Part OnePart Two
There seriously was a long period in Skyrim
where I'd killed several dragons, but had to be careful wandering the countryside because a stray bear or saber-toothed cat could take me out with a single hit.
"Hey, Aela, I could use some coin. We got any jobs that need doing?"
"There's a cave halfway across the continent that's been infested by a particularly vicious bear. You could go take care of it."
"Aela, does it ever strike you as odd that the legendary Companions of Ysgramor have apparently become Skyrim's animal control and pest extermination service?"
"You were the one who said you wanted to make some coin, shield-sister. And don't scoff, those cave bears are tough."
She's right. That cave bear nearly guts me with its first blow, and I only survive to take it down by deploying every bit of my healing magic and potions. The three dragons I've killed were much, much easier than that bear. When I'm done, I skin it so I can take its hide back to Aela.
When I get back to Jorrvaskr, Aela, Vilkas, and Farkas are sitting around the big table in the main hall, no doubt plotting the next absurd errand that they're going to send the newest Companion on. I dump the stinking hide at Aela's feet, and tell her, "There's a cave out in the ass-end of nowhere that's now missing one bear."
There's a certain grudging respect in Aela's eyes. Maybe this wasn't just their way of hazing the new girl. "Nice work, shield-sister. We might make a hunter of you yet. Sit down. Have a drink."
I sit, nod cordially to Vilkas, and smile at Farkas. "Hey, Farkas, how's it going?"
Before Farkas can answer, Vilkas interrupts. "Brother, why does the new Companion speak to you and not to me?"
"Because I know her name is not 'the new Companion'?" Farkas suggests. "And because I'm actually nice to her?"
He's right, but I don't like either of them talking about me like I'm not there. "Actually, Farkas, it's because your eye makeup is cuter."
Farkas looks confused. "My eye makeup?"
Vilkas frowns. "This is not eye makeup. This is traditional Nord war paint. And it is very manly."
Whatever. Back where I'm from in High Rock, guys glam up all the time and it's no big thing. "No, Aela's got on war paint." Aela has three broad slashes painted across her face, like she took a swipe from a beast with giant claws. "This stuff you boys have got?" I wave my index fingers around the orbits of my eyes to illustrate. "That's eye makeup."
Aela nods. "Sing it, shield-sister."
Vilkas glowers. Farkas still looks confused.
"It's cute, though."
Aela shrugs. "If that's what floats your boat, shield-sister."
Vilkas stands up abruptly. "Come along, brother. Let us leave these women to their chatter about makeup and go kill something, as befits manly Nord warriors." He stalks from the hall, Farkas trailing behind him.