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Flash Contest Build: The Starry-Eyed Schoolgirl (Part Two)

Tags: #Character Build Elementalist  #Character Build Summoner  #Roleplaying  #Ordinator  #Race: Breton  #Flash Contest 1 
  • May 11, 2018


    31st of Evening Star, 4E 203




    So, where to begin? Well, I found Vex. That turned out right enough. And found Isabelle, dead in a cave back in Winterhold. Giving Ranmir the news was terrible - he was distraught, of course, but also, I thought, just a little glad of the closure.

    I wish I had a little of that. Closure, and a sense of completion. Of stability. Maybe even a measure of control over time itself, so I could go back home and start over.

    Love…well, lust anyway, guides me toward the stupidest things. You’d think I’d know better by now, but I don’t. I don’t. I followed Ulfric Stormcloak to Windhelm, caught up some imagined romance, and see how that turned out.

    And then, first thing I see when I pass through Riften’s gates? This…man. This gorgeous, sweet-talking rogue of a man. And…I ended up joining the Thieves Guild, of course I did. Not for long. Thankfully, I came to my senses when they ordered me to threaten shopkeepers, extort money from merchants who barely scrape by, from what I could see. And it’s all wrapped up with Maven Black-Briar, to top it off. The jarl here might trust that viper, but I do not. No man’s worth that sort of danger, not even one who looks like Brynjolf. Even with that voice, that…

    Ah, well. What’s done is done, and I’ve spent my time atoning. Made it up to everyone I could, and more. The Temple of Mara sent me to Markarth, of all places, and I visited the Temple of Dibella, on a lark. I admit to being curious, and got roped into finding their new leader, or sibyl, as she’s called. Now, I’m no prude by any means, but even I found it a little…ah, squicky, maybe? Yes, squicky. That their new sibyl – the conduit of a goddess whose worshippers train others in the erotic arts – is a nine-year-old child.

    And I visited a village called Ivarstead, where I’ve had to tell yet another man someone he loves is dead.

    There’s just…so much death, now. And I’m tired of how pointless it all seems. On the road to Riften, I saw the remains of skirmishes everywhere. Dead legionnaires, dead Stormcloaks. Fighting on their home soil. A legionnaire cut down by Rift guards in broad daylight. Merchants are losing money on the roads and having to hire protection to get their goods from place to place. And there’s no end in sight.

    I’ve had word from Urag in the Arcaneum. He’s requested I recover three books from some renegade mages’ lair in Whiterun Hold. Apparently some idiot stole them, and they’re necessary for understanding that glowing orb we found in Saarthal.

    Stenvar, the guide and protector I hired in Windhelm, is happy to go. I’ve been having trouble leading targets lately, and he knows a hunter in Whiterun who’s an archery trainer. She’s part of some mercenary group there. The Companions, or some such thing. Stenvar thought it blasphemous I’d never heard of them, so I’m looking forward to seeing everything I’ve been missing.



    • CoW: Under Saarthal, Shalidor’s Insights, Lost Apprentices
    • Winterhold: find Isabelle Rolaine
    • Windhelm: Blood on the Ice, Delivery to Wuunferth, the White Phial, give Amulet to Torbjorn Shatter-Shield, get a raise for the Argonians, kill bandits for Brunwulf Free-Winter, That Was Always There.
    • Thieves Guild: A Chance Arrangement, Taking Care of Business. Trigger Loud and Clear, but don’t complete.
    • Riften: Warmth of Mara, continue finding Isabelle, Wylandriah’s Lost Items, Shadr’s Debt, clear Redbelly Mine, Stoking the Flames, the Book of Love, Talen-Jei’s amethysts, retrieve Grimsevr, Grelka’s satchel.
    • Markarth: Heart of Dibella, Lisbet’s Statue, Kill Nimhe, Clear Hall of the Dead
    • Ivarstead: find Narfi’s sister

    *I realize Iviane’s parents and Mirabelle would try to do something about her being back, probably ship her straight back to Northpoint. In my head-canon, she’s accompanied by Stormcloak guards while she’s there, to stop that from happening. As well, she’s an adult now, not a child, even though her parents might still view her as such. 


    15th of Rain’s Hand, 4E 205




    So, the deed is done. I’ve betrayed Ulfric and joined the Legion, albeit not as a regular soldier. General Tullius decided to send me to Whiterun, after I corroborated intelligence (gathered by the intimidating Legate Rikke) that Ulfric’s planning to attack Whiterun before year’s end. That was, I think, the real reason they let me live – the Jagged Crown I sneaked out of Windhelm served only as a bonus.

    And I suppose that’s not the right word, “sneaked.” I did take it to Windhelm. Despite misgivings, I meant to give the crown to Ulfric. But something gave me pause: I disguised myself and walked around the city, instead. Stayed for a day at Candlehearth and listened to people talk. Watched the Stormcloak guards. Hid in a shadowy corner of the throne room and listened to that damned speech Ulfric probably has memorized by now.

    Ulfric’s not right, I’m sure of that now. And he’s not in it for Skyrim – only for himself. Part of me wonders if I’d still hold that opinion had he shown any interest in me, over the years. I suppose it’s something I’m not meant to know. Only do what I can to correct my mistake.

    So I ran out of Windhelm, fast as I could, and caught the carriage for Solitude.

    I leave for Whiterun in the morning, a place I’d rather not go. It’s a long story. Remember Stenvar’s hunter friend from the Companions? We made good time to Whiterun, and everything seemed nice: the inn, the village, the people. Other than a couple of men (Olfrid and Idolaf Battle-Born. The names these Nords bestow upon their innocent children!) who ranted at me right out of the gate about respecting their clan, or some such nonsense.

    As if someone who’s lived her entire life in Northpoint knows anything about Nord clans. It’s not I’m unwilling to learn, far from it, but why should this knowledge be automatic? Except for Jon Battle-Born, a moody bard who wants to stay out of family squabbles (because he’s in love with a daughter of a rival clan, I found out during my stay), their esteemed family seems like one to avoid.

    So, anyway, the Companions. Stenvar stopped at the inn for a mead, and I took off in search of the trainer. Their lodge, Jorrvaskr, is an upside-down ship. I wasn’t expecting that at all. When I walked in, all I could see was a crowd around two warriors beating the living shit out of each other, and no one was interested in answering my questions. I just wandered the halls, and eventually happened upon two men talking in a quiet corner. An older warrior, his white hair braided intricately above his wrinkled, scarred, and tattooed face spoke in low tones to another man.

    I took one look at the other man, and forgot everything else. Forgot why I was there, the training, the fact that Stenvar was cooling his heels at the inn, waiting for me.

    Gods have mercy. This man, Vilkas, his name was, made even Brynjolf look like some awkward court jester, so beautiful was he.

    So, I did it again – joined yet another faction in this damned province for a man. I suppose “joined” is a strong word for what I did. Vilkas, his brother Farkas, and Stenvar’s huntress, Aela, tested my combat skills. I did well in archery; and Stenvar wasn't lying just to get close to a real tavern – Aela’s a great trainer.

    Vilkas told me I had potential, and I loved hearing that, let me tell you. Especially as I could barely hold my dagger while he smirked at me during our short duel. But then, he passed me off to his brother, who sent me on some ridiculous errand.

    From what I gathered speaking to seasoned Companions, being part of their company meant honor. Helping citizens of Skyrim. Yes, money came into it. Everyone has to live, after all, but I didn’t think they’d stoop so low as to play the threat-and-extort game like a bunch of thugs.

    I’d had enough of that in Riften. So I made a couple of deliveries Vilkas and their smith, Eorlund Gray-Mane asked me to make, and said thanks, but no thanks. Stenvar was more than ready to head to Fellglow Keep, and asked few questions regarding my obvious discomfort on our way out of the city.

    And that was that. Not long after, Ulfric sent word he needed my help to get through some old Nordic barrow. Korvanjund. I’d mentioned I’d been through Yngol Barrow and figured out all its puzzles and traps. He remembered, and figured I’d be a good addition to the party.

    And I was, just not for his side.

    I’m almost surprised the embers from all my burning bridges haven’t turned the world to ash by now. Hopefully it won’t be as awkward as I fear, going back to Whiterun.


    1st of Evening Star, 4E 205



    It was absolutely as awkward as I’d feared. Not only because of Vilkas and the Companions. That ended fine – more than fine, actually – and despite everything else, it’s hard not to smile as I think on that.

    Despite my parents’ best efforts to keep me out of trouble, the fact is I came to Skyrim at the exact wrong time. Whiterun was closed to me when I arrived with Tullius’s message, and I had to persuade the guard to let me in. Dragons, he said. The city was closed because of dragons sighted nearby.

    It was only later I realized how foolish that seemed. What protection would walls and thatched roofs serve against beasts who could fly and breathe fire?

    But with so little information, there wasn’t much else anyone could do. All they knew was a city in a hold to the south had been completely destroyed by a dragon. There were too many eye-witnesses to be denied, although a few people seemed to think it was all rot, and nothing more. But Whiterun’s jarl, Balgruuf, and his housecarl, a Dunmer woman named Irileth, they took the threat seriously. Balgruuf wouldn’t even entertain my message until they’d dealt with the fiery problem at hand.

    I wanted to see if Aela would give me a few more pointers in any case, so I left word where I’d be and took off through town, hoping I could catch Aela without running into Vilkas. No such luck. But as I said, it turned out fine. My rant in favor of honor and against thuggery struck a chord, and their leader – Harbinger – Kodlak Whitemane, wanted me to stay.

    So I did, and while Balgruuf worked on the dragon problem with his court mage, I joined the Companions on their missions, and embarked on a few of my own. One in particular left its mark, and served to lighten my path in Skyrim, and to make clear my way, as strange as that sounds.

    I’d stopped at Fralia Gray-Mane’s stall to look at some jewelry, and couldn’t help noticing tears streaming down her face. After some coaxing, she told me what was wrong. And her tears seemed justified to me: her son, a Stormcloak soldier named Thorald, was missing, and though she believed him alive, no one had stepped up to help find him.

    Her tears were merely a source of entertainment to Olfrid Battle-Born, though, who’d obviously allowed their clans’ rivalry to obscure his sense of decency. He called her a hag. And a cow. And mocked her pain, and it was all I could do to keep my hands at my sides – it wouldn’t do for the newest Companion to be seen brawling in the streets.

    But I had to help. They were hesitant to accept, Fralia and her other son, Avulstein. After all, we’re on opposite sides of the great conflict. But I couldn’t stand by and do nothing, and I said I was going to find out where her son was, whether or not they wanted me to. We can be on opposite sides of the war, I said, and still want what’s best for Skyrim. I can think Ulfric’s wrong, and still want to help your son.

    Fralia seemed to crumple, then. Avulstein, too. Turns out, the Battle-Borns weren’t complicit in Thorald’s disappearance, but they knew where he was. Olfrid refused to tell because, as far as I can see he’s an unrepentant asshole. But Idolaf and Jon only seemed to think there was nothing to be done. Fralia was better off not knowing, they said. Better off letting it go.

    And once I found out where Thorald was, I could understand their fear, their absolute conviction he was as good as dead. For he was a Thalmor prisoner, and I knew then there was little chance at getting him out alive.

    But by luck or skill or divine intervention, that’s exactly what happened.

    Was it honorable, what I did? Was it good? Was it right? Honestly, I don’t know. But if the Empire does win the war, we’re going to need to prove to everyone who had been on Ulfric’s side that there are no sides. Not anymore. Everyone knows another Great War looms in the distance. How far in the distance, it’s not for me to say. And now with dragons flying around, the future is even more uncertain.

    But one thing I know, a unified Skyrim, a unified Empire, has a better chance of survival than any other.

    When I got back to Jorrvaskr, Skjor met me at the door with news: my trial date was set. I was to search for a shard of Ysgramor’s shattered battleaxe with Farkas, and prove my worth as a Companion.  

    I’d been waiting for this, me and Vilkas both. We’d grown close over the past months, and though, with my luck in love I’d barely believed it possible, had fallen in…well, maybe not love. If anything, I’ve grown more cautious in assigning that label to any relationship. But there’s something there, I know it. Trust, friendship, respect. And gods have mercy…yes, so many sparks. I can’t even look at the man without wanting to find a bed. Or at least some quiet corner. And he returns my affection. Has returned, on many blissful occasions. 

    But back to the trial. Farkas and I tracked the shard to an old barrow called Dustman’s Cairn. We did find it, and recovered it for the Companions.

    And while doing so, I stumbled upon a great secret of Jorrvaskr: Farkas is a werewolf. And Aela, and Kodlak, and Skjor.

    And Vilkas.

    We encountered other strange things in that ancient crypt, but nothing else compares. I had to laugh, imagining my mother’s reaction – she’d roll her eyes and shake her head in amazement at the continued downward spiral my taste in men has taken. Since coming to Skyrim? A lying, scheming rebel, a professional thief, and now a werewolf mercenary have been the ones to catch my eye. A long, long way from the knights of Wayrest. But I would remind her of this: the knights of Wayrest fell to pirates. So perhaps a werewolf mercenary is just the man for me.

    But reality beckons. Jarl Balgruuf summoned me to Dragonsreach and issued a challenge: if Tullius wants help dealing with Ulfric, I have to help Whiterun sort out the dragon mess, once and for all. The key, his court mage said, lay in yet another Nordic barrow. Bleak Falls Barrow, it’s called, a day’s journey to the south.



    • Civil War: the Jagged Crown, Join the Imperial Legion, Message to Whiterun
    • Main Questline: Before the Storm. I didn’t intend to do this one. She wasn’t supposed to be Dragonborn at all. Not a hero, just a girl who follows her stupid heart around Skyrim and eventually grows up. But delivering General Tullius’s message to Whiterun triggered the questline, and suddenly Whiterun’s gates were shut and I was locked out. Bugs, of course, and no one met me at the gate to let me in, so I had to pick a guard’s pocket to get arrested and hauled inside the city. Fun times. So the story changed a bit. Iviane Dorell goes down in Nord history, and Jarl Balgruuf finally initiates the Battle for Whiterun.
    • CoW: Hitting the Books
    • Companions: train with Aela, Taking up Arms, Radiant Quest, Proving Honor. Talk to every Companion in Jorrvaskr, exhausting all dialogue.
    • Whiterun: Missing in Action, In My Time of Need, Training with Amren, Amren’s Sword. Talk to everyone in Whiterun, all NPCs
    • Riverwood: Love Triangle
    • Ivarstead: Shroud Hearth Barrow
    • Other: Amulet of the Mood for Kharjo, clear Soljund’s Sinkhole. Find Leifnarr for Grosta. Bounty quests.

    27th of Sun’s Height, 4E 206




    How does an unknown and relatively unskilled Breton, who until seven years ago never gave Skyrim a passing thought, find herself so thoroughly ensconced in legends of the ancients? Why are people of Whiterun, who until just a few months ago treated me with the cautious curiosity reserved for all outsiders, embracing me as a hero?

    Jarl Balgruuf and a few other culturally-conscious Nords have named me Dragonborn. A mortal with an immortal soul. A hero, destined to save the world from being gobbled up – literally eaten – by the dragon Alduin. Who, incidentally, is Akatosh’s firstborn.

    Of course he is.

    Perhaps this explains why my journey in Skyrim has been so intense, so fraught with peril and horrible choices and broken pathways.

    Has it all been leading me to this moment?

    Or, is the very concept nothing but superstitious nonsense?

    Unfortunately, it’s not nothing, I can tell you that much. Farkas and I found what Balgruuf’s mage sent us after – a stone tablet hidden in the coffin of a draugr in Bleak Falls Barrow. But before that, I remember stepping in front of a curved wall, inscribed with what had to be an ancient language of some sort. I lay my hand on its carvings, and something passed from it to me. It spoke, and my heart leapt in my chest. The same thing happened in Dustman’s Cairn, although with the werewolf revelation, I hadn’t given it much thought.

    Until later, some time after Irileth and Balgruuf met us on our way back to Dragonsreach with news: a dragon threatened a watchtower outside the city, and they needed us to help fight it off.

    Farkas was game. More than game, actually. It’s a little weird how much those guys look forward to fighting. But we went, although I was quaking in my boots. And after what seemed like hours of summoning and shooting fire at the thing, it finally fell.

    I didn’t think to approach the behemoth, as I was too far away and still only recovering from battle, but I saw it begin to quiver. Faster and faster it shook, until it erupted in flames – a strange misty fire that seemed to float over to where I stood and swirl around my body, finally disappearing, as if soaking into my very skin. My heart leapt again at the welcome intrusion, the surge of energy, so like what I’d felt when I’d touched those carved walls.

    Except this time, I wanted to punch something. Hard. Something…some sort of power built in my chest, in my soul…and I couldn’t help it. I opened my mouth, and far more than a scream came tumbling out – an invisible, concussive force sent what remained of the dragon flying across the plain.

    And a soldier bowed before me, and named me Dragonborn. Even now, it doesn’t seem possible.



    • Main Quest: Bleak Falls Barrow, Dragon Rising
    • Bounty Quests: Morthal
    • Favor Quests: Falkreath

    *Iviane got Farkas to go with her to Bleak Falls and Western Watchtower because she never went back to Jorrvaskr after Dustman’s Cairn. So her initiation technically happened after Dragon Rising in the game.


     20th of Last Seed, 4E 206




    Drizzling rain falls on Jorrvaskr, occasional drops sneaking through skylights and fizzling out in the firepit’s embers. Such an inauspicious environment for the battle that, according to the Legate sent to oversee Whiterun’s defenses, will turn the tide of Ulfric’s rebellion for better or worse.

    Vilkas and I spent the morning huddled in the firepit’s warmth, entwined in each other’s arms. We stayed up too late last night talking. Arguing. Just as we’ve done over the last week, since preparations for what they’re calling the Battle for Whiterun began in earnest. Ulfric’s army has passed over the northern ridge line, and everyone’s nervous.

    But Vilkas can’t join me at the barricade. None of the other Companions can. They’ve made a commitment to remain neutral in any civil war, as they have for millennia, and for good reason: they fight for Skyrim, for citizens of all Skyrim, and do the dirty work most armies and guards think beneath their notice. If they were to take a side, and that side were to lose, thousands of years of history, of honor and duty, would be lost as well.

    I understand – to me, they’re making the hardest decision anyone in Skyrim will have to make: to stay behind Jorrvaskr’s walls with the rest of Whiterun's noncombatants, avoiding battle, avoiding harm. Being resented by those who’ve seen brothers and sisters fall. All to stay alive, and live to fight another day. To defend Skyrim and its sons and daughters the next time help is needed.

    Vilkas isn’t at peace with his lot. He’s angry. Angry he can’t protect me out there, and he’s asked me to stay back. I’ve considered it. And perhaps, if things were simpler, I might do just that.

    But I think back on sneaking out of Solitude so many years ago to join Ulfric (and scaring the life out of my parents), and the travesty that’s been my life ever since. Until now – until fate plucked me out of obscurity with a giant, fiery claw.

    Idolaf Battle-Born, insufferable as he might be, was right about one thing: the time has come for me to pick a side. I made this commitment, after breaking so many others. The Empire’s position may not be perfect, but I believe it best for Skyrim. For all its people – even the Gray-Manes, and Captain Lonely-Gale in Windhelm. And Jarl Korir, though he's not liable to thank me if his side’s the one to lose.

    But this is a long game, now. The Aldmeri Dominion don’t play fast and loose. Neither must we. And if I really am some legendary figure, I need to be seen on the side that must, must win.

    I admit to being afraid, though I haven’t voiced these concerns aloud. If we lose and I’m captured…I’ve betrayed Ulfric once. I don’t hold out much hope for myself if these walls do fall.

    The rain has slackened, and I hear drums in the distance. It’s time.


    21st of Last Seed, 4E 206




    It’s over, the Battle for Whiterun. Ulfric’s army didn’t make it through the city gates, though it was a near thing, and Ulfric didn’t even show up. Balgruuf said he mightn’t, but I hadn’t believed him.

    But their catapults set so much of the city on fire, and everything’s a mess. It’ll take ages to rebuild. The death toll was horrific 

    on either side, and it pains me to think I contributed to that. But I have to think ahead – when we achieve peace, Skyrim will be safer for its citizens. Soldiers can go home and serve their holds, keeping them safe. Jarls can rebuild, after the meager years of war kept them from managing their cities and markets and roads. 

    I did pick my side, and I’ve come to terms with that reality, even if it means half the country considers me some sort of traitor. As a foreigner, the idea is strange. But Balgruuf warned me Nords consider the Dragonborn their own, regardless of circumstance of birth.

    And Tullius may be awful, but I’ll be working with Legate Rikke for the most part, after I help rebuild Whiterun (one of my conditions for the Dragonborn staying on with the Legion), and she’s amazing. Maybe I can pretend Tullius doesn’t even exist…

    After the last sword dropped to the slushy, muddy ground and bells rang out signaling the end of battle, a cacophony of shouts and cheers broke out behind the gates. Mere minutes later, Vilkas charged through them, pushing guards and soldiers aside and shouting my name.

    Before the battle, Kodlak and Farkas had held his arms while I walked out of Jorrvaskr, hiding tears of my own. I hadn’t known it at the time, but I didn’t walk out alone. Vilkas couldn’t fight at my side, but he’d hired a mercenary and a guard to shadow me, protecting me while I fought, at all costs. I remember that first day we met – he’d boasted that gold was the most important thing to him, the one thing above all else that fed his blade.

    After his mercenary caught an arrow meant for me in his banded shield, I thanked my fiery wolf, in my heart, for parting with some of that gold for me.



    • Civil War: Battle for Whiterun
    • Whiterun: Bullying Braith, Andurs’s Amulet, give Alessandra’s Dagger to Andurs, talk to Mikael for Carlotta, find tusk for Ysolda, the Blessings of Nature, bounty quests for Jarl Balgruuf.
    • Falkreath: bounty quests for Jarl Siddgeir
    • Riverwood: the Golden Claw 

    20th of Sun’s Dusk, 4E 206




    Bidding goodbye to everyone in Whiterun was harder than I’d thought. Especially Vilkas, although he understands a little better, now, why I had to go. He has his role in all this, and I have mine. And we both know our paths will cross and merge, after a time.

    Balgruuf dropped into Jorrvaskr on my last night there and bid me leave, and journey to High Hrothgar, to answer the Graybeards’ call. I have a destiny, he reminded me, and the Greybeards are the first step on that path.

    Maybe so.  

    But that calling will have to wait.

    Until Ulfric is gone, and the Stormcloaks disbanded.

    Until Skyrim is united, and ready to turn her attention to dragons and prophecy and destiny.


    On that day, I’ll turn my attention south, to honey-colored gates and horses running free. To eyes the color of silvery blue and strong arms to catch me in their embrace, and hold me forever.

    And I’ll come home.


    Solitude: Talk to Captain Aldis for Angeline, Find Pantea’s Flute, Place Torygg’s War Horn, defeat Potema, bounty quests.




     I’m absolutely keeping going with this. Although I’m probably going to start her wearing more light armor. I don’t really want to juggle destruction and conjuration and restoration AND alteration during combat, so yeah. Going into Dwemer ruins wearing robes is just suicidal.

    Switch to Thief or Mage stone, for quicker leveling.

    So, Iviane’ll finish the Civil War questline and see Ulfric gone. Settle that last debt. Go up to High Hrothgar and fulfill that ridiculous destiny she stumbled into, despite all best efforts. Come back to Whiterun probably after Diplomatic Immunity and keep going with the Companions questline.

    Buy the Tundra Homestead outside of Whiterun and show Vilkas the Amulet of Mara she bought in Riften, just in case. 

    Finish the CoW questline, eventually. And the Main Quest (she’ll feel just a little vindicated when she reads the Thalmor dossier on Ulfric).

    Stick it to the Thalmor every chance she gets. Those justiciars you see walking the roads? She’ll take them out, and occasionally return to the Thalmor Embassy and wreak hell. I know this isn’t realistic. Like with Missing In Action, eventually they’d figure it out and there’d be hell to pay with the Legion. But it’s fun.

    And keep helping. Try to be good and right AND honorable, if she can. She’s still starry-eyed, after all, still naïve about so many things. On that note, she’ll probably start the Dark Brotherhood questline by killing the hell out of Grelod the Kind. And then she and Vilkas can destroy the Dark Brotherhood together.




  • May 11, 2018

    Art Credits: 

    The “colorful” Iviane images: Isriana, DeviantArt

    The more muted sketches: Isbjorg, DeviantArt

    Whiterun battle scene: Painterly Gloom

    The Amulet of Mara image: Grey Allison, DeviantArt

    Ancano image: inSOLence, DeviantArt

    Whiterun painting by Justin Schroeder, DeviantArt