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!