5. Safe haven
20th of Last Seed
Poppo wakes up at 6:30 because he wants to end up in a warm bed tonight and not on a cold mountain top again. The weather is horrible, maybe it was not such a good idea to stay at Northwind Summit. When Poppo gets down to the road, he is soon attacked by his first wolf and it seems that Poppo has another day of to much adventure ahead.
Poppo has walked south for about 2 hours when the sky clears and a tower becomes visible in the distance. Not one of those ruined forts he has seen before, but an actual wooden watchtower. When he gets closer there is no sign of life, the guards have all been slaughtered. Inside there is a note from someone named Akar who writes about advancing imperial soldiers and that reinforcements are on their way. They are clearly to late. Poppo takes the note and some food that is lying around and quickly leaves the bloody scene.
Poppo arrives in Shor’s Stone, a little village that is still asleep at 10 in the morning. Poppo bakes some potatoes he got from the watchtower and notices a mine and smelter. He melts his iron ores and sees some ebony ores lying next to the smelter. They are probably worth a lot and there is no one around, but Poppo is an honest man! A shame really because those ores are worth a lot. Maybe he could work in the mine for a little bit and dig up his own ebony ores.
The sound of a hammer echoes through the village, Poppo checks it’s source and finds Filnjar the smith. He tells Poppo the mine is dry, so he should not bother going down there. Poppo sells all his items he no longer needs and has now 649 gold. From the pelts he collected along the way Poppo makes a brown cloak to keep him dry and warm. Since it is not that late yet and Shor’s Stone has no inn, Poppo continues south.
After walking for another hour, a fort blocks Poppo’s path. He could go straight through but since that is something only adventurers would do, he sneaks around it. Staying close to the walls he manages to get past the fort without being noticed. He also levels up from all the sneaking, he is now level 2. He chooses speechcraft, because even a common man needs to haggle.
Then Poppo finally reaches his first major city: Riften! This is going to be Poppo’s Safe Haven. He walks up to the gates but the guard stops him. Poppo has to pay a visitors tax to him. Since Poppo has not been to another city as far as he knows, this could be normal but since 80 gold is a lot of money for Poppo he tries to persuade the guard. It works! It was indeed a shakedown and the guard quickly opens the gate. Poppo hopes that was the only corrupt person in Riften.
Poppo has only taken a few steps in the streets of Riften when the next shady figure approaches him: Maul. He asks if Poppo is looking for trouble, because apparently Poppo looks like a trouble maker. Poppo explains to him his axe is only for self-defense purposes only, mainly against wolves. Maul is still convinced that Poppo is into some dirty business, because he warns Poppo not to cross the Black Briar family. He then offers Poppo a job, seriously Maul; make up your mind already. Poppo just walks off and ignores Maul and his shady business.
Poppo goes to the inn where he finds a priest rambling about dragons and signs from Mara and that someone should do something about it, sounds like a quest giver. Poppo buys some food and drinks from Keerava, but the mead she has is quite expensive. Poppo wonders how Roggi manages to drink so much with these prices, he must be very rich. Poppo rents the room in The Bee and Barb and sits down next to a Dark Elf named Romly. He must have seen Poppo’s disappointment when he saw the mead price, because he offers him some with a discount. Not just any discount he sells it for 10 gold per bottle! Poppo starts to think Romlyn is not selling this on behalf of the Briar family, but since Poppo really wants to try it he buys it.
Poppo spots a very pretty lady. She is a Nord woman with pretty blond hair. Poppo does however not dare talking to her, she is probably out of his league anyway.
After a few cups of Black Briar mead Poppo has a little bit more courage and decides to approach the pretty lady. Her name is Haelga and she owns the bunkhouse in town. She also tells Poppo that he is not the kind of person she likes to see in her accommodation. Well since she does not even want to rent him a room, he can forget about marrying her. Maybe another cup of mead will make him forget this nasty encounter.
2 bottles of mead later Poppo decides it has not been a bad day, but still hopes tomorrow will be better. He goes up to his room and only falls down the stairs one time, Black Briar mead is strong stuff. He lies down on his bed and falls asleep immediately, probably dreaming about Haelga.