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> I am Lena Wolf, Lena's life as it happens
Lena Wolf
post Jul 7 2021, 10:10 PM
Post #121


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From: Bravil



18 Second Seed, 4E202 - Broken Helm Hollow - Gabriella

"We shouldn't be staying in Riften" - said Lucien in the morning. "It's too easy for the assassins to get to us. Let's find a cave just outside town to stay in."

"What about the Broken Helm Hollow that Grosta was talking about?" - suggested Lena. "If it's just bandits, it won't be too hard to clear, and there should be a camp inside."

The hollow was just outside Riften, and indeed was easy enough to clear. It had everything they needed - a camp site with a good fire and a cooking pot, several bedrolls, and fresh water just outside. The cave even had a lockable door and a trap by the entrance.

"Still, we should also block the entrance with a boulder for the night" - said Lucien, looking around. There didn't seem to be another entrance.

...

Racket, stifled screams and swears woke them up. Someone just tried to enter the cave. With all the noise that they'd made, Lena and Lucien had enough time to retreat into the shadows.

Gabriella. After the traps, she caught herself, became careful - much too late of course. She looked around the cave, saw the campfire with glowing embers, the empty bedrolls, she tried to peer into the dark corners of the cave, but didn't dare to use a night eye spell, so didn't see either Lena or Lucien, even when looking straight at them. Perhaps she decided they were not in?

"I know you're here" - she said. "But I made a fool of myself and alerted you. Come out and fight!"

She should know better than that, really. That's a stupid suggestion. Why on Nirn would they do that?

Lena dipped an arrow in poison, silently took out her Shadowhunt. Gabriella heard the arrow being released, but at that range she was hit almost immediately. She turned towards Lena and felt Lucien's blade on her neck. He moved as Lena shot.

"We won't let you go, you know" - he said. "We've warned you people enough, but still you come. It's your call."

He cut her throat.

...

Gabriella was sitting outside the cave, as if enjoying the morning sunshine. The door was locked and the boulder was back in place blocking the entrance. It was much too early to get up.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 8 2021, 09:18 AM
Post #122


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19 Second Seed, 4E202 - Preparations - Nazir

"So, we have a plan then" - Lucien concluded, summarising their conversation over breakfast. "Did we miss anyone?"

"There might be more members that I'm not aware of" - Lena looked pensive. "But this town is not exactly keeping quiet about who's in the Thieves Guild, so those members would be rather low-ranking, I would have thought."

"Not important enough" - agreed Lucien. "And if they think they are - we'll notice."

The plan was to remove the Thieves Guild from existence. Of course it would never be possible to remove all thieves from existence, no matter how much Lena would have liked to do that. And they didn't think they could touch Maven Black-Briar - they didn't think they should touch her, rather. She was the patron of the Thieves Guild, true, and as corrupt as could be, but she was also a supporter of the Empire, and thus could be useful in the Civil War. Besides, there didn't seem to exist a single uncorrupt noble in Riften anyway. No, Maven Black-Briar would be spared.

The day would be spent getting the lay of the land - walking around town, discovering all its secret passages, exploring the Ratway, and not actually doing anything suspicious. Although two people nosing about was going to be suspicious in itself.

"Let's hope we won't get into too many fights" - said Lena. Lucien looked bored.

...

When they returned to the Broken Helm Hollow, they found the boulder removed and the trap disarmed. Gabriella's body was no where to be seen. They had visitors.

"Well, this will be interesting" - smiled Lucien.

They entered silently, keeping to the shadows, but they knew they could not be completely hidden. The cave looked empty - the assassin was keeping to the shadows, too.

"Babette or Nazir" - Lena breathed into Lucien's ear. "The others are too blunt."

"Nazir" - answered Lucien pointing at a fleeting glow in the far corner - Nazir's curved sword briefly reflected Lucien's shooting light. Of course it gave away their location, but that being the entrance, it was obvious already anyway.

They split up, quickly moving to the opposite corners of the cave - left and right from the entrance. Nazir was now between them, he would have to choose whom to attack first. Lena decided on a diversion and summoned a dremora in the middle of the cave.

"I smell weakness!" - roared dremora, taking up his greatsword and turning towards Nazir. There was no hiding from a dremora.

Nazir shot an arrow at the dremora - he was good. The dremora stepped back, momentarily stunned, then lunged forward. Another arrow - and he was banished.

Unfortunately for Nazir, this was exactly what Lena had expected to happen. It was only a dremora churl - they made a lot of noise but were not that hard to defeat. The noise, the commotion and Nazir's attention fixed on the dremora allowed Lena and Lucien to reach Nazir before the show was over.

...

"Well, that's another one of them dealt with" - said Lucien propping up Nazir's body at the cave entrance. "At this rate, they'll hunt themselves into extinction."

"Babette might come at night" - said Lena, looking into the distance. "I believe there are some vampire covens nearby, she might be staying there. She might even have Arnbjorn with her - she calls him 'puppy' and I think he likes it. Not that he'll ever admit that, of course!"

"We better poison the trap then" - reflected Lucien. "And the boulder. They'll have to touch it to move it. Fighting a vampire and a werewolf in tight quarters is not going to be easy."

...

The night was quiet - nobody came. In the morning they carefully disarmed the trap and moved the boulder slightly, to see if there was an ambush outside. All seemed clear. They readied their blades - just in case - and moved the boulder to the side. They stepped out. Nothing. No ambush. All was quiet.

"Nazir's body is gone" - noted Lucien. "They are changing their tactics - we might have impressed them after all." He looked pleased.


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

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Renee
post Jul 8 2021, 06:40 PM
Post #123


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Am up to post 19. Wow, so she rid all three subjects Astrid presented to her! indifferent.gif The parts when Geralt keeps pinching her back had me laughing.


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Lena Wolf
post Jul 8 2021, 07:07 PM
Post #124


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QUOTE(Renee @ Jul 8 2021, 06:40 PM) *

Am up to post 19. Wow, so she rid all three subjects Astrid presented to her! indifferent.gif

She had to get it right. This wasn't the time to be merciful. wink.gif

QUOTE
The parts when Geralt keeps pinching her back had me laughing.

I think he quite likes being the big brother. biggrin.gif


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 8 2021, 10:03 PM
Post #125


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20-21 Second Seed, 4E202 - The Ratway

"They won't get me as easily as that" - said Lucien emerging from a back passage in the Ratway. He was casting healing spells, but still bleeding.

"Lucien!" - Lena rushed to him. "You've been poisoned." She pulled him into one of the prison cells and onto a cot. "You need to lie down."

IPB Image

"I can't cast spells lying down" - he protested. "And it isn't the first time I've been poisoned. Comes with the job" - he smirked.

"Yes, but now I'm here" - Lena could be stubborn too. "Come on - on the cot!"

Lucien looked bewildered but obeyed.

"I forgot already what it was like to have a partner" - he said. "Ok, do your thing, I won't interfere. Just - don't rip the robe to shreds, will you?"

Ripping the robe into strips for bandages was exactly what Lena was going to do...

"Oh, right - the enchantment" - she caught herself. "Ok, let's see what else we've got."

There was no shortage of suitable clothing on the corpses around them, and soon Lena was engrossed in the old fashioned healing techniques of cleaning the wounds, extracting the poison and covering the patient in bandages - preferably starting with the face. She could do without helpful hints, thank you very much. Lucien allowed her to proceed with it all, even refraining from the hints - and Lena wouldn't dream of bandaging up his face without a need. His face wasn't injured.

"Where did you learn all that?" - asked Lucien when she was finished.

"Magic can only get you so far" - she said. "The real healing is done by your body, I'm just giving it a hand on the right level." She smiled. "And no, I didn't learn it at the Temple... just picked it up along the way." She thought of all those "crazy" people in the Shivering Isles that had taught her, people that dared to prefer bandages to magic. "It's a useful skill, I found."

The prison cells in the Ratway Warrens were definitely not the most luxurious lodgings in Skyrim, but they were safe, certainly for now, and Lucien had to rest. So they decided to stay there for a day or two.

...

The new tactic of the Skyrim assassins turned out to be to warn the Thieves Guild and have them wait in the Ragged Flagon armed to the teeth. Babette herself was no where to be seen, though Lena was sure it was Babette's doing. But even without her, the fighting was intense - much too intense for a couple of assassins, even skilled ones. The Spectral Assassin really showed his colours here - such as they were - he was an assassin and he was going to prove it, and contrary to a regular summon, he was not bound by time and would only be banished once he was defeated.

The thieves expected two people, not three. They led away Lucien into the Vaults and quickly closed the gate behind him, separating him from Lena. Their plan was obviously to get Lena first, as she was the weaker one of the two. Then they would overwhelm Lucien in sheer numbers, reinforced by a dozen or more of local lowlife waiting there.

The plan worked at first - Lena and Lucien got separated. But Lena wasn't going down easily - she summoned the Spectral Assassin, and together they dispatched their immediate opposition at the Flagon. Following into the Vaults, she sent the Assassin after Lucien - he had no problems passing through locked gates - while Lena focussed on clearing the passages around her. Those numbers had to be brought down.

Eventually Lucien emerged from the section he was in - one of the thieves had a key to the gate. The Spectral Assassin fell in battle, and Lucien looked pretty bad himself, yet he was still alive.

21 Rain's Hand

"So, what have you learned about me so far?" - asked Lucien at dinner. Lena had reluctantly agreed that he did need to sit up for eating.

"That you make a decent patient" - she smiled. "And also that you need to be more careful - and not attack five assassins at once!"

"What?! They weren't assassins - just thieves with daggers! Don't tell me how to do my job! I've been at it far longer than you..." - he broke off. Were they having an argument? "You provoked me" - he said much more calmly, looking at her suspiciously. "Why?"

"You are a very level-headed assassin" - she said. "But I wanted to see what lay beneath the still waters."

She looked him in the eye. He didn't divert his gaze. They sat there, keeping eye contact, until one of them would break it - but who? They were equally strong willed.

A rat sneaked up to them and grabbed a piece of roast.

"Hey!!" - two fireballs went after it, charring it.

"Well, I guess it's a tie" - said Lucien, smiling.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 9 2021, 06:47 PM
Post #126


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22 Second Seed, 4E202 - Sapphire - Assassin's End

"We didn't get everyone we wanted" - Lena went over her list. "I've checked all the corpses, and four important people were not among them: Sapphire, Brynjolf, Karliah and Mercer Frey. Also Maul wasn't there, but he's closer to Maven Black-Briar than to the Thieves Guild. How is your wound? Let me see."

She motioned Lucien not to get up from the cot.

"It's... fine" - he groaned and rolled his eyes but let her check the wound.

"Ok, your insides will stay inside - it closed" - Lena was satisfied. Abdominal wounds were not to be taken lightly. "Still, you should take it easy for another day. Sapphire is hanging around The Bee and Barb - I'll see what it's all about, she seems to be waiting for something."

"I'll come with you" - Lucien insisted. "To keep reminding you not to attack her out in the open. You are too hot-headed."

Lena was going to protest but then thought better of it. Don't be hot-headed.

...

"He owes me a debt, and that's that" - was what Sapphire had to say about Shadr.

Lena took the easy way out and offered her a bribe. It worked. Sapphire moved away - to the Ratway.

"And this is where you kill her without witnesses" - Lucien smiled. "And get your money back, of course."

One more corpse didn't make much of a difference. Someone would have to clean it all up, before the rot set in.

IPB Image

"Not bad, Silencer" - Lucien was watching from the side. "A bit crude, perhaps, but I didn't think you needed any help."

"I didn't know you watched us train" - Lena looked surprised.

"Oh but I have. It is the duty of a Speaker to watch over his Silencer - as well as the other members of his group" - Lucien smiled. "Of course, the others have Ocheeva and Vicente watching over them as well. But you - you just have me. Come on, we're done here. I've had enough of the smell."

...

"I think I know where Brynjolf is, and I wouldn't be surprised if Karliah and Mercer Frey were somewhere in the same area" - Lena said at lunch at The Bee and Barb. "It was about six weeks ago, but I did bump into Brynjolf at Irkngthand. He looked concerned, and lost, somehow."

"Well, they are the top of the Thieves Guild, are they not?" - Lucien looked up from his slaughterfish stake. "And they weren't here, so that's as good a lead as any. What's the nearest inn? Nightgate?"

"It is" - Lena nodded. "But I have another place in mind where we can stay" - she smiled at the memory.

"Oh?"

"You'll see."

Lucien frowned - he didn't like not to know what was coming, but decided to let Lena have her little surprise.

...

"You are holding the map upside down" - Lucien laughed when they stopped at the same signpost for the third time.

IPB Image

"I am not!" - protested Lena, rotating the map. "But look - this signpost shows Whiterun - South, and the next signpost on the same road sends us right back!"

"Perhaps we missed another turn in between?" - Lucien suggested, still laughing.

Lena was furious at the map, at the signposts and at their mutual contradictions, and Lucien was finding it very amusing.

"It is definitely more entertaining to travel with you than by myself - I don't tend to argue with signposts." He peered at the map over her shoulder. "It doesn't show the roads - not very helpful."

"I know!" - Lena rolled her eyes. "These new 'terrain' maps are useless for actually finding anything..." She folded the map. "Well, let's trust this signpost and look for that other turn that we might have missed..."

...

"Through here" - Lena pointed at a barely visible fissure between some rocks near Whiterun. "Did you know about this place?"

She turned to Lucien, but he shook his head - he didn't know. Lena smiled.

The fissure opened into a cave which led to a familiar door.

"The Whiterun Sanctuary?" - Lucien looked at Lena in surprise. "I've heard that it was well hidden, and here it is! But can we enter?"

"We can" - Lena put her hand onto the door. "It knows us - the Black Hand enchantment."

The door opened and they were inside.

"Well, well!" - Lucien looked around.

"Sister. Brother" - the assassin in daedric armour greeted them. "Good to see you again, sister."

"And you, brother" - Lena smiled. "But I thought you were going to leave?"

"We will" - the assassin confirmed. "Will you be staying?"

"Just for a few nights. We still have no branches in Skyrim, we are on business here."

"Of course" - the assassin nodded. "The Sanctuary is at your disposal. We decided to stay until someone moves in."

He walked out of the room.

"Who is he?" - asked Lucien, following him with his gaze.

"A memory of an assassin who used to live here. This is what they all are - guardians of sorts."

They walked down the corridor greeting other assassins. It felt like home.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 10 2021, 10:00 AM
Post #127


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From: Bravil



23 Second Seed, 4E202 - Irkngthand

"Well, have you come to your senses, lass? Ready to make some coin?" - Brynjolf was standing by the entrance of Irkngthand, waiting for someone.

"Sure" - Lena beamed at him. "Fancy meeting you here!"

"I saw you here already before" - Brynjolf said non-committally. "Why are you back?"

"There were some chests inside that I couldn't open last time" - Lena said quite truthfully. "I came to have another go. There should be a lot fewer falmer in there now, too."

Brynjolf grimaced.

"Foul creatures! That's exactly why I haven't gone in yet. But" - he beamed at Lena - "why don't you come with me? I'll help you with those chests."

"Ok, let's go" - Lena nodded.

"Except..." - Brynjolf looked uncertain. "I've been waiting for a friend of mine, but she's not here yet. She should arrive shortly, we'll have to wait."

"You go on, I'll wait here" - Lucien leaned against the wall. "When she arrives, I'll tell her you went ahead."

...

Even though Lena tried to avoid most of the fighting last time, the ruin was littered with broken Dwemer automatons and dead falmer.

"I'm sure it wasn't me who killed all of those!" - Lena commented. "Someone else had been here in the meantime. Oh and look - that chest - I couldn't open it, but now it's open and empty!"

"Frey" - Brynjolf frowned. "He got here first!" He swore. Then turning to Lena, added: "There's a legendary Dwemer artefact in the final chamber - a giant statue - have you seen it?"

"I couldn't enter the final chamber, the lock was too hard for me to pick" - Lena made herself look ashamed.

"Ah... Well, if you join us, we can fix that" - Brynjolf looked happy. "Come on, it shouldn't be too hard to get there, now that Frey killed whatever was left over after your exploration."

They continued through the ruin, there were still traps in full working order and more Dwemer automatons released from their crevices. The falmer were mostly dead, until they got to the Grand Cavern - those were mostly still alive.

"I sneaked past these ones last time" - Lena turned to Brynjolf. "It's not too hard."

They sneaked past without an incident, all the way to the final door that Lena could not unlock.

"Here, let me" - Brynjolf stepped forward. A few moments later, the lock clicked.

They heard soft footsteps behind them. Lena swung around, sword at the ready. It wasn't a falmer - it was a Dunmer woman.

"No, no - it's Ok" - she gestured. "I'm Brynjolf's friend."

"Karliah!" - Brynjolf turned around, smiling. "Just in time. Come on."

They entered the final chamber. A giant Dwemer statue stood in the middle, with a man jumping about, removing the gems from its eye sockets.

"Frey!" - Brynjolf cried out. "Stop right there!"

"Oh? Why should I? And who did you bring with you? Is she going to make waves?" - he smirked.

"You must return the Skeleton Key!" - Karliah joined in. "It belongs to Nocturnal!"

"I won't! It is nothing but a key to unlimited wealth! My blade will be stained with Nightingale blood today!"

He cast a spell, causing a cave-in - the door behind them was now blocked. Brynjolf and Karliah started fighting.
"What..?" - Lena looked at them in disbelief.

"It's his power" - Brynjolf explained, parring with Karliah. "We cannot stop ourselves. You must kill him, or we'll stay here forever."

Lena looked back at Mercer Frey.

"So... the door behind us is blocked, thanks to your little trick" - she said coldly. "And there is no other way out. How were you planning to leave?"

"I have my ways" - he answered, rather more angrily than was called for, Lena thought. She suspected he didn't have a clue. Then he attacked her.

The battle didn't last long - Frey's disappearing tricks didn't fool the Spectral Assassin that Lena had summoned.

"I am not a thief" - Lena said in Frey's ear. "I am an assassin." She put her blade through his heart.

Brynjolf and Karliah stopped fighting - the spell was lifted.

"Oh good" - Brynjolf rushed to Frey's body. "Quick - get the Skeleton Key."

It was too easy. As Brynjolf kneeled over Frey's body going through his pockets, Lena put her blade through his heart too.

"Assassin?" - Brynjolf looked up, going pale. Then he was dead.

Karliah watched, bewildered. Then she ran at Lena, sword drawn - or at least she started running at Lena, because the water in the room was rising, and Karliah got swept off her feet at that point. So was Lena. They were going to drown.

"Let's find a way out first" - Karliah shouted. "Then I'll kill you!"

"Ok - except for the last part" - Lena shouted back.

They tried the door - pointless, it was completely stuck. Some rocks in the ceiling looked to be loose, and there was a draft coming from there, but they couldn't reach them. Not yet - but the rising water was bringing them close. They climbed onto the statue, put their shoulders into it - and a small avalanche of rocks tumbled down, revealing a passage.

"That's it - let's go!" - Karliah pulled herself up into the passage. Lena was just about to follow, when the water suddenly started receding - the door must have given way and opened.

"I'll go that way" - Lena told Karliah. "You can try to kill me another time. Give my regards to Nocturnal - I prefer not to kill Nightingales."

"Oh?" - Karliah was confused. "You seem to know an awful lot. Who are you and why are you here?"

"I am an assassin, and I don't like thieves" - Lena replied.

"You are not with Astrid's group" - Karliah looked suspicious.

"No, I am with the Dark Brotherhood" - Lena smiled. "The real one, that is."

"That explains a lot" - Karliah nodded. "So the Ratway?"

"Yeah, it was us."

"Well..." - Karliah turned to crawl further into the passage. "Shadow hide you."

...

"It's a good thing I followed you" - Lucien greeted Lena as she squeezed through the opening in the door. "You can't trust thieves."

"Thank you!" - she smiled at him, blushing slightly. "Still watching over me, I see."

"Always" - he smiled warmly.

...

"I didn't kill Karliah" - said Lena, stretching her hands towards the fire at the Nightgate Inn. "She is a Nightingale. Admittedly, so was Mercer Frey, but he was also the Guildmaster. He had killed Gallus - the third Nightingale, and this was what the quarrel was all about - Brynjolf muttered as much along the way. I thought Nocturnal should keep one guardian."

"Without the Thieves Guild ranks to back her, she alone won't be able to do much harm" - conceded Lucien. "And we do respect Nocturnal."

"I don't understand what the fuss with the Skeleton Key is though" - Lena mused. "I did a favour for Nocturnal back in Cyrodiil, and she gave it to me - or one of the copies, anyway. But the Nightingales here claim it must remain in the Sanctum, or else. Doesn't make sense to me" - she shrugged.

"I doubt it was Nocturnal's idea" - Lucien nodded.

They sat in silence for a while.

"What are you going to do with the Grey Cowl of Nocturnal once you have it?" - asked Lucien after a pause.

"Return it to Nocturnal" - Lena looked into the distance. "It's like you said - we respect her. Shadow hides us."


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 10 2021, 07:44 PM
Post #128


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23-24 Second Seed, 4E202 - Fort Dunstad - Dawnstar Sanctuary

"Here - have a look at this bounty letter" - the innkeep at the Nightgate Inn slid a piece of paper towards Lena. "It seems that bandits have taken residence in Fort Dunstad again - they are bothering people from there. You two look like you could take them on" - he looked at Lucien with significance.

"Whatever gave you that idea?" - Lucien looked up, raising an eyebrow.

"I never forget a face" - the innkeep winked. "During the War. Don't tell me you're a mage - that was the other fellow." Then turning to Lena, he added: "Give him my regards, will you?"

"I shall" - Lena smiled. "Thank you for not knowing any of us."

They took a room for the night - it was too late to go back to the Whiterun Sanctuary, and Lena was tired after her Irkngthand exploration.

24 Second Seed

"So what do you think about this Fort Dunstad?" - asked Lena at breakfast. "Shall we do the Jarl a favour?"

"Why not - practice makes perfect" - Lucien nodded.

...

Fort Dunstad was a rather large Imperial fort, complete with a tavern on the grounds - The Stumbling Sabrecat. Unfortunately, the bandits had killed the barkeep.

"It would have been a really nice place with the Legion still around" - Lena sighed. "I like the cat above the fireplace."

IPB Image

"Well, the Legion is not here" - Lucien interjected. "But the bandits are. Come on - we're not done yet."

It wasn't that hard to clear the bandits. The fort had several separate areas - the barracks with a kitchen, the commander's quarters and a large prison. The prison cells were filled with skeevers...

"How odd" - commented Lena, warming up the bandit chief with her fire spray while Lucien put a blade through his heart. "Why would the chief choose to sleep in a prison cell?"

"Makes him feel at home, I guess" - smirked Lucien.

They found more skeevers in the barracks - cages full of them. Then finally all became clear in the kitchen.

IPB Image

"Do you know what this reminds me of?" - Lena looked at the skeever roast in disbelief. "Goblins. In Cyrodiil they are the only ones to keep rats for food!"

"They shouldn't have murdered the barkeep. Chances are, he had better supplies" - Lucien nodded. "We're done here. Let's go to Dawnstar - they've got a decent inn."

...

"We should check on the old Sanctuary while we are here" - said Lucien at lunch.

"I've been there" - said Lena. "I couldn't enter, it's sealed."

"Ah" - Lucien smiled. "But now I am here."

...

They approached the Sanctuary door. Lucien touched it.

"What is the greatest illusion?" - a hushed voice asked.

"Innocence, my brother" - answered Lucien.

The lock clicked. They entered.

"Dank and dimly lit, but still home" - said Lucien, looking around. A guardian ghost drew his weapon but did not attack. "They recognise us - enough to allow us in."

The Dawnstar Sanctuary had not been used in a very long time. Rubble and cobwebs gathered in the corners and the air was somewhat musty with fungus and skeever smells.

"How did you know the password?" - asked Lena.

"I've been here before" - Lucien cast a shield spell. "There's a trap ahead, it will deactivate once we are through."

"Blood everywhere..." - Lena noted. "What happened here?"

"Greed" - Lucien shook his head. "This group took rich prisoners. They tortured them in the cellars for ransom. Of course they killed them afterwards, but someone was still able to follow the money trail. There's a cave behind that stained glass window - it leads into the cellars. Intruders came in through that - there was a bloodbath."

"Was everyone killed?"

"All the intruders, yes, and most of the assassins. The Sanctuary was deemed compromised though, and sealed. Until now."

"But is it safe now?" - Lena looked uncertain.

"Yes, it is. This was over a century ago" - Lucien touched the old walls, they were covered in dust. "The Night Mother asked me to check in. She thinks it might be time to return to Skyrim."

"Interesting" - Lena was kindling the fire in the grate. "What about Astrid's group though?"

"What's left of it, you mean?" - Lucien grinned. "Wasn't there one or the other person among them worth keeping?"

"Krex - the mage" - Lena looked up. "He doesn't like the way things are done. Everyone else worships Astrid."

"That's a start" - Lucien nodded. "There are no provisions here - what have we got with us?"

"Plenty" - Lena started putting food on the table. "Enough for a couple of days."

"Good. Because there's nowhere else I'd rather be right now..."

They were home.

IPB Image


This post has been edited by Lena Wolf: Jul 10 2021, 11:25 PM


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 11 2021, 05:21 PM
Post #129


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25 Second Seed, 4E202 - Barenziah

The last couple of days had been strange. Lena and Lucien had completed their Thieves Guild mission, which meant they were ready to return to Cyrodiil and to their separate lives. Yet something was holding them back, they were finding things to do that took them North - away from the Cyrodiil border crossing. They talked - but only about the immediate matters, not the reason why they were not going back.

Finally, Lucien took the lead.

"We're done here" - he said - "but you are not yet ready to return. And neither am I."

"You..?" - Lena looked surprised. "I thought you were just doing me a favour with this trip."

"Getting to know each other works both ways" - Lucien pointed out. "I saw sides of you I never suspected to exist. Like that healing" - he touched the side of his abdomen where Lena had treated his poisoned wound.

"Oh, that skill..."

"I don't mean the skill. Yes, that too, but what I mean is that you took charge and... what you did to get the poison out."

She looked up.

"Well, I had to do it to clean the wound - the cloth got inside. I had to take it off" - she shrugged. "You needed help. And..." - she smiled - "You didn't stop me."

"No, I had to see what you'd do..." - he gave her a long look. "It's like I said - getting to know each other goes both ways."

They sat in silence for a while, drinking spiced wine. The Sanctuary was quiet around them.

"Perhaps I should have another look at that wound" - Lena smiled, blushing slightly. "You know, just in case..."

Lucien got up, taking her hand.

"Then come" - he pulled her in an embrace. "You don't know how long I've been waiting for this..."

He had called her his Barenziah. But was he her Symmachus or her Nightingale?


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 11 2021, 07:38 PM
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26 Rain's Hand, 4E202 - Dawnstar Sanctuary

"I can feel your affection" - Lucien held Lena's face in his hands, looking into her eyes. "And I can see your confusion. Don't worry, time will tell."

Their kiss was long, they didn't want to stop. They had each been waiting for a night like this for such a long time.

"Confusion, yes..." - Lena said softly. "You are a part of my life more than you know. Have been ever since you came to see me back then..." She kissed the palm of his hand, intertwining her fingers with his. "Who was it I had killed? It was a mistake, I think - I only meant to kill bandits. But I was grateful for it."

"Is that why you haven't said a word that night?"

"You remember?" - Lena smiled. "I lost my voice, I think..."

"I thought you were but a child, or nearly - so very young" - he stroked her cheek. "I told Ocheeva to keep an eye on you - we've had trouble enough with Antoinette Marie. But you were very different from the start. So determined, so meticulous - like your mother, even though in truth I only knew her very little. But I've heard a lot."

They now sat at breakfast, Lena staring at her sweetroll.

"Lucien" - she started hesitantly. "You deserve better. You've waited patiently for two centuries, didn't even kick me out of your home, and here I am not able to make up my mind." She looked at him apologetically.

"Oh that..." - he paused. "Why did you keep coming to my home? I wondered about that."

"I've been asking myself that recently" - Lena looked pensive. "I wanted to be with you."

"Then why did you never check to see if I was there? Sometimes I was."

"And what would you have me say?" - she looked at him in disbelief. "'Hello Lucien, I missed you'?" - she smirked.

"Is that what you felt?" - said Lucien slowly.

"Yes, that's what I felt. That, and shame. I would not have wanted you to see me the way I looked. Well, you have seen me, of course" - she blushed.

"After you've taken the cure?" - Lucien raised an eyebrow. "That... Yes, I see why you wanted to stay away. I would have still been glad to see you... I was glad to see you when you came."

He took her hand, bringing it to his lips. His long black hair fell forward as he bowed his head in a kiss. He looked Elven.

"Don't rush it" - he said. "Your feelings will clear up in time - as your looks have done. I'll wait." He looked at her releasing her hand. "But next time you come to my home and decide to stay overnight, I won't pretend not to be there."


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 11 2021, 11:20 PM
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26 Second Seed, 4E202 - Silverdrift Lair - Windhelm

Emotions can be draining, expressing emotions can be exhausting, in particular for people who are usually quite reserved and private, like Lena and Lucien - yes, Lena, in spite of her outbursts of rage every now and again. Rage is easy, love is hard. After such an emotional night and morning, they needed time to relax, they needed a diversion. They rode to Windhelm.

...

"Hey!" - Roach reared up, a dead spider at her feet.

"Whoa!" - Lena nearly fell off. "Where did that come from?"

She got off the horse to harvest spider venom - and retrieve an ebony arrow. Lucien.

"How very romantic - throwing dead spiders at my horse's feet" - Lena grinned at him.

"I thought you preferred your spiders dead, but I'll try to keep them alive next time, if that's what you want" - Lucien laughed. "Anything for you, dear!"

They continued on.

"That's close enough!" - two bandits shouted at them from the steps of the Silverdrift Lair.

"If I ever heard an invitation..." - Lena muttered, drawing her bow.

"Aauww!" - "Let us end this little ga... Ahh..."

"I thought we were going to Windhelm?" - Lucien raised an eyebrow, getting off his horse. "Or shall we end their misery?"

"Let's" - Lena nodded. "I am feeling charitable today" - she smiled. "Besides, this is apparently a 'lair' - I wonder how it differs from regular crypts."

They went in.

...

"Well, Dragonborn, now I see why you go into these crypts - to learn a new language" - Lucien watched Lena study the Word Wall. "But next time you use that shock wave, make sure I'm not in range, please - that blew me right into a fire trap."

IPB Image

"Sorry" - Lena blushed. "Next time don't get ahead of me when I'm drawing breath! I can't stop it then."

"I wonder how often dragons end up frying each other by accident?" - he smiled.

"I'm not a dragon" - Lena smiled back. "I can't even do it as well as some of the draugr... But then again, they had more time to practice."

...

Candlehearth Inn was warm and welcoming as usual. No one was paying any mind to a pair of mages in black robes - because who else would wear plain black robes besides mages? They had a late lunch, then went to walk around town.

"I haven't been here in a long time" - said Lucien. "It brings back memories..."

Windhelm hadn't changed much, although the Snow Quarter was now the Grey Quarter, and the docks were inhabited predominantly by Argonians. Some Nords were outspoken supporters of the Stormcloaks, others were not saying much - supporters of the Empire were not welcome here.

"There is an aura of death here" - said Lucien as they walked around the more upmarket parts of the city. "An aura of death and a stench of blood. Literally." He rattled the handle of Hjerim. "Locked. I wonder..."

Lena walked over to the house next to it.

"This one doesn't feel right either" - she said. "I can sense something..."

Blood trail led to the cemetery. There they found a young woman lying dead on one of the graves. She was naked and pale, but her belongings were right there next to her, including her coin purse.

"We have no time to deal with this" - the guard was saying. "Nobody had seen anything again, and I have no clue how to find the murderer."

"Again?" - Lena picked it up.

"Yes, again - this is the third young woman killed in this fashion! But like I said - I don't even know where to start looking!" She seemed angrier than usual.

"Well, can I help perhaps?" - Lena asked hopefully.

"You have to take that up with the steward at the Palace" - the guard sounded annoyed as well as angry now. "We can't have just anyone walk around claiming they are on an official business! But if he allows it, then be my guest!"

With that, she marched off - too busy to attend to a mysterious murder.

"That's City Guard for you" - was the general response from the onlookers.

"Let's have another look around" - said Lucien following the blood trail back up the stairs towards Hjerim. "This house seems important - lots of blood here. But we cannot do anything right now - perhaps later" - he said taking Lena's hand and pulling her into a back alley. "Fair maidens shouldn't be walking through back alleys" - his eyes twinkled. "Wasn't that the mystery you were solving in the Imperial City just before we left?" He kissed her. "Haven't you learned anything?"

"I have" - Lena returned his kiss. "There were no vampires involved."

Tova Shatter-Shield was about to enter her house when she heard strange noises coming from the back alley of her late daughter's house next door. Worried that the murderer had returned, she went to investigate.

"Oh, pardon me! Do carry on" - she laughed, nodding approvingly. No one could accuse the Nords of shunning passion.

This post has been edited by Lena Wolf: Jul 13 2021, 12:03 PM


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 12 2021, 01:00 PM
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26 Second Seed, 4E202 - Vampires of Windhelm

"You are not a mortal!" - a vampire reeled back from Lena, having bitten her neck. Her blood looked black on his lips, his skin turning blue.

"I am a mortal" - Lena spun around, silver blade in her hand. "Just not a virgin mortal!" - she hissed, her fangs bared, her eyes red. "And I am famished!"

She put her blade through the vampire's heart - her blood had weakened him already and he didn't resist. She ran back towards the entrance where Lucien was dancing with three thralls. One was a pile of ash already, the other was bleeding out. Lena fell onto the third one from behind, burying her fangs in his neck and pinning him down on the ground.

"Ahhh..." - the thrall let out an ecstatic sigh, his body limp like that of a kitten picked up by the scruff.

A few minutes later Lena got up, her lips cherry red with blood, her fangs retreated and her eyes amber. She touched the bite mark on her neck.

"That stupid vampire should not have touched me" - she said, matter-of-factly.

Lucien was watching, leaning against a wall.

"It's nice to see you haven't lost your touch" - he grinned. "That was some jump!"

"I couldn't do it now" - Lena smiled, licking her lips clean. "Not after I fed."

"So what now?" - Lucien nodded at the thrall. "Should we kill him?"

"Kill the other one" - Lena pointed at the second thrall that was bleeding out. "But this one will protect us now. Well, me - because I drank his blood."

The thrall scrambled up from the floor.

"Mistress" - he went down on one knee, looking at Lena pleadingly. "I am your servant."

...

"This is quite a nice little place" - said Lucien after they examined the underground lair. "We could stay here unless you expect more vampires to turn up?"

"We've killed them all, I think" - Lena looked on as the thrall was moving the bodies towards the trapdoor. "They don't like venturing out during the day" - she winked at Lucien. "I don't think the thrall lied - he's bound to me now." Then, turning to the thrall, she said: "Wait until the night to take the bodies out, then dump them on the graveyard. Try not to get caught. And here" - she handed him a coin pouch. "Go get us some food and drink from the market. Buy some beef - you need to get your strength up."

"Yes, mistress" - the thrall gave her a broad smile, taking the coin pouch. "I shall have more blood for you." He left.

"Mistress... Is he your slave now?" - Lucien was following the exchange with interest.

"No, not a slave. He's a servant and, well, cattle. But he likes it - Skyrim vampires can turn mortals into thralls who crave being fed on. It's an addiction. A particular strain of vampirism. In Cyrodiil we just infect our cattle with Narcolepsy, so they sleep all day, but a conscious and willing thrall is so much better."

"We?" - Lucien raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah... I accepted it now" - Lena sighed. "I am not a regular mortal - the cure didn't go far enough. You've seen what I can do... what I have to do sometimes. And I have to nurture it to remain human when I turn."

"Like a werewolf" - Lucien nodded.

"Molag Bal will be pleased" - Lena glared at something only she could see. "There he is - grinning."

"I don't approve of rape" - said Lucien, putting his arm around Lena's shoulders. "Makes me think he couldn't get Lamae to go willingly. I've never had any such problems myself... Forget Molag Bal" - he sent a shooting light to where Lena was looking. "There's nothing there."

Lucien's touch was calming, and soon Lena regained her composure.

"Imperials" - she thought.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 13 2021, 09:49 AM
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27 Second Seed - 1 Midyear, 4E202 - Windhelm murders - Dawnstar Sanctuary

"Well, we should look into these murders, since I promised" - Lena said at breakfast. She and Lucien spent the night in the underground lair guarded by the vampire thrall. It was far more secure than Candlehearth Hall.

"The last victim had deep cuts on her body" - said Lucien in reflection. "And although I spotted bite marks on the neck, they were somewhat old - not the cause of death."

"Agreed" - Lena nodded. "Her murder is probably unrelated."

The thrall walked into the dining room carrying more food.

"Susanna used to come here sometimes" - he said. "The old masters wouldn't have killed her."

...

They walked around town, asking questions. Tova Shatter-Shield gave them the key to her late daughter's house that had so much blood near the door. They found a necromancer's laboratory in there, and some journals. So, it was necromancy - the women were being killed for the tissue in their bodies. But who was the necromancer?

"It's the court wizard, it's got to be!" - several people said. "He is named The Unliving for a reason!"

But Lena didn't think so. She spoke to him before - he was an old mage, very quiet and experienced, he would not be caught out quite so easily. No, it was someone else. He gave her a clue as to when the killer might strike again - and where - the murders were ritualistic, dates and places of importance. And he was right - the killer had struck a victim right in front of a guard, and for some reason it was up to Lena and Lucien to chase and kill him. The guard just stood there, gawking. Too busy to assist.

"And this is why this city is going to the dogs" - Lucien said in disgust when they left the Palace. "Not only are they not investigating a murder, they are not even pursuing a murderer when he strikes in front of their eyes!"

"Perhaps then this is the perfect setting for a new Sanctuary?" - Lena turned to him with a smile.

"It would have been, but with so many Dunmer around, Morag Tong is never too far away" - Lucien shook his head. "Better not step on their toes."

"Then let's return to Dawnstar" - Lena said as they entered the underground lair.

"Tomorrow."

28 Second Seed

"All this place needs is a bit of a clean up" - Lena walked around the Dawnstar Sanctuary, straightening out a few things here and there. "And to strengthen that glass."

The big stained glass window in the common room was very impressive with the light of the icy cave behind it shining through. And although it wasn't completely shuttered, it had some cracks - large enough for Lucien to squeeze through. Still, it was keeping the snow out.

"Not my idea of security to have a window to a cave with an exit to the surface" - smirked Lucien. "This is how the intruders got in - as well as all these animals that the troll was feeding on."

The cave was littered with carcasses of the unfortunate deer and goats that fell into the opening. If it was big enough for a deer to fall through, then a person would have no problems getting in either.

"Of course with the Sanctuary being abandoned for so long, nobody was bothering with it, but should we return, things will have to change" - Lucien's face looked decisive. "I have a report to write - let's hope there's still ink and parchment here somewhere."

...

Writing of the report took three days. With Dawnstar so close, they restocked their kitchen and other necessary supplies. They were in no rush to leave - there were books to read, garden to tend to, clutter to straighten out... and lots of love to give. After all, they had two hundred years worth of catching up to do. Cyrodiil could wait.

1 Midyear

"We should be getting back to Cyrodiil" - Lucien said at breakfast. "Are you ready?"

"Yes, let's" - Lena smiled. "I've had enough of snow in summer."

"Give Hauk my regards, will you?" - Lucien smiled too. "I hear he's back on Legion duty. Tell him our previous arrangement still stands."

"Arrangement?" - Lena asked in surprise, but then thought better of it. "No, never mind. He mentioned your paths had crossed during the War - that's all I need to know."

Lucien nodded.

This post has been edited by Lena Wolf: Jul 13 2021, 11:58 AM


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 14 2021, 08:00 PM
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1-2 Midyear, 4E202 - Lake View - Cheydinhal

"I bought a plot of land on the moors" - said Geralt at dinner. Lena and Lucien stopped at the Lake View on their way back to Cyrodiil. "I am having a house built."

"Wow, that's great news!" - Lena beamed. "Here - take this money" - she dropped a heavy purse in front of him. "Courtesy late Thieves Guild."

Gerald grinned.

"I can certainly put it to good use" - he lifted the purse. "But doesn't your Brotherhood require a dividend from the job?"

"We do" - confirmed Lucien. "That isn't all that we recovered."

This job was unusual. It was Lena who performed the Black Sacrament for the members of the Thieves Guild, and the Night Mother wisely gave the contract to Lucien. The payment for the Brotherhood would be of no issue, they were certain. Between the Thieves Guild and the bandits that they cleared along the way, the surplus was significant, and it was now on the table.

"Make sure to leave a large empty room for Yen's megascope" - Lena winked at Geralt. "And that other thing."

"Oh no - she is not bringing that! It won't go on a ship!" - Geralt protested.

"No, I suppose it won't" - Lena agreed. "Which is why I sent you mine from Cyrodiil. I expect you will soon hear from the shipping company."

Geralt looked up in surprise.

"You didn't!"

"I did" - Lena gave him a broad grin. "It's got Hircine's blessing, so be gentle with it. It was the only unicorn in Cyrodiil."

Geralt shook his head, laughing.

"Count yourself lucky she'll never make you use it" - he winked at Lucien. "The only thing even less suitable is a live unicorn!"

"Oh I wouldn't mind, myself" - Lucien grinned complicitly. "But not to worry - there's always the Shadowmere."

2 Midyear

They rode straight to Cheydinhal - they both had paperwork to complete.

"What's next for you?" - Lucien asked at dinner. They were back at his fort.

"Necromancers and ruin crawling" - Lena grinned. "I'm not sure where I'll be - Traven is bound to send me all over the place."

"Well, in that case..." - he took her hand. "Why don't you stay here tonight."


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 14 2021, 09:47 PM
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2 Midyear, 4E202 - A woman's scorn

"She will die for it" - Rayenna muttered under her breath. She saw them - she peered through the trapdoor of Lucien's fort and saw him and Lena make love. She watched long enough to see Lena's face - this was important, Lucien never brought women to his fort. This wasn't just any woman - this was Rayenna's rival, and she had to die. Too bad she was a Sister - Sithis would just have to accept it. Rayenna was another Speaker's Silencer. "How could he choose her over me?" - she thought with scorn. She had been making advances towards Lucien for a few years now, and she was such a striking looking woman, what was he thinking? To prefer this child?

"You should leave now" - Sa'sinar touched her shoulder. "Let's say you never came here at all."

Rayenna jerked.

"You followed me?" - her eyes narrowing.

IPB Image

"A Speaker must take care of his Silencer" - Sa'sinar smiled. "Your infatuation with Lachance is not exactly a secret." His ears went back and his eyes narrowed, too. "Sa'sinar hopes Rayenna is not planning anything foolish. Wolf is her Sister, and Lachance's Silencer!"

"You..." - Rayenna looked at Sa'sinar with suspicion. "You didn't look - how did you know?"

"Sa'sinar hears things..." - his ears went up again. "The Night Mother knows. You should leave them be."

But when was the last time a Redguard woman took anyone's advice? Or accepted defeat?


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 15 2021, 05:09 PM
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3 Midyear, 4E202 - Rayenna

"I have to speak to the Night Mother" - Rayenna insisted. "There is a traitor in our ranks."

"The Night Mother speaks only to me" - Ungolim's face was impenetrable. "And I speak to the Speakers. Why are you here? Are you accusing Sa'sinar?"

This wasn't going according to plan. The Dark Brotherhood had a strict hierarchy, and Ungolim - the Listener - was not about to allow Rayenna to break it.

"It's not Sa'sinar" - she replied, looking away. "But remember what happened last time there was a traitor? He played on the rules and the hierarchy - and this is what got several Black Hand members killed. We have to consult the Night Mother."

Ungolim remembered all too well what happened last time - he was one of the intended victims. He was attacked on several occasions, and had to kill several of his brothers and sisters in self-defence. The Night Mother didn't blame him or them - they didn't know who he was - but Ungolim still felt like he was betraying the Brotherhood. But to summon the Night Mother this early... No, he would need to have proof first.

"Very well, if you want to keep it between us, I'll allow it" - he looked at Rayenna, searching. She was a fairly new member, joined after those dreaded events. She didn't even know that Ungolim was around then. "Bring me the details and some proof, then we'll see." He wouldn't dismiss her claims just because she was fairly new, after all, it was a fairly new member that found the traitor last time.

Details and proof was something that Rayenna didn't have, for the simple fact that there was no traitor. She wanted to confront the Night Mother for allowing a Speaker and his Silencer to be romantically involved. She was going to argue that it undermined their efficiency and was bad for business. It was a weak argument, but worth a try.

But now Ungolim wanted details and proof - and Rayenna had worked herself into a corner. If she admitted that there was no traitor, she would be punished for attempted subterfuge. If she did nothing, Ungolim would start an investigation suspecting her to be the traitor. If she carried on and fabricated some details and proof... well... she hoped she'd never be discovered.

"I shall bring you proof" - she said, looking determined. "Give me some time."

Right, Rayenna - start thinking, she told herself. She went back home to Anvil - the sea always helped her to keep calm. Her father used to work at the docks, she didn't know her mother - her father refused to tell her who she was. "She left you when you were but a babe and scampered to Hammerfel with that lover of hers - and good riddance!" - he'd say, looking dark. "You have me, that should do."

They lived in the Castle, like many dock workers - the Countess kindly allowed working folk to use the cellar. "Better in the Castle under the watchful eye of the Guard, then out in the caves with the smugglers" - she used to say.

When Rayenna grew up and started earning a living of her own, she rented the cellar of the Anvil lighthouse.

"You seem a nice young woman" - Ulfgar Fog-Eye was careful who he rented the cellar to. He heard of some trouble in the past... Some said the place was cursed - but surely, that was just superstition?

Rayenna worked at the docks with her father at first, but then when he died, she started venturing out into the wilderness. She would run into bandits, kill them, take their loot. Nobody cared - those were bandits who'd kill for the loot as well. So... how was she different? She became a bandit herself - she'd ambush and kill anyone who came into her "hunting grounds" as she called them. She fancied herself a lioness stalking her prey.

One day a Khajiit came to see her. She attacked him, but he easily disarmed her, pinning her down.

"Khajiit could kill you now, but he will not, for Khajiit has an offer for you" - he said.

"But who are you?" - Rayenna breathed on awe.

"This servant of Sithis is called Sa'sinar. He wishes to invite Rayenna to join his family."

He knew her name. This was an offer she could not refuse.

...

Rayenna took her new duties seriously. She was determined and careful, executing her contracts with precision. She was praised by her superiors and quickly rose through the ranks. Once she made Assassin, her contracts became more complex, requiring planning, preparation, patience and stealth. They were testing her abilities - only a small number of assassins would ever make it to the Elite. Of course, there were no openings, but the Brotherhood always kept a shortlist of candidates ready for the times when an opening appeared. One day Sa'sinar offered Rayenna to become his Silencer.

"Sa'sinar's previous Silencer was killed while performing a contract, and Sa'sinar had to finish the job himself. He wishes Rayenna to take on this role. Does Rayenna accept?" - the Khajiit spoke formally, not something he did every time. Brought up in Cyrodiil, he was just as fluent in the Cyrodilic way of speaking as in the Khajiiti way, but he always used Khajiit for serious matters.

"I shall be honoured" - Rayenna beamed.

Being a member of the Black Hand meant that Rayenna was introduced to the other Black Hand assassins. If the Brotherhood had learned anything from the last traitor business, it was that the Black Hand had to know each other. The reason that attack went on for as long as it did, was that the Silencer that was being set up to murder the other members of the Black Hand, had no idea who they were. That would never happen again.

Introductions were made, but they didn't go beyond a handshake and a name - no background information was shared. Thus Rayenna knew that Ungolim was the Listener, but she had no idea how old he was or how long he had been with the Brotherhood. He didn't look old, and she didn't stop to think that for a Bosmer, that said nothing about his age.

Like everyone, Rayenna had heard of Lucien Lachance. Like most, she believed him to be dead - until she met him during the introductions. No, he wasn't dead, and he didn't look old, either. He looked in his prime, and his quiet confidence completely won her over. He was polite, welcoming her to the Black Hand and wishing her every success in her endeavours.

"Sa'sinar is known for his wisdom" - he said, smiling warmly. "I can see he chose well."

Rayenna melted. Those damned Imperials had a way with people.

Lucien Lachance had become Rayenna's personal project - he was the man for her, she decided. She was a lioness, and she was stalking her prey.

Rayenna met Lucien on many occasions - she made sure to create them. It was always business-related, but she would add an informal element to it too - a dinner or even a shared trip. Lucien never tried to evade her, and although he did not respond to her attempts at flirtation, she was sure he'd come around eventually. She just had to keep at it.

"Your attention to Lachance has become quite obvious" - Sa'sinar told her one day. "You would do well to be more discrete."

"But I am not doing anything!" - Rayenna protested, blushing a vivid shade of red. "We have common projects, that's all it is!"

Sa'sinar smiled a toothy grin, baring his fangs.

"Khajiit has seen this before" - he said, fixing her with his gaze. "Redguards are passionate, Rayenna is passionate, but Lachance must not be the object of her passion."

Rayenna stared at him, lost for words.

"I'm just saying - leave him alone" - Sa'sinar softened his tone. "He is your Brother - remember that."

Rayenna respected Sa'sinar, he was her mentor, he was her Speaker, and he seemed to see right into her soul. But she could not stop.

Lachance was popular with women, she discovered. Women that had nothing to do with the Brotherhood, women that didn't tend to ask questions. Oh, he was no monk. She didn't mind that - those women didn't matter, and otherwise he was unattached. She found his fort, found the hidden entrance directly to his living quarters. There was a crack in the trapdoor - one could just peer inside. It was a comfortable place, she thought, nice furniture, a fire, everything one would need... plus, undoubtedly, laboratory equipment in the other corner of the room. And no evidence of a woman. Good.

Rayenna was satisfied. She was taking it steady and slow, and she was sure of her success, eventually. And then...

"Hello, I am Lena Wolf" - a new Silencer was being introduced to the Black Hand. Lucien Lachance's Silencer. But she was just a slip of a girl! Early twenties, no more. What was he thinking? And why some of the Black Hand acted as if they'd met her already?

"I've met them already" - Lena smiled brightly, noticing Rayenna's confused looks. "Just last week - there was another meeting. But it is so good to finally meet you too."

Her smile was charming... irresistible... infectious... One couldn't not instantly like her... It was as if she used a charm spell, except of course she didn't... Surely, Rayenna would have noticed a spell being cast! Well...

Rayenna smiled back, feeling euphoric. Something about that girl wasn't quite right...

Rayenna never met a vampire before that hadn't turned into a beast. Or an ex-vampire still in possession of her powers. She fell for it - she was in love.

...

"Wait... what?!" - Rayenna caught herself fantasising about Lena. "You fall for women now?" - she said sternly to herself. No, Rayenna wasn't falling for women, she was sure of it. But she couldn't help herself. "Should cut down on the brandy" - she finally decided. "Better go see what Lachance has been up to - haven't seen him in a while" - she thought. Surely, that would provide a diversion.

...

"She will die for it" - Rayenna muttered under her breath. She saw them - she peered through the trapdoor of Lucien's fort and saw him and Lena make love. "Traitorous scamp!" The charm vanished, replaced by hatred. "How could he choose her over me? She's but a child! Oblivion take her" - she thought with scorn.

"You should leave now" - Sa'sinar touched her shoulder. "Let's say you never came here at all."

...

Sa'sinar was right - Rayenna should be cautious. She wanted Lena removed, yes, but she still wanted Lucien for herself. That required careful planning. An obvious murder wouldn't do.


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 16 2021, 10:53 AM
Post #137


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Joined: 18-May 21
From: Bravil



3 Midyear, 4E202 - Adamus Phillida

Lena was walking around the Imperial City looking for Hauk. He wasn't at home, not at the Tiber Septim Hotel, and not at the Foaming Flask. He did mention that the Legion wanted him back on duty, but what would that mean? Perhaps she should try the Bastion.

She found Hauk in the Legion Offices talking to Adamus Phillida.

"I just know it - who else could have gotten inside the Imperial Prison and out again, completely unseen?" - Phillida was saying. "It's the Dark Brotherhood - they got both Valen Dreth and J'baana."

"But you are not even certain they were both murdered!" - interjected Hauk. "What's your proof?"

"Dreth was found with a poisoned arrow stuck in his neck - I'm pretty sure he didn't do it himself!" - Phillida was getting agitated. "J'baana... he died apparently of a heart attack, but I don't believe it. Poison, more likely - there was a small cut on him. Not unlike Fathis Ules and Othrelos, and he was Thieves Guild too."

"Ok, this does look suspicious" - Hauk conceded. "Someone seems to be after the Thieves Guild."

"It's the Dark Brotherhood, I tell you!" - Phillida spun around and finally noticed Lena standing at the door. "Good morning citizen, how can I help you?"

"My apologies, I was just looking for Optio here" - Lena greeted Hauk. "On a Mages Guild business" - she hastened to add.

"And you are..?" - Phillida's eyes narrowed.

"Lena Wolf, Mages Guild Warlock, at your service" - Lena gave him a bright smile. Some titles were more convenient than others.

"Oh... I've heard of you" - Phillida softened. "Handled some necromancers recently, have you?" - he shuffled some papers on his desk. "We've had some reports of graveyards being dug up, and Traven insists it's necromancers, but the corpses were still there, it's the jewellery that went missing" - he smirked. "So unless they are making zombie amulets, I think it was something else."

"Do you still need me for anything, Commander?" - Hauk turned to Phillida. "You know where to find me if you do."

"No, thank you, Optio, sorry for taking up your time" - Phillida was courteous. After all, Hauk's rank was higher. "I was just hoping that with your experience in covert affairs, you might be able to help me see what I'm missing... There must be a way to pin them down somehow!" - he clenched his fists. "But every time we identify a Dark Brotherhood assassin, it is only when we find his corpse! Well, at least they are not immortal - that's a consolation. Oh what would I give to see one standing before me!" - he glared at Lena and Hauk, then caught himself, rearranging his face in a smile.

"You never know - you might get your wish" - Hauk said, shaking his hand. "Good luck to you."

...

"Good to see you" - Hauk turned to Lena when they were back in the City proper and could drop the act. "Lunch?"

"Let's."

The Feed Bag had a few people in, having lunch, drinking mead and wine, discussing shopping and the latest fights at the Arena - all providing a comfortable din to drown out a conversation.

"So, you've been busy" - Hauk smirked. "J'baana! Right under the noses of the Imperial Watch, too! There's no hiding from your Brotherhood, is there?" He laughed. "Masterfully done! Better than Valen Dreth, I must admit."

"I didn't have much choice with Valen Dreth - I shot through the bars. But you're right - it was too obvious." Lena made herself a crab sandwich. "What did Phillida want from you?"

"To help him find evidence in a collection of statements and crime scene sketches. But all he's got is a string of suspected murders, and even if he thinks it might be the Dark Brotherhood, he can't prove anything. And even if he could - he doesn't know who you all are!" Hauk attended to his own crab sandwich. "Completely futile, if you ask me."

"Ocheeva worries about him though" - Lena mused. "Several assassins were killed recently while performing a contract - or attempting to perform a contract, I should say - and they were wearing our armour, even had some papers on them... Ocheeva was livid about the papers, because now Phillida knows what our armour looks like."

"That's the drawback of having a uniform" - Hauk agreed. "Which is why I never wear Legion armour on assignments."

"I doubt you carry any Legion papers, either" - Lena smiled.

"No, of course not" - Hauk smiled back. "And don't you worry - Phillida will get no help from me. I am not with the City Watch."

"Oh I am not worried" - Lena bit into an apple. "Lucien sent his regards."

"I heard The Ratway turned to blood recently" - Hauk was starting on the cheese. "The Riften City Guard had to call in the Legion to help clear it up" - he chuckled. "Even though the Jarl supports the Stormcloaks!"

"Let me guess - the Stormcloaks do not do the dirty work of hauling corpses out of the sewers, do they?" - Lena poured herself some wine and passed another bottle of mead to Hauk.

"No, they don't" - Hauk laughed. "The entire top of the Skyrim Thieves Guild taken out! Maven Black-Briar was livid."

"Maven is lucky to be alive" - Lena noted. "We only spared her because she doesn't like Stormcloaks."

"So, what's next?" - Hauk hovered over the cheese selection, then picked up a piece of creamy goat cheese.

"Lie low for a bit" - Lena turned to a bowl of berries. "Do some adventuring - Mr. Umbacano has been reminding me about that High Fane job that I agreed to do. Months and months ago! It seems Claude Maric has been dragging his feet too."

"Dangerous ruin?" - Hauk's eyes lit up.

"Undoubtedly" - Lena grinned. "Although how it compares to other ruins, I am not certain."

"Well, there's only one way to find out!" - Hauk emptied his mead bottle. "When do we leave?"


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

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Lena Wolf
post Jul 16 2021, 10:12 PM
Post #138


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Joined: 18-May 21
From: Bravil



4 Midyear, 4E202 - Lena's romance

"I missed you" - Lena kissed Hauk good morning. "But if we want to get to the East edge of the Nibenay Basin by tomorrow, we should be getting out of bed."

IPB Image

They spent the night at Hauk's house in the Imperial City, having done all the preparations for the trip the day before. They would just stop by the Tiber Septim Hotel next door for breakfast, and be on their way. Jowan was still staying in Bravil, and they were glad to spend time together, just the two of them.

After that intense trip to Skyrim with Lucien, Lena felt the need to relax and unwind - and Hauk was so easy to relax with. She would have to choose between him and Lucien eventually, but she wasn't ready to choose yet. In fact, she was even more confused about her feelings now than she was before the trip. She was ready to go to Oblivion and back for either of them, she'd done it already and would do it again, both friendships would remain intact. More than friends, they were family. But romance... that was on an entirely different level.

Lena's life did not resemble a typical young woman's life. It started out ordinarily enough, as a young girl Lena had her friendships and childhood romances, then youth romances up to the point when she caught vampirism at the age of seventeen. She was instantly shunned, all her young friends abandoning her in horror. Only the Mages Guild was still treating her like before - but they were all older people, her mentors and advisers, and certainly no one interested in romance. Her fellow young associates and apprentices were shunning her as well. At times Lena felt that her only option was to find a vampire coven to join, but ironically the vampires that she met, treated her with hostility - she was too "fresh", she had to prove herself first. Would she succumb to the disease mentally and turn into a beast? Many vampires did, and no coven was ready to accept a young fledgling risking to develop into a liability over time. One older vampire took pity on her and gave her a book - Manifesto Cyrodiil Vampyrum. "Follow it, if you want to be one of us" - he said. "Come back in twenty or thirty years, then we'll see." She had to survive that long, and not allow her personality to be destroyed. Fortunately, the Oblivion Crisis kept her busy, providing the necessary distraction.

How long was it before Count Hassildor offered her help finding a cure? She couldn't say for sure, but it was at least four years - or may be more? It was difficult, and took a long time to get everything that was needed - perhaps another year? Two? It didn't matter. Eventually the day came when the witch gave her the potion - "Drink it and you will be mortal again." She drank. Yes, she was mortal again - her eyes were no longer red and her fangs had retreated. But she looked like an old woman, stooped, wrinkled, covered in sores. And she was weak.

The one thing that Lena was longing for the cure to restore was her place in society. People were no longer afraid of her, true, and she could shop wherever she wanted, but she was still in her twenties, yet her youth was gone. Young people continued to shun her just like before. Loneliness persisted.

And then a miracle happened - Dylan took her to the Mazken Wellspring and Lena's looks were restored. She looked to be in her early twenties again.

In the Shivering Isles that didn't really matter. The Shivering Isles had no problems with Lena's vampirism before or with her old woman's looks afterwards - but everyone there was too consumed with the Greymarch destroying the Realm. And Lena was too busy.

Lena's return to Mundus some twenty or thirty years later proved to be a bit of a shock, and not because nearly two centuries had passed there in the meantime. She was suddenly getting a lot of attention - romantic, erotic, vulgar - all sorts. It was flattering while it was novel, but became annoying soon afterwards. None of it relieved the loneliness either, and Lena was no longer in her twenties. She soon tired of casual fun.

She went about restoring her life in Cyrodiil - her Mages Guild membership, her house in Bravil, her citizen's rights. "You will no longer be alone, child" - Dagail told her. "I have seen this." She proved right - Hauk appeared a month or so later, not entirely without Dagail's help. They struck a friendship, went adventuring together, then gradually grew to like each other more and more, and now Hauk was Lena's closest friend - a friend she could be intimate with.

Lucien was a different story entirely. She had known him for all of her adult life - since he came to offer her a place within the Dark Brotherhood. Oh, she fancied him straight away - but he was the head of her group, and therefore off limits. And of course he was a much older man - Lena wasn't even eighteen at the time. She told herself to forget it.

Then the traitor made his move, setting events in motion, and Lena couldn't just walk away. She sensed who the attacks were aimed at - the traitor was after Lucien, and she could not allow it to happen. Oh, the traitor was going to destroy her whole Cheydinhal family in the process too - and she couldn't allow it either. Things she had done to protect them all... closing Oblivion gates paled in comparison. And then she was gone - to the Shivering Isles. At first it was to avoid the assassins - she was still being hunted. She would come to Mundus sometimes, and would go to Lucien's fort - to make sure he was all right, she told herself. She didn't dare to go to the Sanctuary. After a while she noticed that the hunt had been called off, yet still she didn't go to the Sanctuary, but just kept coming to Lucien's fort. One day there was a change of furniture - his narrow cot was replaced by a nice double bed, with other conveniences added. Yet there was no sign of another person living there, and Lena chose not to think about it, completely ignoring her suspicions. He was off limits.

And then he wasn't. That revelation truly turned her world upside down. All those feelings, her longing, her passion, her shame for ignoring the obvious, came rushing in - and overwhelmed her. That evening Lucien helped her deal with it - whatever else was going on, he was her oldest friend and her Brother. She went with that.

When Hauk died and Lena went to the Fade to get his spirit to come back, she faced many demons. Twice was she tempted by a demon pretending to be Lucien - she escaped the first time, but the second time, after Hauk's spirit returned to Mundus, she let the demon have its way. She got what she longed for.

"Leave him alone - he isn't your lover" - Geralt told her when she and Lucien stopped at the Lake View on their way to Riften. Was it that obvious? She wouldn't be forward, not with real Lucien... But Geralt could see through her - he was no stranger to passion himself - and one to break the rules for it. Did they get it from their father or from their mother? Or from both?

"But next time you come to my home and decide to stay overnight, I won't pretend not to be there" - Lucien told her that morning. He was her lover now, as well as her Brother and her intimate friend. Life was complicated.
_____________

This post has been edited by Lena Wolf: Aug 6 2021, 03:19 PM


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

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Renee
post Jul 17 2021, 01:02 PM
Post #139


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Joined: 19-March 13
From: Ellicott City, Maryland



QUOTE
"Skyrim is shielded - you cannot summon any of your clannfears or daedroths, but dremoras do come through


Clever explanation. smile.gif

That frost troll on the side of High Hrothgar is particularly tough, I remember the first time one of mine almost got his or her ass kicked by it. indifferent.gif There's some explanation, like it's high in level, or scales far above the player or something. Interesting that she summons somebody who knows who she is! devilsmile.gif

Post 20-- Yes I can see staying in Ivarstead a few days, especially with its pleasant autumn weather & golden sunshine. The crypt across the road makes for some definite adventuring fun too, without needing to trek anywhere for supplies. Only a couple things are missing. In my Skyrim, I added a smith area outdoors and also a cottage whose owner buys & sells. Now it's even tougher to leave, sometimes.

Woo, I've read Page 1!

This post has been edited by Renee: Jul 17 2021, 01:08 PM


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Adella
post Jul 17 2021, 01:20 PM
Post #140


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Joined: 22-May 21



QUOTE(Renee @ Jul 17 2021, 01:02 PM) *

QUOTE
"Skyrim is shielded - you cannot summon any of your clannfears or daedroths, but dremoras do come through


Clever explanation. smile.gif

That frost troll on the side of High Hrothgar is particularly tough, I remember the first time one of mine almost got his or her ass kicked by it. indifferent.gif There's some explanation, like it's high in level, or scales far above the player or something. Interesting that she summons somebody who knows who she is! devilsmile.gif
Snip



Just an aside…With Mr. Troll being so slow you can use any rock/tree or just sufficient wide space to circle and get past without taking a hit.

To end Mr. Troll when you are too weak to battle him….Just lure him into High Hrothgar where the Greybeards will dispatch him for you.

Warning! Enter the monastery just before the Troll gets to the entrance steps….otherwise he will spawn inside, infront of you and then you are screwed!

You can….and I have (with an extra spawns mod) get Seven of them into High Hrothgar all at once. The chaos is fabulous.

Right…Sorry, lets get back to reading Lena goodjob.gif

A. biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by Adella: Jul 17 2021, 01:22 PM
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