Gr'mer Longfang


Active Member
So the Archmage known as Rimion disappeared on some quest never to be heard from again. Stard lost control of the beast within, changing near a small settlement. In a brief moment of clarity, before he had caused any undo anguish, he cast himself from a high cliff. He was buried a hero.

Actually, I bought the DLC Dragonborn when it went on sale. Of course, that meant an upgrade to SkyRe which involved dumping my old characters. I'm returning to my first love in the game: Khajiit. Gr'mer was the first character made. I believe I have made a couple since. The latest is very similar in appearance. The following was more of an exercise in writing than a record of anything that happened in the game. I think a daily journal becomes too tedious and borders on the same droll entries that plague blogs and social networking (e.g. dear diary, today I ate a banana). It becomes a bit stale when battles seem so similar. Instead, I decided to play the character without journaling. Now I will use the character and the world for some stories without them being tied to what was experienced in game.

Go easy on me, I only proof-read through it once.

Gr’mer deftly slid an arrow from his quiver and nocked it on the string of his bow. He twisted his body and peered over the edge of the rock he was lying on. His ears pushed flat against his head as his large orange eyes followed the distant figure patrolling the compound spread out below him. The last couple rays of the sun flowed up the walls of the distant city as it was descending behind the mountains. Another couple minutes and Gr’mer would have the advantage of darkness. Most other creatures did not enjoy the benefits of natural night vision, and he was absolutely certain that the Nord walking around below would have difficulty picking out an archer in the hills at night.

The bounty that the Jarl had placed on the bandit leader’s head was not enough to really give Gr’mer a retirement, but it would give him a something to survive on. The folks in the town had been pleasant enough, but he had been denied lodging and was ushered out of the city well before evening. As a Khajiit, he had been lucky to even be allowed in the city much less given the bounty letter. Far too many of his kind had ruined their reputation in this land long before he had ever arrived. He intended to do his part to change that reputation, starting with collecting on this bounty. With a bit of luck he figured he could have the camp cleared out in time to grab some sleep before the city gates opened in the morning.

Darkness now fully engulfing him, Gr’mer pushed himself up into a kneeling position and raised his bow. He gripped the simple wooden longbow firmly as he drew back the string. The bandit lookout had stopped near a firepit to warm his hands. Briefly, Gr’mer considered slipping into the doorway without removing the lookout, but the thought of an enemy at his back as he pushed inside the cave forced the thought of mercy from his mind. He released his breath as he released the string, the arrow surging into the darkness. Moments later the lookout cried out and then slumped to the ground. Despite his nightvision, Gr’mer could not tell where he had hit the bandit. Another arrow was nocked in his bow as he scanned the dark compound. Movement! His feline eyes picked out a second bandit darting through the shadows, his eyes scanning the hillside as he readied his own bow. Gr’mer shifted his aim toward the wooden structure the man had taken refuge behind. With a shout, the man darted from cover racing across the open compound toward the door. Gr’mer released his arrow, the tiny wooden spear disappearing into the darkness. The bandit gave a little cry and shifted his direction. Gr’mer had led him just a hair too much. He was pulling another arrow from his quiver when a shout close behind him caused him to spin around.

The one in the compound had been drawing his attention, allowing his heavily armed partner to climb the hill unnoticed. Gr’mer growled as he dropped the bow and arrow to the ground. He had just enough time to spin out of the way of the large hammer as it crashed into the rock beside him. Gr’mer leapt aside and yanked his worn scimitar from its scabbard on his back. He ducked as the hammer whistled just over his head in a wide swing. The hammer had immense power, but it was slow to wield and left open defenseless areas. Gr’mer darted in and out of the man’s defenses slashing deftly with his own blade. Gr’mer’s light leather armor would offer no resistance to a weapon such as the hammer but would give minor protection against bladed weapons. The primary advantage was its flexibility and lightness. The heavy armor the man wore provided excellent protection, but also slowed him down even more than the hammer. After a couple minutes of dancing back and forth, the man was slowing from the combination of his armor, the heavy hammer, and numerous slashes in undefended areas. As he brought the hammer down again in a crushing blow against the rock, Gr’mer siezed the opportunity and twisted behind him. The end was quick and as merciful as he could make it. The man’s body dropped to the ground as the moon began to rise over the mountains. The ‘thwack’ of an arrow against the rock near his head alerted Gr’mer to the other bandit still in the camp. He could see the Khajiit against the rocks with the aid of the moon and was intent on sending an arrow through his body before he realized he was in trouble.

A stalemate at range would only end badly for Gr’mer. He had no way of knowing if reinforcements were coming from behind the door. He would have to finish this as quickly as possible. He scooped up his bow and the loose arrow, sending it flying toward the man without bothering to aim. It was went wide, but forced the bandit to duck behind the structure he was using as cover. Gr’mer pulled another arrow from his quiver as he raced down the hill. His nightvision coupled with cat-like reflexes allowed him to move much quicker than a human could. As he neared the overhang above the compound another arrow whistled through the air past him. He paused for a moment to release the one he already had nocked, once again forcing the man into cover. He dropped to the ground inside the compound pulling one more arrow from his quiver. He loosed this one just as the man was coming out to release another shot. It buried in the wood next to his head forcing him to duck aside. Gr’mer had already dropped the bow and was in a full sprint as he slipped his scimitar from its sheath. With only a bow for defense at close range, the man had little he could do. Gr’mer tilted his shoulder as he collided with his opponent sending him crashing into some crates. Before he could regain his senses Gr’mer had finished him with the scimitar. Quickly scanning the rest of the compound but seeing no other bandits, Gr’mer retrieved his bow and placed it over his shoulder. He turned and headed to the closed door. Although the entire battle took less than five minutes he could be wading into a hornet’s nest if they had heard anything.

Twenty feet into the cave he realized he was in luck. Another bandit was there resting on a chair and eating a wedge of cheese. Nothing had been heard of the altercation above. Silently, Gr’mer observed the man, weighing his options. With the man facing him, a direct approach would likely alert the entire cave. Instead, Gr’mer pulled out his bow once again. At this range it would be difficult to miss.

The sound of the man sliding off his chair was louder than the impact of the arrow. Gr’mer quickly grabbed a key from the man’s belt and unlocked a gate across the passage before creeping forward into the darkness. Up ahead, he could hear voices and see the glow of lanterns. Three more bandits, one of them obviously the leader were in the large chamber. Gr’mer glanced around the room from his vantage point. Two were busy butchering a mammoth, no doubt for the tusks. The leader stood at the far side reading something at a rickety looking desk. He wore heavy plate armor that would be difficult to penetrate with his scimitar. The other two wore simple leathers and furs. Then Gr’mer noticed that the two butchering the mammoth were standing in a small pond of oily fluid. Above them was a lantern suspended by the ceiling and protected by a pot of sorts. It seemed almost too easy.

Gr’mer eased an arrow from his quiver and onto his bow. Drawing it back, he loosed it into the clay pot which fractured and fell with a large crash into the floor below. Confusion and surprise erupted from the room as it suddenly burst into brilliant flame. One of the men stumbled, gasping and coughing, up the ramp to where Gr’mer was hidden. He fell to an arrow with a small cry.

Gr’mer was pulling his last arrow from his quiver when his vision exploded into bright white. He hissed as he tried to clear his vision, the arrow fumbled from his grasp. As lights danced around his eyes he glimpsed the next man stepping up the ramp, a glowing bubble surrounding him which prevented the flames from touching him. Gr’mer scrambled back as the man advanced with a fierce expression on his face. Raising his hand, flames burst toward Gr’mer who leapt back up the tunnel. He had not been prepared to deal with a mage. Their ways were beyond him, seeming evil in appearance. He raced down the tunnel and ducked into a dark alcove along the side. Silently, he pulled the scimitar from his back and prepared to finish the man as he pursued him.

Flames enveloped him without warning. Crying out in pain, Gr’mer stumbled further back up the cave to escape the mage.

“Do you think I can’t see you, cat?” The words of the mage echoed through the cavern. “There is no where you can hide from me. I’m going to burn the hair from your body!”

Gr’mer was panicking. His natural abilities offered him no advantage against this foe. He had forgotten about the bounty, all he thought about now was his life. The burns on his arm and side screamed in pain with each movement. The door was just up ahead, he was almost out! He was moving without thinking when he heard it. Most men would have missed the quiet click of metal on metal, but Gr’mer’s ears heard more than most. He froze, as the realization of what he had done sunk in. Looking down he saw the metal plate he had missed on the way into the cave. His foot was planted squarely in the middle of it. Silently, he cursed his carelessness. He glanced around looking for the trap he was about to trigger.

“Gave up, did you? It won’t save you, cat. That was my friend you killed back there.” Gr’mer flinched in surprise as he realized the mage was walking up just behind him. He hadn’t heard any footsteps. But then he realized he had no idea of the limits of this man’s power. “How about we start real slow? I’ll take your legs first. Wouldn’t want you getting cold feet, eh?” The mage broke into an evil cackle.

He spotted it! Above and behind him he could just make out a wooden framework holding up a number of large boulders. They were each easily large enough to kill him. Gr’mer then realized that the trap was designed for people entering the cavern, not leaving. The boulders had been placed slightly further into the cave than the trigger itself to catch someone moving forward. If the mage were to move just a bit closer he could release his foot and step back out of the way. He was in luck, the mage was moving forward as he was speaking.

“On second thought, I may just skin you and use your fur for a rug. That’s not a bad pattern, though I’d prefer something a bit more colorful.” The mage had stopped and was looking at Gr’mer’s eyes. “What are you loo---?” He followed Gr’mer’s gave to the trap above his head and quickly looked back at Gr’mer’s foot rising from the plate as he realized his mistake. He didn’t even have a chance to raise a ward, though it wouldn’t have done much good against so many large boulders. His body crumbled under the weight of the falling stones and was instantly still.

Gr’mer took a moment to examine his arm. The fur was singed off in various places and the skin was beginning to blister. He was unable to lift his sword with that arm. Reaching in a pocket, he pulled out a small vial of red liquid. He downed the potion in one swallow. The fluid burned his throat as it went down. As the burning reached his stomach it turned into a gentle warmth. Slowly that warmth spread out his body until it had reached his arm. As he watched, the blistering reduced, then retreated as his skin healed. Within several seconds his skin had returned to its unblemished condition. Unfortunately, the fur did not regrow immediately. It would grow back in time since the roots had been repaired, but there was no potion known to Gr’mer that would cause hair to grow out instantly. After a couple more minutes Gr’mer hefted his scimitar, testing its weight in his hand. Healing potions were expensive, but often worth their cost. If he could finish the job and collect the bounty, the price of the potion would be more then paid for.

Stealthily, Gr’mer moved back down into the cave. At each turn he expected the armored warrior to be lurking. Yet all he found were shadows. Finally he reached the main chamber where the fire had finished burning itself out. Smoke hung thick in the air, but was quickly exiting through a tunnel toward the back of the chamber. As he peered over the burnt out railing, Gr’mer spotted the leader. His body lay sprawled near the carcass of the mammoth. The heavy set of armor had been no protection against the fire. In fact, the twisted, smoking metal was most likely a contributing factor in his death. Carefully picking around the smoldering room, Gr’mer gathered anything of value he could carry. He stopped by the leader’s body to grab the token from around his neck. The bounty had specified that the token be returned to claim the reward.

Back under the brilliant moon, Gr’mer scratched his arm as he walked back toward the city. Losing a small amount of fur wasn’t too bad a price to pay. He would have to work out a better strategy for dealing with mages or his new career as a bounty hunter was going to be real short. He could not hope that every mage he ran across would have a load of boulders conveniently placed above their head. He hoped he could find a place outside the gates to curl up for a quick nap before dawn. He could have slept in the bandit encampment; he was tired enough that he almost did. But there were no guarantees out in the wilderness.
Another snippet which I thought of last night and then fleshed out earlier today. Most of the backstory I had thought of long ago, I just decided to recount it while he was busy forging a sword.

The hammer crashed down, sparks sprayed from the glowing metal. Again and again, Gr’mer pounded the hammer into the white hot rod, slowly flattening it. Sweat dripped from his fur and the sparks burnt small black marks where they landed, but he ignored the pain. As he shaped the metal his mind began to drift to his earliest memories. Of growing up with the small Bosmer clan, being treated as a mere pet, forced to serve those he lived with. His fangs barred and he swung the hammer fiercely causing sparks to flow from the metal. He plunged the dark rod into the flame of the forge. 15 years they had kept him. His parentage was a mystery they had never bothered to explain. They named him Gr’mer as a joke. Referring to the first sound they heard him make. It had originally been intended to be a joke about his species but had morphed into his regular name. Yet, despite his demeaning role and their indifference they had been the only family he had known. He had never seen another of his own kind and believed what they told him. As their children began to learn the intricacies of magic he was excluded and left to clean up after them.

He pulled the metal from the fire along with another strip and placed them together before pounding the pieces together. Twisting it he folded the larger piece over the smaller, using carefully aimed blows. Magic still remained a complete mystery to Gr’mer. For years, the learning youths had used him as a target of their practice. He still bore several of the scars. His teeth barred again as a flurry of blows molded the metal. Then his expression softened. The one thing that got him through those years of humiliation was his only friend. One of the children, more compassionate then the rest, had taken it upon himself to see Gr’mer as more than a pet or slave. Often, while the others were out on a hunt, Endras would pull Gr’mer away from his chores and they would explore the woods together. Such excursions made life bearable for Gr’mer. They gave him something to look forward to. He finished pounding and examined the shape of the new blade. A couple minor imperfections gave testament to his lack of experience but overall it was not bad.

He placed the blade in the flame, allowing it to begin glowing once more. The attack had been swift and without warning. He was finishing up his chores as darkness was falling. His excellent nightvision allowed him to pick out the lingering clan members as they began drifting to their dwellings. His sharp ears picked up a sound mere seconds before the first arrows began streaking through the trees. It was too late to raise a warning. The Bosmer stood little chance as they began falling to the assault. Gr’mer watched the only family he had known being slaughtered before his eyes. Despite the humiliations piled on him from them he had become angry. Pouncing through the trees as only cat abilities allow, he tackled a dark, hooded assailant just before the figure loosed another arrow. He could hear more of them around him; he would deal with them in a minute. As he drew back his paw and extended his claws for a killing blow the hood fell from his victims head. Confusion caused him to falter and he was cast off. He watched as the Khajiit warrior drew a blade from its scabbard and advanced on him.

Gr’mer snatched the glowing blade from the fire and plunged it into a barrel of water engulfing himself in a cloud of steam. He glanced at the nearby blacksmith who nodded. He pulled the cooling metal from the water and thrust it back in the fire. The Kahjiit had spoken words to him, though he did not understand the language, before striking him with the blunt of his sword. Gr’mer awoke as the sun was just beginning to weave through the trees. He stumbled back into the village. The battle was over. Only broken arrows remained, the good ones having been scavenged for re-use. The Bosmer lay scattered throughout the living area. The Khajiit warriors had left none alive. Endras lay near his parents a broken bow in his hand. Gr’mer plunged the blade back into the cool water, this time the cloud of steam masked the tears that fell from his eyes. For three days he had lingered by the village. He hadn’t been allowed to any of the ceremonies of the Bosmer so he didn’t know their traditions. Instead he buried the bodies, covering each grave with stones to keep the wild animals away. Then he had taken some simple provisions and headed north. Many leagues now lay between him and his old home. He had pushed into Skyrim. Here he hoped to create a new life for himself. He hoped to forget his past by way of forging a new future.

He pulled the now cooled metal blade from the water and showed it to the blacksmith who tapped it and listened with expert ears. He nodded and grunted in approval before handing it back to Gr’mer. The large Khajiit took the blade and sat at the sharpening wheel. As he worked the wheel up to speed he began to grind the edge sharp in a shower of sparks. The bandit camp he had cleared out last week had reward to feed himself for some time as well as to pay for instructions from the blacksmith. He requested to learn the art of swordsmithing from the burly smith. Now, after a week of rudimentary training and on his seventh attempt he had finally created a blade that had passed the final test. It had rung true and would hold up under the stress of combat. As he finished sharpening the new blade he allowed the stone to slow its spinning. He grasped the guard, hilt, and pommel he had fashioned days before. He assembled them on the weapon and examined the final product. When the blacksmith had asked what type of blade he wanted he had been very specific. The Khajiit Saber was not the most deadly of weapons, but as the traditional weapon of his newfound people and those who had freed him from a lifetime of servitude, it seemed only right that it was the weapon he carried into battle.
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This is part one of the next installment. The ending is finished but seems a bit contrived to me. I'm going to try to work out better motivations/dialog before I post it.

Gr’mer paused for a second to catch his breath. He had been running, flat out, up the hillside. In the darkness behind him, he could see his pursuers turn up the wrong path, uncertain of where their quarry had gone. They were no match for his Khajiit speed, especially at night. He had gotten it! He pulled an odd-shaped key from his satchel and examined it in the weak moonlight. He had no idea what the key fit in, but his employer had offered a large reward for its return. Replacing the mysterious key in his satchel, Gr’mer was about to head back toward home when he realized the Argonian had not made it out. If he was still alive and talked they would know exactly where Gr’mer was heading. And with horses they could be there long before he could. His fur bristled at the thought of the grey-skinned lizard. He had been nothing but trouble since they had both seen the reward poster. For a week, as Gr’mer had tracked the thieves the Argonian had dogged his steps. Then he disappeared for several days only to reappear as Gr’mer was making his escape. Were it not for the lizard he would have been halfway to the reward before the thieves had even discovered their loss. He needed to go back and ensure that the Argonian didn’t talk. They would be wary, after their loss earlier. Surprise would be difficult, if not impossible to achieve. But the thought of the thieves waiting for him somewhere on his way back, made his decision for him. He cautiously made his way back down the hillside, his eyes and ears straining for any sign of danger.

He nearly stumbled directly into the first lookout as he rounded a large boulder. He was hidden in a small cleft of the rock, a knife held at the ready. Gr’mer recognized the threat a split-second before the man attacked. Cursing himself for not having his own blade at the ready Gr’mer pounced. His hand covering the man’s mouth before he could yell as he grabbed the wrist of the hand holding the knife. Trying to be as silent as possible, and avoid unnecessary bloodshed, he used his greater weight to push backward and cracked the man’s head into the unyielding rock. The man’s body slumped to the ground. Gr’mer tossed the man’s weapons into the darkness and left him lying unconscious as he continued down the hill. As he weaved among the bushes and boulders he slipped his own knife from its sheath. Now, being even more cautious than before, he spotted a second lookout well before he reached the man. Skirting the man’s field of vision he worked his way around and behind him. A quick tap to the head with the pommel of his knife dropped the man to the ground.

He could see the light from a fire through the trees ahead. Shouting carried back to him from a group by the fire, but the words were indistinguishable. He crept forward, barely daring to breath. Several minutes later he was looking at the clearing where several tents had been erected behind a large fire. To the other side, he could make out the Argonian, his arms tied above his head to a large tree branch hanging above the camp. His face was bloodied and bruised and he was barely moving. A large man standing beside him dumped a bucket of water on the Argonian’s head.

“No going to sleep, lizard. We ain’t done talking yet.” The man wrapped a cloth around his fist, “Now, where is the key?” He gave the lizard a second to respond before crashing his fist into the scaly jaw. “Still not gonna say anything? Perhaps we start removing appendages? Does that tail grow back if I cut it off? How about your fingers?” He removed the cloth from his hand and pulled a knife from his belt.

Gr’mer looked around the camp. Aside from the two he had knocked out, there were half a dozen men visible in the camp. There could be more in the tent. Attempting to save the lizard would get both of them killed; there was only one logical course of action. He pulled his bow from his shoulder and slipped an arrow on it. Taking aim at where he assumed the lizard’s heart should be he prepared to release. He would have to move quickly once he let the shot fly. He could retrace his steps up the hill where they would have difficulty following. Then he could set out behind the hill until he was sure he had enough distance between them. From there he would adjust his course to the waiting reward. The large man was pulling one of the lizard’s fingers away from the rest and readying his knife. He was muttering something in the lizard’s ear when the Argonian’s eyes settled on Gr’mer with his bow at the ready.

Gr’mer couldn’t afford to have the lizard talk before he killed him. He released the arrow just as a shout rang out beside him. Startled, Gr’mer’s aim was lost and the shot flew off course. He saw it sink into the large man’s back even as one of the lookouts he had knocked out flew at him, snarling, from the bushes. Twisting, he managed to ease the impact as the man landed on top of him. Sounds of battle rang out in the camp as men roused from their half-dozing positions. Gr’mer was larger than the man on top of him and managed to force him off. He scrambled to his feet where he faced the man with his knife drawn. In the dark, the advantage was with the Khajiit. He edged away from the fire into the shadows and the man foolishly pursued. Within seconds it was over. The man had attempted to slash at him but his night vision allowed him to see without issue. He sidestepped and brought his elbow crashing into the man’s head. As the man staggered back, Gr’mer followed up with a single strike. He crouched and prepared for the rest of the men to come crashing through the trees, but only heard the sound of crickets cheerfully unaware of the struggle that had just happened. Not daring to risk another encounter, Gr’mer took advantage of the lull that followed and bolted up the hill. He would follow his original plan, the Argonian was on his own. He would just have to be doubly cautious on the road home.
Overall, I think the story is written very well. You've done a great job at the end in particular: you've made the audience want more. There are all kinds of questions left. Will the Argonian talk? Will Gr'mer succeed? What is the key for?
Overall, I think the story is written very well. You've done a great job at the end in particular: you've made the audience want more. There are all kinds of questions left. Will the Argonian talk? Will Gr'mer succeed? What is the key for?
Shhhh. I'm being lazy right now...