It turns out that the next instrument was near to Winterhold, not Windhelm. Who can keep these provincial cities straight? While in Windhelm, though, the East Empire Company asked me to look into the pirates that were plaguing them, to locate their base.
The instrument first, though. A group of cultists had taken up residence in the cavern. They were no problem to sneak past. My skills at sneaking into houses for assignations in Cyrodiil were being put to good use here in Skyrim. The instrument recovered, I headed to Dawnstar to find the pirates.
They were easy to find, carousing in the local inn. A paltry sum of gold convinced the pirate captain to inform on his fellows. No honor, these scum! Also no sense of the worth of information, I’d have paid ten times what he accepted.
That chore taken care of, I prepared to head back to Windhelm to report, but a priest of Mara caught my eye. He looked troubled, so I struck up a conversation (troubled people are often willing to pay to become untroubled).
He seemed to think that the people of Dawnstar were being plagued by nightmares sent from Oblivion. In this land, it could very well be true, we were clearly not far from Oblivion. He seemed to think he needed my help to rectify the situation. I felt he was clearly capable, but went along for moral support.
I was right, of course. He was capable of handling the fighting needed, while I leaned against the wall and mentally composed the ballad I’d sing of his deeds. Couldn’t let that bard’s training go to waste.
After the whole nightmares from Oblivion bit was taken care of, he offered to help me out if I needed it. Seeing as he was so clearly competent, I asked him to come with me to Whiterun. I still felt a bit guilty about leaving them with a minor dragon problem, and I felt my new friend could clearly handle a dragon.
It was a glorious fight to watch (from a distance). Some passing Khajiit travelers joined in on the fun, and Irileth was still there, fighting bravely after several days. The group finally killed the dragon, and it burst into flames.
Afterward, they claimed I was something called a Dragonborn, and that I’d absorbed the soul of the dragon. Clearly nonsense, but a good way to get in good with the Jarl. He made me his Thane, in fact, when I told him of the battle with the dragon. I may have embellished my role a bit, but I am a bard.
Finally, a bit of status. And apparently an invitation from a group called the Greybeards. I don’t know who they are, but they have something to do with dragons and Dragonborn. I think I’ll postpone that meeting for a while…they’ll surely know that I’m not the Dragonborn.
Back to Windhelm to report on the pirates…
[No dragon souls for me, since I didn’t actually do any damage to the dragon. Which is fine, since it fits with the confidence man theme my character has going. Impersonating the Dragonborn is much more up his alley than actually being one.
At stealth of 50, I’m able to get through the dungeons pretty easily without any combat. Higher levels of stealth are likely to be pretty obnoxious.]