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 

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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…

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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

Anankis Miri from Tyranny of Dragons – 01: The Approach

From the Chronicles of Anankis Miri

By Mishkamist of Entire Party Killed

I just barely escaped from the destruction of Greenest. I know many of my countrymen died, slaughtered by hordes of kobolds, lead by mysterious humans with blue and purple-red dresses, or killed by the fury of a blue dragon that spreads death and destruction on the village.

Even now I can’t explain to myself how I was able to run away: the only thing I know is that there are other people, like me, who want to save the citizens and clear Greenest from this plague that is afflicting their beloved city.

I was running towards the city center looking for guards, when I bumped into two beautiful women: the tallest one was looking at me with hatred, piercing me with her icy eyes but I’m sure I had never saw her before.  Suddenly a group of people ran through the city’s streets, hunted by a group of eight kobolds.

I recognized them immediately.

Kuth, Linan and their three children were running from those evil creatures, wielding makeshift weapons: the entire family was straining to drive away the kobolds but they did not succeed. I ran to them, but wasn’t fast enough to prevent the attack the monsters were launching against them.

One by one they fell to the ground before my eyes: Kuth, his wife and one of their children merely fainted, whereas the other two brothers were knocked to the ground, their heads smashed to pieces by the kobold’s slingshot hits.

In front of me, even before I could recover from the shock, the tall woman, invoking Tyr’s blessing, pierced one of the kobolds with her shining sword and then started to parry the attacks of two other monsters; at the same time the other woman, the most beautiful one, killed two enemies with an enormous fire column.

All of a sudden, from an alley on our right, a man appeared, launching a spell against the creatures: his help was essential during the fight.

As always the voice into my mind incited me to kill, to dismember my enemies: I tried fervently to endure it but, in the end, my diabolic blood gained the upper hand and my mind was flooded by a vengeance desire.

I killed one or two kobolds, I cannot clearly remember: I felt screams and a lot of blood around me and on my skin…. My skin changed like always when my mind is blown by rage: countless burns cover the surface of my entire body and shiny signs appears over them.

In the end we defeated those revolting creatures.

“Miri! Thanks God… We must reach the Fortress! There the guards are gathering the survivors, to protect them. We must go there!” Linan’s voice trembled, broke in sorrow.
During the walk to reach the Fortress we ran up against other kobolds and men dressed in blue: we were able to save two other peasants killing our enemies.

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The others who were with me introduced themselves: the tall woman, Shill Dhalled, is a Tyr Paladin. She scares me a lot: she’s always looking at me with furious eyes, like I made something horrible: I know my tiefling nature isn’t accepted by a lot of people but I’m a good girl, I have never hurt anyone and in Greenest everyone loves me. I’m afraid by Shill’s manners.

She asked me: “Who is your God?” and I wasn’t able to answer her properly.
Sincerely I don’t understand clearly what she means talking about ‘God’. A fat, bald man, sitting on a cloud, traveling over our heads? Or a bearded old man who observes all the beings alive to judge them?

Shill’s question upset me a lot: maybe I can ask for answers to the other woman, Lei Windriver, she’s a cleric of Sune and so very beautiful!  Lei’s hair is like molten silver and her eyes shine like glittering gold. I envy her a lot.

I can ask Lei some advice about Gods, maybe about her Goddess, but I’m not sure she’ll accept ‘cause she looks at me with mistrust.

But… Where were we?

Daeron Ossa is the mage and, different from the two women, is really kind with me: he has polite manners and a quiet voice. He asked me if I need a cure for my burns… I really like him! And, sincerely, I saw him casting one or two spells I’m acquainted with so, maybe, he can understand me better than the others.

In the Fortress, Escobert, the dwarf captain of the guards and right-hand man to the governor, thanked us for our help and said the governor wanted to talk us; he lead our group, after a short explanation, to Tarbaw Nightfall, the governor.

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Tarbaw is a 60 years old man with a well-cared beard: now his face is partially covered in bandages and his right harm is bandaged too.

“I must thank you. I observed you from the walls and I must ask you a great favor: Greenest needs all the help it can get and now, here, I’m requesting you to save more people as possible.”

With me he didn’t have to exert a lot of pressure: I would give my life for Greenest and its inhabitants.

After we all agreed, he took us to the parapet on the walls: here we saw a dozen of armed guards, dressed in blue, and, in the center of them, a woman with a purple-red dress. The governor asked us to capture some of those men for interrogation.

Through a secret tunnel we started to leave the Fortress but we were attacked by two swarms of rats: with a little effort finally we killed those beasts and left the tunnel, near a little river. Right away two men, each one followed by two kobolds, were scouring the river with long rods: we killed all the kobolds and captured those men, bringing them, knocked out, in the tunnel.

Now, our expedition can proceed.

CONTINUE THE ADVENTURE HERE