A bard, a bandit, a fork too many

Turdas, 4th of Hearthfire, 4E

My eyes flutter open and I yawn still exhausted from the previous day. I lay in bed for a few moments remembering everything that transpired yesterday; though the way my body aches it feels like it has been ten months since then. I stretch and swing my feet out of bed; I can feel every muscle in my body screaming at me as if I had just tortured them, such is the price of spelunking I suppose. I sit for a moment not wanting to move but knowing if I don’t than I might be stuck here for one more night under the watchful eyes of my stalker. I glance at the door and sigh; I just know she is staring at my door trying to will it open with her mind. As I stand up every bone creeks, pops and I groan a little; note to self, just say no to spelunking, it adds 10 months to your body.

I gather my armor from the floor putting it on to get ready for my travels; I glance at my bag and it seems to be bulkier than I remember. I reach down and struggle to lift the bag then drop it to look inside and see why it is so damn heavy. I look inside and remember about all the “Bandit Taxes” I had collected last night. I could have sworn I was able to smelt most of it down but seeing all the stuff in my bag tells a different tale. I will definitely have to make a trip to the general store to sell as much as I can before leaving for Falkreath.

Heaving the bag over my shoulder I walk to the door; I ready myself for the hungry eyes of Delphine before I open the door. Much to my relief and surprise she is working at the alchemy table; I just hope it’s not a love potion, or if it is, it’s for the next unsuspecting person she decides to pursue.

I'm no expert but I really don't think a broom is an alchemical ingredient.
I’m no expert but I really don’t think a broom is an alchemical ingredient.

I walk over to the bar and speak with Orgnar about replenishing some of my water and food. He tries to sell me on some of his day old Skeever livers; just the mere thought of it made me vomit a little in my mouth, I can only hope that Falkreath will have a decent cook. As he walks off to refill my water bottles I can feel the hot glare of stalker eyes upon me; which can only mean Delphine is finished mixing whatever potion her eerie mind could concoct.

Don't move, if we remain very...very still, she will go away....right??
Don’t move, if we remain very…very still, she will go away….right??

I continue to ignore Delphine and Orgnar hands me a few bottles of water and I purchase an apple for my breakfast. I walk past Delphine and avoid eye contact and find a seat next to a young woman who seems to be enjoying the newly hired musical styling of Sven, and I use the term musical styling loosely. To me it sounds more like a saber cat choking on a live skeever; I suppose there really is no accounting for taste with some people. I try to enjoy my breakfast but between the creepy gaze of Delphine and the abhorrent music, if you can call it that, coming from Sven it is near impossible. I decide to leave half of my apple on the table, grab my bag, wave good-bye to Orgnar and head to the general store; hopefully they should be open by now.

I sat here because you were cute, but then you opened you had to go and ruin it by talking about Sven.
I sat here because you were cute, but then you had to go and ruin it by opening your mouth and talking about Sven.

I make my way down the road to the store but unfortunately it is still closed when I arrive so I will have to wait for it to open. As I wait I see Alvor and his daughter walking to his work space and over hear her talking to her dad about becoming a great blacksmith one day. He smiles and nods agreeing with her before starting his work for the day. Yep, like it or not, she is his apprentice and she will become a great blacksmith; who knows, maybe she will delve into a bandit infested mine, fight for her life and return his lost book to him. Oh wait, that was me. Well crap, I just remembered, I forgot to return his book to him. I start to walk over to him when I hear the door to the Riverwood Trader unlock and open for business; I will have to do that when I am finished in the store.

Heading into the store I speak to Lucan; he tells me again they are open despite having been robbed. I feel kind of bad for him, someone should really go after the robbers and get their stuff back, and by someone I mean anyone besides me. I show him the merchandise I am looking to sell and we haggle about a price; by haggle I mean he bought my stuff and I had no say in the price at which they were sold. I kind of miss Cyrodiil at times like these, at least there merchants were willing to negotiate on pricing; not here though, there is no back and forth over price at all, no sense of bartering at all really.

I conclude my business and turn around to see Camilla sitting at a table looking at me; I wave and smile at her and she smiles back telling me it’s a nice day when I am around. My face began to heat up as I blushed a little. I can’t tell if she is flirting with me or not but it was still nice to hear.  I can’t help but wonder, since Sven is obviously out of the picture, will Faendal grow a pair and at least talk to Camilla or is she truly single. Oh well, too bad I am leaving for Falkreath and besides it has only been a few days; Faendal is probably working up his courage. She giggles a bit and gives me a strange look and I realize I have just been kind of standing here lost in thought; I awkwardly bid her a farewell as I leave the store.

Did you just... You did...You just flirted with me. If I were a better man I would tell Faendal about this, but im not so I won't...So...How YOU doin?
Did you just… You did…You just flirted with me. If I were a better man I would tell Faendal about this, but im not so I won’t…So…How YOU doin?

Stand in front of the store I rummage through my bag looking for Alvors’ book; as I find the book I look up and Alvor is not in his work shop. I walk across the road and into his work shop and place the book on his work bench. Maybe now he will realize I was his real apprentice after all. I leave his work shop and begin to once again leave Riverwood and head for Falkreath. This time I am determined not to fall for any more of Skyrims clever tricks, like flower picking right into a bandit infested mine.

Enjoy your book Alvor, and don't worry about the blood on the pages, I am sure your daughter can still read the book.
Enjoy your book Alvor, and don’t worry about the blood on the pages, I am sure your daughter can still read the book.

I travel down the road heading to Falkreath, or at least I hope I am on my way to Falkreath, after all I am following Alvors’ directions and for all I know I could be heading to Oblivion. As I walk down the path I notice a large elk eating some grass on the other side of the river; if I had more time I might try my luck but I already got a later start than I would have liked. After walking for a while I realize just how boring traveling alone can be; I think about breaking the boredom by picking flowers. I gather some flowers and realize this is how I ended up getting lost and fighting a horde of mine dwelling bandits. I put the flowers in my bag and focus my attention to the road so I don’t get lost again; not this time Skyrim, I will not be fooled by your pretty flowers of doom. Even though, knowing me, I will end up getting lost anyway.

I continue to travel along the road keeping the river to my right as Alvor suggested when I come across a beautiful water fall complete with jumping Salmon. This would be a great day for fishing, well that is if I could ever figure out how to fish; apparently the mechanics of a stick, a string, and a hook elude me somehow.

Such majestic beauty, it almost makes me forget that Skyrim wants me dead....almost.
Such majestic beauty, it almost makes me forget that Skyrim wants me dead….almost.

I carry on along the path and after a while I come upon a fork in the road; it seems all too familiar and I realize that it is the path I took to the mine yesterday. I continue uphill on the road and notice an area with three large stones with some carvings on them. They sort of remind me of some of the stones that can be found around Cyrodiil. They do seem to look like they could be pretty important so it is probably for the best I not touch them; who knows what would happen if I did, knowing my luck they would blow up and kill me.

Yeah, three mini Doom stones in a circle. That doesn't peek my curiosity at all...
Yeah, three mini Doom Stones in a circle. That doesn’t pique my curiosity at all…

I notice that I can no longer keep the river on my right like Alvor suggested; I continue up the mountain along the path hoping that I am not getting myself hopelessly lost. I look up and I am glad to see a sign post in the distance. I reach the sign post and stare at it for what seems like forever; the sign says to go one way but when I read Alvors’ directions and they say to go another. I decide to continue to follow the directions Alvor gave to me; I just hope this doesn’t get me killed.

Advancing up the mountain, on the pathway, I notice a man at the top of the hill; as I get closer I am confused as to what I am seeing. The man is repeatedly walking into the light post; I get closer and watch from a short distance as he keeps running into the pole backing up and running into it again and again.

Is...is he...trying to hump the lamp post?...Nah.....Is he?
Is…is he…trying to hump the lamp post?…Nah….

After a few moments he finally figures out to walk around the post; I approach the man to see if he is ok and he introduces himself as Talsgar the Wanderer. It must be a new title because an experienced wanderer would have known to walk around a light post. He tells me he is a minstrel, a fact I should have known since he is blonde and so incredibly stupid that he chose to continually run into a light post.

He offers to sing me a song for a price of course, I roll my eyes and politely decline; he then offers to teach me to speak better. So, let me get this straight; you just spent the better part of fifteen minutes walking into a pole and now you want to teach me to speak better? You aren’t  even bright enough to have figured out how to walk around an inanimate object, let alone teaching anyone anything at all! And just what in Oblivion is wrong with how I speak? He just walks away without answering me and I am left feeling enraged. I can’t help but wonder if all bards in Skyrim are this rude and moronic; do they teach some sort of course in being a complete ass hat? I bet it’s called, “Rudeness 101, the finer points of being an arse.”

If I hold up my fist will you run your face into it repeatedly?
If I hold up my fist will you run your face into it repeatedly?

I continue on the footpath and come across another fork in the road; one path leads further up the mountain and the other leads back to the river. Alvor did say to keep the shore on my right until I came upon a fork in the road. Could this be the fork? I stare at the path and decide this must be the fork Alvor meant and I head up the mountain path. As I proceed up the mountain I am glad to see a statue of Talos; this must be a sign that I am on the right path, things might  start to be coming up Zander.

A Shrine of Talos, things are looking up!
A Shrine of Talos, things are looking up!

With every step forward I see more and more of the statue and I smile more and more. As I reach the top my heart sinks and my smile vanishes. I am horrified to find that this place of Talos worship has been littered with the corpses of his followers.

...Please tell me it is nap time....please...
…Please tell me it is nap time….please…

As I look around the carnage I notice the dead body of a Thalmor agent off to the side of the place of worship. I walk over to the body of the Thalmor agent and can’t help but feel all the hate and anger well up inside me; I start to kick the dead body and scream as I remembered my mother, and everything else that had happened in Cyrodiil.

You deserve far worse for what you have done here...
You deserve far worse for what you have done here. Though I am impressed someone pulled your cape through your legs, that was a nice touch.

As the rage subsides I notice a note on the ground next to the body where I was kicking it; I bent down and read the note.

Elenwen...a name I won't soon forget...
Elenwen…a name I won’t soon forget…Damn Thalmor.

It wasn’t hard to figure out what had happened here from reading the note; this scum bag found this hidden place of worship and ruthlessly murdered them all. The only thing I didn’t know was who killed him; whoever it was deserves a reward, maybe it was Talos himself that laid righteous vengeance upon the Thalmor agent. I crumple the note and shove it in the mouth of the dead Thalmor before mourning the lost lives of those whose only crime was to worship Talos. I say a prayer at the shrine and head back down the dirt trail towards the river.

As I head down the road towards the river my stomach yells at me telling me that it’s time for lunch. I make my way down the path to the river and sit on a large rock overlooking the water. I try to eat my lunch but I can’t get the image of the slaughter at the shrine of Talos out of my head; as quick as my hunger hit me the thought of the massacre at the shrine causes me to lose my appetite. I manage to eat just enough to keep my stomach from growling; I sit and watch the water, trying to clear my mind, as I toss bread crumbs into the water below.

Sitting on a rock eating lunch by a lake, the only thing that would make this better would to not have seen the site of a massacre….that and ale…

I finish clearing my head and renew my journey on the cobblestone road to Falkreath. After walking for a little while I come upon another fork in the road. I notice the fork in the road isn’t so much a road as it is a place of a lot of foot traffic. Considering the last time I took a wrong turn I found the corpses of innocent Talos worshipers, I decide it’s probably in my best interest to keep to a real road for a while.

As I progress on the road I notice Skyrims’ classic attempt at my life; a small pack of wolves on the road ahead. I think I have the upper hand since they have not seen me just yet so I crouch down and draw my bow. I nock an arrow, take aim and let it loose, narrowly missing one of the wolves, so much for the element of surprise. I quickly draw my blade and shield as rapidly as possible; the wolves reach my position  quickly and lunge for my neck. I make quick work of the three wolves bashing and slashing at them. The last one falls and I hear the howl of more coming from the tall grass around the mountain side. I know if I don’t hunt them down they will hunt me down and that could potentially be fatal. I draw my bow crouch down and hide in the tall grass as I hunt the rest of the wolves down. I finish quicker than I had anticipated but realize my hunt has taken me far from the road.

Shhhh...Be vewy, vewy qwiet I'm hunting wabbits... er I mean wolves.
Shhh…Be vewy, vewy qwiet I’m hunting wabbits… er wolves, I meant wolves.

I try to hurry back to the road ; it seems hunting the pack took me up the mountain a bit and caused me to back track quite a way. I continue on the road a ways and breathe a sigh of relief when I see the three dead wolves I killed earlier. I proceed along the road enjoying the peaceful silence; that is right up until I hear someone screaming at me. I turn and I see what appears to be a Redguard woman running at me; I can’t help but get the feeling that she isn‘t rushing to give me a hug. My hunch is confirmed when she draws her weapon and tells me I chose a bad time to get lost. Either she is the last remaining bandit from the Embershard mine or she knows I might actually be lost. I’m not sure how she would know that I might actually be lost so I think it is safe to say she is a Embershard mine bandit screaming their battle cry; I still think it is a stupid battle cry but who am I to judge.

I watch as she continues to rush me but before I can reach for my bow I notice she is not really making any progress towards me; I watch her for a few moments and I start to laugh. I don’t know how but she managed to get stuck on a rock; this is the second person I have come across today that has somehow managed to be bested in a battle of wits with an inanimate object.

Are you related to Talsgar?
Are you related to Talsgar?

I watch her for a moment longer as she is still trying to figure out a way to make her way past the rock to kill me; I contemplate just walking away and leaving her to her puzzle but then she might actually figure out how to walk around the rock. If that happens she will more than likely hunt me down and take my life, and I can’t have that. I sigh as I draw my bow and proceed to pepper her body with arrows until she lies lifeless on the ground; I feel bad that I killed her but I have a feeling I would have felt a lot worse if she had, you know, killed me so my remorse is short-lived.

I would tell you to hold still but you really don't have a choice do you.
I would tell you to hold still but you really don’t have a choice do you. This might hurt…a lot….

I don’t even take the “Asshole/Bandit tax” from her; I figure she has paid in full just for being stupid enough to get stuck on a rock.  I carry on down the road for a short while more until I come upon yet another fork in the road. I am confident this is the fork in the road Alvor had mentioned, mostly because the road was stone and not dirt like the others. I can only hope this road will bring me to Falkreath, but to be honest it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if this only got me hopelessly lost. I push on down the road as it begins to get darker; I only have a few more hours of traveling before it will be too dark to continue. I know I am ready to camp if need be but I still have hope that I will reach Falkreath before it gets too dark. I proceed along the path for a few more hours and I am pleased; not only has the last few hours of my journey been pleasantly uneventful but I also notice a town off in the distance.

Salvation they name is Falkreath...I hope.
Salvation they name is Falkreath…I hope.

I reach the gate and a guard welcomes me to Falkreath; well, it seems Alvor was right; it took a day to get here. The sun has almost completely set now, so I ask a guard for directions to the Inn and he points me in the right direction. I walk to the Inn and notice the sign, “Dead Man’s Drink”; not the most inviting name but at this point as long as they have a nice warm room and a bed I don’t really care at this point.

As I walk into the inn I can’t help but notice how many people there are inside. I get a few stares as I walk up to the bar; the woman behind the counter tells me her name is Valga and asks if  I need anything. I nod and tell her I would like a room; she tells me the price of the room and I can’t believe my ears. She assures me I heard correctly and I am in no real position to argue if I want a warm place to sleep for the night. I pay her and she guides me to the room and tells me if I need anything else to let her know. I thank her and ask if the price of the room included meals and she just laughed as she walked away.

You wouldn't happen to be a stalker would you? Even if you were I don't think I would mind...
You wouldn’t happen to be a stalker would you? Even if you were I don’t think I would mind…

I look at the room and I feel as though I have been here before; then I realize it is very similar to the room I rented at Dawnstar. At least this room seems a tad cozier than Dawnstar; and by cozier I mean it actually has a door. I close the door and remove my armor; I grab some food from my bag and having a light dinner, my appetite still hasn’t fully returned from the scene earlier today. I lay down in bed and stare at the ceiling for a while thinking about the journey here.

A large room with a large bed and a door, no wonder the price is a lot more than in Riverwood.
A large room with a large bed and a door, this sure as hell beats the room I had in Riverwood.

As I lie in bed I can’t help but think of the massacre at the shrine of Talos; I guess Skyrim has decided to add mental torture to its list of ways to neutralize me, so I have that to look forward to from now on as well. Tomorrow is a new day and who knows what it will bring, well besides Skyrim trying to assassinate me that is. I will decide what to do in the morning for now I am tired and it is time to sleep.

Good night Falkreath, thank you for being only a day’s journey from Riverwood; the nine only know what Skyrim would have done to me had I had to camp outside tonight. As for you Skyrim, you hit a new low today, mental abuse, I thought you were better than that. For shame Skyrim…for shame.

WOO, finally finished this entry. Sorry it took longer than I thought it would but I hope it was worth it for everyone. As I mentioned in an earlier post this will be the last Zander entry for a while. I have a lot of work to do to get the next part of Zander up and running and I want the game to be as stable as possible so as not to have another incident. I will be starting a new Zander file once I get the mods all sorted and stable. Hopefully I can get him back to Falkreath and on the same timeline as he is now. At least that is my hope but we shall see if it works out that way or not. I will keep everyone updated as to the progress being made. Again I hope everyone enjoyed this entry and I look forward to all your comments and feedback. Don’t forget to like, share and comment.


20 thoughts on “A bard, a bandit, a fork too many

    1. I honestly stood there and watched the bard and the bandit as they struggled to over come their pathing. Talsgar overcame his obsticle but i had to put the bandit down lol

      1. Hehe. It is transfixing some times, just to watch them sort of running in place… That is unless of course they have ranged attacks, in which case KILL IT! KILL IT FAST!!!

  1. Zander, oh how I’ve missed you!!! This was a good entry, funny, with his humorous observations and all, but then it got a little serious and emotional there. I think Zander needs a hug.

    1. To be clear you liked it though right? Zander needs many things a hug definetly being one of them, as well as a psycological evaluation. =)

  2. Zander, I will give you a big orcy hug. Because you need one. Glad you’re back though! Just remember, what scars you for life only makes you… um… more vulnerable to bouts of psychotic rage… never mind. Hugs for Zander!

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