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 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/

The Forsworn Conspiracy and The Museum

As I leave Whiterun I make a detour back to Riverwood and meet up with Delphine. It seems I’ve arrived just in time, because she has a plan to get me into the Thalmor Embassy. Their leader, Elenwen, regularly throws parties where the rich and well-connected can cozy up with the Thalmor. Delphine’s going to get me an invitation to the party, and she instructs me to go to The Winking Skeever in Solitude. I figured this will work out nicely. I can head directly west of here to Markarth and take care of my Thieves Guild business there, then head north to Solitude for the party. Sounds fun!

My journey to Markarth was mostly uneventful. First I spot that big black dragon resurrecting another dragon. As the black dragon flies away again, I fight the dragon that came back to life, and killed it. A trio of Stormcloak soldiers were nearby and they helped by firing arrows at it. They kept it’s attention while I fired arrows of my own.

After talking to this guy, my head hurts.

During my trip along the road I also saw three Imperial soldiers walking, and further along the same road were three Thalmor soldiers. It was a busy day for the war I guess. Who could tell? But maybe the only person who made a significant appearance was none other than M’aiq the Liar. This Khajiit is easy to spot from a distance in his yellow-orange robes, and when I talk to him he says various things. Today he said that, “some people say that Alduin is really Akatosh… they also say that M’aiq is a liar. Do not believe such things.”

I frown in puzzlement and keep walking… He just said he was a liar and told me not to believe it… and I know he’s lying… but if he lied about him being a liar, that could mean he was telling the truth, which is not possible because he’s a liar! Now that I have a headache, I resist the urge to shoot M’aiq in the kneecaps with an arrow and press on through The Reach.

Returning to Markarth. The City of Stone

When I arrive in Markarth I remember that I was supposed to meet someone at the shrine of Talos. Whoops… That was a week ago maybe! I wonder if he’s still alive. I go to see, and yep. He’s still there. At the moment I’ve got quite a bit on my plate. I have to find a way to decode the Falmer language so I can get Gallus’s journal translated, then I have to go up to Solitude to infiltrate the Thalmor Embassy and see what they know about the dragons returning. What more do I have to do!?

(I actually did this before in a previous save, but then later I started experiencing crashes for some odd reason, and I eventually gave up and started a new game. What follows happened before. One main difference, I managed to kill the Forsworn guy before he could kill Margret in the marketplace, so instead of searching her room for clues, I get to ask her up front.)

Oh. Right. I have to find out why people are getting killed in Markarth and see if I can put a stop to it. FINE! I leave the shrine and set out to meet Margret. Margret is a stranger in town, just visiting and on errands, and she was almost murdered the first day I ever set foot in Markarth. I saw the attack start and I saved her life. Eltrys, the guy who met up with me in the Shrine of Talos, promises me a reward if I help him, so I go and question Margret, who is staying in the Silver-Blood Inn.

A spy, eh? Nice… *writes it down and plans to pass this info on to Ulfric*

I talk to her, and after persuading her to tell me what she’s hiding, she confesses that she’s an undercover Imperial agent. She was sent by General Tullius to seize control of Cidna Mine from the Silver-Blood family. I shelve this information and go seek out the Silver-Bloods. The moment I leave the inn, a city guard tells me to back off, and that I would not be warned again. Ignoring the threat, I head to the Treasury house belonging to the Silver-Blood family. It’s a sort of counting house… actually I don’t know what they don’t own in this city… and I go in an persuade the first person I see that Thonar is expecting me. Not true of course, but I get to see him and I ask him about the Forsworn attack in the market place, and he denies me. Moments later his wife is killed by the Forsworn, right there in his house. Then he spills the beans – The leader of the Forsworn, Madanach, is in his prison. Thonar keeps him alive, and in return, Madanach has his Forsworn attack anyone who pesters Thonar.

They’re framing me? ARGH! First time I’m going to jail. I hope they have punch and pie.

After following up on other leads, I go back to the shrine to tell Eltrys about all this, that the man he’s looking for is in Cidna Mine… and when I get there I see three city guards who draw their swords at my approach. Behind them I see Eltrys… dead. The guards killed him! I tell them that Madanach is the real culprit, but they tell me, “You think you’re the only one who knows that? We had a nice little deal with Thonar and Madanach until you showed up!”

This explains the city guards telling me to back off. Thonar has the whole city in his pocket alright. I wouldn’t be surprised if the jarl was his puppet as well. The way I saw it was that Thonar was having people murdered who threatened his family or his way of life, like that agent from the Imperials (Margret) who was trying to obtain, possibly steal, the deed to his mining operation, and then the guards would just stand by and do nothing. Since I’ve been stirring up trouble, they’re pinning all these murders on me, framing me as the leader of the forsworn. Jerks.

Eltrys wanted to find out who was responsible for all this… While I’d like to kill Thonar, I think it would be best if I killed Madanach… he’s the King in Rags, the guy giving the orders to the forsworn, and Thonar can’t seem to control him as well anymore… maybe I ought to go kill Madanach… and what better way to get to him than to surrender and get thrown into jail? So yep… I go quietly. “No one escapes Cidna Mine, you hear me? No one!” I’m willing to break their winning streak.

“Sorry, I’m a little deaf in this ear…”

Once in the mine, the guard tells me to mine silver and puts me in  tunnels. I grab a pick ax and mine all the silver I can, but I keep it. Then I go pickpocket all the prisoners, stealing their skooma and shivs. A shiv is a very short weapon that every prisoner has… well not anymore, and I equip one in each hand and head down the tunnels to find Madanach. He’s sitting at a desk writing on a piece of paper, his back to me. A few stabs and he’s dead. Looking in his pocket I find a note. Basically it was for his fellow prisoners. If ever he should die, there was a key to a cell nearby in which was an escape tunnel that led into the dwemer ruins, and from there into the city. I take the note and the key and skedaddle.

Nope. no punch and pie… but there’s plenty of Skooma and Shivs… if you know where to look!

When I step outside, Thonar Silver-Blood is there. He had contacts within the mine, and they informed him that Madanach is dead. It basically ends the Forsworn attacks in the city and the Jarl has been informed, which resulted in my being pardoned. Thonar gives me my things back and rewards me with a ring… “Sorry pal, I don’t wanna get married,” I am tempted to say, but this ring lets me improve my weapons and armor by 15%, so I hold my tongue. Then he goes on to say that he has to get new workers for the mines now. I ask myself, Why? All the other prisoners are still alive down there… unless they got into a free-for-all war trying to find out who took the skooma. I keep that to myself… plus all that silver ore I dug up. I put my armor back on, re-equip my weapon, and then I go smelt the ore into bars and go make some jewelry.

Turn around, you ancient sack o’ bones. It’s me!

Now.. where was I? Oh yeah. The Falmer language… Calcelmo. Right. I head into Understone Keep. First I manage to chat up a storm with Calcelmo, and I get a free key into the museum, although he refuses to let me see his new book before he publishes it. Ah well… I head to the museum, and a guard stops me. I’ve almost had it with these jerks, especially when this one tells me I can’t go into the museum, and if I have a problem I can take it up with Calcelmo!

“But… but… I have the key! Calcelmo gave it to me himself! I… Oh fine, F-it, I’ll go talk to him again. Hell!”

I go all the way back to Calcelmo and he acts like he never gave me the key in the first place. “Um the guard said I can’t go into the museum?” “Well it’s closed and off limits to everyone… but if you wish to go in, you can go kill a giant spider for me–” “Hang on dude, do you suffer from short term memory loss?! Don’t you remember me?!” Then I remember, when I first chatted with him, he was leaning over an alchemy table and I was behind him, so maybe he didn’t recognize my voice. Memory loss. It MUST happen to the older elves at some point! I sigh and go kill a spider.

That is one big spider… probably ate Miracle Gro by mistake!

When I get back, he tells me that I did a great job… yeah yeah I know… You gave me gold, splendid! All you really had to do was scratch my ears. I take the key…I wonder how many of these things he really has… I also wonder if I could have just picked his pocket and killed the guard… I shrug my shoulders and finally go into the museum. Inside I slip past the guards and get into the back part of the place which has mercenary-like guards inside, not just city guards. Just to give them a little “Night at the Museum,” I turn on the Dwemer machines, which is mostly a bunch of traps, and they quickly make work of half the guards I encounter, except for one mage who runs out before I can get to him. I ignore him and press on.

Nope, nobody here, just keep going so I can sneak out!

In the end I made it up into his private tower and discovered a stone tablet with writing on it. I think I just found the Falmer Dictionary. And Calcelmo claims he’s spent years in research? With this thing in his den? Right. Sure. I steal some paper and charcoal and make a rubbing… and right after that some guards come in. As I listen to the chatter I realize that the mage who ran out is with them. Looks like he did the smart thing and went to get some help.  Aicanitar is his name, and it turns out he’s Calcelmo’s nephew! “Scour this place from top to bottom!” he says, then he goes back into the museum and the guards start their search. Not eager to see Cidna Mine again, I sneak out and drop down from the balcony. Nobody saw me, and I didn’t shed a single fur. Whew!

Time to head up to Solitude and see about getting into the Thalmor Embassy! On my way out, a guard comments I was lucky to be pardoned. Lucky!? Hey you were the one who framed me! I oughta give you a bloody nose! Instead I walk outside and head north.

Right into a dragon attack and some Forsworn. Oh joy.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Boethiah Cultist Attacks Bard! Mammoths Invervene!

Just southeast of Kynesgrove, eyewitness reports that a Khajiit traveler met the renowned bard, Talsgar the Wanderer. Paying a small sum of 25 septims, the Khajiit requests a song to be sung, but before the bard could finish the first verse, a Dunmer armed with a steel sword ran up along the road and attacked Talsgar!

“I don’t know what happened or why he would attack me!” Talsgar told authorities moments after the attack had subsided. “Frankly I was distrustful of that female Khajiit who requested a song of me. They both came from the same direction on the road, but the Khajiit drew her bow and shot an arrow into the Dunmer. She would have saved my life if the Mammoths and Giant hadn’t intervened.”

Just seconds after the fight started, the ground had begun to shake as two adult woolly mammoths charged at the Dunmer, striking the attacker with their curved tusks, each of which is almost, if not longer, than a Nord is tall! The Giant who watched over his herd also ran in with his bone club swinging through the air. Nobody knows whose blow was the most fatal, but that was one sorry Dunmer who never lived to tell the tale.

According to sources, namely the Khajiit traveler who requested a song from the Bard, the Dunmer carried in his satchel a book labeled as “Boethiah’s Proving,” a book that had no name of an author in it, yet describes a Daedric cult that deals in death and killing. It is believed that the Dunmer read this book one too many times and became possessed of it’s writings and felt the need to kill anyone in his path.

The Giant refrained from comment, but shook his mace menacingly, which reporters and local authorities took to be meaning, “No comment,” and fled the area. The mammoths sustained no injury from what reporters could see and had already returned to their grazing just off the road.

The events raised concerns about cultists practicing in the hold, however the guards of Eastmarch reassured local civilians that there is nothing to worry about. However the need for road signs indicating of mammoth crossings are being put to the current Jarl of Eastmarch, Ulfric Stormcloak, whose only response was, “The feel of the ground quaking under foot ought to be enough. Anyone who doesn’t know a mammoth is near, and makes the mistake of attacking one, would not only be a fool… he’d also be dead.”

The only other witness to the bard attack was a second Khajiit, who called himself M’aiq. He pointed out where the mammoths went and also claimed that the giant stole his sweet roll and that a dragon almost ate the bard. He also mentioned that the female Khajiit was a Dragonborn, but the female Khajjit traveler rolled her eyes and hissed, “Pu-lease! Me? A Dragonborn? How can I be when I am not a Nord? M’aiq is obviously lying. Ask him.”

“M’aiq is tired now. Go bother somebody else.”

Every statement afterwards was simply that he was done talking. After consulting with these two Khajiit, the idea of a giant and two mammoths killing a Boethiah cultist seems more like a fanciful tale rather than actual events, however the bard continued to claim that the mammoth and giant did rush to his defense and plans to write a ballad about the episode, possibly omitting the Khajiit’s involvement. The Khajiit who requested the song asked for a refund, however Talsgar refused to return the 25 septims to his customer.

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