Big dramatic session in which I not only ran a bandit bounty and sought a Word Wall, but also moved the Companions quest line along quite a bit! And wiped out both the Glenmoril Coven and the Silver Hands while I was at it.
- Boinged to Solitude and stayed the night at the Winking Skeever
- Sold stuff at Radiant Raiment
- Got a courier with another Letter from a Friend, this time pointing me at Mount Anthor
- Sold stuff at Bits and Pieces and bought all interesting building materials Sayma had
- Also bought dwarven arrows from her just to see if I could trigger a letter from Calcelmo
- Answer: yes! Got a second courier almost immediately, on my way up to the forge
- Sold stuff at the forge and bought a bunch of iron and other materials to take to Lakeview for building
- Took the cart to Riften
- Got off the cart only to hear dragon noises and WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK RIFTEN DO YOU MEAN I HAVE TO DEAL WITH DRAGONS COMING IN EVEN VIA CART oh wait okay FINE it’s just a flyby
- (Good because the Khajiit were also there and I didn’t want Kharjo’s Khajiit getting killed)
- Went into Riften to destroy a few things on the enchanter table at Honeyside
- Also did a little alchemy to burn through ingredients
- Came back out and gave Mjoll back her sword once I found her in the marketplace
- Bought more building materials from Balimund
- Boinged to Lakeview to build out more of the place
- Couldn’t build everything because I ran out of iron, but did make some jewelry and also improve some of my current armor and weapons
- Went back outside to use tanning rack to make leather and saw a giant in the yard; took out the giant and leveled up to 32
- Decided to do take two of clearing Cragwallow Slope now that I’ve leveled up a few levels and also improved my armor and weaponry
- This time I made it through! Though it was dicey a few times
- Got a skill bump off an Alteration skill book, and got Freydis’ sword
- Stopped in Kynesgrove on the way to Windhelm and stayed the night at the inn
- (I think somewhere in here I also spotted Talsgar the Wanderer again?)
- Got a bounty for taking out a bandit at Uttering Hills Cave from innkeeper Iddra
- Also did mini-quest to pay off Roggi Knot-Beard’s debt to her and get both of their dispositions up
- (Hey there Roggi, will probably be back later to get your shield for you)
- Headed into Windhelm to drop off the sword with Oengul and got him to give me a Smithing bump
- Headed next to Uttering Hills to take out the bandit leader; slightly disappointing to be coming through here not as a thief, just because I love the part where you set the Summerset Shadows’ banner on fire 😉
- Took out all the bandits, and returned to Windhelm, overloaded
- Passed M’aiq the Liar by the bridge near the mill
- Sold bandit loot to Oengul and Niranye
- Collected bounty from steward Jorleif
- Hoofed it west towards Mount Anthor
- Once i got back towards M’aiq the Liar, attacked by a random High Elf at the edge of the river
- M’aiq: “I’m getting out of here!” He went and hid under the bridge, lol
- Meanwhile, I hammerclanged the hell out of the Altmer and pitched him into the water
- Proceeded on towards Mount Anthor
- Passed Yorgrim Overlook and Forsaken Cave
- Also passed a couple of hunters
- Dragon turned out to be a Frost Dragon and I shot a few ebony arrows at it, but once it landed, pounded it to death with the hammer; got the word for Ice Form
- Jumped to Lakeview for a while and built things
- Boinged from there to Knifepoint Ridge as fast travel marker for Glenmoril Coven
- Knifepoint respawned! HI BANDITS, and also, BYE BANDITS
- (Did not clear the place again, but still hammersmashed what bandits were outside it, because they reacted to us fast traveling in)
- Then Lyds and I headed to Glenmoril Coven
- On the way, fought a random Redguard who just so happened to be wearing a lot of ebony armor; dispatched same, and yoinked that armor!
- Once at the cave, switched off to ebony sword so I could throw Candlelight spells
- Large and complex cave system, five total witches; killed all five witches and got their heads
- Also got some Leather Boots of Strength, fuck yeah, Fortify Carry Weight enchantment time \0/
- And one of the witches had an enchanter so i was able to go ahead and destroy the boots to learn the enchantment
- Fast traveled back to Western Watchtower to head into the city
- Went to Jorrvaskr and found Aela and Torvar at the entrance with three dead Silver Hands around them; also spotted Ulfberth there
- Entered Jorrvaskr and was confronted by Vilkas wondering where the actual fuck I’d been
- Lydia got superseded by Vilkas as my follower and so then it was off to Driftshade Refuge
- Stopped first at Warmaiden’s to stock up on ebony to improve all the ebony armor I had on me, so i could swap out the orcish for the ebony, for the armor rating boost
- (Noted that Warmaiden’s was locked, presumably because Ulfberth was not there?)
- Used Weynon Stones as fast travel marker; killed another ice wraith there
- Made it to Driftshade Refuge and ran the place, nothing terribly complicated, just a lot of melee fighting with the Silver Hands
- (Lost track of where exactly it happened but I’m pretty sure it was shortly after arriving here that I leveled up to 33?)
- Got overloaded after a bit once I swiped all their silver weaponry
- Lots of “go ahead TRY and fight me” taunting commentary, immediately followed by the cinematic of me smashing the fuck out of the taunter with Volendrung 😀
- Finally made it to the end and got the axe fragments back
- Tromped slowly out of the place; started Whirlwind-Sprinting back towards Whiterun, and at least this time I had two words to use so it went a little faster
- Discovered Fort Dunstad en route; was not successful in going peacefully past it
- Had to engage several bandits before we could proceed (will surely have to come back and clear this place properly later once I’m an Imperial)
- And if that wasn’t enough, next up: Blood Dragon!
- Very very overloaded at this point so I let Vilkas shoot at it, and whenever it managed to land practically on top of me, smashed the fuck out of it with the hammer <CLANG>
- Here have some heavy dragon bits to go on top of the load you’re already carrying!
- Tromped back to Whiterun with combo of Whirlwind Sprint and the drawn bow while sneaking trick
- Once we were in past the gates, Vilkas told me to meet him at Jorrvaskr to pay respects to Kodlak’s passing
- Stopped first to sell my excess loot at Warmaiden’s, Belethor’s and Arcadia’s
- Then went to the Skyforge and found lots of folks gathered there to pay respects to Kodlak’s passing
- Aela asked all the members of the Circle to meet in the Underforge for private grieving
- Eorlund stopped me to ask me to go get him one last fragment of Wuuthrad that Kodlak kept in his room
- I went to fetch it, brought it back to him, and then went to the Underforge
- Aela and Vilkas argued about trying to find a way to respect Kodlak’s wishes even though he was now dead
- Eorlund came in with SURPRISE REFORGED AXE and basically announced, “Here, you should be the one to carry this into battle, and also, all of you, gear up, you’re going to the tomb of Ysgramor!”
- And that struck me as an excellent place to save for the night
Shopping in Solitude
The main amusing thing here was back to back couriers. Got the one who showed up with the Letter from a Friend, and then the second one! The only gap between them was my popping into Bits and Pieces and buying things, including the dwarven arrows.
The second courier showed up just as I was heading up the ramp to the forge, so I didn’t actually see him. But I totally envision the same courier realizing “shit, I actually had two letters for her, where’d I leave the second one?”
Or, alternately, being surprised to discover the second one as it materialized in his pouch. Because seriously, does Calcelmo teleport letters into couriers’ pouches the instant somebody buys a dwarven something in any shop in Skyrim?
Returning Grimsever to Mjoll the Lioness
Very satisfying to give that lady back her sword. <3 And now she’s on board with being a follower if I need her! And with being a candidate for marriage! Not sure Delga in particular is going to marry her, but at some point in some playthrough, I am totally going to marry Mjoll.
(At which point it’ll be amusing to see if Aerin keeps hanging around her. Or if he winds up being kind of a package deal with Mjoll and the Dragonborn, and they all wind up in a poly relationship. Lol.
Tangentially related, looking up Mjoll on the wiki again, I saw that you can get interesting commentary out of her if you bring her her sword and you’re a member of the Thieves Guild. So I’ll need to keep that in mind next time I play a thief!)
Cragwallow Slope, take two
Truth be told I was a little skittish about trying this place again so soon without putting some serious enchantments on my armor, but turns out I needn’t have worried. I took a chance on it because I’d reached level 32, which seemed like a good place to be given where the conjurers level up to in relation to the player.
And this time through, even without any Resist Fire, Resist Frost, or Resist Shock enchantments on my gear, I was able to power through the place.
The main bottleneck was a winding tunnel partway in. When Lydia and I started fighting the first couple of conjurers, most of the rest heard the action and came running, same as they’d done before. But this time, I kept throwing a conjured familiar at them, which helped keep them distracted. And it helped that I stayed in the tunnel for the most part so I had to only fight them one or two at a time.
Maybe not the most valiant choice for a Companion to make, but hey, it kept me alive!
And it let me get Queen Freydis’ sword and take it back to Oengul in Windhelm.
Blood’s Honor quest
Glenmoril Coven (the physical place, as opposed to the quintet of hagravens) was a pretty neat dungeon, a large cavern with five convenient wings to it, each of which contained a cranky witch. The layout of the place made it a nice little challenge to find them all.
I didn’t have to find them all, but I knew I was going to want to de-wolf not only Kodlak, but myself as well. And maybe also Vilkas and Farkas. Which means four total witch heads. But I went ahead and did all five. Just because it seemed to me that only that would satisfy Delga’s sense of honor and justice.
Also, notably, I think this may have been the first time I’d ever heard a hagraven talk? One of these had the line “Your blood is ours, Companion!” Delivered in a harsh, raspy voice, too. Nice creepy touch.
And I’m pretty sure that at that point Delga was all “I think the fuck not.”
Sidebar: When Delga will give up the wolf-blood
This will, I think, also contribute to her deciding to de-wolf herself. I think she may have already been on the fence about it after talking to Kodlak—not out of any concern about missing out on Sovngarde pse, but rather, being legitimately torn about where her proper afterlife is now that she knows she’s Dragonborn.
Does she still belong to Malacath, as she’s still an orc? Or does she belong to Hircine, because she has the beast blood now? Or does she belong to Akatosh, if Akatosh is responsible for making her Dragonborn?
Pretty hefty philosophical considerations for a woman who started out just wanting a little glory and freedom!
But even aside from the question of whose afterlife she belongs to, the idea that the Companions’ wolf-blood comes from a deliberate curse by witches repels Delga. She might have felt differently if it had legitimately come from Hircine, but to have the wolf form inflicted upon them under false pretenses is a different story.
Between this and the idea that it might interfere with her ability to truly be Dragonborn is going to eventually make her want to lose the lycanthropy. The only question here is when.
From what I see on the wiki, if I don’t cure myself immediately, I can have the opportunity to cure both Vilkas and Farkas. (Aela, apparently, is perfectly fine with being a werewolf.) And I kind of like the idea of giving them that closure.
Also, I’m vaguely tempted by the idea of remaining a werewolf at least up until I do Dragonborn. That would give me the opportunity to meet the werewolves on Solstheim.
We’ll see though!
More on the Blood’s Honor quest, and Purity of Revenge
Came back to Whiterun to discover that oh shit the Silver Hand attacked Jorrvaskr!
I’d say that this is a nice high-stakes moment, except for one thing that bugs me: how the hell did the Silver Hand get into Whiterun?
Three of them are dead on the front steps when you show up, which suggests that they tried a frontal assault. Which suggests in turn that they had to have come up from the square in the middle of the Wind District, just below.
But it makes a lot more sense to assume that they managed to climb over the wall behind Jorrvaskr somehow. Because the only other possibility I can think of here is that they all just strolled in through the front gates, pretending to be innocent visitors, until it was time to launch their assault on Jorrvaskr.
But even that plan has holes big enough in it for mammoths to stampede through. Particularly given that I showed up in broad daylight to find the aftermath of the battle there. How the hell did these guys think they were going to launch a full out assault on Jorrvaskr, not only in front of the Companions, but also the city guard as well as every single other armed citizen in Whiterun?
Because this is, after all, a game where armed citizens don’t hesitate for an instant to attack anybody being aggressive in the streets.
Silver Hand guys, how did you think this was going to go?
The point here being, the Companions ain’t the only ones in this plot line with a significant lack of brain cells. 😉
Now, all that said, this still was a nicely high-tension moment. Particularly when I walked in through Jorrvaskr’s front doors and Vilkas confronted me.
Now, as a player, my gut reaction is to blow up back at Vilkas for this, because I feel like he is totally unjustified in giving the player shit about not being on site when you’re off expressly because of following Kodlak’s orders.
However, I have an interesting dilemma here because I’m envisioning Delga as a Scorpia-like character. And Dara very correctly points out that in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Scorpia takes a lot more shit than she actually should.
Delga’s housecarl Lydia, on the other hand, has no such problems. The game doesn’t give Lydia an opportunity to participate in these conversations, but in my headcanon, Lyds is not going to stand idly by and listen to her thane being insulted! So I feel the conversation would go something like this:
Vilkas: Where the actual flaming fuck were you?
Me: Uh, doing what Kodlak told me to do?
Vilkas: That damn well better have been important, because you weren’t here to defend him.
Me, holding up five witch heads by the hair: On a scale of 1 to 5 witch heads, I give this a five, because Kodlak wanted these so he could stop being a werewolf.
Vilkas: Fat lot of good those are going to do Kodlak now that he’s super dead!
Lydia, while Delga’s face turns stormy: Listen, asshole, I may not be a Companion but I am not going to stand here and listen to you insult my thane like this. Are you telling us none of the rest of you Companions were good enough warriors to keep your Harbinger from getting killed in broad daylight? Were you all too damned proud to call for help to the city guards? Why the hell is this my thane’s fault when she was off obeying Kodlak’s orders in the first place?
Vilkas, with a growl in his voice: You have no place in this hall, woman. Mind your tongue.
Delga, now rousing: She is my housecarl by order of the Jarl of this city. Her place is wherever I am. And she helped me kill the witches Kodlak wanted me to kill. She is every bit as valiant a warrior as any Companion. You will not address her in that tone.
Vilkas, still furious, though he can’t quite bring himself to admit the rest of the Companions seriously dropped the ball on defending their Harbinger: You could have been the one more blade we’d needed to turn the fight around!
Me: Maybe. But we can’t know because that happened then. Now that I’m here now, what can I do to make this right?
Vilkas: Come with me to Driftshade Refuge. Wipe out the Silver Hands with me until none of them are left, so that only songs of Jorrvaskr will be sung after this day.
Vilkas: Your housecarl stays here.
Lydia: The hell I do. I will not leave my thane undefended.
Vilkas: This is a thing for Companions to do. It is our honor at stake.
Delga, very reluctantly: Lydia… he’s right. But if he’s coming with me, I will not be undefended. Stand down and wait for me at Breezehome. There will be more battles for you and I to fight when this is done.
Lydia, inclining her head: As you command, my thane. I’ll head back home until you need me again.
And with that, it was off to Driftshade Refuge with Vilkas.
Driftshade was a large and complex structure to run, though none of the fights we had with the Silver Hands were terribly complex. Just a bunch of melee fighting, for the most part. I’m a little sad that the game gives you no way to liberate the one live werewolf they have locked up in a cage in this hideout; according to the wiki, that werewolf will attack you if you let it out. So I skipped that part, because even though I feel like Delga would have made a point of setting a fellow werewolf free, I didn’t want her to have to then immediately kill said werewolf.
And, given that Vilkas got to see me actually fighting a dragon and eating its soul on the way back from that whole encounter, I figure Delga’s all “now I want to hear exactly zero shit from you in the future to my housecarl”.
Glory of the Dead quest
Which brings me, finally, to the beginning of the Glory of the Dead quest.
Once Vilkas and I returned from Driftshade Refuge, the next major plot item was the funeral for Kodlak, held at the Skyforge. This was one of the more stirring and solemn moments I’ve seen in the game, and I quite liked it. And there were more people on hand for the proceedings than were in the full roster of Companions, according to the wiki—the Jarl and Danica Pure-Spring should also have been there, though I missed them while I was playing!
And afterwards, when the Circle gathers in the Underforge, we get another stirring and dramatic moment when Eorlund Gray-Mane comes in with the reforged Wuuthrad. And told me, Vilkas, Farkas, and Aela that our next task would be to go to the tomb of Ysgramor!
Which was a great breaking point to stop for the night.
Off to the tomb of Ysgramor, then! We’ll see how much of the next session taking care of de-wolfing Kodlak’s spirit and becoming Harbinger of the Companions takes!
Editing to add 11/28/2021: Screenshots!
Now that my galleries are finally fixed, I’m able to swing back to this post and add in the screenshots I took during this session. Gallery features the funeral of Kodlak.