Welcome to Thread 3, or the third season of Buffy's Book 1!
This book began with Buffy being briefly incarcerated in the Imperial Prison, and will end as she attempts to bring freedom to the city of Kvatch. It is a sprawling story that will require more than 150 episodes, spread over five threads. Appropriately, I have nicknamed Book 1, 'Do You Know the Way to Kvatch?'Thread 1
included episodes 1-26.Thread 2
began with a brief recap of thread one, then included episodes 27-56.
Please allow me to offer a small summary of Thread 2 that I hope might prove useful as a review, or for those who are joining us in progress:
Buffy discovered, from a black marketeer in Bravil, that sigil stones are what hold Oblivion Gates open.
In Chorrol, Buffy learned, after the fact, that the monk Jauffre had been murdered and the Amulet of Kings apparently stolen - almost immediately after Buffy had delivered it to him.
Her business in Chorrol also saw Buffy plot and carry out a deserved, but nonetheless calculated assassination of a rogue mage named Earana. Although tempted by the subsequent Dark Brotherhood's seductive lure of love and family, Buffy ultimately balked at her initiation contract and concluded that her killing and taste for vengeance were not for hire. Her 'dance with darkness' led to the forging and adopting of The Buffy Doctrine: If you are kind to me, I will love you dearly; if you are mean to me or my friends, I will likely kill you.
She began to display a fascination with the quests of Daedra Lords that, at first, made sense. Azura had given Buffy a wonderful artifact, and Meridia helped her avenge a murdered guild mate. Succumbing to the lure of Daedric trinkets, Buffy then undertook several more of these quests, netting disappointment and even shame over some of her choices.
Her fascination with Daedra Lords nevertheless remained and she eventually, with the help of Acadian, realized the cause: The Oblivion Gate at Kvatch was the work of a Daedra Lord, Mehrunes Dagon. Buffy had learned that without an Emperor, the Legion was too busy holding rebellious provinces together to send forces to close a gate that seemed under control. She realized that if she didn't help, no one would. Her curious logic yielded that perhaps one of Mehrunes Dagon's colleagues could help her learn more about fighting the Daedra within the gate, and ultimately closing it.
A second brief visit to Kvatch refined that her motivation did not necessarily stem from a desire to assist the Empire or Kvatch. It became clear that the focus of her efforts was Savlian Matius himself, even as she wrestled with trying to understand her growing feelings for him.
Now, for those newer readers who would like to catch up to us in one short sitting, you might find this helpful: Buffy – The Executive Summary Thread.
We now join Buffy as she embarks on a large storyline we call 'The Leyawiin Expedition
,' that will sprawl over approximately sixteen episodes. Although the Daedra Lord Sanguine's quest is Buffy's excuse to visit to Leyawiin, I hope you will sit back and enjoy her rather multifaceted, expansive and sometimes circuitous approach to things.
* * *
57 The Leyawiin Expedition, Part 1- Wet Reflections
The journey to Leyawiin was miserable. It never stopped raining. Despite wearing a hood, cape and robes, my skin was soaked and my boots full of water. The storm seemed to deter bandits and beasts though, and had allowed us to slosh along the puddle-laden road in relative peace. I had plenty of time to discuss my plans and concerns at length with Acadian and Superian.
My heart still ached from my decision to leave Kvatch. The excuses I had given Savlian Matius about trying to get more help for him and experience for me were true enough, although incomplete. I had nightmares of fireballs, burning rivers, and those terrifying clannfears. Amidst the brave defenders on top of that mountain, I was too ashamed to proclaim that much of my reason for leaving was fear.
That fear extended to my feelings for Savlian as well. Was a skittish wood elf really what that courageous man needed? Was a soldier, who subordinated his own needs and feelings to the defense of his city, what I
needed? Was he even capable of caring about a woman more than his beloved Kvatch?
Yet. . . he had charged into that gate after me, jeopardizing his ability to command the effort at the barricade. Did that mean. . . oh, I didn't know what any of it meant. I thought about the beautiful Nord that now graced his defensive perimeter. I couldn't blame Savlian if he preferred her to me. After all, Sigrid was neither skittish nor would she run away. I knew I would return. . . just not yet. Not with those nightmares. What would I find when I did go back to Kvatch? We slowly plodded along in the downpour. A tear slid down my cheek, only to be lost in the rain.
The depressing weather also helped doubts to seep into my commitment to the current path that Acadian and I had agreed upon. Would any of these Daedra Lords help me learn more about how to survive the denizens of Mehrunes Dagon's realm so I could close that gate?
We carefully skirted the rising Lower Niben, where relentless rain had claimed parts of the Green Road near Water's Edge. Recalling the tragedy I had inflicted upon the poor Khajiit of nearby Borderwatch, it was easy to become discouraged with Daedra Lords. As I contemplated my shameful actions in support of Sheogorath, it was not lost on me that Sanguine seemed to be requesting another such 'harmless' practical joke. I vowed quietly into the rain, "I will not cast Sanguine's spell if I come to believe it will shatter hopes or lives. I did enough of that at Borderwatch."
It was thoughts of Vaermina and her tower of nightmares that provided a glimmer of hope into my soggy despair; at least she had acknowledged my fears, and provided Daedra to help improve my skill and confidence.
Ultimately though, as Acadian had pointed out, I realized that I wasn't yet ready to take on an Oblivion Gate.
Resigned then to our current path, I mused and pondered aloud about what might await us in Leyawiin. Acadian and Superian listened patiently in the rain as I tried to come up with ideas of how I might infiltrate my way into Castle Leyawiin and the Countess' dinner party.
Despite my trepidation regarding Sanguine's task, I confessed some excitement at the prospects for intrigue and learning a bit of what happens inside a castle. And of course, what girl would turn down the chance to dress up in a formal gown?
By the time the walls of Leyawiin began to emerge from the darkness, I had almost convinced myself that continuing to research Daedra Lords was a perfectly valid reason to delay getting myself killed at Kvatch.
During the brief moment that the heavy wooden door to the Leyawiin guild was open, rain swept across the elegant marble floor, and a crack of thunder caused the mage inside the lobby to flinch. I removed my soaked hood. "Good evening, Evoker," I said to the Nord as my cape and green robe dripped on the floor.
"Greetings, Apprentice. I see the weather outside is still fit only for Argonians." Agata was pleasant, but businesslike, with her hair severely pulled back and wearing standard guild-issue blue robes. "It's been quite some time since you helped us by recovering Dagail's amulet. I was pleased that our recommendation helped you enter the University. During my recent visit there, Boderi Farano told me you did quite well for yourself. What brings you to Leyawiin?"
"Mostly research, Agata." I had found the term 'research' to be well-accepted among mages, and covered a multitude of things I didn't want to share. "Do you think I could stow my things and use Kalthar's old bed in the basement while I'm here?" I extended both arms to emphasize my baggy dripping sleeves, and shrugged.
The Nord smiled. "Forgive me, Buffy. Of course. Use Kalthar's quarters. Head down there right now and get yourself into some dry things. My dear friend Kud-Ei would never forgive me if we let one of her girls catch cold. We'd be delighted to have you stay as long as you like. Let me know if there's anything I can help you with."
"Thank you for the welcome, Agata." I headed downstairs.
As I looked at the bed in the basement, I remembered Kalthar. Killing a whining traitor to help the kind and wise leader of this guild had been a fair trade. The Council of Mages had determined my actions to be self defense and absolved me for the death of my guild mate.
After tugging off and draining my boots, I removed the cape and robe. Squeezing out the excess water, I found a place to hang them, along with the hood. While unpacking, I allowed the air to dry my rain-soaked skin. My fingers and toes were quite pale and wrinkled.
I hoped Delphine knew what she was talking about, commending Agata to me. If the Nordic assistant guild leader knew much about fashion and hair, it surely didn't show. Of course, I was hardly one to talk at the moment. My ponytail was more like a wet rattail. Removing the soaked ribbon I shook my loose hair, spraying the walls.
Laying out my gowns to relax the travel wrinkles, I was grateful that Delmar at the Chironasium had helped me enchant my pack to protect the contents from water. By the time I finished unpacking, my skin was dry and I pulled on a blue and green dress - with matching slippers of course. I then combed out my wet hair and headed back upstairs.
As I climbed to the second floor of the guild, I suppressed a squeal at my good fortune and chirped, "Hail, Tsavi." A green hood, atop a matching robe, turned around to reveal the the Khajiit. She was a member of the guild, but more importantly was the Staff Mage for Castle Leyawiin.
"Good evening, Buffy. Nice to see you. The trip from Bravil was uneventful?" Tsavi looked perpetually sad, but she was nevertheless pleasant enough.
"Yes, but for that interminable storm." Careful now, Buffy; nice and subtle. "I had to wear my rain gear all the way. Tsavi, I notice your green robes from the University. I hate wearing mine. How do you get them to fit so well?"
She seemed pleased at the compliment as she looked down and smoothed the robes with her hands. Her tail flicked around from behind and swept down the front of her lower legs. "These have been altered - to fit better and allow for a tail. Otherwise this one would swim around tripping over the hem."
I laughed. "Oh, good idea. I called them 'green bags' at the University." Good. Tsavi was opening up just a bit. "I only wear mine against the rain. Fortunately, they've been soaked and dried enough that they've shrunk to fit somewhat."
Tsavi smiled. "Well the whole idea of wearing robes as the Court Mage is important. It helps remind those in the castle - well really, just the Countess - of the position's importance. Otherwise, she would likely throw Tsavi out."
"Throw you out?" I opened my eyes wide for her benefit. Yes! She was talking about the castle now. "Why on Nirn would the Countess do that?" Add just a pinch of flattery. "You're a skilled mage and healer."
"Countess Caro hates Khajiit." Tsavi shook her head slowly and her ears drooped. "The sad part is, she could perhaps be a fine Lady Leyawiin otherwise. At least she dislikes Khajiit and Argonians equally. The way many of our two races torment each other in this town, the last thing we need is for her to take sides. This one believes the Countess just dislikes anyone whose appearance varies from her own Imperialness. You should see how she lifts her nose when she passes that orc who's been hanging around the Great Hall."
"Orc?" I pounced on the opportunity and tried my best to gush encouragement. "Now, that sounds mysterious!"
"Oh, it is." Tsavi perked up. "That orc claims she's a knight, but just snarls that she won't talk to anyone but the Count. Of course, the guards won't let a snarling orc anywhere near Lord Leyawiin. She's done nothing that quite warrants arrest, so things are at a standstill. Since his guards can get nowhere with her, the Count has offered a reward to anyone who can determine the orc's business."
"Fascinating, Tsavi," I said. Ok Buffy, turn off the gush. Time to gently back out. "How's Dagail? I mean, now that she has her amulet back to channel her voices and visions."
"Dagail? As wise as she ever was," replied the Khajiit. "She still talks in questions and circles, but if you pay attention you can learn much from her. Agata continues to handle much of the daily business for the guild. That reminds Tsavi that her purpose this evening is to see Agata. Please excuse this one, Apprentice. Wonderful to see you again."
"You too, Tsavi. 'Bye." I gave myself a passing grade for this first step of my infiltration. My business remained my own. The less people involved in Sanguine's perversion, the better. I hoped to minimize Agata's role to that of providing assistance with clothing and hair, should the time come. The conversation with Tsavi had provided a reason to visit the castle - albeit, an apparently snarling one.
* From Buffy's scrapbook: Screenshot1
* Screenshot2This post has been edited by Acadian: Oct 28 2011, 10:25 PM