with some gardening or something. Ale is a bit watery but the people are nice. Khajiit. Talked to a guy about farm stuff. Looks like a sord swordsman, but I didn’t want to press him about details. Might start a farm when this is all over. Grow some crops, maybe some cows. I like sheep too. The really woolly ones are nice.

The kids are back. Got some potatoes. Killed an ogre apparently. Wish I’d seen it. We all got some bread as a reward. Khajiit are strange. Bread’s good though.

Got to Bravil. It’s damp, but would be easy to defend. Guards all have bows, swords probably aren’t much good anyway. People seem friendly enough. Found a dead minotaur on the way here. Looked like a good fight. The lizard is better than I thought. Found an inn. Ale is a bit watery here too. Going to speak to the bard minstrel.

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Haa-Rei got a new bow. Hist wood. Very nice. He tried to explain it all to me but it was confusing. I’ll ask again when I have time to write it down. Nice place we’re at though. Good for fishing.

Haa-Rei still manages to surprise us. Flame atronach floated up, bold as a bristleback, and led us to the campsite. Damn Daydra Deadra Daedra (Olorin says that’s right. Looks weird) creep me out. Olorin wants to see about Haa-Rei joining the Mages guild when we get to Leyawiin. Haa-Rei looks tense again. On edge. I’ll keep an eye on him.

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Got some time to myself today. The old man is with Haa-Rei, probably talking his gills off. I found some bandits. Still can’t get the angle right. My swing’s powerful enough so maybe it’s the sword. I’ll see if the guild has anything better. Leyawiin’s busy though. Never seen so many Argonians all in one place. I’ll ask Haa-Rei if he knows what’s going on. He has family here, I think. Nice town though. Colourful buildings, cobbled streets. Guards don’t look like they could fight off a skeever. Armor isn’t very good. Doubt they get as many supplies down here.

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Haa-Rei and the old man went to the Mages guild this morning. Sjöfn said she’s going to explore. Turns out I can’t join up with the Fighter’s Guild down here. Need to go to Anvil, Chorrol or Cheydinhal. Seems like they’d get more recruits if you could sign up anywhere, but rules are there for a reason I guess. Saw Haa-Rei before. Looks like he’s had a good fight. Maybe I should join the Mages guild too – looks like fun.

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Setting off for the ruin in the morning. I hope it’s got bandits in it. Shor’s beard please don’t let it be undead.

This post has been edited by hazmick: Jul 9 2016, 01:10 AM


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Haa-Rei

Cirinwe

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

"...a quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business."
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Acadian
post Aug 8 2015, 08:20 PM
Post #48


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



What an interesting peek into Jötnar’s thoughts as we get his summary of events to date and his take on the Lizard Rogue. Seems like Jötnar’s quest is to perfect his ‘cut a baddie cleanly in half’ technique – a worthy endeavor indeed. Unless of course you’re a mage. Or an archer. tongue.gif

As ever, a very enjoyable read!


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ghastley
post Aug 8 2015, 09:10 PM
Post #49


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QUOTE(hazmick @ Aug 8 2015, 11:56 AM) *

My swing’s powerful enough so maybe it’s the sword.


Must be the shoes! < Michael Jordan voice >It's not the shoes </ Michael Jordan voice >

If he's noticed that Sjöfn likes Haa-Rei, then it must be true. tongue.gif




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hazmick
post Sep 26 2015, 01:56 AM
Post #50


Mouth
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Joined: 28-July 10
From: Northern England, Southern Tamriel.



Acadian - I'm so glad you enjoyed Jötnar's Journal. laugh.gif I thought it might be a good way to recap as well as get another perspective on things. I'm thinking of doing it every dozen chapters or so, if I ever get that far.

ghastley - Hmmm maybe it is the shoes!
biggrin.gif


EVERYONE - Apologies for the gap between chapters. There's nothing to blame but my own lack of motivation. I'll try to be a bit more...regular in the future.


Previously - We had a read through Jötnar's journal which covered the events of the story so far. Now Haa-Rei and friends have arrived at the Ayleid ruin of Atatar, where their prize awaits...


Chapter 16


It had been raining for a while now, and the night air had cooled almost to the point of freezing. I was crouched low, behind a large boulder, overlooking the entrance to Atatar. I’d been sent ahead to ‘see what was what’ before the others arrived. Due to the rain, fog, and general darkness, I wasn’t entirely sure what was what or which was which, and I was incredibly uncomfortable. Such is the glamorous life of an adventurer.

Footsteps behind me heralded the arrival of my companions, looking as wet and bedraggled as I felt.

“What’s the situation?” asked Jötnar. He was wearing a cloak over his armour which made him look even bigger than usual and his long hair was soaked through, clinging to his broad face in several places. Sjöfn was barely visible under her large hood and cloak, but a rogue lock of unmistakable red hair gave her away.

“I don’t think there is a situation. If there are any guards up here they’re doing a very good job of hiding.” I stood up carefully and stretched my legs, wincing as the feeling came back to them, and glanced over at the ruin.

Even now, on this foggy night, the ruin was impressive. It wasn’t particularly large, just a broken tower and various debris scattered across a hillside, but the pale white stones caught even the tiniest bit of light and seemed to shine in the gloom. I wished there was a Hist nearby that could show me how the ruin looked a few thousand years ago.

Olorin cleared his throat, bringing me back to the present, and went over the plan again. I was to go in first, clearing any traps I could see and picking off any guards that I encountered. Jötnar would follow behind, as support in case I ran into any major trouble. Sjöfn and Olorin would bring up the rear. We were looking for some sort of stone, but Olorin wasn’t sure exactly what it looked like. Apparently we’d ‘know it when we see it’ which I thought was so vague as to be meaningless. The old Altmer looked rather excited though, so I kept quiet.

“Well lad, this is what we’re paying you for. I’ll be right behind you if you need help.” Jötnar grinned, hefting his impossibly large claymore over his shoulder with one hand and patting me on the back with the other.

With a final ‘good luck’ from Sjöfn and Olorin, I slowly made my way towards the ruin. It was just as deserted as it looked, but the ease with which the door opened meant that it was inhabited…or maybe the Ayleids were just really good at building doors. I hoped it was the latter.


The inside was the very definition of ‘eerie’. Completely silent, and lit only by the faint glow of magical stones. It meant that there were plenty of shadows for me to hide in, but you never know what will already be hiding there.

It wasn’t long at all before I found my first trap. A long corridor stretched out before me, the floor of which was sticky with blood. The source of this were several very large, and very dead, rats, which had large wounds on their backs. The culprit was no doubt the set of large blades which were swinging back and forth down the length of the hall. It was amazing that the mechanism still worked after all this time, and I couldn’t suppress the feeling that these rats were but the most recent in a very long line of victims.

“I bet the blood is murder to clean up in here.” I mumbled to myself, scanning around for a device to stop the blades. With no solution forthcoming, I decided to forge ahead. Very, very carefully.

The blades weren’t fast, but there wasn’t much room between them, and I could feel them whooshing through the air, too close for comfort. Once on the other side of the corridor, after letting out a shaky breath, I found a switch which finally halted the relentless swinging. I’d passed the first test.
The second test was right ahead.

The hallway diverged into three separate paths. On either side it led to some stairs, which seemed to go down into a large room. The middle path went to a small balcony which I assumed would overlook the aforementioned chamber. A lone archer stood on the balcony, facing away from me. We were separated by an iron door, with a sun motif which I was peeking through.

I had no doubt that I could take him out, but if anyone was watching him, or if he fell into the chamber, I’d be in trouble. If I ignored him and went into the chamber then he’d spot me straight away.

Seeing no other option, I eased open the ornate door and carefully moved forward. I stopped about halfway along the balcony as I could now see into the chamber. It was large and open, with two carved pillars supporting the high ceiling. There were no side passages for people to hide in, and the passage ahead looked clear.

The archer on the balcony fell with one of my arrows between his shoulder blades. His body slumped against the low stone wall but fortunately stayed on this side. I quickly moved forward to pull him back, just to be safe. Now I could see further into the opposite passage I could make out the shape of another sentry in the gloom of the tunnel. My arrow found its mark and he also went down without a fuss. This was going well.

I climbed into the chamber and continued on, down more passageways, until I reached the second level of the ruin. The room was dotted with pillars, and atop each pillar sat large cages which sort of resembled metal onions. One cage was raised and I could see a shining stone underneath. Is this it? It would help if Olorin had been a bit more precise.

I ignored the shiny thing for now and moved forward again, but had to stop almost immediately when I heard a noise. Two of the ruin’s resident bandits were engaged in a conversation about goblins, and how horrible they were. I waited for them to finish and go their separate ways before moving again.

One bandit moved further into the ruin, while the other was heading more-or-less in my direction. I moved to the side to get a better angle. Her heavy armour would be tricky to deal with. Thankfully her neck was…less well protected, and she went down – albeit with an alarmingly loud crash as iron met stone.

“Hey, Sera, you alright?” A woman’s voice drifted across the room. Her friend hadn’t gone as far away as I’d thought. I heard her footsteps approaching quickly and turned, bow drawn, to meet her.

This post has been edited by hazmick: Jul 9 2016, 01:11 AM


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Haa-Rei

Cirinwe

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

"...a quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business."
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Acadian
post Sep 26 2015, 01:02 PM
Post #51


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I like Haa-Rei’s observations like wishing for a Hist so he could see the ruin in its glory days. Or his realization that the door opening easily meant it was likely occupied.

Ahhh. . . skulking through a dark and spooky dungeon with a bow and hefty dose of fear. Buffy knows that feeling well. Well enough to realize that this kind of success -

’My arrow found its mark and he also went down without a fuss. This was going well.’

- generally foretells that the troll dung is about to hit the fan blade trap. ohmy.gif


Hopefully, his arrows can take down this other bandit before . . . hey, where’s Jotnar when you need him?


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hazmick
post Oct 9 2015, 05:15 PM
Post #52


Mouth
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Joined: 28-July 10
From: Northern England, Southern Tamriel.



Acadian - Yep. "This is going well" is right up there with "It can't get any worse" and "It'll be fine" on the list of things adventurers should never say. tongue.gif


Previously - Our Argonian friend made good progress through the Ayleid ruin of Atatar, but things don't always go as planned...

Chapter 17

I fired as soon as the bandit came into view. I watched my arrow sail through the air, and I watched my arrow bounce harmlessly off her breastplate and skitter away into the darkness.

“Ha! There you are!” She proclaimed, raising a long, curved sword over her head.

In response I drew my own, less curved, Dwarven sword and swore loudly. For the second time in my adventure, I scolded myself for not purchasing a shield. If I tried to parry her weapon I’d be likely to lose a limb anyway.

The speed with which she could move her blade would have been impressive if I wasn’t on the receiving end. I was only just managing to avoid her attacks.

If this keeps up, I’m going to lose something important.

I took a few steps back to give myself some space, and raised my hand to summon Thiazzi. The spell…failed?

“Nice try, mage. Your spells won’t work in here!” The bandit sounded ecstatic as she explained my predicament, and reinforced her point with a wicked feint and jab at my head and left arm.

Being unable to use magic was a terrifying feeling. What was happening?

Pain shot through my arm, she’d managed to nick me just above the elbow. It wasn’t serious, but it hurt like Oblivion. Before I could even cry out, a voice called out from behind me.

“DOWN!” it boomed, and I did as I was told – dropping to the ground like a sack of sweetrolls. A claymore sliced through the air where my head had been moments earlier. The cavalry had arrived.

Now the bandit was on the defensive, as Jötnar launched several heavy attacks in quick succession. His movements were almost impossibly elegant for someone with such heavy armour – a testament to years of training and no small amount of natural talent.

I crawled out of the way and dug into my pack for a bit of cloth to patch up my wound. By the time I was done, the fight was over. The bandit’s armour was scarred and battered, and a dark pool was forming where she lay.

“Can’t beat good Nordic steel,” Jötnar grinned, and offered his hand to help me up. “You alright?”

“Yes, thanks. Argonians heal quickly.” I stretched out my arm experimentally, and winced at the pain. Not quickly enough.

“Looks like you won’t be able to use your bow. I’ll stick close for the rest of the way.” He began to move out immediately. There would be no discussion.

We soon exited onto a long bridge. The room below had various vents on the floor, no doubt for poisonous gases, and was currently inhabited by a large number of skeevers. The bridge itself was no more desirable. Several large blades were dropping onto the bridge every few seconds, before being raised back up by a hidden device. There was no way around, so we’d have to time it right and go through. There was something else though.

“Hold on. Something doesn’t feel right…” I scanned the room for the source of my discomfort.

“You sure it’s not just the blades, or the rats?” Jötnar’s face was all screwed up as he tried to peer through the gloomy surroundings.

“Maybe it’s jus- oh, here we are.” I crouched to get a closer look, and my companion did likewise.

A section of the bridge ahead looked different from the rest. The stones were a slightly different colour, except for those in the middle.

“The stones on the sides are probably loose, so if you deviate from the path the whole thing will collapse. We just need to stick to the darker coloured stone.” I explained, quite proud of myself for figuring it out.

“Well that’s super, but I can’t tell one stone from the other. It’s dark as a troll’s armpit in here and I can’t see like you can.” He waved a meaty hand in front of his face to emphasise his point.

“Oh. Well how about…this.” I looked around and spotted one of the blade traps, which had been discarded on the side of the bridge. It was almost exactly the same length and width as the central stone path. Jötnar heaved it over to the correct area, and I watched from the sidelines.

Once in place, he scratched a Nordic rune onto it to get Sjöfn and Olorin’s attention. Then we ever so slowly made our way across the rest of the bridge.

As it turns out, the blade traps were incredibly easy to navigate. Most likely acting as a distraction for the ‘collapsing bridge’ trick. Jötnar simply waited until the blade dropped and held it down so we could both climb over. The dark red stains on the blades indicated that other people had been…less fortunate. A lever on the far side put a stop to any further risk of dismemberment.

We also encountered two more bandits, though both were lightly armed and dispatched quickly. Jötnar held back a bit as I quietly inspected the next room.

The room itself was quite small. There was a raised platform in the middle, and the bandits had furnished the whole thing with rugs, wall hangings, and chairs. Dozens of candles gave off a warm glow, but the cold Ayleid stone was still quite prominent. Most bizarre however, was that fact that the room was completely deserted. I waited for a few moments to be sure before calling Jötnar in.

“Hm. Cosy. Nobody home?” He leaned on his sword as he looked around, scanning the room for anything valuable or dangerous. Or both.

“I was expecting their leader to be here. If he’s not, then that would explain why there were so few guards out there.” The bandit’s we’d encountered were most likely a skeleton crew of sorts, to make sure nobody moved in while their comrades were out…on business.

“Well let’s find this stone and get going before anyone comes back.”

After a few minutes of searching, and after I’d used up all but one of my lockpicks on a fancy looking chest, we found what looked to be an Ayleid stone. It was covered in strange markings, and let off a blueish glow.

“That’s the one!” Announced Olorin, who had just arrived. Sjöfn followed close behind, with a look of boredom that could only be the result of a lengthy Ayleid history lesson.

I handed the Altmer the stone, and after he’d inspected it, we headed to the exit.

Our quest had been successful, though this was just the beginning.

This post has been edited by hazmick: Jul 9 2016, 01:11 AM


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Haa-Rei

Cirinwe

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

"...a quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business."
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ghastley
post Oct 9 2015, 08:38 PM
Post #53


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I like the way you've used the fact that Azani's only there if you're doing that quest to suit your story. Did you move the ruin's only welkynd to the chest, or is the stone something else?


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Acadian
post Oct 9 2015, 08:44 PM
Post #54


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



Gosh, I really do enjoy your writing style. The TES-friendly analogies such as ‘dropped like a bag of sweetrolls’ or ‘darker than a troll’s armpit’ are a delight. And I really like Haa-Rei’s droll and understated sense of humor that liberally spices his storytelling. happy.gif

Magic won’t work down there – Haa-Rei’s not exaggerating in calling that a terrifying revelation. ohmy.gif Such a relief that Jötnar came to the rescue. But, hmmmm, what could be the cause of this curse on magic? blink.gif



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hazmick
post Oct 30 2015, 02:55 PM
Post #55


Mouth
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Joined: 28-July 10
From: Northern England, Southern Tamriel.



ghastley - We may yet meet Azani in the future, but I haven't quite decided yet tongue.gif As for the stone - all will be revealed...

Acadian - Such praise! Thank you laugh.gif Yep, magical interference is definitely a scary thought, but a big Nord is a good substitute for a Storm Atronach
happy.gif



Previously - The timely intervention of his friend saved Haa Rei from a sticky situation, and after carefully making their way through Atatar they found what they were looking for...


Chapter 18


“So…what is it?” Jötnar asked.

The four of us were huddled around a small table in the common room of The Drunken Dragon Inn. The inn was located alarmingly close to Atatar, and the building itself was a small and simple affair of stone and thatch. The common room was small and dimly lit, with a low ceiling. As one might expect from an inn in the middle of nowhere, there were very few guests. Aside from my companions and I there was only the innkeeper – A cheerful, broad-faced man named Andreas Draconis who referred to everyone as ‘pal’ – and an Imperial Guardsman, taking a break from patrolling the wilds.

“Well, it’s all very exciting,” Olorin answered, “this is an Ayleid device which we scholars call a ‘map stone’.” If he was expecting an excited reaction, he’d be disappointed.

Jötnar was leaning closely towards the faintly glowing stone, which had been placed in the middle of the table, while Sjöfn was gently cleaning the wound on my arm, ignoring my insistence that Argonians heal quicker than humans so we don’t need any treatment. I was sitting on an incredibly uncomfortable wooden bench, but it was the only seat near the window and the morning sunlight was shining warmly on my scales.

“What’s a map stone do?” asked Jötnar again, prodding the faintly glowing stone experimentally.

“A map stone,” began Olorin, snatching the gem away from the Nord, “acts as a map. With the right know-how it should reveal the location of more Ayleid relics!”

“That sounds handy.” I said, wincing slightly as Sjöfn applied some sort of (unnecessary) herb mixture to my arm.

“Yes indeed! Indeed!” Olorin nodded happily, his long grey beard dusting the wooden table.

“How does it work?” asked Sjöfn, applying a small bandage on top of the herbs and smiling to herself at a job well done.

“Magic.” Replied Olorin mysteriously, and began fiddling with the stone.

It turned out that the stone wasn’t a single solid object, but was actually made up of three separate pieces which could be rotated like a child’s puzzle cube. After several frustrating minutes the final piece clicked into place and the stone stopped glowing. At the same moment I felt a rush of energy prickle along my spines.

“What was that?” I almost choked on my tea.

“Ayleid nonsense.” Olorin waved a hand as if he was physically dismissing it. “It dampens magic, to help prevent people from stealing it. That’s how you know it’s important.”

Well that explained a lot. If Ayleid nonsense could stop me from using magic, I’d have to be extra careful in the future. Or just avoid Ayleid ruins. Perhaps both.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing at the Inn. Olorin was muttering various spells at the stone in the hopes of fully activating it, with little (absolutely no) success. Apparently the gentleman who had hired us to retrieve it was something of an expert though, and Olorin was sure he’d be able to figure it out.

The next day, under clear blue skies, we headed back to the Imperial City. As expected, my arm had healed perfectly, and I was going to need it.

This post has been edited by hazmick: Jul 9 2016, 01:12 AM


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Haa-Rei

Cirinwe

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

"...a quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business."
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Acadian
post Oct 30 2015, 08:33 PM
Post #56


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From: Las Vegas



Ahh, safe and sound for the moment at the Inn of the Drunken Dragon. Interesting banter about the mysterious map stone that seems capable of cursing Haa-Rei’s magic. Nice ‘Argonian’ touches again, including our lizard’s preference for the window so the sun could warm his scales and that Sjöfn’s healing ministrations were unnecessary.


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Grits
post Nov 5 2015, 06:42 PM
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From: The Gold Coast




I enjoyed Jötnar’s journal very much! I love his observations of Haa-Rei and his thought that he wished he could have seen them take down the big orc. Maybe he’ll get to cut someone completely in half soon. biggrin.gif

That was a fun trip through Atatar. I love how Olorin is fiddling with the relic before turning it in. The whole exchange around the table with Sjöfn tending Haa-Rei’s wound was delightful. How wonderful to catch up with Haa-Rei sitting with the sun on his scales. happy.gif


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hazmick
post Nov 6 2015, 05:11 PM
Post #58


Mouth
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Joined: 28-July 10
From: Northern England, Southern Tamriel.



Acadian - The Drunken Dragon is one of those places that I always forget about since it's in such an odd location. It was nice to visit it while I was writing. laugh.gif

Grits - Yep, Jötnar is 100% Nord (for better worse) biggrin.gif Glad you enjoyed it.





Previously - After Atatar, our group of adventurers took a quick break at a nearby inn while Olorin explained what it was that they'd found. Now they return to the Imperial City to finish the task...

Chapter 19



It was all quiet in the Imperial City. The taverns had long since closed their doors and the only people still awake were Imperial Guards on patrol, the occasional stray cat, and me. The night air was thick with fog, and the street lamps did little good to light the way. Thankfully my destination was the White-Gold Tower itself, which is about as difficult to miss as a…well, as a really big white tower.

The journey from Atatar to the Imperial City had allowed me plenty of time to write a report for The Blades, mentioning the clearing of bandits at Fort Homestead and the gathering of Argonians in Lleyawiin. It wasn’t as detailed as I’d have liked, and other agents would have written a dozen similar reports already, but you can never have too much information.

My thoughts on the value and/or over-saturation of information came to an abrupt stop when I entered the Imperial Palace District. The feathery spines on my head had begun to tingle – indicating that there was danger nearby. It wasn’t a very specific warning, but I knew enough to heed it and looked around carefully.

The district was made up of two tiers. The lower tier was completely full of graves. The gravestones loomed through the fog and the darkness, as if the spirits themselves were wandering through the grounds. The second tier was a raised walkway which formed a circle around the White-Gold Tower, and it was here that I carefully began to move forward.

As I approached the palace steps, I saw the reason for the earlier warning. An Imperial Palace Guard lay on the ground. His silvery white armour, inlaid with red dragons and gold studs, still gleamed in the moonlight. A vicious looking dagger was hilt-deep in his ribs. The blood pooling around his torso was still warm to the touch, indicating that the attack was recent. I looked around, but even my sharp eyes couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary.

A shout went up from inside the palace and I immediately drew my bow. Then, heaving on the heavy oak doors, I went to see what was happening.

It was chaos. The bodies of several guardsman lay scattered about the immediate area, and alongside them were other corpses which were dressed in hooded red robes. I nocked an arrow and crept further along the corridor, stepping over more and more bodies as I went. Then, I found them.

A group of Blades warriors were holding the door to the council chambers against a group of attackers in strange black armour. It looked similar to the armour worn by Dremora, warriors of the Daedra, but these attackers were clearly human and I watched as one was cut down by a katana. The black armour hissed and vanished in a puff of sulphurous smoke, leaving behind a red-robed corpse.

I personally dealt with another two, and when the second fell with an arrow in his back, the fighting was done. I stepped out of the shadows and the Blades all levelled their swords at me.

“Talos.” Said one, clearly the leader.

“Plaza.” I replied. A password used by the Blades in emergencies, which this definitely seemed to be.

The Blades visibly relaxed, and most turned and marched towards a set of stairs which lead higher into the tower. The muffled sounds of fighting could be heard from above.

Of the few that remained, the man I identified as their leader stepped forward to greet me. I retrieved my identification badge from my pocket and he nodded in satisfaction.

“Knight-Captain Arturius Guiniverius.” He introduced himself loudly, saluting as he did so.

“Agent Haa-Rei.” I said quietly, though I still saluted. We were more or less the same rank, even though he was part of the warriors and I was a spy. If anyone could tell me what was happening, it was him.

“The palace is under attack from an unknown force. We are currently in the process of assessing the damage and clearing the area.” Almost as if he’d read my mind, he continued. “The Emperor is safe.”

I nodded. I didn’t need to ask about the Emperor’s sons.

“If you want to help, go to the Prison District.” He said quietly. This was as close as he could get to giving me an order, so I nodded and took my leave.

I’ve never been sure why I joined the Blades. They all seem very loyal to the Emperor, but at that moment I wasn’t sure if I cared all that much. I’d never met the man, and I doubt I could even recognise him. The death of his sons still made me sad though, and I also felt concerned for the man himself. For why, I do not know, but I was making my way to the Prison District. What would the assassins hope to find there?

I stopped to assist an Imperial Guard in the Market District, who was doing a good job of attracting every assassin in the area to him. The assassins were shamefully under-trained and under-equipped. Their conjured armour was little more than an illusion, and offered about the same level of protection as their red robes. Their weapons were slightly better, but they too were conjured with a weak conjuration spell and consisted entirely of daggers. My Dwemer sword had a much longer reach and the attackers soon fell.

The guardsman sat himself down on a nearby crate and nodded his thanks while he tried to catch his breath. I nodded back and made haste through the Market and onwards towards the prison. How many of these assassins are there? Where in Oblivion are they coming from?

At last the prison loomed ahead of me. Some guardsmen had barricaded the bridge and let me pass only after I’d shown them my badge. The bodies of several assassins lay a few feet away, feathered liberally with arrows.

The Prison seemed to be all quiet, and the spines on my head had stopped tingling. Nevertheless I readied my bow and crept down the stairs.

Time to see what they’re after.

This post has been edited by hazmick: Jul 9 2016, 01:12 AM


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Haa-Rei

Cirinwe

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

"...a quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business."
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ghastley
post Nov 6 2015, 05:51 PM
Post #59


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First time I've seen the action outside the prison at this point in the story, and it all comes on us as unexpectedly as it did to Haa-Rei. Nice touch.

"Where in Oblivion are they coming from?" especially as they're hard to find again in the game. Small numbers in scattered caves, or one or two sleepers at a time (who don't wear the robes). Didn't anyone spot all the red-robed folks flooding into town?

A couple of nits: there's a where that should be a were at the beginning and the lower tier became a tear.


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Acadian
post Nov 6 2015, 11:52 PM
Post #60


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



Your description of the foggy city late at night was ominously appropriate and well-done. emot-ninja1.gif

I love how Haa-Rei’s tingly head spines give him a sixth sense about impending danger. ohmy.gif

What a clever introduction and perspective to familiar events relating to the Blades’ worst night of the Third Era. goodjob.gif


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