Skyrim: It's An NPC's Life - Part 2
In this series I attempt to live life in Skyrim like an NPC - I have to eat, drink, and make money and I’m not allowed to go on adventures, murder or steal. My one objective is to eke out a living in the hostile world, and hopefully settle down with a house and wife.
Tirdas, 19th of Last Seed
I spend some time walking through Windhelm, trying to find as many odd jobs as possible. It seems there’s not much work for a man whose only skillset is swinging an axe onto something. I’m not making much money and decide to head on out of town. Maybe I can catch those Redguards again and help them harass women throughout the land. First, though, I decide to take a trip to the inn for a drink.
Inside I sit and listen to the sweet tones of a lute, which really sets a nice atmosphere for me to munch on my carrot collection. A man approaches me and tells me that the Cruel-Sea family are famous in Windhelm, then wanders off to tell the next person. Strange people, these Nords.
I get up and walk over to the bard, who is a Breton, just like Flod. Maybe she’s looking for a husband? “I was trained at the Bard’s College in Solitude” she tells me “you should visit, wanderer”. Flod, a bard? The notion is tempting – there’s good money to be made at inns around Skyrim, I’d wager. Trying to forget how deftly the bard sidestepped my enquiry about marriage, I decide to try my hand at the lute and drum. Solitude is quite a walk, though, it’s best I start right away.
Filling my pockets with ale, cheese and apples, I decide to strike out. The roads of Skyrim are thankfully quiet and I make it back to Aeri’s mill in no time. She doesn’t even give me so much as a hello – is that how she treats employees? No wonder only two people work there and all they do is complain.
I continue on my journey along the road and encounter a heavily armed Nord woman who accuses me of being “a milk drinker”. I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with getting your daily calcium intake so I ignore her and carry on.
The road becomes thin and sparsely cobbled and it begins to look awfully like I’m off the beaten track. It’s then that I spot a house on the horizon. Situated in an alcove is a cosy looking set of buildings. I approach someone carving some leather and give them a friendly hello.
Something seems off about this place. For one thing everyone is wearing the same set of clothes and saying the same things. Something about Stendarr, Daedra… It all sounds a bit adventurous to me. Still, it’s a warm place to stay so I stop in for a bit. Inside it’s warm and cosy – as long as you ignore the cultists wandering to and fro screaming about hunting Daedra, vampires and werewolves. I gnaw on some bread and watch them brood for a bit before stretching my legs and heading off.
It never seems to stop snowing in Skyrim and I have some trouble finding my way. After some aimless wandering, I discover a signpost that shows I’m far nearer to Dawnstar than Solitude. Shrugging, I head there instead – there has to be some work there, surely? At any rate, less distance means less danger.
I can see Dawnstar on the horizon but just as I begin to think about warm beds, ale and a good job, there’s a spine-chilling howl nearby. Wolves! Before I can run away, a pack of snarling monsters descend on me. There’s nothing I can do but equip my axe, close my eyes and imagine that they’re wood fresh for chopping…
After a few minutes of screaming, flailing and crying, I stop to see that the wolves are dead. Quickly I head towards Dawnstar, limbs shaking, vowing never to do anything like that again – it was far too adventurous.
Arriving in the small town I explore for a bit before finding a mine. Mining seems like a decent trade to take up – probably a lot of money in mines. I walk up to the woman who seems to own the place and start a conversation.
“There’s no rest in Dawnstar, stranger,” she tells me. She’s obviously never walked there from Windhelm: I’m knackered. I head for the inn, ready to start my new job in the morning.
Middas, 20th of Last Seed
Mining’s a good job, mate. It’s challenging work, out of doors and I’m guaranteed to not go hungry. I settle into life mining like a fish to water or, more aptly, like a pickaxe to a rock. I collect a good number of ores on my first day and head outside to tell the owner Betild to sell them, but she’s nowhere to be seen. My eyes settle on the smelter – there’s no harm in it, is there?
A few (in-game) hours of good smelting and I’ve come away with a score of iron ingots. Not a bad haul! I decide to head to the blacksmith to sell them to him. He’s not there either – people in Dawnstar really sleep in late, it seems. I take a poke at the forge and pull a few levers. It seems the blacksmith lark isn’t too hard, either! I have a go and come away with a set of iron armour – not bad for a first try!
The blacksmith appears and I trade in my newly forged armour for a set of boots and some extra change. This is great, I have something to make a living off of and there’s no danger in sight! The mining cave is a little dark, so stubbed toes are an issue, but otherwise it seems like I’m set. I even overhear that Betild and her husband, who owns the other mine, have separated. Flod’s not much of a looker, but if he waxes his moustache a bit, he might be in there!
I decide to head over to the other mine to check out what I can (quite literally) dig up. Turns out it’s mainly quick-silver. I have no idea what that does but if it's worth money, it’s worth excavating. Once inside I have a look around – this mine is much better equipped than Betild’s. There are bedrolls everywhere and even books to read. Maybe I should marry her ex-husband instead. I set to work hacking quick-silver from the walls and even sit down to sharpen a pickaxe they’ve handed me. I drop my old one on the floor only for another miner to pick it up and hand it back to me - how considerate! I briefly consider marrying them before getting back to work
During one of my many trips from the surface to the mines’ depths I casually pick up a book to read and am shocked when my magic skill increases. No! No adventuring, no magic! To be safe I drop the book in a bucket and throw the bucket in the sea. A group of sailors dive into the ocean to retrieve the book and, curiously, the bucket as well. Strange people, Nords...
With more time to explore the city I visit the Jarl’s hall, listen to him chat about the nightmare problem everyone has been having, then shove the note Aeri gave me in his face. He’s so pleased to have a piece of paper that he gives me 120 gold for the trouble. With rooms at inns going for 10 gold a night I’m set for at least a week with that kind of money!
Seems like things are finally looking up for Flod Bumbleroot, what could go wrong?