Good day fellow Chorrolmates. I am Lady Saga, and today I'd like to talk about the saga of Ann Thraxx.
I originally posted all of the text of posts 1 and 2 over at Bethsoft's Oblivion: general area. Forgive the crudeness of some of the early text, for I was not originally writing Ann's tale as a true story yet. In Post #2, this starts to change. Post 1's text was originally in the Where are you Now #7 thread, and Post 2's text came from my own thread in OB: General.
This character is probably my deepest Oblivion roleplay to date. Originally I wanted her to be "Renee Gade III", which means she'd be some sort of heroic figure. But as Ann Thraxx evolved, it was apparent she's going to have a story much different from what I had originally conceived.
Although I'm on PS3, I performed a couple little tricks which I like to call pretend-mods. I used another character's game save, so that Ann never had to go thru the Tutorial part, then I fast-traveled her to just outside the Imperial City...Chestnut Handy Stables, to be exact. I had no idea why her game started here, though. That was not made known to me, yet. I also didn't know who Ann was, exactly. All of this becomes apparent during the massive text below.
Name: Ann Thraxx
Class: peasant (custom).
D&D alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Ann Thraxx the wayward peasant has just arrived at Chestnut Handy Stables outside the Imperial City. She arrived here by carriage, and it is nighttime...dark and rainy. She's wearing nothing but one of those horrible Cyrodiilic bras and some sack cloth pants. No shoes, no shirt.
Ann has heard there's a place to stay in "some house on the Waterfront" * so she's walking there now.
* I think there's a free bed in one of the houses on the Waterfront. if there is, no problem. A "friend" told Ann there's a place she can stay. But if there is no free bed, Ann will have no place to stay.
Her family is no more, and she is sad. I'm thinking she was a farmer of some sort, perhaps, and lost her farm. Her husband got killed perhaps, and Ann is right now in serious depression, serious culture shock. She's been to the I.C. before, but never actually lived here. She's used to the wide open plains of the West Weald.
She is poor, but she is also fortunate to have 58 gold in her pocket, along with a soul gem and a few minor things which can be sold. How she got all this stuff? We shall find out, won't we?
Ann Thraxx arrived at the http://uesp.net/wiki/Oblivion:Abandoned_Shack, which is anything but abandoned! It was about 6am Cyrodiilic time, and Hillod the Outlaw and a dark elf male (forget his name) immediately rose as Ann walked in the door. Oops...
"Please, I didn't mean to startle you" she said to the dark elf. "I am Ann Thraxx. I have been sent here and was told I could spend the night. I've lost my home and my family..."
What was interesting was the dark elf's greeting had something to do with losing his job or being out of work or something. This fit right in, so that Ann and the dark elf had a short conversation about finding work.
The situation in the Abandoned Shack was awkward as the 2 males stood around staring at Ann. This isn't what she expected! Ann "got to know" Hillod and dark elf, and gave them more than half of her 58 gold (she basically bribed him so she can stay in the Shack). But the guys wouldn't leave!
Ann took a short walk outside, deprived of sleep and getting dizzy. She found a couple beggar beds which were open, but there's no way she's gonna stoop that low.
Finally she made her way back to the Abandoned Shack. It's now 8 am and Hillod + the dark elf are both gone. Finally.
Ann sets off to sleep. When she wakes, she's going to see about looking for work in the Imperial City.
Man. so I don't know what it is, but this roleplay with Ann Thraxx is already much different than any I've ever had before, and she hasn't even really done much of anything yet! This one is very heavy and almost dream-like.
Ann stands on the shores of the Waterfront district, looking west. The village is behind her. West is often the traditional direction that signifies death. That's something I learned recently.
She's thinking of Kvatch. What happened there. She stares up at the clouds. Just standing there, looking at the water and the clouds.....
I got the urge to stare at the clouds while RP'ing Ann. I noticed they're in layers, and then I noticed that higher layers seemed to be moving slower than the lower-level clouds. This gave me the urge to learn about clouds!
I did an internet search and found a website that describes different level clouds. The higher levels are called cirrus, these are the thin and wispy clouds way up high. The lower ones at that moment could be classified as altostratus I think. I dunno...I'm just learning this stuff.
Anyways, back to Ann.
After reading about clouds, I returned to her game. It's now dark outside. Oops. forgot to pause.
I stand there for a few moments with her, now I get the urge to walk into town. She starts doing so. Ann hears somebody mention the Fighter's Guild is hiring new members "if you've got the stones for it". But right now Ann is way too sad to even think about work.
A woman walks by, looks at Ann, and keeps walking. She walks to her shack and slams the door. ...Ann starts thinking of the gigantic gate into Oblivion that just showed up....right outside the city gates. It just showed up out of nowhere.
Ann walks past a pirate ship. There's three or four pirates outside. Ann stares at them a moment. Then she starts thinking about Kvatch again.
...EVERYONE she knew there could be dead. all of them. Did these pirates know this too?
Ann turns right and walks up the causeway there. A group of four walks past her, one by one in a neat, almost military, row.
"What is it now?"
"You've got my ear. Let's hear it."
All of them so cheery and unaware. Or did news of what happened make it into the rest of Cyrodiil yet?
Ann stood now on the bridge between the Waterfront and the little tower. Stood there looking at the water. she stood there all night while i was typing this.
7:17 am Now it's getting light, the sky rosey. She's gotta pick herself up. These people around her aren't bad people, she realizes. They're here to help. But she can't stop thinking about it...
She walks towards the Imperial City door on the Waterfront and sees something which finally makes her smile. She names him "Lucky". This is the paint horse which resides just outside the door into the Temple district. I happen to know this horse can be ridden. As long as you don't get too far into the wilderness with him, this particular paint horse will eventually return to his spot just outside the city door, if the rider dismounts him. It takes awhile, but eventually he does come back.
Ann stands outside with the horse, being warmed by the sun. She feels good standing here with him. The clouds above are now thin and wispy, with no lower layers. Cirrus clouds. They're mostly ice crystals.
Ann realizes the horse might be owned. Otherwise, he'd be in a stables. But she wants this horse to be her first friend.
Ann decides she's gonna ride the horse. And why not? She worked sometimes for the stables in Kvatch, she knows plenty about horse riding. Plus, nobody's around to witness this, in case this is a crime!
So she gets on the horse, starts riding out of town. She remembers the stables where she was dropped off by the carriage from Skingrad.
During the attack on Kvatch, Ann happened to be outside. She spent most of her time outside Kvatch, actually. she liked the sun and wind and rain. She preferred the outdoors, only venturing into town to do market work, selling the flowers and leaves and berries she found was how she made the bulk of her money. But there was no warning. Nothing to warn her and her town-mates. This HUGE gate just showed up as Ann was picking some strawberries. That thing was HUGE.
Urgh....gotta stop thinking about it.
Ann walks and find the stables. There's a man over there who looks as if he works at the place. What is he? A Breton? Imperial? Nord?
She dismounts Lucky, who starts walking away. Many horses in Cyrodiil were trained to return to a certain "home", wherever that may be. Ann was hoping Lucky wasn't to be one of these beasts, but unfortunately, this was not to be the case. But she wasn't surprised. She found him in an urban location, there's no way Lucky wasn't owned or used by somebody.
The man is an Imperial. His name tag, which is sewn into his shirt, is Brelus Gawey. He's mean-looking and unfriendly. Ann wants to talk to him, to see if she can work with him. She needs to work with the horses. She misses it, and it would make her happy to be with them. There's a LOT of horses here, too. Look at them all!
She greets Brelus, who tells her something about "orcs and horses". Ann's a little to preoccupied to remember what it was. She thinks he said an orc owns the stables. Really? An orc? Yuck! Ann hates orcs. Good. Good!!!! Good good good! She's distracted now. For the first time in days, she's finally not thinking about Kvatch, after all.
"My name is Ann. Ann Thraxx. I'm a citizen from Kvatch. Have you heard about Kvatch yet?"
"Sure, some think horses are for riding", Brelus goes on, rudely ignoring Ann. "Then again, some of us are orcs. and you know...orcs and horses...."
What is this guy talking about?
"I'm looking for work. I've noticed you've got lots of horses here, I'd like to work with them. Is that okay, sir?"
"There's something strange about Idev Lynordan. I heard she was climbing up the chapel, just so she could jump off!" Brielus says.
Okay....this man is obviously a bit simple. He's also rude and Ann doesn't like him very much. But at least she's distracted. This is good.
Ann walks into the stables, and sees a beautiful white horse. Wow, she's so handsome! The stable is packed with horses. Look at them all! Suddenly, a figure comes RUNNING out of the midst of them. Obviously a stablehand. It's a lady with short cropped hair. Her shirt identifies her as Restita Statillia. Restita also looks a bit unfriendly.
"Oh hellos my good lady. My name is Ann Thraxx! Beautiful stables you've got here!" Ann says with an unforced smile.
"Yeah, Restitta Statilllia, I work at the Chestnut Handy Stables. Have you seen any of our horses? ......Oh. It's just that they're missing".
Now she's the one who seems sad, and not so unfriendly anymore. What is the deal with these stable hands and horses?
"My name is Ann Kvatch" Ann stumbled with a Romulan Slip. " I mean Ann Thraxx. I'm a citizen from Kvatch. Have you heard? The daedra appeared from nowhere and attacked the city!! "
"We stable horses for folks in the Imperial City!" Restita informed Ann sternly. "We'd sell horses too, if we could keep track of them"
"What is thee problem with horses? You and your partner seem tensed."
"The fighter's Guild is recruiting again", Restita changes the subject, "not a bad way to make some money, if you've got the stones for it".
Oh. Ann gets it. She finally gets it. These poor folks are employed by the city. They're paid to stay here, but are having some sort of problem, has something to do with an orc. But they're not supposed to talk about their problem. Restita is obviously telling Ann something she's not supposed to actually know.
"I see. Well you're not hiring, so guess I'll move on". Ann says sadly. "Sorry to trouble you".
"Be seeing you."
It's now getting dark and Resita holds a torch. She keeps a close eye on Ann the entire time. As Ann walks thru the chestnuts and the paints, the blacks and the bays, Ann hears footsteps. It's Restita. She follows Ann as if she doesn't trust her.
Okay, I get it! Ann thinks but doesn't say. You don't want me around your horses! I get it!
Ann walks towards what's left of the sun, looking west again.
It is dark now. Ann has been up for nearly two days. She'd like to sleep but she fears the nightmares will return. She decides to walk back to the Abandoned Shack (so named, even though people live there) and try to get some sleep.
Lucky is nowhere to be seen, and it's obvious that Ann can't take any of these Chestnut Handy horses, since Restita clearly informed her they're all owned....
As Ann walks back to the Waterfront, she looks up. Cumulus clouds. These are mid-atmosphere, showing up when the weather is fair. There are no cirrus clouds this time, the upper atmosphere is clear.
...Ann is barefoot and walks briskly. Suddenly it's THERE. The terror. She suddenly remembers more of what happened that day.
....red skies! ...She remembers this now....The sky turned red just before the gate showed up. And the lightning. BLACK lightning struck in the background as the sky turned red..... She starts running. Gotta get around people again! ...OH Mara........What if a gate opened up out here RIGHT NOW?
She can almost see it happening...
Ann got lucky in Kvatch. She was located some distance away from the gate outside the city when it showed up. She went completely unnoticed while the daedra poured forth in the distance. There were LOTS of them, too. She watched as an old friend at the stables was immediately felled by a giant red-scaled-looking being with a giant mace. The guards tried to help but were killed within less than a minute. Ann had no way to help. Nothing to protect herself with. The daedra kept pouring forth and then....THERE IT WAS.....
Ann would never forget this the rest of her life. Not if she lived to be a hundred. That thing. That GIANT thing.
...It walked, like some huge monster. But it was mechanical, not magical. It walked on its own feet and had a giant, cone-shaped drill on its face. This machine walked slowly, Ann terrifiedly noticed. And it buried itself then! It buried itself, right into Kvatch's giant gate!
...She shivers...her flesh turning all prickly with goosebumps. But there's no giant mechanical monster here. None of those odd little creatures running around, either. As Ann made her way back into the Waterfront, she finally slowed. Lucky had not made his way back to his spot yet. Ann hoped he would return.
Ann stood now, safely by the Waterfront. And no gate opened up. She stood here on the bridge the rest of the night. If a gate opened here and now, she would at least have plenty of options to escape again. She would not run into the city, though. What would the point be, if that monster could just burrow its way in?
As the sun rises now on Day 4 (Ann's game is on Day 4), Ann walks back to the Abandoned Shack. The boys should be up now, which means their well-used bedrolls would be free. They would eventually leave their shack to loiter on the Waterfront, Ann hoped, meaning she could then get some sleep, safely in daytime. If she had a nightmare, she could at least wake up to a nice, sunny day outside.
As she crosses the bridge, a well-dressed lady in a blue dress walks towards her. The lady looks courtly, her hair coiffed like she's had it done by a serveant.
"Hi there" she says. She's got a pleasant Breton accent and her name (sewn into her dress with gold stitching, is Marana Rian.
...This was the Imperial's doing...that whole name-identification thing. Uriel Septim himself enacted the rule. All Cyrodiilic citizens needed to have their name identified somewhere on their clothing. It was a way to "keep the citizens of Cyrodiil safely under the protection of the law" Uriel said. Ann had yet to meet anybody these last couple years who didn't have their name sewn or stenciled somewhere on their shirt, blouse, or breastplate.
Ann looked at Marana, with her cultured ways and soft ivory face, and decided to move on. What would such a lovely lady be doing here on the Waterfront with us? Ann wondered.
Ann sees the dark elf who lives in the Abandoned Shack. His name is Dralas. Good, he's awake, which means his bed is free.
"Ooohhhhh. Hellow" he says, looking at Ann slyly. He sounds mistrustful to Ann.
"How thee this morning?" Ann says a little quietly, trying not to think of the past.
"Well met!" he says. He smiles, and his face lights up. Ann needs this smile.
"if you don't mind, I need to use the shack again. I won't be much trouble, honest!"
"The fighter's Guild is recruiting again! Not a bad way to make some money, if you've got the stones for it!" Dralas announces. Maybe this is his subtle hint to Miss Thraxx. A hint to get a job and move out?
"I won't be much trouble. Here, I've got a little gold". she offers.
"Certainly" Dralas says, but he won't accept the gold. (his Disposistion towards Ann is already maxed)
"Well okay, guess I'll get some sleep then."
Now a line of three citizens walk up past Ann.
"Everybody needs a copy of the Black Horse Courier!"
Black Horse Courier? The newspaper? They have that here in the Imperial City? Would they have an article on Kvatch? Were there any survivors?
"Have a copy of the Black Horse Courier! It's the only way to get some real news!" says the crier.
He hands Ann a copy. It's not about Kvatch, it's about some thief known mysteriously as the "Gray Fox". Hmph. She reads it, then tosses the paper on the ground as the sun rises and the day warms. She's not sure if she's to be happy or sad about the lack of information on Kvatch.
a couple more villagers say.
Ann uses a broom to sweep up the front of the Abandoned Shack before going inside, eating some boiled rice, and falling quickly asleep. Ann slept for 13 hours straight, right by the fireside.
"How do you do?" Hillod the Outlaw says nicely when Ann awakes. He's a Redguard, has another smile for Anne. Dralas the dark elf is also present and seems pleasant.
"Good morning? Is It morning? Or afternoon? I think I've been here awhile."
"A pleasure to speak with you".
"How fare thee, sir?" Ann queries.
"I helped build Ravenrock, I had some trouble with the law so now I'm here. Pretty soon I'll head out to the Imperial Reserve, try my luck there".
"Imperial Reserve? Of what do you speak of?"
"The assassinations! What else is there to talk about? Perfectly planned and executed! The blades perfectly useless. Complete disaster!" he says.
"Y y...you speak of Kvatch? What do you know?" Ann says, suddenly a little terrified.
"Yoooo too". Hillod says, apparently unaware of the horror which occured. He almost dismisses her, it seems.
She walks over to Dralas now...
"I hope I can help"
"What of you? Have YOU heard about Kvatch yet? The horrors which happened there?"
"Samuel Bantien used to be a wild one!" the dark elf informs "they say he used to be a locksmith!"
Oh good. No news on Kvatch. No news on those terribe beings called "daedra". At least everything is safe.
Ann turns now, looking to the floor. A lovely red apple is there, and Ann can't resist eating it. As she picks it up and does so, the Shack's occupants don't mind. That fellow who informed her the Abandoned shack dwellers would be 'friendly' apparently was right. Ann relaxes and eats the apple, glad to know the guards wouldn't be called just because she's eating their apple.
As she eats, Hillod starts talking about the "Blades" and some sort of execution again with the dark elf, but he's obviously not talking about Kvach. That much has been established. What was going on with Cyrodiil lately?
She walks outside, to see it's early morning. Cirrus clouds high in the air, with some mid-level cumulus clouds forming on the horizon.
She looks west again for a moment, then firmly decides she's not gonna do this today. Today, she's gonna get into town, get amongst some people. Good thing about the Imperial City (Ann has heard) is that it has plenty of exits. It also has plenty of places to hide, in case of another attack.
She remembers she found a pair of sandals in an open-topped sack in the Shack, and puts them on. So her entire outfit is a stitched green shirt, sack cloth pants, and these sandals. She's got a torch on her belt, a mysterious iron key, a set of lockpicks (which she can't use very well) and a total of 5 gold.
She walks along the Waterfront, looking for herbs or flowers she can pick and sell.
"Don't be the last to read today's ..Black Horse Courier" the crier announces, yelling straight into a Breton woman's face. Ann laughs. It feels good to laugh again. For just a moment, she feels like her old self. It's a moment, sadly, which quickly fades. Nope. She's still here in this odd little "village".
She walks, her flower expedition so far unsuccessful, when she comes to a small graveyard just south of the village. This graveyard is old and unkempt, its stones leaning and broken. Death. no. NO! No gravestones! No thinking of death!
She walks and finds a Nirnroot, one of those weird singing plants. She doesn't really know why they sing or what their effects are, she just knows she can sell it. So she unceremoniously picks the Nirnroot.
Now she walks towards the area where she met Lucky. To shorten the trip, Ann decides to swim across(**). Even though she is (was) a citizen of Kvatch, and there's no water nearby, Ann learned how to swim when she was young and still knows how.
Ann dives under, looking into the clear water for clams or fallen treasure. But there's nothing here. She didn't expect there would be anything of value down there. Place probably got picked clean by every vagrant around, even underwater.
She walks on the small beach and looks towards the door. Lucky is not back yet.
Dressed in her ragged clothing, Ann decides to walk into the city. Its "Temple District".
There was a block of text in which Ann found herself crying, really losing it, as she walked into an alleyway. She then wandered into the Temple of the One, finally stopped crying when she realized how bare it is in there. Why is the Temple so empty? she thought. All of this text got lost, unfortunately.
Ann Thraxx is now in the center of the I.C., more or less. She finds some more red & white mushrooms and eats one of them. She realizes this portion of the city is filled with DOZENS and dozens of gravestones. Citizens who lived and died fair lives and deaths, without having a giant mechanical monster crash thru their city's gate. Ann feels momentarily jealous of all these dead strangers, and moves on...looking for the exit to the Market District. A guard told her earlier this town does have its own market area.
As she walks, picking more and more mushrooms, she takes a pause and stares up at the White Gold Tower, that ancient masterpiece built by the Ayleids impressively. She's seen this tower all her life from a distance, but seeing it up close is simply amazing. It was so tall, it seemed to touch the very sky of Cyrodiil. Was it possible to climb all the way to the top? Ann didn't think so. Nor would she ask or try to find out. A lost, sad peasant, she wasn't feeling very confident or comfortable with her new surroundings.
She walks past a door. Arena District. Nope, not going there. She keeps walking. Next door is the Markets. Good.
"How do you do?" asks Rochelle Bantien. Ann and Rochelle met earlier (in that block of text that got erased) and Ann feels a little queasy about just the general casualness of the City's peoples. They KNOW something happened in Anvil (a guard had told Ann of "Anvils priests and priestesses....murdered") yet nobody wants to discuss it. Nobody seems to want to make a plan...
Ann had already grown weary of this. Shes trying to inform the people, to keep them safe, but nobody seems to want to hear it, even if some of them do know something is going on out there. Those that know seem to be in denial.
Ann walks forward as she enters the Market District. A bookstore is on her right, and a place called "The Copious Coinpurse" is on her left. Ann currently has 22 mushrooms + that Nirnroot for sale.
She walks into the Copious Coinpurse where a wood elf named Thoronir greets
"What kind of deal can I make for you todaaaaay?"
"Well. I've got plenty of mushrooms for sale."
"I offer the finest goods and lowest prices in all Cyrodiil".
Ann sold the mushrooms. 22 gold. Now she's got 27 in total.
"That's more than I'd usually pay" Thoronir says, cleverly implying she's getting a good deal for selling a bunch of mushrooms for one gold apiece. How much did he 'usually' pay, then? Half a gold? A quarter? Such a denomination wasn't even possible, Ann thought. All her life, the single goldpiece or "Septim" was as small as it got.
"You've been a great help. I needed this gold, sir."
"Thank you, come again!"
Ann now decides she might find more things for sale. There's dozens of barrels, crates, and sacks in the district. She starts looking (like a homeless lady) for things to sell, wear, and eat. As the afternoon wears on, she sells numerous items: shoes, clogs, shirts, all kinds of unspoiled foods, wheat stalks, all sorts of stuff. She winds up with lots of things. Uriel Septim had at some point devised a sort of "finders/keepers" rule. It was official on the rulebooks: if a citizen found an item located in a public area, that item was okay to take and use, as long as nobody claimed it. As Ann did her looting, nobody raised a fuss.
At some point, she overheard a conversation about the "death of Uriel Septim and his heirs". WHAT? URIEL SEPTIM DIED???
Ann runs up to the lady she overheard...a high elf.
"I'm Mandil. I do training in Security. Just a hobby, of course".
"WHAT ABOUT URIEL SEPTIM? OUR EMPEROR HAS BEEN MURDERED?"
"It pays to know about locks and lockpicks. It's just a hobby of course, but the average citizen feels more secure when he understands his own locks"..
"Are you saying the Emperor has been murdered because he didn't understand his locks? Didn't bother to lock his doors?"
"Be seeing you!" Mandil dismisses.
...Jeez, Ann get a hold of yourself! Maybe you're the one who's being seen as crazy, not everyone else! Calm down and sell your wares.
Ann makes what seems to be an entire cartload of money now at the Copious Coinpurse. She found a Wolf's pelt, a repair hammer, and other higher-gold items. She now has 77 gold. Though she had never been rich, and managed to pull all her savings before she left Kvatch (the 58 gold mentioned above in earlier text), 77 gold just for looking thru a bunch of barrels seemed like a lot of money to her. Was everybody in the Imperial City rich? Apparently so.
"Come back and see me again". Thoronir says.
Ann smiles, pleased to be doing something as mundane as shopping. She loved selling her wares in Kvatch's district. All of them, she'd find and harvest for sale. It feels good to have a local person to sell stuff to.
Earlier, Ann noticed there are a couple magic shops out in the Market, one of them called "Edgar's Discount Spells". Ann decides it might be a good idea to see if she can learn a simple Destruction spell of some sort. Now's the time to start learning! If the City could wind up being attacked by daedra, she'd better have some sort of protection.
(notice I'm ignoring her basic default Fire spell here)
She now meets Edgar Vautrine, proprietor of Edgar's Discount Spells. Although Ann hasn't got enough yet to afford his "Fire Touch" spell, he gives some great advice.
"You want to buy or sell? the city is fine. You want cheap? Go down into the holes and kill some monsters."
I kinda am pretending this next part. I saved an hour, and during that hour, I RP'd it that Samuel is the one who informs Ann that there's a "Sewer Patrol" available for those who want to take the job. Nobody wants the job, however. It's dark, dirty work, and many of Cyrodiil's adventurers (Dyan phor a'Cauz, The Grey Wizard, Lady Saga, Lothran, Buffy the Bowgirl, etc.) had already turned it down. Or perhaps they had simply become too big a talent to get offered such a menial job in the first place. Although Ann is more of a gatherer/seller, she finds herself intrigued by the man's information.
Ann thinks to herself a moment.
Although she's not much of a fighter, she does know how to properly swing a sword. Her talent is not as good as an Arena combatant, perhaps, but she had always been good enough to protect herself out on the open plains of the West Weald. Although Ann didn't stick around Kvatch very long, instead running off to Skingrad after a stop in her home, she's pretty sure her former friends and family are dead. And so maybe it's she who should somehow avenge their deaths. She may not be a fighter, she may not be a guard, but dammit to Oblivion, she's got to try!
She's also going to eventually be in need of money. She raked in 77 gold today, but how long would that last? She can't just stay at the "Abandoned" Shack forever, either. Eventually she'd need to move on. Finally, it made her sad, it made her really sad to admit it, but she would eventually also need to give up on Kvatch, and scourge out some sort of a life here, in this Imperial City.
In the mean time, she keeps looking for more stuff she can sell...but feels just a little nervous about doing so. She's always held her head high, even as a Kvatchian peasant. Looking thru random barrels and sacks was something she did not do when she lived in Kvatch, but right now she's simply desperate.
It would be nice to have a job, Ann thinks. Something "official" to do. What's it like down there in the sewers, anyways? Ann is completely naive about this. Surely there'd be rats down there...maybe a few imps? She'd dealt with rats, wolves, imps, and other such nuisance creatures in the past, and usually carried a sword on her belt if she happened to need to get a little far outside of Kvatch as she gathered flowers and mushrooms in the past.
As she's looking, she here's a conversation that goes something like
"Have you heard a word about the other provinces?"
"I've heard that Vivec has" ...??????.. in Morrowind. The daedra came and got him in his sleep..." Ann missed the central part of the sentence, but the mention of daedra immediately got her attention.
"Ah HA! the daedra! These people DO know, then!" Ann cries to herself. But she's not going to follow up on this clue for the moment. She's having a small amount of fun searching barrels and sacks for goods, and doesn't want to ruin this mood.
Ann keeps searching barrels, sacks and crates, finally finding a bunch of grapes and another apple she could eat before selling her loot. She wants to find somewhere else to go, though. Red Diamond Jewelery? No. The Feed Bag? No. Jensine's "Good as New" Merchandise? Sounds like the place.
"Hello me lady" Ann starts.
"Feel free to browse. It's nice to see a new shopper. I was afraid I'd lost all my business, now that Thoronir has opened shop".
"Thoronir? What about him? I just met him earlier".
"Perhaps you can assist us with a little 'problem' we've been having..."
First off - love the name (Ann Thraxx). Immediately makes one wonder if it is apropos for the character. I guess we'll find out !!
So far Ann seems like quite an interesting character, and we get a bit of insight into the author in this one too, Great Write !!
I thanketh thee. I am working on editing post 2 as we speak, cleaning it up and stuff so it reads more like a proper story. But I'm gonna leave in some of my little side-stories and insights, like the part where I did a quick internet study on clouds. I feel it's important to establish how I kept flicking in and out of roleplay for that particular day, and how it all fits in to the story itself.
When I wrote this story, it was a Sunday and I was sad. I hate Sundays, and so does my girl. I sometimes get really sad on Sundays, because it's the end of the weekend and stuff.
All of that filters into Ann's game in some way, I think.
okay thanks. I'll do more editing tomorrow. I might choose a different color for NPC text, so that it's not so glaring. Maybe choose a subtler shade.
What a fun story! Although your character Gada go Pei takes the cake for names, Miss Thraxx is superbly named!
You clearly have a very different style as you comfortably weave between your thoughts and Ann’s. Fun, actually. I absolutely love what you have done with the in game dialogue: Ann is struggling to sort out these clueless Cyrodiiliacs as Renee has her tongue firmly in cheek.
’As Ann walks back to the Waterfront, she looks up. Cumulus clouds. These are mid-atmosphere, showing up when the weather is fair. There are no cirrus clouds this time, the upper atmosphere is clear. ...Ann is barefoot and walks briskly. Suddenly it's THERE. The terror. The fear! She starts running. Gotta get around people again! What if a gate opened up out here RIGHT NOW?’
This is powerful stuff, and incredibly creative as you leap and dance among subjects but somehow tie them together perfectly. I loved this.
’Ann makes a [censored]load of money now at the Copious Coinpurse.’
Poking fun at censorship is one approach, but I hope you will allow me to suggest an alternative. Being in the land of TES opens a whole world of creative possibilities! For example: ‘Ann sold her goods at the Copious Coinpurse, netting enough gold to fill an ogre’s loincloth.’ Same point, but bypassing censorship and extremely ‘setting-friendly’. Just a thought.
Hee! Appreciate the little nod to Buffy the Bowgirl.
You asked about colors and such. I actually think less is better. By carefully selecting and arranging the right words, the use of color, bolding, underlining and other distractions becomes largely unnecessary.
Your writing is very creative, and your characters clearly fueled by great passion and inspiration. Your ‘technicals’ are in pretty good shape – let us know if you want us to point out objective nits like typos and such.
One suggestion that I hope you will take constructively is to keep an eye on post length. Even if you have material banked up and ready to post, remember it is all new to your readers and they need time to read and savor it. 1000-2000 words is ideal for a forum update. Then allow readers a few days to digest and comment. Although sometimes a longer episode can be a challenge to break up, that is often the best choice. Long posts on a forum simply invite skimming, and what you have to say is far too important and fun for that!
Two questions here I guess. Post length and frequency. Updates over 2000 words invite skimming whether that takes the form of one massive post of several posts put up rapid-fire. Updating more than three times per week will burn your readers out and invite frustration as busy schedules inevitably cause them to fall behind. Bear in mind that most of your readers will be writers. We all have lives, our own stories to write and others to read. I follow nearly a dozen stories for example, and if all my writers posted every day, my head would explode trying to keep up.
Patience, Grasshopper! What you can post and what you should post are two differing things. I could drop my next 17 episodes onto my thread today. Yet I post them based on a schedule that is dictated purely by what I believe is best for my readers - not me as the writer. Over several years of doing this, I have come to the conclusion that one concise update of 1000-2000 words per week is optimal.
don't worry Acadian. I don't even have enough time to post stories as frequently as I'd like. All the stuff in this thread so far was already written up over at Bethsoft. I wanted to just transfer all of it, all at once, and get it over with.
Anyways, enough talk! At some point I'll get on with Ann's story. And I'm looking forward to it.
I agree, and very much apologize if I clumsily sounded discouraging. I'm very much looking forward to seeing you and Ann continue this!
I'm getting more frustrated at the citizens of the IC than Ann is with their constant subject changes. Rude!
YEAAAAAHH!! A story I can read and follow from the beginning!
I love your style of thelling the story, it's almost like a documentary to me, and it's fascinating. My dear Jessika also struggled to get to her point when it came to the citizens of the IC... I'm glad to see she's not alone!
Can't wait for more!
Cool Andrea! much appreciated! I have an aunt named Andrea, btw, she was my mentor for awhile when I was in my mid 30's. I'm 42 now.
I already know what Ann is wanting to do, which was all made apparent to me the other day. I just need to find the time to game with her.
King Coin: That's the way I usually game Oblivion. I either ignore the NPC's and all the random stuff they say, I'll laugh at it, or I'll get involved with it. If I get involved, there tends to be a lot of miscommunications and conversations that go nowhere. I'm able to work all this into my roleplays, somehow.
Ann is back! Poor thing. I love how she continues to think about Kvatch, even when she is desperately trying not to. That is so very realistic.
"Are you saying the Emperor has been murdered because he didn't understand his locks? Didn't bother to lock his doors?"
This had me rolling!
So now she has to decide: the sewer patrol (now that is a crappy job), or become a private investigator and take on Jensine's case? Given the two, I vote for Jensine.
Hello to all, hale, healthy and whole. I am Lady Saga, and today I'd like to further continue the Saga of Ann Thraxx.
Recap: Ann is in the Imperial City. She's a refugee from Kvatch and has been staying with a couple of commoners on the Waterfront District. She's decided to try and look for something to do, but has had no luck at Chestnut Handy Stables. Upon arriving in the Market District, Ann managed to sell dozens of goods for what seems to her to be a lot of gold.
She's also managed to hear about a couple of things she can possibly do to keep herself busy, and not think about what happened at her previous home. One of these is the Unfriendly Competition quest, the other is something I've roleplayed up: a sort of "sewer patrol", which has been created to try to eliminate any sort of riffraff down in the sewers.
What will Ann's choice(s) be?
Heartfire 4, 3E Year 433 11:47 pm
Eight flowers lay in a neat row upon the ground. With deep red bulbs and bright green stems, these eight creations of flora rested here, until our wayward peasant clumped towards them in her deer skin shoes and discovered their location.
It's a pleasant day, the sunshine marvelously warm with a slight breeze in the air. The atmosphere above filled with mostly blue sky. Ann had been walking along at a fast clip on her way towards the south wall of Kvatch, but as she sees these eight flowers, she slows her pace, and finally stops. She stares down at the flowers, which are not standing like flowers usually do, but have obviously been picked and then placed here on the grass in a row.
There's something about these flowers that piques her attention. After a moment, she realizes what it is. She realizes she's never seen flowers like these before, with bulbs such a brilliant red. They're not flaxseed flowers, not columbines, not lilacs or lavender. Their bulbs are full and large, almost completely round. There's something which seems almost....alarming about them and their placement on the ground. Who placed them here? she senses herself thinking. And why?
She bends to pick one up, to try and smell its perfume, only to feel a small amount of pain. YOUCH! she cries out. Selecting more carefully now, Ann realizes the stem of this flower, which is such brilliant green it almost seems painted, has pricked her fingertip. This stem is covered with tiny sticking-devices of some sort which Ann has never seen on any flower she's ever picked before.
"By the Gods! Wait till I show this to Marcus!" thinks she.
Now, she attempts to smell whatever perfume these odd red petals might emit. As she does so, there's suddenly a loud CRACK across the lands. It's a sound that is louder, much louder, than anything she's ever heard before, except maybe thunder. Yet the sky had been clear all day, and no thunder could possibly be nearby. Looking up to the sky now, Ann starts to see it color, to a shade of red, a sort of deep crimson, as if the blood of every Tamriellic man, woman, and child has been painted above the lands...With horror, Ann realizes the flower she's holding is now bending over towards her, almost leering in a way. It seems to possess a certain sort of evil, and Ann now senses this evil, although she can't exactly describe how.
Alarmed, she drops the flower! and rushes to the city gate. AS she does so, a massive gleaming line somehow sizzles its way across the air, electrifying it to a degree, and then...there it is...the GIANT GATE, larger than any portal, dwarfing the actual gates of Kvatch by far....it rises up above the town, and Ann can hardly believe what happens next....
NOOO NO NOOOO!!!! MARA! HELLP!!! MARRRAAAA......
Ann comes SCREAMING to her senses as she falls out of bed and cracks her shoulder upon the hard, ceramic floor, she rolls across the room and then cowers next to something hard and woooden! "NOOOO! MARA PROTECT ME! MARA PROTECT ME! MARA--"
Looking around spastically, she realizes she is safe. There is no flower, she's not in Kvatch, and there is no giant gate nearby. She's in some sort of room. The air is warm but the floor is cold. She shivers for at least a minute and tries to remember how to breathe. After awhile, Miss Thraxx finally relaxes, walks over to her bed, and takes a deep breath.
The place is so silent! It's so silent she can hear her heartbeat punctuating from her chest ...
...hu hu hu hu hu....
....Hard ceramic floor? A wooden desk? An actual bed I can fall out of? Wait, where am I?
It takes Ann a moment to remember. With the small fortune of gold she sussed out earlier, she decided to treat herself to what seemed to her to be a luxury, renting an actual room for 10 gold a night at some sort of "boarding house". It was the cheapest location she could find in this Imperial City. After a couple days spent in the "Abandoned Shack" with Dralas and Hillod, Ann wasn't sure if she was imposing upon them or not. Sure, they seemed nice enough, but it was their place, and there were only two bedrolls available: one for Hillod, the other for Dralas. Maybe she should get her own place, and with all this gold in her pocket, she could stay here safely for several days if need be.
Plus, after all she had been through, the idea of a nice, cozy room with firm stone walls, an ever-burning fire-lamp on its wall, and a solid door seemed like a good one. But now that she starts thinking about it, maybe it's not such a good idea after all.
Earlier, after renting the room, Ann quickly collapsed upon its bed and slept for an unknown period of time. She needed this sort of sleep, badly. But now that she thinks of it, she can't help but feel a bit critical of her own decision. There are no windows in this room, and although it's warm and cozy, what sort of exit strategy could such a place provide? If the "daedra" attacked and swarmed this "boarding house", what exactly were her options for escape?
As Ann ponders all of this carefully, she reaches into her pocket and spills the coins out upon the room's desk. Hold on. There aren't 77 gold here. Nor are there 67! What's going on? Where is all my coin?!
Ann carefully counts out her coins, and comes up with a total of 17. "WHAT? have I been robbed?" she asks the walls.
It takes a moment to remember what happened. After speaking to Jensine and selling her wares, Ann realized she now had enough money to afford Edgar Vautrine's "Fire Touch" spell. So she went back to his shop, and after just one hour, he taught Ann all the basics.
Ann could hardly believe it when after Edgar's lesson, she pointed her right hand towards a wall, concentrated her mind's eye upon a magical symbol, and felt an awesome hotness emiting from her palm!
"By the Gods! she cried....I can DO THIS! I can perform my own Fire Touch! And at will!" her face gleamed with satisfaction.
She then starts casting this spell over and over at the wall, until she can't do it any more. The entire time, Edgar had been standing behind his counter, watching with a curious eye.
"Wait! I can't do it anymore! Why won't it work?"
"Ah. You've run out of magicka!" said the Breton shopkeeper. "Happens to the best of us."
"As you've gained the ability to perform magics, you've now also become aware of one of the inate essences within us all. As you cast your spell over and over, you'll start to lose this unseen pool of magicka. But no worry! Magicka regenerates within the mage natrually, and soon you should be able to cast your Fire Touch again."
'What do I owe thee, sir? Other than coin' Ann asked, feeling sheepish and low again.
"Take care". Edgar dismisses with a wave. Apparently Ann owed him nothing more.
Despite her earlier criticisms about the room's lack of windows and exits, Ann can't help but lie down again, and falls fast asleep. But before she does so, she once again attempted her ability to cause fire from the palm of her hand, only to find it still didn't work. She tried again and again, focusing on the mind-symbol Edgar had shown her.
It didn't work.
I don't know if I can double-post this or not. I want to keep writing, but if I add more text to the post above, it'll get more and more tedious to edit.
Heartfire 5, 3rd Era, Year 433, 12:37 pm
Ann Thraxx wakes with a burning sensation on her head, and stumbles out of bed. It's the bed! she realizes. Such a bed is downright evil with its comfort. She's slept in it far too long, and can almost hear the tongue-lashing her mother (Mara rest her soul) would have given her.
She walks out of her room, into a corridor, and figures out where the door to the downstairs lobby is. As she does so, she clambers down some steps while the proprietor of the Inn suddenly walks over to see his guest. He looks up at her in a manner that seems mildly friendly. As Ann nears him, she can see the name "Luther Broad" upon his rather foppish-looking blue shirt.
"How fares thee, Luther?"
"What do you want?"
"My name is Ann Thraxx. I'm a citizen from Kvatch, and am new here to the Imperial City. I'd like to know if there's anything you can tell me about your city, sir." Ann decides she's not going to ask Luther if he knows what happened in Kvatch yet. She had already been down this path far too often in these last few days.
"I don't trust you enough to talk about that" he says coldly, his face now turning stonish.
Ann is stunned. What did I do to deserve that treatment? she asks, totally oblivious to the fact that SHE'S the customer, and the customer is "always right". I'm only asking about the Imperial City, what's the harm in that?"
She looks at Luther a moment, then stares at the floor, her previous self-esteem failing. Feeling suddenly overwhelmed with several emotions at once, Ann makes eye contact with the man, then tells him she'll be off.
"Farewell", he says, almost gladly.
She walks to the exit, and then turns to Luther, looking at him from across the room.
When she came here to Luther Broad's Boarding House the previous evening, Ann was so exhausted she could barely keep her eyes open. She didn't really get a good look at her innkeeper until now. As she gazes upon him, she realizes he's carrying a giant 2-handed weapon of some sort on his back! Now that's a way to protect your establishment. As she walks outside to a rather foggy day, she tries to imagine Luther's place getting attacked.
Well, if the usual person tried anything funny in there, a thief or a ruffian that is, Luther would no doubt be able to handle it. But what if one of those daedra showed up? What then? Try as she might, Ann couldn't imagine Luther being able to protect himself or his guests from those beasts. And that was not good. It was yet another reason why she really couldn't stay there for long.
She walks down the causeway, and remembers to try her Fire Touch spell again. She waits till noone is around, and then focuses her mind. She waves her hand (palm outwards) but nothing happens. No luck. She must be doing something wrong. So that does it. First order of the day will be to get to Edgar Vautrine's Discount Spells and figure things out.
"A lot of mages swear by Rindir's Staffs." said a Breton man, unseen to Ann.
"Rindir always keeps a perfect selection of staves at hand. It's almost as if he knows my skill level exactly". says another man.
"Aahhhhh" said the first man, apparently yawning.
Ann now walks from this district (which she later learns is the Elven District) to the Markets.
"...disgusting creatures I hope to never see another" says a Breton woman.
"Awful creatures, but I hear their meat is rather tasty..."
Hearing this, Ann at first worries they're discussing daedra, then relaxes when she realizes they're merely talking about mudcrabs. So that's good. If the citizens of the Imperial City are flippantly discussing mudcrabs just as they always do, that must mean that at least everything out here is still safe. No daedra had attacked any of the City's gates. Ann was never so happy to hear a "mudcrab conversation" in her life, she realized.
She walks into the Discount Spells shop, to speak to her first spell-mentor.
"You don't want the very best. You want cheap! And I got cheap!" he says, making his usual pitch.
Over the course of another hour, she and Edgar went over the learnings of the spell, to see what Ann had possibly been missing. It was only after several hours that the problem was finally figured. Apparently, it was Ann Thraxx's Starsign.
Born under the sign of The Atronach, Ann was one of Cyrodiil's rare peoples who couldn't regenerate their own magicka. But never fear, there was a solution to this. As long as Ann kept a bottle of magicka, this wouldn't be a problem. She could merely take a quaff of this mixture, and regain her magicka, or some of it. It was an inconvenience, that's all.
Ann could also gather something up which she had previously picked lots of: flax seed. Flax grew all over the West Weald where she had previously lived. As long as she kept lots of flax in her pouch, she would be fine. Steel entonoma mushrooms were also good at regenerating magicka. No wonder the Mage's Guild in Kvatch always bought up all the flax and steel mushrooms Ann could possibly carry in.
Feeling better, Ann decides she's now going to speak to Thoronir, the wood elf from that goods store she met the previous day.
Heartfire 5, 3rd Era, Year 433, 5:35 pm
"Welcome back!" says Thoronir to Ann. He looks at Ann mistrustfully for some reason.
Ann searches her memory (which had of course had become over-taxed these last few days) and realizes she's already spoken to Thoronir the previous day. Matter of fact, when Ann left Jensine's shop, she had come directly over to Thoronir's shop to ask him some questions about his "merchandise". Ann was having a little trouble remembering what exactly happened, but she does remember that the conversation had not gone well.
But while she's here, Ann decides to make small talk anyways. Maybe she can make amends somehow.
"What's been going on lately. Hear anything new?" she asks, suddenly almost afraid what the answer might be.
"Vinivial Melicaya takes all the merchant complaints in the city", he says, starting to glare at her again. It's as if he's saying "got a complaint against me and my prices? Take it up with "Vinivial".
"Listen Thornir. I didn't mean any harm with all my questions yesterday, it's just that some of the Market's shopkeepers are concerned".
"What?" he asks, raising his brow slightly in mock-defence.
"Oh come now....you really need to drop this attitude! Drop it at once!" she says this, finally feeling a small bit of real confidence. This merchant really needed to come off it, she thinks.
"Oh please..." Thoronir says, rolling his eyes.
"Did your mother not teach you at least the basics of friendliness? Of taking care of your customers in a satisfactory manner?"
"You're full of it!"
Well that didn't work. Ann thought for a moment. This conversation was not going as she would have liked. Thoronir was looking so angry at Ann now, his little wood elf face all scrunched up. She decided maybe a new direction was needed.
"You know, if you like, we can make a little pact. I know these merchants are concerned about your prices, but if I promise to keep from further investigation, perhaps you can keep your prices, and I can keep an honest shopkeeper on my side", Ann promises, telling a little white lie in the process
Now let's keep this our little secret, then. And keep your ruddy wood elf cheeks in good color with a bit of mead, what do ya say?"
"Pleease, I'm embarassed, but thank you!"
"That works for me!" says Thornir as Ann breaks conversation with him.
Ann now leaves the Copious Coinpurse. As she walks outside, the sky is a deep rosey color, and the citizens are out in the Market streets, chattering away. She has no intention of leaving this issue with Thoronir be, that's one thing she promises herself. But could they really want me to investigate this? A lowly peasant? Why would they want me to look into these affairs? Is it because I'm basically an outsider?
Feeling self-conscious all a sudden, she decides it's best if she discusses this with Jensine, the lady who assigned this task in the first place.
Brilliant, love all the conversations from the game cropping up...Loved the speechcraft ones...Made me laugh that did... ...
Loving the story, the different coloured speech text, everything...
Keep it up...
Chapter V: I absoloutly loved the dream sequence at the beggining and learning a little something about what happened to Kvatch from the eyes of the victim. It was very well written. Also, I loved your description of how Ann was taught her spell. Simple, yet brilliant!
Chapter VI: Ann must have been so confused after Luther's attitude! Jessika had a similar encounter with him and threatened to remove her custom unless she recieves an apology. Luther had nothing nice to say and she hasn't returned since.
Chapter VII: Hehe I loved Ann's little argument with Thoronir. I also love that a simple offering of drink was enough to accept her deal
Can't wait for more!!
Poor Ann is still suffering from reminders of the horrors inflicted upon Kvatch. No wonder she’s paranoid about it happening again to wherever she is.
I enjoyed Ann's discovery of spellcasting. Then what a wonderfully natural way to introduce that she is an Atronach! Flax and steel bluies indeed!
Yup, nothing worse than being glared at by a scrunched up little wood elf’s face!
I think you can double-post in your story thread as much as you like.
I like the mudcrab test. If mudcrabs are still considered awful, then things must be all right.
I thank you all. Hee hee, I feel like I'm one of those poets or story-tellers I've seen at a nearby coffee shop. There's never more than 10 or 12 people to listen, if that. It's a small, cozy place, well-painted and "kitchy" <however you spell it. If I were to tell this story over at Bethsoft, it would be more like talking at a sports bar!
Andrea: Really? Jessika also got the brush-off from Luther? It's funny, I don't remember him being so rude when my earlier characters have run into him. Glad it's not just Ann who's getting the brunt of his annoyances.
Acadian: coming from you, that means so much! Master storyteller, thou art. And I am your young grasshoppa. Or one of your young grasshoppas.
McB: hearty thanks to you too. *clink*
The Imperial City. Where innkeepers walk around with two-handed claymores. People talk about mudcrabs. Anne is the rare one indeed with her being born under the "Atronach" sign. And the last chapter with the conversation between Anne and Thornir was priceless. And very clever, considering those lines(from Thornir) are in Oblivion!
Haha! This is pretty cool. I like it.
Heartfire 5, ...11:16 am
It's getting late, and Ann is getting sleepy.
As the night wore on and Ann's mind went thru a swirl of emotions, conversation around her went through ups and downs, back and forths. The place filled up with lots of citizens, yet Ann was thankful none of them bothered to join her at her table off in the corner.
So that was it. Uriel Septim is dead. By the hand of some lowly "assassin". It simply can't be true, but it is, Ann realizes.
Eventually, she finally forces herself to finish up her bread & cheese. She spent four precious gold on it, after all. Again, she can almost hear her mother's scolding, as her food goes cold.
But she cannot formulate a plan, so far as the Thoronir business goes. She tries, but can't imagine how she's going to tackle this one, putting her nose in the middle of other people's business was not something she was usually apt to do. On the other hand, getting involved might be just the thing to do. After all, the petty concerns of these merchants might just take her mind off of what had really been troubling her these last few days.
As she finally gets up to leave, she notices the Feed Bag is empty. Only Dralas is in attendance. She goes outside without saying goodbye.
Heartfire 6....12:35 am
Ann walks outside to a dark night, and shivers. Looking up, she takes a gaze at White Gold Tower, once again.
Well. One thing's for sure: this whole "Thoronir" business is going to have to wait. She's simply too wiped out after reading about the Emperor's murder over and over, trying not to get upset. Despite her better judgement, she decides it's probably best if she gets back to her "evil" bed at Luther Broad's. She could use another night of pampered-sleep, and hopefully no nightmares would return.
As she starts walking back to the Elven Gardens District, an Imperial Guard suddenly cuts in front of her, walking along in his heavy armor suit
..CLANK CLANK CLANK CLANK CLANK...
Ann starts to walk behind him, subconsciously feeling just a little bit safer while doing so. As the guard nears one end of the Market District (the end where Edgar Vaurtrine's shop is), he suddenly comes to a stop, and gazes right. There's a blonde high elf woman walking amongst the barrels there. She looks to be wearing a leather armor top with a regular cloth skirt. The way the guard just stopped like this, it almost seems as if a confrontation is about to take place.
The elf walks towards the guard now.
"How are you?" she asks pleasantly.
"First, the Emperor's murder, now the prophet in Anvil ranting about the end of the world! It's a discrace". He says. Wow. All the elf asked was "how are you"? Not "what do you think about the current affairs of Cyrodiil?".
"Ohhh noo!!!", says the elf. Again, she's got that sort of mock-concern in her voice, as if she's merely acting like she's shocked. It's that "chicness" Ann noticed before in The Feed Bag.
"Without question", says the guard, almost smugly.
Ann has had enough.
As she continues to walk towards the Elven Gardens District, the elf and guard keep discussing concerns, without really meaning what they say, it seems.
I suggest you write everything in Word, Wordpad, or some word processing application first. Then copy and paste it here. Most of us do. Not only does it save you from catastrophes, but it also makes it much easier to proofread. Not to mention you do not have to write the entire thing in one sitting.
Poor Ann, still trying to come to grips with the horrors of Kvatch, only to be afflicted by the chicness of the Imperial City. Not to mention being hired to shadow a contemptuous Bosmer. Hopefully her new line of work as a private eye will give her some more self-confidence, and help her begin to overcome the past.
Thanks for the suggestions, SubRosa, and wait'll you see what happens next. I already wrote up the next chapter, but like I said it got erased. It'll be a good one, though...I remember exactly the sequence of events.
I'm wiped out, though. I wanna write all night but.... Gotta get my kid into bed (she's watching American Idol. One of my roomies tapes it) and get myself to bed. Next chapter is coming soon...
A short chapter, but still very good. There is alot said about Ann here and her thought about Kvatch. I thought that her walking behind the Imperial was understandable. If it helped her feel safe after what she's already been through, every little helps.
‘The story was in print, and therefore had to be true.’
I love this! It tickles the funny bone with irony while simultaneously emphasizing our heroine’s delightful naiveté.
Poor Ann’s flashbacks to that night at Kvatch weave naturally and persistently through all her thoughts.
You do a great job with the game’s dialogue and it was fun to hear Ann’s assessment: Chicness. Ahah, a chic story *groan*.
I think I managed to attempt reading this every time you were in the middle of an edit on page 1, and I got very confused when the colors kept changing. But now they've stabilized, I think it's working nicely, and I can follow who's saying what.
I notice you've started to move the Author notes out of the main text, and I think it works better that way. If only because it avoids the need for another color, italics or whatever.
I really like your idea of drawing attention to the limitations of the game and its sometime absurd dialog, by having Ann react to it, instead of doing so yourself. Your virtual mods are working well too, especially the name tags!
Acadian: Exactly. Poor naive Ann Thraxx. She's so naive and scared it's touching to me.
ghastley: I apologize about that. I've been in the habit of just posting text straight as I'm playing, and then editing stuff later. I hadn't considered SubRosa's idea before she said it! Guess I get over-eager sometimes.
The first couple posts (posts 1 and 2) may seem confusing, but I've left them the way they are because when I was originally gaming with Ann those first couple times, I kept slipping in and out of roleplay. During that in-and-out process, Ann somehow got
created revealed. I think it's pretty cool that I had no idea who Ann was until I started gaming with her.
THE NEXT CHAPTERS are coming soon. They're gonna be good. Mmmm. this story is gonna keep getting better and better, I can promise that!
Heartfire 6, 3rd Era, Year 433, 1:18 am
"Look! There she is! That's the woman I seen yesterday as we first came to the Markets!"
"Poor thing. It must be so hard to make a living" says a second speaker
Are you having problems with your computer, Lady Saga?
Loving it so far, particularly the conversations NPCs have, whether with Ann or amongst themselves. I hope she stops having nightmares about Kvatch soon. Has she thought any more about where she's going to live permanently? It can get really expensive to keep spending the night at inns.
I really feel for Ann.
It also appears that your chaper IX didn't post properly.
I'm going to chime in here, too. I love that you're pulling the dialog straight out of the game, and showing us the warts along with the glory! Good stuff!
Thank you, thank you. Sorry about the last bit. I thought I'd have some time to write on that particular day. Alas, that was not to be the case. Happens sometimes. Anyways, let's get on with it today.
Heartfire 6, 3rd Era, Year 433, 1:18 am
"Look! There she is again! It is that home-less lady I saw earlier yesterday afternoon!"
The dark-haired one was now pointing towards a figure who looked to be combing through a barrel, apparently looking for items of interest.
"She prob'bly went through every barrel, crate, and sack as she looted! I'm betting there is not a single item or food-stuff in the public area of the Markets! She prob'bly sold them all, and ate the rest. No shame has she--"
"Poor thing. We should pool together our coins, may-hap. We certainly have plenty to help", says the red-haired one.
The dark-haired one now laughs cautiously, as if she has a certain respect for her partner, but can't resist a bit of the contrary. "Are ...you ...joking? She's able-bodied! Let her rise from her own boot-straps, like us."
The red-haired one turns to the dark-haired one, giving her a look that could freeze a fire elemental in its tracks.
"I am going to pretend now, that I did not hear you say that. We are strong. We have coin. It is our very duty to help'th if we can. And we can".
The dark-haired one now flips her hair upwards, rolling her eyes, obviously not in agreement with the red-haired one.
The two had recently escaped from the Sewers below the city. Well, not just 'escaped', they had also been freed from their shared prison cell, managed to scour their way through a long network of maze-like rooms, halls, and tunnels, and finally witnessed a series of events which would change both of their lives forever. Before all of this, both had met recently in the Imperial City, looking for adventure-type work, but instead being mistaken for a couple of outlaw ruffians. It was a mistake which had happened mostly because of their dress. Both had been wearing rough clothes as they entered the Imperial City, yet both also somehow had obvious coin in their pockets. Being outsiders, it was assumed this coin was stolen, and within no time, it was "time for the lock-up, then".
Forced to share a cell with just one bedroll, the red-haired one and the dark-haired one got to know each other easily, as a sarcastic dark elf berated them from across the hall in a seperate cell. Turns out, these two shared a few things in common. Because of this, they had made plans to further their careers together, once this whole "mistaken identity" thing was taken care of. Both were aspiring melee-types who favored 'swords & boards', both had a desire to seek out the Fighter's Guild (for both had the "stones for it"), and both were interested in doing good deeds.
...But now that these two were out of their cell and out of their prison sentences, it was becoming more and more obvious that they did, in fact, have some ideals which clashed. The dark-haired one, for instance, made it quickly known that she put herself first, and would be furthering her career mostly for her own satisfaction. It was apparent in the way she spoke and the way she carried herself. "Houses". "Gold". "Fame". "Fortune". Those were four words the dark-haired one used constantly as she spoke with the red-haired one.
The red-haired one, on the other hand, desired to do things for the better good of the peoples of Cyrodiil. She would not be putting herself first, in other words. Also, the red-haired one was a devout follower of The Nines, whereas the dark-haired one admitted she had never even prayed at a chapel altar. Finally, the dark-haired one showed an immediate interest in seeing the Arena after escaping the sewers ("We can bet! We can make money! Once we have upgraded our gear, we can even participate!"). The red-haired one scoffed at this. "Why? I don't need to prove me-self to the world for fame! For such triviality! Such a waste of talents!"
Both were supposed to be going off towards Chorrol to deliver a heavy, red Amulet which the Emperor himself (now deceased) had given them, and both still planned to do so, but the red-haired one was beginning to think that was (perhaps) where their travels together should possibly end.
After leaving the sewers, selling various wares which they had found down there, both needed a break before heading off to Chorrol. Hence, they were now spending a few days in the Imperial City before setting off.
"Come on, giveth me some coin. Pony up!" bullies the red-haired one rather angrily, nudging the dark-haired one with her elbow.
"I am not. She prob'ly found plenty as she looted, any-ways".
"It is our duty to assist! Do you not understand this? Do you not see? We are stronger than she. We can help. We must do so", the red-haired one explains, hoping to talk some sense to the dark-haired one. "She will prob'bly only need'th a single coin, any-ways".
"Oh, and let me guess. If we give her more than a single coin, she will be willing to tell us the latest rumors about town", the dark-haired one barks. "I will pass, thank you. I do not need to indulge myself. We do not owe the peoples of this Imperial City as such. Why, they do not even have a Fighter's Guild hall here! What 'rumor', then, could she possibly dispel that we do not already know?"
With this, the red-haired one goes now ignores the dark-haired one, and calls to the lady-figure as she closes up a final barrel.
"You! You there! Come hither!"
But the homeless lady apparently does not hear, and now steps off into a door.
"There. See. She is off to the Boarding House, then. Are you satisfied? She prob'ly has plenty of coin for a night's rest. Now come on!" orders the dark-haired one "Come, let us get some rest. What say you?"
"Well. Okay", says the red-haired one, with enough reluctance to show she meant it. "You win. THIS time".
"Merchant's Inn again? Or would you prefer we stay somewhere more up-scale? I hear the Tiber Septim Hotel in the Talos District has a nice suite with plenty of food", the dark-haired one tempts with a wink.
"Merchant's Inn. It is less of an expense".
"Fine. Let us be gone, then".
As the two now leave the Elven Gardens for the Markets, Ann walks into Luther Broad's, hoping the man will accept her gold for another night.
YAAAAY!!! More Ann. I am happy
What an interesting chapter you have here! the introduction of Red and Black certainly peaked my interest, I almost felt like i was reading a different story until Ann arrived at the end.
It'll be interesting to see whether these two characters become allies of foes to our dear Ann, or whether they even meet her at all!
I also love the little twist you put on tutorial dungeon with having both Red and Black escape from the same cell. It is very interesting!
Can't wait for more!
P.S A little off topic, but the next Jess of Valor will be up VERY soon ;P
Keep up the good work!!
Heh heh...those who know me from Bethsoft over these past years may already know who red & black are. But I'm saving the revealing of their identities for later chapters.
I enjoyed the flow and dialogue of this chapter, and as much as I like it in theory - the less play with the fonts does seem to aid immersion. Great Write !!
A fun episode raising loads of questions.
After hearing the differing aspirations of Red and Black, followed by a description of their amulet task, I was fearful that Black was going to sell the gaudy thing.
“If we give her more than a single coin, she will be willing to tell us the latest rumors about town."
Either that or ‘gittin’ meself a new pair o' shoes’.
So the girls decide on Merchants’ Inn. I agree. Much cheaper than the
Tiger Scrotum Tiber Septim. I think Ann is wise to opt for Luther Broad’s.
Tiber Scrotum? *chuckles*
Heartfire 6, 3rd Era, Year 433, 2:31 am
"What was that? Did I hear somebody call my name?"
Ann steps back out of Luther Broad's Boarding House to have a look upon the causeway. She looks right and she looks left, but cannot see anybody.
"I know I heard somebody call my name. Hello?" she calls out, but nobody answers.
Never mind. Ann is very tired. She can barely comprehend why somebody would call after her, but she knows what she heard.
She gets back into Luther Broad's now, eager to fall right back into the same bed she slept in the night (and day) before.
"Good evening" says a pleasant Redguard. He's dressed in cheap attire, just like Ann, and this immediately pleases her. Not everybody in the city was a chic, stuck-up snob. Apparently the Imperial City housed all types; Cyrodiil's melting-pot society at its finest. She had certainly seen plenty of evidence for this during the last few days.
She rents the room, and falls quickly to sleep.
Turdas, 9:57 am, Heartfire 6, 3rd Era, Year 433
Ann wakes with a start! She's just had another nightmare of sorts, but this one was not as severe. As she gets up quickly and jumps out of bed .... that evil bed, Ann realizes that at least she's handled this one with more civility. She didn't roll across the floor and cry out for Mara's help as she did the day before.
She was dreaming she was in some sort of theatre-house. In the dream, she felt an assumption that she had been here before; the place seemed familiar. But she was alone. Marcus was not there, nor were any of her friends or family.
She looked down at her clothes, and was surprised to see she's not wearing her usual peasant's garb, instead she had on some really finely-tailored things! A blue & gold dress, as a matter of fact. Although she couldn't see herself, Ann touched her hair, and realized it had been patiently coifed, and her face felt as though it had foundation applied.
In other words, she had dressed for some sort of occasion, dressed more finely than she'd ever dressed before!
She had a seat. Soon the show began. The curtain was drawn back, revealing a light that seemed extremely harsh, Ann immediately thought.
First, the dark elf who ran the Feed Bag came on stage. Under the harsh light, he squinted his eyes, and fumbled with his lines, got confused about what he was supposed to say. From behind her, Ann heard somebody say BOO!, but when she looked back there, she could see nobody.
She investigated further, and realized that she was the only one in the theatre-house.
Soon, a cat-person came onstage.
"We're all talking about the Emperor's murderrrrr! We have no...no ahh.....no EMPEROR!, and no heirs! Um...that has never before happened." he said this as though he had possibly studied his lines in between sips of mead and ale, and still did not have them down, yet.
I just don't think about it," says the Feed Bag dark elf. Soon, the Elder Council will take care of....ahhh...take care of..."
"...things, you ninny!!! Things!!" says an unknown voice.
"Ahh yes. Things! The Elder Council will take care of those things, later or sooner".
As Ann witnessed all of this, she thought this is possibly the worst sort of production she had ever seen. Had she spent actual coin, and had her hair and face prettied up for this? But it wasn't over yet.
At some point, as the two actors stumbled further, an Imperial Guard strolled casually onstage. Suddenly, all eyes were upon him, as if he had some sort of answer to whatever it was they were concerned with.
As he made a rather grand gesture towards the crowd (Ann), he offered this advice:
"If you've got to travel, by the Eight Divines...."
"NINE!!! NINE DIVINES!!! THERE ARE NINE DIVINES!! Not EIGHT!!" this was the off-stage voice again, now hysterical with rage. "Oh...I'm RUINED!"
Such nonsense! Ann couldn't take anymore. She couldn't take this simple-minded madness. As she bolted up out of her seat, she couldn't help but blurt out..
"What is it? What is it you all are really trying to say? Just say it, and be done with it."
All eyes looked to her in befuddlement.
But before they could answer, suddenly there was a loud BOOM across the theatre-house! The entire place rocked and swayed.... It's one of those sounds that was so loud, it was not only heard, it was also felt.
Ann's insides constricted. She looked to the folks on the stage, they all looked to one another, as if they had no idea what to do, either.
"So, is this real?" asked the dark elf. "Are we really under attack?" He seemed to be asking Ann this question. As though now it was she who had the answer.
It was the first human reaction Ann had received, outside of Kvatch. She realized this at once.
Outside the theatre, shouts now started to erupt, folks apparently running this way and that in total confusion. Despite all of this, Ann heard a tinkling noise. She looked onstage, where the noise was coming from. She has spied the Imperial Guard's crotch plate. He had just soiled himself, urine dripping freely from cracks in his lower armors.
Ann decided she'd be better off if she also rushed outside. Even though this is just a dream, she knows what it is, what has just happened out there. There's no way she's staying in here, then.
But before she runs off to whatever safety could be afforded, she realized had stepped on something. She looked to her feet, only to see flowers. With bright red bulbs and vibrant green stems. Flowers like she had never seen before.
Eight flowers, which despite her trampling, still lay in a neat, orderly row.
Heartfire 6, 3rd Era, Year 433, 12:36 pm
As her dream faded, this time she did not scream or roll across the floor. But Miss Thraxx still reacted.
She sits now upon her bed, her face a rivery mess. Crying tears and sniffling nose.
"What has become? Oh Mara...what has become?"
Just a month ago, she had been living a normal life. Waking up whenever she felt like it, chatting with the stable-hands or a Kvatch guardsman. She picked flowers, she had a life of complete temperance. Soaking in sun and playing in the rain. What had become of all this?
She spends a few moments in contemplation. One thing about this room she's rented from Luther Broad: it is really quiet in here. It's even quieter than the Kvatch's Chapel. For this reason, it's easy to think.
And think she does.
After some time passes, Ann considers her options.
1). She could go back to the Waterfront. Nice folk down there, not quite at snooty.
2). She could suss out the "sewer patrol" business Edgar Vautrine had described. But first, she would need a suitable sword. And lots and lots of flaxseed or magicka potions, to counteract her Atronach Starsign deficiency. At present, she has just 18 gold. Nowhere near enough to afford any of this. She did have sword stashed away back at Kvatch, but it (no doubt) had either been taken or ruined by now.
3). She could consider the business with Thoronir, although truthfully, she has no idea where she should begin. Shadow him. Follow him around. That's what the lady (Jensine? Yes, her name is Jensine) had suggested.
4). Or, she could do something which she already knows how to do: identify and pick flowers and mushrooms.
Ann chooses number four.
She leaves her room and walks downstairs. As she does so, she's not surprised to see Luther staring up at her, as if he's just waiting for a chance to finally use the giant hammer (or whatever it is) on his back. What a fetcher.
Ann pays him no mind, and walks outside to a stormy day.
"...If you've got to travel, by the Nine Divines, stay on the road. The wilderness just isn't safe anymore. We've had sightings, you see. The Daedra."
At this, Ann reacts with a start. Isn't that what the guard in her dream had also said? No. That guard had confused his words. He had said Eight Divines. Eight. Not Nine. But then the man off-stage had corrected the the terrible actor with the correct number of Divines.
"Is there a better book-seller in the city than Phintias?" the guard now rambles onto another topic.
"Phintias has a fine selection of books! He's also got some rare books, as well." says a Breton man.
Ann hears this, and cannot comprehend how a man (an IMPERIAL GUARD) can just go from talking about Daedra, to talking about some stupid bookstore.
"What has become of Cyrodiil? What has become, in-deed?" Ann says under her breath.
"I suppose I have a moment. What is it?" the Breton asks Ann, apparently hearing her comment. His name is Kastus Sintav.
"What is it citizen?" asks the guard, barely giving enough time for Ann to answer the Breton's greeting.
"You! You spoke of Daedra just now!, Ann says to the guard. "Tell me what you know?"
"There's evil afloat, and no idle time for chatter. What is it?" says the guard. Ann can already sense he's not interested in answering her question.
"The Daedra! What sayest thou about Daedra? Tell me! My name Ann Thraxx. I was present in Kvatch when thas't city was attacked! What do you know?" she can't help her emotions. Try as she might, she simply cannot keep them in check.
"If you've got to travel, by the Nine Divines, stay on the road. The wilderness just isn't safe, the guard repeats.
"Oh". Ann says, backing away from the guard.
She doesn't know what she had hoped she would have wanted him to say. What could she have hoped for? That he would tell her something new? That another city had been attacked? What would the point be? How long did they all have here in their safe Imperial City before they too were suddenly attacked without warning?
"Well, I already knew about traveling upon the roads, sir. I would not never in a thousand eons travel through wood-lands or praries, 'specially not by me-self. But I thank thee."
"Long live the Empire!" the guard says with pride.
The Empire..bah! Just how long would "the Empire" live? Ann realizes this is the true question. Indeed.
Heartfire 6, 3rd Era, Year 433, 2:51 pm
After raiding a few more crates and barrels in the Elven Gardens District, Ann found a couple nicely-folded cloths, and another repair hammer. Who leaves all this stuff behind? she thought.
She sold her items to Thoronir, who had said "Good to see you", but his face told a different story. She could have gone into see Jensine; but the problem is Jensine would no doubt ask Ann if she had addressed the "Thoronir situation" yet? Ann had felt a momentary dread about having to report back a negative, here.
"Be-sides. Why cannot Jensine just asketh one of the guards for assistance?"
The idea seems completely plausible. Why can't the guards take care of this? But since Ann has been given the task (and since she's got a streak of honor in her blood) she simply feels the onus is hers. She's the one who must solve this. Somehow.
She walks outside the Market District door. The rain had stopped, but now it picks up again. As Ann walks to her left, she notices the hill.
Cyodiil has some mighty steep hillsides, and this one is no exception. As she looks down the hill, she sees absolutely no ingredients or flowers or mushrooms she can pick. But there's gotta be something around her somewhere. Right?
Ann goes walking around the perimeter of the Imperial City. But the hillside is way too steep. As she walks, she stays up near the wall. The rain falls steadily. Ann climbs over bolders steadily, and tries not to slip upon the wet grasses.
"Oh...this is pointless!" she scoffs. There is absolutly nothing to gain here. No flaxseed. No cloud funnel mushrooms. No peonies or columbines. Ann misses Kvatch at that moment. She's so homesick as she walks (crying yet again), she doesn't realize it when...
"Psst..you. Yeah you! C'mere! I've got what you need!"
It's a figure wearing a black hood. Ann immediately mistrusts him. Why is he standing out here all by himself?
She steels herself for a fight, but the man does not raise his blade.
"They call me Shady Sam. You need something...special? Check out my wares! You will not find any of this stuff at your local general store, that's for damn sure". he says.
He's got something 'special', alright. Mostly poisons. And lockpicks. And skooma.
Skooma. It's something Ann had had the pleasure of trying just a few times in her life. The feeling was incredible, but lasted just a short time before it was all over. And as it left the body, Ann could remember feeling as if the world had come to an end.
"Um...mayhap not, sir Sam. I have not the coin anyways".
All of his 'special' stuff is way too pricey for Ann to afford, she notices, even if she tried to bargain for it. As Ann starts to walk away, and Shady Sam closes his 'special' black case, he says..
"Come see me any time. I'm here day and night".
Ann says nothing. Skooma may be quite the drug, but it is also illegal. Ann thinks of reporting Sam, but then changes her mind immediately. What would the point be? If they were barely able to address the current situation of Cyrodiil, its roads and daedra attacks, what would the point be in reporting a skooma-seller?
"City guards prob'ly will not heed him any mind, any-ways".
Ann leaves him now, feeling dejected. She's not finding anything to sell. Not out here. The sky gets dark, and the rain keeps falling.
But just moments later, she comes upon a group of horses. It's Chestnut Handy Stables! She feels better at once just seeing them all, and goes to pet a fine bay horse. And this time, the stable-hand (Restita) does not come rushing over; she merely stays under cover holding a torch, probably due to the rain.
Ann walks over to Restita to have a chat, but as she does so, she realizes it's not Restita. It's that mean Imperial: Brielus Gawey.
"Oh. How fares thee, sir?" she asks, trying to sound cheerful despite the rain.
"I was wondering ...umm....where's your mate? Restita?" she asks this because she has no idea what to say to the man. She'd rather not speak to him at all, but of course, it's too late for that now, isn't it?
Ann is not surprised when Brielus merely tells her the Fighter's Guild "is recruiting again". As he speaks his diatribe, Ann holds her temper in check. There is no Fighter's Guild in the Imperial City, so why is everyone dispensing this lame advice?
.... Brielus also then mentions something about "orcs and horses" again.
Orcs and horses. What of this?
It's rainy. It is dark. It is just like the day Ann Thraxx first stepped foot off that carriage to make her way to the Waterfront. As she tries the door to Chestnut Handy Stables, she finds it is unlocked.
She steps inside to get out of the rain, and maybe have a chat with whoever runs the place.
So Ann is off to do what she knows best. Probably a good start. Besides, she might find some flax.
No. That guard had confused his words. He had said Eight Divines. Eight. Not Nine. But then the man off-stage had corrected the the terrible actor with the correct number of Divines.
I have heard that goof in is in the game, but I have never heard it.
Poor Ann. Being stuck in a world where the only people to talk to are NPCs. That is a fate worse than death I think!
"I was wondering ...umm....where's your mate? Restita?"
Maybe one of the horses ate her?
Red and Black=Thing 1 and Thing II? Peculiarly awesome!
"Skooma may be quite the drug, but it is also illegal. Ann thinks of reporting Sam, but then changes her mind immediately."
Snitch! Just kidding. Sam is a good guy, cut him some slack.
The Empire..bah! Just how long would "the Empire" live?
Not long, apparently. Until the Fourth Era.
I must confess, I totally dig the story going on! Though I admit that the font is a tad bit distracting, no offense, of course. The flow and pace of the story is fine, better than mine at times. You have talent for this, Ms. Saga.
I appreciate your honesty, DE, and yea, I know it's distracting. I'll change it when I have some free time. I just like being different, I guess. We all grew up with black ink on white paper, in pretty much every book we read. I like mixing this up. But I know what you mean.
Anyways, thanks. It's really hard writing stories like this. I get a cramp every time I come here, to be honest. But I pretty much have to keep writing Ann's tale; it's going to be too good to just blow off.
I loved these latest updates!
I hardly have any time at the moment to read or even write, but when it comes to Ann I will make time haha
I loved the way you poke fun at the sillyness of NPC conversations, especially your comment about the guards change of subject. But the way you write makes it seem acceptanle that the conversations make no sense. LOL
I loved the whole dream sequence, and again I loved your subtle comments on how static NPC conversations are. I don't know whether that was intentional, but I loved it.
SHADY SAM!! WOOP! He is so shady with his shadyness. Gotta hand it to him though, he is a dedicated little man with him being there all day and all night! Jessika can barely stand in one place for five minutes!!
and also dark.
Ann Thraxx awakes to darkness.
The darkness. It is dark in here ... and also far away. It feels actually good in a way. Quiet. And therefore peaceful. As she rises up off her bedroll, Ann thinks about escape. To be here .... to escape. She has [i]escaped.
Even though I am in this cool, dark, stoney room....I have escaped....
This was one of Ann's last thoughts, actually, before she completely lost her sanity. ...that this place, as dreadful as it is, is also a blessing in disguise. It is a blessing in disguise ... just being here. Sitting here. Where nobody can bother her. Where the world outside seems to not even exist.
...she could let her mind roam now. faraway if she desired. and so she did. let her mind escape. let it go to places she had only seen before in dreams. it's so easy here...[/i]
It seemed as if she had been here a very long time. It seemed so. And could be. But it was hard to tell. The day and the sunlight? It seemed a long time since Ann had seen either day or sunlight. Therefore it would be impossible to gauge how long she had been here .
She tries to visualize the sun. A hanging orb of fire, high up in the sky. She tries to see it, and has trouble remembering for awhile. But this is okay. Where she is, there is apparently lots of time to pass away.
She sits in semi-darkness. And lets her mind roam.
Ann sits in a darkened room. Watching a spider. She watches it dangle downwards from an invisible thread. Ann knows the thread is there, even though it cannot be seen.
At some point, the spider stops dead in mid-air. And now climbs up the invisible strand of thread to some unforseen point, where it now starts walking to upwards and to the left.
As Ann watches the spider, she wonders if it is aware of her presence. After building its web (she watched it for a long time) the spider then stopped, a small silver being with multiple eyes.
And looks into those eyes, wondering if the spider is also looking back at her.
A wonderful episode! Very dark and brooding. The last part about the spider was especially well done. Like the abyss, does it also gaze back into her?
Heartfire 6, 3rd Era, Year 433, 6:50 am
It's dark and rainy. Ann has been standing outside Chestnut Handy Stables all night. With nothing better to do, she had been waiting for a chance to have a word with the owner of the place. Or steward. Or whoever runs the show here.
"When exactly dos't Chestnut Handy open, me lady?" Ann asks.
"Anytime now..."says Restita in response.
She looks off to the west. And up above. The clouds are dark today. Dark and ominous. And it's one of those days during which looks as if the entire day will be just like this. Dark, rainy and ominous.
Ann feels a certain dread. She's here for a job, you see. A job tending to the horses. Once again, she feels it might help her cause to be amongst them, and officially have something to do to keep her mind away from her past.
Daydreaming for awhile, Ann looks away from the clouds, the rain upon her face streaming away. Her clothes are soaked, but this is okay. One of the tenets for holding a job as a stablehand, after all, is the ability to work in all types of outdoor weather. Is she qualified for such a task? Certainly so.
As she now steps back under the awning, she notices Restita is gone. Probably off to tend to her small herd. Ann smiles. She smiles at the thought that possibly she too might join Restita, helping her with those gentle beasts.
She and Restita would become friends. Ann senses this could happen. They would become friends, and it would be one of those friendships which would last a long time. This makes Ann smile; visualizing herself with Restita, the two of them playing together, perhaps. And hey, maybe even she and Brelus would find themselves in pleasant company as well. Brelus is a grouchy man, Ann thinks, but stranger things could happen.
Ann tries the door to the stablehouse, and finds it is unlocked.
Cozy and dark, this place is. She sees several bedrolls. Cabinets. A table. Some chairs. Typical Cyrodiilic quarters for the lower-class, for sure.
Ann notices all this as she walks in. ... And there's a figure sitting upon the chair, a figure eating bread.
She walks up, and suddenly freezes.
...smack smack smack .... gulp ...
says the orc, Snak gro-Bura. Is this the owner of Chestnut Handy? Ann thinks. Is this the one she's supposed to speak to?
As Ann musters up all her courage, she suddenly falters. And stares. she stares at what seems to be an entire spitoon foaming up around the orc's mouth. An orc eating. Orcs haven't got the same mannerisms as humans and elves do, Ann thinks.
She tries not to grab her stomach in revulsion. Put it to rest dear! she can hear her dead Marcus saying in her head...just do not focus upon such things. And do'st thou job! ....Easy as pie!
Everything always came so easy to Marcus. But now, Marcus is not here.
"Um...I am Ann. Ann Thraxx. Of Kvatch. I am here about your horses. Might I take some of thou'st time, um.....stable-orc?" Ann says, feeling dreadfully frightened.
Unlike humans and typical elves, orcs had a habit of losing tempers very quickly, and unapologetically. In the "melting pot" that Cyrodiil had become over the past few centuries, all races had merged, as well as a few species here and there. The orc? Well, let's just say the orc is the one who seemed most like an "orc", and had not become as "Cyrodiilized" as other races.
"The Chestnut Handy Stables used to sell horses. But now they're gone. All gone. Yep. They're gone. URRRP"
"GONE? What dos't thou mean 'gone'?"
Ann suddenly looks to what she thought was bread, and sees it's actually a very dark selection of meat.
And an orc.
Suddenly, it all makes sense. Ann can barely ask the question she's meaning to ask, but she also has to ask it.
"Are you....are you eating them? You are! You are eating the horses!"
"I almost walked into that one. Of course not! That would be wrong! Orcs don't eat horses!"
"But... but you DO! You HAVE BEEN. You HAVE BEEN EATING HORSES.". Ann suddenly explodes.
The thought is difficult to comprehend!
"Enough talk." says Snak. Snak! What a fitting name...
"I...I ...." Ann stammers...
...before she knows it, she's landed a blow
"OOH!! HELLP!!! SOMEBODY HELP!!!!"
"You WILL.... NOT ...EAT MY HORSES!!!!!'
...each syllable placed with a blow from Ann's fist, as the orc now reciprocated!
"YOU! ...you DISGUSTING PIG! ....I SHALL TELL THE GUARDS WHAT YOU ARE UP TO!" Ann screams!
It alll happens so fast! Ann lands a right hook! Then a left! Then another right! Fighting this AWFUL orc just as she had seen unarmed fighters doing back in Kvatch's Fighter's Guild!
Suddenly another figure burst into the rooom....
"Break the law on MY WATCH will ya?"
it's an Imperial Guard, here to take control....
"I'll be confiscating your stolen goods...OH! And no gold to pay your fine, hmm? It's off to the lockup then!"
"But SHE HAS BEEN EATING THE HORSES! ARREST THE ORC! IT IS THE ORC WHO HAS BEEN EATING THE HORSES!"
Ann's world suddenly turns upside down. The guard, who (as trained) had been so concillatory a moment ago now drew his sword...
"THEN PAY WITH YOUR BLOOD!"
As the guard draws his sword, it's not Snak he's after, it is Ann
Fearing for her life, some sort of survival code now takes over. Ann rushes out the door. Runs to the north of the building, where Restita is also coming for a row.
"NO!!! I didn't mean...it's the ORC!! IT is the ORC you want, not ME!"
As the guard takes a deftly quick swing, Ann's back exploeds with pain.
It hurts so bad! Wow, it hurts! Ann has no choice now but to run.
She runs back the way she came! Runs and runs and runs, just as shd did several days (weeks?) ago when Kvatch was overrun. When she gets back to the Market District area, she realizes she is safe. No guard is back there. No angry horseflesh-eating orc, either. But she feels weak; as if half her health is now gone.
She's shivering and shaking. Crying and upset. And she has not a choice in the world.
Heartfire 7, 11:18 am
As Ann walks up to a guard, she blurts out.
"I am guilty. And I can-not bear the burden of such a guilt. Please taketh me to jail".
Ann says this because she had been raised as such. Do NOT steal. Do NOT commit assaults upon your fellow, even if such a fellow a bloody orc. She cannot comprehend how that bloody orc can get away with her misgrievances, and not have to do jail time. But this is no reason for Ann to run.
"Well now...what have we here? Caught in the act and no gold to pay your fine. I'll be taking your stolen goods. Now come along peacefully, or I'll have to get ... nasty."
Feeling lower than some of the mushrooms she had picked recently (and sold to Thoronir), Ann gives in. She must. She has no other choice.
"Serve your time peacefully, and pay your debt to society", says the guard with a gleam of honor in his eye.
At some point, the spider had started to move again. Ann's mind had been drifting, and she had missed when this seemingly undramatic moment had occured.
As Ann watches the spider, she seems to emit absolutely nothing to the outside world, as a flame which has recently died no longer casts its vital light to those who might witness.
Oh noes! Snak has been snacking on the horses! Or has he? Ann has done it now. She is off to prison. Now I see what the previous post was about. I love the final line of this new segment. It really brings home the true depth of Ann's loneliness and isolation.
Hi, it's me, Renee. I originally used the Lady Saga name back when I joined this site, but it eventually began to bug me, because Lady Saga is one of my characters, and I am definitely not her!
Anyway, I wanted to provide some closure to this tale, which I started on a Sunday in February of 2012. I was totally depressed when I created and began gaming with her, for whatever reason. Gaming with Ann, and writing while doing so maybe helped alleviate some of this.
Looking back on it, some of this tale makes me cringe! I was writing in present tense, because everything which happened, happened while I was actually gaming with her. I had a similar approach later on while gaming / writing with Kahreem. But overall, gosh, I find some of this hard to read. The ideas are great, but some of my execution of those ideas make me want to go back and heavily edit!
Despite this, I wanted to continue to write Ann's tale at some point, but the Playstation which I was gaming on (which had all of Ann's saves) eventually went kaput. Her game is therefore gone, and so I have no qualms now about spoiling the end of her story.
Ann's sanity would have continued to erode, especially after getting out of jail. She'd eventually head back to Kvatch, convinced it would be safe to go back there. Upon her arrival she would be unable to see the horrible siege engine + all those daedra. Instead, she'd be seeing Kvatch as it originally was. Serene and busy with commerce. Fields of flowers and mushrooms all around the town's walls, intact trees, and so on. Returning to Kvatch would be a death sentence basically, but she would not be able to know this until it was too late.
The nine roses which she kept seeing in her visions had something to do with the Nine Divines, and I'm sure there were other hidden meanings going on. But I am glad to say, here's another Renee story which has come to ...
Aww, it is very thoughtful of you to tie up this loose end from the past. Since it is not possible to continue Ann's game, letting us know what you did have planned for her is a wonderful idea. I look forward to your future storytelling!
Wow, that was a really dark ending. But often art is how we exorcise the darkness in ourselves. Which is a good thing. I am glad Ann helped you work through some of that. Sometimes just a simple distraction from what ails you is enough to help you cope.
Though I do feel the need to point out that you do not need a game to tell a story. Writing about what is happening in a game can be a good portal to get into writing. But you can just discard the game half altogether, and simply write whatever you wish.
As SubRosa said, the story and the ending is really dark, but it's also interesting because of that, because it's very unique. A shame that her story never continued, but thanks for telling us what would have happened IF...
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