Whiterun: Racism on display. Surprise in the crate! New ability discovered. New task given.
The walk to Whiterun was unspectacular except for one thing, the beauty of the countryside. Meeko seemed to think a lot of the trees along the way looked thirsty so he watered as many as he could.
Looking at Whiterun from a distance jogged no memories. I did not need prior knowledge to know it had been a site of numerous battles. The walls, although they looked strong and capable of withstanding a lengthy siege, showed signs of many repairs of various vintages.
Aged and exposed foundation stones of smaller buildings indicated that apart from farmers, the population had made the decision it was too dangerous to live outside the protective walls of the city. There was a large meadery, Honningbrew, close to the city. I have witnessed their apparent obsession with the stuff so I knew a meadery would be safe from destruction during a Nord civil war.
As I passed the Whiterun stables I noticed some tents nearby. On approaching I found a camp of Khajiit. Speaking to them I was informed they are not allowed in most cities due to a reputation for thieving and skooma dealing. According to them the cities are still full of thieves, skooma addicts and sellers! The whole thing smelled of racism. To see such things practiced was disturbing. If ever I became Emperor such things would be outlawed. Since that will never happen I just hope the Khajiit do not become victims of violence that the walls of Whiterun and other cities could guard against.
News of the dragon attack on Helgen had preceded my arrival and the city was in lockdown. The exact kind of scenario that made the Khajiit plight all the more disgraceful. Even as a “Nord” I had to justify why I was visiting Whiterun before gaining entrance. I wonder if they thought a sneaky dragon was going to stroll through the front gate? Stating I had news for the Jarl about Helgen was enough for admittance to be given.
Pretty, clean, noisy and crowded were my first impressions of Whiterun. The only blight on the scenery was some Imperial officer giving a civilian blacksmith a hard time about supplying the army. Seemed like bullying more than a request for assistance.
I did not travel directly to the castle, called Dragonsreach by the guards at the gate, as my curiosity about the legacy left by Meeko’s previous companion was intense. I was still dressed in the second hand Stormcloak armour. I did not want to be associated with either side in the civil war so any set of armour would be preferable before I met the Jarl. That was my self-justification for making the detour to the temple first.
A young priest of Kynareth had obviously been well schooled on what to ask for when I presented the invoice to him. He would not have even been born when the items were given to the chapel for safekeeping. I can only think Meeko’s previous companion had paid a good stipend for the storage of the items. I handed over the handful of odd gold coins. They were smaller than Imperial issue and had pictures of rulers I did not know and writing in several languages totally foreign to me. The priest’s eyes opened wide and he immediately sat down to study them. Perhaps the promise of those coins was the stipend? I had to ask him where the items were several times before he apologised, took me to an alcove and retrieved a key from a lockbox. He pointed to a very dusty shipping crate in the corner and told me all items in there were now mine. He emphasised the word “all” and when I opened the crate I could see why.
Inside were the items described in Meeko’s letter plus an odd looking tome with the word “BLAZE” in large script on the cover. It told the story of a mythical horse apparently made of flames that could be summoned when needed. Useful when travelling through the cold region of Skyrim! At the end of the book there was a spell written in mage script for summoning and dismissing Blaze.
I could read and understand the spell! I assumed then I have some sort of mage ability. How much I had no idea. I decided when I had the chance I would try summoning Blaze and test the theory. Summoning a blazing horse in the middle of Kynareth’s Temple was not a good way to get that Divine’s attention so the test of my mageness (is that a word?) would have to wait.
The alcove was hidden from view of the main temple so I took the opportunity to swap from the old sweaty and dented Stormcloak gear into what looked like fine courtiers garb with only the knees and shins showing any armour protection. I was surprised how well it fit! I am pretty sure when somebody buys a set of clothes or armour it doesn’t always automatically fit. Or does it?
The shield was round well-polished wood and proved to be extremely light. The next fight would let me know how sturdy it is.
The bow was as described. A dull metal with a surprising amount of suppleness. It took a lot of strength to draw it so I assumed it would not tickle if hit by an arrow fired from it. The handful of arrows in the crate were of very fine quality but not that unusual I thought.
The sword. Or should I say, THE SWORD!!! It is a thing of beauty with a gold cross guard and a long thin blade of runed steel. The edges look like silver infused with the steel and when I lightly ran my thumb along it I gave out a yelp as blood welled from the cut. Neeko sat up from where he was snoozing and I swear he rolled his eyes up and shook his head in the universal declaration of “Idiot!” Ignoring his accusation I asked him what he thought of my new look. He just yawned and lay down for more snoozing.
I thanked the young priest for his assistance on the way out but he didn’t even look up from the coins. He would stop occasionally to write something in a journal and then stare at the coins again. Meeko reluctantly got up and followed me out.
I still did not head straight for Dragonsreach. I approached the blacksmith I had seen being harassed before and gave her the old Stormcloak armour and weapons. I refused payment for them and told her others may need it far more than I needed the coin. That was a bit of a lie since I did not have two coins to rub together.
On my way to Dragonsreach I walked through the very busy market district. My new look seemed to confuse people. One young man accidently bumped into me then spent several seconds giving a grovelling apology to “My Lord”. Oh well, if that is what they think I won’t argue.
Dragonreach was an impressive looking building from the outside and even more impressive inside. The Jarl was in deep conversation with his steward. As I got close to the throne a female Dark Elf warrior drew her sword and approached. I assumed she was the Jarl’s housecarl and was careful to maintain a non-threatening attitude. Her name was Irileth and as I watched her grace and strength I had no doubt she would be very proficient with a weapon in her hand. She challenged me and demanded why I was approaching the Jarl. After hearing I had news about Helgen she introduced me to Jarl Bulgruuf the Greater.
I resisted asking what happened to Jarl Bulgruuf the Lesser as I could tell he was a man of little patience. After fielding several rapid questions about what I knew he thanked me and gave me some armour from his private collection as a reward for having initiative. He then asked if I would accompany him to meet his Court Wizard who might need my aid with something.
Farengar Secret-Fire seemed like a pompous twit but I was polite as I thought I might need his help later if I do have mage abilities. He needed help retrieving something called a “Dragonstone” from an ancient Nordic crypt called “Bleak Falls Barrow”. Ralof had mentioned the place and pointed it out on our walk from Helgen to Riverwood. It had a sinister reputation with the locals. Farengar was obsessed with dragons and their reappearance was a cause of celebration rather than fear to him. He claimed the Dragonstone was to help in his studies but would not elaborate how he knew it was there. Pompous and sneaky! I quickly agreed to go look for it and left before the urge to punch him in the face was too much. I had to growl at Meeko to follow as he was intent on playing with three well dressed children he had won over with fake cuteness.