In Which Merawen Finds the White Phial, and Thieves Her Way Through Riften and Markarth
This session was all about the thievery, but with a side helping of doing the first part of the White Phial quest. I’ve finally done all the necessary side jobs in Markarth to trigger that city’s special Thieves Guild quest!
And I found a second item of the dragonscale armor set. \0/
- Checked the Hall of the Dead a couple of times (both in this actual session as well in followup peeking after), and confirmed that yeah, I appear to have lost both Wujeeta and From-Deepest-Fathoms, which means I am screwed out of becoming thane of the Rift and doing the quest for the Avanchnzel Dwemer ruin
- Triggered side quest from Alessandra in the Hall of the Dead to get a dagger of hers over to the Hall of the Dead in Whiterun
- Went back to the Dainty Sload to get the Stone of Barenziah from there, missed it the first time through, oops
- Returned to Riften to scout out Mistveil Keep for burglary purposes, talked to Wylandriah and activated her plot to get her items, also bought spellbooks for Telekinesis and Waterbreathing, and three empty grand soul gems
- Went to Ivarstead and Winterhold for two of the three items, killed an Ancient Dragon in Winterhold
- Stopped at the mage college, finally gave Sergius all seven Grand Soul Gems he wanted; sold a staff to Faralda
- Stopped in Windhelm to get Wylandriah’s last item, also triggered White Phial quest while I was there
- Returned to Riften to give stuff back to Wylandriah and get her reward for that
- Spotted another thief being taken out by Riften guards, let them do that, then stole the thief’s loot
- Started looking for alternate ways to fulfill the Bedlam Job
- Broke into the Riften Fishery to look for Wujeeta (before I knew for sure she was dead), but I stole everything I could nab as long as I was in there, but not enough to finish the Bedlam Job
- Popped over to Honningbrew to fence stolen loot and clear the stolen flag on my best arrows; also sold assorted less interesting soul gems to get my gold balance over 10K
- Went into Whiterun proper to do Alessandra’s dagger quest
- Returned to Riften to report to Alessandra, got a bunch of spellbooks from her
- Stole Dibella statue from Haelga’s Bunkhouse and that finished off the Bedlam Job
- Reported back to Delvin for my gold; got new jobs from Delvin and Vex, after doing a few rounds of loading from save until I could get them to give me a job in Markarth! Got both a Bedlam and a Sweep Job queued up there
- Decided to run the White Phial quest first to get that Shout word
- Tried to fast travel to the Nightgate Inn as nearest landmark, got chomped and/or fried by Ancient Dragon in two separate attempts
- Third attempt: no dragon at first, but did get troll and a snow bear
- Found Bronze Water Cave; the wiki said this will actually be important later when I do the Irkngthand run
- Fucking Ancient Dragon showed up again as I made my way up the slope to forsaken cave but this time I actually evaded it and made it to Forsaken Cave safely
- Fuck yeah #1: forgot about all the silver ingots in this dungeon!
- Fuck yeah #2: dragonscale boots with resist shock enchantment in a loot chest! Why yes I will have some
- Got amusing behavior with the boss draugr Curalmil not emerging from his sarcophagus when the lid blew off—because I was Sneaking, lol; when I came back out after getting the Phial, I un-Sneaked and then he woke up, and I was able to fight him and his two lackey draugr, and take them all out
- Went back through Anga’s Mill on the way to Windhelm, since it wasn’t too far away; this time it was dragon-free
- Spotted an ice wolf killing an NPC, which turned out to be a Courier; the Courier was carrying a letter about an investor and Cragwallow Slope, and this is apparently a known type of random world encounter? Huh!
- In Windhelm, finished up round one of the White Phial quest, and sold all the Forsaken Cave loot to Niranye (except for the boots and the ingots, because I was totally keeping those)
- Returned to mage college for level 46’s round of training
- Went to Lakeview to work on building and smithing things, and got Smithing up to 96
- Went to Whiterun for additional Smithing and selling; made a Daedric bow and a Daedric sword!
- Boinged to Solitude to use my enchanter there and see if I could create a smithing outfit good enough to enchant more things, was able to make the Daedric bow and sword legendary but not improve the dragonscale stuff yet
- Did the two jobs queued up in Markarth; Bedlam and Sweep Jobs stacked on the Smelter Overseer’s house; he’s an orc and I waltzed right past him while he was at his hearth, lol
- Returned to Riften and got two more jobs queued up in Markarth, and did those; again, Bedlam and Sweep, this time at Ogmund’s House; he’s the old bard for the Silver-Blood Inn
- Guard went by me just before I broke into his house, and threw the “Go fiddling with any locks around here, we’re going to have a real problem line”, lolololol, my dude, that’ll depend on you actually catching me in the act
- Ogmund was actually in his house and awake the first two times I tried to come in; he spotted me, the old bastard, and yelled at me for trespassing; I waited to try again till I was pretty sure he’d be asleep, and that time it worked
- Returned to Riften, checked in on the jobs, and got Delvin to order me right back to Markarth to do the special job there \0/
Where my Riften dock Argonians at? Dead, apparently
Here’s the thing about getting to be thane in Riften, and by extension, getting access to the Honeyside house: the prerequisite for that is helping the Argonian Wujeeta with her skooma addiction, so that you can get on the Jarl’s good side by taking out the local skooma dealers.
Which is all very well and good except for the part where Wujeeta is apparently not an essential NPC. And if Wujeeta happens to get killed, you will by definition never be able to do her quest.
Since Wujeeta works for the Riften Fishery, she spends a lot of her scheduled time out on the docks.
Where Riften often suffers dragon attacks.
Which I’ve had at least a few of in this playthrough.
Just to be thorough, I checked all the various docks both on the lower level of the city and on the exterior that faces the lake—no sign of her. I checked Haelga’s Bunkhouse where she sleeps—no sign of her there.
All of which adds up to “she probably got toasted by a dragon on one of my previous sessions”. And I never knew. Dammit.
Which means I’m just screwed for becoming thane of the Rift this playthrough. I’m bummed less about not being thane per se and more about not getting to buy Honeyside! Because it’s a nice house and does have that nice back door right out of Riften.
I’ve found conflicting information about whether you can still become thane of the Rift if the Imperials take over—whether via the Season Unending cease-fire, or via the Imperials outright taking the place by force. But I’m pretty sure the answer to this question is still “no”. Even if Maven Black-Briar takes over as Jarl, as far as I know, she’ll expect you to do the skooma dealer quests to make you thane.
That said: I’ve also just seen a reference on the wiki that says you can buy Honeyside without doing the thane quests, if the Imperials take over? So I may still at least be able to get the house once I do Season Unending. I’ll have to try this out.
Meanwhile, though, my hunting for Wujeeta also took me to the same dock areas that I saw the other interesting Argonian in Alarrah’s playthrough: From-Deepest-Fathoms, the Argonian who triggers the plot to send you to Avanchnzel. I can’t find her, either, which suggests she got fried by whatever dragon took out poor Wujeeta.
I’m bummed about that, too, because I liked the Avanchnzel plot and was kind of looking forward to running that again. But I couldn’t find her anywhere on the docks either.
I finally learned though that you can check the Hall of the Dead in a city to see if any NPCs recently died. But it took me a few tries of reading up about this to finally clue in that you specifically have to look in coffins that have stuff in them to confirm whether a specific NPC has been killed.
Doing this, I finally was able to confirm for sure that From-Deepest-Fathoms is dead—because I found the coffin that contained the Lexicon object she would have given me.
Now in theory, I could just take the Lexicon out of her coffin and trigger the Avanchznel quest that way. But given that Merawen took out the Summerset Shadows, the leader of whom had made stealing out of coffins kind of his thing, it would be completely fucking hypocritical of Merawen to do so herself. So I’m not going to do that! My girl may be a thief, but she still has certain ethics! 😆
Likewise, I found a coffin that probably has Wujeeta’s stuff. I don’t know for sure, just because the item that would specifically identify her (a purchase agreement) apparently doesn’t get generated until you actually activate her quests. But that coffin does have the blue dress she typically wears, and that coffin’s the only one in the Hall of the Dead that has that type of dress. So I’m still pretty damn sure that’s her stuff.
While I was in there inspecting the coffins, I found three others that indicate at least one death I already knew about and two more I didn’t. The known one of course being Grelod the Kind. The other two though were the stable owner Hofgrir Horse-Crusher, and probably also the farmer Synda Llanith, from Merryfair Farm. Hofgrir’s coffin is definitive—it’s got a Riften Stable Key and also a Mark of Dibella.
The other one that’s probably Synda’s is not confirmed her, but likely given that it has a green version of the same dress Wujeeta wore, and Synda’s an NPC whose picture shows she wears that style of clothes. And her wiki page says she and her husband both are unfortunately prone to jumping in on random dragon attacks rather than letting the guards fight them off. Merryfair’s proximity to the Riften walls means they’re uncomfortably close to any dragons that show up just outside the city, so.
So yeah. I may be able to still buy Honeyside later, but all signs point to me being screwed out of being thane of the Rift this game. Oh well!
Meanwhile, Alessandra has daddy issues
While I was poking around in Riften’s Hall of the Dead, I also met the NPC that minds the place, Alessandra. Who has some unresolved father issues, given that her father pressured her into taking on the job of minding the Hall of the Dead and she never really wanted to do that in the first place.
She asked me to help her out by taking a certain dagger off to the Hall of the Dead in Whiterun, though, by way of trying to work through her father issues. I agreed to do that, and popped into Whiterun later in the session to drop off the dagger with Anders at the Hall of the Dead there.
When I returned to Riften to follow up with Alessandra, she was quite grateful and gave me a whole bunch of spellbooks! Most of which I didn’t know already, so it was very nice to get all those higher-level Restoration spells. (Apparently this behavior is slightly buggy, she’s supposed to only give you one spellbook, but I’ll accept her generosity nonetheless!)
Dainty Sload, take two
I realized, also, that I’d missed something while running the Dainty Sload quest in Solitude: i.e., the Stone of Barenziah that’s on board that vessel!
So I didn’t want to let that slide. I bopped back up there early in this run, and re-ran the entire ship just to make it to that stone. Didn’t have to kill a single person on board, not even the first mate. I was able to successfully evade everybody.
And now I have Stone of Barenziah #15. Nine more to go.
(One of which is actually in the Jarl’s quarters in Mistveil Keep in Riften, which is mostly why I had any fucks to give about becoming thane of the Rift—just to see if I could replicate the situation I had in Whiterun, where not a single guard blinked at me wandering into the Jarl’s quarters and taking stuff. Looks like I’ll have to be a bit more clever in Mistveil Keep!)
Wylandriah really needs to keep better track of her stuff
So with an eye to scouting out Mistveil Keep to see if I could find a way back into the Jarl’s quarters to yoink her Stone of Barenziah, I stopped to chat with Wylandriah, the court wizard.
Part of this was to see if she had anything I could steal for the Bedlam Job—but trying to do so seemed chancy as the room was well-lit and I was pretty sure I’d be at risk of being noticed.
I wound up going ahead and triggering Wylandriah’s side quest to get her three lost items, which I’d done before as Alarrah. Played out pretty much the same way this time, though I did have to fight an Ancient Dragon when I stopped at Winterhold.
When I bopped back to Riften to give Wylandriah her stuff, I found that her disposition being raised to me meant I could just freely yoink stuff off her counter. So not really helpful for fulfilling the Bedlam Job!
Wylandriah did prove to be a fruitful stop though because I was able to buy two interesting spells off of her: Telekinesis and Waterbreathing. Mind you, I have Volsung so I don’t really need the Waterbreathing spell, but it’ll be interesting to try it out. And I definitely want to try out Telekinesis.
Also, I was able to buy enough empty Grand Soul Gems from her to fulfill Sergius’ side quest at the mage college.
Mage college stops
Stopped at the mage college twice in this overall run—once to get Sergius his Grand Soul Gems, and to sell Faralda one of my spare staves while I was at it. And also, later, to get in a round of training for level 46.
General smithing and enchanting
Bounced around a bit between Lakeview, Whiterun, and Solitude, which let me do enough smithing to accomplish some useful things:
- Getting my Smithing up to 96
- Building a bunch of iron fittings and hinges and nails and locks, which I’ll need later for building out Lakeview Manor
- Creating a Daedric bow and a Daedric sword, which I think are about to become my new favorite primary weapons now that I’ve improved them up enough to make them more powerful than my current primary weapons (Chillrend, the Ebony Bow, and the Nightingale Blade)
- Enchanting a few clothing items with Fortify Smithing, which did help my Smithing abilities, but the enchantments are still pretty weak—I need to drop some perks on Enchanting soon
I’m not quite sure if I’ll actually use the Daedric weaponry much, or whether it’ll be more productive to sell them now that I have access to fences with increasingly large amounts of gold. Once I reach 100 on Smithing and unlock Dragon Smithing, I’ll be able to create Dragonbone weapons which would surpass the Daedrics. So I’ll need to think about this.
I also still need to fully improve Chillrend and the Nightingale Bow up to Legendary so I can properly compare their stats. So far, even with my smithing-enchanted outfit on, I haven’t been able to improve those items any further. And all the apothecaries have been notably lacking in Blacksmithing potions!
The White Phial quest
This one was another I’d run as Alarrah, but liked, so I ran it again this time too.
A couple of notable differences this time, though:
- Pretty sure I came in via a different route this time, because I walked by a place called Bronze Water Cave which I didn’t recognize, and which turns out to be important later for when I run Irkngthand to proceed with Thieves Guild stuff
- Kept trying to use the Nightgate Inn as my fast travel marker to get to Forsaken Cave, but an Ancient Dragon killed me twice on the first two attempts to come in, and the third time, I had to work to evade it and make it to the cave
- Inside the cave, discovered that if you’re Sneaking, you can trigger a thing where boss draugr Curalmir’s coffin lid blows off but he does not emerge until you un-Sneak, lol
- In one of the loot chests in this dungeon, I found a pair of dragonscale boots with a 70% resist shock enchantment on them! Fuck yeah I’ll have some!
Those boots, by the way, are now the second item of dragonscale armor I’ve found in this run, a thing that had never happened to me as Alarrah. So now I’ve got a dragonscale helmet and boots. I just need the gauntlets, the armor, and the shield, as well as a bow, a sword, and arrows. And I have plenty of dragon bones and scales to do that as soon as I make it to 100 in Smithing!
Also, on the way back to Windhelm to conclude round one of the White Phial quest, I saw an unfortunate Courier get killed by an ice wolf. When I searched the Courier’s body, he had a letter on him that talked about an investor and Cragwallow Slope. This is apparently a randomly generated letter that’s possible as part of a world encounter! I guess that investor is not going to get the news they were hoping for.
Thievery in Riften
Since I wasn’t able to make it to the Jarl’s quarters in Mistveil Keep to yoink her Stone of Barenziah, I wound up having to find other ways to fulfill the Bedlam Job in Riften.
While I was looking for Wujeeta (and before I knew her stuff was most likely in the coffin in the Hall of the Dead), I wound up breaking into the Riften Fishery in an attempt to find her. The fishery was completely deserted—and I guess if he’s lost a few employees to dragon attacks, it makes sense that the owner, Bolli, is keeping the place locked?
Still though I stole everything I could get my hands on in there, trying to make it up to 500 gold and fulfill the requirement of the Bedlam Job.
The fishery by itself didn’t do it. But what did kick me over the top was nabbing Haelga’s Dibella statue in the bunkhouse!
Thievery in Markarth
Last but not least, I finally finished up the jobs required in Markarth to trigger the special Thieves Guild job there.
Once I cleared the Bedlam Job in Riften, I went through two different rounds of “save, talk to Delvin/Vex, get new job, reload from save”, doing this over and over until I finally got them to give me jobs in Markarth.
Because noting for the record: I’m enjoying the hell out of the Thieves Guild for the most part. But boy howdy is it tedious to run the side jobs to steal stuff in the cities, particularly when they have you hit the same random locations over and over, and steal or plant the same randomly generated items.
It does help though that I discovered you can stack Bedlam and Sweep Jobs on top of each other. If they’re in the same city, you can satisfy both jobs at once by robbing a single location. So I did this twice with Markarth.
First time through, I hit the Smelter Overseer’s House. This is a location right near the smelter and Cidhna Mine in Markarth, And the overseer is an orc. Who, as it happened, was at his hearth when I broke into the place, and did not notice me in the slightest as I snuck past him and yoinked the three randomly generated golden items.
Second time through, I hit the house of Ogmund, who’s the old bard who sings at the Silver-Blood Inn. When I reached his door, I had to lol at the guard who walked by me and threw me the line about “go fiddling with any locks around here, we’re going to have a real problem.”
“Oh my no why on Nirn would I want to do that?” said the thief, about to pick a lock on the door right behind her as soon as the guard is out of sight.
Getting into the house was easy enough. Actually getting past Ogmund was surprisingly difficult!
He was awake the first two times I came in, and did in fact see me even though I was Sneaking. Which is a reminder to me that even with my Sneak maxed out, even if I am also wearing a Sneak-enchanted item to Fortify my Sneak even above that, it is still possible for someone to see me if conditions are right. I think this may be a matter of how well the environment is lit, and whether the NPC is looking in your direction?
After having this happen twice, I finally decided to wait until later in the night game-time, when I was pretty sure Ogmund would be asleep. And at that point, I was actually successful. Once he was sleeping in his bed, I was able to get past him and get the target items.
So that finally got me to a point of triggering the final special reputation job for the Guild, which of course sent me right back to Markarth!
I gotta run that Markarth special job! Which should let me advance the Thieves Guild main plot—I can then go run Irkngthand, get Mercer Frey dealt with, and proceed to the point of getting Nocturnal’s blessing and hopefully becoming Guild Master.
Whether I do all of that in one session will remain to be seen! But this is likely to be the main course of action over the next couple of sessions, anyway.
Meanwhile, I still need to hire me a steward at Lakeview. I want that steward to be somebody besides Rayya, if at all possible, just to have an extra person there, and because I haven’t done that option before. But finding an appropriate NPC is the question. It has to be someone available to me as a follower, and at this point this means these are my options:
- Housecarls (Lydia, Rayya, Jordis)
- Roggi Knot-Beard
- Brelyna at the mage college (or Onmund, if I do his quest)
Several other options on the list of NPCs available are only if I do certain quests—and several of those are Companions-related, which I’m not planning to do in this playthrough. But there are a couple other NPCs for quests I haven’t done yet, which might be interesting. So I may need to divert cycles to that.
The most interesting options of those are Illia, the mage I can help in the quest where her mother is trying to become a hagraven; and Adelaisa Vendicci, who I could help in a quest to deal with pirates in Windhelm. Neither of these are quests I did as Alarrah, so that makes them potentially entertaining!
I’d do Brelyna—because she is a Dunmer and I think Merawen would feel it right to give a fellow Dunmer a job—but on the other hand, Brelyna’s also a mage student and I kind of don’t want to pull either her or Onmund away from the college.
So I think I may go hunt down Darklight Tower and see if I can run Illia’s quest.
Editing to add 12/4/2021
Corrected name of mage college NPC from Ormund to Onmund.