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wshaffer
Conversations We Didn't Have in Skyrim, Part 16 
9th-Apr-2012 10:15 pm
epic, long
Previous installments under skyrim-conversations.

Marriage proposals in Skyrim aren't very exciting. Unless they happen in the middle of a fight scene.
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It's a Loredas night like every other Loredas night. Well, except that I'm wearing the Amulet of Mara.

Okay, let's back up a moment, because this is one of those Nord things that Lydia keeps telling me I don't understand. Romance in Skyrim is carried on in a way that pretty much comports with the general Nord approach to interpersonal communications, which means that any moments of genuine emotional vulnerability or even actual talking are delayed as long as possible.

Courtship starts, as it does in most places, with the cultivation of mutual affection between two people. Back in High Rock, this might have involved long walks in the moonlight. Here in Skyrim, it usually involves killing someone or something.

Once affectionate feelings are established, however, the custom in Skyrim is to do or say absolutely nothing that might reveal these feelings, until one of the pair in question puts on an Amulet of Mara. Which is basically a giant sign saying, "Come and get it!"

Honestly, since I put on this amulet, I've been propositioned by folks who were barely cordial to me before. Apparently all this wandering around chatting with folks and doing them small favors passes for intense flirting 'round these parts. No wonder Lydia is constantly embarrassed by me.

However, there is one fellow who has remained stubbornly oblivious to the amulet's presence. If you've guessed a certain big hairy Nord whose name begins with "F" and ends with "arkas", you'd be right. It's possible that he has noticed, and he's just not interested, but I don't think so. I think it's just that when a guy is busy guarding your back, he doesn't have a lot of time to stare at your chest.

Oh, that's almost profound.

Farkas is awfully busy guarding my back right now, because we're down in some mage's tomb, looking for some allegedly freakishly powerful magic amulet. You know what the problem with dead mages with freakishly powerful magic amulets is? They have a bad habit of turning out to be undead mages. With undead friends.

Sure enough, no sooner do we get down to the burial chamber when off pops the lid of the big stone sarcophagus, and out climbs one undead mage, eyes ablaze with blue fire, none too pleased about being disturbed. You'd think that after several hundred years of living death, they might enjoy a little company. But no.

Unsleeping Beauty decides to quite literally voice his displeasure by letting off an Unrelenting Force Shout. Farkas and I go flying. Farkas hits the wall. I hit Farkas and bounce off. He grunts. I think I cracked a couple of ribs there. His, not mine.

I climb to my feet, and hold out a hand to help Farkas up. He blinks up at me dazedly. "Is that an amulet of Mara?" he asks.

"Uh, yeah." There's a strange zap sound, and I look around and see that Unsleeping Beauty has now teleported to the other end of the chamber. And there are now three of him. Great.

"You looking to get married?" Farkas asks.

"Right now, I'm looking to survive long enough to entertain the idea. Come on." I haul Farkas to his feet and drag him behind the cover of the now empty stone sarcophagus. Arrows whistle over our heads and clatter against the wall behind us.

I peer over the top of the sarcophagus. Three mages, but I'm pretty sure only one of them is real. The other two are probably just decoys, designed to get us to waste a lot of arrows and magicka getting rid of them.

The problem is, I have no idea how to tell the fakes from the real one. I lob a fireball at the guy in the middle, and duck back down as they unleash another volley of arrows.

"Right," I say to Farkas. "We need a plan. Have you still got that staff of lightning that I gave you to carry a few weeks back?"

He's staring at me like I've got a platoon of frostbite spiders sneaking up behind me. "Um. That really is an amulet of Mara?"

I wonder if Farkas is suffering from a concussion. He might have hit the wall head first. I peer at his eyes, checking if his pupils are the same size. He has nice eyes, I realize. They tend to be overshadowed by the war paint, but they're quite an attractive silvery-grey color.

Farkas leans in closer and manages to clunk his helmet against mine. "Er, sorry." He pulls back, blushing. "So, um-"

There's a booming Shout from the other end of the chamber, and a large crack appears in the sarcophagus. Unsleeping Beauty honestly sounds a little peeved that we're ignoring him. An arrow sails by uncomfortably close to my head.

I lob another fireball at one of the mages, who blinks out of existence and reappears on the other side of the chamber. Dammit. A decoy. "Farkas, do you think that maybe you can forget about the amulet of Mara for a moment and focus on the task at hand?"

He thinks that one over carefully. "No."

There's something to be said for self awareness, I suppose. "Okay, fine." I take a deep breath and stand up. "Sorry, Unsleeping Beauty, I have a personal matter to attend to." And then I Shout to slow time as the three mages take aim at me. Their movements slow to a crawl.

I drop down behind cover again. "Right, we've got about ten seconds before time starts running normally for those guys again. So: yes, it really is the amulet of Mara. Wanna get married?"

He grins shyly. "Yes."

"What a coincidence! So do I! To you, no less. There that wasn't so hard, was it?"

Farkas shrugs. "I thought I was supposed to give a big speech or something."

"Nah, if I wanted a talker, I'd have said yes when Vilkas asked me this morning."

His eyes narrow. "What?"

"FUS RO DAH!" Time's running normally for Unsleeping Beauty again, and he puts an end to that exploration of sibling rivalry with another Shout. Big chunks of stone fall off the sarcophagus.

Farkas tosses me the staff of lightning. "Ah, never mind my brother. C'mon, let's get rid of this mage so we can start planning the wedding."

I wonder how Aela and Lydia will feel about being bridesmaids.
Comments 
10th-Apr-2012 11:03 am (UTC)
I think it's just that when a guy is busy guarding your back, he doesn't have a lot of time to stare at your chest.

Oh, that's almost profound.


Um. It is, you know.
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