Return To Whiterun

MIDDAS, 9th of HEARTFIRE

Today I return to Whiterun. I ate a quick breakfast of apples and sweet rolls before heading out of the city. It was still early and most of Riften was just rising from its slumber. The air was damp and cool as I hailed the carriage. I climbed in the back and we set off.

We pulled into Whiterun early evening. During the trip, I occupied my time reading as best as I could, despite the frequent bumps. These are the books I read on the way:

  •  Chance’s Folly by Zylmoc Bolge.  It was a story about a thief named Chance who decided to rob the treasures of the Heran Ancestral Tomb. She decided to take Ulstyr, a Breton who she presumed to be dumb but brutish enough to handle the fights, while she handled the lock picking. Her thinking was that she could eventually abandon him, but he turned the tables on her. And she died trapped in the tomb. Days later, Ulstyr returned and took the treasure for himself.
  • Mixed Unit Tactics in the Five Years War Volume One by Codus Callonus. Talks about the tactics used in the war between the Bosmer and Khajiit. The book talks about how the Khajiit took advantage of both ground and tree forces to split and divide the Bosmer.
  • The Armorer’s Challenge by Mymophonus. Tells the story of Hazadir and Sirollus Saccus, two armorers commissioned to design the armor for Imperial troops in the Black Marsh. While Saccus was generally considered the finest armorer, Hazadir was able to create armor that took into account both the environment of the Black Marsh but also knowledge of Argonian battle tactics and weaponry.
  • The Yellow Book of Riddles. Like the title suggests.
  • Watcher of Stones by Gelyph Sig, Thane of Bjorin. A book about some guy who is obsessed with the Guardian Stones and their ability to change the fates.
  • Twin Secrets by Brarily Theran. Talks about the Law of Firsts – in that once an item is enchanted with a spell, it will not enchant again. The author claims he discovered how to break the Law of Firsts from a dragon and was able to successfully imbue a weapon with two enchantments.

It seems Arcadia’s death has been swept under the rug, no doubt attributed to a random act of burglary gone awry. And knowing Whiterun’s guards, they probably weren’t interested in launching an in-depth investigation. For now, I was safe. Nonetheless, it was strange being back in Whiterun.Ysolda, the aspiring merchant, was still sitting at the same place as if she had never left. I remember her asking me for a mammoth tusk. It was weighing me down and I had no real need for it so I gave her the one I had happened across during my travels. She thanked me and shared some trade secrets among merchants that would help me getter better deals.

Mallus Maccius

I eventually found Mallus sitting by himself in the back of the kitchen. He had a pale sickly pallor to his lean face was accented by high cheekbones and dark circles underneath his eyes. Mallus laid out the plan: Honningbrew’s owner Sabjorn was about to hold a tasting for Whiterun’s Captain of the Guard. Mallus had opened up a passageway for pests into Honningbrew’s meadery. I was to visit Sabjorn and offer my helpful assistance. While there I was to poison the vats of mead with the pest poison ensuring Sabjorn’s downfall and the end of Honningbrew.

Mallus told me that the warehouse and meadery were attached by a tunnel and that to get the brewing vats, I should start in the basement of the storeroom of the warehouse. Sounds simple enough, but nothing ever really is. I excused myself and left Mallus to his meal. I rented a room for the evening as I was tired from the trip. Tomorrow, I pay a visit to Sabjorn.

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Mead Your Competition

TIRDAS, 8th of HEARTFIRE

Maven Black-Briar

Woke up later than usual today, probably due to my late night escapades. I had a boiled creme treat and apple to eat. As I left my room at the Bee and Barb, I saw Maven sitting at a table waiting for me. She was a calculating, pragmatic woman and despite her aloof attitude I recognized a shrewd businesswoman that was not to be taken lightly. Maven wanted me to help put her competition Honningbrew Meadery out of business and also figure out how their business took off so quickly. She told me to meet her contact, Mallus Maccius, at the Bannered Mare in Whiterun.

Was I ready to go back to Whiterun? It had been two weeks since I had killed Arcadia and fled, but it seemed like an eternity. A lot had changed since then. I’ve grown stronger, more confident in my abilities and I now had the protection of the Thieves Guild behind me. Any investigation into the murder would have slowed down by now and I couldn’t keep hiding forever. I decided that tomorrow I would take a carriage back to Whiterun. However, first there was some jobs I had to collect on. I dropped the Golden Urn I had stollen from Mjoll off with Vex. She paid me for the job and asked if I was ready for more. I told her I was interested in doing a shill job and she said she had just the thing. I was to plant a stolen garnet in Valindor’s house in Riften. She slipped me the garnet and walked off.

The shill job proved to be fast and easy money. I found Valindor’s house on the lower docks of the city. There didn’t seem to be anyone home and the lower docks didn’t see much foot traffic, so I picked the lock and entered. I put the stolen garnet in a chest and then quietly slipped back out. I reported back to Vex and if she was surprised that I finished the job so quickly she didn’t show it. I told her that I wanted a challenge. Vex said she had just gotten a new sweep job in that fit that description: I had to clear Ogmund’s house in Makarth of valuables.

With the rest of the day open to me, I decided to learn a thing or two about pickpocketing from Vipir the Fleet. He showed me how to divert attention , how finger speed and lightness were crucial in execution particularly from a sleeping victim. I was still nowhere close to Vipir’s expertise, but if I was to avail that ring from Aerin’s finger, I needed to learn more. After my lessons, I stopped in Elgrim’s Elixrs but no one greeted me when I entered. I heard Elgrim in the back talking so while he was occupied, I quickly helped myself to some potions and ingredients. I had just shoved a Chaurus Egg into my knapsack, when Elgrim walked to the front. I pretended to be perusing his goods and introduced myself to Elgrim.

Elgrim was an Elder who lived with his wife. His apprentice was Ingrun Black-Briar. She wasn’t there but Elgrim spoke highly of her potential. I left his store and sat down at a bench in the market square. I began to examine the Chaurus Egg I had stolen from Elgrim’s store. It had a hard bumpy outer shell. I knew from the recipe that it was a key component in a potion of invisibility. I took out my dagger to crack a small hole in the shell. I dipped my finger in and tasted it. It was extremely salty and bitter and it had an immediate noticeable effect on my constitution. If I could combine it with something else, it might create a weakness to poison potion.

I wandered Riften for a while afterwards and stopped in the Temple of Mara.  I met Maramol who explained to me that Mara was the Goddess of Love, encompassing emotions like love, compassion, and understanding. I approached the altar and looked at the statue. It was a woman, hands open to the side, eyes closed with her face looking upwards as if soaking in the rays of the sun. I don’t know what compelled me to take the next steps, but I knelt at the altar and spoke quietly: “You are not one of my Gods and I have not come here today to ask for your compassion. I came here to tell you that I am a murderer and a thief. This is my gift and my curse. I accept my fate.” I rose and walked out of the temple briskly. “Blessing of Mara upon you!” Maramol called out after me. Back at the Ragged Flagon, I ate a meal of baked potato and goat leg roast and got ready for bed.

Fusozay Var Var

MORNDAS, 7th of HEARTFIRE

 

News travels fast in Riften. Walking around town the next morning, there were already hushed whispers amongst the guards that the Thieves Guild was back in business. For breakfast, I ate an apple pie that I had swiped from Goldenglow Estate yesterday. Tonilia wasn’t interested in the Queen Bee Statue I had stolen from Aringoth’s chambers, but it appears Delvin has a predilection for odd trinkets so he paid me 200 gold for it. I spent the rest of the morning looking for Maven. She wasn’t where I had expected her to be: at her manor or at the Black-Briar Meadery. I took a break from searching and had some salmon steak for lunch. I wasn’t going to spend the day wandering around looking for Maven. I returned to the Ragged Flagon to see if Vex or Delvin had any extra work to keep me occupied.

It turns out Vex handles more of the infilitration-type jobs, while Delvin handles more of the up-close and personal jobs. Anything to keep the money flowing sounded good to me so I took on two jobs. Delvin wanted me to go to Solitude and forge false entries into the ledger at a store called Radiant Raiments. And Vex wanted me to steal the Golden Urn from Mjoll the Lioness’s house in Riften. I recall from my conversation with Mjoll, that she was an traveling tourist which meant she couldn’t own a house in Riften. My guess would be she was staying with her faithful lapdog Aerin. There was only one way to find out. I needed to follow Mjoll to her where she stayed for the night.

I found Mjoll and Aerin eating at the Bee and Barb. I seated myself at a table at distance while still being able to observe them from the periphery. I decided to catch up on some reading while I was waiting.

I read A Dance In Fire, Vol. 1 by Waughin Jarth. It was a story about Decumus Scotti, a faithful civil servant who worked at the Atrius Building Commission. He is let go one day and decides to take up his friend’s invitation to move out Valenwood. On the carriage ride to Valenwood, Scotti met a Breton scholar named Gryf Mallon. Upon entering Valenwood, they are ambushed and robbed by Cathay-raht. I also read  Ahzirr Traajijazeri. I highly enjoyed this book as it outlines the Renrijra Krin, the guiding principles and life philosophies of Khajiits. My favorites were vaha maaszi lhajiito (it is necessary to run away), fusozay var dar (kill without qualm), and fusozay var var (enjoy life). All philosophies that make sense to me.

Mjoll and Aerin remained in the Bee and Barb late into the evening. I ate some more salmon for dinner and continued watching and reading. The next book was Ancestors and the Dunmer which explained how dark elves viewed the afterlife and their ancestors. Either by their will or against, the remains of an ancestor could be used as a protective “ghost fence”. Outsiders see this practice as necromancy, but the Dunmer actually frown upon necromancy upon any elves. However since they view humans and orcs as animals, they are fair game. The author notes that many of these attitudes have changed over time. I finished the book Beggar which was an entertaining folk-tale of Eslaf Erol, the last child of five born to Ytluaf, king of Erolgard. When his father died, he forget to leave Eslaf with anything and he was adopted by a shy nurse named Drusba. They live together in abject poverty. One day Drusba runs away when tax collectors come and Eslaf is left to fend for himself. He is turned away at every place, until one day a man of the Thieves Guild takes him in. The story of Eslaf is continued in a book called Thief.

Around midnight, they finally take their leave. I follow them both back to Aerin’s house. Now it was just a matter of waiting until they go to sleep. I hid in the shadows, watching as the streets gradually empty. When the coast seemed clear, I broke into Aerin’s house. There was nothing much of value in the basement. I stole some food and salt piles. Upstairs, I entered Aerin’s room. He had a magical ring on that looks valuable, but I’m not confident enough to pry it from his finger. I look on his nightstand and I see my prize: The Golden Urn. Encrusted with jewels, it was unmistakeable. Ever so quietly, I lifted it from the nightstand and lowered it into my knapsack. I then entered Mjoll’s room and took any valuables I could find. I stood there, momentarily mesmerized by her, sleeping peacefully unaware of the presence in her room, the candlelight danced across her face. I could kill her right now and she would never know. Life snuffed out like the flame of a candle. I pulled out my dagger and let it linger at a hair’s distance away from her throat. I don’t know how long I stood there, but I managed to shake myself out of it. It scared me how much that dark desire had threatened to consume me, almost as if I had no control. I left quickly and returned to the Bee and Barb for the night.

Goldenglow Estate

SUNDAS, 6th of HEARTFIRE

It was shaping up to be a busy day. I needed to send a loud and clear message to Aringoth of Goldenglow Estate – that crossing the Guild and Maven was a mistake. But first I needed to prepare. I put down a hearty breakfast of cooked beef and bread at the table in the Ragged Flagon Cistern. Another member of the Guild joined me at the table introducing himself as Thrynn.  Thrynn used to be part of a bandit clan, but had parted ways due to a difference of opinion when the leader Garthek ordered him to kill a caravan of women and children. There was a book on the table called Shadowmarks which I thumbed through. It had been written by Delvin as a pocket guide to coded symbols a thief could use in the field to communicate with each other. When I was done eating, I packed a lunch of horker loaf and headed out to Balimund’s so I could sharpen my newly acquired Orcish dagger. I strapped the dagger to my boot and set off for Goldenglow Estate.

Following the lake westwards, I identified Goldenglow Estate sitting on an island in the middle of the lake shrouded in fog. I carefully mapped out the area around the estate. Facing its northeastern face was the main door to the house. From the northwest side, I could see the side of the building as well as elevated platforms, but could not detect any archers. Its southwestern face was inaccessible due to high walls and a steep rocky foundation. And finally its southeastern face held the primary bridge that led to its main gate. The northwestern approach was definitely the safest. I needed to find this sewer tunnel entrance Vex told me about. Satisfied with my plan, I ate a quick lunch of horker loaf and then began the search for the sewer entrance.

When I located the sewer entrance, I quickly slipped inside before any guards could detect me. The sewers were heavily infested with skeevers which presented little problem but quickly realized that Goldenglow was inaccessible from this point of entry. The tunnels ended at a ledge that I couldn’t scale or reach. I was forced to rethink my plan. I had to break-in through the back door as going through the front was suicide. It was a difficult lock, but after several tries I was able to get inside. I cast the Detect Life spell to plan my route through the house accordingly. The spell detected the heat of any live creatures or people through the walls, so I weaved my way through the house avoiding all the guards with careful timing. I successfully made it to the second floor and into Aringoth’s chambers without being seen.

I had to obtain that safe key! With the Detect Life spell, I could sense the presence of Aringoth in the room, behind the bookcase, but he had not realized I was in the room as well. I drank a potion of pickpocket and summoned the power of invisibility I had absorbed from the Shadow Stone. I moved fast. I freed the safe key from Aringoth’s key ring and managed to grab a expensive looking bee statue from his bedside table before the spell ran out. I retraced my steps back through the house, but this time I needed to get access to the basement which was barred by a metal gate. I was able to pick the lock on the gate, but as I stepped through my foot hit a creaky floorboard. The sound caught the attention of a guard nearby. I pressed myself flat against the wall and held my breath. I loosened the sword from its sheath and I put my hand around the hilt, in case I was discovered.  The guard walked into the room, standing only a few feet away from me. He looked around for a moment and when he satisfied that it was nothing, he left. I ran into the basement. I thought I had made it but nearing the end I discovered a seated guard who blocked the way. There was no way to sneak around him. Thinking quickly, I maneuvered myself into a dark corner and shot an arrow far down the corridor. The arrow hit the stone wall with an audible impact. The guard got up from his seat to investigate. When he was further down the corridor, I moved swiftly past him and into the room where the safe was.

Opening the safe up with Aringoth’s key, I shoved the contents including a written deed into my knapsack and left via the sewer tunnels. I dropped down from the ledge that I previously couldn’t reach. And from there it was just a matter of retracing my path back outside. It was night when I emerged back into the world. I snuck to where the hives were and used a fire spell that I had learned at a young age to set three hives on fire. Torches went on around the estate and I heard the guards running towards me. I leapt over the fence and into the water. I swam until I reached the opposite shore. I moved a distance aways and when I was convinced no one had followed me, I went back to the Ragged Flagon and reported to Brynjolf. From the deed, it turns out  that Aringoth had sold Goldenglow to someone else – but the buyer was only identified by a symbol. Byrnjolf said he would ask Mercer to see what he could come up with, but in the meantime, he told me that Maven Briar-Black had requested me by name. I will go see her tomorrow. Right now, it’s time to sleep.

Criminal Rising

LOREDAS, 5th of HEARTFIRE

Grelod the Kind

Since there was no cooking pot available at the Bee and Barb, the smith Balimund let me use his to cook a breakfast of grilled chicken this morning. For the next couple of hours, I searched high and low throughout Riften for Hofgrir but could not locate him. I was finally able to find him inside the Riften Stables. He had not noticed me enter so I took advantage of the situation and snatched the Mark of Dibella from his pocket. It was almost noon so I returned to the Honorhall Orphanage. I walked to the back where Grelod’s room was and shut the door. She turned to face me. She seemed to know why I was there and she stared down her fate with the same frigid demeanor. “You think I’m scared of you?” she sneered.

“No, but no one will ever be scared of you again.” I said as I thrust the dagger into her. Her eyes went wide as she collapsed to the floor. At the sound, the children burst into the room. When they discovered that Grelod was dead, they were overjoyed. The other caretaker Constance was frightened out of her wits and hid in a corner pleading with me not to hurt her. I told her to take care of the children or I would be back for her. I left and went to Haelga’s Bunkhouse.

Haelga kept her Statue of Lady Dibella at a shrine around the corner from the front desk. When she wasn’t looking, I grabbed the statue and stowed it away in my knapsack. I approached Haelga and asked if I could buy a room for the night. She refused and said that the rooms were reserved for hard-working merchants only. Then I discreetly laid out all three Marks of Dibella on her desk and asked if she would accept these as payment. Her face went white. She begged me not to tell anyone and gave me a magical Scroll of Hysteria to buy my silence. Apparently, she would be driven out of town if anyone found out she practiced the Dibellan arts.

“Then you won’t care if I drop this then?” I asked, dangling the Statue of Dibella in front of her. Brynjolf was right. She gave up the money she owed without much resistance. Her niece, Svana was pleased to see Haelga squirm and she rewarded me with her father’s old steel helm. She told me it was supposed to endow the wearer with reinforced magic. Now that I had collected all three payments, I ate a late lunch of salmon steak and reported back to Byrnjolf.

Brynjolf was extremely pleased with the job I had done. He compensated for my troubles with a Drought of Light Feet and a Drought Health. Brynjolf confessed that the Guild had run into a rough patch, but he assured me that everything was going to be alright. He then had me follow him into the back room of the Ragged Flagon. He opened a secret cabinet which led to an underground cistern. He introduced me to the Guild Master, Mercer Frey. Mercer was a blunt man of few words. He told me that I was to do what I was told and that there was no tolerance for rule-breaking. After I acknowledged his rules, Frey then decided it was time to put my skills to the test. He wanted me to investigate Goldenglow Estate, a bee farm which was critically important to one of their clients. However, recently the owner, a Bosmer named Aringoth had decided to take matters into his own hand and shut the Guild out. They had previously sent Vex to investigate and she had reported back that Aringoth had hired numerous mercenaries and fortified the entire island. With that out of the way, Mercer and Brynjolf then officially welcomed me into the ranks of the Thieves Guild. Brynjolf suggested that I talk to Delvin Mallory and Vex. They knew their way around and they might have extra jobs for me. Also he suggested I talk to Tonilia who would set me up with my new armor.

I pressed Brynjolf for more details on the Goldenglow Estate job. He told me he wanted to teach Aringoth a lesson by burning down three of the farm’s hives and clearing the safe in the main house. Brynjoff did not want the whole place burnt to the ground, explaining that the client would be furious if that were to occur. I deduced that Maven Briar-Black was the client. If the hives were all burned, then she would have to import the honey and that would cut into her profits. Essentially, Maven allowed the Thieves Guild to extort Aringoth and bring in a huge payout. Pretty good arrangement. Brynjolf told me that Maven preferred if Aringoth were left alive, but I was given license to kill if he gets out of line.

I spent the rest of the evening meeting members of the guild who were extremely welcoming. I met a Cynric Endell, an infamous lock picker and jailbreaker. His last jailbreak failed and he was imprisoned in High Rock for three years. Thus, he had joined the Thieves Guild for protection. He also shared that he had done jobs for the Dark Brotherhood. Perhaps later on, I will be able to get more information from him about the Brotherhood. I also met Vipir The Fleet, who earned his name when during a job, he forgot about the horses and he ran all the way from Windhelm to Riften. There was Rune, an orphaned boy adopted by a fisherman. He got his name because the only possession they had found on him was a tiny smooth stone with strange markings. Rune told me he has never been able to find out what the stone means, but I told him I’d keep an eye out. Then there was a fellow Bosmer named Niruin of Valenwood who had simply joined for the excitement.

Vex at the Ragged Flagon

Back in the main room of the Ragged Flagon, I spoke with Vex. She was a beautiful pale Imperial with sharp features and a permanent scowl. She immediately made two conditions clear. First, she was the best infiltrator the guild had. The second being, that I followed her lead at all times. When I asked her about the Guild’s run of bad luck, she admitted that she wasn’t sure why (Delvin thought it was a curse) but seemed confident that we would make a comeback. I told her that I had been assigned the Goldenglow job. She told me on her last visit Aringoth had tripled the guards, but I should be able to get past them through an unguarded old sewer tunnel on the northwest side of the island. Finally, for some gold Vex showed me some new lock picking tricks. I traded in my existing armor to Tonilia for the Thieves Guild armor and bought an Orcish Bow of Flames which according to Tonilia caused an incredible amount of fire damage with each shot.

I went down to my bed in the cistern and went to sleep.

Collecting For The Guild

FREDAS, 4th of HEARTFIRE

Eradion

I decided to do a little shopping this morning. After getting out of bed, I ate a meal of cooked beef at the Bee and Barb. I headed over to the Scorched Hammer where I met Balimund, the local smith. I bought some orichalum ingot from him and used the grindstone to improve my newly acquired Orcish bow and sword set. Next, I stopped at a store called the Prawnish Pawn and discovered that the owner Bersi was actually one of my targets. Scanning the room, I saw the Dwarven Urn sitting on a table. I did a little trading and small-talk with Bersi to put him at ease, talking about his problems in Riften and his old boat. Then I went over, picked up the Urn and smashed it while he and his wife cried out in dismay. I grabbed Bersi by the shirt collar and pulled him in, putting a dagger to his throat.

“This is a message from Byrnjoff. Are we clear?” I shook him violently. “ARE WE CLEAR?”

“Yes! Yes!” he cried. “I can’t believe you did that! You people are monsters! First you force us to pay for our protection but you can’t even protect yourselves!” He threw the coin purse down at on the table.

“Don’t make me come back here.” I grabbed the money, slammed the door and left.

After a lunch of pheasant roast, I was strolling around Riften when I passed by the Honorhall Orphanage. Maybe I was just curious to see how bad this Grelod was but against my better judgement I entered. I paused at the doorway listening to Grelod berate the children. She was threatening beatings and then making them thank her. Her words triggered something and I witnessed a scene unfold before me:

A young Bosmer cowered in a corner. A thin pale man standing in front of him. 

“You are mine Pollus. You will do what I want you to do. You will go where I want you to go. No one wanted you and I took you in. I gave you a roof. I gave you food. Do you understand?” He grabbed a handful of hair and yanked the boy’s head back. He placed the edge of dagger against the boy’s face and sliced. A small sliver of red blood formed on his face. “Now thank me.”

“Thank you Galerus.”

“I don’t believe you. Why don’t you show me just how thankful you are?” The man started to loosen his robe. The boy struggled, but the man grabbed his hair even tighter.

——————————————-

I closed my eyes, forcing the submerged memory back down and regaining my composure. I looked down and saw one of the kids looking curiously up at me. He called himself Samuel and he told me that he snuck out when Grelod took a nap at noon. Just then, Grelod saw me and demanded to know what I was doing there. I remained silent. “Get out,” she spit. “You think you can just come in here off the street – “. I didn’t let her finish. I turned and walked out before I did something foolish. Okay Aventus, I thought to myself,  you will have your wish. Tomorrow at noon, it will be my pleasure to speed Grelod’s way to Sovngarde.

Standing the in the cool air for a moment, I took a deep breath and steeled myself back to reality. I returned to the Ragged Flaggon and dropped off the money I had acquired from Bersi. I asked Brynjoff about my next target Haelga and he told me that she was a devoted worshipper of Dibella and kept a statue in her bunkhouse. I left and paid Haelga a visit. She was an unpleasant woman, which was only confirmed when I talked to her niece Svana Far-Shield. Haelga worked Svana ruthlessly and let men grope her. Svana let me in on a secret: Haelga was a rather promiscuous woman and had slept with three men in the past week. After her love-making sessions, she would give them each a Mark of Dibella. Svana wanted to turn the tables on Haelga and asked me to acquire these Marks. I agreed. I walked around Riften for about an hour looking for these men but could not locate them. I decided to put Haelga on the back burner and find out about my last target Keerava. Byrnjoff told me to use Talen-Jei to get to Keerava and that they were “well-acquainted”.

I headed back to the Bee and Barb. I called Talen-Jei over and in a low whisper told him that it was in Keerava’s best interests to pay the Thieves Guild and that he should convince her to do so. Talen-Jei told me that with the Thieves Guild doing poorly in recent times, Keerava had gotten bold but he did not want to see any harm come to Keerava. He told me to use her family in Morrowind as leverage to make her pay and sure enough, when I mentioned it to Keerava she immediately offered up the money. It just so happened at that moment that two of Haelga’s lovers walked into the inn: Bolli and Indryas. It was fairly easy to intimidate Indryas into giving up the Mark, but Bolli was resistant to both threats and intimidation. I excused myself and rented a room for the night. On my way back, I accidentally bumped into Bolli and my hand accidentally found its way into his pocket and grabbed the Mark of Dibella. I went upstairs and got ready for bed. Tomorrow I find Hofgrir and Grelod will find peace at the end of my blade.

Arrival In Riften

TURDAS, 3rd of HEARTFIRE

Riften Market

I awoke at Stalleo’s campsite. It was a cold damp overcast day. A thick fog had settled over the land.  I shared a goat roast leg with Stalleo and his men for breakfast and then parted ways. As I traveled, I was beset by the usual wolf and spider attacks but nothing I couldn’t handle. I met several people on the road. I met a young boy named Gralnach and his mother who lived at Heartwood Mill on the southern edge of the river. I saved a man named Faldrus from a wolf attack. He was actually on a pilgrimage to visit the Shrine of Azura which I faintly remember Hulda, the owner of the Bannered Mare telling me about. Finally, I encountered Talsgar the Wanderer, a traveling bard.

I decided to take a detour to the Shadow Stone before reaching Riften. It was a Guardian stone I had read about in An Explorer’s Guide  To Skyrim. There was a conjuring mage who was guarding the stone, but I was able to defeat him handily. Searching his corpse, I found a Scroll of Guardian Circle, which creates a circle that heals the caster but also repels any undead at the same time. I kept it since it seemed like it could be useful in a tight situation. When I reached out to touch the Shadow Stone, the runes started glowing a bright blue and the slab of rock shot a bright pillar of light into the sky. I felt magic surge through my veins. I looked down at my hands and realized that I was invisible. At first I panicked, but after about a minute I reappeared. I tried to recall the magic, but came up empty. I believe I can only call upon it once a day. I sat down by the stone and ate some horse haunch for lunch.

Riften was close so I quickened my pace. When I arrived, I was turned away at the south gate and told to use the northern entrance. No amount of persuasion would move the guards nor would they tell me why, so I circled the city to its north gate. The stables and carriage service were located by the north gate and on the west side were the docks and fishery. The carriage driver parked at Riften was Sigaar who informed me the city belonged to a Maven Black-Briar and that Riften was the home of the Thieves Guild. But the thieves of the city came in various forms: the guard at the north gate tried to make me pay a tax to enter, but he backed off when I called his bluff.

Riften was a rickety city, cheaply made as if it was put together in a fortnight. My guess is that Riften was a city that grew up around its dock – as trade goods moved in and out of its borders, it became a melting pot of cultures and races. The city appeared to have two levels to it. The top level held the main marketplace, the inn, the temple, and the orphanage. And the bottom level contained the sewers and the city’s poorer residents. The first person I met was Mjoll the Lioness, an adventurer who had travelled all over Tamriel. She was a do-gooder , the kind that got all warm off feelings of gratitude and trust, the kind that didn’t survive long in a city like Riften. As I continued into the city, I was stopped by a shady looking character haughtily leaning against a wood beam. He introduced himself as Maul. He was some Black-Briar hireling, some minor bully with an inflated sense of importance. He warned me not to stick my nose where it didn’t belong. I assured him I’d stay out of his way and walked past him.

I stopped at a stand run by a rude woman named Grelka and sold her some of the items I had scavenged during my travels including Fjola’s Wedding Band.  As I turned around to leave, I was stopped by a man named Brynjolf who had been observing my transactions. “I bet not a single septim you have was earned through honest means.” he said.

“My wealth is none of your business.” I replied brusquely, trying to step around him. He grabbed my arm before I could leave, and leaned in close.

“Oh but that’s where you’re wrong. Wealth is my business. Maybe you’d like a taste.”

My interest was piqued. “What do you have in mind?”  I asked. He told me he was going to create a distraction and he wanted me to steal Madesi’s silver ring from underneath his market stand and plant it on Brand-Shei without him noticing. It was fairly easy and afterwards I watched as Brand-Shei was escorted to prison by the guards. Brynjolf offered me more work and told me to locate him at a tavern called Ragged Flagon. I’m not sure what organization Brynjolf represented but I was willing to put my money on the Thieves Guild – if so, it has proved easier than I thought to attract their attention. It seems as though he’s having me perform some type of initiation test but I can’t be certain. In a city like Riften, associations are critical and the Thieves Guild could offer a certain amount of protection. I decided not to waste time. After a quick dinner at the inn The Bee and Barb, I head straight for the Ratway. I made my way down the stairs to the lower dock. It smelled like rotting fish and wet dog down there. I found the door to the Ratway and entered.

The Ratway was dimly lit and the walls glistened with water. The smell of raw sewage was thick. The lowlifes living in Ratway did not take kindly to strangers and I was forced to fight my way to the Ragged Flagon. I did manage to salvage an Orcish Bow from one of the thugs though. It was a stout pale green bow that looked as if it were carved from jade. When I found him in the Ragged Flagon, Brynjolf seemed surprised that I had made it. He asked me to carry out three tasks for him. There were three people in Riften that had borrowed money from their organization and refused to pay it back. He wanted me to send a message to them. They were Keerava (who I recognized as the barkeep of The Bee and Barb), Haelga, and Bersi Honey-Hand. I asked Brynjolf about Bersi and he told me that Bersi’s most valued possession was a Dwarven urn and that smashing it would send a clear message. I returned to The Bee and Barb and rented a room for the night. Tomorrow I plan on collecting.

Infiltrating Treva’s Watch

MIDDAS, 2nd of HEARTFIRE

 

The journey towards Riften continued after a breakfast of apples and tomatoes. An odd combination, I know, but food supplies were running low. The sound of leaves cracked under my feet as I walked through the forests. Birch trees with vibrant gold and red leaves sparsely populated the forest. Out of nowhere, I was hit in the face with poisonous venom. As I furiously tried to wipe the venom off my face, I saw a frostbite spider moving towards me. I reached for the Bow of Cowardice and sent it fleeing the way it came. This bow is truly useful in that it buys me some time, but having to chase after the creature can be problematic. For example, as I was pursuing the spider, I was assailed by two wolves and at the same time the magic had lost its grip over the spider so I found myself in even deeper water than before. Nonetheless, I was able to defeat the beasts and made my way to a small camp across the river.

When I approached the camp, a man by name of Stalleo eagerly greeted me. He seemed to believe that I was the reinforcements he had sent for, and I was going to help him retake his family castle, Treva’s Watch, which was seized during the war by someone named Bruid. Now he claimed his family was trapped inside. He promised me a reward and whatever items I’d find inside. I had declined him and I was half way back across the bridge when I stopped and looked back. There was bound to be a lot of gold and treasure in that castle. Part of me kept telling myself to keep walking. The other half welcomed the challenge and the potential findings within. I finally walked back over to Stalleo and told him that I had changed my mind. He laid out the plan of attack for me.

As directed by Stalleo, I infiltrated Treva’s Watch from the  castle’s back escape tunnel. I made my way through the castle slowly, silently eliminating enemies in a single shot. I would take out as many enemies as I could from a distance, switch to my sword when discovered, and using a combination of retreating and healing to aid me with the harder foes. I looted bodies and chests, grabbing gold and potions as I went along. Creeping through the castle’s dusty cellar, I eventually came up into the castle itself. In a chest, I discovered an orcish sword. It was a cruelly jagged blade designed to hook and pull an enemies’ guts out. Not a clean kill, but certainly a painful one. I also found some valuable jewelry that would fetch a good price at a trader as well as a steel shield that was frost-resistant. The shield could be useful back in that cave I found yesterday.

At the front door, I pulled the lever, opening the gate and Stalleo and his two men rushed inside to clean up any remaining enemies. There had been dead bodies inside Treva’s Watch but as I was unable to identify them I told Stalleo I did not find any sign of his family. I half-suspected that the story of his family may have been concocted by Stalleo to prey on sympathy and that the castle wasn’t even really his. But I had reaped the benefits of what the castle held and furthermore Stalleo thanked me by teaching me a spell called Detect Life. The spell could sense living creatures through walls which seemed very useful in a stealth situation. The infiltration of Treva’s Watch had taken the entire day. I took advantage of the hospitality of Stalleo’s nearby camp for the night.

Witches And Animal Heads

TIRDAS, 1st of HEARTFIRE

A  new month starts today. I made my way back down Mistwatch’s tower, stopping to eat a breakfast of apple cabbage soup and bread. When I reached Christer and told him the bad news about Fjola, he couldn’t accept it and began to attack me with his fists. I had no choice but to strike him down. I struck out west from Mistwatch until I arrived at Darkwater Crossing, which was a small farmhouse next to the river. There was a mine close by and a modest harvest of wheat and potatoes sat in the front yard. Stormcloak officers had set up tents next to the river and they patrolled the area. They let me use their grindstone to improve the Imperial Bow I had found in Mistwatch, using steel ingots to improve the weighting. When I was satisfied, I crossed the bridge and started heading south. There was a sign post pointing towards Riften so I continued heading in that direction. From what I’ve heard about Riften, it seems to be a haven for the criminal underworld. Perhaps I can find more information on the Dark Brotherhood there and locate this Astrid who signed my death note.

This area was populated by a large number of sabre cats. The first one I encountered, I was able to subdue with magic and slay it while under my command. The next one I decided to use the bow that the fugitive near Windhelm had given me. I shot an arrow into the beast and instead of running towards me it turned and ran uphill. It was a Bow of Cowardice! I pursued the cat into the forest to finish it off when I was suddenly beset by a pack of wolves. I had to fight them off before I went after the sabre cat again. I soon found it again and shot another arrow imbued with the bow’s cowardice magic. Every time the spell’s active effects started wearing down, I would fire another arrow into the cat until it was at such low health I could easily finish it with my sword.

I got back on the path and started walking towards Riften again. For supper, I sat by the road’s edge and had a mammoth steak with tomatoes. The mammoth steak was very gamey and tough but I enjoyed it. I passed by a cave. In the front, goat heads had been stuck on pikes. It was going to be dark soon and I needed shelter so I headed inside. Inside there were more grotesquely posed animal heads on stakes. Deeper in the cave, I disposed of some stray skeevers feeding on the carcass of a dead deer. I then stripped the deer of its hide and antlers and continued further in.

The cave opened up into a huge underground chamber. There were two witches inside which I dispatched from a distance. The chamber contained even more beheaded animals. What was going on here? There was a side tunnel that led deeper into the cave, but as I moved through it, I suddenly felt a piercing pain through my shoulder. There was a magical tower that could detect movement and shot jagged ice shards. I retreated back to the central chamber. There was no way I was going to make it past that tower right now. The mystery of the witches and the animal head cult would have to wait. I ate a venison chop and eider cheese for supper in the central chamber. I wasn’t going to stay there for the night so I headed back into Skyrim.

Further along, I saw a bright glow in the distance. As I began to investigated, I discovered that it was actually a nirnroot farm. I had never seen so many nirnroot growing together. In unison, the plants gave off a very audible high-pitched frequency and glow. I met Avrusa Sarethi, who claimed to be the only person alive that could cultivate nirnroot from a seed to a full grown plant. She used to be an alchemist in Vivec City, but left when the Red Mountain erupted. She said she had her hands full, between farm chores, cultivating nirnroot and keeping a tight rein on her sister she seemed extremely exhausted. I wished her luck and returned to the path to keep moving.

A short distance away I discovered a small campwith a tent, bedroll, and cooking pit. I also found an intriguing note that read: Go to the island near the edge of the lake. Look for where a great tree once stood. That is where I buried it. As I looked out, sure enough there was an island near the edge of the lake and two dark figures that stood next to the remains of a tree. When I approached, the figures turned out to be treasure hunters who immediately attacked me. I defeated them and uncovered the treasure: a mere 37 gold. I returned to the camp and went to sleep disappointed.

Mistwatch

MORNDAS, 31st of LAST SEED

I gathered up my equipment this morning and ate a quick breakfast of apple and cheese. Shortly afterwards, I emerged back into the world from my cave.  The sun was blinding as I stepped outside. I headed south following the foot of the eastern mountains. A short ways down, I discovered a most curious sight. Built into the face of the mountain was a building with construction that I had never seen before. Curved pipes stuck out from the walls, blowing billows of steam into the air. The stone walls were carved with intricate ornate designs, framing massive golden doors. Separate from the main building was a storeroom which contained old Dwemer pottery and artifacts. Could this be a stronghold of the fabled lost race? I was unable to enter further into the storeroom as the locks were above my skill, but I grabbed an armful of Dwarven ingot and made my exit. I entered the main building itself, but found that the inner door required a key. I marked the location on map for further investigation and continued south.

The land down here was dry and arid. Clouds of dust were picked up by the wind. Suddenly, I was attacked by a huge sabre cat. I started running, climbing furiously to get out its reach. I finally managed to be able to escape and found myself looking over area populated by pockets of shallow water with steam geysers. A giant stood at the edge the water over the corpse of a mammoth. It gave me an idea. I was able to lure the sabre cat towards the giant. The cat turned its attention to the giant, who killed it with one swing from his club. There were two other sabre cats ahead in the distance and I employed the same tactic to take care of them. I need a giant as a companion.

When I approached, the giant did not try and warn me off. He stood there motionless, staring at me. This was the first time I had seen a live giant up close. His skin was a bluish-gray and tough as leather. His breath deep and sonorous. I skinned the sabre cat and took the snout and tusk from the mammoth. I moved a distance aways and took a bath in the warm geyser spring, letting the steam enter my pores. I sat at the water’s edge and ate a meal of mammoth steak and apples. When I was ready, I started off again.

In the distance were the ruins of an old fort. As I approached, I realized that this was Mistwatch. I remembered the frightened woman who had told me how the bandits held her here before she managed to escape. I needed a place to stay for the night and bandits were easy prey so I crept slowly towards the fort. I detected an archer standing at the top of the fort walls, so I took aim from a distance and sent an arrow straight through his heart. I then moved to the other entrance of the fort and eliminated the guard that was standing there. I peered inside and detected three remaining bandits. I notched my arrow and took another one down which alerted the other two. Pulling out my sword, I made quick work of the remaining bandits. The other one proved more difficult, but with a little running and healing I was able to defeat him. I lowered the drawbridge and crossed into the Northern Tower.

As I snuck through the halls, I ran into a man named Christer who was here looking for his wife Fjola. He told me that he had heard bandits here were ransoming captives and his wife had been missing for months so he came here to search for her. He begged me to try and find her.  I agreed to look out for his wife if only to calm him down. He gave me a key one of the guard’s had dropped and thanked me profusely.

I used the key Christer gave me to unlock the main door in to the tower. I snuck through the halls silently – using the bow to take out enemies from a distance and the sword to finish off any who got too close. I continued my upward ascension through the towers – fighting my way through bandits. In the tower, I found an Imperial bow and a pair of nice Stormcloak officer boots which I equipped. At the top of the eastern tower, I encountered the bandit leader herself who was in fact Fjola. She had left Christer and assembled a group of bandits. It was clear that she refused to surrender so we entered into a fight. She had a shield and a sword that dealt fire damage. I circled her, waiting for her to lower her guard and then I would come in and attack. After finishing off Fjola, I was exhausted and collapsed onto one of the nearby beds. Bringing the news to Christer would have to wait until tomorrow.

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