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The travel journal: a week in SKYRIM - Episode 5

Episode 5: Visiting Solitude but the Dark Brotherhood is trying to ruin my vacation.


I have decided to spend seven days as a tourist in the province of Skyrim. An outsider in the land of legends, roaring fires, frosty nights, sweetrolls and sweet trolls — as well as people who do not understand the concept of personal space. The following is a journal of my experiences here, and the people I meet along the way.


The Skyrim capitol: Solitude

Previously on the travel journal:


In need of a rest I decide to ride for a small cabin that is marked on my map. It should be possible to stop for some food there and get out of the rain that is now falling very heavily. I hitch Buttercup to a tree and enter the abandoned-looking cabin. Once inside I am met by a horrifying scene..!



Day 6 (continued)


7.05 PM, Abandoned shack, near Solitude


It takes me a moment to fully register what I am seeing in the dim candlelight inside the secluded wooden house I have just entered. After my senses have adjusted, I see a man and a woman kneeling on the floor, like they have been shot with an arrow in the middle part of their leg possibly while adventuring. They both have bound hands, and they are wearing sinister black hoods. Next to one of them, I see a harrowing sight: A lifeless person is lying on the bloodstained planks of the floor. When I ask what happened, a man, a sellsword by the name of Fultheim, tells me a strange tale:


Many moons ago, Fultheim was returning home after finishing a most risky contract: Assassinating a powerful figure in Riverwood by the name of Eggbert. The woman who hired him for the job, had lost her husband when he accidentally touched a chicken while out for a stroll on a lovely Sundas morning. It was a gruesome crime, and the villagers beat him to death for it immediately with the enthusiastic assistance of the local guards. That chicken was Eggbert, and Fultheim was to make sure that the husband's death was avenged.

Upon Fultheim’s return home, he felt a powerful blow to the head, knocking him unconscious. When he came to his senses again, he found himself bound and hooded on the floor of this very cabin.

A woman told him and his two fellow captives Alea and Vasha, that they had been captured by the Dark Brotherhood. The Woman then said that at least one of them would not leave the shack alive, and it was up to a new initiate to pass the judgement. Then, curiously, nothing happened for almost a month.

Once in a while Astrid would give them food and updates on when they could expect the initiate to arrive, but apparently, he kept being distracted on the way. One day, she told them that he was to arrive as soon as he was done smithing thousands of iron daggers, but afterwards he was picking pretty flowers and chasing after butterflies for days. Subsequently they were told that the initiate was busy trying to place a bucket on a man named Belethors’ head..Some days later, the man finally arrived. He did not ask any questions though. He only shouted something at them in an unknown language that made the cutlery fly off the table and promptly shot Vasha in the face with an arrow. Then, as swiftly as he arrived, he left again, and so did their captor.




I feel intense empathy for this man as soon as he mentions killing an arrogant chicken, and decide to free him. He thanks me, and leaves the abandoned shack behind in great haste.

The woman, who has been quiet until now, introduces herself as Alea Quintus, and appears to be very grateful when I cut her free of her ties.

Alea is in a weakened state, so I decide to help her return home safely. She tells me that she is currently visiting this beautiful province with some friends, and they were staying at a rented property east of here named Frostflow Lighthouse when she was taken. I vow to take her there safely, as she is in no state to travel these treacherous roads alone. I help her climb on to my ridiculous horse Buttercup, and we both seem glad to leave this gloomy place behind.


8 PM


We have stopped for a short respite next to a small creek. While my travel companion refreshes in the clear waters, I manage to get a small fire going. I always look for opportunities to wear the wonderful chef ’s hat I brought from home, so decide to cook a reinvigorating supper for us both. I walk down to the water and nonchalantly grab a couple of salmon for us — I am really gonna miss how easy fishing is here.

During our supper, consisting of the roasted salmon with buttered potatoes and some spiced wine, Alea tells me about life back home. She has six children, so she spends 18 hours a day playing hide and seek seven days a week. She is raising the children alone as her husband apparently left a while back, although it is rumored that he is just a legend at hide and seek, and that he is still waiting at the perfect hiding spot with an excited grin on his face. “I guess I will never know” Alea says, and we sit a moment in silence and look into the flames of our little bonfire before we get back on the road.





10 PM, Frostflow Lighthouse


We finally arrive at the lighthouse, and hurry inside to find shelter from the icy winds. Indoors, another type of chill is sent down our spines. A woman, quickly determined to be a friend of Alea’s, called Ramati lies dead in the middle of the room. The place is in a rough state, and it is littered with many signs of foul play. As we do not yet know what caused this, we decide to be as quiet as possible by sneaking around while looking for clues. As I sneak past Alea, I accidentally take all of her keys and a large potato from her pocket. I mumble something about the weather in an attempt to defuse the awkward situation and return the things to her and I give her a quick pat on the head. She seems understandably annoyed, and I quickly sneak on looking for information that could help us find out what transpired in this dark and desolate location.



I masterfully sneak into the next room, where I find an important looking leather-bound book on a table. Upon opening it, I surprisingly discover that it is filled with drawings of Alea. I immediately show it to her, and she recognizes it, as it belongs to her former lover Octieve San. According to Alea, he spends his time drinking mead in Solitude these days, and we decide to journey there in the morning in order to enquire about his connection to all of these sinister events. We do not feel like staying in the lighthouse longer than absolutely necessary, as we both hear many strange noises emanating from the walls and the basement, so we agree to leave immediately to find more suitable beds for the night. Alea, possibly because she is still feeling sullen because of my accidental pickpocketing of her before, decides to pay me back by standing in front of the door, making it impossible for me to leave the lighthouse. After we have been doing a strange little dance for a very long while, I am finally able to slide past her and go back out in the crisp Skyrim evening.





12 PM The Katariah


We have decided to spend the night in an establishment called The Katariah. It is a large vessel that used to belong to Titus Mede II, the Skyrim emperor that was famously assassinated by the Dark Brotherhood on a contract paid for by the notorious Amaund Motierre of the elder council. Now, it is a luxurious place where weary and affluent travelers can rest their bones after a long day. I retire to my room with a bottle of fine imported Cyrodillyc Brandy, in the hopes it will wash away the dark shadows of this days’ morbid events. Perhaps I should have travelled to Cyrodiil instead.. I hear Cheydinhal is lovely this time of year — and hopefully completely free of Dark Brotherhood assassins. I fall asleep listening to the sound of waves gently splashing against the ship, and I hope for a better day tomorrow.


Day 7

8 AM


Before leaving The Katariah, I decide to go and see the fabled Emperors Throne on the deck of the ship. I wonder how many people lost their lives trying to win this powerful seat in the past? Luckily, it is only a matter that occupy the minds of very few people. Most normal citizens would not feel interested in such a thing, and it would be impossible to catch the attention of whole continents with the question of who is going to sit on the throne in the end. I laugh at the absurd thought and get up to get back inside, as it is getting quite stark and cold on the deck. You can really feel that winter is coming. 


A tired-looking Alea joins me at the table, and we have a satisfying breakfast consisting of freshly baked bread with salted butter and some lavender dumplings before we leave for Solitude. I am determined to find some answers today.



10 AM, Solitude


When we arrive at the gates of Solitude, Alea enquires about the whereabouts of Octieve San. The Guards, who by the way look eerily familiar, does not seem very helpful though, and our conversation quickly hits a bit of a rough spot:


The Guard :

“What do you need?”

Me:

“Good day to you, Sir. We are seeking a man named Octieve San. Do you know where we can find him?”

Guard:

“What is it, Dragons?”

Me:

“Dra..Not at all. It is an elderly man who we believe resides in this city?”

Guard:

“Bit late to be wandering around, isn’t it?”

Me

“It is ten in the morning. Can you help us find him?”

Guard:

“I have heard about you and your honeyed words…”

Other guard(speaking at the same time):…arrow in the knee.

Alea(speaking quite quietly): Do you know Octieve?

Guard

“I need to ask you to stop. That… shouting… is making people nervous.”

Alea

Me

“Sir? Can you at least let us pass?”

Guard

“What is it, Dragons?”

Other guard:

“Fear not. Come dragon or giant, we will be ready. To arms!”

As the guards run away to apparently fight invisible dragons, we decide to enter the city and look for Octieve ourselves. 


11 AM


Inside the gates, the marvelous capitol of Skyrim proves to be a feast for the eyes. My travel guide has the following to say about the city though:

“Solitude has a long history of madness and murder. The Wolf Queen… Pelagius… The death of High King Torygg… And now, public executions. My books tell the stories. Have no doubt — as pretty as its streets are, as jovial as the bards may be… darkness is drawn to Solitude.”


Alea and I decide to keep our wits about us, as we go on enquiring about the whereabouts of Octieve. As he is known to be a passionate and talented consumer of alcoholic beverages, we find it rather feasible to begin our quest at the local inn called The Winking Skeever. Inside, the tavern is surprisingly busy given how early it still is, and the room is filled with laughter, music and the aromatic scent of draught ale hits my nostrils. I go directly towards the Inn-keep, a blonde man going by the name of Corpulus Vinius for a pint as well as information. Corpulus tells me that Octieve spends most of his days yelling nonsense at strangers outside the entrance of the inn. As we did not see him when we arrived, we decide to wait here for a short while.


11.15 AM

As I am sitting down at a table next to a man who looks like he is doing a tightly budgeted snow elf costume play, I accidentally take an onion from the table.


The face of a man who just had his favorite onion stolen

I realize my grave mistake instantly, so I attempt to put it back on his plate. This menial task, however, is of an almost impossible nature.


12.25 PM


After over an hour of unsuccessfully attempting to put back the stolen onion, I panic and throw it at my salty table companion who is obviously still in shock. The onion hits his forehead, and slowly tumbles down and lands on the floor and rolls away. I swiftly get up in order to escape the tense situation, but I am immediately confronted by an angry guard. The situation has escalated quite quickly, and I now find myself being chased around the inn by a mental law-man shouting “Die damn you! Let me speed your passage to Sovngarde!”



After a good fifteen minutes of the three of us running around in circles, I manage to convey to the guard that the severe onion-related crime was simply an unfortunate mistake..well, at least a healthy pouch of Septims finally convinces him to sheathe his bloodthirsty sword. I see Alea standing next to the entrance, and I make it to her in fast strides, and together we hurry outside. I will never be able to show my face in this establishment again.


Outside The Winking Skeever, Alea promptly spots the man we have been looking for, and runs towards him with great haste.


Octieve San - a scorned lover

When confronted, a sad looking Octieve admits to hiring a fair-haired woman to release a few Chaurus insects in the basement of the Frostflow Lighthouse, as he had learned that Alea was staying there with friends. He claims, that he was under the impression that the insects were trained not to attack the group, and he was merely trying to ruin the getaway for her. I tell him that the woman he hired and provided with the drawings of Alea, was in fact an assassin from the Dark Brotherhood, and that several members of the group had been killed as a result of his drunken ramblings. I tell him that Alea herself only survived her kidnapping through sheer luck. Octieve looks at us with remorseful eyes, and throws his tankard of ale to the ground with great determination. He tells his former lover Alea that he is sorry, and he runs to the market place where he grabs a chicken and runs for the main gates of the hold, where a dozen of furious guards quickly set after him and chase him out the city. The main street in front of the inn is suddenly very quiet. Alea turns to me and thanks me for all my help, and gives me a hug goodbye. She then heads toward the stables in order to hire a carriage that can take her home to her kids that are currently staying with her sister on a farm in the south by the city of Riften. I wave and send a tired smile in her direction as I see the carriage leaving down the road.


3 PM


realizing that my eventful week in Skyrim is soon coming to an end, I decide to ride for Whiterun in order to get a couple of drinks at the Bannered Mare. I am in the mood for a night to remember, so I intend to take up the offer of the man I met there several days ago by the name of Sam Guevenne.. Afterall, what is the worst that could happen...



SEASON FINALE: A Very Skyrim Pub Crawl (Video)

Next time on the travel journal.. things get out of hand.

Missed the first episodes? Here they are:


Episode 1: From Riverwood to Whiterun



Episode 2: The Journey to the Throat of the World



Episode 3: The Journey to the College of Winterhold



Episode 4: The annual LARP event at the College of Winterhold


THE SEASON 1 FINALE IS HERE(Video) The Travel Journal: A Very Skyrim Pub Crawl


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