Ebony and Snow Chapter 1 Part 4

The creature was large. It was brutal and it wielded a massive version of the club the Forsworn guard had carried. Its skin glistened with some sort of oily excretion. It moved in rivulets through its bulging muscles. It had small, evil, yellow beady eyes and its mouth ringed with fangs that were curved and sharp. It looked at the Brierheart, who gestured it forward. With a speed that belied it bulk it launched itself at Zora and Lydia. The former took a crushing blow from the beast’s mace on her two hander but could do nothing against the crushing fist that smashed her nose in and toppled her to the ground, blood flowing profusely from her face. Without stopping the beast spun on its axis and brought its club to bear on Lydia. The ringing of bone on metal rang across the camp as Lydia took a full blow on her shield. The beast seemed to give a quizzical look, as if wondering why Lydia was standing, that soon turned to anger and pain as Lydia slashed across its chest with her longsword  Foul looking black blood poured forth, steaming as it came into contact with the cold air.

‘So you bleed, eh,’ growled the Nord. ‘Come and bleed some more then you black hearted bastard.’ She advanced on the beast again standing astride Zora’s prone body.

Deana and Vilja fought with the Brierheart as Lydia exchanged blows with the beast. The Forsworn proved an able opponent and Deana was forced to ditch her bow and support Vilja in the fray. Having the benefit of a flanking companion our friends were soon able to gain an advantage over the foe. Deana’s mace got through his defences and crushed into his sword arm, the squelching and sickening sound of breaking bone followed. To his credit the Brierheart didn’t scream, hateful eyes staring out of one of those antler headdresses. Moments later that head was flying through the air as Vilja’s blade went through its neck. Turning to help Lydia, Deana saw the Nord, now helmless and bleeding heavily and her shield arm lying limp by her side (her shield cloven on the floor), slide her sword through the beast’s chest and appear out of its back. Its black blood flowing down Lydia’s arm. Momentum drove the beast onto the blade as it roared loudly, its mouth open wide its forest of fangs seemingly about ot bite Lydia’s head off. Yet Deana could see the light it’s eyes had gone. With one last whimper it dropped to the side taking Lydia’s blade with it.

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OT – Black Hills Goblin courtesy of Skyrim Monster Mod

‘What the hell was that thing?’ exclaimed Zora a few hours later as she woke up. Vilja had done her best to patch her nose as she slept. Lydia lay on a pallet inside one of the Forsworn’s animal hide tents. Deanthala had exhausted her supply of potions on Lydia but she had been battered heavily by the beast and needed the rest. As both warriors rested Vilja and Deana explored the camp. The Forsworn had established a substantial presence here, Jarl Balgruuf would have to be notified, and Deana had recovered a map of Skyrim with annotations and dagger through the town of Markarth. What did these portents mean?

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Ebony and Snow Chapter 1 Part 3

The party continued moving Westwards across the Tundra. Both Lydia and Zora suggested making for the small settlement at Rorikstead. A rest there would be a welcome repose before heading back to Whiterun.  Deanthala had also asked her companions if they would aid her in the collection of pelts  for the Guild. Vilja and Lydia immediately acquiesced but Zora put up more of a fight saying she was not wasting her talents gathering rugs. Deana’s timely reminder of a certain rescue from a Necromancer Cult put a quick end to any discussion. With Nirn’s sun at their backs they ploughed a furrow through the grassy tundra towards the West.

The hunting was sparse with only one wolf hunted down, its skinned pelt securely strapped and wrapped in leather hanging from Deana’s backpack. The trek to Rorikstead took under an hour but upon reaching the settlement’s southern border something familiar and yet terrifying caught Deana’s eye. Among the bushes just off the road a corpse, some sort of wandering merchant specialising in reagents by the looks of her ransacked bags, was found. A nasty wound had split the woman’s abdomen but it was the two arrows sticking from her back that made Deana gasp. The wooden shafts sported feathers she had only seen once, sticking out from the bodies of her foster parents. Forsworn! If they were in the area the settlement at Rorikstead was in danger from those heartless bastards.

Deanthala explained the situation to her companions and they all agreed they could not let Rorikstead suffer the same fate Deana’s parents had met. A track led up into the mountains from the road were the corpse was found. Both Lydia and Zora, very familiar with terrain here, indicated that the track led to an old outpost called Serpents Bluff and it could well be that the Forsworn had taken camp here. Deana nodded and led the party up the track.

Though some attempt had been made to hide tracks there was ample example of heavy traffic coming to and from the the summit. Deana crept forward stealthily with Vilja, the other two lagging somewhat behind them (clanking heavy armour not ideal for a reconnoitre . Her heart stopped in her mouth when she saw the first savage woman. Feathers adorned a head dress on her head, fur armour adorned her body and a club sporting what seemed to be sabre cat teeth hung at her hip. Indeed these Forsworn were a savage people. Her breath started to come in quick pants, her palms sweaty, her heart beat pounding in her ears. She turned back to Vilja, her violet eyes tearing up. The Nord gently placed a hand on Deana’s wrist.

‘We shall avenge your parents,’ the Nord said. Deana nodded and nocked an arrow to her longbow. Drawing the string to its fullest extent, she held the string taught, with a prayer to Azura on her lips she loosened the string and the arrow sped like lightning to embed itself in the Forsworn’s neck. A bright red fountain of bled erupted from the wound. Vilja screamed a battle cry and charged into the fray, impaling her steel sword into the woman’s body. At this all hell broke loose. A volley of arrows came over from behind a grassy knoll followed by several Forsworn wearing what seemed to be antlers on their heads. They charged at Vilja while Deana shot arrow after arrow, her arms aching with the effort. She saw more Forsworn pour from the Camp  these more lightly armoured than the antler heads. She turned her fire on them and grinned wickedly as she saw one drop dead with an arrow lodged in its head. Vilja was hard pressed by two familiar figures in steel armour soon charged up the path to make short work of the Forsworn. Five of them lay dead and Deana felt no sense of revenge or relief, strange as she was expecting some sort of righteous indignation! Vilja was somewhat wounded and Deana lobbed a health potion at her which she acknowledged with a nod, quaffing its contents and then lobbing the empty bottle over the cliff face. A large roar from the camp brought everyone back to battle readiness as they looked towards the large, hulking figure approaching from the Camp, a Forsworn Brierheart just behind…

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Ebony and Snow Chapter 1 Part 2

Vilja’s incessant groans and retching accompanied the party all the way to the walls of Whiterun. THe night’s indulgences had caught up with the Nord to the mirth of her companions. Zora in particular teased her no end, calling her a milk drinker and at one point offering to remove Vilja’s headache with her sword!!! It was with great aplomb that the lady from Solstheim claimed to all and sundry that she was done with all manner of mead and ale!!!

The midday sun warmed a crisp day out in the Tundra. The party deployed itself with Deanthala taking the point, Lydia and Zora on the flanks while the hungover VIlja brought up the rear. They waded through the knee high tundra grass, its brown hues hiding the party from unfriendly eyes. The roar of mammoths could be heard from the nearby camps while the distant thuds of gigantic footsteps could be felt on the floor.

Amid the bushes they came upon a grisly scene. A bray horse lay gutted, well they actually smelt it before they saw it. Alongside the horse the body of a man lay eviscerated from one end of its abdomen to the other. The edges of the festering wound were a very unhealthy shade of green, a sure sign of a poisoned blade according to the nonplussed Zora. A bloody trail led off to the West and several meters into the bush another body was found. This time a Breton female. She wore a hooded mask and clad in light yet very supple leather armour. A search of the corpse produced a bandolier full of murky liquids, different shades of cloudy greens and reds, Zora once again confirmed their venomous nature (how did she have such an intimate knowledge of the assassin’s art?). Clearly the man was the intended victim but judging by the assassin’s neck he was no pushover as the dead Breton sported a deep cut that was caked with dried blood. Deana claimed the poisonous vials, as a budding alchemist she intended to study their composition.

View of the poison vials, courtesy of the Bandolier – Bags and Pouches Mod.

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They carried on pressing West, their state of alert heightened by the grisly discovery. Their destination, the Shrine to Zenithar was indeed overrun by Mudcrabs of a rather large disposition and a half eaten pilgrim in the Shrine’s immediate area clear evidence of the crustacean’s claim to the shrine.

The party wasted no time in charging in with blade and spell, a somewhat hasty move as Deana herself was to evidence as she received a very painful snip from an overly large pincer that easily sliced through her fur armour. An instant later she felt her skin tingle as a blue light shimmered around her slight frame. The smell of ozone precluded a spell of protection had been cast on her, no doubt Zora’s handiwork. A timely action as a second pincer sliced at her only to appear to bounce off her ethereal armour. A concentrated assault eventually saw all the mudcrabs seen too and they feasted on a hearty meal of roasted crab meat, after paying their respects to Zenithar of course.

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Ebony and Snow Chapter 1 Part 1

She slowly released her breath, released the grip on the longbow in her hands and felt the rush of air as the arrow sped towards the large wolf. The creature was already panting heavily, the left side of its snout a bloody mess thanks to Zora’s two handed sword. The wooden shaft travelled true, its iron point piercing sinew and bone to impale itself in the beast’s heart. It gave one last beat then gave out. The wolf collapsed in a heap, twitched one last time and settled into a puddle of its lifeblood that grew beneath it.

‘Great shot Deana,’ chirped Vilja. Her perfect countenance marred by three deep claw marks across her left cheek.

‘Bah. Get in close next time,’ barked Zora. ‘Get your hands dirty elf!’ A blue shimmering was testament to a protective spell she had cast on herself wearing off as she kneeled down by the wolf’s corpse and drew her hunting knife ready to skin the beast.

‘Big un aint it,’ said Deanthala. ‘Hunters Guild in Whiterun wasn’t lying.’ Indeed it was not and it was on a commission for that guild that Deanthala and her companions had been scouring the hills above Riverwood for the better part of the morning. A bounty had been posted in the Guild in The Drunken Huntsman in response to the people of Riverwood’s plea to rid the area of a large wolf preying on livestock. They had been able to corner the beast against the mountain side high above the village and would now be returning victorious.

Drinks in The Sleeping Giant were courtesy of Orgnar, having had lost his horse to the wolf. The beast’s pelt was displayed for all to see and an very inebriated Vilja fell off the bar while dancing ‘like they do in Solsthiem!

(OT She actually does this when plied with drink).

Deana sat in a corner and updated her Journal. Not knowing much of her Past she had promised herself a record of her Present, a way of not losing herself. She her noted some other bounties the Hunter’s Guild had posted. Her need to feel part of something made her want to support the Guild and if that meant these menial tasks then so be it.

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It seemed a little mud crab clearing would be in order in a shrine dedicated to Zenithar in the tundra to the West of Whiterun. Vilja’s drunken singing took her attention away from her journal and she could not help but join in with the raucous clapping that accompanied the Nord woman’s songs.

OT – I am using the Hunting in Skyrim mod by B1gBadDaddy to get the Hunter’s Guild

Ebony and Snow Prelude

Deanthala…a name that seems more Altmer than Dunmer, not surprising as she was brought up by two of the golden skinned elves not by her own ebony skinned people.

She doesn’t know much of her own Past. Yes she has heard snippets of a shipwreck in the Sea of Ghosts. Of a cradle being washed up on some distant shore. Her earliest memories are of cold air, mountain pines and deep snow. Kind golden eyes, so polar opposite to her own violet orbs. Violet hues that are also mirrored in her hair, contrasting exquisitely with the ebony tinge of her native skin. A village, thatched roofs, a small cottage set just outside the human community. A small cottage she returns to one day from the Wilds to find blood and torn bodies. Golden eyes now dark and dead, having lost their spark. Strange arrows strewn across the cottage walls, more blood inside flowing from a deeply cut throat.

Numb, speechless, cold, empty. No one wants to help the dark elf. The humans turn insular, the word ‘Forsworn’, she is turned away. Barely having come of age she returns to the blood spattered cottage and tries to give her parents – a funny concept to her but these Altmer were the only ones she knew – as much dignity as possible in death.

Being a child of the Northern Woods she turns to them for comfort learning first to survive and then thrive in the harsh Skyrim climate. Her bow her best friend, the stars her canopy, the forest her home. She hears about the Forsworn, about their struggle but she only wants revenge. She travels ever Southwards, a place Whiterun – a great hold with great opportunities – great forest, tall and warm.

She keeps to the woods and forests, to what she knows. Whiterun seems the largest place in the world to her. Walls of stone, a large palace atop a majestic hill – so many people. The weeks alone have made her nervous yet as the days pass she welcomes company again. A majestic beauty going by the name of Vilja befriends her in a tavern she had been staying at called the Bannered Mare. Together they begin to travel the lands around Whiterun. Her strong violet locks contrasting with the Nordic blonde of her companion.

They rescue another Nord seemingly trapped in Brittleshin Pass by some Necromancers. On odd native of Riverwood called Zora Fair-Hand. For lack of anything better to do she agrees to become a shield companion to Deanthala and Vilja. A third Nord, a woman named Lydia in the employ of the Jarl also joins their party as they seek adventure and fame. For the first time Deana, as they call her, experiences companionship and fellowship. A sense of belonging in this land of contrasts…

Ebony and Snow. Deana and Vilja

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OT I am using Vilja in Skyrim Mod, Interesting NPC’s and UFO to allow the variety in followers and to allow me to construct some sort of adventuring party. I will reference any mods that will have an impact on the direct storyline.

Panzer Campaigns Normandy 44 AAR

Following the successful local action at Secqueville elements of the I./SS.Pz.Rgt.12 came into solid and heavy contact with several units of the British 8th Armoured Brigade. Several companies of Stuarts, Shermans, Churchills and even some of the strange looking tanks that hit the beaches two days ago, began a protracted drive against the front held by the Pz IV H’s of SS Panzer Regiment 12. Roughly about half the battalion was deployed to the East of Secqueville while II./SS.Pz.Rgt.12 held position some miles to the rear. Around 17:35 several British tanks began long range fire against the Panzer IV’s. Though the fire was ineffective most commanders ‘buttoned up’. This initial salvo was accompanied by several salvoes of large calibre activity, probably ship borne, that knocked out two tanks via direct hits. Using this hail of fire as cover, the British advanced steadily to engage our tankers at short range. Despite artillery support and the aid of the long range guns that out Panthers bear, I./SS.Pz.Rgt.12 was forced to abandon its position and retire into the ruins of Secqueville. Despite knocking out 7 enemy vehicles it suffered similar losses to its own ranks. Obersturmbannfuhrer Wunsche ordered its immediate withdrawal should it become overwhelmed by the British armour. Several self propelled guns from Stug Abteilung 200 were called up to support the 12th SS’s Panthers while the second half of the I Abteilung of SS Panzer Regiment 12 also moved forward to support the Panthers on their left flank.

 

Panzer Campaigns Normandy 44 AAR

6th and 9th Companies of SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment 25 have today assaulted and ejected the British 56th Infantry Brigade from the rubble ruins of the village of Secqueville. Two companies of British infantry had been holding the village but one Company was forced to retreat under a ferocious bombardment of several of SS.PzGr.Rgt 25’s heavy weapon companies as well as the self propelled artillery of SS.Pz.Art.Rgt 12 and Art.Abt 989 (this latter unit is a Heer unit attached to I SS Panzer Corps). As the smoke began to settle, 6th and 9th Companies carried out a quick close assault that overwhelmed the defending British troops. This successful assault allowed Panzer Regiment 12 to advance on the left flank of the assault to take up blocking positions against British armoured units approaching from the North. Indeed I/SS.Pz.Rgt.12 had already engaged enemy Sherman tanks at extreme range. II/SS.Pz.Rgt.12 with its Panthers is holding position slightly to the rear on a reverse slope.

 

Situation 16:00 7th June 1944