What is in the water?
I wake up after what can only be described as the best sleep I have gotten since coming to this country. I feel well rested and ready to take on the day; my stomach, on the other hand, is telling me it will not allow me to function without some food. As I am heading out to my balcony I overhear Hulda telling Saadia to remember to clean up some blood stains; I am assuming I managed to sleep through a bar fight. I head out to the balcony and take a seat; before I can even get comfortable Saadia is standing next to me asking me if I need anything.
This woman must really love her job, or she is starved for tips, either way, this service is top notch. I ask her what is on the menu and she gladly hands me a menu to look over. The prices seem to be a tad bit lower than what Thoring was charging, and with a better selection. Even though the prices are better they are still way too expensive for me right now, especially since I do not have a stable job.
I politely lie to Saadia and tell her I am not all that hungry or thirsty but would appreciate it if she could refill all of my empty water bottles. She gladly, well I don’t know about gladly but she does go and refill my water bottles for five septims. I thank her, and she nods; I am almost certain she knows I was lying to her for the whole time she was around my stomach was screaming for food. Oh well, no sense in worrying about such things; I pull some food and some water from my bag and eat my breakfast.
As I am about to take my first bite of breakfast I hear the bard fumbling around with his lute. The only thing I can think at this point is for the love of the nine please don’t sing; I just want to eat in peace. Thankfully my makeshift prayer was answered as the bard began to play the lute; the bard wasn’t half bad a little better than Karita, but that really isn’t saying much. As I sit on the balcony eating my breakfast and listening to the bard play I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my gut, and I know it isn’t the leg of goat I just ate; then I realize what’s wrong; I don’t know what the hell I am going to do today.
When I was in Dawnstar the goal was to leave; that was it that was the whole damn plan. It didn’t really cover anything beyond getting out of Dawnstar, and I have to be honest I really hadn’t thought I would be in another city so soon either. I am completely perplexed as to what I am going to do now. Well, I am not going to figure anything out sitting in my room all day; I should head out into the city. Who knows maybe inspiration from the divines will hit and I will come up with a plan while I am taking in the sights of Whiterun, and if it doesn’t well then at least I will have gotten to know the city a little bit better.
I head downstairs and talk with Hulda; maybe she has some insight or points of interest to share about the city. Before I can even ask her my question she tells me again that she is ready to retire. I politely ask her about the city; she isn’t that great of a help seeing as all she wants to talk about is retiring. Thanks for the not so helpful help there Hulda…keep up the good work. As I am heading for the door Hulda tells me that if I am looking for some work I should chop wood for the fires; sure I haven’t heard that one before. Is this some sort of Skyrim wide joke for new people? Make them chop firewood that no one will buy…hilarious just hilarious… you’ll have to think of another way to get your giggles at my expense Hulda but nice try. I wonder if Abelone had anything to do with that…
I take a step outside and am greeted by a spray of water to my face; great just great it is raining. How am I supposed to get a feel for the city if it is raining; wandering around the city in the rain is not something I want to do. I can’t believe it is raining; my first day in a new city and I get pissed on by rain; thanks Skyrim, thank you so much for pissing on my good morning. I refuse to let the rain dampen my day. Well aside from it actually dampening my day because it is wet and…well you know what I mean.
I am snapped out of my inner rant by the sound of two elderly women at a nearby market stall. They are discussing getting a specially made item; I had no idea you could make special requests. I look at the elderly woman’s stall from atop of the steps; it looks as if she sells jewelry and trinkets; I wonder if I could sell the gems and such I managed to gather from mining. As I am walking down the steps I can overhear the elderly woman’s sales pitch; she mentions something about all her wares being made by the best blacksmith in Skyrim. Hey, that’s right, I forgot all about blacksmithing; I do believe the divines have just inspired a plan. If I am not mistaken I can head straight down the road to that blacksmiths’ shop and see if I can become an apprentice blacksmith. As I turn my attention away from the small market stall I notice a familiar sign; it is the same exact sign that sat in front of the Mortar and Pestle in Dawnstar; please tell me that old crown Frida hasn’t franchised her store.
Great, that is all I need another old hag who enjoys insulting me because I refuse to risk my life on a ridiculous errand of doom. I will have to worry about that later; right now though it is time to go see if I can become a blacksmiths apprentice. I hope the blacksmiths’ shop is open with it raining like this; if I remember correctly the forge and smelter were uncovered and I don’t think it is exactly safe to be doing any blacksmithing in the rain, but what do I know.
As I am about to head down the road towards my future I am stopped by a guard who tells me that if I need to re-supply to check out Belethor’s General Store. He also mentions he finds Belethor to be a sleazy little man but he also says his prices can’t be beaten. I am left with mixed feelings about this Belethor and his general store. Though it is good to know that there is a general store here; I should definitely check it out and maybe see if I can unload some of the things I have collecting dust in my bag; that is if this Belethor guy isn’t sleazy…
OK, enough with theses distractions keeping me from my task. It is time to get to the blacksmiths’ shop and begin my training; if I can even manage to convince the blacksmith to take me on as an apprentice. Heading down the road I can’t help but notice a man chopping wood in the rain; well if my apprenticeship falls through maybe I can chop wood for money. That is assuming Huldas’ offer was real and not some sick joke.
As I approach the blacksmith shop I notice the same woman I saw last night leaning against a pole outside the shop. I walk up to the woman and introduce myself; she gives me an odd look and tells me to go inside the shop if I need anything. Oh, ok…I guess the blacksmith is inside, sorry didn’t mean to keep you from your important task of holding the building up.
I turn and head into the shop and I am greeted by a large burly looking fellow. He must be the blacksmith; he tells me welcome to The Warmaiden and not to let the name fool me they have plenty o’ steel for fightin’ men. Good to know; I introduce myself and he tells me his name is Ulfberth War-Bear. That’s a mouthful; I hope he doesn’t mind if I call him Ulf; by the look in his face when I say that he does, Ulfberth it is. I don’t want to seem overeager about the apprenticeship so I ask him about the city. It never hurts to get some information when you can; he tells me The Jarl Balgruuf the Greater runs the city, and that he is a good enough man that never did anything to wrong his clan, but he has a lot on his plate with the civil war and the dragons and all. That’s funny I know a Jarl back in Dawnstar too, I wonder if it is a common nam…wait, did he say dragons? He did; he said there were dragons. Has he been talking with M’aiq?
I think I will keep my thoughts to myself about his dragons delusion, or at least wait until he lets me be his apprentice. I ask him about a possible apprenticeship and a hardy chuckle rolls past his bushy beard. He tells me the name of the shop is The Warmaiden, named after the blacksmith Adrianne, it was her nickname back when she was a child and it stuck. Well don’t I look the fool; to be honest I should have guessed a brawny guy like that wouldn’t name his shop The Warmaiden. Once he is done chuckling at me he tells me to go ask her about an apprenticeship and tells me what a pleasure it was meeting me. Well, I guess it was; I bet he hasn’t laughed like that in a long time. Shoving my embarrassment down into the pit of my stomach, taste like hurt, I head back outside to speak with the blacksmith Adrianne.
She isn’t hard to find since it appears she hasn’t moved since I went inside; I guess holding up the building is an important part of being a blacksmith. I approach Adrianne and ask her about her forge work and she tells me she just finished a sword for The Jarl Balgruuf the Greater. Hmmm, she called him The Jarl too; I have to wonder is Jarl making these people call him “The” Jarl? If so that is pretty arrogant of him; how can you make that claim, it is rather insulting to anyone else named Jarl, but I digress. I am snapped out of yet another one of my inner rants as Adrianne asks if I would mind delivering the sword she made to her father, who is apparently the steward of “The” Jarl. Of course, I tell her yes; hoping that doing her this favor will persuade Adrianne to let me be her apprentice.
Adrianne tells me her fathers name is Proventus and he can be found in Dragonsreach; again with these dragon references, it must be a Nord thing. Before I can ask her where Dragonsreach is she is hard at work at the forge, in the rain, she is either very dedicated or not very bright, there seems to be a lot of that going around in this city, I am just not sure which it is. Speaking of not being sure of something; I have no idea where this Dragonsreach place is located. I stand in the road a bit confused as to which way to go before deciding to head up the steps near the Drunken Huntsman.
Making it up the steps to an upper level of the city and looking around I come to the conclusion that this section of the city has to be the residential area of Whiterun. Not a shabby looking area either; I could see myself living in one of these houses one day. I hear a little commotion around the corner and as I make my way towards the noise I see two small children. As I get closer I can hear the little girl threatening the young boy, calling him baby Battle-Born and saying she will bloody his nose and mouth if he doesn’t give her ten septims tomorrow. I hear him calling her name, Braith, as he begs her not to hurt him and promises he will bring her the money tomorrow. Wow, that poor boy; I hope his testicles drop soon and that they are bigger than that little girls. Someone should probably do something about that situation but I really don’t have the time.
I carry on my way and no more than a block away from the two children I notice a man and a woman arguing. What the hell is going on in this city? As I get closer I can hear them yelling at one another; well to be honest she seems to be doing all the yelling. I bend my ears to listen in on the lovers spat; I am shocked to find out that the argument is about a sword. Well, to be fair it’s not just any sword, it is his family sword; which was apparently stolen and he managed to track it down to a thieves den. Now his wife is giving him a ton of grief for wanting to go retrieve it. I don’t think I will ever get used to how hot-tempered Redguards can be at times.
I watch as the woman gives him a stern ultimatum and then storms off in a huff and her husband half-heartedly tries to stop her. I try my best not to draw attention to the fact that I was eavesdropping on their very private public argument. I could see how he would rather go risk his life in a thieves den than live with such a drama queen. I walk past the man and he stops and looks at me a moment before telling me he thinks mercenary work would suit me. You sir obviously don’t know me very well. I know what you are trying to do, and I am not going into a thieves den, where I could and most likely would die or at least lose an arm, to retrieve your family sword. Just because you don’t have the stones to stand up to your wife doesn’t mean you can drag innocent bystanders into your web of woes. Then again if I had a wife as mean as she was I don’t think I would disobey her either but that is so not the point. You are on your own sir, good day to you…. I said good day!
I walk past him and see a giant dead tree; poor tree someone should really try to bring you back to life, I bet it would be pretty. I stand around in what appears to be the city circle a moment looking at the tree and my attention is drawn to a rather loud man shouting. What is with this city and people shouting? I walk over to him and notice he is standing in front of a statue of Tiber Septim; I do believe I have stumbled upon a priest of Talos. I haven’t seen anyone publicly praise Talos in…well forever, especially since the Thalmor banned Talos worship with the White-Gold Concordat, stupid Aldmeri Dominion; I hope someone puts a boot up the Altmers‘ arses for all the grief they have caused.
As I look around I notice a boat; to be more precise an upside-down boat used to make the roof of a building. That is not something you see every day; call it lazy building if you want but why make a whole new roof for a building when you can turn a boat upside down.
I can’t really hear myself think and admire the brilliance of the upside down boat building because of the loud priest, whom I learned through his sermon is called Heimskr, and just when you think he is done preaching he starts all over again. No wonder there are only a few people listening to him; I would ignore him too if he repeated the same sermon day after day. Don’t get me wrong I am glad he is standing up to the Thalmor but for the love of Talos get something new to say and maybe lay off calling people, what was it again, that’s right “maggots writhing in the filth of our own corruption…” , things like that are not helping your cause man, I’m just saying…
A guard passes me and tells me I should visit Arcadia’s Cauldron if I need any potions or remedies; it is a relief knowing that old hag in Dawnstar has nothing to do with the Apothecary shop here. Before the guard can speed walk away from me I ask him where Dragonsreach is located and he gives me a look that I am getting familiar with. No gods damn it I am not slow…just give me the directions and stop being a complete ass hat. Sensing my disdain for his face he gives me the directions I asked for and he speed walks away.
I turn and see the giant stairway up to the mountain next to Heimskr; was that always there? I really should start paying more attention to things like that. I walk past the ever loud priest and head up to Dragonsreach. Having reached the top of the steps I am amazed at the size of the building; the sheer size of it reminds me of the castles in back home in Cyrodiil…just…you know…made of wood.
I head into Dragonsreach with no resistance; well there goes the, castle made of wood, notion I had. I stand in the entrance a minute and take in the grandeur of the hall before asking a guard where I might find Proventus. Much to my surprise the guard gladly answered my question without making me feel bad about myself. I make my way up the steps to where the guard pointed and notice two men in a heated conversation; seriously what is up with all the hostile conversations in this city?
I patiently wait for the two men to finish bickering, and as I do I can barely make out what they are discussing. Mostly having to do with “The” Jarl and his stance on the civil war. I keep hearing people mention this civil war but in the time I have been here I haven’t really noticed any real battles or anything. The two men finish and I make my way to speak to Proventus, but before I can make it to him I am stopped by the other man who felt the need to tell me that his name was Hrongar and he is not a man but a weapon in human form. That is….nice…and the guards think I am the daft one in this city? I back away from Hrongar slowly and head over to Proventus.
Approaching Proventus I introduce myself and present him with the sword his daughter has made and tell him she wishes it to be a gift to Jarl…err sorry “The” Jarl. Proventus looks the sword over and smiles telling me his daughter tries so hard to prove herself as a blacksmith to “The“ Jarl. Then he tells me he will give the sword to “The” Jarl when he is in a better mood. He hands me twenty septim and thanks me for delivering the sword; I hesitate a moment and decide to ask him about the city. He seems happy to tell me the history of Whiterun.
As Proventus tells me the history of Whiterun and the different districts, which I should have really paid attention to all he was saying but I was distracted by the glare of a Dunmer woman. She seems to be very mad at me for some reason; her glare is burning a hole in my head I can feel it and it is so very distracting. Proventus didn’t seem to notice my distraction while he talked; that’s good I really didn’t mean to ignore him but that woman’s gaze was just so uncomfortable.
I thank Proventus for his information, even if I only managed to catch bits and pieces of what he was saying I still feel I know more about the city than I had before coming up here; like that upside down boat is Jorrvaskr mead hall, which is good to know even if I have no intention of joining the Companions. I start to head back to The Warmaiden when I glance back at the Dark Elvin woman who is still burning a hole in my head; I should leave right now but I just have to know what this woman’s problem with me is.
I walk over to her and ask her who she is and why she is glaring at me; she growls and tells me her name is Irileth and she is “The” Jarl Balgruuf the Greater’s House Carl. I have no idea what that means and apparently, it shows on my face because she tells me that her job is to protect “The” Jarl. She then tells me that she demanded the position because her and “The” Jarl went through a lot of battles together. Sure sure, I think you just have a crush on “The” Jarl, but tell yourself whatever you need to do your job. Don’t blame me for “The” Jarl not returning your affections; maybe if you didn’t sound like a man he might reconsider.
I turn and walk away from Irileth; with my task complete I should head back to The Warmaiden, but my stomach has other plans for me. I leave Dragonsreach and on my way down the steps I get a great view of the city; it really is a lovely place when you can’t hear people bickering and fighting. I decide to head back to the Bannered Mare for a late lunch and then I will go see Adrianne and let her know the task is complete; with any luck, she will let me be her apprentice.
As I make my way down the stairs I can hear Heimskr continuing to shout his sermon. I make it past the giant dead tree and down the steps and I can see the Bannered Mare and I realize that even though Whiterun seems rather large at a glance it really isn’t anything more than a multi-layered circle. My stomach is growing louder as I enter the Inn and sit at one of the benches; Saadia hurries to my side to ask if she can get me anything. I know she is just doing her job and she does it well but I do not need her attention every time I sit down. I politely tell Saadia that I just stopped in for a quick bite to eat and that I have my own food; I think I hurt her feelings because she sulks away without a word. I pull out my lunch and a smelly hulk of a man sits next to me; I damn near lose my appetite when he speaks and his breath reaches my nose.
I continue with my meal feigning interest in this mans rant about the guards of Whiterun being slackers; well I don’t know about slackers but they sure are rude and hurtful. I finish my meal and head for the door thanking the nine I no longer have to suffer through that mans foul ale stenched breath.
As I step outside I notice two things; the rain hasn’t let up and there seems to be another argument. At first, I was just going to ignore this argument but then I noticed it was two men picking on that little old lady who was selling jewelry. I get closer and I hear one of the men call her an old cow; I can not believe my ears, he… he just called her a cow. What the hell is wrong with this town? Upon further eavesdropping, I find out that the two men are part of a clan called Battle-Born…wait I know that name. I wonder if they know their youngest is being bullied by a little girl, I bet they don’t or they would be insulting and picking on the little girl and not this old lady. Now I feel even worse for that little boy; with role models like these two no wonder a little girl has more balls than he does.
I listen a bit more and I find out that the old ladies name is Fralia Gray-Mane, and she has got some fight in her. She didn’t back down from those two dullards one bit; not only didn’t she back down she flat out accused them of kidnapping. Wait, kidnapping isn’t that a crime? I can’t believe I am going to say this but that ale soaked, pungent man Sinmir, I think his name was from the Inn, was right; these guards are either lazy or they just don’t care that someone has been kidnapped. Then I hear the two men, and I use the term men loosely, further taunt the old lady and tell her that her son is dead and that he got what he deserved for going against the Empire in the civil war. I guess there really is a civil war going on; a very well hidden and secret civil war but a civil war none the less.
I feel horrible for Fralia; my blood is boiling at this point, and I have to resist the urge to kick the living snot out of those two Thalmor sympathizing ass hats for the simple fact that even though my skills from the arena are coming back to me slowly, they are still not what they once were and I would probably get dead and in a hurry. I go to comfort the old woman and she tells me she knows they are lying and her son is still alive but she has no proof. Crap I walked right into this one didn’t I?
She looks at me with her little old lady eyes and asks if there is any way I might be able to get her the information she needs. Crap, I am sorry ma’am I feel your plight I really do but I am no good at espionage. Maybe bring your concerns to “The” Jarl or hire those Companion people, they seem nice and tough, or hell, go ask that little girl to do it; she has a lot of experience dealing with the cowardly Battle-Born men. I apologize profusely and make my way down the road towards The Warmaiden.
I make it to Adrianne and she asks if I have seen her father yet and I inform her the task is done. She smiles and tells me she is not the best blacksmith in Whiterun, she then praises Eorlund Gray-Mane and says his steel is legendary and all she wants is a fair chance. I am kind of speechless that she is being so honest about her skill level as a blacksmith; her honesty makes me want to be her apprentice even more. I ask her if she might need an apprentice and she tells me she has a few things she can teach me. I ask her if this means I am her apprentice and she tells me it does not, but it does mean she can use my help. Well, something is better than nothing and who knows maybe if I help her enough she will let me be her apprentice.
Adrianne gives me instruction on how to make an iron dagger along with the material I will need and sets me to my task. I stare at the forge for a good minute or two and get my mind straight I want to do a good job so she might consider taking me on as her apprentice. I pour the iron into the mold and raise my hammer high; as the hammer hit’s the anvil the reverberation shoots through my body; this feels good. Not only am I able to make something I can get rid of the pent up anger I have left from listening to those two Battle-Born shmucks. I focus on the task at hand and with every clank of my hammer to the anvil I feel a tiny bit better; following Adrianne’s instruction it takes me a good couple of hours to finish the blade but I do finish and as I pull it from the water and look at what I have created I feel proud. Now to show Adrianne and hope she likes my work.
I walk over to Adrianne and hand her the completed Iron Dagger and she studies it briefly. She smirks a bit and hands it back to me and tells me it looks good but it is dull and points me to the grindstone and gives me more instruction. I sit at the grindstone and meticulously grind the edge of the dagger slowly making sure it is as sharp as I can possibly make it, and after another hour of trying my best to get it perfect I bring it back to Adrianne.
She takes the dagger from me and looks it over closely and nods as she pulls a hair from her head and drops it on the edge of the blade. She looks up at me and smiles and tells me I did a fine job and she starts to walk away. Wait that’s it? I did all that work and you’re not even going to tell me if I am good enough to be your apprentice? Adrianne turns and tells me to get some rest; tomorrow I learn to make armor. D-did I just become her apprentice? As if she was reading my mind she turns and tells me that this doesn’t mean I am her apprentice. Well poopy, I guess she wants to test me further, I can understand that I suppose and if all else fails maybe that Eorlund person would let me be his apprentice.
I head back up the road to the Bannered Mare to grab some dinner and see if my room is still available I need a full nights rest if I am going to impress Adrianne tomorrow. As I walk up the road I am stopped by a little girl who tells me her name is Mila and she works with her mother selling fruit and vegetables in the market and that it is hard work then she wanders off. What an odd little girl; didn’t her parents teach her not to talk to strangers let alone complain about working? I guess the child labor laws in this city are pretty lax.
As I approach the Bannered Mare I notice a line at the door to get in; I hope my room is still available, I am not sure where the other Inn might be and I don’t want to sleep in the rain especially when I am trying to get a job as Adrianne’s apprentice. I enter the Inn and walk up to the fire to warm up a bit and notice everyone is staring at me.
I back away from the fire and head to the bar and take a seat; Saadia hurries over and sees if she can get me anything. I tell her I need a refill on my water bottles and she smiles and nods; I am glad I didn’t upset her too much at lunch.
I turn my attention to Hulda who tells me how much she wants to retire again. I heard you the first thousand times you told me you wanted to retire I am not a simpleton; well as far as you know I’m not. I ask her if my room is available; she tells me it is and I pay for another night; she insists on taking me to the room again as if I had forgotten it was upstairs. She tells me if I need anything to let her know and leaves the room.
I head out to my balcony to eat dinner and I am greeted by some people just having a good old time on my balcony. What the hell? If you want this balcony than rent the damn room! I finally get them to leave so I can eat in peace, and as I sit down Saadia returns with my filled water bottles. I thank her and tell her I am ok for the night; she smiles and heads back downstairs. I pull some food from my bag and begin to eat, and just as I am about to take my first bite the bard begins to play the drums. I can’t complain really; he is a pretty good musician and since he has yet to sing I like him a lot more than the two hit wonder Karita.
I finish my meal in relative peace; now it is time to get some sleep. All in all, today was a rather good day; despite Skyrim pissing on me the entire day. I really do hope it is a nice day tomorrow; I would like to see the city when it is not either too dark to see anything or raining. I am glad I managed to see the whole city, well with the exception of actually going inside Jorrvaskr; surprisingly enough the city isn’t that hard to navigate and it sure as heck isn’t as big as I thought it was when I first saw it.
I think I made a good impression on Adrianne and took a good step in becoming her apprentice. I met some interesting people, even if they were all bickering, bullying, and arguing. Yep, today was definitely a good day. You hear that Skyrim! I had a good day; not even your rain could ruin today and tomorrow promises to be better!
Good night Whiterun, Skyrim can’t hurt me here…I hope…