Snazzy Title Here
Nanine and Judena@Rtron
and @DearTricksterAfternoon, 23rd of Last Seed, 4E08
Nanine headed through Anvil, walking through the crowded streets, a cautious hand on her sword. While she trusted this city to offer shelter and food, she didn’t trust it to offer complete safety from the day to day dangers of pickpockets. And while her sheath and hilt gave the appearance of a simple, worn, steel sword, she didn’t trust the desperate to not go for it anyways. She was looking for a bookstore. While she had her own stories planned, and had a whole book of stories safely placed in her pack, she was always looking for new literature. Who knew, maybe she’d find something new on the Daedra, Dwemer, or the Thalmor while she was there.
As she rounded the corner of the street, she saw a familiar argonian in the distance. Recognizing Judena, the older of her two most recent Argonian travelling companions, Nanine made her way through the crowd towards the older woman. She hadn’t gotten a chance to have the appraiser date and confirm her family’s stories, what with how busy they had been fleeing the Dominion and the Dwemer, and was unashamedly eager to have Judena look at it now that she had a chance. ”Judena! I’m Nanine, from the caravan you were on recently. We met roughly two weeks ago, in Skingrad.”
She hadn’t forgotten Judena’s condition. It was simultaneously terrifying and alluring to Nanine. On the one hand, the idea of having memories, things she was so used to having easily at her beck and call, slip through her hands to be forgotten forever no matter how hard she tried to keep them scared her. On the other, there were many nights when she wished she couldn’t perfectly recall how Wayrest smelled and looked as it burned, or the stench of her brother’s blood as he bled out in her hands, weakly grasping her arm.
No matter. She had other things to focus on right now. ”You said you were an appraiser of artifacts, yes? Would you happen to know anything about Imperial weapons and artifacts?”
While Judena had found herself spending a great deal of time by the bay, finding a center and shamble together some form of a routine. She had enough money to afford a stay at an inn, working in a nearby shop. “I am terribly sorry… Nanine? May I verify our meeting? I simply cannot recall your name but your face is vaguely familiar.”
She held up a finger, shuffling her logbook out from inside her shirt. She silently read back to when she travelled with the caravan and made a small ah-ha!
Sound reading the descriptions of Nanine and others. “There you are. Yes, I am an appraiser.” She said proudly. “The best one you will meet this week, I can promise you. History, technique in metalwork, how old it is and I offer restoration services as well. Depending on how fragile the piece is, of course. If the dirt I intend to remove is what is keeping the piece together than unfortunately I cannot help in restoration.”
She explained, happy as ever to ply her skills. “Depending on your budget, anything related to Dwemer - has a relatively steep discount due to the urgency for more information.”
“May I see the sword to evaluate the cost of service?”
Nanine smiled at the pride in Judena’s voice, and how she puffed slightly and stood taller with it. It was always enjoyable to see someone in their element. Her eyebrow raised at the mention of it being a sword, however, and she looked around. She wasn’t about to pull the sword out here, where anyone could see it and mark her as a potential target. ”Not here. Would you mind terribly following me back to my room at a local inn? It’ll make sense when we get there, I promise.”
Nanine looked up at the Argonian as they headed towards the inn. Judena had lived a long time, and likely spent most of it as an appraiser. She would have stories to tell, if she could remember them, and Nanine was eager to hear them. ”So, Judena, how did you get into appraising? The Black Swamp doesn’t strike me as particularly...safe, for artifacts to be preserved throughout the ages. And how did you know the Imperial artifact was my sword? It could have easily been something in my pack, or my armor.”
“Ah! That is my mistake, I assumed it would be the sword you have been carrying and holding close. My notes mentioned it briefly but it has always been sheathed. With an observation of that nature I would go on to assume it is more precious as opposed to seeing practical use.” She commented holding up her hands, hoping not to offend. “If you wish for discretion I do not mind striking those observations away. I understand not everyone would like their actions being recorded by me. Rest assured it is all written in Jel and for my eyes only.”
She chuckled a throatily. “Many landstriders do not know of the secrets hiding in the depths of our swamps and home. Fortunately for many objects they do not factor into the local food chain.” Judena joked. “Mud, sap, roots. The difficulty certainly increases when you strive not to disturb the dig site when recovering historical pieces. I very much dream of the day when Argonia can share her secrets without fear of generational repercussions. Perhaps one day.”
Nanine’s curiosity was apparent as Judena spoke. Many scholars were always hungry for more information about Argonia, Black Marsh. Shrouded in mystery.
“I lived in the cosmopolitan coastal city of Soulrest, fortunate again to be exposed quite early to the various cultures and peoples. I was once a guide to those very secrets for a group of mages. Their expertise and wildly interesting stories of exploration captured my imagination. They brought me with them to the Imperial City where I learned everything I would need to know. As such, became an expert.”
“If you doubt my skills and ability to service, know that I have been appraising and collecting history-” Judena leaned down to Nanine, poking her nose. “Since before you were born, young one.” She smiled, showing gums.
Nanine gave a poorly suppressed giggle, smiling back at the Argonian as Judena’s nose poked her own. ”Oh, it’s nothing important enough that I demand it be struck from your journal. It’ll just be prudent that I don’t whip it out in the middle of the street. You’ll see when we get there, I promise.”
She held up her hands in mock defense. ”I would never doubt the skills of someone as enthusiastic as you, Judena. That’s not even considering how well aged you are. I was merely curious as to what gave away that the artifact might be my sword.”
She gave a wry chuckle, hand on the hilt of said sword. ”I suppose I should consider next time that my over protectiveness might be the very thing giving it away as something worthy of stealing.”
She shrugged lightly, confident in her ability to defend it, before turning back the conversation onto Judena. The woman was a wealth of information and she wasn’t about to waste this opportunity. ”So you must have been all over Tamriel in your time, no? Any stories or regions of particular note you’d like to talk about? I’ve only been in High Rock, Skyrim, and central Cyrodiil. Which, I realize, makes me already far more travelled than your average person, but they tend to be very similar in everything except culture. And temperature, if you get even slightly north in Skyrim.”
“I have been to every province, the most I am familiar with to recall is that of Cyrodiil and my home Argonia - referred often by landstriders as Black Marsh. While I am quite the excellent appraiser for historical pieces, every piece is new to me. I was taught the hows and whys something could look and feel the way it does based on hundreds of variables. I would need to read from my logbooks if I were to recount anything exciting - truthfully my dear Nadean.” She explained, gently trying to help the youthful mage understand the limitations. “I was thankfully not born with this affliction but my decades of travelling are only remembered in the logs.”
“I apologize, Nabine.”
Nanine internally cursed her overexcitement. Of course Judena couldn’t tell her anything, her memory required the use of her logbook for anything not very old or very recent. And here Judena was, apologizing for something she couldn’t control. Nanien found herself being endeared to the sweet older woman. ”No, no. You don’t have to apologize Judena. It was my mistake for forgetting. And my name is Nanine. Nani, if you prefer.”
She gestured to the door of an inn it was one of the poorer ones, more of a large house with extra rooms than a proper inn. This is where I’m holed up for now. Didn’t have much money after leaving Skingrad, and the Legion didn’t give a whole lot for what information I had. Follow me, if you would?”
The moved through the smoky building, its only other inhabitant a cheery old nord woman, calling hello from the kitchen. In short order they were in Nanine’s room, a simple affair of one bed and a dresser, and she carefully closed and locked the door. ”Here we are.”
She drew her sword, presenting it with a hand on the blade and the hilt too Judena. The white inscription seemed to glow, as the black of the ebony seemed to draw in light. ”This is my family’s blade, The Eternal Vow. My brother wielded it, and our father before him, and his father before him, and on to the era of the first Septim Empire. One of our ancestors earned this blade by serving Septim faithfully and saving his life.”
Nanine shrugged. ”Or so the story goes. All I really know is that it’s been in my family since before my father, and it is absolutely slathered with enchantments to increase its endurance and keep it strong. I could, technically, leave it in the bottom of a river for a year and it would be ready to use the moment it got pulled from the muck. I believe it also has a Soul Trap Enchantment designed to draw souls of the slain into it, to power the enchantments, as I’ve never needed to use soul gems on it. I was hoping you could date it.”
Judena sidestepped around it, from her pocket she flicked out some cloth gently cradling it. Her expression growing intense in concentration. She weighed it carefully in her hands eyes scanning the length of the blade and the hilt - clearly two different pieces from two different eras. Bringing it over to the desk she gently laid it down, in her hand she casted magelight, squeezing the orb in her hand dimming it considerably she let it go to float freely over the blade giving her more light to see the darker planes of the ebony. The sword itself showed its age in the way it was forged - there was a very good reason why smithies moved onto better methods to shape ebony weaponry. Judena wanted to get a better feel for it - allowing magika to pour into the palm of her hand she let the raw energy glide over and interact with these enchantments. Someone in her family had mind to ensure the hilt would not detach again by enchanting it, was this the result of generational work or the hands of one such master enchanter?
“There is a seed of truth to great tales.” Judena began. “This sword however is not from the First Era. It would not have seen past a couple generations of ceremonial use and the occasional fight if it had not been enchanted the way it has. The technique used to forge it is old but not that
old. In fact,” She ran the tips of her fingers down the length of the blade - feeling out the ridges, scratches and tiny imperfections, “The technique for forging a blade this way began to decline quite steadily when the Septim Dynasty was established. Few pockets of rebellious Dunmer factions kept the ember alive but time saw to the erasure. In favour, to logically strengthen the durability capably seen in ebony as a material.”
Judena removed her hand and magicka pointing to the hilt. “The hilt is not the original.”
Bringing the light closer to show the fine seam at the base. “See? It was done with skillful hands but such a fix leaves visible clues. It is a far more modern piece by comparison to the blade itself. Third Era, definitively.” She picked it back up eyeing down it. “The inscription was added after as well, covering another, older one. The current Cyrodilic script on the blade wasn’t used at the time of forging.
She spoke as if to herself, “As for a date the blade was originally forged? I would narrow it down between year one hundred and ten third era and eight hundred and sixty second era. Further examination would be needed to get an exact date. Delving into your family tree and history would help connect the dates to the evidence found within the blade.
Nanine shouldn’t have been surprised. A blade that had been around as long as The Eternal Vow
was claimed to have been would have undergone changes in its long life. Plus, the odds of her father’s stories being 100% true were very slim. As proud as her father was, they were still simply a relatively well off commoner family, with nothing to verify their claims but their pride. Still, she found herself blinking in startelement at all the details and mistakes in the story Judena pointed out.
She saw the line that indicated a repair, now that Judena pointed it out. As the examination completed, Nanine found herself wondering about the sword she had been devoted to keeping protected. Where was the other piece? What inscription was written over, and why was it changed? Questions for later. For now, she owed Judena for her services. ”Thank you, Judena. Here, take this for all you’ve done. It's been very enlightening.”
She handed the argonian a pouch of coins, letting Judena out of her room. ”I hope our paths cross again.”