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[IC Journal - Min]

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I'm not a handsome, dashing man. While I have a born gift for sorcery, I'm not as good of a Mage as the great masters like Solinar of Firsthold. I'm only slightly taller than average. I'm fit enough, but certainly not the strong, heroic type. What I lack in raw brute force I make up for with speed and endurance. I have money, but I'm not wealthy or noble-born. I'm just the son of a simple woodcutter.

I'm just average. Unremarkable. Indistinguishable. Boring-looking. In just about every significant way. Which is probably why everyone is surprised when they lose a fight to me.

The huge orc screamed as I chased him, the look of terror and surprise on his face more typical than you might think. One more blast of cold magic and he fell, I was almost ashamed for him. He thought It would be an easy win, he was over twice my size. In the end, the fight probably lasted about eight seconds.

It started when I was standing near the Undaunted enclave. Bored. Listening to the background din for rumors of some actual challenging work. I amused myself by juggling fire, a simple flame cantrip nearly anyone can do with a little practice. I kept my face hidden, my eyes peeled, and ears alert.

That's when *she* arrived, probably the most beautiful elf maiden I've seen in some time walked up and stood next to me. I didn't pay her any mind, and I didn't say a word to her. She watched the flame as it danced along my knuckles and leaped to my other hand. It didn't matter to me, I was straining to overhear someone talking about hiring mercenaries, while trying to look like I wasn't eavesdropping. Some noble was looking to hire ex-soldiers for a push against the reachmen raiding his lands. The pay was good, and the job sounded interesting, so did the details..

Then that's when Grom the Undying showed up, seven feet of solid orcish brute. He was white skinned, his body covered in tribal tattoos, and he had more muscle weight in one arm than I likely had in my entire body. He kissed the elf maid standing next to me, apparently his girlfriend. Then he turned his sour attention to me, the man apparently standing next to his woman.

I wasn't paying attention to what he said to be honest, but I did when he laid a meaty hand on me, pushing me to the ground with little effort.

"PAY ATTENTION WHEN I'M TALKING PUNY MAGICIAN!"

He touched me. That was a mistake. One that he attempted to repeat as he reached down and grabbed my robe, intending to lift me up. I concentrated for a moment, and he withdrew his injured meaty hand with a shout, the electric shock had done its job.

I stood up slowly, purposefully, dusting myself off and drawing my war-staff. The orc drew a sword nearly as tall as I was. "TO THE DEATH!" he bellowed, charging right toward me.

Now he lay on the ground in front of me. Half frozen. Chilled. Suffering from hypothermia and frostbite. Shivering uncontrollably in a ball of useless muscle. Just someone else who underestimated me. His girlfriend screamed something as I drew my dagger and stood over him.

"To the death." The first words I'd spoken in days probably, I've been spending far too much time alone lately. I knew that he would have killed me without hesitation, but I've seen enough pointless death for a dozen lifetimes. I was just weary of it, and maybe next time he won't be quite as stupid. I sunk the dagger into the ground near his face to a collective gasp from those watching. Then I turned and left. I didn't bother looking back, the crowd of spectators that had gathered parted and let me pass.

(Based on real events: All this from a duel that really happened a few nights ago. Some guy wanted to show off big for his girlfriend I guess. I don't ask for this, but it always seems to find me regardless.)
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Posted Mar 6, 18 · OP
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Lately I've been taking increasingly dangerous and risky contracts for the Red Mages. Lady Ashford, our order's contentious administrative officer, has no problems handing the tougher jobs out and increasing the Academy 'fees'.

Why do I do it? I just don't know. I don't need the money. I don't need the reputation. I don't feel angry, anxious, or excited. Just empty. Hollow. Inside and out. Maybe that's why I couldn't get close to her. That's probably why she left.
Perhaps that's why I never should have tried, it was just another disappointment. I think more likely I'm just broken, and gambling with self destruction is more amusing than the emptiness.

I knew a man in the service, Reich, one of the scouts in my company. The guy had a dog, and he loved that thing to death. When our company was caught in a winter storm in northern Cyrodiil, the poor mutt died in the cold. After that Reich changed. He was the first to charge into any fight, the first to push the enemy at the top of any hill, and the last to leave if we retreated. All of us thought he was just brave. Only now I understand the truth of it: Reich wanted to die. He thought that had nothing else to live for, and the emptiness gnawed away inside of him - until he finally got what he wanted.

The job was a bounty on a man named Jeter, the head of the Black Rooks; a group of particularly vile assassins and gangsters that operate out of the Colovian Heights. I caught him in the open, and he definitely wasn't alone.

"The bounty says 'Dead or Alive' Jeter. It doesn't make any difference to me."

My size and my looks don't make for an intimidating figure. I'm not some dashing rugged over-muscled hero out of some trash novel or play. The six men with him laughed and dismounted, surrounding me while they drew weapons. They continued laughing at me as their leader responded.

"The authorities have to be pretty desperate to send this one. We are officially scraping the bottom of the barrel boys!"

The laughing only got louder with that remark and he continued, "Kill him where he stands and make it quick!"

With that, and with swords drawn the six thugs advanced on me. I waited, noticing that Jeter didn't bother getting any closer. The distance between he and his men only increased. I waited until they were close enough to swing..

With a quick word and a flash of light I blinked past them, appearing far behind them and right in front of their leader. His horse reared at my sudden appearance, and the bolt of flame I hit him with threw him up and off of his horse.

To his credit, he hit the ground in an expert roll, and with another blink I was right there waiting. That's when he made a mistake.

He ran.

Screaming for help.

Four of his men shook their heads, sheathing their weapons and muttering in disgust. Two made an effort to follow, but eventually backed off. I chased this man from Bruma all the way to Cheydinhal. In the open. Then I burned him to a crisp in broad daylight in front of everyone in the city. Women. Children. Guards. They all knew exactly who Jeter was. Nobody helped him. Nobody stopped me. A few just stared with fascinated surprise that someone so ordinary could do what I did.

Me? I just didn't care anymore. I didn't say a word, and I returned to OldGate.
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Posted Mar 6, 18 · OP · Last edited Mar 6, 18
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Two of us watched, hunkered down over the edge of the ridge. The incessant sleet and frozen rain seemed to soak into every fiber of our heavy furs and winter cloaks. Every fogging breath brought more agonizing frozen air into our lungs. Once again I quietly cursed Lady Ashford for this garrison assignment in the frozen wasteland known as deep winter in northern Cyrodiil.

But as cold and miserable as we were, the enemy was far worse off.

I muttered another curse as the enemy shambled into view below. The Altmer in question were dressed for a bright sunny day in Auridon. Half were suffering from severe frostbite, the rest from hunger or exposure. Their camp didn't receive the supplies that they were due, no small thanks to the raiders I sent to destroy and burn those wagons. The enemy soldiers were getting desperate.

I spoke quietly, giving orders. Effective and Decisive. Soldiers prefer that, when every order makes sense, and isn't up for committee discussion. If Christor Lyon-Wynnvale's style of leadership is all thunderous presence and gregarious personality, mine has always been the quiet and reliable competence that makes things work. "Send word to the scouts. Kill their sentries and burn their camp."

To his credit, I didn't even hear the scout stand up and leave in the freezing patter of cold frozen sleet.

Their whole formation was sloppy, and their attack on Bruma was almost half-hearted. They still outnumbered us considerably, but I wasn't going to be stupid. We didn't get drawn out. We didn't pursue. We ignored feints. We were relatively warm and well-supplied. So I gave orders to dig in and hold our ground. The Altmer threw themselves against our defenses over and over again. To add insult to injury, I used storms of ice against them. The enemy resolve shattered completely.

A few hours later the Dominion Captain did something completely unexpected. He signaled their unconditional surrender. Now I had the odious task of dealing with more prisoners of war than I had soldiers to watch them. By a large margin, in truth about three times, since I had no more than a dozen defenders and just one casualty. I expected trouble, but to be honest, most of them were just happy to feel warmth again indoors.

If Lady Ashford wants me to do this again, she can try freezing her own tits off herself first. I look forward to returning back home to Iliac Bay.
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Posted Mar 7, 18 · OP
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