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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!!”

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***

“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 – 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

Dar’Raksadarg – 04: Liars and Wolves

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Good old nightshade. Poisonous, of course, but it has its uses. You don’t need to sneak up on it either, another benefit of this flower. I’ll just help myself to some of these, then mix them into a drink for J’zargo. A small celebration drink, then I celebrate as he falls dead to the ground. I’ll put an end to this nonsense between our parents. With those flowers in my pockets, I spied a monk on the side of the road.

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“M’aiq wishes you well,” the old cat greeted me upon my approach.

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“M’aiq the Lair. Now ain’t this a surprise.” Probably everyone in Tamriel knows about M’aiq since he arrived in Morrowind by some magical force. I always suspected J’zargo was behind it, but M’aiq did appear before we were born.

“M’aiq saw a mudcrab the other day. Horrible creatures!”

Perhaps I’ll shove this nightshade down his throat and end his mind-reading crimes. How dare he know about me and that mudcrab, then twist it into some tale about seeing one the other day. He’s no liar, he’s a milk-drinking mind-thought-stealer!

“Something strange happens to Khajiit when they arrive in Skyrim.”

“Let me guess. They think they are powerful mages?” I replied as my eyes rolled in disbelief.

“The people of Skyrim are more open-minded about certain things than people in other places.”

I’m not required to like everyone I meet and that does include fellow Khajiits so M’aiq is moving right into the category. “Your point?”

“How does one know there was a city of Winterhold? M’aiq did not see it with his eyes, did you?”

“That’s it!” I shouted as I lunged for his throat only to find myself face first in the ground and M’aiq the Lair nowhere in sight. I’m adding him to my list, I’ll hunt him down to end his silliness once and for all. Naturally Lajjan can’t be with me because M’aiq might try to influence her over to his side. Some dirty deeds are best done alone.

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For now I’m back on track for Whiterun and mad about everything not being free for the taking. You would think a shrine would be willing to give away items to the needy because I need that gold piece. This place is frustrating, night is on fast approach and I’m nowhere near this town called Whiterun.

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I noticed a light to the left of the shrine. Someone put lights on the Standing Stones! I’m picking the Thief because it never hurts to keep those skills maxed out to become a legendary thief. That’s why I’m the best!

Huh? This isn’t a standing stone. I am curious and suspicious at the same time.

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Why is my paw reaching out to touch it? Did I not learn from that lady statue? Look at the colors swirling around my paws and the speed that I pulled my paw back from it. Astonishing.

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I feel strange after touching that stone, like I need to run and fast, too. This is a fine mess I got myself into. I’m drunk on speed, hungry as a bear, thirsty as a Nord warrior and tired as a dog.

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Nothing I can do about it now except run and whoa….slow down feet!

I was flying down the road and barely missed hitting some wood elf skooma dealer on the road. Luckily his ward spell stopped my approach, and then he refused to sell me anything after learning I was using another source for my skooma. Either way, they are both addicting because I’m going back for that stone again. I was running as fast as the sun was setting.  Now reading those road signs is starting to become tricky without any lanterns nearby.

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So I was wrong and that is rare. Wolves do exist in Skyrim. One nearly killed me, which I will only state once. All other versions of the story will be modified to save my pride and prevent ridicule from others. That would have been the worst news ever for my Pa, learning his son was killed by a lone wolf. J’zargo on the other hand would be so happy, and it would be proof right there he was better than me. Well, that wolf is dead and I’m alive so take that, cousin!

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I’m glad my Ma taught me restoration skills. Not a master mind you, but I can manage some healing skills in times of need. What I wanted to learn was how to restore stamina and health at the same time. Now that’s power! No more hauling potions along when you only need to toss up some healing magic. Restoration mages are the best, some of the most confident, sweet, unassuming and trustful individuals you could ever meet. Maybe I’ll take the healing courses at the college.

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Now isn’t that odd, that mountain has a hole in it! Someone is burning up Skyrim! I need to find shelter soon, it gets tiresome only getting to use my night eye vision for sixty seconds once a day. I believe it should be permanent for Khajiits, a gift for being so intelligent and not some ability considered as a lesser power. Now that would be powerful!

With the fire blazing in the distance I better get moving and try to get closer to Whiterun before complete nightfall arrives.

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Another wolf! Two! Good thing I healed up because they look as hungry as I feel. My natural talent and the blessing from the power stone running through me made them no match for my quickness. However, fighting and traveling at night in an unknown land with predators about isn’t always the wisest decision. I will credit myself for thinking ahead about needing shelter so my instincts are truly sharpened. Perhaps a stop in Solitude to request lanterns being built along more of the roads is in order. Even in Riverhold we had Master MannyGT install lanterns in areas that needed them the most. Bet he could do wonders here in Skyrim, it sure is dark here and I have no torch. Always heard about blue torches that are found only in Skyrim, but at this point I would love any color of torch to get some light.

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I discovered a dead bandit. For record purposes, I will only state once the truth of what happened. I stumbled over the body because I didn’t see it laying on the ground.

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What I saw was a horse in the distance that I was sure belonged to me. It was dark, I wanted a horse, no one was around so the finders-keepers rule applied.

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Yes! A free horse and free goodies from the bandit. MILK!! Come to papa! My thirst is about to be fulfilled, all thanks to a dead bandit berserker!

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Blast it! Can’t read the road sign, can’t use my night eye while on the horse and I really need to see that sign. What a waste. I need to get to Whiterun quickly for my own sake. So many things I need. Torches, food, drink, camping gear….

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With my night-eye vision I can see Whiterun is behind me, still on track.

Wait, where is my horse going? That’s not the way to Whiterun! Come back here! Whiterun is the other way!

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THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES…

Dar’Raksadarg – 03: Warning: Road Signs may be Incorrect

While I studied the road sign to decide which direction I needed to go, someone ran up to me and gave me a gift! Us sneaky types stay together, so we can always spot a fellow thief.

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The fugitive tossed me something then grabbed my shoulder, yanking me toward him. “Hold onto to this, I’ll be back for it later.”

“Ummm…” I tried to wiggle out from his strong grip before I passed out from the pain.

“Double-cross me and you’ll regret it. I mean it!” He growled back while looking over his shoulder. With that warning delivered, the blood in my shoulder began to circulate when he removed his hand.

“Ah yes, you wish me to follow you and carry your burdens while you lead?”

The fugitive leaned in close, “If I wanted someone to follow me, I would pick a powerful mage.” With one last glance over his shoulder, he was gone crying about how death was highly overrated.

It is true that Skyrim has individuals who are mad and clearly that man was one of them.

I remembered seeing the stables outside of Markarth – perhaps stealing a horse would be better than walking, since I certainly can’t buy one yet. At least that way I can avoid all the nutty people along the way until I reach the greatest nut of them all – my cousin J’zargo.

I decided to head toward Whiterun since Markarth had proven to be a very dangerous city and I couldn’t pronounce Karthwasten. That place sounded more like a distress signal from someone named Karth who was wasting away. What kind of a cat am I for not wanting to answer the call for help? One smart cat with top-notch senses. My instincts said that place was a trap and probably just some guy pretending to be hurt. No way am I falling for that trap! Whiterun, here I come.

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I headed over the bridge in the direction of Whiterun since I’m no chicken and no road in Skyrim can bring me down. I don’t need a horse. My Pa always said, “If they hear you coming, cut those claws!”

I miss him. That bellowing laughter of his shook our den along with his endless ideas of how to best his brother. Good thing my Ma is quiet because the den would surely collapse if she was anything like my Pa. She was proud of me and upset that I was being forced to leave the den. Just bet my Pa got an ear-full after I was tossed out the door in a drunken state…or did they take and dump me somewhere? Minor detail at this point. I’m here, safe and sound but I can’t guarantee I’ll be of sound mind after leaving here.

Aha! I know that sound. The nirnroot. I hate them.

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Stealth training class for cubs was required learning and nirnroots were the targets. We practiced sneaking up on those noisy plants to pluck them from the ground before the sound could trigger the defense mechanism. No better way to perk up the sneak ability than a nirnroot. It is always necessary to take along a partner until your skill has improved otherwise the plant will grab and wrap its leaves around you. Rest in peace all you little cubs who failed to follow the basic rules of nirnroot hunting. But me, I’m the greatest nirnroot snatcher of all and this one shall be mine! No one bests a Khajiit when it comes to being quiet while stalking its prey.

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With that plant silenced and in my pocket as I knew it would be, I quickly discovered something odd about the birds in Skyrim. They lack knowledge of how to build their nests in trees. I know this is wrong because I could always out-climb J’zargo when it came to trees, and nests were found among the branches.

Wait! There is only one egg in it! I believe I know the answer! Yes, my instincts are working overtime and this egg is a reject! Something is wrong with it. The feathered parents know this little yolk isn’t developing right so they left it for anyone to take. And die from using it?! That’s madness! I’m not touching it. Tricks are for kids and I’m not falling for that!

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Another nest? Already? What is happening to the birds here in Skyrim? Are the skies being sprayed with some magic from the College of Winterhold? My whiskers are twitching and my gut says J’zargo is behind this. Still mad after all these years for being left on the ground as I scrambled up the bark with ease. Can’t believe he is taking out his anger on the birds. I’m coming for you, cousin and perhaps I’ll crack a few eggs over your head while hidden among the trees. Sure hope they have trees at the college that J’zargo hasn’t destroyed yet.

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There is one thing about Skyrim I have noticed – it’s empty on the roads. I am sneaking my way down the road for several reasons:

  1. It is safe.
  2. It is good to work on my skills.

The perks of stealth allow me to sense quickly who might be able to detect me. I know the teacher always said, “If you are detected, they saw you” but this is a false teaching. My ability is so fine-tuned that I will know who can detect me versus being detected. I even know when it is safe to come out of the shadows; only the professional sneaks have this ability. This is good information, as it tells me I am still on the right track for Whiterun.

There are rumors that the road signs of Skyrim are wrong, some listing the wrong place, others pointing the wrong direction and some spots void of the sign posts altogether. My Pa told me about King Arthmoor who unofficially ordered all the road signs to be redone and point the way correctly. I’m impressed because they sure look nice, but do hope they are correct. Not that I doubt the King’s orders but if he used Khajiits, we are known to take naps quite often.

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What is this? Someone is nearby. I can detect them! My nose is sniffing them out. Mudcrab in the distance that is moving around. I’m just that good, that I knew miles away that a mudcrab was there. It will never see me coming because I’m not crossing that water. I hate water. It’s bad for my fur and ruins the shine of my coat. Oh I know how some enchanters say it will radiate with shine, but I’ll just keep myself clean the old-fashion way. Best to just keep going, then next time I’m on that side of the water that mudcrab is mine! Steamed crab legs….well, perhaps I could handle a little water for some crab legs.

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I was wrong? It wasn’t a mudcrab? Why you pesky nirnroot! I see you now. Like hiding by the bridges, do you? There is plenty of room in my pockets for more of you.

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Where is everyone? No traveling merchants. No adventurers. No bandits. Nothing on the road but me and a pocket filled with nirnroots. I always thought there was a wolf problem in Skyrim. Always heard tales about how the roads were filled with them. I haven’t seen a single wolf yet but I am a caravan guard so perhaps they are hiding from me. I am a force to be reckoned with, my claws are sharp, my roar is ferocious and I’m far more powerful than some wimpy mage. If my Pa says I’m the Dragonborn then I’m the Dragonborn. How can I argue with that? Besides I can’t argue with my Pa, he frowns on that. One thing is for certain: my sense of direction is spot on and hopefully this road sign is as well.

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Interesting. Riften is listed. Home of the Thieves Guild. All Khajiits learn which cities throughout Tamriel are dens for the thieves. It’s a natural instinct for us to take what we want quietly without being noticed. I believe we can’t just go around helping ourselves to the goods; one must learn to pick and choose. After picking my Pa’s pocket one day and getting caught, I chose to be more selective. I plan to pick J’zargo clean then see if his magic skills can find where I hid them all.

Solitude is the capital of Skyrim. Isn’t that an odd name for the main city? Doesn’t make you want to run there and tour the city. Of course, Karthwasten’s message isn’t making me run that direction either but you would think if someone could bother putting up all these signs about Karth wasting away they would have helped him instead. Best to stay on track for Whiterun. Somewhere along the road Winterhold has to come up. Wish my Ma had packed my compass even if it was broken, because I have no idea which way is north. My plan is to stay on the road until I reach Whiterun then ask for directions to Winterhold. I always plan ahead.  If you don’t and are taken by surprise, the results might not be the best, so careful planning is always key.

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I sense the daylight dimming as the sky is losing its brilliant blue, making my travel slower. Those ruins in the distance are inviting, but I’m not equipped to go exploring in any ruin or cave. My gear is junk, the bow is old with little arrows and two steel daggers make close battle a bit too deadly for me. I’m coming back though, after I get Lajjan to come with me. Maybe I’ll marry her. Ha! What a weak heart I am but it’s true, I love the ladies. Nothing like having the ladies stroke my face with their tail as they tickle my chin with one beautifully painted claw…

Back to business, and off to Whiterun with Lajjan in my heart.

 

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

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–

DarRaksa_11

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…

10 Inspirational Sources for RPG Characters

It happens on a regular basis – you get that feeling, that bubble of energy about to burst through your chest – the need to create a new character or you’ll die.

You just know this one is going to be awesome.  You grab your pen – or laptop – hands poised to craft a deep, complex individual capable of the greatest depravities or heights of heroism –

– and stay there.  For a long time.

It’s hard coming up with backstories, appearances, motivations and personalities for characters, and it OK that it’s hard.  You’re basically creating a being out of thin air using only your imagination.

So I’ve come up with a few methods for melting the creative ices, some typical and some not so typical.  Hopefully one or two will work for you!

  1. Look to your Friends.  They say it’s best to write about what you know, and I believe that holds true for creating believable characters as well.  Here’s another applicable truism – a kernel of truth makes for a believable lie.  Pick a friend, exaggerate some of his/her more apparent characteristics, and place her in the setting of your game.  Ask yourself why your friend is motivated to act the way she does in real life, and tweak it to fit your character’s backstory.

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    So it’s not exactly what point #1 is about, but it’s funny.
  2. Roll a Die.  Tabletops aren’t the only games that benefit from rolling the dice.  One of my absolute favorite ways to get unstuck is to leave it to chance.  For example, I’ll assign each race a number of the die and whatever number I roll, that’s the race of my character.  I do the same for skill set, profession, moral code, etc.  You then fill in the gaps with a backstory to make it all fit together.  It generates some brilliantly unusual characters!

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    OK who else wants this??
  3. Watch a documentary (or read a nonfiction novel).  These are gold mines of inspiration.  Real people, acting in really pure and passionate ways.   Motivations have been thoroughly analyzed and fleshed out.  As the bespectacled academic explains it to you on screen, you can apply it to your character. download
  4. Read a fantasy novel/watch a fantasy series.  This one is pretty self explanatory.  Plenty of inspiration for plot lines, character appearances, relationships, etc.  Plus, the more you read the better you write.                                           images
  5. Speaking of writing, read through a list of descriptive adjectives.  This gets you thinking about characters who embody those adjectives.  They’ve been the springboard for a few of my favorite characters, particularly the word “nefarious“.  Oh, and “machinations,” usually preceded by “evil” (in that case I actually created a character who had accidentally been the cause of the villain’s decent into…well, villainy, and vowed to stop her).table1
  6. Pinterest.  Can’t get enough of it.  Type in a search like, “Character Inspiration”, “Fantasy Character”, “Motivation”, “Emotions”, “Medieval Outfit”…the possibilities are endless.  As is browsing time.  Plus, you can pin all your favorites to boards and come back to them whenever you need an inspiration top-off.

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    It’s also awesome for this kind of stuff.
  7. Visit a Museum or an Art Installation.   The historical outfits, advanced weaponry and futuristic clothing (depending on the type of exhibit) will do wonders for your own character development.  Perhaps it’s a lady’s comb, or the particular texture of leather on a military uniform, or the geometrical shapes on a shoe that sparks your next great idea.  11506657
  8. Check out Character Design Inspiration‘s Tumblr.  It’s fantastic.  Not only do they offer fashion, accessory and historical images, but they also have short, easily digestible character design tips and tricks.  Love it.  (Double Tip – Pin some pictures from the Tumblr to your Pinterest!)

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    A recent post from Character Design
  9. Listen to Music!  Personally I prefer epic soundtracks or trailer music.  Anything by Posthumous, Kerry Muzzey, Hans Zimmerman, Bear McCreary (Battlestar!!), the Inception and Gravity soundtrack’s…oh wait no, my absolute favorite ever is the soundtrack to Mad Max: Fury Road, especially Brothers in Arms.  Can’t get enough of it.mad-max-fury-road-image-charlize-theron-abbey-lee-courtney-eaton-zoe-kravitz-riley-keough
  10. Read the Funnies.  Because sometimes you just need to get out of your own head for a bit, laugh a little, not think about anything character-related.  My favorite right now is the Awkward Yeti.  Liked it so much I bought the book.  0127_BRACES-01

Have any tips or tricks of your own?  Awesome websites?  Inspiring books?  Leave them in the comments!

Kljindra’s Journal: An Explanation

A couple of people have asked me why I would want to create a website that caters to such a small, close-knit niche group of people when there are already huge sites like Fanfiction.net that provide the same kind of publishing platform.

And I said,

Because I do what I want.

No, I didn’t say that.  I actually said, “Because Fanfiction.net doesn’t go far enough.”

Role-Playing is all about immersion, getting lost in a place that doesn’t exist in reality, stretching the limits of the imagination.  You get to be another person.  Anything is possible.  It’s one of those rare activities that spans the entire range of emotions, forces you to develop new neurons and creates that ridiculously addictive sense of wonder.  That sense of not knowing what is coming next, and then adapting to what ever appears.  As a reader of these stories, the idea of chance playing such a large part in a story heightens the emotions.  You truly never know what is coming around the bend – it’s a story of reaction followed by action.

Continuity.  That’s a large part of this project as well.  Having a dedicated Series that continues each week with the same character creates a bond with readers.  They become invested.  Hence the one rule of Permadeath.  It makes the story that much more real, that much more taunt and tense knowing your favorite character could be dead by chapter’s end.  It makes you want to cheer every time they strike down an enemy.

And Passion.  One of the things I love about the “nerd” and “gaming” communities in general is the incredible passion everyone has for the subject.  The energy is alive and palpable.

Last but hardly at all least – community.  Role players, perhaps by the nature of the activity, are the most friendly, genuine, considerate, welcoming bunch of people I’ve ever met.  Not to mention smart and funny.  Anyone who can write an entire chapter in Khajit-speak deserves a trophy.  And they have wide view of the world.  Probably from inhabiting the minds of dozens of different races, professions and moralities.

Oh, and here’s another reason – I love reading other RPGer’s stories.  I mean, have you ever actually sat down and read some of these posts on forums and such?  They’re insanely talented and engaging!  They demand a platform.

(I probably should’ve just answered my friends’ questions with, “Because Role-Players are AWESOME!” in really high voice with my hands clasped under my chin and one foot off the ground.)

So if it’s such a special thing, this role-playing, shouldn’t the showcase of stories also be special?  Doesn’t it deserve a hallowed hall, a libaray, a Repository?  I know there is certainly enough talent to fill an actual library, possibly two, within Elder Scrolls RPGer’s alone.

Which brings me to a point – I’ll be the first to admit that I am an novice at RPGs.  The only one I have ever properly played is Elder Scrolls Online (and so most of my inside jokes/references are from this franchise, as you’ll quickly discover).  But that single experience has been so exciting and fun that I wanted to expand upon it.  Level up the immersion.  Add a new layer.  Turn that all-night binge of gaming into a creative writing exercise (sweet, 7 chapters done in one hour!).

Well, that’s probably not half of what I meant to say and more than half of what I didn’t, but it’ll do.

Oh, one more thing – while Scrolls Abound! is obviously geared towards medieval/fantasy genres, I haven’t forgotten about you futuristic RPGers!  Forgive the exclusion, it’s a matter of creating an atmosphere to the website.  But if there is enough interest in Scrolls Abound!, then trust me there will be a sci-fi themed sister site.

Now scamper off, me pretties, and go play some games!