Chapter 10: Sworn North
The Hunter woke up early in the morning after a restless night. The terrifying dragon that brought destruction across the northern coast was still vivid in his mind. He had a feeling that the dragon was still alive and managed to kill the rest of the Stormcloak soldiers. He was therefore very focussed on leaving the area, avoiding trouble and finding somewhere safe.
The Hunter had originally intended to head to the city of Winterhold to be free of the Imperial Legion; however the attack on the ship clearly disrupted this plan. The dragon attack had also pushed him west, further away from the city.
He decided it would best to follow the road to see where it would take him. Unfortunately it wasn’t long until the Hunter came across some trouble. He glanced through some trees up ahead and saw 3 figures walking along the road.
Three bandits slowly walked along the road in a single file line. The Hunter quickly stopped moving along the path, and rushed into the trees in attempt to evade the group. He crouched down in a patch deep snow and hid behind a thin pine tree.
The Hunter carefully watched the three bandits as they continued on their journey. His hope of remaining undetected was soon lost however, when the Orc at the back of the group suddenly stopped. He unsheathed his sword and looked into the trees. The bandits had managed to spot the Hunter. The Hunter had one hand on his bow, expecting some combat, however, instead of immediately attacking, they told him to back off. The Hunter, surprised by the tolerant bandits, quickly took their advice and backtracked up the path.
The Hunter walked up the path as the bandits carefully watched. When he reached the top of a small hill, he turned around and looked down at the bandits. They had taken a turn off the main road, heading down towards the coast.
Clearly forgetting his original goal of escaping the region, the Hunter was interested to see where these three bandits were going. He climbed up a rocky hill that looked down on the path and stalked the group. The Hunter was unsettled as the path had several large spots of blood stained on the cobble stones. Where ever they were going, the signs weren’t looking good.
The bandits suddenly stopped again on the road. The weapons were raised once more and the Hunter moved back to ensure he wouldn’t be detected again. Fortunately for him, it was clear that this time he wasn’t the one who had alerted the bandits. He moved further ahead in an attempt to discover what was in front of the bandits.
The Hunter repositioned and soon discovered a massive sabre-cat guarding a lair full of corpses. The beast was enormous and the Hunter suspected the bandits intended to kill the creature in order to sell its majestic pelts or take the head as a trophy.
After a short stand-off between the sabre cat and the three bandits. The cat charged down from its lair with its massive paws thumping on the ground with each step. Two of the bandits rushed forward while the other stayed back with a bow in hand.
One of the bandits was killed almost immediately from the opening blow. Her body crashed to the ground following a terrifying strike delivered by the sabre cat. The Orc survived the first blow and remained in the fight as the other bandit continued to fire arrows in the direction of the large creature.
The fight was gruesome yet concluded relatively quick. The proud sabre cat soon succumbed to the wounds created by the bandits and collapsed to the ground.
Following the death of the cat, the bandits appeared to abandon the corpse of their companion who had died at the start of the battle. Her corpse lay alongside the dead creature, resting on its soft fur. The Hunter was puzzled as they didn’t even bother to loot the lair of valuables, nor pay respect to their dead comrade.
As the bandits walked away back towards the main road, the Hunter took out his bow and fired a shot into a bandit’s arm, feeling sorry for the dead creature and the abandoned bandit. The injured bandit covered her wound and looked around to see where the arrow came from. The Hunter was soon spotted up on the rocky hill and the two remaining bandits rushed towards an enemy they wished they’d killed earlier.
Fortunately for the Hunter, his height advantage up on the hill soon proved to be the decisive factor in the battle. He quickly delivered another shot that killed the bandit he had shot earlier and managed to fatally wound the Orc before he could climb up the hill.
With all three bandits now dead, the Hunter carefully climbed down the rocks onto the path where the battle with the sabre cat took place. The soles on his boots were soaked with the blood of his enemies after accidentally falling next to the corpse of the bow bandit.
He slowly walked over to the corpse of the sabre cat, taking the valuable pelt before heading up to the lair. The lair was littered with the bodies of various creatures. Bloodied bones were scattered across the ground while blood was stained on the rubble of a destroyed watch tower.
The body of a Stormcloak soldier was found too. The Hunter wondered whether he was part of the same group of Stormcloaks who were in combat with the Legion last night. It was probably best for him to have died at the hands of a sabre cat rather than being annihilated by the dragon like his fellow comrades. Interestingly, he had a book about the designs of locks, something that would come in handy the next time the Hunter comes across a settlement.
After looting the lair of the sabre cat, the Hunter headed back up to the main road and continued along the road as he had originally intended. It was clear he was reaching warmer climates as the volume of settled snow slowly decreased the further he travelled across the road.
Unfortunately for the Hunter, the road always seemed to lead to hostile areas. A battle appeared to be occurring in the distance. It was the Forsworn, attacking a band of bandits.
The Hunter was surprised to see the Forsworn so far north. His geography knowledge wasn’t the best but he thought the Reach, the homeland of the Forsworn clan, was much further south.
The battle was fierce yet the Forsworn clearly outnumbered the feeble bandits. Countless archers appeared from the tall grasses while a handful of Forsworn warriors rushed towards the bandits.
After a lengthy yet gritty battle, the Forsworn spared no mercy on their foes as they executed the last of bandits. The Hunter remained hidden in the trees, hoping to avoid the ruthless Forsworn warriors after seeing what they are capable of.
As the battle concluded, the skies quickly clouded over and snow began to fall over the battlefield, showing how north the Forsworn had come. One warrior carefully checked the body of one of his fellow warriors before heading south with the rest of the group.
The Hunter had witnessed the Forsworn in combat and it worried him. He will have to make a decision on whether or not to head south into the Reach soon.