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Gopher's Minions

Between the Lines


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"This place is so pathetically desperate for me to love it, to stay here. It won't understand its own insipid smallness and irrelevance. I want change! I want something to happen! I want something to happen! I want to leave!"

I edged closer to the cards I was about 98% certain I had left with Goldie. I realised that I had a card of Brambleson in that deck, and if I could juuuuust...

THERE! Got it. poor briar is still trying to figure out where the cards went, rubbing it's leaves together in a decidedly confused manner

I'm noticing moods in plants now...I agree, I want to leave...

"Show this to any of the Conspirators and they will know that you are under my protection so long as you are in my service." I accept it, obviously. I have a habit of weaseling my way into the gratitude of the rich or royal. I'll test my hypothesis about the cards momentarily.

"Your Grace," I say, hoping I don't sound as much like an ass as I feel, "I'm a bit concerned for my compatriot. I left him, an Altmer of particularly golden complexion, at the base of the hill, speaking with an owl, and as I look about, I see that, what with the, ahem, tumult, with the briar, that I no longer recognise the terrain. What's more, not long after we arrived here, I felt a dull shudder in the world, not unlike when I was leaving Solstheim not long before the Red Mountain blew. I find myself concerned for his safety, and my own. Being of so obvious importance, could you please take the lead, take us someplace that is, well, safer?"

And then, because I couldn't resist the urge any longer (damned curiosity, it's what got me on Boethia's bad side), I said, holding out the Fortuna card of Brambleson, "And may I please have your autograph." Whoops.

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Hypothesis. Gathering all Fortuna Cards to a single individual, quantity currently unknown, could possibly allow said individual to usurp control of this Plane of Oblivion."

Jhoz couldn’t help but smile as Aerinir phrased his opinions and observations like this was a scholarly debate at the Arcane University. She had to admit though it did help at times to take a completely clinical look at the facts of a problem one was facing.

There was no way to know how many cards this magkical deck held based on what they had here… though each person, except for Ja’Dokh and maybe the Marsh-Lizard, held a hand of nine. Nine was a common magkical number, reference to the Nine Divines and a trio of three, a typical power number. The High-elf had already lost one of his cards, “Uprising” Aerinir had said.

“Uprising could also refer to the Story-people the Seeing-Lizard mentioned who conspired against this Sonnorae, yes?” Jhoz asked, her silver eyes completely focused on the different images and phrases on the cards. “Jhoz thinks that if we each were given a hand of magkica-cards then others who enter this plane must also have received such… thus no possible way of knowing the full deck size, if this even matters. Perhaps these phrases are far more literal and are simply describing aspects of this plane… listing possible things to encounter here.”

Something seemed to be tugging at the back of her mind… distracting her from her contemplations of the cards. When she finally gave up ignoring it and listened, she realized that though they seemed to have been this plane for quite some time now, it didn’t seem to be getting any later. Odd… maybe time didn’t work the same way here… or this plane didn’t have the same sun rotation like it was missing the Twin Moons.

“While Jhoz does think that these cards are of the utmost importance,” She said to the others, “We should also consider our next actions. Finding food, shelter, allies… or at the very least getting some idea of what’s around us.”

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Inside the tent the scene was much different than the other tents. An almost serene picture of normality that sent shivers down Edins spine hung in the air. The bedroll and acoutrements laid out on the floor gave the impression of a beggers sole belongings the little wooden box for the beggers trinkets. It did not bode well inside a lavish tent of fine design, although the juxtaposition was somehow giving off an air of intentionality.

Edin knelt down on one knee and reached for the box, his hound whined

“Enough Alkie”

“Woof”

“Shush” He whined again. Edin knew that his husky was spooked as much as he himself. But the eeriness of the situation had to wait it's turn, as he sought answers. And he knew despite the turning in his gut (or possibly because of it) that this strange tent had the answers, especially the wooden box.

Upon touching the box nothing happened Edin breathed a sigh of relief and wiped the bead of sweat from his brow. It was when he tried to lift the box he realised he could not. It anchored itself into the dirt of nirn like the toughest of weeds, even attempts to drag it along the floor failed.

“Fine” Edin thought, resigning himself to simply opening the lid where the box lay. It was empty nothing at all as far as he could see. Wondering if there was a hidden panel he reached his hand inside. Then, time itself seemed to slow as the portal rumbled back into life from it's dormant state.

The more Edin resisted whilst trying to pull away the stronger the current became he tried to turn to his hound, to warn him to stay put but the portal had already passed his head. He shouted but the words fell into the magical vacuum as he was finally pulled through he saw his faithful companion leap through the event horizon following him into the void.

When he woke his first reaction was to feel the bruise on the back of his head, his second was to reach into his satchel to remove a torch, casting a simple flame spell to light it. The torch was needed as it was pitch black. Alkie lay to one side snoozing, Edin walked a few feet to his right before encountering a wall, a quick knock suggested it was wood. He followed the wall round in a large rectangular pattern before spotting some ladders on the third wall and what looked like daylight above in a keyhole shaped window.

“Alkie, here boy” the husky flicked an ear in his direction

“Now” he rose to his feet and trotted over to his master

“Shoulders” Edin motioned for the hound to lay across his shoulders which he subsequently did

“Good boy”. Holding his dogs legs with one hand he began his climb with the other. At the top of the ladder the keyhole shaped window became just a keyhole as Edin realised he was inside a large chest. It was unlocked so he began to lift the wooden lid. Holding it open he let his beast jump out before climbing out himself, he couldn't help notice the lid wasn't much wider than himself as he fell onto the grass, he looked back and the chest was the standard size.

“Great more magic” he grumbled to himself standing up, looking around he was surrounded by fields, trees yet they didn't feel real

“Where are the animals?” he thought as he hadn't noticed any sounds or smells or visual clues, which his hunting experience should have made obvious.

“It's got to be a plane of Oblivion boy” he said to his hound “didn't see any necromancers, we haven't been suduced by any seductive witches or accosted by any ghastly witches, so that just leaves Daedric magic” He looked at his hound who looked back and tilted his head. “I hate magic. Wheres the rest of the team when I need them?” with that Edin reached into his quiver, took three arrows, lit them with his torch then fired them up into the air as three signal flares.

He took a deep breath and yelled “Hello! Anybody out there?”

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  • 2 weeks later...

Brambleson plucked the card from Bryndon's hand, cradling it in his chubby white paw and examined it casually. "How gratifying that you should have my portrait in miniature, and a fair likeness, I suppose," he droned before handing it back. "Very well," he cocked his head and assumed an alert air, his nostrils twitching. He turned. "The other humans are not far from the thicket, but I will do as you wish, my minion. The prince looked down at the forest floor and drew his hind paw across the grass in front of him as if describing a threshold. "Step across. And farewell, sirrah. We may yet meet again."

~Meanwhile... elsewhere~

At Edin's feet, Alkie barked excitedly. Nearby was a pale blue scarf lying on the grass and gently waving as if touched by a breeze. There was no breeze as far as Edin could discern. Yet the tips of Alkie's fur also seemed to sway in a likewise fashion. The material seems out of place in the forest. Despite being on the ground, it bears no signs of wear or staining. It is possible that it has only recently been dropped there. If Edin strains his hearing, he can make out the sound of familiar voices nearby. Alkie has fixed on the direction of the voices and shows gleeful eagerness to pursue.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I asked for it. The damned rabbit did exactly what I asked for. One of these days, I'm going to learn to control my tongue. Apparently, it wasn't today. I decided to take the rabbit prince at his word, and, after watching him depart, I check my belongings, make sure my sword is loosened in its scabbard, take a deep breath, and step forward...

...into the midst of a group of people. Khajiit, Altmer, humans...widely varied, but I can tell almost immediately that these people have a history. They're all aware of each other in the way only seasoned battle companions and old lovers have. They don't notice me quite at first; they're deep in discussion. I catch only the end as the Khajiit says, “While Jhoz does think that these cards are of the utmost importance. We should also consider our next actions. Finding food, shelter, allies… or at the very least getting some idea of what’s around us.”

"Insanity." I decide to chime in. "What's around you is a place where giant rabbits argue with brambles, owls steal shadows, and these bloody cards seem tied into it all." They turn almost in unison to look at me. I guess I did kind of step out of midair. I decide to keep talking. I can't help it, it's a habit.

"There's almost no wildlife that I've seen, so far, but most of the plants seem close enough that we can probably scavenge. There's political upheaval going on, some kind of conspiracy against the pseudo-demidaedra that Hermie gave control of this sliver of Apocrypha to; I suspect the mountain may be about to blow; and there's a Thalmor agent wandering around here with a talking owl that suffers from kleptomania." I pause. The big cat, something raht or other, just blinked at me. The others still seemed a bit off balance. How fast was I speaking?!

"Um...hi?" I finally slow down, feel a bit awkward, and quit talking altogether. I look around and think, someone has GOT to start talking before I make a bigger ass of myself.

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