So it would appear I not only have bad timing walking into places, catching townsfolk arguing, but also watching them die. First, I walked into Solitude as someone was getting beheaded, and now I have walked into Markarth to someone getting stabbed.
Even though I’m seeing the events in slow motion, I’m still not fast enough to draw my bow before it’s too late. The woman drops dead, the guards take to killing the murderer, and I even manage to get an arrow in him before he drops as well.
The dead woman’s friend is distraught when I talk to her, though you wouldn’t know it by the way she’s standing with her arms crossed like she’s mildly annoyed with the whole situation. I find out from the guards that the killer is actually a member of the Forsworn, apparently undercover. The woman seems like an odd target for murder by the Forsworn, but I am not spending any more time trying to figure out the motives of a people who predominantly live in the hills, wearing dead animals on their heads. I take one step away before a guy stops me to tell me I’ve dropped a note. Umm, no I didn’t. He insists. Well, he’s either an idiot, or this is his weird way of hitting on me. I read the note, and see that he wants to have a “secret meeting” in a shrine. Looks like I was right. I tell him I’m flattered, but that I don’t swing that way. Sheesh. Someone just got murdered and this guy’s trying to ask me out on a date.
And five minutes later, I’m thinking about doing the same. I just met Markarth’s blacksmith: Ghorza gra-Bagol. She’s the first female Orc I’ve seen in Skyrim, and I am completely taken by her. The closest thing to love at first sight I’ve ever experienced.
Unlike most Orcs, I don’t want to jump everything that moves. In fact, romance has been nothing but an afterthought for my entire life. My first look at Ghorza has made me rethink all of that, though, and in my mind, I already see visions of the future where Ghorza and I are happily married. Ghorza and Grawnk; it’s got a nice ring to it. But, no doubt if I told her any of that, she’d think I’m crazy, and rightfully so. I better take things slow.
I make conversation with her while I’m selling all my (mainly Forsworn) loot, and learn that she grew up in an Orc stronghold. At one point she mentions her overly incompetent apprentice Tacitus. Ghorza says that she would be grateful if I could track down a book called Last Scabbard of Akrash in hopes of teaching Tacitus a thing or two about smithing.I was told before coming to Skyrim that marriage works a little differently here. It’s deeds that win people’s hearts above anything else. If I were able to track down this book, would Ghorza be impressed enough to marry me? I’d like to think yes, but my optimism has taken a hit. For all I know, this book is sitting in a library somewhere. How could that possibly impress anyone, retrieving a library book? But even if I fought off an entire force of Forsworn for the book, what else would I have to offer her; a bald, gangling Orc with no prospects, that’s what I’d have to offer.
No. That’s no good. Ghorza deserves more than that. She deserves someone with a promising future. She deserves to be married to the best bard to have ever walked the land of Skyrim: Me! Fear may have kept me from my dream of becoming a bard earlier, but my love is stronger than my fear. With Ghorza as my motivation, I cannot fail. I will retrieve King Olaf’s Verse, I will become a bard, I will ask Ghorza to marry me, and she will say yes.
[ “So it is written in the Book of Rage.” Mad props if you get this reference. ]
My mind is racing with my renewed commitment to becoming a bard. I’m no fool, though. I know my path won’t be any easier now, but at least I know my fear won’t get in the way of completing my task. As much as I want to leave immediately to Dead Men’s Respite, the wise decision is to stick around, gather supplies, hone my body and skills through training, and maybe even recruit some help. But before I do any of that, I first need to get some sleep. More than my body, my mind is tired from processing all these emotions, strategies, and everything else. I rent a room for the night at the Silver-Blood Inn.
After walking in, someone ran up to me to give me a pair of “Merchant’s Boots,” but left before I could see who it was to thank them.
[ In all reality, this footage was played a week ago, and I forgot who gave them to me. But the weird part is, I can’t find any reference of Merchant’s Boots in Skyrim anywhere on the internet, and the reference ID doesn’t show up on the internet, either. They must be ghost boots. It’s very perplexing. ]
The boots are very snazzy, and I gladly change out of my old ones.
So far I’ve loved the stone architecture of Markarth, but I wonder…Did they have to make stone beds, too?
No matter. I could fall asleep on hot coals at this point. I stretch out awkwardly on the “bed” and fall asleep. When I wake up in the early morning, I decide to go outside to get some fresh air. My heart skips a beat when I notice a giant child walking alongside of me.
Clearly, Markarth children are rather well-fed. I decide to cut my walk short, and return to the inn, where I know everyone’s size is proportionate. I eat a good breakfast, and stick around for some “people watching.”
From all the money I made from selling off my loot, I am able to buy enough steel ingots to make a complete set of steel armor.
That’s right, Ghorza; I’m a pretty good(looking) blacksmith myself. I’m also starting to resemble the Grawnk who will survive the journey to Dead Men’s Respite. I’m not there yet, but this new armor is a step in the right direction. I spend the rest of the day outside of Markarth looking for more mines. When I get back to the inn, I find a horrible surprise waiting for me. The giant child has returned…and she’s getting drunk!
I have some serious concerns about the parents who would not only let their giant child run around without supervision, but also let it get drunk at a bar. I think I’ll have my dinner in my room tonight. When I wake up the next morning, I realize something about myself. I stink. A great thing about Markarth is that it has free showers. I take some of the lavender I’ve collected along the way and head to one of those “showers.”
Let it be said that not every Orc lacks personal hygiene. I find I am quite the exception to most Orcs in many ways, though.
It is with mixed emotions that I realize this will be the last day I spend in Markarth for a while. I have made stronger armor for myself, and I have made 3,000+ gold. Both will be able to take me to other areas of Skyrim to continue my training. I have only been here a few days, but they have been happy ones. I start to reminisce on the good times, like the morning I followed this guy around, pretending to be him. He didn’t think it was as funny as I did.
Or the time when I waited for hours for this guy to sell me a horse, but he never did.And who could forget the time when giant child mysteriously reverted to her normal size, wanted to play hide and seek with me, and after she ran off and hid, I never bothered to look for her. Classic.
I will also miss the views. Markarth is a stunningly beautiful city, with unmatched architecture and scenery:
And I’ll miss the people too, the good old Markarthians.
After a full day of enjoying Markarth and the memories made within it, I return to the Silver-Blood Inn. I’m in a conversational mood, so I start talking to the patrons of the bar. The first person I talk to must be related to Benor, because he bets that he can take me in a brawl. Unlike the time I fought Benor, I am feeling quite amicable now, so I graciously decline. To make up for it, I give him an ale.
Instead of offering to fight me, the second patron I talk to offers instead to fight for me. It would seem as though I have found my first hireable mercenary. And for 500 gold, it is a tempting offer.
I think I may just have to take him up on his offer. I said it myself that I may need the help of mercenaries to help get me through Dead Men’s Respite. Tomorrow though. I’ll hire him on my way out of Markarth.
Things are really starting to look up for me. It’s hard to believe that not long ago, I was wandering around Skyrim, depressed and without hope. Now, my lifelong desire to become a bard has been rekindled, and against all odds and improbabilities, I have found someone I love and want to marry. I know I was optimistic before as well, but this time feels different. Good things come to those who wait, and I’ve been waiting my whole life for something good. What is in store for my future? I can’t ever know for sure, but I believe great things await me.
Yes, this post is a few hours late, but it’s also twice as long, so I hope that makes up for it. I hope you enjoyed the new look of the screen shots. That is all in thanks to a new ENB I am using. Sharpshooters to be exact: http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/downloads/file.php?id=15105. The new look starts when Grawnk is under the waterfall, and the ones below that. To illustrate the change, here is a before shot of Markarth, compared to an after shot of Markarth. I will be updating My Mods section soon to include this one as well as some others.
Lastly, I want to include you, my ever loyal readers, in Grawnk’s adventure/non-adventure. Below is a poll asking where Grawnk should head next to train. I am only listing the major holds, but if you don’t want Grawnk to go to any of them, just leave a comment saying where else he should go. I would prefer to have at least 15 votes to ensure I’ve gotten a fair sampling, but I may settle for 10 if 15 is taking too long. Cheers! – Kit
– Update –
The poll is now closed. It looks like Grawnk is off to Whiterun.
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