The Mourning Show

Dropping into bed at about midnight, Ymelda uh… sleeps.

Great intro today.

I get up at eight and breakfast on some roasted pheasant, with some grilled leeks and carrots to go with it. Might be a long day. Food is more expensive than I’d expected, and without a ranged weapon I can’t rely on hunting, so I will spend today gathering herbs and such. Necklor will give me 1 coin for each clutch of mountain flower or mushrooms I can bring him, 2 for nightshade, and with luck more for anything else I can find. Yesterday afternoon I made 33 gold from that alone, and that was just what I happened to see. With a full day of searching through the wilderness around town, surely my money problem will disappear.

Valga greets and sells me some bread and carrots for snacking throughout the day, and I head right out of the tavern, passing a local chopping wood.

Nice to see a bit of life about town, even so early in the day. Sounds like the smith is already hard at work, too. If only it weren’t such miserable weather. I head out through the town gates ahead. The guards say hello, and I try to explain that their defensive gate has something of a design flaw.

They don’t seem interested. Bloody hicks.

Not much happens for a few hours, and pickings are steady, but uninteresting. I’m finding a lot of thistles, which are worthless on their own, but I hang onto them anyway in case I get the chance to learn about alchemy any time soon. I know nothing about alchemy, but it can be a good money-spinner – potions are always in demand even in quieter provinces, and a land at war will have plenty of use for poisons, even if I don’t use them. Hopefully the thistles will be an ingredient to something potent, or I can use them to placate an angry Scot.

Climbing up a small rise, I spot a thatched house down below that turns out to be a graveyard, rather than the inn I’d guessed at. One of the old men in the pub last night was harping on about Falkreath’s famous cemetery. Might as well swing by.

Considering it’s such a point of pride for the locals, the graveyard is a bit of a craphole. The walls have fallen apart and many of the graves are overgrown, which is pretty poor considering there are only a few dozen here. Tch. Maybe the gardener’s been drafted or something. I help them out by trimming back some clumps of nightshade. While scouring the grounds, I come across a ceremony in progress, and stand nearby to listen.

I’d be lying if I remembered a word the priest said, but I’m sure it was very holy. The couple he’d been addressing have just lost their daughter to some wandering murderer. Oddly, they have no problem casually chatting to another wandering stranger about it in the middle of what appears to be the world’s smallest funeral for a little girl in a village ever.

One of the dialogue questions is “Is this place always so gloomy?”, which is definitely what I’d ask a grieving parent about the graveyard their daughter’s just been buried in twenty minutes ago. I would also open with “Hey cheer up! It might never happen!”

This whole murder thing sounds blatantly magic-related. I don’t think this was your typical serial killer – I’d bet a sack of spuds that this guy was possessed or compelled by a sinister mage or the like. He’s being held in the local barracks, so I might just go and stick my nose in. Could be interesting.

There’s a small and rather cosy shrine in the nearby chapel. I sit quietly for a while and leave a flower for a blessing before heading off, away from town.

Heading… er… away from town (sorry, I lost track of relative direction today, and the clouds are obscuring the sun), I cut a vague quarter-circle around town via another road, picking as I go, and come to a shallow pool under a ridge just off the path. Inside it is… ooh, is that what I think it is?

Oh. No, it’s not. Thought it looked like nirnroot. That stuff’s fairly prized by alchemists.

Well, it’s still quite a nice little corner. If it weren’t a sure way to freeze to death, I’d go for a quick dip. Maybe on the way back, so I can dry off at the inn.

I cut back to the road and head on. Loads of thistles and mountain flowers here, not much else. Standing stones mark either side of a path off the main road. Hesitantly, I pass between them. Always feel a little nervous walking between two dark, sinister stones. These magical types never mark a difference between stones of Welcome and stones of DIE ALL WHO ENTER HERE. They really ought to standardise that code.

The path leads to some kind of ruined temple among the trees. Looks almost dark elf-ish, so I’d best be careful – those guys mess with some nasty magic. Crouching down, I move up for a closer look, and hear the humming of a beehive. Well, that should be okay, right? If there are bees in here, there probably won’t be anyth-OH CHRIST IT’S NOT A BEEHIVE.

Something glowing green moves out of the ruin and everything turns green. I get barely a glimpse before I leg it back to the road – I think it hit me with some kind of spell. Whatever it is, the bees seem to be … in it? Around it? It has bees in its mouth and when it barks it shoots bees at you? I do not know.

It’s slow, but it’s giving chase. I make like a tree, and run, scrabbling down some rocks. I am not equipped to take on a magical… thingy.

I’m guessing that was a spriggan or wood spirit or something, so it won’t take kindly to a herb gather wandering in and mashing up all its planty mates. I’m not about to try my luck against nature itself with nothing but an iron dagger. Well that’s okay, it’s stopped chasing, so I can just gather somewhere else.

It’s coming up to four in the afternoon, and I’m having a very late lunch, when I see the remains of a tower or mill up along a road that I think leads northwest. It is getting on though, and I’ve gathered quite a crop of ingredients today. It’ll definitely be enough to cover food and then some, so I decide to go home before it gets dark, and explore the village a little more.

A pleasant surprise: There’s an alchemist in town, just behind the smithy, and it’s owned by a Redguard woman. Zaria (for this is her name) gives me some chat about her background and how Falkreath is kind of a theme town, and its theme is death. I hadn’t noticed it, but she has a point – all the shops are references to death and graves and such. Typical. One day here and I manage to blunder into Goth Town.

Zaria even offers to let me play with her alchemy gear in the corner, once I explain that I’m a total novice and just need to know what I’ve got on my hands. No charge, and she even gives me a tip for a health potion recipe. Nice lady.

Pestle pestle, alemb alemb, mola ram, siddu ram. And lo! I done made me some potions, yu huh.

Specifically, I made some resist frost and some damage magicka potions. These ought to really ruin a snowman’s day. Or rather they would, if they were a little more potent. Won’t be much use to me, so I sell them to Zaria for a small pile of cash, the amount of which I’ve forgotten because I didn’t take a picture. I mean, I didn’t count it. Yes, that’ll do.

Unfortunately, if I want to use the lab again I’ll have to pay Zaria 50 gold first. I guess she wouldn’t have much of a business if any idiot could come in and help themselves.

Back at the inn, I pay for another meal and room, and find that the mourning father I spoke to earlier is sitting in my room. Oh god, this is all I need. I show a little polite interest and the poor bastard’s clinging to it like a barnacle. Siiigh. I guess I can spare an hour while I eat.

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