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No One Escapes Cidhna Mine (Kirstia's Adventure, Chapter 16)



I didn't see the way to Cidhna Mine - before we left the Shrine the guards pulled a hood over my head and cinched it tight. Moreover, dashing my hopes that my distinctive body paint would draw notice, they wrapped me in a heavy cloak. From the noises and protests I heard, I believe they did the same for mother and Jenassa. We walked a way, and from the hanged woman's ongoing wailing I knew we had crossed the bridge back into Riverside. Then, I felt the ground underfoot change from marble slabs to rough dirt. In the distance, the sound of pickaxes started to rise up from the distant dark. 


With a sudden motion, the guards pulled my hood away, and I found myself confronted with half a dozen armored soldiers. More watched from a raised gallery, crossbows held loosely in their arms. The whole scene was bathed in flickering firelight from burning logs stacked off to our side, the smoke escaping through a chimney that rose up through the stone ceiling. These weren't the city guards, but mercenaries. I strongly suspected these were the Silver-Blood family's private army, who kept control over their interests in Cidhna Mine. The leader tossed a sack of gold to the guard captain, who plucked it from the air with a chink of shifting metal.


"Take that down to the gate," he said in a controlled, matter-of-fact voice, "that's the toll for these three. Make sure the toll collector records them leaving in his ledger. There's extra in there to bribe him if you have to. Whatever's left is your bonus. Good work."


The captain acknowledge the praise with a grunt, then pushed me towards the waiting sellswords. I heard the rustle of his cloak as he turned and the crunch of his boots as he retreated from the mine. 


Now the mercenary turned his attention to me, though he had no words. Staring at me with uncaring eyes, he started to tear at my vestments, systematically removing them from my body. I could hear at my sides that his compatriots were doing the same to mother and Jenassa.


Soon we were entirely bare - except for the magical ropes that, despite the guards' best efforts, they couldn't remove. 


"Send that to the armory," the leader said, waggling a finger at the pile of armor on the ground next to Jenassa. "Put the rest in the fire." To punctuate his point, he threw my vestments on top of the burning logs and then plucked my wreath from my head and tossed it atop the pyre.


As an afterthought he added, "and send for the mage."


Guards ushered Edippa and Jenassa down a gloomy tunnel while the leader kept me waiting at the center of the cavern. "I don't know what you thought you would accomplish with your little toys," he said, wiggling the rope around my neck with his hand, "but you won't be taking them into the mine." 


At length, a man dressed in layered brown robes arrived and started to examine me. He prodded and tugged at my bindings, whispering to himself in low tones that I couldn't quite decipher, before he stepped back. "Stand still, prisoner," he commanded, then extracted a short wand from a pack at his side.


Making a slow, whirling motion, he intoned unfamiliar words. As he proceeded, I felt the ropes shifting, loosening, and then finally they came free, following the motions of the wand until they settled on the mage's upturned left palm in neat coils.


With that, the sellsword leader's interest in me seemed exhausted and his men approached, locking heavy irons around my neck and my ankles. So shackled, they dragged me down the gloomy tunnel Jenassa and mother had gone down before and at length shoved me into a steel-gated vestibule where I waited for a time, before a guard appeared behind a small slit in the wall.


"This is Cidhna Mine. You will mine silver, or you will starve. Your only purpose here is to mine silver, and to die. If you refuse to do the first, we will help you with the second. That is all."


And with that, the inner door swung upon and I walked, stepping gingerly as I adjusted to the unfamiliar weight of the leg irons, onto a wooden scaffolding. Looking down over the edge, I saw a sea of naked bodies. Some labored at the rocks, while others huddled around a central fire for warmth. All of them were shackled neck and foot just as I was. With a sign of relief, I spotted Edippa. I was relieved to see she was alright, seemingly deep in conversation with another prisoner.  




At the creak of a floorboard, I turned to see Jenassa approaching. Uncharacteristically, I thought, she embraced me. At length, she released me and stepped back a step.


"I'm glad you're all right, Kirstia," she said with her typical controlled, even tone.


"And I the same," I agreed, "for you and mother both. But... now what?"


"Now, first we survive. Your mother though, I think has something in mind. She's speaking with the other prisoners now, trying to figure out who's in charged, who has influence and pull with the guards. I think she's imagining a way to escape."




"Good," I said, then paused to choose my words carefully, "you're both right. All our efforts are a waste if we can't survive, but if we stay here, we won't survive either. If this place doesn't destroy us on its own, the guards are going to grow weary of watching us and do the job themselves."


The Dunmer woman nodded slowly, considering what I'd said. "Yes, I think you're right. But how are we to escape? There's a reason people say no one escapes Cidhna Mine. This place's whole purpose is to throw people away and forget about them."


I looked over the railing again. Mother had turned her attention to another prisoner now, a man with a flowing mane of red hair seated near the pile of cut wood that I presume fed the central fire. I wondered about that. Where did the wood come from? Did the guards deliver supplies from time to time? Was that the weak link in this place's defenses? Whatever she was speaking about, at length the man lowered his head, breaking eye contract with mother, and she crossed her arms over her chest in apparent frustration.




"Mother doesn't seem to be making much progress," I commented.


"No," Jenassa confirmed, "this place beats the hope out of people. It'll be hard to convince them there's even a chance for freedom."


"What about Madanach?" I asked then.


"Madanach?" Jenassa shot back incredulously. "This is the King Madanach, whose man in Markarth tried to have you killed, and who spare hours ago you were front and center watching as his agent was tortured to death?"


"The same," I confirmed. "My father served Madanach, long ago. Perhaps he can help us. My mistake with Nepos was to hide who I was until it was too late. I won't make that mistake twice."


"You..." Jenassa slowly said, "have a great deal of optimism. I hope it isn't ill-placed."


Before I could say more, a male voice interrupted us. Even as the first words left his mouth, I saw Jenassa turn and set her face into a scowl of deep disgust. Hiding her breasts from the man, she considered him with total contempt.




"New girl," he growled, "you will work for me now. These are the rules: you are allowed to sleep for one hour a day. For the rest, you will work the mines or satisfy my desires. You will give me all your silver, and in exchange I will give you insects to eat. If you are very lucky, I will let you swallow my seed and do the same to my friends. The guards have already told us that you will never be released, so you can submit to me or you can die in agony. Understood?"


"No, fuck you." I shot back. 


Jenassa clarified: "Fuck. You. With. Horse. Cock." she annunciated. 


That seemed to give the man pause, but he quickly recovered his bravado. "Fine, you're new here so you still think you can make it on your own. I'll give you some time to learn how things are down here. When you can't bear the hunger any more, my cock will be waiting to feed you."


Scowling, the tattooed prisoner turned and stamped back down to the fire pit. 


"We may need to do something about him," Jenassa said. "This won't be the last time he tries to claim you."


I nodded slowly. "Yes, and I think more to the point, we need to find a way to protect ourselves. Weapons."


Jenassa gestured down into the mine, "plenty of pickaxes to be had."


"That's better than nothing, but a blade - a small knife, easily hid - would be better."


She nodded in agreement, but said nothing further.


Pushing past the vile man together, I descended to where Edippa was standing, now in conversation with another prisoner.




"Daughter," she said, leaning in close to whisper the next part, "I'm glad you're safe. I really, really want to lick that little pussy of yours. Soon." Then drawing back she gestured to the man at our feet. "This is Uraccen, he's had some very interesting things to tell me."


He looked up at me, his expression neutral. "So what are you in for, prisoner?"


I smirked, answering, "nothing, I'm innocent."


He gave me a tired look, and I wondered if he believed me or if he'd just heard that story too many times. As we talked, mother shifted over to warm her hands at the fire pit. I couldn't blame her - the central cavern was chilly, and the heat of the fire fell off fast. 




"Innocent? So was I, at least for the first one. Everyone else I killed since... that's all on me."


"Is that what it takes to survive down here?" I asked.


"Sometimes. The way I see it, you can survive three ways: you can bend over for protection from a stronger prisoner, you can bend your knee to the 'king', or you can kill anyone who threatens you. I'm too old for bending, so I go with the killing."


Glancing at mother he added, "I'd tell you to keep your head down and just do your time, but I hear you're never getting out."


"The king?" I asked, "you mean Madanach? Where is he?"


He gestured towards an iron gate, guarded by a muscular orc. "Right over there. But no one sees him. The Beast makes sure it stays that way."


"The Beast?" mother asked.


"Borukl the Beast, properly. He's Madanach's private guard. And by 'guarding,' I mean 'pulling peoples arms off and beating them with them.' He's old fashioned like that."


At that, Edippa led me away and down a side passage. Once we were out of view of the other prisoners, she drew me close, whispering, "I need you. Come to mommy."


She pulled me into position by my hair pressing her swollen breast towards my mouth. Well practiced now, I drew her nipple into my mouth and sucked firmly, while I rubbed between her legs with my free hand to hasten her ardor.




Soon enough, hot milk started to dribble into my mouth. As it slid down my throat and into my stomach I suddenly realized just how terribly hungry I was. I took another pull before releasing her for a moment to say, "Divines, I'm starving. Thank you, mother."


As I moved my mouth to her other breast, Edippa enveloped me in a firm embrace. I reached around behind her, running my hands through the line of downy hair that filled the cleft between her buttocks until I found her back passage. With the tip of my pointing finger, I circled her anus in a gentle, swirling motion, probing but not forcing, pushing gently in time with each suck at her nipple. 


Slowly, I felt my finger creep inside her, and I started moving it gently in a 'come hither' motion, stretching and tickling her. Hot breath flew against my neck and, held tight to her chest, I started to hear mother's heartbeat hasten. Her knees weakening, I eased her down to the floor holding her gaze as I switched back to her right breast. Her sweet, thick milk was fast abating my hunger, and no longer to reach her puckered hole, I switched my hand to gently massaging her left breast. 


Edippa's breathing caught for a moment, and then I heard her sniff. "Daughter," she sighed, "you've got yourself dirty." She leaned forward, nipping and pecking at my hand, until she drew my finger into her mouth. We sucked at each other in unison, her tongue wrapping around and rubbing along the length of my finger as I greedily drew more sustenance from her. 




I could feel the heat and excitement rising in me, even though my sensitive parts had gone untouched so far. I pushed her down further until Edippa lay flat on her back and started to slide myself forward atop her. 


"Mother," I said, "you promised to lick my little pussy." I pushed forward again, her breasts rubbing against my belly, "are you going to keep your promise?"


I pushed forward again, now pressing her breasts between my thighs. Her hot breath ran along my pubic mouth as her hands grasped my rear and urged me further forward.


"Yes," she whispered, "come to me."




I settled on my knees, squatting just above her, resting my vulva gently on her lips. I felt her tongue slide out, probing and tasting, then settling into an experienced, gentle pattern. I exhaled slowly, savoring the sensation, and felt myself fast building towards my climax. 


"Mmmm," I said, squeezing my lower lip between my teeth, "too fast, slower."


Edippa acceded and slowed the pace of her licks. Running in slow lines from the top of my vaginal opening up to my clitoris, sliding over my sensitive bud and pushing back gently at its hood before repeating. As she continued, I felt my thighs starting to tremble and goosebumps rising up all over. 


"I'm close," I gasped. 


Mother shortened her licks, now switching back and forth between a spot midway up my vulva and the head of my clitoris.


"When your climax comes," Edippa said between firm, sucking kisses to my hood, "I want your water. Let it loose for me, I need your power!" The last part was more a command than a request. 


It only took a few more circles of her tongue to put me over my limit, and I ground my pussy into her face, squeezing hard to push out the contents of my bladder. I fell from me in a rush, pouring over her face as she sucked at me vigorously until I had emptied myself wholly. 


Silently, swishing fluid from cheek to cheek in her mouth, mother drew me back to her breast. I obediently resumed my sucking, and a surprisingly large spurt of her milk entered my mouth. Evidently our passions had let down more of her precious fluid. 




Before I could swallow, however, she grasped my head with both hands and kissed me on the mouth, her tongue fast pushing between lips and teeth and a mouthful of my own urine flooding across my tongue. I coughed, but she held me fast, and then I felt a fast fizzing in my mouth and a sensation of pressure in my nose. Edippa pulled me back and sucked hard, drawing back much of the fluid before swallowing, then instructed me firmly, "swallow it, savor the taste if you wish, but swallow it all."


I detected the same sweet and sour flavor of the potions they'd fed me in the temple. After I obediently swallowed the mixture, and the frothy head of foam that it was fast filling my mouth with, I considered Edippa.


"The potions?"


"Yes," she nodded, "there were a few more ingredients, but the bulk was your water and my milk. Alone, your urine is only an undirected store of power, but mixed with the nurturing properties of a mother's love, it because a powerful healing and satiating draught. As long as we can find clean water, I believe we can avoid starvation indefinitely, even if the guards withhold food - which I fully expect they will. And I believe if we're careful, we can produce enough to sustain Jenassa as well."


I realized then that the dark elf had been watching us the entire time. "I think I'd rather starve," she drawled.


Mother looked at her with an amused expression, "tell me that again after you've gone a few days without eating." She punctuated the prediction with a loud belch. 


I couldn't help but laugh, though a moment later I found myself also having to burp.


"Divines," Jenassa scoffed, "you both smell like piss. Remind me again why I agreed to follow you lunatics?"


"A sack of gold, I believe," I shot back at her. Throwing up her hands, Jenassa offered no further argument beyond a disgruntled huff.


"Now daughter," Edippa said with a return to seriousness, "we must meet with King Madanach. He is my true lord, and I suspect yours as well if I've pieced together your history. And he is the only one who can help us win our freedom."


"But what of the Beast?" I reminded her.


"There are many ways to tame a beast. Kill it, frighten it away, cow it with the gelding knife, win its friendship with treats, or win its love with mouth on cock. I suspect this particular beast is no different. We need to learn his wants and his weaknesses, and then we can master him."






Behind the Scenes

Right off the bat I ran into some issues with Cidhna Mine that I firmly lay at Bethesda's feet. While MS02 teleported my character to the holding cell and started the introductory conversation, Edippa and Jenassa landed at the default cell entry point, located on the outer side of the door, near the cell that Body Search adds. Likewise, while my character's gear was confiscated, neither of my followers were affected. I'm pretty sure that whoever did this quest for Bethesda just failed to take into account how it would interact with followers and wrote it as a solo quest. If this was the intent, they should have made Eltrys insist on meeting with the Dragonborn alone, and have him not be present in the Shrine unless the player's follower count is zero. 




But I digress. Knowing that my followers would inevitably teleport to my side, fully equipped, I found them with the free camera and preemptively moved them to me, before removing their gear and manually adding the prison outfit. I did this mostly with console commands -- tfc, movetoplayer, removeallitems, help "zbf collar" 4 / help "zbf ankle" 4 (to get the form IDs), equipitem, and so forth, but I also used Project Proteus to blank both characters' outfit data so they didn't keep redressing in their default outfits.


Other than the vanilla structural bug, the only issue I observed was Edippa being surprisingly bashful when naked. It turns out she has neither the Exhibitionist faction nor the Temple of Dibella faction. I added her to the Temple of Dibella faction, which resolved the issue. I also used a console command (the same one I described for Kirsti in the previous chapter) to add the faction in-game for immediate results.




Last chapter's blackface bug was easy to resolve: the actor in question had a mismatch between facegen assets and facegen data in the plugins. My override file for actor data contained the info for High Poly NPC Project, but the winning assets were from Markarth Side Refine, so updating the actor override to reflect the proper face data resolved the problem. You can see below how using filters on the data tab in MO2 lets you rapidly find which mod is providing a particular asset.




The prisoner outfits you see in the screen shots are a private mod I did. I forked the vanilla prisoner outfit into two different branches: most prisons apply random ZAZ restraints and have a 25% chance to allow the prisoner clothing and a 50% chance to allow the prisoner footwear (assuming the costume isn't a "noshoes" outfit). Cidhna Mine omits the 25% clothing chance and always restrains the prisoner in heavy iron shackles. When the prisoner is permitted footwear or clothing, instead of using the default choices from vanilla Skyrim, the garments come from a leveled list that includes all the various roughspun and ragged clothing items. The goal here is twofold: first, to generally conform with mods like Prison Overhaul that strip the Dragonborn when she's imprisoned, and second, to keep enough clothing items in use that the NPCs don't feel completely uniform (this is actually one of my wife's big complaints about Slaverun -- by making all the women naked, it's easier to notice that everyone has the same skin texture, and so forth. Newer developments like 0Body Standalone and Distributed Overlays help with this, but there are so many good clothing options out there that just having everyone naked isn't the best option). 


The original mod also had some of the male prisoners further shackled with ZAZ iron ball stretchers. Unfortunately, these are implemented in a way that just doesn't fit the SOS body right, so I had to walk it back. Hopefully, someday we get a HIMBO bodyslide package for ZAZ that'll allow us to use some of those assets.


You may have also noticed that very few of the NPCs in Cidhna Mine were using modesty/cover animations. While I left a few untouched for variety, I added the SLA exhibitionist faction to most of them. I figure after years or even decades kept in the mine and forced to labor naked, most of them would have long since abandoned any sense of modesty. 


Speaking in leveled lists, the armor on the overseer in the screenshot above is also a product of private leveled list edits. I've created variant leveled lists for most of the vanilla armor items that also incorporate equivalent items - such as in this case, a hauberk from the Simple Hauberk armor pack. I like the way this diversifies the appearance of NPCs and also seamlessly distributed modded equipment. In fact, these days I frequently prefer to download "crafting only" versions of gear mods because they are less of a hassle to add to my variant lists. I've recently started moving towards a more sophisticated approach that also takes into account faction and social standing. Right now this is only really showing up in the civil war and Thalmor factions, with each group exclusively using its faction gear and these items no longer appearing on vanilla leveled lists - especially high quality Thalmor gear such as vanilla glass armor. There's also an officer/soldier divide in terms of items they receive, so "high class" weapons such as the Imperial rapier or some of the Stormcloak hero weapons only appear on officers (or in some cases, elite troops like the Penitus Occulatus). I don't anticipate we'll see a lot of those actors in this playthrough, but future adventures will hopefully let us highlight them.



Edited by gregaaz


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