The Elder Scrolls

Half Dreaming: A C0DA by Nathan GDL

**Hey all. I'm going to be writing a long ass C0DA and I figured I'd share the little opening I have for it, to set the mood. Hopefully I'll post more every week, if I get enough people interested. Not a lot goes on right now, as I'm just setting the stage. This isn't even the full chapter, so take it with a grain of salt.**


In an old corner of Mournhold, a Telvanni servant girl roamed free and her belly yearned for salt rice and kwama eggs. Hundreds of Dunmeri children splashed in the puddles that formed from the last monsoon. Soiled white rags made from woven wickwheat and guar hides hung from long and weathered rope from one side of the street to the other, interconnecting from each and every window as far as the eye could see. Some left to sit in the unbearably humid weather, bleached by the sun, while others, especially the Netch leather hides, dripped on some chaotic schedule to the passersby below, with some especially poor children trying hopelessly to catch a drop on their tongue. Sometimes, if a cooler wind from the north blew in, it’d send the droplet to a street vendor’s pan, where it’d sizzle alongside some insectoid skewer.

You wouldn’t see this in Blacklight, even with the newly found capital status and the population boom. Surely one could feast on something local, though the folks in Redoran lands would often fancy dried meat and fish over anything fresh, though not for a lack of culinary expertise, Dresni Redoran was the esteemed chef of the New Temple Guard after all, but such a warrior culture would not bode well on such perishable diets.

The master of such diets, an ash yam farmer, Jelen Redoran, looked to the sky and sighed.

“Problem, sera?”

Jelen looked up at the figure in a neatly tied bonemold approaching him. He jumped at the crack underneath the heavy chitin boots, where a small wooden doll lay under the ashy soil. He caressed his brow and frowned.

“Reni was looking for that. I’ll have to stop by that outlander’s stall tomorrow to get another.”

The guard tossed him a septim.

“Don’t be too hard on Irenna, it takes a brave soul to beat Hrafi in a sujamma drinking contest.”

Jelen grunted.

“I’m not here to talk ill of outlanders, Jelen. You know why I interrupted you.”

“Neronil, it’s been a week since I heard those noises. A month since I found that, what did the magister call it, ectoplasm? You know that the wife would wake half the city if she even felt a change in the open breeze.”

Neronil Redoran waved his hand. He took a swig from the netch leather sack that hung from his belt and sighed.

“The mages guild wants us to be absolutely sure.”

“Oh, damn it all! That crazed altmer swine would rather us eat from their goblin troughs, and you know that. Don’t say you’ve gone soft for her.”

“Watch your tongue. I’ll have Wellen come by later tonight and keep watch again, and I’ll hear nothing of it from you.”

Jelen frowned, then nodded.

“Yes, alright. Only because I like Wellen. That boy’s alright for a Nord.”

“Jelen, who’s that at the door?”

Jelen whipped around to his wife. A small, dark toned, even by Dunmeri standards, elf. She smiled at him warmly.

“Is that you Neronil? I trust you won’t leave without a roll or two. Just pulled them out of the oven. You know what, I’ll give you a jar of Elderberry jam, I just finished canning them -”

“Thank you Masseli. I know how fond Reni is of your cooking. Perhaps another time.”

He eyed Jelen as he left the farm. Jelen nodded.

“What was all that about?” Masseli asked while wringing her hands on her husband's shirt. He smiled.

“The mages guild is sending Wellen in for the night. To keep watch.”

“What for?”
“I don’t know.” Jelen’s eyes shifted to the earth. “I don’t trust them.”

/ / /

“Wellen! Stay alive!” cracked a voice from the corridor.

The Nord stood upright. A clay glass smashed on the floor.

“Wellen! I need you to head down to Jelen’s place tonight. Suspicious activity.”

“Strange goo found on the doorknob again?”

The tall, slender dark elf swung her hand, her bonemold cutting the back of his head.

“I’ll have no disrespect for Jelen. The man works harder than any of the other ash farmers outside the city walls. Do you think pretty young Majren over at the cornerclub would appreciate you badmouthing the common folk?”

Wellen sighed. She was right. Majren was a local champion of the peasants in Mournhold. If she had it her way, she’d be canonized alongside Saint Jiub as the patron saint of poverty.

“That reminds me. I need to see her. She said that there was a commotion near the blacksmith’s house the other day.”

“The Argonian? Don’t bother. Ordinator drove him out a few hours ago. Kicking and screaming that one.”

The magister paused.

“Oh, don’t look at me like that. I’ll have nobody playing the hero, especially not to win over the heart of a tavern girl.”

“A strange look in his eye?”

The magister hit him again.

“Pick me up some flin. You’re going to investigate it anyways, might as well make yourself useful after you’re done sweet talking that girl of yours.

Wellen smiled as she departed, but it quickly soured as he rubbed his skull. He winced at the blood. He hated seeing blood.


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