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> Buffy - Book 3, We're Having a Crisis Here!
Lopov
post May 22 2020, 09:48 AM
Post #161


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Very good! Have you been there or are you familiar with it because of the palace?


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SubRosa
post May 22 2020, 06:09 PM
Post #162


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I have never been. I just know it from reading Roman history, and seeing pictures. It is a great place to build an Imperial palace.


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Acadian
post Yesterday, 12:39 PM
Post #163


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From: Las Vegas



Previously- Buffy met with Count Bravil and relayed Martin Septim’s plans as well as his request for aide to Bruma. When the subject of Kvatch came up, the Count launched a tirade against Savlian Matius. Buffy lost her temper and strongly defended the valor and choices of the Hero of Kvatch. Before the Count could react to having his views openly challenged in his own court, the meeting was interrupted with news that an Oblivion Gate had just opened right outside the city’s north gate. Simultaneously, Buffy sensed Superian’s fear. All thoughts of the tense situation in the throne room evaporated as Buffy raced out of the castle to ensure the safety of her precious mare.

*

SubRosa- Thanks for noting the interlude with Dawn; we’ll lift the veil for Buffy about the butterfly in a couple episodes. Even though Buffy’s reaction was somewhat restrained, her impertinent words were still quite risky, given the power and hostility wielded by Count Terentius in his own court. The Oblivion Gate’s fortuitous timing likely kept Buffy out of Bravil’s dungeon – or worse.

Grits- I’m so glad that ‘Well, stuff me gently,’ caused its desired reaction. It is a rather unique saying that Buffy borrowed from Mrs Acadian and I find elegantly endearing. I too spit tea the first time I heard it. tongue.gif I slightly preceded the guard’s notification about the Oblivion Gate by a warning from Superian as a good opportunity to show the mystical bond between the elf and her dragon-mare.

Lopov- Buffy had good reason to be proud of her restraint in the face of insults to her own morals and character. Insulting her late Savlian, however, was predictably more than she could tolerate. As ever, when it comes to protecting those she loves, Buffy never counts the cost. You are correct that one of the reasons for the Countess Alessia execution subplot back in Leyawiin was to support this scene with Count Terentius.

* * *

Episode 24

Soldiers, backed up by townsfolk armed with axes or spears, had formed a ragged skirmish line between the open Oblivion Gate and the approach to the bridge that provided access into Bravil. Defenders outnumbered Daedra at this point and the defense seemed to be holding. Arrows, from atop the city’s north wall flew over my head to engage foes as they emerged from the Deadlands. As I sped across the bridge I noted that the defenders’ positioning also provided some protection for my destination – the stable.

I met Antoine at the corral’s entrance, pitchfork in hand and defiantly ready to protect the horses entrusted to his care. Isabeau was furiously tossing bucketfuls of water onto the stable’s wooden roof and walls to help ward the facility from errant daedric embers or sparks.

The horses were clustered together in one corner of the paddock. I considered asking Acadian to recall our dragon-mare to safety within me, but as quickly rejected the idea; she was not the only horse in danger. Button, the chapel’s draft shire was in clearly in charge though her eyes displayed fear. Aetherius was near panic and reared as I approached. Although Superian was the youngest of the three and fidgeting with uncertain energy, she also had seen more than one Oblivion Gate. She settled quite a bit as soon as she saw me, but it took a calming spell to keep Aetherius’ front hooves on the ground.

“Here, get these on and we’ll take them into the city.” The urgent voice was that of Mara’s living saint, Olava. We quickly had halters on all three horses and led them out of the corral.

Passing Antoine, I assured him, “Olava and I will get the horses inside the city and calmed down.” We then led our frightened charges back across the bridge. Focused on getting my mare to safety, I barely noticed the blue velvet gown of Delphine Jend as she breezed past us on her way out of the city.

When we reached the gate, the young Imperial soldier on duty protested, “You can’t bring those animals into -“

Olava cut him off. “We’re taking these frightened horses to safety. Unless you want the Goddess of Fertility to shrivel your stones to raisins, you’ll let us pass!”

In the chaos around us, he probably didn’t notice the subtle emerald glow to my hand as I gently touched his arm and added, “Please?”

He did as we asked.

Once inside the walls, Olava turned to me. “Buffy, get back out there and earn your keep as the City of Mara’s knight. I’ll tether the horses behind the chapel.”

I nodded, handed her Superian’s lead and ran back out the gate.

On the skirmish line, Gaius Prentus seemed to be in charge. “If you’ll shield me with your steel,” I offered, “my bow and spells are at your service.”

“Aye, we could use the help, Buffy.”

My potent illusion spells quickly proved their worth as I was able to immobilize or command Daedra almost as soon as they exited the flaming portal. That made them easy kills for Bravil’s defenders. “Where’s Viera?” I asked.

“When there’s a threat, Count Terentius’ standing orders are for Captain Lerus and Fathis Aren to serve as his personal bodyguards.” The soldier spat on the body of a dead scamp at his feet. “Damn waste of a skilled officer and powerful wizard if you ask me.”

A chilling thought struck as I looked around. “Where’s Delphind Jend? I saw her coming out here.”

Gaius winced and pointed toward the stone maw belching flames from the Deadlands.

Both hands found my hips. “You let her go in there by herself?!?”

The soldier replied sheepishly. “I ordered her to stand down. . . .”

I caught myself. “I’m sorry, Gaius, you’re right. I don’t know anyone who can stop Delphine.”

“I heard you closed one of these things?”

“Three,” I replied absently as I realized Delphine didn’t even have any water. My thoughts were interrupted as I cast an emerald swirl of magic to immobilize an emerging daedroth. The arrow I loosed to chase my spell was but one of half a dozen from the city walls behind us that dropped the beast before it could recover from my illusion.

“Buffy,” said Gaius, “now that the situation out here has stabilized somewhat, do you think I should send in a team to try and find Delphine?”

“No,” I replied adamantly, “anyone not in physical contact with her when she removes the sigil stone will perish. During one of Guildmagister Kud-Ei’s weekly training sessions, I described how to close an Oblivion Gate. Delphine was there so she knows what she’s in for. If the gate still stands after two days, we can assume she’s failed and I will go in to try and close it.”

He frowned. “So all we can do is wait?”

“Our city and its defenders are counting on your leadership to hold this line.” I touched his arm gently. “Look, Gaius, Delphine is the most skilled destruction mage I know. If anyone can power their way through the Deadlands, it is she.”

“I understand that one of my mages is inside that thing?” I turned toward the Argonian voice to see Kud-Ei. Towering above her was my guildmate Carandial. After Gaius and I both nodded, she continued to the soldier, “Don’t feel badly. Not even I can control Delphine when she sets her mind to a challenge. I can assure you the rest of my guild is better at taking direction. Buffy has told me that closing an Oblivion Gate can take up to a day or two so I’ve organized my mages into pairs to augment your line for eight hours at a time. Carandial and I are your first shift.”

“Thank you, Magister,” replied Gaius. “The help is most welcome.”

Carandial said, “Ardaline’s working overtime so we can keep you stocked with potions of healing and resist fire.” To emphasize his point, the Altmer held up a bag that softly tinkled from the sound of many vials. He then turned to me and added, “We passed Olava near the chapel; thanks for helping to get my gelding to safety.”

“My mages can do field healing,” the Argonian’s soothing voice continued. “Mara’s high priestess assures me the chapel is standing by for any wounded who need more involved or prolonged care.”

Soon, Gaius Prentus and Kud-Ei had things organized into a sustainable defense to protect the city.

Several townsfolk brought food provided by the city’s two taverns out to us. Nilawen moved slowly through the line of defenders with a heavily laden hand cart, offering water and arrows to those in need. I was grateful for the self-replenishing magic of my quiver as I waved off Nilawen’s offer to fill it. The Bosmer blew stray black strands of hair from her tired face. “Daenlin is with the other archers up on the north wall, Buffy. He said to tell you he thought you’d be safer and more effective up there with him.”

I shook my head. “Daenlin’s right about archers, but my spells are mostly illusion. Their slow rate of travel does better against moving foes at closer range.”

As I was wolfing down the ham and flatbread that a kind serving girl from one of the taverns had given me, Kud-Ei approached. “I’m glad to see you eating something, Buffy. As soon as you finish that, you must sleep.”

“Buf, Maghiphter. . . .”

“Don’t ‘But Magister’ me, Journeyman. You and Henantier are the guild’s next team on duty, and I will not have a tired mage in charge of the guild's small detachment out here.”

I gulped as I emptied my mouth. “In charge?”

“Yes, Henantier is quite skilled, but you outrank him and have vastly more experience combating Daedra.”

I nodded obediently. “I’ll sleep in the stable, so I’ll be close.”

“That will be fine,” she replied. “I’ll wake you for your watch.”

As I curled up with a blanket in a dark corner of the hay loft, comforting smells of the stable battled with the rolling sound of thunder and occasional scream of a dying Daedra. Fatigue must have won however, for Kud-Ei woke me from a sound sleep. “Carandial and I are returning to the guild to rest now. Henantier has joined several fresh soldiers on the defensive perimeter. Caccian Apinia is in command while Gaius Prentus and some of the other soldiers are trying to grab some sleep in the guardhouse. Aryarie and Ita Rienus will relieve you in eight hours if Delphine is still inside the Oblivion Gate by then.”

I was disheveled and stiff, but adequately rested. The eerie red light of the Oblivion sky made it difficult to tell if it was still daylight or if night had fallen. As I joined the line, I exchanged grim smiles with Caccian, Henantier and the others on duty.

And so our vigil continued, as Daedra continued to trickle from the Deadlands at the rate of three or four per hour.

It was nearly a score of foes later when we heard and felt a low rumble.

The flaming portal flickered, then began to crumble. A burst of white light engulfed the entire structure momentarily blinding me. Just as quickly, the brilliance faded to reveal the gate was closed. Huddled on the ground in front of the broken stones was the figure of a woman in shreds of blue – sigil stone clutched to her breast.

This post has been edited by Acadian: Yesterday, 06:41 PM


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ghastley
post Yesterday, 02:03 PM
Post #164


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And now we all want to know, did her enemies explode? biggrin.gif


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macole
post Yesterday, 05:27 PM
Post #165


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Cheers for Delphine!


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haute ecole rider
post Yesterday, 06:00 PM
Post #166


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From: The place where the Witchhorses play



I agree with ghastley, how many enemies exploded inside that Gate? tongue.gif

It was very interesting to see this from the defenders' point of view. Julian always took it on herself to go into those Gates on her own, so we never had the opportunity to see how such defenses could be organized. Very well thought out, and my old pilus is nodding her head quite sagely.

I look forward to Delphine's debrief!


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SubRosa
post Yesterday, 06:37 PM
Post #167


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From: Between The Worlds



That was a thoughful touch on your part to note that Isabeau was soaking the roof of the stable to dissuade fire from an errant spark taking root there. They clearly don't have the fireproof wood and thatch buildings that people in Skyrim do, which even dragon breath cannot set on fire...

Nice to see both Button and Olava again too!

Buffy can be quite charming, when she casts a certain spell with a subtle green glow.

I think you would have be fire proof, lightning proof, and frost proof to stop Delphine...

This episode really is a nice re acquaintance of all our old friends from Bravil. I note that everyone is coming together and pitching in, without the aid or direction of the Count.

“Buf, Maghiphter. . . .”
This was just adorable! smile.gif

We have seen what it is like to go inside an Oblivion Gate and shut it plenty of times. This was a welcome example of showing us what that is like for the people waiting outside.

I imagine Delphjne's first words will be: "Look what they've done to my gown!"



nit:
Unless you want the Goddess of Fertility to shrivel your stones to raisons, you’ll let us pass!”
I am thinking you meant raisins?


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