In keeping with the tradition set up by previous playthroughs, I ran A Daedra’s Best Friend pretty much simultaneously with The Break of Dawn in this session–which let me, yet again, have the Daedra dog Barbas on hand to help me run Kilkreath and get Dawnbreaker. I continue to have no fucks to give about either the Rueful Axe or the Masque of Clavicus Vile, but oh boy howdy do I have fucks to give about Dawnbreaker! And Barbas continues to be helpful in getting it.
- Set out from Whiterun to run Halted Stream Camp
- Did some sneaking on the way; killed a couple of mudcrabs and practiced Soul Trap on them
- Leveled up to 14; took Health bump, and Muffled Movement perk in Sneak
- Ran Halted Stream Camp
- Outside bandits not much of a problem as long as i had the flame atronach active
- Inside bandits more of an issue, until I figured out where to hide and throw the atronach to keep them distracted
- Got the Transmute spellbook \0/
- Mined all the veins and trudged back to Whiterun
- Crafted Lydia a less stupid looking steel helmet; also did some smelting with transmuted ore, and made jewelry
- Sold a few things to Warmaiden’s, Belethor’s, Arcadia’s, and Drunken Huntsman; bought a dwarven bow and arrows from Elrindir
- Gave Ysolda the mammoth tusk she asked for; got the Speech bump from that
- Went up to Dragonsreach and destroyed the poacher’s axe I yoinked out of Halted Stream; dropped a frost damage enchantment on the bow, a Muffle enchantment on my boots, and Fortify Archery on the gauntlets
- Leveled up to 15; took next Armsman perk in One-handed
- Headed down to Falkreath to find Barbas
- Encountered en route: apprentice fire mage vs. apprentice ice mage; hunter was also on hand and kept shooting at the mages, and then at a fox; Lyds, atronach and I took out the winner of the fight after he defeated the other one
- Proceeded on from there towards Falkreath; found Barbas and agreed to help him
- DRAGON! Amusing that it knew Barbas was a bigger threat than either Lyds or me; we took it out since it was bound and determined to keep landing and biting at Barbas
- Found the old orc who wanted a good death; he’d killed a couple of sabre cats; I agreed to give him his death; Lyds and I took him out
- Onward to Helgen; Barbas took out most of the bandits
- Onward to Haemar’s Shame; Barbas took out almost every single opponent in THERE, too
- Agreed to fetch the Rueful Axe for Vile
- Got overloaded with loot gathering but had a Draught of Strength, so quaff traveled back to Whiterun
- Sold excess things to Adrianne and Elrindir
- Headed out on foot to see about hoofing it to Solitude
- Khajiit! Sold stuff, including dragon bits, to Ri’saad; bought a Dwarven Greatsword of Shocks to give to Lydia!
- Passed trio of imperial scouts and M’aiq the LIar
- Almost made it to road junction near Rorikstead but killed by sabre cat; thrown back to M’aiq
- Take two this time I got the sabre cat with Barbas, Lydia, and the atronach’s help
- Made it to Rorikstead, where I got a courier with a letter from Calcelmo; sorry, Calcelmo, you can’t have Lydia’s greatsword till I get her something better!
- Passed through Dragon Bridge
- Barbas killed Argonian assassin from Dark Brotherhood
- Found a Nord fighting a troll, but the troll killed her
- I leveled up to 16 while helping Barbas fight it; took Health bump, and Backstab perk in Sneak
- Derped around trying to find access to Rimerock Burrow
- Hostiles encountered: a couple of ice wraiths; bandits pretending to be Imperials; second set of bandits; Thalmor execution squad!
- Found a peddler and his horse; sold him all the loot I got off the “Imperial” bandits, and bought a bunch of ingredients and a filled soul gem
- Discovered Lost Echo Cave for the map
- Finally remembered I have the Clairvoyance spell and used that to actually find the right path to the damn burrow
- Got in there and took out Sebastian Lort; got the Rueful Axe, and also scaled bracers out of the chest in there!
- Headed from there to Kilkreath
- Spotted a running figure but didn’t get close enough to see what kind of NPC it was
- Did get close to a passing mercenary in dwarven armor
- Reached the Statue to Meridia; got the Word for Elemental Fury off the nearby wall
- Returned the beacon to the statue and got commanded to go in, cleanse the temple, and get Dawnbreaker
- Ran the temple; periodically had Barbas disappear, but he showed up at the end where I needed him, so didn’t find that too worrisome
- Killed a couple of times by Malkoran
- Triggered the bug for the second Dawnbreaker! So got out of there with both Dawnbreakers and a hefty pile of gold 😆
- Boinged from there directly to Haemar’s Shame to drop off Barbas and the Rueful Axe; got the Masque of Clavicus Vile
- Boinged back to Whiterun; did assorted selling, smithing, alchemy in Breezehome, and enchanting up at Farengar’s table in Dragonsreach
- Dropped off one of the Dawnbreakers in Breezehome
- Leveled up to 17; took Stamina bump; took next bump in Stealth perk on the Sneak tree
- Sold elven helmet to Adrianne and bought back fine leather helmet (“same level of protection, and does not squish the ears of Khajiit!”)
- Set out again from Whiterun with intent to go to Ustengrav
- Khajiit still outside, so sold more things to Ri’saad! He had a different dwarven greatsword, so I bought that one to give to Lydia, so that I could give the Shocks one to Calcelmo later
- Started trying to hunt, but spotted dragon vs. giant near the watchtower; giant won the fight, so snuck up on the dragon skeleton afterwards and slurped the soul and looted dragon bits
- Snuck north across the plains to try more hunting
- Heard somebody distinctly say ‘stay sharp’ but didn’t see who it was; sounded like an Imperial line though
- Made it to the Lord Stone; took out the bandits there and activated the Stone for magical and physical protection
- Proceeded from there until I found Stonehills; stopped in the campsite, and found Gestur Rockbreaker
- Some of the bedrolls in the camp were unowned, so I slept on one of them (“The cold lands of Skyrim are not friendly to Khajiit, and she is pleased to sleep near a fire”)
- Woke up in daylight and hoofed it from there
- Killed a frostbite spider
- Reached Morthal and saw initial scene with cranky townsfolk
- Also passed young Joric, who gave me his “you’re different, aren’t you?” line; yes, young human kitling, Khajiit is different from those in Skyrim, how did you notice? Was it the ears or tail of Khajiit that gave you the sign?
- Proceeded north into the marsh
- Found Ustengrav; killed the bandits there
- Saved for the night on the verge of leveling up to 18
It occurred to me while I was working on this post that the first Dark Brotherhood assassin that I ran into earlier, the Khajiit back in session 2, was actually retconned given that I was killed by that assassin and never got another one. So the assassin encountered in this session, which Barbas successfully killed, is therefore the first official one Faanshi has encountered.
I think I’ll keep the idea of a bandit she almost killed siccing the Brotherhood on her, though! Or perhaps the kin of that bandit, if the bandit later died of their injuries?
And now I’ve encountered my first Thalmor execution squad, too. Which raises a real interesting question of why Faanshi might have pissed off the Thalmor, too. Since I already know from Ysani’s playthrough that this can happen even before you run the Thalmor Embassy, this is now the same situation I had with Ysani–i.e., thinking about how to work this into Faanshi’s backstory. Sure, this is entirely optional, but it’s also fun!
But the question here is, how to work this so that Faanshi’s pissing off the Thalmor isn’t the same as Faanshi’s having pissed off the Thalmor.
We know in-game that the Thalmor employ Khajiit assassins. So here’s what’s building in my brain about this: Faanshi was previously working for the Thalmor, as an informant. But she had a love interest who was starting to speak out against the idea that the Thalmor had been responsible for bringing back the moons, and since the Void Nights were a huge deal in Elsweyr, the Thalmor IMO could plausibly take any challenge to that as “RAR HERESY!”
Her love interest naturally had to go into hiding to escape Thalmor arrest, and they demanded of her that she rat him out. Faanshi refused.
She and her love interest had to escape Elsweyr in a trading cavern–but unfortunately, once that caravan reached Skyrim, it was overrun by bandits. In the ensuing melee, Faanshi’s love interest as well as the rest of the traders were killed. Faanshi managed to critically wound the bandit that killed her beloved, just as the Imperial detachment showed up to put an end to the fight on both sides. While the wounded bandit played dead to avoid capture, all the remaining survivors, including Faanshi, were arrested. Which is how she wound up in Helgen about to be executed!
And that bandit made it back to their kin, living long enough to provoke said kin into siccing the Dark Brotherhood on Faanshi.
So this’ll explain why she’s had a Dark Brotherhood assassin and a Thalmor death squad come after her this early in the game!
I also see her love interest as having borne a coincidental resemblance to M’aiq the Liar–which screws with Faanshi every time she sees him, as she’s not sure whether she’s hallucinating M’aiq or not. And I’m not even seeing her as a skooma addict! So she’s probably having some PTSD, and a side helping of wondering if she’s been touched by the Skooma Cat, Sheggorath himself.
So that’s all fun! I love it when a good backstory comes together. <3
Meanwhile, in terms of current action, this time through I found it a bit more difficult to run Kilkreath. Malkoran did take me out a couple of times, since I made the mistake of being in his line of fire when he let fly with frost blasts.
Third time through, I enacted a strategy where I sent Barbas in and the flame atronach behind him—and then closed the door. The theory here was that Barbas would wipe the room for me. But Lydia, bless her heart, kept opening the door and charging in! Thankfully Barbas wiped the room enough and kept Malkoran distracted, so she didn’t get herself killed!
I decided to leave one of the Dawnbreakers in Breezehome, partly because I want to keep the left hand free for throwing spells as required. And I am getting better at dual wielding, but when I start doing that with this alt, I want a dagger on hand for that. Ideally, the Razor. Or a soul-trapping dagger.
Going through Stonehills this time through, and stopping to take the time to talk to Gestur Rockbreaker and even sleep there, made me realize something I’d never actually put together before. I have this memory of encountering a guarded campsite as Alarrah, fairly early on in her run, and which I mentioned in this post. Based on what I said there, I’m pretty sure I actually found the Stonehills camp, since it’s guarded by a single Hjaalmarch guard. I just hadn’t realized it at the time.
The next post will feature finishing Ustengrav, discovering Delphine took the Horn, killing Sahloknir, and returning the Horn to the Greybeards. And, commencing the Bards College quests.