The Silver Fox - Arc 1, Chapter 8

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    Elise

     

    The innkeeper opened the door and I was presented with my room.

     

    It wasn’t as grandeur as the rooms in the Winking Skeever, but there was a certain rustic charm to it. A single awning window provided me view of the Grand Plaza. There was a wardrobe and a chest for storage (not that I would have any use for), and hanging above the bed was a landscape picture of Lake Honrich during the sunset.

     

    I thanked Keerava for the room.

     

    “Tonight’s special is roasted venison.” She said with a hoarse voice. “Come down by then if you want some.”

     

    As she headed back downstairs, I was left alone in my room. I laid my bag near the doorway and rested my staff against the wardrobe. Standing at the bedside, I let myself fall with arms outstretched. I gladly welcomed the soft embrace of a bed after having been on the road for three days.

     

    <<<<>>>>

     

    After taking a short nap, I headed outside the Bee and Barb. I realized that the sun was still up. While the thought of just spending the rest of the day inside my room sleeping was promising, I decided not to and instead visit the local marketplace, as any visitor would do when arriving at a new city.

     

    For a small city, Riften was quite lively. The marketplace was bustling with people. In and around a large circle, there were stalls and shops with merchants selling food, spices, jewelry, silverware, and clothing. They invited me to come and take a look at their wares as I walked along.

     

    I should buy something as a souvenir, I thought, but then I frowned when I realized that I didn’t have any gold…. except for the one Renartus Vulpin gave me. I felt guilty all of a sudden. It just felt wrong to spend the gold he gave me on needless things (I kept the coin purse hidden inside my robes, as a safety precaution). Maybe next time, I said to myself, letting out a wistful sigh. I still wonder how I managed to lose my coin purse.

     

    As I continued wandering around the marketplace, I spotted a familiar face standing near a building.

     

    It was Renartus Vulpin.

     

    He was leaning against the wall, watching as the people go by. Some of them greeted him to which he replied with a curt nod or a smile. With a friendly face like that, it would be hard for anyone to not like the guy. He kept his laid-back pose for a while until the building door opened and a boy came out.

     

    There was something that I noticed about the boy that caught me by surprise. It was the boy from the Pawned Prawn who tried to sell that Dwemer urn. Instead of an urn, he now held a small sack in his hands... and he was walking towards Renartus.

     

    The Imperial smiled broadly and stood up straight when the boy approached him. My eyes widened as I saw him hand over the bag to Renartus, receiving a pat in the head in return.

     

    Wait… what? I flabbergasted. Renartus and the boy started walking away. I went to follow them. Just for the record, I wasn’t stalking them, okay. I was merely suspicious of what they were up to. I kept myself at a good twenty feet distance between them. If reading Artorias Conolye novels have taught me one thing, is that twenty feet was the optimal distance one should remain when st-I mean trailing a suspect.

     

    Five minutes later, they stopped at a smithy at the far end of the marketplace, just near Mistveil Keep. The Imperial greeted the blacksmith in a manner similar to when he greeted the shopkeeper of the Pawned Prawn earlier.

     

    I hid behind a wall and peeked my head out, eavesdropping on their conversation. Again, not stalking, just suspicious.

     

    “Can I use your smelter for a moment, Balimund?” Renartus asked after shaking hands with the blacksmith.

     

    “My smelter? Sure, you can use it anytime you wish, my friend.” Balimund replied with a smile.

     

    I saw the Imperial reach his hand inside his bag, pulling out a lump of brownish-yellow rock. It glinted a faint yellow when it touched the sunlight. That was when I realized: it wasn’t a rock, it was an ore. A gold ore.

     

    Renartus dropped the ore into the smelter, before reaching inside his bag again, pulling out two more gold ores and dropping them into the smelter. He shoveled coal into the furnace to keep the fire burning hot as the gold started to melt. Once it was all melted, Renartus poured it into a cast iron pot before moving it over to a mold he had prepared using a pair of tongs and poured it there.

     

    Half an hour later, the molten gold was cooled. Balimund flipped the mold over and hit it against the hard metal surface of his workbench. What came out were… rings?

     

    My suspicion grew to a concerning level. There was definitely something fishy going on with Renartus Vulpin, and I didn’t like it one bit.

     

    We were back at the marketplace when Renartus and the boy stopped once more at a stall ran by an Argonian. This time, I hid behind a stack of crates.

     

    “Madesi!” Renartus called out happily. “How are you my Argonian friend?”

     

    Another friend? Just how many ‘friends’ does this guy have?

     

    “All’s fine, Renartus.” The Argonian replied humbly. “What brings you to here today?”

     

    “I got some rings I’d like to sell.”

     

    Madesi smiled. “Let’s have a look at them then.”

     

    Renartus laid out the rings on the counter. Madesi took out a small monocular and began examining each and every one of them with a meticulous look. A few minutes later, he was done and offered his price.

     

    “I’ll buy all of them for three hundred and fifty septims.”

     

    “Could you buy them for say… five hundred?” Renartus asked with a wry smile.

     

    “You know I have a business to run, Renartus. However, since we’re friends, I can give you four hundred. That’s my best offer.”

     

    “I guess I could do with four hundred.” With a handshake, the two completed their business.

     

    Unbelievable, I thought, simmering. My eyebrows furrowed and my hands curled up into fists. From that moment on, I lost all respect I had for Renartus Vulpin.

     

    <<<<>>>>

     

    I confronted him at the docks where he was busy distributing the money he had earned to the boy. I decided to remain silent until they were finish.

     

    “Five hundred, Five hundred fifty, and six hundred. There you go!”

     

    “Thanks, Mr. Vulpin!” The boy beamed with a happy smile before leaving with a merry skip.

     

    Renartus made a two-finger salute. “Stay safe now. And don’t spend that gold all in one place.” He turned around and our faces met, mine scornful while his plastered with a lopsided smile.

     

    “Well I thought you were an honest and respectable man, but turns out you’re nothing but a conniving peddler.”

     

    “It’s called a hustle, sweetheart.” The Imperial revealed. “And that’s kinda rich coming from someone who stalks somebody for no reason.”

     

    I winced back, red-faced, at his accusation (well technically it was true—but I had valid reasons!). That would explain why he was unsurprised at my sudden appearance. I wonder how long did he noticed me? Oh gods, he must’ve thought I was some sort of secret admirer! I snapped out from my thoughts when I noticed that Renartus Vulpin was gone. Dumbfounded, I looked to my right. Nothing. But when I looked to my left, I caught a glance of him turning around a corner.

     

    “Hey!” I called out, running after him. When I caught up with him, I steadied my pace so I was walking just beside him. “Alright Renartus,” I began. “What’s the deal with you and the boy back at the Pawned Prawn?”

     

    “Nothing really,” Renartus shrugged, not even bothering to face me as he continued walking in a casual manner. “He was just a boy who had an urn and I saw an opportunity that could benefit both of us.”

     

    “So basically you just scammed the shopkeeper.”

     

    “I didn’t scam the shopkeeper,”

     

    “You told him the urn was worth two thousand septims!” I pointed an accusing finger at him.

     

    “And it is,” He replied “...in about two or three years, depending on the market.”

     

    I paused with my mouth open, dumbstruck by his sly remark. He does have a point there.

     

    “You can’t touch me, Roses. I’ve been doing this since I was ten.” Renartus exclaimed, smirking. 

     

    “You’re going to have to refrain from calling me ‘Roses’.” I said, flustered at being called by such a name.

     

    “I’m sorry, I just naturally assumed your surname was something rose-related.” He said in a condescending tone. “Say, is your surname Day-rose-sea-er or De-rossi-yay?”

     

    “It’s pronounced Deh-rose-e-aye,” I corrected him. “House Desrosiers to be precise.”

     

    We passed by a pair of men unloading baskets full of fish from a boat. The smell of fish was growing stronger as we walked further into the docks.

     

    “Alright, now tell me if this sounds familiar." Renartus began. "Naive highborn girl with big ambitions decides, ‘Hey look at me, I’m leaving High Rock against my parents’ wishes so I could see the world and visit new places’, only to find herself in cold and miserable Skyrim. And that dream of becoming a great mage at the College of Winterhold? Well, turns out she’s an errand girl for the teachers. And guess what? No one actually cares about her or her dreams, and sooner or later those dreams die and our highborn girl sinks into an emotional depressive state which causes her grades to start dropping and she fails miserably in her classes until finally she has no choice but to go back home with her magic staff and robes to become—you’re from House Desrosiers, you say? So how about a lordling’s wife.” He shot me an affirmative look and turned away. “That sounded about right.”

     

    I was actually stunned by his words. But rather than sulk on them as he would expect me to do, I felt anger starting to build up inside of me.

     

    Who in Oblivion does he think he is to tell me what I should do with my life?!  I thought before going after the man again. “Hey! Hey!” I called out angrily, stepping right in front of him to block his path. “No one tells me what I can or can’t be, especially not some jerk who never had the resolve to try to be something more than a street hustler.”

     

    Renartus simply stared at me, his half-lidded silver eyes showing contempt and annoyance. “Alright look. Everyone thinks they can be what they want in this world, well guess what? You can’t. You can only be what you’re meant to be.” He gestured a hand at himself, “Me, clever Imperial,” then to me he said, “You, pompous Breton.”

     

    “I am not a pompous Breton.” I said, grinding teeth. My temper was reaching to boiling point. I felt magicka surging through my clenched hands as if readying a spell. Good. Because one more word from his mouth and, Divines help me, I’ll throw him into the lake.

     

    A small smile formed in his mouth, causing me to slightly lower my guard down in confusion. “Right; and that’s not a pile of salmon about to drop on your head.”

     

    “Huh?” Suddenly salmon showered down on me, splattering my robes and skin in sticky fish guts before a basket hit my head with a soft thud.

     

    Nearby, I heard someone apologizing and a few people laughing, but I paid them no mind as my attention was solely focused on Renartus Vulpin who stood in front of me with a condescending half-smile.

     

    “You’ll never be a mage,” His words were as cold as the downcast look he gave me. He left and disappeared into the crowd, but not before he popped his head out and said, “You look cute in those robes though. Maybe a healer one day.”

     

    I couldn’t tell if that was a compliment or just another insult to injury. All I could think about was how quick that man changed from being helpful and generous to an outright detractor who publicly humiliated me in just a few hours of meeting him.

     

    <<<<>>>>

     

    The sun was setting by the time I reached the front door of the Bee and Barb. My eyes were watering. Angrily, I wiped the tears away before entering the inn.

     

    The first thing that happened when I opened the door was the immediate silence that befell in the common room. All the chatter had stopped, and all the music had stopped. The patrons in the room glowered at me as if I was a street beggar. Some of them even covered their noses with their hands. It was obvious that I reeked of fish, so I knew I would get a reception like this.

     

    Keerava had the same glowering face as the rest, and she was quick to voice out her displeasure. “Ugh, I don’t want to know where you’ve been, but head upstairs, take a bath, and change your clothes. I don’t want my inn smelling like a fish market, you got that?”

     

    “Y-yes, ma’am.” I replied weakly. I couldn’t bare to look up and meet those angry eyes of hers.

     

    She let out a tired sigh, almost as if in sympathy. “Once you’re done, just put those clothes in a pile. Talen will pick it up later.”

     

    As soon as I entered my room, the noise from downstairs returned. Immediately I took a long bath and changed into my nightgown. Half a minute later, Talen-Jei came by to collect my dirty clothes. He also brought me a plate of roasted venison, which I remembered was tonight’s special, as well as a glass of wine. He thought it was best that I ate in my room lest I want to attract more glowering faces.

     

    Kindly I thanked him for his generous offer, but then it made me remind of Renartus’s so-called ‘generosity’ which prompted me to frown.

     

    I ate my meal in silence as the clamor of downstairs became louder and bawdier as the night passed. The venison was not bad. The meat was tender and was seasoned with herbs. I finished the last few portions with a sip from my wine glass.

     

    I left the plate on the table as I took a book from my bag and plopped down on my bed with a single candle burning at the tableside, acting as a light source to help me read. Despite being on an assignment for the College, I still need to study for my courses. The teachers were kind enough to supply me with a few of their college textbooks for me to read. Tonight was Basics of Destruction Magic, Chapter II: Firebolt. While I’ve already learned how to cast the spell, it never hurts to refresh your memory on it.

    History

       As said in the previous chapter, pinpointing the first practitioner of the spell is quite impossible. It is widely agreed by scholars that the early version of the "Firebolt" spell is used to hunt fasting moving prey by the early Ayleids, however, as the projectile does have a certain travel time, it is not often used on avian creatures. "Firebolt" is generally believed to popularized by Nord mages during the Dragon War, though possessing the aforementioned trait of having a rather slow projectile speed, thanks to the relative size and speed of dragons, a skilled battlemage can easily hit the beast with most of his volleys. Due to its high cost-effectiveness, long range and high precision, "Firebolt" is a common sight on the battlefield.

       In fact, the Imperial Army is known to employ hundreds of battlemages at the very back of their formations to hurl "Firebolt" at enemies, these mages are commonly referred to as Arcane Artillery Units by General Warhaft of the late Third Era. It is this tactic that instilled fear into the hearts of many an enemy of the Empire. Imagine facing down an army of well-armed Imperials marching towards you, sunlight bouncing off their shiny plate armor, swords drawn, shield held in front, and just as your army is beginning to charge the enemy, suddenly, a storm of fireballs suddenly rises up the skies, eclipsing the sun above and starts to bear down with lethal velocities, before you even had time to raise your shield against this devouring torrent, your army is set ablaze, burning, charred, and ready to be slaughtered by the soldiers who are now just ten steps away.

       By the early Fourth Era, "Firebolt" is just as popular as ever, frequently used by travelling mages to deal with wild animals on the roads, and sometimes, even a few bandits who managed to obtain a tome use it for their own nefarious purposes. To most mages, "Firebolt" is the equivalent of a steel sword to a warrior, reliable, effective and easy to use.

     

    Usage
       Being the versatile spell it is, "Firebolt" has many applications, but it can be generally divided into two categories: "Long Range" and Close Range"

     

       Long Range: Fifty steps away is generally considered long range for "Firebolt", when dealing with enemies this far, projectile velocity is most essential, closely followed by accuracy. As enemies this range are usually archers or mages, the most important tactic is to be able to reliably ensure that they do not fire their weapon or use their spells rather than outright killing them. Of course, you would think that complete annihilation is better, your projectile would have to be very slow in order to guarantee a kill, such missiles could be easily dodged by your opponent, which allows him the window for retaliation. And as such, power and destructive potential is usually sacrificed in favor of speed and precision, and one volley is enough to set your opponent on fire, sending them into a state of panic and unable to loosen arrows or hurl lightning. At this range, "Firebolt" is more often used to harass and irradiate rather than to destroy. In order to achieve such a feat, one must channel less energy into the projectile itself and more into hurling it, and due to this, your spell would look like a thin fiery arrow rather than a miniature fireball. Also, using "Firebolt" this way is extraordinarily effective for hunting deer or rabbits, as they tend to move very fast but are physically weak enough to be killed even by the diminished power of the spell.

     

       Close Range: Fifteen steps in and you are looking at the close range variation of "Firebolt", usually one will find himself in these situations when: 1. Exploring Dungeons, 2. Facing a charging warrior, 3. Indoor combat. And at this range, stopping power is of the utmost priority. So, completely opposite to long range combat, you need to focus more magicka to the projectile itself and less to propel it. Though the projectile would be slower, it is almost impossible to dodge by the enemy at this range, especially when indoors. Trading speed for power, your spell has an unparalleled amount of offensive capabilities, a single cast would be more than enough to completely ravage the armor of the target, often sending him flying backwards. Due to the raw power it offers, this variation is often favored by spellswords, one volley and his opponent would be on the grounds, pleading for mercy.

     

    ‘...one volley and his opponent would be on the grounds, pleading for mercy.’ A mischief smile crept up my face as I read the last line, imagining that opponent to be a certain Imperial that I hate. After a while, I closed my book shut and snapped my fingers to magically extinguish the candle flame before going to bed, hoping for the best of tomorrow.

    Just you wait, Renartus Vulpin. I’ll show you that nothing is impossible for me. I’ll be the greatest mage this era has ever seen!

     

     

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Comments

13 Comments   |   Lissette Long-Chapper and 3 others like this.
  • SpottedFawn
    SpottedFawn   ·  April 22
    “It’s called a hustle, sweetheart.”

    XD Someone is a BIG fan of Zootopia! It was a fun scene, but I feel a bit cheated that some of the lines were nearly word-for-word the exchange between Judy & Nick. Elise and Ren started off as very unique...  more
    • KaiserSoSay
      KaiserSoSay
      SpottedFawn
      SpottedFawn
      SpottedFawn
      “It’s called a hustle, sweetheart.”

      XD Someone is a BIG fan of Zootopia! It was a fun scene, but I feel a bit cheated that some of the lines were nearly word-for-word the exchange between Judy & Nick. Elise and Ren started off as very unique characters,...  more
        ·  April 22
      Don't worry, they'll have their own individual personalities. Admittedly I did put some thought about it when I was writing this chapter, but the scene seemed to fit well with I had in my mind I just couldn't help but use it. 
      But I understand ...  more
      • SpottedFawn
        SpottedFawn
        KaiserSoSay
        KaiserSoSay
        KaiserSoSay
        Don't worry, they'll have their own individual personalities. Admittedly I did put some thought about it when I was writing this chapter, but the scene seemed to fit well with I had in my mind I just couldn't help but use it. 
        But I understand what y...  more
          ·  April 22
        Ah good, I was worried my comment would be received badly. Looking forward to the next chapter!
  • Harrow
    Harrow   ·  April 21
    Ought to have tried the rooftops, Elise. Thieves' highway, as they say.
    • KaiserSoSay
      KaiserSoSay
      Harrow
      Harrow
      Harrow
      Ought to have tried the rooftops, Elise. Thieves' highway, as they say.
        ·  April 21
      Well it's not like she can. She's an outsider.
      • Harrow
        Harrow
        KaiserSoSay
        KaiserSoSay
        KaiserSoSay
        Well it's not like she can. She's an outsider.
          ·  April 21
        Only a suggestion... and also a sign that I may have been playing too much Assassin's Creed. And Dishonored. And Hitman. And Thief. And...

        ...you know what, just slap whatever stealth game you can think of here, chances are I've given them a ...  more
        • KaiserSoSay
          KaiserSoSay
          Harrow
          Harrow
          Harrow
          Only a suggestion... and also a sign that I may have been playing too much Assassin's Creed. And Dishonored. And Hitman. And Thief. And...

          ...you know what, just slap whatever stealth game you can think of here, chances are I've given them a try. I'm a l...  more
            ·  April 22
          Lol, I think you need to change your gaming preference once in a while. Perhaps Dark Souls? 
          Fun Fact: JK Riften actually makes the rooftops navigable.
  • The Lorc of Flowers
    The Lorc of Flowers   ·  April 21
    "It is widely agreed by scholars that the early version of the "Firebolt" spell is used to hunt fasting moving prey by the early Ayleids," 
    Widely agreed by scholars huh? " The ancient Ayleids believed that Nirn was composed of four basic ele...  more
    • KaiserSoSay
      KaiserSoSay
      The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      "It is widely agreed by scholars that the early version of the "Firebolt" spell is used to hunt fasting moving prey by the early Ayleids," 
      Widely agreed by scholars huh? " The ancient Ayleids believed that Nirn was composed of four basic elements—...  more
        ·  April 21
      No worries, Karves. Note that I just borrowed the notes from a post on TESlore reddit and edit it a bit. Next time I'll try asking you if anything like this comes up again.
      • The Lorc of Flowers
        The Lorc of Flowers
        KaiserSoSay
        KaiserSoSay
        KaiserSoSay
        No worries, Karves. Note that I just borrowed the notes from a post on TESlore reddit and edit it a bit. Next time I'll try asking you if anything like this comes up again.
          ·  April 21
        Yeah, I know they´re from reddit, I was reading them. Some are quite good. It´s just a minor detail though, no one except me would notice it I guess. 
        And yeah, just ask, if you´ll manage to catch me online that is. 
    • The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      The Lorc of Flowers
      "It is widely agreed by scholars that the early version of the "Firebolt" spell is used to hunt fasting moving prey by the early Ayleids," 
      Widely agreed by scholars huh? " The ancient Ayleids believed that Nirn was composed of four basic elements—...  more
        ·  April 21
      Ugh, too long....stupid nitpicking...
      But now let´s see if Renartus is right and if she´ll bungle even the simple fire spell. :)
  • Lissette Long-Chapper
    Lissette Long-Chapper   ·  April 21
    Poor Elise. Nice chapter. Hahaha i want to see her cast magicks at Renartus. LOL
    • KaiserSoSay
      KaiserSoSay
      Lissette Long-Chapper
      Lissette Long-Chapper
      Lissette Long-Chapper
      Poor Elise. Nice chapter. Hahaha i want to see her cast magicks at Renartus. LOL
        ·  April 21
      In Riften, beware the friendly ones... (6)
      I enjoyed writing this chapter as much I did reading it.
      Oh and don't worry, Elise will get her chance. :)