The ancient door moves slowly, but on its own. Dust still falls from the ceiling, obviously this has not been moved in a long, long time. I pocket the golden claw, and proceed in to the cavern itself. The room is gigantic, and open - an altar sits on top of a raised platform, with a half circular stone standing behind it, with a language I’ve never seen before written all over it.
I take only but three steps in to the cavern before I hear..
The coffer lid breaks off, and slides over and on to the floor. A draugr lord rises from the grave, puts a Nordic helmet on, and picks up arms to defend his crypt against all intruders - us.
Sven charges at the Draugr, however, within seconds we hear a deafening bellow from the old one, “FUS.”
I couldn’t believe my eyes, with a shout, a wave of energy pulses from the Draugr, and blows Sven back across the room, and in to a wall, knocking him unconscious.
An adrenaline rush takes over me, and I go in to a rage, swinging at the undead lord with full fury. Swift strikes, and shield bashes make quick work of the old skeletal Nord. On the ground, it doesn’t even beg for mercy, despite having a mind of its own. Being a Redguard, I will never understand the Nordic culture of battle - it’s something completely different, with hidden complexity that few could truly understand. The only thing I know is once I end the life of this tortured soul, he will finally be at peace, resting, and fighting in glorious combat among his brothers in Sovngarde, because in the end that is all a valiant Nord truly wants - Death is a small price to pay, to live an eternity in Shor’s wondrous hall.
I come back to consciousness, finding the Draugr lord dead, Sven awake, and myself at the end of my blood-crazed adrenaline rush.. Sven picks up a tablet, inscribed as a “Dragon Stone”. I take it, and place it in my pouch. Before we leave the hallowed halls of Bleak Falls Barrow, I hear the stone wall of etched writing calling to me.. As if it was speaking to me. I walk over to the wall, and the letters begin to glow a very faint blue. I touch the wall, and visions flash through my head at a thousand miles a second - I pull my hand back, only to realize a spectral force is transferring a spiritual part of the wall to.. me.
I felt dizzy, if not sick afterwards, it was as if I absorbed an unhealthy amount of magicka, but this.. this was different. Sven helped me out of the caverns, and back to the town of Riverwood. With the claw returned to Camilla, and Lucan, Sven told me we can make way for Riften in the morning when I am feeling better..
“HELP.” exclaimed the man.
Arvel seems to be wrapped in the web of a spider, a massive one at that. Stuck, bound to the wall, Arvel tells us “QUICKLY, RELEASE ME FROM THIS”, then he goes on to talk about the Golden Claw, secret burial chambers, and many other things not mentioned to me by Camilla, and her brother.
“The claw, it’s a key!” he yells, “but I will not share it until you cut me free!”.
I wanted to reason with the Dunmer, but as I opened my mouth, Sven tells the thief to give us the claw, then we will cut him free. I turn to Sven with a puzzled look on my face, and tell him how are we going to retrieve the claw from him if he is completely wrapped in webs?
Arvel laughs, and claims whatever is in the burial chambers of this place, he will share with us, as long as we let him go. Sven and I cut his webs as fast as we can, but as soon as he gained any mobility what-so-ever, Arvel attempted to make a run for it, that clever bastard. Arvel makes it no farther than 10 steps before being cut down by a Draugr warrior. Sword in hand, he was not taking me as easily as Arvel.
After making quick work of the Draugr, we took the claw from the lifeless Arvel “The Swift”, and made our way deeper in to the cavern - if there truly was treasure here as Arvel said, and the claw is the key, I am not leaving that here for the Valerius family to claim for their own.
A stone door with a puzzle lock stands before us. Sven tells me he has seen those markings before on the door, then it hits him. He reaches in to my pouch and takes the golden claw from me. Sven points out the markings on the palm of the claw, and to my astonishment, they are the same markings on the door itself. I make haste to slide the locks in to place, to match the markings on the claw, then I place it in to the key hole it was designed for.
The door shifts, dust falls from the roof of the cavern - the claw has revealed the way. Arvel wasn’t lying, the key was the claw itself. If he wasn’t lying about this, he can’t possibly be lying about the treasure that awaits..
Sven, and I arrived at the massive wooden doors guarding the entrance to Bleak Falls Barrow. We banded together to push the doors open, only to reveal a small camp fire with two bandits sitting around - by the looks of it, they’re waiting for someone..
I snuck behind a pillar to listen in to what they are saying. The bandits discussed someone named “Arvel”, and how he should have been back by now. Before I could have a minute to think this through, an arrow flies past my head, and in to the arm of one of the bandits. An agonizing scream is let out, and the bandit falls on to his side, as the other draws his sword, and looks in our direction.
To my right, Sven is standing there - bow drawn, readying another arrow. The bard is too heroic for his own damn good, for he can’t even ready a second arrow and ready the shot as the bandit is rushing him, sword drawn. Luckily I haven’t been spotted yet..
I draw my sword, and impale the bandit as he tries to run past the pillar I am hiding behind - running towards the nervous Sven. My boot relieves the peasant warrior from my sword, and he falls to the ground. I look over at Sven and yell.. He could have easily got us both killed right there. I am starting to believe he is more of a liability than a good companion.. Needless to say, our entrance in to Bleak Falls Barrow is now cleared, and we’re off to find the golden claw.
Sven laughs, saying how this whole endeavor would make quite a heroic tale for his evenings at the Riverwood Inn. I tell him people don’t want to hear about a “heroic” Bard-turned-warrior, they want to hear stories of true legends, false kings, and diabolical evils.
As I finished telling him that idea of his was complete and utter trash, we hear a voice screaming for help from the far end of the Barrow, it must be Arvel..
Camilla came to me with an urgent request. She told me some bandits attacked her, and her brother’s shop a few nights ago and took something from there. Camilla claims they stole nothing but a golden dragon’s claw, an heirloom that was being kept within the merchant’s shop.
Sven heroically said he’d rescue the golden claw for his lady, as expected, she blushed, and I sighed. I told Sven he would be foolish to attempt to steal from a group of bandits. ”Ah, my friend, that is where you come in!” he exclaimed.
I thought to myself for a minute, but before I could speak, Sven had told me that if I helped his lady-love in retrieving the golden claw, he would personally escort me to the city of Riften, and pay for my room at the inn when we arrived. It sounded highly unlikely this was going to happen, but what choice did I have? Besides, a Redguard warrior can take a few bandits, clean up, and bring the claw back to the Valerius family before the night is over.
“I accept.” I said, and off we went when nightfall hit.
There are tales of ancient evils within the dark caverns of Skyrim. The Draugr’s of Skyrim were once fierce Nords in life, but in death they are just mere skeletons - husks of a former brave warrior.
After giving it a few days of thought, I delivering the letter from Sven to Camilla, portraying this Faendal as an evil man, who wants nothing to do with her. The plan worked perfectly, as Camilla practically dove in to Sven’s arms. He couldn’t thank me enough for delivering the letter to her, and persuading her to choose him - it was obvious what the outcome was going to be, but he got what he wanted.
The bard offered me gold, jewels, songs of old, pretty much anything I wanted could be mine for winning him the affection of such a woman. I sat down with him, and forced an iron dagger right in to the table in front of him. I told him honestly, “I don’t want your gold, or your songs, bard. I want you to follow me. You said you owe me everything, so I am claiming my just rewards. You will accompany me to Riften..”
The blank expression on his face told me everything. The bard was hesitant at first, but then he submitted, and agreed to follow me to Riften. I claimed I couldn’t go alone, and I needed someone who knew this land better than I did. Then that is when Camilla came to me with a most urgent request..