Name: Marlis Leroux
History: My name is Marlis Leroux; Leroux being a pet name given to me at a young age, due to my rather vivid hair color. Father has a habit of calling me Roo-roo, but I'll ask that you not address me as such; I'm simply throwing that out as a guideline for pronunciation, to those unfamiliar with the Breton language. At any rate, I was born in Cyrodill, to a perfectly respectable family. My father is an Imperial, and my mother, obviously, a Breton. I have no siblings, and as such, have been doted upon rather shamefully. (To think otherwise would be to display a woeful lack of self-awareness.) Father is a member of the Council, and mother experiments with alchemy – what, exactly, that entails only Sheogorath can say. I myself have little interest in magic – shocking, I know. My passion instead lies in literature. I dream of becoming a Nirn-renowned writer, parallel to the great Waughin Jarth, Carlovac Townway or Marobar Sul. For as long as I can recall, books have been my solace and only companion; there's a comfort to be found in the crisp, clean pages of a well-loved book. But if I know one thing, it's that dreaming will get me nowhere. If I am to become an author, I must devote my life to this course. As such, I have decided that it's high time I set out on my own great journey, to discover all Tamriel has to offer – for it is there, in that vast unknown, that I shall find my inspiration. I don't know what I may find, or where my travels will take me; I only know that come morrow, I shall be far away from this dreary life. I haven't the heart to tell Mother of my plans, and I know Father would forbid me, should I ask him -- which is why I'm simply going to leave. No note; nothing. No doubt there will be guards out looking for me, but I am prepared. I've organized a pack with minimal supplies – a change of clothes, a day's worth of food, water, a potion of restore health, and one of restore fatigue, as well as a pouch full of Drakes. I'll set out in whichever direction takes my fancy, and pray that Kynareth looks upon me with favor.
Personality: In truth, I rarely ever talk about myself, much less try to summarize my qualities, fine or otherwise. If you truly wish to know, I suppose it would be rude to withhold such information – I have nothing to hide. I'm something of a recluse; even at a young age, I shied away from other children, choosing instead to observe from afar. Some might find that strange, but I've always been fascinated by the behavior of others. I enjoy reading – history, fiction, prophecy and plays are among my favorite. I detest poetry. I can't deny that I have a love for fine clothing and jewelry – Father loves to dote upon me, and I feel it's my responsibility as an only daughter to oblige. I love and respect my parents, I'm faithful to the Eight Divine, and I've always wanted a pet. My sense of adventure has, at times, outweighed my better judgment. I can be… aloof at the best of times – some might call me lofty, but I fear my social skills leave something to be desired. I have a fear of drowning, and loath spiders. I cannot say whether these are the traits of a well-rounded individual, but given the enormity of the question, and the limit of ink and parchment at my disposal, this will have to suffice.
A worn old journal
I left home in the early hours of the morning, well before dawn. I don't think I drew too much attention to myself, although I cannot help but feel the guards can see through walls - even well beyond the high walls of Cyrodill City. It's a silly notion, to be certain, but one I can't seem to shake. I initially began my journey heading south, but I think I must have gotten turned around somewhere. The sun has only just begun to rise, giving light enough to write by. I suppose I've been headed north-east for some time now, which means I've wasted a great deal of time backtracking; I need to keep a better pace, lest anyone come looking for me – my voyage cannot end now! Though I'm beginning to feel the pangs of hunger, I know I must conserve my paltry meal of bread and cheese for later. I'm going to head north – I hope to reach Bruma within two days; the Nordic culture is fascinating, and I hear they have an unusual style of architecture, which I would love to see in person. I hope my robe will be warm enough in the mountains; I'm not sure what I'll do if they're not... I wonder if it's true that you can see the White Gold Tower from Gnoll Mountain?
I have been studying my map for the better part of an hour – perhaps more, as I have difficulty keeping time without an hourglass at hand. My sense of direction is abysmal, and were it not for the constant fixture of the White Gold Tower, I would likely still be walking in circles. It occurs to me only now that the roads west of the city have a tendency to wind in on themselves, spiraling about like bits of coiled thread. As to what purpose this serves, other than to detour travelers, I haven't the slightest. I am currently at the juncture of the Red and Silver Roads, and it is some time past mid-day – I'm afraid I'm not making good time. I am unaccustomed to such a vigorous pace, and it may well have been hasty to presume that Bruma would be a short jaunt from home. While I was resting and enjoying a small morsel, I took the liberty to sketch out the majestic view beyond. I fear my talents aren't adequate enough to do the scene justice, however. I have not seen any signs of the patrol, for which I am grateful.
I've made a small… nest (for want of a better term) using bits of shrubbery as a down, my robe for a blanket and my knapsack as a pillow. Needless to say, it is not very comfortable. I should've thought to buy a bedroll before I left, but that might have raised more than a few questions. I've a half loaf of bread left, but I hope to find an inn or wayside village to barter for more provisions. Curse my lack of forethought.
Morning cannot come soon enough. I never imagined to utter such a statement, but there it is. I shall finish off my rye, and make way for the Jerall Mountains. My feet are sore, and my calves ache from walking all day, but I must acclimate myself to such conditions. I fear it's easier said than done.
I had the most terrifying encounter! This morning I was attacked by a wolf! It must have carried some awful disease to be away from its pack – helljoint, I think. (That's entirely beside the point.) Not knowing what else to do, I ran – I have no combat skills, and my magica is sorely underdeveloped. Luckily, a Khajiit was camped out not too far down the road – he was a brute of a cat; all lean muscle and claws, and he carried a vicious looking mace. He was able to dispatch of the wolf quickly, and none too cleanly – I would pity the creature, had it not tried to devour me. Before I could finish expressing my gratitude for his involvement, he turned to me and demanded my pouch of Drakes! What else should I have done? Let him do to me as he had the wolf? In my panic, I dropped my knapsack. The bandit then proceeded to rummage through my belongings at his leisure, relieving me of all my but writing materials. I doubt the fool is even literate. I haven't so much as a single Drake to my name. Despite this turn of events, I have resolved myself to press on – this is only a temporary downturn, and my fortunes are certain to look up. For now, I shall dry my tears and thank Stendarr I escaped the incident unscathed.
I have reached the Jerall Mountains. I am somewhat surprised, if not a touch proud, that I was able to make my estimated time. The grass here is more scarce, giving way to large patches of soil and rock; the earth stretches in jagged peaks towards the sky, like teeth or finger bones. The air here is crisp and clean, if not somewhat chilly. I dearly miss my robe, more than I can say. I hope to reach Bruma before nightfall can truly settle. I refuse to sleep in the wild tonight. The horizon is overcast, and I fear it may snow later. Time has never seemed so important as it does now.
I'm sleeping on a pew in the chapel; I feel like a beggar. When I arrived at the gates, it was well past dusk and all of the shops and inns had closed. I found one tavern in the poor district, but as I have no money, I was asked to leave. I've never been so humiliated in my life. To get thrown out of the worst tavern in town! For being penniless! I wandered the streets, until my anger had subsided and I was able to think clearly. Having nowhere else to turn, I came to the chapel to pray. It seemed the fitting thing to do, as the Gods appear to have lost favor with me. (That and the light dusting of snow was beginning to freeze.) While I was praying, I… became disheartened, and slightly emotional, having truly realized the full extent of my troubles. I woke one of the priests, I'm afraid to say. She was a kindly woman, and though she must have been bothered by the disturbance, she had compassion enough to listen to my story. She spared me a small meal, and donated a blanket for the evening, and – most importantly – informed me that a gentleman in town has been seeking a courier's services, and has thus far been unsuccessful. Although today was – to put it simply – miserable, I am optimistic for what tomorrow brings.
Day 3 - Noon
I have met with Bjorg Stone-Wall, a Nord of some considerable years. He's more refined than I imagined a Nord could be – I admit I'm curious about him. While I know him to be quite elderly, judging by the length and white of his beard, he carries an aura with him – a very commanding presence. He seems robust and wise, although there's something about him that discomforts me. It's presumptuous to say so, especially considering his proposal. I sought him out at his home shortly after breakfast, and inquired about his solicitation. We spoke at some length about the pursuit; he wishes to have a letter delivered. It sounds like such a simple task, and it likely would be, were his recipient not located in Skyrim. I am not certain that I've made the right choice, but Bjorg has offered to pay half of the sum in advance, and seeing as I am desperately in need of coin… It felt like the obvious thing to do. Now that I think on it, this will provide an opportunity to travel, as I have never left my native borders. Bjorg's only condition is that I go with an armed guide – after my ordeal the other day, I could not say yes fast enough. He warned me that the border has been under tight control – the country apparently struggling with civil unrest. The thought makes me uneasy, but Bjorg assured me that my guide, a native to Skyrim, would be able to get us passed the checkpoint without any trouble. I need only travel to Falkreath, just beyond the mountain pass; if all goes well, I shall return to Bruma within a fortnight.
Day 4 - Dusk
I'm afraid I haven't much to say. I spent the day exploring the city – I was impressed by the Champion's statue, and had I more leisure time, I would have taken a sketch. Perhaps when I return, I'll have more interest in it. I bought some items to replace what was stolen; a pack, a robe, two changes of clothes, three restorative potions – health and fatigue, each. I also purchased a bedroll, fur boots, a new quill, and a sweetroll. Bjorg assured me that provisions would be supplied en-route, as my guide has some talent for hunting. So long as he can cook as well, I have no complaints. I have rented a room at the Jerall View Inn, and have had the luxury of a hot bath and warm meal. I think I should sleep very soundly tonight, despite my anticipation for tomorrow's expedition.
Day 5 - Noon
Larawen, my guide, is an interesting woman. A Bosmer; she stands a good head shorter than me, and I am no towering giant. She's slim and lithe, and has a grace that I am unfamiliar with. I believe she could walk through a heavy thicket, yet make not a sound. She's quiet and seems rather attuned to nature, for she pays more attention to the birds than she does me. I try not to take offense to this, but I cannot deny that it is difficult. I have the impression that she believes herself to be somehow superior to me. I have been striving to keep pace with her, though is it a daunting task. Larawen does indeed have skill with a bow, and while her cuisine isn't exactly what one might serve for a social dinner, it is palatable.
As a side-note, I am considering creating a log of all the remarkable people I meet. Were I to write a fictional piece, this would serve me well.
I despise that woman. When she is not ignoring me, she is looking down her nose at me. I prefer the silence. She complains that I'm too slow, that I don't pay attention, and that I constantly consult my books. I do not. As we stopped for lunch, I began to update my journal, and she chided me for not having any sense! I asked what she could possibly mean, and she told me that had I more sense, I would think to note things such as the date, weather, my location – "like an adventure's journal". I know what I'm doing! That insufferable woman! I cannot be away from her soon enough!
A thought occurred to me today; why the need for a courier, when Bjorg already has a guide perfectly willing to travel to Falkreath? I voiced my query to Larawen, and she gave me a look cold enough to freeze over Lake Rumare. I've decided to wait until she's asleep to inspect that letter. There's something terribly odd about this situation.
It's coded – a language I've never seen before.
I tried to head back down the mountain, but Larawen found and redirected me with little difficulty. Her tracking skills serve for more than just hunting, it seems. How do I tell her I've reconsidered my job offer? I don't know what Bjorg intends for me, or what exactly I've gotten myself into, but it frightens me. I should have been more inquisitive. I pray I won't pay too dearly for my naivety – that I've simply become paranoid. There may be a better opportunity to escape once we've reached civilization.
I've been informed that we're nearing the ancient ruins of Pale Pass. It would be a fascinating place to study, although I'm sure it's been picked clean since the Champion's rediscovery of it. As we near the peak of the Jerall Mountains, the temperature has dropped considerably, (I'm currently wearing pants under my skirt, if that says anything for the cold!) and clouds are settled so low, one could reach out and touch them. The view of Cyrodiil is breathtaking – I think I can see the outline of the White Gold Tower in the distance. Larawen seems irritable of late – I don't know if this is due to my escape attempt the other morning, or if she's simply cross because of the weather. I've resolved to try my best to appear neutral towards her, but I do not trust her. I still fear for my well-being, but there is little I can do in these remote wilds.
Larawen is gone. She had been tracking a fox for some time, intent on having it's fur for a new vest. It was such a beautiful creature – I couldn't stand the thought of killing it. Larawen wouldn't listen to my plea to spare it, so I knocked the bow from her hands as she was aiming. An argument ensued, and while we were exchanging insults, Larawen suddenly became stiff and silent, her eyes wide. At first I thought I had struck quite the blow, but then she turned tail and ran! Being that she is my guide, I made to follow her. I thought that we were being attacked – wolves or bandits or perhaps a troll. I asked Larawen what was happening, and she replied – of all the nonsense – that she'd seen a dragon. Utter rubbish, and I told her as much. No one's seen a dragon since the last era. Still, she refused to listen to reason and sought shelter in a cave. I cannot say how many hours we sat there, in that damp depressive place. Even after she'd calmed down, I could not reason with her. She insisted that I was an ill omen, as she'd been uneasy with me since the first day – hearing noises and seeing things out of the corner of her eye. She seems to be under the impression that I'm being stalked by a dragon. I can't even pen the thought without laughing. Less amusingly, she has abandoned me. I tried to follow her, but she pointed her bow at me and threatened to loose the arrow should I take another step! So here I am; lost, alone, cold and hungry. At least I am free of her.
I'm going to Skyrim. If I were to get too close to Larawen, there's no telling what she might do. I have no interest in being shot at, and so long as she is gone, I have no fear of this strange letter, or the consequences of not delivering it. It took some deliberation, but I have decided to keep it, in hopes of figuring out how to cipher it. Perhaps it would be wiser to burn the thing and be done with it, but I must know its secrets. I will not be traveling to Falkreath, however.