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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2021 6:06 pm
by MrFlibble
I love this! Very enjoyable read, you have the talent for spinning a playing experience into an excellent narrative. Also amazing how all these mods have subtly enhanced the game for this kind of role-playing experience, all the while building upon the original vanilla mechanics.

I was wondering though, your Spellmaker screenshots show Destruction spells with stats like 1-1 + 5-5 per level. I thought you could change this to 1-2 + 5-6 per level and still have the same casting and purchase cost?

Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2021 6:53 pm
by pango
Same here. I delayed reading this thread until now, waiting for the right moment to start it, and now I can't wait for a next episode ;) No pressure, lol

That level of roleplay is great, and too rare in streams.
Also, I'm now tempted to try some mods that I haven't checked yet...

Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2021 8:13 pm
by Jay_H
MrFlibble wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 6:06 pm I was wondering though, your Spellmaker screenshots show Destruction spells with stats like 1-1 + 5-5 per level. I thought you could change this to 1-2 + 5-6 per level and still have the same casting and purchase cost?
Hmm, that's a good point. That's a mechanic I forgot about awhile ago. I might start to use it... I'm not very min-maxy with this character but the reminder is welcome. (I used to do that in DF but I haven't in DFU, I'll have to see if it's the same).
I love this! Very enjoyable read, you have the talent for spinning a playing experience into an excellent narrative. Also amazing how all these mods have subtly enhanced the game for this kind of role-playing experience, all the while building upon the original vanilla mechanics.
I excluded some mods, like the Warm Ashes fortress ones or SIGIL, because they have a potential to totally kill you with no warning. I have some flexibility to include or exclude some events that I show, but when the odds are totally overwhelming, I considered those "not viable for the story." Warm Ashes Cities, on the other hand, usually has small events that shake things up a bit without totally changing your character's trajectory, so I included that. I'm forgetting if there are other little mods that add daily events, I'd be happy to include more.

Thanks for the feedback everyone! I really like how the series is turning out, and I sort of worry that later chapters won't meet our expectations :lol: But this is just for my own fun, and hoping that I can write out something enjoyable for any level of Daggerfall player.

One thing I like about this playthrough is that the story matches Daggerfall's scale. This isn't the end of the world. It's a bunch of bad, but realistic, circumstances surrounding a single High Elf who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. His sole mission is to get home (or to Vvardenfell), and there are a bunch of obstacles in the way. It's nice when compared to the typical plot, "The world is about to die, you need to save it." It should be clear that I have no set plan on what the solution will be, whether (1) buying a boat and crew and heading back to Summerset Isle; (2) gaining rank 8 in the Mages Guild to be able to teleport; (3) something else (perhaps after a long time the Emperor works out peace in the Iliac Bay and we can visit the capitals as normal). The ending is going to be as much a surprise to me as it will to the rest of you!

Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:34 pm
by Cecphorus_Vraae
I look very much forward to your next episode! I'm quite new to DF(U), but I do not have time for learning and playing DFU right now with a new job, house etc., so it is nice with an easy and digestible playthrough to see how people RP their DF adventures!

Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2021 8:52 pm
by Jay_H
That's great, thanks for the feedback :) If you're new to Daggerfall, you'll find that not everything I wrote is strictly true or canon; there's some creative license at work. But I hope not to deviate too much, and make things resemble TES2 fairly enough. You'll learn a lot on how to play the game from this too!

Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2021 8:55 pm
by Hazelnut
Jay_H wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 8:13 pm Thanks for the feedback everyone! I really like how the series is turning out, and I sort of worry that later chapters won't meet our expectations :lol: But this is just for my own fun, and hoping that I can write out something enjoyable for any level of Daggerfall player.
As long as you keep doing it for your own fun I think we'll all enjoy it. I've always loved these style of LPs when the author is into it. So just follow your heart/gut/nose/whatever. :D

Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Posted: Wed Jun 09, 2021 8:12 am
by Jay_H
Hazelnut wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 8:55 pm As long as you keep doing it for your own fun I think we'll all enjoy it. I've always loved these style of LPs when the author is into it. So just follow your heart/gut/nose/whatever. :D
I certainly hope so. But there's a really good thing about Daggerfall, it's such a blank slate. It gives you a big blank sheet to paint on, and only defines major points along the way. With this update I'm about to post, I first started wondering what shape it was going to take, but the game sort of naturally starts to form its own soft narrative, and all I have to do is find some reasoning about it.

Part V: The Ghost Road

The next thing I remembered was a boot gently kicking into my side. "Elf, get up." Nhashrn's voice was more than familiar at this point. "You're a reliable guest but you get no special rules. Up to the room for you, or I'll have the guards summoned for a vagrant." "Yes sir, yes sir." I groggily stood up and went to my bed. My excitement had to have overcome me, for I spent more than half a day under the sheets.

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A plate of bread and cheese served for my breakfast. I took up some small chat with the innkeep and his barmaid before heading out to see what I could do for the Mages Guild.

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Outside the inn, a merchant occupied the plaza in front of the Black Gnome. I was somewhat irritated at his taking up my time without consent, but then looked at what he was trying to push on me.

"Sir, you recognize I'm a High Elf. Why on Tamriel are you selling me a Potion of Free Action?" The man shrugged carelessly. "Resell it yourself for 200! It's a free world, and you can make all the money you care to!" I pushed him out of the way and grabbed Ancano for the trip over to the guild hall.

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One distinguishing figure of the Mages Guild, at least in Pothago, was its tremendous height. If I ever got lost somehow, I felt I could trust it to bring me to a right course.

Upon my entrance to the guild hall, I found the questor incensed over some matter. He shouted at no one in particular while the other two mages in the lobby politely stared elsewhere. I asked what the problem was.

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"You're in luck, for I am ready to bring a fugitive to justice," I answered confidently.

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It was only the second time around that I properly understood the words, "The Dark Brotherhood." Their existence was no secret on Summerset, and I had heard more than enough stories to fuel a young imagination. Nevertheless, my commitment was set, and any mortal had to fall after sufficient punishment. Surely my power was enough to defeat one foe, Dark Brotherhood or not!

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I decided to leave the wagon at the Black Gnome, as I expected to recover no heavy load from this trip. I stopped inside to ask Nhashrn where Old Sterch-e's Farm was. He raised an eyebrow at my inquiry. "Why do you ask?" "Some criminal stole a paper from the Mages Guild, and they say he's hiding out on the farm. They've sent me to steal it back."

He stopped squarely and took a long pause. "You be careful now, Kalaron. Don't be getting yourself into something you might regret." I didn't understand, and beckoned for more information. "Sterch-e's farm is a well-known refuge for criminals. You go there too often, you'll start to get a reputation as a crime fighter. You know what happens to vigilantes who can't protect themselves?" He made the motion of cutting across his neck. "Be smart about what you get yourself into in the future. Pothago keeps itself on the level, but you're not always going to be in Pothago. Bear that in mind." Then as promised, he took my map and pointed to the southwest.

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Curiously, I noticed the path crossed through Menakat, the city of alchemists. "Thank you Nhashrn. You know my ignorance, and I'm grateful to learn the ways of this land." He spoke with a little consternation still. "You know what I think? The Mages Guild might not even care if you come back alive. They know better than this. Their sending a novice like you to a criminal haven says a lot about what they think." Perhaps he was right; to them I might have been nothing more than a warm body to throw at their enemies. I had to be more cautious in the future.

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"Nice to be on the road, isn't it Ancano? Doesn't wear us down nearly as much!" I patted my horse's head as we pressed on to our journey.

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Amazingly, for the entire trek we were never interrupted, not even once. Having a horse really made a difference! I suppose whatever foes could have surprised us on the way would have been disheartened by our speedy trot. This truly felt like a whole different world on top of Ancano, for I was free to travel unmolested.

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Menakat was only a few hours away from Pothago. Once inside, I asked a nearby Breton where to find the alchemist shops I had heard so much about.

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I was happy to find a good attitude in the man. It appeared the whole nation of Pothago held its arms open to foreigners like myself.

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"7 gold? I'm sure someone's willing to pay more than that," I complained, but the shopkeeper shook his head. "No more than 7, High Elf. I'm doing you a favor."

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I pulled out the Potion of Resist Frost I had taken from Castle Revir. "What about this? A good quality potion against frost." He dismissed it with a wave of the hand. "We don't sell second-hand potions here, mate. People come to us for quality ingredients. We'd be degrading our inventory and reputation taking in goods like that." I sighed, "Then where can I sell this potion?" "That's your problem mate. Save it for the next time you fight an atronach!" He laughed as I exited the store.

"Maybe we should just toss it into the desert Ancano. No one else seems interested in it." I pressed into his sides and we made way for a nearby inn.

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The next morning I stepped out into a torrential rain storm. Ancano seemed depressed at having stayed out all night. He seemed well enough, and I was sure I'd be able to cure any disease he might have picked up with my own magic, if necessary. Still, I felt bad for him.

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"Better them than me," I thought. Who was this Stig-i with all these inane orders?

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Ancano seemed happy to be on the road once more. Perhaps the exercise helped him forget the cold of the rainy morning.

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After a few more hours we arrived in Rhogunnu-Kom, the closest village to Old Sterch-e's Farm. Once again I found people with open arms and joyful smiles. I started to wonder if I even wanted to leave Pothago, for the people here seemed happier than any other I had ever met.

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My attention was swiftly drawn toward a cemetery that dominated one quarter of the town. The local people avoided it, as they appeared to give it a quiet, solemn reverence. My curiosity about the place piqued severely, but I decided not to pester the locals about it. What had happened here? I really wanted to find out.

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Knowing that the farm was a home for rebels, I held no expectation that anyone would have provisions for sale there. I went to a local merchant to stock up before the final leg of the trip.

"By the way, what's that dagger of yours?"

The man pointed at my ebony dagger. I looked at it for a few moments. "What's it to you?" "57 gold, that's what it is to me. Want to sell it?" I hesitated. This was one of my few possessions from Summerset, one of the scant physical things that reminded me of my home land. Looking at it reminded me of my old room, since I left it on top of my dresser. I started to feel very homesick. I fought back tears as memories of my clean, safe home started creeping into my mind.

I thrust it into his hand to try to fend them off. "Take it," I said. "It's no good to me. It can't help me any more."

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I was glad to not have to carry its bit of weight around any more. The way I was going, knife fighting would remain in my past forever. The nostalgia it brought me would only be a curse from now on. If I ever, or never, made it back to Summerset Isle, those kinds of thoughts would never help me.

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I rested for a few hours before heading to the farm, expecting the worst.

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The trip was approximately the same to Castle Revir. I feared for Ancano's and my state of health as we ran across the sandy dunes, but we held up well. Perhaps we were both growing used to the costs of travel in the wilderness.

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The farm seemed quite solitary. A woman went about the plants, tending to them in a haphazard way. She seemed to be looking at me nervously. Curtains in the window moved about as if someone were behind them, looking out. I had no hope of using the element of surprise.

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The whole house was silent. My every footstep sounded loudly. No one called out to greet me. Something felt very, very strange here.

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I searched the halls and bedrooms for my foe, with no one to stop me. Every second I watched my back in case someone attempted to take me by surprise.

Finally, the bedroom at the end of the main hallway opened up to my quarry.

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She screeched and leaped forward, slicing the hand I raised in self-defense. The cut wasn't deep, but it was enough to send me reeling back.

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The first order of business was to ensure my survival. I next prepared to catch her with the Slow Burn spell.

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My foe was certainly capable, for she dodged it as it left my hands. I panicked and ran to the other end of the hallway before turning around.

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She failed to notice my escape, and swung at empty air. This time I had the upper hand.

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Her final words croaked out like the death wail of a wild beast. It was horrifying to hear. This was actually the first time I had slain a civilized being, and I started to retch just at the thought of it. It took several minutes for me to regain my composure.

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My mood improved slightly when I found she carried weapons in good condition as well as the research notes. I would have to see what they would sell for in town.

I dared not spend any more time inside. I didn't know whether the woman in blue had seen or memorized my face, and I didn't want to give her another chance.

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Compared to the desolate landscape surrounding the farm, Pothago felt like a wonderful, inviting home. I really was beginning to feel like it was a native land to me. Maybe Lord Vlevur was right. Anu himself would have been quite charitable to bring me here.

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"Curious, it seemed to be quite the criminal refuge out on that farm," I said in an exaggerated tone. Vlarn'kern continued reading the notes. I hinted again, "Quite the dangerous place for an Apprentice." He answered without looking up, "Please stop bothering me while I read. I've gotten what I need, and you can go." I was worried Nhashrn was completely right on this matter. If anyone looked out for my safety, it would be me alone.

For the sake of curiosity, I decided to sell the brigand's weaponry at a different smith than usual. I had to compare prices and see where the better deal was.

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"Not much of a market for steel goods in this town, is there?" I asked innocently, testing his mettle. He shook his head. "Sadly no, that's the best price I can give you. You won't find anything better in town." What a liar. I was glad I had found a better smith by the city gates.

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The rainstorm continued to pound the earth as I retired to the inn. I made sure to place Ancano under the roof of a nearby house, writing out a tag for him. "Name: Ancano. If makes ruckus, call at The Black Gnome." I left him there, trusting in Nhashrn's words that people don't steal horses in Pothago.

The following day I went down to the inn's parlor and found the man and his barmaid in some kind of discussion. They stopped when I arrived. "What's wrong?" I asked. The woman cleared her throat.

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"I could take a break from the Mages Guild's chores for a day. How can I help?"

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My eyes went wide. 478 gold pieces? Why? Before I could ask, a dark-skinned, sullen man approached me and nearly pressed up against my body. His hands were bound with some kind of material I didn't recognize. "That's my cousin, the man you need to deliver to the pub. Hope you have fun!" She then struck up a conversation with Nhashrn, making me feel unwelcome. Something was happening here and I didn't understand it.

I took my breakfast with me to start the journey early. "So Stordke, what are you headed to the pub for?" He didn't answer. I let the silence loom in the air while we walked to Ancano. He didn't seem dangerous, nor did he have anything to hurt me with.

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Sure enough, the old boy was safe and dry under the roof. I hope he hadn't caused any disturbance to the people who lived there, if anyone did.

"Where is it you need to go, again?" I showed Stordke my map, and he silently pointed to a town close by.

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Nearly 500 gold pieces to take him a few hours away? What was going on?

I put him to sit in the cart while I rode Ancano.

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"You have any friends in The King's Woodchuck Pub?"

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"You taking a vacation there?"

The hours passed on in silence. He merely looked at the ground.

Finally I simply asked, "Who are you, Stordke?"

He looked up at me and stared into my eyes. I was afraid to look away, for fear I had made him angry somehow. If something went wrong, I had Ancano and my cart to lose here.

Stordke then leaned in and whispered with great effort, "Release me, please." My eyes went wide. I didn't know what he was asking. "W-what do you need?" "Release me. Release..." It seemed the very task of speaking exhausted him. Finally he gave up and passed out in the cart. I stopped to make sure he was okay, and then got back on Ancano. We weren't very far from the pub and I was glad to be rid of this whole matter.

I started wondering about the bands on his arms. Could an Open spell undo them? Was there some kind of key I could have gotten from somewhere? Now I was really getting curious. What had I been enlisted into here?

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Once at the hostel, I asked a peasant where to find Kifylsa. He pointed at a large house with heavily reinforced doors nearby. I shook Stordke awake and led him up the steps.

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She then put her hands on his cuffs and cast a spell of some kind. He gained some degree of mobility, though not much more than he had. He used it to sit down in a corner of the adjoining bedroom.

"Okay, that's it. What in Oblivion did I just do for you people?" I had to ask.

Kifylsa looked at me inquisitively. "Didn't she tell you? You didn't know what his cuffs were for?" I shook my head in frustration.

"We don't have dedicated prisons here in Hammerfell or in High Rock, elf. Houses like these keep prisoners locked away. The home's owner receives a weekly stipend for keeping the prisoner alive and in a healthy state." Anticipating my next question, she interrupted, "And no, they're no danger to anyone around them. Stordke can scarcely move his arms except to eat and do other necessary tasks. The second he tries to hurt someone, he'll pass out on the spot. Powerful magic at work, yes it is!"

I stroked my chin as I considered the curious system they had created for themselves. "And if a prisoner escapes?" I asked. She laughed in response. "Only a fool would try it! They know what happens if you do. There was this one case, a member of the Thieves Guild was given a trinket to teleport himself out of his prison-home so he could get back to a life of crime. Know what happened to him? When he showed up on the other side his skull caved in so far, it looked like it belonged to a skeever! Ha ha ha ha!" I stared at her, disgusted at the demented relish she took in the man's fate. I had found something to dislike about Pothago, but apparently the same system prevailed everywhere in the Iliac Bay.

"Well, I'm glad to have helped the criminal justice system today. Farewell." The woman waved me off with a smile, wishing me a safe return.

Once on top of Ancano, I teleported back to the Black Gnome.

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Nhashrn had stepped out momentarily, giving us a chance to talk. "And what was your part in all this?" I asked. "Can't be harboring a criminal around here in Pothago," the barmaid responded. "It was either walk him to the hostel myself or pay someone to do it for me. The palace compensated me for what I paid you, so we're all even." Out of everything I had seen in Pothago, this had to be the strangest. But if that's how they dealt with their criminals, it was none of my business.

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I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was the beneficiary of a national holiday. I gladly took up his offer, buying myself an ample portion of antelope stew before resting for the night.

The following day I returned to the Mages Guild, hoping to chance upon something that wouldn't sully my reputation excessively.

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"I'd be glad to be of service."

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"How do you know it's there?" I asked. He glared at me, tired of wasting his time. "We have diviners here, Apprentice, who know where to find things that are useful. They pointed at the map and showed T'over Tower. There may be other Daedra Hearts in Pothago, but we know for sure that one is there. If you bring it to me, you'll be paid. End of story." I wondered how a man like him got to be the questor for this guild.

I continued, "What's the best way to get there?" Vlarn'kern paused before answering. I started to worry. "You'll be using the Ghost Road. Head east of town. There's no civilization out there, so watch the horizon carefully and use your map. There's a ruin in the way run by orcs that you'll need to avoid. T'over Tower is right next to the beach, just remember that."

I departed, only beginning to calculate the difficulty of the trip ahead of me.

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I probably knew less than these men about lockpicking, and spared the opportunity. Hopefully someone would come around to resolve their crisis.

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I hitched the wagon, knowing it would be well worth it in this case, and grabbed many provisions from the general store. I feared I would need them. Then I headed to the road east of town.

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"By the life of Anu! This road?!"

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I made sure to cast a Slowfall spell before we began to ride up the slope. Strangely, it felt unnecessary. Ancano's hooves readily grasped solid ground, and the wagon seemed to rise up of its own accord as we pulled. Something odd was in this hill, and I would have to ask in town what the meaning behind it was.

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The view at the top was magnificent, however. The beach where I had arrived seemed so close from so high up.

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I noticed Revir Castle in the distance as well.

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"Ghost Road" was a very appropriate name for this forlorn path. All sense of civilization departed in short time after I left view of Pothago.

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I wondered what people used this road for. Abandoned as it was, I wouldn't have been surprised to find criminal bands take up residence in the area. Perhaps it was too obvious for them.

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In the distance I saw some standing buildings, but realized it had to be the orc stronghold I was warned to avoid.

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From this point I needed to traverse the desert; the road would only take me further away. I held Ancano tight as I led him off the path, into the wet sand.

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We spent a few hours trudging through the exhausting sand. The distance wasn't so long, but the pull of the wet ground caused us to grow tired quickly. I decided we would need to rest in the wilderness, dangerous as that sounded.

I hid Ancano behind the wagon and set myself to sleep.

My rest was soon interrupted, though, by a loud roar.

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Pure terror swept through me as I saw a flying reptile dart toward me. I knew what this was; the local Redguards called it a "dragonling," and had sent books regarding its primitive language to colleges across Tamriel as a sort of pride. No where else in the world could you find a "dragon" but in Hammerfell, they said. My mind fluttered to recall anything at all I could say to the beast to stop its advance. I spoke its tongue to the extent I could, panic notwithstanding.

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Perhaps by luck or by coincidence, it stopped and held its ground. Then it seemed to soften up, and nestled on the ground. I sat down as well, and got Ancano to sit too. We silently formed a sort of bond, a commitment to not harm one another while we rested. It took me awhile, but I finally drifted off to sleep.

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I was awoken once in the night by the sounds of a struggle, then an awful screeching sound that sent me upright. I jumped out of bed and ran back to get some perspective. I was just ahead of a horrifyingly lethal predator.

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I cast the Slow Burn enchantment on it and fled for my life. I knew it was faster and stronger than I could ever hope to be, and if it didn't die soon from the spell, it would catch up effortlessly.

I remembered to conceal myself, but its sharp senses were smarter than that. I fled in a variety of directions to try to fool it.

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This desperate chase continued on for far too long. The creature seemed to slow down at times, but then gained back its strength and leaped at me with renewed vigor.

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When I least expected it, the monster finally expired. The searing wounds covered almost all of its body, but it still fought to pursue me. I shuddered to imagine what kind of mind was at work within its misshaped skull.

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In the morning I surveyed the carnage. I felt sorry for our dragonling friend, and was certain it had saved our life with its warning.

We picked up our journey after breakfast, but before long found ourselves hunted by a new kind of foe.

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The equipment it carried distinguished it as a kind of champion among its people. Had we fought physically, he would have easily overcome me. I was glad to not have fought fairly.

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Finally, we reached our destination. I wondered where the "tower" name came from; perhaps it had been destroyed long ago and the name persisted.

I took the smell of salt water in deeply. It felt good to be by the sea once more. The area around T'over Tower seemed unusually peaceful. This time I had no place to hide Ancano, but hoped this place was quiet enough for him to survive on his own.

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Right away, the lack of wildlife told me that this place saw more human life than Castle Revir.

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I tried to be as quiet as possible. If I could get the advantage on any aggressor, I could surely put them down first.

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This band was certainly experienced, though, for one leaped out of the darkness to trap me into a small room.

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On his body I found a significant amount of good, worthy steel. I quickly took what I could to the wagon before continuing.

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Close by the entrance I saw a deserted room at the top of a slope. I found it to be the perfect place to set up a camp. If I were quiet, no one would suspect it, even if the keep were inhabited.

Having the confidence to rest when I needed to, I started a full search of the keep.

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Two bears were well-trained to spring out at the attack on a moment's notice. One of them got a good scratch in, but I defeated them both. I took their abundant meat back to the camp for a rest.

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I was startled awake by an archer, who looked very much unlike the denizens of this keep. I jumped up and prepared for the defense. "Who are you?!" I shouted. She stared at me and then ran away. I sprinted after her, hoping to stop her in case she was some scout of the rebel band. "Stop, stop!"

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She shouted back, "Are you with them?!" I shook my head. "No, no, I'm here to kill them! Or that's what I do if I have to! I'm here for a Daedra Heart they're storing here in the keep. What are you doing here?"

The woman paused, and then said, "I'm with the Fighters Guild. There's an outlaw here I need to kill. She's tall and she has an ebony broadsword. Have you seen anyone like that?" I shook my head. "No, but if I kill her, you can have the sword as proof."

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"Thanks," she answered. "I'll keep your camp here safe. If it's okay, I'll use it too." I nodded and left her to it.

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I penetrated deeper into the keep than before, slaying the enemies before me. I didn't find an ebony broadsword, but this band had many other things to show for itself.

At one point I remembered I had created my own Shock spell. I decided to try it out on a stray bat that confronted me.

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The criminal who followed after suffered in like manner.

It was in that same hallway that a conspicuous door led to a large double bedroom.

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I imagined this room belonged to the tall one, the leader of the band the archer had spoken of. I was glad I didn't have to fight her as well. I hurried back to my camp.

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"Sorry, I couldn't find her. But I killed a bunch of their number and got what I needed. Good luck in here." She looked a little afraid at taking on this keep herself, but gained her determination once more. "Very well. Thank you, mage. A safe return to you."

Once more outdoors, I found Ancano, who had strayed closer to the beach for his own safety, and got him and the wagon together again. Then I teleported us to the Mages Guild.

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"Merely the sample you sent me for," I huffed as I collected my money. Vlarn'kern ignored my remark and went back to his duties.


Wow that was a long update! I didn't realize how far it went until I finished this post. I probably could've cut it after the prisoner segment. I'll try to measure these things better.

Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 7:36 am
by Jay_H
I've slightly altered my modlist due to 0.11.4. I also have a few quest packs running that I forgot to mention:
  • Battle Creatures
  • Arena's Adventures
  • Arena's Flavor Text (added this update)
  • Jobs of the Thieves Guild
  • Rumors of the Iliac Bay
  • Town Greetings of the Iliac Bay
  • The Conjurer's Artifacts
  • The JF Quest Pack
  • Random Little Quests
  • Warm Ashes: Cities
  • Quest Pack 1
  • Weather Items
Part VI: The Price of Freedom

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It was too late to do anything else that night. I left the Mages Guild and retired to the Black Gnome once more.

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A tropical rainstorm awaited me when I left in the morning. The beautiful scent of clean rain in the warm desert was a true delight. I thought it curious that with so much rainfall, vegetation was still sparse in the area.

Having encountered the Ghost Road, I had to find out its story. I assumed that the lords of the palace would know it, if anyone did.

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A few of the nobles seemed to remember me, short as my previous visit was. I wondered how often news concerning this vagabond High Elf reached their ears.

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I bowed before Lord Vlevur, but he shook his head. "None of that, High Elf. We do none of these silly poses here in Pothago. I am merely an agent of the people, not a god or an emperor. This ruling council consider ourselves no better than anyone else in this city." The other nobles nodded in agreement. I stood up then and addressed him as an equal.

"My lord, I have a question. I ventured up the Ghost Road this past week on an errand for the Mages Guild." The hall suddenly went quiet. The many ears present wanted to hear about this. "The incline seems terribly unnatural, and I wish to know more about its existence."

The aged man leaned back and sighed. He took a brief pause, but then shook his head again. "I would get the details wrong. Someone else, please tell the story." A voice from behind me spoke up. A noble in beige robes cleared his throat and then began. "Kalaron, is it? I'll tell it, if I may."

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"Two centuries previous, Pothago was a wasteland, like much of the Alik'r Desert. Due to its lack of water sources, the most life it saw across the years was the occasional nomadic tribe of Redguards, who would hunt any animals in the area and continue on, for the land could not support them any more than that.

"Then a wealthy duke, brother to the King of Sentinel, surveyed this land for settlement. He bought it at an extremely cheap price, which everyone considered a wasted investment except himself. Traveling across the sea, he hired mystics from Daggerfall to aid him in conquering this great parcel he had bought.

"Under the place we now stand, a large aquifer was discovered through the mages' divination. The duke immediately began to plot out houses, shops, and this very palace. While he traveled back and forth to Sentinel to attract people to his rising kingdom, he left to the mystics the slow, troublesome task of rerouting the flow of water under the ground toward Pothago.

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"By the end of the year he had a bustling little community of over 100 people living in his city. He took up his apparent right as ruler and began to set laws over the people, collecting taxes so he would be able to pay his hired mystics.

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"The mages, for their part, had accepted subsistence-level payment during the three years, hanging on to his promise of a tremendous payout when the project was completed. However, they grew suspicious as he continued to give them more and more menial tasks in an effort to draw out the time and gather their payment. The man carelessly lost sight of their bargain, forgetting the end date of the contract and spending what belonged to them.

"The foremost of them burst into the duke's home one night and demanded that he cease fooling them, for they would return to High Rock that week with their money in hand. The ruler begged and pleaded and gave every excuse he could fathom, but it was not enough. Defeated by the sorcerer's determination, he called forth his servant and delivered all the money available. The mage's fury could not be contained after he counted out 454 gold pieces to divide among himself and his five colleagues.

"The wizards worked out a plan for their revenge before the band returned to Daggerfall. They would not destroy the city now that innocent people lived in it, being just men themselves. Nevertheless, they believed they had a way to make the duke's investment fail, to correspond for their wasted years.

"With the force of their magic, they raised the land to the east up to the heavens. The eastern road, the one that connected Pothago directly to Sentinel, became a wild and jagged cliff, an eyesore and a total impracticality for any merchant attempting to come from Sentinel. What mad caravaneer would try to send a cart over a sheer drop, horses and all? It spelled instant death for anyone foolish enough to try. Worse still, it was the perfect staging area for anyone who would ever attack the town. Pothago would look defenseless at the bottom of these slopes against a hidden aggressor on top.

"Thus was brought to pass the mages' revenge on the Duke of Pothago. He built other roads that led west and south to circumvent their plan, but the damage was done. Travelers sought other destinations for goods and land rather than make a hairpin turn to reach his city. Pothago remained a hovel for the rest of his days. His attempts to contact other mages to flatten the trade route were in vain, for they knew his promises would not deliver. He spent the his elder years in poverty, trying to squeeze whatever little money he could from his new subjects.

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"In recent years we've paid the Mages Guild to set a latent enchantment on the road to make sure people can ascend and descend it without danger," Vlevur interjected. "Not like anyone but bandits uses that road, anyway. As the generations have passed, we tried to make of Pothago a self-sufficient land, one that takes advantage of our open beach to the north instead of waiting for commerce from the east. We freed ourselves of the ups and downs of Sentinel's economy. Pothago, the little gem of the desert, now commands and owns its own self, in spite of or perhaps because of the mystics' interference with the land. A bit of a sad and yet inspiring story, wouldn't you think elf?"

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This poor little city had suffered so much. I had no idea that its origin would be so tragic. Pothago had been nothing but good to me, and I really felt that I owed it my life.

What a shame that these things had to be so.

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I thanked the man for answering my inquiry and took up my things. Before I could exit the hall, though, one of the nobles put his hand on my shoulder. He explained that they would be in meetings all day, and he needed something to be done outside.

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I agreed, as his reward sounded quite valuable. The image of a noble failing on his promise of great wealth to a mage was still in my mind, ironically enough.

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He laughed as he said "243," but clarified that, while it wasn't urgent, it needed to be done. I thanked him and put away the Cloth Amulet. Before I could leave, though, another ruler took me for a volunteer.

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"I suppose I'm the pack mule of the day," I answered, eliciting a good laugh from the hall's inhabitants.

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I wondered what I needed to worry about orcs for in the city while I put the goods away. The ever-helpful people of Pothago led me to Curg-i without delay.

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I received another uncut ruby for my efforts. I suppose I should have been grateful nonetheless for income, but it seemed paltry compared to the recent events I had passed through.

What a surprise waited for me outside, though, for I had scarcely left when I found myself confronted with a band of three orcs, ready for a fight! These could be no ordinary grunts to penetrate so deeply within a civilized town. Fearing myself the target of skilled assassins, I granted myself invisibility and fled.

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The orcs ran to the spot they thought I was and began slicing into the air. I was glad they made no attempt to break into the house, as they believed I held the Cloth Amulet still.

As I watched them gyrate wildly, a hooded woman caught my eye from afar. She made no attempt to attack me. She just stared.

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Who was she?

I hurried away before my invisibility magic ran out, and headed to the other destination in town to deliver the Emerald to Shrashja. In turn she whispered that a certain substance needed to get to Jalaria. "What is it?" I asked. "Sursum," she whispered before turning away and covering her face. I looked at the clear, sealed bag and wondered what this was that needed to be guarded so. I couldn't break the seal in any case, so I stored away my curiosity for another day.

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It was late at night when I arrived at Menakat on the way to Jalaria. The gates were locked, and the attendant refused to open them for any reason. "Then can you at least watch my horse until morning?" I asked. He ignored the question.

I stored Ancano and the wagon under the arch, and then used the Levitation spell I had bought in Pothago.

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I was so cold and miserable I didn't even care about the high price for the room. Besides, I had plenty to spend anyway.

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His unusual menu caught my eye, though, and I devoured the Chili Cheese Corn they brought to me. After days of venison pie and antelope stew, it was quite a treat.

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In the morning I found Ancano once more, safe and sound. In the future I planned to devise some sort of long-duration invisibility spell for him, so long as he didn't move much.

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Finally I made it to Jalaria and found the client seeking the "Sursum" powder. He spent his time in the only shop in town.

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Once more I was plentifully rewarded for a simple task. I started to wonder whether Sursum weren't illegal, for the price it commanded. I barely delivered two ounces of it.

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Finally free of my entanglements, I returned to Pothago by teleportation and sought out F'urern, the smith by the city gates. I delivered to him the goods I had picked up in T'over Tower.

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My jaw dropped when I heard the total come out. "Crystals of Summerset, is it so?" He nodded modestly. "This is good material, and some of it belongs to our people. I'll recoup the cost in 48 hours, I'm sure of it." We shook hands and he wrote me a letter on his credit in lieu of gold.

I took it and rushed outside to mount Ancano. "Come, boy! We have an errand to undertake, right now!"

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The ride to the bank seemed eternal, even as I made Ancano race along the sandy road. I could not contain my excitement. This was the start of a new chapter for me!

I turned in F'urern's letter of credit and declared, "I would like to pay off my loan, sir!" The teller calmly examined it and cast an identification spell. He then filled out a form and copied a receipt of it.

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"Kalaron Spellire, your debt is now paid in full. You have no further obligation to the Bank of Pothago."

I shouted for joy, hurting the poor fellow's ears a little. I then requested that the remainder of the money be transferred to a letter of credit in my name, which he was happy to do.

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I was soon outside on Ancano, trotting happily toward the Black Gnome. "What a day, eh boy? I never could have imagined that hunting a Daedra Heart would lead to this!"

I burst into the Black Gnome and was about to declare my good news to Nhashrn, but his grim stare stopped me. The air was very heavy once again. C'irmi was gone, giving us the whole parlor to speak.

"Kalaron, what have you been up to lately?"

I recited to him the events of the past few days: I had delivered a prisoner, shuttled some illicit powder of some kind, evaded some orcs, and traveled the Ghost Road to get to T'over Tower.

Upon hearing that last one, the man exploded. "YOU MORON! YOU ABSOLUTE IDIOT! I TOLD YOU TO AVOID THESE PLACES!!" He threw a rag at me, and then tossed a glass mug at the wall, shattering it into pieces. His tantrum continued as he pushed and tossed various other things. "I TOLD YOU! I TOLD YOU AND YOU DIDN'T LISTEN!" Then he clutched his chest for a moment, calming down of necessity if not out of choice.

I kept quiet while I let him act out his passion, and when he finally stopped, I opened my mouth. "Nhashrn, what is it?"

"You're what's it, that's the problem. You ignorant piece of slime, never thinking more than a minute ahead. You know what happened today? Three thugs came into the inn at midday, holding knives and making a big deal about me harboring a High Elf that had murdered their brethren in T'over Tower. They know where you are, Kalaron. They've found you, and they're not going to give up until you're a dead dog." I didn't want to offend him, but I tried to reassure. "I've slain these kinds of people before, sir. Three brutes is less than what I slew in their tower. I can keep us safe--"

Nhashrn slammed another mug down onto the table, sending glass flying all over the floor. "IT'S THAT THINKING! IMBECILE OF AN ELF, YOU CAN'T--" He then stopped again and grabbed at his chest. I wasn't winning him over, and this conversation was just making him worse.

"Tell me what to do, Nhashrn. I'll do it, I swear by the Otherworld I'll do what you say." He got up from his seat, breathing heavily. "Okay mate. Very simple. You remember Papumba-Hassi? You visited that place earlier, when you were a young pup out here. Off to the southeast, where the Ghost Road meets the civilized towns. Go there, and then go beyond. You'll be out of Pothago and into Myrkwasa. Lots of cities there, and places to settle yourself for a quieter time than you've done now. Let the months pass by, and these people will forget about you. But now, you staying here in Pothago is impossible. By the Wolf, they could come in any moment now and slay us all. Be gone and let me handle this place."

He then hobbled over to me, still weak from his tirade, and wrapped me in a hug. "I'm sorry I can't do anything more for you, and I was glad you found me. Your patronage has kept this place going this month." A tear started to form in my eye as reality began to set in. Leave Pothago? Leave the Black Gnome? Lord Vlevur, F'urern, everyone I had known in this city. Everything!!!

"O-okay, I'll do it. Thank you Nhashrn." I grabbed my pack and headed for the door. "One day I'll be back. I'll see you again." He nodded, fighting back a tear himself. I never saw his barmaid.

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Before departing, I stopped by the Mages Guild. "Out of curiosity, does the Mages Guild continue your membership standing if you move elsewhere?" Vlarn'kern seemed irritated at such a stupid question. "Yes, Apprentice, you'll be a member of the Mages Guild even if you go to Valenwood. Now if you aren't here to help me with some task, I suggest you go away." I left in silence.

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I hooked the wagon up to Ancano and left immediately. I followed the road southeast, the same I had taken on my first trip on foot out of the city.

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By the end of the day I was in Papumba-Hassi. A single road led southeast in a sort of foreboding manner. Crossing that hill, I would be in Myrkwasa.

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The next morning, I saddled Ancano once more and headed to the edge of the town.

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There it was. This simple incline meant leaving behind everything I knew about Hammerfell, the wonderful region of Pothago.

I had to stop thinking about it and just do it. I would've been paralyzed otherwise.

Go, go, go. Just do it, I thought. Come on, hurry.

Finally, I got up the courage to climb the hill.

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In contrast to the dense population of Pothago, Myrkwasa felt barren and exposed.

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I passed hour after hour without seeing a living soul. The desert seemed drier as well.

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I stopped by a tavern only to grab some food for the journey. I had to make sure my flight from Pothago left no traces.

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The long stretches without civilization caught me unprepared, for hunger set in with no way to satisfy it. Luckily, a tiger assaulted me in the way, and its meat was a worthwhile substitute.

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I crossed a small village on my way to finding a new city to dwell in. Strangely, they had no inn for the traveler. They weren't rude like in Abibon-Gora, but they seemed to have no interest in outsiders.

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My journey continued deep into the night. I accidentally fell asleep a few times as Ancano continued of his own volition.

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Finally, mercifully, I found a large settlement around midnight. I was mentally exhausted and in much need of a bed.

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"12 gold pieces? That's a very fine deal," I told the barkeep. He didn't answer much. "Take it or leave it," he said.

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I began to recognize the poverty of this place. Their kitchen and ingredients were both meager, and they appeared not to have a full-time cook.

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Before resting, I set my anchor here. No matter my resting conditions, this would have to suffice.

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In the morning I found the man arranging plates of the previous night's food. It was cold and had little taste, but it was edible and sufficient. The difference between this place and the Black Gnome was stark.

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I had a whole new town to explore in the land of Myrkwasa. I saw a beaten signpost, toppled and faded, on the ground. I read from it, "Welcome to Syroccoreg."

Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:25 am
by Hazelnut
What's the "ublamf - map blocks addon" mod you're using? Doesn't seem to be on Nexus.

Interesting lore about the ghost road. :D

Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:43 am
by Ralzar
These are such nice little diaries. Just a step away from a traveling guide :D

Also, "The Unfortunate Dog" is just a fantastic tavern name.