Two main overall themes here: getting Mehrunes’ Razor, and finishing off the Pieces of the Past quest—and getting the rest of the Stones of Barenziah, and the Crown to put them in, to finish out No Stone Unturned.
Come for the larceny, stay for the Ancient Dragon fighting action!
- Picked up where I left off at Hag Rock Redoubt
- Somebody yelled “that’s close enough” from further up; did not try to engage, told Rayya to stay put while I went into sneak mode and tried the easy way into Dead Crone Rock
- Easy route worked! Was able to sneak and climb up to the door of Dead Crone Rock without having to go through the Redoubt
- Only opponents this way were two Forsworn and one hagraven, which I took out easily in Sneak; got the dagger pommel, the Stone of Barenziah, the word for the Dismay Shout off the Word Wall, and assorted chest loot
- Got Rayya back in follow mode and went far enough away from the Redoubt so that we could fast travel back to Dawnstar
- Returned to Silus to give him the pieces; he was all YAY let’s take it to the shrine and get Mehrunes Dagon to fix it (I SEE NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS PLAN)
- Fast traveled to Stonehills as nearest landmark; had trouble getting up to the shrine though and had to circle around for a less steep way up
- Stumbled across Lost Valkygg and Labyrinthian, because I hadn’t realized those locales were that close
- Also found nearby dragon lair Skyborn Altar before finding the shrine; surprised to engage just a a regular dragon there after all the Ancient Dragons I’ve had in this game
- Got the final word for the Frost Breath Shout
- Dragon landed right on the dead adventurer lying by the word wall
- Cleared a moonstone vein on the way up to the shrine
- Silus met us at the shrine and tried to pray to Dagon to get him to fix the dagger, no dice
- Asked me to do it, and Dagon was all ‘okay yeah I’ll talk to you, hey, here’s a fun thought, kill Silus’; I told him Silus deserved to live, since he helped find the pieces
- Dagon: “Nope, kill him or I crush you”; Silus tried to offer to take the pieces away
- Paused long enough to let him flip out and attack me—I interpret this as, Merawen was legit unsure what to do and couldn’t quite stand the thought of defying Dagon, but neither did she actually want to kill the guy; as it happened, she didn’t need to, Rayya did it
- Dagon fixed the Razor and sent in two dremora for good measure; Rayya also mostly killed those, which is good ‘cause i was overloaded; likewise, we killed the two dremora inside the shrine and looted the place
- Put the Guild Master armor and Volsung on, and handed off some ebony weapons to Rayya (bow, sword, Battleaxe of the Inferno), which let me be able to fast travel to Solitude
- Back to Riften!
- Vex was all “oh shit you got all 24 of them? I sorta forgot to mention you need to stick them in the Crown and then it’ll be a paragon for the Thieves Guild!”
- AND she gave me shit about not taking a job from her, lol
- After that, went to improve a couple of things at Riften’s forge
- Explored Nightingale Hall just because I hadn’t really done so the first time; said hi to Karliah, who wanted to know if I was planning any exciting heists! Headcanon: definitely told her all about the Stones 😉
- Blipped over to Lakeview to use some of the materials I was hauling around; made a Daedric helmet and gauntlets \0/
- Also made and enchanted a bunch of jewelry just to work on enchanting
- Sold stuff at Honningbrew and Whiterun; picked up Lydia to go find Tolvald’s Cave
- Then realized I hadn’t brought the Daedric helmet and gauntlets, oops; went back to Lakeview to fetch them, and also drop off other stuff
- Then it was off to Tolvald’s Cave; fast traveled to Ansilvund, and boom, ANCIENT DRAGON
- Lyds and I tried to fight it but then it flew off and started attacking trolls? Then it killed me; successfully took it down the second time through though
- Also took out the trolls the dragon attacked
- Got ahead of Lydia by climbing over rocks and got to the cave first, had to wait for her to catch up
- Lots of trolls in the first area, none of whom appreciated being set on fire
- Also lots of Falmer and Charus
- Lydia got hit pretty hard, so I healed her a few times, and that leveled me up to 51 as well as bumping Restoration
- Ran into higher-level Falmer Warmongers who put up good fights
- Finally made it up to the top levels and found three Dunmer ghosts, two of which were hostile; c’mon you guys, I’m your own people
- Got their armor, though, and also the Crown; however, got overloaded again at this point
- Fourth ghost standing in front of a table waving his arms? was that his bones on the table or something? could not do anything with the ghost so I moved on
- Got out safely finally after fighting a few more Falmer
- Sent Lydia home so I could return to Riften, and started Whirlwind-Sprinting my way there
- Jumped by cultists, but lol, Lydia was following me and got in on the fight anyway even though I’d told her to go home, and this is why she is my favorite housecarl ❤️
- Found Khajiit at Riften gates so sold them enough stuff to get unburdened
- Whoa, fight between Riften guards and Imperials? Couple of dead Imperials and the other one killed a guard 😳
- Once in Riften proper, sold a bunch of stuff, and then got the Stones and the Crown to Vex, and got the Prowler’s Profit perk in return, yay!
- Tried to go to college for training, and got another fucking Ancient Dragon; killed me once, but I took it out second time through
- Onmund warned me I looked ill, so I took a potion of Cure Disease; thanks, Onmund!
- Gave Arniel his dagger; Arniel went poof
- Tried to give Urag the copy of The Waters of Oblivion I found at Skyborn Altar, but apparently this is a bug with the ‘fetch me that book’ quest—if you find a book for Urag before he asks you to get it, the damn thing is stuck in your inventory, and you can’t get rid of it or finish the quest if you get the quest from him after you find the book
- Got him to send me to go get more of shalidor’s stuff though
- Got full round of training before returning to Lakeview to settle in for the night
- Rayya said “a fight” on the way into the house but I didn’t see any hostiles?
- Improved a few things since I’d been able to make more potions of Fortify Smithing, and saved for the night
Finishing up at Dead Crone Rock
Getting through Dead Crone Rock turned out to be way easier than I’d anticipated. When I ran this area before as Alarrah, I had quite the time getting through Hag Rock Redoubt. The enemies were challenging, and there was that thing with the Giant Frostbite Spider being stuck in a tent and causing the game to slow down to the point of being almost unplayable.
However, following the wiki’s advice for the “easy” way into Dead Crone Rock, I bypassed all these problems. This just basically involved parking Rayya near the entrance to Hag Rock Redoubt so she wouldn’t interfere with my Sneak, and then creeping around the cliff’s edge until I got to a place where I could climb up to the door of Dead Crone Rock.
I got spotted at least once, and shot at, but no Forsworn came close enough to really keep me from my objective. Made it safely up there, and once I actually reached the door, I was home free. Dead Crone Rock had only three hostiles, and they were all easily dispatched while I was in Sneak.
And I was able to get all of the objectives: the pommel of the Razor, the Stone of Barenziah, and the word off the Word Wall.
Back then to Dawnstar!
Repairing Mehrunes’ Razor
Showed up back at Dawnstar to give Silus the pieces of the blade, about which he was quite elated. Even paid me for the trouble. But he also asked me to meet him at the Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon so he could actually put the blade back together.
I got a dialogue prompt at this point for how this seemed like a really bad idea—because it did! But I actually tried the other way to see what he’d say. (And apparently, if I’d told him it was a bad idea, he would have snarked about me ‘not wanting to be part of history’ and saying he’d be at the shrine if I changed my mind. So apparently there was no real way to back out of this if I wanted to conclude the quest.)
So he promptly ran off to the shrine, and by run, I mean that literally; as I came out of his museum/house, I saw him running towards the path out of Dawnstar.
Rayya and I took the fast travel approach, which meant needing to land at Stonehills as the nearest landmark.
However, I had some trouble actually getting to the shrine from there, and had to do a lot of circling around before I finally found a way up. This caused me to stumble across Lost Valkygg and Labyrinthian—because I hadn’t realized I was that close to those locales.
I also found the dragon lair Skyborn Altar before we made it to the shrine, and wound up clearing that lair first. Surprisingly, the dragon there was just a regular dragon, a bit of a change of pace after all the Ancient Dragon action I’ve had lately in this run!
Got the final word for the Frost Breath Shout off the Word Wall there. And also, a decent amount of chest loot, including one book that actually caused a bug (more on this below).
And, I noted with amusement that the dragon landed right on top of a dead adventurer at the corner of the word wall. Welp, it ain’t like the guy was going to notice!
Cleared a moonstone vein on the way up to the shrine.
And when we got to the shrine, Silus wasted no time once he got a greeting out of the way, promptly praying to Dagon from the outside altar and asking him to repair the weapon. No dice. So Silus asked me to give it a try.
By the power of me being the player character, I actually got an answer out of Dagon, who basically went “okay, you’re interesting enough to talk to, I’ll give you the Razor, but only if you kill Silus.”
I protested at this point, noting that Silus had helped gather the pieces, so he deserved to live. Mehrunes Dagon was unmoved by this argument and basically went “Kill him or I crush you.”
Silus jumped in at this point and hastily pointed out that there was no need for anybody to die, he could just take the pieces and go?
And this was the part where I had a conflict between what I was comfortable with as a player, and what I thought Merawen might actually do. I wasn’t really comfortable with attacking the guy outright, even if a Daedra ordered me to do it. And in Merawen’s specific case, it seemed particularly problematic for her to attack him outright.
The whole deal with Dagon, as far as the Dunmer are concerned, is that he’s supposed to be one of the Four Corners of the House of Troubles, meant to tempt the Dunmer off their true path. Which means to me that Dagon telling her to kill Silus was outright temptation.
And, given that he’s also perceived by the Dunmer as specifically representing the inhospitable environment of Morrowind, and given that Merawen specifically fled Morrowind, it seemed to me that she’d have a lot more reason to tell Dagon to fuck off than she would to obey his directive.
On the other hand, as a player, I also kinda wanted the Razor.
So I took the round of not actually answering Silus’ plea fast enough—which made him flip out and attack me anyway, because he wasn’t going to go down without a fight. I interpret this in-character as Merawen specifically having a legit moral and even religious crisis there, and being momentarily frozen with indecision.
And as it happened, I didn’t even have to kill Silus myself. Rayya did it for me, because the dude drew on her thane, and she was having none of that bullshit.
At this point, Dagon cheerfully agreed to fix the dagger, because as far as he was concerned his command had been answered. He told me to use the dagger to wreak havoc across Tamriel in his name.
And because it seemed appropriate, I had Merawen take the “I’ll use this dagger as I see fit” reply. About which Dagon was unmoved, and told her to spare him her “pitiful pride”.
Also, he threw us a couple of dremora for funsies, just as one final parting shot. These, we also killed. And then for good measure, we looted the shrine and killed two more dremora in there.
Heh, I should have killed them with the dagger, but didn’t think of it at the time. Also, my Dragonbone Sword does way more damage, anyway!
(And the Razor is supposed to be cool and all with its possibility to actually insta-kill on a strike, but that insta-kill chance is apparently really frigging small. So in order for this weapon to be useful to me at all in combat, I need to make sure it’s properly improved up to maximum potential damage.)
At this point I was pretty overloaded, but was able to hand off ebony weaponry to Rayya (a bow, a sword, and a Battleaxe of the Inferno) to get my inventory down to fast travel levels. And fast travel over to Solitude.
I sent Rayya home, because I knew I was about to do some light thievery!
Stealing the final Stone of Barenziah in the Blue Palace
But first: a bit of selling and disenchanting! Once that was done, I headed over to the Blue Palace. Bought a children’s bedroom for Proudspire, the last bit of furnishing available to me for that house, and to lay groundwork for possible adoption later.
(It only occurred to me after I’d fully built up Lakeview with all the wings that I really should have considered building a bedroom wing there if I wanted to think about having children at that location. But oh well!)
And I was legit shocked at how easy it was to get that final Stone. The hallway that leads to Elisif’s bedroom is within possible visual range of the upstairs area where she holds her court, and I even was known to stop there, because I talked to Falk. So he could easily have seen me head over into Elisif’s room right after.
And there was not a single guard anywhere along that corridor.
So I didn’t even have to Sneak. I just walked right in, closed the door behind me, grabbed the Stone, and left.
Slightly guilty that I did that right after Falk was all “I won’t forget what you’ve done for Solitude!” Okay dude, well, consider this my fee. Considering I just threw you 25,000 gold to pay for that house and all the gold for the decorations, you can consider this my fee for taking out Potema for you. 😆
Hey Vex, guess what, I have all the Stones!
Then it was back to Riften!
When I got to Guild headquarters, I discovered a new NPC had joined: a Dunmer named Ravyn Imyan. Nice to see another Dunmer in the place, though this guy was kind of dismissive when he saw me: “You’re the one everybody’s fawning over?” Yes, my dude, I am in fact your boss. Now go steal me something.
And I reported to Vex, who was legit surprised that I actually had all 24 of the Stones. At which point she was all “ooh hey did I mention the part where it’d really be a good idea if you went and got the Crown these all go in?”
Sigh. Okay fine, where is it and how many Falmer do I have to kill to reach it?
Of course, being Vex, she also gave me shit for walking off without taking a job from her. Lady, you just now asked me to go get you that Crown. I have a job from you. Also, I’m now your boss by your own consent, so consider settling the fuck down, mmkay?
But before going to get the Crown, I took a break. Improved a few things at Riften’s forge, and then, just because I could, I poked around in Nightingale Hall for a bit because I hadn’t really properly explored it the first time I was in there.
I saw Karliah hanging out, and she did greet me, and ask if I had any exciting heists planned. Heh. Official headcanon: Merawen totally sat down for a bit and chatted with her all about the Stones of Barenziah, and swapped stories with her about nominees for the Most Oblivious Guards in Skyrim.
However, that has to be headcanon because really, all I did in-game was just wander around the place a bit. I was slightly disappointed to discover that there aren’t any crafting stations in the hall—no forge, no alchemy lab, no enchanter table. Which, unfortunately, makes it somewhat less useful to me as a home location!
Still though it was nice to chat briefly with Karliah while I was in there. And it’s good to have Nightingale Hall as a place to sleep in if necessary, if I’m on my way someplace else.
Blipped over to Lakeview after that, to do some building and crafting, and burn through some of the materials I’d been hauling around. Lakeview’s almost completely built out at this point, the only things I have left to build there are wall decorations and the shrines down in the cellar. But I was able to get a couple of pieces of Daedric armor made: a helmet and gauntlets! And I spent the other two Daedra hearts I had on making some Daedric arrows, since I didn’t have enough ebony on me for a full set of Daedric armor.
Also, I made a lot of jewelry since I had a backlog of gems and gold ingots, and then I enchanted a lot of that just to work on my enchanting.
Note also: it was here that I discovered that the book I’d pulled out of the chest at Skyborn Altar was a quest object, apparently. Because I could not put it on my bookshelf along with the other books I was carrying. At which point I went “wait, is this one of those books I can give to Urag at the college?”
Then I blipped off to Honningbrew and Whiterun, to sell stuff in both places. And also pick up Lydia, because it was her turn in the housecarl rotation to have my back in a dungeon!
But I realized at that point that I’d forgotten to actually bring the Daedric helmet and gauntlets with me, oops. So I bounced right back to Lakeview to get them, and drop off remaining items I hadn’t sold.
Then it was off to Tolvald’s Cave!
Retrieving the Crown of Barenziah
From Lakeview, I tried to fast travel to Ansilvund for my nearby landmark. Y’all undoubtedly know what happened next: boom, Ancient Dragon.
Lydia and I tried to fight it, but it flew off partway during the battle and started attacking nearby trolls. Then it came back and killed me, for good measure.
Second time through, though, we took it down. And for good measure, we also took out the trolls the dragon must have been attacking. Once I got the lay of the land, I figured out we were probably near Kagrenzel, because I remembered a cluster of trolls being part of the path up to that particular Dwemer ruin. And the local terrain and general location on the map were both right for that.
Got ahead of Lydia a bit trying to reach Tolvald’s Cave, because followers can’t really keep up with you if you go clambering over rocks. They take the long way! But this wasn’t anything I couldn’t solve by just dropping an hour on the Wait command so she could catch up. Once she did, we headed in.
Tolvald’s Cave is a large and complex dungeon, with three different areas. The first one was full of trolls, and as we headed towards the second area, we started getting swamped by Falmer and Chaurus, too.
Lydia got hit pretty hard a few times even with her ebony and Daedric armor mix, so I took a few chances to throw healing at her when I could. This let me bump up my Restoration another notch, as well as letting me level up to 51.
Noting for reference as well that the higher-level Falmer we ran into, particularly the Falmer Warmongers, put up good fights. This will be important to note for later once I get further along in Dawnguard and run the Forgotten Vale again, because boy howdy will there be a lot of Falmer there.
But since this dungeon was indeed large and complex, it took me a few tries to find the actual correct path through. Particularly given that I tried to avoid reading the wiki for a walkthrough, too.
Once I did make it to the right area, though, I found three Dunmer ghosts—and signs that a Dunmer caravan had died in this dungeon. Two of the ghosts were actively hostile, so I had to fight them. Wound up with two ghosts’ worth of elven armor.
And the Crown, at this point.
But I still wasn’t done with the dungeon, because getting out still took me past a few more hostile Falmer. Also one more ghost, who was not hostile, but who was standing in front of a table waving his arms around like he wanted attention. Whatever he wanted, though, was a thing I could not provide him. The game gave me no way to interact with him! Sorry, ghost.
(The table behind him had bones on it, possibly the ghost’s. So I dunno, maybe he wanted to be laid properly to rest? But the game didn’t give me any way of finding out, so.)
Finally got out safely after fighting a few more Falmer. And at this point, I sent Lydia home to Whiterun.
My plan had been to return to Riften. But I was still overloaded—and out of suitably powerful potions of Strength. So I settled in for a stint of Whirlwind-Sprinting my way back to Riften.
On the way, though, I got jumped by Miraak cultists! And I started to fight them, only to see at least one of them I wasn’t actively shooting at fall over. Because Lydia shot her, ha! Lydia was following my route and jumped in on the fight even though I’d told her to go home!
And this is why she is my favorite housecarl. Thank you, Lydia. You get a raise and more Daedric armor as soon as I can make it for you. ❤️
The Khajiit were back at Riften, so I sold them enough of the heavy stuff I was carrying to get unburdened. And as I was turning to the gates, I saw a fight break out—as it turned out, between a Riften guard and Imperial soldiers. The guard was outnumbered, but he took out two of the Imperials before the third one killed him and walked off. Yikes. I didn’t know that could happen!
Once I was safely back inside Riften, I sold a bunch more stuff and then reported to Vex to turn over the Stones and the Crown. Which got me the Prowler’s Profit perk, yay! We’ll have to see how many more gems this actually lets me find.
Mage college break
Headed to the mage college next for level 51’s round of training. And, another fucking Ancient Dragon. Which killed me the first time through, though I was able to take it down on the second run.
Also, Onmund warned me that I looked ill. I must have picked up something off the skeevers in Tolvald’s Cave. Stupid skeevers. But, that’s what I carry potions of Cure Disease for!
(Also, now I have the Resist Disease enchantment, and I need to get my Enchanting up to 100 so I can unlock dual enchanting and slap that puppy on something useful to wear.)
While I was there, I also gave the Keening dagger to Arniel to get his quest finished up. And yep, Arniel went poof. Sure hope he found the Dunmer wherever he wound up!
Also discovered this round’s nominee for the Stupid Bugs of Skyrim award—because that book I’d pulled out of the chest at Skyborn Altar? The one I’d hoped maybe to give to Urag?
Couldn’t do it. I had no prompt for it out of his dialogue. And when I tried to trigger the “go get me this particular random book” quest, he sent me right back to Skyborn Altar.
Only I couldn’t put the book in the chest. Because I was already carrying it. And I couldn’t put the damn thing in a container, because it’s a quest item! ARGH.
So now I’m going to be lugging this book around for the remainder of the game. And I won’t be able to satisfy this quest of Urag’s or get any further “get a random book” quests from him. Oh well!
(I did trigger another “go get me a work of Shalidor’s” quest off of him, though.)
So yeah. Not a game-breaking bug by any means. My QA brain totally understands why this bug got out the door; it’s not a ship-stopper.
But it is annoying! Dammit, Skyrim. I love you to bits, but why you gotta be this way? 😆
At any rate, I did at least also get in a full round of training before I blipped back to Lakeview to settle in for the night.
Saw Rayya heading into the house when I arrived, and heard her say “A fight!” But I didn’t actually see anybody fighting nearby, so I dunno what she was on about?
I improved a few things since I had a couple more potions of Fortify Smithing. And then saved for the night.
Finding those other two Aetherium Shards, I think. Time permitting, also the Aetherium Forge!
Editing to add 12/4/2021
Corrected name of mage college NPC from Ormund to Onmund.