The difference between The Pale and the lowlands of Whiterun Hold could be no different. Snowy hills and rocky outcrops gave way to rugged lowlands interspersed with tufts of hardy grass. Tall pine trees gave way to bushy, wider trees. Green replacing white but they both shared the ruggedness Skyrim was renowned for.
The weather, however was not an improvement. Snow flurries had given way to dark, overcast skies and a constant rainfall that made her robes sodden and uncomfortable to move in. The road from The Pale led into a deep, wide valley dominated by a massive mountain peak. High Hrothgar, The Throat of the World towered imperiously over Skyrim. In the mid distance Se’rith saw an unmistakably Nord palace atop a large hill. This must have been the Dragonreach she had heard about at the College. Her destination of Whiterun was close indeed.
As she moved towards the city she saw a man garbed in armour approached her and warned her of bandits on the road. Ha inquired as to her destination and when she replied she was heading to Whiterun he informed her that events in some place called Helgen had raised the level of alert and security in the city. Strangers and new arrivals were not being regarded kindly. Not that Se’rith hadn’t seen that side of the Nords yet! The guard also recommended a place called the Bannered Mare should she be wanting to stay long.
OT-I am using the Various Guard Replacers mod by JulianP that varies all the guard outfits in all of Skyrim’s cities. Adds a lot of chrome but also immersion as it gives each city a distinctive look.
Whiterun proved to be a decently sized city, much bigger than Winterhold. Se’rith inquired about the location of the woman Ahlam and she directed to a small tavern called The Drunken Huntsman. There a Redguard woman entrusted her with a gold necklace. Se’rith was to tell Sergius of the precise enchantment she required. Se’rith assured the woman that all would be well. She spent the morning exploring Whiterun and dabbled in some alchemy by concocting a number of potions in a shop owned by a cranky Imperial. She also ascended to the Dragonreach and once again Skyrim’s stark and rugged beauty took her breath away. Not only was the building itself of masterful quality but the view from its steps was something to behold.
Having had her fill of Whiterun she loaded up on rations and water skins for the journey back home. Being the pious sort she inquired about where she could worship locally and she was directed to the Hall of the Dead where the local priest had a shrine to Araky. There she was surprised to find the priest in a high state of agitation. He had lost his Holy Symbol somewhere in the catacombs but dared not enter as her feared the dead had awakened with out the proper care of Arkay. This made Se’rith think of the deal she had made with J’zargo and indeed his scrolls were still tucked into her belt. A good opportunity here to kill two cliffracers with one stone. Help the priest and please the divines and see if J’zargo’s bluster had some substance!
She wasn’t as confident when the catacomb doors slammed behind her. The rattling of bones and the drawing of steel caputured her attention as a walking skeleton lunged at her with a wickedly curved sword that appeared of a very ancient design. Having prepared one of the scrolls she read the magic words out loud. A blazing shroud of flame burst from her body completely shattering the skeleton apart. Impressive J’zargo she thought. But she changed her assessment as soon as the racking pains began. Her sides felt aflame and she could feel an immense weakness. Had the spell tapped into her own life force to power itself? Whatever the case the kahjit had created a powerful spell indeed as the only thing left of the skeleton were small shards scattered over a large area. The priest and his amulet were reunited and Se’rith made for Winterhold but would pay a visit to the Guardian Stones that were nearby.
OT-I have included the above screenie to show the variety introduced by the Skyrim Monster Mod.