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Winning Favor (Monilee's Adventure, Part 22)


gregaaz

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Exhausted and thoroughly frustrated, Monilee did her best to wash herself of the mess the ritual had left behind, gratefully accepting a helping hand from Edippa. 

 

"You have to trust in Dibella, my daughter. If the time was right for you to be free of this curse, she would have interceded. Sir Biggs meant well, but he tried to defy destiny, and that can never end well."

 

"Perhaps," Monilee conceded, "But I was so close. I could feel myself break free from Nocturnal, but just as fast it slipped away from me."

 

Edippa massaged Monilee's shoulders as she spoke, "We can't know the divines' plans in these matters. Maybe Dibella knew you needed a taste of freedom to give you the strength to persevere."

 

"I hope so, mother." Monilee laughed as she said it. "How did that become such a natural thing to say?"

 

Edippa hugged her from behind, "It's natural because I love you... and because you love me. And love is the ultimate power that Man and Mer posses that the daedra lords can never have for themselves. Stay strong, Monilee. We're all here and we're all supporting you."

 

"I love you, too, Mistress," whispered another voice as another pair of arms enfolded Monilee.

 

Pet, she realized. The sister of Belethor. Monilee patted the girl on the head as she accepted the hug. 

 

"Don't worry, we'll get you home to Whiterun soon."

 

"Can't I stay with Mistress?"

 

Oh, divines, not another stray following me.

 

"Listen, ah, Pet. We're only meant to be together for a time, and then go our own ways. You can stay with me until we reach Whiterun. Then your story will continue there and mine will carry me elsewhere."

 

Pet was silent for a moment. "As Mistress commands."

 

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The party left Markarth with the first rays of the morning light, heading east at a steady pace. The plan was to confront Belethor about his sister, rest the night in Whiterun, and then make the rest of the journey to Haemar's Shame the following day. 

 

Along the road, the party encountered - and quickly dispatched - the usual bandits who lay in wait for travelers. In one such encounter, Monilee reached for her sword and instead felt her hand go to the Rueful Axe. With a swift blow, she smote the bandit to the ground. It was an effortless and instinctive strike, further confirming her feeling that the axe was meant for her. 

 

By now familiar with the route, the party reached Whiterun with daylight to spare. After refilling their water supply, they headed straight for Belethor's General Goods.

 

"Welcome, welcome indeed!" The man cheerfully announced as Monilee entered his store, "If I had a sister, I'd sell... her..." his words trailed off as Pet crossed the threshold, with Lydia quick behind her.

 

"Bel-E-THORRRRR," she growled, "You owe us some answers."

 

"It seems we've found your sister, Belethor," Monilee added, stating the obvious.

 

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"What do you mean, 'again,'" Lydia interjected.

 

"I, ah, I just mean that she has a way of getting lost. I was so worried," he added, transparently disingenuous, "but I knew I could count on you, Thane Monilee. And your faithful Housecarl, of course."

 

Monilee replied with a tight smile, "She told me what you did, Belethor."

 

"You know, Belethor," Lydia added, "I'm told the jailor has a thing for baby-faced Bretons like you. Maybe we could arrange you two some special alone time."

 

"Hold on..." he stammered, "Not so fast. I... I'm sorry, alright?"

 

"She's under my protection now, Belethor. Lydia, what's the bounty for slavers?"

 

Lydia frowned, "Two gold septims, not near enough if you ask me."

 

"I said I'm sorry," Belethor pleaded, "Listen, take this, and have this as a bonus to help you in your, ah, Dragonborn business." He counted out twenty silver septims before retrieving a finely crafted warhammer from beneath the counter.

 

Before Lydia had a chance to speak, Monilee addressed Belethor directly, "Fine, you've paid the bounty for your crime. But I want to be absolutely clear with you, Belethor, that I will remember this episode. Until your sister has her wits back, I expect you to provide for her as further penance for your behavior. I will be checking in on you, and if I see the slightest sign of you... relapsing, there will be severe and immediate consequences. Do you understand."

 

"Ah, ah," he stammered, "I understand, my Thane. You are truly," he sounded like he was going to choke on the words, "a just and righteous hero."

 

Shayna laughed, "Hero," she said, miming Belethor's voice.

 

Their business in Whiterun finished for the moment, the party sat down in the Mare for a quick dinner of chicken and eidar cheese. They reviewed the plan once more, checked their gear, and took stock of their supplies before retreating to the Mare's loft for a good night's sleep.

 

As the tavern started to fill with the sounds of patrons breakfasting in the hall below, a closer and more insistent sound roused Monilee and pulled her back towards consciousness.

 

"Oh, come on Lucien, it'll be fun. Just this one time? Pleeeease, for your mommy?" That was Edippa's voice. As Monilee cleared her still sleep-bleared eyes she saw the scholar starting agog, red-faced and wide eyed, as Edippa and a woman Monilee didn't recognize - maybe one of the patrons? - tried to pull Lucien into the bed with them. 

 

"I... I think that wouldn't be proper," he tried to demure, but this did little to deter the women. 

 

"Oh! Daughter, you're awake," Edippa said with a growing smile, "Sylvi and I were just trying to convince Lucien that you needed some, ah, male companionship before we set out again on the road."

 

"Monilee," he practically pleaded, "this isn't what I meant when I said I wanted to see the seedier side of Skyrim."

 

Resisting an urge to roll over and go back to sleep, Monilee considered the young Imperial. 

 

"I'm sure you know, Lucien, that Edippa - like me - is a faithful follower of Dibella. I won't force you into bed, but don't feel you need to stand apart from us," Monilee said that last part with a flick of her eyes to the door, just past which Lydia was keeping watch. "And speaking from experience I think you'll find yourself much refreshed after getting some attention from Edippa."

 

"But... I'm, ah, inexperienced. This is awkward," he hastily appended.

 

Sylvi, Edippa's friend, grinned more broadly at that and rubbed her ample hips against Lucien's side. "Well, then, it's practically our duty to help you get some experience then."

 

Lucien blushed deeper at that, and Edippa chuckled, "Oh, you like the thick-bodied girls, is that it? Don't worry, little son of mine, by the time we're done with you, you'll know how to please a woman of any shape and every shape."

 

Mortified seemingly beyond words, Lucien held out a little longer before the group finally pulled him into their midst. Not on the bed, as it turned out, but on the soft carpet at its foot. 

 

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When at last they were finished, Monilee went to redress while Lucien cuddled a while longer in Sylvi's embrace. Somewhat to her dismay, she had some difficulty getting her armor to sit quite right on her shoulders.

 

"Shayna," she asked, "can you help me out with this?" 

 

Her doppelganger helped her get dressed in the end, but it wasn't a comfortable fit. 

 

"Looks like you've put on a little muscle, hero. You might want to play the blacksmith a visit before we hit the road again."

 

"Hmm," Monilee considered, "I suppose I have been getting a lot more exercise than I did back in High Rock."

 

"I'm sure the dragon soul didn't hurt either."

 

She nodded slowly at that observation, "No, I don't think it hurt at all. Yes, I think a visit to the blacksmith is very much in order."

 

While Eorlund Gray-Mane did his work, Monilee and Shayna enjoyed a breakfast of blueberries and goat cheese in the market before meeting up with the rest of the party. Lucien, seemingly recovered from his wild morning, did indeed seem refreshed and eager for the road, though Lydia seemed a bit more standoffish than usual. Under a warm morning sun, they started the trek that would take them back to Haemar's Shame, to Clavicus Vile, and perhaps to the next step in Nocturnal's plan.

 

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They didn't waste time on their journey, pushing through the handful of bandits with the poor sense to try and oppose them. Each swing of the Rueful Axe felt lighter and better balanced than the last, and Monilee knew with growing certainty that she was meant to keep this Axe and that it would serve a role in her winning her freedom. 

 

The group passed through Riverwood before noon and then the ruins of Helgen just over an hour later. Helgen was again inhabited by bandits, but they fled quickly at Monilee's approach. Perhaps her reputation preceded her, or perhaps her clear and deadly intent with her axe was enough to put them to flight. All throughout, Monilee felt her breath coming faster and her heart beating with greater and greater intesity. Like Valthume before, power was resonating deep within Monilee's body, and she braced herself for whatever supernatural challenges awaited her at Clavicus Vile's shrine.

 

As if Nirn itself sought to impede her progress, a howling snowstorm rolled off the mountains, pushing back at the party's progress. Staggering to her knees, Monilee was wracked with orgasmic spasms so powerful she felt as if she'd been run through her belly with a sword. But if the weather and the painfully intense pleasures that had fallen upon her were meant to dissuade her progress, they had the opposite effect. Her senses shocked into sharp focus by the cold and the clarity of sexual release, she mustered the strength to push on, pulling her fur cloak close around her as she refused to surrender to the winds and the snow.

 

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Haemar's Shame seemed empty on the party's return. They footfalls echoed softly from the stone walls and nothing stirred to oppose them. When they passed through the chamber where they'd met the cannibals, Monilee took a moment to glance at the thralls' sacrificed comrade. To her relief, she saw no signs that the 'meat' had been further cut into. Most likely, the addled woman they freed from the shrine then hadn't sated her hunger on human flesh.

 

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Despite that promising sign, the party proceeded with caution. Even Barbas, who had charged ahead into the cave on their first visit, saw fit to walk at pace with the rest of the group. 

 

Then Lucien interrupted the quiet progress, whispering, "I thought I saw something move over there... perhaps it's just my imagination?" Swords had been drawn by the time he finished the first half of his utterance, and the group looked sharply at Lucien. Still, the initial annoyance faded quickly and Monilee nodded to Lucien.

 

"Perhaps, but perhaps not. Stay sharp and watch for trouble."

 

Monilee observed with interest that while the corpses of the fallen thralls still littered the caverns, the vampires seemed to be gone. Perhaps crumbled to dust... but perhaps not. With this observation, Monilee further tightened her vigilance.

 

"Mother," she whispered to Edippa, "do slain Vampires rise again? Are we walking into another battle?"

 

"No, daughter, that's superstition. When their cursed souls are cleaved from their husks, Vampires go to eternal slavery and torture at the hands of Molag Bal. And the King of Rape would never give his creatures a second chance to wriggle out of their bargain with him." 

 

"That's a relief... but I don't think I'll let my guard down just yet." 

 

At last they reached the shrine, and Clavicus Vile's voice filled the chamber.

 

"Ah," he said, clearly delighted, "You've got the axe... and my dog! Splendid!" 

 

"Indeed," Monilee replied, "Time for you to keep your side of the bargain."

 

"Yes, yes. But it would be such a shame to give away a weapon like that axe, wouldn't it? I suppose I could be persuaded to let you keep it."

 

That got Monilee's attention, but it also filled her with a sense of caution. Could this all be Vile's plan, all the feelings she had experienced, all the certainty that this weapon was meant for her... just a trick? 

 

Then Vile dropped the other shoe.

 

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Silently she thought I sure would like to keep that axe...

 

Evidently, Vile was listening to her thoughts because he continued, explaining that this would allow him to absorb Barbas spirit into himself - that doing so would not only accomplish Monilee's goal of reuniting with Barbas, but it would also win his - Vile's - personal favor. 

 

"We're all counting on you to make the right decision, Monilee. Put him our of our misery," Vile whispered.

 

For a moment, Monilee was paralyzed by indecision. Barbas had been a charming and faithful companion. But she also knew whole well that he was a daedra, an evil creature from outside this world. She thought back to the kennel. To the dogs there and to the things she'd seen them do. To the things she'd experienced that night. To her promise to never be the weak one, to never be held back by pity or sentiment. And she remembered her goal. To win the trust of Clavicus Vile. She reached for the axe. Still, she almost threw it to his altar. She almost defied him just for the sake of defiance. Just to spit in the face of Nocturnal's command. But then she whipped the axe in a tight arc over her head...

 

"No!" shouted Lydia

 

...and struck off Barbas' head in a single blow. 

 

"Yes!" crowed Clavicus Vile, "now I can reabsorb his body and return to full power, all without having to listen to his whining! Enjoy the axe, and don't worry about poor old Barbas. After all," he said with slow relish, "he really should have picked a better friend."

 

And then in a blink of an eye, Barbas' corpse was gone and his effigy joined Clavicus Vile in stone astride the altar.

 

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Monilee knew what she had to do next. She knelt and genuflected, reaching out to Nocturnal. In her mind she thought, I have done as you commanded.

 

Before she could react, she found herself pressed down on all fours, her face rubbed into the ashes left behind by Barbas' disintegration. Her thighs clenched and strained as a powerful orgasm rippled through her body. Chains leapt from the pillars and held her tight as Nocturnal materialized before her.

 

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"As distasteful as Clavicus Vile may be, his power will be useful for your... rebirth."

 

Monilee tried to focus, "Now will you release me from your... toys?" she asked.

 

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"You will now go to my shrine. If you need to go there again - and you will - return to Clavicus Vile and call for me."

 

Then her face was in the ashes again and her whole body felt like it was exploding as she faded out of consciousness.

 

Monilee awake... elsewhere. In a cramped dirt tunnel, rough with hanging roots and bits of stone. Following the wan light of candles, she made her way along the tunnel until it opened into a large chamber that housed a stone arch not unlike the one she'd seen at Bleak Falls Barrow. But unlike the Barrow, this structure was entirely underground. 

 

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To her left, she spied a word wall, also akin to the one she'd seen in Bleak Falls Barrow. But no matter how closely she studied it, she could not feel a connection to its magic. After a time, she continued on, concluding that whatever Nocturnal had brought her here for lay deeper within. 

 

Keeping to the shadows, slipping between stones and past mist shrouded sentinels, Monilee proceeded deeper and deeper. Beyond a long abandoned chapel, past cages containing bound captives (was one of them Cassia?), and finally into the very depths of the ruin, where she found herself before a statue of Nocturnal. Bowing to it, she said, "I have found the end of your maze. What now do you seek from me?"

 

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"Begin?" Monilee asked, "Please, first I have questions."

 

"Another time," Nocturnal rebuffed. "As a reward you will spend the night here with Cassia. I'm sure she will like that."

 

Apparently Monilee had indeed seen Cassia amongst the captives imprisoned here. 

 

"Now go, prove your continued obedience."

 

Monilee's feet seemed to move of their own accord, and before she knew it she was standing before a cage that contained Cassia. The door slid open of its own accord and Monilee stepped within. Few words passed between them before the women embraced, driven by forces beyond their control. Monilee felt a deep sense of duality - rage at Nocturnal for forcing her into this situation, but also comfort and happiness to be with Cassia again. And in truth, by honoring Dibella with their love, Monilee knew that she was subtly defying Nocturnal's schemes. Even after their lovemaking ended, sleep was elusive and soon the pair found themselves with their blankets half thrown off, intertwined and kissing once more.

 

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For all their passion, Monilee felt no true release. By the time Nocturnal returned to check on them, she felt almost feverish with her pent-up frustration.

 

"Can I go now?" she snapped at the daedra.

 

If this bothered Nocturnal, she gave no indication. "First," she said, "You should seek your reward. I know you saw the word of power when you arrived. Return to it, and its secrets will be yours." 

 

"I have also decided to give you a protective robe that my servants wear. You will find its enchantments most useful... for a time." 

 

Of course, this was no freely given gift. Monilee would have to retrace her path past all the ghostly sentinels and all the traps. But at least she knew the way now. By stealth and misdirection, she made her escape to the word wall. And true to Nocturnal's words it now responded to her. Its rod of iron emerged, and as the wall steamed and glistened with wisps of magical power, it filled her with new knowledge.

 

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The power swelled within her, and she knew now that the resonances of passion she had felt until now, the body-shaking orgasms overloading her senses, that this raw energy was now hers to manipulate and to call forth in others. And intuitively, she knew the way out. Retracing her steps a third time, Monilee penetrated deepr yet into the sepulchre, carefully wending her way past even more traps and ghosts. Deeper and deeper, until she reached an eerie passageway where golden light rose from the ground like the steaming earth after a morning rain. And then at last, she could see a spectral dragon skull over a deep well, and she knew - she knew! - that this was the way out. Uttering a brief prayer to Dibella, Monilee took a running start and leapt...

 

...and landed on the stone at the bottom of the well. She looked up, wondering if she had been mistaken, until just then with a rumble of stone the bottom of the well fell out, depositing her in a hidden chamber... a chamber with an iron cage.

 

With a sigh of frustration, Monilee realized what the game was. Nocturnal wanted her submission, and now she'd be trapped here until she voluntarily entered the cage.

 

Fine, if that's what Nocturnal wants, so be it. The door closed silently behind Monilee, but she didn't have to test it to know it was locked. 

 

And then she was back in Haemar's Shame, looking into the surprised faces of her companions.

 

"What happened?"

 

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Test Results

Cassia forcegreet scenario 2 launched successfully; chose spanking option, scene played without issues.

 

Multiple spontaneous orgasms observed, no problematic delays or freezing observed

 

Question - are orgasms during prayer supposed to not reduce arousal at all? It appeared that this was the case during the prayers at Clavicus Vile's shrine. 

 

The invincible Nightingale Sentinels were a bit of a surprise - I'd forgotten about them from my previous playthroughs. Fortunately their sneak detection seems pretty weak. The Thu'um of Love did not appear to have an effect on them - didn't make them non-hostile or pull them into sex animations. Update: Traced this issue to a 3rd party mod interaction. See notes below.

 

Compatibility Note: Dynamically Immersive Seriously Dark Dungeons. DISDD contains an edit to record 3B529 that makes all Nightingale Sentinels immortal. Reverting this record to vanilla fixes the problem (the isGhost immortality flag was the only change). I will report this issue to the author.

 

I could see the Alchemy table, so that's good.

 

One visual oddity noticed in Nocturnal's shrine - the fires in the dragon skull look unusual with the new transparent FX. Perhaps retain the "classic" dragon skull static from the previous version for use in this area?

 

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Edited by gregaaz

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Quote

Question - are orgasms during prayer supposed to not reduce arousal at all? It appeared that this was the case during the prayers at Clavicus Vile's shrine. 

Define orgasm. Just because there's a little squirting, does not mean she's had another full on orgasm :P  It could be residual leakage. I don't remember where every single case of registering an orgasm is, but I can tell you its not one for every squirt, where arousal level is effected. Functioning as intended :D

 

Quote

The invincible Nightingale Sentinels were a bit of a surprise - I'd forgotten about them from my previous playthroughs. Fortunately their sneak detection seems pretty weak. The Thu'um of Love did not appear to have an effect on them - didn't make them non-hostile or pull them into sex animations. 

They are never invincible. If they are for you, I'm going to cry foul on something you've installed. I love them to death with the love shout all the time, and my favorite thing when low level, is to use the Stand Stone Potion.  Also Nocturnal is very helpful, just let her tank for you. But all of this would be irrelevant if they are invincible. 

 

So what's breaking it? You are first to report this in 4 years.

 

Quote

One visual oddity noticed in Nocturnal's shrine - the fires in the dragon skull look unusual with the new transparent FX. Perhaps retain the "classic" dragon skull static from the previous version for use in this area?

Since they are all identical, the look should be a problem everywhere if its a problem there. Perhaps its just different lighting there making it more apparent, or because its propped up higher. I don't remember it looking bad.

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10 hours ago, VirginMarie said:

Define orgasm. Just because there's a little squirting, does not mean she's had another full on orgasm :P  It could be residual leakage. I don't remember where every single case of registering an orgasm is, but I can tell you its not one for every squirt, where arousal level is effected. Functioning as intended :D

 

I heard a loud moan and saw squirting, so I assumed the intent was that the prayers brought her to orgasm. Since its confirmed as functioning as intended, sounds like all is good though!

 

Quote

They are never invincible. If they are for you, I'm going to cry foul on something you've installed. I love them to death with the love shout all the time, and my favorite thing when low level, is to use the Stand Stone Potion.  Also Nocturnal is very helpful, just let her tank for you. But all of this would be irrelevant if they are invincible. 

 

So what's breaking it? You are first to report this in 4 years.

 

 

 

Further research revealed that this is an issue with Dynamically Immersive Seriously Dark Dungeons. It may be a wild edit. I am reporting it to the author, but in the meanwhile end-users can avoid this issue by reverting DISDD's override of form ID 00003B29 to vanilla. Sadly this is an edit that can't be done automatically with Wrye Bash, etc, the user will actually need to go into xEdit and fix the record.

 

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Since they are all identical, the look should be a problem everywhere if its a problem there. Perhaps its just different lighting there making it more apparent, or because its propped up higher. I don't remember it looking bad.

 

I did some closer examination, and I think the issue is the angle of that particular skull is relative to the player. This creates a situation where the ash piles underneath fires really stand out; by contrast, when you view them from a higher angle the ash piles are hidden by the spectral bones. 

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1 hour ago, gregaaz said:

I did some closer examination, and I think the issue is the angle of that particular skull is relative to the player. This creates a situation where the ash piles underneath fires really stand out; by contrast, when you view them from a higher angle the ash piles are hidden by the spectral bones. 

 

So maybe I will just lower that sucker down. Will take a closer look at it myself to decide if it looks broken enough to care. Course it could also be different for ENBs. Added to list.

 

1 hour ago, gregaaz said:

Further research revealed that this is an issue with Dynamically

Note that your sneak method is not a possible work around when you get to the rebirth. No chance of proceeding there without killing.

 

Re. ALL the various compatibility items you've found so far (I think we have a few now), did I hear you volunteering to collect them up and write something to post in our Mod Conflicts section? I'd want them to be primarily written for the end user, not a power user who knows how to use bash/XEdit. But if you see my examples below, we can write stuff for nerds too.

 

I start from the perspective of the user finding the problem a conflict causes, not having any clue why. That becomes a troubleshooting item. Then I summarize the mod Conflicts in the Mod Conflicts section, and point to the Troubleshooting item. That section is for the rare case of people actually giving a crap to cover off conflicts in advance of starting their new game :P

 

Examples:

 

17. (Shrine Love) Activating the Shrine in Dibella's Temple is not starting the loving or progressing the quest.

 

A known conflict with The Sisterhood of Dibella causes this.

 

Solution: Works fine if Virgin comes after Sisterhood in your load order but do not re-sort your mods mid-play-through (see golden rule up top), this is safe only for a new game. There's no other known conflicts with Sisterhood.

 

Alternative Solution: Use thingie in Bash bla bla bla

 

26. The ghosts in Nocturnal's Twilight Sepulcher are invincible, wtf? 

Spoiler

 

Dynamically Immersive Seriously Dark Dungeons has a bug causing this.

 

Solution: Don't use Dynamically Immersive Seriously Dark Dungeons, but don't remove it mid playthrough, its not safe to do so (see golden rule up top). You may have no choice but to cheat and use the console command, Kill All

 

Alternative Solution: XEdit bla bla bla

 

 

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