A Nomad in Skyrim – Day X

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.

My eyes refused to open, a throbbing pain above them made me want to simply
shut out the world and go back to sleep. I couldn’t see anything but I knew I
must have been lying in a rather deep puddle or something similar as I was soaked to
the skin. Flashes of scenes from the night before emerged slowly in my head,
pieces of the seemingly impossible puzzle that was last night. I remembered
vaguely leaving The Bannered Mare with Ysolda and, with what I can only imagine
was a stupid looking smile on my face, I recalled receiving a kiss to end the
night. After that I woke in this puddle or gutter, with the worst pain in my
head and a mild feeling of embarrassment for getting so drunk so quickly. After
lying stationary for a while, feeling more and more conspicuous as I became more
and more conscious, I decided to try and open my eyes. I cautiously opened one
eye a crack and a shaft of brilliant white light pierced through into my brain,
causing the searing pain in my head to multiply. Groaning loudly I forced myself
into a sitting position and, when my vision had suitably adjusted to the bright
daylight, looked around to take stock.

I seemed to be sitting in the town moat, as the grid in front of me and the judging
eyes of Adrianne Avenicci from above me informed me. I could not begin to
imagine how I got down there, the general ache that was my body just then
probably had something to do with it. Adrianne had nothing to say to me when I
eventually crawled out of the moat, I nodded a somewhat sheepish greeting and
sloped past, heading to the Drunken Huntsman across the road to sate my now
ferocious appetite. The tavern was as empty as usual, Jenassa sat in her usual
seat in the corner, but the warmth emanating from the cooking pit in the centre
of the room was most welcome. I threw some ingredients together in the pot and
cooked up a venison stew, sitting in the corner next to Jenassa (after recieving
the customary nod of approval).

Don't even look at me...

Don’t even look at me…

“You look like death,” she said, her countenance as unsympathetic as her sentiment.
My throat certainly felt like it and I could only grunt in response, causing
her to chuckle gleefully. “Next time you go on a date, try to wake up in her
bed rather than a moat.”
“You saw me?! You could have woken me!” I cried, halfway through the most restorative
stew. “You looked peaceful,” she replied, that gleeful expression unchanging.
“You’re really enjoying this aren’t you?” To this she could only laugh and I
finished my stew in silence, finding it a little too early to be able to laugh
at my misfortune.

As I bade Jenassa an unenthused farewell and left the Huntsman, I attempted to
recollect exactly what happened the night before but, no matter how I wracked
my now terribly sore head, I simply could not recall anything past Ysolda closing
her door. I did, I remembered with a painful feeling in my gut, remember acting
rather foolishly for the final part of our date. Spilling ale everywhere and
behaving a bit too suggestively being just a taste of the offences that sprang
to mind. For this I decided to apologise and averted my course to Ysolda’s
house, after which I would stumble back to Riverwood as best I could.

Performing some kind of walk of shame through Whiterun was not the way I envisaged
spending my time in Skyrim. I felt as though the judging, smirking eyes of all
the townsfolk were on me, people spreading more and more inaccurate tales of
my antics. My only consolation was that I could avoid the marketplace in order
to see Ysolda as her house could be reached via a path that circuited the southern
end of the city. When I reached her house however, I found that there was no
one in. “Damn!” I thought, glancing down the street towards the bustling
marketplace, doubtless she would be there, as she was every day. After a moments
deliberation I decided to head straight back to Riverwood, a crowded market
being the last place I wanted to be.

Ysolda seems to be up early, then again she is a Nord

Ysolda seems to be up early, then again she is a Nord

It was a beautiful day and,in any other state, I would have cherished the walk
home through this glorious landscape. As it was I was tired, sore and with a
headache like I’d just been toe-poked by a Giant and I just wanted to get home
and collapse on Faendal’s bed.

I hadn’t moved a hundred yards from the city gate when I spied an encampment
practically leaning against the walls. It was the Khajiit merchants that Ysolda
was talking about, only there were more of them than I anticipated. They seemed
to have a semi-permanent home set up, multiple tents, tanning rack and a large
camp-fire in the centre. A Khajiit fellow sat cross-legged on a rather exotic
looking rug in the mouth of the nearest tent and I decided to speak to him about
his dealings with Ysolda and perhaps sell of some of the surplus I’ve gathered.

Doing business with a talking cat, just what you need after a dozen Nord Ales

Doing business with a talking cat, just what you need after a dozen Nord Ales

“Hello there Imperial, what can Ri’saad do for you today?” That crossed finding
his name out off the list. “Hail friend, I was just passing and decided to sell
some of my surplus goods, are you a willing buyer?” Ri’saad seemed polite but,
and I am loathe to admit it, I have never been entirely trusting of Khajiit,
particularly those in mercantile. Let’s just put it down to previous bad experience.
“Of course Imperial, what kind of Khajiit merchant isn’t?” He smiled, he seemed
to be a capable merchant indeed if his dress was anything to go by. He wore the
finest robes I have ever seen a merchant sat in a tent outside a city wear. I
sold him a necklace of magicka I had lying around in my pack and received a
hundred septims for it, a welcome donation indeed as, when I went to fill my
coinpurse, I found that I had spent nearly two hundred septims last night!

“Was there anything else, or is our transaction complete?” I thought about digging
a little deeper into Ri’saad’s character but, in my current state, interrogating
Khajiit merchants was the last thing I wanted to do. I bade him farewell and
headed in the direction of Riverwood, the afternoon sun warming my weary bones.
As I began to climb the slopes into the valley in which Riverwood lies, my ears
pricked at the sound of marching boots. Moments later I was met with Imperial
soldiers, three in number, dressed smartly in their Imperial leather armour
and led by a stern faced Redguard. “Hail citizen!” He said, his serious demeanour
not shifting an inch. “Hail, where are you headed?” I replied, scanning their
faces for Hadvar, he wasn’t with them. “We are headed to Solitude, to join up
with General Tullius of course. The Stormcloaks won’t kill themselves will they?”
“No, no I suppose not,” I replied, slightly perturbed at the soldier’s smile as
he said it. “You should think about joining up, a stout young man like yourself,
that bow of yours would come in handy against the rebels.”

For the last time NO!

For the last time NO!

At this I sighed inwardly then politely declined, first Hadvar and now him, the
next person to try and enlist me will surely get a piece of my mind! “If you
should ever change your mind simply go to Solitude and speak to the general. He
is a fine man General Tullius, if you ask me (I didn’t) the Stormcloaks are
ungrateful, General Tullius and the Imperial Legion are the only thing keeping
the Aldmeri Dominion out of Skyrim!” I’m no expert on the civil war, which is
something I will soon have to work on, but I couldn’t help but detect a hint of
bias in the soldier’s fervoured speech. Wanting to avoid a political debate and
to simply get home, I agreed to consider going to Solitude and bid the soldiers
farewell.

Throughout the remainder of my journey I began to think about the civil war and
how little I knew about it. I have been ignorant of most politics for a long time
now, catching only snippets of information from second-hand and mostly dubious
sources on my travels. I resolved then to learn more about the civil war and
specifically about General Tullius, from all reports I had heard thus far he
was a great commander, I found myself wondering what his views were on the
White-Gold Concordat and the Thalmor in general. Was he simply oppressing the
Nords of Skyrim due to orders, or did he actually consider them subjects of the
Empire and serve them as such? An apology for almost executing me wouldn’t go
amiss either… Such wonderings are too much on a hangover however, so I decided
to get some sleep first then ask Faendal what he knew sometime later.

Soon my eyes fell upon the wonderful sight of Riverwood, after my eventful visit
to Whiterun I simply couldn’t wait to get back to the peace of the village and
my pace quickened in response. Nothing had changed since I left, the village
drunk Embry was at his usual post in front of the inn, Alvor hailed me as he
hammered away at his forge and I found Faendal at his post chopping wood for
Hod. “Where on Nirn have you been?!” He seemed pleasantly surprised to see me.
“I thought you were only nipping into Whiterun for the day, you’ve been gone
for two!”

“It’s a long story friend,” by this time I was near collapse and could not have
faced telling it. “Are you alright?” Faendal asked. “You look like a resident of
the Hall of the Dead.”
“Yeah, I…had a little too much to drink last night, just a little.” Faendal
chuckled. “I see, that explains a lot, why don’t you go back to mine and have
a nap.” Flushed with gratitude I stalked off to Faendal’s house and after briefly
throwing my clothes and weapons to the floor, fell into a long deep sleep.

Come to me bed!

Come to me bed!

When I awoke it was dark and the house was still empty. My head had stopped
pounding for the most part and I belted on a more comfortable tunic. Faendal
would doubtless be home soon and I didn’t fancy venturing outside again so I
decided to take him up on his previous offer and peruse his book collection.
Most of the books were predictable ‘Killing – Before You’re Killed’, ‘Ode to
the Tundrastriders’, ‘Pension of the Ancestor Moth’ (slightly unusual). But one
book stood out to me and, as I read it, I became more and more disturbed by its
frankly vile contents. The book was entitled ‘Scourge of the Gray Quarter’, a
book on the influx of Dunmer refugees into Windhelm and how they are a plague
on a once-proud city. I have heard of the troubles in Morrowind certainly and
was not surprised to hear that a great number have sought refuge in this fine
land but, to hear this elitist, superior author write about the “discontented
rabble” and to refer to “loyal Argonian servants” as “Fish-men” really boiled
my blood. Putting the book down I wondered what Faendal’s investment, if any,
was in the subject. Was he a refugee himself? Come to think of it, I know nothing
at all about his past, the few times he has spoken of Valenwood he did so with
sorrow.

Shortly after I finished reading that tripe Faendal returned. “You’re finally
up then,” he said. “I came back for a spot of lunch earlier and you appeared
as though you’d never awaken, how do you feel?”
“A lot better thank you,” I replied. “It was nice to sleep in a bed again.”
“Yes I’d wager it was, speaking of which, what happened to you out there?”
I sighed audibly and then told Faendal the whole story, the drunken revellers,
the fallen giant, the living giant, meeting the Jarl, Ysolda, I had so much to
tell that I spent the next hour or two relating the whole story.

Potato soup, a surprisingly effective hangover cure!

Potato soup, a surprisingly effective hangover cure

“My, my, what a couple of days you’ve had!” He seemed incredulous, not knowing
whether to laugh or to console. “After all that you could use a hearty meal,
one of my best hangover cures is potato soup.” With that he rose and began adding
ingredients to the cooking pot, chuckling to himself as he did so. “Ysolda eh,
I’ve met her a fair number of times, she seems pleasant. Very driven as well,
last we met she would not stop talking about how she was going to make it in
the mercantile business. I think she will you know, yes, you could have done
a lot worse than Ysolda.” His reference was good to have I suppose, but it could
not assuage the nagging doubts that clouded my mind. “Do you think I told her
too much? I don’t know what happened, one moment we were chatting amiably, the
next I was baring my soul right there in the Bannered Mare.”
“I won’t lie Adrian, it may have been a bit much for a first date, however, if
she can’t handle that then she is simply not worth it. She seems to like you
still, she did give you that kiss remember?” The smile on Faendal’s face could
not have been bigger, or more mischievous, it served to cheer me. “I suppose you are
right,” I said. “It’s just been so long since I last…you know, at least
in a serious way, my head is a little muddled to say the least.”

Faendal poured out two steaming bowls of potato soup and brought them to the
table with a loaf of bread, the aroma was mouth-watering, the soup itself warmed
my wearied body to the core. “You need a break!” Faendal said, slapping his
spoon down onto the table before it ever touched his mouth. “We should go on
a hunting trip, me and thee, Eastmarch to the south of Windhelm has some of the
best hunting in Tamriel!” If none other of his words had lifted my spirits, these
certainly did, I had heard vague reports of Eastmarch prior to my arrival in
Skyrim, all manner of dangerous and exotic beasts were said to roam its plains.
“I could not agree more,” I said, my enthusiasm seemed to show on my face as
Faendal sprang suddenly from his chair and set to rummaging through a large
wooden chest in the corner of the room. “I have a map here somewhere…ah, here
we are!” Pointing at the map he explained the route we would take, along with
a few other details of our upcoming jaunt. “First we will head north to Whiterun
Hold, following the White River east until we hit a fork, from there it is
off the road and into the wilderness we go! It will be dangerous, but you have
shown that you’re more than capable with a bow and I have a little experience in
the area, I even know of a few friendly hunting camps where we could perhaps
spend the night.”

A map to peace of mind...I hope

A map to peace of mind…I hope

Faendal could hardly disguise his excitement and, truthfully, I was in a similar
predicament. Needing to get some rest for the long day that is ahead, we bade
each other good night and got into bed. After the emotional stress of the past
couple of days I greatly anticpate getting back to basics, simply me, a kindred
spirit and nature at its finest. “This is going to be excellent,” Faendal said.
“I’ve been without a hunting partner for what seems like an age, poor Denegor,
he never saw that Horker coming…”

11 comments on “A Nomad in Skyrim – Day X

  1. I absolutely love Adrian’s reluctant and weird friendship with Jenassa–I hope you do more with this. I think she could prove a valuable ally, in that tough-love kind of way. The description of waking up was damn near perfect. I could feel that piercing light when he cracked his eye open. I recall that feeling, although the light was coming in from a window as I lay in bed (not a moat).

    I also like that Adrian continues to be wary of the political situation and that he’s intellectually curious rather than clamoring for a side to join. Very good characterization.

    Looking forward to the hunting trip. All I can think is, this would make a great Buddy Film.

    • adantur says:

      I love the Jenassa/Adrian relationship too, it took me a little by surprise actually as it was just a result of circumstance i.e. that Adrian didn’t fancy the Bannered Mare. I most certainly will try to cultivate that in future posts as I think it has a lot of potential. On the hangover description, I’ve not so long ago completed my first year of university so I didn’t need any help writing that passage!

      I spent an hour or two last night researching Valenwood and the Bosmer in general so I could give Faendal a solid story, so expect to see a lot of male bonding in the next post. Although last time I was at Eastmarch I remember encountering a lot of sabre tooth cats, let’s just hope no one gets hurt….

      Oh yeah and thanks a lot for the comment/feedback as usual, it is much appreciated. I struggled a bit to write this post as I’ve not been quite with it lately but I was determined to stick to my weekly post target, I hope the quality didn’t dip.

  2. Pyrelle says:

    “I’ve been without a hunting partner for what seems like an age, poor Denegor,
    he never saw that Horker coming…” I can’t wait to hear this story! I agree with Elspeth you nailed the hangover. I am glad he didn’t get to see Ysolda, gotta remember the three day rule!

    • “gotta remember the three day rule!”

      Onspeth didn’t wait three days…for anything.

    • adantur says:

      Gods yeah, the three day rule, Adrian is such a dating noob! I like to drop in little tidbits of funny stories here and there, whether it’s because I’m not funny enough to think of a full one is neither here nor there. I can’t imagine death by horker being anything less than hilarious though! Thanks a lot for the comment.

      • Pyrelle says:

        Death by Horker is funny just by saying it. I just want to know how you die to a Horker when they are slow enough to walk away from…and yes I actually walked away from a fight with them once.

      • adantur says:

        The image I had in my head when writing it was that he was on the floor and one rolled onto him, crushing him instantly. Of course you’d have to ask Faendal for the whole story.

      • Pyrelle says:

        Yep definitely a story I would like to hear. I can just visualize a Horker rolling over someone, not pretty.

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