The Grey - VIIThe city of Winterhold. Hardly a city, more like a corpse. This was the sort of place Guillem was used to.
Bleached, white bones of desiccated houses protruded from the snow, the skeletal remains of buildings lining the edge of town closest to the cliff. The wreckage lingered there, eerily, unmoved by man or strong coastal winds, as though still serving some long-abandoned purpose.
As he entered the cluster of weather-beaten buildings, a few guards passed wearily by, and a woman called to a man presumably her husband, on his way to drown himself in drink. That was all this place seemed to be, much hardship and toil. Why the people simply did not abandon their memories and move on to better places escaped him, though the Nords were often mired in their tradition and that of their ancestors, enough, it seemed, to treat such a dead place as though it still lived.
A heavy mist swam beneath the emaciated skeletons of former buildings, obscuring all but a few feet of sight. Debris drifted in
The Grey - VIThe chill of the snowfall seemed to blow through Guillem's bones, as though he was as bare of flesh as those he sought to vanquish. As a man born and raised in High Rock, he was not used to such harsh cold as was to be found in the land of the Nords. He wrapped his thick cloak around himself and pushed on.
The road up to Dawnstar was terribly void of any colour, even the sun seemed to have been blotted out by the thick, stagnant snow drifting in from the north. The odd crimson burst of a snowberry bush permeated the gleaming white banks on occasion, though even they were becoming heavy and white with dustings of frost.
The small town couldn't have loomed from the white mist any sooner, and in minutes Guillem was glad to be indoors and out of the biting cold, shaking the snow from his clothes at the entrance to the inn. He was glad of the fire for an evening, and took his meal sitting at the edge of the hearth, warming his numb fingers until the late hours before he retired.
The Grey - VSolitude loomed down over her latest guest, imposing a strong Imperial presence right from the off. Guillem approached the gate, and surprisingly, the guard asked no questions before letting him pass. The city was fair enough inside. Brightly coloured bunting lined the rooftops of the square he entered into, and the streets were clean and in bloom. He did notice, though, a faint, bloody stain on some of the cobbles by the gate, from some past execution, no doubt. Pretty as she was, Solitude was a harsh, draconian creature.
Down at the Winking Skeever, Guillem asked his usual questions. The innkeeper, Corpulus, obliged by telling him, in a voice perhaps not as hushed as would have been appropriate, that the Jarl's wizard, Sybille Stentor, had recently enquired about someone willing to deal with some "unpleasant business," as he put it, after which he advised Guillem not to do anything to "piss her off", as it were.
A little uncomfortable for the general vibe of the inn, Guillem still al
The Grey - IV"Gah," Guillem frowned with an irritable little exclamation, cringing as his boot cracked its way through a brittle skull. He gave another small groan as he knocked the side of the skull, still stuck to his foot, against part of the ruin wall. The bleached bone broke and fell away, and he made care to step around the rest of the remains cluttering the stone floor.
Skeletons didn't really prove much of a hassle to take care of. Brittle and not really held together by much, a few hits and they were done with. The trick though was hitting them. More than a few bolts had slipped between the ribs fatal enough to anything with flesh, but less so when they merely passed through the air between the bones and clattered on the wall behind.
Guillem slung his crossbow over his shoulder and made off on his way back towards Whiterun. It had been a week since he'd last had the pleasure of civilised rest, and most of his gear was in need of a good wash.
Back at the Bannered Mare, Guillem rented
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