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Private/Closed The Elder Scrolls: Ambition


Resident Furry
(@Rex, @Shocari, @Brendan Savem, @FalChromiforme, @Kerauno. Contact me on chat or by PM with any questions, comments, concerns, or changes you have.)

Reeh-Zeeus stepped on the boat to Solstheim to the glare of several nearby Dunmer. This was to be expected, after all, he was Saxhleel, Argonian, ‘Lizard.’ He’d heard them all, the former dying out as he left Black Marsh, and the latter becoming more and common the further from home he got. His race and the Dunmer had a… Historied past. The Dunmer tended to be very “never forgive, never forget” types.

So why was he, an Argonian, in Morrowind? Why not seek his fortune, as it were, in Cyrodiil? The Imperials were a much more accepting race, after all. Well, Rizzo, as he had come to call himself since leaving home, was something of an opportunist, Solstheim being the most recent of a string of opportunities that had carried him far away from his original home of Helstrom.

The winds of fortune had blown him north, into the ruins of Morrowind. The region was still reeling from the double whammy that was the eruption of Red Mountain, triggered by the fall of the Ministry of Truth. This, essentially, had decapitated the government, not to mention left most of Vvardenfall uninhabitable. To make matters worse, the Argonians, that is to say, Rizzo’s own people, had then invaded mainland Morrowind.

It was retribution for centuries of slavery. House Telvanni had been their primary target, each center of power they had had been sacked. House Dres also suffered a great reduction in territory, as Argonia, as independent Black Marsh was called, had taken much of southern Morrowind to act as a buffer between the swamps and the Dunmer. Out of the chaos, House Redoran grew to become the new head of the Grand Council.

It was to be expected, of course, that Redoran would take power. Telvanni and Dres were in ruins, Hlaalu was stripped of its power following the Imperial abandonment of the province, and Indoril and Hlaalu’s replacement, Sadras, were too small. As such, Morrowind’s capital was moved to Blacklight, the city Rizzo was sailing from. A number of refugees of the war had fled there, many of whom were still alive, Dunmer being such long lived species. Rizzo didn’t like to think himself a coward, but he was happy to leave Blacklight behind.

The Argonian leaned onto the ship’s railing, looking out towards the approaching island. He was a very average looking kind of Argonian. The top of his head lacked any sort of horns or feathers, though several nubby horns lined either side of his jaw. Dark green scales and blue-gray eyes, average looking build. Rizzo wore a fur kilt, boots, and grieves. All homemade, the Argonian enjoyed being self-sufficient. He carried a bow and a quiver full of arrows, and had an iron dagger on his belt. He made a little money selling pelts, though he expected Skyrim to be a larger market for that than Morrowind.

The wind carried a piece of conversation to the Argonian’s ears, “Did you hear? They say the Imperial Governor of Skyrim was found dead last week.”

The problem was, Skyrim was in the middle of a Civil War. On one side: the Empire, desperately trying to assert its authority over its quickly dwindling territory. On the other, the Stormcloaks, Nords lead by a man named Ulfric. The two sides had seemed fairly evenly matched. But if the Military Governor, an Imperial named Tullius, had been killed, it was a terrible blow for the Empire. Rumors claimed it was the Thalmor’s doing, and that this whole war had been to further weaken the Empire.

The Thalmor was the government of the Aldmeri Dominion. Their power base was centered on Summerset Isle, or Alinor, as the Altmer demanded it be called. They held Valenwood and its Bosmer in Union. They also owned Elsweyr, home of the Khajiit, as a pair of client kingdoms, Anequina and Pelletine. Valenwood and Elsweyr had something else in common, their previous, Imperial backed, governments were overthrown in coups backed by the Thalmor. If this was also true of Skyrim, it could mean bad things for the future of Tamriel.

“What’s to say those damned Stormcloaks will respect our agreements?”

After the eruption of Red Mountain, the High King of Skyrim had given Solstheim to the Dunmer as a show of compassion. Many Dunmer had fled there, and the primary settlement, Raven Rock, was a Redoran city. The Stormcloaks, and their leader, were notorious racists, often espousing the superiority of Nordic blood. In the Jarl Ulfric’s own city, the non-man races were forced to live in substandard conditions. If this man was to take power of Skyrim, who knew what that could mean for Solstheim and the Dunmer that call it home. Also a problem, because there was no way Rizzo was taking a boat back to Blacklight. Skyrim was the next closest province.

Finally, the boat docked at Raven Rock. The Argonian stepped off, feeling ash crunch under his boots. Red Mountain’s eruption had forever changed Solstheim. The former great southern forests had been replaced by ash lands. Much of Morrowind’s flora and fauna had moved to the island as well, either attracted by the changed ecology, or deliberately brought over by the Dunmer.

Raven Rock itself wasn’t in too great a shape either. The mines had run dry, though rumors claimed that there was more ebony to be had deep enough down. A number of buildings were boarded up and abandoned. The great Bulwark built by the East Empire Company to keep the worst of the ash out of Raven Rock was showing signs of disrepair, with cracks allowing ash to seep in. Several Redoran guards were patrolling the city, though their numbers, too, were dwindling. House Redoran seemed to regard the colony as insignificant, or at least, not worth the money to save.

Rizzo took a look around. There had to be an inn around here, somewhere. Then maybe he could look into doing some odd jobs.


Formerly Aurora Beam
Cyretar took another drink out of his cup, only finished drinking when his cup was empty. As he called the bartender over, a Khajiit man sat at the bar next to him and grunted a hello. Cyretar-or Slim-Dar, the name he chose to be-merely gave a disgruntled hiss and turned away from him. The Khajiit gave a confused and slightly angry look to Slim-Dar, and went back to drinking.
"What brings an old-timer like you to Solstheim?" The bartender asked as he refilled Slim-Dar's drink. Slim-Dar took a sip, them smiled.
"My employers sent me over to Solstheim to get more ebony. Too bad they hadn't heard it's dry, either." smirking, Slim-Dar took another drink.
"Heh. I guess after Red Mountain's eruption, there's not much here to see.
"Excuse me a moment." Slim-Dar moved down several seats from the Khajiit, who looked like he was going to try to start a conversation. "Damn Khajiit bastards."
"I've found them to be very good customers sometimes."
Slim-Dar shook his head at the bartender's sentence. "Hate 'em. Must be inherited from the people I worked for-and was raised by."
"Argonians are the only people who I think would-" the bartender stopped abruptly and nodded in understanding.
"Got any odd jobs for me to fill while I'm here? Can't go back without Ebony, but while I'll be here for a while . . . might as well find something to something to fill the time."
"Some of the drinkers here might have some. Might want to gather a party though. People don't tend to come back from these jobs."
Slim-Dar emptied the rest of his drink, then burst out laughing in spite of himself.
"I will gather a party. But I don't think that anything here could best some of what I've had to fight."
The sounds of a boat docking rang through the inn.
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Solstheim was probably worst place in Morrowind for Sinna to be- not that she'd be very welcome in the rest of the nation. By default, the Dunmer tended to associate her with the Imperial Legion's abandonment of the province, leaving it vulnerable to attacks from Black Marsh... It could be worse. She could be an Argonian in Morrowind.

Augh, stop that, she chided herself. That's your parents' prejudice talking. You are better than that. Shaking off those thoughts, she tried to ignore the looks she received as she walked along the ashy road down the middle of Raven Rock. Here in this settlement, she was even more hated- after the East Empire Trading Company abandoned its mines, it left the small settlement derelict, but the Dunmer took up resident after the explosion of the Red Mountain. Even though they willingly decided to live there, they still blamed the Imperials for their hardships...

Still, Sinna felt a sort of responsibility towards this place. Even thought she didn't personally dry up the mines and blow up the Red Mountain, she still felt like she owed something to the residents. At the very least, she should learn their stories. She could take them back to Solitude, and to the EETC, then maybe to their headquarters in Cyrodiil... And perhaps Raven Rock would receive compensation for their hardships. That was very unlikely, but nice to think about. Maybe she could even be lauded as a hero! Yes, that would do wonders for her reputation...

But back to today. Back to here and now. Raven Rock was exactly as it had been described by travelers and texts; dusty, run down, and worn out. The environment was reflected in its inhabitants, who looked just as tired and decrepit. Though, she did like the structure of some of the buildings. They reminded her of large bug shells, with sweeping wings. In fact, a lot of things seemed to be bug-themed here... Even the guards walking the street.

Passing by one of the odd shell-clad guards, Sinna could have sworn she heard the person inside scoff, and mutter, "Imperial bitch..."

Sinna didn't stop walking, choosing to ignore the comment. She knew she was going to receive some backlash from being here, and she was resigned to that fate. Maybe she'd prove herself valuable to the community, and they would accept her? Again, unlikely, but it's nice to dream.

There seemed to be one inn in town, so that's where Sinna had to go. The Retching Netch... Well, the name certainly catches your attention. Pushing the door open, Sinna entered the dark exterior. The familiar scent of mead, sweat and desperation permeated the air- it was almost comforting to her. Ste stepped up to the bar and cleared her throat, catching the attention of the bartender.

After purchasing a room, she had another request: rumors. Any information that would lead her to something to investigate and write about. Something to do to fill the time.
A hearty chorus of laughter erupted from the back of The Retching Netch, the one and only bar and inn on Solstheim. A merry group of people, largely Dunmer, sat gathered 'round a long table, all in varying states of drunkenness. Of the non-Dunmer was an Orc, who seemed the most jovial of the bunch, still in his blacksmith's apron.

"That's quite the tale, Teldryn!" one of the Dunmer said an armored compatriot. "And what about you, Vralg?" he continued, gesturing towards the Orc. "What grand tales of adventure do you have?"

Vralg took a large swig of his mead, finishing off the mug, "That, my friends, is a story that will require more!" causing another round of laughs. Vralg took his leave and headed towards the bar, handing his mug to the bartender. "Another round if you don't mind, Geldis!"

As Geldis took the mug to refill it, Vralg glanced around the bar. A usual band of Dunmer, a Khajiit - a rare sight on Solstheim but certainly not unheard of - and an Altmer...now that was a rare occurrence. Must be something happening somewhere on the island that Vralg wasn't privy to; which wouldn't be unusual since he still hadn't yet garnered a large amount of trust from the locals to keep him informed of goings-on. He'd have to get any information from patrons of The Retching Netch, provided he actually wanted any, of course.

The barkeep handed back a full mug and Vralg took it while nodding and smiling. As he made his way back to the table, he noticed an Imperial lady walk up towards the bar. This was a pretty strange evening. Of course, Vralg himself, being an Orc, was also a very unusual sight on Solstheim. Despite any of his intentions, he was still an outlander here, and thus had no room to pass judgement on others like him.

Vralg sat back down at the table and after a short chug, slammed his mug onto the table, the contents threatening to spill out. "Now then, where was I? Oh yes. Let me tell you about the time I took down a giant in battle of strength..."
Vanstrom stepped back to double check his handiwork. His narrow red eyes rapidly flicking back and forth to check for any scratches he may have missed. Satisfied, he turned around and walked back up the makeshift wooden walkway, letting the small wisps of magic die away in his hands, stopping upon reaching the cliff where a man stood waiting.

“That should ease her burns. Damn those Ash Spawn for attacking this fine creature.” Vanstrom assured.

“Thank you for your help friend. She should be able to rest easy for a little longer.”

“I’m glad to help.” Turning back around to the creature stood patiently just beyond the edge. The silt strider was a massive creature, a thick, rounded body sheltered by sturdy carapace, with a seating area carved into its top. Its legs stretched all the way down to the ground below, giving it an imposing height of thirty feet tall. She had mandibles on her face, and small glassy eyes. She parted her mandibles slightly and let out a dull wail, a solemn call that rang hollow in the ash lands. “She’s a beautiful creature, it’s such a shame to imagine that she may be the last that Morrowind will ever see of her kind.”

“It may be a while yet until we have to part ways. But yes, it will be a great loss when the day comes.” He sighs, and then passes Vanstrom a small pouch. “Here, take a bit of coin for your trouble.” Vanstrom didn’t say anything, but held out an outstretched hand and let him drop the pouch in his palm.

“So, are you from Tel Mithryn? One of Neloth’s house?” Vanstrom tightened his lips at the thought.

“I shudder at the possibility of being related to that mad man. No, I’m not from House Telvanni, I am a part of House Sadras” He looked over his shoulder to see the shadows of the mushroom citadel in the distance. “Despite his borderline insanity, he is gifted. Madness truly does gives way to genius: he is quite possibly the most brilliant mage in Morrowind. That is why I came here seeking knowledge. And although he keeps insisting I do trivial tasks like making tea, being in the presence of his experiments is certainly it’s own reward though.”

“So is he sending you off for alchemical ingredients?”

“No, my business is my own for now. I’m heading to Raven Rock to see if there’s a shipment of mainland ingredients for my own uses, as well as for a bottle of fine Sujamma.”

“Well, you won’t find anything better than the stuff Sadri sells at the Retching Netch. Take care.”

“You too.” Vanstrom picked up his staff and set off westwards.

A few hours later, the walls of the bulwark towered over him, cracked but strong. Vanstrom believed that if the entire town were to disappear, the walls would be the last to go. That could happen if the town kept going as it was. Vanstrom knew that their ebony mine had gone dry, and that the two ships currently in the harbor could be the first to arrive since he first took one to Solstheim. More importantly though, the few people currently out on the streets, they just seemed tired. Tired of their lives out here, tired of waiting for something new to happen. A few of them could easily be persuaded to pack up and leave if they were given a good reason to. Not that it would be a massive improvement for them, Morrowind itself has its own share of problems at the moment.

Vanstrom resigned his thoughts and went into one of these buildings and down the stairs within. This was the Retching Netch, which despite the name, was perhaps a real gem in the town, in part to the talented bartending skills of the owner; Geldis Sadri. And tonight, he had a near full house. With two ships in the docks now, most of the crew had come here to drink away the long hours at sea, and most of those people were foreigners. Vanstrom could see a small group of Dunmer in the far corner, likely locals, who looked on at the gathering of different races in disgust. Among the new arrivals, Vanstrom could see mostly Men, Nords and Imperials. There were also a few other Mer; an Orsimer loudly boasting a tale about some beast he killed to his Dunmer audience, the more sociable group of regular patrons. An Altmer was there as well, over by the bar conversing with Geldis. There was also a Khajitt near the Altmer, trying to pull the disgruntled high elf into a conversation. That seemed to account all the people in the bar right now.

Ignoring everything else except his thirst, Vanstrom approached the bar and sat on one of the stools, an empty chair away from the Altmer. He didn’t bother to lower his hood from his head, making him inconspicuous.

“Barkeep, a pitcher of your finest sujamma, if you would.” Vanstrom requested, propping his arms onto the bar shelf. Vanstrom savored the relaxed position, keeping his ears open to casually eavesdrop on the Orc’s tale.


Formerly Aurora Beam
Slim-Dar watched as the bartender left him to go check somebody into a room, and as the guest inquired for something else, Slim-Dar decided that it was left for him to find himself entertainment. He purposefully ignored the Khajiit next to him (who was still trying to start a conversation) and looked around. There was an Orc at a table, telling a lively tale and making sure to take a drink at the start of each sentence.

Slim-Dar smiled as he remembered when he was young enough to sit at a table with a few good argonian mates and tell a tale wild enough that even the dumbest Khajiit could see through it-but all in good fun.

Slim-Dar cocked his head as he spotted a Dunmer eavesdropping on the orcs. He was relaxed, and looked as though he was tired enough to sleep through the centuries. Slim-Dar smiled, but resisted the urge to walk over the the dunmer specifically. Instead, he took a drink and waked around to the table right behind the Orc and his friends, casually pulling out Chillrend and letting the icy mist surround him.

Sometimes even a trained vet couldn't resist a little showing off.


Resident Furry
The one inn in town was called 'The Retching Netch.' A name like that had to have a story behind it. Rizzo, who had been trying to pick up some Man and Mer facial expressions for ease of conversation, did his best to grin. It needed more practice, still looked more like he was bearing his fangs. The exact opposite emotion from the one he wanted to be showing. Oh well, he doubted there was too much to grin about in Raven Rock.

Regardless of the state of the rest of the town, the Retching Netch seemed to be full of life. At one table, a jovial Orsimer surrounded by Dunmer companions, laughing at some story the Orsimer was telling. An Altmer behind them had his weapon drawn. If that evolved into a fight, it might be good free entertainment. Unfortunately, sitting at a table near the back were a pair of Redoran Guards, who were eying the Altmer in case he decided to start something. That might dampened the fun a bit, though guards on break were probably a good place to find work.

A Dunmer and a Khajiit sat at the bar, with an Imperial nearby hitting up the bartender. Quite the varied cast of characters! Rizzo stepped up to the bar as the bartender started responding to whatever it was the Imperial was asking about. "The guards have been mentioning something about spiders attacking travelers on the way to Tel Mithryn. The men they sent out to deal with it never came back."

The bartender took a moment to size up the Imperial. She was a woman, Rizzo could see that now that he was closer. Looked to be of average build. Blond hair made her look Nordic from behind, the Argonian thought, though he hadn't seen too many Nords to be exactly sure. Her clothes looked kind of ritzy, though compared to Rizzo most anything would.

"No offense miss, but you don't look the sort to deal with that kind of trouble," the bartender apologized. Then he motioned to the guards in the back. "You can talk to them for more information, if you're interested. Try not to bother them too much, though."

That done, he turned to the Argonian, hesitating only slightly before putting on his best smile. "Welcome to the Retching Netch Cornerclub, home of the finest sujamma that will ever grace your lips. What can I get for you?"

"A room for the night," Rizzo replied, handing the Dunmer the correct number of coinage. He'd done this enough times to know what to pay.

The Dunmer accepted the money and handed him a key, before musing, "Haven't seen this much business since the mines shut down."

Rizzo took a seat at the bar, contemplating purchasing one of the advertized bottles of sujamma as well. In the meantime, he kept his eyes on the guards. Half to see if the Imperial approached them, half to see if they were forced to attack the Altmer.
Sinna exhaled hard through her nose, but smiled to the bartender. "Thanks anyway. Could I have my room key?" She took her key and turned away from the bar, her saccharine smile melting away as soon as he couldn't see it. The bartender's information had given her almost nothing. Sure, the disappearing mercenaries did seem promising, but she wanted something to write about, not something that could get her killed. Perhaps if she paid enough coin, she could hire her own mercenaries to go with her. Something in the back of her mind was telling her that there was more to this story than met the eye- isn't that how it always is?

Her eyes moved to the guards at the back of the room, all huddled around a table and drinking, their weapons set against the wall. They all looked rather relaxed, but Sinna could tell that they didn't want to be bothered, perfectly content in their mutual silence. If she wanted to get any information of of them, she'd either have to get them drunk, or take them to bed, and neither option was particularly savory right now. This was going to be... a little harder than she thought.

Feeling a little downtrodden, Sinna sat down on a stool and turned her back to it, looking around the room, and finally getting a good look at the people she was rubbing elbows with. A finer pack of drunks and exhausted explorers she never did see. She supposed the sad little island didn't do much for anyone's spirits. She wondered how many of them were newcomers to the island, like herself, who hadn't yet felt the harsh sting of ash in their eyes and lungs.

Whatever the case, Sinna needed something. Gathering her resolve, she tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and moved to the back of the bar, heading towards the table of guards seated there. She put on the face of a confused and lost outlander, hoping that she could garner a few sympathy points.

"Excuse me," Sinna started, waiting for some of the guards to look up and acknowledge her. "I'm sorry to bother you. I just needed to know a few things..." She then spun this tale about her dear husband, Faustus, sailing to Solstheim for work, but never returning. "He mentioned something about spiders and Tel Mithryn, and..." Feeling inspired, Sinna began to cry, thin tears rolling down her face. "Please, I'm begging you... I need to know. I need to know what he was doing."

Sinna paused, waiting for one of the guards to say something, or for anything to happen.
Vanstrom let a tight smile tug at his lips while the Orc continued to boast about his encounter with the giant. Vanstrom never met one in person, but he knew they were a reserved and peaceful race, a lot like some of the nomads that roamed the Ashlands, only an increased size. For the orcs tale to hold any water, he would have had to do something quite possibly stupid to anger the giant in the first place. Though, given Orsimer culture, it was probably something simple like asking the giant to fight him, or the Orc equivalent of such politeness.

Vanstrom lost interest in the story when he noticed one of the imperials, the female in fine clothing, approach the off-duty guards in the back, showing worry and concern; quite different to her attitude at the bar. Intrigued, Vanstrom perked his ears to gleam as much of the conversation as she could. Thanks to the general chatter, especially the Orc’s booming voice, he wasn’t able to hear everything. He was able to hear about her husband, Faustus, who sailed to Solstheim to work, and never returned. Something to do with spiders and… Tel Mithryn. That was certainly interesting. For one, Vanstrom hasn’t heard of a Faustus, or even anyone, coming to Tel Mithryn in recent weeks. And Vanstrom doubted the wife would have waited more than 3 months to check in on him in person like this, especially alone while reeking of riches. Her husband simply couldn’t have made it to Tel Mithryn. He either died on the way, or misinformed her so he could run off with some other female. That is, of course, if Vanstrom didn’t already doubt the whole story in the first place. He saw the way she held herself, and despite the look of distraught, she was carefully holding her hands behind her back. Masking it from the other guards, but leaving them exposed to his discerning eyes. If she had a husband, why didn’t she have a wedding band? The whole custom was an imperial thing after all/ The way she was keeping her hands there indicated that she didn’t want the guards wondering the same thing he was.

Vanstrom quickly looked back at his goblet and finished off his serving of drink, before standing up and walking over to the imperial. Time for a little meddling.

“Oh do pardon me, Miss.” Vanstrom greeted as he approached, “But did you mention your husband was supposed to be on his way to Tel Mithryn?” He wasn’t ratting her out just yet, but he wanted to see just how far she could stretch out this story of hers before she finally cracked.