Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day Eight, Concluded: Off to Beat the Wizard

[I apologize, in advance, for the lack of and quality of the images in this entry. This all took place in the dead of night where I could barely see my health meter in front of my own face. In order to see anything in the screenshots, I have to really tweak the levels up which leaves them looking real poopy. Plus, some things happened so fast I didn’t even have time to snap a shot.]

Here I am, a stone’s throw from Skingrad, and once again I’m being hunted by a female bandit. This time, I’m not going toe-to-toe if I can help it. I’m determined to reach the city without shedding any blood or risking my life.

Dropping into a crouch, I hope she’ll just give up on me, but this time, bending over, even in near-total darkness, doesn’t hide me from her keen bandit senses. She knows I’m there and calls for me to come out. I don’t, instead slinking into the bushes to the south of the road, hoping to slowly circle around her. It works — she loses me in the night and I spot her moving further down the road, away from the city. I take off my fur boots, hoping it will make me move even more quietly. I climb a small rise and peer down at her camp.

That’s when I hear another voice calling for me to show myself. A male voice. Dammit, there are two of them now.

He knows I’m there, but he isn’t climbing the rise to get me, possibly because it’s much steeper on the other side. Still, he’s not going to just let me go. I’m not sure where the woman went, but I don’t hear her anymore. This could be good or bad. Fighting multiple enemies in Oblivion is never really a picnic, no matter what level you are, especially in the dark, and especially if most of your skills can only be applied to picking onions. It’s time for plan B.

Ruuuunnnnnnnnnn! I tear through the camp and back out onto the road. The male bandit gives chase, but there’s still no sign of the female. I can see Skingrad ahead of me in the gloom. I’m very close but he’s not letting me go. I know if I can just reach the city gates, he won’t follow me inside. Plus, there’s a chance an armed guard might help me.

Behind me, I hear some yelling, and the sound of a spell being cast and the sound of blows landing. I turn around in time to see two figures engaged in combat. One is the bandit, the other is someone I’ve never seen before. He appears to be unarmed, and he strikes the bandit with, I think, only his fists. The bandit, amazingly, falls faster than a fleeing NPC can take a screenshot.

My savior this time is a fellow named Toutius Maximus. I’m a bit stunned. I have no idea where he came from or how he took out a bandit, who, on closer examination, was a Bandit Hedge Wizard. Being a wizard who hides in the bushes and robs people, I guess. That’s how Dumbledore got his start.

Toutius seems pretty nonplussed about killing a man with his bare hands. I ask him for some rumors, as one naturally does after witnessing someone pummel someone else to death, and he encourages me to join the local Fighter’s Guild. That’s not a bad ad campaign, really — punching a wizard to death is a pretty convincing demonstration of the benefits of signing up with the Fighter’s Guild. Do you want to brutally club a wizard to death with your fists? Sure, we all do!

Well, once again I’ve been saved by an extremely violent stranger. I thank him by stripping the dead wizard of all his stuff, which includes a Poison of Frailty. I’m plenty frail already, thanks.

I made it, though. Skingrad! I even get an escort to the gate. By a bunch of sheep. I quickly find my way to the Two Sisters Lodge, but before I can enter some whackjob Bosmer named Glarthir stops me in the street with some odd babbling:

Um, yeah, how about not? How about you go behind the chapel, wait until midnight, and then pound some Imp Gall up your ass?

Inside, I talk to one of the two sisters who run the lodge. She’s an orc (presumably, the other is as well). She’s got a room and it’ll only set me back 10 gold. Honestly, right now, I’d have paid a hundred. It’s been a long day.

The room is very sparse and there’s no food or towels to help myself to, but I don’t care. It’s almost two in the morning after a long trip that’s introduced me to imps, bandits, goblins, wolves, and wizards… it’s been a real adventure, and that’s precisely the sort of thing I’d like to avoid.

As I prepare to stand next to my bed all night and get some rest, I find myself hoping that Skingrad will be more accommodating than Anvil was. Traveling is too damn dangerous for a level one NPC, and I don’t plan to do it again anytime soon.

Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day Eight, Cont'd: Hard Out There For An Imp

An imp! Interrupting my relaxing swim! He’s got some gall. Ha ha. That will be funny in a minute.

There’s nothing worse than being confronted by a winged hellspawn while wearing sopping wet underpants. Luckily, when I stripped down I neglected to remove my short sword (somehow it’s clipped to my enormous manties). There’s no time to get my armor back on (okay, actually, there’s all the time in the world, since bringing up the inventory screen pauses the game, but I’m roleplaying here, dammit), so there’s nothing to do but draw my weapon and fight for my life.

It flaps over and swipes at me with its talons, drawing blood on the back of my leg, uh, somehow. I swing at it spastically, like a child too uncoordinated to even get a hit in tee-ball. I finally manage to connect a few times, and despite having no shield, I keep most of my health and soon the disgusting creature flops into the pond.

I gotta say, the little guy is positively ripped. Look at those abs! He must do a lot of crunches. It doesn’t make me gay to admire his dead cut little body, right?

I search him for loot and find that he’s loaded with Imp Gall, which is like bile or barf or something gross like that. Imp gall can be used in alchemy — plus it’s worth about 15 gp on its own. I also spot an oyster in the water under the corpse, and open it to find a pearl worth 2 gp. Finally, I found an oyster! Screw you, Anvil.

I quickly get my armor back on, and just in time, because another imp comes flapping over looking to start some static. He’s dealt with, and his body plops into the pond like the first.

Well, gross. Now there’s a bunch of bile-coated strangely muscular dead gross imps floating around in my lovely little swimming hole. Kinda spoils the enjoyment. Ah well, I don’t have a pool skimmer, so I’d best be moving on.

Rather than heading back to the road, I cut straight east toward Skingrad through the wilderness, quickly stumbling across some extensive Ayleid ruins called Miscarcand. With all this imp-slaying and ruins-finding, it’s hard not to feel a bit like an adventurer. Just look how brave and badass I’m looking in this shot. Except for, you know, the horrible face and all.

I poke around a bit, finding some ingredients (including a sack with some fish scales in it), and fling a fireball at another far-off deer. I springs away unharmed. Something tells me I shouldn’t tarry here too long, however, though I can’t put my finger on what it is.

I sure don’t want to see my huge misshapen skull on a pole. Besides, I’ve spotted something by the far end of the ruins:

I’m pretty sure it’s a goblin. Imps are one thing, but goblins have berserker rage, armor, weaponry… and a lot of friends. I’m out of here.

The problem, of course, with wandering through the wilderness is all the wild things, and it’s not long before I’m attacked by yet another wolf. This one goes down easily enough, bad sadly isn’t carrying any gold or kitchen utensils.

It’s getting dark. I finally reconnect with the road around 8:30, and while I’ve still got a bit of ways to go, I’m getting close to Skingrad at last.

As I plod down the road, I hear a voice call out ahead. “Who’s there?”

I drop into a crouch. Through the fading light I spot a woman with a shield, her weapon drawn. I can barely make her out, but Ye Olde Photoshop’s image adjustment sheds a little light.

Another bandit. It looks like I’m not out of the woods yet.

Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day Eight: Treading Water

Dawn arrives at Mortal Camp, finding a very sluggish and sleepy Nondrick P. Cairk’tir. Still, there’s a long way to walk today, and those flowers aren’t going to pick themselves.

I should be able to reach Skingrad today, provided I don’t have to wander too far from the road or have to set any women on fire. Time to get moving!

Not far up the road, I spot a wolf sniffing around. Eager to avoid a confrontation, I hunch myself over, thus becoming harder to see or at least convincing anyone watching that I have painful bowel cramps. The wolf wanders about but never leaves the road, so I decide to engage it at range with a fireball. I miss, but hit it a couple times as it races over. Weakened, it’s not difficult to finish off with my sword.

Along with the usual 10 gp pelt, this wolf was also carrying a fork. It’s not worth anything in gold, though it does provide a nice mental puzzle, namely, why the heck is a wolf carrying a fork around?

My plan to stay on the road derails shortly thereafter, but with damn good reason. INGREDIENTS.

Holy handpicked hordes of herbs! Lookit all this primo shit! The woods positively come alive with things I can gather and sell! Flax seeds, Columbine Root Pulp, Lady’s Smock leaves, Motherwort Sprig, Elf Cup Cap, Nightshade… the list goes on and on! It seems like every few feet there’s a new cluster of flowers. It’s like wandering into a field of cold hard cash. I wasted my time paddling around Anvil harbor and wandering in the dead grasslands to the north — this is the place to be.

Forgetting about my schedule, I wander off the road, first to the south, then to the north, grabbing double-handfuls of everything within reach. Eventually, I stumble upon a small dwelling named Shetcombe Farm. Well, I could stand a break for lunch, or maybe some company, so I head inside the farmhouse. I walk in and a sudden thought pops into my mind.

Hm. Yeah, I guess I could— Oh, no no no no no. No, no. Nice try, game brimming with adventure, but you’re not roping me in that easily. I’m not searching around for nobody. I’m not doing nothing. I’m leaving.

I exit the farmhouse, annoyed. Active quest? Clue to whereabouts? That’s not my idea of excitement.

In fact, I stumble upon my idea of excitement a few moments later, in the form of a small swimmin’ hole near the farmhouse. You know, it’s a beautiful day, I’ve gathered a ton of valuable ingredients, and I haven’t had to murder any attractive women… maybe I’ll have a little dip in the pond!

I strip down to my skivvies and slip into the water. Yes, that’s right, I removed my armor and clothing before entering the water, just like one would do in real life. Lookit me, maw, I’m roleplaying! Man. You’re not gonna find shit like this on other blogs.

I paddle around a bit, enjoying the warm sunlight, the cool water, and the gentle wind blowing through the trees that brings to mind the sound of ungodly leathery wings flapping.

Wait a second… ungodly leathery wings?

Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day Seven: Girl Trouble

Off to Skingrad! A large town in the West Weald, divided in two by a rolling valley, Skingrad is home to the finest vineyards in all of Cyrodiil. It’s also really, really far away for an NPC who doesn’t fast-travel or own a horse.

Still, I’m determined to reach it. It’s definitely more than a single day’s walk, possibly as many as two or three, especially if I’m stopping to pick flowers, which I probably will. I won’t have time to fully explore the area around the road, but Cyrodiil tends to pull you off your intended path pretty regularly. I’m guessing there will be some inns or camps along the way so I’ve got somewhere to sleep when night falls.

[Why not stop at Kvatch, which is a fine midpoint between the Brina Cross Inn (on the far left) and Skingrad? Well, I’m running the Main Quest Delayer plugin of the Oblivion Modular Enhanced mod, which means Kvatch has not been sacked yet, as it is in the un-modded Oblivion. However, you still can’t visit Kvatch because, well, it only exists in-game as the sacked version. Look, let’s just pretend there’s no such place and it’ll be easier for everyone.]

I sell everything non-essential to Christophe before leaving the Brina Cross Inn. Ingredients I was saving for potions, spare clothing, and food I don’t plan to eat. With all my assets turned to cash, I’m starting the journey with 127 gp. I wolf down some bread and cheese, and step out onto the long winding road east. I’m more than a little sad to leave the lovely Arielle Jurard behind, but frankly, we’ve run out of things to talk about. Besides, Nondrick isn’t a one woman guy, especially when that one woman seems more interested in discussing mudcrabs with the locals than getting busy with his fine self.

I have the good fortune to run into a traveler headed in the same direction [thanks to the “Crowded Roads” mod I installed, which gives the world a little more foot traffic].

Okay, she’s not as armor-plated as I’d like, but just having someone else out on the road with me makes me feel a little safer. If I trail her by a few dozen years, any wolves or bandits are sure to go after her before they go after me.

And so, bravely using an unarmed woman as wolf-bait, I set off into the cool dawn. Shortly after departing, we run into an Imperial Legion Soldier, those iron-clad swordsmen on horseback who make ideal bodyguards, but he’s heading in the other direction. I think it might even be the same one who saved me from the Khajiit bandit, but he doesn’t mention it if he is. He’s so modest.

Other than flinging a fireball at a far-off deer and missing (I’m determined to bag me a deer one of these days), it’s an uneventful morning. I discover I was right about finding places to stay along the road to Skingrad, as I come upon Gottshaw Inn, a homey little cottage just north of the road. Good news: rooms are only 10 gold a night. The bad news: well, it’s not night. It’s not even noon yet. I’m not really ready to stop. I’m maybe halfway to the road that leads up to where Kvatch would be if Kvatch were there.

I’ve barely made any progress, so the Gottshaw, as charming as it looks, is more or less useless to me. I decide to press on.

By now I’ve lost the other traveler, so I’m alone. Not for long, though, as I come across a quiet young man. He’s dead, which explains the lack of conversation. Face-down in the road, his mace and shield lying nearby, I can’t even tell what killed him, or why, or even who he is. A random traveler? A bandit who robbed the wrong person?

All I know is, he deserves a decent burial, which is a bit of a shame because all I’m gonna do is take his stuff and leave him naked in the road.

For the next few hours I walk alone. I wander off the road now and then to pick some ingredients. I reach the road that leads toward Kvatch, accidentally wander up it a while, get a little lost, then find the main road again. It’s getting late, and I haven’t found anything like an Inn. It doesn’t seem at all worth it to backtrack to the Gottshaw, so I keep heading east. I suppose I can walk through the night if I really have to.

I seem to be missing all the action today. I come across another corpse, this time a wolf. I skin it, as is my way. It’s now nighttime, and the moon (or whatever planet that is) has come up.

I’m a little nervous. Nighttime is no time to be out wandering alone. The roads are dangerous, and you never know who might leap out of the bushes and attack you. Adding to my anxiety is that I still don’t know where I’m going to sleep, plus, someone I don’t know leaps out of the bushes and attacks me.

A bandit! I swear, Cyrodiil has a bandit-to-citizen ratio of about three-to-one. This bandit also happens to be quite an attractive young woman. Hello, sweetie!

Oh, right, you’re trying to kill me. Fine. Have at thee, sweetie!

She slams her axe into me a couple times as I backpedal. I don’t know if she’s got a magic axe or if she’s coated the blade with poison, but my endurance starts to drain. Bandit’s sappin’ mah endurance! I take a few swings with my sword, hurting her but not badly. With my health down three quarters and my endurance draining, I’m going to have to fall back on my spellcasting if I’m going to survive this.

Blammo! A point-blank fireball lights her up like a Christmas tree that’s on fire. I fire a few more into her, keeping my distance at the same time. Finally, she goes down with a cry, and the battle is over.

Man. My health almost dropped to half, making this my most dangerous encounter to date. Normally, a bandit fight isn’t going to be much of a big deal, but with Nondrick, I’m playing with no reloads. If he dies, that’s it. Game over. It adds a bit more excitement to these little skirmishes, I gotta say.

Well, I don’t know what drove this pleasant looking young woman to a life of crime — frankly, I blame mudcrabs — but she messed with the wrong mushroom-picker. Again, as my religion dictates, the dead are to be honored by yanking off their clothing and leaving them nude in the road. So I do.

Nearby I find Mortal Camp, the bandit’s base of operations. Being the scavenger I am, I go through the sacks and crates, finding a silver pitcher worth 4 gold, some food, a few bottles of beer, and some other odds and ends. Plus, it’s a camp, which means I finally found a place to sleep. And for free!

Or, is it? Is it free? Was not a price paid, a dear price, that of a mortal life? Nondrick has killed crabs and wolves, but this was a person, and frankly, he’s contemplative about the whole thing. See, look at him being all contemplative. Or maybe he’s just staring into space with his stupid fish face. Whatever.

It’s just after midnight, and there’s still a long way to go tomorrow. Bedding down, I set my internal alarm clock for five hours, crawl into a dead woman’s sleeping bag, and get some shut-eye.

Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day Six: Hungry Like the Wolf

A new day! To the south, adventure beckons! So, Nondrick heads north. You know how he is about adventure.

A quick stop at the Wayshrine of Arkay buffs my health, and, tiring of the usual breakfast of beef and berries, I attempt to take down a deer, at range, with a fireball. I score a hit but it flees into the woods before I can do any more damage.

Ah, well! I’m optimistic that the day will yield an impressive crop of ingredients to sell. Just look at this fertile land!

Unfortunately, dead grass doesn’t fetch a high price on the market.

A long stroll more or less directly north leads me to a small farm on a large estate, and the eerily accurate voice in my head tells me it’s Lord Drad’s Estate, near the enticingly named Bleak Mine. I don’t see anyone around, not even in the worker’s quarters, and it’s tempting to start plucking vegetables out of the ground all willy-nilly since I haven’t found much of anything to sell yet today.

But I’m not playing Grand Theft Onion. Nay, this is Oblivion, and I want to make my way by harvesting the unclaimed wilderness and occasionally stealing the clothing off fresh corpses. It’s an honest, simple living, and I’m an honest, simple NPC. No stealing!

From Drad’s pad, I head east for a bit, still finding little to sell. It’s already past noon, and my stomach is growling. Or maybe the growling is coming from the wolf that charges out of the dead grass directly ahead of me.

This time, it looks like no one is going to leap to my rescue. Luckily, I’ve got a shield and sword for just such an eventuality! I block as the wolf lunges a few times, then swing at it wildly when it leans back on its haunches. My blows don’t do a whole lot of damage, and it manages to take a couples bites out of me, but the outcome is never in doubt. Triumphant, I skin the beast of it’s valuable pelt. Finally, something I can bank on.

Another long stroll leads me to Brittlerock Cave, and, thinking I might find some ‘shrooms within, I hesitantly step into the darkness.

Inside the door I find a small stool and a sack, which contains some clothing and a torch. I light the torch and move slowly down into the cave.

Further down, I find a chest. Inside: twenty gold pieces. And there’s still no one around. Twenty gold, to me, is a small fortune, especially with the day I’m having. It’s two nights of lodging at the Brina Cross Inn. It’s a new cuirass or an iron bow. It’s an obscene amount of ham.

No! I will resist. Damn this world, always throwing opportunities for thievery at me.

I creep a bit deeper into the cave, finally spotting one of its occupants skulking around in the gloom. A small, bent figure paces about just beyond the light of my torch. A daedra.

Okay, the picture sucks, but I’m not getting any closer just to get a clear shot. Trust me, it’s a scary oogy monster that I don’t want to mess with.

As I head back out the way I came, I stop again near the chest. Stealing is wrong, but what about… stealing from evil enchanted monsters? What the hell is a Scamp gonna do with twenty bucks, anyway? Stroll into First Edition and buy a copy of The Lusty Argonian Maid?

What the hell. I pocket the loot, ensuring the day hasn’t been an entire waste while simultaneously striking a blow against the evils of the realm by seizing their ill-gotten assets. Who says one NPC can’t make a difference?

I also try on the clothing I found in the sack. It’s a shirt with suspenders.

Mm, yeah. I don’t think the exposed midriff is Nondrick’s look.

I’ve wandered pretty far north and east today, and it’s nearly nighttime, so I make my way back to the Inn. Another wolf leaps out of the bushes and I manage to kill it without much difficulty. This one, in addition to its pelt, is carrying two gold pieces. Crabs with lockpicks and now wolves with pocket change. The mysteries of nature.
Most of my spoils for the day are wolf pelts and stolen coins, though I mix up some ingredients, including some mushrooms I picked in the cave, and manage to sell the resulting restorative potions to Christophe for a profit of 10 gold. All together, I’ve got 72 gold at the end of the day.

That’s not bad, it really isn’t, but I’m troubled. So little of my earnings today came from gathering ingredients and selling potions. I can’t count on robbing evil imps and slaying weathy wolves every day. My luck just won’t hold out very long if I have to explore caves and get into brawls.

As much as I like the Brina Cross, my career is going nowhere here. I’m gonna have to move on.

I decide. Come morning, I’m leaving. I’m going to Skingrad.

Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day Five, Cont’d: Mixing It Up

I reach Anvil without incident, and head to Morvayn’s Peacekeepers, a weapon and armor shop near the north gate. I chat with Varel Morvayn for a bit, hoping to get a discount by boosting his disposition towards me. It turns out, he loves being coerced. This guy owns a store fill of deadly weapons and it just makes him all kinds of happy to get threatened by a fish-faced weakling! Ah, well, it takes all kinds. I sell him my three axes and buy myself a short sword. I give him 3 gold to repair my rusty dagger and my new fur boots and cuirass. I also buy a fur sheild to complete the rugged, furry adventurer look.

Look out, wolves and crabs! Nondrick is armed and dangerous! Don’t mess with me or… or… or someone else will probably show up and kill you!

I swing by the Count’s Arms to sell my ingredients, of which I have a great many after yesterday. After buying some cheese and an orange to go with my supply of crab meat, I’m at 101 gold pieces! Triple digits! A far cry from just a couple days ago.

Now, watch this clever shit. I head to the Mage’s Guild and buy a novice Mortar & Pestle (42 gp). I also buy an apple and a loaf of bread (2 gold each), knowing they both have fatigue restoring properties. I grind the apple and bread with my mortar and pestle, creating — no, no, not mushy apple-bread porridge — but a potion of Restore Fatigue! That’s right. I’m an alchemist now. Helllllls yeah.� And with those 4 gp worth of ingredients, I have created a magical potion that is worth… wait for it…

potion price

Uh. 3 gp? Hm. That… that definitely didn’t work like I thought it would. I guess I need to be a better alchemist to make expensive potions. Crap, I really thought that would pay off. In fact, I have to sell it for only 2 gp because these guys are cheapskates.

Ah, well! I needed a mortar and pestle anyway, and I’ve still got 57 gold left. Lesson learned. I briefly consider buying a bow and some arrows, but I decide to hold off for now.

I head back to the Brina Cross Inn, exploring a bit on my way back. I find a cave without even seeing it — I mean, I suddenly know it’s there but actually have to search around to find the entrance.  I’m very insightful. I psychically deduce its name (Hrota Cave) and poke around in it, hoping to find some mushrooms. I don’t find much except signs that someone lives in this cave: a barrel with torches in it (I take one), a chest with a few pieces of gold (I leave them), and a bedroll near a campfire. Yep, definitely someone’s pad — I’d better bail. Only an adventurer would poke around in a cave knowing there are bandits or marauders living in it.

I get back to the Inn around sundown — have some food, stare at Arielle, even though we have nothing new to talk about, and have a bottle of ale. Whoah! The inebriation mod kicks in, big time:

Man, a single bottle of ale hits me harder than a two-handed axe. Either Arielle slipped me a mickey, or that mod might need some tweaking. Perhaps taking pity on the poor, drunken, amazingly ugly traveler, Christophe doesn’t even seem interested in charging me for the room. I do buy some beef, bread, and cheese from him for the next day’s travels, then watch drunkenly as the ladies discuss mudcrabs and how much they don’t like them. Par-tay.


Spore To Spew In September

I wouldn’t go requesting vacation days yet, but kotaku is reporting that Spore has announced a release date of September 7, 2008. I’d link to the actual Spore site with the announcement but their site is all Flashy and shitty and annoying and crashed my browser once and it’s slow and I hate it and I’m on a crummy laptop right now with a bad connection at work.


The King of Kong

We watched a great documentary this weekend called The King of Kong, which is about dorks fighting for the high score in the Donkey Kong arcade game.  Funny, surprisingly gripping and even moving, though, like most documentaries, it was perhaps a little manipulative and one-sided.

Still, a great film even if you’re not into gaming, and once you’ve watched it, you can search the web for all the controversy it’s generated.

Also, I once wrote something about Donkey Kong.


Battlefield Heroes

battlefield heroes guyAt first blush, it looks like a TF2 ripoff. Look at that guy. He looks like they took the TF2 heavy, stuck the TF2 soldier’s helmet on him, and crammed the TF2 spy’s cigarette in his mouth. What, no eyepatch?

Art design aside, it’s a 3rd person multiplayer shooter and it’s apparently going to be free, supported by “advertising and micro-transactions”, which I assume means in-game ads and the ability to buy upgrades and character tweaks (ah, there’s the eyepatch!).

You can tell they’re already a little defensive, as in the rundown of game elements, this line appears:

Idea to do a cartoon Battlefield dates back to Battlefield 1942, Lars Gustavsson envisioned something like BFH

Okay! Easy! Actually, If you really read the details, it doesn’t sound like it’ll play much like TF2 at all, it just looks like the current art design maybe takes a cue from TF2. (Not that I can point fingers — I’m outright stealing TF2’s art for my comic.)  At any rate, I’m not much of a fan of 3rd person shooters, but it’s still something to keep your eye on, especially the fan reaction.

Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day Five: Reversal of Fortune

A lovely night of free sleep at Atrene Camp, and I’m ready to start Day Five. I’ve got lots of ingredients and two axes to sell, so I think I’ll head into Anvil. Maybe I’ll have enough cash afterwards to pick up more than lunch.

As I head toward the main road, I see my Khajiit buddy loping up the road toward me! Maybe he finally wants to talk to me?

Yeah, he does. “Your money or your life,” he says. Wait, haven’t we been through this once already?

Well, it worked last time: I tell him I have no money. Now, he’ll wander off and our strange relationship will continue, right? Ha ha! Good times.

Kill You For Free

Ruh-roh. What the hell, man? I thought we had an agreement! You were the gruff criminal with the heart of gold, and I was the fish-faced putz in the vest! We were a great team!

Hacked by Axe

I guess he doesn’t feel that way. He attacks with his ginormous axe, and I backpedal, trying to ready one of the axes I got from the skeletons. I attempt to yeild, hoping for a truce, but he’s not having any. Mere feet from the corpse of the wolf he saved me from, he slams his great axe into me, drawing blood and blurring my vision.

Axe Fight

Okay. If it’s gonna be a fight, then it’s gonna be a fight. No one to save me this time except me. That’s life in Cyrodiil, baby. Quite often you wind up going toe-to-toe with the people you know best.
Suddenly, something huge and iron fills my field of vision — and it’s not the highwayman’s axe. It’s the Imperial Legion soldier I’ve seen patrolling the main road from time to time! He’s come sprinting out of the undergrowth, rushing right past me and swinging his huge honkin’ sword at the Khajiit! Unbelievable. He circles around and slams his weapon into the highwayman’s back.

The Khajiit, foolishly, continues to target me, instead of defending himself against the much larger, pointier threat. And in a just a few moments, it’s over. The highwayman is dead, and the soldier sheaths his sword, gives me a look, then marches back off into the trees to find his horse.

Well, that’s that. Too bad. I’d sort of gotten used to seeing the gruff Khajiit skulking around every time I passed. He was merciful to me, once, and even saved me from a wolf. It’s a shame, and it’s sad, how things ended up for him.

On the other hand…

One man’s misunderstood life and violent, tragic death is another man’s free fur armor and giant honkin’ battle-axe! Awww yeah! That’s life in Cyrodiil, baby! One minute you’re mugging travelers, the next, a bald twerp is leaving your naked body next to the road and heading into town to sell your belongings.

Turns out, the soldier who saved me is headed back to Anvil, so I walk along with him. Funny. The Khajiit saved me from the wolf, and the soldier saved me from the Khajiit. Who knows? Someday I might need saving from the soldier.

That’s life in Cyrodiil, baby.