Day 21 – 23: A Dubious Detour
It’s a very pensive and moody Nondrick P. Cairk’tir who awakens next to his bed in the Wawnet Inn this morning. I’m feeling a bit conflicted about a few things.
First, Chorrol. I have to admit, I didn’t really spend much time there. Part of my goal is to find a home, which, granted, I wouldn’t be able to do in Chorrol, but regardless, I didn’t really give the town its due. I didn’t explore it much or really make an effort to get to know the residents, which is part of the purpose of playing the game like this in the first place. I’ve been a bit too driven toward making money and visiting Imperial City, and so I think I left Chorrol behind a little too early.
Which is why, on my mind this morning, is another city not far from here: Bruma.
Bruma, crouching in the mountains to the north, is a cold, snowy city, and one I’m frankly not overly fond of. Still, Nondrick is a Nord and thus Bruma is his homeland. I know when I enter Imperial City, with all its distractions, it’s going to be hard to leave. I think perhaps I should visit Bruma first.
It’s a tough decision. Extremely tough. Imperial City is a two-minute walk from here and Bruma is a two-day hike, at least, through a barren, frosty landscape. I hate to put Imperial City in my rearview, but I feel obligated to. Besides, I wanted to stroll into Imperial City a success, and while I’m doing pretty well for myself as of late, I’m still not much of an alchemist. I’m not much of anything.
I sullenly sell my hedge clippings to the innkeeper, buy up all of her cheap groceries, mash them into mush in a bowl, and sell them back. I’m up to almost 1200 septims.
Then, reluctantly, I walk north, leaving Imperial City behind.
Sigh. Well, what’s another week, really.
Just up the road I spot a traveler headed in the other direction.
I stop for a moment. Something seems a bit odd about this fellow. I thought at first that he was an Imperial Woodsman, what with the uniform and bow, but that’s not a Legion uniform. Who is this guy? I catch him up and have a chat.
Turns out he’s the Countess’ Bodyguard. The Countess of Leyawiin. Which is hella far south of here. What the heck is he doing way up near Imperial City? As a bodyguard, what the heck is he doing more than two feet from the Countess? Strange. Must be a bug.
The north road turns east, the weather turns gray, and a wolf turns into a dead wolf. A strange wolf at that: he’s not carrying any gold or silverware. Strange. Must be a bug. Nice view up here, though.
I happen upon a small town called Aleswell where neither ale, nor all, is well. The entire populace appears to be… well, quite frankly, they don’t appear at all. They’re invisible.
They relate to me a tale of a wizard who lives nearby, who turned the entire population see-through, and beg for my assistance in releasing them from the curse. Yeah, see, I’m not really into that scene.
As I leave Aleswell, hunger suddenly strikes me. Oops. I forgot to eat today. Not only that, I used all my existing food to make junky potions to sell to the innkeeper. Well, I’ll just push on.
It’s already dark by the time I reach the north fork that will eventually lead me to Bruma. I spot a wolf in the road, which I eventually determine to be a dog, not a wolf, and dogs have owners. This isn’t always a problem, but out in the wild, a dog owner is usually a bandit. On the plus side, a bandit in the wild usually has a bedroll, so I might have a night’s sleep for the low low price of killing a man. And his dog.
Just then, my hunger pains increase. My health begins to drain. Then my agility. Followed by my speed, endurance, fatigue, willpower, and strength. This isn’t good. These are the hunger effects from the mod I installed. If I head to the bandit camp, I’ll have to fight the dog and the bandit with my attributes reduced. The bandit may have food, he may not. He may also have buddies. I shouldn’t be looking for a fight in any case, really, but especially not when I’m in such poor shape.
Backtracking to the Wawnet Inn will take the rest of the night, and I can’t stay in Aleswell because the invisible jerks won’t rent me a room unless I cure their invisibility. Shit. I’m stuck.
My hemming and hawing pay off, however, as I see some distant torchlight approaching from the west. Imperial Guard, on horseback. Saved again!
The dog, showing no more smarts than your average wolf, charges, and the soldier makes short work of him while I watch. The dog’s owner appears, a marauder archer, and begins loosing arrows at the guard. Undeterred, the soldier corners him and makes short work of the lawbreaker, while I pitch in with one or two very carefully placed arrowshots. The last thing I want to do is hit the soldier.
I strip the dead marauder, and the soldier, not satisfied with my post mortem, conducts his own examination of the dead man’s junk. Nothing’s moving.
The bandit was camped at some ruins named Sercen, and poking around in some sacks and barrels, I find enough food to return my attributes to normal. There are also a couple bedrolls, and hoping more bad guys don’t show up during the night, I settle down for a few hours’ sleep.
In the morning, I’m headed north. I kill a few poverty-stricken wolves and a rat as Imperial City slowly recedes behind me. I wander off the road left and right to pick ingredients, but I don’t find a whole lot, and with the steepness of the landscape, I tend to find a lot of unclimbable hills and dangerous looking cliff edges, and wind up having to double back to the road. I do that whole thing where you think you can climb the hill, then you’re walking in place, then you jump around a lot trying to move forward, then you slide backwards, then you come very close to jumping right off a ledge and dying, thus ending your blog in a very stupid way.
I think this trip to Bruma might wind up taking longer than I already thought it would.
It’s mid-afternoon when I find myself peering down at a small settlement. My keen senses deduce it’s Bleaker’s Way. Nice town, as it turns out. Nothing horrible happening here. At least, not at the moment. I even find a free bed in the attic of one of the houses.
Another boring day of trudging uphill awaits me the next morning. You know what? This trip sucks. Nothing is happening, and while I’m generally a big fan of nothing happening, nothing is happening. I regret not just going to Imperial City when I had the chance. And just think, I get to walk all the way back down this stupid trail in a couple of days. I slay a wolf with two gold pieces, and another carrying nothing around but a few bucketfuls of its own blood. Man. Even wantonly murdering animals doesn’t cheer me up.
The landscape turns snowy and I find a strange rock that I decide to touch. It gives me a demonic glove and an eensy evil dagger that I am unable to put to any real use. I’d feel like a tool killing anything with this anyway. It looks like something you’d find sticking out of a club sandwich. Everything sucks up north. Even the interdimensional enchanted weapons.
Amazingly, it’s nighttime again when I finally reach Bruma. Jeez, three entire days to get up here. I got some gathering done, and I’ve got a pocketful of pelts to sell, but what a terrible trip. I head straight for Olav’s Tap and Tack, a dingy inn near the main gate, sell my wares to Olav, and start chatting up the locals.
Ongar the World Weary informs me without prompting that no way is he some sort of shady merchant! Definitely not! Then he proceeds to demonstrate just how unconnected to the Thieves Guild he is by dropping into a crouch and pickpocketing everyone in the room. He’s terrible at it, gets caught, the alarm is raised, a city guard runs in then immediately exits. This happens about five times. Bruma, City of Glitches!
Well, there better be more of interest here than incompetent Thieves Guild fences and snow. It took me three days to get here, and, quite honestly, I’m already ready to leave.