This is another double session post. Sunday night’s session, where I got the broken Azura’s Star from Ilinalta’s Deep, was not really long enough of a session to warrant a post all by itself.
Monday’s session, on the other hand, turned into a monster! Not only did I get Azura’s Star repaired, I also joined the Imperial Legion. So now I’ve officially taken a side in the war for Skyrim!
And oh yeah: I’m also now thane of Winterhold!
- Play dates: 11/21-11/22/2021
- Session numbers in this run: 23-24
Sunday night session
- Got into Ilinalta’s Deep and found the skeleton of the fisherman in the first flooded room
- Started making my way through the place
- Most of the necromancers weren’t a problem but the upper tier ones, yes
- Arch Necromancer about halfway through the dungeon was problem number one
- Master Necromancer at the end also a problem
- Usual “snipe enemies from afar in Sneak mode” strategy not really applicable to Delga
- Strategy that did finally work was conjuring Flame Atronachs for distraction, then charging in to the necromancer to fight at close range while he was distracted by the atronach
- Leveled up to 36 shortly before the Master Necromancer at the end; took first Conjuration perk to make those spells less expensive since I was throwing flame atronachs around
- Finally made it through though and got the Star
- Emerged from Ilinalta’s Deep and fast traveled back to the Western Watchtower
- Parked in Breezehome and saved for the night
Monday night session
- Sold things to Belethor
- Went up to Dragonsreach and destroyed a few items on the enchanter table; also bought several spellbooks from Farengar, but he didn’t have Conjure Frost Atronach boooooo
- Decided not to enchant the ebony bow yet, holding out for Fiery Soul Trap 😀
- Sold some more things to Belethor, and popped into Arcadia’s shop and shopped with her
- Headed down to Warmaiden’s to see about any smithing I could do before leaving; improved my bow up another Legendary notch
- Boinged to Shrine of Azura
- Killed a dragon when I came out of fast travel, and Aranea actually helped! Woo!
- But tried four times to get through the Star and the dremora fried my ass each time; fire protection definitely critical
- Bailed for the time being so I could go get some form of fire protection
- Went down the mountainside to the road into Winterhold
- Checked in at the inn to sleep the night; got up the next morning and collected bounty from steward for earlier bandit chief kill at Snowpoint Beacon
- Talked to the Jarl to get the quest to go get the Helm of Winterhold, this time in Yngvild
- Cleared Yngvild after a couple of tries; successfully used flame atronach + Whirlwind Sprint to get to Arondil
- Returned to Winterhold; gave the Jarl the helm back, and got pointer to become his thane
- Fast traveled to Solitude to sell things
- Radiant Raiment had a frost resist necklace so I bought that
- Also shopped with Sayma and Beirand and Angeline
- Went up to Castle Dour; got Aldis to give me the deets on Angeline’s daughter
- Also officially joined the Legion!
- Legate Rikke: “I don’t think you’re regular militia material.” Gee, thanks? 😉
- Got given the test to go clear out Fort Hraggstad, and set out for the fort
- Passed Talsgar the Wanderer again, and the noble on horse + Imperial guard
- Reached the fort and cleared it without any issues (bandits were not leveled)
- Got heavily overloaded nabbing all their armor and weaponry as RIGHTFUL SPOILS OF WAR fuck yeah
- Whirlwind Sprinted back towards Solitude
- Courier! Letter from a Friend and this time for the source of power at Ironbind Barrow \0/ Happy fun Fiery Soul Trap times!
- But first: finish up dealing with joining the Imperials
- Reported back to Legate Rikke, who pointed me at General Tullius to be sworn in, so right then I’m now in the Legion!
- Tullius then also pointed me right back at Rikke for a special assignment: going to get the Jagged Crown at Korvanjund
- But first: going back to Beirand and getting outfitted
- Sold Beirand all my bandit loot, and got heavy Imperial armor from him (too bad the Imperial armor is ass)
- And MOST IMPORTANTLY: he had an elven shield with a fire resist enchantment on it
- Sold some things at Bits and Pieces and Angeline’s as well
- Now let’s go see about fixing that Star shall we
- Got a second dragon, this time a Frost Dragon, fast traveling back to the Shrine; Aranea also helped kill that one
- This time, cleared the Star with no issues, thank you, fire protection! Got all the dremora looted for their hearts and also looted Malyn Varen before Azura pulled me out of the Star
- Tromped over to Whistling Mine; sold some iron ore there for third of three quests to trigger the thaneship
- (Azura’s Star was second, not clear who was first unless getting the helm for the Jarl counted?)
- Started Whirlwind Sprinting to Winterhold
- Attacked by wolf, and saw M’aiq the Liar diving for cover; he was still crouching after I killed the wolf and came up to him, relax, kitty, it’s okay!
- Achieved becoming thane of Winterhold (for what that’s worth, lol)
- Sold stuff to Birna to unload
- Fast traveled to Whiterun and did a bunch of shopping
- Bought enough steel to improve the Imperial armor up to Legendary and make it suck somewhat less
- Also improved the ebony battleaxe I claimed as loot from bandit fort
- Checked in at Jorrvaskr but Farkas didn’t want me to de-wolf him yet
- Bounced to Lakeview for building; built a whole bunch more things and smithed a bunch of things
- Leveled up to 37, and took Daedric smithing perk 😀
- Boinged back to watchtower to sell things in Whiterun after clearing out stashed loot in all the chests at Lakeview
- Sold a bunch of things
- Also discovered that I already had enchantments for Resist Fire, Resist Frost, and Resist Shock; bought a filled Grand Soul Gem off of Farengar, dropped a 25% Resist Fire on my ebony boots
- Parked in Breezehome and saved for the night
I am now three for three in playing this dungeon and finding it quite the challenge to get through. In no small part because it has a mid-dungeon spot where you have a boss-level enemy and the boss-level enemy at the end.
Of my three runs through this place, it seems like Alarrah actually had the least trouble, though I did write in her post about it that I got killed by the midpoint boss once before taking him out with arrows from sneak mode.
In Merawen’s run through this dungeon, I wrote that my working strategy was to sneak up on the problem necromancers until I was in melee range, and then smack the hell out of them with Dawnbreaker.
As Delga is not a sneaking-oriented character (by which I mean, I am not even into the 40’s yet for Sneak with this run), sneaking and sniping weren’t really options here. So I had to come up with a different strategy–and what finally worked was a modified version of what I did with Merawen.
This time through, I had to take advantage of having learned Conjure Flame Atronach, and to a lesser extent, Conjure Familiar. Casting either of those, and then using the conjured entity as a distraction, gave me a few critical moments in which I could then charge into close range and start wailing on the necromancer with Volendrung.
This took some doing, though. I quickly figured out that the familiar conjured would not cut it against powerful necromancers. So I had to escalate to the flame atronach instead.
And at the midpoint of the dungeon, it took me several attempts to figure out the right strategy to get through and keep Lydia from getting killed. Which was:
- Summon the flame atronach and let it start flinging fireballs at the necromancer
- Run like hell into the water between me and the necromancer
- Swim over to the stairs on his side of the water
- Whip out Volendrung
- Clang him into next week
Before I got that working, I also tried a version of this where I summoned the flame atronach and then tried to Whirlwind-Sprint my way over to the necromancer. This didn’t work well at the midpoint of the dungeon partly because there were rails in the way, and that blocked me from sprinting all the way to him. So I had to dive into the water instead.
However, the atronach + Whirlwind Sprint version of this strategy did work on the boss at the end, because I was able to just throw the Shout and get right up to him.
So the takeaway here for future me, both for subsequent powerful enemies in this playthrough as well as any future playthroughs: for a non-sneaky character, use distractions to buy time till I can close to melee range!
Also, keep working on that archery. I’ve been working on Delga’s archery but she’s not nearly as good a shot as Alarrah or Merawen, particularly since I’m not getting the bonuses for sneak attacks with her.
(Caveat: it only occurred to me after the fact that while I did try to snipe the necromancer at the midpoint of this dungeon, I never actually activated Delga’s sneak to try to get that sneak attack bonus. I just didn’t frigging think of it. And got frustrated by how many ebony arrows I blew trying to take the guy out and not being able to do so before he healed himself. AUGH.)
Clearing Malyn Varen out of Azura’s Star
This is the other part of this quest that always kicks my ass unless I come in with adequate fire protection. First few times through, I did not. So I was very pleased to finally find that elven shield at Beirand’s forge, because between that and elixir-grade resist fire potions, the dremora in the Star were much less of a problem and I was able to just whack them to death.
This time through, I also remembered to loot all three dremora to get the Daedra hearts. And I had time to loot Malyn Varen before Azura yoinked me out of the Star.
Bonus that I visited the Shrine of Azura twice this session and got a dragon both times!
So now I have Azura’s Star, and Aranea on board as a potential follower.
Becoming thane of Winterhold
Got this done just because I could. And as it happened, the “go get the Helm of Winterhold” quest pointed me at Yngvild, the barrow where the necromancer Arondil is hiding out.
This is the guy with the creepy journals. And getting them did in fact trigger the quest to take them to Vekel at the Ragged Flagon, even though I have not joined the Thieves Guild this playthrough.
So now I’ve queued up multiple reasons to set foot in the Flagon, lol. I’ll have to talk to Vekel and maybe talk to the Face Sculptor while I’m down there looking for Esbern! More on this later.
Meanwhile, two points of interest re: becoming thane in Winterhold this time:
- I noticed when I set foot in the Jarl’s longhouse that his wife Thaena was hanging out on this throne! I didn’t know she could do that, lol
- I only had to do one more favor quest to get to be thane. Azura’s Star counted as one, but it came in as favor number two; I got an automatic favor number one after I brought back the helm for the Jarl and got his pointer to become thane, but I was pretty sure I hadn’t done anything in Winterhold that would qualify as a favor quest prior to that? So maybe getting the Helm of Winterhold counted as a favor?
Anyway, now I’m thane in Winterhold, for what all that’s worth! Note to self: don’t mention to Korir that I am, in fact, planning on setting foot in the college.
Joining the Legion
This was the other big interesting part of the Monday night session: officially joining the Imperial Legion!
Right out of the gate I realized that Legate Rikke is yet another character voiced by Claudia Christian, lol. No wonder I like her. 😉 But that’s at least five characters of hers I have personally interacted with a lot in these playthroughs. I know she’s done more, but the ones I’ve actually done anything with are Adrianne at Warmaiden’s, Laila Law-Giver, housecarls Rayya and Iona, and now Legate Rikke.
It was also amusing to see General Tullius’ reaction to me walking in on his argument with Rikke about Whiterun. He was all “are my men now giving free rein to anybody who wanders into the castle? Do you have some business here, citizen?”
Lol. Now that you mention it, General, I do! I’m the Dragonborn. I’m also the Harbinger of the Companions. And I want to join your war.
Legate Rikke: “I don’t think you’re regular militia material.”
I should bloody well hope not. You caught that part where I’m the Dragonborn and the Harbinger, right?
Lol. Not that my cinnamon roll orc girl is actually going to say any of that, but her player is totally thinking it. 😀
I did find it interesting that Tullius and Rikke swore me in specifically as an auxiliary. Which seems like an appropriate move on the game’s part, as yeah, you’re going to be doing all these other things not related to the war in your game anyway. So it makes sense for the game to at least make a nod in that direction and consider you an Imperial auxiliary.
Rikke gave me the quest to go clear out Fort Hraggstad so the Imperials can claim it as a garrison. Which was very easy as the bandits there were not in fact leveled, so I cut a swath through the place. Paul envisioned me hammerclanging the bandit chief into just a great big steel can, ha!
And I also got my one free set of Imperial armor. I asked Beirand at the forge for heavy armor specifically, but too damned bad that the Imperial armor quality is ass. According to the wiki, Imperial heavy armor is the worst in the game, Dara: “Fucking military contractors!”
I did get enough steel in Whiterun later to improve this armor set up to Legendary to make it suck somewhat less. And I’ll say this for it: it’s another example of heavy armor where it isn’t stupidly boobtacular on a female character. So I’ll give it that. Still won’t regularly wear it, I think, unless I’m doing a quest specifically for the Empire.
And after I came back from clearing Fort Hraggstad, I immediately got the pointer for the next quest: getting the Jagged Crown from Korvanjund. So in other words, a lot of the quests for the war are looking to be very similar to quests I’ve done already, only this time there’s war plot involved!
I’m going to take a bit of a breather before proceeding with the Jagged Crown quest. I’d kind of like to get de-wolfed before I get too far into the Imperial plotline, but I’d also like to get Farkas and Vilkas de-wolfed before I do that. So I need to see if I can get that taken care of.
And I’d also really like to hit Ironbind Barrow so I can get that Fiery Soul Trap enchantment. 😀
Editing to add
- 11/28/2021: Got my galleries fixed, finally, so I was able to swing back and add in the missing screenshots for these two sessions! Here they are.
- 11/18/2023: Galleries broke again, so restored the missing gallery, and added play date and session number markers.