Dar’Raksadarg – 02: Murder, Moon Sugar, Thalmor, Oh My!

They never take outsiders to the city dungeons.

Criminals aren’t allowed to see the fine citizens who never do anything wrong. I know this all too well. As one of the cats from Elsweyr, I know the truth: mistrust and mistreatment spreads far and wide within Skyrim.

Those guards pushed and tossed me about, then shoved me into some cell, slamming the door behind me. It was my wisdom that said I am more fortunate to be here than with my mouth taped like that other prisoner in the cart with me. The thought alone brings pain to my whiskers and traumatizes me at the sheer idea of the tape being removed. Hope that man didn’t have a beard! But I still have a problem…

I’m locked away in some empty cell.

Abandoned.

I knew trouble was brewing; we Khajiits can sniff it out faster than a charging bear. So I am most surprised, considering my instinctual skills, to find myself inside a cell with no lockpick to use, a grumbling stomach and an old Lady Mara statue.

Odd place for this temple item.

I studied the statue, considering it was the only thing in the room worth looking at.  A woman’s voice floated in my head to approach her and I looked around sharply. My whiskers twitch. A woman is always trouble.

No one understands the secret behind being curious more than a Khajiit. It was curious that this statue was here, curious how I was drawn to it, but most curious is how she told me that I was a caravan guard when I touched her.

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It is good to be curious, because where one opportunity ends another appears. Today I go from being an undercat to a proud guardsman. I suppose I will check into this Dragonborn nonsense later. For now, I’m off to my new job. Surely a guard is more powerful and superior to a mage. But a dragon guard? Time to work my skills and get some perks from them!

I reach out to the statue a second time…

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That’s the last time I’m ever touching some lady statue!

Where am I? There’s no caravan that I’m guarding, just some empty campsite and butterflies fluttering about. Shame they aren’t birds. I’m hungry and lost with only butterflies that aren’t fit to eat. Don’t let those alchemists fool you, eating alchemy ingredients is not healthy. Jarrin root is never to be eaten first – that’s the oldest wise tale of them all. It’s so rare of a ingredient that no one will ever find one to test out that theory!

But me, I got my trusty nose to sniff out danger and poisonous food. Drink, too. Khajiits do drink and often are known as milk drinkers. Not me, though. Ale and mead are my drinks of choice. Not my mother’s, mind you.

One thing I know is that I’m better than any college mage in Winterhold. My cousin is only kidding himself about who is better. Might as well add our fathers into the mix. This is all their fault. Always trying to beat out the other, often times while swinging J’Zargo or myself back and forth in front of the other’s face. Their son was always better than the nephew and that made their tug-o-power game more ridiculous, using their cub children as weapons.

Over the years my cousin and I were pitted against each other until J’Zargo’s ego got too big for the arena. I drank myself silly for three days after he left for college. Good thing my mother found me, floating down stream on my back while trying to balance four mead bottles on my stomach. She claimed I was sinking and suggested next time to use empty bottles. Ah, mothers are good to have.

I bet J’zargo probably never made it to Skyrim and those letters he sent home were probably filled with venomous nonsense about how evil Skyrim was and they shouldn’t come for a visit for safety reasons–

Ha! That’s it! I’m going to Winterhold to see if my old cousin is really there. Best check around this campsite for anything useful then head to Winterhold. Ah yes, dear cousin….can’t wait to count out your coin when you lose the bet. I am the real Dragonborn and far more powerful than you.

What’s this? Bah! Nothing is free anymore and the tents are filled with items I could use. I want to take it all, I really do… but should I is what tugs at me.

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Hearing footsteps off in the distance, I peer up over a rock to take a peek. There’s a guard on patrol and a city sitting nestled in a mountainside further back.

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What did granny teach me about Skyrim geography….the city of stone. The Khajiits would love it there for its high ledges and lots of room to stretch out among the stones.

Markarth. That’s it…Markarth! Good old Grandpawma would be so proud, this is proof I paid attention to her cartography lessons. Skyrim is small compared to Tamriel so I got lucky that she never quizzed me on the world.

Might as well go check out the city.

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This wasn’t a good idea at all.

That poor woman, killed right in front of me by some Forsworn agent! Those guards didn’t look happy when I inspected the bodies, but they never saw my paws swipe some goods off them. Keys are much better than lockpicks and any key you come across is worth keeping.

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But a note shoved under your nose by some stranger who claims it belongs to you is another matter. Some marked-up young kid named Eltrys wanted to know if I was alright, and asked what I knew about the attack.

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Like I would know? I barely found this town and he thinks I know about the attack?! After politely putting the note into my pocket I left Markarth. Probably a good thing, too. Those guards needed someone to blame and a lone cub on the loose would have made for a fine rug for their barracks.

I spotted a farm on the way out with crops ready for harvesting, and I with a belly to fill.

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An elderly couple fussed at each other, the husband being more stubborn than a mule stuck in mud. If it wasn’t for his sweet wife greeting me warmly, those potatoes would have been mine. The grumpy old man and sweet older woman were more than happy to pay me to harvest their crops.

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My stomach didn’t care much for that idea but I still made the exchange to put some coin into my pocket. Not like Khajiits aren’t excellent hunters, plus I can always purchase food.

Ah..there they are. The caravan members are back and they are completely ignoring me. I must be in trouble for leaving my post. Best not to mention the marketplace incident then.

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“Greetings.”

I acknowledged the Khajiit sitting in the tent. They are the important ones. The caravan leader is the only one permitted to sit while all others must perform duties to maintain the campsite. You only speak to the others after addressing the leader first. It’s not really a rule…more like a guideline for understanding and recognizing rank within the colonies of Khajiits.

“You wish to buy something?” Ri’saad replied as he remained seated under the flap of his tent.

“No, no, just checking in.”

“There is no moon sugar. Come back later.” The reply was short and curt.

Shor’s beard! One can get moon sugar here?

“Huh?” Was the only thing I could think of to say.

Ri’saad looked up and repeated slowly, “There is no moon sugar. Come back later.”

“Oh. Well. I’ll keep that in mind. However, I just was reporting in and ready to assume my guard duties.”

“Huh?” Was the only thing Ri’saad could think of to say.

“Guard duty. I was sent here by Lady Mar..” Somehow when I went to explain myself my instincts felt it just didn’t seem right, so I stopped. “Perhaps you could just point me toward Winterhold?”

“Ah yes, we are so proud of him. Imagine, one of us as a mage? A mage!” Ri’saad fisted his hands and raised them sharply in the air, proudly. “It’s like a dwarf finding a mine! What a golden opportunity and great fortune for the College. Makes them much more powerful indeed.”

So he is here. The worm is already spreading lies about being a powerful mage.

“Know where any dragons are?” My right whiskers began to twitch slightly as I plotted finding the dragon first, then showing up in dragon form! Flying in to land in their courtyard, blocking entry and exit into that rickety old college before requesting to see my cousin. I relish in the thought!

“They say Helgen got hit by a dragon.” Ri’saad replied as if being asked about dragons was an everyday occurrence. “Head to Whiterun across that bridge, it will lead you toward Helgen.”

I certainly will learn to rephrase my questions and avoid asking about dragons from now on. Perhaps I will go to Winterhold first to get my cousin and use him to blow up the dragons! Now that’s power!

“The college is which way?”

“North, stay along the coast but avoid the watchtowers. All sorts of nasty people in them and they will come after you. Can’t miss the College and its long bridge. Path won’t lead you to warm sand.” Ri’saad tossed me a small bag. “One for the road. Use wisely.”

I thanked the old merchant for his directions and bag of moon sugar. It should come in handy when some energy pickup is needed. Time to find my cousin and prove he is outmatched by me. I turned around–

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THALMOR!

Those worthless, liberty-stealing worshipers of non-mortal Gods were stopped right in front of the camp. The lead Thalmor was informing his prisoner that Talos worshiping is not tolerated. Not by Nords. Not by Khajiits. My whiskers were twitching with danger warning signals going haywire within my instincts. That long-eared wizard Thalmor looked over at one female kitty, whom I had noticed earlier.

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Such a beauty…

Sure could use a traveling mate. Maybe I’ll come back for her after I’m a dragon and my cousin is following as my housecat. Don’t need to be powerful, just impressive. She did have a mesmerizing smile that dazzled my young heart… hope they don’t hurt her, otherwise I might need to get mean.

Luckily the Thalmor got no fight from the caravan, and they finally moved on with their prisoner. I really wanted to jump in and free him, but the odds weren’t very much in my favor. Along with the main Thalmor leader were two other Thalmor Justiciars in fine Elven armor. That armor would have looked handsome on me, but the fight to get the attire wasn’t worth it, at least not for my health. I gave my good-byes to the camp and a sweet wink at Lajjan before I departed for my new journey.

It’s official now, I’m definitely coming back for her.

THE STORY CONTINUES…

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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…

Dar’Raksadarg – 01: Prelude

“Son, you are now a cub scout!”

Dar’Rakr had his big paw resting on my shoulder, facing me. “Roarhahaha, that’s a joke, Lil’cat. What I mean is, you are now a cub dragon. ROARHAHAHA!”

I stared without expression at my father. I already knew the details; those were given to me by my mother. Through her tears I managed to figure out that my father was sending me to Skyrim. No surprise there. My cousin J’zargo was attending college in Winterhold without any tuition fees plus free room and board, compliments of the Arch Mage. J’zargo was the first Khajiit to attend the College of Winterhold, so special treatment for him, I guess. My fire-red eyes flickered as my whiskers twitched when my father told me a minor detail of the journey. You know, those details that everyone leaves out:

“Dragons have come back to Skyrim. I see in your eyes that you are the real Dragonborn.”

“I’m not sticking around to fight a dragon!” No more!  I yield to my father’s craziness.  I will now begin to search for jarrin root.

“All you need to do is find that finger-wiggling disgrace of a skeever-mage named J’zargo and watch him crumble when he learns you are a dragon!” My father’s tail was wagging so fast from the sheer joy of beating out his brother that I swear it was about to fly off.

“You want me to go Skyrim, become a dragon and tell J’zargo about it?” Never hurts to get the real details so I asked.

“Powerful idea, isn’t it? Roarhahaha!” My father was shoving a backpack into my arms while my mother was frantically trying to fill it with food and drink. “Time to end this little game with my brother! You are the greatest and most powerful of all. But not as a mage! Go forth, cubbyson and show everyone who the real Dragonborn is! Just make sure you prove it to J’zargo and send that whimpering, weak, milk-drinker home! ROARHAHAHA!”

“I don…” My eyes narrowed at him as he shoved some catnip mixed with moon sugar into my mouth. “Wha…” The last thing I remembered was my father pouring ale down my throat.

The next thing I recalled was smiling up at some Imperial guards on patrol. Apparently it is not legal for Khajiits to cross the border without having a caravan license. Minor detail my father overlooked. Nor is it legal anywhere in Skyrim to pass out while under the influence and not know how you got there. So they put me into a wagon filled with other prisoners until some General saw me.

“Get that thing out of my cart! Stendarr’s Mercy, I’m not running a sideshow here!” The General’s horse paced nervously as the officer glared at his men. “Take him to the regular location.”

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Shrine to Mara – where will she send our hero?

Dar’Raksadarg’s 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.

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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.

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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…