Shinbira: Journal of a Survivor, Chapter 20

  • 4E 201, Last Seed 20th, Bleak Falls Barrow

    I think I feel …. happy.

    Down here in the depths of the dreaded Bleak Falls Barrow. The awful smells, the treacherous flooring, the dust, the rubble, the traps, rotting corpses, skeletons, giant rodents, ghoulish undead warriors intent on keeping the likes of us away and gods-know what else that we haven’t encountered yet. This place that haunts the memories of hardened Imperial soldiers like Hadvar, the very mention of which still sends him fleeing in terror.

    And yet, I feel happy.  

    After all, there is much here for me to enjoy. There are lots of things for me to kill: I like killing things. There's lots of loot: I very much like loot!

    Yes: here I am happy. 

    The Draugr here aren't even that much of a challenge, not for us anyway, we two Mer: the Archer and the Berserker. They carry good loot, and many of the corpses and skeletons that line the walls - it is a barrow, after all - have gold, potions & gems with them. Not after I've seen them! 

    As we walk on I notice a pressure-plate in the floor, in front of a door covered in great spikes. I carefully walk around it and - although it seems an obvious trap - look back at my companion to say:

    "Faendal, watch out for the..."


    "...pressure plate."

    He's crouched down on the floor, fresh blood dripping. He doesn't look well.

    "Faendal, you silly Wood-Elf! Are you able to continue?!" I offer him a healing potion from my pack.

    ", Shinbira", and he drinks.

    True to his word he very soon climbs back to his feet. Whatever else he may be, he's tough!

    Just as he steadies himself we are again attacked by Draugr - 3 of them. I take the lead while he recovers; my greatsword hacks into them with satisfying chops and crunches. As I slice into their dead flesh and bones how I love to see bits of them flying through the air, hitting the walls and floors, hitting even my gore-drenched face!

    Yes, I am happy.

    Soon their bodies - what's left of them! - lie still on the floor along with Faendal's blood, their deathly grey pallour stained with splashes of vivid crimson. And some of the blood is my own: I too have to drink of a potion!

    As we move on, exploring, 'killing', looting we realise we have become familiar with the sounds of the barrow, strange sounds that are now just background noise. The crackling of the ancient rocks as they shift, as if moving against us in protest, we defiant intruders; the constant swish of dust undisturbed for years, maybe centuries; the unexplained rustling; the "Hoh!" of the Draugr as they are roused. In the distance though we now hear a new sound, gradually getting louder: a machine sound, like what I've been told is made by ancient Dwemer contraptions.

    Rounding a corner we see it. A narrow tunnel full of pendulums: great axes, swinging quickly and in opposition to each other! Whoever designed this place - and whoever or whatever is here now - really does not want visitors! What secrets are they protecting?! More than just a stone tablet, surely! I should be afraid but instead I am excited!

    "We're just going to have to make a run for it!" I tell Faendal. "Are you ready?"

    "No." comes his immediate reply.

    I am! I take a few steps back, crouch, and run as hard as I can! I somehow make it through with only a few shallow cuts, and - emboldened - Faendal follows and emerges similarly unscathed. 

    Much relieved, we walk on over a bridge that spans a stream and into a seeming dead-end: until we spot a pull-chain that opens a small gate. Inside, a tunnel branching off from the stream is eerily lit by many strange glowing mushrooms. I take as many as I can - they look like they could make a useful potion! 

    The tunnel suddenly ends in a sheer drop. It's a good thing I'm cautious: if I'd been running I may well have run off the edge! A dimly lit passage off to the side leads us onwards.

    We soon emerge onto a ledge, where we can walk down into the sinkhole, following the rushing waters of the stream as it becomes a waterfall. At the bottom we find a chest and a skeleton, both carrying loot. Even the dead skeever there carries some gold! I loot gleefully: a good trip!

    In the tunnels back above we soon come to imposing wooden double doors, with a large Draugr apparently guarding them. What lies inside?!

    He is tough, much tougher than any we've encountered so far, but he's still no match for us, and soon the big doors open before us with a great creak of protest, onto...

    ...nothing of note!

    Somewhat deflated, I move on: more tunnels, more traps, more Draugr. We go up stone steps and over another bridge, to a great iron door.

    Is this it? My excitement builds again, as we open the door and go through.

    We enter a great long tunnel, like an underground hall. There are carvings on every wall, illustrations perhaps of historical events: maybe great deeds from the lives of those buried here?

    What was it Arvel had said? "The Hall of Stories"? This must be it!

    "Shinbira, you have to see this! The detail is amazing, and so vivid: it's like a novel in stone!"

    "I don't care, Bosmer! You read if you wish; I'm going to do what we came here for!"

    Quickly walking to the hall's end I come to another door. It has three movable concentric rings, each adorned with more of those animal symbols, and three holes inside the innermost ring. Three holes that look like they could be filled by the prongs of a certain golden claw!

    "Faendal!" I call back, excitedly. He's busy reading. 

    "Fine! Do what you like!" I say to thin air. 

    Hands trembling, I reach inside my backpack...  

    Table of Contents


  • Idesto
    Idesto   ·  July 13, 2015
    You're welcome! I didn't know you could that: I really must upgrade my PC
  • Exuro
    Exuro   ·  July 11, 2015
    @Lissette isn't he just adorable when he's killing things
    @Idesto: thanks for making this quest entertaining again; its gotten to the point where I usually use console commands to skip this quest now.
  • Idesto
    Idesto   ·  July 6, 2015
    @Lissette That's my favourite bit too. I'm not sure 'cute' is the word I'd use for it tho! 
    @Sotek It is Skyrim isn't it? ;)
    Thanks for the comments & Likes
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  July 5, 2015
    He's too happy something bad is gonna happen.
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  July 5, 2015
    I am happy that Shinbira is happy. 
    The part where he's happy when bits of draugr stick to his face is cute.