Voices of the Dragonborn Era, Part II

Hey Folks! It’s been a while, I know, but we’re back with another chance to read along with Cari Ayalu as she makes her way through her new book, Voices of the Dragonborn Era. In this installment, Cari encounters an essay by an annoying, pretentious scholar, but enjoys much more the words of Irileth herself, as recorded by the Learned Berndt over one thousand years ago!

Speaking of Irileth, did you ever wonder what she might really have been like, once you got past her professional coolness? Who were her friends? Did she ever have a day off? Is being Jarl Balgruuf’s housecarl the highest point she ever wanted to attain, or did she have other aspirations? Within the confines of a video game, I suppose it’s hard to flesh out all the characters completely, and that allows us to fill in the blanks with our own imaginations.

But I just defined fan fiction, didn’t I?

To read over Cari’s shoulder, click here!

We’ll likely be returning to Cari and her book from time to time, but as we approach the holiday season and the end of the year, we’ll be starting a new story starring Cari’s sometime-friend, Max Sundberg, so stay tuned! See you soon!

Notable Links, September 2021

Max: “Umm, what are we doing here?”
Cari: “I think MOD just needed a picture. Didn’t matter which one…”

Hey Folks, still working on the next couple stories. Another installment of “Voices of the Dragonborn Era” is in the works and should be ready in the next week or so. In addition, I’ve got the beginnings of a multi-part, Holiday-themed tale starring Max and Cari partly worked out (though I’ll admit, most of it’s floating around in my skull right now, bumping into things). In the meantime, I thought I’d share a couple interesting items I found whilst browsing around the WordPress Reader:

First, author Kent Wayne, the Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha, has a nice web-based serial called The Unbound Realm, about a youngster who finds himself whisked far, far away from his mundane existence as a student destined to enter corporate dronehood. The prologue is here.

And then we have Brandi Untz’s tale, Tara of High Rock. Brandi Untz is an author and artist, and links to her stunning artwork can be found on her site. I found her illustrated story intriguing because her pictures are kind of like mine (or how I’d like mine to be, anyway!), and because I think there might be some thematic similarities to what we’re both writing. The first chapter of Tara’s story can be found here.

Enjoy! I’ll be seeing you again soon!

Voices of the Dragonborn Era

So a few months back, I read an interesting collection of short pieces on Archive or Our Own called “Interviews With the Empire,” where the author, Triflingshadows, gave us some insights on Elder Scrolls characters all over Cyrodiil. I commented that I might try out that idea in a Skyrim setting, and while it took several months to get around to it, I’ve finally published the first entry.

Young Cari Ayalu, a youth in modern-day Solitude, returns to frame the story. We join Cari as she receives a long-awaited book via special delivery. Voices of the Dragonborn Era is an oral history of ancient Skyrim, the result of painstaking work by a score of scholars. Cari, a history nerd if there ever was one, is absolutely delighted! In the first entry, Cari reads a letter written by Dorthe, daughter of the Riverwood blacksmith, to her granddaughter. We’ll be joining Cari from time to time as she reads further, but for now, click here for “Voices of the Dragonborn Era, Part I!

“Let Us Then Be Joined Together” Wraps Up!

Hey folks, we hope you enjoyed the wedding, but now it’s time for the reception! As hinted at the end of the previous installment, a minor (or major, depending on your point of view) crisis will have to be solved before the party can really start. Will Max be successful in his mission of mercy? Will Cari and Max learn to get along? Find out in the conclusion to “Let Us Then Be Joined Together!”

Eyes forward, Max Sundberg!

Oh, one more thing: I’d like to take this moment to thank the folks who came by to visit this blog and read the stories. When I started this blog in 2017, I had no idea how challenging it could be to come up with new content, or even to update consistently. Your support has made it all worth it. I wish all of you a blessed 2021, and I hope to see you all again soon!

Let Us Then Be Joined Together, Part III

Hey Everybody, the wedding ceremony’s about to start, and you’ve got the best seats in the chapel — you get to see Aunt Teri and Uncle Adrian through Max and Cari’s eyes! This was a fun installment to write, as it allowed me to let my imagination run free for a bit. While experienced Skyrim players are probably familiar with the wedding ceremony that takes place in-game, I had the chance to imagine how the nuptials would proceed a thousand years later. What I wound up with was kind of a mix of North American Protestant wedding, flavored with some symbolic acts and “Maric” philosophy, topped off with the marriage script from the game itself.

So welcome, step on into the chapel. Your pew is here!

“A joyous day for all who witness this union, consecrated by Lady Mara.”

Note: For previous installments, click here for Part I, or here for Part II.

Let Us Then Be Joined Together, Part II

Cari, in her Maiden Attendant Splendor!

Hey, folks! I just posted Part II of “Let Us Be Joined Together,” where we see the runup to Teri Ayalu’s and Adrian Lindström’s wedding through Cari’s eyes. As some of you know, Cari is Teri’s niece, and despite their age difference, they’re inseparable. As such, it surprised nobody when Teri selected her niece as her Maiden Attendant, which is something like a cross between bridesmaid and flower girl. In this installment, I thought it might be interesting to explore their relationship (and Cari’s fears for the future) a little more deeply, though we can count on young Max, Uncle Adrian’s nephew, to pop up for a little comic relief.

To read Part II of “Let Us Be Joined Together,” please click here.

Note: Part I of this story can be found here.

Oh, one more thing: Both Part I and Part II of this story end with a loud, startling organ flourish. In my imagination, it might have sounded something like the finale to Camille Saint-Saëns’ Third Symphony, which I’ve linked to below (yes, do listen, but if you’re easily startled, or have a sleeping infant close by or something, you might want to turn the volume down!).

Let Us Then Be Joined Together

Hi Folks! I thought it might be time for another visit with Cari and Max. In this story, we’re going to travel back in time a few years, to when the pair first got to know each other (and yes, it was a rocky start), as Maiden Attendant and Squire at Uncle Adrian and Aunt Teri’s wedding. Along the way, we speculate a little on how social customs in contemporary Tamriel are observed, and we’ll learn a little bit about how Cari and Max’s relationship developed.

I don’t see this as a particularly long story — three or four parts, at most. So, without further ado: Let Us Be Joined Together, Part I.

In which Cari Ayalu visits a museum, and loses her mind over the Elspeth Sigeweald display:

What are you waiting for?

Hey folks, you might remember a post I made a few months back where I talked about a great site called Skyrim: The Rise of House Sigeweald. Elspeth’s stories are great fun to read, and she gets a lot of fan art as well. I thought I’d try a little fan art of my own, via some screenshots and image editing. Well, over the weekend, she posted my contribution on her website, along with a quick Cari Ayalu story to go with it. Was I flattered? Oh yes, quite flattered! Elspeth’s post is here.

Bragging on myself aside, if you haven’t visited Elspeth’s site, you really should. She’s a great writer, and the interpretations of her characters made by numerous talented artists are fascinating. Get clicking — you’ll be glad you did!

What We Leave Behind

What can we leave behind? What can’t we bear to be without?

Hi Folks! At long last, I’ve posted the beginning of a new Skyrim fan fiction. Actually, I wanted to get this one up weeks ago, in time for the new year, but I found myself surprisingly busy over the interval, and I had lots of false starts on the tale I just posted.

“What We Leave Behind” uses Tamriel’s Old Life and New Life festivals as a setting, and gives us an update on Jot and Lucia from “A Hand to Hold.” I expanded the idea of Old Life and New Life to include some traditions that, as far as I know, don’t actually exist in Elder Scrolls canon, but I don’t think they really violate it, either. These traditions put Jot, now an adult, into a very difficult position as he must now make some tough decisions about his future, and the future of those he cares about most.

To frame the story, I thought it might be fun to catch up with Cari Ayalu, star of “The Harp’s Call,” and see how she’s getting along with Max, who’s mentioned briefly in that story.

To read Part I of “What We Leave Behind,” click here!

The Ravenscourt Tragedies

The worst part was not being allowed to scream.

So begins Anastasia Kirke’s wonderfully atmospheric web series, The Ravenscourt Tragedies..  The fourth installment of the tale just went live a few days ago, and for me it’s a must-read.  From the introduction:  “In 1890s Brytainnia, corsets are in vogue, magic is illegal, and an ancient threat is rising in the shadows. Meanwhile, 13-year-old Abigail Crowe is drawn into a web of family secrets and murderous mysteries.”  What are these secrets and mysteries?  I’ll be learning a little more every couple of weeks, but every chapter so far is filled with ominous fog and rain, mysterious strangers, and palpable foreboding.  Needless to say, I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment, and if you haven’t checked out this story, you need to get started!