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> Jerric's Story, A Nord's Adventures in Cyrodiil
Grits
post Dec 9 2010, 04:53 PM
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From: The Gold Coast



Hi folks. This is my first attempt at fiction, and I welcome any criticism from the smallest nit to the most sweeping remarks on writing in general.

My version of Tamriel is a little bigger than the game’s, but I’m trying to fill in some of the blanks rather than re-imagine the place. I have taken liberties with the order of some events, but the main quest will stand. Mostly.

I feel especially weak in the lore and action sequence departments. If you should suggest a resource, I will certainly seek it out in the hope that my next effort will be less cringe-worthy!

So welcome to Jerric’s story, and thank you for joining us.

(Edit: Darnand started as Arnand, so comments may reference his old name.)

July 24, 2014: Hi again. Having learned much in the last couple of years I’m revisiting early chapters and giving them a very light edit. Regrettably there may be some inconsistencies in style as I work my way through. Sorry about that, and thank you very much for reading! smile.gif


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Jerric



The whole story is contained in this thread, but here are some links to the beginning of each chapter within this thread.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Working Vacation
Chapter 2 On the Gold Road
Chapter 3 Welcome to the Imperial City
Chapter 4 All’s Well in Aleswell
Chapter 5 Unloading the Amulet
Chapter 6 Going Home
Chapter 7 Kvatch
Chapter 8 Running
Chapter 9 Anvil
Chapter 10 Septims
Chapter 11 Holidays
Chapter 12 Return to Kvatch
Interlude:Abiene’s Letters
Chapter 13 Skingrad
Chapter 14 The Imperial City
Chapter 15 Chorrol
Interlude: Abiene
Chapter 16 Valley of Hopes
Chapter 17 Bruma


The Darnandex

Appendix One: The People of Jerric’s World
Appendix Two: Jerric’s World Terms
Appendix Three: Map of Game Quests Within Jerric’s Story
Appendix Four: Geography
Appendix Five: Timeline







Chapter 1: Working Vacation




Darnand Penoit had hoped to spend the afternoon studying with the delicious Abiene, but instead he was in the hills above Anvil searching for goldenrod plants with this hulking nitwit. They were working their way through the meadow side by side so as not to miss any. Darnand straightened to ease the kink in his back. He shot a glance at his partner.

Jerric stood thigh deep in the golden grass, eyes closed and face raised to the sun. He had pulled off his shirt and tucked it into the back of his breeches where it hung down like a ridiculous tail. His head looked like a shock of wheat.

Idiot, Darnand thought. Every night he has to heal his own sunburn. Jerric held a wicked looking blade in one hand and a white seed pod in the other.

“I feel just like a loaf of bread,” Jerric said to the sky.

“Felen is waiting for these pods,” Darnand snapped. What is this lump doing in the Mages Guild, anyway? he wondered. He did not grow those arms by turning pages.

Jerric laughed. “No he’s not. He’ll have his nose in a book by now and he won’t look up until long after dark.” The Nord tucked the pod into his bag and looked down for another goldenrod plant.

“You missed one,” Darnand said. He pointed to the plant at Jerric’s feet. “If you are not going to work, why did you bother to walk this far?”

“Because this is my assignment.” Jerric nudged the plant with his boot. “I never take all of the seed pods from any plant. Where do you think the plants come from? If you take all of the pods, no more goldenrod.”

Darnand could identify most of the alchemical plants in Cyrodiil from his books, but he had given little thought to how they grow.

Jerric stepped forward and stooped, cutting pods from another plant.

“What kind of mage would bring a dagger,” said Darnand. He snapped a pod from its dry stem to make his point.

“It’s a knife.” Jerric tossed it into the air and caught the blade between his thumb and finger. “My hand just likes to hold it. Try it,” he offered, extending the hilt toward Darnand.

“A real mage is his own weapon,” Darnand sniffed.

The two worked in silence for some time. Darnand was beginning to feel unpleasantly warm under his robe, and Jerric was positively streaming. The man’s sweat smelled unpleasantly familiar.

Sharing the Mages Guild common quarters with Jerric was a trial. He was noisy, his gigantic boots were always in the way, and he treated every day like Jester’s Day. Just last night while Darnand lay in bed reading Jerric had jumped under the blanket with him. He had let loose some wind then held Darnand’s head beneath the covers. The visiting mages had laughed like a pack of teenagers. One of them had wet herself.

Worst of all, Abiene seemed to like him.

“Feh, you smell like an animal,” Darnand muttered.

Jerric straightened and turned toward Darnand, a grin on his lips. Then he froze, eyes widening. “Boar,” he said.

“Oh really,” Darnand snapped, “Well I think you are the bore, Nord!”

Darnand faced his opponent, ready to deliver his come-uppance. Jerric whipped a ball of frost at him, faster than Darnand could think. It landed behind him with a hollow boom and an enraged squeal.

Comprehension dawned. Boar! Darnand sprinted toward Jerric, readying his fire spell. He whirled some distance behind the Nord in time to see the boar charge.

Jerric switched the knife to his right hand and hit the boar with frost from his left. When he lunged to the side the boar almost missed him with its yellow tusks. Jerric tackled the boar just as Darnand let go with his fire.

The Nord, the boar, and the ball of fire disappeared into the tall grass. Dust, squeals, and a death scream rose from the thrashing mayhem. A moment later all was still.

Darnand stood in horror at what he had done. By the Nine, I have killed him! I shall certainly be expelled from the Guild.

Jerric popped up from the grass, streaked with blood and crowing in triumph. He wiped his blade on his breeches.

Darnand searched him for signs of immolation. He appeared whole, apart from a steady stream pumping out of a wound in his thigh. “Erm ...” Darnand said, pointing.

Jerric held his skin together through the tear in his breeches and sent healing light swirling down his body. He looked at Darnand, grinning. “Did you hit me with a flare, soldier?”

“Please do not tell Carahil,” Darnand blurted. He took a deep breath to steady his nerves. “Why did the spell not burn you?”

“I can thank the stars for that.”

Atronach, thought Darnand. That explains a lot.

“New plan, Breton! Grab my bag, will you? I don’t want to get blood on Felen’s flowers.” Jerric lifted the boar carcass to his shoulders with a grunt, hardly staggering. “Good thing this was a small one.”

Jerric started down the hill toward Anvil. Against his better judgment, Darnand picked up the bag and followed.
___



“But how did you know she would have seed pods to sell us?” Darnand asked. His companion had sold the boar to a butcher, then bought enough white seed pods from a woman on the street to finish filling both their bags. Jerric had taken the first offer from both merchants, like some rube. Now they were entrenched at The Flowing Bowl with just enough coin to get them into trouble.

“She sells anything she can get for free,” Jerric said. “This time of year she has to have white seed pods, and cheap.”

“But she is a beggar. She does not have anything.”

“She has what she needs,” Jerric pointed out. “Don’t you think that if she was really planning to buy shoes, she would have them by now?”

“How do you know these things?” Darnand demanded. “You do not even reside in Anvil.”

“How do you not know them? Don’t you ever talk to people?”

Darnand took sip of beer and winced at the bitter taste. He was not sure how he ended up on the waterfront in the middle of the afternoon drinking with the person he liked least in all of the Mages Guild. The person he had almost incinerated only a few hours ago. He was beginning to worry about payback for that incident.

“Are you sure you are not angry about the ...” Darnand could not bring himself to say it.

“No harm done,” said Jerric. “I’m just glad you didn’t set the grass on fire. Besides, you would have healed me, right? Abiene said you’ve nearly reached Journeyman in Restoration.”

Darnand inhaled some spit. “Abiene talks about me?” he choked.

“Yeah,” Jerric replied with a twist of his lips. “She says, ‘Oh that Darnand, how does he get his hair that way, it looks sooooo pretty.’”

Darnand gritted his teeth and stared into his beer.

Jerric thumped his arm.

“Easy with the ham fist, I am not a snow bear,” Darnand complained.

“I’m a Nord, Darnand. Get over it. Anyway I’m not even that big. You should see my Pa, he has a neck like a minotaur.”

Darnand looked at Jerric for a long moment. “Did you have a point?”

“Look over there.” Jerric gestured at a slim, dark, Imperial woman. “What do you think of her?”

“She has a face like a weasel. I think you have a good chance with her.”

“No, for you! She’s been looking over here a lot.”

Darnand was amazed. “Are you procuring women for me, now?”

Jerric shrugged. “You seem tense.”

The door opened and closed with inn traffic.

“Drink up,” Jerric said. “The sun’s going down. We have to hurry and get loaded so we can sober up before dinner.”
___


Darnand carefully ran his knife up the center of the aloe vera leaf. He opened the skin to expose its juicy pulp then slid his knife down the inside at an angle, folding the skin back as he went. After he repeated the cut on the other side, he viewed the flattened leaf with satisfaction.

A groan and thump broke his concentration. Darnand glanced across the room where Jerric sat at another work table. Bloody scraps of cloth and empty potion bottles littered the surface. The Nord’s forehead was on the table. His fingers clenched in his hair.

Darnand wiped his knife, put it down on its cloth, and picked up the wooden spatula. He slowly ran the spatula’s blade down the butterflied leaf, collecting the pulp without picking up any of the fibers that clung to the inside of the skin. He plopped his harvest into a clay storage jar, then carefully repeated the process.

“Darnand,” Jerric said.

Darnand scraped another spatula load of pulp from the leaf. He placed it in the jar.

“Darnand,” Jerric said again.

Darnand wiped the spatula and placed it on its cloth. He folded the empty leaf skin and set it aside. “I am busy.”

“It’s important.”

Darnand picked up another leaf and placed it in the ready position in front of him. He picked up the knife. “So is this.”

The knife slid down the plump leaf in a perfect line. Darnand braced himself for Jerric’s reply. Something about him squeezing his own juice, Darnand guessed.

Jerric picked up his chair and carried over to Darnand’s table. He put it down and took a seat across from Darnand. “I’m running out of time,” he said.

“I need to finish this,” replied Darnand without looking over. He makes more noise than a Billy on a wooden bridge. He scraped the leaf.

“I’ll do it for you later,” said Jerric. “I need your help.”

“You will pull up too many fibers. ‘Quick and dirty’ is not an alchemist’s motto.” He wiped his spatula and placed it on its cloth.

“Darnand,” Jerric said.

A note in his voice made Darnand look at him. Jerric’s raised face wore a solemn expression. Candlelight made his eyes look like honey. No doubt he uses that technique to lure women.

“No more tricks,” said Jerric. “I’m running out of time. I really need help.”

Darnand folded the leaf skin and placed it aside. He hooked a chair leg with his foot and sat down.

“Your healing spell?” he surmised.

“I’m just not getting it. I have the magicka but I can’t get it all into the spell. I know how it’s supposed to work. I just can’t do it.”

Darnand considered. “When you healed where the boar slashed you, you sent your spell over your whole body. Did you mean to do that?”

Jerric looked blank.

Darnand tried to explain it another way. “Do you focus your spell on a specific injury, or do you just cast the spell?”

“I just cast the spell, and then I feel better.”

“You are wasting your magicka,” Darnand said. “You will never get your spell stronger until you learn to focus. You know how to heal a wound on another person, do you not?”

“Yeah, but I’m not very good at it.”

“Think about how it feels when you cast that spell. The pain you feel from the other person that tells you where to send your magicka. It is the same thing.”

Jerric looked blank again, and miserable. His fingers twisted on the edge of the table.

Darnand was surprised. His patience with Jerric was growing, not racing away as it usually did. “Do you feel the pain from the other person, or do you just cast your spell over them?” he asked.

“I feel it, but I don’t know how to use it,” said Jerric. “Please don’t give up on me. I know I can learn this.”

Darnand decided to change his plans for the evening. “I shall render my assistance. First, show me how you heal yourself.”

Jerric picked up Darnand’s knife.

“Gaaaah!” cried Darnand, throwing out his hands. He snatched his knife back, wiped it, and placed it precisely on its cloth. “Over there,” he said, pointing at Jerric’s table. “And go get a hammer so you will bleed less. You were making a mess.”
___


Darnand entered the common living quarters and halted in surprise. A man stood at the end of the room in a steel breastplate and mail with a long sword on one hip and a short blade on the other. He was lifting a steel shield out of the open cabinet. A full pack rested at his feet. Jerric.

Darnand approached. He felt oddly distressed. “What is this?”

“My uniform,” Jerric replied with a smile. “Did you think I was a professional student? I’m a caravan guard. See?” He pointed at his chest where a shape was embossed onto the metal. “Running Wolf Postal and Freight. That’s my family’s business.” Jerric pulled on his gauntlets. “My break is over. I have to get back to work.”

“An armored guard. But what kind of a...” Darnand began. He looked at Jerric, and for the first time his own expression matched the Nord’s.

“Battlemage,” they finished with a grin.







.


This post has been edited by Grits: Jul 24 2014, 07:35 PM


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treydog
post Dec 9 2010, 06:19 PM
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Will add to my post later, but I wanted to go ahead and answer your questions. For Swords n' Sorcery action scenes, look no further than D.Foxy's excellent treatment:

Of Blades, Fights and Assassins

As to lore, The Imperial Library is a useful source- I would NOT recommend asking questions though; they tend to be a rather acerbic bunch. Beyond that, we are not terribly "lore-centric" here- as long as you don't absolutely break the ES world (Uriel Septim riding a Tyranosaur, etc.)

And as far as action in general, we tend to prefer character driven stories, many of which can go for some time with nary a battle in sight. Write what you find comfortable and PM writers whose style you like for advice or assistance. Above all, welcome and have fun!


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mALX
post Dec 9 2010, 06:30 PM
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From: Cyrodiil, the Wastelands, and BFE TN




GAAAH !!!! This is AWESOME !!!! I loved seeing Jerric through Arnand's (disapproving) eyes - both of their personalities came through strongly - interesting storyline - and surprising end to the chapter! I love it !!!

AWESOME WRITE !!! I am so glad to welcome you to the forums and look forward to: MORE, MORE !!!



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SubRosa
post Dec 9 2010, 06:32 PM
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The Imperial Library is probably your best one-stop shopping for ES lore. I find the Timeline can be a great help, as well as the Pocket Guides. It also has all of the in-game books. The UESP Wiki is also a great help. Between the two sites, they have everything there is to know about ES.

"Don't you think that if she was really planning to buy shoes, she would have them by now?"
An excellent observation!

I loved the description of harvesting the aloe. For that matter of the entire peek behind the scenes at the Anvil Mages Guild.

Jerric seems like an interesting fellow. At first glace he seems to be an ignorant Nord. But as you peel back the layers, we see bits and pieces of a very perceptive individual. Why do I get the feeling the country bumpkin act is just that, and act to fool other people, and that he has actually been working undercover in the Mages Guild?


nits:
"Pleasedon'ttellCarahil,"
Looks like the Altmer guild leader ate your spaces.


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Jacki Dice
post Dec 9 2010, 06:53 PM
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Hi! I loved reading this, especially the parts with the shirtless Nord (Mmmmm....) wink.gif

You did a really great job showing and not telling. The information we were given about both characters came very naturally smile.gif


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Destri Melarg
post Dec 10 2010, 01:36 AM
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Don’t sell yourself short, Grits (great name, btw). I found nothing ‘cringe-worthy’ about this chapter. In fact, I would classify the one action sequence you had with the boar as 'riveting'. I highly recommend that you read Foxy’s manifesto, if for no other reason than to give yourself confidence when it comes to the swordplay.

This story took me in some interesting directions. At first I thought it sounded reminiscent of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, with Jerric playing the part of Lennie to Arnand’s George. But then Lennie Jerric opened his mouth and revealed a character loaded with uncommon wisdom. The introduction of Faustina at the Flowing Bowl gives us a tantalizing hint of events to come for Arnand.

Aside from that, SubRosa has given you the two lore sources that I generally employ. I wouldn’t be too worried about it, though. The lore is there to serve your story, not the other way around. If this first chapter is an indication, you already use it to great effect. The description of harvesting aloe pulp was great, as was the admonition not to take all the white seed pods from a goldenrod plant.

I’m hooked into Jerric’s story now. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one. goodjob.gif


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Acadian
post Dec 10 2010, 02:51 AM
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Welcome to the Arena, Grits! If you had any concerns about talent, you may place those aside. This was excellent!

We seem to have an abundance of leading ladies in our stories, so it is refreshing that your lead character is not a gurl. tongue.gif

As mentioned already, you did a beautiful job of showing us Jerric - a big blond Nord born under the Atronach. A struggling mage with a 'real job'.

I quite enjoyed that you presented Jerric through the eyes of Arnand.

The detail you lavished on both alchemy and healing was wonderful! You also provided an immersive overall feel for the setting of Anvil.

Well done, and a wonderful start! biggrin.gif


Since you asked for nits, I believe this might be one?
'Jerric picked up his chair and carried over to Arnand's table. He put it down and took a seat across from Arnand. "I'm running out of time," he said.'
I believe you may have meant to say 'carried it over'?


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Zalphon
post Dec 10 2010, 03:31 AM
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Much better than me when I started. Definitely well-done.


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Grits
post Dec 12 2010, 03:54 AM
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treydog: Thank you for the resources. I just read Of Blades, Fights and Assassins, and now I can't wait to write a sword fight and then go back and read it again to see how much I remembered. Research is fun. Thank you for the warm welcome.

I tend to prefer character driven stories too. It helps me to have the game's events to move things along.

mALX: I LOVE your enthusiasm!! biggrin.gif Thank you so much for your welcome and support! Arnand was a total surprise, he came out of nowhere when I was writing about something else. I'm glad the end was a surprise. It's hard to name a chapter without giving too much away.

SubRosa: Thank you for the resources. I am reading more than I am writing, which I think is good at this point. Thank you for sharing your impressions - it helps me so much to know whether or not I managed to get what was in my head all the way into the story.

I'm glad you enjoyed the Mages Guild attending to business. In the game I'm always asking myself what these people do all day while they're waiting for me to show up and ask them if they've heard any rumors. I don't think they're just standing around talking about seeing a mudcrab.

With the "Pleasedon'ttellCarahil" I was going for that breathless moment after something has occured and everything on a person is still too clenched for speech, but now I think it's gimmicky. Changed it! smile.gif

Jacki Dice: I'm glad I didn't start him off in Bruma in the winter time, that would have put the brakes on the sweaty shirtlessness. wink.gif Thank you for your comments! My first attempt at this chapter read like an employment application. I'm happy to hear I did some showing.

Destri Melarg: Glad you like the name smile.gif Thank you so much for your comments and your encouragement, it means a lot to me! I am on my second read through Foxy's manifesto, and I am getting even more out of it the second time. There was one forehead-smacking moment in the next chapter that I managed to avoid already.

Thank you for sharing your impression of Jerric. That's just what I was aiming for, although I hadn't quite thought of Lennie and George. The big blond is easy to mis-judge, even in Cyrodiil. The plant details you picked out were so fun to write.

"The lore is there to serve your story, not the other way around." I have written this across the top of my much referenced map of Cyrodiil to help keep me from getting too bogged down worrying about what is correct. Great advice, thank you!

I'm glad you're hooked! smile.gif

Acadian: Thank you for the warm welcome, your encouragement means a lot to me!

I love the leading ladies on this forum, and I have a leading lady character of my own who is still too precious for me to write much about yet. I'm practicing on poor Jerric. smile.gif

Everything clicked when Arnand showed up and demanded to be in the story. Before that I was wrestling with a chapter that sounded like a singles ad. Yikes.

Thank you for the nit, I fixed it. I am amazed how my eyes can fill in the blanks with what I know is supposed to be there.

Zalphon: Thank you! Here comes another chapter! smile.gif





Chapter 2: On the Gold Road, Part 1



Jerric opened the Anvil Main Gate. It was balanced to swing easily despite its massive weight. “Heinrich Oaken-Hull has a Bosmer for a wife,” one of the guards was saying. The gate swung shut on the other man’s reply. He nodded to the guards who were stationed outside the gate. Two pairs on the gate. He wondered if there had been trouble on the road. Then his mind turned to more pressing matters.

Heinrich Oaken-Hull sounds like a Nord's name, he thought. Jerric imagined the shortest Nord he had ever seen. Then he imagined the tallest Bosmer. How would that even work, he wondered.

His long strides started him toward the Gold Road. Mid-day had passed, but he knew he could easily make the town of Brina’s Crossing by nightfall. Foot traffic congested the area around the gate. Nothing moved on the road where he could see it stretching up into the hills.

An Imperial man stood at the edge of the road opposite the stables, shifting his feet in a restless manner. He wore fine clothing, a travel cloak, and a short sword on his hip. His eyes searched the crowd. When he spotted Jerric his face took on a calculating look.

Jerric slowed as he approached. He was reasonably certain they hadn’t met, but the man appeared to have intentions. He would rather find out what he wanted now than wonder later.

“Pardon me,” the man called out, “are you traveling on foot to the Imperial City?”

Jerric stopped close enough that they wouldn’t share their business with the entire town. “The Imperial City is a long way to walk on your own,” he said. “There’s a caravan leaving on Morndas.”

“I can’t wait that long. I have pressing business, and I need to leave immediately.” His eyes darted back over Jerric’s shoulder to the gate.

Jerric noted the man’s pack sitting on the road. He had a bedroll. “Are you planning to camp out? There are inns along most of the way.”

“Inns, camping, whatever it takes. I want protection. I’ll pay you.” The man’s face was taut with nerves.

Jerric was not surprised to receive such an offer. He knew that armed and armored he looked dangerous, but not the sort who might leave you in a pool of blood for what’s in your pockets. “I’ll walk with you as far as Skingrad, as long as you don’t plan on doing any evil,” he said. “Glad for the company. I’m meeting up with a caravan there and going on to the Imperial City. You should join up. I’ll put in a good word for you.” Jerric smiled at the man, hoping to put him at ease.

“Fine, fine,” said the man, and he named a price.

Jerric agreed. He put out his hand. “I’m Jerric. Pleased to meet you.”

The man gripped his forearm. “Velwyn Benirus. Let’s get moving.”

Velwyn and Jerric climbed the gold hills above Anvil in the warm light of afternoon. Puffy white clouds made towers in the sky. Jerric knew they foretold a coming storm. To their left the sea glittered away into a haze. If they turned they would see Anvil’s red rooftops bright in the sun where the land swelled out of the sea.

Benirus halted in the road. “What was that?” He jerked out his sword and stared at the bushes up ahead to the right, eyes wild.

Jerric stopped and scanned the area. “Careful, that’s no fly swatter.” He did not want to receive an errant slash from the twitchy Imperial. The sun felt hot on his neck. A breeze tickled his sweaty forehead. He could hear the lazy buzz of a hundred insects in the tall grass. No bird sounds, though.

The bushes shook. Jerric crouched and dropped his packs on the road. He slipped his shield over his arm and motioned for Velwyn to stay back. Now, what is this? He thought of the dead horse they had passed. It had been torn by a large animal. Anticipation prickled over his skin. He moved up the left side of the road and turned, putting the sun over his shoulder. He watched the bushes. Berry bushes. Could be some youngsters out gathering berries. Maybe there was a berry pie in his near future.

Velwyn drifted up the middle of the road a few paces. He moved softly for a man who appeared to be rigid with fear. Jerric caught his eye, and Velwyn opened his mouth to speak. He froze with his mouth open as a massive wolf stepped calmly out of the bushes.

Jerric hoped the wolf would move along. Most would not attack two armed men in broad daylight, but things were not always what they seemed. An animal may be under a curse or mage’s spell. If it attacked he would block the fangs with his shield and stab into its side behind its shoulder, he decided. He imagined his timing and thought through the block and strike while he slowly drew his sword.

The wolf ambled out onto the road. Its head and tail were relaxed. It halted and swung its great head around at Jerric, then back at Velwyn, sniffing.

Jerric swore silently. There was smoked boar in his pack, and his pack was behind Benirus. He clanged the pommel of his sword against his shield and shouted at the wolf. “Push off, you fetcher! Go on, get out of here!” He spread his arms out and moved back toward Velwyn, hoping the man would get out of the way. The wolf probably weighed more than the Imperial, and those teeth would go right through his clothing.

The wolf focused on Jerric. It laid back its ears and snarled. This one was not just going to wander away. Jerric danced on the balls of his feet, ready to move. All right, then. “Come on!” he shouted at the wolf.

The wolf dashed toward Jerric. He saw the light gleam on its fangs and turn its gray fur to silver. Flecks of saliva flew from its jaws. Jerric drew in a breath.

A strange battle cry split the air. Velwyn Benirus flew screaming at the wolf, sword raised like an axe. His blade came down on the wolf’s neck between the skull and the shoulder hump. It stuck there. The wolf’s momentum carried it forward until it crashed to the ground at Jerric’s feet.

Jerric stared at Velwyn, astounded. Then he threw back his head and let his tension go in a howl of laughter. “Benirus Beast-Slayer!” he cried, saluting with his still bright blade.

Velwyn drew in a gasping breath. His eyes were as round as an owl’s. “I’m alive,” he whispered.

Jerric waited for Velwyn to retrieve his sword, then he dragged the wolf to the side of the road. He looked down at it with regret. It looked like an enormous dog stretched out in the sun to sleep, apart from the wound in its neck.

The breeze picked up. They still had a long way to climb. “Let’s get off this hill,” Jerric said. “You won’t believe the lightning they get around here.”

___


Jerric stepped into the Brina Cross Inn out of the rain. He was glad he had tucked his armor into its pack before he made his brief sweep through town. He had passed through Brina’s Crossing so many times and always wanted to stop and explore it. Now he wished he had more time, again.

He dropped his packs by the wall and looked for Velwyn. The man sat alone in front of an empty plate, nursing a goblet of wine and looking irritable. Jerric asked the innkeeper what Velwyn was drinking. He purchased a bottle and ordered dinner before he joined Velwyn at the table.

“I got us rooms. You owe me thirty Septims,” said Velwyn.

“Hail, Benirus,” said Jerric, ignoring the brusque greeting. “What a fine evening. Do you think it’s going to rain?” Jerric filled his goblet and topped up Velwyn’s. He raised his wine. “To Brina’s Crossing and the gentle folk who dwell here.” He sipped. Jerric was amazed. All those Bretons aren’t wrong. Wine is delicious!

Velwyn stared into his goblet looking morose. He did not seem to enjoy Jerric’s humor.

Jerric got an idea. “We should eat here, then find a brothel. That will cheer you.”

Velwyn took a sip of wine and glared across the table. “Do I look like a man who has to pay for female company?” he demanded.

“Of course not. You’re not paying to get into her bed, you’re paying to get back out of it.” Jerric leaned forward to share his wisdom with the older man, but a preemptory gesture from the publican caught his eye. His meal was ready.

Jerric moved to the counter and took his plate from Christophe Marane. Roast loin of boar in a blackberry sauce with caramelized onions and roast potatoes. The aroma made his knees weak. He smiled his appreciation at Christophe and turned.

A short, attractive Imperial woman stood before him, blocking his way. She wore a dark red velvet gown, an elaborate gold necklace, and a haughty expression. “I am Rutila Harsinia,” she announced. “Daughter of Ontarius Harsinia.” She had hard eyes and, he guessed, high expectations. He had no idea who she was, but she was clearly waiting for recognition.

Jerric stood there holding his plate. The roast meat lay in thick slices swimming in a pool of purple sauce, full of tender, fragrant promise. The onions gleamed in the inn’s light, and the golden potatoes begged for his attention. He dragged his eyes back to the woman. “I’m Jerric. Pleased to meet you.”

Rutila raised an eyebrow. She made a small motion with her head, over her shoulder. “Who is your friend?”

Jerric experienced a moment of clarity. He strained to keep the grin off his face as he placed his plate back on the counter in order to address Rutila more properly. “That gentleman is no other than Velwyn Benirus, of the Imperial City Benirus…es. I would be proud to call him friend. He conducts his business there, as well as in Anvil. He has recently settled a large family estate.”

Rutila listened with increasing interest. Jerric struck a pose and continued. “A man with such commanding presence draws attention wherever he goes. I travel with him as his guard. Velwyn Benirus is a man of virtue and property. A man of maturity and means. A man,” Jerric sighed, “without a wife.” He looked down at Rutila. “May I introduce you?”

___


Jerric soaked up the last of the egg with his final bite of toasted bread, giving silent thanks to the unknown bird that had provided it. He crunched through another rasher of fatback, then pushed his plate away and sighed, for the moment content. Perhaps another cup of kahve. Christophe was in a foul temper this morning. Better let this breakfast settle before I ask for more.

His thoughts were interrupted when Velwyn slid into the chair across from him. The man looked haggard. He wore yesterday’s clothes.

“Sleep well, Benirus?” Jerric leaned back and grinned.

Velwyn groaned and attempted to smooth his hair with his hands. “Kahve,” he whispered, shooting a glance over his shoulder.

Jerric took the opportunity to fill his own cup as well. He returned to the table and awaited Velwyn’s report.

Velwyn took a deep pull from his mug. He looked up and met Jerric’s gaze. “That woman,” he said, “is insatiable.”

“I don’t know what ‘insatiable’ means. How long did it take you to get her to leave?”

Velwyn dropped his face into his hands.

Jerric brows shot upward. “She’s still in your room?”

Velwyn nodded.

Jerric thought for a moment. The possibilities were entertaining, but the road beckoned.

“Here’s the plan,” Jerric said. “Go order breakfast, then head up and put your pack by the door. I’ll bring up the food and grab your pack while you’re serving her. Tell her you have instructions for me. Then come down here and instruct me that we’re leaving. Don’t let her get back into your drawers if you can manage it.”

Velwyn stared.

Jerric snorted. “‘Serving’ her,” he repeated.

Velwyn did not look amused. “That’s the whole plan?”

“Yeah. I’m not a strategist. Say, you should ask Rutila if she has a better idea.”

Velwyn downed his kahve and headed toward Christophe.

“We’ll have to move like a Kahjiit who’s dipped his tail in the fire,” Jerric added. “She knows which way you’re headed.”


.


This post has been edited by Grits: Jul 24 2014, 09:27 PM


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Acadian
post Dec 12 2010, 05:03 AM
Post #10


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From: Las Vegas and Bravil



This was light, varied and full of fun from the beginning to the Khajiit fire-dipped tail ending.

Aww. Everyone picks on Bosmeri girls. tongue.gif

The whole scene with the wolf was very well presented with a great, suspenseful feel.

Loads of great chow and wine! I have quite the soft spot for authors who feed me well, and that savory boar hit the spot. Then a nice breakfast as well!

Quite the clever interactions among those at the inn!

* *

Hmm. . . You change perspective or point of view (pov) a few times here. The breaks you use between segments are ok to employ a change of perspective if you think it is necessary, but I certainly would stay in the viewpoint of only one character during these segments. If you change pov, it should be very clearly delineated, not frequent, and whatever you present by jumping pov should be well worth dragging the reader from one character's head to another.

Now, in your opening scene you are in Velwyn's pov and then make a clean break to Jerric's for the next segment - that worked just fine. However, here are a couple examples where you jumped pov and probably didn't intend to:

1. The scene where Jerric and Velwyn meet is loaded with evidence that it is from Jerric's pov. Yet, near the end you say this: 'The man gripped his forearm. I'm getting off cheap, he thought. "Velwyn Benirus," he said. "Let's get moving." ' Assuming it is Velwyn who thought he was getting off cheap hiring Jerric, you 'hopped' out of Jerric's head and briefly into Velwyn's.

2. In the dinner scene you have a couple pov jumps here:
'Velwyn finished his wine and pushed the goblet at Jerric. The fool's hair is soaked, he noted. Doesn't he know how to use a hood? Fine evening, is that supposed to be funny?' {Velwyn's pov}
'Jerric raised his wine. "To Brina's Crossing, and the gentle folk who dwell here." He sipped. Jerric was amazed. Wine, he thought, is delicious!' {Jerric's pov}

Oh my, Grits. I surely hope you take this in the helpful manner that I intend. Your story is GREAT!!! tongue.gif


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mALX
post Dec 12 2010, 06:47 AM
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I can't even begin to quote all the lines I loved in this !!! You have a rare gift for creating interesting characters within a few lines - AWESOME Story !!!!!

I was rolling at Jerric's descriptions of Benirus when talking to Rutila - he countered every power with riches, and just kept using different words to say the same thing over and over - hilarious !!!

The description and detail all through the chapter is perfection - the easiest example to point out is Jerric and the food - amazingly done!!! So easy to visualize the way you have written it !!!!

QUOTE

Jerric soaked up the last of the egg with his final bite of toasted bread. He silently thanked the unknown bird that had provided it. He crunched through another rasher of fatback, then pushed his plate away and sighed, replete. He contemplated asking for another cup of kahve. Christophe was in a foul temper this morning. He needed to let his breakfast settle before he approached with another request.



And:

QUOTE

The roast meat lay in thick slices swimming in a pool of purple sauce, full of tender, fragrant promise. The onions gleamed in the inn's light, and the golden potatoes begged for his attention. He dragged his eyes back to the woman. "I'm Jerric," he said. "Pleased to meet you."





The funniest line (always what I enjoy most) -

QUOTE

Jerric imagined the shortest Nord he had ever seen. Then he imagined the tallest Bosmer. How would that even work, he wondered.


SPEW !!!! How many times have we seen tall men with short women and wondered THAT !!!! ROFL !!!!

AWESOME WRITE !!!!! MORE !!!!!


*

This post has been edited by mALX: Dec 12 2010, 06:50 AM


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Grits
post Dec 12 2010, 02:45 PM
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Acadian: Your comments on point of view have helped me tremendously! Those parts seemed choppy to me, but I had no idea why. I went back and tweaked them, thank you so much for explaining what I was doing. Did I get it this time? There is a tussle in the next part of the chapter that would have given everyone a headache, I see now that I wrote it from three points of view. Eeep!

I'm having fun with the light material, and I hope I'm not going too silly. Cyrodiil can be a dark place, and when bad things happen I don't want it to seem like a different story. I'm glad you enjoyed the chow. So far the best times for me to write have been when I should be taking a break for a meal, so I'm always at the keyboard hungry. Thank you so much for your advice and encouragement!

mALX: I'm glad you enjoyed Jerric's chat with Rutila. He is so not a smooth operator!

"Jerric's Story: A Nord's Food Blog." OK, maybe not. smile.gif Thank you for your encouragement, it means so much. The line you picked out came from the second time I heard Anvil folks talking trash about Heinrich's wife in the game. The first time I heard it I thought the guy said she was an Altmer. So horse, OK, she's tall and has a long nose. Whatever. The second time I got that the guy meant Hasathil, and after the first tenth of a second of how rude, my mind went sideways in several directions. I had to use it.


The next part needs some major re-work. But first another cup of kahve.



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Acadian
post Dec 12 2010, 04:12 PM
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Grits, I'm so glad you took my 'critique' in the helpful manner in which I intended it. Alas, had I not mentioned it, I'm rather sure dear SubRosa would have swooped in and offered similar observations. Indeed, she was very helpful in teaching me more about pov. While in Jerric's pov, you have to rely on what he can hear and observe to ferret out what Velwyn may be thinking - that is the fun! smile.gif

I did reread your edits and the concerns are certainly fixed! Keeping that opening scene in Velwyn's pov is effective, and the _____ break that you use prepares the reader for a change in scene or pov. goodjob.gif

I certainly hope also you take the comments on your chow descriptions as encouragement. Such detailed descriptions do much to bring our Tamriel to life, and you certainly have a beautiful flair for it! tongue.gif

The Bosmer comments by the Anvilites in the game are fun. They quite knocked poor Buffy the Bosmer into a bout of self-doubt when she heard them. Not what a young elf needs to hear. ohmy.gif


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mALX
post Dec 12 2010, 04:56 PM
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SubRosa and Acadian both helped me stop doing that. Subrosa said it in a very easily rembered way :

Pick one and stick with them - then to show what the other person is feeling, have the first one see it happen. (Example: Benirus's cheeks reddened )

I hope I don't do it anymore, but I was bad for "head hopping" for a long time.

The stories I love best are ones that the reader can feel the characters and be intriqued by them, you have that in abundance in this story - you have a real gift for writing your characters.

Keep up the AWESOME work and MORE, MORE !!!!


PS: Great Avatar !!!


*

This post has been edited by mALX: Dec 12 2010, 05:00 PM


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SubRosa
post Dec 12 2010, 08:53 PM
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From: Between The Worlds



So Velwyn Benirus it is then? He seems like a bit of a maniac with the way he attacked the wolf. I wonder if that was homicidal mania, or simply an ordinary man trying to overcome his natural fear by whipping himself up into a frenzy? I suppose only time will tell.

Puffy white clouds made towers in the sky
I love this little description.

You're not paying to get into her bed, you're paying to get back out of it
Now this is priceless! And from the looks of things, Velwyn wishes he had taken the advice the next morning!


nits:
An Imperial man approached him with intention.
This sounds a little odd in the context. Perhaps something like "an intent look upon his face"? would flow more smoothly?


are you traveling on foot to Imperial City?
Usually that is The Imperial City.




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Destri Melarg
post Dec 13 2010, 09:01 PM
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I liked Jerric’s tactical thinking, especially how he moved so that the sun would be in the wolf’s eyes if he charged, and the way he executed the moves of the battle in his mind.

You might want to add a sentence or a moment just prior to the wolf’s charge in which Jerric notes an impending storm. As it reads now he is sweating and warm with puffy white clouds above, yet a single breeze alerts him to the fact that he wants to get off the hill to avoid the lightning?

Jerric’s playful side emerges in the scene with Rutila. After their harrowing escape from the jaws of the maddened wolf, it is perfectly understandable that Jerric would want to do something to cheer his boon companion. Gotta love a good wingman!


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Grits
post Dec 15 2010, 02:02 AM
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Acadian: Thank you for checking my edits. I expect the chow line will stay open, thanks for the encouragement!

mALX: Thank you for your kind words, and I'm glad you like the avatar!

SubRosa: Velwyn's personality is inspired by the game, if you can believe it. My archer character took him on some adventures with the Jemain brothers, and he was a maniac! I guess his dialog comes from the Benirus Manor quest when you're already in the spooky house, so when you walk up to him in the middle of a sunny meadow he whips around all wide-eyed and says, "Did you hear a noise?" He comes across as a pretty stressed out guy. Also he's speedy and seems to hold a grudge, he was always the last one to put his sword away after a tussle. In the end of this chapter we get a little more hair-trigger Velwyn and a glance at another side of him.

nits: Thank you, I think I fixed them. The intentions line didn't come across in print the way my head says it. "Doing any evil" is another one I thought about changing, but I want Jerric to have a casual manner of speaking. Your telling me how you hear it helps me so much!

Destri Melarg: Thank you for your insightful comments! I took me forever to figure out how an armored man with a sword was going to kill one wolf, and then I let his buddy do it. I am having a panic attack over one arrow shot in the next section, so I really appreciate your advice. Storm-wise I added a tiny bit, I hope it makes more sense now. They other thing I failed to point out was how much hill was left to climb.




Chapter 2: On the Gold Road, Part 2



The sun had gone down behind the trees by the time Jerric and Velwyn reached the path to Gnoll’s Meeting Camp. They followed it down through tumbled boulders onto a grassy plateau. The camp’s inhabitants had decorated the entrance with a gallows. A desiccated body swung in the breeze, and bones were piled under it.

The men stopped and took in the sight. “By Azura,” said Velwyn.

“This used to be a bandit camp,” Jerric explained. “Some of them decided they wanted to settle down and raise their families. They killed or drove out the ones who wouldn’t quit their old ways. This is what they do if you break their rules. I’ve never been down here, but I’ve heard it’s nice.” He cut his eyes over at Velwyn.

Velwyn looked like he didn’t know whether to fill his pants or flee. Jerric laughed.

“Not really. Well some of that’s true, but I’ve been here lots of times. If we rent a tent they’ll keep us as safe as ma bear keeps her little cubs.” Jerric headed into the camp. A stout woman by the cook fire called to him, and he raised his hand in greeting. “Come on,” he said over his shoulder. “And put on your party face, these folks know how to have a good time.”

___


Jerric woke to snoring that was not his own. His right arm was numb, and he felt overheated on one side and chilled on the other. His mouth was dry and his head felt tender. He looked around for a moment. He did not recognize the inside of the tent any more than he recognized the person who was using his arm for a pillow.

A dread feeling grew in his gut as he tried to remember the previous night's events. They had rented the last available tent. It had a packed dirt floor and one large wooden sleeping platform. "Don't worry, I won't try to get under your skirt," he remembered telling Velwyn. Then dinner around the fire, music, ale ... and nothing.

Jerric eased his arm out from under the frizzy head. He hoped that the wrinkled back belonged to a female. His nose told him that she used perfume instead of soap. He stuffed himself into his trousers and carefully gathered up his clothes. While he was searching for his other sock he heard a snorting cough and froze. He kept his eyes averted. There are some things I am better off not knowing, he decided. He picked up his boots and fled.

When Jerric entered their tent Velwyn was already dressed and ready for the day's journey. "Interesting look," he commented. "You smell like a Brumese prostitute."

Jerric pulled his shirt over his head. When he fastened his trousers he discovered that he had left his drawers behind. He decided he could live without them. His shirt was inside out. He swore and tried again.

“No pushups this morning?” inquired Velwyn. He sounded almost cheerful.

Jerric scratched his hands through his hair. He was mortified and bewildered. His belongings were still packed, and his armor was arranged as he had left it, ready for rapid access. What he wanted to do most was boil himself and burn his clothing. "Let’s get out of here,” he said.

Velwyn gathered up his pack and lifted the tent flap.

"Wait!" Jerric said urgently. "First get us some breakfast. I’ll wait here."

“I already had mine,” said Velwyn. “I’ll meet you on the road.”

Jerric kept his head down while he gulped his kahve and shoveled in his sausage and rice. The stout Breton at the cook fire wanted to chat, but Jerric had seen enough nudges and knowing smiles for one morning. He nodded his thanks and jogged out to meet Velwyn.

The two men walked in the clear morning until they had nearly reached Ra’sava Camp. Velwyn was recalling the previous evening. Jerric was trying to pull himself together before they walked into danger. "She didn't have any teeth in the front," Velwyn explained. "She thought you would like that."

Jerric dropped his pack in the road. He staggered a few steps, shedding weapons and equipment. When he reached the verge, Jerric leaned over and spewed his breakfast onto the grass. He looked up at the sky and took a few breaths, and then he leaned over and lost what was left of his dinner.

"Mara's milk!" exclaimed Velwyn.

Jerric ran for the bushes, unbuckling as he went.

"I wonder, do you know how to cure the effects of poison?" ventured Velwyn. His voice sounded nervous.

Jerric did not answer, at least not with words.

Later Jerric returned and knelt by his gear, looking clammy and wrung-out. "What did you give me?" he whispered. He had put some ideas together during his time in the bushes.

"Well you see," began Velwyn, "It's not so much what I gave you as what we should do about it." He paused. "Last night I got a potion from that Argonian. It worked well enough, but now I'm not sure she is a real alchemist."

Jerric considered his words. He looked up at Velwyn with red eyes in an ashen face. "Are you saying you've poisoned me with a rot-gut love potion?" he raged in a voice like a newborn kitten.

"You had it coming to you," said Velwyn. He rummaged through Jerric's day pack. "Now that I think about it, you should also probably take something to cure diseases."

___


The road had climbed gently but steadily all morning, and they had reached a high spot where there was a light breeze. Jerric was feeling like himself again. He walked off the road over to a flat rock outcrop and began to unload his packs. A great tree had grown out of a crack in the rocks, and its high canopy provided dappled shade without obstructing the view. It roots twisted along the surface until they found the rock’s edge and there sank deep into the soil. “This is a great place for lunch. We’ll walk until dark and have a cold camp tonight, so let’s make the most of it.”

Velwyn joined him. He dropped his pack and unbuckled his sword. “I’m going to the bushes,” he said.

“Watch your step. This is a popular spot, you won’t be the first.”

When Velwyn returned, Jerric had their lunch ready. Slices of smoked boar, crusty bread, three different cheeses, grapes, apple wedges, fresh tomatoes, pickled carrots and onions, strawberry preserves, and a small pot of mustard rested neatly on a polished wooden board. Velwyn looked pleasantly surprised. His eyes grew even wider when he saw the bottle of wine in Jerric’s hand.

“Sorry, I forgot cups,” Jerric said.

He watched Velwyn settle himself on the rocks. They were still warm where the morning sun had slanted under the tree’s braches. They looked down over the sparsely wooded hills falling away below them. For the first time Jerric saw that the Imperial was capable of relaxing. Velwyn took a swig from the bottle and handed it back to Jerric.

“Make yourself a couple of sandwiches for tonight, too. We can eat them as we go,” said Jerric. “This stuff won’t be any good after tomorrow.”

Velwyn dug in. “I may be guilty of misjudging you,” he said.

Jerric chewed and nodded. He picked up an apple slice and laid a piece of cheese on it. “This is Christophe’s doing, I just had to slice it. He’s a grumpy fetcher, but it turns out he packs a good picnic. And after all, lunch is the most important meal of the day.” He tipped up the bottle.

“I thought you said breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Velwyn took the wine back.

“It is. So is dinner.”

After their meal the men walked until sunset. They had passed people on foot and in carts all day, but as evening approached the road was empty. At sunset they turned into the bush to make camp. They did not make a fire. Jerric filled their water skins while Velwyn unpacked the bedrolls. They were in a sheltered spot a good distance from the creek, and Jerric thought it unlikely that any night roaming creature would stumble upon them. He undressed in the dark and was instantly asleep.

Jerric woke in the pink dawn to a hiss in his ear and a shape looming over him. He grabbed the figure's head and pulled it down by the hair while his other hand found his dagger. He blinked the sleep out of his eyes and discovered he was looking into the purple, bug-eyed face of Velwyn. Jerric removed his forearm from Velwyn’s throat and rolled away.

"What is it, Benirus?" Jerric lay flat and rubbed his eyes.

Velwyn crab-crawled backward and rose, brushing off his clothes. "I said did you hear a noise!" he spluttered.

Jerric stood and kicked his way free of his bedroll. He reached to the fading stars in a bone popping stretch. Tonight, Skingrad, he thought. "Well whatever it was has probably died laughing." He looked over at Velwyn. "Give a fellow some warning next time," he said by way of apology.

Velwyn had produced a comb and was smoothing his hair. He eyed Jerric with distaste. "I know it’s Last Seed, but would you mind putting on some clothes? That horse carcass smelled better than you do."

Jerric let go of some wind and treated himself to a leisurely scratch. Clearly Benirus was touchy this morning. As he turned toward him to speak there was a twang, and hot pain streaked across his chest. He looked down and saw that a bloody furrow had opened there. He followed Velwyn’s shocked gaze to an arrow that stuck out of the grass, still quivering.

Velwyn gave a shout and ran for his sword. Jerric squawked in surprise and dove for his shield. He rolled into a crouch, looking for the archer. There was only one place in that direction that they could be using for cover. His sword was too far behind him to reach without turning.

There was a burgundy shape at the side of Jerric's vision. Velwyn had his sword out and was stalking forward. "Down!" Jerric called, and Velwyn dropped flat. Jerric scrambled to the low rocks he had picked out the night before and tried to fold himself behind them. Velwyn was protected, the contours of the ground were in their favor. Jerric shook out his right arm and prepared to throw some frost. The skin between his shoulders was crawling. He doubted that any archer would attack them on their own.

Another twang and a thump against Jerric's shield. Both men saw the archer and started toward her. She stepped through her cover and prepared her next shot. Jerric filled his hand with freezing fog.

"Your presence here will not be tolerated!" announced a male voice in nasal tones. A robed figure had appeared from the hedge at Jerric's right with a ball of fire in his hand. As Jerric threw his frost at the archer he felt the rush of magika from the mage’s spell against his side. The archer’s shot went wide when the frost hit her in the shoulder.

Jerric turned to meet the mage’s attack. He imagined the icy cold of the sea in winter and whipped a frozen ball at him as he lunged forward. The mage was already gathering more fire.

Frost boomed against the mage, and he shrieked as he threw more fire at Jerric. This time Jerric lost his nerve and ducked under the attack. He felt heat blaze down his back, but it wasn't close enough to burn him. He bounced back up and closed with the mage.

Jerric bashed the mage with his shield, bowling him over onto his back. He dropped onto his midsection, hooking his bare feet back over the man's thighs and pinning him to the ground. The mage's face was a mask of panic. His hand clawed at Jerric's slippery chest, sending agony and a wave of sickness through him. Jerric howled and slammed the shield edge down across the mage's face. The hand dropped away, and Jerric pounded the edge into the man's neck. The mage grabbed his throat and thrashed, his heels working against the grass.

Jerric stood retching and turned. He saw the archer go down in a gout of blood as Velwyn yanked his sword out of her throat. A Redguard in fur armor was closing with Velwyn. He took a swing at Velwyn with his heavy axe.

Velwyn lunged back and scrambled away, and he and Jerric both ran for Jerric’s sword. Velwyn got there first and tossed it the rest of the way to Jerric. The bandit stopped and made his choice. Without a word he turned and ran.

Jerric drew his sword and looked down into the mage’s ruined face. The man's hands were still at his neck, so Jerric bent and pressed the tip of his sword down into his belly. A strangled scream, and the hands were out of the way. He drew his sword point through the mage's throat until he saw the blood spray out. He could feel the sinews through his blade. He leaned over and spit, still feeling sick from the spell.

The archer had stopped gurgling and was still. The mage lay curled around his belly moaning as he bled out onto the grass. The Redguard had vanished. Velwyn was untouched. He didn't even appear to have much blood on him, although it might not show on the burgundy fabric.

Burning pain reminded Jerric to heal his chest. Blood had run down and soaked the front of his drawers. He decided to discard them instead of trying to explain the stains to their housekeeper. This trip was costing him in linens. He looked over at Velwyn. "You are a stone cold killer," Jerric said in wonder. "Who is guarding who?"

"Whom," said Velwyn. "Who is guarding whom." He bent to clean his sword on Jerric's bedroll.

Jerric took a closer look at Velwyn. "Have you shaved already, Benirus?" he exclaimed.

Velwyn fixed his nervous eye on Jerric. "Rough conditions are no excuse for poor grooming," he said. "Why did the Redguard run? I don't have armor, and you're not even wearing pants."

"Didn't like the odds, I guess," said Jerric. "You could have put a hole in his neck while he was busy killing me, for instance." He found a dry spot on the mage’s robe and cleaned his sword. "He's in it for the coin, and we were fighting for our lives. Now he lives to loot another day." Jerric brightened. "Maybe he'll spread the word about Blood-mad Benirus, and we'll have an easy time from here," he teased.

Velwyn was not in the mood. "Let's get going," he said. "I can already hear flies."

___


Jerric stood with his brother’s caravan on Bypass Road north of Skingrad. They would follow it around the city and pick up the Gold Road again to the Imperial City. His day pack was filled with snacks and potions. The morning mist was a welcome change from Anvil’s heat, and his heart felt light.

He looked behind him down the line of wagons stretching along the city wall. He noted the positions of the other guards and the archers ready on the wagons. His eyes passed over rocky meadows and orderly vineyards. He looked ahead and saw the scouts waiting where the road curved around the city’s clustered spires and out of his sight. A new road to walk and a whole new crew to work with.

He watched Rothmund for the signal to move out. Pity for Benirus that he went on ahead, Jerric thought. I would hate to miss any of this.

This post has been edited by Grits: Dec 27 2010, 11:58 PM


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Acadian
post Dec 15 2010, 03:16 AM
Post #18


Paladin
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Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas and Bravil



What an interesting trip to Skingrad!

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Jerric eased his arm out from under the frizzy head. He hoped that the wrinkled back belonged to a female. His nose told him that she used perfume instead of soap. He stuffed himself into his trousers and carefully gathered up his clothes. While he was searching for his other sock he heard a snorting cough and froze. He kept his eyes averted. There are some things I am better off not knowing, he decided. He picked up his boots and fled.
Brilliantly written!

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The stout Breton at the cook fire wanted to chat, but Jerric had seen enough nudges and knowing smiles for one morning.
I like your understated style here.

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A great tree had grown out of a crack in the rocks, and its high canopy provided dappled shade without obstructing the view. It roots twisted along the surface until they found the rock’s edge and there sank deep into the soil.
Beautifully rich descriptions like this really bring the world around Jerric alive.

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Slices of smoked boar, crusty bread, three different cheeses, grapes, apple wedges, fresh tomatoes, pickled carrots and onions, strawberry preserves, and a small pot of mustard rested neatly on a polished wooden board.
Oh, YUM! I love Jerric's philosophy on the most important meal of the day! tongue.gif

Your fight scene with the bandits was clearly written, well-paced and riveting. I love how it seems that our Nord appropriately prefers frost spells!

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"You are a stone cold killer," Jerric said in wonder. "Who is guarding who?"

"Whom," said Velwyn. "Who is guarding whom." He bent to clean his sword on Jerric's bedroll.
Argh! Don't you hate it when your characters try to edit you? laugh.gif

Your final scene of the 'wagon train' preparing to leave Skingrad was pure cinematic. It felt like the beginning of a beautifully epic movie - well done! goodjob.gif


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Buffy's screenshot of the month for July: Heading north
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mALX
post Dec 15 2010, 03:35 AM
Post #19


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



I don't know when I've laughed so hard !!! This chapter was AWESOME !!! I can't not quote some of these:


Great history on Gnoll’s Meeting Camp!

Velwyn looked like he didn’t know whether to fill his pants or flee. - ROFL !!!

SPEW !!! ROFL !!!!! OMG, Jerric waking up with ... "REEEE ... " -
hoped that the wrinkled back belonged to a female. - BWAAAHAAA!!!! SPEW !!!!

There are some things I am better off not knowing, he decided. He picked up his boots and fled.

- SPEW !!!!! ROFL !!!! SPEW !!! (KA, KA...GAAAAH!) [mALX choked to death laughing]


She didn't have any teeth in the front," Velwyn explained. "She thought you would like that." - BWAAAHAAA !!! Sword polishing for the toothless ...

And she gave him the runs... SPEW !!!


Jerric woke in the pink dawn to a hiss in his ear and a shape looming over him. He grabbed the figure's head and pulled it down by the hair while his other hand found his dagger. He blinked the sleep out of his eyes and discovered he was looking into the purple, bug-eyed face of Velwyn.

My stomach is hurting .... Oooooh .... OW .... SPEW!!! ROFL !!!


I laughed myself sick on this !!!


Then the fight scene - WHEW !!!!! Benirus was some kind of cool character - I love what you did with him !!!


I am loving this story !!!!


- WAIT !! Did I forget to mention your genius with descriptions? You bring everything to life, your descriptions of everything make the reader experience these things, not just read about them - AWESOME WRITE !!! MORE !!!! MORE !!!!

This post has been edited by mALX: Dec 15 2010, 03:39 AM


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SubRosa
post Dec 15 2010, 04:31 AM
Post #20


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



Jerric is certainly having quite a journey to Skingrad! From a rather amusing start at the camp, to a very gritty and ugly battle. I applaud your having the third bandit run for this life.

Many fan fic writers portray all their antagonists the same way the game does, which is to say as homicidal maniacs without a shred of self-preservation. When faced with defeat, real people and animals only fight to the death in extreme circumstances. Most of the time they will run away and live to fight another day instead. So nice to see that here!



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