|Home City||Camlorn of High Rock|
|Faction(s)||Shadow Mages of High Rock (Acolyte), Mages Guild (Associate)|
Volando is an adventurer, trying to find his place in the world, to discover and fulfill his purpose. This is complicated by partial amnesia, a symptom of brain damage, from which he is slowly recovering.
 Iconic Summary
 My Beginning/Back Story
The first thoughts I can remember are Why am I not dead?, and the first memories I recollected, anxiety-ridden visions of clubs and fists colliding with my face. I slowly opened my eyes as realization of the pains I suffered through my entire body seeped into my consciousness: splitting headache, throbbing aches in my face, arms, back, a sharp sense of emptiness in my gut, and the sting of acrid scent. I was limited in my field of view by the swelling about my eyes, and I could only make out that I was lying on cold, damp, hard stone.
After I arose from my fetal position in a thin pool of blood, sweat, vomit, and tears, I looked around though a haze, wondering where I was. Something was not right, but I couldn't settle on whether something was missing, or whether I was out of place.
Then, in a clarifying snap, I realized that I was in a prison cell. That wasn't right; I'm not supposed to be here! But.. but.. where was my place? I tried to remember my home, but drew a blank. I tried to remember my family, and concentrated on my visual memory, but I could not associate any of the faces that came to mind with any special relationship, except one with whom I associated guidance, but not affection, and obligation, but not kinship: a master, to whom I was apprenticed, with whom I was longer than I had been with my parents.
In my struggle to remember, some of the faces I visualized were speaking to me, but I failed to comprehend, except that many were addressing me, calling my name. My name is Volando! I breathed a sigh of wistful relief: at least I know who I am... well, at least what I am called. But what happened to me? Why am I here?
 The Jail Mate
I rested for a while on the puny stool staring at the empty plate on the little table, until a combination of hunger and desire for freedom drove me to my feet, to challenge the bars keeping me from the hallway, and, presumably, liberty, irrational though it was. As I approached, I saw in the cell across from me a man with dark, purplish skin and pointed ears, unlike those of the faces I was remembering. I glanced at my arms, comparing my own skin to this man and my memories, and felt my ears. This man was definitely not of my kind, but I couldn't remember the name for his, though I felt as if I ought to be able to do so, having a feeling of familiarity, if not intimacy.
As I stumbled toward the barred door, I caught the attention of my neighbor, who then taunted me in a sneering voice. My anger at his insults served to clear my mind more, in concentration on the thought that I surely would wreak my revenge on this tormenter, should I get the chance. (In reflection, I ought, maybe, to be grateful that he was casting racial slurs upon me, as he identified my own as Breton, and added to my growing recollection of identity, but I was certainly too taken up in ire at the moment to appreciate it.) He continued baiting me until interrupted by the sound of approaching voices and clanking of armor on the stone floor.
 The Passers-by
An elderly man , dressed in exquisite finery, approached, preceded and followed by armed and plated guards . He must have a high station, I thought, as I wondered why he was coming here. I glanced down, examining my own garb, really for the first time, and was shocked and ashamed to find that I was in the most threadbare of sackcloth, and had manacles on my wrists, adding to my feeling that I was in the wrong place, that I was not supposed to be here.
I was distracted from this beginning of self-pity by the surprise that this party of four, one of them a woman, stopped in front of my cell, and that I was being ordered to stand back. They entered, and proceeded to open a secret passage I had not noticed, but instead of immediately exiting, the man with the large jeweled amulet confronted me, though his guards urged him on. He identified himself as the Emperor, and hinted at some fate, some obligation upon me, some manipulation by the gods. This riled my sense of independence, and I replied, "I go my own way.", hiding my shock at my own self, for what would probably be perceived as insubordination at this ruler surrounded by his lethally-equipped guards.
However, he took it in philosophically, "So must we all."
 Attempt to Escape
The guards urged him on into the hidden tunnel, and I stared after them for a moment, until I realized that this was my chance at freedom. I could escape! I followed at a distance, not wishing any further risk of the displeasure of the obviously battle-hardened soldiers. I felt an affinity for the shadows in which I crept behind them, out of a dug tunnel into constructed chambers, watching the party ahead carefully, lest they should notice me and react violently.
But violence came to them instead, in that magically armed assailants ambushed the Emperor, who was saved by his guards, at the loss of one, the woman, leaving the red-garbed attackers dead on the ground. In looking for more aggressors, the guards spotted me, but instead of continuing their fury upon me, they merely warned me not to try to follow as they disappeared through a door locked behind them.
 Facing Hazards
I was beginning to despair of my chance at liberty, but my attention was immediately drawn to alarming sounds of claws scraping on wood and stone, and of squeaks of hunger. Unimaginably huge rats came running up the stairs. I hoped for a moment that they would stop and feast upon the fallen, but they continued on toward me. My instinct for survival brought me to remember some of what my master taught me, and I brought forth the magicka I could access, and blasted the rats with magical fire, leaving them toasted among the other bodies. After calming down, I searched those bodies for anything useful, finding a sword and some vials that contained what were probably magical potions.
I then realized that freedom might lay from where the rats came, so I found their entrance into the chamber, through boards covering up a hole into some space below constructed floors. Not far in, I found the skeletal remains of some poor soul who had gotten trapped down here, so I recovered some armor and weapons, though I was starting to edge toward despair again. How was I going to get out of here, alive?
Handling the bow, and finding arrows in a chest the former owner of those bones must been carrying, I felt comfortable with them, as though I'd used such things before. I tested my skill at a old bucket dangling from a roped over some abandoned well, hitting it squarely. Now I felt more like I had a chance!
As I continued down the underspace, and through a tunnel and a cave, I encountered more rats, and a zombie, and even some goblins, killing them with the bow, and collected and hungrily gobbled down some food I found, and changed out of my sackcloth garb into some other clothes the goblins must have taken off the body of some hapless victim. After I fought these last in their lair, I found the tunnel lead to a break in a constructed wall, and heard the voices of my inadvertent liberators, soon followed by sounds of another battle. I approached surreptitiously, but when I heard the Emperor speculating about me, as if I was needed, I felt as if it would actually improve my chance for survival and freedom if I revealed myself.
 Joining the Party
One of the guards moved to attack me this time, but the Emperor ordered them to desist, then appealed to me for help, citing guidance by the gods, and when he asked my birthsign, I felt struck to the core. Images of shadows, hiding nooks and crannies flashed though my mind, and I focused on the mental image of a pattern of stars and nebulae. "The Shadow", I replied, sensing profoundly that this was actually pivotal in regaining my identity.
Before I could ruminate further on the implications, the guards urged the Emperor to continue, and pressed me into aiding his defense. Another ambush by the red-robed conjurers came, and I assisted with blasts of magical fire and arrows, though it was mainly the steel of the guards that vanquished them.
And at last, the planned escape route was foiled, a barred gate unexpected locked. We attempted a detour, but came under attack yet again. This time, the Emperor drew me aside, as his guards struggled with the assailants, to charge me with the task of finding his son and delivering the amulet he carried to a man he trusted, one "Jauffre". He was sure that this was his end, and he was right, since one of the assassins snuck in from behind and brought him down. This murderer began striking at me, but the lone surviving guard saved me from the doom suffered by his liege.
 The Mission
This last one, Baurus by name, saw instantly that the amulet was missing from the body of the slain Emperor, so I told him of the mission laid upon me. He accepted this after final inquiry -I suppose testing my qualifications- into my role. The answer came to me surprisingly easily -I suppose in the light of the experience of spell casting, and of the Emperor's interrogation- but I hesitated to disclose, in case it might stimulate some mistrust. Nevertheless, I gathered my courage and told him, "I am a Shadow Mage", which didn't seem to impress him much, other than not expecting that reply. With obvious reluctance, he chose to trust his ruler's choice, and urged me to carry out that mission, while he stayed behind to protect the body of the fallen Emperor.
 Freedom, Fear & Hope
I followed the route he gave me, encountering yet more giant rats and another goblin, dispatching them handily with the bow, and finding some more goods along the way. At long last, I saw the light of day at the end of a tunnel overlooking a lake, and emerged into freedom.
Yet I was not completely at ease: I still feared recapture for whatever cause resulted in my imprisonment, and I still couldn't remember the names of people who must have been important to me, including that of my family. I figured out a plan to find someone of my own kind, another ... Breton, whom I might have known or met in the large city I could see beyond the walls of the prison from which I just escaped. Some Breton there might know me, or of me, and be able to help me fill in the gaps in my memory. First, though, I rinsed off the offensive dried body fluids and moldy-smelling dusts I had accumulated, in the rocky shallows of the lake.
Watchful in case I might be recognized by prison or city guards, but counting on my newly acquired helmet and other armor to disguise me, I made my way around the prison and into the gates of the vast city. When I passed by the guards at the gate, I took care to hide my nervousness, without seeming as though I was challenging them. I came under their scrutiny, but it seemed their scrutiny was on whether I'd be likely to pull out the rusty dagger I had found, and use it criminally. They otherwise gave no sign of recognizing me.
 A Breton Woman
I had come into a mercantile district, with, no doubt, the quarters of the merchants being above their shops. It didn't take me long to spot someone whose hue was more like mine that that of the Emperor and the city guards I've seen, this being a pretty woman, with an innocent-looking face. I approached, with a respectful nod of my head in greeting. "This might seem like a weird question, but do you recognize me?", I asked.
She squinted in concentration, then shrugged, shaking her head, and replied, "No, I don't think so."
I continued, "Do you know most...", I hesitated, when it occured to me that dark-skinned tormentor might not have been accurate, but quickly decided to risk trusting his classification of me, "...Bretons in this city?"
"Oh, I'm sure I do; I came here with my husband Roderic; he's trying to get established in the business of trading, therefore he meets many people, and so do I, along with him.", she responded.
I concluded that I did not reside in this city, and probed more, "Have you heard of any Breton...", pausing to find the best qualifier, "... stranger about, lately?"
"Well, I did hear a rumor of a Breton, who at the public house of Luther Broad went crazy and attacked...", stopping abruptly, her eyes growing wide in alarm, "...Are you him?" She began backing away, glancing about, likely searching for a guard to call.
Trying to alleviate her fear, I emphasized, "If...", quickly reducing to an unobtrusive, quiet and hopefully calming voice, encouraged in that I succeeded in regaining her attention, "... I am, I am better now. ", attempting a shy smile.
Obviously calming, but keeping a wary look in her eyes, she said, "Hmmph. What do you mean, 'If'? Don't you know?". Realization dawned in her eyes, followed by a mixture of wonder and pity. "You don't, do you? Have you lost your memory?"
I grimaced and nodded in agreement. She continued, "And you must be trying to remember, to find out what you did...", pausing in contemplation, "...well you'd better not show your face in Luther Broad's, if so."
She looked about, as if trying to espy some idea, as I waited in expectation, and resumed, "I think you ought to talk to our fellow Breton, Irene Metrick. She's a neighbor of mine in the Elven Gardens district, and has been quite the adventurer, and gets around. She is likely to know if you've met with anyone here in the Imperial City. You could talk with my husband also, but I think he's in a business meeting right now."
Tilting her head so as to invite me to follow her, she proceeded, "I often see her here in the Market this time of day; if we don't find her, I'll take you to her house."
She periodically glanced at me with caution as I walked beside her to a plaza cluttered with shipping crates and barrels, marring the beauty of the statuary at the center of its face to the thoroughfare. As we neared, I said to her, "You told me the name of your husband. What is yours, pray tell?".
She blushed with realization of her omission, and admitted, "I am Elisa Pierrane".
I bowed my head politely, and said, "I am called Volando. I regret that I am not yet able to recount my family name...; I shrugged, "That part of my memory is also missing. As is where I live, though I doubt it is here, as this doesn't look familiar at all.", dramatically looking around.
 Another Breton Woman
She clucked her tongue in compassion, and at the steps of the plaza, made a beeline for a Breton woman clad fully in leather armor, and girded with a belt, a mace hanging on it. "Irene Metrick", she said curtly, both as an address and as an announcement.
When this woman turned to us, and she saw me, her eyes widened momentarily in surprise, but not fear. It was obvious that she is a seasoned warrior, and I certainly did not wish to suffer the crush of her mace. "Well, it's a wonder that you're out already."
Raising my eyebrows in wondering surprise, I asked, "You know me?"
"Of course, I'm the one who introduced you to the Khajiit M'aiq. I told you it is important to know the right people.". Her eyebrows narrowed in suspicion. "Don't you remember? Or did your memory flee with your sanity the other night at Luther Broad's?"
At a loss of words, I glanced at Elisa, but she merely stared at me blankly. I sighed dramatically, and said, "Yes, that is apparently what happened. Were you there?"
 A Shocking Revelation
She stiffled a guffaw, and replied with humor at my predicament, "No, you went there after M'aiq told you about the highwaymen who killed and robbed your father."
I could feel the blood drain out of my face, while she continued"You were to meet in the basement someone who would come to tell you about the two surviving members of that crew, the one who is said to have taken the family's Amulet of Luck, and the one who absconded with one of your magical rings.".
It was then that she took notice of my wavering, "You'd better sit down, ", pointing to the base of the statue, "before you fall down."
As I sat, I observed that she still didn't look very compassionate, thinking she must be more used to violence and death than I was. Elisa was ashen, however, and she turned and fled, crying, "I can't hear any more!"
"I can, though; I beg, tell me what else this M'aiq said, and... what did I tell him? and you, that you should introduce us?"
 The Awaited Tale
She halted for a moment, and her desmaine became more sober as she realized how fully I lost my memory, then a look of compassion finally came to her face, and she sat beside me, looking down the way as she recalled the details of the conversation.
"You told me, and M'aiq, both, that you are the second son of the late Jean Jolan, the court mage of the Lord of Shornhelm, back in High Rock.". She glanced at me as she added parenthetically, "I'm from Daggerfall, myself"
Returning her gaze ahead, she continued, "you said that you were released from your apprenticeship to Unmolierre, some wizard in Camlorn, so that you could fulfill the obligation properly belonging to your elder brother -who was detained by that Lord of Shornhelm to take the place of your father, since he was your sire's apprentice, as well- to track down the robbers and take revenge. You also swore to recover the stolen heirlooms."
"M'aiq told you that the criminal band was known to have dissolved. He had himself seen one coming into Anvil, and heard about his boasting among the pirates. That one was a real trouble maker: he had to give up one of your enchanted rings, the one you described as helping with healing spells, as a bribe to keep out of prison. Somehow, it's ended up in the possession of the Countess; you'll be very lucky if you can recover it. Anyway, that one fled with a bag rumored to contain the helm you called the 'Fin Gleam'; you said an ancestor enchanted it to facilitate diplomacy with undersea dwellers off the coast of Daggerfall..."
 Fates of the Wicked
She shrugged while grimacing and rolling her eyes, as if in doubt, "-I've never heard of them-" and continued, "so that one was on a pirate ship headed along the coast to Wayrest, but he ran afoul of the crew, and got into a fight. He was wounded, and jumped over the gunnel. He was observed to make it swimming to an island not far north of Anvil, but ironically met his demise trying to climb ashore when he was accosted by a swarm of mud crabs, which finished him off.".
She sighed, and lifted her eyes to the sky, "Let's see... one is said to have drowned in a pool above some waterfalls between Chorrol and Bravil; one tried to join the gang infesting the ruins across Lake Rumare to the west, but they rejected him, and attempted to take his treasure for themselves. They failed, but it is said he drowned, unable to swim as well as his Anvil confederate. Maybe the slaughterfish got him. Anyway, he hasn't been seen since, though he used to hang out in the Waterfront. One of the other two is said to have headed east, and one to the south. M'aiq didn't know anymore, but said you could meet someone else he knew who might. That's why you went to Luther Broad's."
 Calamitous Detour
She turned her eyes toward me, appraisingly, "I heard that after you came out of the cellar, you began to resume eating your dinner, but didn't finish it: instead, you threw it at someone, and started yelling and attacking those around you with your fists, even though you were spinning around and turning green. You went down with only a few blows by those you attacked, and them not even experts, or anything, after which the city guards came and dragged you off, barely alive, but not coherent. I wonder if someone slipped you some poisoned food during your absence. You'd better watch that, especially when you're making yourself some enemies. ", she concluded, with a slight sneer on her lips.
"What about the one I met? Have you heard anything about him?"
"Oh, he left to continue guiding some family to a homestead to the south. You might be able to run into him, and re-learn what he told you, if he is willing. You may need to pay him again, if that was part of your arrangement the other night."
 The Path Ahead
She stood abruptly, "Well, that's all I know. I've got to go now; I'm meeting someone at the Arena."
"Thank you very much for talking to me. What do I owe you? I am willing to pay..."
She interrupted, shaking her head, "No! You already paid me, and M'aiq only spoke to you because it amused him to enable your quest to continue. He's not known for telling that much. Anyway, I'd almost feel guilty for double-billing, with you in your condition. Get yourself together, and take care of your business. Maybe you'll survive, and I'll see you again. Fare you well."
And with that, she turned to leave. I said, loud enough for her to hear, but not loud enough to otherwise draw attention, "Health to you."
So there I had it, not only did I have to fulfill my promise to find Jauffre, to give him the Emperor's amulet, and also the secret son of the Emperor, I must also regather my family's heirlooms, and exact revenge on any survivors among my Father's murderers. I intuited that it should be a challenge weaving all those together. After succeeding, I would then return to Shornhelm, hoping to recover my own memories, instead of having to rely on the recollections of strangers.
 The Shadow Mage (custom) class
A Shadow Mage comes from a minor, little-noticed tradition in High Rock which has historically had little to no influence on the course of events, being not only secretive, but insular and self-protective, not generally projecting power. Mages of this class have been employed by the feudal lords of High Rock as spies as alternatives to bards and thieves, or as secret "backup" for their more public court mages. The rare adventurous Shadow Mage could be considered a variation of Battle Mage that emphasizes stealth.
Almost all Shadow Mages have been born under the sign of either The Shadow, The Thief, or The Tower. Class specialization, of course, is always Magic, and favored attributes are usually among Willpower, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. The rare adventurous Shadow Mage might substitute Endurance for one of those.
Volando was born under the sign of the Shadow, in High Rock, of Breton parents. Since he was not the firstborn, his father, a court mage, who already had the elder brother as his apprentice, sought a non-familial master. The successful bidder was secretly a Shadow Mage, and inducted Volando into that order when he came of age -and was at a sufficient level of magical skill- though this apprentice was not of exceptional intelligence, nor of note as potentially very powerful, and tended to get into minor trouble, because an position in the limited ranks of the acolytes unexpectedly came open, when no other candidate was ready.
His master, Unmolierre of Camlorn, locally known as a particularly skillful Illusionist and Archer, serving in the training of the former, and who was occasionally called upon to assist in defense of the local keep and of caravans, yet was not known to be otherwise outgoing, was born under the sign of the Tower.
Volando, being more adventurous than most of his faction, as well as most of his family, trained, when he could make time from his duties, to toughen himself in anticipation of enduring various rigors, favoring Endurance. He also has high Luck, which may have turned unfortunate events to his favor. Unmolierre, on the other hand, had exceptional Intelligence and Agility, which is more typical. Perhaps he had discernment of a hidden potential in his protege.
 Major Skill Focii
Major skill development by Shadow Mages almost always include Conjuration and Restoration, since the Shadow Mages are a subset of Breton culture, and at least one of Illusion or Sneak, usually both. Mysticism is often a major skill, and about half also focus on Alchemy. Alteration is popular, but since Conjuration includes spells of Bound Armor, Heavy Armor and/or Light Armor are often alternatives, especially in areas in which bandits and highwaymen are known to operate. Shadow Mages that do not range often have Security and, less often, Speechcraft among their major skills, but almost never Mercantile. Those few that go adventuring choose one or more of the offensive skills, favoring Destruction and/or Marksman over Blade, Blunt, and/or Hand-to-Hand.
The Shadow Mage Volando has as major skill focii Conjuration, Illusion, Restoration, Marksman, Hand-to-Hand, Heavy Armor, and Light Armor. The first of the latter three was due to one of his methods of toughening himself: getting into fist-fights. The latter two was in anticipation of conjuring Bound Armor, but trained extra-curricularly.
On the other hand, his master, Unmolierre, besides being an expert both in Illusion and Marksman, also had, during his development, major focii in Alchemy, Conjuration, Mysticism, Restoration, and Security.
The Shadow Mages of High Rock have never made any grand play for power, nor make anything ostentatious of themselves in public, typically operating as simple mages. Their faction is insular, and has no open conflict with any other faction, though they usually have a poor disposition toward the proselytizers of the Nine. Most are worshippers of Azura, and the priesthood of that cult are aware of them as a order, as are many of the feudal lords, who do not disclose their existence, but attempt to co-opt them for their own purposes. Unbeknownst to the Shadow Mages, the Emperor, and senior members of the Council and of the Blades are aware of the existence of this faction, but do not consider it to be significant.
Those aforementioned rare adventuring Shadow Mages who frequent cities of Cyrodiil usually join the Mages' Guild. Some are rumored to have joined the Thieves' Guild, and one to have become one of the Dark Brotherhood. Shadow Mages rarely offer training to anyone outside of their faction.