A Tale of Two Elves

Post » Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:18 am

Two Elves. Two Worlds. Two stories. One destiny.

Follow the stories of Winfu and Windael. Two elves living their own lives on worlds far away from one another but fated to a shared destiny.

I will be switching from one story to the other but to make it easier to know which is which I will begin each entry that follows Windael on Nirn with the ES date in this bold green at the top. Any entry without the bold grin ES date at the top will be the next entry in the story of Winfu on Old Earth.

Hope you enjoy the stories.

Thanks for reading and, as always, have a groovy day.

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Michael Russ
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Post » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:18 am

Winfu unfolded the map and studied it intently. The cold, harsh winds trying to rip it from his hands as he did. His gaze lifted ahead at the mountain range in the distance. Its snow-capped peaks standing high against the blue backdrop of the sky. His eyes fell back to the map. He was close. Two days, maybe three, and the treasure would be his. It had been a long and arduous journey, but that journey was nearly at its end. He folded the map back over and slid the parchment into his satchel.

Winfu closed his eyes and breathed deep the familiar smells the morning breeze brought with it. The first rays of sunlight warming his cheeks as the air ran crisp and fresh through his lungs. Lost in the moment he did not see the hungry creature creeping up from the side until it was too late. It’s long, white body concealed by the wintry drift as it slithered in from the left. Leaping out from the snow and attaching itself to his side before he could react. Its fangs were not long so they did not penetrate far, but they were many and they were sharp and the pain was intense as it began to feverously try to gnaw deeper in.

It was by instinct he draw his dagger and gave two quick jabs to the creature’s body. Its hide was tough and the blade barely broke through, but it was enough to cause the beast to let go its hold and with a squeal it scurried back off into the same white powder from which it came. But it would be back. He knew what it was and the thing had his scent now. Had his taste. He was being hunted. And it would not stop until he was dead. Or it was.

The snow was thick and nearly reached as high as his knees. It was hard to move fast but he plowed forward the best he could. His eyes darted from side to side. To the front and then to the back. Searching the drift for signs of movement. He could not see any but he knew the creature was there. Running out of breath, Winfu pushed on through the forest. Stumbling once or twice but quickly picking himself back up each time he did.

Forced to take a moment he knew he did not have he dropped his weight against the closest tree he could find. Loose snow dropping from its branches onto his head and shoulders. The wooden trunk was cold and hard but it felt good to rest his body against it. To give his hurting legs a reprieve. Brief as it would be. He was all too aware that he didn’t have long. The creature was no doubt close and Winfu could only hope that his breath would catch up with him before it did.

A pain-filled grimace rode across his face. Winfu pulled the makeshift bandage of his hand from the wound on his side. He was trying to hold in as much blood as he could, but it still continued to leak out through the gaps between his fingers. He feared he’d already lost more than his body could afford. He glanced back him at the bright red trail of fresh blood left strewn behind him across the white snow. Making him easy prey to track for any predator in the forest. If the Snow Eel didn’t find him first then some other hungry beast most assuredly would.

Winfu could hear the eel’s awful shriek as it echoed off the trees. It was close. Just behind him. No, to the left! Wait, now it was to the right. To make matters worse a heavy snow was beginning to fall and was making it difficult to see. There were several of them now as they slithered through the snow. Their fins cutting the snow’s surface like sharks in water. The scent of his blood had attracted more. The unnerving sound of their hunting calls landed on his ears and chilled him even more than the winter’s cold. Time was up. He had to move.

Garnering what little strength remained him, Winfu pushed himself from off the tree and ahead through the deep snow. It was difficult to lift his legs for each step and he only made it four, maybe five before falling face first into the white, wintry blanket. He was able to turn his head to the side enough to draw air, but found himself unable to do little more. He wondered if it was from the loss of blood or the Snow Eel’s venom finally beginning to take hold.

He supposed that it did not matter. Blood. Poison. The end result would be the same either way. Death. So this was it? Not the face he had envisioned death would be wearing when it finally showed up to claim him. And he had imagined many. Still, Winfu tried to comfort himself with the thought that surely there were worse ways one could die. At the moment he was having a difficult time thinking of one, but surely there was.

His vision fading in and out, he gazed past the circling eels and out at the mountains to the east. He was so close. Only to die now. Like this. His eyes fell closed for a moment and then reopened. The mountains were still there but a sudden veil of darkness crept in over them and rolled towards him. It was cold. Bleak. Filled with the dying sounds of misery. That was when he heard her. Her voice soft and soothing as it pierced through the blackness. She was calling her name. Her gentle voice riding upon the wind as if part of it.

“Winfu…” the sound of his name washed over his ears a second time. Numbing the pains of death that otherwise embraced him.

“Winfu-Er of Vuldinvarn!” The voice abruptly changed. Male now. Harsh and loud. Followed by the deafening clang of steel against steel which only served to further pull him from one nightmare into another. This one real. “Wake up, prisoner!” The male voice returned as Winfu slowly emerged from a troubled slumber.

The familiar stench of death and bile burned at his nose and the moans of misery around him instantly reminded Winfu where he was. The same dank and dreadful dungeon cell that had been his home for years lost count. Winfu closed his eyes again in defeat. Wishing he could return to his dream. Sure, he was in the middle of what promised to be a most unpleasant death, but at least there was snow and fresh air. At least he was finally dying.

“Are you Winfu-Er of Vuldinvarn?” The female voice returned. So she was real? He lifted his head from the matted pile of straw that served as his bed on the floor. His eyes had grown accustomed to the dark and the flickering torches held just outside his cell stabbed at them like daggers fresh off the grindstone.

“Answer the question, prisoner!” The male spoke along with the same loud clanging as before. Hurting his ears as the sword rattled between the bars. Winfu would have answered, but he could not. His tongue had not moved with words for so long now that it had all but forgotten how. The best he could do was a few infant-like gargles that made sense only in his head.

“Is that him?” He could hear the female ask of the larger, male figure standing next to her. By this time Winfu’s was able to recognize him as the Cell Master. He very seldom came that far down in the dungeon, but it was not hard to recognize him when he did. If only by his voice and his smell. Booze and used women. Usually his presence meant someone was finally getting their release. Which seldom meant living to see the next day. Winfu could not help but to wonder if it was now his turn. The notion did not concern him as you might think it would. After years of slowly dying in the dark as rats picked at his skin, it would be good to finally see its end.

“Yes, that is the one.” He confirmed. The female said something, but her words were blurred and Winfu could not clearly make them out. She handed something off to the Cell Master and he could hear all too well the sound it made when she did. He could never forget that noise. The familiar jingle of gold coin. A quite the hefty sack too from the sound of it. There were a few more, murmured words exchanged between them and then the dungeon hallways echoed with steel scraping against stone as the cell door opened and two guards entered to retrieve him.

"Time to go, you filthy thief! On your feet!” One of them shouted the order as he loomed over him. Winfu tried to push himself up but his arms lacked the strength and he fell back to the floor. “I said on your feet, prisoner!” The guard’s patience was brief and quickly followed by the steel of his boot against the bone in Winfu’s shin. A blow that would have surely been more painful than it was had he any feeling left in his legs.

“I am paying a great deal of gold for my merchandise, Cell Master Lo, I would prefer it not be damaged any further, please.” The female spoke. Louder now than before and a more serious tenure lacing her voice.

“As you wish,” he said. Turning his attention towards his men. “Guard, try not to harm the prisoner any further, if you would.” The order was given but sounded less than sincere even to Winfu’s dimmed ears.

"Don’t worry, my lord," the guard sneered as he drew his dagger and flipped it around in his hand. The carved, bone hilt now staring directly down at Winfu along with his half-toothed grin and foul breath, “he won’t feel a thing.”

And he didn’t. The blade came down fast and was followed by an instant and silent blackness so deep it was but one step removed from death itself. On the positive side, however, it was the best sleep he’d had in years.

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Mandy Muir
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Post » Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:15 am

21st of Last Seed 4E 201

It had been a long trip. Three days walk alone from his small, forest home to Eldenwood (the nearest city to him.) From there he was able to procure a carriage to take him as far as Silvenar. Another four days he remained in the city as he was unable to find suitable passage north into Skyrim. Windael was beginning to fear he would have to head to Falinesta. Catch a ship to Solitude from there.

He prayed such would not be the case. It was highly unlikely he would have enough gold to secure passage on a ship and doing so would add weeks to his trip. It was much quicker just to head straight north through Cyrod. Not to mention Windael had never cared much for traveling by sea. Turned his stomach into knots.

It seemed the favor of the Eight was upon him. Mere moments before he’d resigned to head toward the capital city did he stumble across a merchant caravan heading as far as Bruma. Took most of the gold he had left on him (as well as his promise to help out along the way), but he was able to persuade himself a ride into Skyrim. Another carriage to Helgen from there and then less than two days walk north. But he had finally arrived.

Dragonstead Manor.

Windael stood looking up from the bottom of the steps that led up to the main porch and then glanced to the letter held in his hand. So this was it? His new home. The letter was from his father. A father he had never met and one he had always assumed dead until that Khajiit courier showed up at his door in Valenwood. The letter opened by stating that if Windael was reading it then it meant that his father, once thought dead, now truly was. Same as his mother.

She had passed from disease two winters earlier so he had no way to confirm the authenticity of his father’s hand. Or ask why she lied about the truth of his life. He went on for a bit. Apologizing for his failures as a father but appeared convinced, at least in his own mind, it was for the best that he stay away. That even his mother agreed. From there it continued to inform him that he had left Winfu an estate as his inheritance and urged his son to come lay claim to it.

So there he was. As impressed as he was by the manor, he had made the long journey more for answers about his father than what had been left to him. And it was an impressive home without a doubt. He could find little that it lacked save for answers. It was stocked well with food and other supplies. Enough to accommodate him for some time. He arrived to find the estate tended to by a couple of Nords. An older, seasoned Nord by the name of Vincent and a younger one by the name of Sid.

They had been hired as caretakers of the estate by his father and had been expecting his arrival. They told him little of his father, however. Not even his actual name. While they never came out and confessed to such, he got the notion they had given an oath not to say anything. He did not hold this against them, but it only made him all the more curious as to why the secrets. Who was his father and why did both he and his mother keep his existence hidden from Windael his whole life?

It was late by the time Windael arrived at Dragonstead Manor and he was both tired and dirty from the road. Exploring the homestead would have to wait until the morning. Sid showed him the way to his room and after a late meal and bath Winfu fell wearily into the first soft bed he had slept in for months.

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emily grieve
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Post » Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:16 am

Winfu awoke to the cold, dead eyes of a startled swine staring back at him. Spitting out the apple shoved in its mouth and letting out a squeal that sounded much like the words, “eat me.” Winfu shut his eyes again and when he reopened them the swine was still there, but dead and glazed with the green apple still crammed in its mouth. The smell of its roasted meat met with his nose as he became reminded of his own hunger as never before.

"Ah, you are awake." He heard a voice speak to him from across the room. Though his eyes could not see that far yet. “Please, eat. Help yourself to whatever you wish.” Winfu recognized the voice now. The female from the dungeon. The one whom had purchased his release.

His cognizance slowly returning he took notice that something was missing. The countless layers of dirt and grime that once covered him like a second skin. Most likely accounted for half his weight. That and his hair. Well, most of it. What was left had been washed, groomed and pulled neatly back into a pony tail behind his head with his face clean of the bristly rat’s nest that once covered it. The torn and dirty loin cloth that had failed in its efforts to cover him now replaced by a lavender colored, satin tunic that kissed softly against his skin.

Winfu hesitated a leery moment before accepting the offer to eat. But only a moment. His hunger quickly overtaking his suspicion as he tore madly into the cooked swine set before him. Shoving as much into his mouth as fast as he could. Often even more than his mouth could hold or chew at the same time. There was an awkward silence that filled the chamber as his hosts sat and watched his ravenousness play out. The room filled only with the sounds of his hunger being satiated like that of a wild animal.

"I hope you don’t mind we took the liberty of cleaning you up. You were quite the mess." She spoke again. (He would later learn her name to be Zyla.)

‘Indeed, and that dreadful smell." A second voice now. Male again, but not the same as before. (He would also come to know the name behind it as being Kinjen-Ta. An Elf, like himself.)

His sight was getting better and he could begin to make out shapes across the room. There were five throne-like chairs set about fifteen feet or so away. Four of them were taken. There was Zyla, the human female. Kinjen-Ta, the Elf and pompous ass he would prove to be. The third was occupied by a large Orc, and the fourth to a slightly obese Dwarf. It would be some time before he would learn their names.

“I suppose you are wondering why we went through all this trouble and expense to bring you here?” The Orc spoke in the deep, scratchy voice so common to his kind.

"Why have you?" Winfu asked. Finding it much easier to speak than he thought it would be. The words still scratched at his throat when they passed, but he was surprised he was able to form them at all. It was in pondering his recovery that he took note of the sour aftertaste in the back of his mouth. In his rampage to fill his gullet with meat he failed to notice it before. But it was there. Hidden behind the flavor of roasted swine. Healing potions. Must have been fed to him while he was unconscious. Made him wonder just how long he was out. Hours? Days?

"Let’s just say we have a task that needs attending to that would be suited to someone of your…talents." The Dwarf said.

"Why me?" Winfu spoke. The words still stinging his throat. "I am no one. Just a bad thief who got caught." He said as he swiped a sweet roll from the table and slid it into his pocket so subtle as to be obvious.

"Come now." Kinjen did not buy the act. "There is no need for such modesty here. You are among friends. Everyone here knows exactly who and what you are. WInfu of the bloodline Er, born in the township of Vuldinvarn in the Tal Province. Mother Sanya-Er, father unknown. I could go on, but what say you we dispense with the boring details and simply call you Tei-Shirah."

Winfu knew the name all too well. It was Elven for, “the Ghost.” By this time he had found the wine and began pouring it straight into his mouth from the bottle faster than he was able to swallow. The purple nectar running out both sides of his lips and down across his face and neck. Eventually pulling the bottle away and letting out a loud and crude belch as he wiped his mouth with the satin sleeve of the tunic. “Who?” He played as dumb as he thought he could get away with. As far as he knew, and was now beginning to suspect, this was all some elaborate scheme to draw the confession from him that he never gave.

"Tei-Shirah," Kinjen said the name again, 'the infamous Master Thief. Wanted dead or alive on two continents. Just dead on two more. We all know very well who you are, my dear Winfu, and that is exactly the reason we have brought you here. The question you must ask yourself now is do you wish to know why we have called upon you, or do you wish to continue with these petty games? In which case we will simply throw you back into that vile pit we pulled you from and find another."

Winfu’s demeanor turned more serious and Kinjen knew he had his full attention now.

"As I thought," he sneered. Leaning back in his chair as he cusped his hands together in front of his chin. Winfu was glad to be out of the cell, there was no doubting that. And even more thankful for the meal, but his concern was beginning to grow. When threats of leverage opened what appeared to be negotiations it was never a good sign of things to come. "So tell me, why did you go back?' Kinjen asked the seemingly random question and pulled Winfu from his thoughts.

"What do you mean?" Winfu replied. Genuinely confused by the question.

"Your last heist." Kinjen grinned. "The one that landed you in that dank, Elven prison all those years ago. I mean, you had already successfully stolen the fabled Staff of Ulan-Ko and made your brilliant escape as always. Oh, and excellent work by the way. You have a most impressive career. But pulling off the Ulan-Ko heist was truly a masterpiece. Still, I am curious as to why you returned to the castle. The Staff had already been discovered missing and the alarm sounded. The guards on alert. Surely you had to know you would be captured, if not killed on sight, if you went back. So what was so important that the great and mysterious Ghost would risk getting caught for?"

“You said you needed something?” Winfu’s was visibly uncomfortable with the line of questioning and quickly moved the conversation away from it. Suddenly filled with memories he held no desire to discuss.

“Yes, quite.” Kinjen said as if growing bored. “Enough with the small talk. Never cared for it anyway. So, on to business then, shall we?”

There was a brief pause and then Kinjen continued. “There are several artifacts, six to be precise, we wish to have recovered. Your stellar career as Tei-Shirah leads us to believe you possess the skills we are looking for to find them and retrieve them for us. That is why we have pulled you from the belly of that dungeon and brought you here.”

“Sounds like something better suited for a mercenary or treasure hunter. Why a thief?”

“Yes,” Kinjen sighed, “it is true you are not the first we have employed for this task. There have been others. But as they have all failed, you now find yourself with a second chance. I suggest you take it.”

“So what exactly is it I am looking for and where am I going?” Winfu asked. Simple questions considering what they were asking of him, but Kinjen did not seem to agree.

“What they are is of no importance to you at this time. You will be given that which you need to know when the time comes and as we deem fit. As for where you will begin, the most recent fellow we hired, an Orcanian mercenary, had tracked one of them to the Merrican Continent. However, it has been some time since we last heard from him and can only assume he has met an untimely demise as did the others.” Kinjen said with not even a passing note of concern in his voice. Not exactly selling Winfu on the job.

“Merrican?” Winfu thought out loud. He had been there before. Twice. A job both times. But it had been years. Perhaps decades? Merrican was the land of the humans. The land of Man.

“Yes,” Zyla broke in, “for the first of these artifacts you will need to travel to the Merrican Republic. Your travels in Merrican should not present you with too much trouble. Not from the Merrican authorities, anyway. Though there have been wars and tensions in the past between the humans and the elves, our governments are both currently observing a newfound treaty of peace and trade. ”

“And the others?” Winfu asked.

"Unknown at this time," Zyla answered, “scattered around the world most likely. However, according to the prophecy, by finding any one of the six pieces, the artifact will itself lead the one who holds it to the next. Then, once all six have been found and placed together they are said to form a map to a seventh location which holds a treasure and power greater than anything ever known to the five major races of the Earth.”

“None of that is your concern, thief!” Kinjen cut in sharply and you could tell by the annoyed tone in his voice he was not happy with Zyla for sharing as much as she did. Even though it really told him nothing. If anything left him more confused. “All you need to know is you will be generously compensated for your time and efforts.”

“How generous?” Now he was speaking Winfu’s language. Gold.

Kinjen made three quick and successive claps of his hands and even before the third clap finished the side door to the large, eloquently decorated chamber room opened. Two more Elves entered carrying between them a sizeable chest. They were both rather large and muscular for Elves, but even their combined strength seemed taxed by its weight. They set the chest down in front of the dining table from which he ate and unlocked it. Opening it up to reveal a mountain of gold coin within.

“A hundred thousand gold to start. Call it goodwill, an incentive bonus, or whatever you wish, but there is ten times this amount awaiting you should you find all six pieces.”

One million gold. Winfu ran the numbers in his head. That was a lot of coin. Far more than he had ever made before for a single job. Even though, to be honest about it, finding these artifacts might prove a rather daunting task. Could take months. Most likely years if scattered around the world as Zyla suggested. Still, the offer was as impressive as it was suspicious. In his experience such bounties were more often paid in betrayal than gold.

“Acquiring these artifacts is worth far more to us than any amount of gold or jewels.” Kinjen interrupted Winfu’s thoughts. Perhaps he was merely trying to boast of the wealth at their disposal, or their willingness to pay whatever sum it took to get those relics. Whatever the reason, he had shown his hand. He must not have had much practice dealing with professional thieves before. Or any thief for that matter. You never tell a thief that the item you are sending him to fetch is worth more to you than what you are already paying.

“Let’s say I accept the job,” Winfu started, “any skills or talents I may or may not have had at one time are surely dulled from the years spent in the dungeon keep. I will need time to recover.”

"You have three weeks." Kinjen said very matter of fact. "At that time there will be a merchant ship arriving from Merrican. They will be docked here in Eltmore for a week before returning to the Merrican Continent. You will join them on their return trip."

"Rest assured we will provide you with whatever you require in the meantime." Zyla added. “Potions, doctors, alchemists, gear and weapons. All you need do is ask.”

“And where do I come out on the other end of all this?” Winfu still held onto his suspicions tightly.

"Wherever you wish.' Kinjen answered with the same condescending, uninterested tone that seemed to fill his voice each time he spoke. “Only richer. Once we have what we want what you do with yourself is of no concern to us. Take your riches and start a new life, return to being Tei-Shirah, it makes no difference. Now, do you accept our offer or shall we locate another?”

There was only one answer to give. He was going to Merrican.

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Post » Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:32 am

22nd of Last Seed 4E 201

Windael began the day with another bath. Feeling the dust from the road still clinging to him. Losing track of time as he sat with his thoughts in the warm water. Even dozing back off for a few moments. He dressed himself and had a morning meal. That morning it was salmon steak, bread, a sweet roll and apple juice. The manor was amazing. A far cry from the small, drafty cottage he shared with his mother growing up. One of the many things he noticed about the home was how it came equipped with many different crafting stations. All of them well-stocked with the necessary supplies.

There were both an enchanting and an alchemy table inside the home and a forge for smithing under the covered porch. He did not know his father possessed such skills. One of many things he didn’t know, he supposed. Alchemy was the only craft he was familiar with. He was no master apothecary by any means, but he knew his way around a mortar and pestle well enough to make a potion or two if the need arose. The station was fully stocked with ingredients. Some of them he had never seen before, and many more he did not know could be used to brew potions with. Across the room from the alchemy table there was a book shelf with an extensive selection of books on the art from recipes, to ingredient usage, and more.

It as shortly after mid-day when he made another trip down to the dock where he read for another hour or so. Currently he was reading 2920 Frostfall volume 10. He was about half way through and it was turning into an interesting story. Did some fishing while he was there. Plenty of rods and bait and the river brimmed with salmon. A cold rain began to fall in the afternoon and carried through the rest of the evening. The day had proven to be a much needed one of relaxation and rest for his body, but saw his mind still heavily troubled. He came to Skyrim with the hopes of finding answers about his father but instead he only found himself with more questions.

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Kathryn Medows
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