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Rifflesby avatar 4:55 PM on 11.28.2011  (server time)
Tales From Skyrim: The Best Horse in the World

"You're naked!" a small child shouts, as I leave my house in Whiterun. What's the matter, kid? Never seen a terminally annoyed-looking dark elf in a yellow bikini before?

I guess I should explain why I was running around bereft of clothing. It's simple really, and something most of you will understand: I am a goddamned pack-rat, and armor is heavy.

A mean rich woman in Riften told me, upon hearing about a conspiracy to steal a valuable horse of hers, that I should go along with the plot, steal the horse and the relevant paperwork from her summer cottage, and she'd show up to claim it and punish the guy who hired me when I made the delivery.

She didn't seem to care that this would involve me killing all of her hired mercenaries that were hanging out in the house. Sell-swords, pfft. Dime a dozen.

She also didn't stop to think that, by giving me license to do this, she was also guaranteeing that every object in that house that was not nailed down would end up crammed into a small end-table near the front door, from whence it would all be ferried back to my house in Whiterun. That house was expensive, and I have alchemy ingredients to buy.

That last load of cabbages, fur armor, and decorative jugs was just slightly too heavy, so I decided that, since I had to come back for the horse anyway, I'd just leave all my personal gear in the end-table. My magical Fast Travel spell prevents me from being accosted by wolves and bandits on the road, and dark elves are apparently hardy enough that running around in ankle-deep snow and swimming across ice-encrusted lakes while wearing just enough clothing to cover the R-rated bits is no big deal. So why not? The people in town sneered at me, but I'm the one who'll be laughing -- all the way to the bank. Or rather, to the succession of various shopkeepers who collectively have enough gold to buy all this crap.

And then, as I warped back to collect my gear and the horse, appearing a short walk down the path from the house itself, I heard an all-too-familiar roar. A dragon. This was still early days for me, when a dragon wasn't something I wanted to tangle with, even when I wasn't naked.

I whirled around to spot it, and spot it I did -- two of it. Them. Dragons, plural.

And they were attacking the horse. Those sons of bitches!

Oddly, one of them almost immediately fell out of the sky and crashed to the ground, dead. I didn't notice them fighting each other, so I presume the universe just said "Heh, whoops, didn't mean to hit ya with two of those things. Here, lemme just fix that," and hit the 'smite' button.

I ran up to loot the corpse and suck out its soul, then booked it like mad to the house to get my gear. Because as much as I was crapping my (lack of) pants at that moment, I'd be damned if I'd let a dragon kill that horse. He had a name -- "Frost" -- and you know a horse with a name has got to be awesome. I ran to the house, ran to the end-table, jumped into my armor, and ran back outside, where dragon and horse were still locked in mortal combat.

I riddled the dragon with arrows, and when it landed, wounded and angry, I stabbed it in the butt until it died. It ignored me the entire time -- for some reason, it hated that horse with a white-hot passion. And not only did Frost take every swipe and every blast of fire, he gave back as good as he got. That horse tanked the dragon for the entire battle.

I collected my second dragon soul in a five-minute period, and rode Frost to the appointment with my client, where I told the guy that I'd be damned if I was going to give a horse as bad-ass as this one to a knob-end like him, and that if he didn't want a matching set of hand-crafted steel daggers in his eye sockets, he should just walk away.

Walk away he did. And, oddly enough, the mean Riften lady didn't show up to claim the horse. She never said anything about it when I ran into her in town, either. Nor did she ask what happened to all her goblets and red apples. Presumably, she noticed the twin dragon skeletons in her front yard, and quite reasonably decided I was not someone to mess with. I went ahead and let her think that. It was good for my rep, and anyway, she wouldn't have believed me if I'd told her it was all Frost's doing.

I don't ride Frost much, because I can't pick flowers and mushrooms from horseback. But I go visit him in the stable sometimes. The guy who originally hired me to steal him keeps hanging creepily around the Whiterun stable, gazing longingly and jealously at the Best Horse in the World. I'm not worried, though.

If he tries anything, Frost will kick his ass.

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