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Friday, June 2, 2023

Charcoal (Yuuri)

 It has been too long since we had a Yuuri-centric fic, so enjoy!

It’s rare that I get a day to sit and work on things I enjoy rather than paperwork or reports, as a result the moment I heard I was getting a day off I began daydreaming of what to do. Having stayed up late the night before, as I had nowhere to be this morning, I wake up in the mid morning and find Kit laying next to me still asleep. He’s a heavy sleeper but I still try to be careful to not wake him, after all he could use the rest. Carefully I manage to find a way out of bed and stand for a moment before stretching with a yawn, my neck and back both end up cracking unexpectedly- not the greatest sound but oh if felt good. My posture at work probably doesn’t help, being around small children most of the day means one has to either slouch, squat, or find a very creative way to sit. Opening the thin paper-like door out to the garden quickly I breathe in some of the fresh air before quietly shutting it and beginning the rest of my morning routine. For once it’s sunny and fairly clear, no storms on the horizon at all, though it is still fairly cold at least for this climate.

Silently I manage to retrieve clothes from the dresser and tiptoe my way to the bath. One perk of having family ties to the Morag Tong, you learn some very useful skills from early childhood onward that pay off in a variety of situations, even if you’re only trying to not wake your sleeping boyfriend while you shower. A hot bath is the perfect way to start the day and I even feel some of the muscle tension melting away as I sink into the water and close my eyes. Between work, keeping Kit out of trouble, and attempting to ensure Valan doesn’t get into his own mischief that could snowball into a larger problem it’s safe to say I’ve been stressed and need a day to relax, if not two. Sammie is helpful in the latter regard when available and serves as an easy way for Eno Hlaalu and by extension me to receive updates on things, and there is at least the Fyr family within relatively easy reach in case of real emergencies. Neloth is intelligent, but not so helpful, and generally the combination of him and Valan leads to mutual encouragement of insane ideas. Ah, the Telvanni, I’ll never truly understand them. Must be the isolated coastline, too many rocks and not enough people addles their brain.

After some time soaking until sufficiently clean I get dressed, using the day off as an excuse to dress more casually than I usually would if I were heading to work for the day with only a basic cotton shirt and trousers. Kit is still sound asleep when I return back into the bedroom and I give him a quick kiss on the forehead before sliding open the door and closing it behind me. I still don’t know exactly what I’ll do today, for now my thoughts are on breakfast. Wandering through the winding empty hallways I eventually reach the kitchen, having taken the long way to see where everyone else in the house is and if they’ve gone out for the day. My father I find sparing with a dummy on the far side of the house, which is barely used outside of guest rooms and practice spaces for sparing and other similar techniques. My uncle had gone to visit my aunt and cousins a few days ago and won’t return until the weekend. He tends to do that around this time of year. I think part of it is his way of dealing with grief and the anniversary of at least one of his children's deaths. My mother I find when I eventually come to the kitchen and my presence surprises her. “Shouldn’t you be at the hospital?” She asks, confused to see my standing at the base of the stairs so casually this late in the morning, usually I’m long gone by this hour. “Got the day off, possibly tomorrow too. Evaluation cancellations and meetings I don’t need to attend.” I explain with a grin, it’s very rare I get time to myself and I plan to savor it as much as possible. In response to my explanation she makes a satisfied noise before asking the typical question- have I eaten yet, and having just gotten up the answer is no. I attempt to help her cook but she insists on doing it herself, also a typical thing, she rarely lets my father help with meals either outside of dishes. Eventually breakfast is served, a set of small pancake-like sandwiches filled with red bean paste in the middle between the two flat pieces and drizzled with honey. As I eat and my mother cleans the counter Kit comes wandering out having finally woken up. “Ah, Carter! Finally awake, want some breakfast?” My mother asks to which Kit nods with a still sleepy smile and mumbles a “yes please” before wandering down the couple of steps that lead from the kitchen toward my bedroom and comes and sits next to me. Using what was leftover from other recipes mom makes Kit a traditional dish that is similar to an omelet, something familiar and more appetizing than a bowl of rice or soup to someone who isn’t entirely used to eating those foods for breakfast. Breton food is generally excellent whenever I’ve had it, however it is very different to typical food found in Morrowind, even in places with heavy imperial or Hlaalu influence like here on the mainland. In places like Sadrith Mora, the Ashlands, or other more remote places on Vvardenfell, or even simply more traditional areas controlled by other great houses the dining fare is generally surprising to outlanders. That said once they try it, breakfast and certain delicacies aside, they find it enjoyable. It’s hard to not enjoy rice, ash yams, or very strong alcohol, though. One is plain, one is plain yet somehow flavorful, and one makes for a very interesting night.

Having finished breakfast Kit wanders off again to go get dressed while I head to my study, if I have some free time I may as well use it to work on some personal projects. Unlocking the door I close it behind me, though I don’t lock it. I’ve had more than enough experience with Kit either attempting to pick the lock or successfully doing so just to sit somewhere and chat due to boredom that locking it when I’m not working on anything incredibly important is useless. If he decides to stop by, it will be open, and even if he doesn’t there’s no harm done in having it unlocked. It takes me a moment to remember what I was last working on as I survey the room that is a bit of a mess of works in progress and various forms of paper. Aha! Clearing aside some scraps on the ground I find what I was last working on, a charcoal piece on a large piece of textured toned paper. It’s too large to fit on my desk hence the reason I’d left it on the floor. That’s what I can do today, get some work done on this project. Before sitting down and getting to work I clean up the space a bit, opening a window to get some fresh air, organizing my paint brushes and inks for when I get around to working on my pile of watercolor paintings and the calligraphy that Eno had wanted for potential new writ announcement cards. Taking a deep breath I kneel down on the carpet with a container of charcoal pieces of various sizes and tones at my side, along with a cloth to both wipe my hands as charcoal gets messy no matter how hard one tries, and to assist in smudging the charcoal to obtain a blended or gradient effect on the paper. Humming a tune to myself I pick up a piece of the gritty drawing tool and begin to work, making simple marks to start and getting more complex from there.

Hours pass until the sun begins to set, I take a brief break for lunch and find that Kit had gone off for the day, likely to pick pockets and my mother is busy tending the garden outside before returning to my study. As the sun sets it casts an interesting light on the paper and I decide to stow it for the night. I'll work on it another time, perhaps tomorrow. For now though as the lanterns begin to light the courtyard and the city down the hill it’s time to say goodnight to the drawing. Carefully closing the door to my study I lock it for the night, for safekeeping. Now to get this charcoal dust off my hands, if only it were a cleaner medium!

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Stuck In A Tree (Juliette)

Prompt: Stuck in a tree

This is just an excuse to have Sanguine be up to no good while also fulfilling a prompt and I have no regrets, also a rare Juliette POV that's fun.

For all the things I had planned today, being stuck in a tree was not on the list. Such is the way of things, I suppose. Out of everything that could have happened today ranging from another necromancer causing problems or the emperor or someone else misplacing another important letter, there are worse things than being stuck in a tree. The problem is, I don’t know how I got here in the first place, and more importantly I don’t know how to get down. It’s not a large gap between the branch I'm precariously sitting in anc the ground, but it’s larger than I’d like- as I would prefer to not break anything while attempting to get down from my perch. If I was a Telvanni wizard and not a Breton one I’d simply levitate down, unfortunately the practice isn’t common outside of Morrowind and I’ve never been to the east, aside from a brief trip to eastern Cyrodiil, if that even counts.

Sitting there I think about how in the world I could have gotten into my current predicament. It had been a rather normal evening the night before, nothing incredibly unusual. I’d been in a small tavern reviewing some documents about my various assignments and other errands I needed to complete when a man asked if I wanted a drink. Given the amount of work and other running around I’ve had to do lately I graciously accepted as one does when someone else offers to pay. Sure I don’t drink often, but when I do I can hold my liquor, and I didn’t have more than one drink last night. Did the stranger spike my drink?! I think of the possibility and conclude it’s entirely possible, and I’m rather stupid to have not noticed. However it doesn’t explain why I’m in a tree this morning. My bag of documents is still with me so they obviously weren’t a thief, or if they were then they were a rather bad one. Sitting there among the branches I think over the events of last night and find that there’s a large memory gap between that drink and my waking up in my current situation- something must have happened last night. The question is…what?

After a few more minutes of thinking and looking at the ground below I decide to attempt to climb to some of the lower branches and try to not hurt myself if I end up needing to jump to get down. My efforts while rather tiring and troublesome work out in the end as I reach some lower branches. I sit perched on one for a few minutes to recover, about four feet from the ground, though suddenly I hear a snapping sound and a moment later I’m on the ground and sore in areas I didn’t know existed. The branch broke under my weight, and in all regards I’m very average in size. Stupid trees and their stupid branches, who cares if they provide oxygen and everything. Tired and missing a chunk of my dignity I pull a few stray twigs and leaves from my hair and stomp off toward the little village I’d been staying in near Wayrest. Perhaps the bartender will have information about last night.

Upon entering the inn the barkeep seems surprised to see me, mentioning that last night my friend and I had discussed running off to Daggerfall and causing all kinds of trouble. I find myself missing Daggerfall for a brief moment then, it’s my home after all, and nothing else quite compares to it. Employing some of my skills as a Blades agent I manage to get some information from the barkeep, though it isn’t much in the end. I should be looking for a Breton fellow named Sam who wears a set of robes, ah yes like that’s incredibly distinctive and will pop out immediately in a sea of other Bretons, many of whom wear robes for various reasons. I thank the bartender for their time and pay for a room for the night, though it’s only early afternoon now. For the remainder of the day I ask around the village about the mystery man named Sam, coming up with practically nothing useful in the end.

At the end of the day a warm meal and soft bed are great comforts to my rather sore body, even if inn beds can be questionable at best. I’ll resume my search for this mystery man in the morning, for now I need to rest after having been stuck in a tree the entire night before. When I wake in the morning I find a note slid under the door with a bit more information about my memory lapse, I apparently had more than I remember to drink, and whoever wrote the note mentions the person I was with had talked about meeting again in Daggerfall at one particular inn, and that they had a sort of reward for me. Intrigued, I pack up my few things and head south toward the capital, at least I’ll be able to sleep in my own bed while I’m there…and that’s better than being stuck in a tree. The trip down south is at least a pleasant one, a breeze comes in from the coast and the landscape is dotted with small villages and farms. By the time I reach the capital it’s early in the evening, time to find the inn mentioned in the note, I haven’t heard of it before and given the size of the city it may take awhile to find.

After at least an hour or two of asking people the way to the inn and nearly giving up part way through I get some scrap of information that allows me to eventually find it, with a significant amount of wandering around the general area before coming across it’s exact location. Stepping inside I’m slightly started by the contrast from the quiet street outside to the lively music and chatter of the inn and it’s patrons. In the corner I spot who I came looking for, Sam the mysterious man in black robes. Upon approach he stands up and asks me how my night was, seemingly aware of the tree incident. Strange, I hadn’t even gotten a word out about it, he must have been involved somehow. We go into another quieter room to discuss the reward that I supposedly won and once in a more private area Sam reveals an intricately carved staff with a rose at the top, and is apparently enchanted with some very interesting spells. Having handed over the staff and congratulated me again we return to the main common room to chat for a few minutes more until Sam tells me he suddenly has to leave. From my spot at the table with a clear view of the street I see the man clad in black exit the building, there’s a flash of swirling purple light, and in place of Sam I see a dremora like figure clad in armor who briefly looks back with a grin and a wink before disappearing in another flash of light. Stunned, I stare at the doorway for a solid five minutes before coming to my senses. Did I play a drinking game with Sanguine? I look at the staff as it sits by the table and think for a moment. Even if I did, at least I got a cool staff out of it…and that’s something worth getting stuck in a tree for.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Day Of The Dead (Lucien)

A/N: May mini fic prompts continue, I've been spending too much time doing side quests in Falkreath and Whiterun, and I want to give Lucien a hug.

  Prompt: Day of the dead (+ storytelling collective prompt: that was the same day you died) 

 “Do you remember that time in Bravil where you nearly knocked out the son of whoever was in charge there?” I ask Issy as we sit around the Falkreath sanctuary waiting for Astrid to get back from wherever she went. Issy looks over at me silently and almost slightly confused. “Lucien, I remember that, but my memories of that day have very different events that come to mind much more clearly.” I tilt my head and give her a look of not entirely understanding. “That was the same day you died.” Issy reminds me, and seems like she might cry. It’s very rare to see her cry, I’ve only seen it happen once or twice in all the time I’ve known her. She’s right now that I think of it, that was the same day. We’d met up in Bravil after I figured out the contracts were being swapped with forgeries, and the people being killed were not the actual targets but other members of the Dark Brotherhood. I’d tried to get to Issy before the most recent one she’d been given could be carried out but was too late. There had been an unrelated scuffle with some nobles son though due his drug addicted state he certainly didn’t look anything like a high and mighty ruler in training, and Issy had nearly knocked him out when he lunged at her with a shiv. I found it kind of funny in all honesty, she pushed him back so easily he nearly went right through the flimsy wooden wall. I must have blocked out the rest of that day over time, or at least somehow associated it as an entirely separate event. In reality, as soon as the realization of what had happened was explained to Issy and that The Black Hand would blame me for it, as I was the one supplying the contracts, I went into hiding…or at least attempted to. Applewatch had seemed like a safe place to go, it was remote and difficult to get to due to the terrain and climate around Bruma, and yet I was found. Upon emerging from my thoughts, retracing the steps of that day I find that Issy had wandered off somewhere else, leaving me alone sitting on the ledge that I find myself usually squished into whenever I happen to end up here. I don’t like thinking about my death, it was rather painful, extraordinarily unpleasant, and the maniacal grin on Mathieu's face as he watched me die is one not easily erased from my mind. I close my eyes and shake my head in the attempt to get rid of the mental image, instead trying to think of happier things. It works to some degree, but I find myself now in a strange mood, not exactly angry, not particularly sad, and yet annoyed isn’t the best way to describe it either. “If you’re going to be here can’t you at least be useful?” I hear Arbjorn ask from below and glare at the werewolf unhappily. “No.” I tell him bluntly, crossing my arms and refusing to move. “What?” He asks with a note of irritation clearly heard. “I’m. Not. Moving.” I enunciate as clearly as possible and that gets a response that isn’t even words as much as a noise of annoyance and he practically stomps off. “What’re you gonna do, kill me? I’m already dead wolfy!” I call after him before being left alone again. As much as I dislike being alone, I would prefer it to being around Arbjorn. My choice of werewolf company would be Farkas, he’s at least quiet and interesting to talk to. Eventually Astrid returns from wherever she was and I overhear Arbjorn complaining about me to her, their room is the first one off this main common area after all, all that separates them from me is a door. Night has fallen by now and as a result more and more members of the sanctuary come and go through the room, and I decide it’s irritating to the point that I’ll go for a walk. Being a spectre means I have no real reason to carry a torch, my not quite dead form gives off a soft bluish light. Shadowmere looks up as she hears the door open and makes a noise upon realizing it’s me. “How are you my dear friend?” I ask her giving her some pats and she makes another noise as if to reply. “That’s good. I’m going to go on a walk, I’ll be back soon.” I tell the horse, making sure to give her an apple before I walk off into the woods. I would be more careful about doing this elsewhere, but the people of Falkreath are used to seeing all manner of death, and undeath, to the point where I believe they even have an entire day devoted to it. Hours pass as I wander aimlessly, ending up in the large graveyard at the edge of the town of Falkreath itself. Most of the townspeople have gone to sleep by now, it is mostly just the guards who make their rounds, and they tend to avoid the graveyard. I inspect the gravestones, reading who is buried here and when they died, and in some cases clean them off if they’ve been neglected. While few have the capability to manifest in a way like I do, respecting the dead is still important. At one point I sense that someone is watching me and look up to find a man standing in the road, looking at me. He doesn’t seem like a guard based on the way he’s dressed in clothes that have seen better days and wears no shoes. There is something else off about him, and eventually I notice it. Most people's eyes don’t shine like that in the darkness. Silently I raise a hand to acknowledge him, one supernatural being to another. The man nods, before silently wandering off into the forest, leaving me alone again in the graveyard among the dead, as another relic of a past age.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

For The Advancement Of Science (Fyr)

Prompt: Science time

“Can you teach me something today or are we just going to be cleaning all day?” Ayron asks as we organize the lab, a rather boring but necessary part of lab safety. “The sooner we finish this, then the sooner we can have lunch and then perhaps after if you aren’t too tired I can teach you something.” I respond while dusting off one of the higher shelves. “I’m never too tired!” He protests, though I disagree. More than once I’ve found him asleep on the floor of his room in the middle of playing with his toys. With renewed vigor the little boy diligently helps with whatever tasks he’s capable of helping with. Most of it involves dusting off things closer to the ground, placing books that had been left out back on their shelves, and putting things in boxes to be given away or discarded. “What’s this?” I hear him ask while my back is turned and find him looking very curiously and too close for comfort at a rather expensive piece of glass equipment. “Not for little hands.” I tell him, taking the glassware and putting it somewhere he can’t reach…not like that’s stopped him before. On more than one occasion I’ve found him scaling the bookshelves in order to reach a book on the higher shelves, a tactic he probably learned from Uupse.

Having had the object of his curiosity confiscated he sits down on the carpet with a huff and announces his boredom. Looking around the lab looks much better than when we started, though there are still a few tasks to be done. To occupy Ayron I give him a short list of tasks to help finish things up while I manage to put away the last of the more delicate equipment. “Lunchtime?” he asks now that everything is put away in their respective places and I nod in confirmation. Not two seconds later he runs off down the hall and out of sight, I follow a few minutes later at my own pace. These old bones can only take so much when it comes to keeping up with children, especially Ayron.

Lunch is simple and consists mostly of leftover rice mixed with vegetables and a few other things. Beyte and Delte pass by as we eat, discussing something about the cost of groceries and other necessities for the month. That reminds me I need to send Mistress Dratha another message inquiring about the possibility of the medication for Beyte we had been discussing in the attempt to keep the girl a bit more grounded to this reality. My own research involves the study of disease, but most of it is in regard to physical symptoms and in particular the manifestation and transmission of Corpus disease. Mistress Dratha prefers to study the mind and all its capability for developing abnormalities, and both of us were quite concerned when Beyte began experiencing delusions at the start of puberty that have persisted ever since. I write myself a note before I forget to contact Dratha later this evening if I get a chance once all five children have gone to bed, Azura knows the old woman rarely sleeps these days anyways.

“What’s that?” Ayron asks, trying to get a look at the note. “A reminder to talk to Mistress Dratha about something.” I tell him before slipping the scrap of paper into a pocket. Ayron makes a less than pleased face upon hearing her name. “Why do you have to talk to her?” He asks before adding “She’s old and mean and scary.” Ah the joys of raising very outspoken children, I’d forgotten the two of them don’t particularly like each other. Originally I thought that either Uupse or Alfe would be the most problematic when it comes to sarcasm or very blunt remarks, but it seems that Ayron has more of that in him than either of the clones do. “1. She’s younger than me so be careful who you call old. 2. She’s not mean, she's just very busy and rather paranoid sometimes. 3. Mistress Therana is infinitely scarier.” I respond to his second comment first while I think of a way to answer the first question. “And as to why I have to talk to her, we have been discussing a science question and what to do about it. That’s all I’ll tell you.” Ayron leans in closer across the table and whispers “Is it a secret? Because I’m really good at keeping secrets.” He grins and nods to confirm. “The last time I told you a secret you told Delte what her birthday present would be two minutes after I told you.” I whisper back, no secret scientific research for you Ayron, maybe when you’re older. To that he frowns and sinks back into his chair, staring at me silently for at least a minute before returning to his typical demeanor and going back to finishing his lunch.

 After lunch and an afternoon cup of tea are finished the two of us return back upstairs. “Now can you teach me something? Please?” Since he asked nicely and we don’t have anything else to do for the day I agree and pull out some of the alchemy equipment. Most of our lessons recently had been focused on continued levitation practice and some simple conjuration spells, but all good mages should be proficient in at least basic alchemy and enchanting. I think enchanting may have to wait for a bit though, he’s still capable of disenchanting objects but still hasn’t mastered soul trapping to the point of having enough soul gems at the correct power levels. Enchanting an object with a petty soul gem is pretty useless compared to a grand soul gem.

“Do you know how to make a healing potion?” I ask him, as he did have some basic knowledge of magic before coming to me, or really before I stumbled upon him while passing through farmland on a trip back from Vivec. “No, but I can cast a healing spell!” A good skill to know, but not what I asked. “Alright then, that’s what we’ll do today.” I ask Ayron to grab me a few ingredients from the cabinet which he does while happily humming to himself. Next we grind them up into a fine powder and suspend them in a liquid. “Now you just mix it together until everything is combined and it will be done.” Ayron looks into the potion bottle at the mixture and back at me with a look of confusion and slight disgust. “People really drink this?” He asks and I nod to which he once again looks at the mixture and back at me. “That’s disgusting.” I shrug “It’s medicine, it’s usually disgusting. If it was drink that or death what would you do?” Ayron looks hesitantly at the bottle and for some reason sniffs it before very matter of factly stating “I would rather die!” and pushes the mixture away from him. I cover my mouth with a hand to keep myself from laughing for a moment and eventually remind him the potion is still in its unfinished state, he still has to completely mix everything together.

He does manage to mix the ingredients into the liquid until completely combined and the potion is finished, though even then he maintains that if given the option between death or drinking it, he would choose the former. “It’s not that bad, a potion of smithing on the other hand, that’s bad. Besides, at least it's not a needle.” That leads to a remark about his hatred of needles and a question about why blacksmiths would need potions. Smithing is a difficult job, especially when working with armors such as bonemold or enchanted weapons. “To put it simply, everyone can use a potion or two, that’s why science is so important and alchemy is so useful. Now you’ve learned two things for today- how to make a healing potion, and blacksmiths have tough jobs." With that lessons are officially done for the day, though Ayron hangs around the lab for a while longer as I do my own work and simply observes me working.

 Eventually he grows tired of watching and wanders off somewhere else, I see him again at dinner before he disappears again and I find him once more in the room Delte and Uupse share playing a rather intense game of what seems to be War or similar card game with Delte as Uupse keeps score. They seem occupied enough to not notice my presence and having looked into Alfe and Beyte’s room I found them both asleep. Now seems as good a time as ever to see if I can get a message to Dratha about our project regarding Betye and her condition. Even if it fails, it would be an advancement in the field of science.

Monday, May 15, 2023

When At A Wedding... (Valan)

A/N: This is short but quite silly and was rather fun to write at midnight with no other thoughts other than Fyr is incredibly petty and that without a doubt rubbed off on Valan. Typical Telvanni wizard things.

 May 2023 Mini Fic Prompt: Evil Wedding Speech

I don’t want to be here, I don’t even know why I’m here. Despite everything, politics are not a well developed skill of mine, and yet here I am, sitting at a counts wedding. “You’re giving a speech.” Fyr tells me sternly with a nudge in the side to get my attention. That was not a request, it was a command. With a sigh I agree to comply, but in asking me to do this I hope he knows I’m taking a page out of his book. There may be a wedding speech, but it won’t necessarily be a good, or particularly polite, one. Hitting my spoon against a glass I get the attention of the room and stand, clearing my throat before announcing I have a speech. The room is primarily comprised of Imperial nobles, politicians, and other high ranking officials. There are a few Bretons, a couple of Nords, but aside from Fyr who sits next to me looking incredibly bored, not a single Dunmer. This may at least get us out of here quicker, and possibly out of the city in general. “Dearly beloathed, we are gathered here today to witness the union of my dear friend, the count of Leyawiin, who has been so helpful to my people in the past…and the snake that is the countess.” At that Fyr perks up and the rest of the room looks at me in shock. The countess doesn’t seem all that surprised, we famously don’t get along. “While I wish all the best for the new couple, please do know that one of them was involved in my unlawful imprisonment and eventual deportation. On behalf of House Telvanni, please take this gift.” with a quick spell I summon as many magical creatures as possible. With familiars, atronachs, and everything else running about the room, causing the room to break out into chaos, the nobles run in a panic while the few Bretons there attempt to control things, though they know that the creatures won’t harm anyone who doesn’t harm them and will disappear again after a few minutes. Fyr calmly sits in his chair watching the calamity and I hit him lightly in the arm to get his attention this time, gesturing toward the door. “Time to go?” I ask with a grin, this entire experience was more fun than I was expecting. At the question Fyr gets up with a groan and we silently slip out of the room, making our way down enough hallways that the door is within sight when two guards step in front of us, blocking the way. Fyr, having had enough of the Imperial court casts them aside by use of a spell I still haven’t quite mastered despite intense concentration with nothing more than a wave. Note to self: if you’re going to be forced to go to a wedding, make an evil wedding speech, and bring an ancient and easily annoyed wizard.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Brainstorm (Sammie)

 Prompt: Brainstorm

A/N: It's been too long since we had a Sammie POV fic, so I wrote this to give my brain a break from final exam work.

Many nights I find myself unable to sleep. Sometimes it’s the temperature, other times insomnia, occasionally it will be a stuffy nose, and from time to time it is simply because there are too many thoughts in my head. Valan sleeps peacefully curled up near Yuuri on the floor who also is soundly asleep. Why they didn’t go upstairs to the beds specifically meant for members of the Morag Tong is beyond me. “You’re up late, Samantha.” Lin comments, having stopped in her tracks upon noticing me while passing by. “Too many thoughts swirling about up here.” I tell her, gesturing to my head. Why she is still awake is another question, but I’ve learned over time not to question the researcher or her habits. Besides, as Ling tells me from time to time when I find her wandering late at night both are night owls, a fact which can make both of their jobs easier. Lin gestures for me to follow as she starts to walk off toward her makeshift laboratory. While expansive, the Morag Tong only has so much room to work with for its headquarters due to their secret nature. Lin primarily conducts research into artifacts of Mephala means secrecy is essential for her to be able to conduct her work, as a result she cannot do her job out of any of the other Morag Tong outposts scattered throughout Morrowind. “Too many thoughts, hmm? Tell me about them.” She says having closed the door and set down the materials she’d gone to get when passing by originally. “Thoughts about life, about family, home, the state of the world, that sort of thing.” I respond though I find it somewhat awkward, usually it’s Yuuri who asks about my inside thoughts. My family life is complicated to say the least given the favoritism directed toward my cousins who lived with us, and the fact that I did not end up fitting into the mold of an isolationist noble lady. While I can be polite and play the part needed, I crave adventure and excitement, my mind needs stimulation other than politics, and I’d much rather be surrounded by some of the world's finest assassins than stuffy politicians and their lackeys any day. Thankfully my skills navigating the political world and my natural skill when it comes to fixing broken pieces of technology from the simplest to the most complex come in handy within the Morag Tong. While I rarely do any of the writs themselves I’m able to gather important intel regarding targets whereabouts, especially the wealthier ones, and can fix anything from the simplest warped bow and arrow to the most complex of dwemer constructions. I’m needed here, my thoughts and opinions matter to people, and I’m given space where I can not only do my job but also relax and form connections. “You have too many thoughts, Sammie.” Lin tells me as I explain what’s been going on inside my head. “Too many thoughts, too many ideas, it makes your brain tired.” She gestures to emphasize her point while continuing to flip through one of her many books. “Well what do you think I should do about it then?” I ask her and she shrugs “go for a walk, drink some water, take a bath, try to sleep. That’s what I always do.” Hmm, maybe I should go for a walk, that might quiet my mind a bit. “I can see the gears working up there.” Lin laughs pointing to me and then her head, turning her hands like cogs in a machine to emphasize her point. “You know what I call that?” She asks now that she has my attention again and I respond I truthfully don’t know. “Brainstorm. Too many thoughts, too much going on, and boom! Like a hurricane you get a brainstorm.” That’s a definition of the word brainstorm I’ve never heard, but I like it. It invokes interesting mental imagery, enough to strangely distract me from all my other big and difficult to process thoughts. Seeing that I’m caught in pondering the definition and my mind is off the things keeping me awake, Lin ushers me out of her lab and closes the door, locking it once she’s inside again, giving me no choice but to potentially take a walk and then get on with my bedtime routine. As I pass by the entryway I see Valan and Yuuri still curled up, sound asleep, they’ll be a problem for Eno in the morning, or perhaps Yuuri’s uncle if he happens to be here and not stationed elsewhere. Climbing the ladder up into the storage area of the Arena I pass by the ordinators on duty, who are still at least somewhat unaware of what hides beneath the storage rooms, and walk up out into the night. From canton to canton I wander until my mind is no longer in that state of “brainstorm” as Lin called it, eventually ending outside the Redoran canton. Technically I’m still a member of the house and with some explanation and showing of identification secure a room for the night in the inn, now that fatigue has caught up with me. I’ll return to the Morag Tong in the morning, if I don’t already have assignments that require surveillance within the Redoran district, for now I crawl into bed and with a few more deep breaths and closed eyes my mind quiets from its state of brainstorm with hurricane conditions and harsh winds to a state of peacefulness analogous to calm seas or the view looking down at the grazelands at dawn. A calm, even, and strangely reassuring feeling. “Lin was right, I do have too many thoughts, I should go on walks more often.” I find myself mumbling aloud to myself before sleep takes me as the last few nagging thoughts dissipate and I fall into a dreamless sleep.

Friday, May 5, 2023

I Thought You Were Bringing The Money! (Issy)

A/N: Baurus to the rescue! The second on the list of May mini fic prompts which will probably take me at least through August to actually finish...

Prompt: I thought you were bringing the money

 “You have money right?” Lucien asks me as we go to walk to the nearby inn to grab food after a tiring day. With a sigh I stop abruptly in my tracks and turn to face him “I thought you were bringing the money!” The two of us stand in the middle of the busy market district street looking like idiots. “There’s a reason Vicente doesn’t let me handle the finances of the sanctuary and the reason is I would lose them, so why would you think I was bringing money?” That’s a fair point, though still a memory from last week pops into my head. “Last Tuesday you said you would bring extra money when we got here.” To that Lucien stares at the ground silently as if trying to remember before mumbling an apology.

“Well…can always pickpocket someone.” I say to myself looking around the market for a potential target. “You know I’m a terrible pickpocket.” Lucien reminds me, which is true, despite his other skills that come in handy for being an assassin, he’s a terrible thief. “Leave that to me, you just keep a lookout for guards. Unless you want to rummage through those boxes over there, nobody cares if you take stuff from them.” I point out a pile of large wooden boxes and a few barrels in the corner of the square. “But avoid those ones, that’s how I got thrown in jail.” I point out a trio of other boxes on the opposite side of the square. Lucien retreats into a corner and decides to be a lookout as I wander among the wealthy patrons of the market, grabbing what I can here and there, though by the time I’ve circled a few times and get back to where Lucien stands I find it’s not much.

Away from prying eyes we count up what I was able to steal and find that it’s just enough to potentially split something. As we stand around in a courtyard off the main square counting up the stolen money and debating what to do, a strange sound from behind us draws our attention. It sounds like metal scraping on stone and upon turning around we find the sewer grate has been moved to the side, and up pops Baurus. “You two should really be quieter when it comes to discussing criminal activities and how you’re both broke, I could hear you from down there.” The Blade tells us as he climbs out of the sewer and places the grate back into its correct position, making it look as if nothing has happened. Lucien and I stare at him blankly, surprised to see him. Last I saw Baurus he was sitting around the library of Cloud Ruler Temple half asleep listening to Martin ramble about something.

 “Come on you two, I’m buying you dinner.” Baurus begins to walk out of the courtyard and waves us along, Lucien and I look at each other quickly before running to catch up with the Redguard, he has no reason to be walking that fast. It turns out Baurus is staying at the same place we’d decided to and after changing out of his sewer exploring clothes into something less disgusting meets us at the bar. We’d been sitting around chatting while waiting and once he sits down, bring him into the conversation before letting the innkeeper know we’re ready to order.

The meal is light but filling enough, and I make sure to thank Baurus profusely for paying. In response he just holds up a coin purse and grins “Perk of working for The Blades, it doesn’t come out of my own pocket.” he explains before stashing it away. “Why can’t we do that?” I hear Lucien mutter to himself “Because we’re not the Morag Tong and Vicente doesn’t let you touch the finances.” I give him a pat on the back and get a less than pleased look in response to the explanation. Baurus tosses Lucien a couple of coins “This is for not bringing money in the first place and dealing with that Mythic Dawn agent I know you dealt with the other day.” and hands me a piece of paper “and this is for you not getting turned over to the guards if you give me that ruby I know you pick-pocketed.” I have no idea how he managed to be aware of that if he was in the sewer. “I have eyes everywhere.” Baurus reminds me, and with some annoyance I agree to turn over the ruby. He pockets it and gets up, leaving as quickly as he’d shown up and disappearing upstairs. “Well…that could have gone worse.” Lucien remarks, fidgeting with one of the coins. “You’re bringing money next time.” I simply tell him before getting up myself and going to bed, it’s been too long of a day.