Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Chapter 7: The Anchored Treasure

Chapter 7: The Anchored Treasure

Following the dramatic, yet costly escape from the Castle Dour Dunegon in Solitude, the trouble the Hunter of Blunders witnessed in the city gave him a new appreciation of the wilderness. He soon found himself a nice quiet location to sleep and let the night sky pass just outside the city, near the harbour. 

An early morning was necessary for the Hunter, who still had a heavy bounty in the Haafingar hold for attempting to steal from a wealthy clothing store and recklessly killing two guards of the Imperial Legion during his escape. He intended to travel east towards Stormcloak territory, hoping the diminished influence of the Empire around cities such as Dawnstar, Windhelm and Winterhold would give the Hunter a better sense of safety.

The Hunter took to the rocks on the eastern outskirts of Solitude, looking out across the Sea of Ghosts and the surrounding coasts to plan his travel route.

He couldn’t help but notice a group of Thalmor Wizards on the opposite side of Solitude bay, reminding him of his previous encounters with the Second Aldermi Dominion and its agents. It demonstrated the tight control the Thalmor unofficially maintained across Haafingar Hold.

Despite the Hunter’s unwillingness to engage in another battle with his infamous enemy, one was guaranteed when a Thalmor Wizard, lurking beneath the rocks undetected, suddenly unleashed a burning ball of flames directly towards the Hunter. 

Just like the Thalmor encounter during the journey to Solitude, the Hunter made good use of the cover provided by the rocks, avoiding the brunt of the damage delivered by the Altmer Wizard.

The battle appeared to be reaching a stalemate with the Wizard’s magic absorbed by the rocks and the Hunter’s arrows often missing the target. Both seemed frustrated with the lack of success, especially the Hunter, who steadily climbed down the rocks in order to get closer to his foe.

Fortunately, it wasn’t long until the Hunter was within striking distance with his blade and the Thalmor Wizard appeared helpless with his little dagger in close combat. Unable to parry the Hunter’s attacks any longer, the Wizard was soon victim to a fatal stab.

With another Altmer of the Aldermi Dominion defeated in combat, the Hunter soon began to realise his combat skills were improving and a new sense of confidence engulfed him. The body of the elf was left where it fell as the Hunter continued to increase the gap between himself and Solitude.

The Hunter was clearly eager to leave the hold but he constantly found himself distracted the randomness of the wilderness. In one such case he came across a sturdy ship anchored by the coast.

Solitude was still easily seen from a distance yet the ship intrigued him. He pondered on the treasure he could discover within the interior of the vessel. A ship bursting with treasures found across all of Tameriel’s coastlines and enough food to maintain a well fed crew for many days at sea. The Hunter was aware that there were only two corsairs stood on the top deck of the ship.  They were fortunately only lightly armed and poorly protected.

The likelihood of coin and food was too good of an opportunity to pass up so the Hunter advanced towards the boat. With the confidence of killing a powerful Thalmor Wizard still fresh in his mind, the Hunter quickly annihilated the ill-prepared pirates, leaving two bloodied and lifeless bodies on the wooden planks.

Luck appeared to be on the Hunter’s side as the corsairs within the ship had not been alerted to the violence outside. As the Hunter slowly sneaked down the wooden steps and deeper into the ship interior, drunken songs about mead and a life of sea could be heard, blocking out of the noise of his footsteps.

He soon noticed two corsairs in a small room nearby to the set of stairs he had just walked down. They appeared to look very similar, both with golden hair and a similar facial structure. It was assumed by the Hunter that they were siblings as their singing continued to echo the halls.

The Hunter realised that he had little chance of successfully sneaking past the two brothers so the only option was to silence them. He took out his bow, grabbed an arrow from his quiver and stretched out the strings. 

Like a flash of lightning, a single arrow flew through the air and punctured a devastating wound in the neck of one pirate. The force of the arrow pushed his head down; smashing it into the wooden table he sat at.

His assumed brother quickly stood up with his weapon unsheathed, eager to investigate and challenge the mysterious killer. However, both men never engaged in swordplay with the Hunter quickly revealing himself to the petrified pirate and releasing another fatal arrow.

The drunken songs had stopped and Hunter continued to explore the ship further. He knew that other corsairs lurked in other areas of the ships as their footsteps could be heard echoing throughout the wooden ship.

He soon came across a recently awoken pirate, who unexpectedly walked directly from his bed to a room where the Hunter was searching for coin and food. A battle soon occurred with the Hunter becoming ever more ruthless with his kills.  

A few swift sword moves exhausted the pirate. It was not long before he found himself backed against a wooden wall with a deep wound across his left arm. He slowly raised his sword in one last act of defiance before a final move left the pirate in a pool of his own blood.

Continuing down the lower levels of the ship, further pirates met a similar ruthless end at the tip of the Hunter’s blade. His experience battling Thalmor Wizards and the Imperial Legion were clearly paying off.

The Hunter eventually reached the last room of the ship. It appeared to be the Captain’s cabin as it was incredibly well decorated and smartly furnished. The finest food and drink was on display on several tables and shelves throughout the cabin.

However, the Hunter’s appreciation of the room would have to wait as the Captain attacked in one last attempt to save his ship from the Hunter’s greedy hands. Nevertheless, just like the Captain’s massacred crew, the orc was no match against the Hunter.

The Hunter was victorious. The success was welcome considering only a day ago the Hunter stood inside a Solitude jail cell. With enough food, coin and supplies in the ship for the Hunter to last for many months, the Hunter decided it would be best to relax here for the time being. 

After a period of comprehending what he had achieved, the Hunter looted a key from the corpse of the ship captain, and used it to open a footlocker that contained even more treasure.  

Today, he was certainly no blundering fool.

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