Found at Thu’um Fest (Part 2)

~~
Eye flutters open into waning darkness, and the chill suddenly sets in. It’s dangling in the air, blanketed by the clouds blotting out the stars up above. The chill is in my bones, stabbing me with thousands of little daggers. My gut wrenches, brewing with the malice of numerous concoctions. Either my breastplate or trousers will forever be stained with this folly, though it’s too soon to tell which direction the eruption will go.
 
As I lean forward, my back shatters under the stress. It’s broken – pounded into a pile of rubble by a beast more powerful than the mightiest dragon. Aye. The memories return with bitter resentment and self-hatred. Temba Wide-Arm. Why, Cornelius? Why did you foul yourself with such a deed? Should the townspeople ever find out the foulness of your swamp-treading, they’ll all chuckle with insufferable laughter. Waddling, toothless elderly. Orphaned children. Penniless drunkards. Harlots still working their clients, giggling between mouthfuls. Argonians. All of them. Indeed, you’ll be Jarl of buffoonery, Cornelius.
 
The waking misadventures of a Skooma binge can be a harsh mistress. When the kick ensnares the mind, the dream takes over. Any frequenter knows this is where the beauty lies. One moment I could be scrubbing off dova dung from the bottom of my boots, and the next I’m no longer in Skyrim. I’m transported. I’m in a realm rarely seen, hidden from those who haven’t had the taste.
 
Aye.  I’m swimming nude in a sea of sweet rolls. I tread in this vast ocean stretching as far as the eye can see, smiling as the midday sun makes all the frosting sparkle.
 
“Taste the sugary explosion of the sweet roll ocean, Cornelius,” a fluttery woman’s voice coos. “Dip your chin into the sea and take the bite.”
 
I do as I’m commanded. I let my tongue frolic in the vastness of this realm like a viper convulsing from a heart attack. As I lower my head, there she is. A fair maiden. A princess. The High Queen of this doughy landscape. Her face gleams like the sparkling frosting, and her golden hair is done up in buns, shaped like the heavenly rolls all around us. She smiles mischievously. She beckons me forth, licking her lips of the sweetness.
 
As I propel myself forward, my bare loins brush up against the sweet rolls. A chuckle escapes my chapped lips. I halt, permitting the sensation to pass before I paddle closer to this arbiter of baked goods. Must look masculine. Must appear to have the upper, dominant hand as I make my move. Aye.
 
The rubbing tingles again, but I’m not moving. No. I’m still floating here. But how?
 
My eye opens. I’m no longer in the Sweet Roll Ocean. It’s a dark, dingy dungeon reeking of human filth and rotten meats. Even cave bears keep cleaner homes than this, and here I rest, lying in the middle of this oversized confectionary of death. The Skooma is wearing off. My mind’s coming down away from frosted wenches and baked goods. The only reasonable choice is escape!
 
And so I flee. I clothe my violated flesh and barrel out into the mountains. To Thu’um Fest. To my reckoning!
 
Passing out in the frost, I have awoken once more a broken man taunted by these memories of Daedric trickery. My heart beats ever slower with each minute. No matter. I’ll live. I’ll pull myself up, and I’ll finish my trek.
 
~C. G. Thundercock
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Quick Update

Editor’s Note:

I have not abandoned you all. I am just in the process of moving and starting a new occupation. It’s eating up more time than I would like, but I will return soon enough. Have patience. 

Thank you!

Also, if there is anything you’d like to see explored on here, feel free to comment below!

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Found at Thu’um Fest (Part 1)

 
The day has descended below the tree line as the hours wane on. I’m late. The party’s started. Thu’um Fest has begun. My feet plunging knee deep in snow, I can hear the vibrations jolt through the mountain. The dragons bellow. The partygoers rage on.
 
And where am I? I’m stumbling up the mountain, my gait as crooked as an elderly blind man with no cane to prop his balance. It was a pitiful idea to stop in Ivarstead, to suck down the sweet nectar of mead at the Vilemyr Inn. One drink leads to two. Two leads to four. Four leads to Skooma. Skooma leads to ingesting straight Moon Sugar right off the bar top. No time to ask a fair wench for the kindly use of her bosoms, I had to snort it then and there, right off that beer-stained, blood-drenched, vomit-infused wood.
 
That milk-drinking sap Wilhelm didn’t seem to mind. I was a paying customer, after all. My gold was good as any oafish trader trudging through these backwater towns of Skyrim, looking for a cheap meal and a room away from people. It’s a simple life in Ivarstead, one that I’ve avoided since my name has become widely known throughout all of the realms. I can’t place my finger as to why, however. I just have, letting this little milling operation fall into the forgotten caves lurking with spirits and ghosts – a fading memory.
 
The jolt from the mixed beverages was a little more than I could have handled. Maybe I should have eaten something? Maybe I should have dined? On my way toward the door, I bumped into Lynly Star-Sung. She dropped her broom, and I snapped it in half clamoring over it. The molten fires of Oblivion flared in the owner’s eyes. Death. Death to the champion of destruction.
 
The chill of the ever-encroaching evening was enough to awaken my dulled senses outside. You’re here, Cornelius. You’re in this place – Ivarstead. Night’s bearing down, and you’ve got a party to attend. Paarthurnax has asked that you give a speech. The Greybeards have challenged you to a drinking contest. Best not disappoint, warrior Thundercock. Serana will be there.
 
A few wolves howl in the distance. Some poor logger is about to meet his depraved demise, torn and quartered by the jaws of the forest, by the laws of nature. My feverish hands clutch my blade, ready to unsheathe if necessary. Is the hilt vibrating, or is that me? Has the Moon Sugar given me the shakes?
 
A beast approaches me. A smock wrapped around it, it waddles up with the gait of a bird trying to appear Nordic, trying to fit in with the unintelligible inhabitants of this lonely part of Skyrim. Man or woman, I cannot tell until it gets within a few feet of me.
 
Her name is Temba Wide-Arm, and she touches me delicately on the shoulder. At least, I think she intended to show such tenderness. Her tap was more of an ape-ish slap from the raised claws of a bear with poor depth perception. I give it no mind. My vision is already blighted by her orc-ish appearance, by her pig-like snout and pale greenish skin.
 
Temba advances upon me, thanking me for slaying the bears impeding upon her mill. Observing all the untouched trees around us, I knew it was a lie. No. It was a test. This creature, this Temba Wide-Arm, is in heat, and she needs a mate strong enough to wrestle against her. In her lifetime, she has devoured many unworthy men. Stalwart though they may have seemed, they were nothing more than young pups suffocated under the brutish loins of a ferociously painful lover. That droplet of blood on the corner of her lips is just a hint of the blood-lusting depravity to come.
 
My stomach twists and turns as she leans in close, thanking me softly in my ear. I could feel the heat of her breath. I could sense the lust in her heart as she pressed herself against me, but this isn’t what’s wrenching my guts, what’s making me feel the plague of nausea upon me. It’s hunger. I really should eat something.
 
The visions of my memory fogs, but I must have said something. On her person, Temba Wide-Arm draws forth an apple. Where was this hidden? It’s warm. It’s damp.
 
Forbidden fruit. I take the bite.
 
What should have been the simple exchange of good-byes becomes the nightmare I have blocked from the mind’s eye. My body still remembers. It aches. It burns. It screeches out to my mind to sit and rest, to give into sleep so that it may heal, but I cannot. Thu’um Fest descends upon us.
 
Walk steady, Dovahkiin. Keep marching up these 7,000 steps. In no time, you shall be there, and your mind shall douse its forbidden memories with mead.
 
I stop alongside the weathered path to unsheathe my broken sword. It’s pulpy and enflamed with hues of reddish purple, but it still works. A steady stream flows forth into the snow. Warm. Comforting. A breath of civility from such savagery. I inhale deeply, sucking in that frosty wind with all of my might, and I hold it.
 
Balance gives way, and my knees bend. The awareness trapped inside my skull feels the body teetering backwards, but there’s no way to stop it, there’s no way to avoid the plummet into the unmolested snow. Give into the purity of Skyrim’s untouched back country, Cornelius. Let the virginal white flakes peppering this mountain heal your wounds.
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Found in the Forgotten Vale

Lo, a dragon fight!
 
Out of the snow,
Two dragons did soar-
Laying down fire
Trying to incinerate that heroic whore!
 
“Not this day,” Cornelius’ voice did thunder
His blade was set,
His thu’um, ready, to tear the twin beasts asunder.
“You believe your cries a threat?
Aye. Just practice you are!”
 
Beneath the raining havoc of fire burned twice
Cornelius took hold of his future wife-
“Serana, my love, should our Fate be grim,
Give me a kiss, and don’t hold thy tongue in!”
 
“Your breath runs afoul of leaking Skeever arse,
All that rotten meat, clinging to your teeth.
I shall not press my mouth upon your blistering, leathery lips.
You have done nothing for me, since our paths intertwined!
When dragons show up,
You flee to the hills!
‘Run for your lives!’ your girlish voice booms.
Some hero you are. Those legends? Merely a farce!” 
 
“Know thee not the art of war, woman?” Cornelius’ tongue did lash.
His voice a Daedric fury,
Soiled by the surly drink newly emptied from his flask
“A tactical retreat! It was no less!
My hardened, veteran eyes saw opposition,
and I sought the high ground.
‘Twas a warrior’s decree-
The mark of a grand general.
No battle is won running wildly down the center
Swords held high
Swinging left and right without careful consideration!”
 
Serana’s eyebrows furrowed,
Her lips quivered with such rage
Even the dragons above took notice,
Their thu’ums resting on the winds of their wings as she did speak-
“How doth thou seek high ground when thine enemy commands the skies?”
 
Silence brewed underneath the icy lake upon which they stood. 
Boiling.
Percolating.
Breaking that which lay frozen within and outside of Cornelius’ mind.
 
An arrow snatched from upon his back,
His bow aimed high
At the denizens of destruction above.
Not a word escaped his throat-
Below or above his breath.
Merely silence. 
Anticipation.
 
A whistle sung its song through the chilly air,
The death chirp from a bird of war!
The dragons, bewildered, by such a lovely song
Hovered still as the lark’s tune did reach a crescendo!
 
“Har! Har!” Cornelius chuckled as one of the twin pair fell. 
“An eye into an eye,
That rapscallion felt Thundercock’s arrow plunged through his pupils!”
 
Serana stood idly by,
Arms folded across her bosoms,
Nestling the apples of Cornelius’  next attention,
Hiding the fruit of his labors.
Though warrior fingers attempted trespass,
They were batted away!
Beaten out into the cold.
 
“Touch me once more, you lusty filcher!
I’ll pass onto you the weakness you fear.
I’ll give you the curse-
Banish your precious mortality into arrears!
You’ll feel the chill as I do.
Your eyes will glow with the orange haze you see in mine-
Molag Bal’s gift to me
But a frightful endeavor to hunters such as yourself!”
 
As the first twin crashed downward, the second fluttered into action!
Ice melted.
The skies rained once more!
An inferno unlike that which had been seen before-
This beast was angry,
Burning with the loss of his twin.
Blood for blood.
Eyes for eyes!
Though Cornelius had only one to give,
this dragon would find other ways to rob the hero of his sight. 
 
Your job’s hardly complete,” Serana audibly mused. 
“My job’s half-done,” Cornelius grinned back.
Her attention on the dragon,
She let her guard against the hero falter.
His hands wrapped around her,
Pulled her in close-
His lips menaced hers until she pushed away,
Keeling over on the snow near the shore
To spit out that foul taste.
 
“Give me a drink, you thieving scoundrel!” Serana barked.
“My swill is my own,” He called from afar,
His feet carrying him forth into battle.
“Mead is unbecoming of a womanly figure.
Drink water instead!”
Thundercock did dance upon the unsteady ice.
Swinging his blade like a man without purpose
That ebony sword did more damage to the winds than anything else.
 
As the dragon descended to devour the willing prey,
A voice lashed out-
No song was this weapon;
No jingle was this tune.
It was the guttural bellows of the mighty Dovahkiin!
And in a heartbeat, this crazy dance proved true.
The hero lived another day,
No longer seen as easy prey.
 
As the dragon’s skin burned down to the bones,
Dovahkiin strode back to Serana on the shore.
Her body still hunched,
Her head still bowed-
She had induced vomiting to wash away the taste.
 
“You’re really a wretched man, you know that?” She hissed between spasms. 
“Know not the art of war, woman?
Distraction is the key,
And you, my dear,
Chittering away like a banshee gone mad
Were my ruse!”
Silence descended once more in the Forgotten Vale.
Serana wiped the bile from his lips, 
As Cornelius watched with a broad-faced gleam.
A hero’s smile.
A job well done.
Two beasts slain.
Time for some fun. 
 
Two bottles of mead were drawn from his drawers,
Drenched in sweat,
And unbearably warm.
“This victory calls for a celebration, my love!”
“Is that your gift of peace? Your olive branch or dove?”
Cornelius uncorked the bottles,
Though his face ran sour.
“Empty!” he cried! 
“I have mead no more!”
 
 

[Written by an onlooker in the Forgotten Vale]

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The Bandit Conspiracy

Jarl Elisif the Fair,
 
It is on the eve of my 100,000th bandit slaying I write this letter to you. Sharpening my blade, “Colon Cleanser”, after its consistently wonderful performance in battle, I took pause to let the windmills of my mind churn with the passing breeze of thought. Had I really littered Skyrim’s plains and caves with 100,000 bandits? Were my numerics, etched on parchment I make my traveling servant carry, so accurate and telling? Where did all these bandits come from, and why is there always more?
 
Elisif, my head is now plagued with these questions newly encroached upon my regular daydreams of bountiful, bouncing bosoms and rivers full of mead. It does not seem logical that Skyrim would be home to a population of bandits seemingly quadruple the size of its other inhabitants. With a gang that large, who could they happily loot on a regular basis without the well drying up? What possible collective of citizenry could they befall and torment who still would keep wealth and jewels in their homes?
 
During my adventures, Elisif, I have forcibly broken and entered the homes of many of this land’s residents. Sometimes out of sheer curiosity, sometimes for blackmail, and on rare occasion for a paid task at hand, I have crept quietly into these locked dwellings. Though the bandit population exceeds the pasture of cattle ripe for the slaughter, these homes are typically well-stocked with valuables. They appear untouched, unsoiled by the grubby fingers of salacious sewer men with an eye for ravaging beauty.
 
Were these bandits truly stealing? On my many journeys, I have encountered them in camps and caves. Though they polish their weapons and armor for battle, they never seem to trek forth and pillage. Rather, they hang around and guard the highways. Like private armies of soldiers, they occupy the plains and the mountains, the lost temples and the exits from this snowy country.
 
Was their intention ever to steal? With an army so vast, my mind began to wonder. The sobriety of a dew-filled morning permitted my consciousness to think and ponder, to travel and analyze the true nature of this conundrum. What if these bandits were never meant for theft? What if their camped armies were intended for a darker purpose? Spreading word through the papers and the winds, they just tell us they’re bandits, but their true purpose is hidden, locked away in their hideouts along the road.
 
Then it hit me, Elisif. It smacked me as viciously as you smacked me last time I drunkenly stumbled about your castle, vomiting in your favorite plant, much to your lack of amusement. (I certainly cursed myself to practicing my one-handed that night.) What if it was all just play? Theatrics? What if we had so mistakenly been led to believe we had freedom to leave and go as we wished, but we refused to travel in fear of bandits who would rob us of our currency? Aye, we have the illusion of leaving, should we prove strong and bold enough, and that’s all we need, correct? But what if this illusion was set in place to maintain a balance between fear and perceived freedom? What if something far more sinister lay in the fog of our reality?
 
These armies of bandits do not seem to do much of anything beyond preventing us from travel. On occasion, they pillage some poor, naive buffoon who roams the plains. For the most part, however, these roving gangs of ruffians lie in encampments around key access points, waiting for something. Better yet, they’re guarding something, Elisif. These bandits guard our roads of exit from this country. We’re merely cattle herded inside Skyrim by a force much larger than we realize, disillusioned slaves huddled in cities awaiting our numbers to come up.
 
I’ve slain 100,000 myself, and there are still more out there. Where are they coming from? Who’s breeding them? Is there a bandit den somewhere in Skyrim where breeders lie atop stone tablets pumping out newborn kinsmen for this army? Is there a unified leader hidden away somewhere, orchestrating this facade, so that we may not know the true purpose?
 
‘Tis too many questions to answer at this moment, but believe me when I tell you this, my dearest, sweetest  mountain blossom of a high queen, I will unravel this mystery. With Colon Cleanser sheathed at my side and a small team of companions, I shall penetrate the darkest depths of this conspiracy and answer these wild thoughts. Something is very wrong here, and there’s only one man who can uncover this distortion. Me.
 
Much love,
Cornelius G. Thundercock
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Found Next to a Horse Skeleton

My horse,
 
A hero couldn’t have asked for more from you, dear friend. Riding dutifully along the countryside, carrying myself plus 300 pounds more weight of trinkets and food on your back, you never complained. You never whinnied. You never griped, even when we fled from the perilous deluge of arrows launching from unseen enemies hiding in bushes. When I traveled on foot and attackers came forth to rob us of our treasures, you fought valiantly. A noble steed was your charge, and you performed magnificently, trampling upon the pitiful wretches with your fisticuff hooves. Their caved-in skulls carried the mark of a warrior beast.
 
Aye, you were a good horse. Never a finer beast could a man in this realm ask for. So patient. So kind. So caring. It saddens me to see that you have plummeted from a cliff. Like a girl’s doll tossed from Skyrim’s highest peak, you tumbled down upon jagged rock after jagged rock. Not one shriek in death rose from your pulverizing tomb. Not one noise, save for the tearing of flesh and hide upon stone.
 
I followed you, dear friend. When you fell, I ran in quick pursuit, leaping down rocks and stumbling after my most faithful companion. I lost an apple along the way, but I left it. You were more important. You were more valued.
 
Bloodied and lifeless, I found only the husk of your empty corpse. You had not suffered long, though I imagine pain was but a state of mind to you.
 
You saved my life, friend. Whilst we were surrounded by dirty rogues looking to carve us up for gold, you ran forth like a loving mate defending her life partner. Had you a broom and braided hair, my very eyes would have mistaken you for a tavern keeper’s wife.
 
As I write this, my quill scribbling upon tear-stained parchment, I can’t help but enjoy your tender meat. Smothered in leeks, never have I tasted a meal so powerfully delicious. With each succulent bite placed upon my tongue, I think of you, dear horse. As those lumps of flesh grind under my teeth and swim in the juices of my spit, I remember every moment we spent together as if it were but an image embedded in the chewy muscles traveling to my stomach.
 
I apologize for all the times I broke wind upon your back and blamed it on some nearby animal. You would have known I had lied, having felt the rippling air wriggling upon your skin. I apologize for all the times you carried me home inebriated from the tavern, my head angled to one side with bile spewing forth. My aim wasn’t always accurate, but you never changed course or shared your displeasure. Like a stalwart soldier, you galloped on, ignoring the trickling bits of carrots and apples and cabbage slithering down your side.
 
I hope you’ll forgive me, and I hope you’ll cast one last loving glance before you leave this realm, expressing pleasure in knowing your sweetness will not be wasted. I will eat you, horse. I will eat you whole, even if my stomach bursts through my armor. This way, we shall be forever intertwined. Your blood shall be my blood, and your strength shall boil into my own. Is this what they mean by horse power?
 
And the children of Riften, their orphanage will be able to carry stock of new supplies. Your hooves will be made of glue and your bones whittled into eating utensils. Your death is not in vain, and you will not be wasted. Rest in peace, faithful steed.
 
Yours,
Cornelius G. Thundercock
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Found in the Riften Orphanage’s Mail Bin (Ancestor Glade)

My dearest children,
 
For those of you who sent me kind letters asking of my travels, I respond with an adventure most exciting for your little ears. Aye. In my most recent escapade, I ventured steadfast into another cave. Having raided hundreds of caves, I expected the typical odorous malady of Skyrim’s drafty inner sanctums – the stewing filth of a bear’s backwoods outhouse littered with half-eaten corpses and wastes that did not agree with said creature’s digestive system. ‘Tis a dirty job, my friends, but there is money to be made. With high boots and clean britches tucked in, one can wade into these festering lagoons and retrieve jewelry long abandoned, cleaning them up at the nearest river for a quick profit back in town.
 
While I envisioned this place another brooding den of uncivilized animals recklessly evacuating themselves in every nook and cranny, much like any tavern in Markarth, this hidden crevice was different. This locale, known as the Ancestor Glade, was a blissful paradise of trees and crystal clear ponds. Not an animal dropping in sight! 
 
Though I had a task to perform, I looked to my lovely Serana with the most innocent glee of childlike visions dancing in my head. Aye. We were both covered in blood and bits of brain from our encounters on the road, and the repugnant stench of dead bodies and sun-spoiled blood mucked our usually scintillating auras. Still, a kindling of love and inspiration seized my heart as one of my grubby, grimy, mud-encrusted fingers gently plucked a scrambled bit of skull fragment dried to her cheek. Having seen that water and having gazed into those glowing eyes of her, I knew what would fire up that romance between her and I, once and for all.
 
“Shall we bathe, my dear?” I asked gently, washing my mouth beforehand with brandy so my breath didn’t waft of the raw goat meat lodged between my teeth days ago. (Always travel with toothpicks, wee ones.)
 
“Together? Don’t we have a job to do?” she responded, placing a hand upon her waist in a pose that suggested indignation I would ask such a thing.
 
Aye. We did, children. We did, but a hero cannot fully focus lest he experience the joyful moments of life, lest he break the tension between two travelers obviously secretly in love with one another. It’s kismet, and a hero needs the mindful happiness that only skinny dipping in a clean pool getaway carefully tended by priests can provide. Remember that, dear children, and boys, remember the Ancestor Glade, should you ever wish to woo a woman out of her dress.
 
But the task at hand? It was the regular doldrum of carving bark from a tree and running about like some world-ending, prophetic buffoon as moths followed suit. Attracted to the scent, once enough moths floated about, I returned to a beacon of light shining upon an island in the middle of the chamber. My irritability was growing. I was sober. I was tired. I was covered in death, and now a pack of moths crawled all over my flesh like bloated city guards at an all you can eat pork roast. And that water? So crisp and clear – so refreshing! I could imagine it cleansing me of my sins and purifying my spirit of the diseases of Skyrim coating my flesh. Alas! If only I could swim about in the water and squeeze just one of Serana’s bare bosoms. For good luck.
 
“Care for a dip?” I asked, letting my tongue rest upon my lower lip as I looked her directly in the eyes. She couldn’t dare resist me this time, children. No woman could resist the charms of an adventuresome Breton when he lets loose that warm, tingling vibe of animalism. I flexed an arm muscle to seal the deal. Though she remained silent, I would wager in that mind of hers she squealed girlishly at my forearms.
 
“Don’t we have a job to do?” she responded, her voice autonomous with the same frequent banal musings and commentary I’ve heard ever since we started this journey together.
 
Indeed we did, children. I had yet to read the Elder Scroll strung to my back. And so I performed this mighty feat, not once stuttering a single word. Though I read heartily and deeply, I paid little comprehension to the sentences rolling forth from my mouth. The sound of that trickling water pushed other visions forward. I saw Serana and I splashing water at one another, smiling. We would drink mead and throw the bottles at trees. Swimming about like carefree maidens, we would try to drown each other, and then we would embrace. Ravenously. With fatal attraction tempered by the methodical hand of destiny. I have been on many adventures, and this is how they always work. Two adults caught in the intensity of a Skyrim-threatening mission? How could they not give into the emotions thickening the air?
 
As the private party in my mind’s eye sweltered with passionate lust, something abysmal entered the arena. A gang of vampires descended upon us, growling and hissing like a parade of socially awkward, home-schooled dolts attempting to strike fear into the hearts of proven warriors. Was the freak show in town? Who were these disillusioned rapscallions?
 
Dousing my throat with a spiced mead, I unsheathed Dawnbreaker and prepared for war. No pitiless creature, be it man, animal, or diseased, undead legionnaire, shatters my daydreams! No infernal slave of Molag Bal’s wretched carnival interrupts my fated romps and perverse fantasies! They’re mine! Mine!
 
With a blue-balled fury of rejection, I diced those vampiric scum like boiled potatoes. I was the master chef, and they were merely ingredients for my corned beef hash. One by one their entrails sullied the pond. What once was sparkling and clear darkened to near black stew littered with sinewy chunks of flesh.
 
Unfortunately children, this tale has no happy ending. After all the bloodshed and warring subsided, that fantasy in my head couldn’t come to fruition. Though I dreamed it so vividly, that beautiful pond was more murky than the worst swamp you can imagine. My dearest fans, that was how Lord Harkon defeated my advances upon his daughter. That was how the monster in Castle Volikhar clenched his fists around the beating heart of love and snuffed it out of existence. Poof. Finished. Gone. A moment lost in the throes of time.
 
Would we ever make love, children? Would we forever remain star-crossed lovers? I have not the answers, for I am just a simple man cursed with the endowment of a dragon waiting to spread its gift upon the world. Perhaps someday, the curse of blue-eyed rejection will be lifted.
 
Your friend,
Cornelius G. Thundercock
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Found at the Entrance to the Soul Cairn

 
 
There’s a vibe unlike anything I have ever seen within this Soul Cairn. Walking through this desolate wasteland littered with ruins and lost souls is like treading through a light fog with a purplish spectral haze enveloping all. It’s in the sky, swirling with the brief jolts of lightning. It’s in the air, filling my chest with a sickly moisture and dampening my skin. A strange rhythm of despair, it slithers underneath the flesh and blood and weakens the bones.
 
In this place, I am not Cornelius G. Thundercock. Here, I’m just another fool being consumed by the atmosphere, consumed by the air in which this place’s rulers, the Ideal Masters, witness all. But in this downtrodden perception, there is a certain freedom that liberates the mind. There are no rules or desired social niceties to follow. There are no pitiful wars between power-grabbing clans. Only subjugation exists here, ensnaring all under the watchful gaze of axe-wielding servants known as “Bonemen”.
 
Commanding these lowly peons are armored skeletal brutes known as “Bonekeepers”. Neither would be a challenge for my dovah blood, but here I am weakened. In this place, I am less the man I was on the outside. Less the drinker. Less the lover. Less the Skooma-raging, crypt-robbing addict on sporadic binges. Aye. My namesake has been reduced to just another wanderer in this grim realm where time ceases to exist.
 
But that surreal liberty beckons forth. It glimmers in the lightning storm with some sense of hope. Though I may never leave here, I am free to do as I wish. Pillage? Yes. Ransack? Yes. Attack the spectral forms of animals? Indeed. It’s a bizarre groove where the mind is enslaved but compelled to carry on immoralities granted to reign unchecked.
 
The perfect prison? Far from it. Alas, drink does not exist in this world. My parched throat will find no savior in front of the barrel of brewed sweetness. Though my belly may flatten and attract the lustful gazes of women here, my mind will know the banal horrors of perpetual sobriety. I’ll have to listen to them gab for an eternity with the full faculties of my mind. Each waking moment will be one where a rigid alertness seizes hold and threatens never to release me.
 
What madness lies in a realm without spirits? Sobriety is a sin that fades the beauty of the natural world. The creek outside Whiterun? More spectacular when drinking. The stars at night? Utterly awe-inspiring with swirling on Skooma. Serana? More irresistible when Honningbrew rouses wee Cornelius.
 
I shall not stay here. When the right moment arises, I shall make my escape from this barren wasteland, so help me Talos.
 
~Cornelius G. Thundercock
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Found in Castle Volikhar

Serana,
 
Walking through this diseased, rotten, rat-infested backdoor septic system entrance of Castle Volikhar together has made me feel so close to you. As I bludgeon a feral vampire to death with a rudimentary blunt object, pummeling his skull like one of those children’s birthday party toys stuffed with honey treat, my heart warms as I see you lick his splattered blood off your cheeks. So slowly. So hungrily. Whispered moans flutter into the stagnant, dust-saturated air as your body contorts and twists with each tasty droplet lapped up by your tongue. Feed thyself, my swan. Let your predatory instincts break through your innocent cover as I watch longingly, hungrily staring with that wolfish grin of mine.
 
You are tearing me apart, Serana. The beast within howls impatiently, clawing at the walls of its confinement to be released. I can hear it speaking to me. I can hear its growling demands barraging my thoughts.
 
DRINK. SKOOMA.
 
Your mother’s not here, Serana. She has abandoned her study. She has left her private room for some other world, some other journey perhaps not meant for us? We can obsess over her disappearance, or we can do what all young, healthy, beautiful people like yourself, who still live at home, do when their parents aren’t around. Let’s imbibe the magical nectar of the Divines. Let’s unleash our inner, burning throes of passion and end this tension.
 
You feel it too, don’t you? That urge to look upon my face and then glance away quickly when our eyes meet? That hidden smile tugging at the corners of your lips whenever you think of me, hovering above another defeated foe, shouting my name incessantly to the exiting spirit? Cornelius. Aye, Cornelius. The name tickles your spine every time you hear it, no matter how obnoxious my unruly and arrogant shouts become, no?
 
Embrace your sickly, depraved vampirism, my blooming nightshade, and I’ll make amends with the furry beast locked within the dark side of my heart. Let us see all colors of the this realm and the next as our monstrous forms meet atop a decomposing pile of gargoyle bodies. On Skooma, anything can happen, and anything shall happen.
 
No regrets,
Cornelius G. Thundercock
 
P.S. I started swilling enchantment’s drink sometime ago when you had your back turned and mind focused on slaying another infernal skeleton. You have much catching up to do.
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Found in Dayspring Canyon

Isran,
 
I have met this vampire lord desiring to lay claim to our world, friend, and he is unlike anything I have ever lain eyes upon. At first, he appears in the form of an uptight noble with a silver spoon lodged indefinitely up his posterior. Those orange, glowing eyes of his are the among the few signs giving away his descent into vampirism – that and his effeminate manner of speech. Aye. Not a hardy drinker this one. More like a cold-hearted aristocrat who spent his years merely sipping at the finer beverages this land has to offer, not drinking. ‘Tis how you know a good man. Good men let flow spirits from their tankards. False men let trickle their immeasurable barrels of liquor as they let trickle their coin to their begging subservients.
 
At any rate, this Harkon fellow has more in common with an alchemist’s pet project than he does with even the ugliest of all men in this realm. Even the orcs, compared to Harkon’s true form, have a more sensually-appetitizing swagger than this aborted spider sacling. Indeed. I’d rather watch a bloated Orsimer female in tight garb wobble about in a pitiful attempt at seductive dance than Harkon gyrate his vampiric hips.
 
Skin as sickly as a fetid swamp under the sun’s gaze, this ancient ruler received the terrible end of a bargain gone wrong. An orcish snout lies smashed between his eyes, as if Molag Bal beat him upon the face with a war hammer. Harkon’s eyes are as seemingly absent as a Falmer’s, and his ears are stretched back behind his skull in a manner that suggests prolonged torture. Behind his back flutters two wings, hanging strands of skin dangling from them like the remnants of broken cobwebs.
 
Nothing is more atrocious about his person than his manner of dress. I tease you not when I say that this “lord” wears the skirt of a slave ’round his pelvis and what looks like a training brassiere for adolescent girls. Upon his head rests some manner of hollowed, horned, and jeweled gourd. This “crown” seems to decry, “Here stands king of the gourd! Watch him demolish watermelon aplenty!”
 
And to think, my sweet Serana is kin with him? The bizarre position I suddenly find myself in is not lost to me. Underneath the cloak of darkness and away from the concentration of maintaining a mortal form, does her beauty fade into an atrocity such as that? Within that soft, youthfully innocent form, does a creature uglier than a hagraven lie in exile? Wee Cornelius knows not whether to remain standing tall or seek comfort in hiding within foliage. Only a more learned man than I will know, and since none exist, I shall have to see this mystery out – to pursue or not to pursue?
 
At any rate, I shall leave this wretched parlor slithering with aristocratic stiffs sniveling over their dusty treasures and return as soon as possible. If I am detained, know only that I seek renewed vitality from this vampire hall and that I have visited many a brothel and meadery on vacation.
 
Your eyes in Skyrim,
Cornelius G. Thundercock
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