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> Redemption., Cause being evil sucks.
jack cloudy
post Feb 1 2012, 07:36 PM
Post #121


Master
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Joined: 11-February 06
From: In a cold place.



Chapter 5.8


I couldn’t move a muscle so I contented myself with watching the guardsman, the old woman and the Argonian. Why did they ignore me? Didn’t they see that I struck the damn thing a mortal blow? By all rights they should be praising me, not make attempts at dry humour. Well if they wouldn’t, I would simply have to congratulate myself, wouldn’t I? After all, I’d done it! I’d fought a vampire and won!
“If brother only knew. Hah, who is the man now? Who gets all the glory? Me, that’s who! I killed a vampire, that´s what! And I’m going to be so famous that you’ll hear songs about me all the way back in Skaven!” My chest heaved in silent laughter and I stopped only when my ribs started to hurt. Right now, I felt like I could take on the world…As soon as I got up from the floor.

They still hadn’t even glanced my way, though the situation had taken a turn for the unexpected. First the old crone had gone into the hallway and the Argonian had removed the armoured man’s greaves. Then the woman came back with a small vial in her hands. I could already see what they were doing. They were trying to feed him a potion, though why that required him to strip was beyond me. What I couldn’t predict was that Maorlatta literally tackled the old woman to the floor and snatched the potion from her hands.
“That’s a fast recovery.” Were my first thoughts, followed by the expectation that she was going to give the potion to me. I needed it more than the Imperial did. What if the vampire came back? He had been rather useless whereas I had been the only one to touch the thing.
“Nah, it’s probably bleeding out in a backalley. Now come on girl, hand it over.” I thought. But she didn’t come my way. No, she dropped it between the guard’s legs then began yelling at everyone. Crazy Wood Elf.
“Don’t give him that!” She snapped. The injured man struck the rug with a fist then hissed back at her in a few pained gasps.
“It’s a healing potion. It’s meant to reattach my legs to my body, girly.”

Maorlatta let out a groan loud enough to drown out my own and she shook her head vigorously. Half her bun came loose and slapped her in the face. She stopped shaking and began to prod the man’s legs with one hand while the other worked to get her hair untangled. With an icycold voice she began to lecture everyone present.
“What needs reattaching is your brain to your common sense. What I need here is a scalpel…pincers, or maybe a needle and some very fine thread. Also some pure alcohol and a bucket. Leave the magicks-juice for later.” I groaned again. And she complained about me being confrontational! I watched their responses carefully, all the while praying that I would recover my strength fast enough to drag her away from here. I saw the old bat sitting back up, dizzy but seemingly unhurt. I saw the confusion flash through the agony on the guard’s face. I saw the Argonian watch her intently without hissing a word. The last one worried me the most. The little Elf wasn’t even trying to hide her tricks anymore. Every time she moved, her skin would take on the shade of the nearest object. It made me a little queasy.
“Hold on. Isn’t that rather excessive? Potions work well with most common injuries. And those are standard issue, they work.” The Imperial gasped. I noticed that his voice was steadily becoming stronger somehow, as if he had gotten used to the pain he was in.
The Elf shook her head again, slower this time.
“Common injuries don’t steal control over ones limbs without breaking bones or causing massive bleeding. I can’t see more than two cuts thinner than my fingernails at the back of each knee. This is clearly a case of internal incision, not an external papercut. Use the potion and you will remain useless. Now, pincers or needles and hurry up a bit.” It was strange to hear her speak like that. No matter how biting her words were or how wild the colours were that streaked across her face, the tone she used was a dull monotone as if she didn’t care at all. It was strange, and not good at all. At least the last time she’d gotten snappy like that, she’d shown the good grace to scream in righteous fury. This was just…unnatural.

The old woman had struggled back onto her feet and raised her hand as if she was going to hit Maorlatta, then thought better of it. Instead of lashing out with violence, she lashed out with words.
“Such rudeness. How dare you throw an old woman to the ground and then make demands. Did your mother raise you like that? You have no right to snap at your betters like this, you little know-it-all.” The angry crone shrieked, only to be completely ignored. She harumped loudly and again was dismissed without even a gesture. Finally, at the same time I realized just what the girl was up to, the old bat decided to try slapping again.
“Oh great, she’s in that mode again. Ancestors, what did I do to deserve her?” I thought and spoke up before anyone did something they would regret.
“She’s a healer, a really bossy one. Just go on and do it or she’ll never shut up.” Before I could say anything more, the Wood Elf herself cut in. So she wasn’t deaf after all, she just didn’t give a damn about any opinion that wasn’t her own.
“Well, what else is new?”

“I also have a license to perform surgical operations on living subjects. Passed the exam only three decades ago. Now where is that scalpel?” She claimed and tapped her chest proudly.
“And do you carry your license with you?” The guardsman wanted to know. What caught my attention however, was the exam she’d mentioned. Or rather, how long ago that was. Three decades? That was thirty years! That would mean she was older than brother Cyrus. Much older, cause I was pretty sure she didn’t get this license-thing while still in the crib. I was reminded how lucky the damn Elves were. They treated decades as mere years. A Redguard swordsman stayed in his prime for fifteen years maybe, an Elven swordsman could remain active for over a century! I watched as she crawled over the floor to pick up something, wondering just how old she really was. Older than she behaved, that much was for certain.

“Excuse me. Operating without being able to produce a license is illegal, you know.” The Imperial tried again but she continued talking over him.
“Oh, Obsidian. Perfect.” She held up the thing she’d grabbed and I saw that it was the same knife I’d used. There was even some blood pouring from the blade. I’d thought it was still in the vampire’s back, but it must have gotten wrenched free when it threw me aside.
“Hey, are you listening?” The guard persisted in trying to get her attention but it wasn´t going to happen. He craned his head around as far as it went but couldn’t see her from where she was, not without getting up and he seemed unwilling to do that much. Meanwhile, Maorlatta had grabbed a little metal box we’d tried to sell and smashed the knife with it. Why, I didn’t know but if her frown was any indication, she’d failed.
“Not Obsidian.” She declared with a smoky wisp of disappointment trailing her hand. Then she summoned her flare, immersed the blade in it and knelt down next to the captain’s immobilized legs.
“What’s she doing?” The man asked with rising panic as he caught a flash of the Ebony hilt.

I could move my own legs again and, a little shaky, stood up to go see for myself. What I saw made me sick. She was holding the knife near the tip between thumb and forefinger, and she was cutting into his knee as if it was a lump of cheese!
“I…I think I need to step out for a moment.” The crooked old lady muttered and turned her head. I retched and thought about following her. Only my promise kept me at her side.
“It is a very beautiful wound.” Maorlatta declared as she snapped up the fold of skin like a tentflap. My stomach tried to tie itself into a knot again. How could she be so…admiring over skinning a living man’s body like that? Even the victim of her mutilation was upset by her words, and he couldn’t even see what she’d done!
“Hey kid, I thought you said she was a healer? This sounds more like a necromantic hobbyist with brainrot to me. Just what is she doing? I can’t feel it over all the pain.”

I had to look away, look at anything else but that before I’d lose my last meal. My eyes turned to the Argonian, who watched the exposed joint with only faint hiss and the slightest twitch of its snout. It blinked, then stepped out in the hallway, leaving me with only a wall to look at. Behind me, Maorlatta the ripper continued praising the injury.
“Nerves, major arteries, the joint itself, it’s all intact. Your only injury is in the form of cut tendons and some unimportant tissues. That’s why your knees won’t move. It’s like a rigging without rope. It is really clean, more like an autopsy than a fighting-related injury. That makes fixing it much easier than I’d expected.” My gaze was dragged back to her as she talked and I saw she was licking her lips. The broken window and fallen curtain became very interesting all of a sudden. The old woman stood outside, telling her tale to everyone who had stopped outside, including another guardsman. I wondered what that protector of the people would think if he looked in and saw what was going on.

“So it’s minor? Then just give me the potion and let’s call it a day. Just get that knife away from me. I don’t like strangers with knives.” The guard inside spoke. He was rewarded by a slap on his butt.
“Don’t interrupt me. Using a potion would close the wound, but it only accelerates the natural healing processes and somewhat extends them beyond the normal limits. Reconnecting fully severed tendons is far beyond those limits. I’ll have to manually reconnect the severed ends and then we can pour on the magicks-juice. Doing it now would either lead to two scarred up stumps at worst or a badly shifted and uneven connection at best.”

The master of the house’s return was announced with a low growl and a nudging against my shoulder. When I turned to look, it pressed a bottle into my arms with its scaly hand. Its other hand was holding a bucket. I looked at the bottle and remembered that the woman had asked for it.
“Is that the alcohol?” I wondered out loud and the Lizardman nodded.
“It is a Zarador Beverages bottle imported from Vvardenfell. 86% alcohol according to the label. The purest I could find.” He hissed. Looking in the bucket, I saw there were more items in it. I saw a needle, a spool of thread and a wrapping of common bandages.
“It’s better than nothing.” Maorlatta declared and followed it right up with more orders.
“Pour some out in the bucket and feed the rest to the patient. Sorian, get some of those Welkynd stones over here. This place isn’t properly lit for surgery. And could someone tell them to shut up out there? I’m trying to concentrate.”

I locked eyes with the Argonian and rolled mine. How exactly was I supposed to make a whole district keep quiet while she carved up a man in the living room?
“Shall I drain the sea with a spoon as well, my queen?” I sighed. She didn’t hear my joke, or pretended to. Instead she gave a very unneeded warning to the butchered meat under her knife. I had to admit that the guardsman took it with grace and humour though.
“This will hurt a bit. Now hold still.”
“You’re not giving me a choice, are you?”
“No.”
“Just hurry up a bit, alright? I still have to write a report this evening on why I left my station.”

This post has been edited by jack cloudy: Jan 17 2013, 02:43 PM


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Fabulous hairneedle attack! I'm gonna be bald before I hit twenty.
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mALX
post Feb 2 2012, 11:37 PM
Post #122


Ancient
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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Cyrodiil, the Wastelands, and BFE TN



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The chapter headed "Lake Rumare" had me rolling !!

I have to quote at least this, because I nearly fell out of my chair on it:

QUOTE

You mean there is an actual organization of murderers here?!” I screamed.

The change in his expression was frightening. No, it wasn’t that. It was the fact that he was frightened, and it rubbed off on me.



QUOTE


“It appears we have a visitor. An Altmer.” Grey replied equally wary.



Oh crap! I see trouble coming !!!


I am loving your story so far - first, it's set in Cyrodiil, so I can picture these places and some of the NPC's as I'm reading. Second - you weave subtle humor throughout, the subplots are Awesome (like a game within a game) - and your writing is fantastic !! Love it !!! Have to come back for more when I get more free time !!


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jack cloudy
post Feb 7 2012, 09:50 PM
Post #123


Master
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Joined: 11-February 06
From: In a cold place.



Ah yes, I remember that part. It was back when I had no real idea of what to do with Latta, so I just pushed her off on a random detour. I also remember that her personality was still unformed at the time (not that it is formed now, but meh.) Of course, now I have the opposite dilemma. I know what to do with Latta, but not what to do with the Altmer.

Moving on to more current matters. This night simply won't end. Anyway, I'm trying another experiment of weaving unnecessary flashbacks into the narration. Oh, and a quick disclaimer. I know nothing about surgery. So anything you read here is misinformed fiction. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME


Chapter 5.9


Maorlatta


Those idiots thought that simply shoving a liquid cure down one’s throat was the answer to all ills. Unbelievable! It might help against a bruise or a scratch or even a minor bonefracture, which was all a man in full armour could expect. But against a cut to the back of the knee? No way. It was blind reliance on alchemy that made cripples like old Aelwin. This would be a mess that needed professional aid, not dumb improvisation. I’d seen it happen! Or had I? My mind felt as cottonfilled as my ears had been. Trying to remember, trying not to remember made my head hurt. So I gave up and instead prepared myself for the worst. Now what was the most severe joint-related injury I had encountered?

“I don’t know what happened. All of a sudden 32 went crazy and bit me. They had to put her down.” The young mer muttered with glassy eyes. Good, the anaesthetic appeared to be working. I threw a glance over my shoulder were the other breeders with their poles were still doing their utmost to keep the trashing Razorspine Serpents under control. It wasn’t breeding season so the farmers appeared to be at a loss, at least for the moment. Once they’d gotten their cattle back under control and took the time to think, they’d reach the same conclusion I already had.

Razorspines were notoriously territorial towards their Bluescale cousins to the point that a farm with one species was not allowed to exist on the same island as a farm with the other. Going by the thick scent that hung around our young victim and the witness-report, he had been in contact with someone who scented her letters with the musk of just that species. He should have known better than carry it around with him but then again, no one ever said that love makes you smart.
“I get that all the time. They think I stink.” I joked. That got a thin smile from the wounded fool and a verbal reprimand of my master.
“Apprentice Healer second grade, you are not here to talk. You are here to watch, listen and maybe ask. If you must speak of trivial matters, use colours, not sounds.” Same old Zelrith as always. A complete lack of all emotions except for the bad. I flashed a demure consent, fiddled with the fire some more and rechecked the balance of the burner so it wouldn’t tip over. Once all that was done and the waterpot was bubbling without boiling over, I kneeled behind the Master Healer.


I remembered the weather had been nice that day. No wind, sunny but not too bright. Still early in the day so I wasn’t sweating my hands away. It was a real good day to do things.
“No, no. No detours now, Latta.” I told myself and knelt down beside the injured man, Hieronymous. The wound was surprisingly minor at the surface. I’d expected…more blood, big cuts or something. Not these mosquitobites. But it wasn’t a mosquito, it couldn’t have been. I wouldn’t be so disturbed by a mere bloodsucker, right? I decided I required a better look. Just because it looked innocent on the outside didn’t mean it would be so minor on the inside. My mind conjured horrible images. Would it be as bad as that time?

“Look closely, apprentice.” He began and cut away the last few scraps of skin, laying them neatly down on the sterilized tray for later replantation. I closed the lid on it and watched the young man’s arm. What was left of it anyway. Both upper and lower arm seemed alright. Some big and deep scrapes, a few punctures and probably a couple fractures. Nasty, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a splint, a lot of stitches, some medication and insulation. It was the elbow joint that was the real problem. Nearly torn off, crushed, leaking fluids all over the grass and I couldn’t even think of where to begin to repair the damage. Master Zelrith however had already begun to telekinetically shift bits and pieces, hum restorative spells to here and there and remove fragments with his pincer. He didn’t acknowledge the overbearing presence of the man’s parents who I had to wave away every few seconds. Nor did he notice their faces when he turned their beloved son’s tragedy into a practical demonstration for my sake.
“Next to intestinal organ damage, open joint injuries are some of the most complicated ones you will work with. It is arguably simpler because when in doubt, a limb can always be amputated.” I heard a double gasp behind me at the mention of amputation.
“Amputation however is and must remain a last resort.” That lesson was nothing new to me, so it had to be for the worrywarts looming over our shoulders.



I reminded myself that it was the worst-case scenario. Hieronymous’ legs were not hanging on by a few mere threads. But he was still incapacitated and in a lot of pain. Normally I’d say muscle-sprain, but with the two entry-wounds at the back of each knee, I’d ruled it out. All things said and done, I definitely had to see what had been done to him beneath the skin. That would require some preparations, and feeding Hieronymous a potion was not one of them.

It got too much for me. I had to get up and physically push the middle-aged couple away.
“Please give the Master Healer some room. A steady and unobstructed hand is vital here.” I whispered to them though I was more worried they’d kick over my pot or trample our equipment. That would be a disaster.
“The greatest complication is self-evidently the injury to the elbow. Make note of the ruptured tissues that surround the synovial cavity.” Master Zelrith explained, indicating a tear and the combined leakage of synovial fluids and blood. Usually it was the place where the bones of the joint came together, bathed in lubricant and soft cartilage. Now, it was a crumpled broken mess.
“The sack can be repaired in the usual manner, but in order to avoid more damage to the joint due to friction, a new supply of synovial fluid must be injected. Scalpel.”


First I needed a knife, a really sharp one. Like that one right over there. Its blade was black and crystalline, so it had to be Obsidian. Was this what caused those pinpricks? Its tip had the right dimensions, thin and very sharp. Almost needlelike. Behind that however came gruesome serrated teeth and near the hilt it had thickened to a solid block of crystal. And blood dripped from tip to guard, finding no hold on the smooth material. This was not a surgical instrument. But why did it drip this much blood? Had it been twisted inside? Those teeth wouldn’t fit in a gap that small. And what about that thin tip? It should have snapped right off if it got twisted. This didn’t make any sense!

Again I pushed my thoughts back to more productive paths. First I’d need to strike off a shard of the knife and sterilize it. If I held it by the grip like this it would be like doing surgery with a sledgehammer. In the meantime, I could run over the possible procedures that needed doing.

I fished the Obsidian blade from its sterilizing bath, carefully attached it to its handle and gave it to master Zelrith. He used it to cut away some of the more dangerous bonefragments before continuing his lecture.
“You will obtain this sample from the opposite joint. First make an incision to expose the synovial cavity then another small incision to access the synovial fluid. Be quick however. Synovial cavities are a delicate organ and must not be contaminated. Use the number eight needle and fill only up to two bars. Then reseal the opening you’ve made. I shall use the mage-copy spell to duplicate the extracted fluid till there is enough to last for the body’s natural processes to refill the cavity.”

“Master, please. You would ask her to…a mere apprentice? This is our son!” The mother pleaded with wide eyes when I fished a second scalpel from the bath as well as a few clamps. As if it mattered who he was. Pauper or king of the land, to master Zelrith they were all the same, receiving the same level of aid and the same risk of being turned into an educational exercise. But that’s not the kind of thing you say to someone’s parents.
“The procedure I am conducting on the patient’s wound is too vital to interrupt.” Master Zelrith replied without raising his voice or averting his eyes. Patient, nothing more. With master Zelrith it was always patient, relative, esteemed colleague or apprentice. Never names.
“My apprentice is fully capable of such a simple procedure. Now please step away, you are casting the wound in shadow.”


I really hoped the knife hadn’t cut into the cavity. Muscles I could stitch, but I still hadn’t mastered the song of duplication. That was a fifth-grade spell and I’d barely gotten proficient in the first grade. The upside was that my worries of finding Obsidian shards stuck within the flesh had been wrong. This ugly murdering-tool was not made from Obsidian. I struck it again and again with the metal box, under various angles but it just wouldn’t crack, flake or snap. Even the tip proved resilient. All I got for my trouble was an aching arm and lots of dents and little cuts in the box. This thing was resilient and sharp. I had to resort to using it as it was in a very clumsy grip.
“This had better not be a total knee-puree in there.” I muttered as I opened up the first knee.
“And I’d better not drop it or I’ll be scooping up my fingers.”

It truly was a simple procedure. First prepare all the needed tools including the needle. Then cut into the joint, making sure to avoid bloodvessels, muscles, tendons and nerves and the synovial cavity itself. Use the clamps to spread the separated tissues then make the second incision. Extract the fluid and finally use a few stitches and some drops of vital essence to close both incisions. It didn’t take too long for me to obtain and present the liquid master Zelrith required. Unlike me, he did not require stitching or a potion to repair the far more extensive damage to his synovial cavity. He just mixed the song of mind’s hand with a song of restoration. In mere seconds he’d done what took me minutes.

“Observe closely. I will now show you how to reassemble the bone. A good insight into the original structure and how it has been separated into the individual pieces is critical. Normally you would use the glue but in this case the damage is too severe. We are no longer speaking of a mere fracture, but of a thorough pulverization. Instead I shall realign the major pieces, remove all fragments that are too small and use magic to regrow the bone. More magic will be required afterwards to rebuild the bloodvessels and neural structure. I judge the required skill for this procedure to be fourth grade. Prepare three vials of mindclear.”
I took and mixed the ingredients for him. Master Zelthir preferred his mindclear fresh, very fresh. There was however one question that needed asking. I was not master Zelthir.
“Master, what if I don’t possess the means for such extensive restorative magicks?” I questioned and he gave me a simple but foreboding answer.
“Then pray the injury you find is a simple one that can be repaired with mundane surgery.”


I hadn’t prayed, but nevertheless the Aedra answered. This wound was clean. Ridiculously clean. Two incisions, neatly avoiding all the major points and doing minimal damage for maximum effect. And all with this clunker of a knife even! I certainly couldn’t have done this, even with a proper scalpel. Master Zelthir might have, but not in a fight. This had been done in a fight, right? My head began to pound again, warning me to think of something else.
“So it’s minor? Then just give me the potion and let’s call it a day. Just get that knife away from me. I don’t like strangers with knives.” Hieronymous said and I was in full agreement. About knives at least. His obsession with alchemical cures was a different matter, though understandable. I remembered my first encounter with potions. I’d been just as amazed at the idea as he was.

“Master?”I said, looking at the poor frog on my tray. One leg had the skin cut away from hip to toes. The drat thing looked positively miserable, tied down and sedated. I tried again, thinking of the words that weren’t words. The sounds behind the sounds, the door just beyond this world. But the words were wrong, the sounds lacked harmony and the key didn’t fit the lock. The cut remained and my head begun to throb. I felt tears well up behind my eyes and wanted to try one more time. But Zelthir said I should stop when my head started feeling funny. He said it would bring back my illness. I didn’t want that, days weren’t meant to be spent in bed with a damp towel on my face. That would be boring.
“I can’t do this.” I sobbed. Maybe the master would help the poor little frog. Like he’d helped Su’s paperbug.

“Explain.” The tall man asked in an even tone. He didn’t even look up from the book he was reading. How could he know what needed to be done if he didn’t look? I didn’t like this teacher. He was…not mean but not nice either. He was weird. And what kind of question was that? Explain? Explain what, and where should I begin?

“Well…I just can’t. I mean, how do I heal a frog if I can’t even heal myself? The song won’t sing.” I stammered. Zelthir looked up and I yelped. He was going to use the full title, wasn’t he? He did that when I dropped his pack, when I stepped on his foot or that time I put dirt in his tea. I didn’t like it when he used the full title.
“Apprentice Healer first grade, you are almost twenty years old now and have been my apprentice for nearly a year. On average, students of the magical art of restoration master the basic song of self-regeneration at the end of their third month and they’re less than a decade old.” He pointed out, the same thing he’d been saying since that time I tripped and hurt my knee. He wouldn’t put the ribbon on it, just said I should sing a song.
“That is just an average….I’m not average. I swear I haven’t been slacking off! I practiced, practiced and practiced till my head burst!”I answered, same thing as always. Songs don’t fix knees, everyone knows that. Well his do, but he is Zelthir, that’s why he can and I can’t. But he said I should sing, so I sang. Then my head got funny so I snuck out some of the water he drinks when singing. Like, eight or ten bottles. My head got funnier.

Zelthir already opened his book again. Maybe he was tired of having to say the same thing every time. But it wasn’t my fault I can’t sing! I’m not Zelthir.
“And then you overdosed on mindclear. I remember. You desire to give up?” He muttered. I’d said I wanted to stop last time, then he’d used the full title, told me to clean his biggifying glass and try again. He didn’t like it when I want to stop. Maybe I should say no this time.
“No. But I was just wondering…are there no alternatives to spellsong?”What do the people that are not Zelthir do? They can’t sing, so what? Do they get together at the centre of town and ask Zelthir to sing for them? That would be embarrassing.

Zelthir looked sharply at me and the frog. Then he put the book away, stood up, took the knife from my hand and pushed me down in his chair. Now he was really tall. Maybe he could touch the ceiling if he stretched? A sharp snap of his fingers in front of my nose told me I should pay really good attention to what he was going to say now.
“And why would there be? Led by an intelligent mind, is the art of restoration not the most powerful and versatile tool of the healer?” He didn’t say anything! That was just more asking! Well if Zelthir wanted to play the asking-game, I would play along. It was better than cutting up poor little froggies.
“But what if the healer does not possess the vitality to use the songs?” I asked and tried snapping at his nose. I couldn’t reach. Maybe if I jumped, but he wouldn’t like it if I jumped. Zelthir nodded, happy that he could play an asking-game with me. If he liked it so much, why did he make me cut up frogs all the time and try singing to them?

“Then there is mindclear.” The funny water? I didn’t like the funny water. Wait, that wasn’t a question! Did it mean I won? I started to giggle but he snapped his fingers in front of my nose again.
“Pay attention, Apprentice Healer. This is not a game we are playing. Continue presenting your arguments.”He warned me. Not the full title? Yippee.
“Well, okay. What if there is no mindclear? Those bottles are tiny.”I asked him next and spread my fingers to show just how tiny they were. Like, as big as two of my thumbs standing on top of each other.
“Five bottles are enough for any one patient.”I frowned. That was cheating. I said no mindclear, and he just goes adding more bottles. I thought for a moment on how I could beat that. He wouldn’t let me remove the bottles or make them smaller. So more patients then?
“What if you have a dozen injured? Would you pick only one, let the others cry? I mean, die.” I stumbled at the end. Crying wouldn’t scare him. He didn’t mind that I cried when I hurt my knee. Said it was a natural response. Nah, I needed something scarier. Zelthir got down on his knees to look me right in the eye. He looked hurt! He never looked hurt! Was he going to use the full title, or cry? Please don’t do that! He didn’t, but the whisper was just as bad.
“If it comes to that, I would. Pray it never shall. Pray you never shall.”

Quickly, as if he wanted to hide his tears. He fumbled around in his bag and took out a little bottle. Not the funny water. This bottle was pink and swirly. He placed it in my hand and waved at the little frog.
“This here is vital essence in a liquid based solution. Use it on the wound.”He said. Pour it on the poor froggie’s leg? Ok. This was much easier than singing.
“This works just as good as the song?”I asked and removed the plug. There was a rubber thingy beneath there, with a tiny hole in it. Zelthir looked at me trying to shake it out through the thingy and picked up his bag.
“No. Alchemical cures have their place, but they’re mindless and cumbersome to use. You will consider this method only as a crutch, nothing more. I shall provide the recipe and have a basic alchemical lab sent for you. You will practice and master creation of this cure before our next meeting at the end of the week.” He said.
“I will, master.”I answered without looking. This tiny hole was annoying! I tore it off with my finger. Now I could really pour it on. More was better, right?
“Next time, ask sooner. Don’t ignore your limits.”With those words, he was gone. Not even saying goodbye. Typical Zelthir.


Yes, potions had been an incredible eye-opener in two ways. As an alternative, or crutch, for magic. And for how master Zelthir worked. He had been waiting for me to stop banging my head against the wall at his commands and start asking questions. Hieronymous’ awe for a little concoction was just like my own. The only difference was that I’d been a child and he was a man firmly in his second century. He shouldn’t be this naïve. Potions had limits, big ones.

“Master!”I yelled, rushing him in the hallway. He hadn’t even gotten time to hang up his coat.
“What is it, apprentice? And remove the perfume-disks. It is not proper for a healer.” He asked me. I shoved the slimy animal into his face, or as near as I could get anyway.
“My frog! It’s leg is sick!”I cried and indeed the little froggie was even more miserable as it had been when I cut it open. The leg had become oddly blackish, swollen and leaked stinking stuff. Zelthir took one look at it and pushed me aside.
“You failed.”He merely remarked and walked to the little room he always used, leaving me behind.

I ran after him and stomped my foot down hard. That should get his attention.
“I didn’t! I did nothing wrong! I used the vital extent like you said.”I squeeled. Zelthir stopped in the door-opening so suddenly I bumped into him and dropped poor froggie on the floor.
“You disagree with my judgement, Apprentice Healer first grade?” He asked, using the bad words. I shut up right away. He looked at me, I looked at my toes, and the frog that squirmed on them.
“No…I didn’t mean, that is…What is my mistake?”I finally mumbled when I couldn’t handle his staring anymore.
“You used too much. The only difference between a cure and a poison is the dosage.”


Looking back, I could laugh. How frustrated master Zelthir must have been, being forced to deal with the young me. I was just so impulsive, just so...stupid. I shook my head and got to work on reconnecting the severed tissues in Hieronymous leg. I had to stop for a moment when I started shaking. I’d seen the knife again and begun thinking questions.
“I’ve got to stay focussed. Come on Latta, your fingers are mimicking his knee now. A healer should never let her hands do that. You’re only imagining what’s under them and when you start to rely on your preconceptions instead of your eyes, you’re going to fix him all wrong.” I told myself and pushed the knife away, out of sight. I wouldn’t need it again till I opened up the other knee. Best to keep it away till then.

“Are you done?” Hieronymous asked from time to time. The first few times I said no, at the fifth I said yes.
“Once I apply the potion, I’ll be done with the first knee. You can then try moving it before I start on the second.” I said as I picked up the remarkably big vial. Was this cure meant to be drunk?
“Rellie? Great, than lets me drink it. Mai headuh feelz thick from jhe alkhol.” On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t have fed him the liquor as a primitive anaesthetic. He was nearly incomprehensible now. I uncorked the bottle and sniffed it. Different, probably boiled a tad too long, but definitely vital essence.
“No, I prefer direct application to the wound. It is quicker and more efficient. If you drink it first goes through the stomach and then spreads out over the entire body. It would just end up diluted and slow. And I’m not confident in your bladdercontrol at the moment.” I explained to the good guardsman and immediately pulled a long hair out from my scalp. It stung, but without the rubber dripper I needed to improvise somehow. Using the hair I could gently guide it down onto the wound one drop at a time. Then I’d take out the stitches, drip some more, stitch up the skin and drop it on the edges. After that, I’d have to start all over again on the other leg. I rubbed my burning eyes. This was going to be a long night.

This post has been edited by jack cloudy: Jan 17 2013, 02:43 PM


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post Feb 9 2012, 03:49 PM
Post #124


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From: In a cold place.



So I just wanted to make a little announcement. My dad has been going back and forth between the hospital for the last few weeks and today we heard that he has abdominal cancer and a brain-tumor. While I'll try to keep a steady pace of one/two update a week, I may fall behind from time to time.


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post Feb 9 2012, 05:58 PM
Post #125


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From: Cyrodiil, the Wastelands, and BFE TN



QUOTE(jack cloudy @ Feb 9 2012, 09:49 AM) *

So I just wanted to make a little announcement. My dad has been going back and forth between the hospital for the last few weeks and today we heard that he has abdominal cancer and a brain-tumor. While I'll try to keep a steady pace of one/two update a week, I may fall behind from time to time.



Oh Jack, I am so sorry to hear that. My stongest wishes for your father to have a good recovery, and for you and your family at such a stressful time. I hope all goes well.


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post Feb 12 2012, 10:39 PM
Post #126


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Thanks. I appreciate it.

As for the story, I'm opening a new chapter. I think this should be the last chapter in what I now realize is just a prologue. Anyway, after this chapter is over, Angoril/Mezanin can finally arrive at Kvatch and we can get on with the main plot.

Chapter 6: The Tower

I had no recollection of dressing for bed or being offered a place to sleep for that matter. Yet I found myself lying in the softest bed since I’d come to Tamriel, a situation I wasn’t in any hurry to remedy. The sun wasn’t up yet and all was blissfully quiet. No singing birds, no chirping crickets, none of the clamor of noisy streets. The air was a bit dry but nicely warm and none of the odours of a crowded city assailed my nose. It was so peaceful I dozed off again. It was probably a few hours later that I felt well rested enough to wake up properly and take in my surroundings.

The first thing I thought was that I definitely hadn’t expected the kind of decorations and furniture I saw here. The lovely Argonian was wealthy and didn’t mind showing it, but he had shown good taste and a certain simplicity. This room however was the epitome of overblown luxury and ego-boosting. Life-sized portraits of kings adorned each wall, obscuring the jade tiles behind them. Small statues of the same, made from gold, silver and gleaming white stone were arrayed on the various elegant cupboards, dressers, even on a rack overhanging my soft and fluffy bed. Since they were all dressed similarly in long robes, wore the same crown and jewellery, had the same sceptre in their hands and often held the same pose, I first thought all those statues depicted the same person. Then I saw the two standing watch over the door. Those two were huge. One rivalled any Altmer I’d seen, the other was a head beyond even that. They were dressed differently as well. The shortest one carried the robes, the four-sided amulet and crown that were so dominant among the little ones, much like a king would be. The taller of the two looked more like a warrior, which the sculptor had masterfully depicted in each interlinked ring of his armour, in the curve of bare muscle, the cape of an animal’s fur, even in the battered axe he leaned on, as if he’d just finished a great battle. But just like the king, the warrior wore the same crown and amulet, which both looked humorously out of place on the giant barbarian.

“And who might you be, oh great murderer that stands amongst kings?” I asked the statue, only half in jest. A golden plaque lay before the axehead, shaped like a piece of armour torn from an unseen foe during the fight. I leaned forward to read the words aloud.
“This statue was created in the memory of Tiber Septim, great ruler and even greater knight he who united all Tamriel under the rightfull banner of the Dragonborn, subjugating god and mortal alike with his just rule. 2E 854 - 3E 38.” A brutal warlord in other words and an ancestor of Uriel Septim who was depicted by the smaller statue, or so its plaque said. I couldn’t find the resemblance myself. The two statues looked like they could be father and son, but the Uriel I’d seen was a far cry from the strong yet dignified man hewn from marble.

“It’s none of my interest to whom the Lord Emperor traces his ancestry or to what he attributes his rule. Even that this brute decided he was important enough to justify calling a new year zero is meaningless. All that matters is that Uriel Septim is the Lord Emperor and therefore the one grandfather wants me to negotiate with.” I told myself and walked back to the bed to see where I’d left my clothes. I still couldn’t remember entering this room last night. Had I really been that tired? And where had I left my clothes? They weren’t in a neatly folded bundle at the footend like they should. I tried the walk-in closets, all four of them. But nothing there either, nothing belonging to me at least. There were plenty of clothes to choose from and remarkably, they were all dresses with a distinctly feminine cut. I took the hint and got garbed as one my station should, in a piece of green sparkling with little silver beads depicting the morningdew. I also saw a jewellery-box on a small glass table but didn’t open it. There were limits to the possessions I could lay my hand on as a guest, even if the gesture was appreciated.

Now actually presentable, though the lack of jewellery did sting a little, I decided to find my way back to the living room and greet sir Grey. And maybe see if Sorian had woken up already. He was probably in a similar guestroom, just with more masculine clothes inhabiting his closets. With a slight shiver I walked between the statues of king and beast to the door they guarded. This room really looked like it belonged to someone else. It showed me how wrong I’d been in my assessment of the scaled man’s tastes. My hand gripped the doorknob, twisted and pulled. The door didn’t budge. I tried to push, but it still didn’t move. I tried both again, with more effort. Finally I threw my full weight at the dark wood, but still the exit barred my way. I came to the distressing realization that the door was securely looked. But why? Perhaps I’d told sir Grey that I really didn’t want to be disturbed? I tried thinking back but last night’s end remained in a fog. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had. But was that any reason to lock the door? Merely telling his servants that I wasn’t to be woken should have sufficed.

I made one last attempt just to make sure I hadn’t imagined it. When the door refused to grant me passage, I shrugged and knocked softly, then rapped and called out. Finally I hammered with both fists, kicked and yelled.
“Hello! Is there anyone here! The door is locked and I can’t get out!”

No one answered.

This post has been edited by jack cloudy: Feb 19 2012, 08:07 PM


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post Feb 12 2012, 10:52 PM
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I'm still not caught up, but will get there. My free time has been limited lately, but I'm reading every chance I get.


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post Feb 20 2012, 08:51 PM
Post #128


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From: In a cold place.



Take your time, there's no rush. I'm slowly plodding along and think I'll be adding a list of personages to the first post. Latta would need an entire section on her own with all the people she keeps mentioning.



Chapter 6.2


Hands stinging and throat hoarse, I gave the cursed portal a last kick and turned my back to the two marble lords. It was blatantly obvious that my latest imprisonment wasn’t a mistake. This room was exactly what it seemed. Another cage, only more comfortable and with more propaganda than the last one. But the question of why? remained. What could that Argonian possibly achieve by sealing me in his house? Was he actually an enemy of mine? Another ally of the vampire? No, that wasn’t it. If he had been, he would have summoned the ageless one during the night and I wouldn’t be standing here thinking about it.

So he wasn’t in league with the vampire which I supposed was a good thing, though it did nothing to change my current conundrum. I was still stuck between these four walls and had to get out. Sorian was no help either. Probably either sent away with a weak excuse, trapped himself or worse. I was on my own now, with no tools and precious little understanding.
“Think, Latta. What would Levvelyn of Glasshorn do?” I asked myself, turning to one of the most famous and popular heroes among the young Maormer. It was a shame he only existed on paper, really.
“He would bleach an appropriate outfit with some chalk, then remove one of the statues and take its place. When the guard comes in, he clubs him over the head with the jewellery box, takes his weapon and goes on a big unstoppable heroic rampage through the evil lord’s fortress, ending up on the roof where he kicks the vile man over the edge.” Ok, that wasn’t going to work for me. I was too short and feminine to be a fake Emperor, nevermind that big beast Tiber. As for hitting people, I would probably pass out from fear first. All of Mettildi´s lessons at brawling and stafwielding had done little to change my timidity.

“So you’re no Levvelyn. Then how about this, Latta? What would the fair princess Irrillys do?” I asked myself next. If I couldn’t follow in the footpaths of a hero, then how about his beautiful and refined wife? I had a lot more in common with her. She was after all an offshoot of my own family, albeit a fictional one.
“She would sit around doing nothing but pine over the candle or hourglass that tells her how much time is left till she’s sacrificed by the evil one. Ok, and sometimes she cries. Face it, Latta! She’s just a damsel in distress, a plot-tool! Stop thinking what others would do and just start making your own plan!”

Sucking on my knuckles, I paced back across the immense chamber. The door was no use to me. By the time someone opened it for me, it would be too late for me. Then there were two options left for me. The first one was to undress and hide in a corner, then slip away Levvellyn-style, just without the violence. The other and more attractive one was to escape down the window. I hadn’t done so since my seventh birthday but it was like swimming. Do it once and you’ll never forget. Even if it was locked, I could just break the glass. Before I started smashing things with the jewellery box however, I first tried the handle. The window swung outwards on well-oiled hinges and I silently gave a humble offer of thanks to whatever deity might be listening. And a less humble taunt towards sir Grey and his accomplices.
“Hah! You didn’t think this one through, not-serpent. You should have locked me up in a cell instead of a guestroom.” A grin broke on my face as I sticked it out through the opening.

Vertigo rushed me like a wave and I scrambled back to the safety of the room and its delightfully solid floor. I didn’t consider myself to be afraid of heights, but there were heights and then there were HEIGHTS. This one belonged firmly to the latter category. Just that short glance told me that my climbing plan was no better than the one with the door, not without a very long rope.
“Well, at least you now know where you are. That counts as progress.” I told myself as I brushed myself off and walked back to the open window. There could be only one building in this city that made the fortifications around it look like the pebblewalls we made when we were little toddlers. The central spire. Looking back at everything I’d seen, I should have realized sooner. This single chamber was grander and more expensive than sir Grey’s living-room. And then all the statues and portraits. This was a guestroom at the palace itself, with the dual task of both making visitors comfortable and intimidating them with the sheer number of emperors in the royal family´s line. The Argonian had obviously held his end of the bargain, though I couldn’t remember. I was in the Emperor’s tower and if the man himself was anywhere within these walls, I might just find a way to him.

This changed my entire situation. I wasn’t a prisoner, if that definition was handled loosely. After the attack by that monster summoner and his minions, some wariness regarding me or anyone with the goal of speaking Uriel Septim was perfectly reasonable. That was what grandfather would do. If someone was braindead enough to try to harm him. But it was still annoying now that it happened to me. Still, this was only a temporary inconvenience, one I could endure. Once whoever performed the interviews had prepared himself, I would be let out, made to answer a few questions and finally get a yes or no on seeing the elder. And answering those questions wouldn’t be a problem. How hard could it be for me to prove who I really was? I even had the documents to prove it!
“Oh wait, those are still at the prison. Maybe I can ask the questioner’s aide to have them retrieved for me.”

With my hands this time gripping the frame, I leaned out again. I quashed the feelings of falling and looked around. The sky was a deep blue, the city stretched below bleached white as bones. Barely any shadows though, even the one cast by the spire didn’t reach further than a street or two. Time I estimated to be somewhere just before or just after noon. In any case later than I’d thought. By this time I expected to be back at Aelwin’s with the scales he needed, or at least on my way there. I leaned out further in the hope of finding a recognizable landmark so I could see on which side of the tower I was.
“I wouldn’t try that if I were you. Ever since the time an assassin levitated through the window, we’ve put barriers into place. There’s no getting in or out that way.” Someone behind me said. That hadn’t been a long wait.

This post has been edited by jack cloudy: Jan 17 2013, 02:43 PM


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post Feb 29 2012, 07:11 PM
Post #129


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Joined: 11-February 06
From: In a cold place.



Chapter 6.3


I let my hand brush against the barrier as I turned around. It was like punching a pillow. So soft yet impassable it was disgusting.
“I was admiring the view. From a point of view this far above the ground, the landscape is breathtaking. It is as if one can see the whole world from here.” I told the man by way of excuse. There was no reason for me to tell him the truth and plenty of reasons not to. And just who was this man? Though his posture was the humble toe-examining and handfolded one of a mild servant, his garb was not. From head to toe he hid himself within an old brown robe that looked to be stitched together from the remains of even older robes. Not the kind of attire I’d expected from even the lowest page in this place. I’d expected fluorescent membranes or metal chains, clothes that would rival a noble’s in expense.

The man hadn’t answered to my remark beyond a slight nod of acknowledgement that was almost undetectable beneath the ragged hood. I controlled the urge to frown or sniff. Did I merit this little consideration that they’d send a dungshoveler instead of the head servant or any of his seconds?
“But I forget my manners. I am the lady Maorlatta Orgnum. May I be of service to you?” I said after a moment’s silence and bowed. My hope was that by giving him some information regarding myself, this slight man would be obligated to give his. There was no need to give him everything though, not till I knew exactly who he was and where he stood in the local hierarchy. Again the hood dipped for a moment but then the rattling voice spoke again.
“A pleasure, truly. I am Father Jauffre, humble servant in the Order of holy Talos. Pray forgive my intrusion, Child. The long and strenuous journey has eroded my heart and tongue. It was not my intention to disturb you like a thief in the night.”

This time I couldn’t stop the frown, or the sniff. He used familial terms to denote his social placement in which father was superior to child. That was unusual and ill-mannered in itself, not to mention the journey he’d mentioned. I could smell it on him, the road, strange pollen and the thick odour of animal. But who was this Talos? I’d never heard that name spoken before. Was it a god, a saint, a prophet? Did I know Talos under a different name perhaps? The lightness with which this priest gave his patron’s name suggested that it was supposed to be one of those things everyone knows. But more important than any of that, why did they send a priest in the first place?! I had come here to talk politics, not religion!
“There is nothing that needs to be forgiven…Father. But please speak the reason for your presence.” Adressing him as if he’d gifted me to my mother’s womb left a foul taste in my mouth. One did not address those that did not share blood as if they did. But I had the feeling that this was exactly what religious orders did here. I would give him the title, for now. At least he was trying to be polite.

“You are much too kind, Child. I would like to invite you to share a meal with me. It has come to my ears that you have not yet partaken of the needs of the flesh. I too have not yet had the opportunity.” The priest answered me with a smile. I thought his choice of words was a bit awkward but as long as he was offering a meal and only a meal, I wouldn’t say no. What better opportunity to probe him for why he really was here than during a late breakfast? Because he certainly hadn’t come just to get someone to share his meal with. That would be too much of a coincidence, especially with the door that opened for him but hadn’t opened for me. No, a mere priest seeking companionship, this man was not.
“It would be my pleasure, Father.”

He led me out through winding corridors, up stairs, passed doors and the occasional guard in full armor and with sword in hand. No servants. I tried to get a conversation going but Jauffre remained silent. His head sweeped from side to side to pierce even the slightest shadow with his eyes. His hands remained tucked in their sleeves, except for when he showed something to each guard we passed. I couldn’t see what it was, but I assumed it to be some form of identification. Free-roaming on this level of the tower was clearly discouraged.

At the end we ascended one last spiralling staircase and went through the last door. I stopped at the doorstep and held up a hand to shield my eyes from the blazing sun overhead. We were on the roof now, in a miniature jungle. The air was thick and humid, water flowed around my feet through an elaborate web of canals set between the tiled floor. On all sides were trees with leaves larger than a man, orchidea, buzzing insects and colourful birds. It was so much like home it brought tears to my eyes. I even recognized some of the vegetation and animals I saw.

“Quite a nice place isn’t it? I thought you might like a change of scenery into something more familiar. Once all Cyrodiil was like this. Before the farmers came, before the Alessian liberation. Now it has been reduced to this. A lost fragment trapped under a glass ceiling.” Jauffre spoke as he walked to a clearing in the middle of the garden. I barely listened to his comments on various aspects of this place, being more caught up on a single word he’d said. Familiar. It was as if he knew where I was from. Though his goal had been to comfort me, he achieved the opposite.

There was a table in the clearing long enough to seat a dozen. Today it was just us two. Two steaming plates were placed opposite each other but I did not see who had placed them. Did the servants here follow the ideal of never being noticed and never wanted? Or was this more special trickery just to isolate us and get me to trust him? If it was, I couldn’t deny its effectiveness. Jauffre was playing the role of the perfect gentleman, pulling back seat for me and waiting till I’d settled before walking along the long end of the table till he returned to the place opposite me. He said a prayer over his bacon and scrambled eggs and began to eat while making pleasant small-talk. It was only his continuing patronization that kept me from dropping my guard.

“My rather hasty travels left me unable to read up on the news and I have not yet found the time to remedy this. Tell me Child, are you aware of the latest events surrounding our Emperor? Being in the palace as we are, I’d think it rather important not to be ignorant on this particular subject.” He said when my plate was nearly emptied. I chewed slowly to give myself time to think before answering. The priest had not gotten here by random chance so I should be even more cautious now. The urge to just throw out how I’d met him in a prison and how we fled underwater was too strong to ignore but that was precisely the kind of answer I couldn’t give. I swallowed and chose my words carefully.
“I was told the Lord Emperor is ill, but I heard nothing specific regarding this illness.” The truth, in a way. I quickly cut off another bit of bacon so I had something to chew on again. As it turned out, I really needed that reprive.
“Of course, that is the word on the streets. But what have you seen?” Jauffre leaned back with a smile that could almost be described as smug. Suddenly, I felt an intense interest with my reflection on his glistening skull. He knew everything.
“You understand now that there is a lot we have to discuss and a lot I have to ask. So I thought it would be only fair if before that, is there anything you would like to ask me?” The man added, throwing me an obvious fruit to put me at ease again. It didn’t really work.

One part of me wanted to tell him everything, explain who I am, what had happened and what I wanted to accomplish. The second part warned me that since the interrogator had come under disguise and with tricks, he should not be trusted. What if he only wanted to milk me dry for information? What if he wanted to know the route home, have me draw a map for an invasion? The third part considered his offer seriously, then accepted it. I really had no choice here. How was I to leave here? I couldn’t exactly flow into one of those little canals and follow the pipelines down. Might as well get as much out of this as I could and hope the second part was wrong.

So what should I ask him, assuming I got only one chance? Should I ask him what was going to happen to me?
“No, I’ll find that out eventually.”
What about friends? Maybe I could ask him to take care of Aelwin’s favour for me. But that assumed he was a gentle person. If he wasn’t gentle to me, then why would he bother helping that poor old man? I shook my head, chewing maybe once a minute. I figured I could ask him about Sorian. What had happened to the young Redguard? Was he here somewhere as well, in a dungeon, dead? I decided to ask when a second option occurred to me, one that I preferred in the end. Sorian could take care of himself. He’d probably ran away.
“I met a man, Hieronymous Lex. He was injured and I treated him. Could you ask the Housemaster to send out a messenger and inquire to his health? I would really appreciate it if you did, sir.” I finally replied. Jauffre’s answer was quick, suggesting that he either had anticipated my answer or didn’t really care.
“The Guard-Captain? Quite the famous character, that man. Yes, of course. I will have someone look into it.”

I shoved my plate aside. Now the real questioning would start. Words I could keep back but I hoped I wouldn’t give everything away through my skin.
“Thank you. Now regarding the matters you wish to discuss. I will try to answer but there are a few things I am obligated to remain silent about. Please understand that I take no pleasure in cloaking the truth with silence. A man I respect above all requested my discretion and so I shall heed his desires.” Even through torture, hopefully.

Jauffre plucked a flower from the bush behind him and played with it. Though he didn’t look at me, I knew his attention was still fully directed at me.
“I understand. I will start with the basics and work my way down. From where do you hail?” Was the first thing he asked me. Somewhat startled, I nearly blurted out the real answer. Only by biting down on my tongue could I prevent my treachery.
“I hail from the south. That is all I am at liberty to reveal, I am afraid.” I muttered with a grimace. That really hurt.
“From the south it is. Your accent and pronunciation tells me much. You are not native to this province, are you?” Jauffre asked as tore a petal from his flower and let it float down one of the canals.
“No, I am not.” Obviously. I’d been walking around gawking at everything as if I’d never seen the sun before.
“Yes, I can hear that Cyrodiilic is neither your first nor your second tongue. Perhaps a distant third. You hail neither from Valenwood nor Elsweyr. Closer towards the Summerset Isles, perhaps?” To this I could answer with nothing but silence. My answers were as short as I could get them, but the guesses he based on them were disturbingly accurate.

Jauffre shrugged and sent a second petal down the same stream.
“Alright, I think I’ve hit the limit on that question. Next angle, family. How many relatives do you have? How many siblings do you have. Who raised you?” I could see what he was trying to do. He wanted to know the social and political structure. Well, that was definitely none of his business. Besides, I’d never paid much attention to it. Grandfather at the top, everything else below, me at the bottom. Simple.
“I don’t see how this is relevant.” I told him.
“An only child, perhaps? No?” The man tried but like before I rebuked him with silence. He joined me in it as he thought up his next question. Overhead the sun was blotted out by a giant flying flea. A basket dangled from its belly amidst a cluster of tentacles. One appendage reached into the basket, pulled out a napkin and wiped a stain off the dome. Then it floated away. I watched it go and completely forgot about Jauffre for the moment. I’d never seen something surreal like that before. Then Jauffre spoke and my head snapped back.

“Something more relevant then, when did you arrive in this city? The first time, I mean.” That he knew this wasn’t my first visit didn’t surprise me. Everything he’d done and said so far indicated he knew things he shouldn’t.
“Almost a week ago, I think. I remember that it was raining that night.” The rain had almost been as severe as during the raining season. Thick goblets falling from the sky and robbing the body of warmth wherever they struck. Su’s favourite weather, my least favourite.
“A week ago, yes. By ship. You and who else?” Jauffre once again elaborated my answer with an eerily accurate guess. How did he know? I hadn’t mentioned anything about a ship. Also worrying was his interest in any other mer that came to Tamriel. The plan had been for five of us to make landfall, only counting the mer. In the end, only Su and I got off, then were separated. The others didn’t come. They just lifted anchor and went home.
“When I get back, grandfather and I are going to have a very long talk. And I won’t neglect to mention that!”

I ground my teeth, struggling between finding a satisfying answer and plain hatred for the two-faced bastards that brought me here. Finally I threw up my hands and told him the one thing I’d been itching to say all the time.
“I had documents for this. Read those instead of trying to extract my brain through my nose. It would be faster and less painful.” The anger slid off him like water, leaving no impression. He just gave me that vague smile of his and answered as if giving directions to the nearest carpenter.
“I know. Your papers were already brought to an associate at the night of your incarceration. They’ve been processed and found to be genuine.”

I was speechless. He had not just been making mere guesses. He’d known everything, read it days ago. He knew my name, where I was from and who I represented. He knew what I’d come to do, the demands I was to make. He knew it all and didn’t care. As his smile grew into an evil smirk, I realized he was actually enjoying himself. He enjoyed playing with my head and he savored the moment where I realized all this.
“Right now you want to tell me to get to the point and stop screwing with you. Ah no, wrong word choice. I forgot you had a noble upbringing. It’s such an easy mistake to make with you smelling like a tomb.” Jauffre whispered. From within the bush he retrieved a thick bundle of paper and writing tools.
“Consider your wish granted. I will cease my deceptive manners. Tell me what happened during your stay at the Imperial Prison. Everything. If a bug bit your toe, I want to know.”

He was an old man fully lacking the virtues his age should have gifted him. Even if he did serve lord Uriel Septim, his discourtesy had freed me of the obligation to aid him. Under any other circumstances I would have used my youth at this point to make my escape, but the knowledge of those armed and all too alert guards chained down that impulse. They’d probably just drag me back, if I were lucky and they took the time to check my face. So I told him, slowly and with many interruptions where the man would ask for more details or wrote something down. What choice did I have?
I told him of how I landed in the prison in the first place, picked up by a patrolling guardsman in the dead of the night. I told him of my reassignment from the first cell to one closer to the entrance and the other prisoners there. He didn’t show much interest in the ashen-skinned mer, but the Altmer received more than his share of the attention. He seemed especially interested in my theory that the tall sorcerer had been waiting for the Emperor.

My story continued beyond the point where I left the Emperor, his bodyguards and the Altmer. Much quicker now, I told him of Delmar and how I met Sorian. Then he was done and sealed his notes in an envelope.
“What happens to me now?” I asked him.
“Now you pack your bags. I have to go on a journey and you are coming with me.”




OOC: Three things
1: Yes, that is my pathetic attempt at reconciling jungle Cyrodiil with generic vaguely north-european hills Cyrodiil. While Bethesda probably sees the top of the tower as an empty rock platform for brooding Emperors, I prefer my idea of the garden. The dome is there to satisfy the requirement for a different atmosphere and keep stuff from freezing to death.
2: Yes, that was a window-cleaning Netch.
3: It was not my intention to depict Jauffre as evil really, but I guess that's how he turned out.

This post has been edited by jack cloudy: Jan 17 2013, 02:44 PM


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jack cloudy
post Mar 6 2012, 08:01 PM
Post #130


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From: In a cold place.



Ok, a really short part now. Actually, I decided to edit it on to the last post. It was too short to justify being its own update. I'm not feeling like stretching this part out even more as everyone is probably sick by now of the endless talking and nothing happening. Seriously, what happened to the times where I used dialogue as the thing that separates the fight-scenes?

And the second thread is here

This post has been edited by jack cloudy: Mar 6 2012, 08:32 PM


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mALX
post Mar 21 2012, 01:55 AM
Post #131


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From: Cyrodiil, the Wastelands, and BFE TN



Still not caught up, but had to stop and say - your ability to manipulate a narrative has grown tremendously since the beginning of this story. These last chapters I've read are outstandingly done, breathtaking in their subtlety while making an impact. Awesome Write! Still catching up !! (haven't had much free time the last few weeks).


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mALX
post Oct 28 2012, 08:03 AM
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I wanted to refresh myself on the beginning of your story again - your synopsis on Part 2 is succinct for plot - but I hope none of your readers rely solely on it, they will miss so much by not reading Part 1 too! What you have done with this story is so much more than the synopsis can show!

This is a hugely fun read right from the start, but it gets better with each chapter. Your writing plays with the readers mind, teases and intrigues it in ways I have never seen another writer do. You are a master at manipulating dialogue to move the story, and I absolutely LOVE your take on the tutorial dungeon - love that you created a whole story inside and shaped personalities to suit you so we have to look at each deeply and make sure what their role is in YOUR story - that is creativity at its best!

Everytime I've gotten free time and come back to this story I've had to refresh myself by re-reading the beginning - and each time found something I missed last time. Like one of those really great movies you watch over and over again and each time say, "Hey, I didn't notice that before!" (like the Bosmer with the mouse to her face - urk, I'm picturing it being drained of blood when she got done sniffing it, lol)

Another thing I missed all those times I read this, the Emperor being the queen on the chessboard. In my story I had Akatosh and Dagon as the two queens on the chessboard.

You have so much great interesting details that set the tone and scene - one example is the wooden greased door hinges - that is Awesome, and instantly makes the reader start wondering about who owns that shack - HUGE touch!

LOVE the bits of humor you weave into dialogue and inner thoughts - always hits as a surprise when I find them, even knowing that you do it throughout - your timing is perfect on them!

Latta and the Angoril are both hugely interesting characters, you captured mystery and enigma in both. At first I thought you were world-building with Latta, but was amazed to find it was Lore I had never come across before - you are doing an awesome job of bringing her race to life! - LOVE your writing!

Latta's first Khajiit sighting was fantasticly written! You not only caught all Latta's unique attributes and thoughts, but captured Khajiit mannerisms and her reactions to them perfectly - LOVED that scene!

Hey, I lived for two years across the German border (a little south) of your university (in Prum).

Your description of the Dark Brotherhood was Awesome! Really love the slant you put on them in your story, so much more feared than in the game - as it should have been.

Your cliffhangers are spectacular, really glad I'm reading it all at once and not having to wait a week or more to find out what happens on those chapters!

I am absolutely loving the way your mind works! - Awesome Write!

These chapters written in 2012 show a huge growth in your writing and focus, you just keep improving through this story! You stepped it up, the story is becoming much more powerful here! Fascinating story!

Your character development of Latta is really well done. As she becomes accustomed to the strange new world she finds herself in, her confidence is growing and her capabilities really coming through.

This story got better and better, but all the 2012 ones you really started bringing it - Awesome Write!

Jauffre playing with the flower - you floored me with that! These little details are magic, and immediately get the readers mind into that character and start looking at his motivations - you have a gift with these!

I have (finally) finished Part 1 - HUGE Write! I am loving this story! Now to start on Part 2 (It is 3 am here, so it will be tomorrow, lol).

Again, I am so sorry for what you were going through with your father during these last chapters. I am currently going through that with my mother, and it is devastating.

This post has been edited by mALX: Oct 28 2012, 08:06 AM


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