Whiterun, Riverwood: Another Dragonborn, Dumb thugs, Smart Khajiit, First Divine task started.
I could make a fortune telling people’s fortunes.
As I thought I woke up early with a real bad need to go to Riverwood due to “The Pull” being so strong.
Lydia was back with Meeko.
I asked her what time she got back and it was only an hour or so ago. She had visited her and Bjorn’s favourite picnic spots and camp sites. She had written messages for him on little wooden plates and buried one at each site. At the last one she had broken down and wept till there were no tears left. Since there will never be a funeral or grave to visit she made the wooden plates her eulogy and their favourite places his memorial.
I stood there with tears in my own eyes. What a wonderfully beautiful thing to do! I walked up to her and almost broke her ribs with a bear hug.
I suggested she must be very tired and she could stay at home if she wanted. You would have thought I had asked her to dance naked in the town square. If disgust was a weapon I would be dead.
“Thane, you know my duty as well as I. You are going to Riverwood to meet that cow at the inn. After you made her shit herself the other day she may want revenge. Who knows what devious plot she has hatched? Sneaky with beady eyes she is! I will not allow you to walk into danger without my sword at your side. Understand?”
I stood with my mouth open which she fixed by putting her fingers under my jaw and pushing up so quickly there was an audible “clack” as it closed.
“Do you want breakfast?” she asked and then waited half a second for an answer. “No, then let us go and see what the bitch wants!” and with that she grabbed her sword and was out the door with her shadow, I mean Meeko, in tow.
What could I do but follow as ordered?
As I closed Breezehome’s door I looked around and appreciated how pretty Whiterun was at the start of a sunny day. Two odd characters with weird masks on approached with attitude.
“Are you the one they call the Dragonborn?” demanded what must be a very young woman or eunuch by the pitch of the voice behind the mask. When I answered in the affirmative I was accused of being a liar and a false Dragonborn and that we will all bow down to the real Dragonborn, Miraak, when he arrives.
Another Dragonborn? I was just about to ask some cleverly thought out questions when one of the weirdos attacked me with two daggers and the other cast some nasty spell designed to cook me well done with crispy skin.
Once again Meeko was aware of the baddies intentions before me and had leapt and ripped the throat out of the mage before I could say, “Fuck that is hot!”
Lydia was only a step behind as she laughed at the one with the toothpicks and smashed her shield into his/her face. Dead before he/she hit the ground. Lydia does appreciate the simple pleasure in life.
I hadn’t even drawn my sword and it was over! Miraak needs better goons on his side.
I searched them both and found a note on one. They had come from Black Rock and searched for me starting in Windhelm. If there was another Dragonborn or powerful person/being impersonating one and they had lots of followers it might be another task for later.
I showed Lydia the note and wondered aloud how they found me so fast. After all I had one head, two arms and legs and looked like half the population with blond hair and blue eyes.
Lydia looked at Meeko and asked him if they should let me figure it out or would it be dangerous if it strained my brain too much. Those two are getting way too smartarse.
Lydia looked at me and asked, “What are you?”
I said, thinking it was clever, “I don’t know, you tell me!”
“You are a thane. A thane that is also a Dragonborn. A thane that is also a Dragonborn with a sometimes glowing white dog. A thane that is also a Dragonborn with a sometimes glowing white dog and a horse that is on fucking fire!”
“Oh!” was my response.
“Sketches of you and your sometimes glowing dog and your fiery horse and absolutely stunning shield maiden companion are all over the news sheets with more and more fantastic tales of your daring exploits. In the last few days you have slayed at least ten dragons and bedded everybody from Jarl Elisif The Fair to Ulfric. Apparently you and I bedded three Solitude stableboys in a single drunken orgy that may or may not have also included Dicko your white hound that has been trained in the Dibellan arts.”
“Oh!” was my response.
A couple of guards had been listening and one of them piped up, “Don’t worry Thane. Most of us Whiterun guards didn’t believe the Dicko dog part. Mind you he is cute. Is he spoken for? Anybody special in his life? Should I just take the chance and ask him out?”
Meeko promptly walked up to the comedian guard and started humping his leg.
That was it. By this time quite a sizeable crowd had gathered and the giggles started and then snorting laughter from a couple which made other people stare at them and burst out laughing until it seemed like half of Whiterun was there laughing at their thane as he meekly went to his likely death at the hands of an insane innkeeper in Riverwood.
I walked further than usual, almost half way to the meadery, before summoning Blaze. I sadly informed him I might not be able to use him very often any more because he made it too easy to track me. I got the distinct feeling as I climbed into my saddle that he didn’t really care.
After an incident free ride to Riverwood I dismounted Blaze and unsummoned him before the bridge so I could make an unspectacular entrance. This was slightly ruined by Meeko, who was glowing and can probably do it on command, running to meet his playmates whilst barking like he knew the Thu’um.
Three men near the other end of town were waving us over. Delphine can wait a few minutes, might as well see what they want. “The Pull” changed but that was expected as I passed the inn.
The three men stood in various tough man poses and were well armed with average bandit type armour. They had not drawn their weapons so I left “The Sword” in its sheath.
As we came to a halt they took up the standard triangular position that bullies use to intimidate their victims. You have to be joking! Big bully at the front and junior bullies to the side and slightly back. One or two victims would have difficulty keeping an eye on all three which was the whole point.
I warned them this is not a good idea. They should have realised that when one henchman found he was face to face with Lydia who had drawn her sword. The other had Meeko staring at him with a grin that tactically showed his impressive set of teeth.
One of them asked another, “Who does he think he is?” to which Lydia, who was just behind me and slightly to the left, said, “He is a thane. He is a thane that is a…” “Lydia, no!” stopped her.
The boss of the trio swaggered up, realised it was silly to try and intimidate somebody twice as wide and a few feet taller, but tried anyway since his henchman were watching.
He said they ran the town and we had to hand over 50 gold or die. There was a bit of too and forth before that but in the end that was the choice.
I yelled to the guards and asked if these guys ran the town and if so who voted for them.
The guards laughed and said they have never seen them before.
I offered the idiot one chance to walk and used some Thu’um to emphasise my words and his danger.
He went for his hammer which was strapped to his back. Anybody with half a brain knows you are not going to draw a two handed hammer before a good swordsman draws his weapon. At least his henchman had their weapons in hand before he made his ultimatum. I can only think we were not what he was expecting and was a bit rattled. I wasn’t in the mood so drew “The Sword” and cleaved his head in half before his hammer was even loose. Now he had half a brain. Two halves. The other thugs fared no better. What kind of moron walks into a town full of professional and fully armed guards and tries to shake people down well armed people for 50 gold? He was obviously the type of Nord they designed the dragon claws and rotating symbol doors for.
I turned and faced the inn with some relief and started walking towards it thinking of how I was going to approach Delphine. I passed an old Khajiit leaning on one of the pillars outside the Riverwood Trader and “The Pull” started to get stronger when it should not have changed. I kept heading for the inn and it was apparent it was not my destination. Maybe Delphine was somewhere else in Riverwood?
I stopped and slowly rotated and the pull stopped when I was facing the Khajiit. I didn’t quite remember what was in that direction so I thought I would walk along the main street and turn left when I had a chance as that should get me to Delphine. As I walked past the Khajiit “The Pull” changed again. Alright, I will talk to him.
He introduced himself very courteously as Baa’Ren-Dar. He immediately struck me as not an everyday Khajiit. I was instantly intrigued and “The Pull” had gone. He said he had a “very special mission” that required somebody with “very special qualities”. I asked him if there was somewhere we could talk. Of course there was. He started leading me towards one of the Riverwood exits. This was looking a bit cloak and dagger. I like cloak and dagger!
I had time to think on our walk. He had watched the handling of the thugs but a drunk grandmother with a kitchen knife could have taken them on. He knew who I was! He was waiting to see how I handled the thugs. Did he set up the thugs? It would explain their sudden appearance and amateur execution of a take down. I think they got the entry we would use wrong. I think he told them we were easy prey. What was he looking for? I did try and point out how silly it was to do it but they persisted. I tried to embarrass them in the hope that would make them walk away but they persisted. I let him make his ultimatum and then gave one with all the menace I could muster without breaking windows. We made no move to attack before they did. I assume the other two waited for their boss to commence his attack before commencing theirs. When we did act it was decisive, without flare and merciless. Maybe that combination is something he liked. I quite liked the idea of this gentleman Khajiit being so ruthless.
We walked to the left of the entrance and into a cul-de-sac where he had a horse, tent and fire. A cosy hidden set up that you would not bother with unless you were unsure how long you had to wait. I wonder how many days he spent leaning on that pillar whilst the thugs sat around waiting for his signal. Not long I think. Knowing Whiterun guards they would have been moved on for lollygagging. I had a quick look, Baa’Ren-Dar could have seen us enter the town and Meeko would have given him forewarning. Maybe he discretely came out as we walked toward the thugs. I can’t remember what “The Pull” was doing but I was so confident the inn was the target I might have simply ignored it. I can do that for a short time and it easier if concentrating on something such as friendly thugs waving at me.
All of that didn’t really matter. It is my habit, perhaps my training, to analyse everything to the nth degree. What was important is he had gone through a lot of effort so this must be something important to him or maybe even Elsweyr. Important enough for The Divines to take notice. I knew from now on I was on my own. They got me here and hopefully the final outcome is what they want.
He offered 15000GP to do this job. 5000 now and 10000 on completion. He did not want me to find something. He did not want me to assassinate anybody. I would not have surprised me if he did and it would not have surprised me if I considered it. He wanted me to be guardian to a young girl who seems to have crossed paths with enemies in Cyrodiil, got injured and is now recuperating in the mountains near Falkreath. The Nordling with a destiny was his description. He was searching for information on her mother who was missing. His clue being a wedding band that turned up with the thief’s guild in Riften.
This old khajiit must have an impressive web of informants. If he is not high council then he must be close. I was really beginning to like Bar’Ren-Dar.
I needed a horse to replace Blaze so we included his horse in the deal. I was given a letter and her mother’s ring to show I was sent by Bar’Ren-Dar.
I read the letter. He had not written it whilst I was with him. It was prepared earlier and proof to me he knew I was coming and this was not a chance meeting. It urged her to trust me. To not be so foolhardy. Azura’s blessing was an interesting addition. A Daedra but one that never opposed the Divines. One of the most popular God’s in the Khajiit Pantheon. Their creator god who supposedly made the Khajiit race from formless forest spirits. I set off to find this Nordling with a destiny. Her name is Rigmor.