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> I am Lena Wolf, Lena's life as it happens
macole
post Aug 13 2021, 04:44 PM
Post #201


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QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Aug 9 2021, 03:25 AM) *

A note to faithful followers of the story: Lena has been arguing with Roach lately, and it is never a good idea to argue with your horse. So she's stuck in Bruma for a few days until Roach cools off - Roach is jealous of Luna (Hauk's horse) who is apparently younger, prettier and has bigger... you know what. wink.gif But once this is sorted, they'll be off again. biggrin.gif

rollinglaugh.gif Companions, they're all the same no matter what the race. It's Luna's long flowing tail that gets to Roach, I bet.


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Lena Wolf
post Aug 13 2021, 11:04 PM
Post #202


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QUOTE(macole @ Aug 13 2021, 04:44 PM) *

rollinglaugh.gif Companions, they're all the same no matter what the race. It's Luna's long flowing tail that gets to Roach, I bet.

No doubt. Girls. tongue.gif

We are almost ready for an update on the story! I have moved my game from Xbox360 to PC, and well, it took a lot of work to get the controller to function. It was all working beautifully for two days, but then Windows did an update and broke everything again. mad.gif Wasted another day implementing a more stable solution. But now it works! Then spent time and more time with that giant UESP book - heros like Jandaga should stay away from it lest their spirit gets irreversibly corrupted by the evil forces within. And this is nothing compared to the OBSE CSE book - that one comes straight from Sithis!

Anyway, we now have a heavily rewritten Companion Share and Recruit mod that made it possible to get Luna from Skyrim so that Hauk doesn't have to walk. Handy considering how much traveling they are doing. They are about to set off again! Stay tuned. biggrin.gif


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 14 2021, 11:25 AM
Post #203


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15 Sun's Height, 4E202 - The mountain road

"That necromancy business really needs addressing" - Lena was saying at breakfast. Olav was serving full Nordic fry-up, and Hauk was not about to pass it up.

"Well, then we should get on with it" - he nodded, not taking his eyes off the sausages sizzling on the grill. "Which one is nearer - the Amulet or the Helm?"

"The Amulet at Fort Ontus" - Lena checked her notes. "That's South West of Chorrol. The Helm is at Fort Teleman, that's all the way East of Leyawiin."

"Wow, that's a lot of travelling" - Hauk whistled.

"Your horse has arrived" - Humilis from the stables entered the tavern. "She got here last night, and is ready for you now."

"Oh, that's great news!" - Hauk beamed at him. "I'll be over shortly."

"Your horse?" - Lena raised an eyebrow. "Arrived? From where? Are there not enough horses in Cyrodiil?"

"Not like that, there aren't" - Hauk grinned. "Luna is a Nord horse, the one that I've been riding in Skyrim. It took a while to get the paperwork done, but now she's here."

"In Bruma. Of course" - Lena nodded. "But you know, Roach is also a Nord horse and I bought her right here at the stables."

"Don't argue."

"I'm not arguing! I'm just pointing out that you are not making any sense!"

"It's like with women: if I wanted a Nord woman, I'd look for one in Skyrim rather than in Bruma."

"I see. Which is why you settled for a half-Breton from the Niben. Makes perfect sense."

They stared at each other, grinning, then burst out laughing. The day was starting well.

...

It was late morning when they eventually set off towards Chorrol. The air was crisp and clear, the snow was glistening in the sun. It was the height of summer... But the Jeralls never shed their white garb.

"Let's take the Northern route" - Lena steered Roach North and around Bruma city wall. "Past Applewatch, then West."

"Do you know where that trail goes?" - Hauk looked uncertain.

"That way!" - Lena beamed. "We'll find out, I'm sure."

IPB Image

The views were breathtaking. The road kept climbing and climbing, and eventually they reached a place of worship dedicated to a mudcrab. The worshippers were talking gibberish with an air of wisdom and self-importance.

IPB Image

"That's Hermaeus Mora" - Hauk laughed at Lena's suggestion to make a sandwich. "Come on - these people are too far gone already."

The path continued West featuring hanging bridges and stone steps, still climbing. And then they stood on what felt like the top of the world.

IPB Image

"It's Skyrim to the right of here and Hammerfell to the left" - Hauk pointed at the mountain tops in the distance. "We are right at the three-way border point where Colovian Highlands become the Jeralls."

They stood there for a while, marvelling at the view. Suddenly they heard heavy breathing from behind. A daedroth came up the road, turning a corner. It roared, casting on its shield.

"What on Nirn?!" - Lena whipped out a clannfear and started casting paralysing fireballs at the daedroth. "Where did it come from?!"

"Mora's idea of entertainment, I bet!" - Hauk swore in a language Lena didn't understand. "You bloody..!" - the last word was swallowed by the roar of Hauk's dremora. The daedroth was indeed soon quite bloody.

"Let's get going before Mora sends more clowns" - Lena commented, pulling out daedroth's teeth. "It's still quite far to Chorrol and the sun will soon set."

From that point on the trail started descending, as the Jeralls morphed into much warmer Colovian Highlands. The snow gave way to grass and shrubs. It looked promising at first - the horses were no longer slipping on icy patches, but the descent became very steep. They found more stone steps and platforms designed to help with the incline, no doubt. This would have been very helpful indeed on the way up, but less so on the way down. The horses were now slipping on the narrow steps and required regular healing - they were no mountain goats! The fact loudly pointed out both by Roach and Luna.

It was late in the evening when they finally reached the Northern Gate of Chorrol. They were tempted to go into the city straight away, but the horses deserved a good rest as well, so they circled around the city wall to the Southern Gate and the stables. It was nearly midnight when Lena and Hauk entered the Motierre house where they would spend the night.

IPB Image


This post has been edited by Lena Wolf: Aug 17 2021, 05:23 PM


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Renee
post Aug 17 2021, 01:11 PM
Post #204


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QUOTE
They made her an "honorary" Blade, meaning: you are not good enough to be one of us, but we have to follow orders. Yet it was she and the "mere" city guards that were closing those damned Oblivion gates while the Blades stayed away in the Cloud Ruler Temple. She never wanted to deal with another Blade ever again, but it looked like she had to this time.


Sooo true. rolleyes.gif We do all the work. I appreciate it now, but back in those days I was wanting some help at times!

Oh wow, I didn't know you can get an alternate start on PS4! As you've noted, they can change things with NPC placement and situations during early quests. Same thing happens sometimes on PC.

I am up to post 33.


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Lena Wolf
post Aug 18 2021, 11:05 AM
Post #205


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16-18 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Fort Ontus - Fort Teleman

Fort Ontus lay high in the Colovian Highlands and it took the better part of the day for Lena and Hauk to reach it. They could see it from below, but the mountains rose steeply and the trail was hard to find. Eventually they stood by the entrance, taking in the view.

"Well, let's go and see what Caranya has to say for herself" - Lena looked wearily at Hauk. "Do you think they'll attack us on sight?"

"I think not" - Hauk shook his head, but checked his gear nevertheless.

The fort was quiet. Several mages were pacing around somewhat nervously, but they didn't attack.

"You need to speak with Caranya before you do anything!" - they urged Lena further into the fort.

"Well, I thought you were Traven's lapdog, yet here you are!" - Caranya greeted them. "Traven is misusing his power and I have a few choice words for him! Are you here to try and take the Amulet back?"

"Well..." - Lena looked at the zombies on the altars and the Necromancy banners in the hall. "What do you want with it?"

"To keep it away from Traven" - Caranya winked.

"And Mannimarco?"

"And Mannimarco."

"Well then..." - Lena looked at the other mages listening in from the distance. "I'll let you be."

Caranya smiled, the mages sighed with relief.

"I'll be here. This work is quite delicate indeed."

...

"Volanaro was right" - Lena was saying to Hauk on the way out. "Caranya isn't giving away much. But I see no need to kill her just so I could return the Amulet to Traven. Remarkable that he was so intent on having it back and didn't spare a thought for the mages that he was losing from the Guild."

"Well, the Necromancers that go rampant killing people are of course dangerous" - Hauk was watching the mages in the fort. "But these are Guild mages - were Guild mages - and I don't see them as members of that cult. We need to distinguish between them - something that Traven is not willing to do."

It was early evening when they stood outside Fort Ontus again. They were headed to Fort Teleman next, which was at least a two day journey. They would spend the night in Skingrad, then review their plans in the morning.

17 Sun's Height

They got up late because they went to bed late, stopped at Salmo's bakery for breakfast and set off for Bravil cutting through the forest. It took them all day and half of the night, and it was 3am when they eventually fell into bed in Lena's house, exhausted.

18 Sun's Height

The same pattern of getting up late after a long day repeated itself, and it was nearly midday when they finally set off from Bravil following the road South. They crossed the Niben at Fort Redman, then rode steady East past the shrine of Nocturnal. They reached Fort Teleman in early evening.

As they dismounted their tired horses, Hauk got hit by a shock spell and they heard rattling of walking bones. Necromancers.

"I thought Irlav wasn't a necromancer?" - Lena wondered aloud, battling a skeleton. "And this is an actual undead and not a summon."

"Yeah, the summon is over there, occupying your clannfear" - replied Hauk, battling a zombie. "But neither of them know shock spells, so there's a mage somewhere around here as well."

The mage was staying away on the upper level of the fort tower, but eventually also he was defeated.

"Necromancers" - Lena looked at his robes. "Unfriendly ones. I hope Irlav is Ok if this fort is overrun!"

They went in. The fort was indeed overrun with necromancers who were battling some daedra.

"Long term summons" - Hauk pointed out, cutting out a heart from a fallen Xivilai. "These must be Irlav's sentries. Too bad they can't tell friend from foe."

They fought through more necromancers and daedra who were also fighting each other, trying not to get caught in the crossfire. They found a zombie altar in a central hall and Necromancy banners.

"A bit enthusiastic, don't you think? Hanging up your banners before you've defended your enemies" - Lena mused, walking around.

The second section of the fort greeted them with fighting as well, a couple of necromancers made it as far as that and were fighting mages in Guild robes. Lena and Hauk joined in, and soon the necromancers were defeated.

"Irlav is further in" - the mages said. "Thank you for helping us repel this attack."

They found Irlav in the furthest chamber - a cave with a toppled statue of Nocturnal.

"I am sorry we should meet under such circumstances" - Irlav said. "But we are finally getting to some real work here. I imagine Traven sent you to retrieve the Bloodworm Helm?"

"Indeed" - Lena nodded.

"Well, tell him he can't have it" - Irlav looked cross. "As much as I prefer to stay at the Imperial City, I grow tired of all the senseless restrictions that he's been imposing. It's rough out here, but we manage."

"You got overrun by necromancers though" - Lena tried to reason with Irlav, although she felt it was futile.

"Indeed, we need better defences. We shall post more sentries in the first section of the fort. They are hostile to everyone, unfortunately, so it's best you don't come here anymore" - Irlav said with finality indicating that the conversation was now closed.

Lena looked at Hauk who said nothing the whole time. If she wanted the Helm, she would have to kill Irlav and his mages for it.

"Very well, I'll let you be. Goodbye."

She turned around and walked off. Traven would have to come and kill Irlav himself if he really wanted that Helm back.

...

The Blackwood was swallowed by low hanging mist and the clouds were hiding the moons and the stars above.

"This is no weather to wander through the woods" - Lena said running her hand along Roach's back and finding it moist with the mist. "But it is also not the weather to camp outside. I suppose we could spend the night at this fort, now that the necromancers are dead?"

"We could, but I would prefer not to" - Hauk said heavily. "Irlav didn't exactly welcome us here - or anyone else, for that matter. There is an inn nearby - the Drunken Dragon, should be to the West."

"Should be?" - Lena peered into the mist.

"Just follow the compass, it's too easy to get lost here. And keep your eyes peeled."

Lena sighed, preparing to get lost.

"Why is it called 'The Drunken Dragon'?" - she asked suspiciously.

"Because you have to be drunk to find it" - Hauk smirked, handing Lena a bottle of mead. "Here, this will take the chill out."

The night was warm, but the dump soon permeated their clothes and the chill set in. It took several mead bottles before they stumbled upon a mine entrance and a road.

"Oh that's a good sign!" - Hauk smiled approvingly. "The inn was built for the workers. It should be just up the road."

It was. They could not imagine a more welcome sight.


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 18 2021, 11:51 AM
Post #206


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The Mages Guild quest line

I always felt that this quest line was too linear - there were no choices in it at all. So I decided to change it. biggrin.gif I tried to modify the quests themselves, with only partial success, so there won't be any "Alternative Mages Guild Quest Line" mod released because I can't figure out how to make it right... and because I don't have to - I can fudge it through the console. wink.gif

With this said however, I do have an alternative story, and you see it here in this narrative. Lena could have chosen to kill both Caranya and Irlav and thus to follow the original line. But she chose not to.


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 19 2021, 12:39 AM
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19 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Imperial City

"If we ride straight to the Arcane University, we should be able to get there before the evening" - Hauk said at breakfast at the Drunken Dragon Inn. "I am eager to get it over with."

"As am I" - agreed Lena.

...

"Well, that was most unpleasant" - Lena wrinkled her nose as if she smelled something bad. She just finished talking to Arch Mage Traven regarding the Necromancer's Amulet and the Bloodworm Helm which she left with the mages who took them.

"Traven was displeased, I take it" - Hauk smirked. "So, what now?"

"He'll have to think on that, apparently" - Lena shrugged. "But he doesn't have a lot of mages left who are willing to do anything for him. I am to see Raminus in a few days."

Lena and Hauk crossed the bridge from the Arcane University and entered the Imperial City.

"Optio" - an out-of-breath guard approached Hauk. "I have a message for you." He handed Hauk a note and left. This was getting repetitive.

"They want you back for a while, don't they?" - Lena guessed as Hauk was reading the note.

"Yes, but it shouldn't take long. I'll leave a message in my house when I'm done - come and find me again." He kissed her goodbye and walked off.

Lena sighed, walking among the trees in the Arboretum. Suddenly she felt tired of all the travelling and running around, may be she should just rest for a few days. She sat down on a bench, lost in thought.

"It's a lovely afternoon, isn't it?" - a voice said in her ear.

"What?" - she jerked. Lucien sat next to her.

"Come with me" - he said, getting up. Lena followed.

Lucien walked to a well in the corner, then disappeared into it. The well led into the sewers, and after a short walk he and Lena stood before a metal door in the wall, like many other metal doors in the sewers of the Imperial City. Lucien unlocked it with his key, motioning Lena to enter, then locking the door behind her.

"We don't want to be disturbed. This is a magical lock - it cannot be picked" - he smiled. "Come."

The corridor before them resembled every other corridor in any Imperial fort. It turned a corner and opened onto living quarters with remarkably nice furnishings. It felt warm and cosy.

IPB Image

"Oh wow!" - Lena gasped. "I did not expect such comfort in the sewers!"

"The sewers have many chambers like this, although most are just dump and dirty ruins housing thieves, goblins or skooma addicts - hence the need for a good lock. Most chambers have chimneys and wells too, all I did here was clean it up." He got food and wine out of the cupboard, motioning Lena towards the table. "It's time for dinner, isn't it?" - he smiled.

"It is" - Lena nodded, pulling him into an embrace. "I am famished." She kissed him.

Lucien snapped his fingers and their clothes fell to their feet.

"Sanguine?" - Lena laughed.

"Dibella" - Lucien ran his hand up and down her spine making her arch and moan. "The cloth was getting in the way."

Indeed. Love making worked so much better without it.

...

Lucien was such a tease. He would not enter Lena at her call, he just kept caressing her, touching, kissing and fondling her until she could take it no more - her heart racing, her mouth dry, her groin hot and humid.

"Now" - he whispered, kissing her on the mouth, sharing his moisture with her. Lena felt him move in, with that first contact already sending sparks into her brain. Every move that followed released another charge, until her whole body was tingling.

Lucien picked up the pace somewhat. The tension that had been building up inside him, the tension that he'd been holding back, was ready to erupt, yet he would only release it a little at a time, sending sparks into his brain each time he touched the wall. There was no need to rush it - the journey was its own reward.

As Lena's breathing started to slow down, Lucien knew she would soon be exhausted - it was time to stop holding back. Picking up the pace with a stronger push every time, he felt Lena tremble under him, wrapping her legs around his waist. She was in ecstasy and with one final push, so was he, squeezing Lena in a tight embrace and lifting her up as his body arched.

They fell back onto the cushions, still holding each other. Lena only unwrapped her legs when her hips started hurting from being locked in the same position for too long. Lucien released his embrace and rolled over onto his back, still looking at Lena and stroking her face. She took his hand, kissing his palm and intertwining her fingers with his, like on their first night, like every night they spent together. Her mind took her back to their first meeting when Lucien came to offer her to join the Brotherhood. He was 42, she wasn't even 18, and no, their union would be impossible, she told herself, not with that age difference, not then and not ever. Besides, they only just met, she didn't know him at all... But the heart wants what the heart wants, he stood right next to her as he spoke, and as she breathed in his scent, she knew that no other man could take that special place in her heart the existence of which she forbade herself to acknowledge.

Lena woke up hungry, her head on Lucien's shoulder. He was already awake too.

"Shall we have dinner then?" - he asked, smiling. "Or do you want a bath first?"

"Umm... both, I think" - Lena got up, grinning.


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 19 2021, 11:06 AM
Post #208


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Chronology

Lucien Lachance was born in Morrowind under the Lover on 11 Sun's Dawn, 3E392 to an Imperial mother and a Dunmer father, a Morag Tong assassin. Lucien took after his mother - he was an Imperial. The relationship between his parents was clandestine, and after some years his mother left for Cyrodiil, taking him with her - Arnesian War started in Morrowind in 3E396.

In 3E413 Lena's mother Lillian Delacour had a son. As she was a Dark Brotherhood assassin, and her son's father was a high placed citizen of the Empire, their relationship was clandestine and they decided to send the boy away to the Northern Realms to be raised as a witcher of the School of the Wolf. He later became known as Geralt of Rivia, or Geralt the White Wolf. He was half-Breton, half-Nord, but his father's blood won over and Geralt was a Nord.

Lucien Lachance joined the Dark Brotherhood in 3E415 at the age of 23.

Lillian Delacour left the Brotherhood in early 3E417 after she executed the issuer of a contract on the man she was with - Geralt's father. She was pregnant with her second child.

Lena Wolf was born in Cyrodiil under the Apprentice on 17 Sun's Height 3E417. She was a Breton like her mother, but her father's Nord blood ran just under the surface.

In 3E421 Lucien was involved in the elimination of the Crimson Scars. Lena's mother died of swamp fever in the same year. Lena was 4 years old. She was adopted by their Argonian neighbour whom she saw as her grandmother.

The Oblivion Crisis broke out in 3E433 when Lena was 16 years old. Her adoptive grandmother died of old age. Lena joined the Mages Guild and went about closing the gates. Lena caught vampirism in 3E434 at 17, and joined the Dark Brotherhood soon after. Lucien was 42 years old when they met.

The Purification of the Cheydinhal Sanctuary allegedly took place in 3E436, except of course it didn't. Lucien was in exile for over a year while Lena was chasing the traitor, also exiled and hunted. It was Lucien who figured it out eventually and started feeding her tips as to where to look. It was safer for both of them not to be in contact, and although Lena guessed where the anonymous tips were coming from, she never met Lucien during that time. He could not be the one to reveal the identity of the traitor - he might not be believed, it had to be Lena. The plot was brought to conclusion in 3E437.

The Oblivion Crisis ended in 3E437, starting a new era with the following year.

The Greymarch in the Shivering Isles was concluded in 4E2.

Lena's vampirism was cured in 4E6.

Lena was spending a lot of time in the Shivering Isles, visiting Lucien's fort from time to time, but never meeting Lucien himself. Dylan took her to the Wellspring for the first time in 4E103.

Hauk Serck-Hanssen was born in Cyrodiil under The Lord on 21 First Seed 4E151 to Nord parents. He and his twin brother Iver both joined the Arcane University and the Imperial Legion. When the Great War broke out in 4E171, they had just completed their Battlemage training. Iver was drafted into regular forces, but Hauk was sent to Skyrim to a special unit - scouts, messengers, liaisons, logistics, that sort of thing. At least, this was the official designation.

Hauk met Lucien on multiple occasions during the War, as their assignments crossed - they were both sent after the same targets, albeit by the opposing sides. Hauk - to gather information, Lucien - to tidy up any loose ends. Hauk reached the rank of Optio and was made the Knight of the Dragon Legion for his service during the Great War.

Hannibal Traven became the Arch Mage of the Mages Guild in 4E191. He banned Necromancy and introduced a "code of conduct" for battlemages - something that Hauk strongly disagreed with. Not wishing to be banned from the Guild, in 4E192 he boarded a ship and left for Antaloor and then Albion. He stayed away for six years, returning to Cyrodiil in 4E198. The Legion made it clear to Hannibal Traven that Hauk's continued membership of the Mages Guild was in the interest of the Empire, and unless the Arch Mage wished to find himself an enemy of the Legion, he would do well to leave Optio Serck-Hanssen well alone. Hauk therefore retained the rank of Evoker, never to be promoted.

Lena returned to Cyrodiil in 4E193, found her house in Bravil repossessed and her citizen rights suspended, so she boarded a ship and sailed to the Northern Realms where she met Geralt in 4E195. She returned to Cyrodiil the following year.

Geralt the White Wolf came to Skyrim in 4E201. He was aged nearly 100 years, considering time dilation in other realms. Lena discovered she was Dragonborn.

Lena and Hauk met in the Imperial City in Frost Fall 4E201. Hauk was 50 years old.

Lucien came to see Lena at the end of Evening Star 4E201 offering her to rejoin the Dark Brotherhood. He was 246 years old. Lena was about 50 - it was hard to tell with the time dilation.

First Seed 4E202 brought the revelation that Lucien had appointed Lena his Silencer back in 3E347, never replacing her all this time. Lucien told Lena he loved her, offering her a bond, if she wanted it. What kind of a bond? He left it open.

In Mid-Year 4E202 Lena accepted a bond with Lucien, a bond that she never thought possible until recently, forbidding herself to even acknowledge that it was what she always longed for.

This Chronology is being updated as events unfold.


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 22 2021, 10:12 AM
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20 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Cheydinhal

When Lena woke up in the morning in Lucien's Arboretum bolthole, Lucien was already up and dressed, having breakfast and preparing to leave.

IPB Image

"I have work to do" - he said, preoccupied. "You take your time - just pull the door shut behind you, and it will lock itself. You can always open it from inside - you are not locked in here, but you cat get yourself locked out."

"I'll be fine" - she came up to him at the table, embracing him from behind his chair. "You seem tense."

"Well..." - he sighed. "I have to see a potential client with strange conditions, and then I have a contract to fulfil that might prove a challenge."

"Is that why last night..."

"What?" - he spun around, looking worried. "Too intense?"

Lena pulled up a chair, sitting down next to him, still not letting go of him. She shook her head slowly.

"No" - she smiled. "You sensed me perfectly. But you couldn't relax yourself."

"Yeah, it's true, I suppose" - he smiled back at her. "Not till the very end." He paused, looking in her eyes. "You are getting to know me."

...

Lena didn't stay long after Lucien left. She still felt tired from all the travels of the week before, and she felt like she needed some time to get her head in order. Normally she would go home to Bravil, or may be even cross to the Shivering Isles, but now she wanted to go to Cheydinhal. When Lucien brought some of his gear to the Wolf Sanctuary last time, Lena realised she didn't have the right furniture for two people. Oh, he was not moving in, it was still her house... But things had changed. She no longer needed a second bed upstairs for friends to stay the night, they wouldn't anyway, not now that she was... what? "No longer unattached" - she thought. It took some getting used to.

...

"We can have it all changed for you straight away" - Borba was all smiles, taking Lena's order for a change of furniture. "We have it all in stock, Magra can be there tomorrow morning. It's best if you supervise, just so he doesn't touch anything he shouldn't, in his enthusiasm." She turned to Magra, giving him a hard long look. Magra looked up briefly, muttered something unintelligible and went back to his work of fixing an old chair. Lena watched with amusement.

"Magra been giving you trouble?" - she chuckled.

"Well..." - Borba beamed at her. "May be a little. You've got to nip that sort of thing in the bud. Especially with Orcs - can't keep his hands to himself, to say nothing of the other parts of his body." She looked over at him with a mixture of anger and tenderness. He muttered something again, this time Lena could catch "Orc" and "not our way". Borba seemed to have heard everything clearly though. "Not our way?" - anger won over, she looked at Magra with her eyes narrowing. "If I can do it, so can you. Not here in Cheydinhal - never where you live. Besides, she's an elf! You'll be the laughing stock of everyone we know, carrying on like that with a Dunmer!"

"At least she's not a human!" - Magra retorted with anger of his own. "How many Bretons have you squashed?"

"I can't help it if they are so fragile" - Borba shrugged. "I like Bretons, they've got style." She beamed at Lena again. "Don't worry, they aren't dead. Just ruffled a bit, is all" - she winked.

Lena nodded, with a twinkle in her eye. But she felt it was best to change the topic.

"I need some skooma" - she looked straight at Borba. "Do you know where I can get some?"

"Yes" - Borba nodded, looking at Lena with a neutral expression. "For yourself?"

"No" - Lena smiled, noting to herself that Borba didn't seem to judge. "For someone in the Shivering Isles."

"Caldana" - Borba chuckled. "She's safer there than she was ever this side of the Gates of Madness. Just see our branch in Bravil - tell them I sent you, and they'll let you in."

"So, that's the trick then" - Lena grinned. "They'd never let me in, not in all these years."

"They don't want the same thing to happen to them as what happened to S'krivva" - Borba winked. "Good riddance, by the way. Her sister moved into her house, I hear. And that one is an actual dealer in Elsweyer imports - we will soon be getting some as well."

"So you don't deal with the likes of S'krivva?" - Lena was a bit surprised. Borba's business was stretching the law in places, after all.

"Thieves Guild? No" - Borba shook her head firmly. "The Tong disapproves of that. Camona Tong" - she added with an afterthought. "Not the other one."

"Of course." Lena paused, thinking of something. "Well, if there's anything we can do for you..."

"We'll be in touch in the usual way" - Borba beamed, closing the topic.

They exchanged glances of understanding, and Lena left the shop.

It was a beautiful summer evening, the air was warm and the insects were buzzing about, even after dark. The frogs already started their chorus in the pond, and night blossoms were opening their petals. Lena went up the path to the castle, turning off into the gardens, now fully finished.

"Magra does know his stuff" - she thought, walking along a winding path. Cheydinhal gardens were once again a place to be.

IPB Image


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

Cheydinhal Gardens on Nexus.


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Renee
post Aug 23 2021, 02:41 PM
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Wow so Lucien eliminated one of Lena's ancestors! She doesn't seem upset about this, though. Maybe she didn't even know him, eh?

QUOTE
"Why did you disobey my order back then and refused to perform Purification?"


Because it's too heavy handed? Because it's unnatural to eradicate an entire guild full of assassins, merchants, and hangers-on, when only one traitor deserves punishment? Because, oh, perhaps our character has finally gained what he or she feels is equal companionship amongst a group of equals?

I like the way you did it, quest-wise. However you did it (my memory isn't so good so I don't remember how). Never made sense to me to kill everyone. rolleyes.gif If a Mafia boss has an underling who is skimping money, yet the boss doesn't know who is doing this, does this boss then murder his entire clan? nono.gif

Anyway, the scene with Lucien is touching. The guy makes my skin crawl, but if Miss Wolf enjoys his company to the point she's upset as he fades away, I feel happy for her.



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Lena Wolf
post Aug 23 2021, 02:57 PM
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QUOTE(Renee @ Aug 23 2021, 02:41 PM) *

Wow so Lucien eliminated one of Lena's ancestors! She doesn't seem upset about this, though. Maybe she didn't even know him, eh?

Well, Lucien is an assassin, so what else is he going to do? Lena too is an assassin. She knows how it works. Besides, she didn't know her great-uncle, and from reading his diary back at the Deepscorn Hollow, and mostly from seeing that overly creepy shrine to Sithis, she got a distinct impression that he was raving mad. Good riddance.

QUOTE
QUOTE
"Why did you disobey my order back then and refused to perform Purification?"


Because it's too heavy handed? Because it's unnatural to eradicate an entire guild full of assassins, merchants, and hangers-on, when only one traitor deserves punishment? Because, oh, perhaps our character has finally gained what he or she feels is equal companionship amongst a group of equals?

I like the way you did it, quest-wise. However you did it (my memory isn't so good so I don't remember how). Never made sense to me to kill everyone. rolleyes.gif If a Mafia boss has an underling who is skimping money, yet the boss doesn't know who is doing this, does this boss then murder his entire clan? nono.gif

I think there may be arguments for and against it, but I disagreed with it exactly because I thought that the "evidence" was too thin for such a desperate measure. I mean, they hadn't even tried to find the traitor! That made no sense to me, and even less so to Lena. wink.gif

QUOTE
Anyway, the scene with Lucien is touching. The guy makes my skin crawl, but if Miss Wolf enjoys his company to the point she's upset as he fades away, I feel happy for her.

Well... Like you said so yourself in this very message: she found friendship and companionship within the Brotherhood, so no, Lucien doesn't make her skin crawl. She is an assassin too, remember? Besides, after what they've been through, they must be close friends, at the very least.


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"Innocence, my brother."

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Renee
post Aug 23 2021, 03:05 PM
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QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Aug 23 2021, 09:57 AM) *


I think there may be arguments for and against it, but I disagreed with it exactly because I thought that the "evidence" was too thin for such a desperate measure. I mean, they hadn't even tried to find the traitor! That made no sense to me, and even less so to Lena. wink.gif


Exactly.

Up to post 37

This post has been edited by Renee: Sep 3 2021, 02:07 PM


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Lena Wolf
post Aug 23 2021, 04:11 PM
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21-23 Sun's Height, 4E202 - The Jeralls - Pale Pass

While Magra and his men were moving furniture in and out of the Wolf Sanctuary, Lena was thinking of all the changes that happened in her life over the past few months. The change in her relationships with Lucien and Hauk, her growing contempt for Arch Mage Traven, the temporary return of her vampirism and the continued need for blood, and most of all - the possible revelation of her father's identity: Wolf Asgarsen, Commander of the Second Imperial Legion. It was only a clue, not a proof, she needed to find out more about him, she needed to link him to her mother, to be sure of it, yet all she had now were just a couple of suggestive letters, which may or may not have been forged. Hauk thought she should start looking in the Falkreath archives, and it was a sensible thing to do. But that required a longer stay in Skyrim... but may be... what if... she started from the other end? Assuming he was indeed a real person, and the Imperial Order that she was now looking at, was not a forgery, then where was the Pale Pass Fortress where his men were stationed? Which trail did they call the Pale Pass?

21 Sun's Height

When Magra was finished with the furniture, Lena had a hearty lunch and rode North East of Cheydinhal into the Jerall Mountains. Roach complained of the steep ridges that Lena made her climb, but climb she did, until they stood on the Dive Rock.

"We'll camp here for the night" - Lena patted Roach offering her some carrots and apples.

22 Sun's Height

The next morning they continued climbing North East, all the way to the Skyrim Observatory, and there, standing on the border of Cyrodiil, Skyrim and Morrowind, they turned West, following the Cyrodiil-Skyrim border along the ridges of Jerall mountains. They found several trails that weren't too steep and could be used to cross the border, but none of them had any forts or fortresses near them - just smugglers' shacks, caves or ruins - nothing suitable to house the Legion. They passed the Skyrim Temple overlooking Sedor, and Frostcraig Spire appeared in the distance - they were nearing Bruma.

IPB Image

"The old Pale Pass is by the Dragonclaw Rock" - mused Lena. "The new one is by the Cloud Ruler Temple, but that's a narrow staircase not suitable for troops. There must be a better pass somewhere nearby. Further West perhaps?"

She was about to continue on, when she noticed a roof among the rocks to the South. Not a fortress, but a house. A house, here? She never saw it before... She led Roach down the slope - remarkably easy. Could this be the old Pale Pass?

The house was abandoned. It was more than a house - it had underground guest quarters, stables and a smaller cottage next to it. It looked like a lodge or an inn.

IPB Image

"Well, if this used to be an inn, then this must be the site of the old Pale Pass" - Lena decided. But the sun had already set, and the air was too frigid to venture out. Besides, Roach discovered the stables - and hay - and was not leaving. Lena decided to stay the night - she had enough provisions for several days.

23 Sun's Height

In the morning Lena had to bribe Roach with several carrots into continuing their exploration of the Jerall peaks, which inevitably involved a lot more climbing. Going due North from the lodge, the climb was easy at first, but then the way was blocked by several boulders.

"An avalanche" - Lena thought, looking around. "Perhaps this is what blocked the Pass."

Indeed, if those rocks had not been there, the climb would have continued to be quite easy, crossing the mountain ridge at a fairly low point. Beyond it lay Skyrim, with what looked like an easy descent.

"This area looks to have been carved in the rocks" - Lena mused. "Perhaps the pass is not natural, but man-made. After all, if such an easy crossing existed in Reman's times, the Akaviri would not have been stuck in the ancient Pale Pass with all its dangers."

She led Roach North, descending the mountain ridge. A few larger rocks stuck out of the ground at odd angles blocking their way - results of other avalanches, perhaps. They manoeuvred around them, nearly tripping at times. Lena dismounted and went on foot, with Roach following. Still, there were no structures in sight...

"Are you all right back there?" - Lena turned around, hearing Roach's complaints. She sounded hurt. "Here, let me" - Lena prepared a healing spell. "Oh wait!! What is that?!"

She stood in front of a heavy iron-clad door, she only saw it because she had turned around. Roach's renewed complaints reminded her of the healing. She led the horse to a small platform in front of the door and told her to wait. Would the door even open?

With a lot of effort, the old door nudged open, and Lena slipped inside. It looked like an Imperial fort. All was quiet except for the rattling of walking bones and whizzes of wraiths...

"I don't really want to fight them" - thought Lena, her curiosity preventing her from just turning around and leaving. She cloaked in chameleon, gaining full invisibility with rings, spells and a potion. She went past the skeletons without being noticed. She sneaked past a wraith. The wraith sensed something - it was not being fooled, not completely, but Lena sprinted and the wraith lost track of her. This wasn't going to be that easy.

The corridor opened onto a large chamber with rows of beds - the barracks. This definitely looked like a fort. Lena looked into some of the chests - clothes, Imperial armour, steel weapons. She continued on, sneaking past more skeletons - there were no wraiths there. She came to a mess hall, with several doors leading off it. Kitchen, stores, another hall.

"Commander's chambers and office" - Lena thought, looking around. A heavy oak desk was still presiding the room, another door led to private quarters. Lena's heart leapt: she would learn something here. But first... she hit the floor, paralysed. A wraith drifted through the door from the private quarters, its hand raised with another spell. Frost seized Lena and she passed out.

...

"Dessos - I need to call Dessos" - was the only thing Lena could think about, as she was trying to still her shaking. She was freezing. She was lying on a cold stone floor in an old fort - yes, the Commander's office, she remembered. The wraith must be still nearby. Lena tried to stay as quiet as she could, lifting herself up in preparation to cast the spell. She was stiff and shaky, but her magicka was intact. Not enough for a long term binding, but may be enough for a few minutes... She cast the spell. Dessos appeared, unsheathing his sword and turning towards the private quarters - he sensed the wraith. Lena couldn't join him in the fight, it was all she could do to keep herself from fainting again.

"A pure-blood can leech life energy even from a wraith" - she heard a familiar voice in her head. She ignored it. "My gift comes with many boons" - he cooed.

"And yet Lamae defied you!" - Lena thought back crossly.

"I can do the same with you as I did with Lamae!" - Molag Bal roared in her head.

"No, you can't" - Lena uncorked a bottle of blood. "We have Dragonfires. You have to be summoned, and I am not doing that." She drank and warmth spread through her body. Dessos came through the door, sheathing his sword.

"My time is nearly up" - he said. "That wraith is down, but there are more. You must use long term binding..." - the end of his sentence was lost as he was banished.

He had a point, how could she be so careless. A fortress full of undead, and she went in all alone, unprepared. She blushed at her clumsiness. The blood had restored her somewhat, but she was far from being at full health. She had to eat and rest, but not with all the undead around, yet she had not enough strength for a long term binding spell.

Lena went into the Commander's private quarters and lay on his bed. It smelled slightly musty, but was dry to the touch. She crawled under the covers - the sheets were clean, if old. Lena lit the fire urns, and the air was warming up. Her eyelids felt heavy, she was so tired... She was asleep before she could reconsider.


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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macole
post Aug 23 2021, 05:13 PM
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QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Aug 23 2021, 10:11 AM) *

21-23 Sun's Height, 4E202 - The Jeralls - Pale Pass
They passed the Skyrim Temple overlooking Sedor, and Frostcraig Spire appeared in the distance - they were nearing Bruma.

I really like the look of the Hesu mods. Do you use many of them? They would take a lot of patches for me to use them at the moment.


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Vampire Hunter,
Endure and through enduring grow strong.
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Lena Wolf
post Aug 23 2021, 05:39 PM
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QUOTE(macole @ Aug 23 2021, 05:13 PM) *

QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Aug 23 2021, 10:11 AM) *

21-23 Sun's Height, 4E202 - The Jeralls - Pale Pass
They passed the Skyrim Temple overlooking Sedor, and Frostcraig Spire appeared in the distance - they were nearing Bruma.

I really like the look of the Hesu mods. Do you use many of them? They would take a lot of patches for me to use them at the moment.

They are beautiful but also quite extensive, like those Landscape mods - I forget the umbrella name. No, the Skyrim Temple is so far the only one. I'm still experimenting with different things, but those isolated settlements in the mountains work well, unless you also use landscaping mods to improve the mountains... Which I don't. I'm building Skyrim - I've got several mods already, including both Skyrim Improved, Skyrim Alive, and Ghastley's Falkreath. There are a few conflicts, but not many. I shall probably end up merging them all into one and cleaning it up. Need to get rid of the werewolves too - there's an infestation at the moment. ohmy.gif


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"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 24 2021, 10:27 AM
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23 Sun's Dawn, 3E417 - Pale Pass Fortress

She felt anticipation. She was focussed and collected, held firmly from all sides, cradled in a perfectly comfortable position. They were moving, smoothly but swiftly. A leap - she felt flying through the air. A soft landing. Another leap. A jump down, with a long fall broken by something soft. More swift and smooth movement. Rising anticipation.

She heard muffled voices ahead - men, laughing and talking, walking away. They continued moving, her heart beating faster.

They stopped, she felt warmth - the heat was coming from one side. A voice - quite close, male, talking quietly. Then gasping in surprise as she felt a jerk. Her heart skipped a beat, then a wave of calm engulfed her. Satisfaction.

She felt strain, movement, muscles tensing. A shuffling noise, then a thump. A deep breath, heartbeat slowing.

They were not moving. She felt warm, the heat was coming from one side again - she was leaning against something warm. It was pleasant, she started to relax, but anticipation wouldn't let her sleep. Time was passing - many heartbeats.

Suddenly there was a clanking noise, quite sharp yet muffled, and hard footsteps - someone was coming towards her, making a clanking noise as he walked. His voice sounded rough and disgruntled.

They moved smoothly and quietly again to intercept the heavy footsteps, the noise still muffled. A jerk, and the muffle fell away, the clanking footsteps now very close. Her heart raced, a hoarse grunt sounded right into her ear. Then a thud, and something heavy brushed against her side.

Muscles tensed, they moved with difficulty and strain, with a shuffling sound. Then a thump and release. A deep breath brought relief and satisfaction.

They moved again, anticipation rising, and something else - excitement and joy. She heard a man's voice, felt someone's touch - soft, caressing. She felt love and a heavy weight on top of her - a man, she could feel his heartbeat, hear his voice. Love engulfed her, love and joy.

...

"I have a rather special contract for you" - a Speaker addressed Lillian Delacour. "You are to eliminate a Legion Commander." He passed her a scroll. "Here are the details."

Lillian unrolled the scroll. Pale Pass Fortress.

"I see" - she said slowly, lifting her eyes to the Speaker. "Tell me, who issued this contract?"

The Speaker met Lillian's gaze, looking into her eyes for a long moment before replying.

"His lieutenants."

"Both of them?"

"Together."

"Very well."

She turned around and left. The Speaker thought he knew what she was about to do. Once performed, the Black Sacrament could not be refused, but conditions were always negotiable. The Speaker took a leap of faith with this contract, but Sithis would be pleased either way - two lives would be taken. Lillian was one of his best assassins, and he was not about to accept a contract on her life.

...

Lillian had no doubt that the Speaker understood her intentions. The scroll he gave her contained the details of the Pale Pass Fortress, the details that she knew already quite well. The men knew her - she was the Commander's woman, although no one knew she was a Dark Brotherhood assassin. No one except those two, it appeared.

"They've got the nerve, I'll give them that" - she thought, choosing her poisons. "But a quick death? I don't think so." She picked two vials of a lingering paralysing poison. "They should enjoy the fruits of their plot."

She strapped herself into her armour, taking particular care to secure and protect her growing belly - she was four months pregnant.

She moved smoothly and swiftly, dropping into the fortress through a hatch just behind the store room. Some soldiers were still in the mess hall, talking and laughing, but they would soon retire to the barracks - it was getting quite late. She peeked out of the store room door and saw them walk away. She silently crossed the mess hall into the kitchen - the first lieutenant was there. He could never resist an extra slice of roast and more mead than his wages would afford.

But he was not drunk, not tonight, he was muttering to himself. He heard her - he turned around, taking in her armour. She never wore it to the fortress before, of course.

"The assassin" - he thought with satisfaction. Lillian removed her hood. "No!" - he realised the foolishness of their plot, but it was too late. Lillian's dagger had nicked his neck, and he fell to the floor with a thud, paralysed.

He was heavy, but she was still strong, she pulled him up and moved his limp body behind some crates. He would take several hours to die - long enough to witness everything else that was to come. She closed the door, sat next to the stove and prepared to wait.

...

The second lieutenant returned from duty late, the soldiers were already asleep in the barracks. There would be some food in the kitchen though, and his mate would likely still be there, getting drunk. He walked heavily, his armour clanking around him. His mate must have heard him - the kitchen door opened...

"What?!" - he startled, seeing a slender figure of an assassin dashing from the kitchen, a dagger in the palm of her hand. He fell with a thud before he could pull out his sword - she shot a paralysing spell at him first, then nicked the skin on his neck.

He was heavy, with all his armour on, but she pulled his body into the kitchen too, setting him behind the crates. It was quite an effort, but also he had to witness her triumph.

Lillian straightened up and left the kitchen, leaving the door open. She opened another door - to the Commander's office, and from there to his quarters.

"Lily?" - he heard her footsteps. "What..?" - he saw her armour.

"Your lieutenants" - she smirked. "They are in the kitchen. They'll be dead by the morning. It seems they've finally had too much mead."

"Those bastards" - he swore. "Come, let me help you out of that armour. The men must not see you like this."

With her armour removed and stashed, Lillian didn't bother with clothes as yet. Wolf kissed her, caressing her belly, pulling her into the bed.

"This child we keep" - he said firmly. Love engulfed them, love and joy.


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 24 2021, 02:18 PM
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24 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Pale Pass Fortress

Lena woke up in the middle of the night, she'd had a most unusual dream. She was inside her mother's womb, witnessing the events that took place in that very fortress so many years ago. Was she imagining it? Surely, it was wishful thinking, her mind playing tricks on her, showing her what she wanted to see. She could not have possibly remembered anything that happened before she was even born.

She stretched, nestling in the Commander's bed. Her father's bed... Could it really be true? She would get up and search the room before her imagination got carried away any further. She sat up and suddenly remembered the wraiths. If that dream was true... she knew whose wraiths they were, and why they wanted her dead - a child of their assassin and their Commander whose life they wanted to end. If it was true... She had to know.

"But not without Dessos" - she thought, stopping herself. Gathering all her magicka and will, she summoned Dessos with long term binding.

"Ah, that's better" - the dremora greeted her with a smile.

She fell on the cushions, exhausted by the casting.

"I need to look around, this might be my father's fortress" - she said. "And if what I dreamt is true, the wraiths are of his two lieutenants that my mother killed because they had issued a contract on my father's life. Or they could just be wraiths without a special purpose."

"You need to recover first" - Dessos sat down on a chair across the room. "You are not strong enough yet. Sleep, and I'll guard you - no wraith will enter here."

She thought it was probably wise of him not to wander around the fortress disturbing the undead - all she needed was peace in that one room. She fell asleep.

...

Lena woke up several hours later, refreshed. Dessos was still sitting on the chair across the room, his helmet on the floor next to him. He looked tired.

"Dessos!" - she exclaimed, worried. "What happened?"

"The other wraith" - he said wearily. "I think you might be right - it had a purpose. But it's all quiet now."

"But you?"

"Still here" - he smiled.

They needed food, and Dessos needed healing, so Lena got out of bed and went about it - her pack was by the Commander's desk where she dropped it when she came in last night. Both rooms where quiet now, although there were skeletons in the barracks and elsewhere in the fort. Not with any particular purpose, just remains of the soldiers that perished in the never ending wars.

Lena went about searching the Commander's rooms in the hope to find some documents, something to confirm or dispute her dreams. The desk was filled with scrolls and missives, it took a long time to go through them all. Yes, this was the office of one Wolf Asgarsen, the Commander of the Second Imperial Legion. The dates were right, and all those documents shed some light on his duties over many years.

"Hauk would want to see these" - she thought. None of it was relevant to the present day, but she thought he'd be curious to examine this piece of the Legion history. None of it was personal, either.

She finished with the desk and looked around, searching for a likely place to store personal correspondence. Something hidden, something not looking like a chest, not attracting attention...

"Something like this" - she thought, running her fingers over a tapestry in the bedroom. She felt magic coming from behind it, she pulled the tapestry aside and found a small door in the wall - a safe. The door had no lock to pick - it was enchanted.

"What am I going to do with this?" - she said loudly, disappointed at this new obstacle.

"Lay your hand on it" - Dessos came up behind her. "It could be simple blood magic."

She laid her hand on the door, and nothing happened.

"I am not his daughter" - she said, disappointed.

"Or you are not doing it right" - Dessos tried to encourage her. "Try your actual blood."

She drew blood and smeared a few drops on the door. Nothing. Tears were rising in her - she so wanted her dream to be true, she grew close to Wolf Asgarsen in the last few days, and yet it seemed he wasn't her father, and it was all for naught.

She sat down on a chair, tears now running down her cheeks.

"What..? Don't cry, please" - Dessos was looking at her with worry. "I do not know how to handle this. You mortals are so fragile..." He broke off, confused and uneasy.

"It's Ok, it will pass" - Lena smiled at him. "I'm just frustrated, that's all. I found no proof that I'm Asgarsen's daughter, and I found no proof that I am not, either. Perhaps there is no proof to be found at all."

"Well" - Dessos was more comfortable with direct problems. "You've found this safe, which is locked - it must be important. Focus on it. If it isn't a blood enchantment, then what kind of enchantment would it be? Something that Wolf Asgarsen alone could use?"

Lena stared at Dessos, struck by this thought. She had assumed that the enchantment would allow Asgarsen's descendants to open the door, but what if he didn't think of that? What if it was only meant to keep his men out?

She got up, readying her thu'um. Of so many words in the dragon language that she'd learned, she could only use a few - she was not keen on the idea of consuming dragon souls for the sake of another thu'um. She decided to try Unrelenting Force.

"No" - she caught herself. "I learned it from the Greybeards. They are not Dragonborn. It is a well-known shout. No. But how about--"

IPB Image

"Krii Lun Aus!" - she focussed her shout on the door, taking care not to affect Dessos who stood behind her.

The lock clicked.

"The assassin's thu'um" - Dessos nodded. "Well done."


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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 24 2021, 11:24 PM
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24 Sun's Height, 4E202 - The letter

Lena opened the door of a safe in the Commander's quarters and retrieved a heavy scroll. Dessos stepped back to give her privacy. She took the scroll to the desk and started reading, unrolling it little by little.


To my children - Wolf and Lena

You must know that you were born of love. Your mother and I were foolish to give away Wolf, and we tried to do better with Lena. I can only hope that Gods will bring you together one day.

I am Wolf Asgarsen, Commander of the Second Imperial Legion. Your mother was Lillian Delacour, a Dark Brotherhood Assassin. She died of swamp fever four years after Lena's birth. It is all true.

Wolf, we gave you away. We told ourselves that a life of a witcher must be better than a life of a Dragonborn, but in truth we were afraid. Afraid to fail you as parents, with our respective occupations, with our clandestine affair. We were still meeting in secret, not daring to show that a Commander might have a woman that wasn't his wife, for we would not marry - Mara meant nothing to us. As a result, we failed you before we even begun.

Lena, by the time you arrived, we were no longer hiding in the shadows. The Commander had a woman that wasn't his wife, and the Nirn did not fall to Oblivion. But your mother could not reveal her occupation, as I am sure you cannot reveal yours. So she quit the Brotherhood - you might find it surprising. She quit in form only, she never quit in truth. Your adoptive grandmother was an Assassin too, a Shadowscale, she grew old by the time you were born - too old for work, but she too never retired. Assassins never quit.

I do not date this letter, but as you surmise, I have watched Lena grow up from a distance. Again, I have failed as a parent.

I leave this letter locked away behind the Assassin's Thu'um so that either of you would only find it if you are both Dragonborn and Assassin, as I am now. Dragonborn I have always been, Assassin I have become. Whether Sovngarde will be open to me or whether Sithis will claim my soul, I do not know.

Trust not what you read, only what you see. Make your own judgements, use your own wisdom, question your leaders. Do not repeat my mistakes.



Lena closed the scroll and put it back into the safe, but the door would not lock.

"I want to make a blood enchantment" - she turned to Dessos. "Do you know how to do it? So that my brother could open it as well?"

"It's simple - give us some blood..." He pressed her bleeding hand to the door and cast a spell - the lock clicked shut. "What will you do now?"

"Go home" - Lena answered without thinking. "It was rather too much to take in." She smiled at him. "I'll ride to Bravil."

Dessos nodded. "Call me if you need me."

"Thanks, Dessos" - she kissed him on a cheek. Did he blush? Who could tell on that dark skin... "I'll sneak past the skeletons, don't worry. Say hello to Sanguine for me."

He smiled and she dispelled him.

...

Lena stood outside the heavy iron-clad door patting Roach and feeding her carrots.

"I am sorry I left you out here for so long, but there is nothing to eat in there" - she said guiltily. "I know it's late" - the moons were already out - "but if we cross the mountains, we'll spend the night in that house on the other side - the one with the stables and hay."

Roach seemed to understand that, and pushed her nose against Lena's hand. Now that the trail was familiar, they crossed the mountains quickly, and soon the roofs of the old inn were in view. They would sleep there, then head South in the morning.


--------------------
"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 26 2021, 07:15 PM
Post #219


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From: Bravil



25-26 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Bravil - Skingrad

The road from the old Pale Pass Inn to Bravil was uneventful. In the mountains Lena had to keep to the road, but in the Nibenay Valley she took a shortcut along the Niben. After all, this was the area where she grew up, and although not many of the hamlets and fishing huts survived the Oblivion Crisis, she didn't need them as landmarks to guide her. The nature reclaimed most of the land, and there was now a bluebell meadow where her grandmother's cabin had stood just behind the Inn of Ill Omen. The events of the last few days brought back a lot of memories, and now she took a detour and stood surrounded by the wild flowers, seeing the cabin and her grandmother with her mind's eye.

"When the time is right, go to Skyrim to find your father" - she suddenly remembered her grandmother's words. Wait, did she say "find"? Lena always thought she meant "find out about your father", but what if she had actually meant it literally?

That thought had a lot of implications that Lena wasn't ready to contemplate, so she brushed it aside. She had enough to digest as it was. She mounted Roach and continued on to Bravil.

She arrived in early evening, and as usual it was raining. Lena welcomed the rain, she sat on the deck in front of her house and let the drops wash away her worries. Many people sat out on their decks too, it was a warm and quiet night. People of Bravil were used to the rain.

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"Tomorrow I'll get back to work" - Lena thought, sipping the wine. "The Umbranox contract is due. I wonder who is the Grey Fox now?" She mused, wondering how hard it would be to find Nocturnal's Cowl. At any event, Anvil was her destination, and she would set off in the morning.

26 Sun's Height

Lena arrived in Skingrad late in the afternoon. She'd been riding all day and Roach was now tired and required rest before continuing on to Anvil. On a whim, Lena decided to check in at the Summermist Manor - a place to stay for travelling members of the Black Hand. She unlocked the door with her key and entered. Fafnir greeted her.

"Good to see you!" - he said, smiling. "It's been a while. I'll be serving dinner shortly, if you want to join us. He's upstairs, by the way."

"He?" - Lena raised an eyebrow.

"Lucien, of course" - Fafnir smirked. "Rayenna's antics are the talk of the Brotherhood. It's been a while since we had something quite so juicy to discuss - a Speaker and his Silencer being an item, and another Silencer getting all jealous... That's a classic!" He laughed whole-heartedly. "So everyone knows about Lachance and his Wolf now."

"Umm..." - Lena hadn't thought about that side of things, although she should have expected gossip. "It shouldn't be much of a surprise though, at least not for those who've known us for a while already."

"Indeed" - Fafnir nodded. "But not everyone knows your history. Rayenna didn't, for one. So for those who don't know it, it all comes completely out of the blue. Do not worry however - I keep history in the past."

Fafnir was the Keeper of Secrets. He lived in the Summitmist Manor and appeared to be a mere majordomo serving travelling Brothers and Sisters. In truth however he was controlling rumours within the Brotherhood. It was all well and good to gossip about someone's love affairs, as long as it didn't involve classified information such as the circumstances of a treason two hundred years ago. People knew that something had happened, but unless they witnessed it at the time, they were not entitled to any details. Besides internal rumours, Fafnir also controlled communications to the wider world, such as the famous story about the Purification of the Cheydinhal Sanctuary and subsequent collapse of the Dark Brotherhood, all of which became common knowledge, yet none of which was true. It was also Fafnir who supplied Lucien with the documents to serve as bait for Rayenna. The archives were situated in a sealed cavern system below Skingrad, accessible only from the basement of the Summitmist Manor through a hidden teleport. Not many people knew it existed, and no one besides the Keeper of Secrets was able to use it.

Fafnir appeared to be a Nord. Yet he had been with the Dark Brotherhood longer than any other living member, vampires included, and some believed that he had been with Morag Tong even before that. Who was to say?

Fafnir was looking at Lena and smiling. "Go on, dinner won't be ready for another hour."

Lena ran upstairs. Lucien was sitting in an armchair reading, he looked tired. Yet he leapt to his feet hearing Lena come up the stairs.

"How did you know I'd be here?" - he breathed into her ear, holding her close.

"I didn't" - she whispered back. "I was passing Skingrad on my way to Anvil and decided to stay the night. And came here to check for no reason."

"No reason?" - he smiled, releasing his embrace and looking into her eyes.

"Other than wanting to see you." She looked him over. "You are hurt."

"Bloody vampires" - he grimaced. "Yes."

"Mandrake root?"

"Already taken."

"Well then, after dinner we go back to my place and indulge in the Wolf Spa."

"You are full of surprises" - he laughed. "I'd be a fool to argue."

The library was cosy, and Lena browsed through the books and newspapers picking up something to read. Fafnir started dressing the table on the other end of the room.

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"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Aug 28 2021, 04:02 PM
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27 Sun's Height, 4E202 - Porphyric Hemophilia

Lena woke up in the early hours of the morning because Lucien was thrashing in his sleep next to her. She touched his forehead - he was burning with fever.

"Porphyric Hemophilia" - she thought, recalling her own experience. "The mandrake root didn't do enough."

She tried to wake him, but the was gripped by the dream. At least he would remember it when he woke. There was nothing she could do for him until then.

...

"I had a most disturbing dream" - Lucien said at breakfast. He was no longer feverish. "I dreamt that I craved blood."

"You were thrashing too" - Lena gave him a searching look, but his eyes weren't red yet. "When were you infected?"

"Two days" - he said, and she realised that he must have had the same dream also the previous night.

"Mandrake root didn't work" - she stated the obvious. "Why did you not say anything?"

"I hoped a second increased dose would cure it. I don't feel it now."

"You don't feel it during the day!" - Lena exclaimed crossly. "We have no time to lose. Have you been to the chapel?"

Lucien looked at her in disbelief than laughed.

"You are joking, right?" - he smirked. "I've been taking lives for over two hundred years, and you think The Nine would give me a blessing?"

"Have you tried?" - Lena insisted.

"No, but isn't it obvious?"

"We are going to the chapel" - Lena said in a such a tone that even Lucien decided not to argue.

"Fine, you'll see for yourself" - he shrugged.

...

"I am the Priest of Julianos, and you can call me 'Your Grace'" - the priest greeted Lena and Lucien when they entered the chapel in Skingrad. Lucien shot her a look - I told you so. She led him straight to the Altar of The Nine, ignoring the priest.

"Do it" - she ordered Lucien. "Prey and let's see."

He knelt before the altar, saying a short common prayer, touched the altar, and nothing happened. He got up and walked over to Lena, sitting down on the pew next to her.

"What did I tell you?"

She sighed. "All right, try Arkay - he always gives me a blessing. Or try Dibella" - she recalled Lucien casting Dibella's spell.

"Dibella might still remember me" - he grinned. "But Arkay? I never prayed to him before."

"Then do it now." The finality of Lena's tone did not invite discussion.

Lucien got up, walking over to Dibella's altar. He looked over his shoulder - Lena was kneeling before Arkay.

"This is futile" - he thought. He knelt before Dibella's altar and said a common prayer, just as a favour to Lena.

"And so you come to me in your time of need, Lucien" - a voice said in his head. Lucien startled and looked up at the stained glass window.

"Dibella? You remember me?" - he thought in surprise.

"That is an insolent question" - the voice said without anger. "Mortals always assume the Gods to have the same weaknesses. Yes, I remember you. Why do you seek my blessing?"

"I contracted Porphyric Hemophilia and the time is running out. I need a cure" - he gave a direct answer.

"Eat some mandrake root" - the voice said with a mocking undertone.

"It didn't work."

"Then turn into a vampire - it is an advantage to an assassin, is it not?" The voice was calm, no longer mocking.

"It is. Yet I cannot allow it this time."

"This time?" - Dibella seemed to have taken an interest. "Oh yes of course - Purgeblood salts. How many times?"

"A few" - Lucien wondered whether Dibella could read his memories. "But it gets harder every time. I cannot risk it."

"So what changed?"

"Lena - it would be bad for her if I were to turn" - he admitted to himself more than to Dibella.

"You could use the salts again to revert it" - the voice objected.

It was true, and Lucien knew it. He never told Lena about his past infections - if Purgeblood salts were used soon after vampirism set in, and certainly before the first feeding, there were no side effects to the cure. Except the ever growing resistance towards the salts and growing difficulty in curing Porphyric Haemaphilia with conventional means. At some point he might become immune to both.

"It might not work again - I cannot take that risk" - he repeated, but Dibella remained silent. He needed to say more. "Not now that Lena is with child."

"Ah, you sensed it" - Dibella sounded pleased. "I see my teachings were not wasted then. But what if the child isn't yours?"

"It does not matter."

Dibella did not reply. Lucien decided to be patient - perhaps she was testing his resolve. He was looking at the stained glass window above him and wondering how his love for Lena would weigh up against all those lives he took in the name of Sithis. What happened to their souls? Did Sithis truly devour them as some claimed, did they turn into ghosts or did Arkay care for them like for all other dead? He never thought about it, until now.

"You have to ask Arkay about that" - he heard Dibella's voice again. "As for the weighing up of your deeds... It depends whom you ask. There is a reason there are nine of us - we do not all judge mortals in the same way."

The voice fell silent again, and Lucien wondered how much longer he was expected to kneel at the altar before he would know Dibella's judgement.

"Love beauty and honor its mysteries." A wave of healing washed over him. "And watch your step. Remain true to yourself." The interview was over.

...

Lena finished her prayer to Arkay, receiving his blessing. She returned to the pew, noticing that Lucien was still kneeling at Dibella's altar. "At least she responded" - she thought. She didn't hold out much hope for any of the Divines giving a blessing to Lucien, considering that he never visited any of their shrines, and with his occupation... "Only Sithis would give a blessing to him" - she thought, regretting not restoring the shrine of Sithis at the Deepscorn Hollow - for just such an eventuality. But it was too far away anyhow, there was no time. She prayed to Arkay to grant Lucien a blessing, but Arkay refused. "He must offer his own prayer, and then we'll see" - was his answer. She was lost in thought and worry, when she noticed a halo of healing rise around Lucien - Dibella had granted him a blessing. "Dibella?" - she thought. "Well, well..."

"There's something I need to tell you" - Lucien walked over to Lena, taking her hand. "But not here."

Back in the privacy of Lena's house he told her of his past vampirism infections, hastening to add that at the time the Black Hand refused to grant Lena access to her great-uncle's sanctuary at Deepscorn Hollow, even though he tried to insist. "We have vampires in our ranks, and it isn't a problem" - was the consensus. "If she really wants a cure, she can find it herself, there are other ways." Of course, Lena's vampirism was well past the first feeding at that point, so the cure would not have been without side effects anyway.

"I understand now why the mandrake root didn't work" - Lena nodded. "But Dibella granted you a blessing" - she said tentatively, hoping to hear why.

"My mother was devoted to Dibella and she brought me up in that way too" - Lucien smiled. "But I've never offered a prayer since I joined the Brotherhood, I didn't think it would be welcome. It seems I was wrong."

Lena was nibbling at the grapes, waiting for Lucien to continue, but he didn't say any more. Perhaps it was between him and Dibella.


--------------------
"What is life's greatest illusion?"
"Innocence, my brother."

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