A Skyrim Journal
Awakening in a small plain just west of Fort Greymoor, an abandoned military base that’s become a haven for robbing bandits, me and my ironclad companion, Lydia, assemble our small camp, relishing in the relative warm pocket tucked behind the jagged hill, shielding my Imperial temperament from the nordic winds.
Approaching a giant’s camp near an oak deemed Sleeping Tree, I hide under the grass at the sight of the large automaton of fur and leather, fearful of the destruction unleashed along with the massive tusks cloaked in the thicket of crimson. Sneaking past the goliath mammoth patrolling the camp, I inch closer, my compatriot shortly behind.
I’ve never fought a giant. Driven away by tales of their destructive wakes, I’ve usually kept heed to the warnings, straying clear of their clearings, skimming the edges if given no other passage, but when in the search for compensation, for an Imperial, ethics outweigh emotions. In between nervous glances toward the massive beast on watch behind us, I spot a figure further on the hill. Drawing my bow in attempt to clarify the figure’s owner, I peer vigilantly down the arrows shaft as I inch forward up the hill.
Reaching the hill’s peak as I slack my bowstring to maintain endurance, I stick to a nearby boulder, urging my assistant to my heel. Unaware of what lies behind my stone rampart, I inch around to get a view, thinking to myself:
“What belonged to the figure I saw, was it something contestable, something my stature, or was it the Giant whose position on the hill is tricking my perception?” Hearing a familiar click heightened my suspicions.
“Is that a crab?!”, I smirked. Tossing aside my fears, and steeling my resolve I pull back my bow and charge forward.
Springing from the security of the barricade, I identify my unknown foe. An undead collection of bones held together by a sapphire turban, retaliates to our charge, sparking a fire bolt incinerating my arrow. Dodging around my barrage of Forsworn bolts, Lydia rushes forward, ignorant of friendly fire, confident in her steel plating. Before the undead sorcerer could reach its blade, Lydia’s greatsword crashes upon the corpse, releasing the spell bonding the bones to life, scattering its pieces across the field. Before the adrenaline could spread thoroughly, we are victorious, collecting our spoils and regaining our composure. Hearing the undead click slowly crescendo behind us, Lydia turns to spot two more skeleton warriors, creeping closer at an undead stride. Focused on the reinforcements, Lydia fights her blade out of the sorcerer’s skull, stuck in the tundra below. Desperate to rescue my faithful colleague, four arrow embed in the assailants, scattering bones like exploding shrapnel. Smashing the skull prisoning her sword, a muffled sound sneaks from Lydia’s helm.
As we slowly creep up the hills, mistaking nearby crickets chirps for more skeleton click battle cries, a fresh cadaver enters view, lifeless at the foot of a candlelit table, another draped atop, both with daggers in hand. The stone ruins that encircle the sacrificial ritual ensures their purpose, proved by the prime locale. Inspecting the body on the table, I discover several potions and oils along with herbs that allude to my suspicions. With no way to confirm, and the Giant’s bonfire in sight across the expansive clearing, we push forward.
Arriving at Sleeping Tree, Lydia and I return to a hunter’s stance, stalking in the shadows created by the Giant’s large fire. At the snap of a branch, Lydia and I match glares before the pounce of a Sabre Cat breaks the armored fatale’s footing. Trying to pry the mighty beast’s attention without attracting my Target’s proved daunting, slugging arrows into its hide while trying to pull it way from the camp. Returning to her feet, Lydia repays the predator with a mighty swing down upon its hind, buckling its charge. Unwilling to drag to fight longer, I stab an arrow threw the jugular, attempting to silence its cry as I stare at the bonfire for movement.
Deathly still, choked by the fleeting Sabre carcass, I concentrate on the quakes from Sleeping Tree, fearful of the imminent encounter. Nervous about my foe’s awareness of his surrounding danger, I crawl toward the the fire’s light. Closing near the glowing embers of the camp, my Enemy is nowhere to be seen. Scanning the camp my eyes fix on the Sleeping Tree, fog cloaking it in an illusive miasma. Distracted by the oak’s aura, I spot the Giant arriving with his crimson cattle. Pulling myself together as I grab a gap in Lydia’s shoulder guard, we escape to the edge of the camp.
Pulling my bow to the ready, I aim for my Foe hidden behind the girth of his livestock. Spotting the pale leather hide of the Giant behind a sea of the mammoth’s flowing crimson fur, I loose my arrow, spurring a panic among his cattle; The Giant jumps from the sting to his spine, whipping around to spot the two hunters, the source of his nuisance and joins two bull’s charge against the hail of arrows from our two bows. Witnessing the closing gap, Lydia drops her bow for her greatsword to meet the colossal opposition, barring her feet deep in the soil. Choosing fire instead of wood and steel to halt the charge, I drop my weapon for a more effective arsenal, sparking ethereal flames in either hand.
Swept aside by the large stampede, Lydia finds herself behind the mammoth’s charge.
In attempt to split the bulls from their Shepard, Lydia hurls her blade into a mammoth’s hide, causing the massive beast to buckle under its stride. Spurred by its brethren’s torment, the other mammoth alters course, barreling for Lydia. Racing to her bow, Lydia is bucked by the trampling bovine, kicked up to the beast’s shoulders. Gripping despite her gauntlet’s lack of traction, scrambling to the mammoth’s shoulder blades, the warrior flings off her armored glove to tighten her grasp, searching for her side-blade blindly with her offhand. Working the clinging soldier off its back, the gargantuan creature bucks and shakes, ignorant of its movements, stepping ever closer to the struggling buck. Tearing her anchor from its tether, Lydia clutches her knife, striking it deep into the goliath’s crest, tightening her grasp on its hilt as the monster shrieks in its agony, its spine severed. Weightless as life fades, the massive tusk of the titan pierces its brother’s ribcage, deafening the last roar of the rising behemoth.
Detached from his reinforcements, the Giant slows on his outmatched opponent, weighting his steps to throw off the balance of the tiny hunter, humbled by the odds of the duel.
Drained of energy from the barrage of firebolts, I find myself too winded to effectively press back my colossal adversary, his large stature proving stronger than my array of spells. Sneaking shots while weaseling an escape, I scramble for a concoction that could reinforce my will, patting every pouch and pocket. Focused on my antagonist, my foot catches a rabbit’s hole, prompting a Potion of Magicka to slip from my belt pocket. Scurrying to the vial, I muster enough strength into one bolt, causing the Giant to falter with fatigue. Rising from the ground with reimburse vigor, calling upon the ancestral Unrelenting Force, I shout at my rival, delivering the severing blow.
After the cacophony of deathly wails, silence grips the camp, muting the sound of our footsteps for the several surviving minutes. First our heartbeat returns, then the fire’s crackle, then the surrounding ambience. Embracing the bonfire’s warmth, we set up camp for the night.