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Renee
Hey. So in this thread I will writing up stories pertaining to TES IV: Oblivion. Because I keep thinking of more an more ideas that occur within this game. All of these stories will be rather short, two or three months apiece, I think, rather than years and years. And the very first one shall begin in the post below.

So far there are three story ideas I've come up with: a former scholar, a monk, and a guard. All of this isn't just to write stories, it's to (as usual) enhance my gaming. Make it more interesting.

Renee
Like a whirling dervish
Spitting out the salty shells into the sea
She's making me nervous
She pushes to the brink

Thinks upon her feet
Thinks upon her toes
Laughed by all of her friends
Respected by foes


Now begins the tale of...

THE GOBLIN LADY


IPB Image

Location: Ebonheart, Vvardenfell

Date: Hearthfire 8, 4th Era, Year 4

------------------------------


"It happened so fast!"

That was what Angrus Tung realized first, as he explained to the Chief Ordinator located on Ebonheart's dock. The actual speed of their ploy had taken place in less than a minute. And within that minute, Angrus had lost all the money he'd previously had on his person. Two-hundred and siixty-five gold, saved up for a pack guar over the past seven months, gone. Just like that. How had he been deceived and distraccted so easily?

But it wasn't just their speed, it was also their delivery. They were good. They had plotted this out, for sure.. "They were good, they were slick," he explained. "They went about their scam seemingly without effort. As though they'd done this before."

Just one hour previous, Angrus had arrived to Six Fishes for his morning brew, where he was supposed to meet the man who promised to sell the guar. The sun was shining, without a trace of Morrowind's usual mist. Angrus had paid just one gold, then stood at the table while he imbibed his drink. Others were just showing up for breakfast, or for drinks like his own.

That's when he'd noticed her. The old lady at the table adjacent to his. The lady with the court-styled gray hair, tightly coiffed in such a manner that her temples and forehead were rather severe. She had an open face. She had looked straight at him, with a countenance full of some sort of desperation. Worrisome and vulnerable. He had cocked his head in greeting, and smiled. Top o' the mornin' to ya, he had said, before his own morning had not been so tops. And she'd then nodded in return.

Angrus Tung had seen her before, but when? And where? He joggled his memory. Couldn't quite get the pieces to fit. Had she been in Six Fishes on the previous evening? No, she had not. Angrus was sure of this.

"What happened next, sire?" asked the Imperial guard who'd shown up, and was scribbling notes upon a task-board. The Imperial nodded toward the Ordinaor who'd been first on the scene, some sort of unspoken notion passed between the two.

"Well I am afraid everything next happened in a blur," Angrus squeaked. "I am afraid what happened next might just be the most embarrassing moment of my life!"

A young Dunmer had come into Six Fishes, dressed in common tan clothes; another clever detail. Common clothes, common hair; he'd looked like a thousand other dark elves in Morrowind. He had moved into Six Fishes quickly. His eyes had swept the room, before locking upon the old woman. She'd seen him then, and her face had shown some sort of panic.

"You need not be afraid," the elf said. "Stay calm. Only fools earn my anger."

From somewhere near by, somebody whistled. But the old woman, she'd begun fidgeting, her court hair falling down. "I .... I haven't the money! Please!" she burst. "I haven't the money!"

"Your daliances don't fool me! Now, hand it over!" the dark elf shouted, causing the Six Fishes publican to drop the tan vase he was cleaning.

At that, Angrus had stood. Suddenly concerned, his morning drink losing steam. "I stood, and ... I did not know what I would do," he explained to the guard. "But as you can see I am a big man, and maybe my mere presence...." he trailed off. "Anyway, I began to walk toward them. When suddenly, a second Dunmer fellow, dressed much like the first, bumped into me, and then moved on."

"And then?" The Imperial scribbled.

And then Angrus had stopped, while the first Dunmer continued to accost the old woman. Angrus had stopped, then felt down to his man-purse, subconsciously making sure the gold he had saved for so long was still hanging from his belt. And it was. The purse was still there. So he moved forward again. But before he could act, the entire discourse was over.

"An Imperial guard showed up, much like yourself," Angrus said. "Dressed in full steel regalia. His mere presence caused the dark elf to scatter. But now that I think of it, BOTH dark elves left the Six Fishes! Both at once!"

"Both at once, eh outlander?" asked the Ordinator. Another unspoken notion passed between him and the Imperial, as they exchanged glances.

"What?" asked Angrus. "What is it? Do you know who the perpetrators might have been?"

"Uh, please continue, sir," said the guard.

"Well.. next, I turned to my table, then sat back down..."

Angrus sat back down, wondering when the man who was supposed to sell that pack guar would show up. Took a sip from his cooling drink. Turned his head to glance at the old woman. And she was gone. She was gone, the Dunmer were both gone, and so was the Imperial guard who'd bustled into the inn. And it wasn't until later, maybe one hour later when Angrus had gone to pay for a second drink, that he realized all the coin in his purse was gone.

"In fact, the purse itself had been replaced, with one exactly like it!" he cried out. "How can this be? How can they have done such a thing?! You must find them!" Angrus explained to the Imperial, and also the Ordinator. "I know your investigative task has passed into Imperial hands, but you must do what you can! ... Imperial or Ordinator, I do not care who succeeds in helping me, but I shall pay handsomely," he promised. "I shall pay handsomely indeed!"

The Ordinator nodded, and the Imperial dispatched his task-board, all the notes he'd need had been taken. Slowly, the brilliant morning sun began to hide behind Morrowind's usual cloudy, gray blanket.

But it wasn't until another hour later that everyone suddenly knew how desperate the situation had really become. A boat, a small schooner-for-hire, had reportedly left Ebonheart's dock two hours' previous. And on that schooner-for-hire were four procurious subjects: two Dunmer, a man dressed in full Imperial regalia, and one old woman, her face severe, her courtly gray hair pulled back upright, and deftly intact.

Standing on the dock, Angrus Tung smacked his prominent forehead, after realizing where he'd previously seen the old woman. Two days prior when he was consulting with an Imperial man about buying that pack guar, the old lady had been quietly loitering nearby.
Lopov
Nice introduction.

Final sentences wrap up the story really well, giving answers to some questions.

From Ebonheart to Cyrodiil, I assume.
Acadian
Very nice how we started in the middle of a scene and gradually sorted out what happened. A slick and coordinated heist indeed by the 'distract, bump and run' gang. tongue.gif
treydog
Very nice! Well- not so much for Angrus... but you know. The short form can be the hardest, because you have to get everything into a small space. You do it well. We come in "after the action" so to speak, but are given everything we need to know, and from the perspective of the victim- along with some interesting significant looks between the guards..... hmmmm...
SubRosa
Six Fishes is a great name for a dockside tavern.

That was quite a clever distraction to set up the pickpocketing. But how is going to pay handsomely if he has already been robbed? wink.gif

Looks like the thieves - Goblin Jane? - sailed way into the sunset as well!
Renee
Wow, I got comments. Now I gotta finish this!

Lopov: Yes, from Ebonheart to Cyrodiil. Small spoiler now: I used TU Starting Options to begin her game, and chose one of its "random" settings, which means.... well, I don't want to spoil.

Acadian & treydog: Tanks! ... I had some trouble going back and forth from past perspective to what I'll call past-past perspective (Angrus sat down versus Angrus had been sitting down). Maybe you can help me (provide nits ... gulp) in the future if I screw this up. which I probably will.

SubRosa: Just you wait and see. biggrin.gif This story has a lot of twists & turns, and a crazy finale idea that'll have me messing with the Construction Set in ways I hope I can accomplish.


I am going to provide my own errata now, because there are several areas where I got clumsy, and several things I forgot to include.

1). There was supposed to be a scene in which Angrus was sold a leather purse in his past. This purse would have been sold to him by one of the Dunmer some time before; the implication being that this purse had some sort of trick which allowed the thief to remove it easily, then replace it with a second purse full of flat, rounded pebbles.

2). I screwed up the timing of the pack guar. At the beginning of the tale, it's mentioned Angrus met the Imperial several months in the past, yet at the end of the story it's mentioned this occurred just two days prior. The second timing makes more sense. Because "several months ago" they would probably have been in some other location.

3). I used the word "gone" too many times. laugh.gif Especially in those final paragraphs.

Anyway, this chapter is dedicated to Callidus Thorn, our restartitis-infected friend, wherever he is.

-------------------------------

CHAPTER II: LOST



She awoke with a start. Stood upward in small panic. Thrashed around in a neat circle, and spat. Tried to stay steady on her feet, for she felt instantly woozy.

It was night time. Several shafts of moonlight fell through the trees. Forest sounds all around. Crickets chirping, katydids scratching, moody owls hooting, the sun itself gone to slumber. Where was she? Where were the others?

"Amal? ... Draculus?" she called out tentatively to the dark elves who'd virtually enslaved her several months ago. She would have called out to the Imperial man as well, the one who sometimes fancied wearing guard's armor whenever they'd pulled one of their heists, but she had never learned his name.

Well, at least her wrists weren't bound. At least her face was not hooded. These things were good. The others had been allowing her a little more of their trust lately, which translated to a little more latitude here and there. And over time, over several months, she had come to this conclusion: At least they weren't going to kill her. At least she was still alive! Though held within the party against her will, she apparently had plenty of value to them. The "fragile old lady" idea had become often a key feature of their attempts at foolery.

But that does not mean she became irrevocably compliant. When she gazed at that poor fellow back in Six Fishes with panicked emotion, this was not acting. She'd also tried escape several times in the past, but after these foiled attempts at freedom, she'd learned those lessons quick. As they'd moved from town to town in Vvardenfell, the group of brigands had struck many times. Balmora. Vivec's Foreign District. Suran. Pelagiad. Always one step ahead (or several, actually). Always days of plotting, which translated into quick moments of deception and Amal's expert abilities at sleight-of-hand. Always a trail of disgruntled authorities, and burgled citizens. Always a staggering amount of gold once the ruse was over. Always a plan to be somewhere else.

But she was still alive! She had somehow made it through.

Jayne Goodfall, once known in certain circles as 'The Goblin Lady,' sat down carefully, her back supported by a gigantic tree. An immense calm befell her as she realized the others were apparently not around.

She began thinking back, and yes, this seems to have been their plan. Little hints of conversation here and there, after they'd made landfall in Leyawiin. Last thing she could remember was sitting beside a fire at one of their makeshift camps. They'd given her some sort of candied brew. She'd tasted it with her usual caution, then drank several large swallows, for she was quite thirsty. And it tasted wonderful. Perhaps she'd been drugged by this brew, then somehow brought to ... wherever she was now.

"Oh. What is this?"

Jayne felt upon her hip pocket, where she discovered a small satchel had been placed. Inside was an apple, a small amount of gold, and a note. Jayne stood upwards again, gauged whether she was truly alone, then stumbled over toward an open area where moonlight was more prevalent so she could read.


-------------------------------------------------
Jayne,

please partake of something we know you hve been hoping for, for many months: Your Freedome. Take plesure, for you have served us well, Vic But now it is time for your casting aside. we have taken the luxory of giveing your share of the gold, and some of food. Do not try to find us, Do NOT contact the athorities for your querees will be met by only dowbt, and we will be gog long gone by the time you wake, any way.


--------------------------------------------------


The note was unsigned, of course. The Imperial who'd been leading them was all about minor details such as this. We are to leave no traces of our corruption! she could almost hear him snapping at the others. But what was of more concern to Jayne was the amount of gold they'd left her with. "Her share" should have been much more than the pittance they'd left behind. She counted them out then: seventeen gold in total. Not that Jayne wanted to be the swindler they'd forced her to be, but if they'd really divvied their Septims equally, she should have hundreds.

Jayne sat back down against that same tree, wondering if she should try to walk. But this idea seemed foolish. Too dark to go anywhere; it'd be safer in the morning. She'd be able to see her shadow upon the ground by then, and would hopefully be able to strike out in some sort of consistent direction. Maybe find a road.

But for now, she hunkered down next to her tree, slowly realizing her newfound fate, which was both good and bad. Good, because she had definitely been released from them. Bad, because now Jayne had other concerns to worry about. In fact, her future in Cyrodiil might just prove to be just as trying as her past in Morrowind.


treydog
An excellent addition to what we have seen already. With some things revealed and many others left hidden. All of which makes for a story that will keep me reading.

QUOTE
Several shafts of moonlight fell through the trees. Forest sounds all around. Crickets chirping, katydids scratching, moody owls hooting, the sun itself gone to slumber.


Wonderful descriptive writing there. You quite effectively put me into the place where Jane finds herself.

Now for the "other". Just a few places were the tense shifted and one spelling variation.

QUOTE
But that does not mean she became irrevocably compliant. When she gazed at that poor fellow back in Six Fishes with panicked emotion, this was not acting.


"did not mean" and "that was not" to maintain consistency

QUOTE
slight-of-hand


In this form, "sleight-of-hand"

QUOTE
She began thinking back, and yes, this seems to have been their plan.


"that seemed"

As to when you actually do want to switch between past and present- for example, if someone in the present is telling a story about something that happened earlier.... my way of indicating that is to switch to italic for the "past" part as a way of distinguishing it. I hope that works for the reader- it helps me keep things straight, anyway.

Happy to see you continuing and I look forward to more. Well done!



SubRosa
So the Goblin Lady was an unwilling participant in the string of crimes. And now she is free!

So what is next for Goblin Goodall? I am hoping to see Jayne living with a tribe of goblins. smile.gif
Lopov
Nice, I didn't expect her to be enslaved by the other guys.

Well, maybe she only has 17 septims but at least she's alive - better this way than the other way around.

Hopefully her captors don't make a comeback, but one can never know in a Renee's story.

Now we also know the name of the Goblin Lady.
Acadian
Ahah, I see how this ties right into the beginning of Jayne’s game now – a fun surprise. Welcome to Cyrodiil indeed!

With an apple and seventeen gold. laugh.gif

I wonder where she is and if we'll learn the story behind her name.
Grits
Whoop, Renee stories! *happy dance*

I love that in her pocket Jayne found an apple, some gold, and a note. It's a classic NPC pocket package!
Renee
Saturday night is usually the only time I have enough time to write, edit, and post, it's been this way for years. smile.gif Next chapter is not ready yet though so hopefully it'll be next week.

I am doing something interesting with Goblin Lady's game. I wrote the beginning to two different chapters, either one will definitely happen at some point. But depending which scenario happens first, I will continue that chapter. Sort of like a game quest. Some quests can be done several ways, you see? We can meet not just one person, but maybe more than one, and depending which one we meet first, that is the direction the quest and story will go.

Grits: Aww, thanks! It's been too long, right?

Acadian: Yes, all shall be eventually divulged, especially about her name.

Lopov: I actually did not know about her being enslaved either, literally until a day before I wrote that chapter.

SubRosa: Yes! Jane Goodall. Yes!

treydog: Thanks so much. I saw sleight-of-hand after the story was already up, didn't have time to catch that one, yikes!
Renee
After that there were no more incidents of hostility, and the Goblins tolerated my presence, so long as I kept a respectful distance from their females and offspring. Occasionally a warrior would bark at me, but I simply replied by making the hand-rotating "intelligence" gesture next to my head, and the warrior would shrug and go back to his business. ~ An excerpt from Sacred Rites of the Stonechewers, Submitted to The Imperial Library by Pilaf The Defiler

... And it is of utmost importance that I point out our own foibles in this matter. That we, as the inclusionists we purport to be, have accepted all manner of mer and even beastfolk into our own society, and make merits toward treating these as one within Cyrodiil, allowing them to run our bookshops, deliver our news, and even maintain positions within our Council. Yet we continue to banish, main, and eradicate the various goblin tribes as though they were only slightly-more-intelligent creatures, rats and mudcrabs. Well I have been face-to-face with these, formulating scholastic measures amongst them. I can fairly tell all who take the time to pore over these lectures my contrary opinions. Fearsome and regardless they seem, but for those who choose to take the time, we might discover that these 'fearsome and regardless' beings are really quite intelligent, quite societal, and quite similar to ourselves. ~ Jayne Goodfall, excerpt from An Account on Goblin Society


~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

Chapter III: Drakelowe


IPB Image


"You are saying you know nothing? Nothing about a band of brigands who might have come through these woods, to place me upon that hill over yonder?"

"As I mentioned before, all's I saw were a bunch of colored lights," explained Melisande, the Breton owner of Drakelowe Farm. "Perhaps early last evening, just after nightfall. I was out here in the garden, minding my calves, and just happened to look up. There they were. Lights of green and red and yellow, flashing between the trees. As though some wizard might have shown up, then cast some colorful spell. And I may have shuddered. As you can see, I'm not exactly surrounded by the safety of civilization out here."

"I see."

"As for some band of outlaws, I saw no one. The lights were there, I wondered who might be casting them, but then, nothing else happened."

The morning was cool, tainted lightly by fog. After awaking in the forest, Jayne had stayed alert and terrified the rest of the night. Every sound was analyzed. Every shadowy movement, she'd skulk nearer to her tree. Fortunately, daybreak had arrived quickly. She'd then begun her search for a road or a footpath. There was nothing of the sort near to where she'd awoken, but her captors had to have made their way into wilderness somehow. After maybe a couple of hours of wandering, she hadn't much success. But then, she'd spotted Drakelowe from a distance. Which was interesting. Interesting that they would place her in the middle of nowhere, but also near to guaranteed safety.

"I wouldn't worry about them if I were you," Drakelowe's owner continued. "From what you're saying, it sounds like they wanted to be long gone. And they certainly succeeded at that. Like I said, must have had some deft wizardry going on, from what I was seeing."

Jayne Goodfall looked to the ground, and considered this. All along, she'd suspected at least one of the outlaws might be adept at a variety of magics; it would certainly explain how they'd always located her when she had managed escape. It would also explain how they'd pulled off some of their more dastardly capers. That magistrate up in Balmora for instance ... how could he have not noticed the scoundrels as they'd casually cleaned out his finery cabinets of a variety of jewels, and in plain view of his associates?

If so, if one or more of them were skilled in these matters, they'd certainly kept this facet of their organization a secret from her. Because ... magic. It was the only thing which made sense. She'd been teleported out here perhaps, teleported to the middle of the Niben. Because it made sense to get rid of her. What better way to hide the most knowledgable witness to all their crimes, while still keeping her alive?

"You know, you should really consider yourself lucky," Melisande attempted. "As you explained earlier, as soon as you were on that boat, your greatest fear was that they were serious, when they said they were going to push you off into the bay."

Jayne Goodfall, once a respected and prominent member of Imperial society, made a small whimpering sound.

"Come inside. And fear not, milady," the farmer said with confidence. "I've got tea, and plenty of herbs which can soothe. Those thieves and roustabouts, whoever they are, obviously are not interested in returning out here. Else, why would they not simply commandeer my entire property for their own?"

Jayne nodded and smiled briefly. Gathered her wits. Sighed. "Yes, I suppose you are right. I am so lucky to have... at least been placed near a welcoming location such as Drakelowe. Grateful, I am." She paused. "Anything you need. Anything. Your crops need picking in the morn? Your cow needs milking, Melisande?"

"You do me too much honor, Miss Goodfall, and there's no need to worry about such matters. Now please, come inside," the farmer said, sweeping her arms grandly. "Come inside, where all shall be made well. You can stay, as long as you like."

Jayne smiled broader now, and shuffled her feet a little. "Oh, just one more thing."

"Surely. What's on your mind, Imperial?"

"It has been awhile since I've traveled the Niben. Are there still goblin lairs out here that you know of? Near, in fact, to this property?"

"Goblins? Blecch!" Melisande grimaced. "I hate the things!"

Jayne Goodfall started to say something, her face forming a bit sternly, but then she bit her tongue. Now was not the time for sharp retorts. Her new host had been so gracious to let her stay, after all.


------------------------

Finding her way

Stealing crops (Jayne was hungry, and didn't know what the farm's owner would be like!)

A welcome hovel
SubRosa
Neat link to that article about Sacred Rite of the Stonechewers. I had no idea that even existed.

Drakelowe farm sounds inviting, even though it seems the owner is none to keen on the Goblin folk. It seems Jayne is already quite interested in Goblins, and intending on making contact with the nearest tribe.
Acadian
I quite like the premise you seem to have going on here that goblins are worth a look/study. Given Buffy's lack of height and long ears, she could not help but notice the same in goblins and has long wondered if they were some form of rather primitive cave mer. Can't wait to learn more about them from Jayne!

Ahh, some refuge for a time - most welcome I'm sure as Jayne gets her bearings.
Lopov
An interesting continuation, you used quite a different style this time, even opening the story up with paragraphs from various works.

I wonder what Jayne'd say, if she didn't bit her tongue.
treydog
Somehow missed this when you first updated- but happy to have discovered it. The goblin commentary adds tremendously to the story- and makes us think a bit more about the "mindless creatures" who nevertheless have clear societal structures, as well as the intellect to use magic.

I admit to having some suspicions of Melisande, but that is probably just my ingrained paranoia.

Most excellent addition to this intriguing story.
Renee
Comments and questions in this post, and I'll put this week's chapter in the next post later on. Easier for me edit the story this way. Because for some reason I always catch stuff once it's posted here at Chorrol, which I can't see in Notepad.

treydog: Melisande actually attacked my poor Jayne, so your paranoia is not unfounded! ... I have a mod in her game called Oblivion Jobs which is supposed to allow the player-character to pick crops for a small amount of money (and do all sorts of other menial tasks like cook food, smith weapons, pick grapes in Skingrad, etc.), On the Drakelowe property, Jayne could harvest crops and get paid by Melisande, and the mod author also gave the PC his/her own bedroll. But then something went wrong. sad.gif Out of nowhere, Mel decided to flip on Jayne for whatever glitchy reason.

In roleplay terms though, this actually made sense, as shall be seen.


Lopov: Yes, what would Jayne have said, if she hadn't bit her tongue? wink.gif

Acadian: I've been thinking about Buffy here and there, especially in this next chapter. Because I do remember she's got some experience dealing with goblins and all sorts of nasties, but is also open-minded to the fact that not ALL of them are horrid. Buffy also is quite resourceful about finding all sorts of items in the wild, and making them useful. I seem to recall she makes her own toiletries, for instance.

SubRosa: I decided to do a little research, typing "goblin" into The Imperial Library website, and quite a few results came up. smile.gif That Stonechewer book was submitted by somebody playing Elder Scrolls Online. I'm not sure if it was written by a dev, or by somebody playing the game in real-time. It fits though.

All: Melisande is part of the Vampire Cure quest, which I didn't know until I did a little UESP'ing. ohmy.gif So the part when Mel says "come inside, I've got lots of ingredients which can soothe...." yeah, she really means this!

This next chapter coming up is actually a half-chapter. As I was writing I kept getting more and more ideas, to the point that I was getting overwhelmed! To post the entire thing at once would provide more of a "flow," but then I'd have to wait until next week, and we don't want that. smile.gif

Have some cake. cake.gif
Renee
Chapter IV: The Goblin


She spotted him from a distance. A stocky warrior, standing maybe fifty feet away. The warrior was distracted by something on the ground. He hadn't caught her scent.

Though well-versed in many goblin affairs, Jayne Goodfall (at that moment) was glad to have seen him first, not the other way around. She crouched behind a bush for some time, studying the warrior's movements. She could see that he was relaxed, not agitated. Which was good, of course. After studying the symbols upon his breastplate, she could also see he was from the Cracked Wood tribe, meaning that she'd made decent progress through the forest. She had to be on the western edge of the Niben. Hopefully, she was somewhere near to Cropsford.

Cropsford, that small village which had been decimated, then slowly rebuilt, at the end of the Third Era (and into the Fourth, she hoped). Though her memory was foggy, there had been some sort of trouble with goblins in the area, The Black Horse Courier had published a story about this. Two tribes at war, if she recalled correctly. One of Cyrodiil's numerous Third Era adventurers had managed to resolve the dilemma, as she recalled, and the tale then ended happily.

Jayne gripped the small wooden stick from her belt, looking at it doubtfully. She had fashioned this stick two days before, but was now unsure whether the warrior would even acknowledge her efforts. This stick was actually a bundle of several vines and twines, bent and tarred carefully around a central stake of oak, then secured in place with several small iron tacks. Jayne had found all the wooden parts herself around Drakelowe, while Melisande had provided the metal. It had taken several hours for Jayne to construct.

To most folk, her stick might appear to be a rather elegant accomplishment, perhaps an art piece of some sort, for it was too short to be a walking cane, too flimsy to be a weapon. But to Jayne, this 'art piece' could literally become the difference between her life, or her death.

It's a totem Jayne had explained to Melisande several days before, after she'd carefully begun dipping the newly-shaped item into a small pot of hot, black, gooish substance.

A ... totem! Melisande had squeaked. How very lovely! And whatever is this totem for?

And thus began the conversation, which caused the actual rift, which soon developed into the full-blown argument between host and guest back at Drakelowe Farm. ... GET OUT! Melisande had eventually screamed. Get OUT of here, before I CALL THE GUARDS!

Jayne shuddered at the memory. Drakelowe's owner had quickly gone from being mild and friendly to quite menacing, throwing spells at Jayne, even summoning an atronach of fire! Jayne hadn't foreseen how things could have gone so wrong! She definitely shouldn't have tried elucidating the woman about her past.

But of course, Jayne Goodfall now had more pressing concerns. Her totem, for instance. Had she done it right?

Unarmed and unarmored (but hopefully not too unprepared), the next few moments would make all the difference. Brimming with anticipation, Jayne began to sweat. She looked down to her clothes, the same coarse linens she'd been wearing for days, and was suddenly glad they were a bit scuffed. No longer freshly-laundered. She'd smell of the forest around her, meaning that the warrior would be just a little more open to her presence.

She thought it all through one more time, then stood fully. The warrior saw her. "Yargh!" he called, throwing his arms to the sky, readying his mace. He began to stomp quickly toward her. Before she knew it, Jayne was fumbling her totem, hoping it would make all the difference.


----------------------------

Paper Doll'd

Swimming -- (Mel was chasing her by now. Wish I had gotten pics of her going batty. She really went overboard)

Jayne's got a totem! -- (An SI mace actually. We'll have to use our imagination because I couldn't find something equivalent)

City in the distance
Acadian
Well, done, Renee!

Thank Azura for those handy 3rd Era adventures and that one of them helped get Cropsford sorted out.

Wow, an interest and/or support of goblins sure seems an unpopular hobby in Colovia!

Well, let's hope that Jayne's totemic efforts impress the goblin warrior bearing down on her. If not, Jayne has a solid back up plan. . . right? tongue.gif
SubRosa
I too, loved the inclusion of Cropsford and the 3rd Era hero who set things to right there.

Wow, so Mel is cool with curing vampires, but gets all in an uproar over making nice at goblins? Let's hope that Jayne has better luck with the goblins than she did with Mel!

Lopov
Quite a cliff hanger, Renee Gade. Who allowed you to post one segment this week and the other one next week? biggrin.gif

I'm really curious what Jayne said that made Melisande attack her? We also don't find out whether Melisande survived the encounter, though I assume she did.

Very clever to use a mace from the SI as a totem. In fact it's more similar to a totem than to a mace.
treydog
Interesting continuation. Our first encounter with a goblin, although not Jayne's, it would appear. Love the way you weave all the different eras together to make a consistent story.
Renee
Acadian: Aw thanks! Yes, I left that sort of vague, the adventurer who saved Cropsford; we all have someone who did. smile.gif

SubRosa: Mel really disappointed both of us. Seriously I have no idea why she flipped like that. But in a strange way, it fit the story because in RP terms, there was supposed to be a tiff between those two anyway. Still though... she cast a flame atronach! What did my lady do to deserve this???

Lopov: Hee hee yes, thank you for helping me decide. Because I was unsure if I wanted to post the entire chapter as one BIG chapter. Turns out, that would have been too much, I think.

treydog: Aw, thank you. smile.gif I am loving your story too, even as I'm learning its scenarios piece by piece, years behind everyone else.

The next chapter is complete but we just got home from vacation earlier this evening, and I haven't slept in about 18 hours folks. So I'll post it tomorrow. Which is today, actually.

Renee
This chapter is longer. cake.gif I thought of chopping it into two, but I think it'll be better not to break up the flow. I originally wanted to have BOTH chapters (last week and this week) as one, but that would definitely have been too ambitious.

treydog (or anyone here) when different languages are shown in stories, I know these words get italicized. But do they always need to be italicized? That'll get sort of tedious for me to write the code in (or highlight stuff and press the I button).

Well... I guess I'll just post this as-is for now.

---------

Chapter V: Cracked Wood Cave


IPB Image

After some moments of preparation, Jayne stood fully from her hiding place. Immediately, the goblin sentry saw her. "Yargh!" he called, throwing his arms to the sky, readying his blade, baring his teeth. He began to stomp quickly toward her. Before she knew it, Jayne was fumbling her totem, hoping it would make all the difference.

Yargh, the common goblin war cry.

During the 3rd Era and well into the 4th, many different goblin tribes inhabited Cyrodiil: the Bitterfish, the Dust Eaters, the Bloody Hands, and so on. These tribes spoke many different dialects, and sometimes used words unique to their homesteads. But almost all of them shared yargh, which (like many goblin words) had several potential meanings. The most obvious, in this situation, being "attack!" of course.

However, it all depended how yargh was said, and when it was said. If someone wanted to learn to speak goblinese, this learner had to pay attention not just to words and phrases, but also body language, and sign language. Unlike human and mer communications, which depended almost solely upon specific sounds and articulations, goblins spoke to each other not just through their voices, but also by gestures, hand motions, and sometimes their entire bodies.

Jayne Goodfall considered all of this within a split second, before nearly having great lumps hacked out of her. The goblin rushed toward her! Made some sort of scream as he swung his weapon.

... And then stopped, his gaze transfixed upon Jayne's shiny wooden totem. He then blinked. He actually blinked.

"Tschoo gshirri Muluk," the goblin spoke, suddenly flummoxed, his face suddenly carrying an expression which could only be described as dumbfounded.

"Yes!" Jayne said in her own language, miming with her left hand. "Tschoo Muluk gshirri," she continued, constricting her throat, forcing her voice an octave higher. "I have Muluk. Muluk gshirri rashidaka," (Muluk me find) she added, moving her hands from up toward the sky, down toward her heart.

Muluk... the common word for the god almost all their tribes worshipped. Once the goblin had said that word, Jayne knew everything would be fine. She would certainly live. She had managed to distract the sentry. "Muluk rashidaka Jayne," she said, pointing to herself. "Jayne gshirri." (I am Jayne).

Unlike the languages of mer and humans, one did not need to worry about the order of words when speaking goblinese. One did not need to worry about conjugation. Or prepositions. Or conjunctions, and so on. Grammar was nearly nonexistent in most cases. She could have said "Rashidaka Muluk Jayne" (find Muluk Jayne) and the 'sentence' would still make sense to the goblin, for it was her gestures and facial movements which made all the difference. Only the shamans spoke in more arcane terms. Within the goblin tribe, it was usually the shaman whose intelligence was highest, and the actual usage of certain shaman terminology was often forbidden by others within the tribes.

But now, the goblin's face molded into a rather unusual shape, as though he were trying to smile. "Tschoo Jayne" (You Jayne) he said solemnly, pointing toward her, his eyes becoming rather enormous. He could not quite pronounce her name correctly, causing Jayne to stifle a giggle. "Tschoo ... Jayne gahlin ksharra!" he further emoted. (You Jayne goblin lady!)

Jayne did not answer, nor did she need to. She knew her face was blushing.

"Tschoo ... Jayne gahli ksharra!" the goblin said again.

"Yes. I am the goblin lady." She was grinning now. She could not help herself.

"Tschoo Jayne gahli ksharra!" He made a little dance, as he spoke louder. "TSCHOO JAYNE GAHLI KSHARRA!"

At once, the sentry ran off into the evening, gesturing for Jayne to follow. And she did. She followed him round a large boulder, hastily spied what looked to be a small village across a road. She was sure it was Cropsford, but there was no time to investigate. She knew what was coming next.


~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~



Jayne was led to a door in a rock, which led to an underground dwelling which the Imperials had designated Cracked Wood Cave. The goblin rushed ahead, chittering and chattering so quickly, even she could barely understand. Once inside the cave, she waited a moment as the sentry rushed ahead. The place was well-lit by wall sconces, she noticed, which meant it was one of the more comfortably-inhabited goblin lairs.

"Oh, what have we here?" she spoke aloud. Within seconds, the initial sentry she'd met outside the cave was then joined by two others!

"Gahli tschoo ksharra!" they burst, speaking over each other. "Tschoo ksharra tshchoo ksharra gahli gahli!"

"Yes. I am the lady of goblins! And I have returned!"

Her voice delighted the green-skinned creatures. They parted ways, then motioned with their hands, allowing Jayne Goodfall to stride into their home. Down a set of passageways, and into a rather large chamber of stone, where she was greeted by their resident chef, and one of their designated warriors. All around, their babbling continued. The chef began scrambling in an over-excited manner, rushing over to her tables, probably trying to see if there was something for Jayne to eat.

After several more minutes (and several more urgings for her to venture deeper into Cracked Wood Cave) Jayne strode into a second large chamber, where she was met by their children. At least a dozen of them crowded around the goblin lady! At that moment, there was little difference between the adults and their spawn; all were in a frenzied state of rejoice.

Finally, the shaman herself joined the crowd. When she appeared, the others hushed their revelry at once, for the shaman's presence (in this situation) demanded a few moments of silence. It was important that the shaman make her inspection of any new incomers. Though more sullen than the others, Jayne did not mistake the shaman's downplaying of the moment. She knew at once what she must do. Jayne made a motion with her hips and hands, rather like a lass curtseying before a queen. She then held this pose. Five seconds. Ten seconds. Twenty. After thirty full seconds, the shaman seemed satisfied. She then made her cry, filling the underground with a shriek which might make a seasoned legionnaire shiver.

"Yarrrrgh!" She approved. And now, the celebration was on!

Jayne Goodfall was ushered toward a rather haughty-looking throne, and nearly forced to have a seat. The chef who'd been looking for some food earlier, finally bustled over. Handed Jayne some sort of roasted kebob, as well as a cup full of liquid. The kebab was either roasted rat, or roasted durzog. Whatever the delicacy, it certainly tasted good. As the goblins continued to make noise in festivity, Jayne cautioned the drink she'd been handed with a sniff. One had to be careful with goblin imbibements! But to her relief, she discovered the drink was ordinary beer.

As the celebration wore on, and two of the children began to paint Jayne's feet, Jayne could not allay a tinge of worry. She had been through so much, and now she was home. Back in Cyrodiil, for good. But because she was back for good, she knew her days as a free woman were numbered.

"I must return to the city," she said aloud decisively. "'Tis what is right, and 'tis what shall be required. And I must see. I must see if anything has survived. And if this means my imprisonment, so be it."

"Gahli maakshira towee!" one of the children called, pointing toward Jayne's newly-painted feet, expecting approval.

"Towee maakshira gahli," Jayne Goodfall agreed with a smile.


------------------------------------

Creepy roleplay video -- (Even though I am the one who modded all this in, my gosh I got shivers when those gobs started running out of darkness! indifferent.gif It's kinda messy, but I spent so much time making it, and there are some genuine inspired moments at least! ... The beginning is really dark, not sure why. If you can't see what's going on, just fast-forward to 30 seconds or so).
SubRosa
Great to see how Jayne is reaching out to communicate with the goblin.

It seems her reputation has preceded her! Very cool. Jayne is a goblin urban legend.

The video was really cool, watching that pack of goblins following her everywhere.
Acadian
Fun vid as Jayne gathers her tribe!

Whew! A relief that her totem worked. Those nice goblins certainly seem kinder to Jayne that anyone of the 'civilized' folk we've met so far. They even painted her feet! tongue.gif
Lopov
Very clever to include some actual goblin language.

Great video - look at how much they adore her! Long live the goblin queen! Nice to read some comments in the upper left screen. Goblin archers are named a4chers BTW.

This story answers to some questions but opens up several new ones. Looks like that Jayne has already been involved with goblins in the past, and there's something, whatever it is, that needs to be done in some town. A very intriguing story, Renee.
treydog
As far as the foreign language, I am a typography dinosaur... And I think since it is clear by context, you can save yourself the coding. smile.gif

So apparently "Yargh" serves the same function in Goblinese as "Dude" does in Surfer English. (Since, according to a standup routine I saw, "dude" can mean anything from a greeting, to an indication that one has failed spectacularly, to an inquiry as to whether someone is hiding in the closet with a big knife... ).

The video was wonderful, as was her reception by the goblins. Loved the way the shaman had to make Jayne "show respect" before "Yarghing" the celebration into full swing.

And the children were also a treat.

Wonderfully done!
Renee
SubRosa: Yes. Her reputation. smile.gif She certainly has several of these. Thank you, that video was somewhat stressful to make, as I'll explain in a minute.

Acadian: Yes totally, she gets more respect from baddies than goodies, it seems. emot-ninja1.gif I wonder what Buffy would think.

Lopov: Lol I know... Jayne has Goblin A4chers in her game! Oops.

treydog: Oh yeah, yargh has several meanings, it seems, just like the way people say dude or cool in English. I like to think these creatures only have a few hundred "words" which they use, some words only get used by certain tribes, while others are shared. A lot of them get reused.

Thanks for helping me with the italics / foreign language question, too.

The idea for that video struck just a week before I made it, and from that moment a slew of ideas began to flood my head as I worked at my job. panic.gif I'd struggle to try remembering them all (along with the ideas I was getting for the story itself) or write them down. If I'd spent more time on it, I could have made more cool stuff happen, but I also want to get this story told and over with. I estimate there are 7 or 8 more chapters to go.

cake.gif
Renee
Chapter VI: The Yellow Road


On the morning of Last Seed 31, in the Fourth year of the Fourth Era, Jayne Goodfall left Cracked Wood Cave. Rain was falling softly but steadily. Her clothes quickly became soaked as she began to stride north. Confident, yet apprehensive. There was an apple in the new satchel one of the archers had made for her. Jayne grabbed it, and began to munch.

There would be plenty of jail time in her future, she knew this. She was ready to face it. After years of living as a fugitive though, fleeing from Cyrodiil, then living in poverty and obscurity in Morrowind ... after months of being enslaved by that gang, maybe incarceration wouldn't be so bad. The Imperial City itself was supposed to have rather 'comfortable' living quarters, compared to jails in some of Cyrodiil's outlying counties. So she had heard, anyway. Maybe incarceration wouldn't be so bad.

The time had come to get the matter addressed, at least. For she was not going back to Morrowind.

The goblins who'd hosted her for the night were not happy to see her go, of course. But the truth was, it could be dangerous for her to continue with them. Cracked Wood's shaman explained (brokenly, in Jayne's own language) that goblin hunting was rare nowadays. It had literally been years since any of Cyrodiil's Third Era adventurers had even been heard of,.in the Niben. Also, the former rivalry between regional tribes had died long ago. All of this was good news to Jayne, but she also knew the reality. Could not ignore the reality. The civilized world still viewed goblin societies with hostility. There was still plenty of work to be done.

As she walked she looked down to her feet, which were newly-painted: bright white, orange and green, plainly visible through the sandals she wore. She hoped her feet would not become a problem. The children had wanted to paint her face as well, but for reasons they could not understand yet, this would definitely not be a good idea.


------------------------------------


By mid-day, Jayne reached the intersection between the Yellow Road she'd traveled upon, and the Red Ring Road she'd be taking to the city. Pleasantly surprised, she was, by the state of Cyrodiil's roads.

When she'd fled the province several years before, it was rare to see any sort of citizen traipsing along calmly. Roads were considered unsafe, mostly inhabited by outlaws, and the guards who chased them. Then, the Oblivion Crisis had begun to dominate Cyrodiil. One never knew when and where the next Oblivion Gate might break through. One never knew if that nearby grove of hickory and clover might become yet another opening into a hellish plane. For all these reasons, Jayne's final memories of Cyrodiil's roads were chaotic ones.

Well, this had certainly changed.

"Hello!" chirped a friendly merchant, greeting Jayne as though it were not rainy.

"Good to see you!" a Redguard lady waved.

"What is it, Breton trash?"

At one point, a platinum-haired elf walked by, a Dunmer, oddly wearing Nordic armor pieces. Jayne tried greeting this man on her own, but for once, all she got in return was a solid glare. Merely shrugged away. If this was as bad as things got these days, she had little to worry about.

Even when a leather-clad orc bandit spotted her, cast some sort of spell, then began chase, all Jayne had to do was backtrack down the Yellow Road. The chainmail-wearing Colovian soldier who she'd passed a half-hour before was still there. A quick fight ensued, the soldier gladly taking down the orc. Jayne was out of breath, but had garnered not even a scratch. She thanked the soldier for her assistance, then headed back north again. Back toward the city.

But then, she viewed an Imperial Legionnaire in the distance, and her spirit sank. The man was horseback. Clad in shiny, expensive armor.

"Time to get this done and over with," Jayne said aloud, before plowing tentatively forward.

------------------------------------------

"Yaaagh!"

Goodbye fellow creatures!

Striding north

"Come back here!"

Colovian assistance
Lopov
Looks like Jayne has some great plans in mind. I wonder what she intends to do now, upon seeing the horseman.

Nice reflection of events before and after the Oblivion Crisis.

That's quite a farewell party. laugh.gif I'm glad they let her go, considering how much they adore her.

QUOTE
The Imperial City itself was supposed to have rather 'comfortable' living quarters, compared to jails in some of Cyrodiil's outlying counties. So she had heard, anyway. Maybe incarceration wouldn't be so bad.


I bet she read this in Life behind the bars by Kahreem of Weet.
Acadian
I'm still getting a kick out of Jayne's painted feet. tongue.gif

I wonder if she's actually going to do some jail time?
SubRosa
Yaaagh!

Jayne has her temporary goblin tats on.

Uh oh, Jayne is going to be doing hard time. Maybe Khareem will be her cellmate?
Renee
Lopov: funny you just mentioned Kahreem. wink.gif

Acadian: I have no idea where that painted feet idea came from. laugh.gif Silly Renee roleplays in action. I was at work and I think I began thinking of pedicures. Like, Jayne gets her toenails painted. But then, why would they stop there? Human feet are much broader than goblin feet, I think. They make for better canvases.

SubRosa: Again, another Kahreem mention. Well, my Redguard does get a rather subtle cameo in this next chapter.

treydog: Dang, no treydog this week!

This one's rather long, it'll probably be the longest chapter (not including the final one). I was thinking of breaking it up, but it makes the most sense to just get it all out of the way at once. cake.gif I appreciate everyone's attention.

-----------------------------------------



Chapter VII: The Guard


Too afraid to cry out
The world listens no more
For my heart there is no door
Help me if I sleep, a little more



IPB Image

She spotted him from a distance. The Imperial guard she'd turn herself in to was horseback, and roughly twenty yards away. A young fellow, barely old enough to shave. Not that beards were fashionable in those days. The guard's assigned route had probably covered the entire eastern side of Red Ring Road, but not the massive bridge which spanned the Niben. As he and his horse approached this bridge, they pivoted a half-circle, and were now abruptly headed Jayne's way.

Jayne Goodfall stood rigid, took a deep breath, then forced herself to relax. Now was the moment. How long had she been dreading this moment? ... She approached the man, and when he looked her way, she froze. The arrest process would begin.

First the guard would rush toward her, and she'd be referred to as "SCUM!" Next, her writ would be read. Like it or not, she was a criminal, after all. Finally, she'd have two options: Face arrest, or resist it. The usual third option (payment of gold) would surely not apply. She barely had any, after all.

But as Jayne neared the young man, there were no drastic reactions from him. "Six o'clock in the evening and all's well." He said cheerfully. "How can I help you ma'am?"

Jayne did not know what to say at first. Though she had never been arrested herself, it had been several years since she'd witnessed the process. Back in the latter Third Era there was one Redguard fellow, rumored to be a thief living on the Marie Elena, whose arrest she'd personally witnessed at least twice.

"Uh ... sir?"

"Please make it quick, citizen. My patrol awaits, and a legion steed can't keep still for very long."

"I..." Jayne blinked. "Are you not going to arrest me?"

The guard's face became quizzical. "Arrest you?" He cocked his head to the right.

Jayne stood stunned, unsure of what to make of this. Maybe policy for the unlawful had changed? Weren't Imperial soldiers in the province of Cyrodiil simply supposed to recognize outlaws? "I ... uh," she cleared her throat, trying to form the question. "My name is Jayne Goodfall. And aren't I a wanted woman? For as you can see, I have returned to Cyrodiil."

"Wanted? For return to Cyrodiil?" the guard said in his booming voice. "I cannot say I recognize you from our Most Hunted list, ma'am, and within the right mind of this personage of Imperial Law, you are therefore free to go."

"I am..." she shook her head as she realized the implication of his words. "I am ... free to go?"

"Well yes, you are," he chuckled. "Who exactly are you? Are you someone I should know? Have you stolen a few sweetrolls from the Roxey?"

Jayne shook her head again, this time in amazement. For he truly did not know who she was.

"Seriously, woman, who exactly are you? Are you someone I should know? You've got my ear for the moment, so let's hear it."

Jayne considered the man's question, then decided to answer it.



~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_



It was the month of Sun's Dusk, during the Third Era, year four-hundred and thirty-three. The rumors were proven to be true: Uriel Septim VII had been assassinated by a mysterious red-robed cult, and talk of some sort of Daedric attack upon the town of Kvatch was just beginning. At the time, Jayne Goodfall was in a rather peculiar and strategic position. For once, it was looking as though all her years of scholarly research might just prove beneficial, in one very massive way.

Jayne’s advanced schooling began in the year 409 when she was 25 years old. Her field of choice would translate to what is called ‘entomology’ in some worlds, basically, the study of bugs. In the land of Tamriel however, ‘bugs’ included all sorts of diabolical creatures, including some very dangerous predators, such as blood wasps, and shalk beetles! ... Fortunately for Jayne, she mostly studied smaller insects: ants, bees, torch bugs, and so on.

Jayne worked with teams of other scholars. The year 414 was her first of notable progress. She was in Skyrim, studying the hierarchy of honey bees, quietly taking notes, endlessly assessing them. When she returned to Bruma several months later, it was her theories which managed to increase the production of honey within that county. Unfortunately, since she’d been working with a group of others, her efforts did not receive specific acclaim.

Ten years later at the age of 35, she was living in the province of Morrowind. Jayne had graduated with full scholarly benefits a month before, and had taken a grant to do studies in the egg mines of West Gash. Again, she was working with a group of others.

Though traditional egg miners had been at their trade for centuries, certain lairs were having problems. Queens could get ornery, even in the presence of long-established miners. Kwama foragers were always a general nuisance, and so on. The miners were also having trouble breaking into new territories.

After painstaking study, it was Jayne’s contributions which made the greatest differences. The miners had known for ages that kwama communicated through small clicks and squeaks, but it was Jayne Goodfall who was first able to prove that they also relied upon their sense of smell to ‘speak’ to one another. After this discovery, miners began using specially-derived kwama scents to fool the more-hostile members into docility. The result? New egg mines in The Ashlands and Molag Amur were opened up. Locally, Jayne was hailed for her brilliance.

Despite these advances, once again her input got lost in the paperwork. All accolades eventually went to the overall leader of her field research team, as they often did.

It wasn’t until latter years back in Cyrodiil that she was finally recognized. By now, she had become head of the Imperial City’s Field Research Exposition Team. She even had her own office in White Gold Tower itself! This office was small, a virtual broom closet, yes, but it was her virtual broom closet. She was garnering plenty of respect from various important people, including Elder Council members.

But she wasn’t just living in the city with her name on a door. Jayne had spent several years in wilderness, studying the various goblin tribes in Cyrodiil, then living amongst them. Though the concept of a human living with goblins was not unheard of, Jayne was the first to academically prove it was possible to also learn their language, and even befriend their leaders. She was the first to be able to travel from tribe to tribe (something which the infamous cave-dweller known as Goblin Jim was unable to do), garnering respect as she went from the Dust Eaters to the White Skins, and so on.

Early in the Year 433, she was also the first to be able to peacefully bring an actual goblin into the city itself. This creature was merely a docile chef, true, but a breakthrough was still a breakthrough. Miss Goodfall earned the ‘Goblin Lady’ nickname during this time, after she paraded this chef before the Elder Council. She then proved it was possible to communicate with the green-skinned being. Several council members were able to ask the chef some questions, which Jayne translated back and forth, to eventual loud applause. It was her day in the sun, as the saying goes. Eventually, the idea was suggested by Jayne and her team: What if it were possible for citizens and goblins to live side-by-side, without conflict?

But then, the Oblivion Crisis occurred, and this changed everything.

Jayne’s original plan of a peaceful existence between societies became amended. Sometime during Evening Star of 433, she presented her latest (and final) dissertation to the council. In this one were several new ideas, including one which intrigued all the council’s members.

Oblivion gates were popping up all over the land, not just in the vicinity of Cyrodiil’s towns, but also in wilderness areas. It was thought the guards and guilds could handle the towns, but what about smaller villages, such as Pell’s Gate, or Aleswell? What about travel upon Cyrodiil’s roads? There simply weren’t enough protective feet on the ground in the country itself. Daedra attacks were becoming commonplace. The Hero of Kvatch, a middle-aged man with flowing gray hair (a former scroll-writing sage mysteriously known as The Grey Wizard) had managed to close the gate in that town (with the help of Martin Septim, of course). But the idea of one man doing it all seemed so ludicrous at the time, it was something nobody even considered.

Enter Jayne Goodfall, presenting her own seemingly ludicrous ideas before the council. Goblins lived all over the land, she informed. They lived near to some towns, they lived near to most villages, and they certainly lived in areas which only the boldest adventurers might venture. All goblin dwellings were fortified. What if she were able to successfully convince Cyrodiil’s numerous goblin tribes that they should join forces with the Empire? What if Imperial soldiers and goblin warriors were to fight parallel to one another, casting aside their usual fear and hatred?

Her suggestions quickly gained traction. Forty out of fifty council members forwarded the idea at the time; if only Uriel Septim were still alive, certainly Jayne would have the final go-ahead.

She was able to convince the council to allow her to entice a group of ten goblin 'representatives' from Fort Ash. These goblins came to the Imperial City with Jayne, under Imperial protection, and then entered the city itself without incident. The idea was to prompt these goblins to join forces with the Empire, then they'd go off and spread the word to other tribes. By now, Jayne had so much influence among these tribes. Any official suggestion from her (arranged by totems, or otherwise) might just be taken seriously.

It was on the morning of Evening Star 30 that the goblins, Jayne’s team, and the Elder Council were all to sign the first tentative contract toward what she hoped would become a fruitful endeavor. Not just for the sake of the Oblivion Crisis, but also for the future of these creatures, as well. If the goblins could prove themselves in war, assisting the Empire, certainly the time would come when they'd be recognized as possible candidates for citizenry.

Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.



~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_



“So,” the road patrol said in a rather smug tone of voice, “what you are saying is IF only for you and your … ability to speak to the goblins, it might of been you who’d became the Champion of Cyrodiil, instead of our current Arch Mage, the Grey Wizard himself?”

“You try my patience, soldier," Jayne answered pensively. "No, ‘tis not what I am saying a'tall. All’s I am saying is that if I had been able to implement my ideas into successful action, the crisis itself could have been curtailed with much less bloodshed, and with due haste.”

“Hmph," the guard seemed nonplussed. "Well, I must indulge, I suppose. So what happened next?”

“Well, I believe that some of the goblins became overwhelmed. Here they were, captive within the big city, a place full of foodstuffs, riches, and treasure which they could only previously imagine. They were to be held within one of White Gold Tower's numerous chambers for the night, under lock and key. And I should have been with them. But I was not."

"Go on," the guard prodded, his face summoned from a different time.

"Thank you. Well from here on, I blame myself for the events which unfolded. For I was not with them, no, I was celebrating in The Feed Bag, an establishment you may have heard of, in the Imperial City Market District. I'd had a bit too much to drink, all of us were full of glee. And the goblins.... apparently some of them somehow managed to break out of the tower. They can be masters with lockpicking, you know. Anyway, they took advantage of their newfound situation. Some of them, not all, but some, became apparently greedy. Went off looting in the middle of the night. Citizens were terrified, fights broke out, and then, one of the Market District merchants got killed. ... And I was to blame! ..I blame myself, soldier,” Jayne looked to her feet. “I blame myself.”

“You blame yourself?”

“I do. In the morning, the guards came for me. All the goblins had been founded, then eradicated, by then. I was on my way to my office, when one of the council members told me the news. Well, of course I immediately rushed toward the tower, but by then it was too late. I was confronted by a guard, who began to read my writ. I was to be placed under arrest."

“I see,” the soldier stifled a yawn. “Listen lady, is there much more to this ... tale?”

“You still seem in disbelief,” Jayne sighed. “Listen to me! Will you?"

The guard shrugged. Grabbed a bottle from a rucksack located on his horse's flank. Pulled the cork from its top. "Go ahead."

"Well, I panicked. Instead of consenting to immediate arrest I began trying to explain who I was, and what should then be done about this situation. And of course, the guard did not want to hear any of this. In his eyes, I was now resisting. He drew his weapon! And so did all the others within the locale. I had no choice but to panic, and run."

"You ran?"

"It was to be a temporary thing, me running from the law. I knew this. But fortunately at that very moment some sort of riot had just broken out upon the Waterfront. All the guards were called to assist. Something about taxes, if I recall. So the guard who'd been ready to take me in suddenly rushed away."

The soldier nodded, took a swig from his bottle. Was he intrigued, or bored? Jayne could not tell.

"I fled the city, but later tried to return. I needed to explain ... if only I'd been able to speak to a council member, maybe this could all have been sussed out. As it was, every guard I encountered wanted to hear none of it. My bounty was apparently quite high! They'd immediately draw their weapons if they even saw me approach.

"Again," she continued, "I had to run. I located a horse, then stole it. Rode off to Morrowind, because I knew its western shores quite well. Stayed there for many years. I had no other choice you see, but to spend those years in exile, and fear."

Jayne made eye contact with the man then, unsure what to expect. The guard was smiling though, had himself another swig from his bottle.

"Really ma'am, you are holding me up from traveling my designated route. The sun now crests the western horizon; I should be halfway back to Cheydinhal by now."

"So, you do not believe me?" Jayne nearly pleaded.

"Even if any of this is true, there's nothing I can do about it. Honestly, all this sounds like the ramblings of a crazy woman, if you ask me."

"I see."

The guard began moving off without another word, his horse clip-clopping slowly away. Jayne realized then that the bottle he'd been drinking from was full of ale.

"Oh, might I ask one final question of you sir?"

The guard sighed. "What is it now?"

"Have you heard any news about a gang of brigands, moving from town to town, thieving from successful citizens with ostensibly elaborate schemes, and then disappearing like specters into the night?"

This stopped the guard right on the spot, his horse no longer clip-clopping. He turned to her. His face (illuminated by torchlight) now a mask of disgust.

"Hey, what do YOU know about a gang of brigands thieving from citizens? Hmm? What of this? For you see, there are reports of some sort of ... gang, who've so far caused local havoc. First in Leyawiin, then in Bravil."

"Oh, you want my input on the matter?" Jayne feigned surprise. "Well, I don't know if you should trust me! After all, this information of mine could merely be just the ramblings of a crazy woman!"

"But" the guard stammered " ... wha-- but....how....?"

As the guard began motioning his hands this way and that, Jayne walked calmly away, relieved that she was still a free woman. She began wondering if The Sleeping Mare in Pell's Gate would have a place to stay for the night.


------------------------------

Jayne the scholar, circa 409
Lopov
A very detailed and intriguing insight into Jayne's past. I agree, it was better to post this entire chapter in one piece. Looks like Kahreem's actions on the Waterfront might have saved her from being arrested.

It's the young Goblin Lady!
treydog
I love the life you bring to the interactions- with the goblins, and with the other travelers. And I also like the idea of running the bandit back into the wandering guard.

And the description of prior events adds perfect background to the story.

And of course, the “arrest” does not go quite as she expected. I suppose the passing of the Oblivion Crisis affected the guards' previous omniscience regarding crimes....

The entomological details ring true and, once again, add wonderful depth.

And now (some of) the tale is told- at least how she became a fugitive from the law. And the current law- as embodied by a bored patrol rider, is not impressed. Yet she gets the last word and leaves him wondering. Most excellent!
Acadian
Good that all of Jayne’s worries turned out for naught. Hopefully, she may now consider herself a free Goblin Lady.

Nice job on filling in more background – including reference to the Weet Bandit and the Gray Wiz. I really enjoyed reading of Jayne’s insights and accomplishments regarding bugs and goblins.
SubRosa
You are bringing back so many Oblivion memories with things like running back to a traveling Legionary with a bandit in tow. Playing Morroblivion reminds me of what a big evolution that was between the games. There were no travelers on the roads in Morrowind at all. There were a few people in static locations, who never moved. But no people who regularly moved around the map on their own accord, like the Legion riders or black horse couriers.

Wow, Jayne is not the Original Gangster she thought she was!

If you want to study bugs, Morrowind is definitely the place to go! Half the critters there seem to be bugs, and the half lizards and reptiles. The only mammals are the people.

Very clever Jayne to think outside the crate and look at senses other than hearing being used in communication.

The Grey Wizard is the Hero of Kvatch in this timeline! I remember him! smile.gif

It's never good when the detective you are trying to confess to starts drinking to pass the time! laugh.gif

She stole a horse? Following in Khareem's footsteps there!

Jayne was a looker in her time!
Renee
Aw, you folks make me smile. smile.gif I am glad this is bringing back memories for y'all. Too bad Grits is missing.

Rosa: Yes, the Grey Wizard was my CoC basically. He was based on my very first tabletop character of all: the Blue Wizard, who I rolled long ago in high school (summer of 1983). Back then, I wasn't so creative with names yet. laugh.gif

I wish I could pull a picture of my Grey Wizard character now, but he's entombed in the mess which is Photobucket.

Acadian: Thanks a bunch! You shall see in future chapters how things will unfold. This story is quite a lot of work. Very unlike my Kahreem days, when I would literally just game & write at the same time. Whatever happened back then actually happened, warts and all.

dog: I walked to work one morning, and as I was walking, my mind started going into overdrive. The whole entomological tangent came basically as I was walking past Volvos and Subarus, kempt lawns and suburban houses. I got to work and was hoping I'd remember it all!

scoundrel: Yes, I imagine you especially were surprised, since we write PMs nearly everyday! hehe.gif It's not easy keeping all these secrets from you!

This next chapter was supposed to be all one chapter, but again it'll have to be broken up. Mostly because I have to write a quest surrounding this portion of the story (which I still haven't finished yet).
Renee
Chapter VIII: The Imperial City


The blonde-haired elf awoke and rose early, early for her, that was. She yawned. She stretched her legs, and rolled her back.

Over the years, she'd become accustomed to life in Cyrodiil. 'Cyrodiilized,' she jokingly called it. For her, being Cyrodiilized meant several unexpected changes. She'd become more tolerant of the province's cosmopolitan surroundings, for instance. She'd become more social, even made a few friends. She'd broadened her knowledge of magic immensely. But one of the greatest ways she'd changed over the years? She rarely got up before mid-morning, anymore. Mornings were for sleeping in, especially mornings in such quaint and peaceful surroundings.

She put on some clothes: common tans and browns. Bustled outside her small cottage. Grabbed a toadstool from the ground (a summer bolette, her very favorite) and so began her first meal of the day. Bitter, yet slightly buttery. Others might gag, while she only savored.

Many of her ilk had seen fame and fortune. Had retired. Gotten wealthy. Or gotten themselves killed. Though she had survived and seen great riches herself, she was never so content as to settle in her cottage, reading Barenziah books, engaging in endless, insipid conversation. No, this elf was one who preferred to roam. Ever seeking that great next challenge in life. And nowadays, her past Third Era lifestyle was often sought by those who needed her skills, and service.

She grabbed another toadstool from the ground, then unrolled the sheaf of paper she'd been handed the day before.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~



"Hello there!"

"What's going on with you?"

Two voices: one Breton, one Redguard. One male, the second female. To Jayne Goodfall, who'd arrived into The Feed Bag not so long ago, she barely registered these two voices, as she sipped her second taste of Cyrodiilic beer.

"I saw a mudcrab while walking by the water," the Breton said ominously. "Ugly creature!"

"Awful creatures," the Redguard agreed. "But you want to know my opinion?"

"What?"

"Their meat is rather tasty!" the Redguard lady scream-whispered.

"You don't say!"

At this, the Redguard got herself into some sort of coughing fit, while Jayne sat moping at her table.

It had been so long ago, that last joyous night she'd had in this very establishment. It seemed as if all the work she and her research faction had pored over the years might just change the world, in many positive ways. They had toiled so hard. Yet it had all come to naught, because she'd spent that one final night here, in The Feed Bag, instead of with her charges. All their libations and revelry seemed so foolish now, but how could they know what would happen?

So... why did I come here then?

"Because there is still work to be done," she whispered aloud. "And ye must pick yerself up, transform from the ashes. For the good of those many fallible creatures."

And also, coming here was (in its own way) an odd sort of healing. For she was often one who chose to face her fears and demons head-on.

That was how it all started, of course. Her desire to understand Tamriel's many faunas: imps and hounds and other such creatures from the lands had always been good-natured, but often led to her overcoming some sort of fear. Overall, her attitude was of preservation and understanding, not destruction and eradication. For some reason though, it was the goblin tribes of Cyrodiil which captured her attention the most, and goblins could be some of the most fearsome of all.

Everyone saw them as monsters! And perhaps it was because she too originally saw them this way, yet was never too jaded to not be surprised. Never too close-minded to not wonder if long-established norms within her chosen field of study could not be challenged, then overturned. And for awhile, it looked as though the citizens of Cyrodiil might someday all agree with her. Members of the Elder Council had been convinced, after all.

Her thoughts wandered. She ordered a second beer; starting to feel its effects. Which was fine, and fair. Her mind was working, that feeling of abjection was beginning to abate. This was how it all started, long ago.

"What do you want, ashborn?"

"Something on your mind, fur-licker?"

Two voices: one Khajiit, one Dunmer. Both of them males.. Jayne took a sip from her second beer, which was half-gone by now.

"I saw a couple goblins by the lakefront the other day," said the Dunmer, catching Jayne's attention. "I steered clear away from them!"

"Goblins, BLECCH!" the Khajiit burst.

"Awful, disgusting creatures!" It was Delos Fandas, owner of The Feed Bag, who was speaking.

"Filthy creatures! This one hopes to never see another!"

"...string 'em up when we see them!" Delos raised his mug. "Despicable green-skinned menaces, unfit to dwell heartily within our--!"

"How dare you make slight words against them, how DARE YOU!" Jayne exploded, knocking miscellaneous things from her table. "They are sensitive and amicable beings! Sensitive and amicable! ... Much less intrusive than the rogues and roustabouts who have forever hunted them in their very homes!" She was yelling, unable to withhold. "How would it be if one of THEM raided into yer home, eh? Yet they'd never consider the thought." Jayne glared all around. "And ye shall see ... ALL OF YE shall see! ... All of ye here, and now, shall see what 'tis the future! ... Awful, filthy, disgusting creatures are ya all! ... ALL of ye here!"

She smashed her beer against the counter. She was not in control, and knew it. Faces were aghast and glowering, it was time to go. As she rushed out The Feed Bag, she tried to slam its door. But it was made of heavy oak, like many city doors, and she could only thud it heavily shut with that usual, dull clunk.

She was angry, but she also felt good. It was good to be angry! Being angry was certainly better than being forlorn, that was for sure. As Jayne Goodfall stalked off into the night, eventually her ire cooled. She began to wonder if anybody here in the city might just remember who she was. Would she be able to locate any of her previous mates? Most importantly, what had become of her research organization? Was any of it even still intact?

"Tomorrow. I always have tomorrow," she muttered.
Lopov
Is that Lady Saga you're writing about in the beginning?

Uh oh, looks like Jayne got seriously pissed off. I doubt it that she has something "nice" in store for residents of the Imperial City.

I like it how she tried to slam the door, but couldn't.
Acadian
Yes, who is the mysterious mushroom-eating elf in the opening? I wonder if she will cross paths with Jayne.

Well. We know how to get Jayne fired up now. Insult mudcrabs? No problem. Insult goblins? Them's fightin' words! tongue.gif
SubRosa
Is that blond elf with the summer bolette Lady Saga I wonder?

Jayne is facing her daedra by returning to the Feed Bag. That takes a lot of grit. Good on her!

Don't hold back Jayne, tell us how you really feel! laugh.gif I loved her near Mad Scientist rant. It reminded me of Bela Lugosi in Bride of the Atom.

Home? I have no home. Hunted, despised, living like an animal! The jungle is my home. But I will show the world that I can be its master! I will perfect my own race of people. A race of atomic supermen goblins which will conquer the world! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Well, there is always tomorrow to conquer the world.
Renee
Yes Lopov, Acadian, and SubRosa, that is Lady Saga in the beginning. smile.gif

I apologize for Jayne's behavior in that chapter, she was getting drunk and has been under a lot of stress.

Ha, that Bela Lugosi rant is awesome! I like it! That entire rant was stream-of-consciousness for me (as the writer). Sort of like automatic writing without the spiritual connotation. I just tap into what my toon would like to say. Sometimes it does surprise even myself.

Well let's see where this all goes next. Hmm. The Imperial City stuff is getting more expansive than expected. I might have to break it up again. Because I don't want to task myself just yet, plus I know everyone's busy.

cake.gif

----------------------------------------------------

Chapter IX: The Beggar

IPB Image


"Excuse me kind lady. Are ya Jayne Goodfall?" asked the old woman with the cracked voice as she plucked at Jayne's shoulder.

"Why yes, yes I am," Jayne answered, rather surprised. She closed the book she'd been poring through. "What can I do for you?"

After waking up to embarrassed thoughts about the night before, Jayne spent the day walking slowly through Imperial City's Market District, marveling at all the changes it had gone through. Gigantic multi-colored banners hung proudly from walls and columns. Barrels and crates were placed all over the plazas, probably due to an overstock of goods. A bathhouse and a bank had been added to the district's northern end.

But the most significant change were its people, confidently strutting about, engaging in light-hearted conversation on this sunny day. This final fact alone made the most difference to Jayne. Not that there were people in the market's courtyards, but that there were more of them. Some, she recognized, but most of them she didn't.

Jayne walked from shop to shop, seeking familiar faces, and was happy to see there were still plenty of them. Jensine of Jensine's "Good as New" Merchandise had maintained her shop. Jensine's main competition Thoronir was also happily in business. Wherever she went though, she wasn't being recognized. Which was maybe a good thing. She got a "Hello again" from Claudette Perrick of The Gilded Carafe, as though Claudette knew Jayne from all the times Jayne had come to buy herbs and mushrooms for one of her expeditions. This was all.

Jayne then sauntered into her favorite shop of all: First Edition Books. It was here that she was interrupted from a quick read of Goids and Worship.

"Might we go outside?" the woman, a beggar, asked of Jayne. The woman/beggar then nodded over toward Phintias, who was glaring. "Ah don't think he likes my kind," she whispered.

Jayne nodded. Carefully put the book back on its shelf, and both women left the shop.

"I remember you, though not your name," Jayne started once they were both back under glorious sunshine.

"I am Simplicia, they call me 'the Slow,' and I remember ya too! Saw ya walk on by in the market earlier. Might ye 'ave a moment of time to spare?"

"Well surely," answered Jayne. Now that she was back safely in the city, it seemed she might have all the time in the world, until her money ran out, of course. "My, the city has changed,"

"Yep. And I'm still livin' here, as ya can see. They 'aven't kicked me out yet, anyhow!" Simplicia cackled. "What are ya keepin' up to these days? 'eard about yer terrible tragic fleeing of the city some years ago, ya know."

"You .... you remember those days?" Jayne asked cautiously. "Yes. Well I had to flee. The Oblivion Crisis was all over, and folks were saying we'd all be under siege pretty soon. I panicked," Jayne said, knowing it was not exactly telling the whole truth. "I fled to Morrowind. I had no choice."

Jayne started to say something else, but then stopped. Where was the beggar going with her inquiry, here?

"Oh how awful! ... So ya lived in Morrowind all those years? ... Yes I had been wondering might 'ave happened to ya."

"Did you, now?" Again, Jayne being cautious. Unsure. A well-dressed man walked by Simplicia and Jayne, keeping his distance, probably glad he wasn't about to get hit up for 'a single coin,' since the beggar was engaged in discussion.

"There was such a stir about the 'ole goblin thing. Oh yes, I know who ya are. Jayne Goodfall, the Goblin Lady, oh yep I do know."

Jayne did not answer. Instead, she glanced around with slight worry, wondering if anyone was eavesdropping. Again, where was Simplicia going with this? Was Jayne about to get accused publicly for the mayhem she'd caused?

"It is so good of ya to 'ave returned," Simplicia answered with a genuine smile, erasing any doubts then and there. "Most people 'ere might have forgotten all about that night. That day. Not I. I was 'ere, like I am usually. I saw some of what 'appened, how those goblins and guards rampaged the district!"

"Yes," Jayne replied sadly. "I ... I do not know what to say about that. There were many things and events at the time which I surely wish I could change. You understand?"

Simplicia nodded. "I do. We all 'ave our moments. Even magic cannot cure them, eh?"

"Yes. Yes," Jayne shook her head slowly. "Uh, listen. While I have you here, might you have any idea why I haven't been arrested? For I left the city with a definite bounty upon my head."

"Oh, well I suppose ya'd have ta inquire over in the Prison District, per'aps. Or if ya fear goin' there, and rightfully so, I hear the Office of Imperial Commerce keeps records on all that. Usually folks go there if they've got themselves a complaint, a'course, but ye haven't no complaint then, have ye? Vinicia might then be happy to assist."

"I see. Thank you, Simplicia. Well, you say you were here on that fateful night. What exactly did you see?"

"Bruises and mayhem, that's what! It was all a flurry. From what I know, yes there was a death because of it all, one of the merchant's lackey's, I recall. But who's to say whether it wasn't some guard who'd caused that death by accident? ... Ye know? ... Who is to say?"

"I appreciate all your help, Simplicia. Uh, have a coin. I haven't much to spare, unfortunately."

"Thank ye kind lady!" the beggar's face lit up.

Jayne looked around the market again, nervously. Their conversation had been long, and (again) she feared maybe somebody had listened to it. But no one was even paying attention.

Their talk then turned to other things: Simplicia told Jayne she hadn't a clue what happened to her former office, but she was certain at least one of her former workmates was still in the city. "I know fer sure a fellow, a Bosmer, by the name of ... err .. Ignatiq? Is that 'is name? ... is still around. And might be the one in charge of yer former organization, even."

"Ignytiq?" Jayne's said in horror. "He's in charge?"

"As far as I know, he surely's still here. Can't say fer sure though whether he's as capable as you were... err... are. Ye might try looking for him over at the White Gold Tower itself. Or per'aps the Talos Plaza District. Seems to 'ave quite a liking for the Tiber Septim Hotel."

"I see. Well thank you." Jayne Goodfall said, sounding not very pleased.

"One more thing. 'ave a look down at the Waterfront, Jayne Goodfall. Ya might be surprised; there's a real live goblin living down there, amongst all the peoples!"

"You don't say!" Jayne smiled, and that smile felt good. "A ... goblin living down there? Why, this is good news! Really good news indeed!"

"Blessings of Anu upon ye!"

The day's light was fading. As a Black Horse Courier cryer began hawking at Jayne to take one of his free publications, Simplicia the Slow wandered off, to wherever she wandered off to when the day's light began to fade.

-----------------

Simplicia the not-so-Slow

Stealing a horse -- (this happened after meeting the guard a couple chapters ago. Take that you smug road patrol).

She apparently got away with it

There is a goblin who lives on the Waterfront peacefully with all the riffraff down there. This goblin gets added by the Better Cities conglomeration. Unfortunately he was nowhere to be seen during this session, so no pic.
Lopov
Neat story. I like it how you still continue to unfold events from Jayne's past, this time told from wise Simplicia the Slow.

I have a feeling that Ignatiq will play a rather important role in what's to come.
SubRosa
Ignite It is in charge? That does not sound good at all...

Jayne is definitely taking after Khareem with all these stolen horses.

Acadian
Like Lopov, I'm enjoying watching this story unfold. smile.gif

It was wonderful that you included Simplicia here to catch Jayne up on things in the IC - who better to know than a beggar? Simplicia played a small but important role very early in Buffy's fiction, and played a much larger, enduring role throughout Teresa's wonderful fiction by SubRosa.
treydog
Mysterious late-sleeping elves.... Alarm bells are ringing already.

The mudcrab conversation had me snorting my morning tea.

Indeed, Simplicia is far from slow. It is amazing how much one can pick up when they are “part of the scenery” or, as is the case with the beggar, people pretend to not see her at all.

Another excellent addition to this intriguing story.
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