Shinbira: Journal of a Survivor, Chapter 18

  • 4E 201, Last Seed 19th, cont.

    The trip to the Barrow is uneventful. We have to walk back nearly all the way to Riverwood before beginning our climb to the gloomy old ruin overlooking the town that so frightened a young Hadvar. On the way we are attacked by a lone wolf, which I killed and skinned. We pass a rabbit and an elk, which I consider hunting but decide against. Despite Faendal's training I'm much more comfortable with my two-handed sword. I'll leave any hunting to the Wood Elf, and for some reason he doesn't seem interested.

    Not far up the hill the the environment changes dramatically: the rushing rivers, flowers and trees give way to snow and rock. Crunching and clambering our way upwards we soon come across a crumbled old stone tower. 

    "Careful," Faendal warns, "there could be bandits here."

    He was right! But between his bow and my sword we make short work of them. We take everything they have, and from inside the tower, but find nothing of note: certainly not the Golden Claw. It was worth a look at least.

    "More archery training please Faendal!"

    I'm just in the mood for it...

    "What, here?"

    "Yes! Why not? It isn't for shooting practice is it? We're 'in the field'!" I lie. I'm just not interested in sniping from a distance. It just seems cowardly and - to be honest - a bit boring. I like to kill my enemies at close hand, to feel the impact of my blows, to see their blood spill & splatter! 

    "Well, alright then." 

    Faendal obliges: he's a good-hearted Mer, really. It'll probably get him killed one day, despite his skill. We do our little dance of giving and taking gold for no good reason, & my knowledge and experience again grows.*

    Continuing our climb it isn't long before we see the Barrow, and it's every bit as imposing as Hadvar had imagined!

    We are once again met by bandits! And once again we despatch them easily. And once again their loot does not include the Claw. It must be inside with the Dragonstone then, so in we go....

    The giant doors creak open and we find ourselves in an enormous cavern, open to the sky. Dead skeevers - giant rodents - litter the floor, and I quickly chop off their tails for use in potions. It's obviously old, very old. Ancient dust mixed with snow swirls around in the wind and blows in our faces; rocks, rubble and fallen masonry all around make our progress difficult, as well as a lot of broken crockery - burial urns I think - many of which contain gold!

    We hear voices. At the cavern's far end a man and a woman are arguing. I hear one of them say "I want my share from that claw!". We're definitely in the right place. 

    Slipping into a crouch I draw my sword and creep towards them, Faendal behind me ready with his bow. I move from behind pillars to rocks, but before I reach them they hear us & come to attack!

    Fortunately they were no tougher than the others, and very soon their bodies have joined the skeevers on the stony floor. Still neither of them has the claw. We move on.

    Exitting the cavern we find ourselves walking through rough, uneven, dusty, winding tunnels. We eventually come to another cavern, a smaller one, and - presumably - another bandit. We watch him as he confidently approaches a lever in the floor that must open the large gate at the cavern's far end. He pulls it, and is quickly shot full of arrows! Some sort of automatic defense mechanism!

    "I think we should think carefully before pulling that lever." Faendal tells me.

    I just roll my eyes. What is it about my companions and stating the bloody obvious?!

    When we find that the man doesn't haven't the claw either we do look around carefully. High on the wall above the gate are two animal symbols, with a space for where a third may have been. Gingerly walking past the lever we soon find a fallen symbol on the floor nearby. On the left wall are more animal symbols, another set of three - but these can be rotated so that the symbol is changed.

    "Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Faendal?" I ask excitedly.

    "Yes, I am brother!

    "What, exactly, are you thinking...?"

    "Hah: this!"

    I move the stones on the left to reflect the symbols, as they should be, above the gate.

    "Would you like to do the honours, Faendal?" I offer, gallantly - I thought!

    "I wouldn't dream of it, brother - this is your adventure; I'm just here to help."


    "Alright, then. But you owe me more archery training!"

    I cautiously approach the lever. Faendal is hiding in the corner, cowering behind some rocks. 


    "Yes" comes a muffled reply.

    I pull the lever quickly, then leap as far as I can off to the side. Just to be sure.

    No arrows! And the big gate opens: we - no, I - was right!

    We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and go through. 

    Inside I find gold, potions, a soul gem and a book about thievery. This foray is proving to be lucrative already!

    The only exit is a narrow, rickety, wooden spiral staircase, leading down, down into darkness. It doesn't look at all safe, never mind what it might lead to.

    "I don't like the look of this, Shinbira."

    "Neither do I. Let's go!"

    "Lead on then!" He laughs - for the first time in quite a while.

    We carefully begin our descent, weapons at the ready...

        * Level 6, + Health (x2), Barbarian 2/5, Stealth 1/5

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  • Idesto
    Idesto   ·  June 27, 2015
    Whi knows?!
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  June 27, 2015
    I wonder how they will get on compared to Sotek.
  • Idesto
    Idesto   ·  June 26, 2015
    I like it! That sounds like a challenge :)
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  June 26, 2015
    It's very cute how you've incorporated the archery training exploit into the narrative. It makes me laugh every time. I hope you continue to find more unusual places to exploit it. They're both about to die in a dungeon...
    Shinbira: I'd like some ar...  more