Day 15-16: The Grind
It’s ironic that the day after I decide to become an alchemist, I finally bring down my first deer. To be fair, though, the alchemy helped.
I’m out gathering far north of Skingrad, and I spot a deer nearby. I’d just picked up some nightshade, a deadly little flower, and I’d gathered some peony seeds earlier as well. Both share an alchemical attribute: damage health. I cook up the poison brew, dip an arrowhead into it, and creep as close to the deer as I dare.
My shot flies true. The deer is dealt double damage by the surprise hit and springs away, as they always do, but the poison works quickly. I see it drop a moment later.
Finally! I even get my arrow back. The venison isn’t worth any more than rat meat, which seems strange, but it’s more about the accomplishment and actually progressing in skill. Plus, I do need to eat. Look at me, living off the land. I’m all grows’d up.
I continue north, far north of Skingrad now, finding some new ingredients, mostly mushrooms. I slay a few lone wolves, pass some Ayleid ruins, and realize that I’m so far north that even by turning back, I won’t reach Skingrad until morning. I decide to press on. There’s got to be a camp or town or inn somewhere out here.
It’s nearly midnight by the time I stumble across a small settlement called Hackdirt. I find Moslin’s Inn, but it’s empty. Odd. Innkeepers usually don’t stray far from the front desk. In fact, most of them sleep right next to the bar in case they get late visits from adventurers or dorks in furry hats. The houses are all locked, so I wander over to the chapel. There I find a crowd of people. Midnight mass?
They are… less than polite.
I head back to the inn as instructed and wait around. Eventually, the innkeeper arrives and I rent a room for what’s left of the night, which is nothing, because it’s about seven in the morning by now. It’s pretty big, a suite, in fact, and I sleep until noon.
I visit the shop, which sells nothing but arrows and bear pelts, a little odd since the room is filled with crates and chests and should be teeming with merchandise. This Hackdirt is a strange town. Someone more adventurous should really investigate.
If they’re not selling, at least they’re buying, so I mix up what potions I can, sell the rest of my gatherings, and depart with about 100 gold to my name. Another settlement shows up on my radar shortly, someplace called Weatherleah. It’s a large farmhouse and it’s been trashed. The furniture is destroyed and there are human bones strewn throughout the place. This is kinda oogy, but as an alchemist I can gather bonemeal to use in my potions.
Even though there’s a bed in the place I can use, which makes Weatherleah an attractive free alternative to paid lodgings, the bones and skulls and dead roasted human body in a fireplace make this a non-option for the cowardly alchemist. I decide to leave. I take a skull, though. If I ever have a mantle, it might be cool to have a skull on it.
It’s quite foggy as I stumble upon some ruins named Wendir, though at least one thing is clear: I’m not going back to Skingrad. At least not for a while. There’s no house to be bought, I’m tired of the grape-centric conversations, and, for a boring alchemist Nondrick still has a bit of wanderlust. I’m close to the city of Chorrol now, it’s not far north of here, so I’m making that my destination.
I fight two wolves in Wendir, and win. And look, one even had a bone. Aw. Now I feel bad. I wonder if there’s a mod where I could have a pet wolf.
The fog turns to rain, followed by strong winds and thunder. Miserable weather. This YouTube link fails adequately to capture just how gross it is out. But you get the idea. Trudging along in the darkness, I come across Odiil Farm, but it’s locked up for the night. Luckily, there’s a Priory just up the road.
There are a couple monks inside. I bet a sopping wet alchemist banging on their door in the middle of the night is the most exciting thing that ever has or ever will happen at this totally boring and inconsequential monastery, huh? Poor dopes. Anyway, there are some beds I can crash in for the night for free.
Tomorrow, a whole new city beckons. Chorrol. Here’s hoping I’ll like it enough to stay.