About the Skyrim Permadeath Chronicles
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The bandit chieftain was relentless, chasing Meo’dar-Meo’jo far afield and deep into the wilderness, stalking him through small forests and racing him across open fields. He was always close behind, always shouting insults. Worst of all was the sound his boots made as they tromped the underbrush, grinding fallen limbs into dust. It was the sound of bones snapping and breaking. Meo’dar-Meo’jo wondered that he would forever after have nightmares plagued by steel boots in the dark.
Meo’dar-Meo’jo made a silent vow. One day, he would return to these dark woods and kill this king of bandits. Kill him, and melt his boots.
Chest heaving, Meo’dar-Meo’jo slid to a stop before a bubbling brook. Water! Hissing, he backpedaled lest his toes brush the surface. Behind him, the bandit burst through a copse of trees and into the small clearing. Seeing his prey, he let out a cry of triumph and put on a burst of speed.
Meo’dar-Meo’jo thought he might be able to leap the brook, but he didn’t care to find out and risk getting wet, instead turning and running alongside the brook. Ahead, a range of mountains loomed, blotting out the sky. Meo’dar-Meo’jo scrambled up the pebble-strewn incline. The bandit chieftain came on, breathing hard. Clambering over boulders, Meo’dar-Meo’jo felt certain the axe would fall at any moment.
Meo’dar-Meo’jo’s short time in Skyrim had been full of new observations, and here he came to appreciate a new one – bandit chiefs are demons on the trail, but as a babe when tasked with climbing. The bandit tried half a dozen approaches but could not scale the boulders as Meo’dar-Meo’jo did. Instead he paced the incline and spit insults. Reaching a summit, Meo’dar-Meo’jo taunted the bandit from his safe distance.
The soft pads of his paws were torn and bloody, and his legs ached from the climb and the harried flight through the wilderness before that, but he felt he’d conquered a great challenge this day, and he descended the mountain’s far side smiling.
A small fort sat sentinel in the near distance, the rough palisade wall casting shadows over the scrub. Crouching and moving slow, he crept in for a look. There were men about the fort, at least two by the look. They did not appear overly dangerous as they wandered about. One of the men climbed the watchtower and stood looking out.
Meo’dar-Meo’jo crept into the open gate and up the wooden steps. The man did not see Meo’dar-Meo’jo coming. He stood watching the forest serenely, his posture relaxed. He seemed a friendly sort, from behind. Meo’dar-Meo’jo stood and said hello.
“Huh?” The man whirled, his green face registering surprise and alarm. The half-orc’s teeth flashed in the dark. Promising Meo’dar-Meo’jo’s death, he drew his hand axe.
“What? But I just wanted to talk!”
The half-orc’s blade whistled through the air. Meo’dar-Meo’jo dodged aside. Whispering death, Meo’dar-Meo’jo’s razor sharp claws emerged from his paws. He fell upon the bandit, tearing through the man’s fur armor and into the soft flesh underneath. Dropping to his knees, the half-orc begged for parlay.
“It is too late for talk.” Meo’dar-Meo’jo slit his throat.
Another bandit came rushing up the steps. Frenzied, Meo’dar-Meo’jo fell upon him, pulping the man’s face. His body slid down the stairs and was still.
An arrow pinged into the wall near Meo’dar-Meo’jo’s face. Another? Vaulting the railing, Meo’dar-Meo’jo sprinted up the incline where the third bandit crouched. A second arrow whistled past. The bandit was fitting a third to the string when Meo’dar-Meo’jo reached him. His screams were a salve to Meo’dar-Meo’jo’s wounded psyche.
Meo’dar-Meo’jo stalked the fort, claws extended, but it seemed these three were the only occupants. He encountered a door leading down into Bilegulch Mine but left it undisturbed. Mines were dirty and dingy places, no place for a cat like Meo’dar-Meo’jo.
A small smithing station was setup near the mine’s entrance. Meo’dar-Meo’jo had no interest in smithing. However, laid out on a nearby table, he discovered finished weapons and armor. Nearly purring with happiness, Meo’dar-Meo’jo selected a pair of iron gauntlets and a matching helm. He took a steel warhammer as well, thinking he might be able to fetch a fair price for it.
Meo’dar-Meo’jo scoured the rest of the fort, looking in baskets and bags, on shelves and tables, in the dead men’s pockets. Considering his dire circumstances, he came away with a true king’s ransom – food enough to keep him fed for another day (4 cabbage, 2 green apples, a potato, a bottle of ale and one of nord mead), a longbow and 30 steel arrows, a pair of hide boots, a potion of minor healing and one of true shot, and more fodder to sell (4 chunks of ore and 2 leather straps). As well, he turned up 18 gold coins.
He also found a sleeping bag. Sitting cross-legged on bag, Meo’dar-Meo’jo feasted, consuming 2 heads of cabbage, an apple, and a bottle of ale. Even as he stuffed himself, Meo’dar-Meo’jo wondered if he should have rationed his new supply a bit better. But it’d been long since he’d last eaten, and he was in need of something to celebrate.
His stomach full, a pleasant buzz from the ale blurring his vision, Meo’dar-Meo’jo crawled into the bag and went to sleep.
I want to provide some out-of-game commentary outside of the narrative posted above.
I must say, it was a huge relief encountering the fort when I did. I was starting to question how I would handle the situation if I could not find something to eat. How do you simulate the effects of starvation in a game like this, without the use of mods? Move slower, rest more, etc?
The fort let me dodge that bullet (for now). And I was able to get some sleep for the feline hero. Win-win. Not to mention, it was a major score finally replacing those rags with armor, and getting a healing potion will allow me to breath a bit easier.
I was panicking a bit when I realized I tried to talk to a bandit and he pulled steel (no HUD means no helpful ‘bandit’ marker floating over an NPC’s head). I was surprised at how quickly the Khajiit downed him with his fists (having claws helps). And how he made short work of the other 2 bandits. Apparently that Nord traveler really was made of some stout stuff!
I must admit, the world feels dangerous and full of mystery as I wander about blindly. Will I ever reach Riften? Such an easy thing to do with my previous character, it feels like an impossible quest playing like this. That’s a good thing!
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