Charles Francis Moran VI, George Collazo, John McGuire and Stu Horvath played The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for five days straight. They each went in a different cardinal direction to find their own unique adventures. Read Day One, Day Two and Day Three. This is the fourth part of their chronicles.
After breaking camp from the tower, I instinctually headed west. The bright, warm sun lit up the valley between the mountains and made my skin feel strong and tight. As I came over the crest of a small hill, I saw two dead horses below me and a small wooden cart smoldering. I approached the scene with caution but it seemed that whoever was responsible for this was long gone. There were no survivors. For that matter, there were no bodies either. Whomever this cart belonged to must have run to safety, hastily having left behind a coin purse, an iron sword and four potatoes.
Darkness was coming and the mountains were becoming steep, then treacherous, then impassable. I needed to find another way through. I had no choice but to head north.
I could hear the thunder rolling in the distance. Soon the mountains gave passage through, and I found myself heading west again. I came to the top of one of the ridges in the mountain and into a lush glade. I heard shouting from the north and quickly found myself under attack by fanatical Nord bandits. I used my newly-discovered ability to control fire to disperse the oncoming assault.
I could feel the desire for destruction within me get stronger. I am Nine and I am stronger.
On the other side of the ridge was a garrison, full of sleeping soldiers. I wish I could tell you that I was able to creep up in there and give them a quiet death. However, it must have been the creaky Imperial armor I was wearing that woke the whole lot. Overpowered by a white-haired woman sorcerer, I headed backwards to the mountainside for cover. I watched as ice shot out from behind the rock. I was hidden, but for how long?
Not long at all – the sorcerer deduced quickly that I was behind the rock and that I had nowhere to go. I took a chance, broke left around the rock, came up on the heels of the Nord sorceress and drove my blade through. The woman silently fell to the ground.
Walking through the garrison, I came across two more Nord bandits. One of the bandits pounded his chest and shouted at me. I remember this, the shouting. This seemed very familiar. Where have I heard this shouting before?
I feel a great power surge through me. I see my sword begin to glow with blue light. I come down on the Nord with a sense of purpose, my blade sparking uncontrollably. The Nord goes breathless at my feet, and my body is now piercing with pain. Everything now glows blue and is sparking. Which what little strength I have, I turn and see yet another Nord sorcerer. This Nord is conjuring electricity, which now erupts all over me. I rush at her.
As I approached she drew her blade for close combat. It ended with my blade in her neck.
My name is Nine.
The garrison now empty, I take to the bedroll and the fire. I make a small stew with the potatoes and Mora Tapinella fungi. I hope to find some more assurance that my trip has purpose.
– Charles Francis Moran VI
Ertoth Velth (South)
The cold wind that passed through the opening of the cave had an ominous chill. Velth looked down at the map which she pilfered from a bandit in Neugand Keep that said simply, “Treasure.”
Winding through the narrow passes, she heard a grinding sound, its abrasive nature unlike anything she had heard before. Peeking around a corner, she saw a skeleton walking around with a bow and quiver slung around its back. The bone-on-bone sound seemed an assault to her finely tuned feline ears, causing her to wince.
Velth thought to herself, “What a strange land I seem to have found myself in, where the dead wander about as if they were living.”
Her ears felt like they were fit to burst. She decided to act.
Two well-placed arrows to the skeleton’s skull toppled it to a pile of bones. Velth moved forward and waited near the skeletal rubble to see if it would reanimate. She thought about the bandits from the day before and wondered if the Keep would be inhabited by similar skeletons, and if maybe everything that died up this far north would eventually find its way to an undead, calcified state. A land of bones.
She did not fear the idea and almost found solace in it; just the idea of being stuck away from home did not please her. But she vowed she would complete her goal one way or another.
The skeleton never stirred again. Velth moved on.
Darkness filled the cave as the skeleton guardians filled chamber after chamber, never truly testing Velth, and then she realized something. This had all been a trap and something was definitely leading her deeper.
– George Collazo
The encounter with the wolves took more out of me than I thought, so I decided to get off the road and stay at a local inn for the night. I felt renewed when I awoke in the morning and made sure to eat a hearty meal before my days’ travel began. I stopped at a local shop at the edge of town and unloaded my wares, making far more than I spent on my accommodations. With my pack lighter and my belly full, I was ready to continue my journey.
To pass the time on the road, I started whistling a merry tune to distract myself from the questions that plagued my mind. What crime could I have possibly committed? Who could want me put to death? Are there really answers waiting for me in Eastmarch? I must have lost myself for a moment because I didn’t notice the bandit girl with her spear pointed at me.
“Halt!” She said, jabbing the business end of her spear at my stomach. “You will pay me 100 gold to pass this way. Pay the toll with gold, or your life.” It took all I had not to laugh in her face. I’ve fought bears and the thought of paying a little girl with a stick 100 gold was ridiculous at best, but then I remembered that bandits seldom traveled alone.
I surveyed the area and although I saw no other bandits, I decided to err on the side of caution. I indulged the brat in her bribe but not after haggling her down to 50 gold, which was still to me, quite literally, highway robbery.
The bandit girl laughed and told me to be on my way. To her I was yet another rube on the road to be taken advantage of, but unfortunately for her I would turn out to be so much more than she bargained for.
I headed up the road for a bit and then doubled back. I could simply not allow myself to be made a fool. I kept my eyes on the road and once I saw nobody else was coming and she was consumed with counting money, I sneaked up behind her and sliced from gullet to gash. I quietly reclaimed my gold, and set back on my way.
Back on the road my mind was once again plagued, but this time it wasn’t questions about Eastmarch or the last few days. All I could think about was how easy it was for me to decide to murder that bandit girl, and how I felt not a drop of remorse. Maybe I did belong on that cart after all.
– John McGuire
The Nords love their vegetables. Leeks and potatoes are prized, but the cabbage commands the best price. In every town, it seems, there is a buyer for the produce black market, if you know where to look.
It didn’t take long for me to set up a circuit around the mountain they call the Throat of the World. I would move from settlement to settlement, buying low and selling high. I would augment my stock by waylaying bandits on the road (or farmers – who can tell? They are all poor). I accumulated a small fortune very quickly – enough to fund the purchase of a home in White Run and two bodyguards.
But as good as I had it, I began to notice that things can be strange in the north. In addition to the bandits and farmers, there are no shortage of Daedra cultists and necromancers along the road, especially at night. And trolls. Don’t get me started about trolls. Then there was the crazy man named Narfi.
A bit touched in the head, he lived on the edge of Ivarstead in a ruined house. His parents had died some years ago and he had been taken care of by his sister, until she went off picking mushrooms for dinner and never returned. For some reason, I took pity on the wretch and agreed to search the area for signs of his sister. I found her bones, and a locket, in a shallow part of a nearby river. Narfi took the news in the expected mix of sadness and relief and rewarded me with what remained of her possessions…as well as a human heart. What is wrong with these people?
And, as if that wasn’t weird enough, now there is the business of dragons and destiny…
– Stu Horvath