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Arrival in Skyrim

16th Last Seed, 4E201

This is the journal of Azeriah Letholias.  My father is Sethren Letholias, a Thalmor Ambassador.  My mother, Arienne Letholias, is a mage of some renown in the Summerset Isles.  She used to work on high security missions for the Thalmor, but is now retired from active duty.  She runs and owns an alchemy and spell shop in Alinor.

I am on my way to attend colleges in Skyrim, much to the dismay of my parents.  They wanted me to attend university in Alinor, or at the very least, the Arcane University in Cyrodiil (even though less prestigious than before the war).  But I was insistent on attending school in Skyrim.  As one of the oldest schools dedicated to magic in Tamriel, I have dreamed of going since I was a child.

The civil war between the Imperials and the Stormcloaks was, of course, a reason for their insistence on staying close by.  A valid objection, to be sure.  However, in Skyrim, it would be more difficult for them to use their influence to spy on me, or otherwise mettle in my affairs.

No, I was going to study in Skyrim.  I said it was because I planned to major in alchemy, and Skyrim boasts some of the most wonderful botanical varieties in all of Tamriel.  A few of which can only be found in Skyrim, like juniper berries.  I wanted to experiment with them.  I’ve only eaten them once, when a Khajit caravan came into town when I was little.

In truth, I just wanted as far away as possible from the overbearing influence of my parents.  I hated the guard detail that followed me everywhere.  I hated that everywhere I went, everyone was more interested in talking about my parents, than talking to me.  I always got the feeling people were only nice to me so they could gain influence with my parents.  There was this overriding fakeness.  Kindness was only in expectation of reciprocating favors.

I had it all worked out.  The College of Winterhold is notoriously picky about selecting its students.  I planned to start my degree at the Bard’s College in Solitude. By the time I finished the Bard’s college, I should have the prerequisite skills to attend graduate school at the College of Winterhold.

Still.  My parents were never going to let me go to Skyrim.  Never.  So I packed a knapsack, and I ran away.  I paid a Khajit to sneak me aboard a ship headed for Solitude.

Horrible luck.  Surely the hand of Nocturnal was fighting against me.  The ship was besieged by pirates and run aground.  In the confusion, fighting and escape, I lost my knapsack containing my documents showing who I was.  I lost my college acceptance papers.

I wanted to build a new identity, and it seemed that the Gods were determined to make it impossible to go back.  In Skyrim, I truly was a nobody with no name.  No one would know my parents here.  I had no documents proving who I was.  I was sure my parents would use their spy network to discover I stowed aboard the ship.

I never said goodbye.

I choked back a sob.  My plan was impetuous and foolish.  It didn’t seem like such a good idea anymore.  Children always think they know better than their parents until they end up in situations like this.  I clung to hope that once my parents found out what happened, they would send a search party for me.

But until then, my path and destiny was set.  The Gods forced my path forward.  So forward I go.

Forced into the wilds…somewhere.  From my studies of the plants, I reckoned we crashed somewhere in Cyrodiil.

Being a privileged child, I never experienced true hunger.  Now, it hit me.  My stomach rumbled, but mostly it was the fatigue that pained me.  I quite literally felt like my lifeforce was getting weaker, as I got hungrier.  I managed to find a few edible mushroom, but they were insubstantial.  My lips cracked with thirst.

I wandered in a daze.  How many days I wandered in Cyrodiil with no food, I’m not entirely sure.  After a while, I became a zombie with only one thought – obtaining food.

I remember slumping against a tree, weak and tired.  So tired.  I almost gave up.  I sat down, defeated.  I closed my eyes, and prepared for my life force to slip away…

Then I saw…something.  It was a big black wolf.  So…this is how I’m going to die, I thought.  Eaten by a wolf.  Too bad it didn’t find me days ago – I would have had more meat on my bones.

To my surprise, it did not attack me.  It padded up to me, and cocked its head, like it was curious to see me.  It then turned, and ran away.  Perhaps it agreed that I was too skinny to eat.

And then I smelled it.  Roasted venison.  I suddenly became alive.  Something primordial and basic awoke in me.  My will for survival.  There is food somewhere, and I must have it!  My stomach rumbled.  My mind became focused on a single task – I must have that meat.

I followed that smell to an Imperial camp.  Imperials!  I was so excited to see them!  I rushed into the camp, but to my surprise, they treated me as an intruder!  They apprehended me and forced my hands behind my back.  For once in my life, I tried to use my family name and pull rank.

"I am Azeriah Letholias, daughter to the Thalmor Ambassador Sethren Letholias!  I demand that you let me go!"

To my horror, they laughed.

"Yeah, right.  And I’m the Emperor!"  said one.

"I’m the High Queen of Skyrim!" said another.

The men howled and cheered.

"Stupid girl.  Azeriah Letholias is dead.  They found her charred body washed up in Anvil days ago.  She had a knapsack with her identity papers, otherwise the body would not have been recognized.  It is being shipped back to the Summerset Isles for burial.  Unless…are you Azeriah the vampire?"

They howled with laughter again.

My heart sank.  So it was true.  To the world, I was now officially dead.  My parents and heritage were lost to me.  They would not be sending for a search party.  They were burying a burned, unrecognizable body bearing my knapsack, believing it to be me.  I would have cried, except I was so dehydrated, I didn’t have any tears.

"Dirty, filthy beggar," the Imperial holding me said.  Then spit in my hair.  He raised a hand to strike me.  I flinched, but just before impact, another Imperial grabbed his hand.

"I think you’ve had enough to drink for tonight.  I’ll take this girl as prisoner.  Why don’t you go back to your bedroll?"

The man who was about to strike me muttered and stumbled back to camp, clearly angry he was denied a chance to abuse me.

I was taken to a makeshift holding cell.  The door locked, and I was given a slice of bread and a mug of water.  I was so hungry, but my mouth was so dry, I couldn’t swallow the bread.  I soaked it in my water, and devoured it.

I could have sworn, at that moment, it was the best meal I ever had.  Roast lamb and honeyed wine at my mother’s parties a distant memory.  This was food that sustained my life.  I felt my lifeforce grow just a little stronger.  It was enough.  I would live another day.

I collapsed on a small stack of hay, and slept as though it were a feathered bed.

I did not sleep long, though.  Just before dawn, there was a commotion.  The prisoners I was sharing a cell with were captured Stormcloaks.  They were making a break for it.  One of them managed to steal a key from the gailor’s pocket.  He cracked the gailor’s neck, then opened the door.

Someone grabbed my arm, and told me to run.

There was nothing else I could do.  I ran with them.  I didn’t know where they were going, but I didn’t have any better options.

And so we ran.  But we didn’t get far.  By some misfortune, we ran straight into an Imperial patrol.  I heard a lot of shouting.  I was told to run as fast as I could, we were almost over the border.  I didn’t have time to process it, but now I realize they meant the Skyrim border.&#160 We must have been in Bruma.

But we were caught.  They tied us up and put us on a cart to Helgen.

Where we were to be executed.

And all I wanted to do was go to college.

Published in: Story Blog on December 14, 2011 at10:22 pm Comments (0)

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