In Which the People of Dawnstar Get to Sleep Again
Finally made it back to Dawnstar to sort out that nightmares problem they’ve been having there! And got in some bonus draugr-killing action as well.
- Took Lydia with me up to Dawnstar to do the Waking Nightmare quest, only to discover she couldn’t follow me on the quest’s main part anyway
- Did a bonus “help a person out by finding a thing” quest, for the alchemist in Dawnstar, and got to kill a whole bunch of draugr, including one with an actual name
I came out of my previous save state still near Lakeview, so I bopped home to Whiterun first to do the obligatory round of crafting and selling before getting Lydia and heading to Dawnstar.
And this time, I made a point of taking the frost staff away from her so she wouldn’t fight the NPC this time!
In the name of not dropping a fast travel dragon right on Dawnstar by going directly there, I plunked down instead at a nearby location I’d already cleared out, and hoofed it from there. No NPCs of note encountered this time—I saw somebody off in the distance that looked like they were holding a torch, but didn’t get close enough to engage—and I did have the usual random creatures encountered.
Mostly, the notable thing about hoofing it this time was the weather. It looked pretty snowy and windy, maybe not full scale blizzard, but definitely enough to have a lot of snow blowing around the general terrain. Which makes me wonder whether it is in fact possible to have a blizzard in Skyrim? The wikis I’ve been consulting don’t seem to have standalone weather pages, so I’m not sure. I’ve observed sunshine, rain, thunderstorms, and snow, but never blizzard/whiteout conditions.
But then, the game’s weather doesn’t seem to actually impact play. You don’t take a harder hit to your stamina, for example, if you’re tromping around during a snow storm. And I guess that if you were in the middle of a blizzard it would probably make it difficult to get to your destination, and that seems like an unnecessary level of difficulty for enjoyable game play. But still, I do like the weather in the game! It helps add ambiance.
And makes me figure that Alarrah, being a Bosmer, probably likes to snark on how stupidly cold Skyrim is. Or at least, she probably snarks about it just to Lydia!
Anyway, made it to Dawnstar to do the nightmares quest, and got to the inn to find the priest Erandur, who is the quest giver. And this time, got up to the temple with him and Lydia in tow, and not fighting. We encountered cave bears again, but got them safely killed without an accident with the staff being involved!
Discovered at that point though that even though I had Lydia along with me, she couldn’t actually follow me into the temple—so Erandur and I had to go it alone at that point.
There were a lot of orc enemies to fight with in there, as well as assorted Vaermina devotees. Not much in the way of expensive loot, but there were a lot of potions as well as raw ingredients, so I nabbed all of those that I could find.
Likewise, as a big part of this temple was a library, there were a whole bunch of books lying around. Most of them were burned, but when I found any I could read, I read them. This included a book called Lost Legends, which gave me a quest pointer for a whole new quest I will probably follow up on later.
As for the main quest here, the storyline was interesting and I liked Erandur as a character. This was a pretty decent little redemption arc plot and I do like a good redemption arc.
This is another one of those quests though where you have to make a choice: do you want the Daedric artifact or not? In this case in order to get it, you have to actually kill Erandur at Vaermina’s command. I opted to not do that, on the grounds that it didn’t seem IC for Alarrah, and also just on the general grounds of it being a shitty thing to do to a priest who’d asked for my help.
Also, the artifact in question, the Skull of Corruption, didn’t seem like a very pleasant object to have anyway according to its wiki page. Nor does it do enough fighting damage to make it worth having and using in comparison to any other weaponry at my disposal.
So yeah no. When I got to the part of the quest where Vaermina’s voice commanded me to kill Erandur, I specifically sheathed Dawnbreaker and let him continue to destroy the staff instead. This still let me finish the quest and solve the overall problem: i.e., curing the nightmares afflicting the people of Dawnstar.
This also got me Erandur’s promise to follow me at any point if I needed him. Yay! So this means I have three different NPCs now, aside from my three housecarls, who have promised to lend me their aid if I need them: this guy Erandur, the Khajiit Kharjo, and the mage Aranea.
After that, I decided to poke around some more through Dawnstar and see if anything else emerged as an interesting thing to do. I wasn’t yet prepared to go take another stab at the museum quest, so instead I went looking for the general store.
I did not make it to the general store. But I did find the apothecary, and I got another quest prompt off the alchemist in there, who asked me to go find a Ring of Pure Mixtures that she’d lost in a cave long ago with her now-dead husband.
Told her I’d get that ring back for her, and so Lyds and I went off on the second quest of the evening!
The target locale for this was a place called “Forbidden Cave”, Which, I grant you, is kind of non-specific for Skyrim!
But this place was southeast of Dawnstar, in the vicinity of Fort Dunstad, which I recall was an area I’d visited before when giant-hunting and doing the quest that got me the Pale Blade. I wound up not being able to hoof it down there all the way, even though I wanted to—I got stuck on a rocky overhang not far from Wayward Pass, so I wound up fast travelling from there to get to the Pass. And from there, I hoofed it the rest of the way.
Had another instance of seeing a distant dragon flying, but this one never got close enough to engage. About the only thing I killed during this stretch of the night’s run was more bears (high number of snow bears in general confronted during this run, probably because of being so far north).
Once I made it into the cave, I quickly found that the place was a lot bigger than I’d expect for just a random “find the thing” type dungeon, and this made me wonder whether it was the locale for a bigger, formal quest. I looked it up, and confirmed that this was in fact the case—it’s the locale for a quest you can get in Windhelm.
(So since I did kill the boss in this dungeon, it’ll be interesting to see if I get that quest later, and if so, do I have to kill the same boss again?)
And, as they do in Skyrim, this cave complex was filled with Alarrah’s and Lydia’s very favorite things: draugr! Lots and lots of draugr! All of whom set on fire quite nicely when whacked with Dawnbreaker.
And unlike the previous quest of the evening, this place was chock fulla loot. The most notable of which was a tasty, tasty glass shield which I was quite content to haul all the way back to Whiterun with me.
The boss draugr had a name: Curalmil. I didn’t get any particular notable loot off of him per se, because apparently the main quest he’s involved with requires additional steps? But that was okay since I was happy to get the glass shield. Not to mention the ring we were there for to begin with, which we got out of a chest near Curalmil’s coffin.
Dungeon cleared, and ring and loot acquired, we headed back to Dawnstar to check in with Frida at the Mortar and Pestle. Who was quite happy to get the ring back, and who bumped up my Alchemy another notch for my trouble. <3
And, finally, back to Whiterun again to go home and rest up, and craft and sell more things!
Dunno yet? I may go back to Dawnstar to see if I can pick up another quest to become thane there. Or I may do that Lost Legends quest! You all will know when I do, or at least, when I do the write up.
Editing to add
EDITING TO ADD: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: I did get another word of a Shout out of the Forbidden Cave dungeon! The “Marked for Death” Shout, specifically.
EDITING AGAIN TO ADD: I called the locale for the quest for the alchemist “Forbidden Cave” above, but I had it wrong; I was talking about Forsaken Cave. This has been noted appropriately in the tags on this post.
3/12/2022: Reformatted this post to make it better match ones in later playthroughs.