– 18th Last Seed, 4E 201
The sun was already a glaring alpine flare when it broke the crest of the mountain range at my back. The verdant valley before me was lit with an intense wint’ry brilliance, and I knew immediately that I had slept into the late morning. The mountaineering sun is already very high when it finally crawls over the ragged peaks, and I wondered if this ruggedly carved valley ever witnessed the true blush of sunrise. Rising stiffly, I shivered at the sight of the long-dead campfire and walked warily to the edge of the cliff the camp was perched upon. I gazed down into the valley and chuckled a weary chuckle, for there below me were the plumes of smoke and the golden thatch of the town I sought, not two hundred yards from me all the cold night.
There was no further incident on my way down the paths to the village, and as I descended I took in the loveliness of the place. I knew that here, finally, was a place of warmth and rest. Not only from the sights, but from the homey sounds and smells I knew there were families and neighbors: life here. No more dragons and wildermen for me. A child and her dog ran past me as I entered the charming center, and not only a few Nords but another Bosmer strode about! This last I ran to in a manner more embarrassingly desperate than I intended. But seeing a fellow Wood Elf in a friendly town got the best of me, and I was drawn like a moth to flame.
The pleasure of the meeting was not as mutual as I would have hoped, though, and the slightly dour fellow went on chopping wood in a distracted fashion as he spoke. His name was Faendal, and I had indeed discovered Riverwood. He didn’t seem to be in the mood for conversation, so I left him to explore the town, but I have since learned that Faendal is a very smart chap; quite willing to share tales and a wonder with a bow!
His was the first of many new faces, though Riverwood is not crowded by any means. The grumbling trader Lucan and his lovely sister Camilla, bright Sven, stony Alvor, Orgnar and Delphine at their charming inn, gentle Hod and his angel of hospitality, Gerdur… They and a handful of other hearty souls made their home in this peaceful valley.
I had once spent nearly a moon at the Imperial Bridge Inn on the Silverfish exploring and sketching the lovely Nibenay region, and Riverwood brought back fond memories of those warm days roasting mudcrab along the shore as the songs of worshippers drifted in the honeysuckle breeze. This valley, though colder and sharper than the Nibenay, had a deep, heady beauty so much… “realer” than any I’d encountered in Cyrodiil. Perhaps the harshness of the alpine heights serves to heighten or delineate the brisk lushness about the town; its provincial activity seeming warmer and more precious with the dread mountains’ looming contrast.
Talking of warmth, there was mead! Mead and strong Nordic ale to be had in bulk. Seems the breweries are thriving here in the North, and I have learned to love their fare. Mead began alien and a little harsh on the tounge, but has since become my refreshment of choice. Faendal favors it as well, and a few nights’ chatting at the tavern with the elf soon had me hooked. Not to say I’ve been in my cups since I came to town- on the contrary: the next days were eventful, surprising and positively thrilling, for I have been, thus far, fortunate in my adventures. Tomorrow I shall tell of some highlights before I bring this journal up to speed with the harrowing tale of how I came upon the book itself.