Welcome to Part 2 of Tamriel Times: The Skyrim Diaries, our ongoing look at life in Tamriel (click here if you missed Part 1). This time, we take a look at the life of a stealthy Argonian, the reptilian natives of Blackmarsh.
In Skyrim, you’ll often overhear people talking about how few Argonians they see in the land of the Nords – they think it’s too cold for us, or we’re all busy doing the sort of backbreaking labor reserved for the beast lower caste. I doubt any of them consider that maybe we don’t want to be found. That was always something I prided myself on, until I got pinched trying to cross the border. It’s funny how I can give death the slip, but a dragon always knows just where to find me.
Lots of people say it was blind luck that chose me to be the Dragonborn (and I’m sure those Nords are just seething with jealously), but I like to think I make my own luck. I’m no Shadowscale, but if they were still around, you can bet they’d be begging me to sign up. I can sneak into the bowels of an Imperial fort, slit the throat of its captain, and be out before the blood dries. It’s called efficiency, look it up, Ulfric. I can plug a dragon’s eye while it circles prey at eighty feet. See this armor? No cheap imitations. You couldn’t find scales of this quality in Solitude. This mask? Pilfered off a risen super-powered dragon priest in the bowels of Ragnvald. Yeah, they’re pretty tough.
But it’s not all fun and games. Like I said, I’m the Dragonborn, and that means it’s my responsibility to prevent the end of the world, even if it means coming out of the shadows occasionally. No Dragonborn would be worth a pile of salt if he couldn’t stand toe-to-toe with an adversary even without the element of surprise. Ever hear an Argonian shout a blast of fire and ice from his throat? Pray to the Eight you’ll never have to.
Oh, don’t give me that Talos crap. Do I look like a religious lizard? Truth is, I’ll work for anyone – Kynareth, Mara, Azura, Mehrunes Dagon – whoever’s willing to reward my service with a shiny new toy (big hint: it’s not the first two). Service this good isn’t free. Oh, you got an elder dragon terrorizing your village? Hey now, that’s a nice amulet you got there. Priceless, you say? Now we’re talking.
Of course, I wasn’t always this good. Though I’m loathe to admit it, there was once a time when I had to skulk my way across Skyrim, begging and borrowing from every Hadgar and Helga I met. Those were rough times, but I wouldn’t be even half the thief I am today if I didn’t get caught with my hand in the strongbox on occasion.
I remember this one time I was asked to put down an Alik’r thug by a servant at the Bannered Mare in Whiterun. I don’t normally do favors like that for people, but I was still pretty green at the time and got off on the thrill of the hunt. That was until I stumbled into a den full of eight spit-shined scimitars in my face, and me with a rusty iron dagger. They weren’t really in the killing mood and I managed to talk my way out of a hairy situation, but that was a real wake-up call. I took my sneaking a lot more seriously after that, and now a Penitus Oculatus guard couldn’t find me in the middle of an Imperial Garrison.
That’s just hyperbole, of course; you’ll not catch me messing with the Imperials. Listen, the Empire sure has its faults, but it’s a very well-implemented infrastructure – an infrastructure that just so happens to be riddled with loopholes and backdoors. A regime change would just muck all that up, cause a crackdown on these unsavory-types I regularly do business with. You think the Stormcloaks are going to look the other way on the moon sugar tariff? Yeah, they’ll leave you to your business alright, just ask the Forsworn. Politics aren’t my thing, but I get the claws out when backed into an unfavorable position.
But I’m not all skull and bones. I still make time to play tag with the kids between Dark Brotherhood contracts. I don’t forget about the little people – the beggars that help you out when no one else will. Last but not least, there’s the Greybeards who… well, frankly, they give me the creeps, but they know some good tricks; tricks that’ll save your life when you’ve got your back against the wall with only a pocket of butterfly wings. Got to use everything you can, right?
Click for PART 3