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Archive for 2012

Anariel’s Teachings

My brother and I were different than most high elves in more than a few ways.  Our parents were diplomats and agents of the Thalmor, and were often away on assignment.  They did not have an active role in our youth.  We only saw them for brief periods, which didn’t leave us much time to bond.  We never felt very close to either of them.  As children, we longed for their attention, as children separated from their parents do.  However, once they returned to our lives, we felt smothered.

We were raised in Cyrodiil by a wood elf.  We were instilled with most of Anariel’s values.  Instead of superiority and domination, we were taught peace and harmony.  She was a priestess of Akatosh, but we never really knew much about her past.  Everyone around us was always shrouded in mystery and secret, it seemed.

How Anariel came to be the caretaker of two Thalmor children was…odd.  A wood elf being a priestess of Akatosh was unusual enough – most wood elves revered Kyne.  Wood elves had no loyalties to the Thalmor after the massacre at Valenwood.  There was no love between my parents and her.  The few meetings we witnessed between them was short and business-like.  We got the feeling there was some sort of deal.  It was not unsual for high elves to have Bosmer servants, but the type of position Anariel held was not typical.  From what I know about my parents, Anariel must have held a very powerful card.

Our parents were stationed in the Imperial City shortly after the signing of the White-Gold Concordat, and that was where we were born.  Anariel somehow became part of my parents’ household, and managed their children and their estate in their absence.  Given the Thalmor’s doctrine of Aldmer superiority, it was a rather odd assignment to be handed to a Bosmer.

She didn’t care much for politics, and Cyrodiil is full of politics.  She kept us insulated from most of it, especially when the new Arcane University insisted that we should enroll.  The old university was destroyed and dismantled during the war. I don’t know how the Arcane University used to be, but it is currently more about political maneuvering than it is about the study of magic.  My father was not yet a full ambassador at the time, but he was moving up the ranks quickly.  The new Archmage was trying to get his bets in early by offering to teach my brother and I.

Anariel tried to teach us magic, but as a wood elf, we quickly outpaced her.  What she did excel at was showing us was a more zen like approach to magic rather than domination.  Great power must be tempered with great restraint.  Powerful magic can change the direction of the winds, so be purposeful in deciding which way to make it blow.  We must find our balance with nature, power, and magic.

Obviously these were teachings completely the opposite of the Thalmor.  My brother and I didn’t know that for most of our lives.  Because of our parents position, everyone treated us with a certain type of deference.  Because of Anariel’s shielding, we didn’t understand the world we lived in.

My brother and I spent most of our time in study, introspect, and philosophical debate.  Not so different than our high elven relatives, except we also developed a type of empathy to go along with it. It was here that I developed my love of botany and plants. What Anariel lacked in innate magic ability, she made up for with a vast knowledge of plants and how to make potions. Dragon’s Tongue were my favorite flowers, but we had to travel near Bravil to collect them.

Our favorite stories as children were about the Champion of Cyrodiil, Martin Septim, and the Knights of the Nine.  Since we lived in Cyrodiil, we were well acquainted with the legend.  The Champion was a high elven mage, from whom I was named.  In addition to closing the Oblivion gates, and assisting Martin Septim defeat Mehrunes Dagon, she also restored the Priory of the Nine.

However, shortly thereafter she disappeared.  No one knows where she went, if or where she died.  That was well over 200 years ago.  Since she was a high elf, it was not entirely inconceivable she was still alive, though unlikely.  Anariel said she heard stories among her kind that the Champion desired a quiet life, and settled anonymously in Valenwood.  That was most likely romanticism by the wood elves, we thought.  On the off hand it was true, she may well have been killed along with the wood elves during the ‘purge’ that the Thalmor claimed never happened.

Unfortunately, the empire and the world she and Martin tried to save slowly fell apart.  The order of the Knights included.  Without her, they faded into forgotten legend once again.

Anariel told us that Azeriah, the Champion of Cyrodiil, was of pure heart, for she could not have reestablished the Priory otherwise.  The relics of the Nine were known to reject those of tainted souls.  She used her magic to save Tamriel, but to be successful, she had to be very powerful.  Thus, being powerful and being good are not mutually exclusive.

There is enough evil in the world to become very powerful opposing it, she said.

And thus she set our moral compass.  It would become the definition of who we were.

Published in: Story Blog on February 6, 2012 at3:08 pm Comments (0)

Frostflow Lighthouse

I dreamt my brother and I were playing in the courtyard under the statue of Akatosh in Cyrodiil.  Except we weren’t children, we were adults.  We were playing tag, and I was running away from him.  He caught me, and grabbed my arm.  But something was wrong.  He was uncharacteristically rough, and his hands felt ice cold.  Can you feel cold in dreams?

He twisted my arm and shoved me to the ground.  I was stunned.  My brother had never hurt me in my life.  The only time he physically attacked anyone was defending me against an unwelcome suitor.

I turn around and was shocked to see my brother dressed in Thalmor robes.  In his hands he held the Skull of Corruption.  His eyes glowed a demonic red.  His normally handsome face was twisted into a sadistic version of himself.

When he spoke, it was Vaermina’s voice.  The same as the one who urged me to kill Erandur.

“My artifact would have made you powerful.  You turn away my gift?  You take away something important to me.  I shall take something important away from you!”

My brother/Vaermina swing the Skull of Corruption to strike me.  I blocked it with a ward spell.

I didn’t understand it.  I knew I was dreaming, but it felt real.  I felt the burning on my arm where my ‘brother’ twisted, and I felt the shock wave from deflecting the staff’s blow.

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Published in: Story Blog on February 5, 2012 at2:28 pm Comments (0)


When I returned to the Inn, Lydia was having her midday lunch.  My encounter with Sheogorath lasted most of the morning, it seemed.  I ordered a roast beef and a glass of wine, and joined her at our table.


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Published in: Story Blog on February 3, 2012 at10:40 pm Comments (0)


The following morning, I got up early and dressed.  I told Lydia I was going for a walk, and to wait for me at the inn until I got back.

It was a beautiful morning, and I wanted some time alone to think about our next steps.  I headed towards the Blue Palace, where I planned to work on enchanting items for the journey.

On the way, I ran into a strange man who claimed he lost his master.  He said to inquire at the palace about entering the Pelagius wing to find him.  There was something unsettling and weird about the man.  I decided to investigate, if nothing else than to make sure he wasn’t up to something foul.

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Published in: Story Blog on January 31, 2012 at9:28 am Comments (0)

A Message in a Memory

Martin Septim sacrificed himself to become the avatar of Akatosh during the Oblivion crisis.  When he defeated Mehrunes Dagon, he became immortalized as the stone dragon statue of Akatosh that resides in Imperial City today.

My brother and I used to play in the courtyard when we were little.  We would pretend I was the The Champion of Cyrodiil and he was Martin Septim.  Sometimes we were Knights of the Nine on pilgrimage.  Together, we would defeat imaginary daedra and save the world.

Our Wood Elf caretaker, Anariel, looked after us while our parents were away on dignitary duties.  A priestess of Akatosh, I remember her smiling upon us approvingly with our play under the shadow of the stone dragon.  She often told us that we were blessed and favored by Akatosh himself.

We never gave this much credence, and chalked it up to religious fanaticism.  But now I was revealed as dragonborn, I spent more time trying to recall what she said to us when we were little.  Perhaps she was somehow trying to tell us something.

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Published in: Story Blog on January 26, 2012 at4:49 pm Comments (0)

Updated Site Navigation

I made changes to the site navigation so hopefully it will be easier to find the content.

  • Previous/Next links added to posts.
  • Changed Story Blog/Site Info to list the post links instead of displaying the content.

With site maintenance done, time to add more stories.

Published in: Site Information on at1:11 pm Comments (0)

Happy Year of the Dragon!

Today is the Chinese New Year – 2012, Year of the Dragon!

Indeed, it is.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Published in: Site Information on January 23, 2012 at7:53 am Comments (0)

Alchemy Tool Complete

The Alchemy Tool is complete! That doesn’t mean that I won’t make changes to it, but it is working the way I intended. I designed it with the intention of having it on my iTouch or Android phone while I play the game. I’ll probably add a frequently used recipes page later.

One detail that is bugging me. IE will not render the CSS3 drop shadows. My attempts to use ie-css3.htc and pie.htc didn’t work. I may come back to it later. So currently, the menus look nicer in Firefox and Safari.

For now, moving on to other things – like playing the game!

I’m actually a lot farther along in the game than my story blog. I have been thinking about how the story develops as I go.

To blog, or to play. That is the question. Hmmm.

Published in: Site Information on January 17, 2012 at6:16 pm Comments (0)

Alchemy Tool Updated

I’ve updated the Skyrim Alchemy Tool. Effects and Ingredients are now always visible. Flyout links work! I designed it for how I use it with my iTouch while playing. If there’s a particular potion I want to make, then I know what to look for quickly at an alchemy shop. If I want to learn an ingredient effect, I’ll click an ingredient, then the effect to see what a matching pair might be.

There’s a couple of minor display issues to clean up, but it should be usable. Tested in IE, Firefox, iOS, and Android.

Published in: Site Information on January 16, 2012 at11:37 pm Comments (0)

King Olaf’s Verse

We set off for my first task in the Bard’s College – retrieving King Olaf’s Verse in order to reinstate a Festival.  Colleges in Skyrim seemed to be ‘learn by doing’ rather than studying books with exams.  I approved of the practical approach.  If you died in the task, then you were unsuitable for the job.

Trial by fire, perhaps cruel, but such is life in a world with dragons and frost trolls.  Even music students had to get their hands in the dank depths of dungeons.  Band camp wasn’t exactly a picnic to be scoffed at here.

On the way out, I took a moment to admire the view of Solitude.  Awe inspiring and beautiful on the magnificent arch carved by the sea.  Certainly this was why the Bard’s College was here, to be a muse to the students.


Very picturesque, but perhaps a natural disaster waiting to happen.  Didn’t Winterhold experience an earthquake that shattered the city?

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Published in: Story Blog on January 13, 2012 at12:21 pm Comments (0)