Adventures of Amaki’dar: Thugs from the Dead!

A dark and rainy night in a new game, and I'm walking back to Whiterun Hold, a torch in my hand, and walking in the rain because I'm over-encumbered. Darn those mammoth tusks!

A dark and rainy night in a new game, and I’m walking back to Whiterun Hold, a torch in my hand, and walking in the rain because I’m over-encumbered. Darn those mammoth tusks!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about Amaki’dar’s many adventures in Skyrim. Well as a heads up, I’ve started a new game. Basically one of my favorite addons was updated and it seemed best to start a new game, at least according to the mod makers. If you didn’t there were ways to safely install it, but I couldn’t be bothered.

So this is what happened to Amaki’dar so far. After escaping Helgen, she talked to the blacksmith in Riverwood and helped him forge a dagger and helmet. At one point, when she was going to improve the fit of the helmet, she turned to the workbench, and grabbed a steel ingot by mistake. Of course if it was real life it’d have been no mistake, but being a video game it’s different; I had turned towards the table, but my cross hairs were down on the steel bars when I hit “e” to begin using the table, and that was how I ended up grabbing the steel ingot by mistake. Try to explain that in real life, you’d only get a confused look… and then handcuffs probably…

Anyway, in game, Amaki’dar accidentally grabbed a steel ingot, and the blacksmith of course sees and says, “Hey! You can’t take that!” and the steel ingot was automatically taken out of my inventory. What a lousy start for a Khajiit thief, huh? But beyond this, he did not get hostile or anything, possibly because I was helping him at the forge. I work on the helmet, and he tells me the usual, keep that dagger and helmet and remember him when I’m making skyforge steel. Heh, I thought to myself, I bet you’ll make me think of you long before then by sending thugs after me, right!?

I complete a few more quests, one involving killing a dragon and then climbing up the path to High Hrothgar to visit the graybeards. I now have to journey halfway across Skyrim to find a tomb and retrieve a horn. Joy. What fun. I was walking north down a mountain path when I encountered an argonian who was selling skooma and moonsugar. Naturally I pickpocket the lizard and kill him. It was then I remembered that I needed to return to Klimmek! I had taken supplies up to the graybeards for him, I needed to tell him I was finished with the task.

So I got back but he seemed intent on staying indoors, with the door locked. Picking the lock and breaking in… well of course that’s breaking and entering, tresspassing, invading, and I knew if I did that I’d get nothing out of Klimmek except, “You’re not supposed to be in here!” and possibly a bounty if I didn’t leave straightaway.

I wait outdoors instead. Literally, pressing “T” to bring up the wait option and waiting an hour at a time. Before I knew it, “We’re here to teach you a lesson!” comes from behind me. Uh oh.

Three thugs! I knew it! My drawrven bow and iron arros didn’t even dent their armor, so I looked in my inventory and pulled out an elven mace and nettlebane. I start slashing and smashing away and I get the three down a bit faster than if I had used my bow. It pays to be prepared for the melee.

I loot their bodies, finding 100 gold on each, and one had the contract. I read it expecting to see the blacksmith’s name on it. Instead, the contract was sent by one “argonian.”

Dead thugs in Ivarstead. Oh what a fine mess!

Dead thugs in Ivarstead. Oh what a fine mess!

“WHAT!? That stinking lizard is DEAD! I killed him myself when he saw I was… pick… pocketing… er… ahem…”

Amaki’dar then whistles nonchalantly and walks past the staring guards, and considers finding that argonian and find out exactly how dead bodies can hire thugs!

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Heimskr… Fixed by Unofficial Skyrim Patch, and Scorned by Inigo!

Behold Heimskr! This resident can be a target for the thieves guild on occasion, but once his house is destroyed by the civil war he no longer can be robbed or anything like that. But perhaps this character in Skyrim is more known for standing in front of a statue of Talos and giving his speech all day long. He is a priest of Talos, and a doomsayer of sorts. His sermons can be heard as you head to the temple of Kynareth, or up to Dragonsreach, or over to Jorrvaskr where the Companions are located, so odds are you either stood nearby to listen to the whole thing, or you heard bits and pieces of it over time and heard the whole thing anyway. Some players may kill Heimskr just to silence him. I did in one game, and came to regret the decision because as I would traverse Whiterun from the shops in the market up to the palace, I’d hear nothing; it felt as though something was missing.

After I completed the civil war questline… I probably should mention that I always join up with the Stormcloaks, mainly because first thing in the game you are a prisoner of the Empire and are about to have your head cut off. Given the choice, I’d go with the Stormcloaks any day of the week. That being said, I’m not sure what happens to Heimskr after the battle for Whiterun if you sided with the Imperials, but I do know what happens when you side with the Stormcloaks and win the battle for this city. As far as Heimskr goes, his house is destroyed, but I think that along with Severio Pelagia’s house is always destroyed no matter which side you are on. However, Severio will always die, but Heimskr will live. Heimskr’s house being destroyed, he will set up a tent between Jorrvaskr and the statue of Talos. Since I never side with the Imperials, I don’t know if he continues to deliver his sermons in front of the statue or if he’s arrested and thrown into the jail in Whiterun. But if you sided with the Stormcloaks, he sleeps in his little tent at night and delivers his sermons during the day in front of the statue.

To the left you can see Inigo, and behind him is what's left of Heimskr's house. To the right you can see Heimskr himself, fully clothed and preaching away.

To the left you can see Inigo, and behind him is what’s left of Heimskr’s house. To the right you can see Heimskr himself, fully clothed and preaching away.

The only problem before was this: After the battle for Whiterun(Stormcloaks), Heimskr would be in rags instead of his robes. A bug to be sure. My thoughts would be that when you deliver the axe to the Jarl, he tells you to take it back and then asks his Steward to get some ink and the good parchment, so he can send a letter to Solitude to officially side with the Empire. Once the Imperials arrive, have to enforce the White-Gold Concordat, they arrest Heimskr for worshiping Talos. Then the battle for Whiterun occurs. Unbeknownst to us, the Stormcloaks release Heimskr from prison so he can resume his sermons to the great and mighty Talos… but thanks to a bug in the game, they forget to give him his clothes.

And that is why, folks, Heimskr will preach Talos in rags (or undergarments if you wish to call it that).

Fortunately there is a way to fix that. A certain series of mods that applies fixes to the games is available, the one in particular is called “Unofficial Skyrim Patch,” written by a team of programmers I assume who devote themselves to discovering bugs and repairing them as well as editing graphic problems, fixing broken quests, audio and subtitles, you name it! I can’t begin to explain all their fixes, but suffice it to say that they’re constantly doing what Bethesda is not (or so it seems to me), and that is making sure the game continues to run as best as possible.

The most recent file was released on February 19th, 2014, as of this blog anyway. I’m sure they’ll come out with more fixes in the future, but there was one fix I saw in their changelog that made me laugh out loud. I quote:

  • One more chance Heimskr, either you’re fixed now or we’re undoing everything we’ve been trying to fix for you!

I saw that and laughed to myself, and I guessed that this was in reference to the fact that after the civil war quest is completed on the Stormcloak side then he’d still be cloaked in rags. So I updated my mod and loaded the game and went straight to Whiterun, because he was still in rags to me and I wanted to see if it was indeed fixed.

Unfortunately he was still in rags. So I fast traveled to the stables nearby and made a fresh save (I’ll call this “Save A”). Then I exited the game and opened my Nexus Mod Manager(NMM), the program I use and recommend for adding and organizing mods to Skyrim, and I unchecked all the Unofficial Patch mods so they would not load. Then I loaded the game and “Save A” at the stables, and immediately saved it as a new file, let’s call it “Save B”. Once saved I exited the game again, then in NMM I reactivated the Unofficial patches and reloaded the game, and loaded “Save B”… Save B was the clean save, so now with the patches activated, it should work correctly. I fast travel to Dragonsreach so I can run down the steps and see Heimskr.

Sure enough, performing a clean save uninstall/re-install worked like a charm. Heimskr was delivering his sermons as usual, and he was wearing the orange and yellow robes of the priesthood like he was supposed to. Congratulations goes out to the Unofficial Patch Project Team, it works as far as I can tell! Fixed for sure!

Now I do use another mod, called Inigo. It adds a unique follower to the game that has many dialogue options, witty comments in casual settings or in combat, and even tells you how he thinks you’re doing if you ask him. He’s a khajiit, with a unique coloring of fur that is not seen on any other in the game, and he behaves like any other follower in the game, except he’s more chatty and witty. Normally I never play with a follower in tow, but after I discovered this mod, I never go anywhere without him.

Inigo's comment about Heimskr.

Inigo’s comment about Heimskr.

So today as I was testing out the fix for Heimskr, Inigo and I were near him, and he made a few comments I never heard him say before, and it made me laugh.

If I were to recommend some mods for this game, one would be the Unofficial Skyrim Patches, and they have more than one, so if you have the addons for Dawnguard, Hearthfire, Dragonborn, and even the High Resolution Packages, then you’d want to have the Unofficial Patches for those too. The other mod I’d recommend would be Inigo. Take him with you wherever you go. Granted, there might be a few places he can’t go with you, like to jail or the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary in Falkreath for example, but in all other places, he’s a riot! A must have for you adventures in Skyrim!

Talos be with you!

Happy New Year!

2014-01-06_00002Happy New Year, from Amaki’dar. Traveling on horseback through The Rift, where the snow won’t fall, we’re heading to Riften to get some Black-Briar Mead to celebrate the new year. Later in the night, I suppose I can shoot off fire arrows into the sky to celebrate since I never bothered with destruction magic spells.

At any rate, welcome to 2014 to all fans Skyrim!

 

Fun Fact of Skyrim: Anise’s Cabin

Anise's Cabin is located across the river and a little northwest from Riverwood. Anise, the harmless old woman living in the woods.

Anise’s Cabin is located across the river and a little northwest from Riverwood. Anise, the harmless old woman living in the woods.

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it before. Earlier as I was playing a new game as Sapsorrow, my Dunmer mage, I was returning from Bleakfalls Barrow on foot to Riverwood. I had passed up Anise’s Cabin and saw two dots appear on my compass guide at the top of my screen. Uh-oh, bad guys. I go into a crouch and sneak around, but they don’t see me. They do see Anise, however. Anise always used to say to me that she’s just an old woman, and I always noticed that she’s a bit of a strange old hermit, living alone in a small cabin in the woods. Well, to my surprise, she gets up off her chair, conjures a familiar that dies almost right away as the bandits attack her. Shocked, I turn back and help defend her. Then once both bandits are dead, she attacks me!

I’m thinking to myself, WHAT THE HELL!?

Then I did some research of my own. It turns out that Anise was really a witch. Shouldn’t surprise me since her sister is a Hagraven. Wait, let me back up. It all started when I participated in a drinking contest with a man named Sam… After having one too many drinks, I wake up in the temple of Dibella in Markarth. After cleaning up and apologizing, the priestess tells me that while most of what I said when I arrived was slurred, she was able to understand something that sounded like Rorikstead, so I go check there. Turns out I stole a farmer’s goat and sold it to a giant. I threaten the farmer, telling him to tell me what I said or he would end up like his goat. He then tells me that I left a note, most of which was smeared, the only legible parts being “After repaying Ysolda in Whiterun.”

Now we’re getting somewhere. Finally I get to talk to someone reasonable. After all I gave her a mammoth tusk once, and I occasionally sell her sleeping tree sap when I find any. So you can imagine my surprise when she greets me rather angrily, demanding her ring back if the wedding wasn’t going to happen. I tell her I don’t care about the ring, just tell me where Sam is! She points the way to Morvunskar and that’s when I discover the whole thing was a sort of prank played on me by Sanguine, the deadric prince of debauchery. He does give me a nice weapon, one that looks great on the wall in Breezehome, and then he teleports me back to the very inn we had our drinking contest in the first place.

As for the ring, I never went after it. Turns out the ring was given to a hagraven named Moira in Witchmist Grove. Moira, I always knew from my research on the Skyrim Wiki, is actually Anise’s sister, the Anise who lives just outside of Riverwood in a shack. I always thought it was interesting, but never paid it much more mind than that.

Normally I've just stolen her book and left. It might explain why I've always overlooked this trap door in the floor, which is located near the dresser and bed in one corner of the cabin.

Normally I’ve just stolen her book and left. It might explain why I’ve always overlooked this trap door in the floor, which is located near the dresser and bed in one corner of the cabin.

Turns out there was more than meets the eye here. When I was travelling past the cabin, a pair of bandits ran past and attacked Anise. She retaliated, then turned on me. Once she was dead, I decided that there would be no harm in my examining her home and taking things. That was how I found out about the trap door.

I've been in here before as Sapsorrow, now Amaki'dar comes in to visit. Wow. Whatta place!

I’ve been in here before as Sapsorrow, now Amaki’dar comes in to visit. Wow. Whatta place!

Almost 1500 hours played in Skyrim and it took me this long to find a trap door? Then again I wasn’t looking for this one! I pick the lock and head inside, and my jaw drops! An alchemy lab and an enchanting table? A satchel for storing alchemy ingredients? And whats this letter? Oh wow. Apparently Moira was supposed to come over along with someone named Helgi. Hmmm!

“Helgi, dear, why do you hesitate? You can feel the power coursing through your blood! You have only to reach out and grasp it! Renounce that boy of yours and come, come live with me in the forest. My sister will be here soon. Together, we can form a proper coven, and your training will truly begin.”

Hall-ooooo… Well, looks like their coven won’t ever be formed. Thank goodness! I mean hagravens and a witch coven right outside of Riverwood, the first real nice town I encounter when I first entered Skyrim? No thank you! And Helgi… Helgi was the name of a little girl that died in a house fire in Morthal. No others with the name Helgi that I know of!

Back off, witch!

Back off, witch!

I exit the cellar and go outside, and Anise puts a shield up around herself and says that no one can know about her secret, the fact that she’s a witch. Well, too bad, I’m gonna blog it, wretch! And whoa, she’s attacking me with her flames spell. At the moment I’m playing on Amaki’dar, my level 78 khajiit in dragonscale armor. “Hey, that tickles. Cut it out Anise!” I shoot her in the face with one dragonbone arrow from my dragonbone bow. Maybe I should have just scratched her with my claws… oh well. Too late.

Well, now that I’ve killed her I can expect to encounter hired thugs, maybe. We shall see!

Watch the sky…

Thanks for dropping in!

Thanks for dropping in!

“I’ve got to keep my eyes open! Damn dragons can swoop down at any time!”

I rolled my eyes as I walk past the guard who says this to me, and I say, “Yeah yeah, here, have some coffee. That should help keep you up tonight… ” Then as I cross a bridge I keep talking to myself, “but if only I had a septim for every time I heard that. I mean seriously. This never happens. NEVER! I mean a guard says the dragons can swoop down at any time, oh sure. At ANY time… except at that very moment. I mean what are the odds? A guard says that the dragons can swoop in at any moment and a dragon attacks right after that? Yeah right. That’s never gonna–”

SWOOSH…. a familiar black shadow crosses the bridge so fast I can’t get a screenshot, but I do stop and think, “No… EFFING…. WAY!” and turn around. Sure enough, said damn dragon is now attacking the guards!

WOW!

It’s one of those moments. It commonly happens in the morning when I start playing. I think of something, and… well… SWOOSH, in this case.

I run  back across the bridge and join the attack. At first the dragon breathed fire at the guards just outside of Honningbrew… erm, Black-Briar Meadery West, and now he’s flown off to the other side of the river to attack the farms. Oh sheesh. Being a Khajiit, I HATE WATER! Oh well, it only goes up to my knees. GRR.

A short battle later and the dragon dies and I take it’s soul.

Next time a guard says something like, “Watch the skies, traveller.” or “…damn dragons can swoop down at any time.” Then you know where I’ll be looking.

UP!

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!

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!”

 

Amaki’dar in Volskygge

Volskygge“I’ve been looking for you,” the courier said to me the other day. I smirked and thought to myself, Yes, I am quite hard to find with such a high skill in sneaking. “I’ve got something I’m supposed to deliver, your hands only.” I nod and think, That explains why my housecarls never give me mail.

“Lets see here… Got a letter, not sure who from, he wouldn’t say, just that he was a friend of yours. Well, that’s it. Got to go!” The courier leaves. I smile as I unfold the letter. I sometimes like to think that this friend of mine is really the courier, but I have no way to prove it of course.

The letter once again says I caused a bit of a stir when I used my Thu’um. I checked the location. Funny. I used it in a bandit’s hideout. I could have sworn I killed everyone there… hmm. Then again when the Greybeards shouted you could hear them all the way from Whiterun, so who knew? At any rate, now I am being pointed to a new place to unlock more dovakiin powers… in… Volskygge. Hmm. I sigh and put the letter way and head off.

Warm sands, friend. I am Amaki’dar.

My archery skills have reached their very best. I could possibly be the best archer in all of Skyrim, maybe even all of Tamriel. I probably am not, but I have yet to be invited to a contest for such skills. I’d win first prize maybe.

So why was I sneaking into some old ruins with my daggers in my paws instead of my trusty bow? Experience. I felt it was time for me to sharpen my skills with the one handed weapons, pun intended, and so I sneaked along the ruins and back-stabbed almost anything I came up to. The first half of the ruins was being occupied by bandits. You almost have to admire their bravery, camping in some old ruins where the undead were bound to rise from their tombs and attack. But they were unprepared for the Shadow Paw!

In one section there were various rooms and I stalked one bandit down the hallway. I came up behind her and slit her throat before she could shout. Then I went into one room to look around. Seeing nothing of value I considered checking the other rooms when I heard a human say, “I’m gonna find whoever did this!”

Whoops. Guess this Khajiit forgot to hide the body. No biggie. I move to the side of the door and wait. The human bandit walks in the room, and I kill him too. I glance down at the body, then shrug and move on. Why bother hiding the bodies in a crypt anyway?

Then I came upon a room. It had four switches, each marked with the symbol for an animal, and four large tombs standing upright int he center of the room with sconces on top of them. No way I could light them, so I look around. A book on a nearby pedestal catches my eye, and I read it…

All four are bound to the same land as we,
Some lay low, consumed in shadow,
Others stand tall, stretching their necks to see.
While none live in this sacred barrow,
They all demand your attention if you are to proceed.

The first fears all,
the second fears none.

The third eats what it can,
preferably number one.

The fourth fears the second,
but only when alone.

All must be activated in order,
if you wish to go home.

Aha. A puzzle. Nice. I glance around at the animal symbols, then back at the book. I set the book down and get to work. I knew the bear would fear nothing, and it doesn’t. I’ve seen bears attack dragons sometimes. So the bear had to be the second one. The fourth fears the bear, but only when alone? That has to be the wolf because they’d hunt in packs. That left the snake and the fox. I thought of the fox being the first because it would fear all, but then the third one “eats what it can, preferably number one”… a snake eating a fox? Can’t be right… Would a fox eat a snake, and would it be their favorite? I thought foxes liked chickens.

I shrug and pull the lever behind the snake symbol first. I knew that if I was wrong, then the tombs would burst open and I’d have to fight some draugr. I pulled the lever… and nothing happens to the tombs, but one of the sconces lights up. Snake was first indeed. How many snakes are there in skyrim anyway? I wondered to myself. I never see any.

I finish pulling all the levers. Turns out the solution was as I thought it would be: Snake, Bear, Fox, and Wolf. The gate ahead opens and I proceed into an area the bandits could not… maybe they could not read? Or maybe they never went this deep into the catacombs. I shrug and move on.

I discover later that the crypt I was in led up higher into the mountain and it opened up onto a peak. I found a word wall, and now know the second word for Whirlwind Sprint, and no sooner had I learned the word, a sarcophagus bursts open and a dragon priest comes out and sees me. Oh, bloody hell.

No longer stealthing, I charge at the priest, daggers flashing and slicing through the air! The dragon priest, named Volsung, conjures a frost atronach behind me. I ignore the atronach and slash away at Volsung, meanwhile Volsung proceeds to hit me with ice spikes. My stamina drains out of me from the cold spells, slowing me down, and Volsung tries to get behind me while the frost atronach tries to pound me into the ground. I spin about, drink a stamina potion very quickly and move in for the kill. Volsung goes down, turning into ashes as he crumbles, leaving only his armor behind for some reason, and without it’s master, the frost atronach melts away into nothingness.

I investigate the armor and find Volsung’s mask. Light armor, that’s always good. Fortify’s barter and carry weight by 20, that’s nice… and allows breathing underwater! That’s nice since I seem to have misplaced my necklace of water breathing! Sweet! I take the mask and pocket it for the time being.

Instead of making the trek back through the depressing crypt, I decide to slid down the snowy mountain. As I descend, I think to myself, Vol means horror in the dragon language… Vol-sung, eh? Must have been a horrible singer when he was alive. Well, I’m off to the nearest town to see if that stalker courier delivers another one of those notes of his telling me I caused a stir in a place where I left no survivors to tell about it. Should be interesting!

May your road lead you to warm sands!

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