A Nomad in Skyrim – Day IX 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.

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
surprise.

“How are you not at least acknowledging this?!!”

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
paying off.

Dinner is served!

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.

Oh what big antlers you have.

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.

Here goes….

“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
of course).

One of the more…interesting lunches I’ve sat down to in Skyrim.

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
chink.

“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.

A Nomad in Skyrim – Day VIII

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 this morning with the most sublime feeling of contentment after the
most comfortable nights sleep since I arrived in Skyrim. Faendal had insisted
I sleep in his bed and, after I initially politely declined, I was very glad he
did. It was so comfortable in fact that, for the first time in a long while, I
slept without my clothes. When I somewhat reluctantly rose for the day Faendal
was nowhere to be seen, doubtless he had already gone to the mill, such is his
propensity for hard work. I stretched in the most satisfying manner, the house
was warm because of the crackling fire and Faendal had left me some cabbage
stew in the pot. I sat down to eat my stew, it was tasty and wholesome, sating
my appetite along with a carrot I had in my pack. I washed my breakfast down with
a bottle of water and decided to get dressed and see what the day had to offer.

All that wood-chopping seems to have given me a Hod-like physique (only a little leaner)

It was a fine day, brilliant rays shone down over the village as a cool morning
breeze played across my face. Riverwood always rose early, even the town drunk
Embry was at his usual station outside the Sleeping Giant. The children played
with a scruffy mutt and I was greeted kindly by a toiling Alvor as I walked by
on my way to the mill. As expected Faendal was chopping away at his customary
station. I told him of my restlessness and of my plans to soon leave Riverwood
behind. The news seemed momentarily to pique his curiosity but he frowned and
issued me a warning. “I understand, Riverwood may be a little sleepy but be
warned, you have seen the dangers that this land holds and bandits are the
least of them. This is not Cyrodil, all manner of beasts and men roam here,
not to mention the war you found yourself embroiled in.”

His words tempered my enthusiasm, he was right. I have been through a lot since
I arrived in Skyrim and I’ve hardly moved from this tiny village, I struggle to
imagine what hazards the wider country might present to me, he carried on.
“If a change of scenery is what you fancy then the city of Whiterun is half a
mornings walk from here, the road is not nearly as dangerous as most and there’s
always a lot going on there.” I had been planning to go to Whiterun next anyway
so this sounded like a great idea. I bid farewell to Faendal, telling him that
I’ll be back later on tonight and headed past the Sleeping Giant and out of
Riverwood. I had been in Skyrim for a week now, it was high time I visited one
of its major cities. I had carried out very little research before deciding to
come to Skyrim so I knew very little about the city, I do know that it favours
the empire over the rebellion however so I should be safe within its walls.

Such a lovely village, it is a shame I shall soon have to leave it

I crossed a small stone bridge out of the village, looking back on its pastoral
splendour before following the river north. After an hour or so of uneventful
walking I heard shouting, not angry shouting but what seemed to be cries of
revelry from around the bend. Rounding the corner I came across three men, each
holding tankards and looking very drunk indeed. I thought it rather peculiar
that three men were drinking by the roadside at eight o clock in the morning,
but it was hard not to be buoyed by their merriment. One of the revelers who,
judging by his attire, was a Nord farmer, approached me and said. “Hail, friend!
It’s good to see another merry soul enjoying this fine day. Ah, but you look
tired. Come, share a bottle of Honningbrew Mead with me!”

I’ve been to known to like my ale but drinking on the side of the road in only your underwear?! These Nords party too hearty for me!

Not wanting to dampen their mood and being rather thirsty, I accepted the mead.
I’ve been in Skyrim for a week now and drank ale or mead in the morning twice and I’m
beginning to think the Nord stereotypes about their drinking culture could
have a semblance of truth to them. Where else in Tamriel do the farmers party
by the roadside at all hours of the day? After downing their drinks the revelers
simply walked off down the road without another word, hopefully to do some
actual work, probably to get more mead. Shortly after I caught my first glimpse
of Whiterun though the trees and it was more magnificent than I had previously
imagined. In the midst of a wide open valley sat a sheer citadel, perched on
a rocky hillside. It’s uppermost roof reached into the heavens, topped with
carved wooden dragon’s heads. The rest of the city was arrayed beneath what
I knew to be Dragonsreach, the seat of Jarl Balgruuf, with small farms and lush
green fields outlying. It was certainly a far cry from Riverwood and I could
hardly wait to give it a closer inspection.

It becomes more magnificent each time I see it

I headed down to the valley floor, across a small stone bridge and past a rather
large building that according to the sign was the Honningbrew Meadery (and thus
solved the mystery of where the farmers went). Walking through a neighbouring
leek farm I recieved perhaps the biggest shock of my life. Sprawled across the
floor was the body of a giant! Weathered grey skin, colossal hands and feet and
carrying a bone that must have been four feet long. Whoever slayed this
monumental creature must have been a fearsome warrior or warriors indeed. I admit
to knowing little about giants, I heard rumours of their existence before coming
to Skyrim, but seeing one up close is truly breathtaking.

I can’t imagine picking a fight with a creature that has toenails the size of shovel heads

Deciding to leave my find before its bane returned I continued on my circuit
of Whiterun which, for reasons unbeknownst to me, has only one entrance. The
outer walls of the city were crumbling in places but still looked fairly
imposing and as I approached the entrance to the city numerous sentry towers began
to spring up all around, each with a guard in residence. After telling the guard
on the gate my business in Whiterun I was admitted to the city, after the sleepy
streets of Riverwood Whiterun was a revelation. Well-crafted buildings lined
the streets, outside the nearest of which was a female blacksmith hammering
away. All manner of people bustled about the streets, a lumberjack carrying
a pile of logs, children at play, guards in mail and with concealing steel helms.
I decided to set off exploring straight ahead and soon came to a marketplace
surrounded by shops and other establishments. While I was inspecting one of
the stalls something happened me that has not happened in a long, long time. I
became infatuated with a beautiful woman.

Her name was Ysolda, she was poorly dressed in a rather distressed looking dress
but her face and manner was kind and she possessed an elegance beyond her care-worn
appearance. As soon as I saw her my stomach began to churn unpleasantly and I
simply had to engage her in conversation. She was a friendly girl and talked to
me gladly, she confessed immediately that once she has made enough money trading
with the Khajiit caravans she is going to buy The Bannered Mare from a woman
named Hulda. We talked for a while about the Khajiit, Ysolda complaining at
length about how they are mistrusted in Skyrim, I agreed perhaps a little more
wholeheartedly than I would normally have. “Before my Ma and Da passed,” she
said. “I told them that one day, I would become the greatest trader in Skyrim.
I met one of the caravan leaders Ma’dran, he said he’d help me get started if
I could bring him a mammoth’s tusk.” I fought back a chuckle, how in Talos’
name was she planning on getting hold of a mammoth tusk, I’ve seen what herds
them and I certainly wouldn’t want to try and steal livestock from something
that wields a four foot club! I desperately wished I could help her but I just
could not see how I could and wished her luck then parted ways.

He’s really taken with this one it seems….

I decided to head to The Bannered Mare for a spot of lunch and spent the next
hour or so sat at the bar thinking of Ysolda. I felt like a teenager again,
obsessing over a girl, but I could not help it. I talked to Hulda the landlady
who confirmed that Ysolda was looking to buy her out and was served by a rather
attractive Redguard by the name of Saadia. After hearing some idle gossip from
Hulda and listening to the bard sing surprisingly similar songs to Sven back in
Riverwood I asked Saadia to fill up my water bottles and left to explore the city
some more.

The weather had changed little since I left Riverwood, the sun was still shining
and everyone in Whiterun seemed to be out to enjoy it. I climbed the steps into
the next district, passing a gang of children on the way and a man and woman in
the midst of a heated exchange. I subtly listened in for a few moments but it
soon began to sound dangerously like an opportunity for danger to strike, keeping
in mind all that had happened thus far I got out of there as fast as I could!
In a town square of sorts I came across a hooded preacher, stood under a large
stone statue that seemed to be the likeness of Talos.

How could anyone frown upon the worship of such a figure as Tiber Septim?

The preacher was a shady looking fellow and ranted passionately, if a little
distastefully. “Talos the Mighty! Talos the unerring! Talos the unassailable!
To you we give Praise! We are but maggots writhing in the filth of our own
corruption! While you have ascended from the dung of mortality, and now walk
among the stars!” Was his opening gambit, enough to catch anyone’s attention,
perhaps for all the wrong reasons. I am a firm believer in Talos though and
agreed with the priest, who I found to be named Heimskr, that the White Gold
Concordat was a disgrace on the part of the empire. Looking up at the statue of
Tiber Septim, lord of the gods, both in equal parts disturbed and inspired me.
The Thalmor must be a powerful force indeed to dissuade the empire from promoting
worship in such a glorious deity.

You might want to look a little less like you’re going to kill me and sacrifice me to your god…just saying.

Heimskr’s words and the statue made me question once again my beloved empire
and my beliefs. When I was a child the Concordat was only a few years old and
few people I knew took the ban seriously, that was until the Thalmor arrived.
I’ve never told a living soul of the events that caused me to wander as I do
now, I don’t think I’m quite ready to face them, not yet.

I spent the next hour or two simply wandering about the town, observing the
townsfolk and taking in the views of Dragonsreach and the magnificent mountain
ranges that surround the city. After speaking to a game trader named Onoriath
I decided to visit his and his brother’s shop, The Drunken Huntsman, for some
hunting supplies. Upon entering the shop I noticed a rather enigmatic looking
Dunmer ranger sat in the corner, she eyed me suspiciously and I could tell she
was not to be trifled with. Curiosity overtook me however and I cautiously
edged over to her table and enquired about her line of work. “I am an artisan,
painting in strokes of blood red upon the canvas of life.” She replied, for a
moment I didn’t know what to say, I had never knowingly met a mercenary before.
This woman was a cold-blooded killer and, judging from her eloquence on the
subject, seemed to enjoy her “art” as well! I told her perhaps another time
and made my way hastily to the shopkeeper to pick up some more hunting gear.
His wares were expensive but I had made enough money from wood-chopping to
buy me some arrows, both iron and steel and even a better bow. I sold my old
hunting bow that I had improved on the grindstone and came out of the shop
with a considerably light coinpurse, a finer bow and the slightly chilling
experience of meeting a cold-blooded killer for hire.

“Oh you’re a mercenary are you?” Backs away slowly…

By the time my business was concluded at the Drunken Huntsman it was nearing
evening and I was becoming rather peckish so I decided to head back to The
Bannered Mare for dinner and then, after a few ales, back to Riverwood before
it became too dark. The inn was still quiet when I arrived, I took my previous
seat at the bar and ordered an ale, drinking it with a bit of fresh bread to
appease my appetite. Halfway through eating I looked up and saw something
rather extraordinary.

No way!

Behind the bar, on a shelf, sat the very object Ysolda sought. A mammoth’s tusk!
I could hardly believe it and immediately tried to get Hulda’s attention, I
simply had to have that tusk. No matter how hard I tried however, Hulda was
having none of it, she just would not even acknowledge the tusks existence.
Frustrated, I sat at the bar pondering how I can get it, the image of Ysolda
walking away in the marketplace constantly popping up in my mind. While I was
agonising over it the inn became flooded with patrons, all recently finishing
work no doubt. I downed the rest of my ale and order another, downing that one
almost in one too. Frustration at my prize being so close but yet out of reach
caused my blood to boil and I needed something to try and take my mind off it.

Suddenly and without thought, I slipped into the crowd behind me and around
the bar, using the noise of the patrons to slip the tusk into my pack undetected.
I then downed my drink and left as quickly as I could manage. When I got outside
and the cool night air hit me I began to dizzy, I was drunk and shaking almost
uncontrollably. I could not believe what I had just done, I’m no angel and have
had my fair few scrapes with the law in the past but never outright theft!
My reasons for the crime baffled me more than the act itself, why would I break
the law for a woman I had just met? My actions had no logic, no sense of
reason but I had carried them out all the same. I tried to tell myself it was
the ale but I was not drunk enough to be altogether insensible. I began the
walk home in a daze, not knowing quite what to make of the situation. Have I
ever acted in this manner because of a girl before? By the time I got out of the
city it was full dark and much too late to travel back to Riverwood so I decided
to set up camp.

It’s been an eventful day, perhaps too eventful

As I sat, warming my hands against the fire, my mind was blank. I could hear
the insects in the grass and feel the cool night breeze against my face, the
only thing that mattered was the stillness of the night. I go to sleep now with
a heavy heart and a seriously mixed up head.

A Nomad in Skyrim – Day VII

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.

After the most uncomfortable nights sleep since napping on the carriage into
Skyrim I arose early in the morning. My back was sore from the hard, largely
unconcealed wooden frame of the bed. At these prices I would have thought Delphine
might have made the beds a deal more comfortable, as the pitiful animal skin
and scant straw mattress displayed, I thought wrong. It was certainly not Alvor’s
but for now at least it must do and considering I was seconds from going without
a head a week or so ago, I can’t complain. I sat down to break my fast with
just Orgnar and Delphine for company, Orgnar being his usual grumpy self and
Delphine standing around sweeping her favourite spot on the floor. Breakfast
was a short affair, bread and carrots, the banter wasn’t exactly great either
but then Orgnar doesn’t seem like the morning type…or afternoon, or evening
for that matter.

This is what living with Delphine and listening to Sven on repeat for 12 hours a day does to you.

After getting my water bottles filled and parting with five septims I was ready
to go. I decided that morning to first go hunting and then speak to Faendal,
perhaps I could even fit in a short shift of wood chopping after that. It was
a crisp morning, it had been raining for a large portion of the night so I
could almost taste the moisture in the air. Embry, the town drunk/general oddball,
was already strolling up to the inn for his daily ale or ten. He greeted me
with the rather inaccurate. “My favourite drinking buddy, let’s get some mead!”
I declined his offer as it was a tad early for mead, I suppose all the time is
a good time for mead when you’re Embry however. The drunkard didn’t seem fazed
by my refusal and staggered into the pub anyway, he seems to be in a constant
state of intoxication and, despite his often loud and brash demeanour, appears
to be a sad man indeed. I wonder just what can drive a man to drink away every
hour of every day and practically live in his local inn, it truly is a tragic
waste.

I passed through the entrance to the village and out onto the road around mid-morning.
All seemed very still, even the river flowed more gently than usual. A low mist
hung around the river bank, shrouding the mountain, giving it a most mysterious
visage. The haunting image of Bleak Falls Barrow appeared as I rounded the bend
in the road, half shrouded in mist it was even eerier, I shivered slightly just
imagining ever having to set foot in that place. I was nearing the crossroads
when I decided to cross the river and head further down it on the opposite side,
obviously steering well clear of the bandit’s nest I previously stumbled upon.
I plunged into the cold water and out the other side as quickly as I could
manage.

What unimaginable horrors lie in wait behind those walls of mist and stone?

Thus far on my hunting trip I had yet to see hide or hair of any game whatsoever.
I decided that I might be scaring them away and so bent my knees into a sneaking
position. Sure enough, as I rounded the bend of the river slowly but silently,
a rustling noise sounded to the right. I stopped dead in my tracks, focusing my
vision on the source if the sound, a patch of long grass halfway up the slope.
I drew an arrow carefully from my quiver, placing my bow string between the
grooves in the nock. I took deep breaths as the movement in the grass subsided
momentarily, I took aim just above the suspect patch and waited.

As quick as lightning a blur shot out of the grass and up the hill, I loosed my
arrow a second too late and it thudded into the soil just above the rabbit’s
hiding place. My reactions did not let me down again and I sprang off on my toes
and gave chase to the animal, drawing the arrow that would bring home my supper.
It was a quick creature and agile too, strafing here and there up the hillside,
not allowing me to get a decent shot at it. The pursuit was long and after a while
I was short of breath and my legs began to ache, but I would not give in! As luck
would have it I fell back far enough so that my prey was confused and stopped
for a second, doubtless believing I had indeed given up on my quarry. I needed
no second invitation and in one fluid motion drew back the string and released,
watching my arrow sail truly to its target.

A slight come-down after my debut kill in Skyrim but food is food!

It was hardly a prize kill, but I do like a good rabbit leg and it would serve
as supper tonight. It seems like a long time since I had a workout quite as
intense as that chase, when in reality it really has only been a matter of weeks.
Somewhat satisfied with my kill I proceeded to skin the animal and pack away
the meat, looking around I saw that I was much farther up the river than I had
gone previously. I was stood on the bank of a large lake into which the river
flowed. It was a mystical sight in the afternoon fog, the imposing forestry on
either side bookended the dark misty mountains in the distance. I could not see
the other end of the lake so could not judge its size, but it was getting late and
I did not wish to get lost in a strange country after what happened previously
so I turned back the way I came.

One of the most hauntingly beautiful pictures I’ve took in Skyrim, it’s such a splendid landscape

Not long after I saw smoke rising from across a narrow stretch of the river,
after moving closer I perceived that it was in fact a hunter’s camp, judging
from the bow on the camper’s back and the animal skins hanging on racks.
I was tired from my own hunting and would have welcomed company so I approached
the camp. The hunter did not seem hostile, she invited me to sit down and I
accepted gladly. She was a fearsome looking woman, a Dunmer with a stern
countenance and a lean but strong looking physique. She did not tell me her
name and was largely guarded in manner, the dagger at her waist spoke volumes
even if she did not. It was a relief simply to sit and have a drink in company
though and we talked a little of the hunting around Riverwood. I told her of
the bandits abroad and she replied with a heavy sigh and a knowing shake of
the head. “There are many and more where they came from, two bandit camps about
the crossroads near Helgen alone last I counted.” She said, she drew her dagger
and set to honing her bow. “The Jarl will do nothing while there’s war brewing
and I can’t exactly beseech him to help considering my position, but they’re
a nuisance alright, that’s for certain.” Sat honing her weapon, clad in well
worn leather armour, she looked like she could certainly handle herself.

I feel for the man who tries to tame this one!

After an hour or so of rest I took my leave of both the hunter and the majestic
view of the lake. I could have sat there all day and still not have tired of
it, such is the natural wonder that is Skyrim. I bade my unnamed acquaintance
farewell and headed back to town, hoping perhaps to bag another kill on my way.
Luck was not with me today however and, aside from glimpsing another rabbit in
the far-off undergrowth, I saw nothing. As I arrived back to town I happened,
by chance, upon Faendal. He appeared to be walking home after a days work at
the sawmill. I jogged to catch up with him, wanting to explain what had happened
yesterday with Camilla and Sven.

He seemed pleased to see me and told me he had already heard from Camilla herself
earlier today, I could not help but feel a little irked but was glad we were
still on good terms. We talked a little about the whole business, how ridiculous
it was, I asked him if he would make a move now Sven was seemingly out of the way
but he simply sighed and said he was better off out of it. The conversation
moved on to brighter subjects and, before I knew it, we had arrived at his front
door. “I truly am grateful for all you have done for me Adrian,” he said.
“I heard about your living arrangements and I insist you stay at my house for
a while.” I was a little taken aback by his offer, we got along rather finely
and I suppose I had done him a good service but I hardly knew him all the same.
As I stuttered on what to reply he broke in. “I won’t take no for an answer,
no one should have to endure Delphine’s excuse for a guest bed!”

I peeked into the house, it looked a lot more inviting than The Sleeping Giant’s
guest room certainly, I decided to accept his very generous invitation. Faendals
house is small but cosy, a large hearth in the middle of the room casts light
and warmth throughout. He has a small collection of books that I have his
permission to read, something I most certainly will do. That night we sat for a
dinner of rabbit and I told him everything that had happened to me since I set
foot in Skyrim. He was shocked initially but, given the current political climate
my story was probably not entirely unique.

For someone who rarely hunts these days Faendal sure has a lot of corpses lining his walls!

I feel incredibly fortunate to have found such a good fellow as Faendal, the people
of Riverwood in general thus far seem to be some of the kindest people I have yet
to meet. I can only hope that the rest of Skyrim is the same, I suppose I shall
soon see for myself first hand, Riverwood has been very hospitable but my itch
for travelling is beginning to bother me and it shall soon need scratching.

It’s not much but, for the time being, it’s home.

DEFENCE!! (A brief update on life)

I realise that I have not posted in a long time, my last ‘Nomad in Skyrim’ post was a few weeks ago, my last general post being practically ancient by now. Today however I was inspired to write, even if it was just a short update. Since my last post I have started my second year of university. Thus far it has been a mixed bag, until today I have generally been apathetic towards uni work and indeed towards intellectual pursuits in any form, I only read on the train for example. One reason for this is that I am lazy, I always have been and I probably always will be. If two options are presented to me, one requiring less effort than the other, I will 99% of the time take that one. I’ve been like this since the start of high school. I have improved a little since starting university and becoming more independent but there is still a long way to go before that 99% becomes a lot healthier figure. Another reason is that I have since joined the university American Football team, the UCLAN Rams.

The decision to do so is, as anyone who has known me for an extended period of time will know, rather out of character for myself. I’ve never particpated in a full-contact sport before, I am not and never have been particularly athletic and I am not aggressive in the slightest (which is in fact something I need to work on). My reasons for joining were a) to become fitter and stronger, b) to increase my social circle and c) to become more confident / aggressive. Thus far I am steadily achieving ‘a’, I now go to the gym three or four times a week and am not quite so out of shape as I once was. I am also breaking ground with ‘b’, an American Football team has a LOT of players so I have met a lot of people through it. Until ‘c’ i.e. my confidence is improved, however, I will continue to have problems socialising within a large, new group such as the football team. This brings us onto ‘c’, I can’t say that my confidence has not improved a little but I still have a long way to go. I have never been particularly aggressive in any part of life, I am always one to err on the side of caution rather than throw myself into any given situation. This is extremely prevalent in sports, American Football requires a great deal of aggression from every single player on the pitch (perhaps excluding the quarterback) and, at the moment, I just can not summon up the kind of controlled aggression required to just hit someone in a tackle or blocking situation. I am enjoying it though so I should hopefully improve.

All this tiring physical work in the gym and on the training field (three times a week!) has taken a toll on the intellectual pursuits in my life e.g. academia, reading, this blog. It seems that, until I become accustomed to it, this level of physical activity is simply not conducive to mental activity such as keeping up with my uni work. I am starting to enjoy my work though and hopefully I will be able to balance the two nicely in the future.

This is a short update but there should be more coming soon in both general and “Nomad in Skyrim” but, for now….

Adantur out.

A Nomad in Skyrim – Day IV

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.

Greatly encouraged by yesterdays progress in attaining an income I was out of
bed early this morning. Quietly, so as not to wake Alvor and Sigrid, I stole
across the room to the fire to add the salmon steaks I bought yesterday to the
cooking pot. While they were cooking I reviewed my plans for the day, hoping
that it would be as successful as the last. Firstly I would work at the sawmill
until around midday then I’d find the local merchant and buy myself some supplies.
I planned only to explore the valley close to Riverwood but in these parts one
can never be too careful, particularly after what I’ve been through already.
After looking through my supplies I decided I would need a few healing potions,
some light armour and some water for the journey.

It looks like Alvor is a pretty keen hunter himself, that trophy is huuge!

A plan in mind I sat down to break my fast, after a little while Hadvar came
up from the basement to join me, I didn’t even know they had a basement. He
again tried to talk me into joining the Imperial Legion, entreating me to go
to Solitude and speak to General Tullius. Now I am eternally grateful for
what Hadvar has done for me, saving my life, finding me shelter, but I couldn’t
help but find his words a little insensitive. Why in Talos’ name would I want
to join up with those who would have had me killed?! I am a long-serving citizen
of the empire, so to speak, but it will be a long time, perhaps never, before
I can forgive such an offense. Changing the subject I asked him about the Stormcloaks,
wanting to find out a little more about the civil war I seem to have walked into.
He told me that the traitor General Tullius so masterfully captured was Ulfric
Stormcloak and that he wanted to be high king of Skyrim, so much so that he
recently murdered the last one!

I really need to start buying the Black Horse Courier.  Before this news
the civil war meant practically nothing to me, in fact I could not wait to put
it behind me after my brush with death, now I am not so certain.

Hadvar filling me in on the civil war

I finished my breakfast and bid farewell to Hadvar, determined to get on with
the day and not let the news bother me. It was a crisp bright morning, the sun
shone on the peaks of the surrounding mountains, creating a magnificent panorama.
Buoyed by the sight I crossed the road to the Riverwood Trader. It was a pleasant
enough shop, I have certainly been in worse anyway. An Imperial man was stood
behind the counter arguing with a woman of the same ilk sat at a table before
the hearth. Walking to the counter the man greeted me, his name was Lucan Valerius.
For a moment I felt an urge to enquire about what they were arguing over, but
I bit my tongue, I’d had enough drama without getting involved in other people’s
affairs. We talked briefly about affairs in the empire, particularly Cyrodil,
but about nothing I didn’t already know. I bought a pair of leather boots and
bracers they were a little on the large side, being crafted with Nords in mind,
but they just about fit. I also stocked up on healing potions, just in case and
bought out his supply of salt piles for cooking. Lucan too had only three of
these so I had better use them wisely as they seem to be an integral part of
most recipes.

It’s nice to see a fellow Imperial in these foreign climes, even if his prices are higher than High Hrothgar!

With my new pieces of armour, borrowed iron blade and significantly lighter coin-
purse I felt ready enough to head out of town. I bid farewell to Lucan and the
woman with whom he was arguing and left the Riverwood Trader. On the way out of
town I passed a rather haggard looking old woman, she was leaning against the
front porch of the last house on the left. She said nothing but watched me with
accusing eyes all the way out of town. Slightly creeped out I headed south down
the path following the river.

The landscape was nothing like what I had heard, save for the snow-capped peaks
in the distance, it was a lush green idyll as bright and as beautiful as any
valley in my home land. The hills teemed with life, winged insect and spritely game flitted
in and out of my view. The river to my right flowed quickly, the water sparkling
as it flowed down from its lofty origin. Soon I came across a small waterfall,
salmon leapt from the water to complete their hazardous pilgrimage.

Got enough signs there?

I walked slowly down the path so as to fully appreciate my surroundings. With
its magnificent views and plentiful game, I could see myself staying here for
a while. After an hour or so of walking I came to the crossroads near to where
I first started my journey into Skyrim proper. Not wanting to go anywhere near
Helgen I decided to cross the river and explore around the base of the mountain
on the other side. I found a narrow stretch of river and crossed over, heading
west up the mountainside.

After a couple of hours walking my stomach started to rumble so I sat on a rock
by the mountain pass for a spot of dinner, salmon steak washed down with a bottle
of water. I was getting higher up the mountain, high enough so that there was
a gentle haze of snow drifting down from the higher peaks. As I continued along
the mountain path a dark shape began to materialise through the mist which
before long loomed over me. It seemed to be a stone structure of some kind,
perhaps an old fort or outpost. I decided to get nearer and, crouching, I crept
up the slope towards it. I could hear no one in the vicinity and, nearing the
structure, I appeared to be alone. After watching for signs of life for a while
and gathering my courage I started towards it slowly.

All the signs tell me I shouldn’t look but I can’t help it!

A few moments later I felt a sharp pain in my side. An arrow! I hastily drew
my sword, looking furiously for the archer. He was stood by the entrance to the
building and was halfway through nocking another arrow when I fell upon him,
slashing wildly. He tried to draw a dagger but it was too late, even with my
rudimentary swordsmanship he was dead within seconds. I had little time to
celebrate however as almost immediately two more men came running from the
building, this time armed with sword and hammer. Fear shot through me, I am no
warrior just a humble hunter, I feared I would not last long in hand to hand
combat. I snatched up the dead man’s bow and quiver, backing away from the door
as swiftly as possible. I nocked an arrow and let fly, hitting the first assailant
square in the chest. Again I fired hitting him this time in the leg, but he did
not go down. Meanwhile the man with the rather fearsome looking hammer closed
in on me, swinging the giant weapon down toward my head. I managed to dodge away
clumsily and slash at his side, but he did not seem affected and swung again.

My sword almost shattered as I took the blow on its blade, staggering back from
the sheer power of it. I felt another sharp pain, the other assailant had recovered
and was attempting to hack my arm off. The sudden pain caused me to go berserk
and I hacked down on his sword with great fury, breaking his block and ending
his life with a violent hack into his shoulder. By this time I was wounded badly
and quickly downed a couple of healing potions, an almighty crack sounded while
doing so, the sound of a hammer meeting my leg. I cried out in agony, never have
I experienced such pain. The final assailant steadied himself for the finishing
blow, leaning back with that great bloody hammer in the air, but it was not to be.
The hammer was too slow and, mid-swing, I pulled back my sword and thrust it
into his stomach, blood pouring over my arm as I pushed and pushed as hard as
I could. He slumped to the ground, I was still alive.

The pain that followed my attack was nothing like that which I have experienced
before. I drank healing potions and patched my wounds as well as I could and
thanked the Nine for my life before limping inside the building which I almost
died to explore. It appeared to be an old outpost, possibly Imperial. It had
multiple stories and at the top had a wonderful view of Riverwood. There were
also a few chests dotted around containing weapons and potions, I took the
archer’s bow and found myself some more iron arrows. By this time it was nearing
dark so I decided to head back to town before any more bandits turned up. It was
also extremely cold so I stripped the archer of his fur armour (a justified theft
surely!) and donned it over my belted tunic.

It may have almost got me killed to see it, but this view is glorious!

The journey back to town was thankfully uneventful and I was toasty inside my
ill-gotten (but totally justified!) new armour. Upon arrival I headed straight
into Alvor’s for a supper of salmon steak and stale apple and an early night.
Alvor said nothing about my dishevelled appearance, nor did Dorthe or Sigrid,
perhaps they simply did not want to know. I certainly did not want to relive
it and so went straight to bed.

It’s been an eventful day, too eventful for my liking. The next time I see any
strange buildings in the mist I will steer well clear. I’ve only been in Skyrim
for a few days and have already come close to death twice! The one positive
from today is that, with my new-found equipment, I can finally resume my trade
and begin hunting again.

A Nomad in Skyrim – Day III

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 this morning early, following a restful and thankfully dreamless slumber.
Vowing to outstay my welcome in Alvor’s house no longer I determined to find
myself steady work at the neighbourhood saw-mill. I met Alvor’s wife properly
for the first time over a breakfast of stale apples and carrot (I won’t miss
the food here that’s for certain!) My first thought upon our meeting was that
she certainly was fair to look on, but her attitude soon turned that thought
around. Innocently I greeted her “Good morning!” I enquired about her thoughts
on the war, wanting to hear of it from a citizen. All was well until, just prior
to our conversation’s end she said. “I’m spoken for, you know. So don’t get any ideas.”

Alvor’s done well, could do with a face wipe however….

Given her guarded demeanour this offense certainly means the end of my stay, I
have never in my life been a burden to anyone and shall not begin now in a land
that is not my own. Finishing my mean breakfast I promptly left, hoping for
friendlier conversation elsewhere.

It was a pleasant morning, the sun was shining and the birds were singing,
the perfect day to start my new job. I headed over to the saw mill and met the
biggest Nord yet. Blonde with a large handlebar moustache of the same hue, he
was at least 6 feet tall and had arms the size of the logs he was cutting. Talking
to him I found his name was Hod and that he owns the mill along with his wife
Gerdur. More importantly I found that he would pay me for any firewood I brought
him, I had all but secured a steady income!

The only thing manlier than a Nordic blacksmith, a Nordic lumberjack.

I still needed, however, to attain the tools necessary. I saw the wood-chopping
station, if that’s what it may be called, on the way to see Hod. Walking over
to it I saw an axe lying on the floor, had someone left it there? Should I simply
take it? In the end I decided to use it and then drop it again afterwards, if it
was still there tomorrow morning then it’s mine. With the equipment sorted I
got down to work, pulling a log off the pile and placing it on a stump that,
judging by the marks in it, was clearly the chopping platform.

I have never split logs before, hunting being my trade, but by the Nine I now
know where Hod got those arms from. I was tired from my border-crossing ordeal
anyway but even had I not been so the labour would still be most strenuous.
The axe was fairly heavy on the first stroke, being crafted from dense iron with a
thick-timbered staff, but by the twentieth my arms felt as though they were
like to drop off at any moment.

Imperials aren’t built for this!

A couple of hours later and it was midday, high time for a break or so my arms
thought and I was happy to concur. With a little strain I carried the firewood
over to Hod and, to my delight, he gave me 100 septims. It felt good to receive
my first salary in Skyrim and I decided to spend it on ingredients so that I could
cook a decent meal and forgo the usual supper of stale apples. I headed over to
the Sleeping Giant for a spot of lunch and to buy ingredients for supper, greeting
the town drunk and his two child companions (don’t ask). Inside the bard was
singing a heroic sounding song with rather violent lyrics, I’ve heard better
but I’ve certainly heard worse.

Orgnar seemed to be in a good mood today, at least his tone of voice had not
changed a bit since last meeting, he gruffly asked me what I wanted. I bought
from him a carrot, a cabbage, a venison steak and a couple of salmon steaks,
enough I thought for a day or so. I also ordered some cooked food and enjoyed
a succulent venison steak while listening to the bard play his flute, again
rather well. After finishing my dinner I decided to head back to work for a
few hours and, after quaffing  an ale and bidding farewell to Orgnar (to
which I received no response), I headed back to the saw mill.

“Er…could you move this…animal carcass please Orgnar, kind of ruining my appetite.”

A few hours of exceedingly strenuous labour later and I was just about ready to
drop and decided to call it a day. Trading in my firewood for another 150 septims
I sloped off back to Alvor’s, a hearty supper and an early night calling me
home. Inside I was greeted by Sigrid, she seemed to have forgotten about our
prior conversation, I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad and at that moment
nor did I care. After briefly consulting Sigrid I added my venison steak to the
cooking pot over the fire and tried to recall the recipe for venison stew. I
had a potato and a leek, both taken from Alvor’s table, but I had forgotten
the salt! Without salt piles I couldn’t cook practically anything so, rather
than ask Sigrid for some, I had to head back out to the Sleeping Giant and buy
some.

After buying Orgnar’s entire stock of three salt piles and surmising that salt
must be scarce in Skyrim, I could finally cook my supper. Very well I could too
for I was starving at this point! I added the salt to the stew and stirred it,
my stomach rumbling deafeningly all the while. I am no expert but my cooking
skills aren’t bad, particularly when cooking game and the venison stew I cooked
up tasted simply excellent. My hunger satisfied I downed another tankard of ale
(I have drank a lot since coming to Skyrim) and decided to go to bed.

I plan to explore the valley south tomorrow, after purchasing some rudimentary
armour with my wood-splitting money. The beauty of this country calls to me and
the sooner I can get my hands on a bow and arrows the better. Then I can
leave the back-breaking lumber business to behemoths like Hod.

A long slow summer…

I haven’t posted on here in a while, mainly because there is little to post about. It’s the summer holidays which, for a high school student, is six weeks to relax and enjoy the clement weather (ok perhaps not in England). For a university student without a job however it is many months of passing the time. It’s not been too bad, I’ve caught up with the backlog of games on my PC and, more importantly, with my friends from back home. It has been uneventful though, extremely so. Mainly due to lack of finances I haven’t travelled or anything exciting like that. I did move in with my girlfriend and have been living here for the past month or two, which is nice and I have been glued to the Olympics for the past two weeks which was great!

Other than that it’s been mainly gaming and that brings me to the reason why I have decided to start posting again before going back to uni, Skyrim. I got the game when it first came out but, after completing only half the game, found myself becoming bored with it and shelved it. Recently however I have found my interest in the game revitalised. Not the fire-breathing dragons and epic soldiery of the main quest though, recently I have been roleplaying as a humble nomad, a wandering hunter with a somewhat shady past. After playing with this character for a few days (about a week or so in game time) I decided to start a blog about it, the blog will recount his story through his own words in the form of a diary he keeps.

I am going to try and avoid anything too adventurous and just concentrate on surviving in the unforgiving landscape of Skyrim, it won’t be too humdrum I hope as there will be a good deal of character exploration as well as the occasional drama. You don’t really have to like or have played Skyrim to enjoy it, although players may get the best out of it, so give it a look.

Regarding real life I am preparing to head back to university for my second year with mixed feelings, I am looking forward to seeing my friends again but apprehensive about the work. We’ll just have to see what September brings!

Adantur out.

On writing

This will be a much shorter post than usual, just a quick note on my intentions regarding writing a series of short stories on this blog.

I’ve always been an avid reader and was quick to pick it up as a child, I can still remember my glee when being moved onto ‘real books’, so to speak, at about 5 or 6 years. Since then my reading material has changed dramatically and I am, at the moment, making my way slowly through some of the classics, while periodically dipping into a poetry anthology or two (Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Browning, William Blake etc…). Anyway onto the main subject, I have just this moment had an idea, whether it is a good idea we will yet discover, about publishing a few of my writings on this blog. Nothing major, no thousand page epics, just a few short stories and the like.

You see I have, for a good few years now, sporadically attempted writing full-length novels but they never work out. I seem to either simply get bored or it takes me so long that, by the time I read back on my work I find that it is immature and scrap it. I do however greatly enjoy writing and will probably have a lot of spare time in which to do so. This is not a definite thing, just an idea, as I may decide against it due to poor quality or sheer embarrasment at what I produce, but we shall see. Until then…

Adantur out.

On socialising and the geek/lad ratio

It’s coming up towards the end of my first year at university, an end which, for my tastes, has come about far too swiftly. Generally I have to say that is has gone exceedingly well, perhaps even better than I anticipated, however that is not to say that I don’t have a few regrets. The one foremost in my mind being the fact that I never really got stuck in and socialised with my coursemates.

Now I have met an array of weird and wonderful people since coming to university (some a little closer to weird than wonderful), some of them becoming great friends. When it comes to my coursemates however I am less enthused and to diagnose the problem I came up with the geek/lad ratio. For it seems on my course (Computing) that there is a 70/20 split between the two, with only 5% left for people with a healthy mix (like me or so I like to think) and the other 5% for females (5% may be a little generous as there is about 10 in the whole year). Looking at my rough, indeed very rough estimations there are certainly no surprises. Computing has always been a male-dominated career path (or sausage-fest as I have in the past so eloquently put it). But what I have an issue with is not the lack of females, it is the lack of a middle ground that irks me.

Perhaps it is too much to ask for to meet people who are happy to set up a minecraft server one night and go out and get hammered the next, perhaps I am too much of an everyman so to speak, maybe I should stick to one or the other. Don’t mistake me there are some great lads on my course but they, for the most part, seem to either want to go out everynight and do nothing else but drink and have ‘banter’ (I’ll come to that word towards the end) or do nothing of the sort. The whole thing serves to make me relieved that I have been blessed with such great flatmates, I surely would have been admitted by now otherwise.

This is more of a ramble than usual as it was an impulse post, there is a good chance that I am completely off the mark and the fault is mine rather than my coursemates but the point stands. I have a little resolution for second year and that is to make more of a concerted effort to socialise within my course as well as outside of it. I believe that, if I succeed, second year could be even better than the first.

Adantur out.

P.S. About the term ‘banter’, it is most odd how that word has come back into common usage as, when I was younger (I hate being able to say that!!) the term was very rarely used and seemed extremely outdated, perhaps something one might expect to read in English class. It seems to have coincided with the ‘lad’ culture that is prevalent at the moment and is indeed used most commonly by said ‘lads’, some people hate I have no strong opinion on it. It can be offensive, it can be just outright crude, but what else is to be expected from the vast majority of its users?

A Belated Debut…

It sure has been a long time… Yes it is three and a half months into 2012, high time for my debut 2012 post! I’ve not posted on this blog for a long while for a couple of reasons, one being that I’m lazy, another that I have a busy and fulfilling life.

Oh but I joke!

Life has been a mixture of things since my last post but, aside from a few weeks or so, busy has not really been one of them. It’s just not my style. A quick update on life since my last post would include the fact that my grades have been largely consistent with those from pre-christmas (very good) and that I have, for the first time, witnessed the famous sights of London, England. Last week, in fact, I travelled down south (me living in the north of England) with my lovely girlfriend to see and photograph the oft-photographed delights of our capital city. We took in all the major sights in two or three taxing days of walking and zipping between stations on the underground, not the most comfortable way to travel by the way but most efficient. Expense was kept to a minimum as we stayed at my girlfriend’s sister’s place, without which the trip could not have been possible (muchos gracias to her). We still, however, managed to spend a healthy amount in getting around the city and eating. London, like many other big cities, is an expensive place.

When sightseeing, I found that preconceptions of mine regarding the scale of said sights were mostly exaggerated. Buckingham Palace, ‘Big’ Ben, Nelson’s Column and more, all seemed to me to be much grander when viewed through a television screen. A probable reason for this expectation is the lateness of my visit.  Twenty years, a lot of them spent seeing the various landmarks on television, is a long time before exploring your nation’s capital first hand. Don’t get me wrong, they were most impressive, they just seemed somewhat smaller than expected. On the trip I also revisited an old, not exactly favourite, game of mine called Monopoly. There is surely no board game in the world that can match Monopoly’s skill in dividing friends and family. When your beloved girlfriend of five years damn near bankrupts you and threatens you with interest on that 500 Monopole (the name we decided on the currency (mo-noh-pull)) loan you took out a few turns ago, you know shit is about to go down! Pardon my French.

Anyway I’m getting a little tired now and still have a veritable mountain of work to do before heading back to university on monday so, for now at least…

Adantur out.