The bustle of the previous night had died down and all as quite in the Bannered Mare when Avingard awoke. It was early, and Avingard realized that the road to Solitude was long, so he wasted little time getting ready. He quickly ordered a meal from Hulda, ate it, and then set out for some supplies.
Looking around the market, he found what he was looking for – an alchemy shop called Arcadia’s Cauldron. As he walked over to the shop a guard, leaning against a post outside Belethor’s General Goods shop took notice of Avingard.
“I used to be an adventurer like you,” the guard explained. “then I took an arrow in the knee…”
Avingard looked over the guard, nodded politely and then entered Arcadia’s Cauldron. Upon entering the shop Avingard looked around and noticed that, as with most shops in Skyrim, the shop consisted of a single large room. There were two doors – on straight ahead and another to the right – that lead to the private quarters of the shopkeeper. A large part of the room was dominated by a roaring fire to keep the room nice and warm. To his left Avingard spotted the shopkeeper, Arcadia, behind a counter.
“Let me know if you see anything you like,” she greeted Avingard. As he moved closer to the counter, she seemed taken back by his appearance. “You look rather pale. Could be Ataxia. It’s quite a problem back home in Cyrodiil. Maybe a hardy Nord like you doesn’t need a cure-all. Hmm? What about an invisibility potion?”
“What have you go for sale?” asked Avingard.
“So you’re interested in my potions and ingredients?” Arcadia asked. She began showing Avingard what she had for sale, carefully explaining each item to him.
Avingard bought four potions of minor healing and a potion of cure disease to help remove the ailments that he had contracted during his adventures. After paying for the potions, Avingard used the cure disease potion and quickly felt better.
Avingard thanked Arcadia for the potions and then turned and left the shop. By this time the market area had come alive with sellers and buyers. Avingard didn’t stop to look over the stalls, as he was anxious to begin his journey to Solitude. He quickly made his way down the road, but decided to stop in at Warmaiden’s for one additional supply – a helmet.
As usually, Adrianne was outside the shop crafting armor when Avingard approached. She stopped working and greeted Avingard. Checking his gold, he realized that he had accumulated enough from his bounty hunting that he could now afford to buy a helmet. Looking over Adrianne’s inventory he found a steel helmet that would work perfectly so he paid 377 gold coins for the helmet. Adrianne thanked Avingard for the purchase, and then he turned around and walked away. Avingard opened the main gates of Whiterun and then left the city.
The weather was cool and cloudy as Avingard left Whiterun behind him and started to travel west along the road that would eventually take him to Solitude to join the Imperial Legion. After walking for a few minutes Avingard noticed three men in the distance in front of him. He wasn’t sure if they were bandits waiting for a passerby, or if they were just three men standing and chatting.
As Avingard approached the men, keeping his guard up, he noticed that the men were rather loud, and seemed to be drinking. In fact, they seemed to be ready to celebrate than to fight.
“Hail, friend!” one of them called out to Avingard. “It’s good to see another merry soul enjoying this find day. Ah, but you look tired. Come, share a bottle of Honningbrew Mead with me!”
“Honningbrew Mead?” Avingard asked.
“You’ve never had a taste of sweet Honningbrew?” the man replied seeming confused and surprised. “Why, it’s only the finest mead outside of Sovngarde! Its sweetness is like a fair maiden’s kiss on a starry night. And it’s got enough kick to put a frost troll on his hind quarters. Ha!”
The main stopped for a second to catch his breath, and then continued, “But enough talk. Come! Won’t you share a drink with me and my companions?”
Seeing no sign of hostility among the three men, Avingard agreed “I would love to share a drink with you, friend!”
“Ha, nothing like fine spirits to help raise your…well, your spirits,” the man replied excitedly. “Cheers, my friend! May your adventures find you fame and fortune!”
With that all four men drank Honningbrew Mead. It was some of the best mead that Avingard had ever tasted. His father enjoyed mead quite a bit, so Avingard grew up drinking mead himself. Once Avingard had finished the mead, he said goodbye to the three men and continued his journey down the road. He could hear the three men continue their enjoyment as he walked away.
It wasn’t long, however, until Avingard came across another man. The man as armed with a sword as his side, but didn’t seem aggressive as Avingard approached.
“Hello there, traveler,” the man greeted Avingard. “One itinerant minstrel and wandering wastrel, at your service.”
“I’m sorry?” Avingard asked confused by the man’s introduction.
“I am a minstrel, and was wondering if I can perform for you?” the man replied.
Avingard took a few seconds to think about the situation. A minstrel traveling on the road as offered to perform for Avingard. Thinking it over Avingard replied “Not at this time, but thank you for your offer.”
“No problem,” the man replied.
Before continuing, Avingard made a suggestion to the man, “There are a group of gentlemen just down this road that may enjoy your company.”
The minstrel pointed straight ahead of him, and Avingard nodded in agreement. The minstrel ran down the road, waving to Avingard as he left.
Smiling at the waving minstrel, Avingard turned and continued his journey down the road. After a few minutes he noticed a large stone structure on his right. As he came closer he noticed that it was a large fort, with some damage to one of the side walls. On the walls, Avingard noticed some archers perched above looking down. From a distance Avingard could make out that the archers were bandits, simply by the way they were dressed.
The bandits could attack anyone on the road from their position, so he decided to pause on his journey and try to clear out the fort. Quickly pulling out his map, he noticed that he was about to attack Fort Greymoor.