A Night To Remember
With the release of Bethesda’s latest Elder Scrolls game Skyrim, I, along with many other adventure-hungry gamers have set out into the northern, snow-clad province of Tamriel. And it was here that I had quite an interesting experience.
It all started one night in the Bannered Mare tavern in Whiterun. I was looking for a mercenary to hire, my previous bodyguard having fallen in battle against a vile Falmer in the bowels of Shimmermist cave. I was approached by a man offering a drinking contest, and, though I’m not usually one for the ways of alcohol, I begrudgingly accepted, thinking what harm could this do. After all, he said something about a magical staff as a reward if I could beat him. Next thing I know I’m waking up in Markarth, the city of stone on the far western side of the map. I’d never even been here before. Apparently, after winning the drinking contest, I’d been drugged and tricked into doing some rather unwholesome things that I couldn’t remember doing. One of which included fondling the Nibella statue (but when you look at the statue of her though and how much she’s showing how you can blame a man.)
So I set out into the city and soon hired a mercenary by the name of Vorstag for the return trip to Whiterun. Unfortunately, things soon heated up – I was approached by a man needing help checking out an abandoned and haunted house. So, with my new hired muscle at my side, I agreed – only to find out that it was all a trap planted by the Daedra Molag Baal to get someone to retrieve his axe from far in the north. Agreeing to go on the mission at a later date, we left the house and soon, by accident or design, got caught up in something called the Forsworn Conspiracy. Basically we were set on the trail of a group called the Forsworn – men who had ruled Skyrim before the Nords conquered them and who ‘champion the downtrodden.’ Though I highly doubt they actually champion anything except their own bloated egos. After a rather intriguing set of clues, threats and blackmailings, we were cornered in the temple of Talos and told we were being arrested. I now know that the city of Markarth is full of corruption and injustice and this was a prime example of the bastard guards in action. In a swirl of blood and steel we fought against the guards. I managed to fight my way clear of the temple – but with even more guards closing in I was forced to flee the city. Fortunately I escaped but I feared that Vorstag had fallen.
So I found myself in the middle of nowhere at 3 AM, trudging down a road that would take me across the many miles between here and Whiterun. I was stopped by a thief – but I was in no mood for negotiation. He said something about gutting me like a fish, but my blood was up, and in a few short moments it was he that ended up being gutted like a fish, blood spattering the cobblestones. Another thief stopped me and the same thing happened – I was hating the world at that moment, having all the bad luck of Tamriel dumped on my doorstep, and all because of some bastard and his drinking contest. And then I came to a crossroads. There was an abandoned cart with a body nearby. Of course it stank of a trap. And unsurprisingly I found myself surrounded by four thuggish bandits. Blood rising, I drew my sword and hacked and slashed, one, two bandits down. The others were shooting arrows at me, but I rushed one of them and soon her body was tumbling down the mountainside. The last one tried to run but my sword found itself plunging between her shoulder blades. Exhausted, battered and bloodied, I took what I could loot from the bandits’ corpses and trudged on.
And then, just when I thought I’d reached the town of Rorikstead, I heard a terrifying roar and a giant shadow passed across the stars. Yep, it was a dragon. I’d fought dragons before; the dragon battles are pretty epic. This one had cold breath and soon huge blasts of freezing ice were smashing into the road. Engaging a dragon in battle is one of the most satisfying moments I’ve ever had in an RPG. Shooting flaming arrows at it, trying to avoid the breath, slashing at it with my magical sword when it was on the ground while getting a face full of ice breath, and even using my own Shouts, it was truly an epic battle. I had to constantly heal myself as well, switching between my heal spell and my shield. Without that magic I probably wouldn’t have made it. When I finally brought the dragon down, I absorbed its soul and unlocked the ability to breathe fire (the latest Shout I’d learned.)
And so I trudged into the sleepy village of Rorikstead. And after a good night’s sleep I awoke to find a man in armour standing nearby.
It was Vorstag. He’d survived the attack from the corrupt guards of Markarth, escaped the city and tracked me down. Now that’s what I call commitment to service.
In the few hours since I’ve discovered that while I was drunk I stole a goat, gone with Vorstag to beat up a giant and retrieve said goat, battled bandits and wild animals and finally arrived back in Whiterun. Well I can definitely say having a merc like Vorstag around is certainly welcome. Next I’ll be setting out to Witchmist Glade in the east of Skyrim to find a ring that I borrowed from this chick Ysolda during the intoxication...
What have I learned from all this? Never enter a drinking contest. I look forward to the adventures to come.