H3rcules, one of the founders of Epic Brew, has begun writing a series of Accounts for his Skyrim Argonian, Shrat. These accounts will intertwine with Zalen’s journal entries, and together they will weave a cohesive storyline from the perspective of two different people. Here is the First Account of Shrat. Enjoy!

Shrat blindly stumbled out of the cave, swatting at the flames that clung to his leather armor. His scaly Argonian skin was in no real danger of being burned, but the flames licking at his skin still stung as if he were covered in bees. Once his eyes cleared from the smoke wisping off his chest, Shrat gave a quick glance back into the cave. He saw nothing, heard nothing, and all that he could smell was burnt leather. He spat a curse in Jel, turned around, and darted off through the ruins, heading downhill away from the cave. The cold wind of Skyrim felt good on his singed skin.

His recently deceased outlaw acquaintances, a Breton and two Orcs, had been traveling Skyrim while making a living picking away at the fortunes of others. Not the most noble of careers, but Shrat, a mercenary, was not one to judge a cause so long as the coin was good. When he had asked the thieves about their latest bit of work, they described some sort of box they had come into possession of. Not a moment after they had told him this, a line of fire flew through the door, just over his head. One of the Orcs leapt from his seat, and exploded through the door with his massive shoulder. He heard a cracking sound, followed immediately by a gout of flame that flooded the small room. As Shrat ran from the blaze, wildly slapping at his enflamed tunic, he had caught a glimpse of a Dunmer.

Continuing his decent down the mountain with expertly placed footfalls, Shrat wondered what the Dunmer had wanted in the first place. Someone so magically powerful would have proclaimed his desires before simply slaughtering.

The mountain trees eventually gave way to the farmlands surrounding Whiterun, greeting Shrat with a sharp blast of wind. The Argonian gave one last look over his shoulder, and, satisfied that he wasn’t being followed, made his way to the gates of Whiterun. The guards stepped aside, and welcomed Shrat into the city. Merchants called out to him as he passed them by, but he was far too tired to barter right now. Besides, he was sure that anything other than some jewels he’d found was burnt beyond worth. No matter; the jewels were by far the most valuable thing he had been carrying.

The great hall of Jorrvaskr rose up over the market place. The domed building was a welcomed sight to Shrat, as it represented the closest thing to home since he left the Black Marshes over a decade ago. He wasn’t exactly a revered member of the Companions of Jorrvaskr, but once he’d proven his might, the Companions welcomed him in as one of their own. He was no stranger here.

His brow furrowed in thought, Shrat stopped walking. Whiterun was the only large city for a good distance, so it was likely that the attacker from the cave passed through here before heading out. Shrat’s tail whipped around as he changed direction and headed towards the inn. A town like Whiterun does not see many foreigners, and would probably remember a Dunmer passing through.

Shrat had never actually been in the inn before. It was a loud, dingy enclosed space that smelled of cooked meat and smoke. A woman was cleaning the counter and eyed him as he walked through the front door and took a seat at the bar.

“Get you a drink?” she suggested.

“Milk?” Shrat asked.

A group of men sitting at a table near the bar guffawed. “This isn’t the nursery, big boy!” one of the men mocked. A glare from Shrat’s reptilian eyes sliced down the laughter, causing them to think better of the situation and quietly return to their drinks. The barmaid shifted her gaze from the silenced patrons back to the Argonian standing in front of her. Her eyes lingered on Shrat for a moment before she nodded, and headed into the kitchen. She quickly returned with a large pewter cup, filled to the brim with fresh milk. Downing it in one massive gulp, Shrat sighed in satisfaction and put the cup down. He couldn’t tell if the barmaid looked surprised or nervous; humans used too many facial expressions. How they managed to remember them all was beyond him.

“Another?” she muttered.

“No.” The barmaid took the cup and turned to retreat back to the kitchen, when Shrat asked, “Any Dunmer been through here recently?”

The woman paused mid-step and looked back at him. “One headed out earlier.”

“Do you sell out all of your patrons that easily?”

“Only when I get a Companion in here asking questions.” The woman nodded towards the sigil on Shrat’s belt. He appreciatively nodded to her; she had more common sense than he’d given her credit for. The barmaid gave a quick description of the Dunmer she had seen. Based on what he could remember, it sounded like this was the Dark Elf he was looking for. Shrat reached into one of his pockets, clutched a ruby, and nonchalantly handed it to the woman. Her eyes glinting, she quietly mouthed a joyful “thank you” at him; that ruby was worth more than she’d make in an entire month.

Outside of the inn, Shrat looked down the road at Jorrvaskr. As badly as he wanted to rest, he had to figure out who the Dunmer was. Cursing his curiosity, Shrat turned away from the hall of the Companions, and headed back to the city gates. The guards bid him safe travels, and Shrat walked back out into the openness of the countryside. A thick fog was rolling in from the mountains, blanketing the land in a gray cloud of mist.

Certain that the Dunmer would return to Whiterun, he quickly scouted the roads that led into the city, before finally deciding on where he thought the best vantage point would be. He didn’t like the idea of running into the mage again, but in his line of work, danger almost always preceded a reward.

If there was one thing Shrat loved in this world, it was a reward.