Sep 28 2006, 06:56 AM
This thread is for the stories of the members of Order of the Schola, for any questions you may have please click on the following link.http://chorrol.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=3495
ANYTHING that is not a story or poem or whatever should be posted on the link that was just provided. Thank you, not trying to be mean, just trying to keep our sacred temple clean. Now then, an explanation.
The Temple of Lore is a sacred sanctum of tomes, dreams, thoughts, abstracts, histories, stories, poems, and the written word.
It exists in the twilight, between reality and fantasy, it embraces all forms and images that attempt to define it. It is perception, and the perciever.
There exists an order of men, commonly known to the masses as the Writers Guild, more accurately called the Order of the Schola who have mastered this twilight abstract in the form of storytelling, they alone have the power to transcend to the Temple of Lore, and contibute and take from its threads of knowledge.
They exist amongst us as Journalists, Bards, Old Men sitting on a porch with a glass of lemonade recanting old experiences. If you ask nicely, and your lucky to find the chosen few, a Schola can breathe life into any illusion, any thought.
The Metal Mallet
Sep 28 2006, 07:43 PM
Excellent introduction for this thread Black Hand. Allow me to make a submission. Hopefully, content-wise, it is suitable, it was accepted at school, so I personally think it's all right to post it. I certainly don't condone what happens in this though. But see for yourself... May I present:
A Vicious Haze - A Short Story by Scribe The Metal Mallet
A small child gave me the oddest look today. I was simply walking down the street as I usually do, and as I passed the child I saw their expression. It shocked me. Within that child’s eyes I saw a frightened curiosity. Out gazes held each other until they were jarred loose by the child’s mother pulling him closer to her. As they walked on, I continued to look back at them briefly, still pondering the reason for the stare. I decided that I shouldn’t care. It was just a stupid kid anyway. I had more important things to do.
After grabbing a meal I arrived at the usual place I met Henry. To kill time I decided to examine the new graffiti sprayed across the alley walls. Figure, more expletives. The place reeked of garbage, as customary, and the local wino was already getting sick in the corner when it was only 4:30 in the afternoon. I can’t stand this place yet Henry seems quite fond of it. He claims the alley has “character” that appeals to him.
After a few minutes of waiting, I received a tap on my shoulder that caused me to jump.
“Holy crap, Ridley, you need to pay attention to your surroundings better. What if I was a mugger eh? You would be screwed now,” Henry chuckles as he knocks on my head like a door, expressing his obvious belief on my mental awareness. Damn that smirk of his.
I don’t think of Henry as a friend, more of a necessary acquaintance, so I was not very appreciative of the way he was treating me. “Well if all muggers are as weak as you, I don’t think I need to worry about my awareness,” I retorted back while dry washing my hands due to anticipation, “I have my money, do you have it?”
“Of course I do. Why else would we be meeting then?” replied Henry as he pulled out the much desired item of mine.
“Right, forget about what I just said,” I chagrined as we made the exchange. It was during this exchange that I realized how plain looking Henry was. He didn’t stand out at all. Buzzed, dirt brown hair, brown eyes, medium build, and the only distinguishable fact about him was that damned constant smirk across his face. I would assume that his appearance helps for his line of business, to be able to avoid suspicion by the authorities would be beneficial.
After parting ways with Henry, I hurried back to my apartment, located at a suitable distance from the hell hole I was walking in at the moment. As the homeless men started to reluctantly disappear and the concrete walkways began revealing green grass I began to feel more secure with my surroundings. My apartment slowly appeared around the corner and a swell of pride aroused within me. This apartment building was among one of the more expensive and luxurious in town. Unfortunately, others did not see the same pride as I did. They didn’t care at all.
I entered my apartment, took off my coat, and stepped over the broken table I had forgotten to discard. In fact, the whole apartment was in bad shape. Sofa mattresses were discarded everywhere but on the sofa, some chairs and tables were upturned in the corner, and the kitchen contained more than a few broken dishes. The condition of my home would’ve all been avoided if Henry mentioned that he was going to be on vacation for a week. I had a bit of a fit from being without my little item for too long. Thus, my home turned into a dump. I decided the mess could wait until tomorrow to clean up. I desperately needed my fix.
I eagerly began to set up my burning apparatus and delicately placed my syringe beside me. As I gave the burner time to heat up, I started to prepare my purchase. At the perfect temperature I began to cook the fine, white powder. The familiar scent from the fumes that entered my nostrils brought a smile of anticipation across my lips. The long wait was going to make this experience one of the best yet. Just the smell had my head buzzing.
A bubbling noise brought back my attention. My purchase was ready for use. I carefully poured the substance into the syringe and readied the needle, tapping it to make sure all the air was out. I wouldn’t want anything stupid to happen. I rolled up my sleeve, revealing several dark puncture scars, and then proceeded to tie off my arm above the elbow to protrude my veins. I picked my spot, slid the needle in, and injected my purchase into my bloodstream.
It was rapture. Euphoria. Bliss. It was what I needed. My pains were lost before me in the calming haze spreading within my body. Gone were the fatigue, anxiety, fear, and sadness that seemed to constantly bombard my life and ruined my happiness. Now I was happy. All because of my heroin.
A knocking at my door woke me up. I wasn’t expecting anyone. At least I don’t remember if I was expecting someone. Dragging myself over to the door, I opened it a crack to peer at the person on the other side.
“My god, Ridley, you look awful!” A small, feminine voice rose out behind the door. It took me a few moments to realize who it was.
“Rina! This is a … a surprize!” I replied, making no attempt to mask my shock. Rina was a good friend of mine from high school. Everyone would bug us, claiming that we were a couple, but that was never the case, we could talk to each other legitimately, that was our friendship. It was like that until school finished and we went our separate directions. We attempted to stay in touch in college, but our priorities pulled us apart. I didn’t even know she was in town.
“Yeah, I know. I’m just back in town for a little while and I just wanted to say hi to some of my old friends. I’ve already talked to Jacob and Hilary. She mentioned where you live, I always expected you to end up in this part of town,” she said while looking up at me with those big brown eyes. They had a look to them I had never seen before, a very deep concerned look I would call it, “Can I come in?”
“Um… actually, give me a second, I’ll just get into some different clothes and we’ll take a walk. This place is a mess right now, I don’t want to embarrass myself,” I replied quickly as I closed the door. How true that last part was. I didn’t want her to find out about my bad habit. I was surprised the smell of the place didn’t even raise any suspicions. I didn’t want to ruin what we had had together. I didn’t want to reveal to her how much I needed it. How it had its hold on me. It wasn’t going to let go.
The walk went perfectly. At least after the initial awkwardness regarding the way I looked. I had not recently looked at myself in a mirror, so I had no idea on how I looked. I decided to pass it off as a recovery to being ill the last few days. It wasn’t technically a lie. Withdrawal is much like a sickness.
Excluding that, the day felt like old times. We caught up on a lot of things. Shared a good laugh here and there. Reminisced about the high school days. We did a lot of that. I think for the both of us, our best memories remained in those days. They sure were for me. Since high school I may have had success financially due to my business career, and I am proud of that, but it is the fact that no one else seems to care that has dragged me down into my present state. I need that state of euphoria in my life. With Rina back in town, I think that I now have a more natural way in getting it.
Too bad the grip that the heroin has on me is too strong. Even now, seeing Rina regularly again, I need my fix. It’s like I need one or the other to make it through the day now. And if I don’t have one or the other, I start to lose it. I’m always forced to make new excuses to Rina about my looks, and I don’t think she’s buying them anymore. That overly concerned expression is popping up more than I’d like it to. The worry and stress of her finding me out has caused me to resort to the drugs to escape. Then the worry and stress increases. I’ve created a vicious cycle.
After another dinner spent with Rina, I decided to celebrate the way I usually celebrate a good day. A quick bedtime session. Rina informed me that we would be eating brunch at 12 pm like we usually do. I thought that was odd since what we usually did was eat at 11 am, I quickly ignored it. I had more necessary things to do.
I arrived at my apartment and began the usual procedure of setting up, cooking, and loading up the syringe. I just started sliding the needle in when suddenly a knock came from my door and Rina walked in. Looks like I was careless and forgot to lock the door.
“Sorry for barging in, Ridley, but I made a stupid mistake and told you brunch was at 12 and…,” she trailed off as she saw what I was doing, “Oh no… Ridley what has happened to you?”
“Listen, I can explain,” I pled to her; already I was overcome with dread. And shame.
“No, there are no reasonable explanations for this. I don’t want to hear anymore of your excuses. You’ve been lying to me this whole time, keeping me out of your apartment, blaming your appearance on illness… when all the time it has been this!” she pointed down at me and my drugs, practically shaking in disgust. Those big brown eyes of hers were brimming with tears, “I would have never expected this from you. You had so much going for your future back in high school, hell, you’ve even achieved that success and yet you’ve become this wreak. I was proud of you, but I can’t be anymore. You’re a shell of what you used to be. Go get some help,” she ended sadly and walked out of the room. There was a hollow echo and then rapid footsteps quickly fading away.
I sat there in the middle of my floor until the pain from the needle still inserted into my arm snapped me back into some sort of reality. I pulled it out and dropped it. She said she was proud of me… but I lost it now. All I ever wanted was that. A wave of nausea then swept over me and I rushed to the washroom to empty my stomach.
As I was washing my face I finally took a look at myself. What I saw was a pair of sunken, bloodshot eyes. My face was pale and drawn as if there was no flesh beneath my skin. My hair had seen better days, the once lush and thick, blonde shag was now a greasy mess. I was surprised I could even tell it was me. Looking at the visage made me realize something. I now understood that look that child gave me. I looked like some kind of monster to him, yet there was still some humanity within me for him to want to know what happened to me. A deep, agonizing pain came upon me from this revelation.
I needed to end it, the only way I knew how. I looked at the amount in the syringe; it wasn’t enough for the pain I felt. I quickly made about double my normal dose, and prepared the syringe. I then inserted it into my arm, took a final breath, and injected.
It was rapture. Euphoria. Bliss. Then darkness.
Oct 3 2006, 03:01 PM
Here's my addition. It isn't related to TES at all, so prepare yourself for sci-fi. Poor robot. Left behind and forgotten.
Written by Jack Cloudy, the Apprentice.
Silence and darkness, two companions who went well together. During the day, sounds could be heard everywhere but during the night, the silence would drown out every sound safe for the beating of your own heart.
Here, the day was as silent as the night. The sun never shone. There was no heartbeat either. Actually, there was not a single being here that was ‘alive’ in the traditional sense. There was one being, though calling it alive would go a bit too far. Even when it was still young, it had missed that essential bit that separates a bug from the rock it sits on. A soul.
Right now, it sat lifelessly in a corner of the room, its grey features hidden by the blackness that embraced the complex. Now, it began to stir, it began to move, to stand and walk. The darkness kept no secrets from its eyes, nor kept it any surprises. Everything was as it had been for countless years. Years that even this being of plastic and metal couldn’t completely remember. One day followed the next, in a neverending rhythm. This day was the latest, the same one like all those before.
Its worn feet thumped on the bare floor without a shred of elegance. Joints protested loudly with every movement. They carried a message, a simple one. ,,Stop, it has been enough. Let me rest.” Yet rest was one thing that the machine would never seek.
The remains of a lush red carpet lined the edges of the room and a single light flickered in a final attempt to scare away the darkness, this was all that remained of the place’s former glory. The machine remembered those days, as clear as the little stream of water jumping from rock to rock high up in the mountains. Despite the loud complaints of its own body and against all the expectations its creators had when it was built, the machine continued to function and perform its duties, even now that these duties had lost their meaning.
It went to what had once been the kitchen. There, it removed a piece of wood mounted in front of what had been the food processor in its better days and caught the greyish goo that dripped out of the hole. The machine dipped a single finger in the revolting substance. It nodded, a motion that had burned itself a permanent place in its programming. The goo was edible, though any sane creature would rather die than eat it. It tasted so horrible, words couldn’t describe it. The machine never thought about those things. All it knew was that a certain amount of vitamins and other things were required to make the food good. As long as it contained that, it was just fine.
The unhappy receiver of the meal wasn’t fine. He didn’t respond when his servant placed the bowl with the goo in front of him. He couldn’t, for he was death.
Something inside the machine creaked. ,,You haven’t gotten out of that chair since the 6th of December 24.381 years ago. That is not healthy. You should move your muscles more. Guess I’ll have to feed you again, lazy. In the meantime, I’m calling the doctor.” It said to the mummified corpse with a slightly feminine voice. It was said that humans felt more comfortable when their machines sounded like a female being. Maybe that was why all military machines sounded like gruff males with a testosterone overdosis. Intimidation was one way to defeat the enemy. Naturally, the death man didn’t respond.
The machine carefully fed the grey goo bit by bit to what remained of its master without noticing how the food dripped down the jaw and passed between the ribs on its way to the floor. At the same time, it extended two antenna on its head and attempted to make contact with the planetary communication net. An attempt that failed as the satellites who maintained the net had all broken down long ago. Most satellites had burned up in the atmosphere, others were fried by a particularly violent solar flare and the remainder suffered from normal decay.
It picked up the bowl, finally noticing the goo on the floor. ,,Tsk, look at the mess you made. Now you won’t get your candy tonight. Also, I couldn’t contact the doctor. The planetary communication net still seems to be suffering from that temporary malfunction that started on the 25th of November 24.386 years ago. I’ll try again tomorrow. You really need to see the doctor.” It informed the corpse with the infinite patience that only a machine could have. The bowl was returned to the food processor after which the machine cleaned the mess on the floor. It then sat down in the corner, so it could conserve the little energy it still had. It only moved to deliver lunch and diner. This had become its daily routine, a routine that would only end when it would finally malfunction and die. Not having a soul was the best thing its creators had ever given to it. If it had one, its existence would have been unbearable. Now, it was simply empty.
The light in the ceiling flickered for the last time and died. Darkness conquered the last stronghold of light. The house, once a place to relax and enjoy a good book during a drink. Now a tomb, both of the man and the forgotten machine that would someday follow.
Oct 4 2006, 02:08 PM
This is a little something I have had kicking around for a while. Still don't know if it will go anywhere....
[Text of a flyer posted in corner clubs and taverns throughout Vvardenfell.]
Feeling adventurous? Tired of the humidity of the Bitter Coast and the choking dust of the Ashlands? Sick of cliff-racers? If so, come to Solstheim! Solstheim provides unlimited opportunities for the right individual.
You can make your fortune in the land of the midnight sun! See the breath-taking fjords! Search for pirate treasure! Carve out a place for yourself in the unspoiled beauty of this northern paradise! Boats depart Khuul daily. Don’t miss this opportunity for the adventure of a lifetime! Talk to an East Empire Company representative today!
[In much smaller print appeared the following:
Please note that the East Empire Company (hereafter known as “the Company”) is neither fiscally nor legally liable for: death, dismemberment, injury, physical or mental suffering, and/or property loss resulting from: animals (feral or domestic); eldritch creatures (spriggans, rieklings, fryse hags, &c); drowning, snow blindness, frostbite, hypothermia, avalanche, or blizzard; gods, demigods, demons, unquiet spirits, &c. By viewing this notice (even if unable to read or comprehend this print), you do thereby hold the Company, its shareholders, officers, and agents exempt from responsibility for any injury or loss you may suffer while traveling to, existing upon, and/or traveling from Solstheim.Respectfully submitted,
Treydog, Editor-in-Chief (and I thank all those who assigned me that rank)
The Metal Mallet
Oct 12 2006, 01:22 AM
This I wrote elsewhere, but I thought it would make a nice edition to the temple.
Memoirs of a Dremora A Fictional Journal Entry by Writer The Metal Mallet
My purpose is simple; serve Mehrunes, serve his followers, and destroy. Seem rather simply do they not? Well, most of them are, but as for serving Mehrunes followers…. I have had… difficulties. Mortals are… odd to say the least. I have since grown to detest their existence quite thoroughly.
Let’s see… I was spending my time patrolling Mehrunes’ plane of Oblivion. Did I mention how glad I am to be the top of the line of Mehrunes’ servants? I can kick scamps around whenever I please and actually RIDE the clannfear! Anyways, I was patrolling Oblivion, likely feasting on a soul of some damned mortal, I don’t quite remember, when the Lord of Destruction himself came to me.
“Rhuragix,” Mehrunes boomed at me, “One of my mortal disciples will be calling a Dremora for service soon, and I have decided it shall be you. Serve them as you would serve me.” With that he stalked away, likely to go start a forest fire in the Valenwood or something.
Finally I had a chance to reap some serious havoc! Knowing what Mehrunes stands for, I figured his followers would definitely have some fun things for me to do. For example, setting a village to flame, or maybe boiling a river, causing much ecological damage. I chuckled gleefully as a purplish haze began to surround me. This is it! This is my time to shine!
Physically being ripped out of Oblivion is a very interesting feeling. By interesting I mean painful. I was as if every inch of my body was shredded apart and established in Tamriel in the most obscenely painful way possible. It would be an experience I would never appreciate, ever.
Gasping in pain (I think the summoner thought I was growling), I arrived in Tamriel. I looked across to see who summoned me, turned out it was a Dunmer. Good start, I had heard the Dunmer were a serious sort of people. He was wearing a deep green robe, dusty from travelling I assumed, and his red eyes glowed intently as he clapped his hands together eagerly.
“Servant! My name is Ralen. I have invoked a powerful summoning spell so that you’ll remain here as long as you aren’t banished. Of course there’s only two ways you can be banished; me releasing you, or getting yourself killed. The former won’t happen as long as you do as I say. Understand?” he asked, making his serious expression seem too serious.
I simply nodded, I had no need to say words to someone I could likely kill with a flick of my wrist. He was quite scrawny looking.
His red eyes lit up as I agreed to his demands. “Excellent! Now to decide what to do with you…” he said, scratching his chin thoughtfully.
I nearly gaped at him. He hadn’t a clue on what he wanted to do with me!? What was I dealing with here? I began to pace about, as Ralen was still pondering on what to do. The only movement coming from him was the scratching of his chin.
Suddenly he just exploded. “Will you stop with that damned pacing!!” he practically screamed as he stormed over to me and openly slapped me across the face.
The insolence of this fool! My hand brushed the hilt of my long sword, but then Mehrunes’ words echoed in my head, “Serve him as you would serve me.” So I merely narrowed my eyes and stood in place. Ralen held my gaze, with an almost motherly anger displayed in his eyes. He then snorted angrily and turned away from me.
“I got it! Servant! Come!” he called. It seemed like he was treating me like some sort of dog. “Your mission is to defeat the main enemy of my friends. That enemy being hunters. They have a guildhall in a town to the south of here, in Tel Vos. The poor Cliffracer are being massacred by these brutes! I want them to pay!” Ralen ranted, anger clearly evident on his face.
I again nodded and turned to begin my way south. An arm gripped my shoulder and spun me around. What did this fool want now?
“You must promise me something first. You must not hurt a Cliffracer, ever. Such beautiful creatures don’t deserve death! So promise me!” Ralen said with conviction.
I nodded and with that he released his grip on my shoulder. I was grateful that he believed he thought me as a mute. I did not want a conversation with this fool. Don’t hurt some bird? Surely this Dunmer would fit better serving Sheogorath, wouldn’t he?
As I began my travel south, a sudden ear-grating squawk sounded over my head. Looking up to the sky I saw one of the ugliest creatures I had ever seen. This is coming from someone who is in regular company of smelly scamps and has had the “privilege” of having a conversation with an Ogrim. It looked like some sort of deformed flying rat with a beak. Even at the height it was at, it smelt like a corpse. Now I usually don’t mind the smell of corpses, but then again, the corpses I smell are fresh. This smell was not, it was rancid. I never thought in my whole career of merciless destruction that I would be gagging on a smell.
Attempting to ignore the creature, I continued on the journey. All of a sudden another squawk was heard and another one of these creatures suddenly appeared over my head. The damn noise they were making was getting on my nerves. Normally, I would just roast them with a simple fireball, problem solved, but I had a “mission” to do and the unstable Ralen would probably be upset if I didn’t get this done quickly. So I attempted the very difficult task of drowning out the sound these things were making.
My attempts proved useless as by the time the town of Tel Vos appeared on top of the hills I had a whole flock of the annoying rat-birds following me. I was nearly twitching in anger. Those hunters were definitely going to know what pain feels like, just because I had to put up with these… abominations!
As the guildhall came into view, my inhibition to kill rose to a near crescendo. I pulled out my long sword and suddenly and “Ting” noise came to my ears. I turn around and come face to face with one of these birds. It was attacking me! To make matters more annoying, the whole flock decided to descend upon me and attack me as well.
I was in a sea of gross-smelling, ear-grating noise, complimented by my “dings” and “tings” of my armour being stricken. I had enough, in one swoop of my sword, disembodied birds collapse all around me. I would have never thought the smell of death would disgust me, but the stench emitted from these birds was indescribable. I started to head to the town once again, but a burst of energy drew my attention.
Over a hill to my right, Ralen came storming, huffing and puffing in anger. No… these… things can’t be Cliffracers! The way he talked about them, it sounded as if they were some majestic, golden bird of the noble skies. Not these bottom feeding scum!
“You made a promise, and not even before you complete my assigned task, you break it!” he fumed. I was now certain this mer was insane.
“I release you from this plane!” he yelled at me, waving his arms frantically.
That indescribable pain erupted from every pore of my body and once again I found myself back in Oblivion. I shuddered, that was terrible. We could really use Cliffracers for our forces…
Oct 17 2006, 08:03 AM
Author's Note: This short story will be best understood if you've also read my first two pieces, which are on the loose in this forum. But don't let that small obstacle deter you: this tale exists mostly on its own terms. Enjoy.
By the Sea
Chun-Ook pulled into her home port, the Imperial fortress of Ebonheart, with a single passenger. Usually her owner, Nevosi Hlan, wouldn’t sale with fewer than four, but this Redguard paid well, and he had been eager to see his wife again anyway. A few younger Dunmer, new to the island, had taken a shine to her, and made her nervous when he was gone for more than a few days. He had been at sea more than a week, ferrying a load of Imperial fat cats to Raven Rock—a special fare, but tiresome. It didn’t trouble him much to leave Seyda Neen a few hours ahead of schedule.
The Redguard hadn’t said much as they sailed, but he knew that she worked at Arrille’s place. It seemed odd that she would pay so much for such a short trip—she could only be saving a few hours—but Nevosi wasn’t one to pry. Besides, the Redguard looked like she had enough on her mind, pacing the boat as she had been.
As Nevosi tied up to the great stone dock the Redguard hopped off Chun-Ook, but not before slipping the shipmaster a generous tip. A big spender, indeed.
“Thank you for your haste, shipmaster.” The Redguard spoke curtly.
“My pleasure, sera.”
At that the Redguard smiled, and strode briskly into the plaza, to the great dragon. Nevosi’s eyes followed her for a moment, and then returned to the task of securing his ship.
Just south of Castle Ebonheart, on the beach, the Argonian Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun was doing credit to his name. He was naked from the waist up, lying on his black robe, watching the few wispy white clouds as they drifted by. Five bottles of cyrodiilic brandy stood beside him; another five, empty, were strewn about on the sand.
“Elone, what the hell are you doing here?”
The Redguard, who had been observing the Argonian from behind a tree, just laughed. “Dead drunk and I still can’t sneak up on you. No wonder Caius sent me here.”
“Caius? What the hell does he want with me? The s’wit kicked me out the order two months ago.”
“Yes, I remember. After that incident in Suran.”
“Are you going to lecture me, too? I did it, and I’d gladly do it again.”
At that the Argonian grinned, as only an Argonian can.
Night had come to Ebonheart. Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun and Elone shared a table in the back corner of the Six Fishes, while the other patrons, a smattering of common folk and off-duty Imperial guards, gathered around the bard.
Elone looked, and spoke seriously. “Come now; let me tell you what Caius needs. We’re wasting time.” She cast a look over her shoulder, at the merry crowd.
“No, let me buy you another drink. I’m commemorating the two month anniversary of my dismissal, after all.”
Elone seized him by the shoulder. “Do this and all will be forgiven. Everything you threw away, we’ll return. Your pay, rank, papers—everything.”
“What could be so important? I’m damaged goods, a security risk. If the slavers had seen my face…”
“Don’t worry about that, Al. Let me tell you a story.”
Chun-Ook plied the Inner Sea once more, this time bearing for the mainland. Nevosi Hlan loved the sea, but for once wasn’t happy to be underway. Yes, it was a perfect day for sailing; the sky was painfully clear, and scarcely a wave broke Chun-Ook’s bow. But today Nevosi was carrying those same young Dunmer who had taken a liking to his wife. He had found even more reason to dislike them; not only were they loud and obnoxious fools, they were mercenaries in the employ of Orvas Dren. Apparently, they had some sort of important cargo to pick up, and they needed to bring it into Vvardenfell personally.
The sun was nearly set as Nevosi guided his ship into a small, secluded harbor. One of the younger Dunmer called gruffly from the bow, “You see that manor house to portside? Pull up to the dock.” Muttering, Nevosi followed the order. He could see the stinking light. But they were paying well, these buffoons, 2000 septims up front and another 2000 upon arrival back at Ebonheart. “Yes, yes, very good, shipmaster. Nethyn, jump down there and tie the ship up. Alright, shipmaster. You’ve done well for us. The five of us will go inside and gather the crates, there’ll be 10 in all, enough for a host of mercenaries.” At this, he looked at his fellows and grinned. “Let’s earn our wages, boys.”
As the mercenaries entered the manor Navosi took a moment to recline against Chun-Ook’s cabin door. He was thinking of the 2000 septims already in his pouch, and 2000 more to come. He thinks; I might take a vacation, a nice stay-at-home vacation. Make my wife happy. We’ll carouse at the Six Fishes, or perhaps join that drunkard on the beach. I’ve been working too hard, spending too much time at sea. Maybe I can get a job in the East Empire Company—I could handle logistics, coordinate shipping. And I shouldn’t have to leave Ebonheart, I don’t think…
Suddenly he is aware of a tremendous silence. Moving those crates should be noisy work, and hey, shouldn’t they have a couple of them out here by now? How long has it been? Ten minutes? Twenty? And what happened to that light?
Nevosi started to call out, but decided against it. No, that wouldn’t do. Instead, the shipmaster pulled out his cutlass, walked quietly across the deck, and cut the line securing Chun-Ook to the dock. A warm breeze kicked up out of the southwest, and Chun-Ook drifted away from the darkened manor house and mainland Morrowind.
Oct 22 2006, 10:54 PM
Okay, it sucks. I know, but I thought it would be funny as I desperately need to submit some work to the Temple.
Hopefully, you get a laugh.
The Ambitious Henchman, a short work by Black Hand
Pete had never been a nameless henchman like numbers one through twelve.
Pete had never been a horrible shot like numbers one through twelve.
And it got on the Bosses nerves that Pete kept killing off his Arch-Enemies, as he told him time and again.
“Pete. Look, I am an international drug dealer, an evil CEO of an evil international conglomerate which launders my evil income, I supply both rogue states and small countries with arms, and quietly cause wars between them, and cash in on the conflict. Do you know what all that means?” The Boss asked Pete.
“It sounds like you’re a busy guy.” Pete said nervously fingering his Assault Rifle, and adjusting his black beret, which matched his black trenchcoat, which matched his black boots, whick matched….oh you get the Idea, the Boss liked his Henchman dressed in Black.
“NO! It means I have a lot of subordinates like you who ARE very busy, while I am very bored, leaving me with plenty of time to come up with elaborate, albeit easily escapable, traps for all the Elite GI’s, Spies, Vigilante’s, Cops looking for revenge, and superheroes who come looking for me in my hideout of the week.” The Boss chided him.
“Okay.” Said Pete, not understanding where this was going.
“What I’m getting at is that I would appreciate it if you stopped aiming so accurately once they do infiltrate my supposedly secure network of elaborately designed, albeit easily foiled traps. I mean, look at number eight! You could put a Mattress in front of his muzzle and he’d still end up shooting numbers three through seven! Now that’s Henching at its finest!”
Suddenly red lights began flashing, and TV screens opened up from the walls. The screens showed a figure in a dark suit and blond hair, with a set of perfect teeth in a never-ending smile climbing up an oversized air-duct.
“BLOND! STOCK BLOND! The elite G.I. spy, part-time Vigilante, ex-superhero, formerly a Cop bent on Vengeance! This will be the most epic showdown of good versus evil ever!” The boss wringed his hands.
“Pete! Go out there and show me what you’re made of – ooooh! He used an EMP grenade to disable the Techno-Hounds!” the Boss admired as Pete ran off.
Two Minutes later, after all the Henchman were dead, mostly from their horrible shooting, and Stock Blond’s unerring accuracy with a .22 pistol, Pete walked into the Boss’s office, the Boss had his hand over his eyes.
“What did we just talk about?” the Boss sighed.
“Well, I was trying not to hit him, as you said, but he flipped himself right into the stream of bullets.”
“Yes, I saw, he was expecting you to shoot AWAY from him, and that’s when he got riddled full of bullets…..’
“I’m thinking I’D like to be bored, and you could miss Elite GI’s, Spies, Vigilante’s, Cops looking for revenge, and superheroes.”
The Boss looked up for a second. It was perfect. Henching was all the thrills he was seeking. Gunfughts that lasted forever, diving out of planes, biting through bars.
“Okay, gimme the Gun, Pete.”
”That’s Pete the Boss.”
“Okay, Pete the Boss.”
”That’s Boss the Henchman.”
“Right, Boss the Henchman?”
“Yes Pete the Boss?”
Boss the henchman sighed as he went off to find another Elite GI, Spy, Vigilante, Cop looking for revenge, or superhero to keep his new boss occupied.
Oct 28 2006, 05:52 AM
This piece is related to what I've done before, but different. Enjoy.
It was near midnight at the South Wall Cornerclub, in the Hlaalu center of Balmora. For once the tavern was quiet—the arena in Vivec was hosting a fortnight of combat, and tonight the Hlaalu champions were headlining. While Phane Rielle served a pair of customers at the bar an Argonian and an Imperial coversed quietly at a corner table. The Imperial, a stout man of about 45 years, wore the plain garb of the commoner; the Argonian a black robe. The Imperial took an occasional pull from a fine skooma pipe, while the Argonian nursed a bottle of flin.
“The work is done, I take it?” The Imperial glanced up at his companion.
The Argonian kept his gaze upon the open bottle. “I killed the watchman and waited in the manor. The merchandise was there; weapons and armor for a host of mercenaries. The delivery boys never saw me in the corner, of course. I slit their throats as they lifted the crates.”
“The ship was gone after I cleaned it up. I think he may have figured out what happened; a working-mer is not nearly so foolish as a bunch of thugs in tin suits. But he didn’t see anything, I’m sure of that.”
“Dren is very rash. He thinks the Emperor is a doddering old fool. Perhaps this will be a lesson.”
“You don’t want me to take action?”
The Imperial chortled, “Knowing you, I imagine that Dren Plantation would burn to the ground. No, Dren is too well-connected. Relations with Hlaalu would be irrevocably strained. No, we’ll keep him contained, for now. I think he’ll have a difficult time attracting addition mercenaries, at least in the short term. But enough of that. Let’s talk about you’re future.”
The Argonian finally pried his eyes away from the drink. “What’s the next job?”
“Patience, friend. I need to process some paperwork, and return you to the good graces of the order. And we need to see how Dren responds. Take a few days off. Your orders will wait.”
The Vivec arena was a veritable cauldron of sound. The crowd lived with each swing and strike of sword and axe, and each mighty spell cast commanded the audience’s admiration and wonder. The present duel was of particular interest—it was unusual for Telvanni to participate in the games, and these two young wizards were rising stars in the House. Unfortunately (for one of them, at least), they both desired to serve as Master Aryon’s mouth.
Rethyas Reloth, a Dunmer of perhaps 100 years age, was the favorite. He had insisted upon a duel to decide the matter, and had convinced Aryon that it such a duel would reflect favorably upon the House. Reloth had gained some notoriety as a conjurer of minor daedra. It was said that he had once summoned a cadre of fifteen Dremora to defend the town of Vos from pirates.
Galos Mathendis was not so well known, but all agreed that he was quite shrewd; it was rumored that he once tricked an underling of Master Neloth into surrendering the key to Tel Naga. The next morning, it was said, Neloth awoke to find his tower stripped of its valuables, his guards expertly drugged. The Master’s famed irritability was not soothed.
Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun, Argonian, was in the bleachers, comfortably drunk.
Reloth opened the contest by summoning the servent of Sheogorath, a Golden Saint. The daedroth sprinted forward, carrying a glass shield and a dark, wicked katana. Mathendis countered by downing a potion, evidently to fortify his speed, as he began to sprint rapidly around the arena perimeter, followed by the Golden Saint. Reloth grinned, and recited the incantation to summon a Dremora, his favored servant—but did not finish, as Methendis launched a massive shockball on the run. It was difficult to see much of what happened next—the shockball had nearly filled the battle pit, and the light had momentarily blinded much of the crowd. Such was the risk of attending a battle between mages. But Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun had been concentrating more on the bottle than the battle.
Reloth was gravely wounded; he pulled a vial from within his robe and downed it hurriedly. Then he froze, a look of terror carved onto his face.
Galos Mathendis turned and cast a spell upon the still-pursuing daedroth. The Golden Saint stopped. Then Reloth’s daedric servant walked calmly over to its paralyzed master and hacked him to pieces.
Much of the crowd was utterly confused, having been unable to see the denouement. When they recovered their vision, they saw Reloth dead, Mathendis alive. Those patrons who had seen the unfolding events, who had perhaps even wagered upon the dead mer, booed lustily.
Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun smiled, and lifted another bottle of flin to his scaly lips.
Oct 30 2006, 04:03 AM
Oh yes, another entry from canis216. Enjoy this one. I got a kick out of writing it.
Clinging to Life
A lilting western breeze pushes my little rowboat a short ways back toward the shore, slightly altering but in no way marring my view of the immaculate buff-colored clouds hovering over Ebonheart. My father used to say that the sea had no memory. I think that’s why, after escaping Vvardenfell, he set sail for Stros M’kai. He wanted to forget the eastern provinces.
I come to the sea to be alone in my dreams. There is something about these peaceful lapping waves of the southern coast… I remember better things.
The few storms are exciting. Not two years ago a squall carried a host of dreugh over the walls of Castle Ebonheart, and I myself saw a slaughterfish impaled atop a flagpole. It was as if the sea were expunging so many decades of bad memories, and the morning’s sunrise was all the brighter for it.
The breeze picks up, a little stronger. I sit up, and look to the west. A few gray clouds are gathering; nothing worrisome, but it will likely rain tonight. But what is that whistling?
I dive into the hull of my little boat, flipping it over but avoiding the arrow. I’m underwater—no reason to panic, even the dullest of my kin can breathe the sea without harm. But my robe is soaked, and weighing me down. Tear it off!—but don’t forget the dagger. It throbs as I seethe—no one interrupts my vacations.
I can’t see, but the scum must be on shore, waiting—no direct assault. The bridge! I swim for it, quickly; he’ll see my shadow but that’s alright. Excellent, in fact.
Run, run, run. The lizard mustn’t escape. Leap over the stone wall—there’s a guard watching but he won’t interfere—and up onto the bridge. He won’t be able to hide forever, the n’wah! Breathe, breathe; draw it back, yes, yes, the water shallows up, the arrow will penetrate.
“Where is that lizard?” The bowman whispers to himself, almost involuntarily. It’s been near two minutes, and he hasn’t seen or heard his mark. He leans over the wall, trying to look under the bridge. His eyes open wide.
“Been right here, friend.” Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun slashes his assailant across the throat. His left hand clings to the underside of the bridge.
Oct 31 2006, 07:14 AM
Yes, another one. I must be trying to shame everyone else into posting stuff here. I think this is my outburst of creativity before I write all of my end-o-the-semester papers.
Friends and Brethren
It was quiet yet in the Black Shalk Cornerclub. The arena games would not start for several hours. Most of the club’s expatriate clientele were still nursing hangovers, and would not emerge to drink again until the evening battles. Still, a hardy few were scattered around the tavern: a half-sensible Nord in the corner; the young bard reworking his repertoire of poems, tales, and songs; three Dunmer playing cards near the door, and an Argonian at the bar. He nursed an open bottle of cyrodiilic brandy, exchanging the odd word here and there with the publican, a well-dressed middle-aged Dunmer. The Argonian started a bit when he felt a hand on his armored shoulder.
“Huleeya, let me buy you another drink.”
“Ahh, friend Lingers-in-the-Sun. You startled me. What brings you into Vivec at this hour? And where is your black robe?” Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun was instead wearing the dirty brown cotton robe of a commoner, with the hood drawn over his head.
“One of your brethren forced me to abandon it.”
Huleeya raised an eyebrow. “We should discuss this somewhere… more private. Let us go to Jobasha’s.”
“Very well. But first I want my drink. Riral, could you spare a bottle of brandy for each of us?” Riral Giral, publican, nodded and brought up two bottles from beneath the counter. The Argonian handed over a small pouch of gold. “Now, shall we?”
The door, unfortunately, was blocked. “Hey, two filthy lizards! Where do you think you’re going?” The three young card-playing Dunmer were all standing, and not nearly so drunk as would be desirable.
Huleeya turned to the racists, “Gentlemer, please—”
Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun pulled two blades from his robe and quite suddenly had one of the Dunmer against the wall; the flat of an ebony blade pressed to the elf’s midsection, a gleaming daedric dagger at his throat.
“I go wherever I please, softskin! Neither you nor the whole Dark Elven race can stop me!”
With that the Argonian brought the hilt of his shortsword down upon the Dunmer’s skull.
“Your friend will need a drink when he wakes up. And perhaps a healer. I suggest you attend to him.”
Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun strode between the two stunned Dark Elves and out the door.
“Come Huleeya. We can speak now.”
The two Argonians sat at a small table at the bottom of Jobasha’s Rare Books, drinking quietly. The proprietor was up front, haggling with a customer, a Breton carrying an armload of cheap-looking texts. The guard, a ‘gift’ from the Duke, stood in the corner, watching none-too diligently, waiting for his shift to end.
“You know, Lingers-in-the-Sun, it is those rash acts which are responsible for our problem. If you had not burned down the slave market…”
“Was it not the right thing to do? I am not ashamed of what I did. And if Caius would let me kill the softskin… there would be no problem.”
“The slaver has a wealthy family. It would become their problem. You know how this works—a murder leads to an assassination, which leads to another assassination…”
“Yes, I know. Perpetual employment for assassins… except those who get killed, anyway….. So what can be done?”
“Your spymaster could transfer you out of Morrowind. My order has a long reach… but it does not often leave the province.”
“No. My honor forbids me to leave. You know this.”
“Yes… this is troublesome. Let me speak with my Grandmaster. We may be able to make… an arrangement.”
A couple of Redoran were dueling in the arena, arrayed in bonemold armor, armed with silver claymores. Booze and money flowed freely throughout the stands, but for once Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun wasn’t drinking. But he wasn’t really watching the fight either; he was just… there. After a few moments parrying one of the Redoran’s caught his counterpart cleanly across the chest—he went down, sword falling to his side. Healers rushed to the arena center as victory was declared. The crowd cheered the victor, and two new combatants took the floor. It was all so sudden, simple, and clean.
Nov 1 2006, 02:54 AM
Well, I am obsessed with Morrowind and Assassins....so I try to avoid playing it out too much. But here you go.....
Instant Irony, a short story by Black Hand
Ulmesi Baryon shifted in her Netch Leather Armor in the small crawlspace in Rethan Manor. She smiled to herself as the new lord of the Manor, Raynasa Rethan returned home from her inpections into the Shurdan-Raplay Egg Mine.
Redoran it would seem was tired of being pushed around by the Hlaalu, first Caldera, and now this latest unauthorized Stronghold prompted the Warrior House into pushing back. Ulmesi considered herself as one of the few fortunate servants of Mephala to serve in the hidden base under the Grandmaster himself, thusly as an elite assassin, she was sent to ensure the contract was fulfilled, the Redoran payed well for this one.
The new lord disrobed and set herself into the bath to wash away the stink and grime of the cavern. The heat soothing away all the tension in her muscles. Not that being a Nightblade Merchant required rigourous workout routines, but climbing the cliffs of the Odai Plateau did bring a burn into her calves.
Ulmesi quietly moved back the wall panel, and without making a sound, unsheated her well-oiled and well-used glass jinkblade, running as quickly as she could to her mark.
Raynasa saw a shadow out of the corner of her eye, her heart skipped a beat as she saw the enchantment of a jinkblade rushing to her throat. Her hand rose in instinctive defense, and she used the ring that she never took off for just this reason, the ring of shocking touch.
The next morning, the house guards stood staring over the two bodies in the Lady Raynasa Rethan's Bathing Room.
"I wondered why she never woke up this mornin' looks like the Tong got her.." said the Dunmer in Bonemold Armor.
"There's not a scratch on her. This lady assassin never touched her, but it looks like it was'nt from lack of trying, there's still the dagger in her hand, and look at those shock burns. Raynasa killed her first." replied his compatriot.
"Then why is Raynasa dead? She did'nt drown. Her upper body is slumped over the baths edge."
An Imperial Guard, who was also a battlemage walked in following up on the investigation. His keen eyes took in the scene.
"I'll tell you what killed her...that ring. I take it you Guards arent spellcasters. But water makes an excellent medium for shock energy. She fried when the Assassin attacked....ironic that she would have been fine if she were out of the water......"
Nov 2 2006, 05:33 AM
Another piece. Be warned, I like to bounce back and forth between standard narrative and some rather odd and uneven forms.
I Am Deceit
A flash of fine polished silver pulses through the air like a shooting star, ephemeral yet lodging itself into your cerebrum, becoming part of your dreams. It strikes yet another improbable mass of metal; it is sliding down to the hilt then pulled away, over the left shoulder. The atmosphere flees before the blow, so many subatomic particles fleeing into the dust and gloom. Somewhere the balance must be recalibrated, somewhere something, someone, is slipping. The flash of silver flows to gold in the torchlight, carrying an infinitesimal fraction of the sun into another man’s eyes. Did a man blink, or did the Alduin the world-eater flinch? Perhaps nothing happened at all, just a parry missed; the flash of silver-gold rakes across molded bone and rests.
Thus another arena contest ends.
For a moment, I’m contemplating the Redoran. Yes, they know the value of honor and codes of conduct; to a Hlaalu they may seem irrational, but then the Hlaalu thrive on nuance, politicking, deceit, and suspicion. I envy the simpler ways of the Redoran, the way of the blade against blade, looking into your adversary’s eyes. I have more in common with the Hlaalu, resist as I might, lurking in the shadows. I am deceit.
I need a drink. There is no point to sobriety, in Vivec, at the arena. I can’t escape my dreams, but I can drown them out of my memory. Past the top step an aging Dunmer is offering booze to the unwashed and noble alike. I lay down a few drakes for a hefty bottle of greef; it seems appropriate today, and I deserve to suffer in the morning. The liquor is scandalously bitter; and for a moment I can’t breathe. Someday the sensation will last for an eternity—perhaps that’s why I keep taking another pull.
A Nord with a booming voice—an aspiring graybeard?—calls out the next match. It will be a few moments; neither of the Hlaalu combatants wants to be the first on the floor—they’re trying to find that final advantage.
That’s fine. I content myself to stroll around the perimeter of the stands. Spectators are making their bets, or tossing a few back. In one corner of the arena a group of young Dunmer lounge about, arms embracing the hips of their scantily clad escorts. Ah, there he is. The slaver. I can end this problem.
One of the nearby booths is unoccupied—the vendor sold moon sugar to one of Vivec’s buoyant armigers—I slip inside. The fight is beginning, the crowd’s fervor is building, the liquor flows, the Nord shouts. I take one last pull of greef, bracing for the burn, then extract my crossbow from inside my robe. One viper-bolt already sits in position. I set a couple more on the cool stone floor beside me—just in case. I’m a little drunk now. I rub a little dust on the Dwemer metal cradled in my arms, to absorb and diffract the torchlight. Then ease the sight over the countertop. He’s still there, the softskin, surrounded by women, lackeys, liquor, and a single Khajjit slave. Let’s adjust a little bit for the distance—I want to place the bolt right in his throat, so the s’wit never speaks another word, then perhaps a shot to the heart to finish him off. But one will be enough, I think—he’s never done a day of honest labor in his life, and his hardest living is crawling out of the tavern in the morning. Oh, will the poison make him suffer, yes, yes, yes! Ah here it is, easiest shot I’ll ever take, another Dunmer dead. Yes!, place that finger on the trigger, pull it back pull it back… ease off. Honor, for once. Honor forever.
The Metal Mallet
Nov 14 2006, 02:00 AM
Decided to make another journal entry from our hopefully new found Dremora friend, Rhuragix! Enjoy
Memoirs of a Dremora A Fictional Journal Entry by Writer The Metal Mallet
Lemme tell you, dear readers of whatever infernal realm you belong to, that serving under Mehrunes Dagon is no easy feat. Especially when it seems that oftentimes his followers are just as crazy as Sheogorath’s. That Dark Elf with the hots for Cliffracers was just one instance. I’ve had plenty of other “odd” servants to deal with.
As usual, during my downtime from visiting Tamriel, I was found playing poker with my other Dremora buddies, Phallix, Jubric, and Bob. Of course, I was winning as usual and just when I was certain I would ascertain victory, Mehrunes shows up. Being the flashy Daedra that he is, he just has to stop right onto the poker table, ruining everything. Lord of Destruction indeed.
“Rhuragix! You have business to attend to with one of my faithful servants. Don’t disappoint me,” Mehrunes boomed before disappearing in an ear shattering thunderclap of energy.
Still clutching my ears in agony, I was immediately torn to shreds before being ensemble back on Tamriel. Not a good start, as I roared out my pain, causing a puny little Bosmer to jump three feet off the ground before he scurried a safe distance from me. Or at least a distance he thought was safe. I do have a pretty mean fireball if I do say so myself.
Looking around at my surroundings, I judged that I was in the wilderness of the Cyrodiil province. I had been taking Tamriel classes since the Cliffracer incident so I could actually understand what these mortals were blabbing about. I still felt I had no need to speak with them though as I waved the Bosmer over.
The Bosmer creped out from behind his cover and approached me warily. When he realized I wasn’t going to hit him or anything he started bouncing around in glee, hopping from one foot to the next, a stupid little smirk on his face.
“It worked! It worked! I finally did it right! I’m a proper conjurer now! Hehehehe!” the Bosmer cried. His high-pitch squeal was quite grating on the ears. I hoped that he didn’t always sound like that. After his moment of happiness I found out that he did always sound like that.
“Okay… Well, I brought you here to take care of some annoying Legionnaires that have kicked me out of my cave. Those lousy…,” the Bosmer said while throwing off a string of obscenities, some of which I found quite creative.
After calming himself down, the Bosmer told me to follow him. We walked through the forest for what seemed like hours. The surprising thing was that the Bosmer was completely quiet the whole time. He did not utter a single word of annoyance. For once, I was actually enjoying myself.
Eventually we reached an open spot of land and the Bosmer decided to stop our walk. Keeping his voice low, he whispered instructions to me.
“Just over the hill is my cave, they probably have a sentry out there. What I want you to do is take whoever it is out. I’ll back you up with my bow,” he whispered, nodding towards the longbow strapped to his back.
If we wanted to do this the best way possible, I would’ve suggested he simply used the bow to take out the sentry before they knew what hit him. But I really felt like killing something so I didn’t voice my opinion. Instead, I nodded and began to climb over the hill.
Looking beyond the crest of the hill, I saw the sentry that was expected to be there. Now it was time for me to have some fun! I decided we should keep the noise down, so I went with a stealthy approach. I took out my tanto and managed to sneak around the far side of the hill without the sentry seeing me. You’d be surprised at how quiet we Dremora can be, even in our armour.
I crept up behind the sentry, wrapped my arm around his throat, my hand covering his mouth, and pierced my tanto through his leather armour into his body. My tanto poked threw the front side of the sentry as they stared down in horror before slumping down.
I withdrew my tanto and eased the body to the floor. Looking up the hill I all ready saw the Bosmer skipping down the hill, tittering gleefully. Upon reaching my position, he proceeded to kick the corpse a couple of times.
“Haha! That’s what you deserve!” he spat at the corpse before turning back to me. “Well? Let’s keep going!”
I nodded once more and entered the cave, the Bosmer following close behind. Almost immediately we stumbled upon a front guard who cried out in shock, as he saw me first. My retaliation was a fireball that completely consumed the guard in flame. Before the guard could even cry out in agony, he collapsed to the floor. Mmmm crispy!
We walked past the guard, the Bosmer gagging over the smell of burnt skin and hair. I couldn’t help but chuckle at that. How was I ever going to rise in the ranks of Mehrunes when was always stuck with lack wits like these?
Brushing my question aside, we continued down the twisted rock path, which eventually led to a closed door. Many voices could be heard on the other side. It would be no problem for me if I came in there fireballs blazing. It was just that from then on, it would be war instead of stealth. No matter; bloodshed was my kinda thing.
I looked to the Bosmer, who cocked an arrow in his bow. I turned to the door and kicked it down, shouting a battle roar. All the immediate people in the room yelled in fright, but a few managed to go for the weapons. I unleashed a fireball at the nearest one, consuming that man in flame. I turned attention to the next warrior when suddenly a stinging sensation erupted from in between my shoulder blades.
The only person behind me was the Bosmer. The stupid fool had shot me! I went to turn around to give him a piece of my mind, but I then noticed my whole body was rooted to the floor. Great. Not only did he shoot me with an arrow. It just happened to be one with a paralyze poison added to it.
It was then that I noticed the battle axe swinging for my head.
Next thing I knew, I was standing in Oblivion once more. I looked over and saw Phallix, Jubric, and Bob still playing cards.
“Eh, Rhuragix! Back all ready?” Bob quipped, pulling out a chair, “Come play with us.”
I sat down in the chair and rubbed my head. Blasted Bosmer… I hope he got what was coming to him….
Nov 16 2006, 11:39 PM
Here is my first story as a member of the Writer's Guild. For now, I will just use my short story set in the Elder Scrolls universe before straying to something different. Hope you all like it, please let me know what you think, good or bad.
Blood is Thicker
Allentus was not pleased with the life lined out for him, predefined before he was even born. Allentus was one of those children quoted to have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth. A child slated to be heir to the throne of Kvatch and take after his father Hector. Allentus was unhappy with the thought of being handed power. To be handed something makes one weak as far as the youth was concerned and would rather write his own name in the sand as opposed to someone scribing for him.
Allentus was a strong disbeliever of the word fate and what it stood for and rather believed in a man being able to take the road less traveled if one so chose and with that, he packed up some belongings and left home. At the fresh age of fourteen, the young Imperial thought he had life figured out. He was off to the Imperial City to make it big as an adventurer and as soon as he could save or steal enough for equipment he would be off, living the carefree life as a freelance adventurer.
The youth practically salivated over the chance to be his own boss. No one to tell him how to properly behave and no one to tell him what was and wasn't gentlemanly. Allentus was going to have his name in the history books as the most daring, handsome and wealthy cave raider any one has ever known and he would do it all under his own pretences, with no one helping him.
Sadly, the fairytale was short lived and made rudely aparent to the child when the unforgiving streets of the Market District in Imperial City made an example of him. Allentus picked the pocket of the wrong man landing him in jail, and since the man had many friends in high places, Allentus went to prison a boy and exited a twenty year old man. Time and prison was not kind to Allentus who now sported a dungeon tan and a bad attitude. Seemingly not learning a thing from his time in prison, Allentus traveled to the Feed Bag in the Market District to drown himself in some strong liquor and make a hasty retreat before they realized he was as poor as a skooma addict...
Continued in part 2
Nov 17 2006, 05:18 AM
Been a little time since I last flooded this thread with my tales. Here's something...
Breakfast in Balmora Balyn, get up. Open your eyes. Get up!
Balyn looked up from bed. It was morning; he could see the diffuse dawn’s light through the window. Then he remembered. The man in the bar. A bag of gold changing hands. An appointment he must not miss. No, it couldn’t have happened, he thought, I must have been dreaming. Yet the sack of gold sat on his bed table, right by his head. The deal had been struck, and there was no going back.
Balyn eased his way out of bed and picked up his cheap green shirt and dusty pants from their place atop the storage chest. Soon, ALMSIVI willing, he might be able to afford something a little better. He pulled on his battered shoes, after briefly examining the ever-widening hole in the right heel. His profession took a remarkable toll on shoes, in spite of his efforts to walk softly. Finally, Balyn opened the chest and pulled out his prized flameblade. It was one of the few things he had left that truly worked.
As Balyn ate breakfast—a single serving of scrib jelly—the landlord slipped the monthly rental bill beneath the front door. Was it that time already?, he wondered. Damn. He took the paper from the floor and looked over the scrawlings—the rich lout must be losing at dice still; he’s jacked up rent the last 4 months. For a moment Balyn was tempted to rip apart the document cradled in his hands, but he reconsidered. He would have the money soon enough.
Ready now, Balyn climbed the ladder and out his trapdoor, atop his roof. It was why he wanted the place to begin with; the pursued assassin needs all the secrets he can muster. Today he didn’t wish for anyone to see him leave the house. By Vivec it was a lovely morning—soft sunlight cresting over the eastern hills of West Gash, not a cloud to be seen, and the Odai as placid and clear as ever. And standing above the city, Balyn could see his mark stumbling out of the Lucky Lockup, bottle in hand. The time has come. Balyn downed his last potion of invisibility, leaped down from the roof, and dashed to the Odai bridge.
The mark, a burly but well-dressed Imperial with short brown hair and a neatly trimmed beard, paused in front of the Council Club to take another pull of brandy. Quite suddenly an ill-dressed Dunmer, Balyn Omavel, appeared in front of him.
“Pardon me, sera. Do you have a moment?”
The Imperial looked at first confused, then vaguely angry. “Out of my way, elf. I haven’t any time to talk.”
“On the contrary. You have an eternity.”
At that Balyn seized the man and threw him into the wall. “Perhaps next time you’ll show some courtesy, n’wah!” Balyn slashed open the Imperial’s throat, spilling rich red blood over the walk. Passengers disembarking the strider would be appalled, no doubt. But the outlander was dead.
Balyn’s glance circled about. No one had seen—Balmora was still just waking up. The assassin mumbled a few words and found himself back in his home, like nothing happened. Save the blood on his hands.
He found his washbowl and began cleaning off the victim’s blood. May Mephala forgive me.
Nov 17 2006, 05:44 AM
Blood is Thicker - Part Two
The passing hours for Allentus went quickly. Bottle after bottle hit the table until finally, our young alcoholic hit the floor. Disgusted patrons requested that he be thrown to the streets like the beggar he is and without delay, the wishes of thr majority was carried out, the same can be said about the star of the story. Allentus was cast into the back alley and dumped on his face by a strong nord that was paid by the owner to make short work of the young adult.
In a drunken stupor, Allentus pulled a short blade from his worn clothing. The blade, a gift from his father was almost pawned twice since Allentus had arrived but something stopped him, not so much the sentimental value but more a thought that it may someday come in handy. A way of protecting one's self is almost priceless and in an instant, young Allentus made his second big mistake. Before either he or the Nord knew what was happening, the inebriated Allentus tackled the taller, older man to the grass behind the Feed Bag and burried his dagger deep into the side of the Nord's neck.
In an instant, Allentus had gone from a lowly thief, to a cold-blooded killer. The young man was certainly getting his wish. He would end up writing his own name in the sand, too bad it would be accented in blood. Allentus staggered back to his feet, mortified by his act and ran. Just simply ran for his very life He wished he could goback but he knew it was far too late for that. He wanted to turn back time but he knew it couldn't be done. He dropped his dagger in the streets as his feet seldom hit the ground. Young Allentus cried as he looked at the blood that stained his hands.
Just as he rounded his next corner, bringing him closer and closer to the city's gates he was grabbed by the arm and pulled into an alleyway. With a black glove covering his mouth, Allentus was certain he was busted. Caught by the guards and seconds from getting a hanging for his crimes but to his surprise, he was face-to-face with a young man draped in a black hooded robe.
"Take this, and put it on, it will hide you from view. The robe is enchanted with a chamelion spell that activates when you pull the hood over your head. Once you get it on, I want you to follow me. I have a proposition for you." The man in black orders before walking away.
Allentus hauls the robe over his head and follows mindlessly...
Continued in Part three - the final
Nov 17 2006, 03:34 PM
Blood is Thicker - Part 3
The black robed man waves a hand, motioning for Allentus to quickly follow as he flips his own hood over his head and runs out of the alleyway before slipping through a half opened door. Once they both are inside, the mysterious man reveals himself again and lights a single lantern, setting it on a rickety wooden table. Allentus was still quite shaken from his actions, seeing as slaying a man proves to be quite sobering. The man invites Allentus to sit, giving him a potent tea to further sober the murderer.
"I watched you kill that Nord, child. Even though it was a mistake you showed some serious skill that could brew into a proficiency we could most definately use in our little Organization. I want you to perform another slaying my child and if you prove successful you will join me amongst the ranks of the Dark Brotherhood. We will give you the power you desire to be written in the history books as the greatest assassin Cyrodiil has ever known." The man whispers with a gravelly voice before handing Allentus a short dagger to replace the one he had lost. It looked identical to his own but pulsated with a very evil energy.
Allentus let the hilt of the dagger fall into his palm. He looked to the man that might just have given him his only way out of prison. Either that or a one way ticket to his own funeral but despite the dangers involved, it seemed like a better idea than fending for himself on the streets of the Imperial City. Allentus asked nerviously what it was he had to do, or who it was that he had to kill to gain access to the Dark Brotherhood and this is where joining the Night Mother becomes tricky.
"Young child, I need you to erradicate the Count of Kvatch." The pale faced man in the black hooded robe smirks as he looks into Allentus' eyes. Allentus quickly found himself sick to his stomach, seconds from vomiting on his shoes and with good reason. Allentus hated the life his father set out for him but he did not hate his father personally. Again he wishes he could go back in time, back to a simpler, more forgiving time and place. he should have been thankful for what he was actually blessed with but now it was far too late to turn back.
"B..but he... that is my" Allentus stutters.
"I know. He is your father. The Night Mother must know that she has your loyalty. You will become her child after your deed and you will become what it is that you want to become. If your father cared for you as much as you think he does, then why did he let you rot in prison? Why didn't he get you free? I will tell you why! He is embarassed, ashamed that his son is making a bad name for him. He believes that he will be looked down upon because of your actions. He is a bad person my brother and you will be much better with us. In the end it is your choice but you and I both know that he will see you to prison if you try to return to him. He will make and example of you in an attempt to prove his strength..." The man states before pulling his hood over his face.
"If you decide to complete this test, you can find us here. When asked "What is the color of night?" you will reply "Sanguine, my brother." to gain access to our lair. May that blade find its target Allentus, I pray that it will."
Allentus watches as the chamelion shouded man opens the door to the house and steps into the street. He leaves the young man with his own thoughts, letting him ultimately decide for himself....
Nov 19 2006, 08:43 AM
Only in Dreams
Fine late afternoon light plays off Lake Amaya, casting low shadows under each ripple. Eno sat upon the beach, fishing pole in his hand. A pair of small slaughterfish sat in the creel by his side. A pair of mudcrabs shambled about on the other end of the beach; he might look them up later. Crab meat would make a fine complement to his fish dinner. Eno smiled; that bottle of brandy would be a fine complement, too. At that a moment a modest breeze came gently across the waters, stirring yet another slaughterfish to the surface. This was big one; it approached the baited hook, and Eno’s eyes lit in anticipation. Now! He pulled in a fine ten pound snaggle-toothed slaughterfish. Dinner would be excellent.
The breeze eased, and the warm fading sun played on Eno’s back. He could scarcely ask for a finer day.
“Wake up, Grandmaster. We need to talk.” The voice was quiet, yet harsh. Eno opened his eyes. A hooded figure glared at him through the dark, and held a black ebony blade to his throat. “Yes, a nice quiet talk. No shouting. You understand?”
“Yes, I understand… Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun. We were to meet in the morning. At the cornerclub.”
“Yes, Grandmaster, I did not forget. But you must understand, I was not inclined to allow you to…make arrangements... before our meeting.”
“You think we have no honor?”
“Honor… yes, I see your point. I am sorry. But I am inclined to paranoia, of late.”
“So you came to our headquarters instead. I fail to understand your thinking, Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun.” Eno lay still for a moment. “No matter. Take a seat, assassin, and we will discuss our business.”
Two assassins sat quietly at a table, faces faintly illuminated by a solitary candle. An Argonian in a dark brown robe sat with his back to the wall; a wizened Dunmer in a fine red robe sat opposite. The Dunmer spoke, quietly, “I know that the situation is inconvenient to you, Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun. But the Morag Tong is not merely a business. Once we have accepted the contract, we must satisfy it. Mephala demands no less.” The Argonian’s raised his eyes from the table and looked into Eno Hlaalu’s face, “So, your honor demands that the Morag Tong continue to pursue me? On behalf of a foul, drunken, mother of mine-besotted slaver? What honor is this?”
“It is our way, Lingers-in-the-Sun. Our tradition. I fail to see why we should violate for you.”
The Argonian’s hiss rose to a growl, “I will tell you my way, Grandmaster. I will kill you, here and now. I will kill all your brethren in your sacred headquarters, and display their corpses right next to yours. Then I’ll let the rats inside. That’ll be fun. Then, I’ll go to your outpost in Balmora. I’ll kill every last one. Then I’ll go to Ald-ruhn. You can guess what I’ll be doing there. While I’m at it, I’ll stop in Sadrith Mora. I hate the Telvanni, but I’ll be killing Morag Tong.”
“Would you like to talk some more, Grandmaster?”
“Yes, I think I would.”
Nov 21 2006, 03:40 AM
This one, I am particularly proud of. Enjoy it; nay, savor it. I know I do.
It was a merry evening in the Eight Plates. A tall, handsome young Dunmer—one of the newest members of the Balmora guard contingent—was performing a traditional dance atop his shield, surrounded by a clapping and giggling group of revelers, keeping time, drinking brandy. The troubadours played in the corner, an improvised band featuring the trader Ra’virr on the guarskins, Fast Eddie Theman on the lute, and the tailor Milie Hastien singing a fine old tune. Their music filled the dim space of Balmora’s finest tavern.
Balyn dearly wished he could join the revelry—Milie’s voice wasn’t the only fine thing she had going on—but he sat at the bar, and waited. This was business.
His client was late. Balyn consoled himself by nursing a bottle of mazte, taking a sip whenever he felt he needed to flee. After Balyn had nearly convinced himself to stand up and go, or join the party, a middle-aged smartly attired in a custom tailored shirt came down the stairs and made his way to the bar.
“I’m glad you waited for me, Balyn. I had some business to attend to. I’m sure you know how that goes.” Feigning agreement, Balyn nodded. “As you no doubt have guessed, I require your services once more. I’m concerned that one of my neighbors is watching me a little… closely. In my line of work I find such a trait worrisome, if not downright inconvenient. You know this man as an old skooma addict, but everytime I see the man I feel his eyes following me… I know this must seem ridiculous to you, but I can take no risks. My peace of mind is worth 2000 gold. What do you say?”
Balyn mulled it over. 2000! It was more than he had ever earned working for the Morag Tong. But, he thought, I must not seem too excited; no, I can negotiate, get a little more. But 2000!
“Impossible. 2100. No more.”
“Surely your peace of mind must be worth at least 2250 drakes.”
Vorar Helas smiled, and nodded. “Yes, it’s worth that much.”
The Dunmer shook hands. Vorar Helas ordered a bottle of brandy. Balyn Omavel joined the party.
The sun was sending the first shafts of morning light over eastern hills when Balyn stumbled out of the Eight Plates. What a glorious night! He had taken his own awkward turn upon the shield, impressing no one, but his grace in poking fun at his own dancing had won him a peck on the cheek from Milie Hastien. It seemed that Balyn was finally finding his niche in Balmora—fewer Tong jobs meant more free time, and the opportunity for a social life.
But now it was time to head home, and off to bed. He would need to be well rested if he were to properly earn his gold. Balyn was not the most conscientious of the Morag Tong, perhaps, but he still believed in a job well-done, even when freelancing. Freelancing! The idea still sent a pulse of ice down Balyn’s spine, but a few more nights like this would ease the trauma. He smiled as he thought of his brother—Taren did not support his younger brother financially, nor would Balyn ask him to, but it gave Balyn some comfort knowing that he was safe from open retribution.
Balyn crossed the Odai and turned the corner around Hecerinde’s place, then started to jog. A figure in a dark brown robe was hunched over the trapdoor, on the roof. He shouted at the interloper, “Hey you! What are you doing? Get out of there!” The figure stood up, and then Balyn stopped, turned, and began to run. The trespasser cradled a crossbow in his arms. Balyn had almost reached the corner when he felt the white-hot poison bolt lodge itself in his back; he screamed. Staggering forward again, almost to the corner, almost to safety—he digged into his pockets for the healing potion he always carried—almost….. Another bolt struck him, in the neck. Balyn collapsed.
Eno Hlaalu and Huleeya were sharing a corner table at the Black Shalk Cornerclub when Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun strode briskly through the door.
“Back so soon, assassin?” Hlaalu looked him over.
“The freelancer is dead, Grandmaster.”
“That bittergreen works quickly indeed,” murmured the Dunmer.
“No bittergreen, Hlaalu. Not my style. Viper-bolts.”
Eno Hlaalu stood up; he nearly shouted, “What! Not your style! His brother will know! This is unacceptable!” Then he looked into a drawn crossbow.
“Unacceptable for you, perhaps, but I think I’ve done more than enough to satisfy our agreement, unless you want me to kill his brother, too. Or would you rather I kill you instead?” The Argonian did not lower the crossbow.
“Fine, assassin, have it your way. The writ on your head will…fade away. But tread carefully, Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun. Next time could be different.”
Nov 26 2006, 07:38 AM
Caius Cosades and Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun sat quietly at the corner table of the South Wall Cornerclub soaking in the scene. A Bosmer and a Khajiit sat at the bar loudly debating which of their respective races made better thieves; the remaining patrons, also thieves, sat at tables adjacent to bar, inserting their own bawdy commentary into the discussion between drinks. Phane Rielle kept the liquor flowing liberally, as always, and put in a few good words for Bretons.
“But you must admit, Aengoth, that it is much easier to steal when cloaked in a spell of illusion”, he interjected.
Aengoth burst out laughing, “Come now, Phane. Even Breton magicks run out sometime. But I never have to worry about running out of stealth.”
“But what about picks and probes, friend? You wouldn’t be much of a thief without that hardware.”
“Not even little kitties forget their tools, good friend Phane Rielle! Habasi tells you that only the dumbest thief could do such a thing, an embarrassment to Habasi’s profession.”
And so it went, on and on. It seemed to Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun that all these thieves did was drink, smoke, and talk.
He tossed back another brandy; Caius lit his skooma pipe.
“Am I in the clear now, Caius? I am tired of waiting.”
Caius passed a small brown satchel across the table. “You’ll find some money and paperwork in there. Your license to kill has been restored. Also, your next mission is this envelope.” Caius passed an unmarked gray envelope to the Argonian. There’s no need to hurry on this one. I expect your mark won’t be in the open for a few days, anyway.”
“Then I think I can take care of something else. Take a look at this note—I found on the body of one of the locals.” Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun passed a crumpled piece of paper to the Imperial. “An unfortunate side job I had to take. You understand, of course.”
“Yes, of course…” he murmured—then Caius Cosades’ eyes opened wide. “Vorar Helas hired someone to kill me? I knew he was dirty, still….. Very well. You can eliminate him. Assassination may be legal in Morrowind, but this is a crime against the Empire.”
Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun nodded. “I expected as much. He’ll be dead by morning.”
Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun exited the South Wall at about 2:30 AM, under the eternally vigilant masses of Masser and Secunda. The night was clear, cool—only a few burning lanterns gave warmth to the streets. The assassin checked his blades—ready. He threw the hood of his robe on—he was wearing black once more—and made his way up the stairs, to highest Labor Town. No movement graced the street, and the only sound came drifting up from the South Wall—the argument had not yet ended, indeed, when could it ever end?
Vorar Helas lived in a modest two story house at the end of street, next to the spymaster. The hooded Argonian crept up the back stairs to the rear door—locked of course, but no problem, Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun pulled a pick out from his robe, smiling as he thought of debating thieves and little kitties breaking into homes in Elsweyr or the Imperial City—anywhere and everywhere really. Reverie took the assassin nearly to Iliac Bay, until he heard a muffled scream inside the very home he was breaking into.
He jerked the pick, and the lock was undone.
Inside—he stood in the bedroom, blades at the ready. Helas was not in bed. But someone was downstairs, shuffling about, muttering.
Now Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun was barely breathing, staying quiet, concentrating at the task at hand. He eased his way down the stairs—he smelled blood.
A trim Dunmer male, dressed casually, stood over a gutted, bleeding Khajiit slave. A bloody dagger lay on the stone floor.
“Helas!” The assassin leapt down the stairs at the wide-eyed Dunmer, raising his ebony shortsword. Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun brought the hilt down upon Vorar Helas’ skull.
“You barbaric scum! I was just going to kill you! Now you suffer!”
Helas, just conscious still, struggled to rise. “Wha… what are you going to d-d-do, lizard.”
At that the Argonian struck Helas’ face with the flat of the blade. “The better question, scum, is what won’t
I do. My skill in destruction magic is modest, Dunmer, but I think you’ll come to regret it nonetheless. But I think I’ll start with a few ‘noise’ spells—just as a warm-up. I assure you this will hurt quite a bit. You’ll beg
me to slit your throat before I’m done.”
The sun was high over Balmora when Always-He-Lingers-in-the-Sun sat down on Caius Cosade’s bed and stared down the stony floor. “It’s done Caius. I think I may have exceeded my orders…”
Cosades stood across the room, leaning against the wall. “I thought I heard a few screams, Al. I won’t ask what happened. I don’t really want to know—I seen too much on Vvardenfell already. My superiors seem to think so, too. I’ve been recalled. It’s just as well—Helas may have told his Camonna Tong superiors about my interest.
“Recalled? Where will I get my orders?”
“The Nerevarine will be ranking agent on the island, but you’ll get your orders through Elone, for a while. The Emperor still has need of your services here.”
“Wait, wait… the Nerevarine? The incarnation of Indoril Nerevar, the Temple saint? You’re joking, right?”
Caius Cosades said nothing.
Then the Imperial smiled.
“Caius? Damn, I thought you were serious for a minute there. The Nerevarine! Good one, old friend! Heh, I hope you keep your sense of humor back in the City. I’m heading back to Ebonheart—I need the rest.” With that the Argonian saluted his spymaster and stepped out the door.
Caius Cosades stood and smiled.
Dec 3 2006, 11:00 PM
Here's another short story of mine. Like the earlier one, science-fiction. Only it's a little more lighthearted. I wanted to make it clear that a computer was talking through the means of text, and I think I've got a good result like this. Well, enjoy.
The man yawned loudly. He rubbed his eyes and vaguely stared at the part of the wall where the clock was supposed to be, only he looked two metres too far to the right. ,,What time is it?” He asked numbly, now turning his attention to the small display mounted on his desk.
[Current time is 03.14 AM.] The familiar letters flashed on the screen. He couldn’t see more than a green blur.
,,I knew I should have installed some proper audio output.” He mumbled, his eyes closing. Seconds later, the sound of heavy snoring echoed through the room.
[Professor Aldon is currently unavailable. If you wish to leave a message, that option is available.]
Professor Aldon opened his eyes. He squinted a few times in an effort to get a clear view.
[Good morning, professor. Or should I say, afternoon? I hope you now realize the proper benefits of coffee. Namely, it gets you hyped up for a while till it dumps you like a lead brick.] The display flashed at him. The man frowned.
,,I don’t remember programming sarcasm for you. Where did you get that software?” He demanded to know.
[Christmas, six years ago. You claimed it would make me more realistic. Further software installed at that date are files for humour, swearing and foul language, creative language and emotion imitation. Allow me to remind you that most of this software is highly illegal and worth twenty years of prison as well as a hefty fine up to 200.000 bucks. Cheap change compared to your hobby.] The computer replied.
The professor grumbled a few inventive curses, all of which were available in his computer’s extensive database.
,,It’s not a hobby. Miniaturization is the future! The future just happens to be expensive. Surely progress is worth a few hundred billion. Where were we when I dozed off?” He complained.
[Your idea of miniaturization is a bit extreme though. Cramming every single gadget of a state-of-the-art 125 metres tall robot into one under ten metres is a bit absurd. That was me ranting in the morning, now we return to your scheduled programme: Biggest and most expensive explosions in history. LRU-43 has been fully prepared. Everyone within a two lightsecond radius has been evacuated. All your bills have been signed and the request for a larger budget has been processed.] The computer reported.
,,Remind me to delete your sarcasm. I don’t like it. And I didn’t ask for a larger budget. Evacuating everyone within two lightseconds? What is all that good for?” He wished to know, sounding very annoyed.
[LRU-43 is just going to blow up like LRU-08 to LRU-42 did. That means we’ll need a larger budget to fund the development and construction of LRU-44. Unless you finally give me permission to conduct a few low power tests first before ramping the reactor up to 100% output. That isn’t bad though. I just love those fancy planetsized explosions.]
,,Oh, I really have to get rid of the sarcasm. Just what was I thinking?”
[You weren’t thinking. You were drunk, quite a bit I might say.]
Half an hour later, professor Aldon was sitting in the large mess hall together with everyone else who happened to be working on the project. There was a clear distinction in duties. The professor designed everything with the help of his sarcastic computer while everyone else was cursed with the job of actually finding a way to build it.
,,Alright everyone, I’d like to make a toast! We’re about to see a great event in history!” The professor shouted as he had done with all the earlier tests. By now, everyone had seen it before and he was completely ignored. There were a few chuckles when the computer took control of the giant screen built into the far wall.
[We’re going to break the record for biggest explosion ever. Again.]
,,Could you stop it?! We don’t all need to be as pessimistic as you are!” The professor argued.
[I’m not pessimistic, just realistic. Look daddy, I know how to rhyme. Want to remove my humour functions as well?]
The giant green letters vanished to be replaced with the blackness of empty space. While the professor watched in silent excitement, everyone else continued his or her lunch break. They only looked up when the counter reached zero, meaning that the test had both been completed and the light had travelled across the vast distance. Sure enough, a small pinprick of light soon grew to titanic proportions. Now everyone focussed on the screen. Overall, the behaviour was surprisingly similar to that of people standing on the airport, checking to see which flights had been cancelled. They only had to wait a few seconds for the results.
[Critical overload, contact with LRU-43 has been lost. No surprises there. Explosion radius: 35,640 kilometres. Less than last time. You’re losing your touch, professor.]
A glass broke on the floor. The professor had been infuriated by the particular low blow. He wasn’t trying to make explosions, he was trying to prevent them. He sighed as he already knew what was going to come. It happened after every test.
[Incoming call. H.I. Industries’ president of the development department. He doesn’t sound too happy.]
,,Alright, put him through.”
An older and largely bald man now took up the screen. The effect was quite intimidating, just the man’s nose had been supersized to two metres high.
,,Aldon, you’ve done it again.” The president noted dryly.
,,We are making progress, the explosion was smaller this time.” Professor Aldon replied with false enthusiasm.
,,Your assistant already put in the request for a bigger budget this morning. I honestly don’t know what the boss is thinking to achieve in letting you go on with this endless disaster. Do you know the damage you’ve caused already?” The man on the screen spoke, angrier this time.
,,Oh, just a little. All in the name of progress.” The professor countered, giving his fingers a close inspection.
,,Did you forget what happened with LRU-33? Stop looking at you fingers, Aldon!”
[Reminder: 46% of the moon was vaporised in an interdimensional transfer cascade. Not vaporised, sorry. Just flashed to another dimension.]
Aldon began to sweat. He had completely forgotten. Thinking back, he didn’t want to remember it really. No man had ever done this much damage by himself, especially in peace time.
,,Umm, oops? Hey, I wasn’t the one in control. The Princess pilots all the LRU prototypes during the test through a remote connection.” He laughed weakly.
[Go ahead, blame me. You were the one who forgot to install some output regulators.]
,,You can definitely tell that it’s oops! If it was up to me, I’d have you strapped to one of your fancy robots. Maybe then you would design them so that they don’t explode.” The president stopped, a sadistic smile creeping onto his face.
,,I have an idea. You will pilot the LRU-44 during the test, from the inside of a cockpit. A cockpit inside the robot itself. Have a nice day.” After those words, the screen went black. When everyone started laughing, the professor glared at the crew.
[I believe you needed to go to the toilet. Not anymore.]
The professor looked down at his pants and swore loudly.
,,Oh, not only am I death, I lost the respect of my men.” He whispered.
[Don’t worry about it. It’s not that they’ll haunt you about it after the test. I’ll help design the LRU-44. Do you want leather interior? No need to save any money.] The computer joked.
Professor Aldon pointed at the giant screen with the green letters. A sadistic smile eerily familiar to the one the president had worn crossed his face.
,,I’ve got a great idea. I’ll have your core installed into the LRU-44. Now how’s that? At least I won’t die alone, my sarcastic computer will go with me!” He shouted and then laughed, looking completely as if he’d lost his sanity. Which he probably had.
[Oh, man. I’m so totally in trouble. Looks like remaking the complete design if I want to live. What’s needed is a way to vent the excess energy into a safe direction. Preferably out of this dimension. That should take care of the explosion problem.]
,,Why didn’t you ever tell me it was that easy?”
[You never asked. Now, about that leather interior. Do you want that? I know that I’m going to beg for some glow-in-the-dark electrical wires. That’s just so cool.]
The professor rolled his eyes and walked out of the door. He needed to find something with which to clean his pants.
The Metal Mallet
Dec 19 2006, 01:01 AM
Since Christmas is just around the corner, I thought I would add this to the Temple to celebrate. This script will hopefully be performed at my school for their Holiday Assembly. Hopefully they have decent actors, or else my work will be ruined!
Anyways, this script might be a little rough sounding, since I didn't really have time to edit it as I was working off a deadline. It's meant to be comedic and serious at moments.
Anyways, here it is!A Christmas Murder Mystery!By: The Metal Mallet
Characters: Santa, Mrs. Clause, Rudolph, Elf, Angel, Snowman, Blitzen, and the Inspector, as well as extras.Scene 1- The Murder:Mrs. Claus, Elf, Angel, and Snowman begin on stage scattered around the room or looking as if they’re in conversation. Shortly, Santa, Rudolph, and Blitzen enter.
Santa: Ho! Ho! Ho! Excellent work this evening. Excellent work!
Rudolph and Blitzen: Thanks Santa.
Mrs. Claus (rushing over to Santa
): It’s good to see you all back and safe! Did the delivering of presents go well?
Santa: Splendid my Sugar plum! We almost collided with a plane, but Rudolph’s nose caught it well before we were in danger.
Mrs. Claus: Oh my! (She turns to Rudolph.
) Thank you so much Rudolph! You’re always so helpful!
Rudolph (beaming a smile
): It’s the least I can do, Mrs. C!Blitzen rolls his eyes and walks over to the Elf. Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Rudolph continue to look like they’re talking to each other.
Blitzen: Hello Freddy, how’s it going now that you’re done making toys for a little while?
Elf (with a slur
): Grrreat! I’ve all ready gotten into the “Nog”! (Elf air quotes the word, Nog
) So it seems… (Looks over and sees Santa patting Rudolph’s back
) Bah! Why does he have to get all the attention!? It wasn’t even foggy this year, but they still gush about him and his nose. It’s me who has to do all the grunt work. Why don’t I get a thank you?
The Angel glides over to the Elf and Blitzen, The Snowman follows.
Angel: Jealousy is not part of the Holiday Spirit, Blitzen.
Blitzen: I didn’t ask for your two cents, Angel.Angel huffs and crosses their arms.
Snowman: Well here’s my two cents. Rudolph’s a spoiled punk!
Blitzen: Yea!!! (Gives him a high-five.
Angel (glares at the two of them
): You two should be ashamed at yourselves! Rudolph has a valuable gift, but you still don’t appreciate him!
) You’re nagging is killing my buzz, Angel! Can’t you fly off over there or something? ( waves in a direction away from them
The Angel glares at the three, but glides away.Attention is returned to Santa, Rudolph and Mrs. Claus
Mrs. Claus: Well I hope you didn’t stuff yourself on cookies and milk, because I made a big meal for everyone!
Santa: Of course I didn’t. I'm starting to get SICK of cookies and I always have room for your cooking.
Rudolph: Yea Mrs. C, your food rocks! Particularly the peas, mmmmm… peas.
Mrs. Claus: Aww how sweet of you, Rudolph. (She pats Rudolph and makes “smooch” noises
Santa: All right everyone! At the table! Time to eat.Everyone on set sits at the table setup. It’s setup to have Santa facing the audience at the end of the table, and everyone else is along the sides. To Santa’s right are Mrs. Claus, then the Angel, then the Elf. On Santa’s left is Rudolph, followed by the Snowman, followed by Blitzen.
Mrs. Claus: Dig in, everyone!Everyone pretends to eat.
The lights suddenly cut out.
Mrs. Claus: Oh my! The power must be out.
Santa: Candy canes! (supposed to sound like he’s cursing
Elf giggling: Hehe, sorry Angel.Horror soundtrack kicks in. I was thinking like the music for the shower scene in Psycho.
Sounds of struggle are made, and Rudolph’s nose light turns off.
Lights come back on, and everyone is sitting at their right seat, only Rudolph’s head is slumped on the table.
Santa: Well that’s better. (notices Rudolph
) Holy Yuletide!
Snowman: He’s dead!
Elf: I’m going to be sick! (rushes off the stage
)Lights go off.(End of Scene 1)Scene 2 - The Investigation:
Lights come on and reveal the Inspector standing with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The Elf is on the far side of the stage with a bucket, The Angel is off by herself, and The Snowman and Blitzen are together nearby the table. Rudolph is still facedown on the table.
Mrs. Claus: We’re so glad you were able to make it, Inspector. Being Christmas and all…
Inspector: Not a problem, crime never sleeps or rests. Not even for the holidays… (pauses
) Plus, you’re rewarding me with Egg Nog right? Damn, I love that stuff!Elf groans from across the stage and leans into his bucket.
Santa: He had too much Nog.The Inspector nods and heads over to Rudolph, taking out a notepad. He shakes his head sadly.
Inspector: Talk about a last meal…. He was smothered to death by this food. (jots some notes
) All right, umm… Can we get someone to remove the body?
A couple of extras come onstage and remove Rudolph off the stage.
Inspector: All right, I need everyone here.Everyone onstage gathers around the Inspector. The Elf makes sure to bring his bucket.
Inspector: Obviously, one of you murdered Rudolph, so you’re all suspects. What I intend to do is interrogate you all individually. Starting with you, Mrs. Claus.Inspector and Mrs. Claus walk away from the group.
Inspector: First things, first. What are your feelings about Rudolph?
Mrs. Claus (tearfully
): I loved that little angel! He was such a darling. I would never do anything to hurt him.
Inspector (jotting down notes
): Do you know anyone who disliked or would be provoked to attack him?
Mrs. Claus: Of course not! This is the North Pole. We’re all nice people up here… except for those Yetis… Maybe they did it!!
Inspector: Mrs. Claus… I don’t think the Yetis had anything to do with this.
Mrs. Claus: You never know! Those Yetis are tricky beasts!
Inspector (sounding tired
): That’ll be all, Mrs. Claus. Can you tell Santa that he’s next.Mrs. Claus nods and goes over to Santa. She motions that he’s next and he goes over to the Inspector.
Inspector: Were you jealous of the attention Mrs. Claus gave to Rudolph?
Santa: What? What are you talking about?
Inspector: Admit it! You were jealous of him. Mrs. Claus told me she loved him. He was her little darling. You must’ve noticed this attention and it just burned you up inside! So you decided to finally get rid of him, to save your marriage.
Santa: That’s insane! I’ve been married to my wife since before I was even called Santa! We love each other very much! Plus, I couldn’t have killed him.
Inspector: And why couldn’t you?
Santa: (Hesitates and finally hangs his head.
) Because I’m overweight. It takes me a long time to get out of that chair…. There! You happy!? I’m a blimp! Satisfied?
Inspector: Woah! I’m sorry Santa. I didn’t think it would go there.
): Well it did! You…. you jerk!
Inspector: Well…. Ummm… That’s all I need from you. You couldn’t have possibly done it. Can you get… the Angel for me?
): Okay… Santa goes off and gets the Angel, who walks over to the Inspector.
Angel: Do you seriously think I’m a suspect? I’m an Angel for Gosh sakes!
Inspector: Everyone in that room is a suspect, including you. Besides…. (Pauses
) You’re past isn’t a very clean one, Diabella.
Angel: How do you know that!? That was my name before I got my wings.
Inspector: We keep good records down at the precinct. Have you been killing any hobos lately?
Angel: No! That’s behind me now! Honest!
Inspector: Is it now? (Waves off stage and an extra walks on
) This is Larry, he’s homeless.Angel starts fidgeting and eventually charges the extra off the stage. Screams come from off stage but are quickly silenced. The Angel walks back onstage, brushing off their hands.
Angel: Okay, maybe I haven’t stopped my “habit”. But Rudolph’s not a hobo.
Inspector: You’re right! Ohwell, bring me the Snowman.Angel goes gets the Snowman.
Inspector: Well Mr. Snowman (pauses
) Wait, Snowman? Isn’t it like 20 degrees in here? Why aren’t you melting?
Snowman: Well you see, I got this chip installed in the back of my head. This chip regulates the emission of liquid nitrogen that travels throughout my body to keep my nice and frosty! The liquid nitrogen comes from another device within my body.
Inspector: Well… I didn’t understand a word of that.
) Basically, I have an air conditioner stuck inside of me.
Inspector: Oh! I understand that!
): Of course you do.
Inspector: So, does that make you part robot?
Snowman: I guess so.
Inspector: Isn’t there some law that says that robots are incapable of killing humans?
Snowman: Yes, I believe there is. Guess I couldn’t have done it then eh?
Inspector: But you’re only part robot.
Snowman: So? The rest of me is snowman, an inanimate mound of snow with buttons and carrots stuck into it.
Inspector: You got me! You’re free to go, I guess I’ll speak with the Elf next.Snowman leaves.
Inspector: Wow, I’m dealing with a bunch of crazies here…Light goes off.
End of Scene 2Scene 3 - The Conclusion:Lights come on, the Inspector is still at his spot from the last scene. The Elf is with him, their head is leaning into the bucket though. All the other characters are at the other end of the stage where they were left.
Inspector: Obviously, you were far too drunk to commit the murder. You really need to learn how to drink Egg Nog.The Elf nods and groans into his bucket.
Inspector: Well, you’re free to go. Get me my last suspect, Blitzen.
The Elf goes and gets Blitzen.
Inspector: Well, Blitzen, how do you feel?
Blitzen: A little nervous I guess; I’ve never been interrogated before. Plus, Rudolph being dead has shaken me up a bit.
Inspector: I see. Describe to me your relationship with Rudolph.
Blitzen: We were team mates, partners, and friends. Without that nose of his, if we ever got into bad weather, we’d have trouble navigating through it. He was very valuable to our team.
Inspector: So you had a mutual respect for each other?
Blitzen: Yes we did. Sure, there were times where I would get annoyed with him, but there were times he felt the exact same way with me. We always dealt with it though.
Inspector: Were you annoyed with him tonight?
Blitzen: No I wasn’t.The Inspector stares at him briefly, judging his believability.
Inspector: Okay. You’re free to go. I need a few seconds to myself.Blitzen nods and walks away from Inspector.
) Who could’ve done it? Santa was supposedly too big to get out of his chair to do it, Mrs. Claus liked him too much to do it, in a creepy sort of way. Then there’s the Angel; she’s a hobo killer, but not a reindeer killer, the Snowman can’t kill because he’s part robot and snowman, and both are unable to kill people. The Elf likely passed out shortly after the lights went out, and Blitzen seemed genuinely in grief.Pauses
Wait, why did the lights go out?Inspector walks over to the murder scene and notices a light switch behind Blitzen’s chair.
Inspector: All right! Everyone come here, I figured it out!All the characters gather around the Inspector.
Inspector: After careful deliberation, I have figured out who killed Rudolph. (Pauses Dramatically and points at Blitzen
) It was Blitzen the Reindeer!Everyone gasps and Blitzen looks shocked.
Blitzen: Me!? You have no proof!
Inspector: Oh but I do. Look at this light switch, I know it’s been used lately and in an odd way. See there’s marking here that tell me you used your antlers to flick it. That’s how the lights “suddenly” went off during the murder.
Secondly, you’re the only one that acted the least bit normal around me, so that makes you the most suspicious in my books.Blitzen gets angry.
Blitzen: Fine! I did it! But the little runt deserved it! I’m the one who did all the work! He only coasted around up front and used his nose for light every once and a wile. He was a total suck up and was asking for me to put him down. (He turns to Santa
) Don’t you know this is the 21st Century! They have fog lights now! Candy canes!
Inspector: I’ve heard enough. (Looks offstage behind him
) Take him away.Extras come on and start dragging a struggling Blitzen offstage.
Blitzen: No! I can’t go to prison! No! I would’ve gotten away with it if any one of you freaks were normal!The Extras finally get Blitzen offstage.
Santa: I would’ve never thought it would be Blitzen. This is my entire fault. I should’ve treated them both equally.
Inspector: (Puts an arm around Santa’s shoulders
) Yea… you probably should’ve. But that’s in the past now. Now it’s time for me to get my reward.
Mrs. Claus: Of course, I’ll make an order to have a large supply of Egg Nog delivered to your home.
Inspector: That would be fantastic! (rubs hands greedily
)Mrs. Claus begins to walk offstage when Rudolph shouts offstage.
Rudolph: Hey! Hey! (Rudolph jogs out onto the stage, Hallelujah music plays
) I’m alive! It’s a miracle!
): Is that you, Rudolph?
Rudolph: Yes it is! I saw this white light, and then I saw some gates, but then Angel’s brother or something told me to go back! This is so awesome!
The Inspector turns around and pulls out a gun and points it at Rudolph.
Inspector: No! It’s an impostor!
Rudolph: What? No, I’m Rudolph. Look, I got the shining nose and everything!
Inspector: Anyone can make a shining nose, this is the 21st Century. Plus, you aren’t ruining my reward! I’m getting my Egg Nog!Rudolph begins to back away offstage and the Inspector follows him. Once both are offstage a gun noise is played, followed by a short pause.
Rudolph (from offstage
): Argh! My leg! You shot me in the leg! Are you drunk or something? Why would you do that!?Gun noise shoots again. This time it’s followed by silence and The Inspector returns onstage and puts away his gun.
Inspector (dangerous/threatening tone
): Nothing happened back there.Everyone nods.
Inspector: Excellent, now someone go get me my Egg Nog!Lights go off. End of Scene 3, end of play.
I only had 9 minutes to work with, so I kinda feel that some of the dialogue is a little rushed. Oh well, I'm still happy with it!
Dec 25 2006, 10:21 PM
This is my christmas gift. Don't worry if you don't understand, I did not plan to. Basically, it is the birth of an idea for the story I will write after finishing Agent. Like Mallet's, it is a bit rough. It is also rather short.
The night was chilly, not a single cloud hiding the dark sky. Silence ruled, only disturbed by the crackling of fire on the lit stone walls. The city was asleep.
A lone figure stopped at the top of the hill, overlooking the city that lay below. His breath created small puffs of smoke every time he exhaled. A smile crept along his face. The night was beautiful, as it was supposed to be. For just a moment, standing there on that hill, looking at the stars and the moons making their silent journey across the sky, the man could forget about his duties, the task he’d taken upon his shoulders. For a moment, the world was at peace, the conflicts and trouble having gone to sleep along with the people.
The man sat down, carefully putting down the staff he carried. For tonight, he would wait and enjoy this calm, refusing to disturb the peace that had come. He closed his eyes and separated his mind from his body. His spirit entered the city below, passing by houses, stopping to look at those who slept inside. Wherever he came, he met coldness. He looked upon the inhabitants and saw that unlike him, their dreams were troubled. This made him sad.
Finally, the spirit reached the tower rising up in the middle of the city. The structure was the source of the coldness. A coldness that threatened to spread and swallow everything. The spirit raised his incorporeal arms, trapping the coldness in a cage of warmth. The warmth of his soul. The warmth spread, entering the homes, entering people’s hearts. A warmth that promised peace, a better future.
,,Tonight is the longest night. Let it bring hope and happiness for tomorrow, life will continue.” The spirit said as it retreated to its body. Whenever he looked into a home now, he could see a smile on every face, the fear forgotten.
Dec 25 2006, 11:17 PM
A note about what follows: parts that are written as [censored] were written exactly that way--no autocensor needed. I hope you enjoy this admittedly mildly baudy (and really fun to write) tale.
Master Radrothil’s Lessons: Number Three
I know that you are skilled with your bow, Sythia, and that you can kill anyone with but a shot. Your devotion to the art serves you well, but you would be wise to listen to me when I teach you the finer points of the blade. The greatest weapon of the assassin is his mind, not just in the planning of the attack but in the creation of his self—the aura of the assassin, if you will allow me the extravagance of poesy. With your choice of weapon, you choose your self-image. The bow is for the fearful, reluctant assassin—you yourself have said that you need not see your mark’s face to strike him. I worry about how you will respond to the killing, if it becomes personal. I think you know what I mean. But to take up the dagger is to make every death personal, to always see the face of the doomed. It is also the highest expression of skill in our chosen profession. But—where was I?—the aura of which I speak, it is everything to the assassin, and thus the dagger is everything. I do not ask you to abandon the bow, for it serves you well, but I will not let you work on your own until I think you are ready. You must know the power of the dagger.
The Shadowscales of Black Marsh held the dagger “Kills-You-Dead” in high esteem. Only their most exalted master was permitted to hold the weapon. I cannot say that it was particularly special, for it was in appearance a fairly typical daedric dagger. Yet the Shadowscales exalted it, for it its health-stealing enchantment seemed to never run out, even if the wielder struck his foe a thousand times. Still, I know of countless weapons more powerful than Kills-You-Dead—I’ve wielded a few myself. But it was a weapon that all the apprentice Shadowscales aspired to, and they trained diligently in the use of a dagger. Even if, as the legend goes, the order is far more dedicated to practicing the art of illusion than the traditional method of sneak-and-stab. Indeed, the Shadowscales may have benefited from more practice in the old ways of assassination, instead of feats of magick.
Most of the apprentice Shadowscales begin their training when very young, even before they are to lick the Hist. At least, this is what I am told. I must confess that my knowledge here is second-hand. But it is a truism that every argonian in our Morag Tong is a failed Shadowscale. Huleeya could surely tell you…but, where was I? Oh yes. Every now and again an older apprentice is accepted. So it was that not too many years ago, the Shadowscales accepted an applicant of 21 years, with no formal training save that which life in the Arena supplies. His name is lost to me… oh, I remember. Yes, Heik-Auri, I believe—in the Hist tongue. As the story goes, he had been fighting with guerillas in the north of Black Marsh, resisting the Dres slave raiders.
The guerillas had been having some success against the Dres, and were planning a counterstrike—a raid into Tear itself. A bold strike indeed. The Dres, however, had managed to capture the few Shadowscale scouts and spies that the guerillas had at their disposal—and they wanted one of their own trained in the arts of assassination and obfuscation.
Heik-Auri was talented, but he did not fit in well as a Shadowscale. No doubt you have heard that all lizard-men are cunning illusionists, and to a degree this is true. The Shadowscales are far beyond cunning. When you or I cast a spell of invisibility, we reveal ourselves the moment we attempt to manipulate anything. It is one of illusion’s laws, it would seem, but the law does not apply to these Shadowscales—they are trained from their youth to bend the laws of magick. But Heik-Auri was not so cunning with magick, and was too old to forget its rules. So he lost all his sparring matches, as his partner could always cast invisibility in the heat of the fight. He lost, even though he was more skilled with a blade.
Now, you may ask, what good, then, was his skill with a blade if he could be bested by callow illusionists? And I tell you, he wondered about that too. This argonian, Heik-Auri, took to drinking, which of course only made his mood and temper worse, which only made his life more difficult. He began to spar drunk, fighting furiously and losing ignobly. The master of these Shadowscales, one called Sneaks-in-Shadows, saw the apprentice assassin failing.
“Heik-Auri, you [censored] idiot! If you could cast a simple spell of invisibility yourself, you wouldn’t get beaten so!”
But this was the wrong thing to say to a drunken, embarrassed, and angry young assassin. Heik-Auri practically shouted his response to the master.
“And if this one would dare fight with a blade instead of cowardly magic tricks, I could [censored by order of the Temple]! I could [censored] every last [censored] here if the [censored] cowards would fight me like a real [censored] killer would!”
This was also the wrong thing to say. “Heik-Auri, you forget yourself! But you shall have your wish—a battle of blades… with me.” Sneaks-in-Shadows drew a daedric dagger from within his robes, glowing with divine power. It was Kills-You-Dead.
Of course, the encampment was thrown into an uproar, dozens of hushed voices colliding to create a firestorm of whispers. Many of the apprentice Shadowscales had never even seen the sacred blade before; even less could they fathom that it would be used in combat against one so unworthy. Heik-Auri was, naturally, not so awed as the others. He was relatively new to the order, and aside from that he was terribly drunk. Still, he could not help but notice the blade’s power—but he also could not decline to fight and maintain his honor. What honor really means to a drunk, I do not know, but I do know that he agreed to the fight, drawing his own ebony shortsword—how a young guerilla came across such a pricey weapon, is perhaps a question best reserved for Heik-Auri himself. I think he may have taken it off of a Dres. They are rich, the Dres, but as the Hlaalu say… but I’m getting away from the story again, am I not?
The combatants, the apprentice Heik-Auri and the master Sneaks-in-Shadows, squared off a few yards apart as the other apprentices arrayed themselves into a great circle, wider than the greatest of their Hist trees.
Now, from what I hear, the Master made the first move, confident that he was about to give his insolent and incompetent student a good thrashing. Heik-Auri, drunk as he was, deftly avoided the slash across the chest and made his own probe toward the Master’s chest, which mostly missed but did cut a hole in Sneaks-in-Shadows’ robe. Unconcerned, the Master executed a spinning sideswipe that nearly overawed the crowd but which was successfully parried by his opponent, who responded with a blow to his master’s left shoulder. It connected, carving a long gash toward Sneaks-in-Shadows’ heart.
I cannot adequately describe how the gathered apprentices reacted to the sight of their master’s blood, drawn by one they had beaten so regularly. I can only guess that they must have been fairly stunned. Still, Heik-Auri’s cut was rather shallow; by no means was it even a crippling blow. Indeed, Sneaks-in-Shadows responded with a crushing overhand blow—or it would have been crushing had it not been dodged. The Master’s reward was a slash across the stomach.
Still drunk, and now intoxicated with the battle, Heik-Auri shouted for all to hear, “What [censored] taught you to fight, [censored]-in-Shadows? A [censored] courtesan?”
I know what you are thinking Sythia, and you are right. Heik-Auri was stupid to say such things—but it is near-impossible for the drunken and angry to reason with themselves. And indeed, the young lizard-man was both very drunk and very angry. Sneaks-in-Shadows was beyond angry now—he was furious, whipped into a rage. His response was not in words but in deed—he paralyzed his apprentice. In other words, he cheated. “Fool! Perhaps now you’ll learn the value of your [censored] magic studies!” He gave Heik-Auri a single cut across the chest with Kills-You-Dead. “Healer! Treat this [censored] idiot before he falls over and dies!”
Sythia, I know that what I have told you so far seems to emphasize the unbeatable nature of a trick like illusion, but the story is not over. The illusionist thinks he has all the answers, like that book… what was it? Incident at Necrom
? But that story is so… oh, nevermind. Where was I? Oh yes, the duel is over…
Later, in the evening, Sneaks-in-Shadows retired to his chambers, up at the highest level of the Shadowscales’ monastery. Where is it? I hear that it is somewhere west of Greenglade… but that is rather immaterial to my lesson, isn’t it? In any case, the Master’s chambers were quite high, quite secure, well-guarded. He needed that sense of security this night, as his chest and shoulder still felt terrible from the wounds he had received—his healer had done good work, but still, he was sore. Cold, too, as it was an oddly cool and breezy evening in Black Marsh. He strode to the open window, to shut it, but before that he leaned out to look out over his academy. His eyes opened wide.
“Forgive me, Sneaks-in-Shadows,” spoke Heik-Auri as he plunged his ebony shortsword into the Master’s heart, “I should have killed you earlier.”
The Shadowscales lost their sacred blade because they did not also hold sacred the skills needed to wield it.
You have learned from this book. Your short blade skill increased to 85.
Dec 28 2006, 03:16 AM
What do you get when Marks are running low on Vvardenfell?
The heavy rain was the only noise in Gnaar Mok, but the sounds of heavy leather boots pounding across the dock planks soon matched the pitter patter of the nights squall. The Breton traveler’s features were obscured in the faint lantern light of the fishing shacks and brown robe pulled over his head to spare him the effects of the downpour.
The Hlaalu guard patrolling the small settlement took a special note that the traveler did not make his way to Dreugh-Jiggers Rest like most of the few tourist’s and Adventurers that came through the backwater town, rather, he strode with an agile gait to Arenim Manor. Strange, he thought, must be here on business.
The Dunmer Lord Manor, Dondes Arenim took in the sharp features of the brown-haired outlander carefully. He had heard rumors of the Nightblade, and had asked for his light touch and expertise in matters such as these. “Greetings, you must be Daric Thorn, the Lawman. Are you here on business?” he asked obsequiously.
The Breton showed little interest in the code words of the Dark Elf, and gave him slight nod. “I am. Who do you want me to kill?” he said fingering the hilt of his ebony shortsword. It glowed with a strange enchantment, and his ring, which looked very expensive, seemed to glow with a powerful restorative as well.
“Straight and to the point, I like that. You must kill not one, but two. They are….dangerous, and should provide a unique challenge to one of your skills.” Said Arenim, unrolling the parchment with the description of the targets, and pulled out a fat purse stuffed to the brim with septims.
Daric intense blue eyes scanned the gold first, and then read down the parchment, stopping when he read the third paragraph on the sheet.
“What is this? Am I some apprentice in the fighters guild? Some lowly spearman in the legion? Let me guess, Avon Oran put you up to this! Tell him the Queen was already dead by the time I took his gold! He will not have the last laugh!” Thorn began chuckling and preparing to leave.
Dondes put his hands on the Bretons shoulders. “No! This is quite serious! They are threatening the town, and the guards refuse to do anything about it! We’ve reached such a crisis here, and the job requires a specialist…I’ll,..I’ll double your pay…”
The Breton scratched his stubbled chin. “Double you say?” he mused. “You’re a fine negotiator. But there is one stipulation I have…”
“That is?” asked the Desperate Dunmer.
“No one is to know that I had anything to do with this. Ever. For any reason. I’d rather steal recipes from Alchemists then have this staining my reputation.” Daric said with an intense gaze into the Dunmers red eyes.
“Agreed. Utmost secrecy.” Said Dondes.
In the morning hours, the hooded Breton took to the shores that surrounded Gnaar Mok, to the North where his marks were often spotted. Though one would expect the Smugglers Coast, ridden with Bandit Caves, Cammona Tong, and Thieves Guild members, even Sorcerers who liked to get some practice on those unwary enough to poke their nose where it did not belong, one would not think of this as a typical assassination.
Finding his quarry, the Nightblade did what those of his trade did best, and casted a strong Chameleon spell, and observed the marks movements for a few moments. Unslinging his trademark, Shortbow of Sanguine Sureflight, he called upon its spell to increase his abilities with archery.
Feet firmly planted, he brought the tail of the arrow back under his chin, and set sailing the Ebony Arrow. With a direct hit, the first mark was down. The Female of the pair. With a death spasm she fell to the ground without a sound, and immediately her lover fell into a rage, scanning his environment for the unseen assailant.
The spell, though strong, was very short lived, and Daric became visible, just in time for the mark to wreak his vengeance on the Nightblade. Apparently his mark was a spell caster too, as he sent a powerful viperbolt to him, the acidic spray burning Daric’s exposed skin.
With a leap, Daric dodged the next shot, barely, and unsheathed Shimsil, his prized ebony shortsword, claimed from a Necromancer in Mawia, and summoned forth the energies to hide him once more. He then channeled the energies from the ring that the Necromancer also carried, called the Ring of Regeneration to heal his wounds from the poison.
But the furious widower would not be stopped, and he rained blows down upon Thorn, the hits making contact, and the bruises hurting like hell. Daric responded with slashes and cuts all his own, until finally, his mark, either from exhaustion, or a desire to join his lover in the next life, gave into the thrusts, and lay down to die.
Daric took his time in returning to Arenim Manor, letting the ring heal his wounds, as it did work very slowly. The wounds he had received were painful, but he would live, and would be 2000 septims richer for it.
“Are they…?” Dondes started
“Dead. Both. Just as we agreed. My payment?” Daric said with his patience wearing thin.
“First the proof.”
Daric handed over the Netch Leather Hides.
“Excellent. Those breeding netches were causing nothing but trouble around here.” Said Dondes, handing over two fat pursese. “I’m going to turn these into a prized pair of boots!”
Daric weighed his reward. “Remember, you said that would tell no one of this! If it gets out….Ill turn YOUR hide into a prized pair of boots…” he said with a dark tone.
“Yes, yes, Lawman. No one will know. Now get out of here, before the locals start asking to many questions.”
Dec 28 2006, 10:45 PM
I suppose you could call this a teaser for my next story. (after finishing agent.) I plan on making a teaser like this for all of the main characters. It should be fun. So don't worry if things are a bit confusing, I plan on explaining them (eventually).
He had come a long way. Each scar telling a chapter of his life. Danger was his breakfast, violence his lunch, blood his dinner. Now he knelt before the small altar, giving a prayer to his ancestors. The great cheering of the crowd caught his ears. The man finished his prayer and stepped outside his alcove. There was a short silent conversation between the man and the gate’s operator. A simple wish for luck.
With the sound of rattling chains, the gate rose up into the air. The man walked through, holding up a hand to shield his eyes against the sun as he was momentarily blinded. On the far side of the sandcovered pit, he could already make out his opponent. His crimson eyes narrowed as they analyzed his opponent.
Both never withdrew their eyes from each other, not even when this fight’s sponsor entered. Only a slight frown of the man revealed that he’d heard, and recognized, his sponsor.
The man raised his weapon, so did his opponent. Both were experienced gladiators, having survived countless battles. Both knew that he who rushes in like a fool dies. Much was at stake. Their lives, the title of champion, a rivalry older then the Empire, personal honour. The man made one step forward, so did his opponent.
The man’s feet disturbed the sand only slightly, despite the heavy weight pressing down with each step. His grey skin was like the land he hailed from. He had been raised in the ashy wastes of Vvardenfell, living at the slope of a mighty volcano. Ashlander he called himself, Urshilaku. Man of ash, hunter of dangerous prey.
The other towered into the air like a walking mountain. A large beard hid his face, the blue mask of war covering his bare skin. His eyes reflected the cold that embraced him upon his birth. Nord, the great warrior of Skyrim, a land as cold as the Ashlands were warm. Opposites of birth, opposites of ideal.
Spear against Axe, fire against ice. The two gladiators quickened their pace slightly till they met at the center of the arena. Warily, they circled each other. The Ashlander probed with his spear, using its greater reach to his advantage. The Nord carefully kept his distance from the plain yet deathly tip. Then, it all happened as both exploded into combat.
The latest probe with the spear was batted aside by the waraxe and the Nord lunged forward with a blow aimed to crack his opponent’s skull. The Dunmer quickly stepped to the side, letting the axe scrape against his pauldron. Now he backed away, once again moving to a range at which his spear would grant him the advantage. The Nord followed, his only option. The axe was meant for a heavy offence, the spear for a solid defence. Unstoppable force against an unbreakable wall, it was the ancient paradox turned into reality.
This time, the axe came in low, just above the knee. The Dunmer was unable to jump the blow in his heavy suit of Iron and had to block the blow with his spear. The shaft trembled from the impact, a slight crack forming across its length. The wall had taken damage. Once more, the axe moved in, aiming for the heart. The Nord had moved too close to avoid, too close to stop. The battle had reached its final moment. The Ashlander put his life in the hands of his ancestors. Releasing one hand from the spear, he reached out with his gauntlet and grabbed the incoming blade. Leather cracked, bones shattered, flesh and muscles torn beyond repair. Gritting his teeth in pain, he thrust his spear forward, into the Nord’s heart. The two men stood there for what seemed like eternity, like statues. Then, the Nord fell, dragging his axe down with him. Cheers erupted from the wild crowd.
The Ashlander’s wounded hand dropped to his side, his blood mixing with the blood of his opponent in the sand. There was only one thing left to do. The one thing that had brought him here, so far away from his home. As his sponsor approached him with his prize, he turned to face the man. Their eyes locked, revealing the truth.
,,Murderer, I claim vengeance for my people! Vengeance to the Urshilaku who you tried to drive away from the lands given to us by our ancestors! Your friends, your Empire shall be witness to this deed!” With a final surge of adrenaline-fueled strength, he hurled his spear, splitting the man’s head like a melon. The spear's shaft, already damaged from the battle, shattered from the power with which it struck its target. The crowd fell into a frightened silence, shocked by what they'd seen.
Both hands hanging by his side, he waited silently. He had done what he needed to do, anything else was unimportant now, even his fate. The guards would later report that the man who had been such a feared foe in the arena, was now like a man whose soul had already left this world, leaving only an empty shell behind. As he was led away, the man whispered one last thing.
,,We were born in the ash, we will die in the ash. No one will ever be able to destroy the Urshilaku.”
Dec 30 2006, 09:18 PM
And the second teaser.
Two souls made their way trough the dark forest. Among them was the thick scent of decay. Fallen leaves and death plants had turned the forest floor into a steaming swamp that not even an Argonian would appreciate. Even though the sun shone overhead, it seemed almost night below the endless cover of leaves. The shortest of the two hopped from root to root, avoiding the halfdecayed layer of death vegetation with practised ease. The other was forced to trudge through the kneedeep mess. His face was deformed into a masque of barely contained anger. He too had tried to jump from root to root but soon discovered that such a feat was harder than it looked. Now he was covered from head to toe in the slimy mass of death plants. That was two days ago. By now, he would have killed for a bath.
An invisible animal roared somewhere in the forest around them. The short person stopped, gripping her bow for a moment and straining her ears. Satisfied, the Bosmer continued as if nothing had happened. The man followed his guide, not in the least worried about whatever was out there, hidden by countless trees. As his mood became increasingly sour, his willingness to pretend any form of fear had diminished. As they continued, the man became aware of a different scent, a scent that rivalled the scent of decaying plants in intensity. It was a scent that was not native to this world. The scent of Oblivion.
Once more, the Bosmer stopped though not because of a predator lurking among the trees. She jerked a thumb into the direction they’d been travelling.
,,The outskirts are about three hours away. Have fun.” She said and began to walk away in the opposite direction. The man stopped her impatiently.
,,Wait here. I need you to get me back out of here. If I’m not back in five days, you may leave.” He urged. The Bosmer gave him a calculating look.
,,Five days, that is ten coins a day. Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty coins.”
The man swallowed back a sigh. For a barbaric tribe of cannibals, those Bosmer drove a hard bargain. A hard bargain in her opinion. In reality, escort jobs like this were worth a hundred coins a day back in civilized lands. In the end, he came out cheaper than expected.
,,Fine.” He said and walked in the direction of his destination. This time it was the Bosmer who stopped the man.
,,Pay up front.”
The man turned to face his stubborn guide.
,,Why?” He merely asked.
,,You’re likely to die there. I’m not going to sit here for nothing.” This time he failed to suppress a sigh. If he paid now, nothing would keep her from leaving without waiting. If he didn’t pay, he could be sure to see her leave.
,,I’ll give you half now and half when I come back and see you kept your word.” There was a short break in negotiations while both parties tried to figure out how far they could go.
,,Deal, half up front.”
Three and a half hours later, the man had found what he was looking for. Partially obscured by the roots of an ancient tree, he saw a pit into the ground and more importantly, the pit was illuminated by a reddish glow. Without hesitation, he slipped between the roots and ventured underground. Barely ten steps inside, he met a guardian, the first of many. The Skeleton lashed out with a Claymore covered in rust. Undisturbed, the man erected a barrier to protect him. When the old weapon it the barrier, it crumbled to dust.
,,Why don’t you turn to dust as well?” There was the flare of a spell. When the blast cleared, the Skeleton was nothing more but a few charred bits lying on the floor.
,,Such a disappointing foe. I’ll have to leave some decent replacements when I leave.” The man muttered as each guardian he met fell to the same spell. The pit lead him into a maze no mortal had wandered since the first era. At the end of the maze was his target, an altar guarded by four Atronachs. He looked at the Daedric minions and smiled. Finally a worthy protection.
,,I won’t destroy you. Rather, you will continue to serve as you’ve done till now.” He spoke to the floating collections of rock struck by lightning as he paralyzed them one by one. He walked up to the altar and casually swiped the sword off of it. The blade clattered on the stone floor, causing the rotten sheath to crumble. The man froze and looked at his reflection in the sword’s shining blade.
He bend down and touched it, barely able to believe it was real.
,,Chrysamere. What brought this weapon here? It hasn’t been seen since the first era. Why did it return now?” He wondered. As sudden as he’d swiped it off the altar, he stood up again and reached into his sack.
,,No matter, I have no use for the Paladin’s sword. Now rest here, great weapon. No one should ever be able to find you.” He spoke solemnly as he laid his object on the altar. He swiftly left, never to look back.
It took him a single day to return. He’d been gone for three days in total, with most of his time spent in the maze. To his surprise, the Bosmer was waiting for him. He paid her without a word and followed as she lead him back to civilization. Or at least, what the Bosmer saw as civilization.
Dec 31 2006, 06:58 PM
And the next one.
A shadow leapt over the edge and crouched down on top of the wall. Cold eyes surveyed the courtyard without a single shred of compassion. The eyes spoke in only one language. Death. A torchbearing man geared up in the well-known armour of an Imperial legionnaire walked by below the shadow. The shadow dropped down on the man’s shoulders, a hidden claw slitting through his throat. With a loud thump, the corpse fell on the floor.
,,Marius, what was that?” A voice called out. The shadow hid in a nearby alcove for the death man’s colleague to arrive.
,,What? Al…..” The second legionnaires alarm was cut off when the shadow emerged. Fear gripped the man’s heart till he to felt on the ground, bleeding to death. The shadow observed the two corpses lying side by side with a cold pleasure. He crossed the now empty courtyard till he reached a tall wall rising up into the sky. His eyes looked up at the wall, looking for the balcony leading to his target. There it was, halfway up into the sky. The shadow retrieved two rings from under his cloak. Both were painted black though the scent of Magicka still filled the air.
The shadow slipped the first ring onto his finger and felt how his body became lighter than air. Rapidly, he began to float upwards, towards an invisible barrier. There it was, a feeling as if his entire body had been turned to ice and then ripped apart. Yet, when he had passed the barrier, there wasn’t even a single scratch to tell the tale. He had just done something few mortals had done before, he had passed a dispel barrier that could rob even the most powerful item or spell of its strength. The shadow quickly activated his second ring before he would plummet to his doom, discarding the first one away. He no longer had any need for it.
The balcony was now within reach. A hand reached out, grabbing the ledge and pulling up the body. After having made his way through a city full of patrolling guards, a wall, two more guards, a steep ascent into the sky through a dispel barrier, only a simple wooden door remained. There was no time or need for subtlety. A powerful kick broke open the lock and threw the door wide open. The shadow jumped through, landing on the bed of his victim. His claws descended, ripping through sheets and pillows.
His attacks failed to draw any blood. The shadow froze, though not of his own will.
,,Attempted assassination of Tamriel’s Emperor. Prepare for a life in jail.” A dark voice spoke from behind the frozen frame of the shadow.
,,That you made it here is commendable, but you should have realized that your passage through the dispel barrier caused a massive flare of light. On your next attempt, stick to stealth. Unfortunately for you, there won’t be a next attempt.” The door on the other side of the room was thrown open and the sound of armoured feet marched in.
,,Take him to the darkest prison you have and chain this monster to the wall.”
Jan 2 2007, 02:44 AM
All right, here's something totally different from me. This is part of a larger story which is a work in progress, the working title being "Monsoon Season". Yes, real-world stuff here. Crazy. Constructive criticism welcome--I'm writing this with intent to publish in an environmental literature journal my department puts out.
A modest little fire burns in the night, casting its amber glow upon red rock, interrupted by the odd shadow. The smell of juniper is on the air, drifting past my nostrils and up into the brilliant near-blinding sky, riddled with starry pinpricks and punctures. I’m trying to brew some Mormon tea, trying to stay awake just a little longer, at least until I can brew the next batch. The fire burning steadily, under control, I set a light framework grill over the flames, and a kettle atop the grill. Then I sit upon a rock, front facing the fire, back to the red stone overhang under which I’ve laid my sleeping bag.
Somewhere in the south, from one of the lonely prominences overlooking a tangled maze of canyons and gulches, the long pan-tonal wail of a coyote pierces the cold. I look up from the fire, expecting… I don’t know what. Perhaps one of these days I will understand the call, and know precisely what the solitary coyote means when he broadcasts his lament, joy, or both, across the mesas. In any case, I cannot help but reply, throwing my face up to the sky, trying to translate my hopes and fears into the coyote’s alien tongue.
“Would you shut up?!” The shout comes from another campsite, on the other side of the creek, where a dog is now baying his own rejoinder to the night. Well, that’s fine, I’m thinking, I can be quiet. Steam rises from the kettle—my beverage is ready. I pull it off the fire, setting it upon the nearby picnic table to cool for a moment. The night is quiet again, the dogs and people finally giving into the cold and the darkness, the somnolence of desert stars. I’m ready to try my concoction now, pouring a measure of the brew into a clear plastic mug and raising it to my lips. It is terribly bitter, and terrible, but it’s not that bad. It will do quite well, I think.
Later, much later, I slip into an uneasy sleep—uneasy because, in reality, it is my dreams that are broken occasionally by stretches of fitful rest, goddamned memories haunting my mental circuitry like some sort of loop that I just can’t find my way out of. I see a rolling creek in the great blue misty mountains of east, rolling and tumbling over boulders and rocks and worn-smooth slopes of gray stone. There’s a girl too, same one as ever, swimming in her white T-shirt, the sort of thing that drives a man to write bad poetry. And there I am, standing on a rock above the pool of cool mountain water, fumbling with my own shirt, trying not to stare or at least not to look like I’m staring. She looks up from the water, flashing a grand and intoxicating smile, and calls up to me, “Come on in. The water’s fine.” And all I can say is, “I’m sure it is.”
Feb 1 2007, 09:07 AM
The blackness of the dream engulfed me. I ran, though I had no form. I was terrified, but I didn’t feel it. The formless running version of me was. What was I running from? The stern face of remorselessness. The fluttering wings of swift justice. The sharp edge of her sword.
“…only the doomed can see me…”
I breathe, hard. My heart beats with intense fear. My own karma comes to repay me for my acts. Yes. Me. She is mine, and mine alone. And I alone can see her, here and now. There is no escape; there is no point in running any longer.
“Do you know what "nemesis" means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent.”
Yes, she is real. Men are free, and men are Wretched. Hubris. My hubris, using another’s misfortune to transform myself into a superior being. And now she comes, Nemesis, the Greek Goddess of Divine Justice.
I turn. I look into her dark-face. She is beautiful. So beautiful. I smile at her, I welcome her cold calculation with open arms. I embrace my fate.
It is harsh. But perhaps, there is redemption in it. Redemption by fate, by justice. Concepts that seemed so far and away from me. And now like a cold night air, the wrap me in my final embrace.
She is so beautiful.
Feb 22 2007, 10:59 PM
Not exactly short, but this idea popped up in my head and I had to write it.
Interview with a dungeoneer.
By W. Riter.
It was a cold afternoon in Chorrol. The daily prayer at the temple of Stendarr had ended and together with the rest of the citizenry, I filed out of the grand building. As I walked across the streets, I exchanged smalltalk with those I knew. Nothing noteworthy except perhaps a thing Chanel, the countesses personal mage, told me.
,,I’ve finished your painting. It’s on your doorstep.”
Apart from being a mage, the Redguard was also quite well-known as a painter. I’d already ordered several paintings from her before and none of them had disappointed. Eager to see her latest achievement, I hurried to my home where I saw a package lying on my doorstep, just as told. I took it inside and unwrapped it, delighted at her drawing of Cyrodiil as seen from a nearby mountain, surrounded by the lake which looked like a sea of gold in the reflection of the sun. It had soon found itself a prominent place in my study, where it hangs till this very day.
This would have been the end of an otherwise unexciting day, if it weren’t for my visitor who arrived late in the night. A reluctant nod preceded his arrival. I had no idea who might be out this late, so I opened the door with a mixture of curiosity and wariness. An old man with a hunched back stood on my doorstep, dressed in simple clothing like a pilgrim.
,,Are you William Riter, the writer?” He asked. I nodded and opened the door wider so he could enter, inwardly chuckling at the wordplay. W. Riter, the writer. It was a small detail about my profession that never failed to amuse me.
Once the man had ventured inside my well-lit home, I managed to get a better look at him. While he wasn’t any bigger than I was in his current bent posture, I realized that if he stood straight, his head would reach up to the ceiling. The faded relic of a blue tattoo shaped like a bear’s paw covered most of his face. His hands bore the scars of heavy labour on the field, or perhaps heavy combat on the battlefield. His eyes shone with a perceptive gleam, which made me decide on the battlefield. He was a warrior, a retired one.
,,Welcome to Arborwatch. What can I do for you?” I asked in a courteous manner. The old Nord walked to the fireplace where he warmed his hands.
,,I heard you write stories. Not made-up stories, but stories of real people. I’ve come to tell my tale, for I think it is one worthy to be told.” He explained. I looked over him in silence. If it was his life’s story he wanted to tell me, who was I to refuse? Besides, he’d come here by himself which was enough to catch my interest. As such, I invited him to the living room where I provided him with a hearty goblet of brandy. He sat down in one chair and I in the opposite one.
,,It would be my pleasure to hear your tale. Feel free to begin.” I told him. The Nord looked at the ceiling for a moment, making up his mind of where to start.
,,I go by the name of Kersten Bear-Fang. My life was normal for a Nord till I reached adulthood at which point I took after my father and wandered the countryside as a knight, righting wrongs and protecting the weak.” He began, still gazing at the ceiling. I waited patiently for him to continue.
,,I spent a lot of time in caves, tombs and other places. Yes, now I see. That’s what I came to talk about. Not my life, which is surely the same as that of all other adventurers. No, I came here to explain about the art of venturing into the places of darkness. Advice from the old to the young. I bear many scars as a result of my mistakes. It is better if those mistakes won’t be repeated.”
I was slightly disappointed. I had been more interested in this man’s life than in his knowledge about tombs, caves and other places I’d rather not think about. Still, I understood his desire and I would not stop him. After all, there’s little to write about people who die before they’ve done a single deed of heroism.
,,Please go on. Any tips for those who are starting out?” I asked him, subtly nudging him in the right direction.
He stroke his beard with one hand and shook the now empty goblet with the other.
,,First of all, know where you’re going before you’re going. If you have a specific location in mind, perhaps because you heard about it from the locals, try to get more information. You want to know exactly where it lies, so you won’t have to spent time searching. You also want to know what to expect. I can’t stress this fact. I’ve seen many great men and women die because they didn’t know what they were getting into. I’ve made this mistake many times myself and it nearly cost me my life every single time. One important thing to know is what kind of opposition you’ll see. If undead or supernatural beings, get yourself an enchanted weapon or you’ll be unable to even scratch them.”
My quill danced across the scroll, making notes with soft scratching noises.
,,And then, after you’ve found enough information?” I asked, licking the plumed end of my quill.
,,You can never have enough information but there comes a time when you have to stop asking and start doing. Make sure you are prepared. Fix your weapons, count your potions. Getting in is hard, but getting back outside if your sword breaks halfway through is practically impossible unless you’re a monk or a mage with Magicka to burn. I can also advice to let the task of preparing be done by an expert if you doubt your own abilities. Sure, they charge a price but no price is higher than the one you pay if you die. Make sure you have a way of fighting both at melee and at longer distances. If you can avoid a hard fight by shooting an arrow while hidden by the shadows, do so. You only live once and even a goblin can kill you if you don’t know what you’re doing. Once you’ve prepared, it is time to enter.”
He put down the goblet and folded his hands into a cup.
,,Decide how you want to enter. Do you want to be intimidating, frighten whatever is in there to weaken any resistance you might encounter? Or do you want to go in quietly, so you can take down your foes without them even knowing you’re there? If it is the first one, I’d suggest to bash in the door with brute force and give a good howl if you’re a warrior or blowing it up with a spell if you’re a mage. If you go for stealth, you should open the door slowly so it doesn’t make a sound, slip through and close it after you’ve scanned the area. If anyone comes by and sees the door closed, he won’t know someone’s come through.”
I took the chance to interrupt him.
,,Entering with a bang or with a whisper. What is your preference?” I asked him.
,,That depends on what is in there. If my enemies are humans, I go in with a bang and freeze their blood with the might of my voice so they think a whole legion descends on them rather than one man. If my enemies are beasts though, I enter with a whisper, hard as it might be when wearing full plate armour. They won’t understand what I’m saying anyway so it’s hard to scare them away.”
I nodded, satisfied with the answer. This was turning out to be quite interesting.
,,Once you’re inside, you’ve gotten to the worst part of any quest. You need to keep your eyes open, your ears alert for any sound and your preferred object of death ready in your hand at all times. Be prepared for darkness. Some people suggest you carry a torch though I don’t see how a torch is helpful when trying to be stealthy. Walking around like a walking beacon of light is bad for your health. You should get a spell or item that can enhance your seeing instead. The mage guilds are a good source for this. Likewise, enchanted items tend to radiate light. You can paint them black to avoid this.” He paused for a time, lost in deep thought. I was beginning to wonder if he was now going to suggest a particular brand of paint when he continued.
,,If you have a map, that’s great. If not, you need to explore on your own. Your path is likely to branch out into multiple directions. Take the ones that are the least used first. Any opposition you find there is likely to be light and it will take a while before the corpses will be discovered there. Only after you’ve nibbled at the edges like that should you go to the heart of it. It is there that you’re likely to find the hardest opposition. If your enemies are human or even simply humanoid, like Goblins, see if you can take out the leader first with an arrow or a spell. Nothing breaks a cohesive group better than removing their leadership and lowering their morale. You should also take the fight to a more advantageous location, for example a narrow corridor where only one can reach you at a time. If you take your time and keep your head cool, you’ll find that what once seemed impossible is now very much possible. Once you’ve cleared out everything that moves, get the loot or the damsel in distress and head back for the entrance but don’t let your guard down yet. Nothing is more embarrassing than getting killed because you forgot about that one guy who ran away but came back to guard the door.”
He leaned back in his chair and I refilled his goblet for him. The talking had given him a sour throat.
,,And once you’re outside, is there still something to do?” I asked after letting him enjoy the beverage for a while. He smirked and leaned over so he had my full attention.
,,Once outside, you get to the most important thing of all. Get to town, claim your pay if you were hired and then get to the nearest pub and enjoy a good drink. You’ve deserved it.”
Mar 29 2007, 07:07 PM
They say that your mood is reflected in your writing. I don't know what this says about my mood. Whatever, let's stop the rambling and cut to the story.
When it happened, it felt like eternity. Each moment stretched out into infinity. The harsh words, the curses and finally, the decision. Looking back however, only a blur lingers in my mind. A short blur, like a bolt of lightning shooting down to the land beneath the dark cloud.
That is how I feel right now, like a bolt of lightning, coming from the dark cloud of my kind, to bring the sharp edge of betrayal to the innocent. I should have seen it coming, the end. This is the price I must pay. A price that the world demands of me, for I have performed the greatest crime ever. I have tried to create a monster. I have tried to create an equal.
This blasphemy might have been forgiven, if I stopped there. But no, one monster wasn’t enough for me. I made more, four in total. And now, they are the ones who suffer for my foolishness. I suffer as well, but I deserve to suffer while they don’t.
My experiment has been discovered by the families. The speakers have spoken and revealed their verdict. If I ever want to enter the familygrave for my final rest, I must undo my mistake. I must destroy that which I’ve made with my own hands. If I refuse, my creations will be destroyed by someone else, along with me. Out of the two choices, killing my children seems to be the lesser evil. At least I’ll know that their death was relatively painless if I do it myself.
Now my feet bring me back to the small cabin where I’ve worked. Each step kicks up a cloud of rustling leaves. To me, it sounds like thunder, a steady sound of approaching doom. My doom, and theirs. Who will suffer more before this night ends? Me, or them? I’ll make sure it will be me who suffers most. That’s why I’ve chosen for the night. Hopefully, they’ll be sleeping, which will enable me to end their life with a single merciful wound.
My feet stop. I can hear a fly buzzing nearby but that’s not what has distracted me. In the distance, I can see the cabin sitting by the muddy path. But it isn’t right. I can see the flickering light of a candle shine through the window. They’re awake.
I can’t move, neither forward or backwards. I can’t do this. I can’t kill them. However, if I don’t, someone else will. And that someone won’t show the same regret I will. I must do this, for their sake. I force myself forward, slowly. Each step brings me closer and with each step, I slow down again. Five steps later, I’ve come to a halt again. A single fly buzzes around my head.
I look up at the sky, at the cold stars that are up there. It looks like a lifeless place, yet the stories say that the stars are the birthplace of the Makkrash, of the nightmares. If someone is up there, and looks down at me right now, what would he think? Would he be angry at me? ,,Stop this. You’re stalling, and it’s not working. Go in there now and finish it. There’s plenty of time to pity yourself afterwards.” I scold myself.
My hand reaches behind my back. As the heir of my family, I’m the one who has the right to possess the weapon of my ancestors. A right that is likely to be taken from me when I return. It is a peculiar item, a long needle made from a black material that has so far appeared to be completely indestructible. Or at least, it hasn’t suffered a single scratch yet despite the abuse it has been put through. What the stories claim with words, this needle backs up with solid fact. It was made by the Makkrash, somewhere in a forge up there among the stars.
My hand grips the handle so tight, I can hear my bones crack. I take a deep breath and focus my eyes on the cabin. This is it, the final act.
Time itself seems to slow down as my body enters a state of full awareness. I see the fly hovering in front of my face, its wings beating up and down slowly. I move. My feet are still planted firmly on the ground, but I’ve still moved. One moment I’m standing outside, the other moment I appear in the cabin’s only room, my body pushing the air aside as I become solid again. Outside, the air rushes to fill up the vacuum I left behind.
Now that I’m actually here, I move without thinking. I notice the first of my children, sitting in a chair and reading a book. I reach out with the black needle. The deadly tip pierces the thick air, driving through the book and into his heart. Something moves to my left, a lock of hair being set in motion by the displacement of air I’ve caused. I whirl around and she too, dies by the dreadful needle. I continue the spinning motion till I see the third one and sacrifice him in the name of my people. One last turn, and I gaze upon the last survivor. Her eyes blink slowly, her mind trying to comprehend what that lethal blur is that has appeared so sudden and disturbed the peace. The air around me becomes hot as she forces it under her will, an instinctive reaction to the threat that threatens to kill her. Soon, it will burst into flames. Too late.
This talent to command the environment was exactly what I sought to create, the bridge between my people and the ones who we’d enslaved. Now I know that my experiment has been successful. I’ve created a being, not of our origin yet with the same birthright. Yet she is untrained and can’t match the speed my kind is capable of. She dies before she can kill me. Oh, how I wish she had succeeded. Then I wouldn’t have to hate myself for the rest of my life.
The world returns to its normal pace. The sound of their corpses falling to the floor and the feeling of their blood on my hands will haunt me forever. I survey the destruction I’ve brought, and I am filled by a fury like I’ve never felt before. They didn’t deserve this, they deserved to live. I should have disobeyed, I should have thrown the entire tradition of discipline and servitude away and done what was right! I should have taken them far away from this place, far away from the wrath of my people. But I didn’t, I did what I was expected to do. I killed them. My children weren’t the monsters, I am!
I turn away from the gruesome scene and leave by walking out through the door. Once outside, I focus on the cabin, I focus on what’s inside. Roaring flames shoot out of the brick walls and consume everything within a heartbeat. I walk away, away from the blackened crater and away from the path leading back to my home. I don’t belong there, I belong nowhere. It’s better this way, not to soil the memory of my family with what I’ve done. I will vanish. No one will ever see me again.
Apr 4 2007, 05:45 PM
I know this isn't my best work, but I never intended it to be. I just wanted to type up a humorous story about my character having the same name as a legion solder in Morrowind.. it kinda escalated from there...
The gates to the Imperial city opened with a creak, and the footsteps of the new arrival in the Market District echoed through the dead silence of the nearly empty streets. With a minor amount of searching involved, the arrival managed to find his destination, a small shop titled "The Best Defense." Opening the creaky door to the shop and stepping inside, the arrival pondered if every door in Tamriel had to creak by law, but shortly tossed aside the notion and approached one of the two counters.
He stayed in the shop for a while after his transactions were completed; he had sparked a conversation with one of the merchants in the store, but quickly wished he had the sense to keep quiet. It was not that he did not like the man with whom he was talking to, he just simply tended to repeat the same thing repeatedly unless the topic of the conversation changed regularly. There are only so many times that you can hear someone say the same thing, with the same tone of voice several times in a row before you start to get bored after all.
So as soon as he was able to work it into the conversation (Which was not that hard, as this man liked to wait for you to speak before saying anything), he politely told the man that he had an urgent meeting to get to and said goodbye. It was at this time that the merchant asked his name, which happened to coincide with the last moments of calm before all hell broke loose.
"DO YOU MOCK ME?" the merchant exploded at the man we can now call "Larrius."
"I'm sorry if I offended you in any way, but I was just telling you my name."
"Do not mock me! I know who you are!"
"Larrius Varro, I just told you this. Are you okay?"
"Ha! Cracking jokes are we now? You shall feel my wrath!"
"What? I have only told you my name!"
"You were mocking my pain!
"How is my name mocking you?"
"You are the assassin that killed my uncle! I know you are! Do not deny it!
"That is insane! I never assassinated anyone!"
"My uncle was named Larrius Varro; he was stationed in Vvardenfell as part of the Imperial Legion! Now you shall pay for you sins! Help, guards! We have a psychopath on the loose!"
It was at this point that several guards burst through the squeaky doors, perhaps because they heard the yelling, or maybe were summoned by some unseen force, and began questioning the merchant. He told them that Larrius was an assassin come to taunt and possibly kill him, and upon telling them he killed a member of the Imperial Legion, the case was closed. One of the guards brought out a pair of shackles and latched them around Larrius' wrists, while the others continued to question anyone whom had even sneezed on the so-called assassin.
Along the short walk to the prison, Larrius decided this was not worth going to jail over, and attempted to break free of the guards iron grip. Although he did not at first succeed, he kept trying, until it got to the point where the second guard threw a punch at him. Deftly avoiding the blow, he managed to loosen the first guards grip when the fist collided with his face. Running as fast as he could, he leaped over a rock, but his foot nicked said rock, and he promptly became acquainted with the ground.
Flipping over onto his back, he stood up and peeked over the rock. The two guards appeared to be, for reasons perhaps not even known to themselves, fighting each other to the death. Puzzled, Larrius watched them for a moment, before coming to the conclusion that they were going to be here a while, and creped away from the spur of the moment battle.
Making his way down the cliff was rather difficult with his hands still locked together, but he managed with only a few cuts and bruises to take home with him. It was not until he was on even ground again before he spoke.
"The hell with Cyrodiil, I am going back to Morrowind, they mostly just stand around all day, not accuse you of murder."
It was a very lucky thing he decided to do this, as an ex-member of the mages guild named "Ontus Vanin" was out shopping, and he was in a very bad mood.
PM me if you don't get the jokes.
Apr 5 2007, 05:19 AM
They call me crazy, a manic, demented. You however, may call me whatever your heart desires, it makes no real difference in the end. If you truly must know though, they most commonly call me The Madman.
It is a very interesting little nickname if I do say so myself, for you see; they call me this as a result of my nightly habits. Ironically, it is I who find them
to be the madmen, for they
are the ones who cheat, lie, and destroy each-others lives. I simply eliminate the unworthy, the cheaters, the liars and the cold-blooded murderers. Though you may find it ironic that I murder the murderers, but I find it to be poetic justice.
Silently I crept across the wooden floor, careful not to place to much weight in one place for too long, lest the wood squeak. If the floor makes any noise I might end up having unwanted guests bursting through the recently unlocked doors, and that
would be a bad thing to have. While I may be a master of unarmed combat, taking on multiple heavily armored guards in a relatively unknown area is a bit out of my league. However, all of my worrying was pointless; I reached the stairs with nary a creak or squeak, and let out a breath I was holding completely unawares.
I had been watching this couple for a few days, they seemed like nice people in public, but in their own home, there was evidence that said otherwise. What they did is unimportant, for their punishment has been decided, they would pay the ultimate price for their crimes, and would be removed permanently, from this plane of existence.
I had discovered their dirty little secret one hot summer day while they were off in the Elven Gardens, I had been asking around town about the couple, and it seemed like everyone simply adored them. They went to the temple every Sundas, they paid their taxes, they never had any "misunderstandings" in the local bar, in fact, they were as clean as you can imagine. However, no one is that good; no one is that clean, and that is how I knew.
I stole away up the stairs, silent as a mouse, until I reached the door to their bedroom. I had slipped a hand into my trouser pocket, searching for my lock-picking set, when the sound reached my ears, the sound of someone walking across a wooden floor. No, not just walking, stumbling, as if they were half-awake. For a split-second I panicked, but no longer. As an expert in the art of infiltration, I snuck back into the dark corner of the small landing at the top of the stairs, and waited.
It was only a moment later that the door opened and one of my marks walked sleepily to the stairs, shutting the door behind him. As soon as the latch clanked shut I pounced, slipping my arm around his neck, I dragged him away from the stairs.
"On this cool summer night, you will pay the blood price for the wrongs you have committed," I whispered into his ear, moments before I snapped his neck. Laying his body down at the top of the stairs, I opened the door.
I knew the couple I was currently watching was in the Elven Gardens District visiting a friend of theirs as I had followed them until I was satisfied they would be gone for a while, so I also knew I would not have to worry about having the residents stumbling upon me during my brief visit to their humble abode. While I did not "dilly dally" in their place of residence, I certainly did not rush through the place. I was careful, checking under the bed, behind the bookcase (It may be cliché, people do still have doors back there), and I even checked the walls for a loose stone that might be pried off, but no such luck. It was just when I was about to give up and accept that maybe they were
good people that I found what I was looking for, down in the dark, dank basement.
My second mark was on the bed in the middle of the room, sleeping, blissfully unaware of her "significant others" demise, and her own approaching doom. The rest of the room was vaguely interesting, and if I did not have the financial security I currently hold, I might have considered pilfering a few items of worth. Nevertheless, I had no need for the primarily worthless trinkets scattered about the room, I had come here for a purpose, and I intended to fulfill that purpose.
It was just as I was finishing my search of the basement when I heard the sound of the front door opening and footsteps crossing the house to the basement door. Quickly I scanned the room, looking for something, anything in which I could hide. There! I spotted a crate, slightly larger then I, tucked away in one of the many recesses that comprised of the outer wall of the basement. Prying off the top of the crate as silently as I could, I slid down into the crate that was thankfully quite empty, and thus unimportant. There I waited, and listened to the horrors they committed in the basement for many hours.
My mark shifted in her sleep, still quite unaware of the impending doom. Approaching her side of the bed I stood up and leaned over, placing my gloves hands on the base of her skull and her chin, I twisted. Thus ended the life of another murderer.
They call me crazy, a manic, demented, a Madman. For I eliminate the unworthy, the cheaters, the liars and the cold-blooded murderers. Though you may find it ironic that I murder the murderers, but I find it to be poetic justice
Apr 9 2007, 09:44 PM
I wanted to try something else. I bet you can figure out what I based this story on.
Files of Grey-Tongue: The Case of the Silver Spoon.
13th of Talos Plaza:
It was a dreary morning. The wind threw buckets of water against the window. Grey clouds hid the sun, making the day as dark as the night. No living soul dared to go out now, not while the rain would last. It was the perfect weather for disaster.
She was an old Breton, bent down with age, like an old scarecrow wearing a hat of snow. For half an hour now, she’d rummaged through the kitchen, searching for something. Something very important. Something more important than anything else at the moment. Yet, she could not find it. And without it, she would be lost.
The woman, in her despair, knew of only one solution.
,,Sir Grey.” She spoke in a hushed tone as she entered the study. The man she’d spoken to looked up from the weathered parchment, a goldtrimmed pipe dangling from the corner of his mouth, the sweet smell of burning Hackle-lo drifting up towards the ceiling.
,,Yes, miss Wolfer. Is something the matter?” He asked back with a slightly hissing accent.
,,It’s the spoon, the silver spoon. It’s missing. I’ve looked everywhere.” Miss Wolfer explained, using her hands to illustrate her problem.
,,Then let the tea simmer on a low fire. I’ll investigate this matter at once.” Sir Grey replied and got up out of his seat, elegantly lifting his tail through the gap at the chair’s back.
The two returned to the kitchen where indeed, a pot of boiling tea stood on an open fire. Sir Grey’s eyes dashed around the room, taking in every detail, every speck of dust and every grain of sugar.
,,This is not a murdercase yet the same principle applies. Discover the crucial detail at the scene. Even the most trivial detail could be vital.” He muttered to himself. He found that talking helped him think.
,,Sugar, spilled near the medicine cabinet. Ah, miss Wolfer, did you perhaps use a silver spoon last night while brewing the concoction that alleviates your arthritis?” He asked the old maid.
,,Oh my. Why yes, sir Grey. I did.” She replied, looking at the small pile of sugar on the sink.
,,Then it would be reasonable to assume that you left your cup, with the spoon on your nightstand, am I correct? I shall investigate your bedroom at once, with your permission.”
Sir Grey ascended the stairs, his scaley arms brushing against the railing. Two minutes later, he returned to the kitchen. In his hand, he held a silver spoon still stained with a medical concoction of indeterminable flavour.
,,I believe this is the missing item.” He spoke.
,,Oh, my. Yes, it is. Thank you, sir Grey. Extra sugar in the tea?” miss Wolfer replied, struck with joy.
,,As always, miss Wolfer. As always.”
The Metal Mallet
Apr 16 2007, 01:29 AM
Memoirs of a Dremora: Crisis in Oblivion
By Writer The Metal Mallet
It seems as though I can’t even get some peace and quiet even in Oblivion! I shall tell you, dear readers, of one such incident.
It happened some time after my first experience of having a Bosmer summon me. Mehrunes had decided that our time was better spent guarding citadels than playing cards, much to my dismay. I had been winning constantly and could almost be considered a celebrity of sorts in our plane of Oblivion. I nearly had enough souls (which is our form of currency since monetary objects like gold and gems are trivial) that rivalled Mehrunes’ champions. Now, my goals of ascertaining such volume of souls was ruined as now I was forced to pace around in a boring old citadel. At least the fountain of blood was amusing to stare at.
I guess the logic behind Mehrunes’ sudden change of down time was due to events that had happened in the mortal realm. Mehrunes was finally able to put to use his citadels once more that allowed permanent gateways to the mortal realm. It seems that we are to go and take over the mortal realm. It sounds swell and all, especially since I requested to be apart of the invading force. Yet, Mehrunes was displeased with my previous trips to Nirn which resulted in me taking guard duty.
First off, it was hardly my fault that I was stuck with idiotic, self-absorbed, fools for servants! Secondly, it should be Mehrunes’ job to inform me about what a Cliffracer is. Thirdly, a Mehrunes Cultist should know how to use a bow properly and not be cowardly! All of these were uncontrollable on my part and yet I am punished for it! Now I was stuck staring at a fountain while Bob and Phallix were out there chopping off heads and other fun things.
One day though, I was staring out the window because the fountain had lost its initial splendour and I saw a company of mortals actually enter through the gateway. Finally! I was going to have some fun. I started to head down the citadel in order to get my flame on when an arm grabbed my shoulder.
“Where are you off to, Rhuragix?” Magus Helliz asked in an authoritative tone.
I pointed to the window. “I saw mortals enter through the gateway so I’m going to go down there and blast em away!” I said gleefully.
“You were instructed to stay in the citadel, therefore, that is what you shall do,” the robed Dremora said.
Growling I returned back to my bench. That uptight wad! Just because he was a Magus, Helliz had ranking over me, yet I felt very sure I could blast him away. He’d be too busy thinking about whether or not fighting between each other was allowed. Yet I knew that destroying Helliz would only result in my further punishment so I decided to wait. Hopefully they would make it all the way up here, because I surely didn’t want to miss out on any killing.
The commotion throughout the citadel had been going on for some time now. These mortals were fighting valiantly, and fortunately they were surviving. While I paced back and forth with expectation, my partner, Helliz, stood there, facing away from the only entrance the mortals would be entering. I still couldn’t decide on whether Helliz was that stupid, or that he was simply that arrogant. The former seemed to be more fitting than the latter.
I also couldn’t decide on whether or not I wanted to use my long sword or blast them with a fireball first. Sure seeing someone roasting alive was appealing, but so was watching limbs and appendages fly of a body. Choices, choices, choices….
Finally I could actually start to understand the shouts and cries of the mortals that had entered the citadel. The constant ordering led me to believe that they were either soldiers or possibly Fighter’s Guild members. All the same, I do enjoy a good fight.
The doorway opened, and instantly I disappeared from their eyesight. Meanwhile, Helliz still simply stood there. Was he deaf? Could he not hear the rattle of their armour? Or was this just some ploy?
My last question was answered when an arrow smashed into Helliz’s face, instantly taking him out. Now some of you readers might be curious to what happens when a Dremora is “killed” in Oblivion. Well since we are immortal creatures, we merely go through a stage of “rebirth”. While that may sound convenient, it is not a fun process to undergo. As I have previously mentioned, being summoned onto Nirn is like being virtually ripped apart and reassembled. Well, going through rebirth is many times more painful and not nearly as quick. That is because your previous memory must be removed to a dull remembrance because the reason you’re dead is because you failed at something. This removal is done in hopes to remove the aspect of your mind that caused you to fail. Hopefully when Helliz eventually returns, he’ll learn how to hear next time.
The clanking of boots told me that the mortals were slowly making their way towards me.
“Haha! I got that thing right in the face!” one of them happily said.
“It didn’t even see it coming!”
“Ha ha I know, these things are more stupid than a goblin.”
The mortals laughed at the last comment and I finally lost it. As soon at the first armoured body came into my sight I brought my long sword crashing down. The force of it was enough that my daedric steel sliced right through the body. The mortals now screamed in horror as I charged at them, swinging furiously.
My next swing caught a second mortal unexpected, severing his head completely from his body. I did not take time to relish the sight as I turned to my next foe who had tried to drive his steel sword into me. The blade bounced harmlessly off my Daedric armour and I chuckled before kicking him through the window. His scream of shock and horror was music to my ears.
Suddenly I was struck by a bolt of lightning. I didn’t expect that magic was going to be used so the attack did hurt me. The uppercut with a war hammer didn’t help either as it launched me to the other side of the room. Shaking the pain from my head, I got up in time to see the hammer wielder charging at me. The fool, he was too far ahead of the rest of them to help him. Before he knew what was happening, I had my sword driven into his body. All he could do was gurgle in pain before dropping to the floor. I instantly dove away from another lightning strike, and hurled a fireball in the vicinity of the castor. A horrified scream told me I made contact with someone.
The room was now silent. I looked around at the destruction surrounding me and smiled. Mehrunes would be pleased that I protected his citadel.
It was then that I heard a rumbling.
I cursed as the citadel rapidly began to fall apart, due to the fact that its power source had been removed. One of the mortals must’ve snuck past after I was struck by lightning. The floor beneath me feet crumbled and I cursed once more as I began my rapid descent to the ground.
I managed to drag myself out of the rubble, only to find that Mehrunes himself stood before me.
“Rhuragix! You have failed me once again!” he shouted at me, the noise was deafening.
“I am sorry, Master, one of them snuck past me unawares. If I had fought them outside of the citadel that wouldn’t have happened, but Helliz kept me from leaving,” I complained to Mehrunes.
“Helliz did what he was told to. That was to keep you from leaving and to stand around and not look at the only entrance to the room. For that he’ll be rewarded once he returns. You did not do what you were instructed to do, which was to protect the citadel. For that, I get those souls that you hold so dear,” Mehrunes said before booming into laughter.
To this day, I still believe that he was simply jealous of how many souls I had and that my failure was a giant setup. Well one day, I shall regain those souls. Somehow! But for now, my damned readers, I will end this update.
May 14 2007, 09:32 PM
I found this little fic while searching for my old Tes fanfics. This is an x-com one. Or two, rather. Have fun reading up the initial model on which I based Gerard Dreyfus. Warning, foul language and excessive violence. It also holds my old weakness. Dialogue. It is seriously lacking in references to who is actually talking. Ah well, enjoy.
(A short Bestiary for background)
Muton: Giant, armoured gorrillas with big guns. Bad attitude and take a lot of firepower to kill.
Sectoid: Think Grey, only with a nasty gun.
Cyberdisk: Miniature flying saucer with rapid-fire plasmagun. Likes to go BOOM.
Zombie: A zombie, duh. If killed it goes rip and out comes a fully-grown Cryssalid.
Cryssalid: Giant ant. Zombifies people by laying an egg inside them.
Flying waterballoon: Like the name, only it's filled with acid, not water.
Sectopod: Giant, twolegged, plasmathrowing tank of doom. Probably the most lethal thing in the alien army.
Ethereal: taller greys with fancy robes. Real nasty mental powers.
And another side-note. The X-com standard issue pistol is the weakest weapon ever used in x-com. It can't kill properly and it doesn't have the side-utility of stunning either. In one word, worthless.
Sergeant Ironhead goes wild (and annoys his boss)
Commander Vogel tapped with his feat on the ground in annoyance as he waited in front of the ramp of the Skyranger. Where the hell was that guy? They were going to attack an alien base somewhere in South-Eastern Asia, he needed every man or woman he could get. Just as he was about to turn around and enter the Skyranger with the intent of leaving without waiting for the late soldier, a power suited figure came running towards the Skyranger. In one hand he held a Heavy Plasma, while in the other one, he held a big bag that seemed to be filled with all kinds of things that were visible as unrecognizable shapes that were deforming the bag to the point at which it nearly burst apart. His belt and backpack were filled just as much as the bag, but this time with more clips than the rest of the squad combined. The figure skidded to a halt in front of the commander and raised a salute.
,, Sergeant Ironhead reporting for duty, sir!” He shouted with a zeal that made the commander cringe.
,,Damn right you are, sergeant. Do you know that we were supposed to be leaving seven minutes ago? And what the hell is in that bag?” Vogel replied with a harsh voice.
,,Never mind, drop the bag immediately and board the Skyranger. And if you’re late again, I’ll have you promoted to grenade suicide scout duty, sergeant. Is that understood?” The man dropped the bag which fell to the ground with a lot of noise and took out his helmet which was one of the things he had put into the bag. He started to board the Skyranger, but turned around at the top and said with a quizzical expression on his face:,, I never knew we had a grenade suicide scout.”
,,I just invented it, goddamned! Now get on board!”
After four hours of flight, the Skyranger finally landed near what looked like the entrance to a cave. The X-com troops quickly evacuated the transport while looking out for any alien that might have decided to give them a welcome. There was nothing in the area, except for a few birds that flew up when one of the soldiers stepped on a branch which snapped. One of the birds disappeared when it was struck by plasma.
,,Goddamned, sergeant Ironhead! What the hell is that?!” Vogel snapped at the shooter. ,,Weapon firing test, sir! To engage the enemy I have to be able to rely on my gun, sir!” The sergeant replied. All the other soldiers rolled their eyes behind their helmets.
,,Next time, you do that at base at the firing range. You got that?”
,,Now all units, enter that cave but be wary of any sentry that might be in there.”
The cave led deep into the mountain side and after about three hundred metres, the solid rock was replaced with the all too familiar alien alloys. Now there was no doubt left that there was an alien base here. At the end of the long cave, the orange glow of a gravlift became visible. Carefully, the soldiers entered the lift and descended into a green room. Till now, not a single sign of an alien had been seen. It looked as if the whole place was deserted. But with the aliens, you never knew.
,,Allright, listen up. Squaddie Krauser and squaddie Perez, you’ll scout out ahead of us. The rest of us will follow behind you. Got that?” The commander said through his helmet’s communications system.
,,Yes, sir.” The two squaddies descended the big gravlift in a corner of the room. Immediately, the sound of plasma weapons discharging echoed through the base.
,,I’m going in!” Sergeant Ironhead shouted and stormed down the gravlift.
,,Sergeant, no! Come back here, you bloody buglover!” But it was too late.
At his feet, the corpses of the two unfortunate squaddies were lying on the ground. But the sergeant didn’t even noticed it, all he noticed was the Muton that was standing on the other end of the room, preparing to pull the trigger. The sergeant was quicker though, and mowed down the big alien with a barrage of his Heavy Plasma. He moved over to the Muton to check if it was death when suddenly plasma fire came flying all over the place from his left, missing him by centimetres. He spun around and fired his Heavy Plasma in the room were the plasma fire came from. He mowed down two more Mutons and completely disintegrated the alien plants that filled the room. When he entered the room, he came under fire again. He quickly turned in the direction of this new threat and tried to fire at the Muton, but his clip was empty.
,,Allright, if you wanna play rough, then let’s play rough, hotshot!” The sergeant shouted as he picked up a Muton corpse lying at his feet with his free hand and threw it at his foe. The Muton managed to get of one more shot which scratched the Sergeants shoulder plate before it was struck on the chest by the corpse of his death ally. The Muton dropped to the floor and wrestled in an attempt to get the heavy corpse off of him. It growled while showing its sharp fangs as the sergeant reloaded his weapon and moved over to the fallen alien.
,,Are you hungry? Here, eat daddy Ironhead’s special meal.” And he send a plasma bolt into the aliens wide open mouth.
,,Sergeant, how much I appreciate the fact that you’re enjoying yourself, next time you follow orders and stay with the rest of the squad, is that understood?” Vogel said once the rest of the squad had descended into the room.
,,Yes, sir!” The sergeant responded as he picked up the Heavy Plasma that the now headless Muton was carrying.
,,Now I want you to cover our rear as we advance towards the enemies command centre.”
,,Fine, sir, but I wanted to be on the front lines. I hate missing all the action.”
,,Just follow your orders sergeant! That’s what you’re being paid for, not for having some fun!”
The assault on the alien’s base went quite smoothly, and only half the squad was killed when they reached the corridors that surrounded the command centre.
,,Allright, listen up. That place will be heavily defended, we will have to overrun the enemy as quickly as possible. I want you, you, you, you and you two to charge down those corridors from both sides and take out the enemy. No not you, sergeant! You’re staying here to cover our rear, you triggerhappy freak!” The six chosen soldiers charged down the corridors and disappeared out of sight. Seconds later, the sound of a huge explosion could be heard. Then, silence.
,,Come in, answer me. Report your status immediately!” The commander’s only answer was static.
,,Finally, some action! Get ready, mutated gorillas. Here I come!” The sergeant raised his two Heavy Plasmas and stormed down the corridors towards the place were just a few moments ago, six other soldiers had found their deaths.
For minutes, the sounds of plasma and explosions echoed through the base. When it finally ended the commander rallied his two remaining soldiers, both rookies and entered the corridor, knowing that he could not abort this mission, or his superiors would surely ruin him. Death from a plasma bolt sounded a lot less painful
,,That son of a umbrella seller sure made them pay a large price for his skin. They might be softened up.” The commander muttered as he passed the six dead soldiers and approached the lift leading to the command centre. He and the two rookies quickly ascended the lift, ready to fire at anything that moved. The commander froze in disbelief at what he saw.
The walls, floor and ceiling of the room were filled with holes and scorch marks from the fire fight. Four wrecked remains of what looked like alien computers stood in the corners. Across the room, the corpses of death Mutons and a few of their terror units were lying on the floor, or what was left of them. And leaning against a wall, holding a somehow unshattered bottle of whiskey in one hand and a big smoking cigar in the other, stood sergeant Ironhead. With his armour covered in scratches and dents but miraculously, unharmed.
,,Sergeant, how do you do that?!” The sergeant blew the smoke of his cigar out of his mouth and took a long gulp of his whiskey before he answered:,, I’ll tell you how, commander. It’s all because of the character shield. I bought it from ebay, wasn’t even used! I mean, every hero needs one. Nothing is more embarrassing than suffering a lethal wound just because you left your character shield back home. I mean, with one of these, the enemy’s accuracy drops by 300%.” The commander was speechless and just stood there, mouth wide open.
,,I do wish I didn’t had to drop my bag though.” The sergeant mumbled to himself.
,,Because I wanted to hold a big barbeque. Most of these bugs are a real delicacy you know. Man I’m hungry!”
Sergeant Ironhead sets foot on Mars.
Space, the darkest and emptiest place you can imagine, damn cold also. Yet, in some small corners, there are a bunch of rocks. And one rock is green, and blue and has this bloody annoying rain all the time. That rock is being attacked by some funny creatures from a red rock, which is where we are going now. Ironhead looked at what he had written and frowned in disgust.
,,I’ve been writing for more than a damn week at this, and I can’t even write one chapter!” Commander Vogel and the rest of the people onboard the Avenger woke up at the sudden noise.
,,Dammit, Sergeant! Can’t you be quiet for one goddamned hour?!” ,
,But, sir. I’m bored.”
,,Just shut up! Hawkins, go check our position.”
A few days later
Mars. For years, setting foot on this planet has been one of the biggest dreams of humanity. And now it was going to happen, but a bit different than everybody imagined. The Avenger came in low through a raging storm to avoid the fleet of alien spaceships. Though with no doubt the most powerful weapon ever constructed by man, it was no match for the alien armada that was floating around the area. It touched down in the middle of the Martian night, on the outskirts of an area containing several ancient pyramids. The ramp came down and a plasma hovertank flew out of the ship, only to be torn to pieces from multiple directions by plasma fire.
,,Jenkins, Hopkins. Move to the right and take down whatever is firing at us. The rest of you, get out and head for the nearest pyramid. The tanks will clear the left.” Vogel shouted before flying out of the spaceship.
,,Hey, I hate rain!” Sergeant Ironhead said as plasma fire came down on the squad of soldiers from the top of the pyramid. With a tap on the controls placed on his chest, he flew up to the same level as a window built into the structure. He send in a volley of plasma fire with his Heavy Plasma.
,,Oops, my mom told me that throwing rocks at windows was a naughty thing to do, people might get hurt!” he said as he saw the remains of a sectoid on the floor and the damage he had caused.
,,Sergeant! Get down here!”
When entering the pyramid, a soldier got taken down by a barrage of plasma fire. The sectoid that was responsible for it got taken out with a grenade, but when the squad entered, they only found an empty room with a lift leading upward to the place that had been wrecked by the sergeant. ,,Great. Allright, Alpha squad will check the left pyramids, Beta squad will check the right.”
,,Um, what about me, sir?”
,,I don’t know sergeant, just go and take a walk.”
The sergeant decided to check on the tanks that hadn’t said anything for the last few minutes and found their wrecked hulks on the edge of the combat zone. When he came closer, a Cyberdisk floated out of its cover and fired, missing wildly.
,,Damn Frisbees!” He shouted and ran for the only cover in the area which was the exact same pyramid where the Cyberdisk had been hiding. Once there, a game of hide and seek began with the sergeant and the alien weapon flying around in circles.
,,Man, this is getting annoying, I’ll just fly through that window and take a rest.” He had just entered the pyramid when he saw the Cyberdisk floating past underneath him.
,,Oh, boy. I feel like riding a horse.” He muttered and jumped back out of the window, right on top of the disk. The alien machine was not programmed for the sudden added weight and plunged down to the floor. It managed to correct its mistake just in time, only to get blasted by a hail of plasma fire from the sergeant who was now flying upwards to avoid the large explosion coming from the disk’s selfdestruct device.
,,What took you so long, sergeant? Now get over here and go down that elevator.” Commander Vogel said as they all sat down in a closely packed formation and looked at the insides of the mars base.
Sergeant Ironhead quickly descended the elevator and looked at his surroundings. The room he was in looked empty, so he called over the rest of the squad.
,,Allright. Alpha squad goes to the left, beta squad to the right. I’ll follow Alpha. You just stay out of the way, you braindead idiot!”
,,Yes, sir!” the sergeant responded and moved off into the corridor. The base was quiet, too quiet. The silence was disturbed as the sounds of plasma started to echo through the underground labyrinth.
,,Finally, it was getting boring here!” Ironhead shouted and sprinted in the direction of the sounds. When he arrived, the fight was over.
,,Dammit, I’m too late. Now what am I going to do now? Hey, Hawkins! Umm, where is the rest of Beta squad?” The figure of Hawkins, wearing a powersuit that had been torn to pieces and with half of his head missing, came closer without responding, green ooze dripping out of the corner of his mouth. Suddenly, his arms reached out and knocked the Heavy Plasma out of the sergeant’s hand.
,,Hey, calm down! What’s the matter with you? Got a bad day?” Ironhead said as he avoided the remains of Hawkins who was swinging his arms around with inhuman strength.
,,You know, you don’t look so good. Hey, wait a minute, what’s that green stuff coming out of your mouth? Hold on, the guys with the lightbulbs told me something about it.” He said while still avoiding what once had been Hawkins, finally noticing the obvious. Intelligence wasn’t Ironhead’s strongest point.
,,Hey, I remember! You’ve been zombified! Come here!” The sergeant rushed in and had his hands come down like a pair of raging elephants on the zombie’s head. The zombie staggered backwards, its head knocked of by the force of the blow. Then its chest ripped open, and a dark clawed figure crawled out of it. As the zombie’s remains fell down on the floor, the Cryssalid charged. Ironhead managed to grab his Heavy Plasma and let it rip on full auto, taking out the Cryssalid and blowing deep holes in the walls, revealing the bare rock behind it.
,,all units, we’ve found what seems to lead to a command center of sorts. Rendezvous with us at our current location!” The voice of Vogel ordered through the intercom.
,,Out of the way, you flying water balloon!” Ironhead said as he rushed towards the rendezvous point, leaving the smoking remains of several aliens behind. He rounded the last corner and immediately ducked back towards where he came from. Hot plasma flew past him, blowing chunks out of the wall. When he peaked around the corridor, he saw a grenade exploding on top of the huge alien killing machine’s head. After the explosion cleared, the Sectopod was still standing, turning towards whoever had thrown the grenade, with a few cracks and a small hole visible in its thick armour.
,,Come on, I’ll take you out!” The sergeant shouted and stepped back into the corridor. He raised his weapon and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened.
,,Oh, compassion! Here we go!” The sergeant screamed a battle cry and ran for the Sectopod that had taken out the grenade thrower, Leaving his empty Heavy Plasma behind on the floor. He jumped on top of the big metal monster and took out his X-com semi-automatic pistol, a weapon that he constantly forgot to replace by something more powerful.
,,Fred, meet big metal chicken. Big metal chicken, meet Fred.” He said and started pumping lead through the small hole in the machine’s armour, wrecking the complex control systems inside. The Sectopod stopped moving.
,,Is that all?, No other survivors?” Vogel said as the four soldiers crouched at the end of a big corridor that split further away, with gravlifts on both ends.
,,We can’t turn back. Let’s just rest and prepare for our assault.”
,,I’m not going to wait, I’m gonna kill those bugeyes!”
,,No sergeant, come back! You don’t even have a gun, you bloody stupid Rambo wannabe!”
But the sergeant already stormed up one of the gravlifts.
The room at the top of the lift was big, with rows of chairs pointing in the direction of a large alien device at the far end of the room. What was more interesting for the sergeant, however were the Ethereals that looked at him, Heavy Plasmas ready. After seeing that he was unarmed and not a threat though, they decided to make him theirs. The sergeant could hear their voices speaking in his mind, telling him to let go of his hate and serve them.
,,No, get out of my head, you dirty psychopaths!” The sergeant shouted and stormed for the group of Ethereals.
He slammed into one of them with his full weight and gave an uppercut to the one standing next to it. Both Ethereals crumpled down to the floor. He was too close to shoot, if they missed, their leader might be destroyed by their shots, so they had no choice but to do things the same way as the berserking sergeant. One of them raised its Heavy Plasma and tried to hit him on the head, while the other one used its great telekinetic powers to push him away. The sergeant grabbed the Heavy Plasma and hit its owner with it. The alien alloys bended through the massive power of the blow, making the weapon useless. The alien fell to the floor, its skull shattered and its neck broken. The other alien managed to push the sergeant away far enough to shoot and raised its weapon. The hot Plasma was taken by one end of the twisted weapon the sergeant threw while the other end slammed into the chest of the alien, making it collapse to the floor. It tried to get back up and take on the sergeant with its mind, but it succumbed to the punches that rained down on it.
,,You truly are the luckiest honoured user in the galaxy, do you know that?” Vogel said as he looked at the corpses of the Ethereals that lied on the floor. He diverted his attention to the alien device and moved over to it.
,,This must be their queen, the one the scientists told us about. It is time to finish this war and I’ll become a hero by shooting this thing.” The commander raised his weapon, but before he could pull the trigger, a screen lit up at the base of the massive alien brain, begging them to listen first to its story before making their decision. Scenes of a lush green mars filled with life were followed by images of earths history. ,,We wanted to help. You cannot destroy us, we created you. Think, if you put down your weapons, we’ll let you join us, become part of the greatest alliance in the galaxy. Think, i…..” The voice of the brain was stopped by a barrage of Plasma fire.
,,Sergeant, no! What have you done?! You just ruined everything! We could have become friends! It was right and we were wrong! They never intended to destroy us! Why?!!” The sergeant lowered the Heavy Plasma that he took from one of the death Ethereals. The now empty clip popped out of it and fell on the floor. ,,That was the worst and most boring movie I’ve ever seen. Lousy special effects.”
The Avenger was being prepared to leave, and the corpses of the death soldiers had been buried. The alien armada had been completely lost all of its coordination after the destruction of their brain. Most of them crashed, some of them simply kept flying in the direction they were moving in before, to later become a artificial comet that would plunge into a planet, asteroid or star after many years. Commander Vogel still couldn’t understand why the sergeant had pulled the trigger, but he got some hope from the knowledge that it would be a long time for the aliens to come back and take revenge, he would be dead by then.
,,Sergeant, what the hell is that?!”
,,Oh, I’ve always wanted a horse, but I’m allergic to animals. So I just thought I would take this one here.” Ironhead patted one of the legs of the remote controlled Sectopod. He then turned to the alien corpses he had thrown on a pile next to the ramp.
,,Oh yeah, I brought something else, tonight we’ll eat fried Ethereal and drink a bit of my whisky. You’ll love it!”
The Metal Mallet
Jun 9 2007, 06:00 PM
Well instead of a new Bloodlust update I decided to release a preview of something I might be planning to work on in the future. Hopefully writing this will help with the writer's block I'm currently experiencing with Bloodlust. As I'm not much of a boat person, hopefully I don't mistake any boat lingo that I used. Please feel free to correct me if you know I'm mixing up something or if there's a more appropriate word for a certain part of a boat.
Anyways, here's the preview:
A cool, salty breeze flew around me as I stood on the deck of Hircine’s Wrath. Surrounding me was nothing but the sparkling crests of waves and the islands Zarifel Bay. The breeze rustled a gentle tune against the sails, the waves crashing against the hull complimenting it by providing a beat. It was a beautiful day to be out at sea to say the least.
While Zarifel Bay was known to be one of the colder seas to travel in, summertime stole the chilling effects and provided me with comfortable weather to travel in. All I needed were my pair of baggy trousers and my light, double-breasted coat. And of course my cap. What’s a Captain if he does not wear a cap?
“Captain Yves?” a sailor from the crow’s nest called out.
“Yes, that’s my name,” I replied with a grin.
“Sails off portside,” he called back.
I pointed to the helmsman who intuitively knew to begin swing the boat towards the ship. I looked back up to the crow’s nest.
“Care to identify what type of boat lies out there?”
It took the sailor a few moments of studying before he whooped aloud. “It’s definitely a merchant’s ship, Captain. It’s alone too. I see no other sails!”
I started dry washing my hands. A habit of mine when I knew an altercation was on the horizon. “Prepare to board, chaps!”
Sailors around me started whooping for joy as they eagerly retrieved weaponry and other equipment necessary to board a ship. Fanaelin, my Altmer mage approached my side.
“Of what use would you have of me?” her passive voice asked.
I placed a ringed hand upon her shoulder. “For now, stay by my side. I think the boys can take care of this boat this time. If there is another mage on board though, your help would certainly be appreciated,” I replied smugly as those around me prepared for the upcoming event.
The sailor on the crow’s nest started cackling. “Looks like they smell something fishy. They’re attempting to sail away from us.”
“No boat can out sail Hircine’s Wrath once she gets going,” I said, quoting my mantra. I am very proud of my boat’s capabilities.
“Right you are Cap’n!”
As the merchant’s ship grew in perspective my hand began to caress the hilt of my cutlass. The only possession of mine that didn’t display elegance, my cutlass was a simple bone handle with quality steel serving as the blade. Oh yes, and there’s also a deteriorate weapon enchantment placed upon it. There’s almost nothing more amusing in a fight than to see the dismay on an opponent’s face when they witness their weapon falling apart before their eyes. The appearance of my blade only helped mislead anybody willing to take on Captain Dramon Yves.
Still, even though I possess a unique weapon (of which I’m very capable in using), I still have suffered trials and tribulations in my quest to become a Captain of recognition. Most men and mer would brand me a pirate, but I am far more than that. I’m an entrepreneur. It just so happens that I deal in stolen goods. Merely coincidence I assure you.
Moments later, my men had grappling hooks attached to the merchant’s ship and quickly boarded. I calmly walked upon the deck of the merchant’s ship and looked upon the captives.
“Greetings, I am Captain Dramon Yves and I have decided that the goods upon this ship are now a part of the Yves Trading Goods Company. I hope that none of you oppose this?”
One of the captives spat at my feet. “Curse you! You damned Redguard!” he said, the hatred vivid in his eyes.
I looked down at the saliva resting close to my feet before moving closer to the captive. “And who might you be?” I asked quietly, bring my face inches from his face.
“I am the Captain of this ship!” he raged.
I recoiled backwards at the outburst and stood at my full height once more. “Well then…” I said slowly as I withdrew my cutlass, “I’m quite sure you said you’re name was ‘Deadman’ so it only sounds reasonable to make things more realistic.”
I plunged my sword into the Captain’s chest, causing the man’s eyes to bulge. The light in his eyes quickly faded away before he slumped against the blade. Distastefully, I removed the blade.
“Toss him overboard,” I ordered indifferently. My men quickly complied.
My eyes scanned over the captives once more. More fear was apparent this time. “Now, is there anymore smart mouthed sailors willing to test their testicular fortitude?” I asked awaiting an answer. After a few moments of silence I smiled. “Good. Because to tell you the truth, I hate killing. Really I do. There’s just so many more reasonable ways to solve a problem and yet you people force me to take the route of the brute. Ha!” I started laughing at my little rhyme.
“Leave them enough rations and supplies for them to make it to the next town, which I believe would be Tel Mora. Take everything else,” I instructed my men before walking back onto my deck. As I walked across a plank joining the two boats I happened to notice a small path of crimson in the water. I sighed. It wouldn’t be long until the sea dispersed the spot. The sea is perhaps the best cleaner in the world for it takes entire legions of mer or men to die for any true remnants of blood to remain in the water.
But enough of my morbid thoughts. I had cargo to investigate.
Jun 12 2007, 07:06 PM
This is part of Wings of Light. While I'm rewriting it, I've decided to try a new format. Instead of writing from one point to the next, I'm writing down all kinds of scenes and then looking for ways to connect them. Anyway, this one takes place in a cafetaria on the academy for military engineering. I need to give that place a title.
The main characters are Karl Forest, a student in his early twenties and Lo Fog, an underage teacher (16-18). And just in case you're wondering, she's quite capable of teaching her subject. Let's just say it's in her blood, literally. Have fun.
Tray in hand, he walked over to an empty table that was relatively clean. The first thing he did after putting his tray down and taking a seat, was to take out his phone.
,,I wonder if I’ve got mail.” He muttered to himself. The screen lit up when he stroked the touchscreen with his thumb. Quickly navigating the menus, he soon opened his electronic mailbox. Before his eyes, a quick list of messages appeared and vanished as the software examined and discarded them all into the ‘unwanted’ folder. Once the process had been complete, only half a dozen remained.
He opened the first one, an advertisement for cheap surgery. Having scanned the title and content, he added it to his unwanted list. Any further messages sent from the same address or with the same content would now be automatically discarded. The second was the same thing, only presenting ‘authentic plastic cups from the 22nd century’ for a ridiculously cheap price which made it all too clear to him that it was a scam. Too bored to be annoyed, he added this one to the list as well.
The third one was actually something he needed to know. It was a list regarding the documents he was to read for his next test. The documents had been sent along with the message.
,,Wow, that’s quite a lot. Hmm, nothing I’ve read before either. Ok, there goes my day off.” He muttered. The forth and the fifth were more advertisements. Even with the best scanning software available, new methods to get past them were found every day. Fortunately these methods only worked once as the same software ‘learned’ from it. The sixth was more serious. It was something he didn’t want to see. His eyes looked on the message and he struggled to keep his hand from crushing the phone in anger.
,,You look pissed. Wanna tell, or is it private?” A voice spoke with a neutral tone. He looked up from the phone to see a second tray being put down on the table, followed by the shape of a small woman sitting down in the chair opposite him. His eyes wandered up, noting the white hair, the pale skin and the pitchblack glasses.
,,Teacher?” He said. He hadn’t expected her to be here. Shouldn’t she be with the higher-ups? Her rank allowed it, even though her young age got him wondering how she got so far in the first place. The woman smiled.
,,Surprised, mr Forest? Trust me, don’t go for a career. Officer country is boring. If you want to get drunk, stick to the low ranks.” She replied and demonstratively raised a large mug filled with beer. Yet even with her smile that had now turned into a grin, her voice remained flat.
,,So, private or wanna tell?” She repeated.
Karl looked back at his phone. With a forceful tap of his finger, he deleted the message.
,,I just won the lottery.” He grumbled.
,,Goody, A millionaire. Will you marry me?” The woman answered. Karl frowned but then realized she was joking. Or was she? There had been no signs in her voice that gave even a hint at her not being serious, or joking. It was too monotone to make out anything.
,,No, not that one. It’s the children lottery.” He explained. A white eyebrow rose up from under her shades.
,,Ah, and since you’re single. It doesn’t mean anything to you. No reason to be pissed though.”
Karl sighed, put away the phone and shoved his tray to the side. Suddenly, he felt full and unable to eat.
,,It does mean something to me but you won’t understand. I’m a lottery-child. I’m some price my folks won. Do you know what that does to a guy’s social status and self-image?” He seethed. The first eyebrow was joined by a second.
,,Trust me, I understand it perfectly.” Lo claimed.
,,Or did you forget? I am an Albino and really small for my age. When people look at me, they think I’m anorexic while I simply can’t put on weight even if I wanted. If I eat any more than what’s on this tray, you’ll have to cart me off to the hospital and get my stomach pumped empty or I’ll die. Being an anorexic albino makes even more people look at me funny. And with the glasses, they think I’m blind on top of it.” She said plainly, with no hint of emotion at all.
,,Then don’t wear glasses.” Karl interrupted.
,,No, I need them. Anorexic, albino and blind is nothing compared to the shock and fear and all those responses I would get if I showed anyone my eyes. They’re not nice to look at. I’m short, light, albino, weird-eyed and I was pulled out of a tube with no one to call my parents. Many people are now grown in tubes, but all of them have some form of family to go to when they’re born. Me, I grew up in a lab, as the subject. My toys were the bandages they used to stop the bleeding after they’d taken a blood sample, my playmates were doctors and cold robots. Yet they never played, they never showed that they cared. If I did something right, they just noted it in their reports and if I did something wrong, anything, they took the time to point out how I was wasting their budget and that I should be reprocessed into dogfood so they could get some of their funds back.” Lo stood up suddenly.
,,After hearing all of that, being a lottery child isn’t so bad anymore, is it?” She whispered in his ear and walked away. For the first time, he’d heard an emotion in her voice. Sadness.
Jan 13 2008, 10:35 AM
I'm resurrecting the old Temple of Lore, because I like the name, and because I think it somehow fits this character who I think I'll serialize but won't devote a formal fanfic to. So it's not exactly a one-shot story, is what I'm saying. But it sort of is. Plus, I've got some made-up Lore, so I've got that going for me. Anyway, on to this little scrap of writing...
A booming, disembodied force echoed throughout the great bowl, “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Arena!”
The redguard mercenary ignored the rest of words. They were meaningless to him, just vapid grandiosity meant to whip the crowd into a unified, frothing call for blood. No, he was thinking about his shield, the wall of steel he needed to keep the archer across the way from penetrating the flimsy excuse for heavy armor he was being forced to wear. If Darnell had his druthers he would still be arrayed in his heavy steel plate.
Unfortunately, he needed the Arena’s money. He’d already depopulated his favorite stretch of Imperial City sewer and blown the proceeds on a warding charm for his sister back in Stros M’kai, for the holiday of Satakal-Don’t-Eat-Us.
The gates lifted, and both fighters sprinted a few steps out into the open, eager to put on a good show. The archer stopped and reached back to his quiver, Darnell’s cue to slow down and bring up his shield. The first shot penetrated the steel plate anyway but not all the way through; Darnell ran a few steps forward while the archer restrung his bow, then elevated the shield again.
The redguard grimaced; the second shot penetrated once more and caught his hand, holding the shield. But now he was upon the archer.
Darnell charged forward, knocking the bow away with his steel sword and then knocking down the archer with a backswipe across the chest. Blood flowed, and the crowd roared.
Mar 31 2008, 12:22 AM
This is not Sethyas Velas. That being said it's a short work I'm doing to get back into the zone of FanFic. Sorry for my constant delays
An Assassin’s Letter to Vehk
Truly, who can begin to fathom the mind that has fathomed the Aurbis? I say with no ego that I cannot. Murder as moaning, indeed. God's holy rape-erasure of wet death. The sermon numbered at twenty two, so often read by the priests and the teachers. To place a holiness to an action that is so shunned by creatures of the west.
Often I wondered at my own nature, pouring over old tomes that had been scribed by your scribes, read aloud in the temples, and felt as a three-fold ecstasy in my younger days, before reason clouded my vision, and the laws of the ehlnofey, the earth-bones, became my only absolute.
Then, I came upon them, commoner and noble alike, the one vast moving event of thrusting-kill-laughter as described in my favorite Sermon. The hidden hands of Mephala, darkness within the light, and woven by the threads of your anticipation. Less your words, and more mine.
My First Experience filled me with no lust, unlike my first experience. Rather, it filled me with the tenuous hesitation that precedes the action that will lead to regret, as was present in my first, along with the regret that ensues with the act, that was not present after my first experience. (First Kill, first time. Two differing events, that her webs weave as one.)
Then, my hands became black as yours, dried blood, innocence lost, dirt from shame, hidden in shadow. The interpretations are innumerable, as the methods of moaning, yet with only one clear result.
Perhaps my metamorphosis was self-inflicted, or perhaps it was merely a web of the spider I was caught in, blessed be her name, that anticipates yours. But the result was undeniable as my true desire came to the light as the ashen expression I now wear.
In her name, the true psychopomp, do I execute. In your name, the Lord, do I serve, for I know that our order is true and eternal, in faith I write, in ink I praise, for these words shall not see me draw breath in the morning fog.
Apr 1 2008, 06:11 PM
Thunder and Lightning: A Love Letter
Out here your uncle, long those his arm may be, cannot reach us. His men would ride out after you to be lost in the sands, in the canyons, in the folds of the world—and we will watch from the mountaintop as they grow confused and fearful with the desert’s disregard.
I have been listening to the words on the breeze, and I know this to be true. But you must come.
It is now the season of thunder and the breaking rain. Do you remember? The earth shakes, love, and I swear that the ponderosas must be better-rooted than Direnni Tower else they would be blasted over by the sound. The ansus call the summer thunder chub’skah do tava and say that Tava—think of the Kynareth of your city people—begrudges the mountains their beauty.
You do remember, don’t you? I remember laying with you at the base of the eka’rah-do-pah, the little cascade, making love in the sand. We were wet, both of us, and I remember the sand clinging to my skin and your skin and how I felt that it was to make love to the mother rock and that it was good. The clouds rolled in white then gray then black and it rained like they say it rained when the old land fell into the sea. It rained, and we did not stop for the day was warm and the rain felt like a cool wind.
I am lying by the cascade now, but I am alone.
The first rains have come and the columbines are in bloom. I am lying on moss campion, and a buttercup is tickling the back of my neck. I have been to the top of Tuk-uhn-ah-k’vah, where Magnus the sun lingers, and I have seen the sky pilot and mariposa in bloom. I could see the castle from the top and I felt lonely, and I know that you feel the same. Soon we must be together, and we will walk in the shade of the pines high above the desert, and the world will see us and be lonely at the sight of our love.
Yesterday, in the afternoon, I slept and dreamed that we were together. I felt our bodies as one, as they were when we swam in the deep clear tarn that sits between Tuk-uhn-ah-k’vah and the mountain that the Bretons call the Seat of Fire, the one that glows orange in the sunset. I awoke to find myself sopping wet, though there had been no rain and the sky was clear. Ansu-haka, who you know, was beside me and said, “Dream like lightning.”
The dream, my love, the dream. Lying on the warm shore rocks we gazed at the sky for an age. The meteor shower—do you remember? Fools who call themselves wise say that they are an illusion, a deception from weak mortal minds, but did we not see streaks of fire race across the sky? Was your touch not warm? Was the night not cool? I would have all the reality I need, if only you were by my side.
The storm clouds build and I sit enthralled by memory. Would you have us an echo of things past? Or would you let us be lightning?
Aug 10 2008, 07:10 PM
Alright, this fragment belongs here. Arise, Temple of Lore
* * *
The wind blows. A Second Seed wind, bearing sand and scratched retinas. A pair of Redguards force their way through it, aiming for the top of a low escarpment, a perch perhaps seventy feet above the surrounding badlands, the mal-i-pah. Both are tall, and clad in robes the color of rust and the Alik’r sands. The leader, the man in front, has short graying hair and a salt-and-pepper beard. He walks slowly but steadily. The man behind is younger and lets his long, unkempt black hair billow in the wind behind him. He appears to chafe at the older man’s walking pace but he maintains a respectful position to his elder’s rear. At the top of the rise the two raga gaze off to the northwest where thin white clouds dot the sky above Sentinel. Finally, they take shelter in the scant lee of a scrub juniper.
The younger man spoke. “You see the rain, Ansu-Haka?”
The old Redguard nodded. “In the afternoon.”
“This is good,” said the younger man. “It will keep the dust down.”
The wind continues to howl, insistently. “We used to call this month Tava’s Fury,” said Ansu-Haka. The younger man nodded. For five minutes more the two men sit out of the wind, the old man with eyes closed and a thin smile on his face, the younger man looking east to the mountains, still dusted with snow.
“It is still too early in the season, Cyrus.”
Self-conscious, the younger man smiled. “Two weeks, Ansu-Haka. No more. Then it will be time.”
“Indeed,” the old man answered, his lips still locked in his thin smile. “But we must not act and speak as if asleep. Your namesake—”
“We will go down to the others,” the young man countered. “We will ride.”
The two Redguards descended, traveling easily but gingerly atop the ridge, struggling to shield their eyes from airborne sand. At the bottom they turned onto a faint footpath down into a narrow gully—it was crowded with ephedra and willows and old man sage and smelled of water where the ridge top had been nearly bare. At the head of the gully could be seen cottonwoods, golden-green leaves in the morning light, and the nickering sound that horses make intermingled with the play of water upon the rock—familiar, pleasant sounds. Thirty men and their horses idled around the cold spring, waiting.
The older raga, the one called Ansu-Haka, entered the encampment ahead of his compatriot but said nothing, instead choosing to wander over to his paint horse, which was tied to a quinine bush. This was signal enough. When the one called Cyrus appeared all the men—Redguards dressed in robes of all the colors of the Alik’r, sabers to the side and bows on their backs—sat astride their mounts. Cyrus vaulted onto his own horse, a white stallion almost seventeen hands high. He hefted his sword, the cold curved steel, and gazed about at his cadre of bandits.
,” he called, raising the sword skyward. “We ride south.”
Sep 26 2008, 09:04 PM
Here's a piece of non-fiction I put out last fall that echoes some of my inspiration for the Alik'r desert stuff that I've got in the works.
Clouds have been building all morning, first wispy white and then steel gray. Now they are nearly black and the rain begins to fall. These are not the small, delicate drops of a brief shower—the first drops are large, deathly cold, and strike with stinging force. The skeletal remains of the forest, coal-black, recede into the building mist and we can hear a helicopter-based fire crew calling over the radio, waiting to see if the storm will squelch the fire season. They are mad to be up there; the rain falls like one of the Great Lakes being emptied into the sky. Erich and I keep working the crosscut saw because the sooner we finish the sooner we take refuge under the tarp. Our rain gear is at our sides—we are too consumed in the work to put them on and the aerial bombardment somehow seems attractive, as if to take the assault were to prove something to the Mogollon spirits, or our Apache boss.
The dull thud of rain on my hardhat is sharper now—rain had turned to hail. My shirt is plastered to my back and now I am repeatedly stung. But still it is bearable, so we continue, Erich and I, to work the saw. We don’t like to leave any log unfinished, and pulling the crosscut out only to reinsert it later strikes us as inefficient. We are anything but inefficient. I pull and rest, Erich pulls and rests while I pull again. Do not push a crosscut saw.
Five more pulls and we are through. Erich takes the saw—to avoid binding and warping the steel—while I get to work on the log, rolling our section off the trail. Finally I slip on and zip up my rain jacket, pull on my rain pants, and make for the tarp. I am soaked but not cold, in spite of the icy rain and hail—instead I’ve been working up a sweat.
The tarp is already occupied by three colleagues. Karl is having a smoke and Amber is laughing while Echo spins a tale from a campaign to legalize cannabis in Montana, a hilarious story about getting high and driving backwards through Yellowstone National Park while her car lost all gears but reverse. With lightning in the air there is not much to do but to tell stories and keep warm; it is unsafe to work and storytelling out in the woods is our highest ambition anyway.
The mist grows, and the forest is quiet but for our happiness, the creaks of dead ponderosa, the drumming of hail on a blue plastic tarp, and the deafening boom of thunder at 9,000 feet.
Oct 4 2008, 12:36 AM
More non-fiction. I guess I'm just throwing my influences in here and seeing what sticks. And I do like to share.
It rained all morning and into the afternoon, the one day it rains during my week in the Escalante canyons. I spent the morning in camp, eating breakfast and reading Abbey in the tent where I have been storing food instead of sleeping, because the rodents are more of a problem than the rain. I sleep outside looking up at the stars.
But now it is the afternoon and it is finally dry. It is also very windy, the first real wind of the week. Spring is a windy season in southern Utah but it is still very early spring—still deep winter in the Dixie National Forest to the north and the Henry Mountains to the east. Down in the canyons the nights are still cool, dipping below freezing each night, but the days are warm and remind me that summer will be coming soon even if the cottonwoods are still bare.
A short ways up Sand Creek and still in sight of camp a series of orange sandstone bulges give a strange order to the apparently haphazard arrangement of cliffs that rise around me. I know that the disorder I see is in fact highly ordered—if my imagination were not so weak, my concentration so poor, I could retrace the history of each grain of silica upon which I slept, following it back up the rain carved spouts and shady freeze-fractured clefts from which they originated. I would see the tall dunes stretch for miles along the shores of ancient inland seas.
I make for the bulging rock, marching up a series of broad ledges cloaked in Mormon tea, purple sage, hedgehodge cacti, juniper, and most of all, stone. The way is not difficult, even when I dive into a hanging draw and find myself walking across a 40 degree side slope. My soft rubber soles grip hard to bare rock. Out of the chute I emerge back into the wind, which blows even harder than before; that or I simply notice it more with my increased exposure. Shortly I am on top of the plateau and can actually see Boulder Mountain, the narrow gash of Sand Creek Canyon leading almost directly north to the snow-capped monolith.
The wind does not try to tug me off, like a child tired and wanting to go home. This wind rips at me, threatening to wrench me away from my precarious perch and send me rolling down the great sandstone bulges I stand atop. Conceding the heights, I ease my way down toward another little draw and find a pocket in the rock in which I take less of a beating.
I still have a fair view to the north; I can admire Boulder Mountain and wonder at what the wind must be up there. I drove through the Dixie Forest on the way in and the snow was still five feet deep or more—this was early April in what is mostly a desert country. It is a high desert—the wind reminds me with a fierce, bitter cold gust. I descend further into my gully until I can find a deeper cleft in which to hide.
I am now almost completely out of the wind, trading the airy heights for the mother rock. I am lying against it—I can feel the grit of it through my shirt. My right hand cradles my camera while the left explores the grit of my half-cave involuntarily. With the wind out of my face I can see more than the great mass of rock and ice to the north; I can see the spring grasses and rabbitbrush and a few flowers take sustenance from the damp gully sand. It is just enough substrate for growth.
Dec 26 2008, 08:13 PM
A Letter From Prison
(Teaser for that long Alik'r thing I keep talking about)
* * *
Prison pains me.
It is dark in the tower, save for the tripartite shaft of light that penetrates my cell, through that single window that is my sole salvation. It is seldom that I feel a stir of wind on my cheek, and when I do it is heavy with moisture from the sea. The other cells here are unoccupied, and the only sounds are of my own stirring. Truly, I am alone.
In spite of my suffering, I will not claim to be maltreated. The food is plain but filling, and the water is good. I am afraid that I have gained some mass in my confinement here. The guards are quite but not rude, though I catch them staring from time to time. I believe that my appearance is curious to them. I see questions in their eyes, which I wish I could answer. I wish that they would speak to me, but I think that they will not. Do they fear my answers? I wish I knew. I wish so much.
Some time ago (two days? two weeks? two months?) a falcon perched on my window sill and I was sure he had been sent by Tava to bring news of home. Alas, I could not speak the language, and after a few scant moments my visitor saw fit to fly off to the north and east, to the deserts and mountains without end. Alone again.
I think much of the legends of lost Yokuda. I think of our old cousins, the Zia, and their confinement.My home over there,
Now I remember it;
And when I see that mountain far away,
Why then I weep,
Why then I weep,
Remembering my home.
Even from here I can sometimes see Tuk-uhn-ah-k’vah
, our mountain. Then I weep.
The window is my salvation and my torment. I can see our beloved Alik’r, and I can imagine you, my brothers, sitting by the fire under these skies of wintertide, sitting and drinking and trading stories. Then I weep.
I see the mountains crested in snow, and I imagine the soaptree’s spines wreathed in white. My horse kicking up snow like the summer dust. Then I weep.
Here on the coast the wind is still warm—I feel it sometimes through my window, and it is then that I cannot see but can feel Sun’s Height and sex in the sand. Then, my friends, why then I weep.
Dec 28 2008, 07:40 AM
What wonderful timing! The very instant I decide to join this illustrious order, I've just finished something which would fit nowhere else but in this thread.
And to All a Good Night!
There is sort of a blank and empty room through the doorway directly before you. Sort of. Relative to the absolute black of the void stretching infinitely to all sides, looping back on itself eternally, and all the while managing to have zero space for you, that blank and empty room of slate gray concrete is a pulsating metropolis.
How absolutely fascinating, right? Stepping across the threshold, you transfer from immaterial reality to solid fantasy. You’re dreaming after all, and it’s not a particularly exciting one telling by the completely lackluster setting. The room is just a big cube; even the doorway you came through is gone, eliminating the very last detail besides your own body which could possibly be described as anything other than monotonous. But…
Well, there’s always a but, isn’t there? There’s always a big butt, someone might say in an exceedingly drear way, and then chortle afterwards. In any event, this but – or butt, if you enjoy the puerile – is not even so mildly interesting as I failed to make it sound. It’s just that your body, normally so, well, you-like
, is now just as terribly drab as this intensely dull room is. You’re wearing gray clothing, amorphously cut; it would fit a man or woman equally well. Your chest is flat – no rippling muscles, no burgeoning melons (as some fatuous sex education teacher might say) and not even any undulating fat folds. Your gender is indeterminate. That would be interesting, if it weren’t for the fact that your genitalia is intact and normal – rather, your figure is just generally…blah
. If it weren’t for your nether regions, an objective individual seeing you naked would be hard-pressed to pick a sex.
So, is this some kind of latent body-image issue you’re confronting here, in the most boring part of your brain? Because if so, please move it on over to a spot which could at least have the human decency to incorporate some vaguely snide jocks or lukewarmly picky cheerleaders. Please. Frankly, my patience is reaching the triple point. I will either evaporate into ether or freeze to a block from sheer inactivity soon. Oh, well, you didn’t think it was a detached nonentity narrating this charade of a dreamscape, did you? Or some figment of your perilously atrophied imagination? No, I am the liquid observer, seeping into every crevice to observe your deepest fantasies.
And if this is the extent of your fantasizing, you are a pathetic example of a human being.
We might as well get some use I guess, else this night be completely wasted. Ahem. This is undoubtedly a subconscious commentary on your world. You feel trapped within the life you’ve built, the schedule you keep and the people you know, but are afraid that outside of it all there’s nothing. You’re tidy and meticulous besides – prone to obsessive-compulsive idiosyncrasies – and these two traits are conflicting, I’m afraid, producing this strange kind of sterilized limbo. Beyond mere insecurity, this touches on social paranoia.
Right, I’m done with that. Depressing stuff, I have to say.
Oops, sorry. I suppose that slipped outside the bounds of professionalism, eh? Sometimes you get that with these revolutionary psychiatric procedures. Isn’t it fascinating though? We can now delve into the human mind – in 3-D no less! – and observe what an individual is thinking and feeling in their subconscious. It’s a huge milestone for humanity, and medicine, and even you I should think. Because the most exciting part, I didn’t even bother to tell you about: Not only is observation possible, but direct neuro-imprinting!
Neuro-imprinting? Don’t worry about that, it’s technical stuff, and we’d hate to bore ourselves with technical stuff, wouldn’t we? I mean, it’s already bad enough in here. No offense.
Oh screw it, who cares? You won’t remember any of this anyway. Hehe, that’s right. No, it wasn’t in the fine print; I’m sure a tidy little tit like you read through that quite thoroughly.
Well, let’s break up the tedium, yes? Rhetorical question, sorry, you get no choice in the matter. Now, just to crack open this place – kind of like an egg, except instead of yolk, it’s you oozing out. You might notice that the concrete is melting away – crack open was poetic license on my part – and where there is no more, the previously extant void is no longer present. Ha, extant void! Get the joke?
Whatever; your being upset is part of the natural process of internal rejuvenation. Just like the boiling lava and napalm-exhaling dragons are. Speaking of which, you ought to try and use that shield, and maybe the sword if you’ve got the balls…although I must say I can’t tell if you have, what with that massive codpiece. Maybe there are some latent body-image issues after all, eheh.
Whooee, nearly broiled you there! I wouldn’t worry, this is all for your improvement. It’s for science. And medicine! And many other things, I’m sure.
Now, here’s a fun situation; the tallest tip of the titanic tower, where the princess lay. You did well killing those dragons. I never would have thought you had it in you. By the way, have you noticed the implications of stowing a princess in a tall tower? After all, they’re great huge phalluses of buildings, and princesses are ostensibly virginal, and the ostensibly virginal prince goes in and rescues her from the large penile object and divests her of innocence. It’s ironic. They teach you to look for those things in Psychology College, you know. You would have realized that if you had gone there, like I did. Yes.
I see. That girl was pretty attractive, wasn’t she? What’s strange is, even in these most intimate moments, I would have a hard time discerning whether you’re a male or a female without foreknowledge. Hm. Ah, there we go. Well, that solves a bit of a dilemma I was having. Apparently gender identity is not, in fact, a problem anymore.
But this is fantastic! You’ve shed your shell, and are taking risks. You’re giving into animal instincts, base instincts which you have unhealthily suppressed. This is a grand moment for me; I’ve done my job well. Are you paying attention? This is rather important, after all. Since I’ve done this on a subconscious level, the changes are going to be magnified to an extraordinary degree in your waking state. Lifestyle changes, huge ones. You’re practically cured.
Except for this one last bit, of course. Go ahead and finish up if you’re close, don’t mind me. Yes, total loss of inhibition I see. That’s good. You’ll need that, for what we’re going to have you doing. Hey, everything’s got a price, right? And if the price is right, well, it’s just like the phrase's namesake show; you get the prize, at cost. The price is not too high, I can assure you. A new life, new opportunities, new everything; we’ve given all that to you. And a tad more. You are grateful.
Not a question. You are. It’s an overwhelming feeling; I know, I put it there. You won’t feel it now, you might never feel it, but if it ever becomes necessary to summon it then begging to serve me is the least of what you’ll do.
The bare minimum.
So do please enjoy this freedom we’ve granted you. It should be lasting. Well, if I calibrated everything right; new equipment can be awfully tetchy, you know. Yes, smile nervously. I’ll see you again someday, maybe. In your dreams.
Jan 1 2009, 08:25 PM
Oops, sorry about double posting! But this little story is currently intended to stand alone, so the Temple of Lore seems like the perfect home for it. Anyway, here it is, and I hope this isn't a bannable offense
******A Knight's Error
The sun was a splendorous faerie’s orb overhead, illuminating a lush forest whose trees burst with greenery and whose bushes were rife with animals great and small. It was a glorious day indeed for newly-anointed Knight Errant Velorna; not only did the God of Beauty consecrate the morning with wondrous nature, but on the road ahead he spotted a group of brigands assailing a defenseless peasant. This was a golden opportunity for Velorna to try his righteous arm in a test of combat against the chaos gripping the countryside, and he wasted no time in drawing forth his brilliantly sparkling blade, Celandine
Spurring his every-loyal destrier, Morrigan, onward, he delivered a knightly challenge to the scruffy band. “Ho, doers of evil deeds! Though you prey on those who cannot raise a hand ‘gainst you, there is one who shall protect them. And it is I, Velorna of Arienne, who will defeat you in this hour!”
Every brigand looked up from kicking the dusty figure laying out on the dirt road, and after a brief interchange, scattered into the surrounding vegetation. Velorna was not surprised; his fair countenance, symbol of deliverance for the meek and innocent, was as that of death to dark men such as they. Although sitting astride an armored warhorse wearing shimmering plate might have had some small effect, he supposed, but his Knight Superior had always told him to quell those thoughts. In any even his attention was all on the peasant he had saved; the man was back on his feet, brushing off a green tunic which may have actually been cleaned somewhat by rolling in the earth.
Velorna reined Morrigan up next to the man, flashing his beamiest smile to reassure the man he was safe, like the Knight Superior had also told him. “Hail, good yeoman! You have been saved from the rude accosting. No, there is no need for thanks; it is my duty as Knight Errant to help all those I meet whilst my quest for justice continues.” Almost word for word from the Knight’s Manual of Honor! And Taerion had said he would never make a good knight...
The peasant stared at him, one eye barely visible for puffing up, but the man looked suspiciously close to a rat, Velorna realized. He did not say anything for several seconds. And then for several seconds more. Finally Velorna cleared his throat ostentatiously, but still no words came. He began to think the fellow was a mute. Deciding that a hint was not too much, Velorna leaned down from Morrigan and whispered. “However, thanks are appreciated, you know.”
“Thanks!?” shouted the peasant right into his ear. “What bloody thanks do I owe ye, shiny great fool that ye are!” His words cut off as abruptly as they had begun.
Velorna straightened up, flipping back his shoulder-length blonde hair to stick a finger in his ear; there was an incessant ringing now. Still, he could not understand this man. “I saved you. You understand that, right? Those men were assaulting you.”
“Assaulting me alright,” said the rat-faced man disconsolately, “I haven’t paid me taxes in several months, and those men came to collect it out of me hide. And now ye’ve driven them off, they’re going to come back in force next time, and really take it out of me!”
“Ah,” said Velorna slyly, “so the corrupt lord sent his thugs to beat a poor farmer for failing to pay his exorbitant taxes. Well, have no fear goodman, for there is a savior about, and his name is Velorna of Arienne!”
“Well, actually, I keeps me money in me cowhide sack,” said the 'goodman,' “but I hid it from them and tried to bite the nose off the lead fellow when they all followed me out here, so they all jumped on me. I’ve got such a temper you know, ever since they confiscated all me merchandise.”
Velorna’s nostrils flared with rage at the man’s plaintive tale. “Fiends! They stole your livelihood, and must pay for such iniquity!”
The former merchant looked up at him wonderingly, with not a hint of gratitude on his face at last. “Well, I thanks you sincerely now, me lord. I did not realize that Knights sympathized so with me plight.”
“The Knights of Arienne sympathize with all men,” Velorna announced grandly, flourishing Celandine
in a broad overhead sweep, “Freedom from oppression is a right no matter your coloring or societal status! And so I promise to aid you in your quest to regain your employment and eliminate this evil lord who so afflicts the land! I do so swear, on my honor as a Knight of Arienne.” He crossed himself then, to seal his pact before both Gods and man.
The goodman’s jaw hung slightly open after that display. He recovered admirably however, clapping loudly; a single tear rolled down one crusty cheek. “I truly, truly thanks ye, and a thousand times over I thanks ye me lord. No one ever understands how much a slaver must go through. Everyone always hates ye, calls ye the scum of the earth, the spawn of Hell, and worse besides! It is nice to finally have an ally.”
Velorna’s sapphire eyes twitched. “Did you say…you were a slaver?”
“Not ‘were’ me lord,” responded the man, dry washing his hands and watching the Knight Errant intently, “I will be again, once ye do with Lord Del Corazon. Me lord, are ye alright?”
But Velorna could not hear him over the crashing sound between his ears. Swaying in his saddle, he doubled over and retched all over Morrigan, who promptly reared onto hind legs and bucked the sickly Knight Errant right off. Between his head and the jagged rock, consciousness winked out.
When he awoke, Velorna discovered he was no longer in the verdant forest. Now he was in what could best be described as a smoky hovel, and a poorly constructed hovel at that. Some man he vaguely recognized was lying on a pile of straw in one corner, snoring raucously; the furnishings of this place seemed to consist of one upturned barrel for a table, and two upturned buckets for chairs. Otherwise, everything was straw, besides the thin cot he lay upon. Which was stuffed with straw as well, Velorna quickly found when he tried to get up and hay spilled everywhere. A sudden snort came from the sleeping man. He opened up beady little eyes – which rather reminded Velorna of a rat’s – and slowly got to his feet making horrendous noises with his mouth. Yawning, Velorna remembered the Knight Superior calling that. It was discourteous to the ninth degree – there were only ten degrees in Knightly insults – and at any other time he would have backhanded the churl with his gauntlet.
But he could not recall how he had gotten here, so Velorna did not think it a brilliant idea to start hitting all sorts of people when there might be mitigating circumstances. The Knight Superior would have slapped him with the flat of a sword for that kind of thinking of course, but Velorna also remembered him saying that being a Knight Errant meant finding your own way. Finding your own way…
The beady-eyed man looked at Velorna just then, and smiled an ingratiating smile, although the young Knight could not recognize such a subtle thing. “Have you recovered from your li’l spill, me lord?”
“Spill?” asked Velorna, clambering to his feet – and finally catching a whiff of himself. He blanched; the odor smelled disturbingly like vomit had spent half a day steaming beneath his breastplate, reaching a ripeness so vile that cesspits would be considered better company.
“Yes, yer spill me lord,” responded the man, oblivious to his guest’s discomfiture, “ye fell off’n your warhorse, but no worries; I stabled him up with Hook-fer-Hand Tom, and brought ye back to me mansion for rest! Wait, why are ye grabbing me, me lord!? Is there a problem?”
Velorna had surged at the man, clutching violently at the front of his shirt and pulling his ratty, somewhat crusty face only inches away from his own. “Tell me true, goodman, for I cannot believe my memory…are you a slaver?”
“Ah, the fall must have knocked ye for a walk through the forest,” said the man understandingly. “And I ne’er told you my name besides.” He pushed Velorna away gently, and the Knight relented uncertainly.
“Me name is Davish Henry, and I am indeed a slaver; yer memory serves ye right in that respect me lord.”
“And did I…I swore to…to…” Velorna could not complete the thought. It was just too horrible.
“That ye did, me lord, ye swore to get back me confiscated merchandise and help overthrow Lord Del Corazon so’s hard-working men like I can live in peace!” Davish beamed at his new savior, wringing his hands out of sheer excitement. “What’s more, I managed to procure ye some aid in the doings whilst ye slept!”
“Aid?” said Velorna bleakly. “What aid?”
“‘Tis a surprise, lordship,” Davish said, grinning futilely; the young Knight plopped back down onto the cot, armor clanking loudly, dropping his head into his hands.
“I’ve made a huge mistake,” moaned Velorna.
Davish continued to grin for a while, thinking it probably unwise to interrupt the man with a great big sword in an apparent moment of weakness. That was in fact the most intelligent thing Davish ever intentionally did in his entire life, bar none, for Velorna was at that very moment having a raging internal debate on the topic of his oath.
On the one hand, slavers and anyone who sold other people into servitude were exceedingly wicked, and by his Knightly creed Velorna should have struck the man down on the spot. Had Davish touched him right then, he would have. But, on the other hand, a Knight’s word was his honor. To break that meant to abandon the creed he lived by. It was an impressive quandary, Velorna had to admit. He remembered, though, the Knight Superior’s final speech to the him and the other Knights Errant before they set out on their individual quests. Each one of you shall travel separate path. Some shall go through fire, other through ice, and yet more through temptation. Yet know always that it is a part of your quest, the only quest for any Knight of Arienne; the quest for justice.
Right then Velorna decided – he had to help this man. Not to do so was to turn his back on the ideals he had built his life upon; honesty, honor and strength of purpose. It had been a difficult decision, and it remained one fraught with complication, but Velorna solemnly believed he had chose the most righteous path given the circumstances. He would accomplish his task, and then kill the slaver right after. Leaping to his feet, he put his hand over heart and declared his intent. “Davish Henry, take me to my steed, so that I might ride and confront Del Corazon and defeat him, thus fulfilling my obligation to you.”
Davish grinned genuinely this time, and quickly led Velorna out of his hovel and out into the bright sunlight outside. The sight that greeted him was a truly revolting one. Dozens of clumsily thatched and horribly askew hutches dotted a small clearing, surrounded by a drooping wooden palisade. There was no grass, only mud trampled and churned to a fine brown sludge by many uncaring feet. Men and women walked here and there, unkempt, filthy and generally of an ill look. Worst of all, at the center of this collection stood a cluster of iron cages, black and jagged with rust, standing no more than five feet high. They had to pack people into them like swine; people with eyes sunken like pits into hell. The bottoms of the cages looked as if swine really inhabited them; filth was strewn about, and the smell wafting from there was intolerable.
Righteous anger swelled within Velorna, but he contained it; these people were his charges, for now. He remembered something Davish had said in the hovel. “You mentioned aid for me, Master Henry. What did you mean by that?”
“Ye have a sharp mem’ry, lordship,” Davish said slyly, tapping his nose. “But I’d hate to spoil the surprise now it’s been held so long. Ye’ll meet the man shortly.”
Velorna shook his head at the man’s evasion. That was another offence against Knightly conduct, but he supposed men such as Davish could not be expected to know those things. Again a thought which the Knight Superior would have purpled to hear, but the Knight Superior was – thankfully – not around.
He followed Davish through the village, if it could be called that; according to Davish, this place was a gathering grounds of sorts for slavers and other men of disreputable professions. Lord Del Corazon had never come in force here, and Davish had only been attacked by his poltroons when traveling to meet a buyer and been forced to surrender his wares. People, Velorna remembered. People, not wares. The Knight frowned at Davish, who paled. “I thought you said you owed Del Corazon taxes.”
“Yes, well, I meant more like taxes in the meaning of fines levied against me, me lord,” said Davish in his most servile way. “I did not mean to mislead ye.”
Velorna was disappointed at that; it might have been a way out of his oath. Davish was lying, but Knights Errant were not trained to hear much beyond words.
The slaver brightened though, looking beyond Velorna, who turned to see a group of horsemen approaching. The five following were rangy, thuggish types in leather brigandines and sporting short bows on their backs with short swords at their belts. Their leader, however, was tall and sat straight in the saddle. His tabard was sable, and a silver eagle was proudly embroidered on the chest. Velorna immediately recognized the sigil. “You are Maevhorn the Sable!”
The rider bowed with a flourish. His black hair was long and cascaded down upon his shoulder in fancy curls; he had black mustachios that twirled into ridiculous spirals; he had even painted his armor black. “I am indeed the illustrious Maevhorn, and have come to kill Lord Del Corazon alongside you.”
Velorna winced at his bluntness, but inclined his head respectfully all the same. The Knight Superior had always said dangerous enemies were deserving of respect, so he would have at least been happy at that, for Maevhorn the Sable was indeed a dangerous enemy. The greatest swordsman who ever lived some claimed, and the primary antagonist of the Knights of Arienne. “Your assistance shall be crucial, I am sure.”
Maevhorn laughed airily, afterwards wiping his mouth with a silk kerchief – dyed black. His men joined in, but fell silent at a peremptory motion from the villain. “Del Corazon is often out in the Forest of Equanimity at this time, hunting with his personal guards. Perhaps we can catch him there?” he said
“Yes,” Velorna replied, heart sinking. It was best to finish the job quickly, so he did not have to associate with these people much longer, but he wished there might have been more time all the same. “When can we ride?”
“Right now!” exclaimed Maevhorn bouncily, “I love ambushes, and this shall be one recorded in the history books for all time”
“How…” But the Knight had no words in response. Instead he followed Davish to Hand-fer-Hook Tom – who did not have a hook for a hand at all, strangely – and retrieved Morrigan, his steed.
Shortly after Velorna rode out with Maevhorn the Sable and his five minions to assassinate a Lord. They traveled through the Forest of Equanimity for some time, finally reaching a spot where one of the minions said Lord Del Corazon always came through on his way back to Galoraunt, the castle where he ruled the Forest from. Tying their horses off some distance away, they all concealed themselves cleverly, with Maevhorn and Velorna directly across from each other so that they fell on the Lord’s party like a pincer.
Not much time passed before they heard much rustling close by, and then ten mounted men emerged from the growth, sweaty and carousing with each other over the animal carcasses slung over their mounts. Most of them wore simply red coats with a single white stag galloping on their breast, but one man at the center wore an intricate hunting jacket embroidered with dozens of the stags, all in different action poses. Velorna waited until they had passed just beyond his position, when the five archers positioned in front of the horsemen released their arrows. Three fellows crumpled immediately, and while the company was in disarray and attempting to close around the man in the nicest jacket, Velorna jumped up, drawing Celandine
and delivering his battle cry.
“For righteousness and all that is good!”
Maevhorn leapt up simultaneously, adding his own cry to the cacophony before delving into the battle. “For lechery and absolute freedom!”
Despite the uncomfortable admonishment from his ally, Velorna piled on, laying Celandine
about on all sides with the practice of a man trained from boyhood to wield a sword. The men, crowded close together on their horses, never really had a chance. One red coat after another had blood added to its pigments as the Knight grimly applied his blade to their bodies. Finally, it was only the man who must be Lord Del Corazon atop his proud gelding, sword dancing with Maevhorn the Sable’s.
Like steel lightning they fought, so fast you could only follow their action if you had spent a lifetime learning the art as Velorna had. Both were very good, true masters, but Del Corazon was slightly better. He rained down blows on Maevhorn’s head, cutting him innumerous small times, until the black-clad man was forced to retreat.
Lord Del Corazon did not attempt to flee, however, for he saw Velorna intended to engage him. The two squared, and saluted each other with their blades, when Del Corazon suddenly stiffened and toppled from his horse with an arrow in his back.
Velorna froze as one of the concealed archers leapt up, shouting gleefully. “I shot him, I killed the Lord! I’m a right old hero, I am!”
But the Knight Errant could have found no words of congratulation had he even desired to give them; he was too stunned for speech. He
had sworn to kill Del Corazon, not the archer; and if he had not done it, then his oath stood unfulfilled.
This was a new and more terrible quandary than even the previous; honor and duty were supposed to distill the world into black and white, not turn everything into accursed sepia tone! What would the Knight Superior say in this situation…
Jan 1 2009, 10:23 PM
QUOTE(darkynd @ Jan 1 2009, 07:25 PM)
Oops, sorry about double posting! But this little story is currently intended to stand alone, so the Temple of Lore seems like the perfect home for it. Anyway, here it is, and I hope this isn't a bannable offense
Well, I'm sorry to tell you that....
Of course it bloody well isn't!
You just keep these coming mate, it's always a pleasure to see your writing. I haven't had a proper chance to read these carefully yet, so I'll rectify that at the weekend
Mar 21 2009, 04:36 AM
An Assassin's Discourse on Deception
by Acolyte Redoran Serayth Dralor,
a Scribe in the Service of the New Temple
Blessed be the Name of Almsivi
I was intrigued to say the least when the Temple Steward of Ald-Ruhn at the time, a particularly taciturn man, told me I was to record a conversation with the new Morag Tong Master of Ald-Ruhn, Goren Andarys. As all Dunmer know, the Morag Tong is an impartial guild sanctioned by the temple, for its Mephalain cult status, and by extension reverence to Vivec.
Uncertain as to what was expected of me, the steward's lined face seemed to show even more displeasure then usual when I inquired. You're a damn scribe, he told me. It's an exercise in memory, diction and recording, he explained in a sour tone.
On the morning that I was to meet with Master Andarys, I prepared myself by washing myself particularly thoroughly, despite the fact that water is rare in the deep ashlands. I feared more the thought of offending a master assassin, then the verbal lashing I was certain to receive from the steward. Much to my chagrin, there was an ashstorm brewing already, and seemed to pick up as soon as my foot left its imprint in the dark soil.
Fifteen minutes later, I stepped into Ald-Skar, my robes and face soiled from the tempest outside. I did my best to brush myself off, leaving a pile of the Red Mountains gift on the ground. I proceeded to the carved doorway in the Emperor Crabs shell, in its place a thick door produced of oak imported from Skyrim.
Knocking upon it lightly, I entered into the main hall of the Morag Tong guildhouse. It was sparsely decorated with Temple tapestries, some furniture, and candles that seemed to emit a faint red glow, my eye caught some trama root, chokeweed and other indigenous Ashland fauna in planters around the immense room.
Dressed in black clothing, with a shock of white hair pulled back into three tails, so that one ran to the back of the neck, and two hung from the sides of his face a lean Dunmer perhaps one hundred and fifty or so, old but not elderly, stood calmly over one of the planters feeding it water from a cup. He looked up at me with serene red eyes, and smiled slightly. His hand rose towards one of the tables, and gestured for me to take a seat. His other hand picked some trama root thorns.
Sitting down, I took note of a bowl of steaming hot water, into which the man dropped the trama root thorns, and replaced the cover.
"You must be Serayth. Three Blessings. I am Goren, Andarys Clan."
I returned his pleasantries, feeling a bit un-centered at being not just calm, but polite with a man who exchanged blood for gold. For a few minutes we exchanged pleasantries and small talk of our backgrounds. I originally from the Kragenmoor district, and he from Dres, living on the Elsweyr border, where the slave trade is common, despite imperial opposition.
After the small talk, he removed the lid, and poured two cups of trama root tea, wisps of steam rising as he did so. I noticed how he also had total concentration upon the task, as though it were a specialized technique that required all his attention.
I inhaled the scent, and felt the warm and rejuvenating aspects of the tea as i swallowed. "Its good?" he asked in passing, as I confirmed with a nod.
"I learned this simple thing from a Khajiit monk." he remarked, to which I nearly spit out my sip.
"A slave knows of trama root tea?" I asked.
He shook his head. "No, a Khajiit knows of techniques in skooma, moon sugar, and other manners of unpleasantness. A Khajiit monk knows of mastering basic techniques. A strong foundation will hold any weight applied to it."
I inquired as to his trade besides being Morag Tong.
"I am a monk." he replied simply, and to my surprise.
"A monk? Does not a monk take an oath to not take lives? To shed no blood?" I asked.
"There are monks who do take such oaths to orders to which they belong, yes. My order happens to be the Morag Tong, which requires no such oath, indeed such an oath would be rather counterproductive."
"Then....what?" I asked, genuinely confused.
"My oaths are Fidelity, Secrecy, Obedience, Reserve, and Restraint."
"I understand fidelity, and secrecy...even obedience, um...reserve and restraint?"
"I reserve all my reactions. I do not let my emotions overcome my actions. I restrain myself from taking the lives of the innocent or those who have no writ against them."
"But you have no problem with those who do?"
"Of course not."
"What about the oath of truth?"
"You mean the Seven Graces, priest. The Grace of Courtesy goes: 'Thank you for your courtesy, Lord Vivec. I shall speak neither hurtful nor harsh word, but shall speak respectfully, even of my enemies, for temperate words may turn aside anger.' There is no stipulation against lies, or deception rather. And there is a long and proud tradition of the Dunmer being crafty, from the Telvanni, to the Hlaalu, for it was Boethiah whom taught us to dispose of our enemies with patience and cunning. And Mephala was the one who saw to it that our societies laws were based around this, through her agency, the Morag Tong."
Feeling rebuked by the monk giving a lesson on theology to a priest, albeit a scribe, I attempted to sway the argument. "Forgive my misunderstanding, I simply meant that the traditional view of a monk seeking the higher path doesnt seem to fit in with an agency such as the Morag Tong. Which thrives on deception."
"Yes, deception is commonly viewed as sinister. As are we. It is a reputation we have earned, and an impression we like to cultivate. At times it proves to make our tasks easier. But deception like many things is neither good nor evil. It is simply what you do with it."
"Deception as a thing which is neutral? Now you speak in riddles, Master Andarys."
He thought to himself for a moment, giving himself a slight smile as he remembered things from long past.
"I will recite a story I heard once. Then perhaps you will see..." he began.
"A long while ago, a Clan head was having a dinner with very important guests from all over his region. Plantation owners, slave traders, Hlaalu businessmen, temple stewards, et cetera. The food was plentiful, and the goblets bottomless. During this event, the clan head noticed that there was an ash worm skulking beneath the table. Ash worms were uncommon, but not unheard of in this part of Morrowind, so few knew of them."
"The Clan Head however, knew well of them, and knew that they were highly poisonous, seeing one above ground likely meant one that was dieing, and confused, and more likely to attack, as they sensed vibrations above the ground from their burrows."
"Realizing that it would cause a panic, and the likely death of at least one of his guests, the clan head thought quickly, and signaled a servant to his side, whispering specific instructions to him. Immediately after, the clan head removed a precious ring from his finger, and gently placed it on the table."
"This ring can buy ten slaves, feed a small fishing village for a year, and make any man or woman at this table here richer then they are by one half. If you accept my challenge, then for the next five minutes, no matter what happens, no matter what oddities take place, none shall move or speak, nary a cough or a sideways glance. The last one remaining shall receive the ring."
"The guests took this as some form of entertainment, and immediately began the game. No one so much as moved, even when the servant crawled beneath the table with a dagger and sack. He crawled out some two minutes later, as the guests started to fidget, and giggle. Finally a Plantation owner won the game and the ring."
I nodded, understanding the point.
"Whereas the clan head may have lost reputation and allies should someone have died." I replied.
"Indeed." The Monk replied, taking a final sip of the tea.