It’s Turdas morning, Heartfire 13 — man, is it Heartfire 13 already? I’m still writing Heartfire 12 on all my chequetims.
Anyway, I’m up around nine and headed to Fire & Steel to sell the armor and weapons I took off of two dead she-bandits the night before. My own fur armor is in extremely bad shape after being set on fire and electrocuted, so I wind up selling some of the armor I’m wearing and keeping the some of the less battered bandit bits for myself. I also have my weapons repaired and then step back outside into the fresh morning air.
Hm. Is the fresh morning air a little chillier than it was a few minutes ago? Oh. Oh, right.
I forgot than when selling the armor off your back, it’s a good idea to then equip the armor you’re replacing it with. My bad! Sorry, citizens of Chorrol.
It’s a little weird for Nondrick to be so buff, considering what a dork he is. Clearly, all those women he’s been killing have done wonders for his abs. I quickly put on my humble alchemist clothes and head over to the Mage’s Guild. Time to do some grinding. There I meet this intriguing mage. (Notice yet another baldie in the background.)
Woman Gone Wild! I’m actually a big fan of the book. These shady oil painters travel around the coasts of Cyrodiil, getting young, mead-filled maidens to spend a few hours undoing the complicated ties and straps of their undergarments, and then painting portraits of them in the buff. The paintings are meticulously duplicated into smaller versions and then distributed to young males for a reasonable price. My favorite series is Woman Gone Wild, Volume Six: Blotto in Bravil.
Did I beat that joke into the ground enough? Good. Good.
I do my alchemy grind with the counter jockey at the Mage’s Guild, selling my collected haul, buying cheap ingredients, mixing weak, flimsy potions, and selling them back. When I’m done, I’m sitting pretty at 578 septims. Not bad, but it’s no time to rest on my laurels: it’s time to go gather some.
I head east, pickin’ as I go. It’s an extremely uneventful morning, uninterrupted by even a single wolf or rat attack, though I spy a winged imp far off in the trees and give him a wide birth. Eventually, I come upon this welcome sight.
I’ll be honest — walking everywhere and never fast-traveling isn’t… easy. The click of my mouse could instantly transport me to any city in the game. Sprinting would decimate my lengthy travel time. There are long stretches, like today, where I’m not attacked, there are few ingredients to pick, and not much of anything interesting to look at, and I think, man, why the hell am I playing like this?
But at moments like this it somehow feels worth it. In other playings of this game I’ve spent days, weeks even, in Imperial City. I know it inside and out. I barely even look at the city, I just zip there, run to the merchants, unload my junk, and dematerialize to my next location. But playing as Nondrick has restored a good deal of majesty and mystery on Imperial City, and catching a glimpse of it through the trees, seeing it grow closer and larger each time, is a bit of a thrill.
I continue to wander. An imp makes his intentions known, and is hacked out of the air with none of the drama of the last two. Night begins to settle in for the evening, and I realize I’ve wandered pretty far east. Luckily, the road isn’t far north, and luckily again, I find an Imperial solider on horseback is headed in my direction. I walk with him, scurrying off the road here and there to pick ingredients, then hustling back to stump along in the safety of his torchlight. It’s a long, slow trip but I gather a nice collection along the way.
A wolf springs out of the darkness and I don’t even ready a weapon, as the soldier slides off his mount and cuts it down — the wolf, not his horse — leaving me to cut the steaming pelt off its hide. A little further up the road I find a dead Khajiit bandit, perhaps slain by my soldier on his trip down the road earlier. That means free armor for me, though I can’t find his weapon anywhere.
It’s quite late by the time I make it back to Chorrol. I hit up the Mages Guild and the clerks at both inns, selling my haul and grinding out some potions, before stumbling into bed.
My total cash is now up to 926. It seemed an uneventful day, but I almost doubled my money.
I don’t sleep more than a few hours — I’m tired of running out of sunlight and trudging home in the dark — and I bust out early. Heading straight along the road before dawn, past Odiil Farm, pushing east. I reach Fort Ash, which actually straddles the road. I’m met by it’s apparent keeper, a Khajiit highwayman.
As it turns out, I’m really not in the mood to do either. Have at thee, foul cur!
It’s a pitched battle. He’s hampered by the fact that his weapon is two-handed, meaning he telegraphs his attacks and can’t block my blows effectively, and I’m slowed down by the fact that I have to fight in third-person perspective to take these pictures.
Hoping to build up my fighting skills a bit, I refrain from casting spells and just hack at him, blocking when he lunges, swinging when he pauses, and eventually he goes down.
Owie. He really did a number on me. I heal up with Mara’s Gift, then decide to check out the bandit’s crib. Hopefully, he’s got a bedroll I can use — I’m always on the lookout for somewhere I can sleep for free between cities.
Fort Ash has an underground interior, but I’m staying away from that in case it’s full of bandits. I’m all for exploring the crumbling exterior levels, though.
As I climb to the second floor, my spidey-sense goes off: Imp. He’s dispatched with a few arrows and a couple slashes of my sword.
There are some barrels scattered around the second floor of the fort, and I grab an apple from one and a stone cup (to go along with my Adventurer’s Dishware set) from another. Lying on the stone surface I find a Potion of Detect Life, worth 45 gp. Nice! I also find a dead goblin and swipe his rusty iron mace. Looks like there were some tenants here before the Khajiit moved in.
In an unlocked chest I find some iron arrows, and next to it, on a step, a small pile of gems. Oh, I’ll be taking those as well. A topaz, a ruby, and an emerald, the last worth 20 bucks. This is turning into a small, poorly funded gold mine.
On the next level up, another dead goblin is relieved of his sword. I find some more ingredients in a couple barrels and a few bottles of mead, plus four GP in small sack. A skeleton lying next to a chest gives up some bonemeal and — yes! Another pewter fork!
I can’t wait to eat with it. The chest itself holds a silver pitcher, which will also someday find a place of honor on my dinner table. Now if I could just find a dinner table.
A surprising amount of loot. I’m glad it was all outside — I never would have poked around indoors to find it — and I stroll away from Fort Ash with my pockets jingling. I feel a little guilty, because it sort of seems like adventuring, this killing and then plundering, not the sort of thing a soft-headed alchemy major should be engaging in.
Luckily, those thoughts are quickly erased when I come upon this sight.
Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about.
Hmm. I think, um… I think I ain’t going back to Chorrol. Yeah, I ain’t. I can’t. There’s no way I can turn my back on this view. No way.
It’s getting dark as I press on. I slay an enraged rat who owns a lockpick, and fight off an Imp who flings frost spells at me. It’s pitch black when I reach the doors of the Wawnet Inn, just across the bridge from Imperial City.
The innkeeper has a room for 10 gold, quite affordable for the suburbs. As I head up to my room I encounter a man sitting on the staircase. He’s a salesman, as it turns out, or, more specifically a buysman, as don’t purchase anything but instead unload upon him all the crap I’ve got clogging up my pockets. And, when our transactions have been completed:
Not bad at all. For the first time, I’m in four figures. And I’m on the doorstep of Imperial City. Everything’s comin’ up Nondrick.