Tirvril – 02: Murder in the Markets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dog
So unassuming, yet brilliant…

A body, Mylindra!  A dead one!

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

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

Grocer – Three Blood Oranges

Tailor – Crescent Emblem Cloak

Florist – Black Roses with Thorns

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Loving Friend,

Tirvril

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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…

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!