Journal of a Survivor (Part 3), Chapter 31: Potatoes

  • Sundas, Last Seed 23rd: Whiterun Hold

    Faendal and I have - finally! - left Whiterun city and are walking through the tundra and farmlands of its hinterland, along the path that leads to Azura and - I hope - answers. It's a typically pleasant and mild Whiterun day, and the feel of the fresh breeze and warm sun on my face goes some way towards calming my nerves. 

    Before long we see a strange figure in the distance. 

    As we get closer I become puzzled, and I turn to my companion to ask "Is that an Argonian ahead, Faendal? It's the first one I’ve seen since - well, I can't remember. It's a long way away from home isn't it? What's it doing all the way out here?"

    "I don't know, brother" he replies, his brow furrowed. "It is odd." 

    The 'lizardman' seems to be tilling a field, half-heartedly, and although I know almost nothing about farming even I can see that he’s doing it really badly. For a start he’s only using one arm. 

    Then I notice it.

    B’ek, Faendal: what is that f'chek smell?!”

    Faendal is reeling, as if he’s just drunk a very large jug of sujamma, topped up with a hefty dose of skooma.

    As we draw closer and the smell gets even worse, we can hear that the Argonian is muttering to himself as he 'works' his field.

    " dancing in golden tundras transporting with delight scents of honey yumminess in the azure sky..."

    Faendal and I exchange a Look. I tap a finger on my temple. Faendal nods.

    I'm feeling brave. And mischievous. I walk up to this strange 'farmer'.

    "Ah, hello" I say with some apprehension.

    "Potatoes" is his only reply.

    "Right, good; yes, I see", although I don’t. Then I look at the field he's 'tilling'. It's full of potatoes, of a sort. They're barely recognisable as such; in fact they're rotten. Even an Argonian might get sick if he ate those! Actually there are as many half-ruined old books lying around as there are ex-potatoes. 

    "Potatoes" the Argonian says again. 

    “Potatoes! Yes, I see that.”

    "No. Name: Potatoes. Stinks-of-Potatoes."

    "Ah. I see." I reply. And I think I do, this time: finally a name here that makes sense!

    "Me: Shinbira; him: Faendal. Hello"




    "Good weather for farming today, is it?" I venture.

    "Yes." he replies; or rather mumbles. "Flowers dance, bees buzz, sky blue: is good. Potatoes not good though."

    “Right…um: those potatoes, or you, Potatoes?”

    “Yes. Potatoes not good”


    “Potatoes not good. Me not good.”

    “Ah, I see. So what happened to you, Stinks?”



    "Name: Potatoes. Stinks-of-Potatoes. Only friends says ‘Stinks’ "

    “Potatoes. Right, so how did you get here, um, St…Mr. Potatoes?

    “Potatoes. Just Potatoes. Me live Black Marsh. But me no water-breathe, only one. Born no water-breathe. Me hated, me leave. Me come here, make potatoes."

    "Right, yes, that's...awful" It's hard, even for me, not to feel some sympathy for this pathetic creature. And anyway, I doubt he owns anything worth stealing. 

    “But potatoes not good. Potatoes rotten. No live.”

    "Yes, I can see that. Couldn’t you just… harvest them on time?"

    “No. Potatoes not good. Me not good.”

    “Yes: I see.” And this time I really do: he seems to be missing an arm, explaining why I saw him tilling his soil single-handedly. The rest of him isn't looking too healthy either. 

    Out of the corner of my eye I can see Faendal slowly edging away. I’m still feeling brave, or at least curious.

    "So... what happened to you, Stinks?"

    “Potatoes! Me die.”

    "Right. You're dead?"

    "Yes. Me die."

    "Yes, I see," I lie. 

    I have to admit, I'm struggling a bit. Even normal conversation is difficult when you're holding your nose. 

    Looking more closely though, I can see his eyes have that same vacant look that I saw in the Draugr of Bleak Falls Barrow, and I can see strips of dulled flesh dangling off exposed bones through gaps in his clothing.

    "Windmill break, hit me. Me die." he continues.


    "Me wake up, see glowy man in robes waving hands." 

    It's beginning to make sense! Faendal though is starting to look quite frightened. 

    “But, you can, um, talk. A bit. And use your - shovel?, sort of?"

    "He leave books. Me look, learn words. He help. He go." 

    Faendal’s eyes are shouting at me 'Godssakes stop talking to it and leave it alone so we can just get out of here!', but I haven’t finished, yet.

    “So what will you do now, St-, ah, Potatoes?”

    “Stinks. You nice to Potatoes, you friend. You say Stinks.”

    “Stinks, good."

    “Me find man who make windmill. Me find, and me kill!!” he shouts – if you could call it that. “Me have Dread Shovel of Odour! Me kill!!” and he waves his shovel in the air vigorously.

    I swear I could see a finger drop off. 

    “Me also make magic jool stuff, sell nice cats.”

    Faendal is frantically, imploringly motioning with his hands. This time I concur!

    “Well, that’s great, Po – Stinks…”

    “Yes, Stinks! You friend of Stinks!”

     He’s smiling. It’s horrible. 

    “...and, ah good luck with all the killing, and, uh, everything. We have to go now but, um, all the best. Bye!“ I flounder. And walk on quickly.

    Daring to look back I see my new friend waving enthusiastically, with what’s left of his limbs, and wielding his mighty shovel. Something soft hits my eye. 

    “Bye friend! See again soon! You find windmill man for Stinks, yes? Remember Stinks!”

    “Keep walking, Faendal” I hiss.

    “No argument from me, Shinbira: I’ve been trying to leave since we got here!”

    As we walk on into the afternoon sun we hear again the sound of digging, and someone muttering to himself “…what a thing is a potato; a potato by any other name would smell as sweet…”

    “And you thought that Dragon shouting was strange, Shinbira”

    “Shut up and walk, Faendal.” We do. 

    • Author's note: thanks to Edana for the character of Stinks. He was just a casual invention but I thought he was too good to leave lying in the dust of imagination. Also to Lissette for 'inspiration' and some dialogue. And sujamma. 

    Don't forget: 'If you like it then you oughtta put a 'click' on it'...

    And if you don't please tell me why, or how else will I get better? Also if you do!


    Table of Contents


  • Idesto
    Idesto   ·  August 23, 2015
    Haha - yes, it probably is!
  • Exuro
    Exuro   ·  August 22, 2015
    Well that escalated quickly. The necromancer sounds sweet, but now I'm worried about the future of Potatoes and the windmill maker. Oddly, this seems like a completely reasonably thing to happen in the TES universe to me.
  • Idesto
    Idesto   ·  August 13, 2015
    Haha, 29 1/2 times actually. I'm claiming the world record! 
    None of it was planned, just came from random stuff in PMs. I just 'adapted ted' it :)
    Glad you enjoyed
  • The Wing
    The Wing   ·  August 13, 2015
    Do you, Edana and Lissette REALLY talk about these kind of things? You guys are crazy! 
    But also brilliant! I certainly was not expecting a chapter like this! The way you described Potatoes was so... crusty, for lack of a better word. And honestly, ...  more
  • Idesto
    Idesto   ·  August 12, 2015
    I'm hoping he will! We'll see... 
  • Meli
    Meli   ·  August 12, 2015
    Ehh? Wahh? What have I just read??
    Will Potatoes be making further appearances? I do hope so :-D
  • Idesto
    Idesto   ·  August 12, 2015
    I can see why @Sotek! Relative of yours maybe?
    Hadn't thought about it tbh! I probably should do more forward planning. Thanks mate 
    Thanks @Rogue. 
    Glad you like him @Edana. And I saw it - you have no idea! 
  • Edana
    Edana   ·  August 12, 2015
    Haha! The dude Stinks!  He's even more pathetic and smelly here than I could have ever imagined. You really brought him to life. Well... you know what I mean. 
    He's smiling. It's horrible.

     Really good job!! 
  • Rogue
    Rogue   ·  August 12, 2015
    Lol that was entertaining. Nice job, Idesto.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  August 12, 2015
    Lol I started to get worried there .
    Nicely done as always Idesto. Soo... Chapter 31. Did you ever think you would get this far?