Still not entirely ready to take on main plot quests again, I decided for last night’s Skyrim run that my goal was going to be returning to Morthal and seeing if I could help a couple more of their people so that I could become Thane.
First, the obligatory shopping run. Got rid of a lot of things, and bought a few other things—including picking up some steel plate armor to better outfit Lydia, and some boots as well. That armor does not go well with the dwarven helmet and gauntlets. I need to get her a less silly looking helmet.
As part of this shopping run, I threw a substantial amount of gold at Arcadia to get her train me up in alchemy. This got me boosted by five points. \0/ And a substantial amount of the way through level 21.
Then, on to Morthal. This took a little bit of doing. First stop in Morthal, renting a room at the Moorside, led me to chatting with the innkeeper. Told her I was looking for work, which led her to hand me a bounty put out by the Jarl to kill a bandit leader holed up in Orotheim.
This was a location I’d come across in prior wandering, so I was able to fast travel to that point from Morthal. Turned out that bandit chief was surprisingly well armored—he actually killed me once. But only once. Came back around the second time through and Lyds and I both were able to take him out. He had more steel armor and weapons, which I nabbed for later selling.
Back then to Morthal to collect the bounty. Fast traveling got me back in there late, and trying to enter the Jarl’s home got her daughter immediately telling me to leave. Which I did, as I did not want the guards getting on my case for trespassing. Did another round of sleeping at the inn, and then got up the next morning to find the Steward actually walking out of said inn. So I was able to catch up with him and collect the bounty for the bandit.
Strolled around Morthal a little bit after that, and ran into the wizard Falion, of whom I’d heard assorted complaints but who didn’t give me any obvious sign of a quest prompt. Also ran into the Jarl’s daughter again, as well as her little brother—and that did give me a quest prompt, as Idgrod the Younger lamented to me about her little brother. She gave me a little to take to the priestess Danica Pure-Spring in Whiterun, thanking her for looking after young Joric’s health.
Since Whiterun is my home base, I readily agreed to do that. Fast traveled back to Whiterun, dropped off the letter with the priestess, and also got a quest prompt off of her—going in search of a weapon called Nettlebane, which I’d have to retrieve from hagravens, to help her restore the sacred tree outside her temple. Hold that thought, priestess, I’ll get back to that.
Sold off a few more things (the loot from the bandits), and then boinged right back to Morthal. Getting that letter delivered ticked off item number 2 on the quest to help the people of Hjaalmarch, but I still had one more to go, so I wandered around Morthal a little more looking for people to talk to. No real luck. All I got out of a guy named Benor was an offer to fight me to prove how badass a warrior he is. Yawn. He called me a milk-drinker when I declined, and as a Bosmer, Alarrah I feel could only smirk at that. Bosmer being specifically carnivores, I figure Alarrah drinks a lot of milk, actually.
Had another chat with the Steward and told him I was looking for work, at which point I got another bounty off of him, this time for killing a giant. This made me slightly skittish, considering my earlier encounters with same! But at this point I was level 21, so I decided to go for it.
This giant was holed somewhere I had not been to before, so this time I had to go overland, east of Morthal. Took out one frostbite spider on the way—and also spotted a dragon circling overhead, but another dragon that did not elect to actually land and fight me. So Lyds and I kept going.
Also bumped in to random bandits, and this time they included a conjurer throwing fire around. But this was nothing Lyds and I couldn’t handle. Shame about that poor dead horse the bandits had left there though.
Got to a point where I need to swerve south, and when I finally found a road that did so, that led me down past what looked like the steps leading up to a probable barrow. And to a fight in progress. Since it was a woman fighting with a couple of men, Lyds and I charged up to see if we could help her—at which point she finished killing her opponents and turnedto confront us.
I got dialogue prompts off her, and asked her what’s going on. Turned out she was a bandit whose compatriots had turned on her, and she was now fleeing their company. Told Lyds and me we could clean up the place as far as she was concerned, so we let her go—and proceeded to clean up the place.
Realized to my chagrin that I’d left Dawnbreaker back at Whiterun, which meant that if there were any draugr running around in this crypt, I wouldn’t be able to set them on fire. This would have made me more sad if we’d actually found any draugr. We did not. We found plenty of bandits to kill, though, including a couple of orcs, and all of them went down without much of a fight.
This dungeon was somewhat bigger than Orotheim, and therefore a bit more interesting to navigate through. The bandits were mostly all hanging out on the upper level, but the woman who’d fled warned about her friend apparently going mad and getting lost down in the lower levels of the place. And the other bandits had passing dialogue about their leader also going missing down on that lower level.
So we made our way down there, finally, and found an interesting looking shadowy, spooky level with some vegetation. And since Skyrim on the Switch is super dark, I did wind up having to deploy Candlelight spells a lot just to see where the hell I was going.
Found the first of the missing two bandits, the leader, who was dying of previously sustained wounds. That guy died pretty quickly without Lyds or I having to fight him. So we proceeded on through the underground forest—and soon found the other missing bandit, a Khajiit named Ra’jiir, fighting something looked like a distinct problem.
Lyds and I closed in, and soon discovered that the Pale Lady was a Wispmother. Tough to kill! But we did take her out, and also found the sword that had caused all these shenanigans, the Pale Blade. Claimed it as loot even though the stats on this thing, as per the wiki, say that it doesn’t pack as big a punch as either Dawnbreaker or my ebony blade.
The wiki also advised me of something I would probably have missed if I hadn’t known to look for it—another Word Wall! So I hunted that down too, and got the first word of the Ice Form Shout.
I’m pretty sure I missed some of the lootable bits of this dungeon, but I did wind up getting a considerable amount of mushrooms and a little bit of mining done as well. Then it was back out to the surface, and onward in search of the giant.
Which took a bit more doing. Tried to loop back around to the west and see if I could find a better way south, which triggered finding a couple of interesting looking locations that I didn’t explore in more depth. This included what appeared to be a maze-like place which triggered a location identifier of “Labyrinthian”, and very near that, a camp full of people sleeping in lean-tos that I realized I shouldn’t disturb since they didn’t appear to be hostile. They might have been Khajiit?
Near them, I also saw a guard who the game identified as “Hjaalmarch guard”, or something like that, though I didn’t appear to be near an actual city. And I didn’t trigger a location identifier there so I’m not sure what that dude was guarding. “Hjaalmarch” being the name of the general Hold area, not of a specific city.
Since I couldn’t find a decent way south of Labyrinthian, I finally just decided to fast travel back to Frostmere Crypt, the place where I’d fought the Pale Lady, and swing south and east from there.
That turned out to work well enough. Doing that, I swung past a couple more potentially interesting locations (including Fort Dunstad, which I did not engage with as I remembered what happened the last time I got too close to a fort, and see previous commentary re: two women traveling alone not really being wise to engage with large organized groups of cranky people).
And with a bit more tromping around, finally found the giant camp. Which was down in a hollow at the top of a hill.
What I learned from this, too: I am still not ready to take on giants at close range. Tried it, and he pounded me flat. But this? This is what the bow is for. So after re-spawning back at Labyrinthian, and needing to re-do the fast travel to Frostmere Crypt, I tromped back down and around to the giant camp.
This time I took him out with the bow. Which I made a point of poisoning beforehand, and after taking the time to chug down some potions of True Shot and Fortify Sneak. (Thank you, lessons learned from taking down Malkoran!) And at this point, I finally leveled up to 22.
Notable things found while looting the camp: mammoth cheese! And two chests, one of which contained a very shiny thing indeed: a glass greatsword. Since that’s a two-handed weapon it’s not this character’s style, so I am totes giving that thing to Lydia.
And finally, back to Morthal to collect that bounty!
By then the Switch was clamoring to be re-docked as it was about to run out of power, so I called it a night. Next time: a bit more regrouping to figure out who else I need to help before Jarl Idgrod will make me her Thane!
Editing to add
- 11/30/2023: Corrected the Hold Morthal is in to “Hjaalmarch”.