By dankempster 4 Comments
Day One - Escape from Helgen
If the events of late are any indication, I sense strange happenings may be afoot in this world. For this reason, I will keep this record of my journey as a testament to those happenings.
My name is Lenah'd Retsmek. I am a Skyrim Nord through-and-through, born and bred in Karthwasten, but for the last eighteen years I have plied my trade as a smith in the province of Cyrodiil to the south. After hearing of civil unrest in my homeland, I sought to cross the northern border and bring my services back to my native people. My Imperial customers may have sustained me for the last two decades, but the Empire liked making things difficult for a Skyrim native with a penchant for sword-making and a chip on his shoulder. While passing over the Jerall Mountains and back into Skyrim, I was intercepted by Imperial guards and accused of trying to enter the province illegally. Unable to produce any papers proving otherwise, I was clapped in irons and thrown onto the back of a horse-drawn cart with three other prisoners, bound for the small village of Helgen.
En route to Helgen, the prisoners revealed their identities to me - Ulfric Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm; a follower of his named Ralof; and a third individual from Rorikstead who seemed to have been picked up for some petty crime or other. As we rode into Helgen, it became apparent what fate awaited us - the Imperials had prepared the village to bear witness to our executions. The young lad from Rorikstead tried to escape when they let us off the carts, but didn't get far before the guards put an arrow in his back. The rest of us stood stoic and resolute, ready to face our fate. As I approached the chopping block, I could smell blood in the snowy air.
But the executioner's act wasn't destined to be my passport to Sovngarde - at least, not today. As I lay there, with my head resting on the block, an enormous winged beast attacked the village. Its fiery breath laid waste to the houses around me, distracting the guards and offering Ulfric, Ralof and I a chance to escape amidst the madness. With my hands still bound I ran for cover in a nearby building, where Ulfric told us this creature was a dragon - a real dragon, in Tamriel! I pursued Ralof through the wreckage, until we became separated. The Imperial overseeing our executions tried to persuade me to unite with him, but to no avail - the Empire has brought me nothing but trouble these past two decades, and I tend not to get on with folks who try to kill me. I reunited with Ralof, and we sought refuge in Helgen Keep.
Once inside and away from the immediate threat of the dragon attack, Ralof released me from my bindings. A Stormcloak lay dead nearby, and so put up no resistance when I robbed him of his axe and armour. We carefully stole through the passages beneath the Keep, encountering the occasional gaggle of Imperial guards who proved no match for my newly-acquired weapon and Flame spell. Deeper into the passage we encountered more Stormcloaks who'd also been lucky enough to escape, and persuaded them to join us. They fought valiantly, but sadly didn't make it past the Imperial archers waiting for us under the keep. After what seemed like a lifetime, we finally came to a crack in the cavern walls, the floor thick with ice and snow blown in from outside. Cautiously, we pushed through the crack.
Ralof and I emerged from the cavern into the snow-capped expanse of southern Skyrim. In return for fighting alongside him, he promised me food and shelter in the nearby town of Riverwood. Said his sister lived there, and would be more than happy to put me up for one night. By now the night was beginning to draw in, so I graciously accepted his offer. The journey to Riverwood was short and uneventful, punctuated only by a battle with a pack of wolves and a brief pause at a set of Standing Stones. Upon our arrival in Riverwood, Ralof introduced me to his sister Gerdur, and told the story of what we had experienced back in Helgen - an experience that already feels so distant and intangible in my mind. Gerdur was kind and understanding - she showed me to her house, where she fed and watered me and gave me a bed for the night. Tomorrow morning I shall rise early and properly explore my new surroundings. Hopefully I will be able to find a store where I can sell some of this equipment I picked up in Helgen. Until then,