I tend to play characters less handsome than I am so I can better relate to you, the people.
Image: Conducting experiment in Bangkorai, circa 2E 599
185cm | 85kg | 33 years old
♀ | Orc | Apprentice
Dra'bul, Malabal Tor, Valenwood
MAJOR WILLPOWER | minor agility
Highly Proficient: Destruction
Moderately Proficient: Mysticism | Alchemy
Somewhat Proficient: Conjuration | Restoration | Acrobatics | Provisioning | EnchantingAppearanceDespite having an atypical career for an Orc, Bolorma is quite typical for an Orc woman, physically.
Well, Wood Orc.
Like other Wood Orcs, she is more svelte than bulky, relative to their Orsimer counterparts in the north. Compared to those in Wrothgar, her limbs are more elongated, rather than squarely muscled. Her tusks are thin, long, and partly curved, rather than thick and stout. Her jawline is thinner, rather than round. Her neck is akin to a flexible palm tree, rather than a girthy oak. But to those unfamiliar with Orcs, Bolorma is just another big green woman.
She doesn't disagree. After all, Bolorma is taller and heavier than her standard Breton colleague. But no, she can't lift most of them. She can lift some heavy boxes filled with soul gems and alchemy flasks, though. This, combined with semi-routine exercising (mainly to get away from the stuffy guild hall), made Bolorma's arms and legs slightly muscled, and her core lightly toned.
Dark blue eyes that near amethyst under specific lighting. Platinum blond hair just past her shoulders, and often tucked into a ponytail. Darker eyebrows and eyelashes (due to washing her face and hair separately). Thin, dark lips that either curls up to a fascinated smirk, or a weary frown. Bolorma takes her hygiene seriously, especially after losing her lover to the Knahaten Flu.
Unlike her practical circlet, which is enchanted and doubles as a hairband, her earrings carry the weight of vanity and remembrance of lost loves. A pair of lozenge dangles, shaped like the Imperial red diamond, reminds her of a certain follower of Mara. Three hoops, popular among Orcs of Orsinium, pay tribute to an enchanter and mentor.PersonalityOn the surface, Bolorma is confident of her abilities. She believes in doing a job well, and a job well done warrants lucrative rewards. Therefore, she has a distaste for slackers and those who cut corners. Still, she isn't above walking away from something she couldn't do, or something not worth doing. After all, everyone has a limit; Bolorma certainly has hers.
Beneath the surface, Bolorma has many layers of doubt. She does not believe she was raised with love, and believes the world has torn away those she loved. She never quite belonged, never quite fit in, never certain of who she is supposed to be. She questions her identity, her faith, and her future. Will an Orc be accepted by the divines? Will the child of a villainous tribe build her home somewhere else? Will a heart broken by loss ever love again? Bolorma is uncertain of the answers, and nothing scares her like uncertainty.
With that said, Bolorma has a very much passionate, curious, and sometimes impulsive, mind. While she is most comfortable in familiar settings, and having everything under control, she delights in new challenges. Learning about current events is a hobby of hers. Learning among the books can be something she spends days losing herself in. Learning from her mistakes is necessity she begrudgingly accepts, though sometimes she rebels against. Learning about anything but herself works as a soothing distraction.
While Bolorma likes to think she is not prejudiced against anyone, she has no shortage of disdain for certain individuals, groups and cultures. She finds established organizations to be entrenched in old ways, thus stifling people like herself of their full potential. At the same time, she believes authority should always exist in any society. Good leadership, whatever that truly means, is sorely lacking in present day Tamriel. Bolorma sees the war in Cyrodiil as meaningless slaughter, and the alliances that perpetuate it as fundamentally flawed. She has no aspiration to become empress, chief, or arch-mage, but Bolorma will not hesitate to take charge to achieve common goals.
She has mixed feelings for battle. It is exciting, it is dangerous, it is exhausting, it is different. With devastating shock spells, Bolorma knows she can inflict as much as damage as a powerful warrior. But since she is unable to withstand nearly as much, she prefers to stay well away from the melee, and using her destructive capabilities as deterrence. If given the choice, she would rather protect her allies with conjured wards and heal the wounded.
In terms of faith, Bolorma believes in the eight divines and Trinimac. She does not pray to them frequently, not since three years ago.
Gold has rarely been a concern for Bolorma. She's not rich, but magic is always in demand somewhere.HistoryWhen she was young, Bolorma prayed for lightning.
The shamans of her tribe saw the sparks the day she was born. The speckles of magicka shone through her like light through a prism. Bolorma, they told her mother, "crystal" in an ancient tongue.
Her mother was the hearth-wife to the chief, and the daughter was destined to be married to the chief of another stronghold, as it had been for generations. Those who stray from their destiny were forever forgotten.
The eldest shaman, Glazulg, was an eccentric Orc. While the select few with magical talent would study under his tutelage, his recent opposition to the chief caused Bolorma's mother to forbid any future of a young shamaness. Plus, the chiefs of neighboring tribes wanted an dutiful and obedient child-bearer, not a wild and impulsive storm-caller.
In her first fourteen years, Bolorma gra-Makhug learned how to be the best hearth-wife; cooking, mending clothes and cleaning the longhouse. Ever the willful, curious and nimble girl, she often sneaked out to climb the towering graht-trees of Malabal Tor and tussle with other children. Those escapades would end in her returning with scrapes on her skin, dirt in her nails and static in her hair. A harsh scolding, and sometimes a harsher beating, would come from her mother.
The lightning she prayed for never came, for without training, Bolorma's magic never developed. But on her fifteenth year, the warriors of her tribe made an unprecedented attack on Velyn Harbor. It failed, and a vengeful Dominion general ordered the ethnic cleansing of all Drublog Wood Orcs. Bolorma was one of the few survivors, because she sneaked out to play.
The forests of Malabal Tor could have spelled doom for Bolorma in many ways. Cultists, werewolves, bloodthirsty Dominion soldiers or just hungry beasts. Instead, she was found by members of the Mages Guild out on a runestone survey. The mages quickly recognized her latent magic potential and took her to their hall. Among the throngs of Altmer wizards, Bolorma was surprised to find another Orc. An enchanter from the north called Shulgin gro-Brushas.
From Shulgin, Bolorma would learn about his homeland, Wrothgar, and his divine, Trinimac. But more amazingly than a sovereign Orcish kingdom was an organization where Orcs could learn magic. She became Shulgin's assistant as he finished his surveys in Valenwood. Then they traveled north, where Bolorma found herself in awe of the people, their cultures and architectures. By her seventeenth year, Bolorma was Shulgin's apprentice and an associate of the Mages Guild. Their relationship grew intimate as they traveled through the Daggerfall Covenant.When she was 18, Bolorma had her first heartbreak.
Shortly after Bolorma turned eighteen, Shulgin abruptly announced an end to their partnership. He felt inappropriate sleeping with an apprentice a decade younger, and felt like he was taking advantage of her. In addition, their skills branched in different directions. Whereas he was gifted in enchanting, her talents manifested in electromancy. Before parting ways, Shulgin finally gave Bolorma the endorsement for full guild membership.
Bolorma reacted like any other eighteen-year-old after a breakup. She cursed Shulgin's name, ate a lot of sweet snacks and buried herself in her studies. Her prowess as a sorceress heightened as she progressed in the guild's Wayrest chapter. Spell after spell, thesis after thesis, proving after proving; by the age of 24, Bolorma was qualified as an evoker.When she was 24, Bolorma felt immortal.
Lightning crackled at her command, and the powers of soul and Oblivion was hers to harness. The only thing holding her back was surely the guild's bureaucracy. The old Breton wizards were just like the old Altmer wizards in Malabal Tor; racist and stuck in their old ways. In addition, she heard the guild would be restricting areal spells to be cast no often than once every three seconds, in fear of "sundering the foundation of Aurbis". What she needed were practical results to prove them wrong. An expedition was forming to study the aftermath of the Celestials in Craglorn: the perfect opportunity.
Reality was far more disappointing than expectation. Instead of fallen stars and otherworldly manticores, the expedition spent months digging up rocks, and more months examining them. Against regulations, Bolorma reactivated a dormant anomaly. Slumbering atronachs sprung to life and rampaged through the expedition camp. Four lives were lost.
Standing before the guild council took Bolorma back to her mother's scoldings. The shame of failing, of being caught, overwhelmed her senses. But she was an adult now, and she didn't have to suffer demotion like her mother's beatings.When she was 25, Bolorma left the Mages Guild.
The next year was spent drifting from place to place. The stars that once guided Bolorma lost their aetherial inspiration. With every passing night, she looked up less to the sky, and deeper into whatever drink that drowned her sorrows. She found herself in Evermore on her 26th year, zapping skeevers for gold and spending them at a brothel called the Blushing Hawk.
On a caravan escort job to Skyrim, Bolorma found herself attacked by werewolves. Lightning arced from her fingertip, electrocuting the charging wolf-man. Her familiar emerged from Oblivion, her wards blunted the werewolves' claws. It was surreal to apply her sorcery in such a sudden manner; her training taking over as the beasts were driven off. Bolorma didn't talk much about it after, but the caravanners did, and the Silver Dawn recruiter at Falkreath heard.
Werewolf hunting sounded like the ideal job to regain her confidence. Bolorma purchased an elegant staff from the Silver Dawn armorer. Then she set out with a raiding party to the Moon Hunter pack's hideout in the Jeralls, hoping to find glory in battle.
Instead, she found numbing strikes, soaked blood, mangled flesh, torn limbs, disemboweled entrails, decapitated heads, and the screams of her dying comrades, and, oh, gods, the smell!
The smell was nauseous. She found vomit. Bolorma vomited over and over again.Ran away, then vomited again. Dry heaving. Couldn't vomit anymore.She found...where was she?Even more nauseous. Passed out.She found nothing.But who found her?
The smell of incense, cinnamon tea, medicinal ingredients, an Imperial woman's perfume. Bolorma found herself on a narrow bed, silky fur bedding, soft feather-filled pillows, a comforting quilt. A chiseled candled colored like the graht-oak's bark, the dancing flame casting the shadow of an Imperial woman holding a towel and a bowl of balm.
Her name was Sperantia Solidagus, a healer and a follower of Mara. She was one the few remaining of a order torn by the Alliance War. It was pure coincidence to stumble upon a dazed Bolorma on her reagent gathering trip north of Bruma. But this was the second time for the Orc woman. She needed no convincing; it must've been divine intervention.
So Bolorma once again followed her savior. She and Sperantia traveled through the Colovian Highlands, aiding the ill along the way. Bolorma found peace in service and devotion, taking pride in every recovery like a sign from above. As they reached the Gold Coast, where the rest of the Maran order had relocated to, she found herself falling in love.
Unlike the youthful, fiery, rushed lovemaking with Shulgin, the nights with Sperantia were methodical, tender, but no less passionate. During the days, they would exchange magic techniques. Bolorma taught her to control electricity, and learned healing and alchemy. However, neither would quite master the other's specialty.When she was 27, Bolorma thought she found everything she wanted.
Spending the next three years in the Gold Coast would be the most fulfilling time in Bolorma's life. She tutored wealthy children in magic, sold glyphs, donated to the poor (as a devout adherent of Mara), and was even considering asking her beloved's hand for marriage. That was, until duty called Sperantia to Elsweyr.
A high priest in Rimmen called for all Maran healers to cleanse Ocrest, which had been abandoned since the Knahaten Flu decades ago. Sperantia went, Bolorma waited in Rimmen. Several weeks later, only Sperantia's restoration wand returned. She and a few others contracted the flu and died; her body had to be cremated for sanitation.
Alone and devastated, Bolorma prayed at the shrine of the Mother Cat. She prayed and prayed, and turned her face to the sky, but there was nothing. Mara abandoned her.
Stumbled back to...home? No, just somewhere familiar.Caravan, cart, bridge, ship.Colovia, Gold Coast, Craglorn. Stock up at Mages Guild.Shulgin?
This Shulgin was not the lively enchanter, he was a dying man clinging to the final weeks of his life. Soon after Bolorma left the guild, Shulgin was put in charge of the Craglorn expedition. He uncovered radioactive properties of nirncrux-infused minerals, but only after irreparable damage had been done to his body. His biggest regret? Leaving Bolorma when she needed him the most.
At this point, the only way Shulgin could apologize was using his position to restore Bolorma to good standing with guild. Even so, she was reluctant to accept. But upon returning to Evermore, she saw everything, even her favorite brothel, was in uncertainty. Maybe she should seek out that illusionist in Falkreath she heard about, the one that could heal wounded minds. Then again, Falkreath itself was enough bad memories to say otherwise. The Mages Guild was the only familiar place left.When she was 30, Bolorma felt like her life's stuck in a loop.
Well? What would she change this time?Besides her name, to gra-Shulgin, to honor the man who started this...loop?Not much, really.
She would study harder than ever, her research and experiments would be perfect, and she would not let her heart distract her from becoming the best sorceress she could be. She would withdraw to her solitary side, though she made sure to not overindulge in alcohol and brothels again, substituting physical exercise in their places. She would reach heaven, wherever that is, through determination and violence of action. For Shulgin, for Sperantia.When she was 33, Bolorma ascended to the position of warlock.
Her promotion came just days before strange lights appeared in the sky. Furthering the confusion was Raxus' unexpected ascension to the Ruby Throne. The guild had conflicting views on this latest turn of events. Bolorma (representing the Evermore guild hall), along with a few other Mages Guild members, were sent to Leyawiin to investigate on behalf of the High Rock chapters.
However, Bolorma thought this new power could be opportunity, rather than risk. Surely the Witchman Emperor and the conjuror of lights would accept the service of powerful mages. If they could end the Three Banner War, what couldn't they do?
And so she went alone to meet the figures in strange armor. They must know something. Maybe a contract and some gold right there? At the very least, they should shake hands and point her to the right direction. Nope, they knocked poor Bolorma out.
When she came to, it was the rattling of chains, the dampness of dungeons, the darkness of the unknown, the ever-present static of anxiousness, and three ageless words.
"You're finally awake."Relations
- Chief Makhug (♂ Orc) - Father - Deceased
- Hearth-Wife Kora (♀ Orc) - Mother - Unknown
- Shulgin gro-Brushas (♂ Orc) - Mentor and former lover - Deceased
- Sperantia Solidagus (♀ Imperial) - Former lover - Deceased
- Guy Molose (♂ Breton) - Former instructor - Unknown
- Sernays Ancelet (♂ Breton) - Boss - Alive
- Anenya (♀ Altmer) - Shornhelm Mages Guild member, current colleague - Alive
- Bhisha-ka (♀ Khajiit) - Priestess of Mara, friend - AliveInventory
- Birch lightning staff - Silver Dawn style
- Hickory restoration wand - Imperial style
- Mages Guild robes, shirts, leggings
- Blue cotton hooded cloak - with moderate frost resistance enchantment
- Gray leather boots (for cold weather) and corkwood sandals (for warm weather)
- Sapphire circlet - with magicka regeneration enchantment
- Guar hide belt - with pouches and wand holster
- 4x alchemy bottles - health potion, magicka potion, cure disease potion, water
- 3x empty soul gems, 1x filled soul gem
- Leather backpack - with staff holster
- Runestones - 1x Jera, 1x Ode, 1x Oko, 1x Okoma, 2x Jejota
- Dried food for traveling
- Compact utensils
- Soap and sanitation papers
Sait [Say-Et] Sunfall | The Migrant Mentalist | Redguard | Male
Family Origins:Initially, Sait’s family were from Sentinel, Hammerfell - but Sait spent his formative years in High Rock, and a good many travelling Tamriel as a raggamuffin researcher. He considers himself to be a man without a nation; or else, a man whose country is in the people he works with.
Appearance:Sait is a tall and lean figure; thin but not without the tell-tale toning of a body inherently built for resilience. Raised in the traditional Redguard way- that is, by the blade- Sait is as sturdy as a man with fluctuating food incomes could be.
His face is long, but kind; his eyes the honeyed colour of amber, they glister hopefully in spite of the weight of others' woes. They are oft underfixed by the shadows of restless nights and long days, however. His complexion is that of a dark rosewood, deep and warm - and broken up about his lower mouth by his facial hair, a burgundy beard tailored to a goatee.
Being of humble origins, and oft deprived, Sait has made no habit of cutting his hair - he wears it, thick tresses of warm-hued Auburn, in a chaotic twisted bun, clasped with a golden bond. Nonetheless, the volume means it carries with it a rebellious streak - and generally there are strands which, being too keen, instead hang in loosely-curled drills about his face.
Prior to this crisis, Sait regularly changed his clothes to compliment local fashions - but his final tarrying to Falkreath was unplanned, so he is wearing something reminiscent of his Redguard garb; black harem pants and a similarly pitch leather tunic, embroidered with bands of silver and over-crossed by the dark-tanned leather strap of his scabbard. About his waist, a woven belt of white and red fabric slings across and down to his left hip. The arrangement is shawled beneath an open-breasted white cloak, hemmed in black and gold - and above it all, crossing his scabbard's strap in the other direction, is an oak-coloured satchel.
Equipment:Sadia, Sait's scimitar - His sister Eno's best design, forged by a Breton blacksmith.
A coin purse worked of a black suede; 100 septims.
Misc. Possessions:- A heavy, leather-bound notebook containing Sait's research; it is sewn from patches of red hide and closed with a flintlock-style lock.
- A darkly hued leather satchel, wide at the base and sewn from hide.
- Several inkwells, wrapped in cloth.
- Parchment paper and envelopes.
- Pencils and quills.
- A golden hair clasp, forged by Eno.
- A copy of his first series of publications, To The Far Shores and Back - A Treatise on Mundus and Mind.
- An incomplete sequel to the aforementioned To The Far Shores and Back, with the working title To Sovengarde and Back - The Nord - Perspective on Mundus and the Mind.
- A flint and tinder.
Family and Associations:- Jed Sunfall - Father, deceased. Once a gentle priest, Jed succumbed to madness in old age, and, unable to care for himself, died bitter and confused.
- Mother - Deceased.
- Eno Larrin - Eldest Sister, proprietress of a small merchant company operating out of Camlorn.
- Immara Sunfall - Elder Sister, making ends meet in Sentinel.
- Torran Larrin - Brother-in-Law, pseudo-parental figure and all around fun fella. Blessed with the undeniable gift of the gab.
- Somebody’s Sundries - The humble Larrin mercantile endeavour, based in Camlorn.
- The Illusion and Restoration faculties of Winterhold - Fellow researchers, with whom Sait has shared lengthy correspondence.
- Various, lesser academics - Don't think of themselves as such.
Favoured Skills:Speechcraft [Highly Proficient]
Sait is an old friend you've only just met; his verbal talents lying in a predisposition towards camaraderie and kindness. He is persuasive not on the basis that he is deceptive, but due to his good nature and his ability to read others; he picks his words carefully, and broadcasts sincerity. It is not just that Sait is a ‘trained talker’, though he is - Sait has dedicated his life to talking to others, and to persuading them to open the darkest vaults of their hearts to him.
Illusion [Highly Proficient]
Sait has always had an aptitude for illusions, though he was not always so proud of it - as a wain he worked silhouettes and shadows into more comforting shapes to ease his suffering father's fears. On instinct and from stolen glances at tabooed books. Many years later, with the aid of many a compatriot mage, such a skill would develop into Sait's Pacify technique. Likewise, to understand peace is to understand chaos, and in walking his path he has learned to use the psychology of those who would hurt him or others against them. After all, medicine is a double-edged sword - potions and poisons are indistinguishable out of their bottles.
Swordplay [Moderately Proficient]
Back when the old man's sword-arm was still strong, he raised Sait in the way of his ancestors… by the sword. When Jeb could no longer be trusted with a blade, it fell to Eno to keep the old ways alive. Though not as fervent a student as some other Redguard youth, Sait values Sadia and his capacity to use her greatly - one must have a weapon when one travels alone.
Restoration [Somewhat Proficient]
An inevitable element of Sait's walking the healing path: some people's minds fracture due to a treacherous body. And who better to comfort the sick than one who can heal with a touch?
Sait evokes wistful memories, and calm reverence which quells the urge towards violence. It is a moment from history, gold-hued and more perfect than it ever could have been - and for him it is a shade of childhood, where his fledgling magic smoothed the fury of his fitting father.
Having studied minds in crisis, Sait has built quite a repertoire of nightmares to induce - but none is more effective at scaring off a foe than the inexplicable, unexplainable dread.
Those overwhelmed by life can be pacified, and given due rest - but for those overcome by malaise, by existential dread, Sait has found that the more effective route is rallying them back to their feet.
A hold out from childhood, Sait learned to muffle his steps before anything else - lest his father hear him coming, and catch him practicing his tricky magic.
Though Sait has great empathy for those whose minds are elsewhere, some are violent. He doesn’t begrudge them this- his own father was likewise inclined- so in lieu of reacting harshly, Sait has learned to take care of himself.
Most of the unwell are not violent, though. More often than not, they are persecuted. Tortured as treatment, beaten and broken under the misconception that fragile docility is recovery. In such a case, any good carer of the mind must be ready to heal the harmed.
History:Sait's father was a madman. This was not all he was, but by the end, it was all that remained of him. All that mattered. Madness had hollowed him out; it grew fat on his accomplishments, on his quiet pride and gentle valour, and all the while it ravaged him from within. The slowest and most terrible of poisons - it overcame even Redguard resilience. And when it was done with his thoughts, and he was well and truly blind in his mind's eye, it chewed on his body - until the muscle atrophied and the teeth fell out of his head.
Jed Sunfall had been a family man, once; a holy man, even. But he died a stranger to them all, family and flock. In his final moments, he thought his children spiritual lepers, and their long-departed mother his last confidant. He cried his woes to the open air of her, comforted only by the shadows and smoke his son spun from nothing; the illusory magics Sait taught himself in secret, to combat the horrors only Jed could see.
But he could not fight the battle for Jed's mind. Sait would always remember that he had died scared; the howling ghost of a quiet and thoughtful man.
Jed had been a priest of Tu'whacca, and a guide to all who endeavoured to make their way to the Far Shores; a steady hand on the tiller who had, himself, tried to turn the tide of many a man's madness. But, as surely he knew, it was not enough to be versed in verse. Being a holy man, all who endeavoured to treat him took it to be an illness of the spirit- Sep's haunting hunger- and prayed for him. Salved him, saved him in the eyes of their Gods. And yet still he perished, lost long before he died - and truly dead in death. Not whole enough to see the Far Shores again.
Such circumstances shook Sait's faith, and though he had taught himself the tabooed fundamentals of illusory magic, he did not grow up mystically inclined. He knew of the many Divines, of course - the Redguard pantheon and their neighbours - but he began to suspect young that men and Mer had more say in their lives than they might otherwise have liked. In the same way, he supposed folks often overestimated the interest of Gods.
And yet, something had taken Jeb's soul from him, of this much Sait was certain. Some terrible, transcendental hunger had cannibalised him from within - encroaching on the hearth of his heart until the warmth was wicked away, and all else was snuffed. But if not Divines, if not a spiritual sickness… then what?
The pursuit of answers to such questions became Sait's ouvre.
Sait was not yet a teen when they interred his father to the ground, to wander forever - devoid of the guidance he had offered others in life. It was not a ceremony which brought him peace - it seemed to him that it was all reverence to a tragic mystery. But there was nothing to be done - even in death, Jed's affliction could not be seen.
Following his passing, Sait became fixated with maladies of the mind - madness, melancholy and malaise. What sways a man to turn his weapon on himself, or on those he loves? Magic can sometimes alleviate these pains, but then, what does it affect to do this? Why do so many mages likewise go mad?
It became a fixation.
In lieu of a guardian, and of family to see them otherwise cared for, Sait's eldest sister- Eno- took it upon herself to provide for them. At first, life was paltry - she worked iron with intermediate skill, better accustomed to accoutrements than armaments. Her wares sold poorly, and often came back to her in pieces. And Sait could scarcely help her, for his fixation on his father's madness stupified him into an existential paralysis. He couldn't focus his mind for all the haul in Hammerfell. But Eno was young, strong and bonny - and soon enough made a good match with a visiting Breton merchant, hoping to establish further arms trades between High Rock and the City of Sentinel.
Torran, Eno's newfound husband, seemed a good match for her. He was spirited and keen, but nonetheless kind, and his merriment was boundless. He carried about him a bonhomie that was irresistable, and he drank Eno's love to its lees like a drunkard. In many ways, he was their late father's antithesis - but he made for a strong role model in young Sait's life, and took him for family at first they met.
"We're our very own little Daggerfall Covenant! One land, one emperor, right? Shame they named it after such a lousy city..."
Sait was scarcely 13 when Torran took Eno to Camlorn, with him in tow - though their middle sister, Immara, remained in Sentinel to mind what remained of their father's estate.
Jed had left little for them to inherit, and nothing they could take with them. A family home that Sait had no memory of joy in. But in Camlorn, Torran welcomed them to all he had - to his beds and business. To a life beyond the fallout of their father's decline. And yet still, Sait could not find peace in himself - cared for in comfort, his mind returned time and again to the invisible affliction of his father's mind. Though in time such things became baser - a simmering desire to know the workings and misworkings of people, always at play beneath his day-to-day adolescence. Torran was sure to keep him busy enough that such things only truly plagued him on quiet High Rock nights.
What struck Sait most about Torran, ultimately, was not his generosity - though it was evident in all he did for them. Sait came to love and admire a great many things about the man, but the thing he meditated on most was Torran's skill with people; with speech.
In the way of merchants, his business depended on barter - but this man did not simply hock wares; he sold airs along with them. Evoked value from his words; spoke new reality into being in the same way a mage might have conjured it. People swayed to the wind of his enthused effusion.
People had sought Jed out when Sait was very young, seeking guidance - but even in doing so with the reverence of believers, nobody had ever sought his company with the enthusiasm that total strangers soon sought Torran's. And they told him the stories of their lives, free of all charge save a joke and a witticism. If Sait were ever going to understand people, and the hidden corners of their minds, such a skill seemed essential.
"Torran, have you a minute?"
"For family? Always!"
"Can you be taught to speak? Like you do, I mean. Can I learn it?"
"Lad, not only can it be learned -- it can be mastered."
And so Sait subsequently began his journey into speech-craft. Under Torran's tutelage, and with the willing engagement of friendly regulars, he began to learn the way of words. How it is that strangers become fast friends, and the invisible machinery beneath it all. Torran confided in him the secrets of conversational strategy and social chameleonism; banter, baudiness and bardship.
Such lessons continued for Sait's teendom, and he worked diligently in his brother-in-law's service for so long as he received them; but as time pressed on, and Sait threatened to become a man, he began to feel unfulfilled. There was only so long that he could stave the ghost of his father's afflictions off. In growing older, he had come to look very much like Jed - back when the old man's face had been calm. When he'd smiled, and laughed softly, and waxed philosophical to his gaumless young. Jed had given him most every feature, save his instability - but the nature of the affliction was in itself maddening, and the root of it was no more evident in having mastered speaking to the sane.
Sait was not his father, despite all seemings. It was time to do what he and his colleagues could not - it was time to sate his cold, fearful hunger. It was time to dissect madness.
The Mad were not quite so easy to talk to as the sane. Not only due to their condition, but the conditions it otherwise left them in. Sait began to intern himself at temples and to local healers, not as a healer but as a comforting presence - and in doing so he saw men at their most pitiful. Deeply hollowed creatures; soldiers returning from the wars with eyes like smoke. Folks broken by the pressure - addicts fighting themselves. People whose every day was a new sphere of Oblivion. It seemed to Sait that madness was not one thing, but many - a spectrum of conditions left to linger, beyond the pale of potions and paltry spellwork.
But those with enough presence of mind to speak spoke volumes. Madness was a mystery to all but the mad - they were doctors unto themselves, scholars of the soul. Forced to introspection, and willing to share with a willing and non-judgemental ear. Like prisoners through the bars of their cages. They likewise marvelled at the comforting things he worked from air; in High Rock, illusory magic did not carry the taboo of his homeland, and that pressed Sait to further flex its capacity to heal the mentally unwell. Those that Sait worked under praised his efforts as humanitarian, but fruitless - those whose struggles he heard were beyond help. It was a small mercy. Such cruel compliments only further fuelled the fervor of Sait's undertaking.
"There has to be more than this. It isn't enough that people should suffer in company."
Sait felt that he had learned a lot through conversation alone - that those willing to speak to him had given him an insight beyond what watching alone could have. But he wanted to do more than listen, now. He wanted to provide the relief Jed had sorely needed - and he wanted to do more than cast comforting shadows in order to do it.
So he resolved to study; to find his niche among those who would otherwise see these souls as lost.
Later that same year, Sait departed High Rock, and now a young man of 23, he began his journey across the lands of men. He travelled from High Rock to Hammerfell, and from Hammerfell to Cyrodiil; and all the while he visited upon the domains of the mad. The dark spaces into which the rest of Tamriel stuffed their disparate, desperate folk. All of them from different places, practicing different magics and philosophies - but all alike in that their lives were often hard, and underpinned always by war, tragedy and stress. Mad houses were places of squalor - and the kindest of them were otherwise places of sterility, where maladies of the mind were not cured, but made silent through tedium and torture.
Everywhere he went, he broadened his perspective - he came to build theories and models of madness, even as the living conditions of his clients wore at the edges of his soul.
Not that life was especially glamorous on the road. At 26, Sait was nigh-penniless, and publishing his research from the eaves of The Witch's Tit, a graceless tavern in the port city of Anvil. He was on a crusade of tireless, tiring letter writing - corresponding with several colleges long after they had expressed disinterest in his theories. It was becoming evident that this was a field of research yet to be sown.
Dearest Professor Aluvirin, I am writing to propose to you that…
… and to whom it may concern, I am reaching out in search of like-minded individuals who…
Dr. Tauvurn, I’ve conducted my own research on this topic, and…
Dear Mr. Mallum, I know you told me to stop writing to you, but I really do think…
It took so long for any meaningful reply to return that Sait almost forgot that there was an end goal to the tedium of writing. It had become something of a ritual - in the mornings he would visit the lodgings of lunacy, and in the noon he would write until his hand began to cramp. Somewhere in there, somehow, several ales would manifest themselves about his makeshift desk, too. Such mysteries were as unsolvable as madness.
And then Gallenheim wrote to him.
Gallenheim- Gal- was a 'High Elf' of the progressive persuasion. A man who, like Sait, had come to see madness as something to be understood. He had taken some interest in Sait's writings, and in the prospect of therapeutic illusions - particularly as his sister had come to be haunted by hysteria. Through a regular and spirited correspondence, Gal disclosed his intentions to create an asylum in Southern Skyrim - a novel new facility intended to provide research-based alchemical and magical treatment. But he was himself, ostensibly, a man of fickle health - and so he was unable to conduct the necessary study alone.
That was serendipity enough for Sait - with Gal's funding, he travelled North and into Skyrim, where the wind carried such a chill that it made him feel that his blood might congeal.
Under Gal's guidance, Sait began to interview the Nord population, and visited again upon the places where they housed their mad. A hardy people, they oft had little to say in the way of their deeper feelings - though he found that they often lived short and stressful lives, and old age was nigh-synonymous with madness there. That didn't make the journey fruitless, however - in travelling Skyrim, young Sait began to become better acquainted with the country's small intelligentsia. The closed cult of academics who moved in similar circles to his own - people he would never have thought to write to, as their work seldom exceeded the borders of their cities, nevermind Skyrim as a whole.
It was during one such encounter, with a mage Sait had petitioned for help in his spellcraft, that he learned that things were not so clear cut as they seemed. In prioritising people, individually, Sait had lost sight of the bigger picture - the all-overarching war for the Ruby Throne. A battle fought not just on the field of combat, but through subterfuge - sometimes unwittingly.
Gallenheim, he came to learn, was a work of fiction - a wealthy ghost, whose prospective asylum existed in nobody's paperwork. It seemed likely to Sait's new academic friends, themselves a mixture of conscientious objectors and proud supporters of the Ebonheart Pact, that the entire pretense of Sait's visit was a ruse. A means to learn of local vulnerabilities, to perform a sort of surreal reconnaissance through an unwitting proxy - on behalf of The Aldmeri Dominion.
Sait was disheartened, he was outraged - but for the first time, he was amongst peers. Though this was an injustice, he was not without recompense.
He cut contact with "Gallenheim" immediately, but continued his research with the understanding that he would like to found a mental health facility - a place for the dishevelled and disenfranchised mad to feel safe and seek comfort at the hands of a new kind of healer. A place men like his father deserved.
He remained in Skyrim for two years, refining his methods with the help of his new colleagues, and establishing himself as a minor name in a fledgling field. By the time he was 28, however, the war was beginning to encroach - it was in the air that something significant was coming, and it seemed wise to leave when the locals began to grow increasingly incensed about it all. He made for the South, with the intention of returning to Anvil to collect some belongings, and then sailing on to Hammerfell, so that he might share what little money remained of The Aldmeri Dominion's generous research grants with his spinster sister Immara.
It was shortly before he'd cross the border into Cyrodiil that he learned of Raxus' upset victory - his sudden and prolific rise to power, seemingly from nowhere. By all accounts, a bloodied barbarian sat in the place of dragon's blood - and the Imperial City was well beneath his thumb.
Travelling through such a place would have been foolish for even the most prolific of warriors, nevermind a would-be academic. Having no delusions as to his nature, Sait made plans to leave Skyrim through Hammerfell directly; but the world felt different beneath Raxus' rule, there was something fundamentally unbalanced in it all. The air tasted different.
That unbalance was no more evident than when the aurora descended, though. Ribbons of ensnaring light, unfolding against Skyrim's darkling sky like a world-wide werelight. The plan changed again - such a thing had to be the work of a masterful illusionist, an entire band of them, and surely if such a thing were the case, his Nord colleagues would be well aware. Instead of Hammerfell, Sait veered towards Falkreath, and all along the way he met folks possessed by a strange and preternatural calm. Compelled also by the notion that something had shifted the minds of Skyrim's people, Sait's urgency increased.
By the time he reached Markarth, terrifying bliss had set in. The same Nords who had rattled swords at Raxus' upstart name were drifting towards a fondness for him. A generation of war, and the outrage it inspired, wiped from the zeitgeist of a country whose denizens prided themselves on battle. It would have been a beautiful thing, Sait supposed, had it been consensual. Was there such a thing as positive madness? Time and research would tell.
In Markarth, Sait descended upon the offices of a mage with whom he had worked to devise comforting illusions, and the two talked fervently of the news. To Sait's surprise, this keen Ebonheart enthusiast seemed to welcome the new regime -- and offered Sait a bed, so that the two could discuss such matters, and how they might affect his research going forwards, in the morning.
Sait awoke to an armed guard, in the most macabre or armour.
Sait's father was a madman - and now the whole world was mad.
Personality:Sait learned young that the world was unjust - that it was chaos, and that it would do undue harm to any and everybody. He learned that the Gods did not always heed a prayer, and that good men died the same as sinners. As a young man, it bred a coldness in him. A chamber of doubt, a paralysing fear of the enemy within his mind.
But that coldness is gone now.
Sait has outgrown his existential nihilism: in volunteering himself to the worst conditions, and mingling amongst the living damned, he has come to practice a personal philosophy of proactive happiness. Of kindness not in spite of cruelty, but because of it. The world is hard and cruel, it's true - but candlelight seems a great deal brighter in the dark. A passing friend's helping hand means more to a drowning man than a rock out to sea. An ironic perspective, perhaps, as Sait has never remained in one place long enough to have friends of his own.
Sait is a gentle soul, though one with a decent sword-arm, and he believes fundamentally that it is the duty of the well to uphold the weak - that a person ought to be a friend to the world. In his work, he has come to know a great many people whose lives turned on the callousness of others - people interred as punishment for an illness no soul has yet sussed. But in showing them even basic kindness, they have opened to him as flowers do. And he carries that experience with him always.
Being kind, however, does not spare Sait from being strange. He is a man of habitual ritual, and of vast over-presumption. Oftentimes frantic in the throes of his research, Sait has come to adopt some of the peculiarities of the people he has studied. He is terrified of insects, particularly the small ones, after a client divulged their delusions of subdermal intruders - beetles beneath the skin, spiders beneath the eyelids. Every itch is an end. He's likewise sceptical of the open ocean, and enraptured by the glare of a wildfire. He can scarcely sleep on cloudless nights, as he is strangely compelled to believe that something insidious may fall from the stars - and he is certain that his sword, Sadia, has a living will to her.
Still, these are mostly harmless - there are far worse things uttered in the halls of the mad.
Joy33 | ♀ | Orphan of Solitude | Nord/Imperial
Barmaid, Bard, Cook
Willpower (Major) Personality (Minor)══════ A P P E A R A N C E ══════Joy is of average height - standing at 5'6. Her figure is womanly, soft, and unthreatening and it is clear she has a fondness for food. Somehow, she keeps herself in an enviably svelte shape that has caught the eyes of more than a few men and women. During winter, she has the pale appearance typical of a Nord, her hair falls like fire to her collarbones, in soft curls -- one section happens to be far more unruly and so she often tucks it behind a hairband. Joy does not care too much for over grooming herself, she is not a vain individual, and yet she still radiates an undone kind of beauty, her smile is especially disarming in its sincerity.
If she is fair in winter, her Imperial heritage shows in the summer, the sun drawing out a more olive tone to her skin. Her hair, too, takes on a far more golden lustre in the sunlight.
Perhaps the most standout of her features are her eyes. They carry the colour of a brittle blue sky, and are warm with happiness. She communicates well with expression, not averse to raising a brow to be coquettish, or pulling her full lips downwards into a faux frown to coax a laugh from someone else. When Joy smiles, it is clearly a mischievous one that reflects her mind at work.
Under her clothing, she bears the scars of her trade, and more so than that, the scars of her life. An accident with a pan of boiling sugar has left a particularly nasty burn across her ribs. There are faded stripes that adorn her back from beatings at the Orphanage, and the reminder of a particularly violent mugging - the scar of a stab in her side. It makes her nervous and insecure, to have such scars; at the same time, they are her secret. She sees them as the reminders of her experiences. Her hands are frequently peppered with small knife cuts and little burns. Occupational hazards. She is not remotely as bothered by these as she is by her disfiguring marks.═══════ P E R S O N A L I T Y ══════Joy is at her very essence, a hopeless romantic. She has searched endlessly for requited love, whether that is familial, found in platonic friendship, or romantic love. It is the only thing she has ever felt that her life was truly lacking. A home. She found that, or so she believed, in The Blushing Hawk -- seeing the women she tended to with sisterly affection. During her time there, she saw many of them arrive, work, and then leave eventually, in a manner that was not too dissimilar to her upbringing in Honorhall.
The friendliness they shared ended when they would leave. Despite this, Joy has fond memories of them too - and so is drawn to women as friends quite quickly. The women saw her through her own heartbreaks, and soothed her when she was sad too.
She is naturally charismatic, with a curiosity about everyone and everything. She is the kind of woman who carries you away with her, and makes you feel as if you are the only one who matters to her. It is a byproduct of her living a life where people come and go as freely as they need to. She is poetic in her speech, and even more so in her thought. Observant of the world around her, she sees beauty in everything, even if her life has shown her nothing but ugliness. She has come to expect only short relationships from those she encounters. Her empathic nature lends itself well to finding trust in others quite quickly. They move on, and she stays behind - in the moments she shares with others, she wants to see the world through their eyes.
Having never been adopted by a family, and having been sold to a brothel, her unorthodox upbringing has left her riddled with her own insecurities. She opts to hide this behind her trademark smile - never letting her vulnerability show for fear of judgement. She fears that she will never find stability in her life, with someone, with a family. Like anyone else, Joy is not without the ability to feel deep sadness from time to time too. She grieves for the life she never had, and the mystery of her parentage will always haunt her on some level. Her own insecure questions that she carries in her heart for her mother and father sting her from time to time. It would take someone who knew similar feelings of pain and loss to find them within Joy.
The hardships she has faced have never truly broken her spirit, however, and instead they have only ever made her more adamant to find happiness in dark spaces. She brushes off negativity rather easily, and has an easy way of approaching almost anyone, finding it easy to make a good impression.
A practicing bard and performer of sorts, she adores music and brings a flair of musicality to most of the things that she does - writing songs about her experiences in love, life, and even penning songs about the tales of deeds of those she has met.
Joy is a caretaker to those around her, giving herself almost selflessly to the needs of others, she fills her cup by being a listening ear with a wise and uplifting word to others when they need it, even if they don’t know it.
One would be foolish to pass her off as a simple barmaid spouting loving words. Many have, and many came to regret that. Joy was never formally educated, so she has no real intelligence of the world and its history - only the stories she hears from others. Her emotional intelligence is much more astute and she is patient. This level of emotional intelligence has afforded her an almost fearless level of grit. She is more bold and daring than her lack of skills should allow her to be, and more outspoken than most too. She speaks for those in need, and is not afraid to speak her mind loud and proud when it comes to matters of morality and justice. She has no fear towards other people, no concept of authority and respecting a view because it has passed through a hierarchy. It is her ability to see the good in people that gives her the confidence to talk openly with anyone, about anything.═══════ H I S T O R Y ══════My name is Joy, just Joy.
Nobody knows where or when I was born, only where I was found. I was discovered abandoned in Solitude, under the shawls of the first snow of Frostfall. It was the blurred vision of a blushing drunk, and his curiosity that followed that led to my being rescued from a sure death, and soon after that encounter, I was sent to the city Orphanage.
It was a bleak childhood. The Matron of the Orphanage was crueler behind closed doors and I spent most of my time dreaming about my future. I always felt so deeply unsettled, and I was never satisfied with the nonchalance and disregard of who I really was, of who left me, of who my parents were.
My fellow orphans and I would play together with the few toys we had, often we’d fashion dolls and the like from the sticks and stones in the yard and we would play out our lives in those hours of free time.
I have never been able to cast a spell, but I like to believe that the other orphans and I created magic by the fireplace from pure imagination. It was all I could do to turn their attention away from the cruel Matron who would punish us over the smallest slights. I know the sting of a stick across my back, the curled handle of a cane dug into my ribs, the whip of a belt across the back of my legs, and the feeling of a simple punch or a kick all too well. I always tried to take the brunt of her malice. If she was mad at one child, and looked to want to beat them, then I’d be naughtier instead. I sparked her ire so much one evening that a beating did not satisfy, and she cut off my hair in uneven clumps to make an example of me. Imagine her further rage when I cut the rest clean off and fashioned it so stylishly the very next day.
I watched over the years as one by one they were each adopted and I never saw them again. We had always promised to be friends forever, but once their ‘forever’ was with a family that loved and chose them… My forever with them was extinguished.
At 13, with no more hopes of adoption at my age (who would adopt the scrawny, naughty, unruly child, afterall?), I was simply sold for a meagre purse of coin to a Dunmer Madam named Minasi. I rode with her in the back of a cart from Solitude, across the border to High Rock where I wound up on the outskirts of Evermoree. I was frightened, my life, as miserable as it had been, was changing. I always believed that it was better the misfortune that you know, than the one that you did not. She barely spoke a word, only prodded and poked at me on the ride.
I was soon put to work in her brothel, The Blushing Hawk. I was bought as her maid, since she was frailer in her age now and ailed with a rattling cough. The other women she employed were too busy with duties of a different kind to be of any other use to her. Minasi worked me hard, and over time I learned that this was simply her pride, and her need to run a safe place for the people who stepped in.
She was certainly refined, and the unmistakable matriarch of her establishment, but I could see in the smouldering embers of her eyes that she was wounded in many ways more than her ill health. I theorised that perhaps once upon a time, she had been just a girl here too, how she may have loved and lost, as many of us did. Her temper was coarse, in a way that I could only liken to a saber-cat with a thorn wedged in her paw. She was eager to react to any touch. Her flame had gone out.
After a year or two of that, the last of her kitchen staff left and I was then put to work in there. I’d never even picked up a knife or peeled a potato, but I learned quickly. Before long, I’d moved on from simple stews, to pies, to some rather exquisite desserts. When I wasn’t cooking, I was plucking the strings of a lute that had been left behind by a patron. The very same one I have now. I taught myself to play music, putting myself through the rigorous torture of freezing the tips of my fingers in the snow just so that I could play as cleanly as possible. What else could I do, but give something my all? It was how I showed the dedication to my craft. I still do it to this day. After this, Minasi saw something valuable in me and at the late age of 19 she started teaching me how to read and write. Among my lessons were those in her mother-tongue, Dunmeris.
I struggled with it at first and she would slap the backs of my hands if my penmanship was anything less than perfect. I think for close to a year the skin was red raw -- but I learned. That’s my gift you see, persistence, and the voracious hunger to learn crafts. As she continued to lose her vitality, I became the one holding the establishment together. She was approaching the winter of her life, and I, my spring. I kept the girls and the patrons fed, I sang and played music while they waited, I kept the place clean, mended the sheets, curtains, and clothing. I found a life for myself. I made one, as best as I could, I made one. I was as close to happy as I’d ever been.
It had been a slow evening when I came to her in her bed, I could see that the colour from her eyes had drained completely, and there was no longer any light behind them. She was the cruel mother I had never wanted, a far cry from the kind woman in my dreams who nurtured and took care of me, held me, and fed me with warmth. But, however I looked at it, Minasi had raised me, and everything I had, I had her to thank for.
Minasi had told me once that we lived our lives like a stream, travelling in more or less one direction until we were broken off into something that led us to a new current, a new path...
That change came soon enough after Minasi had passed. While tending and cleaning out her room, I came upon the transactionary paperwork of my sale to Minasi, beside it - a package, wrapped in cloth, with my name written on a piece of parchment. It was a shawl. The very same one I was swaddled in as a baby, and wrapped inside that shawl was a brooch. A small pair of golden wings; in the very centre a blue stone.
It belonged to me.
I stared upon it with awe, and in the feather details of that brooch I saw opportunity, a clue to my past, a key to my future.
In that instance my life changed forever. Where I had only ever pictured The Blushing Hawk, and it’s many closed doors - suddenly there was a path stretching out across the land before it. How could I stay? Everything I had ever wanted could be answered by someone. Someone had to know where this brooch came from, and then perhaps, where I came from. That clue, to me, was love. Whomever had left me, had given me the first breadcrumb to find them again.
28 long years later I found it.
All I had seen day after day was The Blushing Hawk. It was so much so, that the only thing that had mattered in my world was that rickety brothel, in the backstreets of Evermore. As Minasi was laid to rest, I was forced to open my eyes and I observed that most people had nothing to do with my world at all. I couldn’t stop thinking about the life I could have led, had fate not carried me on that cart with Minasi from Solitude to the doors of the Hawk.
The next 5 years of my life had me travel from place to place, working in many a Tavern and Inn. I wrote songs for the strangers I met, danced with soldiers, tended to passing members of the Lion’s Guard. I’ve been a moment in the lives of so many people - just a passing, glimmer of a moment..
Life wasn’t miraculously easier when I left the Blushing Hawk. I’ve been mugged more times than I care to count now for a start… But there is romance to be found in the freedom of the road, that road is all I’ve had and I’ve walked it. I’ve witnessed the way of life change for so many recently, that strange phenomena. People are shadows of themselves… Even strangers that I’ve never met before, I can see that they’re not who they’re meant to be. I can feel it. Now I am here, in chains and darkness. I remember resisting them, my eyes turned to the strange colours in the sky until I met a painful darkness.
I am frightened, but sometimes the only way to carry ourselves through such fear is by believing that our dreams may come true, and our prayers are answered. My only hope now is that one day, in some quiet place, when all this has passed, there will be a house on a hill with a candle in the window for me.
Calling me home at last.
▼ S K I L L S
► Speechcraft - Music, Empathy, Mercantile - Highly Proficient
► Speechcraft - Bilingual - Dunmeris
► Provisioning - Culinary arts - Highly Proficient
► Tailoring - Moderately Proficient
► Athletics - Somewhat Proficient
▼ R E L A T I O N S & A F F I L I A T I O N S
► Solitude Orphanage
► The Blushing Hawk
► Minasi - The closest she has had to a mother - Deceased.
▼ E Q U I P M E N T
► Stylish linen rucksack.
► Coin Purse - 47 septims currently.
► Lyre, Lute, Ankle Chimes.
► A brooch in the shape of wings with a blue stone in the centre - the only clue she has to her parentage. She keeps this hidden.
► Sewing and knitting needles, threads.
► A set of 6 chef’s knives, and the tools to keep them sharp and well maintained.
► Tasting spoons seem to litter her pockets.
► Pinches and pouches of salt in various grind sizes, as well as sugars and other herbs - always somewhere on her person to sprinkle into a dish without searching too far.
► Parchments, notebooks, quills, and ink pots -- a supply of everything she needs to continue writing her songs, and more recently, a novel that she is working on drawn from the stories of those she meets..
▼ C L O T H I N G & A R M O U R
► Casual: Never one for vanity, Joy dresses in simple outfits - usually in shades of light hues, figure hugging feminine clothing that do not necessarily have grandiose embellishments, but little touches here and there in pretty stitching. Practical clothing, that allows her to move freely. She will often be wearing her apron as she gets to work in the kitchens, or to her other barmaid duties.
► Formal: When performing, she dresses slightly more luxuriously - as much as can be allowed. She’ll wear deeper hues, revealing cuts, and often opt to go barefoot, banded chimes adorn her ankles and she will show a lucrative amount of skin to display them.