Chapter 2: New Life, New Town

Ardarume slept rather fitfully that night, she was terrified that Elenwen would find the false back in the wardrobe and then find her hiding place but she didn't.

The next morning Ardarume awoke, ate some of the food and helped herself to some of the leather armor…she tried to lift the steel breastplate first but immediately decided that it was too heavy. She also took one of the short steel swords….she had never touched a weapon in her life. Her mother claimed that they had magic and therefore no need for weapons but Ardarume felt safer with a weapon in her hand…even though she had no idea how to use it.

She swung it around a few times trying to get a feel for how the weapon worked when the door opened.

Ardarume looked over nervously but it was only the innkeeper

"You scared me" she said

"Sorry about that" he said "I just wanted to tell you that the other elves are gone, it's safe for you to leave now…and you probably should soon. It's not safe for you here."

Ardarume blinked "Why?"

"I can't tell you because that would put you in danger, just trust me on this, you are better off away from here."

After everything the man had done for her, Ardarume could hardly impose on him any further so she left. She walked out of the inn and saw a few people around but no one was willing to talk to her.

She decided to just follow the road; she didn't know where it went but figured it had to lead somewhere.

She wasn't certain how long she walked before she started seeing signs of civilization. She then saw a large giant thing, fighting several armed warriors.

She sent a couple of shock spells at it but she wasn't sure if her spells accomplished very much. In any event though the creature was soon brought down but one of the fighters had been injured, Ardarume raced to him and started using her magic to heal his wounds.

"A real warrior wouldn't just stand there while and watch a fight." A woman with a bow and arrow admonished her

"I was NOT just standing there; didn't you see the lighting spells hitting the giant, where did you think they were coming from?" Ardarume challenged

"Magic" one of the armed men scoffed "magic is for weaklings and milk drinkers. A true warrior wouldn't stoop to such things"

"Fine, then I suppose I should just let your friend here suffer from his wounds then, since magic is so terrible, surely no warrior should accept its' healing." Ardarume snapped, she was bluffing mostly; she wouldn't let the man continue to hurt; besides his wounds were just about patched up away.

"Don't let my brother's tongue bother you" the man she was healing said "he has a bad habit of opening his mouth and promptly inserting his foot. I for one am grateful for your help. I feel much better now." The injured man said

"You're welcome" Ardarume replied, putting some extra emphasis on the word you're "it's nice to see that someone in this rabble has good manners."

"Rabble, who are you calling rabble?" the archer woman demanded "We are the Companions, the premier fighters in all of Skyrim"

By this point Ardarume had finished tending the man's wounds "Mercenaries then, not that I see much difference."

"Typical outsider, disrespecting things you don't understand." The archer said

"I understand plenty. I understand that respect is a two-way street, if you want it; you have to give it in return. You didn't treat me with any respect so why should I give you any?" Ardarume questioned

"What part of premier fighters in all of Skyrim did you not understand?" the archer responded

"The part where you think it gives you the right to act like you're better than everyone else in everything. That's not how it works; people are good at some things and not at others. For instance I freely admit you are probably a better archer than I am, but I bet I'm a better healer than you."

"I didn't mean it like that" the archer said

"Right sure" Ardarume replied disbelievingly "your friend is healed now so I'm leaving" she then tried to begin walking down the road but the woman's voice stopped her

"If you're trying to get into Whiterun don't bother."

Ardarume turned around "Why not?"

"We received word that the city of Helgen was attacked by something, not sure what at this point but the jarl has ordered the city sealed, no one goes in or out except for city residents, which given the fact that I have been living in the city for years and never seen you, I'm willing to bet you're not." The archer explained

Ardarume sighed….going to the city had seemed to be a good idea since the Thalmor was not allowed there.

"Why don't you come with us?" the archer suggested "if we tell the guards that you are with us they will more than likely let you through. Consider it a thank you for tending our wounded shield brother."

"I accept your offer, thank you" Ardarume responded politely

"By the way, I don't believe we properly introduced ourselves" the archer woman responded said "my name is Aela, the man you tended to is Farkas and the other one is his brother Vilkas, what's your name?"

"Ar-Ariel, my name is Ariel" Ardarume said…abruptly realizing that she probably shouldn't use her given name if she wanted to make sure her mother couldn't find her.
"All right then, Ariel let's go." Aela stated

The group walked up the road and to the gates of the city

"Hail Companions" one of the guards greeted as his partner began to open the gates. Soon the gates were open and they began to walk through when the guard stopped them

"Wait, who is this with you?"
"Her name is Ariel, she's with us." Aela said firmly

"…I'm sorry but the Jarl ordered no strangers are allowed in the city, not until we figure out what attacked Helgen."

"It was a dragon" Ariel declared

They all turned to look at her

"You sure of that?" Vilkas demanded

"Positive" Ariel affirmed "I was there, I saw the whole thing. If Ulfric hadn't shouted a hole in the wall, I might not have made it out alive."
"Ulfric, you're a Stormcloak?" Aela asked "I didn't think they would let elves join them."

"I'm not a Stormcloak; I was in the city at the time. When the black dragon first started attacking, one of the first men wounded was a Stormcloak. When I saw him fall clutching his leg, I didn't care whether he was a Stormcloak or an Imperial, all I saw was an injured man who needed my help. I ran over and mended his wounds. Another of the Stormcloaks called for him to go into one of the towers, he ran and I didn't know what else to do so I followed.

When we got inside Ulfric and some other Stormcloaks were there, a couple of them were wounded, I tended to their wounds and then we all fled the tower by jumping out the window since the door was blocked by some fallen rubble. Ulfric and I were the last and we got separated from the others by a bunch of burning wood so we ran the other way. We ran along the wall until I found a spot of it that looked weak, I don't know if that was a result of the dragon attack or if it had been like that earlier but the wall didn't budge when I pushed on it. Ulfric told me to move out of the way and then he shouted some strange words at it and after a couple of blasts he made a hole in the wall big enough for us to squeeze through. We ran until the city and the dragon were out of sight and then we went our separate ways." Ariel explained

"If you were at Helgen, Jarl Balgruff will want to hear your story." The guard said "go on in and head to Dragonsreach, the Companions here can show you the way."

The group headed into the city, they kept walking until the came to a large…rather unhealthy looking tree.

"Here is where we part ways." Aela said "Dragonsreach is at the top of the central steps over there." She pointed toward a large set of stairs "You can't miss it."

Ariel thanked them and then began walking.

She soon arrived in the keep but she didn't get much farther before a well-armed dark elf woman ran to her and demanded angrily "what is the meaning of this interruption, Jarl Balgruff is not receiving visitors."

"the guards told me to come here" Ariel explained "they said that he would want to know what happened at Helgen."

"We all want the answer to that question, do you have it?" the dark elf asked

"More than most, I was there when the dragon attacked." Ariel said

"Indeed, Jarl Balgruff will want to hear about that, come with me then."
Ariel followed the woman to a raised dais on the other end of the keep's great hall. A man lounged on a throne, she assumed that it was Jarl Balgruff…she tried to recall what little she knew of him, mainly from snippets of overheard conversations around the embassy, it wasn't very much, and certainly nothing that would help her in her current situation.

"Irelith, why have you brought this girl here?" he questioned

The dark elf, whom Ariel assumed was Irelith, replied "she was at Helgen; I brought her to tell us what happened."

"I see, then tell us your tale." He ordered gently but firmly

Ariel told them the same thing she had told the guard outside the city.

"So Ulfric Stormcloak is still alive then" the Jarl said after Ariel finished

"Most likely" Ariel said

"My jarl" Irelith began "I strongly suggest we send additional troops to Riverwood at once, it's in the most immediate danger, if that dragon is lurking in the mountains…." She trailed off obviously unwilling to finish that sentence

"We can't do that!" a man standing next to the Jarl's throne countered "If we send troops that close to the border, the Jarl of Falkreath will take it as a sign that we are planning to join Ulfric and attack him!"

"Proventus have you met Sidgeir?" Balgruff asked him

"Well, no" Proventus admitted

"I have and let me tell you, that boy doesn't see anything beyond his next bottle of mead. In any case, war or no war I will NOT stand idly by while a dragon burns my hold and slaughters my people! Irelith, send a detachment to Riverwood at once." Balgruff said

Irelith bowed slightly and replied "Yes, my jarl" she then left to go prepare some troops

Ariel, believing that she was no longer needed began to leave but Balgruff's voice stopped her

"Wait"

She turned to look at him.

He got up from his throne and approached her

"You sought me out on your own initiative, such loyalty deserves a reward."

Ariel opened her mouth to protest that she hadn't done any such thing and no reward was necessary but Balgruff tossed her a purse filled with several coins…coins that she would sorely need if she was serious about trying to live a life on her own.

"Now you may take your leave, but I ask you not to leave the town for a while. We may need to hear more from you." He said

"Is there an inn around here, where I can get a room?" Ariel asked

"Yes, the Bannered Mare, down in the market district. The redguard woman they just hired is quite the cook, if rumor is to be believed" Balgruff told her

"All right then, thank you" Ariel said

Balgruff did not respond as someone else called for his attention

It was still light out so Ariel decided to take some time and explore the city before she headed to the inn. Eventually she came upon the Blacksmith's shop where a redguard woman seemed to be in a heated argument with a heavily armored Nord man

"I'm just ONE blacksmith; I can't make that many swords. I already have more orders than I can fill as it is" The woman declared

"Come on woman" the Nord said "where's your sense of loyalty, do you want this town to be burned and sacked by the Stormcloaks, or a dragon?!"

"….can I help?' Ariel offered

They both stopped and looked at her

"You said that you couldn't make that many swords by yourself, what if I helped you, could you do it then?" she elaborated
"Have you ever even TOUCHED a blacksmith's hammer before?" the woman asked dubiously

"Well no," Ariel admitted "but I'm good with my hands and I learn fast."

"well lucky for you, I'm desperate so I'll give you a shot. We'll start with something simple, an iron dagger."

The redguard guided her through making the dagger and a leather helmet after both pieces were finished and refined she examined them critically

"Not bad" she said somewhat surprised "was that REALLY your first time in the forge?"

Ariel nodded

"Well, you certainly did better than I did my first time."

"Adrianne, why don't you take her as an apprentice?" the Nord suggested

"What?" the woman asked

"You yourself said that you have more orders than you can fill on your own, why not have her help?"

Adrianne considered a moment and then turned to Ariel "Do you have a place to stay?"

"No…I was going to get a room at the Bannered Mare for a few days at least" Ariel answered

"All right, here's my offer. We have a spare bed on the upper floor, so I am offering you room and board and a few scarp materials to make items to sell so you have some spending money of your own and in exchange, during the week you work alongside me as my apprentice. I work from dawn to dusk every week day and I will expect you to be working with me, unless you get sick or something. Weekends and evenings are yours to spend as you please, what do you say?"
Ariel thought about it and found that she liked it, she enjoyed the way she could feel the metal changing shape as she pounded on it…plus imaging the faces of people she didn't like on the metal gave her anger a nice outlet. She had very much enjoyed today.

"What can I say except when do I start?" Ariel said

"That's the way" the Nord said "So now that you've got yourself an apprentice, will you take the job?"

"All right" Adrianne said "but don't expect any miracles."

Several minutes later Ariel was working the smelter while Adrianne was at the forge and then a couple of kids ran by while playing tag, one of the ran into Ariel. Unfortunately Ariel had been holding a shovel with some molten metal and when the kid ran into her, she stumbled and lost her grip on the shovel. The shovel slipped and its fiery contents went flying toward one of the other kids.

The kid (a girl) instinctively raised her arms to protect herself. The molten metal hit her arms and burned her badly. She cried out in pain.

Both women raced to the girl Ariel began working her healing magic while Adrianne lectured her

"I've told all of you kids a thousand times NOT to play near the forge, especially not when I'm working!"

She held up her hammer "This is NOT a toy, none of these are toys. They are powerful and potentially dangerous pieces of equipment, if you're not careful accidents WILL happen…frankly, we're lucky it was just her arms and not her face."

"It's okay, it doesn't hurt anymore….the nice lady is making it all better." The girl said

"Be that as it may" Adrianne responded "it doesn't change the fact that none of you should have been messing around here in the first place."

"There, all fixed" Ariel said after a minute

The girl examined her arms "Wow, I don't even have a scratch, did Danica teach you to do that? I asked her to teach me once but she said I was too young."

"Who's Danica?" Ariel asked

"Danica Pure-Spring" Adrianne said "She's the head priestess over at the temple of Kynareth and a very skilled healer."

"Do you think she'd teach me?" Ariel asked eagerly

"Why would you need teaching, you are clearly quite skilled already." Adrianne said
"Maybe, but I can always get better" Ariel responded "a healer always has to be ready to learn"

"Danica's usually happy to give anyone who asks a few tips. Whiterun can always use more healers, go talk to Danica and see what she says."

"Yes, master" Ariel responded

"Don't call me that." Adrianne said "Yes, I know it's traditional but my name is Adrianne and that's the only title I need or want, understand?"

"Yes, ma- I mean yes, Adrianne" Ariel replied

"Good, now go on to the temple" Adrianne ordered

Ariel wasted no time, she ran through the market district and up to the cloud district.

She went into the temple and was shocked at what she found. There were several sick and injured lying around while the few healers moved slowly from one to the next. Ariel forgot about asking for lessons, she just headed straight to the nearest patient and did what she could to help.
Eventually Danica and Ariel were working side by side as they each tended to a different patient

"Why did you come here, my child?" Danica asked

'"I wanted lessons in restoration magic but when I saw all these people -"Ariel began but Danica cut her off

"Say no more" Danica said "You immediately rushed in to help, that's the mark of a true healer. Unfortunately with the war, we have far more patients that normal. I am not giving lessons right now, but practice is the best teacher anyway, so any time you want to come and help, you would be more than welcome and I will be here to help you if you have any trouble."

"Thank you, very much" Ariel said "My name is Ariel; I'm Adrianne's new apprentice."

"I didn't know Adrianne had an apprentice." Danica responded

"It only happened today." Ariel explained "When I said new I meant brand new."

"I see, well then I suppose congratulations are in order."

Over the following week, Ariel worked out a schedule for herself. She spent every week day working the forge with Adrianne. When Adrianne quit working at 6, she ate dinner with her and Urgerth and then Ariel went to the Temple to work with the healers until 10 at night. On weekends she spent the day in the Temple until 6 and used the evenings as a little 'me-time'. It seemed like a rigorous schedule but Ariel was doing two things she LOVED doing, she had never been happier in her life.
A little more than a week after Ariel first arrived; a man in wizard robes came to the forge

"Farengar" Adrianne greeted him "We don't normally see you down here, do you need something?"

"Yes actually, I need to speak to your apprentice Ariel" he said

Ariel looked up from the sword she was sharpening

"Speak to me about what?" Ariel asked

"The dragon at Helgen" he said

Ariel had told Adrianne and her husband all about it over dinner the day she'd arrived so Adrianne didn't question it

"What do you want to know?" Ariel asked

"Everything you can tell me" Farengar answered and then followed with a series of questions.

When he said that he wanted to know everything, he hadn't been kidding. His questions included ones Ariel could answer definitively (example, what color was the dragon, black) ones she had to guess (example, how big was it, a bit smaller than a house but larger than a carriage) to ones she had no clue (where did it come from, how am I supposed to know). After what felt like forever, Farengar was finally satisfied

"Thank you for your help." He said and returned to Dragonsreach
A bit after that, Aela and another Nord man approached her "Ariel, may we talk?" Aela asked

"Anything you have to me, you can say in front of Adrianne" Ariel said

"The jarl has hired us to go to Bleak Falls Barrow and retrieve something called a dragonstone."

"What's a dragonstone?" Ariel asked

"A map, of ancient dragon burial sites" Aela answered

"Why does he want that, does he think the dragons are coming back from the dead or something?" Ariel questioned

"I don't know, we don't ask why, we just do what we're hired to do" Aela said "Anyway, the jarl said that since the task involved dragons, we should ask you to come along. You have more experience with those beasts than any of us. You'll get a cut of the money of course."

Ariel hesitated, she wasn't certain that she would be very much help. She looked at Adrianne

"How long do you think this will take?"

"Not too long" Aela said "Bleak Falls Barrow is not far from Riverwood. I wouldn't expect it to take more than a few days at the very most."

"Well, I think I can spare Ariel for that length of time." Adrianne said, internally she was wondering why her father hadn't discussed this with her first, he told her a lot of what went on in the keep and she would have thought that sending her apprentice on a dangerous mission with the Companions would have been something he'd want her opinion on. "But you better bring her back to me in one piece."

"Of course, Adrianne we'll look after her, don't worry." Aela said

Ariel sighed, "honestly, I don't think I will be very much help. I'm no fighter but Whiterun is my home now and I wouldn't be able to live with myself knowing I had the chance to help protect it and I didn't."

Adrianne smiled, she was proud of her apprentice for that answer…Ariel hadn't been with them for very long but the young Altmer had already warmed her way into Adrianne's heart. Adrianne couldn't help but think that part of that may be that her apprentice was the closest thing she would ever have to a child of her own. Adrianne had gotten very sick when she was a child, almost everyone in Whiterun had assumed that little Adrianne was going to die. Only one person in the city hadn't given up and that person was Danica Pure-Spring, then only an acolyte somehow managed to pull Adrianne through with a combination of hard work, skill, luck and sheer stubbornness but the disease had taken a toll, Adrianne had been made sterile.

"When do we leave?" Ariel asked

"As soon as you're ready" Aela said

"Okay, let me go and change my clothes" Ariel responded and went into Warmaiden's and up to her room. She knew that that it was a bad idea to go running around who knows where in a dress. She put on her leather armor and grabbed a steel sword. She didn't bother with a bow and arrows because she had never so much as fired a bow in her life…she would probably more dangerous to her allies than her enemies with no practice, she'd use her magic for ranged attacks.
Once she was done she returned to the Companions

"Okay, I'm ready" Ariel said

"Do you have any idea how to USE the blade you're carrying?" the Nord guy asked

"I know enough to swing the sharp part at the enemy" Ariel answered

"YOU DON'T JUST SWING IT!" He shouted "idiocy like that is what gets people killed! If that's all you're good for you might as well stay here."

Ariel looked down embarrassed

The man sighed "Look, I'll show you a few basics, so stop looking like you're a puppy that's just been kicked."

"Okay, thanks Mr…um, what's your name anyway" Ariel responded

"Skjor, my name is Skjor and now let's go over there so we don't accidently stab any passersby"
They went over to an isolated corner of the city wall and then Skjor spend the next few hours drilling Ariel in basic sword fighting moves until eventually Aela interrupted

"That's enough; we have to leave now if we want to make Riverwood before nightfall."

"All right" Skjor said he and Ariel both sheathed their swords

"You know enough now to not stab yourself the first time you draw your blade. I would recommend that you stay behind Aela and I and stick to your spells, Aela tells me that's what you're good at."

"Your compatriots got angry with me for using spells against the giant." Ariel said

"Vilkas would, he doesn't like magic or those who practice it, a lot of nords are like that me but as for me, as long as you hit the enemy and not me, I'm fine with it." Skjor said

"All right then" Ariel said and then they left

Eventually they arrived in Riverwood and rented a pair of rooms at the inn. Aela went to the counter and told the man there

"We'd like two rooms please"

"Talk to Delphine, she runs the inn, I'm just the cook." He responded

Ariel instinctively started a bit, she knew the name Delphine. The woman was a Blade, one of the few and most dangerous survivors. They turned to a woman who was sweeping the floor

"That will be 20 septims" the woman said

Ariel looked at her, she was a Breton that much was clear but Delphine was supposed to be in her 50s…this woman didn't look that old, Ariel had thought humans were supposed to age faster than elves because they didn't live as long, but maybe Bretons, being mixed didn't, she wasn't sure. She did know that the woman didn't look dangerous but then she also knew that appearances could be very deceiving.
Aela paid the woman and they sat down to eat some of the food that they had brought with them.

Ariel noticed that the man behind the counter was pointedly looking anywhere but at her. She realized that for some reason he didn't want to talk to her so she left him alone

The next morning they left the inn and after a long and (for Ariel at least, arduous climb) they arrived at the Barrow

"Wow" Ariel said when she first saw it "this looks like…an ancient temple or something."

"Possibly, it could also be a tomb, given what we came here to find." Aela replied "There are dozens of these barrow things scattered across Skyrim."

"Really?" Ariel asked

Aela nodded

As the group approached a figure darted out from behind one of the pillars and shot an arrow at them.

Skjor just barely managed to raise his shield in time to catch it; he then charged at the archer but was intercepted by another bandit wielding a mace.

Aela drew her bow and began shooting arrows while Ariel summoned a flame atronach and then began to fire shock spells.

After killing the two bandits, they headed into the Barrow.

Inside they found two more bandits talking to each other about a companion of theirs who had stupidly gone running off ahead.

Ariel sent her strongest shock spell at the back of the archer, it killed her almost immediately

The companions glared at Ariel briefly before Skjor charged forward to intercept the dead archer's partner who was charging at them. Once he was dead Skjor rounded on Ariel

"What were you thinking?!" he demanded

"What?" Ariel asked

"Attacking an enemy while their back is turned, what kind of a coward are you?" he questioned

"The kind who wants this over with as soon as possible." Ariel countered "the kind who isn't willing to get killed just to prove some kind of stupid point."

"It's not STUPID; honor is the most important thing we have in life!" Skjor countered

"And who decides what's honorable, who decides what honor even is?" Ariel questioned "For instance, most nords say magic is bad and yet Danica uses it to save lives every day, how many of you have gone to her and told that she stop using her healing magic because its' somehow dishonorable? Each person has their own idea of what is honorable and even what honor is."
"We Companions live by the Nord code of honor" Skjor declared

"In case you haven't noticed I'm not a Companion or a Nord." She said "I live by my own code and I don't need your approval"

Skjor opened his mouth to say something but Aela beat him to it

"Enough, Skjor she's not one of us, we can't expect her to live her life according to our standards, besides we've wasted too much time as it is."

She then began walking further into the barrow, Skjor followed her with Ariel bring up the rear.

Before long it got to be almost pitch black

"Hang on, I'll light us a torch." Skjor said

"Don't bother" Ariel replied and cast a candlelight spell. "There you are one hands free light."

The Nords didn't say anything, they simply continued walking.

They fought their way past, to Ariel's utter disgust, some very large spiders…that was one of the few things she and Elenwen had ever agreed on, spiders were the most revolting creatures on earth and these large ones were the worst.

Quickly they ran towards the voice. They arrived in a large chamber that was absolutely covered in cobwebs

"Giant spider!" the voice said "kill it, kill it!"

A split second later an ENORMOUS spider descended from the ceiling. Ariel was briefly torn between the urge to vomit and the urge to run away screaming bloody, gory murder.

"KILL IT, KILL IT!" the male voice yelled

Ariel snapped back into reality, she shouldn't be vomiting or running, she should be ROASTING this revolting…abomination.

Ariel felt bad for Skjor, he had to get close enough to be TOUCHED by that thing. She and Aela hung back, Aela fired arrows while Ariel threw fireballs and eventually the spider died. Said spider had however secured for itself the top spot on Ariel's list of most revolting things in the world.

After which Ariel noticed that Skjor was looking a bit green

"Are you all right, did the spider poison you?"

"It's just a scratch" Skjor claimed "I'll be fine"

Ariel rolled her eyes, she HATED when people said that, because nine times out of ten they were NOT fine. Besides she had the impression that Skjor was one of those people who would say he was fine even if he'd just a limb cut (or bitten since they'd been fighting a spider) clean off.

She cast a spell to cure the poison and a group healing spell on all of them

"Hey!" Skjor protested "You can't just go casting spells on people without permission, what in Oblivion is wrong with you?!"
"You were NOT fine, that spider clearly had managed to poison you and I am NOT going to stand by and let someone hurt because they are too idiotic to admit that they need help!" Ariel countered

Skjor opened his mouth to argue back but the male voice interrupted them

"HELLO! Guy trapped in a spider's web over here."

Skjor turned and moved in the direction of the voice followed closely by Aela and Ariel and eventually they found a male dark elf that was all wrapped up in spider's web. Ariel felt even sorrier for him than she had for Skjor.

"Quick, get me down!" he urged

Skjor looked at him suspiciously "how do we know you won't attack us as soon as you're free, the way your compatriots did?"

"Why would I attack the people who saved my life?" the elf asked "besides, you'll never be reach the treasure without me anyway?"

"What treasure?" Ariel asked

"What treasure?" the elf laughed "the legends say that a source of great power lies at in this barrow but it's sealed, the seal can only be broken by the golden claw…which I happen to have in my pocket. If you cut me down, I'll show you how the claw works and spilt the treasure with you when we find it."

"Cut him down Skjor" Aela said "if what he says is true, we won't be able to get the dragon stone without him. Besides, we can't just leave him here."

Slowly, carefully Skjor took his sword and began cutting through the spider's web.

When he was freed the man fell to the ground. He brushed himself off and took off running

"You fools" he cackled "why should I share the treasure with anyone?!"

The companions and Ariel ran after him.

Before two long the man was attacked by some of the dead bodies, said bodies had somehow rose again

"What in Oblivion are those?!" Ariel shrieked

"Dragur, the walking dead" Skjor answered and then he slashed one of them across the chest with his sword.

Ariel shook her head but wasted no more time, she started throwing shock spells. Eventually they killed the dragur and Ariel bent down to examine the dead dark elf's body…ignoring the disapproving looks the Nords were giving her.

They continued on, eventually coming to a large stone door.

"Great, how are we supposed to get past this?" Skjor said

"There's got to be a clue around here somewhere." Aela replied and then she and Skjor spilt up and began searching the room while Ariel read the journal that she had taken off the dark elf's body.

"When you hold the golden claw the answer is in your hand." She muttered after finishing

She took the golden claw out of her pocket and examined it. It had a series of carvings on it, carvings that shared the same design as the ones on the door. She reached up and pulled on the top carving and it spun around until a different animal was revealed

"Ah Ha" she said softly realizing what she had to do in order to open the door. Quickly she spun the carvings around until the series on the door was the same as the ones on the claw and then she inserted the claw into the slot and sure enough the door opened.

The trio moved on it a large cavern at the back of the cavern they found a large chest. Aela opened it and started going through it's' contents.

Ariel though was far more interested in the wall behind the chest. One of the words on it was glowing blue and she didn't understand why. Curious she knelt down and touched the word…as soon as she did she was engulfed by a bunch of flashing lights for a moment and a few seconds later she was completely blinded and then it all stopped as suddenly as it had started. Ariel looked back at the wall, it was not glowing anymore but she had the impression that the text on the wall said something about force.

She stepped back from the wall, she didn't even remotely understand what had just happened and she didn't like it one little bit.

"Found it!" Skjor said triumphantly and then he grabbed a stone tablet off a pedestal as soon as he did that the coffin behind the pedestal popped open and a dragur far larger than any of the ones they had fought before climbed out of it.

Ariel didn't waste time, she started hitting him with shock spells as soon as it emerged. Aela waited until it had stood up and then she began firing arrows while Skjor charged forward and engaging the dragur in sword to ax combat.

Since it was three against one, the dragur did die but not before it managed to wound Skjor badly in the arm. He looked at Ariel expectantly

She looked back at him with an expression that said 'what?'

Skjor sighed, she was GOING to make him ask "…I could use a little help with this."

Ariel didn't waste time responding, she been going against her every instinct just by waiting as long as she had, now that she had permission to treat him, she was not going to waste any more time by talking.

"What was so interesting about that wall?" Aela asked

"You didn't see it?" Ariel questioned back

"See what?" Aela replied

Ariel shook her head "Nothing, forget about it"

Aela clearly didn't believe it was nothing but she decided that she didn't know Ariel well enough to press the matter.
They made their way out of the Barrow and back to Whiterun in silence.