Location- Jerral Way Tavern
Date- 2E 581 First Seed Morndas 9th
The journey to the Jerral Way tavern was pleasant and uneventful. Each of the three companions enjoyed their own thoughts and dreams of what the future would hold for them. Volk would start to whistle now and then some old Nordic tunes as he thought about going home to see his wife and children. Left Paw-Alight made notes in a small journal as he passed by certain rocks and plants, now and then he would mutter to himself and scratch out previous entries to correct mistakes he had made on his way through the pass the last time he had come this way. Delte was just happy to look around at the new scenery she had never been this way before and would stop now and then to pick some herbs to study for new alchemical potions and poisons.
As they rounded a bend in the road there stood before them a averaged sized tavern. A ten foot granite stoned wall surrounded the main buildings and stables. The gate was wide enough for a horse and cart to pass through. The main tavern was half built with local stone and the upper half of the ground floor was of local pine wood. The roof was of thatch and poking through it was a chimney made of the same stone as the lower half of the tavern billowing out wood smoke scented with pine and ash wood. All around the area was a dense forest which climbed steeply upwards away from the road. As the three approached the sun was setting causing the crisp mountain air to gain a cold bite to it. Their breath was starting to show and their horses were steaming from the long tiring ride up into the mountains. They made their way over to the stables and paid the stable boys to look after and bed down their horses for the night, then they headed over to the main tavern to look for a meal and bed for the night.
A warm friendly atmosphere welcomed the three travelers as they entered the common room. With a large open fire burning in the centre of the room surrounded by granite stone. All around men and women of various races sung songs and drank the ale while some tucked into meals. At the back of the room the landlord served drinks while his wife and daughter served the meals to the patrons. Off to the left was a corridor that lead to various rooms that served as the taverns bedrooms. Volk and Delte headed towards an empty table. Paws headed off towards the bar to order their food and drink and to arrange rooms for them all for the night.
Volk stretched out his huge arms and gave a contented sigh and smiled. “Long ride today.” he said above the din to Delte.
Delte nodded as she looked around the room at the people. “I wonder where they are all going to?” she replied.
Volk looked around at the other patrons and noted that most of them wore some kind of armour or had weapons hung on their belts. “Looks to me they are heading to the front lines. Poor sods they sing of honour and glory now, but after their first battle half of them will be dead or cripples.” he looked back at Delte and leant forward. “I want to know why you are going to Morrowind though, you are to be married to Veldam yet you leave him to make this journey.”
“Its a long story and you know most of it Volk.” Delte tried to avoid the question and play it down.“Aye that I do. Why Morrowind though? Why not go back to your family holdings in Elsweyr and take care of your conniving younger brother?” Volk asked knowing that Delte's younger brother had sold her into slavery twice before he had met her, and by all accounts murdered her older brother and poisoned her father.
Delte knew that Volk would not leave this line of questioning even though it was blunt and straight to the point she knew he cared about her and Paws. With a sigh she responded. “I have to visit my families tomb back in Morrowind to gain the blessings from my ancestors. Without them I will never be able to act against my brother Meden, by all rights he is the sole heir to the estates in Elsweyr and Morrowind. He is the only male descendent so by law it all goes to him, as a female of my line I need the blessings of the ancestors.”
“I will be honest I don't understand the reason for these ancestors seeing that they are dead nor will probably ever understand your culture Delte. I will say this though if you ever need help against him just say the word and I will give you my sword.” Volk swore his oath to Delte. Taken back by the offer Delte was left speechless and didn't know what to say other than a meek thank you.
Left-Paw-Alight came over and sat down at the table with Volk and Delte with a huge smile playing across his lips. “I've got a good deal. Todays special and a jug of ale is coming over, and three rooms for the night all warm clean and with fires.” Paws rubbed his taloned hands together. “ I am starving.”
It wasn't long before the daughter of the tavern keeper came over with a tray filled with wooden bowls of steaming beef stew and vegetables, along with two jugs of ale and a tankard for each of them. Delte noticed the girl had long blond hair and blue eyes with a slim figure dressed in a simple cotton dress with a apron tied around her waist. She noted the smile she gave Volk as she served him his food. Volk did not notice the attention as he poured out a tankard of ale and downed it in one gulp. As he slammed the tankard down on the table he let out a loud belch which made the girl giggle. “Mighty fine ale lass tell your father for me.” Volk said as he wiped the foam from his beard with the back of his hand.
“You know my father?” The girl asked incredulously.
“Aye he and I took back this place from a gang of bandits, and rebuilt it in the following months. A few years before you were born, it was in that fight he lost three of his fingers on his right hand.” Volk explained to the young girl. “Tell him Volk says he is a milk drinker.”
The girl beamed a huge smile and walked back to the bar to tell her father the message from Volk.
As they were all tucking into their stew and vegetables the large Nord who was the tavern keeper stood behind Volk. His huge hands gripping a thick leather belt that held up his britches. A large paunch belly over hung it, his arms as thick as tree trunks. Sat atop of his broad shoulders was a large bald head with red cheeks sporting a huge smile. Delte looked up and he gave her a wink.
“This the long haired lout who called me a Milk Drinker Petal?” The tavern keeper roared to his daughter across the room.
“Aye father.” Came the reply from the girl who was now serving drinks behind the bar.
At this point the whole room went quiet and held its breath waiting for the first punch to be thrown, money started to change hands as Volk started to laugh and put his bowl down before standing up to face the tavern keeper. The two of them scowled at each other and clenched their fists, Paws and Delte looked at each other uncertain of what was going to happen. The rest of the patrons seemed to know the outcome of this stand off as now the gold was starting to flow between themselves betting on who the winner would be. The regulars betting against Volk and those who didn't know any better put their money on which ever contender looked the best.
The two men than embraced as old friends slapping each other on the back and laughing. The whole room seemed to let its breath out and the gold stopped moving, some even trying to get back their bets with little luck.
“You've gotten fat Volk you big girl.” The tavern keeper said.
“And you still stink of pig piss Narol.” Volk retorted with a laugh.
Both men laughed and parted, Narol sat down between Volk and Delte.
“Paws I still see you are hanging around with this wazzack. How is life treating you?” Narol said in way of greeting to Left-Paw-Alight.
“Yes well someone has to keep an eye on him.” Paws said as he reached over the table and shook Narol's hand.
“Are you going to introduce me to this lovely lady then?” Narol asked as he beamed a huge smile at Delte.
“Narol this is Delte, one of the best scouts I have had the privilege to server with. And a really good friend.” Volk said.
Delte offered her hand to Narol in the customary human way of greeting. Narol took it and clasped it between his two huge calloused hands. Delte noticed that his right hand only had a thumb and index finger. The rest of it was a scared mess.
“You are all welcome to stay for as long as you need.” Narol said as he looked into Delte's violet eyes. “By the eight Volk this elven maiden is beautiful.”
“She is also engaged to marry General Veldam.” Volk said as he poured out another tankard of ale.
Delte smiled and gently pulled her hand away from the vice like grip of Narol. Seeing an opportunity Narol grinned and said.” You can have the wedding here at my Tavern. For a small fee of course.”
Delte laughed at the offer. “Thank you Narol but the venue has already been picked and its in Morrowind. I can always send you a invite though seeing your old friends with Volk and Paws.”
“Would be honoured m'lady.” Narol said with a wink.
“We are not stopping for long Narol, just tonight then we move on to Helgen before we head over to Whiterun and Volk's farm in the plains of Whiterun.” Paws said to Narol to show they wasn't intending to stop.
Narol wiped his forehead with a beer stained cloth and sighed. “You've not heard then. The plains of Whiterun have been over run by bandits. With troops being diverted to the front lines there are hardly any militia to keep the law in the outlying lands of the Holds.”
“Then all the more reason we make haste, I also long to see my beautiful wife and two children.” Volk said to Narol.
Narol slapped Volk on the back with a laugh and stood up to head back to his place at the bar. “And poor Gresla won't be able to walk for weeks.” he said as he walked away laughing.
Volk blushed bright red at the comment much to the amusement of Delte and Paws. They all finished off their meals and headed to the rooms Paws had rented for the night.
The next morning the three companions said their farewells to Narol and his family and headed out of the Tavern enclosure towards Helgen. The sun shone in a clear blue sky wisps of snow spun across the ground on a light breeze. Spring was already in full pursuit of winter in the lowlands, but deep in the mountains of Skyrim winter still held on. Pine trees and other evergreens covered the sides of the valley, dotted along the road small bushes of snowberries were in bloom along with splashes of blue flowers from the mountain plants; that were starting to flower due to the small change in the longer days and warmer air. Delte would stop every now and then and carefully pick some of the more ripe berries and flowers for her alchemy. During one of these small stops Volk noticed she was acting uneasy. “Something wrong Delte?” He asked as he patted the neck of his horse.
Delte looked up at him and said. “I have heard tell of huge frost spiders in these parts. I just do not wish to see one for myself. Not too keen on spiders as a whole.” She then bent down to start picking the berries.
Volk started to chuckle and looked towards Paws with a wink he said. “Its not the spiders you need to worry about at this time of year.”
“Oh really what can be worse than a huge eight legged monster that can climb trees and spit poison from sixty yards away then? “ Delte replied as she bagged a handful of berries and snow flowers without looking up and missing Volks huge grin.
“Its the trolls. This time of year the females are in season”. Volk said trying not to laugh. “The males come down from the peeks to hunt on the valley floors for food and to look for a decent shag. Of course they will fight anything they see or that gets in their way.”
Delte dropped the herbs she had started to pick and mounted her horse quickly. “Come on lets get to Helgen before sunset.”
“What about your herbs?” Paws inquired with a sly grin.
“Changed my mind. I will buy some when we get to town.” Delte said as he urged her horse into a steady trot.
As Volk came level with Paws he said to the large Nord. “Nice, I wondered what you was up to. Troll season I like it.”
Volk shrugged. “Had to think of something to hurry her up.”
They both brought their horses into a trot to try and catch up with the vanishing figure of Delte.