Monday, February 27, 2012

Genjo the Hunter

Today didn't exactly go as I had hoped, I'm afraid.

I left Gerdur and Hod's house early this morning hoping to put this bow that Ralof had given me to good use. I have hunted and tracked before so I hoped I could at least get enough food to live off the land as a hunter until I get back on my feet. I knew the wilderness of Skyrim was a dangerous and often unforgiving place, but I had to do something. I had to start somewhere and reestablish myself in this cold province.

When I stepped out into the cold morning air, I found Gerdur tending her animals. She spoke with me briefly about heading to Whiterun to talk with the Jarl, which made me feel slightly guilty. I explained to her that I would go, but I was in no position to set out for a new town in nothing but rags. What would I eat? Where would I sleep there? She tried to give me some food and trinkets to sell, but I'd taken enough of the woman's charity and told her I'd be back in town this evening with pelts and meats to trade. She seemed anxious for me to get to Whiterun, but it will have to wait.

Riverwood Trader: Wolf Pelt to Potato
As I was heading out of town before the sun had risen, I noticed the Riverwood Trader was open and decided to pop in for whatever meager breakfast I could afford. I interrupted the proprietor and his sister arguing about some recent theft, but was quick to sell the wolf pelts from yesterday and buy a fresh potato. I excused myself and ate the potato raw outside. My stomach was angry with me that I didn't make a decent breakfast before leaving Gerdur's house, but I ignored it and pressed on.

At the edge of town I bumped into an elf named Faendal who offered to train me in archery, but his rate was much too high for someone with only 7 septims left to his name. I was interested in some instruction on my archery, but I'd have to save up for the lessons later.

From Riverwood, I headed west along the road I'd come down yesterday. I knew I had seen some Guardian Stones on my way into town and I wanted to get a better look a them. I had heard before arriving in Skyrim that the ancient Nords had built them to honor the constellations and that they believed them to have sacred power so it was important for me to get a look at them at least once.

On the way out there, I decided to stop and move the wolves Ralof had killed out of the road. It was sort of gruesome for any travels to have to step over the dead, skinned wolf bodies on their way to Riverwood. As I was doing that civic duty, I happened to see an elk across the river and in an instant the hunt was afoot.

Target Aqcuired: Elk
I launched an arrow across the river into the beast's flank, but it wasn't enough to bring it down. The elk bolted off into the woods and so I dashed into the river without thinking to keep up to it. Fortunately the river wasn't deep, so aside from being cold and wet I splashed on to the northern banks without incident. I managed to catch up to the elk not to far into the woods and landed another arrow in its throat to drop it. At this moment, I felt pretty pleased with myself. So early in the day and I'd landed a big game. It felt pretty easy to live off the land. I had a new hide to trade, as well as some antlers, and it looked like dinner was shaping up if I could find a bit of salt in town.

I returned to the road and made my way up to the Guardian Stones. They seemed to resonate with my touch and the constellations depicted on them would light up whenever I touched one of the three monoliths. I decided to linger on the Mage Stone as it represented my Breton heritage which is attuned to magical power. As I write this, though, I realize I probably should have lingered on the blessings of the Warrior to help me with my hunt that day as I'm not really much of a magic caster. Perhaps if I venture out that way again, I can study the Stones more.

Majestic and Mysterious
While I was marveling at the Guardian Stones, I saw a small trail leading down to a small isolated camp and climbed down the slope to investigate. I met a woman there who identified herself only as "a hunter" though her defensiveness made me think she was more of a poacher. I'm not clear on the hunting laws around here, so maybe I'm a poacher also. I'll have to look into it. I don't want to cause any trouble. Anyway, this hunter wasn't much for conversation and she didn't have anything for sale that I could afford so I thought I'd get back to work. Although she seemed a little shady, that she was living out here on the land gave me hope that I'd be able to do the same, and sell or trade whatever I don't need in Riverwood nearby. Perhaps she and I could even be friends if she'd see we are similar.

A Fellow Hunter!

From the hunter's camp, I swam out into the river and managed to catch five salmon with my bare hands! I hadn't planned to do much fishing, but since there were so many salmon, and they weren't particularly evasive, I decided to get some fresh salmon meat for trade or future dinners. It was surprisingly easy to just scoop them up out of the water. They must have some fat bears in Skyrim. Unfortunately, the fish were more trouble than they were worth.

I was scaling the fish on the bank when I was attacked by two hungry wolves. I had seen them as they were on their approach, but didn't have time to ready my bow so I faced them down with a small dagger in my hand. They lunged at me and I slashed wildly at their throats. I managed to kill them with only after a few bites and scratches - nothing serious. Now I had some elk, salmon and wolf for sale. I didn't know how much this would be worth in Riverwood, so I kept going.

Genjo, the Wolf-Slayer
I began walking back toward Riverwood along the opposite bank of the river, the northern side. I hoped to find another elk out here away from the road, but instead I found a strange, somewhat creepy shack in the woods. I met an old woman named Anise who told me all about how lonely she was out here, which isn't surprising since it's the middle of nowhere. I thought maybe I'd visit her again sometime and we could talk more, but I'm also a little nervous about it. Something about Anise and her shack made me extremely uncomfortable. I shudder just thinking about it.

Anise's Creepy Cabin from a Safe Distance
After that uncomfortable talk with the old woman, I pressed on and I thought I saw a deer upon a ridge ahead of me. As it turns out it was a man named Balbus who was gathering ingredients to impress someone named the Gourmet. He talked me up and down about the Gourmet like I should know who he is. I don't. I find myself not even remotely interested, although I do like cooking. Well, I wished him luck, warned him he should wear brighter clothing in the forest, and continued on my way. You meet a wide variety of strange folk out in the woods of Skyrim, I must say.

I passed by Riverwood on the north bank and began to explore the east side of town. It's quite a charming little town and I find myself rather fond of it. I'll have to make it a point get to know more of the townsfolk in the near future. I should also head down to the Jarl in Whiterun and ask for reinforcements in case the dragon comes back. I haven't thought much about the dragon. It seems more or less like a dream. Something like that couldn't have been real, but just yesterday I had seen it and what it was capable of doing to Helgen. Well, I'll leave those thoughts for later. Where was I?

Surpising Luck!
I caught a glimpse of a hawk circling overhead and decided to see if I could test my archery skills. I didn't want to waste too many arrows, but I was surprised that my second shot plucked the large bird from the sky and it happened to fall at my feet as well. How surprisingly lucky!  I knew the beak and some choice feathers that would fetch a good price in town mostly for their alchemical properties.

I headed back down to the river where I saw a doe and a rabbit on the southern shore. The rabbit bolted as I approached the river, but the doe jumped about in a panic. I managed to land an arrow in her ribs. I rushed into the river again to keep her in my sights. I lined up another shot, but before I could release the arrow a wolf jumped out of the bushes and took the doe down by the throat.

I was so startled by this that I just stood there dumbfounded up to my waist in frigid water. I hadn't seen the wolf before it launched its surprise attack on the doe. It caught me by complete surprise. It had seen me, however, and instead of enjoying its fresh kill was considering what it should do about me. I readied my bow for the incoming attack.

Genjo, the Stalking Archer
I managed to kill the wolf with arrows before it had the chance to get at me. Then I collected my prizes and headed back to town, since it was beginning to grow dark again. As I hit the edge of town, I heard a hawk's cry and looked around for its source. Far overhead I saw another hawk circling and perching on the high mountain rocks. I believe the hawk I killed earlier was the most profitable prey of the day and so I lobbed my last two remaining arrows into the sky. They both missed.

Now I get to the final heartbreak. I was able to turn those twelve arrows into 2 elk hides, 3 wolf pelts, and 1 hawk. I also have 2 great cuts of venison and 5 salmon as an added bonus, which I did not sell. Lucan of the Riverwood Trader was able to give me 33 septims for my day's work, which seemed like a lot to a man with nothing in his purse yesterday, but it didn't go far. I purchased a bit of salt from the Trader and cooked myself some venison on the fire. It felt good to fill my stomach with the day's efforts, but I was still thirsty and needed a place to sleep. 

Unfortunately, a night at the Sleeping Giant Inn with a mug of ale cost me a dear 25 coins. It nearly took an entire day's work just to afford a place to sleep and something to eat. To be honest I'm still famished as I write this. I could eat at least three times what I had for dinner if I could afford it. Soon my hunger will make me too weak to be able to hunt, and my feet are killing me from hiking all over the Riverwood area in these tattered cloth shoes. This just isn't feasible right now. After I spend what little I have on breakfast, I won't have enough coins for even a handful of arrows.

I need to do something different tomorrow.

- Genjo, the Breton
18th of Last Seed, 4E 201

The OOC Corner - Reader's Poll & Author's Notes

Hunting was fun and exciting, but not profitable enough to sustain Genjo.
He has no more arrows, so only a dagger and some spells (he's currently unaware of) in his arsenal.

Due to mods installed, he is required to eat and sleep certain amounts everyday.

I should also mention that when Genjo succumbs do death, by whatever means other than user error, he is gone forever. I'm trying to play this with as much realism as possible, so once he dies it's going to be game over for him and most likely this project. Keep that in mind as you play the winds of fate making decisions for him. 

Vote in on Genjo's future!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Genjo the Breton

My hand is trembling as I begin to write this journal. I’ve never bothered to keep any written records of my life but today was so extraordinary that I couldn’t just lay still and fall asleep without pouring it out on to paper. It was perhaps the most exceptional day of my entire life – and nearly my last! My neck hurts just thinking about it, but let me slow down and explain. 

Unpleasant Wake-up Call
My name is Genjo and I’m a Breton. I was on my way to Skyrim hoping to sell my wares when I was taken prisoner along the border. I don’t know how many days ago that was, but I awoke this morning with a severe headache in the back of a cart with several other men. I was told that I’d been arrested as part of an ambush to capture Ulrich Stormcloak and his rebel forces. It meant that where ever we were being taken didn't really matter, as we were about to be executed. The Empire was in a hurry to quell this rebellion and get Skyrim back to normal. Skyrim without the war was bad for my business, but then so was losing my head to this unfortunate mistake.

You Sure You Don't Want Ulrich First?
Although I’d have thought they want to kill Ulrich right away, some other Stormcloak volunteered to be first because he was in some kind of rush. I was chosen to be the second man on the chopping block. I had barely touched my head to the stone when a dragon – a real live dragon! – crashed down on the tower behind me and sent the Imperials running. Its shout knocked me down and clouded my vision, but when I was finally able to see straight, the Stormcloaks were trying to get me into the nearby tower for some shelter. We could hear the dragon outside tearing this town of Helgen apart and the Imperials trying to mount a defense against it.

Off the Chopping Block and into the Dragonfire
I was terrified. I scrambled through the town, following whoever urged me on. I ducked and weaved and hid like a coward. Dragons were supposed to be legends! Now there was one tearing down buildings and roasting Imperials to a crisp. It was too much for me too handle and I don't remember much else of Helgen.

I did manage to make my way to Helgen Keep where the Stormcloak from the cart and the Imperial who sentenced me to death both beckoned me to follow them to safety. I felt for a moment that I was making a political decision and fumbled trying to decide who to follow – but my indecision was short-lived as I was prompted to action. The dragon landed nearby and a plume of fire exploded from its mouth all around me, singing my face and arms. I stumbled into the keep behind the Stormcloak, who happened to be closer to the shelter of the stone fort. I also felt he was the safer choice because he hadn’t tried to take my head just a few moments ago. 

Aforementioned: Dragonfire
The man was named Ralof and he freed me from my bonds. I managed to pick up a dagger that one of his Stormcloak mates had on their belt, but I didn’t feel comfortable taking anything else that belonged to him. It just felt wrong. I followed Ralof through the keep where we met up with other Stormcloaks, and ultimately made our way out of Helgen through a subterranean passageway. I was armed only with a dagger and didn’t engage in any fighting because, I’m sad to admit, I was scared. As we were heading out of the cave, Ralof thrust a bow and some arrows into my hands saying I could try and shoot a bear sleeping in our path if I was feeling up to it (is this guy crazy?). I opted to sneak out and Ralof followed me.

That’s how I escaped Imperial execution and death by dragon at Helgen earlier today. 

Outside the cave, Ralof suggested we split up and head for Riverwood where he had family. He must have changed his mind, though, because he followed me all the way to the town. He’s kind of a weird guy. He tried to convince me to join the Stormcloaks as we walked, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the dragon and how it had helped save my life. My mind was scattered and I was not in the mood to talk about local politics, so I let Ralof wander on ahead. I stopped to admire the river and noticed him getting attacked by two wolves, but did nothing to help. I couldn’t bring myself to act I was so shaken. 

Ralof: 2, Wolves: 0
When I did get moving again, I stopped to skin the wolves Ralof had left in the road and then followed him into town. I met his sister, Gerdur, and brother-in-law, Hod. They were nice and invited me to stay with them as long as I wanted. Seeing as it was already nighttime when I wandered into town, I did decide to stay. We ate seared slaughterfish and sat around quietly recounting the events of the day. Ralof spoke of the Stormcloaks and their cause. Hod wanted to know everything there was to know about the dragon. Gerdur encouraged me to take this news to the Yarl of Whiterun in order to reinforce their small town with some troops in case the dragon decided to make a snack of it. The day had been too much for me, so I couldn't continue to stay up and chat. I excused myself to settle down for the night and write about the day to clear my thoughts. 

Ralof, Gerdur and Hod
A question remains, what will I do tomorrow? The Imperials took everything I had at the border. The only possessions I own now are a few flasks of water, these rags on my back, a dagger and a bow with some arrows. I don't have a septim to my name and I'm not about to impose on Gerdur and her family any more. Not to mention, I'm tired of being associated with these Stormcloaks. It's bad for my health. Tomorrow, I will have to find a way to turn 12 iron arrows into a night's meal and lodging at the inn anyway I can. 

- Genjo, the Breton
17th of Last Seed, 4E 201

The OOC Corner - Reader's Poll & Author's Notes

Genjo currently has 0 Septims, 12 Iron Arrows, a Longbow and an Iron Dagger.
Due to mods installed, he is required to eat and sleep certain amounts everyday.
Thus he'll need enough to support himself for meals and lodging.

Vote in on Genjo's future attempts at success at a new life!

Post any questions, concerns, or justifications in the comments. Thanks.