Kerenza's Journal

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Kerenza

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on: April 24, 2017, 05:26:06 AM
This journal is a smallish leather-bound book which at first glance appears only to contain recipes for food and drink.

A closer look reveals that some of the recipes have letters written on the back of them.

The first letter reads:

Dear Gran,

I met a man taught me a drinking game, last week. Called “Never have I ever…” The important questions are “Have you ever jumped off a cliff?”, “Do you own a horse?”, and “Do other people do things for you that you could do yourself?”

First question tells you whether they take risks or ever did. And whether they take stupid risks. Jumping off a cliff to get away from the Stronghold might have been stupid, but I didn’t feel I had any other choice. And can you imagine me as a hearth-wife? No. Nor me, either.

Second question tells you about whether they’re wealthy. Have a horse. Stolen one, originally, but still.  Poor thing’s been on short rations a lot of the time, but then so am I. But I’ve been working as a guard at the Sanctuary of Dibella, so the horse is growing fat now.

Third question tells you about influence – or wealth again. Don’t think I get other people to do things for me I could do myself, except maybe cooking sometimes, when I get a meal or a drink at an inn.

…the man’s pretty interesting, too. Think you’d have liked him, Gran, if you were still alive.

Kerenza

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Reply #1 on: April 24, 2017, 05:26:37 AM
The second letter, on the back of a recipe for Heart's Day Rose Tea:

Dear Gran,

Well, I jumped off another cliff today. Metaphorical one, not actual. Been seeing that man I mentioned. Name’s Victus. He’s been teaching me a lot about sneaky stuff. Thought I wasn’t going to see him again, because he said he was going away and sent me a …well, it was a really nice dagger.

But today he came to the Temple along with a snooty lady named Arianne. He was pretending to be a eunuch. Think he and Arianne were casing the place. I knew him, even with the disguise. Didn’t disguise his scent, or not enough.

May’ve let him know I knew, because he come by the dormitory where I was staying that night. We talked. Eventually he offered me a chance to go with him. He’d give up the schemes he was involved in. I’d give up guarding. Hard choice, but was one-time only, and I wanted to learn more from him. Bored as a guard, too.

Went to the Temple to give my notice. Warned them they should look to their guards. If any were seeing men – or women – outside the Sanctuary, was a potential threat to the priestesses. Of course, High Priestess Lethe wanted to know who I’d been seeing, wasn’t best pleased when I wouldn’t tell her. I knew Victus was wanted, you see. She banned me from the Temple.

Tried to tell her someone needed to look after Annabella. Make sure she ate and slept. Erolus, too. Both worn thin. Lethe wasn’t listening.

Man’s worth the jump. Getting out of somewhere they won’t listen when I tell them plain sense is worth the jump. Being somewhere I can use my mind is worth it. But it’s scary, jumping. Man’s twisty. Might be just playing me.

Kerenza

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Reply #2 on: April 24, 2017, 05:27:36 AM
The third letter, on the back of a recipe for Stros M'Kai Grilled Seagull:

Dear Gran,

Well. Things escalated. Moved in to a house in Shornhelm owned by Victus. Spent some time talking to people, just finding out stuff that maybe we could use against the vamps, and keep my friends safe.  I haven’t mentioned my friends Ash and Joci before. My best friends in the Temple. Both priestesses when I first knew them. Ash became a squire after. Lovers, too. They lived together.

Met a Church investigator called Aisha. She wants to help if I’m being forced into stuff. Met Shar, too – amazing woman, Teacher. You’d have liked her, Gran. She wanted to help if I’d been forced into stuff, too. Everyone seems to think that Victus is forcing me into stuff I don’t want. Hasn’t happened. Went in clear-eyed. Know Victus is a bad man. He’s a Wolf. He’s wanted for various crimes. Hasn’t been bad to me, though, and hasn’t done anything I didn’t want. Didn’t make me do anything I didn’t want, either.

Went to the Temple because I wanted to see Ash be promoted. Visiting the Temple was rash. I’d been banned, like I said. And Aisha had told them the person I was with was Victus, she knew by then. Shar went crazy at me. Started to hit me right there in the Temple. Let her. Knew she was angry. But a lot of other people got involved. Ash put handcuffs on me, eventually. Shar took me away. Thought I’d escape after she locked me up, but I didn’t need to. Wolf came out of nowhere and distracted her, so I ran. Wasn’t Victus.

By then….. I’d become Wolf too. Went to Victus and asked for the turn. Only way to protect Ash and Joci. The vamps had their claws in Ash, and I’d been in a chase where I could have caught that vamp – Scylla, her name was – but she’d have killed me. I wasn’t strong enough. Chose that. Wasn’t forced on me.

Met Arianne again. She tried to poison me, I think. With lingerie afflicted with some kind of daedric curse. I thought we might send the lingerie to Lethe, Aisha helped forge a letter to make it sound like it was from Arianne. Thought of it as mischief. Thought the Temple could get it cured easy enough. Didn’t happen.

Wanted to do something. Thought about turning myself in. Would’ve been death, most like, Church hates Wolves. Could’ve said I was repenting and asked for a cure, but Joci and Ash were still under threat from vamps. Aisha was unhappy too. Victus said that it suited us – the Pack – to have Joci High Priestess not Lethe. He was right that she’d be a better High Priestess for the Temple.

I’ve burned my boats. Won’t leave Victus, so I can’t go back. Probably could if I was willing to be cured of being a Wolf, and willing to give him up and tell the Churchies everything about him. Not doing that.

Kerenza

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Reply #3 on: April 24, 2017, 05:28:24 AM
The fourth letter, written on the back of a recipe for Bitter Ritual tea:

Victus, love,

You’ve been gone a week. Feels like forever. Coming home to just a note was hard. Couldn’t you have said something more? Just:

Quickblades

I'm going away for a time, not sure how long. Please take over Pack leadership for me while I'm away.

Yours, Victus
…wasn’t exactly informative. At all.

So: take on the Pack? Damn. First thing to do, talk to Alimah. She’d be expecting Victus to give the Pack to her. They have history, years of it. Told her she could take the Pack, I’d back her all the way. But if she accepted Victus’ wish, I’d expect her to back me. More important to keep the Pack safe than for me to lead it. Even though I think I’d lead better. Didn’t say that to her. Alimah said Victus and me are a lot alike….. not sure how I feel about that.

Then, talk to the Pack. Tell them I’m leader now. Offer each of them the chance to challenge me. None of them took it. Told them I expected backing, if they didn’t challenge. There’s going to be regular Pack meetings at the safe house.

Next, recruit. More Wolves. We need to be stronger. Need more of us. Truce with the Vantells needs to be reconfirmed. Can’t afford for them to be after us. Feran’s useful there. The pub in Stros has all sorts of vamps coming and going. Sent a letter to one of them, Verdian, looks to be one the others defer to. Asked for a meeting. He can get a message to Alexandrie, I imagine.

Alliances. Order of Awen, maybe. Jaxon seems to be willing to accept friendship with someone with a bounty on her head. Maybe the Thieves Guild, too. Aisha will have an in with them.

Busy. Busy’s good. Stops me thinking. Stops me missing you.

Kerenza

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Reply #4 on: April 24, 2017, 09:46:08 AM
The fifth letter, written on the back of a recipe for Greef. This letter shows signs of water damage, as though droplets had fallen on it.

Victus, love.

It’s been months. Months. I’ve forged alliances. Recruited. Stayed yours, because that was what I said I was. Seriously tempted by one man – well, actually, two - but I kept to my word.

You come back, as a seeming, an illusion, and all you can do is issue vague warnings? To the Pack?

I would have expected something different.

I had to do it. Had to say something. Tell you …tell you it didn’t seem as though you wanted me any more. Gave you a chance to say something. Asked you to say otherwise if you did. I’d have waited, gods help me. I’d have waited. But you didn’t, and it’s over. I’m not yours any more. You aren’t mine. I don’t think you ever were, unless I choose to believe that you meant what you said at the time.

…I wish I could believe that you meant what you said at the time.

Goodbye, love.


Kerenza

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Reply #5 on: April 29, 2017, 03:24:39 AM
The sixth letter, written on the back of a recipe for Bitter Remorse Ale. The handwriting is shaky, and this letter too is marred by water drops.

Dear Shar,

I’m sorry. It was you or me, and I chose me, in the end. Me and the Pack. Me and my friends in the Awen. I wish it had been different. I wish we’d been able to be friends again. I thought for a few moments that might be possible. Maybe if I could have lied... maybe you'd have believed me. But I felt I owed you the truth.

But you couldn’t accept that I was Wolf. I suppose, as a follower of the Divines, how could you? Though that doesn’t seem to have stopped some of them from consorting with Abominations…..

I hope you’ve gone to a better place, somewhere where you can hunt freely. You nearly killed me. But I’d have left you alive, if I could. I knew I couldn’t. You’re patient, and painstaking, and thorough. You’d have picked us all off one by one. You'd never have even noticed the Church going to ruins around you, just so that you could be rid of the Wolves.

I honour you. My enemy, my once-friend, my Teacher. I wish it had been different.