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.

Skyrim: A New Life

Chapter 2 Part 6

Wolfskull Cave was to be a much sterner test than what Se’rith had ever imagined it to be. It turned that out that several Necromantic cults jad banded together to bring about the reincarnation of Potema the Wolf Queen, a powerful Necromancer of old. An eerie feeling of dread fell upon both Dunmer as they crossed the cave’s shadowy threshold. They disposed of a young Bosmer Necromancer that guarded a portcullis leading  deeper into the cave. Well, a cave that housed a whole ruined tower around which evil magics flowed. Ethereal wind carried dark glyphs to an apex above the a tower and every now and again a powerful female voice boomed across the cavern urging its followers to complete the ritual as her transfer into this world was almost complete. Not only would any return of Potema be a danger to the College, it would be a danger to Skyrim as a whole. As Archmage it would be her sworn duty to thwart any attempt at resurrecting the Wolf Queen.

 

Se’rith and Brelyna were met at every turn by Potema’s servants as they battled against them with fire, ice and claw. Undead minions lurched against them as reeking zombies and rambling skeletons tried to stop the ascent of the College Mages. The closer they got to the main tower the more frantic the chanting became and one female voice in particular rose in pitch and frenzy above all others. Darting in and out of the battlements atop the tower, Se’rith got a glimpse of a wizened old face framed by wispy, spent white hair. Murky red magic surrounded her clenched fists as she conducted the ritual to its conclusion.

The final fight atop the tower was a bloody and merciless affair. The crone was flanked by two younger apprentices that she ordered to her death at the end of Se’rith’s Lightning Bolts. Their deaths were met with insane cackles and one was even raised by the cruel witch to fight again in undeath. Yet numbers and power soon prevailed as both Dunmer were able to dispatch the undead minion and the witch. As Se’rith burned a hole through the necromancer’s chest the ritual stopped with a violence neither Dunmer expected. Blue light expanded across the whole of the cavern, the light hung for a moment before disappearing in a massive explosion of light and sound. A loud roar, half wolf howl, half female shriek made the dark elves cower in pain. However as soon as it has started the noise and bedlam stopped. Examining a bloody and gore filled altar Se’rith saw a wolf image etched into the stone and painted in blood. As she hovered her hand over it her mind ached with an image and feeling of supreme evil, an after image of a snarling wolf’s blood stained maw imprinting on her mind.

 

They emerged from Wolfskull Cave via a small tunnel leading from a platform next to the tower apex. They stopped for a moment to bask in the warmth of the sun, the city of Solitude and its Arch in the distance.

 

Skyrim: A New Life

Chapter Two Part 5

The bandits making their home at Fort Hraggstad provided little challenge to Se’rith and Brelyna and their leader died begging for mercy consumed by Brelyna’s fire bolts. Mercy was not forthcoming as both Dunmer had found several bodies in the dungeons of the fort. Judging by their clothing these people were merchants and innocent travellers waylaid by the bandits, brought to Hraggstad and then robbed, murdered or left to rot. In Se’rith’s mind she and Brelyna were bringing righteous justice to these evil men and women and by restoring a legion garrison to Hraggstad the road would once again be safe for travellers.

Legatus Rikke was mightily pleased upon their return to Solitude with news of the Fort’s cleansing and she immediately dispatched orders for a detachment to relocate and rebase there. She thanked Se’rith and dismissed her telling her that Jarl Elisif had heard the Arch Mage of Winterhold was in town and requested her presence in the Blue Palace.

The Blue Palace lived up to its name, its blue slated roof tiles catching the sunlight, stood at the other end of the Solitude arch. Legion and Hold Guards lined its walls and stood at its gates. Se’rith was admitted into the palace with no ado but she was cornered by a member of the court called Falk Firebeard. The Jarl was receiving visitors from the Imperial Province here in Solitude for the marriage of the Emperor’s cousin but had tasked Firebeard with talking to Se’rith. She was taken into a side chamber were she and Brelyna were served sweet wine and tasty fruits. Falk, the Jarl’s steward, told Se’rith of a nearby cave, Wolfskull Cave, and of strange sightings, primarily after dark. Wolfskull Cave was well known to all mages in Skyrim due to the story of Potema the Wolf Queen. Several nearby farmsteads had reported strange lights and noises in the late watches of the night and livestock was disappearing. Due to its location and somewhat tainted history, and knowing of Se’rith’s presence in the city, the Jarl would consider it a personal favour if the College could look into Wolfskull Cave. Of course anything of a magical nature found could be considered a gift from the Hold of Haafinger to the College of Winterhold.

Se’rith was very familiar with the story of the Wolf Queen. If any of her followers or a new cult of hers was involved it would mean necromancers and undead. This was a good opportunity for Se’rith to further cement an alliance between Winterhold and Solitude. Accepting the Jarl’s request Se’rith headed to a tavern she saw just inside the main gate, The Winking Skeever, to rest before embarking to Wolfskull Cave.

CUT SCENE

Skyrim: A New Life

Chapter 2 Part 4

Castle Dour was an imposing stone structure that overlooked Solitude and stood on a cliff at the opposite end of the city to where the Blue Palace, the seat of the Jarl, was. Legionaries were all over the place. Standing guard, leaving on patrol or drilling in the main courtyard. It was a constant bustle of activity. Se’rith was stopped at the gate by two guards who demanded to know her presence there. Introducing herself as the new Arch Mage of Winterhold she asked the guards to be taken to General Tulius. She was ushered inside the main entryway and then led up a flight of stone steps to a sturdy wooden door. Inside the General was in deep discussion with another Legion officer, this one a Nord Female. From the snatches of conversation she heard the General was worried about the role  Whiterun and its Jarl played in the geopolitics of Skyrim. At the moment Whiterun had yet to declare itself for one side or the other but its proximity to Windhelm clearly had the Imperials worried about possible Stormcloak influence there. The female (a Legate Rikke) strongly argued against trying to influence Barlgruuf as Nords would take offers of unasked for help as an insult. But the General was adamant, Whiterun would come into the Imperial fold and that would be the end of that.

At that Se’rith was introduced by the guard. General Tulius was incredibly surprised to see how young the new Arch Mage was but his candour improved when he heard what Se’rith came to offer. The aid of the College of Winterhold in keeping the Empire together and winning over those Nords taken under sway by Ulfric. In return Se’rith wanted Legion mapower to help rebuild Winterhold. By working together mages and Legion could win the hearts and minds of the Nords and take them away from Ulfric’s rebellion. Tulius, being a fighting man, was not easily swayed as he trusted in the martial might of the Legion to bring down and quell any major Stormcloak offensive. However judging by the strategic map of Skyrim on a table behind him roughly half of the province was already lost to the Empire. As such Tulius was not in a position to turn Winterhold’s aid down.

It was the Legate that came to Se’rith’s aid. She interceded on her behalf and reasoned that wining hearts and minds would be of great help. Furthermore, with an increasing number of dragon sightings since Helgen, if the Legion was seen as protecting the populace from these flying beasts then the General could trumpet all he want about the Legion being protectors of Skyrim while Ulfric could be cast as the murderer and usurper that brought dragons back to Skyrim. This gave the General pause for thought and he fixed his gaze intently on Se’rith. The offer the mage was making was indeed a solid one, but a niggling doubt gnawed at the back of his mind. If he accepted the College’s offer was the Legion admitting a weakness of not being able to deal with the insurrection? Nords hated magic, a lot hated the Legion, what benefit would he gain? It wasn’t until Se’rith told him of the dragon at Whiterun and her role in its destruction that Tulius changed his demeanour. If this dark elf was in good standing with Barlgruuf she could be used to sway Whiterun away from the Stormcloaks. What he needed though was a sign of good faith. Calling Se’rith over to the map he laid his finger on a spot somewhat to the West of Solitude. He explained that if the College wanted to ally itself to the Imperial cause it must prove its worth. He tasked Se’rith with reclaiming a ruined fort called Fort Hraggstad that had been claimed by a band of bandits that had bee raiding the coastal road. The Legion had intentions of sending a detachment of troops to re garrison the fort once it had been cleared. If Se’rith could prove her worth by clearing the Fort, the alliance she craved would be granted.

Fort Hraggstad

Skyrim: A New Life

Chapter Two Part Three

The road to Solitude was uneventful as they passed the impressive stone carved bridge at Dragonbridge. True to its name the small settlement was built on the side of a gorge that was spanned by a stone bridge. In its centre was a dragons head that seemed to warn travellers as they entered Dragonbridge. Talking to several locals they found out the Solitude was barely an hours walk away.

Approaching the city gates, situated as they were in the tall, thick walls of Solitude, a most Imperial looking city in Skyrim, Se’rith was told by an exultant guard that she was just in time for the execution. Asking him why he sounded so elated at someone’s death he told her that the person being executed was a former guard called Roggvir. He had played a crucial role in the murder of King Torygg by first allowing Ulfric Stormcloak into the city and then assisting in his escape. Traitors to the Empire deserved death, he virtually spat out that last comment. He waved them through and just inside the main gate a crowd was gathering as a man in threadbare garments was  being pushed and manhandled by a pair of burly guards. Several members of the crowd were booing and hissing at him. Several children were throwing rotten produce at him as they ascended a small dias where the executioners bloack awaited. A small rectangle of brown, blood stained wood.

A guard captain pushed the prisoner to his knees before the block as the executioner, a large hooded man wielding the largest axe Se’rith had ever seen, its bearded blade also darkly stained with blood. The captain read out the man’s crimes and called him an embarassment to all Nords. A betrayer of the legacy of Tiber Spetim who had founded the Empire. To his credit the prisoner shouted out his firmly held belief that the Empire was the betrayer and that the Stormcloaks fought for and in the interests of Skyrim. He shouted out Ulfric’s innocence claiming that Torygg had been slain in the honoured Nord tradition of single combat. Such blasphemous words brought more cat calls from the crowd and demands for blood. The captain nodded towards the executioner and with a practised move he raised his axe into the Solitude air and held for a split second before he leant all his strength to bring the blade down upon the condemned mans neck. The blade did its work at the first time of asking and it sliced through till it embedded itself in the wooden block with a thud. Red blood spurted from the man’s neck and it showered the front row of spectators with a fine red mist. Roggvir,s head rolled away until the captain picked it up by the hair and claimed loudly that all traitors to the Empire would meet the same end! With that he set the head on a spike that would soon be adorning the main gate as further warning.

Skyrim: A New Life

Chapter Two Part Two

As the wind stop whirling and the noise subsided the Whiterun Guards gathered around Se’rith. A few of them were whispering ‘Dragonborn’, or ‘Thu’um’ in reverent tones. Irileth approached her and took her wrist in a warrior’s handshake, it all seemed far to reverent for her tastes. The incident had indeed puzzled her, perplexed her in fact but she could not allow these new events divert her from her path of speaking to General Tulius in Solitude. Night had already started to fall as the shadows from the gargantuan dragon bones spread around her.

She pressed on Irileth the importance of relaying what had happened to the Jarl at Dragonreach and told her to instruct the Jarl that Winterhold would come to Whiterun’s aid should he call for it in the event his city came under dragon attack. Farengar could easily send a magical missive to the College. Saluting her fellows she took the road West towards Solitude. A guard advised her that the road to Solitude would be long but a welcome stop at Rorikstead for the night would do her well, The Frostfruit Inn would always welcome a weary traveller. Thats when the earth and air shook.

‘Dovakinnnnn…’ A gruff voice carried on the wind and the guards looked skywards expecting another dragon to swoop down at them but the skies were empty other than the glittering stars of the heavens. They asked what that was but not even Irileth had an answer. It had been a strange day indeed. Their road was going to be long so Se’rith and Brelyna made their farewells and headed West. The stars and Nirn’s two moons shone brightly in the black canvas of night.

Skyrim’s nights were indeed beautiful, a myriad of colours and twinkling lights. Rorikstead itself was a small settlement on the road leading West from Whiterun to The Reach. It was a small farming community whose fields looked bountiful and plenty. It was the late watches by the time they got there and headed to the Frostfrut Inn for some well needed rest and succour. Dragons now flew the skies of Skyrim, the world had indeed changed!

OT-screenies courtesy of Enhanced Night Skyrim by CptJoker. The first mod I downloaded for Skyrim on the 15th November. I had the same mod for Oblivion as well. Well worth it