Letters to an Innkeeper

My dearest Voghnar,

I’m sure you must have been wondering why your shipment of sujamma berries and kwama eggs is so late this month. My fool of a dunmer assistant has returned to the plantation early (and empty-handed, no less) with yet another tall tale. I do not believe that there is any truth to it, and I know not what I am going to do with him. Perhaps I’ll put him to work in the farm, or better yet, send him down into the mines to collect eggs (a few bites would do him good, don’t you think?)

I hope your business isn’t doing too badly for lack of the goods; I know how much your dunmeri patrons love Liliah’s sujamma. This batch should reach you quickly enough; Asgar seems to be a promising young lad, strong as a shalk, and his quick wit makes for a nice change in this dreary place. Remember to ask him about the time he caught and rode a dreugh all the way to Narsis, he’ll have your inn rolling about in tears.

Lledras insists on sending you his account of the “incident”, make what you want of it. Convey my love to Liliah (along with a little gift for her).

Yours truly,

Fenrik

***

Patron,

I must apologize to you for not being able to make your shipment to you this month. But I am sure you will understand once you hear my reasons, for I was privileged to a remarkably bizarre encounter that is truly unimaginable. Do you recall how I told you about the spellcasters I came across last year in an abandoned cave that I chose to spend the night in, and how they enchanted my guar so that it flew off with all the goods? This incident is stranger still!

I arrived in Davon’s Watch three days ago, and was making my way on the new road connecting Davon’s Watch to the beautiful city of Ebonheart. I longed to have a drink at the finest tavern in all of Stonefalls, the Ebony Flask (Have you ever lodged there? You surely must!), and greet my old friend Goveled. That drink was to be delayed, I’m afraid, for you would not believe what I saw on the road. Nay, I could not believe it myself, had these fleshless creatures not called out to me by name.

Skeletons. Yes, you read that right. There were about ten or fifteen of them, walking gaily along the road as if they did this every day, singing out loud of things that I dare not put to words. I clutched my guar closely as soon as I spotted them, and hid behind a large boulder so that I would go unnoticed. I was waiting for them to pass by, for fear that I would be abducted. That was when I saw that something was amiss, that it wasn’t just a band of laughing, singing skeletons. Huddled right in the center of the group, naked but for his smallclothes (as can be seen dancing in many of your northern inns) was a trembling nord begging for mercy. Clearly these skeletal beings were escorting him somewhere.

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I was mesmerized by this sight. I wanted to run away, and my guar kept trying to escape my grasp as well. But I decided, against all rational thought, to follow the skeletons and observe them from a safe distance (how often do you get to be a spectator to such things anyway!). This was the point my guar broke free of my grip and sprinted away, along with all the goods I was supposed to deliver. I shrieked after him, which in hindsight was a mistake, for one of the skeletons heard me and whispered in my head.

“Lledras,” said he (it?) in a hoarse, rasping voice, “Come, be merry with us! Watch as we turn this mortal into one of us.” The man beseeched me to help him, but I wasn’t sure of what I could have done.

I followed them at a distance, both enraptured at the sight, and horrified at the thought of what would happen to me once they were done with this man. He was a strange one too, I felt. At times he seemed to be petrified with fear, at others he appeared to be going along with the skeletons’ banter, as if it were a charade. As we neared Ash Mountain, the man pleaded for some water and a morsel of food, at which point one of the skeletons led him to a nearby lava pool, and offered to feed him his own flesh! Thankfully they decided not to follow through with this, although they did enjoy making the man walk around barefoot (did I mention he was naked?) on some newly cooled lava. He danced gleefully and sang along with them, and somehow he did not sustain any burns.

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All this time thoughts of escaping were forever in my head, but whenever I would hesitate, I would hear whispers of “Lledrasss,” from behind me, so I kept on going.

We arrived in Davon’s Watch, back where I’d started. Not one of the residents seemed to notice this strange procession; singing skeletons forcing along a naked man along the streets, although I did get some odd looks. Did I smell of fear? It was very likely. Vivec knows what they thought of me.

The courtyard in front of the Bank of Davon’s Watch was where they stopped. I hovered behind them to see that they had formed a circle around the man, as if they were about to embark on a ritual. And that they did, whispering stories of long gone ghosts and the ghosts to come, casting numerous arcane spells upon this poor individual, who was screaming in agony.

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At long last, he could take it no more and fell to the ground. The skeletons appeared to be satisfied, and starting chanting in unison:

Come to us, mortal, may you be stripped of all flesh until bones remain.

Come to us, mortal, may you be rid of all torment and worldly pain.

Come to us, mortal, may the Lord of Bones cleanse the blood from your veins.

Come to us, mortal, may lost souls forever shudder under your reign.”

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What happened next did not appall me in the least, and I myself was taken aback when I realized that I had been numbed by all the strange events of that evening. I watched on with mild interest, some intrigue even, as various layers of skin and tissue slowly began to disappear from the nord’s body. It was not a gruesome sight by any means, it seemed almost … natural. His arms and legs were the first to go, and then his torso and head also slowly faded away until all that was left of him was a fully beating heart contained within a faint shadow of his former self. His heart pulsed rapidly a few times before he sprang back to life. Wordlessly, he walked up to each of the skeletons, who appeared to be very baffled at this new development, as if this was not what they intended to happen, and started to furiously whisper amongst themselves. The man, or beating heart, waited patiently awhile, and suddenly he took off to the streets, screaming at the top of his voice, “I’m free! I’m free!”

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The skeletons just stood there for some time, scratching their heads (skulls?). I wondered if they had forgotten about me, and decided to slip off to the market square. Just as I was leaving, I heard the same dreadful rasping voice inside my head, “Lledrasssss, you’re next!” Terrified, I stole a guar from the stables and ran as far as I could towards the plantation.

That concludes my strange tale of how I lost the goods that were to be delivered to you, patron, as well as my guar. The farm owners are not at all pleased about the replacement guar, as it trampled over and ate all the cabbages. I now have to tend to those cabbages, so I’m afraid I might not see you again. So once again, I must apologize for these unfortunate events, but know that I am not sorry to have witnessed them.

Lledras Sedrethi

“Guar Stealer”

Written by Lariana of the Nirnroot
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Dar’Raksadarg – 05: Out of the Darkness

That was a close call.

Almost lost my free horse but who can outrun an Khajiit? No one including horses, though I hope this also includes dragons.

I wonder if dragons have a hierarchy like we do. If so, then some of those flying creatures might not like me so much once I become Dragonborn. Best to be aware of this possibility and make plans accordingly so chasing horses is a good way to stay in shape.

Sure is dark out here.

Dar1

Clearly the darkness is an issue for my horse as well since he stumbled over a bandit and broke all their bones.

Dar2

Naturally I was tossed off my horse when this incident occurred, but I landed on my feet without any injury to my body.

That was when my instincts went haywire – the bandit body on the road was turning dark blue quickly, a ghostly figure moved about in the back and those poisonous plants illuminated as if inviting you over for a taste.

dar3

What is this? Another horse! I’m going to buy a stable and setup shop, I must be a natural stable-master since horses flock to me.

In all fairness, I reckon there could be an attraction between the horses for each other and my charm has nothing to do with it. J’arzgo would believe it was his charm but I’m much more enchanting than he is.

I best get focused on my mission, if I’m the Dragonborn then I must save the world! Can you imagine J’arzgo’s reaction when it’s me that saves Tamriel from these beasts? I relish in the thought.

Dar4

Sure hope Whiterun is nearby, the darkness is slowing down my travel time. Those lanterns sure help. I best sing to warn anyone on the road of my presence. Running over someone with my horse again would be a bad thing.

“Once was a Khajiit,
Who was a clever as a sheep,
In the springtime somewhere Elsweyr.”

That’s my favorite song. Someone ruined it by changing the lyrics about some woman. Bah! That’s like writing songs about bandits and their women.

“Ha! Found you!” A woman’s voice shouted in the darkness.

Since I’m not lost it’s clear she isn’t talking to me. Her ability to see in the darkness is impressive. I certainly can’t find anything and my eyes are the best of the best.

What manner of magic is this?! She’s burning my fur! Now I’m mad! I can’t see the stirrup to put my paw in to dismount.

I’m melting! This is not going well.

“J’ARZGO! THIS IS YOUR FAULT!!”

Dar5

***

“I’ve been looking for you, got something for your hands only. Let’s see here now… I got a letter of inheritance and some gold. Looks like that’s it. Oh, and sorry for your loss.”

There wasn’t much left of Dar’Raksadarg when his body was found the next morning. The Imperial soldiers just laughed as they passed by, making comments about what a fine rug that cat would have made if it wasn’t so burned.

Tirvril – 03: Black-Thorn’d Roses

Dearest Mylindra,

I scratch this out with haste while I walk through Daggerfall, on my way to an inn called the Rosy Lion – I have begun the pursuit of Truth!

As I’m certain you remember, I had found that note with the list of three items upon it.  I chose to follow it in logical order, starting with the first item – Three Blood Oranges.  I left Roy’s body and headed for the Grocer in the Market Square, owned by a rather roguish man, hair tied back in a tight bun, clothing a bit tattered.  His name was Christoph Lamant, and he looked rather confused when I mentioned three blood oranges.  Once I explained how I came upon the note, he made explained that the dead man, who’s name is – was – Roy, was a King’s Intelligence Agent!

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Immediately I thought it to be another mention of Copper and her Ring of Dagger’s, but unfortunately this turned out to be a mention of King Casamir’s intelligence, the leader of Daggerfall, rather than King Emeric’s intelligence, High King of all of High Rock.  A lesser intelligence, but still an intelligence, eh?

Christoph also informed me that Roy – or perhaps the people Roy was spying upon, that part was unclear – may have been involved in Dark Magic.  Yes, I know what you are thinking and I am as well!  Molag Bal!  How is he involved in all of this??  I am beginning to suspect that our good Cleric Talborad may have struck upon something, though nothing yet proves the Chancellor’s involvement.

When I asked further questions about dark magic, Christoph refused to involve himself further and asked me to leave.  I moved on to the next item on the list: a Crescent Emblem Cloak – oh, how that description itself gave me shivers!  It is the perfect item to lead with in the article – make a note of that, for I am bound to forget.

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Where was I…ah yes, the cloak!  The tailor’s stall stands in the same market as the grocer, staffed by a hairy gentlemen in a lilac tunic, very pleasant and welcoming, named Kareem.  When I walked up to him he suggested I choose something in silk – though flattered, I asked outright for “a crescent emblem cloak.”

His eyes, Mylindra!  They revealed all I needed to know!  This man knew exactly what I was talking about.  He grew afraid, head swiveling, and leaned in closer.

“Where’s Roy?”

I explained what had happened, and Kareem seemed genuinely upset.  He asked after the dog, and I realized, with a touch of surprise, I had completely forgotten about the loyal hound.  I had no answer for him.

While I didn’t get an actual cloak, I received something even better – confirmation that I am dealing with the world of dark magic!  But after a cryptic statement about “information channels” that lit my mind afire with possibilities, Kareem closed his mouth and his shop.

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Next on the list – Black Roses with Thorns.  Off to the florist.  A lovely young woman named Diane, very astute and professional yet warm and friendly.  She wore a long green dress with an intricate design down the front in silver.

Her face, Mylindra, when I asked for black thorn roses…it paled, slacked a little, her eyes wide.

“You’ll get yourself killed.”  This she told me a little while later, after demanding to know why Roy was not in front of her and how I had learned the code word..  Yes, the code word!  Apparently Roy used these three traders to get word to the Captain of the guard and the King’s Intelligence about certain goings-on in the dark magic world – and “roses with black thorns” was one of the most dire of warnings!

“If I die in the pursuit of Truth, I die gladly,” I replied in what I thought to be a very gallant tone.  Diane just sighed.  I went on, “Roy and I are quite similar. We both believe certain information should be made available to certain people.  The only difference is that I believe “certain people” to be “everyone.”

To this Diane studied me for a moment, then said,

“Go see Captain Aresin.  He’s commander of the guard here in Daggerfall.”

See Mylindra?  I know you have little faith in the belief that the truth is always best and “will set you free” and other such clichés, but they are true!  I am more certain than ever that this is a story that will set the world alight – following the trail of information truly is exciting!

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The tranquil Western bridge. You can just make out the Castle to the right, those tall spires

I immediately set off for Castle Daggerfall, which soars above the city to the North.  To get to the staircase leading to the castle, you must cross a most tranquil and beautiful bridge.  It crosses a shallow river, and is on the opposite side of the city from where I discovered poor Roy’s body.

It began to rain as I crossed the bridge.  I pulled my cowl closer about my face, tucking my parchments inside my shirt.  Just as I had secured my pen in my pocket, a strange mist popped into existence directly in front of me, coalesced to a solid form, and stood up, all within a single moment!!

I reacted by dropping my mouth open and staggering back.  The man – for he was clearly a man now – yelled something I couldn’t understand or was too stunned to hear, and leapt at me.

From my right a short shape disengaged itself and intercepted the attacker – a Banekin!  From the Daedric realms!  Lighting flashed down from the sky, struck the man and nailed him to the cobblestone.  The Banekin skipped and skittered in their typical fashion, quite gleefully if I must be honest.

The man climbed to his feet, wicked dagger in hand.  He had cropped red hair, shaved on one side, and dark tattoos or paint covering his eyes.  I roused my strength and ran into the fray, beating at him with my fists.  I had no thought for my dagger – I must defeat this man immediately, as quickly as possible, before he can summon his strength and strike me!

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The valiant, unnamed hero who came to my aid! As well as my Banekin companion

I and the Banekin pummeled him, but he would not fall.  Just as my strength began to flag, a warrior appeared like Ysgrammor himself had come to my aid!  The gallant hero struck the attacker down with a single blow from his blood-stained axe and, with hardly a pause, continued down the bridge as though nothing had happened.  I called out my thanks to him, but he did not acknowledge me.  Breath heaving a bit more than I would have liked, I turned to the Banekin.  It looked up at me, grinned, and varnished.

I can only assume the Mages Guild has given me a Familiar of some sort to protect me in my travels – for which I am exceedingly grateful!  Without that Banekin I would certainly have died at the first blow from the assassin  – yes, assassin!  For that is what he must have been, sent to kill me for interceding in this matter—

But that is a thought for later.  I proceeded most cautiously to the foot of the castle steps, avoiding the shadows, where Captain Aresin waited.  He stood at the edge of the promontory, looking out over the Market Square.

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At first he tried to usher me away as yet another visitor, but when I explained that I had information from Roy and the exact nature of that information, the Captain immediately engaged me with the exclamation, “Mara’s Hands!” (a new use of the Goddess’ name that I have never heard before – could you enter it in my running list of phrases?  The list is in the top drawer of my desk, please make a new column titled “High Rock – Daggerfall”, thank you).

He made mention of “dark nature magic” – is this Daedric magic, or some other form of magic?  I had no time to ask any questions.  The Captain, as suits his position, is a brusque, serious person, shaved head, narrowed eyes, a gigantic Greatsword slung over his back like a weightless rucksack.  Quite a noble bearing as well, despite the lack of hair.

To summarize, the Captain requested that I assume Roy’s role.  Well, he may not have said those words exactly, but I can read between the syllables.  I am to gather more information for him from a contact at the Rosy Lion Innan Orc, no less!! – and who better to gather information than Tirvril Dathnim, Cyrodill’s most famous information distributor??

Oh, make a note of that name, “information distributor” – perhaps some amalgamation of those words for the future paper of news you had mentioned some months back!

My hand grows tired from writing so quickly – I will give this note to the Mages Guild as soon as I return from the Rosy Lion Inn.

Tirvril 

Tirvril – 02: Murder in the Markets

Mylindra!  The most astonishing events have occurred!  I can hardly hold my quill – it was so astoundingly astounding – wondrous – thrilling!

As I had mentioned in my last letter, I went out for air and a walk about town before bedding down for the night.   Even at the late hour, with dusk just enveloping the city, dozens – possibly hundreds – of people were about.  But unlike the Imperial city, so many had creatures in tow!  Gloriously winged things out of nightmares – although more likely a Daedric denizen, some poor evil soul bound to a Necromancer or some such nonsense – dogs, cats, bears, panthers, even Guar from my native homeland – and they must have cost a comely coin to import.

I made my way to the largest pack of adventurers – for that is how most were dressed, in the most outlandish colors, brandishing the most fiendish of weapons – elbowing my way through the crowd.  No one paid any attention; the Mage disguise worked perfectly.

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Just one of the many ornately ornamented citizens. This one must have some kind of Daedric-obsessed metalsmith.

I found myself inside the smithy, a room vast as Almalexia’s Hall yet I could hardly move, nor take a breath for the stench of sweat and scaled metal.  And can you believe not a single artisan sold me a dagger??  The metalsmith primly informed me the weapons he sells are much too complicated for a man of my inclinations (and I can only guess as to those inclinations) and refused me service.  Incredible.

Politely I requested the materials to build one myself – do not laugh – and was promptly informed he does not sell the materials.  At last he directed me to the Market Square, some ways to the East from the smithy.

400 gold coins.  400!!  For a flimsy dagger no thicker than my fingernail.  I can hardly cut a potato without fear of it breaking.  I shall have to perform a number of well-paid favors for Valaste if I am to survive out here.

The weaponsmith who sold me - no, swindled me out of 400 coins
The weaponsmith who sold me – no, swindled me out of 400 coins

Dagger tucked firmly in my belt, I began to retrace my steps back to the Mages Hall.  I had just passed the Southern entrance when a large, honey colored dog ran up to me and planted itself firmly in my path, barking and trying to tug on my tunic!  You would have instantly noticed its intelligence, my dear Mylindra.  This was no dumb mutt, and it clearly had a purpose.  It went a little ways ahead on the path and then turned around, as though waiting for me.   Of course I followed…

dog
So unassuming, yet brilliant…

A body, Mylindra!  A dead one!

The dog led me to a dead man lying on a small patch of muddy grass in the middle of a pond next to a bridge.  He was face down, splayed out as though knocked on the back of the head.

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Next to him lay a soggy note, the ink nearly bled clean through but still legible.   It read:

Grocer – Three Blood Oranges

Tailor – Crescent Emblem Cloak

Florist – Black Roses with Thorns

Can you believe the luck, Mylindra?  Not for the poor dead man of course, but already a Title story!

And yes, before you knit your eyebrows together, I did try to inform the guards.  But none would believe me!  I assume it was because I am a Dunmer.  The woman I spoke to, a green-skinned Orc with an axe to grind (don’t you miss my puns?), was cold and aloof and wrote things down in her notebook without actually looking at it.  I am certain she was drawing circles.  I could tell she did not trust me, and at one she point mentioned that Mages were a “crafty lot” and I might have murdered him myself.

At that point Mylindra, I realized I, as an outsider, Faction enemy and stranger, would most likely be framed for this man’s murder – so I have no choice but to pursue Truth and Justice on my own.

It is too dark to begin the search now, most of the market stalls will be closed.  Though it is bright as dawn here in my room, they have the most marvelous Mage Lights all about this Hall.  Candles and torches seem almost archaic in this place of high magic.  You would love the lights, Mylindra.

Ah, I cannot sleep!  I can see the words now: MURDER IN DAGGERFALL.  No, that’s too obvious.  A BUSHEL OF DAGGERS.  GROCER, TAILOR, FLORST, MURDERER.  No…

Use your talent for titles, Mylindra – this story deserves it, I can feel it!

Your Loving Friend,

Tirvril

Vipsania – 03: Alchemy is a Killer

Later that day I wandered, still shoe-less, into the Woodworking and Alchemy building.  Lots of noise, saws and toxic smells.

I tried my hand at picking the lock of a small chest on one of the tables, but the alchemist walked by just as I was getting the hang of it and confiscated my lockpick.

She needs to take a chill potion.
Super Bitch.  Sutch, if you will.

I seriously suck at this thieving business. 

So I settled for snatching a bird call whistle from a basket.  It’s made of silver and very shiny, so probably expensive – score!


 

 Sadly, Miss Vipsania passed away shortly after writing this.  As she mentions above, she had stolen a number of items and was caught by Alchemist Justal trying to open the lockbox.  The Guards received word of this and, when Miss Vipsania was later pointed out to them by Miss Justal, a Guard pursued. 

Miss Vipsania, willing to return all the stolen items but unable to pay the 7 coin bounty nor possessing the muscle mass to intimidate the Guard, was forced to flee into the woods outside the city.  She appeared to be making for the river, perhaps in hopes of swimming to safety. 

The Guard, however, used a gap spell, pulled Miss Vipsania close and stabbed her through the back (forgive the gruesome description, I wish to be thorough). 

The noble, duty-bound Guard who caught Miss Vipsania.  She is to receive the Medal of Valor for her staunch commitment to enforcement.
The noble, duty-bound Guard who caught Miss Vipsania. She is to receive the Medal of Valor for her staunch commitment to enforcement.

Miss Vipsania, known by name only through these papers discovered on her person and without any kin claiming her, was entombed in the Unknown Crypt beneath the Daggerfall Cathedral at dawn this morning.  Her personal papers, along with this note, will be buried alongside her should in future anyone come to claim her body.

Priest Farher

Vipsania – 02: Still no Shoes

Still No Shoes

I stepped outside as the sun rose high and bright above the pointy spires of Daggerfall.  A woman, Roulena, raked the grass outside.  She watched me step out of the house and didn’t bat an eye other than to comment about her workload, so I played it cool and acted like I always stepped out of that house without shoes, half of me ready for battle and the other half ready for bed.

You can just make out Mihayya in the background.
You can just make out Mihayya in the background.

I asked Roulena where the stores were, and she directed me to the Tradesmen’s Square nearby.  But before I could go ten paces, a woman named Mihayya stopped me.  She leaned nonchalantly against a post, flipping a coin.

Turns out Coldharbor had actually dumped me into the sea!  Some Captain, who’s name starts with a C or a K, had found me floating (hopefully upright) in the water offshore and brought me to Daggerfall.  Mihayya suggested I join up with the Captain’s crew, as she’s shorthanded.  I said I would, but that’s a lie.  I’m not a huge sea-goer.  I like me boots on the ground, thank you very much.  Maybe if I happen to pass by the docks later I’ll tell someone to pass along a thank you.

I continued on to the market.  But first, I decided to try out my lockpicking skills on a house next to the one in which I had woken—

–and broke my one and only lockpick.  Really Vipsania??

Really.

I had found the perfect angle, hunched down by the door while the Pact Guard was turned the other way, and then proceeded to break it after five tries.  This is why I need to join the Thieves Guild.

Left without a single lockpick or coin to my name, I went uneventfully to the market.  Though I did laugh when I passed by the bank.

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As a group, they don’t smell so great.

Any thought of stealing my shoes or coin from the market went out of my head the moment I stepped inside.  Full to the brim with all manner of people and races and creatures, it hummed with life.  And prying eyes.  I pretended to browse a few of the books scattered around about crafting of various sorts, eyeing the occasional pack and trunk in the corner, but none offered a suitably discreet spot.  I briefly considered grabbing a pair of boots sitting to the side of the anvil, but the thought of a Guard sword through the back stopped me.  In fact, the only item I could steal was out back in a sack and called saltrice – some kind of cooking ingredient, from the looks of it – but what am I supposed to do with that?  I have no idea how to cook anything.

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I wandered back to the small, crowded square with its pleasant fountain and hordes of people and leaned against the stone wall, watching the antics in front of me.  People leaping from the fountain, falling down, sprinting past, teleporting in and out, riding camels, casting spells, praying—

–the church!  Always open, always quiet, always filled with some kind of rich goody or another.  And there it was, directly across the square.

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Why do Gods need the best houses, when they don’t even live here??

It was a Cathedral with a shrine to Mara – no surprise, in Daggerfall – and the priest outside ironically advised me to “Find what I seek” inside.  A rather fierce sermon was in progress when I entered, so no one felt like chatting when I sidled up to them.  Or maybe it was because I needed a shower.  I quickly made for the dark corners and rummaged through barrels and crates.

I made out with some greens and ginger for food (hardly worth mentioning), a two tined carving fork (worth a bit of coin) and – best of all – a lock pick!  Worth listening to the preacher drone on about Kynareth and Zenithar for that.

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Someone had clearly been here before me.

I left the church and turned left, towards a bridge.  At the edge of it was a beggar, who kept shouting about “being next”.  Now, I like to keep my head down, but I also like a bit of adventure – no, a heaping dish of adventure.  So I humored him, asked him what was up.  He told me to head into the trade district and ask around about murdered beggars.  I’ve also been in his shoes – or bare feet, as it were – begging on the streets, so I might have made a few more promises than I should have.  Since I didn’t have any coin, I gave him the food I had found in the Church.  If my wanderings took me to the trade district and the right people, I’d ask around for him.

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And then do you know what happened right then?  Someone tried to pick-pocket the Guard on the bridge!  Rolled right up to the Guard’s back, all cloaked in darkness, visible just at the edges if you looked at the right angles, and pounced.

But not fast enough.

The Guard whirled around, the man fled – the Guard struck him in the back and the thief fell.  Then he scrambled up, climbed up on to the side of the bride and leapt off!  As though it were three feet high!  I ran to the side and leaned over.  The thief ran up out of the water and around the back side of the Cathedral, drawing the shadows around him again.  The Guard pursued the entire way, until I couldn’t see them anymore no matter how far over I leaned.

Looking over the bridge.
Looking over the bridge, thief long gone.

I tell you, Daggerfall is an exciting place.  Perhaps it is a better choice than Riften after all.

 

THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES…

Vipsania – 01: Origins

ORIGINS

Gods don’t mean much until you meet one.  Well, I didn’t exactly meet Molag Bal – I met a creature made of bones that was some sort of aspect of him, and heard an appropriately-deep God-like voice a couple of times, but still.  Gods aren’t normally part of my life, so it was pretty cool.

Turns out I’m dead, but not.  I’ve got no soul, but I’ve still got my body.  Strange part is I still feel the same as I always did.  Long story short, a batshit sorcerer named Mannimarco needs souls to power his nefarious deeds and mine happened to be one of them.  I was walking along the road to Riften and boom

Mace to the face.

Woke up in Coldharbor, Molag Bal’s realm, and a giant woman with arm muscles the size of my face broke me out immediately.  She had extremely perfect timing.  Met a creepy old blind man with a hood who wouldn’t call me by my real name no matter how many times I said it, some ugly bitches with horns, and a fabulously eccentric man with a pot on his head.  I missed a lot of what they were jabbering on about, concerned as I was with the state of my soul, the wondrousness of being in a God’s realm and the curiosity of having clothes in the afterlife.  Plus they kept wanting me to do things, like kill everything with swords, interrupt spells, destroy Sentinels…it was way too much effort for being dead.

Finally we got the old man busted out and he showed me a play with ghosts about the fate of the world and some King’s necklace, but I like to keep my head down and listening to him seems to entail the exact opposite.  So I nodded dutifully, followed behind him and wondered if that wonderful man with the tin pot hat would be back.

He never showed by the time I left – and it was just me who left. The giant woman sacrificed herself so the old man, the Prophet – I swear I thought she had been saying “profit” for the longest time – could come back with me.  Good on her, I’d never have done it.  I mean, think about it.  These two were very serious about needing to save the world from the asshole who killed me, and they think leaving the Indestructible Woman behind in favor of the Decrepit Old Blind Man is the way to go?  Made me feel better about ditching them, I’ll tell you.

Although I didn’t completely ditch them by choice.  I jumped into the Anchor (yes, that’s with a capital A due to its sheer immensity and power), closed my eyes from the blinding light and –

–woke up in Daggerfall.

Alone.

In a strange house.

What???

Sure, it was an improvement from Coldharbor, but I had been on my way to Riften…and not to be picky since I had just been saved from a terrible and certainly painful afterlife with the God of Butality…but couldn’t I have landed somewhere a bit closer to Riften?

And Daggerfall is so…religious.  It’s all temples and priests and those pompous Templars with their condescending righteousness.  I wanted Riften – drunken Nords, quaffing beer in a bard-filled hall with enough people to around for no one to notice a few items going missing.

My chosen career path will be slightly more difficult in Daggerfall.  And start here I must, since I’m wearing only the stupidly thin clothes from Coldharbor – you can’t even really call them rags – and have a giant great sword that I don’t know how to use and attracts attention faster than a sober Nord.

No, I will not run to Riften – I will make my first steps here, in Daggefall!  They must have a Thieves Guild.  It’s an international organization, my sister told me so.  I’m counting on it.  I won’t go back to the Imperial City no matter what.  It is not an option.

So with that decided, it’s time to take stock of what I have in this small room into which I was magically – and quite unceremoniously – transported.  It’s small but clean, with a fire on one end and a bed on the other.  A few bookshelves with, as luck – or fate – would have it, Wulfmare’s Guide to Better Thievery.  I read it while munching on the bread and radishes left on the table (To Oblivian with the risks!).  The bread is crusty – the resident must have left long ago.  It strikes me, as I lean back and put my feet up, that this must be a woman’s room.  It’s far too clean to have a male resident, and the bed is too small for more than one person.

Screenshot-Original

The thought of her returning gets me up and about.  Two cups of tea sit next to the bread, one Jasmine and the other Rose Herbal tea.  I hurriedly down both – neither travels well – and grab a pack left by the bed.  Inside I find a rawhide belt.  I have a thought – why not start my illustrious career right here, in this very room?  I need clothes, and this room has a wardrobe.  I yank it open and discover a worn Jack.  It has the faint hum of magic about it, as though it has a spell cast upon it.  But it’s much more attractive than the tattered Coldharbor shirt, so I swap it out for the midriff-revealing Jack.  The rawhide belt goes atop it, and the empty pack over my shoulder.  Inside the nightstand I find a small cork-stopped glass vial filled with red liquid.  My sister forced me to read more books than I would have liked in the Imperial City, and this liquid I recognized from an introductory Alchemy text – a Health potion.  I put it carefully into the pack.  Also inside the nightstand was a piece of stone, which was either a rustic paperweight or something involved in blacksmithing.   Since the extent of my knowledge on blacksmithing is hitting a piece of something with a hammer, and because of the sheer weight of the damn thing, I left it there.  The third prize was a lockpick – which I obviously kept and put in my pocket  (Funny, that whoever designed Molag Bal’s afterlife ensemble went with pockets.  It seems much too convenient for a freezing hell of a world).  Lastly, I “borrowed” the iron sword leaning up against the fireplace.  The heavy Great Sword just isn’t my thing, and the smaller blade ties nicely to my new Rawhide belt.

Vipsania dressed
My snazzy new top ~

Well!  Things are looking up.  Now my biggest concern is shoes.  For some reason running across rocks and dirt freezing as ice yet hot as coals didn’t bother me, but here, in the wood-floored room, I am distinctly aware of it.  Plus, I do not want the people outside thinking me a beggar.  Not going down that path again.  So where to find shoes…someone’s house, a store perhaps…

Time to explore!

Her adventure continues…