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> The Memoir of Arch-Mage Ra'jirra, Or, how the hell we got lumbered with this farmboy
Cardboard Box
post Apr 4 2011, 01:15 AM
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[I'm unsure that I'll bother writing up a fight until I'm able to survive the bloody thing. In any case, here's the wind-up.]

Chapter 29: Mannimarco

There was only one corpse-humper in the huge, water-filled cavern, for which I was grateful. I could see four braziers keeping him warm, a fancy throne, and a table with some stuff on it. Then there was the décor, giant bony fingers poking out of the ground and necromancer banners everywhere. Evidently I had found Mannimarco's lair.

So I creep closer, and see that Mannimarco looks like an ordinary Altmer, picking his nose with one hand and spelling me with the other.

I felt my knees almost buckle under my weight, so I do my best to stand as the King of Bogies ambles over.

“I'm surprised Bolor was unsuccessful in delaying you,” sneers he, flicking his wriggling pickings at me, “Oh well; I shall reanimate him once we are done here.”

“He and his mates had a bloody good go though,” says I grudgingly.

And he gives me a look over and regards my battered gear and equally battered person. “I suppose they did,” says he grudgingly, “So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your nauseating presence?”

I think for a bit and “Something to do with the late Arch-Mage Traven,” seems to be a good answer.

“Late?” Mannimarco's eyebrows rise. “Oh, yes, you must be his star pupil. I am disappointed to see that he could not face me himself.”

“Being dead does that,” says I.

“I have met so many of his predecessors over the years, you know,” and one of those huge gems emerges from his robe, along with a powerful odour. “I developed a particular fondness for Galerion, ill-preserved though he may be.”

And he strokes the gem in a way that made my hackles rise, like he was skinning a deer.

“But here you are instead.” He puts the gem away again. “Skilled enough to make it this far, which speaks volumes about you. Perhaps you'll be as useful to me as Traven would.”

Skilled, to be honest, I didn't know about. Stubborn was more like it. I had, by my count, slaughtered my way through about twenty corpse-humpers and about thirty of their dear departed friends; chewed through all my varla stones and almost all of my loaded soul gems; and finally run out of repair kits for my armour. All I wanted to do was knock this swine's block off and go home.

As such, my response was a quite intelligent “How?”

Bet you thought I was going to say what, didn't you?

“Oh, I will make you another in a long tradition of Worm Thralls, and take my time in studying you,” says he airily, “Your very soul will be forfeit to me.”

Now I exclaimed, “What?”

“Power, my dear friend. I seek power, and so I acquire and study those who have some degree of it.” And Mannimarco smiles as if that explains everything and if I say 'what' again like that I'll regret it.

“We are after the same things, your guild and I. Yet you worry about 'good' and 'evil' and do not accept they are manifestations of the same thing. So you brand me a villain, and make vain attempts to destroy me. I watch, and I wait, and I collect you when you come for me.”

And he clasps his hands and looks smugly at me and I look stonily back at him. Now I know he's two cups short of a bottle.

“Instead of drawing Traven out, I have received you instead.” His disgust was obvious. “Perhaps I shall personally go and collect him when we are done here.”

“No need,” says I, “He's in my pack.”

And Mannimarco looks at me like I'm the mad bugger.

“The work at Silorn?” hints I.

“Silorn?” And Mannimarco perks up. “The special gem worked?”

“It certainly did,” says I, “he's up near the top, if I can get to him...”

“I'll do that,” and Mannimarco comes closer, and he's not only smelly, he's cold. Almost as cold as one of those damnable thrice-accursed spectral beings. His rummaging knocks me finally to my knees, then he cries out in pleasure as he extracts Traven's crystal home.

“My dear chap,” says he delightedly, “please accept my apologies! When I heard about Silorn, I honestly thought that I would have to move openly – Bruma's lovely this time of year, or so I'm told – and a castle would be so much nicer than this blasted cavern. All this time I though you were Traven's lapdog, and you've been biding your time!” And he looks fondly at Traven and prattles reekingly on.

“It's a pity about Falcar and Caranya, I guess, but frankly they were too arrogant for their own good. Not in the same league as Lien Valeth and his Putrid Hand rabble, but too arrogant. And you did what I was going to do anyway. No, wait, I would have reanimated them as Worm Thralls. Serve them right, keep them as reminders to my followers to stay in line.

“Anyway,” says he as he regards me again, “I think you and I will work splendidly together. There's just one act to seal the bargain, so –”

And he steps closer, Traven still in his grasp, claps one icy hand on my shoulder and opens his mouth.

And opens it wide.

Impossibly wide.

Inside was a sight – a hellish mixture of rot and magic – I had never seen before and never, ever, want to see (or smell) again. Volanaro saw it. Saw the things inside – that only looked like worms – as they started to emerge – towards me.

And it was about then that Traven made his move.

There was a flash of light. Bright, white, warm, clean light that pushed away the worms in the meat, that sent Mannimarco's jaw slamming back up into his head hard enough to knock a couple of teeth loose. Better still, he almost somersaulted as he went flat on his back.

And suddenly I could stand up again.

I swapped my bow for the Mace of Jolts as I closed on the not-an-Altmer, but he'd already lurched to his feet, rotten blood dribbling from his mouth as he spluttered “You – you –” and various unkind terms. Gobbets of Conjuration were already depositing – Nine help me, I counted five! – undead horrors.

To make things worse, a ring of giant skeletal claws had risen out of the ground, blocking any escape. There was only one thing for me to do.

Fusozay Var Var, as we say.

However short it was going to be.

To be continued...


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haute ecole rider
post Apr 4 2011, 05:10 AM
Post #182


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Ya know, for all the trouble I had with that damned Falcar at Silorn, that was actually the most difficult part of the whole MQ for me. Mannimarco was nothing - pfft!

But I can't wait to see the rest of this! May Ra'jirra kick his royal british boat! wink.gif


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SubRosa
post Apr 4 2011, 10:53 PM
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one with unnaturally red hair, the other remarkably short,
Sounds like Teresa and Buffy got together a little earlier than either Acadian or I expected! biggrin.gif

But it's time to come clean. The truth is worse.
I loved this! It always is worse!

All I wanted to do was knock this swine's block off and go home.
This was exactly how I felt when I finally got to Mannimarco.

Alright, now we are down to it! That was a wonderful description of Mannmarco's Worm-Thralling. Not to mention of Traven's stopping it. The game really needed something like that to make Traven's death make any sense.


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Cardboard Box
post Apr 5 2011, 09:07 AM
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[I finally gave up and cheated after about six incidents of what appeared to be instant-kill spells and getting swarmed by summonses.

Incidentally, OOO's spectral warriors seem to use the dremora voice set, which resulted in an unexpected exchange, but I'm not changing it.

Now I need to write the epilogue...]

Chapter 30: Mannimarco's Funeral

Traven was there. I've no idea how I knew, but the old ratbag was there. It was the only explanation for why the lich sort of twisted from the waist, as though somebody grabbed it by the shoulders, and zapped the spectre, who didn't approve at all.

That left the ghost, the skeleton, Wormy, and me.

The scum's wearing powerful robes, I distinctly heard Traven's voice between my ears, with strong reflection enchantments. I – then he shouldered me aside as the dead elf fired off a nasty looking spell that blew the skeleton apart like a cobweb of bone.

So I charge in with my mace ready and Mannimarco's eyes widen as he realises he's getting bailed up in a corner. I manage to get a smack in on his shoulder, but like Traven said, I ended up briefly joined to the sod by an arc of lightning.

And my matching shoulder didn't like it either.

Moving a bit fast are we? Traven asked sarcastically. Perhaps we should have spent a year working on our spellcraft instead?

I didn't answer, since the King of Worms had smacked me with one of his spells as he fled. I collapsed to the floor under paralysis magic, unable to even take a swing at him as he passed, raising a hand filled with red.

Then he yelled in pain as Traven's spirit grabbed his ears.

I didn't bother laughing as Mannimarco flailed at his head; I grabbed the old Mace of Jolts and went to take a swing. Since he was dead, he tended to need a lot of tenderising.

As I swung, he managed to forget his ears long enough to try and kick me. So I altered my swing; it hurt, but his knee was more bung than mine now. As he tried to right himself, I chugged a health potion and turned to the approaching spectre.

I wasn't expecting the creature to halt and lower its claymore though.

“I've seen you before, haven't I?” it asked in decidedly daedric tones.

“Markynhaz Gadaz'tor?” replies I, “I didn't recognise you.”

“I'm not surprised,” says he, “oh, and there's a few Kyn who're grateful to you.”

“Wait a minute...” one moment I'm fighting the King of Worms, now I'm talking to a dremora in a ghostly shell. “Are you saying all those spectral warriors are trapped dremora?”

“Yes,” replies he, “we don't know how, but sometimes the Kyn find themselves imprisoned in these cold bodies in the mortal plane. It's bearable if there are others with you, but eventually the Pull becomes too much... defeat in battle is the only way.”

Well bugger me! Traven said in wonder, live and learn.

And I sneak a glance over my shoulder; Mannimarco's got to his feet but he's catching flies. Nine know he has the gob for it.

“Well, you're not spontaneous,” says I, “and that thing in the robes is the one who summoned you. Want to help me kill him?”

Spectral teeth flashed as he cried, “Sounds like a plan!”

What followed was ugly. Gadaz'tor charged in with absolutely no regard for his safety while I attempted to juggle getting my own blows in, swigging health potions, and keeping out of the Markynhaz's way.

Between my mace and the dremora's claymore, Mannimarco was in trouble. So were we, unfortunately, thanks to the reflection powers of his gear. Every time we landed a blow or a spell, it bounced back on us. Soon I could feel my sweetbreads screaming, backed up by my arm joints, accompanied by the shaking of weakened legs, and there was a wetness inside my helm matching where the Mace of Jolts had ripped away a chunk of his scalp.

Gadaz'tor bellowed in triumph as he raised his claymore for an overhead strike guaranteed to split the King of Worms down the middle; Mannimarco himself was wobbling on his knees, staring concussed up at the Markynhaz.

So of course the bloody summons wore off right then and there!

I didn't hesitate to finish the job. Up comes I and down comes the mace, sending chunks of face flying. My vision clouded with reflected pain and blood but I kept swinging until I simply fell where I stood, twitching as the shock magics dissipated.

That, Traven remarked, was the most bloody disgraceful exhibition of macecraft I have ever seen.

And I said nothing. I was too busy trying to work out if I was dead or not.

Maybe you should join the Fighters' Guild? You know, learn how to actually kill people without getting killed yourself.

The shock-caused quaking subsided, but the anguish in my face didn't. Several of my teeth felt loose, my eyes were filled with blood, and I suspected my nose was broken. That sort of thing makes it difficult for a man to remember his healing spells.

Then again, Traven went on, I know you didn't ask me, but maybe you should think about introducing some warcraft classes into the curriculum. Nine knows I've dragged my heels on that.

I spat out a glob of bloody spit, coughed a prayer to Stendarr, and felt his mercy wrap about me and take away some of my pain. Now I could see, through a red fog, a lump of cloth surrounded by dark fluid.

Maybe I was too impatient, Traven spoke again, maybe I should have let you develop your skills more. Gods know you need to, since I won't be around to hold your hand from now on. But hang it all, this was a crisis! Hey – are you listening to me, fur-licker?

I wasn't. Instead I was fumbling for a vial in my pack, scattering potions of shielding and poisons of all sorts as I groped for a particular sort; deep pinkish-red, with a meaty scent. I finally found it, jerked out the stopper, and somehow managed to put the bottle to my lips – which hurt – and swallowed the contents – which also hurt. Silver relief spun from my stomach to my skin, and I was finally able to open my eyes and make sense of what I was seeing.

The cloth was the robes and hood of Mannimarco, but now they cloaked a shapeless mass of bones and decomposing flesh. My nose still being pretty stuffed up, I was grateful I couldn't smell anything. As I watched, the unnaturally fast disintegration of the corpse finally concluded in dust and ugly stains. From inside the hood, the caved-in skull of the King of Worms goggled crosseyed at its jawbone in front of it.

My legs finally agreed to support me again as I managed to pick myself up. “We did it,” I said thickly, then hawked up more bloody phlegm before groping for another potion. “We bloody did it.”

Bloody's right, Traven remarked, seeing as if it wasn't for me and that dremora –

“What's done is done,” snarls I, anger shoving aside pain. I stomp over to Mannimarco's corpse and yank off hood, robes, his staff and also a daedric dagger still in its sheath.

I still have them, trophies of my, Traven's, and Markynhaz Gadaz'tor's victory over the King of Worms.

Well then, Traven said almost sadly, this time from a point in front of me and to my right, one last thing I need you to do.

“What?” is my intelligent response.

Take that club of yours to that big soul gem. Just in case someone gets ideas about stepping into Mannimarco's shoes.

“Not to mention the rubbish said about trapping souls,” That made sense. I placed the gem on a handy rock, braced myself, then let the revolting artifact have it.

Bards are encouraged to embroider on the fact that the gem basically shattered with a loud crunch.

Righto, and Traven's voice was more distant now, and now we part. Well, until you fall off your perch anyway. Don't hurry.

“What?” is my intelligent response.

Mannimarco was the only reason I stayed around, you idiot, says he, and now he's finally finished, there's no need for me to hang around, is there?

“But what will I do about the Guild?” asks I, “I've no idea what to do, I –”

Oh, stop whining! Traven's voice was getting fainter. You can read, can't you? Here's a hint: speak to Carvain about all this. Polus too. I'm not sticking around, I'm not allowed. Besides, adds he with his old irritation, I told you to lead the Mage's Guild as you see

And his spirit left.

Slowly, I retraced my steps through the caverns until I found a bedroll, then passed out for a little while.

-o-o-o-o-


Later in the day, I arrived at the walls of Bruma. It occurred to me that I should let the Countess know that the necromancer threat was gone.

So later I'm in the throne room waiting my turn to address her ladyship when I recognise the voice of the mage addressing her.

“...thus at the very least, the building should be repaired to save face and,” and here Raminus pauses, “prevent unkind allegations against your rule.”

“I am sure you have my reputation in mind,” the Countess Carvain responded waspishly, “but seeing as it was my city that was violated, and that it was my guardsmen who risked their lives to –”

Which I took as my cue.

“What about me?” says I striding up, “Here I am, the poor bloody Arch-Mage, nearly getting killed a dozen times over, not including about five minutes before the King of Worms finally bit the dust?”

And the two stare at me.

“Which was about five hours ago,” finishes I, “so how's about you get your people to refurbish the guildhall while I get my people to fill it?”

And the Countess does a pretty good imitation of a landed slaughterfish while Raminus manages to get his brain into gear.

“Arch-Mage! Mannimarco is defeated?”

“Am I dead?”

“No?”

“Well in that case, he is. He was still dead when I stripped his bones and left.” And I have a little think, scratch my nose as casually as possible and add, “Setting a good example for the other lidgies I offed in there as well.”

“Where's 'there'?” asks the Countess.

“Echo Cave,” says I.

“Well, not that I... don't believe you...” and she looks my battered self up and down, “but I think I'd best send a party out to investigate for myself before I decide.”

“Suit yourself,” shrugs I, “me, I'm going home and having a well-earned collapse.”

“I've a better idea,” says Raminus, “have you tried the Jerall View?” And he blinks and adds, “My apologies, Countess, by your leave?”

She waved us away and the last I heard she was calling for a bird or something.

-o-o-o-o-


“Got another room free?” asks Raminus to the innkeep. The Jerall View was a homely place, warm and cozy. And as it turned out, he did have another room.

Raminus escorted me downstairs into a well-appointed room and quizzed me about what had taken place as I divested myself of my gear prior to diving into bed for another nap.

“So,” says he at last, “that's the end of the King of Worms. Stay as long as you need in the morning; I want to go on ahead and prepare for the ceremony.”

“Ceremony?” is my enquiry.

“You'll need to be formally sworn in as Arch-Mage,” says he, “I've been doing some research into the matter. As far as I can tell, the Emperor will ask you a lot of traditional questions, and you just say 'I will' or something like that. Then I'll send messages to the other guildhalls letting them know you're the new Arch-Mage. That's another formality,” grimaces he, “since the Black Horse Courier will get there first.”

“Then can I go home?”

“I can't stop you. Just be there by noon tomorrow, all right? We don't want to keep his Imperial Majesty waiting.”

“Fine,” says I, about to remove my greaves, “but before that, if you don't mind, I have a meeting with some nightmares.”

“If you need anything just scream,” says Raminus and leaves before I can heave a boot at him.

With the greaves off I finally crawled into bed and passed out for the second time in one day.

This post has been edited by Cardboard Box: Apr 5 2011, 09:09 AM


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haute ecole rider
post Apr 5 2011, 03:38 PM
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Welp, that was certainly more exciting than my experiences with the Monarch of Fish Food! blink.gif tongue.gif

The interchange between Ra'jirra, Polus and Carvain had me laughing. Especially about her calling for "bird" at the end!


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SubRosa
post Apr 5 2011, 05:12 PM
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It must be your mods that make it difficult. When I faced Mannimarco it was a big letdown. He summoned a critter. I summoned a critter to keep that busy. Then he pulled out a dagger and attacked me with it. *yawn*.

I see Traven remained his most irritating self as well, even after his death!

Since he was dead, he tended to need a lot of tenderising.
laugh.gif

So its finally done. Mannimarco is slayed, and Ra'jirra is the Arch-Mage. Congrats on a very fun and lively tale! goodjob.gif


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Grits
post Apr 5 2011, 07:08 PM
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I have enjoyed Ra'jirra’s exploits so very much. They have been the source of many, much-needed laugh out loud moments. And some very touching ones as well. I still laugh over the charging in like a Nord/don’t tell my boss episode. Here’s hoping Ra'jirra gets some restful time in his chair bouncing various offspring on his knee. smile.gif


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Cardboard Box
post Apr 5 2011, 09:19 PM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ Apr 6 2011, 04:12 AM) *
It must be your mods that make it difficult. When I faced Mannimarco it was a big letdown. He summoned a critter. I summoned a critter to keep that busy. Then he pulled out a dagger and attacked me with it. *yawn*


Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul tends to cause creatures and hostiles to spawn in groups. The end result can look something like:
  1. Keeper of the Dead
  2. Another Keeper of the Dead
  3. Necromancer
  4. Another necromancer
  5. Spectral Warrior
  6. Spectral Reaver
  7. Ancient Ghost
  8. Spectral Wolf
And if the corpse-humpers start summoning that brings the enemy total up to 12. So, yes, things can get more than a little impossible.

I may have to look for another mod that removes levelling, since I had a Khajiit archer hight Barassa, who embarked on the KotN quest. However, after getting stuck against overwhelming odds, I gave up in frustration. If it wasn't for TGM I would have done the same here.

QUOTE
So its finally done. Mannimarco is slayed, and Ra'jirra is the Arch-Mage. Congrats on a very fun and lively tale! goodjob.gif


Slain tongue.gif

And I'm not quite finished yet. As I stated, there's still an epilogue to write. As soon as I figure out how.


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post Apr 9 2011, 04:28 AM
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[Well, one house move, one corrupted autosave and about four false starts later, I finally tie it all off.

Now I can resume the FO3/Ob' crossover, and also get on with an Ob'/HP one I started as a laugh and seems to be popular.

Thanks for all the constructive feedback, folks!]

Epilogue

“And so the next day I left Bruma, got formally sworn in as Arch-Mage, and came home.”

The subject of my work shrugged, skipping over what was a well-described ceremony in which Ra'jirra, most importantly, knelt before the Emperor himself, swore undying fealty to him and the Empire, and was officially recognised before the entire faculty of the Arcane University as Arch-Mage.

Afterward, there was a memorial service held for the late Arch-Mage Hannibal Traven, who had, officially, been struck by a long-acting curse of some kind while examining an artifact retrieved from a necromancer stronghold. It had taken me a long while to regain my composure after learning just how Traven had really succumbed. Indeed, there were issues raised that led to me spending more time at the Chapel of Dibella than I usually did.

What Ra'jirra also skipped over was several months where if anyone wanted to speak with the Arch-Mage, they had to make the journey to Faregyl and its inn, where the Arch-Mage and his increasingly pregnant wife provided an often cool reception. Ra'jirra was, after all, more at home on the farm than in the council chamber, and for the first two years of his regime would only visit the Imperial Isle if there was no alternative – and make those trips as short as possible!

One reason for his reclusiveness was his family, one of whom was sitting on his lap with a predictable expression on his face. J'dargo is a rambunctious five year old kit, and his parents and I agree that, assuming he doesn't get himself killed, he's a sure recruit for either the Legion or the Fighter's Guild.

Sure enough, J'dargo asked the question that all bedtime storytellers dread. “And then what happened?”

“And then,” his father looked solemnly down at him, “you were born. And now...” he paused dramatically.

J'dargo stared at him, breathless.

“It's time for you to go to bed,” Ra'jirra finished in a firm tone.

In between J'dargo's birth and his far more recent bedtime, Ra'jirra had decreed a number of remarkable and in many cases disruptive changes in the way the Mage's Guild was run. The SCARE Act was passed through, which, while sometimes violently objected to by the more hermit-like of wizards, managed to reveal knowledge that would otherwise have been lost with its discoverers. Apprentices are now more likely to be found rounding out their skills at the guildhalls instead of sitting through lectures at the Arcane University. Similarly, the scholars are now able to educate at a more elevated level – although, as Ra'jirra said to me, “I've still no idea what they're blabbing about.”

I was most surprised to be approached by the Arch-Mage about writing his memoirs, not only to his satisfaction, but while still capturing his basic character as he insisted, was a great challenge. “I don't want to be remembered as a stuffed suit of armour,” were his precise words.

Ra'jirra is often earthy – far earthier than I dare put down on paper – blunt to the point of outrageousness, but at the same time has a fierce loyalty to guildmate, kin, the Nine and Empire. I for one wish him a long, happy and prosperous life both in and outside the Mage's Guild.

-- Quill-Weave

4 Heartfire 3E438


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haute ecole rider
post Apr 9 2011, 05:20 AM
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QUOTE(Cardboard Box @ Apr 8 2011, 10:28 PM) *

Ra'jirra is often earthy – far earthier than I dare put down on paper


Perhaps Castia Scribonia would have been racy enough to dare capture Ra'jirra's - ahem - earthiness? Nirniess?

I can totally see Ra'jirra being the reluctant Arch Mage! wink.gif


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