Natasha chose to travel south in search of a house to purchase, rather than make the journey to the top of the mountain. “Those old monks can wait,” she told herself. She promised so many favours to so many people, and some of them would have to wait. She returned the stolen Golden Claw to the shopkeeper in Riverwood, then helped a gentleman resolve an unpleasant love triangle.
It was late in the day when she continued her journey to the Falkreath Hold. The sun was setting when she stopped to rest at a hunter’s camp that was abandoned. The view of the lake and mountains beyond was spectacular, and Natasha decided to enjoy some wine with the soup she cooked.
When the campfire burned out, she saw it as a perfect opportunity to experiment with the Flames spell Farengar taught her. She raised her hand and cast the spell–flames streamed from the palm of her hand, and the fire reignited instantly. Her flames were far weaker than a dragon’s, but the spell was so easy for her that she decided to give up using two swords. She opted for a sword in her right hand while using her left hand to cast spells during combat, and this turned out to be the most effective strategy for her.
Farengar also gave her a quick introduction to enchanting items, and encouraged her to experiment with alchemy. Natasha’s newest hobbies were picking flowers and mushrooms, and catching butterflies. She tasted a sample of each ingredient to get a hint of how to use it in a potion, and she planned to mix a few when she reached the capitol of Falkreath.
The capitol shared the same name as the Hold, but it was only a small town. The Jarl’s Longhouse was mostly unadorned, and Jarl Siddgeir had only two assistants–his housecarl and steward. “What do you want?” the Jarl asked in a disinterested and slightly pompous voice when she approached him.
She replied with a polite introduction and, “I’ve come to Falkreath to buy a house for my family. Your Hold is incredibly beautiful, and it would be such an honour to call this town home.”
“There’s no need for compliments–I already know what an excellent job I do,” he told her in the same tone of voice. “My uncle would’ve handed the place to the Stormcloaks, but I’ll never let those dogs set one foot in Falkreath! There are no houses available in town, so you’ll have to go somewhere else… unless you feel like building a house. There is a choice plot of land near the border with the Whiterun Hold. They’re loyal to Ulfric and his Stormcloaks, but you look like a capable fighter. If you promise to kill any of those mongrels near your property, I might sell it to you.”
“I’m definitely interested in buying that land, and I will be loyal to you.” She had no intention of interfering with the Stormcloaks because she wanted to join them, but a home was her only focus. She was prepared to say or do almost anything to obtain the property.
“Before I’ll sell it, I expect you to prove your usefulness. Help my people and I’ll consider it.”
Natasha looked down at the body of a dead werewolf, and struggled to recall where she was or what had happened. Her memories were fragmented and confused. She was holding a piece of light armour, made with enchanted metals and fur. She looked back at the werewolf, and noticed pieces of his skin were missing. “Well, at least that part makes sense!” she thought.
For a long time, she wanted to use light armour so she wouldn’t get as exhausted during intense combat. The problem she faced with that idea was sacrificing protection for endurance seemed insane. The enchanted fur armour provided better protection than the heavy gear she was using, plus some resistance to magic and poison.
Once she put on the new armour, Natasha had a sudden flash of memory. She recalled a ghostly figure that introduced himself as Hircene, and said something about being the Daedric Lord of the Hunt. He gave the armour to her and told her she was released from a curse. “How long was I cursed?” she wondered. Searching her belongings, she found another assassin’s contract and a large assortment of poisons and potions.
Hoping her memories would return in time, she made her way back to Falkreath to speak with Jarl Siddgeir. When he saw her he remarked, “You dressed up for me; I’m flattered.” He was clearly mocking her, but Natasha’s new armour was very revealing. Everything about Siddgeir annoyed her. He continued to speak in his trademark tone, “You’ve made a name for yourself among my people, but I want you to do one more thing for me. Go fetch me a bottle of the good mead–I’m sick of Nord swill. You’d better not keep me waiting again, so I expect you to run. Hurry now.”
Natasha wasn’t going to give up because she was expected to run to the eastern border of the province–especially not when she was so close to success! She ran north, briefly stealing a horse to speed up her journey, and she reached Whiterun in the middle of the night once again. As soon as she stepped through the gates of the city, she saw a group of guards fighting someone in the streets. Citizens were crying out for help, so Natasha jumped into the fray.
The attacker turned out to be a vampire. After driving her sword through his heart, she decided to take his stylish boots for times when she was just relaxing. One thing from her life back in Cyrodiil that would always stay with her was her love of fashion, art and music.
In the morning, she noticed a body in the bushes near the site of the vampire attack. The victim was a prominent citizen, and Natasha suspected he would have something useful in his house. She took all the gold, food and herbs she could use for alchemy, and left his valuable belongings for any heirs.
Finally, she rushed up to Dragonsreach to see Lucia. Natasha told her the news about the house, and Lucia was thrilled. “I wasn’t sure you really meant it,” she confessed. “Lots of people are nice to orphans, but they don’t really care. You killed a dragon and I get to stay in the castle–I thought that’s it.” Natasha hugged her tight and comforted her before continuing the run east to Riften.
Not far from Whiterun, she hurried by a fort. “That’s close enough!” someone warned her. Rather than move along politely, Natasha decided to make one more little detour. The fort was occupied by several necromancers who were no match for her. She had great fun clearing the common area of the fort, and she couldn’t resist the temptation to seek more necromancers inside.
She crept through the halls of the fort and used her bow to silently remove the magicians. “I’m already wasting time,” she thought, “I might as well search this place top to bottom!” Some rooms were filled with books. Natasha read the prologue of one book and wished she could take all of them with her.
The gods smiled upon her that night, and she found a bottle of the Black Briar Mead. “Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!” she said out loud. She hurried back to Falkreath with the mead, and stole the same horse she took the day before. This time, she rode the horse back to the spot where it belonged.
Jarl Siddgeir was satisfied with Natasha’s commitment and finally sold the plot of land to her. She thanked the gods again when she found it overlooked the lake–it couldn’t have been a better place to build a house. Of course she had no carpentry experience, but she had a helpful guide book and a variety of construction plans at the drafting table.
It was very hard work to build the house. She had to mine clay and stone, and craft her own nails, locks and iron fittings. Everyday she went into town to mix and sell potions, then use her earnings to purchase wood and other building materials. The arrangement was perfect because her alchemy talents were maturing, as well as her ability to haggle for the best prices.
She planned to build a mansion for her family. She wanted to have a large dining hall with a grand fireplace and a banquet table. They would have a well stocked library, and Natasha would have her own alchemy room and a greenhouse. The luxuries would grow over time, but she hurried to bring Lucia home as soon as the basics were in place.
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