April 21, 2014

The Thief in the Snow - Entry VI: Just the Beginning

The Thief in the Snow
Entry VI: Just the Beginning
Location: Riverwood, Whiterun Hold
Date: Middas, 20th of Last Seed, 4E 201

I had spent an entire day in Bleak Falls Barrow and the whole ordeal had been a nightmare. I could not comprehend the events that had taken place as I hiked down the mountain to Riverwood. During the short journey down the mountain, I began to examine the items I had collected from the Draugr Overlord. The Dragonstone was just as Farengar said it would be, a small stone tablet with writing on it, the same strange writing that had glowed in Bleak Falls Barrow. There was a Spell Tome of Clairvoyance which I read on my way to Riverwood. I also found an enchanted necklace and ring; one granted fire resistance and the other increased my magicka. I had collected quite a few weapons too, both from the Bandits and the Draugr. At least this quest had not been for nothing, I would get my rewards from Lucan and Farengar and also hefty earnings from selling these goods.

I went straight to Lucan’s store to return his Golden Claw for I had had enough of the cursed thing. Lucan and Camilla were overcome with joy when I gave them back their claw. Lucan could not thank me enough. I told him I was happy to help but left out the part with the glowing writing, Draugr everywhere, and the shouting. He and Camilla did not need to know those things. He gave me a reward and I sold my goods to him. With the money I was able to buy some extra supplies including Leather to craft new armor for myself. I said my farewells and went straight to Alvor’s forge to craft myself a fine set of Leather Armor. Dorthe was there, helping Alvor with his work. She kept asking him questions, like if she would ever be as good as him one day. I wanted to stay with Alvor and his family, maybe make a life for myself here in Riverwood but I knew that Farengar needed the Dragonstone if he were to discover why a Dragon had returned to Skyrim. I had to finish my quest, even if I wished to remain in Riverwood.

Location: Whiterun, Whiterun Hold
Date: Middas, 20th of Last Seed, 4E 201

It was late evening when I arrived in Whiterun and the streets of the city were empty. As I walked past the Temple of Kynareth, I saw an Imperial girl sitting on a bench next to the giant white tree that was the center of Whiterun. She was no older than Alvor’s little girl, Dorthe, and I was surprised to see her by herself at such a late hour.

As I grew closer, she called out and asked, “Mister, could you spare a coin?”

I reached into my pocket and held out a gold coin.

“Oh, thank you! Divines bless your kind heart.” she cried as she took the gold coin from my paws.

“What is this one's name?” I asked, “And why is this one begging?”

“My name is Lucia.” she answered and then paused for a moment. “It is… it is what Brenuin said I should do. He is the only one that has been nice to me since… since mama…” Lucia looked down at her hands, “Since she died. My aunt and uncle took over our farm and threw me out. Said I was not good for anything. I wound up here, but… I…” She wrapped an arm around herself, “I do not know what to do. I miss her so much…”

There was nothing I could do or say to make her situation better. I wished her well and told her to be careful not to freeze to death. I felt guilty leaving her behind like that but what could I do? I myself did not even have a place to call home. The plight of this child was a common occurrence in the harsh land of Skyrim. As I climbed the stairs that led to Dragonsreach, I came across a Whiterun Guard.

He pointed a finger at me and sneered, “Heard about you and your honeyed words.”

I ignored him and kept walking. I passed another Guard.

“Hands to yourself, sneak thief.” he threatened as I walked by.

I had no reply. I simply kept my head down and continued towards Dragonsreach. Once I had given Farengar the Dragonstone, I would leave Whiterun for good. I hoped I could find one of the Khajiit Caravans that roamed across Skyrim and join them. I would rather be amongst my own people; they would not treat me like these Nords did.

I entered Dragonsreach and marched towards Farengar’s room with a purpose.

The Guard at the door called out to me, “Stay out of trouble, Khajiit.”

I had had enough. The name calling, the threats, maybe I was a thief but they did not know that. They were only judging me on my appearance alone. I decided I would get revenge on this unsuspecting Guard. I walked away from the Guard until I was out of his line of sight and then snuck back around him. I crept closer to him until he was within reach. With my deft paws, I lifted the quiver full of Steel Arrows off of his back, and then I reached into his pack and pulled out a torch and his civilian clothes; all without the Guard noticing. I chuckled to myself as I slinked away, this would teach him to mock me.

When I reached Farengar’s room, I found he was not alone. He was talking to a hooded woman, I could not see her face clearly but from her dress and demeanor, I could tell that she was a capable warrior. I overheard Farengar mention a book from the First Era, something about a Dragon War. I did not understand what was being said but I was sure the mysterious woman did. She commented about her employers and how they needed to see progress. Farengar reassured her that he was working as hard he was could. He also remarked how he would love to see a Dragon up close, that the experience would be invaluable; I doubt he would still feel the same way if he had witnessed the events of Helgen.

Farengar then noticed I had been standing near him and addressed me, “Hmm? Ah, yes, the Jarl’s protege! Back from Bleak Falls Barrow? You did not die, it seems.”

‘Protege?’ I snickered to myself, ‘What a funny prospect.’ I held out the Dragonstone to Farengar without saying a word.

“Ah! The Dragonstone of Bleak Falls Barrow!” the Court Wizard exclaimed with surprise in his voice. He began to run his hands over the tablet. “Seems you are a cut above the usual brutes the Jarl sends my way.”

“Dar’Raza has brought this one the Dragonstone. What next?” I asked as Farengar continued to appraise the tablet.

Without even looking up at me, he answered, “This is where your job ends and mine begins. The work of the mind, sadly undervalued in Skyrim.” Farengar hesitated for a moment before continuing, “My… associate will be pleased to see your handiwork. She discovered its location, by means she has so far declined to share with me.”

With this he addressed the woman. “So your information was correct after all. And we have our friend here to thank for recovering it for us.”

The mysterious woman spoke to me, “You went into Bleak Falls Barrow and got that? Nice work.” Then she continued her conversation with Farengar, “Just send me a copy when you have deciphered it.”

Suddenly, the Jarl’s Housecarl bolted into the room. “Farengar!”

We all turned our attention to the panicked Dunmer.

“Farengar, you need to come at once.” Irileth’s face was taut with seriousness. “A Dragon has been sighted nearby.”

My heart skipped a beat. ‘A Dragon? Could it be the same one from Helgen?’ the questions swirled in my head.

Irileth pointed at me, “You should come, too.”

I nodded with a low growl and adjusted the quiver on my back. I guess this was not the end of my work after all.

“A Dragon!” Farengar exclaimed as he clapped his hands with glee, “How exciting! Where was it seen? What was it doing?”

I do not think Farengar truly understood the gravity of the situation. Killing a Dragon would be no small task and I was unsure if it was even possible. The Imperial Archers in Helgen had pelted the black Dragon with hundreds of arrows but they failed to bring down the creature. I did not think my bow would make much of a difference in a fight against a Dragon. As Irileth answered Farengar, I noticed the mysterious woman leaving. None of her concern, I take it. I wanted to do the same but what if the Dragon turned towards Riverwood? At least Whiterun had an army of guards; they might be able to kill the beast. I pictured Alvor and Dorthe happily working the forge while Sigrid prepared a meal inside their home. There was Lucan and Camilla who tended their store and Faendal who worked the mill before he hunted in the woods. ‘I must protect them.’ I thought to myself as I fingered my bow and turned my attention back to the conversation.

Irileth scoffed at Farengar, “I would take this a bit more seriously if I were you. If a Dragon decides to attack Whiterun I do not know if we can stop it.”

She motioned for us to follow her up the second floor of Dragonsreach. There we found Jarl Balgruuf and a Whiterun Guard holding a conversation.

“So, Irileth tells me you came from the Western Watchtower?” the Jarl questioned the Guard.

The Guard answered, “Yes, my lord.”

Irileth interjected, “Tell him what you told me. About the Dragon.”

The Guard nodded, “Uh… that is right. We saw it coming from the south. It was fast… faster than anything I have ever seen.”

“What did it do?” the Jarl asked with concern streaking his face. “Is it attacking the watchtower?”

“No, my lord.” the Guard replied. “It was just circling overhead when I left. I never ran so fast in my life… I thought it would come after me for sure.”

The Jarl patted the Guard on the shoulder. “Good work, son. We will take it from here. Head down to the barracks for some food and rest. You have earned it.”

The Guard bowed and left the presence of the Jarl.

Balgruuf the Greater motioned towards the Dunmer. “Irileth, you had better gather some guardsmen and get down there.”

“I have already ordered my men to muster near the main gate.” she replied.

“Good.” the Jarl said in a concerned voice. He paused for a moment before looking straight into Irileth’s eyes. “Do not fail me.”

The Jarl turned towards me. “There is no time to stand on ceremony, my friend. I need your help again.”

‘Friend?’ I thought but only nodded my support.

“I want you to go with Irileth and her fight this Dragon. You survived Helgen, so you have more experience with Dragons than anyone else here.” Jarl Balgruuf smiled at me, “But I have not forgotten the service you did for me in retrieving the Dragonstone for Farengar. As a token of my esteem, I have instructed Avenicci that you are permitted to purchase property in the city. And please accept this gift from my personal armory.”

I was stunned; I took the gift without a word. He had shown me such trust and gratitude. Me, a Khajiit, an outsider to his lands and he had offered me a home in Whiterun. I could not think, there was still the Dragon to deal with. I followed Irileth back down to the main hall of Dragonsreach. As I did, I could over hear Farengar speaking with the Jarl.

“I should come along.” Farengar remarked. “I would very much like to see this Dragon.”

“No, I cannot afford to risk both of you.” Jarl Balgruuf shook his head, “I need you here working on ways to defend the city against these Dragons.”

Farengar hung his head in disappointment but did not question his Jarl. “As you command.”

The Jarl stood at the top the stairs and called out to us. “One last thing, Irileth. This is not a death or glory mission. I need to know what we are dealing with.”

The Dunmer reassured her Jarl, “Do not worry, my lord. I am the very soul of caution.”

As we approached the main door to Whiterun, Irileth spoke to me, “I will see you at the watchtower as soon as the rest of the men have gathered.”

“I envy you to see this Dragon up close.” Farengar shouted as he waved goodbye.

‘I envy you for staying in the safety of Dragonsreach’ I replied in my head.