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> I am Lena Wolf, Lena's life as it happens
Lena Wolf
post Jun 30 2021, 05:38 PM
Post #101


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From: Bravil



8 Second Seed, 4E202 - Reflections

Lena was tired. She left Fenris in Skingrad and hoped that re-connecting with his roots through Falanu might help him find himself in time. Some of the vampires in Bernice's coven seemed to have had checkered past, too - marred by slavery, perhaps. Most people did not choose vampirism, it usually got them by surprise, or there was no means to cure the precursor disease... And while some succumbed to it mentally as well as physically and became vicious predators, many remained the same people as they were before the infection.

Vampires in Cyrodiil largely chose to learn to live with it - and even to advance in society. That meant regular feeding, at least once a day. For some, like the wife of Janus Hassildor, this was unacceptable, and usually meant suicide. But others accepted their fate and found ways... Captives, usually, because bottled synthetic blood, like bottled breast milk substitute, could not sustain them fully. Yes, Lena remembered that time all too vividly - and recent events had shown that she wasn't free from that curse after all. Not completely.

So... Fenris was a vampire, her slave, her property, her responsibility. She wasn't about to waste him. The Dunmer had long lives of their own - Queen Barenziah had lived for a thousand years. Vampires were immortal, of course - Fenris had a lot of time ahead of him still, and Lena was determined that he wouldn't spend it all as a slave.

Lena was riding towards Bravil, thinking these thoughts. Bravil never judged.


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

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Adella
post Jun 30 2021, 11:56 PM
Post #102


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I will keep this brief as I do not wish to break up the post flow of your tale.
I like it…read a fair bit…not all as yet, but it entices!
I did not exist until Skyrim, but my host, my ‘otherhalf’, indulged a lot of Oblivion and this tale pulls up all those old memories. The Shivering Isles being bigger than many entire games itself. Yes, it is well recalled with your prompts as Lena ventures. Thank you. goodjob.gif
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Lena Wolf
post Jul 1 2021, 08:16 AM
Post #103


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From: Bravil



QUOTE(Adella @ Jun 30 2021, 11:56 PM) *

I did not exist until Skyrim, but my host, my ‘otherhalf’, indulged a lot of Oblivion and this tale pulls up all those old memories. The Shivering Isles being bigger than many entire games itself. Yes, it is well recalled with your prompts as Lena ventures. Thank you. goodjob.gif


Thanks, Adella! biggrin.gif Glad you enjoy it. Not much has changed in the last 200 years since the Oblivion Crisis, it seems, and history keeps repeating itself on many accounts. Doesn't it always - people tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. Lena is experiencing a lot of deja vu - but then again, it's never quite the same the second time around.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 1 2021, 08:21 PM
Post #104


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9-10 Second Seed, 4E202 - Sanguine

"Offer a bottle of Cyrodilic Brandy and My Lord Sanguine might speak with you" - one of the worshippers at Sanguine's shrine told Lena. "But don't be offended if he doesn't" - he hastened to add, looking her over.

"Actually, I think I shall be offended if he doesn't" - Lena replied to the horror of the worshipper.

She placed the bottle on the altar.

"Ah... another mortal has come to beg for some excitement... Oh - hello! What brings you here, Wolf?"

The worshippers stared at Lena with envy and disbelief.

"I need to speak with you, Sanguine" - Lena told the statue. "Privately" - she looked around at the glaring faces of the worshippers and glared back at them.

"Very well, meet me in The Three Sisters' Inn in Leyawiin - the upper floor room. There's also something we need to do at the castle there."

The worshippers got up to leave.

"No, you don't!" - Lena jumped in front of a Bosmer who appeared to be their leader. "Sanguine is to meet me, not you, and in private. Meaning: you are not coming!"

"Nobody is meeting My Lord in private without my blessing, and you are certainly not getting it!" - the Bosmer retorted, baring his teeth in a growl.

"Oh yeah? Watch this!" - Lena bared her own teeth. She snapped her fingers and summoned a dremora. This was looking distinctly like a toddler squabble.

"I honour my Lord by destroying you!" - the dremora roared automatically, but then looked around and didn't see any threats. He turned to Lena with a question in his eyes.

"Tell them who is your Lord, please" - she asked him, smiling.

"I serve My Lord Sanguine" - he replied, turning to the Bosmer. The Bosmer paled.

"And if Sanguine wishes to see me privately, do I need a blessing from one of his worshippers?" - Lena asked the dremora with a mischievous smile.

The Bosmer did not need a reply. The other worshippers were already cowering behind the statue, not wishing to offend the dremora in any way - whether he served Sanguine or any other Prince.

"My Lord will meet his lover without your blessing" - the dremora glared down at the Bosmer. It was rather fun to watch.

"Thank you, my friend" - Lena patted the dremora on the arm. "I should better be going - Sanguine will be waiting."

She dispelled the dremora and mounted Roach to leave. The only thing missing from this scene was Lena pulling her tongue out at the Bosmer. But who's to say that she didn't do it after she rode off.

...

"Do you wish to rent a room?" - Shuravi asked when Lena entered the inn in Leyawiin. "I have one on the second floor free."

"I am expected on the third floor already" - Lena answered with a smile. "Has the room been paid for?"

"For a whole week, yes" - Shuravi looked at her with suspicion. "By a dremora!"

"Thanks!" - Lena replied quickly and was gone before Shuravi could serve her a sermon on the devastating effects of consorting with daedra.

...

"Why did you call me?" - asked Sanguine after they exchanged the usual greetings. "You sounded concerned."

"Yes" - Lena rubbed her chin. "Do you remember Dylan? That Mazken that's been following me around back on the Isles?"

Sanguine's eyes glazed over at first, but then he remembered and nodded.

"It's somewhat vague, but yes, I remember. There was a lot of brandy involved - and all that felldew..." - he trailed off, smiling to the memories.

"Sanguine - get back here" - Lena tugged at his sleeve, smiling, too. "Focus, please. Dylan. Help him."

"Help him?" - Sanguine repeated, surprised. "What sort of trouble is he in?"

"He's lonely" - Lena took Sanguine's hand. "And you know better than any other how to deal with mortals... and the feelings that come from that."

"Well... may be I do" - Sanguine smiled. "Daedra don't feel the same attachment to one another as we can feel towards mortals, it's ironic. And you're the first one for him, then" - he nodded. "But why doesn't Sheogorath just banish him while you're gone?"

"Because I asked him not to" - Lena went red. "I hadn't thought it through. So now Dylan will have to learn to deal with it."

"And naturally you run to me for help!" - Sanguine laughed. "Not Mara, Dibella, Azura, Vaermina, or even Hircine - no, you ask me! Yet each of them could provide a solution, too."

"Stop it, Sanguine!" - Lena jumped up and sat on his lap. "He needs to learn to deal with it, not drown it in sorrow or something. How do you deal with it when one of your mortal lovers dies?" Lena's face was close to Sanguine's, her eyes level with his.

"I grieve, how else" - he answered softly. "It is the way of things. I drink, remember?" - he smiled. "I have been careful of late to only take cursed mortals as lovers - vampires, werewolves, that sort of thing - but some have had the audacity of taking the cure..." - he kissed her.

"And losing their immortality" - Lena finished after a pause.

"Yes" - Sanguine was looking into her eyes again. "But you never forget the ones you loved."

"You'll help him then?" - Lena's voice was but a whisper.

"If Sheogorath allows" - Sanguine nodded.

"He'd better!"

10 Second Seed

"So, what was it you wanted me to do here at the Castle?" - asked Lena. It was late morning and they were still in bed.

"Oh, right" - Sanguine smirked. "The Countess needs a bit of cheering up."

"Meaning?" - Lena looked at him with suspicion. You could never trust Sanguine in these matters.

"She needs a bit of a diversion, a bit of frivolous entertainment" - he chuckled. "You'll need to get yourself invited to one of their stuffy dinners, and then you'll cast a spell and everyone will be naked."

"What!?" - they laughed at the mental image of the pandemonium in the castle dining room. "But it will land me in prison!" - Lena frowned.

"Nonsense!" - Sanguine waved it off. "You'll just cast one of your illusion spells - vanish and slip away or something. You assassins are good at that" - he winked. "I'll give you the Rose as a reward. And I booked this room for a week" - he added, smiling.

"Well, all right then" - answered Lena, letting herself fall back onto the cushions. The Countess could wait.

This post has been edited by Lena Wolf: Jul 1 2021, 11:12 PM


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

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macole
post Jul 1 2021, 09:35 PM
Post #105


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Personal relationships with the princes and to have a reason for speaking to them is so much more fun than simply walking up to throw an offering on the alter to get a quest.

The party crasher quest cracked me up the first time I played it.


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Endure and through enduring grow strong.
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Lena Wolf
post Jul 1 2021, 11:17 PM
Post #106


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From: Bravil



QUOTE(macole @ Jul 1 2021, 09:35 PM) *

Personal relationships with the princes and to have a reason for speaking to them is so much more fun than simply walking up to throw an offering on the alter to get a quest.

The party crasher quest cracked me up the first time I played it.


Thanks! biggrin.gif That quest is fun indeed! Did you manage to do it without going to jail? And to watch what happens afterwards? laugh.gif


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

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Acadian
post Jul 2 2021, 01:34 AM
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What a fun and creative treatment of Sanguine's quest and how you have woven it into a much bigger picture/relationship with Sanguine. A fun read! smile.gif


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macole
post Jul 2 2021, 04:38 AM
Post #108


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QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Jul 1 2021, 05:17 PM) *

QUOTE(macole @ Jul 1 2021, 09:35 PM) *

Personal relationships with the princes and to have a reason for speaking to them is so much more fun than simply walking up to throw an offering on the alter to get a quest.

The party crasher quest cracked me up the first time I played it.


Thanks! biggrin.gif That quest is fun indeed! Did you manage to do it without going to jail? And to watch what happens afterwards? laugh.gif

I believe I did but it was some time ago (10-years maybe), long before this current story. What I remember is that I stood there watching everyone running around stark naked (undieless body mod). Don't remember if I used invisibility spell or potion which requires precise timing or if I wore several items enchanted with chameleon to total 100. I'm sure that I had to restart several times.


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Lena Wolf
post Jul 2 2021, 08:18 AM
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10 Second Seed, 4E202 - Stark Reality

"You forgot to tell me that I'd be stripped naked by that spell - that is, all my stuff vanished!" - Lena appeared in The Three Sisters' Inn upper floor room, her invisibility cloak finally dispelling. "I had to keep casting the cloak all the way from the castle!"

"But did you have fun?" - Sanguine laughed. "Don't bother getting dressed - supper is already here." He pulled her into the bed, there was wine, cheese and fruit at either side. "How did it go?"

"Well..." - Lena couldn't stay angry with him for long. "I had to time it quite precisely, to disappear before the spell hit, but it worked! Everyone got absolutely frenzied. I couldn't resist staying to watch!" - she laughed at the memory. "Then the oddest thing happened - the guests all returned to the table, and carried on as if nothing was the matter!"

IPB Image

"No!!!" - Sanguine roared, laughing. "And I missed that!?"

"But then the Countess returned - all dressed up again, and had us all arrested for indecent exposure!" They laughed at that and drank some wine.

"But you are here and not in jail" - Sanguine remarked.

"That bedroll was dirty" - Lena winked. "As dirty as those clothes they gave us - I left them there, too. I wasn't going to stay. And of course your spell had all my money vanish - so I couldn't even pay the fine!"

"So you cheated" - Sanguine kissed her.

"Magic is not cheating" - she returned his kiss. "I understand now why you booked this room for a week."

"I may have expected a delay, yes" - Sanguine winked.

"Good thing I left my stuff here before going - or you'd have me ride all the way to your shrine in the nude!"

"Aww, you cheated again!" - Sanguine laughed heartily. "You know what to expect by now."

"You should chastise that Bosmer at the shrine. He tried to tell me I couldn't see you without his blessing - and he tried to come here instead of me!"

"He is confused" - conceded Sanguine. "It's Mephala who likes men, not I."

Lena didn't get to complain any further. The evening with Sanguine was just beginning.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 3 2021, 12:22 PM
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11 Second Seed, 4E202 - Dessos - The Order of Virtuous Blood - Rufio

Lena woke up late, opened her eyes and saw Sanguine sitting up in bed watching her. She smiled to him and stretched out her hand to caress his face. She always slept well in his company.

"I do miss the time in the Isles" - she said. "I felt at home there."

"There's nothing to stop you from going back, you know" - Sanguine smiled at her. "And let another two hundred years slip by."

"No, it's not the same" - she sat up as well, reaching for sweetrolls. "I still feel at home there when I go back - and I shall never stop going back there. But it's Sheogorath's Realm again - not mine. My place is here, in Mundus. Besides, I have friends now."

"Now you see why I never bothered with a Realm of my own" - Sanguine got a sweetroll too. "It's the people that make up a life, not the land."

"Speaking of which - I've got work to do." Lena stretched and got out of bed. "After I retrieve my money from the chest at your shrine" - she winked. "And the Rose of course! I missed it."

"You need to get better at those drinking games if you want to keep it for longer" - Sanguine laughed. "And in future if you want to see me, just ask Dessos - he'll let me know."

"Dessos?" - Lena turned to him in surprise.

"Your dremora. It's been the same one for a long time already, you noticed. He insisted" - Sanguine smiled.

"Oh!" - Lena blushed. "Thanks."

...

Lena got to the shrine of Sanguine in the afternoon, having stopped just once along the way. She didn't dare to go to Bravil as she had no money and she was sure there was a bounty on her head for breaking out of jail. She had no wish to go back to jail just because she had no coin on her to pay the fine.

The worshippers at the shrine pretended not to see her, even when Sanguine spoke to her through the statue. Lena smirked and left them to their jealousy.

IPB Image

Lena got to the Imperial City in the early evening. She stopped at her house on the Waterfront for a quick break before going into the city - she had a job to do there.

Passing through the Temple District, she was approached by a Dunmer woman asking her with great urgency to go see a certain Seridur, right there in the district. Lena thought it might have been a trap, but decided to go anyway.

"It is good to finally meet you, Assassin" - said Seridur. "Your reputation precedes you."

"Oh?" - Lena gave him a blank stare.

"That Altmer noble killed in the skooma den... that Dunmer agent killed in his house... and of course Fathis Ules hitting his head on the stone steps of an inn in Chorrol... Do I need to go on?" - Seridur smiled. Something in his face didn't look right.

"Oh I see!" - Lena said. "And you think somehow that those unfortunate deaths are linked to me?" - she smiled.

"No, of course not!" - Seridur laughed. "It was just a little joke! Please follow me."

Lena followed. A Dunmer in daedric armour stepped aside to let her pass.

"I am Seridur's bodyguard and... assistant" - he said.

"Yes..." - Lena thought. She sensed where this was going. The question was whether they could sense her.

...

"Welcome to the headquarters of the Order of Virtuous Blood!" - exclaimed Seridur when they entered the basement. "The Order of vampire hunters!"

"How ironic..." - Lena thought. "But what a clever disguise." No, Seridur couldn't sense her, and the other two members were not vampires.

They wanted her to track down and kill a certain Roland Jenseric who, Seridur claimed, was a vampire. Why, Seridur saw it with his own eyes! Roland kissing a girl in a back alley, and then the girl was dead with two puncture marks on her neck! That proved it - Roland did it!

"So you see, now you must go and slay him!" - Seridur said triumphantly.

"Well, that is certainly quite a task!" - Lena said, pretending to be in awe. "You need a professional assassin for this. Have you considered contacting the Dark Brotherhood or perhaps Morag Tong?"

The Dunmer vampire hunter in the room twitched, the Argonian changed colour, but Seridur remained calm.

"It is too risky" - he said. "Claudius Arcadia will rot in the Imperial Prison for the rest of his life for performing the Black Sacrament. Even though there is no law against it. Which is why we need your help!"

"Well..." - Lena looked into the expectant faces of the other two vampire hunters. "I can certainly look into it... although I still think you need professional help."

"Payment will be forthcoming, do not worry" - Seridur said with a smile.

"Oh - I would not require payment for doing the right thing!" - Lena exclaimed. "The Mages Guild wouldn't stand for it!"

"Mages Guild?" - Seridur was taken aback.

"Mages Guild Warlock at your service" - Lena bowed her head. "I thought you knew who I was?" She gave Seridur her brightest smile and thought to herself: "Feeding too often dulls your senses."

She turned to leave.

"I'll be in touch."

...

First of all Lena had to follow up on that business with Claudius Arcadia. Was it true? She found him in the Imperial Prison complaining to anyone who'd listen. Yes, he prayed to the Night Mother and got arrested for it! And there wasn't even any law against it! And the City Watch confiscated his house, too! The unfairness of it all! Arrghhh!

"Quick - unlock this door so that I can escape!" - he cried excitedly.

"And go where?" - Lena looked at him with regret. "There's a guard on every corner, and this section is not the one with the underground passage."

"Passage? What passage?" - Claudius' eyes lit up.

"Get yourself transferred to the other section, and who knows - I might visit you again" - Lena replied. "Compliments of the Night Mother" - she smiled.

She left and wondered who it was that Claudius wanted killed - and why. She had to investigate his house.

...

"Only assassins and thieves are out in the Imperial City at night" - thought Lena passing through the Market District at 2 a.m. where she just bumped into Carwen canvassing the shops.

Claudius' house was across the street from Hauk's, in the Talos Plaza district. A public notice on the door stated that the house had been seized by the City Watch. Lena thought it was likely that a watchman would be inside, so wrapped herself in a chameleon cloak before picking the lock and entering.

She found the scene of a Black Sacrament in the basement. But who had been the target? There were no clues there. The ground floor was deserted, but upstairs she found the watchman sleeping in Claudius' bed. No matter, she still went through the chests and desks until she found a diary. She was surprised that it hadn't been taken away as evidence, but there it was.

"It worked!" - she read. "A man visited me and money has been exchanged! Rufio will die!"

"Rufio?" - Lena smiled to herself. "Yes, Claudius, the contract has been completed."

She took the diary. There was no need to leave evidence lying around. With her other business in the Imperial City completed, she decided to go home and get some sleep before riding to Cheydinhal.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 3 2021, 01:19 PM
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12 Second Seed, 4E202 - Thieves Guild - Travel plans

"Fathis Ules - Master Thief, top fence; J'baana - Master Thief, master of security; S'krivva - Shadowfoot, doyen; Othrelos - Shadowfoot, master of covert affairs; Orrin - Shadowfoot, high level fence. That's the entire top of the Thieves Guild, plus the Guildmaster, of course - the current Grey Fox. And Corvus Umbranox." Lena was going through the list. "There are plenty more members, but I don't think we can eliminate all thieves in Cyrodiil, and neither should we wish to."

"Agreed" - Lucien nodded. "How close are you to completing?"

Lena shot him a glance.

"You know how close I am - these deaths are not exactly low profile" - she smiled. "But fine, have it your way: Fathis Ules - 1 Sun’s Dawn, Othrelos - 8 First Seed, S'krivva - 5 Second Seed, J'baana - 11 Second Seed. I released the wraith of Sithis in Umbranox' abandoned house on 15 Morning Star, so it's been nearly four months. The last two deaths being so close together should make him think it'll soon be him, but no, not yet."

"In particular with J'baana hiding in the Imperial City prison" - Lucien smirked. "But of course you've been there on several occasions already." He paused, reading through a parchment. "Lady Umbranox wishes her husband 'to suffer the anguish of being hunted for at least six months before he is killed' - it says here" - Lucien read from the contract. "You are on schedule" - he smiled.

They sat sipping their wine for a while, each making notes and looking through more papers.

"What did the Night Mother say about this contract?" - Lena ventured a question that's been bothering her for a while now. "It requires publicity and is remarkably vague on detail."

"The ultimate target was clear from the start, so she couldn't refuse" - Lucien frowned. "I had to negotiate adequate compensation, considering the breach of privacy for the Dark Brotherhood - we are not the Skyrim assassins. But the Night Mother approved that you should be the one to handle it, given your previous work in Anvil - she is fully aware who it was that provided that anonymous tip on the identity and whereabouts of the real traitor."

Lena looked up in surprise.

"But how did she know? I was in hiding from the assassins all the while..."

"And yet you tracked down the traitor. She knows." Lucien was watching Lena across the table, pondering something. Then finally he asked: "Why did you do it?"

"To clear my name" - Lena answered automatically.

"No, why did you really do it? Not the official version, please" - Lucien smiled.

Lena sat back in her chair, lifting her eyes from the papers to meet Lucien's, still watching her.

"He had to be stopped. Everyone at the Sanctuary was being hunted, and you disappeared - in hiding or exile, I didn't know, but it wasn't good. The others didn't know the details, so they couldn't help, and I couldn't find you, so I had to act on my own. Until someone gave me that anonymous note suggesting to investigate a certain address in Anvil..." Lena broke off, seeing Lucien shaking his head. "What?"

"Not how you did it, but why?"

"Oh..." - Lena looked confused. "I never thought of that... I couldn't not do it."

Lucien felt that she was holding something back, but decided not to press her any further. He sensed that it was something to do with the Sanctuary, with himself, perhaps... He watched Lena across the table, thinking of the time when she just joined his group, so very young, yet determined, a vampire, but dealing with it, not giving up, not turning into a beast. She was an assassin, but not just that - she was more, so much more, like her mother. Lucien didn't know her mother very well, but from what he knew and heard, the resemblance was striking, and not just skin-deep. He couldn't help but take an interest in this young half-Breton half-Nord brought up by an Argonian from an early age... But surely she was too young for him. Back then - yes, but now? She kept coming back to his fort, he wondered why. She never checked to see if he was there, and sometimes he was - cloaked in chameleon, he moved silently, yet she must have noticed. She never showed it if she did. She would spend the night there, sometimes touching him in her sleep. Was she aware of that? It seemed she wasn't.

Two hundred years was a long time to wait, she said. Perhaps. Lucien wasn't just sitting and waiting though - life continued, he was busy, not having a Silencer to share the work, and Ocheeva had always insisted he shouldn't neglect his own needs either... Ocheeva could always see everything plainly. Yet with every woman he kissed, he felt an increasing emptiness and a growing longing for that one half-Breton half-Nord that kept coming to his fort while he was away.

Then one day Lena reappeared, and not just in his fort - she was back in Mundus, looking as young as when she joined them. Was it really she? He had to watch her for a while. Yes, it was she, vampirism cured, looks restored, experience gained. The Shivering Isles - that's where she'd been! That explained everything - why they could not find her when she was being hunted, why she completely vanished afterwards with only brief appearances at long intervals, and why she hadn't aged two hundred years like everyone else. But she wasn't in her twenties either - no longer a child, far from it. And she was still an assassin.

The Night Mother agreed it was time to call her back. Lena didn't need asking twice - she was happy to be back with the Sanctuary, all the old friends that she'd missed. She refused a promotion when Lucien offered it to her - no, she wasn't made to be a Black Hand... "Well, you'll change your mind in time" - he thought and didn't insist. She was back in his life - that was all that mattered.

Then there was this contract from Lady Umbranox, and the Night Mother gave it to him - to his group, but of course there was just one person he'd give it to. The Night Mother agreed, she'd been expecting it. Lena took the contract, drew up a plan, left it in Lucien's fort for his approval. Lucien was going to write a note in reply, but then he left her flowers instead - goldenrod, morning glory, lily of the valley, blue hyacinth. Would she understand the meaning? He was sure she would. Good fortune, my dear - yours, always. Yours. A lily of the valley would send a much stronger message than a rose.

Lena kept the flowers, but didn't give a response. "Are you sure?" - she asked. Yes, he was sure. She was his missing half. But whether he was hers... time would tell.

...

"Come with me to Skyrim" - Lena said suddenly.

"You're asking me to accompany you?" - Lucien wasn't used to being an escort.

"There's work to be done there, as you well know."

"Work that you are more than capable of doing yourself" - Lucien interjected. "Even if you don't want any of your friends to help, you could ask your brother."

"You know about Wolf?" - Lena should have expected it, but she didn't.

"News travels fast. He's famous."

"In his own right, yes. But..." - Lena realised that further discussion was pointless. Of course Lucien knew about her brother. She had to lay more cards on the table. "I want to spend time with you."

"If you don't know me as yet..."

"I know you, Assassin!" - Lena interrupted. "I want to know Lucien now."

"They are one and the same."

"Are they? Did the Assassin give me that lily of the valley?"

Lucien looked up sharply.

"Very well, my Barenziah."


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 3 2021, 08:09 PM
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13-14 Second Seed, 4E202 - Vampires of the Imperial City

Before Lena could go to Skyrim, there was one unfinished business she had to follow up on: Seridur. She had to choose between Roland and Seridur - which one would she believe? She chose to believe Roland.

Having asked around following Roland's tip, she discovered that Seridur was known to take regular trips to the Memorial Cave, always carrying food and other supplies. Lena went to investigate.

The cave housed a small group of vampires whom Seridur was obviously supporting. Lena tried talking to him, but he attacked, and the other vampires joined in. There was no other way but to slay them.

There was however something strange about this group: the cave was set up for Necromancy, with several dread zombies and wraiths roaming in it. The only way these undead would have been ignoring the vampires was if the vampires had raised them. Were they then necromancers as well? Stranger things had happened.

IPB Image

Lena found a dead captive in a cell. Vampires would normally keep him alive. It all seemed that they were more interested in raising the dead than in maintaining their own existence. Could a vampire ascend to lichdom? Could an undead become undead?

IPB Image

Lena checked the corpses, collecting vampire dust. Almost all Elves. They did say that the Elves in the Imperial City looked out for each other. She checked Seridur. No vampire dust. His eyes hadn't been red either. Was he perhaps an ex-vampire like herself? That would explain many things. And if he wasn't drinking blood anymore, he would not have been able to sense her past vampirism either. Lena recalled that incident with Thadon's chalice - her fangs had returned and she bit Dylan's neck and drank his blood. No, she wasn't a vampire any longer, but that blood had woken up her senses again. Not so with Seridur.

So what did really happen in that back alley in the Imperial City? Roland's girlfriend came to stay with him, but after a time started taking solitary walks in the evenings. Roland suspected an affair, followed her and caught her in Seridur's embrace. Roland claimed that Seridur was biting her neck, but what if it was a kiss, not a bite? Seridur turned on Roland, pushing away the girl, she slipped and fell, cracking her skull on the stones.

Both men were now blaming each other for her death, Roland out of jealousy, Seridur to protect his vampire friends. The Order of Virtuous Blood was a sham of course, but did Seridur really have to die? Lena never got a chance to find out what those vampires were like, but admittedly it didn't look good. So be it, her hand had been forced.

14 Second Seed

It was well past midnight when Lena came out of the Memorial Cave. The whole affair left a rather unpleasant taste in her mouth - she felt like she was being used. She rode straight to Roland's cabin to tell him of the outcome, and she didn't care if she had to wake him for it. At least she was certain that he wasn't a vampire.

Roland didn't mind being woken up in the middle of the night. He thanked Lena and asked her to see him in Seridur's house - he intended to carry on with The Order of Virtuous Blood.

"Well" - Lena thought on the way back. "They are not exactly competent. For all their talk of great knowledge, they didn't suspect Seridur - or me, for that matter! And they should have. What a waste of space."

She turned her thoughts towards her upcoming trip to Skyrim - Lucien would be meeting her in Bruma, then they would take the Pale Pass North.


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

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macole
post Jul 3 2021, 10:13 PM
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History repeats itself once again. Seridur experimenting in lichdom, now that's an interesting twist.
Really, the OVB hasn't had an accomplished vampire hunter since... oh, what's his name? I can't seem to remember.


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Lena Wolf
post Jul 4 2021, 08:00 AM
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QUOTE(macole @ Jul 3 2021, 10:13 PM) *

History repeats itself once again. Seridur experimenting in lichdom, now that's an interesting twist.


I always felt that quest was weird. Both men lying, neither of them a vampire. Then the cave not looking anything like a vampire den, except for the vampires within. Really strange.

Seridur's excuse for insisting that it should be us to go handle the "vampire": "We are just three old men, we are no match for a vampire." Well then, if the three of you cannot handle a single vampire, then what are you doing calling yourselves vampire hunters? huh.gif

QUOTE
Really, the OVB hasn't had an accomplished vampire hunter since... oh, what's his name? I can't seem to remember.


Yes, I've heard of him. Ja...something or other? I hear he had enough of them and retired to wine making on the Gold Coast.


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

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Renee
post Jul 4 2021, 01:38 PM
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Up to post 11 now. That makes so much sense, about the Stormcloaks who made their camp just to the east of Helgen. Never thought of it that way. So they rushed away from Helgen, maybe found that spot, that dell in the middle of the forest. Made camp for the night, and then never left.

QUOTE
"Look - poorly healed scars, frostbite and their stomachs stuck to their spines. Supply problems, clearly."


In my imagination, this is how I imagine the huge disparity between low-leveled enemies (such as, let's say, Level 1 through 5 bandits) in one area, but higher-level enemies in another area. They are malnourished / sick / diseased if they're low-leveled, which makes them easy prey for our characters. Yet often in a lower-leveled environment there will be a boss who matches our character's level, or nearly so. This boss takes most of the food, most of the things which keep the rest of the party in poverty. The boss allows them to live there, which (from their standpoint) is better than braving it out somewhere in the wilderness. But they can't get rich / better-nourished under such conditions since the boss is taking the lion's share. Protection in numbers seems to be the main idea.

You were right, Lena. Now that I've finished Post 1, the rest of these are quicker reads. smile.gif

This post has been edited by Renee: Jul 4 2021, 01:49 PM


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macole
post Jul 4 2021, 06:23 PM
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QUOTE(Lena Wolf @ Jul 4 2021, 02:00 AM) *

I always felt that quest was weird. Both men lying, neither of them a vampire. Then the cave not looking anything like a vampire den, except for the vampires within. Really strange.

The vampire hunting mod I use fixes that a bit. Seridur becomes a nasty one. Before he is cured of his affliction, he goes into a long discourse on how he's going to taste all the young maidens in the Imperial City.

QUOTE
Yes, I've heard of him. Ja...something or other? I hear he had enough of them and retired to wine making on the Gold Coast.

That's the plan but just like Borne, Wick, and Corleone; he keeps getting pulled back in.

This post has been edited by macole: Jul 4 2021, 06:28 PM


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Lena Wolf
post Jul 5 2021, 08:23 AM
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QUOTE(Renee @ Jul 4 2021, 01:38 PM) *

QUOTE
"Look - poorly healed scars, frostbite and their stomachs stuck to their spines. Supply problems, clearly."


In my imagination, this is how I imagine the huge disparity between low-leveled enemies (such as, let's say, Level 1 through 5 bandits) in one area, but higher-level enemies in another area. They are malnourished / sick / diseased if they're low-leveled, which makes them easy prey for our characters.


As you travel the roads of Skyrim and meet Stormcloak patrols, you often hear them complain of supply problems. They say they are cold and hungry and Ulfric doesn't care to fix it. They say it themselves! Justifying to one another the need to raid passers by because they've got to eat! So I just pulled it into the story here.


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"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 5 2021, 08:52 AM
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14-15 Second Seed, 4E202 - Bruma

"Hello!" - Hafid Hollowleg greeted Lena at the Jerall View Inn. "Your room is ready."

"Nice to see you again, Hafid" - Lena smiled. "But how did you know I'd be coming?"

"Weren't you the one trying to break up a fight between a Legion soldier and a Bruma city guard just outside the gates? Again?" - he laughed.

"Point taken" - Lena laughed too. "I just think it's such a waste!"

"Oh don't worry about it, it's not to the death. Nothing a good helping of mead wouldn't cure. Dinner?"

"Yes, please" - Lena looked around the room, spotting Lucien at the corner table. "I'll be over there."

"You're with... Oh!" - Hafid's face broke in a broad smile. "Of course!"

15 Second Seed

"Do you have a plan?" - Lucien asked when they met in the dining room for breakfast.

"The same as in Cyrodiil" - Lena answered. "We'll need to make our way to Riften."

"Yes..." - Lucien looked in the distance. "But perhaps we should first pay a visit to a certain group in Falkreath."

"You mean..?" - Lena's eyes widened.

"No-no, just to talk" - Lucien smiled. "Bring the game out into the open. And - you lead. It'll be fun to watch" - he smirked and winked at her.

Lena smirked too: "All right. I know just how to approach them."

"And then? Straight onto Riften or do you want to see your brother first?"

"Wolf first" - she said firmly. Lucien nodded.


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"Innocence, my brother."

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 5 2021, 11:59 PM
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16 Second Seed, 4E202 - A visit to the Skyrim assassins - About mother

"You thought I fancied you" - Lena whispered into Arnbjorn's ear locking his arm behind his back. "Why would I when I've got him?"

Lucien readied his blade.

"Who are you?" - asked Arnbjorn suddenly realising that his mistrust of Lena was well founded. Werewolves could sense things and he was the only one of the Skyrim group to mistrust Lena to the point of dislike.

"I am Lucien Lachance's Silencer."

"But..." - Arnbjorn broke off. Information wasn't Astrid's strong suit, it got them into trouble many times before. They didn't mind killing the wrong people - one could always fix that - but now she had led a traitor into their midst. "Lucien Lachance has been dead for 200 years and we are the last Dark Brotherhood group in Tamriel" - Arnbjorn recounted the official version of events.

"Ai, that's what you'd read in the Imperial Chronicles" - agreed Lena. "It was a convenient way to take attention away from the real Dark Brotherhood, but we were never gone anywhere."

"You have come to perform Purification" - concluded Arnbjorn.

"No, because you are not the Dark Brotherhood, you are just a bunch of murderers. Ah-ah!" - Lena pressed her silver dagger to Arnbjorn's side as he tried to twist out of her grip. "I'm not done talking to you yet."

"So what do you want?"

"To warn you. Tell the others we'll be watching. We know who you all are, and we let you live at our discretion. We have no branches in Skyrim, so you may continue calling yourselves whatever you like. But remember how easy it was to get to you."

She released Arnbjorn's arm.

"And you may want to drop that Black Sacrament business since it does nothing for you anyway. Your contracts simply come by courier - didn't Astrid tell you that?"

And while Arnbjorn was gasping at the idea that his Astrid wasn't entirely open with him regarding their group - and what else then? - Lena and Lucien vanished and left the Sanctuary.

IPB Image

"What do you think they'll do now?" - Lena asked turning to Lucien, as this was his idea.

"They'll go after us - or try to" - he seemed amused at the prospect. "We need to stay alert, but I wouldn't worry too much. Let's get a dog or something."

"They are not entirely useless though" - Lena was more cautious. "Penitus Oculatus has been after them for years, in vain."

"And you infiltrated them within a week" - Lucien pointed out. "We could have wiped them out now if we wanted to. Penitus Oculatus has the wrong methods."

They rode in silence for a while.

"Why did Arnbjorn think you fancied him?" - Lucien asked.

"I have no idea!" - Lena protested. "No, wait - I think I know. I paid attention to him, talked to him, asked personal questions - I did the same with each of them, of course. They all thought I was getting to know my new family, but Arnbjorn must have sensed an ulterior motive - werewolves are good at that. And naturally he assumed I fancied him."

Lucien smiled as if it had been an entirely innocent question.

IPB Image

Approaching Lake View Manor, they saw Geralt chopping wood in the yard.

"Are you hiding from Sven's mother again?" - Lena teased him.

"Yes" - Geralt grimaced. "She keeps going on about her son and how wonderful he is. Makes me sick." Then turning to Lucien he added: "Hello, Lucien. You look remarkably fresh for someone who's been dead for 200 years."

"Geralt" - Lucien nodded a greeting.

They've never met before but each recognised the other from rumours.

"Don't get my sister into any more trouble than she would do herself" - said Geralt half-jokingly. "She's very good at it as it is."

"She doesn't let me" - replied Lucien returning Geralt's gaze.

Geralt's stay at the Lake View had its benefits. He valued comfort when it was available, so there was hot water in the kitchen, food in the larder and roaring fire in the grate. They sat down for dinner.

"Tell us about our mother" - said Geralt filling Lucien's goblet. "I understand you knew her?"

Lucien looked up. There was another man who knew more than he let on.

IPB Image

"I didn't know her very well" - answered Lucien. "She was a few ranks above me when I just started. She gave me some training and some advice, as is the custom. She was particularly skilled at healing... if you survived her fireball, that is" - he chuckled. "Not all recruits did."

"Yes, she was a mage, we knew that" - Geralt indicated this wasn't enough.

"Well, there isn't much more to tell, really. She quit soon after I joined."

"Quit?" - Lena was astonished. "You don't just quit the Dark Brotherhood!"

"You did, for a time" - Lucien looked at her and smiled. "She was very persuasive. I later learned that there was a man involved - someone rather high placed, that she wanted to be with. Your father, I surmise."

"So she was allowed to leave as a favour to him?"

"No, I don't think so. Rather as an assurance of the Dark Brotherhood's continued existence" - he paused, tasting the wine. "We are powerful, but we are not all-powerful. We wouldn't want to go against Morag Tong, for example."

This wasn't much, but it fitted with what they already knew about their parents. And again there was no real clue of their father's identity. He was a Nord, but there were many Nords in high places at the time, including the very top... But no, Lena wasn't a Septim - she figured that out already during the Oblivion Crisis. It was someone else...

"You mentioned before that mother went rogue" - Lena remembered something Lucien once said. "What was that all about?"

"She... refused an order, like someone else here" - Lucien winked at her. "It wasn't a Purification order though, but she refused a contract. That in itself would get her exiled, but she killed the contract giver instead."

Lena laughed.

"She was making sure that no one else would pick up that contract in her stead. How did she know who issued it?"

Assassins weren't usually informed of all the details.

"I am not sure" - answered Lucien. "She must have gotten it from the Speaker or even from the Listener - no one else would have known. Healing wasn't her only strong suit - she was also adept at illusions."

"Ok then" - Lena conceded. "Who was the target?"

"Your father."

Suddenly a whole different picture was emerging.

"So..." - Lena was laying out grapes on the table in a row, as was her habit. "She was allowed to quit because she had defeated Sithis' wraith every time, having taken care of the contract in her own way. With the contract giver dead, the plot or the coup or whatever was shattered, and the Dark Brotherhood was keen not to have been a part of it." Lena started eating the grapes now, in the order they lay on the table. "She protected the person important to her - exactly what I would have done" - she concluded picking up the last grape.

"I know" - Lucien said, having followed the grape manipulations with his eyes. "I cannot help but admire it."

"And her death later?" - asked Geralt.

"Swamp fever, I believe" - Lucien turned to him. "Nothing to do with us. There was quite an epidemic."

Again, this fitted with what they already knew. Yes, even gifted mages died of swamp fever.

...

It was getting late and Lena and Lucien intended to set off for Riften in the morning. They checked on the horses and readied some supplies. The evening was drawing to a close.

Geralt put his arm around Lena's shoulders in a big brother way, and led her out onto the deck. The stars were bright in the clear sky.

"Leave him alone" - he said. "He isn't your lover."

"But--" Lena gasped, lost for words. "But he said he loved me!" - she protested.

"Which isn't the same thing!"

"But you and Yen - how many times you've broken up and came back together again, and all the while--"

"Me and Yen" - Geralt interrupted - "have started out as lovers, you haven't. Do you share his feeling?" - he looked at Lena sternly. "Do you? Or are you just taking advantage of it?"

She didn't know. Feelings were complicated, she was confused. She was never spoken to like that, either. Who did he think he was? Oh right, her brother.

Lena thought of all those nights she spent in Lucien's fort, believing or pretending to believe that he was away. Why did she go there? Because it was convenient and she needed a place to stay, or because she sought something else? Friendship? Companionship? Safety? Excitement?

Geralt was watching Lena's face. "Do what you came here to do, and don't get killed, either of you. You are mortal again - remember that."

"Even vampires can be extinguished" - Lena said automatically.

Lucien came onto the deck too.

"It's a beautiful night but we wanted to leave early tomorrow. Better get some sleep" - he looked at Lena and Geralt as if he knew exactly what they'd been talking about. He probably guessed - he was, after all, much older than either of them.

He was right, of course. It was time to get some sleep.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 7 2021, 06:29 PM
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17 Second Seed, 4E202 - Riften - The first assassination attempt

Lena and Lucien arrived in Riften in late afternoon. It has been a long journey and they decided to relax for the rest of the day - walk around town, have a meal and retire early.

"Welcome if you've got the coin, or else hit the road!" - they were greeted at the Bee and Barb.

"We've got the coin" - Lena smiled.

"Oh hello - back again?" - the innkeep recognised her. "With a different friend this time? We're fully booked though, so you'll have to share."

"What's the occasion?" - Lena looked around the crowded room. "It's busier than usual."

"A wedding. The Temple of Mara keeps us busy."

"A perfect backdrop for an assassination" - Lucien whispered in Lena's ear. "A lot of strangers in town. We should be watchful tonight."

...

The rooms might have been all booked, but the guests were still feasting downstairs, and the upper floor of the inn was deserted. Lena and Lucien entered their room and closed the door.

"We'll have to take turns sleeping" - said Lucien looking out through a crack. "They might well make a move tonight."

"I have a better idea."

Lena snapped her fingers summoning the Spectral Assassin.

IPB Image

"Sister?" - he greeted her.

"I need you to stand guard while we sleep" - she told him. "Wake us if someone enters."

"I am an assassin, not a bodyguard" - he protested. "I am Lucien Lachance."

"No, I am Lucien Lachance" - said Lucien. "You are an apparition. Brother." Then turning to Lena he added: "What if one of the other assassins tries to summon him as well?"

"Then they won't be able to. There is only one Spectral Assassin, and he's here."

She walked over to the Spectral Assassin who looked rather confused.

"He's right, you know, you can't be Lucien's ghost because Lucien is still alive and well and standing before you. But it doesn't matter - we still need your help."

"I serve the one who summoned me. But who am I? Am I still an assassin?"

"Without a doubt" - Lena tried to sound convincing. How do you cheer up a ghostly apparition? "Krex created you, and made you believe you're Lucien's ghost. But I think you're your own man instead."

That seemed to have worked. The Spectral Assassin sat down and prepared for a long wake.

...

Lena woke up as if a bucket of cold water was poured over her. The Spectral Assassin was holding her by the shoulders.

"Wake up" - he whispered. "There's someone in the hall, and I think they've come for you."

Lucien was on his feet and behind the door before the Assassin finished whispering. Lena prepared her daggers but didn't get up, instead she closed her eyes almost completely. The Spectral Assassin crouched behind her - his smokey shape barely distinguishable in the dark.

The door opened slightly - someone was peering in. Faint candle light reflected off their hand. An Argonian. Was that the ex-Shadowscale from the Sanctuary?

With one jump he was on top of Lena with his daggers against her throat, but she had been expecting him. She blocked his strike, and kicked him off. A short struggle followed.

"So... Arnbjorn didn't lie..." - he groaned. "You are a Silencer. And you've got Lucien Lachance's ghost with you, too."

"No" - Lucien stepped out of the shadows. "That's a Spectral Assassin. I am Lucien Lachance" - he said, sheathing his dagger. "You can go and tell them that. If you live long enough."

The Argonian crawled out of the room.

"The next one we'll kill" - said Lucien noticing confused looks from Lena and the Spectral Assassin. "Don't you worry, they'll try again. But not tonight - besides, it's already morning."

The sun was starting to rise, but Lucien returned to bed.

"That's something I picked up from your friend Hauk" - he told Lena. "A swift death is not always the right answer. Come on, let's sleep some more."

She dispelled the Spectral Assassin and settled down next to Lucien for another nap.


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

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