Morrowind,  Tembriel Playthrough

In Which Tembriel Steals a Skull and an Alchemical Formula

For a character who hasn’t joined the Thieves Guild, Tembriel sure does seem to be doing an awful lot of thievery! Acquired in this session: the skull from the Andrano Ancestral Tomb that Sharn wanted, and the alchemical formula demanded by Nileno of House Hlaalu. Also, there was a side helping of light flirtation with a charming thief!


  • Play date: 8/24/2022
  • Session number in this run: 9
  • Picked up just outside Vivec
  • Did a bit of tweaking of my controller configuration so I could move while having sneak on, and not have to actually do it on the keyboard; also set buttons to cycle between weapons and spells
  • Hoofed it back to Balmora
  • Passed a lot of netches out but none of them attacked me; killed assorted other creatures
  • Also found Nels Llendo, the NPC I’d seen before, who turned out to be a charming highwayman who hit me on me (more on this below)
  • Re-spotted Maurrie in passing
  • Made it back to Balmora
  • Checked in with Eydis and turned in the debt money; got promoted to Journeyman in the Fighters Guild
  • Got new quest to go hunt down an orc with a bounty on her
  • Went next door and rested at the Mages Guild
  • Discovered the equipment chest had respawned, awesome, so nabbed more supplies
  • Fighters Guild chest had also respawned, so i got hammers out of that and fixed all my gear as best I could; leveled up a bit in Armorer
  • Headed south again to go hit up the Andrano tomb for the Mages Guild plot
  • Took three times to get through it, bonewalkers (LOL) and skeletons were occasionally challenging unless I broke out fire or lightning shield potions
  • Got some bitching arrows off the skeletons though 😀
  • Got the skull!
  • Hoofed it back to Balmora, and killed a few critters en route
  • Sold stuff to Ra’Virr
  • Rested up at the Mages Guild, then reported back to Sharn to give her the skull and get the info
  • Took the info back over to Caius, who promoted me to Apprentice in the Blades, and also gave me new orders to go talk to contacts in Vivec
  • Meanwhile, went over to confront the orc with a bounty on her, and by ‘confront’ I mean ‘kill’
  • Swiped some of her stuff to sell to Ra’Virr, then went back for the silver flameblade and a few other things in her containers
  • Sold a bunch of that to Drasala–but kept the silver flameblade!
  • Reported back to Eydis; got bumped up to Swordsman in the Fighters Guild
  • She wouldn’t give me any more orders though and sent me off to go talk to other branches of the Guild
  • Went to Ald’ruhn via Guild guide
  • Got Edwinna there to give me the quest to get the rare Dwemer book Chimarvamidium from a colleague in Vivec, and and by get she meant steal
  • Also went into the Ald’ruhn Fighters Guild; got two rounds of Sneak training!
  • Got a quest to help someone clear out a necromancer nest, which for seems a bit above my pay grade? I’ll have to swing back to this later
  • Silt-strider’d back to Balmora and then to Vivec
  • Tried the apothecary once more–and this time it actually fucking worked \0/
  • Had to wait till her back was turned, then dropped into Sneak and boom grabbed the scroll
  • Back out again, silt-strider’d back to Balmora
  • Reported back to House Hlaalu and got promoted to Oathman (it sure would be nice if these faction ranks DIDN’T PRESUME I AM MALE)
  • Got new quest to go kill a queen in a rival egg mine
  • CAN DO, but first gotta go practice some magic
  • Went back to hang out in the bunk area of the Mages Guild and practiced Telekinesis for a while
  • Saved there for the night


Started off this session with a little bit more experimentation with my controller configuration. After nine sessions of this game, I have a better idea of which keys I need to use the most on my keyboard, and I mapped a few of them to the D-pad. The three keys I set were:

  1. Left Ctrl on the right arrow, for triggering sneak, which positions it in a way to let me sneak with two thumbs vs. having to hit that key on the keyboard
  2. = on the up arrow, to let me cycle through spells/magic items
  3. ] on the down arrow, to let me cycle through weapons

And partway through the session I determined that I’m clearly going to have to map Caps Lock to the left arrow, just so that I can toggle running.

Taking the time to do this paid off very well even in this very session!

Once I actually started playing properly, I was pleased about how many netches I just saw floating around near Vivec! It gave me pleasant echoes back to Dragonborn, since I have commonly taken screenshots of netch herds in Skyrim. Seeing so many of them in this session, just floating around being netches, was kind of delightful.

It’s also worth noting here that I hoofed it out of Vivec partly just to see if I could. Answer: yes! I found bridges that got me back over near Pelagiad. And once I got back over there I rediscovered Nels Llendo, the NPC I’d seen in the previous session. Who turned out to be a charming highwayman, who totally hit on me. LOL. He just wanted a single kiss, and didn’t even try to rob me first. How sweet of him.

So I went okay sure, you’re cute, and I’m partial to bad boy dark elves! So sure, let’s smooch!

He told me to look him up in Pelagiad later. And this will apparently also let me buy Sneak training from him? How convenient. I do need to know where the Sneak trainers are!

Next major action of this session: hitting the Andrano Ancestral Tomb, just south of Pelagiad, to get that skull that Sharn wanted.

There are apparently bunches of ancestral tombs all over this game. Which makes sense, in a culture where ancestral worship had been common before Daedra worship became more of a thing! And they provide a pretty decent analogue to all the draugr-infested tombs in Skyrim.

Like those draugr-infested tombs, these ones certainly have their share of undead you have to kill. I had to take out one Ancestor Ghost in this place, as well as multiple skeletons. A couple of whom were a goddamn problem given that they had enchanted arrows. The lesson I learned there: these various potions of fire, frost, and lightning shield are clearly going to be required protection. Or the equivalent spells, since I need to be careful about my inventory!

One other type of undead just had to make me giggle, though. Anybody who’s got a copy of Book 2 of my Free Court of Seattle series will understand why I went HA at the sight of a bonewalker!

(And for that matter, I also cite the Free Court series as a case in point for my partiality to bad boy elves. Nels Llendo fits in with a well-established precedent, is what I’m saying here. Now the real question for me is, can he sing?)

Next up: confronting an orc living right in Balmora, Dura gra-Bol, who had a bounty on her. For murder, in fact. Trying to talk to her peacefully in her house yielded no obvious way to deal with her. So I ultimately resorted to the wiki, which advised me to just go ahead and attack her. Since she was wanted for murder, I could do so without fear of a bounty.


So I took her out, and for good measure, also swiped a lot of her stuff. She turned out to have quite a few ingredients in various containers, as well as a Silver Flameblade in a chest. Which means I now have two swords that do flame damage, which strikes me as a bit much, so I need to figure out which of them I actually want to keep. Reading up on the matter tells me silver weapons can be useful against certain opponents. But this particular silver blade doesn’t seem like it does more damage than the Fireblade Sharn gave me? So I’m not sure which is going to be better for me to keep, long-term.

And right now I still don’t have a guaranteed place I can leave stuff in containers without it being marked as stolen. So for now it might actually benefit me better to sell one of these weapons for the gold. 🤔

Between taking out the orc, as well as coming back with the owed money from Helviane, I got bumped up two ranks in the Fighters Guild. So far that faction’s the one I’m advancing fastest in, which makes sense given the current spread of my skills.

Then I had a brief interlude of visiting Ald’ruhn to get more quests for the Mages and Fighters Guild.

For the Mages Guild, there was yet another quest where I’m being asked to steal something! While simultaneously being warned that if I’m caught stealing, it will totally get me kicked out of the Guild so be careful! So let me get this straight, all you people totally want to steal things from each other, but you can’t be arsed to do it yourselves, you’re recruiting the Bosmer to do it for you? Uh-huh. Right.

For the Fighters Guild, I got a couple rounds of Sneak training (another trainer identified!), which provided extremely helpful. And a quest I’ll have to swing back to later, which involves helping someone clear out a nest of necromancers. Hold that thought, quest. I’ll get back to you.

I will also pause a moment to comment upon the means of fast travel I’ve had cause to experience thus far: the silt striders and the guild guides. Of the two, I appreciate the in-character feel of the silt striders more, just because of my familiarity with the one in Dragonborn, and because it feels to me like this is the means more people would commonly use to travel. But on the other hand, the guild guides actively teleporting you is awfully cool.

And I’m a little disappointed that teleportation in that form doesn’t exist in Skyrim! On the wiki, though, I do see that this form of teleportation seemed to die out in use once the Mages Guild was disbanded. Which explains why I don’t see this form of magic in Skyrim.

Once I was back in Vivec, I tried once more to go into Aurane Fremis’ shop and steal that formula. I went in with low expectations, and a vague idea that my attempt to try sneaking was probably not going to work.

To my surprise, it did! And all I had to do was specifically wait until Aurane had her back to me. Then I dropped into Sneak–which was now way easier to do, now that I’d mapped the Left Ctrl key on my controller. And then I yoinked the scroll and got the hell out of the shop.

I have a couple more quests queued up for Vivec now, but I figured that one act of crime in the city was enough for one session! So I took the silt strider back to Balmora.

Last but not least, I just hung out in the Mages Guild bunk area for a while and practiced magic. Telekinesis, mostly, because I wanted to see if a) I could cast it, and b) whether it worked like it does in Skyrim.

The answer to the latter: sorta kinda. It took me a while to get the hang of Skyrim’s Telekinesis, as I’ve written about in several prior posts. With that mechanic, I need to queue up the spell, which will put me into the proper mode to better see objects for grabbing. I don’t get any such visual cue with Morrowind’s Telekinesis, though. When I tried to practice it by dropping a spoon on the floor nearby, I had to have the pointer in the exact right place to be able to grab the thing. It seemed very finicky, and I think I’ll need to practice it some more before I’ll be able to reliably use this spell.

All that said: I think practice with spells seems kind of critical in this game, given the hard carry weight constraint! I know I have a habit of carrying around dozens of potions in Skyrim, and I really gotta break myself of that habit here.

Next time

Now that I’ve advanced a little in all the factions I’m a member of, it seems like I’d better work on more of the faction quests to keep this momentum going. Going after that book for the Mages Guild seems like the best and easiest option, maybe? Now that I’ve done at least one successful theft. 😀

And maybe also killing that queen in the rival egg mine.


Editing to add

  • 11/23/2023: Restored missing gallery.

As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.