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Chapter Three Act Six: The Hunt (Part 2 of 5)


Collygon

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Hey guys! Here is part 2 of The Hunt!

This is going to be the shortest of all parts in Act six and probably in the entirety of every post that The Frost of Ages will ever have. Sorry about that, but it is the best way to split act six up in the most pleasing way.

Before you read it, make sure you have read the previous part (part 1)! The link is below. The previously spoiler will NOT suffice.

Anyway, let's continue.

 

Previous Part: https://www.loverslab.com/blogs/entry/5758-chapter-three-act-six-the-hunt-part-1-of-5/

 

Previously on: The Frost of Ages

Spoiler

(From: Chapter Two Act Five: Encounters)

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Taeyva: Come, my hounds, burn the glass. Before the eye, only red will pass.

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Taeyva: Sorrowful seas, massacre the slow; down the moon their blood will flow.

Vampire: Will you fucking shut up?

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Vampire: I don't know what type of voodoo crap you're trying to pull, but after two days of it don't you think it isn't working?

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Taeyva: Come, my hounds, burn the gla-

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Vampire: Shut up!

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Vampire: How can you possibly say that for two days straight?

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(From: Chapter Three Act Three: The Hunt, The Hunger, and The Hallowed Moon)

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Torund: I don't follow your principles! Prophet or not.

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Torund: I had no control over myself. I've been a werewolf for forty years, Taeyva. You think I wouldn't know how to contain it?

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Torund: I was unconscious in Markarth. Miles away! Next thing I know I'm awake and sprinting through the marsh, rushing to your aide, and I had no control over it!

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(From: Chapter Three Act Six: The Hunt (Part 1 of 5))

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Taeyva: Hircine said my purpose is to enact the ritual. The Hunt. To do so, I had to actually learn the steps. So I was sent here to.

Torund: Those steps... Is that what Hircine didn't let you tell me?

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Taeyva: It's not that simple. A lot of people know the ritual. Including the natives here who I ran into back then. The Skaal.

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Torund: Never heard of them.

Taeyva: There isn't much to hear. They're just dumb hermits. However, the first Hunt actually was against them. As a result, they didn't like me coming here.

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Torund: What happened?

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Taeyva: The tried to convince me to leave. I got annoyed. I burned one of their huts down. You know, normal kid stuff.

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(From: Chapter Three Act Six: The Hunt (Part 1 of 5))

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Hermaeus Mora: I do not speak about your two's history. I speak of her existence.

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Hermaeus Mora: She is a masterful liar. Deceiving the world so well that she managed to deceive herself.

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Hermaeus Mora: I'd be careful if I were you.

 

Spoiler

Solstheim is cold. It's the first thing Torund noticed when he and Taeyva departed Raven Rock. The now barren ghost town is cooled by the gentle breeze of the sea and shadowing, overhead clouds. Compared to Skyrim, it's a tropical paradise. The further Taeyva led him into the island however, the more frigid it became. It did not take long to hear the familiar crunch of snow under his boots, to feel the icy jabs of sharp wind on his skin and the ruffling of his mustache on his chapped lips. 

But none of that is what sends chills down his spine.

Hermaeus Mora's warning has replayed in his head over the entire trek. The memory is as crisp and clear in his mind as if it were still happening, yet despite being able to recall every phase clearly, one part still eludes him. The words.

He knows the Daedric Lord spoke to him, but he can't remember anything about it. All Torund has to go on is what he said last: "that is but a glimpse of what lurks within her." An obscure warning to say the least. If that wasn't confusing enough, Taeyva has also been acting strangely since their arrival. Her abrupt aggravation and storming off seemed completely out of the blue. Unless his eyes were deceiving him, he could have sworn that the smaller orbs actually backed away from her in fear.

He wants to press her for information, yet something tells him that he won't have to.

Taeyva: Hey, sorry about storming off like that earlier.

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Torund: Uh, no problem.

The words slip out awkwardly. After hiking together in silence, he did not expect Taeyva to speak up at all, especially to apologize.

Taeyva: We just really shouldn't associate with other Lords right now. Especially one who sided against us.

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Torund: I mean, he did say he doubts Bal will win. He may not be as much an enemy as we think.

Taeyva scoffs, rolling her eyes into a mocking stare.

Taeyva: Seriously? You believed that?

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Taeyva: All he wants is knowledge, and he'll do anything to get it. I don't know what he's playing at, but we'd be better off ignoring all of it.

Taeyva concludes with a sharp nod, staring at Torund impatiently afterwards. With a sigh, he nods back, rolling his eyes as he does but still earning a smile from Taeyva.

Taeyva: Good. Now look...

Taeyva gestures ahead of them, her smile quickly fading.

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Taeyva: ...we're here.

The path opens up before a small village. A metal brazier rests at the entrance, illuminating the snow below with a faint glow. An occasional drop of water drips from its edges, splotched with small spatters of snow. Beyond that, large, wooden houses encircle a small hut. Every roof is piled atop with snow so perfectly placed not a single chunk slips free.

Above all of it however, twirls a massive, grey vortex.

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Torund: Woah. What is that?

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Taeyva: Must be the barrier that Mora was talking about.

The words come out strained. Torund looks down to see Taeyva pressing her hand firmly against her chest while taking long, controlled breaths. She exhales through her nose and lets her hand fall to her side, yet the tension in her face doesn't lift.

Taeyva: Come on. Let's get this over with.

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Taeyva takes the lead, marching swiftly into the town. Torund follows closely behind her. As they pass between the first two homes, they are immediately met with cold glares from the villages inhabitants.

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Each one of them wears a similar outfit. Thick, bundled fur encases their bodies, giving them a bulky and ponderous appearance.

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Their spite is apparent in their stares, made even more menacing by their hardened and rugged faces.

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Torund: Think they remember you?

Taeyva smirks.

Taeyva: Wholeheartedly.

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Torund: The murderous glares not giving you worry?

She shakes her head.

Taeyva: They're pacifists to a fault. We're Hircine's chosen, some of their most ancient enemies, yet they still won't draw arms.

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Oslaf clicks his teeth together as the two figures trudge through the village and into view. He immediately recognizes the girl. Even after fourteen years, it's impossible to mistake her for someone else. Storn was right after all.

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Oslaf: Storn.

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Oslaf: She's here.

Storn Crag-Strider nods affirmatively. A strange motion to feel after sitting completely still for hours, making only enough movement to breath. He, along with Nikulas and Finna, have tasked themselves with maintaining the barrier over the village and Solstheim. A final and desperate defense, it is the only reason they managed to survive Hermaeus Mora's massacring of the island. But is is not without cost. The barrier must stay active at all times, and will whither if one of the three of them leaves for too long. 

Each day that passes, Storn fears they dig themselves into a deeper and deeper hole. It won't be long before exhaustion takes its toll and he collapses, bringing the barrier down with him.

The Prophet of Hircine's arrival only adds to his troubles. He knew her arrival was inevitable, but her coming is not what he fears.

It is what she will leave behind.

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Storn: Let her approach.

Oslaf: Fine. He will let you speak.

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Taeyva halts before the group and rolls her eyes.

Taeyva: Like I need your permission.

Her eyes fall onto the elder Skaal and her lips curl. He was the one whom the rest of the village first brought her to back when she was ten. He locked the two of them inside one of their huts in order to force conversation. She remembers every phrase that sputtered from his lips as an insult, all of them in attempt to persuade her to give up on Hircine's quest. At first he tried the kind approach, offering food and clothes to keep her comfortable. After that failed, he droned a monotonous sermon about the All-maker and the evil of the daedra. Taeyva distinctly remembers feigning intrigue, but Storn wasn't fooled. Eventually he locked her inside, threatening that "he won't release her unless she gives up and leaves". She only escaped by torching the building that night. Fleeing into the trees while her cell burned to the ground.  

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Taeyva: You know why I'm here. Take down the barrier.

Seconds pass before Storn responds. He doesn't turn away from the barrier, speaking faintly yet stern.

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Storn: You know I won't do that.

Taeyva: I wasn't asking.

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A burly, female Nord hollers out, forcing herself into the argument.

Frea: Go back to your home, daedra! We have enough proble-

Storn: Frea. Please.

The nord huffs, exposing her clenched teeth. She steps back obediently, keeping her fists folded at her sides.

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Sighing, Storn turns back to Taeyva, his expression cold.

Storn: That doesn't matter. This barrier is the only thing keeping us safe. It's entire purpose is to stop daedric power. Including your ritual: The Hunt.

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Taeyva scoffs. She shakes her head in contempt.

Taeyva: Don't play foolishness with me. You know why Hircine calls upon the Hunt once again.

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Taeyva: It's not to harm you Skaal. It's to fight back against the other Daedric Lords.

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This time Storn does not pause, retorting as soon as Taeyva finishes.

Storn: With the lives of innocents?

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Taeyva: With the lives of his followers!

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Storn: So every life cursed by the beast is his follower? Is it truly right to take away their will for your personal cause?

Taeyva: It's for the good of the world!

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Torund: Hold on. Take away their will? Like what happened to me in the marsh?

Taeyva: Torund. Stay out of thi-

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Storn: Ah, so you've recited the chant. Go on, tell him. He has the right to know.

Taeyva grinds her teeth, making sure Storn sees the agitation on her face. She then turns to Torund, shooting on last glare, and takes a breath before beginning.

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Taeyva: Okay, look. I wasn't supposed to tell you this, but since you're already here I guess it's okay.

Torund narrows his eyes.

Torund: Okay...

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Taeyva bites her lip momentarily before beginning. She takes a deep breath, as if it will be difficult to say, and begins.

Taeyva: The Hunt is more than a prophecy. It's a ritualistic spell.

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Taeyva: As a result, it can be cast with different forms, so long as it is invoked from a proper ritual.

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She shuffles on her feet, turning her averted eyes back to Torund.

Taeyva: I needed help in the marsh. I was being held captive and needed rescue. So I called upon the chant. For two days.

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Taeyva: It's like... a beacon. After chanting for so long the magnitude must have been massive. Every creature loyal to Hircine or I would come running-

Storn sharply cuts in, as if he had been waiting for Taeyva to say those very words.

Storn: -out of their own free will.

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Storn: Imagine now, that ritual on a global scale. Every man, woman, and child with the curse of the beast w-

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Taeyva snarls at the man, her voice sharpened with the animosity of a wolf.

Taeyva: Shut up. Don't you ever interrupt me again.

Storn huffs and shakes his head, but does as told. He returns his attention to the barrier, focusing intently on the beam of light as if nothing had happened.

Taeyva waits until he is fully distracted before turning back to Torund.

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Taeyva: Torund, I know it sounds bad. But it's what we have to do.

Taeyva concludes with a gulp. She bites her lip in anticipation for what Torund has to say.

He stands there in silence, shifting his jaw back and forth and looking at his feet. After a few seconds he looks up. As his eyes wander over to Taeyva and then past her, her heart sinks.

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Torund: Storn. You say every werewolf will turn and fall under Taeyva's control? Is that it?

Taeyva shifts from one foot to the other and back again. She turns to Storn as he speaks up, his expression solemn, yet she swears the semblance of a smile creeps into it.

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Storn: Indeed. Their lives will be a daze, fading in and out of consciousness. One moment, their snout may be gently stroked, the next, it is buried into the flesh of a foe they do not remember killing. Imagine that for every beast in existence.

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Torund: That sounds pretty bad alright...

Taeyva: Torund, please, I-

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Torund: ...but that's because you described the life of every werewolf. I've killed more than I can count because I couldn't control it. I'm a killer, I know this. I've accepted it. But not everyone is and not everyone can. When you discover you've killed and have no memory of it...

Torund trails off. He sighs and turns to Taeyva, giving a firm nod.

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Torund: If they're under your control, they won't be able to kill unless ordered to, right?

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Taeyva: Yes! Exactly.

Torund: Then I'm with you.

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Storn growls, speaking with a hiss.

Storn: It changes nothing. The barrier stays.

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Taeyva glowers at the Skaal, an expression that soon morphs into one of devious glee.

Taeyva: We'll see about that.

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She then spins confidently on her heels and struts away.

Taeyva: Come on, Torund.

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Taeyva: I have a plan.

 

Spoiler

Taeyva and Torund were met with no hostility as they departed the village. Torund still has no idea what this plan of Taeyva's is. The hasty pace she kept offered no opportunity to talk; somehow making it so Torund actually struggled to keep up. Much to his relief, Taeyva finally begins to slow down atop the hill, overlooking a waterfall feeding a river to the sea.

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Torund: Is this far enough away then?

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Taeyva: We're going to need some distance for this.

Torund: Well you haven't even told me what this is, so...

Torund stumbles to a stop as Taeyva suddenly halts. She turns to him, her eyes downcast and narrowed. She looks Torund dead in the eyes, her own cold and unforgiving.

A chill runs down Torund's spine.

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Taeyva: There's no point negotiating with them.

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Taeyva: That barrier is only coming down one way. That barrier may hinder daedric power, but it doesn't touch their mortal enemies.

Torund: Woah woah woah. Taeyva. Hold on.

Taeyva ignores him. She continues without missing a beat. Her words slip out lifelessly, like rehearsed lines.

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Taeyva: I need you to kill them.

Torund falters. His eyes grow wide and his jaw drops. He gapes at her in silence, hoping she'd fluster and shake her head or laugh and wave her hands; something to signify that she was coming to her senses. But it doesn't come.

As she stares him down, her face an unwavering expression of ire, it dawns on him that something is amiss. Behind her empty eyes lurks something sinister, something he has not seen before.

He should have known something was wrong a while ago. Since they had just arrived at Solstheim actually.

As their ship neared the shores, a powerful gust of wind sent them rocketing forward. It rotated the mast and sent them spiraling off coarse. As they were barrelling towards the shore, Taeyva screamed at him to slow down. Her hands were pressed to her head and she was hunched over near the prow. He thought she was just shielding herself from the wind, yet a few seconds later she blacked out. She collapsed onto the deck in a heap before they even hit shore. Torund had to ditch the rudder in order to keep her from flying over board.

He did not think much of it at first. Perhaps she had just fainted from the shock or from sea sickness. But her recent actions have raised further concern.

Her insistence on Hermaeus Mora's manipulation followed by her storming off, the way the tentacles seemed to back away in fear at her presence and the Daedric Lord's warning of her himself, how she suddenly tensed up around the Skaal's barrier, and now this iniquitous request for their deaths... it isn't like her.

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Torund: Taeyva, look at yourself for a moment. You're not right.

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Taeyva: The Hunt must commence, Torund. It's why we're here. I can't kill them, but you... you can.

Torund: No, Taeyva. I am not going to do that.

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Torund: You aren't yourself right now. Let's pull back for a second and-

Taeyva: No!

The outburst causes his jaw to sharply clench. His fingers begin to curl and it takes every fiber in his being to prevent himself from striking out.

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Taeyva: There is no stopping this. No slowing it down. One way or another.

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Torund: Well I won't kill those people. So we're at a standstill.

Taeyva: Like you have a choice.

Before Torund can react, Taeyva lashes out her hand. Her fingers coil around his throat and push forward. Completely caught off guard, Torund sprawls backwards, his footing slipping right out beneath him.

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Torund: Ack! What the-

They collapse into the snow; Torund painfully loses the air in his lungs as Taeyva pounces atop him, her fingers still wrapped over his throat. His eyes dart to her free hand to see tendrils of green magic crackle and burst violently in her palm.

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Torund: Those chains are supposed to limit you! How are you-

Taeyva: I've waited too long to have it slip from my grasp.

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Taeyva: You will not make me fail again.

Torund shoves his body forward over and over in desperate attempt to break free. Each attempt is met with failure as Taeyva's grip coils tighter and tighter around his throat while her arm pushes against him with surmounting strength.

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Torund: How the fuck are you this strong?

She stares him down with ravenous intent. Her free hand begins to vibrate as the spell in her hand pulses wildly.

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Taeyva: This spell will force a transformation out of you. From there you will do as I command. It's the only way.

Taeyva releases her grip around his throat, yanking her spell-readied hand backwards in preparation to fire.

As soon as he feels the grip around his neck loosen, Torund shoves his body upward.

As his fist coils, ready to retaliate, Taeyva lurches her arm forward; the spell crackles as it bursts through the air.

Torund: You fucking insane bitch...

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Taeyva: I'm sorry.

Torund: I won't let you do this!

To be continued in part 3...

 

Act Six Index:

 

11 Comments


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I'm new to your blog, and it'll be awhile before I lend myself the time to catch up with all the previous chapters, but boy am I excited after reading the latest two acts!

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Well done, I was just as surprised as Torund when Taeyva suddenly turned on him. Never expected her to do this, really well written and well done. :)

 

Btw. do you have some kind of George R.R. Martin masterplan how your storylines connect in the end or are you just telling different stories of different characters in the same universe? 

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7 hours ago, Rattlesnark said:

I'm new to your blog, and it'll be awhile before I lend myself the time to catch up with all the previous chapters, but boy am I excited after reading the latest two acts!

Thank you very much! It's awesome to hear that they are captivating you! I do recommend heading back and reading previous parts before continuing, however. Especially once Chapter Three Act Seven hits. :)

6 hours ago, Alter Native said:

Well done, I was just as surprised as Torund when Taeyva suddenly turned on him. Never expected her to do this, really well written and well done. :)

 

Btw. do you have some kind of George R.R. Martin masterplan how your storylines connect in the end or are you just telling different stories of different characters in the same universe? 

Thank you! And yes, I do in fact have a "master plan". As you have seen already, many paths have already intertwined. Talen and Taeyva met one another at the end of Chapter One and Torund encountered Castalia in Markarth and now joins Taeyva. Malkor, Taeyva, and Torund each share a dark past from five years which has been mentioned multiple times but not yet revealed. Gerruck and Elyvaea met Olivia, whose entire life revolves around the divines and the aedric prophecy. This was made clear when Olivia encountered Castalia in Solitude, revealing that she had access to an Elder Scroll. From there, Castalia and Elyvaea had a brief interaction in High Hrothgar that has yet to conclude. Each of these points are pivotal in the storyline's progression in ways that you are not able to understand just yet. I don't want to reveal everything, but most of these first three chapters are designed to be a prolonged rising action in the whole of the story. Of course, each act has it's own rising action, climax, and conclusion, but in the large scheme of things, the real story is yet to begin.

4 hours ago, Resdayn said:

I did not expect that from Taeyva :D.

 

Nice chapter, look forward for the next parts :).

Thank you!

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39 minutes ago, ther1pper said:

Well then, this can only end poorly....i think. Wonder what will happen and what Taeyva is hiding.

Who knows? Maybe Taeyva has been lying all along or maybe this is out of her control? Who knows, man. Who knows...

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13 hours ago, Collygon said:

Thank you! And yes, I do in fact have a "master plan". As you have seen already, many paths have already intertwined. Talen and Taeyva met one another at the end of Chapter One and Torund encountered Castalia in Markarth and now joins Taeyva. Malkor, Taeyva, and Torund each share a dark past from five years which has been mentioned multiple times but not yet revealed. Gerruck and Elyvaea met Olivia, whose entire life revolves around the divines and the aedric prophecy. This was made clear when Olivia encountered Castalia in Solitude, revealing that she had access to an Elder Scroll. From there, Castalia and Elyvaea had a brief interaction in High Hrothgar that has yet to conclude. Each of these points are pivotal in the storyline's progression in ways that you are not able to understand just yet. I don't want to reveal everything, but most of these first three chapters are designed to be a prolonged rising action in the whole of the story. Of course, each act has it's own rising action, climax, and conclusion, but in the large scheme of things, the real story is yet to begin.

Yeah, I started to notice this, that's why I asked. I can't imagine how much planning and thinking in advance this means. Especially when you can't go back to older entires and add something that you really need alter since the entry has already been published. 

I'm really looking forward for the coming year then. 

 

 

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Hmm, it's a very interesting crossroads that you're offering her for Torund. She always felt very determined towards her objectives, but never like a cold minded killer. Whereas Torund is full of vices, but shows a bit of humanity.

 

We'll know in paqrt 3 I guess. ^^

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I wonder what happened with my comment. Somehow it's gone :confused:

Damn, anyway, didn't say anything new but very similar as my precedents.

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7 hours ago, Tirloque said:

Hmm, it's a very interesting crossroads that you're offering her for Torund. She always felt very determined towards her objectives, but never like a cold minded killer. Whereas Torund is full of vices, but shows a bit of humanity.

 

We'll know in paqrt 3 I guess. ^^

Indeed. This isn't like Taeyva at all. More will be revealed as it progresses.

3 hours ago, Elf Prince said:

I wonder what happened with my comment. Somehow it's gone :confused:

Damn, anyway, didn't say anything new but very similar as my precedents.

Strange. It does seem to have gone. I did see it though! To which I say again, thank you! :smile:

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