Book 1 - Khajiit

Discussion about the history of the blades, as told by Waalx, the Elhazan's and the Vocha's.
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Waalx
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June 10th, 2007

here goes the writings of the first book in the Chronicles of Steel.
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Elhazan
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June 10th, 2007

Hey everyone!

I'll post what I have thus far of the books. None of it has been thoroughly QC'd yet, and ideas are still flowing, but if anyone wants to supply input or suggestions, here it be.

Waalx had an idea that his in-character Waalx is a tad crazy. If anyone has ever read the original Dragonlance books, he's a lot like Fizban. So I've peppered them with some absurdist humor in places for flavor, so if anyone has any ideas of too much, not enough, or WTF?? feel free to comment. :)

(note from waalx: in fact my 'ancestor from another dimension' is a mix of many famous characters. He's a mix of Gandalf way of traveling the world and being known everywhere as he lived so long, he's also alike Leonardo Da Vinci, in that he has been mandated by kings and emperors for his craftmanship and knowledge of the art of swordmaking. He's also a crazy old guy alike the Fizban character, but less crazy than Fizban was 'appearing' to be. And the way his 'speaching' came to my mind was an echo of the great voice of the half-giant Hagrid mingled with a jumble of made-up words to ice the cake. Arnd, ye know? An character Me would've liked ter be mineself.)



The Chronicles Of Steel
Original title: Them Chronicles O' Steel

Hereby follows the Chronicle of Steel, a tome of vast knowledge concerning the various indigenous bladed weapons of the races of Tamriel. It was written by an uncommon Ayleid elf, one of the last of his kind—who some say was kissed by Sheogorath, a “gift” that, among other less savory things, gave the already long-living Elf an even longer chance to walk Nirn—who went against the normal reclusive nature of his people to travel the Empire and study smithing from those who would teach him. His dream was to learn the crafts of all the races. Over the course of the centuries he lived he either traveled the world or hid himself away in his study, which is rumored to be a hidden lair unlike a normal Ayleid dwelling. In his place of reclusion he would replicate what he had learned, perfecting his art to a degree rarely paralleled, and with a fervor in his eye that unnerved those who ever had the luck to have seen him.

He died many years ago, and many of his secrets went with him. Some say the key to finding this forge is the last sentence of this manuscript...but who could find a statue in a tree?



Chronicles I - Khajiit Blades

And lo, did I spend many a moon amongst the Khajiit of Elsweyr. Once you can gain their trust they treat you as one of their own, and their dispositions carry the warmth of their fur on a hot day in the middle of Sun’s Height—or maybe the breath of a frog in heat… My longevity as an Elf gave me the opportunity to visit their sandy, desert-covered barrows over many a long year, and hath given me a chance to learn many of the secrets of metal-smithing that they held in their clawed—yet eternally skillful—hands.

Of all the smiths I encountered amongst my travels in Cyrodiil, the Khajiit proved capable of producing blades that danced in thou hands like nothing I’d ever beheld before! Even the famed and agile curved blades of the Redguards could never match the grace and elegance with which the Khajiit blades could whistle through the air. Their razor-sharp Knucklebow sabers move with an ease in the hand that feels like a natural extension of my arm, and their skill makes our Elven Daitos seem clumsy by comparison.

I wonder, perchance, if the vast amount of Moonsugar I and my Khajiit cohorts consumed whilst we discussed the nature of the blades of Elsweyr had any affect on my judgments as I sit here tonight and write on my parchment? Or maybe the ja-Kha’jay was speaking to me then and whispering in mine ear. It speaks to me now, outside the cave, and just asked me if I would like a cup of tea on the morrow after brunch. I assured it I would call upon it as soon as I completed my current research. The moons can be ever so pesky!

Chapter 1 and 2 - The Rivals of Border Watch

(Editor’s note: Waalx’s reasoning to combine two chapters into one flowing length of text is unknown, and I have never seen the likes of this before, and I doubt we will ever see something like it to come. It is truly the work of a…special mind)

In the small village of Border Watch, nestled in the border between Cyrodiil and Elsweyr, a feud rages that is analogous to the fetid and wet climate. It was mere happenstance that, long ago, two different smiths settled in the town in the same year—the Shotan family and the Stah family. Obviously, two smiths in a town as minor as Border Watch is more than it needs, but the reason for their placement is obvious: caravans traveling from the Imperial City to Leyawiin, and then on to Elsweyr and even Valenwood, go through the highly populated Green Road (Editor’s note: the road is now long untended and lost in foliage) and the tiny village is the last stop in so-called “civilized” country. The small hamlet had access to merchant caravans going in and out, so their wares could be sold to the merchants and widely distributed.

Also obvious is that, not long after the smiths moved in, they began a rivalry that exists to this day, many generations later. Both families claim they were there first, and due to Khajiit’s notoriously poor methods of record keeping (the most efficient practice I have found them undergoing involves making notes on bottles of skooma— as they know, without a doubt, that they will come across the note again in the very near future. Unfortunately during the imbibing of the drug the bottles are most often lost in the grass, crushed under paws, or eaten altogether if the contents were of a particularly heavy dose), we may never know which really WAS here first. But the most important things were handed down by word of muzzle, and so I will relay the story of one of the families of smiths, the Shotan.

The first Khajiit of the Shotan family is affectionately called First-One (as I mentioned, Khajiit record keeping…) by his descendants. What is remembered about him, while his name is lost to time, is that he had a penchant for adventuring in his youth. Through many a place the young Khajiit traveled, going as far north as Dragonstar in Hammerfell and as far east as Necrom in Morrowind. What he did in those adventures are not remembered (Groba-Stah, of Border Watch, swears he was a bandit, but I think the Stah family may be quite biased and untrustworthy in regards to any member of the Shotan clan), but what was important is what he brought back. When he retired from adventuring and settled in Border Watch, the first blade he began working on vigorously—to distinguish himself from his rival—was a wonderful specimen of blade-making called the Lionclaw saber.

He was influenced by great beasts he encountered in Hammerfell, he would swear, that were like Khajiit but walked only on all fours, and were only dwarfed by the Senche-tiger of Elsweyr. While obviously distant cousins of Khajiit, they only roamed the arid lands of Hammerfell’s western reaches and Alik’r desert, near the area of Sunkeep and the Hegathe peninsula.

It is the talons of this fierce creature that he formed the Lionclaw. Ever since First-One’s days he made the pommel and guard golden, a color he said reminded him of the Alik’r, as well as the sands of his homeland. The blade itself is wicked cutter, shaped like a claw and twice as sharp. In the generations since its creation the design has remained fundamentally the same. Some smiths of his family choose to use steel or silver for the fittings, and would occasionally make the blade of ebony. Those changes are rare, however, and even though they cannot remember the smith’s name, they choose to honor the wishes and traditions that they do remember.

Another blade attributed to First-One is the Archer Sword. Made for an old companion of his who was (presumably) an archer by trade, the straight bladed design is common amongst the Breton Archers that, when they were traveling through Hammerfell, they no doubt met during a skirmish or two between High Rock and the Redguards. What First-One did was change the crossguard to a wicked shape that made even itself into a formidable weapon, with a wide flair that could be effectively pressed into the eyes of an attacker (an, as I myself discovered after dinner one night when I stayed with them, it’s quite effective at getting mutton out of my teeth!). The old acquaintance was impressed, and traveled with the blade as a sidearm enough that other adventurers he met came to Border Watch to ask for one. Thus, the Archer Sword was born, and it is still in production to this day.

A few generations later, after the Shotan family became wealthier and First-One’s legacy began to garner attention, a descendant came up with another popular design. Foshan Shotan was forging a crossguard to a Lionclaw saber one night when he made a mistake that rendered the metal he was shaping useless for that style. Instead of melting it again and starting over he went with it, straying from time tested tradition and forging something new. After he liked what he had made, he changed the pommel around and bent the grip in ward further, and thickened it at the bottom.

He stood back, admiring his own work. His contemporary rival from the Stah family wandered over sneakily (as, apparently, he was wont to do) and snuck a peek at what the young cat was doing. The grunt of approval he made in spite of himself caused him to be discovered, and Foshan hissed and grabbed the nearest object he could find—a long piece of metal he was heating to shape into a blade—and chased the cat halfway through town until the Stah got to his family’s domicile. Hissing and snapping, Foshan angrily thrashed the piece of glowing metal against the side of the Stah hut. The warm metal bent at the tip from the impact, and as he looked at the work and snarled at what he would have to do to fix it properly, an idea came to mind. Smiling ferally (I have yet to meet a Khajiit whose smile was anything but unintentionally menacing—I think it’s the teeth!) the cat ran back to his own side of town and set to work.

He took the inspiration of the crook in the tip of the steel and the crossguard and pommel he had been working on earlier and set to work combining the two. Soon, after days of perfecting the design and reworking certain aspects to properly reinforce the bent tip, the Knucklebow saber was born. It was a marvel of steel, sharper than most other Khajiit blades, and shaped to compliment the hand of the average warrior. It can meet the speed the fastest of blades and can cut as lethally as any, and is one of my most favorite specimens.

Currently the family remains in Border Watch where they spend most of their earnings on more material, meaning they never felt the need to spend their family’s money on opulent mansions or elaborate forges, but to improve their output. They remain in the town out of respect for tradition and the fact that the current Shotan, Fat-Belly, is too lazy to move.

The other family of smiths in Border Watch, the Stah’s, have a better affinity for records-keeping. Thus they know the name of their original smith—Klow-Stah. She was an odd Khajiit in that she seemed to have a great admiration for Elves of all types (Harumph…I don’t know what’s so odd about that, but apparently these Khajiit think that strange). Her weapons reflected this odd infatuation, as the blades took on the petite, slender curves of Elvin high-artistry.

The fittings have been darkened steel (and still are, to this day), and unremarkable except for being very efficient for both counter-balances and effective tools in a fight. The blades of her Elvin weapons are the keystones of her creations. The Elvin Saber has a delicate curve, reminiscent of Ayelid architecture, and is as lethal as it is beautiful. The sword also whistles as it glides through the air, and the Stah smiths like to say it is the air crying as it is cut by their superior blades (silly kitties—they all know the shriek is made by invisible babies of Nirn!).

Other designs Klow-Stah introduced were the Elvin Cutlass and Elvin Knife (after she died her descendants, for some reason, didn’t love Elves as much as she did…not that I can imagine why. But they say that they retain her original names out of respect for their ancestor). Both sport similar fittings to the Saber, but with the proper variations made. The cutlass has no doubt found its way into many a pirate that traversed this part of the Niben (Fat-Belly-Shotan swears it’s true and that they should be arrested by the Count for aiding the criminal underworld, but I’ll leave that to the proper authorities). But no matter who wields it, and blade is an effective cutter and wicked thruster, and a fine specimen of how strong a blade can be while being balanced enough to feel as if the wielder was holding a feather.

The knife is a companion to both—or neither! It cuts like a tooth of a nix hound, and I happen to know this first hand. The other day, whilst making my way through Blackwood looking for Alocasia Fruit (they say they don’t grow here, but I’ll prove them wrong…oh yes, I will prove them wrong), I came upon a swarthy looking Redguard who asked if I had any money. I told him I had a few coins but that I was saving them for the Alocasia Fruit I’d find (I owed one of them some money), and I asked if he would like a piece of yarn and some lettuce instead. He looked at me queerly, as if I had said something strange, and then ran at me! And what did he pull out of his belt but an Elvin Dagger, made by my friend Groba-Stah himself! I marveled at the blade, my delighted expression waning only a little as he gutted me with it. I exclaimed “Oh, how wonderfully sharp!” and laughed with glee and admiration. And wouldn’t you know it—he was apparently such a nice man that he let me keep it in my stomach! He ran away flailing his arms and looked so happy that he had given me this gift. What a nice Redguard…once this wound heals I should really find him and thank him. I heard the locals mention a cave…Milk something, Milk Rock, Milky Rocks, or Milk on the Rocks…that he would probably be staying at. I wonder if Alocasia Fruit grow there?

Chapter 3 - Shalioma The Black

It is by a strange twist of destiny that the young Khajiit Shalioma was introduced to blade smithing. His mother died when he was born, and his father, a traveling merchant, was almost never at home. So the young cat, blessed with unnaturally dark fur that made him stand out in most any crowd (thus was his namesake "Shalioma the Black"), was put into the care of his father’s friends, the neighbor family, the Twitsy's. Twitsy was an Argonian smith, and he had a son, Ka-Twitsy, that was around the same age as Shalioma. Despite their difference in race, they became as close as brothers.

The years passed, and Ka-Twitsy became old enough to start learning his father’s craft and honor his family. As Shalioma and Ka-Twitsy were always together before these lessons begun, Ka-Twitsy’s absence made Shalioma very moody, and he was soon hissing at everyone in the house. This quite unnerved the lizard-folk, as their own tongues were good only for picking on one another (at least, that it is what I was told). Seeing the state the trouble youth was in, and after discussing it with his wife, Twitsy decided to train Shalioma alongside his friend.

Soon the two “brothers” began competing with one another, trying to out-do one another and please Twitsy. They worked hard, for long years, and Twitsy humored their game, but was never unfair to young Shalioma, always instilling the same level of perfection in him as he did his own son.

When they not only perfected what Twitsy could teach but also began coming to him with ameliorations to the existing line of weapons, he knew they had gone beyond the master himself. I’m certain the old lizard cried, much like I did when I stubbed my toe the other day, but there was more to come!

Ka-Twitsy naturally chose to work with his father, but the Khajiit was starting to feel that he would forever be alienated from his foster-family. The welcome, as nice as it had been, he felt was over, and he began to want to leave his friends and find his own path.

In the beginning of spring that year, I passed by the Twitsy's as was my custom when my wandering was leading me near the region. I was impressed by the progress the two youngsters had made, and I lingered longer than I had meant to, marveling at their work and at their ingenious improvements to the craft.

Then, one night, Shalioma came to me and talked of his intent to travel in search of his own people, to seek the customs of his own furry-folk. I explained to him what I had learned about Khajiit blades, but it was not enough for him. As I was heading south toward Leyawiin, I offered him a chance to come with me, and I would introduce him to the Khajiit craftsmen of Border Watch.

I left him there with the other cats as I perused that part of the Niben for new blades of all kinds. I stopped by from time to time, glad to see that the lad learned quickly, and he learned from both of the smiths that inhabited Border Watch at that time. The two smiths had a rivalry that had been going on for generations (I mentioned them more extensively in the previous chapter), and soon young Shalioma gave them a new source of grief as each tried to influence him in their own way. From what I hear the two Khajiit tried to brawl on the muddy streets one night over the boy, each with their respective masterful blades in hand, and whispers of the K’Sharra went among the spectators who watched their sheep with worry. But the moons rose higher and fish was put on the fires over at the tavern and the two Khajiit grew hungry as they started one-another down, and decided to settle their differences over a bottle.

Alas, this was a portent for a time of sorrow between Shalioma and his old friend, Ka-Twitsy.

Though I was not there to witness all the following at the time (I was bathing in Niben bay that month to get all the trees off my skin) the word was that the Dark Brotherhood was in the market for new blade, in honor of Sithis. They tried a few different smiths, but a dark-robed messenger (no doubt he was in shadows a lot, too, and looked suspicious and was probably mean!) bearing the commission happened to visit both brothers, asking each to design a blade to serve the Night Mother. Both became intrigued by the offer, and so they each went to work, unbeknownst to the other, on the same contract, pitting them against each other once again— except, instead of trying to please Twitsy, they were trying to please the Primordial State of Chaos. The parallels are staggering, dear readers.

After spending weeks perfecting his ideas, Shalioma was so excited he decided to travel back to Ka-Twitsy to tell him the news and share his new blade, the Panther. Alas, when they realized that had been working on the same commission and Shalioma saw Ka-Twitsy’s Angular Kriss blade, they gazed upon each other’s work not with mutual admiration, but with jealousy. Shalioma left in a rage, the friendship between the two broken.

Each worked harder on their blades, hoping to defeat the other in a battle o’ skill and steel and fire and blood (and bears, oh my!). The result was not what either had in mind, however. When the same dark messenger returned to gaze upon their work, he gave each the sorrowful news that the Night Mother had discovered that the Listener had commissioned the work and ordered it—and the Listener— cancelled at once. When Sithis discovered the plot, though, he [Editor’s note: my benefactor’s at the Nine Divines has censored this section of the book that was to be distributed in Cyrodiil. In order to read Waalx’s original entry on this matter, you must find a Morrowind edition, published in Mournhold]. But it was decided that the Blade of Woe remain in its rightful place in the Brotherhood, though I doubt that the Night Mother ever used it in just THAT way ever again.

The two brothers were in despair, over the loss of their contract and over the loss of their friendship. After a time they reunited, ashamed of their behavior (though I think Sithis himself had a hand in their demeanors before!), and willing to work together once again.

The resulting blade was the famed Barbed Leaf blade. Shalioma used his newfound knowledge of the ways of Khajiit smiths and drew the leaf shape. Ka’Twitsy influenced the barbs on the blade, giving the blades a truly fearsome appearance. The blade also had the telltale horn-shaped pommel that graced both the Barrow and the Panther.

Ka-Twitsy’s Angular Kriss is an interesting blade by itself, its sordid origins notwithstanding. It was based on a design that originated from another famous blade, the Angular Broad Kriss, made by one of the most famous Argonian smiths, the great Hazadir (Editor’s note: the ancestor of the eventual victor in the legendary Armorer’s Challenge). Ka-Twitsy improved on the design and, ironically, made a blade thicker than the original. His decision on the ironic name, though, hints at his humor.

And my, could that Argonian laugh! It was unfortunate that when he did he sounded like a lizard trying to cough up a deer. His laughing was funny even to him, and so he laughed even more. It was a vicious cycle, really, and woe be the one who starts it happening, but he could tell very good jokes. My favorite was about the Argonian Priest and the Dunmer Temple master who discussed theology one day while visiting Red Mountain. But, wouldn’t you know it, I forgot the punch line! I know you’re here for my Argonian jokes, so I’ll make sure I tell you, gentle reader, about it later.

Shalioma’s masterpiece design, the Panther, was changed slightly in the form of the Barrow sword. The elegant leafblade has more graceful lines than its dark cousin, and the metal was polished to a brighter sheen that dances in any light. I saw it cut once, and let me tell you that it cuts almost as viciously as the Panther. Doesn’t meow nearly as loudly, though. All the butterflies drown it out.

Oh right, I remember the punch line now! The rat was throwing up Scrib jelly! Ahhh, gets me every time.
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StarX
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June 10th, 2007

Hey Elhazan, nice to meet you here! That's some great writing, man! It litterary puts some soul into the blades. Excellent stuff!
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Elhazan
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June 10th, 2007

Thanksies! Nice to be added here, and it should be fun!

And (in case I forgot to mention in above) criticism is welcome. I'm not overly defensive (unless you mention something I happen to be defensive about). It's like a gamble!
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Waalx
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June 10th, 2007

StarX wrote:Hey Elhazan, nice to meet you here! That's some great writing, man! It litterary puts some soul into the blades. Excellent stuff!
well so far hes just rewriting my ideas, so lets wait until he break out something completely new until we congratulate..:) But I can't wait to congratulate you for real..! hehe

hey El, I was rereading the text again and we are so getting there..I only thought here that if Waalx was saying "mine" instead of "my" it would sound a little weirder, maybe a little dwarfish or pirate..yet it would sound funny I think.
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Elhazan
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June 10th, 2007

Sounds like a plan-- I'll go through sometime and implement it. Just to REALLY throw people off balance, hehe.
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June 10th, 2007

Ah, I see! But I'll leave the lore and storytelling to you guys, I don't know a thing (well, maybe a tiny bit) about TES lore.
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Elhazan
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June 14th, 2007

Just a little post to alert everyone that I updated my post above with Chapters 1 and 2 of the Khajiit book.

Waalx, I decided to save the material you mentioned about Shalioma studying and possibly being related to the Shotans until Chapter 4, which is more about him anyway, to keep from introducing any Shalioma material out of order.

Let me know what you think! I'm going to go pick daisies now. :)
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Waalx
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June 14th, 2007

have a cigar with your daisies! cause chapter one & two is exactly perfect!

I can't wait to finish building my 'Old Speaching Lexicon' and transform it in his funny language!

(the 'Old Speaching Lexicon' will be a small book illustrating the differences of the old language and the present day language.)

congratulation!
:celebrate:
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June 14th, 2007

Damn that is one fine piece of work right there, I'm especially awed at how excellently you input Waalx's little comments into the middle of the story, or in mid sentence. The text just flows past it, and one is left with a huge smile on ones face :)

As far as I can tell it's 99% perfection, that 1 percent being that daisies doesn't exist in Tamriel, but it fits so perfectly into Waalx's insanity so you shouldn't change it.

I also think that how you are able to squeeze so much detail into your story is the key to how your text flows so efficiently, and therefore also the key to my problem of writing texts that are too long :)
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Elhazan
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June 14th, 2007

Thanks, guys! Glad you both like it.
Vocha wrote:As far as I can tell it's 99% perfection, that 1 percent being that daisies doesn't exist in Tamriel, but it fits so perfectly into Waalx's insanity so you shouldn't change it.
Ah yes...but maybe the fact that there aren't any daisies in Tamriel is the point of that ;)

Actually that just turned out that way-- I couldn't remember if the flowers in Oblivion included daisies or not. I'll probably change them to flax, heather (I know that was in Morrowind at least) or to maybe one of the flowers from Shivering Isles, which would help along the fact that Waalx is a Sheogorath fella. Thanks for pointing that out, Vocha!
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June 15th, 2007

Elhazan wrote:Ah yes...but maybe the fact that there aren't any daisies in Tamriel is the point of that ;)
Yes well as I am sure you realize, if daisies didn't exist in Tamriel in the first place, there is no way "Waalx" could have known about them either way :D

Changing them to a common flora that is harvestable in Cyrodiil would be a good idea, however you should make sure that flora actually doesn't grow in the area where "Waalx" is searching for the "daisies".

Heather does not grow in Cyrodiil as of TESIV: Oblivion.

A Shivering Isles flora would work very well, as you can be 100% sure it does not grow anywhere near anywhere in Cyrodiil :lol:

Now it should be noted that there are several plants in Cyrodiil that are not named and not harvestable (trees, bushes, moss, grass etc). I have also observed flowers growing on bushes that are not harvestable. It is good of you to want your text lore-proof, but I doubt you will actually get any complaints if you leave it as daisies.

Once again, great work, and I have sent you a PM :)
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June 23rd, 2007

Chapter 4— From the “Memoirs of Shalioma”

(Editor’s Note: Waalx didn’t add this to his original book, but I thought it prudent to include it here. These texts were found, in piecemeal, throughout parts of Elsweyr and lower Cyrodiil, mostly in old barrels, crates, and lost in the attics of old friends of Shalioma’s. I included this chapter from the compiled “Memoirs” because of its relevance to Waalx’s life. It gives us invaluable insights regarding the Ayleid, and also describes a most curious walking stick in the old Elf’s possession that’s importance can only be hinted towards…)

By my black fur, but it was good to see Waalx again! The old nut found me during a very sad time in my life. Ka-Twitsy met his end too soon, probably from overworking, and I was back in the place I grew up, attending his funeral. And, as any smith would do in any situation, I was talking the craft with the rest of his family. Ka-Twitsy would have wanted it that way, in any case.

I had just mentioned my idea for a Curvy-Kriss dagger to one of Ka-Twitsy’s compatriots when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the surly Elf enter town. He and I embraced—it had been too long—and I asked about his travels. He had just come up from the Summerset Isles and told a story about a band of rogue goblins that wanted his head, and how he fought them off with the saber he kept at his side. I knew it was all a lie, of course. The man hated violence, and that blade was only drawn whenever he wanted to admire it or when he needed to shave (he shaved with a small dagger and used his saber as a mirror). So, whenever he told stories of fighting off anything, in reality, he had either run away or found some way to convince them to leave him alone. I always wondered, when he told stories like that, how much was truth and how much wasn’t, though. Even things out of that mer’s mouth had some basis in reality, and if he really did find himself in the cooking pots of some goblins, he made it out somehow. But, not matter how many funny looks I gave him and how many times I rolled my eyes at him, he would just smile a little half-grin and lean on his walking stick of his.

But Ka-Twisty’s death reminded me how fragile life could be. I’d been a smith for years, first with Twitsy and then with incredible Shotan family (and a little with the Stah’s of Border Watch, as well, but not as much), and while I’d made weapons and perfected my craft, I’d never found myself in a situation where I could use it. Warriors that visited me for blades or for other services often spoke of the rush of battle, of how everything in life looks clearer after a fight when, quite possibly, the other result could have been much more dire. Despit the risk, I wanted to see the world before I was lying in a wooden coffin myself. And, against my better judgment and the impulse of the moment, I asked Waalx if I could go with him.

And so we headed north. Black Marsh was not quite as dangerous this time of year, as the Hists were calm and many of the bugs were hibernating. Even so it was an adventure. By the time Waalx and I crossed into lower Morrowind we had been chased by a creature of the bog that I couldn’t even see, a dozen flying monstrosities, and some kind of frog-like creature that apparently thought my fur would be a good hat. But it was nothing too dangerous, and I still longed for the chance to see if my blade could bite for myself.

Waalx took it all in stride. He was still nimble, even then when he was going up in years (though I have no idea how old he really was). The Elf was always smiling, too, and though his mind was obviously walking with Sheogorath in the Shivering Isles most of the time he was still able to be a good companion. No matter how many dangers we faced he always would laugh whilst we ran, or dance his way through any situation. Later, as we made camp for the night, he would tell a story of what just happened, always embellishing what happened, though I knew the truth as I had been there myself! If we had been chased by five creatures, he would make it ten; if we had found a bog that ate through our boots he would say that it ate through our underpants as well.

He never failed to make me laugh, and the trip through Black Marsh was dangerous but undeniably fun. Unfortunately, Morrowind would prove to be a little more dangerous.

I’d always had my worries when he mentioned that we were going to Morrowind— they didn’t exactly treat my people with kindness. He insisted that he had a friend just inside the Deshaan Plains there that found it beneath him to keep slaves and would harbor us without incident. The mer was an old Dunmer, he promised, who not only was more accepting than his kin but was also an incredible smith. It would be quite an adventure, he told me.

We realized two things once we arrived at the backwater town on the Deshaan Plains were his friend lived. The first was that his friend had died. The second was that it had been overtaken by House Dres. The former was sad, but the latter was bad. One look at an old Ayleid Elf and a Khajiit and they had it in their little minds to make some money.

We fought them off the best we could, but their Battlemages overtook us easily. A Dunmer child could have likely done so, of course, if they were armed with those black daitos of theirs. I found myself admiring them in their scabbards even as I had slave bracers slapped on my forearms. They treated Waalx with no more compassion, muttering that an old Elf would likely fetch a high price if they could stay away from Imperial inspectors. They mentioned a place on Vvardenfell called Tel’Aruhn with snickers. I didn’t hear the rest as, overcome at last, I fainted.

When I came to we were in a wagon with heavy iron bars on a heavily jungled road, being led north through House Dres country. Two creatures that I came to understand were guars were pulling the wagon. I had never seen so many Dunmer in all my life around me, but I was sadder still to see another wagon load of Argonians behind me.

Waalx was in a panic, which wasn’t like him. He was pressed up against the bars, arm extended, reaching for the supply wagon. “Wood,” he wailed. I had come to understand that the creative name was what he called his walking stick.

I rolled my eyes at his wailing and threw my hands up in the air. “Waalx, I don’t think your walking stick would do us much good at the moment. I’ll carve you another one if we ever get out of here.”

He tossed me a look that unnerved me. The Elf was always a little crazy, but I saw genuine desperation there. “Ye daft fool! We be needin’ thast staff….”

He trailed off as the guards on foot ran up to the wagon and rapped on the bars of the wagon with their sheathed daitos. I dared a sneer, but it turned into a whimper as one of them began to draw their blade. His was ebony, I noticed. His chain cuirass was also ebony, and from the way the other Dunmer spoke to him I took him as their leader. There was a scar down one cheek, so only one red eye glowed at me under a wide-brimmed hat. He scared me, but desperation was beginning to crawl up my spine like a new tail. Something was instilled within me at that moment, and to this day I don’t know if it was fear or something more martial that led my mind to formulate a plan. Either way, I was quiet the rest of the day, lost in thought. I went from contemplation to panic to sadness. Would I ever get to make another weapon? Would I ever find myself a wife and a brood of young kittens? Would Shady, the young Khajiit lass that I’d always hoped to wed, weep if I never came back to Border Watch? The ideas swirled as the heat of southern Morrowind clung my tunic to my fur and made my head swim.

We camped in the wilderness that night. Waalx moaned for his staff more, and was only quieted as we were brought a bowl of something for dinner, which was the first either of us had eaten all day. I watched silently as the Dunmer drank themselves into a stupor with something called Shein. The ebony-clad one was the last to pass out, and even as he did he had a hand on sword.

I waited an hour. Waalx was asleep next to me, and only Jone and Jode watched as I enacted my plan. I took off my tunic, long drenched in my sweat, and quietly tied it around the iron bars. Metal was one thing I knew, and especially iron was not as hard as people thought. I twisted my shirt, let the moisture collect, and used one of Waalx’s heavy leather shoes and tied the shirt around that, too. Then I began to twist. The pressure of the makeshift rope around the bars and the shoe I was using to twist it built up the pressure to a degree that no man, mer, or beast could apply on their own. The iron began to bend, and I began to sweat more as it creaked lightly. But the Dunmer didn’t stir in their slumber.

Soon I had an opening big enough for me to crawl through. Grateful that I was a thin Khajiit (at the time, anyway!), I slipped through the bars without incident except for my tail, which was caught for an instance. Waalx woke at that moment, and I was happy that he saw a finger raised to my lips and that he knew to be silent. Unfortunately he was unable to get through. “I’ll find a key and come back for you,” I promised with a whisper.

“Aye lad, ye do thast. But ye got ter hurry! Themst trees be lookin’ at my with evil in themst bark…” I stifled a laugh (something about the situation made me want to hoot and holler at that—nerves, I expect) and started to head for the group of sleeping Dunmer to see if I could locate a key. I was blessing my naturally quiet Kahjiit feet when I heard Waalx behind me and nearly jumped out of my fur.

“Nay! Get Wood! Get mine staff!” he whispered as loudly as he dared. Despite that it sounded like a scream to my ears. Luckily the others were too drunk to notice. So I turned around and found the supply wagon. Luckily it was unlocked, as our captors had no fear of us going anywhere.

It was full of all sorts of weapons from us and others. I grabbed a few swords before seeing the staff stashed in a corner. I felt like telling Waalx that they had thrown it away and bringing blades instead, but part of me trusted the crazy mer. I put down the swords and picked up his staff.

*About time* I heard. I jumped and looked around, not seeing anything or anyone. My fur stood on end, and the blood rushed through my ears.

*I’m here, in your hands, foolish cat* the voice said again. Slowly, as I almost feared that it were true, I turned my alarmed gaze to the staff in my hands. “Wood?” I asked quietly.

*Oh good, you’re a genius. Now get the key and get back to the elf. It’s time for us to leave*

The voice was sardonic and sounded almost bored, and I couldn’t place any kind of accent. It wasn’t really coming from anywhere, but it was inside my head nonetheless. “What are you?”

*I’m a stick.*

I sighed. “I can tell that!”

*Then why did you ask?”

“How do you…talk?”

*How do you talk?* it countered. Knowing that this was probably one of the oddest things I’d ever do and that I would likely never understand it anyway, I shrugged and headed out.

Unfortunately my exchange had apparently been louder than I had thought. Standing at the entrance to the wagon was the ebony-clad Dunmer. He grinned, something that his one eye made look vicious, and drew his ebony daito.

*Oh good, a fight. Smite him.* the stick said.

“But I don’t know how!” I exclaimed.

The Dunmer looked at me oddly. “How to die?” he asked in his raspy Morrowind accent. “Oh, I’ll show you how!”

*Poke him* Wood said.

“Wha—”

*I’m longer than his sword. Poke him in the belly with me. I can’t do everything, you know* it said, as bored as if it were talking about the weather. The Dunmer advanced slowly, grinning broader.

I did as Wood commanded and gripped the staff and thrust, as I had seen many adventurers who had practiced with my swords as I sold it to them had. It caught him in the belly, and at once I was glad that I picked up the staff and not a sword, as the ebony mail could likely have made a sword ineffective. The staff, though, caused him to reel.

He recovered quickly, though. “You’ll pay for that, slave!” he growled.

*Hit him on his blind side* Wood told me.

I was reacting on instinct. The Dunmer advanced and I gripped the staff in two hands. I brought one side up on the side of his face with the missing eye and, as the stick, supposed, he wasn’t quick enough to block. I felt the vibration as the staff hit its target. The Elf fell to his knees, gripping the side of his head. I hit him in the arm and he dropped his daito.

*Better knock him out, or he’ll come for you*

I obliged the suggestion, gripping the staff in a two-handed swing and coming into contact with his face. He fell back, unconscious.

I was sweating still, breathing hard, and felt like hitting him again, but I knew I didn’t have to. A glint of silver caught my eye, and I was more than happy to see a set of keys on the comatose Dunmer.

*You’re a hero. Now get us out of here*

I saw two sets of keys on the belt, and I grinned. “Exactly what I was thinking.”

By some chance blessed by the gods, all the Dunmer were still asleep, as apparently they hadn’t heard the fight in the wagon. I unlocked the wagon that was holding Waalx, and the elf almost jumped with glee.

*Not bad, kid. Now give me back to the crazy one* Wood said.

I did so, and when I handed it over I felt more alone all of a sudden, as if part of me had just vanished. Waalx smiled as he gripped the staff, and I wondered what it was saying to him at the moment. I didn’t have a chance to ask.

I ran back to the other wagon and unlocked it, too. The Argonians were wide awake and we didn’t need to exchange words. They piled out silently, but one of them tripped and hit the side of the wagon. The bars rattled. I winced as I heard one of the Dunmer wake behind me and yell to the others.

“Let’s go!” I screamed, and we all began to flee down the road that we had come, the Dunmer close behind us. “Can we out run them?”

“We can lose them in the marshes once we get closer to Black Marsh,” the nearest hissed at me. I nodded breathlessly as we ran, wondering if we would make it that far.

The Argonians were quick and fit, and made good time. Waalx, however, was already out of breath. One of the Dunmer had grabbed a guar and mounted it and was closing in fast. Waalx stopped, bent over panting, but gripped his staff securely.

“Run, lad!” He said through gasps. “We’ll never make ist mineself! Get back ter Border Watch arnd make sure them Argonians escape themst devils!”

“But Waalx, I can’t leave you—”

“Thast’s sweet o' ye, boy, but don’t worry ‘bout my! Everything's fine, ye go now! Hurry ye fool puss!”

The Ayleid hollered as he turned and ran towards the Dunmer. The on the guar was aiming to run him down, but Waalx ran and vaulted with Wood right on the beast’s back behind its rider, who grunted with surprise and lost control. The beast rammed into one of the other Dunmer, but not before I saw an ebony spear find its way—by accident more than skill—right into the Ayleid’s back.

“Waalx!” I cried. The Elf was still laughing, somehow, and he grabbed on harder to the rider of the guar and forced them all into the thick jungle underbrush. Torn between helping their companion and one of their few guars to pull the wagons and to find a bevy of escaped slaves, the Dunmer paused in their pursuit.

“Hurry!” one of the Argonians screamed behind me. With one more look at the jungle where Waalx was helping us make our escape, I turned and ran after my new companions.

We kept to the jungles, keeping out of sight. The Dunmer that captured us had stopped their pursuit but we had other denizens of Morrowind who didn’t take kindly to escaped slaves to worry about. I mourned Waalx on that journey. The wound he had taken from the spear was fatal, this much I knew, and he had sacrificed himself for all of us.

The Argonians and I parted on the Border with Cyrodiil, and they thanked me for freeing them but had nothing to give me. I wouldn’t have accepted anything anyway, and I mentioned that my brother was Argonian. They looked at me askance, and then laughed heartily. I was welcome back there if I ever wished, they promised.

The trip back to Border Watch through Cyrodill and over the Niben was a lonely one. I lamented my old friend, and also was upset that I would never discover the secret of his mysterious talking staff. But my weariness was lifted as I came near my home and heard the sounds of merriment and celebration. Was it a feast day, I wondered? I didn’t even know what day it was, I realized. My pace quickened as I drew nearer and began to smell cooking mutton and the sound of quick music, but I was stopped short by a familiar tone and singular way of 'speaching'…

“It couldn’t be,” I breathed.

Sure enough, at the top of the old stone stairs, the center of all attention, sat Waalx. The old elf had the staff across his knees as he told the story of how he and I had escaped a hundred Dunmer and saved the entire race of Argonians from slavery. As I crested the last stair he saw me and let out a cry. “Arnd here’s them hero o' thast story!”

My old neighbors and friends surrounded me and congratulated me all at once, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the elf, and stumbled towards him. “But…you…you died!”

Waalx laughed. “Nah, themst dinnae kill my! Whast kind o’ Elf do ye think my am, boy?”

The music spun around me and I had to shake my head to make sure it was all real. I gaped in disbelief. “But…” And then we both fell into one another’s arms in laughter. The Khajiit around us cheered, and I just laughed all the harder. Finally I pulled my friend away and faced him. “Waalx, your staff—I have to know. What is it? Where did you get it?”

“Oh, thast old stick? Funny isn't ist? Don't recall where We got ist...” he said, with a smile and a look that meant there was more to it... but I just smiled, knowing that I wouldn’t get a better explanation than that.


And so there I was, back in Border Watch with friends, family, and—against all odds and logic—my old companion Waalx. I heard him tell stories, heard the laughs that were passed around the town like a warm breeze, and was happy. I watched my old friends come up to me and look at me with the same way that they looked at the adventurers that swaggered into town; Shady, looking as beautiful as ever, had a glint in her eye that I hadn’t seen before. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for the life of an adventurer, but I now had one of my own, and I was satisfied. I also found it amusing that the only fight I’d ever been in was not fought with steel, but with a stick. Some fates in life aren’t predestined, I thought with a smile.

I lifted my mug of ale to Ka-Twitsy’s memory, and drank deep. The Argonian had taught me much during life, but what he taught me with his death was infinitely more valuable. Life was clear to me now, and I looked at my old forge, sitting neglected but not forgotten against my shack, and immediately felt like jumping back into work. I had a dozen ideas rush through my head, but I saw Shady looking at me with that glint again and…I figured those ideas could wait until tomorrow.
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Waalx
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June 23rd, 2007

hehe

We have an big smile on mine face now!

great work mr.

Wood part is very interesting and I like how you made him the weapon of the story. Wood also have that personality I was seeing..

very cool!
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Vocha
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Location: Svelvik, Norway
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June 26th, 2007

I love it! I'm especially thrilled about the peep into the mind of "Waalx" and his relationship with "Wood".

This line in particular... I really saw "Waalx" in my mind squeezing himself against the metal bars crying out when I read this.
Elhazan wrote:Waalx was in a panic, which wasn’t like him. He was pressed up against the bars, arm extended, reaching for the supply wagon. “Wood,” he wailed.
Splendid... Just splendid. I'll give it a thorough admiration look later :)
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