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Posted: July 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

Check out the Skyrim Reality Challenge (as well as the Fallout Reality Challenge) at Challenging Reality Gaming on Youtube. We have a wide variety of other Challenges as well. Such as the Death-proof Challenge of Dark Souls (wherein one does not die). The Flawless Challenge of Fable (where one does not get hit). And many more!

Fredas, 22th of Last Seed, 4 E 201
LVL 4

Upon waking inside the warmth of the mine, I ate a hearty meal of more roast goat and my fill of tomatoes. Stepping out into the fresh morning light, I knew beyond a doubt it would be a good day.
I secured the gates behind me and feeling I have more than sated my bloodlust for now, opted out of hitting the next bandit camp. Instead, I  headed for Falkreath to report directly to Jarl Siddgeir.

Halfway to Falkreath (and close to Knifepoint Ridge) I heard the sounds of battle. Moving carefully, bow drawn and arrow notched, I saw a ridiculously badass warhorse stomp a bandit into the dirt.
Three more lay dead nearby along with the body of yet another merchant (human). These were clearly the same depraved brigands who had gutted the Khajiit merchant and his horse a day ago.
Searching the bodies for arrows and gold, I decided it was my duty to carry out the bounty and mass-murder them all (particularly the leader, since his head is what would pay the bounty). From the merchant I took some charcoal, ectoplasm and salt (presumably bagged since he was carrying them), 3 pieces of iron ore (for the blacksmith back Falkreath way), juniper berries (which I immediately ate because YUM), lockpicks, garlic and a rock warbler egg.
I wished I had something to heal the horse’s wounds, but reasoned proper vengeance would be sweeter than any tonic (not really), so I rode the baddass horse right up to the bandit keep and laid siege.

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Pictured: One Badass Horse

On horseback, we two took down two bandits with hoof and sword. I then dismounted, leaving my Horse of Badassery to feast on the corpses of the fallen.

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Horse of Badassery: He will fucking eat you!

Next, I went to play a game of archery with a pair of bow-women, winning with a double headshot: 2-0!

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Women, always complaining about migrains…oh.

Moving deeper into the camp, I slayed a bandit in his sleep with another arrow through the ol’mug, then facing down a witch by way of electrocution and claiming her staff of frost — all in a matter of seconds. With Hircine guiding my hand, I am truly invincible!

I paused to heal my minor wounds and pull free a silver amulet one of the bandits surely stole while enjoying a tart snowberry I got off the witch. As I healed, I felt my ability in Restoration significantly increase. I am growing with each kill, I can feel it!

After rampaging my way through two more bandits, I came to the entrance to another mine, this one guarded by a Dunmer mage. We traded shock spells until he yielded and tried to flee. I repaid his pleas with a sword through the back (HEY, that spell freaking HURT!). Before heading in, I took a moment to recover (healing potion). I then took stock of the camp (gold, sellable potions, a few potatos for rainy days, frost miriam for seasoning and the book “Vernaccus and Bourlor). Now I am about to head inside. Praise Hircine!

***
The bandit leader proved no match for me. I hit him with two arrows, then as he closed, I unleashed fire. He got a single good swing in that managed to staggered me. Only slightly wounded, I roared my most fearsome Battle Cry yet and he turned to flee, bumping into a pole in his haste. Cornered, he burned alive like an radroach. In my mercy, I executed him with my sword straight down through his spine while he flamed on his knees.
PRAISE HIRCINE!

This mine contained some already unearthed iron ore near some still-buried corpses. The bodies are likely some of this band’s first victims. N’wahs.
I collected some gold, a gem, the slain leader’s banded iron shield for trophy, and a spell tomb of Courage. I am most excited to add this newest spell to my repertoire as soon as I have a moment to read.
After snapping several picks trying to force the lock on a prison cell, I found the body of an Imperial — worked to death mining ore.

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A little hard work never killed anybod — dammit!

The world is better without those reavers.
I am clearly a hero and a legend.

Emerging outside, I found the Steed of Badassery had moved on to other hunting grounds. “Hircine be with you, my equine equal,” I somberly intoned, and turned my gaze southeast once more – to Falkreath and my rich rewards.

***
No sooner had I finished jotting down the last entry than I saw a pair of bandits attacking a mage off in the distance. Perhaps a raiding party returning to Knifepoint Ridge?
Hurry as I might, I was too late; by the time I got to the fight, only the brigands remained standing. I hit them with a few arrows before shouldering the bow and turning my magic on them, burning both down into the ground.
I had no time to celebrate however, as an enemy arrow flew inches from my head from out of the forest. I drew my own bow but could not spot the attacker.
Another arrow flew out from the trees, nearly striking me.
Curses!
I ran parallel to the arrow’s origin and crouched behind some rocks, soon seeing the archer. We traded shots back and forth until he fell to his knees – defeated. I approached and stood over him, looking from the bandit to the arrow-riddled body of the slain mage.
I walked away from the bandit, leaving only a single arrow in the back of the murderer’s head.

My swaggering walk of extreme epicness through the forest was soon interrupted by a spriggan as I neared a place my map described as ‘Evergreen Grove’. I did not bother to fight the creature, remembering the dream of my demise at the hands of such a beast. Instead I fled, a swarm of stinging, burrowing insects nearly overtaking me until, in desperation, I leaped from a cliff. I landed near a necromancer, interrupting his ritual. I had no time to apologize however, as I continued my sprint, stopping only when I could run no longer. Heaving myself against a tree, I chugged a healing potion and cast a quick spell to expel the foul critters from my flesh before continuing my run.
Spotting the road, I burst through the trees and stumbled the last few steps into Falkreath, just as nightfall set in and the town’s signature rain began to fall.

I walked, heaving and exhausted into Solaf’s store and unloaded my loot of various gems, trinkets, potions, the staff of frost and all but 10 lockpicks (who need more than ten?). By way of barter, I bought the spellbook: Fury. Soon I shall become more powerful than you can imagine!

I then went straight to Siddgeir, showing off my trophies of the dead bandit leaders. The young Jarl was so grateful, he not only gave me a GENEROUS purse of gold but also granted me permission to buy land in Falkreath Hold. After speaking to the Jarl’s stewart, the High Elf Nenya (why in Oblivion does Sidgeir tolerate an Altmer!?) I found, not to much surprise, that to buy property cost considerably more gold than I had to spare.

The shops now all closed for the night, I headed over to Dead Man’s Drink for a hearty meal of horker loaf, eidar cheese, and a sweetroll, along with an expensive vintage of black-briar mead (I want to know what all that fuss was about). Valga gave me another bounty for some bandits in a place called Embershard (a place a little too close to Helgan for comfort) while Narri greeted me with her usual zeal (missed her!). I sat down to eat, write this entry and study the spellbooks of Fury and Courage.

***
Not so sure about Fury just yet, but the meal was delicious, and I soon set about talking to the townfolk and practicing Courage, which they all seemed to enjoy. I might have gotten a bit more toasted off that fine mead than I originally thought, for the next thing I knew, I was agreeing to helping old Thadgeir deliver his buddy’s ashes to the bulbous Altmeri priest. I sobered up right quick when I stepped back out into the rain but by then I was already committed, carrying the little urn all the way down into the hut by the cemetery.
Runil the High Elf took the ashes, but before I could make my escape, he astonished me with a gift of 250 gold “for my trouble”. Maybe not all Altmer are so bad?

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Nice-elf Runil, friendliest elephant man around.

Maybe. Spreading a little of the Emperor’s gold around certainly doesn’t hurt. Apparently old Runil has been hitting some of the black-briar mead himself, because between long sips, he told me of his atrocities during the Great War. He also asked me to retrieve his old journal (filled with the details of his war crimes?) in a cave he was exploring – Moss Mother Cavern, promising to pay me for my trouble. I replied that I would look if I ever went that way: The more dirt you have on people, the better.

Back at the inn, Mathias gave me a hat of his by way of pauper gift. I guess its the best he can do, considering I avenged the murder of his child. But hey, at least I really feel like my understanding of Illusion has really increased thanks to that Courage spell!

Thats when my buzz was ruined by an old guy named Dengeir’s babbling. Apparently he used to be Jarl and was persuaded to ‘resign’ after he sided with the Bluecloaks. Serves him right.
Feeling like I’d had enough for one day, I paid Valga for my usual room and went straight to sleep.

 

Turdas, 21th of Last Seed, 4 E 201
LVL 3

Upon waking – feeling fairly rested – I ate a few apples before stepping out of the cave, leaving my fellow hunters to be buried by the animals. Immediately, I saw a traveling Khajiit caravan out on the road, and upon intercepting them, I spoke to their leader – Ri’saad. He gave me a fair price on my old gear, along with the non-healing potions and old gems I have collected. After wishing them warm sands in these harsh, wintery lands, we parted ways.
Whoever says Khajiit traders are anything but a Gods-send is an idiot and should be sent to the block.

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Furries came from miles around to gwak at the magical pantsless man.

At the crossroads that would lead me back to Falkreath or take me further west toward the bandits that plague the Jarl, I spotted an elk and hit it with a series of arrows before closing distance and killing it up-close. I then tore the most nutritious flesh from its still-warm body (with my steel dagger) and seared the raw meat tender (with my fist of fire). I then ate a proper meal for one of Hircine’s chosen. Luckily, the magic fire can be used to burn the gore from my hands. Cleanliness is next to deity-ness.

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You harmlessly eat grass and run from asshole predators…only to be burnt alive by some crazy, half-naked pyromaniac. The beautiful Circle of Life!

I decided to follow my newly honed predatory urges and head for the bandit camp of Bilegulch Mine. With Lord Hircine guiding my hand, they would stand no chance at all! And so, I headed further west where I came upon another Khajiit – this one slain on the road near his gutted horse. The cat-man’s caravan was overturned and goods sprawled all over the road. The corpses had not yet begun to rot – this was a recent kill. This only reaffirmed my decision to drive the bandit parasites from these mountains. MY mountains. I am a true Nord – bound by no man’s law. I care nothing for the worship of some long-dead dragonborn. Anyone who does is wasting their lives.

Respectfully searching the remains for any clues, I came across a book in the Khajiit’s possession – “Dancing with Fire” (volume 7). I took the thing as recompense for the justice I would soon wreck on his killers.

As I continued on, my sense of smell and hearing somehow amplified by the legendary Savior’s Hide, I spotted a human shape up ahead. Crouching, I sneaked up on the man, then stood directly behind him (like some sort of Bat-Man) until he realized I was there. He told me his name was Balbus and that he was not responsible for raided caravan but rather, that he was collecting rare ingredients in the hopes of meeting the famed chef ‘Le Gourmet’. I bid him luck on his venture and followed a southern road that would take me to Bilegulch Mine.

I paused to write this entry at the friendly fire of a fellow hunter, who spoke of the injustice of the Jarl trying to fine him for hunting these lands. I agreed that his poaching was doing no harm (to people).

***

Following the markings on my map, I found myself at the shear side of a mountain. I decided to scout around.
Hearding the clanking of a blacksmith’s hammer up on top of the large rock formation, I figured it to be the bandits of Bilegulch Mine, forging more crude weapons with which to skewer innocent furries Khajiit.
As I moved around the base of the mountain, I marveled at a tiger stalking an elk only yards away. Neither paid heed to me and I knew that I was indeed one of Hircine’s creatures.
On the far side I found a valley that, according to my map, was called Lost Valley Redoubt. I saw the movement of armed men and women and decided to go back the way I came – these people were not my prey this day.

On my way back I encountered a fairy circle. Legends hold that upon such sacred spots, forest creatures would meet wise-women and grant wishes (because they have nothing better to do, apparently).

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With my luck, it would be Spriggans.

As I stood in the center of the flora formation, I found my Conjuration skills lacking however, and so instead, I picked some mushrooms I recognized as Blisterwort. Just a bit of hay and I can make more healing potions!

I made my way to the fortified front (the only approach) to the bandit’s compound. I sneaked up to the front gates and shoved them open. I spotted an orc and hide from view, waiting for him to approach so that I might ambush him from the side. To my surprise, the orc’s claymore blasted straight through the wood of the wall I was pressed against, staggering me. I recovered myself just in the time to block the orc’s next overhead strike as he rushed at me through the gates. I then bash him in his tusked maw with the pommel of my sword and slash him down before he could land another strike.
My lifeblood was flowing freely now, and falling back, I used my magics to heal my wounds. I then notched an arrow and waited for the next brigand to pass through the open gates.

To my pleasant surprise, the fiends cowered in their wood fort and I pressed the attack, climbing atop their own watchtower and firing a volley of arrows at the bandits deeper in their compound. One orc, riddled with my projectiles, managed to run all the way up to the watchtower before being shot down. The other was did not get even that far. With my foes slain before me, I felt a great illumination into the ways of Destruction.

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Another one bites the dust!

I continued deeper into the fort and soon found myself inside a mine. The sounds of pickaxe to rock could be heard echoing up from its depths. Within I found the orc bandit leader and fell upon him with arrow and flame.
The beast of a man was not deterred however, and I was forced to make a brave and tactically sound retreat lest I be cleaved in half with one swing of the wild swings of his fearsome battleaxe. To my surprise, he did not follow outside the mine. Taking stock of my equipment, I poisoned another arrow and with a deep breath and a quick praise to Hircine, ventured back in.

I found myself heroically repeating this hit and run process once more until the cowardly leader lay dead before me. I then set about raiding the encampment (how fitting that the raiders should be raided right back). I retrieved my arrows, some gold, an amethyst, several sellable potions, a few green apples for the road, swapped my old fur boots for never before worn hide boots, and three sets of freshly forged iron gauntlets (one of which now warms my very capable hands) along with an amulet of Akatosh and a necklace of magic (the latter of which now proudly adorns my manly chest). I also decided to take the bandit leader’s steel battleaxe as a trophy to show the Jarl the extent of my deed.
The ore inside the mine is Orichalcum and may fetch a high price to the right smith so I will keep the location of this mine in mind, though I myself am not the mining (hard working) type.
Finally, I dragged the body and weapon of the first orc into the compound (no sense in drawing attention) and securing the front gates before bedding down for the night. As my nightcap, I read “The Armorer’s Challenge” (a tale of Empress Katariah’s cunning in choosing the best armor for the terrain) while eating a feast of roast goat, tomatoes, leek, and mead.
Another productive day. Praise be to Hircine!

Middas, 20th of Last Seed, 4 E 201
LVL 2

Upon waking, feeling well rested, I bought and ate a freshly scorched salmon with bread and butter along with a very sweet honey nut treat. I also bought another red apple for the road (they keep well). As I sat eating in Dead Man’s Drink, I fiddled with the enchanted ring on my finger. Soon, I would earn this Daedric gift in earnest.

The wet morning air of Falkreath greeted the exposed skin of my arms and face as I stepped out into the cold chill and followed the foggy road out of town, heading north west.

The morning rain would not cease and soon I found myself drenched to the bone. I looked around for refuge along the road and spotted an old watchtower. Quickly scaling the rocks that separated the ruined structure from the well-traveled road, I ducked inside and out of the downpour. I heard voices and then magic being cast. I hide, drawing up my bow and notching an arrow. The sounds of an undead’s groan echoing down from the stairs.

Should I flee? Should I kill the necromancers and try to warm myself in the tower? Maybe this whole trip was a bad idea. What kind of an idiot goes gallivanting about after werewolves?
A fool who craves the favor of a Daedra Lord,” whispered a voice in my head.

Tightening the grip on my notched arrow, I carefully moved up the stairs. I paused, fearful, at every undead grunt but by the time I silently crested the stairs into the open air at the top of the tower, the zombie had turned to ash and the necromancer’s back was to me. Another Dark Elf.

I let fly my arrow, striking her in the back. As she stumbled to her feet, I released another; it clanked harmlessly off the stone wall, and she quickly closed distance, her magical shield up. I dropped my bow and raised my hands as they charged with electricity. Unleashing all I had was not enough to fell her as she used her foul freezing spells against me – they were doubly effective in this cold. With a shout of pain I pulled free my sword and slid it into the soft tissue of her shoulder — down into her heart.

Dropping heavily by the open fire, I drank a healing potion and then used what bit of my magic I had recovered to heal myself before sliding into a tent to wait out the weather and to warm myself with the fire’s heat.

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In a word? Cozy.

I decided to rest for an hour, write in this journal and read the book “Luminal Bridges” (a rather cumbersome tome of Conjuration on the trans-dimensional properties of sigil-stones as well as the art of trafficking with Daedra). I also perused the “Book of Daedra” (which boasts a rather self-explanatory title on the dominions of influence of the various Daedra Ladies and Lords).

The rain showing no sign of ceasing, and so I rose and searched the camp, collecting some gold, a small and a regular sized soul gem, along with a petite potion of stamina. I also retrieving my arrow off the deceased Dunmer and my bow off the ground. Now warm again, I am ready to continued through the rain toward Lord Hircine’s task.

***

I followed a path out of the old watchtower until it led me back to the main road. Passing by a mill, I paused long enough to snatch a chicken’s egg from its nest and ate it then and there.
At one point a scantily-clad man sprinted up to me (I drew my sword, of course) and handed me an enchanted helmet, bidding me to hold onto it for a while (throwing in a threat not to lose it by way of  sweetening the deal) before running off again. Naturally, I tossed it on the ground and continued merrily on my way.

By the time I made it to the caverns, the sky had lightened considerably and the rain had stopped – all well before midday. There is blood by the entrance. I am going inside now, blade drawn and magic alive and ready inside me.

***

Upon entering the cave, I took note of the lit torches set into the walls. Someone was already here.
Inside, beside a campfire, lay a wounded hunter called J’keir. Before the Khajiit bleeded out, he told me that his companions were already hunting Sinding elsewhere in the cave. Beside J’keir was an already slain huntress along with two other deceased compatriots. Her hunting bow and quiver caught my eye, and I relieved her of both, leaving behind my old longbow. Notching an arrow, I sneaked deeper into the cave — only the cave was no cave: a blood-red moon hung in a star-spangled sky. The Bloodmoon.  This was a place of Hircine. This was a place of magic.

As I moved cautiously through a narrow space between two rocks, keeping my eyes above, ahead and behind me, I spotted Sinding in his beast form on a high ledge above. He recognized me and I replied with an arrow to his chest. Wounded, he retreated and I followed, looking for a way up to him.

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Bloodmoon and Tribunal, anyone?

I followed up some ruined stairs that led me to a collapsed keep. Passing through it, I took note of a treasure chest, but decided against pausing, sensing it could be a distraction. Instead I kept low, and kept moving, arrow reading to fly.

On the other side of the collapsed castle, I found more dead hunters. Checking their bodies, I found arrows, a few minor healing, stamina, and poison potions, an unequipped silver ring and a small satchels of gold. Keeping my eyes up, I took these things and, trying to not allow fear or doubt to creep in, coated my arrows in the poison and kept moving. “Where they failed, I would succeed,” I whispered to myself, “The beast has murdered his last victims.”

I found Sinding just as he slew the final hunter. I fired a poison tipped arrow but the blow seemed less than a scratch to him in that fearsome beast form and with a roar, he charged me. Shouldering my bow and drawing my blade I roared right back, an enraged Battle Cry. To my delight, Sinding paused in his assault, so brash my shout must have been, and I scored a hit dead on the werewolf’s snout. He turned and fled then, leaping off a low cliff and bounded over the body of poor J’keir. I let fly an arrow in pursuit but it found no mark. He was surely coming back around for another pass, so I readied myself by scaling a nearby fallen tree.

Indeed, Sinding had not given up and he soon appeared around the corner back up on the bluff. I hit him with another arrow before losing my footing and falling from the rotted old elm. I thought myself a dead man, but those cruel fangs did not find my flesh, and I soon realized the crazed beast could not get past the tangle of limbs that hid me at the base of the tree. I immediately brought up my hands and sprayed him in magical fire. He howled in agony and moved out of sight.
Blood still pumping hard in my veins, I pulled free my sword and jumped out, striking the beast down as it attempted to flank me.
By the blood on my blade, it is over.

In a frenzy, I ripped Sinding’s hide off his back. This act seemed to finally sate my bloodlust. No sooner had I breathed a sigh of releif than Hircine himself appeared before me once more, this time in the form of a man. He congratulated me and transformed Sinding’s foul flesh into Savior’s Hide – a legendary (albeit impractical) fur armor.

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Ladies…

After Hircine was gone, I sprinted back around, invigorated. I am a chosen of a Deadric Lord! I am a mortal avatar! A champion of a god!
Stopping at the chest in the old ruin, I pried it open and retrieved a garnet, some gold, a few more minor potions, and an enchanted scroll and armor. The scroll was one of Calming called ‘Harmony’, while the armor was even less practical than The Hide but would no doubt fetch a fair price due to its enchanted nature.

I then returned to the campfire and cleared away the bodies. As I eat a couple of apples and write this entry, I contemplate the long day I have endured. I have learned so much – particularly, I feel, about archery – and gained so much more – a god’s favor. My first but not my last, so here I vow before I sleep, under the full hunter’s moon.

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Tirdas, 19th of Last Seed, 4 E 201
LVL 2

I awoke Well-Rested and ate the large pine-thrush egg and drank my jug of milk as I read a book left on my bedside table. It was called, ‘Nords Arise!’ It was some poorly articulated religious drivel made Stormcloak propaganda about the ‘virtues’ of splitting humanity apart from the unification of the Empire just so a few Nords can worshiping a Nordic man-god. I say to Oblivion with ALL the Divines and their Altmer priests too.
When I set the book down, Narri sprinted over and offered me a drink. I had already drunk milk, of course (MILK DRINKER!), so I politely declined. Sweet of her, though.

***

Sinding IS a werewolf!

Upon stepping outside I discovered, to my dismay, it had begun raining again.
Falkreath – Soggy, dreary, dead, and boring!
I decided to visit Sinding again and get him to spill more secrets about Hircine. The God of the Hunt was never my Daedric lord, but I am always willing to learn. Knowledge is Power and I have made it my business to understand magic.
Besides, Lady Azura is not a jealous goddess.

At any rate, like I said: Sinding is a lycanthrope. He gave me the ring and told me to seek out ‘the great beast’ in the woods near here. Then he morphed into a giant wolf and made his escape from that shitty prison. I fled before anyone could accuse me of helping him. Now I’m at Dead Man’s Drink, writing this entry and trying to tug this damned ring off my finger. It doesn’t want to move.
I think I might have really done it this time. What if I lose my shit and go all furry-fury on the village?
Who will overcharge me for food then!?

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Alcohol: for when solving problems is too damn hard

I suppose this means I will need to spend the day hunting for this beast — whatever it is. I really wish my map somehow glowed with the correct location….that would be just ridiculous, wouldn’t it?

***

Walking out of the inn, I was pleased to see the rain had subsided (for now). I swung by Corpselight Farm and liberated a chicken egg. A raw egg a day keeps the herpes at bay (I hope).
Checking my map, I decided to begin with a circular search pattern, radiating clockwise out of Falkreath. Bow drawn, I carefully navigated my way along -the outskirts of the village, usually being able to see the village on one side and the main road on another. Eventually, I found that strange black pond I had seen earlier. Turning about I saw a demonic looking door built into the side of a rock. The door bore the symbol of the Dark Brotherhood. Searching around wearily, I almost fled, but my curiosity got the better of me. As I approached the door a voice whispered out ‘What is the music of life?’
To which I responded, ‘silence’.
It told me that was not the correct answer and I thought I heard it begin to creek open so I turned and sprinted back to Dead Man’s Drink. Maybe I should have one last drink, likely being a dead man and all.
I considered telling the guards what I saw, but decided against it. The less people who knew what I knew, the better…maybe.
Now, my heart racing a little less frantically, I think I’ll begin my search outside town COUNTER clockwise.

***

Walking out of town on the east side I found the bodies of a bound prisoner and a Thalmer Justicar on the side of the road. Glancing around, I took an amethyst off the dead High Elf. I bothered with nothing else, since wearing elvish uniform as a human made make even less sense than wearing the stormcloak. Then, looking about cautiously, continued my search for ‘the beast’.

As I crested a hill, I came upon an old ruin. A Spriggan appeared and my vision turned green — it was trying to infect me! I shot it with an arrow but it did not even pause in its attack, sending a swarm of insects — INSECTS! — to bite and burrow into my flesh. Screaming in agony and with no time to run I brought up my hands and attempted to summon my magical fire, to perhaps, emulate both myself and the creature. But that is when the vision in one eye went dark as a bug wormed its way free from behind my iris and I collapsed to the ground, convulsing in terror and pain.

I opened my eyes (both of them) to find myself back in my bed.

Rising, I wrote the dream down. I would avoid both the north and the west of town. I would go directly east. Truly I was blessed with the sight.

***

I ate as before. This time, there were no dead Thalmer on the road (probably because it had not yet happened).
As I walked through the brush I spied a bridge with people on it up ahead. Cautious, I avoided it, by sticking to the wilderness. Ahead of me, I spied a farm. It was locked, and upon carefully inspecting my surroundings I decided to rummage about. I did not pick their potatoes and cabbages, but I did steal four apples out of a bag lying by the door and picked a few snowberries, eating them as I did. I also took note of a strange symbol carved into the stone of the house.

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Inverted Triforce?

To the side of the house I found a pond with a glowing plant growing near it. I think I’ve heard of them before: Nirnroot. Supposed to be very rare. Might be worth something to Zaria.
I searched the area and after crossing a road, found a stream which I followed up to a shack. I saw a male elk. Hoping this was the animal I needed to sacrifice, I let fly an arrow, but the creature brushed it off and sprinted away. I ran after it, up to the house. Finding that it had stopped and was turning about, I pulled up my hands — covered in flame. I quickly redirected my magical attack as a large skeever rat tried to maul me. I fried it to a crisp, taking but a light scratch from its claws. By the time it was dead, the elk was gone and I had a chance to notice the pair of burnt human bodies outside the shack, the stench of burnt flesh still pungent in the air.
Investigating the shack, I found some jewelry, gold, studded leather armor and a book of ‘Purloined Shadows’, all of which I packed into my bag. I also found a letter, amazingly unburt. Evidently, they were attacked by the dragon who’s lair is south of the hut. I will be sure to keep a wide birth and my eye to the sky.

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If ever there was proof husbands should listen to their wives

Now I am much too far from the safety of the village, so I must head back.

***

On my way to Falkreath, I followed the stream back down to the road and sighted a white stag. I knew – instantly – deep in my heart, that this was the prey I have been hunting. It stared innocently at me and in reply I fired an arrow at the beast. It fled and led me on a merry chase. At one point it stood still and let me hit it with three arrows in a row. Feeling a ping of regret and thinking I had wounded it beyond its ability to flee, I decided to be merciful and end its suffering quickly, so I drew my sword and advanced. As I approached, it fled. More fool me.
It was wounded, and I chased it down again quickly, setting the stag on fire and then cutting it down in a wild bloodrage the likes of which I had never felt before — one that burned away any pity.
That is when an aspect of Hircine himself appeared to me. I pledged my fealty to him and the God of the Hunt told me my sacrifices in his name would be precious indeed. He tasked me with hunting down Sinding the lycan and told me where he is hiding – a place called Bloated Man’s Grotto, north of Falkreath and the lake I had traveled after my escape from Helgen. Lord Hircine warned me that other hunters were vying for his favor so I must be…competitive.
After the vision of Hircine faded, I set about skinning the animal I had killed — recovering an arrow, stripping it of its hide, meat and antlers. I shall feast tonight!
AH! But the bloodlust burns inside me so! Even now, back in Falkreath.
Forgive me, Lady Azura.

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By Azura! By Azura! By Azura!

When I got back to town it began to rain, so sold my loot (not even the nirnroot fetched a decent price, I swear they’re all ripping me off) and bought another night at the inn. I then bathed and ate the venison of the white stag (scorched on the open fire of the inn’s fire-pit for an hour then turned and scorched on the other side as well) along with a drink of plain red wine. I also bought some black-briar mead (recently imported to this town) and brought it to the Jarl as requested. Siddgeir was pleased and gifted me with some stamnia potions. He then charged me with a mission to murder some brigands with whom he had dealings with but now wishes to terminate his arrangement. He wishes no witnesses to live. They live in a place called Bilegulch Mine (sounds cozy). I assured him I would see to it.
Perhaps I will make this happen one day, when I can afford to hire a bodyguard. It would be good to have a Jarl, especially one as obviously corrupt as this, indebted to me.

I shall begin the hunt for Sinding first thing tomorrow. For now I will call it an early night, spending the free time waiting for the rain to end by reading the books ‘Dragonborn’ and ‘Purloined Shadows’ (Nords, Arise! was exactly as I remember it from my dream). ‘Dragonborn’ talked of the royal Imperial bloodline, the loyalty of the old Blades order in relation to Tiber Septim and how only those born of Septim blood could permanently slay a dragon. I wonder if any of this is factual?
Purloined Shadows was a fun read about the Deadra Nocturnal that enlightened me some more on the art of lockpicking and the virtue of not trusting anyone.
I can almost feel the spray of his blood upon my face. Soon. So soon, now.

Image  —  Posted: December 14, 2013 in Skyrim
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Sundas, 18th of Last Seed, 4 E 201
LVL 2

I continued west, keeping both eyes on my surroundings; ahead, behind, side to side and even above — here be dragons, dontcha know.
I came to a crossroads and upon consulting my map, decided to turn south toward the only snow-free city for many miles around – Falkreath.
The walk was quite pleasant but I refused to be lulled and stayed alert as I carefully passed through lush woods, past an old ruin and by a curious black pond.
As I neared the gates, I spotted a town guard and I immediately hid behind a thicket of trees. After a while, I gathered my courage and ventured boldly forth and through the gates. As I passed the guardman, eyes averted, I paused, hesitant to venture further lest I be trapped. I turned back to the townguard, walked right up to him and asked how people felt about Stormcloaks in this town. The guardsman replied that he just heard a dragon had attacked Helgen, which I took to mean that there were clearly new priorities being drawn.
That was just fine by me. Even so, I walked into the first shop I saw, looking for some new fashion — and not a moment too soon, since it began to rain.

The shop was a general store and I was greeted by an overly-friendly Nord named Bolung. He invited me to patron his brother’s store and promised that ‘our kind’ were most welcome here. Feeling a little apprehensive, I walked over to Solaf the merchant who reassured me that he too was once a Stormcloak.
“Ah,” I thought, deciding I had uncovered a new slogan for the blue-clad rebel faction, “Stormcloaks – we’re the racist ones!”
Then I thought back to my lovely stay at the Imperial gallows and decided I had a good slogan for the red team too, “Imperials – we’re a bag of dicks!”
I was returning from my musings just as Solaf was finishing up his monologue about his time with the Stormcapes.

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The Light Brotherhood

Quickly glancing through his inventory, I discovered that not only could I afford no new change of clothing, but the pittance he offered me for the spare towel (robe) and the small (petty) soulgem were less money than I had once found on a dead guy in a prison cell. Still, I had no use for either, and room in my pack was at a premium, so sell them both I did and promptly exited the establishment with a knowing nod to my Tall, White, Russian Nord ‘brothers’.

Walking under the overhangs of buildings in an attempt to stay dry, I found myself at a blacksmith’s. His name was Lod and a single piece of armor from his store cost more than the sum of my combined assets, so I barely broke my stride as I moved right along.

I ran past the town-hall (still raining out), and entered an alchemist’s shop called the ‘Grave Concoctions’. It was run by a Redguard named Zaria. Zaria sold healing potions. Zaria clearly needed help picking an appropriate name for her place.
She explained that the entire town was one big cemetery, and so, naturally, everyone and their dead grandma tried to be a comedian about it by giving their stores names that sounded as ominous as possible. Because what could be more hilarious than living next to your rooting ancestors?

From Zaria I bought a recipe of Cure Disease. I figured this was a wise investment until I paid for the piece of parchment and read its contents. To make the potion, the ingredients called for mudcrab chatin and vampire dust — hardly common ingredients. It is actually cheaper to just BUY a cure disease potion rather than vampire dust. The cure costs less than the sum of its parts! Wow.
Perhaps to make up for the audacity of selling me something so useless, Zaria offered up the knowledge of how to create a healing potion (free of charge). It requires one part wheat and a single blisterwort mushroom. And wouldn’t you know it? She had both in stock! What a coincidence!
Feeling defeated, I bought them both. Why in oblivion not?
I then sold her my recipes (not hard to remember when I have this journal), along with my magic and stamina potions (I simply do not see an instance where I would need to use them outside of battle…who could drink a potion in the middle of a fight? Nobody human, thats for sure.)
Zaria kindly allowed me to try creating my new healing recipe on her alchemy set, and in no time at all I mortar & pasteled my way to a new healing potion. Excellence!

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Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble

As I left Grave Concoctions, I sprinted over to the local inn, dubbed ‘Dead Man’s Drink’ — sounds delicious.
Upon venturing inside, I discovered a welcoming, roaring fire pit, complete with drunkards and a bard banging tunelessly on a drum. As I approached to the blaze to warm myself, an ample-bosomed Nord woman named Narri commented on my stunning good looks.

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The beard really brings out your soulless eyes

After stepping around the rather intent Narri, I made my way to the bar. The innkeep is called Valga and she was quick to tell me of some brat in Windhelm who wanted to contact the Dark Brotherhood. Well whoopty-doo! Checking my map, I was astounded that such an insignificant rumor made its way from the Thundercloak capitol all the way to this little backwater. Who gives a shit what some s’wit of a kid said?
Valga cleared her throat and changed the subject, offering her ‘fine wares’. I told her I was not interested but would take a jug of milk to go, along with a room for the night.

Valga happily took my quickly waning coin and led me over to a doorless room which contained a bed, some hay and a random guy milling about. Only the best for Aleksandr.

As Valga returned to the counter, I asked her about any work in the area and she provided me with a bounty letter (how many copies does she have to give out?) that detailed the Jarl’s need for someone to assassinate a bandit ‘leader’ who lives in some remote mountain stronghold called ‘Knifepoint Ridge’. At least it wasn’t called ‘Graveyard Point’.
Sighing hopelessly, knowing I would never go dicking around a mountain stronghold in exchange for a few gold septims, I asked Valga if she’d heard anything else of note. This time, she informed me that there was rumored to be a man in Riften who could change people’s faces.
Change. People’s. Faces.
Once again, this random as Sheoth rumor supposedly originated on the other side of the country and the super-extra-secret Face-Changing Man (I think she said his name was Nicholas Cage) was renowned all the way down here, in the graveyard capitol of dying dreams and buried hopes.
Gods, this town SUCKS!

Deciding it was still far too early to rest, I ventured out again, searching the rain-soaked village for anything — ANYTHING — worth doing. Eventually I found the graveyard itself — the highlight of this sodden place. An Altmer priest was babbling on about afterlife fairytales to make a trio of wet and miserable people feel even worse. To avoid seeing that disgusting elf face a moment longer, I quickly headed back to the town center. The only public place as of yet unexplored was the Jarl’s Longhouse. So venture inside I did.
Upon entrance, I immediately noticed something was terribly wrong – even this, the wealthiest place in town, seemed to be dying of boredom. The jarl slumped carelessly on a makeshift throne as a single guard snoozed on a bench to the side. Other than these two, the place was deserted.
I stepped forward and bowed before the bored-looking Jarl, asking for audience.

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I’ve been spotted!

Formalities (that the rich n’wah did not earn) out of the way, I bluntly asked for work (something other than rambo-ing my way through a mountain fortress of cutthroats). Jarl Siddgeir the Shit-Eating, puffed and scoffed and told me to go fetch him some booze from some other town somewhere. I swore on my life that it would be done immediately, and promptly departed….to do something else.

As I stepped outside the townhall, I saw a man walking up the road from the cemetery. It was the rain-soaked farmer Mathies, owner of Corpselight Farm. Frustrated, I asked him ‘how’s things’, hoping someone coming back from a funeral could cheer me up about the prospects in this DEAD end town. Dead. End. (get it!? Hahaha…)
Mathies told me that his daughter Lavinia had been savaged and ripped apart by a strange drifter (rather like myself). The drifter was named Sinding and was sitting in the village’s (figurative) bighouse.
Surprisingly, this news of child-murder did little to lift my spirits, but Mathies did offer to buy any potatos off of me. Surprised that I was taken as the kind of man who carried around potatoes, I nonetheless agreed, and then spent some time helping the poor old fuck pick his crops of cabbage, potato and gourd. Mathies paid me for each vegetable. I was most grateful, and immediatly went and spent it on warm mead, a cooked venison chop, a slice of goat cheese and a half loaf of bread. I also bought a red apple and a spare loaf for the road.

I asked Valga for more ‘rumors’ as I ate my delicious meal, and she told me of  the Shrine of Azura, over by Winterhold College – the school of witchcraft and wizardry. Both were fantastic pieces of information to learn (provided they were more reliable than her ‘boy who cried Brotherhood’ and ‘Faceless John Travolta-man’ stories). Checking my map, I discovered that the College (and the shrine) were both located on the complete opposite (and most frozen) side of the country. I would have to acquire a warm outfit and some jingle in my pockets before I would be able to make it safely there. Perhaps I should pick crops for a living?

One of the drunkards at the inn told me Falkreath was good for nothing but burying people. I told him I had figured that out already. He – Thadgeir – overshared and told me he had just cremated his old buddy. Thadgeir then asked me – the complete stranger – to take the ashes to the High Elf cleric at the graveyard. I smiled warmly, looked over at the twisted, bulbous face of the very elf who was sitting just across from us, and then walked out of the inn without another word.

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Elves – an elegant species of elephant-men

The mead warming my belly, and the chilling rain at an end, I decided to take an evening bath in the local creek. Afterwards, I felt positively invigorated and while in the heat of the moment decided to pay a little visit to the kid-murderer in the dungeons. The ‘dungeons’, it turned out, was little more than a holding cell in the local barrack (and the ‘local barracks, was little more than a wooden shack). Sinding, the child-murderer, was sitting in a pool of water and rose as I approached. He told me a sob-story about how his ‘urges’ got the better of him and how he ‘just couldn’t help himself’. Then he spun the oddest tale about the daedra Hircine.
This got my attention. Whereas the ‘Divines’ only ever do Fuck-All, there is real, tangible proof of the Daedra’s power. Sinding Kid-Killer insisted he had been cursed by the God of the Hunt, Hircine. He confessed to being a lycanthrope and mentioned something about a magical beast he needed to hunt to summon Hircine and uncurse his cursed ring.

I turned and left the man in his waterlogged cell without a word. I walked away from the conversation feeling odd, no longer pissed, but rather curious despite myself. I wasn’t quite sure what I could do, so I decided to sleep on it.
Heading back to my shitty public bedroom, I caught up on the day in this journal and got ready to sleep for a solid eight hours – right after I told Narri which room I was in.

Image  —  Posted: December 14, 2013 in Skyrim
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Sundas, 18th of Last Seed, 4 E 201
LVL 2

I had a restless night, keeping one eye open for any danger. When I did sleep, I dreamed of dragons catching fish and mages in horned helmets and dark elf ladies who turned into wolves at sunrise.
I ate a light breakfast of two apples (only two left) before saying thank you and goodbye to the fisherman and, cloths in waterproof bag, crossed the river back onto the road. I then dried myself off and reequipped my armor and weapons before continuing due West to warmer climates.

Almost immediately I spotted a fallen bird’s nest containing an undamaged pine thrush egg. It was quite large and would make a fine meal for later tonight. As I continued, I passed a huntress on horseback and later on an ancient ruin, both of which I gave a wide, respectful berth wanting no more trouble.

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Hey there Hunter, I already killed the bad wolf(ves)

Starring at the ruin as I walked, I did not see the sentient skeleton rushing toward me until it was almost upon me. I drew my sword just in time to block a vicious overhead strike of its axe. I was unable to block it completely and cried out in pain as I staggered back, my blood spilling upon the ground. Another blow and another block, this time I held my footing and bashed back with my blocking sword then slashed in return but the creature seemed to only grow more enraged as it struck again. Once more, I barely managed to hold back the full brunt of the attack, but my wounds were grievous indeed and seeing red (my own blood in my eyes?), I dropped my blade and made a desperate dash to get away.

I spied the huntress up ahead as I ran and called out for help. As she dismounted to render assistance, I leaped upon her fleeing horse, hoping to escape on horseback — I cowardly theft, I know — but the undead creature struck me down even as the horse reared against my grasp and all became blurry as in a dream…
and then I awoke, back on the isle on the lake, sweating and breathing heavily. I scrambled to write this dream down lest I forget it moments later as wakefulness began to take full hold and threaten to push the dream from memory.

***
Reluctantly, I went through the motions of eating and crossing the river and dress. This time, I equipped my bow and vowed to keep my eyes open. Not wanting to repeat the exact same steps, I found the remnants of a fox behind a rock. This must have been the creature that had been summoned by the necromancers yesterday. They did not summon a creature from the depths of oblivion as I feared, but rather reanimated a simple fox. Pathetic.
Interestingly, while the flesh, blood and bones had all melted away into ash, the pelt remained — unstained. It would not make a mess and so I added it to my collection of goods.

I had almost forgotten about the disturbing and vivid dream when I spotted a fallen bird’s nest…and a pine thrush egg inside. Slowly pocketing it, I reasoned that I must have subconsciously noticed the nest last night. That is when I spied the huntress on horseback. She was identical to the woman in my dream.
Was I…seeing dreams of future events?
If so…I had already altered things slightly by finding the fox pelt. That meant the future was not set in stone and I could change my fate…
Should I turn back?
Back? Toward Helgen, by now surely swarming with Imperial soldiers? I think not. Briefly, I considered pulling the Stormcloak armor off but figured that wearing a glowing necromancer’s robe was hardly an improvement in appearance.

Intent on my purpose and not wanting to let the helpful huntress ride too far in case I needed her help, I pressed onward, bow in hand and arrow notched – but not before (this time) speaking with her and selling her the fox pelt for a pittance.

I moved carefully through the trees and soon spotted the skeletons, once again, by the ruins. I let fly an arrow, striking and staggering one then firing another for another hit.
At this point the second was upon me and, slinging the bow over my shoulder I leaped back and brought up my hands to find them crackling with lightning.
I blasted the two undead abominations with every fiber of my will and when I stopped, mentally drained, found they had been shattered to pieces.

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I broke apart two skeletons someone glued together. I’m unstoppable!

I took a moment to collect myself and jot down the events in this journal before allowing myself a shout of triumphant self-adulation. I am a mage indeed!

***

Image  —  Posted: December 12, 2013 in Skyrim
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