Since I scoured the area south of the Brina Cross Inn yesterday, today I’m going to head north and west. I figure if the ingredient gathering doesn’t go well, at least I can come back down the coastline and maybe liberate some crab of their meat to make up for it.
After a breakfast of ham and strawberries (breakfast of Champions of Cyrodiil), I take the main road west and then take the path forking to the north, where the Khajiit highwayman is still skulking around. He still doesn’t want to talk to me. A few minutes later I stumble upon a camp. There are a few bedrolls and a tent, but no one around — maybe this is where the Khajiit hangs out when he’s not holding people up. Inside the tent is a locked chest. I brush the crab-flecks off my lockpick, and pick the lock. Inside, there are 10 gold pieces, a silver urn, and a repair hammer.
I hesitate to steal the contents. First off, it probably belongs to that highwayman who was nice enough to not kill me. Second, they probably used to belong to whoever he robbed. It just doesn’t feel right. I do try to borrow the repair hammer to fix my rusty dagger, which took some abuse during my crab fight. I fix my dagger but break the repair hammer — oops. I had intended to put it back. Maybe I can buy one later and stick it back in the chest. Or, maybe I can just run away before anyone spots me here.
I head west again, spotting a few more deer, but none close enough to sling a fireball at or chase down with my knife. Ahead of me, up an incline, squats the crumbling remains of a fort. I creep up to investigate — I haven’t been finding a ton of ingredients, but they do seem to grow more around large rocks or walls. I catch a glimpse of something walking around just inside the wall of the fortress. I creep a bit closer as it walks by in the other direction. It’s a skeleton!
Wow, an actual member of the undead! Maybe Crowhaven is a hideout for necromancers or vampires or something. It doesn’t see me as it shambles back and forth, and I wonder if it’s a skeleton archer. If so, and if I could defeat it somehow, I’d have a bow without having to buy one in a shop. As I peer at it, though, I see that it seems to be carrying an axe and not a bow.
That’s when another axe hits me right in the face.
It catches me completely off guard, as axes to the face often do. I was so intent on watching the one skeleton I didn’t notice the other one charging me. They’re using velociraptor tactics! Clever girl… I run backwards down the hill, causing the original skeleton to spot me as well, so now I’ve got two angry piles of bones after me. Run away!
Wait! I’m an NPC, not a… not a… running away… thing. I’ve seen plenty of NPCs fight foolishly to their own deaths! I should be no different. So, after running away for a while, I turn and stand my ground.
The skeletons are pretty slow, and have a big wind up before they swing their axes, so I manage to get some slashes in without taking any big hits. I use a combination of my Flare spell (a wimpy fireball) and dagger attacks to take one down, and cast Blessed Word (my birthsign’s Turn Undead spell) to repulse the other. As it flees I repeatedly stab it in the backbone until it flops into pieces. My health slid down to about half, so I cast a heal spell on myself a couple times, and then pick up the two axes. One is iron, the other steel, and together they’re worth maybe 20 or so gold resale.
I’ve survived my first real fight but I don’t want to push my luck by checking out Crowhaven. Instead, I continue west until I reach the ocean. There, I find something else: an ancient Ayleid ruin called Garlas Malatar.
The Ayleids were an ancient race who inhabited Tamriel long, long ago. Also known as Heartland High Elves, they were tribal, and their downfall is often attributed to OH HOLY CRAP! JACKPOT! THERE’S ALL SORTS OF INGREDIENTS TO PICK AROUND HERE!
I paddle excitedly into the water and start stuffing sacred lotus seeds and water hyacinth nectar into my pants as fast as I can. A couple mudcrabs clack over when I climb back onto land, and are dispatched from a safe distance with my Flare spell. Suckas! I head south along the coastline, finding new clusters of herbs and crabs every couple hundred feet. I think this will prove to be a pretty lucrative day. And hey! At long, long last, the sun makes an appearance.
Just in time for it to set. I’ve wandered pretty far south, actually, and I’m almost back in Anvil again. I don’t want to shell out for a room, so I decide to down some crab meat for energy and double-time it back to Atrene camp. It’s closer than the Brina Cross and I’ll be able to save ten gold. Provided, of course, no other bandits are using the camp when I get there.
It’s full dark when I make it back to the road, zip past the highwayman again (guess he’s working the night shift). As I get close to the camp, though, something springs out of the bushes right at me. A wolf! The first live one I’ve seen. I backpedal madly. I’ve been running the whole way from the coast, so my fatigue is very low (thanks to a mod for that) and I won’t be doing much damage with my dagger (or axe) if I connect.
As it turns out, I don’t have to connect at all, because another growling bundle of fur meets the wolf head-on. The Khajiit highwayman, swinging his mighty, two-handed axe, makes short work of the wolf! My hero!
See, he’s all gruff on the exterior, but I knew he liked me! He spared my life once and just saved it again. Even if he won’t talk to me, he sure seems to care. To show my appreciation, I skin the wolf and take the pelt so I can sell it in his honor. It’s the least I can do.
Hey, this wolf is carrying a lockpick, just like that crab was. What the hell? Who the heck is going around trying to pick these animals?!?