Merawen Playthrough

In Which Merawen Goes Questing in the Reach

A bit of a break from thievery this session, as I went to go do some questing in the Reach—with an eye towards working my way over to the special Thieves Guild job in Markarth. And, a side helping of running a new-to-me quest to recruit an NPC to be my steward at Lakeview!


  • Session number in this run: 26
  • Did a bit of final confirmation in Riften’s Hall of the Dead that yep, Wujeeta and From-Deepest-Fathoms had been killed off
  • Went looking for Darklight Tower so I could run the Repentance quest and get Illia as a follower, and then hire her as steward at Lakeview Manor
  • Took Illia over to Lakeview and hired her there, then did some building; bounced from there to Whiterun to sell a few things
  • Bounced back to Lakeview, built more stuff, leveled up to 47 and got Smithing to 98
  • Bounced to Solitude to sell a few more things and buy more iron for later
  • Gave Jordis her ebony gauntlets and armor, also got her on board as follower so I could go to the Reach and do assorted side things
  • Went to Soljund’s Sinkhole, engaged Ancient Dragon when I came out of fast travel, then tried the sinkhole quest to clear the moonstone mine of draugr
  • But before I reached the mine, got a surprise Courier with a Letter of Inheritance—for a Forsworn Forager! Apparently the dragon had attacked a Forsworn Camp in between attacking me?
  • Then cleared the mine; notable thing about the boss chamber was a statue that spit fire damage at me, and another one that kept healing the boss draugr, a Draugr Death Overlord
  • Sold all the moonstone ore I mined to Perth
  • Fast traveled to Markarth so I could unload loot taken from the mine—aside from the ebony sword and ebony battleaxe I took off Draugr Deathlords, which I gave to Jordis
  • Decided it would probably be a good idea to proceed with becoming thane in Markarth so I could get the house as a base, and given that I’m blocked from getting Honeyside in Riften, so I went to check in with the Jarl
  • Vigilant Tyranus tried to question me about the Abandoned House and nope sorry don’t know a damn thing about that house
  • In Understone Keep, challenged on my approach to the Jarl by his housecarl Faleen
  • Igmund commanded me to go kill a Forsworn leader to prove my worth to Markarth, and the quest directed me to Deepwood Redoubt
  • Still though I was carrying too damn much stuff, decided to stop in Solitude and drop off things since Deepwood Redoubt is very near Volskygge
  • Sold more loot, made Jordis some ebony boots
  • Dropped off Linwe’s Armor at Proudspire, because carrying three different sets of armor is too much; not my best armor anyway even if I like the look
  • Boinged back to Lakeview since I got more iron and needed to do more building; did that, also killed some bandits
  • Dropped the ebony bow off on a newly built weapon rack because the Daedric bow is my new favorite bow
  • Boinged back to Solitude to sell bandit loot, including Nordic armor, and oh hey right I have a fence at the Winking Skeever, and he has a boatload of gold, so I sold all the loot to him
  • That finally trimmed the inventory weight down, so off to Deepwood Redoubt; fast traveled to Volskygge and walked the rest of the way, a very short distance
  • Took out the various Forsworn there, and satisfied the bounty by killing the Briarheart
  • Deepwood is a big dungeon network, including access to Hag’s End, but I didn’t go all the way through it
  • Returned to Markarth to report to the Jarl, and he paid me 1500 gold
  • Asked if he had any further work and he asked me to retrieve his family shield from hagravens
  • Who as it happened were back at Hag’s End so I get to go all the way back to Deepwood next time! Gee thanks Jarl Igmund, you couldn’t have clued me in on both of these tasks at the same time?

Final followup on Wujeeta and From-Deepest-Fathoms

First actual action I took in this session was one more visit to the Hall of the Dead in Riften, because I’d finally learned that if an NPC in a city dies, their stuff is actually in a coffin that shows up in that city’s Hall of the Dead. I hadn’t realized this before.

So I had to go one more time into Riften’s Hall of the Dead, just to see if I could confirm that Wujeeta and From-Deepest-Fathoms were gone. In the case of Wujeeta, most likely. In the case of From-Deepest-Fathoms: absolutely confirmed.

Now that I know how to confirm an NPC death, I can keep this in mind for future playthroughs. And also make a note to make damn sure not to use the Riften Stables as a fast travel marker! Because too many NPCs can be risked if a dragon shows up there.

Repentance quest

The next action I wanted to take in this session was to get myself a steward at Lakeview Manor, so that I’d have somebody immediately on site that I could buy logs from.

As previously mentioned, I wanted to try to recruit a different NPC besides Rayya, my housecarl in Falkreath. So I opted to go run the Repentance quest, which involves finding Darklight Tower and helping the mage Illia escape a coven of witches—and stop her mother from becoming a hagraven.

This was a very straightforward kind of quest. I basically showed up at the tower and the first thing I saw was Illia taking out one of the witches. When I questioned her, the slightly frantic Illia filled me in on what was going on—that her mother was trying to become a hagraven, and Illia was now 100 percent done with being in this coven, because she’d been asked to acquire a human sacrifice for the ritual. And she asked me to help her stop her mother.

I agreed to this, though Illia’s plan to get into her mother’s vicinity by pretending to offer me as the sacrifice seemed chancy! Presumably Illia realized that, well armed and armored as I was, her mother’s chances of actually killing me were pretty slim.

Cleared the place and took out Illia’s mother without too much trouble, though, and got Illia’s gratitude and willingness to be my follower. In no small part because she clearly wanted the fuck out of the tower.

So I took her over to Lakeview, and promptly hired her as my steward. So now she has a nice house to look after, which will become nicer as I finish furnishing the place. And she’s got Rayya to keep her company. Hopefully the two of them will defend Lakeview well when I’m not there! Illia’s a frost-wielding combat mage, so that should give local bandits some pause.

Also, narrative-wise, Illia seemed like a good fit to be a steward for Merawen. I figure Merawen knows a thing or two about wanting to escape a problematic past. Or wanting to do some good to balance out less than savory deeds!

Did an initial round of building while I was there, and then bounced over to Whiterun to sell things. Came back and built more things, and got leveled up to 47. Got Smithing up to 98.

Then I boinged over to Solitude to sell more things—and pick up Jordis the Shield-Maiden as this session’s follower. Which also gave me the opportunity to present her with the ebony gauntlets and armor I’d acquired!

With Jordis engaged, I headed off to the Reach to handle the main action of the session: taking care of Reach-based side quests on my way to Markarth, to do the special Thieves Guild job there.

Soljund’s Sinkhole, and Surprise Inheritance

The first side job I wanted to take care of was clearing out the draugr in the mine at Soljund’s Sinkhole. Came out of fast travel at the place—and, unsurprisingly, had an Ancient Dragon show up shortly thereafter.

I took the fight a little bit away from the mine, so as to try to avoid risking the NPCs. But the dragon had its own version of this strategy, as it disappeared on me partway through the battle—heading over the nearby hillside and attacking something I couldn’t see from my vantage point.

Chances were very high that was a Forsworn camp, though, because I saw the symbol for that on my compass bar.

Then the dragon came back into fighting range, and Jordis and I finally killed it.

When we headed back over to the mine to clear the place, though, I had a surprise! A Courier showed up and handed me a Letter of Inheritance, and offered me condolences for “my loss”.

To which I went WTF?!? Because this is what happens if your friend or follower dies in the game—and I wondered in alarm which of my followers and/or friend NPCs had died. Until I actually read the letter, and saw that it was offering me condolences on the death of “Forsworn Forager”, and an inheritance payment of 300 gold.

Cue a second round of WTF, because I sure as hell didn’t remember befriending any Forsworn! Apparently that dragon had in fact attacked a camp? And presumably by my killing it, the remaining Forsworn became less hostile? At least enough to be grateful that I’d killed the dragon for them? Ha!

Once that was out of the way, Jordis and I headed into the mine to help them out with their draugr problem. It took me a few to realize that I could just walk into the place, and that Perth, the nearby NPC, wasn’t going to specifically ask me to do it.

So I did the thing, and Jordis and I proceeded to take down quite a few draugr. One part of the mine expected me to jump down through an actual sinkhole, and at the bottom of that, the draugr were clustered pretty thick! Fought a group of four there, I think, two of whom were Draugr Deathlords.

The draugr in the final chamber was a Draugr Death Overlord, and that particular fight had the unusual added wrinkle of a pair of statues that spit fire damage at me, and also kept healing the draugr. Fortunately it didn’t take Jordis and me long to kill him, which turned the statues off.

Also, this dungeon being a mine, I was able to mine several moonstone veins in there. And take all the ore back outside and sell it to Perth, when I informed him the mine was safe to enter again.

(At least until the draugr re-spawn, but I take no responsibility for that part!)

New plan: get the thaneship at Markarth

After that, my original intention had been to go find Red Eagle’s sword. However, I had quite a bit of loot out of clearing that mine, enough that it seemed wise to just pop into Markarth as the nearest place to sell it all.

And while I was doing that, it occurred to me that it’d probably be a good idea to proceed with getting the thaneship in Markarth—partly because I have no base whatsoever in the western part of the map, and having the house there would be helpful. And partly because since I’m blocked from getting the thaneship in Riften (ability to buy Honeyside still unconfirmed).

I got the loot sold off, except for the ebony sword and battleaxe I’d taken from the Draugr Deathlords. Those, I gave to Jordis.

Then I headed up to Understone Keep to check in with the Jarl there. In this game, I haven’t turned over Markarth to the Stormcloaks, so Igmund is still Jarl and I’d rather deal with him than the Silver-Blood Jarl who takes over if the Stormcloaks get the city!

On the way to that, I got stopped by Vigilant Tyranus who asked me about the Abandoned House. Which he will keep doing unless I deal with that quest, and I still don’t want to do that quest, so he can just keep asking.

At Understone Keep, when I approached the Jarl’s throne, I was challenged about my intentions by his housecarl Faleen. Who, I note, is a Redguard, so that was pretty cool. I told the Jarl I was interested in buying property in Markarth, and he made dubious and cranky noises about this until I agreed to go kill a Forsworn leader for him to prove my worth.

He sent me off to Deepwood Redoubt to do this.

Side jaunt back to Solitude and Lakeview

Still though I was carrying too damned much stuff to run another large dungeon. So I boinged back to Solitude, intending to drop off some armor at Proudspire, and destroy an enchanted item I’d found as well (waterbreathing enchantment, woo!).

I dropped off Linwe’s Armor on the other mannequin in Proudspire’s basement. I like the look of that armor, and it’s thief-style armor without actually being the faction gear of the Thieves Guild—so it’s a bit less blatantly obvious. On the other hand, I’ve been carrying around four different sets of armor (the glass, the Nightingale, Linwe’s, and the Thieves Guild armor), and that’s kind of overboard.

While I was there, I did a bit more crafting at Beirand’s forge, bought more iron, and made Jordis some ebony boots.

Boinged back to Lakeview for a bit more building, and there, Jordis and I killed some bandits. And since I got a couple more weapon racks built, I dropped off my Fiery Soul Trap ebony bow, since my Daedric bow is now my new favorite bow. And I don’t need to be carrying multiple bows around. But I didn’t quite want to get rid of the ebony one completely, either.

So I had to boing right back to Solitude to sell the bandit loot—and remembered that oh hey right I do have a fence at the Winking Skeever! A fence with a lot of gold! So I was able to unload all the expensive and heavy bandit gear on him, including the Nordic armor.

That finally trimmed my inventory down enough that I was ready to go run Deepwood Redoubt.

Clearing Deepwood Redoubt

This location is very near Volskygge in the northwestern corner of the map, surprisingly north for a Forsworn lair. (And, come to think of it, this explains why I saw Forsworn in the vicinity when I ran Volskygge as Alarrah!) I don’t think I’d quite realized that that corner of the map was still considered Reach territory. I think just because it’s north enough to be snowy, I’d associated in my mind with Solitude.

But because it is north enough to be snowy, I was still a trifle surprised that the Forsworn had a base up there. If nothing else because the Forsworn do run around in really scanty armor, bits of fur and bone and teeth and feathers. Which seems like a recipe for constant frostbite if they want to set up a base in the north.

(One presumes maybe their mages and/or hagravens are enchanting a lot of what little armor they have with frost resistance? And probably making a boatload of potions of Resist Frost as well.)

Deepwood is a big dungeon network, anyway, comparable with the larger draugr dungeons. And in fact, part of Deepwood was in fact draugr-style ruins, complete with inactive draugr corpses, though Jordis and I didn’t fight any active draugr while we were in there—just Forsworn.

Deepwood also leads to Hag’s End, which is apparently accessible only through Deepwood. But I didn’t run the dungeon all the way to that point, because we fought a Briarheart before we got there. And killing the Briarheart satisfied the bounty.

So I returned to Markarth to collect, and got 1,500 gold from Igmund for the trouble. Asked him for further work, and he sent me off to go find his family shield, lost when his father had been killed while trying to negotiate with the Forsworn.

A shield which, as it happened, was at Hag’s End.

Sheesh, Igmund, you couldn’t have told me that the first time you sent me up there? I was literally just there!

Next time

Apparently I’m going right back to Hag’s End to get that shield. 😀

Then that should open up letting me finish the requirements to become thane. I’ve already done three of the requisite five favor quests to help people in the hold, so I’ll need to do two more. One of which can be clearing Kolskeggr Mine, which should be nicely profitable!

I’ll need to pick one other favor quest besides that to do. Then I can buy the house and get thaned up.

Once that’s done, I can work on finding Red Eagle’s sword. And also visiting Arkngthamz to get the Lost to the Ages quest underway!

And I have Dwemer convectors to find for Arniel, too.

And ooh hey, Pinewatch, the locale I’ll need to clear for the special Markarth Guild job, is right near Lakeview! I know exactly where that is! So that’ll be super convenient.


Editing to add

  • 11/15/2023: Fixed missing gallery, and added a session number.

As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.