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> Outlanders (Morrowind Crossover)
Acadian
post Nov 24 2022, 12:55 AM
Post #261


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What a hoot this episode was! From Lli’s outlandish (but clever) plan, to Quinn and Fern’s discussion about the benefits of mud, to the J-boys clamoring to be Quinn’s best-dressed champion. I look forward to hearing about the Fashion Club Arena Raiment!

Uh oh, the Wicked Witch of Balmora has plans of her own to undermine the Fashion Club. I have to admit that Synda is pretty good at plotting things out – especially devious mean things.


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WellTemperedClavier
post Nov 27 2022, 05:34 PM
Post #262


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@SubRosa - Yup! The episode title was a hint.

Earlier, I'd actually planned to follow the "Fair Enough" episode more closely, and have it be a Renaissance Fair inspired by the pop culture version of the Interregnum. But I decided that felt too contrived and figured the old Tamrielic arena was a better idea.

Dang, now I wish I'd had the staff participate. Though Dimartani did use to work for Great House Redoran, so it might be pretty unbalanced if he joined the fray.

@Acadian - Thanks! This episode jumps around through a lot of POVs, which made it fun to write.

Synda's better at plotting than her show counterpart. Though she ought to remember that she's still a pretty small fry, all things considered.

Episode 16: Arena

Chapter 3


Briltasi hated having to wear a big ugly robe and hood every time she snuck out to see Kavon. But it had to be done, because Kavon’s family wasn’t respectable and Briltasi’s was. It’d make dad mad to find out she’d been seeing a lowborn guy, even one as cute as Kavon. But it’d make her mad to stop doing it. So obviously, she just had to make sure no one found out.

The skies had cleared and the view from Kavon’s guard tower let them see all of Balmora. Sometimes she’d look out and imagine the spires of the Imperial City or someplace more romantic, but one thing she knew was that, wherever you were, it always felt good to be above it all.

“Hey, Kavvy?” she said, looking out the window.

Kavon, shirtless, took a draught from the mazte bottle she’d brought for him. “Yeah, babe?”

“So, you know that school I go to?”

“Uh… school?”

Briltasi pouted. Kavon was sweet, but he was so dumb. “Yeah, Drenlyn Academy! They’re holding an arena to get more funds. The students are going to fight each other and people are going to bet on them.”

“Cool!”

“I found out some of the girls are picking champions.” Briltasi turned to look at Kavon and her heart skipped. Oh, he was so cute.

“Cool.”

“I could use a handsome champion. I wonder where I’d find one?” She pouted at him.

Kavon scowled. “Huh? Hey, you can’t pick someone else! I’m your guy!”

Briltasi sighed. Why did she have to explain everything to him? “I’m talking about you, dummy!”

“Oh! Okay, cool. But I’m not a student.”

"Wear your helmet. That way no one will know. It’ll be like a big mystery, and everyone will wonder who my mystery knight is! And you’re a big tough guard, so you’ll definitely win!”

“Yeah!” He reached under his bunk and took out a steel longsword and held it aloft. “Man, I’ve been waiting to use this on someone!”

“Wait, Kavvy! Not a real weapon, this is for a school arena!”

He blinked, and tilted his head like a confused baby guar. “Huh?”

Briltasi sighed. This was going to take a while.



*********



Synda kept her face perfectly still as Rovern Draalo stepped up for inspection. He was the middle son of the Draalos, a respectable family with investments in mainland corkbulb farms.

“I am honored by your request, Sera Grilvayn,” he said.

Rovern had the build of a mighty warrior and a brain like a brick. In other words, ideal for Synda’s needs.

“Grilvayn has long respected Draalo,” Synda said. “My mother extends congratulations to your father for investing in corkbulbs. This will surely be of benefit to him, the company, and Great House Hlaalu.”

“Uh,” Rovern trailed off for a second, his eyes searching. The fool probably hadn’t the faintest idea about investments. “Yes.” He straightened up. “It is to the honor of Great House Hlaalu.”

“Very good. As you know, Drenlyn Academy will be holding an arena competition. As the head of the Haute Society, a society dedicated to ensuring that Dunmer present themselves in a manner appropriate for our era, I would like to choose you as, like, our champion.”

Rovern swallowed. “Uh, yes. Thank you, Sera Grilvayn. What do you want me to do?”

Synda hid her annoyance. “I want you to fight for me in the arena. Your wardrobe will be important, so dress well. Pick something you might wear to the retirement ceremony for a reputable administrator. As for the battle itself, your physique renders you a formidable combatant, so I doubt you will face much serious opposition. Specifically, I want you to defeat the Bosmer, Jeval Whitethorn.”

“Why him? With respect, Sera Grilvayn, I’m not sure that’d be a fair match. I’m a lot bigger than he is.”

“Arenas are about victory! Not being fair.”

Rovern gulped. “If you say so, sera.”

“The Leldros,” she said, pointing to Nedrasa, who bowed her head at the acknowledgement, “have long been friends with the Ardrel family. Should you defeat Jeval, I will direct Nedrasa to ask the Ardrels to invite your family to Muthsera Rovone Ardrel’s birthday celebration in a few months’ time. Given your father’s business, this could be a lucrative opportunity for him.”

“Understood, Sera Grilvayn.” He scowled. “I’ll defeat Jeval.”

“I certainly wouldn’t complain if you hurt that upstart outlander as much as the rules allow.”

He frowned. “Well, my father says that outlanders can be our friends, and—”

Synda rolled her eyes and made a dismissive gesture. “Like, whatever! Just win!”



*********



Loredas morning dawned bright, cold, and clear. Hours after a breakfast of saltrice porridge and scrib jerky, Daria found herself in the place she least wanted to be: Drenlyn Academy.

“It’s important for you to put your best foot forward,” mom had said the last night. “Besides, your sister has a champion, and that means the entire family has one.”

Daria had rolled her eyes. “If by champion you mean a living dress-up doll.”

“I applaud Quinn’s ambition. It’s something you could stand to show more of.”

The arena covered most of the courtyard and looked as cheap as she’d expected. Small black stones marked the boundary and two sets of crude bleachers had been set up with stacked crates. Merchant stalls and showmen crowded up whatever space was left over.

“Truly a rival to the great arena of the Imperial City,” Daria remarked.

Jane sat in the shade of the emperor parasol, a sketchpad and a piece of charcoal in her blackened hands. Daria hurried over to find refuge from her family.

“Any takers?” she asked.

“Not yet. I have the feeling this might not be the best crowd for fine art.”

Nearby, a shirtless Nord spread his arms wide and burp-sang an epic’s opening lines to the cheers of a bunch of young Drenlyn men.

“On the other hand, if you wanted someone to belch out the Lays of Ysgramor, this is the place,” Daria said.

“Well, I know when I’m beat. But hey, it’ll be fun to watch them fight each other. What brought you here, anyway?” Jane asked.

“My sister picked a champion, so all us Morgendorffers have to go out in a show of support.”

Jane pressed her charcoal against the paper, her brow furrowing. “She started quite the trend with that.”

“Maybe her next trend could be vows of silence. If that gets popular enough, I won’t even need a new library.”

“This champion thing is popular though. Synda picked one too, for that creepy Haute Society of hers.”

Synda. Hearing the name felt like a blow to the face. “Wait, what?”

Jane looked up from her pad. “They got Rovern as their champion. You know him, right? Big for a Dunmer, polite but dumb?”

I’m going to faint, Daria thought. No, not here. She had to stay calm. She was okay, she was safe. Synda didn't dare hurt her here.

“Daria?”

“I’m fine.”

Except she wasn’t. She was shaking and sweating and using every ounce of her diminishing willpower to keep from fleeing. Because if Synda lost, she might well take it out on Quinn, just the way she’d hired those Camonna Tong thugs to brutalize Daria a year ago.

“Uh, I think my mom’s calling me,” Daria said, her tongue as dry as the Alik'r, and she hurried back to her family.



*********



Jane watched her friend hurry back to the crowd.

“Since when does Daria ever listen to her mom?” she said, to no one in particular.

Musical Outro - Geek Stink Breath, by Green Day

Robert (Rovern Draalo) - Robert's a jock that appears a handful of times in the show. He's notable mostly for being quite polite.
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Acadian
post Nov 27 2022, 09:19 PM
Post #263


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The ladies of Drenlyn are lining up their champions. Looks like we have Kavon, Rovern and Jeval.

’He blinked, and tilted his head like a confused baby guar. “Huh?”
- - Sounds like this ^ pretty well describes Kavon. laugh.gif

The presence of Synda has quite a profound impact on Daria. I was touched to realize that a notable measure of her apprehension is for Quinn should Synda’s champion fail to emerge victorious.


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Renee
post Nov 29 2022, 02:34 PM
Post #264


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"Student disinterest!" laugh.gif Pretty soon it'll be like the Fallout universe, in which most books are burned-up trash!

So I can see some of the boys in this story getting involved in this arena. I can see the Three Js, for instance. Ha. Speaking of...

Still though, the 'non-lethal' element makes me think of this gigantic real-life DnD-like "campaign" me and my friends did a couple times in high school. We'd show up wearing foam "amor", wielding weapons made of PVC tubes, styrofoam and duct tape. laugh.gif I forget the name of the event. It had a specific name. ⚔

But the idea wasn't that we'd beat each other with these makeshift weapons, in fact it was encouraged to merely "tap" each other, just to keep any possible injuries to a mimimum. If you had a black weapon, this was 1-touch lethal. indifferent.gif And because of this I have this memory of some swordsman with a duct-tape sword painted black running up to me, touching my shoulder with his weapon, and then him yelling at me "I TOUCHED YOU!! I TOUCHED YOU! YOU'RE DEAD!!!: laugh.gif Now you can see why we only went to two of these campaigns.

Uh oh, Quinn is scheming. What's she up to now? Probably going to put a selected combatant in color-coordinated gear. bigsmile.gif

QUOTE
Speak for yourself,” Treads-on-Ferns said. “Mud’s nice after a dry day.”


YEah, take that, Quinny!

Oh my gosh, this is too funny. She's actually trying to recuit somebody already. OH my gosh, Jonus is crying! ... They're all grovelling for her attention. What has this Quinn got that's so damn special? 🙋

Okay so Bril is picking somebody who goes to a different school, right? And so is Sydna. Crazy. I love how these ladies are weaseling their way into stuff that has nothing to do with combat, nothing to do with Magistrate Lli's idea to further funds for the broken library. Difference with Sydna is, she's not picking the stuff her subject will wear. But she'll maybe approve of what he'll wear.

Yikes, so what exactly did Sydna do to Daria? Maybe this was mentioned in a past chapter, but I don't remember.

This post has been edited by Renee: Nov 29 2022, 02:41 PM
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WellTemperedClavier
post Nov 30 2022, 05:49 PM
Post #265


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@Acadian - Synda's one of the very few things that scares Daria. She's used to dealing with common corruption and meanness (and isn't necessarily averse to either of those herself), but Synda was the first to use violence against her. This fear is also why she's being so slow in figuring out that there's no way Synda could have actually been working with the real Camonna Tong.

@Renee -
QUOTE(Renee @ Nov 29 2022, 02:34 PM) *

"Student disinterest!" laugh.gif Pretty soon it'll be like the Fallout universe, in which most books are burned-up trash!


Well, Red Year isn't that far off...

Oh wow, that LARP thing you did sounds a lot of fun! Except for the major imbalance with the black-colored weapons. That's definitely something that needed to be nerfed, as they say.

The Three Js were like this in the show, as well (in fact they were worse, because none of them ever got better). I always wondered why. At a certain point, it seemed more like they were doing it out of habit than anything else.

Kavon actually doesn't go to school at all. He's a full-time city guard. But apparently not so full-time that he can't make an excuse to go do something like this. His managers probably know better than to expect much from him.

QUOTE(Renee @ Nov 29 2022, 02:34 PM) *

Yikes, so what exactly did Sydna do to Daria? Maybe this was mentioned in a past chapter, but I don't remember.


This was from the first episode, where Synda hired thugs to beat Daria. Synda had claimed that the thugs were Camonna Tong, but this was just something she said to scare Daria. In reality, the thugs were just petty criminals not affiliated to any bigger organization.

And this will be a pretty major plot point in Episode 18...

Episode 16: Arena

Chapter 4


Briltasi never liked seeing Kavon in his helmet. It was big, yellow, and made him look like an enormous bug. The only nice part was when he took it off and she’d see his face, and then the wind ruffled his hair…

She shook her head. Time to focus!

“Now remember, Kavvy,” she said, as she walked with him to Jolda’s sign-up desk. “You aren’t Kavon today!”

“Uh, I’m not?” he asked, his voice muffled by the bonemold.

“You’re my mystery knight!”

“Okay, but what if someone asks my name?”

“Say that you’ve sworn yourself to secrecy for your lady love! Try to make it sound like you’re a noble knight.”

“Sworn myself to secrecy for my babe,” he said. “Got it.”

“For my lady love! You have to be romantic for this because knights are romantic.”

“But I’m not a knight!” he protested. “I’m a guard.”

“Right, but you’re a knight for today.”

“Does this mean I get a pay raise?”

Briltasi took Kavon’s hand and pulled him forward. Jolda sat at the desk, the sign-up parchment weighed down by a couple of stones. Maiko, that soldier she pretended she wasn’t dating, stood next to her in his uniform.

“Hi, Briltasi,” Jolda said.

“Hi! Can we still sign people up for the arena?”

“Sure. We’re actually kind of low on contestants. Some of the people who said they were going to show up didn’t.” Her eyes narrowed. “Who’s the guy in the helmet?”

This was the moment. Briltasi looked worshipfully up at the ugly helmet because there was a handsome face behind it that she knew about, but no one else did.

“This is my mystery knight! A gallant warrior so enraptured by my beauty that he’s pledged to fight and win in this arena so that he might one day have my hand in marriage.”

“Wait, you want to get married—” Kavon began.

“That’s very romantic,” Jolda said. “But the rules say we need to have a name on the sheet.”

“But it’s a mystery! If I tell everyone who it is that’ll spoil the drama!” Briltasi protested.

Jolda shook her head. “Sorry, I don’t make the rules, but I have to follow them. Plus, only students are allowed to participate.”

Stupid rules! They always ruined the fun. Bad enough that she wasn’t allowed to see Kavon just because he was lowborn. What was the point of being highborn if you couldn’t have fun?

“He is a student! He’s uh…”

What student looked like Kavon? Then it hit her: Rovern Draalo! He was huge.

“Rovern Draalo! Yeah, that’s right,” she said.

“You mean that Rovern over there?” Jolda said, pointing over to where the real Rovern talked to Synda.

“Eep! No, this is, uh, a different Rovern. Rovern!” she said to Kavon. “Why don’t we go somewhere else so you can tell me your real last name in private!”

Kavon stood and stared straight ahead like he hadn't heard anything.

“Rovern!”

“Huh? Babe, she said Rovern is that guy, over there!” Kavon pointed back to Rovern. “I’m Kav—"

Fuming, Briltasi grabbed Kavon’s hand and stormed off.

Kavon was lucky he was cute!



*********



Daria found Quinn with the rest of the Fashion Club in one of the pavilions, where they added the finishing touches to Jeval’s outfit. Jeval did look sharp. Instead of his usual baggy tunic and pants, he wore a tight dark blue netch leather jerkin over a long-sleeved black tunic, with sturdy hide boots over fitted gray trousers. Stylish, but also pragmatic.

Not that Daria would ever admit this out loud.

She took Quinn by the arm and pulled her outside.

“Huh? What’s going on, Daria?” she demanded. “I’m busy right now!”

“Remember that conversation we had about Synda a while back? How she’s dangerous?”

“Yeah, sort of.”

Daria tightened her grip on her sister’s arm. “Maybe now’s a good time to think back on that. She has a champion, too. And she might not take well to losing.”

Quinn jerked her arm free. “You are so paranoid, Daria! You know, our ancestors didn’t create an empire by running away every time they met a bully!”

“Largely because we were often the bully,” Daria said.

“Whatever. I don’t know why you’re so scared.”

Because Synda’s thugs beat me bloody into the ground. The words sizzled in her mouth, ready to be released, to finally let someone know what happened, to have them hold her and tell her she’d be safe and that she didn’t have anything to worry about, that it was okay she wanted to hide because she’d been hurt so badly, because she’d carried the secret for so long.

Synda stood nearby, her eyes on Daria. The threat echoed in her memory.

“Synda might have Camonna Tong connections,” Daria warned.

Quinn sighed. “We already went over this. Her family’s important but they’re a boring business family, like ours! Even if she was, it’s not like you can sic the Camonna Tong on someone just because they beat you in a contest. If it was like that, outlanders like us would never win anything. Daria, I hang out with Dunmer who actually know what’s going on here, so maybe I’m smarter than you in this! Now leave me alone because Jeval’s cufflink is missing a button and I need to fix that!”

She turned around and stormed back to her champion, body language changing mid-stride so that she went from angry and pent up to busy and attentive, as if nothing at all had happened.

Which, as far as Quinn was concerned, was true.

Daria cursed under her breath. Was she crazy? Half the time it was like the attack had never happened, like it was all a violent delusion exclusive to her and Synda. Quinn had a point, too. Would the Camonna Tong truly spend that much effort on someone like her? Or for someone like Synda?

The memory of pain was proof enough.

There had to be some way to disrupt the competition. Maybe she could sign up someone herself? But it looked like most of the viable Drenlyn attendees were already on the roster.

Not far off, Briltasi argued with a helmeted Dunmer in bonemold armor that left his belly button exposed. That had to be Kavon.

Maybe she could work with this.

Musical Outro - Debaser, by The Pixies
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Renee
post Nov 30 2022, 07:16 PM
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QUOTE
Oh wow, that LARP thing you did sounds a lot of fun! Except for the major imbalance with the black-colored weapons. That's definitely something that needed to be nerfed, as they say.


Yep, imbalance, what an appropriate word. And how do we correct imbalances in Elder Scrolls games? With a mod, of course! All I needed was to install a mod back in 1986 to correct this! Maybe I should've shown up to the field we ran around in with my "mod-added" Black Armor of Vigilance, which is impervious to black weapon attacks. tongue.gif And when the LARP captains began explaing the rules, I'd just say "But I installed my Black Armor of Vigilance mod, which is impervious to Black Weapon attacks!!! What... you guys don't know about mods, yet?"

Nyah nyah.

Whoa, so Kavon is a guard. indifferent.gif Yikesy. Probably there aren't any rules against non-students yet, eh? Edit: yes there are. So this is why she wants "Kavvy" to stay under his helmet.

Kavvy the Mystery Knight! laugh.gif She wants him to be romantic. Jeez, this is funny again. Either I'm laughing my 4$$ off during this story, or sobbing, right? Love this. Kavon is so dumb!

Jeval's outfit sounds appropriate, nothing too wild like I was imagining. I thought he was about to show up wearing pink armor accented with magenta, or something totally girly.

QUOTE
She turned around and stormed back to her champion, body language changing mid-stride so that she went from angry and pent up to busy and attentive, as if nothing at all had happened.


This right here is an important detail. Like a lot of mall princesses, Quinn's a mental chameleon. She can manipulate her mood the way some of us change dresses. Which begs the question: are the moods she's portraying deceptive in a way, and if so, how often are they deceptive?

Heh. I'm probably overthinking this. Still, that is a common thing I've seen amongst manipulative people, especially princesses who need to get their way. 🧑‍🎤

Uh oh, what's Daria up to next? By the way, thanks for explaining about Sydna and Daria. I'll go back and read that again.

This post has been edited by Renee: Nov 30 2022, 07:23 PM
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Acadian
post Dec 1 2022, 09:39 PM
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Yes, too bad Kavon is so lowborn lowbrained. To the point that I’m really questioning Britalsi’s judgment now. He is a hoot to read though. laugh.gif

It will be interesting to see how prophetic Daria’s warning to Quinn is. That is assuming that Synda’s champion doesn’t win. . . and right now, Rovern is looking pretty good for this contest. Wonder what Daria’s planning with Kavon? Maybe she could donate just a sliver of her ample brain to him? wink.gif


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Renee
post Dec 1 2022, 10:07 PM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ Apr 17 2022, 01:32 AM) *

I quoted this because now that I know the characters really well, this is great to see middle-aged versions of them.
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SubRosa
post Dec 2 2022, 12:46 AM
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Oh boy, Kavon will be the mystery knight. Given that he's a football player fighters guild member, I would put good odds on him winning. Unless Jodi gets Mack to enter as well. He seems tougher, if not more focused (not to mention he has brain cells).

Rovern sounds like a bigger, thicker version of Kavon! laugh.gif Maybe a little nicer though. He at least did not pull out a real sword right off the bat. Sydna however, continues to be the low down dirty kwama forager that she always is.

Maybe Daria could get Trent to be her champion! laugh.gif Now that would be a sight. He would oversleep and show up six hours after the competition was over with.

Oh boy, Daria is having another panic attack from her PTSD. So great when that goes untreated... sad.gif

Ok, I remember Robert now. Good pick. He was always nice, and as boring as watching paint dry.


***

I love how you wove in Kavon's helmet being yellow, to fit in with his football helmet from the TV show. Even his flat abs are exposed! Perfect!

Oh boy, hijinks over the Mystery Knight's name! Clearly, Brittany did not think this out very far. What am I saying? *facepalm*

Well, at least the Fashion Club got the chance to do what they do best when they dressed up Jeval. Hopefully that snazzy outfit won't get ruined by all the blood that is sure to follow...

For once, Quinn actually does know better than Daria. That is scary. But then, that is what trauma does to people.


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WellTemperedClavier
post Dec 3 2022, 05:51 PM
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@Renee - Hmm, well when you mod your RL surroundings, I think it's called CHIM...

Or just showing initiative. Works either way.

Quinn's flighty and superficial, but she does actually know what she's talking about when it comes to fashion. Given that there probably aren't fashion magazines per se in Vvardenfell, I'm figuring that Quinn gets most of her ideas by watching what the more notable folks wear and building up on that.

And yeah, it's hard to know when Quinn's being genuine. She's played the role of mall princess (not sure what the Morrowind equivalent to that is--bazaar princess, maybe?) so long, that she's not really sure how to do anything else. There's a great episode in the series proper, "Monster" which delves into this a bit. I didn't explore it quite as much.

@Acadian - Briltasi isn't that smart. But she is smarter than Kavon, and she knows it.

Hm, I'm not sure Kavon would know what to do with the extra brainpower. It'd probably lead him into worse trouble.

@SubRosa - Maiko would definitely take Kavon out in a fight, no questions asked. The Hlaalu guards are only minimally trained. With his smarts, cool head, and Legion training, Maiko would wipe the floor with the guy.

Oh damn. Now I kind of wish I'd had Daria pick Trent as her champion. He'd definitely oversleep though.

Heh, I can't take too much credit for the color, since bonemold is already kind of yellow-ish. Just another way in which the two franchises seem weirdly made for each other.

I tried to treat Daria's trauma realistically as I could. It's still something that affects her, almost a year later.

Episode 16: Arena

Chapter 5


“Your attention please!” Magistrate Lli announced. Her thin, sharp voice barely broke over the noise of the crowd, so she banged her ceremonial staff on a nearby crate to draw their attention.

“Thank you! I’m pleased to announce the commencement of the first Drenlyn Arena Competition! On this bright morning, Drenlyn students will conduct simulated battle on academy grounds for your entertainment! Given that our Empire was founded on martial prowess, it’s only fitting that our young people practice the ways of blade and shield so that they will be ready to someday bring war to our enemies across the sea.

“The rules are simple: two students at a time will take to the field with helmets and padded swords. Each match is best two out of three rounds. A round lasts a maximum of three minutes, and goes until a combatant surrenders, or can no longer stand up under their own power. Don’t fret though, we have some temple healers on standby.

“We have a standard single elimination tourney bracket. The winner will be declared Champion of Drenlyn! This is a purely decorative title, but the winner can stand tall knowing that they've brought honor, and glory, to Drenlyn Academy. And to Great House Hlaalu, our beloved Emperor, and the gods we worship. With that said…”

She breathed in. “Let the games begin!”

Magistrate Lli stepped back and gestured with her hand. Karl the Unctuous, dressed in a bright yellow long coat with silver thread run through the lapels and cuffs, stepped up to the announcement dais.

“Are you ready for the thrill of combat?” he called out, raising a clenched fist. “To see blood spilled on the virgin sand of the Drenlyn Arena?”

Murmurs of assent from the crowd.

Karl cupped his right hand around his ear and tilted his head. “I can’t hear you!”

Louder that time.

“That was better, but still quiet.” He took on a disappointed mien. “Could it be that we’ve got some squeamish types here? Those who think that the arena is too violent for young minds? Oh, whatever will our Empire do if the hearts of its citizens flutter so timidly?” He raised a hand to his brow for emphasis.

“No!” the crowd roared.

He stood at attention. “On that case, are you ready for combat? And tell me like you mean it!”

“We’re ready!” they screamed, as one.

That’s more like it! Now, let’s give a round of applause to our first two contestants!”

Karl paused to let the new meat march into the pit as the audience clapped and cheered.

“On my right, we have Marcus Antabolis, of proud Cyrodiilic stock! His father’s a big name in the Fighters Guild, so we’ll see if he carries on the family tradition. On my left, Novryna Llerso, a native daughter of Balmora who’s ready to make her city proud…”



*********



This sucked!

Briltasi pouted at the edge of the arena as the fighting started. This was supposed to be her and Kavvy’s moment! But all those stupid rules kept getting in the way.

Sometimes she wished she lived in High Rock. None of the gallant knights in her stepmom’s novels ever had to deal with that kind of junk when they were off rescuing fair maidens or slaying dragons.

“Uh, are you mad at me, babe?” Kavon asked.

“I’m mad at them! I wanted you to win and I know you could have! And then you could carry me away from Drenlyn, and everyone would wonder who my masked mystery knight was, and then we’d make out somewhere and I’d be like one of the princesses I read about!”

“Aw,” Kavon sighed.

The loud thwack of a wooden sword slamming into someone’s head caught her attention. Marcus staggered back and fell into the arena dust.

“Novryna Llerso wins Round One! Now that’s what I call feisty! Next up…”

Briltasi watched as the next two fighters, both humans, took to the field. She sighed. That could have been Kavon getting wounded for her. Then she’d nurse him back to health like in that one book she read!

“What are you two doing here?”

It was Daria, her whole body kind of twitchy, like she was nervous or waiting for something bad to happen. Even weirder, she was carrying one of the practice swords. Had she signed up? She didn't seem like the arena type.

“Hi,” Briltasi said, sadly. “I brought Kavon to fight for me in the arena. But I guess you have to be a student or something.”

Kavon turned to Daria. “It sucks that I can’t fight for my babe.”

“Hm, funny you should mention that.” Daria paused and straightened her dress. “Since, uh, Magistrate Lli just told me she wants to make good with the Hlaalu security forces and give them a chance to shine. You, Kavon, are a member of those security forces.”

Briltasi frowned. Daria didn’t usually sound nervous, but she sounded nervous that time.

“Huh?” Kavon tried to scratch his head through his helmet.

“You’re a guard, aren’t you? Lli wants to impress the guards. But you have to jump into the fight now!”

“That’s great! Uh, I need one of those wooden sword thingies—”

Daria handed him hers. “Here you go. She wanted me to give this to you.”

Kavon gasped as he took the hilt. “Thanks, Daria!" He turned to Briltasi. "Babe, this is great! Now I can fight for you!”

Briltasi squeaked as Kavon took her by the waist and pushed his helmeted face right into her nose!

“Kavon, you’re still wearing your helmet!” she protested.

But he’d already let her go and run off to battle. Briltasi glared at Daria.

“I don’t believe you! I think you tricked Kavvy into fighting—”

A mighty war cry rang out across the arena as Kavon made his debut.

“I’m the Mystery Knight!” he cried. “I fight because I love my babe!”

He crashed into one of the fighters and knocked the guy down.

Oh, he was so enthusiastic! Briltasi imagined herself at the top of a castle parapet, with Kavvy singing to her below and then killing a big monster, and then they’d have a big feast and get married and her dad wouldn’t care that he was lowborn since he’d been so very brave!

She clasped her hands and sighed in bliss.

“You can thank me later,” Daria said.



*********



Jonus sat on the bench, adjusting the straps that kept his padded helmet attached. He watched as Round 2 started, between Hjaring and Latif.

“Man, what does Quinn see in Jeval?” Julien complained, sitting next to him on the bench.

“Beats me.” He looked to Julien. “Hey, we gotta kick his ass. That way, one of us is sure to impress Quinn.”

“Right. But what if someone else beats him?”

Jonus shrugged. “Look, we have to try our hardest, okay? Even if we never fight Jeval, Quinn’s sure to go out with whoever wins the tournament, and that can still be one of us.”

“I guess—”

Suddenly this huge Dunmer dude in bonemold armor charged screaming onto the arena and bowled Hjaring over. Right after, the new guy wailed on Latif with his sword, Latif trying to ward off the blows. But then Hjaring got up and started hitting the big guy, turning it into a crazy three-way fight.

“Hey, I thought it was supposed to be one-on-one!” Julien said.

“I thought so, too.”

Karl’s voice barely broke over the shouts: “I don’t believe what I’m seeing here, folks! It looks like a new warrior has jumped into the battle! Against regulations, but it does make for a helluva show!”

Then that chick with the glasses—Quinn’s sister, Daria—jogged up to them, out of breath.

“Jonus, Julien,” she said. “You guys like my sister, right?”

“More than anything!” Jonus said.

“And I like her even more than more than anything!” Julien boasted.

“Lucky for you, verbal eloquence isn’t high on her list of turn-ons. Look, she told me she picked Jeval as a test. But that means you have to prove yourselves.”

She pointed to the arena, where three guys still beat on each other as the crowd cheered.

“I bet anyone who could take out those three would be off to a good start,” Daria said.

“She’ll date whoever wins?”

“Not necessarily. But you’ll at least get her attention.”

Julien sprang to his feet. “That’s enough for me! Come on, man.”

“Finally!” Jonus grabbed his sword, ready to wreck the competition.

“Don’t forget: you two are competing with each other, as well,” Daria said.

She had a point. Jonus glared at Julien. He studied his friend’s movement. Was Julien going to try some sneak attack?

He’d try to play it peaceful, first. “Let’s team up to get rid of the big guy. Then we go after each other,” Jonus said.

“Yeah? Or maybe you’re just saying that to get me to turn my back!” Julien retorted.

Whatever, he'd tried. Jonus bellowed and charged Julien with his sword upraised. Julien jumped out of the way and Jonus skidded on the dust.

“Oh no! And it looks like another fight has broken out!” Karl announced. “Chaos rules the day at Drenlyn Academy!”

Jonus spun around as Julien ran for another strike. He swung his sword and drove the flattened edge into Julien’s ribcage. His friend grunted but kept up the attack. Pain exploded in Jonus’s head as the sword bounced off his crown.

“Ow, that hurt!”

Jonus swung wild and grinned when his sword hit something. Then he realized he hadn’t hit Julien. Instead, he’d hit Agrippina, who’d been watching from the bench.

“What the hell was that?” she demanded. Taking her own weapon, she screamed and attacked Jonus.

Musical Outro - Can't Stop, by Red Hot Chili Peppers
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SubRosa
post Dec 4 2022, 02:08 AM
Post #271


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From: Between The Worlds



Karl is the hype man. Perfect casting.

Britalsi is hilarious to read. Like all the other characters, you portray her exactly as she was in the TV show.

Go Daria, Kavon is in the fight! laugh.gif He should have brought a folding chair to the ring, that would have made it the perfect pro wrestling moment!

Daria has cast a chaos rune on the arena. And I bet the crowd is going to love it!


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Renee
post Dec 5 2022, 01:38 AM
Post #272


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From: Ellicott City, Maryland



They're really going to do this battle thing. Students battling, mostly. This is intense.

I like how Karl comes out, all confident. Like somebody in WWE! I think that's the wrestling organization.

This sucks? laugh.gif Oh my gosh Kavon's really dumb. And Bril seems out of touch with reality, or something. She wants him to get hurt so she can nurse him back? blink.gif

QUOTE
“Huh?” Kavon tried to scratch his head through his helmet.


rollinglaugh.gif This is funny! "I'M THE MYSTERY MAN, AND I'M HERE TO FIGHT FOR MY BABE!" ... Goodness! Isn't this sort of stuff what they do in those silly wrestling organizations, though?

Two of the Js are still moaning about Quinn. I don't get it! Now that I've seen her picture, sure she's cute. Not really stunning, though. It's like the Three Js are delusional. Or maybe Quinn's got a secret amulet which attracts them or something. Oh wow.

Looks like things are getting out of hand!
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Acadian
post Dec 5 2022, 09:40 PM
Post #273


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From: Las Vegas



Karl did a good job at warming up the crowd.

Kavon gives his BritalsiBabe a quick kiss for luck – through his closed face helm. laugh.gif

Daria! You conniving, rule-thwarting, sabotaging miscreant! You go, girl! wink.gif

Can’t wait to see how Synda responds to this mayhem.


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