UJON Book One, Part One: In Which Nerussa Gets Her Name


    17th Last Seed


    I’m writing this in an inn somewhere in Skyrim. Falkreath, I think they said. An Imperial woman keeps trying to attract my attention, but she can wait. Last night’s plan went well, I blundered in to the Stormcloak group and drew their attention so well that they walked right into the ambush. Judging from how the one called Ralof spoke to me when I woke, they didn’t even realise afterwards that I might have been there intentionally. Given what I’ve heard about the Nords and their suspicion of all Mer, it seems that what I’ve heard of their intelligence may not have been far wrong.


    I was, I’ll admit, concerned that Elenwen had decided to allow me to actually be executed. I’m still not entirely sure, actually, will have to exercise caution, but I feel it’s best to proceed as though I am expected to monitor events, at least until I can get in touch with Feinaryel or Saltar, they should know whether it’s safe to approach the Emissary directly. If she did intend me to die at Helgen, it’s best that she assume this is what occurred.


    I still can’t quite believe it. At one point it landed on the wall beside me and I could have reached out and stroked its wing. After it moved on, I just ran, completely ignoring the soldier advising me to stick close to him, I think he was having some sort of tedious shouting match with Ralof outside the building, I didn’t stop to listen, I just shoved the door open with my shoulder (obviously the Nord didn’t think to unbind me *before* telling me to leap into a burning building, thankfully I managed to land without injury). Ralof wasn’t far behind me, and nor were a couple more soldiers. Frightening Orb was as entertaining as ever on the Captain, although chasing her down was a little tedious, I wish they wouldn’t run quite so far.


    We made our way through the dungeons of the Keep and out through a network of tunnels, nothing too interesting, picked up a few interesting items, including a set of enchanted robes which I asked the innkeeper to wash for me. After we reached the surface, Ralof suggested splitting up, and as I left he called after me that I should speak to his sister in the nearby village. I think it would be advantageous to keep in touch with this family, Ralof was clearly on good terms with Stormcloak. Better armour than the rest of the militia in the carts, too. He asked my name, before we parted. Obviously I couldn't give any of my usual aliases, so I went with the first name that popped into my head. Nerussa, which I think was the name of a woman who I interrogated once, when I was assessing refugees' loyalty.


    I’m a little embarrassed even to write this for my own reference, but things did not go well after we split up. Initially it was a pleasant walk, gathering ingredients, and I came upon a small overhang of rock which would have been a good spot for something to eat. Unfortunately, I was still a little out of sorts after all the Dragon business, so I wasn’t as alert as I should have been, and it was almost too late when I realised the owners of the sundry items kept in the shade were approaching. A trio of bandit archers. I wasn’t close enough to be sure of my flames doing enough damage to slow them down, so I ran, and one of their arrows caught me in the leg.


    Nearly ran straight into what looked like a fort filled with more bloody bandits. Thankfully the Healing Aura gradually mended my wound enough that I could sneak back towards the first camp, and I managed to climb up onto the top of the rocky outcrop over their bedding. I made my way very carefully across it, but evidently I wasn’t completely silent, as I could hear them calling out, having heard me but not being able to determine where the sound was coming from. A combination of lucky acoustics and, as I say, Nord dimness.


    Finally got far enough away to make a break for it, nearly ran into a giant spider, sprinted as fast as I could, more bloody archers started shooting at me from some sort of bridge over the road, and then a pile of rocks came out of some sort of mechanism towards me. Thankfully, I’m light on my feet, and dodged them. I could just about make out a town further along the road, and here I am. I suppose I should see what this woman wants, now I’ve had my supper.



    18th of Last Seed


    I appear to have taken up with a thief. Her ruse, even having just been shaken awake, was fairly transparent, but I was intrigued, and she’s now in a position where she owes me a debt, which is always useful. Realistically, I’m a lot safer travelling this wretched province with company, at least for now, and I’d rather it not be some earnest Nord. We headed to Riverwood, and nearly got killed multiple times, as well as half-drowned in the rain, but we arrived in one piece. Ralof introduced me to his sister, who asked me to take word to the Jarl of the dragon attack. Apparently Ralof was in worse shape than I’d thought, and evidently the village lacks a healer, so he couldn’t go himself. Not sure why they didn’t send the Bosmer who appears to work at the mill, although he seems less than trustworthy, given the note he wanted me to pass to the local shopkeeper… Much better to put your faith in a complete stranger, of course!


    Getting to Whiterun was fairly simple, aside from Arissa getting it into her head that she must kill a gigantic spider on the other side of the river, rather than withdrawing to wait the poison out. (Worth noting that their venom appears not to be too terribly deadly in and of itself, rather they use it to incapacitate, enabling them to attack more easily with their fangs – I have also annotated the copy of Bestiary of Skyrim I picked up in Helgen). Of course, it’s probably easier to actually hit things with your arrows when you can see straight, so I ended up having to cross the river and blast the thing with my flame spell – only just killed it in time, then realised Arissa was nowhere to be seen. Ridiculous woman had been washed away by the current, over the waterfall. She was waiting at the bottom of the hill, insisting she’d nearly had the creature with her last shot, and we headed in to town. Some Nord mercenaries came up to us and asked why we hadn’t helped them kill a giant they were fighting. “Because I assumed you were mercenaries and knew what you were doing?” “Well, that’s not very honourable! Regardless, if you’re interested in becoming a Companion, see Kodlak up at Jorrvaskr.” I think I must have stared at her for a full minute. The Nords are stupider than I thought, what on Nirn would make her think an Altmer in absolutely no armour except boots, with spells semi-readied in each hand, and an Imperial who really could do with looking a little bit less like a thief, both covered in spider spit, would be interested in becoming mercenaries? “Sounds like a waste of time,” I eventually muttered (not, I’ll admit, my most cutting line) and we headed on in to the city.


    Thankfully the rain finally stopped as we approached. We’ve stopped in the local inn to dry off, clean up, and have something to eat. I’m not impressed by these Nords and their petty kings, obviously, but (while there would be a certain drama in just running straight up the hill) I feel it would be sensible to at least give the appearance of respect.


    I’m a little alarmed by how out of practice I am with actually casting spells. I suppose I haven’t exactly kept my arm in, so to speak, but I’ve more or less forgotten half of the spells I used to know, couldn’t even cast a proper healing spell yesterday, although thankfully Healing Aura has been of some use. I asked the innkeeper, she huffed about “my kind” not thinking to ask the court wizard, but suggested a College somewhere up in the mountains. Hopefully I won’t be here long enough to get involved in anything like that, but it does sound intriguing, potentially worth a visit.  And perhaps I can visit the court wizard while I’m up at the palace, though judging by how much the Riverwood trader wanted for a simple healing potion, I suspect I’ll need to find some way of making money if I want to buy any actual spells. I wonder whether the mercenaries pay well… Arissa has just sat down with our meals and a bounty letter from the innkeeper. Apparently killing bandits pays well, so she’s heard, and I suppose it would give me some valuable practice with aiming my spells.



    19th of First Seed, 8am


    The bedroom in this inn is certainly more comfortable and private, if no less noisy, than the one in Falkreath. Arissa left a note saying she had some ‘business’ to conduct and that she’ll meet me outside the city gates an hour after the market opens.


    The Jarl has promised to send troops to Riverwood, and was apparently so impressed with my ability to make it a couple of miles up the road, that he volunteered me for some damned fool mission into one of the barrows these Nords are so fond of. I must admit, I’m intrigued, though – the court wizard wants me to retrieve some ancient relic which is in some way connected to the dragons (apparently that big bastard at Helgen may not be the only one). And, well, it’s been decades since I’ve investigated a ruin. I definitely need to get back into the swing of things with magic first, though, no sense getting myself killed. So, the plan is to get some practice around Whiterun, which is apparently riddled with bandit encampments, although unfortunately the bounty notice is actually from Falkreath (I suspect boundaries are rather more lax here than in Alinor, or indeed Cyrodiil – whatever their faults, the Empire do like nice, strict borders, although of course it’s easy enough for the Thalmor to overrule them…) and when I asked around, it sounds as though Bilegulch Mine (for that is its name… pleasant) is well defended, so perhaps not just yet. Still, according to my map, it’s not far from the place where the priest of Arkay said he’d lost his journal.


    Anyway. Practice skills, and build up some funds for spells, weapons for Arissa which might actually be useful against undead - from what I remember silver works on most supernatural creatures. I need a healing spell, and I need a better supply of potions. I suppose I should be able to heal Arissa, too, and anyone else I can enlist. The court wizard sells some spell books, but he said the College has a proper library, which would almost certainly be worth investigating. I believe Illusion spells, like my lovely Frightening Orb, don’t work well on undead, particularly magic users, and the ancient Nords who ended up in these tombs were much less pathetic about magic than their modern brethren. So a Turn Undead spell would be very useful. I think those are the main points, but I’ll probably add more notes to this page as I think of things. And now it’s time to meet Arissa, we’re heading for “Silver Moons Camp”, I believe, and possibly Fort Greymoor.





    Well, I am definitely feeling more confident with my Destruction spells, have had need of Lightning Sparks today as there were several Dunmer bandits among the Nords, Orcs, Argonians and Khajiit. Even one Altmer woman, how the mighty are fallen, and so on. You would think, wouldn’t you, that if you were of a race that is largely immune to fire, and a mage was attacking your gang with a fire spell, you might not draw attention to your immunity, but no, it’s all “you dare fight a Dunmer!” this and “by Azura!” that. Idiots. In any case, it was tough, and we did have to barricade a door, but we managed to kill the bloody lot of them at Silver Moons, and got some rather nice stuff for our efforts. Arissa now has an enchanted sword (not quite sure what it does, something firey, but it seems a little more complicated than a basic flame enchantment, I need to study the book we found by the forge, I think the enchantment is somehow worked into the steel, very unusual) and a crossbow, and I’ve got a mace with Bouncer etched into the handle. It’s definitely enchanted, too, but I only tried using it once and couldn’t tell what effect it had, other than being really heavy, hard, and having pointy bits. Orcish make, I think. Found a few other nice things, luckily they were still there when we came back from Fort Greymoor, piling them under stinky, dead bandits probably helped, and the nearby giant camp. Did get a bit of a fright when it looked like the mammoths were charging us, but they lost interest.


    Fort Greymoor was more straightforward, helped by the crossbow. I was testing out my lock picking skills on the cells in the prison section of the fort when I realised there was actually someone alive inside the cell I was tinkering with. Chap called Cassius, full of some fool notion about bandits basically being good people, driven by circumstance, blah, blah, managed to get himself locked up by the bandits he was trying to teach to farm, or some such nonsense. Actually felt a bit bad for him when he realised they’d burned the books he’d written for them, but come on, they’re bandits. Even for Skyrim they’re brainless thugs. He gave me a bottle of poison as a reward, and I found a lovely Elven dagger on a dead hunter who’d apparently also been locked up by the bandits, so I’ll keep those for an emergency. We sold everything we could carry and I just about had enough for a smithing manual for Arissa and a healing spell for me. I’ve been reading the book for the last three hours, and I think I’ve just about got my head around the theory behind it, I’ve tested it out a little but obviously I’m not about to injure myself just to see if it actually works, but it looks and feels like I remember. Tomorrow we’re heading to Riverwood to see if they’ve got any bandits they need taking care of, so I’m sure I’ll get to test it out. It was well over a thousand septims, and I’ve read until my eyes hurt, so I’m hoping I’ve got the general idea, at least. 


    21st Last Seed


    We are definitely not ready for Bleak Falls yet. We came to Riverwood to take care of a couple of bandit groups Ralof’s sister mentioned while I was here before (evidently the guards sent by the Jarl are too busy inspecting the inn’s mead supply and watching out for dragons). Nothing too challenging, although I think I got lucky with the Argonian archer in the mine, I need to practice aiming my fear spell, it sailed over his head, but luckily he was distracted by that and I was able to close the distance and get him with my flame spell. I really must get to grips with some ranged destruction spells, they should be easier to cast multiple times than the Orb, which is quite draining.


    In any case, we headed back to the inn for lunch, and got talking to a Redguard named Gorr. Bit obsessed with stew, but a pleasant enough fellow, considering. I said we were planning to investigate the Barrow for bandits (the shopkeeper and his sister seem to have had a family heirloom stolen by the group camped out up there, a handy cover) and he offered to come with us. The sister said something about them having more valuable items in the shop than the claw, but that had been the only thing stolen. The bandits’ unusual focus became clear when I searched the body of the scrawny little Dunmer who insisted I free him then tried to run off. The “heirloom”, a golden claw, is clearly part of some kind of mechanism, probably a door within the barrow. It has animals carved on it, I assume these are similar to the “puzzle” required to open the grate shortly before we met that little skeever.


    I would have been tempted to press on, but both Arissa and Gorr have poisoned by the largest spider I’ve ever seen, and we're spending the night in the antechamber of the barrow so they can sleep the worst of it off before heading back to Riverwood. Apparently the venom of this one was rather more debilitating than the one near the waterfall. I'll return the claw to Valerius on the proviso that he allows me to borrow it when we return to the Barrow. 


    Table of Contents


  • Gnewna
    Gnewna   ·  June 10, 2016
    Yay!! Somehow missed the notification for this comment, boo! But yay, welcome, and glad you like! Gotta love a snarky Elf, right? :D
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  June 2, 2016
    So I've finally read it, yay! Nice to meet Nerussa finally :) I already like her snarky remarks :D
  • Gnewna
    Gnewna   ·  October 22, 2015
    Thank you! I'm glad people are enjoying my little story :)
  • Storyteller
    Storyteller   ·  October 20, 2015
    This is quite interesting. I don't usually like the diary type stories, but I enjoyed this.
  • Gnewna
    Gnewna   ·  May 4, 2015
    Thank you! 
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  May 3, 2015
    A nice aproach to the story. I can imagine Nerussa sitting at a small table with a lit candle as she writes in her diary.