My guild, Shoddycaste, has a section on forums just for roleplaying where some great information is being shared on how to roleplay and get started with a character story, etc. This is great for people that have never done RP before.
In April, we had a backstory/bio writing contest. The winner was FatalEclipse with the story of Maura Tierdawn. Here it is!
“Queen Ayrenn! Do not grant this retched gray skin an audience!” hollered an Altmer of extra pompous indignation.
A Khajiit silently stepped out of the shadows nearby and smiled amusedly. “This one thinks if orders are to be given, they must come from the Queen. Prince Naemon is too ugly to be her; maybe more eye shadow and less of a scowl would help.” Despite the advice, Prince Naemon’s scowl deepened.
“My Queen, please keep that Khajiit’s mouth in line. I am your brother and…!”
“Quiet the both of you! Honestly, I’ve seen mud crabs make less noise being thrown into the pot.”
“Ahh, boiled mud crabs. Not the best meal this one has had, but Razum-dar knows how to make the dish more palatable.”
“And would that include some moon sugar?” Queen Ayrenn glanced around at the Khajiit who merely nodded. “I seem to recall tasting it before – kept me up all night trying to speak to their shells and… ah… , well, back to the issue at hand.” She started blushing at her own rambling.
“Yes, enough foolishness.” grimaced Prince Naemon. “This ill-bred Dunmer may very well be a spy for the Ebonheart Pact. We cannot allow her to meddle in our affairs.”
Queen Ayrenn looked down the audience chamber at the lone Dunmer who had stood quietly with her head cast down. She had smooth gray skin and dark red shoulder-length hair. Her eyes refracted light and flashed as bright ruby red. Several of the Queen’s guards posed ready to strike at the slightest provocation while members of the Aldmeri Dominion within the audience chamber continued to murmur about the stranger in their midst.
Queen Ayrenn glanced at Razum-Dar briefly before staring back at the Dark Elf. The Khajiit responded, “Pact spies do not fall from the sky. This one has been with the Dunmer before us and has guided her. She has done much for us on Khenarthi’s Roost and is the capable sort. Razum-Dar believes this Dunmer would like to continue to help.”
Queen Ayrenn stepped down and began walking toward the Dark Elf with her brother and Razum-Dar in tow. She raised her hand up and the room fell silent. The guards hesitantly sheathed their weapons and stepped back from the Dunmer. And Prince Naemon’s scowl somehow deepened even further.
“What is your name?”
“Maura. Maura Tierdawn, your majesty.”
“Your majesty? Always thought I’d here Muthsera or some such from a Dunmer. But then, Tierdawn isn’t a surname they would use.”
“No, your majesty. I grew up in Cyrodiil.”
“Cyrodiil? Do tell.”
“Well, to get to the heart of the story, you have to go back to the beginning.”
Ziril Nedalor, my father, was a selfish, prideful, and well-respected member of House Telvanni. That was until he made a snide remark at one of his superiors for sleeping with an Argonian slave. As a form of punishment, he was tasked with analyzing the misguided beliefs and culture of an Ashland tribe near the east coast of Vvardenfell for a year. It was during this time that he met my mother, Ansu Benamamat, a young Ashlander who was selected to become the tribe’s next wise woman.
At first, Ansu argued with the unwelcomed guest every chance she had much to the amusement of the other members of her tribe. But she was young and disliked the tribal way of her own people. How was she to become wise listening to old stories that bored her? It didn’t take much convincing to leave her tribe behind and marry the mysterious exciting Telvanni Dunmer.
Later, I was born in 2E 560 in Sadrith Mora, the same year the Knahaten Flu epidemic spread from Black Marsh. My protective father doted on me regularly and helped be learn the basics of spell casting. And my loving mother told me the stories of her people as best she remembered – the very same stories that she claimed bored her when she met father.
While Ziril did not place much value on the stories of the Ashland people, some of them made him begin to question more and more the nature of the Tribunal. Before long, father actively spoke out against the Tribunal, claiming they stole the power they wielded and were not worthy of worship. At the age of eight, I had to move with my parents to Chorrol in Cyrodiil; my father was exiled from Morrowind.
Fitting in Chorrol was not easy. Few would associate with my parents who seemed to prefer it that way. But I was lonely, till I met Grub Dub. My father disliked the orc boy, immediately. He would always mutter that Grub Dub was a bad influence for me, and he was right. The two of us would get into all sorts of trouble, each daring the other to do a more dangerous prank. Perhaps one of my favorites was messing with one of the alchemist, Mr. Burfield, or Ol’ Birdfeet we called him because he always walked pigeon-toed. He had this potion of spell crit enhancement he made from some water hyacinth and lady’s smock. Grub Dub and I would break in and switch it so he mixed the water hyacinth with some emetic russula, a nasty mushroom, and make a potion that would stun instead. Then, Ol’ Birdfeet would test it in front of his potential customer to show that it worked and be left motionless while the customer stormed out in a fit.
But then it all ended when I was ten on the darkest night of my life. Returning home from another foolish prank with Grub Dub, I heard my mother inside scream in terror and I froze not ten feet from the door. There was a brief muffled commotion inside and then silence. I swallowed deeply and opened the door. Somehow, I already knew my mother was dead, but the sight of her throat slit open as she lay motionless on the floor in a pool of ever growing blood is forever burned in my memory. I heard a noise upstairs, a window being opened in my father’s study. I slowly went up the stairs and peered through into the study room only to see my father bent over his desk with a dagger of Orcish design in his back. Suddenly, I realized I wasn’t alone. A figure stood halfway in the window cloaked in black. The only details I remember are the red eyes, the shine of a dagger that flew out and grazed my shoulder. The coolness that suddenly began to spread from my shoulder and the icy words, “Sweet dreams little S’wit.”
Grub Dub stood over me as I regained consciousness. He had treated my shoulder and gave me an antidote. I was sweating all over and remember him mentioning that was my body trying to rid itself of the poison. I gave him the longest embrace as I wept. Grub Dub told me a dark figure went by him in the street and told him to come quickly to my house – that someone had broken into it.
I was supposed to die that night and Grub Dub was supposed to be implicated in the murder of my family. But the killer didn’t know that Grub Dub was a budding alchemist. He didn’t know the twelve year old Orc would be able to neutralize the poison. And so I lived, and the guards implicated Grub Dub in the murder of my parents, despite my protests. I was now an orphan child being sent away, and Grub Dub was going to be treated harshly by the law for a crime he did not commit. I never heard from my friend again.
The orphanage I went to was run by a curious Breton by the name Abelle Tierford. She gave last names to orphans that carried the ‘Tier’ part of her name along with the time of day of their arrival to the orphanage. She claims it was something her husband would want her to do. I believe that losing her husband to the Knahaten Flu made her a bit more eccentric. She meant well, but I was cruel to her and called her a scuttlehead on more than one occasion.
My obsession was learning who killed my parents. I was convinced initially that someone in Morrowind had contracted a writ of execution with the Morag Tong for my father. Normally, the Morag Tong would not honor a killing outside of Morrowind, too many political implications. But if they could frame it has a murder by some troublemaking orc boy, maybe they would carry it out. I had but one clue to go on and the longer I remained in the orphanage, the colder my trail would get. The killer had used two daggers. One was the Orcish dagger meant to misdirect the guards. The other was an Imperial dagger that had poisoned me. While guards took the Orcish dagger into evidence, they left the Imperial one thinking my father owned it. I’ll never know why the killer did not think to retrieve it, but it was the loose end I needed. The Imperial dagger had an engraving at the tip of the hilt. Although faded, the word ‘Sithis’ could be made out.
At the age of 15, I ran away from the orphanage and found my way into the Imperial City. The first year was the hardest, I lived by begging mostly. While I heard all sorts of private conversations, none of it was meaningful to me. No one uttered the word ‘Sithis.’ The next three years, I worked in a bookstore. While the owner was impressed with my appetite for reading books, none of them mentioned this ‘Sithis.’ Finally, the next three years, I worked as a barmaid and heard talk of a gathering of worms. Nothing about ‘Sithis’ directly, but I decided to find out more about this ‘worm’ cult.
Evidently, my asking around drew the attention of a cult member. He came to the bar and while I poured him drink, he spoke to me. He had a pleasant smile and told me what I wanted to hear. He said he knew of this ‘Sithis’ and that if I wanted to meet him, I should come to a gathering he was hosting. It was an obvious trap and I fell for it completely. Upon arriving at the location he had indicated, I was surrounded and knocked out cold.
I awoke with others bound and tied in a cell. And after several hours, we were led single file down toward an altar where a menacing Altmer stood. One by one we were sent to the altar to be sacrificed to a Deadric Prince. I knew then that the cult of worms was a cult to Molag Bal, and I was to be another sacrifice.
“What happens next? You don’t die, do you?” Queen Ayrenn asked.
“Obviously, she lives or she wouldn’t be here!” Prince Naemon exclaimed.
Maura started, “Actually…” But Razum-Dar hastily interjects, “Actually, this one thinks the rest of the story should be told in a more private place. Talk of Deadric Princes may draw too much provocation from such a large crowd.”
“Fine.” The Queen began, “It is clear, Maura, that you are not in league with the Ebonheart Pact. And if Razum-Dar can vouch for you, then you are welcome here in the Aldmeri Dominion. There are too few that Razum-Dar would call capable. You must tell me what happened to you on that altar, but that is a story for another day.”
Maura Tierdawn Bio by FatalEclipse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.