Bleak Falls Barrow
I awoke at roughly 3 o’clock in the morning, unable to sleep but feeling very rested. I strapped my gear on and headed out the door. I walked up the trail without any incident and began quietly approaching the guard tower to avoid detection. There wasn’t much cover on the left side of the road, so I hunkered into some rock outcroppings on the right side of the road hoping to be able to close the distance to the guard tower undetected.
I can only get so far. The closest I can get undetected is barely inside of the maximum range of my bow. I’m not even sure I can hit my first target with my bow. There is one bandit sitting on the outside of the tower near a bridge. Another one, I think female, is pacing in and out of the tower but I don’t know why. I have no view of the third bandit, perhaps he is not here. I’m crawling into a good firing position for my bow that will give me the best vantage possible if the first arrow does not slay my target so that I can loose additional arrows upon anyone who runs towards me.
I’m in position now. My hands are trembling but I keep telling myself that this is for a good cause. These bandits could kill innocent people. I’m going to fire my arrow now.
My first target, the bandit sitting out by a tree took a direct hit to his lower gut but it did not kill him. He ran at me but I quickly loosed another arrow into his torso, dropping him to the ground. He was smart enough to alert the second bandit, the one I thought was female, to my presence. He quickly pulled out a long bow and began to hunt me by moving onto the left side of the road and walking along some rock outcroppings. It turned into a sling match between he and myself. Several arrows flew within inches of my head and chest. After trading several arrows it was apparent who was the better archer.
My aim was truer – I landed an arrow into my opponents face, right at the top of the bridge of his nose. His body went limp and rolled partially down the mountain side. I was able to reach the body but was only able to find twelve pieces of gold. The first bandit also only had a few pieces of gold on his body.
Into the tower I go. The light of day has not breached the horizon yet and will not for at least another hour. I enter cautiously with my blade drawn still pumping from my initial engagement.
I met my third adversary on the top floor of the tower. I had no way to approach him and maintain surprise as he was facing the only entrance to that floor. I approached cautiously and he offered a taunt, “You shouldn’t have gotten lost” – if he only knew that I had scouted them out previously. He would know soon that I’m not a lost traveler.
I fought him on a wooden catwalk, trading blows using my sword and he his mace. We both bore shields and used them to each of our advantages. We traded blows, blocking each of them. He eventually raised his weapon high above his head to his rear, winding up for a powerful attack designed to break my guard and perhaps stagger me. I saw that he had also lowered his shield, an opening! I immediately jabbed him in the throat with the edge of my own shield and he staggered back, completely exposing his chest. I drove my sword deep within his chest and out of his back. He immediately slumped over my sword towards me, throwing me off balance momentarily. I kicked him off of my sword and he fell to the ground.
I found the bandit’s spoils at the very top of the tower in a chest. Seventy-one gold pieces, a few lockpicks and a potion were among the contents. It was pretty meager but looking at their surroundings I really shouldn’t have been surprised. Plus a relative novice to combat was able to kill them.
Onward to Bleak Falls Barrow!
By the time I reached the mouth of the narrow trail that leads up to the ruins, dawn was just about to break and a snow storm had rolled in with some wind. Perhaps the wind will mask the sounds of my movement aiding in my element of surprise. Bleak Falls Barrow looms over me like some lavish stone sculpture aged by the wind and snow of many ages.
The main stairway that leads up to the platform outside of the entrance to the ruins is highly exposed. It would be suicide to try to move up them. I’m looking for another way around towards the entrance.
I’ve found a way around using the mountain that the barrow is built into so to avoid the main staircase up to the entrance. I’ve remained undetected and I can see three guards, at least one of them is an archer. I have no way to attack them one-by-one, I’ll have to engage them all at the same time. I’m going to try to kill the archer first with my bow. I pull an arrow from my quiver.
My first arrow strikes the archer by surprise but doesn’t kill him. He alerts the second bandit who charges me with an iron warhammer. Further attempts to down the archer with my bow were unsuccessful before the warhammer wielding bandit closed the distance. He swung at me like a enraged bear but I managed to down him with some fancy footwork avoiding his powerful swings.
I then used the pillars around the barrow entrance to avoid the arrows incoming from the archer and to close the distance. I swung my blade at the archer, slicing his chest open.
I managed to defeat the first two bandits without alerting the third. I was, however, unable to approach the third with any amount of stealth. His arrows began flying at me from afar. I used a few pieces of rubble to dodge his shots and close the distance. He kept backing up though, towards the ledge of the ruins. I charged him and struck him with my blade, staggering him over the ledge. He fell to his death.
Into Bleak Falls Barrow I go!
Two more bandits were camped out immediately inside of the ruins. I lost stealth due to the echoes within the building and lighting. I managed to down the first, a bandit wielding a mace, fairly quickly. The second, an archer, proved to be more of a challenge. She managed to sink two arrows into my shield, each one staggering me. I circled around a large urn and was able to close the distance and kill her with my sword. Neither of them provided much of anything to be considered spoils.
Further in I go. I met with an outlaw, which I dispatched quite easily. He would have been killed anyway, as he was about to open a door, or attempt to open a door, that was booby trapped and rigged to kill him. I think I gave him a worthier death.
The door required me to match pillar designs in order to not activate an array of arrows rigged to fire at the position of the door lever. It was rather uneventful as I saw the arrow arrays as I entered the room. I’ll have to keep up the good observations though, it will definitely save me much grief later in my travels!
Further into the ruins, it transformed from an underground burial ground into what appeared to be a spider’s nest. My thoughts were right when I turned a corner and saw several corpses suspended in spider webs. This was no ordinary spider.
The spider descended from the ceiling. She was a massive creature, easily the size of a small house! She charged me and tried to bite me. But I kept my distance to avoid her getting a good grip on me with her front arms and mandibles. I sliced her with my sword over and over while dodging her attacks and blocking those that I could not dodge.
After the spider was slain, I saw a dark elf suspended in the webs, still alive. Arvel the Swift was his name. He was begging me to cut him down. After talking with him, he revealed that he had the Golden Claw – the item that Lucan asked me to retrieve! At last, I found my objective.
Arvel had a journal of his own on his person. His latest entries state that the golden claw is actually some sort of key to a deeper section of Bleak Falls Barrow. He doesn’t make much mention of what may be in there, but he does say something about ancient Nordic Heroes. My curiosity wins this round.
I’m in some sort of catacomb structure. There are embalmed corpses set into the walls, laying on stone beds. I must be quiet to let the dead continue to sleep.
The dead, they live! Three Draugrs awoke from their stone beds and charged straight at me. Their eye sockets were aglow with a blue light. Luckily they can still be killed… again.
As I move deeper into the catacombs I am realizing that these Draugr know nothing but to kill intruders. They do not fear death or injury. Truly a terrifying adversary!
I have arrived at the door that Arvel describes. Upon examination, the Golden Claw shows the ring symbol combination required to unlock the door. This is way too trivial to be of importance, is it? The door is opening…
Behind the door appears to be what is an more extravagant tomb, perhaps someone of importance is buried here. There is an underground river that is flowing around the tomb area and a strange wall with strange writing behind it. I sense a strange energy coming from the wall.
Upon approaching the wall I felt a sensation of energy being absorbed into my body. It felt energizing and enlightening and familiar at the same time although I can’t recall ever having felt the sensation before. As I closed with the wall, the sensation increased and then stopped abruptly.
As soon as the sensation stopped, I heard the sound of stone crumbling from behind me. I turned and saw a Draugr climbing out of a casket. This one was clad with superior equipment than previous Draugr. This was definitely a Nord of importance. He fought strong and hard and emitted some kind of forceful power from his mouth. It was like his words had an effect on me! His words caused me fall off balance somehow.
Luckily this adversary fought with just brute strength, no technique, and I was able to get in a few solid blows with my sword when he dropped his guard. It wasn’t long until he succumbed from his wounds.
The chest nearby had some sort of enchanted sword in it. I’ll have to examine it later. For now, my goal is to get out of this tomb. There can’t be many more surprises here, at least not surprises compared to this wall and that draugr who effected me with his voice!
When I emerged from the ruins through a rear entrance or exit I realized that it was mid-afternoon. I feel exhausted and I’m not sure if it is the same day or not. I could very easily have been in the ruins overnight! I doubt it though, I feel exhausted from wear and tear, not from being awake longer than I am used to.
In front of me, down an incline is a river. It flows to my left. I’m going to follow it downstream because it should take me back to Riverwood. If not, I’m sure I’ll find another village or indication of where Riverwood is.
On my trip along the banks of the river, I saw a small cabin in the woods. I scouted it out carefully because I wasn’t sure if there were bandits there or not. It turns out that an old lady in a black robe named Anise lives there by herself. She tends to a small garden and appears to be some sort of natural alchemist. I’ll have to ask around about her, she didn’t say much.
Another odd encounter, I ran into a Khajit named M’aiq the Liar. He didn’t have much to say or offer. He said a few random sentences and walked off.
I see the trail that I originally was following after leaving Helgen. It is on the other side of the river. I am going the right way to Riverwood. It won’t be long now until I can take off this heavy armor and get some good food and sleep!
Lucan was very gracious for the return of the Golden Claw. If he only knew what it actually was! He placed it on his counter in his store and gave me a few hundred gold pieces for my troubles. He will be seeing a lot of business from me! He seems like a very generous person!
Around dusk I crafted an entire set of steel armor with steel ingots that I purchased from Alvor. I even managed to temper them a bit, although I ran out of steel ingots to temper the complete set. I’ll wait for Alvor to restock.
As I bed down with a gut full of warm food, I recall the day’s events. I feel very different from when I awoke from the same bed earlier this morning. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.