Day 18: Close Calls and Waterfalls
I awake, feeling stronger, smarter, and even more charismatic than ever. It’s my first day as a Level Three Administrative Alchemist! Time to facilitate the strategic acquisition of salable assets!
As if in recognition of my sudden gain in power, the world outside the gate of Chorrol greets me with a mouthful of wolf teeth. I don’t know what the deal is with the wolves in Cyrodiil. They don’t seem hungry, just angry. They’ll run right past a soft, tasty deer to bite into a legion soldier dressed in spiked plate armor, or, in this case, a botanist dressed in hair.
But hey, I’m not sweating it. I’m level three. I use my newly enhanced intelligence to determine the wolf’s every move (it has one move – to bite me) and every weak point (its weak point is its body) and my increased personality skills to sprinkle the battle with witty comments (such as “Yahhh!” and “Whulhuh!”), and in a moment, thanks to my newly increased strength, the wolf is dead. Yeah. I’m pretty much a badass.
Then it’s back to my main chore, pickin’ flowers, which is not so badass. Still, there’s some good pickin’ in these thar woods. I figure I’ll make a big loop, heading north, then west, then south,and end up by the gate on the other side of the city at the end of the day.
Other than a rat attack, nothing really happens for a while, other than the always exciting and volatile act of pulling plants out of the ground and stuffing them into my… well, whatever it is I carry all my stuff around in. Then I come upon this scene:
Look, I’m not the adventurous type, really, I’m not, but it’s a door under a waterfall. It’s a freakin’ door under a waterfall. I’m pretty sure anyone, anywhere, upon discovering a door under a waterfall is obligated by natural law to have a peek inside it.
I have a peek. It’s a bandit hideout. Time to exit, cave left. I know I was just crowing about being leveling up my strength, but I leveled up my cowardice as well.
I step back outside and am suddenly set on fire. Ouch.
An imp is flapping toward me, flinging fireballs every few seconds. I somehow hadn’t noticed that the soothing music that always plays in my head had turned dark and ominous, a sure sign I’m in danger. I dodge the next blast but am hit again. Fur armor and fireballs probably don’t mix very well.
I keep a large tree between us, periodically popping out to hurl arrows at it. Eventually, it tires of the ranged combat and closes the distance, at which point I hack it out of the air.
Hey, I had a pretty nice shot there. Right in the imp noggin.
To celebrate, I strike a heroic pose on top of the waterfall, just in case someone is taking pictures. Luckily, someone is.
At the foot of the waterfall I find one of Oblivion’s little treats: a forgotten treasure chest. It’s always fun stumbling across something like this. I kind of wish every time you did, an e-mail got sent to the person at Bethesda who stashed it here, just so they know you found it.
This chest has 8 gold pieces and a crystal ball worth 5 bucks. When you’re playing Oblivion, really playing, I mean, this sort of treasure is a huge letdown. When you’re playing as a humble root merchant, as I am, this is awesome. It’s free money and a trinket to hold onto until I have a mantle to place it on. I’m happy as an imp slathered in gall.
After I wade out of the water, probably smelling like wet, burned hair, a wolf greets me, a wolf with a very nice pelt and a little hidden treasure of its own: two gold pieces.
Hm. Maybe he was saving up for a place of his own, too.
A little further north I come across Nonwyll Cavern, and, hoping to find some mushrooms I carefully venture inside. Crabwalking, my sneak skill goes up about 700 times in the space of four seconds. Something is in the cave. Something very, very close by. I scuttle back out.
Once outside, I am immediately struck by lightning. Ouch.
Not from the sky, from some angry god, but from another leathery winged imp. He blasts me again, and again, as I desperately switch to my bow to try to take him down. I miss a few times and he flaps over to melee range. I switch to my sword and shield but as I swing to hit him he gets me with another shot.
An alarming message appears, one I haven’t seen yet. Looks like, 18 days after starting it, I’ve finally finished the tutorial.
That ain’t good. No reloads with our boy Nondrick here. It’s kill or die.
Cleverly, I choose kill. But still, a close call, the closest I’ve had. These beasts are getting stronger – I’ve really got to start being more careful, and I’ve got to put some thought into becoming a better, stronger fighter. My chosen trade takes me into danger often enough that I’ve got to be prepared to deal with it.
I use my Mara’s Gift spell to heal all my wounds – I was down to about 1/4th my health.
A few minutes later I kill a rat that owns a knife. Man, soon I’ll have an entire flatware set from items I’ve found inside parasite-ridden animals. And won’t my dinner guests be pleased to hear where I found the utensils they’re eating with?
Nightfall. I’m on my way back to Chorrol. I’m attacked by a female bandit – and then another. The first is a pleasant looking Redguard woman, the second, a female Khajiit. I suppose she’s pleasant looking. I’m not really into cats. In that way.
Both fights go about the same – I backpedal while flinging fireballs at them, they lunge with axe or warhammer, I take a few lumps, they eventually fall before my blade. One the one hand, it’s nice to see a lot of ladies in the bandit trade, a traditionally male-driven occupation. Girl power!
On the other hand, neither of the lovely ladies seem to have been very good at being bandits. Apart from their armor and weapons, they’ve got diddly to show for their efforts. The wolf I killed earlier had more gold than they did.
I head into the city, a bit troubled. In my first couple weeks of being an alchemist I’ve had to kill three or four women. It just seems wrong. Here I am trying to live a mild-mannered life and I’m droppin’ bitches like Nico Bellic.
GTA: Grand Theft Alchemy.