No particular goal to yesterday’s Skyrim playing, really; I wanted another break from the bigger quests, and to see what I could do about building a gold reserve to go buy Proudspire Manor. Plus, I wanted to use the elven bow for a while to hunt things and refill some of my soul gems. But even though I had no particular quest-related goal, I did have a few interesting encounters!
So what I wound up doing included:
- Another hunting run in the plains around Whiterun
- Encountered M’aiq the Liar
- Encountered a jester-type character called Cicero
- Additional smithing and potion crafting to sell stuff
- Following up on a treasure map I’d come across to find a treasure near Riverwood
- Killing another dragon (like you do, if you’re the Dragonborn)
I directed my hunting run this time towards the southern part of the plains, the stretch just south of the road that heads west. While I was down there, I saw a slightly alarming thing off in the distance: what looked like flares of fire, possibly magical.
When I got closer, in an attempt to find out what was doing on, I didn’t see any sign of the battle—but I did run into M’aiq the Liar, a Khajiit who was wearing monk robes. He didn’t do anything terribly interesting but did throw off some mildly amusing commentary when I hit the A button at him. When I looked him up on the wiki, I saw that that’s really kind of his thing, to offer meta commentary on the Elder Scrolls games in general. The character—or arguably, an ancestor of the same name—also showed up in Morrowind and Oblivion. Heh.
Still don’t know what the viewed fire flares were, though. According to the wiki’s random world encounters list, it might have been a mis-summoned fire atronach attacking the mage that did the summons. I have no way of knowing, though it’s intriguing to me that the game could trigger that action far enough away from where I was that I could only see the fire parts.
After a little bit more veering west, I then swung north for a while. And got far enough north on my course that I got to an area I hadn’t been to before. I spotted a possible animal shape in the distance and drew my bow, but as I got closer I realized it wasn’t something I wanted to shoot—it was a horse. And, there appeared to be some sort of farm or mill nearby.
So I put away the bow and came closer to check it out. Found a wagon with a broken wheel by the horse. And by that, a strange-looking man in a jester-like outfit, who proceeded to wail at me (in third person, even, which made him sound like a Khajiit) about not being able to take “his mother” to her burial.
I offered to help, which then required me to go up to the nearby farmhouse and see if I could get the farmer to agree to help fix the wagon. The farmer was cranky about this at first, being put off by the seeming crazy man out on the road. But I passed a Persuade check and got the farmer to agree that helping a traveler in need was the right thing to do.
Which is good, because Paul clued me in that Cicero was definitely not as innocent as he appeared (*cough* Dark Brotherhood *coughcough*). He was certainly happy about getting the wagon fixed, and paid me for the trouble. And I’m pretty sure the dialogue choices I made meant he won’t have murdered the farmer and his wife after my departure? I hope not. Otherwise I’m going to have a stern conversation with him later.
After that, checked back in briefly in Whiterun, and then decided to follow up on another small thing. I’d gotten a couple of treasure maps! And one of them showed a treasure right by Riverwood!
So I fast travelled down to Riverwood. I landed on the wrong end of the town, the western end, and I needed to be on the eastern end to get to the bridge that crosses the river.
Riverwood is not big. And going the full length of Riverwood, then crossing the bridge to start my search for the treasure, apparently gave this fast travel’s dragon enough time to catch up with me.
And the damn thing LANDED IN RIVERWOOD.
So since I didn’t want any of THAT going on, I ran back across the bridge and started taking it on. It kept perching up on top of things so I couldn’t get at it with my ebony sword, which meant I had to start pelting it with arrows instead. Which finally did the trick, and it fell down dead well within sight of the town guards. I spotted three of them gathered nearby going “You took its soul!” And, “it’s dead now, but where did it come from?”
Hi, yeah, Dragonborn here, guys? Thanks for the assist—no wait, did any of you actually help me shoot this thing down? No? Okay then. Going about my business.
Grabbed the obligatory dragon bits (and I think it was carrying elven boots, among other things, which makes me wonder how a big ol’ frost dragon carries a single pair of elven boots that probably wouldn’t even fit on its claws). And then started searching the river for some sign of the treasure.
According to the map, I needed to find a fallen tree that would have treasure inside of it. And at least for a while, this was confounding me. I found a bunch of fallen trees, but none of them were big enough to contain treasure of any kind, nor big enough for me to reach into.
I wound up going pretty far to the west, far enough that I was pretty sure I was too far.
During this part of the run I had another random NPC encounter—but only in passing. Because I got jumped by a giant frostbite spider (ick), and after I killed it, I realized there was another one nearby that I hadn’t killed. There was also a poor dead NPC lying near the spider, who the game tagged as Balbus. He had a few esoteric ingredients in his inventory, and an item called Balbus’s Fork.
I looked him up and apparently he’s just this dude with a passionate admiration for a renowned figure known only as “the Gourmet”, and he was traveling Skyrim looking for him. Aw. Dude’s just looking for his idol, and a damn frostbite spider killed him. <sad face>
I still took his Daedra heart though and the other ingredients. I’m a little sorry Alarrah didn’t get a chance to actually talk to him, though!
Didn’t make it all the way back to the bridge on foot though. I got myself stuck on some rocks overlooking the river, and couldn’t see an easy way to proceed without risking falling into the water and breaking my neck. So I fast traveled to another nearby landmark: Bleak Falls Barrow.
Landed on the steps leading up to the barrow—which, as I recalled once I got there, was one of the places where I took down several bandits before. There were bandits there this time, too, and I took them down as well. Looted what I could off of them without overloading myself; the dragon bones were of course heavy and I was riding the line of being overburdened.
Made it back down into Riverwood without any trouble, though, and decided to pop into the trader’s place down there to sell a few things. They were still happy to see me, after the help I’d given them restoring the Golden Claw to them. Aw. <3 And I was in fact able to sell them some of the dragon bits. Bought a few things off of them in exchange as well.
With that, I finally resorted to further searching to see if I could get more information on where the heck this chest was supposed to be. That finally got me a better description of where exactly it was, as well as a screenshot. Critical info I’d missed was that the tree was supposed to be big, big enough that there’d be a chest inside of it, which meant big enough for me to actually walk into.
Turned out that I’d been hugging too close to the riverbank and that I needed to go a little further north. At which point, I finally found the tree I wanted, and was able to just duck in there and loot the chest.
And then, finally, I went back to Whiterun and saved for the evening!
Final note for the evening number one: I actually finally chatted with the slightly annoying guy in Whiterun who always stands outside Belethor’s store and bitches to all and sundry about “what’s wrong with Skyrim these days”. Turns out he can actually say other things! I talked to him and discovered he’s Jon Battle-Born, one of the two rival clans in Whiterun.
Final note for the evening number two: I left something out of my previous post, so I’ll note it here. I don’t remember if I got it off the trio of cultists that attacked Lyds and me on our way to the Shrine of Azura, or if there’d just been another cultist besides them that I forgot. But either way, at some point during that run I got attacked by a cultist of Boethiah—who had a book called Boethiah’s Proving on him.
Those of you with Skyrim experience will know that Boethiah is yet another Daedra. and she’s one of the far more unsavory ones. I wrote before about how I have no scruples whatsoever about looking up spoilers for the Daedra quests beforehand, and Boethiah’s one of the reasons why. Her quest requires you to kill and sacrifice a loyal follower and yeah no. Not doing that.
So I sold that book to Belethor without even reading it. (Which I’m sure now spins up some alternate universe where maybe his employee Sigurd reads the thing and he murders Belethor in Boethiah’s name?)
I’m on the verge of leveling up to 31 and considering my next options.
- Give Calcelmo a dwarven arrow, since the guy won’t stop pestering me about dwarven artifacts
- Not thane here yet? Do I want to be?
- There’s a miscellaneous “investigate ruins” quest that I think would take me back near Markarth
- Attend to that nightmares problem (though maybe without Lydia, to keep her from accidentally pissing off the priest)
- Not thane here yet and the third custom property to buy is here
- Opening hook for talking to a kid that I think would lead me into dealing with the Dark Brotherhood
- Windhelm is Ulfric Stormcloak’s territory though so I’m still not entirely sure how long I want to linger there, given that I haven’t taken sides in the war yet!
- Next stage of the main quest
- Follow up on this Amulet of Mara I’ve got
- I’m not thane of the Rift yet, so I could certainly work on that
- Still trying to decide if I have any fucks to give about joining the Thieves Guild 😉
- Investigate the mage college
- Start working on becoming thane there, but I’m given to understand you don’t get property or a housecarl in Winterhold so not sure how interested I am in doing quests there
Editing to add
3/12/2022: Reformatted this post to make it better match ones in later playthroughs.