Aedric the Hunter - Chapter 7: Questing by Day, Stealing by Night

  • 23rd of Last Seed 4E201

    I had a surprisingly pleasant night in the Cistern, and I awoke early in search of a meal. I went out to the Flagon and paid for one – it had meat in it but I didn’t think I wanted to know what from. It was reasonably filling though, and I left through a secret exit in the Cistern which lead out near Mistveil Keep. I made my way through the town, nodding to Brynjolf who was already hawking his ‘Falmer-Blood Elixir,’ claiming it let you live thousands of years and see into others’ thoughts – and it seemed some people were buying it! As I reached the stable the reins of my horse were handed to me, and I set off to the north to visit Shor’s Stone. Apparently it was a small village built around an ebony mine for the miners to stay in. It was only a short journey, but as I reached the village something seemed off. There was nobody outside, no noise coming from the mine, nobody working the smelter, nothing. I saw pairs of terrified eyes peering out of windows and doors. What were they hiding from? I soon found out as a great winged shadow passed overhead, followed by a huge roar – a dragon. I was expecting a peaceful meeting with Sylgja, but it seemed fate had other plans.  I shouted a challenge to the skies. “Hear me in fear, dragon! For I am Aedric, Dragonborn! Come face me and meet your doom!” I wasn’t sure if dragons could understand Cyrodiilic but I sure got its attention. A freezing breath uttered from its maw as it descended towards me. I wasn’t feeling so sure about the meeting your doom bit anymore but I placed trust in the strength of my bow and the edge of my blade. I fired a few shots at the armoured underbelly of the beast before it landed but the ones that hit didn’t seem to do much damage. It fell to the ground on all fours, shaking the earth beneath my feet as I fired another shot and shouted. “FUS!” As it recoiled I drew my greatsword and closed in. I managed to avoid or block most of the dragon’s attacks before it flew off again. This time it landed further away, and a freezing blizzard burst forth from its mouth before I had time to react. I felt my strength draining and limbs numbing as the blizzard continued. I managed a few strikes at its wings before it took off again, but it quickly crashed to the ground. It seemed to have difficulty regaining its footing, and I seized the opportunity, closing the distance and thrusting my sword through its head. It let out a final roar before collapsing to the ground, and its soul rushed into my body. The miners cautiously emerged from their houses, looking at the dragon skeleton in amazement. I spotted Sylgja as I approached them, and moved towards her. “I must be dreaming,” she uttered, and fainted to the ground. I dashed forward and managed to catch her.

    After taking Sylgja back to her house, I was approached by an older Nord man in a blacksmith’s apron. He extended his hand and I took it. “I’m Filnjar, the foreman here. And I’m very glad you arrived when you did, Aedric! The guards around here are worse than useless.” “Why didn’t you simply hide in the mine? I’m sure the dragon would have left eventually.” “Well there’s our other problem. A few nights ago, some spiders decided to make the mine their new nest. We haven’t gotten any work done for days and the guards just keep saying something about ‘keeping an eye out for enemy soldiers’. Now if you could clear the mine out as well I’ll give you as much coin as I can scrape up.” “Sounds like a deal,” I said. “Tell me a little about the mine.” “Well it’s more or less a spiral ramp around a deep hole. Spiders probably have their nest at the bottom.” With that I set off into the mine, bow drawn. As I emerged from the dark entrance tunnel, I found myself in a relatively well-lit chamber, a deep drop with a spiralling walkway around the edge, just like Filnjar described. My first victim was working on a web facing away from me, about 20m in front. I fired a shot, hitting it in the back of the abdomen. The rest of the spiders were fairly easy to take out – not too smart, and quite weak. I considered taking some of the ore but opted against it. I emerged from the mine triumphant, much to Filnjar’s approval. He’d managed to get together 750 septims, and thanked me for getting the mine operational once again. It was still mid-morning and I knocked on the door to Sylgja’s house. “Come in,” I heard from inside. I opened the door, stepping into the cosy single-room house as she turned around from stirring a pot. She literally fell into my arms and we embraced. “Aedric! You’re alive!” “Hah! Of course I am!” “How have you been?  What’s happened since you were taken? Are mother and father alright?” “Slow down! One thing at a time eh?” “Sorry Aedric. I just had the strangest dream – there was a dragon circling overhead and we all went and hid in our homes. Then you turned up, said something about being Dragonborn, Shouted at the dragon and slew it, and absorbed its soul! It all seemed so real too!” I chuckled to myself. “That was no dream Sylgja. Look for yourself – the bones are still there!” She poked her head out the door and gasped. “Th-that’s amazing!” “I know. I can scarcely believe it myself.” We exchanged tales for the better part of the next two hours. Apparently she had fallen in fright when she walked into the mine to find it infested with spiders, fracturing her leg. A passing Priest of Mara managed to heal it, but not fully. “And now I’m faced with a dilemma,” she said. “I’ve been away from the Crossing for two weeks now, and with my bad leg I haven’t been able to make the journey.” “Actually, I’m going down there next to investigate Derkeethus’ disappearance. Sondas said he went fishing upstream so I’ll search around there.” “Really? Could you take these letters to mother and father then?” “Absolutely, Sylgja. It would be no trouble at all.” She gave me a large satchel filled with letters. “Just give this to father,” she said. “He might have some to send back here too.” I grabbed the satchel and rose to leave. “Aedric,” she said, in an almost sad voice, “Stay safe.” “I will.” “When will I see you again?” “Perhaps late this afternoon or night. I’ve got a job to do in the area after dark. Secret stuff.” That seemed to cheer her up a little. “Well, see you then!” She grabbed up her equipment and set off for the mine, as I got on my horse and continued down the path back to the Crossing.

    I ate in the saddle and reached the Crossing early afternoon. I brought the satchel to Verner and told Annekke what occurred in Stony Creek Cave. “Now I’ve got the itch to go out adventuring again,” she said. “Well, would you like to come with me? I’m going to search upstream for Derkeethus this afternoon.” She immediately walked off and had a few words with Verner, then went back to her house and emerged with a full set of leather armor, a strung bow and quiver, and a steel dagger belted to her waist. “Well what are we waiting for? Let’s go!” We set off upstream, occasionally running into some local wildlife but nothing of note. After about half an hour, we came across an iron door amongst some broken masonry. As we drew closer to investigate, Annekke spotted a strange totem outside the cave. It was a human pelvis mounted upon a stick, with a piece of black chitin attached. “Falmer,” she said. “Be on your guard.” We entered the door into knee-deep water, and the cave seemed relatively clear. Annekke lead the way, and suddenly stopped and held up her hand. A pale-skinned, slouched, bald-headed, pointy-eared figure emerged from a tunnel in the wall of the cave. We took aim with our bows but it was extremely resilient and resisted the shots. A strong overhead cut from my sword finished it off. I examined its equipment, and it seemed to be made from the same black chitin we saw outside. I also noticed its eye sockets seemed to have grown over. Annekke proceeded to explain. “Falmer rely completely on their sense of hearing and smell. Pretty much everything they make is made of the chitin from Chaurus, a large and deadly insect that lives underground. No doubt we’ll encounter more of them later.” I nodded and we continued. We chanced upon another two Falmer, and a simultaneous slash and shot from sword and bow took one of them down. The other smelled blood and drew his odd war axe, inflicting a grievous wound. We struck him down and I knitted the flesh back together with a spell. In the next room I got a look at one of these Chaurus. It was a long, multiple-legged beast with a tough-looking carapace and vicious mandibles. I struck it with my greatsword from a mighty overhead blow, bow the blade slid between two of the scales as the beast shrieked in pain. It wasn’t dead but I’d definitely broken something. A perfect shot to it’s open mouth from Annekke finished it off, but 2 other Chaurus were already upon us. I managed to keep them at bay – they could leap small distances but my blade was well over a metre long. After they were defeated I took some of the eggs from their egg sacs, as I knew they could be used in Invisibility potions. Annekke and I advanced through the dungeon, and came across a large circular room with a metal grate in the centre. Derkeethus waved to us as we motioned to him to be quiet and he nodded. There was an armoured Falmer using an Arcane Enchanter in an adjacent – I didn’t like the looks of this. I crept up behind him to deliver a blow just as two other Falmer emerged from ports in the walls. I was struck twice by poisoned blades before I could react. Then another word erupted from my mouth. “YOL!” A wave of flame erupted as I exhaled, roasting the 3 Falmer and setting the two unarmoured ones on fire. They writhed in pain as I struck the two down, as the armoured one conjured a spike of ice that missed my head by inches.

    The next one impaled my chest but it didn’t seem to hit anything important, although it hurt unlike anything I’d been hit by before. We still managed to defeat it without more injury and took a key from its corpse. We went back over to the grate and spoke to Derkeethus. “Are you alright?” “I’m fine for now, but hungry. There’s a locked door here and a false wall into the room you’re in.” I dropped the key down to him and he unlocked the gate, and walked out of sight. Then we heard a tapping on the wall of the room and a muffled “Over here!” Annekke spotted a lever and pulled it, lowering the wall. Derkeethus stepped out, and he had managed to get his hands on a bow and quiver. “Let’s go, I want to see the sun again! I’ve been trapped down here for what feels like years.” We proceeded through the tunnels into another cavern, with 3 Flamer there waiting for us. They quickly fell to the combined fire of Derkeethus, Annekke and I, and we emerged from the cave fairly intact.

    We returned together to Darkwater Crossing, much to Hrefna’s delight. Derkeethus told how me went too far up river and was taken. He didn’t seem to be harmed but he ate quite a meal. It was getting late and I left the miners to their business, after Verner handed me Sylgja’s satchel with more letters in it. Before I left I went talked to Hrefna. I grabbed one of the eggs from my pack and held it up to her. “See these?” She nodded. “Chaurus eggs. Try mixing them with some Luna Moths, I think you’ll have fun with these.” She grinned from ear to ear as I handed her a few of the eggs, mounted my horse and set off back to Shor’s Stone. I reached the settlement by nightfall and the miners were more than happy to have me join them for their evening meal.

    I wished Sylgja good night, handing her the satchel after taking my leave of the miners and rode my horse to the edge of Lake Honrich. I could see the lights of Goldenglow Estate on an island in the centre. I left my horse in a grassy patch, downed a waterbreathing potion, and swam underwater to the island. I emerged behind the house and there didn’t seem to be any guards over here. Brynjolf told me I needed to burn 3 of 6 beehives, and search the safe. I surveyed the exterior of the estate. It was a small archipelago of islands, with wooden bridges joining them. The place was crawling with mercenaries, and they seemed to be clustered around the beehives. I drew my bow and began firing from the shadows. I took down two before the others began moving towards me, and took down another before leaping from the shadows, blade drawn. He was a skilled fighter, and we locked blades before I overpowered him and finished him off. After taking out a few more sentries I grabbed a torch from its sconce and burned the hives.

    It seemed the guards had finally raised the alarm, before I knew it 5 mercenaries were upon me, weapons drawn. I fumbled through my pack and drank Hrefna’s potion to improve my strength and stamina, and shouted. “FUS!” They all staggered back and I struck down the first before they could react. I fought defensively from there on in, only making occasional blows. It was a long battle, and I was glad for the extra stamina from the potion. I deflected most of their blows and escaped with little injury. I skilfully picked the lock on the estate and entered. The house didn’t seem to have anyone on the ground floor, they must’ve been in the basement guarding the safe or on the second floor guarding their employer. I snuck through the building into the basement and met two mercenaries, seeming relaxed facing away from the door. I struck them both down with a single blow, took a set of keys and continued through the basement. I took town another guard by throwing a torch into some oil. After the flames died down I continued through the basement to find a guard already waiting for me at the safe. I fired a few arrows, the final one striking him down just as he was making a blow.

    The lock on the safe was quite complex and I broke quite a few picks on it before getting it open. There was a sealed letter and a hefty sum of gold, which I put in my pack before making a swift exit through the sewers.

    It was past midnight before I returned to Riften, and entered the Cistern through the secret entrance to tell Mercer of my success. It seemed he was waiting for me to return and I handed him the letter. “It seems Brynjolf was right about you,” he said. “Keep the gold. Consider it your payment for tonight. Come talk to me when you’re ready for more work.” I went to bed quite pleased with myself, unsure of what to do tomorrow.

    What should Aedric do tomorrow?

    1. Explore to the west of Riften
    2. Talk to Mercer for more work
    3. Go elsewhere (say in comment)

    Let me know in the comments!

    Next chapter is up. Read it here


  • Ponty
    Ponty   ·  February 1, 2012
    Thanks Kynareth, now that the group photo is (mostly) done, I'm gonna be writing the next chapter this afternoon
  • Kynareth
    Kynareth   ·  February 1, 2012
    Aedric is a very confident and incredibly amazing warrior from your descriptions, and I enjoy that insight into your playstyle, Ponty.   And then you include the details with Hrefna and how Aedric has taken her under his wing, and it rounds him out for me...  more
  • Ponty
    Ponty   ·  January 30, 2012
    Thanks guys. Since it's unanimous I won't wait any longer and play through it this afternoon. I'll take a long loop around the lake and see what I come across
  • Matthew Zamski
    Matthew Zamski   ·  January 30, 2012
    I'd also like to see you explore to the west of Riften
  • Guy Corbett
    Guy Corbett   ·  January 30, 2012
    Explore to the west number 1 for me. Excellent post again Ponty. Really enjoying Aedric as a character and the people he knows. Look forward to the next one.
  • Ponty
    Ponty   ·  January 30, 2012
    Thanks Bilal! Glad to see a new reader on board!