Skyrim is a game which can go from beautiful to grim pretty quickly.
I was traveling through the northern woods of Skyrim when I came upon a lighthouse. Being a curious George, I decided to go in and check the place out. Inside, I saw what appeared to be a makeshift home that was torn apart. In the middle of the room lay a woman with an axe sticking out of her stomach. Furniture was broken, tankards and plates were strewn about, and blood splattered the floor.
I found a few journals scattered throughout the house that filled in the backstory: a man named Habd resided here with his wife, Ramati, and his 2 children, Mani and Sudi. They were not locals and hailed from the far off land of Hammerfell.
His children had been hearing scratching noises coming from the cellar for a few nights. Habd suspected skeevers (a large type of rat indigenous to Skyrim), so he went down to the cellar to set traps.
When he returned home the next day, he found his wife dead, and his home being ransacked by a large bug like creature. He managed to kill the beast with an ax, and proceeded to the cellar to save his family.
After realizing what took place here, I slowly descended into the cellar. A trail of blood covered the stairs.
Downstairs, I heard an odd chittering and clacking. As I crept into the room, I was met with two of these bug creatures, known in Skyrim as Chauruses. One turned towards me and spat a stream of caustic poison in my direction. I backpedaled, and cast a Frenzy spell, which forced it to attack anything in its sight, and happily turned out to be the other Chaurus. After the skirmish was over, I congratulated the weakened victor with a Firebolt spell, sending it to Oblivion, where winners of its kind belong.
I surveyed the cellar and found an enormous opening in the wall leading to an icy cavernous system. Turns out this family was living under an entire cavern system!
The cavern continued onwards, getting narrower.
The cavern opened into an area with a fire and what appeared to be two tents. A lone Chaurus patrolled the area. I quickly dispatched him with a few fire spells when suddenly something stirred in the tents. Out came a short pale creature making snarling noises that I did not interpret as friendly. His eyes appeared completely closed, leading me to believe that these creatures oriented themselves on sound. He hissed and leaped with an axe in one hand. I quickly rolled and pacified him with a few bolts of fire.
Indeed, this creature was an example of a Falmer, Dark Elves that were banished by the Nords to live underground thousands of years ago. Generations of darkness had robbed them of their once brilliant sight and mutated them into these awful beasts. Though they appeared to be relatively primitive brutes, Falmer still exist in a sort of hierarchy, are devastatingly effective archers and swordsmen, and are very familiar with potent magic.
After the Falmer was taken care of, I took a look around and found a grisly sight: the body of Mani grotesquely displayed with a sword sticking out of him, in what appeared to be a ceremonial killing.
I proceeded onward, encountering more Falmer and Chauruses. I continued to use Frenzy to my advantage to pit the foul creatures against each other and then mop up the remains.
Eventually, I came upon a fenced in enclosure. There laid the bloody corpse of Sudi. Beside her was a dagger, a scrawled page, and a bloodstained note.
The scrawled page read: “I don’t know how long we’ve been down here. Father came down to find us, but those things captured him as well. I asked him if he’d seen Mother or Mani, but I don’t know if he could even hear me. One of those big bugs bit him when he tried to get free and now he’s feverish.”
The bloodstained note:
” They took Father.
There had been some others they brought down but they led them off and all we heard were the screams and now Father is gone too. Oh gods why didn’t I listen to Mani? Father’s fever was getting worse and kept mumbling about daedra. I don’t know where he was hiding it, but I think I know why he left me this dagger.”
The poor girl took her own life when it appeared that all hope was lost.
I kept on. The caverns began to house less Falmer and more Chauruses. Eventually, the ice caves gave way to shallow pools. A trio of Chauruses greeted me as I frenzied the group into focusing their energies on each other.
I waded through the pools, collecting Chaurus eggs as I went along as these are valuable alchemy ingredients.
There was more chittering in the distance. It was then that I glimpsed the largest Chaurus I had yet seen. It was at least 3 times the size of a normal Chaurus. I was still 30 feet away and crouched so it had yet to notice me. I cast a Frenzy spell at the smaller Chauruses surrounding it. They immediately proceeded to attack the beast, but it was like sending sheep to the slaughter. The Chaurus Reaper disposed of the pests like so much used tissue paper. It then turned its attention to me. Its massive mandibles glistened menacingly as it spat a burst of caustic poison in my direction. The poison hit, and I could see my health dropping dangerously fast. I countered with a dual cast Firebolt spell. It dealt damage, but not enough. The Reaper began to scurry at me in a burst, prepared to put its fearsome mandibles to use. I flung fireball after fireball at the beast. The Reaper was closing the gap between us with awesome speed. I cast one last gout of flame, as the creature finally collapsed with a tremble.
I cast a Restoration healing spell to close up my wounds and approached the felled creature.
Cutting open the beast’s carcass revealed a few items, including the remains of Habd, who had met a less than fortunate end.
Slowly, I made my way back to the surface. Ramati’s journal detailed how Habd had always wanted his bones to be placed in the lighthouse fires so he could look out at the ocean forever. I felt it was the least I could do to fulfill his last wishes.
After depositing Habd’s remains in the fire, I found an enormous treasure chest, which Habd’s key fit perfectly. Inside, I gathered what loot I found and made my way back home to call it a day.