The value of life in Tamriel is slightly skewed, according to the Imperial Legion; I learned this the hard way while playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Trekking through the world, I stumbled upon a brood of chickens. Due to my proclivity for collecting everything laying about the province of Skyrim, I slayed one of the mighty beasts and removed its raw meat for a stew concoction I had in mind.
Killing that chicken proved to be a grievous error.
The bounty for killing a chicken in Skyrim is 5 pieces of gold. This is a simple payment to make, unless you're like me and didn't realize the price was placed on your head. Pushing forward, past the trail from Riverwood to Whiterun, I came across a band of roving Imperial Legion soldiers. The group walked the dark streets between the two towns to ensure they provided safe passage. Little did they or I know that the death of one small delicious animal would ruin the lives of generations to come.
My second problem--the first being my chicken murder bounty--is that I always walk around with my weapon drawn. After I'd been pierced by the arrow of hidden bandits and nibbled on by raging wolves, I decided to keep my sword at the ready. This is a big no-no in Tamriel, the continent in which all Elder Scrolls games take place. When approached by bounty collectors without a weapon drawn they simply offer a choice: pay the fine, go to jail, or fight to the death.
With a weapon drawn, my choice was made abundantly clear.
Five Imperial Legion officers attacked me from all sides: two held back to snipe with their bows and three rushed to attack. Considering I had decided to side with the Imperials in the beginning of the game, I was taken aback. "Perhaps I forgot to pay my Legion union dues," I thought.
What is a Wood Elf to do? Fueled on hot wings, I burned through the rushing horde with my flames and sliced the archers down to size with my steel sword. This time I noticed the prompt noting my bounty had increased to 80 gold.
One chicken is equal to 5 gold coins. One Imperial Legion soldier is equal to 16 gold coins. That seems horrifying.
Eventually I realized it was my chicken murdering that did me in...when I went back to the farm to kill off the rest of the scattered future nuggets. "Oh, bounty is up five gold," I realized. "That's why the Imperial Legion tried to murder me."
Upon entering the town of Whiterun, I was immediately recognized. Thankfully, I always sheath my sword before passing the walls into civilization. "I know you," a solider told me. I could have sworn I offed all of my witnesses, but tales of my epic battle and love of tenders had traveled far and wide. I paid my bounty. It was the least I could do.
Now I realize the amount of damage I've done in the world of Skyrim. Wives and children have lost husbands and fathers. The Imperial Legion, though eager to rush into battle, have had their lines thinned. All of this chaos because my character, a Wood Elf named Dekkard, wanted some Shake 'n Bake.
Needless to say, Dekkard has gone vegan.
Game Stories is a new, ongoing feature where editors from Shacknews regale you with their adventures from the latest video game worlds. Skyrim Stories will continue, but anecdotes from other games are planned as well.