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PC Gamer Blues

My heart pounds as I creep down the narrow, crooked stairs. It's quiet in here, too quiet. What was once just flickering shadows cast by myself and my companion from the light of the entrance, is now complete darkness. It envelops us so wholly I begin to question whether I am not already dead and I draw my sword, the shimmering of Chillrend now the only thing slightly permeating the suffocating black.

The feel of the hilt gripped in my trembling hand spurs me on. I am filled with a sense of confidence as I flex the fingers on my left hand and cast Magelight. The luminous orb of magical light floats upwards revealing a vast cavern as it ascends. It sticks to the ceiling, showing menacing stalactites threaten from above, making me feel like I am in the mouth of a savage creature, ready to lacerate me at any given moment. "I've never seen anything quite like that!" echoes from behind me, and I silently agree.

I look around for where we should be heading next, spying a gap in the rock on the other side of the cavern, and push forward, venturing down into the belly of this beast. In the distance I start to hear a strange sound, like a kitchen-maid removing the heads of chickens with a knife before they're prepared for eating. Another spell, Candlelight this time, leaves my palm, hovering overhead, providing illumination as I head to investigate the curious noise.

The source of the slicing finds me quicker than I anticipate. A long corridor stretches out before me with large swinging blades rocking to and fro like the pendulum on an aged grandfather clock. Renewing Candlelight, I pause, and hypnotise myself with the rhythmic swaying, preparing myself for my next feat. I focus inward and summon the Dovahkiin within, releasing a great Thu'um. "WULD...NAH...KEST" erupts from deep in my chest, hurtling my body forward to reach the other side unscathed.

A sense of swaggering pride wells up within me for a moment before I hear an agonised cry somewhere in my wake. Lydia! How could I forget to tell her to wait? I swing round to see her on bended knee, trying to stand but being caught repeatedly by the sinister blades. I search around desperately for a switch to halt the trap. I see one embedded in the mossy rock wall facing me and dash to pull it down. The noise stops and I rush to her side as she regains her breath and fortitude. I note to myself that I must remember to warn her, the poor girl will follow me wherever I lead, the simple, loyal fool that she is.

When she is ready, we continue on our way, only to be interrupted by a pair of unnervingly luminous eyes. The decrepit corpse lurches towards me and I quickly brandish Chillrend and decisively slash the draugr's throat, and forcefully kick his lifeless shell to the ground. As his limp body thuds against the rock, I hear a grating, squeaking sound, like rusted armour rubbing against itself. A chuckle bubbles unvoiced inside my throat. A skeever approaches fast, and I lazily go to swing my sword to be his end.

My arm however appears to have a different idea; remaining stationary and limp beside me. I attempt to swing again, and again as the skeever lunges at my throat, aiming instinctively for the gap between my helmet and chest piece. Why am I immobilised? Perhaps a spell will work? Nothing.

I sink my head into my hands as I realise that I forgot to charge my pad. How could I have forgotten that? I jump up and begin to ransack the room to try and find my wired controller. Where did I put it? The noise of my desperate searching wakes my son and I glance over to the screen to watch myself slowly dying, helpless and pathetic. Why hasn't Lydia jumped in and saved me? What's going on?

I become more frantic in my search and throw cushions across the room to see if I can discover the kit underneath them. "Where have you put the controller, Jacob?" I ask my oblivious infant son. He looks at me happily and continues to chew on my wireless pad. I finally find it, stuffed down the back of the sofa, and run flustered to plug in it to the USB port on my PC. A disgruntled altercation with my son as I try to remove the pad from his grasp, to stop him swallowing the rubber, means that by the time I finally get everything sorted, I have a slither of health left. Pressing the right trigger furiously I hack at the skeever and kill him almost instantly.

A sense of relief floods over me and I spin around and catch a glimpse of Lydia running into a wall before the screen goes black. What? Wait? No. Please no. Jacob looks up innocently as his removes his finger from the once aglow button that is the power switch. I sink to the floor in defeat, wondering when the last time I saved was. As I decide to call it a day on the Skyrim front, I can't help but think to myself, "This never would have happened if I'd just used a mouse."

Emseypenguin | 19th April, 2013

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