Aedric the Hunter - Chapter 4: Mages and Spriggans

  • 20th of Last Seed 4E201

    Today I decided that I’d go and explore to the SW of Riverwood, past Embershard Mine. The woodlands around Falkreath undoubtedly held many secrets and treasures for me to discover. After I ate my morning meal at the inn, I used the Alchemy lab to make some potions from the ingredients I’d recovered over the last few days. A personal favourite of mine was Blue Mountain Flowers and Wheat – it made a mixture that both healed me and increased my toughness. Before I left, I sold the remaining loot from Bleak Falls to Lucan. As I went to say farewell to Alvor and Hadvar, Alvor offered to teach me the art of forging weapons and armor in the Elven style using Moonstone. The lesson didn’t take long – Alvor thought I had a great aptitude for smithing. As I took my leave of Alvor, Hadvar came to say goodbye. “I think I’ll stay in Riverwood for a little longer. I’ve got to head back up to Solitude to report in with the Legion,” he said. “You should join up as well. We could sure use someone like you.” I’d consider his offer – I didn’t mind my time in the Legion, but then again the Imperials did try to execute me without a trial. I saw Sven and Camilla on the way out of town, both of whom greeted me warmly. Sven gave me his map of Skyrim, saying “A fitting gift for an adventurer such as yourself – can’t have you running around with no idea where you’re going!” I thanked him for his generous gift as we parted ways – Sven and Camilla up to Skybound Watch and me west of Riverwood to a new adventure.

    I read the map as I walked, and decided to explore an old Nordic ruin called Shriekwind Bastion. It must be huge – it appeared to span the entire mountain between Falkreath and Lake Ilinalta. I resolved to enter from the lake side, and I would emerge from the other end around midday. As I travelled along the White River I picked many of the flowers and mushrooms I came across. It reminded me of a time when I worked with some mercenaries the Jarl of the Rift had hired. They goaded me for picking flowers and such as we travelled to a bandit lair. One of the mercenaries was wounded in the battle and I managed to heal him with a potion – quite a potent one too. The others were amazed at his rapid recovery and inquired about the potion. When they asked what it was made from I simply replied, “Flowers.” The look on their faces as I left the cave was priceless. The first hour of the journey to Shriekwind Bastion was fairly uneventful. As I rounded a bend the massive fortress came into sight. I stared at it in awe, well until I was hit by a fireball from the other side. I think it was a Flame Atronach – I heard about them in the Legion from the tales told since the Oblivion Crisis. I drew my bow as I dodged another fireball, and got an arrow off before the next. It was tougher than an ordinary man but it was still very killable. As it fell to the ground it exploded, leaving behind a hot, salty orange residue. I collected some of it, I had heard it is quite a versatile reagent. I’d survived the encounter largely unscathed and proceeded to approach the Bastion.


    I entered the fortress in a long hallway, to spot a woman with blood dripping from her mouth walking between rooms. Vampires. I drew my bow again and crept up to the room she just entered to see her raising a dead prisoner as her servant. How could people do such things – the dead deserve their rest, not to be made the plaything of some unnatural abomination. A quick shot to the back threw her to the ground, dead. I continued through the ruin and spotted two skeletons up ahead. One went down from by bow and the other from a single swipe of my sword. The magic binding the bones together didn’t seem to be very strong at all, if a single shot to the skull could send the whole thing crashing to the floor. The tunnel opened up into a burial crypt, similar to the one Sven and I saw in Bleak Falls Barrow the previous day – but the alcoves were all empty. The crypt opened up into a towering central chamber, at least 5 stories high. Skeleton archers lined the edges of each story but they seemed to just be staring at the wall opposite them. The mage that made them mustn’t have been very good. I managed to take down the ones on the bottom few stories without any challenge, and I continued through the ruin. At the top of the chamber a large ironbound door emerged into a tunnel with a portcullis at the other end. I activated a lever, assumedly which opened the portcullis. It did open, but so did a dozen jets of flame across the corridor. I managed to manoeuvre through between the flames without getting seriously burnt and continued through the tunnels. I spotted a large room up ahead with another vampire standing in front of a podium with his arms raised, uttering some incantation. I managed to fire off 2 shots before he realised what had even happened. He spotted my silhouette in the corridor and began to charge. I tried a similar tactic to when I faced the bandit in Embershard Mine, but as I brought up my blade he turned it aside with his own and thrust his sword into my gut. I turned just in time and it sliced my hip instead. I bashed him with my pommel and grabbed a potion out of my pocket, mending the wound. I parried his next thrust and sliced down his leg. He didn’t seem too troubled by the wound and continued fighting. He went for a large overhead cut as I bashed him again, staggering him and giving me time for a fatal strike. Behind the podium was a large, engraved chest filled with loot, which I threw into my pack. A spiral staircase at the far end of the room seemed to ascend to the surface, so I followed it up. Instead, I emerged into a large room flanked by statues and carvings. In the centre of the room was another of these walls with the carvings on them, and a coffin before it. As I approached the coffin a Draugr burst out. This one wasn’t as heavily armoured as the Overlord, nor was it 12 feet tall. I dispatched it with relative ease and the wall seemed to call out to me, much like the one in Bleak Falls Barrow.


    I approached the glowing words – they seemed to mean ‘Air,’ or ‘Su’ in this mysterious language. Beside the wall was an exit, and I walked out to be greeted by an overlook of Falkreath. It was just after midday and I began my descent to the town.

    Falkreath seemed to be more or less a larger version of Riverwood. Well, except for the people. I was greeted with suspicious glares and angry remarks. “We don’t want you here, stranger. Begone!” “Strangers like you only bring trouble. We have enough dead in Falkreath already.” Even the innkeeper wouldn’t sell me a meal. I stopped by the trader to sell off the treasure from Shriekwind Bastion. It was owned by a Nord man named Solaf. He greeted me cheerfully. “Well met. Unlike my brother, I've no dislike of strangers.” He offered a good price for my goods and I left town with a heavier sack of coins than ever. I grabbed some food from my pack and continued through the woods west of Falkreath.

    The stark contrast between Riverwood and Falkreath made me think of all the friends I’d made there. Hadvar, Sven, Lucan, Camilla, Orgnar, and Alvor. My mind went back to when I first met Alvor. “There’s something you could do for us. For all of Riverwood. The Jarl of Whiterun needs to know what happened in Helgen so that he can send troops to defend Riverwood – we’re defenceless!” The word defenceless seemed to resonate in my mind. The Imperial troops at Helgen couldn’t defeat the dragon, and I could hardly expect Sven to do it on his own – and Faendal would probably leave as soon as he saw it. It’d been 3 days since the dragon attacked – who knows when it could come back? If Riverwood burned, it would be all my fault. I looked at my map again, and worked out I could explore this part of Falkreath Hold and still make it to Whiterun tonight. As I stowed my map I came up to a small ruin, overgrown with vegetation. On closer inspection, two armed and armoured men lay dead just outside. I unsheathed my greatsword and advanced slowly inside. One of the saplings inside seemed to stand up and move towards me. It was vaguely humanoid in shape, with barklike skin and pulsing green currents of energy under that. It must have been a Spriggan – but I had no more time to think – it was already upon me. As it swiped at me with a glowing green claw I attempted to cut it off to no avail – it seemed its bark was tough as iron. It still made a screeching noise at the attempt and quickly followed up with its other hand. The claw pierced my flesh and the sap dripping off the claw continued to burn the wound. I made a flurry of strikes at its chest and the Spriggan fell to its knees. I went for the killing blow as the green currents of energy pulsed blindingly bright. I recoiled and saw the Spriggan standing before me, it bark skin whole once again. It wasn’t back to its full strength however and I managed to take it down without much effort. There was a chest in the ruin which I looted, it wasn’t a large cache but still worth the effort.

    As I continued up north I came across an abandoned camp next to a spring. The spring had an usually large number of Nirnroots growing around it. There was a journal sitting on the bedroll, apparently an alchemist had gone downstream to investigate the effect of the nirnroots. I followed the stream and came to a clearing, with two Spriggans patrolling a lake. The alchemist lay dead on an altar in the middle of the lake, sadly. I managed a few shots at one of the tree-spirits before I was seen, and my first strike from my greatsword managed to bring it down. As it began to regenerate a Frostbite Spider jumped out of the bushes and killed it! Angered, the other Spriggan turned to the spider, taking it down with ease. I, however, got in several strikes before it turned to face me again, and killed it before it had a chance to regenerate. I think all the logging and hunting from Falkreath is making them aggressive.

    As I continued north, I chanced upon a man named Valdr sitting on a log outside a cave. He was bleeding heavily and called out to me. I gave him a potion to drink and he introduced himself. “Valdr’s the name. Me and a group of hunters had tracked a bear to this cave. As we went in for the kill, some things emerged from the trees. Spriggans,” he said with a scowl. “I was the only one who escaped.” “I’m Aedric. I’ve defeated a few Spriggans on my way through the Hold – perhaps we could drive them out together?” He quickly agreed. He grabbed his equipment as we entered the cave. The bear they were tracking was sitting near the entrance, wounded. As we fired our bows a Spriggan ran from around to corner to render aid, but it was too late. With both Vladr and I, the Spriggan went down easily, as did the other two in the cave.


    He thanked me for the aid and handed me a dagger. “I was given this when I first started hunting. It’s brought me great luck until today.” I accepted the gift gratefully – it seemed to have an especially sharp edge. He returned to Falkreath and I continued north.

    It was getting dark so I made a small fire and had a quick meal. It was as if I’d become part of the stories – first dragons, now Draugr, Vampires and Spriggans? What next? As I broke camp the next foe presented itself to me. A rogue mage stood outside a cave, leaning against a wall. A shot from my bow later he was searching for me, but I was almost invisible in the shadows after nightfall. He went down without seeing his attacker and I entered the cave. There were a few skeletons, just as weak as the ones in Shriekwind Bastion. A mage sit in front of a fire and I managed to sneak up behind him, impaling him before he knew I was there. He crumpled silently and I emerged into a long hallway, filled with oil, pressure plates and oil lamps hanging from the ceiling. It couldn’t be a good mixture. As I poked my head out one of the skeletons must have heard something and came over to investigate. It musn’t have been very intelligent, as it stood on a pressure plate, igniting the entire hallway and destroying itself and several of its brethren. When the flames died down I spotted two mages at the other end of the hallway staring at the bones with disappointment. I remembered a book I’d read as a child – Lady Benoch’s “Words and Philosophy”. It was an interview with the legendary Bosmeri swordswoman of the 3rd Era. In the closing remark of the book she says "When confronted with a wizard, close the distance and hit 'im hard." I chuckled to myself. I’d never fought mages before, but their lack of armor would be their downfall. They were still looking at the ground when I charged. They only noticed when I was about 5 metres from them, and I ran one of them through before he could cast a spell. The other summoned a spectral wolf, which went down with a single swing, and I cut open her unprotected gut. I continued through the cave, and Lady Benoch’s advice proved quite effective – I didn’t face much of a challenge. The final room was an open chamber with stairs up to an upper floor. There was yet another of the walls there, and two mages seemed to be studying it. I didn’t notice the oil covering the floor and they heard my boots splash through the liquid. I jumped back and drew my bow just as one of them summoned a Flame Atronach, lighting the oil ablaze. I took the mage down with a couple of arrows, the iron heads easily piercing his unprotected skin. The Atronach disappeared and I drew my blade, charging up to the second mage. She drew a dagger and made a feeble attempt to parry my greatsword, which resulted in the blade being knocked out of her hand and my sword through her chest. Once again the wall called to me – this time I learned the word ‘Yol’, or ‘Fire’. I had no idea how I could understand these markings – perhaps the Court Wizard in Whiterun could tell me. I exited the cave with a satchel of new reagents and some more loot – unfortunately nothing useful to me.

    I emerged onto the plain west of Whiterun around 8:30pm. I lit a torch and followed the road east. After about an hour I spotted the lights of the city in the distance – it was a massive walled city set high upon a hill.

    The journey was rather uneventful, and I reached the city at 10pm. The guard stopped me at the gate. “City’s closed with the dragons about. Official business only.” I replied. “I was at Helgen. And Riverwood calls for the Jarl’s aid.” “Very well, you may enter. The Jarl will want to speak with you first thing tomorrow morning. The Bannered Mare just up the street has beds for rent.” The gate was unlocked and I made my way to the inn. I was tired from all the fighting and travelling that day, so I immediately rented the room and collapsed onto the bed. I was looking forward to meeting the Jarl, and more importantly the Court Wizard to find out about my talent and these walls.


    Now I’m sorry to railroad you guys like this but I need to get Aedric back on the tracks. The end of the next chapter will be very open-ended for you guys to make decisions!

    Next chapter is up, read it here


  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  January 24, 2012
    Sorry, Ponty...I like to stop and smell the flowers! 
  • Ponty
    Ponty   ·  January 24, 2012
    You two need to be voting on the next chapter, it's already up
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  January 24, 2012
    Thanks, Julian...I knew it was not right! 
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  January 24, 2012
    I enjoyed his digression on the potency of flowers...reminds me of Aragorn and aethalas (spelling?).  I also liked the reference to the Oblivion Crisis through his interaction with the flame atronach...especially amusing for those of us who fought them ad...  more
  • Guy Corbett
    Guy Corbett   ·  January 24, 2012
    Nice post ponty I like Aedrics attitude and the directions he's gone. I thought he was gonna get it with the flames of the oil in that last bit. Can't wait for more. I should be doing my next one tonight I think.
  • Heather
    Heather   ·  January 24, 2012
    Your fight with the Spriggans was perfectly written- I could just see the action play out. Those creatures frustrate me...
    Aedric does need to stay on track. I may or may not have been involved in distracting him into the wilderness to check out the...  more
  • Ponty
    Ponty   ·  January 23, 2012
    I can start writing earlier since I don't have to wait for a majority vote before I decide exactly what I'm doing, might even have it up later tonight.
  • Juniorrat
    Juniorrat   ·  January 23, 2012
    awww. i was looking forward to voting...