“Did you see that!?”
“Uh- how could I not?” He gasped for breath. We’re hidden behind one abnormally large rock, hoping to the divines that it doesn’t notice us.
“What do you think it wants?” I asked in a near whisper, as if such a creature would be even able to hear me.
“Who really cares!?” He hissed, taking a look around us. “Let’s get out of here before it comes back” he said, as he got up from his sitting position. He brushes off his tail and looks to the sky, making sure the dragon is out of sight. “It’s gone”
“For now. It’ll be back” I shiver at the very thought. First the war, and now this? Dragons? They were supposed to be a myth; a legend. They weren’t supposed to exist! But things that don’t exist don’t just fly through the sky, loud echo of roars to be heard across Tamriel.
“How far from home are we?” He asked, watching me intently as I struggle to get the map in front of me.
“Well, there’s the sign that points towards home…” I trail off, as we both stumble from alongside the rocky trail. It was wise to stick to the paths; venturing off path could lead to serious danger; no worse than a dragon, of course.
“Whiterun is closer to home, let’s stop there, yeah?” Dar suggested, as we walked towards the Great city of Whiterun. “We can stop at the Bannered Mare- great mead, food, and I hear the Bard there is second to none”
“Do we really want to make another stop?” I inquired, setting my may back inside my sac. “I don’t think I have many septims to spare” I informed him, jiggling my change purse to further prove my point.
“Don’t worry, khajit are born thieves; where do you think my name comes from?” He practically purred.
“Dar- no” I stop in my tracks. He finally turns around to face me when he realizes I’m no longer walking in stride with him. “You told me you gave that up. That you’re done with the Thieves Guild” even saying the name of the organization puts a bitter taste in my mouth.
“I’m not saying go back to Riften” Dar began to explain. “I’m just saying, you know, maybe someone leaves their coin purse lying around, maybe they don’t notice it missing…” he left his sentence linger in the air, awaiting my response.
“Fine. But only because we’re desperate, and I just want to go home” I finally fold. We didn’t have enough coin to get us home, unless we wanted to set up camp in the woods. Given the current circumstances, and the return of the dragons, I didn’t see that as an entirely viable option.
It was a long ways home, to Falkreath. It was a small, peaceful town. Our only selling point was the size of our graveyard; and I would hardly call it a selling point. My house sat just on the outskirts of town, but close enough to feel protected by the city guards. The further out you lived, the more likely you’d be hit by bandits; it was wise to live close to a large city.
Dar and I hadn’t been friends long. In fact, we’d only met a little more than a fortnight ago, after many bottles of mead. I had been visiting Riften on business, trying to sell the ore from my family’s mine, when he had tried to pick my pocket. I caught him with ease; it greeted him with great surprise. He was apart of a group of people; an organization I guess you could call it. They were well known across Skyrim, but lately their luck was less than stellar. The Thieves Guild, which sat in the bowels of the tunnels of Riften’s sewers. He needed an out, so he began to travel with me. It took awhile for us to make the long journey back to Falkreath, where he would help with the mining. And of course we had to make stops along the way.
“I promise, I won’t screw up like I did when I tried to steal from you” he quipped, and this put a brief smile on my face.
“Alright, fine. What’s your plan?” I asked him. We were quite far from Whiterun still, and it wasn’t likely we’d see many others along the path. And if was indeed true, that the dragons had returned, that would mean even less travellers. The war had already done enough from discouraging any travelling; especially if you hadn’t aligned yourself with a side.
“Looks like my plan is walking right towards us.” He grinned wickedly, as he watched three uniformed Stormcloak soldiers walked towards us.
“You can’t be serious!” I exclaimed, truly outraged. “You honestly can’t think this is a good idea”
He merely shrugged, clearly thinking about something in his head. I could see the gears grinding in his mind, quickly trying to calculate how he could manage to pickpocket even one of the soldiers without any of them realizing. A feeling of unease washed over me as I realized I would have to be part of this charade.
“Help! Help!” Dar shouts, waving his hands around frantically. This catches their attention, just as I’m sure Dar anticipates.
“What is it?” One of the Nords asked gruffly. He looked down at Dar like he was nothing; ah yes, the typical ignorance of the Nords.
“There was a dragon” I blurted out, knowing they would be far more likely to listen to me as opposed to Dar. The khajit were known to be thieves, and often the caravans were rejected entrance to large cities. Though I wasn’t a Nord, I knew their ignorance lied with the Elven people worst of all.
“Dragon?” One of the soldiers asked, feigning true surprise. “Where? Where did it go?” I could see the worry in his eye. My eyes d’art to Dar who nodded at me before I turn my direct attention back to the soldiers.
“It looked to come from that way- towards Riften” I turn around and point, hoping I gained their attention enough to distract them. “It flew overhead, breathing fire” I try to make my face look scared, and I don’t think I really have to try; I am fearful. I am terrified.
“The return of the dragons…” one of them muttered, not taking their eyes off the sky, even for a moment.
“Talos help us…” another replied, their attention not leaving the sky. This let Dar reach into each of their pockets. He quickly pockets all of the coin he had just gathered from the clueless soldiers.
“Where do you think it went?” I asked them, trying to let Dar regain position, standing next to one of the soldiers, who hadn’t even noticed him step behind them.
“Who knows, but I’m not sticking around to find out” he answered, and his companions agree. “Watch the skies, traveller” he warns, before the three of them take off in the other direction, at a slow run.
“That was close” I finally let out my breath. “Was there at least enough to get us home comfortably?”
“Oh, yes.” Dar replied, nodding, grinning like the mischievous cat I knew he was. We continued to walk towards Whiterun, where we would seek shelter for at least a night, before heading home to the mines.
“Let’s get to the inn. I could use some mead” I told him, and he chuckled to himself.
“The rate you drink mead- I could swear you were a Nord” he scoffs. “You were born the wrong race. You shouldn’t be an Imperial” he added for clarification.
“I’ve never actually lived in Cyrodiil. That was my parents. They came here, and I was born shortly after” I explained to him. It was the first time I’d mentioned my parents in a long time; I lost them young.
We walk in a silence after that, just enjoying all of the scenery Skyrim has to offer. Admiring all of the features this land has to offer. Whether you were an Imperial or a Khajit. A thief trying to score the best loot. An assassin acting on contracts given by the Nightmother. A wizard, who’s goals could be anything but necromancy. A bard, who dreams of making it big, whether it be instrument or singing. We’re all just trying to make it in this crazy world, trying to not get eaten alive by frost spiders or Sabre cats in the process. Keeping our houses skeever free. Mining, farming, studying the ancient secrets of the Dwemer, making it as a scholar, a mage, helping assist at the college, or stealing our way to survive; you can find it across Tamriel.
It may not be the most glamorous world, or even the best world, but it is magical. The views and land is second to none. The possibilities to what you can do are endless.
However, if you find yourself wanting to travel here, into this great land, be sure to remember one very important thing:
Watch the skies, traveller.