After leaving the Jarl’s palace I descended the steps to a large plaza dominated by a dead tree. Nearby, a half-crazed man stood on a bench while shouting praises to Talos. The locals seemed to be ignoring him so I did as well and climbed the stairs towards the Companions longhouse, which I soon learned was named Jorrvaskr.
Inside there were a number of fighters, some of whom remembered me from our brief encounter outside of town. They directed me downstairs to talk to their “leader”, Kodlak.
I found Kodlak in conversation with Vilkas, a senior member of the group. Vilkas seemed to be reluctant to even consider me for their group but Kodlak was strangely eager to welcome me. He told Vilkas to take me out and test my skill.
Vilkas did not seem happy with this task but agreed and led me to a courtyard behind Jorrvaskr. There, we sparred briefly before grudgingly admitting that I did know how to handle a sword. He then gave me his own sword and asked me to take it to Eorland Greymane, their blacksmith for him.
I found Eorland at a nearby forge. Eorland berated me slightly and told me that I wasn’t an errand boy for the Companions, then immediately asked me to take a shield to Aela the Huntress for him, the same woman I had met earlier. I agreed to do this as well.
Aela turned out to be in the basement of Jorrvaskr. When I arrived, she was in a mild argument with one of the other Companions over my abrupt invitation into the group. Some seemed taken aback by my being welcomed by Kodlak but Alea defended me, saying she trusted Kodlak. She took the shield from me and told me to speak with Kodlak again.
Kodlak had already spoken with Vilkas and said that I was now a provisional member of the Companions. Once I had proven myself further I would be accepted as a full member. I was shown to a bed in one of the dormatories that I could use and told to talk to the other Companions for work. I was simply grateful at the moment for a bed to sleep.
I did sleep, for a while, and awoke to find that Lydia had apparently spent the time sleeping in a nearby chair. I felt bad about this but she insisted that it was no problem and part of her duty to me. We argued a bit but I was unable to convince her that she did not have to serve me constantly. Apparently being a housecarl is a serious commitment to the Nords.
The two of us went upstairs and ran into Farkas, the twin brother of Vilkas. Farkas said he had a task for me and led me to meet Skjor, another Companion. Skjor told us that the Companions had heard that a piece of Wuuthrad, the legendary weapon of their founder Ysgramor, had been found. My final trial to join the Companions would be to accompany Farkas to recover that fragment.
I agreed and, after agreeing to meet back up with Lydia at Dragonreach when I returned, we set off.
The two of us made our way to Dustmans Cairn and entered. Again we found ourselves fighting the undead dragur and I wondered briefly why so many of them were rising from their tombs and wondered if it was related to the return of the dragons. In my thoughts I did not pay attention to where I was walking and stepped into an alcove. A metal grating dropped behind me and I suddenly found myself trapped.
Farkas sighed and said he would try to find the release for the grating but was interrupted by the arrival of a group of bandits calling themselves “The Silver Hand”. Farkas was angry at their arrival but undaunted as several of them approached him, weapons ready.
Suddenly, before my eyes, Farkas changed. Muscles bulged, his face distorted into a snout and fur rapidly spread across his body. He became a werewolf. As I watched, he waded into the attackers, tearing them to shreds. A few survivors ran off, with Farkas in hot pursuit.
For a long time there was silence and I started to wonder how long I would be trapped there when Farkas returned, back in human form. He released me from the alcove and apologized for what I had seen. I dismissed it as irrelevant and we continued deeper into the Cairn.
We found several more battles against both the dragur and the surviving Silver Hand but we eventually found a chamber holding a fragment of the axe Wuuthrad. Farkas carefully wrapped the shard of metal and we exited the Cairn.
We quickly traveled back to Whiterun and to Jorrvaskr where Vilkas was waiting for us. He led us to the courtyard behind Jorrvaskr where Kodlak and the other Companions were waiting on us. Farkas showed them the fragment we had recovered then told the assembled Companions of my bravery and skill in combat. I tried to remain modest but could not resist a smile at hearing such praise.
Kodlak asked Farkas if he would stand beside me in battle and he instantly said he would. Kodlak then turned to me and welcomed me to the Companions. The others cheered and I accepted their congratulations as gracefully as I could.
I now had a home in Skyrim. I was no longer alone.