MEHITABEL I -- THE WHUMPING LESSON “M'aiq saw a mudcrab the other day. Horrible creatures. They've got all the money. Mudcrabs taking over everything. They already run Pelagiad.” – M'aiq The Liar *** Whump. Whump. WhumpWhump. Mehitabel has read many books, never a single one about mudcrabs. Perhaps the mudcrab, throughout history, has yet to accomplish enough to attract the attention of those who write books. This seems like the easiest answer in the world. If all of this one's experiences were to be, through no small amount of effort, concentrated within an enchanted gem at death, hauled to a forgotten ruin on the other side of the world, placed within some apparatus of presumably Dwemer origin and projected onto a wall of the ruin – a ruin which had no doubt claimed the lives of many members of the expedition, each of them dying with a sad, unique story upon their tongues – the survivors, eager to claim what must certainly be the most sought after knowledge in recent history, would read upon the wall: “The world loves easy answers.” Whump. It was really not very long ago when this one first picked up a shield. Even today such objects, though they have proven to be very useful, do not feel completely natural. There are plenty of books about shields even though a shield is, by itself, incapable of accomplishing anything at all. Mudcrabs, if one possesses the patience to observe, do all sorts of things on their own initiative; one does not need to pick up a mudcrab to see what it can accomplish. In fact, lifting a live mudcrab is probably a bad idea all around. No books about mudcrabs, however. WhumpWhump. In a world that loves easy answers, it would seem that a mudcrab cookbook would be an obvious choice for someone possessing the patience to sit down and write their first book. The restorative properties of mudcrab shells are not exactly secrets locked away in some burial mound and guarded by a bunch of ridiculous Draugr, but apparently their wonderful flavor is. Perhaps the first project this one will undertake in retirement will be the definitive book of mudcrab recipes. Already a bounty of possible titles for such a practical and useful book come to mind: Yum on the Half-Shell? Mudcrabs For Milk-Drinkers? A Sizzling Case of Crabs? “OW!” Another accomplishment in which mudcrabs excel, if one possesses not only the patience, but a safe location in which to study, is training this one in the use of a shield. Such training is given free of charge, but requires the trainee to avoid getting mired in fantasies of becoming a celebrated author. By remaining focused, a student may gain a great deal of potentially tail-saving knowledge in a relatively short amount of time because a mudcrab is essentially a shield that walks around and accomplishes things. By becoming distracted, one can become a mudcrab's next meal. WhumpWhump. Whump. Mudcrabs also know how to make a decision, which is more than this one can say for the average Nord bandit. When a mudcrab has been whumping on an opponent for several minutes and realizes that both itself and its adversary are still alive, it will simply walk away. “Training session concluded unless Khajiit becomes annoying again.” This one thanks you. You deserve a reward and you shall have it very soon. Except for the wise, generous mudcrab and the large, mostly silent new friend this one recently acquired, this part of the marsh, with only a run-down and curiously locked shack as evidence of the presence of man or mer, is surprisingly quiet. The author of a book such as Immortal Blood might interpret the calm as an ominous foreshadowing of terror about to unfold from the perspective of the terrorist. For another author, one who might have written a classic series of books like The Lusty Argonian Maid, the shack might be the happy lair of a well-endowed hermit of indeterminate gender who, with some help from Lifts-Her-Tail, the titular heroine, is about to learn some new social skills. Predictability does have its virtues. This one already knows there is nothing of interest within the shack. For the tasks at hand, the silence is both comforting and completely appropriate. The great horse nods his head and blinks his crimson eyes in unconditional support as this one slips into the water. In a few minutes, Mehitabel is going to, under cover of broad daylight, climb unseen aboard a ship, where she will convince the men and women aboard that they have all cheated each other in the card game they were playing – how it is possible for everyone playing to both cheat and be cheated at the same time is irrelevant – then she will watch them do most of the preliminary work involved in her assigned task. When the crew are no longer obstacles in her path, she will enter the ship's master chamber, where a short meeting with a very, very important man will begin. At the end of the meeting, Mehitabel will thank him for his unexpectedly calm understanding of the situation, remove his robes, use them to strangle him to death, then excise a few of his vital organs to offer as payment to her mudcrab trainer. On the way back, there is also the matter of settling several affairs with the very, very important man's chief of security, who is presently ashore engaging in some more of an activity he likes to call “business.” Mehitabel admires this man, so she will forgive his flagrant disregard for the amount of patience one must possess in order to reliably domesticate a frostbite spider. Because her heart is filled with such forgiveness at the moment, she will remove only one of his vital organs before deciding whether or not she will allow him to die; she may even be generous and place the organ in his mouth. If these events were taking place at the beginning of a book instead of in real life, those reading it would be likely to have the same question in their minds. “Why?” This question – most frequently asked by cubs, hatchlings, children – has only one word. It also has no easy answer. *** AUTHOR'S NOTE: The Mehitabel series is first and foremost the tale of how I roleplayed Skyrim with this character. During the course of the story, I will include as many gameplay tips and strategies as possible, but these bits of information will be discussed from Mehitabel's point of view instead of my own. The series is also prone to jumping around in time for the purpose of good storytelling. Mehitabel is level 74 in this installment, but the next is likely to have her escaping Helgen at level 1. As I played through the game, I kept fairly comprehensive notes and even captured video of many segments of Mehitabel's adventures. This first installment contains tips on how to get free Block-training from unsuspecting mudcrabs and how to finish the "Hail Sithis!" quest with a master-level illusionist. I am hesitant to provide Mehitabel's stats for each installment as I feel it might detract from telling an enjoyable, roleplaying-oriented story, which is the primary focus.