I awaken early, even though I feel like I could sleep for ages. The bed is quite comfortable and cozy. However, I have things I must do.
I head to the barkeep to buy some breakfast. I feed well on some bread, cheese, and milk. Much refreshed, I head out the door.
I recall the directions that Lucan's sister gave me last night, but I think that the more pressing business is getting to Whiterun to warn the Jarl about the possible dragon attack. I just hope that stopping for rest hasn't brought more trouble.
I head Northeast out of town, across the bridge. I recall that Alvar told me to follow the road to Whiterun, but I check a signpost at the far side of the bridge to make sure that I am taking the correct path.
The birds are chirping in the trees, and the breeze is stirring as I lope along the road. Many insects, mushrooms and flowers are prominent along the path. And I collect quite a few. Suddenly, I hear a growling from my left.
A wolf jumps at me from behind some rocks!
I summon my familiar to aid me. I manage to kill one wolf with a dagger I kept from Helgen, when another appears to bar my path. I manage to kill that one too, and skin both.
I head back to the road, and continue on, noticing that I have reached a great waterfall. It is loud and majestic as it pounds over the edge. After my encounter with the wolves however, I think that it is prudent to try out my new spell, which I almost forgot that I had purchased the evening before. I cast Oakflesh on myself and resume my travels.
I see some Imperial Guards up ahead on the road. They seem to be escorting a prisoner. When I get close enough, they tell me to be on my way, and not to interfere with their Imperial business. I remember what Hadvar said about keeping a low profile with the Legion just now, so I pass by as innocently and quickly as possible.
I come to a crossroads and look around to evaluate which direction I should take. I look to my left and see a large city a ways off. I turn to the right and see a signpost. It confirms my suspicion that this is Whiterun.
I pass a building at my left. In front of it there is a sign, Honningbrew Meadery. I have no time to stop in now.
An arrow whizzes past my head. Then another. There is a giant in a field with two warriors fighting valiantly against it. The giant is stomping with its enormous feet, and crushing with its huge club. I summon my wolf and race to help defeat this terrible menace.
Once the giant falls, I notice an archer coming towards me. She is fierce looking, and I hope I am not leaping from the frying pan into the fire.
She tells me that she thinks that I handle myself well, and that I could make a decent Shield-Sister. I ask her what this means. Apparently, she is part of a group of warriors called the Companions. They are like a family, treating each other as blood kin, brothers and sisters in arms. She tells me that they solve problems for those with enough coin. Once she has explained, she takes her leave.
I pass the Whiterun stables before entering the city proper. I might want to remember this if I need to purchase a mount at some point. I stop to speak to a carter that is sitting outside the stables and ask him about Whiterun. He tells me that the Companions Meadhall "Jorrvaskr" is located here. There is also a bitter feud between two prominent families that could prove dangerous if I meddle. He suggests that I ask around town, in the Inn "The Bannered Mare", or perhaps acquaint myself with the Jarl's steward if I want to know more. I think him for the information and move on.
Turning around, I see a collection of tents and some Khajiit are milling around outside them. I pass them by and go along the road until I reach the main gates. I notice several guards posted high in the battlements. As soon as I make to enter the main gate, a guard stops me and says that only those on official business may enter. I inform him that I have news about the dragon attack at Helgen. He allows me to pass with a warning.
I step through the main gates.
I approach a pair of people talking in the street. One appears to be a blacksmith, the other is dressed in Imperial armor. The soldier is demanding more equipment from the blacksmith, but she is telling him that she doesn't know if she can fill the order in such a short time. When he insists, she mentions someone by the name of Grey-mane that would be better to help. The soldier sneers and says he would rather bend his knew to Ulfric Stormcloak, and that Grey-mane would never make something for the Legion. The blacksmith says she will try her best to get what he wants done, and they both turn to leave.
I renew my way up the path looking for the highest part of town. I must get to Dragonreach and warn the Jarl! I am stopped by a ragged little girl begging for coins near some sort of giant tree that seems to be dead in the center of a courtyard. I give her a coin, and she thanks me heartily asking the divines to bless me.
I head up a large stairway to what must be the Jarl's Keep.
I enter the huge doors and take several steps up into a large hall. A Dunmer near a dais in the very back of the hall unsheathes her sword and starts toward me. This gives me pause. Perhaps I will not be welcomed here. Perhaps my news is not worth my life. But I think of the destruction of Helgen, and I press on. I make my way past a huge fire pit set between two immense tables on my way to the dais to meet my fate.
The Dunmer insinuates herself between me and the dais and asks what the meaning of my presence is, as Jarl Balgruuf is not accepting visitors. I tell her that I have news from Helgen. She says that explains why the guards let me in, and that the Jarl will want to talk to me. She sheathes her sword and walks back to the dais.
I walk up to the dais and approach Jarl Balgruuf. He asks me about the dragon. I tell him that the dragon destroyed the town of Helgen and the last I saw of it, it was headed this way. This seems to confirm what someone named Irileth told him, and he remarks about it to another man standing on the dais. The Dunmer says that they should send troops to Riverwood at once to help protect it, but the other man on the dais says that it will be seen as an act of war by the Jarl of Falkreath. However, Jarl Balgruuf cuts the man short, and tells him that he will not be idle while a dragon is running amok killing his people. He addressees the Dunmer as Irileth and commands her to order troops to Riverwood at once.
In payment for my quick action in bringing the news to him the Jarl of Whiterun gives me some steel armor. Well, at least I can sell it, I suppose it is the thought that counts. I thank him for his generosity. The Jarl then tells me that he has something that I might be able to accomplish for him. He leads me to another room off the main hall, which at first glance is the workplace of a court mage. The Jarl directs a mage named Farengar to tell me about his research into dragons.
Fargengar then tells me that he needs something that I can get him. Something from a horrible monster infested ruin. My this sounds familiar. I ask him what this has to do with dragons, and this seems to impress him with my intelligence. Apparently he has been researching dragons for quite some time, and has been stopped by the lack of someone to retrieve the item he needs. When I ask, he says that it is a stone tablet located in... wait for it.... Bleak Falls Barrow. I must find this as soon as possible. I ask him about Bleak Falls Barrow. He tells me that it is ancient tomb built by the Nords, possibly as old as the Dragon War itself. Then he tells me that if I am asking how to get there it is near Riverwood, which he seems to find quite distasteful as villages go, and that I should ask a local for more detailed directions. Even though I ask him how he is so sure that the stone tablet is in the Barrow, he will not tell me stating that his sources are a professional secret he intends to keep.
I check my coin purse to see if I can afford some much needed spells, food, lodging, and possibly a follower or companion of some sort. I have 73 gold septims, and a few bits and bobs I can sell. I could always ask around town and see if there are any odd jobs that I could perform for some gold.
As I am leaving Dragonsreach, I pass a guard who mentions that I should check out the local merchant if I need some extra gold. Belathor (the proprietor) sells a little bit of everything, and might be willing to buy what I have on hand.
I exit the Keep, and head down into the town.
I remember that I saw the blacksmith earlier, that might be the perfect place to sell of my steel armor I received from the Jarl.
As I am passing the dead tree, there is a Redguard woman arguing with a Redguard man. She is talking about how she knows that his honor is important to him, but that he needs to remember his family. He insists that he has found the thieves den, and that he can find the sword he seeks. She asks if he is willing to starve his family to recover his sword. He rationalizes that he only needs to hire one or two good men to make his plan work. She retorts that if he steps one toe out of Whiterun in search of his blasted sword she will not be there when he returns. She storms off as he calls her name, Saffir, plaintively. I ask the man what the two were arguing about. He tells me that his father supported his family with a certain sword, and that he cannot in all good conscience let it moulder in the possession of thieves. I ask him if he needs some assistance. He says that he tracked the sword down to a nearby thieves den, but that he would need a virtual army to storm it and retrieve the sword. He is desperate enough to beg me to keep my eyes open for it on my travels, and if I find it to let him know.
I retrace my steps back to the main gate, near where I saw the blacksmith. As I approach, I hear Irileth talking to a town guard. She tells him that he and two others must go out and protect Riverwood in case of dragon attack. She warns him not to engage the dragon directly, but to protect the people by getting them to safety if it does attack.
The blacksmith is working at her forge, and when she sees me hovering near her establishment, she calls out that she has plenty of gear for sale, and more inside the shop if I am interested. I ask her if she works the forge all day. She replies that she must, if she hopes to be as good as Eorlund Grey-mane (apparently a very gifted smith). She says that she has actually just finished a master-worked sword that she intends as a gift for the Jarl. She seems a little nervous about whether he will actually accept it, but asks me if I would mind taking it to the Jarl's steward (her father, Proventus Avenicci) who will know a perfect time to present it. I tell her I will, and she thanks me. I get down to business and set about selling her my steel armor.
I decide to put aside my money problems for the moment and return to Dragonsreach to deliver the sword, it seems to be quite important to her.
I search the Jarls Keep for the steward, he must be the man that was on the dais with the Jarl earlier. I find him on a terrace overlooking the expanse of Skyrim, which is quite impressive from this height. When I hand him the sword he seems a little surprised that I am delivering it for his daughter Adrianne, but he knows how eager she is to prove herself as a blacksmith. He says that he will present it when the Jarl is in a better mood. He thanks me, and gives me a few gold for my trouble.
Back to town. Perhaps there is some work at the local Inn. I find the Bannered Mare and enter.
I am greeted warmly by the innkeeper, a Nord woman with reddish hair. The Inn is an open area with a central fire pit. Several people sit around the fire or at small tables near the back. I step up to the bar, and the innkeeper tells me that if I am looking for work, I could chop some firewood and sell it to her. This is exactly what I am looking for. Now I just need to find a wood ax. I use a few of my coins to buy a quick lunch to fuel my search. Bread and a leg of goat look mighty tempting, as I haven't had much the past two days. I eat hastily, but well.
Outside, I hear an argument in the small circle of stalls that make up the market square. An older woman is confronting two large men. One of the men derides the woman, telling her that she knows nothing of their struggle or suffering. The woman is not cowed by this, and sniffs at him. She talks about her son Thorald and how she is well acquainted with suffering. The other man is the soldier I saw earlier talking to the blacksmith, Adrianne. Apparently, Thorald chose "the wrong side" in the war, and his loss should be accepted as consequence for a poor choice. The old woman bristles and raises her voice at the men, saying that she will never believe that her son is dead. She seems to blame the men for his disappearance, and calls them Battle-borns. This must be part of the bitter feud that I heard about from the carter. She goes on to accuse the men of hiding her son, and asks where he is. The well dressed older man scoffs at the woman, calling her a hag. He makes light of her accusations saying that of course he has her son right in his cellar. Still snorting with laughter he calls her son a Stormcloak traitor, saying that he is dead. He goes on to threaten her, telling her if she doesn't keep her mouth shut she might suffer the same. The soldier turns to the older man calling him "father" and urging him that it is time to leave.
The old woman returns to her stall. As I approach she tells me that she knows that they are lying and that her son still lives. I ask her how she can be sure they are lying. She tells me it is unsafe to discuss it in public, and that I should meet her in her house later and she will tell me all about it.
I keep that in mind, but my first priority is still acquiring the ax to get some gold.
I bump into a woman that tells me that she hangs out here quite regularly trying to learn everything she can about being a merchant. She goes on to say that she is saving up money to buy the Bannered Mare Inn from Hulda the proprietress. She also mentions that she is sympathetic to the plight of the Khajiit, who are often wandering merchants, but seldom trusted. When I ask her why they are not trusted she tells me that there are many people who believe that Khajiit are nothing be thieves and smugglers. She knows that some resort to these things out of desperation, but says that it is a case of a "few bad apples spoiling the bunch". I ask her more about her aspirations to become a merchant, and she tells me that she promised her dying family that she would become the best merchant in Skyrim. Ma'dran (one of the Khajiit caravan leaders) told her that he would help her out if she would bring him a mammoth tusk. But she is not a fighter or adventurer, so getting one is very difficult. I offer to help her out, saying that if I come across one in my travels I will see she gets it. She is very grateful to me, and offers to teach me some of what she knows about trading in return.
In the middle of the market square is a well. To the left of the well, as I head away from the Inn and the old woman's stall, there are two buildings. I presume these are shops. One has a sign above it with the symbol for an apothecary. I enter.
The shopkeeper seems pleasant, and greets me by encouraging me to ask questions if I need to. I have collected several ingredients in my pack on the way to Whiterun, and now I must decide if I will sell those, or perhaps ask if I can use her alchemy bench I see in the shop to make some potions to sell.
She comments on my pallor (probably resulting from the cold temperatures, and my arduous journey of the past two days). She says that I may have contracted Ataxia, which is quite common in her homeland of Cyrodiil. I ignoring her comment and ask to see her stock. I will check her prices of components, and see if it would be more beneficial to buy a few to round out my current supply, and then make potions.
She has a good supply, and I purchase some Creep Cluster. I know that I can combine this with some of the mountain flowers that I already have to create some valuable potions. The Creep Cluster is relatively inexpensive, and will be a good investment overall. I ask if I could use her alchemy lab. She says that as long as I clean up I am welcome to it. She also gives me a tip that Wheat and Blisterwort will make a fine healing potion. I thank her and move to the bench. I have more components than I remember picking up, and am able to create a nice selection of potions.
**Level 2 Achieved – Increased Magika – Perk: Novice Illusion.**
After I finish at the bench, I return to the counter to sell off what I have made. I now have 538 gold in my pouch! What a lucrative stop. I might not have to chop wood after all.
This was a good idea, but I need more components. Instead of paying for them, I decide to leave the city and do a bit of foraging.
I head West, deciding to circle the city. I don't want to go too far, it is mid-afternoon, and I don't want to wander so far it will be dark before I get back. I still need to find lodgings, after all. I see some elk in the distance, this is the perfect time to get some leather. I cast fury on one, which promptly turns to face its neighbor. The second elk sprints away. This leaves me as the nearest thing to the enraged elk. It turns to face me, and starts to charge. I must summon my familiar! The elk and ethereal wolf snap and kick at one another, until I get too close to the combat. The elk spins with it's antlers ready to impale me. I dodge, and slash with my dagger. The elk keens with pain. When it is downed I collect a good bit of meat and leather. I seal my wounds with some restoration magic.
I move on. I come upon a horse in the distance, and something that may be the glow of a fire pit. I move to a get a better angle. I can see at least one person in armor, standing at the mouth of a cave. I must be cautious, bandits like to inhabit caves. I draw nearer to the cave. The person draws their bow. This is not a friendly camp. This is confirmed when the armored woman with the bow tells me that I have come close enough. I should probably retreat, but I have stayed too long, and now she begins to attack. I summon my wolf. Another bandit comes out of the cave, possibly hearing the cry of the lookout. They are both chasing me now, as I run as fast as I can from the cave. I toss several fury spells over my shoulder. They must have hit the mark because they are now fighting one another. I do not see my wolf anywhere. The lookout woman is dead, and I resummon my wolf. I apply my dagger to the other bandit's back. He dies with a groan.
I strip them of their gear. Some of it looks decent enough for the blacksmith to be interested. There is firewood at the camp, and I remember that the Innkeeper needs some, so I load a log or two into my pack as well. The cave is fairly shallow, but there are many boxes, crates, sacks and bags. I go through everything looking for whatever might be useful. I find a good book that details some pointers on pickpocketing. I read it, though I am not willing to apply that knowledge. I also find a cache of alchemy components (which will come in handy), and a locked chest that yields a nice bit of gold, an enchanted item, and a magical scroll. As I close the chest, I hear yelling coming from the West. It is not too distant. This might be friends of those that were watching the camp. I prepare my spells, as I start to run to the East hoping my wolf can hold them off long enough for me to cast fury. A quick glimpse of these newcomers reveals two brawlers with battleaxes, and the other appears to be casring spells. I hit the two warriors with fury, and they turn on each other. The mage flings lightning bolts and gets hit a resounding blow from one of the battleaxes. The mage drops like a rock. The second fighter is quick to follow. The last fighter, a Redguard woman, looks very angry. My magika is drained, and though she looks injured I do no think that my dagger will do much. I try to stay at a distance from her. She seems distracted by something in the distance that I cannot see. While she is looking in the other direction, I have just enough magika and summon my faithful wolf. It tears her to pieces.
I continue looting, there is plenty of food and I discover a note. The note is addressed to Ahkari. These bandits seem to be skooma runners, and the note writer is telling them that their services will no longer be needed. The writer had found a new and better supply, and if anyone tells the guards they will be sold out. There is mention of a "seer" that is up to something. Interesting.
There is a cooking pot at the camp, and now that the danger is over, I fix a few things to see me through for a day or two. I glance at the sky and realize that the battle, and the cooking have taken longer than I would like, it is time to head back. My packs are bulging, and I will bring in a pretty bit of coin with my haul. It will probably have to wait until tomorrow though.
I am hungry on my way back to the city, but I want to get back before anything else happens.
I head to the Inn, to see if they have a vacancy. I walk in and the fire is a welcome site. Hulda says that she has a room for 10 gold. I purchase it, and she shows me to up my room in a loft on the second floor. Once there I take out some of the food that I cooked at the camp, and a bottle of wine I found on a shelf in the cave. With my belly full, and the excitement of the skirmish draining from my bones, I find it easy to fall asleep to the singing of the bard downstairs.