5 -Dremora Tower

I began to wonder, when I found a brazier and an anvil on a landing at the top of the stairs inside. But nobody, and nothing, was defending this one, so I climbed further. The ramp outside led up to a doorway into an empty room. No sign of habitation here, but there were more stairs, wooden ones this time, not like the stone ones below.

At the top of those I found a workbench, and a chest. On the workbench was a book, that confirmed I'd found the right place. It gave me some instructions on how to start rebuilding the tower, suggesting I might fix the floor first. That would take timber, and I didn't see any lying around up here. There were a few items in the chest, blocks of stone, leather strips, some clay, and a few iron ingots, but no planks or boards.

I went down again, carrying what I'd taken from the chest. It looked like I had enough material here to make a smelter, and a tanning rack, and I knew I'd need those to make more materials. Once I'd constructed those I looked around to see if there were any trees I could cut.

But it appeared I'd not need to. There was a pile of logs just beyond the smelter I'd just put up. Either i'd not noticed it on the way in, behind that rock, or they'd appeared there by magic. Stranger things do happen, so I asked no questions. Nobody here to ask, anyway.

I only had enough iron to make nails for the floor. I needed more, if I wanted to put a roof at the top, and close off a bedroom. There was a vein of ore not to far away, and one of corundum near the entrance to the other tower. So once I had a pickaxe, I could make a lock, if I needed one. I didn't see much point in making a door yet, as there was nothing of great value to lock inside. I'd be very annoyed if someone stole the anvil, but if they wanted one, they'd take it from the camp lower down, and not bother coming all the way up here. And I needed a pickaxe before I could mine the iron or corundum.

I decided to go and look for more iron, down at the forge. I hadn't noticed any ore veins as I cimbed up here, but I hadn't searched all the chests, and they might have some stored away to make their weapons. They might even have a pickaxe.

As I crossed the bridge over the river, I got the urge to try the quick way down. The waterfall was almost vertical down to the pool below, and that lookout point at the end hung out over the falls. What was the worst that could happen? If the fall killed me, it wouldn't be long before I found myself back in Skyrim, and now I knew the way here.

Perhaps it was the confident way I leaped off the planks at the end that made me land safely in the deepest part of the pool. I climbed the steps out to see a ghost in front of me, with a lute in his hands. He told me that I'd just jumped off Bard's Leap, and that he'd done so too, if not so successfully, after reciting the entire Poetic Edda at the top.

The ghost disappeared and I noticed a chest behind him. It had a lock that was hard to pick, and didn't contain any iron. I did find a minor gem, and some gold, and a potion that might be handy later.

No pickaxe, no iron, or even ore. I did discover some silver veins, not that I need silver for anything, but it's more valuable than iron, and I could trade.

It looked like I needed to go back to Whiterun, or Riverwood, and buy some iron ingots. I took anything that looked valuable from the corpses and their camp, and headed back down the path. That dead archer looked even better without her armour. Why couldn't she have yielded?

I took a wrong turning on the road back to Whiterun and ended up in somewhere called Falkreath instead. There was a merchant there, and a smith, so it turned out just as well. The merchant had the goat horns I was going to need to make lights, and glass, and straw to stuff the mattress. He told me that there was an iron mine between there and Riverwood where I'd find a pickaxe, if I didn't mind clearing out the bandits first. "Check with Valga at Dead Man's Drink first, there might be a bounty for them, too. She mentioned that the Jarl's men had brought in a flyer last time I went in for a drink. Doesn't interest me, but you might like the job."

I thanked him and did just that. There was indeed a bounty on the bandits. And Valga was good to look at, and so was the woman she had selling drinks, so it was well worth the visit. I almost wished I'd arrived later in the day, and could stay overnight to see what else they had to offer. But it was early morning, and I had some bandit-clearing and mining to do.

Embershard mine was almost all the way to Riverwood, and of course I passed a couple of iron veins on the way, without a pickaxe. It put me in a foul mood, which was much the best mood to be in before a good fight.

The bandits weren't much of a problem, and I found a pickaxe next to the first vein of ore. I didn't need to retrace my steps at all, mining as I went, and killing bandits when they heard me and came looking. They'd made a couple of ingots already, although I didn't see a smelter anywhere, and they had a forge where they could use them. Someone had left a book on making light armour on the workbench, and I learned something new from reading that.

Apart from that, there was a fair bit of their loot scattered around the place, on tables, shelves, and in chests. Nothing major, but all worth collecting. I took their better weapons and armour with me, too, and went back to Falkreath to sell it and collect the bounty, mining as I went.

There was no smelter in the town, either, but since iron ore and ingots are equally heavy, I could wait until I got home. To the tower, I meant, it wasn't home yet. But I had all the material to make it one, so it wouldn't be long.

I still needed moonstone, and quicksilver, and gold for the crafting table, but that was going to take a grand soul gem, too, and I couldn't even afford an empty one. That would be the last thing I made.

It was starting to get dark when I returned, so I made the important things first. The roof, the partition to enclose the bedroom, then the bed itself. A wardrobe to stow some of the miscellaneous items in until I made a chest. I only had one corundum ingot, and the lock I made from that would be used on the main door. I made that next.

By now, it was really getting dark, so the next items to make should be lights. Half of my goat horns made a small chandelier for the entrance, and most of the rest a lamp stand on the middle floor. The last one would light my bedroom, but first I needed something to stand it on.

When I made the side tables, and put the lamp on one of them, I noticed that a book had appeared on the other. I hadn't put it there, so how did get there?

It had an Oblivion gate symbol on the cover. That usually indicated that it was a book about conjuration, and some of them taught you spells, or increased your skill. That seemed useful, so I took a look inside.

This would teach me a spell, and unusually, I had a choice. There were three spells available, each to summon a housecarl. A Dremora housecarl, who could be male or female, and there were two choices of females.

Lydia had explained what a housecarl was, someone to guard me and my property. I didn't need guarding, but this tower might. And a male would obviously do that better than a woman. Women weren't fighters, although the Nords seemed to think they were, or they wouldn't have offered Lydia. And come to think of it, my woman had proved no slouch. She hadn't even been wearing armour when she defeated me.

I shouldn't have thought about her. It probably swayed my thoughts from the rational decision I should have made, to the impulsive one I did make.

The book disappeared, and left me wondering what had just happened.

I didn't try the spell immediately. I had still had materials to make more furniture, and I wanted to complete as much as I could before I summoned her. I expected respect, but I also wanted it to be justified. Her first view of this tower would be as impressive as I could make it.

So the dining table and bookshelf were made, and weapon racks, an armour mannequin and I still had enough iron for a good quantity of nails. The platform that I constructed at the top of the tower had a commanding view over the entire valley. The strategic advantages of such a lookout position couldn't be lost on anyone, and that was where I finally summoned her.

She was almost as tall as me, and wore a simple robe wrapped around her, and tied at the waist. When she turned to face me, I wasn't disappointed with what I saw. She said nothing, unlike her Nord counterpart, who'd accosted me with a little speech about how she was sworn to serve. This woman just looked into my eyes as if I'd be able to read everything in hers.

"It's late, time for me to go to bed," I announced, not really knowing what I expected of her. When I went down the stairs towards the bedroom, she followed, but stopped outside the curtain, and didn't follow me in, as I'd hoped. She was still saying nothing.

I got into bed and waited. I'd learned the spell that promised me hope of a companion, rather than just an ally, and she certainly looked like the woman I wanted, especially the breasts that threatened to fall out of her robe. I'd managed not to stare at them too much. Just to let her know I'd noticed, and no more.

She didn't move from her position. Perhaps she was on guard there, perhaps I just didn't deserve her yet. All I'd proved so far was that I was a competent laborer, after all.