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  1. 59 points
    Download Note: Please note this is still a work in progress, I'll be updating it over time as I make more textures. But for now, enjoy these Insanity's Texture Pack is just that, it's my very own texture pack for Skyrim. Now I;m not going to mention the usual HD, HQ, more detailed ect crap people put on their mods now, instead I will simple say this. The textures are high resolution, most range from 1024x1024 for small clutter items right through to 2048x2048 for things like landscape, they are all new (not used any originals except for reference) and more vibrant. The textures have been designed with Skyrim's style in mind, so all the new textures will fir perfectly fine. So don't worry about jarring differences. What does it change: Landscape textures - roughly 60% of them have been changed Caves Farmhouses - Riverwood, Winterhold ect Clutter - Some random clutter, like barrels and the cart Azura's Star Interior Water Sunglare Snowflakes Whiterun - About 50%-ish, enough to make a big difference Secondary note: The reduced version will take a little while to setup and upload, so please be patient. Extract this archive to any folder and then copy the contents to Skryim's Data folder. Delete the files/folders associated with the mod. InsanitySorrow @ TES Alliance You may use this as you wish but you must credit me for my work. Please do not re-host this file without my explicit permission.
  2. 17 points
    CK Basics Lesson #1: Rendering Skyrim Part I: Creating an Interior Before we dive in, if you are a beginner or approaching the CK for the first time from other toolsets, make sure you have read the Introduction to the course before proceeding. This lesson covers the very basics of working in the Render Window of the Creation Kit. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the list of hotkey controls provided here. Controls to Know: This is a list of some of the most commonly used modding hotkeys for the Creation Kit. For more hotkeys look in the CK under View > Render Window Hotkeys for a more complete list of keyboard shortcuts. Let's get started! Now that you've had a look at where your tools are and what they're for we're ready to make our first mod. If you are starting this class right from the Introduction you may already have the Skyrim.esm loaded in the CK. If not, bring up the CK then go ahead and load the Skyrim.esm now. Smarty Says: When you open the data folder to load a file you will see all the plugins from your data folder appear in the list. Beginners are sometimes tempted to load their favorite mods as well and add things they like from them to their own mods, this is called mod sniping. The trouble is the new mod will only work if you have both mods installed and this is not a technique you want to use when creating mods for release. So, resist that temptation. With the Skyrim.esm loaded in the CK, the first thing we want to do is SAVE to create an active plugin for this session. Click the Save icon on the main toolbar and name your plugin: CKBasicsTutorial It's time to start our first house interior by creating a new cell to work in. You'll note that the default worldspace on the cell view window is Interiors, that's exactly what we want. Right Click on one of the first cells in the list of interiors (AbandonedPrison01 for example) and select Edit. The Cell Window will open, just Right-Click on the first cell again and this time choose New A smaller window will open asking you to assign an ID name to the new cell. Type in a name for your cell, for this tutorial I have called mine aaDRTutorialInt01. In modding there are naming conventions when creating new IDs and they are as varied as the modders and developers who use them. Sometimes beginners think these names need to be uber technical, "Cause if it's not hard it's not modding" This is a false assumption. Confusing names are just confusing, even for you later on. Your naming convention should have a purpose, be simple, and whatever you start with you should maintain throughout the entire project. This makes it easier to track parts of your mod when they are mixed in a load order with dozens of others. In this case I chose "aaDRT" to take my custom adds to the top of every list in the CK. You NEVER want to start an ID with a number like 1 or 0 as it may confuse scripts and can cause issues later when trying to call the ID in a script. DR are my initials, but you might choose instead to use the initials for your project, that way all your plugins will be compatible with one another. Tutorial is the project name of the house we are building, "I" stands for interior, and "01" indicates it's the first of a series on interiors. Once the cell has been named it should appear first in the list. Click on the new cell in the list, then to the right, take a look at the four tabs there: Common Data, Lighting, Interior Data, and Directional Ambient Lighting. There are a lot of settings on these tabs but for this class, let's just focus on the most used settings on the first three tabs. Common Data The common data tab contains settings relating to how the selected cell reacts as part of the wider game world. The "Location"setting better defines the cell's location in the game world. The "Default Acoustic Space" setting, defines what sort of ambient sound/reverb/echo quality the cell will contain (Does it sound like a cave? Or a house?). The "Music Type" setting defines what sort of music plays in the background. The "Has Water" setting defines whether the cell has water, what type, and its depth. The "ImageSpace" setting determines the base display effects for a cell or worldspace, adding visual film type effects like blur or coloring. The other important setting on this tab for our purposes is the "Can't Travel From Here" flag which must be set for interior cells. For now, leave this tab at its default settings, we'll be coming back to this one in Lesson #4 Lighting The lighting tab has two key settings we are most concerned with. The "Lighting Template" setting allows for duplicating the light definitions from a different cell for use in the current cell. The "Ambient" setting defines the light level and color for the current cell. For our tutorial select the Lighting Template titled: FarmLightingTemplate Interior Data The interior data tab has four settings we want to change for our interior cell. The "Name" setting provides the in game name for the cell player's see when entering the cell. The "Encounter Zone" setting determines how this cell behaves with leveled lists; this setting does not apply for homes, it's for dungeons where leveled lists are placed to determine the type/strength of enemy encounters. The "Owner NPC" and "Owner Faction" settings are used to determine who owns the cell and everything within it; choose a common faction setting when more than one character shares a cell. The last section of flags determine the access permission parameters for the cell (Is it a public place like an Inn? Is it a private place like a nobleman's room? Can the player wait there?) For this tutorial, enter your interior's name, set the encounter zone as NONE, set the owner faction to PlayerFaction, and check the Public Area flag. When all of these settings have been set, click OK to close this dialog box and SAVE your plugin. You will see your new cell has appeared in the cell view window at the top of the list if you started your name with "aa" as recommended. Double click on it in the cell view window to load your cell in the Render Window. Part II: Working in the Render Window Since this is a new cell what you will see is a sad empty grey void, but we're going to change that right now. On the Object Window, you will see a category called World Objects. Click the + sign next to it to expand the categories tree. You'll see a new list of category branches under World Objects. Click the + sign next to Static to expand the most commonly used tree in Skyrim Modding! Static consists of all objects that are static in the game world, meaning players can't move them. Click on STATIC to load all statics in the object window list The objects in the Static window are listed in alphabetical order. Scroll down to FarmInt2End02 click on it with your mouse, drag it to the Render Window, and let go to drop it into our empty interior cell. Even though we can't see it, there is an invisible grid in every cell even interiors. When you set your first kit piece you want to set it to the 0,0,0 point on the grid so that everything else you add to the scene will be built to this grid. This is especially important when building things that require kits pieces to be joined together like in dungeons and caves, but it's a good habit to get into for any interior. To set our interior to the 0 point, double click on it to open the Reference Window. Smarty Says: The reference window can change an object's position, rotation, disable/enable quality, scale, or persistent status, and can access an object's Base Editor! You can double click on any object, NPC or creature to find its reference window. In the reference window for our farm interior kit, set all the position values to 0 and click ok. When the interior static moves to the 0 point you might not be able to see it in the render window anymore. Double click on the cell view window content list to move your render camera back to your house interior. Now before we go any further let's click the SAVE icon on the toolbar to save our mod. Smarty Says: Save! Save! Save! Modding Toolsets can crash at any time for any reason. Because that is its nature, you want to save often so that when it does crash, you don't lose too much work. Rarer, the toolset occasionally corrupts a .esp mod file when it crashes, so at the end of the day, backup your day's work and maintain a backup copy of your .esp just in case. Part III: Building on the Grid To maximize customization and uniqueness, most of Skyrim's interiors are made up of several kit pieces locked together on the invisible grid, including farmhouse interiors. Click on the first piece of our farmhouse interior, tap A to turn on the work light, and you'll be looking at something like this: The rainbow colored cube around this piece of the house interior is the active highlight. Whatever object has that highlight around it is the object you can actively move with your mouse. Because we set this piece to the 0 point, we do not want to move it anymore. But, by holding shift and moving your mouse, you can practice moving your camera around this piece. Learning the camera and getting used to the depth perception in a 3D drawing space are the two trickiest parts about learning how to mod. Once you get comfortable with moving the camera and using the keys, this sort of building will be something you can, ¦and likely will, ¦do in your sleep! If you do accidentally move your house, you can always tap ctrl+z to undo your last movement. Just be mindful of what you have highlighted and those accidents will be minimal. We're now ready to add some more pieces to the grid. To make sure we have no overlapping kits or open seams, we want to put our kits together using the snap to grid feature. On the main toolbar, click the preferences button to open the preferences dialog. Before using snap to grid for the first time, we want to change the default snap to grid distance from 64 to 16. Once you've changed this setting, click Apply and Close to set the changes. With this narrower margin for error set, let's turn on the Snap to Grid tool on the main toolbar to turn this function on. If you turn this tool on before dragging additional pieces into the render window, then everything you add will enter the window on grid, which is good, so make sure you turn it on before adding additional kits! When ready, find our next kit piece in the Static list FarmInt2Doorway02NoDoor and drag it into the render window. Use your mouse and alternate holding the X,Z,C hotkeys to move this piece right alongside the first. You'll notice that it moves more than one unit at a time, that's the snap to grid feature at work. Remember not to move that first piece, it's the head of the snake, we need its position to ensure all the other pieces attached to it are aligned properly; it is the start of the grid. The grid is invisible, but when you have Snap to Grid turned on, the pieces are able to find the grid. If a piece is off grid a single point, every piece you add on to it will be off a point +1 so by the time to get to the end you have a gap 30 points wide! When the second piece is properly aligned, you should be looking at something like this: Finish this interior set by finding FarmInt2End03 in the statics list, dragging it into the render window and lining it up on the grid with the others to close in the space. Smarty Says: Finding Snap to Grid to be a challenge? Visit the Additional Information on Snap to Grid section of the CS Basics course Lesson #3. Aside from the layout of the Reference box, the technique is identical so it's a valuable source of info for Oblivion and Skyrim modders alike. Part IV: Staging the Interior Now that we have all three pieces of our kit together you should be looking at something like this: For the close of this lesson we're going to add a few additional objects to begin the staging of our interior and practice the controls charted at the beginning. Start by turning OFF snap to grid. This feature is not needed for placing clutter type items. Go the object window again, choose the category MovableStatic, find FireplaceWood01Burning, and drag it into the render window. Once it's there, use your mouse and key controls listed at the start of this lesson to move your firewood into the fireplace. Tips: Hold z to move things up or down on the grid.Hold Shift and Rotate your mouse to rotate your camera around the active object.Hold the spacebar and move your mouse to adjust your camera position.Move your camera a lot to get a true perspective of where your object is in render space. Save! When done you should have this: Next we'rre going to add a couple chairs beside the fireplace. Go to World Objects>Furniture in the Object Window and click on Furniture to load the furniture in the Object Window list. Be careful not to mistake this for Static>furniture which is furniture that can't be used. We want to use furniture we can sit on so we need chairs with sit markers. Find UpperChair01L and drag it into the Render Window. You'll see the blue and orange marker on the chair. This marker is a place holder for people in game, and shows how an actor interacts with this chair so you don't want that marker to be in the floor or through any other furniture; leave space for these character animations when placing furniture. Position the chair in front of the fire place; then find UpperChair01R and set it alongside its mate in the render window. Time to light the fire! In the Object Window go to World Objects>Light, and click Light to load all the lights in the object window list, ¦seeing a pattern here? In the list find FarmInteriorFireLight01 and drag it into the Render Window. You want to position the fire light object over the fire logs in the fire pit that we added first. This fire light will lend light and shadow to the scene in game. Save! Congratulations, you have just made a plugin for Skyrim! This concludes lesson #1, you should now know how to create new interior cells, add statics, furniture and lights to the render window, how to move the render camera and how to manipulate objects in the render window! Well done, that's a big step! To see your hardwork first hand, activate your plugin in the Data page of the game's main menu before going in game. Then use the console command coc YOURCELLID (Mine would be aaDRTutorialInt01) to teleport to your cell. Repetition is the fastest road to mastery of skills. This assignment is worth 10pts and the Extra Credit Section is worth 5pts. You need 100pts to earn a medal for the CK Basics Class. So do your assignment and post a screenshot here when you are done! Your assignment before moving on to Lesson #2 is to continue adding furniture and statics to the interior we have begun to create the basis for your house. Across this course we will be building this interior as a Tavern, but you may build as a home if you so choose. Do not skip ahead, and do not confuse yourself by experimenting with objects we haven't covered. You may add additional light objects, but I recommend using static candles like CandleHornTable01 and adding a light object over the candle like HelgenCandleLight01 (Do not use more than 2 of these lights). In Lesson #2 we will cover cluttering with Misc Items like dishes and food, creating containers, adding doors, and NavMeshes. Make sure you take time to practice what you have learned here, especially your hotkeys, camera and render controls. Practice makes perfect! If you are ready to move on head to Lesson #2: Living Interiors.
  3. 11 points
    About the CK Basics Class About the CK Basics Course: The Creation Kit for Skyrim released for public use the same day this course was launched. As such, there is still a development period ahead for the modding community at large as new tricks are discovered and new tools created. This tutorial course will continue to be updated during this period of community development. Please keep in mind that the course as you see it today, is a work in progress. Description: The CK Basics class has been designed to give beginner modders a rudimentary understanding of common and basic creation kit functions used when creating mods for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This course does not cover every subject, for example NPCs and Questbuilding, as those subjects are covered in other classes. Rules: CK Basics Students are expected to adhere to the general rules for Enclave Decorum. Be sure to read through them before posting in this class. Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse for breaking them, so have a read and you'll be set to go. Homework: By Lesson #1 homework is introduced. The point of the homework assignments is to give students an opportunity to practice what they are learning while still being guided by the class and the active Scholar. Doing the homework is optional for casual learners, but completion is necessary if you want to earn points toward your CK Basics medal. Students should not plan on releasing their classwork, only their final exams, as the classwork has already been released in Half-Moon Village by DarkRider. Extra Credit: Extra credit is just that, extra, doing some of these will be necessary to earn a total of 100 points, but you can pick and choose what you do to make the grade. Credit Challenges: Credit challenges are small tasks worth points but offering little guidance. This enables students to boost their point count while expanding on their skill set and gaining some confidence for working without guidance. Final Exam: The final exam offers one of the best opportunities to earn points as it's worth a total of 20 possible points. Finishing the exam in a cell of your choosing and releasing will earn you an additional bonus forum medal in addition to your class medal. Points: In the class, you are required to achieve at least 100pts in order to receive the CK Basics Medal. There are more points possible however and doing all of the homework and all of the credit challenges will boost your skill set and your confidence. Points are tracked on our Student Progress Report Sessions: Students of this course are divided into seasonal sessions on the class roster. New students may PM the Scholar to join the class at any time regardless of which session is current. The purpose of sessions is to limit how long idle students sit on the roster. As a new session begins, active students are moved forward to the next session while idle students are dropped. About Advanced Students: Some of you may be more advanced by modding previous games, but still want to earn a CK Basics Medal by doing the assignments. Regardless of your skill set, if you do the homework assigned in step with the class you can certainly earn a medal. However, with advanced skills comes the temptation to show off a bit and add in resources and other custom touches like different interiors or locations. Screenshots of your work will only confuse and invalidate the other students who are just learning, so such images will be nixed and you won't get credit for your work toward a CK Medal. If you want to do the work, you must do the assignment within the outlined spirit of the course. Smarty Says: Once the course is completed and points are tallied everyone, beginner and advanced students alike, are welcome to add or change whatever they like in their creation to make it custom.
  4. 9 points

    Version 1.21 FINAL

    18,881 downloads

    Name: Insanity's Improved Armoury Compilation Version: 1.21 FINAL Date: 03/27/2012 Category: Armor Author: InsanitySorrow Source: TES Alliance ================= Requirements: ================= Oblivion 1.2.416 ================= Description: ================= InsanitySorrow has created a large number of high-resolution texture and normal map replacers for stock armor and weapons, compiled two ways for your convenience. The first package is a scripted OMOD that will allow you to install all the textures or choose only specific ones to install. This .omod can only be used or extracted by Oblivion Mod Manager (OBMM). The second package is a .7zip archive that contains the full compilation in one parent folder, so you can manually install the whole thing in the usual drag-and-drop-and-overwrite fashion. The alternate Elven and Glass textures are offered as well, in separate folders. This package is BAIN-friendly. Both packages include all of InsanitySorrow's high-rez armor and weapon retextures to date: Improved Armoury - Amelion Armor Improved Armoury - Arena Champion Improved Armoury - Ayleid Crown Improved Armoury - Blackwater Cuirass Improved Armoury - Blackwater Blade Improved Armoury - Blackwood Improved Armoury - Blades Improved Armoury - Bloodworm Helm Improved Armoury - Chainmail Armor Improved Armoury - Chillrend Improved Armoury - City Guards Improved Armoury - Daedric Armor Improved Armoury - Daedric Bracers Improved Armoury - Daedric Weapons Improved Armoury - Dark Brotherhood Improved Armoury - Debaser Improved Armoury - Dwarven Improved Armoury - Ebony Armor Improved Armoury - Elven Armor Improved Armoury - Golden Elven Improved Armoury - Fur Armor Improved Armoury - Glass Improved Armoury - Dark Green Glass Improved Armoury - Darker Green Glass Improved Armoury - Gray Fox Cowl Improved Armoury - Imperial Dragon Improved Armoury - Imperial Palace Cuirass Improved Armoury - Imperial Watch Improved Armoury - Iron Improved Armoury - Leather Improved Armoury - Legion Improved Armoury - Legion Horseman Helm Improved Armoury - Mithril Armor Improved Armoury - Mythic Dawn Improved Armoury - Orcish Armor Improved Armoury - Pit Leather Improved Armoury - Savior's Hide Improved Armoury - Shield of the Thorn Improved Armoury - Silver Weapons Improved Armoury - Spellbreaker Improved Armoury - Staff of Indarys Improved Armoury - Steel Improved Armoury - Thorn Blade Improved Armoury - Witsplinter Enhanced Normal Maps - Daedric Enhanced Normal Maps - Daedric Artifacts Enhanced Normal Maps - Dwarven Enhanced Normal Maps - Ebony Enhanced Normal Maps - Elven Enhanced Normal Maps - Glass Enhanced Normal Maps - Madness Enhanced Normal Maps - Spellbreaker ================= Installation: ================= BAIN (using the 7zip archive) 1) Move or copy the downloaded archive to your Bash Installers folder, no need to extract first. 2) From the Wyre Bash installers tab, select the archive on the left. Check the boxes on the right for Core Files and any alternate colors you wish to install. 3) Right-click on the archive on the left, and choose Install from the context menu. OMOD (using the .omod) 1) Double-click the .omod file from within Windows Explorer. This will open OBMM and automatically add the .omod to OBMM. 2) Double-click the .omod from within OBMM to begin installation. Follow the prompts to select which content you want to install. Manual (using the 7zip archive) 1) Extract the archive you downloaded to a temporary location. 2) Copy the contents of the "Core Files" folder to your ..Oblivion\Data folder. Click "Yes" to overwrite, if prompted. 3) Repeat step 2 for any of the alternate folders, if desired. Wrye Bash and OBMM both handle ArchiveInvalidation for you, which is required for texture replacers such as this to take effect in-game. If you don't have either of those applications, please consult your internet search engine of choice for other solutions. ================= Un-Installation: ================= BAIN Right-click the archive from the Installers tab and choose Uninstall from the context menu. OMOD Double-click the .omod from within OBMM to de-activate it. Manual Delete the files/folders associated with the mod. ================= Contact: ================= Please contact InsanitySorrow @ TESAlliance with any inquiries. ================= Credits: ================= Thanks to Bethesda for creating Oblivion. ================= Tools Used: ================= Insanity's ReadMe Generator Photoshop
  5. 9 points

    Version

    15,955 downloads

    This project is a community collaboration of free-to-use resources for your modding needs. Find out all about the TESA Skyrim Resource Kit Project here. Browse through the list of resources. All the files are here for convenience.
  6. 9 points
    Added new file: InsanitySorrow's Fishing Supplies; 4 Traps, 3 Fishing Nets, 2 Dipping Nets, 2 Creel's
  7. 9 points
    CK Basics: Introduction to Skyrim's Creation Kit Introduction: Welcome to Creation Kit Basics! It's time to begin your expedition into the wonderful world of modding for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim! Congratulations! If you are a fan of the Elder Scrolls series you will find no greater satisfaction than creating your own content and experiencing it first hand in your game just the way you envisioned it! By now you will certainly have lots of magnificent ideas about all the things you'd like to create, fix, or change and with some careful study of the tutorials available in the Creation Kit Wiki and here on TESA you will soon achieve those goals. However, it's recommended that you jot them down and set them aside for now. The first thing you want to do is spend some time studying the material, asking questions, and learning how to mod the game, rather than stumbling through your mod ideas one tutorial at a time. If you start with your ideas first the margin for error is typically greater, your experience can prove frustrating, fruitless, and you may find yourself having to fix or even redo things later when you learn new skills. So for now, clear your minds and let's dive into learning some CK Basics! Smarty Says: Hi! I'm Smarty, I know everything there is to know about modding for the Elder Scrolls and I will follow you along your course of study in all the classes on TESA. I pop up in some of the strangest places but always have useful tips and reminders for you, so keep your eyes open for me! What You Need: STEAM GAMING PLATFORMTES CREATION KIT v1.6.89 or higher (See Part I for Install Instructions)Terms to Know: CK: A shorthand term for Creation Kit TES: Not to be confused with CS, TES stands for The Elder Scrolls .esp: A common file extension for mod files or Elder Scrolls Plug-ins .esm: Another common file extension for Elder Scrolls Master files SKSE: Skyrim Script Extender, an extension for vanilla Skyrim code scripting abilities. Roombound (aka Room Marker): A room marker is a box used to unify many objects into a single unit of objects that belongs to that room. Portal: A Portal is a visual gateway used to connect room markers together, like a doorway between two rooms. They should be placed between rooms at any location where the player should be able to see from one room to another. Occlusion: The occlusion system tracks which objects render in the player view and which objects don't; a form that is occluded is not rendered Multibound: Similar to a room marker, multibounds are primarily used in exteriors to group objects together for rendering as a unit as opposed to rendering many objects individually. Collision: An invisible field form that cannot be passed through by players Current: The force of drift in water; what draws the player downstream Part I: Installing the Creation Kit Step 1: Launch Steam and log into your user account. Step 2: Click on Games>Game Library Step 3: On the drop-down menu labeled "ALL GAMES" select "TOOLS" Step 4: Under the title column look for "Creation Kit" Step 5: Right-click on the title and choose "Install Game" Part II: Anatomy of the Construction Set Now that you have the CK installed it's time to load up the Skyrim master file (Skyrim.esm) and get familiar with the primary tool of the Skyrim modding craft. Regardless of what you'd like to do in the modding world, sooner or later you will need the CK to make it happen, so let's get started! Click the CK icon on your desktop to start the program. When the CK opens you will have a total of 4 windows, 3 smaller ones nestled inside the main window. On the main window click File>Data A new window will open. On it, check the box beside the Skyrim.esm, and ONLY this box. Then click Ok. Smarty Says: What about the Update.esm? You should never check the box next to the Update.esm master file as it will make your mod dependent on that file. When Bethsoft overwrites the Update.esm, is can create problems for mods that depend on it. The only time you should load the Update.esm as well is if you are knowingly modding something the Update.esm added or changed. The CK will then load the Skyrim.esm. This may take several minutes depending on your rig's available resources, so be patient. NEVER EVER EVER click on anything on the CK while it's loading anything, ever. Just like its predecessors the CK doesn't like to be bothered while it's thinking and clicking on it impatiently can make it freeze, crash, or both, so just give it the time it needs. Smarty Says: Is your low to mid range rig taking forever to load the CK? Is everything really slow? Make sure you give your PC all the available resources you can spare to devote to the CK. Close other programs running in the background like web browsers, messengers, and media players to help improve performance. Once the Skyrim.esm is loaded, you'll see the little windows have now become filled with interesting bits of data. Go ahead and make the main window full screen by clicking the full screen icon in the corner. Once that's done, you can reposition the nested windows to suit your preferred layout for your workspace. This is one possible configuration, you can move them around until you find the configuration that best suits you: Okay so now what are all these windows for? This window is called the Object Window The object window contains all objects that can be used in creating mods, including static objects, clothing, armor, architecture, creatures, NPCs, furniture, quests, and loads more. Most things in this window can be added to the game by simply dragging and dropping them into the Render window. This window is called the Cell View Window The cell view window contains a list of all the cells in game, including interior and exterior cells. It also contains cells for all the various worldspaces available in the game. A cell is a canvas to build game content on. In the exterior world cells are placed side by side in a grid fashion. In the interior, a cell is a nebulous 3D space to build home/dungeon/castle interiors. An interior cell also has a grid but it's not visible to users. This window is called the Render Window The render window allows you to visually navigate the Skyrim game world. By dragging objects into the render window you can add things to the game world and make mods. The render window loads cells selected in the cell window. This window is the Main Window The main window not only surrounds the other three windows, it also contains a number of valuable shortcuts and tools. Examine the image above carefully for the coordinating numbers for the explanations below on what these tools are. This concludes the basic introduction to the Skyrim Creation Kit. You should now have the CK installed, have a workspace configuration that works best for you, and should have a good basic knowledge of where the most common tools can be found. Well done! If you have questions on what we've covered so far, post them here in the General Questions thread. If you're ready to move on, then head to CK Basics Lesson #1: Rendering Skyrim Make sure you read the next post below "About the CK Basics Class" so you know what's expected of you!
  8. 8 points
    CK Basics Lesson #2: Living Interiors Welcome Back, Student! By now you should have completed the Introduction to this course as well as Lesson #1 and by completed that means, you have posted your homework assignments and points have been successfully achieved toward your CK Medal. If you haven't done the earlier assignments and are a novice, do take the time to start from the beginning or you will find this lesson confusing. In this lesson we will be learning how to develop an interior using havocked items such as table settings, how to create custom containers, and also the basics of NavMesh pathing. Part I: Reloading If you haven't done so already time to cue up the Creation Kit. We're ready to get back to work on our tutorial interior. Just like before when we started our mod, we're going to load the Skyrim.esm again, only this time, we're going to add a step. Go to File>Data, or click the Data folder icon on the main toolbar. When you check the box next to Skyrim.esm, you also want to check the box next to our tutorial mod. With the tutorial mod highlighted click "Active File" to make it the active file we're going to edit. This is an important step when you are returning to work on a mod you've already started. By making it the active file, the CK knows to include any work you do now in that same .esp. Otherwise, the CK will save your new changes as a second mod! We don't want to create a bunch of half mods that need one another to play, that would be a real headache so make sure you set your file as the active file when you load it up each time. Smarty Says: If you check your mod, but forget to set the Active file, the CK will remind you so always pay attention to the messages the CK gives you, it can save you headaches later and be useful for troubleshooting. Part II: Havocked Clutter Once the CK has loaded your mod, let's find our interior cell in the cell view window and load it in the render window by double clicking on it in the list; if you were paying attention to our naming conventions in Lesson #1, you'll find it near the top of the list. When the cell loads you'll see your house interior floating in that now familiar gray void. Click on it once and tap Y to swing your camera in alongside your interior, then zoom in with your mouse wheel until you are close enough to work, and tap A to turn on your work light. We're going to start adding to our interior design by creating a table setting on one of our tables. In Lesson #1 we added chairs to our tables and chair markers can make the scene a little difficult to navigate. Tap the M key to turn off Marker view so we can work with a table closely. Click on one of the tables in the render window, tap Y to swing alongside it, and then rotate your camera a bit so you have a good view of the table. Time to return to the Object Window, only this time we're not going to search for items under World Objects, we want to look at the Items category; just click the + sign next to items to expand the tree. You see a number of branches under the Items category, so let's take a minute to explore what these categories contain. For setting our table we want to start by clicking the Misc Items category. When the list is compiled in the list pane, find BasicPlate01 near the top of the list, and then drag it into the render window to your table. If you modded Oblivion you might expect the objects to drop in front of your camera and require manual positioning. In Skyrim, objects drop to the surface you drag them over, and then just require some minor tweaking. When tha's done, let's grab a matching cup, BasicTankard01 and add that alongside the plate. You've no doubt noticed we've been using objects starting with "basic". The Bethesda developers use naming conventions too, but just like modders they are varied depending on the dev who created those objects. Smarty Says: By paying attention to naming conventions used by developers you can better estimate where the things you want will be located. Don't get discouraged if you can't find something you want right away though, with practice you will learn and remember where things are. If you need help, try using Edit>Find Text to do a keyword search for items you need. Or just type your keywords in the filter bar to narrow your search. Now let's add some eating utensils! Find BasicFork01 and BasicKnife01 and add them to the table with our plate and tankard. Your utensils may be facing the wrong direction and need to be rotated, to do this click on the item you want to rotate, then hold your right mouse button and move your mouse to start rotating it. You may need to click and rotate a couple times to get it rotated all the way around. Once you have a place setting, we're going to save some time using duplication. Duplicating things is a useful modders shortcut. It saves you the trouble of hunting for things and drag/drop placing things repeatedly. To duplicate your place setting start by clicking on your plate. Then hold ctrl and click your cup fork and knife so that all the items are highlighted. Once highlighted, click ctrl+d to duplicate the items. Your cursor will have become a cross, indicating you can move the items you're hovered over. Left click and drag the duplicate set over to a new place at the table. Smarty Says: Sometimes when you duplicate and item your cursor doesn't turn into the move symbol. To move your duplicates, deselect by clicking a neutral item like the table, then click on your plate, hold ctrl and click on each of your items to reselect the duplicated place setting. Your cursor should change then. Not only can you duplicate and move a whole place setting, you can also rotate a whole place setting. To try this, with all the pieces still highlighted, hold your right mouse button and move your mouse to rotate it into the position you need for the other side of the table. Whatever the shape of your table you should now have 2 place settings. Save! And then let's add a bit of food to our table. Click on the + next to the Magic category to expand that category tree, then click the Potion category in the object window to load your potion, beverages, and food stuffs. In this section food items begin with "food". Find FoodBread01B in the list and drag it into the render window to a blank place on your table. Make sure you rotate your camera to check that your bread landed on the table and is not floating on your place settings. Anytime you add a havocked object like Food to another havoc object like a plate, you have to consider how these objects will relate once havoc is applied in the CK or in game. Usually, havocked objects will push against one another and you may find your food springing across the room as a result. To prevent this, double click on your food objects to open the ref edit dialog box. There you will find a flag called "Don't Havoc Settle". Check the box next to this flag and click Ok to set it. This will keep your food on the plates or table where it belongs. Let's leave the table for now, and go to the bookcase you placed in your interior. If you don't have a bookcase, go to WorldObjects>Static, look for UpperShelf01, and add it to your house now. When you have a bookcase ready, click on it, tap Y, and zoom in a bit to get it close enough to work on. In the object window, go to Items>Misc Item, find Drum, and drag/drop it on the middle shelf to place it in the bookcase. Then go to Items>Book and click book to load the books in the list. Find Book0RansomOfZarek and drag it into the window. Books are rarely at the right rotation, so double click on your book to open your reference box and change the X rotation to 90 so it's in the right position for your bookshelf, click OK, then place it on the shelf beside your drum. Save! Cluttering a house is a lot of repetition; you will want to explore the Items tree for cluttering materials. However, clutter items like books and dishes are havocked, so they behave a little differently from static items. You want to keep two things in mind Havocked items cannot be placed too close to one another or they will fly out of place when loaded by the player. Leave some space between books and place settings, or food in bowls.The more small items added in one cell, the higher the impact on a play's frame rates. A house packed with loads of clutter may look pretty to your eye, but is not practical for playing since such homes can render a player's fps to crippling levels. Be creative, but judicious. Smarty Says: The havoc sim button can be a useful tool in Skyrim modding when placing havocked items. Havoc sim in the CK behaves similarly to the in game havoc physics and can help you see how your havocked items behave in the game world; like turning on gravity. Part III: Customizing Containers It's time to talk about creating custom containers. While they are a very important part of cluttering any scene, containers are the source of two of the most common beginner modding blunders. 1. Container Mistake #1: Use of Respawning Containers for Player Storage The _NoRespawn at the end of a container's name indicates it's safe for player storage. You can easily avoid container mistake #1 by only using _NoRespawn containers when you make player homes, but many containers in Skyrim are safe and don't use this ID clue. Make sure that containers placed for player storage have their Respawn flag unchecked. Containers that are set to respawn will replenish their contents after 10 game days pass in general areas such as farms, or 30 for cleared dungeons and the like. These are great for placing in dungeons, or NPC homes, or stables. They are containers players can loot and after some time passes, the loot reappears. In a player home though, a respawning chest is an error. A player will store their gear in the containers in their homes, and a respawning chest will respawn and make the player's stored gear disappear! 2. Container Mistake #2: Altering Vanilla Containers Of course, modders like to create custom chests too, with specific goodies inside, like maybe a Daedric Sword. But it's not as easy as picking a container and adding a sword; you need to create a custom container before editing the contents. So let's create a custom chest. In the Object Window, go to World Object>Container, and locate PersonalChestSmall. Double click on it to open its base edit box to edit the base form of this container. Now this is where container mistake #2 can be avoided, before you change anything else in the base edit box, change the ID name to aaDRCustomChest01. Whenever you want to change an item by changing its inventory, its sound fx, or anything, you want to start by changing the ID name. This is true for changing any vanilla item, not just containers. When the ID name is changed, click Ok. A new smaller dialog box will open asking if you'd like to create a new form. Click Yes. This will create a duplicate of that chest physically, but with your custom name as its ID, it's changed into a new container. Let's look at our object window. Find the new container we just made in the list; should be at the top of the list if your ID starts with aa. Before we move on, I want to take a moment to really impress the importance of changing IDs on you. Right click on our new chest in the list and choose UseInfo. A use report window will open and you will see this chest hasn't been used anywhere yet. Click Ok to close the use report and go back to our vanilla PersonalChestSmall in the list. Right click on it and choose Use Info. You will see this vanilla chest is used once in WhiterunWorld but also once, twice, even three times in a lot of other places. In fact there are 153 instances of this chest scattered across Skyrim. If you change a vanilla chest, like adding a full suit of Ebony Armor, you won't just change the one in your house, you'll change all 153 instances too; imagine if they all had a suit of Ebony Armor inside! With custom containers, where you are adding a specific item for collection, change IDs, create New Form, THEN make your custom changes. Never ever change a generic vanilla container for your treasures. Now that we've covered the two common container mistakes, let's double click on our custom container in the object window to open its base edit box. The item list pane in the center shows what is inside the chest, which in this case are a few leveled items. Click on each, and tap your delete key to delete those. Then in the object window, go to Weapon and scroll down to DaedricSword. Drag it from the object window and drop it in the list pane for your chest. Make sure the respawn flag in unchecked and click Ok to save your changes. Then drag your custom chest into your house and place it near the wall. Part IV: NavMesh Pathing Pathing tells NPCs where it is safe to stand and walk in any given cell it helps them process and define the parameters of the world they live in. There are established paths in exteriors and interiors. Some modders think that it's okay to leave pathing out, but that's just lazy modding. A proper cell has pathing and so we're going to cover the basics of pathing with Skyrim's NavMesh so you can mod properly right from the start! Start by clicking the NavMesh button on the toolbar: The NavMesh toolbar will appear. For this basic course, we are only concerned with the first 3 tools from the left: Select Triangles: (T) Allows users to select triangles Select Vertex (Verticles): (V) Allows users to select vertexes Select Edges: (G) Allows users to select edges Let's start by toggling Select Vertexes on. Think of vertexes as the framework for a navmesh. Starting at the door right click on the floor in front of the door to place your first node; a green node will appear. Right-click to place another node on the opposite side of the doorframe; you should notice that this node is green but your first node has now become yellow. The green node indicates that it is the active node. Adjust your camera to the overhead view, and zoom in a bit so you can see the navmesh you are creating. We want to add a third node, center of the two, but further into the room. Navmeshes are made up of triangles so that's what we are making here. With your third node highlighted in green, hold ctrl and click the other two nodes to light them as well. When all three are green, tap A (or click the Create Triangle button on the Navmesh toolbar) to fill the triangle and create our first piece of navmesh. Smarty Says: Green nodes are active nodes you can move, yellow nodes are inactive and are not attached to the mesh attach or delete them, red nodes are part of the navmesh but are not active. The same applies to edges and triangles too; a yellow edge is not attached to your mesh and won't work. Right click on the floor to the right of our first triangle to place another node, and then click the two side nodes of the first triangle so you have three active nodes again. Tap A again to fill this second triangle. This is the start of our nav mesh, as we go we are going to form a blanket of triangles around our furniture statics. Move your camera and before placing your next node try to visualize the triangle patches. Be careful that your navmeshes don't cut through corners, furniture, or any obstacles. NPCs will consider any part of the mesh as safe to travel and stand on. You'll notice that there are two nodes highlighted as active after filling your second triangle. This function is to allow you to link triangles quickly in a technique Bethesda Devs coined "Walking the dog". With these two nodes active, you can use ctrl+right-click to drop another node and create a filled/connected triangle at the same time. This technique allows you to cover a lot of ground quickly. Place another node and link it up as before; keep working through the cell to plot out a blanket of pathing until your entire house is mapped out for NPCs to navigate. Even in a player home it's important to have pathing for companion animals, companion NPCs, and NPC messengers that might seek players out there. Save often as you go. Once you're done, go ahead and toggle the NavMesh button off, and Save! Smarty Says: There's a lot more to NavMeshing in Skyrim. For more information, continue reading the Lesson #2 Supplemental on NavMesh in post #2 of this thread Visit these wiki links for more on NavMeshes: http://www.creationkit.com/Navmesh_Cheat_Sheet http://www.creationkit.com/Navmesh http://www.creationkit.com/Bethesda_Tutorial_Navmesh Smarty Says: The Creation Kit is capable of auto generating nav meshes, but this technique is really best suited to a testing environment. Creating a NavMesh path by hand is the cleanest and ultimately the best way to path your cells even though it is generally more time consuming. This concludes Lesson #2! You should now know how to duplicate, rotate, and place clutter, create custom chests, and create a basic NavMesh in an interior. Well done! We'll discuss more about NavMeshes in lessons #3 and 4, where we will finally be exploring the exterior game world and will be creating an exterior to match our interior. Be sure to do your homework so you can earn the points for this lesson and prepare for the next. This assignment is worth 10pts and the Extra Credit Section is worth 5pts. You need 100pts to earn a medal for the CK Basics Class. So do your assignment and post a screenshot here when you are done. For this section's homework you are going to finish the interior work by adding more clutter to complete the level design of your tavern or house. You may add any statics you'd like to practice, but your house should have at least these items when your homework is done, not including what we've added in class. In Lesson #3, we'll be venturing into the exterior and exploring exterior mechanics, basic landscaping, cluttering exteriors, and linking doors. Keep studying hard, students, and practice, practice, practice! Ready to move on? Head to Lesson #3: Exterior Mechanics
  9. 8 points
    CK Basics Lesson #3: Exterior Mechanics Welcome Back, Student! Before you begin this lesson be sure you have completed the course Introduction as well as Lessons #1 and #2. In this lesson we will be stepping into the exterior world of Tamriel, but we'll be coming back to that interior, so make sure you have finished so you can keep up later. If you haven't done so yet, bring up the CK and load your mod, remember to set it as the active file so your changes this session will be applied and saved. Part I: Navigating Exteriors The first thing we want to do is take a look at the Cell View Window. The default worldspace displayed is Interiors. Click on the drop down menu and select the worldspace Tamriel to load Skyrim's exterior cells in the Cell View Window. Smarty Says: Tamriel is the only exterior worldspace you want to build in if you want your mod to appear in the exterior game world. Many of the other worlds, like SolitudeWorld, are child worldspaces. If you build outside the city walls in SolitudeWorld, your house will be in the void that is outside the city walls when you are inside the city as a player. SolitudeWorld is just for the city interior part of Solitude. That said, if you want to build something in the city, like a new shop for example, then you would build in the SolitudeWorld worldspace. If you want a house outside Solitude's walls, then you need to build in the Tamriel worldspace at the coordinates outside the city. Once Tamrie's cells have loaded we need to select a cell we can build in. Before you go rooting through the CK, have a look at a detailed map to find a location. A modder's resource grid map that displays the cell grid numbers would be best so you can look up your selected cell by its coordinates using the X.Y filter on the Cell View Window, but for now we'll be using a detailed locational map. [This section will be updated in the future with a grid map] For this tutorial we will be building in a cell located near Half-Moon Mill. In the first column in the Cell View Window you'll find all the cells listed alphabetically by their Editor ID names. Scroll down the list to HalfMoonMillExterior and double click to load it in the CK. Click on the Render Window and zoom out using your mouse wheel to get an overview over the Half Moon Mill Exterior. As you navigate the window, be very careful not to disturb anything. We want to maneuver in the render window into a neighboring cell that is open for development. Click B to bring up the yellow cell border grid that shows where cell boundaries are and navigate to wilderness cell -12, -14 Part II: Developing Exteriors Now that we found our cell we want to rename it. In Skyrim, there are thousands of wilderness cells and we don't want to hunt up the grid number every time we want to work on it. Scroll over to the Editor ID of our cell and click on it once in the cell view window. A flashing cursor will appear and you can type in a new name for our cell: aaDRTutorialExt01. This time our naming convention is the same as our interior, except we've made the end Ext meaning Exterior. Now if you click on the Editor ID heading, our cell will jump to the top, just scroll up to find it, and then double click on the cell name to load it in the render window. Smarty Says: If the cell you have chosen to alter is already named something other than Wilderness like the neighboring cell HalfMoonMillExterior, STOP, do not rename it. Renaming a named cell can cause conflicts if another mod references that cell by its original name. Just make note of that cell's name so you know not to clean it out later on accident, but leave it in tact. Welcome to our exterior cell! The cell grid borders will continue to help you stay within the boundaries of our selected cell. If you go outside the boundaries when modding you are affecting another cell. If you want to keep the changes you made outside your target cell, you will want to rename that cell as well. By naming the cells you change, you can make sure you don't accidentally delete any of your hard work later when cleaning the mod for release. Let's zoom in now and get to work! First thing we need to do is select an exterior static for our tavern/house, this will help us make judicious choices about how to adjust the default contents of the cell to accommodate it. In the Object Window, under Static, look up the Farmhouse statics 01-06, as well as FarmhouseSmith01 and FarmInn01. For this project any of these exteriors would do really, but the one we're interested in for our class work is FarmhouseSmith01. Drag and drop the farmhouse static into the render window, but be certain you are dropping it into our claimed cell and not one of the neighboring cells. Use the Z key to lower the farmhouse closer to the terrain and position it relative to the road; right about where that big tree trunk is laying facing the road. You don't want a structure to rest on top of the ground; you need to lower it so that all sides are sunk into the ground, about halfway up the foundation stones at least. A close inspection will show a number of trees, rocks, and landscape debris poking through our farmhouse and generally getting in the way. Do NOT delete these object refs. Deleting vanilla objects can cause possible mod conflicts later and even CTDs, always try to be mindful of the impact of other modders in the gameworld; you're not the only one making changes so make them as compatibly as possible. A good rule of thumb is move it if you can, disable it if you can't. So, instead of diving into mass deletions, use your camera and mouse to move things away from the farmhouse static. Be careful not to cross the cell borders. The game remembers these objects belonging to this cell, if you cross them out of the cell, you can get errors about objects being in the wrong cell for their stored location. Be sure to move things out from under the house static as well. When you're finished you should have a clear setting for your tavern/house. Smarty Says: Heya Students! Is your workspace darker than what you see in the pictures? Press A to toggle your work light on to shed some light on things! Still too dark? Try toggling on the Sky instead of the worklight to shed some good Skyrim sunlight on it. Then add a WalkwayStairs8 and Farmhousedoor01 to the front of the farmhouse so players can walk up to the walkway around the house. Add a second walkway to the side porch as well. When finished you should have something like this. Smarty Says: Did your house disappear?! v1.4.23 of the Creation Kit has a bug that makes some large statics fail to load. The easiest solution to bring it back in the CK is to tap F5 to refresh the render window. If the house is gone in game, make sure you are using a clean save and avoid fast travel, in many cases fast travel produces the same load fail in game. Entering an interior and returning to the exterior may reload the game version. These fixes are not permanent, the house will disappear anytime it fails to load just repeat the reload actions. Save! This Lesson is Continued Below
  10. 8 points
    Part III: Landscaping Skyrim We can get a good look at the house now that we have that clutter cleared out of the way and while it's off to a great start, there's still a bit of work to be done in the exterior. We have some grass cropping up through our stepways, the uneven ground around our foundation is sloped on one side, and the pathway up to our steps is overgrown. Landscaping can be very intimidating to new modders, just remember the most important part of the Newbie Mantra: modding Skyrim is fun, not scary. With a little practice you'll be landscaping like a pro in no time, so let's get started. Tap H or the landscape toggle on the toolbar to open the landscape editor. You'll notice your cursor has been replaced by a red circle, which is the visual guide for our edit radius. This illustration will outline the primary parts of the landscape editor so you can understand the basics of what this tool can do. To be a better landscaper it helps to understand how the landscape works. Just like the exterior is made up of a grid of cells, those cells are made up of nodes or vertices that are placed together like a huge patchwork quilt. By moving vertices higher and lower we can create hills and valleys. Great big hills can become mountains, and deep low valleys can become lakes. What we're going to do now for our tavern/house is on a much smaller scale, and much simpler. The first landscaping job we want to sort out is the grass under the steps. Grass is the modder's bane, it gets into everything, and while 3D grass renders in the CK, it doesn't adjust real time as we make changes. Think of the CK grass as a reflection of what's in game because it's going to be different as we go. Let's start with the grass around the main steps, zoom in for a closer look. With a good angle and the landscape editor open, HOLD ctrl and right click on the grassy area. This will make your active texture (displayed in the window) one of the primary grass textures in the area you clicked. There are five textures at play here so you might have gotten something different than the example, that's okay, the rest still applies. For the example, the CK brought up LFieldGrass02 as the selected texture. The point of this is to see what texture you are looking at. Once you know that, you will be able to replace it with a NoGrass version while maintaining the overall look of your landscape. Just below your grassy version you will see an identical NoGrass version; you may need to expand the Editor ID column to see the NoGrass suffix on the ID. Click on that version to make it the actively selected texture. This is what you are going to paint with now to eliminate grass. For such a small area make sure your Edit Radius, or brush size, to 1, and set your Max Opacity to 100. Full opacity is what prevents grass from other textures in the area from invading our NoGrass territory. Once you have your texture selected, and your brush and opacity set you're ready to paint. The best thing to do is make one click strokes with your right mouse button and paint your texture carefully over the areas under our steps that have grass. Oblivion modders had the luxury of being able to undo numerous bad strokes, the creation kit will only undo the last couple so don't get carried away and expect to undo it easily. Smarty Says: When you painted your texture what did you see? A grassy texture? Or just black paint?! A texture that paints black means you may have too many textures in that quadrant. In Skyrim, each exterior cell is made up of four quadrants and each quadrant can have no more than six unique texture types painted in it. If you try to add a seventh, the texture will simply paint as a matte black color; it will turn black in game as well. Not to fear, this isn't like the black texture bug of Oblivion infamy, this black paint can be undone, or painted over, just like every other landscape texture. If this happens you'll need to consolidate your textures. Part III.a: Consolidating Textures While positioned over the full texture quad with the landscape editor, tap i to open the Land info dialog box. This window will show you the four quads for that cell and the textures contained in each. To find the trouble making quad, look for the list with more than 6 textures. Right click on one of the lesser used grass textures and choose REPLACE. Swap this grass texture with one of the NoGrass textures you've been painting with to consolidate them into one. To be cautious, use replace to consolidate rather than delete which does more damage. Also, leave the top textures alone. Their use percentage tends to be high and the outcome of replacing or deleting the primary texture could be unpredictable. Once you have a NoGrass texture that's painting effectively, finish painting under both sets of steps to clear a walkway for players. Your changes won't reflect in the CK, but you'll be able to double check your work in game. Save! Our next task is to create a path from the road to our structure so players aren't wading through grass to get to the steps. On the toolbar find the Grass Toggle and toggle off the grass to make it easier to see where our path is. [Note: There is a bug in the toggles that may render some features on even when the toggles are off. If your grass toggle is off, click it on and back off to shut off your grass.] When the grass is off, select a new dirt texture from those already in the cell like LDirt02 and paint a narrow path from the steps to the road. This will clear the grass out for us in game and prep the path for cobbling. The next landscaping technique we're going to explore is raising and lowering the landscape mesh. Let's start by setting the Edit Radius to 2. A size 1 radius is excellent for painting textures with more precision, but for moving the terrain you can get better results with a slightly wider brush. Position that red circle over the footpath we drew near the base of our steps. Then left click+hold and ever so gently push your mouse down to create a subtle indention in your path. Then release your hold. You're going to repeat this process all the way down the path to the road to create the effect of wear. Repeat this landscaping in little sections, lower the terrain a bit, rotate your camera, and then lower a little more. Terrain can trick the eye, it can look absolutely beautiful from one angle, and then hideous from another, so by rotating your camera you can be certain it looks good from all sides. Save! Road stones in Oblivion were painted textures, but in Skyrim, road stones are made up of placed static cobblestones. The road stones are listed under Statics in the object window beginning with the prefix "Road". There are different types for different locations. If you're near a road like we are in this cell, try to use the same type of road chunks, in this case use RoadChunkM03, RoadChunkM04, and RoadChunkL03 to plot a broken path up to our tavern on the dirt path we just molded. Sink them in up to the top edge of the static, even if you need to adjust the landscape to suit the mesh; these look displaced if they sit too high on the terrain. Now that our footpath is complete and leads out to the road let's have a look at the foundation of our house. The one side of our cell slopes rather dramatically. While the landscape around your house doesn't need to be perfectly even, you don't want half the foundation exposed either. Next we're going to lift the terrain around our foundation wall, same technique as lowering our path only in reverse. Just use one click movements so you don't overdo it. When you're finished you should have something like this. Lastly we're going to smooth a few rough edges! Change your Edit Radius back to 1 and check the flag next to "Soften Verticles". Using one click at a time, click the terrain where our changes may have made any jagged edges or points. This will soften the rough edges slightly to blend the old terrain into our changes. Smarty Says: Doing one-click actions with the powerful flatten and soften tools can save you big headaches! If you make a mistake, simply hit ctrl+z to undo and try again! Save! Part IV: Map Markings The next thing we need to do in our exterior in this lesson is add a map marker. MapMarkers are the CK object that creates a point on the in game map for this location. It's also what makes those cool titles appear when you find a location the first time. Under WorldObjects>Statics find the Object called MapMarker and drag it into the Render window. This green tablet marker is where the player will land when they teleport into that area by fast traveling. Place the marker with our cell, but a bit toward the start of our path out by the road. Once placed, double click on it to open its reference box. Click on the tab called "Marker Data" this is where we will set the details for our marker. For this tutorial, name your house to match your interior name, select settlement under type, and check the visible flag so you can find it in game! Smarty Says: Everything you add to the render window becomes a reference, that's why when you double click on it, it has a reference box! Each reference box contains information (data) for ONLY that object, so it's okay to change reference data like, scale and ownership for example or in this case MapMarker Data, since it will only apply to this specific instance of that object. Part V: Linking Doors One more step left for our classwork this lesson. Time to get a door on this tavern and link it up with the interior we made earlier. Under WorldObjects>Door, find FarmHouseDoor01, drag/drop it in the render window and position it in front of the faux door on our house exterior. Make sure the door handle is facing outward for realism sake. Once it's in place, double click on the door to open its reference window. Select the Teleport Tab and there you'll find two drop down slots. Cell is where you choose the destination cell. In this case our house interior aaDRTutorialInt01. In the drop down box called Reference, you will select which door you want to link to from the available doors inside; another farmhouse door should be your only option at this point, so once your teleport tab looks like this click Ok. Smarty Says: Oh no! When you chose the Cell there were no doors to choose under Reference!! Did you forget to add a door to your interior cell? You'll have to go there now. In the cell view window, change your worldspace to Interiors, select our interior house and double click to load it. Add a FarmHouseDooor01 to your interior. Once in place, double click on the door to open the reference box and select the teleport link. The rest of the instructions are the same except you are going inside out, same results though, promise. When the Reference box closes you will see a translucent yellow block merged with the front of your door now. This is the actual door marker. With your mouse, click on the door and drag that block out of the door. You will see it has a yellow/orange beak on it. Imagine that block is a person, and the beak is that person's nose. Set the block in front of the door with the beak pointing AWAY from the door. That will be where the player appears when they come out from that door. Once in place, double click on the marker and a message will appear saying "View Door reference for this Door Marker?" Say Yes! This action will teleport you to the other door inside our house where the yellow block is still in the door. Pull it out and position it as well, with the beak pointing toward the interior and away from the door. Smarty Says: Keep your door marker close to their doors where a person would be standing when they enter. A door marker several feet from the door would be an unnatural landing point. Great job, you have now completed the longest lesson so far, Lesson #3! You now know how to claim and edit an exterior cell, do some landscaping, add doors, and mapmarkers! Well done, I'm very proud of you and you should be proud of yourself! For your homework this go around you will be sprucing up our exterior. Use some creativity and find some unique statics to get your assignments done. This Main Assignment is worth 10pts, Extra Credit is worth 5pts. Post a screenshot here when your assignment is complete. In Lesson #4 we will be refining the skills you have learned so far and explore the value of testing and tweaking. Also, now is a good time to start browsing the Credit Challenges, these are small modding tasks that are worth big points. Most of you will be required to do at least two to finish the class. Keep up the great work, students! When you've finished with this class visit Lesson #4: Design Refinement
  11. 8 points
    In addition to the standard rules there are a few additions specifically for the modules. Be sure you read them carefully. The modules on TESA are extra privileges we allow you to use freely, but disregarding rules will result in those privileges being revoked, permanently if need be. --------------------------------------------- Downloads No uploading anything that is considered "Adult Swim" material. Meaning no mods of a sexual nature. This site is rated PG-13 and that includes our mods section. If you are looking for a place to upload/download mods of that type, there are plenty of places to do so.No "Cool" or "Sucks" comments. Add something constructive, or at least a complete sentence or don't comment at all.All images posted with mods must adhere to our rules for images; meaning bikini coverage on bodies and no overtly sexual poses.While we sometimes make exceptions for special circumstances, we ask that you do not upload text files here with links to other sites in lieu of hosting actual mod files. It's a misuse of our hosting service and constitutes advertising.Mod Authors retain final say on their mod usage, refer to the rights and privileges section on the individual download pages for specific permission details.--------------------------------------------- Galleries Observe the standard rules of image content in your galleries.Non-related images may be hosted in your private albums, but public albums must remain content relevant to the site since they appear on the index.--------------------------------------------- Blogs Observe the standard rules of images and content in your blogs. --------------------------------------------- Status Update Hook Status Updates must be in EnglishYou may not use your status to bump your forum threadsYou may not use your status to overtly advertiseStatus Updates may not contain profane or vulgar commentary--------------------------------------------- A Note on Private Messaging Unlike many ES fansites, TESA offers the cutting edge PM convo feature which allows members to create a private forum thread in their PM box and chat privately with multiple parties. The PM system also permits members to upload and download file attachments within their conversations. However, users should be aware that abuse of the PM system is not tolerated here. Members are encouraged to report PM conversations that are abusive so the staff may intervene and take action where needed; every PM inbox has a report button for this purpose. The PM system also logs and filters messages for illegal content. Such PMs will be investigated and may result in all participants being permanently banned; in some cases IP providers and authorities will be contacted. Do not use the PM system here for piracy nor cyber terrorism.
  12. 7 points
    You would have to go in an right click each image to save as. Today I started downloading the whole of TESA to my rig, which thankfully had enough room to store the sites. It will probably run all night and into tomorrow before it's finished but I'll update here once I can verify everything is secured, its actually downloading TESA's gallery right now.
  13. 7 points
    Those that were here will remember that over the last summer (or winter for the north) that I was trying to spend more time around the forums, however in January I disappeared again. Considering whats happened and where I'm at now its a good time to post this to let you guys know. For the past 4 months I've been quite sick with what has be diagnosed as an unknown balance disorder. After having a mild cold in January a part of my right ear which control balance was damaged or effected in some way which let me unable to do much. Something as simple as walking can be difficult and gives me a crippling headache within minutes, so obviously I cannot drive nor go and do much. This also led to dropping my university courses as I couldn't attend, however since I am at the end part of my studies I had to finish a research project that I could do from home, so that has occupied the hours when I'm well enough to work. Using a desktop is impossible, since it requires sitting up, but lucky using my laptop in a high-back chair does not cause problems, so that's what my life is at the moment. The area effected is one with very little research, they don't even understand how it works yet. This means they don't know whats caused this, don't have a name for the condition and there is no simple treatment. If I was doing medicine I would be my own research project. Yesterday I started physiotherapy which I is supposed to re-train the part of my brain that controls balance to understand the change in signals from my ears. The physio is simply to make my head hurt so much that it stops hurting, which as you can imagine is not very fun. I've got a deadline of 1 month until I have to stand and give a seminar on my research project, so for the moment that is my aim. Thanks for reading.
  14. 7 points
    To be a service provider a site has to get the invite. We had an invite, we did not accept, and would not accept because paid mods violate the tenets of our site. As I said, we respect a modder's right to choose, but our choice for TESA is to remain free. That is our official stance. Again I would encourage cooler heads to prevail, the first step in maintaining our community as a whole is to stop the drama and the fear mongering. There are tons of non Sims 3 communities where free and paid modders exist in harmony. This decision by Valve/Zenimax is not the end of modding unless we roll over and let that happen. Do not sell. Do not buy. Do not drink the Koolaid.
  15. 7 points
    I just downloaded the unofficial skyrim patch, but where do I extract the file in order to get it to work?
  16. 7 points

    From the album Tamiras Skyrim Album

    Halloween pumpkins. One with glow, the other without glow.
  17. 6 points
    Hail Elders, VIPs, and Allies, Ten years ago I joined the Elder Scrolls community and in the interest of sharing the knowledge I'd gathered I started TES Alliance to be a safe place of creativity, study, and free collaboration. I have never made money here, and I didn't start this to make money, modding and teaching are my passions, I have lead and maintained this site all these years for the sheer love of the craft and our community. Those who have been here from the beginning know me well enough to know I don't often discuss my personal life at length on this forum, but today, the future of TES Alliance is tied to my own and it looks a bit grim at the moment. We received word a few days ago that the man who owns the house we've been renting for years has spontaneously decided to sell, it goes on the market tomorrow. With no notice, we have to scramble to pack up our life here and move. Problem is, my wife's job is the primary source of our rent and we recently started a bankruptcy program to rehabilitate her student loan debt. We did this before the news that we were losing our home so now, we're losing our home, and no one will rent to us. We don't qualify for any home loans or assistance programs because of the bankruptcy; the owner's timing is really the worst it could be. June 1st, we will be homeless, with our two little girls. We are currently running a GoFundMe to raise the money to discharge the bankruptcy and put a down payment on a new home so that the credit issues are no longer a hurdle. If you would like to help you can make a donation or share the link to tell our story, we'd really appreciate it. https://www.gofundme.com/1-new-home-for-2-little-girls I'm sharing the story here because I'm not sure how long we will be in transit or how long I can maintain TESA and her server while trying to keep a roof over our heads any way I can. I will give as much notice as possible before closing the site down if that happens. In the meantime, the TESA team is here to keep things running and as long as our members keep kicking into the servers the site may weather this just fine. I just don't want there to be any surprises. TES Alliance is still my passion, you all have been like family for years. I'm grateful for this time we've had together and if the Nine are willing we will carry on here for many years and many Scrolls to come. Cheers, and Happy Modding!
  18. 6 points
    Just an update here, we signed a lease this morning and we are no longer homeless, officially! We are still fundraising to cover moving costs and to replace the old appliances that are in the place now, they don't work, so if you can help out or just share my fundraiser with your family/friends offline that'd be awesome. I'm really grateful for everyone's support through this For now we're cleaning and painting and trying to make a home out of this diamond in the rough! Almost to the other side of this overhaul
  19. 6 points
    I don't know if everyone else knows but Colonel and Doc paid the bill this time around, and I've got to say I'm very appreciative. This site has been our home for a while now and I'll definitely be keeping a closer eye on things so another shutdown like that doesn't happen. I went ahead and made a donation too to stave off any future troubles. Thanks so much to Doc and Colonel for bringing us back online, cheers to y'all
  20. 6 points
    Sons of the Alliance! Of Nexus! My brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come when the courage of modders fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of Modding comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand! Modders of Elder Scrolls! [Just seemed like we needed a rallying LOTResq speech ] This day only changes modding and the spirit of it if we allow it to, and I for one will never go quietly into that dark night. The community lives in us, our fellowships, our collaborations. We are Modders, we can choose what happens next and I plan to keep making free content for a series I love. Don't despair my friends, don't fall down that spiral of fear, hate and doubt, (of the dark side these things are ) this is our community, we are the creators, as long as we carry on so does it all.
  21. 6 points
    The spirit of modding lives on as long as we mod in the spirit of modding, my mods will always be free and hosted free. Long live modding
  22. 6 points
    You're enjoying your romp through the game, admiring the scenery to a new mod you just installed. Everything seems to be going fairly well, you haven't run into any issues and nothing seems out of place. That is, until you round the corner and come upon the following scene: You think to yourself "this doesn't look right", and you'd be correct. You have a cottage square in the middle of your awesome new Unique Landscapes area. Come to think of it, you recognize this cottage, sort of, then it hits you. "That's Emma's Bravil Bridge Cottage! It never used to look quite this cluttered before!" Again, you'd be right. Emma's cottage sat on a nice pristine piece of land with nothing much around it. Until Bravil Barrowfields came along. Not to mention, a bit of further exploring nearby reveals some large rocks covering over Emma's dock. It looks like you need a patch. This is a rather common problem when using a lot of mods. Anyone who is an avid fan of the Unique Landscapes series of mods can attest to the vast number of patches that have already been generated. With this tutorial, I'll try and lay out the basics of what Vorians and I face each time one of these patches needs to be created. This patch for Emma's Bravil Bridge Cottage will be a decent example of one of the less complex patches. Planning The first thing that needs to be done is to get a feel for the scope of the project. The best way to do that, while you're already at the location needing a patch, is to take screenshots of the affected area. The one I presented above is from the back side of the cottage and illustrates most of the issues needing correction. For purposes of making this a bit clearer, I went ahead and shot the following: Using the in-game console "tcl" command, I was able to orient myself directly over the cottage. I've circled the more obvious places needing work. Several objects are clipping into the house, and if you were to walk around its perimeter, you'd see that several objects are mostly buried behind the cottage's walls as well. Since it helps to know exactly what you're trying to work around, I've also taken the following shot from within the TES Construction Set with only Emma's mod loaded: As you can probably guess, Bravil Barrowfields adds a huge amount of stuff in the immediate area. Note in Emma's CS shot that none of the walls, fencing, vineyard wiring, fort ruins, trees, rocks, and even the landscape itself are present. So with this in mind, you need to make sure you have the following tools: * TES Construction Set, version 1.2.404. Using the older CS may lead to problems. * A copy of TES4Edit, version 2.5.3 or later. * A copy of Wrye Bash. You can substitute TES Gecko here, provided you know what you're doing with it. If you are not reasonably familiar with these tools, then patching mods is not something you should be undertaking as it requires an intermediate to advanced knowledge of landscape modding and object manipulation, as well as mod de-isolation and the use of the ESM flag. Getting Started Open up your copy of Wrye Bash, and find the mods in question in your load list. For best results, be sure your list is sorted by load order, as this is critical to get things right. Highlight the two mods to be worked on, you can ctrl-click to select more than one at once. Then, as show, right-click and select ESMify Self. After clicking on it, when you unhighlight the mods, their names will be listed in blue. This tells you they're ready to be treated as masters in the CS. The Construction Set Open the CS, and locate the two mods. Checkmark the boxes to load them. You will not be able to tell it to treat either one as active, this is normal. Allow the CS to load. If you get any errors during the process, click the "Yes to all" button to continue. Errors when dealing with overlapping mod files is normal. Bring yourself to the affected area you intend to work on. In our case here, cell 13,-9 in the Tamriel worldspace. You should be presented with something resembling this: Make an over all mental note of things now that you can see them all laid out in the CS. Some aspects of the clash might be fitting if kept. Others might not. Also try to keep a general philosophy in mind: Touch as little as possible. The main goal is to be as non-disruptive to the scene as you can and not to spread changes to more than is absolutely necessary. Get comfortable. There's lots to be done here. The most obvious order of business will be to clear away objects that are too close to the cottage, such as some of the vine trellises, plants, clutter barrels, and other small items. You should periodically remember to save your work. The CS can be somewhat picky even with normal mods, but with patch mods it presents a special pickiness that causes more crashes than usual. Don't lose hours of work because you forgot until the end, because you may not get the chance. While working, take note of any doors, XMarkers, Map Markers, Oblivion gates, etc. These are generally persistent objects and cannot be moved once their locations are visited. They become permanently fixed in place in the saved game. So any patch work to be done absolutely should not move a persistent object. If you find that this is not feasible, it is best to seek help from someone more familiar with ways of getting around this. You should avoid at all costs the urge to use a script to reposition such objects in the patch file as ANY scripted changes ALSO become permanent in the saved game. You can safely move door markers (the semi-transparent yellow rectangular objects with the pink/purple arrow) if the need arises. NEVER DELETE A PERSISTENT OBJECT! This can cause untold disruption in the user's game! Oblivion does not handle deletion of persistent objects well under any circumstances, even with normal mods. The game can become unstable and crash when those objects are not present. There are methods for getting around problems like this, but they're best left for a more advanced tutorial since it involves a solid working knowledge of TES4Edit to make it happen. Returning to the job at hand, you will probably find it helpful to disable the display of tree leaves and to have landscape borders turned on. With the initial work done, my results are already a substantial improvement: I've removed many plants from the immediate surroundings, removed the fort ruin chunk that clashed with the cottage, removed trellises that collided into the walls, and removed some barrels and brick wall pieces. Two large rocks covering the dock have also been deleted. I moved the tree that was intersecting the well into a new position. I've been careful to avoid moving the cottage itself, and the little garden troughs that are up against it. I did not need to move the door markers either. Fortunately no persistent objects in this area need to be moved, so that's one less headache to deal with. There's one other aspect that needs to be considered though. Is the cottage sitting directly over anything? In this case, yes, the cottage is obscuring some additional plants and more brick wall pieces. These will also need to be deleted. in general, anything rendered invisible due to burial like this that is not critical to the scene should be removed to help game performance. These objects get rendered by the game engine whether you can see them or not. The next logical step is to check for objects that are critical to the scene which might have been buried by changes in land height. In the case of Emma's mod, the dock she added along the shore has been partially buried under a bit of raised land. Using the landscape tool on its smallest radius, that needs to be lowered carefully until the dock looks normal again. In the process, a rowboat next to it will emerge. If the landscape can't be shaped precisely enough to leave it in place, then it should be moved a little bit until it can be. Now comes the general landscape repairs. There may or may not be tearing along the cell borders to consider. In this case, none is visible on inspection. There may also be some adjustments to make in general land height within the work area. Since landscape is winner-take-all, all height, texturing, and vertex shading for this project was provided by Bravil Barrowfields. So some restoration of Emma's work is needed. Start by making sure that the land height in the work area is satisfactory. There should ideally be no jagged bumps or unusual sloping, or half buried objects. Fortunately, it appears as though land height adjustments have already been dealt with at the dock. Once you're satisfied with any height adjustments in the landscape, the next step is to correct any obvious texture flaws. In this case, two things should stand out: * Emma's mod left green grass all around the cottage. Some of which should be restored. * There was a cobblestone path leading in from the main road to the front door which needs to be restored. While restoring the land texturing, don't panic if you're painting grass and you end up with what looks like ugly mud. The CS has a bug when there are 9 textures in use in a cell. It displays the wrong one while you're working but it is applying the correct one to the file. Since painting grass in this case involves covering underneath a building, I've chosen to use a grass texture that does not cause the game to generate tall grass. After painting textures, fixing any out of place vertex shading should be done. Fortunately not much of that needs to be done in this example, other than to surround the house with it. With the landscaping done, here are the results so far: There is one final phase necessary before work in the CS is finished: Path grids. Like landscape, path grids are winner-take all. Since Bravil Barrowfields loaded as the second file, its path grid choices took precedence. So there's going to be some problems to correct. Fortunately, not as bad as it could be. There is only one not so obvious path node that must be dealt with and that's the one under the house. Unfortunately deleting it severs part of the grid, so I'll add some new nodes to reconnect it and to provide for better pathing around the cottage, so that any NPCs and creatures in the area can get around here. With the pathing fixes done, and everything looking satisfactory at this stage, it's time to exit the CS. Don't forget to save, would be a shame to lose all this nice work, right? Cleanup With TES4Edit The CS is a somewhat erratic beast. It can leave unwanted edits in even the simplest of mods in places you'd hardly expect. These edits that get left behind can lead to compatibility issues with other mods. This is especially bad if you performed one of the big no-nos at some point, such as hitting "compile all" believing it would only compile your scripts from your mod. The result is actually far worse, your mod saves untouched copies of every script in the game when this happens. Worse still, objects deleted by the CS that might end up being edited by another mod later in your load order causes the infamous "crash-on-exit" bug. Or it can leave Oblivion hung indefinitely when trying to quit. It is therefore important to understand that nearly all mods need some form of cleanup in order to correct this. This is by no means a problem exclusive to Oblivion. It existed in Morrowind as well, and a number of mod cleanup utilities were created for the purpose. TES4Edit and TES Gecko are the two primary tools that are capable of mod cleaning for Oblivion, with TES4Edit being vastly more reliable for this purpose. Sadly, this problem also extends into Fallout 3, where FO3Edit (same program as TES4Edit, different filename) is the only tool available for the job. Patch mods add to this frustration because the CS was never intended to work with ESPs editing each other's content. So the problem of unwanted (dirty) edits is even greater. Which is where the next step in creating this patch comes in: Fixing the CS bugs so your users don't complain that the patch you just built to solve one compatibility issue causes a dozen others in far flung areas of the game. There are two schools of thought on how to handle cleaning a patch file. Those who will go with what TES4Edit finds and removes as part of the automated process, and those who take the extra step of manually inspecting every change made to weed out addition unwanted edits - stuff the automated process won't remove. Also known as "wild" edits. For purposes of this guide, I'm going to go through the manual removal method. Which is also a good illustration of why cleaning in general is needed, as you'll be able to see what dirty edits look like before they're removed. So let's open up TES4Edit now. Find the patch file that was just saved, and double click on it. TES4Edit will automatically pick up the two parent mods as it loads. When it gets done loading, the fun begins. Expand the file tree in the left window pane, it should resemble this: Keep in mind, the actual working area of the patch that was just made: Cell 13,-9, and cell 13,-8. Something should be immediately obvious right off the bat. There are edits for cell 13,-12, 20,-17, and 20,-14 included. These particular cells have no data branches below them, and are highlighted in green, indicating they are identical to the data in the plugin's master files. If you click on each one, note what the display on the right side does. These identical cell records need to be removed. This is done by right-clicking on them from the left window pane, then telling TES4Edit to remove each one. In doing so, you should notice that "Sub-Block 2, -3" and "Sub-Block 2, -2" are now dangling with no data branches. Those need to be removed as well. The results should look like this: The next step is to expand the remaining branches. Once you do, you'll see this: The ones that just read as "Placed Object" with no further data listed are the various things that were deleted while in the CS. Then there are some additional green on yellow edits for rocks and a couple of plants. Finally, the orange on red (bad color scheme) edits for landscape and path grids. All of these are legit, so you should keep them. Remembering what was said earlier about deleted objects, these need to be fixed so they don't induce crashes and/or instability during play. The only way this is possible is through the use of the automated "Undelete and Disable" process. Visit the CS Wiki topic on mod cleaning, and skip down to Section 2. Follow the instructions for setting the filter. Once the filter is done, ONLY perform the step for undelete+disable. This should be step 13 in the instructions there. The "Remove 'Identical to Master' records" part has already been done manually above for this patch. It's a good idea to come back to the CS Wiki page on this subject later as the cleaning guide is very thorough and explains in detail why cleaning is necessary. Do not let anyone tell you it isn't, because that person doesn't know what they're talking about. Once you're done with the undelete process, go ahead and close TES4Edit, and let it save the results. Finishing Up Fire up Wrye Bash again, and select both of the original mods as before. This time instead of ESMify Self, select ESPify Self. Failing to do this last step will result in loading the game and finding your world in chaos with missing land squares and other assorted issues. Activate your new patch in your load order, rebuild your Bashed Patch if you use one, and re-run TES4LODGen to update the VWD data for the game. Enjoying the Fruits of Your Labor So now that you've gone to all this trouble, it's time to see the results. Load the game and travel to Emma's cottage. Take a walking tour of the area. Make sure nothing got missed. Soak in how much better it all looks now that it's not chaos incarnate. Final Thoughts Hopefully this guide has proven useful to those wanting to learn to build mod patches. This particular pair of mods is one of the simpler patches that has been done. It involved very little in the way of object deletion and only some very minor landscape and path grid work. Many patches are a good deal more complex than this and cover a lot more area. Some of the truly nasty ones involve patch work for combinations of mods, such as the one for Cloudtop Mountains, Ravenview Village, and the Mimics mod. Or such beasts as the patch for Let the People Drink, UL: Imperial Isle, New Roads & Bridges, and Open Cities. Yes, a 4-way patch, which one might imagine is quite a bit of work to manage. As with all things, practice makes perfect. The more patches you end up needing to build, the easier the process becomes, and the faster you can start churning them out. Done properly, compatibility patches enhance your game in their own special way. Astute observers might note the presence of an extra log in the overhead shots. That log is from TIE, and just happened to be right on the edge of the work space. Fortunately editing in the area did not result in the log being left in an awkward position, but it does illustrate just how crowded things are getting in Cyrodiil.
  23. 6 points
    Hey there! I'm new to the site/forums. New, as in, just finished my profile 5 minutes ago. I just wanted to introduce myself. I prefer to go by kiwi, since disclosing my real name is not in my best interests. (Yknow. Don't need to be stalked ) I'm pretty happy to be here. Despite the fact that both oblivion and skyrim have been out for years now, I'm just getting warmed up to the modding scene. I had some experience modding oblivion before moving onto skyrim just recently, and the kit seems to be fairly familiar, so it shouldn't be too bad. I don't think I'll be uploading any files, though. I'm too self conscious and fearful of negative feedback, not to mention at my level there will be hundreds of mods out there nearly identical to what I'm capable of producing. Scripting is way out of my range of abilities. I'm more of the, ohey look I added a summonable horse and a player home. If I may recommend a mod that I'm enjoying, however, it's a mod called Frostfall. Tons of immersion, hours upon hours of work, no bugs whatsoever due to thorough testing. It might as well be a new game, as the wonderful person who created it had a whole team. Anyways, I'm glad to be part of the community, and I look forward to seeing loads of amazing mods. My sincerest apologies if none of this makes any sense, it's too early to do the sense making thing.
  24. 6 points
    Hello everyone! I'm Cybernikes, a veteran modder whose been laying low for the last few years. I thought I'd get back in the game with Skyrim, and to that end I have followed the hallowed trail of knowledge here. You all seem to be a courteous and talented lot, so if it's cool I think I'll just hang around awhile, Cheers!
  25. 6 points
    Added new files; lilith's Buttons: 12 buttons, 4 varieties lilith's Doilies: 16 patterns lilith's Rugs: 7 patterns, 7 different colors, 1 set clean, 1 set dirty lilith's Baskets: Sewing basket, Veggie basket, Oranges basket
  26. 6 points
    Lesson #2 Supplemental: Honing NavMesh The Navmesh is easily one of the most intimidating new features beginners will face in Skyrim's Creation Kit. In lesson #2 we went over the bare mechanics of NavMeshing exploring how to mesh by hand and what the primary tools do. In this supplement we're going to build upon what the lesson covered and also explore some special techniques and new tools in the arsenal. These techniques are NOT required to complete Lesson #2, this is just to provide additional information about pathing with NavMesh. Part I: Path Checking The first thing we want to look at is checking our Navmesh for errors we might not have noticed just by looking at it. Picking up where our lessons left off we should have an interior cell, fully pathed with a solid NavMesh. Bring up the NavMesh toolbar and click Find Triangle. A new dialog box will open; press Check NavMesh to let the CK search for errors. This should go quickly in such a small cell. If the mesh is good, you will get a return of "No Warnings Found" If you do receive warnings, press Yes to delete the trouble makers and then go through by hand and patch the holes to fix your mesh. Run the check again and repeat until you are warning free. Part II: Auto-Generation The benefit of Auto Generating is much more obvious in large dungeon like cells with multiple rooms, halls, and levels, or vast exterior swaths of new terrain; hand meshing takes time. In these large areas, it's usually wisest to auto generate the Navmesh and then tweak it by hand. You can practice this technique using a duplicate of your farmhouse and deleting the existing mesh, or (if you have finished the classes) by clearing your farmhouse NavMesh out of your farmhouse and starting over with auto generation. With a cell clear of NavMesh pathing we begin by bringing up the NavMesh toolbar to enter NavMesh mode. When the toolbar is up make sure nothing is selected in your cell (click in the grey void to be sure) then click NavMesh>Generation>Recast Based Generation When the dialog box opens, make sure your settings match these: When the settings match click OK to cast the NavMesh. Zooming in you'll see errors right off, floating triangles, unlinked seams, bad paths on the steps, you'll need to go through now and fix these errors by hand. If you are comfortable with NavMeshing, doing it all by hand even in large areas may prove to be easier and cleaner than this shoot and tweak technique, but it's modder preference. Just remember you need a clean and functional NavMesh in the end. Part III: Special Pathing In Skyrim, just as in previous ES titles, there are ways to path for special cases, like over water, or priority pathing. Here we'll cover the basics of three most commonly used special paths. Cover: Cover is a bit of cell data not logged in previous games, but it's a big part of how NPCs interact with a cell; it determines where NPCs and players can take cover when fleeing or during ranged combat. In most small cells, like a farmhouse, cover is not really much of a priority, so even though we will practice this technique in a farmhouse, it's not really the right location for it. Start by bringing up the NavMesh Toolbar and click "Find Cover Edges" You'll notice the edges of your NavMesh change color in several places, maybe blue or white, even dark grey. To get a better view of how cover works in your cell, click NavMesh>Draw Cover on the main toolbar. This will highlight your cover edges into 3D form so you can see how your cell offers cover, but drawing the cover is not necessary for NPC use; it's enough to find the cover edges. The colors represent different cover heights. While developers have not expanded on this, white appears to mark walls offering little or no cover, in theory, the darker the color the better the coverage. Use this technique in cells where combat is anticipated, skip it otherwise. Water: Water paths are blue in the CK. When dealing with water you should path along the floor of the lake or riverbed not on the surface of the water. When your landscape is pathed, hold ctrl and left click on each to highlight the triangles that are under water. Then tap the O key to turn the triangles Blue and mark them for underwater. Only NPCs who can swim will cross water. Priority: Priority paths have a lower processing cost, meaning it takes less energy for NPCs to process these special paths and so they become the preferred paths. An NPC will choose a special priority path over regular red meshes. These are used for roads and special paths that require an NPC to follow a specific planned course. Hold ctrl and left click the triangles along your preferred path to highlight them, and then tap the P key to set them as preferred. They should turn Yellow. Part IV: Disabling The last thing we're going to discuss on Navmeshing is how to temporarily disable NavMesh pathing in areas that are hidden and revealed later. In Oblivion modding this involved disabling and enabling path nodes via script. In Skyrim, the NavMesh is not designed to function that way. For our practice we're going to pretend our top floor is hidden and will only be revealed in the course of some questing. On the main toolbar, click "Create a Collision Cube" and draw a cube in the render window. Use your mouse to drag the cube into position and the arrow gizmo to stretch it out until it covers the area we want to disable NavMesh in. Double click on this collision box and give it a ref ID like: aaDRHiddenRoomMaskRef Click OK to set this Ref ID. According to developers, these collision fields will cut the navmesh anywhere it intersects one and using the Ref ID of the collision box, you can disable it via script to enable the NavMesh it was previously cutting off.
  27. 5 points

    Version v1.0 Beta

    6,376 downloads

    About WAC on TES Alliance: Currently Waalx is off in the real world crossing the globe and experiencing the grand adventure that is life! He managed to stop in to grant permission for his project to be hosted away from his forum which is now closed to new registrations so that WAC, in it's current unfinished state, could still be enjoyed by players. Somewhere down the traveled road, he may pop in to update the mod with the work he has stored on his PC, but until that time if and when, we will be hosting the beta version here with all the same documentation provided by Waalx himself. Currently, WAC may NOT be used as resource material. Waalx has stated his desire that any derivative works must require/be dependant on WAC. Anyone wishing to use resource material from WAC without dependancy, must contact Waalx and ask permission; no contact made means no permission. This is his latest statement on Resource use as of 26 Aug 2012
  28. 5 points
    The Duel "This place... it feels... strange. It has a familiarity that I've never known. Not to this degree. Is this what people mean when they say they feel 'At home'? I've never known this feeling before. Well, perhaps when I'm killing. But this place... I feel it. Coursing through my very being. I used to go by the name 'Morihaus' jokingly. Child of Kyne. It was meaningless to most Imperials. They just called me a mad bull. Didn't recognize the nobleness of it. Neither did I. But here? Now? At The Throat of the World? I not only believe it to be true. I know it. I felt something tick inside my head the moment I made it up here. Like something in my head just... aligned itself properly. Like things are starting to make sense. My purpose in life. I am here to show you, show all of you that I am your rightful leader. Don't you see? Look at your history. The wars, the strife, the beautiful violence. The strong rule. That's all this all is. The Arena. A fight to be at the top of the world. So isn't it appropriate that we'd do battle here? For the honor of leading our people against elvenkind as we've always done? For the honor of killing the enemy in the name of mighty Shor? I've never been a god fearing man, but now I see... this is the ultimate prize. This is why I've been so obsessed with your blood. Your father, Baldur. He was the only man alive that's ever bested me. And then you killed him... or so I thought. But after this, after I've beaten you, he'll have to come to me. And then I, Brund, will finally prove that I am the best! No one is greater than I! I am the champion of man! And unfortunately for you, Baldur... there can be only one champion. So... my rival. My shield brother. Are you ready to die?" As the greybeards took their place around the peak of the mountain, crouching on their knees in a large open circle, Baldur took his place before Brund, listening to his every word. Baldur could see Veleda beside Arngeir as well. Figures, he thought. If he died, even if her life was in danger, at least she could take pleasure in seeing his own life end first. Baldur looked to the skies where Paarthurnax flew on high. It was strange, Brund didn't seem the least bit curious about it, didn't think to ask what a dragon was doing here or why the Greybeards didn't react to it. Masser and Secunda along with all the stars of Aetherius were also present, watching the spectacle below them with all the interest and wonder that the mortals often gave them when gawking from below. Baldur finally rested his eyes on his target. The man who killed his son. Daric never did anything but try his hardest to be something he was not. And in the end, he'd accomplished that goal through death. Such was the way of Nords. He supposed that if it were someone else's son, he would think, "The boy is old enough to follow his own path. He knew what he was doing." But it wasn't someone else's son, it was his. A boy he'd trained, and taken care of, worried over and loved. A boy that looked up to him, mimicked him and listened to his every word. Well, perhaps not his every word. Especially not recently. And now, after pushing him away, after taking him for granted, Brund Hammer-Fang forever robbed him of ever seeing him again. "I want to know why," said Baldur as he raised his axes. "Why are you doing all of this? What the ****, have I done to you besides treat you as my equal? Tell me?!" "What have you done? Did you not hear me, Baldur? You thought you were better than me! You and your father both! And for that, you will die! You, and your entire bloodline!" proclaimed Brund. "I swear it! Even if I die today I'll find a way to destroy you!" Brund let out a roar so great that the snowfall ceased, blown away from the peak of the mountain as if fleeing Brund's power. The ground around them began to shake and rumble, as if it too was seeking to flee. Amongst all of this, Baldur stood firm. His eyes were locked on Brund and they never left, even as the ground threatened to topple him. Brund continued to roar, displaying his might to the entire world. And with how great the volume of his voice was, Baldur didn't doubt that the entire world could hear him. "Come on, my king!" cried Brund as he tossed aside his troll helm, replacing it with the fabled Jagged Crown. "Show me what you can do!" Baldur thought of the blood on Brund's hammer, and his threat to wipe out his entire family as well. He thought of the first time he and Rebec found one another, the way they'd fucked as though they'd done so in countless lifetimes before. The blood they'd spilled together both on the battlefield and in childbirth. And the tears they spilled in shared fears and heartache. And Ragna. His daughter who by now he should've been on the way to see if not for the monster that stood in his way. All of this, the passion, the fear and pain mixed within him, fueling his rage. He knew that Brund was forcing him into a situation where for once, he did not have the upper hand. And he didn't care. No one, not an elf, not an Imperial, not even his father had caused him this much sorrow and grief. And only now did he finally truly understand how Rebec must've felt the day she'd lost Jala. The tears swelled in his eyes, bursting forth once more like water from newly melted icecaps. Slow at first before gaining more and more strength, just as Brund seemed to be as time went on and his yelling continued. He seemed completely unperturbed by Baldur's pain and what he'd done. Didn't seem to understand the gravity of it. How could he? "I'm going to do my best to make you suffer. I'll tear you apart by the fabric of your very being, down to the smallest level. And even then you'd not feel the way I feel. And for that, I curse you! Even in death, I curse you to suffer until it equates to what I feel now! Brund Hammer-Fang, I hate you!!" With that declaration, Baldur gave his own battlecry. At first, Brund had heard nothing at all, but a slight ringing noise. Then the ringing grew louder, and louder, until he realized that what he was hearing was so intense that his ears could not register it... Moments later after his ears adjusted, and he could finally pick up the sharp screeching, Brund panicked, grabbing his head as blood leaked from his earlobe. His vision was blurred and his balance once again thrown off. By the time Baldur was done, Brund was seeing double. So when Baldur cried, "Yol, TOOR!" sending a fireball where he stood, Brund could do nothing but wait until it was close before sending a mound of snow and earth hurtling towards it to protect himself. As the two thu'ums collided, clouds gathered in the sky, blocking the view of the stars and the moons. As if Kyne herself did not wish for the spectacle of her children's death to be seen by those faithless cowards that fled, or her dead husband who made their deaths a part of his purpose. The Greybeards sat still as stone through it all, chanting to their gods for a worthy outcome. The duel for the seat, had finally begun. *** With every shout Brund sent against him, Baldur could feel the intensity of his hatred, like a dense fog thickening more and more, threatening to swallow him up forever. His own hatred acted like a beacon, keeping him above it all as fire and stone clashed. The explosions sent bits of rock flying everywhere, occasionally peppering his cheek. "Fus, Gol... STRUNMAH!" This time Brund did not send earth directly at Baldur. Instead, Alfr Vega raised high above his head before it came crashing down, smashing the earth and sending a wave of snow and rock in Baldur's direction. It was too quick for Baldur to avoid by running. Instead, he used his thu'um to propel himself and jump over it. This was a mistake. Brund remembered from the battle of Windhelm that Baldur was fond of this. The minute Baldur launched himself in the air, Brund leaped for him, seeking to cleave him in two as Baldur fell. Their weapons met, as all he could do was try and block his attack. He was lucky not to be disarmed as Brund swatted him away like a fly, cutting him at his hip. The wound was shallow, but Brund was the first to draw blood. Baldur recovered quickly after his body was done ragdolling through the snow. Quickly enough to dodge Brund's follow up with a downward strike from his ancient Nord pendulum. It followed Baldur as he continued rolling away, screeching against the ice and rock. He stopped, brought his axe down on the weapon and attempted to yank it from Brund's grasp. Brund slapped his axe out of the way, but Baldur brought the other down as well, catching the wooden poll in his axe's undergroove. Up on his feet now, Baldur used the opportunity to try and take Brund's head off. Brund had to let go of Alfr Vega to avoid it, though Baldur managed to cut his cheek and nose. With his freed hands, Brund punched Baldur in the gut so hard his feet left the ground, leaving him winded and gasping for air. With a mighty roar, Brund grabbed his hammer from its sling and once again swung downwards, once again forcing Baldur to parry. He had Baldur pinned now, and was leaning close enough that he could smell his breath. "This is familiar isn't it? Remember. Solitude? Our wager? Daric was fighting my student. Funny, that. You look just like him now. Pathetic. Weak. Hehehehehahahaha!" "I remember winning that wager." "Well allow me to correct history!" said Brund. Baldur got a real close look at the blood on his hammer as its spikes inched nearer and nearer to his eyes. Before that could happen, Baldur let loose Yol Toor Shul, forcing Brund away. He followed up with a fireball that sent Brund flying on his back, but before Baldur could capitalize, Brund shouted boulder after boulder at him as he pounded the ground with his feet. Baldur dodged what he could, but had to use his thu'um to destroy what got too close. All the while trying to keep his balance. Something else was distracting him as well. Brund's chest began emitting a low green light... Suddenly, Brund let out another roar and before Baldur knew it, he disappeared entirely... Before he could realize what happened, an explosion of earth beneath his feet shot him six eight feet off the ground before Brund smothered him with as much earth as his thu'um could muster. The ground was hard, and cold. He was working extra hard to perform, but even so it was proving overwhelming for Baldur. As he stood atop of him, Brund said, "This looks like a good place to bury you, eh Red-Snow!?" For a minute, Brund almost thought he'd killed him right then and there. But then steam began to rise from beneath his feet, and the snow began to glow... He jumped away just in time as flame burst forth in a hellish display. Baldur's arm shot out afterwards, and then another. Before he even climbed out fully, Baldur shot his thu'um in Brund's direction once again. And again. And again. He didn't stop until he could feel burning in his throat. Brund timed the moments between his shouts to send his own thu'um at him, but before it hit him, Baldur's Yol Toor Shul sent a boulder flying straight into Brund's chest. He could do nothing but try to stop it with his bare hands. And he did. In fact, he caught the thing! Or rather, it caught him, hurtling away until Brund went flying into Paarthurnax's word wall. Baldur paced slowly, taking the time to breathe, recover his stamina. Meanwhile Brund was climbing out of a pile of rubble. The word wall stood right where it was however. "Yol Toor Shul!" cried Baldur, just as Brund once again disappeared underground. The Thu'um missed him entirely, leaving behind its three words bright against the stone slab just as it had once for the Dragonborn of legend. Baldur hopped around on his feet, feeling Brund burrow beneath him, albeit rather slowly. Even so, he could never be too sure of where exactly he was. "I have to wonder if you were smart enough to pick High Hrothgar knowing my thu'um would be difficult to use here in this hard terrain. No matter, you're still gonna die!" said Brund, his voice loud enough to echo through the ground. Eventually Baldur found himself falling below ground level, revealing the tunneling Brund had just done. Baldur and Brund clashed once again, their struggle unseen by those above ground. Before too long, fire began bursting through the cracks before both he and Baldur were launched up to the surface from the fiery explosion. They both landed heavily on their backs, not moving. Exhausted. "For ****'s sake. Just die already!" said Brund as he slowly stood. "You first," said Baldur. "I'm already dead!" said Brund with a big open mouthed smile, as he struggled to catch his breath. "It's your turn now!" Brund stretched open his arms and began chanting in the dragon language. Earth and snow gathered above his head, growing in size before Baldur at an alarming rate. While this went on, Brund's chest began to glow even brighter. Baldur was dumbfounded. How on Nirn did Brund gain such strength? Was this the gods punishing him? "Haha! Now you see don't you? I am a god!" Baldur attempted to thu'um him down, but Brund used the earth to protect him, raising up a barrier around him while whatever he was preparing grew more and more. "Now's the time to try it Baldur... either this works, or he's gonna crush me to bits...." Taking several deep breaths, Baldur waved his arms once more in the Greybeard way before finding himself on his knees in meditation. He silenced his mind as best he could, ignoring the rock and rubble flying past him to Brund's great rock. Ignoring the rumbling of the ground beneath them. Ignoring all but the void of his inner thoughts. "Tiiiiiiinvaak. Onikaaaaaan.... UTH!" The earth continued to shake and rattle, giving into the artificial gravity Brund seemed to be creating above his head. Even Baldur was feeling its pull, his hair whipping in the wind, blinding his sight and extinguishing the flame. Even as the ground began to give away beneath him, pulled towards the sky, Baldur stood firm. Eyes closed in concentration. "FUNT. SAHLO. Failure. Weak." Brand heard Baldur's words echoing in his head.... Brund, who was laughing hysterically from the rush of his own power began to sweat and groan in agony as he felt Baldur's thu'um once again. His neck veins were fit to burst from all the strain, his teeth rattled and gritted as they clenched. You are too weak, you know I'm right. Even as you are now, you will fail. Just as you always have. Let go of your burden. It is too heavy for you. The laws of Nirn demand it be released. Let it fall. Be free of this great effort and give in to your true nature. That of the failure. All of this conflict is the direct result of someone trying to deny what they are. Don't resist my logic. It is ironclad. "**** YOU, RED-SNOW! I WILL WIN! I-" Brund fell to a knee as he held his hands to the sky. Even the ground beneath him was buckling from the weight. What was effortless before now demanded a level of concentration he could not accomplish, certainly not with Baldur bombarding his defenses with fireballs, which were now beginning to give in as well. "****...****....**** **** **** **** ****! ******* minstrel!!" Brund was resisting far longer than Baldur had expected. Perhaps it was because he'd been exposed to it before. Anticipated it. In any case, Baldur continued taunting him, feeding off of Brund's insecurities and doubt. If his grudge was so powerful against he and his father, seemingly for thinking they were better, then Brund's insecurities must've been just as great, despite the confidence. And Baldur knew that, because the same was true for himself. And even so, Brund still held firm. The two cried out under the strain of mental effort, their voices mixing and clashing in the air, amplifying one another until the air was heavy from it. Snow and rock shook free on the lower levels of High Hrothgar, the trolls and wolves running desperately to find shelter. "Hahahahaha! I told you, I would not fail!" said Brund. Triumphant in his victory over whatever Baldur was attempting to do to his head. The great rock above him began to lower as Brund got ready for his final assault. Baldur fell to his knees, unsure of what to do next. The perspiration on his brow was thick, his body exhausted and his throat so sore it was getting difficult to breathe. There was nothing left to do... "No. By the gods it can't end like this... I don't accept it!" said Baldur. "Accept it or not, you're still gonna die you piece of sh-" Before Brund could finish, both he and Baldur heard a great crack, followed by bits of rock and snow falling on Brund's head. Brund looked up with a look on his face that Baldur had never seen on him before... fear. At that very moment, the great buildup of earth the size of several taverns that Brund created gave away, falling right on top of him before he could take even a single step out of its way. The mass behind it was abnormal, even for that much earth, knocking Baldur to the ground as soon as it made contact. No one could survive that, surely, he thought. Not even a mountain of a man like Brund... "Who am I kidding," said Baldur, half covered in snow from the impact. He wouldn't be satisfied until he saw Brund's body dead before him. He stood to his feet, leg muscles tensing from the effort. His body was weary, but not broken. His spirit, still strong. Defiant. Brund would attempt to change that. Brund could not be seen, but he could be heard. His same draconic chanting echoed all around him, and the earth vibrated, danced as though it were music. It was as though it were alive. Before he knew it, the loose snow and rock took the shape of two creatures Baldur could only assume were atronachs of Brund's own creation, spinning around glowing green cores that had their own gravitational pulls, the same as what Brund had tried to create earlier. Against these, Baldur had no defense. His thu'um failed him, and he could not dodge their blows for much longer. One grabbed his arm, as did the other, and attempted to pull the High-King apart, literally limb from limb. Baldur could do nothing but resist, and to try his thu'um once more... But would Brund hear it? So far underground? It wasn't worth risking the loss of energy. Instead Baldur mustered what energy he had left, shouting Yol, Toor at the creature on his left. The fireball hit the spinning rocks, but the core remained in tact. But it was enough to free an arm. Before he could shout again, the other formed what looked like a fist made of stone and sent the Nord flying into the dirt, where Brund burst from, grabbing his leg. Brund came up yelling like a wounded animal, covered in scratches, bruises and blood. His armor had ceased to cover his left arm and the top of his chest. Enough that Baldur could see the steel fused into his chest where the green light had been shining from, albeit far dimmer than before. Brund swung Baldur around like a ragdoll before attempting to slam him face first. "Yol Toor Shul!" cried Baldur, keeping himself from having his skull smashed. At the same time he kicked himself free from Brund's grasp, punching him twice, so hard that teeth and blood flew from his mouth. Brund caught the next punch, and attempted to deliver his own, but Baldur caught it as well. Their hands locked as the two attempted to overpower one another fruitlessly, their voices once again shaking the air around them. Brund ended the contest with a swift knee to Baldur's gut before running towards his back. He had Baldur lifted from his feet as his arm locked around his neck, slowly chocking the life from him. "I wish your wife were here to see this... to see you for the bitch you are. Go to sleep, little bitch. Go to sleep..." said Brund. Baldur did not sleep. Instead he pulled at Brund's arm until he could speak, and used the brief opportunity to shout. The power of his thu'um propelled both he and Brund back, sending Brund crashing backwards into the ground. As Brund was recovering, Baldur attempted to crawl away and reach his axe.. Just as his fingers wrapped around the fine Skyforge Steel hilt, Baldur felt Brund's hands on him, pulling him away. Baldur turned to his back and kicked him in his groin, then chin as he rolled away. "YOL, TOOR SHUL!" "FUS, GOL, STRUNMAH!" Snow and rock collided with a stream of flame, propelling fragments at dangerous velocity from the fantastic collision that brightened the night sky. The intensity of the heat mingled with the cold air, darkening the clouds above until thunder from their shouts was not the only present. Neither could maintain this level of power for long, and the shouting soon ceased. But when it had, Brund was no longer there. "Surprise, you *****," said Brund as he burst through the ground once again, lifting Baldur in the air by his neck. Brund wasn't smiling however, as he eyed his surroundings. Nothing but rock and snow, and Greybeards. And Veleda... but that was too risky. "It's too bad I have to end this now, but I burned far more energy than I expected thanks to you. Even if I win this duel, I might die before I even reach the bottom of this mountain. You bring this on yourself, though I take great pleasure, in doing it. Goodbye, Baldur." “Fus Gol Strunmah, Dinok Wuth Zah, Zaami! Fus Gol Strunmah, Dinok Wuth Zah, Zaami!” Baldur let out a cry that couldn't have been matched by any man no matter what the torture as he felt his life force literally being eroded away from his body. It was as though every cell were slowly being stabbed... his hair began to turn dull, his skin, greyed. His beard had even grown as though the years had suddenly finally caught up to him. His wails had the same effect as they'd had before, worse even, but Brund was too close to victory. No way would he stop now. Never. It was almost sad, he thought. Seeing his rival so strong, so proud now whither away into nothing. But everybody dies. He watched as the process continued its wretched work, feeling his power slowly return to him, his wounds tingling, burning as they began to heal. Baldur was still struggling. How cute, he thought. He even attempted to mouth the words. "Go on, say it Baldur. Try!" "Yol. Toor. Shul," said Baldur, who now appeared to be approaching his early fifties and was still climbing. His thu'um was pathetic! Laughable! Little flames danced from his mouth like leaves blown away by a mighty wind. Brund laughed in his face at the pathetic display as his hands dropped to his side and he gave in to Brund's might. "This is how you avenge your son? Your elf? Do you know how slow his death was? The way he cried for you as I was ripping out his lungs? You know what I'll do to Rebec in your absence? And this is all the fight you can muster? Look at you! Dying like a little bitch! Like- AHHHH!" Those would be Brund's last words, ever. Those pathetic little flames Brund laughed at were the same flames Baldur used to summon to perform his candle trick. They were all he could summon in his weakened state. But instead of candles, they found the tips of his fingers, and the tips of his fingers found Brund's throat. They squeezed, and squeezed, burning through his flesh until Baldur's hand had a hold of his throat so strong Brund could not remove it. Brund let go of Baldur and Baldur slammed his head into the ground as he continued to squeeze. Brund had suddenly found himself without his thu'um. Permanently. However, his ridiculous strength still remained, and he demonstrated this by punching Baldur again in the gut so hard he coughed blood while Brund scurried away. The sound of his gurgling attempts to speak was enough to turn Baldur's stomach. But not enough to prevent him from finishing what he'd set out to do. He had no idea what Brund had done to him, but he could still lift his axe. And Brund could still brandish his hammer. They ran towards one another, Brund with revitalized vigor, but without his thu'um. Baldur without vigor, but the will to live. He put his training to work, letting his instincts and muscle memory move his body instead of his present mind. His years of fighting read Brund's body language, letting him know how to avoid his swings. He calmed his mind, ignoring the hatred that Brund so easily summoned in him. Just like on the battlefield with countless enemies before, this was when Baldur was most dangerous. Brund grew more and more frustrated as the old man before him continued avoiding his swings, taking light strikes at his legs and arms where he could. But Baldur was losing ground, being pushed towards the peak of the mountain, being forced upwards where he'd have nowhere left to go, but into his hammer. The two fought and climbed. Brund's hammer nearly caught him square in the face, sending pebbles nearly into his eyes as Baldur moved his head out the way and as rock was pulverized by Brund's hammer. The spikes scraped off his plated shoulders as he continued his ascent from his enemy. He was slower, but used Yol to position Brund where he needed to, swinging his axe exactly where Brund moved to avoid the flame, and the skyforge steel caught him first in his head, knocking the Jagged Crown from his ugly mug, then right in the chest, creating a wound diagonally across and exposing the source of the light at the top... Baldur's eyes widened at what he'd seen. "Is that... what have you done to yourself?!" Brund answered him with more gurgled words and swings from his hammer. As the two approached a ledge near the very height of the mountain, Brund began smashing his hammer again and again into the ground. His strength was not nearly as great as it was before, but the damage from the earlier battle had done its work. Both their battle and the Dragonborn's with Alduin had weakened the foundations of the earth they stood on. And by the time Brund was done, the rocky ledge they stood on finally gave away. And as it fell, so did they, crashing onto the edge of the peak beneath them, and the weight of the rock also causing the stone below to give away as well. The end result, Baldur and Brund were falling off the side of High Hrothgar, with nothing but the bit of mountain under them keeping them from being splattered against the mountainside. Brund may not have been able to speak, but seeing the fear in Baldur's eyes was enough to make him laugh, even despite the great pain. Even as they fell, bouncing and sliding off the surface of the mountain, Brund still tried to kill his rival. Baldur was clinging to the rock and to what remained of his life when Brund's Hammer-Fang went straight into his arm, leaving it hanging useless at his side. Brund wrenched it free and was about to bring it down again for another swing when Baldur jumped up and cried, "Yol Toor Shul!" This time Brund had nowhere to go, his whole body covered from head to toe, burning him as bright as the effigy of King Olaf in Solitude in the night air. Brund lost his footing then as their bit of rock ramped off of another beneath them, sending them up in the air in a free fall as the rock's greater weight slowly pulled it away from their grasp. This was just like in Hammerfell when the harpies had nabbed he and Menel, Baldur realized. That memory pained him almost as much as knowing that he was most surely going to die. But if he was going to die, he was going to kill Brund first. He had one more shout in him, and he used that last shout to propel himself straight into Brund who was getting further and further away from him. He speared himself straight at his middle, and even now as they were falling to their deaths, an avalanche beneath them, waiting to put them in their icy tomb, Brund still would not give in. Baldur had a hard time of it with only one good arm, but he clawed and bit, even taking off one of Brund's fingers until the defiant minstrel found his target. His hand shot deep into Brund's cavity, forcing his hand between the gap above the infused steel plate and the rest of his flesh. Brund grabbed Baldur's shoulders, refusing to let go, even as Baldur once again bit him, ripping flesh from his neck. If he could still speak, he'd probably say, "Stop biting me you fu***** cu**!" But he could not, nor could he adequately grip Baldur with missing fingers as his boot pushed against his chest. "I'll see you in Sovngarde, you son of a whore. And I'll beat you there too, for all of eternity." "Noooo!" cried Brund as best he could, but there was nothing he could do. Baldur wrenched his heart free from his chest, and the release of energy and the explosion that followed did the rest. A heartless Brund was shot away like a rock in a sling, falling into the side of the Throat of the World, with Baldur not too far behind him. As Baldur neared the same fate, the ground growing closer, his vision began to fail him, and the dark of night soon grew until there was nothing to be seen at all. Not even the powerful glow of the briarheart in his hand as its spiky outer casing pierced his hand. Tears trailed behind him as he thought of the wife and child he was leaving behind. "You know... I never wanted to go away But what am I supposed to say? Rebec... I beg you. Please, forgive me. I love you so much, and I always will.... Forgive me..." The last thing he saw before his vision disappeared completely, was a giant hawk rushing past him like that of his dream. The power of its flapping wings, and the dive towards the ground nearly sent him spinning downwards. And from below, the great and terrible open mouth of a snake, swallowing him whole. "Pruzah, Ashen One... Well done."
  29. 5 points
    The Moot Of all the Jarls that found their way up to High Hrothgar, none of them stood out more than young Elisif, not even Fenrald, one of the newest of the lot. Aside from her husband to be and Baldur of course, both who were still absent. Her ascent was easy enough, though not as quick as the others and taking her nearly three days. Climbing the 7000 steps wasn't so bad when all the capable warriors before her already cleared the way. She even overheard Vignar bragging about his frost troll kill. His booming raspy voice guided her to the table of the Greybeards where she'd sat only a few years before, with the fabled and terrible Dragonborn of the Stormcloaks. The Greybeards stood like silent sentinels, never speaking but always listening. Even so, remembering the young woman from her last visit greeted her with only a simple gesture, a wave of their arms, opening then closing as their hands were brought back together. "Such gentlemen you are," she commented, even managing to work up a smile. That was even harder than her first climb. After the night she had... Brund was gracious enough to allow her to come alone, claiming he was exhausted and needed his rest. She was not only exhausted but forever scarred. After his appetites were sated, she didn't even recognize her own reflection in her mirror. It was as if a whole winter had come and gone, leaving evidence of its passing on her skin. She knew a night alone with Brund would be trying, but never as trying as that. His smell, the smell of sweat and death. And the air about him... cold... wrong... She tried her best to ignore the memories... Before she stepped into the room where the fate of Skyrim, of Tamriel would once again be decided, there was a lot of chatter, even laughter. But the room grew eerily quiet as she stepped inside with the two Solitude guardsmen accompanying her. Even with two guardsmen, armed to the teeth with sword and shield, bow and arrow, dagger and axe, and her, with her own axe of Solitude, a wolven design with rubies for the eyes, and her thick red dress, golden trimmings and reddish brown wolf fur and ruby studded circlet... All of it seemed to disappear before the gaze of the other Jarls of Skyrim, who clearly detested her presence nearly as much as they did the foreigners that also were counted as guests. She studied the layout. The Jarl of Falkreath sat opposite of... she wasn't actually sure who this man was. He was no Jarl certainly though he seemed vaguely familiar. Looking further she noticed that she did not see Skald the Elder. A stand in perhaps. The Jarl of Morthal sat beside Fenrald, then there was an empty seat, two of them. Those must've been for her and Brund, the "Demon Chieftain of the Reach" as he was so aptly being called. On the far side where she walked past was a seat reserved for Baldur she imagined, as Arngeir himself was standing behind that seat. He greeted her with a smile and a gesture to be seated. He was the only kind face in the whole room thus far. Maven Black-Briar... no, she's far too young to be Maven. She had a daughter, Elisif was sure of this.... Ingun. Elisif heard briefly that the Rift had found a new Jarl in her. She sat next to the seat closest to Baldur's spot. Then there was Vignar, and finally Korir. Behind them all in the back of the room sat Baldur's guests. Prince Roland she recognized immediately, but she avoided eye contact with the Bretons entirely and simply took her seat. The sooner this moot could begin, the better in her mind. She was too lost in thought of her husband to care what the others spoke of. Sorrow and loneliness was heavy in her expression, accentuated by the shadows cast from the braziers of the Greybeards that never went out and thankfully gave more heat than what would be normally possible. In the fire she saw him, Torygg. But she couldn't quite make out his face. All she saw was Ulfric cutting him down. That was the only thing she could see of him now. And soon, even this faded, burned away. Replaced with the image of Brund, smiling with disgusting delight, and sucking his teeth before making her his. She got lost in the visions that the fire showed. Even when the Empress of Cyrodiil herself approached, she did not seem to take notice. Dales Draconus bore herself with...a strangeness. She didn't walk like a lady of the court, more like a predator, panther-like. Her honey hair was loose and out, though she didn't bother to tend to it. She wore a complicated black and red dress done in a Colovian style alongside a chest piece that went with her dress and an armored corset, glowing silver, though she was almost completely bare when it came to jewelry, only wearing her sigit ring...and the amulet that...thing had gifted to her. She had soon come to the revelation only she could see it, so she didn't have to worry about offending the Jarls, for she knew they no doubt disliked symbols of elven gods. She was certainly very striking, and her face was very pretty, but...her blue, chilling eyes, the dark bags that hid underneath her eyes, deathly pale skin, and icy stare certainly marred that beauty. On her belt, she wore a plain silver imperial styled gladius, which she kept on her right side. The young Empress, however was awe struck, though she kept it underneath of a mask of stoicism. What...a lovely creature... Her hair was golden. And her frame lithe. A perfect body. Her eyes were as deep as an oceans. The monarch of the Empire had heard stories of Elisif's beauty, but in person, she was absolutely radiant. She would be perfect, if not for the dark shadow that hung over her. Dales could practically feel it. Perhaps the approach of the Dragon would be less suitable here? Instead, Dales put on a warm smile, dispelling her previous dark look. She said, in a gentle voice, "Jarl Elisif?" Elisif almost jumped, so out of it was she. Quickly gaining her composure she said, "Empress Motierre, right? Or is it Draconus nowadays? It's a pleasure to meet you. Here, have a seat by me until Brund arrives." "The pleasure is mine, milady." Dales said, her voice warm. "Draconus. Please, call me Dales." The small Breton took a seat beside the former high-queen. She'll probably be voting Brund then...She spoke in a friendly, though quiet tone of voice. "I've heard from people about your radiance, though in person, the words can't compare." She complemented her. "I hope the journey up the mountain was pleasant. Me and the future High King's journey was assailed by a blizzard." Good. "I hope you fared well?" she asked. She was blushing a bit from being complimented so strongly and out of the blue. She was sure some of the Jarls overheard, but paid them no mind. "My trip was straightforward, no beasts assaulted me or my guards. Truth be told, I've never seen any. Some claim Kynareth sends them to test pilgrims." "We ran into some kind of beast. Baldur told me it was a yeti, but I asked Arngeir about it, and apparently yetis don't exist!" She lightly chuckled, "I guess it was some kind of ice troll. Nasty beast. Baldur's axe and my flame magic set it straight though!" "What, no thu'um action? Hmph, I'm surprised he doesn't show that off every chance he gets," said Elisif. "I imagine he probably uses it to kill pests, or to dispose of his child's soiled cloth." Elisif chuckled at the thought. "I'm sorry, that was beneath me. I'm not a big fan of your friend, but I harbor no ill feelings towards you, Empress. I mean, Dales." "Isn't foul language beneath the fabled golden lady of Solitude?" Dales gave her a wink, and a slight nudge as she said, "We're both girls, feel free to speak how you want around me milady. Baldur can be a little hard to tolerate with all his horrible singing, but he has a good heart." She grinned. Poor girl… Elisif was taken aback by that, and of course felt for the obvious ploy hook, line, and sinker. "I never thought I'd hear anyone utter the same sentiment. Though there once was a time I enjoyed it, it quickly got old. Aside from that, he helped Ulfric find the woman they'd use to supplant my position and to use their marriage as an excuse to steal my holds wealth for his own. I used to think he was my friend, and understood what I went through. But he was only playing me. Where others see an 'Ash-King' or such rubbish, a great bear of a man, or a cunning fox, all I see is a viper with a forked tongue." "Baldur's a Lord of Cinder. Fire bends to his voice, and he breathed upon the attacking Dominion foes with flame ordained by Kyne. Or so they say." Dales said, keeping the friendly expression, but her voice was a little harder, "Snakes are often known as imperfect dragons, so perhaps a serpent fits him. Though I consider serpents noble animals, they control the rodent population after all, and the Akaviri Potentate were great statesmen, and respected figures of the Imperial Court." "And what would they know anyway when they can't even agree upon Kynareth's name," said Elisif. "I don't care about his thu'um, I saw plenty of Ulfric's to know that magic abilities do not make a man true or righteous like their men would have you believe. They are not the Grey Beards. Only they I trust to wield the thu'um responsibly. That is to say, not at all." She's very bitter towards Baldur. I wonder what he did to her... Dales simply smiled in response, " I agree to an extent. Not about Baldur and the voice, of course, but the sentiment in general, I've seen men immolated by flame spells, and icicles used as pincushions. Magic is simply a tool to be used. For noble reasons or evil reasons." Before she continued, she noticed the wide open door, and the fact a few people were still missing. This gave her a rare opportunity. Dales sat up, saying, "The moot seemingly won't begin for a little while. Care to take a walk with me, milady, down the stone halls? Stretch the legs, before the long discussions begin?" The young Empress offered her gloved hand to the Jarl. Elisif almost took her hand, but then a thought occurred to her... Smiling, Elisif said, "Empress Dales, even here in Skyrim your reputation precedes you. I'm sorry but this is neither the time nor the place. And no offense, but I couldn't be seen by the others walking away alone with the Empress of Cyrodiil, the very one known for aiding the Thalmor once upon a time. I do not hold it against you, but politics are what they are. It would hurt Brund's chances. I've had to grow wise in these last few years. At least a little." "You wound me. If what I think you are accusing me of trying to do, I can assure you, I would never think to do such a thing. " A dark rage filled inside her head, telling the girl to draw her gladius and rip it through her stomach, but she shoved it deep within in her. Dales, skillful not to show it, forced a small smile, "What you've heard about me is no doubt mired in many rumors." Elisif placed her hands on hers, whispering. "Even so, love, rumors are quite dangerous. Rumors, whispers and lies are the reason even men in my own hold believe Baldur is this 'Ash-King'. Rumors can make or break anyone. Even a king. Or queen. Please believe me when I say I truly meant you no offense, but this moot is very important to me. I shall not risk sabotaging my interests. But if you linger in Skyrim afterwards, I'd be happy to entertain you on the way to Solitude, and in the Blue Palace." "I've actually been to Solitude once before." She sat down finally, seeing her offer rejected. Dales honestly felt...somewhat hurt. Was that what she was to foreign royalty? A predator? The Empress...could be a leech, but the prospect of forcing a woman to give her body...felt so disgusting to the Empress, she could barely restrain herself from shaking with anger. The young Empress gazed into the Jarl's eyes, "I was only a girl though. My mother was visiting a friend. And my father was on business.” The Empress closed her eyes, "The only thing I really remember is the sound of the blue waves in the ocean, swishing and swashy, as I looked, from the top of an East Empire Company warehouse. Do you like the ocean, milady?" "Solitude overlooks the sea, but I confess I've never enjoyed it, or being on boats. I always feared one day the strange land formation Solitude was built on would give away to the weight and the sea would swallow the Blue Palace whole... I had quite a few nightmares about it actually. Torygg used to say I was being a silly girl. He wasn't afraid of anything back then..." The thought of Torygg brought her thoughts to her task... "Empress Dales, I fear that Brund may come in at any moment. I am very sorry but I must ask that you not be in his seat any longer. Again, I truly mean no offense, and I promise to make it up to you when this whole ordeal is over. I could use a friend." "Of course. We may be opposed today, but I do hope you know you have someone to talk to." The Empress gave her a warm smile. A genuine one, the dark malice that wanted to take over gone. "If all goes well, I shall take you up on your offer. You shall give me a tour of the blue palace, and all the splendor I have forgotten." Dales got out of her seat, and whispered, "Until another day, my lady." "Hopefully soon," she said genuinely. She thought to speak then to the Bretons, perhaps one last chance to try and persuade Baldur's supporters. But alas, she thought better of it. Embarrassing herself in front of them once was more than enough. These people climbed the 7000 steps to support him. Words alone weren't going to change their minds now. *** As the day pressed on and both Brund and Baldur still had yet to arrive, some of the Jarls began to grow impatient just waiting at the table. It was only minutes after the arrival of Elisif that Fenrald decided that he was going to 'take a walk', though almost an hour later he had yet to return. During that time, Vignar and Ingun got up to go and speak in private as well, promising to remain close in case they were needed. At one point, Korir thought to ask one of the Greybeards if they kept drinks, though Arngeir had told him days ago that they did not. Perhaps he'd hoped that one of the silent ones might've kept a stash of his own. From that point on, he appeared rather sour. Some time later, Ingun returned alone. "Where's the old man?" asked Sorli. "He is in a side chamber just down the hall," she answered. "He found a book to read." "And Fenrald?" Ingun shrugged. "Didn't see him." "Great." Sorli got up and walked out, stopping just to glance back at the Redguards, then the Imperials. "We know who you lot are here for. Something better not have happened to him. For your sake and Baldur's." On that note, she made her exit. The Empress trailed from one part of the room to the next. The Empress was...beginning to worry. She's obviously afraid of Brund. She doesn't want to help him, but she see's no choice. A well meaning girl in way over her head. The Empress sadly smiled to herself. Reminds me of someone. She dispelled thoughts of the fair, golden haired Jarl, and went back to the Moot. She would support Brund, meaning Brund already had two votes. Going by the angry scowls a few of the Jarls were giving her, that might rise soon. Baldur talked too much, but it was his gift. His way of words. Without that tongue, he would be severely handicapped in the coming debates. The Greybeards claim to give him their support, yet they do this. Maybe Badur was right about them. She scanned the room, analysing it. The foreign leaders here would no doubt be an advantage to him, showing how many foreign powers would be at his side, but that was double edged sword. No doubt they resented the mere fact they were here in sacred Nordic ground. Especially her. The young Empress decided to go for a walk. It would do no good worrying about this. She had faith that Baldur could pull it off. If he couldn't...well. There was always option two The Empress walked down the hallways of the ancient Nordic temple. A few minutes later, she spotted someone in a side chamber, reading a large dusty tome. Jarl Vignar Grey-Mane, if she recalled. Him being by himself, meant he might be a little more open to her. Perhaps it was best to see we're he sat in all this. The Empress approached the elderly Jarl, saying in stern, yet no unfriendly voice. These people understood only steel, and iron, "Jarl Greymane?" A moment passed as Vignar found a point where he could stop. "The Songs of the Return. I would not have expected to find the full saga here, of all places." The elderly Jarl of Whiterun looked up and studied her. "The Companions' story is a glorious one, and also violent, bloody. Not something that I'd have thought welcome in the Greybeards' halls of peace." He set the tome aside, leaving it open on the stone window nook. "What do you want, Empress?" "I found a book detailing gory encounters with frost trolls, and other bestiary's of Skyrim a few days ago. I suppose people leave offerings of various literature to the Greybeards. Can't be selective with you're readings when you're so secluded and can't get you're books from someplace else." She said, "Making small talk? I've never had the honor of meeting you, Jarl." She strode into the room. "No, you haven't." Vignar folded his arms. "If it's small talk you want, then there are six other Jarls out there who might be better for it." "Perhaps we started on the wrong foot." Dales said with an apologetic smile, "Dales Draconus, of Cyrodiil." She offered her hand forward. The Jarl did not move. "I'm an honest man, Empress Draconus. But I wouldn't be if I shook a hand that once held a Thalmor pen." Second time now. This is going to be a long day... "Perhaps you forget it was also my hand, that held my blade, that slit my father's throat, and expelled the Dominion from Cyrodiil. And restored the open worship of Talos throughout my lands." She said sharply. "I have not forgotten," he replied solemnly, "which is why I have abided Baldur's decision to invite you here in the first place." She dropped her hand, "I will never forget my past. Nor will many people I can imagine," her cold blue eyes becoming melancholic, "Or the suffering I surely caused with my signature. But the past is the past. I can't change what I did back then. But I can make sure the future is better for the my people. That's all that really matters now. And I think we both surely agree, the Empire, and Whiterun's well-being is tied to if Baldur wins the moot or not." "On that, we do agree," the old man said. "And we are not alone. None of us knew this Brund Hammer-Fang until recently, but what little we've heard has been worrisome. The man surrounds himself with marauders and cutthroats, and Markarth has been troublingly quiet since his last victory against the Forsworn." "Brund was not born into his role of Jarl?" She took a seat beside the old man, "Did he have a previous military record before hand? Baldur...did not have the chance to give me any details of his opponent." "Until recently, Thongvor Silver-Blood was Jarl of the Reach. I do not know how Brund came to inherit his position, but he now controls the wealth of Cidhna Mine so it must have been with Silver-Blood's blessing." Vignar shrugged. "And if he served in the army, word of his exploits never reached me." "That means he controls a large portion of Skyrim's wealth..." She breathed a sigh of disappointment, "A very good incentive to support him. I talked to the Jarl Solitude. For some reason, she intends to support this brute. Do you know any others who will be swayed by the promise of his silver?" "Sorli, no doubt." Vignar's wrinkly frown tightened into a scowl. "To this day I do not know what Ulfric saw in that woman. But aside from her and Elisif, I trust everyone at that table to stand by their convictions. The leaders of Skyrim are not your Elder Council. They will do what they believe to be right by their people." Well at least he's loyal to Baldur. "For all our sakes I hope you are right." She paused. Still looking uncertain, "Baldur is a hero to the common people. He was a war hero in the last invasion, highly favored by Ulfric, adored by the public, and has the backing of multiple foreign powers. To challenge him for the throne, a man you barely know, just makes me feel...wrong. Like we're missing something about this Brund. He's either very stupid, or very confident. Considering he made himself the Jarl of Skyrim's richest hold, i'll go for the later." "Not everyone is as impressed by you foreign powers as you might hope. I understand what Baldur has done here. He summoned you to show that he can, to prove that he alone commands enough respect to make all the kingdoms of man listen and do what he says. We will need that when we march south together against the elves." Vignar sighed. "But it is more complicated than that. I don't know about his brother, but Jarl Skald hates the Empire almost as much as he does the Thalmor. Fenrald might even hate them more. No amount of respect from you will convince them that Baldur should be king. It would not have been enough for me either, had my mind not already been made up." "I warned him my presence here might cause this kind of thing. But he insisted I come." She glumly said, "So by proxy, Fenrald will vote for Brund because Baldur has aligned himself so closely with us. That's a third vote, which dosen't include Brund's own one." She sighed, "Dangerous water. Is there anyone who you know is undecided we might be able to sway to Baldur's cause?" She gripped the invisible amulet of Auriel she wore on her neck. “I'm an old man," answered the Jarl, "and you're a foreign ruler. Convincing the others how to think before we hear them out is not our place." He shook his head. "In fact, I daresay it will do more harm than good. When the moot begins, I will say my piece and argue for it, as will Jarl Baldur. I have faith that his words will be enough to convince anyone who has yet to decide for themselves." "Perhaps you're right, Jarl Greymane. We'll leave it to Baldur's tongue to convince the others to do the right thing. And by the gods, hopefully all will be well." She got out of her seat, "Well, I'll see you at the Moot, Jarl Greymane. Thanks for the information." "Mhmm," Vignar grunted and then he turned away from her to reclaim his book. "Fair winds and all that." Dales stepped out of the room, dark thoughts entering her head. She was...less hopeful now of the chances of Baldur winning. She traced her hands around the gleaming amulet on her neck, and whispered, "If you truly do show me divine favor, Auriel, now is the time to show it!" "Pfft!" Dales looked over to find Jarls Sorli and Fenrald standing a little further into the hall. The two had been speaking quietly, but upon recognizing her, Fenrald made a point to raise his voice. "And speaking of those devils, here's their queen now." He looked equal parts angry and disgusted. "Baldur was wise to bring the moot here, where we cannot shed blood." "Shut up, Fenrald," Sorli muttered. "Save it for the moot." "Oh I'll have plenty more to say there, believe me." "Fenrald was it?" Dales said, a dark look appearing on her face, "Jarl of Falkreath. Threatening the guests of the Grey Beards in these sacred halls? Tsk tsk, do you now know you're own customs? Not that it matters anyways, I'm quite sure you would be dead a second before you drew your blade." "Did you hear that?" The Jarl laughed, though there was no trace of humor in it. He glanced at Sorli, who seemed increasingly uncomfortable. "My people don't flinch as the girl rains fire on our home, and she has the gall to think she's frightening!" Looking back at Dales, he said, "I didn't threaten you, Empress. If I do, it will be much clearer." "No, but you're Jarl surely did, when my old friend Lorgar Grim-Maw sent an arrow in his heart." Dales said, giving him a pleasant smile. The fake amusement drained from Fenrald's face, to be replaced by something stuck between excitement and hatred. "Lorgar Grim-Maw," he repeated back to her. "Perhaps it's a good thing Baldur invited you after all, Imperial, for that is something I never thought I would learn." "I'm glad I could be of some help, by telling you that dog killed him." She said, the smile still on her face, "Now if you'll excuse me good Jarl." She gave him a brief nod, before turning around to face his companion. She said, with a blank expression. "You must be Sorli, a pleasure." "That's right," she answered. "And you're the Empress everyone seems to hate." Before Sorli could say another word, a grimacing Fenrald muttered something and stormed off. "... Especially him." What a freak. And her. I can already tell she's a bitch. Dales kept the forced smile, "Hate is a very strong word. Perhaps, dislike is better? I'm sure you're a very respected Jarl." She said. "As respected as one can become when ruling a backwater hold like Hjaalmarch." Sorli shrugged. "Still, it's not all bad. We understand not to spit in the eyes of potential friends, for instance." "Of course, and are we potential friends, jarl?" Dales asked, "Or are you like the Jarl of Falkreath, who hates imperials with a burning passion." "Hating Imperials was healthy when we were at war," replied the Jarl. "Now? I don't see the point. You're not the ones who want to kill us." Need to be careful around her. If what Vignar said is true, then perhaps she's an opportunist. At the same time, if she's lying she can use my words as ammunition later. "Wise words. We are united against a common foe. Cooperation, I feel, will be the best way to defeat the Dominion in the coming months. Yet I hear you oppose Jarl Red-Snow." Dales asked, crossing her arms. Sorli's eyes narrowed. "Did Black-Briar tell you that? I don't oppose Red-Snow. Got nothing against the man. It just so happens that I've got no reason to love him either. Jarl Brund, on the other hand, has done much to convince me that Skyrim would prosper under his rule." “And what is that, if I may ask? I hear Jarl Brund has control over the wealthiest Hold in Skyrim. Do you worry about Skyrim's economy?" An idea was forming in her head. "Now I know you've been talking to Ingun," she muttered. "Whatever else that snake might've told you, it just so happens that I do care about our economy. And our safety. And I believe that Brund is best for both." **** it fine. Let's do it Dales! The Empress smile grew, "Perhaps we can, speak privately in one of these side chambers?" Dales was uneasy, but when the iron is hot, you need to jump. "I have a...proposition for you, if you're willing to hear me out?" "Oh?" Jarl Sorli's brow arched. "Well then, Empress, lead the way. I would never turn down a potential friend." *** Roland watched the the Jarls mingle and talk amongst themselves, a sense of ease about them that he did not personally feel. The Empress had that same air about her before she left the room, and his grandmother was almost apathetic in her demeanor. It had been Lady Gaerhart who suggested they stick to the periphery of the moot and not hound the Jarls. Roland was hesitant at first, but after seeing the Jarl of Falkreath come storming into the room after an argument with the Empress outside, he realized staying quiet was the wisest choice. Still, he was surprised at his own nerves. The nobles of High Rock did not make him feel like this. He'd grown up around them, though, and knew their false smiles and hidden glares like he knew the back of his hand. The Nords did not care for such tact, and whatever they lacked there they made up for tenfold with confidence. Even the newest Jarls, of Falkreath and Riften, seemed more suited to this moot than he did. It was something about the blunt Nordic manner, and the fact he was atop the world's tallest mountain, an unwanted foreign interloper, that made him feel so out of place. But with the practiced manners that was the culmination of his life's education, he greeted Jarl Korir of Winterhold, who had practically strutted over to the Bretons. "It's nice to meet you, Jarl Korir. I'm Prince Roland, and this is my grandmother, Lady Gaerhart, and our Lord Admiral, Duke Theirry." "Prince?" Jarl Korir looked disappointed. He then nodded to Duke Theirry. "I was just about to ask the man I thought to be your king how tough the climb was on a wooden leg." Duke Theirry flashed a smile and said, "Years at sea have given me a good sense of balance. The seas are much crueler than some icy steps." Lady Gaerhart, leaning over her ornate cane, gave a dismissive wave. "What he meant to say is that the litter they hauled me up here in moved slow enough he hardly climbed a mile a day. At that pace he needn't have any legs." Roland couldn't help but smile at the Duke's expense, but Theirry had the good nature to laugh as well. The Jarl, however, did not seem to appreciate the jest. "It is no small thing to make the climb M'lady, on two legs or ten. Your Admiral has proven stronger than the many who died trying the same." He regarded the wooden leg again. "Much stronger, I'd say." Roland took on a more serious tone and said, "My father knew which men and women to put his faith in. Duke Thierry has proven himself more than worthy of commanding our ships. Making this climb only reinforces that." "Thank you, Your Highness. And thank you, Jarl. Though, in truth, I had hoped to see High Admiral Red-Snow here," Thierry said. "When she and Jarl Red-Snow last visited our waters, they came upon some pirates. I made a concerted effort to rectify that problem, and was hoping I could show her the fruits of that labor." "He means the tattered pirate flags he captured," Lady Gaerhart explained. "Nice ornaments for the tavern in that new town of theirs. And proof High Rock means to carry its weight." "Fine ornaments indeed!" Korir grinned and clasped a large hand on Duke Theirry's shoulder, shaking it. "That is reassuring. It gives me faith that this alliance is not just talk, but something that can truly be done." His smile waned a little. "I must admit, I was not pleased at first to learn that you would be here. Nor those Redguards or Imperials. After I got over it, I found myself eager to meet the man who freed High Rock. Why couldn't your king make it?" Duke Theirry said, "Preparations for our war effort needed his attention." Roland frowned a little at the real reason, the Daedric plague eating away at his family, and said, "And we recently had a vassal who allied with the Thalmor to attempt to remove our family. That needed dealt with as well." "Truly?" The Nord's voice deepened with rage. "What kind of honorless cur would ally with the Thalmor even after they've been thrown back? Bah! The elves have poisoned our countrymen's minds. All the more reason why they must be crushed for good." "You'll find High Rock in agreement," Roland said and gave a small smile. "We look forward to heading south to fight the Thalmor alongside you Nords. Alongside High King Red-Snow. Are we in agreement on that as well?" "Red-Snow's victories do him credit," Korir replied, "But I don't know him, nor Brund neither. You'll find out if we're in agreement when I've heard the Jarls speak and measured their words and deeds myself." "For what my words are worth," Roland said, then put on his best self-depreciating smile. "And I know how little Nords think of us foreigners. But for what my words are worth, I think Skyrim would do well to choose Baldur. I would not think to tell you what is best for your people, but for all our people, we will need a man like Red-Snow leading all of us against the Thalmor." Unlike earlier, Roland felt much more at ease. Maybe it was falling back into the rhythm of politics that he knew so well from High Rock, but now he felt confident, and as if he was not so out of place here as he might've thought. "Well said, Roland! Why, I imagine your father couldn't have put it better." This was High King Joleen, of Hammerfell, sporting the warmest thing he could find before his trip, a large spotted cat fur over his shoulders, and a suit of chainmail over a dark blue doublet. "Sorry for butting in," said his son Jabreel. Running a hand through his long locks, he said, "Father often does this when no one is paying attention to him." "Quiet you," said Jeleen. "We just got bored looking for something good to eat around here is all. Why didn't anyone think to bring some worthy refreshments to a meeting of kings?" "Ha!" Korir's laugh came out as more of a bark. "I'm glad I'm not the only one. Half of Skyrim would give all they own to become a Greybeard, but I think most would take it back upon discovering that this place hasn't got a drop to drink!" The Jarl grinned. "Find me after the moot, Redguard. Whoever wins, we will celebrate Skyrim's new ruler in Ivarstead with meat and mead aplenty!" Korir stated to leave, and then looked back at Roland. "And worry not, Prince. Whether it is Baldur or Brund who bears the mantle of King, trust that the Jarls would not choose either if he lacked the strength to fight elves." With that, the Jarl of Winterhold lumbered off to rejoin his countrymen. "Good to know not all of the pale skins are stiff and grouchy! I was beginning to worry Baldur was the only Nord that knew how to smile! I like that one, what say we accept his invitation, Jabreel?" said Jeleen. "You like anyone that offers you food. It's amazing you haven't been poisoned yet." The Bretons all laughed at the joke, and Roland said, "It's been far too long, King Jeleen and Prince Jabreel. Your new titles suit you rather well, I'd say." "Butcher is the correct title for this one. He's got no sense of subtlety or tact," said Jeleen. "He's just mad that he didn't get to unite all of Hammerfell with the sweet honeysuckle dripping from his tongue. He was sure that he could convince the remaining stubborn kingdoms to fall under his banner. I wasn't." "And so my hot headed son decided to go and assassinate those kings instead. Any of them that opposed me, ruining all the hard work I'd put into diplomacy." "But it did work," added his son. "For now. An alliance built on blood will not last. But hopefully it will last long enough to defeat the elves. You still have much to learn my boy. But still, I am proud of you all the same." The young man tried to hide his smile, concealing it by flipping his dark brown locks. "Besides, assassination does take much subtlety and tact." "And do assassins also subtlety announce to the world their deeds? All of Hammerfell wonder now if you're in cahoots with the Dark Brotherhood, of all people! As do I..." said Jeleen, scratching his hairless chin. "If I were, they'd have already killed me for giving up my cover," said his son dismissively. Roland wasn't sure what to make of this. Nobles in High Rock didn't talk this openly about such tactics. He knew it unlikely one would ever admit to something as mundane as blackmail unless under duress, much less act so nonchalant about assassination. He dismissed those thoughts for now and grinned. "Well, should we ever need someone taken care of, I suppose I now know who to write to." "No, Roland, no you don't. Blasted Ra Gada, their over-confidence will be their undoing. Last thing you need, is an assassin that tells you of his kills. But, then, if Jabreel hadn't, then the last remaining kingdoms might not have been convinced of our strength. I envy these Nords. This moot, their politics. It seems far more simple." "Less bloody, anyway," added Jabreel. "My method was simple. Though, a moot of our own would be nice, if we could ever agree on anything other than we hate elves. Even that isn't always enough." "Their politics, and our own, led us to civil war. Thousands dead so we could achieve some sort of peace. I wonder sometimes if only a few dozen dead would've been the better option," Roland said. "Thankfully, it seems we've settled our problems for now. With my parents' council, I do not expect us to fight an internal war for quite some time." "That reminds me, I wish your father had come. For one we had a bet on which one of us would be assassinated first. I imagine, that I've lost that bet. Of course, perhaps you are right. Less death is preferable, especially when we need as many warm bodies as we can muster for this war. You have your parent's' wisdom, without them anywhere around. I believe the next generation is in good hands. Lady Gaer-" As Jeleen spoke, the very room seemed to be shaking, books in their cases and chairs rattling, followed by three hard knocks coming from High Hrothgar's doors. "What in Aetherius was that?" said Jeleen, he and his son gripping their blades. Roland reacted the same, but Lady Gaerhart placed a hand on his arm to stop him. In a low voice she said, "So, it is true." Speaking so the Redguards could hear, she added, "I believe one contender for the throne has arrived." Brund Hammer-Fang, ex legion Legate, and the Demon Chieftain of the Reach, had arrived. "Where do these damn things even come from?" he said, standing atop the corpse of a frost troll that dwarfed even him. Alfr Vega wasn't suited to cutting their thick hides. His Hammer-Fang was the weapon of choice for such tasks, as the poor thing beneath him found out the hard way. As he freed his weapon, Brund saw several other sets of eyes staring down at him from the rocks above. Hiding. Despite what the Grim Ones in Cyrodiil had claimed, even Frost Trolls knew when they were bested. They watched him still, as day became night, as the icy winds of the Throat of the World attempted to impede his path. And even as Brund walked the steps, wearing the skull of the creature Daric killed, it never occurred to him that the creatures might've felt agitated by the sight. Or perhaps it did, and he just didn't give a ****. It made for a good strong helmet and he wasn't about to give it up. "You fuckers can just keep coming, it makes for good practice!" he cried, shaking the earth around him as he roared, threatening to be swallowed up by mounds of falling snow. Even as they fell, Brund kept stomping his feet, roaring and daring the trolls to face him in combat once more. Boom, boom, boom... if they wouldn't come to him, the earth and snow would come to them. And it had, like oceans of white, a great bride's gown descending on them all from above, knocking them free from their perch. His own path was blocked now, but it mattered not. With a roar from his throat the snow and rock scattered, and Brund continued on his way. "Ugly *****, the lot of you," said Brund as he finished his salted horse meat. It seemed that the mountain was bored of testing him now. The rest of the way was uneventful, and the great vistas of Skyrim from his vantage point seemed lost on him entirely, even as the great bands and ribbons of Aetherius danced across Skyrim's crisp night sky. He felt nothing for it, just as he felt not the cold. He did take the time to read the stone etchings that decorated his path however. Emblem X The Voice is worship; Follow the Inner path; Speak only in True Need. "Get a load of this horse crap," said Brund. "I speak when I please, and see no gods stepping down to smite me. If anything, my voice is certainly a boon from them. I alone dictate my own path. And so it always has been, and so it always will be." He highlighted this point with a butt from his troll skull, leaving a crack forever in the age old tablet. Wasting no further time, Brund knocked on the doors to High Hrothgar, before stepping in himself, not waiting to be greeted. Arngeir and his Greybeards were waiting for him as he entered, but he paid no attention to their presence, instead looking all around within their home, a grin on his ugly mug as he took off his helmet. "Ahhh, at long last!" said Brund. "You've no idea how long I've awaited this meeting." "The sentiment, is shared," said Arngeir with no humor or sweetness in his tone. "Is that all you have to say to me?" he asked. "Hehehe, I am a guest in these halls, but I have not been permitted to enter just yet... I don't want to be rude..." Arngeir bit his lip, and for a time it seemed as though he'd say nothing. Brund cocked his head, licking his bottom lip. "Come now, don't be that way. I've come, in peace." Arngeir refused even still, until his brothers gave him a look. Finally the old man gave in, eyes downcast as he waved his arm in the traditional greeting of the Greybeards. "We recognize you as a guest in these holy halls. High Hrothgar... is open to you." "That's what I was waiting to hear! We're practically brothers now, you and I. Tongues one and all!" Brund highlighted his point by flailing his tongue back and forth in front of Arngeir. Placing a hand on his shoulder, he said, "I pray that you taught him well. He's a violent man, you know. Dangerous letting someone like that go unchecked with the voice." His laughter filled every inch of the room, reverberating from stone to stone, and filling every part of Arngeir's mind. His every step was a transgression, and he felt each step like a stab in his soul. As Brund further explored High Hrothgar, he came across Galmar Stone-Fist himself, nursing a bottle of mead he brought on his own. He remembered from his last visit the lack of good spirits. "You salty old dog. I did not expect to see you..." "Nor I you, Brund. You've come a long way, haven't you?" said Galmar. "Hehehehehe... You can say that. Have you come to accept me as your king?" "The only King I'll ever accept is one bearing the name of Stormcloak," said Galmar, spitting at his feet. "You and I are no longer brothers without that understanding. So piss off, before this gets ugly." Brund knelt down to his eye level. "Who says it hasn't already, eh? If getting fucked by our dead king is a requirement to rule, then Elisif is as much qualified to rule, but you know better than that." "Save it for the moot, Hammer-*****. A rock with Ulfric's seed dribbled upon it is more fit to rule than you, or Red-Snow. Ash-King, Demon Chieftain... MY SACK!" Brund grinned to his old mentor and said, "Perhaps I should've taken the mantle of Bear of Markarth? We all enjoy our titles, don't we. Anyway, you cling to your dead friend. Perhaps I'll have another one for you in the near future..." "Ulfric cared for you. Cared for everyone in Skyrim. He was the perfect king for this land. He loved his brothers and sisters. Loved them all." Brund didn't stop to hear Galmar continue and said under his breath, "And that, was his undoing..." Finally, Brund was amongst all the Jarls of Skyrim. The most powerful and influential people in the entire kingdom. A man like him would feel humbled in their presence, for these men and women would decide the fate for every last Nord from this day on. None of them mattered in the slightest to Brund. Not this black haired bitch he knew nothing about, not Korir, not... whoever the **** that was... Looking around, Brund hadn't seen Skald. Perhaps this man or the girl was a stand in for the old fart. It mattered not. No one wanted to see him shit himself anyway. Another equally old fart he passed by earlier, but he said nothing to him, merely left him to his book. So many unfamiliar faces stared back at him now, like the trolls that dared block his path. All except... "And look, it's Baldur's ragtag group of milkdrinkers. And.. ahhh Elisif," said Brund as he smiled, revealing his yellowed teeth. He approached her, arms raised as though he owned the place. He grabbed her by her hair, and stuck his tongue down her throat, then took his seat beside her, opposite of where Baldur sat, and exactly where the last Dragonborn had once sat the last time Elisif was in these honored halls. The irony did not escape her. She did not look at him, sealing herself away in her mind, where a piece of Torygg still dwelt. This is where she stayed on her night with Ulfric, and her night with Brund. It served her well, but the time for hiding was gone. The moot was about to start. In the recesses of the Greybeards’ outer halls, a dark haired woman stood with hands on the shoulders of a tall, solemn girl. “Stay here. It will be over soon and we’ll go home.” Veleda kissed Sofie on the forehead and left her to her books. The former queen had heard the rumbling and raving, and she knew what it was. The stories had passed along from Reachmen to other ears including hers. With a nod to Galmar, she steeled herself and entered the hall with him, while Sofie crept along behind, unseen. Inside, Veleda met the eyes of each jarl, gave a half nod to the Ra Gada and Bretons and what she surmised was the empress of Cyrodiil. Her black dress, trimmed with sable fur, showed clearly the line of her rounded stomach. She wore an ebony circlet set with amber stones and her cloak bore the embroidery of a Stormcloak bear, but the only other adornment she wore was the sigil of her husband’s house burned into her hand. Her eyes were dark-rimmed and her cheeks reddened from the exertion of the frigid descent from the Time Wound. Veleda’s eyes barely skimmed the figure of Elisif before resting on Brund. That was a long look, too long for politeness. “Jarl Hammer Fang. Brothers. I greet you.” With that the former queen took a seat at the middle of the table next to Galmar, and glanced over at the last empty chair. Dales remained as silent as the crypt as her frosty eyes lingered on the man. A...chill, went down her spine, as she felt...something. It wasn't dark magic, but a feeling of familiarity. This man made her feel the same way as she did in her father's presence. I understand now. Baldur had said little about Brund Hammer-Fang to her, but the she-elfs words rang true. As if a crawling chaos, Dales felt very uncomfortable around him. Her stomach twisted in even more disgust at his treatment of his bride to be. Clarity filled her. This...man, was just like her father. And was just as dangerous to Tamriel as he was. But to her horror, she knew, even as the Empress of Cyrodiil, she could do nothing. It was all in Baldur's hands now. She had done all she could for her friend. Now it was the time to remain silent. The Empress gripped her amulet of Auriel tightly, as she thought, sitting in her chair away from the main group. I've never asked anything from you. I beseech thee, Lord Auriel, protect Baldur. His fate is tied with the fate of Cyrodiil, and all though who dwell within in. The horrible feeling remained within. Until...it was consumed by darkness. Her amulet shone invisible, blue light. A voice whispered in her mind, "Light can be as dangerous as darkness, my knight. But I am here for you, as I promised. I'll always be here for you...." Was Dales now hearing voices? "If things get out of hand. Whisper sweet honey words to me. As the bells tolls, I shall come." The voice snickered, "I am yous. And you are mine." Dales choose not to speak to the voice, as she waited for this accursed gathering to begin. Unsure, if Baldur could beat this darkness. *** By Mother Kyne's Mountains, Her Seas and Glades, sharpen my tongue and quicken my blade, Over the fields, knee deep in snow, guide my hand for the killing blow, Bold and true I stand a Nord, a child of Kyne, a soldier of Shor, And if I die, my soul, don't discard. So that I may see Ragna one day, in Sovngarde. It's been quite the journey, hasn't it? We've been through alot, you and I. And we may still yet. But if not, know that I love you, and I'll miss what we shared. Wish me luck... Paarthurnax watched the yellow haired nord sit for hours on end, first at the time tear itself, and then where Paarthurnax once revealed the words of Yol Toor Shul to the Dragonborn. In truth, Paarthurnax never understood the ways of the Greybeards. The ways of the Joor, their Way of the Voice was not his own. Even so, he gave the man his silence and peace, saving Tiinvaak for another time. Baldur stood finally, when the tremors from below even reached the heights of the Throat of the World. It seemed that the time had finally come for him to leave. "Yol be with you, Ashen One. Breath, and focus." Baldur responded in kind with a smile and a wave of his hands in the traditional Greybeard way and then descended to High Hrothgar. The Moot had finally come. *** "Baldur Red-Snow, and Brund Hammer-Fang, the last Jarls to arrive. They are both finally here, and we may now begin the Moot. Baldur Red-Snow has taken a vow of silence, until the votes have been passed. May the gods be his judge, as well as the Jarls of Skyrim. May your judgement be honest and true." With that, Arngeir sat the fabled Jagged Crown on a pedestal beside the meeting table. "Yol!" said Arngeir, his thu'um lighting the fire at the table's center anew. Worry was all over his aged and weary face. Even he now wondered if what he'd done was the right call. Meeting a man like Brund would do that to you. Brund himself was tickled with amusement. Baldur Red-Snow, unable to speak? The minstrel? It was a dream come true for him. The gods judged true indeed, and they apparently weighed and measured the Ash-King, and found him wanting. He was all smiles until Baldur finally stepped into the room, wearing nothing but the simple robes of the Greybeards themselves, his hair being the only feature that stood out, aside from his stature and height. Somehow silence had granted him an air of authority Brund never thought he had before. He was a silly man more times than not. But now, he was something else. Someone else. His rival and blood enemy from a bygone era. All Brund saw was the face of Ulrin Red-Snow, silent, mocking. And it filled his heart with rage. Their eyes locked, and a low growl escaped Brund's throat. Baldur's own hands locked onto the edge of the stone table right across from him. The table seemed to stir, vibrating from the intensity of Brund's gaze and his growl as he stood. The air about him cold. Elisif felt this cold before, and it was the only thing colder than even the freezing hell that was her heart. The only thing that brought her back was the look in Red-Snow's eyes. His own gaze was as hard as Brund's, though nothing shook on his end at all. What those near him did notice however was the odd rise in temperature, even for the fires lit by the Greybeards. Elisif wiped her brow, no longer feeling Brund's chill, until Arngeir put a hand on Baldur's shoulders. "Please, be seated Jarl Hammer-Fang. Everyone. Let us begin." The Empress felt the heat. Like that of a Dragon. And with it, her valor returned. The young girl's own icy eyes narrowed, as she thought, Come on Baldur. This fucker is nothing. You can win this. I have faith in you. "Fellow Jarls," Vignar Gray-Mane spoke up, his rough voice resonating around the room. "It has been a long journey for all of us, and it is not one made lightly. This place is too damn high up for that..." A few people chuckled, but the Jarl of Whiterun remained serious, and they quickly followed in suit. "So I won't mince words. I came here to pledge my axe to the man who has fought for us, who has led us against our enemies time and time again." He reached to his hip and drew a splendid war-axe of Skyforged steel, and then pointed it at Baldur. "Baldur Red-Snow does not need to speak to earn Whiterun's loyalty. He did that long ago!" Vignar dropped his axe onto the table, where it clattered in front of Baldur. Though its echo had not even died before Jarl Fenrald's voice filled the hall. "Tell me, Vignar, did Red-Snow earn your loyalty when he torched Falkreath's farms, or when he aligned with the ones who destroyed our homes and tried to remove our god?" "After," Vignar answered. "We haven't met, Fenrald, but everyone here who knows me also knows that I've no love for the Empire. But acting on old grievances will get us nowhere. Not when we have a greater enemy in the elven lands." "You call them old grievances, but the way I see it," Fenrald drew his axe and pointed it at Dales, "there stands my greatest enemy." He turned, and tossed the weapon in front of Brund. Brund grabbed the axe before him, eyeing it the way a babe might a new toy. Looking at Baldur, he waved it at him, grinning from ear to ear. Baldur's face remained unchanged. "I thank you, Fenrald for your wise decision. Though, let's get something clear. I intend to usher in a golden age for this land. It will be gold, because there'll be a new skin rug in every home for each Altmer I kill. That, is my first goal. That said, you are correct. I remember Ulfric once telling us, and that includes my comrade there staring at me so hard... to 'Never forget! Never forget!' And I promise all of you..." Pointing a clawed gauntlet finger at Baldur, he said, "Brund never forgets." At those harsh accusations, Dales considered remaining silent, but she felt she couldn't. "I did not know Ulfric Stormcloak. He surely had no love for me, like Jarl Greymane" The Empress said, scratching her chin, "But what I did know was he wanted trade, and close military cooperation with Cyrodiil. You go against that, you go against Ulfric. With an Empire, that wasn't an Empire like the ones before it. At the same token, I doubt if you hate me, you'll even believe my words, so I won't waste them." She paused, "Then hear this. The Dominion marshals its forces while we're on this mountain. They don't care. They'll put us all to the sword. Dislike the Empire all you want, but the real enemy is to the south of Cyrodiil. Humanity needs to be united, not divided." And with that, the Empress fell silent. Baldur eyes her. He wasn't angry, but the Nord's eyes looked...pleading. As if to say, "Be a little more quiet girl!" Dales rolled her eyes, but did a quick, curt nod to him. Brund stood next, noticing Baldur's look. With a sly smile he gave Baldur a look of his own. Looking to the Empress of Cyrodiil directly next, Brund decided to test her temperament. "Speak, when spoken to, carpet licking wench. This is a moot of Nords. You lot, are guests. Act like it." Baldur continued to look at Dales, slowly shaking his head. Dales remained silent, and her face unemotive. Baldur seemed relieved, meanwhile Brund was amused. As he sat back down, Arngeir stood awkwardly, clearing his throat. "The other Jarls have the floor." "The Empress spoke true," declared Ingun Black-Briar. She looked at Fenrald, "We are still recovering from two wars and yes, our homes have suffered -Riften knows what that's like as well as anyone- but we can't afford to look for enemies in the past. We need to focus on rebuilding and preparing for the future." "A future where we ignore those who wronged us," growled Fenrald. "Who only stopped wronging us when we forced them to! I'm not afraid of some elves on the other side of the world. The only time they threatened us was when the Imperials made it possible."
  30. 5 points
    Kyne's Watch “Admiral Red Snow.” Rebec looked up from her ledgers. She had rented an office at the Kyne’s Watch customs office, out of which she ran her commercial shipping business. Before her was a golden-robed priestess, the one she had brawled with in a grudge match back in Whiterun. “Danica. What are you doing here?” “I heard about your project here. The town. Should I not come to see a settlement devoted to Kynareth?” “Don’t know anyone by that name. You might try Solitude.” The priestess laughed. “Let’s not start that fight again. I can still feel your left hook on my jaw on rainy nights. By whatever name, the goddess can be proud of such a thriving town made in her honor. There’s something missing, however.” “A whorehouse. Yes, I know. I hear it all the time, and you wouldn’t believe the things people say to my mother-in-law when Baldur’s not around to hear.” “A temple! There’s not even a shrine to the town’s namesake. I’m here to change that.” Danica produced a burlap sack, out of which grew a small sapling tree. “This will be the first step. We need a town square in which to plant the Gildergreen tree. I have some Elder sap left, heavily diluted, but it should get the tree growing even in your sandy soil and salt air.” Rebec sat back in her chair. She was about to call the whole thing a fool’s errand, but there had actually been talk about the village needing a square. Kyne’s Watch had sprawled haphazardly out from the harbor and fort. The Stormcloak builders had done a decent job of keeping structures orderly and storm-hardy, but the town still didn’t feel like a town so much as a jumble of longhouses. A temple would also bring in money from gullible pilgrims. “Alright. Let’s go talk to Ysana. She’s the mayor, so she gets the final say.” *** Some houses had to be moved and land leveled, but a week later, there was already the semblance of a market square. They had decided to lay it out on the far side of the existing town, so that visitors had to travel past the inn and shops to get to it, and so that the town could grow past it on the other side. Some benches had been set out, and Danica’s sapling stood at the center in a raised bed frame. “It looks pathetic,” Rebec said to Mazoga, who sat next to her on one of the new benches. “How is Kyne supposed to be honored by that? She doesn’t grow trees, she rips them up. This Kynareth is some elven impostor.” “It’s a tree. It’s not going to turn anybody elven or weak.” Rebec shot her a look. “You never know.” The orc rolled her eyes. She was nursing a bottle of mead, but had no opinion on gods or goddesses, so Rebec sighed and went on, “I’m the one who’s pathetic. Baldur is off saving Tamriel or some shit. I’m stuck here like this toothpick of a tree. It’s not that I don’t like being a mother...” “So don’t.” “Too late for that. Can’t keep my hands off Baldur, gods help me.” “I mean, don’t get stuck here. Come out sailing with us. Bring Ragna. She ought to be learning anyway. Or let’s go somewhere else. There was a place I meant to tell you about, up in the mountains, Volskygge. I sheltered there one night during the Trials. It was a dragon priest temple, I think, but the Dragonborn killed the priest’s ghost. Now there are just a few shufflers and skeevers to worry about, but there’s a wall in there that has something to do with a shout. You’re a Tongue now, right? So maybe you can learn something from the wall?” Rebec thought that dubious, but this sounded like a harmless enough adventure, so the next morning she, Mazoga and a few of their crew set off into the mountains to seek out the temple. Ragna stayed behind in her grandmother’s care, with a Nord wetnurse they occasionally hired when she was busy. The women took point and behind them trailed Bjol Waverunner and Sidano, the Black Wisp's Khajiit assassin. As they walked, Rebec glanced over at her former first mate. “You’re wearing the Nordic Carved today. Normally see you in the Stormcloak captain gear still.” “The others can sink like a stone if they want, when we’re sailing. I don’t plan to. But I can’t deny this stuff is good gear on land.” Like all the Grim Ones, Mazoga had earned the heavily enchanted suit after surviving her Trials. She had taken to keeping her hair permanently in thick plaits that could fit under a helmet and didn’t need to be combed. Her other souvenirs were frostbite and wound scars that made her look grim indeed. Orc or not, no one questioned her right to be captain of Skyrim’s flagship and a member of Baldur’s elite any longer. Not to her face, certainly. Bjol Waverunner came up alongside them. "You heard what they're saying about the moot, cap? Jarl Brund Hammerfang is going to challenge Baldur's claim." Rebec had indeed heard, and the thought of it made her blood run cold. There was the challenge that came from clever talk and politics, and there was the kind of challenge by which Ulfric had claimed the throne, and by which Baldur was now claiming it, though that fact wasn't known. Rebec had seen enough of Brund to know he wasn't likely to back down at a lot of talk by what he considered lesser men. "You're not to bring it up with Ysana, clear? She's got a lot on her mind already." "I'm no fool. That would put her right out of the mood." "Uh huh. Priorities." The temple reared up above them as they turned a corner in the path. Some shambling skeletons drew Rebec back to her own task. They were easily dispatched. Inside, Mazoga lit torches and passed them around. The place smelled of blood upon blood. Rebec continued in, pushing open the inner doors, then turned around to wait for the others. As she did, she noticed Bjol stepping up onto the side platform to inspect a chair. “FUS!” Waverunner flew back against the far wall at Rebec’s shout and came up cursing, but he wasn’t so angry when she pointed out the pressure plate he had been about to step on. “Right,” she declared. “The ancestors left some presents for tourists. Everyone keep a sharp eye on the floor, for blood and squiggly lines. Sidano, best keep your tail tucked in.” The group maneuvered more traps, helpfully marked out for them by the rotting corpses of adventurers and bandits who had come before. There was a puzzle room that Mazoga and Rebec managed to work through together, Rebec cursing all the while about how much time the ancient Nords had on their hands. At least the small barrier had seemed to keep out most of the rabble, because there were more artifacts in the next rooms. This slowed them down as they paused to search. Rebec turned off into a side chamber, and was stopped short as she was bathed in a greenish light and a chill like a foggy night on the Sea of Ghosts. An ethereal female figure hovered before the far wall inscribed with totems. Around it danced two glowing orbs, the mother's sentinel wisps. As the ghost woman turned Rebec lifted her axe to throw, but she stopped herself since the wisp mother only regarded her with curiosity rather than alarm. It glided nearer, and reached out a hand slowly towards the amulet on Rebec’s chest. Glancing down, Rebec saw that her Kyne totem was glowing. Instinctively she clutched at it and stepped back to keep the thing from touching her. The wisp mother hovered, face expressionless. At least it didn't shriek like the sea harpy for which Rebec's ships were named, but otherwise she appeared similar. Like the harpy, she was flanked by globes of spectral green fire that danced and swooped. One of them passed Rebec and glided out of the chamber. Rebec was brought out of her stunned silence as she realized what was about to happen. "Maz, don’t attack it!” It was too late. There was shouting, then wisp mother let out an angry hiss. She turned on Rebec, who dove behind a pillar just as a blast of frost magic sliced through the air towards her. Before the wisp mother could let out another, she was out and charging at it, both axes swinging. The shade tried to glide back but was prevented by the wall behind her, so she slid around Rebec's side. As she prepared another frost blast, the admiral likewise turned and did a quick roll right under the witch’s legless body, coming up behind her and slashing again. Mazoga and the others came rushing in to join the attack, and then chaos broke loose. A half dozen identical shades appeared, one right next to Rebec. They were more easily put down than their mother, but by the time Rebec had killed one another took its place. Even as a Nord, her joints were aching from their chill attacks. When she noticed one of the shades slipping through a back door out of the chamber, she gave chase, shouting “Oh no you don’t!” It was the original wisp mother, weakened but far from dead. She turned when she heard Rebec’s pursuit, preparing to attack. Wisps careened out towards Rebec’s face, seeking to blind and harass her. “Fus RO!” The thu’um was directed not at the wisp mother herself, but at the ancient hanging braziers that still burned above her head. They swung wildly and then their chains snapped, dropping onto the wisp mother and spilling out their dragon fire crystals. There was an unearthly, wailing scream and the wisp mother disappeared into green smoke, her wisps dropping with a thud. The sore and weary adventurers recouped back in the hall with a bottle of healing potion they passed around. Mazoga was better off than most due to her enchanted armor, but still had some chill burns. As Rebec put salve on them, she kept her voice low so only the orc could hear. “That thing. Before you all attacked her wisp, the mother wasn’t hostile to me. I thought those were always hostile. She reached out for my amulet. It reminded me of..." "The harpy. She wasn't hostile, either." “I don't understand what it means." After a pause Mazoga answered, “You know what some of the crew used to say? They’d see you out there looking at the thing as it followed us, and sometimes it looked like you were talking to her, or she to you. After Jala, they thought... well...” Rebec started at her daughter's name, then frowned. “The wisp mothers are just ghosts of women taken by frost. What does that have to do with Jala?" “One story is that wisp mothers are ghosts of women wailing for their dead children. You know how sailors are. A couple left the crew because of it. I didn’t have the heart to tell you the real reason they left.” Rebec's eyes burned with fury. “What do they call the ghosts of sailors wailing for their shriveled balls?” Even hours later after they made camp, Rebec was muttering to herself, irked by what Mazoga had told her and by the wisp mother’s behavior. Unable to sleep, she got up and took a torch, going into the side hall. She half expected to see the wisp mother again, and almost hoped she would, but the chamber was empty. Rebec approached the wall the wisp mother had been facing. It was a frieze of ritual totems such as one always found in the old Nord temples and tombs. Rebec’s eyes rested on the Kyne totem. Her eyes widened when she noticed the two globes that seemed to float next to the goddess’ head... Women bound in fog and frost for all time, testing those who ventured too far into sea or frozen waste. If you lived, you got to sail or fight on. If you died at Kyne's hand, did the goddess extract another form of service? Favored of Kyne, people called Rebec. She shook a fist at the winged carving. “Spare me your favors, you soggy bitch. You been trying to kill me for years. I’m still here, and when I die I'm going to Sovngarde." The next day, the party made it into the vast hall that used to be the dragon priest’s lair. The crypt was empty, though the blue-eyed corpses of the priest and his deathlord minions were still there, robbed of their most valuable trinkets. Rebec then stepped up to the word wall. She waited, then Mazoga asked, "Anything happening?" "My feet are sore, that's what's happening. I have no idea what this giant chicken scratch means." "Let's make a copy. Maybe Baldur can read it, or we'll find a book." *** A few days later, Rebec and Mazoga met for a midday meal at the inn. Ragna lay sleeping on a chair next to her mother, wrapped in furs and unperturbed at the ruckus around her. Danica Pure-Spring entered, carrying a bundle on her back, and crossed over to them. “So, admiral. What do you think of my Gildergreen?” “A very impressive twig. Still don’t see what it has to do with Kyne.” “Maybe you will, someday. She will show you.” “She’s been showing me a quite a lot, and I don’t appreciate it.” The priestess smiled. “The lady’s blessings are sometimes strange. I didn’t appreciate having to tend so many war dead, but it made me a better healer. You will be a better warrior for having a spiritual purpose.” “I haven’t got any such thing and I’ll thank you not to talk such rot if you’re going to eat with us. Sit and tell me what’s going on in Whiterun. Do you hear any news of Carlotta or Mila Iron-Brow?” Danica’s face darkened as she sat. “I actually did hear a rumor. Apparently Carlotta died in the fighting down there. There’s no word about Mila, but they say Boldir escaped to Cyrodiil. Your husband sent a company of Grim Ones after him, to bring him back to face justice.” Rebec let out a string of muttered curses. “This is all wrong somehow. Boldir wouldn’t just murder a whole town.” A thought nagged at her. How many towns would Baldur raze if he thought it could save her and Ragna? Or to avenge their deaths? Danica spoke up again. “It will soon be time for me to go back to Whiterun myself. The Stormcloak builders will make a temple on the mountain above the town, but there's one more task the lady set out for me. A temple is no good without a priestess.” Rebec nodded blankly, her thoughts still caught up with worrying what had become of Mila. It took a moment for Danica’s words to register, and to notice that the priestess was looking intently at her. “Now see here. You asking for another beatdown? I want none of this.” The priestess chuckled. "I asked around the town about who would be suited, and I only heard one name. You’re Kyne’s favored, they hear you shouting in the mountains. The builders said the plot I chose for the temple was already set aside for a new home for you and Baldur. In the old days, a temple of Kyne used to be the priestess' home. You see, I know a bit about the old ways, too. Maybe you’re right that Kynareth wants her other aspects to be known in this time. You already have plenty of healers at the fort. The people here want to know their goddess will fight for them.” Rebec glanced at Mazoga helplessly, but the orc just lifted her eyebrows and shrugged, grinning. “I’m going to war with Baldur. If he ever gets home.” “By then another may step up to the task.” “I have no idea how to be a priestess!” “I’ll stay for a few weeks longer. We’ll hold a festival to celebrate the new temple’s founding, and ask the goddess’ blessing on the moot of jarls. You can begin your duties then. Oh, and I brought you something. Forged by Eorlund Grey-Mane from the rarest dragonscale.” The priestess produced a ceremonial breastplate and a midnight blue robe. Rebec held up the breastplate and saw that it was inscribed with the same totem she had seen in Volskygge, the winged woman flanked by orbs. Sighing, she rested the piece back down. “The bitch can’t kill me, but she’s sure enough getting her revenge.”
  31. 5 points
    Nah. I'm a Davos fan books and show. I just like his character, his background, his actions, his beliefs. He's an all-round good guy without being a Mary Sue. Not to mention that GoT is so full of badasses and antiheroes that those have become saturated markets. I like Davos so much because he manages to be likable while moving away from those a bit. Honest, sensible, and good is a rare combination in this show. You'll have a hard time finding many others who have consistently been all three (maybe Sam). Reminds me of Ned if he'd been born as a commoner. He does the right thing no matter what, even if it means defying his beloved king or losing his own life, and he has a positive influence on literally everybody he interacts with. All the while, he's the one of the most loyal dudes in Westeros.
  32. 5 points
    Just paid 75 but apparently it won't show up til 3-5 days. PayPal sucks.
  33. 5 points
    I'm not able to help financially right now but I shared the gofundme page on my Facebook page. I'm sure I have friends who are in a better position to help than I am currently. Best of luck my friend.
  34. 5 points
    Freshly graduated! We outty five hunnit. Hope y'all are having a great night. I'm gonna go get plastered.
  35. 5 points
    Solitude The races of man mer and beast had described to the Bosmer as best they could what the fear of heights was. It seemed like a simple concept to them, but to the Bosmer it may as well have been like an infant trying to explain to an adult why they were so afraid of walking upright. Even the least nimble tree dweller learns to traverse the trees and vines above by the time they learn to walk gracefully. It comes natural. But Maori had a different fear of his own in Skyrim, much like the Imperial City when he got too close to the White Gold Tower. The vastness of Skyrim's mountains never ceased to send chills up his spine, especially from his vertically challenged view. And it wasn't the cold, that much he knew. That he never got used to either however. To Daric, they were a silent comfort. The howling of the winds against their surface above, and knowing that it was far colder up there than it was down here in Haafingar gave him comfort as well. Made it more bearable. Even so, the two were running low on food and the cold was getting more and more intrusive for the two minuscule warriors. When they saw Solitude's awkward land formation in the red splattered horizon, Daric didn't even argue when the Bosmer changed directions heading straight for the city. Neither of them said much of anything on their journey, especially not Maori who was all to aware of the looks the boy was giving him. The battle of Windhelm was still fresh on both of their minds. They went through Riften Hold briefly on their journey, but hadn't ran into any Thalmor. Maori said that they wouldn't, scouts and Justiciar elites had cloaking and invisibility magic at their disposal from at least one of their ranks. That was all he'd said the entire time to him and Daric hadn't responded. It would have continued on like that even still except Daric kept picturing Baldur the day he told him about his intel, then remembering how dumbfounded he was when he heard of Ulfric's death. All of which he had to hear from this smelly elf who wasn't even a native to these lands, and somehow "The Ash King" trusted him more than Daric. "**** this, hey knife ears!" Maori didn't seem to hear him. "Hey. Hey! Carcass breath!" "I know what you're gonna say, you've been giving me the stink eye the whole time. It's too damn cold, wait till we get to the city." Daric kept yelling at him as the elf just kept walking faster. Turning backwards but still advancing forward, Maori said, "I'm serious, shut up kid!" As he did, Maori's point of view began to rise, the earth rumbling beneath his wrapped feet as though a mountain decided to sprout beneath him. Screaming and trying to hold onto the earth, he soon found himself atop the head of a glossy black chaurus the size of a horse, writhing and wriggling out of the earth. Daric had his swords in hand ready to reluctantly charge the beast, but the ground began rumbling once more, bursting forth with pale arms grasping for anything above the surface before revealing their full visage. Meanwhile Maori kept screaming his lungs out whilst the Chaurus kept shaking its great thorny head, spewing dank putrid acid wildly as it did. The things, elves or whatever they were must've been Falmer, Daric surmised from what the Stormcloaks and Nords about Skyrim had said about them, including Baldur. Their strikes were so quick that Daric didn't bother trying to see them. His body merely moved to protect the parts of him that were most vital. The neck, eyes, groin. They slashed wildly, which his cheap chainmail was decent enough at stopping, exposing himself to glance blows to try and find openings. His left sword found itself in the belly of one elf quickly, stopping its advances while the thing tried to gnaw at his neck. The funk of its breath was made visible in the cold, and was almost as volatile as the Chaurus's acid. He cut the thing's head off out of spite before he used his boot to remove his blade. Another elf tackled him as he was doing so, aiding the process, but knocking the swords out of his hands as he fell to the ground. As the others came to aid the slaughter, Daric closed his eyes, placing his hand over the Falmer's head. At once, heat seared its flesh as it screeched in agony and fled into the marsh with a permanent hand print on its skull, cursing the boy in whatever gurgled screeches passed for a language for them. Daric scrambled for his sword and did not have time to see how the elf fared. Running as more of the creatures pursued him, he cast small bolts of flame from his swords periodically to slow them down, then directly towards a partially frozen puddle to create a screen of steam to hide from the twisted figures. It didn't slow them down for a second, and Daric had no idea why. He had no idea that the things were blind, and relied only on their hearing to track him down like wolves. He had no idea how many of them there were or where they'd even come from. But he knew he was alone, with nothing but his father's spells and Baldur's teachings to keep him alive barely as ribbons of blood arched from his body every time one of the things got a blow on the quick but outnumbered fighting protege. Because of his preoccupation with the Falmer, Darin couldn't see the dingy fast approaching, it's occupants paddling hard for the shore. It wasn't until one of the Falmer cried out in pain from the firebolt that slammed into it from behind that Daric, and the rest of the Falmer, took notice. A few split off from their assault on Daric to meet this new foe. They found themselves facing an entirely steel plate clad warrior, wielding sword and shield. Their blows were quick, but their chaurus weapons did little to even dent the plate. The knight bashed and slashed the relentless Falmer, while the rest of the boat's occupants continued to let spells fly. Daric was about to thank the gods, but he'd lost a bit of blood by now and was unsure if the assistance he saw and what he saw next was real or him hallucinating from the bloodloss. Maori who Daric had completely forgotten about was still atop of the Chaurus head. Instead of swinging around wildly trying to keep it from eating him, he was comfortably striding atop of it into battle against what remained of the scampering elves. The sight of their monster mount turned against them and the arrival of the new fire slinging iron knight sent the rest of them in retreat beneath the frozen marshes to lands unknown. All but one remaining elf that began hurling lightning at the new assailants in frustration and desperation. Its leg was lacerated at the heel by Daric earlier, and wasn't going to be able to flee like the others. It cast a summoning spell that brought forth several spectral chaurus and charged the knight and his men in one final push. The knight stepped into the path of the first chaurus and cut it down in one swing, but that allowed another chaurus to clamp onto the knight's plate clad shin. That chaurus dissolved into the salty air when a young Breton man, slightly older than Daric and not wearing armor but glowing with the magical hue of an armor spell, stabbed it through the back with an ice spike. The knight was then free to confront the Falmer mage, who sent bolt after bolt into the oncoming knight. The knight absorbed them, slowing down only after the third bolt. The Falmer struck then, swinging its axe as quickly as possible, trying to find an opening in the knight's defense. It was for naught, though, as the knight knocked the Falmer to the ground with a powerful bash, where it was stabbed through the chest. The final chaurus dissipated, while the fireball aimed at it skorched the ground mere moments after it disappeared. The young Breton man stepped forward, his hands glowing orange with healing magic, and approached Daric. "Dame, guard that hole," he said to the knight. Then, to Daric, "Where are you hurt?" "Everywhere," said Daric before collapsing in the man's arms. Maori stuck a dagger under the bug's shell plate, revealing the soft underpart which he stabbed, killing the thing before his charms wore off on it. "The boy gonna be alright? I'd hate to have to tell Red-Snow his Breton brat got killed by rabid elves. Too soon, you know? Who are you lot anyway?" "He's Prince Roland Adrard of High Rock," the knight answered. She turned her helmeted head to look at the dagger before she went back to watching the hole. Roland was running soft orange magic over Daric, but he soon stopped. "We need to go. I stopped the bleeding but couldn't mend much else." Roland squatted and lifted Daric up, carrying him in his arms. Daric was slightly taller than Roland, but whereas the former was lean, the latter was brawny. As quickly as he could manage it, he walked over to the boat and sat him in, where the other two soldiers were already manning the oars. "Let's go, elf," the knight said, climbing aboard the boat herself. "The name is Maori..." he said, obviously irritated. "What are you lot doing here, yer highness? Where's the fa- uh, the fabulous illustrous King Theodore? You're here for the moot I take it?" The boat set off, with Roland still tending to Daric, though at this point that consisted of keeping his wounds sealed. Roland looked up and answered, "We are. I came in place of my father. What were you two doing out in the swamp?" "Attending to business for the Jarl of Windhelm," said Maori. He hesitated to answer. "Going just peachy already. I gotta get the kid patched up quick, we don't have time to waste here. Guess that means I gotta take him to the court mage. Help me haul him there, I'm sure you're hungry, and as allies to Skyrim, Solitude's Jarl should accommodate you until the moot is called." "That won't be necessary. We're here to meet with the Jarl, her thanes, and some merchants to check in on our trading contracts. We'll then do the same in Windhelm, and travel to the moot from there," Roland explained. They were almost to the docks, the soldiers rowing as quickly as possible. "But we will certainly help your friend. We have a healer at the docks that can better steady him until we get to the court mage." "Good," said Maori. Pausing a moment, then stepping towards Daric, he tore off the boy's blue sash and placed it in his pack. The moot was too close and Maori didn't want to take any risks with a Jarl who had bad history with his friend. Who knows what could happen up until the moot took place. The Thalmor's eyes were everywhere, and ambitious greed even moreso. "I'll run ahead, let the Jarl know she has guests, and make sure the court wizard is ready to assist him." "We'll meet you there," Roland said, his eyes only briefly lingering on the bag Maori put the sash in. It was obvious the reasons for hiding it weren't lost on him, or Dame LaViolette, whose eyes did the same. She nodded to the elf, relaying their understanding, and silence. They docked then, the knight hurrying to fetch the healer, the soldiers helping lift the boy from the boat, and Roland keeping his healing hands pressed on the wounds. Maori watched them briefly, wondering if it wise to trust Baldur's stray to these Bretons, but despite his unkempt wild appearance, he was kin to them. If you couldn't trust kin.... He stopped the thought, knowing all too well that one couldn't even trust kin anymore with the Thalmor's fingers in every pot. But the Bretons had little to gain in siding with Thalmor. The thought was pure paranoia born of simply not liking the disdain in the voice of the woman. In this land, she may as well have had pointy ears. "Pfft, the nerve." Maori had never actually been to Solitude. Aside from the crazy land formation it was on, it seemed like a bit of an extension of a Cyrodiil city. The Imperials had more sense than to build a city on such a thing. The Nords... well, no one ever accused the Nords of being fearful. That was always their biggest problem if you asked him. Instinctively Maori kept to the outskirts of the streets, with all the tall men and women stomping around from shop to shop. He was caught off guard by a pair of Altmer women staring at him, and instinctively grasped his dagger before realizing the two had noticed. "What?" "Where is it that you think you're going, little carnivore?" Maori's nostrils flared as his eyebrows arched. "As it happens, I'm going to see the Jarl and the court mage, butter elf." "In those? Like that?" said the first elf. "What are those?" said the second one, who Maori noted was a bit cuter than the first one, but barely. "Those are my feet." said Maori. The women's dual expressions said everything. "I don't have time for this, I don't care about the approval of two Altmer. I have to-" "Oh this won't take but a moment, and it's not our approval you should be worried about." "Yes, now quit fussing, it's for your own good!" The two worked in unison, one pushing him from behind and the other guiding him along. Before he knew it, he was being stripped naked in front of a pair of strange women and no wine was involved this time. Unfortunately for him neither was the sex and he wasn't doing the pricking either. "Ow, watch where you're sticking that thing!" "Stay still, and we won't prick you! Almost done. There, now, do us a favor and wear this when you go to meet the Jarl. She's far more likely to see you in our attire, compared to how you were before." Maori struggled as they brought him a mirror. He had to admit, after they cleaned him up a bit and combed his hair, put on the new brown elegant robes, he didn't look to bad. "And what did I look like before, pray tell?" "Like a vagabond. Like you were here to start trouble. And that simply won't do, not for an elf in Skyrim." He eyed the two suspiciously. "You two often help random strangers that happen to look like trouble? For all you know, I could be." "You'd be doing us a favor," said one of them. "And, we're trying to do one for you. We know what happened in Valenwood. What's happening in Valenwood." Maori eyed the two suspiciously, but for the first time saw something more than snobby looks in their eyes. The Altmer actually seemed remorseful. His expression softened for a moment until his suspicion began rising again. "What's it to you two anyway? And how would you know? That isn't common knowledge, not here in Skyrim it isn't." "We used to be with the Dominion of course, both of us." Maori drew the same dagger he grasped earlier, its golden tint matching the skin of the one he held it against. "I knew it! I can smell your lot from a world away!" The elven women stayed calm, even as a trickle of blood fell from her neck. The other one stepped behind Maori with her hands behind her back and said, "We were not Thalmor. But we served them none the less. We thought it was the right thing to do, though you know we had no choice in the matter regardless." "Oh so you just had a change of heart when you saw the murder? Smelled the burning flesh? Is that it? Please. And you think some fancy clothes is going to change what happened? Make up for your roles in it? How many did you two kill, hmm?" "We killed no one. We only fashioned the uniforms of the Thalmor Justiciars. You can choose to believe this or not, accept our gift or not, but I will have to ask that you take that blade from my sister's neck. I won't allow you to kill her." Maori removed the blade eventually, licking the blade clean before putting it back in its place. "As if you had a choice in the matter. I'm out of here," he said. The two tried to say something as he left with his travel sack but he didn't give them any time to as he slammed the door shut. Blinking rapidly whilst wiping his eyes, the Bosmer's teeth ground together the entire way back to the Blue Palace. The guards stopped him at the bottom of the stairway before he could even make his way up, putting a hand on his shoulder as they took his pack. "What the hell are you two doing, I have business with the Jarl!" "Not right now you don't, and not until we've searched you." "Search away, the bag's filled with daggers and poisons, and here's my bow and arrows. I'm not an assassin, I'm a soldier for the Jarl of Windhelm, Baldur Red-Snow. I take it you've heard the news. The dumb looks on your face tells me... no? No. Great, where have you two been. Anyway, you know Ulfric has died at least? Ok good. Baldur has taken his place, not the Queen, Velara or whatever. I'm here on business for Baldur, and I need to speak to the Jarl but first I gotta speak to the court mage. Can you bring her here?" The two looked at one another a moment, then back at the elf. As the bars slammed in Maori's face in the Blue Palace's prison, Maori yelled, "You sons of sload sluts, I hope you choke on a blood sausage! Scullery whores!" The guards laughed as they walked away, leaving Maori to seethe to himself. It wasn't long, though, before he heard soft footsteps and cloth lightly dragging along the ground, both barely audible. But the prison was quiet, and somehow grew quieter still as the footsteps moved about. They reached Maori's cell, and the elf found himself looking upon a slender, blue robe clad mage. Her hood was pulled over her face, even though she was indoors. She stood, most of her weight on her right leg, her right hand resting on her hip. She looked at Maori, searching his face and body with unnerving eyes. She stopped the inspection and asked, "You aren't going to struggle, are you? Neither one of us would find it pleasant if you did." Maori hadn't noticed the woman at first and noticeably jumped at her voice. "Excuse me? What are you, an avatar of Molag? No, he'd like it if I struggled... Try anything and I'll struggle your head from your shoulders lady." "If only I had the time to watch you try and fail at that, it might be amusing. But I'm in quite a hurry." She lifted her hand, which glowed in a faint red and black magic, the tendrils it conjured reaching out towards Maori. "Oh yea, well I'll... I'll... what did you..." Maori could feel his eyelids grow heavier by the second. Whatever the mage did to him, he was losing his faculties fast. In fact, he was starting to hallucinate. He could have sworn he saw the young woman baring fangs at him like a khajiit... He drew a hidden dagger from his robe but lacked the strength to even hold it. As he fell to the ground, his only hope remaining was to use his people's birthright, hoping that some creature of the wild would hear his call. In a prison, beneath a palace. "Shit." Sybille Stentor entered the cell, her fangs bared, her eyes locked on Maori's soft brown neck. She heard scurrying behind her and stopped, turning around to see two skeevers running across the room toward her. She conjured up a ball of flame and reduced one skeever to ash. It shrieked as it died. The other skeever leapt into the air, its own fangs aimed at her neck. It never made it, as she caught it on an ice spike she held in her hand. She tossed it to the floor, but before she could feed, she saw a guard descending the stairs. "This had better be important," she said. "Uh..." the guard lifted a finger, pointing to the mer. "We need him. Jarl just ordered the prisoner released. Turns out he was who he said he was, a messenger for Jarl Red-Snow. What happened to him?" "Fainted. I've never seen someone so afraid of skeevers before," Sybille said, with a stare that dared the guard to challenge her story. The guard nodded and went to pick Maori up, lifting the groggy mer to his feet and waking him up. By the time he had, Sybille was gone. "Mmm, not so hard baby. Mmm, seriously." Maori started coughing, kicking his legs when he felt water hit his face, as though he were trying to swim. "Wake up!" The guard dumped another bucket of water over his head. "What? What's going on? Where's the monster?" "Shut up you crazy elf, and listen. For whatever reason, the Jarl has decided to have you for dinner." Maori cleared his throat and wiped the water from his eyes. "That woman I just met was the Jarl?" "Huh? No, that's just Sybille, the court mage. She's the one that healed your friend while you were away. They're probably eating now. I'm escorting you to the dinner table to speak with her, and her other guests. Show her respect or it's back in the dungeon. Got it?" "Aye." Maori was in no mood to be mouthy after what he thought he saw. "Good. Now get moving," said the guard as he tossed Maori a cloth. By the time the two did arrive at the Dinner table, the guests were all well into their meal and a conversation. The guard bowed to Elisif and said, "Jarl Elisif the Fair, I present to you your guest, the elf." "My name is Maori. Ack, damnit!" he cried when the guard hit him over the head to bow. "My name is Maori, Jarl Elisif. The Fair." "Guard! That is no way to treat a guest, apologize to him at once and be off with you!" The guard gave Maori such a look, especially when the mer started grinning beneath all his freakish tattoos. "Stuhn's mercy, elf I'll.... I mean... I'm. Sorry." "Don't beat yourself up too much, eyebrows," said Maori, mocking his accent, as well as his prominent brow. The Jarl snickering at him was all he needed to leave the scene. Maori seated himself once next to Daric, who whispered in his ear, "So, you took my sash but then just blurted out what your purpose was? How stupid are you?" "Not now kid, I'm not having the best day," he said between mouthfuls of rib. He almost choked when he realized who was sitting across from him. "Careful, Maori," Sybille said. "What would Jarl Red-Snow think of us if you choked to death at our dinner table?" Maori's eyes narrowed, the insinuation not lost on him. Though poison was one thing he hadn't needed to worry about, living in Valenwood. He spent his life building up immunities. The boy was another story, but judging from his plate, it was too late to worry about such things now. Seeing Sybille's own plate, Maori said, "That the food must not be very good. Excuse me my Jarl, I don't mean to be rude, I only jest. But I can't help but notice, of everyone here, your court Mage is the only one that hasn't eaten anything." Elisif eyed the court Mage, as if noticing this for the first time. It was of course, the last thing on her mind, as she was more worried about what Red-Snow wanted with her. Falk gave her a nod, and she reluctantly smiled. "Well you're right! Sybille? You always eat so little at my tables. Please." Maori shoved a bowl of fruits and squash her way while he wolfed down a bloody lamb leg. "Of course, Jarl Elisif. Excuse me if I don't have quite the voracious appetite of our guest, though." Sybille plucked an apple and began eating, taking a moment to wipe the juice from her lips. "Delicious, your highness." Maori frowned. He didn't know a thing about vampires but he'd have sworn they couldn't eat food. Wiping the bloody meat juice from his lips, the thought started to leave his mind. Perhaps he was just seeing things, she might've cast a fear spell to intimidate him for interrogation. Prince Roland interrupted then, breaking the awkward silence that had fallen over everyone else at the table. He cleared his throat and said, "Solitude is a beautiful city, Jarl Elisif. You and your people must be very proud of it." "We're more proud that we've managed to maintain its beauty despite the late Ulfric Stormcloak moving the capital of Skyrim to Windhelm, and taking a large portion of our coffers with him," she answered. "From what I understand, all that happened was that the late Ulfric, your husband, took his portion of the hold's coffers with him, which as High King was larger than yours, the High King's wife. And after that, traders started seeking to do business in Windhelm, the new capital, rather than here." Elisif was visibly annoyed. Maori looked at Daric as though he'd just spoken in draconic. Falk sat straight in his seat for the first time that evening. "Boy! You are a guest in our hold, and unless you want to end up the way these Bretons found you, I'd suggest..." "Enough Falk, the boy is right. That is what happened. Ulfric ended our marriage and left me here with my portion of gold to run the city, leaving with his. Gold that was only his because he'd claimed it as such after the war." "That is what tends to happen when one loses. Gold is lost, wives are taken." "What in the hell is wrong with you??" This time it was Maori's turn to speak up. "We shouldn't even be here," said Daric. "We-" "Are going to stay right here until Sybille says you're good to travel again. If it weren't for my hospitality, you'd be dead. Whatever business you have can and will wait until then, I'll not have anyone saying I treated Red-Snow's friends poorly with the upcoming moot. And since it's clear you two, or at least the boy has other things on his mind, and have no interest in me at all as it so happens, I'll have to ask that while our other guests remain, that you keep your mouth shut. Is that clear?" Standing up, Daric said, "May I be excused, your highness?" She signaled for Falk to take him to his quarters where Sybille was treating him. The stress on the young Jarl was clear to all that saw her. Especially when Daric called Ulfric her husband, though stress wouldn't be an adequate word for what she showed then. Neither was it anger. Disgust. "Are there going to be any more outbursts, Maori?" "Don't look at me, I'm just here for the meal and conversation. Something's always up that kid's ass if you ask me, gotta forgive him." "Luckily for you, Elisif the Fair isn't a name given in jest. Now, to our guests. I must apologize to you, I had not intended for such rudeness to intrude on the company of a prince." Lady Gaerhart, the Breton Dowager Queen, waved Elisif's concern away and said, "Young people are emotional. You have been quite hospitable, and kind, to take him in and save him. Hopefully he will soon recognize that." Roland coughed and said, "I can also assure you Breton merchants will always find their way here. Our trading relationship is a fruitful one, for all parties, and we don't anticipate that ending anytime soon." Elisif let herself relax, admittedly glad to hear that she still had support amongst the Bretons. "It will be especially fruitful, on the chance that I become High Queen," she said. Before anyone commented on the likelihood of that happening, she said, "I've already heard the rumors, why you're here. Word is spreading that Baldur is to break even more tradition than he already has, by inviting outsiders to a moot of Skyrim's Jarls. Fear not, I am not opposed to this. It's surprising, but it's a welcome one." Thane Bryling said, "Forgive me for butting in, but I think it's clear to all that the new upstart Jarl wishes to circumvent the authority of the other Jarls with any influence he can muster in the world. A bold move admittedly, but also an obvious one. And risky when the man he replaced was adamant on keeping outside influence out of Skyrim politics." Elisif looked to Maori to see if he would interrupt but the mer was simply listening between mouthfuls. "Aye, risky indeed, but even so, I am worried. This claim of his, this religious fervor that he is building... It's dangerous. I've met the man, spoken to him on occasion. He is charismatic, like his predecessor though not as much then. Still, I worry about what he can do to this land, and with word of more foreigners, supposedly Atmorans or something similar coming to Skyrim on his behalf, it's starting to look more and more like what he claims may even be true. That's what the simple folk will think. That's what some Jarls east of here will think. In that case, outsiders, no offense your highness, will not cause as much harm to his claim to the throne." Looking to them now, she said, "I remember what he said the day Ulfric left this hold with a new wife. The people did not respond to it well back then, certainly not in Solitude, but still, it troubles me, this move to the old ways. You must understand, what he is saying, it isn't dangerous for just me, or anyone else in Skyrim that may be potentially his enemy in his eyes. But to his neighbors as well. Hammerfell I understand, Cyrodiil less so, but High Rock even less. What allegiances do you have to him? There is no reason that you should feel obligated to siding with Baldur Red-Snow over another Jarl in this land." Prince Roland gave the Jarl a small smile, which she later realized was meant to take the bite out of his words. "No official allegiance, no. Our choice in siding with him is because, frankly, we believe he is the best option. There are more senior Jarls, yes, who have more experience governing, but we aren't looking to support a ruler. We want a leader, and Red-Snow is that. Skyrim is going to lead this alliance, and Red-Snow will be the general in charge. Him ruling Skyrim as well ensures that everything that can be done to defeat the Thalmor will be done." "If it is a leader you want," said Elisif, with hesitation. "Then... there is another you might consider. He's possibly the best person to be leading a war like this." "Jarl Elisif," said Bryling again in protest. "You can't seriously mean..." "Jarl Brund Hammer-Fang the Bull," she finally said, her brow wrinkled in tension. "If Jarl Brund Hammer-Hammer-Fang becomes high king, I am to be his second wife. Influence between Solitude and Windhelm will be spread evenly. That would mean more trade would come through Solitude as well, as a sister hold to Windhelm, and I will be able to grant High Rock unprecedented trading rights to Solitude after the great war, when we'll both need it the most. Baldur was not the only one who helped repel the Thalmor invasion, Brund's might was key to their defeat of a Sunbird. Under his rule, you get an equally strong war leader against the Thalmor, but with guaranteed benefits to your father's Kingdom afterwards as well. Brund is also the current Jarl of Markarth, and can grant you the same trading rights there with the Silver-Bloods." "I have heard of him. He cleared the Reach, no small task. But Baldur has proven himself at both Falkreath and Windhelm, had the support of the late High King and was his High General, and built a respectable town from nothing. We won't support anyone but him for High King," Roland said. Lady Gaerhart nodded and wiped her twisted old hands on her napkin. "Why not support Baldur yourself? It would endear you to him and the eastern Jarls, and, if you don't mind my saying so, save your dignity. The Jarl of Solitude should not have to be a second wife. I know there are eligible Breton noblemen who would leap at the chance to be your husband. Or maybe a Jarl or his relations." Bryling gave Elisif a look, but she gave one right back. Bryling clearly had suggested something similar. She gave a sigh that was rooted in frustration but faded in her defeat of the topic. She couldn't tell them the truth of why she resisted supporting Baldur's claim. Yes, she feared his claim not only to the throne but to High King Wulfharth's soul as well. But more than that, it was her only chance to wrestle back control from Windhelm to Solitude. Yes there would be the indignity of being Jarl Brund's second wife, but she had no intentions of remaining as such. Keep your friends close... I can't support that man and what he represents. It would be an affront to my husband, my true husband, Torygg. Who I've already brought shame to by not taking my own life when I had the chance. I must restore Solitude as the capital of Skyrim in his name. Instead of explaining her selfish desires however, she said, "I have a duty to Skyrim to stand against anyone as potentially dangerous as Baldur Red-Snow, against anyone that will bring more death and war to my people and my friends outside of Skyrim. For this, I'll suffer whatever indignities I must." "Oh please," said Maori. "Sir elf, I thought we had an understan-" "I understand only one thing, and it is that you are a fool." "You will watch your tongue! I am the Jarl of-," "You know DAMN well that whatever fears you have of Baldur pale in comparison to what Brund Hammer-Fang brings to the table! You know better than I, you've met the man! Are you seriously going to sit there and tell me that Brund seems like a better choice as High King to you than Baldur?" Guards were approaching the elf now as he erupted out of his seat. "I'm leaving, and I'm taking the boy with me. We'll be fine enough without anymore assistance from...her..." said Maori. "And here. I wasn't going to give you this, figured it was a waste of time. Baldur said that I was to give out these letters in case I came across any Jarls in my travels, to ask for your support in the moot. I still say it's a waste of time but whatever. Do with it as you will." The guard snatched the letter from Maori's hand before he could throw it at her. He protested of course, but the guard ignored him. "Read it please," she said. As the guard prepared to do so, the man parted the seal upon it, and it immediately erupted in smoke. Coughing, the man dropped the parchment on the table, where the smoke gathered before them, and eventually displayed the likeness of Baldur Red-Snow himself. "Well, this is certainly interesting," the smoky apparition said. Looking at the prince, he said, "I can see Theodore in you, but you're way too thin to be him. How goes the king? Couldn't make it I take it?" "What in the blazes??" said Elisif. "What is this?!" "Calm down, it's the workings of my own court mage. He calls himself a druid. Right now, we're all subconsciously communicating through something called a dreamsleeve transmission. It's something similar to what the Thalmor use to communicate, but less efficient since everyone can hear me instead of just Elisif. But no matter. This may be better seeing as how you've got important guests." "Impressive," Sybille said, speaking mostly to herself. Roland said, "No, Jarl Red-Snow, he could not make it. He and my mother are doing well. I'm Prince Roland, heir to the throne of High Rock. This," he motioned to his left, "is my grandmother, Lady Gaerhart, and the man next to her is Duke Theirry, our admiral. We've come in my parent's place." Baldur bowed his head in respect. "I'm very grateful that you've come all this way in his stead, especially you, Lady Gaerhart. I've heard that name before, even in Skyrim, though I confess I don't know the origin. I trust you've met Daric? He's... my ward, son of Maric." Roland bowed back. "We met him. My guards and I saved him and your elven courier. We haven't had much time to talk, unfortunately. He was injured and is still recovering." "I was saddened to miss you when you passed through Daggerfall," Lady Gaerhart said, before Elisif or any of the other members of her court could interject. "I understand you and your wife met my husband, the late King Dilborn. I know he did not give you any assurances of Breton support at the time, but I hope our attendance at this moot demonstrates our commitment to fighting the Thalmor. Even if my old bones may not be able to make it to the top of your mountain." Elisif was getting increasingly annoyed by the hijacking of her company, to Maori's great pleasure. Baldur smiled and said, "Ah, that must've been when I heard your name! So much has happened since... And please believe me when I say this indeed shows me your people's commitment to fighting the Thalmor. Daric has showed me first hand the fighting spirit of your people. It'll be an honor to have you with us. And if you can't make it up the mountain, I'm sure I can have someone carry you! This isn't something you'll want to miss... Oh, and when we meet, communicating may be a bit of an issue until after the moot, you see I...." Baldur's image began to fade as he attempted to explain and the Bretons and Elisif's court could hear the voice of an old man whispering in some forgotten language. "Can't go into detail right now. We're only speaking now because we're connected via our minds. This dreamsleeve transmission is usually maintained by a mage's mind, which I am not. And my Druid is attending business elsewhere. If we can, we must find more of these scrolls the Thalmor have and master the art ourselves. Cyrodiil might know more. In the meantime I must part, I..." "Enough of this! Jarl Baldur, you have shown this court the utmost disrespect! This...you...do you have anything to say for yourself and what you're doing? Ash King indeed!" Baldur turned to Elisif once more, visibly annoyed. Maori said, "She plans to side with Brund Hammer-Fang you know. She's to be his second wife if he wins..." "Really," he said. "Know this, I will be your King and neither Brund or you can change that. What you do now to delay this only serves the Thalmor and puts Skyrim and my family in further danger, as well as all of Tamriel. Think hard on those implications when you meet me." Standing abruptly she said, "You dare threaten me?! I am not afraid of the likes of you!" "It's no threat," he said. "I will not waste more than words on you. Killing you is beneath me. If you had any Nord pride, you'd do that yourself and end the sorrow I sense in you for your late husband. Rather than shame him further by laying with the Bull." He turned to Roland and said with a smile, "Ours I mean." Elisif shot him a look of venom very much unlike her that even made Maori nervous considering whose palace they were in. Her hand reached out as if she wanted to crush the little smokey apparition of Baldur, but it fell back. She wanted to maintain what dignity yet still remained. "This conversation is over. Yol." The word was thought, not said, but they all heard it anyway. Flame encompassed them all and their minds were overcome with Ehlnofex and daedric characters, then a series of 1's and 0's before ancient Draconic began corrupting the code. The last thing they heard before waking up was Baldur saying, "And thank you for protecting Maori and the boy. They are both very dear to me." "It seems the Nords have found magic yet," Lady Gaerhart said, eliciting a smile from Sybille and the other Bretons. The tension in the room didn't dissipate, however, and no one had yet started eating again. Roland offered a new topic for conversation. "Jarl Elisif, has news made it here of the Roscreans returning to Tamriel? We met one of theirs in Farrun, and are sending emissaries to their island. It's my understanding Solitude used to control the island. Will you start trading with them once again?" For a moment it seemed like Elisif hadn't heard them at all, and she didn't respond until Falk cleared his throat. That was the first time she noticed that he'd returned as well. He nodded, letting her know the boy was taken care of. "Trade with the Roscreans, yes I'm sure the sailors will be happy that they don't need to make any long voyages to do so. Occasionally they'd return with stories of their strange people, fantastical stories about talking giants and so on." Her eyes didn't meet any of theirs as she spoke. "There's no reason not to trade with them, and the goods would find their way here from other holds anyway if they're really wandering around Skyrim. We may as well be one of the first." "Do you see any sort of threat from them?" Duke Theirry asked, looking between Falk and Elisif. "If they took to piracy, they would be a formidable force." "I agree, they would be. And given how the Thalmor like to do things in the shadows, it's something that we should consider a possibility," said Falk. "Wouldn't you agree, Jarl Elisif?" "I think that not only does opening ourselves to such a risk seem stupid at this stage of our war prep with the Thalmor, it also seems that if we were going to take such a risk, the new Jarl of Windhelm should have consulted the rest of the Jarls before doing so. We don't know much of anything about them, and now they're fiddling with magic that is not our own, and using it so brazenly in my palace?" Falk cleared his throat again and said, "But I'm sure it wouldn't come to that. They are supposed to be Nords, of a sort after all. Solitude will lead the effort in assuring that these Roscreans will have no need to resort to piracy. In fact, an island nation could prove useful in guarding our trade routes, watching out for enemy ships and so on, if they're to help us in the war. High Rock should think about making an effort to speak with them as well I think, especially while you're in Skyrim. Don't you think Jarl Elisf?" "...of course," she said. "That would be wise." "An emissary is headed to Roscrea as we speak. He will help establish diplomatic relations with their rulers. But I will try and speak to this druid Jarl Red-Snow has employed. The man who visited High Rock did so in the druids' authority, but was not one himself," Roland said. "How are your people readying themselves for war?" asked Jarl Elisif, seemingly snapping out of her bad mood. "I'm curious, even if I myself am not taking an active role, the possibility of becoming Queen makes me want to look for out of the box solutions and be aware of what my allies are capable of." Duke Thierry said, "We spent several weeks clearing the northern and western waters of pirates. It was good practice for our marines and mages, as well as the many sailors who had little fighting experience." "We also recently partnered with the Direnni, so our mages can learn how to best combat Elven magic. And our levies are drilling as much as they can. Our knights, of course, are always prepared. We stand ready to fight once the war begins," Roland said. "These Direnni, I've read about them before. They partnered with Hoag Merkiller once upon a time to fight against the Alessian Cult. I suppose we can trust them then?" "That was a long time ago," said Maori, not so thrilled about the prospect. "Though, some of them may have actually remembered those days. Who knows with mages, and how long they live. Any thoughts on that, court mage?" Maori narrowed his eyes, gauging her reaction. Sybille sipped from her wine glass and licked the excess off her lips. "Everyone knows mages live longer. And Altmer have naturally longer lifespans. Not to mention whatever unnatural means they might use. The Telvanni are rumored to use necromancy, for instance. But the Alessian Cult was so long ago, as you so astutely stated, so chances are no one is still alive that was then. And even if they were, they would be far from human." "Elves are far from human. Or do you mean something else? Like a lich, or a vampire?" said Maori, smirking. "Obviously the latter," she said, shaking her head and rolling her eyes. "I should have expected a Bosmeri bumpkin to get caught up in semantics and completely miss my meaning. I meant that anyone who had lived so long would no longer be a whole person. Lich, vampire, necromancer, whatever magic they used to live from the time of the Alessian Cult until now would take something from them. Such a long and unnatural life has its costs." "Maori, maybe you should go check on your friend," Roland offered, as everyone at the table watched the court mage and messenger square off. They had all stopped eating by now. Lady Gaerhart said, "A sensible idea. He's had a trying day, after all." Maori kept his glare with Sybille for an awkwardly long time. Finally he smiled and said, "Perhaps you're right. I've lost my appetite anyway. Too much bloody meat in my diet. Here, perhaps you'd like to finish my plate," said Maori, dropping a very large portion of rare beef in front of her over the fruit she was slowly nibbling on, blood oozing from where he'd bitten it last. Grinning, he said, "In the name of the Jarl of Windhelm, I apologize for the state of your evening, your grace. I sincerely hope your color returns before you arrive at the moot. Ta-ta." Falk moved as though he was going to throw the Bosmer back into the dungeon, but Elisif shook her head. "Leave him be," she said. "The size of the snowberries on that mer..." he said under his breath. "I must apologize too," she said to her guests. "I came at you with an agenda, when I'm sure what you wanted most was a good meal and rest. I hope you can forgive me, my home's well-being is at stake, as is all of our homes. You handled yourselves well, and regardless of what happens, I do hope that Solitude and High Rock will continue to have a beneficial and friendly relationship with one another." "That is my hope, and my parents' hope, as well," Roland said. Lady Gaerhart added, "You and your husband were always good friends to our citizens and traders, and we would like that to continue. Best of luck at the moot." Elisif nodded, doing her best to smile. "My palace is open to you all, stay for as long as you like. If you'll excuse me I have a letter to write, then I'll be turning in for the evening. Sybille? Please see to our guest. Whatever differences you two have should be reconciled. I don't want to hear any arguing from you two tomorrow at the breakfast table." "Of course, Jarl Elisif," Sybille said. She stood, bowed, and then left at a brisk pace to the guest rooms. She cast a defect life spell and saw Maori alone in his room, so she entered without knocking and locked the door behind her. She said, "Insolent elf. You won't be so impertinent next time." Maori jumped at the sound of her voice, not hearing her approach once again. All of his weapons were gone, but he had a kitchen knife he snagged from the dinner table, coated with garlic. "There, you smell that, she-witch? I know I'm not crazy. I know what you are! Guards!" "No one can hear you, the room is muffled," she said, and with a wave of her hand sent the knife skittering across the floor. She raised her hands and pinned Maori in a chair. "You should know, I'm not going to kill you. Or even hurt you, much, though you likely deserve it. But you cannot be allowed to spread these rumors about me." "I'll come back for you someday, you snaggle toothed bitch. I always bite back. So just get it over with already." Sybille smiled to reveal her fangs. "I somehow doubt you will, this time." She waved her hand and Maori was knocked unconscious. She leaned over him and drank from the vein in his neck, taking her time and drinking him for every drop she needed. When she was finished, she opened his mouth and poured down a potion to stop his turning, then healed away her bite marks with a quick spell. And to ensure he'd never utter her secret, she placed one hand on each temple and began the spell. Red tendrils stretched between her hands and over his head as she muttered under her breath. She probed deep into his mind, searching for the memories and feelings of their previous encounters. She found them, laced with fear and hate, and pulled them out with the crimson tendrils. She conjured a bottle and stored the memories, which were always useful for certain rituals and spells. With that she dissipated the spells in the room and left Maori sleeping in his chair. Daric came barging in sometime later that night, brow tensed up and as always sporting a bad attitude. "What did Baldur say? What's going on?" He demanded, but the elf was out cold. Daric walked over, shook him like a rag doll, then heard the clammer of a mead bottle rolling over the stone floor. "Pfft, light weight. I thought you didn't drink our liquor though..." he said, but he didn't put much further thought into it. His tales of elven fermented meat juice always sounded like drakeshit anyway. Grabbing Maori by the collar, Daric lifted the elf and their gear he stole back from the guards and snuck out of the palace in the thick of night. On his way out he heard two things that gave him pause. The first, the sound of a woman sobbing down a dark corridor, and what he thought must've been a... chuckle? Either way, he was glad to leave the palace and Solitude behind for good.
  36. 5 points
    Albecias awoke, his muscles so stiff he couldn't sleep any longer. He had no idea what time it was, and the darkness of the basement left him nothing to reference. He had tried to feel around for something to aid his escape, but he felt nothing, and he wouldn't have been able to see whatever he found regardless. He guessed he'd been down here less than a day. He tried his best to stretch out, but the size of the cage left him only able to sit up with his back bent over and his arms wrapped around his knees. Practically the same position he'd slept in, only upright. He sat like this, wishing the High General had just killed. He wanted to be a martyr, not a prisoner. At least he had the security of knowing Marillan would release his work, as Fallaise would likely be stopped before she could. As Albecias sat there, awaiting whatever his fate was, he was blinded by a light from the direction he knew the staircase was. He cried out, "Who is it? Help me, please!" Suddenly he could see what appeared to some strange form of blue-white light shine from somewhere nearby, but hidden behind some wall of corner. "Hello? Albecias?" he then suddenly heard a male voice call out from where the light source seemed to be. "Yes? I'm here, down here," he called out, beckoning the voice and the light to come closer. Instinctively, he began to shake the door of the cage, trying to free himself, to go to his savior. He could tell by the voice it wasn't Ceno. Soon enough the source came into view, which he could then see to be a magic light orb. The orb was floating above the palm of the hand of some tall, man shaped figure. Though the light proved so strong for his eyes that had grown so used to the darkness that Albecias was forced to avert his gaze before he could get a good look at who it was. The man walked up to the cage and began to fiddle a bit with the lock. Albecias could get a half decent view of the man's clothes, which were somewhat colorful in red, black and gold, suggesting that the man might be some kind of nobleman. Then after a couple of seconds the cage was unlocked and the door hinges screeched lowly as the cage door opened. Albecias crawled out like some primordial creature, awkward and stiff-jointed and half-blind. He rose and stretched his back before rubbing his eyes. By the time the adjust, he could clearly see the man before him was none other than the Emeperor. His Nordic features were hidden in shadow and his long black hair, though he was easily recognizable from his scar and beard. Much more deferent than he'd ever been before, Albecias bowed and said, "Thank you, thank you Your Majesty. What has happened? Where is Ceno?" "A guard overheard his... confessions when he interrogated you. General Ceno is currently under arrest during further investigation." the Emperor said, sounding a bit troubled as he did. "Good news is that you are now a free man." he then continued with a more cheerful tone and outlook. "Thank you, sir. I knew the truth would be revealed soon enough." Albecias smiled, echoing the Emperor's own happiness, but like an inverse version he grew more dour. "But what about his meeting with you? Did he not tell you then about my 'crazed' ramblings?" "No." The Emperor looked a bit confused for a second. "He told me he had caught a spy from High Rock." "Well, my liege, I am glad this was settled. You can be sure the rest of Cyrodiil will soon read about his treachery. I feel obliged to mention I discovered his plot a while ago, and came to coerce a confession. It seems I did just that, though not how I imagined." "You did a good job. You should go home and celebrate. Though I would suggest laying a little low for a while as I'm sure Ceno had other accomplices within the Legion." "General Lithin and Retrius to be exact," Albecias said, a smug grin plastered on his face. "They both expressed willingness to support Ceno for Emperor, and I believe they are his accomplices to that end." "Hmm. I'll have to look into that." Krojun said thoughtfully. "Though your part is now done. Come. I'm sure you want to see the sun again." Albecias followed Krojun and realized he very much did want to see the sun again. He knew he hadn't been imprisoned long, yet it seemed an eternity since he'd been outside. But as always his fame, and thus his work, was chiefly in his mind. And so he said, "Of course, I am more than happy to be of service again should you need it. But for now, I think I will be content to see Cyrodiil saved." They soon came to the entrance to the palace, and there Albecias stood soaking up what he surmised to be the morning sun. "Goodbye Mr Albecias. Go home and celebrate. Now if you excuse me, I got some business to attend to." the Emperor said. As the Emperor left, and Albecias did the same, he wondered what all this might mean. He would undoubtedly grow more famous than ever, and he even imagined going down in history as one of the most important writers ever. He saw riches and titles and ever more important stories pouring in. So great were his fanciful notions his fame that he scarcely noticed he'd arrived before his apartment. There was a young woman standing by the front door, which only residents possessed the key to. She was pretty, with long brown hair and doe eyes, holding a copy of some book, dressed in a nice blue dress which seemed to be the color of the sky. As Albecias grew closer, he noticed it was his book she was holding, one of his first ones about some gruesome murders in Anvil. In her other hand was a small woven basket with a cloth covering it. She noticed him too, her eyes lighting up and her mouth moving but nothing coming out, so great was her excitement. "How may I help you?" Albecias asked, wishing he didn't look so dirty and dingy in his clothes. "Are you Albecias Plebo?" she asked with some self-restrained glee. "Yes I am. How did you find me?" he asked, excited to be meeting someone who was obviously a fan of his. It seemed as though this day was getting better and better by the second. "I wrote a letter to your book publisher." she said. Her gleeful smile unwavering as she stared at him with wide eyes. "Well, I'm certainly glad found me. What can I do for you?" "Well, that could take quite a while. Shall we go inside? To a tavern, maybe." "Yes. Know any good taverns?" "There's one right down the street," Albecias said, pointing it out. "If you'll follow me." Albecias led the way, and once they were seated Albecias asked, “What'll you be having?" "Some wine. Maybe some of that Skingradian Lifeblood, just like in your book." Albecias called a waitress over and said, "Two glasses of Skingardian Lifeblood." The server took only a few minutes to return, pouring their glass and leaving the bottle. Albecias took a sip and said, "You really are a big fan, aren't you?" "Yes, I am. Can you tell me where you got your inspiration? How much of the stories are based on real events?" she said, her eyes wide with anticipation. "I've done some extensive traveling, especially when I hear about a particularly heinous or unique crime. So many of my stories are at least inspire by true events," he said. He took a long drink of his wine, remembering the Emperor's advice to enjoy today. "Can you tell about your travels and those events?" "Well, in that book," he pointed at The Murder of the Fishmongers, which was sitting upon the table between them, "I tagged along with a guard captain who was intending to retire at the end of the week. Instead he found himself with a serial murderer prowling the docks for months, preying on fishmongers and sailors. It was a maze of a case, and eventually he discovered the culprit was a man seeking to attract the attention of Mehrunes Dagon with murders in his name. But they weren't sacrifices, as his mental faculties were too far-gone to accomplish that. He was so nondescript and at home on the docks, though, that far too many people for the description, and made finding him difficult." Albecias took another drink of his wine and refilled his glass. He had never talked to a fan like this, and was enjoying it as much as she was. "So what happened? How did you find him?" "We eventually took to stalking the docks at night, and were fortuitous enough to catch him in the act. He and the guard captain fought, and he prevailed. I obviously dramatized the events for the book, but it was nonetheless an exciting investigation." "What can you tell about the inspiration behind Blood on the Rose?" "Well, that one is obviously set in Evermor. I wasn't personally able to go to the city, but my acquaintance who lived there kept me well informed. As you well know, the disappearances started in the winter..." Albecias continued on this tale, relating the events of that story as his fan listened intently. As he did, and she asked more questions, he drank more and more of the wine. By the time he finished he'd drank his way through two bottles, and was more than feeling the effects of it. He tried to apologize, but his words were slurred. The second time, they came out correctly. "I'm sorry, I seem to have drank all the wine. My apologies." "No need to apologize. I can buy some more if you need." "No no, I've had plenty. It is delicious, though, one of my very favorites. That's why it made it into the book, you know," Albecias said. He reached for his glass to drinks the last drops still clinging to the side, but knocked it over in his drunken clumsiness. The woman seemed however unfazed by Albecias clumsiness. Though she had also a bit to drink, however not nearly as much as Albecias. "Waitress! Another round of wine." she called before returning to Albecias. "So how did you get into writing?" she asked. "Oh, I have always been great at it. Natural talent that once recognized has vaulted me here," he spread his arms, indicting the tavern, but more likely meaning the city. "Now I am famous, the greatest author in all of Cyrodiil. No! Tamriel!" "What got you into writing detective novels?" she asked as the waitress came and refilled their glasses. "The murder and mayhem make them ripe for drama! Especially when you're dealing with low level guards, who usually only seek to get home safely at the end of the day." Albecias took another drink and leaned back, closing his eyes for a moment so the room would stop spinning so much. "What is your next novel going to be?" "Oh, no novel. But I do have a story that will break soon, which will shed light on the greatest political plot since...well, since High Rock seceded. But it's even bigger than that, as you'll soon see!" Albecias took another drink, then looked out the windows of the tavern. "What time is it? We should be going, I think. You can come see my home! It is exquisite and tasteful, I assure you." "I'm sure it is quite big. You must be making lots of money from your novels." she said almost sheepishly. "Oh yes, I am quite rich. You wouldn't believe how much money I have. I'm positively swimming in septims." "Really?" she said with humorous disbelief. "Come to my house and you shall see." Albecias stood, but nearly fell. He braced himself against the table with one hand, and grabbed the bottle of wine with the other. "Can't forget this." "Cheer! To lots of money!" She raised her glass that still had a little left They toasted, Albecias drinking half the bottle of wine when he did. Then they walked back to his house. Though it wasn't far from the tavern, Albecias was forced to lean on his fan for support the entire time, so it took them considerably longer than expected. By the time they made it, Albecias had finished off the bottle of wine and threw it against a building. They went up together, and the last thing Albecias remembered was lying down on his bed and removing his clothes, and then his fan doing the same. When Albecias finally woke up, sometime afternoon, he had a splitting headache. He rose, rubbing his eyes, and walked into the kitchen. When he got there, it took him a few moments to realize what was wrong. There was nothing there. No food, no drinks, and when he turned around to face his living room, all his vases and decorations were gone as well. He ran back to his bedroom and saw the decoration there were gone as well. And when he threw open his wardrobe and chests, all his clothes, gold, and everything of value was gone. There was no sign of his fan, the obvious culprit. He felt so dumb to have allowed himself to fall for such an obvious scam. He went back to the kitchen and went through the cabinets again, looking for anything to eat or drink. This time, eyes less foggy and head throbbing less, he found a bottle of ale tucked away in a corner. He popped off its corks and took a drink. It was soothing on his sore throat, but tasted different than any ale he’d ever tasted. He turned it around to look at the label and saw it was a Nordic variety, with some berries he hadn’t heard of mixed in. It tasted fine, and he soon finished the bottle. He was about to begin formulating a plan to get his publisher to bring him some clothes when he started seeing flashing red and green lights. He rubbed his eyes, but when he opened them he thought he saw movement down the hallway. Then he heard the growling. It was a guttural, booming growl, like massive boulders splitting apart. When Albecias ventured a peak down the hallway, he saw a long limbed, sharp-clawed beast with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth crawling out from the wall. The wood stretched in an unnatural way as the claws dug out, but Albecias didn’t wait around to see the result. He bolted instantly from his apartment, sprinting down the stairs faster than he’d run in years. Every time he turned around, though, the monster was always right on his heels, and he could feel the claws swiping at the air just behind him. Albecias burst onto the crowded midday street, screaming for people to scatter, pleading for them to get out of the way so that he might flee the horrible creature chasing him. Instead, they looked at him in confusion and derision, and laughed at his mania and nakedness. He saw two guards and ran too them, grabbing them and pointing toward his apartment, yelling about the monster chasing him. Instead, one hit him with the blunt of his blade, and knocked the author unconscious. This time when Albecias awoke, he was clothed. He had on a roughspun wool tunic, and sat behind the bars of a cell in the Imperial Prison. Two guards stood over him, both reading several pieces of paper, pointing and laughing at things on the page. When they realized Albecias was awake, they looked up and turned their points and laughter upon him. “Albecias Plebo, greatest man, greatest author to ever live,” one of them said. It took a few moments for Albecias to realize he was reading from the article. “Presents to the noble citizens of Cyrodiil a tale so astounding, it is nearly unbelievable. And yet, all the things I say are, in fact, true.” “Are they true, Plebo?” the other guard asked. “Is the Emperor really an ancient vampire that used Amaud Motierre’s blood and the ‘power of Molag Bal himself’ to bind Dales’s soul to his own?” "After she drew up a bath filled with her father's blood while cackling like a banshee, of course," the other added. “Yes, mustn’t forget that part. Very integral to her ascension, that was,” the guard said. “And then of course High General Ceno, famously a harsh and cruel man, discovered this nasty bit of magic. And then constructed a plot of his own, wherein he and the Legion generals would overthrow the Emperor and Empress and Ceno would rule.” “Ah, how smart Ceno was to have Lorgar Grim-Maw write you, Plebo. You discovered the whole thing yourself, off of Lorgar’s accusations! You truly are a genius of our times.” The guards burst into laughing, and tossed the article into Albecias’s cell. He grabbed the copy of the Black Horse Courier and read over what was supposed to be his article. Instead it was…something else. Several details were there, but most of them were replaced with horrible lies or gross mischaracterizations of what the author had discovered. The Black Horse Courier had prefaced the article with a note that it did not support the views expressed by Albecias. Even worse, the following article was a tear down of everything Albecias had written, and threw the Courier’s full support behind the Emperor, Empress, and High General. Albecias threw it across the room and curled into a ball, not caring in the least what happened next, or whether he should even live a single day longer. ** Serivus Marillan Imperial City As Albecias Plebo was being imprisoned by High General Ceno, Serivus Marillan was in the midst of his own problems. His manor was still a mess, his furniture destroyed, and he had yet to remove all the bloodstains from the floors. Sibbi Black-Briar had brought nothing but trouble, and even worse, he had dragged the Elder Councilor’s good name through the mud by turning his manor into a war zone. Of course no one really spoke ill of Sibbi, as he had clearly been the victim of ruthless and bloodthirsty assassins, yet the other nobles could not believe an Elder Councilor could allow his own house to turn into such a slaughterhouse. After all, what kind of person allows their guests to be killed by brutes while they flee to the countryside? It made Serivus sick to think all of this had happened and he was being blamed for it. And his house was still far from being cleaned, even when he was ready to move past the events Sibbi had brought down upon him. As Serivus was bemoaning his fate, there was a knock at the door to his solar. “Come in,” he said, looking out the window where one of the assassins had supposedly jumped after killing Sibbi. One of his guards came in, the guard who Serivus had sent to tail Albecias Plebo. His arrival made Serivus remember his agreement with the author, to reveal his article in exchange for not being closely attached to Sibbi Black-Briar. But after Sibbi had died here, any hopes of keeping his distance were quickly dashed. “He never came out of the palace,” the guard said. “Thank you. You’re dismissed,” Serivus said. He then took out the article from his desk. Reading it, he realized it was even more ridiculous than he remembered. Especially how little he seemed to understand General Ceno. Without a second thought, Serivus walked over to the fire and tossed the article in. Though he couldn’t yet put Sibbi’s murder behind him, he could at least be rid of the author and his blackmail attempt.
  37. 5 points
    Looks like the pints are on us all around, we're so happy to share this experience with our TESA family once again! Last time around with BabyflcnRider lots of folks messaged wanting to know how they can help or send gifts. For that reason we've set up a Dollars for Diapers program on Diapers.com where folks can gift any amount they like toward building a diaper fund for our cubling. Thanks for all of the support we receive from our membership here in regards to our family, you are special folks. Updated 09/04 4:45 EST: It's Cubling Day! We are heading to the hospital to welcome our newest cub!
  38. 5 points
    It is prudent to add a No Commercial Use clause to your mod permissions if you wish for your work and derivatives of to remain free, but let's be brave and not strip our mods away from the community out of fear mongering. Mod theft has always been and will always be a present part of our community, where there are givers, takers follow. That paid mods now exist on Steam does not elevate that risk, free mods are stolen every day and rehosted for free too, don't let that stop you from creating. If all the artists of the world hid away because there might be thieves in the woods, there would be no more art, that's no way to live creatively. As for TESA, we have always supported a modder's right to choose what happens with their work like any other artist, we support their right to choose if they want to charge for their Steam hosted mods as long as the content is theirs or Bethsoft's obviously. That said, TESA was created during a time when the community was breaking at the seams, we built this place to house the spirit of creativity, collaboration, and a sharing of knowledge/support, to form an Alliance of modders to preserve the future of modding. Those remain the tenets of this site our knowledge, our community, our mods, will always be free here and modders will always have this place to shelter in. ...we also have cookies
  39. 5 points
  40. 5 points
    I came here as a refugee from the heavy handed moderation at TESNexus (now Nexus mods) and having to threaten legal action to get my mods and project threads taken down from there after they removed my access. You guys welcomed me with open arms and no judgments about being kicked out from there. It's rare I find a group of people that share my interests, and less so when I find a group that is knowledgeable enough for me to really get something out of the community. I know I don't participate as much as I'd like to here and I don't post even 1/5 of what I should of my mod I'm working on (I'm actually kind of paranoid people will steal things from me so I'm keeping as much under wraps as possible and I agonize for days on what I could possibly share. I almost had a heart attack when I saw someone do another complete race overhaul that made the races skyrim-esque several months after I had shared that that was one of the major goals of my mod with progress shots (I'm still going ahead with that portion of the mod, and hopefully some people will like mine over theirs) but broad things like that are to be expected I guess especially since they've been done before sort of. I'm happy I have a place here to share my work and ask questions when needed. I miss some of the experts over at the Nexus I was on friendly terms with and we collaborated and shared a lot. When I re-registered over there so I could private message them for help (they had no other way to contact them) they IP banned me lol :/. This space makes me happy because there is simply no drama here, just questions and answers and friendly chats on the slow days . And above all I'm thankful that you guys are hosting my work, even if I have gone missing for long periods before as I had some chaos in my life and had to move several times, and you've never knocked me for my ambition to one day work for Bethesda. I plan on building a website around it for portfolio purposes, but I also plan to give you guys as much credit as is due in that as well. Thank you.
  41. 5 points
    Hello TESAlliance ! First I would like to present myself. I'm JohnAzerty, 24 years old and I'm from France. I came here to present you the mod I'm currently working on : The Elder's Island.It is a big new world I started a few months ago. It's my very first World, I already built a few cells with the CK but this mod is totally different from what I've done so far. Some of you may know me from Minecraft because I built a few big things such as The Mass Effect Presidium. But recently I decided I would stop Minecraft to focus on my work with Skyrim. So here we are. Here are two short video previews of the Elder's Island. Tropical Side of the Island : Desert Side of the Island : I started the Desert Part three weeks ago. It is pretty long and tiring. I'm doing my best to diversify the landscape/areas but it's pretty hard for a desert... Because it's a desert. It's really long because I'm almost alone on this project. Tamira helped me with some objects I needed in the game such as Cactus, Dead trees, etc. and I use a lot of her mods. I'm looking for people to help me complete this mod. I particularly need Interior builders and Dungeon Builders. If someone is interested in doing quests, it will probably come later once a few dungeons are done and the villages ready. The main problem is I don't know how I can make this work, if there's a way to fuse someone's ESP (for example who worked on a dungeon) with my Island ESP. If anyone knows how to deal with this, I'm interested ! If you are looking for Screenshots, click on these buttons and you'll reach my website (no adds or anything else) : Here is a list of a few mods I used for this Island : GKB Green Trees by Ga-Knomboe Boy New Plants 1.2 by Tamira Hoddminir Water Plants by Elinen and Ztree Strotis old cabin resource by Stroti and Tamira Antique Statue by Tamira Special thanks to Tamira who really helped me and encouraged me a lot
  42. 5 points
    hey folks i know ive been member here for nearly 2 months now, but i forgot to say hello... well, hello ***** lore about me: there was once a young dude, that stumbled upon a game called "tes 3 - morrowind" ... after picking a first darkelf char, he realized fast that they suck for him and spend a while thinking about what would fit best to him... he picked an orc, and named him "Ragna-Rok", saved morrowind, defeated dagoth-ur and became the latest incarnation of the nerevarine. years would pass, before this sould would be reborn in "tes 4 - oblivion" ... after battles and adventures, he helped to defeat the invading deadric forces, became a knight of the nine and even took sheogoraths place. once more years would pass, and after Ragna-Rok secretely gave sheogoraths place to another mortal, his sould would be reborn again in skyrim. after fighting lots of dragons, beasts and humanoids, he started to wonder... why? why are orcs known as the best blacksmiths in all of tamriel, with gear that always gets the job done, and at the same time few orcish blacksmiths went on new ways, tried new methods of craftmanship and improved diversity of orcish killing tools? ... and so he started to create his own brutal weapons and armors. now, we jump a couple of months... after crafting over a hundred weapons and half a dozen armors, Ragna-Rok looked for a place to teach other adventurers his skills, so that also they could wield his brutal creations after crafting them ... and finally ended up in a realm called "TesAlliance". ***** since im about to retire from active modding when ive done a couple of more projects i was looking for a nice non-nexus site to move my files to. considering the fact that a couple of tutorials here helped me a lot with figuring out a bazillion of problems its just fair and just for me to put my stuff here. so i didnt come alone and empty handed, actually i just finished uploading skyrim-mod number 47 here... hope you enjoy some of my stuff, and in general have a nice time folks, and have some fun
  43. 5 points
    Hey everyone! New here. I came across the site and was surprised I've never seen it before. Tons of people on here, a lot of active members. Looks awesome! In the 5 minutes after I created an account, I posted a question regarding scripting for a mod idea (which was done prematurely as I needed to have at least 1 approved post before), switched my Theme for the site and now I don't know how to get it back, (i'll figure it out), and a fly flew into my sweet tea. All I've been thinking about for the last 2 hours was getting some sweet tea, and now that I have some, jeff goldbloom decides to kamikaze divebomb right into my tasty beverage. I'm a bit grumpy about it. I'm from Indiana, U.S. We only have one basketball team here, FYI. I started playing TES games when Morrowind was on sale at WalMart years ago. And....now I'm pretty much a fan for life. I'm a Demopublican...cause, anymore...why the hell not. My religion is Pizza and French dressing. I have converted every single naysayer so far. Repent now and get saved by trying french dressing on pizza. Take care! Dustin
  44. 5 points
    Hey there c: I'm Toast-not legally, but I see no need to post my legal name here. o.o Been playing Skyrim since 2011, though I only recently bought it for the PC and have loved it every bit of the way. I'm based in Ohio, have a cat who I like more than most people I know, and have very strong opinions. Believe it or not, I am female. My favorite style of play in Skyrim is a combined stealth/mage type thing. I don't actually know what else to put here. Feel free to talk to me if you ever feel the need, though! I don't bite. c:
  45. 5 points
    Congratulations on moving up to Wrye Bash! Your mod-using (and mod-making, if applicable) is about to get so much easier. This guide assumes you have downloaded & installed Wrye Bash, and you are able to launch it successfully. If Bash doesn't start and you are using the Python version, switch to the Standalone version unless you want to troubleshoot Python. Once Bash has launched, click on the Installers tab. Bash will ask you if you want to enable Installers, say yes! Bash will create a folder for you called Oblivion Mods or Skyrim Mods parallel to your root game folder. This is where you will drop your archives (7z/rar/zip files) of mods. You can change this folder's location at any time in bash.ini, which you create by duplicating & renaming the bash_default.ini located in the Data\Mopy folder. ~ 1) Simple Packages When you pack a mod for distribution, you put all its files in a mock Data folder and archive it so that the user can extract it right into their Data folder. Mods packed this way are already simple BAIN packages! They may contain any number of masters or plugins or assets, but their manual installation would just be drag-and-drop. **NOTE: When making a simple BAIN package, do not include the Data folder itself in the archive - the root of the archive needs to be the mock Data folder, rather than contain it. Redundant folders are bad, and also redundant.** To install a simple BAIN package, move or copy the archive to the folder the Bash created for you. In the Installers tab in Bash, right-click the archive from the package list on the left, and choose Install. BAM. Done. If you are a soon-to-be-former-FOMM/OBMM/NMM user, you will notice that this is pretty much identical to creating or installing a simple omod/fomod. The only major difference is that you can leave your mods in regular 7z/rar/zip packages instead of having to repack them in a proprietary format that no other software can read or use. Many mods will already be BAIN-friendly when you download them, and won't even need repacking. 2) Complex Packages A typical complex BAIN package, once extracted, might contain folders like this: [00 Core Files (Required)] [01 SkyRe Patch] [02 Optional Red Textures] [02 Optional Blue Textures] [02 Optional Green Textures] [03 donnbro is a coolbro] Each of these folders is a mock Data folder containing a simple package. Of course, the folders are not named Data, because there are multiples, and that would beget a paradox, and the world would end. So like this, with a bit of expanding: [00 Core Files (Required)] ----CastleYevic.esp ----[Meshes] ----[Textures] [01 SkyRe Patch] ----Castle Yevic - SkyRe Patch.esp [02 Optional Red Textures] ----[Textures] [02 Optional Blue Textures] ----[Textures] [02 Optional Green Textures] ----[Textures] [03 donnbro is a coolbro] ----Beard.esp The reason these folders are prefixed with numbers is to make sure they appear in a specific order in the Sub-Packages window. Files from lower folders will overwrite files from higher folders; thus, the top folder is most always the base mod, and the later folders are generally alternates, options, addons, or patches. You will note that there are multiple folders prefixed with 02, all seeming to be the same thing in a different color. Folders with the same number prefixes are meant to be installed one at a time, not together. Choose only one 02 folder when you install this package. You do not explicitly have to prefix your folders with numbers for the BAIN package to work. You could just as well have these folders: [Super Original Sewer Exit Care Package] [Super Original One-Shot Kill Mace] [Super Original Glass Armor Recolor - Red] [Super Original Chest of Daedric Weapons in IC BONUS REDUX!] And that would be fine too, since all of them are functionally independent mods, and you've zipped them all up together for what I'm sure is a very good reason. To install a complex package, highlight the package from the installers tab, and note on the right that all of the folders are listed there with checkboxes as "Sub-Packages". Tick the boxes for the folders you want installed. Then right-click the package from the package list again, and choose Install. Bash will install all of the selected content in order, so the lower folders overwrite the higher folders. It's like load order, but it's install order. Ok?! OK! Complex BAIN packages are a great way to avoid having like fifty freaking files on your download page, too, which is good to avoid unless you hate your users. You can include all options in one intuitively-organized package that works for Bash users and manual installers alike; and unlike FOMM/OBMM/NMM, you can set it up by sheer folder structure, instead of having to write a script. 3) Esp/m Filter Regardless of if the package you are installing is simple or complex, there is a little box on the right in the Installers Tab called "Esp/m Filter" that allows to you tick boxes to filter which masters and plugins get installed from the current package. This is handy if a simple package contains multiple plugins and some are optional or you are meant to choose only one. It also means more packages can stay simple packages, which saves you time, since that is usually how they are when you get them. 4) Wizards Some BAIN Packages come with a "Wizard". These are very much like OBMM or NMM installer scripts, in that the wizard will walk you through the various options of installation. If a package has a wizard, then it will have a little magic wand overlay icon on its tickbox. You can right-click the package and choose "Wizard" from the context menu, and then follow the prompts for installation. Note that unlike in NMM and OBMM, scripts are NOT required by all complex packages. Everything you could want to accomplish in a BAIN install can be done by judicious folder structuring. Wizards are going the extra mile to provide users of comparison screenshots and longer descriptions during the install process purely as an act of kindness. Writing wizard scripts is not covered in this guide. **NOTE: One of my favorite things about Bash is that it remembers all of your install options for each package, including which subpackages you've selected and your choices with the Esp/m Filter. This makes uninstalling and reinstalling a mod absolutely trivial, because you don't have to go through the whole process again unless you want to install the same mod with different options.** 5) Install Order & Annealing You may recall with FOMM/OBMM/NMM that if two omods/fomods contained the same file, the one installed later would overwrite the one installed earlier, just like with a manual install. This is also true for BAINs. However! Bash remembers the installation order of your packages. So when you uninstall the later version, Bash will automagically replace the now-missing file with the version from the earlier package that was previously overwritten by the one you just uninstalled. You follow? OK! This has the major benefit of allowing you to do things like re-arrange the "install order" of your packages after you've installed them without having to re-install them and any packages they conflict with. You can drag and drop packages up and down in the list just like you can drag and drop esp/m files in your load order. And just like load order, as mentioned, the last one to load "wins". So you don't have to, like, plan your replacer installs. Just throw it all in there and let Bash sort it out. When you re-arrange your install order after installing multiple packages that conflict/overwrite, you will notice that one or more packages may be highlighted in bright yellow. This means the files installed don't match the install order anymore, and this package needs to be Annealed. Right-click it and choose Anneal, or right-click the Package bar at the top of the Installers tab and choose Anneal All. This will make sure the installed files are all from the correct packages again per your install order. 6) Context Menu Functions You can right-click any package to get a handy context menu for that package, or the Package bar at the top to get a global context menu. Here's what some of the most handy stuff does that might not be obvious. The status bar in Bash will also tell you what stuff does when you hover over it. Refresh Data - Bash will do a quick re-comparison of what's installed versus what's in your BAIN packages. Full Refresh - Bash will go through ALL of your packages and re-tally their contents from scratch and compare them with what's installed. This is rarely necessary, but if you think Bash is telling little white lies about what files are where, this will make it 'fess up. It can take a few minutes depending on how much stuff you have. Add Marker - Adds a little divider in the packages list. You can have any many as you want with whatever names you choose, handy for grouping things to make them easier to find. Create Project - You can actually have loose folders in your Mods folder that can be installed just like zipped packages. Bash calls these "projects", as this is a common way to handle wipz. A project has a diamond tickbox instead of a square one. Create Project simply allows you to create one from within Bash instead of via Windows Explorer. Clean Data - This will move all files that are not from a BAIN package or the vanilla game to a backup folder for you. A great way to clear orphan files out of your game. Skip * - These various toggles tell Bash what kind of files to ignore from BAIN packages. This can help you avoid installing screenshots and other download bloat to your Data folder. **NOTE: When you include multiple docs or images in mods that you package, put them in their own folder prefixed with a double hyphen (such as "--Docs"), and Bash will ignore that folder. This way, you can make sure users get the documentation they need without having their game install littered with it. If you only have a single readme, convert it to .txt or .rtf and leave it in the root of the archive like normal; Bash will detect it and move it to the users's Data\Docs folder.** 7) Mods Tab Once you have all your packages installed, go to the Mods tab. This is where Bash shows your load order. If you have another load ordering utility that you favor, you can keep using it and ignore this portion of Bash. Re-ordering mods in Bash is just drag-and-drop. You can also use CTRL+up or CTRL+down, if you prefer keyboard. There are a multitude of things you can do to esp/m files in Bash, I'll just mention a few that I've found super handy. You will note that when you highlight and esp/m, on the right the masters of that file are listed. You can right-click any master, choose "Change To...", and browse to different esp/m file. This is great when you are de-isolating plugins or using the bait-and-switch method of esp mastering. You can also edit the author and description fields of any plugin. Unfortunately, putting one's name on one's plugin seems to be a lost art in Skyrim modding, so be prepared to see 90% of your mods as being authored by DEFAULT. He is one prolific dude, I must say. Likewise, you can also add or remove Bash tags. If you copy the Bash tags to the mod's description field, then Bash will auto-detect the tag in the future. Want to get started putting Bash tags to use? Then you're ready for alt3rn1ty's Pictorial Guide to Wrye Bash , which is like this guide, but more complete, and less nubbish. If you right-click the File bar at the top of the Mods tab and choose "List Mods..." a new window will appear with a copy-able plain text list of your whole load order. This is great for getting help with mod issues, as most people will want to see your load order to help you troubleshoot. You may notice some mods in the list state a version number. Bash does not have psychic powers, despite evidence to the contrary; if the word "Version" is in the description field of the mod file, Bash will print the following number as the mod's version in the list. Filling in the field description is yet another lost art; this new generation of modders really likes to keep us guessing, so you will only see this sometimes. From the same context menu, you can also choose "Load..." which gives you a handy submenu to activate or deactivate all or Bethesda-only mods in your load order at once. Oh, and of course, here is where you can make a Bashed Patch. A Bashed Patch takes certain conflicting data from your esp/m files and mushes them all together into one big patch so that you can have your FCOM and your All Natural too. You can also add various optional tweaks to it, which can eliminate a lot of little tweak mods from your load order, such as changing horse turning speed or arrow speed or the encumbrance multiplier or light flickers, etc. These tweaks will apply globally in most cases, including to mod-added objects. If you want to make a Bashed Patch, and you're pretty comfortable with what you've read here already, then it's time to take the next step . ~ Now you know enough to switch to BAIN as your way of installing mods and NEVER LOOK BACK. It will go miles towards helping you keep your game installs clean and your mods organized. I don't know about FOMM or NMM users, but OBMM users may find that the only reason to keep OBMM installed is to unpack mods that only come in .omod format, and to handle the rare shader mod that uses OBMM's EditShader function (you'd know if you had one). I myself haven't actually found any reason to install NMM, as Bash has worked beautifully for handling my Skyrim installs just like it did for Oblivion. That's it, off you go then!
  46. 5 points
  47. 5 points
    What is it? Almost all modders out there are looking for that special something to make their mod unique and add charm. The Skyrim Resource Kit Project is a simple one stop shopping area to look for custom resources - models & textures. The Resource Kit itself is a collection of models & textures created by volunteers and donated by the community for TESV:Skyrim. Where do I get it? Here is the Download page. Pick what you'd like. What's in it? Anything. Clutter, architecture, creatures, new armor texture sets... whatever people would like to donate that others can use in their modding projects. If it's not there, request it or volunteer to make it. What is NOT in here are resources that the author has not volunteered to let TESA distribute for them. Can I use it? Of course! These resources are provided free for anyone to use in their mods. All that's asked in return is credit to the TESA Skyrim Resource Kit. Can I contribute? Of course! We're looking for all modelers/texturers to volunteer their work to be included. If you have some spare time you can even browse the Request thread and make specific requests. Contact me directly with your files, a small description and screenshots. By providing your resources to the TESA Skyrim Resource Kit you are allowing TESA to be your exclusive distributor and your resources to be used without your direct permission. When submitting contributions please use the file structure ...\TESA\ResourceKit\*Category*\*Sub-Category*\*files* for your meshes and textures. *Category* should be one of the following; Architecture Armor Clothing Clutter Creatures Furniture Miscellaneous Plants Statics Texture Sets Weapons *Sub-category* is optional but can be anything you'd like to further identify the resources (i.e.; Tapestries, Rugs, Paintings) Incomplete submissions or submissions with significant design flaws will not be accepted nor will submissions using other TES game assets. Is it only for Skyrim? This resource kit is only for Skyrim. We have another TESA project that is a collection of Oblivion resources.
  48. 5 points
    Hi everyone! I've been a member of the site for about a year now, but I've never been active on the forums before. I decided to start using the site more now so I could start learning to use the Creation Kit for Skyrim. I started playing the Elder Scrolls games when one of my older brothers gave me a copy of Oblivion. I now own Morrowind and Skyrim as well. I'm new to modding for the Elder Scrolls games, but I love mods and the modding community so I've been wanting to get involved for quite awhile! I'm also currently a senior in college majoring in health sciences with a concentration in microbiology. I want to pursue a career in pathology, possibly as a pathologist's assistant. I'll be starting classes again soon which will mean balancing my ES time with study time. This seems like a great community!
  49. 5 points
    Introduction: Welcome to Graphic Artistry! I'm sure when you've been looking at Skyrim's assets or browsing the likes of TESA and see people talking about textures, I bet you were wondering "What the hell they were talking about?", I was wondering the exact same thing when I started. I'm also betting you have many ideas about things you'd like to change or new stuff you'd like to make for your game, but you're unsure how to do that right?, Well don't worry, the Graphic Artistry are here to help you do just that...... yes you can get up and dance now. The Graphic Artistry classes will explain what textures are and what they do, but we'll also go a few steps further and explain how we go about editing existing textures and then finally move onto creating new textures for our own models. Exciting times ahead for all, better make sure you have enough tea/coffee and cookies, you're going to need them Smarty Says: <-- This is my buddy Smarty, he knows a ton of modding information for the Elder scrolls and he'll be following us through the Classes and lending a hand when needed. Smarty loves to pop up in some of the strangest places, but he always has useful tips and reminders that'll keep us doing the right thing. Keep an eye out and if you see him, share your cookies, I think he's earned it. What you need: Nifskope: The magical NIF tool we all use to view and even sometimes edit Skyrim's NIFs (Game's Meshes/Models) Graphics Application: We'll be needing an application of some type to edit our textures. We'll need something quite powerful that supports the texture format used by game and also things like Layers. Anything like these will do perfectly: Photoshop GIMP (Free) Paint.Net (Free) Direct Draw Surface Plugin (DDS) Skyrim's textures make use of the DDS format, so we'll need a plugin that supports though since some of the applications mentioned above do not have native support. Photoshop Nvidia Plugin GIMP DDS Plugin, GIMP Normal Map Plugin BSA Archive Utility For us to be able to edit any of the games textures we'll need to extract the textures from the Archives (BSA files). To do this we'll make use of FO3 Archive by ScripterRon. What does this mean?: DDS - Direct Draw Surface, it's the file format all of Skyrim's textures use. NIF - Net Immerse File, it's the file format all Skyrim's models use. Texture/Normal Map/Glow Map - These are all different texture files Skyrim uses, more information can be found in the Reference Sheet. Getting Started: The first few steps we need to take are to make sure we have a 2D application like one of the ones mentioned above and we have all our tools downloaded. Be sure to follow the install instructions included with the plugin downloads and extract FO3 Archive to some place you'll find easily, I place mine inside a modding folder. After that we can take a look at extracting some textures. Extracting Textures: Let's run through a trial texture extraction to get ourselves used to working with FO3 Archive. 1) First things first, run FO3 Archive, when it loads up you'll be greeted with a screen like this: 2) Take a look at the top of the screen, you'll see things like File and Action. These are where all our options are hidden. So what we need to do is open an archive file, so click File>Open A new screen will pop up asking you to locate a BSA file to open, Navigate to your Skyrim Installation folder, go into the Data folder and select the Skyrim - Textures.bsa. This will take a little time to open. 3) Now you'll see something like this: Use the little + signs you see next to the folder names to expand the tree, navigate down to Weapons and then to the Glass weapons. Click the folder name to select it like so: 4) Now to extract them, with our folder selected with need to use the top menu again, select Action>Extract Selected Files and then navigate to the place you want them. I usually put them on my desktop. And that's it, we've extracted our first set of textures. We can repeat this for other textures and any other BSA Archive files we need stuff from. What's Next?: If you have any questions about what has been explained so far, please post them here in the General Questions thread. Read through all that?, Well then what are you waiting for, get yourself over to Class #1, I'll see you there
  50. 5 points
    Hello everyone My name is Firelady and I intent in the near future to move my quest and adventure mods series - A Quest for Heaven - from Nexus to TES Alliance. I need some hints about how to use the site ( upload files, images related, descriptions ). Also, if somebody is interested in voice acting, male and female voices ( especially female ) for the final episode of the AQFH saga, please contact me. Short story, glad I meet you TES Alliance. Firelady