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> Sleeper in the Cave, a Morrowind fanfic
ghastley
post Jul 10 2019, 04:09 PM
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QUOTE
a mix of kwama cuttle and shalk resin
- of course I had to look up what an alchemist gets from that. Apparently you wouldn't want to drink the stuff, but the water walking/breathing aspects of the kwama cuttle should be good for boots, if it makes them repel water that way.

My recollection of using water walking was that you got quite a bit of warning as it faded. I assume Adryn had expected it to last a bit longer, or a re-cast would have been in order. Will they be foraging for Ampoule Pod now?




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Grits
post Jul 12 2019, 02:47 PM
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I absolutely loved young Nerevar’s trip to the Dwemer city. Even in the ruins in ESO there is the sense of awe when you get to where you can see over the city, and you captured it. Tremendous!

I’ve enjoyed catching up with Adryn’s adventures. The Adryn and Jamie parts are my favorite. I love their friendship.


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haute ecole rider
post Jul 15 2019, 01:52 PM
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Jaime is growing on me! I really enjoy her company as much as Adryn does, if not more . . .

Enjoyed the meditations on learning a second (third, fourth, whatever) language - the best parts are learning to cuss in new ways . . .

As Julian would say, Cacat!


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Kazaera
post Jul 28 2019, 08:24 PM
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@everyone - apologies for the absence! I was so busy one weekend that I forgot to update, and then the weekend after I was in the Alps with no internet connection.

@treydog - I'm very happy to hear that my hinting that there is something really really off about Adryn's knowledge of the Dwemer right now came through! I'm of course limited in how direct I can be by the fact that my POV character has no clue what's going on, but I was hoping people would pick up on this bit. smile.gif

Finding stable-hands may be a bit of a trial in Vvardenfell, but I suspect I can always point Adryn at some guar-herders if push comes to shove wink.gif

@SubRosa - yep... I think you're entirely right that this life wouldn't be enough for her, but Adryn isn't exactly the best at self-reflection so it may take a while for her to work that one out. I guess we'll have to see how it goes wink.gif

@ghastley - I admit in this particular case I went more with "what ingredients sound like they could offer a plausible treatment for leather", although ofc kwama cuttle's water-walking effect should also add some nice magical water-proofing. Re: water-walking - yeah, you can see the spell wearing off, but at the same time I'm fairly sure I once also managed to miss it entirely and I'm not nearly as distractible as Adryn! (I like to think...)

@Grits - am glad you like the Adryn and Jamie show! Jamie was always meant to be a recurring character, but I had some trouble working her in at the start. Now they're both in a place where they have reason to interact a lot, and I like playing them off each other - they have a nice dynamic, especially because Jamie is emotionally intelligent/insightful in some ways Adryn is really lacking and can use that to keep herself from getting entirely steamrollered (as opposed to, say, Varvur).

@haute ecole rider - true story, Adryn learning Dunmeris was the plan from the start but coincidentally I'm currently trying to learn Spanish and am using some of my experiences as fodder there. Even though I'm still fairly empty as far as curse words go - something for my to-do list... And I'm glad you like Jamie! As mentioned to Grits, I'm glad I have reason to have her around more because I very much like her dynamic with Adryn.

And now for the update...

Last installment, we saw Adryn settle into her life, including ingredient-gathering expeditions with Jamie in the swamps around Balmora. Last we saw her, she was testing out new colourful Dunmeris vocabulary after her water-walking spell hat worn off unexpectedly.

Chapter 19.6
*****


After that, I took much more care when it came to recasting my water-walking spell before it ran out, and the rest of the journey back to Balmora went smoothly. It rather surprised me – at this point I was used to any journeys in the wilderness getting quickly derailed by naked Nords, ash storms, random strangers in need of rescue, and similar such horrors. As a result, it came as something of a shock to climb to the top of a steep hill and see Balmora spread beneath us in the evening twilight with nothing more than my tumble having occurred on the trip.

"Same time Mondas?" Jamie suggested.

I couldn't find a reason to argue, especially once I offloaded my haul. I'd vaguely remembered from my early days on the island that coda flowers were valuable, and was more than happy to see this proven true. Sadly, this was less true for many of the other ingredients I'd gathered – the mushrooms, in particular. Probably not much of a surprise, since I remembered from my experiments with Ajira in my first days on the island that they didn't exactly offer much in the way of useful effects. Cienne actually didn't want to buy them at all for that reason; Methal was thankfully willing, but even with me haggling my very best the coin still didn't amount to much. I left the place once again brainstorming how I might get my hands on a decent-quality alchemy setup for personal use.

"And space to use it," Ajira added the next morning.

"How so?" I inquired as I slathered scrib jelly over my roll. My voice echoed a little in the empty dining hall.

After my initial escape to the Ald'ruhn guild, I figured it wouldn't be particularly prudent to head straight back to Balmora for the breakfasts. I'd resigned myself to missing out, only to find Ajira on the guild guide platform the next morning, bearing not just a bag filled with fresh spiced rolls and various toppings but also balancing a pot of Dulnea's tea. I had no idea what she'd done to talk the woman out of it... nor what I'd done to deserve such a good friend. I knew Ajira enjoyed the group breakfasts, and although Erranil joined us sometimes most days it was just the two of us.

"An alchemy lab takes room, yes? And it has special requirements. You must be able to heat the calcinator, must have a vent for fumes... even if friend Adryn chances across a grandmaster's equipment, she cannot simply set it up in the guild dining hall, can she?"

I brought my palm to my forehead. I should have thought of that.

"M'vith yah!" I swore.

I was coming to like the Dunmeris curses – for some reason, they rolled off the tongue a lot more easily than the Tamrielic ones ever had. I really needed to thank Tanar one of these days...

"Your pronunciation is excellent," Ajira observed.

"Thanks!" Ajira would know, I supposed. She'd proclaimed herself surprised I didn't speak the language already when she'd first stumbled on me bent over a sheaf of vocabulary – it turned out she was in fact completely fluent in it. Probably not a surprise, since she was from Vvardenfell.

"Particularly the th, Ajira thinks. Many speakers of Tamrielic she knows have trouble with it, great trouble – but friend Adryn sounds almost like a native."

I blinked in surprise. "Well, it's the same sound as in Ta'agra, isn't it? Like in rawlith, or thjizzrini."

Ajira's ears, relaxed against her head, stood straight up. "Friend Adryn speaks Ta'agra?" The astonishment couldn't be clearer if she'd taken out a headline in the Courier.

"Er, yes." I suddenly realised that our discussions about comparative linguistics had skipped over part of my own language skills. I'd told Ajira I'd never tried to learn a foreign language before, but not... "I've always known it. I honestly don't remember how or where I learned." Even as the words left my mouth, I could feel how odd they were.

It was one of the bigger mysteries of my existence: how a Dunmer child left in a village in Daggerfall came to speak Ta'agra. I knew it had been the subject of a number of hushed discussions. Do'kharza, who'd said I had a picture-perfect Reaper's March accent, was particularly interested and liked to suggest travelling to Anequina to see if we could find some trace of my history. "When everything is over," he'd say, and I'd happily imagine some past for myself filled with adventure and mystery and possibly Baandari.

By the time everything was in fact over, I'd lost both my protectors and my taste for looking back. This was the most I'd thought about my language skills in years.

"Ajira is grieved to admit she is jealous."

"Oh? Do you not speak Ta'agra, then?"

Most of the Khajiit I'd met in Skyrim had – handy for being able to keep in practice with it after Do'kharza was gone, never to mention lose my child's vocabulary and phrasing. Even if I was still at something of a loss for curse words, unlike in Dunmeris. Personally, I thought Dar'munaq had taken perverse pleasure in keeping his language squeaky-clean around me.

Ajira's mouth pulled into a grimace. "She wishes. But no. You must understand Ajira's family, you see."

"Oh?" I poured myself a cup of tea, then leaned back. This sounded like a story.

"It begins with Ajira's grandfather's grandmother. Ajadhi, was her name, from Quin'rawl. A beautiful land, of wild jungles and ancient temples, blue seas and sandy shores. Unfortunately for Ajadhi, also a dangerous land, with hoarvors and wamasu... and, some moons, slavers."

My heart sank. I could tell where this story was going and I didn't like it. "She was captured?"

Ajira nodded gravely. "Captured and taken to Morrowind, never to see her jungles again. Her daughter Nisaari was born in the slave-camps of a Dres plantation, sold to Hlaalu when she was still a kit. And do you know what slave-owners hate? They hate their slaves speaking a language they do not know. A lullaby to a crying child could be fomenting rebellion, after all. And so Nisaari spoke only little Ta'agra, and her children none at all."

I bowed my head at the weight of pain in that story. A language might seem a small thing in comparison to all else that had been lost... but in the last month I'd learned myself how hurtful it could be to be unable to speak your ancestral tongue.

"And so Ajira does not speak Ta'agra, just as her friend does not speak Dunmeris," Ajira said, echoing my thoughts. "But at least Adryn is learning, yes?"

"Are there no classes for Ta'agra? Nobody willing to teach? Surely some of the free Khajiit in Morrowind can speak it."

Ajira waggled her hand in a side-to-side motion. "There are fewer not from Ajira's background than you might think. And when it comes to the Khajiit from Elsweyr, there are... differences of opinion regarding certain matters. It makes some relations fraught." Leaving that impressively vague statement behind, she continued. "Ajira has not heard of classes."

The words I'm sorry were on the tip of my tongue. A helpless statement, that, one that spread its hands and said it is an awful thing you tell me, but there is nothing I can do about it. All I can do is express my sympathy and move the conversation to happier matters...

The words were on the tip of my tongue but stayed there, arrested by a niggling impulse. It was the same impulse that had led to any number of unpleasant happenings over the last few weeks, involving kagouti, naked Nords, murderous Velothi, and of course we couldn't possibly forget Varvur. Alas, even knowing the likely consequences didn't stop it from growing stronger and stronger, replacing the words I'd been planning to speak with ones quite different.

I sighed in defeat and promised myself that Athyn Sarethi would not hear of this.

*****


And that was how I found myself giving Ta'agra classes.

They weren't originally intended to be classes. I was rather dubious of my ability as a teacher, never to mention shy in front of large groups. No, I agreed to try teaching Ajira some of what I knew and figured that would be the end of it. However, lingering near the guild guide platform the next morning I was surprised to find two passengers coming from Balmora instead of the expected one. Jobasha came out of the teleport with a stately nod, teapot in one hand and a notebook in the other. Given his proximity to people that would be able to call certain events I was doing my best to avoid down on my head, never to mention a certain favour I'd been hoping to ask of him, I decided acquiescing to the unexpected extra student was the best part of diplomacy. And since I'd agreed to one extra already, I felt I couldn't turn down Ri'Shajirr and Baissa who showed up the next day. And only a monster would be able to refuse little Ma'Vija...

To make a long story short, one thing led to another, and by the end of the week breakfast was getting unwieldy enough that I found myself asking Edwinna how one went about reserving a classroom.

Edwinna's initial reaction was surprisingly wary – I suspected a story involving illicit use of guild rooms hiding behind her skeptical look, one I'd quite like to hear – but her skepticism turned into delight when told of the purpose. "It's an excellent idea," she said. "The Dunmeris lessons have been very popular, and Vala's course in basic literacy is one of the mainstays of the guild. I've been wanting to arrange more classes for the public – it's just difficult to find anyone with the necessary expertise who's also willing to teach. Would you mind if we advertised them?"

I paused. It was a fair suggestion, even if I thought word of mouth was already doing all the advertising they needed. All the same, I had some very good reasons to want to avoid drawing attention.

Considering the events of my first weeks on the island, this might admittedly look rather like barring the gates with the frost troll already inside. However, if I'd managed to avoid drawing Guild attention up until now, I'd really like that to continue.

Edwinna apparently noticed my hesitation. She added, "Of course, as the Mages' Guild would be profiting from your activities, we would be willing to pay you for your time."

Images swam before my eyes... alembics, calcinators, bubbling potions in a small but well-appointed alchemy lab. One of those cloaks Bivale Teneran's shop under Skar was selling now that the days were growing cold, beyond my means thus far thanks to the hood lined with imported snow fox fur from Solstheim. A filled bookshelf. Enchanted earplugs.

"Done," I said instantly. Then my sense of self-preservation caught up with me. "...can we at least keep my name off the adverts?"

"I suppose so," Edwinna said, shooting me an odd look. Apparently it wasn't a request she'd expected me to make.

"I like my privacy," I tried to justify myself without using the words fugitive, Thieves' Guild, dragged back to Skyrim, or anything else that may have described the true state of affairs but still constituted things my guildmistress Did Not Need To Know. "Besides, it's probably better if we don't shout the fact that a Dunmer is teaching the class from the rooftops."

As I said the last, I realised it was a valid argument in and of itself. I hadn't missed the looks some of my new students had sent my way. Given how they'd come to lose Ta'agra in the first place, it was hardly a wonder if my presence as a teacher grated... but that still didn't mean I cared to make myself a target for any young angry Khajiit.

"Well, if you say so." Judging by her nonplussed expression, Edwinna, like the good absent-minded scholar she was, had missed the undercurrents entirely. "It shouldn't be a problem to keep your name out of it, anyway. Now, what time slot were you thinking?"

*****


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SubRosa
post Jul 30 2019, 03:13 PM
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Those pesky naked Nords do tend to derail things don't they! laugh.gif

Learning those swear words is the most important part of picking up a new language. I can swear in several languages, none of which I can otherwise say a single sentence in of course.

So Adryn is going to make mad monies teaching Cat-Speak! That is an interesting turn, but one entirely obvious once you saw the snowball effect starting to take shape.


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ghastley
post Jul 31 2019, 02:27 PM
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I can see Adryn's point about keeping her name off the announcement. But will there be expectations of "Ta'agra for Dunmeris speakers" that she'll have problems fulfilling? Better get it promoted as "Ta'agra for Tamrielic speakers" up-front.

There also ought to be some free lessons in something for her from this. Just don't let her end up not getting paid!


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treydog
post Aug 1 2019, 12:48 PM
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This latest part was a perfect sampling of the humor and the poignancy that is Adryn's life on Vvardenfell. And once again, her innate goodness- which she of course, DOES NOT possess, shines through, as she agrees to give the precious gift of language back to those from whom it was taken.

QUOTE
I sighed in defeat and promised myself that Athyn Sarethi would not hear of this.


Good luck with that- I think he knows if a lizard runs across a rock anywhere in Ald'ruhn.

QUOTE
Images swam before my eyes... alembics, calcinators, bubbling potions in a small but well-appointed alchemy lab. One of those cloaks Bivale Teneran's shop under Skar was selling now that the days were growing cold, beyond my means thus far thanks to the hood lined with imported snow fox fur from Solstheim. A filled bookshelf. Enchanted earplugs.


And of course, one has to be delighted by the things Adryn's heart most desires.

One of my favorite things is the slow, disjointed (because that is how it is happening to her) revelation of Adryn's past.


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