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> Does this thread belong here?, pieces of quest
ghastley
post Feb 12 2011, 07:58 PM
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Most of the threads in this forum are naturally about "my character's adventures in a TES world", and the rest are meta-threads about writing them.

I'm coming from a completely different direction, or maybe not. I'm trying to create quest mods for Oblivion with a whole lot of NPC's who have linked stories, and I need all the help I can get with those. It's not entirely a different problem from writing the support cast in a regular FF, but it does leave out the central character, who will be the player, and I don't want to write that one.

I like to build a character in Oblivion and play it for a while before making an NPC from it, as this helps to give me some idea of how a pure mage thinks, or an archer, or an axe-wielding Orc, and I can make the NPC more credible that way. I'm currently playing a stereotypical big dumb blonde Nord called Hidy Heidi, who aspires to joining the Imperial Mountain Riders and patrolling the Jerrals on a white bear. I started her off trying to use poisoned daggers and stealth, but found that it's not too viable at low levels, because the damage she could inflict was never enough for a one-hit kill, and using a dagger put her too close for comfort in the remainder of the encounter. So she switched to a Claymore to better use her Blade skill, although she still tries a sneak attack with a dagger first, some of the time. She'd probably use the Claymore if she got a bear to ride, so maybe it's for the best.

This experience now has to be distilled down to some dialog for the NPC in-game, and that of her colleagues, and that's the sort of thing I'd want to post here for criticism and advice. And the content of books, notes, journal entries for the quests. Many of you have experience of rewriting bits of lore for your narratives, or fitting a new piece into the incomplete jigsaw puzzle Betheda provided, so I know it will help me if it works.

Heidi is intended to become part of this mod, of which only the first two quests have been released as a beta. I have another dozen or so in development, including an arc of quests that happen after the player is both CoC and Madgod, based on the idea of Dagon taking revenge on the player by opening gates in his/her new realm.



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ghastley
post Feb 12 2011, 08:14 PM
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As an example of what I'd like to post for your consideration, this is the content of an in-game book, which seeks to justify the outfits the girls wear in the context of TES. In reality, I copied the Schnapps ad illustration, but if I'm putting them into the TES IV game, they need to fit.

-------------------------------------

BEARS for the LEGION

This manual is commissioned to serve as a guide and reference for trainers of bears for the
Imperial Legion

The bears used by the Legion are specially bred for the purpose. They have
been selected over the years for their disposition, and preference has been given to paler
coats, so that the current bears are almost white. In all other respects they retain the
characteristics of their wild cousins, strength, fearlessness, and resolute will.

While the bears can sustain considerable damage in combat without complaint, they are quite
sensitive to small irritations, such as plucking their long fur. It has been determined that
plate and chainmail armor trap the fur of the animal's back and cause it considerable
annoyance, making it hard to ride.

Their keen sense of smell makes fur and leather armor equally unacceptable to the bears.
It is also believed that scent is the reason they prefer female riders to male. This was
once thought to be more a matter of weight, but they'll carry a Nord woman, and throw off
a male Bosmer.

These observations have led to the design of the current uniform for the Mountain Riders.
Above the waist, they wear heavy plate, as this does not come into contact with the bear.
Below, defense is primarily magical, with the Frost Shield serving a double purpose. The
bears would prefer that the girls wear nothing, but a minimal garment is required to hold
the enchantment, and the girls would refuse to wear less.

Use of a helmet is optional. Most, if not all, riders forgo one, as they already feel
top-heavy in their armor, and many find the restricted view from a helmet a problem in
the mountains It is however, part of the parade uniform for formal events. The rider may
choose a weapon to suit their own style of combat, with the stipulation that it be Silver.
Most choose a claymore for the reach.

Bears appear to share our own tastes in food, and will eat both meat and plant material. A
particular fondness for berries and honey is usual, but individual bears may have different
preferences. These will become apparent during the bear's training, and this information
should be passed on to the rider.

While the bears will naturally reject riders wearing the wrong armor, they should also
receive training in recognition of the Legion as their friends, to the point where they
should permit any Mountain Rider to mount, not just their specifically assigned handler,
but should refuse anyone who is not a member of the Legion. They should defend any Legion
member, including any foresters that venture into the mountains.

---------------------------------------

Although the manual doesn't say so, the Silver weapon is there for the same reason that the Legion uses them. They work against ghosts, wraiths and wills-o-the-wisp (although the latter seem to win every time)

This is one piece of background for the Riders, among many. I have dialog that establishes that bears have better footing on ice and snow, so they're a better mount in those conditions, as well as providing a lot of offensive support. I could repeat it here, but chose not to do so.

So change gears, everyone, and sub-edit my manual for me.


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haute ecole rider
post Feb 12 2011, 08:23 PM
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Just one little nit for me regarding the bit of book you posted.

Many women I know prefer not to be referred to as 'girls' when speaking of them in their professional capacity. (Count me as one of them). So where the text uses the term 'girls', I would suggest changing it to 'women' or 'female'.

I'm not being politically correct here, but I do demand respect from my colleagues, and being called 'girl' is rather demeaning and sexist to me. I figure if you're old enough to take on responsibility such as you describe (patrolling on bearback - I know, I know Foxy!), you're old enough to be a woman. Just my two cents.


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ghastley
post Feb 12 2011, 08:43 PM
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Good point. This is a manual, so it probably needs a bit more formality. I noticed a few places where I should probably drop contractions (change "they'll" to "they will", for example). I wrote this after a whole bunch of dialog and didn't really change gear.

I'm leaning towards the Riders referring to their comrades as "girls", though. It's not a duty you'd want to do for a long career, so they're all young and hoping for promotion to a warmer desk job!


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SubRosa
post Feb 12 2011, 08:45 PM
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I echo h.e.r.'s comment on girls. It makes the riders sound like children, not like professional warriors.

On the thoughts of weapons, my first thought for any mounted fighter is to carry a lance, or several throwing spears/darts. Of course Oblivion does not allow for any of these weapons. My second thought is the riders be archers. Horse archers were one of the most powerful arms-systems ever created. Their only real weakness was that if you could close to them, they could not stand up in shock combat. Well, with a bear as their mount, anything that gets that close would become sushi! Of course this also has the problem of the fact that Oblivion does not support mounted combat. Although the basic idea can still work effectively in the game. Just as with a summons, the mount tends to distract enemies, giving an archer free reign to shoot without retaliation. Under those circumstances, no armor is really needed at all.



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ghastley
post Feb 12 2011, 08:56 PM
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The weapon was dictated originally by the picture I was using for the source (you can see it at the Nexus link for the mod in the opening post), which shows a mounted rider with a sword and shield. As you point out, Oblivion has a lot of limitations, and I had to compromise. Since the source picture's sword was closest to a two-handed one, even though she holds in in one hand, I went for that, and that also avoided the need to copy the sheild!

You'll note that the manual allows the Rider the choice of weapon, so I can give future recruits a different one of theit own selection.

No armor at all might just be too cold!

(edited to remove broken link)

This post has been edited by ghastley: Feb 27 2011, 04:00 AM


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Ahrenil
post Feb 13 2011, 01:06 AM
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Hmm, one problem the riders may have is the fact that their bears spend a good portion of the year hibernating. This would give them seasonal restrictions, so perhaps you could go into a little detail about giving special training for work in the winter months, though with shortened hours so as not to mess with the bear's internal clocks too much.

Another one is what would these rider's main job be? Road patrols? While bears can naturally hit a decent speed, the added awkwardness and weight of a wider would probably upset this. So perhaps they're a more specialised branch of the mounted cavalry designed to track criminals in the mountains, rather than patrol duty they're called out on special assignment. Though granted a bear on the path would make me stop whatever I was doing.

Finally are they meant to be fighting while mounted? If so a claymore would be a bit of an unwieldy weapon. While it's true you want a long slashing weapon, to avoid it being dragged out of your hands when you stab, a claymore might be taking this a bit too far. Perhaps some modded katanas? Or a reskin of the Blade Katanas would be suitable? Though this doesn't keep with the Nord aesthetic.

This post has been edited by Ahrenil: Feb 13 2011, 01:07 AM
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Ahrenil
post Feb 13 2011, 01:06 AM
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Woops double post.

This post has been edited by Ahrenil: Feb 13 2011, 01:06 AM
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Acadian
post Feb 13 2011, 04:30 AM
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Although I am not a fan of steel bikinis, this seems like a well put together mod with plausible explanations for your choices. I expect they will use the same AI/mechancis as Legion riders (no mounted combat), so a silver claymore is a fine default choice.

Would they perhaps refer to themselves as Sisters of the Bear? Like others have mentioned, the term girls seems at odds with the fact that they are Legion soldiers - even noting your explanation. I suppose they might affectionately refer to themselves as such perhaps, but I don't think I would want to address them as such - especially when their bears are near. tongue.gif

Oh, to your orignal question, I think this is a fine place to post this since you are mostly looking for some edit help with the manual it seems. It has no errors that I noticed and provides reasonable explanations and information about the bear riders.

This post has been edited by Acadian: Feb 13 2011, 04:43 AM


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ghastley
post Feb 27 2011, 03:56 AM
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OK, time to try my hand at a bit of what the forum's about. This short piece is based on the first quest of my mod, and I'm intending to do a few more for the other quests. Because the tales will have a different NPC character at the focus each time, I've made it all third-person, and the Hero of Kvatch is Bendu Olo (the default player character), who deliberately gets little or no character development, and could be anything from Saintly Mage to Axe-murderer. He's closed the Kvatch gate, so he's probably not too evil, but that's as far as I'm taking him.

---------

Unna's tale

Thor sniffed the air, and his rider, Unna, could feel his muscles tense at the smell of something dangerous ahead.

"What is it?" she asked, as if expecting him to talk to her. She hoped it wasn't Daedra again.

She'd only had Thor for a month, after Grendeline had been killed by a Flame Atronach's fireball, in the same fight that had left her with a patch over her left eye. She wasn't sure if it was the shock spell that did it, or the inexperienced Khajiit that healed her, but she had permanent night-eye now, and needed the patch to stop the constant glare of the daylight.

The Daedra had come pouring out of that Oblivion Gate by the trail when the stranger went in. There had often been one or two around it before, but suddenly it was four or five at once, and that was more than she could handle. If she hadn't rolled down the mountainside when the shock spell hit her, she'd be dead just like Grendeline.

She remembered coming round and wondering why they hadn't finished her, before she realised that she'd come to rest behind a boulder, and she couldn't see the Gate, and so they probably couldn't see her. She'd crept back up the slope, watching for Daedra, and sipping a health potion, so as not to reveal herself by casting a spell. She didn't like using them up, as the ingredients to make them were scarce up here in the Jerall Mountains, but she needed something right then.

Then she'd dropped the bottle, and stood up in amazement. The sky wasn't red! The Gate had gone! Well, there was still a jagged scar on the mountainside where it had been, and the bare patch where the snow had melted, but no fiery arch, and most importantly, No Daedra!! She'd stood there for several minutes, staring at the rubble in total disbelief.

That was all a month ago. She'd seen the stranger once more a few days after that, and he'd bought a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps from her. He didn't appear to be the type to drink it himself, so she guessed that Dumner woman at the Hermaeus Mora shrine, (Norasa, wasn't it?) had asked him to get her another.

He'd shown her the Sigil Stone he got from the Oblivion Gate, and explained how it was those that kept the Gates open. He'd even offered to use its magic to enchant her Silver Claymore, but she'd turned that down. She didn't deserve that, and anyway she'd not be able to recharge it up here so far from any Mages Guild. Her armor was already enchanted, with Frost Shield to keep out the cold of the high mountains as well as defense. He'd smiled at that, and she'd known what he was thinking. Nobody could believe how much skin the Riders' uniform exposed. She'd wondered if her uniform had influenced that generous offer.

He'd noticed the eye-patch, but she'd reassured him that the night-eye was as useful in the dark as it was a problem in the day, and she didn't regret getting it, except that it reminded her of Grendeline.

But now she had Thor, and he was stopping to let her dismount. That meant he could see the danger ahead, and they should get ready to meet it. She pulled her Claymore from her back and broke into a run.

One day, she'd get there first, but of course Thor was faster than she was. By the time she reached the Ogre, Thor was already attacking it, and it soon went down for good.

"Only an Ogre this time", she thought. "No match for a bear like mine!" She bent to see if the Ogre was carrying anything, as they often kept shiny things they'd taken from a luckless traveller, only to straighten up abruptly. "Thor," she complained,."you have a really cold, wet nose!"

This post has been edited by ghastley: Mar 7 2011, 08:52 PM


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mALX
post Feb 27 2011, 04:06 AM
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Interesting and intriguing !!! WOO HOO !!! Great Start !!!


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Acadian
post Feb 27 2011, 04:28 AM
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This is fabulous. You develop Unna a great deal in one episode here. I knew from the previous posts in this thread that the story would invove bear riders but by the end, wondered if you would going to advise any new readers that Thor was a bear. I smiled near the end to see that you did just that. I then got a delightful chuckle at Unna being goosed - all the more so becasue I was not expecting it.

This is a lovely little story! I know you are looking to refine things for your mod, but this is a quality story and I didn't see any 'nits' to pick. smile.gif


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ghastley
post Feb 27 2011, 09:04 PM
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@mALX : The start's the easy part, it will be hard keeping any momentum going once I get close to the point I'm at in building the mod. But that shouldn't happen for a few episodes yet.

@Acadian : Thanks! Considering that Unna has only about three lines of dialog in her quest, I probably gave her much more depth here than she gets in the game. But there's always a chance she'll have more to say as I add quests in the future, so it doesn't hurt to think her through a bit more now.

Next is the other quest that's released so far. Most of the dialog is taken directly from the game, and Claudia has much more than Unna did.

Claudia's Tale

She was sitting at the table, reading a book, when she heard the trapdoor creak open. Expecting it to be one of the Watch Captains, she glanced over to see which one, but the trapdoor just closed again, and nobody came through. She was living in the unused captain's quarters in the North watchtower of the Imperial City and so there was a watch barracks just below. She assumed one of the Legionaries had had second thoughts about coming up to talk to her. The Captains didn't allow that.

When she looked back up from the book a moment later, however, there was a man standing next to her. And not just anyone, the Hero of Kvatch!

"What are you doing here?" she asked, somewhat impolitely, but she was startled by his sudden appearance.

"I came to ask you the same question," he said. "One of the beggars told me he'd seen you going into this tower. What's a Mountain Rider doing in a city watchtower? Shouldn't you be on patrol somewhere?"

Claudia explained. "I'm supposed to be on patrol in the Jerall mountains, but I don't have my bear to ride. I've been waiting for weeks for it to arrive from Skyrim, cooped up here in this tower. As the only woman here, I'm getting a bit too much attention from the guard captains, if you know what I mean. You couldn't help me out, could you? I just need to know what's happening about my bear."

"The white bears from Skyrim make wonderful mounts for the icy mountains. They're so sure-footed on the ice and snow, as well as being a strong ally," she continued. "I'm so looking forward to having one of my own! All my Nord colleagues already have theirs."

"But you're a Redguard." he said, making it sound like a question.

"Oh, and my name's Claudia, forgot to tell you! Yes, it's unusual for a Redguard to train as a bear rider, but I lived in Skyrim when I was young. My family moved here to the city not long ago, and I missed the mountains so much. Father said I could go back when I was old enough to look after myself. Training as a Legion rider made sure I could do that! Of course, nothing's perfect, and I do have the problem with the guard captains."

Claudia took a breath, and changed the subject. "But how did you get up here? And why didn't I see you come in?"

The Hero smiled, and slipped a ring onto his finger, fading into almost total invisibility. "Chameleon enchantment. This is a Ring of Shadows I took from a Dremora mage a while ago. I'll need it again to get back out undetected. Don't worry, I'll find out about your bear."

The trapdoor opened and closed again, and Claudia went back to her book.

. . .

The Hero re-appeared just as mysteriously the following day. This time he took off the ring as soon as the trapdoor was closed. Walking over to the table, he unfolded a map. "Can you show me Sky's Edge Cave?"

Claudia pointed to a mark close to the border, where Skyrim and Hammerfell meet Cyrodiil. Yes, she knew that area. "It's not far from the cities of Elinhir and Falkreath, so it makes a good place to hold goods brought over the borders. Is that where my bear is? Can you take me there?"

"First tell me about the Watch Captains."

"When I was in training, I slept with a Legion recruit because he was a Redguard like me, and the only one in a class of Imperials," Claudia began. "I guess I felt sorry for him, because the Imperials all looked down on him as an outsider, and I know they felt the same about me, the only woman. Anyway, when they found out about us, they all expected me to sleep with them, too, as if they had a right to it!"

Claudia paused a moment to scowl at that thought. "So I complained to the captain, and he said he could work something out. They made me an 'honorary junior captain' and gave me these quarters away from the men. I soon found out what I had to do in return. At first they gave me a lot of wine and tried to get me drunk. But I learned drinking in Skyrim, and they couldn't keep up with me!"

She smiled briefly at the memory of the captains all passed out on the floor as she went to bed alone. They'd played a lot of the old drinking games, but she knew how to cheat better than they did, and after a while they were incapable of noticing that they were the ones consuming the most. "Well, at least there aren't as many of them to deal with, and I did get my own room. Besides, it was only until my bear arrived, so I didn't expect it to be long."

The hero drew a piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to her. "Look at the date on that."

She read the document. It was the invoice for the delivery of her bear to Sky's Edge Cave, and it was dated the day before she'd moved into these quarters! "Where did you get this?" she asked, angrily.

"My Ring of Shadows helped me let myself into the Legion headquarters and I just happened to find this in a locked desk drawer" he replied. "I had expected to find something in one of the captains' quarters in the other watchtowers, but they had more sense than to keep it in any personal space. So we don't don't know whose idea it was."

"That doesn't make a lot of difference," muttered Claudia. "I just want to leave here right away, and go get my bear!"

"Won't you be cold up there in the mountains?" he asked, pointing to her bare skin. "You're not a Nord, after all."

"No, I'm a Mountain Rider, so my armor has an enchantment against cold. I need more than the Nords do, but not much. After all, both my grandfathers were pure Nord, so I'm only a Redguard on the outside."

That seemed to satisfy him, and he slipped his ring back on his finger and let her lead him out to the city streets.

. . .

The journey up to the Hermaeus Mora shrine was all along the roads and trails, so it passed fairly uneventfully. There were the usual bandits and wild creatures from time to time, but together they had little problem dealing with them. From the shrine, they headed North across the open snow, looking for the cave entrance. Their prospects of finding it looked as bleak as the landscape; all the rocks looked the same.

"Is that a trail over there?", asked Claudia suddenly, pointing.

"I think it is, but which way is the cave? I guess we'll just have to try one direction and hope."

Naturally, their first choice was the wrong one, and the trail soon petered out without leading anywhere. They turned back the way they'd come. Just around the corner from where they first joined the trail, there was Sky's Edge Cave.

The two entered, hoping the courier and bear were still around.

There was the bear, and behind him, a tall Nord dressed in furs was checking the contents of a crate. His name was Jokull, and he wasn't exactly happy that he'd had to wait so long for someone to collect the bear. He calmed down a bit when they explained about the captains, but they could tell that there was something else on his mind. Apart from the bear delivery, he felt that he was owed extra for the long wait.

"Those 500 septims are a start. But then I need you to get my amulet back from the ogre that stole it. Ogres like shiny things, and one of them stole my amulet when I was making another delivery here. I didn't want to leave the goods I was carrying to chase after him, in case bandits would steal everything else."

Somehow they didn't quite accept his reason for not chasing the ogre himself, but that still left an amulet that needed recovering. Claudia needed some time to introduce herself to her bear, so the Hero left the cave alone to look for the ogre. It wasn't long before he returned and handed an amulet to Jokull. At last a smile came to the Nord's face. "Now I can head back to Falkreath at last," he said. "And I'll admit now that I was concerned about the bear taking to a Redguard. They're really picky about who they allow to ride them, and I'd only seen Nords on their backs before now".

Claudia repeated what she'd told the Hero about her grandfathers being Nords, and he nodded in agreement that she was Nord enough, if the bear thought so. She wondered if his distrust of Redguards had anything to do with living on a disputed border, but she kept quiet about that.

The Hero broke the awkward silence by asking her where she'd be patrolling, now she had her bear at last. She told him that she'd been assigned the stretch from the Hermaeus Mora shrine to the junction of the trail with the one from Sancre Tor to Bruma. "Then you'll be meeting Unna soon" he replied, "Her patrol ends where yours begins, near the shrine. I met her the last time I was up here in the Jerrals, and helped her with a Daedra problem."

"There aren't any Daedra on my patrol, are there?" asked Claudia. "I'm not sure I've trained enough for them."

"Just bandits, mostly" he reassured her "and maybe an ogre or two."

"My bear can handle those," she smiled "With my help, of course".

This post has been edited by ghastley: Jun 18 2013, 10:20 PM


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SubRosa
post Feb 27 2011, 09:12 PM
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That was a nice little piece introducing Claudia. Plus a dastardly plot by the men of the Legion to keep her around to (try to) score on her.


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Acadian
post Feb 28 2011, 02:30 AM
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Another great little story that gives folks a very solid feel for Claudia and makes her both interesting and quite likeable. You do have a flair for efficiently and effectively developing pleasing characters. smile.gif

Nits?
"Cameleon enchantment. This is a Ring of Shadows I took from a Dremora mage a while ago...'
Chameleon is the spelling.

You have trend toward run-on or complex sentences. Let me show you but two examples. I will offer you a suggested alternative on the first one, then leave fiddling with the second one to you:

'This time he took off the ring as soon as the trapdoor was closed, and walked over to the table and unfolded a map. "Can you show me Sky's Edge Cave?"
My recommendation: This time he took off the ring as soon as the trapdoor was closed. Walking over to the table, he unfolded a map and said, "Can you show me Sky's Edge Cave?"

'From the shrine, they headed North across the open snow, looking for the cave entrance, until at last they found a trail that led them to Sky's Edge Cave, and the two entered, hoping the courier and bear were still around.'


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ghastley
post Feb 28 2011, 03:43 AM
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@Acadian: I see what you mean about running them together. I think it's my equivalent of Fast Travel; the "get them moved quickly, so we can get back to the story" habit. tongue.gif But it's having the opposite effect, as I'm adding extra conjunctions I don't need.

However, I'm now thinking I want to slow down the second one and take a look around. That's not a piece of the map that gets many visitors, so it could use some scene-painting. Before I added the cave, that was a trail to nowhere, and it still is a trail from nowhere, as there's nothing at the other end. That quirk probably deserves a mention, if I can think of a way to add it. (Edit: and I believe I did).

This post has been edited by ghastley: Feb 28 2011, 03:59 AM


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mALX
post Feb 28 2011, 04:42 AM
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What I find most exciting about this is that at some point in your story you will be able to get on the PC and see the story come to life - that is AWESOME !!!

I wanted to do something similar but don't have the skills needed. I did make a mod to go along with my fic - just for my own personal use - but it made a huge difference to me in inspiring the story as well.

I am so excited to see where this goes when you bring in the mod - this is HUGE that you are making a whole story as a backdrop to your mod (or making a mod as a backdrop to your story) - AWESOME !!!

Loving the story so far !!!


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ghastley
post Mar 2 2011, 01:24 AM
Post #18


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Joined: 13-December 10



The first two tales in this short series featured two of the riders, because the quests did the same. The third quest didn't have a central character, so I just picked one to give the tale a viewpoint. All the dialog with the Hero is taken directly from the in-game dialog, the rest is added for this story.

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Svana's tale

Svana's bear galloped along the trail towards Silver Tooth Cave, the point where her patrol ended, and Pala's began. She was hoping to see her fellow Rider there, as she hadn't spoken to anyone for several days.

And there she was, talking to a traveler! Svana urged her bear even faster, as the prospect of a real conversation was too good to miss.

"... the same old route, and the same cold weather all the time. Every now and then there's a bit of excitement when a new bunch of bandits move into the camp, but we clear them out and it's back to wild animals," Pala was telling him. "I need a bit of the other kind of excitement, if you know what I mean. And a few days off to enjoy it."

Svana dismounted and went to join them. "This has to be the hardest duty in all the Legion! It's always cold up here and we have to camp out in the open," she agreed. "I patrol this same stretch from Silver Tooth Cave to the road to the Ancestor Moth Temple over and over and rarely see anything but wild creatures." She almost envied Pala's recurring bandits, she thought ruefully. At least they spoke to her, even if it was just to tell her to jump on their swords. "I need a change of scenery for a few days - and a bit of male company wouldn't go amiss, either," she continued, echoing Pala's sentiments.

"The men get to sleep in barracks in the cities, or stay at the Inns and Taverns on their patrols. Every month, they rotate duties, and get a couple of days to relax before their new assignments. We girls don't have a base of our own to go back to. That's what we really need." Pala told him.

It was about then that it dawned on Svana that she was talking with the Hero of Kvatch! Her mind raced with the possibilities. The higher-ups never listened to the Riders' complaints, but would they listen to the Hero? He dashed those hopes almost immediately when he told them about how Claudia had been treated, and how little he'd been able to do through official channels.

But then he raised them again, by announcing that he'd take their cause to Ocato, the High Chancellor himself!

As the Hero strode off down the trail in the direction of Cheydinhal, the two women conferred. "Do you believe he can do it?" asked Svana.

"If anybody can" replied Pala, climbing back onto her bear. "We''ll just have to wait and see."

----------

Several days later Svana met up with her colleague again. Pala told her she'd seen the Hero again just a few hours before, and he'd asked the way to Fort Horunn. He'd brought the good news that he had indeed been able to speak to the High Chancellor. He'd told Ocato about the Riders' lack of a base, and he had appeared sympathetic to the idea.

"So what's the bad news?" asked Svana. "If it was all good, you'd still be jumping up and down."

"Well, the way he put it was that you never get something from a politician, without giving something in exchange. In this case, Ocato wants a book found. It's supposed to describe a powerful spell or something." Pala tried to explain. "Apparently, the Hero had found a spell book when he was in the Chorrol area, called 'Finger of the Mountain', and returned it to the Mages Guild there. They'd sent it to the Mystic Archives at the Arcane University and a scholar there had discovered a reference to this other book, the one Ocato wants."

"So he's going into Fort Horunn to look for it. That's just off your patrol, isn't it?"

"Yes, and I'm glad it's not actually on my route. I'm sure I've seen will-o-the-wisps glowing near it."

Svana shivered, and it wasn't just the cold air.

----------

Another week passed, or maybe a little more. She had seen Pala another time near the cave, but she didn't have any news except "Same old bandits, same old wolves".

She was nearing the other end of her patrol, where the trail forked to go up to the Temple of the Ancestor Moths. A bay horse stood at the junction, without a rider. She dismounted and walked over to it.

"Thanks for watching my horse" said a voice behind her. A Legionary stepped out of the brush, wiping blood off his sword. "Only a wolf", he continued. He sheathed the weapon, and then reached into his saddlebag, pulling out two scrolls of parchment. "You're Svana, I presume". She nodded.

He handed the scrolls to Svana. "These are for you, and I have another pair to deliver to Pala. She'll be further up this trail, right?"

"Yes, her patrol starts at Silver Tooth Cave, and goes all the way to Dragon Claw Rock, due north of Bruma." replied Svana. "She could be anywhere along that stretch."

"Thank you again, ma'am" said the Legionary, remounting. "I'd read those right away, if I were you".

Svana did so. Twice, because she didn't believe it all the first time.

The first was her new orders. They included her schedule for R&R, at the new Lodge they'd just completed outside Bruma! She'd have three days there each month from now on, and sleep in a real bed in a warm room. There was a tavern there, and the prospect of company!

The second was from the Hero, filling in the other half of the story. The book had indeed been in the Fort. The spell it described was so powerful, no mage could cast it! The scholars at the University were currently working on a plan to harness a Dark Welkynd Stone to use it as a trap. He didn't yet know where the trap was to be set, but he'd keep them informed as soon as there was any news.

The Black Horse Courier knew of the Riders' part in the discovery of the book, so she should expect to be interviewed. The letter told her what the reporters were allowed to know at this time..It also gave her a few hints to guide her "speculation" about the things she wasn't supposed to know. Those could be used to feed rumors as well, so she had plenty to talk about at the Lodge when her turn came round.

When was that again? She read that part a third time. "I get to be the first Rider to stay at the Lodge? Pala can keep her bandits; I got the bragging rights now!"

------

"Wow! this is more than the hut I was expecting" Svana said to herself, as she came in sight of the building. "It looks big enough for us all to stay here at the same time".

When she stepped into the Lodge, she found that was precisely the intention of Gudrun, the new Captain. "If I need to bring you all in for a briefing, you all need proper accomodation. I have to allow for recruitment, too, as Ocato's got big plans for us."

Gudrun told her to go downstairs and pick a room. Since each Rider had a regular schedule for their stay at the Lodge, they'd be able to use the same one each time. Anything they left in storage, such as civilian clothes, could be moved into their room before they arrived, and put back away when they left. "But I don't have any civilian clothes," she protested.

"Then go into Bruma and buy some. You've got a bonus to spend!" replied Gudrun, dropping a heavy bag of coin into her hand.

Svana could only nod, and Gudrun turned and went back up the stairs to her office. Taking the other stairs down, Svana went to check out the bedrooms.

She must be dreaming! Rugs, paintings, tapestries, cupboards and drawers in each of the rooms. And a big, soft, double bed! She checked them all, and every room was the same, except for the colors on the covers, so she chose the green. She sprawled on the bed, sinking into the soft comforter and thought "Three whole days of this, and again every month!"

Sitting up again, she looked around the room once more. noticing the little things. There were potted plants in the corners, a chest she could lock, and a white plush toy bear sitting on the top of the drawers. There had to be a catch somewhere, this was just too good to be true.

But Gudrun told her otherwise. "This place is supposed to help us recruit new Riders," she explained. "You already know what it's like out on patrol, and Ocato's concerned that we couldn't get any more girls to join us if that was all we had to offer."

The Captain continued. "While you're here, the Legion pays your bar tab, and you can eat as much as you like in the dining hall. The smith in town will do your repairs, and send us the bill. When we have more Riders, we'll probably add our own forge and do it all here."

"Oh, and I nearly forgot to tell you about Timo." Gudrun winked when she said that. "He''ll do any recharging you need. You can find him down in the hall, probably taking to Magnus, the barkeep".

Svana looked puzzled. Her armor didn't need recharging, and her Claymore wasn't enchanted, so why...? Her blush told Gudrun that she understood.


-------------------

I'll add some screenshots here as soon as I have the links sorted out.



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Mods for Oblivion and now Daggerfall and Skyrim. Fan fiction, too.
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SubRosa
post Mar 2 2011, 01:45 AM
Post #19


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Between The Worlds



Another nice little piece about Svana and Palla. The teddy bear was a delightful touch!

One thing that immediately came to mind at the beginning however, was that the two women were talking to the (presumably male) Hero of Kvatch and saying how they miss male company. Talk about a hint as subtle as the Ministry of Truth crashing into you! Yet it all blows right over the HoK's head, as all he says is he'll take it up with Ocato? blink.gif Unless the HoK is gay, should we then presume that the women are as attractive as the bears they ride?


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mALX
post Mar 2 2011, 02:57 AM
Post #20


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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Cyrodiil, the Wastelands, and BFE TN



QUOTE(SubRosa @ Mar 1 2011, 07:45 PM) *

Another nice little piece about Svana and Palla. The teddy bear was a delightful touch!

One thing that immediately came to mind at the beginning however, was that the two women were talking to the (presumably male) Hero of Kvatch and saying how they miss male company. Talk about a hint as subtle as the Ministry of Truth crashing into you! Yet it all blows right over the HoK's head, as all he says is he'll take it up with Ocato? blink.gif Unless the HoK is gay, should we then presume that the women are as attractive as the bears they ride?



ROFL !!! Almost sprayed coffee everywhere when I read that !!!

They not only gave BROAD hints, but then gave him their patrol routes in case he wanted to stop in. So what will he say to Ocato? ROFL !!! "Er...the women are getting lonely and need some male companionship...High Chancellor Ocato, sir..."

I loved this segment - AWESOME !!!


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