This was a very busy session! Ran the Interception quest, which let me aid the Remnants from Hammerfell; found divine relics at Four Skull Lookout, only to discover they didn’t consider me worthy; and slew Evethra, the mad blacksmith, from whose journal I learned how to forge amber and madness items.
And a side helping of two different dragons slain, fire salts and nirnroot dropped off, and shrines visited!
- Started at Lakeview
- Headed out with Iona and Gogh and Swift Wind
- Fast traveled to Hendraheim to get within range of riding into the Reach
- Rode pretty close to Purewater Run, but had to dismount for a fight with a bear, and Swift Wind ran off somewhere?
- Hoofed it to Purewater Run finally; got in there and found Fijeh waiting; got his directive to go meet a couple of Remnant spies
- Also got a couple of slaughterfish trying to attack me in the water ;P
- Went back out to implement the plan, and also to find my unicorn
- Discovered Dushnikh Yal for the map, and also one more dead bear, but still no sign of Swift Wind
- Discovered Reachwind Eyrie; went ahead and looted it since I was there and it has no enemies
- Tried to find a good way north from there
- Got pretty near Karthspire but didn’t want to engage with that big Forsworn camp yet
- Found Old Hroldan Inn and wound up using that as a fast travel marker to get Swift Wind back
- Found the camp with Talvur and Karan who had been running away together and killed by a bear; also noted that Karan actually had a name on her and wasn’t just ‘Breton’, clearly fixed in the USSEP, good
- Found Soljund’s Sinkhole but didn’t stop there
- Found Four Skull Lookout, where two dead guys were wearing crusader armor; killed several bandits there and got the journal about the armor
- Found the road to Karthwasten–aaaaaaand got killed by zombies, thrown all the way back to Old Hroldan Inn, so lost the crusader armor, dammit!
- Going to Karthwasten, take two: did actually wind up fighting the Forsworn at Karthspire this time through, but was killed by the bandits at Four Skull
- wound up fighting the forsworn at karthspire this time through
- Take three: re-discovered Talvur and Karan’s camp and Soljund’s Sinkhole, but did not engage Karthspire this time; reached Four Skull and took out the bandits there; claimed the crusader gear
- Made it to Karthwasten and witnessed the initial hostile conversation about the mine
- Found the spy behind the barracks and got her note
- Boinged straight to Ivarstead; found the other spy and got his note
- Stopped in Whiterun to sell stuff and get unloaded
- Boinged back to Purewater to check in with Fijeh; he gave me the key to his supply chest which got me a full suit of Remnant armor and a couple of scimitars
- Got directions to meet up with the caravan, which conveniently was near Hendraheim so I boinged there; met up with the other warriors and GAME ON
- All four Thalmor taken out! Agent rescued!
- Stashed Thalmor loot in exterior chest at Hendraheim to get unburdened
- Returned once more to Fijeh to get his thanks and his pay, then returned to Hendraheim to pick up loot
- Stopped at Lakeview to drop off a bunch of stuff
- Discovered that the crusader gear doesn’t like me! I had apparently committed CRIMES and was unworthy to wear it (see commentary below)
- Next up: wanted to drop off the fire salts in riften and see about getting remaining nirnroot
- Boinged to Solitude, where I bought kitchen and porch furnishings for Proudspire, but also two nirnroot from Angeline
- No nirnroot in Morthal or Windhelm, but I think I got one in Dawnstar?
- Boinged back to Ivarstead to travel the river and see if I could get remaining necessary nirnroot; answer: yes! Made it to 20!
- Killed a Blood Dragon en route
- Returned to Riften and gave Balimund his fire salts and Ingun her nirnroot
- Dropped off dragon bits and a couple other bits of loot at Honeyside
- Decided to try hitting the nine shrines the pilgrimage quest said I had to do, most of which were shrines I already knew about from previous playthroughs, but I had to do a bunch of fast travel to get to them all
- Killed another dragon at Shearpoint en route to the Julianos shrine near there, this time a Frost Dragon (which means that’s three dragons so far killed at that lair)
- Came across Frostmere Crypt and got the opening quest hook for the Pale Lady quest there, but did not engage
- After visiting all the shrines, decided to try to find Evethra and get Amber and Madness Smithing unlocked
- Boinged to Stony Creek Cave first to try fishing but no goldfish
- Rode over to Evethra’s camp
- She went straight to attacking me as soon as I got off Swift Wind; Team Dragonborn took her out and I got her journal and enchanted blacksmith’s apron
- Couldn’t fast travel out, had to ride out of dragon range because Bonestrewn Crest dragon was airborne
- Rode as far as Darkwater Crossing, discovered that for the map
- Then boinged back to Riften; parked in Honeyside and saved for the night
First up: ran Interception, the plot in which agents of the Remnants need your help to rescue one of their own from the Thalmor. I didn’t know about the Remnants in lore prior to checking out the AE, but now that I’ve looked them up, hail and well met, friends! If you all are opposed to the Thalmor and are in Skyrim explicitly to keep those arrogant bastards in line, I am absolutely interested in subscribing to your newsletter.
Though I do question the wisdom of Fijeh, the primary Remnant contact you speak to for the quest, choosing to meet in Purewater Run! I hadn’t ever been in there on prior playthroughs, and once I entered, I found that it was basically a flooded cave. With slaughterfish. And Fijeh was just hanging out there.
I expect Shenner questioned the wisdom of this as a meeting place.
Shenner: “You couldn’t have chosen a dry cave for our secret meeting? Or at least”–as she pauses to stab the slaughterfish trying to gnaw through her boots—”one where the fish aren’t actively trying to kill us? Just a thought.”
Fijeh: “A slaughterfish-infested cave is perhaps one of the last places the Thalmor are going to think to look for agents acting against them.”
Shenner: “I… can’t argue with that. Damn. Okay fine, what’s the plan?”
The plan, as it happened, was very simple. I had to go talk to a couple of spies, one in Karthwasten and one in Ivarstead, to get the word on where the caravan with the captured Remnant agent had to be confronted.
And actually getting to that first spy, the one in Karthwasten, was the most difficult part of the whole thing! As I said in the highlights up above, I tried three times to actually make it to Karthwasten, and kept getting killed by things en route.
I was amused, as well, by the target caravan actually being super near to Hendraheim. This is I suppose a consequence of the AE content giving you so many more homes to choose from–it’s going to be a lot more likely, as you amass homes outside of cities, that you’ll have digs somewhere near almost any quest location!
You are given the option of meeting up with Remnant warriors to take the caravan on, or doing it by yourself. I opted for the “meet with warriors” path. So there were three of them, and in addition to me, I brought the rest of Team Dragonborn. The four Thalmor really didn’t stand a chance! I hardly had to hit any of them.
While everybody was beating up on the Thalmor, I went over to free the captive Rakeed, and that was that. I went back to report to Fijeh one more time, and they gratefully paid me a sum of gold for my help.
I also got rewarded a full set of Remnant armor. Which, honestly, I kinda like. It’s some of the most colorful armor in all of Skyrim. The game does have colorful options for some non-armor clothing, sure, but armor? Not so much. And the enchanted set I’ve got has some pretty decent enchantments on it. But I need to improve it up properly. According to what I’m seeing on the wiki, it won’t give me competitive numbers with the higher-tier light armors available, but the enchantments on it are nonetheless still fairly tasty!
And possibly good for sneaking. If I wind up not running the Guild with this alt, this might be my alternative armor for sneaking purposes, without having access to the Nightingale gear.
Let it also be noted that Fijeh gave me a couple of Remnant scimitars, too, which do fire damage. I’m not sure I like the design of them, though. I am growing more of an appreciation for dual wielding, but I find it visually distracting to have a large weapon in each hand, and so far I’ve had better dual wielding results if I have a dagger in the left hand. I may change my mind about this once I get to Solstheim, though, and get Bloodscythe and Soulrender!
Getting to Karthwasten, takes one through three
As noted above, it took me three tries to actually make it to Karthwasten so I could meet up with that first remnant spy. Since the first two tries were retconned out of existence, that means I still haven’t officially discovered Karthspire for the map.
But I do have Old Hroldan Inn, Soljund’s Sinkhole, and Four Skull Lookout.
And I did maintain finding Talvur and Karan’s camp. This is the unmarked camp with two dead lovers that were killed by the bear still rummaging through the place. And I was pleased to note that with the USSEP installed, Karan did in fact have a name on her, and wasn’t just a generic “Breton”.
Of the three times to get to Karthwasten, the most notable thing in all of that effort was making it to Four Skull Lookout. See below.
Four Skull Lookout, the Divine Crusader armor, and the Pilgrim’s Path
I’ve been to Four Skull Lookout on previous playthroughs. It’s not a large location, and in non-AE play, it’s just got a few generic bandits and not much in the way of available loot.
With the AE installed, though, the bandits all now have names. And two of them are wearing special armor sets that turn out to be relics of Pelinal Whitestrake, the so-called Divine Crusader. They have a sword and a mace as well, with fire damage enchantments. The bandits have a journal lying around as well describing how most of them couldn’t even wear the gear, but the two guys that could were newbies in their group who hadn’t killed anyone yet.
Because, as it turns out, this gear will judge you. If you’ve committed crimes, it will ding you hard for your Health and Stamina regeneration, and it will also knock 100 off your carry weight.
And here’s the part that confuses me. This is what it says on the wiki about how the gear calculates whether you are worthy:
Murders + Assaults + Pockets Picked + Horses Stolen + Items Stolen + Trespasses + Jail Escapes.
Totaling all of that off my Crime section of my stats got me to 14: seven assaults, six items stolen, one trespass. And the wiki says you have to be over 15 for the gear to judge you. So WTF?
The only other stat I had with a non-zero value on the Crime section was Locks Picked, but I don’t see that included in the above calculation. Again, WTF?
Not sure here whether the wiki is incorrect or not, but it certainly seems so?
I did try going around to the nine shrines I’m supposed to pray at in order to repent, so I will at least check to see if I can pick up the gear without it bitching at me. There are extremely tasty enchantments on it that suggest it would be super useful while running Dawnguard: buffs to Restoration, Disease Resistance, general armor rating, and Illusion. And if you’re wearing the heavy gear, the shield can create a ward while you’re blocking.
But given how judgy the gear is, and given that other armor in the game also has awesome enchantments, I’m pretty damn sure I won’t be using it on a regular basis. I’m also not sure exactly how the game calculates whether you’ve “repented” and can wear the armor, because as near as I could tell it didn’t reset any of my crime stats. Presumably there’s some other flag it toggles? Maybe it’d be checking whether I’ve committed any new crimes since the last time I repented? Which seems rather complicated for a player to have to keep track of.
That said? I’m still amused that the armor is, in fact, super judgy. Which seems appropriate if its backstory is supposed to involve a guy who was a Divine Crusader.
Evethra and the secrets of Amber and Madness Smithing
Last but not least, I hunted down Evethra’s camp to see about finding the secrets of amber and madness smithing–just because these are supposed to be unlocked for you once you hit the ability to smith Glass objects. And I wanted to queue this up!
No complexity to this at all, really. Evethra has no unique dialogue, and just goes straight to attacking you as soon as she sees you. All I had to do was take her out, and nab her journal. That gave me the message to confirm I’d be able to make amber and madness items alongside glass, yay!
So that should be available as soon as I unlock Glass smithing, which I will do on Shenner’s next level up. I made it to 70 on Smithing in this session, in fact, so I’ll be able to take that perk next!
Not at all sure what I want to do next time! Still plenty of options currently available on my quest journal. Kind of feeling like I may knock down some of the smaller quests from the more familiar territory, just to get those done. Maybe move the mage college quest along, as well as running the Helm of Winterhold quest to work on getting the thaneship in Winterhold.