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EnragedBard

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It's me, Destana.  It's been a few months since Runa had her baby.  Sun's Dawn (Second Month), 4E 217.  Not seen much of her in that time.  But that's to be expected.  After our victory with the Thalmor, we all deserve a bit of an adventuring break.  I'm going to fill you in on what's been going on.

 

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Over the past year or so I've been concentrating on bounding the bandits, rogue vampires, pirates (in the sea of ghosts) and the friggin Dawnguard, who've taken to just killing everyone, not just vampires.  Thankfully, my master of shadows, Nazir, has been using his contacts within the now large Dark Brotherhood network to help out.  I heard Runa took a sort of 'soft' retirement from being the Listener.  Actual contracts have really gone down except in Alik'r and so the Night Mother doesn't speak often.  A lot of the new members went back to their old jobs and now just function as sleeper agents.

 

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I also took some of this time to do more dungeons, learn more shouts and get just a little bit stronger.  Oh, and get some more random stuff for the Dragonborn Museum.

With the Tear of Auriel, we have a limited capacity to give humans and beastfolk extended youth and life (and sometimes, enhanced beauty) up to 150 years.  Elves can benefit from it up to 250 years.  So if it seems like some people are just frozen in time and youth 11.5 years after I came to Skyrim (factor in the 5 years we lost with the Dragon Break), this is why.  The other countries have been getting fair shares of the life waters, but the mages at Winterhold can only produce so much.  Damien oversees the operation.  He got a promotion to the official Master Wizard (not just a measure of capability) after Tolfdir passed in the fall.  The New Archmage: Mirabelle Ervine.

 

We give everyone the same line when they get the water - there is a small chance of unforeseen consequences because of the corrupted end.  So far we haven't seen anything strange.  The people it worked on worked well - Uthgerd, for example, looks like she's about 25 again and beautiful.  A large number of older people refused it, or it just didn't work on them.  Chalk it up to unforeseen consequences.   

 

Ulfric, as always, does most of the day-to-day ruling.  I sense even though he's firmly against drinking the life waters, he sees his own mortality rearing its head.  I heard him talking to Fenrir a while back.

"It's time you took a more active rule in governing Skyrim.  Scale back on the adventuring.  At the next moot, I'll be passing on the title of Jarl of Eastmarch to you officially.  You'll be acting in the role until then," Ulfric said.

We'd never really talked about succession, but I guess Fenrir is Ulfric's only natural-born child.  I could tell Fenrir was equal parts excited and dreading having to give up adventuring.

 

Whereas Valiana and Fenrir'd been helping out with patrolling the north sea for pirates with the airship, when Ulfric handed Fenrir more responsibility, he took less of an active role in the exercise.  Valiana started to patrol on her own.  One day, she left the airship in Windhelm and told Fen she needed to travel a little while.  We've had no word from her since then.

 

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From my travels to distribute the life waters, I gather there's a peace in Cyrodiil.  Jura seems to be using all the best facets of Emperors past to be the 'best damn emperor ever.'  Runa, Calleius and Rigmor settled into a throuple, like Serana, Ulfric and I.  Calleius had been made a full general.  Brutus Brutalis went back to the Legion for a short while to train up a new general, but he wanted to retire after all the torture and war.  I actually saw Tusselle in Skyrim, In one of her leave periods she came as far north as Whiterun.  She'd heard there were a lot of unconquered dungeons in Skyrim (unlike Cyrodiil).  I visited Summerset briefly, and from the look of it, everything seems to be alright.  Sialius and his men find a pocket of Thalmor holdovers from time to time (as do we, and Cyrodiil, and Elswyer, honestly) but they put it down.  Sialius seems true to his word - not oppressing the High Elves.

 

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I visited Galahad, Roheisa and Queen Mynisera in High Rock.  Though the kingdoms of High Rock are always looking to find a foothold against each other, Mynisera's renewed youth and Galahad's eternal vigil seemed to keep a lasting peace in Illiac Bay.  Roheisa'd been traveling a lot.  She'd found a taste for adventure to far-off lands.  I told her she could visit Skyrim anytime, but she said it'd be a while before she could get away from her duties again.  She'd also taken leave in Frostfall, meeting up with Tusselle for dungeon runs in Skyrim.

 

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The lights slowly snuffed themselves out that night as I stayed up chronicling the last year's events.  Let me clarify - vampires don't need to sleep.  But we do get tired.  And we have enough of our human nature to instinctually start dozing off when dead tired.  I'd been using my Night Eye to finish up in bed when I fell into a deep sleep.

 

"Ah!  Gods!  What the fuck!" I jerked awake, the journal flying off my bare chest.

"Another one of those dreams?" Serana asked, "Did you fall asleep writing in your journal again?"

I sighed, smiling, "Yes to both."

I've been having these recurring dreams.  I mean, they're not so bad really.  They're unbelievably mundane.  Serana and I are living in a world that has almost no danger, with lots of gadgets to do our bidding.  Everything is white and gray.  The paved roads are pristine.  Crime is existent, but still, managed.  People have jobs and go to school.  The wilderness is pretty much completely conquered and docile.

 

...

 

Life there is utterly boring and I hate it.  I crave danger!  Action!  I CRAVE CHALLENGES!  

 

Then the dreams often end abruptly.  Usually I get this prickly feeling, with something scaring me, or jumping at me.  I think I'd call it... a scare-jump.  And the next time I dream, the events of the scarejump haven't actually happened and life continues as normal.  Perhaps it is my confused brain creating drama.

 

Spoiler

Here's the first dream:  on the airship ride back to Skyrim.  

 

 

 

"Hey, I'm not complaining.  I only get to sleep next to you once every three nights.  But I get to spend most nights in the dream world with you," Serana smirked.

"It's not really a dream world," I said.

"How do you mean?" 

I started to slide my boots on, "Damien monitored me a couple nights ago.  He said he thought it might be 'more than meets the eye."

"Ugh," Serana rolled her eyes, "He's really leaning into his new job, eh?"

"Administrator of Life Well?  Interdimensional Investigator?  Official Master Wizard of the College? 

"All of the above?" Serana asked.

 

Yeah, I guess.  I'm headed to the college to see him.  Wanna come with?" I asked, finishing putting on my clothes.

"Sure," Serana replied.

While she put hers on, I looked at my hair in the mirror.  Getting kinda long.  Not sure what to do with it, I crammed it into a ponytail.

I teleported us to Winterhold and we walked up to the Archmage's quarters.

 

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"Morning mom," Damien turned from his work, "...step mom."

Serana smirked, "I guess I am."

As I approached the workshop area, I found Mirabelle and Carahil, "Archmage Mirabelle.  Master Wizard Carahil, Damien.  What'd you figure out?"

"I have a theory," another voice said.  I turned.

 

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"Solaire!  It's been ages!" I shouted.  He gave me a hug.

"You know this strange trash-can knight?" Carahil asked.

"He's a warrior of Sunlight, knight of Gwyn from Lordran," I replied, "Is that the...world's name?"

"Oh, you're still keen on speaking to me, eh?" Solaire asked, "I believe the world is called 'The Lands Between,' though it's fractured, broken, time-displaced... and there are at least seven kingdoms I've been to, one of which is called Lordran.  Dranglaic, Boletaria, Yharnam, Lothric, which is the same kingdom as Lordran, but thousands of years in the future but also existing side by side. And the even more future version of the Ringed City."

 

Spoiler

These names aren't really important.  Just for all the Dark Souls fans out there.

 

"Well, that's confusing.  I can see why you're traveling to other worlds, when yours seems to be collapsing in on itself," I said.  Then I turned to the group, "What you guys got for me?"

 

"My theory is that it's another world," Solaire said.

"From everything you gave me," Damien stroked his chin, "I agree.  Seems like when you dream, you're visiting another world.  But it's our world."

"Huh?" 

"What I mean is, it's like Solaire's world(s), where there are multiple versions of the same world, slightly different.  Like a parallel universe.  It just so happens that thing that makes the other world different is that it's about 600 years in the future."

I blinked, "That... makes a lot of sense.  When I'm this separate 'me,' I seem to know a lot about their world, like I've lived in it.  When I wake up, I forget almost all the nuances.  It's more... big picture stuff.  Like, I know there's a lot of technology.  I lived through an industrial revolution.  I know computers... are a thing... but I couldn't tell you what they are right now.  I learned to drive a car at some point.  But if you asked me to do it here, I barely even know what the thing is."

Serana smiled, "It's good to know that alt-Destana chose to live out her immortal life with alt-Serana."

I smiled.  Then I folded my arms, "So is this a cause for concern?  Seems like The Worlds Between is imploding.  Should we be worried?"

Carahil shrugged, "This is uncharted territory.  Traveling to parallel worlds is as difficult and dangerous as chronomancy, though we can repurpose a lot of the same knowledge, without the danger of time paradoxes.  Infact!"

 

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She paused when everybody jumped at her Eureka moment.

"This might actually be good.  The drawback to chronomancy is it's prevented by Akatosh because of the inherent danger.  Dimensional travel has no such prevention.  Even our trashcan knight here can travel to different worlds where the boundaries are weak, using the magic soapstones from his world.  But his world has little to no infrastructure.  Here on Nirn we benefit from having a large body of mages who can study it.  We may be able to develop a way to control where we go and... see what's out there," Carahil was beaming.

 

"So do you need anything from me?" I asked.

"I think I need to monitor you while you sleep," Carahil replied.  She looked at the others.

Mirabelle broke in, playing the Archmage role, "Just make sure you guys play it safe.  Like you said, uncharted territory."

Before he left for the night, Solaire told me to seek him out for a little side adventure.  

"I brought a friend back with me from Lordran," he said.

 

I'll let you know right now, this part isn't interesting.  Serana went home.  Carahil monitored me while I slept (in one of the Archnages's beds). I had another dream.  She took her data and told me she'd get back to me.

 

I woke up to a conversation.

 

"I figured I'd find you here," a woman said.  I rolled over to find Brisienna and Damien, him pouring over Carahil's data.  She smiled pleasantly, okay with being ignored.

"Hey, how've you and Sinidar been doing?" Damien asked. 

"Oh, fine, I guess.  You?"

"The Life Waters keep me busy," he shrugged, "And this job is mostly paperwork."

 

Brisienna smiled softly again, "I wanted to ask a favor."

 

Damien smiled back, amicably. There didn't seem to be any bad blood between them.  They were just both wrapped up in their own passions. 

"What can I do for you?" He asked.

"Durak and I, and a few others, are going to raid the Dawnguard's fortress.  Finally put an end to them wantonly killing anything that moves,"  she explained, "Could you watch Sinidar for a while?"

Damien smiled weakly, maybe unsure about her safety, "Of course."

 

"I have a suggestion," I said, sitting up.

"Oh, didn't know you were here," Bris bowed to me, "Nice to see you."

I walked over, "The Dawnguard are strong.  You and your boys should take Serana, maybe a couple of her guys too."

 

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Bris thought for a second and said, "Okay."

Looking between them, I spied uncertainty on Damien still.

"And take Damien.  He's powerful. And stir crazy," I smiled at him, "He's been cooped up here for weeks."

They looked at each other, then back at me.

"I'll take care of Sinidar," I added and sat down in the Archmage's chair.  

They smiled.  After Bris went on and on about when he takes naps, what he likes to eat, how he loves his little toy lute, she pulled him in front of her from where he'd been hiding, behind her flowing kimono.  Little two-and-a-half-year-old, hair as red as the Alik'r Desert.  Redder.  A cardinal.  I smiled.  He could walk, and could basic conversation.  This was a fun age for Damien and Fenrir.

"Who is this?" I said playfully.  I realized I hadn't seen him in many months and he'd grown - fast!

 

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"Sinidar," the tiny voice said sheepishly.

"Well hello, Sini.  I'm your grandma.  I'm your dad's mom," I said, smiling.  Courageous little guy, he rounded the desk and nearly tripped down the stairs.  Damien flicked his wrist and the boy floated through the air.  He peered over to me as if to say, 'Can we trust you with him?'  Then he noticed I also had my hand raised.

"I got him," I said.  Damien let him go and Sini floated over to me, sitting in my lap.

He giggled, "That's fun!  I can fly!"

"We can fly more later if you want," I smirked.  Then I looked over to the pair, "I can summon Serana."

I did so and she appeared, in a bath towel.

"Shor's bones!" She yelled, and Sini startled in my lap.  Then he started to cry.

 

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"Oh gods," Serana shook her head, rushing over, "I'm sorry."

 

I gently cradled his shoulder as Serana smiled and made friends.

"Who is this handsome little guy?" She asked.

"This is Sinidar.  First time meeting, yeah?" I asked.  Then I turned to the kid and said, "This is my wife, Serana."

Sini tilted his head and looked at his mom, "Can two girls get married?"

Brisienna chuckled, "Well, not in my day.  But yes."

 

"A little warning would be nice," Serana murmured as she was introducing herself.

"Hey, you gave me the option.  Also, here's what I got - Bris and her friends want to topple the Dawnguard and I figured you'd want to go with.  I'm going to get to know my grandson."

Serana's face softened a little, "Definitely.  But didn't you have a meeting with Jura this afternoon?"

I pursed my lips, opened my journal, then said, "I should really consider a secretary, y'know?"

Serana laughed.

"It's alright.  I'll just teleport to the Imperial City.  Sini here can meet his new baby cousins!" I smiled, "Wanna fly, little man?"

Sinidar clapped, "Yeah!"

Serana looked at the pair, "Let's meet up in Riften in a few hours."

 

I picked up Sinidar and charged my spell, than we were in the Imperial City plaza in a few seconds.

We turned to look up at the big Akatosh statue.

"Wow," he said.

"Wow's right.  Never been here before?" I asked.

He shook his head as I let him down.  He looked around, marveling at the tall towers, the old architecture, and that big dragon statue.

 

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"Wanna hear something cool?" I asked.

"Yeah!" 

"I've fought dragons bigger than that," I smiled.

"Wow!"

"And giants, and everything else," somebody said.  I turned to find Runa and Jura, casually walking across the plaza.

 

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"What, you guys are so tough you don't even need bodyguards?" I smirked.

"Pretty much," Jura said, "Same to you though.  Skyrim's a bit more dangerous than Cyrodiil."

"Not for me, of course," I hugged my dad, then turned to Sinidar, "This is your great grandpa, Jura, Emperor of Cyrodiil.  This is your aunt, Runa.  And this is... (which kid is it?)"

"This is Kintyra, actually.  Rigmor and I both have milk, so we just rotate.  Not much different than a wet nurse," Runa replied.

"Is this Sini?" Jura knelt down to get eye-to-eye with the kid.

"Nice to meet you, sir," Sini said.

"You call me grandpap," Jura smiled.  Probably the biggest smile I'd ever seen on the man.

"Look at that red hair!  I love it!" Runa smiled, "And look at his little lute."

"He's like, a quarter daedra, that's probably where it's from," I said.

"How's your lute skills, little man?" Jura smiled.

Sini, as if trained for this, took out his lute and started to strum it melodically.  It wasn't anything like a complex song.  More like a single chord over and over in rhythm.  Still, impressive.

"Sorry to butt in on your meeting," Runa said, "I was really just out for a walk with the girl and saw you both.  What's going on anyway?"

"Strategy meeting.  Updates on Summerset.  You know, standard stuff," Jura said, "But first..."

I rolled my eyes, "I got your life waters for the Generals and Counts.  Please, make sure none of those jackasses on the Council in Exile get their hands on this.  And please distribute some to the people."

 

"C'mon, let's go inside," Runa said, "No reason to stand out here."

We all filed in the Imperial Palace to find Rigmor breastfeeding the boy and Calleius sitting in the audience chamber, reading over maps and things.

"Hey, you never told me his name," I replied, "I remember you were having trouble picking one."

"Oddvar," Runa replied.

I nodded, "I like it.  Is he an oddball or something?"

Rigmor chuckled, "Dragonborn, you're always so coarse.  But yeah, he's a little odd boy.  It's an old family name."

"They look a lot alike," I commented.  Pale, blond, and beautiful just like their mother.

I set down Sinidar to run around and play, like kids do, while I talked with Jura about updates.

 

"Hey, Runa," Rigmor smiled deviously, beckoning her over.

When the Emperor and I were done, Rigmor and Runa approached us, eyeing me.

"What can I do for you girls?" I asked.

"Go on, ask her," Rigmor said to Runa.

"It's too much trouble.  She's already got Sinidar," Runa replied.

Rigmor sighed and turned to me, "It's been ages since the two of us had a date night."

"Doesn't Calleius ever take the babies?" I asked.

"Well, yeah.  But he's not very good at it.  And he's got an entire Legion to command now.  Actually pretty busy," Runa replied.

"Servants?" I asked.

"We were thinking you could take them.  Be the good grandma," Rigmor said, "I mean, who would they be safer with?  Then neither of us have to worry the slightest bit."

"I know you're gaslighting me Riggs," I smirked at her, "But, I'll do it."

 

I pointed at Kintyra in Runa's arms, and Oddvar in Rigmor's, then Sinidar, who'd taken to playing a running game with Jura, and they all floated into the air, hovering around me.  Multi-telekinesis, gotta love it.

 

"Aww... is it time to go?" Sinidar asked.

"Yeah.  I have one more person to visit today.  Sun's getting low," I replied, "We can come back and visit tomorrow."

Sini sighed, "Okay."

"Grab onto my leg," I said, and then I cast Teleport: Riften.

 

I appeared in the busy market square.  Dozens of people barely batted an eye at me appearing out of nowhere or with two floating babies.  I threw Kintyra's sling over my body and kept Oddvar in my TK grasp.

"Come along Sini," I said.

A man bumped into me as I crossed the square.

"Watch it!" I said.

"Never done an honest day's work in your life for all that coin you're carrying, eh lass?" 

I turned and a big smile covered my face.

 

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"Talos bones," I laughed out loud, "Brynjolf!  You recruiting again?"

He laughed out loud, "Didn't recognize you.  Been an era since I seen ya.  Somebody's been getting busy I see?"

He looked at the babies.

I laughed, "Believe it or not, these are my grandchildren."

 

"I simply do not believe it," Brynjolf said, "In reference to your earlier question, no, I don't need to recruit anymore.  People from all across Tamriel come to us.  I was just making a comment."

"I seem to remember you using a similar line on me when I walked into Riften the first time, green as this tree here," I said, "But it was more like, 'you don't have any money, lass, wanna make some?"

Brynjolf chuckled, "True lass.  I'm out here just scoping out all the new blood.  So many people've moved to Riften lately.  Thinking we might get some newcomers."

 

"Somebody help!  Do something!"  A voice shouted.

"Care to investigate?" I asked, offering my hand.  

"Oh, I know who it is.  Damned unguilded thieves trying to muscle in on our territory.  That or the dang teenagers," Brynjolf said, then he raised an eyebrow, "On second thought, you stay here.  Got your hands full."

Sinidar was sneaking food from Marise's stall.

"Boy's a natural," Brynjolf chuckled, then ran off.

I TK'ed Sinidar again and he floated up next to me.  "What did he mean by teens?  Is he that old now?  Is he going to start saying 'get off my lawn?"

"Aww man," he said.  I put down a few septims for Marise Aravel and poured Sini some milk with honey in it.

 

About this time, several things were going on in the square at the same time.

Constance Michel was taking her orphans out for a nice little walk through the town.  The new kids looked happy, as far as orphans can be, and healthy.  She even had a little baby in her arms.

Brynjolf had given up the chase of the thief, but the guards were taking up the search.  And, indeed, there were several teenagers clogging up the walkways.  A couple of the boys were yelling at the guards for using excessive force.  But really, I saw no reason to step in.  I walked on.

 

And finally... a voice called out to me amongst the crowd.  I saw him, but continued on.

 

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But he approached me in front of the orphanage.

"The time has come," he said, his voice echoing out of his ebony helm.

 

"Who are you?" I asked, making sure the three kids were behind me and safe.

He stepped up, and I found he was about a foot taller than me.  Like, Tsun height.  Of course, I started getting bad ideas.

He continued as if he'd rehearsed this, "I have done all that can be done. There is nothing left. No quests to be undertaken. No villains to be slain. No challenges to face. Except for you. You are my last challenge. Only you can send me to Sovngarde with honor. Make your preparations. When you are ready, come find me at my last vigil."

He handed me a page, a well-drawn map with a big red X on it.  And as suddenly as he'd appeared, he vanished into the crowds.

 

About that time I felt a hand in my backpack.  Letting my reflexes take hold of me, I whipped around and decked the guy, sending him on his back.  

One of the teens who'd been arguing with the guards yelled out, "Down with the power!"  

The crowd started to panic, and I caught the glint of something.  Fire!

 

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I threw my hand forward, reflecting it with Shalidor's Mirror.  I looked back at the babies.  Safe.  But an overall panic erupted.  The fireball I sent back rebounded into the crowd, singing quite a few clothes and hairs.  A full-on riot broke out.  Taking stock of the babies again, I figured this was a good time to get to safety.

 

I ran, making sure to keep my TK active while I scrambled up toward the temple.  Two unknown figures appeared on both sides of me as if they'd been waiting and I instinctively took a deep breath.

 

But one of the men appeared with an orphan, knife to her throat.  I swallowed my shout.

"Don't do anything rash," I said.

 

"FUS - RO - DAH!" A voice shouted, not my own.  It was a man's voice.  The men were blown off their feet at the Ebony Warrior's wake and I used the opportunity.  

"TIID - KLO - UL!" I shouted, slowing time.  I snaked between the cultists and grabbed the child, appearing back where I was.

"Get to safety!" I told the kid.

 

The Ebony Warrior casually appeared at my side again, holding the collar of the man who'd thrown the first fireball.  He was wearing some kind of bone mask - not unlike a dragon priest, but different.  

 

"Can't have my greatest challenge being taken down by scum who'd use the children to get to you," his voice droned, then he stepped forward and slashed the one on the left in two.  In the intervening time I'd drawn my bow and sank an arrow between the other's eyes.  

 

"Look out!" A voice called from behind me.  It was Constance who'd been shielding her orphans.  I turned, but far too slowly, an arrow lodged itself in my back.

No, my pack.  The contents of a pack with MUCH too much gear swimming in the bottomless space in here began spilling out like a fountain.  Atleast a dozen potion bottles shattered and got all over myself, Constance, and the kids (still floating around me).  Thank you, Back-Shield.

 

I stood there, coated from head to toe in various magical liquids.  I surveyed the scene.  The riot was under control, people now realizing it was these strange cultists making an attempt on my life that started this mess.  I then surveyed myself for poisons.  But I remembered I don't carry poison.  So my kids, myself and Constance would have amazing Health Regeneration, Blacksmith Skills, Sneaking, Magicka Fortification, One-handed skills, and about a dozen others for the next few minutes.  It does work even if you don't drink it.

 

Then I looked in my pile of stuff again for my most important carry-on.  The thing I was heading to Mistveil Keep to hand to Maven Black-Brier.  

A bottle of life waters.  It was also shattered.  I imagine the most terrified look washed over my face.  Infact, I could feel the spots where the stuff hit me.  It burned like acid.  I'm a vampire.  This stuff does not work on me.  But I'd be okay.  Just a little burn.  I regenerate fast. 

 

Constance was looking pretty good.  Obviously, it takes a little bit of time to work, but she was young looking already, so it probably wouldn't do a lot at the moment.  Just make it so she stayed like this about 20-50 more years before aging.  Happy accident for her.  Then I looked at the kids.  All three of my grandkids had been soaked with the stuff, and the baby in the sling Constance was carrying.  I pursed my lips.  We had intentionally never tested it on children.  Nobody knew the side effects.

 

"Is everybody okay?" Constance said, but I was already grabbing the baby from her.  

"What are you doing?" 

"Washing them off," I said, floating down to the canal.  I hopped into the water and floated back up to her, handing her her soggy baby.

"Sorry about the kid," I said, "Just so you know, your kid might have some weird side effects from all this stuff.  Please, let me know if something bad happens."

She blinked, "Don't you recognize this little lady?" 

 

I shrugged, "Should I?"

"I mean, she's only about a year old.  A newborn when you brought her to me," Constance replied.

"Oh, that's chest baby?!" I asked.

"Her name is Fortuna.  You know, because you got her from a chest," Constance smiled.  

The Ebony Warrior turned to leave, then said, "I've seen these goons before.  From Solstheim.  They were after you."

 

"Wait," I said.

He stopped, but didn't turn to look.

"We don't have to fight.  There's a whole world out there for you to fight.  Besides, I'm not the strongest fish in the pond.  What about the boss of these guys?  What about the Nerevarine?  Emperor Jura's even stronger than me," I explained.

He chuckled, "Not by much.  And no, he refuses to fight me."

"Well I don't blame him.  I don't know you.  You could be a powerful ally," I folded my arms.

"Enough talk.  If you want to talk, talk to Jura," he said, and then he disappeared again.

 

I walked up to Mistveil Keep, finding Maven standing off to the side, keeping court.

"Ah the good Queen.  So glad you could join me today," Maven smirked.

I waved, "Hey Maven.  Nice to see you.  I do have bad news though.  Only one of the containers will be yours today.  Also, I'm going to be needing a new backpack."

"How, unfortunate," Maven said shrewdly.

"Who were you going to give doses to anyway?" I asked.

"Oh, to be honest, I was most likely going to use them to get leverage," she replied.

"Yeah, I know you.  I seriously doubted you were going to use it on yourself.  If you suddenly started looking youthful it'd be really jarring," I said.

She raised an eyebrow, "What, you don't think I look good?"

"I mean, for your age..."

Maven narrowed her eyes, "Well maybe I will have a little taste then.  With the mind of a matron with the body of a vixen, people will be falling all over themselves just to be close to me."

 

image.jpeg.b6f6a52a1e58a5ee68bf94337ce1fdbc.jpeg

 

I smirked, "No arguments from me.  Do what you want with it."

With that I checked all the kids were around and queued up Teleport: Imperial City.  I'd have to take a peek at the expanded orphanage next time.

We got back to the palace and I put the kids in their cribs.  Rigmor and Runa wouldn't be back for a few hours, but I figured I'd talk to Jura.

 

He was there, sitting on the throne, signing decrees.  He stood as I entered, "Hey.  Back so soon?"

 

image.jpeg.246fbafe75ed4e01f246dfbc681629ce.jpeg

 

"Well, I was attacked by cultists.  Need to figure out what's going on in Solstheim.  Splashed with life waters, including the children.  Time will only tell what effects it has.  By the way, have you ever heard of the Ebony Warrior?" I asked.

 

He turned to me in recognition, "Why do you ask?"

I smirked, "Well, he found me in Riften and challenged me to a fight, saying I was the strongest gal around."

"Well, you probably are," Jura replied.

"No, what about the Nerevarine?  What about the Champion of Cyrodiil?  Viranir was also stronger than me, I'm just wily and good at winning fights.  And there's you."

"It's all relative.  You're very versatile.  So much so that no matter the situation you usually have something you can pull out of your ass and win," he responded, "Except for sheer numbers."

After a pause, he said, "Besides, he challenged me years ago.  I refused to fight him."

 

"Why's that?" I asked.

"It's pointless," he said, "Just a man seeking challenges.  There are mythical beasts in Akavir.  If he wants a challenge, he could go there.  Or Oblivion."

"You're not usually one to turn down a challenge," I folded my arms, "What aren't you telling me?"

"Well, you know how I traveled around most my life and planted my seed everywhere?"

"It's how I was born," I smirked, "Probably why I am the way I am."

"Well, he's one of your - many - half-siblings."

 

I stared at him for a few seconds, then I smirked, "Well, probably good you told me now.  You know how I am."

"Yeah, that's why I told you," Jura cracked a smile, then he laughed loudly.

 

Spoiler

TBH, the cultist encounter happened in Winterhold, but I got no screenshots of it.  Also, the reason this happened now, is because I restarted Skyrim (duh) but I had made no progress on the Dragonborn DLC.  It happened early in my playthrough the first time. 

 

The number of NPCs in every major city is staggering.  I like it.

 

I realized my Bijin women are using vanilla hair also for some reason.  Need to fix that.

 

Anybody wanna guess what the Life Waters are going to do to the children?

 

Edited by EnragedBard

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Well that was an engaging read, more like world baddest grandma? And perhaps not baddest, but well ... she sometimes tries to cramp too many things together. Not the first time that caused problems, if memory serves. ^^

When did Carlotta move to Riften? Assuming the Carlotta with a food stall in the market is Carlotta Valentina.
 

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I have done all that can be done. There is nothing left. No quests to be undertaken. No villains to be slain. No challenges to face.

Hmm, someone isn't quite in the loop, is he? Appears to me there are still plenty of things to do for folks of his calibre ... darn death seekers. 😛

Fun video, but do vampires need to work out? Likely no more so than they need to sleep. Combat training however is likely always a good idea. Middle ages or not. ^^

 

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The paved roads are pristine.  Crime is existent, but still, managed.

You know, that sounds more StarTrek, then contemporary. Pristine roads? Ok it's not cobblestones anymore (mostly, still got a number of those as well though, at least here around), but pristine? And crime managed? Dunno but if we include corruption I guess it might be more rampant than in Skyrim ... just less obvious. But ok, it's Tamriel in 600 years, not Serana and Destana on Terra in the 21st Century. Obviously they managed it a tad better, possibly Queen D.'s influence in the background. ^^

Grand-Grandpa Jura, yes I kinda can imagine him having fun ion that role.

D. in Apocryphia, could be pretty interesting, but I fear the mobs there don't scale high enough to be a challenge for someone worthy of the Ebony Warriors attention. Or you got a mod installed that fixes the vanilla scaling limit?

 

As long as your rig can cope with all those NPC's it's nice aye. Guess I need to upgrade my CPU, still holding out till DDR4 is getting more affordable though.


All in all a nice picking up again, explaining game induced oddities, and developing the world a little. Nice to have a couple familiar faces pop-up, poor Tolfdir though. Wasn't he talented enough for several lifetimes?


As for the live waters, about the worst scenario is they physically age very slowly but mentally evolve normally. Best scenario it works normal ... once they reach adulthood.

Edited by Talesien
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Aaand welcome back. That was a good read. A nice and entertaining way of getting back into the story, after the entirety of Tamriel was "under construction" for the last six month. In-universe month that is.

Before I forget: I do like D.'s new hair-do. It made me think of some Ninja-like character.:classic_ph34r: And given her skillset, that's very appropriate.

 

D.'s little visit of the "dream-world" was certainly entertaining. Including a bit of forshadowing, I guess. As a sidenote:  I would have imagined, that a Vampire would need a cup of blood rather than coffee in the morning, but oh well, it makes her more relatable, I suppose.

 

Next in line:  "Morning mom," Damien turned from his work, "...step mom."

Why "step mom"? Should that have been "grandma" ( because of Sinidar) or am I missing something? And why is Mirabelle Ervine still alive? If Tolfdir was Archmage before his passing, then surely Mirabelle shouldn't be around anymore either. Or is this already an alt-Skyrim where D. isn't Damien's biological mum and EB is messing with us?🧐

 

Also: Poor Solaire. Who knows, what kind of challenges he had to overcome, in order to return to Nirn. And what does he get? A haughty Highelf calling him a "Trashcan-Knight". I just hope, that he isn't too hamstrung by his knightly vows, so that he still can/will return the favor. Because him and Carahil bickering and squabbling with one another, while still kinda-sorta getting along, sounds very entertaining.😁

 

Bringing little Fortuna aka the "chest-baby" back into the story was a nice touch. I liked that alot.

 

D.'s exchange with Maven was IMO done well too, including D.'s  little barb about Maven "looking good for her age." To me, that sounded more in-character for D., than the way you wrote it in your earlier comment. There it almost appeared, as if D. wanted to get into Maven's pants. Which would have been an unexpected ( and potentially unnerving) turn of events. At least for me. Yes, it's true, I am not a fan of Maven. And that's unlikely to change, no matter what she looks like. But that's my "problem" and doesn't need to concern you or your story.🙂

 

And then there's the massive, ebony-armored elephant in the room: When reading about D.'s encounter with the EW in Rifton, I thought, that, if he really wants a challenge, then he could become a (part-time?) tutor of the little ones. Sini, Kintyra and Oddvar.  I mean: He's certainly a badass, who would be able to teach the younglings alot. Considering the reveal, that he's one of Jura's long lost sons, that seems even more reasonable.  Guess we will have to wait and see what happens next.

 

As for the life-water question: Since one can't really seperate development of (human) mind and body, I would think, that the most reasonable (not convenient!) effect would be a prolonged childhood, both in terms of physical and mental development. So yes, it's probably a good idea, to keep that particular water away from the kids. At least from Kintyra and Oddvar until they are adults.

Sinidar might be abit different in this regard, since he's part deadra.

Considering, that the water worked like acid on Destana (who's technically a "creature" of Molag Bal at this point) I would imagine, that it would have a negative effect on all beings with daedric blood in their lineage.

Depending on the deadra in question and how much daedric blood is present, the effect might be weaker or stronger. With Molag Bal probably being among the worse/worst candidate(s). In case of Sanguine and Sinidar it might be a less extreme effect. Perhaps something like expecting applejuice only to taste pure vinegar. Besides: Do daedra even age in the conventional sense? Would Sini therefore even need/benefit from the water after he's fully grown? Dunno.

 

p.s. I hope Valiana is not "patrolling" all by herself but rather brought "her" crew along for the ride (Skullcat and the other Kitties). One would think, that she ought to have learned her lesson, after what happend previously.

 

Edited by HM1919
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After you guy's comments I'm strongly considering keeping the EW alive (It was in my mind before). 

 

Stepmom is Serana. She even responds to it on the next line. 

 

At the end of the college questline Damien resurrected Mirabelle, back in Entry ___ (gotta check).

 

Also, Kintyra, Oddvar, Sinidar and Fortuna (chest baby) all got hit by the (slightly corrupted) life waters when Destana's pack exploded. Unforseen consequences.

 

I also Haven't decided how Damien and Sinidar are going to age.

Edited by EnragedBard
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33 minutes ago, EnragedBard said:

Stepmom is Serana. She even responds to it on the next line. 

Ooops, that connection flew right over my head, even though I read the passage a few times. Also: I forgot that ressurrection is a thing in D.'s Skyrim. Perhaps I should make a list of "non-vanilla" things and abilities, that I need to remember when reading. In any case, thanks for clearing this up.👍

 

Also: FORESHADOWING!!!😱 Admit it EB: That life-water-explosion only happend, so that you have an excuse to be extra-creative.😉 And why was the water corrupted in the first place? Was it just because of all of the other potions it was accidentally mixed with? Or had D. perhaps some "interesting ideas" regarding Maven? Hmmm... Guess we'll have to wait and see.

Edited by HM1919
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The tear has been corrupted by the daedra-cursed lagoon, but only slightly.

 

So they've been using it, and mostly good things have happened. But they're keeping an eye out for Unforseen Consequences.

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Ah, so Harokir's meddling didn't just mess up one batch of water, but the tear itself.

Got it.

Hopefully D. and company are being up-front about that with their "international" water-buyers. Otherwise that whole business might turn into a reason to go to war with Skyrim rather than a reason to foster good relations with them.

 

Afterthought: I would be very much so in favor of keeping the EW alive.

 

1.) Because of Jura: He seems to be enjoying the role of dad/grandpa a fair bit. And to have two of his kids fight to the death, just because one of them is bored,  seems like a waste to me, not to mention quite cruel to Jura.

Nevermind the impact that killing him might have on Destana. If she would have to kill her Half-Brother just because reasons, then that might come back to haunt her later. And frankly, she doesn't need more things to feel guilty about.

 

2.) If the EW simply doesn't want to stay on Tamriel because he's such an adrenaline-junkie, then you could have Solaire send him to another (off-screen) world. New and deadly challenges included. That would IMO still be better than just killing him.

 

Just my two cents.

 

Edited by HM1919
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Also Carlotta isn't supposed to be in Riften.  I may have misread the NPCs that were around.  I think I'm going to fix that and change it to a more suitable person.

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11 hours ago, EnragedBard said:

After you guy's comments I'm strongly considering keeping the EW alive (It was in my mind before). 

Certainly could be a worthy ally and while I'm not sure D. would lose much sleep over killing a half-brother she didn't really know and who basically begged her to send him to Sovengarde. Still it seems like a waste and it would be much more in character for her to at least try and find a better solution (unless he pisses her off, but so far he seems to have done more the opposite).

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20 hours ago, Talesien said:

I'm not sure D. would lose much sleep over killing a half-brother she didn't really know and who basically begged her to send him to Sovengarde.

Well, my reason, why I suspected, that killing the EW might come back to haunt Destana, was because of Jura. He has already refused to fight his son. So, if D. would now go and kill him (EW), then that might negativly effect her relationship with Jura. Which appears to be fairly close at this point. So even if D. doesn't feel anything about her new-found brother, she most likely doesn't want to hurt her dad at this point.

Also: Let's not forget, that D. just very recently insisted, that the conditions given to the Altmer aren't too harsh. Even though, she would have had very good reasons, to hold a personal grudge against them. So IMO, her being callous/uncaring right now would be abit out of character.

 

Besides, D. doesn't strike me as the sort, that would kill people, let alone relatives, just because said relatives are "bored" of being alive. I would far more expect her to react like: "Wtf, dude? You clearly had a good reason to live thus far, since you managed to survive until now (and get very strong along the way). So, how about you remember that reason and find something new to do. Because I am not gonna kill you just because you don't know what to do with yourself."

 

p.s. Afterthought just for the Lulz:

 

IF all the EW wants, is to see Sovngarde, then why not make up a in-universe way/tool that allows him to do so. I mean: D. was able to visit the place and she wasn't dead. As for where to find the means to do so: D. could take the EW and visit old Partysnax. He might know, how to re-open the portal in Skuldafn. Odahving most likely knows too and D. can call him via dragonshout. Last but not least: D. could also call upon the "Heros of Old" from Sovngarde (Call of Valor-Shout) and let them have a conversation with her brother. Perhaps they could talk some sense into him. All of this would of course be done purely by "author authority" and would not be lore-friendly or really possible in-game. But frankly, I would not mind that at all.

Edited by HM1919
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