I had originally planned to go to Solstheim in this session, but it turned into a bit of a road trip. Partly because I was very close to level 61 and wanted to see if I could make it over, so I could do a new round of training at the mage college before I headed over to Raven Rock.
So that meant, checking out a few things that were still new to me, while having Jenassa at my back. The main action of this was checking out Frostflow Lighthouse and finding out what happened to the poor unfortunate family there.
- Got Jenassa into follow mode, and gave her her new dragonscale armor and dragonbone bow
- Did a bit of crafting and selling of things in Solitude
- Also visited Whiterun to sell things at Warmaiden’s there
- Went to Heljarchen Hall from there and finished building a bunch of furnishings to use up more of the iron supply, and also to make sure Gregor and Golldir have beds!
- Got the rest of the Nightingale armor improved up since I had more smithing potions to stack
- Went a little ways north and west of Heljarchen and then did first summons of Durnehviir as per promise to him; got first word of Soul Tear Shout
- Was close to level 61 so decided to hoof it with Jenassa up to Winterhold and see if anything interesting happened on the way
- Avoided Fort Dunstad, entire fort full of bandits seemed like a bit much for two women to take on
- Found Driftshade Refuge, looked it up, saw it’s the lair of the Silver Hand and they’re hostile even to non-lycanthropes; decided to save that spot for when I’m actually playing the Companions quest line
- Fought and dispatched a couple of bandits at small Snowpoint Beacon, which was new to me
- Proceeded more or less north from there, into Winterhold territory
- Found frozen mammoth in an ice wall, looked like it was pinned there? Had a bunch of what looked like spears or arrows stuck in it
- Jenassa took out an orc bandit that came at me even before I was able to take him out myself
- Decided to investigate Frostflow Lighthouse since I hadn’t been in there before; dead horse and goat outside the lighthouse SO not a good sign
- Found murdered family and got miscellaneous quest to figure out what had happened to them; heard skittering in the walls that weren’t the slightest bit ominous, oh my no
- Found journals from various family members, including the husband Habd who thought what came out of the cellar and murdered his wife was a daedra?
- Located key to the cellar on the mantelpiece; got into the cellar
- Fought and dispatched a whole lot of chaurus and some Falmer in the cavern system below the lighthouse; sorry, Habd, it wasn’t a daedra, just a boatload of chaurus and they’re bad enough
- Recovered Habd’s remains and took them up to the lighthouse as per his last wishes recorded by his wife in her journal
- Scavenged some usable things from the lighthouse since the poor unfortunate family certainly can’t use them; also got loot out of chests in the Falmer cavern, as well at the top of the lighthouse once I had Hadb’s key to it
- Accidentally summoned Durnehviir a second time down there, but he was too big to fit in the cavern so he kept clipping through the roof of the cavern, oops
- (But I did get the second word of the Soul Tear shout!)
- Wound up losing track of Jenassa since she couldn’t jump with me down into the final bit of the cavern, but she caught up with me again once I returned to the lighthouse proper
- Fought multiple trolls, also cultists who stopped fighting trolls when they saw me
- (See these assholes, Jenassa? These assholes right here? They are the reason I need to go to Solstheim with you at my back!)
- After fighting cultists, made it into Winterhold and then up to the mage college
- Settled down in Arch-Mage’s quarters for the night
- Did some enchanting and a little bit of alchemy to try to get up over the level mark, didn’t quite make it all the way to 61 but got very close before I saved for the night
Crafting, selling, and smithing
Started this run off in Solitude, but since my next major goal was going to be to get to Solstheim, I felt like it was appropriate to do a big crafting, selling, and smithing run, to get a lot of things sorted before I went over to do serious Solstheim action.
With that in mind, I got Jenassa into follow mode. I figure narratively speaking, Merawen probably had that very long chat with her spouse about the whole Dawnguard thing, what the deal with Serana was, and why she was away for so long dealing with all the vampires.
Merawen: “Because vampires keep coming after me, even in cities, and I did not want to risk them getting near you and the children.”
Jenassa: “You should have told me this.”
Merawen: “You’re right. I should have. And I’m sorry. I’ll understand if you’re not ready to forgive me yet. But I also need to get to Solstheim. Because the threats aren’t done. Someone named Miraak keeps sending people to try to kill me. And Alduin is back and may destroy the world. I need to find out if Miraak is going to keep me from dealing with Alduin.”
Jenassa: “And it has to be you who does this why…?”
Merawen: “Because I’m the Dragonborn. I spent a long time trying to ignore that, before I married you. But I don’t think I can ignore it anymore. Too many people think I have the power to keep Alduin from destroying everything. And if I have that power… I feel like I need to use it. But… I don’t want to do it without you. Will you come with me to Solstheim? Will you help me?”
Jenassa: ”Yes. I may not be Dragonborn… but we’re still one of the same kind, you and I. I’m glad to have met you. I’m glad to have wed you. I’m glad to love you. And frankly, love, I trust Jordis to guard the girls… but I wouldn’t trust anyone else to guard your back. Nor am I currently inclined to let them.”
Merawen: “Heh. Serana did tell me she would want to adventure with me again…”
Jenassa (severely): “Serana can wait.”
Merawen: “She’ll wait.”
Jenassa: “And while you’re in a mood for disclosure, I’d really like to know more about why exactly that Argonian in the Winking Skeever told you he gives special rates to members of the Thieves Guild.”
Merawen: “Uhhhh, yeah, about that….”
Anyhow, I did a crafting, selling, and smithing run, starting with selling a few things in Solitude, then boinging to Whiterun, and finally to Heljarchen Hall. Getting to Heljarchen did require summoning Arvak, since I bought a lot of iron at Warmaiden’s and got overloaded again.
Once at Heljarchen, I built out as much of the rest of the remaining stuff there as I could—especially getting beds built so Gregor and Golldir would actually have somewhere to sleep!
And since I had some purchased smithing potions again, as well as crafted ones, I was able to blow a few more void salts on improving the Nightingale Armor. It’s still not quite competitive with the dragonscale, but it’s coming along well!
Here’s more of that conversation I think Merawen must have had with Jenassa:
Merawen: “So I need to tell you a bit more about what happened while I was in the Soul Cairn. I fought a dragon there…”
Jenassa: “Dear, you fight a lot of dragons.”
Merawen: “This one was different. He was… undead. Kind of. And a necromancer.”
Jenassa (blinking): “I beg your pardon? I couldn’t have possibly heard you correctly. A necromancer?”
Merawen: “Yes. And sort of undead. Because when I killed him, I didn’t really kill him. He rebuilt a body for himself not long after that. Because he could. But since I ‘killed’ him, he gave me a name. He called me Qahnaarin. Vanquisher. And he asked me for a favor.”
Jenassa: “A dragon asking you for a favor seems… problematic. He did realize you are the Dragonborn?”
Merawen: “Maybe? I didn’t exactly have a chance to mention it to him? But he asked me if I’d summon him back to Tamriel a few times. Not permanently, he apparently can’t leave the Soul Cairn permanently, but he just wants to see the skies of Tamriel a few more times.”
Jenassa: “Do you trust him?”
Merawen: “I… yes. I think I do. Not just because he was respectful about my beating him in battle. I think he’s a little lonely, really. I’d like to try calling him with the Shout he gave me. Are you all right with that?”
Jenassa: “Not entirely, to be honest.”
Merawen: “If he turns against me, then I promise you I’ll kill him again. And keep killing him until he’s dead for real. I will not let him harm you.”
Jenassa: “Nor I you, my love. I stand with you. Call your dragon… friend.”
Because yeah, I took the chance to do my first summons of Durnehviir, this time a lot faster than I did it with Alarrah’s run! I did it a little ways north and west of Heljarchen Hall, far enough away from any city or farm that I wouldn’t wig out anybody. And I got Durneviir to give me the first word of the Soul Tear Shout, as he’d promised.
Then he did that thing he’d done in Alarrah’s run, where he launched into the sky and flew around for a few minutes, just roaring happily before he finally landed and disappeared again. YAY. HAPPY DRAGON.
Dunmer babes road trip time!
After giving Durnehviir his first summons, I realized I was pretty close to level 61. So there was an interesting question before me of, could I get to level 61 before heading off to Solstheim, so I could do another round of training at the mage college first?
I decided to give it a shot, and head off for a road trip rather than just fast traveling around. Just to see if anything interesting happened on the way.
I already knew about Fort Dunstad, but haven’t engaged with it yet, either as Alarrah or Merawen. Partly because I know that the big forts are full of bandits, and fill up with Imperials or Stormcloaks depending on who controls the territory, once the bandits are gone. So I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go clearing out any of the bandit forts, or whether that’s a more interesting thing to do if you’re actually playing one side or the other of the civil war.
For now I avoided the fort and instead swerved eastward from there. That let me find a place not previously on my radar, Driftshade Refuge. When I looked this place up, I saw that it’s a hideout of the Silver Hand, who are werewolf hunters. And they’re also little better than bandits, hostile on sight to you even if you aren’t a werewolf. But since they’re antagonists in the Companions quest line, I kind of felt like skipping them too, just to save myself something new to engage with when I do playthrough number three.
Next place I found was also new to me, Snowpoint Beacon. This place I did engage with, which didn’t take very long since it was just a small tower with a couple of levels in it and only a couple of bandits. Jenassa and I took care of them.
From there, we headed north-ish into Winterhold territory. And I took a path through the ice along the shore of the Sea of Ghosts that I hadn’t done before. This let me find the unusual sight of a more or less intact mammoth frozen into an ice wall, but also possibly riddled with spears or arrows.
I checked the wiki for any mention of this thing, and other players on a talk thread described as being riddled with dwarven spears, specifically. I’ll have to look closer at my screenshot! Regardless, real interesting question as to how the mammoth got there–not just “riddled by spears”, but also “riddled by spears and half frozen in a wall of ice”.
I realized not long after that oh hey I wasn’t far away from Frostflow Lighthouse, which I’d discovered on Alarrah’s playthrough and also walked by on Merawen’s. But I had not actually played through it yet.
So since it was a new thing, I decided to give it a go.
The idea here being, a Redguard family bought the place, but something has tragically and very messily slain them all. When you come into the place, you get a quest item to find out what.
There are a few journals from the family scattered around the remains of the place, including one from the father, Habd, who desperately writes about the thing out of the cellar that murdered his wife, and wondering whether it was a daedra.
But if you come at this lighthouse after doing any other part of the game that involves Falmer, it’s real easy to figure out fast that what actually killed these folks was chaurus. Particularly once you’re inside the place and you can hear ominous skittering somewhere behind the walls.
So it’s on you, the player, to make it down into the cellar–and the caverns beyond the hole that something broke through the wall into the cellar. And there are of course both chaurus and Falmer to fight down there.
I liked this as a quick dungeon to run, grim though it was. And you do at least get the slightly uplifting note at the end when you recover the father’s remains and are able to put them to rest in the place he wanted–in the brazier at the top of the lighthouse.
And oh yes–I accidentally summoned Durnehviir a second time in the final room of this dungeon, fighting the boss chaurus! But Durnehviir was way too big to fit in the cavern, and he kept clipping through the roof of it. Oops! (He still did teach me the second word of that Soul Tear Shout, though!)
Moving on from there, on the way to the mage college, I ran into another trio of cultists. And I feel Merawen would have to indicate them to Jenassa as direct examples of why she has to go to Solstheim to figure out who the hell this Miraak guy is and why his cultists keep coming after her.
Made it up to the mage college, where I did a bit of enchanting and alchemy, though still not enough to make it to level 61.
Going to derp around the mage college a bit more and see if I can finally make it to 61, and then get in another round of training. It might be time for another side quest? Tolfdir could probably point me off at another rupture that needs closing!
And I suspect that if I hang around the college long enough, another dragon will probably show up in the courtyard.
After that, it’ll be off to Solstheim. And since I’ve had a couple of preliminary visits, enough to let Merawen know already that some weird shit is going down there, I think her first item of business is going to be working on asking around about this Miraak asshole. And being very cautious about where she wanders at night!