Chapter 6 – Valtheim Towers
Part 2: Trails End

“Excuse me.” Said Ienarath meekly. 

Startled, the man assumed a defensive position, or at least tried. He grimaced sharply as he attempted to spin around and get to his feet. But the pain was too much, and fell back to the ground.

“Listen, girl, go back to your camp and bring back someone that can heal me. Quick!”

Not sure what to say, she replied, “I...I..I can’t.”

“C’mon, kid, now!” The man said, agitated.

“I can’t! OK!” Ienarath yelled back.

Taken aback by the girl’s sudden outburst, the injured man changed his approach. “Please,” he said, “I’m hurt pretty bad, and if I don’t get help soon, well, I’m not going to make it.”

“I’m sorry, Mr., but I can’t,” Ienarath replied, and then it just sort of came out. “I can’t because I’m alone.”

“Oh,” said the man. “I see. Well, do you think you can get into that ruin and see if any potions are still lying around? Grab anything you find, I’ll know if it’ll help.”

“No way!” Answered Ienarath. “I am not going in there alone. But I don’t need to, because I can make my own potion to help you. Well, I could if I had the right bowls and stuff.”

“Look, I need you to go in there and find me a potion that I can use to heal myself with!” He said.

“No.” Said Ienarath, very matter of factly. “But,” she continued, holding up a healing potion, “I can give you this. “But only,” she said, cutting him off before he could say, or do, anything, “if you help me.”

“What do you need?”

***

“So, you gotta name?” Asked the man, as they sat around the campfire later that evening.

“Ienarath.”

“Ienarath. It’s pretty. So, tell me Ienarath, what brings out here; alone?”

“I’d rather not say. But I’m not going back.” She answered.

“No? Why not? What, you kill someone?” He asked, with a laugh.

“Yes.” She said.

His smiled faded quickly when he realized she was serious. “Really? Tell me, was it an accident, or...you know.”

“On purpose. I poisoned him. I made a poison that would make his stomach bleed inside,” answered Ienarath. By this point, she didn’t see any reason to hide the truth.

Looking at the girl, the man appeared to be thinking about something. Then, after a minute or so, he said, “you made the poison? Impressive. My name’s Skinner, by the way. Would you like to come back with me? I’m part of a group, and I think I can convince them that your talents are worth investing in. What do say? Place to live, food to eat, freedom of the outdoors...maybe even a few coins in your pocket.”

Ienarath just sat there, unsure what to say. She was desperately hungry, and cold. 

“I say that sounds pretty good,” she finally replied after several minutes of contemplation. “Do you have any books and an alchemy table?”

“Ha, yeah, we got those..well, the alchemy table at least. As for books, I bet we can get a hold of some. So, you really know how to create potions?” Said Skinner.

“Of course!” Ienarath replied excitedly. “My aunt taught me. I started learning when I was 10!”

“And how old are you now? And why aren’t you with your aunt anymore?” Skinner asked.

“I’m thirteen,” was all Ienarath said.

“Understood,” said Skinner. “Your past is yours. Now. It’s only an hour or so from here, but I think we need to get some sleep. And hey, Ienarath, thanks.”

The next day, Skinner was up early and feeling great, even though there was still some tenderness around the wound. “Ienarath, get up. Time to go.”

Ienarath stirred, but was up quickly once Skinner whisked the blanket off of her.

After a quick breakfast, they packed up their things and were off.

There was a trail that led down a steep hill and to the river below. At the bottom was  dead bear.

“Hold on, I want skin this thing and bring the hide back. Unfortunately, the meat is wasted now.”

“What happened? Is this what hurt you?” She asked with a bit of awe in her voice.

“Yeah. The bastard surprised me. Got me good before I could take it out. I ran up the hill and ended up where you found me," answered Skinner. "He’s big one, isn’t he?” 

“Here,” she said, when he was nearly finished. “Could you put it’s eyes and claws in this? Oh, and some of that ‘wasted’ meat, maybe. Oh, and a bone.”

“What?” Was all Skinner could say.

“Yeah. I think I can use some of that stuff. Never know until you try, right?” Ienarath replied.

With a smile, Skinner answered back, “sure thing, kid, sure thing. Yeah, you’re gonna fit in real nice, I think.” 

They probably would’ve made it back in about an hour, but with the extra time taken to skin the bear, and the extra weight from it, in addition with Skinner not being completely healed, they didn’t arrive until mid-morning; a good three hours past sunrise.

“What’s that,” asked Ienarath, as they began to round the bottom corner of a small switchback.

“That? That’s a relic of the past, Miss Ienarath. That’s one of the gates that was used during The Oblivion Crisis, or rather what’s left of it, anyhow. There’s all sorts of them around Skyrim, if you look. This one’s actually in pretty good condition, really. Most are just stumps of rock by now, or at least the ones that I’ve seen. We best keep moving though.

“Well, Ienarath,” said Skinner as the the road turned left a short distance after reaching the top of the switchback, “behold, Valtheim Towers. Your new home.”

Continue >>

[Chapters]