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The Living Depths (Kirstia's Second Adventure, Chapter 12)


gregaaz

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While I'd been resting, I had taken a moment to look through the abandoned books on the shelf. Most of them concerned the mythology of the Dark Elves, but one stood out amongst them: Ayleid Inscriptions an their Translations. I flipped through it, with my bauble helpfully hovering over my shoulder to illuminate the pages. I admit I was more skimming than properly reading, but my eyes passed over some interesting bits of advice: 'wisdom learned by pain is a reliable guide in dark times,' for one. I could certainly relate to that, especially in terms of my unexpected trip to Cidhna Mine the year before.

 

I also found a rather interesting account of the Ayleids fleeing from certain doom in search of a peaceful sanctuary. If the stories I'd heard about the Snow Elves were true, it sounded like they'd sought a similar refuge... only for hospitality to be turned into the yoke of slavery. And now, somewhere in the dark, their distant ancestors were waiting, hungry for revenge. I couldn't imagine that as a Nord, the distant descendant of the Snow Elves' murderers, that I'd be wise to expect any mercy from the Falmer. 

 

Some hours - and another healing potion - later, I was feeling a lot better. My ribs had knit back together under the influence of the potions and I was breathing easy. My arm get away quite spotless, but the scar left over from where the troll's claw-like nails had bit into my shoulder wasn't all that noticeable. I left my resting spot then and started exploring the shrine.

 

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Fortunately, no more trolls awaited me - though I was pretty certain I'd discovered how the miners had come to meet their violent end. At the end of a short tunnel, I came across a pull-chain near a seemingly blank wall. Tugging at it, a large slab of stone retracted into the ceiling, and I found myself standing right next to the destroyed miners' camp. I'd never taken trolls for being especially clever, but it seemed perhaps they had learned how to operate the secret door and used it to catch the poor prospectors unaware. 

 

It was an interesting discovery, but not the one I was looking for. Yes, it was a shortcut back whence I'd came, but not far enough for me to reach the mouth of the cave. And certainly, it offered no clues about the shrine.

 

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I retracted my steps, this time circling the domed structure, considering it. From its size, I doubted it was solid, but I couldn't see any means of entrance. Tentatively, I touched at a few spots that looked like they might hide a recessed catch or some other hidden mechanism, but to no avail. Just before I circled around to the other side, I heard a strange sound - like the plucking of a lute.

 

Turning, I saw the Daedric bear with a loot in his hand, strumming a complex melody. As the tempo increased, I staggered, the stone floor shaking shifting beneath me. Then, as if it was a bubble rising to the surface of a pond, the dome lifted out of the ground and revealed a hidden chamber, with a marble font at its center. Cautiously, I stepped within, the bear's melody continuing to build in volume and power.

 

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I circled the font; its basin was perfectly smooth, though also entirely empty. The honeycomb pattern on the floor reminded me, of all things, of the floors a the College of Winterhold. For a moment, I wondered if the school had belonged to the Snow Elves before it belonged to men. Before I could consider that further though, a shiver ran up my spine - and then another. I realized belatedly that they were coming in time with the rumbling bass tones of the bear's melody. What started just as shivers quickly turned to tingling in my toes and my fingers... and between my legs. As the blood rushed to all these places, making them warm and throb, my swelling clitoris rubbed against the spiked ball, making my thighs quiver. As the tempo of the melody rose further, this cycle repeated faster and faster until I found myself curling up in a ball on the floor, unable to do anything but wallow in pleasure.

 

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I shook back and forth, rubbing at my clit and trying to reach orgasm, but each time it seemed imminent the melody slowed and my ardor subsided. The bear teased me like this three times before I felt a sudden gush between my legs. The muscles in my tummy tensed and released, and I felt wetness running down my legs... and my arms... and my back... and my forehead... and then a familiar inky slime was in my eyes and I couldn't see anymore. A moment later, the bear's music halted abruptly.

 

I shook myself, and the black sludge flung away from me with disproportionate force to my movement. It splattered on the ground and the pillars of the shrine with a vigorous slap - and I immediately realized why the music had ceased. I was somewhere entirely different. 

 

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Here it was pitch black except for my lantern and sparse bits of glowing purple... what? I wasn't sure if it was plant or animal - it looked almost like coral, if I had to categorize it. I could also hear the distant sound of running water, but nothing else. My bauble was still with me, and I opened my pack for him. This time, he flapped in without any protest, folding his wings beneath him with a little susurration. I gently closed the flap, made sure my armor was secure and all my weapons had made it through with me, and set about exploring my new surroundings. 

 

As I moved away from the shrine, I could hear the rustle of my straps and fittings against my armor. Thinking back to how quickly the trolls had found me after I loosed my first arrow, I realized that if I wanted to sneak, this armor wasn't going to help me at all. So I unbuckled it and rolled it in my bedroll to keep it quiet. Disrobed, I mentally invited the Children to emerge. Dutifully they emerged from my orifices to cling all over my body, ready to spring on anything or anyone what threatened me. I similarly wrapped up my magic lantern, hiding its glow and allowing me to better creep through the shadows.

 

I pushed deeper into the cave, crawling through pools of water and sneaking through gaps in the glow of the coral colonies, until I saw movement ahead. Two pallid, hunched creatures were leading around a giant insect on a leash. Falmer, I was sure that's what I was seeing. Their 'pet' was obviously dangerous, covered in sharp projections and with viscious pincers on its forelimbs, and I targeted it first. My arrow struck true, and the creature staggered before tearing free of it's leash and rushing at me. I tried a snap shot as it charged, but I missed. Rolling out of the way, I could feel the spiders leaping off me and a moment later the insect staggered and fell. 

 

However, its keepers were right behind it, and I only just had time to draw my sword before they attacked. Blind though they might be, the falmer clearly knew how to fight with sword and shield, and I found myself backpedaling, trying to break the leader's defenses. Though I struggled to land blows on him, all the while the spiders were doing their job, biting at the Falmer and injecting their venom. 

 

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We danced back and forth, him blocking my strokes with his shield and I dodging his wicked, jagged sword. One blow nicked me, but fortunately it struck against my long gloves and skittered away leaving me uncut. I was certain I'd have a bruise later, though. By now, however, the Falmer was weakening and his guard was starting to drop. Soon I saw my opportunity and ducked before rising up and stabbing into him with an upward swing. The Falmer shrieked, lifting off his feet from the force of my effort, before I hurled him hard to the rocky ground. 

 

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I got ready to pivot and fight his partner, but I realized he was gone. While I was relieved to have a chance to catch my breath, I also understood what this meant: the Falmer would be warned, and ready for my presence. From this point forward, I would have to proceed with extreme caution, lest I be fast overwhelmed. The Falmer swordsman I battled was no slouch, and I had to assume his peers were just as skilled. After a moment's consideration, I took the Falmer's shield. I wasn't an expert in sword-and-board by any means, but I hoped having a strong shield to block with would be better than just parrying if I had to face more than one foe... or archers.

 

After I gave the Children a few moments to return to me, I pressed on into the caverns. The deeper I got, the more alien my surroundings became. I saw bright glowing veins criss-crossing the rocks, strange hives and nests on or sprouting from the walls, radiant blue mushrooms with gently waving tentacles seemingly reaching out towards me. And everywhere, I felt as if I was being watched. 

 

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I spotted two patrolling Falmer before they saw me and quickly struck them down with bowshots. Unfortunately, I realized, I'd just used my last arrows. Cursing myself for not paying closer attention to how much I had left, I started to hope I'd encounter one of their archers so I could replenish my arrows at his expense. Fortunately, I was able to retrieve a single arrow intact from one of the corpses, so I wasn't completely without the ability to strike from range. 

 

With great care, I managed to avoid several patrols and one giant insect of some kind before I spotted a lone Falmer, distracted as he worked through the contents of a chest. More importantly, I could see a quiver strapped to his back. I slipped behind him and plunged my sword into his back even as I surged forward to cover his mouth with my gloved hand, holding him fast and silent until he expired. Then, I quickly pulled the arrows from his quiver and added them to mine. Now I was finally able to attack from the shadows once more - a fact I was sure greatly increased my odds of survival.

 

The chest itself was fully of - for lack of a better word - bricks. But not from baked clay; these were bricks made of the black chitin the Falmer's insect monsters were clad in. I wondered at what use one might get from the chitin bricks, but I didn't have time to experiment. I quietly rummaged the contents a bit more, retrieving a potion from one corner of the chest, but left the rest behind. I had to keep moving, before the patrols I'd dodged doubled back and found their slain friend. 

 

At last, I reached a large open chamber. All throughout it, I saw tents made from hide stretched over a chitinous frame. Falmer moved about within the encampment, seemingly unaware of my presence. Far beyond, I could see a sheet of fast-moving water and I realized that this cavern was located behind a waterfall. More interestingly, I could make out some sort of throne or altar in the distance, all spikes and sharp edges. And I felt a dull throb in my clitoris whenever I looked at it, as if the piercing was stretching and straining to reach towards the throne.

 

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I concluded that if I was going to find the artifacts I was looking for, it'd be atop that throne. And that meant I had no choice but to move through the encampment. I checked my quiver. Eight arrows. Then I started slowly approaching. One Falmer was clearly in front of me. I struck him with one arrow, and when he didn't immediately fall, I put a second one into him. Six arrows left.

 

Then as I advanced, I found a natural ramp and crawled up it, looking for the high ground. I drew a bead on another Falmer, and put an arrow into him as well. He staggered, then raised his hands as he fled. Just before he vanished behind a boulder I could see the glow of restoration magic enveloping him. Five arrows left. A moment later, another Falmer ran down from the vicinity of the throne, sword raised. I caught him in the throat with another arrow. Four arrows left. 

 

After no further attackers came to challenge me, I pushed past the encampment and approached the throne, looking for the healer. I spotted her a moment later, crouching in the shadow of the throne, weaving a spell of some sort. One more arrow finished her. I had three arrows left, and the chamber was quiet. I cautiously prowled about, looking for any hidden foes. When I was confident I was alone, I looped back and checked the corpses for any useful supplies. I found some coins and more arrows - both useful - but little else. I had better luck in the tents, finding several potions - including one, if I remembered Orla's lessons right - that smelled strongly of the ingredients for an invisibility potion. 

 

What I'd called the throne was anything but. Instead, it was a larger, more spacious tent, built over the whole skeleton of a truly impressive specimen of the Falmer insects. I approached it, but even as I stepped under its threshold, I could feel my piercing tugging to the left. There was another tent there, smaller but still well appointed. But there was also a chest in the large tent, and I decided to check it first before I moved on. I retrieved some valuables - notably a fine looking sample of corundum ore - but no artifacts. And when I entered the left tent, I could tell that it was a false conclusion - for even as I reached the far end, my piercing tugged and throbbed further on... further on, and down.

 

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I realized then that the magical presence I was feeling was much deeper than I'd believed. Maybe even at the foot of the waterfall. As I approached the sheet of water, I discovered that there was no cliff on the other side; rather, the water fell from, and continued down, a narrow fracture that ran across the whole cavern. I hopped it effortlessly and started looking for a way beyond. At length, I found a tunnel; it led to a veritable maze of corkscrewing passages, dead ends, and dimly lit caverns. My bow sent several more Falmer to their end, but I generally tried to rely on stealth, and managed to traverse most of the area undetected. 

 

On the way, I found more ruined marble structures. When I was confident no enemies lurked nearby, I paused to search them, but none of them yielded anything of obvious scholarly value. Still, I collected some samples - as well as a chunk of rock shot through with native emerald - and added them to my pack for future investigation (or at least, for enriching my future self with).

 

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Curiously, though I was certain I was descending deeper and deeper beneath the earth, with each chamber I saw more signs of life. First the glowing plants and coral started to become more dense, then I began to see new and larger species. At last, glowing deer of all things started to cross my path as they grazed on the mushrooms. More concerning, I barely spotted an ink-black sabre cat stalking me, barely catching it in time to fell it with a bowshot.

 

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I continued on my course for only a little longer before a distant detail caught my eye - barely visible white marble on a ledge high above me. Carefully I examined my surroundings until I found a narrow path running along the cavern wall. Along and up. Finally, after a long and difficult climb, I could see that indeed, another domed shrine was located atop the ridge, crowned with another star of Akatosh. And at the foot of the shrine, I saw... a ghost?

 

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Behind The Scenes

I got a bit more insight into the hard crashes I was getting yesterday at the excavation sites. Apparently when the scene is over, it puts up a message placard explaining that the site is exhausted. When time is frozen and the UI is turned off for screen shots, this never displays and won't accept button pushes to clear it, effectively halting the game in an unrecoverable state. Knowing this, I was able to wait until after the message displayed to catch an image of the excavation sites, as you can see in the story above.

 

I've mentioned a few times before that my load order has been growing due to me adding new 'safe' files to my load order. I've been generally happy with these mods and figured I should publicize them so they can get some additional exposure. Here's a quick summary of what I've added (I've excluded any mods that I either didn't install yet or that were dead-ended by conflicts with more specialized alternatives):

 

Model/Texture Improvements

  • 2K Honey with 2K Normals
  • 4K Executioner's Block
  • Ayleid Ruins ENB Light
  • Badlands - Dark with Light Pools
  • Blackreach Crystals 2K
  • Dark Elf Lantern ENB Light
  • Dusty Vampire Dust
  • ENB Particle Lights - Dwemer Lanterns
  • Security Overhaul Regional Locks
  • Surreal Spriggan Sap
  • Tentacle Parasite BHUNP (installed assets only; patched BHUNP mesh into Sexlab Parasites)
  • XNFRain's Civil War Map Flag Replacer

 

Animation Improvements

  • Animated Motion Revolution (version update)
  • Animated Tentacles for Glow Mushrooms
  • Conditional Tavern Cheering (DAR)
  • Elder Souls Halberd
  • Immersive Folded Hands (version update)
  • Vanargard Animations - One handed mid stance

 

Presets for Body Randomization

  • Athena Bombshell Bodyslide Preset
  • Bethini Perfect Body Preset
  • Fantasy Figure BHUNP preset
  • HD's Bodyslide Preset for BHUNP
  • LoHi Oppai BHUNP preset
  • Nordic Oppai BHUNP present
  • Really Real BHUNP
  • Sawira Body Preset
  • Tasty Temptress BHUNP preset
  • The Tinraa Body edits BHUNP
  • Waifu B. BBHUNP Bodyslide Preset

Edited by gregaaz

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You would have (should have) found the first "artifact" during all this. Did you not find it? Or it just did not make it into the story?

 

Also I assume you know that Wojtek appears, just by drawing weapons/spells/bow if the piercing is equipped, but Rousing must be high enough to summon in combat? This has also not been evident in the story... I'm assuming just because of how you want to write it, as opposed to Woj not working.

 

Wojtek has a shield of immortality, which goes up by fondling (powered by the piercing) or giving him booze (which also makes him dance). Without it he can die easily to these hard enemies. Also not evident you are seeing/using this, in the story.

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7 minutes ago, VirginMarie said:

You would have (should have) found the first "artifact" during all this. Did you not find it? Or it just did not make it into the story?

 

Also I assume you know that Wojtek appears, just by drawing weapons/spells/bow if the piercing is equipped, but Rousing must be high enough to summon in combat? This has also not been evident in the story... I'm assuming just because of how you want to write it, as opposed to Woj not working.

 

Wojtek has a shield of immortality, which goes up by fondling (powered by the piercing) or giving him booze (which also makes him dance). Without it he can die easily to these hard enemies. Also not evident you are seeing/using this, in the story.

 

I have not found it yet. I have a map marker, but it seems to be pretty far away still. I assumed it was somewhere after passing through the next Wayshrine. 

 

Yes, Woj does appear to be working right. My rousing has just been fairly low for most of this segment so he hasn't come out much. Also, I've been sneaking most of the time - not sure if that suppresses his summon. 

 

I haven't done the immortality shield power yet, but expect to try it out before the story is done :)

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Before going into battle, you can Fondle, or dance with him, to get his shield up, which also gets your Rousing up so you can summon in combat. Dance raises Rousing more so than fondling but of course off set by the time/effort. Fondling on the other hand works in combat too.

 

Then to keep rousing up, you might deny in Spontaneous Orgasms, or love scenes.

 

Sometimes I find myself running from badies, while fondling, so I can then summon him. Its funny

 

Write-up for Woj...  Tips & Tricks

Edited by VirginMarie
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