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Entry 65: Rebuilding Bridges Across Four Provinces


EnragedBard

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Hey, one more Fenrir joint and I'll shut up for a while.  Last time we got the Guivenne's a house - a faulty wizard's tower.  Then we went and checked the Blades' progress and Brisienna and Inigo stayed at Sky Haven Temple.  Then we managed to track down one of Damien's old friends - Medora Direnni.  She asked if we could find her daughter.  We started with Morreath and Folkstead.

 

Ultimately Folkstead wasn't very interesting.  Like one of Skyrim's small towns, it was only a ring of houses.  Also, a ruined tower served as a home for a family near the entrance to the small valley.  We talked with the locals for a bit in the town center and I made the comment, "Folkstead seems pretty isolated from Skyrim and Hammerfell."

 

A man named Red replied, "If you want isolated, try Vrostheim.  Northeast of Winterhold on an island."

 

We stayed the night at the Inn and continued on the Folkpass to Morreath.  There was a small wall barrier in the cave pass, with guards.  They didn't challenge us, but the gate guards at Morreath did. 

 

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"Hold, traveler!  Let me get a good look at you," he said.  Pausing for a moment, then he said, "Alright.  You can pass.  We allow many of Skyrim and Hammerfell's citizens to pass.  You're in Hammerfell now.  Be on your best behavior."

 

Not five minutes down the road, we were attacked by a small group of bandits.  We wiped the floor with them.  

 

 

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We continued on to the gates of Morreath (guess the gate before was the border gate to Hammerfell).  

 

"Stop!" The guard called down from the wall, "Who are you, traveler?  Nobody is allowed to enter Morreath without good reason.  Speak!"

"We are just travelers.  We're looking for a friend," I replied.

"And we want to look at your lovely red stone," Sofia added.

"She's got the right idea.  Enter!" The guard said and the doors swung open.

We walked in, and Sofia smiled, "I don't know how they do it, but I love the stone here.  And they love hearing about it!"

 

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The entire city was tiered, built up many levels on a mountainside.  When we reached the top, we looked down upon it and saw that it was beautiful.  There was also an amazing view of the Folkstead and Falkreath regions from the top of the mountain.  We asked around about Valiana, and it led us to the tower even further up the mountain (beyond the town).  

 

A guard named Gubra said to us, "Oh yes, I remember Valiana.  She joined the city guard.  Said that was all she knew how to do.  A few years went by.  Imperials came looking for her."

 

"Is she wanted or something?" I asked.

 

"They said she killed somebody important.  I dunno.  Not my business.  Anyway, she went to Skyrim.  Think she said she was going to Vrostheim," he explained, "Hey, before you leave, would you mind clearing out a cave for us?  Supposedly filled with spiders.  Shouldn't be too much of a problem for you three, you look pretty strong."

 

 

I shrugged, following the mark he put on my map.  Figured it was a soft detour.  

 

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And at the end of the cave we found a ladder to a hideout.  They attacked us on sight.  When we were done with them, we found out they were a bunch of Dark Brotherhood defectors, like the Crimson Scars, except humans.

 

I sighed.  I used the beacon to call the airship to the top of the mountain.  We got in the airship and flew, taking another day.

 

We flew by the Throat of the World.

 

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"Sure you want to still do this?  I mean, you don't know Medora, really," Damien said.

 

"I definitely do.  I told her I would and I'm on a mission," I said back.

 

Vrostheim was pretty much like you would suspect.  A frozen wasteland in the middle of nowhere, Sea of Ghosts.  We asked around about Valiana.... again.  And somebody said they knew something... again.  But this time it was Captain Lyka Redbeard, who said he'd tell us if we helped him out.  

 

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"We're in the middle of a crisis right now and I don't have time to tell you stories," he said.

"We can help.  What do you need?" I asked.

"Sure!  You know this is a habitat for whales.  Big, beautiful, majestic mammals.  Kings of the sea.  Of course, we eat them as well.  But lately a monster is terrorizing the area."

"Well, we're definitely not going to kill it so you can keep hunting whales," I replied.

"Alright friend.  Then suggest me something else to kill," Redbeard said, "Until then, it's hurting the people of the settlement.  Please help."

"Okay, okay," I replied.  We hopped into the airship and flew to the middle of the Sea of Ghosts where it'd been reported.  

 

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I saw a dragon in the distance, and I wondered if that's what he meant... but I was quickly attacked by a large (but not insanely big) Slaughterfish.  I killed it, and brought the body back to Redbeard.  

 

"Is this your monster?" I asked.

"That's it!" Redbeard replied, "You know what we could do?" 

"Kill the huge Slaughterfish and eat them instead?" I asked.

"That's just what I was thinking!  Thanks, guy!" 

 

"What about the information?" Damien asked.

 

"Ah, yes.  She became a sailor for a while.  She worked with us for a few years.  Then one day when an Imperial Galleon rolled through, she up and vanished.  I heard she'd taken a job traveling between Pinemarch, Seapoint, and Haafstead."

 

"Arrrrgghhh!" I sighed loudly, "Okay.  New plan: we ride up the coast, hitting the towns in that area and asking everybody.  No more detours."

 

We hit Seapoint and were immediately attacked by a group of Seafaring Frost Giants, which took all the firepower the three of us could muster to put down.  We crossed the High Rock Border and hit Haelth (another tiny hamlet) and Pinemarch (which, has a castle, but a small one).

 

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Finally, we arrived at Haafstead and only got one lead.  

 

Rodyn said, "I run the ship to Kirkmore.  Took a woman by that description there maybe a fortnight ago."

 

So, we took the boat to Kirkmore, a large island north of High Rock.

 

As we got off the boat, the officer there accosted us, "This is Kirkmore, High Rock.  Let me remind you to obey our laws.  You are a stranger here, not a guest.  Why have you come to High Rock?"

"Looking for a friend.  And if you got it, we could probably do a little work for you."

"I see.  We might need help.  Go see Gondyrick at the tavern.  Just follow the road north," she said.

 

When we got to Gondyrick it was almost nighttime, but he told us they'd been having problems at the mine.

I let out a long breath.  We got good and drunk at the Inn.

"What's this place called anyway?" I asked, after a few.

"Dead Man's Drink," the Innkeeper said.

Sofia raised an eyebrow, "Isn't that...?"

I cut her off, "So why the name?"

"Well, one time... a guy died in here.  Enjoy your drinks," the wench walked away.

We all looked at each other and then burst out laughing.

"Yeah, the other one is ... because... there's a huge graveyard," Sofia commented.  

 

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We ventured to the mine.  The inside was a strong green.  Seeing no one, with no man-made construction, a lot of non-hostile treants and a sacred tree, I wondered if we were walking into the right mine.  As we traveled further inside, we were attacked by phantoms, blasting us with ice.  A LOT of phantoms.

 

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Between Damien's fire and my machine-crossbow, we took care of them. 

 

"This is ending up being one of the longest questlines I'd ever heard of," I said out loud, "Alduin, move over!"

"This is reminding me of Daggerfall," Damien chuckled.

We continued and finally found mine structures and a few people milling about and sleeping after hours.  

"We got rid of your phantom problem," I said.

"Oh!  Excellent!  Could you tell Fergus at the Inn?  He runs the mine," the man said.

 

We ventured back to the Dead Man's Drink.  Fergus was enjoying a drink.  About to leave, we approached him. 

"Got rid of your phantoms," Sofia said.

"Perfect!  Here's your reward," he handed us some gold, "The people of this island depend on that mine."

"We noticed a big tree and a lot of tree people in there," I said. 

"Better go tell Yzerick the Black.  A big man in black, crazy about megalithic structures and holy sites," Fergus replied.

 

"It's night.  Do you guys wanna go to bed or do one last thing?" I asked.

"I dunno, this kinda has, 'Well since you killed those phantoms, go kill more phantoms at other sites' vibes," Sofia said.

"We can tell him and sleep.  C'mon.  One more thing," Damien said.

We ventured south along a road that passed near the mine to the megalith Fergus had marked on my map, and what do you know, we were waylaid by a group of heavily armed bandits!

 

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Probably every bandit on the island had grouped together to take down the big score of 'a bunch of rich people from the mainland.'  They'd brought a couple wizards, a bunch of warrior types and some archers.  After all the things we've killed collectively, this was actually looking bad for us.

 

But then a woman with a huge boar spear popped out of the dark woods who looked tougher than they were.  She looked like she could've been their captain, but I realized she wasn't when the first thing she did was bisect one the man with the dragonbone sword.

 

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She was a meat-grinder.  She impaled the next one on the spear, lifting him off the ground and tossing him elsewhere.

 

"You here to help us, lady?" Sofia asked.

 

"Maybe.  You don't look like Imperial soldiers or Stormcloaks or pirates," she said.

 

"Are you wanted by all three??" I asked.

 

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"Yeah.  Who's asking?" 

"Name's Fenrir."

"Damien."

"Sofia."

"Valiana," she said, slashing another.  

"Valiana Direnni?" Damien asked.

"Yeah."

 

We finished off the remaining bandits, though I think a couple ran off. 

When the battle was over, Damien said, "We've been looking for you."

She put her spear on her back and said, "A lot of people are looking for me.  C'mon."

"Where to?" I asked.

She smiled, "It's customary to give your rescuer a reward.  I'm going to take mine in ale."

 

We laughed.  I ventured forward to tell Yzerick about the sacred tree and stones in the cave, and he thanked me without hanging me any more quests, then I joined the others at the Dead Man's Drink, getting drunk already in progress.

 

"Hey kid, you're a Stormcloak, aren't you?  Liar," she grinned.

I blinked.

"Relax, I already told her we're here for her mom," Damien said.

"My mom told me all about her adventures in the past, and where she really came from.  Envarion didn't really like us to talk about it.  I don't think he believes her, and sometimes after dad died, I had my doubts.  But it's you!  You're the guy.  Damien, the Hero of Daggerfall," Valiana said.

 

"How about you?  How are you wanted by three different factions?  And... where'd you get that spear?" I asked.

 

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"This old thing?  Found it in a ruin a couple years back.  It's not magical, but very strong.  It’s like a huge glaive, but blades on both ends.  Like somebody stuck a sword on the end of a polearm.  I named this unusual weapon the Dragonslayer Greatspear.  Actually killed a couple dragons with it too," Valiana raised it to me and I took a look.

 

"Look with your eyes," she said curtly, then she laughed, slapping me on the shoulder, "Fenrir, was it?  You should really lighten up."

She took a long drink, gulping down an entire bottle.

"You never answered my question," I said, "How'd you get so wanted?"

"I can't help that all the boys want me," Valiana replied.

"Stop, please.  You're dodging the question by playing dumb and being glib," Sofia said, "I know because I do it all the time."

 

I pursed my lips, and both Damien and I looked at Sofia.

 

"I barely know you.  And..." Valiana's face grew hard, "It's personal."

"Well, we're well known to be problem solvers.  Maybe we can help you," Damien said, "And the three of us have a lot of sway."

"Your mom sent us to help you out.  The least you can do is give us a chance," I said.

Valiana sighed, nearly a growl, then said, "Alright.  You really wanna know?"

“Don’t worry.  We’ve seen a lot of bad shit,” Sofia replied.

 

“I guess, I could give you the long version.  But you’re buying my drinks,” she grabbed my drink and chugged it.  Then called for another.

 

“Alright.  If my father is to be believed, I was born in Direnni Tower in High Rock, 200 years ago.  This guy here transported us to Kvatch about 40 years ago, where dad felt like he needed to stay.  We stayed there for a while, but when the Thalmor rode past, mom and dad got on edge.  We moved around for a while, finally settling in Bravil.  Mom ran the Mage’s Guild for a long time, when I was old enough, I joined the Fighter’s Guild.  Never had a knack for magic, even though mom drilled a few spells into my head.  Always been better with weapons.  So those guys filled my head with tales of warriors and victory, so when I was a little older, I joined the Legion.  But the war was completely over by then.  I ended up traveling around doing whatever the Empire needed done to placate the Thalmor.  Border guard mostly.”

 

We sat there, drinking and eating a late dinner, listening intently.

 

She waited for her next drink, took a huge gulp as it was provided, and continued, “At some point I got transferred to Skyrim to keep the locals in check, you know, when it was still an Imperial province.”
“What year was that?” Damien asked.

“About 195.  During my spryer days.  While I was there, it blew up into a full-blown Civil War, though there were a lot of false starts.  For the longest time it was a Cold War.  They didn’t even have Ulfric yet.  Or that… Destana character.  Just a hell of a lot of tension.  I heard a lot more went on after I left.  That’s not important.  There was a lot of fighting in isolated places even though the official war was at a standstill.”

 

I could tell she was building up to something as she kept drinking, spiraling into a black hole she’d spent years climbing out of. 


“It was back and forth for months.  One day, they’d raid us and catch us with our pants down and we ran, but they still got half our brothers.  A few days later, we attacked a southern village.  They’d left it unguarded to raid us.  We thought we were pillaging to stay alive, but the Commander shouts over the squalling, ‘take no prisoners!  Burn it to the ground!  Make the Stormcloaks pay!’ and the village of Greenwall was erased.  We killed everyone.”

 

I shook my head, “That’s awful.”

 

“Oh, I’m not even done yet,” Valiana said, “Here I was, a fairly seasoned Legate, butting up against my commander over the awful treatment of those people.  I can tell most the men felt the same way, though there are some who were just as bloodthirsty as he was.  We escape into the wilderness with new supplies.  A few days later, a much larger Stormcloak force using stealth surrounded us.  The Commander surrendered.”

She took another drink, “I’d never thought Nords civilized people, but the Stormcloak commander brings the Commander, Dioscus Metrepius, and us three Legates.”

 

“I remember thinking the Stormcloak went in with the intention of stopping all further hostility against the people under his charge.  And it started off that way.”

“What was his name?” I asked.

“A little-known uncle of the Silverblood brothers, his name was Beorlin Silverblood,” Valiana said.

 

Then she continued, “Commander Dioscus said, ‘We’d pay you reparations, but we don’t have the gold.  And we cannot let these hostilities get out to the heads of our governments.’  Beorlin responds with, ‘We’re not cowards, like you.  We don’t fear war.’  Then Dioscus looks at me for a second and says, ‘Maybe we can come to an agreement.”

She gripped the bottle in her hand, causing a crack to propagate over its surface, “They asked me to step out.  Next thing I knew I was being put in irons and taken to a Stormcloak camp with all the other women.  That bastard sold us out and ran – all the way back to Cyrodiil.  Beorlin kept me as his personal slave for about a month before I escaped.  Was taken in by the Thieves’ Guild in Riften.  That’s where I found out… I was with child.  Of course, I didn’t have the heart to get rid of her with toxins.  So, I had her.  But I didn’t have the heart to keep her either.  Every time I looked at her little face, I saw that monster Beorlin.  I gave her to Honorhall.”

 

“Ever thought about going back there?” Sofia asked.

 

“I tried to, a few times.  She’s probably doing fine.  I don’t know how to take care of brats anyway,” Valiana took another drink, getting a little woozy and teary eyed at this point.  But seething with rage.

 

“I’m wondering why you’re wanted, though,” Damien commented.

 

“Oh,” Valiana sniffled, “Right.  Well, I went back to Cyrodiil after being gone for about a year.  I found Dioscus had already filed reports claiming all the women he’d sold out were deserters and presumed dead.  I was immediately imprisoned and tried for desertion, found guilty.”

 

“Oh gods!” Sofia banged the table, “But you made it out.”

 

“Well, Imperial Law says the Commanding officer doles out the punishment, if available.  Dioscus had taken a cushy desk job in the Imperial City so he was available.  I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but I’m very muscular for a woman, and I learned a little bit from the Thieves’ Guild,” Valiana said, “I waited until I was on the chopping block, picked my bonds, then I snatched the axe from his hands and beheaded him, right there and then.”

 

“I’m pretty sure I said something badass, like, ‘that’s your real traitor.’  Of course, they shot at me so I ran.  Managed to slip into the sewer and make my way out.  I was hunted for a good while, managed to escape via the snake tunnel to Skyrim, then to Morreath.  I tried to make a life there, hide myself out.”

 

“I think we know this part,” I said, “You tried to put down roots a few times, but had to run from Morreath, to Volstheim, to somewhere in the Sea Point region, now to here.”

“Mostly.  I was a guard in Morreath.  Eventually, an Imperial patrol came and I moved to Skyrim.  I admit at some point after that, my life has been mostly fueled by vengeance.  I decided I would track down Beorlin and pay him back.”

“If he’s a Stormcloak, shouldn’t be too hard,” Sofia said.

“I remember him mentioned,” I said, “He was one of the most bloodthirsty Stormcloaks, just as bad as you’d imagine.  Ulfric had enough of him in 202 when he was doing some shitty things to the Imperials.  Ulfric kicked him out.”

“Yeah, Beorlin became a corsair.  I was a sailor in Volstheim, but that was just me trying to find that world-hopping sonofabitch.  I ended up pissing off quite a few people with my ship-hopping and outright piracy.  Last I heard, he was the Captain of the Dainty Sload after he killed the last captain for Erikur of Solitude.  Not sure if he knew who he was hiring.  Beorlin probably took the trading ship for himself, trying to start his pirate fleet.”

 

“That’s how you spent the last twenty years?  On vengeance?” Damien asked.

“Well, yeah.”

“What do you think you’ll do when he’s dead?” Sofia asked.

“I… I don’t know,” Valiana replied, “Guess… I hadn’t thought that far ahead.  Listen, you’ve heard my story.  If you want to help me, then so be it.  Do you know where the Dainty Sload is?”

 

I replied, “We were in Solitude a few days ago and it was parked there.”

“Thanks,” Valiana replied, standing (barely), “I’ve got all I need.”

 

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“Wait,” I said.

“If you’re going to tell me this isn’t worth it… or whatever, you can cram it.  I’m going to go gut that bastard,” Valiana replied.

I stood, “I was going to say he’s got a crew.  We can help you.”

 

We got on the boat going back to Haafstead (sleeping as we rode), then we rode the airship to Solitude.  It seemed the men were just finishing up their supply loading, about to cast off.

 

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I turned to Valiana, “Looks like there’s only a few of them on deck.”

She was like a tiger in grass, ready to pounce.  I could see she would murder everything in her path.

I continued, “Let me see if we can get to Beorlin peacefully.”

I walked onto the deck, “Hello there.”

“I’m warning you.  Back off deck or we’ll have to throw you off,” the first man said.

“Really?  What if I’m a noble or something and I’m wanting to do business with your Captain?  Where is he?  Could I talk with him?” I asked.

 

“Not a chance, guy,” he replied, taking out his sword.

 

“Need help?” Damien yelled.

 

“No, I’m fine!”

Then three more sailors emerged from the hold.

A fireball whizzed by my head and blasted the men behind me.

 

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Then he sent another into the man next to me as I took out my crossbow.  Sofia stood next to Damien, blasting, and Valiana hopped onto deck.  We took the three down in a hurry.

 

“These guys don’t look like traders at all,” Sofia commented.

“I bet he hired a new crew.  All pirate,” Valiana said as she pushed open the door to the hold.

 

We were engaged by a mix of old Stormcloak defectors, pirates, and traders-turned-pirate.  They all fell to as we took them two or three at a time and progressed on.  All except one, a man wearing chainmail didn’t join his brethren.  He just looked down at their corpses after we’d slaughtered a few.

When we threatened him, he said, “Hey, if you’re here to kill the captain, let me show you his door.  I used to be the first mate here.  He only let me live because I’m good at running ships.  I even got demoted.”

 

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“Have a backbone you slimy…” Valiana began to brandish her weapon.

“Wait.  I have an idea,” I said, “After we kill the captain, you and I are gonna have words.  Don’t worry though.  I’m sure we can work out something beneficial.”

“Long as he doesn’t go back to work for Erikur,” Damien commented, “Mom hates that guy.”

“I hate him too.  Fuck ‘em,” the first mate said.

 

We continued on, killing a few more pirates and finding a leader amongst them.

Valiana growled, out for vengeance.

I stayed my weapons, “Is Beorlin Silverblood here?”

“He’s the captain.  But you’ll have to get through me first!” The man said.  Valiana impaled him through the chest and he died immediately.

“Anyway…” I said, “You guys, wait here.  Especially you Valiana.  I’m going to pull him down here into the hold so you guys have room to… talk.”

 

I walked further up and found the captain’s cabin, and knocked on the door. 

“Yes?  Jibbs, what is it?  Are the supplies loaded yet?  I can’t believe you convinced me to trade, even a little bit.  We should be pillaging these poor fools,” a deep voice returned.  I opened the door, and shot a crossbow bolt into the wall near his head. 

 

With a growl, he stood to his full height, which was fairly tall (and that’s saying something, since I’m tall) and grabbed a huge weapon.  I was already out the door and into the hold, waiting for him.  When he saw his man Jibbs dead in the bilgewater, Beorlin growled.

 

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“Do we have your attention, Mr. Silverblood?” I asked.

 

“I demand to know what all this is!” He hefted his weapon onto his shoulder, and in the light it looked like a huge slab of stone one might call a hammer or club if one didn’t know the first thing about weaponry.  That thing must weigh a ton.

 

“I just wanted you to know what was happening.  This is Valiana Direnni,” I said.

Beorlin’s lip curled up into a sneer, “I remember you.  It’s been a long time.  The crew doesn’t matter.  I can hire a new crew.  But you, you’re worth ten crews.  I’ve been looking for you, you know.  And I know you were looking for me.  And you aged pretty well.  Came back for another taste?”

 

Valiana’s eyes flared in white, hot rage.  Seeing she was about to throw herself into combat, I put my hand up, “Hold on.  Does your family know what you’re doing here?  Do they know how far you’ve fallen?”

 

“Kid, shut the hell up.  I don’t give a shit about them.  Or anyone.  If the woman’s going to try something, let her.  She’ll end up like the rest.  And that one over there too.  Maybe even the pale man.  I’m not choosy.  You though, I’m going to rip your bones out and smash your head with this Daedric Ore Club, you little milk-drinker,” Beorlin chuckled.

 

“Alright, kill him,” I said flatly.  I took a step back.

“You’re not going to help her, coward?” Beorlin asked.

“Shut up, you big oaf.  The kid’s more of a man than you’ll ever be,” she smiled.  Then she lunged forward, setting the big man off balance.  Ok, there was the start to the fight I was looking for.

 

Sofia pulled out her curve blade, but Damien stopped her, “Let her fight this battle.”

 

Valiana got a good initial hit on Beorlin, cutting a gash across his side.  He swung his club and she dodged under it.

 

“You’re slow!” She shouted, letting him swing a handful of times and dodging or parrying each one.  As she went on the attack, he tried to block with the huge club, but it was unwieldy.  Maybe in his younger years he could swing this thing faster, but now he was downright sluggish compared to Valiana.  So she was dealing him death by a thousand cuts.  Besides that, she also had reach on him with that Greatspear. 

 

After so long of this, he was looking rough.

 

Valiana put the tip of her spear up to his neck as he knelt, “Any last words?”

 

Valiana Direnni vs Beorlin Silverblood (Youtube)

 

“Yeah… you four assholes could’ve killed me this whole time, but you wanna drag it out like this?  You’re no better than I am,” Beorlin smirked, “Last word?  TOOR!”

He blasted her with flames to the face, dropped his club and started channeling Healing and Flames simultaneously.  Valiana stumbled backward up the wooden stairs. 

“Now you’re gonna remember who’s the master here!” Beorlin yelled.

 

I pulled out my axe and shield, having worked my way behind them during the combat, slamming him in the back of the head.  He swung his club for me and I batted it away with my shield,

nearly breaking my arm. 

 

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But his attention was on me, and that’s all it took.  A massive spear blade emerged from his chest as Valiana drove it through his back.  He slumped over, dead, and she dropped her spear with a clanking finality. 

 

Valiana roared, nearly a scream as she stepped on the man’s head, breaking his skull even through his tiger helm as she put all her weight on him.  I put my hand on her shoulder and she whipped around like she was ready to kill me too.  Tears streaming from her eyes, she grabbed me and bear-hugged me, nearly choking the life out of me. 

 

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Valiana trembled in rage and pain for moments, weeping until she let it all out.  Damien and Sofia surrounded us and held us both.  We looted the man and got the hell out, Valiana taking the club and a couple souvenirs. 

 

I had a small talk with the First Mate.  Damien used High Alchemy to turn all the men’s equipment into gold, then gave it to the old First Mate to pay for a new crew. 

 

“So, what’re you going to do now?” I asked Valiana.

“I’d love to visit my mom.  But I’m still wanted for murder,” Valiana replied.

“I think we could make that happen.  Right Fen?” Sofia asked.  She sidled up to me, as if her charms needed using.

“You’re married, you know,” I said flatly, “Of course we’ll take you there in the airship.”

 

One more trip across Skyrim and Cyrodiil took us back to Bravil. 

We reached the gates by night, and finding an old guard patrolling, he called out to us.

 

1737325023_Bonus64z23.jpg.137a695689c6aea9ccb05b8b87e157a5.jpg

 

“Hey!  What’re you doing lurking out here in the middle of the night?”

“We’ve had a long journey.  Just trying to get to the Inn, sir,” I said.

“Hey!  I know you!” He said.

“Ah, gods,” I said, we all putting our hands on our weapons.

 

“You’re Medora’s girl!  Been away for years!  You really should visit her more!  Your mother’s not going to be around forever!” The guard said, “The inn’s just down the main road, travelers.  Get yourselves inside before the storm hits.”

 

“No New Imperial Guards around?” I asked.

“Not since the siege of Bruma.  We heard the countess and her crew pushed out the army, but they just sent reinforcements, pulled out everybody who’s not a city guard,” he replied.

“Thank you.  We’ll be on our way,” Damien said.

 

Sofia walked to the Inn to get us a room, and it started pouring as we entered the Warlock’s Luck. 

“Oh my!  Baby girl!” Envarion hugged her.  Obviously, he’d been around for a lot of her life.

She nearly crushed the old Bosmer in her muscular arms, “Dad.  I’ve missed you.”

“By the gods, girl.  It’s been nearly twenty years!”

“I was on the run, dad,” Valiana said, gesturing to us, “Have you already met these busy-bodies?”

 

“Yeah.  I didn’t think much of them when they visited your mom, but they brought you back!”

“Where’s mom?” She asked.

 

“She went to Aren Tower to the South.  She should be back in the morning, if you want to wait,” Envarion replied. 

 

So we did.  Valiana waited up and spoke with her dad while the three of us went to the Lonely Suitor Lodge and stayed the night.  In the morning we met Valiana outside just before Medora came walking up the main drag.

 

1519556144_Bonus64z24.jpg.b48cfbbf31746eac55a5e158ec2ca304.jpg

 

“Valiana!  My baby!  It’s so good to finally see you,” Medora hugged her.  She turned to us, “Thank you so much.  Please, come in.  Have some breakfast.”

 

We spent another day there and had a well-deserved rest. 

The three people in our group got in the airship that evening after resupplying at Bravil (not Skooma, much to Skullcat's dismay, just regular supplies). 

“So where to now?” I smiled.

“Well, where were you going originally?” Damien asked, “Oh, you’re making a joke.  Since you keep ferrying me all across Tamriel you just resigned yourself to my taxi service.”

“Hell to the no.  I’m going to Bruma next,” I laughed.

“Well, if you wouldn’t mind stopping at Cloud Ruler Temple, I’ve always wanted to see it,” Sofia smirked at us.

“You know what??  Sure!  For you, anything,” I replied.

 

“Hey!” A voice called up from below.  We’d been hovering over the city to make it easy to pull crates up.  I looked down.

“Who’s calling?” I asked, “Sorry, I can’t hear you, let me slide down.”

I lowered the ladder and slid down onto the wall.

 

1351092557_Bonus64z26.jpg.ea28b8b66d26a70117c53375fa1ae6c6.jpg

 

“Hey!  Thanks for everything.  You're a real hero,” Valiana called from down below, “I’ve been thinking.  Where are you guys off to next?”

 

I hopped down.

 

765388087_Bonus64z27.jpg.60fe34b8453e1f7e37c0f68521662ab3.jpg

 

“Cloud Ruler.  Then Bruma.  Damien said he’s probably going back to Skyrim for a bit before he helps the Cyrodiil effort.  He's always doing his own thing though,” I replied, “Why, do you wanna come with?”

“Well, I find myself in the same boring town where I experienced my call to adventure the first time.  It was nice seeing the parents, visiting my birth dad’s grave.  And my vengeance is settled.  So, I’m looking for something to do with my life.  And I see a handsome young warrior with an airship who I think could deliver me to that new adventure I’m looking for,” Valiana folded her arms, smiling at me a little bit.

 

I raised an eyebrow, “If I didn’t know better, lady, I’d think you were coming on to me.”

Valiana chuckled, “Please!  I’m double your age, kid.  And have you seen how thick my thighs are?  I’d break you in half.  You couldn’t handle this.  All I’m asking for is traveling companions.  Besides, I figured you and that cutesy one up in the ship had something going.  A relationship.”

 

“I mean, she bothers the piss out of me.  But not as much as she did mom,” I laughed.

“I never said it was a good relationship,” Valiana laughed back.

“But no, she’s married to a friend of mine.  I wouldn’t violate that trust.  And for that matter, Damien has a wife too.  Both their spouses are in the Blades,” I explained.  She tilted her head, I guess not knowing the Blades were still a thing.

“So the kid is free.  Anyway, how about it?  Need a strong warrior woman by your side?” Valiana asked.

“Sure.  You hit pretty damn hard with that spear,” I smiled.

We got in the ship, waving goodbye to the parents. 

 

1316698878_Bonus64z25.jpg.7209b238f93fa6eb99d6b17a4dfd5466.jpg

 

We took off toward Cloud Ruler Temple.  As we were getting close, Damien kept trying to channel his teleport.  Nearly hovering over the temple, he started to be able to cast it.

“Well, I’m in range to teleport to Falkreath.  From there I can go anywhere in Skyrim (think the mountains make teleport range lower).  This is my stop,” Damien shrugged, “I’ll update mom on what’s going on and tell her you’re going to go support Bruma and Runa.”

 

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He patted Sofia and Valiana on the back, but they then both sprang on him and nearly crushed him between the two of them.

 

“Well, then,” Damien coughed, “Thanks for that.  Bye now.”

 

He teleported, then it was just the three of us.  We got out of the ship and toured the nearly empty temple for a little bit.

 

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Then we headed for Bruma.

 

--------------------------------------------------------

 

This is Destana.  I had another breakdown the other day.  Serana has been very insistent, whereas Ulfric has backed down quite a bit and been very understanding.  I feel like it’s been making Serana and I drift apart.  Sure, in front of the world we’re all smiles and kisses (even at Elisif's parties), but behind closed doors… I think she thinks I should be able to overcome this like she overcame her pain. 

 

But the last time we tried with just the two of us, I broke down in tears.  Serana picked me up and carried me to the Dibellan Baths, where we soaked for a while.  I spent a few days in the temple, talking with Fjotra and Hamal.  Fjotra seems to have forgiven me, and wants to help me.

 

I think… before the invasion... I need to get better.  I’m going to stay here a little bit and find myself again.

 

Spoiler

Four Provinces:  Skyrim, Cyrodiil, Hammerfell and High Rock.  I've found I have limited access to every province... except Black Marsh!  What a crime.  

 

The video somewhat works out like the description.  The NPC pulled out magic when he was about to lose.  I just dramatized it a little bit.

 

The video wouldn't upload, so I put it on youtube.  Nothing NSFW in this one.

 

I'm going to tell you that all this is going somewhere, feeding back into the main story.

 

I may be guilty of creating too many characters.  I'm probably going to release an Aside before I go back to Runa (later this week).  

 

684962948_Bonus66a.jpg.6890178b831ea00a633dd9bfb5b23c5b.jpg

 

Edited by EnragedBard

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Quote

 

You're in Hammerfell now.  Be on your best behavior."

Not five minutes down the road, we were attacked by a small group of bandits.  We wiped the floor with them.   

 


Appears the rampant bandit problem isn't confined to Skyrim. Are you sure that depriving the local fledgling adventurers of their easy skill gains counts as being on your best behavior? :P


Hmm, Valiana gave her child to Honorhall ... about when? Would be a slightly used trope, but I wonder if Runa might end up with two mom's soon enough. For someone getting murder contracts from a pretty dead woman, collecting new and unusual relatives is probably not that outlandish a hobby. ;)
(But then I've been known to fail in predicting possible parentage before ... just as well. ^^)

 

I wondered for a bit who the dark haired lady in the vid is until it dawned on my Sofia is wearing some sort of hood ... ah well, eyes are getting old I guess. :(

 

In a nutshell pretty cool whirlwind tour of various "beyond" Skyrim extensions ... and one more NPC hanging around it appears. ^^

 

And you know you don't have to accommodate my little peeves and rants, but I appreciate it nonetheless, though I hope they will reconciliate. (Purely sentimental on my part most likely, as Serana ... well the SDA Serana, is my favourite follower ... yes more so the Inigo. Honestly Inigo is funny, but otherwise mostly a pain in the butt. In many ways that might be connected to him not working with NFF.)

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Yep. Sofia is wearing a chain coif. 

 

Also I started posting old videos to Youtube. 

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Now that was one hell of an introduction! I agree with what Talesien said above: It looks like Valiana could be Runa's mum. She said, that she moved to Skyrim in 195. Then spent a number of month there, before things went sour. Let's assume it's now 196.  The events of Skyrim start in 201 and vanilla Runa is maybe 5-6 years old. Sooo... as far as the timeline is concerned, it would be plausible.

 

Personally, I don't think, that there are too many characters in your story. Shirley has already said, that she is ready to retire, so why no let her do just that?  Valiana could then take her spot in Destana's band of heros. And just to be clear: I do mean "retire", not "die". 🙂

 

And then there is the last paragraph regarding Destana and Serana.

Honestly, I am unsure, what to make of it.

IF Serana really is the pushy one here, then I would appreciate it, if we could get a little insight into her thought-process at some point. After all: Back in chapter 47 Serana was concerned enough about Destana's well-being, that she even used her VL Form to find her quickly. Something, that was completely unheard of before.

Therefore I did not expect her to take ANY risks or even potential risks when it comes to D.'s recovery. And being pushy/insistent seems like a risky move to me. At the very least I would see it as a risk to their relationship if not even one to D.'s overall recovery/self-esteem/confidence in general.

 

On the other hand:

 

D.: " I think she thinks I should be able to overcome this like she overcame her pain."

 

This almost makes it sound, as if D. is jumping to conclusions here. And that the two of them have not actually talked about it.

I would see it as perfectly in-character for D., to be frustrated because of her (perceived) lack of progress with the recovery. Because she might believe, that she ought to be able to overcome her trauma quicker then she actually can. In such a case, she may very well project her own (subconcious?) expectations on Serana. In short: D. might be too strict with herself and believe, that S. sees it the same way. 

 

In that case: D. and Serana: Please make sure, that this isn't just a simple miscommunication. Because that would be a shame.

 

 

Edited by HM1919
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Probably going to think about another armor change for Destana, since I'm updating everybody's.  

 

Also strongly thinking about Unarmed Mods, though Destana is pretty firmly a dagger fighter.  I would love to play unarmed, but I don't have a character to do so with it.  

 

But I'm also looking at Destructible Skyrim, Dual Wield Parry and Block, BUVARP and Restoring the Aretino Residence (that one makes so much sense for my gameworld)!!

 

Turned off Blood of the Nord.  I'm fairly certain that was causing my CTD during the Second Great War.  Sad, because I really wanted to finish that mod.  It's very well written.

Also turned off Filled Pots (took a space, and it's not really that useful), Lumberjacked (neat idea, but it takes up a plugin slot) and Skooma Whore.  Literally never had a positive interaction with the mod.  I have nothing against the mod and I'm not saying it's bad or anything, but it mainly just gets in the way of play for me.  

Edited by EnragedBard
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I've used Way of the Monk in the past and had a lot of fun with it (which says a lot, given I'm usually gravitating VERY strongly towards playing ranged).
Not sure if Dagger is a possible Monk weapon, if yes that might be D.'s ticket into it. Since she already got "Iron Skin" progressing to no daggers might come naturally to her once she learned the ropes. ^^ (Or you could just claim that claws are like daggers and go with that.)

 

Never found any real use for Skooma Whore either. It was either just there or actually annoying.

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Not sure, if this one would be of any use to you, because of the requirements. But since you mentioned wanting to play an unarmed character, I figured I would mention it anyway:

 

Drifter Outfit.

 

https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/60376

 

Relevant part of the description:

Drifter Gauntlets
type: Heavy & Light
Weight: 4
Armor Rating: 12
Enchantment: Deal 25 points of unarmed damage

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I possibly spent way too much time on this, but I picked out a couple new outfits.  #3 would be: Dragonbone with a bare chest.

 

But Destana is difficult because she has very stringent requirements.

1. Light Armor

2. Chest needs to either robes or bare to take advantage of extra armor.

3. Stuff needs to actually work together and look good.

 

In principle this sounds easy, but my mods are just not lining up the way I want them to.

Destana new outfits.jpg

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I kinda like parts of the 2nd one (the green one), not a huge fan of the leg wraps or the 'Lich King' boots though.
I would likely have went with something more fancy, though. She is royality (and a celebrated heroine) now. Might not be able to wear a ball gown everywhere, but fine fluted, emblazoned and embellished armor would appear fitting. Does not make it any easier to find though and of course if she happens to find something overwhelmingly good, she is unlikely to care if it is representative. ^^

And I'm kinda confused at: "2. Chest needs to either robes or bare to take advantage of extra armor."
Umh sorry? Is that something from that beastiality whatever mod that gave her the hardened skin? Cause it's not an Ordinator perk I know ... nor a mod I can find. ^^

Edited by Talesien
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Yep, it's from the Untamed mod. If I equip something with armor in my chest slot my armor drops by 200. 

 

Also why Im considering Way of the Monk. Unarmored skill

 

I have a massive amount of modded armor. But I might need to get more. 

Edited by EnragedBard
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1 hour ago, EnragedBard said:

Yep, it's from the Untamed mod. If I equip something with armor in my chest slot my armor drops by 200. 

Did you try simply firing up xedit and remove the ArmorLight/ArmorHeavy keyword from it (or replacing it with the ArmorCloth one)?
Most of the time those mods only check the keywords. If not you could also switch the armor type to cloth, then you do lose the armor rating benefit of course as the rating is discounted even if it's still non-zero, but you could use every type of chest piece you want.
I switch keywords and/or armor types pretty often (usually by first copying the entries into an override file), as I frequently find that the armor I want has the wrong type for the character I want it on. ^^

Edited by Talesien
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6 hours ago, EnragedBard said:

Can't use it, I'm UNP.  Although I may still be able to use the gauntlets?

That's what I half expected. Oh well, was worth a shot.

 

Btw, I take it, that you are aware of these things?

https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Gloves_of_the_Pugilist

 

Since they are vanilla items you would not even need more mods to get them/the enchantment.

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Yeah I just realized I can just make versions of these armor pieces that are light or clothing. 

 

I'm dumb. 

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Ok, a few more candidates for your consideration. All of them should work with an UNP body. Also, all of them add at least an un-armored variant. I have used the Nibenean and the Colovian Armor (LE version as usual) and had no issues with them.

 

https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/56350?tab=description

 

https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/50785?tab=description

 

https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/50331

 

Btw, I like the purple and black combo you put together for D. Looks suitably vampiric and just a little refined.

 

p.s. Or if you want D. to really cover herself: The Wayfarer Coat (LA and unarmored).

 

https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/10194?tab=description

 

I used/ am using it (LE version) with no issues.

Edited by HM1919
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Well, I went the other way with it.  Rather than elegant, picking even more savage looking.  But I did make it a bit more modest.  How about this?  The bodypiece is "Nord Plate Bikini Top" which is entirely made of cloth.  So I made a duplicate in CK with 0 armor that's clothing.  You know, since it's cloth.  And it has physics built in, but still covers everything.  Safe for youtube.

 

More in depth: 

Dragonbone Pauldron and Boots (Converted to Light Armor) show she has killed many dragons (and Dragonbone Claw she's had for a while).

Dragonscale Crown shows both she's a queen and the Dragonborn, and is kinda intimidating.  She also has the option of her silver crown or invisible helm.

Stormcloak Gauntlets and Collar show she's still a Stormcloak.

Fur Skirt is from the Forsworn.  Belt is to hold her skirt up (hehe) and since it goes with anything, has the cushioned enchantment on it.

Fastened Shield and Thief Backpack have been with her since very early (FS is from the Crusader Armor, and she's a thief).

Leather Gorget rounds out the neck region, makes her look more thief-y.

Wolf Mask is from the Companions.

Dagger from the Dark Brotherhood.

Nord Cloth Boob Halter is for modesty (though, not much).

She wears four rings (though the Jewelry mod sometimes decides a random number to show): 

Lingering Dragoncrest Ring on her right index (for shouts)

Mage Knight Ring (Enchanted Ebony Ring) for magicka and spells on her left middle.

Two Bonds of Matrimony on her ring fingers.

 

I might pick a new dress for her formal wear.  All the Gwelda stuff makes her boobs look small, which they're not.

Destana Dragonbone.jpg

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Well it fits her style, one might wonder if breaking with it might help to overcome certain ... issues she is having currently, but fine.

Personally I hate those "raise your arms and shove a giant spike into your ear" armors, but whatever. Actually not that likely to kill herself with it in this case. 😛

 

 

Quote

I might pick a new dress for her formal wear.  All the Gwelda stuff makes her boobs look small, which they're not.

Hmm can't say that for the cbbe version, you are using bodyslides I assume? You certain you build them with the right body preset? (Don't laugh, been there myself, creating a special bodyslide for a follower then doing a couple for my char, but forgot to switch back to my chars body preset. Looked ... interesting. :P)

Edited by Talesien
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I didn't do a bodyslide at all.  I guess I could, but I also wasn't the biggest fan of how it looked.

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Agreed not the biggest fan of the Gwelda Stuff. As far as large collections go I usually always end up either with Ninirims stuff or Project Vindictus (though at least the large collections of either are only available in CBBE/3BA far as I know).

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