Chapter Two: Throngarr Stone-Singer

It had been nine weeks since the events of Helgen. Bronmir was still no closer to reaching Winterhold than he had been, but at least he was making progress. He was living in Falkreath, apprentice to the blacksmith there – Lod, an old fool of a man, barely able to make a straight hammer, but the people trusted him and Bronmir was new, so apprentice he was – making a small bit of coin, hoping to earn enough to afford to leave and make the journey north. He was almost ready.

On this particular day, Lod had sent him to gather firewood, claiming his back was too rusty to chop wood himself – which was complete nonsense; the man’s back had been fine for trying to show Bronmir the proper way to stoke the flames with the bellows just the day before.

Bronmir had decided to carve his own tree, needing the workout and the time away from the old fool. He had chosen a slightly isolated birch tree. It burned better than pine and was not as sturdy as an oak. It wouldn’t last as long as an oak tree, but it was easier to cut. After several full swings of his axe, the tree shuddered, then fell, the sound of it being heard far in the distance.

He set to work cutting it apart, into smaller and smaller logs. He had set out at just after dawn, and it was now past midday. He wiped sweat from his brow and continued to work.

Another few hours later, and he was tying up the tree to the cart he had brought. As he was leaving, however, he heard disgruntled shouts from somewhere nearby. Knowing he shouldn’t get involved, he did his best to ignore it, but it sounded as though someone needed help.

Finally unable and unwilling to ignore it, he let go of his cart, letting it stay in the grass, and ran to the source of the noise, axe drawn. As he got closer, he could see it was a man being engaged in combat by two Spriggans. Bronmir was shocked by this. Not that a man was engaging two Spriggans by himself – though that certainly was something to behold – but because this man was injured, missing an eye, and clearly seasoned with graying hair and beard and was still holding his own against the beasts.

Despite this, with the open wound, Bronmir knew he wouldn’t last much longer. With a cry, he lunged himself into the skirmish, hacking away at the surprised and enraged Spriggan with his axe. It wasn’t meant for cutting bone and flesh and armor, but the Spriggans were tree spirits, made of wood and leaves, and the axe was perfect for them. With a bit of luck, he cut the Spriggan to pieces almost before it even knew he was there – though, admittedly, the beast still managed to scratch him pretty nastily – and when he stood back up, the man was sitting on the ground, the other Spriggan in a heap before him.

After a few seconds of rest, the man looked up to Bronmir. “Thank you, stranger. I might not have survived that encounter had you not arrived.”

Bronmir tipped his head. “My pleasure. May I ask how you came upon two of these beasts?”

“Well,” the man said, scratching his beard. “I guess they didn’t really fancy my sleeping in their grove. I woke up to the buzzing sound and next thing I knew, they were attacking me. I tried to fight back while laying down, and it seems I cut my leg on my own axe! Bahahaha! Pitiful. Those creatures barely put up a fight, but I was injured, and my left eye isn’t as good as it used to be.”

“Your left eye is gone,” Bronmir said pointedly.

“Oh, yeah, that’s right. Anyway, you came along and that was the end of them.”

“So you’re telling me two Spriggans attacked you by surprise in the night and didn’t put a scratch on you? They didn’t even know I was there until I had killed one and I still got roughed up myself.”

“That’s because you’re young and stupid,” the man said bluntly. “But honorable nonetheless. You have my gratitude. By the by, boy, what is your name?”

“My name is Bronmir. Might I ask yours?”

“Bronmir, eh? What’s a Nord doing with an Imperial name?”

“I was born in Bruma.”

“I see. I am Throngarr Stone-Singer. I once was an Imperial Legion Legate, but have since retired and am wandering the wilds of Skyrim, searching for something to put my heart into without finding it. What brings you to Skyrim, kinsman?”

“I simply wanted to see my ancestral home before age prevented me.”

“That’s nice, but why are you really here?”

“I…” One look into old Throngarr’s eyes told Bronmir he could not be deceived. “My mother died a few years ago and I took over the store in the Imperial City. A few months back, I discovered an old journal of hers. She told me she had been born and raised in Bruma, like myself, but this journal said she had been born in Winterhold. I came to find out the truth.”

“Winterhold, you say. You might not find anything. How old was she when she died?”

“She had just celebrated her seventieth name-day.”

“So she was born after the collapse. You still might not find much, anyway. Winterhold isn’t what it was since the collapse, and further still, it has not improved at all since then. Would you mind a companion? There is someone in Winterhold I wouldn’t mind fancying a visit.”

“I will welcome you, Throngarr, but also warn you that once we get to Winterhold, I will go my own way. If you are still in Winterhold when I have found what I seek, perhaps we can adventure together, find that drive you’re searching for.”

“Perhaps. For the moment, I will join you. When do you plan on leaving Falkreath?”

“I was planning in a couple of weeks hence, but I could leave sooner, just a bit more uncomfortably.”

“How about in a fortnight?”

“I could manage that.”

Bronmir and his new friend returned to Falkreath with the firewood Bronmir had collected. Throngarr went to stay at the Dead Man’s Drink Inn for the next few nights while Bronmir got everything he needed together.


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The next fortnight came and went without much trouble, but as Bronmir was leaving, the old man, the blacksmith Bronmir had been assisting the past few months, Lod, got in the way.


“I just don’t understand why you have to leave,” he was telling Bronmir that morning. “You’ve been a wonderful help around the forge, and the people are starting to appreciate your craftsmanship. You have talent, but you need to refine it more. I can help you do that.”

“I told you, Lod, when I first started working for you that this was only going to be a temporary position. My reason for coming to Skyrim. I want to find my family’s legacy in Winterhold. I needed money to make the trip, and I’ve saved up enough to get there. I appreciate all you’ve done for me in this time, but I must look to my own desires. You must understand that.”

“I do, my boy. I do. No fire warms the heart better than our own flames of adventure, but you have such a bright future as a master blacksmith. I don’t understand why you want to throw that away.”

“I am not throwing it away. Blacksmithing is the only true trade I know. I will pick it up when my journey is done, but I cannot ignore the fetching of my soul. I’m sorry, but you won’t change my mind.” Bronmir followed his last sentence with an intimidating look, the look of a man who had his mind set and his heart content, daring Lod to continue to challenge him, but silently he hoped the old man would give up.

Lod looked into Bronmir’s eyes and, finding his younger self among them, he sighed. “I see you have your heart made up. I wish I could stop you, but I won’t. Good luck to you. You will always be welcome at my forge. Take care of yourself, Bronmir.” They clasped hands and Bronmir walked past the threshold of his home.

Lod closed his door, and Bronmir felt it was final, like he was seeing the old blacksmith for the last time. He shook his head to clear such thoughts and turned away, shouldering his backpack. He hadn’t replaced the armor he’d lost, but hoped he wouldn’t need it as much with a grizzled veteran along the journey with him.

Bronmir made his way to Dead Man’s Drink, looking for Throngarr. As he entered the aptly named tavern, the overwhelming stench of alcohol and the raucous and rambunctious noise of the drunk patrons berated him, bringing water to his eyes and fogging his head. He had to take a deep breath and blink a few times to adjust. It’s not that Bronmir was unaccustomed to the smell of booze and the stink of drunkards, but he was unfamiliar with just how intoxicated and how rowdy Nords could be. After all, he had been living with Imperials his entire life except for the past few weeks, and he had only been at the Dead Man’s Drink for a couple of days before finding room with Lod as his apprentice. The sheer level to which Nords drank and stank…. He just was not quite used to that yet.

Once his mind had cleared, he was able to easily spot Throngarr. The raddled Nord was deep in his cups, swaying on a barstool, clearly attempting to romance the young serving girl, who was doing her best to entertain him without giving him any indication she was actually interested. It was obvious to Bronmir she was trying not to smack him. He thought it best to approach and rescue the young girl before Throngarr did something stupid.

Bronmir butted in between the two and slung his arm on the bar, dissolving the conversation between them.

“Hello, Throngarr. Not getting into trouble, are we?”

Instantly, the greedy and mischievous smile that was adorning Throngarr’s face vanished, replaced by one of seriousness and sobriety and…humor?

“Always, my friend. I was just trying to woo this pretty lass, but, really, she’s far too young for me.”

“To be honest, I thought you were drunk.”

Throngarr laughed deep from his belly. “A true warrior never drinks himself into a stupor.” He pulled a few gold Septims from his pocket and slapped them on the bar, then stood. “Let’s go.”

Throngarr and Bronmir left Falkreath together, traveling down the main road, headed north-east, towards Helgen – though, Bronmir had no intention of returning to the burning city where he had almost met Lady Kyne and her Kiss At The End; he had already made plans on his map to turn north by north-west, and head towards Lake Ilinalta. From there, they would make their way west through the rest of Falkreath Hold and into the Reach, stopping in Rorikstead to resupply before moving on towards Dragon Bridge. Their path would then turn eastbound, towards Dawnstar. And from there, they would move through the icy tundra into Winterhold.

At least, that was the plan. Bronmir knew full well that plans don’t always work out how you intend. It only takes one little hiccup and everything you had already predetermined falls into disarray. Bronmir had learned that the hard way when his armor had gone missing all those months ago on his way to Falkreath from Cyrodiil.

As Bronmir and Throngarr departed on the main road, they heard a dog barking in the distance, and Bronmir could have sworn he saw a grey-brown creature streak across the road, eyes glowing with a strange light, but it vanished when his head turned to follow it. An ominous sign to begin a journey with, to be sure, but he did not let it bother him. After all, Skyrim was full of weird and fantastical beasts. A smallish creature with glowing eyes surely couldn’t be that bizarre. Besides, he had a specific goal in mind. Winterhold – and his family’s legacy – awaited him.


 Chapter 3: Forsworn

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