Kendis Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Kendis Becomes Thane of Riften and Quests into Mzulft

Double-session Kendis post to get caught up! Lots of action major and minor here, including stopping by Largashbur to help them with their giant problem; picking up a lot of side quests in Riften; helping Riften with its skooma problem, and getting proclaimed thane; buying Honeyside and picking up Iona as housecarl; hitting Stony Creek Cave and acquiring Finn’s Lute and the Ruin’s Edge bow; and last but not least, hitting Mzulft for the advancement of the College of Winterhold plot.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 1/22, 1/25/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 23-24

Sunday the 22nd

  • Picked up at Lakeview; put away a few items
  • Set out on the road with Lydia and Meeko
  • Re-engaged bandits at Helgen
  • Camped just near the beginning of the cold area along the road, since the air got frigid with nightfall
  • Slept until morning and proceeded towards Ivarstead
  • Killed a wolf en route
  • Went into Ivarstead long enough to find Temba and get her bearskins quest, then returned to the road and kept heading east
  • And oh hey, look bears! How convenient! Took out four of them before I even made it to Largashbur
  • Passed M’aiq the Liar, however, got turned around and wound up making it back to M’aiq the Liar
  • At which point a thief had spawned beside him, so I got off the horse to fight the thief
  • Found bears vs. goblins near Largashbur which got me up to like six bearskins total
  • Then proceeded towards Largashbur thinking I’d get the quest for Volendrung
  • This went badly, see below
  • Rolled back to last autosave, which landed me back with M’aiq and the thief, so I took out the thief again
  • Largashbur, take two: this time we went for the giant first
  • Didn’t have bears vs. goblins this time but did get one bear, a skeever, a couple of wolves, and the giant, all of which Team Dragonborn took out, though it took a little running around
  • This giant had a lot of loot so I got overloaded, so the running around was slow
  • Finally returned to Largashbur and got a now peaceful Atub to ask me to bring her the troll fat and Daedra heart; can do!
  • Off to Riften!
  • Killed a few frostbite spiders on the way before finally dropping off Lightning at the stables
  • Went into the city and found Wujeeta first thing! Why yes you can have a healing potion
  • Sold a bunch of loot to Balimund
  • Went into the inn and got a room for the night
  • Took level up to 30, since somewhere along the journey I’d gotten a level up alert; took Health bump and Orcish Smithing perk
  • Went over to the fishery
  • From-Deepest-Fathoms gave me the Lexicon for the Avanchnzel quest, yay
  • Went into the fishery, hit up Wujeeta for info about her skooma dealer
  • Talked to Swims-In-Deep-Water about fishing lessons
  • Went out back and talked to Viriya and got her first bounty
  • Visited Mistveil Keep to report the skooma dealer to the Jarl, got her to give me the key to the warehouse
  • Got Wylandriah’s quest to get her items
  • Checked her enchanter table and blew up my Ring of Remedy for the enchantment
  • Dropped a soul trap enchantment on my ebony sword
  • Sold more things to Balimund and Bersi to lighten the load
  • Saved at that point for the night

Wednesday the 25th

  • Picked up in Riften
  • Hit the warehouse to take out the skooma dealer and his bodyguard
  • Read the note in his satchel about Cragslane Cavern, discovered I did not actually have to take it
  • So I didn’t steal anything out of the warehouse, what an upstanding citizen I am!
  • Reported back to the Jarl and got the objective to go take out the skooma dealers
  • Rode over that way and took out three bears on the path leading up to Shor’s Stone
  • Discovered Shor’s Stone for the map
  • Went over to talk to Azadi, but did not brawl with him, talked him out of it; got his note saying “we’ll be in touch”
  • Took out a few other critters en route to Cragslane, including a sabre cat, and the last of the bears I needed to get skins for Temba
  • Bouncer and pit wolves tried to come at us, we took them out
  • Lyds and Meeko both got cranky at the pit wolf in the outside cage
  • Took out the interior of Cragslane in one go
  • Didn’t take any skooma or moon sugar but did loot the fuck out of all the slain hostiles
  • Mounted up and headed back to Riften
  • Talked to Shadr on the way into the Bee and Barb
  • Went into the Bee and Barb and persuaded Sapphire to get off his case
  • Rented a room and slept the night
  • Got up to report to the Jarl that Cragslane was taken care of
  • Went off to take care of other favor quests:
    • Told Shadr he was safe
    • Went down to Elgrim’s Elixirs and got Ingun’s ingredients quest
    • Also Hafjorg’s quest to go get the ore from Shor’s Stone
  • Rode up there again, talked to the smith Filnjar and got the ore
  • Returned to Riften to get it to Hafjorg
  • Went back up to the keep and got the quest to get Harrald’s sword back from Balimund, which was favor number three
  • By then the Jarl’s court was having dinner so I just talked to the Jarl and the steward right there
  • Bought Honeyside and partially furnished it; got the thaneship \0/
  • Went over to check in at Honeyside; HI IONA!
  • Slept since some of the furnishings I had bought did include the bed
  • Next item on the agenda: Mzulft and Stony Creek Cave
  • Got a little turned around location-wise, so ran Mzulft first, mostly overloaded the whole damn time too ;P
  • Final chamber with the Falmer Shadowmaster with the crystal was a problem; got killed a couple times there, Lydia got killed once
  • But finally made it through with me, Lyds, and Meeko all intact
  • Was tired at that point (in character as well as out of character) and initially thought I’d avoid the centurion
  • But then was reminded nope, I do have to do that, the centurion is between me and the key I need to proceed
  • Fortunately the centurion wasn’t as much of a problem as I’d feared; killed it, looted the room, got the key
  • Got the final scene in with Paratus, and Nerien warning me to get my ass back to the college
  • Had to climb back down to horse the same way I’d done with Harrow’s run
  • Cleared the storeroom and got as much out of there as I could nab, including the aetherium shard
  • Picking locks in there finally got me the level up alert for 31
  • Went to Stony Creek finally–which had “frigid” air
  • Dropped a campsite at the lake; lept and took the level up; took Magicka bump and perk to bump damage in Archery
  • Got up early and tried to fish a little but the air reached “treacherously cold”; dropped a second campsite because I’d torn down the last one
  • Finally headed into the cave
  • Fortunately the water was not freezing and inside the cave it was warm
  • No real trouble with any of the bandits
  • Called up familiar because quarters were close and wasn’t sure I had room for the frost atronach–and I wasn’t going to call up the flame atronach in that gas-filled tunnel
  • Took out extra group of bandits with Ruin’s Edge bow
  • Also took out final bandit chief–who did not appear to be the missing crewperson this time?
  • Got the lute from the boss chest
  • Got out of there, mounted up again, and headed back to Riften
  • Sold a boatload of things to Balimund and Bersi
  • Went to Anuriel and bought remaining furnishings for Honeyside
  • Sold a few things to Wylandriah
  • Went back out again and got courier with the note from Fijeh asking me to meet up
  • Sold a few things to Brand-Shei as well
  • Returned to Honeyside
  • Did some alchemy to burn through ingredients
  • Did some enchanting to burn through soul gems–and since I’m still using the orcish scaled armor, dropped a health regen enchantment on the main armor and a magicka regen on the helmet
  • Saved there for the night, fairly close to getting back under carry weight again

Pro tip: if a friendly NPC is throwing ice spikes at a nearby giant you’re trying to fight, duck. This means YOU, Lydia

So here’s a fun fact: if your follower gets hit by fire from another NPC, this will piss off your follower and turn them hostile to whatever NPC did it, if that NPC wasn’t hostile already. I’ve seen this before when I’ve had multiple followers. Hell, I’ve seen it before when I’ve accidentally hit a follower with my own magic enough times!

But what I hadn’t seen before is this happening when the other NPC involved is not actually actively following me.

Which is exactly what happened when I showed up at Largashbur. When Lydia, Meeko, and I got there, I couldn’t talk to Atub properly. She was in combat mode, because that giant that spawns to attack their front gates was still around.

So we had to go kill the nearby giant. Which we did. But I think Atub must have accidentally hit Lydia with an ice spike–because Lydia ran back to Atub and attacked her. And killed her. And I got a game message saying I was now hostile to the Orcs of Largashbur, and that I’d failed the Cursed Tribe quest.


I rolled the hell back from that, because I didn’t want to let that situation stand. The Largashbur Orcs have it rough enough without my having to be at war with them because my housecarl has a hair trigger temper and was in Atub’s way during the fight!

Collecting quests in Riften

Arriving in Riften let me set up a whole flurry of quests. I found Wujeeta pretty much instantly, which was super convenient and let me initiate the whole “take out the skooma dealers and become thane” quest line.

But I also got the Lexicon for running Avanchnzel, the Fishing-related quests, Wylandriah’s quest to go get her lost items, Hafjorg’s quest to go fetch the ore sample, Ingun’s quest to fetch her ingredients, Shadr’s quest to get Sapphire off his back, and the quest to get the Jarl’s son Harrald’s sword for him. So overall, Kendis got the chance to be very busy in Riften, above and beyond the minimum required to get the thaneship.

Several of these, of course, will be ones I’ll need to follow up on as play proceeds. Since this is Survival Mode, I won’t be able to travel quickly around to get all of Wylandriah’s stuff, or all of Ingun’s ingredients. And I won’t be able to get back to Avanchnzel, probably, until I can get Largashbur resolved.

Taking out the skooma dealers and getting the thaneship

I played this pretty much the same as previous playthroughs. But it’s worth noting that this time I didn’t take anything out of the warehouse, not the skooma, not the moon sugar, not even the note in the satchel that spelled out where the hideout is. Turns out I didn’t even need that note physically in my inventory. Just reading it was enough to report back to the Jarl.

Which means, I believe, that I so far haven’t actually stolen a single thing as Kendis? I’ll have to doublecheck her Crime stats. What an upstanding citizen I am!

And now I have Honeyside, and Iona. I may or may not get Iona on duty at some point. Mostly, I wanted the house! Because having a home base in Riften is critical for Survival Mode purposes, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be buying Shadowfoot Sanctum with this alt. And I won’t be joining the Guild either, so Honeyside’s my best shot at a home base in that corner of the map until I join the Dawnguard.

Running Mzulft

After I got the thaneship, my agenda turned to running Stony Creek Cave and Mzulft. I wanted to do them in that order, but I got a little turned around location-wise. So I wound up running Mzulft first.

Mostly, this went well–until I got to the final chamber with the big group of Falmer in it, including the Falmer Shadowmaster who carries the focusing crystal you’re supposed to get. This room kicked my ass multiple times. I died a couple of those times. Lydia died another, and having Lydia die in this room was not acceptable.

Survival Mode did have an impact here as well. Mzulft is a large ruin, and by the time I got to that final chamber and took out the Falmer successfully, I was in Tired status. This made me think at first that I really didn’t want to try to fight that centurion–except that I then realized oh right, derp, I have to go fight that centurion because if I don’t, I can’t get to the key necessary to reach Paratus.

Fortunately, the centurion wasn’t as big a problem as I feared. The main thing I had to do there was just avoid its initial steam attack, while throwing a frost atronach in ahead of me. Then, while Lydia and Meeko went at it close up, I shot arrows at its head. Teamwork!

And, of course, I was not able to directly fast travel to the college. I’ll have to travel back there. So despite Nerien’s “get your ass back to the college right now” vision, I aimed back to Stony Creek Cave and Riften instead.

Stony Creek Cave

The main problem I ran into at Stony Creek this time was entirely Survival Mode, because weather. The immediate area ranked as “frigid” air at night, even though that’s not fully snowy terrain. Apparently that spot is just up high enough into the mountains on the eastern edge of the map that it counts as “freezing” terrain.

I was able to handle this but made unwise choices about when I dismantled a campsite, so it cost me two sets of camping supplies rather than one. Oops.

I feel like this terrain counting as “freezing” is bullshit, though, if the place isn’t even snowy like High Hrothgar. Nor is it all that much higher than the road, really. I just had to go up a small slope to get up there.

Next time

Bearskins are heavy so I really want to swing back through Ivarstead and get Temba her bearskins. While I’m there, I’ll need to see about picking up Wylandriah’s item that she left, too.

And I have a bunch of building materials in my inventory that really shouldn’t be there, if I want to whittle down the carry weight. So a stop at Lakeview is called for.

From there, I should be able to engage my carriage driver to take me straight to Winterhold so I can pick up with the next phase of the college plot from there.


No screenshots this time.

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.