This is the first in a series of journal entries written from the point of view of my Skyrim character, Zalen.

Skyrim is a dangerous place, doubly so when traveling alone. A strong ally at one’s side permits deeper exploration, safety in numbers, and the ability to carry more treasure. Most important of all, a fellow traveler provides solace and company during one’s trek across the cold landscape. Throughout my travels, I’ve never before nor since met someone who was up to these tasks more than Venassa. I’m ashamed to say that I can’t remember where we met; by the time of her death, Venassa and I had traveled so far and wide, remembering something as seemingly distant as the exact location of our first encounter feels impossible. I do, however, remember our first conversation.

I had just walked through the front doors of a pub, ready to find a table and relax, when a voice called to me. She was sitting alone at a table, nursing a mug of mead, the fire of wanderlust burning brightly in her eyes. Introductions were made, and we quickly realized that we were kindred spirits, both wanting the same things. Adventure. Danger. Knowledge. The experience of being alive. The thrill of a hunt, whether it be tracking down an artifact, or taking out our enemies. You could say that we were the same soul, divided amongst two bodies.

The fact that she was one of the few Dunmer I had seen certainly helped.

So, we set out into the world. We slew undead abominations, explored long-abandoned ruins, traversed the frozen landscape, and even made some coin. Her blades were as swift as the wind, and seemed to cut existence itself when she worked herself up into a fury. We were a deadly combination: as fire and ice poured from my hands, her arrows would flash across the sky. As I shielded us from magick, she would dash out from behind me and make her blades sing songs that would cause an angel to weep. We were unstoppable; no man or beast, living or undead, could seperate us.

Or so we thought.

We had just finished hiking across a valley, and were beginning to scale a mountain, when we heard a roar above our heads. We turned to the night skies, and there, silhouetted against the ethereal lights, was a dragon.

We scrambled down the mountain as fast as we possibly could. Venassa’s arrows flew through the air like birds of prey, finding their mark against the dragon’s scaly armor. I lit the night air on fire, sending flames streaking towards the beautiful and terrifying creature. As we made it back into the valley, the dragon descended, shaking the very earth when it’s claws found purchase against the ground. I continued to send fiery death its way, when Venassa made a decision that no one expected, not even the dragon: she threw her bow to the ground, unsheathed her swords, and, with a scream that would have made the gods cower in fear, ran directly towards our ancient enemy.

As she rushed in for the killing blow, the dragon sent her flying through the air by throttling her with its massive tail. She somehow managed to pick herself up from the valley floor, steadied her hand, and charged once again. Dodging the deathly conflagration the creature spewed from its mouth, she plunged her blades deep into the dragon’s neck. The moan that released from within its belly was deafening, threatening to shake the very mountains around us. As the dragon died, it flailed its wings wildly. Somehow, someway, in its dying moments, it managed to catch Venassa, slashing through her armor and shredding her abdomen to ribbons. I ran over to her, and, tears rushing down my face, I heard her voice for one final time:

“Leave me here, so that I may rest beneath the magnificent skeleton of our fallen enemy.”

Rest in peace, sweet Venassa.