Leaving Dragonsreach, I fast travel to Riverwood, where I sell all my stuff to Alvor. By now my armour is pretty much all Iron, so Salria is fairly well protected. Moving over to the Riverwood Trader, I sell all the food I stole from the Jarl for a few gold coins, as well as eating all my ingredients, increasing my alchemy skill and applying several effects to Salria.
Considerably lighter and richer, I leave Riverwood for Bleak Falls Barrow, which Hadvar warned me against visiting right at the beginning of the game. It seems after only about a hour, I’m already choosing to ignore valuable advice.
Crossing the river and advancing into the mountains, I immediately realise I’m going the wrong way. It seems that there’s only one route up to the Barrows, and it isn’t a straight line from Riverwood. Most of the journey is fairly uneventful. I encounter a wolf, and it is only when I reach a precariously balanced tower that the journey starts getting interesting. A group of bandits decide to attack me, so I simply blast them with my flaming hands. They last seconds, so I go on my way with a new helmet and a few more coins in my pocket.
Approaching the Barrows themselves, I am attacked by yet another group of bandits. Again, they are dealt with in seconds. Finally, I approach the doors to the Barrows, further than I have ever got in Skyrim ever before.
I draw my bow as I enter the door. On the other side of the room are two bandits (who’d have thought). Since I was still undetected, I sneak up and kill then with one shot each. My aim is startling good, hitting one of them right in the centre of a convenient gap in his armour.
Going totally against my usual feelings on the matter, I pick the lock of the nearby chest and gain 66 coins. Since I didn’t lose any lockpicks, it was worth it. Continuing on into the caves, I respect the burial urns by emptying them of their contents.
At the bottom of some stairs, I see another bandit. Given my success with the two at the start, I draw my bow and unleash and arrow upon him. It only does about 30% damage. Before I know it, he’s right on top of me, and despite quick-keying my Mace I don’t draw it, leaving me with only fire hands.
Eventually, I do manage to draw my mace and smash his head in. The room he was in is interesting. There is a rather obvious level right in the middle of the room, but going up to it causes darts to be shot at me. Turns out it’s one of Skyrim’s (fairly simple) puzzles. There are three pillars on the left of the room which rotate, and three others above the door (one has collapsed), and you simply have to match them.
Beyond the door is a spiral staircase, and as I go down, I get attacked by a few skeevers (big rats). At the bottom, someone begins calling out at me to help them. I am initially confused, since I can’t find any way to progress, but then realise that there is a spider’s web to break down. After doing so, I am immediately attacked by a Wounded Frostbite Spider. These are probably my least favourite enemies in Skyrim, and they just freak me out. I can’t explain it.
My flaming hands seem to keep it at bay for a while, but when my Magicka runs out, it charges at me and does a fair bit of damage before I can finally kill it. Being a good citizen, I go up to Arvel the Swift, the guy who was calling for help earlier, and free him from the web (after looting the spider’s corpse for Frostbite venom). The bastard then proceeds to run off, refusing to share the treasure with me. Of course, I follow.
On the way, he awakens three Draugr. He kills a couple of them and runs off, leaving one for me. I take care of it, then return to deal with Arvel. Turns out he was just around the corner, and a quick blast with the flaming hands takes care of him. Stupidly, I think it was a good idea to loot the corpses of the Draugr. See if you can guess my mistake from the picture below
Before you ask, yes. I stand on it.
Salria’s dead. Well, that was a productive character in Skyrim.