My name is Nyx, and this is my journal. I intend to use these few pages to recount my journey into and throughout Skyrim, be it long or brief.
I am a Bosmer. My skin is the colour of light gold, and my long, wavy hair is deep brown and currently braided in Elven fashion. My dark, fiery eyes slant dramatically above my cheekbones, and are forever alert. I will always be a little bit taller than you, and my athletic frame gives me advantage in combat. You may have heard us Bosmer make first-rate hunters, thieves, and assassins.
I explain these details to paint a picture of my person, never to boast. Though, tell me truly, did these specifications just inspire jealousy or hatred of my people? If not jealousy, do you find yourself suddenly irritated by my image for some indiscernible reason which makes you wish to harm me, or at least stir some quiet hatred in your eyes should we ever pass in the street?
If this is your reality, do not fret dear reader, because as you will soon come to learn, this feeling is a common one. If this is false, then you truly are a shining temple of morality, but you and I are not alike. Of course, you are more likely lying and more like me than you could care to admit.
Turdas: Day the First of Morning Star; Fourth Era Two Hundred and One.
It was on this day, dear reader, that I first became justly aware of the inhospitality of Skyrim. You would think my inborn furtiveness and stature would have proven the tools necessary to allow me to remain undetectable and uncapturable as I crossed the borders from my home, Cyrodiil, into Skyrim. This was not the case; however, as my luck seemed to run dry the moment my toe crossed the threshold of this accursed province, straight back into the hands of the people I was currently attempting to abandon.
In hindsight, if I had left an hour earlier, or an hour later, perhaps I would have not been sitting on the bench of an Imperial wagon with my hands bound in my lap, waiting for the axe to drop. For the first time, my punctuality and enthusiasm had served me wrong.
The whole ordeal could have seemed farcical to some third person, perhaps roosting in a tree some feet away. A stealthy Bosmer caught by a large group of clumsy foot soldiers. I could hear my ancestors laughing at me all the way from Valenwood as they tied me up and threw me opposite another man, who looked at my visage as though I was a ghost.
To my relief, and astonishment, their ambush proved clever enough to capture six more men within the hour. They tied a dirty cloth rag around the mouth of one cloaked in a bear pelt, and tossed him and one other beside me and my new friend. Neither appeared mystified by the presence of a female Bosmer in their midst. Such is the intelligence and curiosity of Nords.
Whether their task was done, or they simply had run out of room to store people, their porcine faces seemed smug enough as they saddled up and we began an uncomfortable journey towards Helgen. Whether they were genuinely intending to execute me for my supposed 'crimes against the Empire' or they were too stupid to remember where they had tossed me earlier was unclear, but I soon grew to learn that I was the only essentially innocent person on this wagon about to be sentenced to death. Such was my luck at this moment.
As we approached the village gates, one of my last thoughts was a dark one. Somewhere inside me I imagined the rhythmic squirting of blood gushing from my soon to be stunted neck on the chopping block, and I wished to see how many Imperials would become soaked with my blood. My head would probably roll the wrong way, though, and I'd be stuck staring into the glassy eyes of the unlucky man who had gone before me. The Imperial checking off names seemed nice enough, but the bitch who sentenced me to death without a crime to account for the penalty certainly deserved a spurt or two soaking her armor.
It was a dragon, of all things possible and impossible, which rescued me from the embarrassing situation I found myself in at that moment, seconds before the executioner's axe was to introduce me to my fate. I probably would have had more things to say about it had I not been so distracted at that time by the giant flying lizard snorting fire down my neck as I hightailed towards the tower my wagon-friends had found refuge in. You could imagine how difficult it would be to dodge a fireball under normal circumstances.
After a rather painful jump from one building to the next, I limped through the burning houses to the best of my abilities in hopes to find an exit on my own. How I eventually met up again with the Nord I had just previously insulted, was slightly impressive however his journey was probably just as inelegant as mine and not to be venerated.
Once inside a sturdy tower he called The Keep, this man finally cut my binds, which I thought both helpful but rather overdue. I could have followed this oaf through the cave with my hands tied, though my ankle, which had started to throb, could have benefited from a more graceful landing. But, I shall not pluck strings when I should clearly be gratified.
After making short work of the final obstacles standing between me and the freedom I initially intended to gain earlier that morning, we emerged at the opposite end of a cave, and I said my goodbyes to the Nord and followed a set of tracks to a river bed, where I overtook a nicely sized deer with a bow I had pilfered off a dead Imperial in The Keep.
I cut myself a nice chunk of venison from it which I grudgingly wrapped in the old set of rags I had worn an hour previous, turning my nose at the unfortunate sanitation; however reminding myself the circumstances deemed it necessary. Further along I found a small shack where an old lady rather reluctantly allowed me to stay, and I cooked my venison, and rested my ankle on her corpse. This where I stop writing.
Middas: Day the Eighteenth of Sun's Dawn; Fourth Era Two Hundred and One.
It is a month and a half later where you rejoin me in my tale. I have long forgotten the crumbling shack and its small comforts. Quite simply, the old crone began to stink, and I was not about to take it upon myself to dispose of her bloated remains.
(I really hope you are not eating anything as you read this, unless you are the Imperial soldier investigating her murder. In that case, I really hope you have lost your appetite, you bastard.)
I digress—for the handful of weeks I was there, I found a number of interesting tomes on the subject of Alchemy. Interesting only for minds like mine, and I am sure you are glad I am sparing you the boring details between spending long hours crouched over an alchemy table and reading dusty books. Eventually, I had gained enough skill to brew up a weak poison which helped me take down a large bear which ambled into the yard one night.
This new skill appeared to pave the way to some fortuitous relations whom I found in a city some half a day's walk away, after my ankle had healed sufficiently. A most interesting place is Whiterun, I dare say, though no shops would touch the 'merchandise' that had come into my possession through, admittedly, a less than honorable approach in the more closely situated Riverwood. This was a horrible habit of mine that I do not see myself breaking anytime soon.
One of these relations directed me towards the city of Riften, where I am heading tonight—after I turn out Whiterun, naturally.
Loredas: Day the Twenty-First of Sun's Dawn; Fourth Era Two Hundred and One.
As the sun settled on the second day, I was shivering and in poor mood when my carriage finally rattled to a stop. As I jumped down from the bench, my boots crunched noisily on the gravel below. It is not in my nature to cause such noise, you see, and my eyes instinctively searched the coming darkness for anyone besides the coachman who was now aware of my arrival.
Sure enough, I caught the attention of a close by Riften Guard dressed in red, and he strode towards me with a confidant air, eyeing me shrewdly through the holes of his iron mask. I shall not lie, I became extremely nervous under his gaze, and my palms started to sweat as they clutched at the straps of my travelling bag, which was still bloated with stolen goods from Whiterun. For the briefest of moments, I considered sending an arrow through one of the thin breaks in his mask.
It was a long, tense moment as I thought better of murdering a guard so close to ten others. What at first seemed like escape would surely lead to suicide. I was desperate, but not stupid. Instead, I smartly held my ground and fell perfectly still, and for the smallest fraction of a minute I thought the guard had lost sight of me, despite my position in his direct line of sight.
It was when the guard spoke when I understood that I was both safe, and in the right place. His proposition even evoked a laugh from me, my knuckles regaining colour as my grip loosened. His attempt to extort coin from me was pathetically lazy. How many travellers had fallen for his bad trick? My eyes instantly fell to the burlap coin purse which hung from his right hip. It held too small an amount for myself to be tempted, however much too large for this man's competence, in my humble opinion.
As if my mockery and sharp, cutting gaze had not marred the guard's arrogance, I shot him a cold response to tear him down further, which I thought was quite good: "I think it is mutually understood that you do not possess the means to collect this sum you unlawfully demand, guard, should I wish not to pay it." It was a chilling line even the bravest man would dare not challenge.
As of the words exchanged afterwards, I shall say to you the guard receded cowardly, and I gained access to the city of Riften no friend richer, though my pockets remained no coin poorer. It would have been smart not to chance angering the man who held the keys to greater riches behind the gate he guards, but that coin purse sitting at his hip was clearly in the wrong hands, anyway. It was a pathetic amount of coin which left me feeling both bitter and appeased.
If you know anything of the cities of Skyrim, I am sure you are suspecting that I have found my home here, this place where you can find shady people with morals blurrier than mine, and perhaps even stickier fingers. I am sure I am expecting as much as well, but, as I had previously mentioned in the first entry of this journal, my time in Skyrim was not ever meant to be that easy, and I am expecting a battle.
For example, I am writing this journal entry fire-side, with large rocks as padding for my blankets. Apparently Riften does not cater to whimsical travelers- and that bitch Haelga was too busy tending the 'working' men to rent a room to female guests with coin to spare. Let us pray I am not woken by a spider on my face.
Sundas: Day the Twenty-Second of Sun's Dawn; Fourth Era Two Hundred and One.
Despite what was to be a rather uneventful morning, it became rather productive quite quickly. It did not take long to learn of the city's secrets, as the lips of Riften's inhabitants were, to my surprise and pleasure, very loose. Especially Haelga's, not that they ever pleasured me. (That is a personal joke, one which was not only soon justified, but also seemed to abate my bitter resentment of her, I apologise.)
Not ten minutes after I had breakfasted in The Bee & Barb, a loud, morally superior woman was moaning her displeasures. If I was not keen to keep a low profile, I could have injected a few of my own thoughts at the outspoken Nord, or perhaps restrained my opinions in a well-timed look. A well-timed punch would have sufficed just as well, and have been infinitely more rewarding. Best not to anger the townsfolk, though.
In lieu of my more sadistic private tendencies, I acquired a second cup of coffee which I sipped at while keeping my ears open. So many things to learn of, in fact, that I had not noticed that my cup had emptied and the small remnants were chilled and riddled with grounds and the slimy-looking green lizard who was waiting upon me was glaring down at me expectantly with his yellow eyes. I could not but stare up at him without an answer.
"Another cup?" He grumbled again, holding up a black kettle which I not observed previously. (I tend not to be fully aware of my surroundings whilst greater things are to be focused upon. This is fault of mine, dear reader, which I am positive will have great consequences in the future.)
Despite my agreement in a third cup, his piercing gaze remained on me as he appeared to believe our business had not reached its conclusion. This made me quite nervous, a sentiment which was made evident upon my brow as it mixed with another: suspicion.
"Do you need something?" I pushed carefully, my slanted eyes narrowing.
"You…" He started, shifting his slimy weight uncomfortably. "Are from out of town?"
"Obviously." I answered, more crossly than most, but more agreeably than I would have had his manner not intrigued me so. Clearly, he was tentatively broaching a question, and his caution spokes volumes on the city.
"Would you be interested in acquiring items of particular interest for me?" He finally blurted in his strange, reptilian voice, his arm lowering to refill my coffee cup more out of habit than obliging my earlier request.
Needless to say, I had somehow warmed to him in the short time we had shared company and I was compelled to amuse him. My compliance required little effort on my part, in any case, as it was only a matter of accessing my personal effects in a more private location.
The lizard's request was simple enough and I had returned not five minutes later with my travelling bag slightly lighter and the items he had requested. It seemed he was not in the mood to ask any further questions, and the 'transaction' had left me doubly prosperous.
You can imagine how I had become thence forth inspired by the wicked plan which would occupy the next half day, as I began to search for similar subjects and desires throughout the marketplace. Soon, most objects in my bag were displaced by an enviable amount of coin and various objects and potions which were both clean and useful. My stature and my spirit were both equally lightened by the time the sun was to disappear behind the city's walls.
Occasionally, one of my grateful 'customers' would let slip some loaded detail once I'd gained their trust, and soon I had a handful of plans twitching in my hot little hands, and a whole lot of mouths begging to give me more of their secrets. It seemed I was settling into the city nicely, but then a dark-skinned man came running up to me in the alleyway where I was leaning against a stone wall and counting my coin.
"Y-you're good at solving problems." This man stuttered, his glossy, chocolate eyes showing more fear and age than I observed was necessary.
This man must have caught wind of the ripples I had stirred by interacting with the merchants, and I bit my lip. It had not occurred to me that a person who solved more problems in a day than were started must make quite an impression in Riften, most alarmingly and most likely with the wrong people. He had obviously angered someone of influence, and assumed I must be the character to take care of it.
It was here a heavy rock appeared to form in the pit of my belly, but I pushed onwards. This man seemed too desperate of my help for even my hard-seasoned self to ignore. "What manner of problem possesses you?" I encouraged, nervously feeling the coin in my fingers.
He spoke quickly of a woman who was demanding recompense after a foolish deal he had made using her money went sour, but he was under the impression she had been the culprit of its demise. I should have been wiser and ignored his request; however my newly found heroism had blinded me. To think the ordeal ended with a settled debt is stupid of me to think, but nevertheless the issue was solved with a conversation that was much too short, and my day had ended.
I did not like the look of that woman.
Morndas: Day the Twenty-Second of Sun's Dawn; Fourth Era Two Hundred and One.
This morning was symbolically dreary, and clandestine eyes had found my camp from the shadows. It was impossible to pass the gates and the alleyways in the city without them following my form. This sinister attention has left me anxious, and I begun to keep my satchel of stolen items closer to my person. Value, I think, if they ever find the hands of the right person, but I am beginning to think it a possibility far too improbable.
I had to keep fast to them until one opportunity presented itself, or the other. I had therefore decided to hide in plain sight. It was only a matter of time until those shaded eyes which had remained with me since the earliest hours finally had a face, but I doubted they possessed the audacity to attempt anything while I chatted with some stall vendors in the daylight.
It was mid-way between breakfast and lunch when I noticed a man I had never seen before pass by me, his green eyes boring into mine purposefully as he did so.
The rock sank in my stomach when I looked to find the eyes of my stalker had disappeared from the shadows. I had made assumptions as to the true identity of those eyes, the woman from before, but it appeared this man was the proper threat.
I walked cautiously around the well he had disappeared behind, only to find him stocking a stall, which I had assumed was unused, with elegantly bottled potions. His great form turned imposingly, however easily, and in the manner of someone who regularly needed to move quickly. I finally looked up to see his eyes studying me with scrutiny.
"Like what ye see, lass?"
"What is their purpose?" The alchemist in me was intrigued by expensive looking bottles, and for the moment I lay my suspicions aside. After all, there was not much this man could do with me here, amid the entire city where I had begun to gain the confidence of its peoples.
He placed his hands on his hips, eyeing me more closely. "That depends on what ye need."
"I do not need anything." My suspicions returned swiftly and I turned to move away. Answering questions with more questions was always an obvious technique to the wizened, though it was a useful one which I occasionally utilized myself. I thought it best to avoid this man.
"Whoa there, lass. What's the hurry? You've been wandering around the market all morning and cannae spare a second for me?"
"I can spot a bad scam when I see one." My fiery eyes narrowed accusingly, but my voice was ice. His accent may be charming, but you may have noticed I am not one to be easily swindled. "Your potions are useless. Merely liquid, in pretty bottles."
"You're smart as a whip, lass." The Nord chuckled, apparently amused by his weak backbone. Never the less, it made me shiver. You don't fund fine clothes such as his by abandoning your wares as quickly as he had. "But, perhaps a wee dishonest, yourself?"
For a moment I thought of denying it, but I wasn't completely sure how much information this man had acquired by observing me from my camp that morning. Perhaps he was trickier, more intelligent and more significant than a simple pickpocket wanting to rob me. I could only tremble as the shadowy beast I had poked stirred from its slumber.
"That is quite an accusation." I answered cautiously, clutching my bag tighter. I could only suppose this man knew of its worth better than I.
"Oh, but I know a thief when I see one. You are carrying quite a bit of coin, lass. And I'll bet the lot you didn't earn a Septim of it honestly."
"So where does that leaves us?"
"With a very promising proposition. You see, you are a very small stone which has managed a large splash. You are the talk of the town, lass, and no one is expecting what you'll do next. I like that."
"I am listening."
"I need someone to run a little errand for me. And if you do the job right, there will be plenty of coin."
You cannot imagine how this Nord's proposition tempted and emboldened my most practiced sin. How it seduced it. How I carelessly disregarded my suspicions and fell into his hands. I couldn't even help the smile which spread across my money-hungry face as I aided and abetted him in the false arrest he had deviously planned. This was a situation which should have sounded familiar but resounded for naught in my ears as this Nord's voice filled my head with encouragements and filled my pockets with jingling coins to compensate for whatever morality I had displaced.
By the end of it all, I leaned against the stall of the man whom I had personally placed in a jail cell and rolled one of the many coins I had gained across my knuckles.
"You did the job well, lass." He said, closing down his stall as quickly as he'd opened it, and I began to suspect it was only opened when it became advantageous. "If you can get to The Flagon in one piece, I'll have more for you to do."
For the first time all day, as his form disappeared behind the Temple of Mara, I found myself unwatched by the shadows of Riften. You can assume rightly I took this small opportunity to find an empty barrel in the alleyway beside an abandoned house to store my cache of goods, and set out to find this Thieves Guild the city was so eager to talk about.
I was just going to make sure I didn't appear enticing should this not pan out well for me in the sewers. By that, of course, I am certain even you are smart enough to know that walking into the desolate underbelly of the city where a powerful man could have been lying, and depraved enough to murder you for goods.
I kept only a dagger in my boot and bow on my back as dusk cloaked my form. I dropped from the upper tier of the city below, where the entrances to the sewers were numerous. I had learned the previous day of the location of the infamous Guild, and the iron gate guarding this entrance was not locked.
It was down below where I was met not by the red-headed man from earlier, but numerous bandits and petty thieves who were either desperate enough, or dangerous enough to challenge me, regardless of my lack of worth. They were taken care of in short, and soon I was upon the dank tavern the thieves called home.
It was here where I was met by the Nord in surprise, either by compliment or sincere doubt in my ability. Regardless, I had been swiftly engaged in contract by the thieves and am to carry out my first task tomorrow morning. Until then, they secured me a bed to lay in, and suddenly I no immediate reasons to return to the forest.
Tirdas: Day the Twenty-Third of Sun's Dawn; Fourth Era Two Hundred and One.
As I rose this morning, I had no immediate dark premonitions of the day to come. For the moment, my intuition had not served me properly, as I had become safely nestled amongst the dark shadows in Riften and not in danger, as I had come to imagine.
The Cistern, where my bed was located, had become deserted during the few hours I had slept. Those which were asleep when I arrived had woken and gone about their business, and those who were awake had long since gone to bed. It seemed these thieves operated on a shift-like schedule, and I must admit I am amused they are so organized.
Surprise, if I could somehow show you or you were familiar with the place I tell you I am now, is validated in its condition. I am no artist, but I will utilize my use of words to show you that the signs of a successful operation would be evident in its furnishings.
To be positioned in a sewer, you can imagine the moistness and mugginess which exists. Dirt and water are everywhere: Small puddles on the floor, collected in large pools throughout the place where old bridges had been built to cross without wetting your feet. It was in your hair and collected with every breath. It fell from one place to another, its drips resounding against the moist walls. It was in the furniture, which was holding together just as well as the guild itself, badly, and to be in such a place for an extended period of time leaves you equally as moist, which I suppose you could take as a metaphor for corruption.
Further, in the rare places water had not collected, spider's webs were numerous, as were the carcasses of sewer rats which were alarmingly large and therefore did not die of starvation. I shall not think further on this, as I believe I have made my point and do not wish to have nightmares.
As I moved from one room to the next, I met a few people who proved more amiable than you would initially think possible in such a city, especially of those who were supposed to be the bane of it. The word for them would be quirky, perhaps, but not inherently bad.
Soon, through conversations with them, I learned that the guild was not as it once was. Prosperous, but so much was obvious. It seemed they had kept some assemblage of thieves who wished to remain and continued to trudge on through this 'rough patch' I heard described, which I suppose is admirable, though disgusting.
Upon further investigation, the guild's operation came to light. There was a 'Guildmaster', named Mercer Frey, who apparently ran the guild, but I had not the pleasure of meeting as of yet and became suspicious of exactly how he served the guild. Absently, I would say; and likely inefficiently.
'Second-in-Command' was the red-headed Nord I met the day previous and who introduced me to the guild. I just now learned his name is Brynjolf and was currently absent from the sewers this morning. I assumed he was attempting to be a salesman again, but nobody seemed confident in his abilities to do so. Again, I had no idea how he served the guild.
One level down, I was informed, sat the two I had engaged in conversation. The first was a dirty brute named Delvin Mallory, who I thought was charming for some uncomfortable reason and who spoke with a voice befitting his personality. He was the most superstitious, and thought the guild was being attacked by some unseen curse. Crazy 'bugger'.
The more likeable of the two was a quiet woman named Vex, who I thought held the most promise. She was a harsh woman, speaking only when necessary, and attributed the guild's demise to nothing in particular. I learned little about her, and therefore have little to comment upon besides my initial impression.
In general, I learned far more than necessary about everything else, and in conclusion, headed out for the first task required of me as an official member of the Thieves Guild. I laugh, because I returned not half an hour later, barely challenged. It left me wondering exactly what all these thieves did in a day beyond twiddling their thumbs in the moist, dirty darkness. They certainly didn't terrorize the pushovers living above them, like I intended to.
I received a number of jobs from Vex and Delvin which occupied me for the rest of the day. Occasionally it was required of me to attain valuables from houses throughout the city, and I was introduced to the next pillar of the guild, a fence. You can imagine my excitement upon meeting this person, and the significance she held for me. Perhaps I had more luck than I thought.
Or perhaps not.
In my haste to retrieve the stolen items I had cached the night previous in the barrel by the abandoned house, I neglected to notice the eyes of my stalker had returned. It was only after I had donned my satchel again had I noticed the shadowy figure lingering behind me.
Now in full confidence of those eyes, who I assumed was Brynjolf, I approached them unguarded. It was then I noticed the sheen of a polished dagger's edge flash—just before it sunk into my cheek and I dropped to the ground, surprised.
If you can recall the teary-eyed black man whom approached me in the alleyway upon my second night in this city, and his quarrel with the woman whom he had a large debt, I can tell you now this woman's name. Sapphire—and I had neglected to mention her any further as she appeared to have little other significance to me. I know her now, because she was present with me in the guild last night. And though the second encounter was certainly awkward for both of us, I had assumed our quarrel had vanished the moment we became allies.
She must have a particularly broken, and vengeful spirit, however, because not only had she left me barren of coin, she spilled my blood freely and left me there with only a few parting words: "I should slit your throat, bitch."
I assume you are wise to know that ghosts are incorporeal and could not possibly keep hold of a quill long enough to write this, so I can announce that she did keep the only requirement the guild had to maintain membership: I am not dead.
Angry, and scarred, but not dead.
I possess an incredible amount of control. My return to the guild was not to present her with swift retaliation. No, I am not quite as depraved as she, and I desire to work my way through her slowly. I want to keep Sapphire in a position where she is easily accessible, yet as my senior, and I do not want to motivate her to tarnish my image with the guild as I bet she can do so with little effort.
Instead, I shall allow her to believe I am not a threat; however I shall remain ever vigilant for the opportunity to tear her down savagely. The first step is to put myself in the position to do so.