The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

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Jay_H
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The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Jay_H »

For a long time I've wanted to do a screenshot Let's Play of something. Daggerfall is the supreme roleplayer's game. Since I'll never be on the Let's Play Archive and I don't want to join one of the myriad smaller organizations, I figured I'd do it here and let the community look in. This is entirely subject to Interkarma's choice of space, so if he decides that it's too big for the forums or just not the right place, I'll probably move it to a Tumblr or something and continue it from there.

This is a heavily modded "full consequences" playthrough, but not Ironman. That means I can reload if I die, but otherwise I'm expected to deal with the consequences of my choices, whatever they are. Mods can throw whatever surprises they want at me, monsters can surprise me as they will, and I'll try to deal with them the best I can.

This first part is going to be wordy to set the stage, but after that it's going to be actual gameplay and decisions.

(Modlist for Part I: https://pastebin.com/AwSmGEj2)

So without further ado,

The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Part I: Rude Awakening
Part II: Eat or Be Eaten
Part III: Risk and Reward
Part IV: Kalaron Rising
Part V: The Ghost Road
Part VI: The Price of Freedom
Part VII: Despondency

Part I: Rude Awakening

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I, Kalaron Spellire, am a mage of no small means.

Inducted into the College of Sepiarchs from my youth, I have always known the power, and terror, of magicka. From my earliest days I bent the forces of nature to my will, showing great promise to they who deigned themselves my elders. Hence, in the 405th year of the Third Era of Tamriel, I was offered a wild surprise to one possessing my talents: the opportunity to study under Master Aryon of House Telvanni, on the isle of Vvardenfell, Morrowind province, for a dual season. I leaped at the opportunity, ignoring the warnings that the Dunmer were a strange and selfish people. I knew enough magic to gain an invitation to a Telvanni scholarship, and refused to let my "superiors" make light of it.

The night prior to my leaving, Master Sagewind insisted that I practice a few spells during the journey. I bedrudgingly followed his incantations. "This will restore your vigor when exhausted," he recited in sing-song tones, and I answered in like manner. "This will pierce the heart of your foe," he continued. On and on, late into the night we went. Perhaps it were for the better, for my excitement to begin the journey to Morrowind had dispelled any hope of a normal rest.

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I was slightly insulted at the size of the craft and the number of the crew who would deliver me. It was a trade ship, Breton in make, that sailed thrice around Tamriel per year. We would make it, but it would take several weeks, and I would find no easy rest amid the bustling workers. After a few days at sea, I managed to find a spot on the deck where I could rest, read my favorite books, and mostly avoid the rugged action of the seamen.

One afternoon I dozed off, using one of my books as shade over my eyes. I was aware of some shouting among the crewmen and a feeling of alarm, but I felt no concern. These were civilized waters, and the crew intentionally followed a course close to shore. There was no chance that danger could overtake us.

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"And what do we do with the pointy-eared one?"

I was startled by an unfamiliar voice, and I picked the book up off from my face. I found myself facing a cadre of ne'er-do-wells, armed to the teeth and in a stance for battle. The first mate lay dead beside me, killed with a swift arrow. The ship was silent except for these pirates before me.

"Kill him or throw him off, I don't care. Whatever is less trouble."

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I frantically looked around. The coastline, it was there! It was within sight! I could make it... But would I get the chance?

I began invoking some magic, which startled them and halted their advance. Sadly, I knew no incantation to slay them all; my best efforts would kill them one at a time, and they would surely beat me to the task. I looked around in panic. My things were below deck; my clothes, my study materials, my identification and gold, all of it! Had I not been asleep, I could have been prepared to slip away!

"He's freaking me out! Kill him!"

"NO!" I shouted and leapt off the ship's bow. Perhaps to their fright or their relief, they left me alone. No sense wasting more arrows on a mer no longer their threat, I suppose. Now I had the long swim to the shore, which looked so easy from above.

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I pulled myself out of the water, my clothes soaked. I only carried a bag of basic provisions, one that I had grabbed while leaping off the vessel. I was as good as dead in this desert.

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I followed the sand crest as well as I could in my exhausted state. I looked around for a sign of civilization, anything at all. And there it was! Anu be praised, I was not doomed!

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Swimming in the salty sea had sapped my strength, and this short hike seemed to take an eternity. Lacking any morsel for the day, it took great effort to put one foot in front of the other. The burning sun on my neck and head motivated me to keep going, if only slightly. Soon, I found my refuge in this barren wasteland.

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I thanked Master Sagewind in my mind for reminding me how to restore vigor with my magicka. A few castings of it sufficed to keep me on my feet as I trudged into the town.

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I called out to a nearby townswoman, who seemed distraught at my appearance. I asked where I was, and was shown the following on my map.

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Abibon-Gora was a remote, fairly primitive region in western Hammerfell. We had scarcely started on our journey, it seems, before our cruel incident at sea. I wondered if things fared better near High Rock and Skyrim than the desert clime.

The woman directed me to the nearest inn to rest my head for a time. I asked the barkeep what he charged for the night.

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I was appalled, mostly because I had only 40 gold pieces on hand. Had he no kindness for the castaway?

"Sorry chum, we're no tourist resort. Gots to make a living out here, and we can't show much mercy on ya."

I could scarcely believe his words. Without answering, I departed the inn in search of more hospitable company.

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"And how is it so infernally hot here?!" I shouted. I needed a change of clothes, quickly, lest I become a pile of fair-colored ash.

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"Surely I'll be able to pawn off the ship's goods for some sustenance," I hoped.

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I was incensed at the man's insistence to barter over every single object, even those books I dearly treasured from the College. Could this land actually be so merciless? Was I in some fair-looking corner of Coldharbour rather than Tamriel?

I bought some foodstuffs to sate my ravishing hunger, in case the innkeeps charged similar rates for their meals. I procured for myself new clothing, finding my vestiments far too warm for the climate. I felt and probably looked silly, but I could not stand the blazing heat any longer.

"Have you no cloaks? The one I brought is nearly threadbare," I complained. "Sorry lad, no cloaks, but a sewing kit may do you up."

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I silently swore concerning the menial tasks before me. Sew up my clothing, with a needle? Pay for it myself? Spend exorbitant sums on a single night's living? My world was turned upside down, and yet these people never broke a smile. What on Tamriel was I thrown into?

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I sold his needle and thread back to him in used condition, though he hesitated to close the deal. I was in no mood to hear "no."

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I callously laughed as I passed a temple of Mara on my way to the city's other inn. Could Mara and her benevolence even exist in a plane as wretched as this?

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This bartender, seeming more humane than the other people of the city, charged more reasonably and showed me his menu.

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The venison pie, much to my surprise, was a delightful meal. He stored it away for me in case I grew hungry in the night. At a moment of peace I asked him how to get to Morrowind. He and his barmaid only laughed. "No ships to Morrowind from here, elf. What'dya think one of them's gonna be passing into the Iliac Bay for?" I felt crestfallen for my captain's abundance of caution sailing so close to land. No one else would be sailing these waters for quite some time. How would I ever get there? Or return to Summerset Isle, even?

"Hey, don't get all sad on me now. There's a ship passing by tonight, makes a weekly trip to the capital of Pothago. Fine city it is, much better for a proper gent like you than this backwater. Get on it, and you'll start feeling better about your luck here."

I knew nothing of Pothago, but it had to be better than Damu-Ij or Abibon-Gora. I thanked him for his time and kindness, and asked him to wake me up to catch the boat.

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True to his word, he kept my leftovers waiting for me in the kitchen. The man never seemed to tire. I didn't get his name, but I will always remember him.

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I stepped out into the rainy night to catch the ship. "If Anu wills that it be under rain, so must it be."

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The skies parted shortly before we reached the vessel, much to my delight. I was wary to spend another six days on the open sea, but these men seemed far more knowledgeable than my couriers had been. The trip was uneventful. We disembarked a short distance from Pothago, in much better conditions than I had arrived in Hammerfell.

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A good spirit prevailed over the city, and I already felt welcome.

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"Hmm... Perhaps there's more to this city than meets the eye."


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I gained level 2 here due to my Restoration casting in Dabu-Ij. All 6 points went to Intelligence.

And that's the end of Part I. Now we'll actually get into the gameplay and things, so it'll be more of an action narrative with real risks.

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Interkarma
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Interkarma »

I'm completely happy to have this here, I enjoy this format. Going to save this one for lunchtime reading tomorrow. :D

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Jay_H
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Jay_H »

Phew, that's a relief. (I didn't doubt you, I just didn't know what anyone would think!) And in the future you totally get the right to revoke it too, just in case it becomes too much for the board or something.

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Interkarma
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Interkarma »

I don't think it will put too much load on the board. Thank you for hosting images externally btw, that offloads a bit of storage and bandwidth. I appreciate the thought. :)

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Ralzar
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Ralzar »

I found this surprisingly entertaining.

And I always love to see my mods used, although those 37 gold for a room surely stung! :D
My released mods

"I feel like Ralzar specifically wrote those mods for me and then said "Use them". Just so he could watch me die more."
-FuzzyBeanPlays

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Jay_H
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Jay_H »

Ralzar wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:50 pm I found this surprisingly entertaining.
There's something about screenshot Let's Plays that can be really, really captivating if they're done well. I have a few that I go back to every couple of years because they're that good, it's like going back to a good book and reading it again and experiencing it all over. And you get the essence of the game without watching a half-hour episode or a 3-hour stream, so it's a really flexible option.
And I always love to see my mods used, although those 37 gold for a room surely stung! :D
C&C is vital for this playthrough, as you're going to see soon when we undertake some quests. Kalaron is not made for the rural life!

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Hazelnut
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Hazelnut »

This looks like it will be a lot of fun, I will be checking regularly! :D No Archs guild tho.. you know the quests were written by a quest writing expert! :lol: Nah just teasing, looking forward to seeing how the roads factor in though for sure. (sorry for cluttering up the LP thread)
See my mod code for examples of how to change various aspects of DFU: https://github.com/ajrb/dfunity-mods

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Jay_H
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Jay_H »

This fellow's going to be the antithesis of an Archaeologist, sadly. He'll be a magic caster with little combat ability... If/when we do another go-around we could certainly include the Archaeologists, it simply doesn't fit into this playthrough. And it's not clutter to hear people enjoying this, I'm glad for it :D (This is mostly for my own satisfaction so I'm fine with or without feedback, I just want to get something like this on paper)

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Jay_H
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Jay_H »

Note: I wrote this update previously, and when I hit "send," the forum ate the entire post. NOT fun! :lol: If some of my writing here seems rushed, that's why.

Part II: Eat or Be Eaten

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The difference between Damu-Ij and Pothago was stark. In the former, people seemed fixed on mere subsistence, fighting the land to survive. Here in the latter, some villagers smiled and waved as they passed. Everyone seemed to have a purpose. I imagine few, if any, of them had ever seen a High Elf in their lives, and I appreciated their efforts to make me feel welcome.

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Passing through the city gates, I met a curious sight. I wished to help the man, but didn't know enough of Daedric.

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I knew, at least, that a Mages Guild was in this town. If I couldn't get in contact with the Sepiarchs, surely this was the next best thing.

I noticed a signpost within the city gates, and looked at its old, faded writing.

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"What in Oblivion?" I asked aloud. A nearby guard guffawed. "Don't mind that! It's been there for ages. Not like anyone cared back then anyway. One lord thinks himself something and writes an edict to imprison the Mages Guild! Ha ha ha!"

My ears perked up. "Are there lords in this city? A ruling class?" The guard nodded and pointed northward. "You'll see the palace out that way, past the palms. Very hard to miss. Only thing past it's the city gate. Opens in a little while, so wait for them to let you in."

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Of a truth, the palace was very obvious. I marvelled at how this plain people, with basic implements, made the desert flower so. They had little to work with, and the result was a wonder.

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I walked about, taking in the majesty of this humble palace. I liked this city already, even after seeing so little of it.

Sitting down by the palace entrance, I took inventory of the food I had brought from Abibon-Gora. The fresh fish was a total loss, and the tomato had started to grow moldy. Even the salted fish was starting to go bad.

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I sat daydreaming after finishing my breakfast, watching the people pass by on their daily errands, when I heard the palace door unbolt from within. I feared to enter without being summoned, but found no one to usher me in. With some trepidation, I let myself in.

Within the palace I found a jovial group of nobles who themselves had recently finished breakfast. Now engaged in lively discussion and gossip, they quieted down in a measure upon my entrance, giving me free passage to speak to whoever I chose. I respectfully bowed before the best-dressed one.

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"My lord, my name is Kalaron Spellire. I find myself a stranger in this land, my ship having been stolen from me by pirates en route to Morrowind. I wish to return to Summerset Isle, and ask whether this court have any aid to offer me."

Lord Vlevur smirked momentarily. "What aid do you seek, High Elf?" I shrugged, "Anything there is. Have you the power of conveyance, that is, teleportation?" He shook his head. "No, only the Mages Guild possesses such a power, and they refuse to share it with the public. You'll have to speak with them directly if that is your aim."

"What about a vessel? Any mail, passenger, or other boats that go to Summerset Isle from here?" Lord Vlevur's laugh bellowed in the hall. "You of anyone, High Elf, should know what limited contact Summerset has with the rest of the Empire. A regular passenger ship? What a waste! It would never even cross the borders!" My heart sunk as I knew his words rung true. His light-mindedness was off-putting, but I knew he had good knowledge of my situation.

"Then, to Morrowind. How can I get there instead?" He then leaned forward and peered into my eyes. "Elf, do you know anything about the events around the Iliac Bay this season?" I shook my head. I had no reason to know anything that happened outside the College. "Politically, the nations of Sentinel and Daggerfall are in shambles. On the tail end of the War of Betony, Kings Lysandus and Camaron were slain. New monarchs have taken their places, and a very fragile peace is holding now. But paranoia reigns in their lands, as they fear for their lives. They know that if any of the new monarchs were to die, total instability would follow.

"You're quite lucky to have landed here. I swear to you, if some unknown High Elf, a stranger to all, showed up in the Palace of Sentinel with no identification, history, or affiliation, he would have been imprisoned or beheaded instantly. If you will hear my advice, elf, avoid those kingdoms entirely. The Emperor is apparently working out a better peace agreement with them, but until their fears are assuaged, foreigners like you are in great danger there."

I held back tears as I formed the image in my mind. If I couldn't get to Daggerfall or Sentinel, what hope did I have of shipping away from here? The other regions of Tamriel would surely never send a vessel to Pothago. I was completely cut off from my people. What was I to do?

"Now, now, none of this sorrow or remorse you're feeling. None of that," Lord Vlevur barked. "Tell me, have you money enough to eat for this week?" I nodded. "Good. Go out and earn some more money, and eat for the next week. Keep doing this until something opens up for you. Pothago is a land of tremendous opportunity. The Gods smiled upon you to have brought you here, of all the places in the Iliac Bay. Don't be a fool. Stop worrying, and put your hands to some good work. In fact, someone here might have some for you to do already." He winked at one of the guards on the opposite end of the hall, who rolled his eyes. I thanked him and moved over to speak to the guard, as the nobles began their idle chatter once more.

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I hurried outside to fulfill my task. It didn't take long for the townspeople to direct me to the right place.

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Surprisingly, I received a ruby of my own for my efforts, albeit of significantly lesser worth. It was uncut and it shone poorly, but I would still be able to sell it for a good amount.

Stepping out into the street, I heard screams from ahead. I peeked out in wonder and saw a figure of distinct hostility.

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He readied his bow and took a shot at me. I was able to hide myself behind the corner of the house, but the adrenaline started to flow. This was it; I had to defend myself.

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Rendering myself invisible, I leapt out and cast as many Shock spells as I was capable of emitting. My frantic actions revealed my location to him.

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He was after the gem I had been given. I refused to deliver it, and yet, all the magicka I possessed was not enough to incapacitate him. I fled for my life among the narrow alleyways of Pothago.

Then in a moment, I found refuge, a true sanctuary. If it was what I thought, I would be safe within!

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Yes! I had found the Mages Guild! I hid within for a few minutes to see if my foe would pursue me, but he and I both knew better. If I were one of this guild, he would never leave alive.

Catching my breath, I looked around. The guild members nearby were amused at my strange actions. Then one, bearing the authority of a leader, spoke out to me. "Yes? Are you here to join the Mages Guild?"

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I asked him if joining meant I would be able to benefit from the power of teleportation. I needed to return home to Summerset Isle, and had no means of transporting myself. His answer was gruff, and only indicated that the Mages Guild would help me to the extent that I helped it. Later, I would learn the significance of his words. With some hope of receiving that privilege, I inscribed myself into the Mages Guild.

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My first actions were to take on some defensive spells. I could not be caught again by a foe more powerful than myself!

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"What's this Soothing Rest spell?" I asked the merchant woman. She replied, "Cast it before you go to sleep. Your wounds will heal during the night." I considered this to be of great worth, and purchased it.

Now bearing only 212 gold, I found myself backed up against my own financial wall. I would indeed eat for another week or so, but after that, I would need more.

I asked the mages if there were a particularly good inn in the city. They recommended the Black Gnome to me, which always treated foreigners and visitors well.

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Their words were true. I was given a top-floor room, which allayed my fears of being assaulted at night by my enemy thief. Whether he had been caught by the guards or simply given up the chase, I never learned.

While in town, I perused several of the shops, gaining familiarity with my surroundings.

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One friendly peasant didn't hesitate to point me toward what sounded like a reasonable odd job.

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"Crush a few skulls? Have you any work of the non-violent sort?" The man merely pointed at the door and pretended not to hear me any more.

"Surely the Mages Guild has something more civilized for a person like myself," I huffed as I left the store.

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"Courier work? Of course. Just tell me where it is."

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I nodded and thanked him. "So it's too far in-land for any boats to reach it. Where can I hire a carriage?"

The other mages snickered. "Your delivery will be by foot, Apprentice. I suggest you get to it soon." The color left my face and I felt weak. To traverse the desert, apparently without aid, sounded ludicrous.

"Can no one teleport me there?"

The questor's demeanor turned gruff. "Our services are not your plaything, Apprentice. Prove your worth to us. Your value to us thus far has been a net negative, as we've swept the dust from your entrance." I wondered if the Telvanni were so rude.

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I first feared greatly for my welfare on the open desert. If I encountered danger, no one would be able to help me.

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But soon, I found it attractive, even hypnotic. My mind began to wander over the events of this wild past week.

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My thoughts were broken by the feeling of something nibbling on my foot.

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"I'll end your miserable life!" I shouted at the giant, hairy rat that confronted me. Luckily I had learned knife fighting in my spare time at the College, and this was my first real test of it. I wouldn't match a human opponent, but I dispatched this rodent with minor difficulty.

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I scavenged some edible-looking meat from its body and ate it shortly after. This would save me money, I told myself, in spite of the unsavory flavor. As I took up my journey, I thought once more on the topic.

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Eat or be eaten. It was the rat's life or mine. It was the thief's life or mine. It was crushing skulls, or having mine crushed.

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This whole land seemed calculated to produce a death struggle from its people, one that propelled it forward. The elves of Summerset could not thrive here, but the Bretons and Redguards thrilled from it. Looking back on my struggles, I saw how much I had learned and changed in a single week.

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Above all, however, my single goal, for now, was to eat and not be eaten.

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I rested for the night in a tiny hostel, and then picked up my journey the next day.

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Once more a rat tried to conquer its daily meal, and once more I practiced my knifemanship.

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The Dark Brotherhood intercepted me at another hostel along the way, but I refused to pay heed. I could not make the Mages Guild my enemy. If my hopes came true, they would be the ones to return me to the College.

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I was starting to understand the ways of this people more. I tried to scavenge some food on the way, for I knew it would save me money. My attempt was a failure, but I was already far ahead of schedule and lost little for it.

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A chance meeting with a night guard led me to the house where the scholar was staying. I took the papers from her, much to her relief, and answered, "Don't worry. The Necromancers won't even know I was here." "Why not?" She asked.

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I nearly caused a heart attack in the old barkeep of the Black Gnome, and apologized, promising to choose a better location for my Anchor.

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I hastened to turn in the paperwork before the guild hall closed, receiving 114 gold pieces as pay, and then practiced my spells prior to resting. If I were to survive in a hostile wasteland, magic would be my primary resource.

Taking away what I had spent in the journey, my net gain was about 70 gold pieces. I wouldn't get rich any time soon, but I remembered the words of Lord Vlevur: "Once you have enough to eat for this week, work on eating next week, and just keep going from there." I held on to those words, keeping hope that soon, something might change.

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Interkarma
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Interkarma »

A wonderful read! I really enjoy this format. Like reading a book, it lets my imagination add details that watching someone else doesn't. I feel more invested being able to linger over a particular phrase that captures me ("a figure of distinct hostility") or a screenshot that draws me in (the night guard). With your embellishments, all these elements are spun out into something much larger than their parts.

Thank you so much. I look forward to reading Part III later. :)

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