haute ecole rider:
I have decided to make all the bows from Valenwood composite bows. After doing some digging around, I chose the Hunnish Bow in particular. Even though that was too big to use with the gorytos of the Scythians/Sarmatians. I am using a little creative license to have the bow still fit in one. When Teresa and the other fighters make their qualifications, we will learn more about it, including some pictures.
I have been entranced with steppe nomads for many years now, especially the Scythians and Sarmatians. Back in my Rome Total War
days people called me The Lady of the Plains, thanks to how well I used them. I recall there is a quote from the Old Testament where someone says that "Scythians quivers are like an open grave" A reference to how they ravaged the Middle East in the 7th Century BCE. I would not call them the bad old days though. Women still have not quite gotten to the same level of equality that we had back then. It is ironic how the so called "barbarian" cultures were much more liberal in outlook than those of the "civilized" Romans and Greeks. This
guy in Hungary makes composite bows according to the old styles, both with modern materials, and the old-fashioned way. I am so tempted to buy one. This
is a fascinating article about some composite bows that were actually uncovered in western China.
: Teresa has yet to wrap her brain around the idea of the other archers being competition. She is still getting used to the idea that she will be competing herself!
I decided to make Troll's blood have healing effects to start with. It seems so obvious, since they regenerate. I went with the blood instead of the fat simply to be kind to my characters. Draining the blood from a corpse has to be much easier than cutting out all the body fat!Acadian
: You have thoroughly dissected all of my intentions in the previous episode. Ready to hit the stores?mALX
: Teresa is indeed getting in way over her head with Tadrose, now that no one else can hold a candle to the Dunmer armorer. Ceidwad
: The halls are all so very different between cities, that I figured most were not built to order by the FG, but rather just taken over from previous owners. Be they former mansions, shops, etc... Otherwise I would imagine they would be more similar to one another. Plus, this gave me a good way to relate some of Bravil's history, concerning the silver rush days, and how it all went bust. Olen
: Bethesda does not tell us much about Valenwood, and as you noted, a lot of it is silly. So I have had to do most of it from scratch. I got the idea for the golden sila trees from the way that elven weapons tend to have golden-colored wood handles. The rest kind of flowed from there. We will eventually learn a bit more when Teresa gets some Valenwood-made armor, although not in this chapter. Grits
: Whining will get you nowhere with Tadrose! Given that Tadrose did touch her, I doubt that Teresa cares if she forgets what she said or not!
I have always disliked Skingrad, because of its architecture. The buildings are all of stone, and crowded in on one another. It feels claustrophobic to me. I feel sorry for the wood elves who have to live there. It is no wonder Glarthir went nuts!ghastley
: Let's go shopping with the bears! That will clear out those crowds on Black Friday! Lady Syl:
Those first few chapters where the TF follows the tutorial dungeon were the most difficult to write. It felt so constraining. I was almost as relieved as Teresa was to finally get out of the sewers and under the light of the moons.
Teresa falling on her butt was one of my favorite scenes to write! Mouse-like is exactly the image I was going for with the early Teresa. From such humble beginnings, she makes a great journey. Previously on Teresa of the Faint Smile:
In our last episode, Teresa met Parwen, another wood elf archer in the Fighters Guild, who has come to Bravil for the tournament. Next, shopping!Chapter 34.5 - The Tournament Of Archers
Since they were nearly the same height, Teresa loaned Parwen a spare chemise, bodice, and skirt. Yet there the similarities between them ended. For the older elf's chest nearly erupted from the low-cut top, and her hips threatened to burst the seams on the skirt. Now that was what a woman was supposed to look like, Teresa thought sourly, as opposed to herself.
Magnus was working his way down the sky as the two women made their way through the North Gate and across the wide, wooden bridge over the Larsius. Sprawling along the Green Road west to Silverbridge was a sea of tents, lean-tos, and other shelters. Some were large affairs that would have fit over a dozen people. Others so tiny only one might squeeze within. It was a veritable city of tents, and seemed to nearly swallow up the livery that sat beside the bridge.
Turning to her right, Teresa saw that the great parade ground that stretched away to Niben Bay was now closed off with a wattle fence and packed with more tents. At the far end of the sea of canvas structures rose a great wooden amphitheater. The beams and braces holding up its seats were in clear view, like bare bones, so obviously it had been built in a hurry. Or it was not intended to be permanent.
They found that entry was through several gates, and stood in line to wait their turn to get inside. Several men in the mail armor of the Bravil City Guard waited at the entrances, or prowled among the queues. So this is where the soldiers who normally patrolled the lake side walls must be, Teresa imagined. Looking away from them, Teresa noted signs posted at regular intervals along the fence. To all who shall see these presents, greeting. Know ye that Count Regulus Terentius welcomes you to the fair waterside city of Bravil, and publishes the following information, that ye may more fully enjoy the Tournament of Archers:
There shall be a three day qualification period, from the Thirty First of Hearthfire to the Second of Frostfall. During the qualification period, desirous contenders shall each shoot one round. For this tournament, a round comprises three flights of three arrows each. The first flight is medium range, slow-fire. The second flight is medium range, rapid-fire. The third flight is long range, slow-fire. On the Third of Frostfall the top ten archers will appear before the judges, and each shoot three rounds. So shall be chosen the Champion Archer of Cyrodiil.
Then it was their turn to enter, and Teresa found that they had to pay a quarter drake to pass through the gates. In turn their hands were stamped with green ink, so that they might freely enter and leave for the day. Teresa imagined that they changed the color of the ink every day, so that someone could not pay once and be able to enter for all four days. Now she began to see how the tournament was funded. As she and Parwen stepped into the vast city of tents, she wondered if the merchants also had a pay a fee to be there as well? Or if they gave a portion of their profits to the tournament?
Either way, she imagined that the promoters must all be rich. For the fairground was packed with mortals of all races. It was true that most were plainly commoners. But as she noted to Olava during the blessings, the farmers were all now well-paid from their fall harvest.
Everywhere she looked people were buying things. Clothing, jewelry, weapons, scrolls, potions, paintings, everything under the sun. In addition to the regular merchants there were fortune tellers, masseuses, actors, mimes, and musicians. Finally the smell of food competed with that of unwashed bodies, and she saw that every so often a section of the tents was given over to hot food stands like those of the Imperial City, only of wood rather than stone. She saw a mix of everything, from Imperial beef, sausages, and dumplings, to Redguard wraps, Khajiit refried beans, Leyawiin shrimp, Dunmer ash yams and kwama eggs, and more cheeses than she could put a name to. Everywhere she looked, there was something new to see and smell.
"This is just amazing!" Teresa breathed.
"I know," Parwen agreed, having to nearly shout to be heard over the noise of the crowds. "That's why I always come to these things. I never come close to winning. But I don't care. It's worth it just to shop!"
That made Teresa wonder. Parwen was clearly a veteran of the guild. Yet she did not think she could win? The thought of losing clearly gave the other Bosmer no concern, even with all the people who would be watching, and even more reading about it in the Black Horse Courier.
And why should it matter? Teresa asked herself. It is not like it is for real. Parwen was not going to die if she missed a target. Maybe Tadrose was right. Maybe there really was nothing to worry about? This was all just practice in the end.
"Take a chance on The Warlock's Luck
The strident voice caused Teresa to turn her head. She found that the source was a youthful-looking Altmer in a small kiosk. His hair was dark red, and brushed back from his forehead in a pronounced widow's peak. Arranged on the velvet-laden table before him were scrolls, potions, rings, a mortar and pestle, and several books. Lining the simple wattle walls behind him were more of the same.
Standing further back in the kiosk was a woman. Teresa imagined that she might be a Breton from her sandy-brown hair and eyes. Yet she was taller than most Breton women, and not as slight. So she might have been at least part Nord for all Teresa knew. Like the Altmer, she was dressed in ordinary flax, albeit clean and neat. Unlike him, she did not seem at all enthusiastic about the fair.
Her interest piqued, Teresa walked over. That is when she recognized the banner over the small tent. The Warlock's Luck
was a shop on Riverwalk. She passed by it every time she made her morning run, not to mention every time she went to the Mages Guild. Yet she had never been inside.
"Welcome gentle ladies!" the Altmer cried as Teresa stepped up, Parwen hovering behind her shoulder. "I have everything magical under the sun, and all at reasonable prices. I have potions that can make you irresistible, scrolls that will let you summon salamanders of fire, undines of water, or sylphs of the air. I have heatstones, coldstones, and glowstones; all sorts of stones in fact!"
Teresa looked it all over. Most of it appeared to be the same ordinary things that the Mages Guild sold to people to make daily life a little easier. A moment later Parwen was tugging on her arm, and before she could say anything, Teresa found herself dragged into a dressmaker's tent next door.
The forester's jaw nearly fell to the grass when she looked at the elegant gowns of velvet, lace, and silk that hung from the wattle walls. There were Redguard crop tops and belts made of coins, short Dunmer skirts and matching silk hose, Imperial corsets of leather, lace, and brocade; chemises and bodices, longer Imperial skirts, everything imaginable.
She wondered what Tadrose would think if she saw her in such clothing? Would the Dunmer like what she saw? Would she find her irresistible? Or would she need one of the Altmer's potions for that?
"Well good afternoon ladies. The gods must indeed be smiling, to have sent two such lovely daughters of the forest to our fair city." Teresa and Parwen both turned to see the author of the voice standing in the open doorway of the tent. He was a Dunmer, with long, dark hair tied in elf braids to either side of his ears. He was dressed in soft blue velvet that was decorated with cloth of gold. A sapphire ring sat upon one of his fingers, and he held a staff in one hand that Teresa could feel brimming with magicka from even where she stood. Screenshot
"Please allow me to introduce myself, if I may be so bold." The dark elf did not so much step forward as sweep across the intervening space. "I am Fathis Aren, Associate of the Arcane University, and Court Mage of Bravil."
Teresa tried to say something, but found that her tongue was a stone in her mouth. What on Nirn was she going to say to a man like that! She was stunned that he would even notice her at all.
That is when Teresa realized that she was not the one who the Dunmer was staring at. Rather the court mage's fiery eyes were taken up by Parwen's curves, which Teresa again noted were nearly bursting from her bodice and skirt.
"I am Parwen, archer of the Fighters Guild," the older wood elf said, "and allow me to introduce my friend Teresa, also of the guild."
"I am honored." Fathis reached out to take Parwen's hand, and elegantly bowed to kiss her fingers. "You must be new to Bravil, for no man could miss a lady as striking as yourself. Perhaps I might be of some service? I should consider it my duty as a gentleman to provide an escort to the sights and sounds of the City of Mara."
"I should indeed look forward to that good sir," Parwen's voice suddenly shifted from her earlier, down-to-nirn manner to one of formal polish and grace. She stepped closer to the court wizard, and let him slip his free arm around her own.
"Parwen!" Teresa whispered, stepping closer to take the older elf by the other arm and tug her away. "That's Fathis Aren. I've heard about him. He's notorious for his affairs with women."
"Oh you silly girl," the other elf whispered back through smiling lips. "I don't want to buy the stallion, just ride him for a few days!"
With that Parwen turned back to the Dunmer. Within moments the pair went out the door of the tent and vanished into the street outside. Teresa stared after them in amazement. Parwen had just abandoned her to walk off with a man she didn't know!
And why shouldn't she? Teresa thought to herself. Parwen was a grown woman. She clearly knew what she wanted, and what to expect. Just like Nerussa. There was no reason for Parwen not to take her pleasures where she found them.
And no reason for her not to do the same with Tadrose, Teresa thought. Except of course, that the dark elf was probably not even slightly interested in her that way. She would just make a fool of herself if she tried. Just as Ancondil had the first night Teresa had met him, and she had done herself the next day with Ardaline. Of that Teresa had no doubt.
Teresa sighed. Why did love have to be so complicated?
The forester made her way back to the entrance of the fairgrounds. She really did not want to explore the tent city alone. She knew that Ardaline would soon be finishing up for the day at the Mages Guild. Perhaps the Altmer alchemist would join her? Then the two of them could return to the dressmaker and get down to the serious business of trying on clothes.