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About Deviant Mowenna SmokeFemale/United Kingdom Groups :iconlegends-of-skyrim: Legends-Of-Skyrim
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Landscape Speed Practice 1 by The-Exus
Landscape Speed Practice 1
I've recently brought a new tablet and I figured I'd practice some landscape drawings, especially since those were the one's I didn't practice enough the last time I was into painting. The goal of this piece was mainly to practice the different elements, such as the sky and the grass, and it wasn't really intended to be a full piece which is why it lacks depth (and why the sea looks like it was painted in under two seconds).

Birds: :thumb347820958:
“Can I ask where we're going?” Yuri whispered as Aya lead her through the back streets of Riften in the dark.

“Since we escaped General Guldrimar's tomb, I've been thinking about that man, the teleporter, who took the body. Being stranded here has given us the perfect opportunity to investigate.” Aya said. “I know some people here who can help us, a secret order, who I would rather keep hidden from the others.”

The imperial lead the way towards the grave yard. They bypassed the Thieves Guilds secret entrance to reach the older part of the cemetery where the vegetation was thick and the graves were worn.
“Who are we going to see?” Yuri asked. Despite being a necromancer, the woman was awfully skittish around the graves. Aya sighed, seeing no way to keep the secret.

“They are a group of highly organised spies founded by someone known as the Plague Master, a man who wanted his followers to use their thievery and assassination skills to fight corruption of any kind from the shadows.”

“So it's doubtful I would have heard of them.” Yuri guessed. “Perfect.” Aya chuckled at her sarcasm.

“That is the whole point of their company, Yuri. After all, their motto is 'employ shadow, not fear.' The Plague Master saw what devastation the bullying tactics of Tamriel's Thieves Guilds brought them, and he wanted to avoid that at all costs. By keeping their name and mission unknown, he ensured that they would remain active for decades to come.”

“Then what is their name?”

Aya spotted the mausoleum in the distance that held the entrance to the secret guildhall. As she did, two tall men clad in black hoods strode from the tombs dark entrance. Aya stopped Yuri immediately.

“The Winterhand.” She said with resolution.

One of the men moved towards them and Aya took a breath to calm herself.

“In order to survive amongst the armies of death,” He started. Knowing he wanted the pass phrase, Aya replied:

“Employ shadow, not fear.” The man bowed and gestured for them to enter the mausoleum.
They descended the stairs slowly while the two men closed the heavy stone doors behind them. There was a raised stone coffin in the centre which both parties ignored as they walked towards the back wall.

“We were expected?” Aya inquired as one of the men located the secret switch to open the hidden door. Under the hood, he grinned with a hint of mischief.

“What did you expect? That you could arrive in Riften and seek our help without our noticing?” Aya recognised the dark skin of the redguard man and managed to place a name to the face: He was Second Kin Rus Dro'mar.

The hidden door opened, revealing a small room with a lever in the back. It appeared to be of modified dwemer design, meaning that Riften's tiny Winterhand division had been built roughly eight hundred years ago when one clever member had somehow cracked the secrets behind the dwemer's lifts. Unfortunately, he died on a mission before he could pass on the knowledge.

“What are you here for?” The Second Kin asked as the lift began to descend. “And who is the uninitiated?”

“This is Yuri,” Aya said. Yuri bobbed her head, unsure of how to process her surroundings. “And we're here to check up on on a research project of Aravi's. It's linked with the Imperial City Insurgency we both fought after the conclusion of the Great War.”

“Ah,” Rus Dro'mar said, extending the word. “I thought she abandoned that research years ago. Apparently it was a dead end. I don't know what you hope to find, but you may not find it from her.” Aya shrugged, choosing to remain hopeful. In the corner, Yuri cleared her throat.

“Mind filling me in?” She asked quietly. She appeared to be intimidated by Rus Dro'mar's height, a fact that he seemed to find comical.

Aya explained that she had formed a partial partnership with the Imperial Cities Winterhand division after the Great War. Aya had been part of a Legion task-force assigned with helping the people to recover from the loss when a group of mages, employing some form of dark magic, had begun to reek havoc on the city. They ransacked temples and pillaged homes, taking people in the middle of the night to practice their dark arcane arts upon. Along with Aravi, a bosmer Winterhand member, Aya had investigated the incidents and then took a small legion of soldiers into their underground base where they killed them all.

Or so they thought.

“The reason we're here is because Decentius' teleporting ability reminded me of the insurgents we fought.” Aya explained. “Me and Aravi had both been under the impression that we'd killed the last of the cult during the Legion's raid. Since then, she'd promised that she would try to figure out who the cult actually were. If anybody can give us information on how to fight this man, it's her.”

The lift stopped and they were clearly over four stories underground meaning that they were deeper underground that the Thieves Guild's complex. It made the walls seem close.

Riften's Winterhand guildhall was about the size of a small house because it had been designed as more of a pit stop than a base of operations. The size also helped to disguise their presence from the Thieves Guild. However, it was the only guildhall present in Skyrim, leaving all Winterhand operatives working in the province with no choice but to bunk in inn's or camp when on a job.

The lift emptied out into a common room where only three people had gathered, lazing around in various states of sleeping attire. Immediately Aya spotted the person they were after, Aravi, sitting at a table in the corner.

“I'll leave you to it, then.” The Second Kin said. Aya lead Yuri, who seemed underwhelmed at the guildhalls size, towards the table where the black haired bosmer sat.

“Aya! It's you!” She quickly embraced the imperial as if only days, not decades, had passed since they last met. “And you brought a sister-elf!” Aravi immediately shook Yuri's hand. Aya cut into their introduction.

“I know it's been a while, but we're not here for a social call. I have questions.”

“And you want answers. Got it!” Aravi nodded. “What can I do you for?”

“It's about that cult we took down in the Imperial City.” Aya said. “I don't think we killed them all.”

Pouting her lips, Aravi slowly spurred into action. She moved to a chest behind the table and started to look through its contents.

“You'll be wanting to get your hands on my research, I guess.” Aya nodded, but the gesture was lost on Aravi's turned back. While Aravi rummaged, Aya and Yuri sat down.

“For years, I had almost nothing on the cult. I managed to chase down a few whispers here and there, but they were mostly dead ends. I was going to give up until a few months ago, I waylaid a cart the Thieves Guild had been paid to stop. They managed to scare the driver off and they the two thieves were starting to look over the cart for valuables when I arrived.”

Aravi found what she was looking for in the form of three sheets of paper, which she placed on the table face up.

“The cart only contained a small chest. Barely a chest, really. It was more of a small foot locker. It was so small it sat on the seat next to the driver. Anyway, it had a kind of special lock the thieves couldn't pick. I recognised it as one that they use in the Imperial Archives when transporting important papers and such. I paid the thieves off and brought it back here.

“These three pages are all I have found on our cult in decades, and I don't think that is a coincidence. I think that who ever they are, they are trying really hard to hide who they are. Trying so hard, in fact, they paid to have the courier intercepted.”

Both Aya and Yuri became very interested in what they were being told.

“What do the papers contain?” Aya asked.

“It's a short research paper on a group called the Monolith, written by an esteemed, if not slightly wacky, scholar. I didn't think too much of it the first time I read it, but last week I revisited it, and was struck with how many similarities the paper had to the cult we put down in Cyrodiil.”

Yuri picked up the first page which held a rough drawing of a man and woman in dark, cloth and leather based armour. She began to read from the writing below.

“Dark clothed mages… Who seem to dabble in dark magic… There is something about teleporting and melting into shadows.” She summarised. “Says here that they are called Shades.” Aravi nodded and met both Aya and Yuri's eyes while the information sunk in.

“Sounds a lot like the cult, don't you think?” Aya couldn't deny that the similarities were striking. Decentius had teleported to the body and then teleported away, a skill that many of the insurgents had. They too could melt into the darkness, a skill she didn't doubt Decentius had access to.

“How do we fight them?” Yuri asked. It was Aya that answered.

“I assume by using the same methods we used the last time.” She looked to Aravi for confirmation. The bosmer winked.

“The paper seems to agree. If you stick a candle light on them then they never get into any dark space, so they can't melt into the darkness to become invisible. It seems that casting soul trap on them via a spell or an enchanted or bound weapon still prevents them from teleporting, at least until the spell wears off.”

Aya scanned one of the pages and then came across something they hadn't discovered with the Legion.
“It says something about familiars here? What does that mean?” She asked. Aravi lent back against the chest.

“It appears that familiars are naturally drawn to members of the Monolith. The scholar says it's something to do with opposing energies: The Shades draw their power from the most corrupted part of Oblivion, whereas familiars are the opposite. When ever a familiar gets with a certain range of a Shade, they will charge at them and then disappear when they get too close.”

“The Shade's subconsciously banish them?” Yuri asked. Aravi shrugged and dipped her head.

“Researcher didn't seem to know.”

Aya and Yuri sat back in their chairs as they considered the new information.

“So Khazkru has a Shade on his side.” Yuri muttered. “Just great.”

At the mention of the orc's name, Aravi's ears seemed to prick like an excited dog.

“Did you say Khazkru?” She asked. Aya and Yuri looked at each other uncertainly and then nodded.

“Why are you interested?” Aya said. Aravi stood forwards and placed both hands against the table.

“Because he's been developing some sort of potion, and from what we've gathered, he's trying to use it to make some sort of undead army. He's been testing them against the Dawnguard at least once every fortnight.”

Aya couldn't help it; she laughed. It was short lived, but she needed to release the stress that had accumulated over the previous few days.

“I think your outfit is behind on the times.” Aya joked. “We went to the Augur of Dunlain, and he gave us a prophesy. As it turns out, Khazkru's potion is the first link in a chain reaction that threatens Tamriel.”

Aravi looked mortified. Although it wasn't the type of case the Winterhand normally involved themselves with, they had thought it was a threat but Aravi seemed to have been unprepared for how much of a threat it posed.

“Is there anything we can do?” Aravi asked. Aya shook her head.

“We're pursuing a lead at the moment, but we do need somebody on the ground to delay Khazkru's progress as much as possible. The completion of his potion appears to be the tipping point; once he is finished, the prophesy will begin to role into motion, and I'm not entirely sure we will be able to stop it if it does.” Aravi seemed to agree. As a parting motion, she gathered the paper and presented it to Aya.

“No, I don't think that would be wise.” She said. “Who ever paid the guild to take those papers clearly doesn't want anybody to know about the Monolith. Only the Shades would benefit from Cyrodiil being unaware of their existence and their weaknesses. Returning those papers should be of up-most importance.”

“All right. I wish you two luck as well. We'll try to delay him in any way we can, and if you need help, don't hesitate to find us after you've followed that lead.” With that, she rushed off towards the kitchens and began gathering supplies. The Winterhand didn't mess around in dangerous situations so Aya knew that Aravi would leave in less than an hour.

Looking around for one last time with a sense of finality, Aya turned with Yuri to leave. At the door to the lift, Rus-Dro'mar asked:

“So, when will we be seeing you again?” Filled with dread at their discovery, Aya didn't hesitate to answer.

“Sooner than you think.”
I've now made it easier for all of you to navigate my gallery. Now, if you want to read any of my stories, all you need to do is click on the stories 'Home Page' which will have a contents list in the description that contains links to the stories cover and all the completed chapters. It will look a little like this:

A brief description of the story, similar to a blurb or overview.

Front Cover (if there is one)

Part 1 (Name)
:bulletblack: Chp 1 (Name)
:bulletblack: Chp 2 (Name)
:bulletblack: Chp 3 (Coming Soon)

Hopefully this should make it easier for everybody to read my work. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them here!

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theubbergeek2 Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2015
Happy birthday :cake:
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EmpressofDiamonds Featured By Owner May 4, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for watching me for so long.
Atom45 Featured By Owner Edited Apr 14, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the :+fav: on The Dragonborn Comes
MikaLero Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2015
I haven't heard from you in what seems like ages!  Just checking in to make sure all is well on your side of the Pond.  ^_^
Sharquelle Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very much for faving! Squish 
Happy New Year's Eve and I wish you a happy, healthy and creative 2015! 
Enjoying the Fireworks - NaNoEmo Day 7 
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