No, I didn’t find any Werewolves.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’d like to tell you a story.  A story of might and magic, choice and consequence, romance, adventure, camaraderie and intrigue.  If I could think of any other awesome nouns I’d throw them in there as well, but alas – on with the show.

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If you haven’t already, please read my last hands-on preview of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim which details the very first encounter with Vampires and much more.

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But where to begin?  How about in the real world.

As I walked into a posh hotel suite in midtown Manhattan I was greeted by what has become a common sight for me.  Roughly eight Xbox 360 developer consoles hooked up to 27ish inch flatscreen TV’s all running the latest press build of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  As usual, there wasn’t a PC in sight.  I had expected as much, yet I was still slightly disappointed.  But I digress…

I grabbed what I recall was a turkey and brie sandwich and a bottle of sparkling water (they feed us well) and sat down in the corner of the suite in front of one of consoles.  As I gazed upon a familiar screen that said little more than ‘Skyrim’, I noticed most of the other writers who were scheduled in my time slot had yet to arrive, so I figured I had at least a small head start.  Huzzah.

Where to Even Begin...

Once again, I wasted no time in the character creator (unless you count the 10 minutes I spent tryng to make an albino Argonian at a reader’s request) and quickly selected my usual traits.  Bosmer… tattoos… mohawk… good enough… let’s go!

Now having had hands on time with Skyrim before, and having already seen Riverwood and the surrounding areas before, I knew that this time around I had to go where no member of the press had gone before.  I had a laundry list of questions from readers, but how could I possibly answer them all in just three hours?!  Should I head to the Bards College in the far Northwest?  To the College of Winterhold in the far Northeast?  All the way down to Riften, which was clearly named after RipTen?  I knew one thing was sure, I was not going to dick around in Riverwood or go on that bloody Golden Claw quest!  Oh no, this playthrough was going to be different!

However, there was a problem.  I was level one and I had nearly no gear.  How on earth would I survive anywhere in the vast lands of Skyrim if I ventured off alone into the wilderness?  I wouldn’t, I’d surely be killed!  So, with the most epic fucking sigh you’ve ever heard, I begrudgingly trudged toward Riverwood.  I assure you, I cursed the divines the entire way.

I Don't Even Own The Game and I've Already Seen This Over 9000 Times...

As I arrived in Riverwood, I knew I needed to get myself leveled and geared up fast if I was to have enough time to explore beyond what had already been seen and done by my brothers and sisters in the gaming press.  I quickly came upon a Nord named Sven and his mother, arguing about dragons as they always seem to do.  Except instead of passing them by, this time I decided to talk to Sven, to see what he was all about.  Maybe he had a quest for me?

After going through some dialogue options about how crazy his mother surely was, it turned out he did indeed have a quest for me.  You see, Sven had been dating Camilla, whose brother Lucan owns the general store in town.  However, Sven knows Camilla is in love with a Bosmer named Faendal.  Sven wanted me to bring Camilla a forged letter that would convince her that Faendal was no good.  For this, he would pay me some paltry sum.  I agreed to his task, knowing full well I’d never take the side of a Nord against a fellow Bosmer, but he was none the wiser.

Did Sven not realize I was Bosmer?  And why would he task a complete stranger with the future of his relationship?  No matter.  Videogames, amirite?  I walked further into town to find Camilla in her brother’s store.  As I suspected, one of the dialogue options presented was to tell her that Sven had forged the letter and that Faendal was in fact a stand up guy… or elf in this case.  I chose said option and Camilla was noticeably upset that Sven would attempt to do such a thing.  She instructed me to find Faendal and tell him at once… so I did.

I easily found Faendal by the lumber mill.  He looked a lot like me.  Tall, thin, handsome and Elven.  I liked him immediately.