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Thread: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

  1. #61

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    That's sad. It's a great AAR.

    You can easily check savegames and their respective esm/p-dependency with wrye bash. Maybe that is useful for you - at least useful to know.

  2. #62

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    Indeed, this was something I was looking forward to doing since I came back to TWC. Thanks for the tip, I'll check that out. The main problem now is organizing the mods again and finding the drive to get my character back to where he was, and I don't have as much playing time these days as a few months ago. Nevertheless, I shall complete the story down the road...perhaps a monthly update on my progress would be suitable. I was thinking of using console commands to cheat my quests to a certain stage of completion, but that broke my game before and I'm hesitant to do it again.

    For now I am simply reinstalling the game.

    Swaeft's Scribblings (Library)| Swaeft's Snaps (Gallery)| My Blog (The Lensation)

  3. #63

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    So, some good news, after spending a few hours of frustration, I actually managed to get my saves working again! Or at least, for now, I've just played 2 hours and nothing bad has happened so far. With a bit of help from the Nexus download history I managed to piece together the mods I've been using, and now all that's left is to get writing on the next chapter. I might finish one this week, but next week is more realistic since I plan to do a chapter for God's Justice first. Gared is back boys!

    Swaeft's Scribblings (Library)| Swaeft's Snaps (Gallery)| My Blog (The Lensation)

  4. #64
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Soulforged
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    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR



    That's wonderful news! Let's hope you won't find anything broken in the long run.

  5. #65

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    Played a few more hours these past few days, pleased to report everything seems to be smooth sailing, even the modded quests. I think we're good here, thanks!

    Swaeft's Scribblings (Library)| Swaeft's Snaps (Gallery)| My Blog (The Lensation)

  6. #66

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    Great. It seems to me that fractured gamesave is far more dangerous than any dragon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vince Gilligan
    I can't think of a movie where I like it that the bad guy gets dumb, because it's like I want the bad guy to be smart smart smart, so the good guy has to be even smarter!
    Please stop using politics as an excuse for bad writing.
    That being said: A deep philosophical take about god, Nietzsche, Marx & faith.
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    So deep!
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    A polished masterpiece!
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    Hey! I never said any of those things!

  7. #67

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    Character List


    Main Characters
    Gared Macer – An Adept pledged to the Mages' Hall, currently on a quest to discover the location of the lost Wellspring. Current ranks and titles held - Adept in the Mages' Hall, former Praefect in the Imperial Legion, Rogue in the Thieves' Guild, Warrior in The Companions

    Vaela Ausra – The ‘Astray’ Apprentice of the Mages’ Hall, on a quest to discover the location of her Master, Gaius Van Nerol

    Supporting Characters
    Gaius Van Nerol – Formerly the most powerful mage in the Mages’ Hall, disappeared without a trace years ago. Also Vaela’s former Master.

    Legate Rikke – General Tullius' Chief Advisor

    Legionnaire Alwyn – Friend of Gared Macer, Praefect of the 85th Detachment

    Legionnaire Hadvar – Friend of Gared Macer, Legionnaire in the 85th Detachment



    Chapter XIV: Joint Assault
    Gared Macer

    Tirdas | 25th of Last Seed | Whiterun Hold

    It was a nice feeling – enjoying the crisp warm air of Whiterun Hold playfully billowing around us while we travelled towards the Thalmor Prison. Vaela and I shed our cloaks, for even in the evenings, the temperature did not drop too much, and travelling was comfortable. When it became too dark to continue, we decided to quarter at the Frostfruit Inn in Rorikstead until dawn.

    I had an interesting chat with the innkeep – a vivacious Imperial by the name of Mralki – who, as I was very pleased to discover, happened to be a former Legionnaire. Vaela ate a quick supper and retired to bed, but I didn’t feel like dozing off just yet. Mralki and I traded war stories over the roaring fire.

    “Thalmor scum imposing their preposterous beliefs on everyone. If I were twenty years younger I’d be in the Legion right now, fighting to free Cyrodiil.” Mralki gazed wistfully at the smoke rising from the fire. “Alas, now I am old and weak, the Emperor bows to the Thalmor overlords, and our once great Empire is in shambles. The people are suffering, and the Imperial Dragon – the symbol of our armies – is all but fractured.”

    I lifted a mug of alto wine Mralki had poured for me. “Fractured? Not yet, my friend. Have a little faith. We Imperials are nothing if not resilient.”

    Mralki gave me a sad smile, which told me he very much wanted to believe, but his eyes were full of sadness and devoid of hope. A little while later, I excused myself and attempted to grab a few hours of rest.

    **

    After a hearty breakfast and a friendly farewell from Mralki, Vaela and I resumed our journey. Solitude was still a ways to go, and we had plenty of time to plan for our upcoming offensive. My growing curiosity about a great many things, however, was slowly ebbing away at my focus on the mission at hand. Finally after hours of discussion I could stand it no more and interrupted Vaela’s constant deliberations.

    “You’ve actually spent most of your life looking for your master. May I ask what inspired such dedication?”

    Vaela said nothing, and after a few seconds ticked by painfully I wondered if I had perhaps overstepped my boundaries. As I opened my mouth to apologize, however, Vaela replied.

    “I never knew my parents. My master was the closest thing I’ve had to family. He practically raised me.”

    “I see.” The rest of the words caught in my throat. With some difficulty, I managed to blurt out, “I’m sorry for asking.”

    Vaela shook her head. “It’s alright. You were going to pry eventually, I suppose. Everything I’ve learned, all the principles I stand by, they were all passed down to me by him. He started me on this path of righteousness, and though I spent many years of my youth without his guidance, I think I’ve become someone he’d be quite proud of…were he to see me now.”

    I guided Aeonbarr close enough to Starstruck to be able to place a hand on her shoulder. “We’ll get him out. Just a few more hours and we’ll rescue him.”

    Vaela turned to me, her eyes watery, but no tears had fallen – a testament to her strength of will. “If only it was as easy as saying it.”

    “Is it not?” I asked, feeling slightly foolish for doing so. “You do have this pendant.”

    “I do, but I always wondered, if escaping was possible, why hasn’t my Master done so already?”

    It was indeed a chilling thought, but I was sure there was a reasonable explanation. Perhaps he is simply biding his time. Perhaps they have nullified his magic with a pendant of their own.

    “That’s not possible.” Vaela snapped, and only then I realized I had been wondering aloud. “This pendant is the only one of its kind.”

    “Ah.”

    We continued in silence for some time, watching the cobblestone road go by and watching the lay of the land as it rose and fell with the hills and slopes. Once again questions burst to the forefront of my mind, and though there were many I could have asked, I knew not what foul nonsense my mind conjured up in picking this one.

    “Vaela, it just occurred to me that there could be another explanation for your dedication towards this Master Gaius.”

    Vaela gave me one of those oh? Do tell looks that were quickly becoming common, and I smirked whilst simultaneously hoping that I wasn’t once again going overboard.

    “Did you ever…you know…”

    “Love him?” Vaela interrupted, her eyes narrowing. Then, in a rather floaty and sing-song voice: “Why yes, of course. He is very talented and incredibly handsome.”

    I slowed Aeonbarr to a crawl, scarcely believing my ears.

    “What?”

    Vaela didn’t slow down, she simply glanced back at me as she passed by and snapped in a half-playful, half-stern manner: “He was also over fifty years of age. Any other stupid questions?”

    “Ah.” I mumbled to myself. Groaning inwardly and tugging on Aeonbarr’s reins, I caught up to her and resolved not to ask anymore stupid questions.

    But then, as Aeonbarr drew abreast of Starstruck, I was quite sure I noticed Vaela hiding a smile.

    **

    Vaela and I chatted throughout the rest of the journey, but I could tell her main focus was on the task at hand. As soon as we drew close to the Thalmor prison she started to clam up, most likely overcome with emotions or preparing for the battle ahead.

    We left our horses a ways back and perched ourselves on a vantage point overlooking the pair of buildings before us.


    “Stay behind me.” Vaela shot me a glance. “The pendant will nullify most of their magic, but due to their training and blood, they’ll still be able to cast simple spells.”

    “I do know that, you know.” I replied, a small smile on my lips. “I’ve studied the Wellspring and its effects far longer than anyone. Only those with an innate affinity for the arcane can still practise the simplest of spells.”

    “Well, maybe you’ll be more useful than just an extra sword. Let’s go.”

    We ran as quickly as our armors permitted, swords drawn and at the ready. The thick snow slowed our movement significantly, but also masked the pounding of our feet on the ground, allowing us to approach almost undetected.

    As we drew closer, the first sentry stirred and raised his hands. All the haughty confidence vanished from his face as he realized something was very wrong, and I sent a spike of ice his way to silence him permanently.

    It was impossible to enter the compound without alerting anyone else, for there were Thalmor everywhere. We slew three of them before the rest noticed and charged us, but they too fell like flies, their faces all a mixture of shock, confusion and desperation.

    The stiffest challenge lay at the main entrance to the buildings, where a mage and his guard retinue were stationed. I caught my first whiff of fear when a sizzling bolt of lightning soared towards me, but my instincts kicked in and I threw up a ward, and the torrent of energy dissipated into nothingness.

    I barely registered the guards cursing and swearing whilst drawing their bows – they must have realized by now their magic wasn’t working. A triumphant grin spread across my face as Vaela absorbed the full force of a lightning strike without even flinching, the purple sparks of energy vanishing right before my eyes.


    Arrows, however, were a real concern, and as Vaela ducked and weaved I did my best to freeze the Thalmor spellswords-turned-archers to death. One arrow managed to strike me from the rear, but my backpack stopped it from reaching my armor. As for the Thalmor, their armor was designed to withstand sword blows or mace strikes, but not to protect against a fatal cold ten times chillier than the harsh winters of Skyrim. Soon, they too fell, and Vaela dispatched the mage with a sword slash across his stomach, spitting on him as he crumpled to the ground.

    “There’s no else outside the buildings.” I reported after casting my Detect Life and Detect Dead spells.


    “Inside, then.”

    I attempted to search the bodies for keys, but I frowned when I realized I had frozen them all and their possessions had shattered. “There’s no –”

    Vaela sent one of the doors into splinters with a fireball.

    “Very subtle.” I remarked, and Vaela simply curtsied.

    This was a feeling foreign to me. Even in this state of combat I felt relaxed and in control. I wasn’t breathing as heavily, I wasn’t sweating from head to toe, and I wasn’t drained of energy yet. The pendant was making things much easier than I was used to, and yet from such overconfidence, failures could sprout. I guarded Vaela’s rear, making sure no Thalmor burst through a hidden entrance to slice her in the back, and always casting my Detection spells to make sure those who fell were actually dead.

    And they always were.

    As I watched Vaela cut a bloody swathe through the Thalmor, I realized she didn’t need me. The pendant was making this all too easy. Basic flame spells simply dissolved upon coming into contact with Vaela’s wards, and the lightning barely singed her armor. Most of the Thalmor wore the same shocked expression before realizing they were doomed, and most of them died with their hands on their sword pommel, unable to draw their weapons in time before being eviscerated.

    Just then, I heard the familiar thudding of heavy armor clanking across the interior. And not just any heavy armor – I had worn it myself. Imperial Legion armor. I shot a glance to the right – Vaela was preoccupied with a couple of Thalmor, and the footsteps were fast approaching from the left.

    As I decided whether or not to sheathe my blade, a soldier rounded the corner and almost slammed into me.

    “Peace, brother!” I yelled, raising my left hand. “I am Praefect Gared of the –”

    I had no time to belt out the rest of the words, for the legionnaire roared a war cry and attempted to slice me into two. A loud clang resounded as I raised my blade to block his. The force of his blow staggered me and sharpened my focus immediately – this was no longer as easy as sitting behind Vaela and letting her do the work.

    The soldier attempted another swing from the right, aiming at my midriff, but I parried it and stepped back. I barely had time to duck as his left hand brought his shield forwards and slammed it into my torso. If not for my heavy armor, I would have been sent flying to the ground already.

    The soldier must have been well trained, for he did not let up the assault, and this time stabbed towards my right before cutting his attack at the last second and striking at my left.

    It would have worked too, if I hadn’t sent him flying backwards with a non-lethal blast of cold ice. “Stand down!” I ordered furiously, but as he struggled to regain his footing, more of his compatriots rounded the corner and rushed me.

    There was no more time for words, for surviving and at the same time making sure I didn’t kill the legionnaires now required all of my focus. My sword danced and sang, guided by the directions of my mind and my instincts. Right. Left. Upwards thrust. Leftwards feint, a block on the right. Downwards stab, duck, step back.

    I managed to disarm one of my assailants, but even more of them rushed forwards. As I retreated to safety, I saw from the corner of my eye that Vaela had joined the fight, presumably having eliminated her earlier adversaries.

    “Don’t kill them!” I shouted, and Vaela was nice enough to try not to.

    However, it quickly became evident that despite having used a sword for many years, the lack of formal training was fast turning into a major disadvantage for Vaela. In fact, I was struggling to deal with my own enemies, which both surprised and dismayed me very much. These soldiers were well trained and well equipped, a far cry from the ‘worse than the Thalmor’ that Vaela had told me to expect.

    Nevertheless, I could still hold my own, but Vaela was outmatched. A bluish glow I was all too familiar with started to emit from her non-sword hand.

    “DON’T!” I cried out desperately, but Vaela had come too far to let a few Imperial soldiers beat her.

    A gripping cold enveloped the room, and a brilliant flash of light erupted from Vaela’s palm. Shards of ice, hardened and molded into spikes, launched themselves at the legionnaires. They embedded themselves in the soldier’s hearts, piercing through their armor and leaving them lying on the floor like puppets with their strings cut.

    A momentary silence befell the room as I put a hand to my mouth. The scene before me was agonizingly brutal.


    “REINFORCE THE DOOR!” A commanding shout rang out. More boots thudded across the wooden floor, and I grimaced with frustration. There was no time to hash this out with Vaela now, and yet the blood of more imperials must not be spilled.

    Resolving to try one more time before giving up hope, I rushed over and shoved Vaela against the wall just as the next group of legionnaires rounded the corner. Gathering my strength, I shouted as loudly as I could.

    “By the eight, STAND DOWN! I am a Praefect of the Imperial Legion!”

    Vaela wrestled free of my grasp with a hiss as an imperial officer stopped in his tracks, his men following suit.

    “SHIELDS!” The officer yelled, and his men formed a protective ring around him. “You lie.”

    Panting and coughing, I shook my head, still keeping an eye on Vaela, who seemed to have resisted the urge to kill them all there and then.

    “On my honor, I do not lie. I am a Praefect of the 85th Detachment.”

    One of the men spat on the floor. “Filthy bastard. We’re the 85th.”

    No…

    It was only then, having been dealt a blow harder than any I had received in the fighting thus far, that I recognized the officer wearing the Praefect’s helm.

    “Gared?” Alwyn stepped forth, his eyes wide and his mouth grim.

    Just when I thought my heart couldn't sink any further, before I could answer, I watched with horror as Alwyn’s eyes flicked to the ground, where the line of dead legionnaires still lay in a pool of their own blood…




    Author's Notes

    Wow, more than a month since the last update. I'll try to have things back to a regular schedule soon. Weekly or bi-weekly updates should be more attainable from now on, and then more so after I finish up God's Justice. Meanwhile, enjoy the second longest chapter yet, this one clocking in at 2.6k words! If it was too long, do let me know.

    The mod I'm using for the fight scenes here is MadFrenchie's Assault on the Thalmor: Thalmor Embassy. A great mod I highly recommend to any who still play Skyrim!

    I also forgot to mention this last time - Vaela's character is a modded follower called Sofia - The Funny Fully Voiced Follower by Djjohnjarvis, another high quality mod I am grateful for.
    Last edited by Swaeft; June 22, 2019 at 08:22 AM.

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  8. #68
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    A very enjoyable chapter, the dialogue between Vaela and Gared flows well and the unexpected encounter after Gared hears the clanking of heavy armour adds excitement and tension. It sounds like this reunion could be a tense one!

    This is certainly longer than AAR chapters usually are, but the flow of the dialogue and action makes it feel like less (a bit like watching a highly immersive movie and then feeling surprised afterwards that three hours have passed and it's dark outside!)

  9. #69

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    My thanks, Alwyn! I'd say I'm still not that good at writing dialogue that feels natural, so that's a big plus. Well I daresay your namesake isn't going to like what Gared has done, so they aren't going to be best bros again if you get my meaning.

    I try to keep the chapters around 2k words, but this time it kind of got away from me (originally it was 2.9k!) and I tried to shorten it as best I could. I'm glad you liked it!

    Swaeft's Scribblings (Library)| Swaeft's Snaps (Gallery)| My Blog (The Lensation)

  10. #70
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Soulforged
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    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    I agree with Alwyn, it's a very enjoyable update! I call nonsense that you're not good at writing natural dialogue, you're better than you think you are. That was indeed some intense fighting and the screenshots really add to what has been written. As for the length of the update, I have to, again, agree with Alwyn. The dialogue and the general atmposhpere of the chapter was very captivating and I was done reading before I knew it. My opinion on this I have voiced many times, I truly believe it depends on the writer and chapter that is being written. Some chapters only require a 1000 words to reach a satisfying conclusion and some need almost 3000. As long as it doesn't grow stale and unnessessarily long (with information we do not need or repetitions that are redundant) you are good to go. In the end you'll always have an audience that advocates for longer and one for shorter, with reasons of their own, and they are all correct. It's mainly a subjective matter in my opinion.

    Anyway, a great chapter once again Swaeft! Just keep doing what you do and it will be allright!

  11. #71

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    Thank you kindly, Turk! I think it is true that I probably underestimate my abilities by a bit because I'm writing it, but I think it is also true that however much I am underestimating myself, it's still not up to scratch Thanks for the feedback about the length especially, it is really helpful to gauge how long each chapter should be. As usual I try to keep it around 2k, I find that to be somewhat of a sweet spot between content and reading time. Many thanks!

    Swaeft's Scribblings (Library)| Swaeft's Snaps (Gallery)| My Blog (The Lensation)

  12. #72

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    So, bad news guys...my Skyrim isn't working now. Got all the mods together, played a few hours and that was fine, but last week everything started to go downhill. Random crashing, freezing, and just CTD-ing to desktop.

    Long story short, I'm afraid I'm going to have to put this on hold for a while. I'm just too exhausted to deal with this at the moment, and for that I really apologize. I'll probably have to do a full clean reinstall and then add the mods back, and then check for save game compatibility, and I really don't feel like doing that now.

    I will make the same pledge I did a month or two ago - I will eventually finish this. But not this year. Not so soon.

    Edit: Well fixing the game has begun, and I'll let you guys know how that works out. In the meantime I have about 3 chapters worth of screenshots so I'll still be writing when I have the time.
    Last edited by Swaeft; July 12, 2019 at 03:36 AM. Reason: A less pessimistic outlook is in order

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  13. #73

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR



    No lollygagging.

  14. #74

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    Heh, that's a good one.

    It would appear I got a bit ahead of myself there - I still have to do the reinstall and all the technical stuff but I suppose I could crank out a few chapters with the screenshots I've already taken. Maybe by the time I use those up the game will be fixed...hopefully...

    Swaeft's Scribblings (Library)| Swaeft's Snaps (Gallery)| My Blog (The Lensation)

  15. #75

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    Character List


    Main Characters
    Gared Macer – An Adept pledged to the Mages' Hall, currently on a quest to discover the location of the lost Wellspring. Current ranks and titles held - Adept in the Mages' Hall, former Praefect in the Imperial Legion, Rogue in the Thieves' Guild, Warrior in The Companions

    Vaela Ausra – The ‘Astray’ Apprentice of the Mages’ Hall, on a quest to discover the location of her Master, Gaius Van Nerol

    Supporting Characters
    Gaius Van Nerol – Formerly the most powerful mage in the Mages’ Hall, disappeared without a trace years ago. Also Vaela’s former Master.

    Legate Rikke – General Tullius' Chief Advisor

    Legionnaire Alwyn – Friend of Gared Macer, Praefect of the 85th Detachment

    Legionnaire Hadvar – Friend of Gared Macer, Legionnaire in the 85th Detachment



    Chapter XV: End of the Line
    Gared Macer

    Middas | 26th of Last Seed | Haafingar

    “So you’re a Praefect now. Congratulatons.”

    I received no response, only the furious glare of a man desperate to make sense of the situation before him. The intense silence was so starkI could hear each breath Alwyn took, and wonder if in the next few seconds he would breathe his last.

    “Don’t.” I breathed a warning, as noticed Alwyn’s hand squirming towards his sheath.

    Beads of sweat glistened on his cheeks, as his eyes flicked repeatedly from the bodies on the floor to me, then my companion. My legionaries – no, his legionaries – wore grim faces of disdain, but behind that stoic exterior I knew they were probably quivering in fear. Who wouldn’t be?

    A quick glance to my rear showed me that Vaela was letting me handle this for now, but I knew she wouldn’t wait long. I had to resolve this quickly.

    “You’re a damn traitor, Gared.” The accusatory words stung more than I imagined they would.

    Before responding, I chose my words carefully. “I’ve always tried to ensure that my actions didn’t harm the Empire. Believe me.”

    One of the legionaries snorted, but Alwyn remained silent. He simply gestured to the Imperial corpses on the floor. “And this?”


    I inhaled sharply. “I tried to stop them, Alwyn.”

    His face twisted into a scowl. “You, and your friend here, attacked the Thalmor, Gared. How is this helping the Empire? You and I both know the diplomatic situation isn’t looking good in Cyrodiil. You’ve assaulted our allies, Gared. This just makes things worse!”

    “We’re wasting time, Gared.” Vaela whispered. “End this, or I will.”

    I was almost certain Alwyn could not have heard that, but he drew his sword, and everyone immediately tensed up. The legionaries hadn’t attacked out of panic, but with every second they had to gather their wits the more of a threat they would become. To add to that, I felt the slightest sizzle of power emanating from Vaela’s direction, which caused me no end of concern. “I called you brother once, Gared.” Alwyn’s scowl deepened as he indicated the fallen soldiers. “How can you answer for this?”

    “I can’t.” I could only think of one way out of this without bloodshed, and I prayed Alwyn would be reasonable.

    “You –”

    “But what I can tell you is that if you do not stand down, you will all perish. My companion and I have no quarrel with you, but you cannot hope to best us here. Let us pass and walk away.”

    A momentary glimmer of fear shot across Alwyn’s face, but it quickly disappeared. That’s good. I need him to be consumed by fright. “And what? Run back to Castle Dour with our tail between our legs?”

    His response was not entirely unexpected, but it still crushed whatever hope I had to resolve this the easy way. “No.” I replied, “return with this.” Raising one hand to ensure that Alwyn knew I meant him no harm, I knelt and slowly reached for my knapsack.

    Alwyn’s sword arm wavered slightly as I revealed the Jagged Crown. “I promised to return this once I was done with it, if you recall. I beg of you, take this and return to Castle Dour, and let us not cross swords.”

    I held out the Jagged Crown with one hand. “Please.”

    I saw the conflict manifest on Alwyn’s face. He wasn’t a natural leader, having been a follower and a tactician for most of his soldiering career, but it was his brilliant mind that I was counting on. I prayed he would see the value of this offer, and abscond with the lives of his men.

    My heart nearly leaped out of my chest when he started forward but stopped. “There’s no way I can explain what happened here, not to General Tullius and certainly not to the Thalmor Inquisitors that will come looking, not to mention the rest of the Thalmor still in this prison.”

    I stretched my arm out even further. “I know you’ll think of something.”

    At this point Vaela spoke up. “We’re going to kill every last Thalmor in here, so you don’t have to worry about that.”

    Alwyn shot Vaela a look of disbelief. “There’s got to be over fifty Thalmor garrisoned in this facility. The two of you are going to kill them all?”

    “We didn’t enter with a key, Praefect.” Vaela indicated the hallway two rooms away. “Leave now and you’ll see the dozen or so bodies outside. Leave now before the rest of the Thalmor get their brains out of their bums and block the exit. We won’t be around to protect you then.”

    I knew Alwyn to be a reasonable man and I had little doubt that he would assess the situation as untenable and take our offer, yet I still heaved a deep sigh of relief when he eventually sheathed his blade and ordered his men to do the same.

    I had examined the Jagged Crown many more times than was necessary, but I still felt uneasy handing it over – I wasn’t completely and utterly sure that I had found all the secrets the crown had to offer. Nevertheless, I told myself that if this was the price to pay to prevent further bloodshed, it was something I was willing to risk.

    “You know I can’t order them to lie for you, right?” Alwyn indicated the remainder of his men, who were still standing around, uncertain of what to do. “These men know you. Say something to them.”

    I glanced at them, then spoke. “Nothing I can say will convince you to tell the General falsehoods. I only have this to offer – follow Alwyn’s orders, and I’ll be forever in your debt.”

    The men shifted around uneasily, and their demeanour didn’t give me much hope, until one of them spoke. “You treated us well when you were our Praefect.” It was only then I recognized the speaker to be Hadvar. “Just this once, we will abide by your wishes.” A murmur of agreement arose, and it appeared that was settled.

    “Gared.” Alwyn grasped my arm as Hadvar led the legionaries to the exit. “I don’t claim to have the slightest knowledge of what you’re doing. But doing things this way…it erodes trust. It erodes bonds. Do you still dare call me and Hadvar friends? Because I don’t know how we can remain so.”

    “No time.” Vaela hissed, which drew a glare of resentment from my friend.

    “I seek your understanding, Alwyn, and I promise to come visit you once I’m done here.”

    With that, I clapped him on the shoulder and shot him a reassuring nod, but received nothing in return but a disappointed, cold stare.

    This quest is costing me everything. There is not much I have left to give.

    **


    Vaela and I cleared room after room of Thalmor soldiers methodically and painstakingly, just as she had said we would. For the most part, I stood behind her and guarded her back, and thus I had a good view of the wanton destruction befalling our foes.

    The scale of her ferocity surprised even me. I never imagined anyone would detest the Thalmor more than I, who had lost my father to them. But Vaela’s rage made my stomach churn. She seemed to take great pleasure in each Thalmor she sent crumpling to the ground, eviscerating them with her sword while they were frozen in her ice.

    The Thalmor fought back admirably, throwing everything they had at her. The summoned flame atronachs and conjured molten streams of deadly fire from their palms, yet the magic of the pendant was superior to all they could muster, and the Thalmor perished in droves.

    They died on the floor. They died on the chairs. They died on the stairs.


    This wasn’t a battle. It was a massacre.

    And somehow, even though I had long longed to see such a slaughter, it didn’t make me feel any better. I felt closer to retching with each haunting scream a Thalmor grunt bellowed, and each sickening crunch as icy spikes tore through their bodies. Some didn’t even get a chance to raise their blade before Vaela’s perforated their armor and sucked the life out of their bodies.

    That was not to say that I didn’t fight. When we reached the lower levels of the prison where the inmates were being held, the enemy became more numerous. We progressed from fighting a patrol of one or two to squads of five or six at a time, more than enough for both Vaela and I to handle. It was then I would fight one or two at a time, holding them off long enough for Vaela to eliminate the rest and then swing around to finish my opponents off.


    These skirmishes lasted not more than a minute or two, and each time I plunged my sword into a Thalmor’s heart I felt a small amount of satisfaction. For my father. And yet when the dust had settled and the corpses lay unmoving on the floor I would realize the potency of the pendant and reflect upon the vulgar display of what I assumed to be a fragment of the Wellspring’s power.

    This disposing of the Thalmor served to reinforce my belief that I had to discover the Wellspring before the Thalmor did, at any cost. They could not be allowed to wield such raw power. However, having seen the kind of destruction it could cause unsettled me, and for the first time in my life, I silently questioned the wisdom of its existence.

    But I had no time to debate the philosophical aspects of my quest, for the Thalmor were more numerous than Alwyn had mentioned. Each time we rounded a corner there were more foes to fight, more enemies to skewer upon our blades, and more adversaries to freeze to death.

    Still, we prevailed. Without a single scratch on our armor or a single wound to heal, we killed off the remaining Thalmor guards with ease and started to search the place.

    This ‘prison’ was more like a manorial estate hidden underground. Although it had the typical jail cells and rooms with bars, further exploration of areas we previously passed by revealed a more luxurious side of the prison, complete with rooms fit for emissaries and food sumptuous enough to be served at royal feasts.

    Common sense dictated that I stick with Vaela since I had little to no knowledge of the place, however as we passed by some offices I couldn’t help but feel the need to rummage through for information.

    I leafed through what few papers the desks and drawers had, but found no mention of the Wellspring. I berated myself softly, wondering what cursed desperation had driven me to look for information on a magical artefact inside a well furnished prison.

    It was at that moment a female's spine chilling howl ripped through the air, making my hairs stand and nearly scaring me witless. It was filled with such despondency and sorrow that it could mean only one thing…







    Author's Note
    So this is the first of probably three chapters using screenshots I've already taken. Featured prominently in the screenshots is MadFrenchie's mod: Fight against the Thalmor (Aldmeri Domain). A really amazing series of mods that involve conflict against the Thalmor, perfect for the storyline. If you've read the Astray Apprentice, you'll notice that Vaela attacks a location that is the same as this, but since the screenshots there are gone I thought I'd spend a chapter or two featuring this brilliant mod again.

    WS Staff: This is also the location I took the picture of my secretaire's desk at
    Last edited by Swaeft; July 14, 2019 at 08:38 AM.

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  16. #76

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    I read the prologue and the first Chapter. An interesting main character Gared, it seems that he is going to his goal, even if at times he has to go to a deal with his honor (the time when he was in the same company with thieves and bandits). But who knows how I would behave in the Gared`s place, being in such a fantastic and gloomy world?.. In the end, he has a goal and he goes to it. It seems that he has not lost his nobility and the death of his father justifies everything. I will read on as soon as time allows.

  17. #77

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    Oooh, nice to see you here Alexander! You bring up some good points there, take your time to read it, no hurry here Seeing as you and some others have played Skyrim I can promise the quests are not what they seem...

    Swaeft's Scribblings (Library)| Swaeft's Snaps (Gallery)| My Blog (The Lensation)

  18. #78

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    Chapter two was readed. Fight with Stormcloaks and the emergence of a new character named Alwyn. Somewhere I have seen that name... Ok, never mind.) The main thing is that the crown is in Gared's hands. Also important detail: father left Gared when he was 18 years old and comprehend a variety of skills it was his plan. It seem to me that Gared treats his father in two ways. Maybe it only seemed to me, but as further reading, I will add a complete picture for myself in this matter. Well, let's read on. While it is interesting.)

  19. #79

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander78 View Post
    Chapter two was readed. Fight with Stormcloaks and the emergence of a new character named Alwyn. Somewhere I have seen that name... Ok, never mind.) The main thing is that the crown is in Gared's hands. Also important detail: father left Gared when he was 18 years old and comprehend a variety of skills it was his plan. It seem to me that Gared treats his father in two ways. Maybe it only seemed to me, but as further reading, I will add a complete picture for myself in this matter. Well, let's read on. While it is interesting.)
    You're doing a good summary there! And yes, I wonder where I've seen the name Alwyn before...

    Swaeft's Scribblings (Library)| Swaeft's Snaps (Gallery)| My Blog (The Lensation)

  20. #80

    Default Re: Fractured Dragon - A Skyrim AAR

    Quote Originally Posted by Swaeft View Post
    You're doing a good summary there! And yes, I wonder where I've seen the name Alwyn before...
    Oh, thanks.) I just read and share my humble thoughts.) I like that Gared's character isn't simple, there's something you put into it. It intrigues and forces to read further, there is a wish to understand the main character to reach its essence.
    Alwyn, Alwyn, Alwyn... I still сan't remember... Apparently this is a manifestation of a concussion, which I received in our space battle in GPOTW.
    It's a joke, of course (Alwyn hi )
    Im keep reading.

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