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> For My Brother, For Glory, For Tamriel (Vol. 1), The Daedric Invasion through the Champion's eyes.
Captain Hammer
post Dec 29 2009, 06:32 AM
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Author’s Note: What follows is the story based on my TES IV: Oblivion character. I decided to write this when, after reading Infernal City, I realized that my first fanfic had just been torpedoed. Additionally, I felt that yet another Morrowind fanfic would pale in the presence of some of the other, very well-written pieces on this site (Black Hand, Treydog, I’m looking at you). Any and all differences not found accessible in the vanilla game are based on too great a number of mods for me to effectively list here. Enjoy.

Prologue:
For Myself.


I was dreaming again. But this was different. A man stood alone in the dark, the sole source of light coming from the massive ruby on his chest. I had been through the legions, I knew both by sight, if not by heart. The Emperor and the Amulet. He turned, as if to face me, and words I barely heard and registered filled my head. Something about dreams and rule, reigning and sleeping and dying. The vision shifted, to what I knew to be a view of the planes of Oblivion. Daedra, angry and armed, marched towards a glowing portal, a massive machine moving behind them on insect like legs. As they approached the gate, I felt the malicious presence that guided them. Even as they began to enter the portal, the view collapsed into a storm and fog. It faded to white, and when the misty haze cleared I was looking down at the Imperial City as though I were some spirit, the massive tower of the Imperial Palace before me. I seemed to float—no, fly—in and circled around the different districts of the city. As I flew, the emperor’s voice came in again, this time clearer. He said the date, and then something I will never forget. He told me that the Third Era was ending, and that it would be the last day of his life. Almost immediately, I could hear the Imperial Fanfare swell up, the noise odd, but strangely comforting. As I flew around the city, I left on a tangent, arcing out to head in a straight line towards the window of a small cell on the island that held the Imperial Prison. My cell…

I sat up, breathing hard. For a while I had forgotten where I was, but looking around I recalled vividly the events that had brought me here, the odd images of the dream temporarily set aside. I was Awtwyr Draghoyn, Breton, Champion (ret.) of the Eighth Imperial Legion, Hammerfell and Morrowind Tours. My life story prior to this was as dull as one could imagine. I had been born in my people’s home of High Rock, to a farming family, first of four children. After me came a sister, then a brother, and then another sister. Gwen, the elder, had married off at eighteen, my younger brother Roland had chosen to continue with the family’s farm, and my youngest sister Bethany was probably just now being courted by the eligible young men from the local villages. My father had always remarked that being the eldest made me grow up the fastest, and like his elder brother, who was my favorite uncle, I decided to make something of myself in the Legions.

I spent two tours of duty in service, found out that I made a decent navigator when sailing, and managed to acquire the basic skills in both heavy and light armor, swordsmanship, blocking, blacksmithing, marksmanship, and athletic conditioning to make me generally fit for service. Those eight years had been spent hunting bandits, hunting deer for the officers’ table, and “expanding the protection of the Empire” whenever a minor noble started making enough trouble for his liege-lord to call us in. The first re-up for duty meant a nice pay increase and better choice of tasks. A second one was out of the question. I wasn’t what they called “partial to the necessities of knighthood,” which meant that even though I had fighting skills, I had little skills in the politics of the service, and they knew that too much of my leave time had been spent studying magic, a field that was always in my focus. Bretons and High Elves will always argue about who makes a better mage. But I was determined to prove, at least to myself, that a properly trained Breton would be able to not only make the best Altmer go the distance, but that in the end the Breton would win.

Once I got out, I visited home, and realizing that there was little for me by way of employment or marriage prospects (I was just shy of my twenty-fourth name-day, and all eligible women in that small town were either young or ugly), I headed off to that great bastion of all that I had fought for: the capital. When I got there, I rented a room at the King and Queen Inn, and spent a week touring the city, eyeing the baubles in the market, wagering away almost a fifth of my accumulated pay at the arena, and seeing if I could reignite some form of piety when visiting the temple district.

But all good things, it seemed, must come to an end. After a week, I had grown less satisfied with the city, and in a great way, with myself. I had been drinking progressively more and more each night, and on that fateful night, I heard somebody make a remark about my kind that I didn’t take too kindly. I wasn’t much of a brawler, but I went at him anyways, aiming my right hand straight across his jaw. He staggered back, was caught by one of his friends, and before I knew it I was facing a couple of pissed off Dunmer, with a big Nord standing next to me angry about something that one of the aforementioned Dark Elves had thrown. Based on the flecks of clay in his hair, I assumed that a mug aimed at me had gone stray from the alcohol-induced aim. I nodded to my sudden ally, and went low, he high. My target saw it coming, and rushed to meet me. But I was a trained Legion soldier, and had made friends easy enough in the unofficial boxing matches that the officers didn’t look for too carefully. As he dove at me, I smashed my knee into the ashborn’s face, hooked my right arm around him, and leveraged my body and left arm to flip him up, over, and straight into the stone floor.

I turned to try and help my ally, only to feel five strong arms pull me back and shove me to the ground. I recognized the technique, I could do it myself, and the steel behind the wrestling movement confirmed what I was dealing with. The Imperial City Guard. Despite the alcohol, I knew trouble when it hit me. I looked up to see about six men break up the remaining combatants and sit everybody down. Then a man in the silver and white finery of a captain came in, looking at us all with the strong jawline of a poster boy for the law. “I am Captain Hieronymous Lex,” he said with that voice of enforced authority. “I want to know what happened here.”

After several people came forward to identify that I had started the brawl, Lex turned to question me. I identified myself, and claimed that I was merely defending my honor. “In the Legion, somebody insulted your blood, the captain would let the men settle it themselves. I’m not a man for letting things slide.”

“Well, citizen, you’re not a soldier now, this isn’t the legion depot, and these others aren’t trained fighters. You can’t hold your drink, you should maybe look for another place to stay. Meanwhile, you’ve cost me and my men valuable time. I had information that the Grey Fox was in the city tonight, and now I’m spending my time dealing with you. Do You Have Any Idea WHAT YOU’VE COST ME?!?!?” Lex was getting himself red in the face.

I couldn’t but help the reply. “You know most people accept the fact that the Grey Fox is just a myth, right? That’s what common sense says, anyway.” That was a mistake on my part.

“I will not tolerate this type of insurrection! You show disgrace to your comrades and your colors! I’m placing you under arrest for disturbing the peace, drunk and disorderly conduct, and inciting violent mayhem. You want to come easy, or do we drag you out by your heels?" Lex looked ready, as though I had personally killed his mother. But then I realized that killing his mother might not have been as harmful to him as taking away his chance at fame.

“I’ll go quiet,” I said.

They half-escorted me, half-carried me through the city towards the prison. It wasn’t my fault, I had taken a few nasty blows, and that combined with the alcohol promised to make my steps falter. When they got me to the cells, they had trouble with the locks on a few, finally deciding to throw me into the one that seemed least used, and never once cleaned. They handed me a foul concoction, one that restored my health but left me drained of strength, shackled my arms, and left, talking about moving me out first thing in the morning to go before the Imperial Justice. Across from me was a Dark Elf, who looked to have made this his long term residence. I ignored him, climbed into my bunk, and went to sleep.

When my dream had woken me, I stood, feeling slightly better. The sun had risen and was already at midday, which meant that the guards had not taken me before the magistrate that morning. I stretched, and the Dark Elf gestured to me, asking me to move closer. I shuffled up to the bars, and he promptly launched into a stream of invectives at getting a better look at me. Something about being his sworn enemy and me staying while he would get out to enjoy the world again. I suppose now would be as good a time to describe myself as any. I was taller than many a Breton, and between that and the brownish-red hair that graced my head I knew myself to have some amount of Nord blood in me. My eyes were the bright grey-green of my father, my hair and expression that of his father, and my mother had often said that when I scowled, my entire jaw could have matched her father. Thus, I was pretty much guaranteed that my father was indeed my father, with the same holding true for my grandfathers, a true-born peasant of true-born peasants.

As the Dark Elf continued his rant, the doors at the end of the hall opened, and an Imperial male and Breton female in ornate, steel battle armor with an Akivir Katana came to my cell. Apparently, neither I, nor anybody else, was supposed to be in that cell, but there I was. I was ordered back underneath the window, and knowing a superior swordsman when I saw the Imperial's grip on his own blade, I backed off. He could have killed me if he wished it. Once I was safely back, he opened the cell door, and steeped forward to prevent me from moving. Behind him came the other armored figure, escorting an aged man in purple robes…Emperor Uriel Septim the Seventh, Ruler of all Tamriel.


_____________________________________________________________________________
Author's Post Script: Any and all comments or recommendations are welcome. Criticisms, especially stuff missed by a spell-checker, are appreciated.

This post has been edited by Captain Hammer: Aug 10 2010, 07:17 PM


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ureniashtram
post Dec 30 2009, 08:03 PM
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From: The River Acheron to the Gates of Hell.



`Tis a very good opening, Capt'n. Especially when Lex's face got red when Awtwyr says the Gray Fox is but an urban legend in front of his face. Anyways, please give us an update soon, Cap'tn. biggrin.gif


--------------------
Djinn: What wish would you like to have, young master?
Random dude: SUPA POWAZ!
--
Djinn: Is there anything I could make true, lord?
Old guy: .. Youth and charisma.
--
Djinn: Your heart speaks of wanting. I could make it true, milord.
Me: Hmmm. I wish to know what I want. Then you could hook me up in some insidious deal, spirit.
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Captain Hammer
post Dec 31 2009, 08:22 AM
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Chapter 1:
For the Emperor.


The two members of the Blades (who else was issued Akaviri arms and armor) walked in, the Imperial carefully keeping himself between me and Emperor Septim. The female addressed him as Glenroy, which I realized was his name. She went over to the space where my stone bunk sat, and moved a hidden switch. The panel of the wall slid down, revealing a long tunnel, and the emperor came forward. As he passed, he saw me in the light of the window, and when he did, he came up to me, pushing Glenroy aside by just a few inches.

“You ... I've seen you. Let me see your face...you are the one from my dreams...then the stars were right, and this is the day. Gods give me strength,” he said.

“What’s going on?” I asked. I had heard his questions of the other two about his sons, and his resignation to their deaths. Already this man was carrying pain.

“Assassins attacked my sons, and I'm next. My Blades are leading me out of the city along a secret escape route. By chance, the entrance to that escape route leads through your cell.”

I couldn’t help but ask “Why am I in this jail-cell?”

“Perhaps the Gods have placed you here so that we may meet,” came his reply. “As for what you have done...it does not matter. That is not what you will be remembered for.”

“What should I do?” I asked. To the left of me led escape, freedom…and probably a bounty on my head so large that I would never be able to settle for long. And yet the emperor again provided me with an answer.

“You will find your own path. Take care... there will be blood and death before the end.” He then turned, and followed the female down the tunnel. Glenroy paused, but followed as well, and the Redguard, the one they had addressed as Baurus, brought up the rear.

As they entered, they discussed, and decided not to close the path. Baurus motioned me to follow, calling it my lucky day. And then, with the simple pronouncement of the words, the emperor pardoned me of ‘any crimes,’ as if undoing all that Lex had said the night before. We came to an unused section of the sewers, and as we walked, armored forms in black and red came out of nowhere, attacking the Blades that had just barely managed to intercept them. They fought, and I stayed back and out of the way. I was a soldier, trained to use armor and swords, and my disastrous exit from the King and Queen Tavern had shown me that I wasn’t made for a bare-knuckles brawl.

Baurus and Glenroy finished off the last assassin, and returned to the emperor’s side. He asked about the other, a ‘Captain Renault,’ but Baurus just shook his head, and told him that she was dead. I went over to the body, and retrieved her katana, the shortsword she had carried as a secondary weapon, and the torch she had carried. I figured that I might need them, and Baurus just gave me a cool gaze, but said nothing.

We came to another gate, and here the emperor turned to me and bade me farewell. “Here you must find your own path. But we will cross paths before the end, I am sure of it.” The guards were clearly agitated about letting me follow them further, and I waited while they went through, locking the gate behind me. But as they went forward, Uriel spoke again, softly. “This is only the beginning. Worse is yet to come.”

As I watched the light from their torches fade, I stepped back to take stock of where I was. The way back was open, but how would I look, walking back into my cell with the personal sword of a Blade at my side, her dead body in the tunnel that shouldn’t lead from my cell? The only hope was to go onward. I was, after all, now a free man. But no sooner had the thoughts flitted through my mind, then the wall to my right crumbled as rats came through, hungry, and looking directly at me.

That was their mistake. I cut the first one out of the air, and then sidestepped, allowing the second to leap past me before I turned and slashed open its midsection, its blood leaking out in two seconds. Beyond the ruined wall was a short tunnel and a door to a lost set of cavern passages. I had my escape, or at least I hoped I did. I entered, thankful for the torch, keeping the light away from me to see past the torch flames in the darkness of the caves. I had no need of ruining my vision now. Forward I went, slowly to catch the sounds of other occupants. Those rats had been hungry but not emaciated, which meant that they had been driven through the passage not because of a lack of food, but because others had claimed the territory that they were unable to stay and hunt on. I would not be the only thing in the tunnel system. And though the rocks and dirt had not the sharp imprints of an armored boot’s instep, I could see more than just the rat’s faint tracks. Unbidden, another cold thought came to mind. The assassins had been able to get to the emperor, through his supposedly own secret passage. They might have stumbled upon this path as well.

I did not have long to wait before I met more of the rats. I would cut one open when I could sneak up on it, or failing that, cast the minor flare spell at the rats that the Legions had made us learn to be able to start a fire in conditions where tinder was absent or the wind prevents a spark from catching. Not to mention that it made a useful signal. After the rats, I encountered a goblin, confirming my suspicions about bigger things down here. The goblins were probably the most troublesome of the lot, since they had a small measure of mean intelligence to back their natural ferocity. At least the undead were only reacting to whatever senseless drive had imbued them when they had been raised.

Shortly into the tunnel, I found a few pieces of armor, some of fur, some leather, and some of worn iron. I donned the iron first, the lighter pieces on after noting what was missing, and stowing the rest in a sack that was lying nearby. I found a bow as well, in generally the same condition as the armor, and a rusty iron longsword, a blade that might do if I needed it, but was significantly inferior to the katana or the shortsword. I was able to round out my foraging with arrows and a few potions. Onward I went, cutting down enemies in the name of myself, my survival, and the hopes of getting out alive.

I continued on, meeting what was probably my closest brush with death when I encountered two goblins, one of which was a rather irate shaman. Dodging the lightning spells coming from his staff was made ever more difficult by the efforts of the brawler hassling my side, until I managed to move the melee combatant into the line of fire, so to speak, taking the brunt of the damage whilst giving me a chance to run it through. Taking out the shaman was a simple matter of strafing the lightning until I got close enough to smash his staff back into his own face. As he recoiled I stepped forward with my left foot, twisting my body to drive the katana at the goblin’s unprotected shoulder. The blade glanced off bone, and another set of swift cuts tore open its throat, ending its life. I took the staff, hoping I didn’t have need of it too soon.
____________________________________________

As always, comments are appreciated, criticism welcomed, and jokes accepted (with witty replies forthcoming from me).

This post has been edited by Captain Hammer: Aug 13 2010, 02:52 AM


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My fists are not the Hammer!
100% Tamriel Department of Awesomeness (TDA) Certified Grade-A Dragonborn. Do not use before 11/11/11. Product of Tamriel.

Awtwyr Draghoyn: The FanFic; The FanArt.
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Captain Hammer
post Dec 31 2009, 09:06 PM
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Author's Note: I had a rather productive night of writing. Thought I'd finish it out to have the whole sewer sequence out of the way.

For the Emperor, Cont.


Beyond that, the door opened into another section of the sewers beneath the island. I crept forward slowly, hearing voices that became clear as I approached. The first was a Redguard’s, the second the aged sonorous voice of the emperor. The first words I understood came from Baurus, “…at was all of them. Let me take a look around.”

“Have you seen the prisoner?” asked the emperor, referring to me.

“Do you think he followed us? How could he?” asked Baurus.

“I know he did” was all that the emperor said.

Glenroy cut in. “Sire, we have to go now.”

“Not yet. Let me rest a moment longer.” I could hear the fatigue in the emperor’s voice. I looked around, and noted there wasn’t a chance for me to get out any other way. I was no master of the school of illusion, and the only visible means of exit would take me past the emperor and his Blades.

It seemed, however, that in looking for the exit, I had allowed Glenroy to see me. “Dammit, it's that prisoner again! Kill him, he might be working with the assassins,” he shouted at Baurus.

“No.” Uriel’s voice was quiet, but still impressively audible. He had a hand on Glenroy’s arm, restraining the over-eager guard. “He is not one of them. He can help us. He must help us.” As he spoke, he fixed me with a look of understanding. The same look he had given me in my dream.

Glenroy mumbled an “As you wish, Sire,” before stepping away.

Uriel Septim VII did nothing but beckon me towards him. “Come closer,” he said quietly. “I’d prefer not to have to shout.” I approached, conscious of the sword but not my newfound armor. “They cannot understand why I trust you. They've not seen what I've seen. How can I explain? Listen. You know the Nine? How they guide our fates with an invisible hand?” He asked me in earnest. I wish I could have replied the same way.

“I don’t know. I don’t think about it, Sire. I was a soldier, not paid to reason why.”

He fixed me with the look my grandfather had once used on me, when I had first spoke of joining the legions, filled with a fourteen-year-old’s dreams of glory and fame. “I've served the Nine all my days, and I chart my course by the cycles of the heavens.” He spoke with the voice of a teacher, as though lecturing at a school “The skies are marked with numberless sparks, each a fire, and every one a sign. I know these stars well, and I wonder... which sign marked your birth?”

This took me aback, but I responded easily. “What about me? The Mage. Not much use for a soldier, but I can no more change that the color of my eyes.”

“Today the Mage shall light your way of the paths of glory,” he said, with all the confidence of an astronomer, and the distance of the only legitimate soothsayer I had ever known.

I couldn’t help but then ask him “Can you see my fate?”

He shook his head slightly. “My dreams grant me no opinions of success. Their compass ventures not beyond the doors of death. But in your face, I behold the sun's companion. The dawn of Akatosh's bright glory may banish the coming darkness. With such hope, and with the promise of your aid, my heart must be satisfied.” He smiled ruefully, as if considering some bitter thought.

I looked around, hoping for a better sense of what was happening, what would happen. “Where are we going?” I asked.

“I go to my grave. A tongue shriller than all the music calls me. You shall follow me yet for a while, then we must part.” He spoke with such calm, such candor. He knew, on some deep level, that his death was near.

“Aren’t you afraid to die?” I asked. What would you have done? Before me stood the highest authority in Tamriel, and he spoke of his coming death in a way that even suicidal soldiers never spoke. I had seen them before. Men who volunteered for the tough assignments, accepting without bravado or question. They were the ones that always ordered men behind them, the ones always ready to stay behind. The emperor was nothing like that.

“No trophies of my triumphs precede me. But I have lived well, and my ghost shall rest easy. Men are but flesh and blood. They know their doom, but not the hour. In this I am blessed to see the hour of my death... To face my apportioned fate, then fall.” Before I could reply, Baurus came and offered me another torch to illuminate the path. I took it, but stowed it, keeping the shield in my left hand. Glenroy motioned us forward, and Uriel began walking, but half turned to face me. “Come with us,” he said, “Your destiny is bound up with mine, and with the fate of Tamriel itself.”

What could I say, and what could I do but follow? Little else enough, it turned out. I followed them forward a ways, only for another ambush of assassins to hit us out of the shadows. Baurus and Glenroy showed me just why they had become the emperor’s personal guards, and even Uriel had his sword out to strike down one of the figures covered in black and red summoned armor. I dropped two, consciously aware of the fact that I was now protecting my emperor, who expected to die anyways. After that, and seeing the broken status of my shield, I decided to carry the torch as Baurus had suggested, giving them the light to see and prevent another sneak attack from getting too close.

We finally made it to another room, but the exit was barred from the other side, and no sooner did the guards realize this then another wave of assassins attacked us. There was a small area to the side where the walls created a choke point that one or two people could defend, and the Blades pushed Uriel Septim and I towards it with instructions for me to guard the emperor while they tried to open the escape and cut down the assassins.

After I fought and killed two of the assassins, there was a lull. I could hear Baurus and Glenroy fighting more of our enemies, but for the moment the emperor and I had peace. I felt his hand grasp my shoulder, and I turned to face him. “I can go no further,” he said. “You alone must stand against the Prince of Destruction and his mortal servants. He must not have the Amulet of Kings! Take the Amulet. Give it to Jauffre. He alone knows where to find my last son. Find him, and close shut the jaws of Oblivion.”

For some reason, I dreaded my next words, but the forced themselves past lips anyway. “Your Amulet? Then this is ‘Goodbye’?” I asked.

“This is where my journey ends. For you though, the road is long and dangerous. Now, give me your hand.” I dropped the torch in my left hand, and offered it to my emperor. He brought his hand to his chest, and drew off the Amulet of Kings, placing the Red Diamond gem and fine gold chain in my hand. No sooner had he done so then a panel of wall behind him rose, and an assassin with sword at the ready lept at us. The emperor must have seen my eyes go wide. That instant will stay with me forever. I felt him close my hand over the Amulet, and push me back just a step. He half-stepped, half turned, and looked straight into the eyes of his killer as the blade went into him.

But even as Uriel Septim VII died, my hand was coming around, the katana of Captain Renault cutting at the weak point of the armor’s neck. The assassin tried to move to block it, but the blade was caught in the purple of the robes, and even as the arm was brought up, the steel of the Akaviri sword cut into the neck of my liege’s killer. I felt the body collapse, the weight tugging the blade free from my hand. Behind me I heard shouts, and an armored fighter approaching. I drew the shortsword, and turned to find Baurus, bloody, and alone.

He saw me, holding the amulet, and looked past me, horror dawning on his face as his mind tried to tell him that the emperor was dead, the assassin crumpled with a katana half buried in its throat. “The emperor…” he said, looking. Then he turned his attention back to me. “The Amulet of Kings, you hold it. Why…?” the question died on his lips.

“He gave it to me,” I replied, the sudden rush of battle dying on me. “He said find the last heir, take the Amulet to Jauffre. Who is this Jauffre?”

“Jauffre? He is the grandmaster of our order. If the emperor was referring to another heir, then Jauffre would know more about that than anyone. The emperor clearly entrusted you with this task. Go to Weynon Priory. Here,” he took out a map, new and only marked with the cities of Cyrodiil, and marked the spot where the priory stood.

“What about Glenroy?” I asked.

Baurus just shook his head. At his side hung a second katana. I reached for the one I had used, but he stopped me. “That belongs in a place of honor. Those moves of yours, though, I’ve seen similar attacks, similar postures. You’re a Scout, right?”

“No. I’m a legionnaire, trained as a Skirmisher. Though I’ve dabbled in the magical fields,” I offered by way of explanation.

Baurus nodded. “Here,” he gave me a key, old and complex, “This key will get you through the rest of the sewers. I’ll stay to guard the emperor’s body until the watch comes, they’ll be here in the morning. The emperor pardoned you, and I’ll communicate that to the magistrate. You’ll be free to get to Weynon Priory. May the Nine guide you.”

I placed the amulet in an inside pocket, tucked beneath one of the iron plates of the armor. I was able to get the shield into working quality, setting off through the sewers to deal with more rats, and a few more goblins. I soon made it to the final grate, exiting into the late day sunlight, the massive structure of the Imperial City behind me. I briefly debated going to retrieve my items in the morning, but realized the futility. Pardoned of my crimes I might be, but the retrieval of my meager belongings, likely already tallied and up for auction to pay for the expenses of jailing me, would cost more to me than twice their total worth. Instead, I opened up the map, and in the better light I was able to see my destination.

Weynon Priory. It was nestled just beneath Chorrol, likely built on the foothills south of the city. I took out the Amulet of Kings, held it, and contemplated my choices. Slowly, I realized that I had only one real choice. A choice for the man I had known for less than three hours. A choice...for the Emperor.
__________________________________________

Same as before, comments and criticisms are asked for, and likely to be required before this goes much further.

This post has been edited by Captain Hammer: Aug 13 2010, 02:51 AM


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My fists are not the Hammer!
100% Tamriel Department of Awesomeness (TDA) Certified Grade-A Dragonborn. Do not use before 11/11/11. Product of Tamriel.

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ureniashtram
post Jan 4 2010, 07:37 PM
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From: The River Acheron to the Gates of Hell.



biggrin.gif Very, very nice, man. I like it. Well, hope you give some of us an update, ok.


--------------------
Djinn: What wish would you like to have, young master?
Random dude: SUPA POWAZ!
--
Djinn: Is there anything I could make true, lord?
Old guy: .. Youth and charisma.
--
Djinn: Your heart speaks of wanting. I could make it true, milord.
Me: Hmmm. I wish to know what I want. Then you could hook me up in some insidious deal, spirit.
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Captain Hammer
post Jan 4 2010, 09:37 PM
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QUOTE(ureniashtram @ Jan 4 2010, 01:37 PM) *

biggrin.gif Very, very nice, man. I like it. Well, hope you give some of us an update, ok.


"Some of us?" Dude, so far you're the only one that's indicated to me that they're reading it. It's akin to "giving one of us an update, ok." deal.

I have to wait to make sure I don't get so far ahead of this thing that people who might be on vacation right now come back and find an impossibly long, continuing fanfic about the good ol' Champion of Cyrodiil.


--------------------
My fists are not the Hammer!
100% Tamriel Department of Awesomeness (TDA) Certified Grade-A Dragonborn. Do not use before 11/11/11. Product of Tamriel.

Awtwyr Draghoyn: The FanFic; The FanArt.
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Olen
post Jan 5 2010, 05:18 PM
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Good stuff. I am reading now but your right, a lot of people will be afk for whatever reason over the holidays. I imagine interest will pick up though.

I like it, you're managing it well, it's very close to the cannon but you're injecting enough of the character to keep it fresh. So good stuff and you didn't linger too long on the tutorial which is also good.

My main criticism would be that there is a lack of imagery (metaphors etc) which, while not wrong, does limit you somewhat in my opinion. You might want to try a few well placed ones to enrich your description quickly and effectively. Saying that the writing is good and has a variety of sentence structures and lengths etc.

Good stuff. smile.gif


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Protector152
post Jan 6 2010, 01:08 AM
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97 views says people are reading it, most of us just won't comment. this is because either we can't see anything that needs improving or becaus we don't consider ourselves qualifide to give feedback.
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ureniashtram
post Jan 6 2010, 04:19 AM
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Protector152 says it all. Yes, I might be the only one commenting on your story, but that doesn't mean I'm only one enjoying it. 'Sides, the only reason I said 'some of us' is because I intended to, y'know, make the other readers comment on your wonderful story, unlike mine, however. Well, hope you update soon.


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Djinn: What wish would you like to have, young master?
Random dude: SUPA POWAZ!
--
Djinn: Is there anything I could make true, lord?
Old guy: .. Youth and charisma.
--
Djinn: Your heart speaks of wanting. I could make it true, milord.
Me: Hmmm. I wish to know what I want. Then you could hook me up in some insidious deal, spirit.
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Captain Hammer
post Jan 6 2010, 06:30 PM
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Fine, fine, fine. Naggers. Sheesh, I try to wait to make sure I don't get accused of charging ahead before most people get back from their holiday plans, and now it's like all of the Chorrol.com forum-users have suddenly turned into a swarm of Xivilai and Valkynaz all desperate to rip my heart out play soccer with my fine, red-haired, beautiful Breton face.

Expect something later tonight/early tomorrow morning-ish.


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My fists are not the Hammer!
100% Tamriel Department of Awesomeness (TDA) Certified Grade-A Dragonborn. Do not use before 11/11/11. Product of Tamriel.

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Protector152
post Jan 7 2010, 02:18 PM
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i have yet to find a good story that i stop reading just becaus i have 3 or 4 pages to catch up on.
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minque
post Jan 8 2010, 07:18 PM
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QUOTE(Protector152 @ Jan 6 2010, 01:08 AM) *

97 views says people are reading it, most of us just won't comment. this is because either we can't see anything that needs improving or becaus we don't consider ourselves qualifide to give feedback.

You're right, ppl are reading it and so they should, because this is a good piece of work!

On a side-note I consider myself qualified to give feedback, even though it's not so many times...RL takes its tribute out of me...


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Chomh fada agus a bhionn daoine ah creiduint in aif�iseach, leanfaidh said na n-aingniomhi a choireamh (Voltaire)

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Captain Hammer
post Jan 9 2010, 03:01 AM
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PLACEHOLDER!!!

Sorry 'bout the delay, guys and gals. Some days you have inspiration, and some days you wake up to find Boethiah standing above you, beating a headache into you capable of stopping Malacath. I've had the latter.


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100% Tamriel Department of Awesomeness (TDA) Certified Grade-A Dragonborn. Do not use before 11/11/11. Product of Tamriel.

Awtwyr Draghoyn: The FanFic; The FanArt.
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Captain Hammer
post Apr 21 2010, 06:47 AM
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And...I'm back. Sorry this took so long, but telling that story might actually take longer than finishing this. So you get the story, and must accept the mystery.

For the Grandmaster:


Having found myself outside, the sun setting and the Amulet of Kings pressing me in a most disconcerting manner, I chose the most sensible action possible for any recently released prisoner that had just looted the Imperial Sewers: I headed for the Imperial Market. Luckily, getting in through the outside gate was less of an issue than I feared, but given the quick cursory glances of the guards, I realized that I was currently only the last in a long line of adventurers in rusty armor looking to make an extra coin or two.

I managed to get to the armorers first, and after turning over a few pieces of spare armor, I managed to acquire a new iron cuirass, in much better condition than the piece of junk I had been wearing. Calling it a cuirass was a bit of a misnomer. During my tour in Morrowind which lasted till just after the Blight crisis, standard legion armor utilized separate pauldrons that were worn strapped into the cuirass itself. In the intervening years, Colovian armorers had started using a hauberk as the basis for torso protection. The concept was based off Dwemer armor found in un-touched ruins, wherein the shoulder and upper arm pieces were linked directly to the breastplate, and chain reinforcing extended into the gauntlet to protect the elbow. Now, when one wore a higher-end cuirass, the inner fit was a complete chainmail piece that extended down to the wrists, with plate extending from the upper arms to the neckline, and segmented plates over the torso extending to faulds for hip protection. So, while it was an integrated hauberk, cuirass, and set of pauldrons, the common reference was “cuirass” for most business transactions. Even the light armor and lower end materials were similarly termed, though the heavy iron was really just plates on the arms and the light stuff was either chain mesh or animal-skin. If you wanted the older model, you would have had to ask for it specifically. The newer styles had gained popularity for a reason, first and foremost being the greater protection and ease of wear.

With my iron, steel, and leather, coupled with several potions of restorative effects, I made my way out towards the old bridge that lead west over Lake Rumare. I was lost myself in the throng of people exiting the city, most headed to the various farmsteads and villages where a great deal of the crops that supported the city were grown. However, at the foot of the bridge was both an inn and a small farmhouse, and the decreasing daylight prompted me to take a room at the inn for a night. I hadn’t been a ranger, and the scouts of the Legions were a proud bunch. I spoke to the publican, Nerussa, and for 10 gold I had a bed for the night, and some modest amount of security.

I woke the next morning before the sun came up, gathered what possessions I had, and headed downstairs to acquire some food for my journey and settle my bill. Once this was finished, I headed out, noticing the slow trickle of farmers and merchants already headed in to the city proper. Nearly all were different from the ones I had seen yesterday, but that was to be expected. Growing up, my father had only gone into town on the days after bringing in a harvest to sell our surplus, or when he needed to transact business. We lived close enough for my siblings and I to take advantage of the education offered by the Temple, but other than that we spent most days on our farm.

Out on a small dock on the lake was an elderly Breton watching the water. I waved as I passed by, but he turned and came towards me, obviously wanting to talk. “Good morning, sir. Hope the day is greeting you well.” I tried to be polite as possible, as I did have a job to do but didn’t want to offend the man.

“Good morning to you too, lad. Aelwin Merowald. I was just thinking about me and the past. You know, stranger, there comes a time in every man’s life when he has to admit that he’s lost the fight. Well, I’ve fought and I’ve lost. Who did I lose to? Who is my great enemy? Well, don’t laugh... it’s a bunch of damn fish.” He smiled grimly, the face of a man who had struggled and been defeated by the circumstances of the world around him. He needed help, but damn his pride, he was loathe to ask.

Proceeding from here meant I had to tread carefully. I wanted to help the man, but I couldn’t be too eager or he’d brush me off. My voice level, I asked, directly but with the deference an apprentice shows to a master craftsmen, “Fish? I know they can get to be violent, but is there any way I can help you?”

Aelwin seemed to have lost me a moment, possibly taking my earnest for insult. “Go on and lau... Wait. Help? Well, then... I’m a fisherman. Or at least, I was. Until one of those slaughterfish damn near took my leg off. I was collecting their scales, see. I had a contract with this young alchemist. You wouldn’t believe what he was paying for those scales! Then last month, one of the bastards got a hold of my leg. Took me right out of business. But this alchemist, he needs the scales right away. The alchemist was paying so much for the scales that I’m close to having enough saved so I can retire. But now, I can’t get out there to the lake - - not with this leg. I only needed twelve more scales! Can you believe it? I was so close! I’ve picked up a few things in my travels. If you head out there and bring me back the twelve scales that I need, I can make it worth your time. Help an old fisherman out, won’t you?”

Slaughterfish? Scales? I knew they could be useful, but slaughterfish scales normally weren’t in the category of ‘high value items.’ But, the request was simple enough, so I figured I might be able to help the old fisherman. “I’d be happy to help. What do I need to do?”

“I need twelve more samples of scales from the Lake Rumare variety of slaughterfish. They’re localized in the waters under the bridge, though they spread out when feeding. Look for the golden shimmer, that’s them.” He showed me a leftover sample from a previous catch, and I could see what he was talking about. Most slaughterfish had scales that let them blend in with their aquatic environment. These were a bright gold that would stand out in the sunlight. Which probably helped explain their rarity. Predators that can’t catch prey don’t last very long.

I dove in, heedless of the extra weight of the armor, and spotted my first target. I had left the sword and archery equipment on the shore, instead using a dagger to make the quicker slashes needed to kill the swift yet frail creatures. After the first few, I had to get back to shore, regaining my breath and applying the small level healing to recover from their wounds.

“Smart, lad. Take care of yourself as soon as possible, otherwise you’ll end up like me.” Aelwin beamed down as I handed over the first four sets of scales. “Looks like I only need about eight more.” I nodded, mopping the water from my hair and working the armor off me. The weight was only slowing me down, and slaughterfish went for fingers, or one’s ears and eyes. I needed speed more than torso protection from the small fetchers. Once I had got my breath, back into the drink I went. This time I had the easier time, though I was ranging so far I might as well have circled the whole city. At least I still had my Legion training. Athleticism was important for any soldier. Horses couldn’t carry an army, the maintenance is too high. So instead, we train to run and jog and swim in armor and out, to be ready to move at a moment’s notice. Eventually, after a second trip back to rest (I hadn’t been drilling in the past months since my discharge, couldn’t be helped), I managed t haul in the last three sets of scales. I handed them over, and turned to find my armor dried and set aside for me.

Aelwin smiled as he took the last set of scales. “I'm looking forward to my retirement – long days in the stable with the horses, long mornings in bed, and best of all; no more fish! Here, have this. Hope you find it useful in your travels.” It was a ring, called ‘the Jewel of the Rumare,’ and had enchantments to boost athletics and allow me to breathe underwater. Useful effects, especially for the traveler like myself.

I got my armor and assorted gear back in place, and as I was about to take my leave of Weye, a lady on a black horse came thundering up from the bridge. “Hear ye, hear ye. Emperor and sons assassinated! Exclusive coverage in the Black Horse Courier!” She stopped briefly at the door to the inn, handed over a few copies of her stock to the gathered group, and galloped off, headed for the other cities and villages in Cyrodiil.

“The emperor, his family, dead?” Aelwin asked, looking at me, his eyes that of an old man trying to make sense of a great tragedy.

“It appears to be so,” I said, grabbing a copy and glancing over it. It told me nothing I did not know, though thankfully my name was not mentioned. If news could break this fast, I needed to move, quickly. “Farewell Aelwin, may your retirement be peaceful.”

I had spent a little over two hours harvesting Aelwin’s fish, so it was just past a quarter after eight in the morning when I once again set out on the road. Chorrol was seated in the hills of the Colovian Highlands, not so high in the mountains like Bruma, but of a higher elevation than Kvatch on its plateau. The city of the Great Oak, named for the iconic tree in the city’s main plaza, sat at the juncture of the Black Road and the Orange Road, and was my next stop.

The initial trip was uneventful. Walking, and with occasional rests, it took me five full days to arrive at Chorrol's gates. A deer along the way and some gathered herbs made for sustaining, if mediocre fare. On the late hours of the fifth day, I finally made it to the southern gates of the city. A guard was helpful enough to point out the road I’d need to get back to Weynon Priory, which I had passed, but I needed to establish myself as well. A trip to the main plaza brought me to two organizations almost synonymous with Cyrodiil’s influence on Tamriel: the Guild of Fighters and the Guild of Mages. The Arcane University in the Imperial City had restricted access recently, but the Fighters’ Guild was based here in Chorrol. It was a good as place as any to join up for both, and the best place for general outfitting. Modryn Oreyn, the Champion of the Fighters’ Guild, told me to check in at Anvil and Cheydinhal, but Teekeeus had nothing for me…yet. Oh, he signed me up, but stated that matters prevented him from dealing with me directly for the next few days.

I honestly only needed the resources, so I didn’t mind, and once that was done I headed back to Weynon Priory. Upon my arrival, I was met outside by a priest. “Welcome, good citizen,” he said, in greeting. “I am Brother Piner, and this is Weynon Priory, a monastery. Can I help you?”

“I’m looking for a man named Jauffre? Is he here?” I asked, not wanting to reveal anything I wasn’t supposed to talk about.

“Oh. Yes. He’ll be in the Priory House somewhere.” He gave me funny look, but gestured to the door. “You’ll likely find him upstairs. Prior Maborel can be found in indoors as well at this hour, and may also be of assistance if you need anything while you are here.” I nodded my thanks and went to go see the good prior first. I didn’t want to spread information supposed to be kept confidential, but as the head of the priory I hazarded that Prior Mabel would know about Jauffre’s less public functions.

I entered, and found the elder priest seated in the lobby. He rose to greet me, and came over to speak. “Welcome to Weynon Priory, a monastic retreat dedicated to Talos and the Nine Divines. I’m Prior Maborel, head of our community, and responsible for all our religious and secular affairs.”

“Talos?” I asked. “As in, the Order of Talos?” It was a religious subset of the Nine Divines, dedicated to Tiber Septim, or Talos, and popular with the Legions, though it had not had too strong a presence in Morrowind during my tour.

“Our order works to spread the teachings and worship of the divine Talos. Surely you have heard of us? If not, I invite you to spend some time in our fine library. All are welcome here.”

“Thank you, but I’m afraid my concerns lie more towards a…sensitive nature. What can you tell me about the Blades?” I didn’t want to tip my hand, but needed to understand the environment.

“The Emperor’s elite knights. They dedicate themselves to Talos above and the Septims here on earth. The loss of the Emperor must be a terrible blow to them.” Maborel’s eyes met mine, and glimmered with the spark of recognition. He knew what I was trying to get at, but wanted to test me as well.

Fair enough. “And the recent assassination? How did Weynon Priory take the news?”

His voice grew heavy, revealing the burden recent events had placed on him. “The priory is a chapterhouse of the Order of Talos. And with the last Septim emperor dead, and all his heirs...Tiber Septim is the god and patron saint of our order. And now his dynasty has come to an end. It's very painful. I was just here reading the Black Horse Courier about the assassination, and looking through 'A Short Life'. Uriel was an old man... a good man, and a good emperor. Why would anyone want to kill him? And all his sons?”

“I wish I knew. May I speak with the Grandmaster?” I had to risk the guess, but by then I was sure Maborel worked with the Blades, if he wasn’t one himself. The religious members of Cyrodiil didn’t all worship Mara exclusively, and as Talos the future emperor Tiber Septim had been a great general and warrior. His apotheosis had only ensured that while the Legion could pray to the other gods for skill, valor, cunning, and protection, soldiers throughout the Empire had an example to follow.

Prior Maborel gestured to the stairs. “You’ll find Jauffre upstairs.” And just like that, I knew Jauffre’s status was an open secret to the members of the priory.

I made my way up, and found an elderly Breton sitting at a desk, reading. “Grandmaster Jauffre?” I asked. No point in being subtle now.

This post has been edited by Captain Hammer: May 16 2011, 09:39 AM


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My fists are not the Hammer!
100% Tamriel Department of Awesomeness (TDA) Certified Grade-A Dragonborn. Do not use before 11/11/11. Product of Tamriel.

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ureniashtram
post Apr 21 2010, 09:04 AM
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THE CAPTAIN IS BAAACCKK!! It's been too long, Cap'n. The way you descibe armor is just plain fantastic. Please, continue this awesome write.


--------------------
Djinn: What wish would you like to have, young master?
Random dude: SUPA POWAZ!
--
Djinn: Is there anything I could make true, lord?
Old guy: .. Youth and charisma.
--
Djinn: Your heart speaks of wanting. I could make it true, milord.
Me: Hmmm. I wish to know what I want. Then you could hook me up in some insidious deal, spirit.
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mALX
post Apr 21 2010, 01:19 PM
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I loved your "How I got in jail in the first place" story, really imaginative!


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Olen
post Apr 21 2010, 02:49 PM
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Good to see you back at this, the last piece was quick moving but smooth enough and got where it was going. I liked the slightly more subtle arrival at Weynon than there is in game.

Only thing to criticise was: I dove in, heedless of the extra weight of the armor -- that struck me as a very good way to die unless you're an argonian and jarred slightly in that I doubt water does good things to iron armour and I doubt he'd float with armour on. Going on rough numbers a male needs around 5kg (depending on fat levels) for neutral bouyancy in salt water, I don't know what iron armour would wieght but I dare say it would be a few times that... Anyway it's just me being pernicity (I'm one of those people who count shots in films to see if they're keeping the right number for the mag).


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Captain Hammer
post Apr 21 2010, 05:23 PM
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QUOTE(Olen @ Apr 21 2010, 09:49 AM) *

Good to see you back at this, the last piece was quick moving but smooth enough and got where it was going. I liked the slightly more subtle arrival at Weynon than there is in game.

Only thing to criticise was: I dove in, heedless of the extra weight of the armor -- that struck me as a very good way to die unless you're an argonian and jarred slightly in that I doubt water does good things to iron armour and I doubt he'd float with armour on. Going on rough numbers a male needs around 5kg (depending on fat levels) for neutral bouyancy in salt water, I don't know what iron armour would wieght but I dare say it would be a few times that... Anyway it's just me being pernicity (I'm one of those people who count shots in films to see if they're keeping the right number for the mag).


I'm actually a Renn-Faire reenactor during certain weekends, and have done the knightly bit.

So, for complete factual analysis, my defense: First, only the cuirass and greaves are iron, the rest is leather. Second, trained knights in full armor were actually able to swim. I know, I've done it. It's tiring if you're in bad condition, but well-fitted battle armor that a person is trained in using doesn't fatigue a person the way it's depicted in film. The mastery level of heavy armor not encumbering a person at all? That's actually true. I'm not one of those guys, but I do know a few, and they can run and jump and swim through a medium current fully armored in battle-steel. The stories of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa drowning? Yeah, he did drown, but it was after stopping to make camp for the night, and he went down to take a bath when the current swept him up and submerged him. He wasn't in shape, not in armor, did not die in two feet of water, and he couldn't even swim. On the other hand, King Louis IX of France led the landing of the Seventh Crusade by jumping from his boat and swimming to shore in full battle array, his sword strapped to him so he could swim with a side-stroke.

The other thing: jousting plate is significantly heavier and bulkier than war plate. The Morrowind book "Chimervamidium" accurately depicts how armor is supposed to be used in battle: it should allow the fighter the movement he needs to handle himself, but be reinforced in key points so that he can shift his body to intercept a blow with the heavy plate sections where armor is strongest.

A fully grown man with a battle axe might be able to cut through a breast plate, provided it's a direct strike. But if the axe-head is turned, or the blow only glances the armor, it won't cut through. Forget about swords, they'd shatter if you hit the plate enough. A fighter's goal was pierce one of the joints where protection was weakest, such as the neck, armpit, elbow, or groin. Not only is there only chain or loose plates that you can punch through or by-pass, but the blood vessels can be stabbed, and with enough blood-loss you're done for.

Well, that concludes "Captain Renn-Faire's" lesson for the day. This fan-fic is going to include lots of other tid-bits and elements that I've learned from my ultra-nerdy hobbies and time in Medieval History Courses during college, so I figured I'd add that in. From here on out, though, I'll try to work it into the story itself.

This post has been edited by Captain Hammer: Apr 22 2010, 01:07 AM


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haute ecole rider
post Apr 21 2010, 05:37 PM
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I really liked the explanation of how armor is different between the games Morrowind and Oblivion - especially the loss of pauldrons and other esoterically named pieces, when the complete set of armor looks relatively identical between the two games.

And yes, I do think it's possible to swim in a full set of armor, but only if you're incredibly fit. Marines and SEALs are expected to swim in battle gear, carrying additional equipment, and I'm sure all that gear weighs as much as the armor your character is wearing, if not more.

The rest of us mortals would just have to strip our armor off to swim. winkgrin.gif


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Captain Hammer
post Apr 22 2010, 03:26 AM
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Author's Note: Credit to the guys at the Imperial Library and UESP for having major dialogue segments, letting me shortcut/retain accuracy, whenever I did not take some artistic licenses with the narrative.

For ‘Brother’ Jauffre


The man looked up, and said, carefully, “I’m Brother Jauffre. What do you want?”

“The Emperor sent me to find you. I brought you the Amulet of Kings.” Hoo, boy. Great way to open, but better than nothing.

Jauffre’s eyes focused, staring straight at me. Not many people know the trick to that. Grandmasters for the Imperial spy network and bodyguards would be amongst those few. “This cannot be. No one but the Emperor is permitted to handle the Amulet. Let me see it.”

I pulled it out, letting the large diamond drop as I held the chain, in full view of Jauffre. “I was there when he died. He gave me the Amulet of Kings.”

Jauffre surprised me. He didn’t rise to his feet. He just, sat there. Not passive, not aggressive. Just assertive, the stance that the biggest dog in the room has when he knows the new pup hasn’t a chance at taking the alpha spot. “You brought me the Amulet of Kings? You better explain yourself now.”

I simply handed over the Amulet. I figured if I couldn’t trust him, we were all doomed.

“By the Nine! This IS the Amulet of Kings! Who are you? How did you get this? What do you know of the Emperor’s death?”

Well, I had some explaining to do. I detailed the important parts of my story, not really mentioning the less than exemplary behavior that had led to the bar fight, and covered Uriel’s words in detail. I figured that they were important.

When I had finished, Jauffre nodded in acceptance. “As unlikely as your story seems, I believe you. Only the strange destiny of Uriel Septim could have brought you to me carrying the Amulet of Kings.”

“If you don’t mind, Brother,” I said, using his preferred title for respect. “I have several questions, and I was hoping that you could answer them.”

Juaffre nodded, and gestured to the chair in front of his desk. “I’ll tell you what I can. You are now intrinsically part of this, and information could save your life, and the lives of others.”

Well, the first was simple enough. “Who is the Prince of Destruction?”

Jauffre seemed…upset, probably that I didn’t know such basic information. I was a soldier, not a cloistered scholar. “The Prince of Destruction he referred to is none other than Mehrunes Dagon, one of the lords of the demonic world of Oblivion. He was involved with Jagar Tharn’s plot against the empire years ago. It doesn’t surprise me to find his hand in the current calamity. The Emperor’s words – ‘Close shut the jaws of Oblivion’ – certainly suggest that he perceived some threat from Oblivion. But all the scholars agree that the mortal world is protected from the daedra of Oblivion by magical barriers.”

“Wait, ‘Close shut the jaws of Oblivion’…that’s unclear to me.”

Jauffre nodded, his eyes flicking upwards, trying to recall some thought that was important, but not coming up with anything. It was a chilling sign, since spymasters had minds more refined than a steel trap. “His meaning is unclear to me as well. The Emperor seemed to perceive some threat from the demonic world of Oblivion. The Prince of Destruction, Mehrunes Dagon, is one of the lords of Oblivion. But the mortal world is protected from the daedra of Oblivion by magical barriers.”

“How can Oblivion threaten us, then?” It was the natural progression of my thoughts, and his answer.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “Only the Emperors truly understand the meaning behind the rituals of coronation. The Amulet of Kings is ancient. Saint Alessia herself received it from the gods. It is a holy relic of great power. When an Emperor is crowned, he uses the Amulet to light the Dragonfires at the Temple of the One in the Imperial City. With the Emperor dead and no new heir crowned, the Dragonfires in the Temple will be dark, for the first time in centuries. It may be that the Dragonfires protected us from a threat that only the Emperor was aware of.”

“Could you tell me more about the Dragonfires?”

“The coronation of each new Emperor is sealed when he uses the Amulet of Kings to light the Dragonfires in the Temple of the One. The Dragonfires of Akatosh remain lit until the death of the Emperor. His successor then lights them anew upon ascending to the throne. With Emperor Uriel dead and no successor crowned, the Temple of the One will be dark for the first time in centuries.”

That, that was a sobering thought. Without a legitimate emperor, and no Dragonfires…I was worried.

“So who rules the Empire right now?”

“The Elder Council rules in the Emperor’s absence, by ancient tradition. Chancellor Ocato heads the Elder Council and is the closest thing the Empire has to a leader right now. But the Blades answer only to the Emperor, of course. We are not an arm of the government.”

“So you actually are the Grandmaster of the Blades?” The others had told me, but I needed the old fox to personally confirm it. It could have been a very elaborate ruse, set up by the past emperors and the Blades in case anything like this happened.

Jauffre smiled, finally speaking the words. “Yes, Baurus told you right. I am the Grandmaster of the Blades. We serve the Emperor and the Septim bloodline. Talos is our patron. You wonder to find me here? Discretion is our watchword. Only a few of us have the honor to serve publicly in the Imperial Guard.”

“Baurus is a good body guard.” I don’t know why it was important, but I felt it had to be said.

“And one of the youngest Blades ever to serve in the Emperor’s personal guard. I am glad to hear that he survived, but I fear he will take the Emperor’s death particularly hard.”

I recalled Baurus’s face when he saw the body of his charge. I don’t think those moments will ever leave my memory. But Emperor Uriel Septim’s words came rushing up into th front of my mind. “The Emperor asked me to find his son.”

For once, Jauffre looked to make sure nobody was around to eavesdrop. This, then, was a secret, one that had to be kept carefully, even amongst the members of the priory. “I am one of the few who know of his existence. Many years ago, I served as captain of Uriel’s bodyguards, the Blades. One night Uriel called me in his private chambers. A baby boy lay sleeping in a basket. Uriel told me to deliver him somewhere safe. He never told me anything else about the baby, but I knew it was his son. From time to time he would ask about the child’s progress. Now, it seems that this illegitimate son is the heir to the Septim Throne. If he yet lives.”

“Where can I find Uriel’s son?” A hope sprang to mind. If this man could be found, then Jauffre could have the Blades get him to a position wherein he could legitimately claim the throne.

“His name is Martin. He serves Akatosh in the Chapel in the city of Kvatch, south of here, and never knew that he was Uriel Septim’s son. You need to find him at once and bring him safely back here. You must go to Kvatch and find him immediately. If the enemy is aware of his existence, as seems likely, he is in terrible danger. And please, let me know if there’s anything you need. My resources here are limited, but I will help in any way I can.”

“...and the Amulet of Kings?” I asked. My Emperor had given me a task, I needed to follow to the best of my ability.

“It will be safest here with me. When you return with Martin, we will figure out our next move.”

He was thinking, now, and I could see it in those words. Forming plans, contingencies, even as we spoke weighing the risks and benefits. And, he was already putting them into action. Through me. Ah, I must be falling to Sheogorath, but what am I if not a former soldier? “What kind of assistance can you give me?” I asked. I could use whatever help he would offer.

“I keep a few things here in my chest to resupply traveling Blades. Help yourself to whatever you need.” He got up, and went over to a large chest, which he unlocked for me. I followed, and was able to acquire a few more restorative potions, as well as a decent pair of metal boots and a good quality shield. “Now, I think you’d best be on your way. I will tell the others that you are working for me. Prior Maborel has a horse that he rarely uses, and you may find it useful. The others may have more to say as well.” I nodded, and headed downstairs.

I found Prior Maborel in the entryway, and approached him. “Brother Jauffre asked me to speak with you. He said you could offer me assistance.”

“You are welcome to take my horse. I rarely travel, so I’m sure you will put her to better use than I.” The look on my face made him rephrase the offer. He held his hand up, stopping me before I could refuse. “I know that you are on an important mission for the Blades. Please, if you need a horse, take mine from the Priory stables. And speak with Brother Piner and Eronor. They may have more help for you.”

“Thank you,” I said, and walked out. Brother Piner was in the yard, waiting for me with a dark elf that could only be Eronor, and a paint horse.

I approached, and Brother Piner handed me the reins. “Anything else I can do for you?”

“Could you tell me more about the Blades?” I asked.

“The Blades are closely linked to the Order of Talos. We both serve Talos, of course, and many of our brothers are former Blades. I myself was training as a Blade when I received the call to serve Talos in a different way. It isn’t widely known, but many brothers of the Order of Talos are also members of the Blades. Chapterhouses of the Order, like Weynon Priory, provide safehouses for traveling Blades as well as our more public religious functions. Blades who are too old for active service often join the Order as lay brothers. We are honored to have Grandmaster Jauffre, or Brother Jauffre as he prefers, as a resident here. Anything else?”

“What assistance can you offer me? I might need all that I can get.”

Brother Piner reached into his robe and retrieved a book, showing signs of care but use. It wasn’t fancy, rather made for travel and practical use. “Here. Perhaps you will find this useful. One of the books I saved from my Blades training. You go into danger. Jauffre didn’t tell us any more than that, but know that our prayers go with you.” It was a book on blocking techniques, a useful skill in saving one’s own life.

Eronor approached me as well. “Here,” he said, handing me a repair hammer. “An extra one, to keep your armor from falling apart in battle.” I nodded my thanks, as he headed back to the pen and stables where the priory’s livestock were kept.

I mounted up, glad to have the horse. My route was overland, across the paths worn from foot travel that branched off from the main roadways and made the smaller connections between locales. The alternative to getting to Kvatch was to backtrack to Weye, follow the Red Ring Road the short distance to the Gold Road, and then travel, past Skingrad, to Kvatch. I didn’t want to waste any more time. “Hee yah!” I said to the horse, urging it on with my heels. I was off, to Kvatch.


This post has been edited by Captain Hammer: Aug 13 2010, 11:37 PM


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