W ord has begun to spread that Lord Varro is preparing House Varro for a large undertaking. Details about the undertaking are vague, but word has it that House Varro is gathering supplies and hiring workers to help execute a large-scale expedition far to the north. One guard overheard a discussion about ships, ore, and a "mining colony."
Recent openings have been posted on the missive boards around the Colovian Estates, Kvatch, and Anvil markets. They read:
Expedition Quartermaster - You will be the person responsible for providing quarters, rations, clothing, and other logistical supplies for the expedition.
Expedition Liaison and Stewards - A steward who communicates and facilitates a close working relationship between the expedition, the House staff, and its Lord.They will also look after the passengers of the trip by bringing them meals, looking after property, and running tasks.
Expedition Sellswords - Mercenaries or conscripts looking to contract their sword on a temporary basis for House Varro, with a potential for permanent employment at the conclusion of the arrangement.
To inquire after the positions, please write to the House Domestikos contact:
It's great to see your guild members contributing to the Varro lore and stories. Most guilds tend to have GMs do all the writing, so it's refreshing to see that you're allowing your base to do a lot of it.
From the golden hills of Cyrodiil, and through the snow-covered mountains of Eastmarch, set off an assembly of veteran soldiers towards one of many missions in preparation for what lies ahead. With House Varro's expedition to Solstheim only months away, provisions and supplementary training has begun, with their first ambition being one which brought them from the comforts of their homeland, into the frigid, perilous domains of the cold north. Here they chose to go up against some of natures most ferocious creatures, while strengthening their bond to one another, and honing their collaborative efforts to overcome anything that stands in their way.
With an intensifying focus on the coming months, Lord Varro, along with the fearless Bucellarius, consisting of Solarion Vorondoran, Marcia Visellia, Varilian Varro, Sevra Aelianus, Cyreas Vanrette and Balius Varro, along with the support of Seneschal Liviana Stathos, entered into what would become one of the greatest hunts of all time within the hills of Cragwallow. Two resolute teams filled the ranks among the hunting parties, to seize victory among all other huntsmen in the region.
Hosted by Lykos the Bloodthirsty and the huntsmen of Clan Blackpaw, House Varro endured all the suffering and trauma which comes with tracking, killing and claiming such mighty beasts as the mammoths of Skyrim. But for such a tenacious and formidable band of soldiers, capturing the title of “Huntmasters of Eastmarch”, was trivial in comparison to the valuable experience, where coordination and having the back of the man in front of you, and behind you, counts every moment of the day.
With this victory, House Varro continues to thrive and build. Recent openings have been posted on the missive boards around the Colovian Estates, Kvatch, and Anvil markets. Quartermasters, Liaisons, Stewards and Sellswords who wish to inquire about becoming part House Varro’s expeditionary squad, should write to the Domestikos to inquire about remaining availability.
Though as always, a fighting force is only as strong as it’s auxiliary. So those interested in remaining in Cyrodiil, enlisting and aiding through safeguarding the Varro Lands, or providing assistance within the field and household, should seek information correspondingly.
A week had passed since the scouting party -- comprised of Cyreas Vanrette, Constanzo Vendicci, Marcia Visellia, and Aliver the Frost -- departed the Varro estate for the northern reaches of Skyrim. The trip had been swift and rather uneventful for the four selected to venture north toward Solstheim. Lord Varro had asked that they waste no time in their travel. So seriously did they take his command that the four of them packed lightly and moved the distance twice as fast as most normal migrants.
Upon their arrival to the shores of the Sea of Ghosts, passage across the waterway had been arranged with a gruff and rather sociopathic Colovian who spoke not a word to any of them on the journey. They’d been forced to sleep in the same cabin together, along with an old sea dog that was so old that it had begun to smell like it were rotting from within. They had only one window in their cabin, and through this they could see the stars bright like needlepoints in a black canvas. Beyond that sea of black they could witness the ministrations of the northern lights, which danced like rainbow ribbons above the world. At night they were lowered into the water within a small rowboat, and left to fend for themselves.
As they rowed they could not see. Just breath and fog and water black. And as they rowed they felt the wind. All around them loomed a heavy murk that clung to the world like some tangible glaucoma. It was heavy and cold and the aura of it made their bones ache and their muscles stiffen. Onward they rowed until there before them materialized the ominous shore of the land called Solstheim.
They stopped rowing. In a still eddy of blackwater they lurked. Quiet all around. A chill in the air. Wisps of snow falling dreamlike in the veil. They could only see a few feet beyond the shoreline. It waited for them like tapestry of muddy gloss. In the distance came another howl.
The fog of the sea peeled away the moment they stepped onto that mythical land. It seemed to exude an ancient kind of presence: the deep-packed snow, the untouched shoreline, the huge black eskers of rock that jutted out of the earth like scions of some distant genesis.
For now, everything around them had gone quiet. Over their shoulders, they caught one final glimpse of that rickety Colovian vessel that had set them ashore. And then, like a ghost, it drifted away from sight. Before them was an open world of brooding inhospitality. Several more steps into the upland found them in knee-deep snow. It was here, however, beside a bluff of rock, that a gust of wind kicked up the fresh-fallen film that had coated everything. A swirl of white engulfed them, and with it, a terrible cold.
When the snow squall finally settled, they found standing before them the tall and powerful form of a wolf three sizes too big. It was as white as the snow around them, with eyes as blue as gems. It watched them from two arm-lengths away. Sniffed. Then it took a small, curious step forward. Then another.
The huge wolf stalked closer to the group and tilted its massive head left, then right. The call of the wild seemed to glimmer in the animal’s blue eyes. And yet, it seemed unafraid of them. It walked closer, so close, in fact, that its nose began to sniff along Marcia’s arm, then her hand, which it licked
The party considered killing the wolf, but before they could, a shout stopped them. It came from the uplands. Stepping out of the snow was a woman clad in furs and bones. She barked at them in a strange language and aimed her bow, but Aliver established a primitive communication with her, and put her at ease.
He explained to the other scouts that this woman was in fact a Skaal -- a primitive savage who inhabited the island. A crude discussion ensued, with the group trying to ascertain the location of an alleged mine that had been abandoned on the island of Solstheim. The Skaal initially declined to help them, but after some convincing, she pointed off to the distance where a huge mountain peak loomed on the horizon.
She implored them not to go to the mountain, and kept saying the word "Hornik" over and over, but they insisted. She explained to Aliver that the place was infested with ice goblins, or Rieklings, and they should not attempt to cross the waterway that kept it and those creatures separated from the island proper. She guided them instead to a treacherous water crossing covered in shards of ice.
The party attempted to cross the ice quickly, with Aliver securing the opposite bank first. Marcia, Cyreas, and Constanzo, however, did not prove so lucky.
They fell into the water again and again, and were it not for the assistance of the Skaal and Aliver, it is likely that the group would have perished in that frigid cold.
With hypothermia setting in, they quickly gathered kindling wood and moved to a safer location to build a fire.
The skaal instructed them to remove their clothes and warm their bones. Aliver followed the skaal higher up into the mountain pass to investigate the opening of the cave.
At the top of the mountain pass, they came to a dangerous bridge, which the skaal refused to cross. She insisted the mine was on the other side. However, the party learned that it was a dead end, and no such mine could be found. A argument ensued about what to do next, and that is when a pair of Rieklings could be heard climbing up the path, as well. The skaal insisted that everyone hide, which they did, with success. They saw the Rieklings pass by, but instead of taking the bridge, they climbed down the rocks into the chasm below, and disappeared.
The party followed the path of the Rieklings and came to a narrow pass of rock. The narrow pass proved true. It opened suddenly into a work of masonry that was the first true sign of civilization they had seen in days. And there, looming at the far end of it, appeared to be the entrance to the mine. The skaal said one word and pointed at it, trembling: "Hornik."
Inside the cave the air smelled old. They stepped over discarded bones and goblin filth. Deeper they climbed by light of a torch until at last they came to portion of the shaft that had been caved in. They could not achieve deeper access. However, a small opening presented a glimpse to the vast cavern beyond, and it was there that they could see the vast deposits of Ebon ore imbued in the heart of the mountain. Like glimmering veins of ethereal rock in a sea of onyx-stoned black.
The group briefly discussed what to do with the Skaal, with half of the party inclined to kill her now that she knew of this location, and what it held. Marcia Visellia, however, overruled the others, and the skaal was spared. None-the-wiser, the skaal assisted the party in collecting samples of the Ebon ore, then helped them climb out and get back to their ship before more Rieklings returned.
The investigation was a success, and the full expedition was not about to begin.
Lots of activities and plot lines are on the move with our "Expedition Solstheim" arc! We’ll be doing a healthy amount of inter-guild events to include allies and antagonists of House Varro, while making additional connections along the way.
But it’s not all about “Combat RP” around here!
Lately we have really enjoyed putting our characters into thought-provoking positions and allowing the fate of the dice, along with well thought out initiatives, to take lead on how things will progress our individual stories, along with that of the House itself. We like to get out and explore the world around us!
This is the perfect time for anyone who is interested in Cyrodiilic or Imperial roleplay, (we specialize in the Colovian aspects of militaristic and domestic life), to help push through this year’s story and beyond. ⚔ ⚔ That’s not to say you must be a military oriented character, or a solider of any kind. There’s plenty of Domestikos action, including roles like ambassadors, diplomats, in-house staff or envoy’s if you enjoy running tasks. And that’s not even touching the House Intelligence portion of our playground. Our sandbox is huge.
If your overall character could fit into this category of play style, and isn’t afraid to get dirty or thrown around by a bad roll of the dice occasionally, look us up.
On the Road
With the full launch of the Solstheim Expedition underway, the members of House Varro have slowly been making their way north toward the city of Windhelm. A brief stay through the lands of Farholme saw them safely escorted by the Iron Riders, but not after a brief skirmish with a local Nord faction intent on keeping the Imperials out of their lands. Undaunted, the Varros pressed on toward their goal.
Last night, the caravan stopped on the icy riverbank of an Eastmarch watering hole to rest and warm themselves by the fire. After a brief bit of sparring between Caius and Solarion, a lively discussion was had regarding a 'white fluffy treat' that Liviana Stathos had purchased from a local merchant. The group spent some time trying to emulate the local population of children who had been seen sticking the white puffballs on the ends of sticks before roasting them over campfires. The group failed miserably at first, but ultimately came to enjoy the treat. Not sure what to call the white squishy things, Lord Varro suggested the name: "Bretons-on-a-Stick." The name stuck. Afterward, the expedition turned in for an early evening, as the journey would continue toward Windhelm early the next morning.
The excitement of a faux dwemer bomb, a threatening note, an unsavory khajit with claimed ties to the Order of the Silver Dawn and the dark insinuations thereof; these were the trying events of a single night in Windhelm suffered by the Varro.
To the relief of some weary Windhelm citizens (and many among the Varro), the band of Imperials holding out in town made preparations for departure - an early exit, as suggested by the captain himself, in order to beat an approaching storm. It was the Sea of Ghosts, an aptly named body of water, that settled between the Varro’s ship and the isle of Solstheim, the destination in sight. The crew, with the aid of some able-bodied passengers, assisted in the relocation of goods below deck when signs of an icy sea storm birthed from the dark, misted sky. A stinging, lingering cold breeze became the whipping howl of winterfrost colder than banshee’s breath, and the soft beatings of snow was exchanged for a piercing smattering of ice.
It was as if the Divines themselves sought to test the steel of Varro merit when lapping water birthed mountainous waves of ice and seawater, the likes of which threatened to heave the vessel cascading into the clouds. There were more than a handful of close encounters with death; those who hadn’t made it below deck in sufficient manner were martyrs to the elements, their bodies beaten and bruised, unable to gain footing from the jostle of colossal waves and the frozen planks. Others, more routine crew members, were forever lost to the inky blackness of the Ghost Sea when the vessel, despite all odds, marched on. This otherworldly test, a far cry from the seastorm the Cyrods were warned of back at port, seemed to fade away as quickly as it had arrived, just as the last of the Varro made their way to the warm, dry below.
There, gathered safe and licking their wounds, the band took brief account of those still among the living and counted their blessing. At the command of the Horse Lord, a cask was opened and a round had by all - with a catch. Each Varro assembled was to recount for all present a simple fact they wished public. Some admissions were of honor, others of warmth. The crew journeying to the frozen north, in this moment of dire closeness, began to truly consider their fellow.
But it was just; a moment. There was the cracking of planks, the low, labored groan of nailed boards and near-shattered sails whining from their post. The ship came to an agonizingly slow halt. Some feared the worst, wondering if the storm had returned for another round, though the waves were oddly silent. Silent. Too silent. One by one, the Varro made their way above deck to make inspections. It was deduced quickly by those more martimely that the ship, disheveled and in disarray from the previous natural encounter, that the ship had lodged itself rather nicely into thick sheets of ice. Some disembarked to further inspect, and it was then another, more terrifying conclusion was made.
The sheets cracked, shuffled, and contorted. Water began to lap. The strange, foreign light of eyes from below shone from the cracks in the freeze. As the wise-man, Aliver, said it best, the Deep had been awakened.
Now was the hour of the leviathan. Whatever demon birthed such a monstrous, serpentlike behemoth was the target of many curses on this chilled night, deep within the vast and silent empty of the Ghost Sea.
Silent it was, strangely; between the echoes of scrambled footsteps upon sodden board, the cries of lamentation from the more junior crew, and the commands barked, their ferocity piercing the frigid fog, a torturous silence paved the foundation for chaos. Two men who embarked upon the ice - the horse lord Belisarius and company Aetius Greenleaf - were devoured by the mist, any hint of their existence seemingly scrubbed by the ever-hungry sea, or worse, the sea snake. As quickly as it came, the leviathan retreated into the blackness, leaving in its wake a gash in the ice and the incessant sputtering of waves. On deck, only the most capable were ordered to make landing on the frozen slabs by the Varro Optio, Marcia, to begin a hasty search for the two lost souls. Meanwhile, down below in the vessel’s hull, a crisis was being diverted. The beast, in all its great circumference, pummeled an impressive strike against the bend of the ship, resulting in a breach that threatened a capsize.
Frenetically, the women and men below joined efforts to quickly and hurriedly make repairs to the ships interior, destroying crates and disassembling chairs to scrounge for wood. An impending source of languish for many, not even the still-full kegs were spared, though an effort was made to save them for last. Alas, their labor bore fruit, the discharge of deathly cold sea water was reduced to a manageable seepage.
Cries grew louder, which meant one thing: the beast returned. It broke through the glassy wedges, thousand-bladed mouth open, roaring, ready for feast.
Many who tended to the ship’s interior made way for the ice, save for a few who would assemble whatever scraps and tarnished rubble they could to assemble bolts and harpoons. The bucellarii boarded a tiny craft with two goals in mind: find the two lost men, and put an end to this impossible hellspawn. The wise-man Aliver, accompanied by a fiery daedric creation, found purchase within the fog during the search, while others were not so fortunate. The tossing, the endless flailing of the sea snake shifted the world around them. The Decurion, Solarion, nearly drowned in the chaos. It was not the men on the ground, however, but those aboard the ship who would deal notable blows to the leviathan. Arrows and harpoons pierced the flesh and wriggling muscle of the beast. As the sea swelled from the snake’s writhing, one Aetius, out cold in more ways than one, washed upon the ice.
In the stinging mist, Belisarius was found by Aliver. Death was guaranteed, but this was an exceptional night. The horse lord, despite ungodly gashes to the body that would spell a quick end, appeared unwilling to visit the interstice just yet. Words were exchanged, betwixt hushed tones and gurgling, but the man would live, and Aliver pierced the fog with atronach and Cyrod in tow. The quiet that had been afforded to the Varro during the leviathan’s retreat was short-lived.
Just as preparations by the embarked party were made to retreat onto the ship, it returned in a spray of caustic ice and the stench of murky rot, ready to invoke a final, desperate fate on those who dared trespass on feeding grounds. The wise-man, invoking words not known to those who were in earshot, commanded the summoned atronach to charge forth. It was a distraction worthy enough to allow the shivering souls below to climb aboard. A colossal mass of fog enveloped the two combatants, both demonic in their own rights. It was a battle of the elements; filthy water tinged in discolored blood met with flaming heat, searing the fog into wet mist. The cacophony of streaking flames and lights was enough to instill utter, natural fear into the snake - its match was met.
On the instincts of survival, and after a final tolling cry which filled the air with fishy stink, the leviathan sunk into the black depths, slithering its way deeper, deeper, deeper still. The hour of the Deep had finally come to pass.
And so, too, did the ship’s standstill. It lurched in languished thrusts, the whining of damaged boards ringing out in the air, until the brisk passing of water filled the ears of tired, battered men. As if the doors of death never creaked, the crew returned to their positions. Solstheim wouldn’t simply arrive to them, afterall. The Varro proper retreated into the cabins below. The more damaged folk were tended to first, and made for rest immediately. A select few pondered on the events, deeming their roles in the heat of action a failure. On the other hand, some rejoiced in the felling of impossible odds, their spirits in flight. The rest were simply grateful enough to keep a pillow company and be rid of any memory of the events.
Landfall, sparing any further godlike interventions, was on the minds of all.