Plot-heavy session here, with Paul and I moving the Queen’s Decree plotline further along. Main action: saving Kinlady Avinisse from being murdered by Aldarch Tilcalar (who, shocker, turned out to be a Daedric cultist). And, visiting Artaeum, the island of the Psijic Order!
Deets, as well as some new thoughts about Gyllerah’s background, behind the fold.
- Play date: 10/11/2022
- Session number in this run: 9
- Bought more pack space from Marakar
- Did a bunch of crafting work initially, since I got a bunch of items to blow up for deconstruction purposes!
- Made good inroads on that before Paul logged in, and we picked up running more of the Queen’s Decree plot
- We wayshrined back to Shimmerene
- Headed for Kinlady Avinisse’s fancy party
- I saw I didn’t have obvious quest markers on my hud, which was weird, though Paul said he did
- At which point, when we got close enough, we saw that we were prompted to use the fancy outfits that Raz had given us
- Greeted by a Bosmer servant at the door who was all “and what an elegant outfit you have”, LOL
- Talked to Aldarch Tilcalar who, unsurprisingly, was a racist asshole, and who dropped strong hints about ratting us out to the Divine Prosecution, i.e., the Thalmor
- Also talked to Kinlady Avinisse, who, while maybe not overtly malicious, was clearly still racist in an oblivious and self-centered kind of way; no surprise at all that Tilcalar was manipulating her
- As soon as Paul and I talked to her, a messenger showed up with word from Tilcalar who wanted her to go meet him in the Coral Forest
- We quickly withdrew and found Raz lurking outside, so we chatted with him about what had happened; Valsirenn also showed up, and then Raz and valsirenn stood there reciting their scripted lines in plain sight, which resulted in Valsirenn bamfing out to the Coral Forest to meet us there
- So off we went to the Coral Forest, which turned out to be a beach with, unsurprisingly, a lot of coral formations, and a whole helluva lot of critters to kill, multiple salamanders, reef vipers, and Yaghra
- I think Paul leveled up to 7 somewhere in here?
- Found Valsirenn who showed up to help us search the place (but of course she couldn’t cast magic to find Avinisse as she was not the player character here)
- Finally found Avinisse directly threatened by Tilcalar, a.k.a. the Earl of Clavicus Vile, pontificating about his lord the Prince of Bargains; took him out
- And there was a creepy pearl which Valsirenn sent back to the headquarters of the Psijic Order, and she asked us to come back to Artaeum with her to support her story to the Ritemaster
- Once she attuned us to a portal we could get to, Paul and I headed that way
- Stopped to check out a merchant en route
- Found the portal in the Keep of the Eleven Forces, and also a few imps to kill
- Right around here I leveled up to 8
- Went through the portal to Artaeum, which was gorgeous
- Found the Psijics quickly enough, including the Ritemaster, and oh good, a high-ranking Altmer who isn’t a racist asshole ;P
- We agreed to help them with their ritual to try to learn more about this pearl that Valsirenn sent back, which required us to go through another portal and speak with Oriandra about an amplification elixir (the Psijics do like their portals, apparently)
- Got the elixir, which let the ritual portray a scene involving Clavicus Vile, Mephala, and Nocturnal
- We agreed to proceed to Rellenthil to learn more about WTF is going on, however, this was a good place to stop for the night for the two of us, plot-wise; Paul logged off but I played a while longer
- Boinged back through the portal to Summerset and then returned to Alinor; finished destroying the deconstructable items
- Also put on my new armor since i was at level 8 😀
- Got housewarming presents for my inn room so spent some time trying to organize those; startled to see that the furniture was really mostly decorative
- Swung back by the bank and bought more bank space, damn good thing I had gold to spare
- Worked on more crafting and leveled up to 9
- Also started talking to NPC Danel Telleno to get certified in crafts; started working on Enchanting
- Did another circuit outside alinor to hunt for farmable ingredients
- Somewhere right around Cey-Tarn Keep, heard somebody giving an NPC named Silurie shit about mysterious deaths; that smelled like “plot hook” but left it alone for now
- Instead worked on practicing with the Destruction staff Cync gave me, also with a bow since I haven’t done much bow work yet with this alt
- Farmed ingredients till I was loaded up again, and then returned to my inn room to log off for the night
Infiltrating a party, and stopping a murder
In this session, Paul and I moved the Queen’s Decree plot further along, and that was indeed entertaining!
As a Skyrim player, I was vaguely disappointed that infiltrating Kinlady Avinisse’s party didn’t involve any rampaging at all through the place, as opposed to what I’m used to infiltrating the Thalmor Embassy. 😉 Though I suppose rampaging through a Thalmor embassy in Skyrim is a lot different than rampaging through a noble’s residence in the heart of Altmer society!
Still, I was amused by another parallel to the Diplomatic Immunity Skyrim plot: i.e., a Bosmer servant greeting us on the way in. Unlike Malborn, this guy wasn’t smuggling in supplies for us. But he did make a point of commenting that the outfits that Raz gave us were “suitably elegant”. Snerk.
You could take that a couple of different ways. The Bosmer may simply have been complimenting the attire of all incoming guests, sure. But something about the way he said it totally made me think he absolutely knew that Raz was sending us in.
Paul points out quite correctly that this is even more snerk-worthy when you remember that ESO is a multi-player game, and any number of players could be running the same plot at the same time. That Bosmer would then be all “let me escort you into the party”, and he drops you into a room full of three dozen people all wearing the exact same outfit. 😀
(Raz, my good son, I don’t want to tell you how to do your job. But you might want to vary up your outfit styles a bit if you make a habit of sending spies into fancy parties for you. It doesn’t make your agents less conspicuous if they all have a signature “Hi, I’m an agent of the Eyes of the Queen” outfit style!)
All that said: I rather liked that on me, the outfit was not in fact a dress. It was a fancy shirt and trousers. Which was a rather nice change of pace after I’ve been used to outfits in Skyrim being blatantly gendered.
Once we were inside the actual party, our main quest objective was to talk to the Kinlady. But as it happened, Aldarch Tilcalar was also in there, so I stopped to talk to him too. And unsurprisingly, he was a racist asshole. And classist as well, since he snarked at me–an Altmer–about not having the proper refined and cultured bearing that a native of Summerset would.
Nor did he hesitate to drop a heavy hint about ratting us out to the Divine Prosecution, i.e., the Thalmor. At which point the conversation gives the player a quick exit, LOL. So I envision Gyllerah smiling sweetly and being all “I’m sorry, I think I hear my muffins burning! Toodles, Aldarch!”
Kinlady Avinisse may not have been as blatantly menacing as Tilcalar, but she was still pretty fucking racist in an oblivious and self-centered kind of way. So no real surprise there that Tilcalar was easily manipulating her.
Enough so, in fact, that when a messenger showed up with word that Tilcalar wanted to meet her in the Coral Forest, she was all “welp I better drop everything and see what he wants!” Abandoning her own party, even.
Lady, was this not the slightest bit suspicious to you? You couldn’t have asked to talk to him in a private corner of your own property? “Oh, but spies“–well, okay, yes, fair, given that I was in fact a spy on her own property. 😉 But still, you can’t tell me a noble as powerful as this woman appears to be didn’t have some secure room somewhere in that fancy house, where she could have a conversation in private?
As it happened, this had “I am totally going to murder the Kinlady” written all over it. The game didn’t give Paul and me a chance to intervene at that point, though. Our only option was to go back outside and report to Razum-dar about what was going on, at which point Valsirenn also showed up again. And Raz and Valsirenn had a little exchange play out, with no evidence of subterfuge, even after Raz had just warned Paul and me not to be obvious about talking to him.
Again, snerk. Because yeah, “subtlety” is entirely what I think of when two identically dressed people talk to a loitering Khajiit, not to mention a suspicious woman who just popped in seemingly from nowhere and popped right back out again. None of the guards on the grounds could possibly have made any note of that. 😀
So then we were off to the Coral Forest, where we wound up having to save Avinisse from getting murdered by Tilcalar. A.k.a., “the Earl of Clavicus Vile”. And he wasn’t the slightest bit subtle about it, either. Clearly had some kind of ritual going with a creepy pearl and everything, and pontificated at us a lot about his lord, the Prince of Bargains.
It was a relief to take him out just to make him stop pontificating.
And, there was a creepy pearl again that Valsirenn promptly teleported right back to the Psijic Order’s headquarters on Artaeum. Because yeah, the Psijics are pretty skilled at confiscating suspicious artifacts, we know that from Skyrim!
Avinisse was disconsolate about the whole situation, and even snarked at us about gloating at her in her misery. Well, lady, I have a hard time sympathizing with you about how you let yourself be manipulated by a Daedric cult. This is what you get for being racist. Want to consider being less racist to the newcomers on Summerset now, given that a couple of said newcomers just saved your bacon?
(And also, this was the point at which, I think, I noticed that she was wearing the exact same gown that Norianwe had on during the tutorial. Fpbptpbt. If Gyllerah ever encounters Norianwe again, I think she’ll recommend to her that she should have her tailor take a long hard look at what other clients they’re accepting!)
Off to see the wizards, the Psijical wizards of
Apparently, though the Psijics are good at moving suspicious magical artifacts around, they aren’t so much good with moving people. So she couldn’t teleport us directly to Artaeum, she had to attune Paul and me to a portal that would get us there.
So we headed over to the Keep of Eleven Forces, which turned out to be a) a ruin, and b) full of imps to kill. One wonders who exactly the Eleven Forces might have been? The wiki doesn’t have any background on the place.
Found the portal quickly enough, and boinged through it to Artaeum. Which was gorgeous. And had some extremely odd and extremely cool connected stars up in the sky, indicating that this island is really not entirely part of the same plane of existence as Tamriel is. Or at least, that it has access to other planes of existence. The wiki mentions the state of the sky, but does not give an explanation!
And after the general racism of both Tilcalar and Avinisse, it was admittedly a relief to deal with Valsirenn and Iachesis, high-ranking powerful Altmer who were not in fact racist assholes. (This, I think, encourages me to consider having Gyllerah join up with the Psijics. She is a Templar, and she does have some magical power as a result. Plus, it’d be a faction I haven’t joined before!)
Highly intriguing as well to see a glimpse via the ritual of Clavicus Vile, Mephala, and Nocturnal working together. (Though I will admit to a slight pang of disappointment to see Nocturnal actively involved in these shenanigans, since I’m partial to her from the Thieves Guild plotline in Skyrim! I have to remind myself here though that she is a Daedric prince, and as such, chances are extremely high that there will be shenanigans.)
Some side thoughts about Gyllerah’s background
In my playthroughs of Skyrim and Morrowind, I usually develop a character’s backstory organically, based on things that come up in the course of a game. So far I don’t have much to go on with Gyllerah, but there are a couple of notes of interest here.
One: when I got out of that tutorial at the start of the game, I got a box of gear of various things that were tagged “Forgotten”, the implication here being that this gear used to be mine, I just didn’t remember it. And Norianwe did have dialogue in the tutorial that suggested I was a bit scatterheaded after falling through the same portal that brought the Daedric beast rampaging through the place.
What this suggests to me is being thrown through that portal made Gyllerah a little amnesiac. Not enough to not be able to function–she knows her name, and she knows her skills. Background, though… maybe not so much.
I don’t know if that’s supposed to be the official canon interpretation of what’s going on with your character when you run that tutorial, but for now I’m running with it!
Two: Tilcalar wasn’t the only Altmer NPC on Summerset who’s made remarks to me about being “called home” by the Queen’s decree. This could mean I actually was a denizen of Summerset in the past, but have been away long enough that my habits and bearing have changed. Or, it could mean I was legit raised elsewhere. Not necessarily in Elsweyr, LOL, though that does present itself as a possibility.
If my general comportment is such that random NPCs on Summerset can look at me and go “yeah, you may be Altmer, but you were clearly not born and raised here”, then I can run with that.
I doublechecked the wiki and see that the Aldmeri Dominion was formed only a couple of years before the time frame of the game. This suggests to me that my earlier suspicion of Gyllerah perhaps being the young daughter of some low-level Altmer functionaries somewhere besides Summerset could fit in with that. Perhaps they were people assisting in establishing enough ties with the Altmer that Valenwood and Elsweyr were comfortable enough to turn to Summerset to form the Dominion?
And I feel like if she were raised among Bosmer or Khajiit, that would certainly contribute to her having enough of a barbarian air that Summerset natives would be all “you are totally not from around here, are you?”
Also, still kind of liking the “her parents were low-level diplomats” idea just to have her have some vague clue about how to function in a diplomatic context. Even if she’s amnesiac, the implications of what the game’s thrown at her so far are that she does remember her skillset. And ability to function diplomatically should include that. I think this also plays into an IC reason for her to have chosen the Summerset portal coming out of the tutorial–because she knew at that point that she’s an Altmer. And Norianwe’s talk of “oh hey you must clearly be a hero called to go solve problems” nagged at her about some kind of a problem that needs solving involving her own people.
There are interesting questions to consider here as well re: Gyllerah being a Templar. I’m not seeing much on the wiki in terms of what exactly that means, lore-wise, though this page seems to suggest the Templars are involved with Stendarr? Possibly one of his orders?
Thinking about how to tie this in with the amnesia angle. The game calls my character build a “Templar Initiate”, so I have no reason not to take that at face value, really. If Gyllerah was brought up in either Valenwood or Elsweyr, it’s certainly possible that she was exposed to Stendarr worship at an early age. And it’s also possible that she might have been seen to exhibit appropriate gifts that would signal her as blessed by Stendarr.
I am not finding any good lore-friendly sources in searches to suggest whether there was an actual order that Gyllerah might have been inducted into? So I think I’ll leave that open as a possibility, but right now, I’m going to assume unless I find a canon source that says otherwise that Gyllerah simply had the appropriate blessings of Stendarr to have a Templar’s abilities. At the very least I feel like she probably had enough exposure to Stendarr as a Divine when she was young that the idea of his being a god of mercy appealed to her strongly. And now, even though she’s kinda amnesiac, her moral compass is still locked right in on that. Hence feeling called by Norianwe’s urging to pick a portal to go through and find problems to solve and people to help.
And hence, feeling morally offended by her own people committing Daedric atrocities against newcomers in Summerset!
Heh. And here she is hanging out with a Khajiit, who is significantly more inclined than she is to be sneaky, and to periodically nab things that don’t belong to him. 😉 I kind of feel like that suggests that Gyllerah has background among the Khajiit? I mean, the actual answer here is, “because that’s Paul’s character and we’re playing together”. But I like the idea of Gyllerah having maybe lived in Elsweyr with her diplomat parents, and therefore liking the Khajiit, so she’s more inclined than many Altmer might be to take kindly to one.
I’ve already had another session since this post’s one, so I can report that Paul and I ran a delve. And I did a bunch more crafting, and started working for the first time on writs, and got leveled up all the way to 13! More on that in the next post!
Editing to add
- It was a little unclear to me exactly which pearl Valsirenn nabberd? Because there was a pearl in the monastery from before, but also a pearl thing in our confrontation with Tilcalar? But I had a command on that one to destroy it when I saw it…? So I think Valsirenn nabbed the one from the monastery?
- I also was a little unclear on who exactly we were seeing in the ritual the Psijics conducted. I thought we were looking at the actual Daedric princes, until I realized that one of the figures was in fact Tilcalar. Only when I looked closer on the wiki did I realize the other two figures were Mephala’s and Nocturnal’s earls.
- 11/24/2023: Restored missing gallery.