Hank is a Co-Admin that helps run the Guild.


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5 mos ago
Current Welcome back, Hecate!
8 mos ago
To all the homies in Florida -- stay safe out there. Now is not the time to wrangle an alligator and surf it down the flooded streets. I know, it's hard to resist the urge.
8 mos ago
Calling all ELDEN RING players: roleplayerguild.com/topics/…
1 yr ago
I've logged into this site just about every day for the past fourteen years.
2 yrs ago
My thoughts are with Germany. It was the sea that wrecked half the Netherlands in 1953 but we understand how bad floods are. And what is rain if not the sea simply taking the scenic route?


Original join date: August 2008
Moderator since: 20 January 2016
Co-admin since: 5 May 2017

My responsibilities as co-admin concern moderation & community management almost exclusively. Questions and problems regarding the functionality and features of the site itself should be directed towards @Mahz or @LegendBegins. This includes such things as account deletion or taking usernames from old and defunct accounts.

28-year-old Dutch guy living in NL with my girlfriend and my daughter. I love Italian food and German beer. Also Belgian beer. And Dutch beer... just beer, really. Other than roleplaying, my favorite pastimes are playing videogames & watching movies, attending music festivals, raves and concerts, and discussing philosophy, economics and science while drinking the night away with my friends.

In the old version of the Guild I was the record holder for 'Most Infraction Points Without Being Permabanned'.

My primary roleplaying genres are fantasy and science fiction. Big fan of The Elder Scrolls, The Lord of the Rings, Warhammer 40,000, Mass Effect, Fallout and others.

Most Recent Posts

<Snipped quote by Zmija Sebastian>


I don't have actual "admin" access to the site in any way that matters. I have the ability to promote and demote moderators, that's about it.
Todd Howard, I beg you. Starfield. I need it. Tell me more. A release date, another trailer, some gameplay footage, anything.

Alright, it's clear that option 3: a group of Tarnished warriors is the most popular option, with an emphasis on narrative over game mechanics, set shortly after the Shattering war. I like this premise too; it gives us leeway to make our own NPCs for the Roundtable Hold and in the rest of the Lands Between. We could even make it so that the inhabitants of the Lands Between haven't entirely lost their minds yet, potentially allowing us to communicate and reason with the knights and soldiers that serve the various demigod armies, or the peasants that live in the forts and villages throughout the world.

Now for a few other issues. Personally, I think there are several other game mechanics we should also ignore:

  • No respawning, both for us Tarnished and for NPCs/enemies. Dead is dead.
  • No Flasks of Crimson/Cerulean Tears from the get-go. Let healing be done with traditional remedies or restorative magic, and let FP/mana/whatever-you-want-to-call it simply regenerate over time. Healing potions or crystal tears with special effects could be found as loot throughout the world instead, and the ability to craft them (like the perfumers) could be part of a PC's skillset.
  • No sites of lost grace, or at least not in the way that they function in the game. The guidance of grace being visible as rays of light makes sense and should stay, and perhaps this light converges at locations that would make for good resting spots, but that's as far as it should go. It doesn't have a useful place in a written narrative, in my opinion.

Then there are some game mechanics that I believe we should keep, but adapt to make them fit:

  • The strength of runes, the ability to become more powerful by defeating enemies, should probably be a sort of passive effect that we use as a vague excuse for our characters growing in strength over the course of the story, if we don't ignore its existence entirely. I also don't think runes should be the active currency; Patches uses the word "coin" when describing wealth, so let money just be gold coins or something.
  • The Roundtable Hold. I'm not very fond of including Melina in the story and her ability to teleport us to a version of the Roundtable Hold that exists outside of the world. I don't think fast travel in general is a good idea. Unfortunately, we don't know how other characters like Roderika or D are able to travel to it. Do we say that there are portals throughout the Lands Between that can take us there? Maybe it's a place we visit in our dreams? Or does the illusory Roundtable Hold just not exist yet, and we have to fend for ourselves in the Lands Between until we reach the Fortified Manor in Leyndell?
  • Spirit Ashes could be reworked into an ability or a school of magic, like I suggested for alchemy earlier.

Let me know your thoughts and opinions.
No promises because of my schedule but you got my attention.

Hey Ben. Any answers to the questions I posed?
Hello hello.

This is a very barebones interest check. I don't have a fleshed out premise, or fancy character sheets, or even a system that adapts Elden Ring's stats into something workable for play-by-post. I'm not even sure I have the time to GM anything. The only reason I made this thread is to ask a question: is anyone even interested in writing an Elden Ring RP? And if so, what would you want such an RP to look like? If anything, this thread serves to spark a discussion.

"Share them with me, your thoughts, your ambitions, the principles you would follow."

  • Do we want to explore the Lands Between before the Shattering happened, during the heydays of the Golden Order?
  • Or do we want to explore the Shattering itself? Perhaps an AU where we create our own demigods and fight a continent-spanning war?
  • Or do we stick to the world as we know it, and play Tarnished warriors that aim to stand before the Elden Ring and become Elden Lord, navigating the dangers of the Lands Between in a smaller and more personal story?
  • How important should the stats be? Do we give vague descriptions of the skills we're good at, or do we want to have hard numbers and lists of spells with names and all?
  • How do we approach canon characters? Playable? Controlled by the GM? Absent entirely?

Or perhaps there's no interest at all. That could be the case as well. Either way, I'm all ears.
Nice to see that the TES RP tradition on the Guild isn't dead yet. Keep up the good work soldiers!
<Snipped quote by POOHEAD189>

I think it's pretty obvious I was just giving an example (and I was giving tame examples from personal experience as an admin elsewhere) of the difference between someone saying "aw nigga that's just gay" (and again I find that cringey myself) and saying "man I hate trans/fags/INSERTETHNICSLURHERE" - one facetious twat I knew kept intentionally bringing up the high suicide rate among certain demographics to intentionally provoke trans members.

Deleting the post or using asterisks to censor it doesn't change the fact that it's out there and that there are some egregious cunts out there. Nor should people have to be subjected to it, but you're missing the point I'm trying to make.

Again, use the rules as a guideline and employ common sense to deal with shitmonglers who like to point their shitstained fingers at the rules and gobber "b-but it's not against the rules, I'm only talking generally!!" and context to deal with people joking around/being harmless. I'll happily offer to help moderate for RPG if such assistance was needed.

Rules aren't infallible, don't treat them like laws - toxic people who try to skirt around the spirit of them should get the boot while those dicking around harmlessly with comments like "you gay" should be left alone.

I really don't understand what's so difficult to follow here.

"I want to be able to use slurs without thinking" is not the argument you think it is.
Arkay’s Light

12th of Rain’s Hand, 4E15
County Skingrad, West Weald, Cyrodiil
Isobel Aurelia’s encampment

ft. the whole crew!

The inner circle had gathered around the large wooden table that one of the carpenters had fashioned from the goods they had taken from the lumber transports. A map of the West Weald was pinned to it, an iron dagger in each corner, and carved figurines covered it, chess pieces near the end of a hard-fought match; white outnumbered black four-to-one at this point. Only Skingrad itself was still firmly under the Count’s control. Torches were set up around the meeting place and someone had cast a magelight spell that hovered serenely above the proceedings, illuminating the map and the battle-lines that had been drawn there.

Isobel had gathered those that had escaped the Imperial City Arena with her to her side, Ando and Reyna flanking the warrior-woman. Wisely, the two Orsimer were positioned on the other side of the table, as far away from Reyna as possible, who was still armed and armored from her earlier patrol and keeping her eyes on them like a hawk with her hand resting on the pommel of her sword. She was otherwise silent, knowing her role. The rest of them were dispersed in no particular order, though Robespierre Chalamer had joined them, red-clothed, golden-robed, silver-haired, a noble in full regalia, and he was stood next to Reinette, the woman who had served as liaison between him and Isobel during the earliest stages of their communication. It would have been harder to find a starker contrast between him and the man on his other side; Lucius Lex, the leader of the peasant army, all scruff and earth-tones. Akamon and Janus stepped into the circle next to each other to fill the two remaining places.

Akamon’s eyes fell on Isobel immediately and she stepped forward to speak. Her brown hair was gathered in a braid that rested on her left shoulder and she was dressed in a simple white tunic and a cloak around her shoulders against the cold, for spring was just around the corner as the chill of winter yet lingered at night. Bronze bracers on her arms and shinguards on her legs were the only armor she wore. It wasn’t her attire but her face that oozed authority, a fleeting moment of nervosity -- had Akamon seen that correctly? -- making way for certainty in her eyes and determination in the set of her jaw.

“Friends, welcome,” she said. Her voice cut through the silence that was pregnant with anticipation, a longboat through still waters, or the first peal of thunder on a humid day.

It was only then that Akamon noticed, standing behind Isobel but just out of range of the torches, the great shape of Beordan the minotaur, the Lord of the Arena. His horns and nose-ring gleamed faintly in the flickering light, high above the inner circle, but the rest of him was a mere silhouette in the dark, even larger and looming for the absence of a well-defined form. A shiver of primal respect ran down Akamon’s spine.

She continued. “The final day approaches. Tomorrow we will storm Skingrad and finally cast down Hruldan the Coin-Catcher. Months of sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears, has all come to this. Whatever happens tomorrow,” Isobel said, looking each of them in the eye in turn, a gaze of steel and love, “know that I am eternally grateful to each and every one of you. I could never have imagined that our fight for survival would have turned into this.” Her arms were cast as wide as the smile on her face.

“Robespierre,” she indicated and the aristocrat stepped forward with a humble nod, “has graciously accepted the mantle of responsibility of governing Skingrad from tomorrow onwards. His task will be the rebuilding of trust and the fair rule of law. He was a friend to the late and beloved Janus Hassildor and will endeavour to restore his legacy. I have utmost faith in him, and I trust that you do too.”

Isobel did not wait for anyone else to speak. “The plan is simple. Because of our work in intercepting the lumber transports and other supplies that Hruldan was counting on to build his defenses with, the Skingrad city gate has not been fortified. This is still the case, yes?” she asked and looked at Janus and Akamon. The two men nodded.

“Good. Beordan will open the gate for us. Our task will be to protect him from the guards on the wall. To that end, I have asked the smiths to forge grappling hooks for us.” She looked at Bahk and smiled. “Janus, Akamon, Velyn -- you, and a few of the most agile of the citizen militia, will use these to scale the walls. Take out as many of the guards as you can. Sow chaos and confusion.”

Then she looked towards the mages, Elara in particular. “I am counting on you to create a distraction outside the gates that will allow them to do so. Think big, ladies. I want to see fireworks,” Isobel asserted with a grin and a fist.

“The rest of you will be by my side. We are to be the first in through the gate, followed by Lucius and the brave men and women of Skingrad.” Isobel deferred to him for a moment, and Lucius pressed a clenched fist to his chest, battle-ready and earnest in a way that Akamon found moving.

Isobel cleared her throat and spoke up again. “Hruldan is cornered. His lieutenants are dead and his men are few. But he is still dangerous, and his forces well-paid and well-armed. Do not be complacent. There will be blood in the streets tomorrow. Make sure it isn’t ours.”

Then she took a step back and opened her arms, inviting others to speak. “Now is the time for questions, concerns, or words of encouragement, if you have them.” Her gaze lingered on Guifort for a moment and Akamon had to hide his smirk. Had the priest ever blessed soldiers on the eve-afore-battle?

Bahk had felt several pairs of eyes fall on him at the mention of the grappling hooks. Some seemingly lingered for a moment too long as a flicker of anger rumbled in his chest. He had made sure every man and mer who stood with them held a weapon of some sort. They had watched him build a handcrafted forge from nothing but straw, clay and rock. Their spears were sharp and their quivers full, yet there were still those who doubted him.

“The err..” The Orsimer paused to clear the frog from his throat, now acutely aware of the limelight. “The hooks will hold even the heaviest of us,” Bahk's eyes flickered towards Janus. “I have tested them all, personally.”

“Aye, I can vouch for the Orc. '' Quintus rumbled, hands gripped on the edge, red and sore from hours helping Bahk mould steel at the makeshift smithies they’d set up in the camp and preparing everyone’s appetites for the statement they were making at West Weald tomorrow. “All this work ‘etter have been worth it.” Ctephesius was lounging on the Nord’s mountainous shoulders, tail drooping from the back, whilst looking cooly at Reinette, Elara and the rest of the Bretons in the circle. He scratched his thick beard, eyes pensive.

“Got a ‘nquiry though. S’pose Arkay smiles on us and the rest of the lads tomorrow,'' there was a brief glance from him towards Guifort. “And I know I may be putting the boat ‘fore the sails here but what do we do if we end up capturing that Coin catcher bastard? We don’t know ‘ether he’s going to tuck tail like a barn mouse or stand his ground. Best to plan for these sorts of things ‘fore we do things rashly“ Plinian’s chopped head flashed briefly in his mind.“

Robespierre spoke up to answer that question. “We hope to capture Hruldan alive so that he may face Imperial justice. It will send a more powerful message that way. But if he elects to fight to the death, well…”

“So be it,” Isobel finished.

“ ‘ell, that’s a load off my mind.” Quintus gave a smile of relief before sighing and thumbing his back over to the camp outside. “Folks outside won’t be too pleased ‘bout the alive part, though. Many of them want to see that milk-drinker on the gallows or kill him themselves. Not enough to make them mutiny, though. You can be sure of that.”

Robespierre smiled at that. “He’ll hang, trust me. But in due time, and with due process. We have to be better than him.”

Enshadowed by the night, and lit obscurely by the magelight, Reinette had taken her silent place. Straight backed, and arms folded across her chest. She was dressed in her usual garb of a form fitting dark tunic, a leather belt cinched at the waist, and her hair hung half-up, held with a series of ornate pins. The rest of it was loose in a trademark silver wave that had been kissed with partial gold in the arcane luminescence.

Around her neck was a long chain of silver, a key hanging right in the centre that she held between thumb and forefinger - fidgeting with it in gloved, delicate hands as her cold stare glowered down at the chess pieces. The Breton’s jaw clenched at the mention of Count Hruldan. She’d sooner see him hanging, or slit at the throat, she thought to herself, but it would not do to share such wishes in what was to be an inspiring final meeting. She kept her eyes on the pieces, feeling the presence of the intended successor at her side. “He will come alive.” she spoke confidently, letting the key drop so she could place a hand on her hip. “Hruldan shall stare into the jaws of justice one way or another,” her gaze turned from the board to meet Isobel. “There are ways to make this so.”

Guifort bemusedly looked at the wooden figurines representing the different aspects of the forces. He had placed his hands on the table, and lowered his head to allow his eye line to be at their level. It was all about perspective. Moving from that he quickly scratched notes of the plan into his journal, occasionally making sketches of the grim determination that shaped the curves of the Inner Circle’s faces.

It was then Isobel welcomed them to speak, and he caught the look that was gifted to him. Guifort fanned the page he’d been sketching with fresh ink. He laid the journal down on the table, carefully avoiding the figurines to the best of his ability.

He quirked a dark brow at Quintis’s mention of Arkay. There was a rumble about what to do with Count Hruldan tomorrow. Death. It was always death. Before the mood turned too dour—he cleared his throat.

“We can hardly say what fate holds in store for Count Hruldan, as death rarely abides by our wishes. That being said, and not to lessen the torment that he has put the people of Skingrad through, we should find a brilliant solace of this moment. Around me, I see people from every walk of life across Tamriel. From our proud and powerful Redguard adviser, to our brilliant and fast Dunmer sentinel, to our sturdy and relentless Orismer brethren, to our strong and stalwart Nord cousins, and finally to our amazing-without-fault Bretons.” Guifort chuckled. “I jest. But we are all here to support a noble Imperial cause. Can you say that you’d ever be at such a gathering? Surrounded by these fine folk? Men and women at arms that would fight beside you and possibly die for this cause. While Arkay is the god of life and death, he also believes in the experiences learned from both aspects. We live so we can die, and we die so we can return to this existence anew. So, remember that, no matter your fate. You march tomorrow to make this world a better place for lives that are here, and lives that have yet to be born whether they will be yours or the person next to you. By Arkay’s will and divine grace—you’re blessed by his light.” His fingers curled around his amulet. It wasn’t the best speech, but he’d never blessed the final leg of a rebellion before.

A huff of hot air caught the back of Bahk’s throat as the Orsimer exhaled through his nose. He had managed to stifle a roll of the eyes but was unable to stop the folding of his arms. “This one wasn’t born anywhere near the walls of Orsinium.” He mused, pining for a time far gone where there were less words and more action.

“Well spoken, my friend,” Akamon declared, beaming with pride. It was a fine speech, he thought, especially given that he could see that Guifort had stepped out of his comfort zone to deliver it. The Redguard made a mental note to discuss the contrast between Arkay’s intended reincarnation for mortal souls with Tu’whacca’s intended journey to the Far Shores with Guifort after the meeting was over.

Isobel inclined her head in grace and gratitude. “You humble us with your words, priest of Arkay. We endeavour to be worthy of the light of the Lord of the Wheel of Life.”

“ Aye, a fine speech, indeed. ”Quintus nodded towards Guifort gratefully. His expression then darkened as his gaze wandered at the map, where he could almost imagine the countless bodies of every man and woman who he’d grown to know and serve food to lie still. He shuddered at the thought of the battle to come and then, forced it down with a roguish smile. “ I plan on being alive ‘morrow.” His fingers began scratching Ctephesius’s chin who purred in contentment.” Otherwise, no one would be around to take care of this fleabag.”

Reyna coughed a bit and cleared her throat at the tail end of his speech, nor hiding the look on her face that spoke of awkwardness and discomfort, as if she couldn’t remember what to do at the end of a prayer before dinner. It was not a practice she partook in on the Eve of battle, and her thoughts and dreams on death were a private matter, and hearing them spoken aloud was an alien thing to her—the self’s mortality, that is, rather than the end of her enemy’s. She looked between Guifort and Isobel for a moment and ruminated upon the fate of the Count. Too much energy. Too much energy was spent on deciding what to do with him. Why did it matter how he does?

“With some luck,” she started, her voice a quiet and rare thing to behold of coarse timbre and swung like a blunt object, and it was not likely to be heard again for the rest of the meeting, “he will kill himself and save us the trouble of deciding for him.”

Durzum stepped forward, stealing a glance at the young Breton and clearing his throat. Already his heart raced and he was picking at a nick on the breastplate of this armor. "If I may," he croaked, locking his gaze on Robespierre. Durzum's mind was racing. Bruk was better at this.

"Assuming we're successful, you'll hold a blood-soaked diamond in your hands- a chance to prove that you don't just play at war, but end it."

Durzum's gaze turned to the map.

"Regardless of what happens, I say we end the Count's life ourselves. Or at least make people believe it was us. Detail exactly what happens to him," he looked at Guifort for just a moment.

"Better to cut off the head of a pestering rat and let all watch it writhe than to rely on the morals of snakes."

Durzum's stomach was in his throat. "Or the retaliation will be swift and brutal. But it will end it all the same." He thought to himself, stepping back.

“Oh, it’ll happen.” Janus said while inspecting his nails while the rest of them were patting each other on the back for doing a great job so far at this whole war thing. It was a change of mood Janus had when discussing killing. His smirk was still there. Like always, “I’m of a mind with this mer, quick and decisive. The farmers want blood. This isn’t Imperial justice we’re trusting in.”

He looked at Isobel, and Reyna, and Beordan, “This is Thules’ justice. And I’m sure some of us know what Thules’ justice is.” Janus said, looking around at the rest of them, eyes resting squarely on Robespierre’s. He knew what happened when fat nobles stuck themselves in the peoples’ causes, “Don’t have much faith in that shit. No, Hruldan meets Skingrad justice. Colovian justice.”

Guifort tried not to beam at the affirmations that his words were held in esteemed measure. He usually wasn’t one to gloat about a story well told. Of course, he didn’t have long to consider his message as it dove right back into death and politics. Death and politics. They sat on either side of the scales and weighed just the same.

He narrowed his eyes at the Orismer Durzum’s implications, but Janus was already on a tear before Guifort could get his words out. So, he just grumbled. “Blessings and funerary rites are what I pen. I don’t take to sonnets written about torture.” He grabbed his journal from the table, wetting the nib of his quill and returning to his notes. “There are not enough words that rhyme with teeth, and there’s quite a bit of teeth in torture.” With that, Guifort took a step back and let the angry men and women espouse their angry words of retribution. Couldn’t they not get drunk?

A low stream of pained laughter came from the back of the assembled group. There, sat cross legged atop a wooden barrel, spear cradled in his arms, was Velyn. His head was hung, loose dark hair covered much of his face, swaying slightly as his shoulders shook. He had been sitting quietly so far through their discussion, it was only now that he made to speak in his soft husky tone, seemingly to no one in particular.

“We reach to make bargains with the Black Hands of Mephala, but there is no honourable writ of execution, and no Tong to enact it. Only us.” He looked up and passed his blood red gaze over the group, there was a wild look in his eyes, a tremble to his voice. “But you cannot crush that which is not in your hand.”

Bahk felt his knuckles strain as his fists began to ball and tighten. The riddles of the Dunmer had gone right over his head. Instead his heart swelled as his mind wandered back, like a child headed towards a hot stove, ignoring the warnings of a parent. All this talk had reminded him of the tale of Gortwog and Lord Bowen, a once crowning achievement that now stabbed at his very core. His father would’ve known what to do, with precision Khadba would’ve struck the right chords and had them all chorusing together in the matter of moments.

The Orsimer’s shoulders dropped, mimicking the deflating of a balloon. Were it not for the respect of the enigmatic commander, he would’ve left the tent right there and then.

“You all speak as if the Count kneels before you.” He muttered, loud enough for only a few to hear but also hoping to avoid being thrust into the spotlight. “Like we have already won. Kill him now, kill him later, we still have to reach him.”

“Figure we’re too deep into this to be anything but optimistic.” Janus spoke quietly, having gone back to making like his nails were mighty interesting.

Reyna’s skin crawled at the tusky slurring of words that came from the heavy baritone chamber of the orc’s chest. Perhaps she had been with them for too long that even this reprehensible creature could speak her mind for her so easily, with words she had not yet tamed. She took a breath to tame what she could however; her nerves, even as prone to flight as they were, like sand through her fingers, she managed to hold fast onto them this time and she looked to Isobel, hating to agree with that which just spoke but forced to absorb all of that which was said by the collective.

“Your plan?” She asked, her voice low. Her hand tightened the grip of her sword, made audible by the squealing of leather. All Isobel need do is to point Reyna to him and she would sniff him out if need be and end him where he cowered; like a weapon to be aimed. “How do we find him?”

Isobel looked to Janus and Akamon, the two men she’d tasked the past few nights with going out and checking on Llevurlan in his hideout each morning and night. Janus looked from Isobel to Akamon, then back, sensing it was his turn to speak, “Suspect he’d be in the keep. Deepest part of the castle, holed up with his wife and sons.” Janus spoke, then shrugged, continuing, “‘Less he makes a run for it. Last time Llevurlan let me use his eyeglass, Hruldan had put more men on the battlements and lengthened their shifts. Llevurlan and I went sneaking about a couple nights ago.”

Janus shook his head, “No secret passages, no escape tunnels we could find. Should be easy enough.” He smirked, “‘Less he’s on the walls with his men. In that case, twenty septims says I get to him first.”

Janus’ smile widened a hair, “Thirty says I get to him first if he’s not.”

“I’ll hold you to that, old man,” Akamon chuckled.

Then, for the first time since the meeting had begun, the subsonic rumble of the great minotaur’s voice rippled through the air, loud enough to be felt in one’s chest. “The Coin-Catcher will not run,” Beordan said.

He took one step closer to the circle, cloven-hooved feet heavy on the forest floor, and the shining brass head of his warhammer fell into the palm of his open hand with a meaty slap. Now, illuminated by the light, the muscular physique of the minotaur dwarfed even the thickset Orsimer among them, and the horned head of the man-bull shook from from left to right. “He is too proud. He believes the stone belongs to him. This I know.”

Isobel nodded. “It looks like he will make his last stand in the castle. He is cruel and vindictive, but he is not a coward. And when we capture him, rest assured, he will hang. In due time.”

Robespierre cleared his throat, managing to find his voice again, though still eyeing Beordan warily. “And after due process. That is instrumental when it comes to legitimizing this… ah… transfer of power.”

"The boundless passion and unflinching zeal of the present company is as always a source of great warmth and inspiration," Elara said. The mage's voice was soft, measured even, as it rose in a rolling lilt. Thoughtful eyes moved over the gathered circle and settled on the old noble. “I would only remind my most esteemed friends of one important fact. Hruldan has already been tried.”

Pacing with an excited energy, she gestured broadly, “The trial of the tyrant is the insurrection. Hruldan has already been found guilty. The verdict of the tyrant is the collapse of his power. His sentence is whatever is required to safeguard the liberty of the people of Skingrad. The people have taken arms against their oppressor, so how can they now be made to adopt a punishment that would pose a new danger to them?

“However, as our honorable friends have said, there remains much to be done, and I look forward with great joy to resolving this matter when the Hruldan is safely in our hands.

"You will have your distraction, of course," she added with a smile and respectful nod to Isobel. The cruel glint of a freshly bloodied dagger danced in her eyes. "The gates of Skingard will shudder. The guards on the walls will despair. I will summon a storm. I will invite the denizens of Levinace to aid us."

Isobel regarded the mage thoughtfully, clearly doing her best to listen to and make sense of Elara’s spirited contributions. In the end, she settled for responding only to the last few sentences of what the Breton had said. “Thank you, Elara. Your aid will be invaluable.”

She turned back to the rest of the group. “If there are no further questions,” Isobel said, “we can wrap this up and everyone can get the rest they need. Or a drink or two, but don’t overdo it.” Her eyes, twinkling with amusement, rested on Janus for a second. “I need everyone to be sharp tomorrow morning. So, speak now or forever hold your peace.”

“Whatever - uh - she said, I agree with it.” Quintus scratched the back of his head, a little yawn escaping his throat. The evening was beginning to wear on him and as much as he dreaded waking up tomorrow, his body ached for bed and a bowl of stew. “It’s been a long night and I’m dyin’ fer a cup of mead.”

“Fair enough,” their leader smiled. “Then go, and be well and be merry. Dismissed.”
The Imperial Way

12th of Rain’s Hand, 4E15
County Skingrad, West Weald, Cyrodiil
Isobel Aurelia’s encampment

ft. my wonderful co-GM @Leidenschaft

It was a moonless night. Akamon the Redguard waited between the tall trunks of the pine trees that stood sentinel at the edge of the forest. He was almost invisible in the darkness, but a small flame danced in the upturned palm of his hand -- a signal. Ahead of him lay the meandering fields and vineyards that seperated the forest and the city of Skingrad itself, which rose above the land like a rocky outcropping in the desert, for the Count had seen to it that most of the lights in the city were dimmed and Akamon could only just make out the silhouettes of the walls and spires and rooftops. Something small and fast dashing through the underbrush disturbed Akamon’s vigil and his head pivoted to the right, eagle-eyed gaze searching through the shadows for the source of the noise, but the flame in his hand made it hard for him to see. He snapped his hand shut and blinked a few times to let his eyes acclimatize to the pitch-black darkness. It took him a few seconds but he spotted the creature at last, its fluffy white tail betraying its nature; it was but a rabbit.

“Run along now,” the warrior whispered. He looked back at the city and with a snap of his fingers, the flame rekindled in his hand -- and Akamon inhaled sharply.

The light fell upon the features of a man standing just at the edge of its reach and the Redguard’s other hand instinctively went for the hilt on the sword that hung across his back, but his brain caught up with what his eyes were seeing in time and he stopped himself, for the man was merely Janus, the Colovian that he had been waiting for.

He laughed and expelled the tension from his limbs. “Took you long enough,” Akamon said softly. “What news?”

Janus still had the carefree smile even as Akamon had went for his sword. He probably would have too if a man was suddenly a mere ten feet away as if he’d just stepped out of the air there. With no hard feelings, Janus approached closer and set himself down against a tree. He pulled an apple from his pack and crunched into it, speaking around the mouthful, “Nothing’s changed from the previous nights. ‘Cept more guards on the walls each shift. Changeover every six or so hours.” Janus swallowed, taking another bite, “Saw someone fall off the wall. Dunmer didn’t think it was as funny.”

“What news from the forest, Akamon?” Janus teased, and still no one really knew if it was good-natured or not. Most guessed it was just whichever you decided it was, “What word do the rabbits bring?”

“Oh, you know, spring’s coming. Lots of thumping, if you know what I mean,” Akamon retorted and leaned against another tree’s bark, arms folded across his chest and one foot hooked behind the other. He had gotten used to the man’s ribbing and teasing by now and it did not bother him. That was just how he interacted with people, or kept them at a distance, and that suited Akamon just fine. He wasn’t one to pry if there was no need for it.

But he turned serious and gestured towards the city. “More guards, longer shifts. Hruldan must be getting nervous.” Akamon chewed on his lip for a second and there was a thoughtful look on his face. “Any signs of fortifications around the gate?” The implication of the question was unspoken but he knew Janus would get it. Beordan was their only siege weapon, after all.

“Oh, aye,” Janus chuckled, taking another bite of apple, “I’d be shaking if two hundred angry farmers and a fucking Minotaur were gearing up to beat me to death and hurl me from the walls.”

“You really should’ve seen it though, bastard climbed up on the battlements having a laugh, tripped and yelped his way down,” Janus chuckled, shaking his head and slapping his knee. He quieted down and sighed, nodding, “Raiding the lumber caravans let us put up our own defenses at the camp. Deprived him from fortifying the gate as far as I could see.”

He shrugged, “Just saying, give me a few more nights and three light footed of our boys back there.” Janus winced and scratched his back on the rough bark of the tree, “But then how could we call ourselves glorious and righteous if we did that, blah blah. Isobel, sometimes.”

Akamon grinned at that. “Yes, I’ve heard that story before. You and Sir Twentygoodmen, sneaking in and cutting all their throats at night.” He shrugged. “She wants a statement. A message. To the Emperor, to the people, to everyone who gives a damn -- honest rule, purchased with honest steel. I can’t fault her for that.”

He looked into the middle distance and his vision became an unfocused blur as he rifled through his memories. “You know, there’s a version of events that says that Tiber Septim had his master, Cuhlecain, assassinated, back when he was still Talos of Atmora, so that he could claim the thrones of Skyrim and Cyrodiil for himself. The Arcturian Heresy, they call it. Might be true, might not, but either way, it’s not the official story. Officially, Tiber Septim won all his wars fair and square, the Imperial way.”

Looking back at Janus, Akamon continued. “There’s good reason for that. Be easiest to just create a version of events tomorrow that we don’t have to lie about, no? We have the militia, we have Beordan, we have the mages, we have that Rimmenese freak with the katana,” he laughed. “Everything we need for an honest victory tomorrow. And then all of Cyrodiil will know that rightful rule was restored to Skingrad the proper way. The Imperial way.”

“The bloodiest way.” Janus had the rare frown as he too was looking back at the long scar his life had wrought from Hammerfell to here. He held up a fist and shook it, giving his best impression of the farmers he saw enamored by the promise of retribution, of justice. The same look he saw in his little brother’s eyes before Janus found him dead next to Ma and Pa at the homestead, “Freedom. Blood and freedom.”

He shrugged, not being able to recall any time his mother or his wife, or his child ever wished for blood or to settle old scores, or settling things the Imperial way. Still died like the rest. the smirking smile returning, “She knows how I feel about it. You were there when I spoke at the meeting about three fires ago.” He clucked his tongue and nodded, like a man who’d resigned himself to following what his Officer told him, like the old days, “If it’s to be an assault, it’s an assault. I’ll be there, try not to let my lack of zeal spoil the whole mood of it though.”

He smiled at Akamon, “Even the little one though? Not Henry, the other one. Bit off the farmhand’s finger that one morn.” He snapped his fingers trying to remember, “Reyna. She going in too?”

Akamon nodded. “Reyna, yes. I think she is.” A silence fell between them for a moment. Then he shrugged again. “Are you going to be the one to tell her otherwise? She wants to fight. I imagine it’s the only way she knows how to repay her debt to Isobel.”

There had been something in Janus’ voice when he talked. It wasn’t the first time Akamon had heard it there. He had seen something in his gaze too at other times, but now it was so dark that the two men could not even look each other in the eye. The Redguard suspected that the Colovian was more familiar with war than he let on but he decided to let the subject rest.

Janus nodded once more, one more thing to just lay back and accept. The conversation was growing too serious for Janus’ liking and so he cleared his throat. The conversation lulled when no one was having it, and Janus looked back to Akamon, “We should get back to the others. Walk and talk at the same time.”

“Sure.” Akamon stepped away from the pine tree and brushed the slivers of bark from his shoulder. He waited for Janus to get to his feet and then the pair of them returned to the camp. It was hidden deeper within the forest and the rebels were pretty good at laying low during the night, but when you already knew where it was, the encampment wasn’t very hard to find. Light from the fires danced dimly against the trees up ahead and the occasional sound echoed their way, snatches of conversation or the canvas noise of a tent flap being thrown open.

Glancing sideways at Janus, the swordsman spoke up again. “What are you going to do when the Count is overthrown?” He paused for a moment and feeling brave he ventured to ask an even more personal question. “I heard his men burned down your home. Will you rebuild?”

Janus walked on still, not answering for a few moments, his eyes just going about the fires. Men and women sat with weapons leaning against their shoulders or across their knees, talking or staring or eating. A quiet chorus of laughter went up at one of the fires and he wished he was having that conversation instead. He still had his smirk on him all the while as he finally shrugged at Akamon’s question, “It’ll be the second time I lost a home.” Janus glanced at Akamon as they walked, “I haven’t thought of what I’ll do since I grabbed up my weapons and joined Isobel. Too much to do.”

He quirked a brow at Akamon, “What of you?”

Akamon smiled. “I came back to Skingrad because Hruldan was stealing my mother’s money, but I don’t live here. And something tells me Isobel’s story isn’t finished after this. So, I think I’ll see where her destiny takes her. Otherwise it’s back to wandering and righting wrongs by myself again and to be honest, I’ve quite gotten used to having someone watching my back.” He looked at Janus and a mischievous laugh escaped him, flashing white teeth in the dark, and he wagged a finger at the Colovian. “I can never tell with you, whether you enjoy our company or merely tolerate us. Which is it? Eh?”

Janus laughed a little louder this time, not having to worry about the guards on the walls hearing it echo now they were a little more ways away from Skingrad, “That’d ruin the mystery if I really told you.” Janus smiled over at Akamon, “If you must know, I’ve got friends here and I’ve got people I let live their lives without my acquaintance. Me and them seem to be still living just okay, I reckon.”

He shrugged, “The peasants are learning, the barricades are sturdy, and no one’s knifed each other over a heel of bread yet.” Janus nodded as if all was right in the world. Perhaps it was, in his, “The rebellion fights on. It’s my job, and I think I’ve been doing it well enough.”

“I think so too, my friend,” Akamon said and clapped his hand jovially on the other man’s shoulder. “Come, the command tent is just ahead. I think the meeting has already begun.”

Picking up the pace, the two strode through the camp and up towards the largest tent of them all, where Isobel and Beordan lived, and where all matters of importance were decided. A circle had already gathered.

The inner circle.
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