So a while ago I was playing Skyrim. Shocking, I know.
One of the most fun elements for me as a gamer in the Elder Scrolls universe is how it really lends itself to letting you figure out your own story. I wanted to share one of those story moments that involved a strong female character and how I ended up marrying her.
So, I’m playing as a Khajit thief named Rakasta (named him after an old 2nd ed DnD race from the Mystara setting). Rakasta was captured coming across the border into Skyrim on a quest to further his personal profit at the expense of other, more fortunate people.
We all more or less know how the story goes at that point, but if for some reason you don’t, please go play the game or watch the opening cinematics on youtube, because I won’t spoil it here. It’s just too much fun.
Anyway, Rakasta gets dragged along after the attack on Helgen, escaping captivity of one sort but basically being hauled into events more or less against his will. He figures he can’t just scarper, because these people DID save him and he’s a thief, not an asshole.
This continues along until he finds himself facing a woman who’s insisting he’s supposed to do some kind of epic quest, and he figures he’s done. He’s not gonna go hunting down dragons, he’s just a thief and wants to be left alone to enrich himself and buy a little skooma, that’s really all he wants out of life. So he leaves. He’s warned the city, helped kill a dragon and barely survived the incident, and even recovered an old horn and learned his first dragon shout in full, he’s DONE.
Rakasta books it east, to a place where thieves can thrive. He figures he’ll join the Riften thieves guild, get a little protection, do some work, and just keep quiet about life.
Rakasta is -shy-, understand. He knows Khajit aren’t particularly welcome outside of Elsewyr, so he wears a hood over his head when traveling to cover his profile. Anything to survive.
And yet he finds himself unable to let people be bullied. He finds the thieves’ guild threatening someone, and spares some of the gold he’s gotten to get the guild to back off the poor guy. This catches the attention of a certain lovely, massive-muscled lady named Mjoll the Lioness.
Ahh, Mjoll. Honorable and brave woman, forthright. An easy mark, Rakasta figures. She likes him because he did a nice thing, so he figures he’ll get in her good graces so that if someone comes after him, he’ll be protected. Not a bad thought, all things considered.
But…he couldn’t disappoint her. He did a few things guaranteed to make her like him, and in a roundabout way found himself being appointed Thane of Riften by the Jarl. That wasn’t expected, not at all, very high profile. But it was too late to back out. And Mjoll was impressed. She called him a ‘good person’ and other things! He found himself loathe to take advantage of the one person who seemed to be treating him as a genuine friend.
Then he found a little amulet, the Amulet of Mara. He’d heard something about these things from that Riften priest, something about marriage. Well, whatever, it was a good little trinket with a nice magical effect, so he wore it. Gotta have any edge you can in a fight, right? Especially because he couldn’t bring himself to steal from people in Riften anymore since it’d so upset Mjoll to find out.
And when he was adventuring, he found a sword. Mjoll had mentioned this sword, a glass blade called Grimsever. Well, damn. She’d been such a nice friend to him…he risked it and found it and brought it back, thinking that’d balance things out.
Weeeell…she was extremely grateful. And she noticed the amulet of Mara. And she smiled that big, honest, unrelenting smile of hers that broadcast “friend” like an irrefutable truth, and asked him if he was asking her to marry him.
Oh god. She could break him over her leg. She could run him through. She’d be offended, she’d be…hurt. And then he realized he wasn’t actually scared, those were just the instinctive rationalizations of a thief. He…he liked her. He liked her honesty and courage and the way she was his friend when other Khajit couldn’t even come inside the city gates. The way she stood up for downtrodden people like him. The way she gave him every benefit of the doubt, and didn’t hold her friendship with him to some kind of string.
So he said, “Er, ah…that is to say…Rakasta would be delighted.”
And when it came time for the wedding?
He went in with his head bared. Because he trusted Mjoll.