As promised, I did finally marry my darling Lydia. <3 And for a honeymoon, I took her to go kill some draugr! It’s like our first date all over again!
- Told Lyds “follow me. I need your help”—with getting married! ;D Off to Riften, to check in at the temple of Mara!
- Discovered Shor’s Stone and Fort Greenwall on the way down to Riften this time
- While waiting for it to be wedding time, wandered around Riften to find things to do and quests to pick up on
- Got the wife of the alchemist to ask me to go get an ore sample from the aforementioned Shor’s Stone
- Got one of the market square vendors to ask me to go get her some icewraith teeth
- Got a bounty to go kill a bandit chief from the Jarl’s steward
- Got the court wizard to ask me to help her go get some equipment for experiments
- Lydia mysteriously vanished after the wedding? Apparently immediately returned to Whiterun? Also, lol, she offered to let me move in with her
- For now, Lyds and I are still living in Whiterun, not quite prepared yet to move to Solitude? Plus I just kind of like Whiterun <3
- Headed off to Reachwater Rock for the final stage of the Forbidden Legends quest
- Re-killed the murderous Gauldurson brothers, and got the ghost of the father to re-forge his amulet, yay!
- From there, went searching for Deep Folk Crossing to find the final Aetherium shard; got Katria’s ghost to go !!! and promise to meet me at the Aetherium Forge
- And, since the Forge was conveniently where I had to go kill the bandit chief for Riften, went there next
- Killed the bandit chief and a couple other bandits, then headed into the Forge dungeon with Lydia and Katria’s ghost
- Found the forge and made the Aetherial Crown, and Katria contentedly went to be finally at peace
- Back to Riften to collect the bounty!
- Elder Dragon dropped on me right outside Riften, which startled the hell out of a nearby horse and the nearby Khajiit caravan
- Met Mjoll the Lioness and offered to go get her lost sword for her
- Headed back to Whiterun after that, where I had additional Carl sightings, made a boatload of daggers of various types and also a boatload of transmuted gold ore, and got additional training from Danica
The big opening event of this session was Alarrah finally marrying Lydia, her devoted housecarl! <3 Very much a “follow me. I need your help—with getting married” situation here, lol.
Which is pretty much how I played it, at least within the bounds of what the game mechanics actually let you do. Got Lyds into active follower status and then blipped off to Riften. On the way down, I took a slightly different route south this time, which meant I found a couple of locations I hadn’t found before: a little village called Shor’s Stone, and a new fort, Fort Greenwall.
And once we got into Riften, we wandered around a bit while I tried to find the Temple of Mara. Which did not, surprisingly, appear on the map. But I did find out without too much trouble after consulting the wiki. And had the obligatory chat with the priest, at which point I then put on the Amulet of Mara I was carrying and turned back around to Lydia. I imagine their conversation went something like this:
Lydia: Is that an Amulet of Mara…?
Alarrah: It sure is!
Lydia: How… in the name of the Divines… is the Dragonborn not already spoken for?
Alarrah: Because she’s been waiting for the right time to speak. She’s already had the right person at her side all this time.
Lydia: I… am happy for you, of course, my thane…
Alarrah: You, you great big axe-swinging sabre cat. I’m talking about you.
And, with that, we arranged to get married! <3
While we were waiting for it to be time for the official wedding, I just wandered around Riften for a little bit to find things to do. And by ‘things to do’, I mean, potential opportunities for quests to take on! Also bought things from some of the vendors in the square (aside from the shady-as-fuck Brynjolf). Notable points about this:
- Grelka the armor seller is a bitch, wow. She’s apparently a Light Armor trainer, but she’s super snotty in all her dialogue lines and makes it plain she doesn’t care about how people take her attitude. Have fun with that, lady. I can make way better armor for myself than you’re selling, and I’ve almost gotten my Light Armor up to the point where you couldn’t train me regardless.
- A few of the other vendors were interesting and friendly, though. Bought things from a couple of Dunmer and an Argonian!
- Got one of those aforementioned Dunmer to ask me to go get her some icewraith teeth
- Got the wife of the alchemist in town to ask me to go get an ore sample for her from Shor’s Stone, which I had conveniently discovered on the way in
- Got a bounty to go kill a bandit chief from the Jarl’s steward
- Got the Jarl’s wizard (who appears to be quite the flake in a very Entrapta kind of way, for those of you who know She-Ra and the Princesses of Power) to ask me to go find three components for her for a current experiment
Then I finally returned to the inn. I was amused that this inn is run by Argonians, and really, this is arguing for me in favor of Riften, because this place so far seems to be the most diverse city in all of Skyrim that I’ve been in so far. Since I liked the husband of the Argonian couple I even bought a couple of the special drinks he had for sale.
Not that the game actually has a mechanic for sharing food and drink with NPCs as far as I know, but I figure that in-character, Alarrah would totally have bought all the nicest food and wine available to share a lovely dinner with her wife-to-be. <3
Then I went back to the room we’d rented, and snoozed for a few hours till it was time to get up for the wedding! To which, I note for reference, Alarrah wore her Arch-Mage robes rather than her dragon armor. Partly because they’re the nicest clothes she’s got. And she did look rather spiffy in the robes as well as a circlet, if I do say so myself.
I knew the wedding sequence would have people friendly to the Dragonborn showing up as guests, but I was still slightly startled to see the Jarl of Morthal show up, Igrod Ravencrone! Also, Valdimar showed up, so it was nice to see at least one other of my housecarls!
After that though, I was surprised to see Lydia just up and disappear once all the guests left the temple. On the thought that she might have blipped back to Whiterun, I fast traveled there to find out. Lydia wasn’t back at Breezehome when I got there—but after a few minutes, she did in fact show up.
At which point I was able to trigger the conversation with her about where we should live. She actually offered to let me move in with her—to wit, lol, because Lyds honey, you don’t have your own house, you’ve been living in my house all this time. You may or may not have noticed. ;D
For the time being, anyway, I’m keeping us in Whiterun. I like Whiterun slightly better than Solitude for a few reasons. Solitude is fancier, but their forge doesn’t have a smelter, so I can’t really use it quite as well as I can Warmaiden’s.
Also, I just kind of like the overall layout of Whiterun a little better. It’s a lot sunnier than Solitude inside the city proper, and around the city, I like the open plains area where I’ve been doing all the hunting to practice my archery. Which, I suppose, is kind of funny given that I’m a Bosmer, but apparently I’m a Bosmer that likes open sunny plains better than forests! Go fig.
Also, Lyds did the thing where she decided to open a store to keep herself occupied while I’m out on the road. Which, in character, seems like a lovely thing even though it doesn’t actually lead to Lyds having a storefront. It just turns on the vendor UI in her interactions with me, and gives her the vendor dialogue lines too.
What it did not do, however, was show me what I was hoping to see: the extra copies of her default equipment blocking me from giving her heavier things, like the ebony armor I wanted to give her!
Specifically, I didn’t see multiple copies of hunting bows that I was expecting, given what I’d read in online searches about this carry weight bug. So this suggests to me that this is not the route I’ll be able to take to resolve that carry weight issue, unless my marrying Lydia and having her inventory change by opening the store resolves it? I’ll have to try to give her the ebony armor and see if that works now.
Anyway, after all of that was taken care of, it was time to go on the honeymoon. By which I mean: c’mon, Lyds, we’re going to go do our favorite thing. Which is, draugr hunting!
First stop: Reachwater Rock, to clear out the final stage of the Forbidden Legend quest and finally get Gauldur’s amulet re-forged.
This locale was another one on the western half of the map, and south-east-ish of Markarth. It’s close enough to where I need to go meet Delphine and Esbern for the Alduin’s Wall quest that my original thought was going to be, do this quest and then go do that one.
But that also pre-supposed I’d be up to level 46 by the time I finished Forbidden Legend. I wasn’t! Partly because the Reachwater Rock dungeon turned out to be surprisingly small. There was one initial cave, a long corridor with not one but two dragon claw gates, and then a single boss chamber where Lydia and I had to re-fight all of the Gauldurson brothers.
I will say this about the first dragon claw gate though: on the way up to that, I also found an ominous-looking edict basically saying “this place is sealed up for a REASON, don’t fuck with it”. Which, of course, was my entire reason for being there. Because fucking with draugr hives is what adventurers do!
And fighting the brothers all over again was crunchy, to be sure! After a couple of rounds of Unrelenting Force smacking me in the face, Alarrah was going “right, this asshole can actually Shout, and also, didn’t I already kill him?”
But ultimately, nothing a bunch of archery work couldn’t handle. And by now I’d built up quite the supply of ebony arrows. (I really need to see about making some dragonbone arrows!)
Once the brothers were killed, the father’s ghost appeared and reforged the amulet, and I was able to make off with it. It was really the only loot of note in the place; see previous commentary re: smol dungeon is smol.
Next stop: seeing about finding the last Aetherium Shard. The needed locale for this was Deep Folk Crossing, which I only knew because I specifically looked it up on the wiki; there was no quest marker for this, and I didn’t particularly feel like wandering around at random hoping to bump into an appropriate place for it.
That said, it was still a bit of a challenge to get to, because I also hadn’t previously discovered the nearest landmarks the wiki referenced. So I did at least have a bit of a hunt on my hands as I fast traveled up to the nearest location I did know, and wandered around from there.
On the way, Lyds and I bumped into a few Forsworn, and in particular one challenging guy who gave us a fight from across the river. He was a pretty effective archer and fast, so I kept having issues trying to hit him with my own bow, while Lyds kept trying to do the same.
Once we found the place though I nabbed the shard and got Katria’s ghost to appear again. She excitedly said she’d then meet me at the Aetherium Forge.
Which, I note, I also didn’t have a quest marker for. Nor any immediately nearby handy fast travel locations. But what I did have was the bounty from Riften—which wanted me to kill a bandit chief in the exact right location. And for that, I did have a quest marker. How convenient.
So Lyds and I were able to get there with hardly any trouble. Likewise for killing the bandits, of which there were only three, and they weren’t armed and outfitted well enough to be a problem. For once, the bandit chief actually wasn’t wearing Nordic armor!
After that, we were able to actually proceed into the dungeon. This required a little bit of figuring out the mechanics—which were, putting the Aetherium Shards onto a mechanism which in turn triggered a startling reveal of a stone tower abruptly rising from the ground. Complete with rumble through the Switch, and Katria going YIKES and yelling for Lydia and me to get out of the way.
Nicely dramatic, game!
This tower turned out to essentially be a giant elevator. We got in there and threw a lever which then took us down very deep into the earth, deep enough that when we emerged, I found what to date has been the darkest dungeon I’ve gone through in Skyrim. And that’s saying something, given that the game’s Switch build is on record as rendering things significantly darker than other versions of the game!
I made a lot of use of Candlelight and Magelight in this dungeon, and even that barely put a dent in the darkness around us. And for the first time I also noticed that apparently you can’t have multiple magelights active at once? I kept throwing them around and noticing that the prior ones I’d launched went out as soon as I launched the next one.
Katria made commentary about the very air of this dungeon even being different—which is amusing given that she was a ghost and all. But nonetheless, the idea here clearly being that nobody had reached this location in four thousand years, so the very air was ancient. (You could also argue that the two living members of this party being able to breathe down there was dodgy, but hey, game logic! And this game does not appear to have a spell or potion for breathing four thousand year old air, the Waterbreathing potions would at least presumably not apply.)
This dungeon wasn’t nearly as long as Mzulft or Arkngthamz, but for what it lacked in size it made up for in number of automatons to fight. We got quite the swarm of them once I turned a couple of steam valves to improve visibility in the final chamber.
And, unsurprisingly, we got a “Forgemaster”, which was a particularly large and intimidating Dwarven Centurion. But once we finally took that down, we were free to check out the forge. With Katria cheering me on, I hunted around for materials to use for the forge along with the aetherium sample we had. Found a whole pile of tasty ingots, and hauled those over to the forge—carefully, since yet again, I was over-encumbered.
The game gives you three options for what to build: an Aetherial Crown, an Aetherial Shield, or an Aetherial Staff. I opted for the Crown since it seemed like the thing I’d be most likely to actually use at some point. Also, the Shield is heavy armor and I’m a light armor kind of gal, and I have not yet wanted to bother to get the hang of using staves.
Once I had the Crown made, Katria was able to give me her final commentary and dissipate, as she could finally be at peace.
Now back down to a party of two, Lyds and I headed out of the place and bopped back to Riften to collect the bounty.
This time, on the way in, ELDER DRAGON SAYS HI AND BY HI I MEAN RAAAAAR. Damn thing jumped us right outside the Riften gates, which meant it startled the hell out of a nearby horse, the nearby guards, and the nearby Khajiit caravan that was hanging out nearby. Hi again, Kharjo, nice to see you too but kinda busy here pelting the dragon with arrows.
And because the Riften guards were engaged, I actually got to see this dragon nab one of the guards with its maw and kill him, flinging his body aside. YOWZA. :O
Having help to kill the beast though was a damn good thing, because I was still over-encumbered, and relying on hitting the dragon with my bow rather than trying to run to engage it in melee fighting.
Cue also surprised commentary from the Khajiit as I slurped up its soul. Hi, yeah, Dragonborn, I kinda do this a lot.
Once that was taken care though, back into Riften!
Finally found Mjoll the Lioness again (the first time I’d found her, that got rolled back by having to revert to a previous save), so I was able to get her to give me the quest to get her sword Grimsever back for her. Also got a little bit more of her backstory, and how a Dwarven Centurion had damn near killed her. GEE that sounds familiar. Though so far, Lyds hasn’t had to nurse me back to health!
Also got that bounty reward sorted. This still didn’t get me in good enough with the Jarl to start working on being her thane yet, but there’s plenty more to do in Riften and now I do know how to get that plotline started.
I’m now at level 45, and have trained a couple more times with Danica, but I need to pop back to the college and follow up with Arniel on his quest and get one of the teachers here to train me up my other two ticks for this level. And I’ll probably see if one of the Riften side quests, or two or three of them, will get me up to level 46 for Alduin’s Wall!
Editing to add
3/9/2022: Reformatted this post to make it better match ones in later playthroughs.