Markarth Conga?!

Hey look! It's the Markarth City Conga Line! Ya-dada-dada-da-DA!

Hey look! It’s the Markarth City Conga Line! Ya-dada-dada-da-DA!

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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!

Living the Dream

Beware of flying boom-chickens!

Beware of flying boom-chickens!

Owlaf – living the dream. Druids can shapshift into various animals, only a select few, and the moonkin is one of the few that has not gone through any cosmetic changes since the initial release of World of Warcraft. Moonkins are also described as Owlbeasts; part bear, part owl, part other things. A strange combination of fur and feathers, claws, a beak, and elk antlers (or in the case of tauren druids, horns). Due to the bulk of the moonkin body being bear like, the moonkin is considered too heavy to fly in spite of the winglike arms covered in feathers.

Yet there are times where I can live the dream. One instance is in the Alysrazor encounter. Collect three feathers, and then fwoosh, I was a flying moonkin! Another is in Tempest Keep, in the final encounter against Kael’Thas, when he performs gravity lapse and I can maneuver about in the air. But it’s not the same as shifting into flight form to fly around Azeroth freely. These instances take place in just that: instances.

So when I first log in and my shapeshift into flight form and there is a lag, the screenshot you see here is the happy result.

 

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 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/

Lost Legends: Part 2

Upon arrival at Sarthal, the second crypt in my search for the Gaulur amulet fragments, I came upon the students and teacher from the College of Winterhold. This one forgot that classes had started a long time ago, and the first field trip into the dangerous ruins was planned, if a bit impromptu. So while I’ve been running across Skyrim stealing riches, building houses, and killing dragons and things, this group of fools stood outside in the snow for Divines know how long. The nincompoops. They must be very happy I finally arrived. It’s nice to know they didn’t want to start without me.

"You're the welcome wagon?"

“You’re the welcome wagon?”

We go inside, and I am tasked with finding some magical artifacts. It took some scrutinizing  but I found three rings on the floors in some tunnels, and an amulet on the wall. Sadly it was not the amulet I was looking for, but it led the way deeper into the dungeons. My teacher follows a little, then stays behind to study a chamber full of corpses… After a while he catches up to me and we encounter Jyrik, the oldest of the three brothers from the Legend of Gauldur. It seems the Jyrik is drawing power from this big old orb behind him, and my college professor rushes to it and casts lightning at the orb, draining it of it’s power. I recall momentarily that lighting magic does drain magicka after all, and it seems to work because in a few moments, Jyrik is no long invincible. My blades cut him down in seconds.

After taking the amulet, I’m sent to the college to inform the Arch-mage, and once I do the Arch-mage tells me to visit the Arcanium, the library in the college for some information on the orb. The orc who runs the library tells me some other mage had run off with the books I need and I have to find them. Nice.

"FROST! Leave this Drgaon ALONE! I can handle this!"

“FROST! Leave this Dragon ALONE! I can handle this!”

I bypass this quest and head down into Geirmund’s Hall, just east of Ivarstead. Along the way a dragon drops out of the sky behind me. I never heard him flying overhead, but I heard him land. Rest assured, if you hear a loud THUMP behind you, be prepared to fight a dragon! Sure enough I turn around and there it is. I dismount and fight with my swords, and my horse Frost joins in the fray, rearing up and waving his front hooves at the dragon. REALLY!? Horses fighting dragons? Oh come on!

One of these days Frost I swear, a dragon kight drop out of the skies and eat you for lunch and I won't be there to stop him!

One of these days Frost I swear, a dragon might drop out of the skies and eat you for lunch and I won’t be there to stop him!

After the dragon dies I climb back into the saddle and scold my horse. “Very brave of you, but that dragon coulda one-shotted you… or bit you actually. I got ownership of you by a couple of persuasion attempts that were successful, and that’s better than buying a horse. I don’t want you to die now. UNDERSTOOD!”

….

Okay, so he’s not Mr. Ed.

So! Down to Geirmund’s Hall, and after quite a bit of exploring I encounter Sigdis. I’d have thought the ghost of Geirmund would have helped but I guess he was resting in peace so comfortably that he couldn’t be buggered. I shrug my shoulders as I pocket the third amulet. I exit the underground crypts and find Frost still standing under the tree where I left him. GOOD! I was hoping he’d stay put. Was actually worried he might go off hunting vampires next.

Now that I have all three amulet fragments, I have to figure out a way to restore them to their true form, all in once piece. I’m betting Gauldur himself might be able to do something about it. I get on Frost and ride along the southern roads, skirting what’s left of Helgen and stopping at Lakeview Manor, one of my homes.

When arrived I saw there were bandits all over the place. Darn! I dismount and draw my bow and start shooting at them while my horse, Frost, starts rearing up and attacking the bandits as well.

“Frost! If you don’t cut that out, you’re going to end up dead someday!!!”

I take aim at a bandit, thinking Frost is somewhere behind me. I fire my bow, and right at that moment Frost came charging into view to attack my target. The arrow hits Frost and he goes flying across the ground and lays dead near my doorstep.

“WHAT DID I TELL YOU! Argh! … Hissss! Bad Horse! Bad Horse! NO CARROTS!”

I warned you! Did you listen to me FROST!? Oh no! You just had to help! It was just a measly old bandit! Not as dangerous as a fire-breathing dragon! ARGH!

I warned you! Did you listen to me FROST!? Oh no! You just had to help! It was just a measly old bandit! Not as dangerous as a fire-breathing dragon! ARGH!

Stop Thief!

I can see two arrows sticking out from him here, maybe  a third out his back. I wonder which arrow killed him though...

I can see two arrows sticking out from him here, maybe a third out his back. I wonder which arrow killed him though…

So I’m running into Riverwood in the middle of the night, and I see a thief being attacked by some guards. I’m a new member of the thieves guild, but I can see no way to get him out of this mess…. I might have been able to calm to guards and cast fear on the thief to make him run away, but I dunno if that’ll work… I might get a bounty you know. I shrug my shoulders and draw my bow. Sorry bud. Old habit.

Once the thief is dead I go to collect my arrow. I see one arrow sticking out of his head where a guard had shot him, but I think my arrow was the one that killed this poor guy… can you see where it landed? O.O Trust me. “OOOOO… That’s gotta hurt!”

WoW Screenshots

Happy New Year! I decided to add in some screen shots of chatter I usually see in the game. You might never see these on WoWBash, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

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