This was an extremely low-key session, in which I focused on a circuit through all of Delga’s houses. I gathered loot for selling, did a bunch of crafting, got level 62’s round of training, and in general prepared to head over to Solstheim and tackle the Dragonborn plot.
And, notably, I spent some time making a proper resting place for poor deceased Ria, Companion and my steward at Heljarchen Hall.
- Play date: 1/4/2022
- Session number in this run: 66
- Began house inspection run
- Gathered all loot from Markarth
- Arvak’d to Lakeview
- Mined iron ore veins there
- Built a safe in the cellar
- Dropped off Auriel’s Shield, the Dawnguard hammer, and one of the ebony warhammers in the armory
- Came out to find a giant by the house so I had to take him out
- Arvak’d to Solitude to sell stuff to Sayma, Angeline, and Beirand
- Dropped off ebony weapons, armor, and shield at Proudspire
- Grabbed all the gems from Proudspire safe
- Went outside the gate and Arvak’d to Windstad
- Built a few minor furnishings
- Arvak’d to Heljarchen
- Ria’s corpse still lying out :~(
- So I moved her over to the garden space, planted deathbell and snowberries and wheat next to her, and quarried some stone to make her a cairn; this way at least she won’t be in the way of getting stepped on by passing giants or beasts
- Then went into the house cellar, transmuted a bunch of iron ore to gold, and started crafting jewelry
- That got me leveled up to 62; took Corpus Enchanter perk for Enchanting to work up to double enchantments
- Made a bunch of jewelry, also assorted armor and weapons
- Then headed upstairs for enchanting all the jewelry I’d made, and grabbed some stashed clothing items
- Went out to summon Arvak, and rode down to Whiterun since it was close
- Dragon flyby while riding
- Made it to Whiterun, and picked up a bunch of stashed loot at Breezehome
- Sold a bunch of things to all four vendors, Elrindir, Adrianne, Belethor, Arcadia
- Arvak’d to Riften and slept night at Honeyside
- Sold things to Bersi, Balimund, Elgrim
- Potion’d over to the college and got training with all five trainers
- Sold all the loot staves and a bunch of the jewelry, particularly to Tolfidr as his training is expensive, but he also had three new spells i wanted, Ebonyflesh and Paralyze and Detect Undead 😀
- Fast traveled to Windhelm and sold stuff to Niranye, Aval, Revyn, Quintus
- Parked in Hjerim and saved for the night
I might have just held all of this writeup to combine with a later post–because yeah, overall, an entire session of nothing but visiting my houses, crafting, training skills, and selling stuff is not exactly action-packed.
But that said, I’m actually doing a standalone post for this for a couple of reasons. One, I’m keeping this separate from heading to Solstheim in my next session. And two, I wanted to talk some more about poor dead Ria at Heljarchen.
I’ve commented before on how the game is not exactly consistent with how it handles the dead bodies of NPCs. In theory, in-game, if somebody dies their body is supposed to go to the Hall of the Dead for their town. But in actual practice I’ve seen NPCs’ bodies hang around seemingly permanently, as the game doesn’t seem to know when to clean them up.
In Merawen’s playthrough I saw this happen with the dead body of Lami the alchemist in Morthal, and I wrote at the time that I suspected the game didn’t know what to do with Lami’s body because Morthal doesn’t have a Hall of the Dead.
Ria, as a Companion, in theory is a resident of Whiterun. Or at least, she was up until the point where she became my steward at Heljarchen. Heljarchen is pretty damned close to Whiterun, but it is not considered part of Whiterun Hold–it’s considered part of the Pale, the Hold of which Dawnstar is the capital.
And I suppose that means that when Ria died, her body should have gone to the Hall of the Dead in Dawnstar. Except that Dawnstar doesn’t actually have a Hall of the Dead either!
So I have to conclude that when Ria was diced by the bandit attack at Heljarchen, the game just didn’t know where to put her. So her body remained where she’d fallen, by the animal pen. And instead of a cleanup script eventually removing the body, it permanently stayed there.
And that just bugged me. I really didn’t like that my poor dead steward was still lying there unattended. So when Heljarchen’s turn came up in this circuit through all my houses, I decided to do something about that.
What means the game provides me to deal with this are limited, though. Arguably, Whiterun’s Hall of the Dead would be the best place to take her, as well as the most in-character appropriate place due to its proximity to Jorrvaskr and the other Companions. As Harbinger to the Companions, Delga should absolutely have been able to take Ria’s remains down into Whiterun for proper rituals at the Hall of the Dead, and a proper ceremony with the rest of the Companions.
The problem with this idea though is that the closest I could have gotten to this is to drag her body down next to the city–I couldn’t have actually taken it through the gates. (At least, I’m pretty sure I would not have gotten her through the gates, unless fast traveling while dragging her would work?)
And even if I’d gotten her through the gates, I already knew that I would not have been able to actually get her into the Hall of the Dead once I was inside the city. That issue I already ran into, with the three dead Miraak cultists who attacked me by the Whiterun gate.
At Heljarchen, my options were also limited. While shovels exist in the game, you can’t actually dig holes with them. So I couldn’t dig her a proper grave with one.
There are also a whole bunch of “linen wrap” objects you find in tombs all the time, which in theory I expect are because Nords wrap the dead bodies up with them. But even if I’d had one of these, there’s no in-game mechanism to actually use one on a corpse.
So the best thing I could think of was to simply put Ria in a better place than “by the animal pen”, and make a cairn for her. Fortunately, this was doable.
Moving her unfortunately did require dragging the corpse, and there was no elegant way around that. But I did at least succeed in moving her over to the garden area on the other side of the house, and laying her down between a couple of the soil beds there. I wanted to lay her down face up, but arranging her was not really an option the game gave me; the best I was able to do was get her more or less into the right place.
I planted some deathbell in the soil bed by her head, and snowberries in the two to either side of her. (I’d have done deathbell in all three, but I had only enough in my inventory for one.)
Then I went over to the quarry near the house and mined a whole bunch of quarried stone. Brought all of that back over to the garden and then built a cairn on top of Ria with it, one stone at a time. This did take a while, because I had to literally drop each stone one at a time to get the individual stones to render in the game display. And, since the game doesn’t give me very good control over where objects fall when I drop them, I had to frequently scoot dropped stones around to get them into better places.
The end result, though, wound up being what i wanted: a cairn for Ria, in a reasonably out of the way spot where there could be at least a few flowers as well for beauty. And where I’m pretty sure she won’t get stomped on by passing giants or bandits.
Narrative-wise, I think I’ll have to assume that Delga had no easy way to transport the body, because Heljarchen in this game doesn’t have a carriage driver hired for it yet. (Note: even if I had been able to hire a carriage driver, pretty sure that still would not have let me move Ria’s body, on the grounds of ‘not sure if I can drag an object onto a carriage with me as I board it’. Worth exploring at another time!) So she and housecarl Gregor would have decided to make her as best a place of rest as they could.
And Delga would then have sent word down to Jorrvaskr of Ria’s death, to give the Companions an opportunity to mourn her properly. I figure one or more of the Companions might have specifically come up to Heljarchen to pay their respects? But a lot of them might also have wanted to raise a mug to her in Jorrvaskr.
I didn’t take a screenshot of this work, not yet. But this was only because I wanted to hold until the plants I put in bloomed. So I’ll do a proper screenshot of Ria’s final resting place once that happens.
I’ll be catching the ship from Windhelm to Raven Rock. And I think I may actually bring Calder with me, just to give him something to do, and because I don’t want to run the entirety of Solstheim without a follower on hand!
First immediate priorities in Raven Rock will be getting to the assassination plot as quickly as possible, just so I can have Severin Manor as a base of operations. And also running the plot to clear the ebony mine, so I can run Bloodskal Barrow and get that extra schematic for Sorine!
We’ll see which of these I’m able to do first.
Only one screenshot for this session, but I will never tire of screenshots of Skyrim’s graphical glitches. 😉
Editing to add
- 11/20/2023: Restored missing gallery, and added play date and session number markers.