Desmond woke early the next morning and gathered the few belongings he felt safe taking off before he went to sleep, he slept with his shoes on, the coins that he had on him tucked inside and he had laid his backpack in the chair next to him with his hoodie draped over it.
He had also leaned the sword against the chair but kept his hidden blade firmly in place. After stretching he found a basin filled with warm water. He used this to clean his face. He opted out of using the chamber pot, he would use an outhouse if he had to but a chamber pot was completely out of the question. There were many things about being in this strange world he could deal with, no electricity, no internet fine he could deal with. No indoor plumbing? Thanks but no thanks.
After ensuring that he had all of his belongings he descended the ladder like steps and approached the bar. On Hilda's recommendation he got a couple of berry tarts. He wasn't sure of the type of berry but he did know that whatever it was they were good. He also purchased a couple of loaves of bread and some dried meat to take to the barrow with him. Once he had eaten he headed outside and found an outhouse attached to the inn.
He spent the next hour bartering with shopkeepers, at the apothecary he traded the magicka and stamina potions for several healing potions. He didn't think he would need either of those as much as he would need to be able to heal. He also sold the vials of frostbite venom he had collected at Hadvar's recommendation for some coins. He skipped the general goods shop, the jeweler's stand, and the two food stands as he was comfortable with the food that he had gotten from the inn. He did stop at the black smith where he sold the couple of pelts he had. He also sold the couple of daggers that he had collected, the bow and the arrows Hadvar had given him. When he sold the sword to Adrienne, the smith looked at him oddly but when he returned the coins and a few extras for one of her steel swords she understood that he was trying to get something of better quality. He also dug out the set of non descript armor that Balgruuf had given him and sold that to her as well.
"Do you not want armor?" Adrienne asked.
"Nah it would get in my way and I have found it is far too easy to forget where the weak points are. Trust me I will be fine. Although maybe in the future I will work on creating some that I can use that will not inhibit me." Desmond responded thinking of the subtle armor that both Altair and Ezio employed.
"I see. Well I wish you luck in your travels. If you ever need my services you know where to find me." Adrienne said, looking at the man oddly.
Desmond didn't respond and instead he headed towards the gates to be let out of the small city. He headed back the way he had come from the day before. This time though when he reached the bridge instead of going over it he took the path to the right and followed it up the small mountain. He crouched behind a rock before he focused and was able to employ his eagle vision.
He could see three red blobs to his left, they would certainly see him so he needed to take care of them. Thankfully he was far enough away he was able to sneakily leave the direct path and circle around the back. It certainly took him longer but he was able to scale the rocky mountain and remain hidden. Then using the parkour skills learned through his time in the animus he scaled the back side of the tower. The sun was almost at its peak when he reached the top of the tower. He pulled himself up and looked around again, engaging his eagle vision. He could see one red blob still at the tree waiting for someone to be foolish enough to come straight up to the tower. Another was on a small footbridge from the tree with the target and the tower and one was right underneath him.
He waited before the blob beneath him moved into his normal vision range. He could see the man had a horned iron helmet and an iron chest plate. There were no pauldrons and the helmet only went as far as the ears which left the man's neck completely exposed. Using his left hand Desmond braced himself making sure his right hand was ready he launched himself off the ruined top of the tower. Using the iron clad man's body to brace his fall Desmond flicked his right wrist and plunged his hidden blade into the man's neck. He was dead before his body hit the floor.
He was sure that the other two bandits would have heard the scuffle. Desmond had seen a chest up a small ladder that would be the perfect place to hide. He did open it to see if there was anything useful, he found a couple of gems and a few gold pieces. He left the ore and the armor that was in there not needing it and it not being useful to him. He quietly shut the lid and heard two sets of feet at the body. He peaked around the corner and saw neither woman had armor that would offer any type of protection to them. He rolled his eyes and quietly drew his sword. He could get the one in scaled armor easy but the one in fur he would have to fight.
"But I don't understand. No one passed us and we would have seen even the distortion of an invisibility potion." The one with the scaled armor said curiously.
"Do you think the Dark Brotherhood is involved? They are said to be able to sneak past even the most alert guards?" The woman in fur asked.
This piqued Desmond's interest in the word brotherhood. Maybe all was not lost and the assassins had a system set up here. He could have been sent to the distant past instead of an entire new world. The precursors proved that human history only was documented up to a certain point and there were civilizations that predated those records by a lot.
"I doubt it. I can see someone hiring thugs or mercenaries to come after us at worst but I can not see anyone performing the black sacrament." The other responded.
Desmond could tell the two were deep in their own conversation so he crept from the attic like area and he quickly dissipated the woman in the slightly more protective gear. The one in fur who was still alive pulled an iron dagger and swung at Desmond who rolled his eyes. He easily deflected the blow with the gauntlet on his right arm and stabbed his sword into her stomach as she was not quick or skilled enough to even try to block the fatal blow. He twisted the sword before pulling it back and she fell to the ground, limp.
Desmond was now able to pillage all three bodies. Between the three he was able to gather another hundred coins. This brought him up to two hundred coins if his counting was correct after the business he had conducted in town.
Having raided the entire tower Desmond left and after finding the path again he followed it to the Barrow proper. There he was ambushed by two bandits with melee weapons and an archer.
The first bandit that reached him was green skinned with tusks and yellow war paint under his eyes. This being was wielding a giant iron war ax. The being swung his ax at Desmond's head. The assassin ducked the blow knowing he wouldn't be able to block it at the angle he was at. Desmond, as the momentum created by the amount of force the being had put into the swing put the being off balance, used this advantage to feign a slice with his hidden blade only to make contact with his sword. Unfortunately this being was slightly more adept at fighting and the hit was mostly blocked by the being who had taken another more controlled swing at Desmond's head.
Desmond jumped back thankfully missing the blade of the weapon. Desmond was forced to block a blow from the other bandit with a melee weapon that had just made it to where the fight was taking place. The archer was currently useless as Desmond was constantly moving and keeping the archer's allies between himself and the danger. The woman bandit charged at him with a steel greatsword. She didn't get a chance to swing the sword though as Desmond gave her a powerful kick to the stomach knocking her away and causing her to drop the sword. The green being was taking his own charge now and Desmond twirled around him expertly. This was the first time that Desmond had given the archer a shot, which he took.
That was all part of Desmond's plan though and he dodged the arrow which planted itself squarely in the green beings head, killing him instantly. This enraged both of the remaining bandits. This was good for Desmond as they got sloppy. The woman with the greatsword came charging back up the steps as the archer was coming down the stairs. Desmond ducked out of the way but she was able to stop before impaling her friend. This put her back to Desmond who used the dagger he got off the body of the woman from earlier as a throwing knife and threw it at the woman. His aim was true and had enough force for it to lodge itself in her lower spine.
She would no longer be able to use her legs as far as Desmond knew. Normally in the times of both Altair and Ezio that would be a guaranteed outcome. In his own time period a skilled surgeon and years of physical therapy may give her limited mobility but she still wouldn't be able to walk normally. This place though with its healing magic and healing potions that could save someone from the brink of death the permanence of her injury. Not that it mattered because she could still use her arms and she managed to swipe at Desmond with a smaller sword she was obviously not as familiar with. He jumped over the blade like a deadly jump rope. He didn't give her a chance and sank his own blade into her heart as she had twisted herself into a sitting position. This archer, like the one earlier, only had a dagger for a backup weapon. After quickly stabbing the short man with his sword, Desmond looted all three bodies for coins and anything small and valuable that he could easily carry from the three bandits.
He then continued up the steps in peace and entered the outermost chamber of the tomb which was slightly warmer, but not much given the number of holes in the ceiling. There were several dead overgrown rats littering the floor and an already dead bandit hanging off an ancient embalming table. Demond could see two more bandits standing at a fire. Seeing one was an archer, which if she was anything like the other two he had already encountered he decided to leave the archer and deal with the bandit with the unknown bandit first.
Desmond snuck up quickly dispatching the male with his hidden blade. This had shocked the woman to inaction long enough for Desmond to not even have to worry about fighting her before ending her existence. He checked the three human bodies and the single chest in the room before heading down the hall.
He heard movement in the next chamber and hiding in the shadows he watched a bandit pull a lever. This lever released several darts. Once the barrage was done Desmond snuck into the room to see the bandit dead at the lever. There was only one small dart stuck in him so Desmond reasoned that they must have been coated in a powerful poison.
Desmond explored the small area, he found another healing potion to add to his growing stash. He did see two faces above the door and to the left of the room he found pillars with matching symbols. Looking down from the overlook he was able to lactate the last face which had been partially uncovered.
After shifting the pillars to match the symbols on the plaques within the faces he pulled the lever and darted back, hopefully well out of the reach of the darts if he was wrong in his assumption. He clenched his eyes shut just in case but he never heard the clattering of the darts. Instead he heard the grinding of the gate. There were two unusual gems he had never seen, one in a holder, the other on the floor and a book. He also collected a few normal looking gems. That is when he was attacked by three of the overgrown rats. He managed to kill the first two without an issue but he did get bit by the third. That one did not live long after that.
Pushing forward he descended to a lower level. He found a bottle with a worn label that read "poison" he grabbed that to sell and the scroll next to it thinking that it may be an ancient alchemical recipe. He could hear yelling coming from down the hall. Before heading for the yelling immediately he did go to a webbed section with a skeleton that had a small money pouch and he could see a chest that after removing the webbing he was able to open with another bunch of coins and a couple of gems.
He then entered the small room to the left and there was another web wall that he sliced through. As he entered the room to release the yelling dark elf a spider that was taller than him descended from a hole in the ceiling of the room. Desmond fell to the ground and crab walked back to the previous room. The elf was yelling at Desmond to kill the beast Desmond was trying to come to terms with what he was seeing. It took a couple minutes but Desmond gathered himself and went to attack the spider.
The spider was watching the door to the room he hid in so sneaking onto it's back was not an option. If he could pull it off he may be able to slide under the spider, climb a wall and jump on its back that way.
As the spider reared to scurry towards him Desmond hopped up and down a couple times to be ready. The Spider began to approach him and he ran at the giant spider and ducked. Thankfully it didn't get a chance to try and bite him before he was already out of reach. Desmond was using the thick webs to climb the wall near the trapped elf. A glob of venom landed just to his left and he turned to see the spider coming closer. He was high enough to hopefully make the jump. Taking a breath he did just that. He landed on the creature's abdomen. Desmond used the small hairs to climb near the head and carefully standing on the thrashing spider he took his sword in both hands before shoving it into the head of the spider. It twitched a couple of times before becoming still. Only then did Desmond remove his sword and jump off the creature. He was also able to cut the elf out of the webs.
"I'm not sharing the treasure!" The elf said before taking off and running away from Desmond.
Desmond rolled his eyes. He was sure that there would be other traps that would get him and Desmond would catch up with him. He slowly followed behind just so he wouldn't get too far ahead.
He passed through another room that he got a few more coins from some urns as well as another strange gem before continuing down the hall. He stopped short when he heard the sounds of fighting. He waited until it got quiet before he took a peak around the corner to see what was going on.
"You have got to be kidding me." He muttered aloud to himself. First it was giant rats. Then it was a giant spider. Now it was zombies. Good thing he had seen plenty of zombie movies. He moved into the open. He found that three of the long dead bodies had been raised from the dead.
He gripped his sword and blocked the swing from the first one's ax. He pushed it back as he blocked which left the one with a sword to his right. He quickly turned and cut deep into the zombie's neck. The blue glow flickered out of it's eyes and it dropped dead, again.
Desmond was thankful, it didn't seem that these zombies seemed easier to kill than the ones in Hollywood movies. The second came running back by that point and Desmond and the undead traded a few blows as a third came running from near a spiked gate. Desmond was finally able to get a damaging counter strike in and he was growing tired. Sure through his time in the animus he knew how to fight, that didn't mean that his muscles were toned for sword fighting like he had been doing constantly for the last few hours. He took the knees out of the zombie before stabbing it through the eye. The last one sent an arrow at him and Desmond dodged.
He made his way to the last zombie and he stabbed it, not giving it a shot to shoot his arrow or draw any other weapons.
Desmond was able to get coins and jewelry from several of the corpses, including the three he returned to the land of the dead. He also found the body of the elf where he got a dragon claw with three symbols on it and a journal that described what the claw was, where he got it, and what it could be used for. He also got some more gold.
Having found several money pouches and loose coins Desmond gave up trying to keep track of what he had. Once he was in a secure place he would stop and sort it into the many pouches he now had access to. He carefully avoided a pressure plate that he was sure would cause the gate to swing at him and spell certain death.
Another zombie began to move from it's sleeping place and Desmond sighed, he would need to rest soon, he was starting to regret not keeping the stamina potions. This zombie was different from the others and was shooting ice out of his left hand, in his right hand was a small battle ax.
Desmond got hit full blast by the first spurt of icicles and Desmond was freezing. Despite the cold seeping into his core he managed to swing his sword, cutting the offending arm off of his foe. This left the zombie with just the battle ax, it swung it at him in anger. Desmond swung his sword deep into the thing's face, killing it. Two more woke to the commotion and they were quickly dispatched. Knowing he was safe in that room he sat on one of the empty beds and took out a piece of bread and some of the meat. He also took a swig from the water skin he had gotten from Hilde at the Bannered Mare.
He was still exhausted from his hours of fighting but he was feeling slightly better after his small break so he decided to press on.
He had noticed the dead with armor seemed to be the only ones that were waking up. He came to a hall where one was standing seemingly asleep with it's arms crossed and a puddle of oil in front of him. There was also a pot above it that seemed to contain fire. Using a large rock he knocked the pot from the weak rope that was holding it up. It crashed into the oil and he heard a second pot fall. The zombie in front of him died quickly and he heard another one die in the distance as well.
Once the oil burned off Desmond moved on. He faced one more zombie after having to dodge several swinging axes. He reached a room with a waterfall that he used to refill his waterskin, after killing yet another zombie.
After opening a chest he left the room through a gate that had a pull chain where he saw another chest that he quickly looted as he could hear another zombie moving around. He went through another passage and came face to face with the mostly decayed femine form. He ducked a blow from her battle ax and shoved his sword up through its weak rib cage. After it fell he saw that there was yet another chest he went to loot. After making it back up from the bottom of the pit he moved on.
There was another zombie shooting ice, this time Desmond knew how to handle it and managed to not get hit by the ice and he took it down. There was another chest he needed to pick the lock for and he got more of the light weight valuables before going in a door.
There were more swinging axes that he narrowly made it through when he found out that there were three zombies ready for him, well two were ready, another had to rise from a coffin. The one in the coffin never had a chance before Desmond killed it. An arrow whizzed by his head.
"You know this is getting really, really annoying." Desmond said as he hacked into the zombie in front of him. After that one dropped dead he had to dodge another arrow from the last one. He finally was able to kill the last one. He crossed a narrow bridge and saw another door. He opened it easily. There was a hall decorated with murals and a three ringed door.
He realized that the marks on the door matched those he had seen on the claw. Taking it out of his backpack he figured out how to turn the rings to match the claw. He stuck the talons into the holes in a circular plate and turned it so that the door gave way. He put the claw back in his pack and entered the cavernous room. He could see stairs leading up to the left with a platform that held a large wall, a coffin and a small shelf; another raised platform that had a large chest on it was to the left as well.
Desmond approached the wall first, hoping that this was not the stone the mage had been talking about, there was no way that he could bring that back. As he got closer he could feel a pull and there was a wind that rushed towards him. No sooner had the wind stopped than he heard the coffin open.
"Really? How many of you are there?" Desmond said gritting his teeth.
Desmond drew his sword and prepared. This was the most armored zombie so far. What he was not expecting was being yelled at by the zombie and being launched into the wall behind him.
"Ok that's not fair." Desmond said when he got his breath back.
The zombie was walking towards Desmond with his war ax raised. Desmond rolled out of the way and saw there was an icy sheen on the ground where it hit.
"Note to self. That weapon is enchanted. Definitely don't get hit." Desmond said, rolling out of the way of another swing.
He managed to stand just as the zombie was rearing back to yell again. Desmond saw this left him slightly vulnerable. Taking advantage Desmond ran and pushed his sword through the zombie's throat. Behind the helmet he saw the blue glow that meant life for these zombies fade.
Desmond fell to the ground using the coffin to hold him upright. It felt like he had at least one broken rib and possibly a concussion. He pulled out a healing potion and downed it. The taste wasn't great but it wasn't good either. He gasped as he felt his body being repaired. He could tell he still had some injuries but he was in good enough shape to at least get to Riverwood if nothing else right now.
He found a smaller tablet in the coffin and grabbed it. He also got another potion he didn't recognize and some more gold and items he could sell from two chests in the room. He then walked up the stairs hoping it was a way out of the crypt. He reached a dead end and then after using eagle vision he found a small pedestal with a lever that lowered a door and allowed him into a small passageway. He found a ledge that he had to jump down from. There was another chest that had some goal and a small hole in the wall that he was relieved to see led outside.
As he exited he saw the sky was starting to grow dark. He followed the river back toward where he knew Riverwood to be and stars were beginning to dot the sky when he reached the village. He made a stop at the trader where he sold as much of the stuff he collected as he could. He also returned the claw to the trader which got him a further 400 coins. Once he was done there he made his way next door to the Sleeping Giant Inn. After renting a room he went straight to bed. Too tired and sore to even think of food.
Something like 12 hours and 4,389 words later we have seen Desmond through Bleak Falls Barrow. When I first began writing this chapter I expected to be able to include the first dragon fight as well and then this chapter wound up way longer than I anticipated. I hope this is enjoyable.
If you can't tell I have nothing written up before I am ready to upload. I have a vague idea of what I want a chapter to be before I type it up but I mostly allow the chapter to write itself and I merely act as the conduit to get it out. Maybe not the most proficient method but I certainly find things flow better when I am able to mentally check out when I am writing.
Anyway I am aiming for an update every week, maybe two weeks at most. So far so good. I have a 6 story rotation including this one, this one is number 4 in the list just so everyone knows where we are at. That being said I hope you enjoy and I will see you all again soon!