Later that day I wandered, still shoe-less, into the Woodworking and Alchemy building. Lots of noise, saws and toxic smells.
I tried my hand at picking the lock of a small chest on one of the tables, but the alchemist walked by just as I was getting the hang of it and confiscated my lockpick.
I seriously suck at this thieving business.
So I settled for snatching a bird call whistle from a basket. It’s made of silver and very shiny, so probably expensive – score!
Sadly, Miss Vipsania passed away shortly after writing this. As she mentions above, she had stolen a number of items and was caught by Alchemist Justal trying to open the lockbox. The Guards received word of this and, when Miss Vipsania was later pointed out to them by Miss Justal, a Guard pursued.
Miss Vipsania, willing to return all the stolen items but unable to pay the 7 coin bounty nor possessing the muscle mass to intimidate the Guard, was forced to flee into the woods outside the city. She appeared to be making for the river, perhaps in hopes of swimming to safety.
The Guard, however, used a gap spell, pulled Miss Vipsania close and stabbed her through the back (forgive the gruesome description, I wish to be thorough).
Miss Vipsania, known by name only through these papers discovered on her person and without any kin claiming her, was entombed in the Unknown Crypt beneath the Daggerfall Cathedral at dawn this morning. Her personal papers, along with this note, will be buried alongside her should in future anyone come to claim her body.
I stepped outside as the sun rose high and bright above the pointy spires of Daggerfall. A woman, Roulena, raked the grass outside. She watched me step out of the house and didn’t bat an eye other than to comment about her workload, so I played it cool and acted like I always stepped out of that house without shoes, half of me ready for battle and the other half ready for bed.
I asked Roulena where the stores were, and she directed me to the Tradesmen’s Square nearby. But before I could go ten paces, a woman named Mihayya stopped me. She leaned nonchalantly against a post, flipping a coin.
Turns out Coldharbor had actually dumped me into the sea! Some Captain, who’s name starts with a C or a K, had found me floating (hopefully upright) in the water offshore and brought me to Daggerfall. Mihayya suggested I join up with the Captain’s crew, as she’s shorthanded. I said I would, but that’s a lie. I’m not a huge sea-goer. I like me boots on the ground, thank you very much. Maybe if I happen to pass by the docks later I’ll tell someone to pass along a thank you.
I continued on to the market. But first, I decided to try out my lockpicking skills on a house next to the one in which I had woken—
–and broke my one and only lockpick. Really Vipsania??
I had found the perfect angle, hunched down by the door while the Pact Guard was turned the other way, and then proceeded to break it after five tries. This is why I need to join the Thieves Guild.
Left without a single lockpick or coin to my name, I went uneventfully to the market. Though I did laugh when I passed by the bank.
Any thought of stealing my shoes or coin from the market went out of my head the moment I stepped inside. Full to the brim with all manner of people and races and creatures, it hummed with life. And prying eyes. I pretended to browse a few of the books scattered around about crafting of various sorts, eyeing the occasional pack and trunk in the corner, but none offered a suitably discreet spot. I briefly considered grabbing a pair of boots sitting to the side of the anvil, but the thought of a Guard sword through the back stopped me. In fact, the only item I could steal was out back in a sack and called saltrice – some kind of cooking ingredient, from the looks of it – but what am I supposed to do with that? I have no idea how to cook anything.
I wandered back to the small, crowded square with its pleasant fountain and hordes of people and leaned against the stone wall, watching the antics in front of me. People leaping from the fountain, falling down, sprinting past, teleporting in and out, riding camels, casting spells, praying—
–the church! Always open, always quiet, always filled with some kind of rich goody or another. And there it was, directly across the square.
It was a Cathedral with a shrine to Mara – no surprise, in Daggerfall – and the priest outside ironically advised me to “Find what I seek” inside. A rather fierce sermon was in progress when I entered, so no one felt like chatting when I sidled up to them. Or maybe it was because I needed a shower. I quickly made for the dark corners and rummaged through barrels and crates.
I made out with some greens and ginger for food (hardly worth mentioning), a two tined carving fork (worth a bit of coin) and – best of all – a lock pick! Worth listening to the preacher drone on about Kynareth and Zenithar for that.
I left the church and turned left, towards a bridge. At the edge of it was a beggar, who kept shouting about “being next”. Now, I like to keep my head down, but I also like a bit of adventure – no, a heaping dish of adventure. So I humored him, asked him what was up. He told me to head into the trade district and ask around about murdered beggars. I’ve also been in his shoes – or bare feet, as it were – begging on the streets, so I might have made a few more promises than I should have. Since I didn’t have any coin, I gave him the food I had found in the Church. If my wanderings took me to the trade district and the right people, I’d ask around for him.
And then do you know what happened right then? Someone tried to pick-pocket the Guard on the bridge! Rolled right up to the Guard’s back, all cloaked in darkness, visible just at the edges if you looked at the right angles, and pounced.
But not fast enough.
The Guard whirled around, the man fled – the Guard struck him in the back and the thief fell. Then he scrambled up, climbed up on to the side of the bride and leapt off! As though it were three feet high! I ran to the side and leaned over. The thief ran up out of the water and around the back side of the Cathedral, drawing the shadows around him again. The Guard pursued the entire way, until I couldn’t see them anymore no matter how far over I leaned.
I tell you, Daggerfall is an exciting place. Perhaps it is a better choice than Riften after all.
Gods don’t mean much until you meet one. Well, I didn’t exactly meet Molag Bal – I met a creature made of bones that was some sort of aspect of him, and heard an appropriately-deep God-like voice a couple of times, but still. Gods aren’t normally part of my life, so it was pretty cool.
Turns out I’m dead, but not. I’ve got no soul, but I’ve still got my body. Strange part is I still feel the same as I always did. Long story short, a batshit sorcerer named Mannimarco needs souls to power his nefarious deeds and mine happened to be one of them. I was walking along the road to Riften and boom—
Mace to the face.
Woke up in Coldharbor, Molag Bal’s realm, and a giant woman with arm muscles the size of my face broke me out immediately. She had extremely perfect timing. Met a creepy old blind man with a hood who wouldn’t call me by my real name no matter how many times I said it, some ugly bitches with horns, and a fabulously eccentric man with a pot on his head. I missed a lot of what they were jabbering on about, concerned as I was with the state of my soul, the wondrousness of being in a God’s realm and the curiosity of having clothes in the afterlife. Plus they kept wanting me to do things, like kill everything with swords, interrupt spells, destroy Sentinels…it was way too much effort for being dead.
Finally we got the old man busted out and he showed me a play with ghosts about the fate of the world and some King’s necklace, but I like to keep my head down and listening to him seems to entail the exact opposite. So I nodded dutifully, followed behind him and wondered if that wonderful man with the tin pot hat would be back.
He never showed by the time I left – and it was just me who left. The giant woman sacrificed herself so the old man, the Prophet – I swear I thought she had been saying “profit” for the longest time – could come back with me. Good on her, I’d never have done it. I mean, think about it. These two were very serious about needing to save the world from the asshole who killed me, and they think leaving the Indestructible Woman behind in favor of the Decrepit Old Blind Man is the way to go? Made me feel better about ditching them, I’ll tell you.
Although I didn’t completely ditch them by choice. I jumped into the Anchor (yes, that’s with a capital A due to its sheer immensity and power), closed my eyes from the blinding light and –
–woke up in Daggerfall.
In a strange house.
Sure, it was an improvement from Coldharbor, but I had been on my way to Riften…and not to be picky since I had just been saved from a terrible and certainly painful afterlife with the God of Butality…but couldn’t I have landed somewhere a bit closer to Riften?
And Daggerfall is so…religious. It’s all temples and priests and those pompous Templars with their condescending righteousness. I wanted Riften – drunken Nords, quaffing beer in a bard-filled hall with enough people to around for no one to notice a few items going missing.
My chosen career path will be slightly more difficult in Daggerfall. And start here I must, since I’m wearing only the stupidly thin clothes from Coldharbor – you can’t even really call them rags – and have a giant great sword that I don’t know how to use and attracts attention faster than a sober Nord.
No, I will not run to Riften – I will make my first steps here, in Daggefall! They must have a Thieves Guild. It’s an international organization, my sister told me so. I’m counting on it. I won’t go back to the Imperial City no matter what. It is not an option.
So with that decided, it’s time to take stock of what I have in this small room into which I was magically – and quite unceremoniously – transported. It’s small but clean, with a fire on one end and a bed on the other. A few bookshelves with, as luck – or fate – would have it, Wulfmare’s Guide to Better Thievery. I read it while munching on the bread and radishes left on the table (To Oblivian with the risks!). The bread is crusty – the resident must have left long ago. It strikes me, as I lean back and put my feet up, that this must be a woman’s room. It’s far too clean to have a male resident, and the bed is too small for more than one person.
The thought of her returning gets me up and about. Two cups of tea sit next to the bread, one Jasmine and the other Rose Herbal tea. I hurriedly down both – neither travels well – and grab a pack left by the bed. Inside I find a rawhide belt. I have a thought – why not start my illustrious career right here, in this very room? I need clothes, and this room has a wardrobe. I yank it open and discover a worn Jack. It has the faint hum of magic about it, as though it has a spell cast upon it. But it’s much more attractive than the tattered Coldharbor shirt, so I swap it out for the midriff-revealing Jack. The rawhide belt goes atop it, and the empty pack over my shoulder. Inside the nightstand I find a small cork-stopped glass vial filled with red liquid. My sister forced me to read more books than I would have liked in the Imperial City, and this liquid I recognized from an introductory Alchemy text – a Health potion. I put it carefully into the pack. Also inside the nightstand was a piece of stone, which was either a rustic paperweight or something involved in blacksmithing. Since the extent of my knowledge on blacksmithing is hitting a piece of something with a hammer, and because of the sheer weight of the damn thing, I left it there. The third prize was a lockpick – which I obviously kept and put in my pocket (Funny, that whoever designed Molag Bal’s afterlife ensemble went with pockets. It seems much too convenient for a freezing hell of a world). Lastly, I “borrowed” the iron sword leaning up against the fireplace. The heavy Great Sword just isn’t my thing, and the smaller blade ties nicely to my new Rawhide belt.
Well! Things are looking up. Now my biggest concern is shoes. For some reason running across rocks and dirt freezing as ice yet hot as coals didn’t bother me, but here, in the wood-floored room, I am distinctly aware of it. Plus, I do not want the people outside thinking me a beggar. Not going down that path again. So where to find shoes…someone’s house, a store perhaps…