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> Elisabeth's Short Stories
Elisabeth Hollow
post Jul 5 2015, 09:05 PM
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Writing short fics like this keeps me sharp. There's no continuation for any of these. These will be one or two chaptered stories. I won't be concerned with word count, only the content and editing.

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A hiss of pain was all that escaped her lips before her skull cracked against the rock.

Soft shoes padded against the cobbled stones of the darkened streets as the brown-haired man fell to his knees, hand shaking. Tears sprung to his eyes as the only woman who had ever loved him lay dead in front of him, a pool of what was left of her blood creating a blackened halo around her head.

He stepped in it. Gods forgive him, but he stepped in her blood as he ran away. There were no guards chasing him, no angered shouts of mobs, voices roaring with rage as they burned down his cabin. It was quiet.

Too quiet.

Roland Jenseric hid out for several days, he thought, though it had been weeks. The nightmare of finding Relfina clutched in the grasp of a vampire was toying with his brain. Nightmares of what he might have done to her haunted him. He wondered more, what did Seridur do with her body?

He had combed the beaches of Lake Rumare, finding nothing. No guards were after him, and she was simply…missing. He would not be missed because of his isolated ways. No…Seridur would attempt to find him, he knew it. Roland was only a simple man, but he would fight to the death.

The days stretched on, with him writing furiously in his journal, re-reading the silly love notes Relfina would write to him and stick in strange places in the cabin. Under a pot was a bit of parchment with a simple heart drawn on, in a cup there were several love notes, each one stuffed in hurriedly. His favorite one was a note tied to a branch of dried lavender that simply said “You’re always in my dreams.” She stuck that beneath his pillow and left it there.

Once, in a frenzy, he decided to find all of them. He tore the cabin apart, determined to find every scrap of paper her lovely fingers had touched. In the short few months they had been seeing each other, Reflina had managed to write nearly fifty separate love notes to Roland, sticking them in odd places. The last time they had visited the cabin, she had sneakily rigged a note to fall when Roland opened a cupboard door. He wept.

He was re-reading another particularly saucy love note from her, the paper creased and smeared from him folding and unfolding it, when the knob jiggled. He was lost in the words, the echoes of her intent leaving him breathless. When you pressed your lips against my neck…

A sword unsheathing caused him to jump up, crumpling the letter in his fist.

“Wait! I know what you’re here for!”

And thus begun Roland’s revenge.

---

He thought about burning them. He knew that with each piece of paper that turned to ash and smoke, a little more of his soul would be released. A little more of himself would be ready to heal. But he wasn’t ready to heal quite yet. Instead, he cleaned out Seridur’s drawers and gave them to Cylben and tucked the letter away in the side table next to the bed.

It was hard to act noble in front of The Hero; the same man who killed Seridur would also bring him the ashes of the other vampires he had killed. Roland paid him straight from Seridur’s coffers; an act he felt was justified. Stepping into Seridur’s house didn’t fill the void Relfina had left, but left him with a righteous, victorious indignation. She would be avenged wholly.

Despite what he thought, he was chagrined to see he wasn’t the only one who had lost someone due to Seridur’s vampirism. Roland had found Cylben Dolvalos, Seridur’s bodyguard, hunched with his own scrap of paper on Seridur’s bed several weeks after The Hero brought Seridur’s ashes to the Order. Roland left him in peace, though Grey-Throat commented on what Roland already speculated on, nodding towards a solemn Cylben.

“They were close,” he hissed in Roland’s ear. “Seridur was his Relfina.”

Roland didn’t feel victorious after that.

Still, no amount of scrap paper would convince him he wasn’t where the gods destined him to be. He may be just a man, but he would fight with the tools the gods gave him. And the gods gave him The Hero.


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Lopov
post Jul 6 2015, 09:48 AM
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Short, intense and touching - I like it.

Nice that you used actual characters and expanded their stories.

I also like it that the actual battle with Seridur isn't written about, instead it's only mentioned.

goodjob.gif


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Elisabeth Hollow
post Jul 6 2015, 06:02 PM
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Thanks, dude. I like one-shot stories a lot. I'm hoping to do one about an original character of mine and one of the orc women from the strongholds in Skyrim. I love those orcs.


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Renee
post Jul 6 2015, 06:29 PM
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Lovely tale. Keep it up please, Liz. Always love your writing.

Who is your "Hero" though? Guess maybe we'll find out.
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Grits
post Jul 6 2015, 06:39 PM
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I like one-shot stories a lot, too. Keep them coming! smile.gif


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Elisabeth Hollow
post Jul 6 2015, 06:40 PM
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From: Texas



QUOTE(Renee @ Jul 6 2015, 12:29 PM) *

Lovely tale. Keep it up please, Liz. Always love your writing.

Who is your "Hero" though? Guess maybe we'll find out.

Generic sit-in for whatever the user creates. I can't risk naming the hero because then it would turn into a story, and these are supposed to get my creative juices flowing, not take my time up XD

And thank y'all!


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Callidus Thorn
post Jul 7 2015, 09:23 AM
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That was awesome Liz. Lopov beat me to everything I'd have commented on, so I'll have to try and beat him to the next one biggrin.gif


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Elisabeth Hollow
post Jul 7 2015, 09:26 AM
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Well, that day is today! And with that, I'm going to bed XD

---

Astia Inventius knew her husband wasn’t faithful.

She had known for quite some time. Years, in fact. But she had never said a word to him, despite the evidence she had begun gathering. The extra days hunting and selling the meat he had killed without her ever seeing a single septim tipped her off. At first, she thought perhaps he was saving up for her birthday, but that came and went with no celebration. She thought the same of their anniversary, but instead she was met with insincere lovemaking to a distracted husband.

When she found the notes, she began painting.

Lightly scented with rose oil, Astia knew who they were from. Or rather, she had an idea. She had done some investigative work on a day where she couldn’t stand it anymore, how dare he cheat on her! Unfortunately, a lot of young women used rose oil to scent their bodies. But perhaps it was fortunate after all. She could resign herself to a life of painting.

She began to sell her paintings, slowly at first. Then she began shipping them to the Imperial City, selling them there through an agent. It didn’t pay too much, but enough for her to warrant a hiding spot for her small bit of wealth. Pinarus never noticed her painting. He spent his days hunting or training, occasionally speaking to her when he was home.

Then she noticed a ring missing from her jewelry box. A small silver ring, inconsequential in a monetary sense, but it meant a great deal to her. Her mother had given it to her when she was a teenager. Her fingers were too plump to slide it on now, but she kept it nonetheless. She asked Pinarus if he had taken it, but he refused. What would he need a ring for?

Then he began asking for her jewelry.

Hunting wasn’t going too well, he explained, his hands holding hers in the gentlest of grips. This was the most intimate he had been with her in months, and he was asking her to let him sell her jewelry! She conceded, but only if he let her get it appraised first, just in case. He reluctantly relented, and she was off with her jewelry box.

She got them appraised, as she said, but they were mostly fakes; Astia had never had enough money to buy real jewelry. The silver was steel and the gold painted on. The only real thing was her necklace. Made with real gold and jade, she had gotten it from an old boyfriend. Though she ended up choosing Pinarus, she was slowed to keep the necklace anyway, her former beau insisting.

She stepped into the Mages Guild, her pocket jingling and bulging from the bit of money she had secretly taken from her hiding spot.

---

When Pinarus came back without a stitch of clothing on, Astia’s suspicions were confirmed, but not in the way she had hoped. She’d heard the rumors about the women robbing married men blind, but she feigned ignorance about it when he came in, shivering from what she expected was anger. Still, she made him a warm cup of tea, hoping her gentle touches would remind him why he chased after her. She took his look of gratefulness as a sign of hope for them.

The next few weeks were…odd. Pinarus didn’t hunt as long as he used to, and his evening walks all but stopped. He would meet her at the docks when she painted, surprising her with a small bag of candies (not her favorites, but she appreciated the sentiment either way) and occasionally a flower. Sometimes he watched her paint. When he caught her reading The Black Horse Courier, she saw in his eyes that he knew that she knew.

Despite this, life carried on differently. Pinarus still hunted, and he still took on students, but instead of long hours out in the field, she was encouraged to come with, to bring food while they practiced. When he wasn’t hunting, he came straight home with a fresh kill. Things were better.

When the necklace turned up, like she knew it would, it had a note attached.

“You’re a clever woman,” it read. “so I return this to you.” There was no signature. She knew the woman who returned it wasn’t Pinarus’ lover, but Astia knew she was strong enough to be. Rumor had it that she had sliced the women from neck to sternum in a matter of seconds. With those dark eyes that bore into anyone she spoke to, Astia knew the Redguard was more than what anyone saw on the surface.

The note was burned, and the curse on the necklace removed. Astia tucked the necklace away in a silk handkerchief she bought, tucking it away with her stash of money. She knew that cursing the amulet would ruin the woman Pinarus gave it to, but she didn’t expect it to bring her husband back to her. She got very lucky, and she knew that. Pinarus had claimed he fell and hit his head on the way to the jewelers, but she speculated on the truth. On his way to his mistress, he was seduced by the sirens, then stripped of his clothing and the necklace. The sirens were cursed instead of Pinarus’ lover, but the result was the same to her.

She would enjoy her husband, for now. And if he slipped again, the curse wouldn’t be on the other woman.


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Callidus Thorn
post Jul 7 2015, 09:34 AM
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That is just beautifully written Liz. I love the choice of character, and the way that the quest is only a small part of the story, just a happy little accident in the background.

Brilliant.


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Elisabeth Hollow
post Jul 7 2015, 04:05 PM
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I'm having too much fun writing these lol

And thanks!


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Renee
post Jul 7 2015, 04:12 PM
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QUOTE(Elisabeth Hollow @ Jul 6 2015, 01:40 PM) *

I can't risk naming the hero because then it would turn into a story, and these are supposed to get my creative juices flowing, not take my time up XD


Sure, that's fine. I like writing from NPC's point of views sometimes too, with my 'hero' only mentioned in passing.

This latest story; I'm about halfway through, I already know what her husband is up to. wink.gif . Whoops, no I don't. Very cool ending hon.

This post has been edited by Renee: Jul 7 2015, 04:20 PM
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ghastley
post Jul 7 2015, 04:18 PM
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That second one was a lot more like a classic "short story" where the outcome isn't what you expect.

The whole idea of telling the tales of the lesser characters is a great one. Everyone has their own idea of what the player character is up to, and that affects the way they react to any story about them. The side-characters are a much more pliable source. Of course, I'm biased in that direction, as I've done all my FF that way. biggrin.gif


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Darkness Eternal
post Jul 10 2015, 08:12 PM
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Great idea Liz. I like the stories! Welcome back!


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And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.”
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Acadian
post Jul 10 2015, 09:37 PM
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Nice to see you back writing and posting here, Liz! I'm glad the short story format seems to work well for you. smile.gif


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Grits
post Jul 18 2015, 04:13 PM
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Astia gets the last laugh! I love this look into the hidden or implied life of NPCs. goodjob.gif


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Elisabeth Hollow
post Jul 19 2015, 02:08 AM
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Thanks, y'all. I put the one with Astia and Pinarus on fanfiction dot net and someone got mad it didn't have 'all of the info" in it (ie name of the hero, who sent the letter, etc) and that's sort of the point. We aren't supposed to know. -shrugs- Don't care lol


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Destri Melarg
post Jul 24 2015, 08:49 PM
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Hi Liz. It’s good to see you posting stories again. I’m not sure if you even want an in depth critique, but I’ve been meaning to give you one for so long that I just can’t help myself. Let's take the first story:

QUOTE
A hiss of pain was all that escaped her lips before her skull cracked against the rock.

Now that’s how you open a story! You’ve got me pinned in one sentence. Nice.

QUOTE
Soft shoes padded against the cobbled stones of the darkened streets as the brown-haired man fell to his knees, hand shaking. Tears sprung to his eyes as the only woman who had ever loved him lay dead in front of him, a pool of what was left of her blood creating a blackened halo around her head.

He stepped in it. Gods forgive him, but he stepped in her blood as he ran away. There were no guards chasing him, no angered shouts of mobs, voices roaring with rage as they burned down his cabin. It was quiet.

Too quiet.

Excellent imagery here. The ‘blackened halo’ is particularly effective. ‘What was left of her blood’ is a fantastically subtle way of letting us know that she was the victim of a vampire. I simply loved that! The term ‘padded’ in describing the soft shoes of the brown haired man might be a little off... if that was the intent. Padded as a verb denotes movement in the sense of walking (or even running). In this case, because the figure in question simply falls to his knees at that moment, ‘padded’ comes across as slightly confusing. This becomes even more apparent when you describe him as stepping into her blood ‘as he ran away.’ Perhaps stating that ‘he had stepped in her blood as he ran away’ would clue us into the passage of time.

Now, if the intention was to describe the ‘padding‘ away of the perpetrator of this crime, even as the poor man discovers the body, then you need a word or two more in the first sentence to clearly differentiate the two.

QUOTE
Roland Jenseric hid out for several days, he thought, though it had been weeks. The nightmare of finding Relfina clutched in the grasp of a vampire was toying with his brain. Nightmares of what he might have done to her haunted him. He wondered more, what did Seridur do with her body?

Just an observation, but I’ve always found italics to be effective when it comes to highlighting something going on inside a character’s mind.

QUOTE
He had combed the beaches of Lake Rumare, finding nothing. No guards were after him, and she was simply…missing. He would not be missed because of his isolated ways. No…Seridur would attempt to find him, he knew it. Roland was only a simple man, but he would fight to the death.

This is a nice way of establishing the sense of hopeless dread that Roland must surely be feeling. I would be remiss in pointing out that Roland has no way of knowing that Relfina was ‘missing’ simply by combing the beaches of Lake Rumare. A visit from someone inside the city, or an overheard word from travellers on the road would have clued him in, and it would have also presented you with the opportunity to show us rather than tell us.

QUOTE
The days stretched on, with him writing furiously in his journal, re-reading the silly love notes Relfina would write to him and stick in strange places in the cabin. Under a pot was a bit of parchment with a simple heart drawn on, in a cup there were several love notes, each one stuffed in hurriedly. His favorite one was a note tied to a branch of dried lavender that simply said “You’re always in my dreams.” She stuck that beneath his pillow and left it there.

This entire paragraph is simply beautiful, Liz! The details are absolutely perfect!

QUOTE
Once, in a frenzy, he decided to find all of them. He tore the cabin apart, determined to find every scrap of paper her lovely fingers had touched. In the short few months they had been seeing each other, Reflina had managed to write nearly fifty separate love notes to Roland, sticking them in odd places. The last time they had visited the cabin, she had sneakily rigged a note to fall when Roland opened a cupboard door. He wept.

This is great as well. In two short paragraphs you have managed to give us a real feeling for the relationship the two of them shared. That is no small feat!

QUOTE
He was re-reading another particularly saucy love note from her, the paper creased and smeared from him folding and unfolding it, when the knob jiggled. He was lost in the words, the echoes of her intent leaving him breathless. When you pressed your lips against my neck…

You have the most wonderful knack of dwelling on just the right little detail. That creased and smeared piece of paper jumps off the page, and puts me right into that room with him. I just love ‘bouncy’ writing! Forgive me for adding the italics... but they just seemed to fit, considering that we are hearing what he is while reading her letter.

-----

QUOTE
He thought about burning them. He knew that with each piece of paper that turned to ash and smoke, a little more of his soul would be released. A little more of himself would be ready to heal. But he wasn’t ready to heal quite yet. Instead, he cleaned out Seridur’s drawers and gave them to Cylben and tucked the letter away in the side table next to the bed.

I like the stubborn defiance in Roland. He knows he needs to heal, but he isn’t ready to release Relfina (or himself of the guilt he feels for not being able to protect her). The bolded portion gives the indication that he gave Seridur’s drawers (and not the contents within) to Cylben. Not sure what to make of that!

QUOTE
It was hard to act noble in front of The Hero; the same man who killed Seridur would also bring him the ashes of the other vampires he had killed. Roland paid him straight from Seridur’s coffers; an act he felt was justified. Stepping into Seridur’s house didn’t fill the void Relfina had left, but left him with a righteous, victorious indignation. She would be avenged wholly.

Despite what he thought, he was chagrined to see he wasn’t the only one who had lost someone due to Seridur’s vampirism. Roland had found Cylben Dolvalos, Seridur’s bodyguard, hunched with his own scrap of paper on Seridur’s bed several weeks after The Hero brought Seridur’s ashes to the Order. Roland left him in peace, though Grey-Throat commented on what Roland already speculated on, nodding towards a solemn Cylben.

“They were close,” he hissed in Roland’s ear. “Seridur was his Relfina.”

Roland didn’t feel victorious after that.

Still, no amount of scrap paper would convince him he wasn’t where the gods destined him to be. He may be just a man, but he would fight with the tools the gods gave him. And the gods gave him The Hero.

A satisfying conclusion to a thoroughly enjoyable vignette! Roland justifies using Seridur’s money to pay for the eradication of vampires, even while acknowledging the fact that doing so makes him the monster in the eyes of Cylben. That is a fantasic twist that you’ve added to the existing quest that we are all familiar with. This was simply a pleasure to read, Liz!


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Elisabeth Hollow
post Jul 28 2015, 09:02 PM
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Uh, thanks, Destri, I think, lol I've never had a sentence by sentence breakdown of my stuff before.


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haute ecole rider
post Jul 29 2015, 04:37 PM
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Liz, be honored that none other than Destri Melarg chose to critique your stories! He is amazing at pulling out the subtlest detail and seeing what you are trying to convey, and yet at the same time point out the little typos and inconsistencies in your writing. I have found his input invaluable throughout the three-year journey that is Old Habits Die Hard, and learned a great deal about my own writing voice from him. Add to that the fact that he is such a meticulous, detailed writer of compelling stories is icing on the cake.


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Uleni Athram
post Jul 29 2015, 05:48 PM
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Oh Lizzy-Senpai, you make me and my funny bones so sooooooo hot and bothered with your excellent one-shots!

Please, will you "one-shot" me as well? Oooohhhh...

....

I'm onto you, bro. Watch your six.


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