Sunday, November 27, 2011

Skyrim Journal #5

I am beginning to wonder if my activities in Skyrim are attracting the exact wrong kind of intention. It is bad enough that a Dark Brotherhood assassin somehow managed to find me in the middle of nowhere. He must have been an initiate, as I could smell him coming before I could hear him, and when he finally made his move he found two flaming arrows in his chest. The assassin was not the part that bothered be; the contract in his pocket was much more troublesome. From what I understand, once a contract has been paid for the Dark Brotherhood does not fail, so I can look forward to a parade of assassins, each slightly more skilled than the last. Perhaps that wolf blood will come in handy after all.

The Dark Brotherhood I understand; someone has paid them to kill me. It's just a contract, any nothing personal as far as they are concerned. What I do not understand is why I have become a magnet for daedric princes looking to harass mortals for their personal amusement. On three separate occasions (that I know of) I have run afoul of their games. All three were awful experiences, one involving betrayal and murder, another betrayal, murder, and cannibalism, but the first is the tale I recount to you now, at least what little I remember of it.

Only a few days after escaping execution and finding a place to stay in Whiterun I was challenged to a drinking contest by a wisp of a man who was sitting alone in the bar. Elves are not exactly known for holding their liquor well, but I had seen bastard swords that weighed more than this nord, and I was a little short on gold, so I took up his challenge. After two glasses he yielded, offering up his staff as a reward if I could finish one more glass of the drink he had provided. I finished the drink and blacked out before I hit the floor. To this day I still have not pieced together everything that happened in the days that followed.

I awoke a full week later in a temple that I did not recognize. One of the attendants noticed that I had regained awareness and immediately ordered me to leave. My bewildered look kept her from drawing a weapon long enough to explain to me what she knew.

'You are in Markath. I found you three days ago fondling the statues with your, well, it was quite inappropriate and lewd. It took three of us casting spells that should have been fatal to subdue you.' It was quite clear that she did not like me.

On the way out of the door I asked her if I was alone. She explained that there was a terribly thin man in a similar condition, along with a goat that had seen better days. I knew who the man was, but the goat? I fled the city quickly, to the jeers of the city guard, the vendors in the market, and just about everyone else that I passed. Each one accused me of an act more heinous than the last. By the time I reached the gates all I wanted to do was find the man who started this, kill him, and then buy a mask so no one would know who I was.

It was a days journey from Markath back to Whiterun, and it took more than half of it for  my head to clear. I ran afoul of a farmer, apparently the owner of the goat, who I only kept from calling the guard by bribing with a significant about of gold. Once he was calm enough to talk I explained that I had no memory of any of it and that I was looking for the man that I had been traveling with. The farmer had no information about him, but he did say that I was going on and on about a ring that I had purchased in Whiterun for my wife to be.

This was getting worse. I took my leave (and a few items from his house when he wasn't looking) and continued back to Whiterun. There was only one jewelry vendor there, so I knew where to start. She was also none to please to see me, saying that I owed her a significant amount of gold for the ring. I did not have the ring, and I lied about not having the gold, instead begging her for information about this woman who I was supposed to marry. She had not seen her, nor had she seen my drinking 'companion,' buy she did remember where I had said the wedding was to take place. She also wondered where the goat was and how I would live with myself.

'It becoming more difficult all the time.'

It took a bit of searching to find the cave where my wedding was supposed to take place. Bandits had taken up residence and picking them off one at a time was an excellent outlet for several days of frustration. This was not place for a wedding: it was dark, moldy, and on the verge of collapse. There were rooms here and there, and each was littered with empty wine bottles. In one there were bits and pieces of several men strewn across the walls and ceiling alongside claw marks that I recognized as my own. I was sick to my stomach with fear, but also had to admit that a drunken werewolf must have been a sight to see.

The empty bottles provided a path to follow, leading to some sort of portal in the center of the deepest rooms. It looked like a pool of water standing on its side, but I could peer through it and see a forest that looked more than a little like home. After putting an arrow through and pulling it back intact I closed my eyes and leaped through; looking for answers had supplanted personal safety. I had to know what happened, who this man was, and what the goat had to do with any of this.

There was indeed a forest on the other side, but it was not home. It was filled with spirits of all sizes, all content to go about their business and ignore the very embarrassed elf who was not intruding. I could hear the sounds of a party in the distance, so I followed them, honestly afraid of what I was going to find out. Over a rise I found the party, or rather, what should have been a party. There was a tremendously long table with beings of all races seated at it. The sounds of a great celebration were all around, but none of them were moving. Each was frozen mid-motion; some eating, some drinking, at least a few involved in much more lascivious activities. At the head, and the only one who reacted to my presence, was the man who started it all.

'Welcome!' he bellowed. He appeared at my side without moving from his seat. 'What a time we had! That week with you was one of the best time I have had with a mortal. Your lack of morals and willing to try just about anything was quite refreshing. Truly, you have earned this.'

He handed me a staff, which I took without looking.

'I can see you have many questions, none of which I will answer. You see, I must return to my party. Know that you spent a wonderful, awful weak with the daedric prince Sanguine, and that you have lived to tell the tale. Or not tell it.'

He waved his hand and new portal appeared. I could see the cave I had started in through it, but hesitated before going through.

'Please, I must know. The goat?'

Sanguine turned and pointed at the table. In the center stood a goat with a  wedding ring in its ear, looking terribly pleased with itself.

I bought that mask I was talking about and have worn it ever since.  

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