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> Buffy - Book 3, We're Having a Crisis Here!
Acadian
post Dec 18 2019, 01:42 PM
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From: Las Vegas



Welcome to Book 3! As ever, Buffy’s tale of continuing adventure remains one that is character-driven with more focus on her journey than the destination.

Buffy is a Bosmeri child of Tamriel, raised in Bravil and trained at the Arcane University. Her bigger story arc will eventually and magically cross temporal boundaries, enabling her to travel between Eras.

Near the end of Book 1, Buffy helped the man she loved, Savlian Matius, free his city of Kvatch. They were successful, but the terrible cost included Savlian's very life. It was a physically and emotionally broken elf who retreated in grief and despair to her ancestral homeland. Book 2 picks up shortly thereafter and chronicles Buffy's journey of recovery and self-discovery through Valenwood. Book 3 takes place in Cyrodiil and will see the Oblivion Crisis finally yield to the dawn of a new Era – even as Buffy accepts the challenges of walking an ancient path of her own. The small elf has traditionally danced between darkness and light; in this book, she must ultimately and entirely commit to one or the other.

Books 1 and 2, in their staggering entirety as well as an executive summary concise enough to comfortably be read in one sitting, can be found on our sub forum. That said, enjoying Book 3 does not really require more information than is contained right here in these few introductory paragraphs. I have taken care to have Buffy review significant aspects of her past as they become relevant. More specifically, I want new readers to feel comfortable just jumping right into Book 3 without feeling obligated to read Buffy’s previous books first.

I estimate that at one episode per week, Book 3 will require roughly seven months to post. My fervent hope is that you find our humbly-offered efforts worthy of your time.

* * *


~ Part 1 – Welcome Back to Cyrodiil ~


Episode 1


The few determined streaks of early sunshine that managed to penetrate the forest merely teased my right shoulder with their fleeting warmth. Superian’s visible breath drifted up and back to join with the misty fog of my own. Kitsune – my vixen familiar – loped along easily but alertly beside us. The sound of hooves on the Green Road’s worn cobblestones was comforting, but could mask the subtle sounds of approaching danger from the sensitive long ears that all three of us possessed. My sharp eyes, augmented by twin rings of detect life, moved constantly, even as I also relied on the long noses of my precious mare and fox familiar to detect the scent of foes.

Numerous small life signs on the road ahead brought us to a stop. I urged the mare forward cautiously until the forms of half a dozen vultures and several jackals squabbling among themselves came into view. Enough of the armored head and reptilian body remained to identify the carcass they feasted upon as that of a clannfear.

Kitsune teleported up to her spot between my lap and the pommel of Superian’s saddle. The carrion feeders were larger than she and we had no interest in fighting them. We skirted the edge of the road, and those tasked by the Nirn Mother with cleaning her forest briefly gave ground. The unmistakably large tracks of a grizzly bear in the soft ground just off the road told the story. Soon enough, the hungry arguments of the scavengers and acrid smell were behind us. Kitsune leapt to the ground to resume her easy lope alongside Superian.

Cyrodiil had become a much more dangerous place since my return from Valenwood a few months ago. Oblivion Gates had begun appearing with disturbing frequency. Most of the Daedra remained close to the gates that spawned them but some roamed - leaving terror and death in their wake.

The Nirn Mother had responded to the flaming blights within her forests. Grizzly bears, like the one responsible for the tracks I had just seen, were not shy about attacking Daedra.

Spriggans were now more numerous. They and their black bears struggled to protect and restore the forest. They also diligently planted vines near closed Oblivion Gates that could, over time, heal the charred land and even consume the jagged stone detritus left behind.

Thoughts of Oblivion Gates drew my mind to a dear friend, Sir Mazoga. The last I had seen of her was when she and her mate, Sir Agronak, left Kvatch with Martin Septim in tow. Since then, the only word I had of the orcish pair came from reading about how successful they were at slaying Daedra and closing Oblivion Gates. Their squire, Fanador, had become quite the prolific scribe when it came to recording the heroic deeds of his knights.

Well before the sun reached its zenith, it was swallowed by a darkening sky. As we cautiously continued, the road’s next curve allowed a better view. Fear and anger grew within me as I saw the flaming arc of jagged stone that stood before us in the distance. Ominous streaks of red lightning pierced the sinister clouds that hung above this portal to the realm of Mehrunes Dagon.

Had this Oblivion Gate been out in the wilderness, I would have given it a wide berth and moved on.

Alas, such was not the case here.

Heaving a troubled sigh, I whispered to the spirit of the old paladin who dwelled within me, “Acadian, I know the message Kud-Ei gave me last night from Boderi Farano directed that I report to the University straightaway, but this gate is close enough to the Green Road that it poses a serious threat to any who might attempt to travel between Bravil and the vulnerable villages and inns south of Pell’s Gate. I-I can’t leave it open.”

“I share your trepidation, Buffy,” replied Acadian, “but I am proud of your choice.”

While maintaining a good distance from the gate, I circuitously maneuvered Superian up onto a ridgeline that provided adequate range and cover. After carefully selecting a concealed spot among several trees, I dismounted Superian and unshouldered Slayer – my bow.

Kitsune and I crept just clear enough of the trees to gain a commanding view of the gate. Sure enough, I could see a pair of scamps and a single Daedroth patrolling just outside the gate.

There was no banner planted in front of the flaming portal to indicate anyone was inside attempting to close it. Such warning precautions had become necessary. Whether Mehrunes Dagon realized it or not, the very sigil stones that powered these gates had incentivized their destruction. They were prized for their ability to powerfully enchant items with neither training nor access to specialized altars. Bands of intrepid adventurers had grown wealthy closing gates and harvesting the valuable stones. Some of them had undergone the Legion’s gate-closing training program conducted at the Arena, while others had simply gleaned what knowledge they needed from the authoritative writings of Fanador as he described the exploits of his lieges.

“Well, here goes, my paladin. We’ve got to clear those sentries first,” I whispered. “I hope I know what we’re doing.”

As soon as the emerald swirl completed its journey from my fingertips, the Daedroth roared a challenge to the scamps who answered with a barrage of fireballs.

As the Daedra battled, I nocked an arrow.

When the burned and wounded Daedroth stood victoriously alone, I drew my bowstring. The weapon responded by assisting me to fully achieve and maintain its heavy draw. I was able to leisurely aim, then loose. Slayer also helped control the bowstring’s recovery, resulting in a quiet hiss instead of the loud snap normally associated with releasing an arrow. My missile lethally penetrated the monster’s chest.

A scan of the area detected no pink glowing life signs nearby.

I knew I had to move fast, as the Oblivion Gate would soon spawn replacement sentries.

Superian quickly and surely carried me directly down the side of the ridgeline. When I could feel the heat from the portal’s flames, I dismounted and summoned my elven hunting knife. I cut a green branch to a length that matched my height then affixed the small green Mages Guild pennant I carried. I then planted my banner near the gate. It would suffice to warn any who approached that a guild mage was inside. Those foolish enough to enter such a marked gate could expect to die when whoever was inside pulled the sigil stone. We had originally learned this lesson the hard way when Menien Goneld did not survive the closing of Kvatch’s gate.

I checked that my waterskin was full, wishing I had two of them. After augmenting my twin detect life rings with a third ring to help resist the heat of the Deadlands, I asked, “Acadian, would you recall our dragon-mare to safety within us?”

“Vensahliz, I need you,” was my paladin’s simple incantation. Vensahliz was Phantom’s name in dragon tongue, meaning wind-phantom-ice. Phantom was Acadian’s ice dragon mount. Though they both perished serving Kyne during the great dragon war at the end of the Merethic Era over four thousand years ago, their spirits lived – Acadian within me and Phantom within Superian. In order to return to Acadian, Phantom transformed the body she shared with Superian into the essence of their combined spirit. The mare evaporated into a pale blue vapor which made its way to my fingers. I closed my open hand to absorb her.

A moment later, Acadian announced, “She is safely with me now.”

With a glance from me, Kitsune disappeared. Satisfied with the preparations, I took a deep breath. Before I could change my mind, I slipped into the flaming portal.

Even as the dry heat began to permeate my buckskins, I sought a place of hiding among the rocks. The layout of this piece of the Deadlands seemed blessedly simpler than that which Savlian and I had navigated at Kvatch. I moved quickly to the sigil tower, relying on my detection magic and stealth to avoid several roaming Daedra.

Working my way up the tower, I used illusion spells to start several fights among its guardians. The ensuing distractions served to focus their attention away from me as I manipulated any doors or switches necessary to ascend.

The top of this sigil tower was guarded by a storm atronach and dremora warrior. After my magic coaxed the two into combat against each other, I sprinted to the sigil stone and grabbed it.

As the tower rumbled and began to collapse, intense white light forced my eyes closed and I felt myself falling and spinning. After a few terrifying seconds, I bounced off the cold ground of Nirn and scrambled to my feet.


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Renee
post Dec 18 2019, 01:51 PM
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Aw, you sly man. All this time you've been making up her new story. biggrin.gif Thanks for the recaps from Books 1 and 2.

Cripes, she's in Cyrodiil??? blink.gif Does this mean she's going to PvP?? Wait, it mentions twin detect life rings. So that's Oblivion. Which game are you playing? Maybe a mixture of imagination, while playing ESO, right?

That's pretty neat; spriggans plant vines to take back the mess those Daedra leave behind.

QUOTE
Bands of intrepid adventurers had grown wealthy closing gates and harvesting the valuable stones


Oh yes we have.

Nice, so she frenzies the Daedra, then readies her bow. This is Oblivion then. Wait...

QUOTE
I knew I had to move fast, as the Oblivion Gate would soon spawn replacement sentries.


No, it's ESO? Only this game respawns enemies so quickly Gets on my nerves, actually.

Well whichever game this is based on (or if it's pure imagination) welcome back. cake.gif I have a question about ESO as seen through Buffy's eyes by the way, but I'll ask it next time.

This post has been edited by Renee: Dec 18 2019, 08:27 PM
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SubRosa
post Dec 18 2019, 04:08 PM
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Buffy has a brand new book!

The Buffster, foxy familiar, and precious mare are back in Cyrodiil again. January will have to keep an eye out for her.

I love the thought of Spriggans choking off the oblivion gates, as vegetation always does at its slow, steady pace. So nice to see the Nirn Mother reacting against the disease of the interlopers.

The open gate reminds us that the Oblivion Crisis is still ongoing. Now it is sniper time. Ah, I do remember Buffy's patented Frenzy then sniping combination.

I love the idea that Capitalism is the downfall of the Daedra. All someone had to do was make it profitable to fight the Army of Darkness!

The idea of planting a banner at the gate is very clever, to warn others not to try to follow inside, and be trapped there when their predecessors took the sigil stone.

So nice to see Buffy and her entourage back again! This was a nice refresher, without being too heavy-handed on the Telling, with just enough new action sprinkled in to keep things interesting.


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Grits
post Dec 19 2019, 04:10 AM
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Yay for Buffy’s Book 3!!

A banner outside the Gate is a great idea! I love that adventurers, knights, bears, and spriggans are all responding to the Oblivion crisis. Buffy’s Gate encounter provided a live demonstration of what a summary would have told, tremendous!

“I hope I know what we’re doing.” This made me smile. It is a delight to ride along on Buffy’s adventures again! happy.gif


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haute ecole rider
post Dec 19 2019, 06:49 PM
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Just recently I spent some time revisiting Nostalgia Lane by re reading Julian's story. Then you post this first installment in what looks to be Buffy's own resolution to the Oblivion Crisis. *Sigh* It is so good to be back in TES IV again, if only vicariously.

When I first read of the banner in front of the Gate, I thought to myself Damn, I wish I had thought of that! Then I realized that in Julian's story, she always left her horse nearby, and others seeing them would realize there would be someone in there already. So her horses performed a similar function as Buffy's banner. Also, her Crisis didn't seem to take as long as Buffy's already has done, so there would be little opportunity for those intrepid adventurers to take on those Gates. So let me echo what others have said and kudos to you and Buffy for that banner idea!

I've also thought long and hard about what to do about those Gates once they're closed. In the game, they ruin perfectly beautiful places for what seems like forever. In fact, it was intended to be part of Julian's LBMQ that she would address that issue. Your solution is wonderful, and very typical of Buffy's world.


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BretonBlood
post Dec 19 2019, 07:34 PM
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A new Buffy book!! YES!

This was a great way to start off the new one. Buffy back in Cyrodiil, and going into am Oblivion Gate. The banner trick is genius, a way to keep people safe who have entered the gate so no one comes along and closes the gate with them still inside.

She was smart to use her illusion magic to make the Daedra fight themselves, that makes her mission that much simpler as they aren't focused on her. This was a great first chapter can't wait for more.


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My first short story - "A Thief's Ascension"
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Lopov
post Dec 19 2019, 07:37 PM
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Great, Buffy's back (on the track)!

I haven't read the story yet, but will do so in the coming days, I want some time for myself only as I focus on the story.


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"Horrible creatures - I avoid them whenever I can."
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Darkness Eternal
post Dec 21 2019, 06:40 AM
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Buffy is back! I kept wondering if we would see a next installment of her since her adventures in Valenwood! Happy to see we're back to Cyrodiil.

Our long-eared friends have returned, and are always primed for something. Seems that the Oblivion Crisis is still raging across Cyrodiil as those fiery gates continue to appear. A good(bad) Daedra is dead one, and it seems even after death their remains can potentially bring big problems such as bears and other hungry predators. Buffy was wise in moving forward.

I love the descriptions on the ongoing crisis and the effects it had on the world. What I really enjoyed here was the fact that brave adventurers made a nice sum with sigil stones that powered(and closed) Oblivion gates. No doubt after the crisis is over, there's much coin to be made.

As others have pointed out, the banner at the gate is a very wise idea! Very smart! This will potentially save lives! Rest in peace Menien Goneld salute.gif

I'm so glad we get to see Buffy back in action! Seeing her make short work of the Daedra only gives us more expectation on what's to come. Upon her moments of self-reflection and meditation, I wonder how much different Buffy is now when renewed with promise.


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And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.”
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Acadian
post Dec 25 2019, 02:12 PM
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Renee- This story takes place in the game of Oblivion against the backdrop of ending the Obivion Crisis. Buffy has done much world and time traveling since the Oblivion Crisis so this book is effectively sharing some of her old memoires. Thank you so much for joining us!

SubRosa- I’ve found that sequels have their own challenge of how much to review – too much risks boring readers who know Buffy well; too little and new readers are confused. Regardless, there are some essential background elements that must be covered fairly early on. I felt it important that the first few episodes include a good review of who Buffy is, her skills/trappings/companions and where she’s been. Thanks for the encouragement that it has not been excessively heavy handed so far – this was indeed a fair amount of background info to convey, and upcoming episodes will be progressively much lighter in that regard.

Grits- The loss of Menion during Buffy’s first gate closing left a lasting impact on the elf. The use of banners seemed a logical precaution to have developed as more adventurers began closing gates. I appreciate your comment on ‘I hope I know what we’re doing’ as Buffy has used it before to demonstrate the ever presence of Acadian within her. Thank you!

Rider- I’m glad to see that Julian also recognized that a warning outside a gate with adventurers inside was a wise precaution – and using Blanco sounds like an effective alternative. Thank you!

BretonBlood- I’m glad that our idea of using a banner struck a chord with several readers. Illusion spells + bow have been Buffy’s forte so far in her stories. Thank you!

Lopov- Thanks for joining us. I understand the need to read without distractions and look forward to your thoughts.

DE- Buffy, Kitsune and Superian are indeed the ‘Long-eared Gang’! Yes, after a side trip to Valenwood for Book 2, the B is back to help her friends end the Oblivion Crisis. Regarding how Buffy’s experiences have changed her, she is indeed evolving – and Acadian will point that out to her in this next episode. Thank you!

*

Note- Here is a screenshot of Buffy, Superian and Kitsune. Though the shot is from ESO, it is how I envision them during this story.

Previously- Having been summoned to the Arcane University by Boderi Farano, we joined Buffy en route from Bravil. When she encountered an Oblivion Gate dangerously close to the road, she closed it.

* * *


Episode 2


A quick self-inspection verified that I had escaped the Deadlands uninjured. The dark Oblivion sky had fled and I could now see long shadows cast by a westering sun. The sigil stone in my hand hummed with an irritating buzz.

I pulled a spare blouse from what appeared to be a small mage satchel at my waist. In fact, it was a heavily enchanted almost weightless bag of holding. Its cavernous interior could hold an astonishing number of items almost irrespective of size, shape and weight. Thankfully, by merely placing a hand inside the pouch, I could telepathically recall any object stowed inside right to my fingers instead of having to rummage through its many contents. Wrapping the humming sigil stone, I slipped it into the satchel.

Free of the stone’s distracting noise, I was able to focus on recovering my mare. “Superian, I need you.” The spirit that Phantom and Superian shared flowed from within and traveled down one arm until it filled my right fist. As I opened my fingers to release the magic of her essence, Superian materialized in front of me - still under tack.

“Well done, heroine.”

I nearly jumped out of my boots at the voice. So preoccupied had I been silencing and stowing the sigil stone then recovering my mare, that I had noticed neither the glow of the woman’s life sign nor her approach. I turned to see a Breton whose face, framed by short dark hair, appeared to have seen perhaps thirty winters. A dagger was tucked into the belt that cinched a gray robe around her slender form.

She continued, “I was traveling south. . .“

The fact that Superian snorted nervously and backed several paces away as the Breton spoke, told me much more than the woman’s words.

“. . . helping to make this road once again safe. I thank you.”

I had learned to rely on my mare’s judgment. Sure enough, I now detected the tailless pink glows of several more humans, or perhaps elves, in the nearby forest. I began easing back toward Superian, saying, “Thank you for the kind words, traveler, but I must be continuing my journey without delay.”

She replied, louder than was necessary, “The sigil stone you carry is a rich prize but hardly worth your life, I should think.” Three men stepped from the forest and surrounded me. A Redguard wielded a pair of short swords, while two Nords brandished a war hammer and battleaxe respectively. The woman continued, “Perhaps you should surrender that stone to us before peacefully continuing your journey.”

While pleased with Superian’s instincts, the mare had moved too far away to immediately mount. Not only was I surrounded, but even Superian's stunning acceleration couldn’t outrun most spells – and I assumed the Breton with two empty hands was some sort of hedge wizard.

“Very well,” I said. “Four against one are inauspicious odds.” I retrieved the sigil stone and held it up. If they accepted it and let me go, I would track them down and end their careers of banditry. If their plan was to leave no witnesses. . . well, I'd just have to fight all four of them.

“Roll it across the ground to me,” directed the mage.

I did so.

She picked up the stone and stowed it in her pack. “Okay, boys, the elf’s all yours. Just make sure she’s dead after you’ve had your fun with her. Oh, and after you dispose of her body, bring that big yellow warhorse with you – looks like it’ll fetch a good price.”

Both Nords licked their lips as the Redguard spoke. “Well, well, aren’t you a pretty little tree nymph. How ‘bout you set that bow on the ground real easy like, kick it away, then shuck off them buckskins. If you’re real nice to us, we’ll kill you quick after we’ve all had our turn with you.”

The mage smirked, then turned and started to walk away as the men began to argue about who would ‘have their turn’ first.

My right hand began to move slowly toward my bow as instructed. Before it got to my shoulder, however, I spiked the air with my fist and vanished in a lavender cloud of magic. With merely a thought, Kitsune appeared in my place. Quickly slipping out of the circle formed by the three men and gaining a bit of distance, I filled my hand with Slayer.

“The leaf eater’s turned into a damn fox!” shouted one of the Nords. “Get her!”

As Kitsune nimbly slipped between the men and ran toward the hedge wizard, the trio chased after her – away from me.

The mage turned back toward us, “You imbeciles! That’s a summon - ignore it. I’ll cast a detect life spell, locate the elf, then dispel her invisibility.”

My arms, hands and bow appeared in front of me of their own accord as I pulled silk to cheek and loosed the first arrow.

Before the mage’s corpse hit the ground, an illusion spell swirled from my right hand. As it blossomed into the trio of remaining foes, they turned on each other.

By the time only one bloodied Nord remained on his feet, I was well beyond the reach of his war hammer and stood behind my fully drawn bow. “I can kill you long before you close the distance,” I warned, “Drop your weapon and step back from it.”

The fury in his eyes gradually resigned to the reality of his situation. He did as I instructed.

“My name is Dame Buffy. I judge you guilty of robbery, as well as attempted rape, murder and horse thievery. The penalty for such crimes in Cyrodiil is death. I take no pleasure in delivering this sentence but you cannot be allowed the opportunity to ever again attempt such acts against other travelers who may be less able to defend themselves. Unlike the demeaning humiliation you and your associates planned to inflict before killing me, I will grant you a mercifully quick death. Have you any last words? Or would you like a moment to make peace with your gods?”

He spat on the ground, then met my gaze with a wild look in his eyes. I was ready when, instead of yielding to his fate, the unarmed Nord charged.

At this range it was an easy shot. My missile pierced his left eye and the man’s head snapped back violently as my arrowhead shattered the back of his skull. Like the hedge wizard, he was dead before he hit the ground.

I confirmed that none of the four bandits emitted life signs, then returned the sigil stone to my satchel as Superian approached. “You knew that woman was a brigand before I did. Anyone who thinks horses are dumb is full of imp chips.” I mounted and looked down at my vixen as she happily waved her luxuriant tail. “Thank you, Kitsune. The illusion we’ve practiced where you appear to replace me worked wonderfully - though keeping watch for me while I was distracted stowing the sigil stone and recovering Superian would have been helpful also. Now, let us leave this place and allow these bandits to provide for the needs of those little ones who keep this part of the forest clean.”

Once heading north again along the Green Road we rode in silence until Acadian spoke, “I am proud of you, Buffy.”

I frowned. “For what, Acadian? Leaving four dead bandits in my wake?”

“You had no choice regarding the first three,” he replied. “The fourth had to die as well – for exactly the reasons you explained to him. I recall a time when, rather than granting him a merciful death, you would have gut shot him, then taunted him as he slowly died in agony. I believe you have learned the difference between vengeful retribution and righteous justice.”

I uncomfortably recalled doing exactly what the paladin described to a highwayman who had swung his axe at my precious mare over a year ago. “I. . . I hadn’t really thought about it, I suppose, but perhaps you’re right. I knew all four of those bandits had to die so others would not suffer from their cruelty. . . but torturing them would have made me . . . like them.”

After a few moments, I added, “I. . . perhaps I should have tied his hands and escorted him to the guards in Bravil?”

“To what purpose?” Acadian answered my question with his own. “To encounter a highwayman robbing a hapless traveler along the way and risk your prisoner escaping while you intervened? Nay, Buffy, you were dubbed a knight by one of the Empire’s ruling nobles. You have the necessary authority to do what any Legion rider on patrol would do – firmly and fairly deliver justice, then continue your mission.”

“I concede there is logic and wisdom in your words, Acadian. I guess I’m still coming to terms with both the responsibility and authority that being a knight entails.”

"As I said, my elf, I’m proud of you.”

Changing the subject, I stated, “Closing that gate delayed us. We’ll stop at Pell’s Gate for the night, then continue before first light on to the Arcane University.

This post has been edited by Acadian: Dec 25 2019, 10:33 PM


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Lopov
post Dec 25 2019, 07:49 PM
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On the first story...I'm thankful for a little summary of important events from Buffy's past in the beginning. I'm also happy to see that I remember most of the things correctly, and I wondered, if you'll mention Mazoga the Orc as well, which is exactly what you did, later on.

Like others, I must compliment the idea behind banners, I actually needed to read it twice just to check if I read it right.

A clever way to dispose of sentries outside of the gate, let the Daedroth do most of the work.

Last, but not the least - I'm glad that 90% of the story is dedicated to Buffy's descriptions / vision of Cyrodiil, her memories and the battle outside of the Gate, instead of events in the plane of Oblivion.

Now to the second story...

thanks for the screenie, now it's even easier to picture the adventuring trio.

Ah, the magical bag of holding, a must-have for any adventurer that travels without a backpack.

The downside of the banner outside the Gate might be that bandits then wait for adventurers outside and try to steal stuff. Then again, attacking someone that had just single-handedly closed the gate, isn't such a good idea. I'm glad that Buffy taught them a lesson in manners, and made Cyrodiil a safer place, even if for just one bit.

This post has been edited by Lopov: Dec 25 2019, 08:05 PM


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haute ecole rider
post Dec 25 2019, 10:20 PM
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What a delightful Christmas gift! A new installment of Buffy and the Long Eared Gang's tails tale!

QUOTE
“You knew that woman was a brigand before I did. Anyone who thinks horses are dumb is full of imp chips.”
Julian (and Blanco) would heartily agree!

A nit:
QUOTE
As I said, my elf, I’m proud of you.”
This seems to be missing an opening quote. . .

QUOTE
"As one who has had to dispense Legion justice, Julian approves: “My name is Dame Buffy. I judge you guilty of robbery, as well as attempted rape, murder and horse thievery. The penalty for such crimes in Cyrodiil is death. I take no pleasure in delivering this sentence but you cannot be allowed the opportunity to ever again attempt such acts against other travelers who may be less able to defend themselves. Unlike the demeaning humiliation you and your associates planned to inflict before killing me, I will grant you a mercifully quick death. Have you any last words? Or would you like a moment to make peace with your gods?”
Though she said she would not have worded it quite the same way . . . blink.gif biggrin.gif

Can you tell I loved this little bit?

This post has been edited by haute ecole rider: Dec 25 2019, 10:21 PM


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Darkness Eternal
post Dec 26 2019, 02:11 AM
Post #12


Master
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From: Coldharbour




I don't think there is anything more pleasing than to see bandits and criminals, especially the lecherous kind, get what's coming for them. Both Superian and Kitsune make a fine team. Buffy's brave mare was able to sense something was off from the beginning, and Kitsune provided a much needed(and hilarious) distraction from the bandits. Buffy's skill is noted here. The odds were against her. She was outnumbered but certainly not outmatched.

More than one? Have them go at each other.

"I knew all four of those bandits had to die so others would not suffer from their cruelty. . . but torturing them would have made me . . . like them."
I really enjoyed reading this. There is a difference between killing and enjoying it for pleasure, and killing because its something that needed to be done. Buffy certainly has grown! As a knight, morals and good judgment is a must, and with Acadian by her side, I know Buffy's is indeed in good company.


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And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.”
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SubRosa
post Dec 26 2019, 04:37 PM
Post #13


Ancient
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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Between The Worlds



I wish I could telepathically recall any object in my merely ordinary-sized purse to my fingers...

I like your description of releasing Superian, rather than summoning her.

A very clever trick by Kitsune, pretending to be Buffy! This part needs Yakety Sax playing in the background.

Imp chips! Not just for parties anymore.

The murderous thugs get the karma they justly deserve. Buffy shows a measure of empathy and self-control with her doubts over whether she should have killed the last one, or tried taking him back to Bravil alive. Doubts which her foes were incapable of. In the end one cannot fault her for killing him. If Batman would have done the same to the Joker, thousands more people would be alive because of it.


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Renee
post Dec 26 2019, 09:04 PM
Post #14


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



Okay I see. Oblivion, then. Uh oh, there's brigands ganging up on the glass-cannon elf. indifferent.gif Don't these fools know who they're dealing with? Apparently not. They never do, right?

But she can cast that fancy Invisibility spell, right? And then all that's left to fight is a clannfear? See, I know my Buffy, from reading the old forums.

Ah I was close! I'm not sure what a kitsune is, but yeah, these guys are about to have their asses handed to them.

So what magical effect did that Sigil Stone contain this time? Guess we'll find out.

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BretonBlood
post Dec 27 2019, 11:26 PM
Post #15


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Joined: 9-March 15



Oh I love that picture of Buffy from ESO.

Mannnnn that was a nifty little tricky by Buffy, definitely smart.

And wow... I like the character development here, having Acadian bring up the difference in how much Buffy has grown was nice. I was sitting here hoping she didn't give the bandit a merciful death as he didn't deserve it. Just goes to show how much better a person she is!


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My first short story - "A Thief's Ascension"
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Acadian
post Jan 1 2020, 01:42 PM
Post #16


Paladin
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From: Las Vegas



Lopov- Thanks for catching up and your kind words. I agree that quickly summarizing how Buffy closed that gate worked well to keep things focused. She will enter and close one more gate in this book and will go into greater detail for that one. Thanks also for noting that the same valuable sigil stones that draw brave adventurers to close Oblivion Gates also attract cowardly bandits to steal them.

Rider- Thanks for catching that nit so I could quickly fix it. I’m glad you approved of Buffy’s formal little speech to that final bandit. As she admits, she is still learning the responsibility and authority of her knighthood. Thank you!

DE- Buffy is fortunate indeed to have the help of Superian, Kitsune and Acadian. It is a bit of a mystery how so many spirits can fit into such a small elf. . . except that she comes from a tribe called the Spirit Catchers. Thank you for noting how Buffy is evolving from embracing vengeance to exacting righteous justice when it is required.

SubRosa- I agree that it works well for Buffy to play up the ‘Spirit Catcher’ aspects of both Superian and Kitsune (and even Acadian). Telepathically retrieving items from your purse would be handy indeed! Imp chips – I think that is a term I likely borrowed from you. In our view of Tamriel, the Empire ascribes to quite a ‘Judge Dreddian’ streamlined justice system - giving full field judiciary powers to city guards, Legion Riders and knights. Acadian’s counsel to Buffy that she acted properly was helpful I think. And you are astute to point out that it is Buffy’s self-doubts that attest to her humanity. Thank you!

Renee- Buffy would be lost (and dead) without her magicks, that is for sure! Kitsune is the name of Buffy’s vixen familiar. Kitsune is Japanese for fox – an animal that is well-woven into Japanese mystical folklore. A tribe-sister she met in Valenwood during Book 2 taught Buffy the ‘Find Familiar’ spell and that is how she acquired the magical little fox. Thank you!

BretonBlood- One of our objectives here was indeed to show how Buffy’s approach to dealing with baddies has evolved. I suspect that both her knighthood and the long term effects of carrying the spirit of an old paladin within her are responsible. Regardless of the reason, we’ll see that the direction her growth is taking will prove to be necessary for the path she will choose to walk during this book. Thank you!

*

Previously- Soon after Buffy emerged from closing an Oblivion Gate, she was set upon by bandits seeking to steal the valuable sigil stone she held. When it became clear they intended to violate and kill her as well, she managed to successfully defend herself. With her trip delayed, Buffy decided to layover at Pell’s Gate for the night before continuing on to her destination – the Arcane University.

* * *


Episode 3


A pair of imps grew from the morning mist that hung heavily across the canyon floor. On leathery wings, they hovered to evaluate Superian and I. After a brief assessment, the small winged guardians unconcernedly continued their patrol to keep horses in and predators out of the Valley of Horses.

Dew-covered verdant grass subdued the sound of rapidly approaching hoof beats until no less than five of the valley’s majestic residents raced past us in the opposite direction, manes and tails flying freely. I turned in the saddle to watch in awe as they sped into the mist behind us. Leaning forward to pat the neck of my precious mare, I whispered, “Welcome home, girl.” After a moment, I remarked, “Acadian, you’ve been quiet this morning.”

The old paladin replied, “I’m sure you’re pleased to be back in the Valley of Horses. It’s been too long.”

I nodded soberly. “It has indeed.” After losing my mate - Captain Savlian Matius - during the battle to free Kvatch from Daedra, it was just too painful for me to remain in Cyrodiil. I traveled south to visit the Tall Trees of my ancestral homeland. Over two months ago we had returned from Valenwood. After briefly stopping in Kvatch to visit the grave of Savlian and pay my respects to Countess Odalys Goldwine, we traveled directly to Bravil. Our last trip to the Arcane University was to request guild assistance for Savlian’s forces in Kvatch, well before our fateful battle there.

I smiled as I looked down at Kitsune. The small vixen shared nearly the same palomino coloring as my mare. She was curled up in front of me, chin resting on the pommel of Superian’s saddle, long ears relaxed. “The University can be a bustling place.” I chuckled then added, “Take care you don’t get lost under the robes of some mage.” She lifted her head, yawned, then crawled into the magic satchel at my waist. “Enjoy your nap,” I said. That she was primarily nocturnal and had superb night vision made her a marvelous night sentry for Superian and I while camping.

Soon, the stone bridge connecting The Imperial City and Arcane University loomed ahead and high above us. Beneath it, the wooden buildings of the University’s stable came into view.

I drew my mare to a stop in front of Equestria’s sign and the curious gaze of its stablemaster.

The Bosmer tapped the contents of his pipe out onto the ground. Grinding out the smoldering ash under a manure-stained boot, he slipped the device for smoking tobacco into a pocket. “Tis been a long time, lass.” He eyed my mare warily. I realized why.

“You’ve not seen Superian since we visited Valenwood,” I stated. “She’s . . . changed.”

“Aye, I’ll say.” He walked slowly around the mare. “She’s put on a couple hands o’ height an’ nearly fifty stone o’ lean weight I’d say. Not ta mention ‘er new palomino coat. Still the same white mane, forehead splash an’ tail, I see.” He smiled as he looked down. “By Zenithar’s anvil, ye’ve got some hooves on ye Superian - like dinner plates that even all that white featherin’ canna' hide.” The mare swung her head down and nudged the old stablemaster, whose experienced hands rubbed her long nose.

“She clearly remembers you, Thernd.”

“And a fine lookin’ heavy warhorse she be now. Any other less visible changes?”

“I believe that her increased size, age and experience have settled her some,” I replied. “She’s lost none of her explosive acceleration and speed, but I don’t think she can maintain that speed as long as she could when she was lighter. Oh, and there is something else you need to know. Superian can now transition into spirit form and take refuge inside me when needed. To the unknowing, it appears that I summon and unsummon her. Indeed, I sometimes refer to it that way to avoid more complex explanations. One price we paid though is that we cannot tolerate great distance between us. If we are too far apart I can sense her fidgeting, getting unruly and eventually panicking. If that happens, I have to get to her quickly or recall her to me.” I looked up, judging the distance to the walled arcane complex above. “She should be fine here in the valley while I’m at the University.”

Thernd let out a low whistle. “As stablemaster ta mages since afore ye were born, these old eyes ha’ seen a lot, but. . . should I ask how all this came about?”

I smiled and shook my head as I patted Superian’s neck. “It was. . . necessary to survive in Valenwood.” With a wink I added, “Besides, a girl’s entitled to a few secrets, right?”

“Ach! Shoulda' known better than to ask one o’ ye mages about yer magicks.” The sparkle in his eyes belied the disapproval in his words. Grizzled hands then reached up to circle my waist before lifting me from the saddle and placing me on the ground.

I nodded my thanks and changed the subject. “The valley’s as enchanting as ever. Where’s that wolfish helper of yours?”

He gestured toward a sturdy rail fence to our east. “Bandit be down herdin’ the stallions ta water, but I wager he’ll be up 'ere touchin’ noses wi’ yer mare soon enough.”

We had entered the valley from the west and ridden through the portion where mares, colts, fillies and geldings lived. Stallions were relegated to the smaller eastern portion of the valley. I was pleased to hear that the large gray dog I had brought Thernd from R'asava Camp still earned his keep at Equestria. “I know she’ll remember him.”

How long’ll Superian be stayin’ wi’ ol’ Thernd?”

“I’m not sure,” I replied. “I’ve been summoned here by Boderi Farano.”

“Off wi’ ye then! Boderi’s not one ta be kept waitin'.”

”I should unsummon Superian’s tack and groom her before –“

“Nay, lass. Leave ‘er under tack. I want ta clean, condition and inspect it fer any needed repairs. I know ye can conjure and unconjure it but it still needs care now an’ again. An' don’t be worryin’ ‘bout yer mare none. Me two stable lads’ll get ‘er stripped down, cleaned up an’ turned out ta’ run wi’ ‘er friends.” He took the reins and dismissed me with his free hand. “Shoo!”

I blew a kiss to my mare, obediently turned and started up the steep granite steps toward the Arcane University’s main gate.


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Screenshot: Buffy in Artaeum
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ghastley
post Jan 1 2020, 04:21 PM
Post #17


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Joined: 13-December 10



You sneaked a few episodes by me while I was in England, but I can catch up.

I like the way you took the "not only the Champion can close gates" idea you'd established in th first book, and stampeded with it. It's gone from Buffy being special enough to help, to "anyone can do it". Especially the idea that the local wildlife will go after the daedra, too. In-game, the creature faction is a bit too all-inclusive.

And Thernd being relatively un-surprised by Superian's evolution is a nice touch. "A wizard did it". tongue.gif



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Mods for Oblivion and now Daggerfall and Skyrim. Fan fiction, too.
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SubRosa
post Jan 1 2020, 05:20 PM
Post #18


Ancient
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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Between The Worlds



Ah, back to Jean Auel's valley in the shadow of the Arcane U.

Thernd has quite the eye for horses, to recognize Supes after all that has changed. Again, you give us a subtle, and natural way of showing that to us.


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Lopov
post Jan 2 2020, 08:24 PM
Post #19


Master
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Joined: 11-February 13
From: Slovenia



An episode dedicated mostly to Superian - nice! Although Thernd speaks in some dialect, you did a good job with his words, even I, a non-English native speaker, could understand him.

I'm sure Superian is in good hands, while Buffy will be busy at the University.


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"I saw a politician the other day."
"Horrible creatures - I avoid them whenever I can."
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BretonBlood
post Jan 3 2020, 05:40 AM
Post #20


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As ghastley stated I really enjoyed Thernd's feelings towards Superian. He was a bit suspicious and curious of Superian's changes and what not, but he has seen enough mages and their magic that he knew that likely whatever has happened to the noble steed was magical in nature so he just shrugs it off. A really nice touch.

It's nice seeing these interactions with "lesser" characters, it really makes the world feel more fleshed out and is a great addition. Great chapter! Can't wait to see what business Buffy has in the University!


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My first short story - "A Thief's Ascension"
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