These pages are extracts from the diary of Adrian Caro, a nomadic Imperial who recently crossed the border into the harsh but beautiful province of Skyrim.
I lay in bed for a little while this morning, after waking early from a dreamless
sleep. The bright weather, or so I judged from the shafts of light penetrating the
windows, matched my mood. The events of yesterday have lifted my spirits immeasurably,
the only image that recurs being my arrow soaring majestically to its target.
I reached across and touched my hunting bow, its weight felt right in my hand,
like I had been missing a limb almost. After a while I decided to get up and
sat down quietly at the table, making sure not to wake Alvor and Sigrid. A venison
chop from my first kill in Skyrim was my breakfast, along with a draught of water.
Alvor was not far behind me in rising, he never seemed to oversleep, every morning
bright and early he would rise, break his fast and then work his furnace until
evening. He is a hard worker and a good man, I shall be sorry to leave.
We exchanged ‘good morning’s and I told him of my intention to leave his house
and stay at the inn, he was very kind and told me to stay but I think we both
knew that this arrangement could not go on for much longer. The Sleeping Giant
is expensive but I would simply have to work at the saw mill to generate the
money. “If you ever need a place to stay you know where to find us,” he said.
“You are a good man Adrian Caro, Skyrim could do with a few more men such as
yourself in these bleak times.” I was touched by his words and we toasted Skyrim
with tankards of mead to mark my last breakfast under his roof. Hadvar soon joined
us and, after expressing similar sentiments to Alvor, talked of Skyrim and what
I would do next. “Whiterun is not far from here, half a day’s walk perhaps, the
plains surrounding the city are teeming with game, Giants too, but mostly game.”
I chuckled. “You would have me hunt amongst Giants?! I’m afraid my arrows wouldn’t
even break their hide.” We chatted merrily for a while that morning, a few more
tankards of mead were emptied too. By the time it was nearing noon Dorthe
and Sigrid had both joined us and the house was livelier than it had been
since mine and Hadvar’s arrival.
At midday I packed my bag and took my leave of Alvor and his family after expressing
my sincerest gratitude. If my mood was bright earlier in the morning it was
positively buoyant when I left. I couldn’t sit around drinking all day however,
I needed gold otherwise I’d be back at Alvor’s the very same night, my coin
purse was so light. My bow would put food on the table but, until my crafting
skills increased or I brought in enough meat to sell, I would need to chop
wood in order to put a roof over my head. It was a bright day, as it oft seemed
to be in Riverwood, lying in a steep-sided valley as it did. The high mountains
on either side protected the village from the worst of Skyrim’s weather, fashioning
a small idyll in their shadow.
The village itself was busy, as busy as a tiny village ever gets anyway. I passed
that mad old woman again on my way to the mill, she only seemed to quit her post
at her front porch to go to sleep. Hod was hard at work as usual, using those
tree trunk arms to lift tree trunks. He stopped when I entered the mill and said
how good it was to have me back after my ordeal with the bandits, I don’t remember
telling him about it but I suppose news travels fast in such a small village.
Despite everything I’ve been through he said that work will be a little scarce
in the coming days as he had just taken on a new worker, an Imperial by the
name of Zander. A hard worker by Hod’s account, he even helped him out at the
sawmill itself. I couldn’t help but feel a little put out by this news, nobody
likes to be made redundant in any degree but this Zander fellow sounds like a
hard-working man, with a somewhat higher aptitude for this line of work than
My good mood only softly dampened I turned to go to my chopping station when I
noticed a man already using it, a Bosmer to be more specific. I had seen him
around before but we have never spoke, I also had a feeling that this
may just be Faendal, Sven the oh-so-charming bard’s rival for Camilla Valerius.
He had a bow and a quiver of arrows on his back, as I had
noticed on occasion before, so I used our common interest to strike up a conversation.
“Hail friend, you are a keen archer I surmise?” I asked, he admitted that he was and
went on to say that he even gives lessons. I asked him why such a competent
archer was chopping wood for a living and not hunting or fighting and, from
his reply, gathered that he was in fact in a similar situation to myself.
“There is not much call for archery lessons in Riverwood, for a village with
so much bountiful country there are surprisingly few hunters and the few that
hunt around these parts are solitary creatures.”
We talked for a while, mostly about archery and hunting, sharing hunting tales
and swapping tips. It was the first time in a while that I had someone to talk
to about these things, in Cyrodil I had Sael but for almost five years now I
have had no constant companions. The day seemed to pass more quickly when talking
to Faendal and, in no time at all, the sky was darkening. I bid Faendal farewell
and traded my firewood for 200 septims from Hod. For the foreseeable future I
planned to stay at the Sleeping Giant Inn and so headed there first to book a
room for the night, afterwards I planned to use up the precious few remaining
hours in the day catching salmon at the waterfall nearby.
I had not been hunting so my venison stock had ran out so I ordered beef stew
from Orgnar, fancying a stout meal after a long day chopping. I also had him
refill my water bottles which cost an astonishingly expensive 5 septims. No
sooner had I mopped up the last of my stew than Sven had stopped playing his
infernal bongo drum and started pestering me again regarding Camilla Valerius.
After meeting Faendal I already had an idea of what my course of action would
be and Sven’s pestering and scheming did not help matters in his favour. After
reminding me several times of what I was to do he strolled off looking very smug
indeed, doubtless he believed that he would soon be the sole prospective suitor
of Camilla. He believed wrong.
Walking into the Riverwood Trader I saw that Camilla was sat at her usual seat
bickering with her brother, I walked over and handed her the letter, telling
her that Sven wanted to trick her into believing that it was from Faendal. She
was shocked and embarrassed but was otherwise fine. Judging from her reaction
I don’t believe she was ever seriously interested in Sven anyway and I certainly
don’t blame her! She thanked me for telling her the truth and then asked me.
“Could you talk to Faendal, as well? I’m sure he’ll want to thank you for
standing up for him.” I promised her that I would and apologised for the whole
business but she assured me that it was not my fault. At this point I, as well
as Camilla, was a little embarrassed about the whole sorry affair. The three
of them had been acting like a trio of school children rather than mature adults
and I had gotten myself involved.
By the time I left the Riverwood Trader it was dark and Faendal was nowhere to
be seen so, deciding to speak to him tomorrow, I headed to the Sleeping Giant
to finally book a room and go to bed. I walked past Sven on the way to the bar
and he gave me such a smug look that it was all I could do not to tell him, but
I’m sure he’ll find out soon enough. Orgnar told me that I should see Delphine
about a room, who I’m assuming is the woman who’s always standing around the bar.
She appears to be wary when I talk to her saying that I am that ‘traveller that
keeps poking around’ I can’t think of what I have done to deserve such suspicion,
but I shrug it off and order a room for the night. The room seems cosy enough,
not nearly as cosy as Alvor’s but it is my own, at least for tonight.
Today has been a strange day but I am at least glad to get that Camilla Valerius
business out of the way, hopefully that will stop Sven’s approaches on me at the
dinner table. Faendal seems to be a kindred spirit in a lot of ways and I could
perhaps learn a thing or two from him in archery, rusty as I am these days.
Tomorrow I shall head out again on the hunt and have that talk with Faendal that
I promised Camilla, until then it is goodnight Skyrim.