Last night’s goal was predominantly “see how many people of Falkreath I can help so as to become Thane”. This wound up leading me to four different overall themes for the evening, only one of which actually ticked an item off the “Assist the people of Falkreath” quest:
- Killing a giant southwest of Whiterun’s western watchtower to fulfill a Falkreath bounty
- Investigating why a party of hunters went missing
- Discovering that the death of a little girl in Falkreath was at the hands of a werewolf—who was cursed by the Daedric Prince Hircine
- Killing yet more bandits to fulfill another Falkreath bounty
For item one, killing the giant, I had to take two tries to do this because I only belatedly remembered that it’s still really not a good idea to take on giants at close range. This one didn’t kill me the first time, but it did kill Lydia, and that was not acceptable. So I rolled back to a prior save and tried again, this time parking some distance away from the camp, behind the cover of a tree, so I could take the giant out from a distance. Thank you, potion of True Shot. <3
I did not however go loot the camp. And the reason for that is, I was pretty sure I saw a second giant some ways away from where I took out the first one, and I did not want to risk attracting a second giant.
The second quest of the evening was following up on a rumor heard from Falkreath’s innkeeper at the Dead Man’s Drink: that a party of hunters in search of bear had gone missing. Tracking that party down led to a spot not too far away from Half-Moon Mill, where I’d bought lumber before.
One of the hunters was still alive, so once I learned from him what had happened, I gave him a healing potion to let him get fixed up from the wounds he’d sustained. He followed me and Lydia into the cave where his two companions had died, so I could help him clear out what had killed them.
And what had actually killed them: spriggans!
A few of which jumped us as we headed into the cave. I would have been more worried about this except for this fun fact: spriggans, being creatures of living wood, really do not like being set on fire. And they burn real nice and fast when I whack ‘em with Dawnbreaker. 😀
There wasn’t much of interest in this cave, loot-wise. But I did find an ingredient I hadn’t used for potions before: Hanging Moss. And I also found a vein of gold ore, which I promptly mined the heck out of. And the hunter, grateful for my helping him out, went off to make sure his friends got a proper burial (at least according to his dialogue; I didn’t see him actually move their bodies), and then returned to Falkreath.
Next item on the agenda became a surprise entire quest. I found an NPC in the inn who asked me to deliver the ashes of his dead comrade at arms to the local priest, who would deliver appropriate final rites. So when I went over to the graveyard (and Falkreath has quite the graveyard), I found the priest delivering final rites to a pair of grieving parents who’d apparently recently lost their child. When I asked them what was going on, I learned that their child had been torn apart by a man who was now locked up in the Falkreath jail. Which triggered the quest “Ill Met by Moonlight”.
Went over to the jail to talk to the guy, Sinding, and it must be noted that Falkreath, despite being smaller than Whiterun, had a jail about the same size and maybe even a little bigger. Found the prisoner though and learned from him that he was in fact a werewolf, and had been unable to keep himself from killing the child due to a major problem: he’d gotten hold of a ring sacred to the Daedric Prince Hircine, in an attempt to control his transformations. But Hircine was decidedly unamused that this guy had stolen the ring, and had cursed it, which meant his transformations were even harder to control.
I offered to take the ring back to Hircine to see if I could help Sinding clear the curse off of him. He was stunned by this, but desperately leapt at the chance, telling me that it was said that a great beast roamed the woods and that if you killed this beast, you could summon Hircine and win his favor.
And apparently Sinding’s desperation was strong enough to trigger a transformation? Because on my way out I heard snarling behind me. And as I set out to find and kill the beast, I passed one of the guards who made cranky noises at me about “that murderous savage” escaping after I talked to him. (The guard did not, however, actually arrest me or anything, so I went about my business.)
Namely, finding and hunting that beast. This led me down a familiar road that led through a bandit fortification that I really didn’t feel like fighting my way through. Interestingly, as I got near the place, I saw the bandits already in battle with somebody—but I didn’t get close enough to see who. I opted instead to try to find a way around the place, and first tried to go east and then west, ultimately to no avail due to the layout of the local terrain.
But by the time I actually came back to go through the fortification, nobody attacked me and Lyds, so maybe the previous battle cleared the place out?
Finally tracked down the beast, which turned out to be a huge white stag. It gave me a merry chase before I finally pegged it with an arrow to bring it down.
At which point a ghostly aspect of Hircine, in stag form, appeared to have a word. He called me “hunter” and spoke approvingly to me of the hunt I’d just done, but also noted that I had his ring. And he knew why I was there. He commanded me to go hunt down the werewolf, skin him, and bring back the skin for the glory of Hircine.
And, well, um.
As morally dubious helping a werewolf who killed a kid was, I found it also morally dubious to be ordered to skin the guy for the glory of a Daedra, particularly after I’d specifically offered to help him. So I pointed out to Hircine that the guy hadn’t done anything to me and I didn’t want to kill him. Hircine was unmoved by this argument and said that if I didn’t kill him, other hunters would. My choice!
So since I had to go do something in order to actually conclude the quest, I tracked down the werewolf.
Tracked him down finally in a place called Bloated Man’s Grotto (charming). And at this point I got another one of those quest points where you have to make a choice. Mine was, kill the werewolf or let him live?
I opted to let him live, and in gratitude, he agreed to help me take out the other hunters who’d gathered there. We proceeded to do so.
A lot of the hunters were carrying pretty decent weapons and armor, but I was already close to being overloaded, so I didn’t actually take much from any of them. Sinding the werewolf vowed he would make his home in this remote grotto, away from civilization, since he knew now he wouldn’t able to live among people anymore.
When I came out of the grotto, Hircine appeared again. I opted for the crankier dialogue prompt (something to the effect of “I defy you and your vile demands”). Which arguably was less wise, but it was also in character for how I’d played this out. Surprisingly, Hircine wasn’t actually angry. He told me that because I’d killed the other hunters, I’d turned the hunt around and that they were not weak prey. So I still gave Hircine the hunt that he commanded as his due, and he let me go with his blessing. And removed the curse on the ring.
So now I have a ring that lets werewolves control their transformations. Yay? Given that I do not currently plan to actually become a werewolf in this game, not at all sure whether I’ll ever be able to do anything interesting with this.
Last but not least, another bounty to fulfill: going after a bandit chief in a place called Bilegulch Mine (again, charming).
This was one of the better bandit camps I’ve infiltrated so far, both in terms of fortification and in terms of lack of body parts on spikes. Not so much in terms of challenge provided by the bandits. Lyds and I cleaned the place out without too much effort, and since the mine turned out to be an orichalcum mine, I promptly mined every vein I could find and got a bunch of orichalcum ore and some gems for the trouble. Also found a steel plate helmet which I promptly gave to Lyds, who now has much less silly looking armor head to toe.
Finally boinged back to Whiterun to sell a bunch of stuff, and to prep for returning to Falkreath.
Next time: finishing up helping the people of Falkreath. And also probably finally following up with Delphine and seeing about infiltrating that Thalmor Embassy!