"Uncle Alvor! Hello!" Alvor looked up from his grindstone and looked startled for a second.
"Hadvar? You look like you've just crawled out of a bear's den." He looked a bit closer. "And apparently the den was on fire. What Happened? And, who is your friend?" He looked over at a khajiit woman standing a few paces back with singed fur all over, looking a little too small for the imperial armor she wore.
"Oh, come to think of it, I never did catch her name." Now, Hadvar was looking at me and I decided I must introduce myself.
"My name is Ji'adhi, Khajiit, in case the ears didn't give it away." My sarcasm came out as usual.
"Thanks, the ears did a fine job though." Alvor laughed at his own little joke. I couldn't help but be grateful that he had a sense of humor. "But, what's all this about? what are you two doing here?" Alvor seemed to sober up as he realized we still looked half dead.
"A dragon attacked Helgen. Me and Ji'adhi escaped together." Alvor's eyes bulged at the mention of a dragon.
"A dragon?! Here in Skyrim?" Hadvar nodded.
"It flew off this way, you must have seen it." I supplied.
"You're right. I saw it. Just didn't want to believe my eyes is all." Alvor took a deep breath to calm himself. "Come inside, we'll get you some food and clothes. Both of you." I was slightly surprised at being invited into a house as a khajiit. People usually don't trust us enough for that.
"This one thanks you." And I followed them both into his house.
After a delicious meal and a change of clothes, I stood looking in the tall mirror in the basement. I was tall for a female khajiit but still short by most standards. I was grey with grand black lines trailing in what I always thought was a beautiful design, especially down my neck. I had green eyes that were slitted, like most khajiit. Finally, I had one perfectly even scar running from my ear to the side of my mouth on the left side. I reached up to touch the scar as the memory played through my head, it was how this whole mess started and I felt tears swell up. I shut my mind and ignored the tears, it was in the past now. I turned away from the mirror and headed up the stairs to the small room that was a kitchen/dining room/living room/bedroom all in one. It was a nice little home but too small for my tastes.
"Ji'adhi! You look great!" I felt weird getting complimented by a man, and simply gave a little smile in return. "But listen, I need a favor from you." I'm not surprised that a request followed a compliment, I usually don't look great so I didn't believe him. "If there really is a dragon on the loose in Skyrim. Then, Riverwood is defenseless. We need to word to Jarl Balgruuf of Whiterun to send more troops. If you would, I will be eternally grateful."
"This one will be glad to help." Not really, but I didn't feel like being a bad person today. "I will leave first thing in the morning."
"Oh! We can make a bed for you real quick. I'm sure you must be feeling tired after that dragon business." Alvor was a really nice guy but I could see the doubt behind his eyes, he didn't trust me, he only trusted his nephew and didn't want to upset him.
"No, I picked up a bit of gold on the way here, off of the stormcloak bodies. I will just go stay in the inn for the night. I need a drink anyways." Hadvar seemed a little sad that I wouldn't stay, but I didn't want to be a burden to anyone anymore than I needed to be.
"Make sure you stop by in the morning and say goodbye, okay?" Hadvar gave me a mild pleading look, but smiled afterwards. I nodded to him and turned to head out the door. As soon as my hand touched the handle, I heard a commotion outside. I opened the door and walked out as a saw a person dash past me. He was wearing a leather cuirass and leather pants with iron boots. Obviously not an official thief my brain spoke to me.
"Hey, stop that man! He stole my- oh- divines bless it!" I walked over to the man, a bad idea in hindsight, he whirled on me immediately. "What do you want? You are probably working with him aren't you thief?" I smiled a wicked smile at him, making sure to show my teeth.
"This one is no thief, I was wondering if you would like some help tracking down that thief." The man eyed me suspiciously.
"For what kind of reward do you expect me to give you, cat." I frowned, it's always cat. They treat us like we are animals or something.
"Well, I need enough gold to get a drink and a night in the inn over there. How much are you willing to pay." He eyed me with a glint in his eyes. He has confidence in his bargaining skills, I see.
"I'll give you 50 gold, enough for a night and plenty to drink." I tsked at him and he recoiled as if I had bitten him.
"Must not be a very important item he stole, good luck getting it back." I turned to walk away and smiled at myself as I waited for him to call out to me.
"Wait! Fine. I have a shipment coming in soon. It's yours if you get that claw back." I turned around and genuinely smiled this time, I wasn't cruel enough to play games with people who had already lost.
"A pleasure doing business with you. I'll have it back within the hour." I took off towards the guardian stones, which is the way the thief had gone. I made sure to make eye contact with Hadvar so he could back me up if that guy tried to scam me. The thief was in iron boots so I doubt he is the smartest. Probably not the swiftest either. I assumed he would be heading to Embershard Mine considering that is a bandit camp nearby. Of course, I was a lot faster than this poor thief and caught up to him just as he entered the mine. So, all I had to do was defeat the one front guard and get the guy before he could get deep enough to alert any other bandits. One guard was easy with my superior agility, he was just an orc after all. I slithered into the mine, and saw the thief rounding a corner down the entrance way. I sprinted in his direction, I was urgent because I didn't want to fight any extra bandits here. I avoided a trip wire and rounded the corner and the bandit was within 10 feet of me, except he was looking at me and smiling. I realized he was a wood elf, no wonder he knew I was behind him. "Give me what you stole and there won't be a problem." I said in a soothing voice with my best smile.
"There already is a problem, you see, my two buddies here happen to really need my help and this claw, so I don't think I'll be doing anything." I tsked in annoyance as two bigger bandits came from behind him. One a redguard, one an imperial. I could possibly take them both on but chances are they will be much harder than that oaf that was out front. They will be faster than him, but not as strong. I decided I'd rather talk my way out of it.
"How about a trade then? I could give you a lifetime supply of skooma, if you just hand over that claw." Of course the two lugs behind him immediately fell for it. The elf wasn't so stupid though, he knew I was bluffing immediately. "I could hook you up with my contact from Falkreath and they would always have you supplied."
"Yes please!" The imperial immediately responded while the redguard nudged the elf.
"Hand the claw. That's a fair trade." The elf glared at the redguard.
"Can you not see that she is bluffing. She doesn't have a lifetime supply of skooma." The two bandits looked at me and back at the elf before whispering to each other. A second later they grabbed the elf, and grabbed the claw out of his hands and tossed it to me. I caught it gracefully and watched as the elf struggled while glaring at me.
"What is your name, cat? In case we ever need to find you." I nodded and thought of the fake name I always use. These lugs wouldn't be smart enough to trace it anyways.
"Kishiraa, Khajiit with the beautiful black design." The two bandits smiled and I waved as I turned away with the golden claw in my hands.
"Your mistake was turning away from your enemy." I heard as I sensed someone coming at me from behind. Ugh, they can never just let it be easy huh. I swirled to the left just as a war axe came flying past me and into the ground.
"And your mistake was announcing yourself before you attacked. That's cockiness which is not helpful in battle." The imperial growled at me. And swung his axe again. I drew my sword and parried it. I felt the force behind the swing and knew that if I tried to block it directly, I wouldn't last very long. So of course, doing the only logical thing any self-preserving khajiit would do, I carried the fight to the door where I knew I would be able to outrun them. I carried us slowly up to the entrance with a dance of parries and dodges. Once there I swung for the first time and the bandit went to block it but I never connected leaving the bandit confused and me long gone.
"I knew your plan wouldn't work." The redguard spoke to the imperial.
"Man, that claw was probably worth so much." Both bandits looked at the elf as he proclaimed that.
"Shut up. Money is the only thing on your mind isn't it." They all laughed and headed back into the mine.
I ran most of the way back to Riverwood, before taking a break. A few minutes later I strolled into Riverwood with the golden claw in my arms. I strolled into the trading store that the guy owned and showed it to him. "The golden claw! You found it! Haha, there it is!" He grabbed it out of my hands. "Thank you, you've done a great thing for me and my sister." He put the claw back where he had it before.
"You are welcome. About my pay?" The guy clapped and nodded.
"My shipment will be coming in next week, you can stop by and grab it whenever." I nodded, that was a fair deal.
"Well, this one wishes you well. I shall head out before the sun is completely gone." He nodded and I turned around and left the shop, I turned right and headed to the inn. As soon as I entered, I felt more comfortable, this was a pretty impressive inn to just give that feeling. I walked over to the woman who was sweeping by the firepit. "Excuse me, I was wondering if I could rent a room?" The woman looked up and smiled at me.
"Of course! We have one available right behind you." I smiled and dropped the coins into her offered purse. "My name is Delphine. If you need anything else, just let me know." I smiled, oh she was an expert at her job, making sure to get as much money out of people as possible. Lucky her, I had already wanted a drink.
"Well, since you mentioned it, you wouldn't happen to have some bottles of Alto wine would you?" Delphine smiled and nodded. "I'll take two bottles please."
"I'll be right back with that." I smiled, glad to see that she was strictly business and hasn't said anything about my race. I hate being looked at as a race not a person, like most elves in Skyrim. A few seconds later, Delphine handed two bottles of Alto wine and I handed her the necessary money to pay for it. "Enjoy your night, ma'am." Now, that was a new one, I've never been called ma'am before. I bowed my head and walked to my room to drink and enjoy the peace and quiet after the long day I had. I finished the first bottle easily and halfway through the second is when I finally managed to fall asleep. My dreams consisted of dragons that night, and a certain man who I wished I could forget. Nonetheless, it was a mostly peaceful night, suiting for what may come the next day.