First, I need to thank Ren for her wonderful Mystic Elf mod for Oblivion. This would not have come about if I hadn't decided to download it and play the game again as a Mystic Elf. This will cover several of the story arcs from the game, and hopefully have some rather unexpected characters you remember. I may update slowly, but I'll do my best – I do work well with encouragement. (That's a hint, kids.)
Rated M for upcoming mature themes, violence, and future naughtiness. Not surprisingly, none of the characters belong to me, although I will take the blame for Rowena and I am totally at fault for all the non-canon stuff. Sorry about that.
Hope you enjoy the ride!
Chapter 1: Start at the Beginning
"I have been many things in my life," Rowena said, smiling. "But I suppose it won't do to give you a list. It would ruin the surprise."
The Nord bard looked at her nonplused. Rowena grinned at her, but that didn't seem to be helping. From behind her, Rowena heard the rather distinctive sound of a Dunmer chuckle. She glanced over her shoulder catching the gleam of a pair of rather handsome red eyes. She smiled at them.
"If you want the eloquent version of the tale," Rowena said, turning back to the young, and impossibly blonde bard, "Perhaps you should ask my husband for the tale. He does have a better relationship with words than I do." There was that Dunmer laugh again.
"'Tis true, and I am also slightly better acquainted with the truth," Varon interjected. "Although the story would not be as interesting without exaggeration. Besides, I am a rather jealous man, and I'd gloss over the parts about your past conquests. Without which I'm certain the story would be less interesting."
Rowena turned back to grin at him again. Varon was leaning against the wall casually, his ankles crossed and his arms folded over his chest. There was a sardonic half smile on his handsome face.
"Maybe you should just start at the beginning," the bard offered shyly.
"Ah yes," Rowena said. "The beginning."
Before she could continue, Varon crossed the room and reached out to her. He twisted the long strands of her apricot colored hair around his hand gently and tilted her head back to look up at him. He leaned down and kissed her forehead with its fine tracery of tattoos, then the tip of her nose, and finally her lips. He released her hair, running his fingers through the long strands as he did.
"Then," he said, not looking away from Rowena, who left her head draped over the back of the chair, staring at him. "If it's the beginning, I want to find somewhere else to be. It makes be beyond jealous to hear where this began."
"Just remember where it ends," Rowena said sweetly.
"I do," Varon replied. "I do remember, ever day, Rowena Jade Vamori. I hope you do as well."
Rowena chuckled, raising her head to look at the Bard again. She tilted her head to the side. "Men," she whispered to the bard conspiratorially. "Dunmer men in particular."
Varon chuckled and patted her head. "Then I'm off," he said. "I'll be back after dark." Rowena turned to watch him go, appreciatively observing the rather fine view of his backside as he sauntered to the door. He turned back to her and blew her a kiss before closing the door behind him.
"Dunmer men," Rowena said, staring at the closed door. Slowly she turned to face the bard again. The color had drained from Rowena's face. She was always pale, but she looked spectrally pale at the moment. The bard shuddered.
"Dunmer men is where it really begins. I have a weakness for them," Rowena began. "Always have."
The bard giggled, making her seem incredibly young. "Seem so scrawny to me, personally," she said.
"That's a common opinion, for a Nord like yourself, but being elven, they seem just about right. Although I will admit, there is also something about large men to be desired. Although you know, when I first met Varon, he had quite the crush on a Nord lass. She looked quite a bit like you in fact, tall, blonde and rather unimpressed by his Dunmer charms." Rowena snickered. "Eh, before I side track myself . . . . " Rowena trailed off. She cleared her throat.
"Alright then, the beginning. But first, I need to set the record straight," she began. "There are many things about me that are thought to be common knowledge, but a good deal of them are wrong. It is commonly 'known' that I am a Bosmer, but I am not."
"What?" The bard looked shocked.
"You too?" Rowena continued. "I would have thought seeing me up close would have dispelled that idea. Ah, I suppose my people are not common, and we've managed to stay that way by not changing any minds when we are thought to be Bosmer. But I'm tired of it."
"So, what . . I mean. . . ." the bard stuttered.
"What am I?" Rowena chortled. "Well, there's a lovely word for my race in my native language, but it's impossible to pronounce and even harder to spell. In Cyrodillic, we're called Mystic Elves."
"I've heard of them, but I thought they were just a myth."
"No," Rowena continued. "We are quite real. Although we have much in common with the other elves you know; The Bosmer, Altmer and Dunmer, we are actually closer related to the Ayleids than they are. We are one of the few outside races the Wild elves will interact with willingly. I won't tell you where our homeland is, that is one secret I won't give away, but I can tell you a few important details." Rowena gestured to her tattoos; the fine filigree of black and green twisted across her forehead and her chest. "We don't all have these. They are given as a sign of magical expertise. Most of my people, not surprisingly, have tattoos symbolizing their gift for mysticism. Although I do have some skill there, mine are not for that arcane art. I am an illusionist. Even in my home where magic is revered, that did not make me very popular.
So once I was of the age of majority, and old enough to be on my own, I left. It isn't uncommon. Many Mystic Elves leave home then, to see the rest of the world and gain skills. But usually they only leave for a short time. And honestly, that was my intention as well. However, as things usually are, it didn't happen the way I'd planned. And that is really where my story begins."
"I left my homeland in late spring, just as the cherry trees were shedding their blossoms. It was beyond beautiful where I am from, but although the land was more harsh as I traveled further away, it had a beauty of its own, nonetheless.
I crossed the border into Cyrodill northeast of Cheydinhal. The land there was pleasant and sparsely populated. I ran into a few aggressive creatures; wolves, feral rats, bears, but nothing I couldn't handle. I got a lot of joy out of finally being able to use the blade skills I'd learned as a child.
It was not long after I'd crossed the border, perhaps only a day or two, before I did run into something I couldn't handle. I was young, impossibly so, to think about it now, and not as skilled at thinking quickly. I was captured by a group of bandits. They were mostly Imperials, but their leader was a Dunmer man named Neman.
Up until now, I'd never actually seen a Dunmer before. I knew of their red eyes and dusky skin. I knew of their aggressive personalities and daedra worship. But I really had no idea. No one had told me that Neman's eyes would look like sunlit rubies, or his skin like polished smoky quartz. No one told me he would have long blue-black hair and be as handsome as any man I'd ever seen.
But, Neman had also never known one of my kind before. He immediately realized I wasn't a Bosmer and his enmity toward me faded. Instead of his prisoner to be ransomed, I quickly become his lover." Rowena paused for a moment, taking a long drink of her wine.
"Ah, this is no way to tell a story," she said finally. "Let me show you how it really was."