A Nomad in Skyrim – Day XI pt.I

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 awoke early this morning, evidently not early enough however as Faendal had
already left, presumably to inform Hod of his coming absence from the lumber
mill. It was still full dark when I rose bleary-eyed and pulled on my furs.
First order of the day was breakfast and after my rather profitable hunt outside
Whiterun I decided to cook up a succulent venison chop. As I made to add the
meat to the pot however, I discovered that I had not a single salt pile to hand.
Bemoaning Skyrim’s apparent salt shortage and not wanting to eat tasteless mush,
I decided to nip to the Sleeping Giant to buy some.

No one about the streets but the local chicken. who's IS that chicken?!

No one about the streets but the local chicken. who’s IS that chicken?!

It must have been very early indeed as not a soul could be spied in the streets
of Riverwood, even Alvor was yet to rise. The empty streets and the half-light of
dawn gave Riverwood an eerie feel, a sharp contrast to the pastoral delight of
the day. Some say the Imperial City never sleeps and apparently the same can
be said of Skyrim’s alcoholics. “It’s my favourite drinking buddy, let’s
have some mead!” It can’t have been six in the morning when I was greeted thus
upon entering the Sleeping Giant, incredulous, I declined as politely as I
could manage and proceeded to the bar.

By the Nine Embry, go home! Or...is this your home?

By the Nine Embry, go home! Or…is this your home?

I’m not sure whether Orgnar is a morning person or not, his countenance being
much the same as usual, but he greeted me gruffly all the same. The Sleeping Giant’s
salt supply was much as I thought, scarce. I bought up his entire stock of two
salt piles, which sounds like a lot but really isn’t and a loaf of bread for the
road. Either I was in there longer than I thought or it was on the cusp of dawn
anyway because, when I emerged from the warm dark of the Sleeping Giant, it was
glorious daylight outside. The village made for a much likelier picture then,
brilliant sunshine bouncing off the lush green meadows, a child running in the
street and Alvor hailing me jovially from his forge. Indeed I was in high spirits
at that point, the upcoming trip was much anticipated, as was my now belated
breakfast. I added a pile of salt to the pot and cooked myself a juicy venison
steak, a little extravagant for breakfast I concede, but I was in a fine mood
and fancied food to match.

My appetite sated, I packed the last of my possessions and left to find Faendal,
locking the door behind me. The only place I could think that he’d be was the
mill but, upon my arrival, the mill was deserted. Perplexed I wandered around
the site, checking every corner for my companion. When I’d exhausted the search
of the mill and found no trace of the Bosmer I left feeling a little deflated,
where could he have gone? No sooner had I left the mill however I saw him out
of the corner of my eye, coming through the village gate to the south. “Hail!
Where on Nirn have you been?” I cried, meeting him halfway, he appeared to be
out of breath. “I’ve just been on my morning hunt,” he replied between deep
breaths. “I was THIS close to bagging a handsome deer, I’d shot it in the leg
and thought I could finish the job up close with my dagger, little bugger was
still fairly spritely however…”

The image of Faendal chasing a wounded deer waving a dagger made me laugh and,
though exhausted from the chase, he joined in heartily. “No matter friend,” I
said. “I have some surplus venison and a nice rabbit joint from my hunting
around Whiterun that should tide us over for a day or two.” With food sorted
and my companion found, we set off north towards Whiterun. Due largely to us
being in high spirits and partially to Faendal’s surprisingly long stride, we
gained sight of Whiterun rather quicker than usual. At the crossroads in the mouth
of Riverwood’s valley a dreadful sight met our eyes, a wretched looking Nord
being led down the road by none other than the Thalmor. Two armoured guards
surrounded the prisoner, leading the helpless man like an animal to the slaughter.
Their garb was sumptuous, as befit a Justiciar and his party, black robes with
golden trim. Their finery belied their true nature, their faces however, did not.

The Thalmor...

The Thalmor…

The Justiciar at the head of the column strode down the road as though she owned
it. Her dark eyes surveyed me and Faendal, full of suspicion and zealous hate.
Faendal hailed her curtly, I just stood and stared, returning her glare with
added loathing. The sight of them brought back too many raw memories and the
sight of the miserable Nord, a prisoner only because of his personal beliefs,
made me want to draw my sword and attack even though it would more than likely
spell my doom. The Justiciar returned Faendal’s greeting equally coldly and
they exchanged words in a stilted fashion, Faendal clearly hating every second
of it. I could hardly bear to look at her never mind hear what they were saying,
I could not take my eyes off the prisoner, his eyes met mine briefly, full of
sorrow, fresh tears ran down his face. My hand moved instinctually to the hilt
of my sword.

“Anyway, we had best be going on,” I heard Faendal say, emerging from my reverie.
“Tell me, Imperial,” the Justiciar turned her attention to me. “Do you believe
it is right to worship a man?” Her accusing eyes pierced me like a knife through
butter, cutting through my defences straight to my heart. It took me a moment
but I answered as coolly as I could. “Of course not.” My grip tightened, Faendal
stirred nervously. “We…we should go,” he said, turning to leave.
“Stay.” The Justiciar snapped, stopping him in his tracks. “I am not entirely
convinced and…” As quick as lightning she drew her dagger, followed by the
sound of weapons being drawn as her guards did likewise. “Take your hand from
your weapon!” She shouted, brandishing her dagger, eyes gleaming in anticipation.
“Adrian, do as she says!” Faendal urged, I could hear his words but they just
sounded like noise to my ears. My grip tightened ever more, my sword hilt became
slippery with sweat, I stared intensely at the prisoner and the Justiciar edged
closer with her dagger drawn.

Suddenly I snapped out of it and let go of my weapon, my arms raised in
supplication. We backed away swiftly me and Faendal, only turning our backs on
our aggressors when they were safely out of sight. He didn’t shout, I had
endangered his life but after all I had told him he understood, something for
which I am most thankful. We walked in silence for a while afterwards, both of
us shaken by the standoff. With no harm done however our spirits eventually
returned and, spying a fox in the undergrowth, Faendal said. “Now, let’s see
your skill with a bow, I wager two gold coins that you can’t hit that fox over
there!”

“You’re on.” I replied, drawing my bow and swiftly nocking an arrow. It was a
quick little creature and it was already spooked by our presence. My first arrow
flew past when it suddenly stopped and Faendal grinned, rubbing his hands in
expectation. The fox bolted and, going entirely by instinct, I hastily nocked
a second arrow and let fly. The missile led my spritely quarry, meeting the
fox’s neck as it ran across its deadly path. Faendal could scarcely believe it
and, as cool as I tried to act, I could neither. “Well, well, well,” he said.
“Not bad for an Imperial.” I had to laugh and proceeded to skin my prize with
a big grin on my face. “I wager you Wood Elves pull off those shots with your
eyes closed!”
“I don’t like to brag, but I once took down a bear at three hundred yards.
In a blizzard.” Following this was a moment of utter silence and then a torrent
of laughter as Faendal’s face cracked and we both creased up at his sheer
arrogance.

It seems to be a recurring theme, dead virtual animals. Perhaps my blog should come with a "Not suitable for vegetarians" warning.

It seems to be a recurring theme, dead virtual animals. Perhaps my blog should come with a “Not suitable for vegetarians” warning.

“In all seriousness, that was an excellent shot. Perhaps I don’t have much to
teach you after all.” I thanked him graciously and we moved on, heading east
along the White River. It was a fine day for the hunt and, as we strolled along
the riverside talking excitedly of all the different beasts we were like to
encounter in Eastwatch, Faendal managed to take down an unfortunate elk that
happened across our path. As he knelt down to skin his prize I felt a horribly
sharp pain in my side and span around just in time to hear him cry. “Wolf!”
I drew my sword and unbuckled my shield, holding it up in anticipation of the
wolf’s next lunge. I felt a rush of wind on my cheek however as an arrow flew
past, lodging firmly in the beast’s skull.

“Cursed wolves, this land is rife with the beasts, are you alright?” Faendal
asked, putting away his bow and kneeling to inspect my attacker. “Tis but a
scratch,” I replied, rubbing my wound. He seemed to take a while inspecting
the animal and, after a long period of deliberation, he said. “Curious, this
wolf bears not the hallmarks of others I’ve seen in these parts. It’s claws
are comparatively blunt and it’s a lot skinnier, malnourished almost.”
“I can’t think why that is, perhaps it was a pet?” Was the best I could offer,
Faendal gave a dark smirk. “If this was a pet then I wouldn’t like to meet its
owner.” We did in fact meet its owner not five minutes down the road, but it
sadly was not a pet. By the road we came across the corpse of a topless man,
seemingly a bandit from his garb. It didn’t take Faendal long to surmise the cause
of his death, the dead man was covered in bites and scratches and the left side
of his face was horribly mutilated.

You have none of my sympathies

You have none of my sympathies

Upon searching him we discovered a small note that read…

Bandit Note

The contents of the note caused Faendal to look away in disgust and he was in
a sombre mood for long after. He hunted animals daily, taking their lives and
stripping away their flesh in a gruesome manner, but he loved them more than
anyone I have ever met. I must admit the note angered me too, the idea of
innocent animals being tossed into a pit, half-starved, to fight each other to
the death just didn’t sit well at all. We continued on, the next few hours
passing in silence until, after cresting a rise, we came upon the bridge.

This looks oddly familiar...

This looks oddly familiar…

It was a queer sight at first, a tall stone construct, two stout towers at either
end. It looked very old indeed, the far tower almost blending seamlessly with
the ancient mountainside. As we approached a small camp fire came into view,
a solitary woman at its side. The atmosphere changed suddenly, she was wearing
studded leather armour and had a longsword at her side. Faendal stiffened at
her approach and I noticed him take a few steps backwards, out of my line of
sight. “This is a toll road,” the woman said. “It’s….two hundred gold to pass.”
My stomach sank, bandits! Horrible flashbacks from my last ordeal with bandits
sprang to mind, fear gripped me and I froze on the spot, not knowing what to say.

The bandit collapsed, blood flowing freely from a wound in her chest, one of
Faendal’s arrows lodged there. A great cry erupted from the bridge and Faendal
span to face them. “Draw your weapon!!” He shouted, loosing another arrow, taking
down another bandit on the bridge. Shaking almost uncontrollably, I drew my sword
and shield, stepping over the dead bandit into the tower with Faendal at my back.
His manner had changed drastically within the space of a few seconds. Before he
was a mild mannered huntsman, now he spat curses at the bandits, his face contorted
with rage as he loosed arrow after arrow in their direction. I did my best to
keep up, bringing my sword down on their heads as I deflected blows with my
shield but I may as well have been a shying rabbit compared to Faendal’s fury.

We fought our way slowly across the bridge, reaching the middle through a
combination of Faendal’s arrows and my shield. When I had cut open what seemed
to be the last of them however, a monstrous shout sounded from the far tower. The
biggest Redguard I have ever seen emerged, charging full pelt across the bridge
towards me, wielding a dirty great sword and shield. “Stand firm!!” Faendal
shouted. “Whatever happens, keep that shield up!” It seemed to take the Redguard
an age to reach me, despite his speed. The dread sounds of his boots stomping
on the stone of the walkway rang through my head, the sound of my impending
doom. A mighty crash followed as he rammed into my shield, my arm almost broke
under the impact but somehow I kept it up. With a loud grunt he brought his
sword down upon it, hacking it to bits. I was driven back to the tower, quailing
under his sheer power, I attempted to counter attack with my own sword but could
find no window of opportunity, such was the rapidity of his onslaught.

He became impatient and, lifting his sword high in the air, brought it crashing
down upon my shield with two hands, breaking my guard completely and exposing
me. I downed a healing potion and prayed inwardly to all the nine divines. Was
this how it would end? Under the sword of a thief? I closed my eyes and held
up my sword in a last-ditch attempt at blocking the killing blow when I heard
a markedly different cry than that of the bandit chief. Upon opening my eyes I
saw, much to my immense relief, Faendal stabbing furiously at the bandits throat.
He screamed and plunged his dagger into the bandits neck repeatedly, dropping
the brute to his knees and kicking his lifeless body to the floor.

Faendal is surprisingly ferocious!

Faendal is surprisingly ferocious!

We both just sat there for a while after, blood and gore covering the room, both
of us breathing heavily. “Thank you,” I said eventually, he said nothing but
left the tower to breath in fresh air. I felt as though I would vomit at any
moment, the mere sight of the array of corpses filled me with revulsion. After
a while Faendal calmed down, his battle rage subsided and he became himself again.
“I am sorry,” he said. “I don’t know what came over me.”
“You have nothing to be sorry for!” I protested. “Nothing whatsoever! Why, if
it wasn’t for you, we would be the dead ones, not these miserable creatures!”
“I suppose you’re right,” he smiled. “It has been a long day, why don’t we get
some rest here?”

A well-deserved breather!

A well-deserved breather!

A rest sounded perfect at that moment and so we set up camp outside the near
tower, using the bandit’s cooking pot to cook up some soup. We said little
and simply relaxed after a hard journey, preparing ourselves for the hardships
that were likely to come. “We’re not far from Eastwatch now,” Faendal said.
“About an hour down the river there is a fork, beyond that are the plains
of Eastwatch, where all manner of beasts roam!” His mood had improved immeasurably and,
with these words, mine did too. After a lunch of bread and soup and a well-deserved
rest, we set off yet again with smiles on our faces, determined to put our
terrible ordeal behind us and with much and more anticipation.

“Slender bow two inches wide, and a trusty dagger at his side…” Faendal was
singing with a broad beaming face. “What’s that you’re singing?” I asked him,
partial to a good song myself. “It’s an old hunting song,” he replied “A Hunting
We Shall Go.”
“I know it!” I cried and he began to sing the first lines of the song in a crisp,
clear tenor. Myself replying as best I could in my comparatively muddy baritone.
Together we belted out the chorus, filling the river valley with lively song.

Slender bow two inches wide,
And a trusty dagger at his side,
Come forth he cried onwards we ride,
And a gambit shall be made!

We’ll wander far both high and low,
On lush green fields and mounts of snow,
Oh yo ho ho ho ho ho ho,
And a hunting we shall go!

Glossy furs adorn his chest,
And on his hearth great trophies rest,
Of huntsmen famed he is the best,
And you shall have the same!

We’ll wander far both high and low,
On lush green fields and mounts of snow,
Oh yo ho ho ho ho ho ho,
And a hunting we shall go!

As soft as silk his footsteps are,
And how those eyes see oh so far,
Of battles great he bears no scar,
And battles he’s seen plenty!

We’ll wander far both high and low,
On lush green fields and mounts of snow,
Oh yo ho ho ho ho ho ho,
And a hunting we shall go!

He drew his arrow like lightning,
And nocking it pulled tight the string,
Oh did that fateful arrow sing,
And strike another beast down!

We’ll wander far both high and low,
On lush green fields and mounts of snow,
Oh yo ho ho ho ho ho ho,
And a hunting we shall go!

Oh yo ho ho ho ho ho ho,
And a hunting we shall go!

Oh yo ho ho ho ho ho ho,
And a hunting we shall go!

11 comments on “A Nomad in Skyrim – Day XI pt.I

  1. Go Faendal!

    I thought the confrontation with the Justiciars was very well done.

    And for some reason this line, “I bought up his entire stock of two salt piles, which sounds like a lot but really isn’t” made me laugh though I am not sure why.

    • adantur says:

      Faendal saved my arse, I was getting battered by that bandit chief before he stepped in, brother saved my life…

      And salt PILES, who buys salt in piles?! If someone said “I put a pile of salt in your potato soup” you’d expect it to be pretty nasty potato soup!

  2. Vahkiin says:

    I always get sad when I see that note (or stumble into a fighting ring). It’s so sad!

    I agree with Elspeth about the Justiciars! I have a very hard time walking away even when I know one of my lower level characters would have their butt kicked.

    • adantur says:

      That’s one of the things I love about Skyrim, these little random encounters and notes you find, it adds so much depth to the world. Adrian wasn’t that down about the wolves but Faendal was really cut up about it, he loves his animals!

      Thanks for the comment, it’s much appreciated =D

  3. Pyrelle says:

    I can honestly say I have never seen that note to date, wish I would though it seems like it could be very interesting. I am rather shocked at how much of bad ass Faendal is for you when ever I have grouped with him he has always been more of a liability to me, maybe he just doesn’t like my characters lol

    • adantur says:

      Maybe it’s because Adrian is such a wimp that Faendal seems like a brute compared to him? He’s a bit crap up close but he’s a demon with that bow, I had dead bandits raining down all over the place at that bridge!

  4. Pyrelle says:

    Yeah you should see some of the weird stuff that gets searched for that find my blog. “skyrim dorthe naked” frightened me greatly

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s