I have decided to do a specific playthrough of Skyrim. Expert difficulty, no increasing health or magicka, no compass, no map, no quest tracker. Oh, and perma-death! This is the story of Nobi the Nord as he moves to Skyrim to be with his fellow man.
So there I was at last, home for the first time in my life. I had finally made my way to the land of Skyrim. I was knocked out, bound, and on my way to execution. Best welcoming party I've ever had, and what seemed to be the last...
I woke up on a carriage with three other individuals, all with the same fate as I. One man was even gagged, I guess he was a talker. One of the fellows introduced himself and told me the gagged man had brought honour back to the Nords. If I cared for politics, I may have been slightly happy.
We arrived in a town called Helgen, and were lined up for attendance. Unsurprisingly, I wasn't on the list. However, I was to share the same fate, most likely because I have the same Nordic blood as my acquaintances. I escaped Morrowind to embrace my culture with my own kin, to escape the constant hatred from the Dunmer, and I now get to share the same chopping block with my fellow man, because of hatred from the Imperial.
I knew I should have taken that left at Albuquerque!
As the leader of this group of Imperials trash talks the gagged Nord, I noticed he accused him of killing the king with his voice. So it seems Moon Sugar and Skooma are legal here, and consumed daily because he seemed quite serious about such a ridiculous thing. Just as things get rolling, a monstrous scream is heard in the distance. Sounds bigger than anything I've heard before.
They bring forth the first victim,and read off our last rites until the victim tells them to shut it and hurry up. The man had guts, and we were about to see them. He seemed content to die thinking his dead ancestors were going to be smiling while witnissing his execution. Maybe he was trying to get into the executioner's head. Turned out it was the executioner getting into his head as he cleaved it off in one swing of his axe.
"Next, the Nord in the rags!"
Oh shit, that's me! Once again that scream echoes throughout the small village, noticably louder, revealing that it was getting closer. As my ears heard the scream, the wierdest thought crossed my mind. The words "Ohhh yeahhh!" ran through my mind, almost replacing the sound of the scream. It only served as a three second distraction however, as I was brought up to the chopping block.
Forced onto my knees, then stomped onto the block, all I could do is look up at the man that would end my life. No name, no race, no voice, no personality. Just a random person with an axe. If I could, I'd at least punch him in the nuts to give him true reason to end my life. As I was about to close my eyes after I saw the axe raise, I saw this beast fly out from behind the mountain. It flew right up to us and landed on top of the tower just behind the executioner. We all felt the ground shake as it landed, making the big man fall down, luckily missing me with that axe.
"Dragon!" a woman yelled.
Wait, what? A dragon? Those things are only creatures of legend, they're a myth, pure fiction, and flat-out do not, and cannot exist. As the executioner got back to his feet, the creature blasted this force from it's mouth that rattled my bones. At that moment, I was a believer. A believer of getting my ass to safety! I noticed the clouds started swirling above the dragon and it sure felt like it was an apocalypse, but considering my situation six seconds prior, it's definitely an upgrade.
As I was about to gather my thoughts and try to make a run for it, it shouted again. This time with enough force to knock me to the ground and knock my vision out of focus. My entire line of thought was scrambled until I was helped to my feet by the Nord I talked to on the carriage. He rushed me inside of a guard tower since my vision was still blurry.
The gagged man was also in this tower, just without the gag anymore. When asked if the legends were true, about dragons, his response was swift and blunt.
"Legends don't burn down villages"
It roared again from the outside of the tower, we were sitting ducks if we stayed here. We started making our way up the stairs when we came across fallen rocks blocking the stairs. Just before we started to move them, the dragon smashed it's head through the wall and breathed fire right at the punctured area, roasting an already crushed soldier. It quickly flew off the tower, thankfully. The heat being that close to the flame was enough to smelt ore, I swear!
The passageway up was now completely unpassable, but there was an open roof to the house next door, and thanks to the dragon, a big hole in the wall. This wasn't the time for second thoughts, so I just leaped down into the lower building. As I ran across the floor I felt the pressure of the dragon fly just about twenty feet over my head. It's making sure my adrenaline is at full, that's for sure. I noticed the floor had given out at the other side of the house, so I dropped down quickly and looked around for my next course of action.
Just ahead of me were two guards, one of them calling for his son to come closer. The boy listened, and just as he made it around the adjescent house, the dragon landed about 10 feet infront of the father and let loose another breath of fire. Luckily the father had dodged behind the house just in time. The dragon flew off yet again but there was no time to let out a sigh of relief just yet, I was still in a burning town. The father ordered an older man to keep the boy safe, and for me to stick by his side if I wanted to get out of here.
As we ran through the town, the dragon continued to fly over it, and everytime I was in it's shadow, I felt the coldest chill shoot right up my spine. We took to an alley between the village wall and a house. The father ordered me to stay close to the wall, so I hugged that wall tighter than a girl hugs her teddy bear. Just before we passed the house, we feel a huge thud as the dragon lands ontop of the house we're using for cover and flames the pathway between the next house and the one we're at, before flying off again.
We take the heated passage to get into the next house. I could feel the still burning embers beneath every step. As we come out of the house, 3 mages are trying to hit the dragons with fireballs. While I appreciate their effort, this is a fire breathing creature of legend, and you're trying to fight fire with fire? Had no time to stop and think though, they were provoking it, so I better use it to my advantage. The father and I kept running through town, falling victim to that chilling shadow again as it flies over us while we run. We stop for a brief moment when we come across someone this father doesn't like. Thankfully they realize quickly that their political idiocy will kill us all right now, and just part ways. I follow the father as he's kept me alive for the past 40 seconds.
We enter a keep and take a second to catch our breath. He cuts my bonds and allows me free loot of an equipment chest. Finally I can start to defend myself! While it may just be a longsword, chest piece and boots, it felt like my skin was steel and that I was all mighty. At least, until I'm reminded of that flying, fire-breathing, man-eating, killing machine again, then I'm reminded I'm just a useless Rogue. We unlock a gate and continue forward, hoping to find any kind of safe exit.
We come across two fellow Nords catching their breath. I run up to see if they're ok, and one of them yells out "Imperial dogs!" as they draw their swords. It was clear there was no reasoning with these buffoons, and instead of band together, they'd rather die by steel. After taking two hits, I lose that sense of invincibility I had. i work in the shadows with a small blade, not in the open with a giant sword. Thankfully my buddy is quite adept at that kind of fighting and was able to kill one quickly. When I knocked the other down to her knees, I tried to reason with her, but my buddy was having none of that, as he drove his sword through her back and laid her to rest.
We make haste continuing through the keep. As we come across a long walkway, we notice two more people on the other side, but before we can run over there, the ceiling and part of the wall cave in between us just as we hear a faint roar from the dragon. Luckily the debris missed to door to the left, so we still had a route to take. My friend put it accurately.
"Damn. That dragon doesn't give up easily"
Luck is not with me at all today as two more bloodthirsty bastards are behind the door. My ally charges in while I flank the one using a two-handed axe. Using my superior agility, I easily step in for an attack, and roll out before he can swing a hit. He's finished with another sword through the back from my comrade. He is proving himself much more useful than I. With one down, I quickly run over to flank the second enemy. Using a move I've seen effective twice now, with the enemy not paying attention to me, I place my arm around his neck to choke him as I stab him through the spine with my longsword. While I never kill in the open, this is a pretty damn good time to be making exceptions.
Just beyond the fight was an old store room, and after a quick search through some barrels, we find a handful of potions. While they won't help against that dragon, it's definitely welcome in case we run into more gung-ho adversaries. We come through the other side of the collapse and start heading deeper into the keep when we hear swords clashing.
"The torture chamber" explained my friend. "I wish we didn't need these".
Sentiments aside, seemed like there was fighting down there. He charged in to help his allies while I stayed in the shadows and surveyed the scene. I snuck into what seemed to be an officer's cell and found a cheap, but sturdy iron shield. Without hesistation and ignoring the sound of combat behind me, I rush for the shield and equipped it. That feeling of invincibility had started to come back again. While I turned around to check up on the brawl, it seemed my friend and his ally had won it. Turned out the other man was a torturer, and had no idea there was a dragon attacking the village. He dismissed the idea at first, but after second thought accepted it as he heard weird noises echoing from further down the halls.
When told to join us, he promptly said "You have no authority over me, boy" in a smug tone. Even being told the dragon is destroying the town, he refused to join us. His assistant however was obviously a much more clever man as he decided it was best to join us. Before leaving the room, buddy noticed a celler with some useful things in it.
"I lost the key to that ages ago" said the torturer, with apathy.
Being the rogue that I am, I was quickly able to pick the lock and retrieve some mage gear and gold. "Sure, take all my things" replied the torturer, I should have said "OK" and taken his life, but I was too concerned for my own life, and wanted out of here. As we ventured further through the torture chamber, bodies of my own kin lay all over the floor, mostly skeleton remains. I did my best to avoid stepping on any stray fingers or toes. At the end of the room, the wall looked blown apart, leading into a natural cave formation. Torches were set up around corners, so this was not part of some recent demolition test.
The cave opens up to a large naturally formed room with a river flowing across. Three more boneheads come charging in with swords and axes, with two more across the river with bows taking pot shots. The man wielding the big 2 handed axe of course wants a piece of me. I try to go toe-to-toe with him, but I'm just not able to take that kind of beating. I'm forced to run back, drink two potions and continue to run from him while dodging arrows until my buddy and the assistant are able to help me. Unfortunately the assistant falls in battle, but not before he kills one of the Nords attacking us. My buddy is able to kill the other two slashing away. We regroup quickly before charging in to take down the pair using bows.
And by charging in, I mean I distract them while hiding behind a pillar, and he shoots them with his bow. Whatever keeps me alive! One of the archer falls eventually, so I run up and take his bow and start providing some real use, up-close to the archer. The archer pulls out his sword and shield, and it appears that I've dropped my sword somewhere, fantastic! I grab a mace off the dead archer and uppercut my foe with it's blunt-but-spiky end.
With this fight over, we continue until coming across a drawn bridge. Luckily the lever is on our side, so my buddy switches the lever to unlock an ever bigger cavernous entry. As we enter this cave, the room starts to shake and we hear the dragon fly by once again, as it drops something big onto the drawbridge, completely destroying it.
"Well, no going back now" my friend states. No shit.
We follow the flowing river hoping it'll lead to exit, but it comes to an end for us when we cannot fit into the small passageway. To our right, the cave continues a dry trail. It zigs and zags until we come to an opening filled with spider silk all over the place. Oh, look at that, giant spiders hanging from the ceiling, with giant fangs, and bodies, oh crap. I run behind my walking meatshield as I pull out my bow. Together we are able to kill the giant spiders.
"What next, giant snakes?" he questions.
"Snakes, I hate snakes" I reply, as we venture forth.
We are reunited with our stream of water, and follow it religiously hoping it leads to the outside world, the one without dragons, that is. With my buddy leading point, he stops.
"Hold up, see that bear just ahead?"
A bear? Giant dragons, spiders, and now bears.
"We might be able to just sneak by"
Now he understands! He gets me, he truly gets me!
"Nice and slow, just watch your step" he advises.
"Don't worry, I'm a master of stealth" I reply confidently.
"Or if you're feeling lucky, take this bow. It'll take her by suprise" he offers.
"You're out of your mind!" I whisper back.
As we sneak our way past the bear, a cold breeze flows through the tunnel, and as we come around a corner we noticed snow coming from an opening. This is it, we're free! We full out run to the safe, cold air of Skyrim. As we venture out into the blinding bright world once again, "Wait!" says my buddy as he takes cover by a rock, so I instinctively dive behind the rock as well. We see the dragon roar across the sky again before flying way off into the distance.
"Looks like he's gone for good this time. But I don't think we should stick around to see if he comes back."
This is clearly the most intelligent person I've met all damn day. He advises me to head to Riverwood. He has an uncle there who could help us out. We split up as we part ways to Riverwood, but before he goes he says "I couldn't have made it without your help today".
"I know, it was all me" I replied, before taking off into the wilds of Skyrim.
After five minutes of walking, a thought crossed my mind. "Where the hell is Riverwood?"