After a long night’s sleep (completely lacking in skooma addicts or homicidal machinery), I’m feeling much better. Alert. Energetic. Ready for whatever the day might bring.
…Then I step outside.
Does it never stop snowing here?! I’m more determined than ever to keep heading south. Even incessant rain would be an improvement.
I stop briefly to contemplate the forge on the way out. This is really the ideal career for someone living in Skyrim. Sure, blacksmiths have to deal with grime, slag, burns, scars, sharp objects, dangerously hot molten metal… but at least they’re warm.
Speaking of warmth, I resume my quest for decent weather. Unfortunately it’s kinda hard to see very far with all the snowflakes swirling around. Meh, I’ll just go slow. I’ll be fine. I have plenty of food and alcohol now, so I won’t starve or freeze. Surely I’m the only one crazy enough to be walking around in this blizzard, right?
I barely reach the edge of the woods when suddenly a shadow charges at me. A shadow with way too many legs. It spits freezing venom in my face, causing my eyes to water and my limbs to go numb. What the crap?! Panicking, I raise my shield and flail away with my sword.
Giant ambush predator spiders? Too much nope for me. I turn around and head straight back to the cottage. My new plan: to doze for a few hours, sleep off the effects of the venom and wait out the storm. I don’t actually expect this plan to work, but it’s not like I have a choice. Well, I do, but any other option seems suicidal.
Amazingly my plan works perfectly. When I poke my nose out four hours later, the blizzard has blown itself out. The numbness has gone, I can see again, and Kynareth be praised, there’s even sunshine!
With a silent farewell to my cozy forge-cottage, I once again start trudging through the snowdrifts. It’s hard to find a road or even a path, so I orient myself to a large stone structure and head toward it. As I approach, it looms high above me, solid and formidable, dominating the landscape. It’s impressive, but after my recent experiences I don’t really want to know what’s in there. The way my luck’s been going, it’s probably full of giant spiders, treacherous bandits, and wolves disguised as skooma junkies.
Downing a couple bottles of ale to keep out the cold, I continue past the ruins as the land slopes downward. Soon the road comes into view and patches of bare ground appear. Relieved that I no longer have to stumble through snowdrifts, I head straight for the road… that lovely, clear, ice-free road!
Buoyant, I practically skip along. I can make out a distant but sizable settlement on the horizon — perhaps a city! — and the thought of being reunited with civilization once again makes me positively giddy. And speaking of civilization, here’s a large farm straight ahead, and a someone on the side of the road with a horse-cart. Likely an honest farmer taking his fresh produce to market, or a wealthy merchant with exotic goods…
Okay, fine. So the guy’s a little weird. But he’s stuck here with a broken-down cart just as he was taking his deceased mother to her final resting place. Clearly they have some odd practices here in Skyrim, but that doesn’t mean I should be rude and intolerant. I’ll just head on up to that farmhouse and see if they can’t render some assistance.
Not only does the farmer refuse to help, he actually tries to get me to convince the patrol guards to arrest the little weirdo. For what? Breaking a cartwheel next to your precious farm? Here I thought farmers were supposed to be kind honest folk with hearts of gold. Salt of the earth and all that. Salt in the wounds, more like.
Well, as my mother taught me long ago — if you can’t talk someone into doing the right thing, shame them into it instead. Surprisingly, it works.
At least I have good news to take back. Of course the little guy is delighted. He starts babbling about how he’s ever so happy and how much his dead mother appreciates me. The conversation starts to get seriously disturbing when he remembers he promised me a reward, and he hands over a decent sum of gold. Oh thank Mara, now I have a way to end this bizarre encounter. Gratefully I bid the stranger (emphasis on strange) farewell.
In the meantime, the weather has taken a more dramatic turn. Dark clouds have swept in and lightning flashes intermittently, punctuated by the occasional roll of distant thunder. So much for my sunshiny day. Now that my business with the creepy midget is concluded, I decide to hightail it into town before the rain hits.
Just outside town, I discover an establishment called the Honningbrew Meadery. Fantastic! Never heard of it before, but it looks promising. Maybe I can recoup some of the losses from the bandit raid and send a few dozen cases back home to the Drunken Horker. I could even give him a small deposit with the gold lining my pockets. Hopefully the proprietor won’t mind sending it C.O.D. Couldn’t hurt to ask, right? Preparing to spill my life story (but in a dignified professional way, of course), I enter the building.
Bugger it all. Turns out this is just a small-town craft meadery with a lunch counter attached. Looks like Maven’s the only game in Skyrim when it comes to large export orders.
I continue on my way to the city. It’s definitely a city, or at least as close to a city as this province gets. I’m getting tired of hauling all this extra stuff around, and right now I’m just looking forward to selling most of it and finding a warm place to stay for the night.
Musing over recent events, I’m startled when the ground suddenly jumps under my feet. There’s shouting nearby, quite close actually, and I turn my head to see a gargantuan humanoid wielding a massive bone club in the middle of a farmer’s field. He’s surrounded by a small group of well-armed townsfolk intent on taking him down. The giant swings his club wildly, hitting the ground more often than not, but still terrifying in his rage. He’s a damn sight too close to town, that’s for sure. I feel I should do something to help out, so I reach for my bow and start shooting.
Between my arrows and the efforts of the townsfolk, the giant finally topples over dead. Hooray, we saved a random farm field! Don’t worry, dirt, that giant will never club you again!
Soon I’m approached by one of the fighters and… oh. Oh my.
Sorry, were you talking to me? I suddenly forgot how to think. Come to where and be a what now? Are there any more of you in this Yorr-va-whatever?
Feeling distinctly addled (and I haven’t even been drinking that much, I swear), I hear one of the group mention a mead-hall. Better and better. Tracking down mead has never steered me wrong… well, not often… hardly ever. Despite recent events. Honest.