Next morning, even before I’m fully awake, I can tell that the weather hasn’t improved much since last night. Rain falls steadily on the roof overhead in a constant murmur, and the ashen atmosphere outside hardly seems like daylight. Groaning, I turn over and yelp out loud from a sudden stab of pain, startling Jenassa from her sleep. Great. It would seem that I injured my leg yesterday when I was clambering over boulders to escape giants, running up the slippery steps of a ruined tower, and fighting off crazed werewolf hunters. Can’t imagine how that could’ve happened. I’m guessing that adrenaline, and later on, exhaustion, did their part to mask the pain from the injury — whenever that was. I don’t really care. I just hope that we’ve got a few healing potions left.
After Jenassa examines my leg to make sure it’s nothing more serious than a muscle strain, she nods her head when I ask for a remedy. Sliding out of bed carefully to avoid jostling me, Jenassa finds our backpacks in the corner and retrieves a potion. She hands it to me as I struggle to sit up, and I’m disappointed to see that it’s only for minor healing. I look up at her with what I hope is an adorably pathetic puppy-eyed look. But honey, my leg really hurts. Surely we have the good stuff stashed away somewhere? Please?!
My wife manages to look sympathetic and resolute at the same time. “My love, you know we rely on these potions far too much to use them on trivial injuries. This should take away most of the pain and start the healing process. You should be as good as new by tonight if we don’t do anything more active than stroll around town — and in this weather, I doubt we’ll want to do much else.”
I’m somewhat vexed by this as it means I’ll have a weak limb for the rest of the day, but as always, I can’t fault her logic. So with no more protest than a brief grimace, I take my medicine like a good girl.
After a hearty breakfast downstairs, I’m feeling much stronger and steadier on my feet. We decide to head to Dragonsreach to claim the reward for clearing the giant camp last night. Jenassa is concerned about letting me climb all those stairs, but I reassure her that I can handle it. Besides, if we’re rewarded enough to buy a second home in Whiterun, it will most certainly be worth the effort.
As we trudge through the rain toward the Cloud District, a guard hails me with respect, several townsfolk give me a friendly word, and the priestess Danica comes forward to thank me sincerely for restoring the Gildergreen. I have to admit, it feels good to know that my efforts have earned myself a place as a person of standing in Whiterun.
When I think back to the time when I first arrived, robbed and ruined, dressed in the scavenged armour of dead soldiers and unaware of my own business partner’s betrayal, I realize how far I’ve come since then. I’m not even angry at Maven Black-Briar anymore — stealing her prized horse was enough vengeance for me. In fact, I’d probably thank her now. Turns out that getting attacked and left to die was the best thing that ever happened to me — that, and meeting my beloved badass wife.
As we approach Dragonsreach, there’s a brief break in the relentless wet weather. I’m glad of that, but also slightly annoyed, as I have to devote most of my attention to climbing the slippery stairs. Much as I hate to admit it, my leg is still weak, and as we finally reach the top, I can feel a distinct tremor from the injured muscle. I grit my teeth as I push open the heavy doors of the magnificent hall, praying to Kynareth, Meridia, Mara and whoever else might listen that I won’t collapse in front of the steward — or worse yet, the Jarl.
Fortunately the steward right there in the hall — I guess sitting outside on the Great Porch isn’t as attractive when it’s raining. He’s very pleased to hear that we’ve cleared out the giant camp at Secunda’s Kiss, and quite startled to learn that we discovered two giants instead of one. He insists on paying us double for our extra efforts, but I just hand the money right back to him — in exchange for a brand new house.
After our business with the steward is concluded, I belatedly remember Lydia, my formerly unemployed housecarl. Now that I officially own a residence in Whiterun, I look around the hall to let her know that she can begin her duties — but of course, as soon as I’m actually seeking her out, she’s nowhere to be seen. Figures.
Heading out of Dragonsreach, we decide to make our way back to the inn while the new house is presumably being furnished, as I intend to take possession this evening. The rain has changed to a light but steady drizzle, which hasn’t improved the condition of the slippery stone stairs. As we pass by the Gildergreen, we run into Lydia, who appears to have already heard about my acquisition of Breezehome and is making her way there as we speak. While I appreciate her eagerness to start work right away, I can’t help but feel a bit guilty that I made her wait so long since I was made Thane. She must’ve been pretty bored up there in Dragonsreach if guarding my house seems that much better.
Back at the Bannered Mare, there’s now a decent gathering, as several other townsfolk have decided to wait out the wet weather with mug in hand. I look around and spot a familiar little face close to the door, seated at a table all by herself and looking rather lonely. I’m relieved that the innkeeper is good-hearted enough to let the child stay inside where it’s warm and dry, but even a clean and pleasant inn isn’t the same as a home.
With a smile, I seat myself next to Lucia, who looks up nervously at first, as if expecting to be kicked out into the rain. When she sees it’s me, she returns my smile bashfully, then notices Jenassa and starts to get up, assuming that we want the table to ourselves.
But Jenassa motions for her to keep her seat, and Lucia glances back at me with a questioning look in her big wide eyes. Seriously, this kid is adorable. I ask her if the offer of becoming her mother is still open, and once she realizes I’m in earnest, the expression that illuminates her small face is like a shining rainbow bursting through the clouds.
I tell her that our new house is still being furnished, but Lucia is too excited to wait. She races off to gather her few small possessions and tell everyone the news, saying she’ll meet us later at Breezehome. Jenassa isn’t sure about the wisdom of this plan, but I decide to let the kid do her thing. Let’s hope Lydia won’t mind the sudden appearance of a small but lovable whirlwind.
After she leaves, my wife and I order a meal, lingering over it as we discuss plans for our new home. We decide to round off our repast with a celebratory flask of mead, and as I’m heading toward the counter, a charmingly grizzled old character approaches and introduces himself. Right away there’s something about him that I like, and I’m pleased to learn he’s in charge of the work on our house.
It’s already late afternoon by the time Jenassa and I finish our mead, and soon we’re making our way toward Breezehome. It’s still cold and wet outside, but our new house is so close that the chill barely has a chance to affect us before we’re warm and dry again. As we cross the threshold, I look around in admiration. It’s clear within moments that Garath and his crew have not only done their work quickly, they’ve also done it well. Already this place feels like home.
At first the house seems cozy enough, but rather small, as I’ve already gotten used to the proportions of Lakeview Manor. However, it’s soon obvious that Breezehome is larger than it appears. A set of open stairs leads to an upper floor, and around the back of the kitchen area, there’s another staircase leading into the basement. There’s a sense of delighted adventure in the air as we decide to explore the place more thoroughly. Jenassa heads upstairs, while I opt to go down below.
I’m expecting a small root cellar, or at the most a modest workroom like the alchemist’s house in the Rift, so I’m pleasantly surprised when I descend the steps and find myself in quite a large space. It’s unfinished, and still needs a lot of work, but I could comfortably fit several weapon racks and bookshelves down here — plus a full alchemy table and enchanter’s station — and still have plenty of room. As I round a corner, I discover a decent-sized sleeping area that’s clearly meant for the housecarl — and sure enough, Lydia has already moved right in.
I head back to join my wife on the upper floor. It’s a rather charming space up here under the rafters, including a well-furnished children’s bedroom complete with twin beds. I find Jenassa on the other side of the stairwell, standing in the doorway to the master bedroom. She steps aside and waves me in, and I’m pleasantly surprised to see a reasonably wide, comfortable space that rivals our other bedroom back at Lakeview.
There’s a note on the bed, and Jenassa hands it to me with a grin. In moments I’ve got a similar expression on my face. Good old Garath — I knew there was a reason I liked him.
Jenassa hands me a large sheaf of similar notes that she’s picked up from around the house. Garath seems eager to please and conscientious about his work, if not so much his grammar.
I’ve started to read through the handyman’s magnum opus when we hear a flurry of movement from the main room downstairs. As we reach the top of the landing, I catch a brief glance of a small coltish figure and hear a soft squeak of delight from below. At once I’m both amused and charmed, and I look up to see my wife’s answering smile just before we descend the stairs.
Our daughter is home.