Friday, September 16, 2016

Spider Tale


Awhile back, this image was posted to /r/spiders - and cute as it is, the image is rather grim when you take a moment to think about what is actually goin on in the image. Rather than face reality, I wrote a little story with my preferred version of events.

Shh. Shh. It's okay.

I will tell you a story.

Once upon a time, in a land of silk and dewdrops lived a spider. She was clever and quick and caught many a fierce fly for dinner.

She fell in love with a dashing little male spider and they had a beautiful egg sac filled with children. They had hundreds of babies, each one more beautiful and clever than the last. The mama spider loved her babies and would give each one a hug and a kiss goodnight.

Being such a skilled huntress, she never felt hungry and she and her children went on to populate all of the earth with adorable spiderlings who liked to hug and kill nasty flies.


The End

Friday, September 9, 2016

Letters of Note during the Fall of the Dominion

Author's note: After writing about the Champion of Cyrodiil becoming a mass murderer while using the game-breaking 100-percet chameleon on reddit, I joked that people could "Give me your head-cannon and I'll tell you a tale." This was the challenge I received.

Prompt: The Stormcloaks ally their independent skyrim with Hammerfell making High Rock automatically join them (it's surrounded). The Dragonborn goes on to fulfill his destiny and become the next Emperor starting with the three mentioned nations then expanding by using his army of Dragons (who bowed to him for defeating Alduin) to crush the Dominion. J'Zargo gets promoted to Arch Mage as a result Aela is Harbinger and Brynjolf becomes guildmaster of the Thieves Guild. GO

---


This letter was found in the back room of a local brothel in Dragonstar, Hammerfell, in a strongbox filled with gold and gems, next to a case of Blackbriar Mead.

Magda,

It seems unlikely Maven is going to see her rise to power. Though she is a powerful ally locally, with her ties to the Empire cut, she will go no higher than where she is.

We need to lay the groundwork for business is Hammerfell. I’m sending Vex, along with a shipment of weapons to Dragonstar. We need to reach out and start getting markets open. She’s going to stay behind and help organize with your help. You’ve always gotten on. And Vex isn’t really the “getting on” type.

I’m looking to you to smooth things over with the local toughs. You’ve always been able to sweeten the deal with that silver tongue of yours, love. Make sure they know that the coin will flow both ways if we get this ring off the ground. I know you have ties with the Alik’r and I know they need a few more sharp blades on their side. We want to be those blades – for the right price.
I don’t plan on using knuckles and knives unless we have to. Just want to expand our business opportunities. Send my love to your Uncle Scheb. Shadow hide you.

-B

---

This is the official letter of resignation of Colette Marence. Found in her the desk in her quarters after a fire where she unfortunately met her demise.

After a great deal of thought, self-reflection and deliberation I have decided that my services at the College of Winterhold are coming to an end. I feel my talents are not being fully utilized, and to be frank, no one takes me seriously. When I brought up the remarks that Nirya made about my lessons, I was laughed at.

I will not be laughed at any more. I’m going to return to High Rock. I have recently accepted a position at court. I want to wish you all the best, but I’ve never been a very good liar. It will be nice to be really and truly warm once again.

-Colette Marence
Professor in the School of Restoration


Also on the desk was this note for the Arch-Mage

Colette,

This one wishes to see your report on my new Sunfire scrolls first thing in the morning. No more excuses.

Walk ever on warm sands,

Arch-Mage J’Zargo

---

Journal of Aela

[date]

Ria has taken the blood today. I knew she would make a good shield-sister, and it is nice to bolster the ranks of the Circle after so many have decided to follow in Kodlak’s footsteps. I, for one, shall never tire of this hunt – and an eternity in the Hunting Grounds thrills my blood.

[date]

Vilkas is right, it is foolish to keep the Circle to only those who have tasted the blood of Hircine. Even I can see Athis is ready for more responsibility and it is time to recruit more cubs.

[date]

The Dragonborn sent us word that vampires are after some artifact. I’ve taken to rooting them out where I can. I still miss her. Our hunts were… intense.

[date]

Hircine has granted me a vision of destroying more vampires. We have struck up an alliance with the Dawnguard. Apparently, Isran knew our Dragonborn as well. She leaves an impression wherever she goes.

[date]

Rumors of war. Perhaps she will call on an old friend. Perhaps we can hunt again once more. I know Farkas has made noise about finding a boat to the encampment. I would not deny him this. I may not deny myself this.

[date]

Vilkas has promised to watch over the New Bloods. Farkas and I shall hunt with our sister once more. In my blood I feel this pleases both Ysgramor and Hircine. But even if it did not - I would see her once more.

---

The Devastation of the Dominion

This correspondence was found in a safe in a cleverly concealed room in the Imperial Offices of the Penitus Oculatus some 50 years after the the New Dragonborn Emperor Crushed the Dominion. Scholars have dated them to the era, but cannot verify how accurate these accounts are. A small journal was found with it - apparently, the daughter of Baratus Deccata brought the letters he received to Ben Laprey, Commander of the Imperial Penitus Oculatus.

Ms. Deccatus,

Your father was a great man. Thank you for your generous donation of these letters. It allows us to have a better reckoning of the Empire's role, such as it was, in the rise of the Empress.
For obvious reasons, we cannot make this ledger public. But you may come and read our compilation any time.

Yours in thought and word,

Scibe Paulus Varutt

---

Baratus you old ghost! You know how much I pay to get my messages to you? Least you can do is not send the poor fools back empty handed. Your last report was pathetic. We all know the Stormcloaks won the day - and frankly, it's a blow. But don't despair just yet - I have some connections in Hammerfell and High Rock. There are some strings left to be pulled.

But you need to send me more information on this Dragonborn. Is it what they are saying? She can not only kill them, but command them? The bards in these parts would have us believe the woman can reach into the chest of one of those drakes, rip out its still beating heart and eat it while it looks on. It's actually my favorite song. But the truth - quickly.

-BL


Sir,

I wish I could dismiss the stories you've heard, but after a brief stay in that wretched island the Dunmer bought from the East Empire, the Dragons have been flocking to her. Between the Sky-Fell Alliance that Ulfric brokered with Hammerfell they've pressed High Rock into a forced truce. Skyrim may not be our ally, but it doesn't take a seer to guess their next move.

I would tell the Council they need to be prepared to bow down fast and low if she has her beasties wing this way.

I hate to waste your time with rumors, but I've heard this one too many times to discount it: Blades are said to have found an old holdout in the Reach. If you have any of the old records, it might be time to dust them off. If they aren't with the Dragonborn, they are likely to be weak as tissue.

-Specter Baratus Deccata


Baratus,

Get your ghost-ass into that damn army. You are to be eyes only. Report as you can. Do not compromise your cover.

---

Six month gap

---

Sir,

We have word that the Crystal Tower has fallen. The High Elves are laying down arms. Full report at debrief.

BD



We need you to come back here, Ghost. We can't debrief you from the Isles.

Ben



Sir,

I hope once you read these words you will someday find it in your heart to forgive me. But with the loss of the Emperor still raw, I never thought I would ever feel the same. But if you had seen it -
She doesn't control the dragons. At least not with magic. They respect her. They love her. When she speaks, the world trembles.

And that's how we all felt about her. Not one to command from afar, the Dragonborn Empress held meetings with all her commanders - laid out the plan, and would then move with the infantry. Anyone who tried to argue with her ended up in a brawl.

I know it sounds funny, but knuckles could command better than even that Th'um of hers.

She saved my life, Ben. And I think I saved hers. Though it's hard to tell. These types seem immortal.

The dragons devastated the Elven defenses - much as they devastated Skyrim's until she brought them round. Our forces on the ground had it easy, mopping up panicked routers and pressing onward, securing our retreat.

It was easier than it should have been. But it just proves the point that we'd been bleeding the Altmer as much, if not more, than they'd bled us. We just blinked first.

But that's not why I'm staying. I'm staying for her. I know, you'll think it foolish that an old man is taken with a lass, who by all accounts was rounded up and sent to the block at the start of Skyrim's civil war. But I've been smart for most of my career. I'm fairly certain I've earned one bout of stupidity.

To hear her talk to the Dragons is enough to bring most folk to their knees. But when she's just with the soldiers, she relaxes. Has a bit of mead and venison and sings the old songs with us. And she would sing with me. And when I sing, I get foolish. But so does she, apparently.

To see her fight is to see death dance. I think if you had been here, you'd be staying too.

I can't tell you where we're going next. I can't write you again. If you try to contact me, I'll kill your couriers. But just make sure everyone is ready when she comes home. You can deal with me then.

Baratus Deccatus
Order of the Dragon

Friday, September 2, 2016

Under Starry Skies Above

July 29, 2016





"Wrong," said Sheila. She stared at the sky. No big dipper, no Orion, and the moon, which earlier had been casting a silvery light on the crusty snow, was nowhere to be seen. Instead, an oil-slick colored nebula dominated the night sky.


Sheila had never experienced her hackles going up - she'd read the phrase, seen it happen to her dog when there was a possum on the porch one night - but the sensation of the hairs on her head lifting simultaneously as she looked at the sky was almost as terrifying what she was seeing.


"Jesus Christ, she turned to go back into the house, her feet crunching on the rime of ice. All of the lights were out, the door itself was gone, leaving a gaping hole into the dark interior. Everything about the house looked wrong somehow. Flat, like a movie prop.


She took some shaky steps onto the porch and peered into the darkened building. It was empty.


"Phil? Dawn?" she called, and her voice hardly more than a whisper, but it seemed to ripple and echo off the walls. She groped for the light switch, and found nothing. Just a smooth pale surface. It felt hard and slick, like the surface of a tooth.


A chittering sound could be heard deeper in the strange building. Something with claws walking on the strange surface. Clickety-click. Clickety-clickety-clak. Click. Click.


"Oh, Jesus. Oh, God. Oh, Jesus," she whispered and turned to leave. Even the sky with it's stars that weren't her's was better than staying with whatever was waiting for her in this house that wasn't a house. Panic darkened her peripheral vision, and adrenaline pumped through her veins - the door was gone.


"No, no, no," moaned Sheila.


Clackety-clackety-click-click. Clickety-clackety-click. So much closer now.


A hallway that would have been the wrong shape to fit into the house stretched out to her left and she began to run. Run without plan or thought into the grim darkness that didn't hold the clicking noise, her heart hammering in her chest and blood pounding in her ears.


The darkness was so complete, she slammed full-force into a wall. Her nose smashed, her lips shredded, and broken teeth clattered from her mouth made their own mocking clicking sound on the floor. All of her breath had whooshed out of her lungs, and bursts of light sparked and exploded inside her head. Sheila would have fallen, but walls were suddenly tight about her. Coffin-size. She could hardly turn this way or that. She breathed in to scream and choked on her own blood, causing her to spasm with coughing.


Her fear was such that no words could form. She just began to scream and claw at the walls. She pounded, as much as she was able. Bruising her hands. Small cracks formed in the walls and in the bones of her hands. She didn't stop. Broken hands were nothing in the grip mad fear. The cracks in the wall spidered out, and she was able to make a hole.


Outside, the sky - horrible and alien still loomed. A hysterical thought wormed its way into her panicked mind: Just a little more.


She slammed her fists, and began to throw her whole body into making the hole bigger. She was able to get her arms out, cutting gashes along her arms and torso as she hauled her self out of the too-small hole.


Sheila landed on the icy ground, bleeding. She looked at what had been the house. It was like looking at a broken monitor screen. Reality fractured.

She laughed. And laughed. The stars looked on with no pity.