Journal of Anya Fire-Heart – Sundas, 17th of Last Seed, 4th Era, Year 201
Many might have took right off trying to get as much distance between the bandit hideout and themselves but as strange as it may sound I didn’t get past being at the waterfall. I also didn’t stay clothed very long either. I hit the edge of the pond, shed my clothes and took a long shower under the chilly waterfall. I felt more alive than I had felt in a long time. The cold water gave me goosebumps and I began to shiver as I must have spent well over a half hour with the water pouring over me. Finally I left its embrace and found my backpack. I put the hide armor back on which didn’t warm me up much so I built a small fire with deadwood and laid out my bedroll right next to it. I lay down with one hand on the hilt of my sword. I fell asleep almost before I closed my eyes.
The next morning I woke up and headed north. I didn’t really know where I was but I knew Skyrim was north of me. I had thought many times about going home but home was not there anymore. By now my parents would have been found by people from the surrounding villages and given a proper burial, probably near the shrine to Talos. There was no one left alive except me and some children. The children were either in an orphanage in Cyrodiil, adopted out to non-Talos worshipers or dead. There was no way I could do them any good and in any case the village was burned to the ground. There was nothing left behind so there was only the road forward and for me it was Skyrim.
I had heard of the Stormcloak rebellion. It had been technically been going on for twenty years ever since the Markarth Incident. Ulfric Stormcloak had fought in the Great War and after it was over rescued the City of Markarth from the Forsworn. He had been promised that the city would then allow Talos worship. The Thalmor however had other ideas. The resulting betrayal of Ulfric Stormcloak by the Jarl of Markarth started the rebellion. It had been going on for twenty years now. I wondered if it was time for me to join it.
The next two days I was free and wandering. I camped by running water, ate food that I had taken from the cave and kept my weapon close. That said, it was enjoyable and I ran into few people or wildlife. I was nearing Darkwater Crossing and as the sun set so I found a outcropping to sleep under, rolled out my bedroll and fell asleep.
I woke up with a imperial sword in my face. I looked cautiously around and could see that there was no escape with five imperial soldiers. I surrendered by sword and pack as they charged me with crossing the border illegally. I asked when such a law had been passed and they told me in the last two weeks. When I told them I had no way of knowing because I had been the prisoner of some bandits, they said that was no excuse. They removed my armor and gave me some rough spun tunic and pants along with some wraps for my feet. They then tied my hands in front of me and I was a captive once more only of the Empire.
The Imperials were waiting for something and I didn’t have long to wait as I saw a band of Stormcloaks ride right into their midst. The ambush was perfect and was over almost as soon as it began. A large man in furs and several soldiers in blue had been surrounded and surrendered without a fight. I looked around and noticed that I had been left alone.
I got up, picked a direction the opposite of the scene before me and ran. My motivation was simple. I was not going to be a prisoner again for any reason and I certainly wasn’t going to put up with the nonsense that had become Imperial justice under the White-Gold Concordant. It wasn’t long however that there were shouts behind me. I kept running but with my hands tied it was difficult. I had no idea where I was going so when the ground gave before me to a drop off the edge of a small cliff, I could not stop in time and fell. My head struck a rock and then darkness.