Last time on Oblivion Adventures, our hero charged into the Arcane University and broke both people’s patience and game mechanics. This time...
Bothiel the elven wizard was having trouble keeping up with her colleague, Raminus Polus. While she had been having her upper-middle-afternoon nap, a new recruit had apparently made quite an impression on the master-wizard.
“So he just left?” she said, yawning slightly and rubbing her half-lidded eyes.
“He just left!” said Raminus, limply throwing his hands in the air. “I told him there was more he needed to know but he just barreled through the university exit. I don’t even think HE knows where he’s going, he just shouted something about ‘testin out his new magicky tings’.” Raminus dropped onto the bench beneath him and folded his arms.
“Well hey, at least he shows enthusiasm.”
“Hmph. You don’t know the half of it. They say he ripped up most of the garden, raided the alchemy supplies, and left the mystic archives with a BAG full of books that I’m sure were just COINCIDENTALLY the most valuable copies we own. He has all the social finesse of that huge blasted hammer tied to his back.”
Bothiel shrugged, her mouth a flat line across her face. She brought her legs up in front of her, resting her chin on her robes.
“Well that does sound like a bummer. But at least he’s gone, right? Seems harmless enough and he’s out of your hair.”
Raminus snorted. “If you had seen this orc, you wouldn’t call him harmless. Regardless, I did tell him to come back as soon as he possibly could, so I’m sure he won’t be gone long. Unfortunately.” Raminus sighed and looked up at the ceiling. “He could come bursting back through the doors any minute now.”
Far to the north, nestled amidst the distant Jerall Mountians, Martin Septim sat in the great hall of Cloud Ruler temple. A mass of opened books, unfurled scrolls and various scribblings of scratch paper lay pooled out on the table in front of him. His look of concentration broke when Jauffre, leader of The Blades, cracked open the door and made his way towards him with a teacup.
“Hello sire. It’s a bit late so I thought you could use this.”
“Ah, why thank you Jauffre” said Martin as he gingerly grasped the cup. “Though I’ve told you, there’s no need to call me sire. Martin will do fine.”
Jauffre seated himself across from Martin. “Are you certain, sire? You are going to be emperor, after all.”
“Positive” said Martin, leaning back in his chair and taking his first sip. “I’m not used to the title and it’s not as if I’ve been officially crowned anyway. Besides, you helped save my life.”
“I suppose. Are you sure you’re alright staying up this late? I haven’t seen you sleep since you got here.”
It’s not as though he can sleep unnoticed. This “massive” temple has like half a dozen rooms.
Martin waved dismissively with his free hand. “I’m fine Jauffre. I get a few winks where I can. Besides, it’s not as though I’m reading whatever strikes my fancy. We have an impending army of demons come to lay waste to the world and apparently I’m they key to stopping them.”
“True. Though I must say, given all that you’ve been awfully calm these past days.”
Martin gave Jauffre a wan smile. “Well this is a calm position to be in, all things considered. Sure it’s stressful, but the pinnacle of tranquility compared to my ordeals last week.”
“Yes, I suppose we’re at least safe for the moment.” Jauffre stroked his chin. “Speaking of last week, what do you think is going on with our orc friend?”
“Shush? You sent him out to find Baurus, yes?”
“Well that was quite a few days back, and he seemed like a very...energetic individual. You don’t suppose something has happened to him?”
“Hmph. Things don’t happen to Shush, Shush happens to other people.” Martin leaned forward and placed his cup on the table. “I wouldn’t worry, Jauffre. I for one am going to enjoy myself until his return.”
“Well you can’t deny it would be a shame to lose him. It’s quite productive when he’s around.”
“Oh of course. But for now” said Martin, interlocking his fingers and looking up at the rafters, “it’s quite quiet.”
Shush were havin lotsa fun usin all his new magey spells! Right now Shush were runnin in circles around de big city wit his supa speed magic. People kept fallin over as Shush went by all like “Fwoooosh!” After Shush did dat a few times, one of de guards walked up in front of Shush an started speakin through his frowny face.
“Hey you! Stop that right-“
Shush shooted his makin friends spell at de guard an he went all glowy. Den he stopped frownin.
“Oh, nevermind citizen. Please continue.”
As Shush ran down de street he heard de voice of de guard man a second later.
“Wait a minute...”
But Shush were already halfway around de city. Shush turned his head back in front of him an stopped just in time to not hit dis old guy in a fancy-lookin suit. De guy fell over in surprise an dropped de groceries he were carryin. As he were pickin em back up he looked up at Shush.
“Oh my, you’re that orc! I’m Jollring, I work as butler for master Umbaccano? Have you perhaps found any more of those statues he was looking for?”
“Oh dose!” Shush pulled de fancy butt-liar up from de ground. “Yah Shush has been findin a buncha dose statues when he are goin on adventures.”
“Well that’s fantastic news! I was just out shopping for the master. If you’d care to follow me back, we’ll have your reward right away!”
Shush liked rewards, so he decided to follow de butt-liar guy. He led Shush into a real big buildin wit lotsa fancy stuff wot seemed kinda familiar to Shush. Dere was a faint voice when Shush walked in de house.
“Jollring, is that you?”
“Yes sir” said de butt-liar. “I’m back with the groceries, and I have good news! I ran into one of the treasure hunters on the way, and he says he’s found some of the statues!”
“Ah, wonderful! Send him up, would you?”
Shush headed up de stairs an den he saw a strange elf in fancy clothes wot he recognized.
“Oh! You is de elf wit de stoopid hair!” Shush said.
Well, he’s not wrong.
“Well I never! And you’re the orc with the horrible manners! Did you just come here to insult me, or do you actually have some of those statues I asked for?”
“Yah okey” said Shush, thumpin his big pack fulla stuff on de floor. Shush searched through his bag, knockin some skulls an plants an dirt outta de way an onto de floor. Shush thought he heard de elf mumblin somethin bout his carpet, but Shush weren’t listenin.
“Aha!” said Shush, on account of findin de statue ting. Shush plopped it down on de table all proud-like.
“Well well, it seems your search has borne fruit after all. Such a marvelous work of art! I believe our previous arrangement was 500 gold for each of the Ten Ancestors you found, yes? I shall acquire the necessary funds immediately for this-“
“Oh! My word, two of them? I’m impressed! My trust in your abilities was well-placed, and I will-“
De weird elf didn’t say anyting dat time. Instead he just looked at de table wit real big eyes. Shush musta had somethin in his ears cause de elf were openin an closin his mouth a bunch but no noises were comin out.
Shush stood up an smiled at de elf weirdo. “So dere ya go! Dats all de stuff wot Shush...oh wait.”
Dat last noise weren’t another one of dose statues, it were de elf fallin backwards out of his chair.
“Unbelievable! Remarkable! This is absolutely magnificent!”
It were a little later, after de butt-liar came up de stairs and threw a glass a water on de strange elf. All a dem were sittin round a table wit Shush.
“Five of the Ten Ancestors, in one glorious swoop! Five! Ohooo let me tell you friend, I’m sorry I ever doubted you in the slightest!”
Shush nodded a bunch happy-like. “Ya Shush are real gud at doin stuff. Does dis mean dat Shush can get his reward now?”
“Hold on, Jollring, in a minute” said de weird elf, stoppin de butt-liar from givin Shush a big bag of shiny coins.
“My dear orc friend, I will gladly pay and continue to pay you for any further statues you find. But how would you like to earn...MORE money?”
Shush thinked about it for a real short time. Dat was an easy one. Shush nodded.
“Well then, I have another job you may be interested in. Take a look at this sketch.” Den de elf slid over a piece of paper wit a drawin onnit.
You can tell the creator of this sketch is eccentric because he sometimes writes in a different font.
“Dis looks like a square wit a buncha scribbles drawn over it.”
“SQUARE WITH A...ahem. For your information, that is a sketch of the High Fane. It dates back to the Late Ayleid Period, following the fall of White Gold Tower. ‘tis an era I find most fascinating indeed. The carving on that sketch may shed new light on Ayleid history, if I am able to examine it closely. I would like you to retrieve it for me. Here” de elf placed a key on de table “is the key to the inner chamber of the High Fane. I want you to find the ruins it is located in, and retrieve the carving. Finding the location is part of the job. Understood?”
“Yup! Find de ting on dis picture in some ruins. Shush can do dat.”
De weird elf smiled, an motioned for de butt-liar to pass over Shush’s gold. “Then we have an accord. I’m looking forward to seeing great things from you, my orcish friend.”
Shush took his bag an headed back downstairs. As Shush were leavin de door of de big fancy house, Shush heard a voice behind him.
“Hello there felloOOAAH!”
Shush turned around real fast an pulled out his hammer, but stopped right before de smashy part hit de guy behind Shush. De guy had short gray hair an borin brown clothes on, an he wasn’t holdin any weapons.
Unless you count terrible fashion sense a weapon against your EYES. OOOOOOOOOOOO
“Oh, sorry” said Shush, puttin away his hammer. “Usually when some guy talks behind Shush like dat it means dat dey is about to try an kill Shush.”
De guy just stood dere, still havin his hands up an his mouth open. After a few seconds, he moved again.
“Uh...right. Sorry about zat.” De guy cleared his throat. “I am called Claude Maric, an ave been employed by zis same gentleman oose house you just left. I was just wondering, being a fellouw treasure unter and all, would you care to ave a chat with me at ze Tiber Septim Inn? Drinks are on me.”
Shush blinked. Den Shush leaned down an looked around de cloud guy’s clothes.
“What are you doing?”
“Shush were just confused. You said dat drinks were on you, but Shush don’t see any stains or nothin. Did you wash em out?”
“Are you mocking me?”
“Never you mind. I meant zat I would buy you free drinks.”
“Oh! Ya okey.”
“Alright, zat is perhaps enough drinks for today.”
“But you said Shush could drink as much as Shush wanted.”
It were a bit later, after Shush an Cloud-Marry went to de inn across de street. Dey had some real nice drinks an stuff here, so Shush kept askin for more.
“I did not zink you would drink a dozen mugs wizout stopping! And still you do not appear ze slightest bit inebriated! Do you even get drunk?”
“Oh, dat alky-hall stuff? Nah, Shush don’t ever feel none a dat.”
Cloud-Marry sat back an rolled his eyes. “Hmph. I do not know ow I could tell ze difference anyway.”
“Well Shush will just finish dis last drink an go den.”
“Ah, now old on a moment, my new friend. I ave a few questions I would like to ask you. You are looking for ze Igh Fane, no?”
“What, no? So you are not?”
“You aren’t or you aren’t not?”
“Look, eets a very simple question. Ze Igh Fane. You are seeking it, no?”
“You don’t sound very certain.”
“No to not being certain?”
“Listen, do you know-“
Cloud-Marry pinched de bridge of his nose an sighed all loud. Den he put botha his hands on de table.
“Okay, let’s try zis again. Did Umbaccano ask you to find ze Igh Fane for im, in exchange for money?”
“Oh, you was askin about de elf wit de silly hair. Yah, he asked Shush to go find a fane ting.”
Cloud clapped his hands together. “Excellent! Because we ave become such fast friends, I am willing to let you in on some juicy information. You zee, I was also hired by Umbaccano to find zis same object. It seems he has encouraged a bit of, ow you say, friendly competition between is treasure unters. Tell me, do you know where zis Igh Fane is?”
Shush scratched his head. “Nah, Shush don’t know. Shush were prob’bly gonna just member wot de fane ting looked like an hope he would find it in one of de ruins Shush are always goin in.”
“Ah, well zis simply will not do! I would not want an unfair race between such great friends az we, now would I? So allow me to elp you out, new friend. You may find ze ruins where ze Igh Fane is located east of Bravil. Ze ruins are named Malada, I believe.”
Shush grinned. “Oh, dats lotsa helpful! Thanks, mister Cloud-Marry.”
Cloud smirked an waved a hand at Shush’s words. “Ah, it ees not a problem at all, my friend! I am glad to elp, and would not want to keep you much longer, but...I ave just a few more questions before you go.”
Cloud pulled out a piece of paper an a quill. Den he smiled at Shush. “Would you care to describe some of your, ow you say, combat weaknesses for me?”
Some time after Shush’Ogar had left the inn, an unkempt individual in leather armor and an obscuring face mask sat down across from Claude Maric. Claude glanced at them while picking some food from his teeth. Without looking at the newcomer, he casually said: “About time you got ere.”
The newcomer interlocked their fingers and looked over them at Claude. “How was your conversation with the competition?”
“Hah!” Claude scoffed. “Exactly as planned. Ze orc ees an incredibly simple individual. An onest one az well. Ze man trusted me implicitly an told me everything I wanted to know. I zink he would ave done so even if I were a complete stranger. And e was as friendly as e was gullible. Really, it warms my eart to zee such admirable umanoid beings in times such az zese, especially in our business.”
The newcomer tilted their head. “Huh. So does this mean we’re not going to harm him?”
Claude laughed, looking at the newcomer with a glint in his eye. “OhohoHOOO no! We are going to fffFUCK im up!”