Aedric the Hunter - Chapter 6: Friends and Thieves

  • 22nd of Last Seed 4E201

    I awoke once again in the Whiterun inn and ordered a light meal, as I was eager to set out on my journey. I resolved the night before that I would head to the Rift, to firstly visit my friends in Darkwater Crossing, and to join up with the Thieves Guild in Riften. Besides, when I was ready to make the climb to High Hrothgar, Ivarstead couldn’t be more than half a day’s journey away. Before I set out I visited the “Drunken Huntsman,” the hunting supplies shop. I needed to purchase some more arrows, as much of my quiver had been spent on the dragon. While I was there I spotted an Imperial war bow. I hadn’t used one of them for such a long time – I had become so accustomed to the Nord’s hunting bow’s recurve design. I asked the Bosmer shopkeeper for the price, and bought it without question, as well as a quiver of 50 or so arrows. As I exited the city gates I thought of the Redguard woman who called herself Saadia. She was safe in Whiterun for the time being, the Alik’r men were staying in Rorikstead over the other side of the hold. I purchased a horse from the stable master – a mighty brown beast, apparently trained for war. I’d no doubt the road had become dangerous so we would be soon to find out. I handed him a sack of 1000 septims – quite a deal for quite a steed. I mounted her and set off on the east road towards the Hjaalmarch and the Rift.

    The first half hour or so was rather uneventful. I passed a group of refugees from Windhelm, which told me about a group of bandits charging for free passage along the road at Valthiem Towers. As we continued our respective journeys I pulled the map from my bag. The Towers were just around the next bend, so I dismounted and led my horse up to the highwaymen. A woman approached me. “This here’s a toll road. You gotta pay 200 gold to pass.” I drew my bow. “I’ve killed Draugr, vampires, Spriggans, and just yesterday, a dragon. Do you really think you can take me?” She raised the alarm and drew a mace from its holster, but not before an arrow to the chest sent her to her knees. My horse then proceeded to trample her into the ground – it’d been well trained. Valthiem Towers was two ruined towers with a narrow stone bridge above the White River. I charged up the south tower, atop which was an archer. A quick shot to the head sent him tumbling back into the river. Several bandits, including one in Steel armor, were now making their way across the bridge. An archer on the bridge returned fire as I struck her down with 3 arrows – she was considerably tougher than the others. As another stepped over her corpse an arrow struck his exposed neck and he fell dead atop her. As I took aim at their chief I felt a jet of flames rake my back. I dropped my bow and drew my blade, whirling around to see a bandit with a Staff of Flames. He didn’t seem to know how to use it properly otherwise it would’ve been far hotter. A backhand strike to the chest sent him tumbling back down the stairs. By now the chief would’ve manoeuvred past the corpses on the bridge and would be in the tower, so I came down to meet him. With a cry of rage he threw himself at me, managing to strike me twice with his mace. Bolts of energy arced across my body as I retreated back up the stairs to gain a height advantage. His heavy armor made it difficult to get a good strike past his defences. He advanced towards me in a defensive manner and I leapt down the stairs and struck, breaking his defence and jarring his arms. I got in a few strikes to the lower torso which was less protected before he recovered. He was fast and strong – another strike slipped past my defence. I feel to my knees, feigning defeat. He lowered his guard for a moment and I drove my sword through the narrow gap between plates in his chest. I ‘recovered’ some of the bandits’ loot, as well as my bow, and continued along the road.

    Aside from being attacked by a crazed Bosmer archer (who was easily dispatched) the rest of the trip to Darkwater Crossing was fairly peaceful. I reached the settlement just after noon, and I saw the miners coming out for their midday break. I slowed my steed to a walk as I crossed the bridge over the Darkwater River and Hrefna, Tormir’s young daughter, spotted me.

    We waved to each other and she ran towards the adults leaving the mine, pointing and shouting. “Look! Annekke, Verner, Sondas, Mother! Look! Aedric’s back! I told you he wasn’t dead!” Everyone’s gaze swivelled from Hrefna over to me, as I dismounted and tied my horse to a tree. They seemed stunned to see me return –I guess I shouldn’t be surprised after they saw me attacked by Imperial troops and loaded into carriages along with the Stormcloaks. “Well, well,” said Annekke, “If it isn’t my bandit-slaying flower-picking game-hunting Aedric! I thought the next time I’d meet you would be in Sovngarde!” I chuckled as the she and the others greeted me warmly. Annekke was quite a bit older than I. She used to be an adventurer, and she first discovered the mine. She moved in with her husband, Verner, a hard working man but very protective. Over the years Annekke went out adventuring less and less and nowadays she doesn’t go out much at all. She often went out to hunt down bandits raiding the settlement with me. In their employ was a Dunmer man named Sondas, and a younger Nord woman called Tormir. Sondas was a very efficient and hard working miner – apparently mining has been his trade his whole life, and when you’re over 100 that’s a lot of mining. He always had plenty of tales to tell about disasters during his career – either a lot of them are tall tales or he’s very lucky to be alive! Tormir came from a family of miners and is pretty good with a pickaxe, for a Nord. Her daughter, Hrefna, also lives with the others at the mine. On occasion she’d come hunting or foraging with me. She was a good girl, and had a lot of potential to be an alchemist – she seemed to understand some things even I didn’t. Then there was the Argonian Derkeethus and Annekke and Verner’s daughter Sylgja – those two weren’t there! Where had they gotten in just the fortnight I was away! I asked Annekke about it. “Our girl’s headed to Riften, looking for work. I don’t think she liked it too much here, and with you gone she decided to pack up and leave.” “And what of Derkeethus?” Sondas chimed in. “He went fishing up at the waterfall not too long ago. He just didn’t come back, and nobody’s seen him since.” I’d have to look into that sometime. Tormir spoke up. “Well where have you been? We all thought you were dead!” “It’s a long story, let’s sit down and grab something to eat.” We assembled some chairs and stools on the porch of Annekke and Verner’s house. I told of what had transpired over the last week – the dragon attack on Helgen at my execution, my escape to Riverwood, my adventure with Sven and the Draugr of Bleak Falls Barrow, my journey through Falkreath, and finally of the dragon at Whiterun. “Turns out I’m the Dragonborn,” I said. Verner interrupted. “Slow it down a little Aedric. There’s no way you’re a Dragonborn – such things only exist in tales and legends!” “Want me to prove it? I can Shout now. There’s no way I’d have learned to do it otherwise.” Hrefna stacked up some empty mugs on the railing. “Well?” said Verner. The others looked on intently, already enthralled by my fantastic tale, particularly Hrefna. It was the first time I’d Shouted since I absorbed the dragon’s soul, but I was confident I could do it again. I drew in my breath. “FUS!” I shouted. Once again, a wave of force blasted the mugs half way across the camp, scattering them across the stones. There was a stunned silence. Annekke was the first to speak up. “Well I’ll be damned!” Everyone started laughing and congratulated me, but my tale had taken far longer than I intended, and it was time they got back to work. As we cleaned up the others returned to the mine and Annekke approached me. “I’m assuming you’re heading to Riften?” I nodded. “We’ve been attacked by some bandits from Stony Creek Cave.” She pointed it out on my map. “The I’ve got some guards from the Jarl and we’ve been able to hold them off but someone needs to get rid of them and Verner won’t let me go. Will you do this for us? It isn’t far out of your way.” I looked up at the sun. “It would be no trouble, Annekke. I’ll still be able to clear out these bandits and reach Riften by nightfall.” “Oh, and you should ask around Riften for Sylgja. She was worried sick about you when she left. I think seeing you will raise her spirits a little.” Sylgja was only a few years younger than me. We’d been friends ever since I came to Darkwater Crossing, in fact a little too friendly for Verner at times. “I’m sure someone at the Bee and Barb will know where she is.” She clapped me on the shoulder. “It’s been good seeing you Aedric, try not to get killed by any dragons!” I bid her farewell and returned to my steed, to see Hrefna waiting there for me. She handed me a couple of potions. “This one I made with those blue flowers and some wheat!” It was a favourite recipie of mine, as she knew. She could almost make those as good as me – an impressive feat for a 10 year old. “And this one I made just for you. I used a bee, some of those reddy-brown mushrooms that grow in the mine, and a Dragon’s Tongue flower. It’ll let you hit harder with those big swords of yours, and you won’t be puffed for as long!” “Very impressive, Hrefna! You’re becoming quite the alchemist, aren’t you! I’ll be sure to make good use of these, don’t you worry.” She ran back to the camp with a huge grin across her little face.

    The trip to Stony Creek Cave was quite smooth, besides running into a few packs of wolves. The cave entrance itself was submerged up to my waist, but it didn’t get any deeper. The cave had a small stream running through it, which made quite a bit of noise as it ran down the rocks. It helped to mask the sound of my boots splashing through the water. There were two bandits patrolling through the cave, and I drew my bow as they turned around. The rear one took an arrow to the back of the skull, and he fell onto the water and rocks. The other turned around, shield raised. It was a small, hide round shield which only protected his upper body. I fired again and he took an arrow to the knee. He fell to his knees, and the arrow twisted, widening the wound.  Another two to the chest sent him to Sovngarde. I continued uphill through the stream, where a well-lit tunnel went off on the right. I poked my head out to see a bandit sitting on the edge of a platform, he seemed to notice something, and jumped down. I retreated back around the corner and drew my blade as quietly as I could. As soon as he turned the corner I sliced down the centre of his torso, slaying him instantly. I continued up this side passageway to find a Dunmer man in furs working at an alchemy lab. It was quite well stocked as well, a fine prize for clearing out the cave. I shot him in the back twice, but instead of drawing his weapon he turned around, his hands alight with flame. I wasn’t prepared to fight a mage – not at this range. I remained in the shadows and searched for anything I could use to either close the distance or kill him. I spotted a tripwire at the entrance to the room as he stepped over it, and I quickly nocked an arrow and broke the wire. A huge mace fell from the ceiling, striking him in the back and throwing him forward several metres. I stuffed the reagents from the lab – including rare specimens such as frost salts and troll fat – and continued up the stream. It opened up into a large pool, where a bandit was mining some ore. It was either corundum, gold, or perhaps moonstone; I couldn’t tell from this distance. I crept up right behind him, blade drawn, and tapped the rock on the ground. He dropped the tool and drew his war axe as he swivelled around to face me, just as I ran him through with my greatsword. The elven blade cut through his leather armor like it was nothing more than paper.

    It was indeed moonstone ore in the cave – I took up the pickaxe, quickly extracting the exposed ore before making my exit.

    I led my horse along the road to Riften – the woods were full of wolves and spiders attacking lone travellers – namely me. It was before dusk when I stabled my horse and went to enter the city as one of the guards approached me. “Before I let you into Riften, you have to pay the visitors’ tax.” Riften was a hive of corruption, and this happened to me almost every time I entered the city. “This is obviously a shakedown,” I replied. “I’m not falling for that one again.” “Fine, fine. I’ll open the gate, but keep your voice down!” I entered the city and headed straight for the market. There I knew I’d find Brynjolf, a ranking member of the Thieves Guild. As I entered the marketplace he approached me. “You haven’t done an honest day’s work in your life have you-” “Yes Brynjolf, I’m here to join your little organisation.” He said the same thing every time I came to Riften, but this time I actually wanted in on his scheme. I think he actually remembered who I was after that. “Alright then lad, but you’ll have to do something for me. I’ll create a distraction, and you get a ring from Madesi’s strongbox and plant it on Brand-Shei. Ready?” I nodded. He asked everyone in the marketplace to gather round, and starting a sales pitch about some ‘Falmer-blood elixir’. I crept over to Madesi’s stand and began working the lock. I was no stranger to lockpicking but I wasn’t as experienced as some. I managed the lock open with only 1 broken pick and began working on the strongbox. This was a much simpler lock and I got it open with ease. I crept up behind Brand-Shei, who was arguing with Brynjolf about the legitimacy of his claims, and slipped it into his pocket unnoticed. I gave Brynjolf the thumbs up and he dismissed the onlookers. “Nice work Aedric. Meet me at the Ragged Flagon in the Ratways and we can talk business.”

    The trip through the Ratways was rather straightforward – the few lowlives down there didn’t pose much of a threat. The Ragged Flagon was a dodgy looking establishment over a murky pool of water under Riften. I met Brynjolf there – he must’ve had some sort of secret entrance. He congratulated me on making it in one piece and offered me another job before I could become a full member. I had to collect debts from some shopkeepers around Riften, and Brynjolf let me in on some ways to get them without any violence. I first made my way to the Bee and Barb, to collect a debt from Keerava, the Argonian innkeeper. Firstly I inquired about Sylgja. Apparently she had gone to work at the mine at Shor’s Stone, north of Riften. That sounded like her. I then asked her husband, another Argonain to talk some sense in Keerava, just as Brynjolf had suggested. He told me she was getting to relaxed, and I should tell her I knew about her family’s farm in Morrowind. I then approached Keerava again. “What do you want now?” “Hand over the gold and there won’t be any bloodshed.” “I’m not giving you thieves a single septim!” “How about I pay your family in Morrowind a visit?” “No, no! Take the gold, and leave me alone!” I left the inn with the debt and proceeded to Haelga’s Bunkhouse. Just as Brynjolf said, I took Haelga’s statue of Dibella and approached her. “What are you doing with that?” “Pay up, or you lose the statue.” I didn’t like using these methods, but I knew they would work. I’d definitely prefer this over having to beat the gold out of her. “Fine! Take your gold.” I left the statue on the counter and proceeded to the Pawned Prawn, a second hand store. As I entered the shopkeeper, Bersi, handed over a sack of coins. “Just take it! I don’t want any trouble!” I snatched the bag away from him and returned to the Flagon. He congratulated me again on my work. “I think you’ll do more than fit in around here. Follow me and I’ll show you what we’re all about.” He pulled a key from his pocket, opened a cupboard at the back of the Flagon and led me into a large domed room, with a raised platform in the centre above a pool of water. “This is the Cistern, and that’s Mercer Frey” he said. We approached a man in the same black leathers as Brynjolf. “This is our new recruit?” he said, with a scowl. “I hope you’re right this time, I don’t want another waste of Guild resources.” He ran through with me the rules, and turned back to Brynjolf. “If this man is as capable as you’re making out, I think it’s time we give him his first assignment.” “You mean the Goldenglow job? Are you sure?” I didn’t like the sound of this. “You sure? Even Vex couldn’t get in.” “Enough! I think you can fill him in on the details.” Brynjolf replied. “I think you’re forgetting something, Mercer.” “Oh, of course. Welcome to the Thieves Guild.” I followed Brynjolf back to the Flagon and collected my new armor from the fence, named Tonillia. It fit me like a glove, and seemed to be enchanted. Brynjolf then introduced me to Delvin and Vex, both of which could give me more work, as well as offer advice on existing jobs. He also filled me in on the details of the Goldenglow job, before assigning me to a bed in the Cistern. I was glad for a place to stay, as I doubted either of the innkeepers would be happy to have me staying in their establishment! It was getting late and I went to bed a little early – Brynjolf had told me he wanted the job done the next night, and I doubted I’d be getting much sleep.

    Aedric has a day to himself before the Goldenglow job to explore the Rift! Where should he go?

    1. Explore to the north (Meet Sylgja at Shor's Stone, investigate Derkeethus' dissapearance, perhaps other adventures)
    2. Explore to the west
    3. Go to Ivarstead and climb to High Hrothgar

    Let me know in the comments below!

    Next chapter is up. Read it here


  • Ponty
    Ponty   ·  January 28, 2012
    I've played through the next day and I'm gonna write it up tomorrow. Thanks for the support all!
    @Vix Someone else might be joining the Chaurus next chapter... DUN DUN DUN!
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  January 28, 2012
    Vote for 1...his stop at  Darkwater was delightful to read!  I enjoyed his rapport with all the characters...and you dropped a few hints about Sylgja, so dragons and greybeards be damned!  He needs to check on her and Derkeethus, I think.  Hrefna's idol w...  more
  • Guy Corbett
    Guy Corbett   ·  January 26, 2012
    Lol yeah similar reason I ended up using it in mine lol  I thought Hrefna might get kidnapped or something because of her talents??? seems like theres something there with that character. Really enjoying this story be interesting to see were it goes.
  • Ponty
    Ponty   ·  January 26, 2012
    @Guy Yeah in the cave I was thinking of a way to get past the shield and I was just like ARROW TO THE KNEE! Sort of makes sense anyway, only part of the body he can hit
    Nothing particularly special about Hrefna, she and Tormir didn't have as much o...  more
  • Guy Corbett
    Guy Corbett   ·  January 26, 2012
    Another good post man. I see you've gone for the arrow to the knee as well its got to be done hasn't it lol I really like all the stuff at dark water it actually made it feel like he was connected to that place and made his past more believable. I want to...  more