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> I am Lena Wolf, Lena's life as it happens
Lena Wolf
post Jun 22 2021, 11:50 PM
Post #81


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From: Bravil



18-21 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Lady Syl

Lady Syl wanted me to find a conspiracy against her and suggested I enlist the help of her Court Torturer. How could I refuse!

"I like assertive leadership" - said Herdir. Well, we'll get along fine then.

Most people had nothing to say, but they all got a good zapping anyway - leadership needs to be asserted, not merely assumed. Cutter got a triple doze because she asked for it. Literally.

But what do you know - Lady Syl was right this time - there was in fact a conspiracy against her. Some people want her dead. But how complicated! A Black Sacrament is all you need, and someone comes and does the job for you - me. Oh wait, we have no branches in the Shivering Isles.

After a day of fun torturing everyone... err... making enquiries, we got a lead on a secret meeting location, and then I had to sneak around and listen in. I got bored, got stuck at Bernice's chatting with Ushnar and his terror of cats (and Khajiits), then ran around after Bisha to try and get him to leave - and missed the secret meeting. Never mind, there's always tomorrow. Got a nice skinned hound as a reward.

Slow investigations have their merits - provided there's enough wine in stock.

Lady Syl was pleased with the result, and the head of the conspiracy was executed. She's right not to execute everyone involved though - she'd soon run out of citizens.

And here it is - my Ruin's Edge. Not "The Edge of Ruin" that I found in Skyrim. Although the enchantment is similar, the Skyrim bow is a fake - much too heavy and takes way too much charge to work.

On to the next task now: get the chalice for Thadon. It's a tricky one - I'll have to take felldew to enter the cave, and continue taking more felldew to keep fighting the elytra. But in the end there's the chalice - it clears up the built-up addiction. Yeah, I've done it before... But last time I was a vampire, and that addiction didn't do much to me at all. This time it will be different, I can tell...


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 23 2021, 05:40 PM
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21-23 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - The chalice

"Come on - take it" - Dylan held Lena tightly around the waist, his low voice hissed as he spoke into her ear. He dropped his mace and held her close to his bare chest. "Now."

Lena was dizzy, the room was spinning in her sight, but she was still resisting.

"No, I can't!"

Dylan unclipped his collar, and his upper armour dropped to the floor. It was hard to refuse a Dark Seducer. His scent was sweet, enticing, irresistible.

"You must" - he hissed, holding her closer still.

The room was spinning faster and faster, Lena was about to faint, to slip away into the white whirlpool ahead... The darkness behind her was rushing in too, swallowing her... Which would devour her first - the velvet darkness or the blinding white light, sharp as her Sufferthorn... Sharp as...

She bit Dylan's neck and drank. She had fangs again.

22 Rain's Hand

Lena woke up in a feather bed in what looked like a party room. There was wine, fruit and felldew everywhere, as well as several fresh corpses. Dylan was next to her on the bed.

"Ah, you are awake" - he said, now not trying to speak softly. There was a fresh bite mark on his neck, he looked a little pale, noticeable even on his dark blueish skin. "Thadon tried to get you killed. Ex-vampires cannot have felldew."

"But I'm alive?" - Lena was trying to remember what happened. Thadon had sent her into this cave with elytras, she had to have felldew to enter, then to have more to survive, then...

"Yeah, alive, but only just."

Dylan must have followed her, she vaguely remembered him joining in the fight with the addicts when she reached the chamber where they were feasting - the chamber with the chalice.

"I remember getting the chalice - and your help in battle" - she looked at him, now noticing the bite marks. "Did I..?" - she touched Dylan's neck lightly and a drop of blood oozed from the bite.

"You had to have blood" - he said. "Fresh blood of a living being, not a corpse. Blood not tainted by felldew" - he glanced at the corpses of the addicts. "You would have died - the chalice would have killed you."

"And you--"

"I am not mortal, but it seems to have sufficed" - he looked at her fondly. "I missed you."

...

Lena couldn't go anywhere just yet, she was still dizzy and weak. Dylan collected the fruit around the room and brought it to her, carefully avoiding wine and felldew. Lena ate, biting into the fruit and touching her incisors with her tongue after every bite - they seemed to have returned to normal sized teeth.

"Your fangs have retracted" - Dylan noticed her worry. "You are not a vampire."

"So what am I then - a part-vampire?" Lena didn't like this. Although she had drank blood once since she took the cure, she hadn't bitten any necks - she thought she had lost her fangs. Apparently, not completely.

"You are an ex-vampire. You lost your immortality but not your addiction."

He caressed her face and looked into her eyes.

"Amber. That's good. I'll take you to the Wellspring again. Thadon can wait."

He rolled over onto his back and closed his eyes. Lena was going to say something, but he was already asleep, his long wake over.

23 Rain's Hand

"Hello, Thadon" - said Lena approaching the table in the House of Mania. "Here is your Chalice."

"You..." - Thadon stuttered - "how are you..."

"Alive?" - Dylan prompted him, emerging from the shadows. "That was a mean trick you played, Thadon."

"Not any meaner than what she did last time around!" - Thadon retorted glaring at both of them. "You!" - he turned to Dylan - "You were supposed to be dead! Mazken scum!"

Dylan didn't seem to be offended, rather amused.

"Dead? Me? You need a sip from that chalice, Thadon."

IPB Image

"Well now, isn't that fun!" - Sheogorath appeared at the table. "It all turned out splendidly, it seems!"

"My Lord" - Thadon bowed.

"Thadon - tszt - tszt! You knew she was an ex-vampire - I told you!" - Sheogorath wagged his finger in front of Thadon's face. "Good thing she had friends, eh? Or may be bad thing for you, because now she'll go after Syl again. Cutting the heart out and all that nonsense - very bloody."

"But My Lord--" Thadon started, but Sheogorath wasn't listening.

"I see you haven't forgotten us completely" - he turned to Dylan. "I shouldn't allow that sort of thing, you know, rebellion and all that, but since it is all in good fun... I'll let you off. Will she turn into a Mazken now that she drank your blood?" - he looked Lena over. "No, probably not - as pale as ever. More blood! More blood is what she needs, keep trying. I'm sure Thadon can supply the felldew."

"My Lord..." - Thadon started, looking bewildered. "You knew this would happen? That this... scum" - he glared at Dylan - "would rescue her?"

"Of course I knew, I'm the Prince! Knew, know, did I know? May be not! But suspected!" - Sheogorath was piercing Dylan with his gaze. "Mazken scum, you say? Well, she seems to like him! Tastes good - and not just the blood! But there's no accounting for taste, is there?" - he looked at Thadon. "Not the way you carry on with Syl, I shouldn't think!"

Thadon was finally realising that there was no reasoning with Sheogorath - Wide-Eye had been making him signs for a while already. Nothing happened in the Shivering Isles without Prince's knowledge and approval, and if it did, then it didn't last. Thadon should stop embarrassing himself.

"Well done and run along now" - Sheogorath looked at Lena again. "Find something to do. Or it will find you - you never know what it'll be!"

Sheogorath vanished. Thadon was still glaring at Lena and Dylan, clutching the chalice to his chest. It was time to leave.

IPB Image

"Did you have trouble with Sheogorath after I left?" - Lena asked Dylan once they were outside.

"Trouble?"

"Because you left the Mazken order?"

"No... well... it depends what you call trouble" - he looked at her sideways. "I was banished for a while. To Oblivion, you know. He only brought me back when you returned."

"What?!" - Lena was outraged. "I'll have to have words with him. He's to leave you alone."

They entered Crucible.

"How may I serve?" - a Mazken guard greeted them, glaring at Dylan. There was a lot of glaring going around that day.

"Oh, don't mind him" - said Dylan, referring to Sheogorath. "He's not as crazy as he likes to appear. Let's have something to eat."

Sickly Bernice was happy to serve them food and drink, but avoided talking to Dylan. Mazken didn't normally come to her taphouse, certainly not male Mazken, but she dared not contradict the Duchess' Inquisitor - Lena. Not after that Inquisition she'd been subjected to... If it was food and drink they wanted, food and drink they got, she had rooms too, no questions asked. Not like in that other inn in New Sheoth...

IPB Image


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 23 2021, 10:12 PM
Post #83


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Joined: 18-May 21
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23-24 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Dylan

"Thank you for decorating this house" - Lena and Dylan entered the Wolf House in Crucible. "I wasn't fond of Hirrus' tastes" - she smiled.

"I know" - Dylan smiled back. "I didn't lose my memory just because I've been banished."

...

When Lena had become the sitting Lord Sheogorath, she tried to make some changes to the Palace Guard - she requested that male Seducers should also serve in the Palace. This was an outrageous request - their ranks were much too low for that kind of honour. But she was the Lord - albeit temporary - and her will could not be ignored. Yet only one male Seducer appeared, the others had chosen to please their Mazken superiors instead.

Dylan was not like the other Seducers - he was curious. He wondered what his new duties would be, what kind of services were required of him. Why did she request a male? Surely, that could only be for one thing...

Actually, no. Lena was mistrustful of women, mortal or daedra. She had been betrayed by her "best friends for life" all too many times, she hated rivalry, bigotry, jealousy and small talk - all the vices that she associated with the fair sex. She preferred men, and she had learned to avoid the ones that were only after that one thing.

After some initial misunderstandings, Dylan decided that Lena wanted a bodyguard. He still couldn't see why she'd prefer a weaker male, but figured she must have felt inferior compared to a female Seducer. After all, Lord of the Land or not, Lena was still a mortal - an inferior race in every respect.

Dylan accompanied Lena to every cave and ruin that she delved into. Her people needed her help, be it with fetching the never ending bottles of Aquanostrum, or with rooting out an overgrown nest of elytra or grummites - there was always something to do. With every expedition, with every battle and with every healing session afterwards, Dylan's attitude was slowly changing.

"What happened to you?" - he asked Lena once, suddenly noticing her wrinkled face covered in sores, her stooped posture and her swollen joints. "Your appearance does not reflect your essence."

"I was a vampire, I took the cure, and this is the side effect" - Lena replied.

No, that couldn't be right, he wouldn't stand for it.

"That cure crippled you" - he said with indignation. "How do you cope?"

"Oh, it doesn't hurt" - smiled Lena, running her hand over the swollen knuckles. "And I am used to being shunned."

"I'll take you to the Wellspring tomorrow."

This was the first time that Dylan took the lead in their partnership - he was no longer a bodyguard, he was now Lena's friend. He found his purpose and he would never return to the Mazken order.

24 Rain's Hand

They spent the night in the Wolf House. The air was thick with the mix of their scents. It had been too long.

"Dylan" - Lena was devouring a sweetroll for breakfast. "Come with me to Mundus - you'll get lonely here again once I'm gone. I'll be back, I will always come back, but I can't stay here."

"And I'll be here when you come back" - Dylan replied with a smile. "If not always like this night."

Lena looked at him with a question in her eyes. "Why not?"

"Because one day you will choose one man for yourself, and you mustn't choose me. I belong here, I shall wait for you, and I shall always remain your friend." He looked her in the eye, then took her face in his hands. "However, until such time--" he kissed her.


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

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Acadian
post Jun 24 2021, 01:07 AM
Post #84


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Oh, I remember bits and pieces of Shivering Isles - including Syl and Thadon. How bittersweet about Dylan.


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Lena Wolf
post Jun 24 2021, 09:04 AM
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QUOTE(Acadian @ Jun 24 2021, 01:07 AM) *

How bittersweet about Dylan.

Dylan... he still needs to find his way, too. He tells Lena not to choose him - but when was the last time she listened to reason? ohmy.gif


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 24 2021, 09:57 PM
Post #86


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24-25 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Cylarne

"The Saints and Seducers are quarreling again - the Great Torch is not burning, I'm sure you noticed" - Sheogorath looked at Lena with significance. "So you know what you've got to do!"

Indeed, she knew what to do. Go to Cylarne, have them fight it out, get the flame, bring it back to New Sheoth and relight the Great Torch. Simplicity itself.

"Well, this will take a few days" - Lena turned to Dylan when they were outside. "Last time I had to do a lot of negotiating between them..."

"But you sided with us - that's the important bit" - Dylan reminded her.

"And may be this is why this time I'll side with the Saints" - said Lena.

Dylan followed her quietly for a little while, until they got onto the gallery around the Palace gardens. Then he pulled her into a corner with her back against the wall.

"You do not side with the Saints" - he hissed, trying to keep his voice down. His gaze was intense - he meant it.

"No, I had no intention to" - admitted Lena. "I am sorry for teasing you, Dylan."

He took a step back, releasing her, but didn't say anything. His gaze was still intense.

"There is more fire inside him than I ever knew" - thought Lena watching Dylan sideways. "Much more!" Had she forgotten that he was a daedra?

...

The way to Cylarne was long, and they got side tracked as usual. The night fell but they were only half way - on the coast near the Breakneck Camp. The views were worth it though.

IPB Image

They spent the night at the camp. There wasn't much to eat there, and they nearly cleared their supplies. They would need to pick fruit and mushrooms along the way.
25 Rain's Hand

"Leave that greenmote alone!" - Dylan was trying to prevent Lena from eating it. "You know it's poison, just like felldew."

"But Thadon eats it every day!" - Lena protested. "Along with the rest of his courtiers. It's not poisonous in small amounts."

"Thadon also indulges in felldew, but you can't. Leave it alone."

Perhaps she should listen to the voice of reason for once.

...

They reached Cylarne in the evening. This time Lena decided not to negotiate but to help the Mazken defend the Altar of Despair. Dylan was pleased with that - he didn't look forward negotiating with the Aureals.

The Mazken won, their losses were significant, but nothing like the losses on the Aureal side. Dylan fought bravely, proving them all wrong for excluding males from service.

Then Grakedrig Ulfri sacrificed herself on the Altar of Despair to light the Flame of Agnon.

IPB Image

"This is the greatest honor that can be bestowed upon a Mazken" - said Dylan, looking wistful. "I wish it could be me."

Lena looked at him in horror.

"She will be back, of course" - he smiled. "Reborn at the Wellspring."

Cylarne now belonged to the Mazken, and Lena wanted to look around the other half of it - the Underkeep that used to house the Aureals. It was partly flooded but otherwise seemed inhabited - the urns held the usual healing potion supplies. The walls were decorated with tapestries of Mania and the Aureals.

"This section seems to be permanently occupied by the Aureals - look at the decor" - she turned to Dylan. "The same as the other section seems to be permanently Mazken. This would make sense, given the two Altars and the duality of this land. So why the quarrels?"

"How can it be any other way?" - asked Dylan, looking perplexed. "Sheogorath is the only one to possess both sides, the rest of us are either one or the other, so we fight. Otherwise we would be the same." He took Lena's hand. "You have chosen a side too - you've never requested male Aureals to serve in the Palace."

"It is true" - Lena agreed. "I don't like Saints - they are haughty. But I tend to prefer Bliss... although I love that house in Crucible..." She smiled. "But you should see my houses in Cyrodiil - Mazken tapestries and Mania rugs..."

"And that's why he chose you as his Champion" - said Dylan, kissing her fondly. "Come on, you've got a Great Torch to light."

As they came out of Cylarne, they ran into an Obelisk of Order. You had to put three Hearts of Order into it to shut it down, and Lena had four hearts in her pack, so she figured the job would be finished quickly... Not so. The Obelisk would only shut down once the Priest of Order was dead. Eleven Knights of Order later, Lena and Dylan finally prevailed, having been knocked out multiple times in the process. The Obelisk seized to function.

They continued on. Literally ten steps further ahead they saw another Obelisk... Thirteen knights had to be fought at that one, plus the priest of course. The Greymarch was really on.

IPB Image

It was 5:30 a.m. when they reached Camp Talltrees, finding a Heretic consorting with a Knight of Order. But not for long.

"We should stop here and rest" - said Dylan. "You haven't eaten anything since the morning - and no, greenmote doesn't count."

He was right, of course. They ate the fruit and mushrooms that they had collected along the way. Lena wasn't sure about sleeping with the Flame of Agnon burning on her, but Dylan convinced her not to worry. The way to New Sheoth was still long.

This post has been edited by Lena Wolf: Jun 24 2021, 09:58 PM


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 26 2021, 06:40 PM
Post #87


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27-29 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Ebrocca - Cann - The Sanctum of Decadence

"Why did you light the Great Torch for Mania?" - asked Dylan in the morning. "While you gave Cylarne to the Mazken?"

"The quarrel over Cylarne was between the Mazken and the Aureals, but the Torch is for the people of the Isles. I lit it for Dementia last time, so now it was Mania's turn. Besides, I like the dress. Well, either dress, really. You know I can't choose between them - I belong in both halves."

"As a true Lord Sheogorath must do" - he smiled. "So what's next?"

"Sheogorath wants me to become a Duchess of one one of the halves, but like I said - I can't choose. Or rather: I don't want to choose this time" - Lena got out of bed. "Are we out of sweetrolls?"

Greymarch could wait - breakfast was far more important at that point.

"Besides, I have other obligations" - she continued. "Sickly Bernice wants her Aquanostrum, there are Obelisks to shut down, and I still haven't found the Fork of Horripilation for Big Head - he had lost it again. So get up - we've got things to do. I wonder whether they've got sweetrolls in Bliss?"

...

"Ebrocca" - Dylan figured out where Lena was headed when they passed Highcross without stopping. "Why are we here?"

"The skeletons have been bothering people, so we need to go and calm them down a bit" - she smiled.

"I hate fighting the undead" - Dylan cursed under his breath but followed Lena inside.

Ebrocca had buttons everywhere - buttons that either caused the floor under you to open or some spell to be fired at you, none of it beneficial to your health. Lena pressed such a button, fell through the floor, fought some skeletons in an enclosed cell. There was no way out, just another button to press. She pressed it, fell through the floor, had a great skinned hound to fight, found another button... This continued for some time, and she started wondering what was on the lowest level, and hoping it wasn't just an enclosed cell.

Fortunately there was a way out, or at least a way deeper into the ruin, and it wasn't another fall. She went through a door and found Dylan on the other side. He had pressed another button and had a similar journey - it seemed it made no difference which button you pressed, really.

...

"So... Clanfather Malifant, dead again" - Lena stood over the body of an elderly mage whom they have finally killed, for the third time in a row. "Let's hope he'll stay dead for a while now."

"You know he'll rise again" - said Dylan. "And someone will have to come and kill him all over again, three times in a row."

"And I shall be back to do it again, yes" - Lena looked at Dylan with a smile. "The work is never done."

They checked the coffins stacked around the main chamber, removing any weapons - there was no need to arm those skeletons any further.

"Ok, this will stay quiet for a time" - Lena was satisfied. "We can go."

"Provided we find a way out!"

Eventually, they did.

28 Rain's Hand

"While we are in the area" - Lena looked around as they woke up the next morning - they were staying at the Frenzied camp. "Cann is nearby - and we ran into some heretics around that place. They might have the Fork of Horripilation - we should go and check."

"Go and do a lot of fighting, you mean" - Dylan sighed. "Ok, but then we need a good breakfast first. Even if there are no sweetrolls."

They had no sweetrolls but they did have fruit and mushrooms that they had collected the day before - Mania was full of sweets. Most of it was nutritious, if also mildly hallucinogenic.

29 Rain's Hand

"Twenty-seven hours!" - Dylan was quite indignant. "Twenty-seven hours it took us to go through those ruins, and for what? Still no Fork!"

IPB Image

"Well, we did stop a number of times to eat and rest" - Lena was trying to calm him down.

"Thank Sheogorath for that!" - she wasn't being very successful. "And we're out of everything now, so still have to go picking fruit before we can find a camp and get some rest! And will probably have to fight more heretics for some dirty bedroll!"

"Definitely more fire inside him than I ever suspected" - thought Lena. Dylan was no longer restraining himself - Lena was no longer his Lord of the Land. She was glad of it.

Cann was a very large ruin, designed for entertainment it seemed. It had a large lobby area, an amphitheater, participant rooms, and many open chambers for small performances.

IPB Image

It also had traps, sliding floors, spellcasting statues - the usual. And heretics, at least thirty heretics with angry hunger summons, as well as the actual hungers. It has been a tiresome business. And indeed, they did not find the Fork of Horripilation anywhere.

"I have an idea" - Lena brightened up. "Follow me."

...

"What?! Dunroot Burrow?!" - Dylan couldn't quite believe it. "Look, if you want blood, just ask!"

"No, this is not what I had in mind" - smiled Lena. "What Thadon forgot to mention, is that there is no need to go through the burrow to reach that room with food and beds where they had the chalice. And that's where we're going - no felldew needed."

Dylan brightened up. They went around the big tree, then down the hill, and they stood in front of the ornate wooden door to the Sanctum of Decadence. The hall was empty.

"Finally!" - Dylan sighed a sigh of relief. "There's still plenty of food and wine here. Let's stay a while."

He unclipped his collar, letting his armour drop to the floor. It was time to relax and unwind.

IPB Image


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 27 2021, 09:47 AM
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30 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Sheogorath

"My Prince" - Lena approached Sheogorath's throne. "I must speak with you."

"Oh how good of you to visit!" - Sheogorath smiled. "Let's hear it then!"

"Leave Dylan alone - he said you banished him when I was gone. After you banished me, I should add" - she glared at him. Lena was not afraid of Sheogorath. "Dylan deserves better."

"Says you!" - Sheogorath was amused. "You are not the one who created him though! That was me! And he defied me!"

"Well, technically he didn't" - Lena smiled slyly. "You made me Lord Sheogorath, remember? And I - Lord Sheogorath - ordered male Mazken to serve in the Palace. So it is in fact all the other ones who didn't come, that defied you."

Sheogorath laughed.

"Well said, well said! Did you hear that, Haskill? I chose well!" - he turned to Lena again. "But what would you have me do, otherwise? The boy was lonely, I did him a favour. I brought him back as soon as you returned."

"He must learn to deal with it" - Lena looked at Sheogorath sternly. "Like mortals do. We can't just be tucked away when things turn sour - we have to go through it."

"But he's not mortal, is he?" - it was now Sheogorath who looked stern. "Tame him too much, and he'll fall to pieces when you die. Which you must, one day! Then he will have to spend an eternity grieving."

"Or learn to live with it, like we do" - Lena was not giving up. "Besides, there are ways for mortals not to die."

Sheogorath looked at her, a mischievous smile playing on his lips.

"You are full of surprises! There are ways, she says..." - he looked at Haskill. "What do you think, Haskill? You're an immortal mortal yourself - by my grace. Should we grant her wish?"

"My Lord, I'm sure you don't need my opinion..." - Haskill started in his usual tone, but then changed his mind. "I think you should let him go. If he wants to return, he will."

"Well, well" - Sheogorath whistled. "Even Haskill dares to speak up. Good for you, Haskill! But don't do it again." He turned to Lena. "No, I won't. Not yet. May be later. Come and see me again once you make up your mind - and if you choose him. What is he to do if you choose another? Even I am not that cruel - wrong Prince, ask Clavicus Vile for something like that."

Sheogorath was looking at Lena with those amber cat's eyes of his, quietly smiling. Amber cat's eyes, like those of her brother... Sheogorath wasn't mad at all.

IPB Image

He was right, and Lena was ashamed of herself now. She hadn't thought it through. "'What is he to do if you choose another?'" - Sheogorath's words echoed in her head. "'Tame him too much, and he'll fall to pieces when you die.'" Indeed, she hadn't thought of that. Eternity was not something that mortals were good at comprehending - even those who'd been immortal once.

"Thank you, My Prince" - she bowed. "You are right, of course."

"Run along now" - the Prince said kindly. "Come visit us again - and bring some cheese next time. I've had enough of yarn and lettuce."


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

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Renee
post Jun 27 2021, 02:59 PM
Post #89


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20 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 -- I love the reasoning, how Hauk figures out Lena came to Skyrim due to DB affairs. Also that she finds it inconvenient that she just became thane. This is the first time I'm reading Lena gains a house, but doesn't immediately go crazy decorating it. biggrin.gif

QUOTE
You've been promoted, whether you know it or not, so a special assignment wasn't far off. I wasn't certain of course when it would come exactly, but I didn't think it would be too long."

Lena suddenly saw a whole different side of Hauk.


And THIS is why she's kept him as her most faithful companion so far, right? If the guy is good at gleaning information she'd think was safely within her private thoughts, this is why he's been with her most prominently. It's the sort of thing which grabs one's attention, early in a relationship. To know that somebody is paying attention.

Well also, he knows how to cook, apparently. cool.gif

Love the part when she makes fun of Lydia. "I am swoooorn to carry your burdens..." laugh.gif

Holy [censored] am I done with Post One??? panic.gif woo hoo! cake.gif Sorry it's taken me so long to read, but I hate skimming stuff. If I'm going to get into someone's tale, I'm not going to skim.

This post has been edited by Renee: Jun 27 2021, 03:09 PM


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Lena Wolf
post Jun 27 2021, 03:28 PM
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QUOTE(Renee @ Jun 27 2021, 02:59 PM) *

20 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 -- This is the first time I'm reading Lena gains a house, but doesn't immediately go crazy decorating it. biggrin.gif

She didn't get that house yet. The Jarl granted her the right to buy it, provided she had the coin. The coin to buy and decorate it - quite a considerable sum. She didn't have it, as it happens, and when she viewed Breezehome and all the options, she was distinctly underwhelmed, especially since Lidya would be living there too. Whatever happened to privacy? Surely, her property didn't need protecting inside the city walls? That's what city guard is for... Anyway, Lena even looked at some extension proposals from independent architects. Make a grand house out of it - add a cellar! And you can have your sleeping coffin there too, and a cattle cell with a prisoner... That brought back some memories that Lena would rather not have brought back. Begone, Architect! Before I change my mind...


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"Innocence, my brother."

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macole
post Jun 27 2021, 04:43 PM
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QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Jun 27 2021, 03:47 AM) *

30 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Sheogorath
"Says you!" - Sheogorath was amused. "You are not the one who created him though! That was me! And he defied me!"

"Well, technically he didn't" - Lena smiled slyly. "You made me Lord Sheogorath, remember? And I - Lord Sheogorath - ordered male Mazken to serve in the Palace. So it is in fact all the other ones who didn't come, that defied you."

Sheogorath laughed.

"Well said, well said! Did you hear that, Haskill? I chose well!"

A very good exchange between Lena and Sheogorath. I find your approach to Daedra Mortal relations very interesting.

As one who has never played through the Shivering Isles MQ, is there options at the end or becoming the mad god a fixed ending?


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Lena Wolf
post Jun 27 2021, 04:57 PM
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QUOTE(macole @ Jun 27 2021, 04:43 PM) *

A very good exchange between Lena and Sheogorath. I find your approach to Daedra Mortal relations very interesting.


Thank you! biggrin.gif When I was in my early teens, I read quite a few books from European Romanticism period (18-19th century). Many stayed with me to this day, in particular "Melmoth the Wanderer" by Charles Maturin (1820). He raises some of those questions.

QUOTE
As one who has never played through the Shivering Isles MQ, is there options at the end or becoming the mad god a fixed ending?


No, there are no choices, unfortunately. You become the Lord of the Land, although you are of course not a Daedric Prince - hence Lord Sheogorath but never Prince Sheogorath.

The MQ also ends with you becoming the Lord. There are tasks to do - your people need your help, but it isn't spectacular. Not the sort of thing that Lena got up to... Although some might say she only dreamt it.


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"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 27 2021, 09:13 PM
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30 Rain's Hand - 3 Second Seed, 4E202 - Aquanostrum - Rotten Den - Obelisks

By the time they got to the Knotty Bramble and fought off the sentries, it was nearly 10 p.m.

"Knotty Bramble is a large cave system and the grummites in there guard their hatchlings well" - said Lena turning to Dylan. "Let's not go in just now. Passwall is not far, we can spend the night at the inn there - and have a decent meal. Then return here tomorrow."

Dylan didn't argue - it was a brilliant idea, as far as he was concerned. He had enough of fruit and mushrooms.

1 Second Seed

"Do you have to stop at every root stalk, withering moon and watcher's eye that we come across?" - Dylan was getting impatient as Lena kept stopping to take cuttings from the plants along the way.

"Yes, I do" - confirmed Lena, getting up. "We need more poisons - the grummites are getting stronger further in. I haven't got enough today, have to keep them for the last, so want to be better prepared for the next time. Unless you enjoy getting knocked out all the time of course" - she winked.

No, Dylan didn't enjoy getting knocked out.

"Well, all right then" - he conceded. "But if that's the case, perhaps we should just go collecting ingredients in some easier cave."

"Easier cave? Which one is that?" - Lena laughed. "If it isn't grummites, it'll be gnarls or elytras, and I don't know which is worse."

They got Aquanostrum for Bernice.

"Why do you even bother with her?" - asked Dylan. "You know Aquanostrum is not going to cure her Hypochondria."

"True" - agreed Lena. "But it makes her feel better, for a time. Just because her illness is in her head, it doesn't make it any less real."

They spent the night at the Inlet Camp near Fellmore. No fighting was required. The bedrolls were not of the first freshness, it's true, but the camp had roofed shelter which was welcome in that pouring rain. They ate smoked balliwog legs with lettuce and alocasia fruit, washing it down with Fellmore Red. The air was warm and damp, absorbing their tiredness as a sponge. It rained all night.

2 Second Seed

"Rotten Den?" - Dylan looked at Lena suspiciously. "Zealots. So I take it you want to go in to search for the Fork?"

He was right.

Rotten Den was big and complicated - twisting tunnels with traps and spellcasting statues, and of course zealots with their Flesh Atronach summons. And no sign of any kind of storage where there would be a chance to find the Fork of Horripilation. But then eventually they came into a tunnel with nothing but a hole in the floor. Lena jumped, Dylan didn't.

"I'll just see where this leads you" - he shouted through the hole.

The tunnel that Lena landed in was also empty, except for a hole in the floor. She jumped again. And again. Eventually she found herself landing almost on top of Shambles. Great.

Lena was alone, and she wasn't really after shamble remains, but after the Fork. So she summoned a daedroth as a diversion, cast a chameleon cloak and sneaked past that shambles. This was a smart move - her 30% chameleon allowed her to move unseen, plus she could reinforce it with complete invisibility when necessary. There were a lot of shambles on that level, and she even discovered why: in one of the caverns there were stacks and stacks of coffins, and they were not empty. Someone tied them down with roots - apparently the occupants were keen to get out. Several shambles where pacing among the coffins.

"Shambles are not human or mer" - Lena was thinking. "But they are undead and always turn up near coffins. I wonder if there is a connection..."

But she had to focus on remaining undetected and on checking for chests or urns, so she dismissed these philosophical thoughts until later.

"The Sanctum! That's what it is!" - a tunnel suddenly came into room with stone walls and floor and a giant grummite statue. A zealot was praying to it.

IPB Image

There was a chest by the statue, but alas - no Fork.

After some more wandering in the tunnels among the shambles, Lena found another root door. Dylan was waiting on the other side.

"I found another way, and figured you'd come out here sooner or later. Did you find the Fork?"

"No" - Lena grimaced. "Just lots of coffins and shambles."

"Oh I am not regretting missing that!" - Dylan laughed.

They've gone through the entire den, and still didn't find the Fork. It was well past midnight. At least they could make use of a rather nice camp in one of the caverns.

IPB Image

3 Second Seed

"Ok, but now we go straight to New Sheoth" - Dylan said in the morning. "Please? I am not actually a warrior - our girls do that."

"I'm not a warrior either" - laughed Lena. "I just get into a lot of fights for some reason."

"Oh - and you are certainly not seeking them out, yes, I see" - Dylan shook his head.

Coming out of the Rotten Den, they went to New Sheoth in a straight line. Although this was supposed to be the shortest way, it was far from the easiest. They encountered an unmarked zealot shrine with six zealots (and six summons), a camp with grummites (including a magus deathbringer), seven gnarls (some elder), seven or eight loose grummites, and two Obelisks of Order. The first one was easy to shut down - they got lucky - so they only had to fight five knights and a priest, but the second one kept reactivating itself, and they ended up fighting a small army of knights (sixteen in all) and the priest (revived four times). Oh, and an odd scalon and baliwog, but they lost count of those.

Finally, they stood at the gates of New Sheoth. It was 3 a.m.

"Am I the only Mazken fighting those knights of order?" - asked Dylan with a sigh. "It certainly feels like it."

"You probably are, at this point. Patrols don't venture into the countryside." Lena felt that Dylan needed some sympathy and reassurance. "You are also the only Mazken to make your Mazken girls jealous." She put her arms around him and gave him a long kiss - in full view of the guard by the gate. That worked - the guard glared at them.

"How may I serve?" - she asked, baring her teeth in a grimace that didn't look like a smile.

"Thanks, but you don't compare" - answered Lena, taking Dylan's hand and opening the gate. "Come" - she turned to Dylan. "Bernice will have food for us, and then we can finally rest up!"

Dylan followed her through the gate, watching the glaring Mazken guard from the corner of his eye. He felt good about himself. Perhaps a lesser warrior than his female counterparts, but still appreciated. He could live with that.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 28 2021, 10:44 AM
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4 Second Seed, 4E202 - Back from the Shivering Isles

"It's time for me to go back" - Lena looked at Dylan and took his hand. "Don't get too lonely without me - find something to do. I'll be back."

"How do you deal with it? When you leave your friends for a time?"

"You get busy with something else, and you make new friends."

"I've left the Mazken order. They won't talk to me."

"No... Well... Two things I can suggest" - Lena looked pensive. "First - ask Sheogorath to release you. Then you can travel to Mundus and to other realms, this will take your mind off things." Dylan shook his head. "Second - talk to the mortals living here. They might surprise you."

"Mazken don't talk to mortals!"

"No? You're talking to one now..." - she smiled.

Dylan looked confused.

"Well... May be I'll just get lucky and Sheogorath will banish me again... until you return" - he said hopefully.

"I think he won't" - Lena recalled her conversation with Sheogorath. "I think he'll let you learn to live like mortals do - without escapes."

She hugged Dylan and kissed him on the cheek.

"You'll figure it out. Ask Jayred Ice-Veins - he's around here somewhere. He's a nice guy and fun to be with - you can go hunting together."

"He's that crazy Nord hunter" - Dylan looked perplexed.

"Perhaps. But he can tell you a thing or two about being mortal."

"You mortals are confusing" - Dylan finally gave up trying to make sense of it all. "But perhaps you're right. And you can bring your friend next time - I won't stay away. After all, if it weren't for him, you would have died in that cave with the chalice."

It was now Lena's turn to look perplexed - and outraged.

"What?!"

"Nothing. Ask him." Dylan smiled. "Go on - do your thing. And I'll go look for Jayred."

...

Jowan was staying at the Mages Guild, so when Lena returned from the Shivering Isles, she found Hauk alone in her house in Bravil reading a book.

"Ah, you're back!" - he greeted her. "Good to see you."

Lena sat by the fire, keeping her gaze on Hauk as he went back to his book.

"What?" - he felt it after a while.

"I saw Dylan."

"About time."

"You knew he'd be there?" - she said, her eyes narrowing.

"No, I didn't. But I had hoped he'd show up without me around. I made some enquiries last time."

"I nearly died! Thadon tried to kill me with that felldew."

"Which is why I made enquiries after he gave you that task last time. I didn't trust him. But I too would have had to take felldew to enter the cave, so my blood would not have saved you. Mazken don't need felldew to enter."

"Right, so you knew that Dylan would show up."

"I knew that someone would come to your aid, I was promised that. Seducers can be friendly, you know" - he winked.

Lena was torn between anger and gratitude. Then something else rose in her - doubt.

"So you weren't jealous?"

"Of Dylan? Oh yes" - Hauk looked at her, searching. "With a good reason, I see. But I'm glad you had fun." He went back to his book.

Lena opened a bottle of Tamika West Weald, poured a goblet for herself, got a bottle of mead for Hauk.

"Dylan doesn't want to come to Mundus" - she said. "And there was something he said... about choices."

"It's too early" - Hauk replied not looking up from the book. "You're not ready yet."

They sat in silence for some time, Hauk slowly turning pages, Lena wondering why several people had been telling her the same thing recently - that she wasn't ready to make any choices yet. When would she be ready? Would she ever be?

"You worry unnecessarily" - Hauk suddenly put down his book. "It's written all over your face" - he smiled. "You have some real friends - myself included - there is no need to choose between us, there never will be a need to choose between your friends. It hasn't been all that long since you returned from that long stay in the Shivering Isles. There are other people in your life that you need to get to know better, people who..." Lena looked up. "Ah, you know who I mean." Hauk nodded. "And yes, I'll be jealous. But I love you - and that means I have to let you find yourself. There, I said it now."

He kept his eyes on Lena for a while, then went back to his book. He wasn't turning any pages.

Lena sat watching him, sipping her wine. Then she got up and went over to sit next to him on the settee. She put her head on his shoulder. He pulled her close. They sat together, like that evening in Ansilvund, but this time Lena wasn't crying. She was quietly smiling - she found peace. She knew what she had to do next.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 28 2021, 11:12 AM
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Something about Jayred. What follows happened a couple of months back, when Lena returned to Mundus but Hauk remained in the Shivering Isles. Apparently, this was when he made "enquiries" regarding Thadon's task to retrieve the chalice. Besides that, Hauk also wanted to explore the Isles for himself a bit, and who better to do it with than Jayred Ice-Veins.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

15 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - Hauk and Jayred

Lena left the Shivering Isles to attend to some business back in Cyrodiil, but Hauk remained in Crucible until her return. He wanted to explore these lands for himself.

Hauk was no stranger to finding his way in foreign lands. In Antaloor he became a mercenary, in Skyrim during the Great War he was officially a travelling book merchant, but here in the Shivering Isles he decided to see whether the smiths in New Sheoth would be interested in amber and madness ore. Their rivalry was amusing, too.

He went out of the gates of Crucible and ran into Jayred Ice-Veins.

"Oh hello" - Hauk greeted Jayred from a distance. "Do you want to go hunting together? I am looking for amber and madness ore."

"Do the bones call to you too?" - was Jayred's usual greeting, but he agreed. "I don't normally go into caves and dungeons, but together we won't have a problem. I wonder what kind of bones we'll find there?"

Two Nords set off on a hunt... The wild life stood no chance.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

16 Sun's Dawn, 4E202 - Swampgas Hole - Bones

Hauk and Jayred set off from Crucible going South. They ran into a few lone creatures whom they defeated quite easily. Climbing the Jester's Spine Mountains at the Heretics Horn, they were attacked by a pair of particularly aggressive zealots - they found the Howling Halls.

"I hope there are no balverines here" - commented Hauk recalling his less than pleasant encounters in Albion.

"What are they?" - asked Jayred with interest.

"Werewolves of sorts. Similar to the ones in Skyrim, except balverines prefer to stay in their beast form."

"Like some in Skyrim, too. Ever met Farkas?" - Jayred grinned and was going to add something when he got knocked over by a scalon emerging from its invisibility cloak.

"Bloody water balverine!!!" - howled Hauk charging.

The scalon dealt with, they entered the Howling Halls. There were no balverines inside, but they were met by three angry zealot patriarchs emerging from twisted passages. The battle was fierce, and Jayred was struggling to get a good line of sight for the bow. Flesh atronachs could jump as well as the scalons, and the zealots were quick on their feet and deadly with their shock spells. Six agains three, counting the summons, unfair as always.

"I don't like to fight humans" - Jayred was saying getting up after another knock-out. "I prefer beasts. Hunting."

Hauk had been knocked out too, repeatedly. But as long as a mage is alive - even if unconscious - his summon keeps on fighting. Hauk's zombies were no match for the zealots' flesh atronachs but they were more than a match for the zealots themselves - and perceptive to tell a mage from a summon. At length, they won.

The zealots must have been planning something important though because the main part of the Howling Halls was locked and barred. The three patriarchs inside and the two outside were clearly just the sentries.

"I'm glad we could not get in" - said Jayred when they were back outside. "Let's go find some beasts instead."

Following the mountain ridge South, they noticed that some of the larger mushroom trees had cave entrances between their roots. The first one seemed to be a dead end blocked by roots, yet promising creatures inside. After a bit of nosing around, they found another entrance. Swampgas Hole was inhabited by gnarls.

"Great - beasts!" - Jayred was getting excited. "Not exactly bones, but fun to chase!"

He came to regret this shortly afterwards. Five Elder Gnarls swarmed on them in the first swampgas hole - there was a reason the cave had this name. They were pinned down and knocked out over and over. Again, Hauk's summon fought on - a Skeleton Guardian, steady, tough, long lasting, and not using spells.

"I wonder if they make for good firewood" - said Hauk collecting bark and amber.

"No, they smoke too much" - replied Jayred extracting arrows from them.

It took them 36 hours to go through the entire system. They found a bedroll in the depth with a skeleton still resting on it, and decided it wasn't a good place to make camp.

Back outside, it was pouring with rain which was pleasantly cool on their bruises and their hot heads. With the armour completely thrashed and weapons badly degraded, they decided to return to Crucible for food, rest and repairs. They stopped by Bernice's to pick up supplies but didn't want to eat there with her incessant coughing - the Wolf House was just across the street.

"That was some punch-up!" - Jayred was saying with satisfaction taking a good bite out of a smoked baliwog leg. "I wasn't beaten up like that since Jorrvaskr! And that was a while back. How many times did you go down? 50? 100?"

"Something like that" - Hauk agreed helping himself to more mead. "Those gnarls can really swarm."

They examined their spoils: 43 pieces of amber and 45 pieces of gnarl bark, plus half a dozen scalon fins, and other odds and sods.

"We'll sell the loot tomorrow, those enchanted rings and armour will fetch a good price" - said Hauk turning over a pair of Elven boots. "I'm not keeping it - leave the Elven stuff to the Elves."

"I don't want any money" - said Jayred. "But I wouldn't mind a new bow - Cutter makes good ones from madness ore. I'd prefer that to the bright yellow ones from amber."

They talked about weapons and armour, durability and weight, usefulness and comfort, comparing different types and agreeing in the end that the best ones were the ones you got used to. The pile of baliwog legs was shrinking, but there was still plenty of mead left.

"Was that you who killed the Gatekeeper with Lena?" - asked Hauk picking up another smoked leg.

"Yes" - Jayred replied opening the next bottle of mead. "She needed bone arrows for that."

"Did you get to know her well?"

"She's got good bones."

"Whaaa-?" - this wasn't what Hauk was expecting.

"Oh, nothing of the sort" - Jayred looked up. "We never... Why, is she your girl?"

"No..."

"Ahhh - but you want her to be" - Jayred nodded with understanding. "I saw the way you look at her."

"Well..."

"Just because I'm here now, it doesn't mean I wasn't elsewhere before. Or had a girl before. But she didn't have very good bones."

"What happened to her?" - asked Hauk hoping to steer the conversation out of dangerous waters.

"Nothing, she found someone new. He didn't have very good bones either, so they suited each other. I let her be."

"Was that why you left?"

"That, and the War. Too many bones left to rot - too many dead bodies on the battlefield. All pierced with arrows, ours and theirs. Nords, Elves, Imperials, everyone. All are equal in death - no Sovngarde for anyone. Nords left to rot, not embalmed and put into crypts. Their bones perish. Skyrim perishes. So I came here - plenty of bones and not many Nords. And no war."

They ate in silence for a while.

"You've got good bones too" - said Jayred looking at Hauk.

This post has been edited by Lena Wolf: Jun 28 2021, 08:07 PM


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 28 2021, 08:59 PM
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5 Second Seed, 4E202 - Interlude in Bravil

"There are a few things I need to take care of on my own" - Lena said to Hauk in the morning. "Fenris Bero being one."

"You've decided what to do with him then?" - Hauk looked up from his sweetroll.

"He knows botany and alchemy - he tends to the garden and knows to make poisons, Rowley taught him. I'll have him be our alchemist, somehow. He can pick ingredients in the woods too, but he'll need training in making potions... But may be I have an idea" - Lena smiled. "I'll take him to Skingrad."

"Oh!" - Hauk caught on. "That'll take some careful handling, but if it works out..." - he nodded in approval.

"How is Jowan?" - asked Lena. "I hear he's staying at the Mages Guild?"

"He is" - confirmed Hauk. "Kud-Ei is trying to make him to join" - he smirked. "I don't think he will, given his past experiences with a similar organisation, but who knows. Anyhow, Kud-Ei declared that the Guild should welcome a lonely mage without any family here, and I think he appreciates it."

"She means it too" - said Lena, looking into the distance. "She also gave a home to a certain sixteen year old who came to steal their sweetrolls."

"She's been asking about you" - Hauk said softly. "Perhaps you should pay her a visit. Sounds like one of her friends might be in trouble, and she knows you're discreet."

"I'll go see her today" - promised Lena. "And... Hauk?" - she looked at him apologetically. "What you said yesterday about me needing to get to know other people... I'll need to do that, you're right. I might be gone for a while."

"That's Ok" - Hauk took her hand. "You do that. I'll return to the Imperial City - the Legion has been asking for me anyway. Come and find me again when you're done."


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 29 2021, 08:17 PM
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5 Second Seed, 4E202 - Manifesto Cyrodiil Vampyrum

Lena arrived at the Leyawiin Sanctuary in the early evening.

"Mistress!" - Fenris greeted her as she entered. "You have returned."

He looked much better than last time when Lena saw him - he was clearly taking care of himself.

"Ah, you are looking better" - she said. "Well done. But you need to feed more often still - I want you to blend in, you will need to travel. Of course people will still recognise you for a vampire when they look closely, but not at a fleeting glance."

She did not want to say that most people in Cyrodiil wouldn't pay him more than a fleeting glance because he was a Dunmer... Instead, she tried a different approach.

"Since the Dunmer already have sanguine eyes, your vampire eyes won't stand out too much" - she smiled. "And your face will look healthy if you feed often enough. Here - read this" - she handed him a copy of Manifesto Cyrodiil Vampyrum.

Fenris looked at her in surprise. "But you are no longer a vampire!"

"True, but I was. It counts."

What did she mean by that? Fenris was confused but didn't dare to ask. He took the book with reverence - as a slave, he wasn't allowed to as much as look at it, but now... he couldn't refuse his Mistress... but that book wasn't written for slaves...

"The book is not cursed" - Lena saw Fenris' hesitation. "It simply teaches how to blend in with the society, as far as possible - you will never be able to blend in completely. Even the best of us couldn't do it..." Her voice trailed off in thought.

IPB Image

"Us?" - Fenris wondered to himself, but again didn't dare to ask.

"Anyway" - Lena returned to reality. "We'll be leaving for Bravil and then Skingrad in a few hours. You won't be able to feed for several days, so make sure to feed well before we go. We leave when I wake up."

She left the room, her black silk robes rustling softly as she walked.

"Thank you, Mistress" - Fenris murmured, not daring to believe the conversation they've just had.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 29 2021, 09:26 PM
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5-6 Second Seed, 4E202 - Leyawiin to Bravil

Lena and Fenris left the Leyawiin Sanctuary soon after sunset to allow them plenty of time to reach Bravil before the sun rose again. Lena wanted to collect some plant cuttings along the way for alchemy, and with the usual fights with wolves, bears and bandits, the trip could easily take them all night. They had to be indoors by sunrise. It was a long time since Lena had to think of this, but she slipped back into the routine with a surprising force of habit.

They entered her house in Bravil just as the first sun rays coloured the sky pink.

IPB Image

"Bravil at sunrise..." - Lena stopped for a moment taking in the familiar sight. In a few minutes the skin would start to burn. She unlocked the door and they entered her house. Fenris let out a sigh of relief.

"Don't tell me" - she looked straight at him. "Rowley had you stay out during the day as punishment?"

"Yes" - Fenris' reply was barely audible.

"'Vampires make for excellent slaves, as you well know'" - Rowley's words echoed in Lena's mind. He had mentioned denying them blood, but of course there were other ways to get compliance, too... Lena shuddered.

"Well, you don't need to worry about that any more" - she said. "You can sleep here" - she pointed at a bedroll spread by the fire. "There is food in this cupboard, and you're welcome to the books, in case you wake up before me. I haven't slept much in the last two days" - she smiled. "We leave at sunset." She turned to her own bed.

If you can't feed, you have to eat and keep warm - Lena still remembered that.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 29 2021, 10:50 PM
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6-7 Second Seed, 4E202 - Bravil to Skingrad - The coven

The trip to Skingrad was uneventful - they took a direct route along the border, picking more plant cuttings along the way. They made good time, approaching Skingrad several hours before sunrise.

"Before we go into the city, there are some people I want you to meet" - Lena opened the door to the Bloodcrust Cavern.

...

"Wolf?" - the sentry greeted her. "Good to see you. Bernice is inside."

"Hello, Aldryn" - Lena smiled. "This is Fenris - I want him to meet Bernice."

Aldryn nodded with understanding.

Lena and Fenris walked through the caves greeting several other people along the way. Vampires. Was that a..?

"Bernice!" - Lena saw her at the back of a cave. "Everything is quiet, I trust? The Count?"

"Hasn't bothered us at all, thank you" - smiled Bernice. "I see you brought a new member" - she nodded at Fenris.

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"Well, may be not quite a member" - Lena looked around the room. "But I was hoping for a favour... an arrangement, perhaps?" - she smiled at Bernice. "This is Fenris Bero, he is my... assistant - he does alchemy. I was wondering if perhaps you could allow him to make use of your captives in exchange for..."

"Of course he is welcome!" - Bernice interrupted Lena. "No exchange is required. We owe you. Millie!" - she called. "Can you take Fenris to feed, please?"

When Millie and Fenris disappeared into the passage, Bernice turned to Lena.

"He is your slave, is he not?" - her gaze was stern.

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"Yes" - Lena admitted. "I bought him without knowing it, but I cannot abandon him now. I tried telling him that his enslavement was over, but he..."

"Doesn't know how not to be a slave?" - Bernice finished the sentence. "Yes, I've seen it often enough. So what do you intend to do?"

"He knows alchemy, and I want him to focus on that" - Lena looked at Bernice and smiled. "Thank you for letting him feed with you. I have a house in Skingrad and with the abundance of plants around here, he should be staying a while. Let him supply you with ingredients at least - he can make poisons, but not potions yet."

Bernice was listening and nodding.

"And I suppose you want him to blend in?"

"He'll need to."

"Yes" - Bernice agreed. "Very well, we have an arrangement. I'll speak to the others. He should come every night."

...

"Bernice is the Matriarch of this coven" - said Lena when she and Fenris were outside, going towards the gates of Skingrad. "We have agreed that you can come and feed with them every night that you stay here in exchange for alchemy supplies. She'll tell you tomorrow what kind of ingredients they are looking for."

Lena stopped and turned to Fenris. He looked surprised and confused.

"Ingredients..?" - he murmured. "Coven... You help vampires?" - he finally breathed.

"Some of them, yes" - answered Lena. "I killed many, too. It depends."

"Manifesto Cyrodiil Vampyrum" - Fenris' face lit up with understanding. "Blend in."

"Exactly" - Lena smiled. "Tailor your lifestyle to your requirements. Plenty of people are out after sunset, not just the vampires."

...

"So, this is my house" - Lena ushered Fenris in. "This isn't my main residence, but I stop here often enough, and usually with friends. There is a bed on the upper floor and also in the basement. I set up a small work area upstairs, so perhaps if you were to settle there, then I'll take the basement?"

She led him upstairs, showing him around. Tables, cupboards, book cases, alchemical appliances... Fenris started to relax. He eyed the big double bed with suspicion, and Lena made a mental note to add a single bed for him... She had already shipped the unicorn to Skyrim.

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They sat down for a meal - was that dinner or breakfast? It was morning, but of course their nights and days had switched places.

"Not everyone wants the cure" - Lena said when the conversation turned to the coven. "Most vampires have no access to it anyway, and it has side effects. If I had known in advance..." - she broke off. "But it's done now. Have you considered the cure yourself?" - she looked at Fenris. "My great-uncle had a pool built in the Leyawiin Sanctuary."

Fenris looked at her in surprise. "I never had a choice! But I've heard of the pool. One of the recruits had used it... he died soon after that - he had become weak and couldn't regenerate."

"Yes, that's one of the side effects" - agreed Lena. "But it does remove the disease. Anyway, I understand if you are not thrilled by it, but you're welcome to that pool if you want it."

Fenris shook his head. "If you don't mind, Mistress... please... no."

"Mistress..." - Lena thought looking at him. "This is going to take a while..."


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jun 30 2021, 11:50 AM
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7 Second Seed, 4E202 - Fenris in Skingrad

"Hello, Falanu" - Lena walked into All Things Alchemical followed by Fenris. "How have you been keeping?"

"Oh, fine, thank you. Your usual?" - she asked, turning to fetch boxes of nightshade, peony and sacred lotus. "Oh!" She saw Fenris.

"This is my assistant - nothing to worry about" - Lena smiled reassuringly. "He knows how to behave, and he has some botanical and alchemical knowledge too. May I present - Fenris Bero."

Falanu stared at him in disbelief for some time. Then she caught herself. "You better come through" - she locked the shop door beckoning them to follow her upstairs.

Once they were seated around a table, Lena took the lead.

"Fenris has been away from Morrowind for over 200 years, and he didn't have many opportunities to keep up with the events." Lena took a deep breath. "Falanu - Fenris was given to me as a slave, that's what he's been for most of the time since he turned."

A light of understanding shown on Falanu's face.

"However" - Lena continued - "to me Fenris is an assistant and his condition not a threat. He is going to take care of my alchemy supplies, collecting ingredients, preparing poisons and remedies, and making sure we never run out of things. I have a house here in Skingrad, and he'll be staying here some of the time. I was hoping he could make purchases at your store on my behalf."

Fenris sat quietly watching Lena and Falanu and not daring to touch his drink. Falanu seemed to lighten up with every word Lena said. Then there was a sigh of relief. She picked up her goblet and started drinking slowly, looking at Fenris, lost in thought.

"Fenris Bero..." she said softly. Fenris jerked slightly, looking up. "I remember you... a long time ago. You disappeared. So that's what's happened... Cousin."

Fenris winced. "I was ostracised, as soon as the disease set in" - he said. "I have no cousins."

"You need not worry" - said Falanu, smiling. "I have been ostracised too, for another reason. We can be cousins now."

Lena felt that it was necessary to diffuse the situation.

"Well, I am sure you will have plenty of occasions to catch up" - she raised a toast. "Here is to new beginnings!"

Fenris sat motionless at first, then caught himself and raised his goblet too. They drank and exchanged pleasantries.

"Thank you, Falanu, but we should be going" - said Lena after a little while. "Lots to do. Fenris will be staying in Skingrad for a time - settling in and all that."

"Oh, of course!" - Falanu came out of her trance. "Yes, please come in to the shop when you need anything. I shall also gladly buy your surplus ingredients, as usual. Or offer some training" - she looked at Fenris and smiled.

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

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