BTCollins8

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About BTCollins8

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  1. I thought you had established they did some land altering as well. I must be mistaken about that. So, ignore my comment about the tunnels. Though that is a cool concept. And we have seen mages involved in construction before, from the Skyrim concept art. I imagine Bretons probably use mages in their castle construction. But construction and tunneling through mountains are different things so that wouldn't directly apply.
  2. The Druids could have made tunnels through the mountains in the past. Since we know they used some cool land altering magic back in the day. Don't know if that level of landscape altering is possible though. Seems like it might be
  3. I think there's some confusion between you two. Doc thought you were talking about traveling from Roscrea to the eastern land of Akavir, while you actually meant how long it would take to travel from the western point of Roscrea to the eastern point. So that's the reason for the discrepancy in your respective answers.
  4. That could work. Although I would say that it's unlikely anyone has even tried to use shadow magic that way. It's a pretty unconventional approach to not only face sculpting, but using shadow magic in general. Though, I'm of a mind to say that the magic of face sculpting severs the link that allows one to substitute in that sculpted face. If only because I don't want shadow magic to be too overpowered.
  5. That's a good question. I would go with no. My thinking is a mage could make something, like a sword, disappear. Or even a person if you were skilled enough (very difficult to do so). Those are substituting. To sculpt a face seems more like writing, which shadow magic doesn't really do. I think they could replace someone's face with that same person's face from an alternate world, but that likely wouldn't look much different, except with some cosmetic changes like scars and such. And I don't think they could substitute someone's face for a different person's from an alertnate world. I think there's some link between what can be done to an object and the object itself. They can only effect it by substituting in it's same self from an alternate reality. Which could be that it didn't exist in a reality, and so they can make it not exist in the one they're in. To put it another way, a mage can cut and sew pieces of alternate realities or potentialities into their own reality. My belief is, they can only cut and sew from the same fabric. So to make the shoes full of holes, as Morane did, she cut "holes" from a different reality, in which the very same shoes Zukhal wore had holes, and sewed "holes" onto the shoes he wore in their reality. But she could not have cut "water" from the an alternate reality and turned the shoes to water. Even in infinite potentialities or realities the nature of shoe is never one of water. Unless it is. It's my assumption the answer to this question is no but I really don't have the faintest idea. I'm having to make most of this up as I go so Whatever the case with the possibility of face sculpting via shadow magic, I do think this is right. To change your location or the location of an object is dangerous enough, as we've seen with the book. To change your physical features would be even more dangerous, I'd assume. Even if it was only substituting in an alternate "you's" scar or bushier eyebrows. Then there's the possibility of stealing an alternate mind, or part of it. That's where things get really hairy. Few could do that without going insane from the conflicting memories and such. So, basically all this to say: I don't think it is possible to completely change someone's face with shadow magic, although you could, at great risk, change parts of their face with alternate versions of that same part of their same face. Done enough it could change how someone looks completely but it would be a longer, more complex process, and result in the face looking less different than is possible with face sculpting.
  6. Thanks! Doc covered it pretty well, though I would also add that even more than magical power, she respects the magical power that can most help her. Right now that's Winvale and his shadow magic, since that's what she wants to learn. Her believing he's weaker is mostly a function of her thinking he's just one really old dude, whereas the Wyrd is a whole host of witches, with some vampires within (my belief is people would know the Wyrd has vampires and such through boogeyman like tales). If she knew the truth about him being a vampire, and the rough estimate of his age (which I haven't ever decided upon), she'd change her opinion. If she met Endar, I bet she'd think he was pretty powerful, since he's old and an ex-Telvanni. With Krojun, she'd probably see him more as a politician like you suggested, Witch, since he looks young and is the Emperor. But since neither know shadow magic, she wouldn't really care much about either.
  7. Thanks Doc!
  8. Morane Lynielle Camlorn Morning Morane had never been interested in alchemy, or plants, or even nature. That wasn’t to say she preferred the city, however. She held no real affinity for either city or countryside, or hate for either. Though the Wizard’s Garden, she had to admit, was pretty. The king hadn’t had a court wizard for a few years before Winvale came, so the plants were overgrown. Dark green ivy covered the walls of the keep and the castle, while wild, gnarled trees warped into angles that brought them the most sunlight. Shrubs leaned over the stone paths, grabbing at passersby. Flowers sprouted between the stones themselves, slowly pushing them apart. It was if nature was retaking its land, fighting back against the crowding stone. Morane knew Winvale to be a clean and organized person. His room in the tower was the neatest she’d ever seen. But he hadn’t done anything to change the garden and its haphazard layout. She thought he seemed to like it, and noticed he spent quite a bit of time here. His large, shaggy white dog, Ki, certainly loved it. He was old and lazy, spending most of his time lying beneath trees, but occasionally he’d get up and chase the squirrels and birds that lived here, or splash in the pond, or dig around the bushes. Winvale left him down in the garden most of the time. He was mostly indifferent to the two mages training in the garden, only occasionally lifting his head to investigate some new sound they made. Being as secluded as it was, the garden was the best place for Morane to practice her shadow magic, away from any prying eyes. Winvale stood in the center, directing her actions with frowns at her success and smirks at her failure. Morane knew he had latched on to that form of teaching to motivate her. Just as the other shadow mage’s success had driven her, so too would the need to prove herself drive her. She didn’t shy away from his scathing remarks or glares, but strove to make him eat his words and accept her successes. The training exercise she was doing involved quick, short teleportation jumps, while using her other magic to fend off the wooden training dummies Winvale was using to attack her. They glowed a faint green from his telekinesis, hovering around her in a loose circle of six. Winvale sent one sprinting toward her, from behind. She teleported to the left, outside the circle, and used her own telekinesis to throw that dummy into the wall. Two more charged her and she waited. They were growing closer, and Winvale said with a sneer, “Be careful now.” One shot flames, something she wasn’t expecting. It was a rune, she noticed, one Winvale activated to give the illusion the dummy was using magic. She cast an armor spell and deflected the flames, and then teleported away from their swinging blades. She was feeling strained, and suspected she could only teleport a couple more times. She targeted the closest dummy with a weight spell, pinning it to the ground. Two of them charged her from opposite sides, and she could see the other two moving towards her as well. In a real battle she would have used some of her illusion magic, but that wouldn’t work here. And neither would trying to silence or blind Winvale. She had to improvise, so she used her magic to scoop up dirt and threw it towards Winvale’s face. He dodged or stopped it, which one she couldn’t tell as she had her eyes on the dummies. They stopped moving when she threw the sand. She grabbed the nearest one with her magic and ripped off its arm and then sent it flying towards another, where they crashed together in a heap. Winvale resumed the attack with the last two dummies. Morane steadied herself as they grew closer, waiting until the right moment to teleport away. Their swords raised, she summoned the shadow magic to teleport, and didn’t move. Both wooden swords hit her, one on each arm, and she let out a cry of pain. “You didn’t need to do that,” she said to Winvale, glaring at his smug expression. “You do not need to continually overestimate your abilities. You are a quick learner but not as quick as you like to think. I know you felt your abilities straining. And yet you chose to rely on hope that you could do more. Don’t. Rely on what you know you can do. At least this time you were smart enough to not waste all your effort on substituting them out of existence,” Winvale said. Morane was still glaring but nodded. She had thought she had a couple more jumps left in her. To know that wasn’t the case was disconcerting. As if hearing her thoughts, which he seemed to do far too often for her liking, Winvale said, “Don’t trust the shadow magic. It will work against you if you let it. You must have complete control over yourself if you wish to master it. The shadow magic will fool you, so you must look deeper within yourself to find the truth. Half the battle fought with shadow magic will be internal. Master that and you will win.” “Maybe you should become a spiritual guide. You certainly look and sound the part,” Morane said. Winvale frowned while Morane smiled. He said, “Take my advice or not. I have much less to lose than you if you fail.” Morane wondered if that was true. Certainly she might lose her life if she made a mistake, and yet it seemed to her that, strange as it was, Winvale was investing quite a bit into training her. And training the dozen or so others who by now were able to peer sidewise. She knew the king had sanctioned this, and she wondered what the two of them had planned for these new shadow mages. Ki snapped her out of her thoughts when he came over and rubbed against her leg. She scratched him behind the ear, and Winvale said. “Go get some food and meet me back in the tower.” She rubbed Ki’s belly some before she left the garden and went out into the courtyard. The same group of knights and mages were out there training with Sir Maric and Sir Virelande. Several of those that weren’t currently sparing watched her warily. By now word had gotten around about what she’d done to the other shadow mage. Word of how she cursed him and made a book sprout from his back. Most thought she was a witch, which suited her just fine. She liked smiling seductively at them, watching the fear and interest mix as they squirmed under her gaze. Unfortunately, the rest of the shadow mage students weren’t as easily scared. The first day after the incident they were all too fearful to look her in the eye, but by the second and third day they were back to their general disdain for her obvious skill. When she entered the hall to eat, they were seated there, talking and laughing amongst themselves. She grabbed her salted pork and bread and took a seat on the bench next to them. After a few bites, all while they glared at her, she said, “How’s the training going? The shadows still making you dizzy?” None of them answered, and Morane chuckled to herself. She and the rest of the table ate in silence. By the time she was nearly finished, most everyone had moved off, deciding they were done eating or simply wishing to get away from her. Only one person besides Morane was still there. He was a Redguard, about her own age, and didn’t seem to be as scared or spiteful as the others. He sat there eating, same as her. As she was getting up to leave, though, he looked up and said, “You’re an asshole.” She sat back down and looked at him with the iciest gaze she could muster. He didn’t seem to be afraid even now, but returned her glare with a firm stare of his own. “Go ahead,” he said, “make everyone hate you. That’s a good way to die early.” She motioned her head up towards the top of the tower and said, “You think anyone likes him? And he’s as old as anyone I’ve ever met.” The Redguard laughed at her, and despite herself she felt more embarrassed than angry. “The day you’re as skilled as him is the day the entire world can hate you. Until then you better make some friends. We’re all going to go into the field at some point, and you’ll want someone watching your back then. Or at least not stabbing you in the back themselves.” She was angry now and shot back, “We? Who’s to say you’ll even be there? The rest of you have barely even scratched the surface of what I’m able to do now.” He shrugged and stood up. “I guess we’ll see then.” Morane sat there staring daggers at his back as he walked away. She stood up and left towards the stairs, stopped, made his shoes turned into old, hole filled versions, and then climbed toward Winvale’s study. She was angry at how much effort it took to substitute his shoes, but she ignored it as she entered the top of the tower. The old wizard was seated in a plush chair, looking right at Morane as she opened the door. As if he had been watching her climb the stairs. By now she was used to his disconcerting ways and they had ceased to unnerve her. For the most part, anyway. “Don’t bother sitting down,” Winvale said. “You’re going to meet a woman outside the southern gate. She’s a sister of the Glenmoril Wyrd, and she’s going to take you to meet with a Wyress on my behalf. You are to give her this list,” he conjured the scroll and it flew over to Morane, who caught it. “Ask her where these books are. She will claim she doesn’t know but they always lie. All you must do is press her and she will tell you, after she asks for something in return. Agree to whatever they ask for. Your only concern is to get the location of those books.” Morane unrolled the scroll and read over the titles. Even a dunce could tell they were all associated with shadow magic. “Why do I need to go to the Wyrd?” “They have eyes where I do not.” “Are these for the training?” “Yes. We’ll need them for the upper level magics,” Winvale said. Morane asked, “Why don’t you already have them?” “My old master had them. When he died they were spread to the winds. I’ve had no reason to get them back until now.” “You haven’t trained other shadow mages in all those years since?” “Not to the level you and the others will train to.” “Why start training others now?” “The king wants to use you for the war.” “And?” “And what?” “There has to be more of a reason than that. You don’t strike me as the generous type. Or the selfless type.” “I am generous enough to teach you shadow magic. It is a knowledge I would see passed on to those that are worthy. Is that not enough of a reason for you? Would you prefer I not teach you?” Morane was skeptical. She looked down and reread the list before saying, “No. I guess it is a good reason.” Winvale stared her in the eye, unblinking, for several moments. He broke the frozen silence and said, “Good. Now see to finding those books.” Morane nodded and left, putting the list inside her pants pocket. As she closed the door behind her, the man from earlier came walking up the stairs. She looked down at his shoes, sad to see that he’d changed into new ones. She asked, “What’re you doing here?” “What, are you the only one that can learn from him now?” the man asked. “No,” Morane said. “I just didn’t think anyone else cared enough to do more than he makes us.” “Maybe that’s because you only ever talk to the others to insult them,” he said. Morane ignored that and pushed past him. What does he know? After all, it was Morane who was mocked first, and they who started the insults. They were jealous of her, with good reason of course, as she knew she was far and away the best of them. No matter how much extra training the Redguard was getting. She left the tower and walked past the still training knights and mages to the stables, where she found a horse saddled and waiting for her. She was an old animal, her light brown mane laced with grey, but she kept a steady pace and moved with ease at Morane’s commands. Morane didn’t have much experience on horseback, but she was competent enough, and the horse was reliable, so it made the trip through the crowded city streets an easy one. She found the witch waiting outside the gate, dressed in the clothes of a servant but wearing a wool cloak over them. Morane thought she looked familiar, but couldn’t place her. “Morane?” she asked. “You must be my guide,” Morane answered. “I am. Our coven isn’t close, so we’ll need to ride quickly. Are you ready?” Morane nodded, and without another word the witch set off at a gallop. Morane drove her horse forward to match the speed, and they rode in single file and silence the rest of the way. The road they followed headed due south from Camlorn, following the contours of the western coast of High Rock. The Ilessan Hills, the small farms dotting the countryside and the forests between, were beginning to wake up from their winter hibernation. Some of the trees were budding, the grasses were a light green at their bases, and a few intrepid flowers were in bloom. Still, in most places the limbs were bare, and the wind still blew in from the north and chilled the riders. After what Morane guessed was about two hours of riding on the main road south, the witch turned off the road on a trail Morane couldn’t see until they were on it. The dozens of people who traveled that road daily would pass it by and never once think there was a trail there. As they rode on it, Morane got the sense that it was more than just a well-hidden trail, as she felt a faint magical energy in the wood they rode through. It felt defensive. Trees towered over the trail at precarious angles, their roots arching over the pathway in dangerous ways, while vines and ivy hung from the limbs. She had a feeling that if the witches wished, the forest would come alive and prevent any intrusions. They went deeper into the forest until they came to a hillock dotted with boulders. A cave opened up where the trail ended at the base of the hill. They dismounted, tying the horses off to a moss covered log. The cave was damp, but the walls were solid and supported by wooden beams, and the floor packed down by years of use. Floating orbs of magelight lit the way. It was a short, downhill path to the main cavern, which was high enough that Morane wondered how the roots of the trees on the hill above weren’t coming through the top of the cave. The room had five other pathways, besides the one Morane had come through, though she couldn’t see where they led. More orbs lit the cavern, and showed the dais sitting in the middle of the room. There were several altars on it, each one in a different shape, but Morane couldn’t identify them. The witch led her through the main room and to the hallway directly across from the entrance. They followed that hall for a short way until they reached a heavy wooden door. “Knock when you’re ready,” the witch said. “Ready? What’s that supposed to mean?” Morane asked, but the woman only gave her a sly smile, bowed her head, and left. It was then Morane realized who her guide was. She’d seen her laying out food and sweeping the barracks at Camlorn, a servant in the castle. It made her wonder if anyone else inside the castle was a witch, and how deeply embedded the Wyrd was. In a way, she admired their infiltration of the noble households, though she wondered just what the utility of having their witches be servants was. Without any more delay, she knocked sharply on the door three times. A woman opened it almost instantly. She was middle aged, and stood an inch or two taller than Morane. She had a pleasant face with an annoyingly sincere smile, even though Morane knew they’d never met and she had no reason to welcome her warmly. Her silky brown hair was braided and reached down to her waist, and she wore a dark blue robe with satchels and pouches hanging from her belt. “Morane,” she said, her voice calm and too sweet. “Please, come in.” Morane entered into the room, which was not large and had a cozy feel. It looked like a witch’s version of Winvale’s study. The bookshelves leaned to their sides a bit, the plants overgrew their pots, the instruments were dirty from use, and the tables were stacked with papers, books, potions, ingredients, and soul gems. A fire burned in the hearth, though Morane couldn’t see a chimney. The room wasn’t filled with smoke either, so the witches had some way of extracting the smoke without it signaling where their coven was. The woman sat down in a chair facing the hearth, and then used her magic to clear away the books and plant clippings from the chair opposite her. “Excuse my mess. I’m not as neat as you’re probably used to.” Morane sat down and stared at the woman’s kind smile, uncomfortable with how comfortable the witch was. Finally she asked, “Who are you?” “Oh yes, my name.” The witch chuckled and said, “I forgot that even though we know so much about you, you don’t know us.” Morane narrowed her eyes in growing suspicion of the woman, and wondered if revealing how much they knew about her was a threat of some sort or simply a statement of fact. She remained tense as the witch continued. “I’m Wyress Thenitte, but you can call me Nyna. I am the head Wyress of this coven, which covers all of Camlorn.” “You already know who I am, apparently,” Morane said. “Yes, yes we do. And we are quite impressed. The stories from your upbringing back east and your time at the Thaumaturgical Institute paint you as a skilled mage.” “Thanks,” Morane muttered. “I know you’re here on business, but I’d like to propose something first, if you don’t mind.” Morane motioned for Nyna to continue, and she did. “Like I said, we are aware of your magical abilities. And your burgeoning shadow magic skills. We would like you to join us as a sister of the Glenmoril Wyrd.” Morane was surprised at that. The thought of joining them had never crossed her mind. She could see the appeal of it, though. The Wyrd was powerful and had a reach that extended further than Winvale’s, that much he readily admitted. And while he was an old man, he had lived only one lifetime, whereas the Wyrd had existed for centuries. Their knowledge would far surpass his own. And yet the instant Morane heard the offer, she knew she would never accept it. She didn’t care for knowledge or power that reached throughout the cities of High Rock. What she wanted was to learn shadow magic, and the Wyrd could never teach her that. Not the way Winvale could. The magic she felt here was powerful, but nothing like the power that she felt when Winvale performed shadow magic. Ever since she began learning it, she could feel the immense power that exuded from the simplest shadow spells he performed. Morane thought about smiling, to take away the sting from her refusal, but then thought it was a stupid idea. She fidgeted when she said, “Thank you for the offer, but I don’t want to join you. I want to learn shadow magic, and Winvale can teach me that better than you.” Nyna smiled tightly, and it didn’t extend to her eyes. “If that is what you wish. We won’t force you. But I think you’ll eventually come around to see the benefits of joining us.” Morane didn’t like how vaguely threatening that sounded, but she ignored it and got down to what she came here for. She produced the scroll and handed it to the witch. “I need to know where these three books are.” Nyna glanced down at it, obviously too quickly to read it. She raised her eyes and said, “We don’t know where these are, unfortunately.” Morane leaned forward and tapped the scroll. “Look again.” The witch did, and Morane could tell she was actually reading the list this time. When she finished she said, “We might know where they are. But we don’t give things away for free.” “Do you want me to ask what you want?” Morane said. “Just say it.” “We don’t have anything in mind right now,” Nyna said, all friendliness gone. “Tell Winvale he owes us a favor that we will call upon whenever we see fit.” “I will. And the book locations?” Nyna pulled towards her a piece of parchment, a quill, and an inkwell. She wrote as she spoke. “The collection was split into several groups. The books you want ended up in three places. The School of Julianos branch in Shornhelm has these two,” she motioned to her now finished list. “Two more are in the royal library in Solitude. And the final two are in the library of Anvil’s ruling family.” Morane took back her scroll and the parchment with the locations on it. She stood and said, “Thank you. I’ll tell Winvale he owes you a favor.” “Do. And keep in mind our offer. We have a lot to offer someone like you. Power like you couldn’t imagine.” “I’ll try and remember that,” Morane said, leaving quickly the way she came. The servant didn’t appear to Morane went back the way she came. She was walking through the main room, with the dais that held the altars, when she stopped. Four hallways, two on each side of her, branched off deeper into the cavern. Down one of them, she thought she heard humming. Not a person humming, but like the low noise that reminded her of some magical device. She’d heard something similar once before, at the Thaumaturlogical Institute. There was a Dwarven animunculi there that gave off a similar sound. She wondered if she should go and investigate. No one was around to see her, and she was a little curious. It was then she realized why the servant had disappeared, and she remembered Nyna’s words, of the power the Wyrd possessed. They wanted her to wander around, to look at the various enchanted objects, mystical instruments, strange runes and idols they had. All in an attempt to get her to join. She was torn, wanting to see just what the altars were, what was making that noise, why the smell of flowers was wafting in from her left. But to give in to her own curiosity was also to give the Wyress and the other witches the satisfaction that they had reached her, that their seed of an offer was planted in her brain and might grow. Morane didn’t much like the idea of them being satisfied with themselves because they had some interesting baubles and strange rooms. As much as her curiosity pulled her towards the room, her desire to make the witches disappointed in themselves won out. Without giving any more attention to the sickly sweet flowers, the low humming, or the mysterious altars, she left the coven. The ride back to Camlorn seemed to go more quickly than the ride to the coven. Morane let the horse do most of the steering, and only occasionally had to spur it to keep the quick pace. She spent most of the trip thinking about the books. She guessed that Winvale would send her off to get them as a test. She wondered if she would go alone, or if he would make that Redguard or one of the others tag along. She knew she could get the books on her own. She’d always had a knack for sneaking around, and if anyone caught her, she could more than hold her own. But dragging along a former knight or battlemage or spellsword who couldn’t sneak would only compromise her. She’d have to babysit them, and more than likely they’d blow the whole thing. No, she’d have to make the case she could do it alone. Needed to do it alone. And she more than wanted to. By the time she reached Camlorn, she’d decided she was going to demand Winvale let her steal the books on her own. She knew she could make the case, so long as Winvale was planning on sending her. He could easily do it himself, but he didn’t seemed inclined to. Morane got the impression he liked testing her and the other students, reveling in both their successes and failures. Both padded his ego, by showing how skilled he was at teaching and how inferior their skills were to his own. Morane recognized she would do the same in his position, but stopped short of thinking too hard about her similarities with Winvale. That wasn’t a road she wanted to go down. Thankfully Camlorn castle rescued her from those thoughts. She rode into the courtyard and dismounted, handing the horse off to the nearest stable hand. A guard approached her as she walked toward Winvale’s tower. He said, “The wizard’s in the garden. He wants you to go there.” Morane nodded headed there. The heavy oak door to the garden resisted at first, but eventually swung open on creaky hinges after she put more of her weight behind the push and walked in. Ki was there, still lying beneath his tree, but Winvale wasn’t. Normally he sat by the pond, on a stump the last mage had fashioned into a chair. Morane turned to exit, cursing the idiot guard for sending her there. Before she’d turned all the way around, though, she felt her body lock up, as a green film covered her from head to toe. She was paralyzed. Three figures appeared before her, walking out from the shadows of the walls. Two guards flanked an exquisitely dressed man with a large belly, shaved head, and full handlebar mustache, brown as the earth of the garden. He used a handkerchief to wipe the snot from his nose. He was close enough to Morane that she could smell his breath. It smelled like rich wine. His skin was pale, with a sickly yellowish tint, and dark bags formed under his eyes. He took out another handkerchief to wipe the sweat from his face. She got the sense it was a cold sweat from whatever sickness he had. “Unfreeze her,” he ordered the guards, then commenced to coughing as the paralysis dissipated. “You know who I am, yes?” Morane took a step back and crossed her arms over her chest. “The King.” “Yes. Your king, I might add.” He closed his eyes and nodded slowly. “I know where Winvale sent you today.” “Maybe you should worry less about what I’m doing and more about yourself. You look like shit.” “I don’t have the luxury of worrying about myself, not when my court wizard is sending away my only real shadow mage without my permission. To meet with the Wyrd, no less.” “I’m not yours. I’m here to learn shadow magic, not serve you.” She was paralyzed again by one of the guards, but she couldn’t see which one. The King leaned forward, and without raising his voice, said, “You do serve me. Winvale might have the power to do whatever the hell he wants but you are not nearly the mage he is. I didn’t undertake this shadow magic experiment without knowing full and well how to stop an insolent mage if they got too full of themselves after learning a few spells. Do not begin to think you are any more powerful than you were before because you know a little shadow magic now.” She could hear the cold fury in his voice and she knew he wasn’t a man to be taken lightly. He may be fat and sick and not a skilled enough mage to paralyze her himself, but he had power nonetheless. He continued, “So, now you will answer my question. Why did you visit the Wyrd?” The paralysis retreated from her face, and it was then she saw who the two guards were. The Royal Battlemage Sir Virelande who was doing the paralyzing, and the Captain of the Guard Sir Maric, who stood with his eyes locked on Morane. She glared at them but her gaze relaxed when she looked back to King Adrard. She considered lying to him, telling him she only went to do more training. But she had a feeling the King would know it if she lied, and besides, she didn’t care enough about keeping this secret to further piss him off. “I went to speak with the Wyress. Winvale wanted me to find out where some books were. Books on shadow magic he needs to train us.” The King narrowed his eyes at her, and she could tell he was trying to figure out if she was lying. Seemingly satisfied, he waved and Virelande released her. “You are free to go. Tell Winvale I will want to know more about these books and where he intends to get them.” Turning his back to Morane he asked Sir Maric, “Did your men grab the serving girl when she came back?” Maric nodded. The King asked, “Did she reveal anything?” “No,” Maric said. Without another word they left, and Morane was alone in the garden. She knew that since the servant was practically a spy, she’d likely be executed. Morane tried to feel bad, but ultimately couldn’t muster anything. If the servant didn’t want to be executed, she shouldn’t have joined the Wyrd. But Morane also recognized the question about the serving girl was for her. A threat, thinly veiled on purpose. She took a deep breath and left the garden to tell Winvale about the books and the King. She was climbing the stairs when the Redguard mage stopped her, looking at her with a jesting smile. He said, dryly, “And here I thought you might’ve ran away. I certainly would’ve missed the competition.” Morane was beginning to think he was making an effort to run into her now. She certainly didn’t have the time or the inclination to banter with him as much as he wanted. But she fumed at the suggestion that any of the other mages were close enough to her level to be considered competition. It seemed like everyone she met today was trying to stop her from doing what she wanted. So she punched the Redguard in the gut, pushed passed him, and continued up the stairs to Winvale’s study, a smile briefly tracing her lips. The door opened as she raised her hand to knock upon it and she entered without hesitation. Winvale had his hands on either side of the silver bowl, and from his posture she could tell he’d been looking into the water within it. He released it and leaned on his staff instead. The door closed behind her and he asked, “What did the King say?” Morane was silent for a few moments, trying to figure out how he knew. There were windows in the tower, but it was too tall to tell who the people standing below were. Her eyes found the silver bowl and she realized it was for scrying, and he had been watching them. “Did your wash bin not tell you?” “No. I can only see, not hear.” “Hm. I’m to tell you that he wants to know more about the books and where you intend to get them.” “Anything else?” “He also wanted to remind me I serve him,” Morane said with clear disdain. She then asked, “If you knew he was going to follow me or spy on me or whatever, why didn’t you just tell him where you were sending me?” “It’s unimportant. I assume you got the locations?” “It won’t be unimportant to the serving girl who’s going to be executed now that he knows she’s a witch.” Winvale issued a short, gravelly laugh. “And you care?” Morane pursed her lips. “Not especially. But I’m not so heartless to waste a life on something unimportant.” Winvale waved a gnarled hand at her concern. “She won’t be killed. The King owes the Wyrd a favor.” Morane thought she might be relieved to hear that, but again couldn’t muster any feelings one way or the other. “So do you, now. That was their condition for telling me the locations of the books.” “Where are they?” “Shornhelm, Solitude, and Anvil.” Winvale snarled out, “Solitude. I should have expected as much.” “What’s in Solitude?” “It is none of your concern.” “It will be. I want to get the books. I think it’s time I test myself in the field, and don’t see a better chance to do it than this.” “I agree,” he said. Morane was expecting more of a fight, and her shoulders sagged a bit. Winvale raised an eyebrow but continued on. “After I meet with the King, you will go to Shornhelm and get the first two books.” “Alone?” “Yes. Zukhal is not yet ready. But you must accept the fact the others will be, in time. You can’t maim them all.” Morane gave a slight nod, though she knew he was right. And, as much as she hated to admit it, what Zukhal had told her about getting the others to not hate her was true too. Winvale would eventually send them out with her, and she couldn’t be constantly worried about what they might do to her. She said, “I promise you, I won’t need help.” “We shall see.” Winvale’s expression softened a bit, his aged face drooping from its usual tensed position. “Did the Wyrd ask you to join?” Morane wondered if he was getting sentimental, or if he was simply tired. He was very old, after all. “They did. I said no.” She thought for a moment that he might smile, but his expression hardened and he gave a stiff nod. “And why would you join? They have nothing to offer compared to shadow magic.” “My thoughts exactly.” ** Theodore Adrard Camlorn Morning Theodore felt awful. He spent half his day in bed, sporadically coughing up green bile, constantly in a cold sweat. He usually only rose to attend his council meetings, and conducted any other important business he had from his study. Elayne was feeling marginally better, but neither one spent much time outside their private rooms. It was increasingly clear to Theo that if Corrick didn’t arrive soon, they would have to resort to more drastic options. He’d considered having Winvale turn them into vampires. He owed the Glenmoril Wyrd one favor already, and part of that was freeing their servant to continue to work in his castle. But if they became vampires he would owe them another favor the day they were cured, as he had no intention of staying a vampire forever, even if it would stave off the disease for a time. He saw it as only a stopgap until they found a permanent solution. His hope was still in Corrick. Still, Theo was worried he didn’t have the luxury of waiting. Their deterioration had plateaued for now, but the progression of the disease meant it could get worse at any moment. No matter how bad the disease was, though, he wouldn’t let it keep him from this meeting with Winvale. Theo rose and dressed quickly, not bothering to go through the motions of making sure all his attire matched and his looked his regal best. Sir Virelande and Sir Maric were waiting, along with Winvale, in his study. Theodore sat behind his desk and took a long drink of the Tulun Ruz wine waiting for him, it helping to ease the pain and focus his mind. On his desk was the list of books, obviously all about shadow magic. It read: Ruminations on the Reflections of the Infinite On Shadow Realms Shadow and Dawn The Nature of the Shadow of Conflict A History of Shadow The Journals of Azra Nightwielder Theodore did not know much about shadow magic, but knew enough to recognize the name Azra Nightwielder. His journals seemed obvious, and A History of Shadow self-explanatory. The others, though, he could guess little about. Turning his gaze to Winvale, he asked, “Why do you need these books?” Winvale said, “For training the shadow mages. They contain knowledge that I can’t impart nearly as well as they can, unfortunately.” Theo said. “Explain to me what these books are about. In the common tongue, please.” Winvale looked down his nose at Theo, his condescending manner ever present. “The first is a book detailing one mage’s exploration of the infinite worlds and shadow shades created by forces in conflict. It focuses more on the nature of alternate versions of a person. The second one is much the same, with more focus on the worlds. The third details the relationship between Shadow and Dawn. The fou-“ “Dawn?” Virelande asked, interrupting Winvale. “As in Dawn magic, that the elves use?” Winvale raised an eyebrow and seemed, begrudgingly, impressed. “Yes. As I was saying, the-“ “What do they use it for?” Theo asked. Winvale said, “Hard to say. It is really only speculation, as the knowledge is closely guarded.” Theo leaned back in his chair and coughed into a handkerchief. He focused on what Winvale said and turned it over in his mind. “What does this relationship between Shadow and Dawn mean?” “There is a dualistic relationship between the two. They feed off of and conflict with each other,” Winvale said. “Feed off each other?” Theo asked. “What does that mean?” “It means,” Winvale said, “that they can both dominate and resist the other. In some situations Dawn can defeat Shadow. In other situations, it is the opposite.” Theodore didn’t know whether that boded well for any conflict his shadow mages might have with the Thalmor or not. It seemed a double-edged sword if there ever was one. “So how do you plan on getting these books?” Winvale said, “The first two are in the School of Julianos in Shornhelm. Two more are in Solitude, and the final two in Anvil.” “We’ll have to get them in a way that doesn’t let anyone on to what we’re doing,” Sir Virelande said. “I suppose we’ll have to steal them.” Sir Maric said, “We’ll need to cover that they’re missing, somehow.” “Can you make fake versions of them?” Theodore asked Winvale. “I can. They won’t contain the contents but I should be able to enchant some books that will take on the appearance of another book. So long as no one decides to read the book, they won’t notice it missing,” Winvale said “That will have to do,” Theo said. He doubted anyone would connect him to missing books on shadow magic, but he still didn’t like the thought of anyone catching on. “I suggest you start sooner rather than later. Anvil especially will only get more difficult to get into the closer to war we get.” “I will start tomorrow,” Winvale said. “I was going to send Morane to get them. And possibly any others who progress enough. As a test.” “Do you think that’s wise?” Virelande asked. “What if they’re captured and reveal who they serve?” “They have to train in the field at some point,” Winvale said. “I see no better opportunity than this.” Theo sighed and said, “He’s right. This is a good chance to test them. Send Morane first. If she fails, I can smooth things over with the School of Julianos, and we will find someone else to steal the other books."
  9. Most of it was really bad. My favorite was the Thrawn trilogy and the 2003 cartoon. I've also heard good things about the X-wing series of books but haven't read them.
  10. That's very true. Although, Anakin did give Mace a hand in taking off a glove. So he's almost to Jango's level.
  11. He made him take off his coat! I'd hardly call that doing well
  12. I'm definitely in favor of this. A gritty crime Star Wars movie would be pretty sweet. Especially if it made Boba Fett actually awesome instead of just mysterious and cool looking. Jango loses his head too easily to be cool. The dude can barely hold himself together.
  13. You mean the dude who got knocked into the living garbage disposal by a blind guy? I admit, the ability to project onto him makes him very cool, but he doesn't exactly have much in the way of established canon awesomeness. I'd personally prefer a movie that shows someone new getting Boba Fett's armor, and it becoming more of a mantle that gets passed down than the story of Jango's clone son. I'm just glad Thrawn is back. Those books are among my favorite things in the Star Wars universe, so (most) anything that comes from them will be welcomed warmly by me.
  14. Sorry, I wasn't very clear. I was more referring to thing that wouldn't make sense in the context of the lore, like a dragon or the numidium. Any powerful weapon has to make sense in the context of the lore, as all of ours have. And even then they aren't trump cards. We've seen the sunbirds sent running after all. And I'm fine with it too, so long as we stay within the bounds of the lore. Which is why I don't expect Dales to be getting any powerful weapon during her visit to Skyrim.