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AflockOfHippies 1 month ago#11
As my character is a bard, he will be coming up with his own, original songs throughout the story that are based on his adventures and experiences. These are all really just classic rock songs that I pulled a Weird Al Yankovich on and redid the words to be humorous and Skyrim-related. If I get around to it, I will include a link with each song to the actual music video, but in the meantime with each song I will include the real song title and artist so you can look the song up and listen to it while you read the lyrics. Works much better that way when you are listening to it and can have the tune in your head.
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AflockOfHippies 1 month ago#12
26 Last Seed,

Today was another good day. Just took it easy and laid around the house for the most part. I did take a walk down to the bridge out of town and watched the river for a bit. It helped me to think. And gods know I had a lot of thinking to do. Most of it was about my recent experience up at Bleak Falls. Still surprised that I made it out of the place alive. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. But still, can’t say that I care to go through that again anytime soon. Bandits are one thing, but giant spiders and draugr are another. I think I have had my fill.

Though, truth be told, I suppose what bothers me the most is what happened when I was standing next to that wall and the strange light came out and surrounded me. I could feel its energy building up inside me, but I can feel nothing now. It is almost like it never happened. Of course, that might be a good thing. Granted, I do feel a little hardier and stronger than before, but that could just be from a good night’s rest. It could be worrying about nothing, but I would be lying to say it doesn’t keep finding its way back into my head. I fear there will be another boot to drop somewhere down the road. Suppose all I can do for now is focus on my music and should such a day come, I will deal with it then.

Speaking of my music, I finally got all the words down just the way I want them. Still undecided on the best music to carry them with, but I am almost there. I hope to perform it for the first time by the end of the week and see what people think. I will the call the song, Bleak Falls. Will write the lyrics here in this journal as well. I have them written down elsewhere, but don’t suppose it could hurt to have a couple copies should one get lost or destroyed before I can commit them to memory. This is the song I came up with:

Bleak Falls by Sven Tiler-Fist
(That's All by Genesis)

Just when I thought that I had it sight
Found I’m wrong, it was still a long hike
It’s just a cave, I’m on my way, Bleak Falls
Took two days and a whole night,
There was this troll that I had to fight
It’s just a cave, I’m on my way, Bleak Falls

I could freeze in all this snow
By the Nine it’s really cold
I can’t feel a thing from head down to my toes

Why does it always seem to be
s*** like this keeps happening to me
It’s just a cave, I’m on my way, Bleak Falls

Using my bow, using it lots
All these bandits, there’s a whole bunch
I’m just cutting through them one at a time
Draugr to my left, draugr to my right
Oh my gods, it’s a giant Frostbite
Getting through here is a battle all of the time

I could leave but I won’t go
It’d be easier I know
I feel sore from my head down to my toes

But some treasure there seems to be
I got this claw, it’s gold you see
More than a cave, it’s got a name, Bleak Falls

Truth is the claw is used
To open the door and get through
There’s no other way to get in.
There’s been no-one else who
Managed to get through
They all died well before the end

Saw this wall but didn’t know
When I got close it would glow
I felt it from my head down to my toes

Wasn’t sure what it could be
Came out of the wall and right into me
I’m not the same, shouldn’t came, Bleak Falls

Just when I thought it would be alright
Out came this big draugr that I had to fight
It’s not a cave, it’s no game, Bleak Falls
It took two days and a whole night
The whole place was one big fight
It’s not a cave, it’s got a name, Bleak Falls

Well, those are the words. Granted, I still might change one up here and there, but I’m pretty happy with where the song is at. I have a set of chords in mind, but not quite there just yet. Hopefully in another day, maybe two.Not much else to write about today. Maybe I will have more thoughts worth putting to paper tomorrow. I have to admit, while I have always enjoyed writing, putting my thoughts down in this journal has proven to be quite refreshing for me. I should see if Lucan has any to sell. The blank pages left in this one will not stay that way for very long.
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(edited 1 month ago)
AflockOfHippies 1 month ago#13
27 Last Seed,

It rained over the night. The sky was cloudy for most of the day and a light fog floated around in the town’s air until late afternoon. I spent the first half of the day mixing up a few potions with some of the ingredients I collected on my trip to Bleak Falls. Not sure how they turned out though. I’m actually afraid to sample one of them. Nonetheless, I will still take them to Lucan though and see if I can get any gold for them. Every piece helps, you know.

With the weather the way it was, I spent most of the day inside. As I was sitting by the hearth and thinking about my recent experiences, the crackle of the fire actually gave me the tune I was looking for to go along with my new song. Well, maybe not directly, but it did send my mind off in the right direction to find it shortly afterwards.

It took the whole afternoon and maybe an hour past supper to get the chords down, but I think I finally have it. Gave the song some practice runs and I think I might be ready to try it out in front of others. I shall give it another go or two tomorrow and then head over to the Sleeping Giant and see how it goes once I perform it for the ears of others. Here’s wishing myself luck.

29 Last Seed

Was so excited yesterday that I forgot to write in this here journal. Being so excited as I am, it’s safe to say the song was a hit. Everyone in the tavern stood and clapped when it was over. I have never had such an ovation and I must say, it felt really good. As with most artists, I feared folks would not care for my works, but those fears needed not be.

Everyone loved it. Especially Lucan and his sister, Camille. Even Sven could not help but to enjoy it, thought he tried not to. I think the man may have even been a little jealous. Probably sitting at home right now and trying to come up with a new song of his own. Thinking of Sven, I did notice he kept his eye on Camille most of the night while Faendal kept staring at him staring at her. Wonder what that was all about?

No matter, I have decided to head out to Whiterun in the morning. It is only about two days walk from here, three at most, depending on how quick or slow I move. It will be my second time in Whiterun, but I was just a boy the first and I remember very little of the visit. I only plan on staying for a few days before returning home here to Riverwood.

The success of my first, original song has made me want to try it out in front of another crowd. I imagine the patrons at the local tavern in Whiterun are much greater in number than they are here. It will be good to see if the song is as well-received there as it was here.

There is other business I wish to attend to as well while I am there. Still need to see about getting my armor and weapons enchanted, if possible, and will browse some of their shops. Bleak Falls left me with well over 2000 gold and there are a few things I need that I can’t find over at Lucan’s shop. Not to mention, it will be good to take in the sights of the city. Maybe I can even find some inspiration for another song or two? Well, needless to say, I am excited about the trip. I don’t imagine it to be filled with the same amount of peril as the last one I took. At least, by Talos, I hope it isn’t.

Suppose I should put this quill down and get some sleep. My plan is to leave at first light. The sooner I leave the sooner I can get there. Life is good.
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AflockOfHippies 1 month ago#14
31 Last Seed

This will mark the end of the second day of my trip to Whitrerun. I can see the city in the distance where I have camped here on the mountainside for the night. I plan on packing up and continuing on my way before the sun comes up, so I should be there by mid-day if all goes well.

It has been a nice trip for the most part. I have stuck to the road which leads there from Riverwood and have run into no trouble other than a lone wolf. The beast looked either famished or rabid, it was hard to tell which, but split it open with my ax before it could get its teeth into me. Wasn’t too much trouble. Though I grew up on a potato farm here in Skyrim, so I have been killing wolves and the like my whole life.

I did come across a patrol of Aldmeri escorting a prisoner along the way. Looked to be a fellow Nord. He was pretty well beaten and dressed in nothing more than rags. Not sure what was going on with all of that, but can’t say it sat well with me, seeing it like I did. Didn’t seem right. Skyrim is our home. There should be no Elves here on our own land arresting people and whatnot.

Still, I held both my tongue and my blade and went about my business. From the looks they gave me as we passed each other by, they didn’t care for me anymore than I did them. Our meeting was brief and has long-since passed, but I’m am still unsettled by the whole thing. Seeing such as that makes me understand even more why my brother was so eager to go off and fight.

I was wearing my Nordic armor, the set my uncle left behind and that got me through Bleak Falls alive. I never did get around to shoring it up for a better fit, but doesn’t seem as clunky this time around. Maybe I am just getting used to it. Still, as long as it doesn’t cost too much gold, maybe I can have a smith better than myself look at it while I am staying in town.

I brought plenty of food and other supplies to get me through, but I suppose it can’t hurt to restock what I can afford before I make my trip back. Will need to eat while I am there as well and could use a fresh set of clothes or two. Lucan has proven to be a friend and is nice enough, but his stock leaves a bit to be desired.

I did bring along that book on alchemy. I have been studying when I can during the trip. Learning more about the number of ingredients that can be used in the craft. I had no idea there were so many. I have used the knowledge in the book to identify a few along the way that I wasn’t already aware of and have been gathering what I can for future use.

Suppose I should get some sleep if I want to get the early start I have in mind. Though the moons are quite beautiful tonight and I could sit and watch them move across the sky for another hour or more, at least. As much as I need to turn in for the night though, I am eager to see what await me in the city and find myself a little too worked up with excitement to sleep. Should give it a try anyway.

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AflockOfHippies 1 month ago#15
1 Heartfire

Ending up oversleeping this morning, but not by much. Still made Whiterun with plenty of daylight left. I did stop at a private part of the river before I reached the city and bathed. Didn’t want my first impression on folks to be my smell. Only being a stone’s throw from the city like I was, I figured it was safe to climb out of that heavy armor and into some finer clothes.

Did see something interesting just before reaching the city proper. There was a farm off to my right, not too far down the road from the meadery, where some folks were fighting a giant. Mercenaries perhaps, from the looks of them. It was not my battle and wasn’t sure if I should even get involved, so I stood back and watched as they fought the behemoth until he finally dropped, both dead and defeated.

When the battle was over one of them approached me, a female by the name of Aela, if I remember correctly. She didn’t seem to think too highly of me sitting on my hands while they fought, but quickly moved past those feelings once I explained why. She understood but did get in a final word about relishing a good fight or something like that. I think it may have been an insult, but it was a friendly one.

She told me she was part of a group here in Whiterun known as the Companions. I believe she said a place called Jorrvaskr was where they could be found if I wanted to join up with their outfit and become what she called a Shield-brother. Told me to see a man by the name of Kodlak. Their leader from what I gather. Can’t say I have much interest in becoming a mercenary, but I bet the old man might have a good story or two to share. If he is willing, that is.

There were some Khajiit gathered just outside the city gates. Stopped to see what they had for sell and dealt with one by the name of Ri’saad. The old cat told me how they were traveling Skyrim selling their wares, but were having some trouble along the road. He also told me they weren’t allowed in the city and that was why they were doing business out by the road. Said the guards didn’t trust them. Did a little trading and then went on my way.

Found a blacksmith just inside the front gates but didn’t stop to see about getting any work done on my armor. She seemed to be in a heated exchange with someone about making an order of swords or something. Told him she couldn’t fill an order that size and to see a second smith here in town. Not sure where to locate him, but will be sure to see one of them before I leave.

So far, everyone here seems friendly enough. Well, except for some guy I heard them call Nazeem. A Redguard. Comes across as a bit uppity and makes you want to punch him in the face. From what I have seen of the man it looks like I am not the only one who feels that way. Most seem to tolerate him though. Can’t say it would bother me one, little bit not to cross paths with the pompous ass again as long as I am here.

It didn’t take long to find the market and did some initial browsing. The general good store is run by a Breton by the name of Belethor. Seems a bit shady and is something of a smartass, but he had a good selection. Picked up a full ink well and some new quills for my journal. There is an alchemy shop here as well. Went in and had a look around. Trying to save most of my gold for work on my armor, but I did buy a mortar and pestle. Figured since I was getting into the art myself, I could use it when I wasn’t at home or near a table.

There was some trouble in the market. I tried not to eavesdrop, but their voices were loud and it was hard not to. I spoke with the old lady afterwards, when I went to her stand to shop. She seems convinced the others, the Battle-Borns she called them, knew where her missing son was. She asked me if I would help her find proof (seemed a bit bold seeing as how she just met me and knew nothing of who I was) and told me to come to her house so she could tell me more. I neither accepted nor declined but smiled and bought a cheap trinket from her. I just got into town and have no desire to get caught up in the politics or social bickerings of the city.

The local tavern was right there near the square so I went inside to rent a room for the night, seeing as how I was tired from my trip and all. That was a lot of walking, mind you. My legs are a little sore. Especially after carrying the weight of that armor most of the way.

I haven’t asked the inn keep about performing here yet. Figured I would take a night to gather my strength and just watch and get a feel for the place and the people. A good bard should always know his audience. There is another bard working here, but that comes as no surprise. Haven’t got his name yet, but seems to prefer the flute when he isn’t singing. Reminds me a bit of Sven from Riverwood. Not that that’s a good thing, keep in mind.

The crowd here was sparse at first, but it was during the day. The inn, the Bannered Mare it’s called, did start to fill up after the sun went down. There was a good crowd and I am eager to perform for them. It will no doubt be my biggest audience yet. Granted, it will only be my second, but still the biggest.

This room has a balcony that overlooks the main chamber of the tavern and I sat and watched for a good while. I could feel the heat from the hearth all the way up here. It was relaxing. Had a few meads, probably one or two more than I should, and starting to feel sleepy. My tent and sleeping roll do the job they are meant to do well enough, but it will be nice to sleep in a real bed again. Come tomorrow I shall explore more of the city and meet more of its people. The day ahead looks promising. Let’s hope that it is.

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AflockOfHippies 1 month ago#16
2 Heartfire

The inn seemed to get busy early this morning and all the noise woke me up. No mind, though, needed to get an early start anyway. After I bathed and ate a bite in my room I headed downstairs and warmed myself by the fire for a spell. That was where I met an old Nord by the name of Sinmir. Seemed like an agreeable enough fellow though all he talked about what has shameful the security was in Whiterun, according to him, that is.

I did finally get a chance to speak with the bard here today. His name is Mikael and can’t say I care for him little more than I do for Sven. Fancies himself a real lady’s man and thinks he is some kind of gift from the gods for the women. He did mention that he studied in Solitude and told me I should make my way myself when I get the chance. It is in my plans, but Solitude is such a long ways away I’m not sure when I can make such a trip happen.

Some of the local merchants were here already as well. I guess this is where most folks go for breakfast and such before they start their day. There was some strange fellow sitting in the corner who kept trying to get me to take up some sort of drinking game with him. Seemed a bit early for that. Told him maybe later.

There was a nip to the air this morning, but not too cold. I did get a chance to meet a few more folks. Ran into Nazeem again. While he didn’t speak to me directly, I could hear him talking down to some of the others and preening around the place like he owned it. By the Nine, that man really rubs me wrong.

One of the merchants, Carlotta, told me how Mikael was bothering her day-in and day-out and spreading rumors about her and him. She didn’t seem to care for it none, but after talking to him earlier, I was not surprised to hear he was acting such a way. Told her I would speak to him about it. I did later on and was able to convince him to back off. Doing so was easier than I thought, actually.

Whiterun is definitely an interesting place. There is a priest of Talos here who seems to spend his days doing little more than standing around yelling about the Elves and spreading the word of Talos. Most folks seem to ignore him, but my father would love the man. Probably start preaching right alongside him.

I did get back down to the blacksmith shop and drop off my armor. She said she could do the job but it would take about three days. Suppose I can hang around Whiterun for a little while longer. I may ask Hulda about performing here later tonight. I am eager to try out my new song in front of the crowd. Can only hope it goes over as well as it did in Riverwood. Though I do need to start working on another one soon. One song is not enough to keep an audience entertained for very long. Hopefully I can find some inspiration around town soon enough.

5 Heartfire

It has been a good past few days. I have gotten to know quite a few of the people here in Whiterun, and for the most part they all seem good folk. There are a few orphans running around, and I will give them some gold now and then. Just seems like the right thing to do.

A few people have asked me for my help in other matters, as well. Ran across a Redguard by the name of Amren who was arguing with his wife about tracking down his father’s sword. The thing seemed to mean a lot to him, but not so much to his wife. From what I could hear, she even threatened to leave him if he went looking for it. He noticed me lingering nearby and pulled me to the side. Asked if I would consider looking for it and told me where to find it if I did. I only smiled and told him I would consider it but made the man no promises.

I did go down to check on my armor to see if it was ready, but Adrianne, she’s the smith down by the gates, told me it would be at least one more day. She said she had finished her end of the job, but sent the armor up to Dragonsreach to get enchanted by the palace wizard. Though she said he could not get to it right away. It’s all well-and-good, I reckon. I still have some gold in my purse and I have no qualms about spending another day or two here in the city.

She did ask if I could do a favor and deliver a sword to her father. Said he was the Jarl’s personal steward and the sword was for the Jarl himself. I have been meaning to visit the palace before I left anyway, so I agreed to run the errand for her.

Passed by Jorrvaskr on the way. That’s where the Companions are said to be hold up. Adrianne suggested I go see them about some work. Not sure why everyone thinks I am some kind of mercenary or such. Though I suppose I don’t look like your typical bard. While at the palace one of the guards there even told me about a group of vampire hunters gathering in an old fort near Riften. Said I should join up and was considering doing so himself.

I have performed here at the Bannered Mare for the past two nights, and that has gone even better than I’d hoped. Hulda has even comped me my room for my performances along with a little gold. I did try out my new song, Bleak Falls, and it was just as big of a hit as it was in Riverwood. Bigger, even.

While there is still much of the city left to explore, I haven’t really left the inn much in the last two days other than to stretch my legs, get some fresh air, and such. I’ve been putting my mind to writing another song. I already have the tune in my head, now I just need to come up with the words to go along with it. Think I will take one more walk around the Plain district and see if that helps clear my head. I would wander up to the Wind District as well, but that priest up there would make it hard to think with all his yelling and carrying on. Though I do want to stop by and visit with the Companions before I leave. Surely someone there has a story worthy of putting into a song.

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AflockOfHippies 1 month ago#17
6 Heartfire

After a hardy breakfast of cooked beef and apple dumplings, I headed out and went to go see Adrianne about my armor. She told me that Farengar, that would be the wizard up at the Jarl’s palace, was still not finished putting enchantments on it. She apologized and assured me the armor would be ready to pick up by the same time tomorrow. She even returned some of my gold for the extra wait. It was unnecessary but I appreciated the gesture.

With nothing else much to do, I made my way up to Jorrvaskr as I have been meaning to pay the place a visit since I’ve been here in Whiterun. Couldn’t help but to be struck by the odds craftsmanship of their home. Kind of looked like an upside-down ship right there in the middle of the city.No sooner was I through the door that I came across a Dark Elf duking it out with a female. From what I could gather they were both Companions and this was not this first time they had come to blows. They went at it for a while, no doubt their arms had to be getting tired, but the woman finally seemed to get the better of the Dunmer and he yielded.

Everyone I came across seemed cordial enough and not one person failed to welcome my presence there. I suppose the Companions can be best summed up as mercenaries, but they do seem to abide by a strict code of honor. I spent the afternoon speaking with a few of them and learning about some of their stories and what brought them to Whiterun and the Companions.

There was Aela, the female I spoke with down at the farm outside of town, the one who killed the giant, and learned a thing or two about her. She really seemed intent on making her mother proud even though she had long-passed. There was also Vilkas and his brother, as well as a Nord named Skjor.

He comes across as older and more seasoned than the others there. I am told the Companions do not have a system built on authority and rank, but if they did, I would finger Skjor as being the second in command behind Kodlak. Never got around to actually meeting him today, but will seek him out on mu next visit.

I was probably there a good portion of the day, as it was getting dark when I left. Just returned here to the Bannered Mare for the night. Just had some dinner up in my room and will be going down shortly to give another performance. Can’t say Mikael is none too happy with me stealing some of his thunder, such as it were, but I had to give three encores of my song, Bleak Falls last night. Already had at least two people ask me today if I would be singing again tonight. Well, I guess I shouldn’t keep my audience waiting. Will tune the lute and then head on down.

7 Heartfire,

Picked up my armor today. She said it would be ready by morning before I waited until noon just in case before I showed up. I have to say it fits much better now and does not seem so uncomfortable to wear. It was gold well-spent. I never really said what sort of enchantments I was looking for, just some vague ideas, but she told me the armor itself and helmet fortified my health so I could take a few more blows, and the gauntlets and boots would help increase my skill with archery and a sword. At least the kind I can wield with one hand.

There is a slight glow about the pieces, so I assume that means the enchantments took. As far as my weapons go, both my dagger and ax have been made to absorb more health from whatever I hit them with, and my bow has not only has a scope added to it for more accuracy, but enchanted to cause various sorts of extra damage when I use it. Things like fire, ice and shock.

I was already packed and ready to head back, so I headed on out the gates after gathering my armor and getting dressed into it. Never know what I might run into on the road back to Riverwood. Best to be prepared. The weather held out nice and I took my time and enjoyed the sights so I only just got started up the mountain before I made camp for the night. Think I will work on my song some more and then turn in for the evening.

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AflockOfHippies 1 month ago#18
9 Heartfire

Will reach Riverwood tomorrow and even though Leafrest has only been my home for a short time, it will be good to see it again. Will also be good to see some of the people again. I wonder if anything interesting has happened while I was gone. It is Riverwood, so chances are probably not.

I did get my new song down. Finally found the words to match the tune. The lyrics are about Whiterun, so looking forward to retuning to the city and see what folks there think of it. I’ll practice it at home a few times first though and then give it a trial run at the Sleeping Giant. I imagine Sven won’t care too much for my return. Especially with a new song to entertain folks with. I call it, Give Me Three Steps.

Again, I might change a word here and there, but this is what I have for now.

Give Me Three Steps by Sven Tiler-Fist
(Gimme Three steps by Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Well, I was headed upstairs
Down at the Bannered Mare
With a woman named Lven Lu
When in walked a man
With a blade in his hand
And he was looking for you-know-who
He said, hey there fella
With a chin like an anvil
Whatchya trying to do
Cause that’s my wench there
And this man don’t share
And this might be all for you

I said ‘cuse me

I was scared and fearing for my life
I was shaking like a leaf on Gildergreen
Cause he was lean and mean, and big and bad
And waving that sword at me
I said, wait a mister, I didn’t even kiss her
Don’t want no trouble with you.
And I know you don’t owe me
But I hope you will let me
Ask one favor from you

Want you give me three steps,
Give me three steps, mister
Give me three steps towards the door.
Give me three steps,
give me three steps, mister
and you’ll never again see this Nord.

Well the bard ran away
While I prayed to Arkay
And my mead fell on the floor
And I’m telling you son it ain’t no fun
Staring straight down an ebony sword
He turned and yelled at Lven Lu
And that’s the break I was looking for
And you could hearing me screaming
All the way to Pinemoon Cave
As I was headed out towards the moors.

Oh, want you give me three steps
Give me three steps, mister
Give me three steps towards the door
Give me three steps,
give me three steps mister
and you’ll never again see this Nord
(for sure)

(End with Lute solo.)

It’s kind of weird how I gave this song plenty of thought for days and could not come up with a single word, but then it all came to me at once on the trip back. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Not at all. I can’t wait to work out any kinks left in the tune and try it out for my new friends in Riverwood.

12 Heartfire

Been home for just over a couple days now. Riverwood was much as I left it. Well, just as I left it, to be honest. Same old folks doing the same old things they always do. Good people, though. I have spent most of my time at home since my return. Have just been passing the days working on my music, reading, and practicing my alchemy. I am getting better at it. Made one potion yesterday that was so good I even amazed myself. Sold it to Lucan for some nice gold. He told me to bring back more when I made them and he would take what he could off my hands. It does seem Riverwood has seen more folks passing through lately than usual and Lucan wishes to keep his shelves stocked as best he can.

I did finally go over and perform at the Sleeping Giant tonight. My new song was just as big of a hit as the first. Maybe even bigger. Was asked to encore it twice and by the third time people were on their feet and clapping along. It was all going pretty well until that courier showed up.

He was tired and dusty from the road and he was looking for me. Seemed he had a letter from my mother. It was not the best of news. Seems my brother is missing and feared dead. She told me one of his friends in the Stormcloaks came by and told them he was captured by the Imperials along with Ulfric himself and a few others. Said the last he heard they were headed for Helgen.

She asks that I go to Helgen as soon as I can and see if I can find Jon, or at least word of what has happened to him. Of course, I will head for Helegen first thing in the morning. It is only a few days north of here, and with my improved weapons and armor, I should be prepared for any trouble I run into along the way. Though I doubt I will find out anything about my brother once I arrive. It has been weeks now from the time he went missing to the time I got this letter. Even if they did stop in Helgen, I doubt they are still there.

Nonetheless, I will honor my mother’s wishes and go see what I can see. Hopefully he is still alive and well even if he is a prisoner. Suppose I should get some sleep. I plan to leave at first light and I have no doubt the trip will be a tiring one.

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AflockOfHippies 1 month ago#19
16 Heartfire

I reached Helgen this morning about two hours after dawn. Can’t say I was too encouraged by what I found. The whole city was destroyed. Burned, mostly. What in the gods’ names happened? I searched everywhere I could, but could not find a single, living soul. Only bodies and most of those were burned beyond recognition.

I don’t know how long ago this happened and it leaves me to wonder if everyone was killed, or did the survivors abandon the city after whatever happened…happened? Whatever it was, I could only hope my brother did not get caught in the middle of it.

I did eventually make my way into keep where I found several bodies of both Stormcloaks and Imperials. None of them were my brother, though. All the carnage did cause me to wonder if they entire city had been a casualty of the Civil War going on. If what my mother heard was true, and the Empire did have Ulfric here as a prisoner, then I can only imagine the Stormcloaks would throw everything they had at the city to get him back in one piece and alive. That was the best explanation I could come up with at the time.

Down in the further reaches of the keep I found a cave entrance that led underground. I was a bit leery about venturing into myself, but figured if survivors did get out, maybe that was the way they went. Maybe some of them were still in there hiding out and knew something about Jon. The cave stretched on much longer than I expected and part-way through I came across a chamber full of Frostbite Spiders. They weren’t nearly as big as the one at Bleak Falls, mind you, but there were three of them. At least that I could see. There was no way in Oblivion I was going to take on three Frostbites at the same time so I kept hidden where I was and took them out one at a time with arrows. They never saw me.

Anyway, was I got through the spiders I came into a larger, more open part of the cave where I found a Stormcloak still alive. Barely, I’d have you know, he was wounded pretty bad, but still alive. I gave him some of my healing potion until he could get to his feet. He was still pretty weak but he thanked me for my help and assured me he’d answer what questions he could once we were out of the cave.

There was a sleeping bear between us and the exit and I had no desire to tangle with it so we moved low and quiet and made our way by with the bear unaware. Once we were out of the cave and breathing fresh air, that is when he told me what happened and I could not believe me ears.

A dragon? Can you believe it? He said a dragon attacked the city and destroyed. Big as a house and blacker than the sky with no moons. It did cause me to remember Sven’s mother muttering something about seeing a dragon on the day I arrived in Riverwood. I figured it just the ramblings of an old woman, but could it really be true? Have the dragons returned? If so, there is no way that can be a good thing. Will have to start watching the sky more often now.

Turns out Ralof, that is the Stormcloak I found, has relatives in Riverwood. Gerdur, who runs the mill with Hod, is his sister. We are camping for the night, but headed back to town now. I wonder what will happened now that word will be getting out about the dragons. I didn’t hear any talk about dragons while I was in Whiterun, so it would seem that neither word nor the dragon itself has traveled that far as of a week ago.

He also had news of my brother, Jon, though it was not the news I was hoping to hear. It would seem that my brother is dead. Word was true, he was with Ulfric when he was captured and they had stopped in Helgen for a quick execution without so much as a trial or civil process of any kind. That was when the dragon attacked. Unfortunately, Jon was killed just before that. Evidently, he grew bored with the priestess giving last rites and volunteered his head for the block rather than listen to her go on. Sounds like my brother, sure enough.

I am saddened to hear that Jon is dead and will write my parents straightway as soon as I return home. Granted, it is not the news I was hoping to share with them, but they need to know the truth. The news will no doubt crush my mother’s spirit, my father will probably only be proud of the way he faced his death.

Ralof has already fallen asleep for the night. I shared some of my food with him and right after supper he dozed off into a deep sleep. He is still alive, I checked, but pretty sound asleep. Not that I am surprised. The man was wounded bad and no doubt tired. Suppose I should try to get some sleep myself. Ralof is in a hurry to get to Riverwood and I can’t say I blame him. That said, we are getting an early start, so time to get some rest. If I can…

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