This session was basically all about these goals:
- Improve my carrying capacity as this is an ongoing problem
- Finish up the Discerning the Transmundane quest
- Burn through more of my excess building materials by building more things!
This was a very scattershot sort of session, though, since I bounced around all over the place. And I’m not sure I have everything in exact order. That said, highlights and details behind the fold!
- In Whiterun, worked on improving the Dark Brotherhood gear and anything else I could improve, after getting some smithing bonuses; kicked the Brotherhood gear up to Epic and also got Volsung, the dragon priest mask, up to Legendary
- Went to the Guardian Stones to trigger the Mage Stone
- Then I went looking for the Steed Stone near Solitude, but I don’t think I did the Aetherial Crown right, because I didn’t have both effects active
- Found the same stray dog I’d found before but I couldn’t get it to follow me
- Popped into Solitude to sell a few things and invested in all the stores; I think it was also here that I bought a ring that had a Smithing bonus on it 😀
- There were Khajiit at Solitude again, so I got a tick of Lockpicking training
- Fast traveled to Windstad to do a little building, and paid Valdimar to engage a bard and a carriage driver, too; also, killed a giant by the house
- Stopped at the college and got two ticks of training in Restoration and Conjuration to fill out the rest of the level training for level 50
- Then reported back to Septimus, who gave me an essence extractor and told me to go get blood samples of all five types of mer
- Had Hermaeus Mora appear to me after that little conversation; yay?
- Went back to Alftand for four of the five samples, and picked up a little extra loot while I was in there
- Blipped back down to Whiterun to hit the Halted Stream Camp again, since that was a known place where I could fight a Dunmer enemy (to get the last of the five); I think it was somewhere in here that I leveled up to 51, fighting the new round of bandits; also, mined all the ore veins again for the iron
- Returned to Septimus with the samples; this did not unfortunately go well for Septimus, but I wound up with the Oghma Infinium, and a +5 bonus to all my magics, which surprisingly almost filled my entire level bar for level 51
- Hermaeus Mora appeared to me again, and now I’m his champion, yay?
- Went to Heljarchen for another round of building and using more of my excess building materials; built the enchanter’s tower and the alchemy tower; also did a lot of work at the cellar forge and got the Dark Brotherhood gear up to Legendary
- Killed a giant that was right by the house
- Headed south on foot to Whiterun, got ambushed by a dragon (generic Dragon, this time); killed same
I think that’s everything?
Did an initial round of smithing and selling before getting seriously underway. This included buying enough arrows from the Drunken Hunstman that I was able to get the merchant to buy one of my extra ebony bows. Those things are expensive. All the ebony and dragon stuff I’ve made is the hardest stuff to get rid of.
Also swung by Dragonsreach and got a lot of my spare jewelry enchanted, just to work on improving my enchanting and to blow through more of my excess soul gems. Because holy crap I have a lot of soul gems.
Visiting the Stones
My plan here had been to take advantage of the Aetherial Crown’s ability to store a Standing Stone perk, set that thing to carry the Mage Stone perk, and then go to the Steed stone and pick that up too. However, I think I did it wrong; I don’t seem to have the Mage Stone effect active even if I have on the crown. So I’m going to have to try this again.
Tracking down the Steed Stone was a nice little jaunt, though. I hadn’t found it before, so I took only a rough clue about where it was from the wiki, and then went hunting north-west-ish of Solitude.
I did finally find it after engaging miscellaneous beasts. I also happened to find the same stray dog I found in an earlier session, but I couldn’t seem to get it to follow me. It didn’t do anything but bark when I tried to talk at it.
And oh yes: I decided to try running around in the Dark Brotherhood gear, but also with the dragon priest mask Volsung. Volsung gives me a +20 carry bonus, plus, it looks pretty badass with the DB gear. Here’s a screencap of Alarrah wearing it, taken while I was running around looking for the Steed Stone:
Also, note that Alarrah’s quiver is about as big around as she is. Given that I’m carrying several hundred arrows, this rather does not surprise me.
Popped into Solitude long enough to invest in all the stores–though drat, I’d forgotten that there’s a bug with investing in Angeline’s Aromatics, so I’m not sure that that particular investment took?
I did offload some merchandise as well, just to keep pulling down the inventory and to build the gold stock back up.
And the Khajiit were back at Solitude, so I got another round of Lockpicking training, along with selling them some of my stuff, too.
Blipped over to Windstad just to remind Valdimar that I exist, and to work on building that place a bit more. As I approached, I saw a giant right by the house, so I wound up taking it out with a bow shot.
I paid Valdimar to engage a bard and a carriage driver, too. And as I told Dara, I know I don’t need to buy staff at my built houses. But purely as an in-character thing, I like doing it. Partly because I have enough money to spread the gold around and help get people employed, but partly also for the sake of letting my housecarls have some company at these big houses! I’m building these huge houses, it doesn’t make much sense to have only one person living there. And I can’t live in all of them. 🙂
Visiting the college
Stopped at the college long enough to get more training, this time from Colette (Restoration) and Phinis (Conjuration).
When I asked her for training, I was amused by Colette’s line “so you wish to master the arcane arts?”
Well, yes. Given that I’m Arch-Mage of the college, training me up would probably be a good idea.
Visiting Septimus, round 1
Then it was back to Septimus’ outpost north of the college. And, let it be noted that getting there is a lot less of a pain in the ass once you’ve found the place and can fast travel to it!
(I mean, I enjoyed trying it the first time, particularly after I realized I could clear out the weather with that handy Clear Skies Shout, and actually see where I was going. Doesn’t mean I want to hoof it there every time, though!)
Septimus was delighted to see me returning with the Runed Lexicon, since it would let him open the fancy Dwemer cube in his cave, over which he’d been obsessing. But he needed additional help to actually get the thing open, so he gave me an Essence Extractor and told me I’d need to go get samples of the blood of the five types of mer, Altmer, Bosmer, Dunmer, Falmer, and Orsimer.
(Only, y’know, he said it rather more crazypants than that.)
I agreed to do this, and on my way up out of the cave, I was confronted with a startling vision of swirling tentacles and eyes. The game tagged this as “Wretched Abyss”. But when it spoke to me, it identified itself as Hermaeus Mora.
I.e., the Daedric prince of knowledge.
Mora basically went “I’ve been watching you, you’re impressive, but your ongoing dealing with this other guy over here means he’s about to stop being useful to me, so guess what, you get to be my new champion.”
JOY OH GLEE, thinks Alarrah. But my dialogue options to reply to him were basically “I am your servant” and “fuck no, you vile monster”. I went with option one, because see previous commentary re: it being unwise to argue with Daedra.
So Mora basically told me to go about my business, and check in with him when I came back. I went about my business.
Since four of the five types of blood I needed to get were available from various slain personages in Alftand, I went right back there and tromped through the place to get to all the fallen bodies I needed to find.
Alftand is a lot easier to tromp through when you’re not burdened, I’ll say that.
I think Alarrah was not entirely happy with having to harvest blood off of dead bodies, though. Particularly the three victims of the Falmer. As for the Falmer themselves, though, much less of a problem there.
Revisiting Halted Stream Camp
For the fifth sample, though, I needed to find a Dunmer. And there weren’t any Dunmer in the doomed expedition that’d tried to get into Alftand, which meant I had to go elsewhere.
This was another thing about which I was perfectly pleased to consult the wiki. It had several helpful tips on where to find either already slain Dunmer or Dunmer opponents I could fight. I chose the latter option, and returned to Halted Stream Camp near Whiterun.
The place had respawned since the first time I’d visited it, of course. So I re-killed all the bandits, got my Dunmer blood sample, and also mined all the ore veins in there to get iron for good measure.
Visiting Septimus, round 2
With all five samples obtained, it was time to return to Septimus.
He gleefully opened up the Dwemer cube in his cave and scurried in there–only to discover that it did not contain what he thought it would, i.e., the heart of a god. Instead, it contained a book.
And at this point, he essentially shrieked in what sounded like surprise and/or rage… and promptly spontaneously combusted. Nothing left of him but a pile of ash.
I was not entirely expecting that, since I hadn’t really read to the end of the wiki page for this quest in detail (I do try to maintain at least some level of surprise!). But the implication is clear that Hermaeus Mora destroyed him.
I took the book, as well as the Lexicon and the extractor from what was left of poor Septimus. I don’t think Alarrah much appreciated that the poor guy got combusted, but then, the game also doesn’t really hand you a choice to complain about that. Nor is the outcome changed even if you reject Hermaeus Mora’s making you his emissary.
That said, I did read the Infinium, and chose the Path of Magic when the option was presented to me. Which got me a +5 bump in all my magic skills, very useful given that I’m actively working on bumping them up now.
The Wretched Abyss did appear to me again as part of this denouement, and this time I got a screencap of it!
Clearly, Hermaeus Mora has no fucks to give about a corporeal form.
Dropped by Heljarchen for yet more building, where I killed another giant who was hanging out right by the house. I told Paul I was a trifle relieved that even though giants can apparently get that close to your house, they can’t actually damage it, even though in-universe I should think they totally could. They do after all carry enormous clubs, and they could pound the hell out of your house’s structure.
But then, that’d also require the game to actually build mechanics for that, and I could totally see it pissing off players if they had to rebuild a house every time a giant came along and knocked part of it down.
I am likewise amused that the giant apparently had no fucks to give about my carriage driver and his horse, who were only a few strides away. Likewise, that driver and horse were surprisingly unperturbed by the giant’s proximity!
Side note: I do feel a little sorry for the carriage drivers all over Skyrim, who never ever leave their carriages and are always on call. Guys! You can take a break, really! It’s OKAY! Go inside! Have a bottle of mead! Let your horse hang out in the stables!
(Though again: another thing the game would have to build mechanics for, lol.)
Anyway, built a lot more stuff at Heljarchen. Did some work in the cellar building things (including a couple additional shrines), as well as working at the cellar forge and making a smelter down there. And with some smithing bonuses active, I was able to get the Dark Brotherhood gear I was wearing improved up to Legendary. So it’s pretty decent armor at this point despite not being nearly as much protection as the dragonscale.
Also, activated the enchanter tower and the alchemy lab tower, both of which burned through a lot of my built-up reserve of clay and stone.
Once I had the enchanter tower built and got it some furniture, I also had a lot more strongboxes available to me. So I dumped a lot of gems into a few of those, since I’ll need some of those gems to make additional shrines. But also on the grounds of “hey, I’ve got all these gems, they really ought to be locked up for safekeeping”.
Back to Whiterun
And after I took out the giant, which was pretty much the last part of my visit, I headed south to return to Whiterun.
On the way, I passed the poachers who apparently had taken out some mammoths–but they didn’t actually come over to fight me, so I left them be.
I did not do the same, though, for the dragon that dropped out of the sky on me. This was a generic Dragon, not one of the more powerful kinds, which is probably why I was able to kill it with just my steel arrows. 😀
I feel a return to the Throat of the World coming on real soon for the next stage of the main plot–and my first confrontation with Alduin!