Night falls over Whiterun Hold, and with it, the rain. The storm is so intense that water spills from the clouds as if pouring from a bucket. By the time Jenassa and I reach the Western Watchtower, we’re soaking wet and shivering. Given the dangers of coming down with a chill in this climate, we’re going to have to warm up fast.
Fortunately the guards have stacked a generous pile of firewood within the tower, and in a few minutes we’ve built a large campfire just inside the entrance. Gratefully we stretch our hands over the blaze as the flames crackle and dance, driving away the worst of the frigid damp. After some time beside the fire and a quick bite from our provisions, we both feel warm, refreshed, and ready for anything.
As the last of our clothing dries, we take stock of the situation. It’s abundantly clear that we’re not going to make it to Swindler’s Den tonight. The thunderstorm shows no signs of stopping, and the darkness outside is nearly total, except for the occasional flash of lightning. We resolve to stay inside, keep warm, and hope for a break in the storm before we return to Whiterun. Just getting back to town is going to be unpleasant enough.
But it doesn’t take long before we’re bored and restless. Between the confined space and the monotony of the rain, soon we’re discussing if it wouldn’t be better to brave the storm and ride back to town. When we step outside to reassess the weather, Jenassa decides to check on the horses, as they’re only partially sheltered from the storm on the other side of the tower. My wife is barely past the stone walls and out of my sight — when suddenly I hear her scream.
In moments, my bow is in my hand and I have an arrow nocked and ready. In a small part of my mind, I realize I’ve acted so quickly that I have no memory of the action — it’s as if the bow magically appeared in my hand by sheer force of will. The rest of my brain is frantic, trying to assess the danger of an enemy I can’t even see. Not to mention the rain is falling so hard that it’s blurring my vision, and I have to clear the water from my eyes every few seconds.
As I get closer to my wife’s approximate position, I can hear sounds of fighting over the continual downpour. The guards have drawn their weapons, ready to strike down anyone who gets too close to the tower. As I approach the road, I can make out two shadowy figures attacking Jenassa from a distance. Bow in hand and screaming in fury, her arrows are flying thick and fast despite the rain. Now that I can make out what’s going on, I summon my atronach and join in.
But to my surprise, as soon as I show up, both adversaries turn and focus their attacks on me. Fortunately, Barbie and Jenassa provide enough of a distraction that our enemies are unable to gain the upper hand — although one of them manages to reach the fortifications before he’s shot down.
It takes more time to finish off the other one, especially since he’s armed with some kind of special weapon. It fires from range, using stubby projectiles with shiny tips –and it really hurts. After I’m hit with one of these, it’s all I can do just to hold onto my bow and remain upright. Fortunately I’m getting pretty good at healing myself in the middle of a fight, and it’s not long before the second attacker hits the dirt. As Jenassa examines the body closest to the tower, I start heading toward the road to search for the other corpse.
As we’re looting the bodies, Jenassa recovers a suspiciously shiny greatsword. In the meantime, I find the mysterious weapon that was doing so much damage to me — a crossbow, and with it, a large bundle of silver-tipped bolts. Bloody hell, no wonder it hurt so much, especially since I’m a werewolf and silver is my bane. Which means that somehow, these enemies knew exactly what I am.
Shocked by this discovery, my first reaction is to set the weapon on fire with either Barbie or Dawnbreaker. But on second thought, I carefully gather up the crossbow along with the bolts and hand the lot to Jenassa, taking care to touch only the wooden components. It says a lot for my wife’s accuracy that I trust her not to shoot me with it in the middle of a fight.
By now it’s pitch dark, and the rain shows no signs of stopping. Since Jenassa and I are already soaking wet, and we don’t intend to be stuck in the watchtower for the rest of the night, we retrieve our horses, mount up, and head back to Whiterun. I’m done with this miserable evening — and the weather hasn’t been great either. I find myself emitting a long sigh of relief when we finally pass through the outer city walls.
After leaving our horses at the small stable near the gates, Jenassa and I head straight for the Bannered Mare in search of some warmth and comfort — especially that of the alcoholic variety. While it’s a shame that we weren’t able to make it to Swindler’s Den tonight on Saadia’s behalf, I have a feeling that if she looks out of the window, she’ll understand. And if she doesn’t, that’s too bad. I’m not about to freeze to death for anyone. Well, possibly I’d do it for Jenassa — but it would have to be for a very good reason.
And in the meantime, if anyone dares to say that I smell like a wet dog, I’ll just suffocate them in my sopping wet fur cloak and they can savour the aroma all the way to Sovngarde.
When we reach the inn, we stumble over the threshold like long-lost seafarers who finally find themselves back on dry land. The storm tries to follow us in, but with a combined effort we manage to slam the door in its face. Wasting no time, I head over to the innkeeper and order us a drink, a room, and a warm bath, in that order. It takes a significant portion of my money, and it might set us back from buying Breezehome if the reward for the giant is less than we expect — but I’m past caring at this point. Call me a slave to my creature comforts.
It takes awhile to for us to warm up and dry off, but snuggling down in a cozy bed after a hot bath and some spiced mead is infinitely better than spending the night in a damp stone tower. As Jenassa and I are drifting off to dreamland, I thank the Divines that I’m not a city guard. Especially the ones assigned to the Western Watchtower tonight. Poor miserable bastards.
All things considered, I’d rather be a werewolf — even if I do have to stop myself from circling the bed every night. And sure, now even more people want me dead. But the odds have been against me for awhile now — and to my way of thinking, there’s no point in letting that get in the way of a good night’s sleep.