haute ecole rider:
You are right, that is not the same Daenlin from the game. Nor is it the same Tadrose, or Vincent, or Bravil FG Porter, or Fathis, or any number of other characters. I make the characters fit the story I am writing. I did make the male Bosmer taller than in the game. I simply made them proportionate to the females. I see no reason for them not to be. There is never any mention of the males being weaker or less physically imposing than the women, or it being a female-dominated society because of the women's larger size. So I see no reason they should not have the same male/female proportions as the other elf races.
Given the latitudes of Valenwood, it ought to be a hot place (the other provinces at the same latitude are deserts, jungles, and swamps). A tall, slender body is much more suited to shedding heat than a shorter one. Not that I have described them as being unusually tall, like the Altmer or Orisimer. Now the Falmer OTOH, ought to have been short and round, as that body type is best for retaining heat. That actually fits the Reiklings rather well too. D.Foxy:
Some people might say that Teresa's mind is normally blank!
Unfortunately, when people are watching her, she tends to begin to overcompensate, and overthink. Acadian
: I have been wanting to show what the Bosmer's inborn talents are for a long time. Not to mention that Ancondil has a horse (he is literally of the equite class after all
: I did not change the Bosmer women, but I did make the Bosmer men taller, to be proportional.
I was actually thinking the target was at the waters edge so that if someone missed, they would not shoot another pedestrian by accident. But the added incentive of losing your arrow was too much not to mention. ghastley
: She will get there. She is just fine when the teacher is not watching her in fact! Previously on Teresa of the Faint Smile:
In our last episode, Teresa finally met Daenlin, and learned of the spiritual side of Sirya
- the Bosmer discipline of archery - from him. In the final episode of this chapter, we find Teresa at his shop the following morning. Chapter 38.5 – RavenfeederThe Archer's Paradox
was a typical Bravil building. Constructed of wood rather than stone, it rose two stories on the south side of the river that divided the city. The interior was dominated by a long counter that cut through the center of the building. To the left it was bordered by a stair that ran up to the second floor. On the other side it turned back at a right angle and ran farther back into the store in an 'L' shape.
Atop the counter was a glass case holding numerous thumb rings set into a soft velvet backing. Stretching down the counter alongside it was a plethora of arrows. There was a swallowtail of elven steel, a pincushion of human metal, a bronze-shaded crescent of Dwemer inspiration, even one of softly glowing meteoric glass, and another of gleaming ebony. It seemed as if there was one missile of both every material and shape imaginable.
After the arrows, where the counter turned to the back of the shop, was an upraised case. Within bowstrings of various materials hung in easy view. They too ranged from simple hemp and flax to the exotic spider silk which Ravenfeeder sported. Beyond that was another pair of glass cases, one containing shooting gloves for those who used the Imperial draw, and another with leather forearm guards.
The walls were lined with unstrung longbows of various colors and lengths. Again, the weapons came in a variety, from smaller ones that appeared to be meant for children, to much larger ones that were too heavy to be meant for only hunting, and everything possible in between. There was even a single bow of overlapping chitin plates, like the one Zerina Sarethi had used in the tournament. Teresa also noted a small bookcase containing volumes that she imagined might be about archery, given that one was entitled The Black Arrow
"Welcome to The Archer's Paradox
!" The voice that rang through the shop was not that of Daenlin, but rather of another Bosmer who stood behind the counter. Like most elves, his skin was smooth and ageless, leaving Teresa to guess his years as being anywhere between twenty and two hundred. The top knot that held back his long brown hair gave him an air of youth however, as did the bright sparkle in his eyes. "I am Angalor," he continued with a mock bow, "and I am always at the service of a sister of the forest."
Teresa stared blankly at the man. Was he flirting? Did she really care? "I am here to see Daenlin," she said simply. "He is expecting me."
"Oh yes, you are Teresa of the Faint Smile!" The forester saw the light of recognition kindle in the other Bosmer's eyes. "I saw you in the tournament. I almost did not recognize you without the leather armor and the longbow." His eyes traveled to the gorytos
at her hip. "I see you have moved up to a true Valenwood weapon now."
Teresa let one of her hands fall to the upper ear of Ravenfeeder. She felt its magicka bubbling under her fingers, as she did every time she touched the weapon. It reminded her of the energy within the nightshade poisons that she enchanted. Only there was more to it than just poison. There was something else too, that she was not familiar with. Pappy had said that the bow would not only automatically poison every arrow she set to the nock, but also make her targets more vulnerable to it. Even those immune to poisons - such as Argonians - would be envenomed by Ravenfeeder's bite.
The sound of feet trundling down the stairs caused Teresa to turn her gaze. Following the noise was Daenlin. Like herself, the master archer wore simple brown linen. However his tunic was not nearly so low-cut, and he was still doing up the last of its buttons as he stepped upon the boards of the ground floor.
"My apologies for being late," the master archer said, stifling a yawn. "It was a late night."
Teresa stared at the master archer. He looked no older than Angalor or herself, yet her time with him had given Teresa the impression that he was. That was the way of her race. The only other elves she had known in the Imperial City had been her own age. So she had never learned to tell an old elf from a young one simply by looking at them. The ages of humans on the other hand, were so easy to discern. One could always see the tracks of the Time Dragon's feet upon their features.
Daenlin motioned Teresa to follow as he walked around the counter, and opened a door under the stairway leading up. There Teresa found another stair leading down to a basement lit by glowstones, and it was here that the wood elf led her. It was a simple, one-roomed affair packed with barrels and crates. The archer stepped to one of the latter and lifted its lid. From within he drew forth several long pieces of sila wood, easy recognizable by its distinctive golden shade.
"First we will start with the wood itself," Daenlin explained, handing her the pieces before once again rising up the stairs. "We will shape it, then in time we will go out and collect the other materials from the forest."
Back on the ground floor, the master archer motioned for Teresa to sit across from him at a long table whose surface was notched and battered. Sitting upon it was an a small wooden box with hand-holds cut into the sides. Within were numerous tools. Teresa saw a small saw and a variety of carving knives. There were also gouges of varying shapes, some with only a shallow 'U' shape, all the way to another with a very sharply pointed 'V' design. There was even a wooden mallet.
"Before we start, let us take a look at Ravenfeeder, so you know how your new bow will all look once we are finished." Teresa obliged the older elf by drawing the unstrung recurve bow from her gorytos and setting it on the table. "As you know a composite bow is made of several different materials, starting with the wooden core. We do not use a single piece of wood as with an Imperial bow, but rather several smaller parts, that we will glue together. Sila is of course preferred, as it can endure stresses that would snap any other wood. But maple or mulberry will also work if the sila cannot be gathered."
"That only comes from Valenwood right?" Teresa asked as she stared at the delicately carved golden wood before her.
"Yes," Daenlin said. "Sila grows nowhere else in Tamriel. Unlike the other trees in Valenwood, it can only be harvested with the permission of the Tree-Singers."
"Tree-Singers?" Teresa felt her eyebrows raise in confusion. "Who are they?"
"How can I describe them?" Daenlin leaned back in his chair. "In Valenwood we have no temples. The forest itself is our holy place. But the Tree-Singers might be called our priests and priestesses. Imperials would name them Witches. They walk the forest, singing to the trees. It was they who learned to speak with the sila at the dawn of time, and they remain the only elves who can do so. It was they who taught the trees to wander the hills and dales of Valenwood, and it was they who brought them together to form our cities, high in their branches."
"No sila can be felled without their permission, for they are the guardians of the forest. It is not a common event, for only when a sila is nearing the end of its life, or has been badly harmed by storms or fire, that harvesting is performed as a mercy to the tree. When it does happen, every inch of the wood is saved, and the acorns are scattered so that future generations will rise once more. To us nothing is more precious than the sila. They are the beating heart of Valenwood itself."
Teresa remembered the times she had sat with the trees. When she had felt down into their trunks, through their roots, to the damp soil beneath. She remembered sitting with the ancient cedar near Bawn, and how she had watched the centuries roll past from its perspective. Was that what a Tree-Singer did? Could not everyone do that?
"We should have the wood shaped in a few weeks, then another week or two for the carvings on it. Then we will have to gather the horn. It is used in long, straight pieces glued here on the belly of the bow." The bowyer's hand traced along the inner side of the bow, that faced Teresa when she drew it. "Those of water buffalo are best, as are those of the ibex, for they are not only strong, but thick and straight. Both are plentiful in Valenwood, but they cannot be found in Cyrodiil, except near Leyawiin. So we will have to make a trip to hunt one."
"After we give that a few months to dry, we will need sinew for the back of the bow." Now his hand traced the outside edge of the bow. "We can get that from regular deer however. From the lower legs is best. We will glue it on, and when it dries, it will shrink, pulling the stave into its curved shape. After we give that a few more months to set, we will only need to glue on the sihas
at the ends, and after they dry we will lacquer the entire thing to water-proof it. Composite bows are very vulnerable to moisture. I use fish glue to counter that, but you still do not want to get it wet."
"Wait a moment, we have to kill animals to make this?" Tersea blinked, staring down at the weapon before her.
"Of course," Daenlin said. "That is part of being an archer."
"I can't do that," Teresa insisted. "I won't."
"You must," Daenlin insisted. "I cannot do this for you. To be an archer is to be a killer. Not just any killer either, but one who takes life from a distance, silently and unseen. The bow is an instrument of death. To make one, you must understand its nature, and be prepared to wield its power with the responsibility it demands."
"I can kill, but not defenseless animals." Teresa shook her head. "Never. No water buffalo or antelope ever meant me harm, or ever will. I will not murder them."
"It is not murder." Daenlin ran the fingers of one hand back through his hair, and Teresa could see that he was becoming annoyed. "It is the natural cycle of life in the wilderness. Is the wolf evil for killing an elk and eating it? Of course not, it is just doing what it was made for. Elk are not helpless. Few wolf hunts actually succeed. Only the old, sickly, or otherwise infirm are brought down. But this prevents the animals from overpopulating the forest and devastating its plant life. That would lead to starvation for all. The hunter is no different. We are a part of the natural order of the forest."
"I am not a wolf," Teresa said. "I understand the need for what they do. They are my friends, the same as the other animals. But that is not what I
"Teresa, remember what I said yesterday about the flow?" Daenlin reached out with one hand and made a show of pinching the flesh around his other forearm. "These bodies of ours are transitory, just temporary shells our divinity wears while we walk upon this world. Animals, trees, even the mountains and seas, are no different. Every animal in the forest is divine. They are spirits that have chosen to take flesh upon Nirn. When we kill them, we are freeing their divinity to return to Aetherius, until they choose to return once more. It is not murder, but a holy act, a divine sacrifice which ensures the survival of those that remain behind here on Nirn."
"If you are to be an archer Teresa, you must learn to accept these truths," Daenlin continued. "You must become a wolf. For by using a bow, you are a predator."
Teresa stared at the weapon before her. Where she had first thought of it as a work of art, now she wondered what poor deer - or buffalo - had died to create it?
"What is this made of?"
"Ravenfeeder is no ordinary bow, even among composite ones." Daenlin leaned back once more. "Hirtuleius believed in challenging himself. He used to say that if you did not test yourself every day, you stopped growing. So he hunted the most deadly foe, one more likely to kill him than he it. He went into the forest alone, and slew a minotaur lord to create Ravenfeeder. I told him that he was a damn fool, but he only laughed at me. He said that he would die one day, no matter what. So long as he lived life to its fullest, he said he had nothing to fear from death. For he would leave no regrets behind when he left this world. As we say in Valenwood: hoka hey
- 'today is a good day to die'. He was more an elf than he ever knew."
Teresa stared at the bow, and thought of how prophetic Hirtuleius' words had been. He had indeed died at Bruma. She wondered if he had really meant what he said, about not fearing death? Had he met his end with no regrets? Had Marius? Had the minotaur whose body made up part of this bow before her?
She stared at the bow. Daenlin was right. It was an instrument of death. Was she responsible enough to use it? She reached out and stroked her fingers along the horn that sheathed its inner edge. A minotaur's horn, she thought to herself. She had only seen them once, in Henantier's dream. They had been creatures of nightmare indeed. Half bull, half man, bundled together with sheer ferocity. She had been lucky to survive then, even with a staff of lightning. They were indeed far from helpless animals. Rather like goblins, ogres, or trolls, they attacked and killed anyone they saw without hesitation.
Perhaps that was why Hirtuleius had sought one out. Minotaurs were forces of destruction. What would be more appropriate for a weapon? Pappy had once said that like trolls, they were not natural at all, but rather the result of magical intervention. In any case, she could not ever imagine one being her friend, or anyone else's. Would that make it alright for her to use the bow?
"Dame Buffy is your foster daughter right?" Teresa chose her words carefully as her eyes moved across the bow that lay upon the table between them. She waited for the older elf to nod before she continued. "Would you kill her, and use her bones and sinew to make a bow? Or Nilawen? Or Angalor?"
"Of course not!" Daenlin exclaimed. "They are people. What would make you think I would do such a thing?"
"I didn't," Teresa said evenly. "What you don't understand is that to me, the deer and the other animals are people too. They are no different to me than you are."
"What about fish?" Daenlin leaned forward again, steepling his fingers together before his face. He no longer looked peeved. Rather he seemed thoughtful.
"They are different," Teresa looked away from his gaze. "I cannot say why. Maybe because they don't have families, or feelings. At least not that I can tell. Or maybe I'm just a hypocrite."
"Or maybe because they are not from the forest?" The master archer raised one eyebrow. "You sound more like a Tree-Singer than an archer. Are you sure you are walking the right path in life?"
Teresa shook her head. Ever since Marius had died, she was not sure of anything.