Snow Veil Sanctum Answer

I was looking at my blog stats this morning and came across something interesting. In one of my stats I get to see how people reached my blog, and one of them is searches. One of the searches was this:

snow veil sanctum after you are shot you end up outside is there any reason to go back in

I never went back before, to be honest. Snow Veil Sanctum is only accessible during the Thieves Guild quest line, and going in there not only gets you ahead in the quest line for the Guild, but there are some rewards to discover as you go through the tomb. The dungeon is almost a test of your skills, but sometimes Mercer Frey will attack when you’re trying to sneak past a group of draugr, or you try to kill one and he wakes the other five nearby.

However, there are some notable items that can be found in the sanctum while you are tripping the traps and waking angry demented zombies:

  • Model Ship can be sold to Delvin Mallory (when attempting to pick up the model ship, avoid shooting the explosive lanterns above, as they will throw items nearby all around the area making it difficult to loot some of them).
  • Light Armor skill-book Ice and Chitin in the same room as the Dragon Word Wall
  • Skill book, Three Thieves – bone chimes room.
  • Word Wall – Disarm

The word wall for the Disarm shout is one of the last things of interest in the ruins, except for the quest itself. Once you’re shot, the quest ends and the new one starts when you recover outside. The last room in the dungeon is locked with a puzzle door, and Mercer Frey uses his own “key” for unlocking it, and if you’ve completed the entire quest line, you’ll know which key this is. When you go in, you get shot and a cut scene occurs. Once it’s over you’re outside the sanctum. The only thing worthy of note in that last room is a skeleton, presumed to be Gallus.

If you managed to find the skill books, the model ship, and the dragon shout, and if you completed the quest in question, then there is no real reason for going back in there unless you wanted to sneak past Draugr that might have respawned. I wouldn’t know because I’ve never gone back, never saw a need to since I always get the word wall and the model ship, which are the two things I recommend getting if you never want to go back in there again.

I hope whoever was searching for the answer to their question reads this, and I hope it helps.

Eyes open. Walk with the Shadows.

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Bug Found: Kjar and the quest “Harsh Master”

It was a fine Fredas day for Amaki’dar when she decided to visit the docks of Windhelm, where she meets all the argonians working there. After a quick chat with some of them, I discover three quests that have thus far escaped my notice. The first is to steal some Double-Distilled-Skooma for an argonian names Stands-In-Shallows.

I pause for a moment and ponder. The names of some of these lizards make me think of “Dances With Wolves.” Stands In Shallows sounds like a name given to an Indian boy who was afraid to go swimming with the other kids, or maybe he caught fish that way, by standing in the shallows and throwing a net out or something. Hmm. It makes me wonder, as a Khajiit, what would my name if… hmm, how about Paws-At-Fish? Meows-A-Lot? Wind-In-Her-Fur? Pounces-With-Claws? Waltzes-With-Skeevers? Scratch that last… >.<

The second quest comes from an argonian who seems to stay happy no matter how bleak things are. Although she wishes she had her amulet. Shahvee asks me to go find it and I agree to help her out, if only because her outlook on life is an inspiration.

The third quest is from a human, a nord if I’m not mistaken, who is a captain of a ship named Kjar… no, the captain is named Kjar, I don’t know what the ship’s name is… Anyway, he talks about how one of his crew members ran off to be a thief instead of living the hard but worthwhile life of a sailor. I clamp my mouth shut and don’t say a word; I’m a thief myself, and being a cat, I don’t like the idea of being on a boat. I’m on one right now talking to him, and he’ll be lucky I don’t cough up a hairball due to seasickness. At any rate, he asks me to go find his ex-sailor-turned-thief of his and do him in. If I kill him, then Kjar will give me a years worth of pay. I have no idea how much a sailor makes of course, but the idea of getting paid is to my liking as long as I don’t have to be on the freaking boat. I accept and leave the docks.

Turns out that two of these quests leads me to old places I’ve been in and encounter old enemies. As I’ve said before I finished all the main quests, so you can imagine my surprise when I arrived at Gallows Rock and discover that the Silver Hand are there. I could have sworn I killed them all when they killed Kodlak Whitemane. Nevertheless, this group is dedicated to hunting werewolves, and they’re sworn enemies of The Companions since the inner circle is comprised of werewolves. I’d better get rid of this bunch before they attack Jorrvaskr again. In the last chamber, it seems that Krev the Skinner is alive, again! Turns out, according the the Skyrim Wiki, that he can respawn after the quest is completed. I kill him again anyway. “AND STAY DEAD!” I yowl. Then I take the necklace and leave. Why werewolf hunters would steal a necklace from a lizard, I really do not know…

The second quest I undertake is killing the bandit leader. This time I go to Uttering Hills Cave. It sounds familiar and I remember why when I approach and see two men in what appears to be thieves guild armor. Yes, of course. The Summerset Shadows! There was a quest for the Thieves Guild where one of the locals lost a family member and some thief stole a necklace from them. The Summerset Shadows breaks into the hall of the dead and steal from people’s graves, though the guild leader also threatens to kill, and often does kill his targets. Their guild was trying to muscle in on our territory, so I went in and cleared them out, and burned their banner as well. Yet it looks like they’re back, just like the darn old Silver Hand. ARGH! So I go in and kill all the thieves, I notice that the banner is still burnt to dust, and then I look in the boss’s room and he’s not there. Wait. What?

This is where I found the bug. I did some digging and I found this information. Apparently this bug can happen on the PC, PS3, or Xbox versions of the game. From the Skyrim Wiki:

  • If the special job in Windhelm for the Thieves Guild has been completed ,wiping out the Summerset Shadows, they will again appear in Uttering Hills Cave. The problem with this is there is no leader where the map marker points making it incompletable as it is assumed it is Linwe.

When I went into the room where the bandit leader normally is, the marker was there at about head height, but no target was under it for me to kill. Fortunately, for the PC version of the game, there’s a way to fix it.

  • It is possible to bypass this bug on the PC by typing into the console “setstage FreeformShipsWindhelm 15” (without the quotation marks).

So I loaded the console, typed in the setstage thing, and the marker vanished from the room. The quest was completed, return to Kjar! Nice! Does that mean I could have completed the quest while standing in front of the guy and never going out to the cave at all, maybe so, but that would be cheating. In my case, it’s fixing a bug.

And another thing I noticed under this article:

  • If Krev the Skinner has been killed during the quest of the Companions, it’s possible that he/she will reappear at Gallows rock due to both Companion quest bug and this quests bug.

Oh, VERY FUNNY! Of course!!! Well I don’t know of any bugs I’m encountering in the Companions, so maybe that was fixed but not this one. Hrm.

Anyway, Now that the bandit is *cough* dead, I can go turn the quest in and steal some skooma. I hope this blog helps out anyone who’s ever got the misfortune to encounter this bug and I also hope it helps. Warm sands, friends!

What to do in Skyrim: part 4

Third visit into this place. I swear, I might as well move in at this rate. Set up my own Skooma maker stuff.... good stuff. ^-^

Third visit into this place. I swear, I might as well move in at this rate. Set up my own Skooma maker stuff…. good stuff. ^-^

We last saw our Khajiit friend, Amaki’dar, standing on the cliff edge watching the sun rise as she gazes over the map. If you were a courier and you wanted a good time, where in The Rift would you go? You’d go to the nearest Skooma dealer perhaps, unless you got mugged first! On this find Loredas day, my map is telling me that the courier I’m looking for is in the Redwater Den. I have visited this place before, and it had body guards, a skooma dealer, and customers coughing and retching from skooma overdose, and in the back, behind locked doors, was a series of caves where the redwater skooma was created… by vampires. Having been there before and killing them all, I do not expect to find anything or anyone. But then again, if the courier was attacked, kidnapped… then maybe bandits have moved in. I decide to go there and sneak around.

A dagger of dwemer make that has magicka, stamina, and health enchantments all rolled into one. Three stats. The most I can enchant is two.

A dagger of dwemer make that has magicka, stamina, and health enchantments all rolled into one. Three stats. The most I can enchant is two.

When I arrive I find that the vampires are no longer hiding only in the back. A thrall is standing guard at the entrance, and the skooma dealer is no longer behind the counter with protective bars around her, and a vampire is sitting where a customer would have been. It looks like the ruse is up. Vampires used their thralls to bring back skooma addicts and would feed off of them, but now no customers remain at all. After killing two vampires and two thralls, I find myself in the brewery where they process the skooma, and I find a cage where the courier is… dead. I search his pockets, and I make an extraordinary find: a strange looking dagger named Keening. It pulses with magical energy, clearly enchanted to absorb 10 magicka, stamina, and health all at one. I have never seen it’s equal. As I look it over, I can’t help but wonder to myself, Arniel, what are you up to?

Purdy! MINE!

Purdy! MINE!

Back in Riften, I check in The Bee and Barb to speak with the wary outlaw. The outlaw wants me to kill a visiting noble up in the Dragonsreach in Whiterun. I go to the thieves guild and get new assignments. This time I chose to do a bedlam job, which is to steal as much as you can in goods from one city. 500 gold worth of items from Windhelm, and I think I know just the place too. The other job is a burglary from Vex. It’s another jeweled candlestick. Ironically, I turned one in to her, and the next job is the same object. According to her, we had it in our possession, and it somehow wound up back in another person’s house, so I’d be stealing it again. Gee, you had it for two seconds and it’s what… now in a house in Solitude? Damn. That was fast… maybe not fast-travel… but fast! Vex, you’re taking a pay cut!

Well, since it looks like I’ll be heading to Solitude soon, I’d better get something for the kids. Actually, I might send them to live in Lakeview manor, so they can’t witness any robberies I do. Don’t want to be such a bad influence, you know? I better get some taffy treats…

As for Fort Dawnguard, I do get to keep the axe I retrieved, but when I go to upgrade it I find that my dragonbone daggers are actually better. I’m more of an archer than an axe swinger anyway, so this axe will look great on a weapon rack. Next, Gunmar has a mission for me. I have to go to Winterhold (again it’s on my way, sort of) and seek out a man named Kraldar, who can point me to the lair of a master vampire, so I can find it and slay it.

Largashbur

Pardon me, do you have any Gray Poupon?

Pardon me, do you have any Gray Poupon?

Loredas, 5:37 PM – I have a few hours till sunset, so I decide to make the most of it and go towards Falkreath. Shiekwind Bastion is my next destination, as it has a book I need to retrieve for the college. Along the way I go farther south and off the road, and I find a giant attacking an orc stronghold. I help to slay it, and an orc warrior tells me to leave and goes back into the stronghold. Yeah… you’re welcome! But wait, another orc, up on the battlements wearing a robe. I assume she’s a healer or someone of great importance to the stronghold. She explains that their leader has forbidden any orcs from leaving the stronghold, that their god Malacath is angry with them, and sends giants to punish them for their timidity. This orc wants to perform a ritual to please Malacath however, but she cannot leave the stronghold. So she asks me to bring her some troll fat and a daedra heart. I ask here where could I find a daedra heart, and her response was, “From a daedra of course!”

I roll my eyes. Yeah, right. I’ll just mosey on along, go to Fort X or Cave Y and kill fifty daedra to get Z hearts for ya. Piece of cake, yeah. I’ll get back to ya! *runs off*

Shriekwind Overlook. You come to this exit, then look down and try to spit on someone... or use your ethereal shout to jump down without a scratch!

Shriekwind Overlook. You come to this exit, then look down and try to spit on someone… or use your ethereal shout to jump down without a scratch!

Sundas 5:20 PM – I went through Shriekwind Bastion and found that book for Urag gro-Shub, the orc librarian up in the college. Now I’m all set to return to Winterhold to being the book back, deliver the dagger to Arniel, and question a local civilian about a master vampire’s whereabouts. At the moment, though I’m in Whiterun. This visiting noble I’m supposed to kill is a bit snobby. He’s sitting at one of the long tables in the main hall of Dragonsreach, in plain view of the jarl and all. I hide behind a pillar, settle into a crouch, and start slipping him poisons into his pocket, one by one. The third one fails, but the result is unexpected. He should have jumped up and attacked me, and I should have gotten a small bounty for pickpocketing. Instead he remains sitting and says, “You’ll live for now!” and I get no bounty. Odd. Maybe the jarl gave the wary outlaw a pardon if he’d arrange this contract to get this noble out of the way. Politics. I hate it.

Since the reverse-pickpocket method backfired on me, I step farther back and cast fury at the noble. Works like a charm! he jumps up, pulls a knife out, dashes at me… wait, WHAT!? I stand up and slash at him with my dagger that I have equipped in my left hand and kill him that way. Then the quest is complete and I don’t have any bounties at all. Huh. Okay then!

Amaki’dar to the Rescue!

The view of the lake from the Guardian Stones is beautiful.

The view of the lake from the Guardian Stones is beautiful.

Back in Jorrvaskr, Aela gives me 300 gold once again for killing an invading predator, the troll up in that lair at the edge of the Rift, and I decide to talk to one of the twins for something different. I’m a tad tired of beast slaying for the moment, and Aela’s been standing in that same spot for days waiting for me to come back. Poor girl must be tired. Anyway, one of the brothers tells me that someone got kidnapped and I have to go save him. The place that the victim is being held hostage, guess where? Redwater Den.

My eyes bulge and I do a double take. Wait. WHAT!? I just came from there yesterday and the day before that methinks! I’ve visited that place two times already, and now I have to go back again!? ARGH! And that’s not the worst of it. I have to make sure he gets back to Solitude. Good God, what a long walk that’s gonna be!

M'aiq on the bridge, not far from Redwater Den. Got skooma?

M’aiq on the bridge, not far from Redwater Den. Got skooma?

Since I do have a burglary job to do in Solitude, I decide to go save the civilian, escort him to Solitude, then commit the crime there. Along the way to the rift, I encounter a skooma dealer, whom I pickpocket and then kill, and not long after that I meet M’aiq along a bridge. It’s been a while since I last saw him, and I was just thinking about him too. Well, speak of the devil… This time he mentions that he once climbed up to High Hrothgar, and that there were so many steps that he lost count, then he chats about fast traveling versus carriages and that they are all the same to him, and then about how he once got into trouble in Riften and ran away to Windhelm since nobody there cared. Ah… got busted for skooma, M’aiq? HAH!

This is the hunter who got bitten by a vampire. Turn around, follow the road, you'll come upon Riften, Either the shrine to Talos or the temple of Mara can cure ya. Good luck!

This is the hunter who got bitten by a vampire. Turn around, follow the road, you’ll come upon Riften, Either the shrine to Talos or the temple of Mara can cure ya. Good luck!

A hunter comes up to me asking if I have a cure disease potion, which I do not have, and he leaves to go find a priest. He got attacked by vampires and wants to be cured before he turns into one, but I get him to show me where he encountered them. Truthfully my map doesn’t update because I already discovered it, but the game won’t tell me where the vampires are. Then I think to myself, It doesn’t matter. Vampires are everywhere! *Cue twilight zone theme.*

I've had just about enough of this place, have you? If I ever have to come back, it will be way too soon!

I’ve had just about enough of this place, have you? If I ever have to come back, it will be way too soon!

Sure enough, the vampires are back in Redwater Den, along with their thralls. I kill a few, ponder whether or not it’d be worth it to clear the whole place out just to be safe, but ignore them all and go right back to the prison cell where I found the courier last time. Sure enough, the kidnapped guy is in there. It’s Ahtar, the executioner from Solitude. He even still had his deadly executioner’s axe with him! I unlock the cell and he says, “Thank the divines! Let’s move!” and then I lead the way out of the den.

As we pass a farming settlement, two Vigilants of Stendar are attackign a vampire. At first Ahtar stays back while the vampire runs and cowers. Then when I score a few hits with my arrows, the vampire starts attacking, and Ahtar draws his two-handed axe and joins in the fray. The Vigilants thank us once the vampire is dead, and I loot some dust and a ring from the undead-nowdead-bloodsucker.

So he helps take down one vampire but never used his beheading skills to keep himself from being kidnapped in the first place?

So he helps take down one vampire but never used his beheading skills to keep himself from being kidnapped in the first place?

Morndas, 2:00 AM – We pass up Darkwater crossing. I keep glancing back to make sure Ahtar is still following me, and he is. By 4 AM, we get to the Valtheim Towers, and a bandit turns to me and says that this is a toll road and I have to pay a fine. She asks for 200 gold, I persuade her with 50, and after a moment of hesitation she agrees and tells me to move on before she gets into trouble. She then turns her back on me, and I pickpocket my gold back, plus three lockpicks. Shame I won’t see her face when her boss finds out!

As the sun rises, Ahtar and I walk past the western watchtower and an imperial warrior comes out of the shrubberies, wanting to fight. It’s not a soldier of the legion, just a random vagabond wanting some glory or something. I use my unrelenting force shout and knock him off his feet and then pelt him with arrows while Ahtar cheers me on. Once the imperial is dead, Ahtar looks him over and comments, “Poor bastard’s probably better off.” Two more times he says that, each time when I kill a challenger or a skooma dealer.

We also see M’aiq the Lair, who now claims that the dragons we never really gone, but were just invisible and very, very quiet. Then some comment about werebears, and then, “It does not matter how strong or smart one is. It only matters what one can do.” Hmm.

Now the trip becomes more interesting as we pass through a bandit camp. I accidentally shoot at Ahtar, and get a bounty of 40 gold on my head in Haafingar. I try sheathing my weapon, but Ahtar keeps swinging his axe at me. As a last resort I hit him with a calm spell. A minute later, farther down to road, the spell wears off and he resumes attacking me. I calm him down again, and he tells me off for it. I guess some people hate having magic cast at them, but it’s a good thing I have such a high level in illusion magic. Now I have to try and get Ahtar home without him chopping my head off!

Finally I reach Dragonbridge. A guard says, “Wait, I know you!” then exits conversation and draws his axe. Oh bloody hell. I draw my bow, then sheathe it. This prompts the guard to stop attacking and order me to stop right there. I then tell him I’m a member of the thieves guild and offer 20 gold to clear my bounty. The deal is done, and the guards as well as Ahtar are no longer hostile to me.

I'm not sorry to see the back of this guy.

I’m not sorry to see the back of this guy.

I hate axes suddenly. Really. It seems like everyone wants to chop me to pieces lately. I escort the deranged executioner the rest of the way to Solitude, and I eventually am able to take my leave. He thanks me and tells me to send regards to the rest of the companions, but I think I’ll leave this one out. I run past him now and go into Solitude, say hi to the kids and tell them to pack up and go live in Lakeview manor, and then I go steal the candlestick from Evette San’s house.

Evette San died a while ago, I know because a courier came up to me with a letter of inheritance, but I don’t know how she died at all. Now I got 100 gold in inheritance from that, and she has this beautiful golden, gem encrusted candlestick in her house? I helped her get her latest shipment released from the East Empire Company, and I saved the Burning of King Olaf festival which in turn raised her profits, and all I got when she died was 100 gold pieces? Makes me wanna ransack the rest of her house entirely! In actuality, I merely take all the cheese off the shelf.

Next Stop: Windstad Manor, the Dawnstar Sanctuary, and the College of Winterhold!

What to Do When You’ve “Finished” Skyrim (part 3)

In keeping with the rules of this adventure, I am still avoiding using fast-travel to get around Skyrim, as well as avoiding use of the wait feature. I am also not traveling by carriages. My only method of travel is limited to on foot, werewolf, or on a horse. This game is being played at Legendary difficulty with most of the regular quests completed, so the quests I am doing are considered radiant, which to me means repeatable.

A New Day

Once again, Amaki’dar has several quests to complete in Skyrim. Florentus, from the Dawnguard, wishes for me to find an axe in a place called Bloodlet Throne, which is in the mountains in the south near Falkreath; I have a target to kill for the Dark Brotherhood in Ivarstead; I need to pickpocket Arcadia’s Flawless Emerald in Whiterun; Then I have to find a book called “Children of the Sky” in the ruins of Volunruud. I also forgot to steal a jeweled goblet from Romlyn Dreth’s house in Riften. Since this one is the closest, Khajiit will start with that one. This one departs Fort Dawnguard on foot. May the road lead me to warm sands.

I sneak along behind Babette for two minutes, and she runs and hides from a wolf. Some vampire! BAH!

I sneak along behind Babette for two minutes, and she runs and hides from a wolf. Some vampire! BAH!

Turdas, 12:25 AM – I remember that vampires tend to roam in the night hours between 10 PM and 5 AM or thereabouts. I meet Babette once again in the open, and her victim was a khajiit wearing ebony armor. Tough armor. Makes me hope I never have to fight her, but lil’ Babette knows I’m the Listener for the Dark Brotherhood, so this is one vampire I don’t have to worry about.

Yet as I walk away it occurred to me – what happens if Babette encountered anything else on the road? I grin and sit around to wait a while. I hope to see if anything happens. Before long, Babette yells, “Why are they hurting each other? Ahh! I’m getting out of here!” But she’s standing still as an elk runs about as if from a predator. I wonder if this is one of her little ruses to tempt human victims into getting close enough for her to bite them, but then a wolf bounds out of the underbrush and chases Babette, who runs and cowers fearfully!

This kid killed a khajiit wearing ebony mail, yet runs from a lone wolf? Maybe Babette really only found the body and drank it’s blood… after all she has no weapons on her I think, and she doesn’t use any magic to avoid the wolf at all, but merely and meekly seeks a hiding place, crouches, and covered her head with her arms. I step in and kill the wolf, and Babette walks away, saying she has to get back to the sanctuary before dawn.

Ah ha. Well I’ve seen enough!

Can you see the shadowmark?

Can you see the shadowmark?

Back in Riften, I successfully steal the jeweled goblet and returned it to vex. My next burglary is also in Riften. This time it’s an ornate drinking horn in Valindor’s house. I go over and pick the lock to get inside. Much to my surprise there is a thief inside the house already, and Valindor isn’t home! The rogue thief is already injured and starts running to and fro like a chicken with it’s head cut off. So I cast Calm on him, and he sits down at the table and has a drink! Weird!

I calm a thief down and he sits for a drink like he owns the place.

I calm a thief down and he sits for a drink like he owns the place.

I steal the horn and get out. Once outside, I wonder what will happen next, but I shrug it off. I wasn’t going to stand around waiting for the Calm spell to wear off and see if the thief tries to make a run for it. I got back to the Ragged Flagon and hand the horn over to Vex. The next job is the retrieve the jeweled candlestick from Belyn Hlaalu’s house in Windhelm. This time it can wait a while. It ought to still be there later. Time to head out of Riften and traverse Skyrim once more!

Ivarstead, the Bloodlet Throne, and Volunruud

Fury spells are fun to cast in cases like this.

Fury spells are fun to cast in cases like this.

5:50 AM, and I’ve just left Riften, turning west to get to Ivarstead. Instead of following the road, I’m going through the wilderness until I chance upon the Rift Watchtower, which seems to be home to orc bandits. I clear them out and continue through the woods, collecting butterfly wings and flowers along the way.

Once I get there I find the target easy enough. It’s a beautiful barbarian, who’s wearing Stormcloak Officer armor and wielding a two-handed axe. She’s standing in plain sight just outside the inn, so I come up with an idea. I sneak off behind the inn and stand next to a tree in the shadows, right near the river, and I cast a fury spell at her. She drew her weapon and started attacking the guards, and they killed her. And yes, you can get credit that way. As long as the target dies, whether by your hand or otherwise, you’ll complete the quest. I still had a hand in it simply by casting the spell of course, so of course it works.

Ah, this is where the vampires play with their food methinks!

Ah, this is where the vampires play with their food methinks!

3:46 PM – I reach the Bloodlet Throne, so now it’s time to see where this Dawnguard Rune Axe is. The keep is larger than it appears to be, most of what I explore is underground in some icy caverns. I guess vampires like the cold. I eventually fight my way down into the deepest part of the place. Two arrows is enough to make the master vampire turn invisible and make a run for it while another vampire and three death hounds chase me as I chase the master vampire. Trust me, chasing an invisible enemy is the most obnoxious thing to do!

Beautiful Axe. I wonder if Florentus will let me keep it...

Beautiful Axe. I wonder if Florentus will let me keep it…

My archery skill has reached 51, so I select the perks that allow me to recover twice as many arrows (Hunter’s Discipline) and a 50% chance to make all but the most powerful opponents stagger (Power Shot). I find the axe in a chest near where the mast vampire had been sitting. It looks beautiful. Florentus said that if used against the undead, it’s power increases, but diminishes each dawn. I wonder if I ought to test that, but I shrug and slip the axe into my bandolier.

8:37 PM – I exit the keep and decide to run wild as a werewolf for a change. I take a few shortcuts, ignoring the roads much of the way, dash past 3 guards as I go through Riverwood, then take to the woods again and reach the plains before Whiterun just as my werewolf form wears off. I did encounter some bandits well before Riverwood. Killing them and eating their hearts extended my time just enough. In fact the timing was perfect. I change back, re-equip my armor and bow, and run across the fields and head into Whiterun.

Aela the huntress. Sometimes I wish I could have my own armor just like hers, but I can't put green warpaint on me. Maybe if it were in red... nah, I like green!

Aela the huntress. Sometimes I wish I could have my own armor just like hers, but I can’t put green warpaint on me. Maybe if it were in red… nah, I like green!

My timing was a bit off this time however. While I arrived in Whiterun at about midnight, it had to stand outside Arcadia’s Cauldron and wait till it’s after 1 AM before I can pick the lock and sneak inside. Still, I manage to pickpocket her as she sleeps and I leave without detection. Now with her emerald in my pocket, I head into Jorrvaskr. Aela pays me 300 gold for the snowy sabre cat I had killed in Winterhold, and I ask her for more work. Now I have to go clear out a troll lair known as Clearspring Tarn. First though I want to head to Volunruud to pick up that book for the college, then I’ll head back up to Dawnstar and speak to the night mother once again for another Dark Brotherhood contract. But while I’m in Whiterun, I head into my house, Breezehome, and store a lot of things before going to sleep. I only sleep for six hours, waking up in time for the stores to open so I can sell anything I don’t need.

Normally you have to go into two separate areas of Volunruud to get a sword and an axe to put into the door. Thankfully I've already done that months ago, so the ceremonial weapons are still there.

Normally you have to go into two separate areas of Volunruud to get a sword and an axe to put into the door. Thankfully I’ve already done that months ago, so the ceremonial weapons are still there.

Fredas, 8:55 AM – Setting out on foot once again I head north of Whiterun. I encounter only a Khajiit skooma dealer, so I pickpocket all his things, carefully, and then kill him. I head straight to the doubel doors in Volunruud, since I’ve been in here before. The ceremonial sword and axe are still in the doors, so I just go inside and kill a few draugr and a ghost, get the book out of a chest, and get out.

On my way back to the College of Winterhold.

On my way back to the College of Winterhold.

I return to the Dawnstar Sanctuary, and the nightmother sends me back to that wary outlaw in Riften again. He must have a lot of enemies. Still, since he pays 1200 gold per kill, it’s almost worth it, especially if I don’t get caught! I leave Dawnstar and return to the College of Winterhold to give the orc in the library the book he wanted me to find.

Yes, when will the 4E 402 almanac be available, sir?

Yes, when will the 4E 402 almanac be available, sir?

Arneil’s Endeavor

6:39 PM – While I’m still at the college, I go visit Arniel. The last time I saw him, he asked me to use a sort of soul gem, bringing it to three separate Dwarven Convectors, putting the gem inside, and casting Arniel’s fire spell at it for three seconds. He’s trying to discover how and why the dwemer disappeared instantly, and his last project didn’t work, so I had to take the warped soul gem to use in the convectors for him. Once that was done he told me that the final piece would be arriving soon. Well it’s been a few days, so I go check up on him to see how he’s coming with his experiment. I mean if he’s successful, he might be able to contact the dwemer themselves! Needless to say I am intrigued.

Quit pouting! I'll get you another balloon!

Quit pouting! I’ll get you another balloon!

Well today he’s distressed to no end. He already paid Enthir to get something for him, and Enthir isn’t holding up to his end of the bargain. I go talk to Enthir. After all I am guild master of the thieves guild, and while Enthir isn’t as criminal as he’s let you believe, he does serve as a fence and will buy stolen goods. Still, I just have to wonder if he’s really failed to uphold his end of the deal or if this is a Thieves Guild scheme I’m not aware of. Turns out neither is the case: Enthis has no idea what he shipment is, in fact Arniel is the one who made all the arrangements. All Enthir did was arrange for someone to deliver the item from Morrowind. The courier made it as far as the Rift, but has now disappeared along with the package. I can only hope to find whatever it is soon, wherever it is.

Don't you ever get tired of bread? What about a pizza? Or a taco?

Don’t you ever get tired of bread? What about a pizza? Or a taco?

I travel south to Windhelm, and I break into a house to steal the jeweled candlestick for the guild. Ah yes, a jeweled candlestick. The dark elf who owned it snoozed on as I snatch it off his dresser and sneak out.

A jeweled candlestick up for grabs. So easy to be a thief.

A jeweled candlestick up for grabs. So easy to be a thief.

Loredas, 1:05 AM – Now I’m on my way back to the Rift once  again, although this time I know I have to clear out a troll lair. From what I can see, it’s located along the mountains bordering the volcanic region in Eastmarch and the forests of The Rift. In fact, the troll lair is directly south from Windhelm, but I know I’d have to take a winding mountain path to get up there. So I decide to ignore the roads for the time being and cross the rumbling, steaming, volcanic area.

There was a blizzard as I was running from Winterhold to Windhelm, but I got tired of it and shouted Clear Skies. Look at the wonderful northern lights, and now I don't have to shovel snow from my sidewalk!

There was a blizzard as I was running from Winterhold to Windhelm, but I got tired of it and shouted Clear Skies. Look at the wonderful northern lights, and now I don’t have to shovel snow from my sidewalk!

I eventually end up at Darkwater Crossing, after taking part in a battle between bandits and vampires with help from Stormcloak guards. I remember the best way to get to the troll lair, having been in there before, and I take the road along the side of the mountain, occasionally following a dirt path that serves as a shortcut. As predicted, it was a zigzagging walking up the side of the cliffs bordering Eastmarch and The Rift. I find the cave in due time, and discover only one troll inside of it, and only one arrow was all it took to kill it.

The volcanic area of Eastmarch, just south of Windhelm. Not only are their cracks in the ground where steam comes up, but there are also pools of water and geysers. They're no old faithful, but still... whatta sight.

The volcanic area of Eastmarch, just south of Windhelm. Not only are their cracks in the ground where steam comes up, but there are also pools of water and geysers. They’re no old faithful, but still… whatta sight.

I stand outside the cave, trying to spot my house in Windhelm from my view point, and reflect for a minute. I’m now at level 73, my archery is at 54 and my sneak at 46. Now I decide to see if I can focus on Arniel’s Endeavor. According to Enthir, the courier is somewhere in The Rift. According to my map, though, the courier is indeed in The Rift, and is in fact in Redwater Den, a place I know of to be a skooma hideout run by vampires. Why didn’t I think of this place before? I was ready to search troll lairs and bear dens. I should have known better. What’s more, the skooma den is directly south of where I am. So close. Coincidence? Hmm.

pondering

Continued in part 4: https://amakiowlaf.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/what-to-do-in-skyrim-part-4/

What To Do When you’ve “finished” Skyrim. (part 2)

So I finally found the time to stop by the orphanage in Riften and talk to the matron there. They are allowing adoptions at last, though I’ve been hesitating to get a second kid so far. The first was the little girl begging in Whiterun. Before I can adopt, the matron asks a few questions. First, “What is your name?”

“Amaki’dar.”

“What do you do for a living?”

…. I have to think about this one. Firstly, I am Dragonborn. I am also Harbringer of the Companions, Arch Mage at the College of Winterhold, I am an adventurer, but also a mercenary, an assassin, and a thief. Gee, how shall I answer. Just for the fun of it, I answer that I’m an assassin, and then a thief. Both times she asks if I am joking. Finally I tell her I’m a mercenary and she agrees to let me adopt a child. I pick one kid,  boy named Samuel, and he starts packing for the house in Solitude where my other orphan resides. Now, time to go earn enough gold to support my family! So much to do!

"I'm a lot of things. Talk about multitasking!"

“I’m a lot of things. Talk about multitasking!”

I decided that in order to tell this story I’d come up with a few rules as I play the game. For example, I am addicted to fast travel, so I decide to see if I can traverse Skyrim for a while without doing so. I will also avoid using carriages as that is also fast travel in a sense, this time anyway. Another rule is I will not use the wait feature, so if I have to wait for a certain time, I’ll wait naturally by twiddling my thumbs.

With this story, I start off at Fort Dawnguard. I already have several quests. I have to perform a heist and a numbers job for the thieves guild, go talk to a corrupt agent in Dragonbridge to see who he wants me to kill, and I have to collect a couple of books for the orc librarian in the College of Winterhold. I need to visit the Companions to see what they can offer me though, but it’s on my way. Lastly I had gone to Fort Dawnguard, where I get an assignment to kill a vampire who’s masquerading among humans in Kynesgrove.

Now that I’ve loaded the game and reviewed what I have to do, I come up with the rules: No using the wait feature, no fast travel. The game is being played at Legendary difficulty, and this sneaky archer is now at level 72.

The Journey Begins

Hey M'aiq! What's new?

Hey M’aiq! What’s new?

It’s 2:35 AM, on Tirdas, and I’m leaving Fort Dawnguard on foot, and not too far outside the gates I encounter two vampire scouts. I had always fast-traveled out of here before, so this was quite a surprise to me! After killing the vampire scouts I exit the valley and turn North to get to Kynesgrove, and the first encounter I get is M’aiq the Liar! I grin, stroll up, and hear his words of wisdom. He mentions how people in Skyrim are much more openminded, then goes on to tell me that the Falmer’s blindness was not due to the dwemer’s disappearance, concluding that he has heard that it is dangerous to be my friend. I nod to myself and think, Then M’aiq does not wish to see Amaki’dar’s enemies.

I take my leave and move on. After all, he’s tired, but it’s 4 AM, so no wonder. I can’t sleep either for that matter. While trekking North through the woods, I spy an epic battle between two arch mages, one with frost magic and the other with fire. I kill them both to save time and when I looked through their robes, I saw that the fire mage was using a staff! The cheater!

It is now 7:10 AM the same day. I just get out of the woods and hills of the Rift and am standing near the ashen plains. Kynesgrove isn’t much farther away now. And as I walk down the road I see a familiar orange robe. M’aiq!? But he was just outside Dayspring Canyon, how’d he get to this volcanic area before me I have no idea! So I stop to chat with him again, and this time he elaborates on dual wielding weapons and the benefit of adventuring alone so you don’t have to split loot with your friends. “M’aiq knows many things, no?” More confused than ever about how he got ahead of me so fast, I press on.2013-05-31_00004

Kynesgrove only has one building, and that’s the inn. Since it is daytime now, the vampire is inside the inn. At the moment my archery skill is reset to 15, so I’ll be attacking this guy with no perks. This means he won’t stagger when I hit him with my arrows and I won’t get that many critical strikes. Twenty arrows later, the vampire lies dead on the floor of the tavern, and the game text scrolls up, saying, “Completed: Discretely kill the vampire.”

Discrete? You call this discrete? I shoot the dude 20 times with my bow while he drains my blood and tried to hit me with other magic spells, and in the end my last shot knocks him off his feet, literally flying into the wall next to the bar, all this in front of the innkeeper and a drunken patron. That is discrete?! Discrete equals 20 arrows in front of civilians? Fascinating!

I like this game!

To Windhelm, Fellglow Keep, and Whiterun

I leave good old Kynesgrove and head to Windhelm. For this heist, I have to steal a flawless ruby from The White Phial. It is now 9:30 AM. Easy enough! I go into the store and buy up all the alchemical ingredients (I have a hoard of such in Breezehome) then I dash upstairs and quickly pick the master-level lock on the strongbox and snatch the ruby. Quintus, the shop keeper, reaches the top of the stairs to see what I’m doing, but he doesn’t witness me taking anything. I walk outside whistling merrily.

Trying to lighten my load a tad.

The Windhelm Marketplace.

While in Windhelm I sell several things to lighten my bags, chop some wood and use it and some bones to make a few dragonbone arrows, and eat some Horker Stew.  Now it’s 11 AM, and I check my map to see where to get to next. One of the books for the College of Winterhold is in Fellglow Keep, and that’s between Windhelm and Whiterun. I adjust my bandolier and head on out. (remember, no fast traveling!)

My archery skill is now at 24 and my sneak is at 33, so I get to discover how well I can sneak kill mages with arrows. I get detected easily enough, but it’s okay. I eventually find the book I’ve been looking for and head on out, but as I walk through the mountains I come under attack by some bandits. As I shoot some arrows at them, other arrows sail in from behind. Next thing I know, three imperial soldiers run past me and start fighting the bandits! When the bandits are dead, the imperials start to march away, telling me to keep an eye out for stormcloak spies.

I raise my eyebrow and watch them walk past. Clearly they don’t know me. I joined the Stormcloaks and liberated Skyrim of the Empire. To me, they are the spies. Then I ponder for a minute on the best way to dispatch them, and I wonder to myself how they’d react if I cast Fury at them!

Let me guess, each of you thinks the other ate the last sweetroll?

Let me guess, each of you thinks the other ate the last sweetroll?

The result is that two of them are affected by it and are crossing blades, but the third one was farther away and escaped the effect, so he came after me. One arrow and he’s dead, and then I step back and watch the swords clash. The fight between these two soldiers draws out too long and I have to recast the fury spell as well as invisibility to get them to ignore me and focus on killing themselves. It works and again they hack and slash at one another. Eventually one goes down, and the other performs a killing blow move where he impales his comrade with his sword. Then he turns to me, and I kill him with one arrow. Chuckling to myself, I head downhill towards Whiterun.

As I arrive in Whiterun, a guard suddenly runs up to me with a two handed axe drawn and at the ready. Uh-oh. Somehow I have a price on my head. I have no idea what it’s from, but look over the options anyway. I could bribe the guard for over 700 gold, but it’s not a permanent solution, I know. I could also make a run for it or go to jail. I look at the other options. I can either pay the fine of 40 gold, or I can use my influence as a member of the thieves guild and pay only 20 gold. The guard accepts the 20 gold and tells me to move along before I get him in trouble.

Completely confused as to why I had a price on my head for a mere 40 gold, I head to Jorrvaskr, mead hall of the companions. Vilkas gives me a task to perform, kill an escaped criminal thats here in Whiterun Hold. I accept the task and head on out. The criminal is already in some armor and with a weapon and was actually walking up the road near Whiterun Stables, as though she was about to walk right into town! I kill her, and yet as I attack her, a horse and two stable workers run up and help kill her. I resist the temptation to offer them a place in the Companions. I return to the mead hall and Vilkas gives me 300 gold for my efforts. Then I talk to Aela and she tells me an animal has moved into a house up in Winterhold and they need me to clear it out.  I can’t help but wonder why the mages up there can’t turn a snowy sabrecat into a rabbit? I shrug and resolve to adjust their curriculum when I get the chance!

Chillin' like a villain!

Chillin’ like a villain!

I wait in the inn for a few hours, chilling out, and then after midnight I pick the lock on the backdoor to Arcadia’s Cauldron, sneak upstairs, and commit a forgery in the record books. Arcadia is sound asleep and I sneak out without being detected at all. Oh yeah, it’s easy to be a thief. Walk with the Shadows!

Whiterun to Dragonbridge

Now it’s time to head to Dragonbridge and see who needs who killed. And this is how the worst night of my life started. Turns out it was my night for vampire encounters galore.

First, just after the Western Watchtower in Whiterun hold, I encounter Babette, the child who became a vampire centuries ago. Turns out she was out hunting. As leader of the Dark Brotherhood, I leave her alone. She along with Selena are the only two vampires I’d never harm. I walk on, and eventually I hear a man shout, “You there! Traveler! Over here!” I sigh and draw my bow. A minute later and 3 vampires are dead. It’s a ruse where they kill three members of the vigilant watch and two of the vampires done their robes while the third, usually their leader, remains clothed as he is. The deception makes it look as if two member of the Vigilant Watch are causing trouble for this man who calls out for assistance at any passersby. This lulls the victim into a trap where they realize that all 3 of them are vampires. Still, I’ve encountered this before, and I manage to kill all the vampires. I press on. So much for the vampire ambush.

Then shortly after that I hear something, the same sound you’d hear if you summoned a minion from Oblivion like an atronach. The sound comes from a vampire suddenly appearing and yelling “Death to the Dawnguard!” It’s a vampire assassin. I remember thinking to myself that if I joined the Dark Brotherhood, then all the assassination attempts on me would stop. Looks like I was wrong. The vampire raises a skeleton to help fight for her and she hits me with powerful lightning spells. I eventually kill her and her minion, using health potions like I rarely do, but then I only recently set the game to Legendary difficulty.

After the vampire assassin I encounter yet another vampire, this time it’s just one being chased by a Vigilant of Stendar… a real one. So naturally I try to help kill the vampire. One of my arrows hits the Vigilant however and he turns onto me. I sheathe my weapon immediately, and he says, “You’ll live for now.” I sigh and resume attacking the vampire who has by now run around a boulder and was cowering. After this vampire is dead I move on, and another vampire assassin pops up and tries to kill me! “Death to the Dawnguard!” “What the–?!”

I mean seriously, what’s with all the darn vampires tonight!? First Babette, then a trap of 3 vampires, then an assassin vampire, then a yielding vampire, and another assassin vampire. 6 vampires, not counting Babette. Wow. All these between Whiterun and Rorikstead!? Jeez.

Fortunately as I pass through Rorikstead the sun starts to rise, so encounters with vampires vanish along with the morning mist, thank Talos. Now it’s 5:31 AM of Middas, so in game time I’ve been running about for over 24 hours.

A lumberjack eh? Did he not follow through on an order of wood for ya or something? Cold night I take it?

A lumberjack eh? Did he not follow through on an order of wood for ya or something? Cold night I take it?

The trip from Rorikstead to Dragonbridge is as uneventful as can be. Only a group of bandits near a wagon with a chest in it halt my journey for a moment. No more vampires are encountered. Once in Dragonbridge I go into the Penitus Oculatus HQ, and a corrupt agent tells me to kill an intinerant lumberjack in Morthal. He pays me 1200 gold in advance and I leave.

Daylight Again

Now that it’s daytime, I figured that attacks from random events won’t occur as much, so I decide to summon Arvak to cut down on my travel time. I cross the bridge and turn north along the road and head towards Morthal, and lo and behold, there’s M’aiq again! He wonders about more than I do apparently. This time he comments on how Nord armor has fur on it and that is makes M’aiq nervous. Him and me both I guess. Then he says that some people believe that Alduin is Akatosh, and some people say that M’aiq is a liar, and then tells me not to believe either of those things.

So wait, if he tells me he is a liar and then tells me not to believe him,  then he’s lying so I have to believe that he’s lying but if he’s lying I can’t believe him. (If you are a computer, you would have crashed with that logic puzzle.) Then M’aiq tells me to think about soul trapping. He says that he was soul trapped once and that it was an unsettling experience. I had to agree. I had my soul trapped to gain access to the Soul Cairn once, and I had to travel through this spirit plane of existence to get that gem back and restore my soul to myself. I swear, I’ll never forget the tingling sensation of being soul trapped even partially. Worse than when my feet or tail falls asleep.

I arrive at Morthal and find the lumberjack. Thonnir and Jorgen are already working at the mill, one is sawing logs int he mill itself and the other is chopping wood at a chop block. The itinerant lumberjack is also chopping at a block and standing right behind him in a crouch I remain unseen. Nobody seems to be looking. I decide that the safest way to dispatch this guy is to poison him.

Look at all that lint in that pocket. Hmm? Of don't mind me, I'm just poisoning you.

Look at all that lint in that pocket. Hmm? Oh don’t mind me, I’m just poisoning you.

The method is known as reverse pick pocketing. Normally a pick pocket would take items from a person’s pockets, but in this case I’m putting stuff into his pockets instead. In rare cases, this is handy when you want to plant contraband on someone and tip the town guards to frame the victim for a crime. Most of the time though, when I put something into their inventory it’s to poison them. Now I don’t know how it really works. I mean the vial of poison gets put into their pockets and it magically reduces the health of the target. Kind of like the hypo sprays used in Star Trek, it doesn’t have to penetrate the skin. My guess is you put a bottle of poison in the victim’s pocket and it magically dissolves into their clothes and gets absorbed into the skin and hurts/kills the target. That’s magic for ya I guess.

It takes several bottles of poison to kill the lumberjack, once he drops dead, nobody so much as turns a head. I stand up and summon Arvak. As I ride away, I think to myself, Hail Sithis!

Riding on Arvak from Morthal to Winterhold. Ride to live, live to ride!

Riding on Arvak from Morthal to Winterhold. Ride to live, live to ride!

Now I make my way to Dawnstar and visit the Dark Brotherhood sanctuary. Now the Nightmother tells me of a wary outlaw in the tavern of Riften, and she tells me to accept his gold and then eliminate the target. I listen to Cicero babble for a minute before exiting the sanctuary and summoning Arvak once again. I travel along the northern coast, avoiding most wild horkers and bears that I pass along the way. Once I get to Winterhold, I race up to the College and hand over the book I found to the Orc Librarian. He then tells me of yet another book I an acquire for the college and I accept his task. As I leave the college, I can’t help but feel a tad insulted. I mean I’m a cat, so why am I collecting books like the family mutt picking up the newspaper from the front lawn in the morning? Why am I playing fetch all of a sudden? HAH!

Returning to Fort Dawnguard

Before I depart from Winterhold however, I remember to step into somebody’s house and kill a snowy sabrecat for them. Now I have to return to Jorrvaskr and tell Aela that that’s taken care of, but first I’ll head down to Riften. I’m now at the phase where I’m turning in quests and getting new ones, like what I just did at the college. So I set out on Arvak at 3PM, and I wonder if I can get from Winterhold to Riften before the sun sets so I can avoid mass vampire attacks. On a horse? Let’s see!

You again? Got Skooma?

You again? Got Skooma?

As I get closer to Windhelm, I encounter M’aiq again. How many times does that make this? It’s the fourth time so far. Wow. Good thing I like M’aiq. Curiosity gets the better of me and I dismount for a quick chat. I swear he’s like David Copperfield, disappearing and reappearing randomly all over Skyrim. POOF and suddenly he’s right in front of you even though you went past him miles ago! This time he tells of how Skyrim was once known as the land of many butterflies, and now… not so much. And now he gets contradictory. First he says there’s so much snow in Skyrim. Enough snow! M’aiq does not want it anymore! And then he says that snow falls. Why worry where it goes? M’aiq thinks the snowflakes are pretty. And here I’m thinking to myself, Wait, first you say you don’t want any snow, and now you’re commenting on it’s beauty as if you like it? I try to press him for more information, but then he says, he’s done talking. I sigh and move along.

Farkas and two other companions attacking a bear. Glory and Honor my friends!

Farkas and two other companions attacking a bear. Glory and Honor my friends!

The only other encounter I come upon is Farkas and two other companions in the wilderness of The Rift, fighting a bear. I help them kill it, then return to my trip. I reach Riften before it gets dark. Hurrah! In the Bee and Barb, I find the wary outlaw and accept his gold. I’ll go kill his target later. In the meanwhile I slip into the cistern the visit the Ragged Flagon. I turn in my two quests to Vex and Delvin and get two more to do. After all this I slip out of Riften and head for Fort Dawnguard. It’s night now, but it’s still a bit early. My guess is the vampires are just having their coffee and croissants before they head outside. Now back at Fort Dawnguard I tell them the vampire in Kynesgrove is dead (and then some), and now I have a quest to retrieve an axe. Marvelous!

Epilogue

What a long, strange trip it's been!

What a long, strange trip it’s been!

Now it is Middas at 11:35PM. This No-Fast-Travel adventure spanned about two days of in-game-time. I killed a lot, stole some things, and ran till my paws were sore enough to summon Arvak. Who says there’s nothing to do in Skyrim? Try to avoid using fast-travel and do Radiant Quests. If done at night with Dawnguard installed, I promise you it won’t be boring!

As always, thanks for reading! May your road lead you to warm sands!

Continued in part 3 – https://amakiowlaf.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/what-to-do-when-youve-finished-skyrim-part-3/

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!”

Latest of Amaki’dar

Khajiit welcomes you, friend.

Lately I’ve just been so busy with completing main story content and several others besides. I know many of my posts have spoilers and tidbits on the quests themselves. But now that I’ve unlocked the side quests for the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood, much of my in game time will be spent in travelling. Then again you do that anyway right from the start when you escape from Helgen and head down to Riverwood. Now, though, instead of an exotic story-based quest chain, I have a bunch of repeatable quests I can complete for gold, which isn’t a problem for me right now – I have over a hundred thousand septims!

So, bringing you up to speed on my Khajiit in this purr-ticular game of Skyrim, I’m working on bringing the Thieves Guild back to it’s former glory. I’ve just helped a silver-smith in Markarth, who had ordered a specific silver mold to be made, which would be used to make silver candlesticks, and it was robbed from a Khajiit caravan that was on it’s way into Skyrim.

Now I don’t know about you, but that makes my fur fluff up in rage. I mean sure, I’ve encountered Khajiit thieves and assassins on the road, but a caravan is usually just normal people like merchants and shopkeepers. You know, civilians. So when I see a lone Khajiit running up to me, he usually says hello to my bow and arrow or daggers… unless of course he’s a thief and I’m wearing thieves guild armor – then he says “Hello!” and gives me free lockpicks. But if it’s a caravan then it’s even better, because I can stop the leader in the road and barter with him. Very nice if I’m ever in need of a vendor to sell extra stuff too.

Anyway, the silversmith says his specially ordered smithing mold was stolen off a caravan, and the Jarl, city guards, Stormcloaks, you name it, just won’t help. So he figured he’d hire a thief to take back what was stolen. I take the job and head down into the pine forest, and I slit the throats of any bandit I came across. All, except three. They were sitting around a table in a well lit room, but I had a way to sneaka round them, behind a wall of crates and boxes. As I move around them, debating whether to turn them into human pin-cushions with my arrows, I listen to their conversation.

From what I heard, their boss has set up a series of traps, jealously guarding the major portion of stash from the rest of the bandits, and one of their comrades had died to a trap. She had him tied up somewhere and wouldn’t let the others cut him down and give him a proper burial. What’s more, she’s rigged up even more traps to guard her things. Then the three bandits hold a moment of silence to remember their friend.

I consider. I figured, Well, now you know how those Khajiit Caravans probably felt when you attacked them… now you know what it’s like to lose someone you know… I think I’ll let you three live with your grief. Then I sheathe my weapon and climb the ramp into the next room… and promptly draw my daggers and slit the throat of an orc bandit that was in my way.

Eventually I make it to a most curious room. For starters there is a table with a few notes upon it and several other things that suggested human habitation, and a bunch of bookshelves lined up on the far side of the room. The most curious part of the room were the bonechimes. Bonechimes, as I mentioned in a previous blog, are bones that have been set upon a single string that dangle from the ceiling, usually in a tight passageway. If you bump into these, they’re bound to clink together loudly, thus waking nearby Draugr, dead zombies. You commonly see these things in crypts where Draugr are sure to be found, sometimes even among the Falmer, where the chimes act as an alarm to let them know someone is near since they can’t see. But in this bandit hideout, no less than six bonechimes dangle from the ceiling all around the room, one is hanging right at the edge of a bookcase. I nimble walk around them and read the notes on the table.

One is from the father of the bandit leader, who says while he had long given up marrying his daughter off to someone else, he had hoped that she’s join up with the Stormcloaks instead of attacking travelers and caravans on the roads. He fears her getting caught and keeps returning the gold she keeps sending him. Her response is nearby, guess she hasn’t made it to the post office yet, and she had written that she didn’t want to fight for the Stormcloaks since they wouldn’t pay well enough for it, and there was no freaking way she’d fight for the Imperials. (Now I had won the civil war fighting alongside the Stormcloaks… I glance down at my bulging sack of coins, then resume reading the reply letter.) Another thing she noted was for her father to stop sending the gold back because the rest of her gang keeps trying to steal it and she has enough trouble keeping them in line as it is. I now draw my daggers and think to myself, I have a way to fix that, darlin’.

Sneaking around the bookshelves, I discover they they were hiding the bandit leader’s bedroom. The bookshelves acted as a room divider of sorts, and in the bed is the bandit herself, sleeping away. I stab her with my daggers and steal the keys to her treasury. As for the deadly traps, I avoid them all, being the light-footed, lock-picking, trap-disabling kitty cat I am. I finally find the silver molds and take just about everything else in that room, then skedaddle.

So now I have a new fence in Markarth, and as I leave the inn, the silversmith’s daughter tells me, “One day I’m gonna be a silversmith, just like daddy.” I pat her on the head and say to myself, How sweet. You just put your foot in the door for becoming a potential Thieves Guild fence in the future, young lady. I’ll remember you!

So now a new merchant has moved in under the Cistern. Delvin is right. It is nice to shake off the cobwebs and get things rolling again. And while I was there, I had Delvin set up the new Dark Brotherhood sanctuary. Everything from a master bedroom and banners to a poison station and torture chambers. “Now that’s the Dark Brotherhood I love,” Delvin says. As Listener, I have the Night Mother in there too, and she’ll hear the prayers from clients in Skyrim and will send me to them to accept the contract and kill the target in question. The group has seen a decline due to internal strife, but the brotherhood still lives, and I am the leader of it.

Like I said, I’ve been doing a lot. I became an assassin, a master thief, the arch-made of the College of Winterhold, a war hero, and a dragonslayer. I’ve saved the world from Alduin, liberated Skyrim for the Stormcloaks, stolen a lot of gems and jewelry from shopkeepers, and killed the emperor. Yep, you heard me. I killed the Emperor Tidus Mede II, and that was quite a tale.

Another feat I finally got accomplished was that I found all the words of power… thus far. I have yet to delve into the Dawnguard content, but now that I’m pat level 55, yeah, I think it’s about time I set out to do something about these vampire attacks… if only to get the guards to shut up and to stop vampires from killing local merchants.

“May your road lead you to warm sands.”

Amaki’dar Multitasking

I eventually started the quest chain for the Companions, situated in Whiterun. They’re a group of warriors who fight with honor and glory, and they show up whenever there’s trouble. The first time I saw their heroic feats was when a giant was attacking a farm just outside of Whiterun. I first met Aela there and she told me of their group and mentioned a Kodlak Whitemane. If I went to him, I could ask him if I could join the Companions. I finally did so, and after a while, I became blessed with Lycanthropy. Seriously, who needs a horse when you can simply shift to a wolf form and run on all fours? It’s much faster, and I don’t have to worry about mounted combat. Horses are kinda expensive, though only one thousand gold to be honest, but I love being a werewolf.

We have beds, food, drinks, parties, frisbees, and chew toys… wait, what were the last two again?

Now I know, I know, it’s pretty odd to see a cat turn into a dog, but stranger things have happened. I mean, look at those flying lizards, right? The breathe fire and ice, and one in particular seems to be able to resurrect dead dragons! Divines know what else!

Anyway, I left Whiterun after several other quests. It seems Kodlak wants me to go kill some witches, but instead I head down to Riverwood. I meet up with Delphine and tell her of my escapades at the Thalmor Embassy. She finds it hard to believe that the Thalmor are as much in the dark as we are as far as the dragons returning is concerned, however they had a lead on someone who does: Esbern.

Delphine is surprised to hear her old friend is still alive, and when I tell her he’s hiding out in Riften, she assumes it’s in the ratway. I now wish I had explored the Ratway more carefully. I might have run into him down there… or maybe I already have! Then again I have this notebook from the Thalmor… *flips open* Nope… “Male, Nord, late 70’s” Never seen anyone matching that description in the sewers. Hmm. Anyway Delphine asks me to go find him and tell him that the Thalmor are after him and that Delphine is alive and to bring him to her.

As I run to Riften once again, I can’t help but ponder the situation. I’m supposed to go into the flagon and meet up with Karliah, and then show the guild that she’s innocent and prove that Mercer Frey has been stealing right under the guild’s noses for years. If Mercer is there it could get rough, if not then we have a chance. And now I’m also supposed to go delving deeper into the sewers to look for Esbern. I wince and think to myself, Maybe I’ll deal with the guild first and then go talk to Esbern… if I can anyway.

We give the journal to Brynjolf. The first piece of solid evidence.

On my way down into the Ragged Flagon I get attacked by a Khajjit. Once she’s dead I go through her pockets and find a letter. Looks like Elenwin knows what I did. Bet she’ll be ticked off when she finds out I survived this little attack. I press on to the Flagon, and meet up with Karliah. Together we head into the Cistern to find all the guild members tensed up, blades drawn, ready to attack. Brynjolf agrees to listen to us however, and Karliah gives him Gallus’s journal, which is fully translated. To see if all this is true, Brynjolf asks Delvin to go open the vault.

We inspect the vault, the eye-opening evidence… it’s empty

The guild’s vault has a special lock, which needs two keys to open it. Delvin, Brynjolf, and Mercer all have a key, so at least two people had to be present in order to open the vault. Karliah says, “He didn’t need to pick the lock.” “What’s she on about?” Delvin mutters, and then he tries his key out on the vault doors. It’s still locked tighter than a drum. Now Brynjolf uses his key. The vault now opens, and we all head inside. The vault is empty. The gold, jewels, EVERYTHING. Mercer had cleaned it out.

Brynjolf stands behind the Guild Master’s desk, and now tells me to go infiltrate Mercer’s house to find out what he’s up to or where he’s gone.

Delvin and Vex go back into the Ragged Flagon to keep an eye out. If they see Mercer, they have to tell Bryn ASAP. I chat with Bryn, telling him everything I know: That mercer killed Gallus and framed Karliah. Karliah was behind Goldenglow Estate and Honningbrew Meadery, trying to make Mercer look bad in front of Maven Black-Briar. And the last bit of information, which is that Karliah, Mercer, and Gallus were all Nightingales, which Brynjolf only assumed was a legend. Now that I’ve reported everything, Bryn tells me to go infiltrate Mercer’s house, which is located right here in Riften. We need to know Mercer’s next moves, if possible, and I have permission to kill anyone who gets in my way. I crack my knuckles and sharpen my claws.

And I promptly go into the Ratway Warrens to look for a 70 year old scholar named Esbern. What a way to spend the day! The sewers really stink! Eventually I find a very heavy looking metal door, and when I knock, a little rectangular bit slides to one side, revealing just a big enough opening to see into. It must be him! I persuade him to let me in (which gets my speech skill to 70 , and that will let me invest gold into businesses, and intimidation attempts will be much easier), and we get to talking.

He feels that everything is hopeless, and explains that Alduin has returned. I ask about it, and it turns out that Alduin is a dragon that’s also known as the World Eater. He’s supposed to bring about the end of the world, basically, and is known to devour the souls of the dead in the afterlife, as well as attack and kill the living. So yeah, big old black dragon that eats everything and destroys — wait… Big black dragon? The one resurrecting the other dragons?! That black dragon who interrupted the executions at Helgen? THAT was ALDUIN!?

Esbern claims it’s all hopeless because the only way to be rid of Alduin is if there is a Dragonborn, and to his knowledge, no such person is known of in this time. I tell him I’m a Dragonborn, and his eyes light up. “Then.. there is still hope.” He gathers what he needs, packing rather quickly. I cast a magelight spell at the ceiling so I can see a little better… so I can take the gold coins and jewelry on his bookshelf.

What? I’m a thief!

Now it’s a darn shame I can’t shift into werewolf and just carry Esbern on my back, because it would be so much faster… well maybe… How much do you weigh Esbern? No reason, just wonderin’…. gosh darnit. The problem is a lot of people are scared of werewolves in this world, and they should be, because in that form I’m wild and untamed and more than willing to rip you to pieces and eat your heart out. So yeah, no super fast running back to Riverwood for me! Instead I get to walk/run there with a mage/scholar/Blades member trailing behind me. Sweet. Watch out for bears, will ya?

Try not to let the bears eat you… No pressure!

We get to Riverwood, and Esbern and Delphine go down into the basement with me right behind them. Esbern pulls out a book and starts talking about something called Alduin’s Wall. Delphine doesn’t know any more than I do, and Esbern is surprised. “Do you mean you don’t know about Alduin’s Wall?”

“Let’s pretend we didn’t. What is Alduin’s Wall and what does it have to do with fighting the dragons?”

Dragonlore eh? As in Manga?

Esbern then tells about how the Blades, a very long time ago, constructed a stone wall that was part history and part prophesy, detailing the events of Alduin and the dragon wars, and of Alduin’s defeat. Esbern says he’s found the location of Sky Haven Temple, where the wall can be found, and Delphine decides to go there. I tell her to go on ahead without me and that I’ll catch up. I always do that so I can wonder around Skyrim and cause mischief, but I don’t tell her that!

On her way out, she tells Orgnar that the inn is his now and that she’s leaving for good. I remember when I first came in here way back when I just escaped from Helgen. She came out of a room and was telling him the ale was going bad and they had to get a new batch. “Did you hear me?” she had asked, and when he confirmed, she scoffed, “Guess you don’t have potatoes in your ears after all.” All the while he was staring at me. I must have been giving him the adorable little lost kitten eyes at the time. So when Delphine tells him he’s gonna be the sole owner of the inn and that she was leaving for good, he said, “Well, that’s something to think about.”

Delphine and Orgnar say their farewells

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.

R.I.P. Adrianne and Belethor

Well at long last I started the Companions Quest line. The first random quest I did with them involving getting into a brawl with Carlotta. I remembered I helped her out once by brawling with the bard to get him to leave her alone. Now I had to beat her into submission for someone else. I wonder who. Haha. Then I went to retrieve a fragment of Wuuthrad, which is a legendary two handed axe that once belonged to Ysgramor, the founder of The Companions. As a side note, the name Wuuthrad means “elf grinder,” and Ysgramor was part of the war to rid Skyrim of the Snow Elves, so the name seems to fit. At some point in the past, the axe was broken into pieces, and the Companions of today wish to find them all and see about restoring the axe. I go and get a piece for my trial and once done, I’m a member of the companions. Then I go kill a wolf that had somehow gotten into some mill worker’s house, and then Skjor and Aela decide to reward me differently… The give me Lycanthropy… aka, they make me into a werewolf.

I’ve been putting this off for quite some time, because when you get lycanthropy, you no longer get benefits for resting, but I’ve been itching to get this done, so I finally went ahead and got it. After all, my sneak and archery skills are maxed out, and those two skills are the ones I rely on the most anyway. The rest will just take a little longer to level up, but then again I haven’t been sleeping in game as much anyway.

So the night of my first transformation, I run rampant in Whiterun, attacking guards, but I tried to be careful to avoid striking the civilians. I didn’t want to lose any merchants in the game. But eventually I started to get overwhelmed and just as my health was almost gone I made a run for it, heading between Arcadia’s Cauldron and Belethor’s General Goods with guards and civilians on my tail, literally. Then the screen fades to black, and when I can see again I’m in the woods with Aela. It’s time to go after the Silver Hand, the sworn enemies of The Companions, or so I believe. They hate werewolves, and so Aela and Skjor wanna wipe them out. Skjor had gone on ahead without us as I was recovering from my first transformation, so we gotta catch up.

Yet as Aela and I make our way into the keep where the Silver Hand is currently staying in, I can’t help but notice the lack of blood on the walls and dead bodies… then again I did pass up a door that was barred from the other side, so my guess is when Skjor went in there, someone might have locked the door to prevent others from following him. Guess we better find another way around.

Eventually we kill the leader, who calls himself “The Skinner.” Once he’s dead we realize that Skjor is dead as well. Aela wants revenge and tells me where to find another head honcho of the Silver Hand, and I leave the keep. Directly south of it is a lumber mill, and just then a courier comes out from around a building and delivers a letter… something about my inheritance? Oh no… With a sense of foreboding I open the letter. Seems Adrianne Avenicci has died. Well, guess that means I won’t be hearing her working the forge whenever I walk into Whiterun.

Later on when I return to Whiterun I make my rounds, going from store to store to sell a lot of the junk I’ve collected from my many adventures in Skyrim… Then I went into Belethor’s General Goods store, and instead of Belethor behind the counter saying, “Come on in! I’ve got something for just about anybody in here.” I hear a feminine voice saying, “It’s a fine day with you around.” I blink in surprise and I realize that Ysolda is behind the counter. While I did refuse to return a borrowed ring, I did help her get a mammoth tusk and some sleeping tree sap, so her reactions toward me are usually friendly. What was confusing to me though was what the bleep was she doing behind Belethor’s counter!? I thought she wanted to buy the inn and run that place? In fact, upon talking to her, she still seems to wish so!  Then as I browsed her wares, I saw that she was selling, among other things, a mammoth tusk!

Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to visit the hall of the dead, which is an underground area where the dead are interred, like a walk in crypt with a lot of hallways. (Every city has one of these places, so if you notice that an NPC missing, you know where to find them if it’s the worst case scenario.) I go inside and I find two new-looking coffins. One is for Adrianne, and the other, as I feared, was for Belethor. Yet when I got the message from the courier, he only gave me one letter of inheritance… then again Belethor never gave me any quests, so since I didn’t do him any favors, I guess that means he never decided to bequeath anything to me.

So now it seems that Ysolda has taken over Belthor’s General Goods… though I’d have thought his assistant Sigurd would be running the place. Maybe he’s content getting firewood for everyone. Fine by me! Thanks for the wood Sig! Just set it down right there, thank you so much!

Just for the record, I didn’t kill them, haha. At least I don’t think I did… I blame the vampires.

And while I’m in the catacombs, I loot the coffins for the store keys. Hey, I am in the thieves guild… might as well be prepared!

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