Day Six: Hungry Like the Wolf
A new day! To the south, adventure beckons! So, Nondrick heads north. You know how he is about adventure.
A quick stop at the Wayshrine of Arkay buffs my health, and, tiring of the usual breakfast of beef and berries, I attempt to take down a deer, at range, with a fireball. I score a hit but it flees into the woods before I can do any more damage.
Ah, well! I’m optimistic that the day will yield an impressive crop of ingredients to sell. Just look at this fertile land!
Unfortunately, dead grass doesn’t fetch a high price on the market.
A long stroll more or less directly north leads me to a small farm on a large estate, and the eerily accurate voice in my head tells me it’s Lord Drad’s Estate, near the enticingly named Bleak Mine. I don’t see anyone around, not even in the worker’s quarters, and it’s tempting to start plucking vegetables out of the ground all willy-nilly since I haven’t found much of anything to sell yet today.
But I’m not playing Grand Theft Onion. Nay, this is Oblivion, and I want to make my way by harvesting the unclaimed wilderness and occasionally stealing the clothing off fresh corpses. It’s an honest, simple living, and I’m an honest, simple NPC. No stealing!
From Drad’s pad, I head east for a bit, still finding little to sell. It’s already past noon, and my stomach is growling. Or maybe the growling is coming from the wolf that charges out of the dead grass directly ahead of me.
This time, it looks like no one is going to leap to my rescue. Luckily, I’ve got a shield and sword for just such an eventuality! I block as the wolf lunges a few times, then swing at it wildly when it leans back on its haunches. My blows don’t do a whole lot of damage, and it manages to take a couples bites out of me, but the outcome is never in doubt. Triumphant, I skin the beast of it’s valuable pelt. Finally, something I can bank on.
Another long stroll leads me to Brittlerock Cave, and, thinking I might find some ‘shrooms within, I hesitantly step into the darkness.
Inside the door I find a small stool and a sack, which contains some clothing and a torch. I light the torch and move slowly down into the cave.
Further down, I find a chest. Inside: twenty gold pieces. And there’s still no one around. Twenty gold, to me, is a small fortune, especially with the day I’m having. It’s two nights of lodging at the Brina Cross Inn. It’s a new cuirass or an iron bow. It’s an obscene amount of ham.
No! I will resist. Damn this world, always throwing opportunities for thievery at me.
I creep a bit deeper into the cave, finally spotting one of its occupants skulking around in the gloom. A small, bent figure paces about just beyond the light of my torch. A daedra.
Okay, the picture sucks, but I’m not getting any closer just to get a clear shot. Trust me, it’s a scary oogy monster that I don’t want to mess with.
As I head back out the way I came, I stop again near the chest. Stealing is wrong, but what about… stealing from evil enchanted monsters? What the hell is a Scamp gonna do with twenty bucks, anyway? Stroll into First Edition and buy a copy of The Lusty Argonian Maid?
What the hell. I pocket the loot, ensuring the day hasn’t been an entire waste while simultaneously striking a blow against the evils of the realm by seizing their ill-gotten assets. Who says one NPC can’t make a difference?
I also try on the clothing I found in the sack. It’s a shirt with suspenders.
Mm, yeah. I don’t think the exposed midriff is Nondrick’s look.
I’ve wandered pretty far north and east today, and it’s nearly nighttime, so I make my way back to the Inn. Another wolf leaps out of the bushes and I manage to kill it without much difficulty. This one, in addition to its pelt, is carrying two gold pieces. Crabs with lockpicks and now wolves with pocket change. The mysteries of nature.
Most of my spoils for the day are wolf pelts and stolen coins, though I mix up some ingredients, including some mushrooms I picked in the cave, and manage to sell the resulting restorative potions to Christophe for a profit of 10 gold. All together, I’ve got 72 gold at the end of the day.
That’s not bad, it really isn’t, but I’m troubled. So little of my earnings today came from gathering ingredients and selling potions. I can’t count on robbing evil imps and slaying weathy wolves every day. My luck just won’t hold out very long if I have to explore caves and get into brawls.
As much as I like the Brina Cross, my career is going nowhere here. I’m gonna have to move on.
I decide. Come morning, I’m leaving. I’m going to Skingrad.