This session gets me well and thoroughly into the civil war plotline in Skyrim. I ran the Jagged Crown quest at the Korvanjund ruin–and then went straight into participating in defending Whiterun from an invading force of Stormcloaks. Yikes!
- Play date: 11/24/2021
- Session number in this run: 26
- Started session in Breezehome
- Sold some stuff to Arcadia and bought a few healing potions
- Went up to Dragonsreach and destroyed boots of sneaking and necklace of smithing to learn enchantments
- Bought a filled grand soul gem off of Farengar and also a spellbook of Fear
- Used the gem to enchant ebony bow with Soul Trap
- Leveled up to 38 and took next Heavy Armor perk
- Boinged down to Lakeview to drop off some stuff and get Imperial armor for official duty
- Boinged to Western Watchtower to traverse the plains and do a little hunting on the way
- Iron vein
- Spriggan + bear vs. two hunters; bear ran off but I killed the spriggan; hunters were already dead
- Met up with Legate Rikke and her squad at Korjanvund
- Oh hey, hi Hadvar! You’re alive! Looks like you reported in!
- Rikke led us on a charge through the place, and wow that was the fastest I ever tore through an unfamiliar draugr hive, that’s for sure
- Not really appropriate to stop and loot all the burial urns when you gotta kill Stormcloaks 😀
- Also tough to see with multiple soldiers fighting! Had to cast Candlelight a lot and that ain’t exactly conducive to stealth
- Got the ebony claw to open the puzzle door
- Also got the Jagged Crown off one of the Draugr Deathlords in the boss chamber
- Rikke ordered me to get the crown back to Solitude while the rest of them search the place for anything else useful
- CAN DO, however, got overloaded like you do if you’re me
- (I REGRET NOTHING, the wiki said I don’t get any reward off this quest, so dammit, I took the Stormcloaks’ weapons on my way out)
- Tromped westward towards Solitude with Whirlwind Sprint + drawn bow while sneaking
- Encountered party of four bandits; killed three with flame atronach and ebony sword, last one freaked out and fled so i didn’t go after him
- Near Mzinchaleft, frost troll, also two bandits, which I had to hammerclang
- Bandit: “I’ll show you what a real orc can do!”
- Me: “And I’ll show you what my flame atronach can do!” <FLAMES TO THE FACE>
- Found unmarked burned house I think I found as Merawen before
- Got stuck in water trying to get out of the marshes and over to Solitude; difficult to swim when overburdened! Managed to finally aim myself towards the shore and swim while leaning on the left thumbstick
- Got into Solitude the back way, well that’s easier anyway!
- Popped into Bits and Pieces to sell all the loot to Sayma and also buy ebony ingots and a filled grand soul gem
- Handed off the crown to the general, who promptly gave me a message to take to the Jarl of Whiterun; right then, gearing up for Whiterun to be attacked, yikes :O
- But first, got the rest of the gear sold off; sold remaining ebony battleaxe to Beirand
- Bought a potion of invisibility from Angeline to stock up later for Thalmor Embassy
- Boinged to Western Watchtower
- Dragon! Except it died as soon as it landed? Cool, free dragon soul and bits!
- Huh, possibly killed in mid-air by second dragon? That one however flew off
- Khajiit were outside the city but without their tents; uh, y’all might wanna not be in plain view if there are multiple dragons flying about
- Got back into Whiterun
- Guard: “Now I remember–you’re that new member of the Companions.” Catch up, Chet, I’m Harbinger now
- Went straight to Dragonsreach even though it was after hours, and found the Jarl still on this throne with his steward and housecarl; wow, my arrival and delivery of the message triggered quite the spirited argument between the three of them
- And I love Irileth even more now, Proventus was urging caution and waiting, and Irileth’s response to this: “Prey waits.” She is badass 😀
- Balgruuf gave me his axe to take to Ulfric; on my way out, heard him tell Proventus to bring him ink and paper for a letter for terms to give to the general
- Stopped at Farengar’s enchanter table to slap a carry weight enchantment on my ebony gauntlets
- Stopped at Breezehome to drop off some things and catch some zzz’s
- And also get Lydia because I wasn’t going all the way to Windhelm to confront Ulfric to his face by myself
- Boinged to Windhelm and headed to the palace, to give Ulfric the axe
- Ulfric: “You’re quite brave to carry such a message. It’s a pity you’ve chosen the wrong side.”
- Wow, his commentary in this conversation makes him even more of a dick
- C’mon Lyds, let’s hurry home, these assholes are going to attack our city
- Right back to Western Watchtower, then boinged right to Dragonsreach to avoid dealing with any NPCs before I’m ready for battle
- Found the Jarl up the stairs from the throne room talking with a new legate
- Brought him back the axe and got the word that yep, the Stormcloaks were about to attack YIKES
- Ordered to report to the front lines, so geared up in Imperial heavy armor and went to work
- Kind of alarming coming through the city and seeing it bombed by catapults :O
- Legate Rikke gave a rouse the troops speech and then it was ON
- Plowed through the Stormcloaks with my ebony battleaxe
- Whiterun defended!
- Jarl Balgruuf gave another speech at the end and he is now on board with Team Empire
- Told me after he’d be honored if i made my home in Whiterun and um, dude, you do remember you made me your thane for that whole thing with the dragon at the tower? I already live here!
- Followed the Jarl in through the gates though and the game hadn’t caught up that Whiterun was no longer under attack, catapults were still flinging fire and the guards were telling everybody to take shelter in their homes and lock their doors
- Also got next quest to report to Tullius in Solitude
- So I went ahead and fast traveled there, and Lydia finally caught up with me; she didn’t join me out on the front line even though she was following
- I shall take the liberty of assuming she damn well fought to defend her city!
- Got orders from Tullius to report to the Imperial camp in the Pale and that I would be wasted on general soldier duty, he wants me to have more flexibility
- Ordered to report to Legate Rikke and do whatever she tells me to do
- Promoted to Quaestor! And given an Ebony Sword of the Blaze
- This is entirely acceptable 😀
- Boinged back to Whiterun to check out the status of the place
- Back to mostly normal once I entered the gates, but the square in the Wind District is damaged, rubble in front of Heimskr’s house and Heimskir is kinda gone
- Picked up some things from Breezehome to get my ebony ingot and improve that new ebony sword
- Also converted all my pelts to leather and built myself a set of Imperial light armor just to experiment with it (and see about exercising my Light Armor skill periodically)
- Saved for the night finally
Jagged Crown quest
This was, hands down, the fastest I’ve ever charged through a draugr hive. This is the direct consequence of showing up there as part of an Imperial squad, and needing to follow Rikke’s orders as we charged through the place.
Which meant that unlike most times in this game where I set foot in a ruin, I didn’t have time to loot every single little burial urn and chest I found. Too busy fighting attacking Stormcloaks! And in a few cases, draugr as well.
Another difference: normally, when I set foot in a draugr ruin, I’ve got a one-handed weapon in my right hand and a Candlelight spell queued up on my left. Throwing the Candlelight spell this time was extra critical, because I found out fast that when I was part of an attacking squad of Imperials, I had to be real careful not to hit my own people when Stormcloaks came at us. Which made it extra special necessary to actually be able to see what I was doing!
Still though, this had a few bits where the game expected me to take solo action. I had to be the one to grab the dropped ebony claw at the puzzle door. I also had to find the handle to open a gate for us to get through, and pick up the Jagged Crown off one of the two Draugr Deathlords we killed. Rikke then ordered me to get it back to Tullius in Solitude.
Since the wiki informed me that I wouldn’t be getting a reward for doing this quest, I did take the time to loot a couple of urns and chests on the way out. And I grabbed weapons off some of the Stormcloaks we’d killed on the way in.
Which of course got me overloaded. But I regret nothing! Even if it did mean I had to go overland back to Solitude. It gave me an opportunity for a couple of amusing encounters on the way.
Lesson learned, though: if I’m overloaded, stay the hell out of water. It makes it a lot tougher to swim. I spent a good amount of time fighting against in the current in the wide body of water by Solitude’s docks.
Message to Whiterun and Battle for Whiterun quests
These were technically two separate quests, but narrative-wise the message quest is really just a prologue for the actual battle. So I’m counting them together in this part of the post.
And, yikes. I got a pretty strong “shit is now going down” thrill off of running this, because this was the first time at any point in this game where the whole civil war plotline started feeling more real. For Merawen and Alarrah’s playthrough, the war was mostly background noise except when running the Season Unending quest to do the truce.
Here, though, the war action is front and center. And coming into Windhelm’s Palace of the Kings as both a messenger from Whiterun and an Imperial soldier is a very different vibe than just coming in on any other quest! I.e., a vibe of “I am now walking directly into the headquarters of the enemy.”
Ulfric has an interesting line to the player here, telling you you’re brave for bringing such a message, and that it’s too bad you’ve chosen the wrong side. And to Ulfric’s credit, he doesn’t have his men hinder you from leaving or anything. You’re able to get out of the palace and out of the city safely.
Which is one of the few times I’ll give Ulfric credit for something, because other than that, wow, is Ulfric a dick. You get an opportunity to ask him why he’s bent on killing his own people, which triggers this rant out of him about how “there is no wheat without removing the chaff”. And he goes off about how the people are demanding that the Empire be ousted from Skyrim. Except that half his people aren’t demanding any such thing.
I’m going to look forward to booting him out of Windhelm and bringing in Brynwolf Free-Winter as the new jarl, yep.
Once I got back to Whiterun, then we really got into the action. Had just long enough to check in with the Jarl before I was ordered to the front line. Rikke gave her rouse the troops speech. And then it was on.
After two playthroughs and change involving Whiterun being my favorite city in the game, it was genuinely discomfiting to see it getting bombarded by catapults! And to see its citizens running for cover in the streets!
And, fighting with the incoming Stormcloaks was like fighting the ones at Korvanjund, only more so. This was a bigger incoming force, and the game threw up a percentage counter tracking how many more enemies had to be taken out to win the battle.
This action was very fast-moving, and required me to run and jump back and forth in various directions, looking for new enemies to take down with my ebony battleaxe. And it was over rather faster than I expected!
Afterwards, when I came back after reporting to Tullius in Solitude and getting my promotion and next orders, it was also legit wistful-making to see the damage the city had taken. And I’ll say straight up that I’m a trifle sad that this attack results in the priest Heimskr disappearing from the Wind District square. No character I’ve played to date has any fucks to give about worshipping Talos per se–but as a player, I really do kind of like the ranty old dude, just because he’s part of the character and flavor of my Whiterun play experience.
According to what I’ve seen on the wiki, he’ll have been arrested for being a Talos worshipper, and I think he’s in the Dragonsreach dungeon now? Hopefully they won’t be too harsh to him!
(I’m amused that the wiki also says he’ll still be preaching even in jail, lol.)
My next orders involve helping the Empire take back the Pale, which means I can get that asshole Skald booted out of being Jarl of the place. I will probably work on that next, just for the sake of continuing to explore things that are still new to me in the game!
Editing to add
- 11/28/2021: Finally fixed all my gallery problems, so here are the screenshots from this session! There are a lot of them!
- 11/18/2023: Galleries broke again, so I restored the missing gallery, and also added play date and session number markers.