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Author Topic: The Journal of Gaius Carcillius of Skingrad  (Read 1551 times)

Havohej

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The Journal of Gaius Carcillius of Skingrad
« on: 18 Dec 2014, 12:05 »

Vikarion's got me dabbling with Skyrim again..  This won't be anywhere near as regular as his, or as entertaining, but starting over with a new build and archetype seems a fun diversion.

My name is Gaius Carcillius.  I hail from the city of Skingrad, in the Heartlands.  I was once a Legionnaire, serving with the Twelfth.  A bit more drink than any man's health can bear and the scent of a woman conspired with me in the death of my Legate's adjutant.  In a bid to escape the headsman's axe, I fled for Skyrim.  I hoped to be able to just disappear, maybe open a smithy in some small village and live out my days quietly and comfortably.  Unfortunately, shortly after I crossed the border into Skyrim, I fell afoul of a wagon train carrying prisoners.  Seeing my Imperial armor, these soldiers assumed me a deserter from their recent battle with a band of rebels, and so there I was... riding toward the headsman's axe I'd been trying to escape.

Fortunately for me, though unfortunately for a town-ful of Nordic peasants, a great black dragon attacked the keep we were all to be executed at.  One of the rebels, a blond Nord named Ralof, helped me avoid the dragon's fiery breath and together we managed to escape through some rough-hewn tunnels below the keep into the countryside.  Ralof suggested we split up, and I agreed, promising to meet back up in the nearby village of Riverwood where he apparently had family who could help us.

His sister, Gerdur, was very helpful - and very trusting.  She gave me a key to her and her husband's house, with no objection from him, mind, and offered me anything she had to help me get myself sorted out.  All she asked in return was that I go and tell her Jarl about the Dragon... fair enough.  The farther from the Imperials, the better.  But I knew I'd need some gold, as well, so I went into the local trader's shop to sell off the gear I'd pulled form Legionnaire's bodies beneath Helgen.  Didn't even bother cleaning it up.  Fortunately, Lucan was too preoccupied with a missing heirloom to ask many questions.

Speaking of gold, this Lucan also offered a good sum of coin to go and retreive said heirloom.  Apparently some bandits had broken into his shop and stolen it... curiously, they'd left the rest of his wares alone.  He didn't have anything to interest me, except coin, though, so I agreed to go and retrieve this Golden Claw for him.  What could a bunch of highwaymen possibly do against a soldier of the Twelfth Legion?
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Havohej

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Re: The Journal of Gaius Carcillius of Skingrad
« Reply #1 on: 18 Dec 2014, 13:40 »

Eventful day.  I rested up at the Sleeping Giant Inn here in Riverwood before making my was up the road toward this Bleak Falls Barrow the thieves were supposed to be laired at.  It was as easy as I expected, relieving the thieves of the artifact.  Their leader, in fact, had somehow managed to get himself ensnared in the web of a rather large spider.  The spider was wounder - I expect at the hands of the trapped thief - so it wasn't difficult to kill.

Once I'd put the beast down, the thief tried to start bargaining with me, promising me all manner of power and riches if I'd just cut him down from the mass of webbing he was trapped in.  I would be lying if I said I didn't consider his offer.  But that consideration brought me to two points.  One, Lucan was going to pay me for the claw.  And two, whatever treasure the claw was supposed to unlock, it would do so with or without the thief.  So, knowing that one can never trust a thief, I just killed the man outright and rummaged through his things until I found the artifact I sought.  I also found his journal, which detailed the use of the artifact in unlocking a puzzle door somewhere there in the ruins.

Traveling deeper into Bleak Falls, I encountered something I had thought was the realm of fantasies and fairy tales told to little boys to make them eat their vegetables.  I rounded a corner and picked my way down some stairs into a large burial chamber, and when I did so, several of the corpses began stirring.  Rising from their alcoves carved into the chamber's walls, they took up their ancient and rusted steel and charged me, barking and rasping words in some long-dead tongue.

Training overruled fear, and I managed to defend myself well against the undead.  Knowing that this was a real peril, I kept my eyes sharp moving forward.  Whatever was buried in this ruin must be very important indeed for such a horrible magic to protect it.  But these undead, I had seen, could be destroyed.  And so I meant to have the prize buried in this tomb.

I do not know how many of these draugr I had to destroy to reach the main chamber of the barrow, which was itself in a shambles.  The roots of the forest had made their way in, shattering the stonework and allowing the river to send a tributary beneath the ground.  In another generation, that place will be flooded out and nothing will remain but the flying basalt buttresses jutting out from the side of the mountain above.

As I approached a curved wall in the rear of the chamber, the lid of a sarcophagus slid open and a corpse arose from it dressed in the raiment of an ancient Nordic lord.  He fought more fiercely than any of the creatures before him, and his greatsword glowed with magical power.  Every time it cracked against my shield, it felt like my arm might freeze solid from the cold of the grave!  I remembered a potion I had picked up, the markings suggesting that it should serve well against the cold.  Retreating from the lord of the ruin, I drank the potion and quickly prepared to defend myself against its onslaught.  I no longer had to fear his ensorcelled greatsword and he fell quickly.  In the chest, there was a large quantity of gold coins, and some gems.  And, of course, the draugr's magical sword.

I mentioned none of this when I returned the golden claw to the shop keeper.  He paid me an additional 400 gold, and I sold him a bunch of junk armor and weapons I'd picked up from the bandits in the ruin.  At the end of the day, I've got some two thousand coins.  I think I'll haul this gold to Whiterun and see about a letter of credit before I visit the Jarl.  There should be at least one honest banker in a city that large.
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Vikarion

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Re: The Journal of Gaius Carcillius of Skingrad
« Reply #2 on: 18 Dec 2014, 14:45 »

Oh, sweet!  :lol:

Looking forward to more!
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Havohej

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Re: The Journal of Gaius Carcillius of Skingrad
« Reply #3 on: 18 Dec 2014, 17:47 »

Thanks, Vik!  I think I neglected to give a summary of intent the way you have in your two series, so let me rectify that now.  I've previously gone the dual-wielding dagger assassin/rogue route, vampire in the Dark Brotherhood and all, as well as the Orcish juggernaut, complete with Daedric armor and a two-handed axe (so many decapitations).  I messed about with a high-elf wizard, but didn't quite like the feel of magic in Skyrim.

The only thing I haven't really done is a former line soldier: sword and shield with middling archery skills.  Thus, Gaius the Legionnaire was conceived.  I will do enchanting to equip myself, but this'll be an out-of-character concession because my luck with useful enchanted weapon drops has historically been shitty in this game.  I might dabble in alchemy, but I don't think I'll quite need to - I really will only need health and stamina potions, which are usually plentiful.  Smithing, though, will be an in-character thing and might get mentioned once or twice.  If Gaius claims to have found a powerfully enchanted sword or something, it'll probably be that I enchanted the thing myself, but he would realistically have no knowledge of that sort of thing.

I'm going to skip some quest lines altogether - he's not the type to join the College of Winterhold, for instance.  I have never, ever done the whole Dawnguard thing, though, so it'll be interesting to see where he goes with that.  Reading your characters' tales, I feel bad for never having played it through... this is because I'm lazy, and it's always looked like a very long trip.

I also haven't decided what to do about Lucia, yet.  So far, I've always taken her in... even with my hulking, hot-headed Orc.
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Vikarion

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Re: The Journal of Gaius Carcillius of Skingrad
« Reply #4 on: 18 Dec 2014, 19:07 »

Yeah, more than any other questline, Dawnguard sends you all over the map.

I've played a sword and shield fighter before, and there are a few considerations. First will be that you will have limited damage output, so you probably want to get some Fortify One-Handed gear, as that will boost the damage you do. You can also easily afford to use light armor, as your shield should be a huge damage sink if you give it perks at all, but there's no real downside to using heavy armor in the later game (because of the "no encumbrance" perk), and it makes you nearly invulnerable with the sword-and-shield set-up. Lastly, you will probably need potions of resist frost/fire more than you need health later on, as it will be elemental damage that causes problems more than anything else.
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Havohej

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Re: The Journal of Gaius Carcillius of Skingrad
« Reply #5 on: 18 Dec 2014, 19:46 »

Hm.  In that case, it might be worth more than dabbling in alchemy - which wouldn't be entirely outside of the character concept I have in mind.  I see him as distrustful of magic and magic users, but survivalism (which the common soldier should know something about for a life of long periods out in the field) would naturally include a bit about what's safe to eat and what can be combined with something else to produce beneficial effects like healing salves and poultices and shit.

By the Divines!  So much for keeping a low profile and disappearing...

I finally found my way to Dragonsreach in Whiterun, seat of Jarl Balgruuf the Greater.  It all happened so fast...  First, I inform him that rumors of the dragon attack at Helgen are true after having to face down his dunmer bodyguard, Irileth.  I nearly took her head off when she came at me brandishing steel... which would've seen me back to the headsman's block again, I'm sure.  Fortunately for both of us she's got a cool head on her shoulders.  Seems to know her business well - I respect that.

The Jarl asked me to consult with his court wizard, a pretentious and self-important fool named Farengar.  Has a way of talking down to people that I don't like...  wouldn't mind finding him along in a dark alley one night.  Anyway, he went on about a stone tablet hidden in Bleak Falls Barrow.  I didn't mention it before, because it didn't seem very important.  Just a piece of worked stone with some faded carvings on it.  But that's what he wanted, so I gave it to him.  Just a few minutes later, the dark elf came in to summon us to the Jarl.  Apparently the dragon had been spotted.

Somehow, surviving a dragon attack made me an expert, so Balgruuf insisted I go with Irileth's party to the Western Watchtower.  Like I ever wanted to see a bloody dragon again after Helgen.  It's not as if the thing were there to do me the favor of saving my life.  I certainly hold no illusions of dragons as friendly souls out to lend ol' Gaius a helping hand!  Yet, there I was, on the western road at a burned out watchtower with a dunmer and a bunch of scared lads in shoddy Nordic armor when, sure enough, a dragon sweeps in from the mountains to the south.

But it wasn't the same dragon.  This one was smaller, and lighter of scale, shrieking and calling his might across the heavens in between belching gouts of flame down at us.  I'd almost swear he were screaming words.  One I kept hearing on the current of his calls: Mirmulnir.  Perhaps his name?

The young soldiers acquitted themselves admirably.  Only a few died.  None of them lost their nerve.  I fired a few arrows at the beast each time it swooped past to strafe us with flame - I can't say how many of my arrows hit their mark and how many bounced off his thickly plated hide.  But eventually Mirmulnir alit on the cobblestone road and I slung my bow across my back to rush in with sword and shield.  Let me tell you, a steel shield is precious little protection against the full force of a dragon's breath!  But fine Imperial steel does just fine against a dragon's scales.

The beast retreated to the air again, and I took the opportunity to drink a couple of the healing draughts I'd picked up in Bleak Falls.  It seems I'd wounded the wyrm, though, for he did not stay aloft very long.  Soon he was on the ground again, snarling and snapping his jaws at me.  He reared his head back, and I could hear him drawing in breath to burn the flesh from my bones...  I knew I would not survive another taste of his flame, so I charge in and buried my sword right in the monster's gullet.  I thought that was the end of it.

But as the soldiers gathered 'round to look on what we had done - a slain dragon! - something happened.  A rush of power eddied on the wind around the dragon's carcass and suddenly it washed over me, surrounding me in light and searing its way into every pore.  It burned... in a cool, refreshing kind of way.  I felt exalted.  Invincible.  Something in my mind.. my soul... unlocked, and I thought back on the words I'd seen carved into the wall in the draugr lord's burial chamber.  "Fus."  Force.  I felt like Force incarnate.

Seeing this caused some excitement among Irileth's remaining soldiers, but she calmed them down quickly.  She said I should return to Balgruuf at once, and I agreed.  I was nearly to the city gates when the earth shook beneath my feet and I heard a thunderous chorus of voices boom from the clouds:  "Dov-ah-kiin!"  Mirmulnir had cried the same words with his final breath.  I drew steel and put my back against the city wall, waiting for more dragons to appear... and then felt quite silly when this did not happen.

When I reached the Jarl, his court was astir over the call.  When I related to Jarl Balgruuf what had transpired at his ruined watchtower, he echoed the sentiments of the common soldiers who were there with me.  That I must be Dragonborn, and that this was what the call meant.  A group of hermits living in a hold atop a mountain had summoned me, and I was to go and climb seven thousand steps to go and learn something from them.

Seven thousand steps.

I should've let Mirmulnir kill me.  It would've been a faster death than walking up seven thousand steps.

Balgruuf then proceeded to tell me how he was naming me Thane Gaius Carcillius of Whiterun and assigning me my own Housecarl, and that he was going to spread the word amongst his men.  Which, of course, means spreading the world through every hold in Skyrim since whiterun is the provincial trade hub.

On second thought, I'd better go climb those steps... when the Empire comes looking for me again, I'm going to need all the power I can get to keep my head attached.  Maybe I can earn enough of a name for myself so as to be beyond the Empire's death sentence.  Maybe I should try to help the rebels liberate this frozen backwater so that Imperial laws - and thus, Imperial death sentences - have no power here.

Seven thousand steps.

I swear, I'll never drink again.
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Havohej

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Re: The Journal of Gaius Carcillius of Skingrad
« Reply #6 on: 18 Dec 2014, 21:04 »

I was about to go and meet my new housecarl, a woman named Lydia, when I noticed that the enter keep seemed to be preparing to retire for the evening.  All except for Irileth, Hrongar and a few guardsmen who'd drawn the night's watch.  I milled about for a little while, shooting the breeze with the dark elf, and then I started poking around.  In between chatting with the guards, I found a good bit of gold stashed here and there among the wardrobes and chests of the keep.

I remembered seeing an alchemist's lab in Farengar's study, so I decided I should go and see if any of the reagents I'd picked up in my travels could be combined to replace some of the healing draughts I'd expended in the battle with Mirmulnir.  Remember how I said I'd like to meet that pretentious little prick in a dark alley?  Well, a dark and quiet bedchamber is just as well.  I discovered the Jarl's court wizard asleep in a small room adjacent to his study.  Carefully and quietly shutting the door to the small room behind me, I crept in on the balls of my feet just like we'd been taught at the Academy back in the Heartlands.  I draw my Legionnaire's sword and plunged it into the man's chest as he slept.

On one of his fingers I found a ring with a magical inscription on it.  Trying it on, I found my shield feeling substantially lighter.  I think I'll keep this one.  The hem of his robes has some kind of magical runes embroidered into it as well... that, I think I'll sell.  Outside of Whiterun, of course.

I took a few moments to listen for patrolling guards before sneaking back out of his bedchamber and shutting the door.  He wouldn't be found until morning, and by then I'd be well on my way to High Hrothgar.  Not my wizard, not my problem.

Lydia seems an honest enough woman, and she wears her armor with the comfortable air of a trained soldier.  I expect she'll serve me well as a traveling companion.  It's just as well that I waited before introducing myself... she doesn't seem the sort to approve of the cold-blooded murder of her Jarl's court wizard.

He shouldn't have been such a condescending prick.
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Havohej

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Re: The Journal of Gaius Carcillius of Skingrad
« Reply #7 on: 19 Dec 2014, 17:07 »

I seem to have become something of a busybody since leaving the Twelfth.

I went outside the city walls, not to begin the journey to High Hrothgar (seven thousand steps!) but to roust a band of highwaymen and collect on a bounty posted by the Jarl.  If I'm to afford to buy the house Balgruuf has permitted me to buy, I'll need to put in some work.  Amren, a foreigner like myself, suggested to me that mercenary work might be right up my alley after showing me a few of his peoples' sword techniques.  I figured since "laying low" isn't really going to happen now that i've caused such a stir, I might as well look into it.  That's when I found out about the bounty.

Anyway, on my return, I witnessed a confrontation between the city guard and a pair of outsiders.  The two men then told me they were looking for a Redguard woman.  I thought nothing of it... until I went to rent a room at the Bannered Mare and heard the accent the kitchen girl spoke with.  Curious, I asked if she were aware that there were armed men looking for her.  She seemed quite upset to hear this and invited me up to her loft to speak in private.  I posted my housecarl/bodyguard at the bottom of the stairs and followed her.

Saadia, the Redguard kitchen wench, then pulled a knife on me!  I didn't bother drawing down on her... she couldn't have harmed me if she wanted to.  Once she put her blade away, she told me how she was some manner of nobility and that she was being hunted for some thing or another.  I know what it is to be hunted, and unlike me, she doesn't have military training or the ability to eat dragons' souls and shout men down with her voice - which is really quite useful, I'm finding.  So I agreed to help her.

When I went back downstairs to rent my room, I happened to see the inn's minstrel, Mikael.  One of the shopkeepers in the square had told me about him... he doesn't like being told no by pretty women.  Since I was there, I decided to go ahead and try to talk to him.  But he would hear none of it.  Started spouting off about animals and honor.  A lot of gibberish I really didn't have any patience for.  Since he wouldn't listen to reason, I put my boot in his ass.  Then he agreed to leave the poor woman alone.

In the morning I'll be off to find a cave called the Swindler's Den to see if I can't find a more diplomatic solution with a fellow named Kematu.  He's the leader of the Alik'r warriors hunting for Saadia.  I doubt I'll succeed, but I can't in good conscience allow a defenseless woman to be hauled off to her death the way the Empire would like to haul me off to mine.  I'm sure she'll be able to pay for my time and trouble, one way or the other.
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Havohej

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Re: The Journal of Gaius Carcillius of Skingrad
« Reply #8 on: 21 Dec 2014, 17:56 »

I found Swindler's Den.  It lived up to its name.

Within this old iron mine, I confronted at least a dozen bandits before I was greeted by an altogether too condescending voice with a Hammerfell accent.  Kematu, the leader of the band sent after the kitchen wench.
He told me that I had proven my strength and that we should talk, that it could be profitable for the both of us.  Hmph.

I commanded Lydia put up her steel and we climbed up the ramp to parlay with Kematu.  He told me that the woman I knew as Saadia had committed a treason against her people, something about the Aldmeri Dominion's victory in the war.  And that he wasn't sent to kill the girl, but to bring her home to face "justice."  I admit, I suffered a conflict of conscience.  If this woman had done what she was accused of, she most certainly should lose her head for it.

At the same time, I had only just begun as a mercenary.  What future would I have if I built a reputation for double-crossing the people who hired me to do a job?  And Saadia, whatever her real name might be, had hired me to kill these men.  I looked around me... Kematu, and half a dozen warriors besides.  I told Kematu that, regrettably, I could not help him complete his task.  Lydia and I reached for hour blades in unison and I shouted Kematu against the wall.  With him staggered it was a simple thing to open his belly, and with their leader slaughtered the rest of them fell with little trouble.

On the way back to Whiterun, I decided to detour south and take a look around another iron mine called Embershard.  Another group of poorly equipped bandits, a little gold between them... and in a nondescript chest in this nondescript mine full of altogether nondescript criminals, I discovered a large, glowing gem.  A gem which spoke to me when I picked it up.

After I tell Saadia she's safe, I'm going to buy that horse I've had my eye on and ride for Dragon Bridge.  Seems there's a temple that Meridia would like cleansed of corruption.

Yes, that Meridia.  The Daedric Prince of Life and Lady of Infinite Energies.  Far be it from me to ignore the summons of a Daedra.  Could be bad for my health.
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Jace

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Re: The Journal of Gaius Carcillius of Skingrad
« Reply #9 on: 21 Dec 2014, 20:54 »

I just bought Skyrim (old version was only on a console I no longer have easy access to), so I may do a similar thing. Though probably not as interesting as the two of you. Well done, fun read.
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Re: The Journal of Gaius Carcillius of Skingrad
« Reply #10 on: 21 Dec 2014, 23:01 »

I just bought Skyrim (old version was only on a console I no longer have easy access to), so I may do a similar thing. Though probably not as interesting as the two of you. Well done, fun read.
DO IT!
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Re: The Journal of Gaius Carcillius of Skingrad
« Reply #11 on: 21 Dec 2014, 23:38 »

Bloody daedra.

I rode west for Dragon Bridge - which is quite a sight in its own right, tiny village made noteworthy for the ancient bridge of ornate stone worked to look like the spine of a dragon.  It's quite good, really.  And I've seen two dragons' skeletons, recently.  First, Mirmulnir, then the nameless lesser wyrm that happened to attack Silent Moons Camp at the same time Lydia and I were arriving to do the exact same thing.

Anyway, I rode through Dragon Bridge and a little ways farther north, I could I see the towering Statue of Meridia crowning her ruined temple.  As I rode beneath the shadow of the Statue, she spoke to me again.  About the inconstancy of mortals, for not maintaining her precious building.  I climbed a set of broken stairs to the foot of the Statue and replaced her beacon on its stand there, and suddenly I was snatched up high, very high... higher than High Hrothgar, which I believe I could see in the great distance.  And there, I was face to face with a near-blinding orb of blue-ish light.  Meridia's avatar in Tamriel.

The daedra told me that her temple had been corrupted and defiled by a powerful necromancer named Malkoran, and that I would be rewarded if I cleansed it for her.  Well, alright then, O Lady of Blinding Light Holding Me Suspended Higher than Any Dragon Can Fly!  Since I have SO much choice in the matter, I cleanse your bloody temple for you!

Meridia dropped me back to the base of her Statue - gently.  Lydia's face was ghost white pale, but I didn't have time to reassure her.  I simply told her, "If you're going to be my housecarl, you're probably going to see worse shit than this.  I'm the Dragonborn, remember?  I'm going to be the one to stop Alduin from eating your kinsmen's souls in Sovngarde, and if you live long enough, you're going with me.  Now skin that pretty Orcish sword I gave you and move your cheeks!"  With that I bounded down the staircase and made for the entryway to the ruined temple.

Once inside, I immediately noticed the defilement Meridia was talking about.  There hung in the air a thick and cloying miasma, a... blackness.  It threatened to seep into my pores and corrupt me, if I lingered over-long.  On the ground, there was a desecrated corpse.  Lydia stood guard while I inspected the body and picked through its surprisingly fine clothing.  He.. or she, hard to tell... had a good bit of coin on its person.  Wouldn't need that anymore, so I took it and we moved on.  I found dozens of these corpses, all similarly treated, each with a lot of gold on them.  Likely cultists lured here by this Malkoran, and wealthy ones at that.  That fact alone spoke to the power of this necromancer.

After fighting our way through pairs and trios of shades, more powerful than the simple draugr I'd encountered before, and turning a series of multi-faceted crystals to direct a beam of light shone down into the temple by Meridia herself through a series of arcane locking mechanisms, we finally found our way to the central altar of Meridia's Temple.  And inside, we found Malkoran, guarded by no fewer than six of these shades, more powerful than the ones we'd encountered already.  My Imperial voice had no effect on them, and shouting "Fus" only seemed to annoy them.  Lydia almost perished in the fighting - twice I had to leave off of battling Malkoran to assist her with the shades.  I admit, I would have felt bad about it if she'd died.  Draugr were nothing compared to these shadowy horrors.  I wouldn't have survived without her help.  And she was a warrior, through and through.  At one point, I saw her buckled to one knee and when I turned to charge to her defense, she struggled to assure me that "It is nothing!"  Ha!

When the necromancer fell, it wasn't over.  His own shade rose to avenge him!  And where the necromancer had fought me with ice, his ghost fought me with fire.  Now, I keep a lot of potions I may never need, things I find in my travels, things I stumble into with random experiments at Arcadia's alchemy lab in Whiterun.  After the first fireball nearly ended me, I remembered that I had a Draught of Resist Fire in my pack, and I quickly drank it.  After that, I had more difficulty staying between Malkoran's Shade and Lydia than enduring his flames.

Once the deed was done, the daedric prince spoke to me again, inviting me to remove the sword from her alter.  A beautiful blade, it is, glowing with a light both beautiful and terrible to behold.  She called it "Dawnbreaker."  Once I had retrieved it, after retrieving the gold from a dozen or so more of Malkoran's dead followers, Meridia plucked me on high once again to deliver a very flowery speech about weilding Dawnbreaker in her honor and spreading her light through the world.  I don't know about spreading light... but I think I will bear this sword from here out.

In fact, almost every guard I pass by has something to say about the reforming of the Dawnguard.  There have been several vampire attacks, lately...
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