17 - Shor's Stone

To describe Mjoll as happy to get Grimsever back would be an understatement. I was hugged and kissed in a way that would have been most enjoyable if we hadn't both been wearing armour. I could hear Aerin and my associate discussing whether our cuirasses would crack like nut-shells under the onslaught.

"If you didn't already have a companion, I'd have to offered to follow you for a while. I clearly have a lot to learn," she told me.

I pointed out that she was a two-handed tank like myself, and what either of us needed more as a follower was a mage. Since she had a magical enchantment on Grimsever, her perfect match would be a healer. Especially if she fought with similar exuberance.

She agreed. "When I was younger, I was fearless, and took too many risks." She told me all about Aerin finding her outside Mzinchaleft. She'd already told me that whole story before we went there, but she clearly liked telling it again, and perhaps she needed to remind him that she remained grateful to him, as well as me.

We all went into the Bee and Barb for a drink or two to celebrate. The four of us chatted for hours, and it wasn't until we left that I realised my companion had managed to do that without ever actually speaking to me.

Riften didn't have a smelter in town, so we headed out to the nearest mine, in Shor's Stone. a village not far to the north, on the road to Windhelm. So of course, there was a problem they'd like sorted out, first. And it had to involve spiders, didn't it?

"I'll go do this. You wait here," I told her. She not only doesn't talk to me, sometimes she doesn't listen, either, and despite her spider issues, she followed me into the mine.

I don't think I managed to hit any of the spiders before a fireball blew them out of reach. It's probably cathartic for her to do that, so I don't mind. And we did have the whole mine free of spiders in just a couple of minutes.

I mined some iron while I was there, so I'd have enough to go with the dwarven metal. After reporting back that the spiders were gone, I set myself to making more bows.

If I hadn't been able to sell half of them there in Shor's Stone, I wouldn't have been able to carry them all back to Riften. Selling the remainder to Balimund meant that I had enough cash to have him train me, as far as he was able. "You should be able to work with ebony soon," he told me, and I knew just where I needed to go.

We passed another Dwemer ruin on the way, at Mzulft, but it was locked beyong my picking abilities. However, I did manage to get into a storeroom outside that had a fair amount of metal, and a couple of chests with other useful items.

At Narzulbur, or rather, Gloombound mine, I mined ebony and iron, and a little Orichalcum, too. Making a couple of Orcish bows along with the Dwarven ones was all I needed to reach my next skill level, and I could finally make ebony items.

I put a bit of extra value into my war-hammer before I sold it to Dushnamub, and set into making an ebony one to replace it. The Orc smith was impressed. He didn't make much of the ebony himself, as the tribe preferred tradional Orcish, but he knew it was hard to work, and needed a lot of skill.

"I don't have a lot of gold to buy what you're making," he warned me. "Don't make more than you can carry."

He had a good point. While I wanted to make as much ebony weapons and armour as I could, to raise my smithing skill, maybe I shouldn't do it here. I'd given Balimund, back in Riften, most of my gold to pay for lessons. He'd be able to afford to buy it, so I should use the forge there instead.

He could teach me nothing more, and Daedric was beyond his abilities. He could afford to buy the things I made, however. I made mostly bows, as I was holding off from making ebony armour. Although it would be better than what I was wearing, it wouldn't have the look I wanted. My heavy armour skill was high enough that most of my defence was independent of material, anyway. And if I didn't make a complete set of armour, the mis-match reduced the benefits, too.

The problem I was going to have in making Daedric was that it required Deadra hearts. You can imagine my reluctance to seek out those.