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.
It took me a long time to drift off to sleep last night, I was exhausted after
what was an exceedingly long day but my mind was buzzing with activity. Thoughts
of Ysolda, of the war, even memories from the distant past, laid bare and still
raw. Eventually the degree of my exhaustion overcame my thoughts and I
collapsed into a fitful slumber. It was a frigid morning I awoke to, a low mist
straddled the plains, casting the towering mountains into dark silhouettes.
The morning breeze stung my now exposed face, waking me almost instantly and,
along with the comparative discomfort of my tent, causing me to rise a lot quicker
than usual. I reignited the fire and, after a short while, had a juicy venison
chop sizzling in a pan. I sated my appetite with meat and water while contemplating
my plans for the day.
I was running low on food supplies, with only a bit of venison left from my
first kill back in Riverwood along with a rabbit and a few vegetables.
Faendal had highly recommended the plains to the west of Whiterun as
profitable, if not dangerous, hunting grounds and so I decided that the morning
would be best spent hunting. I finished my breakfast and made to pack up my
tent when I came across the mammoth tusk amongst the folds of my blankets. My
stomach churned unpleasantly, the image of Ysolda sprang to mind along with
umpteen scenarios on how she would react to my gift, ranging from extreme
gratitude to utter indifference. It has been a long time since I have attempted
to woo a lady, the life of a nomad such as myself is not really conducive to
such things, simply surviving in this harsh old world is enough to handle without
worrying about how I appear to the opposite sex. A sudden thought struck me.
Should I wash?!
After splashing some water on my face (the best I could manage under the circumstances)
I set off westward, past the outlying farms and down the road until I came to
what seemed to be a rather decrepit sentry tower in the middle of a field. It
looked like it hadn’t been manned for a long time but, peculiarly, there was
a guard patrolling on a broken down section of wall. I engaged him in conversation,
asking him about the lands around his post, but he replied in the usual fashion
of a bored guardsman, embittered about his former duties as a “real” soldier
and slightly racist. While I was having this rather one-sided conversation I
noticed something in corner of my eye that made me almost physically jump in
A live version of the giant I found yesterday was wandering in the field behind
the guard. “Look, a giant!” I shouted, pointing to the lumbering creature, but
the guard did not seem interested in the slightest. I guess giants are part and
parcel of living in Skyrim, either that or this was the least caring guard in
the whole of Tamriel. Either way I had some hunting to do and so set off away
from the giant, scanning the plains for any sight of game.
Soon I had a healthy sized deer in my sights, I crouched down, pulled my new
Imperial bow from my back, nocked an arrow and took aim. My quarry was grazing
in a lush green field around sixty yards away, occasionally moving from side
to side to reach the tastiest vegetation. I aimed ever so slightly above the
creature and drew back my bowstring…then released. The animal went down almost
instantly. Elated by my success I quickly ran over and surveyed my prize, it was
a fine kill and would feed me for a few days at least. The fact that I had taken
it down with one arrow also meant that the archery lessons from Faendal were
Buoyed by my early success I pushed on, exploring the plains more thoroughly,
taking care of course to avoid the giant. Faendal was right, the land here is
indeed bountiful, not long after my original success I came across two more
deer of modest sizes, both of which sadly got away. I decided that a stealthier
approach would be sensible and took to crouching down constantly, it killed my
calves but I soon reaped the rewards. Sneaking over a rise I came across the
finest buck I have seen in a long time, it’s antlers were enormous and would
doubtless fetch a good price at market. Due to my sneaking I had managed to
come within a short distance from the buck without it noticing me so, holding
my breath in a desperate attempt to not spook the animal, I slowly nocked an
arrow and took aim.
The arrow found its target and sank into the buck’s side, but the animal did not
drop, only moaned loudly and turned to flee. I knew I had but a second to act
before my prey would escape and, in a flash, grabbed another arrow from my quiver,
slammed it onto the bowstring, hastily took aim and released. The second arrow
proved to be fatal and I would eat for a little while longer. The magnificent
pair of antlers took me a while to prise from the animal’s head, but once I did
I could not stop staring at them. It’s safe to say that, if I was a Nord with
a house to call home, these would go straight on my living room wall.
It was approaching midday when I had skinned my prize and my stomach was
beginning to rumble so I decided to head into Whiterun for a spot of lunch and,
hopefully, to see Ysolda. The city was bustling as usual, the sun had come out
and the morning mist cleared by the time I arrived at the marketplace and the
people of Whiterun were out to greet it. As I entered the marketplace I spotted
Ysolda at a stall across from me, taking a deep breath I went to speak to her.
“Hello there, remember me?” I said, tapping her on the shoulder and trying my
best to smile. Once she cast eyes on me she smiled and greeted me warmly, this
encouraged me and I pulled the tusk out of my pack. “I have something I think
you’ll appreciate,” I said, handing her the stolen tusk, her eyes widened at the
sight of it and her face lit up when she grasped it. “Oh my…I don’t know what
to say!” she gasped. “Why? How?” She was truly taken aback and I couldn’t help
but chuckle at her surprise. “Nevermind how,” I said. “Just use it well, get
yourself the start you’ve been looking for.” Thankfully she didn’t press the
subject of how I got the tusk, she was altogether too delighted to care.
After Ysolda had thanked me a few times the conversation began to wear a little
thin, I had given her the tusk, now what? After the excellent start my rusty
skills with women were beginning to let me down and, after desperately holding
a wafer-thin conversation for a few minutes, we said farewell and I turned to
leave, feeling deflated.
I was hungry, very much so, but I didn’t fancy a trip to the Bannered Mare
anytime soon so decided to go to the Drunken Huntsman. The usual clientele were
in the Huntsman, that is, no-one. I thought about buying something just to cheer
the poor guy behind the bar up but, after my little spending spree on hunting
supplies yesterday, thought against it. Instead I cooked up a rabbit haunch using
the communal cooking pot in the centre of the room, I wasn’t sure whether you
had to pay to use it so I decided to just sit down and see what happens. Upon
turning around to choose a seat I spied the mercenary I met yesterday, Jenassa,
sat in the corner of the room. She made for an intimidating sight in her battle-
worn leather armour and war paint but she certainly is an intriguing character
so, on a bit of a whim, I sat next to her (after receiving a curt nod of approval
We sat in silence for a while, me eating my lunch and Jenassa sitting there
with a curiously large vegetable…thing in a bowl next to her. She must have
noticed my despondence for as I was finishing my rabbit she asked me what was
the matter. I confess I was surprised by her concern, if concern it was and not
simply idle curiosity. I stopped for a moment, hesitating to tell her the source
of my poor mood, I even thought about making something suitably violent up for
a second before dismissing the thought, doubtless it wouldn’t be nearly violent
enough for Jenassa.
“It’s a woman, isn’t it?” I was stunned.
“How on Nirn did you know that?!” I asked, she chuckled, shaking her head wryly.
“You are decidedly poor at disguising your emotions, it is painfully obvious
from the way you hang your head like a lovesick teenager.” I thought I had done
a decent job of looking perky, apparently not. “My philosophy on relationships
is simple, get what you want and then get out, leaving as little evidence as
possible,” she looked contemplative. “My last lover was a Bosmer, he was slight
but very agile and he had the finest head of blonde hair I have seen to this
day. We met in Riften in The Bee and Barb, he came in with three hundred septims,
looking for a hired knife, I would have laughed in his face had it not been so
fair and that hair…” She stopped for a moment to take a draught of mead, I
didn’t dare interrupt her tale lest she stop telling it, I was enthralled.
“It was a moment of weakness on my part but I agreed to work for a discounted
rate,” she looked quite visibly disgusted at this point but carried on. “The
job was relatively simple, he had recently stolen a valuable amulet from its
wealthy previous owner, only to have it stolen from him by a small group of
local bandits. He claimed that they got him drunk and then mugged him but I
reckoned he just got complacent, either way we were to go to their hideout and
steal it yet again, with me killing anyone that should get in the way. We agreed
to go the next day and that night I had him, he was a little tentative at first
but I have my ways…” I didn’t even want think about what that entailed but I
knew that I didn’t envy this Bosmer thief.
“All night we fucked, he was the finest I had had in a long while, his lithe
Wood Elf physique was a sight to behold. Clearing the bandit hideout proved to
be straight forward and we retrieved the amulet after cutting through a few of
them, in fact we made a good team. Things went south from there however, the
bandits anticipated our little burglary and set a trap. A small army of them
lay in wait for us, too many for us to handle. I grabbed the Bosmer at knifepoint
pushing him into the waiting hands of the gang, giving me time to make my escape.”
Jenassa’s expression was stony, if she felt any remorse about sacrificing her
lover so she would live, she didn’t show it. I knew from the tone of her voice
throughout her story that she did feel something beyond a base physical attraction
for the unnamed Bosmer, even her emotional armour seemed to have the occasional
“It’s Ysolda,” I admitted.
“A fine looking woman,” Jenassa conceded. “If a little…artificial”
“What do you mean?” I asked, Ysolda had only ever seemed kind to me, then again
I had only known her a day. “You’ve seen one side of her, I have seen another.
Not necessarily a bad one, but different nonetheless.” I didn’t know what to
think of this, it did make me realise just how little I knew the object of my
infatuation however, Jenassa carried on. “Does she attract you?”
“Yes,” I replied, without hesitation.
“Then pursue her,” she didn’t smile as though it were encouragement, she spoke
it like it was a simple, logical fact and for all her coldness she was right.
“Thank you,” I said, downing the contents of a water bottle and getting up to
leave. It was getting on and I had business to attend to.