UJON, Book Eighteen, Part Two - Pets and Plans

  • Nerussa was about to try again to bring up the sload in the room, when Äelberon put his hand in her path, and indicated to be cautious. She slowed her steps, moved closer to the cliff face, and listened out. She thought she might be a little stealthier than him, but gods, maybe she should ask him for some advice on paying more attention to her surroundings. She heard it now, a quiet scritching, scrabbling sound, occasionally joined by the peculiar almost purr-like sound of skeevers. They crept forward, the path opening out to a small garden, recently neglected by the looks of it.


    There was what looked to be a vegetable patch which had been harvested – that would have been, what, a month or so earlier? The farms’ harvest had been in Last Seed, but most people kept their own vegetable patches, which usually provided at least a little fresh food until late Hearth Fire, maybe even early Frost Fall. But there were fallen leaves everywhere, not raked up into piles which would rot down over the winter, providing compost for the following spring’s vegetable patch. That was certainly unusual, food grew more readily in Rorikstead than many parts of Skyrim, but the people were no less careful to make the best use of their resources.


    The skeevers hadn’t noticed them, yet. Three of them. Äelberon motioned to her to be still, and drew his bow, silently felling each skeever in turn.


    I am afraid that Lund may not be awaiting us with a fresh pot of tea, Nordling.” His voice was tinged with sadness, though no real surprise. They gingerly pushed open the door, and another couple of skeevers – and a whiff of decay – emerged. The skeevers were far thinner than most she had seen before, and even more unhealthy, if such a thing were possible. They had, by the look of the place, been trapped in the single-room cottage for some time, and they showed no interest in the Altmer as they rushed outside. The Priest of Auri-El bowed his head and crossed the threshold, crossing quickly to the small bed where, it seemed, Lund had taken his life, a green vial lying on the floor under his hand which hung, limply, off the side of the bed.


    I’d have thought the skeevers would have...” Nerussa’s voice trailed off.


    Skeevers are not intelligent, as such, but they are usually the descendants of ancestors who chose not to eat poisoned food, Nordling. And perhaps they had some affection for the man. Look by the hearth.”


    Nerussa turned, wondering how the Mer had taken in such a small detail when he had seemed entirely focused on reaching the bed – as he spoke he began ministrations - and saw three small wooden dishes by the hearth, just a few crumbs remaining, but seemingly put out to feed the animals. The door was badly scratched, a box of the kind often used to store vegetables brought up from the outside root cellar had been gnawed through and emptied, and even a thin linen jacket left on the floor had been chewed up by the desperate rodents, but Lund’s body was undisturbed. She definitely needed to ask him for some tips, but now was probably not the moment. Still, she knew enough to open the door again, to let the air clear a little, and to look around for some soap, a cleanish rag, and a jug to fill with water from the brook outside. Perhaps they could speak further on the way back to the farm.



    22nd Sun’s Dusk (Rorikstead)


    Well, I’ve told him. I’m not entirely sure how it went – he was, well, less angry than I was expecting, which threw me a little. And he knew Senna! He was the priest she sometimes spoke of! Unlike her not to drop a name, but of course his is a heavy name in Ali the Isles. But yes, less angry than I thought he would be – he even made jokes! He seemed worried, though. Which I can understand. I haven’t told him much about the Sepulchre, which is probably foolish of me. I have no choice but to go, however, and I don’t really want to be warned about it. I’m already terrified, truth be told. I get the nastiest feeling that Nocturnal may actually be capable of manifesting in that space.


    Perhaps it’s time for a list? They are, after all, Calming and Good For Focus.

    In the next week or two, I need to:

    • try to track down the Word Wall Arngeir mentioned in the Reach (maybe en route to the Sepulchre?)
    • after the Sepulchre, maybe stop in Falkreath and see if Arissa is around – would be nice to catch up!
    • swing by Riverwood to see if Delphine and Esbern have figured out this mysterious destination yet/Breezehome to pick up a few things – I think Rumarin might like that sword I found at Mercer’s place
    • check in with the College – Urag said he’d be in touch when he found information on this Orthorn, but I imagine he’d appreciate not having to bother leaving the Arcaneum to find a courier?
    • buy some new spell tomes while I’m there (would prefer not to remember this a hold and a half away this time…)


    That’s… quite a lot. Maybe not as calming as I hoped for, but at least it’s all on paper, and I don’t think I’ve forgotten anything urgent! We haven’t actually fought a dragon since that big old bastard in Solitude, but I’ve definitely spotted more in the distance in the past week or so, just circling, but I don’t imagine they are intending peaceful co-existence, somehow. I think I need to focus on finding more Word Walls, actually seek them out, rather than just stumbling on them. They tend to be in Nordic ruins, and maybe Dragon lairs? There was one at Bonestrewn Crest, and another at Lost Tongue Overlook – and I suppose that first Wall, the one before I dared go after the Dragonstone, was probably a Dragon’s lair once, maybe it even is again? So:


    • ask in the courts for Dragon bounties, and look for a map of Exciting Ruins For Adventurers or something.


    Arngeir seems to have some source, but I get the impression he’ll only tell me one possible location at a time. And of course it’s still the luck of the draw what actual Word I’ll find – some are more useful than others, of course. I can cast a Fear spell that works better than Faas, Su means Air, but it feels… weapon-y? Which is virtually useless to me. My Destruction spells are getting rather strong, but elemental Shouts are a useful backup if my Magicka is drained, particularly Iiz which holds the target in place for a few seconds, that was extremely useful at the Embassy. The Word I learned at Snow Veil Sanctum, Zun, I recognise from hearing Draugr use it against Lydia – it causes the opponent to drop their weapon, which has obvious benefits, my next Soul will certainly be directed into that, with luck I’ll come across more Words for that soon. More Words to go with Laas would be useful, too. I’ve copied a short glossary of likely words into the back of this notebook, I need to remember to copy down the phrases on the Walls in future – I can read the script more easily than I can write it, so I’ll just transliterate to the Tamrielic alphabet, and translate later.


    Interesting note – I’ve found Dovahzul words that correspond to the syllables in my name:


    Neh – never

    Ru – run

    Sah – ghost, phantom, illusory spirit


    I also found words that sound like my old name. I do not like them very much.



2 Comments   |   The Long-Chapper likes this.
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  January 4, 2019
    Really liked the last part. Dang you found a shout that sounds like Nerussa's name. Sweet! 
    • Gnewna
      The Long-Chapper
      The Long-Chapper
      The Long-Chapper
      Really liked the last part. Dang you found a shout that sounds like Nerussa's name. Sweet! 
        ·  January 4, 2019
      Yeah - and it even kinda fits her (I mean, she totally runs, but she tends not to back down from things, kinda thing, plus Illusion and sneakiness and stuffs!)