Woke up after a rowdy night with two drunken barmaids and a flirty draugr to find myself tied up in the back of a cart with a load of people with really long hair. Ended up at some little keep called Helgen, where we were told that execution was the order of the day. Liking my neck where it is I protested, saying I was from the Empire and that chopping my head off for a barmaid-draugr orgy wasn’t exactly a capital offence. My complaints fell on deaf ears.
Before I could be decapitated the keep was attacked by a gigantic lizard that breathed fire and screamed a lot. Pandemonium ensued, allowing me to escape with one of the long-haired lads from my cartride into town. After a while we got separated, whereupon I was co-opted by a dangerous-looking fellow wearing really tacky red armour. Might as well have been wearing a bullseye on his chest.
After a few minutes of evading the giant lizard and running through some caves while fighting other unfortunately-dressed red-armour soldiers I ended up in some kind of forest, where the long-haired bloke intro’d himself as Ralof. He took me to a peaceful, idyllic and completely boring little town where his sister apparently had info for me on where to go next. After a short diversion where a jealous elf made me mess up a young bard’s relationship with his stalker love interest I decided the whole place was more than a little crap, and set off elsewhere in search of adventure.
Upon exiting the town I was immediately assaulted by giant spiders. Having only a battered sword and an even more battered temper I dispatched them quickly, but not before one of them sank his fang-things into the unarmoured parts of my leg. Sleep came quickly, right in the middle of an open field, though on reflection I probably should’ve done something for the wound before it turned too gangrenous.
As I awoke and snacked on a raw chicken breast I’d nicked from the caves the day before I saw that the spider venom appeared to have subsided. Hrm, maybe I’ve got a really good immune system.
Walking further on I arrived at a rather nifty little city called Whiterun. The lovely security forces there hired me to bloodily murder a local bandit leader in exchange for coin and a bed for the night, which sounded like a fair trade on paper but in practice it ended with me limping back to town with my left arm hanging by several sinuous threads and my sword being reduced to nothing more than a clump of steel wool useful only for cleaning up troll snot.
The Jarl (or King) of Whiterun decided that my triumphant effort against the bandits warranted a royal reward and the honour of having his personal favour, meaning that I could be protected by the wonderfully gruff and cranky city guards if anyone happened to stray nearby nocking an arrow with my name on it. He asked that I speak to his court wizard about the giant lizard that had attacked the day before, but that sounded almost as boring as the little river town I’d escaped to and caused me to politely and quickly exit the city as the sun began to fall behind the mountains.
I proceeded north, and as night fell a snowstorm began. I imagine I would’ve frozen to death if I hadn’t encountered a bandit camp up the road from Whiterun and punched all its tenants into submission. The bed roll I lay on may have been uncomfortable – and possibly made from a deer’s stomach lining – but it was better than last night’s field.
The deceased former residents of my temporary home had apparently possessed a knack for fine cuisine, and after a lovely breakfast of salted salmon and honeycomb I continued trekking north and found myself standing before a monolithic stone city that sat atop a rather precarious peak. Wishing that I didn’t suffer from frequent vertigo I hiked to the top and across some rather under-developed bridges and arrived outside something called the College of Winterhold. According to the rather snarky elf lady who guards the front door I could join the College – and therefore learn how to shoot fire and lightning from my hands like some kind of God taking physical form – if I could prove my magical potential by casting a high-level Fear spell without any prior training.
Thank Talos I’ve got all those magicka-boosting potions. Pity they all taste like dog saliva.
After necking enough magicka brew to turn a regular dog into the physical manifestation of Oblivion I cast the spell, and once the initial exhaustion and vomiting passed I was allowed entrance to the College. Brimming with confidence and excitement I was put into a class with three other dodgy-looking characters – being a boring human, a cat-person and the most gorgeous elven hottie I’d ever laid eyes on – and forced to listen to some old bloke yammering on about magic and wards and shit that was so boring I found myself thinking that the river town was lively and action-packed by comparison.
As if punishing me for my internal monologuing on how dull this class was the old guy then proceeded to shoot lightning at me. Given that my previous magical training consisted only of a snide gatekeeper making me throw up the contents of my stomach with magical exertion I was promptly blasted across the room, garnering sniggering from my classmates. My smoking robes did little to hide my shame at initial failure, and I made a vow then and there that by the time I had learnt how to conjure fireballs and apocalyptic demons from the ether I would have this old bastard slowly roasting on a magical roasting spit made of frost and solidified hatred.
By the end of the day I’d learnt some basic spells, and decided to practice them by adventuring inside an old tomb just outside of town. After dual-casting a giant gout of fire on some undead swordsmen and causing what little flesh they had left to crisp and flake off their ancient bones I found myself becoming quite enamoured with the Destruction school of spellcasting – not least of all because it was the antithesis of my old teacher’s preferred brand Alteration. I ended up at the center of the tomb, where my teacher had miraculously appeared, and discovered an enormous sphere of magical energy. I hazarded a guess that it was some kind of colossus testicle, much to my teacher’s disapproval.
While the magic men facilitated removing the sphere from the tomb and over to the College’s inner sanctum I headed off to my lodgings in the apprentices tower, trying to conceive of a way to get the elven babe to jump in with me. Unfortunately my only visitor that night was the grizzled half-orc librarian, who seemed really keen on my finding some old books for him deep inside some dead guy’s cave a few kilometres away.
He’s just lucky I didn’t snap and barbecue his balls off.
Once more I found myself on the road before the old teacher or librarian could pressgang me into further arcane minutiae, passing a few encampments of savages calling themselves Forsworn. I tried being friendly to them the first time I found one of their camps and was greeted by a hail of arrows and projectile frost. Fortunately they seemed particularly susceptible to electrical surges, and they might as well have named my path Corpse Road once I was done with them.
I arrived at the waterfall city of Markarth, where the lawmen seemed a teensy bit on the amoral side. Almost immediately after entering the city’s gates I witnessed a woman get slaughtered by a random civilian man who actually turned out to be a mole – apparently the Forsworn are no strangers to sleeper agents. The city’s guards didn’t seem keen on solving her murder so I ended up in cahoots with some random guy whose name made me think of wine every time anyone spoke it. The wine man said we’d both get to the bottom of her murder, because there was apparently some conspiracy involving the city’s Jarl, a high-profile banker and the imprisoned King of the Forsworn.
Way more interesting than river town.
During my visit to the banker – who turned out to be an asshole almost as big as the guard captain who’d ordered my execution three days ago – his staff were attacked by more sleeper agents. I used lightning to great effect, turning two of the assailants into piles of smoking ash. Annoyingly the banker didn’t seem very appreciative, and it took titanic restraint not to enact similar punishment on him for his hubris. Instead I settled for looting his personal vault, which told me that the banker was no stranger to the eleven o’clock wine hour principle.
The city’s Jarl was unreachable, although one of his lackeys did give me a contract for another bandit assassination some miles away in a misty cave. Leaving that for later I investigated further and found myself embroiled in the machinations of some local information broker named Nepos the Nose, who’d apparently ordered the murder of the woman that day. After going to have a quiet chat with the guy I ended up electrifying his entire house and killing everyone inside after he ordered his bodyguards to carve me into dinner meat.
Starting to feel slightly embarassed at the body count I’d amassed since entering the city I journeyed back to wine man’s hideout, only to find that the local corrupt city guards had turned him into a cold steel sandwich and were about to threaten me with the same fate. Being the combat pragmatist that I am I surrendered, whereupon I was relieved of all my equipment, stripped naked and knocked unconscious. If I had a nickel…
I awoke bleary-eyed to find myself in a delightful little underground jail cell. A dark elf prison guard – almost as hot as the College resident – told me I was inside Cidhna Mine, from which no man apparently escapes. I was then set to work swinging a pickaxe and keeping my ass well away from the rather unpleasant-looking orc security guard who leered over me rather frequently.
Thoughts of escape were not far from the minds of my fellow inmates, and it transpired that the King of the Forsworn was in the same prison as I and had concocted an exfiltration plan. Feeling a little awkward due to the fact that I had zapped most of his mates earlier in the week I meekly asked for his help. Let me tell you, the bastard took a considerable amount of perverse glee in tasking me with various dark acts in order to prove my loyalty to him and thus facilitate a quick escape.
After beating up a guy for his alcohol – considered the currency in this mine – and shivving a helpless, unarmed man who pleaded for mercy as I slid the blade repeatedly into his torso I wondered whether this escape would be worth it if by the time I got out I was almost as lethal to other people as the ebola virus.
The King and his men all piled out an escape hatch that had apparently gone unnoticed by the security guards and we all legged it for the exit. We ended up back inside the city, where that unpleasant banker fellow was waiting with a platoon of guardsmen.
I don’t remember much of what occurred, but I do remembering throwing the banker into the air with a storm blast the likes of which even the fiercest typhoon could not manage, and by the time I emerged back into reality I was a good distance away from Markarth with half a dozen dead guardsmen and an equal number of prison escapees lying in a big smoking pile at my feet.
In retrospect, I may have snapped a little there.
The day’s exertions had left me tired, so I hiked along a mountain road in a southerly direction and arrived at an abandoned adventurer’s camp that had no shortage of precious jewels and enchanted weaponry. It was being guarded by a hagraven – sort of a cross between a moldy bird and an STD-riddled prostitute – which submitted rather quickly by taking a fireball to the face. Its feathers made rather a good blanket.
With massacred Markarth behind me I set off towards a little farming village down the way from the adventurer’s camp. Unfortunately they relied on income from Markarth in order to continue business, so they didn’t take kindly to the source of their sudden lack of income strolling in with dented armour and an apparent lust for blood. The ensuing mob of farmhands all fell like crispy little snowflakes as the elemental power of lightning once again proved its usefulness.
Starting to think the old zappy hands might be a little bit overpowered.
Further down from the farm was a cave that was apparently the final resting place of some guy named Red Eagle. His sword was meant to hold intense magical power, and after deciding that electrocuting everything within zapping distance should be the exception rather than the rule when it came to dealing with disputes I stepped inside and was set upon by skeletons. Magical powers proved useless, so I grabbed a random steel sword from a nearby treasure chest and starting smacking their skulls around like a horse’s arse.
After the triumphant battle, with my assailants now lying in broken piles all around the room, I walked over to Red Eagle’s coffin and found he was actually a draugr that had been sleeping all this time. He was able to pick up his massively overcompensatory two-handed sword with one bony set of phalanges and swung it full into my face. It was sheer luck that hit me with the flat end rather than the blade. I flew backwards a number of feet and landed in a heap, cursing the existence of the undead and wishing my boring teacher from the College had taught me a couple of undead-destruction spells before I’d nicked off the other day.
The following battle with Red Eagle was long, arduous and tense, and quite a few times I believed he’d actually hit home with that giant hunk of metal he called a greatsword. In the end, however, I swiped his molding head off with one clean sweep of my steel, which landed almost perfectly back inside the coffin.
I felt power flood through my arms as I hefted the looted greatsword, and as I slung it over my back I threw out one last fireball on my way out that burnt the inside of the tomb to a crisp. His coffin was still immolating when I stepped back outside.
Night had well and truly fallen by the time I breathed Skyrim’s air again, so I walked back to the farm I’d razed earlier that day and fell asleep on a pile of hay that looked more than a little crimson.
A passing band of merchants woke me up the next morning on their way to the Imperial capitol of Solitude, a short distance away from the farm. Since they were the first people I hadn’t had to murder in the last few days I tagged along with them.
The city itself was wide, expansive and full of friendly relatives of the lads who’d tried to take my head off earlier in the week. None of them seemed to bear a grudge on me or the giant lizard so I strode through the city confidently and found myself outside a nice little place called the Bards College. Perhaps my enemies could have their disputes settled with a quick lute riff?
The owner of the school refused to let me in unless I went off and hunted down a lost verse of some ancient poem that they wanted to play for the Queen on festival day. After running away faster than I had from Markarth I was waylaid by some Bosmer woman who said my attire looked rather unflattering. Well excuse me for wearing a dented steel cuirass that stops me from being impaled by troll swords, lady.
She gave me some nobleman clothes and asked me to show them off to the Queen so that she might buy from the lady’s dress shop. She told me the Queen was recently widowed and apparently needed a new wardrobe to come to terms with her loss. I finally took off my smelly assault gear and slipped into the…ooh…that’s comfortable…
The guards allowed me passage, probably on account of me looking so fabulous, and I met with the Queen. Good golly, Miss Molly (or rather, Miss Elisif the Fair). Talk about a knockout monarch! (Well, alright, she was still only a Jarl, but if I had to pick either her or one of the grizzled, grumpy male Jarls I’d met so far to be owner of Skyrim, I know who I’d rather get naked with).
She didn’t seem particularly interested in my lightning tricks, which was disappointing, and seemed to be flanked on all sides by burly men wearing thick metal armour and hefting swords almost as long as my erection. Probably wasn’t worth snatching her then jumping out the nearest window, so I made my excuses and left.
Dejected at once more being alone I idly walked back down the street, after shaking off some lizard bloke (not big) who wanted me to switch off a lighthouse with him, thinking I’d just find a cheap inn with decent food for the evening. While walking I overheard a conversation between two local merchants – something about an Amulet and some chick called Mara in some city called Riften. Apparently the Amulet showed you were romantically available, and could thus conceivably land almost any member of either sex that crossed your path.
Grinning, I stopped and asked them for directions.