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December 24th, 2012, 00:04
Well I finished my adventures with Varg which went very well indeed. His main goal was to join the Dawnguard and rid the world of Vampires and the undead. However like most heroes he learned not all is what it seems. He accomplished his mission but in the process learned that not all undead are pure evil or what they seem.

However with no other games on the horizon, and one more DLC on the way, I decided to make one more character, Grimwolf Nightblade. I wrote up his story this weekend and started to play him. His story is very long but for anyone who wants to read it feel free (although its typical fan-fiction quality). I seperated it into parts - the OOC preamble followed with his birth/creation story and then his opening adventure. I tried to stick very closely to lore whenever I could although I took some liberty in assuming Lorkhan and the All-Maker are just different aspects of the same god. I posted some shots of him in another thread but will post one here for reference, from when he first arrived in Falkreath.

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Grimwolf Nightblade

Preamble:


When I play characters in a game I prefer to play as myself to various degrees. Most often it is my idealized version of myself – the person I truly wish to be. The noble hero, strong, powerful and capable of defending not only myself but those I care about. I am the hero who is always helping out others, protecting the weak, and a guardian of nature. Beowulf, Gandalf, King Arthur, Robin Hood … those are some of my heroes from literature that most may know. At other times I play closer to my own personality, still good but with more faults and more self-involved. However a third character I like to explore is one that looks a bit deeper into the shadow archetype (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_%28psychology%29). We all have our shadows and to be truly self-aware one needs to confront and accept the darker aspects one human nature. This does not mean I am evil or bad but it does mean I will give in to some of the darker desires of the id. Consider the vigilante who would rather kill the villain then let them go; the person who will make their own moral judgments instead of letting the laws decide; it is the person who may rationalize their deeds as being necessary for the end result.

An example of this is the anti-hero. One example, in the context of Skyrim, would be the assault on the Thalmor at Northwatch Keep. The most noble would try diplomacy first. Failing that they may try to sneak in, doing the least amount of violence to rescue the prisoner. A darker hero might consider the Thalmor an eternal enemy of human kind and destroy any who would get in his way (although he would let those who wanted to flee do so). This then is Grimwolf Nightblade, a darker, grittier hero with dark passions and a violent nature yet one who tries to not let those feelings rule him; instead he uses them as fuel to achieve his goals.

Lastly I should point out I need a connection to my character. If I just say so and so was born of human peasants, or nobles, in a town and raised as such and such it makes the character someone else. No matter how far-fetched, how illogical, or fantastical, I like to come up with some reason how I might be there. That comes in the creation and birth phase.

The Birth of Grimwolf Nightblade:

The great God Lorkhan, who was primary in creating Nirn, was once again in need of an avatar; someone who would work on his behalf to help protect his creation from the forces of Oblivion and the chaos of the nameless Void. But the gods could no longer directly intervene in the world of Nirn and could only nudge and influence events. Lorkhan was even more limited as he no longer truly existed as a God. He was everything and nothing. In his dreams he felt Nirn was threatened yet again. Unable to directly interfere with those in the world itself he reached out his divine mind across dimensions seeking a kindred soul willing to accept his gifts in exchange for their vow to serve him.

He found a soul, recently separated from its body, willing and eager. Knowing that his agents worked best given their complete freedom he let the forces of creation shape and define this souls new body based on its innermost needs and desires … and this was born Grimwolf Nightblade.

Grimwolf was born to the Skaal Wolf Clan (http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/Skaal), followers of the All-Maker (http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/All-Maker), living in a lost and forgotten valley deep in the mountains. The Skaal believe that when a creature dies, its spirit returns to the All-Maker*, who shapes it into something new and returns it to Mundus. This particular tribe had been isolated for so long from the rest of the world, due to a massive earthquake that had isolated them in this valley, and spent so much time in wolf form, that they had forgotten most of their human aspects and knowledge, spending their lives in wolf form unable to return to human form.

Only one among them still retained the knowledge to become human again, one of the Elders of the tribe by the name of Wolfgar. He was centuries old as he had learned the rare ability to transform into a tree. His roots drawing life and energy from the sacred glade he lived in. But time took its toll on his memory and much of his people’s lore and knowledge was lost to him. The earthquake had destroyed all their artifacts, tools, and writings. He had managed to recreate much of it once, only to lose it in a great fire that had swept through part of the valley. He had retreated to tree form after that and lost himself in dreams until the night a vision woke him from his deep sleep … the arrival of Grimwolf.

Grimwolf appeared as a Nord infant at the sacred grove next to the tree that was Wolfgar, and the Skaal there took this as a sign from the All-Maker that he had some greater purpose. Wolfgar, the Elder returned to human form and did what he could to help raise the young man. While he had forgotten much he recalled the basics of human language and some writing. He taught Grimwolf everything he could remember (although Grimwolf was to find much later that he spoke with an odd dialect that only scholars and mages seemed to recognize). Wolfgar had once been an excellent fighter and he was able to teach Grimwolf some of the basics of human combat. Now and then a adventurers body would wash over the falls into the valley and from them he had managed to salvage a few weapons and even some ancient barbaric Nord armor that seemed resistant to rust and age.

Meanwhile the Skaal wolves taught Grimwolf how to hunt and move with stealth in the woods. Grimwolf created his own form of armed combat, a mix of wolf and human that was based on agility and speed. Wolfgar new little about whom, or what, Grimwolf was beyond the first vision he had from the All-Maker, but he had the resistance to cold that was a Nords heritage and he would often run around in little more than a loincloth in even the coldest of weather and blizzards. The magic of the grove seemed to strengthen and nurture his growth and by the age of sixteen he was well over seven feet tall.

Yet one thing, the most important thing, the thing he craved the most, avoided Grimwolfs reach; he was unable to transform into a wolf. The Elder had tried to teach him only to realize he no longer could remember the rites and the magic needed. They had lived so long as wolves they had lost the ability to transform. As Grimwolf got older his frustration and anxiety grew. Still he was mostly content. The tribe took advantage of his human form to gather food, build shelters, and help them hunt. All this exercise forged Grimwolf into a powerful and muscular young man with exceptional senses and stamina. He also developed many of the morals of the tribe. While he understood loyalty to the pack and honor he also adapted what some might call a cruel and violent approach to life when it came to killing anything that threatened him, or the pack, as well as hunting for food. He became a ruthless killer that the Elder tried to soften by strengthening the ideals of honor, loyalty, and to only hunt for survival and never for sport.

At first Wolfgar thought Grimwolf had been gifted to them to return them to their old ways and glory but his inability to shift seemed to reject this idea. Wolfgar was at a loss as to Grimwolfs purpose, although he was happy to have him with them. He began to recall more of what they had lost by becoming wolves and he enjoyed the companionship of the young man. But he knew Grimwolfs destiny was not to provide company to an old shaman.

On Grimwolfs sixteenth name-day, the age when most Skaal would have made the formal rite of passage, he decided to try an old ritual to commune with the All-Maker. He had tried once before but it had failed and he had had no communion with the All-Maker since the night Grimwolf had first appeared. But he felt this would be different … and it was.

On the night of the full moon they sat in the waters of the sacred grove and began the ritual. Their spirits left their mortal bodies and become one with the valley around them. As they moved through the woods it became dark and fog filled the air … and then the visions came in a rush, like a dream yet with crystal clarity like none he had experience before. The fog transformed into a monstrous beast, half wolf half man, a twisted form of what the Skaal were (who were either pure wolf or pure human). A bloodlust filled this beast yet it was aware and intelligent. It was poised to attach them yet struggled with its rage to bring it under control. Then the mist dissipated and reformed, this time into a white stag of majestic beauty and a single word whispered through the air and that word bespoke of a Daedric Prince, Hircine the Lord of the Hunt.

Again the fog swirled and changed and for a moment they looked down upon a map of the land, and saw a town in a deep forest with shadows of death rising from the ground. Above it floated the antlers of a stag and another word whispered in their mind, Falkreath it whispered, and their field of vision altered again to behold a worn and distressed human locked in a pit. On their hand they saw a ring that grew in their minds eye. It was in the shape of a wolf circled on itself, tail to nose.

Then all went black, like the void, and they were torn away from their vision to a new place. Here was Evergloom the shadows whispered, home of the Daedric Prince Nocturnal. Out of the shadows a man crept who seemed familiar … it was Grimwolf only older and far less innocent. In the dark he went to face the first monstrous beast they had seen. The two fought but then the strangest thing happened. The two melted together, becoming something different, greater than the sum of the parts, something the ancient shaman knew was cleansed of the influence of the Daedric Princes yet also part of them. A new type of Skaal, mighty hunters of the night and shadows, and a final word became etched into their minds, Kveld-Úlfr. The Elder knew that word, it was a very ancient dialect of the Nords and it referred to shape-shifters and meant “Evening or Night Wolf”.

It was then Wolfgar knew Grimwolfs destiny although no idea how he would achieve it outside of where to start looking. When they awoke the next morning Wolfgar and Grimwolf discussed the vision. Wolfgar explained he thought the All-Maker was going to transform the Skaal into something new and that Grimwolf was destined to facilitate that change. What other purpose the All-Maker might have for Grimwolf he did not know.

Grimwolf felt he knew though for while he had shared the visions he had had his own and he knew they came from another aspect of the All-Maker, that of Lorkhan. He had been granted a new chance at life in exchange for serving Lorkhan. In his visions he had seen ancient creature called Alduin, the World-Destroyer, and he saw himself fighting this great being. He also saw other dangers to the world of Nirn that he knew was his destiny to face. Yet, if he managed to survive these trials, he also saw a glimpse of someday returning to this valley, if he wished, to return the Skaal to the world as a new breed of defenders of Nirn, the Kveld-Úlfr, the Night Wolves, a new type of were-wolf able to shift into the shadows as easily as they could human and wolf form.

The Adventure Begins:

With little more than his two daggers, a rusted great sword, and the enchanted barbaric leather armor Wolfgar had saved, Grimwolf was lead to an underground river that Wolfgar said would bring him to the outside world. The current was fast and there was no surety of success nor could he return this way. But with an ever increasing sense of adventure and need Grimwolf was determined to try.

Grimwolf managed to survive the journey but he was badly hurt in the trip. He washed ashore in Skyrim, as was the plan, and rescued by a group of humans he later learned identified themselves as Stormcloaks. In some ways it was a blessing that he was barely coherent as Grimwolf found himself overwhelmed with all the information bombarding his senses. He had no experience with other humans and spoke as little as possible. The Nords appeared satisfied with the assumption that his injuries had him addled.

It was shortly after that their camp was ambushed by more humans, who claimed the title of Imperials. Grimwolf cared little for the titles but he understood the difference that could occur in human “packs” as Wolfgar had taught him some of this. Still his nightmare continued, leaving little time to ground and center himself. He found he was being led to his death for no other reason than being found with the Stormcloaks, whose cause he cared nothing for. Only to have his imminent death prevented by an attack of a dragon whom he felt he should know for some reason but could not remember why.

He found his loyalty torn as he was helped first by one of the Stormcloaks, named Ralof, and later by one of the imperials named Hadvar. He was lost and confused, acting on pure instinct as they fled the attack of the dragon. Never had he felt so unsure and unable to focus. He cared little for whom he followed. When they both yelled at him to follow them into the keep he went with the closest, which was Ralof. At least he knew him from his earlier rescues when he first arrived in Skyrim.

They fled deep into the keep, into the dungeons and passages below. Ralof commented a few times at how efficient a fighter Grimwolf was. Grimwolf could also smell an underlying current of fear as Ralof watched him butcher those in his way. So he tried to control his rage and bring himself into focus and control as he had been trained by Wolfgar. By the time he had escaped Helgen he had managed a little self-control.

Ralof told him he should come to his home village, Riverwood, but then said they should go their separate ways, which only confused Grimwolf. In the end, battered, hurt, and confused he ran off into the woods seeking the solace of nature. On an almost instinctual level he also felt a pull leading him somewhere. He had learned to trust his instincts so he followed them.

While travelling he came across a band of men attacking someone, from his studies with Wolfgar he thought she was an old Dunmer. He was not sure what to do when he saw them cut her down as she cried on the ground. Being in need of supplies and understanding these were not men of honor, he attached and quickly dispatched them. Looking through their belongings he was able to figure out they were mercenaries, swords for hire, and they had recently accepted a commission for the Jarl of Falkreath. When he saw that name he grew dizzy as the vision returned … he needed to go to this place. He was supposed to find some man with a ring and it had something to do with Hircine.

Taking some of their gear, weapons, and papers, he decided he would adapt the identity of a mercenary while becoming acquainted with the “civilized” world of Skyrim. While he knew he had much to accomplish he also felt no geas on his behavior, no pressing need for speed. He understood, on some level, that he needed to learn and grow in power before he could truly confront his enemies in the future. Based on his visions he knew that he would learn to shape-shift, although not in the way of the Skaal and that he had to learn to control this form he would take. He knew little beyond that fact that it was connected to Hircine, Falkreath, a ring, and an ancient band of fighters referred to as “The Companions”. He also had some vague memories, from his night of visions, of joining some guild so he could make contact with Nocturnal. Beyond that he was on his own and could only hope he would find his way.

It was getting very dark when he finally reached Falkreath, tired beyond all endurance, and all he craved was food and sleep. A guard directed him to a place humans collected, an Inn named “Dead Mans Drink”. He somehow managed to convey his needs and paid for food and a room with some of the gold he had looted from the mercenaries he had killed. As he lay in a real bed for the first time his mind settled on how he would interact with people. He would call himself Grimwolf Nightblade, a mercenary for hire, and he would earn a living while training his skills and increasing his power at the same time. With that he drifted off to sleep, firm in his resolution to track down the imprisoned human with the ring somewhere in this town of Falkreath.
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Character is centrality, the impossibility of being displaced or overset. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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