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.

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Markarth: The City of Stone

Front entrance to Markarth, a city made entirely of stone and where half the buildings are built into the mountainside.

So I made it to Markarth. All the buildings were carved out of the very rocks, and the Palace of Stone is set into the face of the mountainside. Almost all the buildings have an underground feel to them. Even the beds are made of stone, but then they do say a harder mattress is better for your back.

A young woman named Margaret gets brutally murdered, and her killer shouts out, “The Reach belongs to the Forsworn!” and goes about on a rampage before the guards kill him.

The city of stone they call it, and first thing when I set foot into town, I witness a miner stab a woman in the back right there in the marketplace. A shop keeper yelled something about the Forsworn, but then the guards intervened and said there was no forsworn in the city at all. Then a man who just exited the inn comes up to ask what happened. I told him what I saw, and then he presses a note into my hand, claiming I dropped it and that it was mine. Once he left, I opened it and read it. “Meet me at the Shrine of Talos” it says. Hmm.

Eltrys' Note

The note Eltrys said I dropped. Right. Okay then!

So I go into the shrine of Talos, and there he is, leaning against a stone pillar near the shrine to Talos. He tells me that his name is Eltrys, that his father died to the Forsworn, and he has a son on the way and wants the Forsworn threat to end. Turns out people are murdered in the streets and the Forsworn attacks aren’t being handled by the guards at all. He wants to find out why, so he asks you to look into the most recent murder.

Eltrys met me here in the dimly lit shrine of Talos. Here he tells me about the Forsworn attacks and wants me to try and stop it.

To start I check out the victim’s room that was rented at the Silver Blood Inn and I found her journal, which stated something about Thonar Silver-Blood, so I go question Thonar. Long story short, he was supposedly controlling the Forsworn, but they’re getting out of hand somehow.

Then I went to look into the living quarters of the murderer, and I found that he had received a note telling him to attack the marketplace, and it was signed with the initial N. Once I was outside, I met a thug who thought to teach me a lesson, so I brawled with him. I wound up teaching him a lession: Never brawl with a Kajiit – Claws FTW! I asked him who sent him, and he tells me Nepos the Nose. What an alias…. So I go to the house belonging to Nepos and met with him. Nepos sends the letter to the murderer, and has done so repeatedly, all on the orders of The King in Rags, Madanach, who is currently imprisoned in Cidna Mine, which is also the jail for Markarth. Nepos tells me how he receives orders from Madanach and carries them out, and that they are the Forsworn who are the true rulers of the Reach. Then he and his servants try to kill me.

Needless to say, his house now needs cleaning.

After I killed Nepos I raced back into the Shrine of Talos to tell Eltrys everything I found out, but Eltrys is dead… at the hands of the city guards! It seems that the guards had it easy, but now that I had been snooping around they have to work, work, work, and so they framed me for murdering Eltrys. I had two choices. I could go quietly, or I could fight my way out.

But Eltrys wanted to stop the Forsworn, and their leader was in Cidna Mine… So I went quietly. After all, the easiest way to get into prison is to be a prisoner. Why break into prison?

Once in jail, I was in some ragged trousers and I had nothing on me. All my armor and weapons were gone. I had no keys, no lock picks, no nothing. I could serve time by digging up silver ore and then be freed, but I had ulterior motives. I did mine up as much silver as I could though – I figured once I broke out of jail I’d have to find some way to buy armor and weapons and all. I am pretty good at pickpocketing by this point… and you won’t believe how many prisoners carried Skooma on them. Pretty soon my pockets were weighed down with silver and skooma. I traded a bottle of skooma with one prisoner to get a shiv, which is a very small blade that I could use for fighting (yeah, I have claws, but I decided to get a shiv anyway), and then I bribed an Orc guard with a bottle to get through a tunnel and see Madanach.

He’s an old man, wearing the same rags as anyone else in the prison, working at a table writing a letter or something. Two stabs later and he was dead. May Eltrys’ soul rest in peace knowing that I found the cause of his father’s death and ended his influence on the Reach. Then I looked through his pockets and found a key and a note. Turns out Madanach had an escape route dug out in the prison that led into some dwarven ruins! I snag the key, use it on a gate leading into an empty prison cell, and take off down the tunnel and into the ruins.

One dead frostbite spider later, I was back in the streets, and right there in front of me was Thonar Silver-Blood. The Forsworn had killed his wife, even though they were supposed to be under his control. But now he knows that Madanach is dead now, so the Forsworn attacks in the city should stop. He rewards me with a family ring made out of silver and returns all of the things the guards confiscated from me when I was imprisoned, and told me I was cleared of all charges. I’m a free citizen again in Skyrim.

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