I walked into the throne-room.It was huge, with trophies of bears, boars, and other beasts scattered all over the walls.
Obviously, this guy enjoyed hunting.
Ragnar Fire Hair was standing in front of his throne, and didn't seem too happy with me being there.
"I don't recall inviting YOU here, Breton. What be ye name?" "Sir," I replied humbly, "I am Eldorf Dragonmeal. I've received this flyer..." "Oh," he cut me off, "did ye now? Well, I don't remember inviting a Breton here. This place is for warriors, Nords, like myself."
I did notice that every Nord in the room was much taller than me. It's a trate of Nords, being from the frozen wastelands of the north, and all.
"Well, you're a bit of a runt, as far as I'm concerned, but maybe you can do me a favor. If you do it successfully, I'll let ya hunt here with real men!" Oh, a favor to do first. Gee wiz, does everything have to be done hanging on a favor around here?
"Sure," I replied, "I'd be happy to do a favor for you. What do you need me to do?"
I noticed his right-hand man, Kreikan, giving me the evil-eye stare. I decided not to return his gaze. Something told me I shouldn't let on that I was a mage, or that I had any rank at all.
Ragner told me his desire: "There is a big white wolf lurking in my forests. It's an evil beast, with odd blue eyes. Should you find and kill him, and bring me his head, you'll be rewarded. I have been after him for quite a while, but never managed to hunt him down."
Ragnar's voice became louder, and more angry as he rambled on. I want that animal DEAD!" he exclaimed. "Anyone who can track him down and kill him will have my gratitude! I know you Breton's aren't as good hunters as we Nords are, but if you think you're up to the task, Dragonmeal, have at it. If you fail, I guarantee you'll be known in these halls as Eldorf Wolf-dinner instead."
Just that, huh?
On that last statement, the entire hall burst out into fits of laughter. Well, people had made fun of my prison-given name for 50 years, so I was used to it. I'll bide my time, and show them a thing or two later.
As I was on my way out of the throne room, Kielreen, at the bar, stopped me. "I heard that Ragnar wants you to kill the white wolf, right?" "Sure," I said, "I think the entire island heard Ragnar say it. Don't worry, I'm sure I can find this wolf for him. It sounds pretty dangerous."
She held up her hand to stop me from speaking. "You really shouldn't kill it. There are rumours about this that I can't talk about, not in this room. Look, go to the brewery. You passed it on your way here from the boat docks. Talk to my Auntie Gwenn. She'll tell you the whole story. Just tell her I sent you, ok?". I said I would check with her aunt before doing any hunting. "Listen, just be careful - things here are not as they seem!" She offered me a drink, to make it look as though she was just suggesting something to drink, as Ragnar was looking at us.
Oh, good, another mystery. I need to stop taking vacations.
Before leaving the castle, I checked down in the lower section and found the smith. He had several pieces of armor and weapons for sale, but the one thing that caught my eye was that hansome quiver in the corner. I had brought 500 silver arrows, and 100 daedric paralyzing arrows with me. It was nice to have a proper place to put them now.
I headed out of the castle, and just making sure, I asked the guard about the location of the brewery. He gruffly pointed towards the boat dock, just as Kielreen said, then went on about his duties of walking back and forth. Guards really need to work on their customer service skills.
It was actually getting colder outside, so I put my warm robe back on. I was very glad I had brought it with me.
I found the brewery. By my beard, I have never seen so much mead (honey wine) in one place in my life. Small portions, large portions, and huge jugs of the stuff lined the shelves.
Someone with a strong desire to get drunk would certainly find this place heaven.
I found Borka, Gwenn's husband working on a steaming vat of brew. I mentioned the white wolf and immediately he said "No, don't kill the beast. I don't think it's evil at all. Talk to Gwenn, my wife. She loves to talk about it, so talk to her."
I found Gwenn between two kegs of mead, checking on their contents. "Kielreen sent me to talk to you about the White Wolf. Do you have any news about it? Ragnar wants me to kill it, and he seems really anxious about it for some reason." Gwenn looked very upset. "So, Kielreen told you to come here? I had better tell you what I know then."
We sat down on a bench, and she continued her story: "This big white wolf first showed up in the mountains a year ago, shortly after the death of our beloved chieftain, Wolfgar The White. Now, people normally fear wolves, they're quite deadly, you know, and have attacked villages, but this one is different. It doesn't appear hostile at all. Actually, people that have encountered this creature have claimed it's almost ..." she searched for the right word, "...friendly." I could tell there was an urgency in her voice, as if she knew more than she was telling, or that something in the back of her mind convinced her of something but couldn't be certain of it.
"The villagers think the this wolf was sent by the gods to protect us from Ragnar Fire Hair. You can tell how arrogent he is, and I feel he's an evil man. This wolf has blue eyes. Have you ever heard of such a thing on a wolf?"
"Anyway, Ragnar's a cruel hunter, and enjoys torturing his victims, but this wolf terrifies him in some way. This is why he wants newcomers to hunt and kill this wolf for him."
I could see why Kielreen said that things were not as they seemed. Ragnar was becoming more unlikeable all the time.
Gwenn continued: "He had some hunters returned here saying that they had hit the wolf with poison arrows. Since then, the wolf hasn't been seen at all. I fear it may be dead or dying somewhere."
"Listen, I know I cannot impose on you, but you should really speak to Laurenna. She's the daughter of Wolfgar the White. She doesn't live in the castle any longer, as Ragnar threw her out." "Really?" I replied. "Why?" Gwenn thought for a moment, then decided that since she was spilling the beans, she might as well empty the entire jar.
"Laurenna thinks that Ragnar had something to do with Wulfgar's death." "You think Ragnar killed him?" I asked. "I'm not sure," Gwenn replied, "but I'm sure she will tell you what she thinks." I asked where Laurenna was, and Gwenn said that she was staying in a hunting lodge behind the castle, up on a ridge.
It was getting really late, so I headed off to the inn for the night. Mystery is mystery, but sometimes you just have to catch 40 winks before delving into it.
Inside the inn, I found several people, all drinking mead. A group of hunters from Winterhold, in the province of Skyrim, were in the middle of the hall, singing songs.
As I headed over to the innkeeper, one of the hunters, Lisendra, said she wanted to speak with me. She also asked if I could buy her a drink.
Always willing to glean information from a reliable source, I agreed. In between mugs of mead, she told me about the white wolf, Ragnar Fire Hair, food shortages for the villagers because of Ragnar hording the food for his castle, hording mead for his castle, not letting the villagers hunt for their own food anymore, Laurenna moving out of the castle, and so on. After the 6th or 7th mug of mead, she became really incoherent.
I really need to stop taking vacations.
After sharing a ton of mead with Lisendra, I was pretty snockered myself. How these Nords can drink so much and still stand up is beyond me.
I made my way to the desk, paid 10 gold for a room, and managed to make my way up the stairs without falling more than once.
Once in the room, I took off all the equipment I had, dropped it on the floor (I missed the table), and dropped into the bed for a long, sound sleep (and it was only 8PM).
The next morning found me up bright and early at 6AM with a splitting headache. My head felt like and army of Orks was marching on it. Unfortunately, no healing spell works on mead. I hoped the cold air would resolve that issue for me.
I left the inn, went around the side of the castle, found a passage up the side of the ridge, and yes, right there was Laurenna.
Ahem, anyway, I told her that I had spoken to Gwenn. Laurenna had a lot to say. Ragnar threw her out of the castle because he thinks it's her fault that her mom won't marry Ragnar. From what I could piece together, Wulfren, her brother was accused of killing Wulfgar, their father. Wulfren has been missing since the murder. Laurenna's mother is being held captive in the castle tower (isn't that always the case???) until she agrees to tie the knot with Ragnar. Laurenna also feels the white wolf has been watching over the village for the past year. She's also concerned for it's health and well-being.
Always willing to help a damsel in destress, I agreed to help her find this white wolf and her brother, Wulfren. It was suggested that I speak to a friend of her's by the name of "Fjorngrin". She said he lives just southeast of the inn.
Back down the trail, around the side of the castle, and behind the inn....then off to explore. It was still cold, and my headache had disappeared in the cold air (the ache was probably frozen out of my head). I was stunned by the winter wonderland of this place. It all seemed so peaceful and serene. The snow-covered land-scape and falling snow gave the place a peaceful, sleepy feeling.
It was so peaceful, I didn't even hear the wolf sneaking up to attack me. It lept for my throat. I dodged back and it missed. I pulled out my daedric war hammer and struck the animal. It squeeled in pain, but lunged at me again. Some creatures know that when you face a war hammer like this, you don't want more of it. Obviously, this thing wasn't thinking clearly. I hit the wolf 3 more times before it finally collapsed on the ground.
So much for peace and serinety.
After about 3 or 4 wolves tried to have me for dinner, along with a raving lunatic that tried to kill me with his bare hands (and the rest of him was bare, too!), I finally found Fjorngrin's cabin.
Ah, typical guy, his place was a mess. Some people are just too busy hunting to worry about the smaller details of where you should put yesterday's socks (or last week's socks, for that matter!). Laurenna gave me a code word to give him, proving that I was a friend, and that he could trust me. I gave him the full story so far, but he was still unsure about my ability to handle this monumental task. He said he'd test me. I agreed.
Seems some Imperial all the way from Kvatch in Cyrodiil (the Imperial province) was being guided around the area by Fjorngrin, and had run off with one of the hunting trophies, as well as Fjorngrin's favorite longbow. Naturally, if I could find these items and get them back, I'd pass the test. LoKKen isn't that big an island, right? Well.........
It only took me about 20 minutes to find this hunter wanna-be, fending off a vicious wolf attack. He was lucky there was only one wolf. Two wacks of the war hammer, and it was all over. This guy was definately in over his head. He had dropped the stolen trophy that he was going to claim as his, and begged me to give him a scroll of Divine Intervention, which would teleport him to the nearest Imperial cult shrine (which would probably be all the way back in Vvardenfell at Ginsis. How he gets back to Kvatch is his own problem. Naturally, I didn't bring any such scroll with me. I told him to stay right there and don't get into any trouble, and I'd find him a scroll. He said he would give me all the items and weapons on his person if I could do this favor for him. I'd hold him to that promise, though I really wanted to drag him by the ear back to Fjorngrin's cabin for a sound talking-to about taking other people's things.
Just over the mountainside, I saw the LoKKen village below, and using the Belt-of-Flight, levitated gently to the ground, several hundred feet below. I landed just behind the inn. I didn't want anyone to know I was a mage just yet. I found the trader near the boat docks, and sure enough, she had the spell scroll I needed. I picked up two of them, just in case he tore the first one when trying to use it.
Back behind the inn, and with the Belt-of-Flight, went back up a few hundred feet to the same ledge I started from. There he was, shivering from the cold. I was glad I had the presence of mind to bring a warm robe. I could only chuckle at his situation as he gave me his money and weapons. He nearly tore the spell scroll apart trying to activate it in the cold, his hands were shaking so bad. I was about to give him a lecture on taking what didn't belong to him, but he suddenly vanished as the scroll activated. Lucky for him.
I brought the trophy and bow back to Fjorngrin. He was happy to get both items back. Now that he trusted me, he decided to fill me in on what he knew about this situation.
"I believe that Wulfgar's shaman, Snorri, knows what happened to the white wolf. Snorri's been hiding in the forest for a year now." I had to ask: "If he's a shaman, what would he possibly be afraid of?" Fjorngrin was silent for a moment, as if not wanting to say, then spoke quietly, "Kreikan". "The guy on Ragnar's right hand?" I asked. "The very same." was the reply. "Evil, he is. You can feel it just being near him."
It was true. As an Arch-mage, I did sense the presence of evil, but hopefully masked my own abilities in the throne room when I was there. "Snorri is hiding out somewhere in the eastern area of the island." "Any idea where it might be, landmarks, anything like that?" I asked. "Never seen the place," was the reply, "but I hear that it is well-hidden between several stone blocks." I grinned. "That would narrow it down to all the stone blocks I've seen on this island so far." Fjorngrin took it with good humor, knowing I was being funny. "Aye, it'll be hard to find, alright, but then again, if it was easy, Ragnar's henchmen would have found him by now." Well, that made perfect sense, but still didn't make it any easier for me.
"Before ya go," he said, "get back to Laurenna. She can give you some sort of token that'll prove you're a friend of her's. Otherwise, Snorri might think you're a spy working for Ragnar." I agreed, and headed back to Laurenna's lodge.