The adventures of Grognak and Fenris continue! Click here to read their previous story, New Beginnings.
A cool breeze blew through the encampment as the three men huddled around the fire, clinging to the blankets that helped warm them. The blonde Nord was eating a bowl of soup that gave off heat up in to the cold air all around them.
Grognak looked at the soup and then to the Nord. “So you two know each other then?” he grunted, looking across towards the wood elf that sat opposite him.
Fenris shifted uncomfortably on top of the log and didn’t meet the gaze of the large orc. “Yes we do know each other. I… erm… I used to help out these men,” he said and looked back at Grognak. “I never killed a man for them, dont get me wrong… But I gave them the game that fed them and taught them how to be quieter to sneak up on someone,” he said softly and looked at the men around him nervously.
“So you may not have directly killed a man, but you still have less honor in my mind.” Grognak spat at the feet of the elf and glared.
“Now hold on a minute friends!” Alaric stood up and looked down upon the orc, “If you are looking to see the world you could not ask for a better companion to take you places you have never been. He is loyal and —”
“I care nothing about loyalty to thieves!” Grognak interrupted, yelling at the man. Soon a sword was in his back poking him.
“I would sit down friend,” Alaric urged.
The big orc sat back down begrudgingly.
“Now if you don’t want loyalty out of him, then he is the finest woodsman that you could find in Skyrim and the greatest archer that I have ever seen. Even if you don’t trust him, think about this: if he wanted you dead, then you would be dead already, and your pretty warhammer would fetch a much higher price in Skyrim than any other kingdom of this empire,” Alaric said. As he sat back down on the mossy stump, he motioned for his men to back away from the two prisoners. “Since your friend has helped me on so many occasions and I seem to owe him, I will get you safe passage to the shipyards in Solitude, and you two can be off on your merry way to wherever you are all going.” Alaric smiled. “Where is that exactly?” he asked the two prisoners.
“I never thought about that…” Fenris said and looked at Grognak. “I was thinking about Hammerfell, so you can see some of the orcish strongholds and the city states up there, if that makes us even?” he asked his friend and waited for a response.
“Well I dont see anything wrong with it…”Grognak said and thought for a moment and stood. “Let’s get moving then, it’s best to get an early start so we can get to the shipyards faster,” he said and cracked his neck. Turning to Alaric he growled: “Thank you for sparing my life.” He hefted his warhammer. “Next time you shove a sword to an orc, make sure you push it all the way through.”
“How could you not tell me this?!” Grognak said angrily to Fenris as the two walked through the forest towards Solitude.
“It didn’t matter! All I did was feed some men and teach them what I knew about the woods in exchange for gold. You would have done the same for some coin, besides, you’ve crafted your share of weapons. How can you be so sure all of them were used for good purposes?”
Though not visibly shaken, Grognak felt a lurching in his stomach at the thought of one of his prize blades being in the hands of some useless mercenary.
“And besides,” Fenris continued, “that was almost seven years ago and I’ve learned to be more careful choosing who I associate myself with. I hope…” He looked carefully at Grognak.
The orc blacksmith grunted and the two men agreed to never speak of their encounter with the bandits again. Though they had some doubts cast to each other, they left for Solitude with a renewed zeal to see what Tamriel had to offer.
After traveling all day, they finally reached Solitude. It was late in the evening by the time the two men walked through the city gates. It didn’t take long to find a local tavern: it stank of ale and drunks, but it was better than the tents they had been using since Morthal. As the two men lay in their beds that night, they tried to think of exactly what was to come in the coming months (if not years) of their travels together…
Grognak wondered if he would see anyone he knew in the strongholds in Hammerfell. He knew it was unlikely, but he didn’t know where anyone in his stronghold had gone in the past years. As he looked at the ceiling, he thought about his family and his clan and wondered how they were faring in this big new world.
As for Fenris, he lay in his bed and thought of more pleasant things, dreaming of the adventures he would have with Grognak, rushing to the aid of maidens fair, and taking out legions of raiders. He had always wanted to see something other than the forests of Falkreath and the plains of Whiterun. He wanted deserts, and jungles, and large cities — not the tiny little hold capitals that had barely enough people so that you could know the whole town in a week. He wanted a true adventure, and by the divines that was what he was going to get.
In the morning, Fenris smiled at the barmaid as he attempted to get the information from her about the docks. She returned nothing but a scowl, and told him to get lost since his bed was up for grabs again.
“Lets go my friend!” he called to Grognak.
The orc scowled and hurriedly ate the last of his bread before trudging after his companion down the hill. Neither had ever been on a true ship before, and Fenris was excited to begin a journey that didn’t require any walking for days on end. He enjoyed walks, but not over miles and miles at a time like they had been doing for the past few months. Grognak on the other hand was just fine staying on land where his hammer could protect him, but in the ocean it would only doom him.
“Two for Hammerfell, or however you get there,” Fenris said cheerfully to a random worker on the docks. The man pointed them in the direction of a ship with some Redguard men on her decks. By the time the sun was setting the two friends were on a boat bound towards the deserts of Hammerfell and new adventures that were just beginning.
To be continued…