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> Per Aspera Ad Astra: Through Hardships To The Stars, A Story of Trials, Faith & Dreams
post Sep 22 2017, 06:54 PM
Post #21


Joined: 9-March 15

Whoa... Lycus almost lost it this chapter. I do, but don't feel bad for his father. Kerstus obviously did horrible things and it wasn't until Kraven disappeared that he decided to clean his act up and I think he is truly remorseful for how he was in the past. But I really don't blame Lycus for his behavior, he suffered through a lot and it's hard to forgive and to forget. I am glad that he did restrain himself.

I love the last sentence though, it really takes the whole chapter and wraps it up perfectly, if that makes sense, Lycus has wanted this moment for so long and to have a loving family where they all get along and love each other. He has that, but look what it cost him and look at what all he and his mother had to go through at the hands of his father. I can understand why he doesn't share the sentiment.

“People love that cliché ‘Time heals all wounds’ but live long enough you realize that most clichés are true. It’s amazing what even the smallest passage of time can accomplish…the cuts can close, the imperfections it can smooth over. But in the end it comes down to the size of the wound, doesn’t it....”
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post Sep 23 2017, 04:02 PM
Post #22

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Joined: 19-March 13

What a touching chapter, until father and son almost came to blows, that is. It's good they seem to have resolved things, at least.

Come and think of it, I think I read one of Kraven's previous books. There was a book in which he (or one of yours) became a slave in Morrowind?
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Darkness Eternal
post Today, 05:50 AM
Post #23

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Joined: 10-June 11
From: The Hunting Grounds

Acadian: There were certain things Lycus couldn’t allow himself to confess. The dark deeds especially. His history was as terrible as it is. If he told them the details of his escape and his murders, I can’t say they would look at him the same way. Perhaps one day he will explain, but for now Lycus has no one he could relate to in the same level as he is, not even Shavaash where his lycanthropy is concerned. His past and nature does make it a challenge, but all it takes is someone who’s been in his shoes to help him.

Thanks Acadian! smile.gif

He does have to be careful; he does have to control that side of him now. He is going to be living amongst the civilized now, not as a slave in chains. It is important that he keep that other side in mind now that he is not living in Hircine's Realm where everything was okay because the only law was survival. The last thing he needs to do is come to Cyrodiil and let his inner beast come out and run rampant, lol.

Kraven's Father is no longer the brute of the family = Kraven is the brute now. He is the one drinking and bringing home anger to tear up the peace of the house. He is angry at his Father for doing that years ago, but he is doing it now. Will his mother never have the peace she deserves? I'll bet Kraven flipping that table and wasting food that is obviously precious to them right now just reminded her of the pain of what she endured in the past, it didn't/wouldn't make her feel better to see the man confronted for his crimes years later when he had long since changed his ways.

Lycus always had that in the back of his mind. Now it is going to be at the forefront of everything. He is going to have to go to great lengths to keep this a secret now. As far as he is concerned he’s the only werewolf in Cyrodiil and only Shavaash is privy to his secret. He’ll have to make plans on how he’s going to leave on those special nights. How he is going to accomplish this, and if he’ll meet another of his kind along the way remains to be seen smile.gif

Kraven has been traumatized by his father. So much so that he feels justice wasn’t done. He has been thinking and meditating on how to get back for so long that when he does return he’s is met with this different man. Not the drunken scumbag that used to beat him and his mother, but almost a new person entirely. Kraven will understand and allow this peace to continue but he still does harbor a severe feeling of bitterness toward his father, even though as you said he(Kraven) was largely to blame for getting caught and shipped out.

Thank you so much mALX!!!! Welcome back!!

BretonBlood: Lycus has certain issues that have to be resolved. You wrote exactly what I wanted to get across. Lycus has what he wanted for so long, yet ironically he just seems reluctant to accept it completely.

Renee: Yes, it was touching up until that point. Yes! Lycus is Kraven. This is after those two books. He returns to Cyrodiil after slavery in the dark elf province.

Previously on Per Aspera Ad Astra: Lycus confronts his father, who once used to abuse and torment Lycus and his mother. Lycus discovers Kerstus isn't the same man he was before.[/url].

~Commencement of Trouble~

An alien quietude and stillness settled over the farm the next few days, a hush so profound that it was in itself like the echo or reverberation of a faint remembered sound upon the ear. There was no other laborous sound than that of what I recalled—the mules and the horses and the pigs, the wagons and the farming implements and the tools, saws and spinning wheels and anvils and house furniture, scythes and hoes and hammers.

Music to my ears.

I spent the following days sleeping, eating, and sleeping some more before setting up my own living space, the simple abandoned quarters resting just outside of my home. There I set up tables and chairs, and a bed as well as my own cupboard that once belonged to me. My personal chamber was roomy enough; I constructed an ingenious dresser that I placed my personal belongings as well as a bed. Here I could be alone whenever I needed to, and this privacy was just what I needed. I couldn’t risk being too close to my mother and father with my tumultuous condition.

My family lived in the cottage, a modest, plain but comfortable structure that looked to be more like a hovel than anything else. The place had been built many years before by my great great-grandfather. He had hewn the beams himself, planed the stones, made it all weather-tight with pine tar and mortar, and had been wise enough to leave standing round an enormous oak tree which offered shade from against the summer sun.

Adjacent to the main house, separated from it only by the animal pen and a short path through the vegetable garden, was the other house: here was the center of activity on the farm; at least it was for me. Here were the collection of oaks, ashwood, iron, the forge and anvils, the modeling hammers and tongs and chisels and all the other equipment which I employed in my demanding craft.

Thus these duties, compared to what I had been used to in Morrowind, were light and fairly free of strain given my divine-given strength and fortitude: I kept the place clean and only used my supernatural vigor when bending a wheel rim, or pumping at the bellows of the forge, after hours of carrying logs to the farm. But from time to time, the tasks I encountered were those calculated to tax not my muscles but my ingenuity.

For instance, the loft of the barn had been infested by bats, tolerable enough considering the place was an abode of cattle but an insufferable plague of drizzling bat feces when I labored daily below. I had tried half a dozen futile measures to rid myself of the pests, including fire and smoke, which nearly burned the place down; whereupon at this point I went out into the woods to a certain nest I knew of and plucked a serpent out of sleep, wrenching it from the tail-end of its slumber and installing it in the eaves.

A week later the bats disappeared, and the snake continued in friendly, satisfied residence, slithering benevolently around the circumference of the barn as it gobbled up rats and field mice whenever Tiber could not, its presence earning I a quiet admiration. I named the snake Lashun.

So, all things being equal, ever since my arrival, I was in as palmy and benign a state as I could remember in many years. At times my urge to hunt in inappropriate times was annoying, but it was a small thorn at my side. I kept well-fed on food purchased by my coin, since the drought had dried the plantation, and only now had the rainstorms began to fall. I purchased food from a local tavern a few miles out from the farm.

Instead of the porridge and stale bread on the daily basis, I ate my fill of cheese pork schnitzel, grilled hare and fishy sticks from Lake Rumare. I controlled my insatiable appetite—a lot of lean bacon and red meat, and often bread with cheese and butter or baked bread made of wheat with cinnammon grape jelly.

I felt I had changed in the most remarkable way. Freedom had restored me to the craft I had learned as an adolescent boy. In the fullness of the young age I blossomed. I was genial, even generous in my behavior with my mother. Although at first I was puzzled at how such fortune would befall a man plagued by the missing of it, I did not have to ponder long the mystery of this renascence. After what felt like a lifetime of blood I now returned to being a farmer anointed with good peace: well fed by the abundance of food that jollied my recent days, vigorously tending to the crops, and never having to take up a sword or another's life in obedience to another man's will.

Manning the forge was a decent, healthy, amiable work—a far piece from the grime and sweat of slavery—and if it had not been for Kerstus' peevish presence I might have actually celebrated such labor, since there was something deeply satisfying about this craft and the way in which straight lengths of nondescript rough wood and strips of crude black iron were transformed into symmetrically spoked, perfectly made tools. The days were long but I relished the half-hour breaks we took morning and afternoon, when my mother would bring us from the house a plate of Cyrodiil biscuits, sweetrolls and mugs of sweet cider with a stick of cinnamon; such a pause in labor made the work itself more rewarding, and caused Kerstus to seem even more acceptable in my eyes.

Kerstus gave me some rough plans and asked me if I'd like to work on a most ambitious piece of carpentry to date: an enormous mill complete with tools designed to utilize either a large man or a middle-sized mule. It was a challenging assignment and I set to upon it with zeal, isolating myself in a high-roofed shed next to the smithy where I painstakingly worked out the architecture of the complicated mechanism, and in all respects carrying through the project with a smooth professionalism that gratified me. Since I anticipated that I would be finished with the mill toward in a few weeks, I notified Kerstus that I would have several days off the farm when I was done. I did not linger on it in so many words, but I wanted to go out into the forest that was my sanctuary, there to hunt and pray for a while—during these last days at work on the mill I had felt the weight of the full moons and the Change hovering very close.

I promised myself I’d take rest today after my father attended to his work on the Waterfront, and thus I finished chopping up the last bit of wood. I took a seat on a log by the shade, using a stone pitcher of lukewarm water to slake my thirst. Tiber was stretched out asleep beneath a tree, but he woke when he heard something, bushy gray tail held stiffly upright as he trotted out of his resting place. I heard it too, sounds up the road; laughter, the clink of mail, a horse’s whine.

“Riders,” I thought out loud, my hand dropping to the axe. Even out here, it never hurt to be wary.

We followed the sounds around a bend of the road and saw them; a trio of armed men noisily galloping toward my home. I stepped out to greet them, Tiber at my side.

They came to a halt a few feet from me, and I was able to study each of them. The one on the left was squat and thick, with huge dirty hands. He looked to be a Breton. Black hair covered his arms and legs and chest, and I presumed even on his back.

The one on the left was an archer, and he was bald and pointy-eared. He opened his mouth to yawn like some immense white lizard. He was a mer, a wood elf by the looks of it.

The one in the center, presumably the leader, was an Imperial. He was skinny as they come, but looked just as dangerous as the others. All of them wore mithril armor, and were armed with swords and axes.

“You want something?” was my first and only question.

All three of them cast uninterested glances over the farm, the crops, my handiwork . . . It made me uncomfortable, and angry.

“I asked if you wanted something,” I said again, and I heard my voice grow sharp and impatient.

The Imperial was silent for a moment, gazing at the farm, then turned slowly toward me and said in an edgy, evil, mocking voice: “Where is Kerstus?”

“Not here.” I told them. “You friends of his?”

“What are you doing here?” said the Imperial man, ignoring my question.

There was a pause. “I live here. This is my land and I'm working.”

“Aye, and so are we. Protecting the folks from bandits and marauders. Farms aren’t safe these days.” The fat Breton told me with a sinister smile; revealing rows of rotten teeth that seemed a pale, light reflection of his soul. His tone suggested shameless sarcasm.

Tiber growled at his words.

“You don’t look like Legion soldiers to me. And we don’t need any protection.” I said, my voice thick with the anger I never seemed to put away as my hands wrapped around the axe. “Best you get going.”

Footsteps behind me made a soft slow padding sound across the grass and I looked back and saw my mother draw near. She parted her lips, hesitated for a moment, then said to the men. “Kerstus went to the Imperial City. He’s at the Arena District.”

“Aye, we best get going then,” the wood elf said with a snort as he scanned my home with a look of consummate greed. “Your farm’s improved since the last time we stopped by. Got cattle now, too. Been making gold?”

“I’ve had help around the farm.” My mother said, ever the paragon of innocent docility.

I said nothing, and only listened with my expression of pinched, absorbed irritation and muffled wrath. My mother put her hand lightly on my shoulder. “Kerstus has the gold he promised. Gods bless you for your patience.”

My thoughts raced: Wasn’t he working at the Waterfront? What gold? Does he still owe septims?

The Imperial sneered. “We’ll be on our way, then. The farm looks to be safe for now.”

Then he was gone and it was the fat Breton and the wood elf alone who seems to fill the entire space within my sight, prodigious even as they stood on their horses, grinning to themselves in the blighted, sunbaked farm, prodigious and all-powerful, yet mysterious in their terrible authority, filling me with dread. The appearance of the Breton’s round, heavy face, staring down at my mother with dreamy pleasure sickened me inside. Then he too took leave from the farm, and the elf right behind him.

I whirled to my mother. “Who in Oblivion were those men?”

"Come inside. I'll explain."

"Every human spends a night or two on the dark side and regrets it. But what if you only exist on the dark side? We just want the same things that you do: a chance at life, at love. And so we try and sometimes fail. But when you're something other, a monster, the consequences are worse. Much worse. You wake up from your nightmares. We don't."
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