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Grits
post Feb 5 2014, 02:24 PM
Post #201


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Darnand nodded. “Indeed, and I do not care for bloody meat so soon after today’s events.” Besides, whatever Aravi and Vera killed would need cooking. Darnand did not want to wait for a deer to roast, nor could he stomach the thought of it rare.

Back at the campsite Darnand realized that Vera and Aravi had left their armor behind.

“Would you mind guarding the camp?” he called to Kayla. “The hunters have left a fortune in armor here. I should hate to explain how we let some thief walk off with it while we went fishing. I could leave a summoned daedra here to do the job, but they tend to misbehave when not directly supervised. Unless they are actively engaged in killing something, of course.” He considered for a moment while he yanked on his leggings. “To be fair they do not always follow my explicit instructions in any case.”

An easy stroll brought him to the base of a sheer waterfall. As he anticipated a deep pool lay at its base. Life detection magic showed him the shapes of several large fish lurking under the shallow ledges at the pool’s edge. Something else huddled under a shrub.

He squinted through the magic glow. A fox. No danger.

Water conducted shock energy very well, but unfortunately it tended to skim across the surface, penetrating to a shallow depth only at the point of impact. He needed to lure the larger fish within his spell’s reach.

There was one easy way to lure a slaughterfish. Darnand rolled up his leggings, tucked his robe up under his belt, and stepped into the water. He cast a spell to fortify himself and prepared to time his jump.

One of the big fish angled toward him. Darnand flexed his knees, waiting. When it made its lunge he leaped backward, stunning it with a bolt of energy as soon as his feet found dry sand. The big fish floated up on its side, drifting away toward the riffles where the pool drained into a small river. A quick telekinesis spell allowed him to land it, and he quietly ended its life with a summoned dagger.

His stomach rumbled. This should feed at least two of us on a normal day. Tonight I should think we will need a few more. He turned back to the pool.


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Elisabeth Hollow
post Feb 8 2014, 12:03 AM
Post #202


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Kayla sighed and pulled some clothes out of her pack.

That mage is surrounded by women, and not even a twitch. She furrowed her brow. I don't think he likes women. Unless he likes those soft Cyrodilliic women who faint at the sign of danger.

She dug through her pack to find some clothes that sort of matched. She dried her thick socks out and put them on under her boots and finished dressing.

Maybe it was my scars.

She absently touched the scar across her chest that damaged her skin and muscle across her breasts and collarbone.

Well, either way, no matter how much you admire him, it'll never go anywhere. It's one-sided.

She began to daydream of Nordic mage in Winterhold, and she found the campsite a bit warmer.


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King Coin
post Feb 8 2014, 05:30 AM
Post #203


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Aravi and Vera returned to the camp with their prize, a large ram that Vera shot and killed. Vera wanted to continue hunting, but Aravi convinced her to return with their single kill. They were only staying a night, one animal should suffice. More, and they would only be leaving the meat to rot.

And, Aravi wasn’t sure how much her turbulent stomach would allow her to eat.

I’m going to have nightmares no doubt.

At least they won’t be like the others.

Fatigue was quickly catching up with her as well. If they hadn’t found prey so soon, she would have had to turn around without Vera.

She spotted Kayla before the High Elf spotted them.

“We’re back. Where’s Darnand?”


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Aravi: A Khajiit in Skyrim

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Elisabeth Hollow
post Feb 8 2014, 06:00 AM
Post #204


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"Fishing," Kayla replied, stirring the embers. A pile of firewood sat beside her, and she tossed another stick on and raised her brows. They killed a ram. Nice. "He asked me to guard the camp, since everyone's armor and belongings are here. Not that he gave me much of a choice, just walking off before I could even move."

Careful, you're starting to sound bitter. No doubt they heard the tone of her voice change from earlier. She offered a smiled to them.

"Since I'm a glorified watchwoman, I'll gut and skin the meat, if no one objects."


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King Coin
post Feb 8 2014, 06:22 AM
Post #205


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Fishing? How? she wondered.

She didn’t miss Kayla’s tone. Kayla didn’t like being left while everyone else went off.

Aravi glanced at Vera and saw no objection. They unshouldered their burden near the fire.

“Thanks Kayla. For watching our things, and offering to clean the animal. Though it was probably not necessary to leave someone here at the camp. Darnand is overly cautious. In many respects.”


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Aravi: A Khajiit in Skyrim

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Elisabeth Hollow
post Feb 8 2014, 06:47 AM
Post #206


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"Hmmm." Was all Kayla said before cleaning the ram. She hoisted it up on a nearby tree with some rope borrowed from Vera. She skinned it first, then carefullly slit open its belly, letting the hot entrails slide out. She yanked them out and cleaned the inside thoroughly before beheading it and tossing the entrails far away. When she got back, the ram was already on its way to being cooked. She rinsed her hands, arms, and legs off in the springs.



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Grits
post Feb 8 2014, 12:04 PM
Post #207


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Darnand caught a second fish and prepared it for the fire. Lack of practice made his hands slow with the task, but the time alone restored his energy better than a night of sleep. He would need more time to thoroughly reflect on Aravi’s situation, but for now his mind was quiet.

He looked down at his handiwork. Two cleaned slaughterfish neatly wrapped in grape leaves and tied with thin vines, ready for the coals. He filled his waterskins before climbing back up the hill.

At the campsite he found that the hunters had returned, and their kill was already cooking. He placed the fish at the edge of the fire, turning them as he had seen others do so many times. If his observations had been accurate the fish should steam in their wrappings, emerging tender and flavorful from the leaves and the smoke.

He sat back on his heels. This was the difficult part. He supposed he should say something. Making conversation was not his strongest skill. That uneasy feeling crept through his chest.

Darnand cleared his throat. “You caught a goat,” he said.


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King Coin
post Feb 8 2014, 05:19 PM
Post #208


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Aravi was barely awake at this point. She was laying on her side next to the fire, with the smell of roasting meat reminding her just how empty her stomach was.

The others took her transformation much better than she expected, except for perhaps Salyan who left without a word. She honestly didn’t know how she would have reacted to someone transforming, had she been in the other woman’s position.

Even with that, she was feeling apprehensive. They all saw what both she and Vera did. It was horrendous. Would they feel like they have to prevent another massacre like that from happening again? Aravi would have been conflicted, if she were in their position.

Darnand returned with some fish and began cooking them rolled in leaves. “You caught a goat.”

You caught some fish, was what leapt to Aravi’s mind. Instead she said, “Vera got it. I wasn’t very helpful on the hunt.”


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Aravi: A Khajiit in Skyrim

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Elisabeth Hollow
post Feb 8 2014, 05:33 PM
Post #209


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Kayla burst into laughter at Darnand's observation.

"Good job, mage. What's next, am I an elf and does Aravi have fur?" She teased with a grin. She turned to Aravi and smiled slightly.

"Well, you're kind of tired, anyone can see that. I was going to just let you sleep and wake you when the food was killed and cooked, but," she shrugged.

"I'm thinking of heading further north," she said casually, adding a few sticks carefully to the fire. "Maybe towards Winterhold. There's a Destruction mage there who says they'll help me hone my skills better."

And a handsome mage who's offered to tutor me.

She didn't realize her cheeks were red.


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King Coin
post Feb 9 2014, 04:47 PM
Post #210


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Aravi’s eyes were closed, so she didn’t have the opportunity to wonder what Kayla was blushing about.

She yawned. “Winterhold. They wouldn’t let me in the last time I was there…”


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Aravi: A Khajiit in Skyrim

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Grits
post Feb 9 2014, 09:19 PM
Post #211


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“Winterhold.” Darnand glanced up at Kayla. “I have— Kayla, do you feel unwell? Perhaps it is the fire’s heat, but you may be feverish. Do you suppose you may have picked up an illness during your ordeal with the Falmer?”

He immediately regretted his words. In his experience women rarely appreciated the suggestion that they might be diseased, no matter the good intention in making it.

“Er… that is to say…” He summoned a dagger and sliced open one of the steaming packets. “Look, this is ready! May I serve anyone some fish?”


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Elisabeth Hollow
post Feb 10 2014, 12:58 AM
Post #212


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Kayla felt her cheeks go even redder at Darnand's observation.

"It's called a blush, Darnand. Maybe one day a woman will do it when she thinks of you."

Oh...gods, that was cruel...

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be so sensitive." She apologized. She grabbed the fish from Darnand.

"Did you fail the initial spellcasting test, Aravi? They're a bit picky about who they let in. But not picky enough, considering they've let me in."


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King Coin
post Feb 10 2014, 03:36 AM
Post #213


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Aravi opened her eyes when she heard Darnand and Kayla’s comments.

Kayla was indeed fiery red in the face.

“That day might have already come,” she said, referring to Kayla’s scarlet face. She did not realize that her comment could be interpreted in another way in her tired state.

Then she answered Kayla’s question. “Yes, I failed their little test. I asked to learn more of restoration and illusion. They wanted me to prove my ability by summoning an atronach. I do not know how to do that.”


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Aravi: A Khajiit in Skyrim

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Grits
post Feb 10 2014, 09:51 PM
Post #214


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“That day might have already come,” Aravi said.

Darnand’s felt his own cheeks heat. With an effort he kept himself from looking at Kayla. Then another possibility occurred.

Does she mean..? Darnand glanced at Aravi in surprise and then quickly away again. Surely not. Can Khajiit even blush?

He stood up and dispelled his dagger, then knelt back down again. Then he stood back up.

Do not even think about it. Kharjo would kill you. And you would deserve it.

It was too late to not think about it. Unlikely scenarios including all of the present company had begun to present themselves. Darnand blamed Jerric’s stories for providing the inspiration. Hopefully Kharjo could not read minds. Wherever he was.

Aravi and Kayla were discussing the College of Winterhold. Darnand wished that he had the skill to teleport himself there. Or anywhere.

“That seems a poor test of your abilities, considering your intentions,” Darnand said to Aravi. “Abiene is a Restoration trainer. She has permission to teach spells from the Skyrim school as well as the ones taught at the Arcane University. Though I hesitate to speak for another, I am certain she would share her knowledge with you.”

An image of the Breton in her healer’s robe rose in his mind. I should like to speak with Abiene tonight. Perhaps she will see if I use our crystal balls.

Darnand sat down and picked up a portion of fish. “What spells do you seek in Winterhold?” he asked Kayla. Destruction magic was a fascinating subject, and he tended to get carried away. He hoped he did not sound too eager.






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Darkness Eternal
post Feb 10 2014, 10:14 PM
Post #215


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Vera sat idly by the fire as Kayla offered to take care of the meat. She didn't object. She's done enough already.

The meal was savory enough. Between Kayla's obvious blushing and the talk of the College, Vera really saw nothing to be irritated about. It was awhile before she decided to go and tear into the goat meat. After she was done, she expected to return to Cyrodiil and get the rest of her payment for a job well-done.

The Breton's lack of social skills made her groan inwardly. Then again, who's to say she was any better? Well, she's an Imperial. Having a sharp tongue was in her nature, even though she never made it her primary talent unless it had to do with hunting. And money. Or both at the same time.

She wasn't too caught up in the talk of summoning. She never summoned an atronach before. Or any daedra for that matter. The only thing she's been able to pluck from Oblivion was a skinned bone-wolf to aid her in her travels. She wouldn't make the display here. There was no reason for it, and besides, she didn't want to go about revealing more than she already had to.

They did just see me turn into a giant beast . . .

Vera pondered on that she held part of her meat to roast. She waited too long and the flames not only licked the goat meat but the tip of her hand. She pulled back right away, biting her lip suddenly at the hot feeling. As she took a bite off her food, and drank down water, her pink injuries suddenly began to turn white and her burns faded away after a minute.

"Join the College of Synod," Vera said after awhile. "You get in quick, learn what you can and go about your life."


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And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.”
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Elisabeth Hollow
post Feb 11 2014, 05:18 AM
Post #216


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"Healing," Kayla answered Darnand. She blew gently on a bite of fish. "And more Destruction, of course. I feel like if you have the power to hurt, you need the balance of a restorative magick. Something with less scarring."

She turned to Vera and raised a brow. "The Synod is more reigned in than even the Mages Guild. You can't even use Conjuration with the Synod, and they like to use their powers to influence politics. I'd much rather study in a more relaxed environment, where learning more is the main goal. The College of Winterhold holds no bars against certain magicks. Not even Necromancy."


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King Coin
post Feb 11 2014, 06:01 AM
Post #217


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Darnand looked at her in surprise. Something she said made him uncomfortable… What? I’m so tired, I probably did say something odd…

She yawned again.

Aravi listened to the others discuss magic, and schools. Magic was something new to her, and her skill with it was lacking. In Morrowind she had worn a bracer that stunted any magic, preventing her from casting anything had she known any spells. She had only begun practicing after she escaped to Cyrodiil.

She knew simple healing spells, but she practiced them enough to be able to do a lot with them. There were many situations though, where they simply were not enough. Like Vera’s eye. She felt cheated after she was denied entrance to the college.

Though perhaps she could try getting in again…

“They allow necromancy?” She frowned. She hadn’t met a necromancer yet that didn’t try to turn her into a corpse.


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Elisabeth Hollow
post Feb 11 2014, 06:05 PM
Post #218


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"Well, they allow anything as long as you clean up your own messes, don't blow anyone up, on purpose, at least, and are there to actually learn for the sake of learning. I wonder who was watching the gate that day. Did you get the Altmer woman? She's a little...racist." she looked a bit ashamed, not for hr own sake, but for the discrepancies that plagued her race. Their own xenophobia would be their downfall one day, she knew it, and she wasn't willing to be lumped in with them and take a fall as well.

"She only asked me to make a small fireball, something nearly every Altmer has an ability to do from childhood. Why don't you come with me? I can teach you conjuration on the way, or make it to where she doesn't expect you to do something unfair."


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King Coin
post Feb 12 2014, 01:21 AM
Post #219


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“I don’t remember who it was,” Aravi said, though she did remember it was an Altmer.

“I think I would like to go to Winterhold with you.” She smiled. The whole wolf business didn’t seem to bother Kayla anymore. Aravi remembered the look of horror on her friend’s face…

“You have the soul gems needed, correct? Do you need me down in Cyrodiil right away?” she asked Darnand.

She finally sat up and picked at some of the roast goat.


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Grits
post Feb 12 2014, 09:00 PM
Post #220


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Darnand attempted to answer Aravi’s question without inadvertently sharing any details with the group.

“Indeed, we have exceeded our goal for the gems. I am most pleased with the results of this expedition. I will deliver them, if you like. It will more than likely be months before you need return to Cyrodiil, though I am certain that you will receive reports in the interim at your home in Skyrim.”

He guessed it had been Faralda who had treated Aravi badly at the College of Winterhold. The Destruction trainer was hungry for advancement and sometimes took her frustrations out on applicants. Her willingness to tolerate Darnand was directly proportionate to the amount of coin he had spent learning spells from her.

“True necromancy is not taught openly at the College, or at least it was not when I last studied there. Raising undead in the Winterhold manner is more akin to summoning. The soul of the deceased is called back to animate the body. This of course brings back a person’s awareness. As a result the practitioners…”

This was probably one of those subjects ‘not suitable for mealtime discussion.’ Darnand changed the course of his remarks.

“It is prudent to understand the weapons of one’s enemy. If one has studied Conjuration and has enough power one might wrest control of the zombie away from the necromancer as the body is being raised, turning it against them.” He gave the flames a grim smile, remembering. “I must confess it is most satisfying to do so.”

Darnand tossed the empty leaves into the fire and glanced around at the others. “You have noticed that junior members of a cult often occupy the outer fringes of a cavern system? If you kill them first and then raise them, they often in turn raise their own minions to serve at your side in the battle against their leaders.”

Of course the opposite side of that coin did not bear discussion. He had more than once awakened in a sweat having dreamt of unwillingly killing his friends, either as an enthralled corpse or as the last survivor of a misadventure fighting for his life.

He looked up at the darkening sky. “I suppose we should stand watch. What do you think is most likely to attack us during the night?”


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