Unlike the previous session, this was a pretty big one! I cleared out Geirmund’s Tomb and got the third and final fragment of the Gauldur amulet, but that was really just a warmup for the session’s main action: becoming thane of Eastmarch, buying the house Hjerim, and solving the ongoing murders going on in Windhelm.
- Set out from Whiterun on foot to head for Geirmund’s Hall
- Hostile NPCs encountered: Hag vs. flame atronach near crossroads; atronach turned on me, I took it out with an ice spike; Argonian male thief, made him fuck off with a successful persuade check
- Hostile creatures encountered: two regular bears, one cave bear
- Overshot path to Geirmund’s Hall so doubled back and cut across country off the road
- Mined corundum vein
- Discovered Darkwater Pass but didn’t want to run it right now, so skipped it
- Finally fast traveled to Geirmund’s Hall; cleared the place, got third amulet fragment
- Also got overloaded though because a lot of tasty loot
- Tried to hoof it back towards Whiterun
- Killed troll and three cultists with help of flame atronach
- But killed by wispmother after killing her wisps, oops; thrown back to coming out of Geirmund’s Hall
- New plan! Let’s go to Riften!
- Passed two Vigilants who alerted me that I was ill, from two different illnesses; took care of that with potion
- Hostile creatures: two bears; frostbite spider
- Decided to go to Windhelm instead as it was closer than Riften
- Non-hostile NPCs encountered: Imperial ran by, was maybe a courier?
- Leveled up to 49 while sneaking with drawn bow; took Novice Destruction perk
- Respawned Blood Dragon; killed it with fire! Flame atronach + Fire Breath shout + Flames spell
- Tromped slowly into Windhelm
- Sold stuff to Niranye, Revyn, and Aval
- Tried to go to the graveyard to launch the murder plot; Calixto, Silda, the priestess, and the dead body were all there, but no guard so i couldn’t investigate
- Then went into the Palace of the Kings; all the exiled nobles were in there and boy howdy are they big mad at me
- Also Ulfric’s and Galmar’s bodies were still lying there, so I scooted Ulfric’s body over by the wall so at least he wouldn’t be lying dead right in front of the throne; also, I took Ulfric’s clothes on general principles
- Talked to Brunwulf who immediately granted me the right to buy property
- Asked him if there was anything else he needed, and he immediately offered me the thaneship if I bought property and also helped his people
- The quest for helping auto-completed, to my surprise? Was pretty sure I hadn’t helped five people in windhelm already? But I’ll take it 😁
- Still though I felt like I should help a few people anyway; went back out to wander around and see who needed helping
- Offered to bring Torbjorn Shatter-Shield an Amulet of Arkay
- Took a nightshade extract over to the court mage on behalf of Hillevi Cruel-Sea
- Offered to fetch Shahvee’s lost Amulet of Zenithar which turned out to be in Stony Creek Cave, so back to Stony Creek for the third time this game!
- Fast traveled to the place and heard but did not see dragon
- Cleared the place quickly and got the amulet; also got overloaded again with loot, so tromped slowly out
- Noticed Eastmarch Imperial Camp that had been previously nearby was gone? Ah okay wiki says this is expected
- Remembered that oh hey I have Volsung, so put it on, and that helped the carry weight problem
- Decided to stop and see the orcs at Narzulbur first
- Chatted with the chief, and got into a brawl with him and kicked his ass, lolololol
- Sold potions to the alchemist, and sold assorted bandit loot to the smith by Gloombound Mine
- Returned to Windhelm; sold more stuff to Aval and Revyn, also Quintus in the White Phial; got over 8K gold!
- Went back to the palace and bought Hjerim via Jorleif (who was still steward for Brunwulf, and he doesn’t miss Ulfric much apparently)
- Buying Hjerim got me access to the house, and that auto-started the murder quest
- Found my brand new housecarl Calder hanging out in there in the dark
- Found the murder closet with the mess, and also the second journal, the amulet, and the pamphlets
- Proceeded through the quest pretty much the same way I ran it as Alarrah—I took the path of confronting Wuunferth directly rather than getting him arrested
- Talked to Calixto: “This is totally the Wheelhouse amulet, why don’t you let me give you 500 gold for this?”
- Talked to Viola: “The court mage is totally behind this, you should go tell the steward!”
- Me: “I’m the Arch-Mage of Winterhold! Screw it, Imma go talk to this guy myself. Hey Wuunferth, what’s this I hear about you being a necromancer?”
- Wuunferth: “I BEG YOUR PARDON! I AM A MEMBER OF THE COLLEGE OF WINTERHOLD IN GOOD STANDING!”
- Me: “Yes, I know, I happen to be your new Arch-Mage, level with me, old dude.” (Not that the game let this play out this way, but this is I feel what Delga would have said)
- Got Wuunferth’s suspicion that he knows when the next murder will be, so I popped back outside and wandered into the market place
- OH HEY THERE’S CALIXTO, not at all suspicious
- Oh hey there’s Arivanya from the stables, going EEEK SOMEBODY HELP ME
- Whacked Calixto with a sword, didn’t even have to kill him though, guard rushed over to take him out
- I searched the body and nabbed assorted things, then returned to the palace to report to the steward
- Took the chance to ask the steward if there was work to be had and he gave me a bandit bounty for Lost Knife Hideout
- So now the murder is solved, and the guards are going to be nicer to me, well, glad to see somebody in this town doesn’t want me to die in a fire!
- Paused here for the night
Continuing the Forbidden Legend quest
Getting through Geirmund’s Hall to get that third bit of the Gauldur amulet was not difficult. Nothing terribly new here to report, so far this quest is continuing to play out as it’s done for previous playthroughs.
At level 48, I certainly had no issues getting through that dungeon! Really, getting attacked by the wispmother after the dungeon was the harder part.
Becoming thane in Windhelm
So now I’m three for three in thaneships where I auto-completed the “help the people” quests, post-war. Winterhold, Windhelm, and Dawnstar all pretty much cut straight to “you sure did help my people!” it’s not clear to me whether this is a consequence of the Jarls already being friendly to me or what?
I noted that all of the exiled courtiers from Riften and Dawnstar were in the palace—but not the ones from Winterhold? Apparently they go to Brunwulf’s house instead.
And whoo boy were the exiled courtiers big mad at me. Not surprisingly, really. Anuriel, former Riften steward, threw off a testy “I hope the wilds claim you one of these days”. (Of course, she already had extra reason to be cranky at me since I blackmailed her over her association with the Thieves Guild.)
And Unmid Snow-Shod, Laila Law-Giver’s housecarl, was all “I don’t like talking to someone who holds their honor so cheaply.”
I feel like Delga, cinnamon roll that she is, would have been stung by these but not exactly in a position to argue with them. So she wouldn’t have tried.
Her player is going “Hey, fuck you, Unmid, I am absolutely comfortable with my honor, maybe you should have considered not supporting a dickweed tyrant trying to tear the land apart?”
And speaking of the dickweed tyrant—lol, the dead bodies of both Ulfric Stormcloak and his second in command Galmar Stone-Fist were still lying right there in the throne room. Paul had warned me he’d run into this before in his playthroughs, and yeah, it happened for me too.
So just for the sake of moving Ulfric out of the way, I scooted him over by the wall next to Galmar. Which triggered a response out of Skald, former Jarl of Dawnstar: “What are you doing that for?”
Lololol. Uh, dude, I’m doing it because I don’t want to trip across Ulfric Stormcloak’s dead body while I’m talking to Brunwulf here?
Also, the number of people who kept going “GASP what happened” at Ulfric and Galmar was simultaneously hilarious and a little sad. Just because I kept thinking, “Uh, yeah, I kinda happened here.”
There is absolutely no in-character headcanon I can give to this, though. Given that in character, when the Imperials took Windhelm, Tullius did throw off a line about Ulfric’s head being displayed on a spike in Cyrodiil. Which would naturally imply that the Imperials would have taken the body.
Also, there is no in-character headcanon I can give for swiping Ulfric’s clothes off of him. Delga would not have done it! But I did it anyway. Mostly because I was curious to see if I could. 😉
(And I’m a little curious to see whether I can enchant them, and by extension, rename them? If they’re no longer tagged ‘Ulfric’s clothes’, ‘Ulfric’s bracers’, and ‘Ulfric’s boots’, I’d feel less weird about actually wearing them.
Not that Delga’s going to wear them, certainly not at least in Windhelm! But I’m curious to at least try them on.)
Meanwhile, though, Brunwulf very quickly gave me permission to buy property and also being his thane. Very curious at this point as to whether I auto-completed the “help the people” quest just because of winning the war, or what? Because I’m pretty damned sure I didn’t help enough people in Windhelm already to get up to the 5/5 mark.
Buying Hjerim, and Blood on the Ice quest
Took me a bit to actually rack up enough gold to buy Hjerim, but going off to do an extra favor quest for Shahvee got me there. Which is good, because it turned out that buying Hjerim was necessary for me me to get to do Blood on the Ice.
Which was in turn necessary for me to be able to actually decorate Hjerim and get rid of the murder mess!
As I noted above, starting the quest was buggy—probably as a result of me taking Windhelm for the Imperials. The quest is supposed to start with you coming across the murder scene in the graveyard, and talking to the guard to get permission to investigate further. But no guard showed up, because all the original Windhelm guards had been replaced by Imperial ones. And apparently the quest (at least in the Switch build) doesn’t account for this.
But as per info on the wiki, I was able to bypass this just by buying Hjerim and getting access to the house. That auto-started the quest and jumped me straight to the part where I search the house for clues.
(Let it also be noted that since I was now thane of Eastmarch, my brand new housecarl Calder was hanging out inside Hjerim waiting for me. And that was just a tad unsettling, because the place is dark and empty and creepy. So I feel like I’m going to have to get Calder following me for a while just to get him the hell out of that house. It can’t be healthful hanging around a dark, creepy murder house! He can come follow me for a while until I get the place decorated properly. And possibly also purified and blessed. I need to get a priest in there stat. Game has no way of me doing that but Delga would absolutely work on getting a priest or priestess of Arkay in there to bless the place, and possibly any other extra priests who wanted to come in too.)
Other than that bumpy start, I more or less played out Blood on the Ice the same way as I’d done with Alarrah. I took the path of confronting Wuunferth directly, rather than reporting him to the Jarl, in no small part because I feel like Delga would have been at least a little suspicious of anti-mage prejudice after seeing that in play in Morthal. And being a mage herself. And Arch-Mage of the college of Winterhold.
Not to mention just being a cinnamon roll who was probably thinking “He can’t possibly have done this. He seemed like such a nice old man. I’ll go chat with him.”
Which led me to getting Wuunferth’s suspicions about when the next murder would happen. And as with Alarrah’s playthrough, I was pretty much able to go straight to the market and catch Calixto trying to murder Arivanya. This time through, though, I was able to stop him before he killed her.
So, murders solved! House bought! Housecarl acquired!
I was reminded, popping into the White Phial to sell stuff to Quintus, that oh right I need to get to the top of the Throat of the World before I can do the part of the White Phial quest where I actually repair the thing. So I do still need to get up there to talk to Paarthurnax.
And I need to replenish my gold so I can furnish Hjerim, so Calder can stay somewhere that is less dark and creepy and murder-y. So I’ll probably do that Lost Knife Hideout bounty. And I need gold as well to pay for the training for level 49!
After that? We’ll see!