Elder Scrolls Online,  Gyllerah Playthrough

In Which Gyllerah Saves Firsthold and Goes to Elden Root

This Gyllerah post sees the ending of the Auridon portion of my run through the Aldmeri Dominion plotline, and the beginning of the Grahtwood part! Also, I passed cp60, ran a bunch of writs, and started experimenting with more esoteric armor styles.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 2/11-2/15/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 124-128

Saturday the 11th

  • Ran two rounds of writs, basically
  • Had trouble finding alchemical ingredients for that round of the first set; no necessary items in the Guild bank for that one, or at the Guild traders in either Alinor or Riften
  • Finally just went out for a circuit through the area around Alinor, which finally got me what I needed
  • Then did the second round of writs
  • Dropped money on several furnishing items
  • Put a few things in Cliffshade, and a tapestry in the inn room in Alinor
  • Stopped in Cliffshade for the night

Sunday the 12th

  • Boinged to Alinor for inventory management
  • Passing guard threw bitchy commentary at me about killing Estre (which was weird, see below)
  • Boinged to Auridon to run the Firsthold plot; took the College wayshrine since I didn’t have Firsthold on my map yet
  • Reaching Firsthold I think here was where I heard Varen actually ping me again to come find him in the Harborage; you’re gonna hafta hang on, Prophet, kinda busy here
  • Once I reached Firsthold, had to fight a bunch of dremora
  • Raz was on hand! HI RAZ
  • Talked to Sinien at the Mages Guild, was given a talisman to use to deactivate two wards
  • Then had to enter three portals into the Refuge of Dread, one of Dagon’s realms in Oblivion; more dremora fighting in those
  • Had to destroy three sigil stones and fight a few different boss monsters as well
  • Last stage of this was to actively kill Estre, which I was confused by (see below)
  • Anyway, that threw me back to Firsthold for the denouement
  • Queen Ayrenn showed up to thank me, and then told me to go rendezous with Captain Jimila in Skywatch to get a ride to Elden Root where i was needed next
  • Note: I also witnessed an exchange between her and her brother Naemon, as he reacted to Estre’s death; this is important later!
  • So I headed over to Skywatch on foot and found Jimila in the city; she invited me to have a drinking contest
  • Apparently Gyllerah went a little overboard, snerk; woke up beside some stairs, and Jimila was gone; caught up with her on her ship in Vulkhel Guard
  • Set off for Grahtwood–however, we arrived in Haven, and oh okay, this is where the pirate attack on Haven comes into the picture
  • So before I could fulfill my directive from the Queen to meet up with King Camoran, I had to break the pirate assault on Haven
  • Found a Lieutenant Kazargi, and then her commander, Speaker of the Mane, Gharesh-ri
  • Got tasked with stealing orders from three of the pirate leaders; orders gotten!
  • Uncovered plan to use the aquifer to unleash undead on Haven, so had to break in there and open up a gate for the defenders to make it through
  • Then had to get into the abandoned Fighters Guild building and stop another ritual in there
  • Ritual successfully stopped! Haven is saved!
  • Took Haven’s wayshrine to boing over to the wayshrine in Elden Root
  • Did a little inventory management and exploring to remind myself where all the crafting tables are
  • Stopped there for the night

Monday the 13th

  • Picked up at Elden Root
  • Ran writs for the first time completely there; not as convenient as Alinor or even Rimmen
  • Once that was done, though, returned to running the next steps of the Grahtwood plotline
  • Talked to the king and heh, I like this guy 😀
  • He informed me there was an issue with a long delay getting an embassy built for the Khajiit
  • Spoke to Prince Naemon about that and boy howdy was he not pleased to have to speak to me
  • He sent me off to speak with Ambassador Tarinwe about why the Khajiit embassy was delayed–and she was, unsurprisingly, decidedly unhelpful
  • She sent me off to the storeroom where their supplies were supposed to be
  • Storeroom guard initially refused to let me in, by Ambassador Tarinwe’s orders nobody was allowed entrance
  • I passed an Intimidation check, at which point the guard was all “Wait, did you hear that, my captain is calling!” Once he left, I got in to check out the supplies
  • Assuming general shorthand of ‘the supplies are scanty and what is here isn’t fit to use’, then yep, the Khajiit supplies sure were fucked
  • Came back outside to find the Prince again, so told him what was going on; he sent me off to nearby ruins where in theory a work team was supposed to be getting supplies
  • Found a dead worker and a broken cart
  • Also Azareth, a Vinedusk Ranger working for the King, who teamed up with me
  • We went to go track Tarinwe into the Middens, and captured her after fighting a few “Supremacist” soldiers
  • She was of course an agent of the Veiled Heritance, so apparently these fuckers are still in play even though I killed Estre; Azareth took custody of her
  • I went ahead to return to the King to report, and resolve the quest
  • Got setup for the next quest where I have to help restore the orrery for Ayrenn’s ratification
  • Paused there for the night

Tuesday the 14th

  • Mostly just did writs in Alinor
  • Crafted a bunch of other side objects just to clear out my backlog of materials and free up bank space
  • Boinged back to Cliffshade and experimented with different armor styles that I could make with the materials I had
  • Got a mishmash of styles going for cp60 armor, not entirely happy with it but we’ll see what the next tier up looks like
  • Logged out for the night

Wednesday the 15th

  • Boinged to Alinor from Cliffshade
  • Reset my outfit, since I wasn’t happy with the mishmash of armor styles, and could correct the look with the outfit
  • Applied some of the new colors I got so now I have some dark blue and gold action going on
  • Ran writs
  • Went out to hit an alchemy survey location in Craglorn
  • Picked up other harvested things in the wild while out there
  • Boinged to Northern Elsweyr and hunted down the locations for a couple of the treasure maps I had left over from the Season of the Dragon event, because they were occupying slots in my inventory and I wanted to clear them
  • Came in on the tail end of a dragon battle so helped out with that, and got more loot off of it
  • Boinged back to Cliffshade after that for the night

So about this whole killing Estre thing

I’m distinctly confused, because early in the session I ran on the 12th, I got a random bit of dialogue from a guard in Alinor bitching at me for killing Estre. Clearly they were a Veiled Heritance supporter!

But here’s the thing: I had not killed Estre as of that point.

She was still alive as of when I hit Firsthold in that session. And to be honest I’m not sure I killed her myself in that play, either. I got to the point where Raz and I and a couple other NPCs were supposed to confront her, yes. But I’m pretty damn sure I didn’t actually kill her myself.

I don’t think I actually saw her and I’m almost certain I didn’t get in any hits on her myself.

I saw at least one or two other players also running the plot at the same time I did. And I’m kind of wondering if one of the other players actually killed her, and since I was in the vicinity at the time, that counted as quest resolution for me?

Which still doesn’t make a ton of sense since I wasn’t actually grouped up with anybody. And it still doesn’t explain why the random guard in Alinor thought I’d killed Estre when I hadn’t.

The progression of events in this part of the Aldmeri Dominion storyline seems a little out of order, is what I’m saying here. I’m not seeing any description of known bugs about this on the main wiki I use (uesp.net) or on the backup wiki (elderscrolls.fandom.com). I dunno, maybe I triggered some kind of server-side glitch?

Ah, there’s that ping from Varen

Heading into Firsthold, I think, was where I did finally get the next ping from Varen for the final phase of the Main Quest.

Of relevance to a conversation I was having with Erin on Gyllerah’s last post: so far to date, for the various pings I’ve gotten from Varen to signal the next stage of the quest, I haven’t seen any of them be projections. They’ve just been his voice in my head.

I don’t know if this is standard or not? But it’s what I’ve been seeing on my playthrough. I don’t know if this is a platform-dependent thing? I’m running ESO predominantly on the Deck right now, and in theory it’s the PC build, but who knows how running it on a Deck (and by extension, the Deck’s flavor of Linux) might be impacting things here?

And heh, regardless, it was kind of amusing to get that ping just as I was heading into Firsthold. One, the wiki had said I’d hear from Varen again next time I set foot in a major city. Just not sure what constitutes a “major city” by the wiki’s standards? But presumably, at least on Auridon, Firsthold qualifies?

And yes, yes, yes, Varen, I know, gotta save the world from Molag Bal and all. But I also gotta save the island from racist dickweed militia bastards. Working on it. Get to you as fast as possible!

(Practically speaking though I am actually probably going to hold off on the final phase of the Main Quest at least until I finish running the Aldmeri Dominion plotline. I feel like the final “rally all the alliances for an assault on Coldharbour” thing makes more narrative sense if I’ve actually managed to save the Aldmeri Dominion and get Ayrenn ratified first. So Varen’s going to have to wait a while longer.)

And speaking of the Firsthold plot

This was fairly straightforward, just a bunch of fighting dremora, shutting down a couple of wards, and closing off three portals. I didn’t see all that much of the Refuge of Dread, really. Just a few twisty passages with dremora in them for me to fight, and a few open areas where the sigil stones had to be destroyed.

The wiki says the Refuge of Dread is just a pocket plane in the Deadlands, though. So I guess Mehrunes Dagon won’t take it personally if Gyllerah’s all “meh, I’ve seen much scarier shit in Coldharbour and the Spiral Skein”. 😀

I did like the bit of variation on what exactly you had to do to take out the sigil stones, though, and the variation on boss monsters at them to fight. That was good.

See above commentary though re: confusion on whether I did in fact personally kill Estre. Genuinely not sure.

The plot sure did seem to think I did, though! I was thrown back to Firsthold for the denouement, at which point Queen Ayrenn showed up to thank me, give me a quest reward, and send me on to Elden Root where I was needed next. Which involved having to find a familiar face in Skywatch: Captain Jimila of the Prowler.

One other thing at this point to note at this point: before I went to find Jimila, I also noticed a final conversation between Ayrenn and her brother Naemon, Estre’s husband, as he reacted to Estre’s passing. Awkward. But also important, as I saw more of him later!

Hitching a ride to Elden Root

Elder Scrolls games sure do love their drinking contests, but heh, this wasn’t even with a Nord! This was with a Khajiit captain! And apparently Gyllerah went a trifle overboard on the drinking, because I woke up next to one of the staircases in Skywatch, with no sign of Jimila anywhere. I had to catch up with her in Vulkhel Guard.

At which point I discovered that Jimila hadn’t fared well from the drinking contest either. “We’ll cast off as soon as the Prowler stops spinning.” Lady, exactly how drunk were you if you’re still hung over in Vulkhel Guard after traveling over here from Skywatch?

(Fuck if I know how fast in theory you should be able to get from Skywatch to Vulkhel Guard on foot. As has been observed many a time, it ain’t like time has any obvious meaning in ESO! Can’t be more than an hour or two, surely? But it’s hard to gauge since there’s no in-game time markers like there are in Skyrim and Oblivion and Morrowind.)

Ohnoez! PIRATES! (Yarr)

This was the point at which proceedings surprised me a little, because the Prowler went to Haven. And then I learned from Jimila that Haven had been attacked by Jackdaw pirates.

I’d seen those guys before on the previous times Paul and I had charged through Haven. Now, though, I was finally getting an opportunity to do something about it, and also more to the point, where exactly Haven fit into the overall Aldmeri Dominion quest flow.

So, before I could fulfill the directive of the Queen and go talk to the Bosmer King Cameron, I had to settle in and do something about the pirate problem.

And this was fun, though it was also another of those situations where sneaking in ESO is kind of hilarious. I tried to do some sneaking to get the orders. But at least one other player was also doing so, and they had a pet bear following them.

And I’m sorry, but bears are not well known for their stealth.

Wound up just killing a few of the pirates rather than completely relying on stealth. But in the end, I got all the secret orders! And proceeded to save the town from the pirates, by disrupting a ritual that was supposed to unleash undead on Haven.

And I’d just like to note for the record: zombie elves are creepy.

Getting the lay of the land in Elden Root

Just to vary up my writ work a bit, I tried running writs completely in Elden Root for once as long as I was there. And figured out pretty quickly that it is not as convenient as doing writs in Alinor, or even Rimmen. I don’t like that I have to wander off from the main craft tables area to find a cooking fire, and wander even farther to go find the writ dropoff boxes. So future writ work, I think, will not be done in Elden Root.

Helping out King Camoran, and what’s up with the delay in the Khajiit embassy?

After writs, though, I was able to proceed to talking to the king. And my initial impression of him was this remark:

“You wish to serve the Camoran throne? You can start by asking Prince Naemon why his people aren’t fulfilling their promises. He’s the one who seems to have the entire Elden Tree lodged up his flue.

I can say that. I’m the king.”

LOLOLOL. And given how he shares the same sort of “vaguely lower-class British” accent a lot of Bosmer have in this game, I just found him pretty charming and delightful. Definitely a nice change of pace from stuck-up Altmer.

But here’s where the plot got most interesting: Camoran sent me to talk to Prince Naemon, who for whatever reason was also now in Elden Root.

And whoo boy howdy was he not pleased to see me or talk to me. What with the whole “I was the person who killed his wife” thing and all.

Well, my dude, I’d apologize except for the part where she was worshipping Mehrunes Dagon, trying to destroy Auridon and kill innocent citizens, and basically overthrow your sister. So not actually sorry.

(Also, I have a real hard time buying that you, as Estre’s husband, were completely oblivious to all of these goings-on, so you may be the Prince and all but I got my eye on you, pal. And I am an official Eye of the Queen!)

But to Naemon’s credit, he was actually willing to work with me once I persuaded him that it was for the good of the Dominion. He had enough pride to boldly state that he wasn’t going to give me the satisfaction of doubting his commitment to the Dominion. And after I brought about the apprehension of Ambassador Tarinwe, he also credited me to my face for proving my competence.

So at this point I kind of actually respect the guy? But I got my eye on him nonetheless.

We’ll see how the plot proceeds and if Naemon proves himself truly loyal to his sister.

Meanwhile, I wanted to like the embassy plot more than I did, but it didn’t make much logistical sense to me for a few reasons.

One: Camoran’s dialogue says that it’s been an entire year since work on the embassy was supposed to have started. The root cause of this appeared to be that the workers who were supposed to gather supplies went missing in the nearby ruins, and what few supplies had been placed in the storeroom were in shitty condition and not fit to use.

But when I showed up at the embassy, I saw a group of about eight Bosmer and Khajiit squaring off against three Dominion soldiers. I had to doublecheck my screenshot, because I’d forgotten that Bosmer were in the group, and I was pleased to see that. But I would have liked a bit more background about who these people were and what they were upset about. If they were cranky about the missing work, or being kept from the supplies, or being prevented from getting more supplies, or what.

Two: Inside that storeroom, when I got into it, all I was able to find was one crate and one bag full of clearly unusable supplies. And this was supposedly the supply stock for the embassy building? One crate and one bag is not enough to build and provision an entire embassy.

Three: When I had to go into the nearby ruins to find out what happened to the workers who had, in theory, gone over there to gather raw materials, all I found was exactly one dead Wood Elf and one broken wagon.

This does not seem like enough to get across the impression of a serious effort to find raw materials to build an embassy. One Wood Elf sure as hell wasn’t going to do it.

Now, I get intellectually that the game arguably could not have realistically shown an entire embassy’s worth of broken, spoiled, and/or generally unusable supplies. Nor could it have littered the ruins I had to search with, say, three dozen dead workers. But I feel like there was a missed happy medium somewhere between “what the game actually showed me” and “what would have made a lot more logistical sense to build and supply an entire embassy”.

And okay yeah sure, there’s a clear implication here that most of the Altmer stationed in the Altmer embassy couldn’t be arsed to really seriously deal with the problem. They may not all be actively supporting the Veiled Heritance, but it seems a safe bet that a majority of them couldn’t muster enough fucks to give to actually help out the embassy project properly. By, oh, I dunno, organizing search parties to find the missing workers. Or maybe organizing buying shipments of rock and wood from actual quarries and actual mills. Or maybe hiring cooks to cook fresh supplies for the staff.

Or, and here’s a real wacky idea: actually listening to the Khajiit who were going to staff the place, and getting them what they needed to make the project work.

A couple of cranky Khajiit having a faceoff with a couple of Dominion soldiers didn’t seem like a big enough stink being raised about this problem. Because if the Altmer in Elden Root had been letting this shit slide for an entire year, this seems like serious diplomatic-incident level shit, not a thing that should have waited for me to come along a year later and solve for them.

Sheesh. This is what I get for being the player character. I have to not only save these people from the Planemeld, I also gotta solve their diplomatic and political crises for them. 😉

I really did like the part of the plot involving Naemon, though! And for that matter, I also really liked the NPC King Camoran sent along to also investigate things in parallel to me: a Bosmer by the name of Azareth, who turned out to be a Vinedusk Ranger.

And kinda hot, for that matter. Noting for the record: Bosmer boys are definitely hotter than Altmer!

And OH YEAH, reminded of this as I worked on reviewing the screenshots for this post: more than once, I saw dialogue referencing Bosmer customs about eating people. King Camoran made a crack about his court sizing me up for dinner when I showed up and cut ahead of a bunch of people waiting to talk to him. Ambassador Tarinwe freaked out that she might be eaten for her crimes, and Azareth snarked about his people probably not being able to stomach her.

All of which generally made me go O RLY, because this is definitely the most in-character emphasis I’ve seen in any Elder Scrolls game at all about this part of Bosmer society!

Quick note on gear and also writs

I’m champion tier now but still not at the highest level of armor and weapons I could use. I still have a bit to go before I hit cp160 and can use the best tier of equipment.

So for now I’m still derping my way through disposable gear. Which means I’m to the point of trying to experiment with some of the backlogged more esoteric style materials I have, just to see what the resulting armor pieces look like. But sometimes with not entirely favorable results.

Which I guess is part of why the outfit system exists? So if you’re currently wearing armor you don’t like the look of but are not in a position to replace it yet, you can at least override it with an outfit. So cool.

Also, I note with interest that I’m starting to get the master tier writs showing up in writ rewards. So now in theory I can work on some of these. But this also means I will have to go hunting for the more esoteric styles these writs want me to use.

Next time

Next actual plot action will probably be moving the Grahtwood zone story further along, though I may have side jaunts to Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, or Psijic Order as whim dictates. As I said above, I’m probably going to hold off on finishing the Main Quest just for narrative flow purposes, I feel like finishing that up makes more sense once I finish Aldmeri Dominion action.

Meanwhile, though, I need to take stock of these master writs I have. I have like four or five of these things now, and I want to take stock of what they actually need of me. And what this means in terms of where I need to go hunting for the relevant styles or sets.

And OH YES: I have also now spent most of my remaining crowns on DLCs. I bought the Clockwork City DLC as a standalone thing, and also bought the Dark Heart of Skyrim bundle. Don’t know when I’ll start any of that content yet, but now at least it’s available to me!


Editing to add

  • 11/25/2023: 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.