The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

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haloterm
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

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Jay_H wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 4:25 pm I will finish this at some point (I have the ending planned out), but not yet. I want to put the proper work into it. I can't guarantee it'll be an amazing ending or anything; it'll be satisfactory to the story, that's all. I do want to end this so I can put it behind me and look at other commitments, to be sure. But right now it's not weighing down on me much.
Well, I sure hope he is fine!

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Jay_H
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

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FIFTEEN MONTHS LATER, the time has come for me to write the final chapter in Kalaron Spellire's story. The readers were decisively in favor of him taking up the young ladies' unexpected marriage proposal.

I must first apologize to anyone who had interest in seeing this story finish, whose interest died out. I'm surprised that this little project gained any readership at all, and I'm grateful for the reactions and feedback. Screenshot Let's Plays entail far more work than I expected, and my respect for their creators has grown. It is good to finally get this monkey off my back, which I've been living under for over a year now.

Part XIII: As Fate Wills

The next few weeks were a blur. Doubts churned through my mind like a rushing sea -- why on Tamriel would a Breton queen deign to marry some stranger, much less a High Elf, in a time of war? I thought about my journey to this point, and how surreal so much of it seemed. No one could possibly believe my story. Even I didn't, and I lived it.

Maira came to me every second night with messages from Lady Hawkham. The tradition in Menevia was that the future king and queen were not to see each other once they had consented to marry. The ways of High Rock seemed ever incomprehensible to me, but I suppose any Breton visiting Summerset Isle would have felt the same way.

Nevertheless, my tavern lodgings were paid for, and I lived a fairly comfortable few weeks as I waited for the marriage... the sham marriage. I hoped never to tell any of my colleagues about this shameful venture, once I returned home. To even attach my name to this madness filled me with unease.

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The ceremony itself was not extravagant as I expected, not by a long shot. We met in the House of Dibella, where the highest clergy of the province conducted a wordy, and pompous, sermon about the Goddess of Beauty and her great desire that Menevia be led by a virtuous and loving family. I tried to keep a solemn face throughout, though the pontiff seemed to hasten her speech as she saw my boredom grow. To that, I was grateful. I suppose I really underestimated the power with which I would temporarily be imbued as king, even if it were only for a few days. Not that they had any power to predict our plan.

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Nevertheless, the ceremony mercifully ended, and Belladorya led me to the palace, where living quarters were arranged for me. The night was uneventful; we did not sleep together, or even on the same floor. Maira spent more time talking to me than my apparent wife. King Spellire awkwardly listened to his wife's messenger set forth the coming celebration.

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"Tomorrow, the Champion's Hunt will take place," Maira explained. "There's a cave nearby where the new king and queen are expected to demonstrate their prowess by slaying a dangerous beast inside. The greater the quarry, the more glory for their future reign. Think of it as an omen of sorts," she added as she cocked her head.

"You will be permitted no guards nor squires, so stay on your guard. It will just be the two of you, fighting evil and twisted nature..." Maira sighed wistfully, as if envious of the morrow's adventure. I had no doubt that she would be capable of clearing out the entire den on her lonesome. In truth, I rather envied her and her skill with that double-handed sword.

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The night was short, for we woke up before dawn broke. A carriage delivered us to the mouth of the cave. We had but a short chance for a dry breakfast as we rode, for the hole wasn't far from the city at all. "Okay Kalaron, this is it. It's time to do my fathers proud," Belladorya said as she lighted off the wagon. "Once we have this over with, we'll head straight for the Mages Guild and get you back home." I had not heard more blessed words in a decade. Maira handed us some weapons and bid us farewell, anxiously standing by the entrance for our return.

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"I always forgot how bad these places smelled," my temporary wife whispered as we went down the first tunnel. I would be lying if I denied that there was something of a romantic attraction to this matter: two warriors, young royalty, fighting together to slay a beast of great pride. We were to protect each other as husband and wife, as queen and king. I appreciated the very real symbolism in this act we had undertaken.

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"HA! I got it!" Belladorya shouted from behind me. I turned and saw a cave bear, decapitated and bloody from a swing of her katana. Fear started to conquer me, for I realized that, had she not been at the ready, the animal would have mauled us both. We were in very real danger. What was I even doing here? I mulled asking her to abandon this silly quest and return to the surface; surely Maira could present us with some animal pelt of some kind to show to the peasantry. Anything was better than this!

"Come on, let's go further in," she insisted, lighting a torch with her free hand. "Nobody's going to be impressed with a bear." I varied between shame and frustration that I felt so timid, while my Breton wife pressed forward without trepidation. Borrowing some courage from her, I kept watch as we came to a crossroads.

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Queen Hawkham looked both ways and asked, "What do you think? Should we split up and try to find something?" She burst into laughter upon seeing my face. "I'm kidding! Come on, let's have some fun! We don't have to be a somber royal couple down here, at least when no one's watching!" What a delightful companion. It was at this moment that I began to feel sorry that I would only know her for a very short time. Perhaps she could go to visit me at the College -- as a friend.

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As we came to a door, she beckoned for silence. She could hear it: something big was trapped inside, and it was worthy of our time. "Okay, when I count to three, you kick open the door. We'll run in and kill whatever it is before it sees us, okay?" I nodded.

She counted,
"One...
Two...
Three!"

I swung the door open with my boot, and she raised her katana, flying in like the wind. I was only moments behind her.

"WHAT?!"

Her confused voice pierced the air and my heart. Something was very dreadfully wrong. Crossing the threshold, I suddenly realized we had miscalculated.

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"NO! RUN! WE HAVE TO--"

The sound that followed will haunt me for all my remaining years. I have tried every conceivable method to drown it out, and yet in my quietest moments of solitude, it rings again, following me like a banshee: the sound of Belladorya's anguished cry as the tigers pounced onto her, toppling her to the ground. She never got a chance to swing her sword. I screamed in confusion, trying to blast them back with balls of fire without singeing her inert body, but more and more of the felines came from adjoining rooms. We had leapt into a tiger's den, with all the bravado of foolish youth.

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The cats continued advancing, forcing me back into the hallway. My wife's tearful wailing grew more and more faint as the pride descended on her. Their giant, sharp claws and teeth knew no mercy, just the same as we would have given them, had we such opportunity. I hurried for the exit. "Maira! Maira! COME QUICKLY!!" I shouted.

"Where is Queen Hawkham?!" Maira shouted, alarmed at seeing me alone. Grabbing her dai-katana, she followed me into the cave.

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I need not detail what Maira carried out among the entire feline family. The reader's imagination is well capable of telling the story. The den fell silent. The sword fell from Maira's hands, clattering on the ground, as she found Belladorya Hawkham's bleeding, motionless body in the midst of them.

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"M-Maira," the young queen croaked. Her breathing was faint, and her injuries profuse. No healing spells could bind up her wounded organs.

"My queen," Maira whispered incredulously. She gripped her friend's head with her hands and sobbed.

"Th-thank you," Belladorya Hawkham whispered as her eyes went still. She ceased breathing.

"No! No! NO!" Her bodyguard pounded the stone floor with her fist, and then wailed into the air.

*****

The ride back to Menevia City was slow and agonizing. Maira said nothing. Blame hadn't even registered in her mind yet. All she could feel was hatred -- hatred for this stupid elf who came into her best friend's life and caused her death.

I wondered what things could have been like had I skill with weaponry. Had I been the first to enter, instead of Belladorya. Had I been watchful like I should have been, or better prepared, or more agile of mind. My mind overflowed with regrets of every kind, and yet I knew that Maira's regrets dwarfed mine. She entrusted the queen's life to me, and I had failed.

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As we rode to the palace, we passed by the Mages Guild hall. I thought to say something about the matter of teleportation, but I thought it better not to. Not with Queen Hawkham's death so recently upon us.

The populace took the news of the queen's death very poorly. Few of them came to speak to me or offer condolences. I was, after all, a nobody to them. Twenty-four hours prior, I had been a stranger in the land of Menevia. Now, I was their king.

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I was given the main seat at Belladorya's funeral. My heart broke as I saw so many peasants weep for the loss of their queen. Part of me wondered how many of them were backbiting hypocrites who used to complain about her. The mature side of me managed to bury those accusations, at least as long as the funeral endured. Finally, I retired to the palace, eager to get away from so much public attention. To my surprise, I didn't see Maira all that day.

*****

Maira kept in stony silence at the palace. She continued her role as the royal confidant and bodyguard, but she refused to speak to me. The air grew heavy whenever she entered the room. I was relieved to be left alone on occasion, though I knew all Menevia could not provide a more skilled guard than she.

Finally, one evening, I summoned her to speak privately. "Maira, we need to talk about our deal with the Mages Guild."

Avoiding eye contact, she answered, "No we don't."

I gave her the respect of a moment's pause before continuing, "Yes, we really must. I'm no king. I'm not even a Breton. I have to return home. Please."

She stood in silence. I could tell that she had a lingering hatred for me -- not only because I had taken her best friend's life, but because this bumbling idiot was now her king, and she was sworn to protect me.

I waited for some kind of answer. The silence grew more drawn out, more hostile. She still refused to look at me.

"I talked with the Mages Guild," she finally spoke. My heart skipped a beat.

"I told them all about your plot with Queen Hawkham. The sham marriage. Your plan to go home and fake your death. I told them everything."

Her words felt like icy daggers, piercing my heart with every syllable, every breath.

"You have no idea how much you've hurt me. How much you've taken from me," she said.

"And the only way I could get my revenge was to take the one thing you wanted more than anything else."

Her voice cracked with anger.

"Your way home."

*****

Six months have passed since I was made King of Menevia. Maira is still my faithful royal guard. She has not forgiven me, nor does she look me in the eye when she speaks. She feigns to the peasantry that it is out of royal respect. She and I know the truth.

Rumors began to surge that I killed Belladorya to gain the sole right to the throne. Such teasings quickly died out as the people saw my timidity as a ruler and failings as a warrior. I am so grievously unqualified to be a king, it frightens even me. But I have set up a court of advisors who make far better decisions than I do. They can run Menevia when I go on some future extended journey... and perhaps, one day when Daggerfall and Sentinel begin to function as proper kingdoms once more, I'll take a nice, long boat ride to the southwest, and return to that home I so deeply miss.

In a sense, I know I cannot escape, at least not yet. If I were to abdicate the throne, Maira would come looking for me. She knows where I would go, and she would pursue me with her dai-katana. This is her punishment for me: to live in the mess that I have created. It is ironic for a king to be a hostage, but I fear her as she fears me. I dare not cross her, nor does she give me any reason for offense.

My one great certainty is that High Elves live far longer than Redguards do. When she is decrepit or dead, I will be free. And I look forward to that day.

In the meantime, I have begun to build a mercantile relationship with Pothago, hoping for the day that I could perhaps help fix that cursed Ghost Road and cure that glorious town of its affliction...


*****

In the nearby Wrothgarian Mountains, a peasant grows curious for news at the start of his day.

"Hello sir! Good day to you!"

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"Fascinating. Thank you! And you madam, good morning!"

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THE END

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Interkarma
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Interkarma »

Congrats on completing the story Jay! I'm going to loop back and start again so I can read it all the way to the end.

Thank you for creating this, you're amazing.

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Jay_H
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Jay_H »

Congrats on completing the story Jay! I'm going to loop back and start again so I can read it all the way to the end.

Thank you for creating this, you're amazing.
Thank you. This thing's been bugging me all this time, so I'm glad it's over with :D

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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

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Your narrative talent grabbed me one more time!
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When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.
-- Charles Goodhart

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Jay_H
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Jay_H »

Thank you :) I'll admit the narrative sort of wandered around, as I never had a long-term plan for the story. I just hoped to use Daggerfall as a narrative tool, and hope it was entertaining. That's all.

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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by PRAEst76 »

It feels only right that you convert this into a series of in-game volumes and release it as a mod. Yeah there will be no screenshots, but people have imaginations.
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Jay_H
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Jay_H »

Well, the fun of Daggerfall is the number of choices you have, the agency available; I feel like a guided series of events would detract from that.

I originally imagined doing some spin-offs with other characters like Maira or that female warrior in the Pothago dungeon, but I'm done with this series :lol: But if anyone else wants to try it for themselves, it is genuinely fun to just write a Daggerfall story!

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PRAEst76
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by PRAEst76 »

Jay_H wrote: Fri Nov 25, 2022 5:01 am Well, the fun of Daggerfall is the number of choices you have, the agency available; I feel like a guided series of events would detract from that.
Nah, I meant as in-game books you can find. I love the idea of content being hidden in books within the game.
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Re: The Tale of Kalaron Spellire

Post by Jay_H »

Oh, that! That's a different idea. Well, I won't cross it out... Maybe. Maybe, we'll see.

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