By dankempster 4 Comments
Day Two - The Golden Claw
I rose early this morning and breakfasted with Gerdur, Hod and Ralof. I thanked them for their hospitality and bade them farewell, promising I would soon return. I spent the morning wandering round town, and eventually found what I was looking for - a general store named the Riverwood Trader. I walked into the shop and was greeted by the two proprietors having a terrible row over something. When the dust had settled, I approached them and said I had goods I wanted to sell. The man, an Imperial by the name of Lucan Valerius, was kind enough to take all my unwanted items in exchange for a little gold. When I asked him about the argument I'd overheard, he said that his store was robbed recently. The thieves made off with a Golden Claw, and were now holed up at Bleak Falls Barrow in the mountains to the west. As thanks for his trade, I offered to retrieve the stolen item for him. The gold he promised in return only served to sweeten the deal.
Lucan's sister Camilla pointed me in the direction of Bleak Falls Barrow. I promised I would return with the Claw by next morning, and began my hike up the mountain-side. En route to the Barrow I encountered a number of bandits, presumably accomplices of the thief who stole the Claw from the Trader. They proved no match for my trusty axe, and the additional spells I purchased from Lucan before I left proved most useful. More bandits were waiting for me at the Barrow itself, but they too fell without incident. I was able to pick one or two off from a distance with the bow and arrows Ralof gifted to me, and burned the others to cinders with fire spells before they could touch me. None of the corpses I looted possessed the Claw, though. Steeling myself, I stepped through the huge gate and into Bleak Falls Temple.
The Temple seemed like it was once a grand edifice, but it must have fallen into disrepair centuries ago. As it stands now, it was all but abandoned, occupied only by wretched Skeevers and the fleeing bandits I was pursuing. None of them stood a chance against me as I tore through their ranks and deeper into the Temple. I soon caught up with the leader of this band of thieves - a Dunmer by the name of Arvel. He'd been trapped and encased in webbing by an enormous Frostbite Spider. This Spider proved to be my most challenging foe yet, but my arsenal of newly purchased spells and the health potions I lifted in Helgen saw me prevail. Arvel seemed grateful for my intervention, and promised to return the Claw if I cut him free of the web.
No sooner had I freed Arvel than he turned tail and ran deeper into the Temple's crypt. I chased him down and drove my axe deep into his skull - a method that I've always found to be the best remedy for treachery. I recovered the Claw from his body, and along with it a journal. In it, Arvel had written that the Claw was some kind of key to a door deep within the Barrow. Curiosity getting the better of me, I pocketed both the Claw and journal and, instead of heading out of the Barrow and back to Riverwood, I pressed on through the crypt. My presence on this hallowed ground raised a number of Draugrs from their slumber. While much more fearsome foes than the incompetent bandits, they did not prevent me from moving through the crypt and into the Sanctum of the Barrow.
Once inside the Sanctum, I retrieved the Claw from my pack and used it to unlock the sealed door that Arvel had spoken of. Beyond the door was some sort of ancient shrine, emblazoned with runic inscriptions. As I approached the shrine, a strange sensation came over me. Despite being unable to read this long-dead language, the runes seemed to be saying something to me - something about an unrelenting force, I think. I didn't have long to mull this over, though, because a Draugr Overlord emerged from a sarcophagus beneath the shrine. It was a close-fought battle, but I was able to get to higher ground and rain arrows down upon the Overlord from a safe distance. Not wanting to take any further chances, I made my way out of the Barrow through a small passage behind the shrine.
I emerged on the southern face of the mountain, and followed the bank of the river east back to Riverwood. On my travels I encountered a woman, clothed in naught but rags and wasted away to nothing. I offered her some food and she paid me with the words of her story - she had escaped from a slave camp being run by a group of bandits, at a place called Mistwatch far to the east. I gave her enough supplies to get her to the nearby city of Falkreath, as well as my word that I would look into the matter. She thanked me by marking the location of Mistwatch on my map, and continued on her way.
I arrived back in Riverwood just past midnight, and was fairly sure that the Trader would be closed and Lucan and Camilla both asleep. Light flickering in the window proved otherwise, so I entered and gave the Claw back to Lucan. He thanked me for my kindness, and dropped a purse containing four hundred gold coins on the counter - my payment. As for what happened at the shrine, I decided to keep that to myself for now. With business finished at the Trader, I returned to Gerdur's house and asked if she could spare a bed for the night. She kindly obliged. Tomorrow, I will begin my journey to Mistwatch. Hopefully the trek will be pleasant, and give me time to think about what I saw before the shrine at the Barrow. Until then,