Archive for July, 2009

From Breakfast to Hell, Part 16

30 Jul

There was a pause in the conversation. It was just long enough to remind everyone, once again, exactly where they were.

“Say,” Vatsy began, “you wouldn’t happen to know the way out of…”

The scientist bobbed his head, scrambling to his feet. “Right, yeah, this way.”

He began to jog at an awkward pace, limbs fighting over whether they should be getting out as fast as possible or ensuring they stay close to people with the guns. Vatsy and Bruno kept up as best as they could.

After a few minutes, Vatsy tucked his pistol into the lantern, brought out his notebook, and began to move at a sort of three-legged lope as he reviewed its contents.

“You know,” he commented, “not a bad piece, all considered. Not quite the story of adventure I was hoping for, and there’s a few holes in the narrative, but nothing I can’t patch up as I work along.”
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From Breakfast to Hell, Part 15

29 Jul

Vatsy blinked, staring at the open doorway.

“Er. Did those shots sound like they came from…nearby, at all?”

Bruno shook his head, inching towards the door. “Hard to say.”

Vatsy began to speak, but Bruno gestured sharply with his off hand. Vatsy shrank into silence.

With the coiled, dormant energy of a caged animal, Bruno crept towards the doorframe, gun pointed at the darkness beyond. He paused at the threshold, ears pricked, muscles taut.

Another shot rang out. It was unmistakably close.

Bruno dove through the doorway.

He landed outside in a sort of skid, feet sliding across the floor with enough friction to pivot him around midway across. His arms windmilled, gun arcing from one direction to the other as he frantically checked his surroundings.

Down the right fork, highlighted in the ghostly illumination of his own chest-mounted lantern, was the older mercenary. He was facing away from Bruno, clutching a smoking pistol and staring off into the murk.

Bruno hesitated, then coughed loudly.

The mercenary whipped around, eyes gleaming wide in the lamplight, pistol quivering with nervous energy. He twitched the light onto Bruno, stared at him for a moment, then lowered the gun an inch.

“Almost shot you there, you sneaky bastard!”

Bruno shrugged, walking up to the merc with gun ready. “Got a right to be twitchy. Look, were you shooting at anything just there?”

The mercenary considered this, then grunted. “Dunno. I mean, I thought for sure I saw something move up near the doors, but…” He paused, then shook his head.

“Twitchy,” Bruno finished.

“Yeah.” He grimaced, shuddering inwardly. “Goddamn, I hate this place.”

Bruno glanced back down the hallway. “Right, we’re on our way out. Know where any of the others are?”

The mercenary shook his head. “Not ‘cept Jens. She’s in Hall D.” He winced, shuddering again. “And E. And a few feet into F, poor sod. Anyway. Don’t know where Galt or the boss are.”

“Galt have a large mole on his right hand?”

“Yeah, think he might.”

“Galt is not in the picture.”

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In a Hostile Country: The Saga of Cahmel (Let’s Play Morrowind, Part 7)

26 Jul

Not pictured: idea where I am, how to get out of canal.

When we last left our hero, he was floundering around in the canals like an inverse fish and paying far too much for a 15-foot boat ride.

I won’t summarize the visits to the Great Houses themselves, because those were pretty much dull exercises in jogging up various flights of stairs like an OCD Rocky, finding the guy with the fanciest robe, asking him a few questions, and finding the next Canton.

What I will share is my findings. As I mentioned earlier, each House has a different focus.

Redoran, I discovered, is a House of honor. It obeys a code of the warrior that dictates they never falter in their duties, never flinch from a challenge. Warriors of Redoran uphold the virtues of a noble order, trying to bring peace and order to Morrowind.

I had the right set of skills for Redoran,  but…I dunno. It seemed a little…vanilla? Don’t get me wrong, for the obligatory set of Good Guy quests, the Redoran stuff is actually pretty thoughtful and creative. There’s a bare minimum of rescuing kittens from trees and giving them to orphans while kicking mustached wizards down flights of stairs. Still, their questline maybe isn’t as thoughtful or creative as the alternative.

Telvanni, for their part, is Redoran’s opposite. Telvanni is a House of power—you get what you grab, you grab what you can, and anyone that stands in your way is to be incinerated. Doesn’t seem bad, but there are a few problems.

For one thing, walking through their guild halls, you notice that a good percentage of their employees are Dunmer. Somehow, I get the sense this club ain’t too welcoming of outlanders. There was nothing ostentations—no separate mana fountains or anything like that— but the Telvanni offices had the sort of diversity of colors you’d find in a next-gen FPS. Running on a etch-a-sketch.

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The Week to Come

25 Jul

Alright, From Breakfast to Hell is only a couple entries away from being finis. With this in mind, I might double down on V&B this week to get it over wiff, while leaving you in suspense about New Firm. You’ll still get at least one helping of Cahmel, of course, starting tomorrow.

I thought I should let you know a super-secret fact about my super-secret project coming up afterwards:

It’s secret.

And since that probably won’t assuage your curiosity, here’s another:

It will be confined to a single week.

Also:

It will include every single day of that week.

As for this week:

  • The Hard Decision (Or Not)
  • V&B 1
  • V&B 2
  • More Art Stuff

Fun Fact of the Week: And it’ll have a banner.

 

The New Firm: Minutes of the Meeting

24 Jul

It was evening.

When groups of people travel together, there are two kinds of silences you get: the light silence that comes from thoughtful self-relfection, and the kind of silence that comes with an unspoken agreement to beat down the first individual who opens their stupid mouth. Rutskarn, Ozongo, and Baghut walked down the road with a silence thick and violent enough to stun passing wildlife.

They were having a conversation. Rather, they had already had it, in their heads.

It started when Ozongo didn’t say, Well, that was humiliating.

Rutskarn would have claimed that it wasn’t that bad. Or maybe he wouldn’t have. It didn’t matter, because nobody would have listened. Well, also, because he didn’t actually say it or not say it. Except that he did not say it. Regardless, it didn’t matter.

Baghut would have snarled that he didn’t know why he hung around with those freaks. Actually, technically, he did so, albeit at a mutter. Baghut wasn’t much for social subtlety.

Then there would have been a few moments of silence anyway.

Ozongo would have said that they could never return to that village again. Baghut would have said that there was no way they would ever want to return to that pile of sticks and pig crap, which was true. If he was feeling particularly bold, Rutskarn would have said that some day, they’d look back on today’s events and laugh. Then, if the other two let this remark slide, they’d have another moment of silence.

Finally, Rutskarn would agree that as soon as they got some money, they would buy different clothes. Ozongo would agree. After a guilty pause, he wouldn’t suggest stealing different ones.

They wouldn’t discuss how they’d get any more money, because none of them had any idea, and they weren’t really in the frame of mind to address that question.

That would be the end of the conversation. Ozongo would go back to wrestling half-heartedly with himself. Baghut would skip back to his recurring daydream of murdering people who irritate him. Rutskarn would…wonder many things. He would wonder where to go next. He would wonder if they’d figure out he had no idea where they were going next. He would wonder if he should tell them about what he’d found in his pants pocket. He would wonder what was going to go next in the trip, and speculate as to whether it would happen tomorrow or tonight. He decided it would happen tomorrow. Fate, though cruel, does tend to have a sense of timing.

Usually, anyway.

About an hour later, they found the body.

 
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In a Hostile Country: The Saga of Cahmel (Let’s Play Morrowind, Part 6)

22 Jul

I felt guilty about leaving off just as I arrived at Vivec, so here’s another update for you. Don’t say I never do things that might vaguely amuse you for a few minutes before acting insufferably, smugly generous.

When we last left our stalwart hero, he had just paid too much for a ticket to a city only a mile or two away, and was contemplating the best place to go beddy-bye.

Anyway, I wasn’t in the mood to muck around looking for lodgings, so I dropped any pretense of distinguishing in-character and out-of-character geographical knowledge and went straight for the nearest inn.

On my way up, I was given a splendid pair of reminders Re: Why I Hate Vivec.

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From Breakfast to Hell, Part 14

21 Jul

Bruno was leaned against the low counter, hat skewed unsettlingly, eyes glassy and unfocused. He was propped up at an odd angle, as if he had began to straighten himself up and didn’t have the will to finish. He held a palm over the side of his chest, clenching it tightly to his ribs as blood oozed up and over the fingers, absorbed by his fur and dripping to the ground.

Partially because it was so badly bloodied, and partially because he was a bit preoccupied, it took Vatsy a moment to realize that the palm Bruno was staunching the bleeding with was not, in fact, in own.

He was using a human hand. And if Vatsy had to guess where it came from, he probably would have suspected the handless, exquisitely mangled corpse on top of the counter.

Bruno didn’t notice Vatsy for a moment, focused intensely inwards as if carefully counting each second. Then he glanced up, blinked at Vatsy, and gave a quiet, polite cough.

“Think we might need to revaluate the plan, boss.”
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In a Hostile Country: The Saga of Cahmel (Let’s Play Morrowind, Part 5)

20 Jul

When we last left our hero, Cahmel, he was hopelessly, ridiculously, absurdly lost. Somehow, his brilliant strategy of wandering out into the roads, identical canyons, and inscrutable wasteland of this hostile countryside did not pay off terribly well. Next thing I knew, the map indicated that I was going exactly the opposite direction from my intended destination. This is what seasoned trailblazers like to refer to as, “the wrong way”.

Now, some of you might be thinking: if you know generally where the city is, why don’t you just walk there in a straight line and hope to bump into it? T’ain’t that simple. See, the entirety of Morrowind seems to be made up of tumor-like, obscenely rounded canyons that jut up on either side of the road, like giant, intelligence-insulting barriers preventing you from getting too lost. Oh, alright, that’s not fair—that’s really only towards the center of the landmass, and in the areas around Balmora. Still, I accidentally wandered off a road I was sure was Vivec-bound, and ended up in one of these canyons with no choice but to stick it out until I ended up anywhere else. Once I broke out of this canyon, I was free to move around a bit more intelligently.

Finally, after studying my map, picking my roads carefully, and rechecking my position relative to Vivec twice a minute, I arrived, footsore and weary, at the magnificent gates of

Wait, isn't that

Balmora OH GOD DAMN IT.
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One More Thing

18 Jul

Oh, right, there was that other thing. So minor, I hesitate to mention it. Just wanted to give you a heads up:

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The Week to Come

18 Jul

I’m sure there’s nothing special about this week at all, so I’m just going to give a simple rundown of all of the typical fiction-type stuff we do here. Not like there’s anything else major happening this week at all.

  • Cahmel
  • Vatsy and Bruno
  • Rutskarn Fiction
  • Pretty Picture

Fun Fact for the Week: Totally nothing else going on, guys.