*Another long post. Stuff happened that I didn't mean to happen, so, couldn't really split it up too well. Enjoy!*
You may notice that our horse has changed colour. And has a name now. Be sure to welcome Arrow to our story!
*The reason that Arrow is different from our usual horse, is because Name Your Horse mod had a bit of a hiccup. Sometimes, people have issues naming their already-bought horse, and I was one of them. It does offer a workaround on it's mod page (which you can find on the sidebar), though. So, what I did was find a horse as close as I could to our original, which was in Windhelm. One has to basically rebuy a horse, and since I was fixing this problem for the LP, I just gave myself 1,000g and deleted the other horse.
And thus, the explanation on why Arrow is the way he is. So, let's get started!*
My route today is going to take me to Darkwater Crossing. Maybe a days ride, but I might loop around to Riverwood and see how the old crowd is doing on my way back and maybe find some new towns.
By taking this route, I should pass through Ivarstead right around Darkwater Crossing.
Man, what is it with this part of the road? People die left and right. I hop off my horse to examine the dead guy, when one of the soldiers comes up to me.
"You, there! Ah...citizen. This way is off limits."
I glance at the dead guy on the ground. "What happened? Are bandits still in this area?" I reach back to calm Arrow, who had started stamping the ground and acting nervous.
The orc folded his arms and held out a hand. "You are interfering with Imperial business. I'm going to have to have you pay a fine...of say, 100 gold. Pay up, citizen."
My jaw dropped. "That's outrageous! I've never heard of a fine for just asking a question! I'll take this up with the Jarl if I have to, there's no way I'm paying that just for passing by you on the road! What is this a highway robbery section?"
I saw them tense up and the orc I was talking to took out his sword. Slowly, a realization came over me, and I looked at the dead man again. He was clearly of Imperial lineage. I looked at him, and looked at the orc.
"Oh..." I took a step back and tried to hop on my horse, but an arrow shot past me (thankfully missing Arrow) and I ran away, slapping the horse on the rump to get him to trot off.
I jumped off a small outcropping of rocks and into the nearby river, swimming across. There, I hunkered down and took out my bow, my hands shaking. I really hoped they were bandits in disguise, because I could get into real trouble killing them otherwise.
After dispatching them easily with my bow, I went to rifle through their pockets. I did find a long bow, so I'll be interested in trying that out, but I'll probably stick with my trusty hunting bow.
At least I was right, they sure had attacked and stolen the clothes of some soldiers. Not sure what they were really planning to do, did they think that gig would last long? The soldiers don't have anything, but I do line their bodies up respectfully for the guards to come along and scrape them up later.
And, it's starting to rain. Of course, can't just have a nice trip, eh, Arrow?
Yet another temptation! I already said no!
Well, at least I can read the signpost for Ivarstead, though it looks more like Ivarsread.
This is a pretty area to travel through.
And then, the sounds of fighting. Oh joy. And this looks like bandits, not even a proper patrol. Where are the laws of our roads being enforced! Do we have to post someone every five feet?
The bandits don't appreciate me getting all up in their faces.
A shame I can't wear a backpack and a knapsack. But at least I can sell it for a tidy profit.
The rest of the trip is pretty quiet, a couple wolves here and there, nothing too major. We finally pull up into Darkwater Crossing, and I hop off to find the woman's parents.
The folks around let me know he's in the mine, and boy, it's dark in here.
I'm given things to return, and I happily agree. Because, I could be knee deep in frost spiders, and instead, I'm delivering something. Much safer. Though, the way the road situation is going, seems the forest route would be better.
I take a moment to chop some wood, because we might be heading into a mountain pass soon, and it's good to be prepared. Don't want to freeze our little toes off, now, would we?
It starts to get pretty foggy on the way to Ivarstead, and there isn't really much to see.
Until we hit past that cloud-line, and wow, what a view!
I really start to enjoy the route up here. It's colourful, pleasant and it's just nice to trot through. I wouldn't mind living up here, to be honest. Commute would be a bit terrible, up and down that mountain, but there looks to be a fair amount of wildlife up here. Could live off of that, for sure.
Oh hey, a minstrel!
Run away! Run away!
Ivarstead isn't too far away, and I'm ready to sell some of the wares I've collected. But after wandering the town a bit, I couldn't find a general goods store. I'm highly disappointed in you, Ivarstead. Very boring town.
Even the townsfolk want to get out of here. Temba has a nice quest though, she wants ten bear pelts! I puff out my chest and point to all the furs that are strapped to Arrow. I'm the best huntsman in Skyrim! I will bring you your ten bear pelts, my fair lady!
DO THESE BEARS EAT SKOOMA?!
After barely hanging onto life, I scrape the belt off the bear and wince at my multiple wounds. I'm shaking and feel weak. That bear must have had something and just gave me some sort of horrible illness. I limp back to Arrow and strap the pelt on the back.
I think I should head back to Riverwood and get whatever's wrong with me looked at. I pull out a book I have for such occasions and take a look through symptoms, diseases and how one can catch things. I find that bears usually give you Bone Break Fever, which makes you tired and just worn out from anything that you do.
I'm already feeling the effects as I climb ungracefully onto Arrow's back. He tossed his head a little and I nudged him towards the way of Riverwood.
Up the mountain pass I run into a huge patrol fighting it out, but I just run by them, hoping that I wasn't noticed.
And then, a horrible thing happens.
I stumble onto an area that I was told to go to. Helgen. I pull up at the gate and suddenly, with a mighty whoosh, a dragon leapt from the inner city, let out a huge roar, and flew off towards the north.
I sat on Arrow, stunned for a moment. The rumors of dragons were true? Dragons, here in Skyrim? The smell of burnt wood and flesh start to catch up to my senses, and I hesitantly open the city gates.
It's a complete wasteland. Just burned out buildings and carts everywhere.
What's left to discover, that is.
As I'm starting to get very cold, I take a moment to warm myself by the fire before heading out of the walls to set up camp.
I don't like camping this close to a dragon-attacked village, but, there's nothing left here, so might as well. Plus, if I don't get continuous warmth, I might die.
The night passes, and I don't get much sleep, just staring out into the flames. Must have been a horrible thing to go through, being attacked by a dragon. I wonder what set it off? I try and get comfortable, hoping to find more information in the morning, with the light of the sun on my side.
The destruction of Helgen is more evident than ever in the morning. At least I'm feeling more rested, though I need to still find a healer soon. I realize everyone must have died if no one knows of this yet. I'm standing in a graveyard.
I notice a crisp body off to one side, and, I'm not sure what possessed me to do it, but I saw a journal wedged under the body. It's edges were burnt, but the text was legible:
12th of Last Seed, 4E 201
Hard to believe I filled up that whole journal already. I've never realized how much of Cyrodiil I hadn't seen yet! So much diversity, yet so much destruction from the Great War. A lot of history has been lost here forever.
The expedition is ending soon and everyone will be returning home. I have one last task to perform before I do the same. I'll send the other journal ahead with my supplies and the artifacts we recovered.
14th of Last Seed, 4E 201
I've received word from my contacts in Skyrim. All seems quiet for now. Probably for the first time since High King Torygg was killed. I should be able to make the crossing quetly enough during the night. So long as there are no Imperial patrols to deal with.
15 of Last Seed, 4E 201
So much for being discreet! I crossed the border near a small village called Helgen and made my way up to Darkwater Crossing. Unfortunately, I can't get back to my camp now because the area has filled with Imperial patrols!
It seems they are searching for someone. Someone very important. If I'm not mistaken, someone they intend to ambush here. This could be the very thing I am--
The page was too smudged here to read, and I impatiently flipped ahead to an entry I could read.
17 of Last Seed, 4E 201
Shor's bones, if only I had known sooner! The ambush, the captives in the cart with me. Stormcloak rebels! Led by none other than Ulfric Stormcloak himself!
There's no time to explain properly. I scarcely believe it myself. If it hadn't been for the dragon, I'd not even be here to write this down. Yes! A dragon! Big, black, as large as the towers of the keep itself. It swooped in out of nowhere and laid waste to the village and keep.
General Tullius didn't take my head today, nor the heads of several Stormcloak rebels, but that doens't matter now. Hadvar and Ralof set aside--
The rest of the book was unreadable. I groaned in frustration at the cutoff. With the morning passing quickly though, I realize that with Riverwood so close, I need to warn them of the dragon.
I stuff the book in my pack, leaping onto Arrow, and we shot down the road at a fast pace, stopping for nothing.
Reaching Riverwood, Arrow shaking in exertion, I leapt from his back and ran up to the man I trusted most in the town--Alvor. He was working at the tanning rack, and startled when I ran up to him.
"A dragon attacked Helgen!" I sputtered out, panting.
Alvor dropped his tool. "What? A dragon?! In Helgen?" He sat down on the nearby bench and put his head in his hands. "That explains what I saw earlier...flying down the valley from the south...I was hoping I was wrong about what I thought it was."
"The dragon flew this way, you must have seen it." I said.
"You're right," he nodded. "I saw it. Didn't want to believe my own eyes, is all." He looked towards the sky. "A dragon here in Skyrim. What's this world coming to? First the war, now dragons. Trouble loves company, they say."
"What do we do?" I ask, worriedly. "Should we tell the Jarl?"
Alvor seemed to shake out of his trance. "Yes. The Jarl needs to know there is a dragon on the loose. Riverwood is defenseless...have him send whatever soldiers he can. Speak directly to Jarl Balgruuf. Do this for me, and I'll be in your debt."
I shake my head. "This problem belongs to all now, there is no debt to be payed."
I give him a quick man-hug and rush to Arrow. "Sorry, boy, but we've gotta keep going." I urge him forward, and I can feel his muscles straining under everything. "You can do it!"
And indeed, we flew down the mountain side like the very dragon was after us.
Finally making it into Dragonsreach, I am stopped from going up to the Jarl. I angrily try to push past her, but she blocks my way.
"What business do you have here, citizen?"
"News of Helgen. A dragon has attacked! I must speak with the Jarl directly, Alvor of Riverwood sent me!"
She immediately backed off. "That explains why the guards let you in. Come, the Jarl will want to speak with you directly."
I am shoved in front of Jarl Balgruuf the Greater and kneel respectfully, waiting to be acknowledged as the customs state.
"So. You were at Hegen? You saw this dragon with your own eyes?"
I look up, directly into his eyes. "Yes, my Jarl. I arrived late at night at Helen, due to it being dark and missing the way I wanted to go on the main road. With my own eyes I saw the beast fly northward, flying over Riverwood. Thankfully, it did not attack them."
The Jarl slammed a hand onto the armrest of his throne, causing me to jump at the quick movement. "By Ysmir, Irileth was right!" He turned to his adviser at his right. "What do you say now, Proventus? Shall we continue to trust in the strength of our walls? Against a dragon?"
Proventus, who I remember is Adrianne's father (they don't look much alike), just hung his head slightly.
The woman who stopped me before walked up to the Jarl. "We need to send reinforcements to Riverwood. It's in the most immediate danger, if that dragon is lurking somewhere in the mountains."
The Jarl nodded. "Yes, send a detachment to Riverwood at once. I'll not stand by while my people are slaughtered." He sent the two away to do what they were told, then turned to speak with me again.
"Well, I was in Helgen and went to warn Riverwood, my Jarl. I was then sent by Alvor to warn you."
"Either way, your message was sent. Please take this as a token of my gratitude." He reached down beside his throne and handed me some studded armor.
"Thank you, my Jarl." I accepted the gift graciously, planning to sell it as soon as I could for a decent price. I turned to leave, but he stopped me.
Well...I...kind of want to go, but if I'm needed...I guess.
Wait, what? Who said anything about me helping with the dragon?
No, no, wrong person. Not me. I don't help people with a lot of stuff, and dragons is kind of right at the top of the list. In fact, the list of what not to help people on is made out of dragons, just as a reminder.
He tries to sell me some sort of line about searching a cave for something he needs. I tune it out and finally manage to escape.
I need about ten drinks. After today, I'm just going to relax. Way too much adventure for a simple hunter like me.
I bump my stamina up and put my perk into Haggling, so I can sell my pelts for more. And then, I'm going to bed.
Hope a dragon doesn't eat me in the middle of the night.
Part 9 ----- Part 11