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> I am Lena Wolf, Lena's life as it happens
Lena Wolf
post Sep 12 2022, 03:58 PM
Post #421


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It is actually from Two Worlds II - one of the more advanced spells there. They also have falling rocks, but hey, who wants rocks when you can have anvils! biggrin.gif Scorpio brings this spell to Oblivion - he will be eventually released after thorough testing of his mettle.


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Renee
post Sep 12 2022, 10:22 PM
Post #422


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They are in Fort Dunstad, Lu and Lena. Yes, so true about the goblins keeping rats for pets .... and sustenance. Quite a parallel that these bandits also keep skeevers, probably for the same reasons. Not like there's any lack of them around, right? Much easier than trying to take down a mammoth.

Yikes, they're in Dawnstar Sanctuary! emot-ninja1.gif How does Lena feel about Astrid?

Wait, I'm looking at the wrong post. Hee hee, yeah I am. Okay. I'm up to the part when they're in Windhelm, inquiring about the murders. That's one of Skyrim's quests none of mine ever got around to doing. Maybe that'll change this winter.

Okay, NOW they're back in Dawnstar Sanctuary. Did you do some refurbishing in there?

Geralt lives in Lakeview Manor by the sound of it. I like that place. Or maybe Geralt just happens to be there, and Lena owns it. Ha, he's getting a unicorn. Funny.

Up to page 7 / 135.

This post has been edited by Renee: Sep 12 2022, 10:31 PM
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Lena Wolf
post Sep 12 2022, 11:17 PM
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Hey Renee! biggrin.gif I think skeevers probably don't taste as good as a mammoth though. But hey - bandits are cheap. tongue.gif

That murder quest in Windhelm... Yeah, we solved it, witnessed the murder, and the guard was literally standing right there and doing absolutely nothing! No wonder they've got necromancers running amok.

Dawnstar Sanctuary: yeah, I tidied it up a bit. For one, they needed a double bed... wink.gif There wasn't one. I didn't want them to use the floor... Hehe.

How Lena feels about Astrid? No love lost there. Astrid is essentially an imposter, certainly from Lena's point of view. Not in vanilla TES5, but this is not a vanilla TES5 story. In our story DB is not dead and Astrid's group is not DB. This is how I felt about it when playing TES5 anyway - it didn't feel right at all. Lena actually agrees with their mage - Festus Krex - he thought that without the structure and discipline of the original DB, their group was nothing but a bunch of lowlife murderers. He was right.

Lakeview Manor: yeah, it's nice. I like the location, too. Geralt is staying there, but it's Lena's house really. I'll be making a player house in the equivalent location in TWMP Skyrim Alive - it didn't make it into this release, but it will be added later. Wouldn't want to give it up! biggrin.gif

The unicorn reference smile.gif


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Renee
post Sep 13 2022, 02:14 PM
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Mm, that's what I figured. The Dawnstar Sanctuary in your gameworld has been given the Lena Wolf treatment. bigsmile.gif

Yes, my character who did DB in Skyrim despised Astrid for some reason. I don't really remember all the details. But my character (here she is) loved Babette and Cicero. Babs because my character always wanted children, yet could not bear. And Cicero because even though he's really annoying, he's at least quite lively. My Listener would "listen" to Cicero mumble and rant to himself for hours, while watching Babette sleep. sleep.gif

Congrads on making all the work you've been doing with TWMP, too. cake.gif Really proud that a Chorrolite has been involved with that.

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Lena Wolf
post Sep 13 2022, 02:54 PM
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7 Sun's Dawn, 4E203 - The fight

Fireballs were falling from above, hitting each and every Knight of Order in the area. Lena was sneaking between them, leaving them to their fate, trying to get to the next Priest instead. The Priest was out of reach of the rain of fire though, standing all the way at the back, behind tall obelisks of Order. Seeing his Knights burn up and crumble infuriated him beyond reason - he was shooting lighting in every direction without any particular target, and Lena tried to make sure not to become one.

"Kill the Priest, then quickly stuff three Hearts of Order into the obelisk," she kept repeating to herself as a mantra. That was definitely easier said than done. The Hearts had to be harvested from fallen Knights, which was easy, except for the part of making living Knights into fallen ones. Putting each Heart into the obelisk caused it to produce several fresh Knights for you to fight. The third heart would shut down the obelisk, but unless you had done it all quickly, the Priest would have been revived again and would try to reactivate the obelisk. And finally, even after both the obelisk and the Priest were out of action, the Knights would continue fighting until you killed each and every one of them...

Lena cast invisibility and quietly approached the Priest from behind, her Sufferthorn with paralyzing poison at the ready. One stab through the heart would kill any man, but Priests of Order were immortal as long as their Obelisks functioned. Yet, that magic-infused poison-coated dagger used from behind would be sufficient to knock out the Priest long enough to overload the obelisk with hearts and break the cycle. And should he wake up too early, the paralyzing poison would keep him down. In theory.

In practice it was all a lot more difficult, and it took Lena several stabs with her dagger to get the Priest down, which shaved off precious seconds from the paralysis duration. He would wake up any moment now... well, so be it. Lena dashed to the obelisk and started on the hearts.

The first heart produced three fresh Knights of Order who immediately rushed towards Lena. There was no time to cast two spells, so she cast invisibility and moved away. Confused, the Knights stopped, searching for something else to charge at. There was no time to lead them away... So Lena put the second Heart into the obelisk, dispelling her invisibility and instantly becoming the target of the three existing Knights and five fresh ones... Oh. Several swords hit her armour as she cast invisibility again.

Just one more heart to go...

At that point the obelisk produced a sharp lightning beam reviving the Priest of Order. It would take a few seconds and the cycle would start again! Not waiting for it, Lena threw the third heart into the obelisk which broke off the beam, but not before four fresh Knights of Order emerged from the lighting cloud. The Priest was on his feet too. A bit shaky, but alive and angry, he was charging his spell targeting the obelisk, trying to reactivate it...

"No, you don't!" Lena charged at him, drawing her sword this time. No time to cast a summoning spell - the Priest had to be interrupted before the obelisk would reactivate fully, and with its cap starting to lift up already, it had to be now!

Bzzzt!

Darkness.

...

Lena wasn't sure whether her eyes were open or closed, or whether she was alive or dead. Was this the Fade? She couldn't tell. The air around her seemed to be infused with lightning and shining, blinding flashes of white light. So many reflective surfaces... was she in a hall of mirrors?

Slowly the buzzing around her reached her consciousness and woke her up. Her eyes were open and she seemed to be alive. The shining reflective surfaces around her were the polished facets of the limbs and bodies of many Knights of Order, immobile and inactive. A huge ball of lightening above an obelisk was disappearing under the cap that was now moving down. "The Priest!" Lena remembered, scrambling to her feet. She had to prevent him from reactivating the obelisk. She looked around... yes, there he was, on the floor.

The Priest wasn't dead, but at least he was down. He could not be killed as long as the obelisk was active, and that was exactly the problem - the Priest and the obelisk kept reactivating each other. With the obelisk shutting down, Lena had to keep the Priest down as well, but he was stirring already. Wasn't this what happened just before she went down?

Still shaky from her own knock-out, Lena had no energy for a paralysing spell, and no time to coat her sword with a paralysing poison. This whole fight would restart in a moment...

A sudden frost permeated her body, she got hit with a frost spell, but who cast it? The Priests were masters of lightning, not frost, and the one before her was more concerned with reactivating the obelisk than with fighting. Frost... Lena felt a sudden surge of energy and hunger. With one leap, she fell onto the Priest who was about to cast his spell. Her fangs craved blood.

...

"This fight is too hard for you, mortal," Lena startled, hearing the Mazken Commander's voice just behind her. Mortal? Not quite, but the daedra looked down upon the immortality of vampires. "But I thank you anyway," the Commander continued. "You freed the Mazken Wellspring from the forces of Order!" Lena let go of the Priest's neck, using his robe as a napkin, and turned to the Commander. She didn't remember freeing the Wellspring, only fighting the Knights... But if the Commander was restored to her lively shape and biting language, then she must have freed the Wellspring somehow. "I grant you the power to summon a Mazken warrior to help in your battles!" The Commander continued in a rather solemn voice. "The Mazken will serve you now, Lord Sheogorath!"

She gave Lena a curt bow, turned around and marched off, leaving Lena standing amid the shiny remnants of the forces of Order. A tall figure in a Madness cuirass worn over a robe was approaching from the gloom of the corridor ahead.

"Glad to see you regain your strength," Scorpio said. "And sorry about that frost spell... but without it you were fading."

"Yeah, this fight was indeed too hard for me," Lena nodded, suddenly realising that her vampirism did not recede even though she drank mortal blood just now. "What happened? Did you free the Wellspring?"

"Yes," Scorpio was checking Lena's pulse. "You were doing all right with those hearts, but you lost a few moments, it seemed, and the Priest was waking up before you could get to him. I called up the lighting storm hoping to confuse them all as well as knock them out, but the Priest was immune to that... I couldn't get to him, so it had to be you."

"And you triggered my vampirism with that frost spell," Lena smiled at him. "That certainly gave me a kick!" She chuckled.

"You took down the Priest, the obelisk shut down, and after another lighting storm to clear the remaining Knights, I went and rang the chimes that crumbled the cage around the Wellspring," Scorpio concluded. "Then of course the Commander was here to thank you."

"While I was still feeding," Lena laughed. "Although that doesn't bother them at all."

"Job done, I'd say," Scorpio looked relieved. "Except... why are you still a vampire?"

"I shouldn't be," Lena agreed. "I'll have to feed again, sometimes it takes several goes. Or may be I'll keep it for a while - it is rather helpful in a fight, and we still have the Aureals' Wellspring to do!"

"But not before you get a good rest!" Scorpio took her arm and started walking towards the exit. "We'll return to Crucible, have a good dinner at Bernice's, then a proper night's sleep, and only then..."

They kept talking all the way to New Sheoth, where the Mazken guards greeted Lena with the new found respect for her as Lord Sheogorath.


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Sep 15 2022, 04:58 PM
Post #426


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8 Sun's Dawn, 4E203 - A repeat of the day before

"I'm coming with your this time, end of story," Dylan was quite adamant at breakfast with Lena and Scorpio. "Resorting to triggering vampirism is going too far, especially in your condition," he added, pointing at Lena's pregnant belly. "And with the Mazken Wellspring restored, you cannot have any objections!" He concluded hotly.

"All right, all right," Lena was quite taken aback. "Sheesh... Let's just hope the Aureals will let you in, that's all."

...

Brellach was the Aureal Sanctuary and it had suffered the same fate from the forces of Order as the Mazken Sanctuary: it was invaded and the Wellspring was about to be blocked. The task of freeing it was nearly identical to the task of freeing the Mazken Wellspring that Lena and Scorpio accomplished the day before. The fighting had been heavy and fierce, probably too heavy for Lena, because she couldn't quite get those obelisks shut down and Priests killed without the extra strength and agility of a full-blown vampire. But every time her vampirism was triggered, it was getting a little more difficult to get it to recede again, so even though she fed on living blood since, she was still a vampire, which could not be good for the child she was carrying, as Dylan pointed out.

And so Lena, Scorpio and Dylan stood in front of the gates of Brellach, ready to undertake its rescue.

"He is not coming in!" The Aureal Captain glared at Dylan. "It is already a transgression to let a mortal in, but we'll make an exception for you as Sheogorath's Champion," he turned to Lena. "But no Mazken scum will drag his filth into our Sanctuary!"

And if his words weren't enough, he promptly attacked Dylan and a good old brawl followed.

"Hey!" Lena tried to put a stop to it. "HEY!!! By Sheogorath, STOP IT!!!"

The Prince's name worked its magic and the Captain and Dylan let go of each other's throats.

"Look here, Captain," Lena decided to try diplomacy. "Your Wellspring is about to be blocked by the forces of Order who have already invaded your Sanctuary and captured your Commander, right?"

"Y-yes," he nodded, looking worried. "How did you know about the Commander?" He squinted at Dylan.

"No, Dylan didn't tell me," Lena said decisively. "Sheogorath told me," she lied. It worked, and the Captain gave her his full attention. "It is not going to be easy to defeat them, and as soon as the Wellspring gets blocked, all of you will be petrified and won't be able to help," she added, stressing the word "petrified". The Captain winced and reluctantly agreed.

"Well, when you put it this way..." He eyed Lena's pregnant figure. "A mortal Champion, especially one with such a disfigurement, would require all the help she can get..." He eyed Scorpio as well, but seeing his robe, turned away in disdain. "And your only other friend is a mage! He'll be of no use in battle, I reckon." Scorpio raised an eyebrow and gave a little laugh, but didn't say anything. "Well, all right," the Captain sighed. "But don't make it into a habit!" He glared at Dylan. "This is a one in a lifetime exception, you hear me?!"

And before Dylan and the Captain could start another brawl, Lena grabbed Dylan's arm and hurried to enter Brellach.

...

Lightning was still fizzing around shiny metal objects on the floor that used to be Knights of Order. As soon as Lena, Scorpio and Dylan entered Brellach, they got attacked by a large group of Knights that were guarding the entrance hall. Dylan rushed right at them, Lena followed just behind him, and Scorpio stood back for a minute summoning a lightning storm. As soon as the storm hit, the battle was over.

"No use in battle, indeed," Dylan smirked, bashing in the last half-dead Knight's head. "But it must have been hard on you to take the heat every time," he turned to Lena. "Especially when you had to juggle those hearts trying to shut down an obelisk."

"Yeah, it was tricky," Lena nodded. "This time it will be a walk in the park," she smirked. "Come on, more shinies are just ahead."

...

"We've been betrayed!" The Aureals Commander screamed with rage when the crystals forming the walls of her cage were shattered. She glared at Dylan, then lashed out at Lena: "Traitor!" Her sword made a clanking noise when it hit Lena's Madness cuirass and was repelled by it. It seemed Cutter didn't just put her skill into that cuirass, but also her allegiance.

The Commander's outburst was quickly subdued by the combined forces of Dylan and Scorpio, and Lena had to jump in to prevent them from killing the Commander.

"No, you can't!" She bellowed and everyone froze, not quite expecting such a booming voice from a little Breton woman.

IPB Image
Zul Mey Gut!

"What..?" After the shock of Lena's bellowing scream, came an eerie sound, quite loud but not overpowering, sounding here, there and everywhere... "What was that? Who said that?" Dylan and Scorpio let go of the Commander, and the Commander sheathed her sword, more concerned by the sound than by the would-be traitors before her.

"We are no traitors," Lena said calmly. "We are here to rescue your Wellspring from the forces of Order. I am Sheogorath's Champion."

"But I heard a dragon," the Commander turned to her. "That was Alduin's call."

"Not Alduin's," Lena shook her head. "I am Dragonborn."

"Oh." The Commander measured up Lena with her gaze. "Previous Dragonborn were more impressive," she added in her usual haughty tone. "Well, mortal, you freed me, and now you will assist me in freeing our Wellspring. You may bring your... companions," she added, throwing disgusted glances at Dylan and Scorpio, then lingering on Dylan, she breathed in, ready to utter a new objection to this "Mazken scum" no doubt, but Lena already started marching down the corridor, with Dylan and Scorpio following. "Hey, how do you know where it is?!" The Commander shouted, running after them.

"Done it last time already," answered Lena, without stopping. "But you chose to forget that bit," she added after a moment. She'd had enough of daedric insults.

...

"Well, that's the Aureals out of the way," Lena sighed with relief when the Commander and a few Aureals around her turned to stone in the next section of the fort. "The forces of Order have finally blocked the Wellspring, so it's up to us again to deal with them," she added, turning to Dylan and Scorpio. "At least we know what to do."

"The same as yesterday," Scorpio nodded, taking up a position in a dark corner.

"But this time I'll take the heat so you can run around the obelisks," Dylan readied his mace.

Lena was just going to summon Dessos as well, or may be a Mazken warrior, or at least a daedroth, but just like the day before, a wave of Knights of Order was upon them before she had time to make up her mind. Too many choices can make life difficult at times. So, without thinking, she summoned a clannfear - a spell she had practised so many times, that it came to her almost like a reflex. The clannfear let out a high pitched shriek and tore through the Knights of Order like a hot knife through butter. Lena threw the last glance at the chaos behind her, made sure that Scorpio was well out of sight, cast invisibility and focussed on locating the nearest Priest and his obelisk.

...

"That wasn't nearly as hard as yesterday," Scorpio came out of the darkness when the last Priest of Order and his obelisk was dealt with. Dylan was finishing a few remaining Knights that weren't quite put out by the fire, frost and lightning that Scorpio kept raining on them.

"No anvils today?" Lena looked around in slight disappointment.

"That spell takes too much energy to cast," Scorpio shook his head. "Elemental magic is far easier, and I had to cast a lot of it today," he kicked some shiny bits out of the way. "They are less susceptible to it than to the brute force of a falling anvil, but it still works well enough," he smiled. "Shall we ring the chimes and remove the blockage from the Wellspring?"

"Not yet," Lena winked. "We are in no rush."

Dylan laughed with gratitude and Scorpio spotted a bench and dropped onto it, his tiredness obvious now. "No rush indeed!" He nodded smiling, reaching for his last restorative potion.

Lena left them to sit and relax and proceeded to check every Priest on the ground. Was any of them still alive? "Yes, you will do nicely," she finally found one that was deeply unconscious but still breathing. She hadn't fed for over a day, and with all the running around and fighting, she was famished as well as tired. Hoping that this time she would not be interrupted, she bit his neck.

...

"Ah, you look better!" Scorpio smiled at her when she returned to their bench, her cheeks pink and her eyes amber.

"It was time to put vampirism back in remission," Lena nodded, "and those Priests weren't supposed to survive anyway. Let's ring the chimes and free the Wellspring, I've had enough of this place."

...

"...and the Aureals will serve you now, Lord Sheogorath!" The Commander finished her speech of thanks, and Lena, Dylan and Scorpio could finally leave for New Sheoth.

"So, what's next?" Dylan asked, shaking off the "golden mud", as he put it.

"Now we return to Sheogorath just in time to watch him transform into Jyggalag," smirked Lena. "I'm sure he'll wait for us to actually see it. Quite a spectacle! He'll break his cane in the process, and his cane is not just a walking stick, it's an enchanted staff, and I'll have to get my own. That's more dungeon delving and fighting, with a few twists along the way. And then, soon after that anyway, I'll have to face Jyggalag in a duel. If I fail to defeat him, this Realm will crumble, as it has done many times. But last time I won, and I intend to do it again," she concluded firmly. "So, get ready for the show."


--------------------
"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Sep 26 2022, 08:02 PM
Post #427


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11-15 Sun's Dawn, 4E203 - Symbol of Office

"You again!" Dyus looked bored. "I already told you how to get Sheogorath's Symbol of Office! What are you doing here, anyway?"

"You told me last time," Lena sighed. "History is repeating itself - there's another Greymarch going on, and I am the Champion again."

"Oh, I hadn't realised it's already another era," Dyus sighed too. "I must have dozed off for a few centuries... It's not easy being a Chamberlain to a Prince that is never there."

"But... Why are you still here?" Lena suddenly realised she never understood why Dyus was kept alive. "If you used to be the Chamberlain to Jyggalag when Jyggalag was a proper Prince, then why did Sheogorath not kill you when he took over?"

"You aren't as smart as you should be," Dyus clicked his tongue. "If I was dead, who would have produced Sheogorath's cane for you? Eh? That Haskill isn't up to it!" He snorted.

"Tell me about Jyggalag," Lena said suddenly. "About the time before Sheogorath. I know it was the other Princes who created him, but I don't understand why Jyggalag keeps resurging."

"Well..." Dyus smiled and shifted in his chair. "If you must know..." He was about to start his tale when a suspicion made him reconsider. "Actually, why do you need to know this? Just get on with your saving-the-madness business! Jyggalag will vanish again, whether you defeat him or not." He squinted at Lena.

"It's not the madness that I am saving," Lena shook her head. "Although being Sheogorath's Champion undoubtedly qualifies me as mad, I like to think that I'm not crazy," she smiled at her own pun. "I'm doing it because of the people who inhabit the Shivering Isles. It's their home. They are - as orderly people like to put it - not right in their heads one way or the other. They are different. They don't fit in the societies that they come from. But here in the Isles different is normal, eccentricity is expected. If Jyggalag wins the battle, the Isles will crumble and everyone living here will die. It is for them that I fight."

"That doesn't explain why you need to know about Jyggalag," Dyus wasn't convinced.

"I don't need to know, I want to know," Lena tried again. "Is it that the Daedric curse had failed and the other Princes didn't manage to fully transform Jyggalag into Sheogorath? Is it because they've done it on purpose so as not to allow madness to take hold? Or..?"

"None of it and all of it," Dyus' expression softened. "Sanity is considered to be middle ground to everything - a perfectly sane person is moderate in every aspect of his life. He is as grey as my robe," Dyus smirked. "I used to think of myself as perfectly sane... as did Jyggalag. But look around you. The obelisks are perfectly symmetrical, mathematical even... The metal is perfectly smooth to the point that it shines... The Knights of Order are all exactly the same..." Dyus' glance became wistful. "Does that sound like middle ground to you?"

"It's another extreme," Lena nodded. "Then the duality of Sheogorath is not just in Mania and Dementia, but also in life versus order... life versus death."

"Death?" Dyus jumped in his chair. "You equate Jyggalag with death?"

"His Knights' hearts do not beat," Lena looked thoughtful. "His Priests are under a coercion spell of some kind, and the people that they convert, come under that spell too. They give up their lives. They are still breathing, but I've seen zombies with more creativity."

"Ah," Dyus was smiling. "So, what is life?"

...

This discourse with the Keeper of the Library of Jyggalag took the better part of the day. Strictly speaking, Lena didn't have to come to him yet, she could have simply gone to collect the two ingredients that she knew she needed for her Symbol of Office of Sheogorath, but since Dyus had to make that cane, she thought it polite to see him first.

"Would you like to be released from this place?" She suddenly asked, remembering how Dyus had complained of being imprisoned there.

"Released?" He raised an eyebrow. "Oh, the official tale..." he smiled. "I complained of being imprisoned here, didn't I?" He chuckled. "Well, it is officially true. In reality however I could walk out those doors any moment, but where would I go? And more importantly - why? The world outside is too chaotic for the likes of me. No, thank you, I quite like my 'prison'."

"Then you belong in the land of Sheogorath," Lena smiled.

...

The two items that Lena needed for her Symbol of Office were the Eye of Ciirta and a Branch of the Tree of Shades. Ciirta was supposedly the only survivor of the previous Greymarch, and she had seen with her very eyes that Sheogorath was not there to defend his Realm when Jyggalag appeared. However, she had no idea that Sheogorath and Jyggalag were one and the same, and so she proclaimed that Sheogorath had "run off" and abandoned them. With that mighty knowledge she founded an anti-Sheogorath cult, and her eye would therefore form a nice topping for Lena's Symbol of Office.

But this was the last time around, and it made sense then. Now things were different. Ciirta was by no means the only survivor of the previous Greymarch because Lena had defeated Jyggalag in a duel and the Realm did not crumble. Everyone survived! Except Ciirta who died by Lena's hand, so that Lena could have the eye for her Symbol of Office then.

"I bet there's another Ciirta though," Lena was musing on her way to the Howling Halls. Fanatics didn't need the basis of their cult to be true, they just needed it to be catchy. She had no doubt that some woman calling herself Ciirta would be there claiming to have seen Sheogorath running off and abandoning his Realm. "So getting her eye simply equates to rooting out a nasty nest of cultists," Lena concluded. It was almost too sane for the Isles.

13 Sun's Dawn

The Howling Halls was filled with heretics - deniers of Sheogorath. There were quite a few of them in the Shivering Isles, and the most fanatical ones seemed to have flocked here. Their fanaticism however also made them blind to the possibility of being removed, one by one, by Sheogorath's Champion. Lena remembered the difficult battles she got into last time; these heretics were formidable fighters, and their magic was very strong. There were two ways of going about getting Ciirta's eye: the hard way and the clever way. The hard way was fighting the heretics, the clever way was to confuse them, get straight to Ciirta and minimise the fighting. After all, put on one of their robes, and they would think you were one of them... Up to a point, as Lena found out on many occasions. The heretics weren't complete idiots, after a while they attacked you anyway.

No, Lena didn't like either of those ways very much, and so she chose the third way: quiet assassination. Yes, there were a lot of heretics to deal with, but Lena had enough poisons for all of them. What better opportunity to practice her chameleon spell - she was still nowhere nearly as good at it as Lucien.

She proceeded methodically from room to room using the same strategy: cast on chameleon and stay out of sight; cast frenzy on a group of heretics and wait until they start fighting; then shoot poisoned arrows at them, one per person, so as not to attract attention. Beware of their summons. Keep to the shadows. Finish off any survivors with a dagger from the dark.

Finally she found Ciirta. Not the same woman as last time of course, but she was the leader of these heretics and that's what counted - her eye would do.

...

With the heretics eliminated, Lena returned to Crucible for some rest, after all she had been out in the field for over three days. Dylan and Scorpio were not keen to let her go on her own, but she insisted that getting her Symbol of Office was a task for her alone, in particular the task of getting a Branch of the Tree of Shades that she had to do next.

15 Sun's Dawn

The Tree of Shades stood in Milchar. It was a very large ruin filled with the usual monsters, and although Dylan or Scorpio could very well have helped Lena to get through those areas, she decided to do the whole thing on her own. She spent the previous day making poisons for the creatures and potions for herself, while Dylan insisted on going over her gear and having Cutter polish out every last dent on Lena's armour, even though Lena had protested that she was going to a fight and not a fashion show. "You are going to want to be sneaking in heavy armour," Dylan shook his head. "It must fit you perfectly, or you'll be heard from miles away." This was a good argument, she had to admit.

Going through the halls of Milchar, Lena was mentally thanking Dylan for his diligence.

Finally, she reached her goal - the Grove of Reflection. The Tree of Shades spread its branches there, just cut one off and leave. But Lena knew that it wasn't that simple. Any minute now... she readied her Shadowhunt with a poisoned arrow knocked on.

There was a hollow sound and an assassin in Madness armour appeared in the centre of the grove, readying her own Shadowhunt... But Lena shot first, then summoned a daedroth while the assassin was momentarily staggered by the shot. The poison was silencing her, so no second daedroth appeared.

Lena knew the assassin's weakness: she wasn't strong in a head on melee combat, and her Apprentice birthsign made her vulnerable to magic. But she had a bag full of poisons and antidotes, as well as some shielding jewellery, and Lena was determined not to allow the assassin to use any of that. Another arrow with silencing poison followed, and the daedroth started pressing the assassin into a corner. A shock bolt or a fireball would be helpful too, Lena thought, as long as she stayed away from frost spells as those might trigger the assassin's vampirism, and that was the one advantage that Lena did not wish to face - a vampire's invisibility spell could not be silenced.

But there was no time for an arrow and a fireball, Lena had to choose, and decided for another arrow with an electrocution poison - her specialty. The daedroth was keeping the assassin busy, preventing her from drinking potions or poisoning her own weapons.

Then - puff! The daedroth was gone, banished to Oblivion.

"I've got poisons too," the assassin grinned, knocking on an arrow. "I've had a few weapons poisoned in advance, Sister."

A sharp pain tore through Lena's shoulder - the arrow got her under the pauldron. She felt her blood boil with poison, then cold braced her, and she thought she would faint... what kind of poison was that? She wondered.

"Excellent stuff," the assassin came closer, watching Lena convulsing with pain on the ground. She unsheathed her Sufferthorn, also glistening with poisonous coating. "I like the paralysing effect, makes it so much easier to get things done. Here, let me finish it."

But before the tip of the assassin's dagger could make contact with Lena's side, just under the arm, at an angle to get her heart, Lena was on her feet leaping away in an unbelievable jump that left her astounded and the assassin confused. Lena touched her teeth - the fangs had returned. Evidently, paralysis got wiped away by resurging vampirism.

The battle was quickly ended after that. Hidden by the Embrace of Shadows, Lena approached the assassin from behind and put her own Sufferthorn through the assassin's side, just under the arm, at an angle to get the heart. It was all over. Lena bent over the assassin's corpse, putting a hand on the belly - there was no heartbeat inside. "The clone isn't perfect," Lena reflected, as the new life of Lena's unborn child had not been duplicated. She took the assassin's new weapon - Shadowrend - and claimed a branch from the Tree of Shades.

...

"Well, well! The vampire returns," Dyus greeted Lena with a smile. "You were a vampire last time as well, I remember. Got triggered fighting yourself, did it?" He took the Eye of Ciirta and the Branch of the Tree of Shades and busied with making the Staff of Sheogorath for Lena.

"Yeah, she is a nasty piece of work," Lena grinned. "But she forgot to avoid poisons with frost effects. And there was no child in her belly."

"Ah, that is interesting!" Dyus turned around, nearly dropping the staff. "We didn't consider that the Champion might be pregnant! Most interesting indeed! I would need to adjust the calculations..." His eyes glazed over in thought, and Lena hurried to bring him back from his trance.

"Yes, later! Don't drop that staff!" And when Dyus got back to it, Lena remembered something: "What do you mean - we will have to adjust the calculation? Who is we?"

"Sheogorath and I, of course," Dyus smiled. "Why do you think he keeps me alive?" He winked, handing her the finished staff. "Now, you know what to do with it - dip it into the Font of Madness to activate. Go on, I've got work to do..." And with that he walked off into what used to be the Library of Jyggalag, and Lena got the distinct impression that the Library was still there, simply veiled rather than destroyed.

She got her staff, so she left too.


--------------------
"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Renee
post Oct 1 2022, 02:37 AM
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Page 7, post 135: I like this title, A Woman's Scorn! Wow, Lena's being spied upon by Rayenna, whoever that is. Doesn't really matter though, I bet Rayenna won't make it to the end of this episode. Oh wow, you're giving an entire backstory to this scorned Redguard. What a pleasure.

"Rayenna met Lucien on many occasions - she made sure to create them." -- that's intense! Hmm, and she thinks Lena is just in her 20s, as well.

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