Year of the RPG: Letter from a Friend

Athena sat in the great hall, sipping hot cider and watching the storm rage outside. It had been a while since she had heard from any adventurers.

As if on cue, the great doors swung open and a well-behaved dragon came in, looking thoroughly put-out. It spat a letter at her with a distinct “ptooee” noise before defrosting itself from the storm outside. The ink was dark on the envelope, as if the person had pressed the pen in too hard. Raising an eyebrow, Athena broke the seal and began to read.

To Athena,

My name is Ra’zirr, and I am new to Skyrim. The woman who travels with me, Lydia, encouraged me to write to you of my adventures. I call her the one who travels with me, but I suppose it would be accurate to call her my friend. She has fought by my side, found me in any weather condition no matter how far apart from each other we became, and just recently I took a few arrows for her. Yes, friend. I trust her. And so I am writing to you at her behest, although what good can come of it, I am not sure. Lydia seems to think that you can exert control over my journey, and if that is so, I of course humbly ask your forgiveness and pray you will lead me to prosperity.

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You may have heard of the unrest in Skyrim. I was simply passing through, trading for food when out of nowhere, the Imperial Legion arrested the lot of us and carted us off prison. Merely two days later we found ourselves en route to our execution, with the criminals I was with spouting off names and locations as if I was supposed to know or care about them. All that mattered was that these men were against the Empire. No, against law and order. They may have been honorable men, but there is no room for dissent under the law; that road only leads to chaos.

My name, as it turned out, was not on the list to be executed, so it seems that, at the end of the day, law and order to reign, although one of the guards said I should be executed anyway. As I’m writing these words, obviously that didn’t occur. I never thought I would say these words, but thank the gods a dragon appeared.

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I was given a choice to follow to rebels (“Stormcloaks,”‘ they call themselves) or the Imperial guards. Obviously I chose the latter. While my execution would have been a mistake of the law, that does not mean that there is nothing good that comes from order. Besides, between you and me, gaps in the system are there for the wise and able to fill. And a repentant “criminal” can say a lot about a man’s character, given the right grease for the right wheels.

I am now a free khajiit. It also seems that every time I turn around, someone is asking for help. Rarely do these men and women deserve it, though. Is it too hard for you to walk to the docks to pick up your spices? Then don’t have wares to sell tomorrow; someone less lazy will thrive instead.

However, I did try to help the religious group here, and wound up trekking across Skyrim to find a small knife to stab a tree for its sap. A pilgrim asked to follow us, but he unfortunately perished when we were attacked by a dragon.

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When Lydia and I reached the area with this magical tree, the people begged me to not hurt the tree. When I did not listen, they turned to woodland spirits and attacked. But for what? The priestess offered me a “thank you” and nothing else. Those innocent people were killed for no reason other than to bring comfort to people sitting under a tree? I will not be running errands for the religious anymore.

Working for the Jarl has proved beneficial. They have discovered I am something called Dragonborn, and thus able to harness the power of dragonspeak. This appears advantageous, if nothing else. The Jarl then assigned Lydia to me as my housecarl, and I have been glad for her company, as I have mentioned.

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I have also installed myself as a member of the Imperial Legion, and of the Companions. These two groups seem to not only hold the most power, but also the most prestige in Skyrim, and being in their ranks can only lead to personal advancement in the country. Just recently, a group of us, lead by Legate Rikke, took back the Jagged Crown, which from what I gather is important for choosing the next ruler of Skyrim. More importantly, we retrieved it before the Stormcloaks, and so our side is thus more strengthened.

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Although I think the crown looks best on me. Don’t worry; I took it off before seeing the general.

Lydia has asked for me to not spend so much time talking about politics, and so I will also tell you that I find the children here to be obstinate. Where are their parents? One little boy offered to give me two Septims (what they call gold here) to straighten out a bully for him! I am a fully-grown khajiit. First of all, it’s not right for adults to “teach bullies lessons,” but second of all, no character is to be gained by hiding from your problems. You succeed, or you fall behind.

Speaking of falling behind, when I arrived at Solitude, I came in time to see one of the Stormcloaks beheaded. While it was sad to see his niece so distraught, and while his brother called him an honorable man, no one is above the law. I suppose I could have interfered, being the Dragonborn, but anyone who breaks the law must pay the price.

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This is still apparently not the news Lydia wants me to convey.

…we helped a shopkeeper with a bard who was being uncivil with his advances toward her. He did not listen to reason, but did listen to my fist. Lydia says I am a hero for doing so, but I say that “no” means “no,” no matter who says it, and it must be adhered to. The shopkeeper’s name is Carolotta, and she is devoted to her daughter and her work. It is something I can respect.

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We have also slayed three dragons – which were not too difficult to take on – and a number of frost trolls – which were.

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I also discovered that the people here have strange ideas about how to keep livestock.

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Now, I am saving money to buy a home, perhaps in Whiterun, or eventually in Solitude to be near the Imperial Legion. But another tragedy has befallen me. On one of my adventures, a great snowstorm hit, and I fear some of my progress toward my goals has been lost. Once the storm passes I will be able to survey the damage, but for now we hunker in the dark, unsure of where we even are, waiting for the sun to come back.

And so I humbly ask you, Athena, for advice:

Where to next? Is there anything you believe I simply must accomplish on m way toward personal advancement? Is there anyone I should seek out? Please, guide me in my travels!

With respect,

Ra’zirr

Athena folded the envelop and neatly tucked it back into the envelope. She sighed. The storm had been bad near her castle, as well, and she hoped that Ra’zirr would make it through the storm relatively unharmed. She took out a fresh piece of paper, dipped her quill thoughtfully, and began to write…

“Dear Ra’zirr…”

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
~ Athena

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10 comments

  1. That opening is a weird one, compared to the staging of the rest of the game, particularly with regards to the civil war. Makes the Empire seem like straight callous dicks, when the rest of the game tries to make the case that it’s a lot more complicated than that, and it makes Ulfric and the Stormcloaks look like chumps, when they’re not. I know they were trying to stick with series tradition by having you start imprisoned, but I feel like they were putting to much in there without much control.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah I was… sort of taken aback by it. To a newcomer to the series, the information dump was a little overwhelming, and now, at about halfway through, I both like the intrigue and am suffering from whiplash from it, but… I just hope the end ties everything together!!

      Liked by 1 person

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