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> Madness Helps Me Save Myself
SubRosa
post Jan 21 2011, 11:43 PM
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Goddess what a title! laugh.gif

He wanted to ask where Jayred had gotten it, but something told him it would be better not knowing.
I am with Wrothken on that!

Wrothken wondered if she had lost her husband to the Gatekeeper.
Not quite! An excellent addition of Relmyna here.

A rousing battle with the orange giant. For a moment I thought Wrothken was climbing up the tree to finish it off with with a a diving head butt

I'm sorry that it isn't colored. It's all I have.
I love Haskill! Also a nice dig on your part, at how the vanilla maps are not colored. wink.gif


nits:
he scored a lucky his and shattered one of its kneecaps.
I think Haskill stole the "t" in hit, and replaced it with an "s".


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D.Foxy
post Jan 22 2011, 03:17 AM
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Mah Dear Jacki....have you take a look at exactly HOW Wrothken is holding his ... 'Mace' ???

Freudian-Drawing now are we?

Hmmm, as I said before, Jacki Dice may be in the "House" or it may be... hee hee... the other way around!!!

whistling.gif
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mALX
post Jan 22 2011, 04:04 AM
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I love the new drawing of Wrothken !!!


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Thomas Kaira
post Jan 22 2011, 05:53 AM
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Goddess what a title! laugh.gif

I take full responsibility, Dhertee Innu-Enndo is a highly infectious beast. indifferent.gif

Haskill sighed exasperatedly. "Must I do everything? Here, take this." He handed Wrothken a map. Passwall was on the western part of the Isles and New Sheoth was far to the east. "I'm sorry that it isn't colored. It's all I have."

Well... mine's colored! biggrin.gif Nevertheless, I'm with Rosa on this one, loved the little shot at the maps.

Wrothken felt the urge to punch him, but he resisted.

No, don't do that! Just wait until you can summon him, Wrothken. Imagine the revenge you can take on him [/i]then.[i] laugh.gif

This post has been edited by Thomas Kaira: Jan 22 2011, 05:53 AM


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mALX
post Jan 22 2011, 09:02 AM
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QUOTE(Thomas Kaira @ Jan 21 2011, 11:53 PM) *

Goddess what a title! laugh.gif

I take full responsibility, Dhertee Innu-Enndo is a highly infectious beast. indifferent.gif

Haskill sighed exasperatedly. "Must I do everything? Here, take this." He handed Wrothken a map. Passwall was on the western part of the Isles and New Sheoth was far to the east. "I'm sorry that it isn't colored. It's all I have."

Well... mine's colored! biggrin.gif Nevertheless, I'm with Rosa on this one, loved the little shot at the maps.

Wrothken felt the urge to punch him, but he resisted.

No, don't do that! Just wait until you can summon him, Wrothken. Imagine the revenge you can take on him [/i]then.[i] laugh.gif



I used to summon him over and over just to tick him off, lol.


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Jacki Dice
post Jan 23 2011, 08:11 AM
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SubRosa~ biggrin.gif Well, you have to admit the title is quite fitting... After all, Jayred uses bone arrows tongue.gif

Foxy~ It was innocent! I promise! whistling.gif

mALX~ Thank you! THe last one, he came out looking so skinny! And feminine... hopefully he's a bit manlier looking now. Too bad my camera doesn't get good pictures of the TV :/

Thomas Kaira~ Too bad Haskill doesn't really do anything. Could you imagine summoning him in the middle of certain things? I bet the dialogue would be priceless biggrin.gif




~~~~~♥~~~~~

Chapter Five: Madness Incarnate



The path of Mania looked colorful from the distance, but the path in Dementia looked like it was a quicker trip. He would have time for sightseeing later. It was nearly midnight when Wrothken reached the entrance to New Sheoth. A tall, slender woman stood at the gate. Her skin was a creamy blue, like a Dunmer, but she had light blue eyes, like Wrothken's. He could tell that she wasn't man or mer because her pupils were slit, much like a serpent. Her helm looked like metallic hair slicked back into jagged spikes and the rest of her armor reminded him of a dragon’s scales.

"Madgod's blessings," she greeted. Her voice reminded him of thick syrup.

"Thanks." He consulted the map. "Is this New Sheoth?"

The woman smiled at him. "Yes. We Mazken guard Crucible in New Sheoth. We ensure the Demented remain orderly and respectful of our Lord Sheogorath. "

"Crucible?"

"New Sheoth is a symbol of our Lord; divided, yet perfect. The southern half is known as Crucible." Wrothken felt like he could listen to her talk all night. Unfortunately, his body ached and demanded sleep. Daedric prince or not, Sheogorath would have to wait until morning.

"Is there an inn that I can stay at tonight?"

"Head straight through the gates and it'll be the first door on your right."

"Ah.. Thank you," he said opening the large doors.

"Walk with our Lord."

Wrothken was surprised by the appearance of the city. It gave off a feeling of such depression, like the rest of the path of Dementia, though he wondered if it was because of how late it was. He was pleased to see that the inn, Sickly Bernice's Taphouse, was just where the Mazken said it was.

It was large and would've been borderline fancy, if not for the dust bunnies and cobwebs in the corners. The entryway was dimly lit, with more light coming from downstairs. He heard a woman cough and the clinking of glasses, so he knew someone was down there.

He followed the sounds and saw a middle aged woman behind the bar. She wore a deep violet corset with long sleeves with black fringes on the cuffs. The hooped skirt was layered with the black fringes as well. The poor woman looked miserable and she kept coughing into her sleeve. Her face was etched with lines, though none indicated smiles. Her face told a story of constant worry. That had to be Sickly Bernice.

Seated at the bar was a woman who made Wrothken's heart skip a beat. She had jet-black hair that cascaded down to her wide hips. Her skin was a smooth caramel color. Her outfit was much simpler than the proprietor's; a tight band across her chest, as if she was trying to flatten herself, and a pair of dingy brown pants. When Wrothken entered, she turned for a moment and he noticed her bright green eyes. He couldn't stop staring at her. It was as if Atrea stepped into a mirror only to come out looking like her opposite.

Wrothken glanced at her repeatedly as he approached the bar. When he sat down, the older woman cautioned, "Don't get too close now, dearie. You might catch what I have."

"Oh," he said, scooting back a little. "Are you sick?"

The girl next to him chuckled a little and his face went red.

"Be nice now, Rheyna," Bernice said. "He's never been here before, so he doesn't know yet." She turned to Wrothken and said, "Well...it seems I am dying.” Her voice cracked a little. “Yes, these may be my last days in the Shivering Isles. That is unless someone like yourself could help me find the cure. But no one has taken me upon my offer, even with the promise of a reward.” She sighed. “Ah, well it's been a good life I suppose..."

He knew what she was getting at. She seemed like a sweet old lady, but he was so tired. He didn't think he could stay awake long enough to even remember any directions given to him. "Can I have a room please?"

"Oh..." She sounded disappointed. "Alright then. There's one upstairs, first on the right."

"Thank you, “ he said, placing his money on the counter. He wasn’t sure he wanted direct contact with her if she was as sick as she said. “Maybe you can tell me about the cure in the morning."

"Oh, sure, sonny. That is, if I make it..."

Wrothken felt bad, but he knew it would be better hearing it when he was fully awake. He took a final glance at Rheyna and headed upstairs.



Right when he woke up, Wrothken headed back downstairs to talk to Bernice. It was more crowded than it was the previous night and it smelled of strange flavors. He was surprised to be disappointed that Rheyna was nowhere to be seen.

"Good morning, dearie," Bernice said as soon as he sat down. "Fancy a quick meal?"

He looked at the other plates, but didn't recognize anything. "Um..."

"Oh, silly me. I forgot that you're our newcomer." She coughed violently into a handkerchief. "Excuse me. Now, how about I get you some grummite eggs with some toast? Though I really shouldn't cook it. I might pass my sickness on to you..."

"Wait, Bernice about that. Can you tell me about the cure? I'd be willing to help."

She looked surprised for a moment. Maybe she didn’t think he would actually ask about it. "Well, it's the miracle remedy for any disease! I was told about this wonderful solution by a recent patron of my establishment. He said if I let him stay for free, he'd tell me how to cure my sickness! How fortuitous, right?”

“That certainly was convenient.”

“There's only one place in all the Isles to get the cure for what I have... Knotty Bramble. There, on the lowest level of the place, is a pool containing the cure: aquanostrum. Legend has it that it bubbles up from an old statue."

"Knotty Bramble,” Wrothken said nodding. “Is that a store around here?"

She started to laugh and cough at the same time. "Oh, no, dearie. Here, do you have a map?"

He nodded and pulled it out. "It's right about here," she said, drawing an "X" near the road coming from Passwall. "Apparently it only exists at the bottom of that cave. So close, yet so far."

Wrothken looked at the marker and nodded. "It's really not that far out. I'll go out there soon."

For the first time, he saw her face light up. "Really? Oh, thank you so much!" She sounded like she wanted to hug him. Handing him a silver flask, she said, "Now, how about I fix you up your breakfast. You'll need it if you're going to be heading out to Knotty Bramble. Oh, and dearie?"

"Yes?"

She leaned in slightly. "Be careful."

Wrothken stiffened. "Are there creatures down there?"

She laughed. "Oh, come now. You defeated the Gatekeeper, didn't you? A few grummites shouldn't be a problem for a strapping young man like yourself!" She lowered her voice a little. "I saw you looking at Rheyna last night. Don't give me that look; I'm sick, not blind. There's something strange about that one... Just promise an old woman you'll be careful."

Wrothken looked around, noting everyone here was a bit strange, though he wondered if they must have each thought themselves normal. "Alright, I promise," he said.



The palace of New Sheoth was the most beautiful place he had ever seen. The castle and walls were made from smooth gray stone. The right side was lit with blue fire and Mazken walked around. On the left, gold dominated the area, with bright flame and gold skinned women wearing gold armor. In the center of the area, there was lush green grass. A couple benches sat at the edges, one of them occupied by a Redguard with his nose in a book.

Though it was silent and serene, Wrothken sensed hostility. He watched the women carefully, noticing the hate in their eyes any time they looked at each other.

"Mortal!"

He jumped, seeing a golden woman walk up to him. She was nothing like the Mazken he spoke to before. Her golden eyes were filled with contempt. "What business do you have here?"

"Sheogorath--"

"Lord Sheogorath to you, mortal."

"Okay..." Wrothken said, irritation present in his voice. "Lord Sheogorath wants to see me."

She huffed. "Are you the one who slew the Gatekeeper?"

He nodded.

"Very well. He is in the center doors of the palace. Now go."

Wrothken stared at her as she walked away. Who spit in her whiskey? he thought walking down the path to the doors. There were two of them with a woman from each group standing guard. The Mazken smiled at him as he approached, and the other one glared. He walked to the Mazken.

"Do not allow them to bother you. Their attitudes are most disgraceful to our Lord Sheogorath." She sneered at a passing gold woman. "The so-called Golden Saints will one day be expelled from the realm once Lord Sheogorath finally recognizes their bull-headed stupidity." Her final words were accompanied by a sneer to the Golden Saint opposite her.

He nodded and entered the castle. If each Golden Saint could be replaced by a Mazken, he would be highly pleased.

Just like outside, the interior was divided. The right side had yellow flames and the carpet leading to the throne was bright red. The left was lit by blue fire and had black carpet. Even the stained glass windows were opposite designs, the right bright, colorful, and cheery, the left all doom and gloom. "Well, look who's here! You! How about that?" A man seated on the throne cried. Wrothken recognized his voice from the door in Cyrodiil. Haskill stood at his side, his expression dull and indifferent as ever.

He was clapping as Wrothken approached. He appeared to be a wise man, with gray hair neatly slicked back, a distinguished beard, and a few wrinkles. However, one look in his amber eyes told him he was exactly the opposite. He wore a silk suit of purple and gold, though the colors swirled into each other so much that it almost seemed like a whole new shade. He jumped up, seeming to be as spry as a sixteen year old, though he walked with a cane. The top of it looked suspiciously like an eyeball.

"A new arrival!" He shouted, clapping him on the back. "A shame about my Gatekeeper. I'm so happy, I could just tear out your intestines and strangle you with them."

Wrothken felt a chill inside and he wanted to take a step back, but he was held tightly in place.

"I suppose an introduction is in order. I'm Sheogorath, Prince of Madness! And other things. I'm not talking about them." He said, folding his arms and pouting childishly for a moment. "You've probably figured that out by now. Let's hope so. Or we're in real trouble... and out come the intestines. And I skip rope with them! But, perhaps now's not the time. You've made it this far. Farther than anyone else. Well done! Take this trinket of mine. Perhaps it will serve you well. Or look lovely on your corpse." He handed Wrothken a silver amulet with a gem that flashed red, blue, or gold, depending on the angle it was held in. It felt warm and when Wrothken put it on, he felt a slight tingling sensation around his skin. "It'll protect your delicate future-corpse from burns, frost, and shock. Enjoy it."

Sheogorath didn't wait for Wrothken to say anything before continuing. "I've been waiting for you, or someone like you, or someone other than you, for some time. I need a champion, and you've got the job," he said, poking Wrothken in the chest. "Time to save the Realm! Rescue the damsel! Slay the beast! Or die trying. Your help is required. A change is coming. Everything changes. Even Daedric Princes. Especially Daedric Princes."

"Change?" He asked. "What kind of change?"

"Daedra are the embodiment of change. Change and permanency. I'm no different, except in the ways that I am. The Greymarch is coming. And you're going to stop it."

"The what?"

"The details aren't important.” He waved his hand dismissively. “At least not right now. Eternity is on a rather tight deadline. We'll get back to that later."

Wrothken's head was spinning already. To say this man was off-balance was an understatement. He wanted something stopped, yet the details weren't important? He didn't press because he wasn't sure what would happen, what with talk of skipping rope with intestines.

"Okay, so what should I do now?" Wrothken asked.

"Now? You run an errand for me. An important one. Of course, anything I tell you to do is important. My Realm, my rules. You're going to Xedilian, one of my favorite spots in the Isles. It's a little place I use to take care of unwanted visitors. And some are more unwanted than others."

Wrothken wasn't sure if he had been one of those "unwanted visitors," but if it would keep his innards in place, he was willing to do anything.

"What's in Xedilian?"

"The Gatekeeper took care of most of the unwanted, but he's dead. We'll have to remedy that soon, as well...." He cleared his throat. "Anyway... there are those that have other ways into my Realm, and they're on the move. We don't want them here. Trust me. So, you're going to get Xedilian up and running. Here's a little book to tell you how, and the Attenuator of Judgment. You'll need that, too." He handed Wrothken what appeared to be a tuning fork and a book. "Of course, you can always get more details from Haskill. He's a detail-oriented type of person. A big help. And a snappy dresser. Now, get going. Before I change my mind. Or my mind changes me."

Wrothken looked at Haskill. There was no way he was going to give him the satisfaction of knowing that he was confused.

He opened the book and headed back to Crucible.



The book caught Wrothken's full attention. Not only did it explain what exactly to do, it showed a few sides to Sheogorath. The writer seemed almost fearful of any consequences he might pay for the slightest mistake. Just as he was about to turn the page, he collided with someone, knocking her to the ground.

He gasped, seeing Rheyna glaring up at him. She was dressed the same way as before, only her pants were rolled up, exposing her toned legs. "Oh.. I'm so sorry! Here," he said, holding his hand out.

She ignored it, and got up on her own. Her eyes were like daggers, saying everything her mouth wasn't. She turned and headed away from him. It took a while to realize that he was staring after her. He regained control of himself and shook his head violently. Maybe it was her stark contrast to Atrea that was attracting him to her, but he promised Bernice that he would be careful... though there was no harm in looking, right?

He sat down outside a shop and pulled out his map. Xedilian was a ways away, located southeast of Passwall. He was happy to see that Knotty Bramble was on the way. As he folded up his map, he heard someone call to him.

"Hey you!"

He looked over at a blond man hiding around the building's corner. "Come over here. I need to talk to you."

Wrothken looked around and walked up to him. "Yes?"

"I've got a proposition for you. Best not to talk about it here. Meet me at the sewer grate northeast of the Sheogorath statue. Come after dark. Come alone." He then walked away.

Wrothken stared after him. What was the proposition? And why did he want it alone and night? Well, there was the obvious... But he didn't think it was that. The man looked and sounded miserable. He shrugged. There was no time to think about it now. He had a few important errands to run.


This post has been edited by Jacki Dice: Dec 23 2019, 07:33 AM


--------------------
Madness Helps Me Save Myself
Nemesis

Standing on the cliffs that kiss burning winds
We are rising together
Brazen, exalting, a hiss of triumph rings
I am yours
...Yours immortally
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Thomas Kaira
post Jan 23 2011, 08:51 AM
Post #27


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I see you didn't make too many changes to the Madgod's dialogue, but you know, does it really need to be changed? He's such a character, and it was great to see how Wrothken reacted to giddy insanity. laugh.gif

Good job capturing the differences between the Aureal and the Mazken, and the animosity that is brought about by it.

Could we have a potential love interest here? It seems Wrothken has caught the luv-bug for Kalila! biggrin.gif

Nits:

I've noticed some word repetitions:

QUOTE
He followed the sounds and saw a middle aged woman behind the bar. She wore a deep violet corset with long sleeves with black fringes on the cuffs.


You have "with" twice in the same sentence here. Watch those prepositions, they have a nasty tendency of sneaking up on you from time to time.

QUOTE
On the left, gold dominated the area, with bright flame and gold skinned women wearing gold armor.


In this sentence, "gold" has been used three times in a row, which is a bit much. Using the same noun too many times in the same sentence lends it a stagnant feeling and because this is Mania you're describing, it does not really fit. Perhaps this would work out better with something like this?

The left side was dominated by brilliantly yellow grass and amber leaves, with bright flames and honey- skinned women wearing golden armor.

(I was a little unsure if you meant for "flame" to be singular or plural here, as well, so I pluralized it. If you prefer it to be singular feel free to ignore that.)

This post has been edited by Thomas Kaira: Jan 23 2011, 08:56 AM


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mALX
post Jan 23 2011, 12:35 PM
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From: Cyrodiil, the Wastelands, and BFE TN



Your rendition of Sheogorath is so apt, lol. I loved his character - tried to assassinate him a dozen or more times in different ways with some fun results, lol.

EW! Sickly Bernice cooking the eggs, coughing over them - I pictured that dying woman from the movie "Michael" while reading that, lol.

Ok, summoning Haskill at an awkward time:

*POOF* "Er, Haskill ... I seem to have run out of tissue paper, could you bring me a roll please?" - ROFL !!


Great Chapter!! You have really captured the essence of the Madness in the Isle!!

This post has been edited by mALX: Jan 23 2011, 12:36 PM


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SubRosa
post Jan 23 2011, 09:31 PM
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A fun introduction to the capital of the Shivering Isles, and especially to the head lunatic!

So Wrothken met his first Mazken. I am with him. I can listen to their voices all night too. Not to mention do other things...

There's something strange about that one.
I think that advice goes for everyone Wrothken will meet in the Isles! laugh.gif

Who lit the fuse on her tampon?
laugh.gif I always think the same thing when I have to deal with the Aureals! You really capture the diametrically opposed natures of the Aureal and Mazken well.

Eternity is on a rather tight deadline.
This has always been one of my favorite Sheo lines

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Jan 23 2011, 09:32 PM


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Jacki Dice
post Jan 24 2011, 07:24 AM
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Thomas Kaira~ I love writing with Sheogorath. He's so animated. Its a shame there's no body language in the game. It would have brought him to life in such a wonderful way.

mALX~ laugh.gif I was shocked at what happens when you hit Sheogorath. It gave me a few laughs!

SubRosa~ The funny thing is, my Wrothken actually likes the Golden Saints better! They remind him of valkyries. Never mind their snotty attitudes... ugh!


~~~♥~~~
Kirsty and Lilitu

Dolce


~~~~~♥~~~~~

Chapter Six: Desperate Times



Kirsty wiped the counter impatiently, though she had just cleaned it fifteen minutes ago. Wrothken had been gone for a few days and not one single letter from him, letting her know he was okay. He was a big boy and could take care of himself, but still. He promised.

She watched the courier and his sack of letters pass the bakery yet again. She huffed and threw the rag down hard. As soon as he came back, she was going to beat him silly.

A sweet, spicy scent filled the area, letting her know that the sweet rings were done. She carefully took them out and set them in a basket that sat on the counter. A few people were already starting to gather and in moments they were sold out. Some left disappointed that the latest favorite was gone, but Kirsty was happy to sell them chocolate filled croissants or strawberry muffins instead.

She almost forgot her sour mood when Atrea entered with one of her friends. Kirsty took a deep slow breath, trying hard not to fantasize about jumping over the counter and beating some sense into her. Atrea didn't dare ordering anything, which was good. Kirsty wouldn't risk her shop by poisoning her, but there were so many other vile things that could be done to a person's food.

The pair sat at one of the tables in the center of the room. "I still can't believe he left like that," the other girl said.

Atrea shrugged. "I almost couldn't either, but then again, he wasn't much of a man in the first place. Now, Bacchus..." She smiled. "Now, that's a man! You know he left last night for the Imperial City? He's training to be a legionnaire."

Kirsty's heart pounded. If Wrothken and Bacchus were both were heading in that direction and happened to run into each other, then there would be a new reason to call it the Red Road.

"Least Wrothken did something good, though," Atrea continued.

"What?"

He left these," she said, lifting her hair up to reveal a pair of diamond earrings. "And this," she said, showing off a topaz ring. "I'm gonna go sell them tomorrow, though." She laughed. "He ran away and he doesn't know that he'll still be supporting me!"

The two of them laughed loudly.

"Excuse me," Kirsty said, her ears burning. "After all the hard work he put into saving up to buy that jewelry for you, you're just going to get rid of it like that?"

Atrea scoffed. "Look, I know you're friends with him, but what I do with my things is frankly none of your business."

Kirsty shook with rage. She had a point. Like it or not, they were hers to do with what she wished, but after the weeks of saving and scrimping Wrothken had done...

"Speaking of," Atrea continued. "Where is he anyway? His clothes are way too big to fit Bacchus and I don't want them cluttering up my house anymore."

"Your house? He's the one that bought the place!"

"And he's also the one that ran off without and word and with his tail between his legs, so by default, the house is mine now, along with all the stuff that I can sell off."

The tremors in her body were visible to anyone watching. She glanced at her chopping knife, wishing with all her might she could teach her. Wrothken was a great man, with a heart that was obviously too big for his own good. If he wasn't so brotherly toward her, she would've scooped him up immediately.

"You know what? I know one thing for sure. Once he's recovered from your selfish betrayal, he's going to be glad you did what you did, and he's going to find someone a lot better than you. Not that it's going to be difficult. You set that bar very, very low. Now you, and the trash you brought with you, can get out of my bakery before I call the guards."

Atrea stood up with her jaw clenched. She knocked over her chair and then she and her friend left. Kirsty's sour mood had turned completely bitter.



By late evening, Kirsty was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she repeatedly mixed up orders. Most people were understanding; they thought she wasn't used to working alone. In reality, her conversation with Atrea made her really stop and think about the black and white in which she had previously saw stealing.

Her entire life she was taught that with hard work, you could have anything. Her mother died during childbirth, so her father had to work twice as hard to support his young daughter. He was often gone from the time she was awake until she had fallen asleep at night. When he was home, he had to fill the role of father and mother. Through everything he did, he was able to give her a comfortable life. She always ate and had beautiful clothes.

When she was old enough, she decided to move to Cyrodiil. She lived close, so the journey wasn't expected to be hard. Her problem was surviving when she got there. Her first job was harvesting grapes for wine near Skingrad. Eventually she saved enough to have a little cart so she could sell pastries outside of the arena in Kvatch. After years of skipping meals just to have enough spare septims to make more pastries and perfect her recipes, she finally bought the Iron Champion bakery, conveniently located across the road from the arena. In all that time, she never resorted to stealing. In her not-quite-so-humble opinion, the Gray Fox, if he was indeed real, should hang. She said it often and believed it...until now.

When the bakery first opened its doors, Wrothken was there to ensure that things stayed under control because, when a busty Bosmer with a high-pitched voice tells a group of drunken idiots to shut up, they laugh and pay her no mind. When a tall, broad shouldered Nord says it, mouths shut and drunks magically sober up a little. It wasn't his dream job, but he never complained. In fact, he was happy to do it so that he could buy little gifts for his beloved. It made Kirsty sick to imagine them pawned off so she could lay about all day. As much as she hated to do it, she needed expert help with what she was about to do.

After locking the doors behind her, Kirsty set off for the alleys in the west side of town. She draped a cloak over herself with the hood covering her face as much as possible without blocking her vision. More than a few people glanced her way, as if they could sense and interloper. Kirsty quickly averted her eyes, keeping them at the ground.

She walked to a man laying on the ground in ratty clothes. "Um...excuse me," she said. "Are you a beggar?"

The man snorted and rolled over, facing away from her. "Listen, I need to speak to the...." She cleared her throat. "The Gray Fox. Can you tell him that I need some things stolen?"



Cheers, clinking of glasses, and roars of laughter echoed in the Dancing Minotaur. It was the same every night, but special to each of them none the less. Each night symbolized another day survived and a chance to drink away their worries until morning when they returned.

Lilitu Serano sat at in the center of the room, toasting not just to another day, but to her new position in Kvatch.

A drunken Redguard lifted her glass high and said, "To never again having to take a long trip with our goods!"

The crowd roared, toasting up their glasses and bottles.

"Hey, hey!" The Orc woman behind the counter called. "Don't forget today is Little Frankie's birthday!" She nudged a quiet Breton, smiling shyly behind light brown waves.

The crowd cheered as she brought out a small cake with nineteen candles in it. Frankie blew it out and as everyone toasted once more, Lilitu asked, "Did you make a wish?"

"I did, can you make it come true?"

"Depends. What'd you wish for?"

He blushed and smiled. "A kiss from you."

Everyone hooted and hollered as Lilitu gasped in mock indignation. "Oh, aren't you smooth!" She winked. "But alas, Armand Christophe has banned me from bedding anymore guild members."

"He banned you?" The Orc asked. "Good grief, what did you do to those poor men?"

Lilitu smiled slyly. "Who said anything about the men?"

As the room resonated with laughs, Lilitu caught sight of a robed person speaking to a beggar. Something about it looked off to her. An Imperial joined Lilitu, staring out. "That's Kirsty," he said. "She's got a bakery on the other side of town."

Lilitu looked at the Imperial. He was slightly shorter than her and very stocky. He had auburn hair that fell around his face in a way that suggested he just got out of bed that way. His light skin was spattered with red-brown freckles. While he stared at Kirsty, his eyes seemed to set on fire.

"How do you know her?" Lilitu asked. "And if she lives in that upscale area, what's she doing talking to a beggar? And who are you anyway? Not Thieves Guild, I'm guessing."

"Name's Capaneus. Capaneus Tempestius. I'm not with the guild, but believe me when I say I know everything there is to know about everyone around here. 'Cept you, of course. Not yet, anyway." He grinned widely, a smile that would have charmed Lilitu if the statement didn't creep her out. Last thing she needed was another stalker. "I've had my eye on Kirsty since she came here.... I'm not sure what she wants with that guy though. Maybe he stole something of hers."

"It would make more sense for her to call the guard when it happened, not wait until now." She put her hand on her hip, squinting. "He looks like he's getting irritated. I better have a look."



Stubborn old goat! Kirsty had done everything from throwing coins at him to pleading, but he wouldn't tell her where to find the Gray Fox! With every second wasted, she became increasingly aware of people staring at her. If she shouted, would the guards hear her over that seedy tavern across the road?

"Listen, I really need help with this and he's the only one that can do it!"

"Listen," he spat. "I ain't got time for your little troubles! If you don't get away from me--"

"What's the trouble?"

Kirsty nearly jumped, hearing the other voice. It belonged to a Dunmer, who walked next to the beggar.

"This little busybody keeps pestering me about the damn Gray Fox! Everyone knows that's just a myth, don't they?"

"Of course," she said, winking to the old man.

"Please," Kirsty said. "I just need to speak to him!"

"Why?" The Dunmer asked, her eyebrows arching up.

"I need him to steal something for me."

“Do you now?" She said thoughtfully. "Alright, just come with me."

Kirsty hesitated. "Where?"

"To discuss this privately. After all, the Gray Fox isn't the only one with eyes and ears, if you catch my drift."

"Right," she said.



The house wasn't as grand as the ones near her bakery, but it wasn't as worn down as the houses in the seedier parts of town. It was slim, sandwiched between others like it, and made of dark stone. There was a small yard enclosed by a wooden gate.

The dark elf knocked twice on the door. "Dolce, unlock."

After a moment, there was a loud click and she opened the door. "Good girl!" She cooed. A short dog jumped onto the dark elf, her tail wagging with delight. However, once it saw Kirsty, it barked ferociously, her hackles raised.

"Dolce, no!" The dark elf said. "Get in bed."

The dog growled softly, but turned and went back inside.

"Sorry," she said. "Dolce is like a man in that the only way to her heart is through her stomach. Anyway," she said, offering Kirsty a seat at the table. "We haven't been properly introduced. My name is Lilitu Serano. And you are...?"

Kirsty hesitated.

"I know you're trying to be anonymous, with that...outfit, but seriously, if I posed any danger, I'd rob you and lock you up in the basement and no one would say a peep." Kirsty went numb at the very thought. "Just think of this as an ordinary business transaction."

"Okay, I suppose. I'm Kirsty," she said, removing her hood.

Looking around, Kirsty was surprised at how much red the Dunmer's house contained. Red curtains, red table cloth, red candles, red cushions on the reddish couch. In the light of the house, Kirsty noticed that her hair was red, though her black eyebrows revealed that the color was unnatural. She wore a red corset with black pants. Her lips were stained dark red. The only gems on her jewelry were rubies.

"Oh wow..." She said. "It's so...."

"Red?" Lilitu smiled. "Well, except Dolce's things. They're all blue." Lilitu stroked the petals of a red flower in a silver vase. "Someone once told me that colors can attract certain things. Blue is said to be calming and protective. My precious Dolce is my protection and the gods know she needs to calm down some."

"And red?"

"Desire, energy, excitement..." Her eyes glittered for a moment. "But about the items you want stolen..."

"Aren't you going to tell the Gray Fox?"

Lilitu laughed a little. "If people knew where to find him, he'd be in a lot of trouble. After all, people can easily infiltrate to spy on us. It happened all the time back in the Imperial City. What usually happens is someone contacts a doyen, and the doyen picks out a thief to go do the job."

"Oh." Kirsty was surprised to see that it was somewhat organized. "And are you a doyen?"

"Not yet," she said. "I'm a fence. However, as the doyen here is... occupied, to put it politely, why don't you tell me what it is you want and I'll pass the word on?"

"Right, well, they're in town. It's just a couple items that I'm concerned about. A pair of diamond earrings and a topaz ring. The problem is, I don't know if she sleeps with them on or not."

Lilitu nodded, twirling the curled end of her ponytail. "Don't worry, our thieves are highly talented. Who's currently in possession of the jewelry?"

"Her name is Atrea. She's got really long blond hair, longer than yours even, green eyes--"

"Today, was she wearing a light green dress, with long sleeves and silver trim around the cuffs? An attitude problem? Accompanied by a brunette woman most of the day?"

"You know her?"

"I wouldn't say know her... I just moved here a couple days ago, but I did meet her this morning. She caused quite a scene earlier. She was rather insistent petting Dolce. My precious baby doesn’t like strangers very much and, well, she almost pulled back a stump. Then she had the nerve to try and report her as a dangerous…. mutt." The word seemed to bring out a certain anger in Lilitu. “Anyway, I’ve been looking for just the right way to pay her back, so I'll take care of it myself. You'll have the jewelry tomorrow morning."

Kirsty stood up. "I… Thank you." She went to the door, pausing to say, "You know, I never thought I'd ever do something like this."

"You think I pictured myself working for the Gray Fox? Some things just happen. Just one thing, though."

"What's that?"

"I need to know where she lives."

Kirsty led her outside. "It's that house there," she pointed. "The one with the purple curtain."

"Great. See you tomorrow."

Kirsty nodded and went back to her bakery. She couldn't help smiling as she passed Wrothken's house. She envied Lilitu. She would've sold her soul to be the one to rob Atrea blind in the middle of the night.



When Kirsty left, Lilitu found herself staring after her. That girl is certainly blessed by Dibella, she thought. Dark, shiny hair, cool brown eyes, a cute little beauty mark above her plump lips. And that figure! She'd kill for it. She sighed, shaking her head. Some girls have all the luck, she thought.

She opened her curtains and placed a chair so she could keep an eye on Atrea's window. First step was waiting for her to fall asleep. Shortly before meeting Kirsty, the chapel bell rang ten times. Sadly, without the opportunity to watch her for days, she had no idea what time she usually went to bed or if she slept alone. She considered asking Capaneus, but she knew if she went back to the Dancing Minotuar, she'd get caught up in the merrymaking and forget all about Kirsty's request.

Lilitu couldn't tell how many minutes had passed, but she knew that she couldn't stare at the window too much longer. She was starting to get antsy. Her favorite book sat on the table by the couch. She leaned over and grabbed it, opening it up to where she left off.

Before she knew it, the bells chimed twelve times. She set her book down, wondering where eleven o'clock went. She must have been so focused in the book that she didn't notice. Atrea's window was dark, but she wasn't sure for how long. She smiled, opening the book back up. Just three chapters and she'd get ready. That was plenty of time for Atrea to sleep.

Three chapters became four, since Lilitu couldn't stop once it got good. She didn’t just read books, she devoured them.

She went up to her room and slipped into more comfortable clothing. She pulled her hair back into a bun and put a cowl on over it, to avoid letting any red strands loosen and fall to the floor. After grabbing her lock picking set and a silver ring enchanted with night eye, she left the light on in her bedroom to make it appear that she was still home. She blew Dolce a kiss, as she always did before leaving her alone in the house. Not only was it a way of saying goodbye, it let Dolce know that it was time for guard mode. Dolce sat in front of the door, ready to do her job. As she exited the house, she put her lips to the door. "Dolce, lock." After a click, she whispered, "Good dog."



Not many people were on the streets so late at night. The occasional guard passed by, but they paid her no mind. No one would likely even recognize her in the morning if they passed each other again.

When the area was clear, she stopped in front of Atrea's door. She placed her hand on the knob and barely twisted. It was locked. She looked around to make sure no one was around. She double checked and then took out her pick. Slowly, she slipped it into the lock, gently moving it around to get a feel for the pins inside. She laughed softly, when she realized that it wasn't even that strong of a lock. Sometimes she enjoyed low hanging fruit. She made quick work of the lock and after looking around once more, she went in.

She slipped the ring on, cursing in her mind as it was still slightly too big. Damn her skeletal fingers. She balled her fist tightly to keep it from falling off. When she blinked everything was light blue.

The place was simply furnished. A loveseat in front of the fireplace, a little table next to it. In the kitchen, there was a small, round table and two chairs. The flowers on top were wilting and brown. A short shopping list was pinned to the wall. Something about it touched Lilitu's heart. It seemed so cozy, though very cluttered. Dishes sat on the kitchen counter and there was trash strewn about.

She proceeded up the stairs into the bedroom. The door was unlocked, so she sighed in relief. She didn't want to spend too much time sneaking around. Her book was waiting.

The first thing she saw was a large bed with Atrea sprawled out in it. A large axe hung up on the wall. Lilitu had a hard time imagining Atrea even lifting it. She tiptoed over to the slumbering Altmer. She slept with her hair in a braid, leaving her ears visible. No earrings. If she didn't need to be silent, she would have sighed in relief. Yes, the Thieves’ Guild had talented members, but that didn’t mean it would have been easy to pry the jewelry off a sleeping person and not get caught. No ring on her fingers either. She looked at both night stands and neither of them had a jewelry box on them.

There was a large chest under the window. It was locked, but Lilitu managed to open it quickly. All she found were men's shirts that were twice as wide as she was and reached her knees. She put them back and shut the chest.

She was about to check the wardrobe when a sparkle caught her eye. On the desk were the earrings and the ring along with a note. Clearly she had been shopping around for the best prices. She must not have been done with the comparisons.

Lilitu picked them up, note included and stuffed them in a small pouch. She turned to leave when she noticed a small mountain of ripped or crumpled papers by a wicker basket. Lilitu glanced at Atrea. Did she just come across potential blackmail fuel? She picked up a few of the crumpled ones and smoothed them out.

Love notes. All of them filled with the sweetest wishes, dreams and hopes for the future. Thankfulness for a relationship budding into something stronger. All of them signed “Wrothken” at the bottom.

Lilitu was breathless. Some of them were so sweet that she wanted to weep. What in Oblivion were they doing crumpled on the floor? She looked a couple of them over once more, recognizing the name at the bottom as a Nord’s. She looked back at the axe and remembered the giant shirts. Obviously, the two had ended things. Her bias made her want to believe that Atrea was at fault, but she had no way of knowing for sure.

Lilitu walked over to the bed once more, staring down at Atrea. She shook her head. To let go of a man who could write like that... if that was what happened.

Atrea stirred in her sleep, cuddling up with her pillow. Lilitu took that as a sign that it was time to go. When she was out, she carefully walked down the stairs. She felt her way toward the door and opened it slightly. A guard was passing by, but he didn't notice the door opening a crack. He continued down the street, turning at the corner. Lilitu slipped out and casually walked back to her house.



After pouring ylang-ylang oil into the bath, Lilitu sat in the steamy water, remembering the notes. Each time, she felt her heart quicken. She wanted to know where he was. She heard of people who can decipher everything about a person based on their handwriting. All Lilitu could tell from the writing alone was that it was likely written by a man. She had also heard of people who can hold something belonging to someone and then connect mentally with the person. If only she had that power.

In her life, she had loved only twice. A hopeless romantic, she yearned for the feeling once more to be loved, cherished, caressed... It had been for too long, she thought.

The thoughts accompanied her to bed that night and she couldn't help but wonder if one day, someone with a heart like Wrothken would as well.


This post has been edited by Jacki Dice: Dec 23 2019, 07:34 AM


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Madness Helps Me Save Myself
Nemesis

Standing on the cliffs that kiss burning winds
We are rising together
Brazen, exalting, a hiss of triumph rings
I am yours
...Yours immortally
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D.Foxy
post Jan 24 2011, 11:25 AM
Post #31


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This time I caught the nits first!!!

She almost forgot her sour mood when Awour entered with another other girl

Awour didn't dare ordering anything


Getting careless, are we? And this your second time around, too! fie, fie!!

nono.gif

tongue.gif
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haute ecole rider
post Jan 24 2011, 03:06 PM
Post #32


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From: The place where the Witchhorses play



hello, Dan Fogelberg fan! I remember him well (okay, so I'm nearly as old as Julian). He had some pretty cool stuff out when I was much younger!

I remember you introducing Lilitu the first time around and enjoying it quite well. She's the kind of self-reliant woman I can't help but respect. Kristy is endearing in her own way, and I loved how she had to restrain herself when Awour came into her bakery (meow!). The fact that she is so protective of a big guy like Wrothken just makes me smile. He's pretty stupid for not seeing the differences between the two women.

I look forward to more!


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mALX
post Jan 24 2011, 03:16 PM
Post #33


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



I love the drawings (and pics, Dolce) you are incorporating into your story now !!!


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SubRosa
post Jan 25 2011, 01:49 AM
Post #34


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From: Between The Worlds



If Wrothken and Bacchus were both were heading in that direction and happened to run into each other, then there would be a new reason to call it the Red Road.
laugh.gif

Wrothken was a great man, one of the last "nice guys" that she knew. If he wasn't so brotherly toward her, she would've scooped him up immediately.
Aww, who's Kirsty trying to fool? She won't jump Wrothken's bones for the same reason Awour is dumping him. He's one of the last "nice guys". The kiss of death for a straight man.

When a tall, broad shouldered Nord says it, mouths shut and drunks magically sober up a little.
Yup!


Lilitu smiled slyly. "Who said anything about the men?"
Hawt! The whole scene in the Dancing Minotaur was excellent addition. Not only because we got to see Liltu enjoying her promotion (to fence?) with other members of the guild, but we also had an introduction to Capaneus as well. Now I can see why you wanted to go back and rework things. Additions like this make it worth it!

It also fits in perfectly with Kirsty's fumbling attempts to find the Grey Fox from a beggar! tongue.gif

Dolce unlocks the door for Liltu! I love it! And the way you tied her into the Sirens of Anvil was perfect!


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Jacki Dice
post Jan 26 2011, 11:08 PM
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Foxy~ -sniff, sniff- I can't believe that got through! And I spent the most time on that chapter specifically! For shame!!!

Haute ecole rider~ I love Dan Fogleberg!! My mom has one of his records and I would play Longer to death! -swoon-

mALX~ Thank you! I figured since the story was getting redone, the pics should too!

SubRosa~ This was one of the biggest things I wanted to re-do. After awhile it hit me that I didn't touch on any other thieves! It didn't make sense to me. And I needed Capaneus to have a bigger role in it smile.gif


~~~~~♥~~~~~

Chapter Seven: Cures and Crystals



As Wrothken walked the dreary path toward Knotty Bramble, he finally had time to think. Sheogorath chose him as his champion. How he would love to go home and shove that in people's faces. Champion of a Daedric Prince. A completely insane one at that! That had to come with perks and boy, would Atrea be sorry then!

He imagined strolling down the walk in Kvatch dressed in the fancy suits several men in Crucible wore, Rheyna on his arm-- He blushed, thankful no one was around to see it. What could it be about her that drew him in? Sure, there was the parallel to Atrea, but was there anything else? Kirsty constantly told him that the best way to get over anyone was to get under someone else. He smiled, knowing that he wouldn't mind one bit finding that out, this time without the aid, or detriment, of whiskey.

He looked down at his map and saw that he was close to Knotty Bramble. He looked to his left and saw nothing. He walked over a hill and was just about to leave when he caught sight of a round spot attached underneath the tangled roots of a tree. The circle was covered in shiny bumps that didn’t look like it could be a natural part of it. It had to be the entrance to Knotty Bramble. Remembering Bernice mention creatures called grummites, he took out his mace and raised his shield, and he went in.

The interior was among the strangest places he'd ever been to. Inside the tree, other plants flourished, as if the tree were merely a host. Everywhere he turned, he ran into giant mushrooms, or glowing orbs as big as his head. He came to a fork in the tunnel, but one was blocked off by thick roots. He tried hammering his way through, but they were too strong. He had no choice but to go the other way.

As he headed into the depths of the tunnels, he came across one of the goblin-fish creatures. Those must be the grummites, he thought. It was walking toward him when their eyes met. The grummite ran up to him, wasting no time as it began to hack at the air between them. Wrothken watched it and when its arm was down, he gripped the mace tightly and slammed its arm and then hit its head.

Two more waited for him further down. The moment they saw him coming, they rushed him, slashing him so fast that he could barely get any hits in. They're quick little bastards, he thought. He kicked one of them hard and focused more on the one still in front of him. As it became worn down, the other came back, but it was easier to deal with a quick one and a weakened one than it was to deal with two of them at their prime.

He wandered around until he came across another door similar to the one outside. Once he opened it, he heard the sound of rushing water.

His heart rose as he followed the sound. He was on a higher level with the pool directly below him. For a second, he considered just jumping in, but he decided against it due to his armor and not knowing how deep or shallow it was. Instead, he continued through until he was able to reach the pool.

A few grummites took notice of him and after beating them, he took out the flask and he made sure to fill it to the top. He closed it tightly and put it away. "That was simple enough," he said, walking back to the exit. Then he noticed several egg sacks floating in the water. He frowned, realizing that the grummites were probably just protecting their eggs. He felt slightly bad, but he knew he couldn't beat himself up over it. If he didn't defend himself, the grummites would have killed him without any remorse at all.



Daylight greeted him as he stepped back outside. He wondered for a moment if he should run back to Crucible and give Bernice her cure, but he decided against it. There wasn't much of a point to walking all the way back to Crucible and all the way down to Xedilian. Hopefully Bernice's illness could be just a little patient.

As usual, while he was walking, unbidden thoughts crept into his mind. He wondered if Atrea noticed he was gone? She must have, he thought. You don't go from seeing someone daily to not seeing them at all and not wondering about it. He also wondered if Atrea did anything to set Kirsty off.

Wrothken remembered when he told Kirsty what happened. He had been crying so hard that his words were incoherent so he had to repeat himself several times, which just made him cry more. Someone once said that redheads have the worst temper. Whoever said that obviously never met Kirsty. Either that or they made her so angry that they never had the chance to tell the tale. The short brunette was livid and Wrothken only stopped crying because he didn't have the strength to bawl and hold her in her chair. He begged her not to do anything but she wouldn't promise. She swore up and down that if Atrea said one word or even glanced at her the wrong way, she was going to beat her into the next era.

It wouldn't have been so bad if Atrea had just been honest instead of sneaking around. He didn't even know how long it had been going on. Part of him wanted to go back and ask, but he was afraid of the answer. He didn't want to hear that it went on for months or with multiple people. He didn't want to worry that it was his fault or that he just wasn't good enough. He had been far too scared to find out the truth, even though he hated asking himself why or what he did to cause it.

He shook his head, remembering that he banished her from his mind. Besides, there was plenty of other fish in the sea. Of course, the first image to pop in his mind was Rheyna. He could tell she didn't like him, but what he would give to spend some time with her and get her to give him a chance. Maybe it was the fact that Bernice had warned him about her. It gave her the "forbidden fruit" appeal. If he could get Rheyna to go to Kvatch with him and rent a room somewhere.... Oh, that would get Atrea's panties in such a twist! She was jealous enough over Kirsty, but if he was openly with someone else? It gave him momentary happiness, but then his heart sank as he realized that she probably wouldn't care. After all, she was the one who left him, not the other way around. Even still... he thought. He knew he wanted to get close to Rheyna, if not to make Atrea jealous, then to at least keep his mind, and body, occupied.



The bridge leading into Xedilian was guarded by a grummite. Wrothken was taken by surprise. He had been expecting adventurers, if anyone, to be there instead. After taking care of it, he proceeded inside.

It was nearly black inside. Wrothken was faced with the choice of using a torch or using his shield. He set his shield down by the door and hoped he wouldn't need it. Torch in hand, he walked up to a door. He tried pushing it open, but it wouldn't budge. It was metal, not wood, so he couldn't break it down. "What in Oblivion...?" he muttered, feeling the door for a knob. Eventually he came across a brick with a red face sticking out slightly. He pressed it and the door opened up right away. He made a mental note to keep an eye out for more of those.

The old fort looked like something he would have seen in Cyrodiil. Old tapestries hung on the walls. They looked like they were once fiery red, they were now covered in mold and dust, faded with time. At one point, a gold crest decorated the bottom of each tapestry, but he could only see the faint tracings. Every corner was home to a large, smelly mounds that Wrothken tried his best to avoid, as he didn't want to imagine what it was for.

It wasn't long until he came to a room with three grummites inhabiting it. Two of them wielded daggers and the other simply disappeared before Wrothken's eyes. He was so surprised, that he didn't react in time to the two quick ones. They nearly backed him into a wall with their attacks. He tried focusing on one at a time, but it was harder than he thought, as they kept bouncing up as they hacked at him. He finally finished them off and looked around for any sign of the invisible one. He got his hint as soon as he was struck with lightning. His body tingled painfully as he caught sight of the last grummite. It held a long spear with a jagged crystal at the end of it. A focus crystal, he thought. The book had instructed him to use those to activate something the writer called Judgment Nexuses. That would reactivate the Attenuator of Judgment and restart the “heart” of Xedilian. He ran over to the grummite holding the crystal, not even caring about the mound of filth it stood on, and he took it out with a blow to the head.

He picked up the crystal and looked around, trying to find where it belonged. He found it in the next room, where a conical fountain, made of intricately carved purple-gray stone sat with a bright glow at the top. That had to be a Judgment Nexus. He placed it on the glow and it floated there, making a soft humming sound.

One down, two to go.

He headed down the stairs where he saw three more grummites. They were facing a fire pit with three large totem poles in the center. They bowed and occasionally made movements as if they were having seizures. Wrothken tried looked beyond them to see if there was a way he could sneak around them, but it was too dark to tell. His only choice was to go in and look for himself.

Like he expected, the moment the grummites saw him, they rushed to attack. Two of them came at him with their daggers and the third remained behind as it readied its bow and arrows. This time, he was more prepared. He was able to get good hits on the first one, taking it down quicker. The other one required more time, and it was happy that the other grummite obviously couldn't see him, as the arrows flew feet away. Once he took care of the second one, he headed for the archer. It didn't even try to run away as he bludgeoned it to death.

As he walked, he started feeling a prickling in the back of his neck. It felt like something was behind him, but each time he turned, there was no one. It made him wonder if there was another invisible grummite silently stalking him, waiting for the perfect time to strike. He could almost see it every time he started walking.

"Oh, snap out of it!" He said. "Stupid place is making you paranoid."

He came to a split in the path. Two metal doors were on either side and a push block was directly in front of him. He looked at either one, wondering which it opened.

Only one way to find out...

He pressed the button, only to feel the floor vanish from beneath him. He landed hard on his back, crying out when he saw the body of a dead grummite.

He sat up, clutching his throbbing head. It took him a few moments to focus properly in order to fully heal himself.

There was no way to get back up to where he was, so he walked around, hoping for the best. He was half relieved when he found another trio of grummites, one wielding a crystal staff. He almost laughed when the staff user was in such a hurry to attack, it accidentally shocked one of the grummites to death. This time, Wrothken took out the staff user, just to ensure it didn't turn invisible on him. After that, he took care of the other one. Once again, he attached the focus crystal to another nearby altar. Just one more.

The halls led him to another room with a couple of grummites. He was starting to get used to them and found it a lot easier to dispatch them. Inside the room, there was a flight of stairs leading to nowhere, leading Wrothken to think that it might have been a throne room once. He was about to leave when a sparkle caught his eye from the top of the stairs. Curious, he went to check it out.

The sparkle came from a round topaz. His heart sank. He used to call Atrea his precious topaz, due to her golden skin and hair. He chucked it across the room.

The next place he came to was a large door that opened normally. He wanted to be relieved that he was almost done but the topaz, and the memories associated with it, was bothering him. Instead, grummites relieved him, since he could easily take his anger out on them instead.

He bashed them in repeatedly until the halls were cleared. With the last crystal in place, let out a loud sigh of relief. All he had to do was tune the crystal and he could go and relax. After glancing down at his beat up armor, he added something else to his to-do list.

Walking down the hall, he heard the all too familiar croaks of grummites. Three of them guarded the resonator at the end of the room. He was so tired, but the thought of a hot bath at Bernice's gave him the drive to go forward and fight. The first two were dagger-users and the last was an archer. The two grummites hopped up in his face, repeatedly slashing at him. At that point, he stopped trying to focus on one at a time and just delivered the beatings to whoever was closest. The archer remained where it was, pelting him with arrows. He wished he had the shield with him, but he knew that wishing it wouldn't get back it to him. Luckily, arrows that hit him bounced off the armor. Clearly grummite arrows weren’t the best quality. They would probably be better off used as small spears.

Just like the last archer, it didn't run or switch weapons. It took the beating until its death.

Wrothken took out the Attenuator of Judgment and hit the cluster of crystals once. Immediately, it began to hum loudly. The sound was so pleasant that Wrothken strongly considered taking a nap underneath it. He wanted to sleep so badly, but since he was finished, he was ready to leave Xedilian.

To his right, a door opened up, revealing a red glowing tile. He went to look at it, hoping it was an exit, but there was no door underneath it. He was going to head back, but the door shut behind him and wouldn't budge. He banged on it repeatedly until he remembered the red push block from when he first entered. All he had to do was push this one and he would be home free! Since it was on the floor, he assumed it would need a lot of weight to activate it. He stood on it and suddenly, he only saw bright red shimmers before him. Time to relax, he thought happily.


This post has been edited by Jacki Dice: Dec 23 2019, 07:34 AM


--------------------
Madness Helps Me Save Myself
Nemesis

Standing on the cliffs that kiss burning winds
We are rising together
Brazen, exalting, a hiss of triumph rings
I am yours
...Yours immortally
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SubRosa
post Jan 26 2011, 11:40 PM
Post #36


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From: Between The Worlds



How he would love to go home and shove that in people's faces.
I loved the entire first paragraph! That has to come with perks indeed! biggrin.gif

My most recent character in the Isles - Morrigan - always made it a point to take every Grummite egg she could find. Even if she could not use it to make any potions. She just hates them.

Someone once said that girls with red hair have the worst temper.
They must have met Teresa, or Athynae! biggrin.gif

she was going to beat her into the next era.
I love this phrase!

Again, you show us Wrothken's turmoil very well. He is walking through one of the strangest places in the multi-verse, and thinking more about his ex-girlfriend than anything else! Which is to say, just like any real person would. Good job bringing Wrothken to life here. His finding the topaz in Xedillian, and then throwing it away because it reminded him of Awour was wonderful!



Nits:
When we last saw Wrothken he was reading the book about Xedillian and bumping into Kalila. You said that the book told Wrothken what to do. But you never told us what that is. Now he is gathering focus crystals, but we the readers do not know what they are for (Well, us who have not done the Shivering Isles MQ). Perhaps you should go back and put in a sentence or two explaining how he needs the crystals and activate the resonator with the attenuator, etc... Or work something like that in this chapter.

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Jan 26 2011, 11:41 PM


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TheOtherRick
post Jan 26 2011, 11:43 PM
Post #37


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From: The Heart of Dixie



I haven't read the whole story yet. As a matter of fact, I have only read the prologue and the first chapter. But I had to post anyway, and I am going to catch up before you know it. This story is AWESOME!


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"To Thine Own Self Be True"

The Talendor Chronicles is my first fan fiction attempt.
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mALX
post Jan 29 2011, 04:26 AM
Post #38


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From: Cyrodiil, the Wastelands, and BFE TN



SubRosa already caught my favorite line:

"she was going to beat her into the next era."


Great line !!! Wrothken's meandering mind and desire to sleep under the red light seem to be leading him down the path to the madness that is a part of Shivering Isles - Huge Write !!! Great Chapter !!


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Grits
post Jan 30 2011, 12:25 AM
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The short brunette was livid and Wrothken only stopped crying because he didn't have the strength to bawl and hold her in her chair.
What an image!! laugh.gif

She said she couldn't and then started to rant about how girls like Awour were the reason she can't stand to be around other women.
Preach it, Kirsty!!

He shook his head, remembering that he banished her from his mind.
Mmm hmm. Until he sees a topaz. rollinglaugh.gif

Time to relax, he thought happily.
I like him so much! smile.gif


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Jacki Dice
post Jan 30 2011, 02:13 AM
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SubRosa~ I didn't even think about that! I edited it a bit, so the book becomes more helpful. smile.gif

TheOtherRick, mALX, and Grits~ Thanks so much ♥ smile.gif


~~~~~♥~~~~~

Chapter Eight: Decisions, decisions



When he opened his eyes, he expected to see the beautiful sky and the path that would lead him back to Crucible. His eyes widened and he looked around, halfway hoping that he did actually go to sleep beneath the resonator, and was just dreaming. Sadly, his aching body told him otherwise. Instead of being outside, he saw that he was still inside the fort, only there was a Dunmer with him.

He walked up to Wrothken with a wide smile and said, "Finally, Lord Sheogorath has sent someone to assist me! But where are my manners?" He cleared his throat, muttering, "Must get into my professional tone..." He cleared his throat once more and spoke in a deeper, more even voice. "Welcome to Xedilian, I'm the dungeon caretaker, Kiliban Nyrandil."

Wrothken sighed deeply. "Why am I still in here?"

"Xedilian would normally have sent you back to the entrance when you stepped on the pad in the Resonator Chamber. Since you're up here, I can only surmise that adventurers are already entering the dungeon as we speak." Kiliban seemed almost pleased.

"That's nice, but that doesn't really explain why I'm still here."

"I'm afraid until the adventurers are dealt with, Xedilian will keep you here. Even I can't will its doors to open. To put it bluntly, you're stuck here for the moment. No disrespect intended."

He sighed. His bath would have to wait. At least this man was polite, unlike certain chamberlains... "Alright. How do I deal with them? Should I just go out there and tell them to shoo? I warn you, I'm too damn tired to fight off a bunch of adventurers."

"Oh, heavens to Betsy, no!" Kiliban laughed. "The adventurers must go through a cycle. All you need to do is decide what becomes of them. Will you drive them insane or will you pull the life from their bodies?"

Kiliban held his arm and led him to a transportation tile. They arrived in another area overlooking a large room with a small tree-creature. It was nothing like the spriggans found in Cyrodiil. It looked like a dead tree with three roots for legs and strange white berries on its head. The room itself must have been another section of Xedilian. It was clean and save for the tree-creature there wasn't anything in sight.

"Now, these adventurers seek a place to live here in the Isles," Kiliban explained. "Since that horrid Gatekeeper isn't around anymore, it's become easy for just anyone to stroll in and set up shop. As you know, Lord Sheogorath only welcomes those He sees fit for residency. Now, it's up to you to decide whether or not they're worthy." He patted him on the shoulder. "I bet you're just tickled pink! Now, about the buttons. When you push the appropriate button, an event will unfold for the adventurers to experience. One is physically harmful, usually lethal traps or creatures, something relished by the residents of Dementia. The other choice is more mental. They are designed to make the adventurers lose their grip on reality, much like the residents of Mania."

"What?" Realization hit Wrothken like a bucket of ice water. He pulled out the book, flipping to the end pages. "Oh, no...." He said, his eyes widening.

"Oh, I see you have my book!" He said. "Oh, my stars, I can't tell you how flattered I am that you've read it."

Wrothken wasn't too fond of the available options as described in the book. What had those poor adventurers done to deserve death or even madness? He couldn't help but wonder what would have happened to him if he hadn't had to fight the gatekeeper, but come through Xedilian. What would the one in charge have chosen? "Why don't we just talk to them and judge from that?"

"A splendid idea indeed," Kiliban said, patting Wrothken's shoulder. "But I'm afraid it can't work that way. This is how Lord Sheogorath desires it and far be it from me to disobey Him. He'd have my head....literally! Oh, look! Here they come!"

A group of three men entered. The first was an Orc in a suit of Orsimer armor. He carried a large claymore on his back. The second to enter was an Dunmer wearing aqua robes, and the last was a brown-haired man. Wrothken couldn't tell what race he was.

"...now keep your weapons ready and watch your backs. Do what I say, and we might just get outta here alive." The Orc said to the other two.

They stopped and stared at the small creature. The Orc began to laugh.

"Awwww.... ain't it cute! What in Oblivion is that thing?" He continued laughing.

"This is one of the 'horrid guardians' of which the stories spoke?" The third man asked.

"Be careful," the Dunmer warned. "There may be more to this creature than meets the eye."

Kiliban nudged Wrothken. "Press a button," he whispered.

Wrothken looked at both of them. One was smiling and one was frowning. The book explained that the frown was the physical torment and the smile was mental. Self-defense was one thing, but he couldn't bring himself to decide to kill them just for fun. Was it any better than causing them to lose their mind though? It was a purely selfish thought as it made him feel guilty being the one to take away their sanity. Sure, they’d be alive and likely find themselves a home in the Isles, but doing this was quite the burden to place on him. He didn’t think being Sheogorath’s champion would have this kind of a cost. Obviously, he didn’t think it through all the way. He was too distracted at the thought of rubbing people’s noses in his newfound status. Figuring it was better than murdering the newcomers, he pressed the smiling button.

"What a joke," the Orc said, walking past it. "Let's be rid of this thing and continue on our way."

Wrothken heard a faint hiss, but he didn't think they could hear it. The other men did double takes at the small creature.

"Are my eyes playing tricks, or is the creature growing?"

It didn't look any bigger to Wrothken. He looked at Kiliban, who was smiling widely. "The button you pressed released hallucinogenic spore gas into the chamber. It's tricking them into believing the gnarl means to kill them. Don't worry, its bark is far worse than its bite." He chuckled at his little joke.

Wrothken looked back at the chamber where the men were scrambling, desperately trying to get away from the gnarl. The hissing soon stopped. The adventurers calmed down and the gnarl crawled into a corner, likely more afraid of them than they had been of it.

The Dunmer panted hard. "All this time it was merely an illusion," he said wiping sweat from his brow. "How clever."

The Orc turned around and walked slowly toward the other man. "Wait... what's wrong with Lewin?"

Lewin was on the ground, desperately trying to crawl as far away from the gnarl as possible. He stared after the creature. "...ma-makes no sense...should be d-dead...what...who..."

The Dunmer frowned. He walked over to the Orc, placing his hand on his shoulder. "I think this place got to him... perhaps we should leave."

The Orc shook his head. "We'll pick him up on the way out. He'll have to fend for himself."

The remaining men entered another room, leaving Lewin behind.

"Watching them run from the little gnarl gets me every time," Kiliban said happily. "Another chamber, another victim to eliminate. Hurry, the anticipation is overwhelming!" He led Wrothken to the next platform.



The first thing Wrothken saw was a pile of gold and jewels the size of Kirsty's bakery. Instantly, he made a mental list of all the things he could buy with such a large amount. The only problem was that it was locked up in a large cage. When the Orc and Dunmer entered the room, Wrothken knew they were thinking the same thing.

"Look!" The Orc pointed. "I told you! Treasure! Let's have at it, Syndelius."

They ran up a flight of stairs leading to it. The Orc grabbed hold of the bars and shook them hard. "Blast! The cage is locked. If only Lewin were here... he could get us through this in no time."

Syndelius reached through the bars, but he couldn’t reach even a single coin. "Do you think you can pry the door open?"

The Orc descended the stairs. "Forget it! This is obviously a trick! Let's get out of here."

Wrothken looked at Kiliban, who nodded his head. He pushed the smiling button. Surely they wouldn’t think the gold was going to attack them, right?

"To be so close, and yet so far,” Syndelius lamented. “If only we had the key! Wait.. do you hear something?"

A vague jingling sound started to grow louder and louder until hundreds, maybe thousands, of keys spilled onto the floor.

Syndelius whooped loudly. "Look! Keys! One of them must open the gate! We're rich!"

The Orc folded his arms. "Let's get out of here, Syndelius. This is obviously a trick to waste our time!"

Syndelius ignored him. "I'll know it when I see it!” He picked one up and rushed to the lock. “Yes... it must be here!" The key must not have worked, because he dropped it and headed back to the pile.

The Orc grabbed his arm. "They're all fake! Just come with me, now!"

Powered by his lust for gold, he wrenched free and grabbed a fistful of keys. "...find it... yes... I must find the key... rich beyond all my dreams..." He laughed under his breath.

"Bah! Suit yourself!" The Orc shot him a dirty look and walked off.

"Must find the key! Must find the key!" Syndelius sang as he started testing each one.

“Too bad none of those keys fit the lock...” He burst out into laughter. “Last chamber... this should be entertaining."



After getting on the pad, Wrothken was transported to a room that looked like it had been taken from nightmares. The floors and parts of the wall were stained with blood. Rotting corpses were hanging from their neck or attached to the walls. Some were scattered across the floor. Wrothken had to fight to keep his breakfast down.

The Orc walked down the stairs, obviously a little disturbed. "Steady, Grommok... steady," he said to himself. "You've been through worse before. What more could this place possibly throw at you?"

Wrothken was horrified of what it would do, but he pressed the smiling button. Purple light flashed and Grommok froze.

"What!? How in Oblivion can I be dead? This is impossible! Nothing killed me!" He cried out a little, looking at his hands and then around the room. "I didn't even get a chance to fight! No chance to defend myself? No chance for battle? Why?”

Kiliban nodded. “One of my favorites,” he said. “It’s a spell that makes the target translucent in their own eyes. Grommock here believes himself to be a ghostly victim! Incredibly unsettling, wouldn’t you say?”

It had to be more than just unsettling. Grommock was beginning to panic. “Impossible!” He cried. “This is impossible... Grommok has never lost a fight! Never!" He knelt down, clasping his head. "No! This is all wrong! This isn't how it's supposed to be!"

The light flashed again and Grommok jumped, but he kept mumbling to himself.

Kiliban patted Wrothken on the back. "You've made short work of the intruders. Sheogorath should be proud to have such an efficient apprentice." He led him to the last pad.

Sheogorath could be proud, but Wrothken felt terrible. This was far from what he thought Xedilian would be.



They arrived in another room that was near the entrance. Kiliban stood in front of a large chest. "As is the tradition, you are to be awarded a focus crystal as a token of your fine work. I'll have it sent to the palace and placed in the main hall, if you wish to take a look at it."

"Alright... and you mentioned some earnings?"

"Oh, yes... of course. It seems a most unusual weapon was recovered from the Orc warrior, Grommok. Never seen anything like it, but perhaps his journal can give you some useful information. Beyond that, take whatever else you need from the recovery chest... you've earned it!"

Wrothken opened the chest, hoping the unusual weapon would be a battle axe or a hammer. He was disappointed to see a large claymore with a violet gem on the guard. He held it up, admiring its beauty. It was a lovely weapon and though he had no use for it, at least he could sell it for a decent price. Among the other treasures, he found an amulet, gold, some lock picks, and a strange black cube with swirling blue patterns all over it. He decided to leave the journal behind. He didn’t want anything that would further guilt him for destroying Grommock’s sanity.

"You're free to go at any time of course, just up that hallway," Kiliban said shaking his hand. "Good luck to you!"

Wrothken nodded and was relieved to be able to go home and even more relieved that he had to fight the Gatekeeper rather than endure the same trials as those poor men. As he walked down the hall, he heard a harsh, metallic scraping. Before his eyes, a large crystal rose from the ground, looking like a giant version of the focus crystals he took from the grummites. He found it strange, but he kept going. Within seconds three armored beings ran at him. It looked as if their armor and weapons were made from the crystal. They didn't utter a sound as they descended on Wrothken, attacking with long lances. Kiliban must have heard the commotion as well. He gasped when he saw them and began flinging spells at the men. Once they were down, Kiliban rushed to check on him.

"That was quite a battle. I hope you are uninjured."

Wrothken looked at his armor. It was dented and cracked badly. "I'm fine, I guess. Who were those people?"

"You've not heard the legends? How could that be?" Kiliban looked at the men in disgust. "Those 'people' as you call them aren't people at all. They are the soulless abominations known as the Knights of Order," he spat.

"Knights of Order?" Wrothken tilted his head.

Kiliban didn't answer. Instead, he pushed him toward the door. "You must proceed to Sheogorath at once and tell him the Knights have returned! Quickly now... go!"

He pushed Wrothken out and slammed the door shut. He had a sinking feeling in his stomach. The Knights of Order must mean very bad news.


This post has been edited by Jacki Dice: Dec 23 2019, 07:35 AM


--------------------
Madness Helps Me Save Myself
Nemesis

Standing on the cliffs that kiss burning winds
We are rising together
Brazen, exalting, a hiss of triumph rings
I am yours
...Yours immortally
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