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Sundas, 4th Frostfall Apr 26, 2012
Sundas, 4th Frostfall
Winking Skeever Inn
For future reference, in case I am ever in dire need of dragonflies for alchemical purposes, 4 hours past midnight is a wonderful time to find them. They were everywhere.
Had, for the first time in I don't know how long, a successful, even enjoyable, day! Admittedly, my sleep schedule is now thoroughly shot, as I only just arrived back in town to crash in my bed and it is verging on dawn, but all the same. I know I should be tired, but I'm buzzing. Like one of those dragonflies.
After sleeping for blessed hours upon hours, I spent the day taking care of inventory tasks around Solitude, paid the Blue Palace and the Jarl a visit, and was then faced with the rest of the day stretching ahead of me. I've naught to do for the Legion until we get word to move out and that won't be for a few days yet. Why we're not settling in to hide from the oncoming winter I have no idea. Tullius has been... not at all forthcoming on the manner. But I am, after all, only a tribune and thus undeserving of such in-depth consultations. Pfah. I'm the bleeding dragonborn, you'd think that'd be good for something besides songs!
Anyway, I've been meaning to do some scouting around the Hjaalmarch anyway. There are a few ruins I've a mind to find, and one of those was related to something I'd seen in Saarthaal. I'm stuck all the way across the cursed country from my proper Saarthaal-related goal, so I decided I'd go out and see about this rumoured Folgunthar. Folgunthur? However its spelt. Nords aren't exactly precise with their vowels.
I chose it out of all my options because it was rumoured to be the closest to Solitude itself. And indeed, so it proved. It was tucked away into the rock on the island below the outcropping of rock the Blue Palace itself sits on. I am glad it was so close. It began raining as soon as I set foot outside Solitude's gates, and between the clouds and the swooping hawks overhead I was feeling very twitchy. Dragons, you know. I once ran into one out over by Wolfskull Cave, so they're not strangers to the region.
Upon approach of Folgunthur I spotted a camp with four empty bedrolls and a sputtering fire. Empty camps never bode well for entry into barrows, I find. And so it proved - the early tunnels showed unmistakeably signs of battles, numerous dead (deader? re-deaded?) draugr, and I ran across two of the unfortunate company in quick succession. At least they'd opened some of the gates for me - they looked to need a claw to open, and while I had one on me at the time, I doubted it was the claw necessary (though, truth be confessed, I've been carrying the damned thing so long I've forgotten when I got it!). After a couple pre-emptory uses of my bow - my enchanted Imperial one, not my lovely Dwemer one - I gave it up in favour of my firebolt spell. I'd finally renewed the enchantment on my blade - and ah, but it feels good to have that back!
There is, after all, little in life these days quite so satisfying as watching undead corpses fall away twitching from your blade, veins and skeins of blue lightning dancing across them as they shake and judder in response.
And I wonder why people are leery of destruction mages. Hah.
So it wasn't, all in all, a bad day's venture! A bit long, but barrows always are, and if I wasn't so concerned with not getting hit and sneaking about, they'd be a bit faster, I reckon. I found the third and fourth members of the party dead - and the fourth was a mage, with both a very interesting journal and an ivory claw (THE ivory claw, perhaps? I've yet to find an identical one). That, in fact, was the first thing that cheered me up considerably. I had some of my answers to the Gauldur mystery, more than I had previously, and a second claw. And if there was a specific claw, that meant there was a word wall somewhere deep within.
Breaking for a bite to eat, I poured over the journal for a time, until I finished. Then I lowered the drawbridge and continued on. Perhaps my recent venture into Potema's Catacombs had raised my expectations but the Folgunthur draugr didn't provide half the challenge I'd been dreading. I suppose I should 'expecting', proper heroes not being the sorts to dread duels to the bitter end with undead warrior-mages, according to Bard's tales. Hah. Like they know the half of it. Its no wonder Skyrim is full of ex-adventurers. Does a right number on your nerves.
Anyway, long, dusty, Draugrish story (with a few spiders for added flavour) short, I arrived at the claw door... eventually. I wish I could say I did so in good time, but as the early morning grey shows... I did not. I was held up in a chamber above a stair going down into the partially drowned lower levels, which was frustrating, to say the least. But, I got to the claw door. That long hall that always precedes them was actually interesting this time! Six draugr within it. Not much of a fight, but more interesting and somehow less eerie than the usual emptiness.
This whole place, in fact, was a bit... unusual compared to other barrows and I'd like to think I'm something of an expert on the matter. So I shouldn't have been surprised when the claw door opened to reveal not a cavernous chamber but a rather narrow, partially ruined, hallway.
The door at the end of that hallway, a simple wooden one, certainly revealed an impressive chamber. Very imposing, and dreadful in a spectacular way. I crept about the shadows, looking to see if there were rows of Draugr waiting to be fought... but there weren't. So I advanced through the vast chamber towards the single tomb lying in the centre of the final section. The draugr, one of the Gauldur sons, was disappointingly easy. Lying there for so long - four thousand years, the journal says - must have made him a bit rusty. Or perhaps he never had much sense. He didn't even try and dodge my fireballs, and then it was just a few well-placed swings of my blade and he was down on his knees. He had summoned to draugr thralls with him - first I'd ever seen draugr thralls, rather than vampiric ones! - but they were more a nuisance than anything. Hellfires, skeevers might have been more dangerous! I finished him off and looted him of both the second fragment of the amulet - I've worn the first around my neck since Saarthaal, however many weeks gone THAT was - the usual gold and gemstones and shiny trinkets, and his sword. It's an interesting thing, and if he'd actually landed it on me it might have done some decent damage, as it seems to have a drain health enchantment laid on it. I may keep it, whenever I get back to my quarters at the College, simply for curiosity's sake. After all, it isn't every day you find a black, enchanted ancient Nordic blade!
There was no word wall there, but there was a flight of stairs leading up to a room with both word wall and a chest. I don't know the ancient Nords left so many things in chests every where, but it sure is a blessing to folk like me! I got the second word of the frost breath shout, much to my pleasure, a good haul from the chest... and so I sat down and had a decent meal of sorts!
The exit was easy - no further draugr surprises, I made an amusing exit through a sarcophagus at one point, and my little boat was right where I'd left it. I thought of staying at the camp when I got out and saw how late it was, but their fire was out and I didn't fancy finding more wood and spending another night huddled on bare earth in a sleeping sack stinking of someone else. I'll see enough of THAT sooner or later!
So it was back up to Solitude, a celebratory drink at the Skeever, and into my room, where I now write this down. I am quite pleased with the Folgunthur trip - I have a final goal of where to go to retrieve what seems to be the third and final piece of this amulet, and as I seem to recall somewhere of the right name down Ivarstead way... well, I'll have to be down there for the Greybeards at some point in the future, I suppose. If I don't die first. It's hellish, trying to imagine a future right now, when my next breath out of doors (or in-doors, though Solitude's thick stone always makes me feel safe... far safer than Helgen, that's for sure) could be my last. But it is nice to know I've something to do if I ever see an end to this madness.
I think, after sleeping most of the day, I shall set about finding an arcane enchanter - someone must have one in this city - and fiddling about with enchanting a bit. Then at next dawn's light - today's is filtering through my windows now - I'll take off into the Hjaalmarch again, see if I can't find another of those ruins I need to investigate...
- K. Stormwind
4th Frostfall, Solitude
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