Tirvril – 01: A Beginning to a Most Exciting Adventure!

I arrived in Daggerfall, capital of High Rock, sequestered in an old cart that smelled of a carcass left too long in the sun.  My first impression of the city: poor roadwork.  Yet I did not make a sound, tucked between two large sacks filled with grain and covered in rolls of untanned hides.  This was to be the easiest part of my journey.

Yes, I believe that will do nicely as an opening for my first tale from the depths of the wilderness, that vast and unknown swath of land to the far west – High Rock.

Now, it is by no means a backwards place, my dear Mylindra.  Far from it.  I stepped out of that noisome cart into a grand – no, majestic – city of hewn granite, tall spires and bustling markets, all enveloped by rolling hills of countryside.  Night was fast approaching – a soft shroud of deep blue covered the city.  I saw depressingly little of it as I was shuttled unceremoniously through grand oak doors capped in bright steel, catching a scant glimpse of intricate stained glass windows tall as a Giant.

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Despite a sleepless night and the lingering – persistent – odor, I felt so alive as I entered the Mages Hall!  Here I am, in a foreign land, donning the guise of a Mage to bring the Truth of the world to Cyrodil – Mylindra, I know deep in my heart that I have truly found my calling!

Apologies for the excitement, but I cannot convey it through words – this should tell you more than anything the extent of my emotion.

Oh, while I am thinking of it – please do keep these notes to yourself for now.  I do not want the others to read of any exploits or headlines until I have written them down properly in format and line.  There is just so much to think of right now I can hardly write one word for another ten flowing into my mind…

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As I was saying, I am in the Mages Hall in Daggerfall as planned, and already there has been an exciting development!  Valaste, my contact here (she is the Master of Incunabula, otherwise known as Tomes), has requested my aid retrieving a few books from an Ayleid Ruin in exchange for her help.  Now, normally I would politely refuse.  There is so much to be written about this beautiful city in the here and now, the present  day – I have no desire to go wandering about an ancient, cobwebbed relic of an Ayleid ruin (Shor’s Bones, you cannot go ten paces without tripping over one in Cyrodil), but she offered to pay me good coin for each book I retrieve.

As you well know, my finances are less than 1,000 gold after paying the exorbitant fee for riding beneath old hides, as well as an unexpected “tip” to the Gatesman.  And while one day I promise I shall know how to shoot an arrow, at the moment my greatest skill towards food-procurement is writing an advertisement for it.

So of course I agreed.  She seemed pleased – though she is a High Elf with much on her mind, so it was rather difficult to discern any sort of personality.  I do, however, trust her due to her elf-blood.  She has little reason to lie to me, a trait I wish were not true as she told me the ruins will be “dark and dangerous”.  But fear not Mylindra, spellcasting is a family trait so I shall not wander into the depths unarmed.  Though I did stop practicing my spells at the age of 11.  Perhaps I should purchase a dagger before I go.

My mind wanders to the future – I shall bring us back to the recent present.

After giving me a short tour of the Hall, Valaste showed me to my room and directed me to the wardrobe.

The Mages here in Daggerfall wear more than just the ubiquitous plain robes we see in the Imperial City.  Daggefall has a rather dashing outfit with pants – quite ranger-like, I thought – and another with a floor-length robe, much trimming and fancy embroidery.  I chose the Ranger outfit, and feel exceedingly spry in it!  I may be required to run after a source, or perhaps escape a giant spider in that Ayleid Ruin.  As for its efficacy around town, it has a large, deep hood and covers most of my skin. Despite my carrying on about all Races deserving equal treatment, I know this is not the Imperial City.  A Dunmer, particularly with the War, will not be well received no matter his involvement in the Mages Guild.

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I had an Imp paint a likeness, I thought it rather good!

I wish to be anonymous, a mere background figure observing the goings-on and everyday lives of these people so that the world – and you – may know what it is like here, so far from home.

Has Chancellor Tharn approached you yet?  I have no doubt he will request – requisition – no, require -your skills once he discovers where I have gone.  But you must not let him intimidate you, my dear Mylindra.  Though as I write that sentence I realize how silly it sounds – no one can intimidate you.

Regarding that aspect of my trip, I have chosen to publish my works anonymously.  The Chancellor may well suspect it is I writing the tales, but there is no need to hand him the proof.  You are the only one I have taken into confidence about my whereabouts.  The others at ScrollWorks believe I am visiting my sister in Mournhold, as does Lady Derry.  I would never have told you, had you not arrived at my home at the precise moment Cleric Talborad was visiting.  And even then I would not have told you, except for your duplicitous – though admirable – eavesdropping.

And that brings me to my last update for today’s letter – already there has been mention of MB.  Valaste, when I asked about the current goings-on in the city, mentioned a group called the “Ring of Daggers” (a very promising name for a Journal Title!!) led by a woman named Copper.  Apparently they are the enforcers of King Emeric and they possibly have a connection to MB – I must remember to follow up on that lead when I return from the Ruin.

Though I pass no judgement without proof, I am still inclined to think good Cleric Talborad may be paranoid.  The Chancellor is not a kind nor compassionate man, but involvement with MB is simply mad – and the Chancellor is not a stupid man.

Now then!  I must wrap up this letter, dear Mylindra.  Already the light dims, and I intend to walk about town before I bed for the night.  Then in the morning I shall embark for the ruin, and then ask about for this Copper woman, as well as write a bit about the city life…so much to do already, it is so invigorating!

I do wish you were here with me Mylindra, but am happy you are not.  You can bring me news of home.  Write soon, and Valaste will see it gets to me.

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!

 

 

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.

Vipsania dressed
My snazzy new top ~

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

Time to explore!

Her adventure continues…