I am getting very tired of stew, but I have some mead with it for breakfast. Once fully awake and with a full belly, I head out to make my usual rounds to the merchants.
When I get to Arcadia's apothecary shop, I deliver the frost salts as Farengar requested. Arcadia is grateful for my trouble, saying that she needed it for a special love potion she is making. She murmurs she might try it out on Farengar first. As compensation, she hands me several potions.
I head to the alchemy bench and start mixing. I come up with some very odd combinations, but I think that Arcadia will not mind.
After all of my selling and buying is done, I am ready to set out on some of the tasks for the townspeople. I remember seeing some maps in Dragonsreach. I think I should go study them before I start getting too far away from town. On my way to look at the maps, I meet the little begger girl again near the Gildergreen. I give her a coin in passing.
Once I am in front of the maps, I realize that this is a fairly detailed reckoning of the Stormcloak and Imperial camps and holds. I jot some notes.
Back at the front gates I mentally run through the tasks I need to accomplish. I decide to tackle Amren's (the Redguard that was looking for his father's sword) problem first. So I will head West.
I head off the path, and a skeever lunges at my shoe. Lydia, my intrepid housecarl, is not frightened of the skeever.
**Level 6 Achieved – Increased Magika – Perk: Apprentice: Illusion.**
There are mudcrabs by a stream, I love steamed mudcrab legs!
Passing a bridge, I see three people crossing, and hear them mention that they need to get to Solitude for a wedding. They look to be well dressed, and unaccustomed to travel. We are moving in opposite directions however, so I don't hear much else of what they are saying.
I arrive at a set of shabby wooden doors marking the entrance to the thieves den, it is quite unobtrusive, and if I hadn't been looking for it I might have missed it.
It looks like an abandoned mine of some kind. There are stacks of boxes and sacks laying near the entrance. This cave-like atmosphere seems to be ideal for mushroom growth. I snatch up several. I hear suffling from ahead, a guard dog. I ready my Calm spell, and strike the dog. This gives me a little time to think. But the human guard must have heard me rustling around in the entrance. I cast Fury on the human, and hide. Sounds of fighting ensue. Arrows twang, and I peek out in time to see another bandit running towards something with a two-handed sword ready to strike. More fighting sounds. Either one of them died or my spells wore off. I hear a groaning sound, and see a bandit walk back through the cave. I fling another fury spell across the distance. It misses, I try again and hit the dog. The bandit starts running in our direction, as does the dog. Lydia is prepared for combat. I summon my bound sword, and help out by attacking the dog that is biting at her from behind. I aim a healing spell with my other hand, and miss Lydia entirely hitting the bandit instead. Lydia prevails however. I ready my calm spell, and head deeper into the cave. I cast it on the lone occupant, I find a book, with several techniques for staying unseen. I recast calm, and keep searching. The sword has to be here somewhere. In a large chest I find a treasure map... interesting. Under the treasure map is the sword!
I recast calm on the bandit chief, courage on Lydia, oakflesh on myself and summon my familiar. As I am busy casting, I hear the calmed bandit talking about retiring and getting himself an island. I ready a healing spell and at last I am ready. Once calm wears off, the fighting takes off. It looks like an enchanted sword, flames ripple over Lydia when he lands a strike on her. He is proving to be quite a challenge., but we conquer the bandit. He must have been at this for quite a while, he has some very nice armor and weapons.
I use the cooking spit in the cave, more stew. Bleh. Maybe I can trade some of it for something more palatable.
I hustle out of the cavern, and head back to Amren in Whiterun. On my way, I cast fury on a passing elk thinking that we will get some tasty venison out of it. As I cast, and the elk starts running toward me, I see two mammoths bound over the hill trumpeting angrily. As soon as the elk is dead, the mammoths wander way.
I am near a camp of some kind. There is a locked chest sitting right next to my path. It is a very complex locking mechanism. I break a lockpick. I start to sweat. I look across the camp and see that giants are staring in the opposite direction. I must hurry. I manage to unlock the chest, and there are several high value items I stash in my pack. Lydia and I walk as quickly and quietly away as we can.
**Level 7 Achieved – Increased Magika – Perk: Animage.**
Recrossing the stream we net more mudcrab legs! Maybe we WILL eat good tonight.