Skyrim Journeys – Day One

Charles Francis Moran VI, George Collazo, John McGuire and Stu Horvath played The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for five days straight. They each went in a different cardinal direction to find their own unique adventures. This is the first part of their chronicles.

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Nine (West)

They called me fool, but my name is Nine. I faced west and breathed it all in. They said, “West is where the dead go; you belong with them.”

I will show them. They will remember me. They speak of mead and women. They don’t know my destiny. I am an Argonian and I have a destiny. They called me prisoner; my name is Nine.

They expect me to die. I know this will not come to pass. A dragon strikes and a faceless Nord called out to me. His name was Ralof and we escaped together. His blood smelled of Cyrodiil. He thinks he is a pure. Ralof told me of his sister, in a town called Riverwood.

If Riverwood crosses my path, so be it, but I have business elsewhere. And west I travelled.

I saw a deer, and I approached. It was scared off – not by me, however, but by a Nord bard named Talsgar the Wanderer. I asked him what he was doing and he sang me a song. “Age of Aggression” was its name. It told of his people’s struggle with broken dreams and their place in the world. I knew only my name – my name is Nine – and what my place is in the world. I continued west.

I saw a lake of life-giving water. I needed to bathe in it. It had been so long since I felt the embrace of the water. It was dizzying and euphoric at the same time. The flow surrounded my senses. When I came to the surface, I felt reborn.

I saw a fisherman and a canoe on shore. He had a small fire, with salmon hanging on the side. We talked about the land and how he had been going there for years. He seemed to be making an excuse for his behavior. I paid it no mind. I made camp with him and spent the night. I woke in the morning, and picked some thistle.

After a bright morning sun the rain came down hard and the lightning became furious with the sky.

Walking through the soggy landscape I come across one the of the largest Mora Tapinella I have ever seen. I picked it up and took it with me; it might prove useful later. I saw in the trees a grove in the woods, with evergreens surrounding a small pond. Runoff from the mountain fed the pond, and in the middle of it all was what appeared to be a man lying face down on a slab in the center of the pond. Surrounding the pond, next to the waterfall, was a rock formation that resembled an inked-up face of an Imperial of Redguard. As I approached the pond, I was attacked from an unseen direction. I held up my shield and took up the Nord blade and went on the defensive. I saw a green glow just outside the evergreen tree line.

For a brief moment, I was able to see the outline of a figure, glowing green. It was a Spriggan, and there were two of them. This was not a battle to be fought today. The mystery of the man on the slab will have to wait ’til another time.

I continued west. My name is Nine.

- Charles Francis Moran VI

———

Ertoth Velth (South)

Velth held her breath as she sat on small ridge on the outskirts of Nereth. The cold wind bit into her skin and frosted over her newly-liberated iron armor that she had stolen from the corpses of her captures. The last few hours had all happened so quickly – too quickly to process. A death sentence for something she did not understand, and for something she hadn’t done.

Velth paused for a moment to take it all in.

 The snow around her fell in lilting patterns as she focused and tried to hone in on her very heritage. She felt her instinct quickly kick in and the hollow pit in her stomach growled a command.

 She remembered the last time she ate.

 “Here, kitty, would you like some cat food?” the vicious guardsman said as he kicked over her bowl of food onto the floor. His laugh stank of rotted teeth and bitter wine. Primal hunger ate away at her pride and made her lap up the thin rabbit leg stew. That was three days ago.

Salvation appears at times in the smallest of forms. It was a twitch that ran its way over a snow bank. Velth saw no shape, just movement, and was immediately ready to pounce. In her hands was a clumsy battle axe, a weapon that held no grace and seemed almost alien in her grip, but it was all she had.

 The snow fox moved with celerity, knowing only predatory fear.

Velth ran and jumped on feeble legs that felt as if they would break with the weight of her small frame, but she ran on, jumping over bent branches and sinking deeply into fairy snow. If she had been healthy she would have made quick work of this chase, but it took all she could muster to even keep up.

The chase seemed to last for hours even though it was less than a minute, when inexplicably the snow fox stopped. It looked with deep marble-black eyes at Velth.

Slowly Velth hobbled over to the fox until she stood two feet away.

The fox did not move. The battle axe came down.

Velth would survive.

- George Collazo

———

Bjorn (East)

I don’t remember the last person that called me by my name. I just remember the blackness and when I woke up, I was bound in a cart with a horse thief and some Stormcloaks being transported to our executions. I still don’t remember what happened on the road to Eastmarch, but if I am here then I imagine that it didn’t end well.

The fall air was brisk and my surroundings were not unfamiliar. As I started to regain my bearings, I became distracted by the horse thief – as he panicked, he began praying to every god and deity he could think of, hoping one would listen and spare him of his fate. It is always funny how a person knows exactly where to look for a god when they are out of options.

The road to the camp was a bumpy one. I realized an escape attempt was futile once I saw the horse thief get cut down by an arrow from atop the wall after he tried to run. This would not end well for any of us. Our jailers began to recite a list of crimes, and I was be lumped in with the rest, regardless of my innocence. Once I saw the first Stormcloak relieved of his head, I started whispering to all the deities I knew.

Then I saw the shadow. I had the wind knocked out of me when my throat hit the chopping block, so it was a while before I actually knew it was a dragon. Instead of the cold sting of the axe blade, the first thing I felt was rubble falling and the heat of  flames. The air was ripe with the stink of sulfur and a chorus of screams. I was bound and disoriented but able to run, and I did, faster than I have ever run before. I never thought I’d be happy to see a dragon but I wasn’t about to let the possiblity of escape slip through my grasp. I stumbled and staggered and ended up being led to safety by one of my jailers.

Even amidst the chaos, it was almost funny how quickly an enemy can be turned into an ally. He handed me a sword, and now we are going to fight our way out of this together. I just don’t know how much good a sword is going to do against a dragon.

- John McGuire

———

Starling (North)

Escaping was easy for someone like me, but having come from nothing, I couldn’t help but leave with something.

We emerged from the cave. My companion urged me north, explaining that he had family there and we would be safe. I forget his name – I was too busy trying to haul my newfound wealth behind me: six suits of armor; a selection of swords, daggers, axes and maces; nine baskets; two wooden plates; a nice goblet; a ladle; half the garrison’s food larder and several potions carefully wrapped in a bearskin (freshly flenced).

“I don’t care where we are going, so long as they have a merchant there.”

We arrived in town, some hamlet, as the sun was beginning to rise. My companion urged me to join him for breakfast with his family, but I opted to wait outside the general store until the shopkeeper opened. It took nearly all day to haggle out an agreement and I stepped outside just as the sun was setting, relieved of my entire burden and carrying 786 gold septims for my trouble. That dragon attack was the best thing that could have happened to me.

Hungry, I picked my way through the dusk-shadowed town looking for my companion, his family and, most importantly, their free meal, but never having gotten his name, I couldn’t ask for directions. As I made my way, I caught a flicker of movement down an alleyway. Without even thinking, survival instinct kicked in and blue bolts of lightning arced out from my fingertips.

There was a loud squawk and an explosion of feathers. I had killed a chicken. Maybe the dragon had left me edgier than I thought…

The owner of the chicken, roused by the noise, stepped out of his house. It took a glance for him to understand what happened and, before I could explain, he was shouting for the guard.

I ran north, into the night.

- Stu Horvath

———

Continue on to Day Two.

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Charles Francis Moran VI, Commentary, Gaming, George Collazo, John McGuire, Stu Horvath
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