Breakfast! Man, I need some meat after that dreary ordeal. Honestly, you’d think the guy could mourn his brutally murdered infant daughter somewhere else. Some people are so selfish.
Valga sells me some meat and bread, which I use to invent the sandwich, to universal acclaim. I also buy some more carrots and apples for snacking and invent the disastrous “carapple”, immediately sinking my reputation. What a morning! To cheer myself up, I get chatting to the priest who held the ceremony yesterday. Great job consoling those mourners by the way, guy. That was super effective.
Runil isn’t a bad sort, and chats a bit about the graveyard, which seems to be the happenin’ place round here. Odd really; they keep saying it’s huge and very important and old, but the walls are falling apart, the building looks no different to any other thatched hut, and I’ve seen bigger pubs. Must be a tourist thing. Their economy probably depends on playing up the local traps, so I’ll play along.
Runil asks me to retrieve a journal he dropped in a cave. That all sounds very simple, but I’ve heard this tune before. “Oh, I dropped my special stick, kind stranger. It’s in the ravine of kitten-on-the-pillow. Could you retrieve it for me? I’d be ever so mildly surprised and then instantly forget it.” And then when you get there you realise they ‘forgot’ to tell you about the cracked up team of sherpas who live next door. Screw that. I just got chased off by an angry beekeeper. I’m hardly in a position to go exploring some cave you’re scared to visit.
Speaking of which, it’s time I went shopping. Mornin’, Lod! Yes yes, I know, I won’t find better wares in all of Tamriel, shut up and show me the goods.
It is a hide shield. 80 gold or so bags me a line of defence more reliable than hoping any attackers will trip on a root and brain themselves on a rock. Although that did actually work once, to be fair.
I had to have a careful think about what to buy here, because with my limited cash flow, it’s likely that the equipment I buy, and the order I buy it in over the next few days will dictate what skills I’ll need to specialise in later. Whatever my trade, I’ll need to practice a fighting style if I’m going to survive any encounters. I’ll want to pick up a spell or two as well, later.
The shield simply makes sense – I have only one life, so protecting myself is paramount, and a shield blocks far more effectively than any weapon. I might get myself an axe later, but for now I’ll fight defensively – anything I’m likely to beat will fall to my dagger as easily as to an axe, so it’s not worth the money yet.
Secondly, I buy myself a lovely, warm pair of hide boots, and chuck away the ratty old rags I’ve had on my feet all week. They’ll keep the cold out, and offer a little protection for another 80 gold.
That’s much better. Matches the tunic pretty well in fact.
Feeling much more optimistic, I take Ymelda out of town, to the road leading up the mountain to the West. The usual plants are dotted about, plus clusters of mushrooms on the occasional fallen tree or stump. It’s an uneventful trip, although I do run into a suspicious Khajit (cat person) who calls himself M’aiq the Liar.
Is… is that really your name? But then that would mean you’re not a liar, which would mean your name is M’aiq the Liar, which would mean… arghh!
M’aiq weirds me out a little. The combination of his unexplained lurking, confusing non-sequiturs, and a sudden lunge towards me at one point (I got my knife out and he stopped, weirdly) unnerves me too much. I walk on, careful not to turn my back on him.
Next up, I pass another pair of standing stones marking a cave. It’s … well. I consider going inside, maybe doing a little exploring. But I’m not convinced. Call me paranoid, but I don’t really feel like crawling blindly into the bowels of the earth for no obvious reason today.
Instead, I follow the road to its end, which is marked by a gate much like the ones at Falkreath. There I realise that I’ve reached the borders of Skyrim… and Hammerfell. Home! Home is this way!
But… it’s a very long, dangerous trek this way, and I’d starve long before I reached safety. So close, and yet so etc. Sigh. I should turn back, and stab this fox in the back of the head. HYAH!
And to think they tried to ban fox hunting. Ymelda levels! All that buying and selling and alchemy, plus a little stabbing has paid off. As I reach a new level, I can choose to boost my magicka, health, or stamina, and select from a variety of perks to improve my abilities in various areas.
I go for a stamina boost, for running, blocking, and generally out-muscling things, and the “shield wall” perk, which makes my blocking more effective. Unexciting, but progress is progress. As time is wasting and there’s nowhere else to go, I return to the village and visit the barracks, where some guards are casually chomping their dinner, and the child murderer Sinding is awaiting trial.
Sinding tells me that he’s a werewolf, and that he lost a bet with god, who gave him a ring that controlled his werewolfing until he annoyed this god somehow. Insanity plea, huh? Probably a smart move. Which ironically means that you’re likely NOT insane, so you have to go to war. I mean, to prison.
He suggests that if I go and kill some kind of monster for him, his god will be impressed and grant me wishes, which I could use to help him out. Yeah, listen mate, even if I felt like taking on the guard dog of the gods, the last thing I’m going to do with a wish from god is waste it on you. I’d wish myself back at home with a team of hot servants, a million gold and a bottomless flagon of mead.
Good luck with the trial, though! If there’s one thing Nords like more than a child murderer, it’s a dangerous lunatic. I’m sure you’ll be fine.
Me, I’m off to celebrate my newfound blockery with some grilled meat and cabbage, washed down with a bottle of ale. Valga even lets me have my room for free, perhaps in awe of my increased stamina. Or perhaps because of a technicality over a 24 hour rental period, which going to bed now would probably abuse.