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The travel journal: a week in SKYRIM (episode 3)

Journey to the College of Winterhold

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.

Day 5

8 AM (Riften)

I wake up early after a night of serene rest In the Bee and Barb. I had expected to not be able to sleep after the sweetroll-debacle of yesterday, but I managed just fine after a couple of generous tankards of Black-Briar mead. I have chosen a name for my newly acquired horse. I was initially going to call it Roach, but a wise patron persuaded me that Buttercup would be the better choice. Apparently Geralt the elderly-village-idiot already has a chicken he calls Roach, and I do not want to be associated with any of that. I am delighted to leave Riften behind and ride for Windhelm today. There, I will spend the night before continuing to Winterhold in the morning. I am to join the yearly LARP-event (Living As a Real Pyromancer) at the College of Winterhold, and I cannot wait to try on the wizard apparel I brought from home. Today I have a long journey ahead of me on horseback, but happily the ride will grant me a welcome chance to strengthen my bond with my proud steed Buttercup.

9 AM

Update: I loathe Buttercup. So far we have managed to hit every obstacle we have met along the way. In addition, he has a curious habit of leaving the comfort of the road behind in order to go straight for the rougher terrains. I think I was cheated horribly by Hofgrir Horse-Crusher yesterday back at the stables in Riften when I paid 1000 gold for this equine lunatic, but I was not about to barter with a man who just knocked out a bear with a single punch. I learned my lesson well though: I should not buy horses from men named “Horse-Crusher” in the future. I will write that 100 times in my diary.

Buttercup is broken

11 AM

We have finally hit our stride and picked up the pace. I can see on my map, that the area I am currently in, is home to some of Skyrim’s famous hot springs. I have not brought my swimming pelt on this journey, but as I have not yet met anyone else on the road,I reckon it is acceptable to swim in the nude.

11.30 AM

Mere seconds after removing my clothes a woman shows up. Unsure what to do, I just keep standing with badly feigned confidence in the water, praying to the Nine that she will simply go away. To my absolute surprise, she walks directly up to me, and gives me the classic Dwemer elevator look. I curse the cold weather, and hurry back to put on my clothes and be on my way.

After a lunch consisting of some beef, grilled leeks and the last of the delicious spiced wine I acquired back in Riverwood, I feel my spirits rise again. I am looking forward to seeing the city of Windhelm. It is the frosty home of the Museum of Curiosities as well as the Candlehearth Hall Inn, where I intend to spend the night.

4 PM

I have arrived at the gates of Windhelm. I asked Buttercup to show me the meaning of haste, as the museum is about to close up for the day, and so he did. He might not be the smartest of horses, but he did save me a lot of time by taking an unexpected shortcut directly up a seemingly perpendicular cliffside. I feel lucky to have survived.

4.30 PM

Inside the museum I am greeted by the the owner and proprietor Calixto himself. The museum has many strange items on display, but the one that catches my interest is an oddity called The Dancer’s Flute. On first inspection it looks common enough, but Calixto assures me that is not the case. He tells me this: “Legend holds that it has won wars, toppled empires, and changed the very course of history. None know its origins, but the stories say that men who hear its music are compelled to dance uncontrollably, no matter the peril.” Oppressing a sudden urge to dance uncontrollably no matter the peril, I decide to ask him if there is any other points of interest in the city. He confirms my suspicion that the Inn is worth a visit, and offers to take me there himself after he closes up the museum. Apparently the streets are currently not safe, as there has been a series of murders recently. These murders are rumored to all be committed by the same assailant: An illusive villain known only as The Butcher. I feel a chill in my bones, and thank Calixto for this kindness. What an absolute gentleman.

7 PM

Candlehearth Hall Windhelm

We have finally arrived after a long walk through the slippery cobblestone streets of Windhelm. I head directly to the Inn-keep in order to purchase a refreshment, as I am cold as a Draugr after a long day on the icy road.

At the bar, I am welcomed by Elda Early-Dawn who presents herself as the owner of this establishment. Before I can order a beverage, our conversation is interrupted by an absolute unit of a man standing on my right side. Calixto informs me that the name of the man is Brunwulf Free-Winter. Brunwulf initiates a conversation with Elda that sounds like it could have been taken straight out of the best-selling book “The Lusty Argonian Maid”. It is clear that he is completely smitten with the Inn-keep, but I am in urgent need of ale, so I decide to try my luck and “block Brunwulf’s sword” by interrupting their amorous conversation(Calixto curiously hits a drum he produces out of nowhere and tells me that my blocking skill has increased). I order my favorite local drink so far: Ale with juniper berries - and Elda reluctantly prepares the beverage for me. I ask them about the origins of the name of the Inn, and they illuminate me: Legend has it that the candle upstairs was lit after the renowned warrior Vundheim died 163 years ago. Apparently, the candle has been aflame ever since - hence the name. I order some freshly baked bread,salted butter and a slice of Eidar cheese and head upstairs to eat by the fire.

10 PM

I retire to my room after another long day. I am eager to see the College in the morning. I am to play the role of a mage for a day together with other travelers, and I have already laid out my wizard outfit on the chair next to my bed.Tomorrow is going to be a dream come true. I lie in bed thinking about the backstory of my mage character.I bet that he is a handsome rogue with a troubled past…

I mark my process on my map, and fall asleep by the fire listening to the howling wind outside.

To be continued…

Next episode can be found here: The magical LARP-event (Life as a Real Pyromancer)

Missed the first episodes? Here they are:

Episode 1: Journey to the Throat of the Wold

Episode 2: From Riverwood to Whiterun

For updates on my journey, follow: