My version of Tamriel is a little bigger than the game’s, but I’m trying to fill in some of the blanks rather than re-imagine the place. I have taken liberties with the order of some events, but the main quest will stand. Mostly.
I feel especially weak in the lore and action sequence departments. If you should suggest a resource, I will certainly seek it out in the hope that my next effort will be less cringe-worthy!
So welcome to Jerric’s story, and thank you for joining us.
(Edit: Darnand started as Arnand, so comments may reference his old name.)
The whole story is contained in this thread, but here are some links to the beginning of each chapter within this thread.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Working Vacation
Chapter 2 On the Gold Road
Chapter 3 Welcome to the Imperial City
Chapter 4 All’s Well in Aleswell
Chapter 5 Unloading the Amulet
Chapter 6 Going Home
Chapter 7 Kvatch
Chapter 8 Running
Chapter 9 Anvil
Chapter 10 Septims
Chapter 11 Holidays
Chapter 12 Return to Kvatch
Chapter 13 Skingrad
Chapter 14 The Imperial City
Chapter 15 Chorrol
Appendix One: The People of Jerric’s World
Appendix Two: In Which Grits Slaughters the Languages of Tamriel (Jerric’s World Terms)
Chapter 1: Working Vacation
Darnand Penoit had hoped to spend the afternoon studying with the delicious Abiene, but instead he was in the hills above Anvil searching for goldenrod plants with this hulking nitwit for a partner. They were working their way through the meadow side by side so as not to miss any. Darnand straightened and looked over at him.
Jerric stood thigh deep in the golden grass, eyes closed and face raised to the sun. He had pulled off his shirt and tucked it into the back of his breeches where it hung down like a ridiculous tail. His head looked like a shock of wheat. Idiot, Darnand thought. Nords don't get any tanner, and every night he still has to heal his own sunburn. Jerric held a wicked looking blade in one hand and a white seed pod in the other.
"I feel just like a loaf of bread," Jerric said to the sky.
"Felen is waiting for these pods," Darnand said irritably. What is he doing in the Mages Guild, anyway? Darnand wondered. You don't get arms like that from turning pages.
Jerric laughed and looked over at Darnand. "No he's not," Jerric said. "He'll have his nose in a book by now, and he won't look up until long after dark."
Jerric tucked the pod into his bag and looked down for another goldenrod plant.
"You missed one," Darnand said. He pointed to the plant at Jerric's feet. "If you're not going to work, why are you out here?"
"I never take all of the seed pods from any plant," Jerric said. "Where do you think the plants come from? If you take all of the pods, no more goldenrod."
Darnand could identify most of the alchemical plants in Cyrodiil from his books, but he had given little thought to how they grow.
Jerric stepped forward and stooped, cutting pods from another plant.
"What kind of mage would bring a dagger," said Darnand. He snapped a pod from its dry stem to make his point.
“It’s a knife.” Jerric tossed it into the air and caught the blade between his thumb and finger. "My hand just likes to hold it. Try it," he offered, extending the hilt toward Darnand.
"A real mage is his own weapon," sniffed Darnand.
The two worked in silence for some time. Darnand was beginning to feel unpleasantly warm under his robe, and Jerric was positively streaming. Darnand could smell the other man's sweat.
Sharing the common quarters at the Mages Guild with Jerric was a trial. He was noisy, his gigantic boots were always in the way, and he treated every day like Jester's Day. Just last night while Darnand lay in bed reading, Jerric had slipped under the blanket with him. He had let loose some wind, then held Darnand's head under the covers, making him smell it. The visiting mages had laughed like a pack of teenagers. One of them had wet herself.
Worst of all, Abiene seemed to like him.
"Feh, you smell like an animal," Darnand complained.
Jerric straightened and turned toward Darnand with a retort on his lips. He froze, eyes widening. "Boar," he said.
"Oh really," Darnand said, "Well I think you're a bore, Jerric!" Darnand faced his opponent, ready to give him his come-uppance. Jerric whipped a ball of frost at him, faster than Darnand could think. It landed behind him with a hollow boom and an enraged squeal.
Darnand sprinted toward Jerric. He whirled and readied his fire in time to see the boar charge.
Jerric switched the knife to his right hand and hit the boar with frost from his left. He jumped to the side, and the boar almost missed him with its yellow tusks. Jerric tackled the boar just as Darnand let go with his fire.
The Nord, the boar, and the ball of fire disappeared into the tall grass. Darnand stood in horror at what he had done. He was going to be kicked out of the Mages Guild for certain.
Dust, squeals, and Jerric's death scream rose from the thrashing mayhem. Finally all was still. Jerric popped up from the grass, streaked with blood and crowing in triumph. He wiped his blade on his breeches.
Darnand searched him for signs of immolation. He appeared whole, apart from a steady stream pumping out of a wound in his thigh. "Uh ..." Darnand said, pointing.
Jerric held his skin together through the tear in his breeches and sent healing light swirling down his body. He looked at Darnand, grinning. "Did you hit me with a flare, soldier?" he teased.
"Please don't tell Carahil. Why didn't it burn you?"
"I can thank the stars for that."
Atronach, thought Darnand. Well, that explains a lot.
"New plan, Darnand! Grab my bag, will you? I don't want to get blood on the flowers." He lifted the boar to his shoulders with a grunt and staggered under its weight. "Good thing it's a small one."
Jerric started down the hill toward Anvil. Against his better judgment, Darnand picked up his bag and followed.
Faustina watched the new arrivals fetch their ale and find a table. Her eyes passed over the Nord and dismissed him. He carried only a simple knife, and his clothes looked like he had just washed them in the harbor. She wondered what was in the sacks they placed so carefully on the table.
She examined the lean Breton. His robe was simply cut, but the fabric was fine. He was well-groomed and handsome. He wore a ring on one hand and a gold chain around his neck. It will be easy to flatter this one, she thought. He expects it.
She marked the Breton for later. Maybe the Nord would wander off.
"But how did you know she would have seed pods to sell us?" asked Darnand. His companion had sold the boar to a butcher, then bought enough white seed pods from a woman on the street to finish filling both their bags. Jerric had taken the first offer from both merchants, like some rube. Now they were entrenched at The Flowing Bowl with just enough coin to get them into trouble.
"She sells anything she can get for free," Jerric said. "This time of year she has to have white seed pods, and cheap."
"But she's a beggar," Darnand objected. "She doesn't have anything."
"She has what she needs," Jerric pointed out. "Don't you think that if she was really planning to buy shoes, she would have them by now?"
"How do you know these things?" Darnand demanded. "You don't live here."
"How do you not know them? Don't you ever talk to people?"
Darnand took sip of beer and winced at the bitter taste. He was not sure how he ended up on the waterfront in the middle of the afternoon drinking with the person he liked least in all of Anvil. The person he had almost fried only a few hours ago. He was beginning to worry about payback for that incident.
"Are you sure you're not mad about the ..." Darnand could not bring himself to say it.
"No harm done," said Jerric. "I'm just glad you didn't set the grass on fire. Besides, you would have healed me, right? Abiene said you've nearly reached Journeyman in Restoration."
Darnand choked a little. "Abiene talks about me?" he asked.
"Yeah," Jerric replied with a twist of his lips. "She says, 'Oh that Darnand, how does he get his hair that way, it looks sooooo pretty.'"
Darnand gritted his teeth and stared into his beer. Jerric thumped his arm to get his attention.
"Easy with the ham fist, I'm no bear," Darnand complained.
"I'm a Nord, Darnand. Get over it. Anyway I'm not even that big. You should see my Fa, he has a neck like a minotaur."
Darnand looked at Jerric. "Did you have a point?" he asked finally.
Jerric motioned across the room. "Look over there." He was indicating a slim, dark, Imperial woman. "What do you think of her?"
"She has a face like a weasel. I think you have a good chance with her."
"No, for you! She's been looking over here a lot."
Darnand was amazed. "Are you procuring women for me, now?"
Jerric shrugged. "You seem tense."
The door opened and closed with inn traffic, and Jerric noted the sun's angle.
"Drink up," he said. "We have to hurry and get loaded so we can sober up before dinner."
Darnand carefully ran his knife up the center of the aloe vera leaf. He opened the skin to expose its juicy pulp then slid his knife down the inside at an angle. He folded the skin back as he went then repeated the cut on the other side. He looked down at the flattened leaf with satisfaction.
A groan and thump broke his concentration. Darnand glanced across the room, where Jerric sat at another work table. Bloody scraps of cloth and empty potion bottles littered the surface. The Nord's forehead was on the table, and his fingers were clenched in his hair.
Darnand wiped his knife and put it down on its cloth. He picked up the wooden spatula. He slowly ran the spatula's blade down the butterflied leaf, collecting the pulp without picking up any of the fibers that clung to the inside of the skin. He plopped his harvest into a clay storage jar, then carefully repeated the process.
"Darnand," Jerric said.
Darnand scraped another spatula load of pulp from the leaf. He placed it in the jar.
"Darnand," Jerric said again.
Darnand wiped the spatula and placed it on its cloth. He folded the empty leaf skin and set it aside."I'm busy."
Darnand picked up another leaf and placed it in the ready position in front of him. He picked up the knife. "So is this," he said curtly.
The knife slid down the plump leaf in a perfect line. Darnand braced himself for Jerric's reply. Something about him squeezing his own juice, Darnand guessed.
Jerric picked up his chair and carried it over to Darnand's table. He put it down and took a seat across from Darnand. "I'm running out of time," he said.
"I need to finish this," replied Darnand without looking over. He makes more noise than a Billy on a wooden bridge, thought Darnand. He scraped the leaf.
"I'll do it for you later," said Jerric. "I need your help."
"You'll just pull up the fibers. 'Quick and dirty' is not an alchemist's motto." He wiped his spatula and placed it on its cloth.
"Darnand," Jerric said.
A note in his voice made Darnand look down at him. Jerric's face was solemn. His eyes look like honey, thought Darnand. Maybe that's what women see in him.
"No tricks," said Jerric. "I'm running out of time, and I really need help."
Darnand folded the leaf skin and placed it aside. He hooked a chair leg with his foot and sat down.
"Your healing spell?" he surmised.
"I'm just not getting it. I have the magicka, but I can't get it all into the spell. I know how it’s supposed to work, but I just can't do it."
Darnand thought for a moment. "When you healed where the boar slashed you, you sent your spell over your whole body. Did you mean to do that?"
Jerric looked blank.
Darnand tried to explain it another way. "Do you focus your spell on a specific injury, or do you just cast the spell?"
"I just cast the spell, and then I feel better."
"You're wasting your magicka," Darnand said. "You'll never get your spell stronger until you learn to focus." He thought some more. "You know how to heal a wound on another person, right?" he asked to be sure.
"Yes," Jerric said, "but I'm not very good at it."
"Think about how it feels when you cast that spell. The pain you feel from the other person that tells you where to send your magicka. It's the same thing."
Jerric looked blank again, and miserable. His fingers twisted on the edge of the table.
Darnand was surprised. His patience with Jerric was growing, not racing away as it usually did. "Do you feel the pain from the other person, or do you just cast your spell over them?" he asked.
"I feel it, but I don't know how to use it," said Jerric. "Please don't give up on me. I know I can learn this."
Darnand decided to change his plans for the evening. "I'll help you," he said. "First, show me how you heal yourself."
Jerric picked up Darnand's knife.
"Gaaaah!" cried Darnand, throwing out his hands. He snatched his knife back. He wiped it and placed it carefully on its cloth. "Over there," he said, and he pointed at Jerric's table. "And go get a hammer. You were making a mess."
Darnand entered the common living quarters and halted in surprise. A man stood at the end of the room in a steel breastplate and mail with a long sword on one hip and a short blade on the other. He was lifting a steel shield out of the open cabinet. A full pack rested at his feet. It was Jerric.
Darnand approached. He felt oddly distressed. "What's this?" he asked.
"My uniform," Jerric replied with a smile. "I'm a caravan guard. See?" He pointed at his chest where a shape was embossed onto the metal. "Running Wolf Postal and Freight. That's my family's business." Jerric pulled on his gauntlets. "My break is over; I have to get back to work."
"But what kind of ...” Darnand began. He looked at Jerric, and for the first time his own expression matched the Nord's.
"Battlemage," they finished with a grin.