– 18th of Evening Star, 4E 202 –

Back in a familiar place today. After traveling from Ivarstead back to Whiterun I went to see the jarl to let him know that Alduin was dead. He will handle relaying the information to the other jarls in Skyrim.

His court steward stopped me on the way out and let me know that there was a house available in Whiterun. It could be mine for five thousand septims. Although I’m sure the price was fair, and although I had double the amount required, I just couldn’t agree to the deal. Too much has happened over the past few months for me to consider buying a home .. anywhere. I’ve been without a home for more than a year, living day to day at inns in this town or that. I wouldn’t know what to do with a home in a city like Whiterun.

No. I needed some time .. and some space … to get my head clear. I felt like a man who has been holding his breath underwater for too long. I needed to catch my breath.

So after a night at The Bannered Mare I left on my horse and headed towards Riverwood. I don’t even know why I chose that direction. It wasn’t so much an active decision as it was an impulse. But I reached Riverwood and kept riding. I had no set destination, and after nothing but months of critical tasks to complete, I felt strangely lost and free at the same time.

As I rode upstream I took everything in around me. Memories flooded back .. my father’s death and the sacking of Helgen .. struggling to survive in the wild for the days after .. hitting an elk with an arrow from a great distance .. spending a night stranded on a cliff face, certain I was going to die .. confronting an ice wraith to try and join the stormcloaks, and nearly getting myself killed .. so many things have happened over the past year. My father would never believe me. My mother would scold me for being so careless so often.

And this daydreaming was how it came to pass that I found myself riding past my old camp on the island. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I felt a sense of home. Not since my days in Morrowind did I have that feeling. Helgen certainly never felt entirely like home. But my island, now that was home.

I forded the lake water atop my horse and had a look around. The boat was still in good shape, as was the tent. And the view of the lake and Skyrim’s peaks was as comforting as it always was. Even the light rain that fell gave me a sense of security and protection. I was home.