Everyone grows up with stories, and stories can define who you are. Regardless of how many epic stories you hear, they don't always translate to giving you the skill you need to be an adventurer, even if your dad helped to teach you. I’m not sure what I thought I was doing when I first left home to become an adventurer, but I'm not sure this life is cut out for me anymore. Dad said this life would be hard, but he didn’t mention that it would be even harder to start-
“Town square everyone. Get off or pay for the next trip!”
The cart driver looked to me and nodded to get off. Closing my journal and stashing my quill, I hopped off and started to walk towards the inn.
Gorgeous Gnome was open, and as I walked in, I noticed that it wasn’t crowded, so I sat down on a stool and waved over the barkeep.
“Yeah, thanks, Mercer.”
“Break any fruit carts today?”
“No, I didn’t.”
Despite his teasing of the previous days, now I could relax. Leaning forward into the bar, I put my head in my hands, pushing my short brown hair back.
“Excuse me lad, is this spot taken?”
I shook my head and grabbed a bread loaf as I looked over to the figure next to me. He looked a mage, staff of wood, crystal ball at the top.
“Can I help you my boy?” he asked, the voice, reflecting his old age.
“Oh uh sorry sir. Just, thought you might have been a mage.”
“Who's say I'm not a mage?” The old man asked, raising his eyebrow at me and taking a small sip of his drink.
“I didn't mean to offend you or anything, sir, I uh just-”
He let out a chuckle and patted my shoulder, saying “Relax my boy, I only sought to joke with you. What is your name?”
I smiled and answered back “A-Andrian sir, and yours?”
“Falkreath, a pleasure to meet you Andrian, now, what is that you do?”
“You are a warrior yes? Do you know any magic?”
“uh, a few spells. Nothing special”
He gave me another smile and shook his head, saying “Casting a spell is a difficult process, your proficiency in casting just one is to be celebrated. Now, I need you to tell me where I could find a decent bodyguard.”
I took another bite to the bread, wanting to finish up and get some rest before I go and look for work tomorrow. Wait, bodyguard?
“Hey did you say, bodyguard?"
He nodded and smiled. “Yes, do you happen to know of any?”
“Tell me, I would be delighted to meet them.”
I smiled big at that, and then went back to eating, trying to get more food in my mouth and buy time to try to sell myself as a bodyguard.
“So uh your bodyguard. Well, I know the best guy in town. And he’s me.”
Falkreath smirked at me, saying “Ah yes. Well, I am in need of one, after this meal, I will see if you have the qualifications I am looking for.”
I tried my best to quietly smile as I turned back to my food. Falkreath than looked around the bar, suddenly stopping and staring, fixed on something.
“Curses.” He muttered abruptly, turning and trying his best to look like a normal patron. As I watched, figures in silver armor began to enter. I suddenly felt something being pushed towards me, and it was Falkreath handing me his staff.
“Take it and run.”
“Take me staff and leave. I will find you.”
“Whoa whoa, what’s-“
“Do as I say and I will explain later.”
I still had not yet reached out for the staff, but as Falkreath shoved it towards my chest, I took it and slipped to the side behind a table of gamblers.
These soldiers boasted a big insignia of a book on their chest piece, which was colored a light blue and purplish tinge.
“Arcane knights…” I whispered, a chill going down my spine from the last time I had encountered them.
They weaved through the crowd and made their way to Falkreath, before splitting to separate ends of the room, going to all the exits.
“May I have everyone's attention?” One said, taller and bigger than the rest. He had a great-sword on his back and no helmet.
“Courtesy of the Arch-mage Riengar, he polity invites everyone to leave this establishment momentarily.”
No one moved when he spoke, and he nodded to the other soldiers, who began to move towards tables of people.
That made people get up and quickly run out, including me. In all the confusion I got out of the inn and turned the corner, breathing lightly as I tried my best to listen from the outside.
“Falkreath, you have no citizen shields this time. Come quietly, for your sake.”
“Have I any choice?”
“Then I suggest you prepare yourself.”
From the inside of the inn, I heard a pop, followed by some strange magical sound, and then the faint drawing of swords.
The sound of armor being moved echoed through the wall, shields raised, along with magic spells being cast to protect themselves from the battle.
“You are nothing without your staff Falkreath! Come out quietly, we need not fight!”
All was silent as I continued to breathe, looking at the staff in my hands. I have no idea what’s going on, but Falkreath is a good guy, right? Those knights were being aggressive. But they are always aggressive.
I faintly remember the knights always taking my jobs, threatening to kill me if interfered with their business. My feet shifted to the rest of the village. I could run, no one would know. And I have this staff, could probably sell it. No no that’s wrong, I should help Falkreath.
“There! Block and attack!”
More sounds of a struggle were heard inside the inn, and I felt myself slowly start to back up until I hit something.
“Come Andrian. We must leave.”
Falkreath was right behind me, and he was in full robes and long white beard, a classic wizard.
I handed him his staff and stood up, feeling a small breeze passing by me, as I began to float.
“Follow my boy, and we may just survive.”
Falkreath was now above me, moving through the air like a bird, with me being dragged with him.
“What’s going on?!”
“My Rival. He has sent his forces after me. I ask that you start to defend me, this spell requires concentration.”
As I was being dragged through the air with him, I saw the knights burst out of the inn, and begin to cast different spells, some of which were firebolts.
I reached up and grabbed Falkreath leg, turning myself as fast as I could as the ball of fire streaked past us, Falkreath continuing to fly away from the Knights.
“Falkreath I can’t hit them from here!”
“Use a Firebolt!”
“I can only cast it every third time!”
“Cast it three times then!”
I looked down to see some knights beginning to fly towards us, using a magic carpet or with the captain specifically, a flying spell.
I closed my eyes and imagined the sun being so small that it could fit into your hand. With my hand closed I aimed it towards one of the knights, imagining the sun now being red and hotter than ever, ball streaking forwards
I opened my eyes and saw in my hands the firebolt, but instead of streaking towards the enemy, it began to fall down towards the ground.
“Oh come on!”
I began to repeat the process over again, trying to make the fire more intense so it would shoot forwards.
I opened my eyes and aimed for the nearest knight on a magic carpet, but it was simply reflected off his shield and back at me.
“RIGHT. FALKREATH GO RIGHT!”
As we rolled it the right, I managed to get out of the way, but the firebolt hit Falkreath and caused him to wince in pain as we began to shake.
“Keep defending Andrian!”
As I turned back to the threat behind us, a knight was getting ready to swing his sword at Falkreath, and I drew mine to block it.
Some sparks flew as the blades clashed, and with his heavy armor and my lack of muscle, I barely managed to push him to the side, and off course.
“Kill the guard as well!” I heard the knight captain say, starting to catch up to us, along with all the other knights.
I slashed my sword from the knight bottom left side, the opposite hand of his shield. While he blocked it, he was caught off guard, and I kicked out with my feet against his shield, trying to knock him off balance.
Another knight swung their sword in my direction, and as I tried to dodge, I threw off Falkreath without warning, causing the sword to drag across my leg, cutting deep, as I cried in pain.
Holding back a tear, I brought my sword up to block the next attack, and as the knight smacked my sword away, the captain was approaching even faster, a ball of fire in his hands.
“YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE FALKREATH. NOW IT'S TIME TO END THIS!”
The two knights that were attacking were suddenly hit with bolts of lighting, emanating from Falkreaths staff. Then, all knights were hit with a bolt of lightning, all but the Captain. The Captain and I made eye contact, as he threw the sphere of flame right at me, as I grabbed onto Falkreath leg and twisted to the right again, trying to move us out of the way.
As the ball approached closer, it tracked out movement, and right before it hit, I instinctively swing my sword, causing the entire ball to explode, sending me backward, and a wave of hot pain spread through me, as I lost consciousness, and began to fall….
White. Black. Dull. Grey. Eyes. Blank.
“You just couldn’t help yourself, you had to bring more innocents into the fray.”
Voice. Voices. Loud. Crackle. Fire? Clank. Armor? Voice.
“You disgust me Falkreath.”
Captain. Knight-Captain. Falkreath. Danger.
Pain. Hurt. Leg. Head. Split. Loud. Sting. Dizzy. Stand. Must. Stand.
Heads aching. Legs breaking. Sword weakly held.
“This is none of your concern citizen. You may walk away from this, now.”
Captain turned. Faced me. Held sword near Falkreath.
“Why not? He is not your friend. This town burns, it’s people need saving. You are an adventurer yes? Why don’t you save it? Claim the heroism for yourself.”
Fire behind me. Hot. Hurting people. Houses burning. Firebolt failed. My fault. Guilt. Lots of Guilt.
Falkreath's breathing bad. My breathing bad. Hurt everywhere. Must help.
“Last chance boy, leave. Before I force you.”
Can’t. Leave. Even. If. I’m scared. Fear. Pain. Fire. Must….focus.
“Very well then. You had your choice.”
Captain stuck hand out. Threw something. Hit my-
Slam against the ground. Pain flooding in. Head tucked. Thoughts must clear. Focus more.
“Now, where were we?”
Lying on ground. Chest burning. Focus more. Recover. Regain. Consciousness. Must regain consciousness.
Thunder blast, flash of movement, magic used. Sword drawn, armor clash. Think clearly. Must think clearly. Must...stand.
Stand. Stand. Stand. I must….fight. If you wish to fight…..
“...then you have to know how to get up…”
Grabbing sword, pushing up. Arm hurts. Leg hurts more. Not enough energy.
“....staff….I need to find the staff.”
The night was lit, glow of fire. Staff was wood, looked like a branch. Different...had...had the crystal ball.
The ball was in front of me, and as my brain was steering back towards normal, I picked it back up and lifted it above my head.
The Captain threw a gauntlet at me, knocking the staff out of my weak hands, and running towards it.
I started to stumble to the staff, the captain swinging his great-sword at me, as I blocked it with my sword, braced it against my wrist, and used all my strength to keep him at bay.
“Give me the staff! We need not fight!”
I reached towards the staff, tossing it in the direction of Falkreath, who ran over to pick it up.
Lifting his sword up and kicking my hand, my sword went flying to the side, as he raised his sword for a killing blow.
A ball of red hot energy streaked out of my hands, and punched straight through his armor, and stomach, causing a shocked and pain filled reaction being glued to his face.
“You...will die with him…..”
The captain fell forwards, and as I rolled to the side, the clank of armor hitting the dirt blasted in my left ear, and I breathed a sigh of relief.
I looked out to the night sky as I breathed, focusing on still staying consciousness as I heard someone walk over towards me, and eventually come into my vision.
“Are you alive Andrian?”
Falkreath’s voice was concerned, and as I nodded, he helped pull me up to my feet, and casted a spell, helping to heal my wounds.
“I’m sorry you became involved, and that you were injured. It was not my intention.”
“It’s...ok. After all….it’s….what a bodyguard would do.”
Falkreath's face was shocked, as he looked at me for a minute, saying “really, after all that?”
As I leaned a little more off my sword, I stood up tall and nodded as confidently as I could.
“Yeah. After all that.”
Falkreath smiled, and looked out to the town, narrowing his eyes as he turned back to me.
“This life will be difficult, as you can already see, and dangerous. It’s not for the faint of heart. No matter your birth, or your previous achievements, nothing will prepare you for the road ahead.”
I drew my sword from the ground and turned in the direction of the burning town, already begging to mentally prepare myself for the night to come.
“I’m not sure what I first thought I was doing when I left home to become an adventurer. I ended up in a dead-end town with no one to save. Now not only do I get to save it, but it gets to be the first adventure of my story.”
I thought back to my dad's old stories of his adventuring days, and how I had always dreamed of being just like him.
“Everyone has stories Falkreath. This...is the beginning of mine.”