August 22, 2014

The Thief in the Snow - Entry IX: Home
The Thief in the Snow
Entry IX: Home
Location: Whiterun Plains, Whiterun Hold
Date: Turdas, 21st of Last Seed, 4E 201

Maybe I should have left for High Hrothgar right away but I needed rest, food, and money first. The sun was just rising over the distant mountains when I decided to put my skills to use, hunting for local game in the plains outside of Whiterun. Hills rolled across the vast land in every direction and the weather was mild. I explored the farms to the southeast, the same farms I had seen when I first traveled to Whiterun. I followed the eastern wall of Whiterun north to the Whitewatch Tower. The three Guards stationed there were being attacked by Bandits and I lent them my bow. The Bandits were overwhelmed quickly and the Guards thanked me for my help. They even saluted me as Thane of Whiterun but I could only give an uncomfortable nod in return. I did not think I would ever get used to this kind of treatment. Being discriminated, yes, but this adoration and support? It was a foreign concept that was hard for me to comprehend.

As I continued north, I stumbled across a bandit den hidden in the crevices of the great stones that formed the north wall of Dragonsreach. I dispatched the two Bandits swiftly and searched the den for any valuables. I found four bottles and a note which stated the Bandits were smuggling Skooma, a highly addictive drug that was created from Moon Sugar. I examined the bottles closely, yes this was Skooma. Moon Sugar was a common commodity in Elsweyr and a staple in the Khajiit diet. By combining Moon Sugar and Nightshade, a plant found locally across Tamriel, one could make the crystalline solid; Skooma. Inducing bouts of euphoria and lethargy when smoked, Skooma was dangerous and its use could result in death. While Khajiit tended to have a high tolerance for the drug, there were cases of ‘Sugar Tooths,’ Khajiit who would sell anything and everything for one more hit of the intoxicating substance. Because of the high demand, Skooma and to a lesser extent, Moon Sugar and Nightshade were popular commodities the Caravans carried across Tamriel. Skooma was another reason why people hated the Khajiit. If we were not thieves or bandits, we were drug makers and dealers. I despised Skooma and the trading of it; I tucked the note away and vowed to end this smuggling myself.

I trekked west and uncovered the body of a Witch. I began searching for what had slain this person when I noticed the stench of burning grass. I whipped around just in time to dodge a blast of fire. I had stumbled upon a Flame Atronach, a type of Daedra that used fire magic to burn its foes to death. Daedra were supernatural entities that occupied the Planes of Oblivion. On certain occasions, the Daedra could manifest themselves within the mortal plane of Mundus, the plane that the planet Nirn and the continent of Tamriel inhabited. They were fierce creatures that were not to be taken lightly. I fought with all my might, besting the Atronach and escaping its fiery demise just in time.

I continued exploring the Whiterun Plains, marching east towards a giant camp I had heard the Dragonsreach guards talking about previously. These camps were scattered across Skyrim, homes to the Giants who tended to their herds of Mammoths. While generally peaceful, Giants were known to turn violent when something threatened their herd. I had heard tales of these two colossal creatures and wanted to see them up close for myself. As I sneaked near Bleakwind Basin, I could see the giant wooly creatures grazing on the plains. Mammoths, their tusks were longer than I was tall and they possessed muscular trunks. I could only imagine how much gold a Mammoth Tusk was worth but I would have to wait a little longer since I knew I could not dispatch one of these great beasts… yet. The Giants were nothing to scoff at either; their massive clubs would crush my bones into powder. No one knew why the Giants conducted little interaction with the other residents of Skyrim, as long as their herds were secure, they kept to themselves.

I was northwest of Whiterun now and turned my attention to hunting the wild Deer and Elk that dotted the plains. I was able to chase down five but a sixth escaped the arrows I fired at it. I also collected various flowers including the white Tundra Cotton. The flowers covered the vast plains like weeds, sprouting up anywhere they could find the room to grow. I spotted a few Monarch Butterflies near an estuary of the White River. I jumped to catch one but missed and began chasing it around the small stream until I finally clutched it in my paws. I glanced around, embarrassed, I hoped there was no one to witness my escapades with the butterfly. Imagine what the Whiterun guards would think seeing a ‘cat’ chasing butterflies across the plains. That was enough ingredients collecting for me; I planned to use these ingredients at the Alchemy Lab in Arcadia’s Cauldron to make potions to sell.

I rambled farther west and then south, stumbling on a vein of Iron which I mined in hopes of turning the ore into Ingots to use later at a forge. I followed another stream south, slaughtering a couple of Mudcrabs that attacked me from the banks. As I neared the Western Watchtower, I discovered an abandoned house that was partially destroyed. It was a strange sight to see in the almost pristine Whiterun Plains. I wondered what had happened here but with no clues to follow, I continued my journey south. I located another giant camp, Secunda’s Kiss, before turning back to the Western Watchtower. I checked in with the Guards posted there, asking if there was anything of note to report after the Dragon had been slain. There was no news, just construction as they worked to rebuild the tower. They appreciated a visit from the ‘Dragonborn,’ I denied that I was this person, but they thanked me all the same.
Location: Whiterun, Whiterun Hold
Date: Turdas, 21st of Last Seed, 4E 201

As I returned to Whiterun, the Guards manning the main gate greeted me, “Citizen.”

What a change of attitude from when I first arrived here. ‘What was the phrase again?’ I asked myself. ‘I have got my eyes on you.’ Once inside the city walls, I went directly to the local blacksmith, Warmaiden’s, and spoke to the owner. Adrianne Avenicci welcomed me with kindness in her voice. ‘Avenicci? Why did that name sound familiar?’ I requested the use of her facilities and she said she would allow it if I did something for her first. She had been working on her masterpiece and wanted it delivered to her father. It was a gift for the Jarl and she stated that her father could make sure the Jarl received the gift. ‘That is it!’ I realized she was Proventus Avenicci’s daughter, the same Avenicci that had mocked Hrongar’s Nord history. I told her that I would gladly the deliver her gift to her father.

On my way to Dragonsreach, a few of the local children came to talk to me. I am not sure which was more novel to them. The fact I was a Khajiit, I was the so-called Dragonborn, or that I was Thane of Whiterun. Maybe it was all three. One of the boys, Lars Battle-Born, told me how the other children picked on him, especially Braith. I told him I would talk to her and see if I could get her and other children to stop.

I delivered Adrianne’s gift to her father and talked to Avenicci about the history of Whiterun. The Imperial’s face lit up as he told me about the founding of Whiterun and the three districts. The Plains District where the shops were, the Wind District where most of the citizens lived, and Dragonsreach where we were located now. I returned to Adrianne and she thanked me for my service and welcomed me to Warmaiden’s. I fashioned a few iron weapons from the ore I had mined previously and then sold my wares to Adrianne. If I wanted to buy a house in Whiterun, I would need five thousand gold Septims and the gold I earned from Adrianne brought me within a thousand Septims of that goal.

I went to Arcadia’s Cauldron next and crafted potions from the flowers and butterfly wings I had collected from the Whiterun Plains. As I sold my potions, I found out Arcadia was an Imperial from Cyrodiil but had been living in Skyrim for quite some time. I realized this must be why she was not bothered by a Khajiit when we met for the first time. She called me friend and gave me a Steel War Axe as a proper thank you for delivering the Frost Salts from Farengar. Only one hundred more gold needed and I could buy a house.

Outside of Arcadia’s Cauldron, in the main square of the Plains District, I could hear angry voices shouting at each other. I could only assume that these were the infamous Battle-Borns and Gray-Manes I had been hearing so much about. They were both original families of Whiterun but held opposing opinions on Skyrim’s Civil War. The Gray-Mane Clan supported the Stormcloaks while the Battle-Born Family was deeply loyal to the Empire. This generational feud was something I wanted to avoid getting in the middle of so I quickly trotted in a different direction.

I saw a few of the local children playing by the town well and called out to see which one was Braith. As she approached me, I asked her to stop bullying Lars, stating that I was his bodyguard now and she would have to deal with me if he was hurt again. I was surprised when she blurted out that she would not have to bully Lars if he only would kiss her. I chuckled as she ran off with the other children.

It was evening when I reached my next stop, the Bannered Mare, Whiterun’s local inn. I met Hulda, the Nord innkeeper, who was nice and inviting. Brenuin was there, I found out that while he was Lucia’s ‘mentor’ he was also the town drunk. I saw a Nord warrior sitting at a table at the end of the inn. As I approached, she challenged me to a friendly bare-handed brawl, only cost a bet of 100 gold. That was exactly how much I needed to buy a house in Whiterun so I obliged and the fight commenced, much to the joy of the other patrons. My claws were no match for her fists and I defeated her easily. As she returned to her feet, she introduced herself as Uthgerd the Unbroken and invited me to share a drink with her. She enjoyed our brawl very much and told me that was one of the best fights she had had in a long time. As we drank together, Uthgerd related her story of how she tried to join the Companions but was rejected. She gave me the hundred gold Septims I had won and pledged her loyalty to me. Uthgerd stated that all I had to do was call and she would be there to fight by my side.

As I left Uthgerd’s table, I saw the red-haired woman again. She was sitting alone at a table and eating a meal.

“Excuse me,” I stammered as I approached her table, “Dar’Raza wishes to formally apologize for bumping into this one a few days ago on the steps of Dragonsreach.”

She motioned for me to sit down and introduced herself, “My name is Ysolda, it is nice to meet you Dar’Raza. There is no reason to apologize, it was an accident, it happens.”

As I sat down, I inquired, “So what does this one do in Whiterun?”

“Before my ma and da passed,” she replied sadly, “I told them that one day, I would become the best trader in Skyrim. I met one of the Caravan leaders, Ma’dran. He said he would help get me started if I could bring him a Mammoth Tusk. Easier said than done.”

“Dar’Raza would gladly help you procuring one.” I offered with a smile.

“You would do that?” Ysolda quizzed in a gleeful voice. “If you find one, I could teach you a thing or two about trading. Help you get a fair bargain in the future.”

I grinned, “That would come in useful.” Then I realized it was getting late and I was keeping Ysolda from her meal, “Dar’Raza will leave this one for the night. Many thanks for the conversation.”

As I got up from the table, she waved goodbye, “Until next time.”

I started to leave the Bannered Mare but I saw Lucia sitting by the fireplace. I asked her what she was doing there and she informed me that she stayed by the fireplace as long as possible before she went to sleep near the Temple of Kynareth. I motioned to Hulda and bought the girl a meal before exiting the inn. It was the least I could do for the orphan. Lucia was a kind girl and deserved better than this. ‘There must be someplace she could go?’ I thought to myself.
Location: Whiterun, Whiterun Hold
Date: Fredas, 22nd of Last Seed, 4E 201

The next morning I spoke to Proventus Avenicci about buying a house in Whiterun. The sun had barely risen but the faithful steward was already hard at work. I had saved up five thousand Septims, enough to buy a house in the Plains District of Whiterun. After counting the coins, Avenicci handed me a key and welcomed me to Whiterun. Lydia accompanied me to my new home; after all, she would be living in the spare bedroom. She was tasked with protecting my belongings while I was away so it made sense to have her stay there.

I arrived at my very first home, Breezehome. It was a small house located next to Warmaiden’s. ‘Perfect location for any late night smithing I might do.’ I thought as I opened the door. As I entered I saw a fire pit and cooking pot were already installed. I had paid Avenicci extra gold to furnish the kitchen and hoped that I would be able to buy more furnishings soon. To the left of the door stood a table with two chairs, and to the right, a bookcase with a few cloth storage sacks. There was a rack hanging above the fire pit where I could hang herbs to dry.

Next to the stairs, there was enough space for a dining table yet old boxes and crates occupied the area at the moment. There was also a little room tucked underneath the stairs, it might do as a study once I cleaned it of the dust and the hay. Up the stairs and to the left was a small room, furnished simply. I asked Lydia if the room would be adequate for her, since it was far from the splendor of Dragonsreach, but she replied that it would suit her just fine. Across from her room was a small nook with enough space for a few storage chests. Turning around, I saw what would have been the master bedroom. Instead, it looked more like an attic filled with forgotten junk. There was a very old bed at least, it would do for now.

After I took a few moments to enjoy my new home, I pulled out the letter the Courier had delivered to me when I returned from the Western Watchtower. ‘Letter from a Friend,’ it began.
‘Dar’Raza, You caused a bit of stir in Western Watchtower when you demonstrated the power of your Thu’um. Not everyone is anxious for the return of the Dragonborn.

I for one desire to see you grow and develop your talents. Skyrim needs a true hero these days.’
It was unsigned. I was not sure what the letter intended. Was it a warning, maybe a threat? I could not tell how sincere this ‘friend’s’ desire to see me develop my talents was. I knew I should have traveled to High Hrothgar straightaway but I felt compelled to seek out my friend, Hadvar, in Solitude to his gain his insight on the entire matter. I still did not believe that I was this ‘Dragonborn’ everyone claimed I was. Irileth was skeptical of the story yet Jarl Balgruuf believed it fully. What I knew without a doubt was that I did possess some kind of power and I displayed that power at the Western Watchtower. My mind was made up; I would seek Hadvar for his advice before I decided on my next course of action. I told Lydia to keep an eye on everything while I was away, I had no idea how long I would be gone for. I gathered supplies for the long journey and set out towards Solitude, the heart of the Empire in Skyrim.