Friday, February 22, 2013

day 15 - Markarth

Sundas, 31st of Last Seed  4E201

I woke up well rested. Yesterday was a day of long march and my sleep was deep and long. I planned to spend the day walking around the city and get to know the people. It was the first time that I have the chance to visit a dwemer-built city. It wasn’t however my first experience with dwemer engineering though. After the great was I was sent to the Imperial War Academy. One of my main subjects was siege engineering and amongst other siege engines we learned about dwemer devices. I always found Dwemer engineering fascinating and I am glad to have the opportunity to see such things at first hand. I know this is not always an experience without peril.  
The city is as astonishing as I expected. The greatness and beauty of the buildings carved into the mountain side is mesmerizing. I did not forget though, that I was looking for work possibilities. At first the vendor at Arnleif and Sons Trading Company a lady named Lisbeth hired me to retrieve one of her robbed items a Dibella statuette. I finally got an audience from the Jarl too. The Jarl did not seem to trust me much but he gave me a task of eliminating a Forsworn leader.  Jarl Igmund seems to be a worthy leader though and I will do my best to persuade him that I can be a capable asset to Markarth.  I met the Jarl’s personal smith an Orc named Moth gro-Bagol. He is an experienced blacksmith with ten years Legion experience. Her sister Ghorza gra-Bagol runs a forge in the city. I will be able to sell my loot to them after my sorties. I bought potions from a very helpful Brerton old woman named Bothela at her alchemy shop.
Understone Keep
Not all things are going well in Markarth though. Since the Markarth incident the Talmor keep a close eye on the city. There is a Talmor detachment at the Understone Keep. Their leader is Ondolemar an arrogant and conceit Altmer. I hope there will come the day when I will have the chance to even my score with them. For now I do not interfere as the Empire does not need another scandal.
Talmor at Understone Keep
At the Understone keep I met a man named Thongvor Silver-Blood. He is another self-satisfied person in the city and he has most of the wealth of it. His family owns half of the Businesses in Markarth including the Cidhna mine the smelter and the Silver-Blood inn. During my walk around the city I learned about the poor conditions the mine and smelter workers are working. I also met the arrogance of other members of the Silver-Blood family. 
Thongvor Silver-Blood
I do not envy Jarl Igmund. He has to keep the Silver-Blood family under control, cope with the Talmor contingent and defend the city from the Forsworn attacks. It is a demanding job to lead Markarth now-days. I will aid him as much as I will be able to though.

Jarl Igmund
I met an old scholar at the Understone Keep, named Cancelmo. I got to know he had a problem at his excavation site at the ruins under the keep.  Giant spiders infested the research site and the work was stopped since then. The biggest threat was a spider named Nimhe. I agreed to clear the site.Cancelmo gave me the key and I entered the ruins. First I went through Dwemer built corridors then I descended into a mine-like dig-site. As soon as I reached the bottom of the site I had been attacked by multiple frost-spiders. I cut them all down with ease. I proceeded deeper at the research site. Finally I arrived at a big hall mostly covered by spider nets. I was sure if Nimhe the giant spider was to be found somewhere that was the place. 
Spiders infested the excavation site
I was right. As soon as I entered the hall the beast of the spider descended from the top of the hall. I cut the spider many times but it seemed that it did not hear so much. My sword sunk fully in the spongy spider belly but the spider was not crippled yet. The blasted beast spat on me poison which I started to feel. After a lengthy fight I had to retreat into the tunnel from which I entered. Fortunately Nimhe was too large to be able to chase me there. I had the chance to cast restoration spells and recover from the poison effect.  Then I charged Nimhe the second time. I hit her with several strong blows before I finally managed to kill the beast.  After a few seconds that I realized the spider was dead I fell unconscious.
I was hit with poison many times during my last charge and it almost cost me my life. It must have been an hour after that I woke up. I recovered somehow and before leaving the hall I examined the place. I found a dead Legionnaire and a strange letter about an expedition that explored deep into the ruins of Nchuand-Zel. As I exited the excavation site I found a lot of Dwemer scrap metal pieces. I collected them all.
Cancelmo was very content to hear that the threat at the research site was eliminated. He granted me access to his private Dwemer Museum. He also gave information about the lost expedition in the ruins. I will investigate that soon.
I found a lot of Dwemer scrap metal
There was still time in the afternoon, so I went to the smelters and smelted the Dwemer scrap metal into Dwemer metal ingots. Ghorza was kind to show me the Dwemer metal smithing technique at her forge. I crafted nice Dwemer weapons and sold them. I also visited Moth and he taught me the way Orcs treat orichalcum ore. I managed to buy from him base materials for an Elven sword too. I crafted and sharpened the sword. I also tempered my armor with the help of Moth. My equipment is better and better day by day.  After a long practice in smithing I headed back for the Silver-Blood inn to have my well-deserved rest. Just as I arrived close to the gate, vampires attacked several citizens and guards. I aided in putting them down. A master vampire was an especially tough foe to deal with. Unfortunately one miner died in the attack before we could get rid of those foul creatures.
Vampires made a very unpleasant surprise

Friday, February 15, 2013

day 14 - A long walk into the Reach

Fredas 30th of Last Seed 4E201

As the first rays of the Sun shone upon the plains of Skyrim I was already on my way.  I had a delicious breakfast at the Frostfruit inn and that made my morning start well. Soon after finishing I said fairwell to the folks at the inn and begun my journey into the Reach. My plan for today was simple, I needed to head west until I reach the road to Markarth then just follow the road to the city. Theoretically, it was simplicity itself. Practically I had to travel through very difficult terrain and had to be very much on my guard as the area was controlled by Forsworn guerilla.
Last moments in Rorikstead
I started my long walk. I had been walking for more than an hour when I spotted a watchtower in the distance. I approached it and had a hard time finding a path to the entrance. Finally I climbed up to the tower. I attempted to move as silently as I could but my heavy armor prevented me from being very stealthy. Soon I was spotted. That turned out to be my very first encounter with the Forsworn, which in the beginning was also a very unpleasant one. One Forsworn female spell caster started casting fire-balls on me and one male Forsworn warrior with swords tried to close in. With them was an old witch (I was explained later that it was a hargraven) who was also casting fire spells on me. It was a difficult situation I had no chance to withdraw.
A suspicious watchtower
I had to rush the spell casters and cut them down before they burn me in my own armor. First the woman was slayed then the hargraven was put down with difficulty. Then the swordsman close in and I had already been exhausted and had minor burn wounds. I blocked a couple of blows with my shield while I was trying to catch my breath. The Forsworn was raging for vengeance and got too zealous. That was a big mistake as he got careless and I quickly exploited that and stabbed him. He was wearing light armor and the stab went through the Forsworn. After all foes were put down I collected the loot from the watchtower. So ended my first encounter with the Forsworn at Bleakwind Bluff.
I did not impress the Forsworn it seems...
I continued my travel westward and the terrain became more and more difficult. I descended on a steep slope and got to a house. It was a home of the workers of the Soljund’s Sinkhole mine. Their leader Perth a tall and strong Nord miner warned me not to go in there as the mine was infested with undead. He also explained that the jarl promised to send a Legion regiment to clear the mine. That sounded interesting. I am not the bold type of a person but I could hardly imagine that undead can be such a serious threat. I promised that I take a look and see if I could help or not.  I entered the mine thereafter.
Perth in front of his mine
The mine was a small one and it had two caverns. I first went leftward and cut down all the draugr I met. They were not many, nor hard to overcome.  I also noticed that the mine was a moonstone ore mine. The ore will be good for me to smith some good Elven weapons after I have dealt with the undead. Then I entered the cavern on the right. It was clear but had a huge sinkhole in the middle. Whatever place the undead came from must have been located below the mine. I prepared myself to descend into the hole.
The sinkhole that caused all the trouble
As I just jumped on bottom of the hole I realized that I fell into an old Nord tomb. That is why the mine was infested with these foul creatures!  At the moment of my landing on the floor caskets opened and three drougr rushed at me. Fortunately my heavy armor and shield absorbed most of the initial blows and after that I cut all of them down one by one. I had to clear the tomb if I wanted to make the mine above safe. That proved to be a very unpleasant and ugly undertaking. After clearing out the hall with the hole on top I treaded through several smaller caverns and encountered single or pairs of draugr. All were destroyed with ease. Proceeding further I entered into a longer tunnel that led to the main hall of the tomb.
The draugr did not like being disturbed
In the main hall I encountered a real nasty abomination of undead. It was a Draugr Wight Lord. At first I rushed in and thought I can put that blasted draugr down with a few blows as I usually did before. Well it was not the case this time. I realized that my cuts did not do much damage. On the other hand each strike of the Draugr Lord staggered me considerably. It was time for a tactical retreat.  I withdrew back into the tunnel. Fortunately the Draugr Lord did not follow me there for some reason. I recovered and thought about how to best that nasty monster.
The dreadful Draugr Lord
I took my bow and shot a few arrows at the Draugr Lord. They all hit but did little harm. Then the undead shouted some unknown words and I trembled and dropped my bow! I was helpless. I took my sword rushed out and landed hits on the Draugr Lord. Then it shouted again and I dropped my sword! I was utterly ashamed and terrified. How can an undead creature defeat me and play cat and mouse with me? I had no time to rage about that too much, as the monster approached me for the killing blow. I dodged aside and dodged and blocked a couple of blows. I got near my dropped sword picked it up and run back to the tunnel. I cast restoration spells on myself and recovered. I repeated the rush-out, run back strategy till I finally defeated the Draugr Lord. At the end I was exhausted and badly mauled. The tomb beneath Soljund’s Sinkhole mine was cleared at last.
The main hall of the tomb
I collected what valuables I could find in this forsaken tomb and found my way out. Seeing the complete surprise on Perth face as I told him the mine was cleared made me laugh. We were both very content that his unpleasant adventure ended well. The miner was a generous man and rewarded me well with gold. He was very happy that he could go on working in the mine. I rested a while then continued my travel west.
I spotted a big Forsworn camp
After walking for a while I reached the main river flowing through the reach and I gladly noticed that I made half way to Markarth. On the river bank I noticed a camp. As I approached it turned out to be a huge Forsworn village. Part of the location was situated on the right bank of the river and a small part was on the island in the middle of the river. I crossed the river and reached the island. I decided to approach the camp and take some notes about the place.
The Forsworn did not want me to escape alive
Unfortunately I was spotted and rushed immediately by three Forsworn rebels. I cut one of them down and withdrew thereafter. I barely escaped the Forsworn spell-caster’s fire balls. I crossed from the island to the left bank of the river and soon found the road to Markarth! The hard part of the day was over! At least I thought so.
The mad Imperial
I had only started walking on the road towards Markarth when an Imperial wearing heavy armor approached me. It was not suspicious and I was glad to meet a fellow Imperial. I was wrong. The blasted man attacked me at once as he got close by! I could barely block his strike. That man put up a very tough fight. I do not know for what reason he attacked me but he gave me a real hard time. Fortunately the madman was over zealous and over committed one of his attacks and gave me the opportunity to stab into a vulnerable place of his armor. After that, the Imperial being wounded started to loose strength and his attacks were slower and weaker. He was put down soon thereafter. I walked another hour on the road until I finally reached Markarth. I was relieved that I made it to the city safe.
I finally reached Markarth
As I entered the city gate I noticed a suspicious man drawing a knife at the jewelry stall. He approached a woman from the back. I had not a second more to hesitate. I leaped forward and stabbed him through from the back. The woman was saved. Soon the guards appeared and the crowd dissolved.What else could happen today? I was asking myself. The situation in the Reach is much worse than expected. Even Markarth is not safe anymore.
Dead Forsworn within the Markarth walls
I went to the nearest shop and sold part of my loot there. Then I visited the blacksmith of Markarth an Ork woman named Ghorza. I sold the looted weapons and armor to her. She had an Imperial apprentice and the boy was not very talented. Ghorza was losing patience from time to time when she checked the apprentice’s work. She asked me to get her a book about Smithing as she believed maybe that can help her apprentice to improve. I promised to bring the book she required if I find it during my adventures.
Markarth by night
It was already evening and I went to the Silver-Blood inn. I rented a room and wanted to go to sleep immediately. I had a long day and I needed rest and sleep very badly.  A drunken Nord named Cosnach insulted me for no reason and challenged me for a brawl. In Skyrim one does not refuse such challenges. I took up a fighting stance and let the Nord attack. He was drunk and not very cautious. As he tried to hit me I stepped aside and punched him into the face. He was knocked out. He got up and paid me the sum we bet. He was not angry though and to settle things down we had a pint of ale together.
Having a pint of ale with Cossnach
Cosnach promised to accompany me in case I needed him. It is a strange way of making friends in Skyrim, nevertheless it is good to have a helping hand though if need be. I am now finally in my room and I am very tired. Tomorrow I shall look around Markarth and talk to the Jarl. I will see what to do next thereafter.
Praise Talos for guiding me safely through this hard day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

day 13 - Fairwell to Whiterun

Turdas 29th of Last Seed 4E201

It has been a while since I first arrived to Whiterun, this beautiful city at the heart of Skyrim. It was the need to escape from Imperial imprisonment that bought me here. Within a short time I grew to like Skyrim though. The place is tougher but the people are honest and I value that. When I shall have the chance I will settle down in Whiterun for my old days. Jarl Balgruf has made this city flourish even in the midst of a civil war. This place will be even better once the hostilities cease. I still have a lot of work to do until I earn enough coin to retire.
Morning in Whiterun
I have explored much of the Whiterun Hold and I have done all the assignments that I could find. It is time to move on to a city offering more work. I will leave Whiterun but not for good. I still have to do the Jarl’s task at Bleak Falls Barrow and I will do it once I will be prepared.  I had a chance to talk with couriers, guards and legionnaires passing by about the events ongoing in Skyrim. I heard from many sources that the city of Markarth is a place where one can find a lot of work opportunities that pay well.  The hold is extremely dangerous because of the Forsworn guerillas hiding in the hills though. I decided to travel to Markarth and seek fortune there. Before that I needed to prepare myself and have a rest too. I wanted to collect some smithing materials and practice the craft as well. In the morning I went to Adrianne and sold my remaining spare equipment including my old armor.
Riverwood was quiet and friendly
Then I took a walk to Riverwood in order to buy some materials from Alvor and to say fairwell to him too. Alvor and his family were well thanks to the Gods for that. He sold me plenty of materials, leathers, ingots whatever I needed.  Then I started walking on the way back to Whiterun. I was just descending from the hill when an Argonian assassin attacked me.  The poor fellow wielded a shortsword and a dagger and wore some kind of a light armor. The recent weeks have brought me back to shape and the assassin was not a great threat.  I quickly incapacitated him. I do not know who has the interest to see me dead… I need to be even more on my guard because next time it may not be so easy to counter such threat.
The assassin attacked me for reason unknown
As I arrived back to Whiterun I visited Erolund Gray-Mane and bought smithing materials then I returned to Adrianne and bought materials from her too. The rest of the day I practiced smithing. Adrianne was kind enough to show me how to make steel plated armor. At the end my crafting knowledge improved significantly and I had a set of reinforced steel place armor. I kept the imperial officer helmet though as it provides a better view. I sold my old steel armor to Adrianne and I was ready to leave. I have spent a great amount of gold in order to have the smithing knowledge and the armor but I am sure the investment will pay off. Today I spent roughly 3500 gold and I still have 1500 gold left.  I planned to leave for Rorikstead today and make it there till evening. I said fairvell to Adrianne and exited the gate.
A temporary fairwell to Whiterun
On my way to Rorikstead I passed by Fort Greymoor and took a look at what was going on inside. The Impreial Legion moved in. Finally a good move from them. I was really glad to notice that my effort of clearing the place from bandits was not in vain. I hope Agnis is doing well. It is surely easier to get on with Imperial soldiers than with brute bandits.
Fort Greymoor secured by the Imperial Legion
I continued my walk and after an hour I noticed noises of sword fighting.  I quickly approached to see what was going on. A merchant was being attacked by two bandits and was very close to getting murdered by them. I rushed at them and with one surprise slash I slew one of the bandits, the other turned towards me and let the merchant run away. The second bandit charged in rage but my shield bash knocked him down and a strike ended his misery.  The Merchant was very grateful and offered discount as a reward. I told him to be more careful and even hire a companion during his travels within the hold. I hope he reached safety by now.

The poor merchant was saved at the last moment
After the incident I continued my travel to Rorikstead and reached it by dusk. I entered the inn and had a nice supper. I had a talk with the locals. Rorik was at the inn to and he greeted me warmly.  I had a talk with a young man Erik the son of the inn-keeper who wishes to be an adventurer. I told him about the many perils and hardships of the life on an adventurer, but he persisted. He also asked for my help to convince his father to let him go. I talked to the inn-keeper and persuaded him to let his son go. I gave them some gold in order for Erik to have armor.  Now I am resting in my room at the Frostfruit inn in Rorikstead preparing to move to the Reach tomorrow. 


Friday, February 1, 2013

day 12 - Swindler's Den

Middas 28th of Last Seed 4E201

Today morning I decided to continue my exploration of the Western part of Whiterun hold. There is a small town named Rorikstead at the western edge of the hold. I planned to make my way there and explore bandit hideouts if I spot them. When the sun rose I had already been walking the tundra West of Whiterun.
Beautiful sight of west Whiterun Hold
I passed near Silent Moon’s camp and it was quiet. The bandits kept away from there since I cleared it. My next leg of the journey was Dustman’s Cairn. Last time I spotted the place I did not enter. This time I decided to look what is dwelling there. As I entered I found myself in a small tomb. Suddenly four draugr woke up and gout out suddenly from their coffins. That was a very unpleasant surprise. The undead were sturdy but were not fighters with finesse. One by one I cut them down without trouble. There was a chest with some moderate loot. I did not see any tunnels or passages leading from the hall so I left the forsaken place.
Dustman's Cairn
I kept on walking westward. I bypassed the low mountain that lay in the west part of the hold from the north. Soon after I got past the western edge of that mountain I crossed a stream and spotted a cave. I approached it and spotted a bandit guarding its entrance. The name of the place was Swindler’s Den. Soon as the brigand heard me approaching, he attacked me at once. The thug swung his mace wildly but to no avail as I blocked his blow with my shield and with the first stab he was down.
A warm welcome
As I entered Swindler’s Den I found myself in a smaller hall. The Nord guarding it was put down easily. Then I entered a short tunnel which connected to another smaller hall. That was a sleeping place and I surprised two resting bandits. One of them was a fierce Nord with a warhammer and a Wood Elf with a bow. I retreated backwards to the tunnel in order to allow only one bandit to reach me. The Nord with the warhammer charged with zeal. It was very hard to block his blows but fortunately after a couple of strikes he got exhausted. Then I counter-attacked and stabbed him multiple times. He wore light armor and the stabs went deep. Soon he was lying dead. I re-entered the second hall and rushed the Bosmer archer. After s shield bash and one slash to the neck he was put down.
Fierce bandit with warhammer
I found the tunnel that led deeper into the den. This was a longer tunnel and led to an even bigger hall. That hall was being used for dining. Soon I was discovered and several brigands rushed me. First was a Nord with a steel two-handed sword. He charged with great zeal but I stepped aside and stabbed him as he jumped past me. I was then one bandit less.
Bandit charging from the dining hall
In the meantime three more thugs were rushing at me. I saw that it was time to withdraw a little. I rushed back into the tunnel and waited for them to come to me. They did not take much time to get close. One of them was a half-naked Imprerial with a sword and two of them were archers. As I retreated in the tunnel I defeated the two archers. They were fool enough to come into the tunnel after me where they lost the advantage of range. In close combat my heavy armor, shield and sword made easy work of them.  
They all wanted me dead
The Imperial proved to be a tougher opponent.  He must have been an Imperial Legion deserter as his sword-play showed. He put up quite a decent fight but he had no armor, nor a shield. He still was tough to overcome at the beginning. I cut him here and there and after a time the brigand’s reactions started to get slower. After a feint I continued with a slash from the right and I cut him in the side and he was down. As I fought the Imperial I did not notice that another bandit, a spell-caster also came after me. I have just finished the raging deserter when he attacked me with lightning spells. I quickly rushed him and ended his miserable life.
This deserter met his rightful end
I was also bleeding from several wounds fortunately nothing serious. I drank a few health regenerating potions and cast restoration spells. I re-entered the dining hall. I noticed there was a higher terrace in the dining hall. That proved to be life saver later on. The thugs had many bottles of ale and food on their table they were very well supplied. I treaded farther in the cave. I found their storage hall full of food supplies. I entered yet another tunnel. This tunnel led to a strange hall filled with water and with a waterfall. Soon I found the chief of the bandits within.
Bandit chief charging
The chief was an Imperial again and I believe he was also a Legion deserter too. He must have been a veteran or an officer even. That brigand was not to be trifled with. He wore heavy armor he was strong and very skilled. He wielded a Dwarven two handed axe. I blocked a couple of his wrecking blows with my shield and counter-attacked him when he made some slight mistakes. I withdrew again first into the tunnel then to the supply hall then to another tunnel. The bandit chief hit me once at a vulnerable place. I was starting to loose stamina and started to get slow. I could also land some hits on the brigand but did only modest harm. He was also bleeding nevertheless. While retreating I found myself on the terrace in the dining hall. I took the risk and jumped down.
I jumped of that terrace unharmed
Fortunately I did not harm myself despite being in heavy armor. The bandit chief decided to go around. That gave me a few moments and I cast restoration spells on myself as there was no time to drink potions. When the bandit chief rushed at me again I had almost fully recovered. I still pretended to be on the run and retreated into the tunnel leading out of the cave. Then the chief got careless. He opened his defense too much and I cut him first in the side then stabbed him in the neck. He fell on the cave floor lifeless.
The bandit chief was a worthy foe
Then I searched the whole cave for valuables. I found two more bandits while doing so but their futile attempt to cut me down ended in their death. After a short rest I left the swindler’s Den. Repeated tactical withdrawals and timely restorations spells saved me from dying. That bandit chief nearly bested me. I am very grateful to my Breton healer in the war Alberic Perard, who taught me basic restoration spells to speed up my recovery back then. It surely was put to good use today as well.

I continued Westward. It was afternoon already. Within an hour’s walk I finally reached Rorikstead. That is a very nice town with farms all around. I entered the town inn and had the pleasure to meet Rorik the founder himself.
He told me that he fought in the Great War and got injured. After he came back to Skyrim he bought the land which was then valueless. He had the Breton healer with him in Rorikstead too. I told him my story and Rorik was amused to hear that I went through quite similar hardship in the War. After having lunch it was time to return. I told fair-well to my kind host and started walking back to Whiterun.  
On my way I discovered another giant camp with a strange tree near it. I should have a closer look wen next time I come at this place. It was a long walk to Whiterun but fortunately without any further events.  I arrived to the city gate in the evening.