Back in town, the day seemed brilliant with warm sunlight and full of promise, but we’re not long out of Rorikstead before the clouds start to roll in. Serves us right for staying in town for so long — now we’ve not only lost a lot of time, but we’ve also missed the best of the weather. As if to emphasize the point, a sudden gust of wind whips up around us, bringing with it the scent of rain. I glance up at the sky and grimace. Great, that’s all we need. It’s a long way to Solitude, and the inn is well behind us. If we end up having to pitch a tent out in the rain, I will not be a happy camper.
I’m ruminating on these gloomy thoughts when I spot a substantial and comfortable-looking farmhouse near the road, and I slow down for a closer look. This place is easily comparable to the commodious farms of Rorikstead, and quite a bit better than most. I notice someone outside chopping wood near the house, and on the spur of the moment, I guide my horse into the farmyard. I’m hoping that I can speak to the owner, and see if Jenassa and I can make an arrangement to stay here overnight, in case the rain catches up to us and we’re forced to turn back. At any rate, I figure it couldn’t hurt to ask.
The next morning dawns bright and clear, a day that sparkles with sunshine as if the Divines decided to build the world anew. After a decent amount of sleep, the terror and stress of last night seem very far away. By mutual unspoken agreement, Jenassa and I avoid mentioning my previous interference in a certain family squabble, and we devour our breakfast as if it’s our last meal. But just as my wife has settled the bill and we’re about to leave, we run into an old, and rather unwelcome, acquaintance. Oh right — Kematu’s thugs said some of them would be hanging out in Rorikstead, didn’t they? Oops.
The stars wheel in their heavenly dance high above us as we mount up and start riding toward Rorikstead. Watching the stars, we plot our course through the dark grass over seemingly endless plains, searching for a glimpse of the road that will lead us to the small but prosperous farming village that manages to feed most of Skyrim. During my time with the Companions, and among the tavern-talk of farmers deep in their cups, I’ve heard rumours of how Rorikstead produces bumper crops year after year, despite the droughts and early frosts that plague less fortunate farmers. Sacred soil, magery, deals with the Daedra — rural gossips are a creative lot when it comes to speculation.
As we finally reach the road, I find myself wishing for the light of day to better illuminate the land surrounding us. I half-expect to see bigger trees, lusher grass, the very air rich with pollen and ripe with potential as the rumours suggest. But the lanterns along the road barely pierce the darkness, and I can only make out the next few paces ahead. Even the stars are blinded as the clouds roll in.