In the morning I go see the Jarl to report on my mission. He is somewhat impressed in my ability to actually get things done, and hints that he has a thane position open, though one would have to gain a reputable report with the people of the area before one could become one. I figure that means helping people out with their troubles and doing jobs for them.
Good, because that's what I was going to do anyways.
I look around town for people in distress, but most people are living pretty simple lives right now. However, Runil, the local priest of Arkay (significant, because Falkreath has the biggest cemetery in Skyrim) has something he wants recovered. He was once a battlemage, and the things he did in war turned him to the life of a priest. However, he doesn't just want to forget the things he did, and so he wants me to find a journal of his that he lost in some cave a long time ago. It's actually pretty far away, so I set off right then.
On the road I find a deer, and being the great daedric-recognized hunter that I am, go hunting it. It proved a lot harder than even that White Stag, and I didn't kill it until it ran into the ruins of Helgen.
Looks to be completely abandoned after the dragon attack. Can't really blame them.
The road to Runil's journal takes me straight through Riverwood, the place that Havdar wanted me to meet him after our initial escape from Helgen. Right when I enter town, I meet a man, Sven. He complains about some bard named Faendal, who is making moves on the lady he's sweet on, Camilla. He gives me a fake, presumably nasty, letter to Camilla from Faendal, in the hopes that this would drive Camilla away. Having been the target of a bard or two, I agree to help this Sven fellow, and give Camilla the letter. Sven is pleased, and says he owes me big (in addition to the gold he paid me).
In the course of giving Camilla Sven's letter, I overheard her fighting with her brother Lucan, who runs the shop in Riverwood. Apparently bandits broke in and stole a family heirloom - a golden statue in the shape of a dragon's claw. Knowing I can take care of a few bandits (and maybe get some gold as a reward) I agree to go get it. They tell me the bandits are at a place called Bleak Falls Barrow.
Before I head up there, I go find Havdar's uncle, Alvir. He knows about the attack on Helgen (Havdar's still there), and tells me to go to Whiterun to ask the Jarl for support for Riverwood, as they have no defenses. He also is the blacksmith, and lets me take whatever I might need for my journey ahead.
I figure Whiterun can wait (it's been almost a week already, and no dragon attacks yet), but bandits with valuables can't, so I go to Bleak Falls Barrows. It's a pretty imposing place, but the bandits leave it only lightly defended on the outside.
From the looks of it inside, I can see why. Looks like there was some sort of battle even in the entry hall, with a few dead bandits about. There are a couple left, talking about how a Dark Elf ran in farther. I take care of them, and there are a few more further in.
I follow one into a room with a lever and a blocked doorway. Obviously the lever opens the door.
Seems to be some sort of trapped puzzle in this room.
I guess the ancient Nords figured grave robbers were pretty dumb.
Just past this room was a room filled with spider webs. Obviously a home to some of those giant spiders like I met on the way out of Helgen. Those were easy enough.
Wasn't quite expecting one that big. But I smashed it anyways.
That dark elf was already caught by the spider. He said he had a way to get great treasure, if I would only cut him down. I asked if he had the golden dragon claw, and he did, but wouldn't give it to me until he was free (not that he could before hand). But, as I expected, he ran off once he had use of his legs again.
He didn't get very far, though. The next chambers housed some draugr, and in fighting them he activated some sort of trap and died. I take the claw from his corpse, as well as a journal: it seems the claw is a key to get at the real treasure in the crypt! No wonder they only stole the claw when they had a whole store to ransack.
I get to where the key is needed: there's this wall, with three rings around a golden plate, which looks just the right size to place the claw. The rings are divided into sections, and each section has a symbol with an animal on it, and touching a ring rotates it to the next section. It's pretty easy to figure out the symbols on the rings correspond to the symbols on the palm of the dragon, and I get in without difficulty.
The claw really was a key to treasure - there's a large chest in the next room, which has decent treasure indeed, but I get the feeling that wasn't it. More likely it has something to do with another chanting word-wall - this time I learn the word FUS, or "force." Again, no idea what the significance of that word is, but it was obviously important, as right when I learned it a really powerful draugr woke from his not-yet-eternal slumber. He was no hagraven, but still very tough. I do fell him though, and in addition to his armor he has something called a Dragonstone. What with a dragon suddenly flying around, I figure this is important, and maybe can get it to someone that knows what to do with it.
With the claw, and some extra treasure, I head back to Riverwood. Lucan is very grateful, and more generous than I had expected.
I next head to Darkshade Cove, where Runil's journal is supposed to be. There's dead bandits and others here too. I soon find out why - TROLLS! Fortunately trolls really hate fire, and I make it out with Runil's journal without great trouble.
On the way back to return the journal I stop at Whiterun to process all the ores I have gotten. I don't talk to the Jarl yet - as I said, it can wait.
When I return to Falkreath Runil is very happy to have his journal back. However, there is no rest for me - that old goat Dengeir is still bugging me about how he thinks the blacksmith Lod is a spy. Just to get him off my back, I steal a letter that Lod was sending out. As I expected, nothing unsavory is implicated: he was simply asking for more supplies for his business. Dengeir was satisfied, and stopped bothering me (as well as paying me).
This, apparently, was all I needed to become a thane of Falkreath. I don't know what that means, other than I got an enchanted axe, and I guess maybe the guards will treat me favorably or something. But now I need to head to Whiterun and warn them about the dragons.