Linus walked the stretching coast by the docks of Anvil, watching out to sea, only half-alert to his partner, Stanis, who walked just beside him. Ever since the killings had started, guards had been vigilant about sticking to pairs on the routes that they had normally taken alone.
It was a strange evening, Stanis thought - he looked at Linus who dragged himself along almost absent mindedly - still watching the water. “Eyes forward, Linus,” he said - his voice gruff as ever. Linus didn’t answer.
“Linus, we’re on duty,” he said with a sigh. It had been a long shift today, two bodies found. But they were almost ready to head back for the swap. Stanis reached out to touch Linus’ shoulder, but found that his reach was not long enough, and that Linus was veering towards the water slowly. “Linus,” he repeated again. This time, Linus stopped still in his tracks. Stanis held up his torch, and noticed his partner's eyes had all but glazed over, and that he looked directly out to the water now.
“What do you see?” he asked, stopping too - to look out at the water. It was too hard to see anything, just a mist on the water that was rolling in. The hair on the back of Stanis’ neck raised and he stepped forward further. Sure enough, there was a momentary break in the clouds and the moon peeked through, a split second of light flashed the outline of a ship on the horizon.
“What the?-” Stanis said, before it disappeared again.
Linus began to walk towards the water, his hands languid at his sides.
Then Stanis too, became aware of a melody, a pleasant humming out on the water - as soon as he noticed it, it seemed to grow louder, and harmonies began to overlap. He started to follow it, trailing behind Linus who was waist deep now.
The two torches disappeared into the mist.
From the dock itself, Amalia had her back turned to the scene. If she had been sooner to notice the torches go out, she might have had more time to prepare. Instead, she and her partner were playing cards, and sat behind a couple of barrels.
“Linus and Stanis should be about here by now,” she said as she began picking up her cards from in front of her. “Then how about we pick this back up at the Donkey?”
Her partner nodded in response, picking up his cards too. “We can meet them by the stairs, come on.” As he stood up, his knees cracked. “Need oiling these things do,” he groaned. “Too old for this shit now,” he added and began walking forward - suddenly stopping. “You hear that?” he asked Amalia, he turned his head out towards the water - hearing a whisper of a melody on the waves, a hauntingly beautiful sound that he turned towards entirely. “A bard…” he sighed.
“What are you talking about?” Amalia scoffed, watching him, and then looking out towards the stairs to see no sign of Stanis and Linus. As she turned back to her partner, he was already walking in the opposite direction to her down the wooden boardwalk toward the water.
“Could be a woman in trouble,” he said.
“I don’t hear anything, come on - lets just go,” she said, the distance between them growing until her partner took a step too far and dropped below and into the sea. “Gods!” Amalia exclaimed - she felt frozen. Something wasn’t right. She had just heard the splash of the guard as he dropped in, he didn’t come back up. All of her instinct told her to run in the opposite direction. Find someone else.
“Move,” she said, willing her feet to move - but something held her in place and her heart raced in her chest. “Move,” she said again, finally finding that she could - now her entire body felt flushed and hot with the fear, and she began running back towards the city. Get to Uriel, she thought. He’ll know what to do.
She might have made it, if only she had kept her eyes forward. If only she hadn’t looked back. It was then that she saw it, the imposing and unmistakable shape of a ship moving into the dock. It had no lights, no torches lit, and black sails. Amalia stopped.
They leapt out from both sides of the dock. Pirates, she thought, as she drew her own sword - ready to fight them. “Get back,” she shouted out, “you never should have come here,” she said.
The mist from the water had made it’s way to land now, and had engulfed her to the waist. Only one of the pirates moved - floated towards her, his soaked cloak clinging to a thin frame, as he drew nearer, she could make out a gaunt face and pointed ears. He smiled wide. She saw his teeth.
It was the usual game on a Sunday afternoon when Mother was home. She’d be in her office, reading, filing, sending messages to all the other important people like her that lived up in the stars. Solveig grinned from behind the bookcase, her hand holding her wrist as she held her breath to save herself from chuckling. She could see her father down the hall - halfway through his afternoon tea and open sandwiches.
When Mother was at her most focussed, the child struck - jumping out with the high-pitched roar of a tiny monster. “Raaaaaoooouuur!” she sounded out, raising both arms - Mother at first, jumping, and then wincing at the sight.
“If you keep sneaking up on me like that Solvieg, you’re going to give me a-”
“Heart attack,” said the doctor, the corners of her mouth tugged to one side. “It was a heart attack, Ms Wistrom.”
Solveig sighed, and just glanced down at the table. At the face looking back. With eyes closed, she looked more peaceful than she ever had. Solveig, ever the pale spectre at her side reflected on the steel table.
“With it being sudden, she hadn’t really left anything in particular - but we did find this,” she handed Solveig a wooden box, which was passed to the cybernetic arm - the fingers gripped around it robotically, as Solveig continued to stare down at the body.
“She was a good soldier, your mother. I’m… So sorry for your loss,” the doctor said, sighing before pulling the sheet over the face once again.
Solveig didn’t say a word, instead turning for the door.
The doctor seemed surprised, opening her mouth, her eyebrows furrowing and sending her face into a frown. “Are you sure you’re okay? Not in shock? Perhaps you should sit outside for a while, we have people you can talk to.”
“No need,” Solveig finally answered before heading off, box in hand.
The last two days had been spent almost entirely in transit. Carrying that box from station to station to get back to Earth, the news delivered to her to return to the Alliance immediately, to be taken off planet to the clinic with her mother’s body. All she could think about was Katya. She was missing, unreachable.
And here was Solveig, stood in some stupid cigar lounge listening to someone else with their quiet commands. She understood. She knew the deal. One job, then the next, then the next. Don’t question, just sit and shoot - and shoot to kill. Solveig took no drinks, no cigars. Hell, she hadn’t even washed in the two days - her hair sat oily upon her head in a mess of braids. Yesterday’s make-up smudged around her eyes like shaken outlines on her ghostly face.
As her new party began taking turns to speak - she thought of the box up in her room, how she’d just left it on the desk - how even the room was clinical, unlived in. Katya’s room. Maybe something was there?
Why wasn’t she given that room? She wondered. Her datapad blipped as the only other human spoke up.
”“I say we split into two teams. Half of us go to investigate the signal while the other half go to secure the shuttle. You can handle the politicking at the good mayors’ party. Safety in numbers plus we can accomplish more at the same time.”
Solveig glanced at her datapad, at the message that had been received. Alliance, N7 - a send all, an obituary dedicated to Agnes Wistrom, Decorated Soldier, War Hero. She put the datapad back in her pocket. The cigar smoke was stifling all of a sudden and she raised a finger to her neckline, fidgeting at it before finally speaking up.
“I’ll get the shuttle,” she snapped out, before setting to walk away from the group and head to her room to fetch her equipment, to wash the film of clammy sweat from her face, a pill too. A pain burned behind her eyes, and the old familiar tingles in the arm began to itch - her shoulder writhed and the prosthetic thrummed just so, like it was called to task.
Name - Captain Fazahra al-Hamina Gender - Female. Race - Redguard. Age - Late twenties to mid-thirties. Height - Taller than average, around 5'9". Profession - Sailor. Family Origins - Hammerfell, Abah's Landing Birth Sign - The Thief.
Blade Redguards are said to be the most naturally talented warriors in Tamriel, Fazahra is no exception to this. Shipboard life can be violent, put a blade in her hands and she will produce dead men for you.
A D E P T
Acrobatics A lifetime of climbing rigging and running over heaving decks has left Fazahra more nible than most, with an excellent sense of balance.
Mercantile Commerce and trade is the lifeblood of most ships. Goods must be acquired and sold, ships provisioned, crews hired and paid.
N O V I C E
Athletics Hauling rope and canvas makes one develop certain muscles.
Smithing Minor repair work on vessels is often undertaken by the crew, Fazahra has a working knowledge of cold metal working and carpentry.
Unarmoured The greatest danger at sea is the sea itself, what sort of fool wears armour on a boat?
Weapons A curved steel sword and dagger, of traditional Yokundan design.
Armour Nothing put some light cloth and leather boots.
Miscellaneous Items A water skin. Unenchanted gold jewellery and medallions, carriable wealth. Several bottles of good Stros M'Kai Rum. Carpentry and miscellaneous tools. A suspiciously large bag of gold, well hidden. Rope, so much rope. One ship, in a ruinous state of repair. A broken compass, kept close to the heart.
Captain Fazahra al-Hamina is an imposing Redguard woman of larger than average height and build. Wide hipped and thick waisted, her figure looks stocky and strong. She has spent over half her life hauling rope and canvas or pulling at an oar, activities which have placed a significant amount of muscle on top of her already oversized frame.
The dark skin of her muscled arms are lined with the pale scars of old injuries, some from the lash of an overtightened line snapping free, others from slash of a steel blade. Her hands are similarly marked, they bear callus upon callus, forged through hard and heavy work, leaving them as tough and unyielding as the timbers of a ship.
The features of her face bear a similarity to that of her build. A broad nose, a wide forehead, dark eyes spaced perhaps a little too far apart to be considered a model for classical standards of feminine beauty. The lower half of her face is dominated by a set of full lips, most often parted in a open smile showing white pearlescent teeth.
She wears her hair long, pushed back away from her face, but left to hang freely about her shoulders. The tightly coiled black hair is teased into numerous braids, adorned with beads and golden rings. Her ears are clearly visible when her hair is worn in this fashion, showing off a glimmering array of golden earrings, some simple hoops, others dangling large pedants of semi-precious stones or seashells.
The captain dresses simply, loose linen shirts tucked into tight fitting dark breeches. She wears thigh high black leather boots of undeniable quality. From a shoulder slung sword belt a curved Redguard scimitar of plain and mean looking steel hangs along with a matching dagger. The adorned hilts contrasting with the gilded medallions and talismans they jingle alongside with. This are utilitarian weapons, tools for killing.
In colder and wetter weather she has a long oil skin coat that she wraps about her person, along with a wide brimmed hat to keep the sun from her eyes and the rain from the face.
Fazahra is undoubted a woman who has endured much and led a tough life. One might expect evidence of this toughness, this hard and unyielding nature, to give her character a similar quality, that she would be some stern figurehead from some veteran warship, harshly carved from the boughs of a blackened oak.
But the demeanour of Captain Fazahra could not be further from this image.
Her face most often bears a smile so wide and open, it disarms those around her of the dangerous nature that hardened body forebodes. It is a friendly face. One that welcomes bosom buddies and heart companions to entrust their hopes and desire to her. Her husky voice has a singsong quality to it, and when she laughs they are full and hearty.
Fazahra has a temper to her though, one that can whip up as quickly as a summer squall, though it is as apt to disappear just as fast as it emerged. She is not particularly violent by nature, even when wroth she is unlikely to reach for her sword unless threatened. And there is not much she feels threatened by.
Overall the captain gives of an air of confidence and easy bravado. She seems self-assured of her abilities, and at ease in any company. This combination of self belief and friendliness makes her a very outgoing and extraverted individual. When at port and in taverns she draws in the people around her, making friends easily, attracting lovers easily.
But like the seas she calls her home, many may swim in those warm and shallow waters without ever knowing the abyss that lies beneath them. A chasm of dark fathomless depths, in which one could easily drown. There is an ocean of hurt and pain inside of this woman, no matter how much sun shines on the surface.
She rarely shows it when around others. Perhaps only when particularly deep in her cups might those mournful truths take hold and the perpetual smile she wears falters and fades. Her hand might creep to the pouch on the sword belt, the one that lies closest to her heart, close around the broken compass that resides there. Glass shattered, no direction left to give.
Her greatest regret is the man that owned that compass once. The one who loved Fazahra more than anything, who would have done anything for her. The one she killed.
Her goal? Happiness, Freedom, Escape. Escape from the past, the past of who she was, what she did, and what she had others do for her. Maybe out there, on the open sea, the wind at her back once more, she will be able to leave behind all of the pain and all of the guilt that has brought with her to Anvil.
Captain Fazahra is a talkative individual, she will freely converse on many different themes and topics. She tells many tall tales of the strange far off lands that she has seen, of the raucous nights spent in ports all over Tamriel, of ghost stories featuring phantom ships and dread sea monsters. If required she will even talk of more mundane things, of her craft as a sailor, of the fluctuating price of trade goods, even of the weather.
But there is one thing she very, very rarely talks about directly. Who exactly she is, where she comes from, and what exactly she was doing before she came to Anvil.
Despite her silence on these matters, a discerning mind and well trained eye would be able to puzzle a good deal of her history out of her just by looking and listening, filling in the gaps with the odd well reasoned guess.
Firstly, Fazahra is a Redguard that much is clear by her dark skin. Her accent places her as a native of Hammerfell, and to a trained ear, south east Hammerfell with a enough Tamrielic creole mixed in to presume that she grew up in one of the large port cities that dot the coast along those bleak shores. Rihad or Taneth, Abah's Landing perhaps.
Secondly, Fazahra up poor, that's in her accent too, as well as the evidence of a lifetime of hard work on those callused hands of hers. The flashy displays of gold that she wears at her ears and belt speak to this as well, it is most often those who come into some deal of wealth later in life that have the greatest desire to flaunt it.
Third, though she claims to be a sailor and merchant, Fazahra is no stranger to violence. The scars on her arms, her self assurance around dangerous company, and the casual way she carries the blade at her hip makes this all to evidently clear.
Then there's what can be learned about Fazahra since she arrived in Anvil a month past as a passenger on merchant vessel. The first thing she did was sour the docks for a ship to purchase herself. She found one that satisfied her, although in need or some serious work, and set about repairing and provisioning the vessel herself. All of this was paid for upfront, in cold hard cash. Golden septims, not letters of credit or bankers drafts.
So, we have a woman who grew up poor, spent her life at sea and around violence, who suddenly finds herself with a significant deal of hard currency, and is purposefully obscure about what exactly she was doing before she arrived in her current port of call.
There is one explanation for these traits that fits much better than any other:
Fazahra is a pirate.
Or rather, Fazahra was a pirate. Anvil is not generally known as a safe harbour for the the buccaneers of the Abecean Sea, its a well maintained Imperial Port, not a haven of criminals like Port Hunding or Abah's Landing. A Pirate Captain, flush with gold in need of a new ship could certainly find somewhere much better to buy a raiding vessel and raise a crew of marauders.
Perhaps that explains the slight edge that the good Captain seems to have developed of late, the one that keeps her checking the shadows, and has her always sat in the taverns where she can keep one eye on the door. A pirate who broke faith with their compatriots, especially one who may have swindled more than their fair share of booty, would certainly have reason to keep looking over their shoulder.
But then again, it seems that everyone in Anvil is watching the shadows these days...
Wonderful character as always Kass!
As I'm reading this history I am sensing so much opportunity! Love your writing friend, please add her to the char tab!
Hey there! I see you mentioned a loose deadline by the end of Feb, and I also see this is still tagged apply - mind if I jump in? I have an idea for a Bosmer and I'd love to write w/ you guys! c:
<Snipped quote> nvm, I missed this part. Here's an early wip of an absolutely normal fisherman who definitely knows how to sail a boat and operate a fishing pole and isn't lying to you. Yep. Nothing fishy about this guy except for the sea bass he's selling you that he assuredly caught himself.
Name:Epiduin - Haesil Race: Bosmer Age: 33 Birthsign:"Don't know!" - The Lover Origins:"Silvenar, friend! Big family. Twelfth of fourteen siblings, I am." - Haesil was born in The Paramour's Trill, a brothel in Arenthia, Valenwood. He doesn't know which of the workers was his mother.
Appearance:Epiduin has the archetypal svelte frame you'd expect, almost too reedy for this line of work - knees and elbows sharper than blades, than his ears. Fragile-looking wrists. It's a wonder he can reel in his line. Dark brown, choppy hair. Creepy, all-black eyes. High-pitched, grating voice. Excessive antlers. You've met the sort before.
Haesil changes his appearance to suit his needs. His hair is naturally honey-blond, but he frequently bleaches and colors it, and isn't opposed to shaving it off to wear a wig for a few weeks. His complexion is deep and his face is splashed with freckles, which he knows how to cover with makeup. His face is thin with upturned features, and he can tolerate the pain of the temporary surgeries he has from time to time to alter them. His teeth are white and straight with sharp bicuspids - he's painted them for roles before. His speaking voice is light and silvery with clear diction, but he's a very convincing mimic. He has a very mild, amiable smile he pairs with casual mannerisms when speaking as himself. His gaze feels hollow, even when he's smiling.
One trait that carries over into every character he plays is how tactile he is - Haesil speaks with his hands, and will touch everything and everyone he interacts with unless he's asked to stop.
Personality:Don't ask Epiduin anything. You're just gonna get some long, cyclical story with all the insignificant details left in that ends up not answering what you asked, which he'll have forgotten by the end of it. Don't ask Epiduin to do anything. It's all in one ear and out the other with the little fetcher.
Oh, he's pleasant enough - happy as a clam to sit and drink with us. Just...don't engage, yeah? These neurotic Wood Elves, I swear...
Affable, vapid, mercurial - When talking shop with Haesil, one might walk away with the impression that he's not a very serious person, considering what they're hiring him to do. He flirts, gently, and if they're receptive to it he flirts outrageously. He lies, little ones, harmless, and if they believe him he lies outrageously. He pushes things too far. He'll reject jobs he deigns boring, even if they pay very well. He seems wholly disinterested in professionalism, though he's clearly practiced in his vocation.
Haesil does think 'Haesil', the face he puts on when he's speaking with patrons, is meant to be charming, and it's true that he enjoys the thrill of a risky job - it's a rare pleasure in life, that constant dread that only prickles one's skin when they're close to being caught, that thrill, that high - any emotion is better than his baseline.
And sometimes it's just funny to toy with people. But he does take his job seriously;
Shrewd, diplomatic, confident - Being a convincing actor is a good trait for an agent to have, but it's not enough to make them a good agent. That requires a level of awareness over oneself and one's surroundings that few possess. Haesil's made sure he's a good agent, worth every septim; he spends a good deal of time researching different aspects of the role he's stepping into before he approaches his targets. He writes his notes in cipher. He thinks laterally - he works on puzzles and trivia in his spare time to keep his mind sharp. Moreover he enjoys puzzling out mysteries and keeping up with gossip; it's good fun.
He's learned in the various forms of vernacular and etiquette among dozens of groups across Tamriel and knows when to follow or break them to steer a conversation in a profitable direction. He knows how to redirect attention.
And he's very aware of the fact that he's a valuable friend to have; Haesil believes, genuinely and wholeheartedly, that he is the best agent the world has ever seen. This deluded overconfidence makes it easy to insert himself into any situation without a sense of shame or self-preservation.
He's very forgiving of flaws in other people, and has precious few stipulations - he dislikes child abuse, slave trafficking, and violations of consent, but is happy to exchange pleasantries and business with all other sorts of social refuse, and has a high threshold for disrespect and annoyances. When he believes he's in true peril from these sorts (and when that ceases to excite him) he'll slip away at the first notice.
Haesil is an agent, not an assassin, and he will not kill another person. It's not out of the goodness of his heart - he will conspire to murder, he will act as an accessory to murder, he will shamelessly lay down his own money to have someone murdered given enough cause. He refuses to deal the killing blow. He follows the Green Pact very devoutly, and interprets it very literally; he does not have enough time nor family to do what he'd need to do with a body, so he's sworn off killing anything larger than a wolf. He's practical like that.
Dishonest, callous, myopic - Haesil is not a pathological liar. He lies very intentionally. (cont.)
Haesil isn't lacking in empathy. He's a competent detective, able to think from another person's point of view and understand why their emotions might cause them to act impractically - or rather, unpredictably and erratically. Most of his experiences have been filtered through the biases of another person - a false individual, but not Haesil. He's only ever wept for the sake of these roles.
What he's lacking in is identity, and he readily compartmentalizes his crueler actions. Setting aside one's empathy is a very simple thing when there's no 'one' to blame. Haesil has ruined many people's lives with what he learns and he doesn't feel badly about any of it.
Haesil was born in a brothel to an unknown father and a reluctant mother, and there he was raised communally by the courtesans among a dozen other children until he was around five years old. With resources stretched thin, he was chased from his home and loosed upon the unsuspecting inhabitants of Arenthia. He already had an edge on the other urchins, a lesson taught by the mad scramble for attention that dominated the lives of whoresons raised in high numbers and close quarters - resources, be it food, affection, or anything else, are not obtained through patience. Resources are obtained through wheedling. Constantly. Boldly.
He was good at mirroring adults' expressions, offering a sympathetic ear. He was good at modeling himself to their expectations. He was good at making up a new sob-story every morning, and acting heartrendingly resigned to his circumstances. It got him money, which he could exchange for honey-braised salmon cutlets. It got him a job with a Camoran socialite who ran a high-end restaurant near the border with Anequina. She wasn't concerned about how poorly he bussed tables; he was being paid to eavesdrop, merely a cut of the profit she was making selling secrets under the nose of the Third Dominion and its heavy-handed surveillance.
And he was good at it.
Fourteen years and several private tutors later, and the while the doe-eyed softness of childhood had melted into a narrow, foxlike face that was handsome enough but not quite as trustworthy, his talent with manipulation matured into something truly formidable. He had everyone Adathel Camoran set him on eating out of his hand, whether they be drug smugglers or Justicars. It swiftly went to his head. With that sort of skill, why should he settle for a minute fraction of the profit when he could be quite wealthy as an independent contractor? He made up his mind to abandon her in the autumn of (I have to do math for this), and so it was.
Listed here are a number of catastrophes his meddling is indirectly or directly responsible for. It is not a comprehensive list.
An Aldmeri merchant schooner carrying expedited medical supplies during one of the worst bouts of flu since the Third era discovered its entire cargo had been replaced with juvenile Jonethroats, a species of designer parrot.
(several more elder scrollsy scenarios)
(the debacle with his fiance)
(he travels and takes up jobs with the aristocracy of eastern cyrodiil, morrowind, and high rock, who are messy bitches all of them)
(the job that lands him in anvil, and how he's faking being a fisherman)
Regret:"Last summer I went out a few hours before a storm hit the coast and capsized my boat. Not - not the boat, no. I had a massive halibut on the line. Was just about to pull her in. Dernnit."
Haesil struggles with the concept of regret - he emotionally distanced himself from the world at a very young age, and has yet to close the gap - moreover, he believes that, since the moment Anu endeavored to know itself, time has been on a relentless and inevitable progression of cause and effect, and that free will is the only illusion the Earthbones cast. He doesn't acknowledge his actions as his own, merely the result of every factor preceding them - he's just the catalyst, you see. This makes it difficult (conveniently so) to feel remorse. What I'm saying is that he's full of shit.
But there are times - in between jobs, when there's no sleuthing or deceiving to distract him from himself - when he's left to contend with the void in his soul.
Haesil has been playing roles his entire life. He can reduce grown men and women to tears with the narratives he spins and the emotions he fakes, but his inner world is a very flat place beyond the thrill of the con. He's made more than one mer fall in love with him, telling them exactly what they want to hear, memorizing every minute detail so they feel seen in a way they never have before, and it's ended in a marriage proposal at least once. He doesn't regret abandoning his bride - she thought she was marrying a man named Caliver, anyway. It just made him realize that he's never experienced real connection with another person. Perhaps regret is the right word.
He practices his expressions in the mirror above a dusty faux-Reman basin that's been crammed in the corner of his room in a dockside inn. Plucked brows that pinch upward, concerned about a fellow sailor's coughing fit. Neutral. A bright smile that crisps the corners of his deadened eyes. Neutral. He can tell you what Epiduin regrets. He's practiced that, too. He can tell you what his favorite story is ("The Guile Hero and the Round-Ring-Path!"), which city makes the best mackerel bake ("Honestly? Stros M'kai"), and which knot he prefers to use when returning to harbor ("It's called a senche-hitch. Of course you don't recognize it, it's from Malabal Tor").
Haesil made the senche-hitch up. Haesil has never been to Stros M'Kai. Haesil doesn't have a favorite of anything. It seems, to Haesil, that if Epiduin does not exist, then Haesil certainly doesn't.
Goal:To be as annoying and irrelevant as possible. Or at least to be annoying and irrelevant enough that any inconsistency in his story is overlooked - that a fool might gravely underestimate him, get a little drunk and loose-lipped in his presence.
As with his regrets, Haesil's goals are very shallow. He's already doing what he believes he loves most - inventing personas, solving puzzles, airing out others' dirty laundry - and he's certain that he will be able to charge a king's ransom for his services in due time. It's simply inevitable. That sort of price needs a hefty resume, however, and he's content with building it at the moment.
Narratively, Haesil needs to be unmasked to grow. He needs someone else to see and judge him as himself, not the role he's playing - it might be better if the judgement isn't in his favor and holds him accountable for once. He's been living in a world relatively free of consequence, where he's unseen and unacknowledged, and it's made him question whether he (or anything) is real.
Or maybe he just needs to establish boundaries between his work life and his personal life.
- Speechcraft [ expert ] He's very method.
- Illusion [ adept ] Might be partially to blame for why he's doubting reality, but is an incredibly useful school for someone in his vocation.
- Stealth [ adept ] Naturally.
- Security [ novice ] The locks outside of Elsweyr confound him.
- Acrobatics [ novice ] He's a city boy. He doesn't do cross-country.
- Blade [ novice ] - Haesil cannot shoot straight to save his life. He's very embarrassed about it, and may, perhaps, be near-sighted. He's swift with the short sword, but not terribly effective in a fair fight.
- Glamour [ illusion ] : (I do not think this was an available spell in any of the games? Maybe Daggerfall?? This concept art mentions the ability to glamour, which ultimately wasn't used, but the concept of glamour being an art localized to Valenwood (like greensinging, namespinning, and shapeshifting) has lived rent-free in my mind for ages, I'm just divorcing it from the gender stuff. If you'd rather I not use this, I'll remove it).
I'm happy to add Haesil to the roster of characters -- as per your note about Glamour - I think it makes narrative sense for him as a character to be changing using magic and tricks and honestly even Illusion as a skill, when written well, can do things like this.
Interesting, tricky character to add to an already interesting roster! You can join. If there are bits of the sheet you're still tinkering with then just add the sheet in full when you're finished to the Char tab, and feel free to write your intro post
Whether your character has been in Anvil for a while, or has just got there is up to you! If they're fresh in the city that day they won't know about the other murders compared to someone who has been there for longer and therefore does. The murders have taken place across a 5 week period or so.
It's up to you to decide! What will be more fun for you?
As long as your character is in Anvil, and makes their way to the Dancing Donkey, for your first post that's excellent 🙂
Overall, the vibe in Anvil is heavy! People have taken note of these killings and act accordingly - the guards, seeing as they lost one of their own are also on edge with people. There is distrust and fear.
"Yeah I heard about Lucius. Found the poor fuck with more'n twenny stab wounds, his house a right rotten mess too."
"Something like that, seems to be gettin' out of hand now. Guards are meant to protect us and now the killings are happnin in our homes!"
"And who asked you?"
"I'm just saying-"
"No-one fuckin' asked!"
"Yeah, no one..."
"When you talk as loud as you fetchers do, you invite the entire inn to your conversation."
"Alright then, tell me why I'm so wrong?"
"Lucius was stabbed. Many times, as you recount."
"Yeah. Stabbed dead as a doornail."
"Yeah, twenty times."
"Actually it was six, exactly."
"You calling me a liar?"
"No. Perhaps your ears are dirty, anyway -"
"Fuck this, and fuck off Greyskin."
"...Sorry about him."
Uriel was sat in earshot of the tense conversation, but just far enough away that he didn't draw attention - not even from the Dunmer who had proven himself to be astute; or at least a good listener. He was right, Lucius had suffered exactly six stab wounds. Upper arm, chest, twice in the shoulder, once in the belly, and a final in the neck. He wondered too if the Dunmer was aware of the second body they'd found that day - of Gionato, another dockhand who had been found with a Vedori heirloom in his jacket.
He surmised that the Dunmer could recall that the other bodies had all been found to have been killed by a blunt-force trauma.
Uriel knew that the Dunmer wouldn't know that each body had been exsanguinated. That was known by only the guards and a local healer they employed to examine the bodies. It was clear as crystal that Gionato had murdered Lucius, but then had found himself in trouble.
As Uriel drank from his glass, he looked around the place. He wasn't on duty tonight, and so he slouched over the bar, his golden eyes tracking the movements of the barkeep, finding that he liked the sight of the flash of skin of his chest where his shirt was unbuttoned just so.
He kept that lonely feeling of longing to himself.
The vision in front of him became the bottom of his glass again - empty, and the barkeep approached.
"Need a top up, Uriel?" he asked with a friendly smile.
Uriel just pushed the glass closer to him, a slight nod, "sure."
He waited until the barkeep was tending to someone else before he looked back up and let out the breath he had been holding.
Outside of the Inn, the sun was setting - early, for a summer night, and unusual.
Across the darkening Gold Coast, the umber burning sunset made way for an ill wind to begin to howl.
The official first post will be up ASAP - for those of you who would like to start an intro, you can expect it to take place the evening after the murder of Gionato and Lucius - where, spooky things will happen! But, as is usual, please refrain from posting in the IC until that post has been made! it will be in the next 24 hours :)
As if the people of Anvil had hurried to bed. Barred their doors and bunkered down to hide from the bright moon that bore down like a giant eye watching every winding path, glaring at each shelter, each slope of a roof that cast a safe shadow to escape it.
The streets were all but empty save for one gentleman, Gionato, who staggered away from a broken window. His wallet heavier, and his pocket-knife slick with blood, he pulled his hood over his head, pulling the drawstring tight around his collarbone as he kept to the darkness and away from the pale.
He should have worried less about the light.
Behind him, a shape that he did not detect - moved near silently, slowly, stalking - a predator. A claw like hand twitched at blood that dripped from the blade of his knife as he scurried faster still through the night.
He thought he was safe.
Gionato knew about the killings. The first had been Maebh, a Nord woman who worked at the docks. The second an older man named Alastare, who, according to many, was just an old pervert. A seamstress and a barkeep. Finally, the third had been a guardsman - his body washed up on the shore all bloated and grey.
Those three weren't him though, besides, he could handle himself. By tomorrow morning, the death and robbery of Lucius Vedori would also be attributed to this other killer.
Gionato, as well as being a petty criminal turned murdering thug, was simply criminally stupid.
He turned the key to his front door, hearing it open with a click. It wasn't until he arrived home that the thrill of his kill hit him, and his hands began to shake - a fear set in that mixed with pride and excitement - his belly hungry for more of it as he finally felt the stickiness of blood across his shirt, under his fingernails, on his chin, his cheek.
As he made his way in, his mouth formed a rictus grin in the shadows. He kneeled down at his hearth, the silent light of the moon trickling through the window, a gap in a makeshift curtain, enough for him to find a flint and some kindling. After a moment or two, his hearth was filling with a small and crackling flame, and he began to calm from the adreneline. He placed the bloody knife beside him, and began to peel off his shirt - a thought that it would burn up quickly on the flames.
“Hello,” came a smooth, clear voice from behind him.
He turned around, faster than a startled doe at the sound of a twig snapping. There. In the corner. A figure, on his chair.
The light wasn’t enough to show a face -- but she was distinctively feminine, at least the voice was. “Wh-who goes there?” he stammered out, taking hold of the poker with his clammy grip.
He sensed the stranger stand up, and as the fire grew greater he began to make out a shape. Tall, a slender waist, and long hair the colour of the moonlight. He swallowed down and realised he had nowhere to go. He was too frightened to stand. “I-I-I have children… You know that… I have children…” he pleaded, brow sweating profusely. In the flickering light of the fire he finally made out her face. Whatever he had been expecting, it hadn’t been this.
She closed the distance between herself and Gionato.
He swore that he heard the glint of her blade as the moonlight struck it. That was the last thing he heard, before she smiled peacefully at him, after that, only true darkness.
Name: Mastdar Dereno Race: Dunmer (Telvanni) Age: 300 Birthsign: The Lord Family Origins: Dereno was sold into slavery as a child to a Telvanni wizard, whose name had been lost to the predations of the Red Year. He was uplifted from slavery to hireling status at the request of his master, who had witnessed young Dereno’s sorcerous potential when, without training, he was seen levitating shells from the sea instead of diving down into the dangerous water in the never-ending Telvanni search for red seashells. He spent most of his early life in Tel Branora.
Personality: Dereno has been ground down from the harshness of life after the fall of the false Tribunal. Formerly a Telvanni wizard as proud and arrogant as any other, the tribulations of Morrowind and Vvardenfell in the Fourth Era have eroded that arrogance to quiet, contemplative sobriety, less interested in the power struggles and scheming of Telvanni intrigue, and more with the world around him. He is generous for a Dunmer, ready with a coin for a beggar or food for the dispossessed, and interested in the plight and stories of other, intelligent life.
He believes, sincerely, in the implication that the Tribunal was a trio of false prophets, and that their casting down was the providence of Azura, carried out by her chosen servant, the Nerevarine. Every subsequent trial then, surely, was punishment for the arrogance of the Dunmer race, and in order to reverse the poor fortunes of the Dunmer people, sincere change must be made.
Despite this, Dereno is, deep down, a Dunmer, and still finds parts of his old culture hard to let go. Bribery, for instance, being something frowned upon in Men's provinces never fails to illicit a superior sneer, and he’s never gotten over other wizards building their homes with stairs when surely their servants could turn away any dunce who couldn’t levitate up a sheer face instead.
Despite this, Mastdar does his best to be affable, approachable, and to do more good than bad in the world.
History: Dereno was, it seems, cursed to live in interesting times. Born just after his home, Vvardenfell, had been opened for settlement, and sold into slavery as a young scrapling when his family had been crippled by Blight, Dereno had become accustomed to hardship early. He had spent most of the subsequent years after the departure of the Nerevarine slowly climbing the ranks of House Telvanni, finally achieving Hireline status at the sprightly young age of 53. From there, his progress was more rapid, climbing to Wizard in a few short decades.
However, this seemed to coincide with the Red Year. Tel Branora, where his mushroom tower had been located, withered and died as the dust kicked up from the Ministry of Truth’s fall choked the alchemically grown buildings from sunlight. Even the mightiest Tel tower withered to nothingness. From there, Dereno’s life had been one humbling after another as the Dunmer people seemed to pay again and again for the hubris they had lived under during the Tribunal’s long reign. Stripped of most everything a Telvanni of his station was entitled to, Dereno began a journey of meditation and travel, going wherever his legs would take him, never staying in any one place long enough to put down roots.
As of the beginning of this tale, he has been doing this for hundreds of years, his mushroom stronghold in Tel Branora a distant memory.
Biggest Regret: Dereno always thinks back to his Argonian slave, and trusted lab assistant.He regrets having cut him loose in a fit of anger when his tower was wilting and dying, instead of setting up him up with supplies or even taking him with him on his journey, so he could take him back to his home. Dereno has never found out what happened to Whispers-Loudly, and that fact pains him even to this day.
Character Name ‘s Goal: Dereno is ultimately an atoner. Taking the decline of the Post-Tribunal Dunmer to heart, he travels the Nirn looking for a way to redeem his own magickal talent and Telvanni arrogance with some good deed or grand cause, perhaps one that would even allow him to regrow a new tower and practice sorcery with a newfound nobility, divorced from the self-serving and cruel Telvanni ways.
Skills: Expert: Conjuration Dereno early on saw the value in binding Daedric steel from the aether, and has long since given up openly wearing a weapon or armor, instead preferring to pull them from the thin air.
Adept: Long Blade, Heavy Armor Many dunmer live by the blade, and Dereno is no different. Bladesmanship was often required in the various honor duels that were rife in Telvanni society - when magic failed, it always came down to the blade.
Heavy Armor came as a skill of necessity - Daedric armor often took the form of heavy plate. Although the weight was removed from the equation, bound armor still encumbered movement the same way as real steel would have, so thus Dereno became adept in its wearing.
Novice: Destruction, Restoration, Alchemy The basic magickal skills, Dereno had lost interest in their study almost immediately after learning about them. Repairing the flesh, commanding the elements, and distilling the magic in the mundane were all terribly boring to him, but Dereno admits that without the principles imparted by these basic magicks, he would have never understood the craft well enough to make it to Wizard.
Spells: Bound Sword and constituent Bound Armor pieces. Sometimes will summon bits and pieces, other times a full set. Often only summons the blade to save valuable Magicka.
Touch-range Destruction spells of the elements (fire, frost, and lightning). He never bothered to learn how to Drain attributes, or damage armor, or to cast such abilities from range, preferring up close.
Touch-range Healing spells. Again, very simple, never bothered to learn how to heal anything more threatening than physical injury. If you’ve been struck blind, or made too physically weak to move, he does not know how to help.
Equipment: Medium quality robes, shoes, gloves, and a mage’s staff with an Enchanted Restore Magicka effect.
Misc. Possessions: Water, food, and a small brace of healing, fatigue, and magicka potions. He tends to travel light, making or bartering for what he needs as he travels.
Name: Granuaile Greenbow aka Mercada The Red Race: Breton Age: 30 Birthsign: The Apprentice Family Origins: Daggerfall City, Daggerfall
Personality: Granuaile works extremely hard to project an aura of simple goodness and self control. She is upbeat and positive to an almost relentless degree. All of this is a cover to conceal the fact that she is filled almost constantly with a towering rage that she controls only by years of practice. This results in her appearing extremely brittle and unbalanced, often plastering a smile on her face as the only available mask in tough situations. Granuaile is an extremely organized person, with a distaste for mess, clutter and inefficiency. This is not a great combination for someone with her unresolved anger issue.
History: Mercada comes from one of the minor noble families in daggerfall. From an early aged she showed something beyond the typical Breton aptitude for magic, particularly for destruction. In a not unrelated story, she burned down several barns during her teenage years.
When she was seventeen she got into a fight with a couple of local toughs, whom she also burned down in rather spectacular fashion. Her family connections weren't quite enough to hush up what they uncharitably termed 'the murders' an so she was packed off to the Imperial Legion where she served as a battle mage.
The Legion was a good place for Mercada , clear rules and routines made it much easier for her to avoid the kind of pyrotechnic missteps which might otherwise have gotten her an early execution. It also let her put her talents to use against the occasional group of rebels like the Stormcloaks. This time people seemed to appreciate her burning Nords, which was confusing, but pleasant. She made a name for herself during this time and earned the name ‘The Red’ for her frequent use of fire.
During her time in the Legion Mercada learned alot and her magical skills broadened out to include the basics of healing and alchemy. The senior battlemage in her legion seemed to have some clue as to what was going on in her mind and learned to handle her in a way that made her a productive member of the Legion. It also gave her a chance to see alot of the Empire. Mercada loved the Legion and made it her home.
Towards the end of her second enlistment Mercada was assigned to a patrol in a disputed border region. Her patrol ran into a group of Thalmor soldiers and hot words became threats. Then threats became spells and a few minutes later Thalmor became charcoal briquettes. The Legion, bound by the terms of the White Gold Concordite, was required to hand the soldiers over as murderers. In a related note Mercada decided that this would be a good time to leave her employment with the Legion.
Since leaving she has changed her name to Granuaile and hidden her true talents, studying and practicing in secret.
Biggest Regret: When Granuaile (then Mercada) deserted from the Legion she left her mentor Callus behind. She tried to convince him to flee with her but he refused, disgusted that she had lost control and broken the peace. Although she dosen't know for sure, she suspects he was handed over to the Thalmor in her place in order to keep the peace.
Character Name ‘s Goal: Despite her pose as an innocent friendly healer, in the depths of her heart Granuaile is a true believer in the Imperial cause. She also hungers for revenge against the Aldmeri Dominion. Fortunately these two desires are largely interchangeable, and after all, if a High Elf catches fire in a forest and no one is there to report it, did it even really happen?
Skills: This section gets a bit more complicated. Using the main skills of the game (two handed, smithing, destruction, illusion, lock picking, pick pocketing, shield, et cetera) things are rated by proficiency. You may have 1 expert skill, 2 adept skills, and 3 novice. You may, however, move up a class at the expense of another skill of the level below it (e.g. you pick 1 expert at the cost of 2 adept). Likewise, you can gain more skills if you downgrade a skill (1 expert becomes 2 adept, 1 adept can be 3 novice). Explain why your character is good at each skill in a brief sentence. If in doubt, ask!
Normally TES games may use 1 x 3 x 3 for skills, but I want to try it scaled back. Sometimes we get too caught up in the details and approximations of skills and spells etc. While there is structure, let's go with the flow. Let's see what works for your character and makes sense.
Also again, don't be put off writing the character you want to because someone else wrote x type. I am more than happy to GM this game around 4 Argonian thieves if those are the characters that are working. Expert: Destruction - Born under a bloody moon. Adept: Restoration - Sometimes you get a little carried away… Alteration - If I alter it enough it will it burn?
Novice: Speechcraft - In hiding, you need to talk the talk. Enchanting - How many times has a trooper wanted a good luck charm. Alchemy - Burning things is great but I need to pay the bills.
Spells: Wall of Storms Incinerate Fireball Chain Lightning Heal Other Close wounds Detect Life Water Breathing Soul trap
Equipment: Legion Gladius (carefully hidden) Alchemy and Enchanting tools Short sword Cloak Medicine kit
Misc. Possessions: Statue of Dibella
Name: Imare Larethian Race: Altmer Age: 25 Birthsign: Atronach Family Origins: Imperial City, Cyrodiil Appearance:
A young Altmer of Imperial vintage, Imare posses the slender, graceful build expected of a High Elf. She has prominently pointed ears adorned with tasteful amounts of jewelry and almond-shaped eyes that shine brightly with an amber light. Light skinned for an Altmer, Imare's skin is cast in a pale shade of gold-tinted pink. According to the healer who birthed her, Imare's distinct appearance is the result of her deep connection to the sign of her birth and the unmistakable mark that the Atronach has left on her very spirit.
Time spent on the road, several years spent traversing the provinces of Tamriel, have sharpened some of the softness that once defined Imare's form and provided her with the agile shape earned chiefly by the well-traveled.
A wandering apothecary, Imare wears clothing intended for long journeys. Donning thick leather boots, a pair of wool breeches, a sturdy belt, a shirt woven from kreshweed fiber, and an ample cloak with a hood. Favoring hues of green and blue, she has seen that plenty of discreet pouches and pockets have been added to her clothing.
Personality: No fighter or battle mage forged in the heart of battle, Imare is a studious alchemist seeking only to peacefully ply her trade across Tamriel. Imare is not a hero, certainly not by her own measure. She has no aspirations for greatness. No ambitions to change the world. And no desire to attract undue notice. A small garden to tend too. A quaint country cottage covered in green resting next to a calm stream of clear water. And life in a peaceful, secluded valley are all that she dreams of...or so she tells herself in the long, dark hours of the night.
Mousy, Imare is cautious when conversing about all matters save alchemy, trade, botany, or zoology. Somehow she is able to adopt a different persona when engaged in mercantile matters, channeling an unexpected confidence and poise from deep within. Adept at haggling and striking fruitful agreements, Imare is softly, subtly persuasive. She is the the sort of merchant able to gently convince a customer to pay just a bit more for something that they already need or want, without leaving them remorseful and racked with bitterness afterwards.
Gentle by nature, Imare abhors violence, showing little interest in weapons, armor or anything approaching physical conflict. Polite games of Five Card Wisp or leisurely sessions of Cross Stones, a popular High Elf board game, represent the greatest extremes of Imare's competitiveness. However, for all her decency and grace, Imare wants to live, she wants to see another sunrise, and she wants to eat another sweet roll.
Beneath the fading winter light of Masser and Secunda, on a day when the Imperial City lay shrouded in a thick layer of frost, Imare Larethian was born, in the one hundred and and eighty eight year of the fourth era, sheltered under the sign of the Atronach.
She was the youngest and seventh child of an exceedingly fruitful Altmer union. Her mother, Viriniel, was a civil servant, an Imperial Bailiff. Her father, Teldigaran, was yet another civil servant, an Imperial tax collector. Simple, humble High Elves of the middle class. Not nobles, but proud civil servants. Owners of a modest house in the Elven Gardens District.
Loyal citizens of the Empire, the Larethian family was the respectable sort of Imperial family viewed kindly by most. Placed in an awkward position by the recent conflict with the Aldmeri Dominion and the tense peace that has followed. Open with their love and support for the Empire and their dismay at what their distant cousins in the Summerset Isle had become.
Raised in a family of wizards that hailed from an immeasurably long line of wizards with only the occasional necromancer to be found unlike her siblings, Imare showed little natural talent for magic capable spellcaster, with a deep reservoir of magic, afflicted as many, born under the sign of the Atronach, Imare found she did not recover unaided from spellcasting, finding herself drained of energy after casting a spell and long in her recovery attaining a substantial command of the school of Alteration only through long, laborious hours of study
stubbornly persisted in her magical studies, despite frequent bouts of feinting considered to be frail and poor in health, Imare found solace in reading, particularly the books of her long dead maternal grandfather, a noted botanist despite her lengthy studies, she often went into the countryside to look for plants, despite the fearful response of her parents and loud admonishments from her older siblings
a friend of her father, the wealthy Redguard merchant, Dorian Rackham, noticed Imare's interest in botany and gave her the run of his sizable garden aloof, if not fully disowned from her much more respectable family, Imare eventually found work tending the botanical gardens in the Arboretum District, in the southeast district of the Imperial City. Helped to cultivate the gardens sheltering the statues of the Divines.
secured an apprenticeship with a noted Bosmer botanist, Glaurilas Oakthorn a master alchemist responsible for much of the elaborate greenery surrounding the Imperial Palace, Glaurilas taught Imare what it truly meant to be an alchemist diligently toiling in the Green Emperor Way, no matter the hour or weather,
desiring to forge her own way, stake her own claim, Imare opened an apothecary in the Market District, specializing in the acquisition of rare alchemical ingredients and boutique potions
modest success, the unfortunate loss of a large shipment of potions to bandits, left Imare teetering on the edge of financial ruin approached by friends of distant friends, unfamiliar acquaintances that offered to make introductions to people willing and able to help someone in her unfortunate position in short order found herself a member of the thieves guild
fencing stolen goods trading in illegal substances engaged in the Skooma trade, if peripherally (from her perspective), refining moonsugar into Skooma at the behest of her superiors within the Thieves Guild providing poisons to members of the Thieves Guild and select, previously vetted customers, never fatal, at her own insistence any moral doubts she had about her dealings, quickly silenced by the coin she made and the books /alchemical ingredients she could purchase rose in the ranks, reaching the respectable rank of Cat Burglar within the Thieves' Guild, less for her talents as a thief and more for her skills brewing potions and poisons as needed
it all fell apart after a job a job, like so many others before it, unremarkable from Imare's point of view her contact with the thieves guild requested a potion to paralyze and drain the fatigue of a particular target brief kidnapping, a mere message to a Lord Amminus Carvain, a noble with too many delinquent debts and too little interest in calling in the required favors to pay off these debts Imare does not know what went wrong she calculated correctly she mixed perfectly her poison shouldn't have killed the young Imperial noblewoman, the daughter of Lord Carvain, but it did
no way to trace it to her, no signatures in the work, many alchemists could have created the poison, though few in the Imperial City would it didn't matter, Imare knew, she had known from the moment the grim news had reached her, she was a murderer, she was a murder and that was all that mattered sold her shop to a friend, packed up the small number of possessions that she kept, and began to travel wrote only a brief letter to her family said few goodbyes, ensuring only that her superiors in the Thieves' Guild would not feel unduly slighted
spent several years traveling across Tamriel, chiefly Cyrodiil, serving as a traveling alchemist and apothecarist never staying in one place for very long
felt something calling her, pulling her towards Anvil, a city she had visited before
Biggest Regret: Although she will never willingly speak the words out lout or even at a whisper, Imare's greatest regret is her critical role in the poisoning of the much celebrated Lady Severa Carvain. The young Imperial woman's death weighs heavily on Imare's conscience and no matter what stories she tries tells herself Imare has yet to soften the guilt that she feels.
Imare‘s Goal: Imare has but one long chain of desire. To travel far away. To start a new life. To bury herself in her work. To make coin, good coin, bartering her wares. And to forget. To forget that she dealt in illicit goods, creating substances addictive in nature, spilling Skooma, refined from the purest moonsugar, onto the streets. To forget that she consorted with the thieves guild hiding in the Imperial City, selling her soul for mere Septims. To forget that she killed a young woman. To forget that she is a murderer. And to forget that she is a coward. A coward unwilling to say no. A coward unwilling to admit her guilt. A coward unwilling to challenge her associates. A coward unwilling to share with her friends. A coward unwilling to face her family. And a coward unwilling to say goodbye to her beloved.
Alchemy - Imare is a dedicated and gifted student of the mundane appearing arcane art of alchemy. Potions, poisons, and all manner of strange brews are within her scope of knowledge and ability to create with even the most limited ingredients and tools. The Altmer mage is a collector of recipes and complex formulas, recording all that she discovers in the hopes of furthering the study of alchemy. A pragmatic alchemist bristling with unexpected creativity, Imare views alchemy as an art and science with boundless potential, performing what she calls field experiments when the opportunity presents itself.
Speech - Commanding the charm required to succeed in business, Imare softly weaves persuasion into her words and being. Time spent bartering alchemical ingredients and fencing stolen goods in equal measure, has provided Imare with a deep understanding of all manners of commerce regardless of any potential legal issues.
Alteration - Uninterested in violence, the school of Alteration appealed to Imare from the day she began to study the arcane arts. To learn the nature of the physical world. To learn all the possibilities. To change patterns and to make things not what they should be...but what they could be entranced the young alchemist. In her travels across Tamriel, Imare has not failed to notice more practical applications of Alteration.
Pickpocket - The product of time spent as a member of the Thieves Guild, despite her arcane vocation Imare has learned the basics of lightening the pockets of strangers. Sneak - Keen to avoid conflict and familiar with the value of discretion, Imare has as a firm grasp of the essential aspects of moving clandestinely.
Spells: - Alteration: Ironflesh, Open, Magelight, Telekinesis, Transmute, and Waterbreathing.
Equipment: - A fine leather backpack, enchanted with a feather spell, to allow Imare to carry a respectable amount of alchemical ingredients and potions. Imare keeps a bedroll tied to her backpack and a rolled up length of tarp suitable for use as a small tent or makeshift storefront. - A collection of alchemical apparatus (Mortar and Pestle Alembic, Calcinator, Retort) carefully stored in a satchel intended to be worn on the hip. - An Iron Knife, a tool rather than a weapon. - A sharpened set of metal Shears, ideal for clipping leaves or flowers. Misc. Possessions: - Imare records her alchemical recipes and formulas in a thick journal bound with netch leather. Frustrating any uninvited readers, Imare writes in her journal in an unknown script and strange language of her own creation.
Name: Lix'r Darja Race: Khajiit Age: 24 Birthsign: The Shadow Family Origins: His parents are travelers so his hometown is all of Skyrim. After coming of age he made roots in Markarth.
History: Despite the conditions he grew up in, Lix'r had a fairly easy life. With both his parents working as traveling merchants, he was no stranger to long carriage rides and nights spent in tents pitched on the side of the road. He was also no stranger to bandits. Growing up, he fought his fair share of them and, by the time he turned 12, already had a few kills under his belt. This would've been crippling to his development if not for the shining approval of his parents. While most people would be abhorred to discover their child a murderer, Lix's parents were grateful for their son's bloodlust. It kept them safe. They encouraged it. They were even more grateful for his swift fingers.
Often they would set Lix'r after one of their recent customers, goading him to steal back the goods the person had just bought. He'd done it so many times that, eventually, he could hold a full conversation with the person while robbing them blind, all with a smile. It didn't take long for him to acquire a love of shiny things and a talent for conversation. Even quicker to develop were his light feet. It all came too natural to him. At 17 he went solo and set off on his own into Skyrim's wilds. And though his parents were sad to see him go, the three maintained steady contact through the years. He remains to this day, their favorite boy. And he treats his parents well, loves them more than anything.
To the frustration of all of his enemies, life has been pretty good to Lix'r. He has ample amounts of money, more than he knows what to do with truly. At this point in his life, he treasure-hunts and explores dungeons simply for the thrill, and to fill the pockets of the occasional hired Follower. He has a nice house and the disdain of the Jarl, no true love but plenty of wenches, and a job that fills him with the same thrill it did on the first day. Things could be much worse. Unfortunately, much worse has arrived.
Lately, strange things have been happening around Lix'r. First he lost his lucky hood. Next, his hand-for-hire disappeared without even collecting pay. And then, his father died. Well, he didn't "die", rather than vanished without a trace, much to his mother's dismay. Heartbroken over the death of his dear father, and troubled by the nightmares that have begun to plague his daytimes, Lix'r sets off to Anvil, to get to the bottom of these strange happenings once and for all.
Personality: As the only son to two wealthy, aging parents, Lix'r had no choice but to grow up spoiled. And spoiled he is, down to the rotted bone. The boy gets what he wants, and tries his best to make the process as quick and easy as possible. Sometimes this means a wink and a flirt, most often it means stealing. He's great at both so really he could flip a coin and be just as satisfied with whatever outcome. It’s honestly boring at this point. These days, he doesn't want much for anything at all.
He has a confidence about himself that would border on cocky and condescending if he weren’t so casual about it. He's not one to boast or to flaunt, but he also doesn't hide his assets or downplay his talents. This gets him into the exact amount of trouble that he likes being in. He doesn't initiate fights, but when one presents itself to him he can't help but engage. Same goes whenever he hears about a new cave, yet to be explored. Trouble draws him like an apple to the ground. He can't resist the pull.
This speaks to both his unwavering conviction and also a frightening lack of concern or worry for his own safety. Because of the way that he was raised, traveling on hidden roads with chests full of gold, exposed from birth to all of the horrors of the world and the people in it (Bandits are not above stealing babies), Lix'r's sense of danger has been... modified. He will have his hands in his pockets all the way up until the first blade is drawn and pointed at his throat. When he enters a tomb and sees it flooded with dragur and traps, the most he feels is annoyed. This mindset has cost him two fingers and a whole year off his life which he spent lost and losing his mind in Apocrypha's labyrinths. Still, even with missing a pinky and middle finger on his left hand, and a cast of chattering voices in the back of his head, he finds himself thoughtlessly, instinctively, ambling over towards the first sign of danger.
He hates this about himself. It feels out of his control.
He’s a generally pleasant guy. Calm, relaxed demeanor. A slow, steady stride and an easy way of speaking. He moves through life as if there’s not a thing in the world that could make him hurry his pace. And there isn’t. Still, there’s no denying, or ignoring, that there’s something off about Lix’r. For one, his eyes never seem to hold any light. Rather, they reflect it. And if you can see past the glare you’ll find them to be flat and empty. Even when he smiles, even when he laughs, nothing seems to spark within them. Another thing, he is never afraid. Truly. You could sneak up behind him in the middle of the night while he’s out taking a piss and he still wouldn’t jump at the knife in his back. Though his fight or flight does kick in and he will react, he simply will not startle.
Even more disturbing is the fact that he was in love once. The most love he has felt for anyone other than his own parents. And the things he did- The way he betrayed the only person he has ever truly loved… it haunts him. Now and forever.
When he sits and thinks about these things he can feel self-hatred bubbling up in his chest. He looks at how other people behave - running, laughing, yelling - and can’t quite understand what it is he’s missing. Lix’r feels completely isolated from his peers, yet desperate to join them. He doesn't understand what's wrong with him, why he can't relate to others despite his efforts. Part of him wants to turn that confusion into a hatred of others, but instead all the blame falls back onto his own shoulders.
Often you’ll find him people-watching, an innocent enough hobby. What you don’t see is how he practices behind closed doors. He does this religiously. Either pantomining a fight between friends or mimicking a young man’s advances on his lady love. These little shows that he puts on for himself are the only things he has that resemble true human connection. And he needs these performances. Watching others teaches him how to behave when he has no real understanding on how to “be himself”.
Even though he is great company for a few nights, he knows that all his charm and appeal is nothing more than a party trick. There has only ever been one person who has known Lix, and there will never be another. He struggles to know himself, even. He isn’t sure he wants to. When he does look in the mirror, he hates what he sees. Sometimes the sound of his own thoughts are enough to send him running off into another cave, not to be seen for weeks, months, before turning back up with a host of new scars and somehow, someway, even less color in his face. He's been living like this for years.
For now he has his caves and his dungeons and his brawls. He has his money and his mead and his wench.
He doesn’t have enough.
And soon he won’t have anything at all.
Biggest Regret: What he did to Kiba. Also never learning how to read or write.
Lix‘s Goal: To get to the bottom of what happened to his father.
Expert: Sneak - He’s been sneaking around since before he could walk. His parents honed this skill in him by playing hiding games and, of course, sending him after their customers.
Adept: Pickpocketing - This was honed alongside Sneak in his youth and he continues to practice this skill today.
Adept: One-Handed - Aside from the training in his youth, Lix has been delving dungeons alone since he was 17. The bones littered across the caves of Skyrim tell the tale of his training montage.
Adept: Speech - He devotes a lot of hours into making sure that his human mask is well tailored.
Spells: Doesn’t know any magic and can’t learn any because he can’t read.
Equipment: A dragon-bone sword and dagger, given to him by his father on his 17th birthday. A set of Black Brotherhood armor, stolen, missing a hood. His trusty satchel. A lantern. Climbing hooks. Rope. First-aid kit. A copious amount of healing potions.
Misc. Possessions: A moonstone necklace his mother gave him the day he was born, he never takes it off. Two full coin purses. A bow and arrow that he can’t use but refuses to part with. A spattering of cheese and meat. A vial of poison.
Name: Andel Indarys II, Thorn Bearer Race: Dunmer Age: 32 Birthsign: The Lady Family Origins: Cheydinhal
A portrait of Andel around his twentieth birthday
Andel betrays the fact that he’s of blue blood at first glance with his unblemished and fair skin, closer to a faded purple than the usual ashen hues of his fellow Dunmer. His facial features are more gaunt than meaty, but still carry a youthful grace even at his adult age, with almond-shaped eyes bearing bright red irises and crimson sclerae, a ridged brow, an aquiline nose that tapers narrower as it reaches down from between the eyebrows, and prominent lips adorning a well-proportioned mouth. His hair is a vibrant, healthy grey gathered back and tied up in a braided rattail, its oily tendencies only exaggerating its reflectiveness, and just like his hair, the rest of his hairs are grey, his thin and faded eyebrows standing like two strokes from a desaturated paintbrush atop his eyes, reaching out to meet in the middle. His face is kept clean shaven for he is unable to grow a proper beard, save two well-groomed brushlike patches by the edges of his mouth providing a whisker-like mustache, and thick and fuzzy sideburns ending right below his ears.
Of average height and physique, he leaves a wiry impression like many other Dunmer, not very well-reinforced by musculature. Although beneath his clothes he bears a broad, barrel-chested torso, thanks to his lack of muscle and thin and unexercised upper limbs, this genetic advantage is left impotent from an aesthetic standpoint. Beneath the joints, however, his limbs suddenly grow larger, with his forearms almost thicker than his upper arms and his calves bulging with musculature. He bears hands and feet large but not disproportionate, with thick fingers, and his bodily hair is spread not unlike his muscles, with his torso and upper limbs covered with a thin, patchy excuse of grey hairs which suddenly grow in intensity once the limbs reach below their joints.
Despite his aristocratic upbringing, Andel’s clothes are more worldly than courtly. Atop a cotton shirt, he wears a prominently buttoned and braided brownish red dolman that reaches halfway down his thighs, with a false-sleeved, fur-collared woolen overcoat of fallow color acting as outer garment. A sword belt is worn around his waist atop his dolman, from which hang scabbards for two swords, both on the left side, and to the right sits a satchel. For legwear he prefers knee length breeches, and thick, crude boots of rawhide take over the duty of covering his legs from the knees down. He has a cap made of rabbit fur for colder weathers, but is seldom seen wearing it, preferring a simple bonnet instead. A gorget worn over the jerkin and two vambraces that reach up to his elbows betray his martial position, but aside from that, he is unarmored.
Personality: Andel was born into nobility, and it shows, but not necessarily in an irritating way. He seems to have an innate understanding of the fact that nobility is all about grace, and grace is all about appearances, and as such, there’s a conscious aesthetic quality to all of his words, deeds, and states of being. His posture is just the right amount of self-confident without seeping into brazenness; his voice can slide across the tone spectrum in the middle of a single-syllable word, and his facial expressions have been honed to dig out the exact responses from the exact people. All this is not to say that Andel manipulates people for his own ends, however; he simply knows the importance of communication, and takes care to express himself with unerring precision. And even all this is kept under a sober and refined layer of humility as to not intimidate his onlookers.
The first impression that Andel makes on people is usually one of agreeableness. While a good conversationist, he is not brazen (or impolite) enough to start a conversation with a stranger for no reason; however, he’s also not impolite enough to leave a stranger without a response. Once Andel is part of a conversation, his demeanor changes somewhat; like a hungry predator tasting blood, he grows bolder and more provocative as the conversation lasts longer, eventually settling at a point of just the right amounts of sweet and sour to leave a lasting and sizzling, but not hurtful impression. This sudden change from pure sincerity to a performative is an interesting one, and behind it lies the key reason for his lot in life; all the boarded-up insecurities that eat away at him from the inside.
Obsessed with living up to his own impossible standards, yet also fearful of acting on his dreams and seeing whether he’ll make the cut or not is a source of constant pain and self-doubt for Andel. On top of that is his legacy, for he is many things before he is allowed to be himself – heir of House Indarys, Thornbearer of the Thorn Knights, his father’s son – and his latent narcissism and perfectionism use this fact to keep him in a constant state of self-paralysis. He wishes to be his own thing in history, a name unto his own, yet the fact that he only came this far (not that far, mind) in the first place thanks to the life that he was born into and not because of his own deeds, and that he will likely never reach the heights that those he respect did, leave him in a state of orbiting the responsibilities that his dreams require, equally unable to reach in or give up.
History: Andel’s history, much to his chagrin, begins well before his birth. It begins with House Indarys, a cadet branch of House Hlaalu, known for its collaboration with the Septim Empire and influence outside of Morrowind’s borders, rather than inside it. Having ruled the County of Cheydinhal since the House of Tharn was deprived of its titles and privileges for its involvement in the Imperial Simulacrum, House Indarys had grown from an unwanted thorn in the Great House’s side, first to an useful tool to help them gain further influence in the Imperial Heartland, then, begrudgingly, to a partner on almost equal footing, with stakes even in the policies of the empire at large thanks to their proximity to the capital. Of course, these were, as far as Andel knows, the glory days, and the days of House Indarys that Andel were to witness were anything but.
Andel was born to a time of great turmoil for House Indarys, even by the standards of the Fourth Era, in which the family had seen itself go from a potential candidate for the Ruby Throne to an impoverished and not very well-liked house of merely local renown. Andel Indarys, the Count of Cheydinhal during the latter part of the Uriel Septim VII’s reign and one short-time claimant for the Imperial Throne, had died an untimely death during the Stormcrown Interregnum; his son Farwil the Daedra Slayer, the gallant Champion of Cheydinhal, had even preceded him, having fallen on the field of battle against the Medes. Farwil’s brother Ilver had thus become head of House Indarys and would have been next in line as Count of Cheydinhal, but the privilege of overseeing the County of Cheydinhal was taken from them for having dared to oppose the Medes, even if briefly.
It was to this mer that Andel would be youngest son, with an elder brother, Ondar, and a phantom brother, Nerevar, that Andel would always hear of, but never have the privilege of seeing, for he, like his late uncle Farwil, had fallen on the field of battle during the Great War.
The responsibility of leading a once-great House through days of turmoil and losing his eldest son in the process had taken a toll on Ilver’s approachability. He was a busy man, and his frayed relationship with his wife Serila, Andel’s mother, meant that the young Andel would rarely manage to spend time with him, having to contend with a mother who had fallen to drink since losing his eldest son. Through Andel’s early years, the task of actually raising and providing a parental figure to him was left to Norasa Dals, sister to Feranos Dals, who was Ilver’s second-in-command in the Knights of the Thorn and heir to the True Weights, a cult of Zenithar. It was in the Dals family that Andel could find some familial refuge from the void of his own family, and this meant a fairly devout upbringing, although the family was never shy of letting Andel delve into the tomes of their library, letting him indulge himself in both academic works and ancient epics and making his own sense of what he read.
This went on for a few years, until one day when Serila decided to kick her addiction and be a good mother to her sons. Thus Andel found himself back in the household, although minus his father, under the excuse of him having to lead the new members of the Knights of the Thorn; he would later learn that the actual reason for it was Serila no longer being able to tolerate the elderly Ilver’s constant infidelity. Being back with his family wasn’t exactly any better for Andel; his mother, while well-meaning, was a smothering and worrisome individual who required a constant supply of soothing salves to stay stable, and this led Serila to be in a constant state of sleep, leaving Andel at the mercy of his carefree and childishly cruel brother. Ondar took great pleasure in tormenting the young Andel in simple ways that were nonetheless hurtful for a child; the young Andel’s bookish nature only made him more susceptible to his brother’s stream of abuse.
Eventually, Andel reached an age at which he could receive proper schooling, and finally considered a member of the household rather than a mer-shaped curiosity that could speak, began his journey through an expensive and extensive cadre of tutors and classes financed by his father Ilver, who’d noticed that Ondar’s cavalier attitude made him a rather weak student and a bumbling courtier, and wished for someone in the family to know court etiquette and requirements of the martial life. His investment would pay off; as years passed and Andel showed signs of maturity beyond his years with each new visit to the Thorn Lodge, so did Ondar show signs of the opposite, unable to control his emotions and put an end to his steadily increasing consumption of alcohol. Ilver wouldn’t understand the gravity of the situation until it was too late; by the time Andel had come of age, Ondar’s alcoholism had reached a point where Ilver was feeling ashamed of presenting Ondar as heir.
Finally an adult, Andel began seeing the family situation for what it was. His father, in his old age, was showing signs of questionable leadership and alienating his compatriots amongst the Knights of the Thorn. First left Feranos, and without his guidance, Ilver quickly went down a route of meaningless endeavors that left the Knights with less than what they had started with. Andel himself had taken to improving his relations with other prominent martial figures of Cheydinhal, believing that the life he was born into and the life he had led so far made knighthood the most suitable role for him in life. Although he’d planned to become a squire in some other figure’s entourage, fate had something different in store for him; Ilver invited him to the Thorn Lodge one day, and told him that a friend of his, a high-ranking member of House Redoran, had noticed Andel’s keen mind during a visit to the Thorn Lodge and asked Ilver to have Andel join his entourage in an upcoming expedition against the Argonians.
Andel accepted, eager to prove himself, and soon after found himself in actual campaign, where, even in his privileged position as junior officer, he was subject to grueling conditions. Having been raised with tales of his ancestors’ glorious deeds, and indeed, with a personal interest in earning fame and glory in battle, Andel felt the need to prove himself; yet the conditions and the responsibilities that weighed upon him made him reconsider what he had built his life towards. He made a positive, but not exceptional impression on his superiors, competent through a combination of factors rather than expertise in one particular skill, and Andel noticed this and did not consider it enough, but nonetheless, his inexperience and personal doubt made him far too fearful to reach out for more. He was unsure as to whether he could carry on with this life. War was a fascinating thing when read and witnessed, but to participate in it was another matter entirely, and, he feared, a matter beyond his caliber.
Eventually, the campaign ended, by which time Andel had learned that his father’s friend had not asked for Andel, but the other way around. Resentful of his father for his deception and for putting his life out on the line, he returned to the family, when his father, once again, asked him to formally join the Knights of the Thorn. Although Andel wished not to, he also wished not to get on his increasingly unstable father’s bad side and put another dent in the already strained family relations. As a plus, he considered that his father’s grooming of him could be a positive thing, and were he to prove himself, he would likely be Ilver’s preferred candidate for leader of the Knights of the Thorn, a position which he hoped would be powerful enough for him to turn his luck around. Unfortunately for the House of Indarys, and unfortunately for Andel, the following years came and went exactly as they had so far.
By his father’s two hundredth and Andel’s thirtieth birthday, the Knights of the Thorn had been reduced, thanks to most of the higher-ups breaking off and forming their own knightly orders, to half a dozen men, Andel, Ilver, Ondar and the lodge servant included. What was worse was that they were up to their neck in debt, Ilver having taken on a contract from the Imperial government to oversee the security of the Blue Road pavement project and failed to fulfill the requirements. Even worse was the fact that Ilver showed no signs of learning from his mistakes and seemed to plan to take on another contract to join a campaign in Morrowind, an expedition which the Knights could not feasibly finance, to pay off his debt to the Empire. Andel felt that something had to be done, and he asked his once-substitute mother, Norasa, to appeal to Ilver and use his devotion to her late father to convince him to stop.
Somewhat surprisingly, it worked, and unsurprisingly, Ilver anointed Andel as new head of the knightly order as opposed to Ondar, who seemed relieved to not have to deal with the responsibilities that the precarious position brought with it. Andel now had the Lodge, its contents, and the loyalty of his knights at his disposal. With leadership of the order came a new responsibility; the Thornblade, the family heirloom with which Farwil Indarys had walked into Oblivion and routed the forces of Dagon, the heirloom with which Farwil Indarys had felled twenty of Mede’s champions even as he bled from twenty fatal wounds, the heirloom with which Nerevar Indarys had cut a swath through the Thalmor at Red Ring Road, was now his to keep and protect. As the ceremony took place, even if pitifully, Andel felt the weight of the responsibilities that he had undertaken for the first time.
Now bearing the sword and title that his father once did, Andel sought out ways to change the path that they were headed down. Downsizing was the first action; the debt to the Imperial government had to be paid somehow, and thus, the Lodge, and almost its entire arsenal, was to go. However, with the Lodge gone, the Knights no longer had a base of operations from which they could carry on their operations, continue the order’s traditions, gather and train new recruits and use as a front. A new Lodge was necessary, and for that, they needed coin. What they could offer for coin were their blades, and thus, the remaining Knights of the Thorn ended up as sellswords in Andel’s leadership, seeking their fortune in Anequina, formerly the lands of Elsweyr, where trouble was afoot ever since the death of the Mane.
Trouble they sought and trouble they found as swords in a Rimmenese warlord’s service, but Andel quickly discovered that leading brothers in arms through such hardship took a toll on one that was without equal. With every decision made being challenged by fear of it being the wrong one, soon, Andel found himself drinking himself to sleep. To bolster their ranks and protect his companions, he recruited more men with the coin that was being made, but in a war-torn land, blades for hire had little understanding of decency and chivalry; the company showed signs of devolving into foul mercenaries, and this led Andel to seek a way to drill some order into his recruits before it was too late. One night, as he sat in his tent, he sought to contact his ancestors for guidance as his people did back in the old country, and unsheathed the Thornblade, grasping its studded grip hard enough to draw blood, hoping to attract the spirits of the sword’s previous wielders.
The sword answered, but not in a way that he expected. As his blood dripped down the length of the sword’s blade, its steel warped into a twisted, vaguely blade-shaped mass of blood red flesh, covered in veins and outlines of facial features, screaming, gritting, but worse was the eyes, oh, the eyes, eyes of men and of mer, eyes of brown, eyes of blue and green and eyes of blood red, eyes of stone cold killers and eyes childish in their innocence. As if the sight was not enough, one of the mouths tried to open itself and to say something, but the utterly perturbed Andel, having had enough of this madness in the last half minute, somehow found in himself strength enough to put the damnedest thing back in its sheath and go back to his bed a shivering, panting and sweating mess of fear and confusion, reaching for his bedside drink and downing the entire bottle of wine in a single drink. Part of him hoped that he would not wake up again, not wishing to try to make sense of it all anymore.
But wake up he did, and with his awakening came more hard decisions. The company was disbanded at first opportunity, with the profits being shared as previously agreed upon, and the Knights themselves were dismissed, although Andel saw to it that the duo were rewarded handsomely for their unwavering royalty through trying times. He traveled back north, alone this time, seeking a qualified enchanter who could explain exactly what was going on with the family heirloom, and more importantly, seeking some repose from the weight placed upon his shoulders. The wandering was financed with what was on hand; first his suit of steel plate was gone, then his spare clothes, then his horse, then his fancy jackboots. By the time he’d found someone willing and able to decipher the Thornblade’s condition, he had naught but what he carried on his person.
The enchanter that he’d found, an eccentric Altmer by the name of Gwendoreth, utilized arcane techniques of scrying to peer into the sword’s past, and came back with the answers that Andel sought. The sword had indeed been a potent artifact in its past, argued Gwendoreth, but it was at the hands of Farwil, or perhaps someone of great power in Farwil’s place, she wasn’t sure, that it took its current form. A great Daedra was slayed by it, said Gwendoreth, so great and capable in its ways that even in death, it could find a new vessel to continue its existence in; the very blade that took its life. Now, the blade was not unlike a black soul gem, feeding on the essence of those that found death by it, growing stronger and more capable with every new life. Following this, she made two offers to Andel; she could, and would happily, buy it from Andel to study it, or, if he’d like, she could exorcise the Daedra from it, but doing so would certainly destroy the sword in the process.
Andel considered exorcism to be the most logical option, but pride and shame kept him from it. He’d taken the Thorn Knights from his father, for the greater good perhaps, but the greater good he was unable to achieve either. On top of it, he had debased the knights, dirtying the order’s name in a meaningless conflict to keep the family afloat; with the sword also gone, Andel would have achieved nothing but failure. Nothing would remain of the Knights of the Thorn, nothing would remain of the House of Indarys, and he alone would be the one responsible for it. Even the idea of it felt like it was worming through his very soul, and thus Andel decided to throw himself on a new path, that is, to make a name for his own. Even if he absolutely had to destroy the Indarys legacy, he owed it to himself to build something else in return.
But how? He does not know. He did not return to Cheydinhal – he could not, rather, not without a victory – and took to wandering, seeking opportunities to prove himself. What few opportunities he found, he hesitated to take, and as chance is a fleeting thing, they disappeared before he could finally act. Andel now wanders the countryside from place to place, relying mostly on his good manners and the goodwill that he can cultivate amongst people to sustain his journey. So far, he has achieved little; but in Anvil, he hopes, that his luck will turn around.
Biggest Regret: Where to even start? He regrets having had to return to his family rather than staying with the Dals family, his fascination with a martial career, his attempts to train and prove himself in it rather than seeking something more fruitful. The fact that he actually stepped on the field of battle, and failed to find the transcendent experience in it that others could. The fact that he is not exceptional, the fact that he proved all too weak and all too mortal and not a hero. The fact that he dared to take over the Knights in their final days and failed to achieve anything with it. The fact that he could not save the Knights from being driven into the ground. The fact that he accepted the family heirloom, the fact that he found out it being cursed. The fact that he didn’t have it exorcised, the fact that he can’t find a way to fix it. The fact that he’s too ashamed to return home. Honestly, Andel’s entire past is a history of regret after another, and it all comes together as one great regret of living, living as a total and abject failure, and at times, living at all.
Andel’s Goal: Andel has come to this age with the stories of those who came and went before him, those who were worthy of being spoken about well after their passing. Living in the shadow of mer greater than him, whether through fame or mettle, has sparked in him an ambition to reach above and beyond them, for he believes that for some reason he must – yet in all his attempts so far, he has failed. Citing his young age and inexperience seems not to influence him, leading him to remind his would-be excusers how his uncle Farwil had taken on the forces of Oblivion at an age younger than he and successfully purged the County of them, even daring to venture into the realm itself to shut down the gate that oozed out the forces of evil that he’d driven off. He wishes to have his name written down into the annals of history like his ancestors did, and not as a footnote of failure, but as a figure greater than any of them. He wishes to earn the mettle necessary for it, as well, for merely being named as such will not do; he must, he absolutely must live up to the standards of being an ideal knight and prove to himself that he is more than a byproduct of his ancestors’ legacy.
Having had to lead a mercenary company, Andel learned the hard way that an army walks on its stomach, and that an officer’s foremost duty is to keep the army walking. What good are soldiers when they aren’t on the field of battle, and what good is an officer if he cannot procure what’s necessary for them to walk?
As an heir to a knightly order, experience with the sword was a necessity for Andel in Ilver’s eyes. While not necessarily a bad swordsman, and graceful in his movement, Andel never showed the decisiveness necessary to be an exceptional one.
Andel does not actively seek an audience, nor does he try to manipulate it, but he’s well-versed in the oratory arts, and the wide repertoire of books that he can draw references from make him a pleasant companion in almost every environment.
A knight is nothing without his horse, and to be a horseman requires at least some nimbleness to stay on the saddle as one gets to have the horse used to his presence atop it.
A knight is a warrior, and during war, if ten percent of your time is spent battling, then ninety percent of it is spent getting to the battle. Tiresome it may be, but it is not alien to Andel.
A Knight of the Thorn is nothing without his floral-patterned plate, and for all its cumbersomeness, Andel had to have some experience wearing it, even if solely for appearances.
A knight cannot be in full armor all the time, although he must at the very least bear the signs of his office, be it a breastplate, or a gorget.
A knight needs to be a man of valor, and as every wise man knows, discretion is the better part of it.
Equipment: - A well-made and well-worn traveler’s outfit of Nibenese fashion - A thick, sheepskin-lined overcoat - A steel skullcap, sewn into his bonnet - A steel gorget - A pair of steel vambraces - A pair of rawhide boots - A medal of the Knights of the Thorn, said to be enchanted - A sword belt with two scabbards, one bearing a lock - A satchel of supplies, containing some potions and consumables - A waterskin - A hanger sword - The Thornblade, locked away in its scabbard
Misc. Possessions: - A key worn around his neck for the Thornblade’s scabbard - A pen holder made of brass with an integrated inkwell - A reed pen - A journal - Spare accoutrements for traveling
Name: Hakon Ingmarsson Race: Nord Age: 28 Birthsign: The Tower Family Origins: A family farm in Rorikstead
Personality: An old soul, Hakon is unlike most of his more fiery-hearted brethren, at least on the surface. Having seen his father killed for his words on the steps of Markarth, and what happens when you don't think before you act, his youthful impetuousness has been tempered like fine steel. A man of strong morals, he has an empathetic heart and does his best to be understanding, even to his enemies. He likes working with his hands and it gives him a down-to-earth wisdom reserved for older Nords. Still, Hakon possesses an ardent passion within him that needs only to be stoked, and he prefers not to speak or even think about politics because he knows he might say something that just brings trouble. He has a love for stories and talking, which surprises people he opens up to because generally he's fairly aloof. Just make sure you don't anger him. At heart, he still has the wrath of Atmora locked deep within him.
History: Born 10 years after the Great War, his father was a veteran of the conflict. His mother, a maid in Riverwood, bore three sons, Hakon being the middle child. Hrothgar was four years older than him, the eldest and the most like their father. His younger brother by a year was Barnjulf, who grew up athletic but found his niche in farming.
Initially they grew up in Riverwood, playing by the river and helping their father with his forge-work. One night when Hakon was twelve, his brothers and he heard a pack of wolves attacking the livestock and sneaked out to track them through the wilderness by the White River, his older brother spurring them on all night, though Hakon was excited to run across the landscape like his ancestors. They continued on, until they lost the trail and only had a few chicken feathers for their trouble. They saw Valthiem Towers in the distance, and Hrothgar's caution was thrown out by his curiosity. Large and strong, he continued forward and would not answer Hakon's questioning when confronted, telling him to be silent.
At the edge of the road, Hakon and Barnjulf waited in the brush while Hrothgar stepped out to speak to a solitary figure standing beside the abandoned ruins. To this day, Hakon believed he was trying to find some food to purchase for the journey back. They saw the stranger place their arm around Hrothgar and lead him toward the door, speaking to him as a friend, and without warning stabbed Hrothgar in the stomach time and again. Their oldest brother fell bleeding in a memory that would live with Hakon forever. They ran back to Riverwood and told their parents what had happened. Their father was furious and their mother burst into tears, and over the next day, the muster of Riverwood was summoned and moved north to purge the towers over the river. Hakon still remembers his father coming home, blood crusted on his wolfskin cloak. Only then did he cry for Hrothgar.
The next year, they traveled to Rorikstead. Their father was a native of Markarth and they wanted to become farmers. Hakon thinks they could not bear to live in their old home anymore.
Growing up, his father would teach Hakon the art of the forge in his spare time when they were not working the fields. Barnjulf grew to be a lover of things that grow, but Hakon preferred the heat of the forge and the working of steel. They lived much the same and grew happy for a time, until the Thalmor began lurking the roads and oppressing the people, and it was only a scant few years later when the Skyrim civil war erupted. His father, Ingmar, was a staunch Talos worshiper and a believer in civil liberties. He had paid the Empire with his own blood as many Nords had, and now the Thalmor were walking freely amongst a nation they had 'made peace with,' harassing the population and enforcing their laws. Meanwhile, the Forsworn had attacked Markarth and disrupted caravans, making the already Thalmor infested roads downright disastrous for trade.
When Ulfric Stormcloak and his volunteers passed through Rorikstead, Ingmar joined. Hakon was left home to tend the farm and forge, but his father returned just as he had in Riverwood, with blood and scars.
Hakon heard firsthand of Ulfric's ultimatum to the Forsworn, and was told his father witnessed the power of his Thu'um blow open the gates of the great dwarven city. The militia charged in, but I won't bore you with the details. We all know the Markarth incident, however Ingmar claimed to Hakon the slaughter in the aftermath was greatly exaggerated by the Imperial scholar Arrianus Arius, who also penned 'The Madmen of The Reach' which was a staple for Forsworn apologetics. Ulfric and his men would not have been welcome back had they slaughtered the populace within as the Imperial claimed, and Hakon did not believe his father was that cruel.
There was peace for a time, and even the Thalmor showed their faces less as the year passed. But his father told him it wasn't the end of it, and he trained Hakon in the way of the sword for months, before Markarth was pressed by the Imperials and went back on its word and denounced the terms of the treaty for Markarth. It wasn't what his father had exactly expected, but it was the next step in the conflict. They gathered themselves quickly.
His father and a few of the more ardent Skyrim loyalists took up arms for the third time in Hakon's life, and for the first time, Hakon could accompany them. He was proud to stand by his father and go to question Igmund on this betrayal. But when they saw Markarth on the horizon, the Thalmor were waiting for them, and they surrounded the small contingent of men who had come but to talk. The elves gave the men the chance to disperse, but Ingmar and a number of the men spoke up, asking what right the Altmer had in ruling Skyrim?
The elves only answer was the drawing of their arms. Hakon watched his father die by the sword, and his cloak was now covered in his own blood, and not those of his enemies. The rest of them ran, and Hakon was pulled away as he watched in shock. It was a minor skirmish, not even noteworthy for the history books, but to Hakon it defined his life.
He fled home and wept when he told his mother and brother, and he swore he would join Ulfric in his war to rid the nation of the elves and the imperial traitors. But his mother convinced him not to, told him she needed him alive. He listened to her, and the only time he raised his sword was to fight Forsworn raiders that threatened the farm of Ingmarsson. For three years he stayed home, helping his brother and mother. He saw his brother get married and was there for the birth of his nephew, but he couldn't share in his brother's happiness.
At the age of twenty one, he decided he had to leave his own. Skyrim was not what it had once been, and as much as it pained him, the most business one could find was in Cyrodiil. He also understood who to blame and who to save his ire for. The average imperial was not his enemy. They were men as he was, and he knew he would rather see a thriving land ruled by a faithless man than a land he called home losing its will to live. He couldn't stay there, and so he left and made his home in Anvil, by the sea. He had never seen the sea before and it had the ethereal quality of watching a snow-capped tundra without being reminded of his home. He became a blacksmith there, started a trade on his own and finding contentedness in his work and the people he would see everyday.
For seven years, he grew in skill and knowledge and he felt his heart growing softer. Until the current year, in the Endless Night...
Biggest Regret: Not having the strength of character to stop his brother, or stop his father, or in the silence of his heart... in not having the courage to join them.
Hakon's Goals: What Hakon wants is peace and success, and to leave his scars behind. A good woman and a fine meal would be great. Deep inside, however, he wants much what I want. What do I want for him? I want him to help people while simultaneously getting less peace and more ardent. I want his nordic side to come screaming out of him and for him to fight like his ancestors. Fight for a cause and for Talos!
Expert: Smithing Adept: One handed sword, Speech Novice: Blocking, Sneak, Heavy Armor
Necklace of Ingmar (plain silver necklace)
I'm really happy with all sheets and character proposals here - I know some are still a WIP, but the vibe and excitement of everyone here is fantastic - happy to have history in bullet points if it's easy :)
Thank you everyone for choosing to join this game! It's been a wee while since I've GM'd anything, and I'm trying to take what I've learned along the way and make this a good, fun game.
For any other interested writers - this game will never be "full" and you can always apply - I just ask that you know enough about where the story currently is in order to make an entrance if it's later down the track. I may have you hold off for a story moment or something.
First post coming very soon - I'm looking forward to the intros, the collabs, and the joy (and horrors!) to come! :)