~The story's original name was going to be "Bloodstained Memories", referencing Sarila's past as a young girl on her family farm. Her innocent past was stained with the blood of her parents, the Thalmor soldiers who had attacked, Terdel, and Ysgrig, who she presumed was dead.
-The title was changed to "Where The Cold Awaits" to reference Sarila's inevitable death in the icy depths of a frozen lake.
~When I was first writing the story, I made Sarila as a Skyrim character and played the game from her point of view. I also created several other characters from the story using the creation kit, such as Lyvette, Valelia, Ysgrig, and Ytri.
~In the very first stage of development, Sarila was the Dragonborn. Valelia was later added, which changed the outcome of the story completely.
~Sarila's eyes were originally a shocking blue, but eventually changed to violet to add diversity in the character's physical traits.
~Sarila was originally going to join the Stormcloaks early on in the story.
~I had planned for Sarila to die the moment I started writing the script. Her death was scripted to be the chapter before the last, with the last chapter being the other characters' speculations on her demise. However, I eventually pushed her death back to the very last chapter.
~Lyvette's death was being planned out when chapter 25 was released.
-Lyvette's death was almost deleted due to how gruesome and shocking the death of the little girl would be, however, I went through with the plan anyway.
~Sarila's character was designed to be the exact opposite of my first OC, Aliras. Aliras is a merciless killer who robs both friends and foes. If a person came into her view, she would have her morbid, twisted heart set on killing them until their lifeless body hit the floor in a shower of blood. Sarila, however, is kindhearted, gentle, and fears killing. She doesn't kill her first human until she's 18, and it's for the purpose of protecting Lyvette. Sarila and Aliras are polar opposites; even their names spell each other's when spelled backwards. Aliras has blue eyes, Sarila has violet ones. The two have three things in common, though; their long, golden hair, their Nord blood, and their orphaned statuses.
~Originally, Ysgrig was scripted to die in the Thalmor attack on the family farm, and Ytri was scripted to survive the forest and reappear, but their alive and dead statuses were switched, which changed major events in the story.
~In the first stages of development, Sarila had a twin sister, Ariki, and Ysgrig was their younger brother. Ysgrig would have died, and Ariki was intended to escape the farm alongside Sarila and survive with her and Ytri, but Ariki was deleted, and Ysgrig replaced her as Sarila's twin.
~Lyvette was supposed to survive and grow up alongside Ysgrig's son, though this changed in final story scripting, and her death occurred in the Temple of Xrib in Sightless Pit.
~Lyvette was almost cut out of the story, since I was worried it would seem unrealistic for a child to survive on her own for so long and that no one would really like her, but out of the people I asked, Lyvette is one of the most liked characters of the story, the others being Sarila, Chalvia, Valelia, and Ysgrig.
~While Sarila was doing her special job for the Thieves Guild in Whiterun, Lyvette was supposed to meet Lars Battle-Born and befriend him. Eventually, the two kissed, and Lyvette started a brief romance with her childhood crush. This was cut out of the story when I decided that Lyvette should help Sarila with her job, and instead, she met Dagny in Dragonsreach.
~Several characters' deaths were hinted at throughout the story, along with the causes of death.
-Sarila's death by suicide and drowning was hinted at when Mercer Frey tried to drown her in the river where they had a fight. Later, after Mercer was killed in Irkngthand, the cave flooded, and everyone swam upwards into a pipe. Sarila's legs gave out while swimming, though, and Ysgrig had to go back and save her. He tells her that he would never let her drown, which also alludes to the fact that Sarila sacrificed herself for him and, out of extreme grief over the loss of Lyvette and Marcurio, committed suicide by not allowing Ysgrig to help her, forcing him to let her drown. Her death is also reminiscent of Ytri telling her to keep on swimming while she was being washed away in the currents of a river as a child, as seen in chapter 28, and is also reminiscent of Sarila's departing words to Ytri's dead body as she released her into the stream.
-Kharjo's death was very subtly hinted at when he immediately risked himself to save Lyvette from the frostbite spider that attacked her in the forest. He later risks himself to save her from the Falmer's arrow, and ends up causing his own demise.
-Lyvette's death was hinted at, by far, the most out of any other character. In chapter 32, Lyvette clumsily tumbles backwards off her bed. Sarila jokingly responds, saying that Lyvette's constant falling will be the death of her. Lyvette also falls down multiple times throughout the story. When Lyvette has the nightmare of Sarila, Mercer, Valelia, and Karliah in Snow Veil Sanctum, she expresses intense fear of being shot with an arrow. Sarila reassures her and promises that no one will ever shoot her with an arrow, but Sarila is eventually the one to put Lyvette down with a merciful arrow to the skull. In Irkngthand, when the Falmer aims his bow and arrow specifically at Lyvette, this hints two things; that a Falmer would play a role in her death, and that an arrow would eventually kill her.
-Qattindra's death was hinted at, and if you squinted, you could really tell what was going to happen. When Sarila asked Qattindra how she and Caehir got the willpower to hunt so many awful beasts, Qattindra replies: "Well, it's like I always say; butcher, or be butchered." Not even a full day after she arrives at Windhelm with Ysgrig, Sarila, Caehir, and Mattha, she gets murdered by the serial killer of Windhelm known as The Butcher. -Marcurio's death was hinted at very subtly. In chapter 84, Marcurio lovingly tells Sarila that he would get himself killed before he'd let Sarila die, and in chapter 98, Marcurio made a quickly-determined decision to sacrifice himself to save Sarila's life.
-Finally, a whole bunch of deaths were hinted at in Sarila's speech to Valelia in chapter 86.
*"It's alright to be scared, Valie. I was scared eight months ago, but now I'm stronger. I'm still scared of things like dragons, death of loved ones, and death of myself, but I still push myself. We just have to hold our heads up and brave the things that come our way, and if we have to take a fall, make a shot, or dive into danger, then so be it, but we can't just let ourselves drown in worries. We have to give ourselves up to our fears so our other half can live through it, but also overcome them at the same time."*
Sarila mentions she was scared of the death of loved ones (hinting at Lyvette and Marcurio's deaths) and the death of herself (self-explanatory). She says that they have to hold their heads up and be brave, and if they have to take a fall and make a shot (Lyvette's death) or dive into danger (Marcurio's death), then they would just have to deal with it. She also adds that they can't let themselves drown in worries (subtly hinting Sarila's death) and that they have to give themselves up to their fears (again, her fears are the deaths of her loved ones and the death of herself) so their other half (Sarila's other half being Ysgrig, her twin) could live through it, but also overcome their fears at the same time.
~The Home originally included an Imperial female named Gesila Fraennius, however, she was scrapped, and Chalvia took her place.
~Gesila and Marcurio were originally intended to have a relationship before Gesila was replaced with Chalvia, who ended up with Ysgrig, and Marcurio entered his romance with Sarila. Ysgrig was supposed to have a relationship with Qattindra until Chalvia was added to the story.
~Sarila was originally intended to be the one who was shot with Karliah's arrow, but Valelia was implemented into the Thieves' Guild at later planning stages, so she took Sarila's place.
~Sarila's first human kill was originally intended to be Mercer Frey.
~Marcurio wasn't scripted to die at all in the original parts of the story, and his death was a completely spontaneous decision in the final script.
~Qattindra's death was scripted into the story the night before her death chapter was written.
~Kharjo's death wasn't originally scripted; there was a written scene where he leaves the story in chapter 32.
-Sarila watched Kharjo wistfully gaze at his moon amulet, sorrow on his face. "I miss them. The caravan. They were not always quiet and peaceful, but this one thinks of them as family." Kharjo sighed as he clasped his amulet back around his neck. Sarila nodded in understanding and put a hand on his shoulder. "Go to them, Kharjo. You've helped us in more ways than you can imagine. Remember us fondly, as we will remember you." Sarila smiled. Kharjo returned a sad smile and stood up from his chair. His whiskers twitched as his smile widened. "This one will miss you all." He whispered as he hugged Sarila. The two pulled away, and Kharjo began to walk to the stairs of the inn. He stopped and looked at Sarila for a brief moment, casting another smile to her. "May your road lead you to warm sands." Sarila quoted, giving a small wave. Kharjo grinned at the woman's kind words, and he walked down the stairs of the Bee and Barb for the final time before he returned to his caravan in the wilds of Skyrim.-
~Kharjo and Omir were scripted to be long lost brothers, and were intended to reunite in chapter 32, though plans changed.
~At one point, there was a fight scene between Mattha and Omir. Mattha was originally going to kill Omir in this fight, but the plans changed and Omir was intended to kill Mattha instead. Eventually, the idea was scrapped entirely, but I incorporated the fight scene (though less severely) in chapter 96's flashback.
~Caehir was supposed to die when he and Qattindra fought the mammoth in chapter 27. His death was deleted because it was too soon after he'd been introduced to the story and he would play a major role in the later chapters, so his death was replaced with a slice on Qattindra's arm.
~At one point in the story, Sarila would have been recognized as Ytri's accomplice in Windhelm, and gotten arrested on account of Ytri's criminal record. Sarila would have broken out with the help of Lyvette, who supplied her with lockpicks she'd found in a thief cache and asked to visit Sarila in prison. This was scrapped due to the fact that Sarila's character development had progressed immensely, and she would have been determined enough to rescue herself before Lyvette had even heard of her arrest.
~Chalvia was intended to survive her childbirth, and her son, Kyrike, was scripted to die shortly after.
~Sa'etha, who delivered the originally deceased son, was overcome with guilt of the child's death, and she fell into depression for the rest of the story.
-"I can't believe I let that boy die." Sa'etha mumbled, taking a swig of her wine. "Master Metian Septianos would be repulsed by me. I've let everyone down, and that child's blood permanently stains my hands."-
~The death of Chalvia's son would have left a growing bitterness between Chalvia and Sa'etha.
~Valelia was originally going to have a home in Skyrim with her parents, though this was changed later on.
~Valelia was actually supposed to have almost no time and no role in the story at all. She was originally going to have her own story that coincided with the time frame of Where The Cold Awaits, but the decision was scrapped altogether.
~Mattha's death was completely spontaneous, and was written into the story on a whim.
~Reea'th was going to die from his illness, however, since two of the residents of the Home had just died, this decision was scrapped.
~I had never planned for Sarila and Marcurio to become engaged, but I thought it would be a nice addition to the story.
~At one point, I had considered writing a scene where Marcurio and Caehir teamed up to rescue Kyrike from a falling tree in a storm, but I dismissed the idea, as I needed to add character development for the upcoming deaths.
~The last name of Sarila's family was originally Stone-Spear, but was later changed to Cairn-Spring.
~Most of the names of the OC's were generated by the Skyrim Name Generator. Omir, Caehir, Qattindra, Reea'th, Mattha, Sa'etha, Fridki, Battori, Ysgrig, and Lyvette were all generated. Sarila, Chalvia, Kyrike, Ytri, Terdel, and Valelia all had original names.
~The title cover of the story was originally a picture of Sarila and Lyvette walking through the forests of The Rift, a bear lumbering towards them. However, the screenshot was somehow lost, so I did a photo shoot with Sarila on top of the Throat of The World. I used weather effects to make the sky like Sovngarde, and I dressed her up in a white lace dress, heels, and stockings from a mod, and made her wield her ebony dagger. I used the 'tfc' command to fly to a good angle where it looked like Sarila was gazing up at the skies of Sovngarde. This scene was scripted into the story in chapter 90.
~I was indecisive about what kind of dagger Sarila should start out with, so I decided by pure chance. I got a six-sided die and a piece of paper. I marked down a few numbers and dagger types.
If I rolled a one, she would wield a steel dagger.
If I rolled a two, she would wield a glass dagger.
If I rolled a three, she would wield an ebony dagger.
If I rolled a four, she would wield an Elven dagger.
If I rolled a five, she would wield a dwarven dagger.
If I rolled a six, she would wield a daedric dagger.
I cast the die, and it landed on a three. Sarila was promptly given an ebony dagger to help her on her journey through Skyrim.
A/N: And, at long last, I'm finally going to present you with the surprise I mentioned last chapter. Feast your peepers on this!
"I don't know how much longer we can go on like this, Ysgrig." Reea'th worriedly told his friend. "It's been eighteen years, and dragons are popping up everywhere. Maybe we really are a doomed people." "Don't talk like that. Valelia will come through. She always has." Ysgrig replied, feeling the beard on his chin out of habit.
"Damn, where are the authorities and patrols in all this?" Caehir irately grumbled, pulling his sword out of the dead bandit's chest. "They're where they always are; in the cities." Sa'etha mumbled, looking down at the corpses of the bandits that were strewn about. "I'm starting to wonder how long it'll be before we have to move out of the Home for good."
Valelia panicked, struggling to pull her arm away from the angry marauder. "I'm sick of you people, trying to 'restore justice to Skyrim'. No one survives out here anymore by being honest and legitimate. Those people are dead, and they aren't coming back." He spat in the woman's face. She wiped her face with her free arm, all the while trying to free the arm that was being grasped in the marauder's hand. "They won't come back if you keep killing us!" She retorted. "Don't talk back to me, you little bitch!" He snarled, pulling a dwarven sword from its sheath. The rapping on the door quickened at the sound of a weapon being unsheathed. "You're going to pay the ultimate price. I'll make sure you learn your lesson; to never mess with me or my boys again!"
"Ysgrig, help!" Caehir cried as the bear sunk its teeth into his leg. "GAH! YSGRIG!" Ysgrig dashed over to the Bosmer and stabbed the bear through the eye with his sword. It gave an anguished roar, releasing Caehir from his teeth. Caehir grasped his leg before hurriedly limping back into the Home. The enraged bear growled fiercely, scaring the nearby birds from the trees. The furry beast lunged for Ysgrig, who fell over on his back. The bear bounded towards him, but stopped in its tracks when a katana shot through its head. It fell to the ground, blood pouring from its body. Ysgrig's eyes trailed up the katana and the katana's hilt until he got an eyeful of the beholder. "Thank the Gods. It's you."
Well, there you have it! The surprise is…you guessed it…
The preview for the upcoming sequel that I never announced! YAY!
Be sure to keep an eye out for the sequel. I haven't decided the title yet, but I've already started the script.
Thank you SO much for reading this story, guys. Really, it means a lot. Peace.