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In Progress The Fall of Tamriel (Court CYOA)

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by MercantileInterest, Dec 14, 2016.

  1. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    B - merchant, but open to suggestions
    A - merchant heading toward a warzone should have guards. They can play the par.
    A - let us not leave assets behind. We may need him even if it may prove costly later.
     
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  2. Storyfag Arcane Patron

    Storyfag
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    Location:
    A Dark Place
    B (merchant) AA
     
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  3. Lithium Flower Magister

    Lithium Flower
    Joined:
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    1B Merchant
    A
    A

    It makes sense for merchants to have retinue.
     
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  4. Usury Arcane

    Usury
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    Right ho, then. Off as a merchant with two (very talented) guards and Maester Agrippa in company. 'Cause we're trying to move swiftly, we'll be posing as a jeweler.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [​IMG]

    In the mountains, every winter brings a tide of sleet and ice. This builds up year after year, engulfing the high meadows and glades. The shepherds, hunters, bandits and lawless folk who inhabit these desolate regions will flee to lower lands by late autumn. Many elk, deer, snow cats, pigeons, bears, crows, hawks, goats and other beasts migrate down from the great valleys. The maesters speculate and the woodsmen swap tales of what creatures remain through the snows. When spring at last shines upon the high places and the glaciers ebb, each valley takes a new form. Even the lakes and rivers change their courses. Pale Pass, between Cyrodiil and Skyrim lies lower than most other such places. The Imperial Legion takes care always to keep it clear as storms permit. The routes of smugglers and hunters change with the seasons and Varys has provided one over the Jerall mountains directly into the Rift.

    You ride out from the Imperial City up through Cheydinhal, straining the horses and wearying yourselves through sitting. Maester Agrippa, having more years, feels more of the sores. North from Cheydinhal, the highway continues, until it dwindles to a meandering country road. As the country grows thornier, stonier and higher, the Temple of the Ancestor Moths comes into sight. Having been traveling several days, you rest a short while and then head up the trail into the mountains. First, there are green valleys filled with pines and tall meadow grass. Then, the path rises higher through windswept mossy regions where the ice is still melting. There, snow cats prey upon the multitude of bearded goats and even follow for a few hours until the Penitus Occulati put an arrow into one of them. The beast whimpers and draws back to lick the wound and paw at the wooden shaft. The wind bites at the ears and every pulls his cloak close.

    One afternoon, when you have passed into the lower valleys on the north side, where the slopes glisten with ice against granite but the meadows gleam with green, a pair of hairy men on foot block the trail. A stitchwork of furs and pelts cover their shoulders and they carry long spears tipped with iron. Another figure with a bow stands higher up a hill. They shout out in a Nordic tongue. Your bodyguards, the agents of the Penitus Occulatus, both draw their swords in the same motion. The robbers stand aside.

    Shepherds surrounded by lanky goats wave when you pass. A woman with her fair hair knotted into braids and her face obscured with dark paint sits on a rock two yards from the trail, mending an arrow. The rocks echo with the cries of the ravens.

    The route leads down the high valley of Rkund past Darklight Tower. A Nord tending a row of potatos warns the place is a haven for witches and foul rituals. Maester Agrippa asks how the farmer learned Cyrodiliac Pidgin and learns that wanderers will find a pass around the region every spring. The farmer claims the witches of the tower steal away the unwary for sacrifice so he leaves an offering at their doors every winter. The door to his own cottage is inscribed with daedric symbols. So far from the cities, no one has ever enforced the two hundred year old decrees against daedra worship.

    Birches and aspens fill the forests of the Rift. They have not yet changed colors. Summer is long and winter is torment but the dusking of the trees lasts only a few months. Many tilled fields and cozy villages fill the Rift but no towns of any size. The Nords are for the most part, pale haired, tall and broad shouldered. The men grow thick beards and even most of the women have noticeable sideburns. They are often big with child or carrying a babe at the hip. The maester explains that the Nords strive to deliver at the end of fall and nurse the babe all through the snows so as keep from catching another child. The gods-father, the family patriarch, has authority to throw out a weak newly-born, often a girl. In the town of Riften proper, there exists a temple honoring Mara, a southern goddess of mercy. Under this influence, the city Nords leave undesired offspring at the orphanage rather than in the woods. Also under the teaching of Mara's priests, the common Nordic custom of wife-stealing is not practiced around Riften and her ceremony of marriage does not so much as reflect the practice. (A Nord husband typically takes his new bride to the wilderness for a week, or, in the old tradition, a month.)

    [​IMG]

    You arrive in Riften near two weeks after setting out, sore and callused. The muscular stablemaster takes charge of your horses, whom custom does not permit within the walls. The guards demand a gate-tax. Inside, the whole city smells of fish, rotting mildew and tattered beggars. Doubt they'll last the winter. Stormcloak soldiers move through the crowd in knots. Mindful of your pockets, you find the Bee and Barb inn. Unlike sullen stares from the rest of the city, the innkeeper greets you with a halloa and a smile. After renting a room, you all strip down and soak in the steams. Again under the influence of Mara's priests, bathing is not mixed. The heat sinks into your skin. You close your eyes and ponder where to begin bringing the city back under the Imperial Dragon.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (1A) Ingratiate yourself with Jarl Laila Law-giver, the rightful ruler of the city and all the Rift.
    (1B) Approach Maven Black-briar, a powerful noble with Imperial connections. Varys has suggested she will amenable to the cause so long as action does not place her in great danger.
    (1C) Attempt to gather information about the positions of armies.
    (1D) Befriend Gonnar Oath-giver, the Stormcloak commander in the Rift.
    (1E) Get to know the merchants of the city.
    (1F) Something else____.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
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  5. Lithium Flower Magister

    Lithium Flower
    Joined:
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    Important question, MercantileInterest

    Which letter of the three we found in the box would that be, exactly?

    ---

    Maven is the real power here but we need to be careful. With the Stormcloaks waging a losing war on two fronts, I would assume that their soldiers and agents here are probably on edge. If we go straight to Maven we might very well look extremely suspicious. We should take care to maintain our cover, especially since the Oculati are not particularly subtle.

    I think figuring out how Maven can help us and what she wants in exchange should be dealt with soon, since we don't have much of a plan. But we must approach her in a way that does draw not risk to either of us. Placing her in danger by drawing suspicion to her would only piss her off, and we should take care not to draw suspicion to ourselves either.

    Keep in mind that Maven is involved with Motierre although we do not know if she knows who we are or even cares about our rivalry with him. Still, we should also try to approach her in a way that does not expose us to harm from her as well.

    1F: Mingle with the merchants to maintain our cover, then subtly and carefully approach Maven Black-Briar, preferably in a manner that does not draw risk to either one of us. We do not identify ourselves as DC to Maven either in case Motierre warned her about us.

    Again, let me know if this is too much. I was thinking that "Mingling with the merchants" would not be going as far as actually getting to know them or trying to extract information from/ingratiate ourselves with them.
     
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  6. Usury Arcane

    Usury
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    This one:

    The Occulati are obviously fighters but that's not so implausible for merchants' guards.
     
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  7. Lithium Flower Magister

    Lithium Flower
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    People are busy with the turkey festival I assume? Sad!
     
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  8. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    1E or Lithium's 1F.
     
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  9. Storyfag Arcane Patron

    Storyfag
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    Location:
    A Dark Place
    1B
     
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  10. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    5,728
    Location:
    I'm on an actual spaceship. No joke.
    Woah, thought I'd voted already. Apparently not.

    Lithium Flower's 1F
     
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  11. Usury Arcane

    Usury
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    'k, looks like we're pulling some stunt involving merchandise and local noble Maven Black-briar. The Rift has six Nordic dialects. Maester Agrippa and Floki both speak the dialect of Riften. Roggar knows a few of the dialects from Eastmarch and you are familiar with the Nordic spoken around Helgen. Floki and Roggar are the names the two Occulatus agents have adopted. During your travels, Maester Agrippa taught you a bit of Riftish but you're not fluent.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    The vendors prop their booths in the early dawn. The guards have not yet opened the gates and the sellers jostle to take the good places in the market before the farmers arrive. The savor of baking bread permeates the market circle. An army of four thousand Stormcloaks lies encamped outside the walls and the jarl levies a war tax to feed them. Even so, many of the rebels barter for additional supplies. Tattered beggars shiver in the corners. The watchmen will force them to move soon. Such wretches do not survive winter. A foul mildew rises from the canal winding around the market. The boats at tether bump gently against each other. Wrens twitter and alight on the wooden shingles of the houses roundabout.

    You struggle to fasten a bright felt scrap around the wooden rail overlooking the canal. Traveling has toughened you against the cold but you're still none too nimble with your hands. Roggar lays out a selection of wares on a bench you bought from the inn--rings, amulets and jewels. Floki glares at anyone who draws near. Quite the merchant's guard, if he doesn't frighten away all the buyers.

    A burly man in an iron breastplate trimmed with unworked fur approaches. He strokes his dark beard and leers at Floki. The Occulatus agent places his hand upon the hilt of his sword. The newcomer turns his eyes to you.

    "I din't know ye." He barks out the words in Riftish. "Nabones swaps in this steadhold without mja say-so. Drift mae keeping-geld arjn I'll drift ye woe."

    "No." This insolent dog. Trying to shake me for coin.

    The burly man sneers. Then he turns on his heel and slinks away. A bright beam warms the circle as the sun crawls over the wall. Boats begin to scull down the canal, laden with sacks and bushels. Farmers push carts through the gates. A pair of dunmer ladies in colorful low cut dresses approach with their arms locked. Their hair grows in stiff and waxy bristles bound with gems. Their red eyes flicker constantly over the market and they walk in an unnatural stop and go.

    "Vyelconai camin." They whisper to each other. "Siya! Ye us needn warm." Smiles like paint in water. One of them traces a finger up your cheek. Her scent engulfs you like a meadow of flowers. A murmur in your ear. "Mae warm, vyelconai." The dunmer stroll away, tittering. Half of that wasn't even Nordic.

    A number of Nords pass. A wife argues with a husband who won't let her buy. You suspect it is an act but lower the price anyway. A band of Stormcloaks buy luck rings. The Occulati chase away an urchin. A young girl draws out a small purse and stacks up four coppers with the intensity children sometimes apply to a task their elders barely think of. You give back two of the coins and hand over a runestone bracelet.

    "Wwwhhhhhat you wwwant?" A gurgling voice croaks out in Cyrodilliac pidgin. A lizardman Argonian stands a breath away from your face. "Trrrrouble to ssscale-ssskins? You wwwwant knivessss? Wwwant knivesss in belly? You wwwant rodsss in hhholessss?" The words hiss out far longer than a man could speak them, interspersed with squeaks and hissing. The Argonian's eyes throb as he pushes his face even closer. "We ssssell gold bitsss hhhhere. Xhuth! You lllleave Riften or Blosssomsss-in-Sssstone bite offfff rod. Ssswallow wwwhole. Then hhhave two hhholes."

    "What's all this now?" A city guard with a full face helmet approaches. "Blossoms-in-Stone, does this outsider harangue you? A silver septim for disturbing the peace."

    "Ffffine good." The lizard burbles. "But wwhat iffff outsssider sssnitch for Empire?"

    "That's right." The nord says. "You don't look trustworthy."

    You slide five silver septims into his hand. "I'm only here to trade."

    "Well, I won't judge you by looks. As for you, you dunging reptile, move along."

    Blossoms-in-Stone honks and sprints off through the crowd with his long tail whipping behind. On the journey, Agrippa had lectured about the Argonians. The maesters believed the race had survived because no one could survive an excursion into the heart of Black Marsh to kill them off. At present, their people were strong.

    Later, when the maester shows up, you leave him in the market while you take Floki and begin knocking on doors. No one buys but you slowly edge towards Black-briar manor. Like most of the city, the lower portions of the house consist of bricks which give way to split logs on the higher floor. A butler with a crooked nose opens the door. He is not interested in your wares but you give several jewels and request an appointment with Maven. He says he will send a reply to the inn after she considers the matter. You continue down the street, knocking on doors.

    By afternoon, you are again at your market stall. The crowd has lessened and the clang of the blacksmith at the anvil rises of the chatter. One of the dunmer women saunters over again.

    "Vyelconai, siya." She croons. "Mja ye miss. Mja ye secret say. Mae warm." She tugs at her neckline to show more bosom. Nothing more unsettling than the way a dark elf never stops fluttering her eyes. "Snow-land much cold. Ye snow-landu na? Nord-man na?"

    She startles. The burly man has returned. He spits. The dunmer woman scurries away. The burly man nods.

    That evening you return to the Bee and Barb. The innkeeper turns red when he sees you. He's afraid. Why? You step towards him. He gulps. Not afraid. Nervous. Or is that guilt?

    "Is something amiss?" You ask.

    "No. Everything fine here." He says. Another gulp. "Yes. Yes, I remember now. A note from the Black-briars." You snatch it out of his hand. He stumbles backwards behind the bar. "Must clean the mugs." Fear and guilt. Not good.

    You motion to Floki. The Occulatus prepares to draw his sword and leads the way up the stair. He unlocks the door to the room and Roggar kicks it in. There is no one inside. You settle down in a chair, begin to unstrap your boots and instead break the wax seal on the note. The message is neatly lettered in perfect Imperial Common.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Choices, choices.

    (A) Lock the door, put Roggar on watch and get some sleep. This honest work facade gets tiring.
    (B) Visit the dunmer. You've got a suspicion as to what sort of 'ladies' they are but that suggestion of secrets might mean something.
    (C) Sneak out of the inn with Floki wearing a different outfit and investigate the burly man. Trouble brewing there.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
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  12. Lithium Flower Magister

    Lithium Flower
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    If I had to guess, the inkeeper is shitting himself because he agreed to help fuck us over before finding out that we are somehow involved with the Black-Briars.

    A seems like the blind idiot choice. Or perhaps that's just what Merc wants us to think.

    I think both B and C have merits.

    C is the most obvious decision here: we investigate the most obvious threat to us immediately. Which is well and good, but there are a few things that bother me. Firstly, obvious choices are not always the best ones (Remember Motierre?) and secondly sneaking around at night and investigating people doesn't sound terribly subtle. If the enemy is trying to feel us out, perhaps anticipating that we are going to attempt some skulldaggery, we might be revealing ourselves way too early.

    On the other hand, B is a shot in the dark. However, there is one thing that makes me think that the Dunmer actually has secrets to tell us and that's the fact that she fucked off as soon as the burly man came near. It suggests to me that she doesn't want to be seen talking to us (or it could be a power dynamics thing, I guess). Plus, going to see a prostitute is infinitely more subtle than C.

    We've played things pretty safe for now, so perhaps its time to take a chance? Plus a talking lizard just threatened to rape us, and getting some dunmer poon could count as exposure therapy for the purposes of recovering from that trauma. I'm tentatively voting B>C
     
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  13. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
    Joined:
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    Location:
    I'm on an actual spaceship. No joke.
    B
     
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  14. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
    Joined:
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    A - Doing nothing should help sell our cover story. I'm assuming we'll be sleeping light and with a weapon at hand. The Dunmer ladies could have info and they could be a trap. They should still be around later. Whores can wait. The Burly man needs to be looked into, but skulking in the night this early in our subterfuge isn't good.
     
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  15. Usury Arcane

    Usury
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    (B) Visit our dunmer Lady friends.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    A tattered vagrant shivers in the market corner. A few stars shimmer between the heavy clouds. The rot of the canal blows with the wind, while a watchman paces about with a lantern in his hand. Two braziers blaze before the doors to the Jarl's manse--flickering yellow flames above, duller embers below. With the door to the inn ajar, you tighten the neck of your coat. The chill's in the wind. A marmalade cat with a rat in its jaws glances up at you. Tossing its tail, the creature struts inside. You set across the market.

    The house of the dunmer lies on a back street leading to the hall of the dead. A lamp hangs over the door on a hook. While the other houses stand dark, warm light glimmers around the curtains. A voice screams within, followed by stilted laughter. No one else about. You knock on the stout door. The timber walls about the frame are very weathered and pocked with holes chewed by crawling things. A torn gap in the wood shows where an object once clung to the door, possibly a knocker. The hinges groan and turn.

    A dunmer woman in a nordic dress, sewn up the side to show a bit of thigh, flutters her eyes over you. Can't read her face yet. They haven't quite the same expressions as we. She circles round you, steps backward and continues to stare without speaking. You follow, shutting the door behind. Her eyes roam about but do not meet yours. It is a narrow foyer with pegs for coats and shelves for muddy boots.

    "Let me see the lady who frequents the market." You speak.

    She extends a trembling hand. You slip a Markarth groat into her clammy palm. A shiver runs through her whole body. You tip up her chin but her eyes remain downcast. The stiff bristles of her hair scratch at the touch. She fumbles with her bodice laces. Doesn't understand me at all.

    "Vyelconai." Atop the stairs, the dunmer from the market appears. "Ye cold."

    "Yes. Hoped to see you here tonight." Better stick to the Helgen dialect of Nordic.

    Another door opens. "A western man. You come over the mountains." A third dunmer woman, somewhat smoother in face, takes your arm and pulls you after her. "You a clever man to come so far, yes? A singer or a strong warrior for Ulfric. Yes."

    The door slams behind. Only a few reed wicks cast light but the whole room swims with the scent of perfume. She spreads her robe to bare her slight pointed breasts and rolls back a blanket, revealing the pale bedsheet in the dimness. Then a finger over your lips.

    "Coin or Black-briar unhappy." You foist a few pennies which she pushes aside. "Big nord milkers for suckling babes. This," her tongue hisses in your ear, "for love." She forces your shirt off. "You know love? Here. I show you. Light? No light?"

    You press her down onto the bed. "How did you learn this speech?"

    "We talk or we love?" A faint purring. "You very warm."

    "Talk first." You produce another penny. "Tell me about the Black-briars."

    "Coin for words?" Suddenly her eyes are still, two points gleaming in the gloom, visible over the curve of her side. Does that indicate surprise? "Maven Black-briar very good."

    "How did you end up in this land? The truth, or I keep the copper."

    "Forget."

    You sigh, open the dresser and take back the pennies. She growls.

    "Fool. She die you for this. Black-briar take back coin."

    "No doubt." A grin. "But you won't see a single septim."

    One of the rush lights fades. Through the log walls, a man hollers. The wind rattles the glass windowpane. The dunmer pulls back the blankets.

    "Cold night. Come. I talk." You nestle together. She truly is cold. Is their whole race that way? "In Morrowind, husband die, widow mourn forty days. Then drink wine of oblivion. Sleep by husband always and ever. Black-briar take me, steal away widow, bring us here. Cannot go back. In village, already dead."

    "You have been to Helgen."

    "Very sad in Riften. Run away. Over Rift, across mountains. Stay with Nord farmers long time. Sew. Cook. Sow. Winter come, farmers throw me out. Come back here. Black-briar angry." She guides your hand over the jagged scars running up her spine. Lashing.

    "Does Maven command soldiers?"

    "No. Very rich. Take cut from all trade. You pay her before leave or cut up and bait for fish." Charming. Father would adore her.

    There is a long silence. Flesh to flesh, her heart beats against you. The other rush smolders away. Only the feel of the strange woman and the dozen mingling smells remain and there is no sound save mingled breathing. So many Nord women die, in childbirth or otherwise, that the jarl's law forbids harlotry. It even punishes widows for not remarrying. Mara's influence may play a part as well. But, of course, the dunmer are not women in the proper sense. With a real man--not of their own race--they can hardly conceive. Suppose Black-briar tosses them out into the snow when they grow too old. The woman in the bed edges away but you are finished with questions and lay your hands upon her.

    ***​

    On the second day, a few people return to buy jewelry, having made up their minds overnight. You sit in the same spot, with your back to the canal and guards to the side. The sun blazes down and many carry their coats. Must dine with the Black-briars tonight. How to propose we retake the Rift for the Empire without being beheaded? She needs to believe we will succeed. You gulp down another mouthful of mead. Horrid. A bright eyed little girl examines the rings spread on a cloth.

    "Don't touch." Says one of the guards.

    "Oh, let her have a look." You murmur.

    Something blurs. Suddenly a reptilian face, wide with sharp teeth, flashes a breadth from your nose and the fangs sink into your shoulder. Even as you cry out, the charging Argonian smashes both of you backwards, snapping the wooden railing. A moment of mingled agony and spinning nothingness and then you burst through the surface of the canal. The waters envelop with their warm sliminess. You hit the bottom, stirring up a silty mud cloud, as Blossoms-in-Stone continues to bite deeper.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The canal water is warm because it has had all summer to warm up and it was a very long summer. There's a name for the principle.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
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  16. Usury Arcane

    Usury
    Joined:
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    Let's see what happens as the Lizard-man attempts to dismember our character. The Occulatus Agents have leaped in but, for all their skill, they're not aquatic lifeforms.

    1-2: Bad juju. You will be raped and brutalized.

    3-8: Serious injury. This will hurt a lot. You will probably die of infection, whimpering for your mother.

    9-18: Minor injuries. Your clothes protect from the worst of the bite and the Occulati break off the lizard.

    19-20: You escape without substantial harm, thereby impressing the entire town.

    EDIT: Lucky. I was hoping for a 1-2. :dealwithit:
     
    Usury rolled 20-sided di(c)e: Total: 19
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
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  17. Lithium Flower Magister

    Lithium Flower
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2016
    Messages:
    1,132
    Welp, I tried.

    All I wanted was for there to be

    POLES IN HOLES
    O c=======3
    L c=======3
    E c=======3
    S c=======3

    I c=======3
    N c=======3

    H c=======3
    O c=======3
    L c=======3
    E c=======3
    SELOH NI SELOP
     
    • hopw roewur ne hopw roewur ne x 3
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  18. Lithium Flower Magister

    Lithium Flower
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2016
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    Ancient argonian proverb: to steal, to drink, to get locked up; to steal, to drink, to get locked up; now that's romantic!
     
    Lithium Flower rolled 6-sided di(c)e: faith, hope, and love Total: 9
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  19. Usury Arcane

    Usury
    Joined:
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    Meanwhile...​

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [​IMG]

    "You want this stale bite of jerky? Yes, you do." The bald nord sets down the meat on a pebble. "Come and eat, little one."

    A few feet away, a mottled skeever sniffs. Its whiskers twitch and it takes a step forward, snapping a brittle fallen leaf under its paw. The creature hesitates and snuffles again. It is formed like a rat swollen to the stature of a cat but with longer jaw and legs. The nord's fingers tense around his axe shaft. A sneer creeps around the edges of his lips but he suppresses it. He wears furs and a blue linen tunic to symbolize his fealty to Ulfric. Painted claws adorn his shaven face. Suddenly, the skeever scurries for the jerky. The Stormcloak swings his axe in swift arc but the beast scutters about just as quickly. The blade shears of the end of its tail and embeds in the earth. With a shriek, the animal flees into the trees.

    "Edvar, when will you kill that vermin?" Another man, bearded and ruddy, sits on a broad tree branch.

    "Mehrunes take you!" Edvar shouts. "I bloodied it. Lopped off its filthy little tail. Miserable thing won't come sniffing round here again."

    "Eh," The man on the branch spits. "My ma always said their tails grow back like lizards."

    Edvar does not answer but brushes dust off the jerky and begins to chew. It has grown tough like leather. He had intended to roast the skeever, however unclean it might be. To bite off a chunk of crackling, warm meat, still tender with life instead of old bread for supper--he growled. Over a little pond, he shaves off the day's stubble, without any lather. Birds flutter between the golden leaves but they are hardly worth catching, not unless one can snare a dozen or so in a net.

    Edvar looks for the chief. They are a band of three, tasked with lighting the beacon should any foe approach from the south road to Morrowind. There are other sworn bands scouting the forest. Some of them are women, not so worthy shield to shield but skilled enough to fire an arrow into a spy's back; daughters and wives to the woodsmen, loyal to Skyrim. Edvar hopes to encounter one such group.

    "Get 'em all with child." He mutters. "The three of 'em. Will be glad enough to see me. Sweet whispers. Will take 'em all at once and then send 'em back to their husbands to raise my sons. Ha!"

    The nord fought with the jarl's guard before the war, ranging across the Rift. He learned the glens, brooks and caves. The other jarlsmen taunted him at first but snarling and brawling earned him an honorable name: Edvar the Angered. When Skyrim rose up for Talos, he took the blue, and ranged again.

    He continues to gnaw at the jerky. Far too tough. A squirrel leaps between two trees. The nord clutches the axe. Not a throwing weapon. He wishes again that he had brought a bow but he is not so skilled with that weapon.

    "You going to sit in that bleeding crook all day?" He shouts to his companion on the branch. "How about shooting some game, milk drinker?" The ruddy man smirks.

    Their chief runs into the clearing with a naked sword in his hand. "The beacon, you fools! Light the beacon!"

    Edvar sprints up the hill where stands a pile a dry timber and kindling. The loose scree rustles underfoot but he clambers up on hands and knees. Two dunmer on horses gallop after the chief. They must be scouts for the invading army from Akavir. One shakes a narrow spear. The other draws a shortbow. The third Stormcloak drops from his tree and charges the newcomers.

    "Skyrim for the Nords!"

    "Nerevar izmalil!"

    Steel rattles off steel but Edvar is not looking. He pulls out the stopper on the oil jar and spills the dark liquid over the pyre. Then, he draws out a sparking rod and strikes. Again he strikes but no spark takes. The third time a sizzle falls upon the oil and scalding flames race over the beacon.

    A splitting pain tears through the nord. Every pound of flesh and bone cries out and he collapses onto the loose stone. There is no sound. His hand sprawls a foot from his face but he cannot make it move. He gurgles but has no voice. Slowly, the pain resolves into a greater sharp point piercing his spine. He thinks it must be an arrow but cannot so much as raise a finger to check. He lies upon the ground in such a way as to not see down the hill. The beacon blazes hotter. Slowly, its crackling can be distinguished but there is no sound of battle below. The fire begins to roast his backside. Pain grows to agony and he cannot so much as thrash. The arrow stuck in his spine ignites and the burning scorches down the shaft to his skin. The suffering is too great and he falls to darkness.

    ***​

    The pain is great but no longer unbearable. The air has grown chill. Still, arms, neck and legs do not answer Edvar's pleading thoughts. The outlines of trees and mountains become visible in the moonlight. Something else can be seen glinting: a dim pair. They move. They are the eyes of small creature. It draws near. A skeever with a maimed tail. Sniffing. The beast brushes up against Edvar's rigid skin. He tries to cry out but his tongue sticks and he has no god to take mercy upon him.

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    Will get to the choices soon. Hopefully. Be patient, men.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2017
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  20. AngryEddy Self-Ejected

    Self-Ejected
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    I always wanted to be a retarded mage who gets shot up by arrows and set on fire.

    heh lets go cuck some people /evil retard who immediately gets paralyzed from the neck down in the following paragraph
     
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  21. Usury Arcane

    Usury
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    Still in Riften with Maester Agrippa and our bodyguards, code named Floki and Roggar.​

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Green below. Blue above. All fading. The Argonian's teeth tear at your shoulder as the creature pushes you deeper. Then, they slice across the skin like little knives, ripping out a chunk of your coat. You gasp and bubbles stream up. You spin in the murk and the lizard-man's head can be seen in the distorted sunlight. You jab your thumbs into its slitted eyes. It reaches for your hands but you kick off its stomach and burst above the surface of the canal, gulping in air. The Occulatus agents tumble with the lizard, as you heave yourself onto the boardwalk over the water. The townsfolk cry out from the road overlooking the canal. Blossoms-in-Stone lunges after, but you punch his snout and he recoils back with a splash. The lizard clambers up a ladder right into the hands of the town watch. They haul away his cursing and sputtering form.

    You help draw the bodyguards from the canal. The people smile. They're impressed. Floki examines your injured shoulder.

    "We need to dress this."

    "Gather up the wares first." You whisper. A merchant's first concern. Must play the part.

    Shortly, you stumble into the apothecary's shop. A stooped man with long grey mustaches raises his voice and begins to shout in the Riftish tongue. Floki pushes past and begins rattling through the little labeled vials. The man screams like a horse. Roggar tries to calm him. All three of you are dripping all over the mildewed stone floor. An elderly woman and a dark haired maiden stand aside. That maiden's not alarmed. Why? Floki drips a honeyed ointment on the wound and then presses on four long brow leaves. The stooped man stops shouting. Roggar has found a dialect he understands.

    "Ask him how much." You say. Occulati forget operating under the emperor's authority will get us beheaded here.

    The man bickers with the old woman and they settle on a price. The severe faced maiden nudges closer. She speaks in slow Imperial but the tone is soothing.

    "What did this?"

    "Leave me alone." You reply in Helgenish.

    "A gash like a saw makes on wood but an outline like a wide jaw." Roggar shoves her back. "I mean no harm."

    The old nord woman disappears with the payment. The stooped man mumbles and begins to sort his disheveled ingredients. You clap his shoulder and press a golden septim into his palm. "Thank you for your aid, father."

    ***​

    A servant in crimson welcomes you to Black-briar Manor, with Floki and Maester Agrippa at your side. A brazier burns in the first room but the pine walls soak up most the light. A burly man with a dark beard and a wolf pelt coat enters. The serving girl inches away. The man from the market. He sneers.

    "Ye've come to dust ye face. Anon shrewd."

    You and Agrippa are seated at the table besides Hemming Black-briar and the maiden from the apothecary, who turn's out to be Ingun, Maven's youngest. Your bodyguard joins the servants in another room. The matriarch joins you. You feast on roast lamb and mead. Maven inquires as to your travels. You invent a story about traveling from Helgen and quickly ask about her meadery before she can press the subject further. You eat in the nord fashion, without forks. When the servants clear away the last platter, Maven wipes her fingers with a napkin.

    "Now, I trust you're not going to waste my time." Her Imperial is perfect.

    "It's a sensitive matter, which we had best keep discrete."

    She motions to her children and they leave the room. The muscled bearded man enters, shuts the door behind him and rests his heavy hand on the hilt of his dagger. If necessary, I should be able to escape through the window behind me. Pity about the maester but let's hope this doesn't end that way. You gulp down another mouthful of mead and lean in your chair, so two of the legs scrape off the floor.

    "I serve the emperor of Cyrodiil and all Tamriel. I have come with the intention of returning this city and all the Rift to lawful Imperial rule." Not even a flicker on Maven's face. That is impressive.

    "You're a fool." She says. "And I've no use for folly."

    "The emperor has no use for faithfulness. This city will fall, either to the Legion or to the Westerosi. You have friends in Cyrodiil and friends in Windhelm but none, I fear, in King's landing."

    "Do not taunt me." A little anger, at last. "The beacon has been lit. The Westerosi will be here on the third day, on foot. Sooner, if by horse. So, tell me, servant of the emperor, do you think to raise the Imperial dragon over the ramparts before then? Are you so strong?"

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well, you heard her. What've you got to say?

    (A) Yes
    (B) No

    Both options have yuuuuge issues, but you won't hear about them from me.
     
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  22. Lithium Flower Magister

    Lithium Flower
    Joined:
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    Very difficult situation indeed

    The question is which option actually gives us a reasonable path towards achieving our goal? Obviously in both cases we have quite a task ahead of us.

    Taking control of the city before the Westerosi ASSUME DIRECT CONTROL would, I imagine, involve focusing on direct, immediate defense. Perhaps getting Maven to pull some strings, draw out the siege, get extra forces sent from Windhelm? This seems too simple and stupid, not even considering the great time it will take for the troops to get here. Maven probably doesn't have the connections to directly influence the movements of armies anyway, but perhaps emphasizing Riften as being very important to the mutual enrichment of herself and the Stormcloak leadership to her contacts in Windhelm could work.

    On the other hand, waiting for the enemy to take the city would lead to a situation akin to guerilla warfare. Perhaps by laying low and pulling strings from the shadows with Maven's help we can make the city so uncooperative if not hostile that the Westerosi either 1. pack up and leave (won't happen, but...) 2. are weakened/sabotaged to the point where the Imperials can retake the city AND smash the Westerosi host AND don't have to deal with the stormfronters. Remember that the Westerosi are an incredibly long way away from home. Riften will not only be a foothold of the Westerosi army, it will be its life support. By influencing said life support, we might be able to squeeze this particular Westerosi force by the balls. The obvious flaw in this is that this extends the duration of our stay and therefore the chances of us getting discovered and killed.

    It is also important to consider which plan Maven is more likely to agree with, as we kind of memed our way into relying on her. So we should consider the type of person that she is, including the information the thrashed dunmer prost gave us.

    Tinfoil hat on: Varys sent us here with the knowledge that a quick attack on Riften was likely to entrap us.

    What do you guys think? Currently leaning towards No but unsure what Maven gets out of it and therefore how we can convince her. Resisting an occupying force as a relatively public figure with a lot of influence is a great way to get executed somewhere very public. Perhaps she can appear cooperative to the Westerosi while using us as a proxy to do the opposite, and this kind of playing both sides/double-dealing could be very profitable to her.

    I mean, her city - her primary sphere of influence, a place she is pretty much the de facto ruler of - is getting occupied by the Westerosi either way. Without legal recognition or Riften she is just a nuisance and a loose end for people like Motierre to dispose of. But she also seems to smart too believe that the city can be magically saved from the invading force that is due to arrive in such a short time.
     
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  23. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
    Joined:
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    Do we have a notion of what the populace would prefer? Would they chafe under the Westerosi yoke? More so than an that of the Empire's?
     
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  24. Usury Arcane

    Usury
    Joined:
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    Riften is not doomed. Yet. The city shelters behind a hefty wall and can draw supplies or reinforcements from the rather large lake in case of siege. More pertinently, Gonnar Oath-Giver commands a Stormcloak formation of 4,000 fighters, camped outside the walls. We don't know the details of Gonnar's relationship with Maven Black-briar but let's not make assumptions. The city guard number about a hundred but Nord civilians have historically helped in the defenses when needed. It may be possible to scrape up other forces from the nearby region. hello friend and his orcs might be persuaded to help...

    I've think I've already given the Westerosi numbers earlier in this thread. Hold on. Yesssss.
    Also, he's hired an unknown number of dunmer mercenaries.

    Grimgravy The populace probably wouldn't much like being conquered. From what I recall, standard Westerosi practice is to steal everything lighter than an ox and rape any cavities. Not very pleasant people.

    You can help organize a Stormcloak defense. Probably the best chance of defeating the invaders. Unfortunately, if you succeed, the confidence of the populace may be boosted such that you can't find any support for a coup. On the other hand, if you do overthrow the 'cloaks and then lose to the Westerosi, that will reflect rather poorly back home. Finally, you can take Lithium Flower's approach and try to undermine the invaders after they've conquered the city but... woof... well... It's a bold plan, no doubt. If you do choose that approach, don't tell Maven. She stands to lose everything.

    How to answer her question... :M

    The Map (open)

    Repeat from the first post. Nifty little tool. Use the middle bar at the top to 'show cell grid'. Each grid segment equals 4.5 miles or 7.25 kilometers. The cities are, of course, scaled too large but we can live with that. Stormcloak scouts lit the beacon when they encountered enemy outriders here. Armies on foot can march about 20 miles a day. Horses can make 30 miles.


    Oh, and Windhelm already fell to Kang Robert.
     
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  25. Lithium Flower Magister

    Lithium Flower
    Joined:
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    This is a great post, Mercantile. Maybe have something like this during every major choice? To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand the Fall of Tamriel but consolidating this kind of information is helpful.

    Not really endorsing that approach, I was just spit-balling different directions we can take this. Maven is obviously in a very precarious position and I don't know what reasons she would have to support guerilla action besides maaaaaybe short-term gain (which is really nothing compared to the risk of losing everything she has)

    Knowing the numbers makes Yes look more reasonable, though, so now I suppose I am leaning towards that.

    Hmm. So perhaps we back the Stormcloak defense, but somehow engineer the outcome where the defenders are weakened to the point of the city being relatively easy to re-take by the Imperials? (of course this is MUCH easier said than done) Bearing in mind that without windhelm, the stormcloak forces are rather...finite. Except that is not entirely true. We should consider the possibility of Stormcloak survivors tricking down from Windhelm and obviously partizan action.

    Actually, MercantileInterest - is our answer going to dictate our actual plan of action, or is this is just what we say to Maven? Important to clarify so that we can avoid another Amaund Motierre situation.
     
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