Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gods, Knights and Giants

On the road yesterday I bumped into a group of men in hoods and robes. They were coming down the hill from a lodge and immediately approached me. They introduced themselves as the Vigilants of Stendarr, a religious group in the service of Stendarr, the God of compassion and righteousness, who have set out to hunt down 'abominations' as they called them, primarily Daedra of all varieties. They were pretty stern about the whole thing, and when they insisted I relax at their lodge before continuing on my journey, a part of me wasn't sure if this was out of kindness or a will to interrogate me about what I may have seen.

Anyway, they didn't interrogate me thankfully (not that it would have come to anything). I got fresh food and refreshments for the road, as well as a bed for the night. While there I also read an interesting book called The Knights of the Nine, which chronicled an ancient organisation in Cyrodiil who ventured out to collect the Relics of the Crusader, the weapons and armour of Pelinal Whitestrake. I had heard legends about them back in Cyrodiil, but I didn't think they had actually existed. It mentions their originals back before the War of the Red Diamond, however a Vigilant named Carcette told me that the order was temporarily revived at the time of the Oblivion Crisis.

I was back on the road this morning after the first good night's sleep I have had in awhile now. I was very grateful for the Vigilants' hospitality, even if they were the tiniest bit creepy. I wasn't on the road long when I saw a sight quite unlike anything I had ever seen. Just off the road near Red Road Pass were two Mammoths. There were amazing looking creatures, as tall as the trees, and herding them along was a Giant, just as big. The ground trembled at their movements and despite being so big, they were so peaceful, or at least there were. This awe inspiring sight was disrupted by a sound of the wind followed by a volley of arrows that felled one of the Mammoths. The Giant went into a rage as a group of bandits came into view, arrows cocked and ready. As the Giant charged one group another came from the roadside (oblivious to my presence thankfully) and took down the other Mammoth with arrows and axes. The real problem came after the Giant had killed the lot of them, and saw me watching from the roadside. My heart almost stopped and I started running. The Giant was relentless and he kept chasing me. However I came to a rock face which I managed to climb and get away from the Giant. He was almost tall enough to reach me, and started throwing rocks at me, but he seemed too clumsy to scale the rocks. Unfortunately he gave no indication that he was going to leave me alone, and so it was kill or be killed. A final arrow in the throat put him down, though I took no joy from it. It's like I said before; the whole world's gone to hell and left us behind in it.

Anyway, I managed to get some supplies from the bandits and I'm now sitting near a Shrine to Dibella at roadside, writing this entry. I can see Dawnstar up ahead and will be glad to get in from the cold once again, and hopefully forget about how this encounter turned out.

Until dawn breaks once again...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On the Road...

I'm on the road again after leaving Windhelm. Despite my protestations that something was wrong, Jarlief was more satisfied to hold onto my original testament that Wuunferth was the Butcher of Windhelm. I still hope that I was right in the first place, but not knowing was killing me, and so I felt it was time to leave.

Having heard Jarl Ulfrik's claims on the war, I thought it would be a good idea to hear the other side of the tale; I decided to head toward Solitude to go and speak with General Tullius. I've started to notice that for someone who doesn't want to get involved in this war, it is a fate I am slowing driving myself to, whether I want it or not.

I left Windhelm bearing due West, and passed through a mill before coming to my current stop. I am staying at the Nightgate Inn, a small lodging off the road toward Dawnstar, not a day's walk from Windhelm. It's a small place, but homely and quiet, so it will do for now. There are only two other guests staying here, a Nord named Fultheim, and a reclusive Orc who seems to spend all his time locked away in the expensive basement room. I can see the mountain from my window, and there is a lake just outside and down the hill. Solitude is still a great distance away, and I'm thinking about stopping over at Dawnstar along the way to rest and resupply.

But for now, I think some relaxation has been earned.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The House of Curiosities

I don't really feel like writing much today. I've been to Hjerim, and the sight was not pretty. Behind a bookcase I found a hidden room filled with body parts and all manner of books on magic and necromancy. I also found a strange amulet. I decided to ask around town about it for a few days before presenting my findings to Jarlief. I haven't slept much, as with the investigation taking so look I've been staying up and looking around town at night, hoping to find a simpler answer to this puzzle.

Somebody eentually mentioned that there was a curiosities shop in town that dealt in strange artefacts, and so I took it there. The owner, Calixto, was a strange sort with something twitchy about him. He said that it was the amulet worn by all court wizards. He also tried to get me to sell it to him, but that's beside the point. Given the magical tomes and the amulet, everything pointed to the court wizard at the Palace of Kings. I took my findings to Jarlief, however as they took Wuunferth the court mage down to the dungeons, I couldn't help but get the feeling that something was wrong...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Butcher and the Stormcloak

I fully intended on writing again once I had talked to the Jarl, but as it turned out, I have had little time.

A day after my last entry Rolff came to see me and said I would be in court with the Jarl the next morning. I was interested to hear what he had to say, given that anywhere I went he was all people seemed to talk about. I had no interest in the civil war personally, but it is my homeland, so I felt I should at least hear him out.

The morning after I attended court at the Palace of Kings, the palace that Ysgramor himself built so long ago. It still stood splendid as I'm sure it did back then. At at the end sat Ulfrik Stormcloak. As I entered he was talking with Rolff brother Galmar. They were discussing the war aloud and didn't seem to notice me enter at the other end of the Great Hall. Galmar was very passionate about the war, and openly urged Ulfrik to be more aggressive. I'm sure I heard Whiterun mentioned at some point. Ulfrik seemed a whole lot more collected however.

After Galmar left Ulfrik's steward, Jarlief, beckoned me to step forth. I was addressed in the traditional Nord way, even by a Jarl. Apparently he remembered me from Helgen, and he was grateful to know that Ralof made it out alive. He certainly seemed like he believed in what he was fighting for when I mentioned the war, unlike Galmar who seemed just blood-thirsty in my eyes. He certainly wasn't the monster the Imperials would have us believe he is, but there was something troubling in his eyes, or so it seemed to me at least. The look of a hidden tyrant, or a concerned countrymen? He told me about the Stormcloaks and the induction, and was surprisingly very respectful when I decidedly declined his offer to enlist. Like I said, I'm not entirely interested in becoming part of a civil war.

Before I left, he asked me to speak to Jorlief about a local matter that he was hoping I would help him with; he said an outsider with a sense of purpose as mine would be profitable in these circumstances. I agreed, and as it turned out, it had to do with the scene I stumbled across the other night. As I mentioned before, there's a lot of prejudice in this city, so everybody is pointing the finger at someone else, making it very hard for the guards to investigate. Jarlief asked me if I could look into it privately, and see if I could make heads or tails of what was going on.

Since then I've being doing some research at the palace to learn about Windhelm, and I've been talking to a lot of people, particularly at the inn where I'm staying, trying to learn about who might have the right mentality to be a serial murderer. Eventually a lady named Viola Giordano gave me a missive she had been handing out, warning people of this Butcher character. She directed me to Clan Shatter-Shield. Apparently their daughter was one of the first murders. I spoke to Tova, the mother, who was incredibly distraught, but knew nothing except some rumours about a local residence called Hjerim. I decided to check this out for myself and so I got the key from Jarlief. It is late now, however I plan to check it out in the morning.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


It's been a day now and still no word from Rolff. Maybe this will take longer than I thought. In the meantime I'm spending a lot of time in the warmth of Candlehearth Hall, learning a little about the city.

It seems there is a large congress of Dunmer refugees living in a section of town known as the Grey Quarter. They fled here after the Argonians overran Vvardenfell, which was in a weakened state after the eruption of Red Mountain. That was 194 years ago now, but the refugees remain, unable to return to their homeland. I here they initially fled to Solstheim, but somehow ended up in Windhelm eventually.

There are also a large enough number of Argonians living in Windhelm, or rather outside it, as they have been relegated to the docks. They work there, fishing and tending boats, however favour for them does not seem to grow despite this. Nobody has said much about why they are there.

There are a lot of problems with racism in the city. The Nords certainly don't seem to care much for the Dunmer, and the Argonians are disliked even more by them. When I think about it, it seems my people don't like anybody else much actually. Then again, to be fair, the Nords are not the only guilty parties; there is clear disdain from the Dunmer toward the Argonians, though I suppose this is to be expected given that the Argonians are the ones who drove the Dunmer from Morrowind in the first place.

So I get to soak this all in while I wait for the Jarl to speak with me. Good times.

Blood on the Ice

Racism, violence, murder: these are the things the world is defined by now.

I left Riverwood two days ago, and managed to get a ride with a carriage driver at a farm near Whiterun. He took me all the way to the gates of Windhelm, a grateful gesture for my part as it is cold up here, and several days extra walking in that snow would have been unpleasant.

I'm no sooner in the door of Windhelm then I hear some loud mouthed Nord shouting slanders at a Dunmer woman. It was pretty intense, so I stepped in. This guy, Rolff Stone-Fist, instead takes a swing at me, and so within my first few minutes in Windhelm, I'm in a fist fight on the street. Back in Cyrodiil when I was younger, I was bullied a lot by some of the other kids, and so my dad taught me how to fight, so that I could defend myself. Seemingly now I was using it to depend someone else. He backed off afterward and was considerably more friendly once he knew who was going to be holding the chains so to speak. As it turns out, his brother is second-in-command to the Jarl, and so he promised to get me a audience with Ulfrik soon. Until then he directed me to Candlehearth Hall, where the warmth and welcome was a very positive change to me surroundings, even if it wasn't to last.

After a good hot meal I hit the hay but found I couldn't sleep. I kept thinking of the last few days, but moreso that word from the wall was still fresh in my ears. I could still hear it but still had no idea what it was. It was really frustrating, so I decided to go for a midnight walk to try and clear my head. I left the hall and walked through the market place, and that's where I noticed the blood. There were smears of it on the pavement leading around the corner down some steps. I followed at pace and found a grisly sight. A woman, dead lying on top of a stone slab, deep cuts in her back. There were a lot of guards standing around and a priestess. I overheard one of them saying something about some 'Butcher' and how he has struck again. Seems I picked the wrong time to come to town.

After that I decided I didn't feel like walking anymore, and the urge to sleep became much stronger. I returned to the hall and dozed off for the night. It's morning now and I'm awaiting to hear from Rolff. Until then I guess I'll stay put and ask a few people about this Butcher character.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Power in the Voice

I'm back in Riverwood after a close call. That noise I heard back in the tomb was the Draugr leader, or whatever you want to call him. He was much tougher than the others, and he was able to move me with his voice. I have never seen such power, except for once; the dragon at Helgen. I remember he made a sort of shout with his voice that sent several soldiers flying through the air. This Draugr didn't share that much power of course, or I may not have been here to tell, but there was definitely a connection there that troubles me.

Ever since coming from Bleak Falls that word on the wall has been stuck in my mind; Fus. Strangely enough I recognise the tongue as being that spoken by the Draugr and the dragon, though I do not understand what it means. I also found a strange stone next to the Draugr's casket. There are inscriptions on it that match the text on the wall. I have asked Lucan about it but he has no idea, nor did he know what the golden claw was really for.

Only a few weeks in Skyrim and already my mind is at war trying to figure out all these things. I went hunting today to try and relax, however I think I just need to get out on the road again. Ralof keeps telling me to go to Windhelm to join the Stormcloaks. While I have no interest in joining a civil war right now, I think I may yet go and see what the Jarl has to say. I wonder if he will remember me from Helgen even?

Bleak Falls Barrow

It's cold, it's damp, and there are dead things everywhere that aren't so dead. I'm in the bandit hideout that Lucan told me about, only it's no cave or camp, it's a damn tomb called Bleak Falls Barrow. It looks like one of the old Nord burial mounds. Unfortunately for them Sovngarde never came; this is no way for a Nord to spend his afterlife.

On the way here I was ambushed by the bandits' scouts, and was lucky to make it out. My shot hasn't gotten any worse and the bow I picked up back in Helgen isn't half bad. I managed to find some gems on the bandits after the fight, so I may be able to get some gold for these when I return the claw to Lucan. I took all of their arrows as well as I heard back in town that arrows are scarce in Skyrim because there's only one fletcher in all the land. My sword may be getting a little rusty in its scabard, but I was always a better shot than my swing. And then there's that other trick I know...

So there were a few more bandits in the tomb, but they were easy to dispatch. I found their leader Arvel strung up in some spider webs, and unfortunately I also found the enormous spider that put him there. But like I said above, there's that other thing. I had a friend in the Arcane University back in Cyrodiil. He thought me a neat trick that was a spell to produce flames from my hands. Sounds crazy, but he said everyone is born with a capacity for magic, and mages are just the ones that choose to unlock it. Regardless, I won't complain; that spider was scary as hell, but it did not like fire, and I managed to make it out. I cut Arvel down and no sooner had I done that when he bolted.

He didn't get far, which was unfortunate for both of us in a way, as his disturbance had awakened some of the Nords resting for eternity, or at least they were supposed to be. Draugr are what they are called in Skyrim, though I'm sure others have their own names for them. My father told me they worshipped Dragon Priests in life and so when the Priest died they joined him in everlasting afterlife in order to continue their worship. Anyway, one of them killed Arvel, leaving me to deal with them if I wanted the claw. I just kept reminding myself that though they are undead, they are also just men, and I would get through this.

Now I'm sitting here in a large room, claw in hand, writing this entry. Oddly enough, the claw was the key to this room, and there was quite a bit of treasure inside. I'm pretty sure Lucan had no idea what he had in his possession. There's a large wall here covered in words. They are in a strange language that I cannot read, however one of the words is glowing, and it sounds almost like it is whispering to me. There's another sound nearby also. I think I'm going to take another look around.