Natasha made her way to Windhelm and was attacked by two more assassins with contracts for her murder. It was as if they knew she was getting closer to them, and were desperately trying to save themselves from her vengeance. She knew it wouldn’t be easy, but she was very eager to find them! Before killing them, she vowed to do whatever it took to find out who financed her shrouded attackers.
Windhelm was a fortress located in the permanently frozen northern region of Skyrim. Most of the residents complained about the cold, but Natasha was delighted by the snowy scenery and the architecture of the city. After chatting with several people in the market, she went to the palace to meet with Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak and swear allegiance to him. He explained that only true sons and daughters of Skyrim are Stormcloaks, and he couldn’t trust an Imperial. She promised prove herself and do what he needed of her.
She was exhausted when she finally reached the inn, but she decided to enjoy a drink and listen to the bard before getting some much needed rest. One tavern patron wanted to drink with her and another challenged her to a drinking game. She just wanted to be alone to go over her plans, so she took her mead upstairs. That’s where she saw Stenvar, a handsome Nord warrior, and decided to sit with him. He was a sellsword and immediately offered his services to Natasha. She paid his nominal fee without hesitation. They chatted for an hour and she confided in him about the assassins hunting her.
In the morning, Stenvar brought her to the Temple of Talos to be blessed. “Talos is the god of warriors and heroes, and he protects leaders,” he explained. “To us Nords, he inspires us to greatness because he’s the man who became a god.” Natasha prayed and felt a strong connection to Talos; she was filled with peace and courage. In that moment she knew Talos truly was one of the Divines, worthy of worship.
Following their visit to the temple, Natasha took him with her to meet the boy who performed the Black Sacrament. She had no idea what that was, but she found the boy reciting a prayer while surrounded by macabre items. When she approached him, Aventus rose up and enthusiastically blurted out, “I knew it! I knew you would come!” He explained that he performed the ritual to contact the Dark Brotherhood.
Instinctively, she remained silent and the sweet child told her that he desperately wanted the caregiver of an orphanage murdered. Aventus revealed, “She’s called Grelod the Kind, but she isn’t kind at all!” After hearing the boy’s heartwrenching story of abuse and neglect, Natasha wanted to kill the woman too! She agreed to fulfill the assassination contract for him, and offered to provide him a safe and loving home. Aventus politely declined and assured her that he’s able to take care of himself and prefers it that way.
Once they emerged from the Arentino residence, she asked Stenvar if he was comfortable with her plan to murder someone. “Absolutely!” he replied, “it’s the right thing to do. Besides, I’m no stranger to crime.”
Natasha smiled and suggested, “Let’s go have dinner and drinks, shall we?” He gladly agreed and turned to go toward the inn. “No Stenvar, follow me.” She led him to the palace.
Natasha took him upstairs to the guards’ quarters, where they were free to enter any room. They went to the dining room and closed the door. “As long as the guards don’t see us, it’s all free,” she explained and gestured toward the food and drinks arranged on the table.
They sat together by the fireplace, enjoying their stolen feast, and bantered as if they were friends for years. When a guard opened the door to check on them, they sat still and touched nothing. He slowly walked into the dining room and circled around them. He stopped next to Natasha and said, “I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee.” She couldn’t help bursting into laughter.
The guard left them alone again and Stenvar told her, “You’re a lot of fun to hang out with!”
They slept at the inn, with plans to visit the orphanage in Riften as soon as possible. Natasha believed the contract could lead her to the Dark Brotherhood and the answers she needed. They woke up felling well rested the next morning, and visited several shops for supplies. On their way out of Windhelm, a child came up behind them. “Excuse me Lady, would you like to buy some flowers?”
Natasha turned around to see a little girl carrying a basket of flowers. The sight of her was incredibly charming, and her flowers were useful for alchemy. As Natasha examined the selection, the girl pointed to the Deathbell flower and said, “This one is good for poisons.”
“I’m impressed that you know that!”
“Sometimes people talk about the flowers when they buy one.” Natasha had no intention of buying just one, and she told the girl a secret about each flower before purchasing it. The little girl was overjoyed to sell all her goods at once. “My name is Sofie. I pick flowers every day to try to get enough money to take care of myself, but it’s usually really hard.”
Sofie’s father was a Stormcloak soldier who was killed in battle, so she was an orphan living in the streets for two long years. Natasha adopted her and gave her a small purse full of coins, saying, “Take the carriage to Falkreath and wait for me at the Jarl’s longhouse. He’s kind of a jerk, but I’ll be there right away!” Next she turned to Stenvar and told him, “Alright, change of plans: I need to buy a horse and get home for a couple days. We’ll go straight to Riften after.”
She purchased a beautiful chestnut coloured horse from the stables. Natasha climbed into the saddle, but wasn’t able to ride her new horse because a dragon attacked suddenly. She jumped down and drew her sword as fast as she could, knowing Sofie would be near the carriage any minute. Stenvar fought beside her, and all the horses from the stables joined in the battle.
“I just bought that horse!” she thought as she hacked and slashed the dragon. The sounds of the horses screaming and the dragon roaring were sensational, and Natasha feared she would lose all the wonderful things that had just happened for her. Her sword lost its magical charge and it would’ve been difficult to kill the dragon without all the help she received. Thankfully, the horses survived and Stenvar was thrilled to have seen a real dragon.
They travelled south in silence for awhile before Stenvar said, “You’re the Dragonborn. I honestly didn’t believe the rumors.” She felt uncomfortable talking about it, but she didn’t want to be rude to her friend. He added, “I also wouldn’t imagine I’d be plotting murder and stealing from Ulfric Stormcloak with the real Dragonborn!”
“I don’t know if I’m the Dragonborn. Right now, I’m just a mother who needs to get home safely.” She looked over her shoulder and smiled at him.
He changed the subject and asked, “Where’d you get that armour of yours?”
“That was very strange… Come to think of it, if you’re friends with me, you’re going to see some crazy things!”
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