As I watch the scurrying townsfolk, the screaming children, and the panicked guards trying to maintain discipline in the face of a dragon attack, my first thought is not now, you miserable lizard. It’s been a long, brutal day of nonstop travel and fighting. I’m tired. I’m cranky. I’m getting chilly and all my muscles ache. The last thing I want to do is fight another ornery wyvern and be the big damn hero. Again.
Even the inspiring sight of my beautiful badass wife is irritating me. Why in Oblivion did the Divines decide that I was the Dragonborn? Why not pick Jenassa instead? With her disciplined and whip-smart mind, she’s far better suited for the role — not to mention she’s a damn sight more useful in a fight. But no, instead my beautiful badass wife has to constantly back up my sorry ass while I flail around like a gutless mudcrab. I can’t help but feel like this whole Dragonborn racket is nothing more than a big joke the universe is playing at my expense. Or maybe it’s simply setting me up. Like Roddy did.
And now this dragon. Septims to sweetrolls, it’s probably the same fire-breathing nuisance that we saw on the road earlier, here to hunt me down after frying the giant into charcoal. Well, it certainly picked its time. I’m weary of the whole business and unlikely to fight well in this frame of mind. In fact, I’m tempted to leave here with Jenassa, head back to the Greybeards, and say, “Take these Shouts back and find some other sucker. I quit.”
The setting sun is still warm on our shoulders as we continue on toward Solitude, but now there’s a telltale chill in the breeze. Nightfall is just around the corner, and we both scan the horizon with some anxiety, aware that the recent unavoidable delays in our journey have cost us quite a bit of time.
Jenassa, who knows the road better than I do, thinks we can still make it to Solitude if we encourage the horses a little and keep going. With that decided, I start rummaging around in my backpack to find something to eat as we ride. Fighting bandits apparently gives me an appetite.
Well, if I’m honest, almost everything these days gives me an appetite. Even the most mundane of sights, like a deer standing in a clearing or a rabbit dashing across a field, makes my mouth start to water. It also doesn’t help that my sense of smell is now heightened, and my reflexes are faster than they’ve ever been — apparently in keeping with my increased metabolism, as I’ve noticed my clothing is looser although I’ve been eating far more often. In short, becoming a werewolf has done wonders for my physical condition.
They say that sound carries best over water, and I witness the truth of that statement for myself as I loudly challenge the enemy on the other side of the river. Now I have to admit, openly attacking a well-fortified bandit encampment may not have been my smartest idea. But then, no one ever accused me of being a genius.
Moments after my foot touches the bridge, the bandits are on the alert, and their skeevery little heads pop up from all over the structure just before a hail of arrows rains down on us. I deflect most of the incoming missiles with my shield before Jenassa and I start shooting back, but the bandits definitely have the advantage inside their fortifications. Ramshackle it might be, but it affords them control of the higher ground and a decent measure of protection.
Normally, it would be a lovely relaxing experience to listen to the rain, intermingled with my wife’s breathing as she sleeps peacefully beside me. But it’s a distinctly less pleasant affair when I’m wide awake, stuck in a leaky tent, and the rain shower is more like a thunderstorm. Not to mention, it’s barely noon. The possibility of being stranded here all day and into the night is not an inviting prospect. Already I’m about to die of boredom, and desperately wishing someone in Skyrim had invented a pack of cards.
And while I’m on the subject, the books in Skyrim are way too short.
So it’s with a great deal of relief when I hear the incessant rain slow to a drizzle. I peek outside to make sure I’m not having some kind of aural hallucination — but hallelujah! It’s true! The sky is looking brighter already! Elated that we’re not going to be trapped in a dripping wet tent all day, I find myself spontaneously clapping my hands in joy — and I accidentally wake Jenassa. Whoops.
My wife jerks into consciousness with a start, her hands flying to grab a weapon even before her eyes are completely open. I have to dodge out of the way before she skewers me, which is not an easy maneuver in such a narrow space, and I manage to grab her arm before she slashes a hole in our shelter. It’s only then that she fully wakes up — and she immediately freezes, her eyes widening as she realizes what I’ve barely managed to prevent.
“Good morning, sunshine,” I say as I slowly release her arm. “I know it’s a bit dim in this tent, but I really don’t think we need a skylight.”
After a miserable rainy night stuck in a leaky tent, Jenassa and I decide to head to Solitude as soon as possible — and avoid any distractions such as bandits, sabre cats, corpses, dragons, small pathetic-looking children, and any other forms of Skyrim wildlife. Fortunately the road is totally clear and completely safe for once, and in no time at all we find ourselves walking through the city gates.