Wednesday 31 May 2017

TESO: Unfriendly Terrain

Adventures of Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Malabal Tor is perhaps my least favorite zone in the game so far. The cliffs and forest make the zone bloody annoying to navigate, exacerbated with the amount of back and forth travel required by the local quests. While there was a Redguard incursion, the main foes along the shore consist of pirates, some of whom are in talks of alliance with the Worm Cult and the Imperial Empire.

Which also includes bad breath Daedroths.

More troublesome are the orcs already in league with the Worm Cult, who are trying to summon Malacath to Nirn - a plan I obviously put to an end with some assistance from Malacath's nemesis, Boethiah. The overall bad dude here is "the hound", and his houndsmen of Hircine.

If you thought "werewolves" then you are right. Lots of them. Of course it is more difficult chasing the scum down than it actually is killing him, but I am elated regardless afterwards because it means I can finally leave this annoyingly designed zone. Side note: How is it that giant wasps make zero noise despite constantly flying? Stealth magic?

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Nameless: Time to Rumble

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"What brings you here, manlings?" hissed Rhone in what Nessa assumed was her version of a friendly tone. "Wait, let me guess - you are here for the seal of fire?".

"How did you know?" Ladel blurted out like a buffoon, causing Nessa to grimace.

Rhone simply laughed. "That is the same reason those soldiers have laid seige to our home. They too tried diplomacy at first. Our answer to them is the same we must give you. Please understand, the Fire Ruby keeps our god, calm. There is simply nothing you can say or do that..."

A sudden, deep rumbling interrupted the captain's speech as the whole mountain shook briefly.

"Does that happen often?" asked Nessa as she steadied herself against a nearby wall.

Before Rhone could reply the rumbling returned, more intense than before. The other lizard folk began screaming and running past in terror.

"It can't be..." Rhone hissed angrily as she began to march deeper into the mountain. Ladel and Nessa followed close behind. "What's happening?" asked Nessa in a more demanding tone as a few more soldiers joined their group.

Turning the corner to an opulent staircase that spiraled further down the depths she got her answer. The bodies of dead lizard warriors and a few Shadowstar soldiers ley strewn lifeless on the floor. They had breached the walls.

Monday 29 May 2017

Nameless: Worms

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Dariya frowned as the little ball of light she had conjured slowly fell to the ground. "It's not here," she said to no one in particular.

"Looks that way ere too," quipped Arslan as he held a lantern closer to the spot she was staring. "So some taffer just gone and nicked it, yeah? Whaddaya think Buster?"

Buster wasn't looking at them though, he was looking back towards the mine cart they had used to descend to this deep and seemingly lifeless level. Then he saw it again, the shadows moving in the distance yet closing in.

Wordlessly he put his lantern on the ground and readied his axe. Arlsan understood right away and did the same with his sword and shield, at the same time Dmitri nudged his mother to prepare as well.

After a brief pause, they charged out of the darkness wielding pickaxes and hammers. It was only after Buster killed one that he realized they were just miners, only there was something off about them.

A bright flash of illumination lit up the chamber as Dmitri's fire ball set a good number of the attackers on fire, making it easy for Buster and Arslan to land fatal blows while their targets were distracted.

The last of them happened to collapse beside one of the lanterns on the floor, and from his mouth crawled out a hideous worm with tentacles. Dariya wasted no time to squash it with the end of her staff as the others recoiled in horror.

"Kill the worms!" she ordered as more began emerging from the corpses of the miners, too many to squash one at a time. Dmitri finally stepped forward with another fire ball, setting both the corpses and the parasites alight.

"You've seen these before, mother?" asked Dmitri. Dariya could only nod silently as a cold shiver ran down her spine. Wordlessly she turned towards a nearby wall and cast a variation of the revealing spell she did earlier.

With a silvery shimmer, a strange, purple door decorated with alien looking membranes materialized before them. "I think I know who took the artifact," she whispered.

Sunday 28 May 2017

Nameless: Summit

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Florin pressed himself against the cave wall as much as he could as the massive red-coil mountain snake slithered past, not paying him or his team mates any mind. Once it was out of view, he signaled the rest of his squad to continue onward into the cold, howling wind and towards the bright opening ahead.

Despite the cold it felt good to stand on open ground once more, and they all paused a moment to catch their breath as well as make the most of the spectacular vantage point they now stood at, being able to see for miles to the horizon. Florin smiled at the rest of his team and noticed Romila looking the other way.

Following her gaze up the path, there looked to be a dense and compact cloud the size of a horse blocking the way. A cloud that wasn't being affected by the gusty wind. His eyes widened with sudden realization of what they were looking at as electricity began to spark violently from the innocuous looking air elemental.

"GET DOWN!" Florin yelled as he grabbed those nearest him and dove to the ground.

Saturday 27 May 2017

Nameless: Ruined

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

The village of the tree folk was in tatters, littered with debris, damaged surroundings and recent blood splatters. Most worryingly, it was deserted. There were no survivors hiding among the ruins, no bodies left lying in the mud. Silvain tried to comfort Magnolia, who was beside herself in tears.

"What lies to the North of here?" asked Fayina as she and Tabitha returned from scouting the nearby area.

"Some forgotten, ruined temple," replied Magnolia between sobs. "Why?"

"There are a lot of tracks going in that direction, it's possible some of your people are alive," explained Tabitha. "We're going after them."

Hearing this Magnolia recomposed herself as best she could and nodded.


The old stone temple, now covered in vines, sat in a steep valley, giving the girls a good view from the edge of the treeline. Sure enough, a small band of tree folk, bound together at the wrists, were being led into the main plaza by reptilian-like humanoids each carrying a spear and shield.

"What are those?" whispered Fayina. Magnolia could only shrug as she too had never seen them before.

"Doesn't matter what they are," growled Tabitha as she unsheathed her blade. "Not after we're through with them."

Friday 26 May 2017

Nameless: Mount Verini

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

With a scream, Nessa swung her sword down hard into the shoulder of the Shadowstar soldier who collapsed in a shower of blood with a horrified look on his face. The last thing they expected to find at the gates of the ancient temple built into the volcano was an entire regiment of enemies laying siege to it.

An entire regiment now dead or dying.

With the battle over, Nessa surveyed the losses to her allies and they were equally severe. Of her team, which was reinforced by three other mages who Jann had freed from cursed paintings, only Ladel the cook remained upright, puffing with exhaustion.

Her eyes then came across a familiar thin body lying in a broken position near the middle of the field - the merchant Notaku. With a missing leg and a clearly broken arm his lifeless eyes just stared across towards the massive gates of the temple.

Gates which slowly began to open with a loud grinding noise. Lizard like figures walking up right on two legs, each with a spear and shield marched out and surrounded the two wary survivors. Their leader, marked by a different coloration on her helmet stepped forward.

"Enemies of our enemies are our friends," she hissed with a slight bow. "Please come in." Nessa and Ladel were happy to oblige, since the artifact they sought was supposedly within the temple anyway. Nessa noticed that half of their entourage remained behind to collect equipment and the dead.

"I am Rhone," said the guard captain as she led them into a huge, gold-gilded hall with magnificently carved figures decorating both sides. "Welcome to Verini."

Thursday 25 May 2017

Nameless: The Other Problem

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"Someone mind telling me what this magic crystal is doing in an active mine?" grumbled Buster openly as his team drew closer to the divide in the solid rock face ahead. It was Dariya who replied. "It was decided when we first found the artifacts that it was too dangerous to keep them together, lest the Wizard King claim all of them in one fell swoop. So, we only kept the urn under guard and hid the others with magic in hard to reach places."

As she finished, the group was mere paces away from the large, black maw in the divide that served as the mine entrance. Beside it was a large wooden building that served both as a guard post and the foreman's office. From it a tall woman with short hair, a plain face and a physique so muscular that it was easy to mistake her as a man stepped out to meet them.

"You don't look like a dig team," she uttered in a deep baritone voice. "Are you here about the other problem?"

"Whaddother problem?" asked Arslan without thinking.

"Problems in the lower levels. Not just our usual monsters either, entire dig teams are vanishing without a trace. There's a bounty posted for anyone that can sort it out."

After a brief awkward silence as the men folk exchanged dubious glances, Dariya edged her way forward and in her strange tone said "Yes, that's what we came for."

The man-lady hesitated a little at this but eventually produced a small roster sheet for them to sign their names on, pay a small entrance fee, and then directed them to a small store of supplies they'd need like oil, flints, lanterns and helmets. Once fully kitted out, the four finally headed towards the pitch black tunnel that served as the mine entrance.

Despite the brave faces, not one of them was eager to enter.

Wednesday 24 May 2017

TESO: What is dead may never die

Adventures of Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

It turns out I was beaten to the very item I was sent to fetch by the Queen's own Vice Reeve who reveals himself as part of the Veiled Heritance who are present in large numbers here, as well as their sea elf allies the Maromer. Nearby orc clans also cause trouble for the locals but they are just road kill on my chase for the Vice Reeve whom I finally catch up to in an ocean confrontation thanks to a tip from Hermaeus Mora (seriously, don't steal from a Daedric Prince).

As for the Vice Reeve: I sunk his battleship.

The second half is more interesting, as the evil Prince Naemon who I had already killed last time had been revived as a lich by the late Vice Reeve, and is attempting to bring this part of the forest into the shadow realm. Slaying his undead minions, shades and ultimately the Prince himself (again) is quite fun as warping between the two states changes the spawn on the map. Doesn't matter so much for people who just kill everything but for a sneak like me I quite appreciated it.

Raz and Mai'q get honorable mentions for being my travelling "companions" in the zone since they keep showing up unexpectedly. Also on my journey I do ponder why some skeletons hold torches. Does it let them see better? Anyway it's then on to Malabal Tor which is under attack by... Redguards?

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Nameless: Dinner Reservations

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"Is that a giant?" asked Fayina in a hushed whisper, earning her a glare from Silvain with one finger on her lips. Tabitha in the lead, simply rolled her one good eye as she edged closer to her target.

The trio had been drawn off course while traversing the woods by the sounds of crying which led them straight into a shallow hovel with a wide mouth. Close to the entrance was a small weeping woman, bound by a chain tied to a stake in the ground.

Tabitha was only a few feet away from her when the large shape deeper in suddenly stirred. With a snort, the giant rolled to his side and blinking his eyes awake slowly realized his captive was gone. Startled, he tried to get up quickly but instead hit his head on the cavern roof, knocking himself back into a stupor.


"Thank you," sobbed the grateful and now unbound captive a good distance away from the giant's hovel. "I wasn't sure what that brute was going to do to me."

"What's a giant doing down here anyway? I thought they live up in the mountains?" questioned Tabitha as she sheathed her blade.

The woman shrugged "I was just coming to collect herbs like I do every week, and this time he was there. He said I was trespassing and since I was on his property, he owned me."

"You are of the tree folk yes?" asked Silvain out of the blue.

"Y.. yes. I am called Magnolia. Why?"

Silvain smiled. "Your people were once given a special cup for safe keeping long ago by members our group."

"You ... are veils?" Magnolia asked in awe as she shook in excitement. "Veiled alliance," corrected Tabitha to no one but herself as Magnolia had already begun skipping off in glee deeper into the woods, trying to drag Fayina and Silvain with one hand each.

"Come on slow poke!" she called over her shoulder to Tabitha. "The village will be so excited to have you over for dinner!"

Monday 22 May 2017

Nameless: All the Way up Here

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"We're making good time," announced Romila as she shrugged off the soreness in her arms. Beside her, Florin looked across the desert expanse below to the distant red mountains, obviously concerned about the rest of his team. Romila saw this and slapped him on the back.

"They probably aren't even there yet," she mused. "Get your head back in the game, mercenary."

"Lady Romila," called Jann from up ahead. He was flanked by a pair of mage sisters, that he had freed from the cursed portraits just days ago. "There's a village up ahead."

"All the way up here?"

Curious, the stern woman took point with Florin close behind to see for herself. There was indeed a small village up ahead, but each structure was nearly twice the size of a regular dwelling. The damaged furniture inside was of the same scale.

"Giants lived here," Jann mused.

"But where are they now?" asked Romila with a hint of trepidation.

"I'm more concerned about what made them leave," said Florin plainly as he poked at a pile of rubble with a stick.

"Let's not hang around to find out, our climb is just beginning."

Sunday 21 May 2017

Nameless: Crossroads

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"I didn't ever think I'd miss trees," mused Buster as he looked up at the large jungle canopy they were marching through. Arslan, marching along side him at the front of the line just laughed. "The desert only looks like it goes on forever, baldy."

Behind them was Fayina still sporting bruises from Arslan's latest beating and Tabitha who was keeping close to the abused girl, followed by Silvain, a slim and freckled brunette who just days ago served as the alliance book keeper.

"This should be the place," Silvain said as she pushed her spectacles back to the bridge of her nose. The others stopped and looked around. Ironically it was the one eyed Tabitha who first spotted the pair camouflaged in the bushes, her hand instinctively reaching for the hilt of her blade.

"Easy there," said the taller of the two strangers as he pulled off his shimmering cloak to reveal a youthful yet bearded face. "I am Dmitri, and I believe some of you know my mother."

"Dariya!" squealed Silvain excitedly as she rushed over to hug the second figure whose hood had fallen enough to reveal a very old and wrinkled woman beneath. After a short exchange of introductions the grim reality of the task ahead set in once more.

"The seven of us here now just have to decide, who goes after the magic crystal and who goes after the cup of life," stated Dariya in an off kilter tone.

"Bags going for the crystal," said Arslan, proud with himself that he managed to speak up first. Tabitha quickly used it against him.

"I think the men should go after the crystal and we ladies go after the cup."

"The wh... Fayina stays with me!" Arslan demanded.

"No," interrupted Dariya - her weak voice still somehow managing a good measure of authority. "I will go with you, with my son. I expect you ladies to have the cup when we return."

"I swear we will," bowed Tabitha slightly. "On my life."

Saturday 20 May 2017

Nameless: Grim Paintings

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Notaku wiped the sweat from his brow as he cursed the burning sun under his breath. It had been two days since his small caravan had left the city with Nessa, Florin, Romila, and Ladel, a sweaty, rotund, low ranking alliance member who moonlighted as their cook and whose sharp body odor was becoming harder to ignore.

Thankfully their destination wasn't far now as a the ragged tent in the distance grew ever closer.

"Notaku, my old friend!" exclaimed the dark skinned man who greeted them. "And Lady Romila, it's been a long time. What brings you all the way out here?"

"We need your help Jann," replied Romila as Florin helped her down from the wagon. Behind them, Ladel and Nessa had begun unloading three flat squares of cargo - paintings depicting individuals in terrible or hopeless situations.

"Ohho, where did you get these?" mused Jann as he stroked his long goatee.

"Bought them," Notaku piped up proudly. "Which was hard to do without raising suspicion I might add."

Nessa, who was now standing just behind Romila whispered "So, how does this work? We give him paintings and he gives us reinforcements?"

"The paintings -are- your reinforcements my dear," said Jann over his shoulder. "The new regime is full of sadists who wanted a method to publicly incarcerate and torture their foes for all eternity, all while saving space in the physical dimension. It's quite brilliant actually. Please, bring them inside and I will begin preparations to extract these unfortunate souls."

"Jann was always best at this field of study," mused Romila out loud as she watched Jann lead Notaku, Ladel and Nessa to his camp.

"So why did Matthias kick him out?" asked Florin.

"Because he enjoys tormenting children."

Friday 19 May 2017

Nameless: Glorified Fetch Quest

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]
Nessa observed the distraught and demoralized faces gathered around the camp fire. After the attack on their base, the handful of survivors had relocated to the Sorrows under the leadership of their vice-leader, a stern woman named Romila who had just finished giving a speech on what they were to do next.

"Your plan is foolish," Nessa hissed at Romila as she walked past, causing her to stop mid step.

"We should just rally all our forces and attack the Lord Warrior directly!"

"Nessa!" barked Florin in an attempt to get her in line. Both women ignored him.

"That was suicide even before they had the elemental urn," countered Romila plainly. "But you are more than welcome to try - after we have our counter measures in place."

"It's a glorified fetch quest..." Nessa began but Florin cut her off. "Which we will be glad to assist in. In fact, I've decided which of the four items we should go after first: all of them."

As everyone turned to him in shock, he held up his hands to explain.

"The way I understand it is we need all four artifacts to stand a chance, and the fastest way to retrieve them is to split up. Romila's people are mostly spell casters - there happens to be a shortage of capable warriors to support them yet here we are. Four of us. It's..."

"...destiny." Tabitha said in a whisper, still loud enough to be heard by all.

"You sure about this boss?" asked Buster, one bushy eyebrow raised.

"It just makes sense." Florin finished.

Thursday 18 May 2017

Nameless: Glancing Blows

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

After a few days of laying low at an inn on the outskirts, Matthias had come to see them. Impressed with their performance at the pyramid it was finally time to welcome them properly to the rebellion. Nessa couldn't help but be on guard as he led them into the local graveyard, and there deep within one of the tombs he opened a hidden door with stairs going down.

"Welcome to the Veiled..." Matthias began, but cut himself short when he saw the pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs. His worst fears were realized when the bodies of his allies came into view. A squad of soldiers with blood still dripping from their swords casually waited for them to descend. Furious, Matthias outstretched a hand and shouted a violent incantation.

Nothing happened.

The soldiers grinned and raised their blades. "For the Lord Warrior!" they shouted in unison before charging the hapless mage. They never reached him as Florin's squad leaped into action, swiftly executing the intruders. With the sounds of battle still ringing from deeper in, they knew there'd be more of them. Suddenly hit by a terrifying thought, Matthias began sprinting down one passage - almost outrunning his protectors.

Turning the corner he finally made it to their arcane vault where they stored artifacts too dangerous to fall into the hands of the new regime. A large contingent of soldiers was already there, and in the center - a menacing black armored figure holding the most powerful relic of all in that location - the elemental urn. Florin's team took a moment to realize they were now staring at the Lord Warrior.

The urn was somehow familiar...

With the smallest of nods, the rest of the soldiers yelled their standard battle cry and attacked while the Lord Warrior casually walked away from the skirmish and out an adjacent door. Desperate to prevent the loss of the elemental urn, Matthias charged forward on his own but was quickly brought low by a stab through the knee and a follow up through an eye.

Tabitha, Buster, Nessa and Florin were also hard pressed but managed to negate the enemy numbers by putting their backs against a wall. Slowly, like in the Kalek's pyramid, the soldiers fell one at a time until none of them were left breathing. Florin was surprised that not even the last few would flee. It seemed that escape was a privilege reserved for the Lord Warrior.

Wednesday 17 May 2017

TESO: Not so Graht

Adventures of Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Despite all my efforts it seems the Lion's Guard went ahead and captured some pact soldiers which led to my return to their valley encampment the Nord dagger man, Craizee, and together we killed every single Lion Guard scum left in there. At this point I definitely regret reviving King Emeric. Anyway, there's still hope for an alliance with Queen Ayrenn so I sail over to the giant forest of Grahtwood next, and this place is a mess - story wise.

The trees here are massive!

It's like they put piece meal ideas everywhere, such as a rebellion, a vampire den, the Worm Cult messing around, freeing forest spirits, a showdown against Sheogorath's new favorite mortal, assisting an Ordinator of Almalexia shutting down a dolmen and so on with no main thread tying them together like in past zones.

At least I got to push a drunk wizard off a tower.

Ultimately I just need to retrieve pieces of an ancient machine so that the Bosmer (who are actually cannibalistic since they don't eat plants) recognize Ayrenn as their true leader. Her brother Naemon tries to use the machine first which turns him into an ugly daedra which I destroy easily. Ayrenn (who did no work for any of this I might add) doesn't change at all, just powers up(?) and then sends me to fetch her next accessory over at Greenshade.

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Today I Smiled: Eurovision 2017

Ahh Eurovision - it's been awhile since I posted about it last but  this was definitely fun to watch last weekend. If you missed it, don't worry - I've got you covered! This year had male models (5th place), yodeling (7th place), a dancing monkey (6th place), a guy in a horse mask (14th place), some dancing Moldovians (3rd place), an anime kid who is pretty damn good (came 2nd place, worth a watch) and these guys (10th)...

Can you guess why I liked them? :P

My faves of the more "normal" variety included a trio of chicks who blend really well (11th), the UK songstress (15th), this happy moon guy (16th), and this jolly Croatian with a great vocal range (13th). I have no complaints about the actual winner though.

I didn't understand a word of his song yet it was fantastic. You can tell how awesome it is when other competitors are crying while listening to it. He even earns bonus thumbs up for letting his sister (the one who composed it) take the stage and sing it with him in his encore.

Hope you enjoyed at least some of those links, if not here's something a little more mainstream. Similar to D&D devils, if you sing someone's song there's a small percent chance they will appear for an impromptu duet! :P

Monday 15 May 2017

Nameless: Satisfaction

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Finding the garden was pretty easy as it was at the highest level of the pyramid. There a large contingent of gladiators turned guards men stood watch while a dark skinned woman was busy at work deeper in. From the way she barked orders at the others it was clear she was in charge.

Moving in single file with Nessa up front, the team silently snaked its way into the garden grounds - silently taking down targets of opportunity while getting as close as they could to the woman. Unfortunately, Tabitha stepped on a particularly crunchy twig which drew the dark lady's attention.

"Intrud...!" she screamed, cut short by Buster's axe cleaving its way up between her legs and arcing out at her bosom - showering the short, bald man with her blood and entrails. There was no hiding now, as the team began openly engaging the guards who began pouring in from the lower levels.

"For the Lord Warrior!" they cried now and again. Not that it helped as their numbers slowly whittled down by the superior combat skills and the high ground advantage of Florin's group. At the end, they stood bloodied, wounded but victorious over the bodies of at least twenty foes.

Maybe more than twenty.

When it was clear no more were coming, they patched themselves up as best they could, took what valuables the dead no longer needed, and torched all the plants in the garden. Satisfied with their accomplishments they limped out of there together.

Sunday 14 May 2017

Nameless: Kalek

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Once they got out of the claustrophobic secret tunnel, the corridors of the pyramid were surprisingly wide and well lit thanks to the numerous torches and the glass tip that let the sunlight in. Guards, who appeared to be ex-gladiators, patrolled lazily with wine skins in hand - making it easy to simply slip by them undetected. Hidden within one of the deep cells they discovered a cage with a frail looking man trapped within. Arcane tattoos and horrible cancerous growths covered his bare back and arms.

"Stay away," the prisoner muttered without turning around.

"We can help you," began Tabitha but was held back firmly by Florin who nodded towards two dead bodies outside the cage. Guards whose skin was covered in similar looking boils.

"The Lady of the Garden," coughed the prisoner. "She's made her plague too potent. Stay away. You cannot help me."

"Do you know how is she making this plague?" asked Nessa. "Help us stop this from happening to anyone else!"

The prisoner coughed painfully. "There is a collection of rare herbs from across the world that grow upstairs. They were once my pride and joy, now they are my doom. She uses those to make this virus. Destroy them. Destroy her. That should at least slow their plans."


"Go now. Kalek is dead."

Saturday 13 May 2017

Nameless: Not much of a Choice

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"Good to finally meet you," said Florin as he shook the hand of Matthias Morthen, leader of the resistance. As promised, Arslan had taken the team to meet him but where he led them was not some secret base, rather to an empty plaza beside what was known as Kalek's Pyramid, so named because of the hermit who never left its walls.

"You live up to your reputation," Matthias replied through crooked, dirty teeth. "Arslan has told me how you dealt with Acar. I'm afraid we are in need of your services again. Our spies tell us that the new regime is up to something in the pyramid behind me. I would like you to figure out what exactly it is."

"Your spies got tired of spying?" Nessa asked snarkily.

"Due to the nature of the threat," Matthias continued coolly. "They were not the best candidates for the job. Your team is. There's a hidden entrance just behind this statue..."

"You're being a little cryptic there my friend," interrupted Florin. "If you know what's waiting for us I would like to know."

Matthias sighed. "We believe they are developing a plague. One that specifically targets those with magic. Much like the Wizard King, the new order does not take kindly to rogue mages and nearly our entire force is made up of magic users. Now do you understand?"

"So... you're a mage and Arslan is..."

"While he isn't magically gifted, he is also about as stealthy as a crazed camel that enjoys dancing while wearing a thousand bells. Now, please - will you do this for me?"

It didn't sound like much of a choice.

Friday 12 May 2017

Nameless: The Money Lender

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"That will be one hundred fourteen thousand gold pieces," said the tanned and slender man with a devilish grin as he finished moving the beads on his abacus. Acar the money lender was not shy about displaying his wealth, residing in one of the most opulent mansions in the city and having even his guards and servants adorned with magnificent jewelry.

He also wasn't a fool, either. He knew the four adventurers before him didn't have the funds to pay off Fayina's debt. That's why he made sure they were each -thoroughly- searched and disarmed before he allowed an audience with them. Florin and Buster in particular seemed very uncomfortable in the white togas they were forced to change into, while the rest of their gear - other than Tabitha's eye patch - was confiscated. The guards in were very clear that all the items would NOT be returned. A small price to pay for Acar's time.

"How about you drop Fayina's debt and we'll let you live?" Nessa asked with all the charm of a hungry sand shark. Acar laughed. He had around twenty heavily armed guards in the room with him, and more patrolling the grounds. What could four unarmed fighters do to him?

Clearly needing a demonstration, Nessa gave a silent hand signal and suddenly the toga clad team sprung into action. They might not have been armed but all the guards were - and it was child's play to take the guards spare weapons in the melee. The money lender barely had time to call for more guards as the last ones in the room were slain, simply being outclassed by the four foreigners.

The reinforcements fared no better as the intruders casually waited for their arrival, and dealt with all comers easily. Eventually no more came, and the entire room had been repainted red. Acar soiled himself as they finally turned their attention to him.

"Alright alright! Her debt is paid! Please, leave me be!"

Buster marched right up to him, bloody knife in hand. "Nuthin personal, but the boss says we can't trust you."

Acar's eyes widened as he screamed and felt the blade jam up right between his legs, multiple times until he collapsed onto the blood soaked floor, dead.

"Burn the books," Florin ordered. "And lets loot this place dry."

It was late in the evening when Arslan and Fayina returned to the Sorrows. Their mission to return the relic Fayina stole had been successful, though their third companion - Shandel - had his leg broken during a confrontation with one of the tunneling creatures and was only going to slow them down on the return journey. Arlsan made the decision to leave him there in the monster's temple as a "heroic sacrifice".

He was surprised to see Florin's blood soaked team waiting for them at his hut, and more surprised at the large, somewhat filthy treasure pile stocked within. "Acar sends his regards," Florin greeted. "Sorry about the shine on some of these. It's a bit hard to transport things through sewer tunnels and keep them clean. So, how did we do?"

"You passed," Arslan said with a huge grin.

Thursday 11 May 2017

Nameless: Arslan

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"You stupid wench!" yelled Arslan as he backhanded the terrified woman again, giving her another bruise to match all the others on he quivering frame as tears streamed down her face. He heard someone enter the little shanty hut from behind him, but didn't turn around right away - instead opting to first trip the woman over and then kicking her in the chest. After spitting on her he finally turned to see a group of strangers led by Shandel crowded at the doorway.

Sorry, couldn't help myself. :P

"Whaddaya want?" he grumbled angrily as he turned his attention back to the woman on the floor with another kick.

"Arslan?" Florin asked hesitantly, holding out the ragged cloth and a letter. The short man scratched at his beard before snatching both from Florin. After looking them over he crumpled them up and tossed them at the sobbing woman as hard as he could. "So yer the ones Matthias sent for eh?" he muttered again as he prepared to kick the woman another time. In a blink, the edge of Tabitha's blade was at his throat.

"You should stop hitting her now," she said with a dangerous tone. Arslan just scoffed and pushed the blade aside.

"This stupid whore be the reason them monsters attacked and killed the good folk out there. See, she took something of theirs from their temple and now they be wanting it back. Why don't ya tell these folk why you stole from the monsters Fayina? Tell em, I said!"

"To pay off a debt," the woman finally said, choking through pain and tears.

Arslan snickered. "Tell em why you're in debt, love. Go on then." The woman couldn't reply. Arslan scoffed.

"She's in debt since she bloody gambled away all the funds of our... little organization - and then some. Worse, the lender she used is one of the staunchest supporters to the new regime - someone pretty high on our hit list, but none of that matters did it? No, she just saw shiney things and spread her legs like a whore. Isn't that right you piece of shit?"

"Well take care of the debt," said Tabitha immediately, her words stopping Arslan before he could kick Fayina again. The short man scratched at his beard.

"Tell you what, you do that and you're in. It'll be like your... initiation. Afterwards, I'll take you to Matthias myself. Meanwhile, Fayina, Shandel and I are going to return this little trinket so these bloody monsters don't come back ere."

"You've got a deal."

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Nameless: The Sorrows

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

The sewers were much better lit than the last time Nessa journeyed through them. Burning candles and makeshift signs helped guide them to a large underground clearing with a small shanty town in the center. She wasn't sure where all the smoke from the various fires was going to, but there must have been some ventilation passage it was dissipating into.

"People live down here?" asked Florin out loud but before he could get any response a loud roar and an explosion followed by panicked screams echoed in the chamber. Drawing their weapons, the party rushed into the fray only to come face to face with a massive bi-pedal crab monster in the process of devouring a hapless resident. A second crustacean beast burst through the wall right beside the first, and more were bursting from the grounds nearby.

Buster didn't hesitate to charge the one that had its hands (and mouth) full, easily evading its clumsy strike to chop down into its face with his battle axe. With a spurt of greenish blood and a muffled roar the beast collapsed, dead.

"That's how it's done!" yelled the bald stocky man as he retrieved his axe and looked to his next victim. Inspired by the sight Tabitha, Nessa and Florin all charged in too. While the monsters were indeed strong, they were more adapted for digging than for combat and as more and more of them fell even the townsfolk began gaining the courage to fight them back with whatever makeshift weaponry they had. Soon enough, the remaining creatures retreated into the darkness from whence they came.

A local, dressed in slightly less tattered rags approached the team afterwards. "You fight well," he said with a smile. "My name is Shandel, one of the defenders of this community."

"Well met," replied Tabitha as she wiped off the sticky green blood from her two handed sword. "Would you happen to know where Arslan is?"

Somewhat surprised by the question, Shandel blinked for a moment then nodded.

Tuesday 9 May 2017

Nameless: Notaku

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"So, Drisana didn't make it huh?" said Notaku with disappointment after Nessa introduced him to her new party.

"Sorry Notaku. Tell us what happened here, what became of the Wizard King? Did anyone from our rebellion survive?" asked Nessa.

Notaku sighed. "Some cult from abroad arrived, Shadowstar they called themselves, and they ... assisted in the regime change. Rumor is someone caught Tectuk napping and made him into a pincushion of arrows. Those that join the cult are rewarded with riches and power. That's pretty much anyone who actually owns property in this city. Those that oppose are hunted down and killed. Everyone else is just fighting for scraps. All up it's the same as before, only now we are under the foot of a hydra instead of a dragon."

"Do you recognize this symbol," interrupted Florin as he held up the bloodied cloth.

Eyes wide with shock, Notaku immediately pushed his hand back down. "Don't go waving that around," he whispered angrily while trying to maintain a facade of normality. "This is a sigil of the new rebellion," he continued. "Some folk don't like the new order that's taken over after Tectuk was assassinated."

"Where can we find these 'folk'?" asked Buster bluntly.

"Underground in what is now called the 'Sorrows'. There are entrances to it via the many sewer ways around town - the closest being just there," said Notaku as he pointed the way with his chin. "Look for Arslan. Short, angry, bearded guy. Can't miss him."

With a nod of thanks, Florin and the others began heading off. Nessa lingered for a moment longer and asked him "After our rebellion... did Chaya make it?"

Notaku opened his mouth but stopped himself saying how the Wizard King had captured the blond warrior and subsequently used her as a public plaything for his army for weeks until her torturous death. "No," he ultimately said, deciding to omit all the details. Nessa nodded and left to catch up with the rest of the group.

Monday 8 May 2017

Nameless: Homecoming

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Other than the sweeping sand that caked every surface, Nessa found the city very different from the one she had escaped from so long ago. Gone were all banners, statues and sigils of the Wizard King. Scruffy looking children now played in the garbage filled streets that once were heavily patrolled and maintained by his soldiers. It was less pretty but the people seemed happier.

Gone were the soldiers and the impaled heads.

A veiled woman peered from around the next corner and signaled to them. "That must be our contact," said Florin as he picked up the pace. The team hadn't advanced five meters before the woman's head was suddenly decapitated by a muscular attacker. Three more goons appeared from the nearby doorways all armed with bone knives and immediately attacked. The poor fools had no chance, with each Florin, Buster, Tabitha and Nessa taking one down with ease.

Nessa caught herself smiling. At least some things didn't change.

"Boss, this is all she had on her," grumbled Buster as he returned from searching the decapitated woman. In his stubby fingers he held a cloth with an odd symbol on it. "Do you know what it means?"

"No," muttered Florin as he gingerly took the cloth.

"I might know someone who might be able to help," said Nessa to no one in particular. She was looking down the road to the market where a thin, familiar looking man with a silly moustache was peddling wares behind his stall. Nessa casually strolled up to him and said hello.

Notaku almost fell over in shock.

Sunday 7 May 2017

Nameless: Mission

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

The sun had begun to rise when Nessa and Tabitha finally destroyed the last gem. Exhausted from their trials, they just sat at the top of the bell tower for awhile and from the high perch they could see clusters of creatures abandon the carnage in the ruins below and head back into the nearby woods.

Eventually, they also saw that some of the other adventurers survived the ordeal too, most of whom were wandering the now empty streets in a shocked stupor. One of them eventually looked up, and they recognized him as commander Florin.

The mission was a success, but the cost of it was far too great and due to this the Lords of Deepwater fired Florin from his Peacekeeping position upon his return to the city. Still, only a few days after his dismissal he again summoned Nessa to the local tavern where she found a now eye-patched Tabitha and Buster the bald sitting with him.

"Thought you might be interested in another adventure," he said with a welcoming smile. Nessa didn't return it.

"I've had enough of danger and adventure and loss, Florin. I only came to try talk you out of whatever you were going to do."

"You might be interested in this one," Florin interrupted as he held one hand up. "I have a contact in the South requesting aid against a new government. One that flies the Shadowstar flag. This 'new' group somehow managed to kill the previous ruler, a powerful tyrant and once lord of all the burning lands."

Nessa's eyes widened as she realized who he was talking about.

"The Wizard King?"

Florin nodded, and after taking a swig of ale looked Nessa in the eye and asked "So how about it? Will you take us to your home land?"

Saturday 6 May 2017

TESO: The Dumb and the Dead

Adventures of Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

I don't remember how I ended up in the sea, but I'm sure glad I was fished out by a passing vessel that so happened to be heading to the Alik'r Desert, home of King Fahara'jad whose region is being plagued by a group of necromancers called the Withered Hand. Turns out the Redguards are a very superstitious lot, to the extent that "defiling" the dead in anyway is taboo. Even if said dead are reanimated and trying to kill you.

This leads to many ridiculous occurrences of so-called tough warriors cowering in fear to what an average adventurer would consider an average zombie. Obviously it's up to foreigners such as myself to save the day again, especially once the Withered Hand steal and corrupt the deus ex artifacts which previously prevented consecrated dead from being revived. A couple of dead necromancers, a vampire and one lich later, King Fahara'jad is proclaiming me a(nother) hero of the region.

Despite having a predictable quest line here the Alik'r Desert is one of the best zones that I've been in so far, not just for an aesthetic stand point. The open sight lines make it easy to spot material to farm and I suspect it's position at the very top of the "locations to warp to" list also makes it a very popular and highly frequented dolmen smashing spot. Makes sense since the rewards for shattering dolmens aren't zone specific.

Yeah, the dolmens in this zone have no chance.

Oh, and I found M'aiq the Liar is camped out at the remote dunes too. Not only did he survive the wounds from that Orsimer attack, but he retained his sense of humor as well.

"M'aiq speaks the truth, except for when he doesn't. With you, always the truth." - M'aiq the Liar

Friday 5 May 2017

Nameless: The Best Defense

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Only the dual scimitar wielder and one death knight remained. With a combined attack, Nessa and Drisana managed to pierce through the skeleton's defenses, staggering it back. At the same time Tabitha, now having lost her helmet and one eye to the scimitar master found an opening to begin her own offensive.

The robed man danced back immediately, making her waste precious energy swinging her great sword at nothing but air. Rex had now flanked him and roared with rage as he charged in with his axe. The robed man gave his undead companion a quick sidewards glance and the two suddenly changed tactics.

The death knight spun around in a great arc with his jagged blade, cleaving through both of Rex's raised arms in the process, followed with a stab through his throat. At the same time, the scimitar wielder spun underneath and across, attacking both Nessa and Drisana with his curved swords, managing to wound Drisana's left leg with his initial attack.

It only got worse for her when he managed to kick Nessa away and focus all his attacks on wounded ex-caravan mistress. Unable to dodge she attempted to parry instead but soon learned that was a bad idea as her fingers got chopped off, followed by an ear, a hand, her other leg and ultimately her head. Focused as he was on Drisana, the scimitar wielder turned too late as Tabitha's great sword bore down on his head cleaving right through him from top to bottom.

Nessa took a moment as she watched Drisana die before turning to face the death knight advancing towards her. In a rage she leaped up at him, letting the undead warrior parry her blade as it left him open to her main attack: smashing her shield into its face. The blow knocked it to the ground, and after kicking away its weapon and standing on its arms, she then used both hands to continue smashing its face with the edge of her shield until its face was nothing more than dust.

Thursday 4 May 2017

Nameless: Cathedral Showdown

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

The dark spirit let out a haunting moan as Father Tom banished it from the world. Behind him Rex was still brutalizing a corpse of some woodland shambler with his axe while the girls were wiping blood away from their own weapons as they stepped over the bodies of their defeated foes.

Reaching the cathedral was easier than expected as for some reason the nearby streets were deserted of monsters. Drisana guessed they had all chased another adventuring party somewhere. Now, inside the once blessed halls, they slowly worked their way up the structure. Despite the monsters lurking inside, things were progressing smoothly until they reached one of the main offices, a final hurdle to block their way from the stairs up to the bell tower.

There stood two heavily armed skeletal knights, each with a flaming skeletal hound waiting patiently beside them. In the center stood a robed man holding a pair of scimitars that looked every bit as wicked as the smile on his face. Without a word the knights drew their swords and the hounds sprang into a charge.

Nessa and Rex intercepted the dogs, easily dispatching them but both were caught off guard by the speed at which the death knights followed - leaving both open to their heavy, jagged swords. Drisana quickly parried the blade falling on Nessa and Tabitha moved to do the same for Rex - only to have her own blade blocked by the scimitar wielder who followed up with a flurry of blows that Tabitha was hard pressed to deflect.

Helpless, Rex's eyes widened as certain doom fell upon him but at the last minute another figure stepped in the way. Even the death knight looked surprised as his blade cut into Father Tom's shoulder. With blood seeping out of his mouth the old priest grabbed on tight to the skeletal arm, preventing the undead creature from retrieving its sword just long enough for Rex to cleave through its skull with his axe.

The undead knight collapsed to the floor, with Father Tom's lifeless body falling on top of it.

Wednesday 3 May 2017

Nameless: Group Two

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

The long sloped roof of the Mages Guild may have let Nessa and Drisana decrease the distance of the drop back to street level, but it was the conveniently located water wheel that was powered by the nearby stream which ran along the back of the structure that let them descend safely.

The girls silently agreed that staying in the open was a bad idea and quickly moved back into the cover of the ruined town, putting as much distance as they could between them and the building they just escaped from while keeping a low profile as to not attract the attention of the trolls or winged lions still patrolling the area.

Turning around a bend they suddenly ran into three armed humans whose tattered robes and damaged armor were also covered in blood and gore. The woman in scale mail with the two handed sword was clearly the leader as she was flanked by a barbaric, dim witted looking fellow on one side and a timid, middle aged priest on the other.

After the brief moment of surprise, Drisana found her voice and whispered "We're what's left of group eight." The knight looked over them briefly and nodded. "We are group two; you're with us now. I'm Tabitha, the surly one is Rex and this..."

"This is not a good time for introductions," interrupted the priest in a loud whisper.

Tabitha sighed. "This is Father Tom's first outing," she explained slowly - much to his annoyance. "I assume it was you who destroyed the summoning gem atop the Mages Guild?"

The girls nodded, puzzled how Tabitha would know about the gem. Seeing this, she explained "We helped take care of the one at the barracks. It's just the one at the cathedral left."

"Then let's finish this," muttered Nessa grimly.

With a curt nod, Tabitha signalled the team into single file as she took point and began the run towards the old Dranner cathedral on the hill.

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Nameless: Bloody Gems

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"What is that?" asked Nessa as the team cautiously approached the huge green gem that, apart from radiating a blinding light was slowly rotating in mid air. The climb to the top of the Mages Guild had been tiring but mostly uneventful. Now they found themselves in what would classify as a large attic, full of miscellaneous items covered in blankets and tarps.

Kiefer, bringing up the rear with his injured leg, replied "It's probably what's calling all the monsters here." Signalling everyone else to stand back, Maeve stepped forward with her newly acquired staff and using its imbued magic, easily shattered the magical beacon that was spinning before them.

"That was easy," she said with a smirk - not realizing the large tarp beside her had begun to move. Before anyone could yell a warning a large stone hand shot forth and grabbed Maeve by the face, easily lifting the hapless woman off her feet. As the tarp fell, the golem became clearly visible and a wave of terror washed across Drisana, Nessa and Kiefer. It was exactly like the ones they had found in the depths beneath the city of Deepwater.

The construct took advantage of their flat footed-ness and charged with unexpected speed, catching the already limping Kiefer with its other huge stoney hand, and then slamming his two captives together face first resulting in a shower of brains and blood. It then turned its attention to the quivering Nessa, still frozen by fear.

Lucky for her, Drisana had managed to force her body to move and had already flanked the stone man without it noticing. With a well aimed thrust, she pierced through the small panel and shattered the small, magical gem powering the construct in a single blow. The statue unceremoniously collapsed to the ground - lifeless. It was then she noticed a number of the other tarps began to move - more golems!

"Nessa, we need to get out of here!" she yelled at her comrade - vigorously shaking her by the arm. Blinking away the fear, Nessa regained her senses and with a quick scan of the room sprinted towards the closest window - breaking through the stained glass shield first with Drisana following close behind.

Monday 1 May 2017

Nameless: Not Welcome

[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

As the pounding on the barricaded doors subsided, Nessa, Kiefer, Maeve and Drisana collapsed to the floor exhausted from exertion. At least the beasts outside had seemingly lost interest in them, but each of them knew they were far from being safe. That's when they heard the tapping, a sound of wood upon stone from further inside the building.

From a darkened hallway emerged an old man with a gaunt, weathered and bearded face. He slowed to a halt when he saw the adventurers who were forcing themselves back to their feet and leant heavily on his gnarled staff with a look of utter contempt on his face.

With a sudden thrust he pointed the tip of the staff at them which shot out a thin, blinding ray of light - the same magic that killed Buggie just minutes before. Kiefer was fast enough to push Maeve out of the way of the immolating beam as it exploded through the barricade and the door, opening the portal once more to all the horrors outside.

Not willing to let the wizard fire another spell, Drisana immediately threw a knife at the old man but with a simple gesture the blade was magically deflected and found itself in Kiefer's left thigh. At the same time Maeve threw a projectile of her own, a small flask that fell short of the old man - spewing forth a thick mist as soon as it cracked open against the stone floor.

The sudden drop in visibility was the only opening Nessa needed to sprint into the hall and run the wizard through with her blade. As if on queue the mist began to dissipate as quickly as it formed, letting her team mates regroup on her position as she kicked the dead wizard off her sword. With just an exchange of nods, the team progressed deeper into the structure - with Maeve having taken the fallen wizard's staff as her own.