I’m still in Whiterun. I had barely left the inn yesterday before a thunderstorm of epic proportions unleashed its fury, so I decided to postpone my journey back to the college until it passed. Unfortunately, I got incredibly bored, so when I overheard the innkeeper talk about the Jarl having promised a reward for getting rid of some bandits just north of the city, I leapt into action. Finding the place where the bandits had holed up wasn’t hard, and taking out the sentries they had posted was easy as well.
However, it would appear that I have overestimated my strength. The bandits I encountered on the way south was, apparently, apprentices at their craft. These ones weren’t, which could explain why the Jarl had set a bounty of them. As soon as I crept past the palisades looking for them, they attacked me. Five of them lay in wait and jumped me. I barely managed to stave off the initial assault, but it was clear that I didn’t have a chance to do them any harm, and as soon as they organized themselves properly, they would crush me. That’s when Lydia arrived. She was already well on her way killing her second before any of us knew what was going on. Seeing that I apparently had an ally, two of the remaining three went for her, leaving only one for me to deal with. I now know that summoning lightning in a thunderstorm is easy, and striking a wet target is effective. Having dispatched my one opponent, I quickly helped Lydia take care of her remaining foes.
After the last of the bandits are cut down, Lydia rolls her shoulders and neck, then checks her blade for any nicks before rubbing off the blood on the cloak of one of the bandits. Sheathing her sword, she looks at her Thane, smiling slightly.
“Are you harmed, my thane?”
Turns out that Lydia is my housecarl, and that I still have a lot to learn about Nord honour. She’d been keeping an eye on the gates of Whiterun after I headed for the college, and when I left Whiterun this morning, she followed me. Rather cheekily done, but I must admit I am glad she did, and it was good to have company as we cleared out the bandit lair; that bandit leader mush have been an old soldier. He fought like a cornered wolf, and I doubt that I would have been able to take him down on my own.
Houecarls, it seems, are warriors that swear to protect their masters, with their own lives if necessary, and that in Skyrim it is a very honourable path to walk. I do get the feeling, when talking to Lydia, that she’s not convinced I am worth protecting. I’m guessing that she's thinking that I am Dragonborn weighs up for me leaving without her. I also get the impression that I better not try anything like that again.
And I owe her now.