Skyrim Journeys – Day Three

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. Read Day One and Day Two. This is the third part of their chronicles.

——–

Nine (West)

I approached the cabin, the sun finally warming my cool skin. I watched the cabin and approached with caution. There was a table set up for dressing the recent hunts. From the table, the lifeless doll eyes of a large elk stared at me. I saw skewered meats, being preserved, turning on a spit over a fire. I could see this was most certainly a hunter’s cabin.

A shirtless hunter approached me; his face was marked red with a diamond-like symbol. He does not look Nord – most likely Cyrodiil. The hunter was running a small trade here. He offered me a fair price for bear pelts and deer hides and told me of familiarity with the land. None of these things concerned me. I looked past the hunter into his cabin. I saw his wife, a Redguard woman, sleeping. Upon hearing her husband talking, she woke up and told me to make myself comfortable. I entered their cabin and recognized a Taproot on the table.

Right then, I felt an urge within me. I needed to take that Taproot, but I must not be seen. I waited for the hunter and his wife to turn their attention elsewhere and I snatched up the Taproot and hid it amongst my belongings. What was this feeling?

Quickly, I left their campsite.

Now, I had to get back on track and get through these mountains. The sun was still shining and good fortune was granted. A short distance from the hunter’s cabin was an easy path through the mountains. On the other side was a small stronghold with a tower. I saw only one guard, and as I approached, he made sure to flex and show me his shiny battle axe. I neared the guard and heard from behind me a female voice, “Now isn’t this a surprise!”

A moment later a female bandit struck me from behind. The large male guard was now rushing my position. Anger grew inside me. Despite being cold-blooded, the hot blood from the blow to the head burned my skin as it flowed down the back of my neck. I could feel myself coming to life. As the bandits approached I felt my hands tingle with a numbness much like when my skin goes through the process of moulting. The tips of my fingers began to glow and then, ignited.

Instinctively, I cast out with my hands and burned off the flesh and armor of my attackers. They screamed as their skin crackled and the flames ate up their precious air.

Am I Nine? Is this my destiny?

As I climbed the tower, I could hear commotion inside. I saw an archer at top of the small tower. I motioned towards him and watched his blood boil as he burst into flames. There was silence again. I climbed to the top of the tower and looked out. It wasn’t very high in comparison to the mountains, but it was a high as some of the nearby trees. There was a book on a table at the top of the tower, An Overview of Gods and Worship in Tamriel. I hope the bandits got the peace of mind they might have been looking for.

These are strange times we live in.

I am Nine, and this is my destiny.

- Charles Francis Moran VI

———

Ertoth Velth (South)

One day passed since the events at Grey Water Grotto. Remembering the wolves’ howls made her tail curl and the fur on her back stand on end, but the fear had already begun to become a distant memory. It may be a Khajiit trait, but time was far more present-based for them. The human mind focused on causes of events, while Velth could not help but think about nothing more than the present and, at the moment, that entailed studying the impossible mountains and looking for a possible passage.

It was late in the day when she finally stumbled upon a set of well-hidden footprints. Inspecting them further, she could tell it was a group of at least two lightly-armored scouts that seemed to pass through a set of thickets in a southerly direction. The scouts were definitely trained and the tracks seemed to weave in a chaotic pattern. Following the tracks, Velth came up to the ruins of a two small towers and a courtyard. She saw a guard with a bow posted on each tower and also a group of three that stood in the courtyard. Dangerously outnumbered, she decided to wait for her old ally – nightfall.

Watching the humans, she could tell they were bandits by their mismatched uniforms. Khajiit as a whole celebrated their differences, each member of society vying for uniqueness, while humans held shame at differences and strived to squelch the true unique. This ragtag unit did not have the means to blend in, and Velth knew that meant there would be no reinforcements. Pity.

The tower guards were first. Sneaking up the stairs, they were dispatched in relative silence; only the hollow crack of a cranium meeting heavy axe sounded. Aiming her bow, she rained down arrows on the biggest of the bandits in the courtyard. Three well-placed shots and he was dead before he hit the ground.

The other two bandits ran towards her. One was a woman wearing a robe and the other had hide armor and an axe. Focusing on the axe man, Velth engaged him in a melee when the acrid smell of ozone almost overpowered her feline senses. Instinctively dodging left, she saw a lightning bolt fly to the exact spot where she had just been. The female bandit’s hands crackled with residual energy.

Things had just gotten a lot more interesting.

Turning like a corkscrew, Velth leaped with all her might to the mage, and placed everything she had into two fearsome swings. It may have been overkill; the bandit was dead when the first overhand axe blow crushed her chest.

But it might not been the best-calculated move. Velth’s arms felt weak as the axeman came running at her. He swung his axe and it came within an inch of scoring a hit. Luck was on her side tonight as her weakened counter-swing found residence in his neck.

Amidst the aftermath, Velth knew that anger had replaced reason and she felt a primal hatred for these humans. Maybe they were not the ones who sentenced her, but the vengeance still tasted sweet.

- George Collazo

———

Bjorn (East)

There was a moment’s respite for me, even a little bit of sleep at Hadvar’s family home. Their kindness did not go unnoticed as I set out at dusk and left a few gold pieces on the table before I left. As much as I felt I gained a true companion in Hadvar, I still couldn’t recall how or why I ended  up in this predicament and felt it best not to further endanger him or his family.

I continued my trip east, a burning in my gut telling me that there were answers to be found in Eastmarch. The path out of Riverwood was easy to follow and free of bandits. On the road I was finally alone with my thoughts, trying to piece together the events of the last few days. All was well until I was interrupted by a low growl coming from the bushes.

It was at first beside me, then in front and behind me. It was if time had stopped for a moment and then I was set upon by wolves! I barely had time to draw my sword when the first one chomped at my bracers – I was never so happy to be wearing plate. The other two wolves quickly pounced on me. One felt the sting of my blade and the other managed to take me down to one knee, its fetid breath wafting towards my nostrils. At first I was surprised, but now I was sickened and angry.

With all the forward momentum I had, I leapt to my feet, launching one into the bushes and the other backwards to be reacquainted with my sword. The last wolf, facing me head-on, stood no chance. His pelt made a fine addition to my collection.

- John McGuire

———

Starling (North)

I arrived at the city, White Run they call it, and went immediately to the small market. I had a long day of trading ahead of me.

Around midday, something strange happened. I had sold off most of the weapons and finally haggled a good price for the suits of studded leather armor when a man approached me. He was dressed in rough-spun clothes and was as bent and ugly as an ancient tree. Something about him made me think he was a farmer, but the meanest, least savory farmer I have ever encountered.

He kicked at the bearskin, where my supply of vegetables was wrapped, and rasped, “What have you there? Spuds? Leeks?” His manner seemed casual, but I know a man with an agenda. He paused, spat and asked, quietly now, “Or perhaps you have some lovely cabbages stowed away there?”

The blacksmith, who could easily overhear us, raised his eyebrow at that.

The farmer leaned in close. The reek of onion on his breath made my eyes water. “If those are cabbages, and you want a good price for them, you come visit me at the farm,” he said as he thumped his palm into my chest with such force the wind was knocked out of me. With that, he spun on his heel and disappeared into the crowd, but tucked into the collar of my armor was a scrap of parchment which bore a crude map.

As the blacksmith paid me the coin for the armor, he narrowed his eyes and said, “You’d do well to be careful with that one, stranger.”

I thanked him and made my way to other stalls in the market. In another few hours, I had sold off everything but my armor, my mace and my cabbages. I made my way north, to the farm.

 

- Stu Horvath

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