Skyrim Fanfiction: The Tale of Stiv Chapter 2

[I didn’t expect the first chapter to be so well received! I expected trolls, grammar nazi’s, all that stuff. But I did not get one negative comment and I am very surprised by that. Thank you all for the positive comments on both my blog site and Reddit. It has inspired me to write more for Stiv’s story and I hope you all enjoy it as much as the first chapter.]

NPC_Lemkil

Stiv was already on his way out of Rorikstead by the time Lemkil was found dead in his home.

The nord seemed like such a deadbeat, his daughters probably thought he was still sleeping after they were up and about. And with a father such as that, it was no wonder that the girls didn’t want to get close enough to risk waking him.

It was past midday. Just moments after Stiv left the Frostfruit Inn, guards ran inside, most likely spreading the word and attempting to find suspects to the murder. Whether they found the two fang marks on Lemkil’s neck, Stiv didn’t know. He just knew it would be best to make himself scarce since a man was killed the night he entered town. They would detain him just on that fact alone, whether he looked suspicious or not. But whatever happened to this town afterwards was none of the vampires concern.

There was a road running north and south out of the village. Picking a path at random, Stiv took the southern road heading out, not looking back at all as he heard guards scrambling and the children crying. It took him to a split going east and west, but with a signpost near the crossing. Scanning the names that were etched and painted into the wood, Stiv scanned the land around him and out a distance. Looking east, there was a large hill in the distance, possibly a small mountain. He didn’t know if it was man made near the top, but he could barely see the straight lines of a large dwelling. No mere town would rest on top of an elevation like that. This had to be a major city. Checking the signpost again, this must have been Whiterun.

Fort_Greymoor

Stiv walked for a few hours when he came across a large structure.

He could see Whiterun clearly in the distance than earlier, but this….fort he guessed, was an eye catcher to him. It seemed old and dilapidated. But that’s not out of the norm in most places of Tamriel. Wars of ages past has claimed many forts and other towns, turning them into ruins either beyond repair or too expensive for the repairs to be worth it. No, what caught Stiv’s eyes were the cages. The cages hung up on posts with skeletons, or even the remains of other humanoids still in partial decay. Not only that, but the entrance and some other parts of the wall surrounding the stone structure seemed to be cheaply reinforced with wooden barriers.

A voice called out from up above, “Oi! Who goes down thare!?” A slightly high pitched voice echoed. It snapped Stiv out of a trance he was in and he realized he was closer to the fort than the pathway he was taking allowed. He looked up and saw two men, both with bows drawn and arrows pointing directly at him.

Bandits.jpg

Stiv looked around, taking note of his surroundings. There wasn’t much around him to take cover behind. He glanced back up to the man calling down at him, “Sorry, I seem to have gotten lost. I don’t suppose you can give me directions to the nearest town, would you?” This was an obvious lie as even these fools had a clear view of Whiterun in the distance.

“What’ar ya, stupid?” The high pitch voiced man asked. He looked at the his partner next to him, seemingly muttering something, then back to Stiv. “Where’ar ya coming from?”

Stiv remembered back to the sign, scanning the other directions from memory. “I’m from…Solitude! Yes, I’ve come from Solitude! I’ve an important letter for the Jarl of Whiterun!” At least Stiv knew that about Skyrim. The leaders of each major city is called a Jarl. Looking back at the two men, they were back to conversing about something.

Then something happened that Stiv was trying to avoid. At the entrance, two of the wooden barriers parted and out walked two other men, both brandishing weapons. “You’re coming with us.” One of them said as he walked closer, showing himself as a tall and muscular orc.

“Excuse me? Why would I do that?” Stiv replied, slowly backing away. They were closing the distance quickly at a brisk walk from the entrance.

“I’m sure whatever you have from Solitude is important nowadays.” The other man was talking now, a young nord. “I’m sure that will come at a high price. Maybe your life will too.”

“I don’t think that’s necessary, you don’t need to-” Stiv was cut off as both men grabbed him by his arms and started wrestling him inside the fort walls. In a way, this was what Stiv wanted if he couldn’t avoid an altercation. It would put the archway of the entrance between him and the archers. He did his best to fake a struggle as they pulled him inside.

It happened quick. The orc on his left was the strongest and most resilient. But not even he could stand having his life drained magically. A red glow pulsed from between him and Stiv. Right as the nord figured out what was happening, Stiv was able to wrench his hand free, grab his steel knife and slit the man’s throat, just like the dregs back at his old home. By the time the nord was on the ground, the orc also collapsed. It was quick. It was quiet. He doubted the archers would suspect something had happened to the two kidnappers.

“Bjorn?” The archer from above on the wall called out. “What’s goin’ on down there? Is he givin’ ya some sport?” Stiv heard footsteps coming down the wooden staircase next to the archway.

The vampire started moving his left hand in a circular pattern slowly. Because of the increase in power from recently feeding, he felt new abilities coursing through him. As he concentrated, a pale red orb formed above his hand, growing spikes as it grew as large as his head. Before the archer could speak again, Stiv stepped out from the archway and flung it at him. The spikes grazed the man’s arm and he yelped in pain, Stiv stepping back into cover.

“Wha’ was that?!” The man called out. “What kind o’ magic do ya know?” He started descending the staircase again, but then Stiv heard a fwump in the grass next to him. He saw the upper body of the same archer, face first on the ground. At a closer inspection, there were pale red spikes jutting out of the archers skin where veins would have been. The vampire smirked at the effect of barely a scratch from the spell.

With barely any time to react, a blur shot from around the corner, aiming for Stiv. He moved out of the way, but was caught in his right shoulder, dropping his knife. The second archer stood in a stance in front of him, but not for long as he started attacking once more. Stiv stepped back with each swing, feeling pain from the recent wound. He wasn’t able to catch a break for his drain spell as he was dodging each attack. He waited for an opening. The second archer swung across his body hard, barely scratching Stiv’s stomach, but the vampire took advantage of the man’s small victory. He moved in, pinning the archers axe hand to his body. With Stiv’s left hand, he grabbed the archers neck, jerking to its side and bit in hard. Blood sprayed all over the place and the archer started to fall, Stiv still clamped to the artery.

The wounds started to heal as Stiv fed once more. Normally, he wouldn’t be able to heal at all in sunlight. But feeding negated the effect and in some cases, helped boost his abilities as he was feeding. There was no need to hold back as the archer’s life was drained.

A moment later, Stiv ripped a piece of cloth from one of the bandit’s clothing to wipe the blood from his face and former injuries. He tossed it aside and looked back into the fort. “Might as well see what’s going on inside,” he said to himself after picking up his dagger.

The inside of the fort was dark, barely lit by braziers that dotted the halls.

The only guard seemed to be the ones Stiv dealt with outside. And hopefully there wouldn’t be too many to move around inside. He could take on two to three amateur bandits at once, but quantity can trump quality in some cases.

Dining Hall.jpg

Stiv looked and listened down the hallways. To his right he saw a possibly large room more efficiently lit than where he was now. It’s also possible he heard footsteps and loud talking in the same direction. It could be a feast hall or something of the sort. To the left was quite the opposite. A hallway lined with a few doors, most likely leading to dormitories or storage rooms.

Stiv had no need to fight the bandits. He walked down the left hallway. Taking his time opening doors, he was correct in assuming that it was lined with living areas. That is until he arrived at the last door. Opening it revealed another stone staircase leading down under the fort.

Walking carefully, trying not to make any noise, Stiv stepped down onwards. As he moved on, he heard a less familiar sound. Something like a voice, but muffled. Then someone else clearly spoke. “What’d I tell ya, elf. Quit yer yammerin’ and sit down.”

Step by step, Stiv inched his way down the stairs, coming to another hallway. But instead of wooden doors lining this one, they were barred and locked cell doors. Another orc seemed to be the guard for whatever prisoners they were holding. Stiv didn’t stop moving though. He glanced from cell to cell as he passed each one, noticing one prisoner in each of them. The orc was badgering someone in a cell on the far end.

A quick thrust of his arm and Stiv’s dagger dug into the orcs spine, the vampires other hand draining the rest of the life out of him. The brute cried out in a short gasp of pain before slowly falling over.

Surprisingly, Stiv felt quite drained. He was using too much magic in too short of a time. He has been out of practice for years and trying to use his full strength all at once was not going to work. He had to start training again.

Prison Cell

A quick gasp brought Stiv out of his thoughts. He looked over back into the cell at a tied up and gagged elven woman that the orc was raving at. Panting and slightly out of breath, he reached down to pluck a ring of keys off the dead orc and started trying each out on the cell lock. After one of them eventually opened the cell door, Stiv used his knife to cut the ropes that held the elf and she untied the rest of the way. Before either of them said a word, she sprung up and ran out of the room.

“Ok then…” Stiv started. “The path is clear, don’t worry!” He lazily called out to her. There wasn’t too much noise made during the conflict, so he doubted any other bandits would be investigating.

It didn’t seem like there were any more prisoners. These bandits must have been desperate. Stiv didn’t know what the woman’s worth was, but even a missive that he lied about couldn’t have been that valuable.

Whatever you have from Solitude is important nowadays.’ Stiv thought, recalling what one of the bandits told him outside. What have I been missing?

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On My Experience with Flight Sims and Flying

I’ve wanted to fly planes since I was a kid.

I don’t remember how I got it, but when I was barely in my double digits of age, I had a poster of the F-22 Raptor hanging on my door. That was and still is my favorite fighter jet in the U.S. arsenal. I played Air and Ace Combat games, always trying to figure out how to unlock that fighter if it was available. At the time, it was considered the best fighter jet when it came to dog fights.

I never got to fly it, obviously. I did join the military, but not as a pilot. I only went to college for career classes to be a firefighter and that didn’t turn out too well. So an officer’s career wasn’t very promising in my life. I didn’t mind though. I actually liked the job I had eventually. During the end of basic training though, I did get a rare experience. Just as graduation was ending, my graduating class was one of the few that had an F-22 fly by overhead. One of the coolest sights of my life.

2740Then I rediscovered flight simulators.

I’ve always known about them. In high school, we had a flight club that used the simulators. We used Windows Flight Simulator…..2002 or 2004. I graduated high school in 2006, so it had to be one of those. They had the whole yoke and pedals set up and treated the training just an actual flight school. At least I think they did. At the time, I wouldn’t have known because I was still a naive teenager. I also played flight simulators at home every once in a while but that’s just it, I played. I never actually tried to learn anything on my own, so I always got bored and I always threw them to the side.

Only recently have I taken flight simulators seriously. I found out the base I work at has an aero club. I started to get real interested in planes and flying again, but this time, I was actually going to do it. I wanted to do it right and be ahead of the curve I suppose. Unfortunately, the ground school at the aero club is just about always full, even almost a year in advance. So I got back into the simulators.

Since I knew of Windows Flight Simulator from previous experience, I purchased the most recent one, Flight Simulator 2010 (FSX). I liked making games as immersive as possible, so I already had a joystick, throttle and TrackIR (If you don’t know, TrackIR tracks your head movement) from a separate game. Those were used those to make the simulator as realistic as possible. I know most conventional planes don’t have joysticks but rather yokes, but it’s what I had at the time.

Now FSX has it’s own kind of virtual flight school that I used. It actually helped me a great deal. I also joined the Flight Sim and Aviation subreddits to increase my knowledge on the subject, both for simulators and actual flying. I practically had all the help I could get before taking an actual flight school class.

I was hooked. It wasn’t too long until I purchased a yoke and pedals as well as third party simulator planes. From training planes such as the C-172 Skyhawk to the P-51 Mustang. All general aviation planes. I had a thing for the prop planes. I guess I just like being able to hear and feel the wind from a propeller rather than just a slow wine from a jet turbine. I also got into software that gave flying from point A to point B a purpose. Little objectives so I’m being entertained as I learned. It was kind of the perfect set up.

Left feature low N40934It wasn’t long until I called to start flight training.

I didn’t go the aero club on base though. They have a monthly fee on top of paying for each lesson. I went to a nearby flight school. I also didn’t start ground school. Just like the aero club, their class was all booked up as well. Flying seemed to be pretty popular where I was. But I was told by one of the instructors there that ground school isn’t necessary. A short lecture is done before each flight. Couple that with some at home studying from a text-book, and it could be just as good as ground school.

So I booked my first discovery flight. The plane was a P-28 Cherokee. I told my instructor about how I got into flight sims and he let me fly. I don’t know if this is common for a discovery flight, but I felt prepared.

I was half prepared. Sure, I knew the gauges, I learned how the properties of flight worked, all that stuff. But something I knew was different from a flight sim was the feeling. I was very nervous once I sat in the pilot’s seat and started up the engine. I couldn’t even taxi straight. But as soon as we got to the end of the flight line, I did my best to push all the nerves to the side.

They were still there, but as soon as we started rolling, I was having more fun than I was feeling nervous. Once I felt we were in the air, I had nothing else on my mind other than flying the plane. Sure, I was white knuckled on the yoke and holding down one of the rudder pedals because of the yaw, but I was having so much fun and we were in the air for only less than a minute. I took the plane to about 2,500 feet. After performing some basic turns and straightening out at certain headings, my instructor was able to direct me over my home. I half wanted to take my phone out and tell my wife to get outside and look up.

After a few u-turn, it was time to head back to the home flight line. Now this was in the summer and because of the heat thermals, there was a ton of turbulence at low altitudes. Even though my instructor wanted me to land, I had to refuse. He took control and brought us down. The same thing happened at the end of the second and last flight so far.

But for the second flight, we went over stall training. I have never been so scared in my life. We were sitting at 3,000 ft. this time. Almost nothing but farmland and the nearby city in the distance. He demonstrated a stall the first time. My stomach sank. No rollercoaster could replicate that fear. The plane just felt liked it dropped, which it kind of did. Nose first, it dipped, but as soon as it did, the instructor performed the preparations to level it out again. The first time I tried it out, I slammed the throttle back up as fast as I could out of sheer panic. After he told me to ease it from now on, I had the plane stall a third time. I was still scared out of my mind, but I was able to control myself a little better.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had another lesson since.

The winter weather came in and the rain started to happen. Whether they would let me go up while it was raining or not, I didn’t feel prepared for it. And of course, flying is an expensive hobby. I got married recently and I’m just now recovering from some of the expenses on that. I have high intentions of continuing at some point soon though.

Prey Review

This is my very first review.

I am by no means a professional. I am just taking what I’ve seen out of the game I played and I am going to offer my opinion of it as well as an overall score. I think the world can only benefit from more player, unbiased reviews that aren’t influenced by anything other than what they have experienced. So without further ado, here is my Prey review.

20170515142303_1What is Prey about?

Prey is a FPS action RPG video game in a futuristic setting on board a space station called Talos I. You play a character named Morgan Yu, one of two brothers who now head a company called TranStar which seems to invent many innovative creations. One of which is the Neuromod, which in the game, gives you your skill points. After the beginning of the game, events transpire and you are against a mysterious alien species called the Typhon. Not only that, but it seems there are shady things going on with Transtar and your brother, Alex.

The game has been compared to others such as System Shock, Bioshock and Deus Ex. I have only played two of these games, but those opinions aren’t far from the truth. The skill system does give a very Bioshock feel and the setting does remind me of Deus Ex…..just on a space station. While some people don’t like this form of creation, saying Arkane Studios is just copying other games, in my opinion, it doesn’t make it any less of an experience. It does bring its own moves to the floor in a way.

20170515150726_1.jpgThis game actually scares me.

The most common enemy in the game are mimics, tiny four legged creatures that can turn into any object. And I mean any object. From a bar stool to a box of ammo you can pick up. This may get old to some people, but unless you actually see a mimic crawl around and turn into that object, there’s almost no way to see that the object is something it’s not. The game also gives a detailed explanation on how the little creatures do this too. It doesn’t simply morph into the the object, creating a clone.20170516164504_1.jpg

20170515150147_1The mimics aren’t the only threat on the station. Early on, you’re also introduced to a stronger, larger Typhon organism called a phantom. This one is more human-like but each one has different “psychonic” powers. While not that big of a threat once you invest your skill points in appropriate areas, these creatures are used for the occasional jump scare. I’m not going to tell you exactly where or when this happened, but one did seem to jump out at me from a mirror-like video screen. I immediately shot the mirror, thinking it was there, then paused the game and watched some TV for a few minutes. Once you think you’re comfortable roaming around Talos I, the Typhon throw something else at you.

20170515150101_1.jpgLet’s move on to the gameplay itself.

The FPS concept is not bad. I say not bad because the game removes any iron sights from the guns to replace it with a button for any psychonic powers you choose to learn. This only keeps me from getting that perfect shot, but it doesn’t really matter that much. It seems the Typhon don’t even have a head to shoot at anyway, so getting that awesome 360 no scope ladder stall head shot isn’t going to work for anyone.

The GLOO gun offers a more unique weapon to the table. This is the second weapon you receive after the all powerful Hephaestus “Heffy” Twist & LOOP Handle Wrench. The GLOO gun does exactly what you think and more. If you hit a Typhon with a shot of GLOO, it will start to freeze them in place, giving you that one-two punch we remember from Bioshock. Not only does it give you an advantage in combat, but you can use it to scale new heights. Hitting a solid surface with the GLOO makes a hardened bubble ledge appear. You can make a wall ramp from one floor to another if you don’t know where a certain keycard is.

Later, the game offers you to learn certain psychonic abilities. You have a tool that you are able to scan the Typhon and turn their abilities into your own. I have only experimented with one of the more offensive abilities, but there are much more, such as the mimics ability to turn into other objects.

20170515143217_1Moving on to graphics.

The visuals aren’t the best I’ve seen. It seems that the developers were concentrating mainly on the details for the space station itself as well as the Typhon. Everything else just took a back seat compared to those two. The facial animations could use some work, but I kind of understand why they didn’t concentrate on that. In your travels throughout Talos I, it seems like you’re the only one there, so there didn’t seem much need to concentrate on facial graphics.

The Typhon are a scary, beautiful creation. All of them are dangerous. But the mimics move with grace before they violently attack you. There’s one Typhon organism that just latches to a wall, but creates this yellow mist that looks like it’s right out of a painting.
The world that was built is very in depth.

Magazines and books litter the station for you to read and find out more about how humanity achieved all of this. There’s excerpts from the first space elevator to cooking instructions. The game tells the history of the space race as well as about the organization the Yu’s manage. For a potentially short game, there is a lot of world building and a lot of potential for more.

If you read the emails each terminal have, the staff of Talos I have their own agendas as well. Some are caught stealing company secrets and some are playing a Dungeons and Dragons clone game.

There are still some issues with this game.

I’ve already gone over the lack of iron sights for the weapons. But the game has some more, game breaking bugs that need to be addressed. The most common I’ve heard of and have experienced myself is the PC version crashing. The game has been out for almost three weeks by the time this article is published and it still isn’t fixed. I don’t know if they don’t know what’s going on or if they’re leaving it in there as a “Hey, you’ve been playing for far too long. Take a break,” kind of deal.

I have also seen issues of people jumping through the world. I’m sure you know what I mean. You’re walking through Talos I and you see a ledge you want to get to. You jump up, but find yourself crawling over a rail lower than you expected and fall behind the game wall. You start falling and die because there was a literal hole in the game.

20170515143042_1My overall score: 8/10

This game is great. I can’t wait to finish this review and play some more. Yes, the game breaking issues are….game breaking. But as long as you’re careful and save often, it shouldn’t hinder you too much.

Talos I holds such mystery to it. It seems like they threw the twist out way too early, but still playing the game, I can’t help but feel that I’m still being messed with. I read every email on each computer I find because I want to find something that will confirm my suspicions.

Let me know how I did.

As I said above, this is my very first game review. I attempted to be as unbiased as possible, only going by my experience of the game. I know the review is late since the game came out May 5th, but let’s just say this is a practice run. Any feedback would be very much appreciated, thank you.

Skyrim Fanfiction: The Tale of Stiv

[I love Skyrim and I love actually living the game as my character. I don’t use fast travel and I try to play as realistically as possible with help from multiple mods. Because of this, I find myself wanting to write the story of my characters. This one is about Stiv, a vampire that leaves his coven and goes out on his own.]

Vampire Cave.pngThe coven was useless.

Living in a cave, picking off the random traveler or merchant on the road was no way for a vampire to live. Stiv’s so called vampire family was useless. They lived as rats rather than the superior beings they were meant to be. All this potential was wasted, all suggestions to venture out and claim more of Skyrim shot down by the majority.

It was time to leave. It was dusk and Stiv took a step outside the cave. The final moments of the day’s sunlight leaving a mild tingle on his pale flesh. Flanking the entrance to his now former home were two thralls, under the power of the miniscule vampire group.

“Anything you need, master?” Asked the one on the left. Both were former bandits, begging to be servants rather than food for the coven. An early warning alarm couldn’t hurt just in case a wandering mercenary caught wind of them. Continue reading “Skyrim Fanfiction: The Tale of Stiv”

On Tabletop Roleplaying Games

Pathfinder_tabletop-e1450054060672I’ve played a few tabletop roleplaying games.

I started a year or two after I moved to the west coast U.S.A. I’ve always wanted to try something like Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, something like that, but never had a group of friends that were interested enough to step away from video games. But once I moved to the other side of the country, I found the right group for it. I didn’t even know they played until I was invited over to one of their dorm rooms one night. Continue reading “On Tabletop Roleplaying Games”

Very New To This

I’ve never done a blog before.

I want to try to do this right, but I also want to try to do this my way. Honestly, I don’t know how many ways there are to do this. I guess I can say I’ve done things like this before. Since I’m into games, I’ve tried Twitch for a while, then YouTube. Both I played video games on and hoped I would get more viewers each day or week or even month. Continue reading “Very New To This”