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About Literature / Hobbyist Official Beta Tester Leslie Mertz aka Lord of CakesFemale/United States Groups :iconthe-bards-college: The-Bards-College
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First off, let me apologize for it taking me so long to get to this critique. Between the cross-country move and job search, I've had a...

Sabre of Dusk: Chapter One by The-SelfMade-Man

I'm sorry this critique was so long in coming. Obviously, this isn't the first story you've ever written and you're quite the wordsmith...

Lady Marie Gawadunen by Whisper292

I have never seen any of your art work before outside of your tarot, screenshots and writing, so this is a real treat. You did an excel...


Does anyone really use this?
Wed Oct 28, 2015, 9:12 PM
The slide show should show written favorites too.
Thu Aug 7, 2014, 6:30 PM
Here's the rest:. As it stands now, when I hit group button I only see my primary group's messages. I then have to sift through each group to see where the other messages are coming from. Remember that writers are artists too.
Thu Aug 7, 2014, 6:30 PM
Below is message on dA's birthday board.
Thu Aug 7, 2014, 6:28 PM
Happy 14th. I truly love dA and spend a great deal of free time on it. On improvements: As a person who manages multiple groups, I think the group messages option should be tweaked so it's easier to get to the messages from various groups. As it stands
Thu Aug 7, 2014, 6:28 PM
Wishing I had more time to write...
Fri Apr 4, 2014, 8:15 PM
Hi back at ya coolestperson38
Fri Apr 4, 2014, 6:28 AM
Sun Mar 30, 2014, 7:21 AM
Hello Everyone!
Thu Mar 20, 2014, 9:24 PM

Yeah, This Is Pretty Much Me...


Lesliewifeofbath's Profile Picture
Leslie Mertz aka Lord of Cakes
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Social Worker by day and writer by night. Lesliewifeofbath or Leslie Mertz. One of the two.

Leslie Mertz on Facebook…

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Plots, Plans and A Gift to My Watchers

Sun Sep 20, 2015, 12:10 AM
So it has begun. I have been writing the new series for about a month now. This series is more complex than the ones I've previously written.  There are now two protagonists with two very different backgrounds and two very different stories that I have to weave into one.  Once I do that, I guess I'll have to figure out who's the protagonists and who's the antagonist.

Marceline Kaushibael by Lesliewifeofbath  VS  Esme Caulderon by Lesliewifeofbath

To be honest, I'm not sure how to go about doing this. Not only are there two protagonists, but there is a huge cast of side characters as well.

With Friends Like These by Lesliewifeofbath

Oh, and then there's this guy:

Hermaeus Mora by Lesliewifeofbath

For now I've decided that I'll keep the stories separate, until I figure out what I want to do with them. I think that makes more sense than going back and forth, thus confusing the reader entirely.

As for my gift to my Watchers (I now have 70--yay!), well, I've decided that I'm going to hold off on submitting the stories to any groups until I'm sure I know exactly where this series is going. So you will get to read the series months before anyone else.

I look forward to getting your feedback and again, I truly appreciate all of you. The best compliment is a Watch.

Skin by SimplySilent

Journal History


Jose's little Ghosts by Lesliewifeofbath

Continued from: A Girl of No Consequence

The mid-morning light had filtered into her room when Esme first heard the slight knock. Groggily, she stretched and carefully maneuvered her body around her younger siblings who clung tightly to her after the commotion of the night before.  She quietly placed her feet on the cold, wooden floor and walked to the door; she was unsteady on her feet and stumbling, just like the patrons of her mother’s tavern after a long night of swilling mead. Holding on the door, she cleared her throat, which was dry and scratchy.

 “Esme, I need your help,” José said in a hushed voice. “I need you to gather your and the children’s favorite toys and clothes and go to the lake.”

“What should I tell them?” Esme whispered. She had not told them what she had witnessed—her mother and her lover dead at her father’s feet. The truth would be too horrible for them to bear.

“Tell them you’re going fishing, tell them they’re camping out, tell them anything, Esme; but for the love of Sithis, get them out of the house.  You can exit through the front—the mess is gone—but you must tell them their mother is sleeping and they aren’t to wake her.”

Esme froze as she heard her brother tossing and turning. Soon he would be up. “I told them you were home—

“Dammit, Esme!” José hissed.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, just stay calm,” he said softly. “Gather them up and tell them I went to town and will meet you at the lake shortly.”

“Esme?” Sam said as he sat up. “Who were you talking to?”

Esme gulped as she turned toward her brother. Quickly she thought of a lie. “Mama. She told me she had a terrible headache and needed to rest. She’s packed us a picnic lunch and told us to go down by the lake.”

“Is Pa home?” Sara asked as she sat up beside her brother.

“No, no, he’s not. Mama said he was going to town for a while and would be back soon. They’ll meet us at the lake. Let’s make a party of it.”

“A party?” Sam’s eyes brightened. “How will we do that?”

“Well, we’ll gather all of our favorite things, dress up, and then have a tea party!”

“Oh, that sounds like fun!” Sam cried, as he scrambled to dress and pack his toys.

“I hope Ma and Pa don’t fight,” Sara added.

“No,” Esme gulped. “There won’t be any fighting today.”



After a mad dash to gather all the toys and clothing, Esme and her siblings walked into the tavern’s hall. There was not a speck of blood on the ground or dead bodies to be found; in fact the place looked cleaner than it had in weeks.  On the hall’s large table was a basket packed with goods.

“Oh, this is going to be great!” Sam said.

“Ew, what’s that smell?” Sara asked. There was strange metallic odor that hung heavily in the room. “By the Nine, that smells awful.”

Esme didn’t know the scent. Feebly she answered, “It must be a new recipe Ma’s trying for the mead.”

“I wouldn’t drink that, whatever it is. It sure stinks,” Sam added while holding his nose. “You don’t think we’ll have to drink it, do ya?”

“No, I doubt it,” Esme replied, gently touching her brother’s cheek. “We’ll just stick to spring water.” As they walked out of tavern, Esme looked to her left. On its stand, and brightly shining was the firewood axe, the very same axe that had been lodged into a man’s back. Esme shook her head and wondered if everything she had seen the previous night was simply a bad dream. She wanted to more than anything to believe it was a bad dream.

As they started down the long, windy path to the Nibebay Basin, Esme thought about her father. What lengths would she go to protect him? He was murderer, a paid assassin. How many people had he killed? And then there were thoughts of Haelga, though they were mostly centered in concern for her siblings. Sara and Sam were the sweetest children she had ever met; they would be crushed by their mother’s death. The older two were harder to figure. Esme was certain that Sven would be heartbroken and perhaps even reactionary—Vicca maybe. Her eldest sister was a mystery to her; Vicca was as cold and unreadable as Haelga was violently passionate. And then there was the questions of her own actions; she was willingly covering for her father…

“Esme!” Sam called as Esme startled. “You haven’t said a word since we left the house.”

“What are you thinking about?” Sara asked. “I can see your mouth moving, but nothing’s coming out. Are you okay?”

“Umm…well, I was thinking…about where we should have the picnic.”

“The sun is shining brightly today; everything looks so pretty,” Sara said excitedly she held her hand to her forehead to block out the sun’s rays. “I think we should go the pier by the shade. Can we set by the pier Esme?  That would be the perfect for a party.”

“Of course,” Esme responded, devoid of any emotion.

The trio had no sooner set up the dolls and toys for a party then they heard the happy hum of their father, coming down the path.

“Pa!” Sam cried as he ran into his father’s arms. “I’ve missed you so.”

“I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long, my little bears,” José said as he gathered Sam and Sara into his arms. “And look at you; you both have grown so much.  Why, Sara you are quite the little lady.”

“And Esme’s gotten old!” Sam exclaimed. “She’s sixteen! That’s a whole nine years older than me!”

“No, she’s not old,” José countered as he glanced at Esme. ‘But she has grown into a lovely, young woman, don’t ya think?” He then turned back to his younger children. “I’ve just come from town and I have treats for us all.”

José  handed Sam wooden dolls carved into shapes of dragons and soldiers and gave Sara a new porcelain doll.

 “She’s beautiful, Pa. I’ve never seen anything so lovely.”

“Oh, I have,” José said kissing Sara’s forehead. “Now for Esme’s gift.” From a box, José lifted a gold and red colored amulet. In the sun, the stone’s many facets danced in the light. “It’s a charmed amulet, and it should help you with persuasion, providing the shopkeeper spoke the truth.”  He lifted Esme’s red hair to the side and clasped the necklace, whispering in her ear, “But in all honesty, my dear, I think you’ll need little help in that area.” 

Esme bowed her head and blushed fiercely at this, then sat down beside her sister. The four of them ate the many goods packed in the picnic basket. 

“Ma’s been holding out on us. This stuff is delicious!” Sam said while chewing.

“Don’t speak with your mouth full, Sam,” José chided as he brushed the bits of apple from his shirt. “And as for the food, well, we wanted to plan a special day for all of us as it’s been so long since we’ve been together.”

“Speaking of Ma, where is she?” Sara asked.

“Probably still working on that noxious brew,” Esme responded. “She said she’d join us when she finished.”

“Ugh. It’s been forever,” Sam added. “Pa, can I put on the puppet show?  I want my soldiers to fight the dragon!”

“Oh, I heard that’s what’s going on in Skyrim!” Sara exclaimed. “And I heard a beautiful song awhile back. I’ve been singing it ever since. Here Sam, I’ll sing while your soldiers battle the dragon.”

 Our heroine, our heroine, claims a warrior's heart.
I tell you, I tell you, the Dragonborn comes.
With a voice wielding power of the ancient Nord art,
Believe, believe, the Dragonborn comes.
It's an end to the evil, of all Skyrim's foes.
Beware, beware, the Dragonborn comes.
For the darkness has passed, and the legend yet grows,
You'll know, you'll know the Dragonborn comes.

As Sara sang sweetly while Sam’s toy soldiers pummeled the dragon, Esme looked over at her father. His amused expression had changed entirely. She saw how his jaw tightened and eyes hardened as Sara sang on. Finally, when Sara finished, José’s lips formed a thin smile, and he clapped.

“Didn’t you like it, Pa?” Sara asked, seeming to sense the change in her father’s mood.

“I loved it,” José started, but before he could go on, a horrific blast came from the direction of the tavern. “Get down!” José shouted as Sam and Sara screamed. Only Esme remained calm, because she knew her mother had long since met her makers.

“Esme, stay with the children, I’ll come be back soon.”

“No, Pa, I’m going with you!” Sam shouted.

“Stay here,” José said in harsh voice that sent chills down Esme’s back. She held her siblings close as they cried in her arms. Minutes passed, then maybe an hour. It was mid-afternoon when the explosion had occurred, but now Esme could see the golds and pinks of the sky dancing off the ripples of the lake.

“I want to find Pa,” Sam sniffed. “And Ma.”

Instead of arguing, Esme stood up and took her siblings’ hands. “We’ll all go together.”

 From a distance they could see it, flames rising high against the evening sky. As they grew closer they could see many people struggling to put the fire out.  Esme saw her father and other mages blast the fire with ice and water shards, but she knew that wouldn’t put it out. This wasn’t a simple case of a burning stove or seared cloth; this was an alchemist’s fire; this was her father’s fire. And nothing but time would burn the blaze out.


“Esme, let go of my hand,” Sam said as he pulled away from his sister; Esme didn’t fight him. She released her hold and let Sam run to José as Sara followed after. She was numb; nothing seemed real to her. She watched the constable from Cheydinhal as he spoke with her father. To her, their interaction was like watching a mummer’s play during the Feast of the Dead.  She watched as her father spoke to Sara and Sam; José lifted Sam held him close as Sam’s little body convulsed against his. She watched as Sara’s shoulders drooped and by that she knew they had been told that their mother was dead. It didn’t matter how awful Haelga was; it didn’t matter that she smashed Sam’s toys when they were underfoot or struck Sara when she disobeyed. Sam and Sara were so young that no matter what Haelga did or said, she was still their mother and was still loved unconditionally by both of them. Esme’s heart ached for them as she watched the last of José’s flames flicker out.

Finally, Esme stood; her legs along with her heart were completely numb. As she approached her father, Sara ran to her. “They found her Esme, they…Mama’s dead. She’s dead.”

Esme said nothing, but nodded. This, she already knew. Behind Sara, José, still holding Sam, approached.

“Ralam Romalen has offered to put us up at Newlands Lodge for the next several nights, while we gather what we can find in the rubble and arrange for your mother’s burial.”

“What about Vicca and Sven?” Esme asked. “Shouldn’t they be here?”

“Esme, they are on the other side of Cyrodiil,” José said with some frustration. “It could take weeks to send word. We can’t wait that long. I will send word to them. But for now, we need to make our way to Newlands.”

The four of them walked in silence to Cheydinhal. When they arrived at the lodge, the proprietor and his wife had a table full of food laid out for them, though nobody ate much and all were silent around the table. Finally, José said, “We all need to get some sleep.”

“But my toys at the lake…” Sam cried, sleepily.

“I’ll fetch them,” José stated as he lifted Sam and carried him into the softly lit room while Esme and Sara followed close behind. José sat with all of the children until he was sure they were asleep. He then rose and walked out of the room. Esme waited a few minutes; she didn’t have to rush for she knew where her father was going.


José walked along the moonlit trail that lead about a league behind the tavern.  There, between a tree and a boulder lay a small stone. Carefully, he unearthed the stone and laid to the side. His eyes widened in disbelief. For a moment, panic seized him. “Damn her!” he spat through gritted teeth and pounded the soft ground.  

“It’s gone, isn’t it?” Esme said as her father startled.

“Where did it go?” he said rising, meeting his daughter’s cold glare.

“I’m not sure. I just followed her here one day. I watched as she took the bag of gold out.”

“Did you see it lying around the house?”


“And you looked?” he asked with just a trace of desperation in his voice.

“Of course I did,” Esme responded flatly. “I think she used it to pay for Sven’s apprenticeship in Chorrol. She certainly never spent any of it on the rest of us. Was it Harlun’s?”

“No, we went through that money after you, Sara and Sam were born.”

“To pay for the wet nurse?”

José cocked his brow as he approached his daughter. “How did you know about that?”

“Haelga told me everything. She told me about her father, and what you did and who you are.”

“And that shocked you?”

“No, not really,” Esme said a she cocked her head to the side. “The court mage story was wearing thin. I knew there had to be something else to it. Plus, Sven told me.”

“I see.” José pulled out a small vial from his coat. Leaning against the fallen tree, he opened the vial; as he drank, a silver stream of light surrounded his body and he shuddered. He then looked to his daughter. “Your mother got me pretty good,” he said with a grin, as he lifted up his shirt and pulled back a blood-soaked bandage. In the bright moonlight, Esme could see a large, bloody gash around his stomach.

“By the Nine!” she gasped.

“I’ve had worse, Esme,” José said as he patted down the wound with a new cloth. “But this one really hurts. Honestly, I didn’t think Haelga hated me that much.”

“She said she loved you and hated you at the same time.”

José nodded, then motioned Esme to take a seat beside him. Taking her hand, José stated flatly, “You have surprised me in all this. I’m surprised you said nothing to the children or the constable.”

Esme shrugged. “Why should I say anything? Sara and Sam have lost their mother, there’s no need for them to lose their father as well. It won’t bring her back, and it will make things worse for all of us.”

“That’s quite a level head for such a young girl,” José said with a slight laugh as he turned to his daughter. “Esme, don’t hate me for killing your mother?”

“I don’t feel anything,” she said as leaned against his shoulder. “I’m numb.”

“And I’m sorry.” José said as he pulled Esme close.

“No, there’s nothing really to be sorry for. A few weeks ago Haelga split my lip and told me that as a babe, she set me out in the woods to be a meal for the wolves. She said you saved me, so I figured I owed you for that. Besides, I was planning to leave for good in the spring.”

This surprised him. And while his daughter was certainly gifted with a clear head, she still was a child. How in blazes was she going to leave? he thought. And then a sinking feeling hit him; she probably wouldn’t be going at it alone. She too young to be wrapped up in a man, especially if that’s just her means of escape; she’ll regret it, he thought. Peering deeply into his daughter’s eyes, José asked, “And how would you have managed that, I wonder? Do you have boy stashed somewhere?”

“No, father,” she answered. “It would seem I have a gift.” Esme reached around her belt and pulled out a bag filled with coins.

“So it would seem,” José said with some pride—and relief. “Perhaps you would do well in one of the thieves guilds.”

“I don’t think so. I really don’t have the desire to steal, but seeing as my mother was turning our family tavern into a house of Dibella, I had little choice but to pilfer coins and plan my future. She was drunk and careless; I had to make sure Sara and Sam were safe.”

José nodded gravely. “I am sorry for my absence—more than you could possibly know.”

“Father, why were you gone so long?”

“I was detained,” he answered shortly. “We can speak of this later. For now, we have to gather your clothes and the children’s toys left by the lake.”

“You can tell me on the way down to the lake.”

“No, no we can’t speak of it there.”


“Esme, the woods and the tall grasses have ears. You would do well to remember that.” He then sighed slightly. “I’ve already said too much. Now let’s get going.”


It was just past midnight by the time they arrived back at the inn with all their remaining belongings. José turned to his daughter as he lit a small candle.. “Go ahead and get in bed with your brother and sister. I’ll sit in the chair.”

“If I scoot in closely to Sara, and move Sam slightly, you should be able to fit.”

“No darling, I’ll be fine in the chair.” José sat back in the cushioned seat beside the door. “You go on and get to sleep. We have much to do in the morning.”

“I’m not sure I’ll be able to sleep,” Esme said as she took a seat in chair by her father. Between them there was a small table that housed the candle and a cask of Cyrodillic brandy, that Ralam must have left for him. “We have to bury her tomorrow. I’m…I’m not sure how I feel about it.”

“Starting to hit home, isn’t it?” he asked softly. “For all our fights and all the times she landed blows against me and against my character. For all the times she raged and stormed…and even though she landed…well, landed quite the blow, I still can’t bring myself to hate her. There’s still a part of me…”

“I know,” Esme said as she reached for her father’s hand. “She could be terrible and for all the things she said…I should hate her, but..I’m still not sure how to feel.”

“Neither am I.”

“Why did you kill her?” This was the question she had wanted to ask since she saw her mother’s corpse, on the cold, stone floor.  They had fought violently before—even to blows, but José never put his hands on Haelga, except perhaps to defend himself. “Why was last night any different than your fights before?”

José rose from his seat and opened the door quietly, careful to ensure the hinges didn’t creak.  He didn’t see anyone about and as they were in the far back room, he was sure they were completely alone.  He looked over to his sleeping children, whose heavy breath told him that they were in a deep sleep, then went back to the chair and sat down. “Esme, you have to be careful what you say, especially here.” He then sighed as he reached for a cask of brandy that Ralam must have left for him. Pouring the drink into two tumblers, he handed one to Esme.

“I didn’t want to kill her. That was never my intention. I had come in from, well, from a job, and while I expected your mother’s normal antics, I hadn’t anticipated that she would be busy rutting with another man.” He took a drink followed by a deep breath. “They didn’t see me, or so I had thought, so I went back outside and grabbed the axe, just in case Haelga or her gentleman friend decided to act.  When I walked back in Haelga was waiting for me and plunged the knife into my side.  I then put the axe through her chest.”

Esme winced as she imagined José plunging the axe into Haelga’s chest. She was silent for a time, but it wasn’t all due to gruesome images dancing in her head. In her heart, she felt her father wasn’t being entirely honest with her. This is what he wanted her to believe, that it was self defense. “What about the man? Did he attack you too?’

“No, but I couldn’t have him running to the constable, could I? So I did him in too. There really wasn’t much of a choice.” There was now a distinct edge to his voice.

Esme took a swig of the golden liquor. It tasted exactly same as the brew she and her mother shared. It made her brave. Staring José down, she said, “I’m sorry Papa, but don’t think that’s entirely it.”

José looked at his daughter. Something had changed in Esme; she was never this bold before. “Well, then you tell me daughter, why do you think I did it?”

“I think you were jealous.”

José laughed heartily at this, so much that he saw Sara stir. They both fell silent until they were sure she had fallen back to sleep.

“Why are you laughing at me?” Esme asked, her voice full of scorn. “I want the truth, father. I’ve lied for you, covered for you and the least you could do is tell me the truth.”

José reached for his daughter’s face and pulled her in closely to him, until she could feel his breath against her ear. In a graveled voice he spoke, “I couldn’t care less about Haelga. I was sick of the arguments, I was sick of the abuse, I was sick of the way she treated all of us, but most of all, it was her bitterness that made me hate her so. I couldn’t bear it.” José released his grip as he felt Esme tremble. “Listen to me when I say this Esme, for I won’t say it again: I didn’t want to kill your mother, but by the Nine, I’m not sorry she’s dead.”

Esme gulped then stared at the floor, as her heart pounded. She had never heard her father speak like this.

José emptied the glass as he rose. “I’m sorry for this; I’m sorry I’ve frightened you.” Esme said nothing, but he saw her eyes water; immediately he regretted his tone. He sighed deeply. “The time for talking is done. You need to get to bed, love.”

Esme rose and pulled the covers back to the bed. As she sat down she turned back to her father. “You’re not going to tell them, are you?”

“Of course not, it’d break their hearts—“

“No, I mean you’re not going to write to Vicca or Sven.”

José glared at his daughter for a time then shook his head. “No. Not for some time. Not until I’m sure there’s nothing they can do, if they were so motivated.”

“I think Sven would act. They were always close.”

“I know. And for what it’s worth, Esme, I know it’s wrong not to tell them, but for now, you’ll have to trust me. Now go on, and get some sleep.”

“I’m not sure I can.”

José reached into his pocket and pulled out a small vial; he then took Esme’s hand and poured the powdery substance in her palm. “This will help you sleep.”

Esme studied the powder for a moment then looked at her father. “This how you did it.”

“Did what?”

“Put us too sleep.  I was in shock, and they were terrified. You must have blown the powder in our room.”

“Goodnight, Esme,” José said as he kissed his daughter on the head.  Esme swallowed the sugary substance in the palm of her hand and fell into a deep, effortless sleep.

A Girl of No Consequence: Chapter 2
Esme's world evaporates as she helps her father cover up the murder of her mother. Esme begins to see that her father isn't quite man she thought he was.

As always, my work wouldn't be possible without my beta reader/editor Whisper292.

Skyrim Bethesda Softworks©

A Girl Of No Consequence by Lesliewifeofbath

Esme Caulderon was a girl of no consequence, blown to and fro by the winds of chance.  She was the middle daughter of five children born to a tavern keeper and a failed mage.  She was a nobody with a bleak future lingering just over the horizon. But she had something, a spark of the divine and was blessed with a fateful mixture of curiosity and cunning that would pull her away from the path of drudgery and lead her to a destiny far beyond anyone’s reckoning.

This is the story of how a girl with every disadvantage wound up in small, blood-spattered shack in the bogs of Morthal.


The soft spring light filtered into the small room that Esme shared with her younger sister Sara. It was early, the sun had barely peaked over the horizon, but already she could hear it. She tried putting a pillow over her head, but Haelga, her mother, had a voice that could bend steel.

“This was all that you could get?” Haelga’s voice slashed at Esme’s father, José .  

“There hasn’t been a lot of work since that bastard left; you know that,” he said with a voice that pleaded. “I did the best I could.”

“Your best is a poor day’s barter,” she hissed. “Gods, this work—my work, never-ending—is all that keeps this family fed and clothed. Thank gods we married Vicca off or that would be another mouth to feed. We should get rid of the rest of the girls, as useless as they are.”

“Sara is still a child,” José  retorted. “And Esme…”

“Your precious Esme is fifteen!”

“She’s still too young!”

Helga sniffed, “Old enough to bleed, old enough to breed.” Esme shuttered at that. She felt sickened and deeply embarrassed that her mother would even speak to her father about such things. But this was the norm. Day in and day out, Esme heard the screams of her shrewish mother and quiet pleas of her father.

Gods knows he worked hard; he would be out for weeks at a time, working as a mage in different courts throughout Cyrodiil.  But his best was never enough. As Esme listened to her mother’s verbal barrage, she said a wordless prayer for her father, who to her seemed utterly ill-matched in battle against the shrieking harridan that was her mother.

 “You’re sheer useless,” Haelga shouted.  Gritting her teeth, Esme started to rise.  That was enough. Her father wasn’t sheer useless; he was magic. He could turn a field of flowers into butterflies. He could mold water into fantastic creations.  He could turn a grey day gold with tales from his boyhood in High Rock. To Esme, her father was beautiful, with dark hair, clear grey eyes and a dimpled smile that could warm the coldest of hearts…well, maybe not the coldest.  He wasn’t useless at all.

“Don’t get up,” Sara pleaded softly. “I don’t want hear her. And you know she ends up hitting us after a row with Pa.”

“I know,” Esme said softly. She then looked over at the foot of the bed.  Her youngest brother, Sam, must have crept in during the night. He looked back at her with large, brown pleading eyes.

“Don’t make a sound sis. I don’t want her to hit me.”

Esme nodded. “Fine, we’ll wait till she charges out after Pa and then we’ll get some porridge.”


Esme watched the sun rise through the cracks of her room as she listened for any sound. Haelga hadn’t returned—there was no angry muttering or the tell-tale sound banging of pots and pans.  Esme rose from the bed, gently putting her feet on the cold floor. Tentatively she stood, and walked to door, ensuring that her footfall made no sound. As the door creaked slightly, Esme froze as still as a statue. She waited for a moment and when she heard no noise she signaled to her siblings to rise. 

Looking out into the great hall, she could see that that row had been particularly violent. On the ground were smashed tankards and the outside door was partially off its hinges.  The side door was open, but it wasn’t due to violence; the door appeared to be propped open by a mattress. 

“If it isn’t the three babies,” said Sven, her eldest brother as he dragged the well-used mattress outside. Esme quickly served Sara and Sam before he could stop her.

“Where’s Ma?” Esme said walking outside after her brother.

“Chasing after Pa,” he said casually. “You know, the old man can disappear really quickly when he wants to.” Esme nodded then turned to go inside to get some food.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Sven demanded.

“To get some porridge before Sam and Sara eat it all.”

“You can eat after you help me with this,” Sven said has he handed Esme as stick. “We’re going to beat the fleas out of this mattress.”

“What, for the invisible guests?”

“Ha, ha. Very funny, but we did have a customer last week.”

“Which is most likely why we have fleas now.”

Sven sighed, “Just pick up the bloody stick and help me.”

As Esme pictured her mother at the end of that stick, she wondered how a man like her pa ended up with a woman like her mother. Haelga, according to Sven, had once been beautiful—and at times when she wasn’t screaming Esme could see it.  Haelga was tall and buxom; she had the long, red hair and green eyes, typical of her Nord kind.

“So you missed a real humdinger this morning,” Sven muttered. “Ma actually threw a kettle at the old bastard.  You should have seen it.”

“I heard it, and that was more than enough—that along with her screaming. What was it about this time?”

“The same as usual. Money of course, but Ma has a new theory as to why pa stays gone for so long.”

“Oh really?”

“She thinks he got a girl on the side,” Sven said as he wiped the sweat from his freckled brow, pushing back a tuff of sweat-soaked red hair.  This information was a punch to the gut; Esme couldn’t imagine her father with anyone else. But after thinking on it for a moment, well, she could see why he’d want to leave the madness of their home.

“I don’t know why he’d want two women yelling at him,” she said with a nonchalant shrug. “He’s got enough of that here.”

“When he’s here, which isn’t often.”

“How ever did they meet?” Esme asked as she and Sven battled the fleas.

“Why d’ya ask such questions?” Sven countered, amused by his sister’s query.

“Because I want to know.”

“Well, since you asked so kindly, I’ll tell you—though I’ll cut your tongue out if you ever repeat any of this.”

“Fine,” Esme said as she nodded gravely.

“Awhile ago, while Pa was gone, and the tavern was empty Ma told me of how they met,” Sven said quietly as he put the stick down and stopped beating on the mattress. “It was shortly after the war. According to Ma, our grandfather Harlun was a real son of a bitch. He owned this tavern and I guess he managed to piss off the wrong people, ‘cause the wrong kind of people came after him.”


“Pa,” Sven said simply.

“What do you mean, ‘came after him’? Are you telling me that dad is…”

“A part of the Brotherhood? Or at least he once was. Don’t look so shocked, Esme,” Sven said as his green eyes burned into his sister’s. “Look, I know you think Pa’s as pure as the driven snow and that Ma’s a howling bitch, but not everything is what it seems. I don’t know all the details, but according to Ma, Pa was supposed to kill Harlun and burn the tavern down.  But he saw her and he fell in love. Together they both killed Harlun and then took over the tavern.”

“Did they kill anyone else?” Esme stammered.

“I’m not sure.  You know yourself that Pa tends to disappear for long stretches of time… He was barely around when I was coming up and from what I understand it was during this time that the tavern prospered. There was money, but then it stopped.”

“No, I don’t believe you,” Esme said as she bashed the mattress with a stick. “Pa’s not like that. He can barely walk—“

“That limp wasn’t always there and you know it! It’s only been a couple of years since he started walking like that. And in case your flea brain doesn’t remember, you can ask Vicca. We’re both much older than you…but,” Sven said as reached out and grabbed Esme, pulling in close, so close that she could feel his breath on her face, “if you say anything about our conversation...I’ll make you pay.”

Esme shoved her brother, pushing him back. “I won’t say a word.”


José had gone and it wasn’t until leaves started turning gold that she would see him again. In the time he was gone, the tavern had become more prosperous. She instinctively knew from the creaking sound coming from her mother’s bed that it wasn’t quality of the mead that was bringing in the business.

Esme was now sixteen and though she wasn’t nearly as voluptuous as her mother, she often found the inn’s patrons staring hungrily at her.  She couldn’t count on her older brother’s protection as he had become an apprentice to a blacksmith in Chorrol and she knew that it would only be a matter of time before one of these men would prey on her or her younger sister. Esme vowed that when the coming spring reached its zenith, she would take her siblings and leave. Until then she would pilfer what she could from her mother and drunken patrons that were frequenting the tavern.

But next spring was some time off. Until then she would keep her head low and try to placate her mother, whose moods had grown more quixotic in the recent months.  One moment she would be gaily humming a little tune with Sam or dancing with Sara. Occasionally, Haelga even cracked a smile toward Esme. The very next moment, her mother would be shrieking like a banshee. From one morn to the next Esme never knew which Haelga she would wake to. Though on this crisp fall morning, Esme woke to the Haelga that wanted to talk.

“So you’re finally up,” Haelga said as she stood over the wood stove, stirring a mixture for the mead.

“I had a bit of a headache last night; I had a hard time sleeping. I’m sorry I wasn’t up sooner,” Esme answered sheepishly.

“No matter,” Haelga shrugged. “The kids are out in the fields picking melons. I could use your help in here. Any woman worth her salt knows how to make a good brew. It’s time you learned the family trade.” Esme startled at that, knowing what kind of trade her mother had been dealing in lately, but she decided that it was in her best interest to nod and say very little.

“Could you hand me one of those jars on table, Esme?”

 Esme nodded as she grabbed the jar and stood close to her mother. “You’re using a lot of honey there.”

“Yeah, we have plenty of it. The customer who was here last night had little in the way of coin, but lots in the way of honey.”

“That brew’s going to very sweet.”

“Eh, the sweeter it is, the more the men drink; the more they drink the more they’re willing to spend,” Haelga answered with a smirk. “That rings true in all circumstances. By the way, did ya see that young man in here last night?”

“No,” Esme answered, though of course she had.

“Quite the looker, and had you not been so busy pilfering his pockets you might have noticed it.”

Esme froze with fear as her mother said this. Quickly, she searched for some kind of excuse, but knew better than to lie; Haelga was quite capable of sending Esme flying.  “I was just trying to help—”

“No, no you weren’t,” Haelga interjected. “Esme, you’ve never helped me a day in your life. And now you’re going to give this tavern a bad reputation.”

“Couldn’t be worse than the one you’re already giving it!”

For a second neither of them moved. Esme’s mouth hung open in disbelief; astounded that she had allowed such words to escape her lips. Haelga stood trembling before Esme as she glared at her daughter. But the stillness that hung over the tavern’s hall was short lived; in a moment’s time, Haelga retrieved her bearing and said nothing as she reared back and hit Esme with her full force, knocking Esme’s head so hard it cracked and sent the girl reeling across the room.

In the corner, Esme whimpered as she shook, still in shock.  Trembling, she lifted her hands to her mouth in order to catch the blood that was trickling steadily from her lips. She looked at up at her mother, who had already turned back to mead. 

“That served you right, you little bitch,” Haelga said as she stirred vigorously. “None of your brothers or sisters would have dared speak to me so.” Haelga looked over at her daughter and tossed her a rag.  “I don’t want the patrons seeing this mess.”

Esme nodded mutely as she stared at the cracks in the wooden floor, afraid to look back at her mother. “Why do you hate me so?” as she spoke between sobs. Haelga said nothing as she continued to stir. “Tell me, please.  I know you’ve hated me all my life. I want you tell me why.”

Haelga still didn’t speak, but she put the spoon down and  walked into the tavern’s pantry then came out with a bottle of Colovian brandy, then motioned for her daughter to sit down at the bar.

Slowly, Esme rose, still shaken from the hit. She cautiously sat down on a bar stool and faced her mother.

“You really want to know?”  Haelga asked as she poured two glasses of brandy.  Esme nodded mutely. .Haelga leaned against the counter, and stared at her daughter intently. “I didn’t want you, Esme. I was tired of José Caulderon. He was constantly coming and going and each time he left I was never sure if I would see him again.”

 “Sven told me what Pa was, or is and he said you knew.”

“Of course I knew. Who do you think summoned him?” Haelga said, rather delighted by the shock in her daughter’s eyes. “I hated my father. Harlun was a cruel beast of man, so day in and day out, I performed the dark ritual; stabbing at his effigy. I wasn’t even sure I was doing it right, but I kept at it.”

“You must have truly hated him.”

“He was a bastard,” Haelga murmured. “Second only to the man that killed him.”

Esme stared hard at her mother. “But I thought you loved Pa?”

“I did. And still do. And that’s what makes the pain so unbearable,” Haelga stated as she took a sip of the strong brew. “I hated him and loved him at the same time.”

Esme was puzzled by this. Either you loved someone or you didn’t. “What do you mean?”

“You’re too young; you’ve never loved, so you can’t possibly understand what that’s like. José was like a poison that crept through my veins. I couldn’t stop thinking about him, craving him. I worried that each time he went out would be his last. And when he was gone for long stretches, I wondered if he lay in other arms. These thoughts drove me mad, Esme. I swore that after Sven was born there’d be no more. I didn’t want anymore. I was rich tavern owner’s only daughter and I was sure there would be other interests…and there were.  But then he came back and it was like he never left. And then I found out I was carrying you. And I was so angry.”

“That’s not my fault.”

Haegla shrugged slightly. “I don’t damn. I don’t care if that’s irrational; its how I felt. I was sick and heavy throughout the pregnancy. And that heaviness never left.  I ached constantly. My heart was sore. I wanted to put you out and feed you to the wolves, and one night I did. And José brought you right back in. He even hired a wet nurse. I went back to tending the tavern while he held you like a bloody mother.”

“Like you should have.”

“I’m not here for your bloody recriminations, Esme. You wanted an answer and I’ve given it to you. I don’t know why I couldn’t love you.”

“I do,” Esme said as she braced herself for another hit. “You were jealous.”

Haelga laughed. “I was always  jealous, Esme. But your life marked the end of my freedom.  There was no escaping him. From then on, José was there more often, taking on shorter jobs. He even stuck around long enough to teach you and your brother and sister to read. We were quite the darling little family.”

Esme winced at the acid in her mother’s voice. “Why don’t you hate them—Sara and Sam?”

“I don’t know. I guess I was resigned to my fate at that point. I never felt the heaviness of heart with the others. Also, he was closer to you than the rest, despite the fact…”

“Despite what?”

“José was gone for a long while and as you pointed out earlier, I like the company of other men.  I’ve always wondered if you were really his. I always thought of you as some sort of changeling.  Something that shouldn’t have been there,” Haelga said softly as she took another drink.

“I have his eyes,” Esme said feebly.

“Lots of men have grey eyes,” Haelga said with a shrug. “So now while we’re tellin’ the truth, I want to know why you’re stealin.”

“I didn’t want them to come back,” Esme whispered.

“Well, they will and you’re pa’s gone and there’s nothing for it,” Haelga retorted. “I plan on making one of these men my next husband and you’d do yourself a favor looking out for one too. There’s nothing for it. This is the way of the world and you best make the most of it for you’ll never change it. Now, go upstairs, clean your mouth and change that dress. I don’t want you scaring your siblings. I’ll tell them you tripped.”

That night Esme slept with a lighter heart despite her aching lip. In the core of her being, in a tiny place that she kept locked away, she found herself relieved at thought that she may not be José ’s daughter.  She had always loved him, but in ways that weren’t always daughterly. On some nights she dreamt of him and in the morning she would wake up soaked and feeling ashamed.  What kind of girl craves her own father?  she asked herself over and over. But now, well, maybe she could dream of the man she loved without regret.

For the first night, in more time than she could remember, Esme slept soundly through the night.


It was on a cold Frostfall night  that José  finally returned and this time it was his shouts that woke Esme—that and  her mother’s terrified screams.

“I’m scared, Esme,” whispered Sam.

Esme looked at both her terrified siblings. “Both of you hide. I’ll see what’s going on out there.” As Esme entered the kitchen, she had to stifle a scream. The hatchet that was used for splitting fire wood was firmly lodged into another man’s bare back.  Turning to her right, Esme could see her mother on the ground; Haelga’s dead eyes peered lifelessly at the ceiling and in her hand was blood-caked carving knife.

“Papa? What’s happened?” she asked as her voice cracked.

“Go back to your room, Esme,” José said calmly. Esme found she couldn’t move. “I said go back to your room!”

Slowly, Esme backed away from the macabre scene and stumbled back into bedroom.  

“What happened?” Sam asked.

“Pa’s home,” Esme whispered as she held her siblings close. “Papa’s home.”

Next Chapter: A Girl of No Consequence: Chapter 2

A Girl of No Consequence: Chapter 1
The first chapter in my series A Girl of No Consequence. This series picks up where A Courtesan In Skyrim left off and follows a girl who will one day go head to head with the Dragonborn. But enough of that for now.

I've had a great deal of fun writing this story. I hope you guys enjoy.

As always, my work wouldn't be possible without my beta reader/editor Whisper292

Skyrim Bethesda Softworks©
Well, now I'm on under Lesliewifeofbath or Leslie Mertz. Deviant Art is still way more awesome (and user friendly). But don't tell anyone I said that, k? Wink and Dimples 
First off, let me apologize for it taking me so long to get to this critique. Between the cross-country move and job search, I've had a lot on my plate.

To start, let me first congratulate you on successfully writing in third person omniscient; you did this well without confusing the reader. That's a difficult feat for many writers (including myself) and you have nearly mastered it.

You also did a masterful job in describing your character's dress, her surroundings, the weather, scenery, etc without going overboard. You set the scene perfectly. I could picture the story in my mind as if it was a movie. That's exactly what I, and all other readers, look for in a story, whether or not they realize they're looking for it. A writer has to make the story easy to picture and you have done that.

As for the negative, I only found a few things and those things did not take from the quality of the story, but should be address for future reference. I found a couple of awkwardly phrased sentences:
With as easily as the figure moved through the snow, Lysa knew it had to be Roliand - the only other Nord present at Cloud Ruler. You could simply correct this by saying: With his easy movements through the snow, Lysa knew it had to be Roliand, for Nord embraced the elements as effortlessly as she. Or something like that.
“Go and lay down for me, my love?” he asked, silencing whatever it was she’d opened her mouth to say in turning to face him with a kiss. I think this would sound better if was not in the form of a question. I would also end the tag with "say". Or you could say that he silenced all questions with a kiss.
Again, these are small issues and they do not take away from the story.

Also, good work on the sex scene. There was a little confusion here and there. I probably would have that a bit shorter, but really that's a choice for the writer.

I would also congratulate you on the research you did with Caula Voria, the late Emperor's wife. Not many people know of their relationship or know about Uriel Septim's other children. Kudos for that!

On the whole this is a great piece and I will feature it at The Bards.
Marceline Kaushibael Reference Shot by Lesliewifeofbath
Marceline Kaushibael Reference Shot
From the Cracked Crown Series

Skyrim©Bethesda Softworks


Apachii Wigs…?

UNP Merchants…?

Marceline is a descendant of Julan Kaushibael. This fantastic mod can be found here:

Plots, Plans and A Gift to My Watchers

Sun Sep 20, 2015, 12:10 AM
So it has begun. I have been writing the new series for about a month now. This series is more complex than the ones I've previously written.  There are now two protagonists with two very different backgrounds and two very different stories that I have to weave into one.  Once I do that, I guess I'll have to figure out who's the protagonists and who's the antagonist.

Marceline Kaushibael by Lesliewifeofbath  VS  Esme Caulderon by Lesliewifeofbath

To be honest, I'm not sure how to go about doing this. Not only are there two protagonists, but there is a huge cast of side characters as well.

With Friends Like These by Lesliewifeofbath

Oh, and then there's this guy:

Hermaeus Mora by Lesliewifeofbath

For now I've decided that I'll keep the stories separate, until I figure out what I want to do with them. I think that makes more sense than going back and forth, thus confusing the reader entirely.

As for my gift to my Watchers (I now have 70--yay!), well, I've decided that I'm going to hold off on submitting the stories to any groups until I'm sure I know exactly where this series is going. So you will get to read the series months before anyone else.

I look forward to getting your feedback and again, I truly appreciate all of you. The best compliment is a Watch.

Skin by SimplySilent
Marceline Kaushibael by Lesliewifeofbath
Marceline Kaushibael
You know her, you love her, you can't live without her...Marceline. She's a different Marceline now. She's a mother and wife. She's battling the evil forces that have taken root in her home of fog and ash. She's also battling herself and her blind ambition.

Rendered in Gimp 2.6

Skyrim Bethesda Softworks©
Esme Caulderon by Lesliewifeofbath
Esme Caulderon
My Dark Brotherhood Character and the star of the my new series: A Girl of No Consequence.

Esme's only desire is to avenge and her father through the utter destruction of the Dragonborn.

Rendered in Gimp 2.6

Skyrim Bethesda Softworks©
With Friends Like These by Lesliewifeofbath
With Friends Like These
Cast of characters for my next two series, A Girl of No Consequence and The Cracked Crown. Some of them you know, some you'll get to know:)

Ondolemar, Astrid, Babette, Skyrim Bethesda Softworks©

Jose Caulderon and Eva Cavendish are my creations.

Atvir Dres can be found here:…?

Oblivion © 2006 Bethesda Softworks LLC
Marceline and Dwemer Ruin by Lesliewifeofbath
Marceline and Dwemer Ruin
For some reason Marceline kinda reminds me of Princess Leia in this shot.

Rendered in Gimp 2.6

Skyrim Bethesda Softworks© 2011
High Def Shot by Lesliewifeofbath
High Def Shot
Just had a great deal of fun shooting these. I loved the world of Hermaeus Mora. The flying books and papers. Just wanted to share this. Marceline's trip down the rabbit hole.

 Skyrim Bethesda Softworks© 2011

Rendered in Gimp 2.6

Atvir Dres by Lesliewifeofbath
Atvir Dres
From the Cracked Crown Series.

Atvir Dres Mod:…?

Skyrim Bethesda Softworks©





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LipsterLeo Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the fave on Wanna be a writer. I am receiving a lot more response than I expected. I hope it helps.
Lesliewifeofbath Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
No problem. I run a writing group here :iconthe-bards-college: Would you mind if I submitted this as a tutorial for the group?
LipsterLeo Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
Please do. I'm honored.
Lesliewifeofbath Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
The honor is  mine. Good luck with your novel.

And if you ever get the urge to read some fan fiction or look at fan art, feel free to drop by The Bards.
GSkye Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2015
Hey stranger, 

how are are you and the hubby doing? 
Hope you're both well, had a nice Halloween (if you participated in any way) and are you looking forward to thanks giving and christmas? 

Missing George, send him my love too :D

Grae x
Lesliewifeofbath Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
It was a bit rainy here, but a good time was had by all. I give thanks everyday to my loving family (and for only wanting to kill them sometimes).

I am looking forward to Christmas, I love the holidays. It's fun and when you have a 6 year old, it's really fun. It's a magical time for them. Did I ask if you had children? My short term memory is shot--I can't remember. So, do you?

Whenever you miss George, just tell me. You can always find him here. George the Llama by Lesliewifeofbath Hug 
Lolita-Artz Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
thank you very much for the fav!!:heart:   Take A Ride (prints available) by Lolita-Artz  Lolita-Artz by SilviaMS  
i also have a facebook page if you want to encourage me there too…
  Request 23# ~ Lolita-Artz by KiraiMirai
Winters-Dawn1221 Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, I wanted to tell you that I have my partner for the collaboration contest, so, you don't really have to bother with me until faced with my entry. Thank you! :)
Lesliewifeofbath Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
That's awesome that you were able to find one so soon! I look forward to seeing your entry:)
Winters-Dawn1221 Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
My initial worry was that she'd be too busy as her schedule has been more loaded than a baked potato lately.

I do hope you like it, I have several pages of plot ideas and all that kind of stuff. I do want to ask you, going off subject, if you ever thought that a Bosmer becoming a werewolf may break the Green Pact. You see, I just realized that last night when I read how one of the rules of the Pact was that they not change the form as it was given to them by Y'ffre and their form is sacred. Of course, during the Wild Hunt (whenever that actually happens), their change into chaotic creatures is permitted, but in the case of them accepting the Beast Blood from Hircine (a Daedra, and the Altmeri and Bosmeri pantheons really aren't cozy with the Daedra) and changing into a werewolf, an animal, I can't help but think that that would break the Pact for that specific Bosmer.

Does that make sense?
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