What to do in Skyrim: part 4

Third visit into this place. I swear, I might as well move in at this rate. Set up my own Skooma maker stuff.... good stuff. ^-^

Third visit into this place. I swear, I might as well move in at this rate. Set up my own Skooma maker stuff…. good stuff. ^-^

We last saw our Khajiit friend, Amaki’dar, standing on the cliff edge watching the sun rise as she gazes over the map. If you were a courier and you wanted a good time, where in The Rift would you go? You’d go to the nearest Skooma dealer perhaps, unless you got mugged first! On this find Loredas day, my map is telling me that the courier I’m looking for is in the Redwater Den. I have visited this place before, and it had body guards, a skooma dealer, and customers coughing and retching from skooma overdose, and in the back, behind locked doors, was a series of caves where the redwater skooma was created… by vampires. Having been there before and killing them all, I do not expect to find anything or anyone. But then again, if the courier was attacked, kidnapped… then maybe bandits have moved in. I decide to go there and sneak around.

A dagger of dwemer make that has magicka, stamina, and health enchantments all rolled into one. Three stats. The most I can enchant is two.

A dagger of dwemer make that has magicka, stamina, and health enchantments all rolled into one. Three stats. The most I can enchant is two.

When I arrive I find that the vampires are no longer hiding only in the back. A thrall is standing guard at the entrance, and the skooma dealer is no longer behind the counter with protective bars around her, and a vampire is sitting where a customer would have been. It looks like the ruse is up. Vampires used their thralls to bring back skooma addicts and would feed off of them, but now no customers remain at all. After killing two vampires and two thralls, I find myself in the brewery where they process the skooma, and I find a cage where the courier is… dead. I search his pockets, and I make an extraordinary find: a strange looking dagger named Keening. It pulses with magical energy, clearly enchanted to absorb 10 magicka, stamina, and health all at one. I have never seen it’s equal. As I look it over, I can’t help but wonder to myself, Arniel, what are you up to?

Purdy! MINE!

Purdy! MINE!

Back in Riften, I check in The Bee and Barb to speak with the wary outlaw. The outlaw wants me to kill a visiting noble up in the Dragonsreach in Whiterun. I go to the thieves guild and get new assignments. This time I chose to do a bedlam job, which is to steal as much as you can in goods from one city. 500 gold worth of items from Windhelm, and I think I know just the place too. The other job is a burglary from Vex. It’s another jeweled candlestick. Ironically, I turned one in to her, and the next job is the same object. According to her, we had it in our possession, and it somehow wound up back in another person’s house, so I’d be stealing it again. Gee, you had it for two seconds and it’s what… now in a house in Solitude? Damn. That was fast… maybe not fast-travel… but fast! Vex, you’re taking a pay cut!

Well, since it looks like I’ll be heading to Solitude soon, I’d better get something for the kids. Actually, I might send them to live in Lakeview manor, so they can’t witness any robberies I do. Don’t want to be such a bad influence, you know? I better get some taffy treats…

As for Fort Dawnguard, I do get to keep the axe I retrieved, but when I go to upgrade it I find that my dragonbone daggers are actually better. I’m more of an archer than an axe swinger anyway, so this axe will look great on a weapon rack. Next, Gunmar has a mission for me. I have to go to Winterhold (again it’s on my way, sort of) and seek out a man named Kraldar, who can point me to the lair of a master vampire, so I can find it and slay it.

Largashbur

Pardon me, do you have any Gray Poupon?

Pardon me, do you have any Gray Poupon?

Loredas, 5:37 PM – I have a few hours till sunset, so I decide to make the most of it and go towards Falkreath. Shiekwind Bastion is my next destination, as it has a book I need to retrieve for the college. Along the way I go farther south and off the road, and I find a giant attacking an orc stronghold. I help to slay it, and an orc warrior tells me to leave and goes back into the stronghold. Yeah… you’re welcome! But wait, another orc, up on the battlements wearing a robe. I assume she’s a healer or someone of great importance to the stronghold. She explains that their leader has forbidden any orcs from leaving the stronghold, that their god Malacath is angry with them, and sends giants to punish them for their timidity. This orc wants to perform a ritual to please Malacath however, but she cannot leave the stronghold. So she asks me to bring her some troll fat and a daedra heart. I ask here where could I find a daedra heart, and her response was, “From a daedra of course!”

I roll my eyes. Yeah, right. I’ll just mosey on along, go to Fort X or Cave Y and kill fifty daedra to get Z hearts for ya. Piece of cake, yeah. I’ll get back to ya! *runs off*

Shriekwind Overlook. You come to this exit, then look down and try to spit on someone... or use your ethereal shout to jump down without a scratch!

Shriekwind Overlook. You come to this exit, then look down and try to spit on someone… or use your ethereal shout to jump down without a scratch!

Sundas 5:20 PM – I went through Shriekwind Bastion and found that book for Urag gro-Shub, the orc librarian up in the college. Now I’m all set to return to Winterhold to being the book back, deliver the dagger to Arniel, and question a local civilian about a master vampire’s whereabouts. At the moment, though I’m in Whiterun. This visiting noble I’m supposed to kill is a bit snobby. He’s sitting at one of the long tables in the main hall of Dragonsreach, in plain view of the jarl and all. I hide behind a pillar, settle into a crouch, and start slipping him poisons into his pocket, one by one. The third one fails, but the result is unexpected. He should have jumped up and attacked me, and I should have gotten a small bounty for pickpocketing. Instead he remains sitting and says, “You’ll live for now!” and I get no bounty. Odd. Maybe the jarl gave the wary outlaw a pardon if he’d arrange this contract to get this noble out of the way. Politics. I hate it.

Since the reverse-pickpocket method backfired on me, I step farther back and cast fury at the noble. Works like a charm! he jumps up, pulls a knife out, dashes at me… wait, WHAT!? I stand up and slash at him with my dagger that I have equipped in my left hand and kill him that way. Then the quest is complete and I don’t have any bounties at all. Huh. Okay then!

Amaki’dar to the Rescue!

The view of the lake from the Guardian Stones is beautiful.

The view of the lake from the Guardian Stones is beautiful.

Back in Jorrvaskr, Aela gives me 300 gold once again for killing an invading predator, the troll up in that lair at the edge of the Rift, and I decide to talk to one of the twins for something different. I’m a tad tired of beast slaying for the moment, and Aela’s been standing in that same spot for days waiting for me to come back. Poor girl must be tired. Anyway, one of the brothers tells me that someone got kidnapped and I have to go save him. The place that the victim is being held hostage, guess where? Redwater Den.

My eyes bulge and I do a double take. Wait. WHAT!? I just came from there yesterday and the day before that methinks! I’ve visited that place two times already, and now I have to go back again!? ARGH! And that’s not the worst of it. I have to make sure he gets back to Solitude. Good God, what a long walk that’s gonna be!

M'aiq on the bridge, not far from Redwater Den. Got skooma?

M’aiq on the bridge, not far from Redwater Den. Got skooma?

Since I do have a burglary job to do in Solitude, I decide to go save the civilian, escort him to Solitude, then commit the crime there. Along the way to the rift, I encounter a skooma dealer, whom I pickpocket and then kill, and not long after that I meet M’aiq along a bridge. It’s been a while since I last saw him, and I was just thinking about him too. Well, speak of the devil… This time he mentions that he once climbed up to High Hrothgar, and that there were so many steps that he lost count, then he chats about fast traveling versus carriages and that they are all the same to him, and then about how he once got into trouble in Riften and ran away to Windhelm since nobody there cared. Ah… got busted for skooma, M’aiq? HAH!

This is the hunter who got bitten by a vampire. Turn around, follow the road, you'll come upon Riften, Either the shrine to Talos or the temple of Mara can cure ya. Good luck!

This is the hunter who got bitten by a vampire. Turn around, follow the road, you’ll come upon Riften, Either the shrine to Talos or the temple of Mara can cure ya. Good luck!

A hunter comes up to me asking if I have a cure disease potion, which I do not have, and he leaves to go find a priest. He got attacked by vampires and wants to be cured before he turns into one, but I get him to show me where he encountered them. Truthfully my map doesn’t update because I already discovered it, but the game won’t tell me where the vampires are. Then I think to myself, It doesn’t matter. Vampires are everywhere! *Cue twilight zone theme.*

I've had just about enough of this place, have you? If I ever have to come back, it will be way too soon!

I’ve had just about enough of this place, have you? If I ever have to come back, it will be way too soon!

Sure enough, the vampires are back in Redwater Den, along with their thralls. I kill a few, ponder whether or not it’d be worth it to clear the whole place out just to be safe, but ignore them all and go right back to the prison cell where I found the courier last time. Sure enough, the kidnapped guy is in there. It’s Ahtar, the executioner from Solitude. He even still had his deadly executioner’s axe with him! I unlock the cell and he says, “Thank the divines! Let’s move!” and then I lead the way out of the den.

As we pass a farming settlement, two Vigilants of Stendar are attackign a vampire. At first Ahtar stays back while the vampire runs and cowers. Then when I score a few hits with my arrows, the vampire starts attacking, and Ahtar draws his two-handed axe and joins in the fray. The Vigilants thank us once the vampire is dead, and I loot some dust and a ring from the undead-nowdead-bloodsucker.

So he helps take down one vampire but never used his beheading skills to keep himself from being kidnapped in the first place?

So he helps take down one vampire but never used his beheading skills to keep himself from being kidnapped in the first place?

Morndas, 2:00 AM – We pass up Darkwater crossing. I keep glancing back to make sure Ahtar is still following me, and he is. By 4 AM, we get to the Valtheim Towers, and a bandit turns to me and says that this is a toll road and I have to pay a fine. She asks for 200 gold, I persuade her with 50, and after a moment of hesitation she agrees and tells me to move on before she gets into trouble. She then turns her back on me, and I pickpocket my gold back, plus three lockpicks. Shame I won’t see her face when her boss finds out!

As the sun rises, Ahtar and I walk past the western watchtower and an imperial warrior comes out of the shrubberies, wanting to fight. It’s not a soldier of the legion, just a random vagabond wanting some glory or something. I use my unrelenting force shout and knock him off his feet and then pelt him with arrows while Ahtar cheers me on. Once the imperial is dead, Ahtar looks him over and comments, “Poor bastard’s probably better off.” Two more times he says that, each time when I kill a challenger or a skooma dealer.

We also see M’aiq the Lair, who now claims that the dragons we never really gone, but were just invisible and very, very quiet. Then some comment about werebears, and then, “It does not matter how strong or smart one is. It only matters what one can do.” Hmm.

Now the trip becomes more interesting as we pass through a bandit camp. I accidentally shoot at Ahtar, and get a bounty of 40 gold on my head in Haafingar. I try sheathing my weapon, but Ahtar keeps swinging his axe at me. As a last resort I hit him with a calm spell. A minute later, farther down to road, the spell wears off and he resumes attacking me. I calm him down again, and he tells me off for it. I guess some people hate having magic cast at them, but it’s a good thing I have such a high level in illusion magic. Now I have to try and get Ahtar home without him chopping my head off!

Finally I reach Dragonbridge. A guard says, “Wait, I know you!” then exits conversation and draws his axe. Oh bloody hell. I draw my bow, then sheathe it. This prompts the guard to stop attacking and order me to stop right there. I then tell him I’m a member of the thieves guild and offer 20 gold to clear my bounty. The deal is done, and the guards as well as Ahtar are no longer hostile to me.

I'm not sorry to see the back of this guy.

I’m not sorry to see the back of this guy.

I hate axes suddenly. Really. It seems like everyone wants to chop me to pieces lately. I escort the deranged executioner the rest of the way to Solitude, and I eventually am able to take my leave. He thanks me and tells me to send regards to the rest of the companions, but I think I’ll leave this one out. I run past him now and go into Solitude, say hi to the kids and tell them to pack up and go live in Lakeview manor, and then I go steal the candlestick from Evette San’s house.

Evette San died a while ago, I know because a courier came up to me with a letter of inheritance, but I don’t know how she died at all. Now I got 100 gold in inheritance from that, and she has this beautiful golden, gem encrusted candlestick in her house? I helped her get her latest shipment released from the East Empire Company, and I saved the Burning of King Olaf festival which in turn raised her profits, and all I got when she died was 100 gold pieces? Makes me wanna ransack the rest of her house entirely! In actuality, I merely take all the cheese off the shelf.

Next Stop: Windstad Manor, the Dawnstar Sanctuary, and the College of Winterhold!

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What to Do When You’ve “Finished” Skyrim (part 3)

In keeping with the rules of this adventure, I am still avoiding using fast-travel to get around Skyrim, as well as avoiding use of the wait feature. I am also not traveling by carriages. My only method of travel is limited to on foot, werewolf, or on a horse. This game is being played at Legendary difficulty with most of the regular quests completed, so the quests I am doing are considered radiant, which to me means repeatable.

A New Day

Once again, Amaki’dar has several quests to complete in Skyrim. Florentus, from the Dawnguard, wishes for me to find an axe in a place called Bloodlet Throne, which is in the mountains in the south near Falkreath; I have a target to kill for the Dark Brotherhood in Ivarstead; I need to pickpocket Arcadia’s Flawless Emerald in Whiterun; Then I have to find a book called “Children of the Sky” in the ruins of Volunruud. I also forgot to steal a jeweled goblet from Romlyn Dreth’s house in Riften. Since this one is the closest, Khajiit will start with that one. This one departs Fort Dawnguard on foot. May the road lead me to warm sands.

I sneak along behind Babette for two minutes, and she runs and hides from a wolf. Some vampire! BAH!

I sneak along behind Babette for two minutes, and she runs and hides from a wolf. Some vampire! BAH!

Turdas, 12:25 AM – I remember that vampires tend to roam in the night hours between 10 PM and 5 AM or thereabouts. I meet Babette once again in the open, and her victim was a khajiit wearing ebony armor. Tough armor. Makes me hope I never have to fight her, but lil’ Babette knows I’m the Listener for the Dark Brotherhood, so this is one vampire I don’t have to worry about.

Yet as I walk away it occurred to me – what happens if Babette encountered anything else on the road? I grin and sit around to wait a while. I hope to see if anything happens. Before long, Babette yells, “Why are they hurting each other? Ahh! I’m getting out of here!” But she’s standing still as an elk runs about as if from a predator. I wonder if this is one of her little ruses to tempt human victims into getting close enough for her to bite them, but then a wolf bounds out of the underbrush and chases Babette, who runs and cowers fearfully!

This kid killed a khajiit wearing ebony mail, yet runs from a lone wolf? Maybe Babette really only found the body and drank it’s blood… after all she has no weapons on her I think, and she doesn’t use any magic to avoid the wolf at all, but merely and meekly seeks a hiding place, crouches, and covered her head with her arms. I step in and kill the wolf, and Babette walks away, saying she has to get back to the sanctuary before dawn.

Ah ha. Well I’ve seen enough!

Can you see the shadowmark?

Can you see the shadowmark?

Back in Riften, I successfully steal the jeweled goblet and returned it to vex. My next burglary is also in Riften. This time it’s an ornate drinking horn in Valindor’s house. I go over and pick the lock to get inside. Much to my surprise there is a thief inside the house already, and Valindor isn’t home! The rogue thief is already injured and starts running to and fro like a chicken with it’s head cut off. So I cast Calm on him, and he sits down at the table and has a drink! Weird!

I calm a thief down and he sits for a drink like he owns the place.

I calm a thief down and he sits for a drink like he owns the place.

I steal the horn and get out. Once outside, I wonder what will happen next, but I shrug it off. I wasn’t going to stand around waiting for the Calm spell to wear off and see if the thief tries to make a run for it. I got back to the Ragged Flagon and hand the horn over to Vex. The next job is the retrieve the jeweled candlestick from Belyn Hlaalu’s house in Windhelm. This time it can wait a while. It ought to still be there later. Time to head out of Riften and traverse Skyrim once more!

Ivarstead, the Bloodlet Throne, and Volunruud

Fury spells are fun to cast in cases like this.

Fury spells are fun to cast in cases like this.

5:50 AM, and I’ve just left Riften, turning west to get to Ivarstead. Instead of following the road, I’m going through the wilderness until I chance upon the Rift Watchtower, which seems to be home to orc bandits. I clear them out and continue through the woods, collecting butterfly wings and flowers along the way.

Once I get there I find the target easy enough. It’s a beautiful barbarian, who’s wearing Stormcloak Officer armor and wielding a two-handed axe. She’s standing in plain sight just outside the inn, so I come up with an idea. I sneak off behind the inn and stand next to a tree in the shadows, right near the river, and I cast a fury spell at her. She drew her weapon and started attacking the guards, and they killed her. And yes, you can get credit that way. As long as the target dies, whether by your hand or otherwise, you’ll complete the quest. I still had a hand in it simply by casting the spell of course, so of course it works.

Ah, this is where the vampires play with their food methinks!

Ah, this is where the vampires play with their food methinks!

3:46 PM – I reach the Bloodlet Throne, so now it’s time to see where this Dawnguard Rune Axe is. The keep is larger than it appears to be, most of what I explore is underground in some icy caverns. I guess vampires like the cold. I eventually fight my way down into the deepest part of the place. Two arrows is enough to make the master vampire turn invisible and make a run for it while another vampire and three death hounds chase me as I chase the master vampire. Trust me, chasing an invisible enemy is the most obnoxious thing to do!

Beautiful Axe. I wonder if Florentus will let me keep it...

Beautiful Axe. I wonder if Florentus will let me keep it…

My archery skill has reached 51, so I select the perks that allow me to recover twice as many arrows (Hunter’s Discipline) and a 50% chance to make all but the most powerful opponents stagger (Power Shot). I find the axe in a chest near where the mast vampire had been sitting. It looks beautiful. Florentus said that if used against the undead, it’s power increases, but diminishes each dawn. I wonder if I ought to test that, but I shrug and slip the axe into my bandolier.

8:37 PM – I exit the keep and decide to run wild as a werewolf for a change. I take a few shortcuts, ignoring the roads much of the way, dash past 3 guards as I go through Riverwood, then take to the woods again and reach the plains before Whiterun just as my werewolf form wears off. I did encounter some bandits well before Riverwood. Killing them and eating their hearts extended my time just enough. In fact the timing was perfect. I change back, re-equip my armor and bow, and run across the fields and head into Whiterun.

Aela the huntress. Sometimes I wish I could have my own armor just like hers, but I can't put green warpaint on me. Maybe if it were in red... nah, I like green!

Aela the huntress. Sometimes I wish I could have my own armor just like hers, but I can’t put green warpaint on me. Maybe if it were in red… nah, I like green!

My timing was a bit off this time however. While I arrived in Whiterun at about midnight, it had to stand outside Arcadia’s Cauldron and wait till it’s after 1 AM before I can pick the lock and sneak inside. Still, I manage to pickpocket her as she sleeps and I leave without detection. Now with her emerald in my pocket, I head into Jorrvaskr. Aela pays me 300 gold for the snowy sabre cat I had killed in Winterhold, and I ask her for more work. Now I have to go clear out a troll lair known as Clearspring Tarn. First though I want to head to Volunruud to pick up that book for the college, then I’ll head back up to Dawnstar and speak to the night mother once again for another Dark Brotherhood contract. But while I’m in Whiterun, I head into my house, Breezehome, and store a lot of things before going to sleep. I only sleep for six hours, waking up in time for the stores to open so I can sell anything I don’t need.

Normally you have to go into two separate areas of Volunruud to get a sword and an axe to put into the door. Thankfully I've already done that months ago, so the ceremonial weapons are still there.

Normally you have to go into two separate areas of Volunruud to get a sword and an axe to put into the door. Thankfully I’ve already done that months ago, so the ceremonial weapons are still there.

Fredas, 8:55 AM – Setting out on foot once again I head north of Whiterun. I encounter only a Khajiit skooma dealer, so I pickpocket all his things, carefully, and then kill him. I head straight to the doubel doors in Volunruud, since I’ve been in here before. The ceremonial sword and axe are still in the doors, so I just go inside and kill a few draugr and a ghost, get the book out of a chest, and get out.

On my way back to the College of Winterhold.

On my way back to the College of Winterhold.

I return to the Dawnstar Sanctuary, and the nightmother sends me back to that wary outlaw in Riften again. He must have a lot of enemies. Still, since he pays 1200 gold per kill, it’s almost worth it, especially if I don’t get caught! I leave Dawnstar and return to the College of Winterhold to give the orc in the library the book he wanted me to find.

Yes, when will the 4E 402 almanac be available, sir?

Yes, when will the 4E 402 almanac be available, sir?

Arneil’s Endeavor

6:39 PM – While I’m still at the college, I go visit Arniel. The last time I saw him, he asked me to use a sort of soul gem, bringing it to three separate Dwarven Convectors, putting the gem inside, and casting Arniel’s fire spell at it for three seconds. He’s trying to discover how and why the dwemer disappeared instantly, and his last project didn’t work, so I had to take the warped soul gem to use in the convectors for him. Once that was done he told me that the final piece would be arriving soon. Well it’s been a few days, so I go check up on him to see how he’s coming with his experiment. I mean if he’s successful, he might be able to contact the dwemer themselves! Needless to say I am intrigued.

Quit pouting! I'll get you another balloon!

Quit pouting! I’ll get you another balloon!

Well today he’s distressed to no end. He already paid Enthir to get something for him, and Enthir isn’t holding up to his end of the bargain. I go talk to Enthir. After all I am guild master of the thieves guild, and while Enthir isn’t as criminal as he’s let you believe, he does serve as a fence and will buy stolen goods. Still, I just have to wonder if he’s really failed to uphold his end of the deal or if this is a Thieves Guild scheme I’m not aware of. Turns out neither is the case: Enthis has no idea what he shipment is, in fact Arniel is the one who made all the arrangements. All Enthir did was arrange for someone to deliver the item from Morrowind. The courier made it as far as the Rift, but has now disappeared along with the package. I can only hope to find whatever it is soon, wherever it is.

Don't you ever get tired of bread? What about a pizza? Or a taco?

Don’t you ever get tired of bread? What about a pizza? Or a taco?

I travel south to Windhelm, and I break into a house to steal the jeweled candlestick for the guild. Ah yes, a jeweled candlestick. The dark elf who owned it snoozed on as I snatch it off his dresser and sneak out.

A jeweled candlestick up for grabs. So easy to be a thief.

A jeweled candlestick up for grabs. So easy to be a thief.

Loredas, 1:05 AM – Now I’m on my way back to the Rift once  again, although this time I know I have to clear out a troll lair. From what I can see, it’s located along the mountains bordering the volcanic region in Eastmarch and the forests of The Rift. In fact, the troll lair is directly south from Windhelm, but I know I’d have to take a winding mountain path to get up there. So I decide to ignore the roads for the time being and cross the rumbling, steaming, volcanic area.

There was a blizzard as I was running from Winterhold to Windhelm, but I got tired of it and shouted Clear Skies. Look at the wonderful northern lights, and now I don't have to shovel snow from my sidewalk!

There was a blizzard as I was running from Winterhold to Windhelm, but I got tired of it and shouted Clear Skies. Look at the wonderful northern lights, and now I don’t have to shovel snow from my sidewalk!

I eventually end up at Darkwater Crossing, after taking part in a battle between bandits and vampires with help from Stormcloak guards. I remember the best way to get to the troll lair, having been in there before, and I take the road along the side of the mountain, occasionally following a dirt path that serves as a shortcut. As predicted, it was a zigzagging walking up the side of the cliffs bordering Eastmarch and The Rift. I find the cave in due time, and discover only one troll inside of it, and only one arrow was all it took to kill it.

The volcanic area of Eastmarch, just south of Windhelm. Not only are their cracks in the ground where steam comes up, but there are also pools of water and geysers. They're no old faithful, but still... whatta sight.

The volcanic area of Eastmarch, just south of Windhelm. Not only are their cracks in the ground where steam comes up, but there are also pools of water and geysers. They’re no old faithful, but still… whatta sight.

I stand outside the cave, trying to spot my house in Windhelm from my view point, and reflect for a minute. I’m now at level 73, my archery is at 54 and my sneak at 46. Now I decide to see if I can focus on Arniel’s Endeavor. According to Enthir, the courier is somewhere in The Rift. According to my map, though, the courier is indeed in The Rift, and is in fact in Redwater Den, a place I know of to be a skooma hideout run by vampires. Why didn’t I think of this place before? I was ready to search troll lairs and bear dens. I should have known better. What’s more, the skooma den is directly south of where I am. So close. Coincidence? Hmm.

pondering

Continued in part 4: https://amakiowlaf.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/what-to-do-in-skyrim-part-4/

What To Do When you’ve “finished” Skyrim. (part 2)

So I finally found the time to stop by the orphanage in Riften and talk to the matron there. They are allowing adoptions at last, though I’ve been hesitating to get a second kid so far. The first was the little girl begging in Whiterun. Before I can adopt, the matron asks a few questions. First, “What is your name?”

“Amaki’dar.”

“What do you do for a living?”

…. I have to think about this one. Firstly, I am Dragonborn. I am also Harbringer of the Companions, Arch Mage at the College of Winterhold, I am an adventurer, but also a mercenary, an assassin, and a thief. Gee, how shall I answer. Just for the fun of it, I answer that I’m an assassin, and then a thief. Both times she asks if I am joking. Finally I tell her I’m a mercenary and she agrees to let me adopt a child. I pick one kid,  boy named Samuel, and he starts packing for the house in Solitude where my other orphan resides. Now, time to go earn enough gold to support my family! So much to do!

"I'm a lot of things. Talk about multitasking!"

“I’m a lot of things. Talk about multitasking!”

I decided that in order to tell this story I’d come up with a few rules as I play the game. For example, I am addicted to fast travel, so I decide to see if I can traverse Skyrim for a while without doing so. I will also avoid using carriages as that is also fast travel in a sense, this time anyway. Another rule is I will not use the wait feature, so if I have to wait for a certain time, I’ll wait naturally by twiddling my thumbs.

With this story, I start off at Fort Dawnguard. I already have several quests. I have to perform a heist and a numbers job for the thieves guild, go talk to a corrupt agent in Dragonbridge to see who he wants me to kill, and I have to collect a couple of books for the orc librarian in the College of Winterhold. I need to visit the Companions to see what they can offer me though, but it’s on my way. Lastly I had gone to Fort Dawnguard, where I get an assignment to kill a vampire who’s masquerading among humans in Kynesgrove.

Now that I’ve loaded the game and reviewed what I have to do, I come up with the rules: No using the wait feature, no fast travel. The game is being played at Legendary difficulty, and this sneaky archer is now at level 72.

The Journey Begins

Hey M'aiq! What's new?

Hey M’aiq! What’s new?

It’s 2:35 AM, on Tirdas, and I’m leaving Fort Dawnguard on foot, and not too far outside the gates I encounter two vampire scouts. I had always fast-traveled out of here before, so this was quite a surprise to me! After killing the vampire scouts I exit the valley and turn North to get to Kynesgrove, and the first encounter I get is M’aiq the Liar! I grin, stroll up, and hear his words of wisdom. He mentions how people in Skyrim are much more openminded, then goes on to tell me that the Falmer’s blindness was not due to the dwemer’s disappearance, concluding that he has heard that it is dangerous to be my friend. I nod to myself and think, Then M’aiq does not wish to see Amaki’dar’s enemies.

I take my leave and move on. After all, he’s tired, but it’s 4 AM, so no wonder. I can’t sleep either for that matter. While trekking North through the woods, I spy an epic battle between two arch mages, one with frost magic and the other with fire. I kill them both to save time and when I looked through their robes, I saw that the fire mage was using a staff! The cheater!

It is now 7:10 AM the same day. I just get out of the woods and hills of the Rift and am standing near the ashen plains. Kynesgrove isn’t much farther away now. And as I walk down the road I see a familiar orange robe. M’aiq!? But he was just outside Dayspring Canyon, how’d he get to this volcanic area before me I have no idea! So I stop to chat with him again, and this time he elaborates on dual wielding weapons and the benefit of adventuring alone so you don’t have to split loot with your friends. “M’aiq knows many things, no?” More confused than ever about how he got ahead of me so fast, I press on.2013-05-31_00004

Kynesgrove only has one building, and that’s the inn. Since it is daytime now, the vampire is inside the inn. At the moment my archery skill is reset to 15, so I’ll be attacking this guy with no perks. This means he won’t stagger when I hit him with my arrows and I won’t get that many critical strikes. Twenty arrows later, the vampire lies dead on the floor of the tavern, and the game text scrolls up, saying, “Completed: Discretely kill the vampire.”

Discrete? You call this discrete? I shoot the dude 20 times with my bow while he drains my blood and tried to hit me with other magic spells, and in the end my last shot knocks him off his feet, literally flying into the wall next to the bar, all this in front of the innkeeper and a drunken patron. That is discrete?! Discrete equals 20 arrows in front of civilians? Fascinating!

I like this game!

To Windhelm, Fellglow Keep, and Whiterun

I leave good old Kynesgrove and head to Windhelm. For this heist, I have to steal a flawless ruby from The White Phial. It is now 9:30 AM. Easy enough! I go into the store and buy up all the alchemical ingredients (I have a hoard of such in Breezehome) then I dash upstairs and quickly pick the master-level lock on the strongbox and snatch the ruby. Quintus, the shop keeper, reaches the top of the stairs to see what I’m doing, but he doesn’t witness me taking anything. I walk outside whistling merrily.

Trying to lighten my load a tad.

The Windhelm Marketplace.

While in Windhelm I sell several things to lighten my bags, chop some wood and use it and some bones to make a few dragonbone arrows, and eat some Horker Stew.  Now it’s 11 AM, and I check my map to see where to get to next. One of the books for the College of Winterhold is in Fellglow Keep, and that’s between Windhelm and Whiterun. I adjust my bandolier and head on out. (remember, no fast traveling!)

My archery skill is now at 24 and my sneak is at 33, so I get to discover how well I can sneak kill mages with arrows. I get detected easily enough, but it’s okay. I eventually find the book I’ve been looking for and head on out, but as I walk through the mountains I come under attack by some bandits. As I shoot some arrows at them, other arrows sail in from behind. Next thing I know, three imperial soldiers run past me and start fighting the bandits! When the bandits are dead, the imperials start to march away, telling me to keep an eye out for stormcloak spies.

I raise my eyebrow and watch them walk past. Clearly they don’t know me. I joined the Stormcloaks and liberated Skyrim of the Empire. To me, they are the spies. Then I ponder for a minute on the best way to dispatch them, and I wonder to myself how they’d react if I cast Fury at them!

Let me guess, each of you thinks the other ate the last sweetroll?

Let me guess, each of you thinks the other ate the last sweetroll?

The result is that two of them are affected by it and are crossing blades, but the third one was farther away and escaped the effect, so he came after me. One arrow and he’s dead, and then I step back and watch the swords clash. The fight between these two soldiers draws out too long and I have to recast the fury spell as well as invisibility to get them to ignore me and focus on killing themselves. It works and again they hack and slash at one another. Eventually one goes down, and the other performs a killing blow move where he impales his comrade with his sword. Then he turns to me, and I kill him with one arrow. Chuckling to myself, I head downhill towards Whiterun.

As I arrive in Whiterun, a guard suddenly runs up to me with a two handed axe drawn and at the ready. Uh-oh. Somehow I have a price on my head. I have no idea what it’s from, but look over the options anyway. I could bribe the guard for over 700 gold, but it’s not a permanent solution, I know. I could also make a run for it or go to jail. I look at the other options. I can either pay the fine of 40 gold, or I can use my influence as a member of the thieves guild and pay only 20 gold. The guard accepts the 20 gold and tells me to move along before I get him in trouble.

Completely confused as to why I had a price on my head for a mere 40 gold, I head to Jorrvaskr, mead hall of the companions. Vilkas gives me a task to perform, kill an escaped criminal thats here in Whiterun Hold. I accept the task and head on out. The criminal is already in some armor and with a weapon and was actually walking up the road near Whiterun Stables, as though she was about to walk right into town! I kill her, and yet as I attack her, a horse and two stable workers run up and help kill her. I resist the temptation to offer them a place in the Companions. I return to the mead hall and Vilkas gives me 300 gold for my efforts. Then I talk to Aela and she tells me an animal has moved into a house up in Winterhold and they need me to clear it out.  I can’t help but wonder why the mages up there can’t turn a snowy sabrecat into a rabbit? I shrug and resolve to adjust their curriculum when I get the chance!

Chillin' like a villain!

Chillin’ like a villain!

I wait in the inn for a few hours, chilling out, and then after midnight I pick the lock on the backdoor to Arcadia’s Cauldron, sneak upstairs, and commit a forgery in the record books. Arcadia is sound asleep and I sneak out without being detected at all. Oh yeah, it’s easy to be a thief. Walk with the Shadows!

Whiterun to Dragonbridge

Now it’s time to head to Dragonbridge and see who needs who killed. And this is how the worst night of my life started. Turns out it was my night for vampire encounters galore.

First, just after the Western Watchtower in Whiterun hold, I encounter Babette, the child who became a vampire centuries ago. Turns out she was out hunting. As leader of the Dark Brotherhood, I leave her alone. She along with Selena are the only two vampires I’d never harm. I walk on, and eventually I hear a man shout, “You there! Traveler! Over here!” I sigh and draw my bow. A minute later and 3 vampires are dead. It’s a ruse where they kill three members of the vigilant watch and two of the vampires done their robes while the third, usually their leader, remains clothed as he is. The deception makes it look as if two member of the Vigilant Watch are causing trouble for this man who calls out for assistance at any passersby. This lulls the victim into a trap where they realize that all 3 of them are vampires. Still, I’ve encountered this before, and I manage to kill all the vampires. I press on. So much for the vampire ambush.

Then shortly after that I hear something, the same sound you’d hear if you summoned a minion from Oblivion like an atronach. The sound comes from a vampire suddenly appearing and yelling “Death to the Dawnguard!” It’s a vampire assassin. I remember thinking to myself that if I joined the Dark Brotherhood, then all the assassination attempts on me would stop. Looks like I was wrong. The vampire raises a skeleton to help fight for her and she hits me with powerful lightning spells. I eventually kill her and her minion, using health potions like I rarely do, but then I only recently set the game to Legendary difficulty.

After the vampire assassin I encounter yet another vampire, this time it’s just one being chased by a Vigilant of Stendar… a real one. So naturally I try to help kill the vampire. One of my arrows hits the Vigilant however and he turns onto me. I sheathe my weapon immediately, and he says, “You’ll live for now.” I sigh and resume attacking the vampire who has by now run around a boulder and was cowering. After this vampire is dead I move on, and another vampire assassin pops up and tries to kill me! “Death to the Dawnguard!” “What the–?!”

I mean seriously, what’s with all the darn vampires tonight!? First Babette, then a trap of 3 vampires, then an assassin vampire, then a yielding vampire, and another assassin vampire. 6 vampires, not counting Babette. Wow. All these between Whiterun and Rorikstead!? Jeez.

Fortunately as I pass through Rorikstead the sun starts to rise, so encounters with vampires vanish along with the morning mist, thank Talos. Now it’s 5:31 AM of Middas, so in game time I’ve been running about for over 24 hours.

A lumberjack eh? Did he not follow through on an order of wood for ya or something? Cold night I take it?

A lumberjack eh? Did he not follow through on an order of wood for ya or something? Cold night I take it?

The trip from Rorikstead to Dragonbridge is as uneventful as can be. Only a group of bandits near a wagon with a chest in it halt my journey for a moment. No more vampires are encountered. Once in Dragonbridge I go into the Penitus Oculatus HQ, and a corrupt agent tells me to kill an intinerant lumberjack in Morthal. He pays me 1200 gold in advance and I leave.

Daylight Again

Now that it’s daytime, I figured that attacks from random events won’t occur as much, so I decide to summon Arvak to cut down on my travel time. I cross the bridge and turn north along the road and head towards Morthal, and lo and behold, there’s M’aiq again! He wonders about more than I do apparently. This time he comments on how Nord armor has fur on it and that is makes M’aiq nervous. Him and me both I guess. Then he says that some people believe that Alduin is Akatosh, and some people say that M’aiq is a liar, and then tells me not to believe either of those things.

So wait, if he tells me he is a liar and then tells me not to believe him,  then he’s lying so I have to believe that he’s lying but if he’s lying I can’t believe him. (If you are a computer, you would have crashed with that logic puzzle.) Then M’aiq tells me to think about soul trapping. He says that he was soul trapped once and that it was an unsettling experience. I had to agree. I had my soul trapped to gain access to the Soul Cairn once, and I had to travel through this spirit plane of existence to get that gem back and restore my soul to myself. I swear, I’ll never forget the tingling sensation of being soul trapped even partially. Worse than when my feet or tail falls asleep.

I arrive at Morthal and find the lumberjack. Thonnir and Jorgen are already working at the mill, one is sawing logs int he mill itself and the other is chopping wood at a chop block. The itinerant lumberjack is also chopping at a block and standing right behind him in a crouch I remain unseen. Nobody seems to be looking. I decide that the safest way to dispatch this guy is to poison him.

Look at all that lint in that pocket. Hmm? Of don't mind me, I'm just poisoning you.

Look at all that lint in that pocket. Hmm? Oh don’t mind me, I’m just poisoning you.

The method is known as reverse pick pocketing. Normally a pick pocket would take items from a person’s pockets, but in this case I’m putting stuff into his pockets instead. In rare cases, this is handy when you want to plant contraband on someone and tip the town guards to frame the victim for a crime. Most of the time though, when I put something into their inventory it’s to poison them. Now I don’t know how it really works. I mean the vial of poison gets put into their pockets and it magically reduces the health of the target. Kind of like the hypo sprays used in Star Trek, it doesn’t have to penetrate the skin. My guess is you put a bottle of poison in the victim’s pocket and it magically dissolves into their clothes and gets absorbed into the skin and hurts/kills the target. That’s magic for ya I guess.

It takes several bottles of poison to kill the lumberjack, once he drops dead, nobody so much as turns a head. I stand up and summon Arvak. As I ride away, I think to myself, Hail Sithis!

Riding on Arvak from Morthal to Winterhold. Ride to live, live to ride!

Riding on Arvak from Morthal to Winterhold. Ride to live, live to ride!

Now I make my way to Dawnstar and visit the Dark Brotherhood sanctuary. Now the Nightmother tells me of a wary outlaw in the tavern of Riften, and she tells me to accept his gold and then eliminate the target. I listen to Cicero babble for a minute before exiting the sanctuary and summoning Arvak once again. I travel along the northern coast, avoiding most wild horkers and bears that I pass along the way. Once I get to Winterhold, I race up to the College and hand over the book I found to the Orc Librarian. He then tells me of yet another book I an acquire for the college and I accept his task. As I leave the college, I can’t help but feel a tad insulted. I mean I’m a cat, so why am I collecting books like the family mutt picking up the newspaper from the front lawn in the morning? Why am I playing fetch all of a sudden? HAH!

Returning to Fort Dawnguard

Before I depart from Winterhold however, I remember to step into somebody’s house and kill a snowy sabrecat for them. Now I have to return to Jorrvaskr and tell Aela that that’s taken care of, but first I’ll head down to Riften. I’m now at the phase where I’m turning in quests and getting new ones, like what I just did at the college. So I set out on Arvak at 3PM, and I wonder if I can get from Winterhold to Riften before the sun sets so I can avoid mass vampire attacks. On a horse? Let’s see!

You again? Got Skooma?

You again? Got Skooma?

As I get closer to Windhelm, I encounter M’aiq again. How many times does that make this? It’s the fourth time so far. Wow. Good thing I like M’aiq. Curiosity gets the better of me and I dismount for a quick chat. I swear he’s like David Copperfield, disappearing and reappearing randomly all over Skyrim. POOF and suddenly he’s right in front of you even though you went past him miles ago! This time he tells of how Skyrim was once known as the land of many butterflies, and now… not so much. And now he gets contradictory. First he says there’s so much snow in Skyrim. Enough snow! M’aiq does not want it anymore! And then he says that snow falls. Why worry where it goes? M’aiq thinks the snowflakes are pretty. And here I’m thinking to myself, Wait, first you say you don’t want any snow, and now you’re commenting on it’s beauty as if you like it? I try to press him for more information, but then he says, he’s done talking. I sigh and move along.

Farkas and two other companions attacking a bear. Glory and Honor my friends!

Farkas and two other companions attacking a bear. Glory and Honor my friends!

The only other encounter I come upon is Farkas and two other companions in the wilderness of The Rift, fighting a bear. I help them kill it, then return to my trip. I reach Riften before it gets dark. Hurrah! In the Bee and Barb, I find the wary outlaw and accept his gold. I’ll go kill his target later. In the meanwhile I slip into the cistern the visit the Ragged Flagon. I turn in my two quests to Vex and Delvin and get two more to do. After all this I slip out of Riften and head for Fort Dawnguard. It’s night now, but it’s still a bit early. My guess is the vampires are just having their coffee and croissants before they head outside. Now back at Fort Dawnguard I tell them the vampire in Kynesgrove is dead (and then some), and now I have a quest to retrieve an axe. Marvelous!

Epilogue

What a long, strange trip it's been!

What a long, strange trip it’s been!

Now it is Middas at 11:35PM. This No-Fast-Travel adventure spanned about two days of in-game-time. I killed a lot, stole some things, and ran till my paws were sore enough to summon Arvak. Who says there’s nothing to do in Skyrim? Try to avoid using fast-travel and do Radiant Quests. If done at night with Dawnguard installed, I promise you it won’t be boring!

As always, thanks for reading! May your road lead you to warm sands!

Continued in part 3 – https://amakiowlaf.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/what-to-do-when-youve-finished-skyrim-part-3/

Damn Wizard!

Khajiit welcomes you friend.

This one has become legendary, not in the game difficulty sense, but in a few skills. Leveling up archery and sneak and lockpicking is a wonderful challenge, thanks to patch 1.9 of skyrim. So lately I returned and decided to take care of a few loose ends.

Namely thievery.

Once I restored the Thieves Guild to full strength I decided to go see what this boy wished in regards to the Dark Brotherhood. Why were assassins constantly trying to kill me on the roads? I had no idea. So when I visit the boy he told me to kill someone for him, mistaking me for a member of this Dark Brotherhood. Guess my mysterious client who wants me dead will have to remain mysterious for now. I head down to Riften and kill Grelod the Kind, and eventually get kidnapped by the leader of the DB and offered invitation to the organization.

Eventually I am offered my own contract. After speaking to an apothecary assistant, she tells me to kill two people and even hands me some poison to help with the job… the poisons only do 6 points of damage for ten seconds. Bah! I’ve brewed more powerful poisons than that methinks. Still I pocket them and head out.

Once in Raldbthar, I find a gate with a master lock upon it. I pick it, only breaking about ten picks in the process and gain access to an upper level that overlooks the room that my first target is in. Up here are two stationary weapons, like over-sized crossbows that shoot giant bolts at distant enemies. These two are positioned up here, pointing directly at the bandits below, and the levers are right here. Chuckling softly, I pull the levers.

The bolts slam into the campfire and the floor, and the bandits don’t react at all. Not even a blink. I frown.

I considered my weapons. I could probably sneak about and stab them in the backs… too easy… Or I could hurl balls of fire at them… nah, not at my neglected skill. Arrows… also too easy. Hmmm… I do have a 90+ Illusion magic skill. With my current armor I don’t have the ability to lower the cost of my illusion spells greatly and my magicka is not that high, so a second level spell will do.

So I cast Frenzy upon them, and the mark gets hit with it. Immediately the other two bandits stand up as the mark draws his sword. One bandit gets behind the mark, and stabs him in the back! NICE! Then I frenzy the other bandit and she kills him too. But now the remaining bandit starts looking for me. I immediately cast Calm just for the hell of it.

“Keep your fancy magic to yourself, mage!”

I blink. Wha-?! The bandit goes and sits back down as I stifle my giggling glee. The bandit actually told me off for casting a spell at her? HA! That’s funny.

"Don't cast your fancy spells on me, mage!"

“Don’t cast your fancy spells on me, mage!”

 

Latest of Amaki’dar

Khajiit welcomes you, friend.

Lately I’ve just been so busy with completing main story content and several others besides. I know many of my posts have spoilers and tidbits on the quests themselves. But now that I’ve unlocked the side quests for the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood, much of my in game time will be spent in travelling. Then again you do that anyway right from the start when you escape from Helgen and head down to Riverwood. Now, though, instead of an exotic story-based quest chain, I have a bunch of repeatable quests I can complete for gold, which isn’t a problem for me right now – I have over a hundred thousand septims!

So, bringing you up to speed on my Khajiit in this purr-ticular game of Skyrim, I’m working on bringing the Thieves Guild back to it’s former glory. I’ve just helped a silver-smith in Markarth, who had ordered a specific silver mold to be made, which would be used to make silver candlesticks, and it was robbed from a Khajiit caravan that was on it’s way into Skyrim.

Now I don’t know about you, but that makes my fur fluff up in rage. I mean sure, I’ve encountered Khajiit thieves and assassins on the road, but a caravan is usually just normal people like merchants and shopkeepers. You know, civilians. So when I see a lone Khajiit running up to me, he usually says hello to my bow and arrow or daggers… unless of course he’s a thief and I’m wearing thieves guild armor – then he says “Hello!” and gives me free lockpicks. But if it’s a caravan then it’s even better, because I can stop the leader in the road and barter with him. Very nice if I’m ever in need of a vendor to sell extra stuff too.

Anyway, the silversmith says his specially ordered smithing mold was stolen off a caravan, and the Jarl, city guards, Stormcloaks, you name it, just won’t help. So he figured he’d hire a thief to take back what was stolen. I take the job and head down into the pine forest, and I slit the throats of any bandit I came across. All, except three. They were sitting around a table in a well lit room, but I had a way to sneaka round them, behind a wall of crates and boxes. As I move around them, debating whether to turn them into human pin-cushions with my arrows, I listen to their conversation.

From what I heard, their boss has set up a series of traps, jealously guarding the major portion of stash from the rest of the bandits, and one of their comrades had died to a trap. She had him tied up somewhere and wouldn’t let the others cut him down and give him a proper burial. What’s more, she’s rigged up even more traps to guard her things. Then the three bandits hold a moment of silence to remember their friend.

I consider. I figured, Well, now you know how those Khajiit Caravans probably felt when you attacked them… now you know what it’s like to lose someone you know… I think I’ll let you three live with your grief. Then I sheathe my weapon and climb the ramp into the next room… and promptly draw my daggers and slit the throat of an orc bandit that was in my way.

Eventually I make it to a most curious room. For starters there is a table with a few notes upon it and several other things that suggested human habitation, and a bunch of bookshelves lined up on the far side of the room. The most curious part of the room were the bonechimes. Bonechimes, as I mentioned in a previous blog, are bones that have been set upon a single string that dangle from the ceiling, usually in a tight passageway. If you bump into these, they’re bound to clink together loudly, thus waking nearby Draugr, dead zombies. You commonly see these things in crypts where Draugr are sure to be found, sometimes even among the Falmer, where the chimes act as an alarm to let them know someone is near since they can’t see. But in this bandit hideout, no less than six bonechimes dangle from the ceiling all around the room, one is hanging right at the edge of a bookcase. I nimble walk around them and read the notes on the table.

One is from the father of the bandit leader, who says while he had long given up marrying his daughter off to someone else, he had hoped that she’s join up with the Stormcloaks instead of attacking travelers and caravans on the roads. He fears her getting caught and keeps returning the gold she keeps sending him. Her response is nearby, guess she hasn’t made it to the post office yet, and she had written that she didn’t want to fight for the Stormcloaks since they wouldn’t pay well enough for it, and there was no freaking way she’d fight for the Imperials. (Now I had won the civil war fighting alongside the Stormcloaks… I glance down at my bulging sack of coins, then resume reading the reply letter.) Another thing she noted was for her father to stop sending the gold back because the rest of her gang keeps trying to steal it and she has enough trouble keeping them in line as it is. I now draw my daggers and think to myself, I have a way to fix that, darlin’.

Sneaking around the bookshelves, I discover they they were hiding the bandit leader’s bedroom. The bookshelves acted as a room divider of sorts, and in the bed is the bandit herself, sleeping away. I stab her with my daggers and steal the keys to her treasury. As for the deadly traps, I avoid them all, being the light-footed, lock-picking, trap-disabling kitty cat I am. I finally find the silver molds and take just about everything else in that room, then skedaddle.

So now I have a new fence in Markarth, and as I leave the inn, the silversmith’s daughter tells me, “One day I’m gonna be a silversmith, just like daddy.” I pat her on the head and say to myself, How sweet. You just put your foot in the door for becoming a potential Thieves Guild fence in the future, young lady. I’ll remember you!

So now a new merchant has moved in under the Cistern. Delvin is right. It is nice to shake off the cobwebs and get things rolling again. And while I was there, I had Delvin set up the new Dark Brotherhood sanctuary. Everything from a master bedroom and banners to a poison station and torture chambers. “Now that’s the Dark Brotherhood I love,” Delvin says. As Listener, I have the Night Mother in there too, and she’ll hear the prayers from clients in Skyrim and will send me to them to accept the contract and kill the target in question. The group has seen a decline due to internal strife, but the brotherhood still lives, and I am the leader of it.

Like I said, I’ve been doing a lot. I became an assassin, a master thief, the arch-made of the College of Winterhold, a war hero, and a dragonslayer. I’ve saved the world from Alduin, liberated Skyrim for the Stormcloaks, stolen a lot of gems and jewelry from shopkeepers, and killed the emperor. Yep, you heard me. I killed the Emperor Tidus Mede II, and that was quite a tale.

Another feat I finally got accomplished was that I found all the words of power… thus far. I have yet to delve into the Dawnguard content, but now that I’m pat level 55, yeah, I think it’s about time I set out to do something about these vampire attacks… if only to get the guards to shut up and to stop vampires from killing local merchants.

“May your road lead you to warm sands.”

Karliah and Winterhold

(continued from “Kynesgrove and Snow Veil Sanctum”)

I wake up after a while, my vision blurry. I get to my feet and stagger for a moment.

“Easy. Easy. Don’t get up too quickly.”

It was that same quiet voice I heard in Snow Veil Sanctum… Karliah’s voice. Now up close and in daylight, I see that she’s a dunmer, or dark elf, and she is indeed wearing thieves guild armor. And unlike Mercer, who tried to kill me, but like all the other thieves I’ve encountered in Skyrim, she helps me. True, she did shoot me, but she didn’t kill me. In fact if she wanted to kill me, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The arrow that hit me was tipped with a paralytic poison… all she’d hoped was to capture Mercer alive.

When I ask her why, she explains that Mercer was the one who killed Gallus, the former guild master, and framed her for the murder. Since then she had been on the run, and has been for about 25 years. That must be tough. Her reason for trying to capture Mercer here wasn’t just for irony… turns out she came here and found a journal among the remains of Gallus. She and Gallus were lovers, and she couldn’t help but feel guilty in thinking that he was able to let his guard down around her, and it led to his death. She seeks redemption and wants to prove to the guild who really murdered Gallus all those years ago.

The journal she recovered, however, is encoded in some sort of language. She thinks of an old friend of Gallus, someone named Enthir, who was at the college of Winterhold. If anyone knew what the journal meant, it would be him. I ask if she’ll come with me, but she stays behind. Gallus still had to be buried, but she promised to meet up with me at Winterhold as soon as she can.

When I had arrived at the sanctum it was 10 o’clock at night, but now the sun is rising… I check my wrist sun-dial (just kidding) and find that it’s now just after 8 am… I check my map, see where Winterhold is from my position, and I take note of a new location that was added to my map: Mara’s Eye Pond. Bet it’s full of Vampires, if that hunter from last night was right. I hope she cured herself of Vampirism. I put my map away and set off with the journal, leaving Karliah behind.

It’s a clear day. There’s Winterhold up ahead.

As I run I wonder where Mercer went. What was his motive? Why turn on me and kill me when I had done so much for the guild? Clearly he had lied to me, and everyone, about the murder of Gallus, and this journal might hold some sort of clue, but I can’t help but wonder what else has Mercer Frey done?

Then up ahead on the path, I spot another assassin! I’m starting to recognize the black and blood-red armor too well, and in this daylight and the snowy white landscape it was impossible to miss. He’s wielding a dwarven sword, which I saw Mercer use on me, and quickly draw my bow and fire.

The master marksman… er… Markscat, at work.

Three arrows later, the assassin is dead, and after a quick look over, I find that he’s a dark elf instead of a Breton, and the sword and dagger were unenchanted once I looked them over. Still, I found the same note, that the Black Sacrament has been performed and I had to die. Somebody must want me dead really desperately. I wonder how much they’re paying to send these guys to die by my paw? Whoever it is must be rich enough to have me killed… Maybe Mercer? I might never find out at this rate! I take the weapons and the poisons off the assassin and continue my walk along the snowy path.

That’s the second assassin to try and kill me in the last 24 hours. Dude, someone must really hate cats!

A dead snowy bear later, and I make it to Winterhold. It’s a small town that always seems to have snow falling from the sky. I witness a couple arguing outside. The guy says he’s going into the inn for a drink. When she asks if that will solve his problems, he say sit probably won’t but it was worth a try.

A coral dragon claw for a burrow… could be gold in that place. 50 gold for the claw? It’s a steal! I mean… erm. Sure! I’ll take this old thing off your hands!

I smirk to myself and talk with the woman who confided to me about a trading mistake. Seems someone persuaded her to buy a dragon claw and she feels it’s useless. I guy it from her for 50 gold. If I ever go use it and if it turns up with anything useful, she wants to know about it, but I doubt I’d come back and tell her about any of it.

Inside the inn I watch as the innkeeper talks to a mage from the college. Something about an explosion and some sort of smell. I stay out of it. I find the elf I’m really looking for, an Altmer named Enthir who’s currently in Frozen Hearth, which is the inn for Winterhold. Seems to fit.

You could have at least gotten the latest issue of Witch Weekly… But noooo…

I mention Karliah and he asks if she finally found Gallus’s journal. I let him see it and he tells me that it’s written in the Falmer language. We start talking about it for a bit. Falmer are Snow Elves that were driven underground after warring with the Nords, and they ended up making a deal with the Dwemer, but were betrayed. Now the Falmer are blind, and monstrous. They attack anything and anyone who isn’t a Falmer, and have no remorse or mercy. As for why Gallus wrote his journal in the Falmer language, Enthir presumes it has something to do with a heist that required knowledge of the Snow Elves. Whether or not this heist was ever done is not known. I ask where Gallus learned of the Falmer language, and Enthir said it was from the same source he’s pointing me toward – Calcelmo, an Altmer wizard in the Understone Keep in Markarth. He’s supposed to be the expert on Falmer and Dwemer and conducts his research in Markarth, but he’s very protective of his research. Getting the information I need will not be easy.

So I crack my knuckles and leave Winterhold, opting to try and climb a mountain and go south that way. One mountain however became two by the time I reached Whiterun, and by the time I got there I realized I must have killed three dragons since I left Riften the other day. My feet were dragging in the snow from the weight of all these darn dragon bones and scales!

The moment he turns his back, the staff works. Bet he wishes he could have it back now!

I had killed the dragon in Kynesgrove, and after Snow Veil Sanctum and Winterhold, I make my way up a mountain and first found an aspiring mage who was trying to use a staff to bring a wolf back to life. I persuade him to give me the staff, and he complains that it’s just a boring piece of wood. I equip the staff and resurrect the wolf. Seems to work fine for me! I’ll keep this!

Take that, beastie!

Not long after that I found a dragon. I manage to shoot off one arrow at it, and it misses him entirely. DARN IT! The dragon flies up and swoops over me, spotting my hiding place almost right away. It’s an elder dragon, so it probably knew better. And to top it off it’s a frost dragon. Bad enough I have to travel through so much snow, now I have to put up with ol’ Blizzard Breath! He even shot a huge orb and ice at me… I resisted the urge to make a big snowball and throw it at him!

After several arrows I manage to kill him, and I notice the word wall it was guarding. Now I know know the word IISS, which means Ice… sounds like it too. Basically this dragon shout will freeze an opponent solid. This one should be fun to try out too. One my way down this peak, I encounter that Khajiit thief again. I raise my eyebrows at him – he’s changed his clothes. I think his hat is the same from last time, but his armor is that of an Imperial Soldier… I ask no questions and accept his usual gift of five lockpicks. See ya next time!

Hey, long time no see!

I descend from Mount Anthor and go climbing up to Shearpoint where I encounter another dragon. This one is also an Elder dragon, and probably felt like some whipper-snapper was shooting spitballs at his back. He flew up and circled around and hovered while I cowered behind some trees. Shame I couldn’t point at someone else and yell, “HE DID IT! I SWEAR!” Instead, he breathes fire at me… and I completely forgot about my Ice Form shout. I did have the Frost Breath shout however, and I was ready to use it!

After this dragon goes down, I encounter something that gave me trouble – it was a dragon priest. Legends said that some mortals worshiped the dragons as gods, and these dragon priests were coming back from the dead… sort of like Draugr, only nastier… spell casters… and this one had a staff that shot huge fireballs right at me. I crouched behind a rock and fired arrows at it until it finally died… but not without burning some of my fur.

Voice… Fool… Far… Hmmm! Bet this one can cause heads to turn so I can sneak past them! Heh heh heh!

Finally I find out what that Dragon priest and Elder Dragon were so very protective of… a word wall… with THREE WORDS on it! YOW! Now I know the shout ZUL MEY GUT, which means Voice Fool Far The Throw Voice shout. 

Now THIS is a shout I can use!

And now my inventory is to the limit… I head down the mountain, and the plains of Whiterun Hold unfurl before me. The castle is in plain sight and I make my way there across the tundra. Time to lighten my load and plan my next moves.

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