Journal of a Redguard: Part 4
SO HERE I AM in Bleak Falls Barrow. This has been an interesting and bloody trip so far, I am still on the trail of the Golden Claw and I can sense there is more to this place than I first thought. It is incredible how deep the barrow goes and how many bodies I have left in my wake. I remain as stealthy as possible since this whole place reeks of death, not the good kind either, that of the stinking Draugr. I can hear someone further on, so I slowly creep forwards and witness a man. I presume he is yet another bandit and I take aim, yet something tells me to wait, perhaps intuition honed over the years.
I am correct. The man pulls the lever and pays for it with his life, projectiles cut him down and he lies still. So I am able to search his body without trouble, a fact that pleases me greatly.
I find some gold, the weapons that he had upon his person and little else of value. What I do discover is that there is a trick to the room I am in and I am quick to exploit it. It does not take me long to work out that I must rotate the carvings on the left to match those symbols that have been inscribed upon stone markers throughout the chamber. I make a note in my journal, from left to right: Snake, Snake, Fish.
I pull the lever and to my relief the door slides open, the bars no longer prevent my passage and I can continue on further into this wretched place. I am barely able to go a few more steps before I find a wooden table, some detritus and a book. I can also hear snuffling from a wooden spiral staircase that warns me of possible danger.
I should not fear overly much though, since it sounds like Skeevers and they are no danger to me – I am stocked with enough potions to stave off any kind of disease should the worst happen. I unsheathe the sword that weighs heavily in my hands and set off down the stairs, dispatching the Skeevers with ease and leaving their blood to drip from the blade.
I have not descended too far when I hear feeble cries for help coming from down the way, a Dunmer voice echoes through the chamber beyond and calls for his companions aid. I begin to hope that this is my thief and I can end this charade before I must face the despicable undead. True to my senses, the Dunmer is in trouble and I spot a shadow of a massive spider on the floor. As I move into the room, it lowers. This is a challenge that I relish and I unleash a furious series of blows upon it, exulting in the feel of battle.
After a prolonged fight, the spider is dead and I take a potion to stave off the effects of its venom. Resting a little and drinking a liquid that heals my wounds. Now I turn my attention to the trapped dark elf and chuckle a little as I approach him. He soon tells me that he is Arvel the Swift and I find he took the Golden Claw. I was right; he is my thief and my way into the hearts of the Riverwood Trader’s owners. Not to mention some more gold in my pocket.
Arvel will not give up the claw, he asks to be freed. I can tell that he is going to run, so I prepare to chase him down. I will beat the trinket out of him if I have to. I heft the sword and hack at the thick webs, finally they come free and Arvel drops to his knees – he is soon gone down the corridor and I am weighed down by the armour. I curse my slow reflexes and chase after him.
He has not gone far; I can hear his cries once again. Draugr have come to life in the next chamber and assault the man. He flees further in and there is a sickening sound, one of the many barrows’ traps claims the thief’s life and I am free to dispatch the undead as I see fit. Not an easy task I assure you. I am able to employ a mix of stealth, brute strength and guile to deal with the enemy. I take what I need from the undead’s corpses and move to Arvel’s body. Here I find the claw, the journal he kept and it speaks of some greater treasure further into the barrow. I had planned to go back to Riverwood, but now...this draws me further in.
I have lost track of time in these twisting corridors and each one leads me to a different discovery, ancient urns that are packed with the gold of the dead. Since I have already taken from the corpses, I do not see the harm in pilfering from the rest. Finally after more battles and a few more traps I am able to reach a large chamber of the ancients, where the Nords laid their honoured dead to rest and before me is a massive door locked against all comers.
I turn the claw over in my hand and spy symbols on the back of it, symbols that relate to the door. I am able to align these symbols in the following order from top to bottom: Owl, Dragonfly, Bear.
The door opens and the dust of ages settles at my feet, an onrush of air blasts outwards as the chamber beyond illuminates – it has probably not seen the likes of me for a long time. I wonder what treasure might lie inside the vastness beyond the circular door and cautiously step in.