By dankempster 2 Comments
Day Eleven - Old Towns, New Faces
For the first time since my days as a smith in Cyrodiil, I woke in a house that I own yesterday morning. As I outlined the last time I wrote in this journal, my plan for this day was to visit my old hometown of Karthwasten. I knew I would run the risk of soiling my fond memories of the place, but I felt somehow obliged to return. My plotted route took me far to the west, out of Whiterun Hold and deep into the Reach, skirting past the city of Markarth before heading north to the old mining town.
On the surface, Karthwasten is much as I remember it. That in itself is almost miraculous, given almost twenty years have passed since I left to seek my fortune south of the border. The town is still a small mining community, and it is still governed by the ageing Breton Ainethach, a man who was once a very good friend of my parents. Sadly, it would seem the only thing that has changed is that my old family home, which used to reside at the southern end of town by Fenn's Gulch Mine, is no longer standing - empty land sits in its place, and all that remains of my father's magnificent forge is his old smelter. I'd heard that old Ainethach has sided with the Empire in the fight for Skyrim, but that's understandable - if the Stormcloaks were to gain independence, then losing Karthwasten and the mines to them would be a very real possibility.
Ainethach did not recognise me at first, only realising who I was when I mentioned my Retsmek family name. He graciously welcomed me back into the village, shaking me by the hand and inviting me into his home. There, we discussed what has become of Karthwasten. I began by asking him if he knew anything about my parents - he told me that they had sold the land almost ten years ago, torn down their house and the forge, and used the money to live out their retirement across the border in High Rock. I had not expected to see my mother and father here, but it was still saddening to hear the news. I also learned of another reason that Ainethach was backing the Imperials in the Civil War - he was under significant pressure to give the village up to the Silver-Blood clan, a Nord family based in Markarth that owned half the Reach Recently the tensions had begun to reach breaking-point, with the Silver-Bloods hiring a band of mercenaries to close off the Sanuarach Mine, effectively throttling Karthwasten's livelihood.
I gave Ainethach my word that I would deal with the matter, and left immediately for the mine in the northwest corner of town. Inside, I met with the leader of the mercenaries, a Nord named Atar, and demanded that he move his troops out of the mine. Immediately I saw his hand move towards his sheath as he told me that the Silver-Bloods were paying good money for the job. Although I know how to handle myself in a fight, I am really little more than a humble blacksmith, and I knew I would stand little chance in a fight against a mine full of sellswords. Luckily, I was able to diffuse the situation by speaking the only language mercenaries seem to understand - I pulled out my coin purse. It cost me just short of one hundred and fifty septims to persuade them to leave - practically nothing to me at this point, and even less in the grand scheme of keeping Karthwasten out of the Silver-Bloods' hands.
When I told Ainethach that I'd managed to persuade the mercenaries to lave Sanuarach Mine, he generously thanked me with six hundred gold coins, and said that I was welcome to stay the night in Karthwasten before continuing my journey. I took him up on his offer, and chose to rest before heading back to Whiterun the next morning. I took a slightly different path on my return, sticking closer to the borders of Whiterun Hold and passing through Rorikstead. Walking through that farmer's hamlet, I couldn't help but think of that young fellow who'd tried to run back at Helgen and been put down by an Imperial arrow. I wondered whether his family were here, if they were expecting news from him. It's only been a couple of weeks since then, but it already feels like a lifetime away.
No sooner had I arrived in Whiterun than I called back into Warmaiden's and spent most of the money Ainethach had given me on smithing materials, which I then used to finish forging and refining my set of Dwemer armour. I resolved that tomorrow would be the perfect time to visit at High Hrothgar, and in preparation for that trek I decided to visit Jarl Balgruuf at Dragonsreach in order to glean some more information about the Greybeards and the legacy of the Dragonborn. While consulting with the Jarl, his advisor, Proventus Avenicci, asked me if I might take care of a bandit problem on their behalf. The thieves in question were holed up in Redoran's Retreat, a cave to the northwest. With nothing else to do until tomorrow, I took the contract and set off for the Retreat.
The bandits within the cave put up very little resistance, especially compared to the gang I cleared out of Fort Fellhammer a few days ago. The Bandit Chief proved a little more resilient, but it still did not take long for my blade to find its way hilt-deep into his chest. It seemed the bandits had been using the Retreat as a holding place for their 'earnings', most of which I retrieved from a treasure chest in the Bandit Chief's headquarters. Among the jewellery and gold was an old torn map, which seemed to point to treasure nearby. I pocketed the parchment, with a view to checking it properly tomorrow. I emerged from Redoran's Retreat into near-complete darkness, and quickly made my way back to Whiterun, and Breezehome. Thinking it too late to turn in my services tonight, I will visit Proventus in the morning, before I head for High Hrothgar. Until then,
- Day Ten - New Thu'um, New House
- Day Nine - Retrieving the Star
- Day Eight - Azura's Champion
- Day Seven - Wuuthrad and Werewolves
- Day Six - Kynareth's Will Be Done?
- Day Five - The Companions and the Sleeping Tree
- Day Four - Duelling With a Dragon
- Day Three - The Bandit, the Wife and Her Lover
- Day Two - The Golden Claw
- Day One - Escape from Helgen
- Day Zero - Here Begins My Journal