Potema, The Thalmor, and Gallus’s Journal

It’s pretty dark in here, thanks to a new mod I have called Realistic Lighting.

After a long journey north and slightly east, I make it back to Solitude. The last time I was here, I had helped the locals quite a bit. I showed off a dress, chatted with Vitoria about some wine, killed some vampires, and I went delving into a cave to break up a summoning of Potema. All in a day’s work I suppose. Before setting off to infiltrate the Thalmor, I head up to the blue palace. Falk Firebeard had sent a letter to me not long ago. It was funny actually. I was in Solitude, and things were okay, so I go to Whiterun, and first thing I get a letter from Falk bidding me to return to Solitude as soon as possible.

Naturally I took my time.

So when I do go chat with him, he tells me that while the ritual wasn’t complete, Potema is still around. She’s in spirit form and raising dead bodies from the crypts of Solitude. If she gets any more powerful, she’d be quite a force to reckon with. As if the war wasn’t bad enough.

After talking to the priest of Arkay, he tells me to go look for Potema’s remains, which should be deep in Solitude’s catacombs. I make my way down there, and Potema speaks to me. She actually thanks me, since my disrupting the ritual back in the caves prevented her from being bound against her will to a bunch of magicians. My reward is death, so I can be resurrected and serve at her side. I’m sorry, but I like being alive, and the thought of being an undead minion who crumbles apart after a few minutes depending on the strength of the spell… eh… no. Thanks, but no. I’ll just take your remains so that can be sanctified and you can rest in pieces. Once that’s done, and all the draugr under Solitude is dead, I head out and go back up to the priest and give the remains to him. So I’ve saved Solitude twice… and now the jarl asks me to take a horn to a shrine. Swell.

Now I head to the inn and chat with Malborn. He agrees to smuggle my equipment into the Embassy for me. The plan is that I arrive as a party guest, which means I can’t carry my weapons or armor or anything dangerous, but Malborn can sneak it in as he works there as a bartender. I give him everything I can think of, and I put on the dress I once showed off to the jarl in solitude. I have fur, but I didn’t want any cat-calls in my direction. Then I bade Malborn farewell and head to the stables just outside of Solitude.

I hope you got this outfit at Radiant Raiment, Delphine. They’re having a sale this week. 50% off for spies, thieves, and The Blades members.

Delphine is there, and she gives me the invitation to the party so I can get into the embassy. Malborn will then be able to sneak me away from the rest of the party so I can get my gear, and then sneak around the rest of the place on my own. From there I ought to be able to find my way to Elenwin’s office or whatever and see if I can find anything about the dragons returning. Delphine gives me a newer dress, it’s supposed to look fancier than what I have, but I wonder if Delphine has ever been to Radiant Raiment. Ah well. I slip on the party clothes and boots, give Delphine anything I didn’t give to Malborn, then I climb into the carriage and get taken to the embassy.

You’ve got dark patches under your eyes, Elenwin, You getting enough sleep?

I get there and get past the Thalmor guard easily enough, but the first person I encounter inside is Elenwin herself. She’s the Thalmor Ambassdor to Skyrim, and is the leader of the Thalmor in every sense to me. She asks for my name, which I avoid giving, and eventually she leaves me to tend to the other guests so I can make a beeline for the buffet table. Sadly there isn’t one, but Malborn offers me a drink. Then I go walking around and notice that most patrons are the jarls from various holds, or the jarl’s stewards. I meet up with Idgrod Ravencrone, who I helped out and who named me Thane of her hold. I ask her to make a distraction. She says that as an old lady, she can get away with practically anything. I smirk to myself and slip out with Malborn’s assistance.

We pass through the kitchens, where another Khajiit is working. So I guess I’m not the only cat that likes to cook. She claims that a guest in the kitchens is against the rules, and Malborn blackmails her with eating moon sugar. She then says she saw nothing and we move on. I find my things in a chest and take them all out, slip through another door and start sneaking.

I overhear a pair of guards chatting about some new mages that had arrived to help defend in case a dragon attacks, and they laugh in the hopes that the dragon would eat the mages, giving them time to slay the beast. Once they go back on patrol, I sneak about and kill them, and eventually I find myself in another building that’s part of the embassy. Two people are having a chat. From the sounds of the conversation, one guy seems to have betrayed another and wants his payment, and the other guy is a Thalmor twerp. After the conversation is over, I slit the throat of the human traitor and inspect the offices.

I found two dossiers, or notebooks really, that contain information on certain targets. One is on Delphine, who they know is alive and at large in Skyrim, but they have no idea where she is. Orders on her is to capture or kill. The other is one Ulfric Stormcloak. The report on him states that the war should continue in it’s stalemate… The Thalmor don’t want an imperial victory, but they also don’t want a Stormcloak victory. They might be hoping for one side to destroy the other, and they don’t care which. I also found a letter, which reveals that the Thalmor knew nothing about the dragons returning, but they had a prisoner who might reveal someone who does know about it. I decide to visit the Thalmor dungeons to find out who it is.

In the dungeons I kill the soldier and the interrogator, then confront the prisoner. His name is Etienne Rarnis, and he’s a member of the thieves guild. He was captured and brought in for interrogation regarding someone who lives down in the ratway, a man who was a member of the Blades who goes by the name Esbern. I free Etienne and find a Dossier containing more info on Esbern, and that’s when trouble arrives. Malborn was busted, and two Thalmor guards come in and try to get me to surrender. Naturally I kill the guards and steal a key that leads through a trap-door and down into a cave with an ice troll in it. I killed the ice troll, but it killed Malborn. Then again the Thalmor would have been hunting him for the rest of his life anyway… Etienne makes it, and thanks me too, saying I didn’t have to rescue him, but he claims to have seen me in the flagon before, so I couldn’t let a fellow guild-member stay trapped by the Thalmor.

I leave the cave and head east until I return to Winterhold. Karliah is there waiting for me along with Enthir, and I give Enthir the rubbing I had made back in Markarth. He uses it to decode Gallus’s journal. At last, some answers.

Are there any coupons in that book, Enthir?

It turns out Gallus suspected Mercer Frey for some time, believing that he’s been stealing funds from the guild for his own personal pleasures, creature comforts, and luxury. Karliah asks if there’s anything in the journal about the Nightingales, and Enthir mentions something from the journal about the failing the Nightingales, and suspicions that Mercer Frey had desecrated the Twilight Sepulcher.

“Shadows preserve us. It’s true,” Karliah whispers.

They both tell me to get this information to the guild as soon as possible. They need to know of Karliah’s innocence, and of Mercer Frey’s crimes. Mercer Frey has been stealing from the build for years and framing Karliah all the while. It’s time to expose him for the rat he is.

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Adventures of Amaki’dar: The Shadow

After having to deal with the Blackblood Maurauders and a few local vampires and Potema summoners, and after doing a few side quests involving showing off a dress to the Jarl of Solitude (Don’t mind the hole in the back, that’s just for my tail to go through) and being told to check up on a spice shipment down at the port, I finally go and get a drink down in The Winking Skeever. I ask the bartender about the name of his pub, and he explained that he had a pet skeever when he was younger. They were smaller back then. If I had a skeever for a pet it would be just so I could eat it for dinner. Still I smile politely and find the lizard I’ve been looking for.

You can drop the act now, lizard. I’m here about Goldenglow Estate.

Gulum-Ei is an argonian, and has been working at the docks for the East Empire Trading Company, which is a very big company that’s backed by the empire. Wonder what’ll happen to them if and when Ulfric Stormcloak wins the civil war… Hmmm… Maybe we’ll tax them for trading in our country. Anyway, Gulum-Ei is also a member of the thieves guild that operates in Solitude, so he’s a potential fence.

Or was… When I start talking to him, he claims that he doesn’t work for the guild anymore. I ask him about Goldenglow Estate, and he said he doesn’t know anything about it. But after a successful persuasion, I get him to talk. Turns out the buyer came to him and gave him a big sack of gold to act as buyer for Goldenglow estate. Then he says he didn’t know the name of the buyer, but I felt he was lying.

He says, “Look I’ve told you everything I know. I never said I’d have all the answers. Now that our transaction is completed…”

I frown at this. I glance around. Maybe he was pretending we were discussing trades in case we were being overheard. We were in a pub remember. But still, I was a dis-satisfied customer. And what do I do when I’m unhappy with my transaction? I find out where they live, sneak inside in the middle of the night, and steal everything!

He has to be lying. He knows whom I seek. Time to follow him like a little lost orphan kitten. Meow!

So naturally as Gulum-Ei started leaving, I started to follow him at a pace, always keeping him in sight. We go down to the docks and I end up pausing by the kiosk and talking to Vittoria Vici and persuading her to release a shipment of supplies to a shopkeeper up in Solitude. Once that is done I spy Gulum-Ei going into the East Empire Company Warehouse. I go up to the door and notice it’s locked. Heh. As if locks can keep me out. I easily pick it and slip inside unnoticed.

Wow. He’s in the warehouse for this big Imperial Trading company. Being a thief himself I bet he’s smuggling contraband. ^-^

The warehouse has guards patrolling along the gangplanks and boats that are inside. Shelves of crates and goods, armor, weapons, and food, and other things besides draws my eye. It’s a thief’s shmorgasboard in here! But I keep my paws off everything and keep my eyes on the real prize, the sneaky lizard who doesn’t get hassled by the guards at all. I keep to the shadows at all times and tail him… until he doubles back and goes down a ramp and into some water. What the…

I growl to myself since my fur is wet again and notice that there is another ramp leading up and out of the water, much to my delight, and it leads to a path hidden behind a shelf of crates… and to a door in the cavern wall. The whole warehouse is really a very big cave, and my guess is someone must have found a way into another series of caves and kept it hidden. I sneak through the door and find some bandits on guard here.

Soooo, that’s what the lizard is up to! He’s turned his back on the thieves guild and is now pirating goods from the East Empire Trading Company to a bunch of bandits! RAWR! I shoot an arrow into one bandit and then slit the throat of the other. Several more bandits later I have Gulum-Ei cornered.

After killing the other bandits who were in on this smuggling operation, I corner the lizard and get him to talk.

“Now look, there’s no reason to do anything rash!” he says.

And I say, “Hell with that, scale-face. I’m soaking wet, I smell like tuna, and I’m not in a good mood! Now look, Mercer Frey doesn’t have to know about all this, so I’ll forget all this, including my dry cleaning bill, if you’ll tell me who the buyer is!”

“The name of the person you’re after is… Karliah!”

“….erm… Never heard of him.”

“She’s the one who killed the previous guild master, and now she’s after Mercer Frey.”

“Oh that guy… gal… Great. Thanks for the info. By the way, do you know where she is?”

“She mumbled something about, where the end began.”

“Right. Okay. See you later.”

“You’re coming back?!”

“Yeah, I stole some nice things from a shop earlier, I thought you’d fence them… unless you’d rather I killed you?”

“No no, I’ll buy whatever you’ve stolen.”

“Cool deal. Smell ya later.”

So yeah, the slimy lizard lives. I left the caves and came out just north of Solitude. After a quick stay at the inn I decide to head back down to Whiterun where my new house is and drop off some of the things I stole from the cave I found Gulum-Ei in. Before I leave I take one last walk around Solitude. I did a great service for these people in stopping the summoning of Potema the wolf queen not too long ago, so I was fast on the way to becoming a Thane in Solitude. Finally I leave the city and start my long walk to Whiterun.

Hey, I can see the lighthouse from here!

In Whiterun I store some cool weapons I don’t want to get rid of, I disenchant a couple of items and then I mix a few potions and sell them. I was just on my way to the blacksmith when a courier comes up to me and delivers a letter.

It’s from Falk Firebeard in Solitude. He wants me to come back immediately.

Facepalm. I just left there last night and he wants me to come back?! ARGH! DUDE! Why didn’t he say something before I left!? I sigh to myself and think, Oh hell with that, I’m going back to the thieves guild!

But oh wait, while putting books in a chest in my house, I come across the letter I got from the tomb of the Windcaller. I have to track down whoever took the horn and get it to the Greybreads as soon as I can. The Sleepy Giant Inn, eh? I know the place, it’s in Riverwood, just south of Whiterun. Guess I can drop by and see what’s what…

Services in Solitude

Well, first off I made it to Solitude. This is supposed to be the place you go when you’re siding with the Imperial Army, but that’s not what I’m after. First I sneak into a shop and make changes in their ledger for the thieves guild. Then as I’m looking around an Argonian speaks to me, telling me that if I ever get bored, then I should talk to him. I already have a lot on my plate, but I chat with him anyway. Seems he has a job to do and is willing to hire me to get it done. He works with/runs the Blackblood Marauders and since the city knows them, it’s pretty risky for him to even be in town. So since his boys can’t do the job, a Purr-fect stranger could. He hires me to go put out the lighthouse so a ship can crash into the ice… The Icerunner is gonna go run upon some ice apparently. I take the job on the promise of some extra loot to gain.

My associates are the Thieves Guild. You REALLY want me to tell them about your profitable little store? *snicker*

Before I leave however, I decide to lighten my load as much as I can. I sell extra weapons, armor, and gems to the local shopkeepers. As I finish one particular transaction, the shopkeeper tells me to be sure to mention her business to my associates. I turn away and grin, and I walk outside and notice the shadowmark just next to her door. If I’m not mistaken, they’re already well aware.

Now being a member of the thieves guild, I wonder if this lighthouse job would clash against them, but I decided it probably wouldn’t. After all, it’s more gold for the guild, right? Why not. So I run down to the lighthouse and put out the big old bonfire on top of it. Then I race back to the docks to meet up with the lizard, Jaree-Ra. He tells me to meet up with his sister Deeja at the wreckage for my cut and then I part ways with him, opting to swim across the river to the marshes and make my way north to the wreckage.

I look bored? You look lazy!

By the time I get there the ship is crawling with marauders, who pay no attention to me, except to tell me to go down below where Deeja is. As I go through the ship I notice they already cleaned it out of most of the loot. Chests are empty, supplies mostly gone. I get a little suspicious, especially when I find Deeja and see that she’s standing near a couple of open and empty chests. She then tells me that the loot is already taken out, and that my reward is to be a swift death. I slash her to pieces and the marauder that comes in from behind me and then immediately settle into a crouch. Time to sneak out of here, kill the pirates, and find out where the loot is. I look through Deeja’s pockets. She had a note from Jaree-ra saying to send to loot to Broken-Oar Grotto. So, after slashing the throats of the rest of the marauders, I check my map and start running to my new destination.

Several dead marauders later, I steal whatever I can find in the caves then go back up to the city and sell it. Now Jaree-Ra said that the things on the Imperial ship would not be missed, and I was thinking I’d help the war effort in favor of the Stormcloaks by taking a lot of weapons and armor away from the Imperials… Yet where do I sell all this stuff I’ve pillaged? In Solitude.

Facepalm.

So I do a few side jobs in town. I show off a dress to the Jarl of Solitude, the woman who’s claiming to be high Queen of Skyrim even there was no vote on it. When a King dies in Skyrim, a moot, which is a meeting of the Jarls, is supposed to happen where they get together and sort of appoint the next high king. Well, Jarl Ulfric challenged the old high king to a duel and killed him, and his wife is now the Jarl of Solitude in that high king’s old place, and she thinks that also allows her to assume the mantle of High Queen of Skyrim. That just doesn’t seem right to me, especially as I walk in I witness a meeting. A villager is asking for help with something, and at first the Jarl says she’ll send a whole military force to help with this problem, but then her advisers dissuade her… so I feel like this Jarl is more of a puppet. Well, I guess we all know who I won’t be voting for if ever I’m asked to take part in the moot. Anyway, one of the advisers sends me to the cave to check it out and see if it’s just animals or something more sinister. Another adviser is a wizard who sends me to kill some vampires.

Now why would someone go through the trouble of building a castle underground and put on a light show?

Deceased Vampires and summoners later I return. The vampire job was easy peasy, but the other quest was not. Turns out there was a summoning ritual going on to bring Potema back to life. I disrupted it gloriously, and get rewarded for my efforts.

Now I head into the Winking Skeever next and find another Argonian. Yep, this is my day for lizards. Why do I wish I was wearing a pair of alligator skin boots suddenly? Ah well. Now I’m on business with the thieves guild. Time to get some answers!

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