In which Leona enters her first barrow and enounters skeletons, draugr, traps, and magical items. Not to mention a mysterious wall of runes.
The walking dead don’t scare me really, they’re a fact of life – especially if you go diving in to a Barrow. But I’ll admit that the sound of bones and desiccated flesh creaking sends shivers up my spine. The barrow was located just off the road from the Nightgate Inn to Windhelm so I’m not really sure how I missed it the first time. I’ve never explored a Barrow before so it was with great trepidation that I crept into this one.
Overall it was large, but barren. There were a few draugr patrolling the hallways, but they must have been weak for most fell easily to a single arrow. I experienced a strange sense of deja vu as I navigated the hallways. It felt like I had been there before, but I knew that to be a lie. When I arrived in the main chamber I hid in a shadowed corner and then fired an arrow into the darkness to distract the Undead Lord who awoke at my entrance and from there I wrecked havoc among his skeleton defenders. The frost-salts Wayfinder wanted me to recover were in a chest behind the Lord.
As I approached the chest, I could hear a distant Nord chanting. It grew louder the closer I got, seemingly emanating from the wall carved in ancient runes. One of the runes seemed to glow blue – I would have run but it seemed to have caught hold of me and pulled me closer, burning the rune into my mind. Even now, I can see their shape when I close my eyes. By now the chanting was a roar overwhelming all sound, my mind was held captive by the rune with no room for another thought and no way to escape, then, suddenly it released me. I have no idea what that was.
Shaking, I searched the chest and collected Wayfinder’s cargo. Then I entered the back room where the old alchemist told me the brazier was to poor his foul concoction into. I didn’t think it woudl work, but sure enough the solid wall behind opened and I saw the white phial on a pedestal. Large cracks ran down the side. When I held the phial, it hit me. This had been an image from my strange dream back in Winterhold. For a second it seemed as if there were two of me holding the phial, the other Leona was much more powerful and had worked harder to achieve this goal, but we were united in a sense of victory. I carefully packed the phial for travelling so it wouldn’t break more and left the barrow.
The alchemist was not pleased to see the phial was broken and scarcely thanked me before shooing me out of his house. Word on Windhelm’s streets had changed since the murderer was apprehended, now they spoke of a young boy who was trying to summon the brotherhood of assassins. I thought perhaps I might see this boy. An assassin had attacked me on my way back from Dawnstar (to give Wayfinder his missing cargo) and I wondered if this boy was responsible.