Is this a good time to get lost?
Waking up early in the morning, and I feel extremely refreshed and stronger from the events of yesterday; almost as if I had been asleep for a month or something like that. I lay in bed for a little bit pondering the decisions I have to make; do I stay in Riverwood and work the mill to make some traveling money while taking lessons from Faendal, or do I ask if Faendal would like to go to Falkreath with me? Having someone to talk to on the road wouldn’t be bad, and it is good protection against bandits and the like. I think I have made up my mind; I will head to Falkreath today and ask Faendal if he would like to join me. I will have to tell everyone goodbye, and by everyone, I mean the sane people of the town; the rest of the crazy fruit baskets can eat a bag of hair for all I care.
I get out of bed and head for the door; I can hear sweeping and I know Delphine will be waiting for me on the other side of my door. I open the door and as predicted there she is; sweeping in front of my door waiting for me to wake up.
Oddly enough I do not even care that she is a creepy stalker with crazy eyes because by this time tomorrow I will not be here, and I will no longer be the subject of her stalkery stalking; I make my way past her and belly up to the counter to order some breakfast. Orgnar seems to know what is on my mind and tells me he isn’t looking to make friends, and here I thought we were friends with a mutual annoying pain in the ass named Delphine, but I guess I was wrong. I order a hearty breakfast for a change because I know I will be traveling and I also restock on some of the essentials I might need, like water. Orgnar hands me my order and I make my way to the table to eat when I notice creepy McCreeperson.
I sit down and eat my breakfast and I catch myself staring a hole into this creepy man. The entire time I have been in town this man has done nothing but stalk Alvors’ wife, and be overly friendly with the children of this town. Before I knew it I was standing in front of McCreeperson ready to give him a verbal and probably a physical beating. As I am about to say something he looks up at me and tells me I am kind of fuzzy, then he asks what is wrong with me. I stagger back a foot when his words reach my nose; I can smell the pungent aroma of cheap booze on his breath as he speaks.
He tells me his name is Embry and asks if I can spare a drink; it has become overtly apparent that this man is only a threat to his liver; now I know why no one around the town seems to mind him being a complete creeper. I grab a bottle of ale I had been saving and hand it to Embry telling him to try not being so damn creepy and stay away from the kids; he thanks me which tells me once his hands were on the bottle he stopped listening to me. Shaking my head I go back to my table and finish eating my breakfast; once I finish my breakfast I head back to my room to change into my traveling attire.
I am greeted by a beautiful day as I exit the Inn; it is such a nice day I almost regret having to wear this armor but it is definitely necessary for traveling, I learned that on my first day in this region. I decide to head to the mill first for a few reasons; first I am going to chop some wood for campfires just in case I have to camp under the stars before reaching Falkreath, and second, to thank Hod and Gerdur for the job and let them know I am leaving town. I finish chopping some wood and head up the ramp to find Hod but he hasn’t shown up for work just yet; I guess since hiring extra help he doesn’t feel the need to be on time to work. I look over and I see Gerdur staring out at the river so I make my way over to her.
I approach Gerdur and tell her my plans to head to Falkreath; I thank her for the job at the mill and ask if she can pass my thanks onto Hod. She smiles and nods before walking away; I was kind of expecting her to try and convince me to stay but she doesn’t.
I decide to head over to Alvors’ and let him know my plans; as I head to see Alvor I run into Faendal. We talk for a bit and I decide to ask him to join me on my journey to Falkreath. He politely declines to say he wants to try and spend more time with Camilla since Sven is no longer in the picture. I nod and wish him luck; he stops me as I am about to walk away and asks me if I wear this armor when I go out to hunt. I tell him I do and he laughs a little then tells me I should wear lighter armor when hunting because it makes less noise. I thank him for the advice and I again begin to walk away when he stops me; he said he can tell by how I am carrying myself I am ready for another lesson in archery. He tells me he is glad I am taking in these lessons so quickly; he shows me some more techniques and teaches me the main differences of a short bow and a longbow increasing my knowledge of archery.
I thank Faendal for the lessons and make my way over the bridge to Alvors’ place. Upon crossing the bridge I notice the distinct lack of something. Then I realize that Sven is not pacing back and forth on the road as he had done since my arrival in Riverwood. I can only imagine he finally got word that Camilla wants nothing to do with his slimy self and he is with his mom crying like a baby; that or the package he was waiting for finally arrived. Either way, he is nowhere in sight which makes this beautiful day that much better.
I head up the steps to Alvors’ and I see his wife Sigrid sweeping the porch. I make my way to her and let her in on my plans and thank her for her kindness. Then I tell her I officially met Embry and bribed him with alcohol to stay away from the children. She just smiled and continued sweeping; almost as if everything I told her didn’t matter. You would think a mother would be grateful to someone for stopping the creepiest man in town from being creepy with her child. Then again all I really did was give him booze and tell him to stop being a creep; which in retrospect probably isn’t much more than anyone else does about him in town.
I walk over to Alvor and he looks up at me from his grinding wheel; I tell him I am heading for Falkreath to further my blacksmithing abilities. Alvor grins and hands me some directions before asking me again if I am sure I won’t go looking for the book he lost. I tell him I am certain; risking my life for a book really just doesn’t seem to be worth it. He shakes his head almost disappointedly and then wishes me good luck on my journey; I head down the steps and I wave goodbye to Alvor and Sigrid and make my way out of town.
Not far from Riverwood I stop and look at a cluster of road signs; unlike the road signs I have seen and used before this cluster of signs is completely useless. I see familiar signs for places like Whiterun and someplace called Helgen, which for some odd reason I have a really bad feeling about, but there is no sign for Falkreath. I guess it is a good thing Alvor gave me some directions because without them I would more than likely get lost. Who am I kidding even with these directions I am probably going to get lost.
I never would have thought I would miss this little town but as I walk down the road I can’t help but look back at it and get sad for leaving. Maybe one day I will be back and build a house as close to the town as possible; I would build it in the town but I don’t want to put Alvor out of business. Well, that and I want to be as far away from the creepy people like Delphine and the town drunk who I still believe is secretly a pedophile. I pull my new hood from my bag and look at it; this was the first thing Alvor taught me to make. I smile and put on the hood and strap on my weapons before I continue my journey down the road to Falkreath.
As I walk the road ahead of me I let my mind wander to the things I have learned in Riverwood; Alvors’ lessons have definitely made me stronger, but what I had not anticipated was getting stronger from Faendals’ lessons. Especially the lessons he gave me today, I definitely feel more knowledgeable but I also feel significantly stronger from his teachings. I almost regret leaving Riverwood without receiving all of the knowledge Faendal had to offer, but Alvor had nothing more to teach me so it was time to move on. I stop walking as I spot an elk on the opposite side of the river; I smirk as I remember what Faendal said about my armor being all wrong for hunting, but I think he might have taught me enough to be able to take it down in one shot. I could do some hunting but I am certain to get lost if I try and then who knows where I would end up; so, I continue to walk the path I am on letting my mind wander a bit.
I am snapped out of my thoughts by a familiar sound; the sound of howling wolves has been etched into my brain from many encounters. I suppose I was half expecting this since wolves seem to be Skyrims’ go-to move of trying to kill me anytime I am not in a city or a town. I ready my bow and I see two wolves charging at me; I take quick aim and let loose my arrow killing a wolf with one shot. I am rather shocked I was able to do that but had no time to celebrate as the second wolf is still charging; I ready another arrow but before I can take aim the wolf runs up the hill. I do not hesitate to give chase; knowing if the wolf makes it back to its pack I will have more wolves to worry about. I draw my sword and shield and give chase; I am not certain when or how but the wolf managed to get behind me. Had it not been for the cracking of some brittle tree limbs the wolf might have gotten a chunk of my rump, but I managed to turn and slam my shield into its skull, just in time, staggering it enough for me to plunge my sword into its neck killing the beast. As a budding blacksmith I am grateful for the pelt the wolf yields, but as a traveler, I have to admit I am slightly concerned that wolves attack so often.
I finish skinning the wolf and begin to make my descent down the hill when I notice some mineable mineral; I see no real harm in gathering as much material as I might need for the future. Besides with the wolf attacks, I figure my timetable to reach Falkreath has been pushed back to the point that mining some ore won’t matter at all. I finish mining the iron ore from the ground and continue my way back down the hill; I am happy to see the road as I had not realized how far up the hill I chased that wolf. I continue along the road until I come to the other wolf I killed and I stop briefly to skin it; I walk to the river and wash my hands and knife of the blood and get back to the road to continue my trek to Falkreath.
I pass the time as I traverse the stone road by picking flowers; this relaxes me though I can only imagine what it would look like to a passerby. I laugh a little as I think about it and continue to pick flowers along the pathway. That is until I am snapped out of my flower picking hypnosis by the sound of a man yelling; I look up and I am not sure how or when but I seem to have stumbled upon what appears to be a mine. I can only assume this is Embershard mine which would make the loud yelling Nord a bandit; before I can turn and high tail it away from where the large and now very angry bandit is rushing at me with a murderous intent.
This is what I get for picking flowers and trying to mind my own business; I ready my sword and shield and brace myself for his attack. His weapon hits my shield with enough force to send a shocking pain through my arm. He staggers back for a split second allowing me the opportunity to quickly slice at him with my sword; the large bandit goes down like a sack of potatoes and I am left shocked as I stand over his body almost waiting for him to get back up and attack me again, but he doesn’t. I can’t help but feel that this was too easy; could all the work I have been doing at the forge and the archery lessons have made me that much stronger? I pick up the loose coin that falls out of the bandits’ coin purse and pick up his weapon; the extra coin and weapon will definitely help further my blacksmithing.
I turn around and look at the entrance to the mine; I think this is the place where Alvor wanted me to go to retrieve his smithing book. After staring at the entrance to the mine for some time I come to a conclusion; if this bandit, who went down like a sack of spuds, that I just faced was the best they have to offer, how dangerous could this mine really be? I said it was a conclusion; I said nothing about it being a well thought out conclusion or anything that even remotely resembles a good idea. Before I had time to second guess myself, or at the very least convince myself I am stupid for doing this; I head into the mine.
I slowly make my way down the corridor of the mine; so far it doesn’t seem any different from the mines I have worked in. Well ok, there is one difference; the other mines didn’t have bandits occupying them. As I get further down the mine I notice a trip wire on the ground; obviously put here by the bandits to prevent intruders from venturing further into the mine. I guess they expected anyone who was dumb enough to venture into a mine occupied by bandits would be too stupid notice a trip wire on the ground; well joke is on them because I am just stupid enough not to fall for it. Wait that came out wrong…
I disable the trap with my hunting knife and proceed further into the mine; as I walk I can hear a couple of people talking. One of the voices is astonished no one has come into the mine in so long and the other tells him it is because they have a guard outside the mine and a trap waiting inside the mine; I am tempted to scream out that he is wrong on both accounts but I feel that would just be asking for trouble. Then I hear one of them order the other to get some rest before his shift; after hearing this I determine the best way to proceed would be by sneaking past them. I crouch down and hide in the dark as I slowly make my way to a large opening; I am in awe of the size of this mine compared to the others I worked in.
I crouch there looking around and I hear someone yelling that I shouldn’t be here; well, I guess no one told them I was hidden because they are now charging at me. I stand up and ready my weapons; so much for the stealthy approach. This is probably for the best; now at least I know what Faendal meant about not being able to sneak around wearing heavy armor.
As the bandits charge at me saying in unison that this was a bad time for me to get lost; well maybe next time have a posting outside of good times to get lost down here. I don’t even have time to think before my body reacts to the incoming attack. I use my shield to block one attack and quickly strike and kill one of the bandits; the other bandit doesn’t seem phased at all and mounts his own attack. It felt as though time slowed down because before I knew it the second bandit lay at my feet dead. Perhaps I was right outside; both these bandits didn’t even touch me and now not only am I richer but I have more materials I can use to work on my blacksmithing. I see off in the distance across the water another opening, but it seems to be blocked off by a wooden wall. I continue along the wooden walkway and pass the matching wall to the one across the water; I can’t help but wonder why they put two walls up but no bridge. Glancing down at a makeshift camp I see some ore I can mine but I remind myself I am here for a reason, I am here for Alvors’ book; ok so maybe it isn’t a really good reason but it is still a reason.
I continue through a dark opening and head down the mine a bit to a dead end; I see a book next to a skeleton and my curiosity gets the better of me, as it tends to do seeing as I am now in a bandit-infested mine. I read the journal and determine it belonged to the skeleton, or rather the man that is now a skeleton. I learn that the bandits captured him before he could get away and made him continue to work the mine until it caved in on him. After reading the journal I am saddened by his story and I left to wonder why no one in Riverwood mentioned him being missing; more than likely he was a drunk but that doesn’t seem to stop anyone from tolerating Embry.
I head back up the slope of the mine and continue towards a well-lit area that seems to be a dining area of sorts; this area is pretty nice, I guess just because you are a murderous scum bag doesn’t mean you have to live like a savage. I look around for the book hoping I won’t have to delve deeper into the mine but after searching every nook and cranny the only thing I find is potatoes and salt piles. I don’t even find a way to go deeper into the mine; I am left to wonder if maybe Alvor didn’t leave his book down here. Just as I am about to give up my search and just head to Falkreath I spot a lever hidden; ok, so it wasn’t what you would actually call hidden but it was in a shadow and I didn’t see it. I pull the lever and watch as the two identical wooden walls fall and make a bridge; of course, it is a bridge, two walls there would just be stupid.
I lower my head ashamed I was foolish enough to think they were walls, but I don’t have time to admonish myself as I hear some voices. Apparently, me lowering the walls, I mean bridge, has put them on alert and they rush across. I don’t have any time to find a place to hide; I probably could have had more time if I hadn’t left the other two bandits I killed out in the open because seeing their friends only made them search faster for me. I try to head back down to the dead end where it is nice and dark but before I can make it one of the bandits has found me. So much for playing hide and seek. He rushes at me and I quickly ready my weapons. I dodge his first attack and block his second; I see his friend coming to help as I parry and drive my sword through the heart of my opponent. His friend stops for a brief second realizing I have just killed his friend; this only furthers his rage and he rushes at me yelling that I have picked a bad time to get lost. I seem to recall the others saying the same thing earlier; I sidestep his attack and like his friend, I managed to quickly run my blade through his heart.
I kneel down and pick up the two bandits coin pouches; I feel like a tax collector doing this but I am broke and being a blacksmithing student is expensive. Following the previous logic, I also take their weapons for strategic smelting purposes. I slowly make my way across the bridge into a dimly lit area of the mine; I freeze in my tracks as I come to an opening in the mine wall with a few coin pouches and some loose coins. I hesitate to take the money for a moment before convincing myself that stealing from bandits can’t really be stealing. I see it more as a bandit tax refund, besides, my conscience hasn’t really stopped me from taking money from bandits before. So, why should it be any different now? Well, besides the fact that this money was probably taken from the people of Riverwood or anyone else the bandits robbed; damn my conscience, now I can’t take this money.
After I put the money back, I know I am going to regret that decision later, I continue down the dark passageway; I am surprised I have not come across any more bandits. Just as I am thinking that I hear a man yell that it was a bad time to get lost; ok, that is, what, the third or fourth time someone has told me this. Is that the bandits’ mantra or something? Maybe it is their battle cry; if it is they need a new leader because that is the worst battle cry ever. I ready my sword and shield as I see the bandit running out of the darkness swinging his hammer wildly. I block with my shield a few times and as I ready my shield for another attack I am stunned to see the bandit dead at my feet. W-what the hell just happened here? Did I just kill a man without even attacking him? Is that even possible? Maybe he just had a major heart attack; whatever the case may be he is dead and it is time to collect my tax refund.
After collecting the bandit tax refund from the incredible dying bandit I notice he was guarding a caged off area of the mine. I wander over to the cage and try to open the door but it is locked; I look through the bars and see a large chest, maybe the book is in that chest. Now I have to figure a way into that caged area; I glance over at the dead bandit and notice a key hanging around his neck. I take the key and see if it opens the barred door; I am so happy when I hear the click of the lock unlocking and I swing the door open. I hurry to the chest and it too is locked; I wonder if maybe the key opens the chest as well so I go and pull the key from the door and try it on the chest. There is much joy when the key fits and opens the chest; I rummage through the large trunk of a chest but the joy I once had is gone when I find no book. I was really hoping that this chest had the book so I could leave this mine but it seems I must go further into the mine.
I slowly make my way further into the mine; as I turn a corner I come to a more open area. Before I can admire the scenery I am attacked by a pair of bandits. I draw my weapons and take a defensive position; I am hoping these two have heart attacks like the other bandit I faced seem to have had. Alas, my hopes are dashed as they both continue their onslaught; I back peddle putting a little bit of distance between me and them. They both come charging at me; luckily for me, they are not fighting as a team. I manage to push one of them back with my shield and quickly take up some offense against the other. Just as I bring my sword down on the head of one of the bandits killing her I feel a rush of air blow past my face. I turn and look and an arrow is now lodged in the wall; I glance out and there is now an archer letting loose a flurry of arrows in my direction. I rush over towards the other bandit who is no longer staggered and use him as a shield; the arrows pepper the bandit and I finish the job with a quick thrust of my sword through his neck.
The arrows continue to fly by me as I quickly find cover behind a pillar; I could wait for the archer to use all his arrows but it seems as though he has an endless supply. I would stick my head out to try and get a fix on his position but I rather enjoy having both my eyes; I crouch down behind the pillar and draw my bow. I may not have as many arrows but I might get a lucky shot off if I am quick enough. I draw the arrow back and quickly turn from the pillar and fire at the bandit who is perched on a wooden rope bridge; I am shocked when the archer falls from the bridge into the water below. I watch for a moment with an arrow drawn and fixed on the bandit as it floats on the surface of the water. After waiting a good few minutes I determine the archer to be either dead or really good at holding his breath; I am leaning more towards the dead option. I search the dead bandits for my tax refund but they are not carrying any money so I will have to make do with their contribution to my education in the form of their weapons and spiffy cloaks. I am almost certain they will not miss these cloaks; well, that is unless they come back alive and get chilly but honestly what are the odds of that happening?
I look around and see a pathway that seems to lead to where the archer was and what looks like a living area. I cling to the wall, not knowing if there are more bandits or not; this seems like a good idea to be all stealthy. Well, it did right up until I hear my armor scraping against the mine walls and echoing through the open area of the mine; any chance I had of sneaking up on anyone still here is now gone. As I continue along the narrow path I am startled by a loud growl; I spin around looking for the beast that made the noise but I don’t see anything. The disembodied growl has me slightly worried so I hurry along the path to the living area I saw and get ready to face any bandits that might be hiding here. It isn’t long after I get to the living area I realize there are no more bandits and then I hear the loud growl again; I tighten the grip on my sword and ready myself as I turn around sharply. I am puzzled that there seems to be no sign of anything and I hear the growl one more time and I shake my head and laugh a little as it dawns on me that my stomach is the one making all the noise. I sit down at a table and pull some food out and eat a late lunch before I start to look for Alvors’ book; I look around while I eat and I am rather impressed at the layout of this mine.
I finish my lunch and begin my search for Alvors’ book. I look through the two rooms; I find coin purses, food, iron ore, and ingots but no book. After I finish searching the rooms I am frustrated because there is no sign of this blacksmithing book of Alvors‘; I am really starting to think that the book doesn’t even exist or worse this is some kind of twisted joke Alvor made up. I give up out of frustration and decide to just mine the ore here and restart my journey to Falkreath.
As I head back to the small pathway that brought me up here I notice an area below me with a forge; I stand there and stare at the forge and wonder how in the world I missed that area. I turn back and head across the rope bridge and down to the smithing area; if that book is anywhere it has to be here. Mainly because I have freaking looked everywhere else in this gods-forsaken mine. I walk to the forge and glance over at a table and I see a book; I walk over to the table and look at the title of the book. “Light Armor Forging”, this has to be Alvors’ book.
I place the book in my bag and make my way up the ramp to the area where I fought the two bandits. Having retrieved Alvors’ smithing book it is time to leave this mine; as I start to head out of the mine I notice the mineable ore and decide it would be in my best interest to harvest as much ore as I can carry. With my pickax in hand, I begin to make the slow ascent back to the surface; I stop at every mineable rock I can to restock on blacksmithing materials.
I mine the last of the ore and make my way back outside; I go through the doors of the mine and am greeted by the cool night air. I am almost surprised that it is already dark; apparently, time flies when you are busy spelunking and killing bandits while trying to find a book. I start making my way back down the path to the road; I am nearly knocked down as a wolf springs out of the brush and attacks me from behind. Feeling the strong bite of the wolf on my backside I spin around quickly; drawing my sword as I kick the animal and slam my sword through its skull making quick work of the sneaky beast.
I approach the road and decide that I should head to Riverwood for the night; I see no reason to sleep under the stars tonight since the town is so close. Having made the trek back to town safely I decide to stop briefly and do some quick smelting; turning the ore and weapons I have gathered into a refined material for blacksmithing and it also lightened my bag significantly. With the weight of my bag reduced and the materials, I have for smithing increased I head over to the Sleeping Giant Inn. As I walk up the steps I remove my hood placing it in my bag; I reach for the door handle and I can hear something I have never once heard in Riverwood before, music. Did Delphine actually hire a bard? Perfect, this is just perfect; this is all I need right now, a bard to caterwaul all night while I try to sleep. I walk through the door and I am surprised, to say the least, as I see Sven banging on the drum. So, not only has Delphine hired a bard but the bard she hired is Sven, of all people, great, just great, this is going to be an awesome night I can just feel it…
I stand there and listen to Sven do what can only be described as spastically abusing a drum for a moment; I guess he was, in fact, waiting for his instruments to be delivered while he was pacing back and forth outside. I am struck by a gnawing pain in my gut which was reminding me that it was time for dinner; I approach Orgnar and order some food. He gives me a taunting look as if to say he knew I would be back as he hands me my food; I manage to avoid Delphine for the moment and sit down to eat. I listen to Sven and I almost choke on my dinner as I laugh; thinking that he is probably the only person to ever play with his flute. I quickly wash down my food with a bottle of water before I choke and I realize that everyone is looking at me; I glance over to Sven who must have heard my thoughts because he has now stopped playing his flute.
After a moment he goes back to playing some music and I watch him for a briefly as I raise my mug to him and nod; he glares at me and continues his set, and I laugh to myself. I can’t help but feel I made the right choice in helping Faendal with Camilla; Sven doesn’t even remotely look like he is upset or heartbroken. He does, however, seem angry that he didn’t get what he wanted; I don’t know why but I feel a great deal of pride knowing that because of me Sven would forever be alone as long as he lives in Riverwood. My good feelings turn south quickly as I see Delphine and I know I will once again have to face my stalker. I begrudgingly approach Delphine and request a room; she acts nonchalant but I can tell in her eyes she is more than happy to have the object of her deranged obsession back in eyesight.
This is what I get for thinking I would never have to see her again; I shake off the creepy that Delphine always gives me and head for my room where I can relax. Well, as relaxed as one can be with an unbalanced stalker right outside the door. I enter my room and close my door, tossing my bag on the ground next to the table before sitting down to relax a bit. I decide to read Alvors’ book so I can further my knowledge of blacksmithing and be able to return it to him tomorrow before I leave for Falkreath.
After I finish reading the book I feel as though my knowledge of smithing has grown and I am now able to grasp some concepts that previously eluded me. I place the book back in my bag and get ready for bed; as I lay in bed I feel a sense of accomplishment. Having delved into a dangerous mine and retrieved my mentors’ lost book was such a rush; I can see how people could get addicted to doing such things on a daily basis. Granted it was probably the dumbest thing I could have done and I should not have done it but I feel good that I did; now I can return his book and maybe prove to him that I should have been his rightful apprentice instead of his daughter.
Tomorrow I begin my trek to Falkreath…again. Good night Riverwood; tomorrow I bid you fair well, and this time I mean it, maybe, hopefully. With any luck tomorrow will be the last time I have to see my stalker; however, if today has taught me anything it is that I don’t know Jack. Good night Skyrim, see you tomorrow, on the road, where this time I will attempt to stay alive while you continually try to kill me. Good job on using my damned curiosity against me you evil genius you, but you failed in your attempt to kill me this time and for that I thank you.