Harrowhark Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Harrowhark Does Contracts for the Brotherhood

And with this post, Harrowhark has officially begun work for her new associates of the Dark Brotherhood. So that was actually kind of fun in the shady-as-fuck being-an-assassin way. And I’ll be intrigued to see how the drama building internally to the Brotherhood plays through, particularly in conjunction with the additions from the Dark Brotherhood for Good Guys mod.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 2/14, 2/16/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 34-35

Tuesday the 14th

  • Picked up at Lakeview
  • Rode out from there for Bonestrewn Crest
  • Killed a few wolves on the way, a sabre cat, and fighting mages near White River Watch
  • Reached Bonestrewn Crest, and dispatched the dragon that flew down to intercept us
  • Went on foot up to the lair to get the third word of Frost Breath off the wall, and cleared the boss chest
  • Got my horse and rode from there north-ish to Windhelm
  • Went into the city long enough to go give 100 septims to the beggar on the dock
  • Also popped into the East Empire office and found the information about the Sea Stallion, which pointed me at the wreck in Pilgrim’s Trench
  • Inigo and Lucien both very much do not like Windhelm, so got the fuck out again
  • Rode over to take on Tyra, which was a bit dicey, as the area right in front of the shrine was very narrow and I damn near fell off it
  • Also, Lucien got in my way and I think I hit him once by accident with my sword
  • But we did eventually take her out, and I got her ebony plate armor
  • Returned to Hjalte, mounted up, and boinged to Riften
  • Smelted down some things at Balimund’s smelter
  • Went to Honeyside and did a little enchanting
  • Left the ebony plate armor and dragonplate gauntlets from previous loot on the mannequins
  • Fished for a little while at the dock but didn’t yet round out the needed set of initial fish
  • Sold a bunch of things to Bersi
  • Went to the keep and bought the garden and porch furnishings for Honeyside from Anuriel
  • Boinged next to Falkreath; gave Zaria her glassfish and resolved that bounty quest
  • Ran the followup quest to slip the disguised invisibility potion to the skooma addict guard in the barracks; got Zaria’s reward for that, the Ring of Surroundings
  • Returned to Lakeview and asked lucien and inigo to wait there for a while
  • Fast traveled to Anga’s Mill
  • Got there late enough that Ennodius was asleep in his tent, so snuck right up to him and took him out with blades
  • Boinged next to Shroud Hearth Barrow to not be immediately obvious coming into Ivarstead
  • Discovered I can pitch my tent inside Shroud Hearth Barrow, but I get a message about it being illegal, LOL
  • Hung out and waited until after dark, packed up the tent, then snuck around the edge of the town over to Narfi’s house
  • Took him out with a single bow shot
  • Last but not least boinged to Windward Ruins to get to Dawnstar, which I now officially discovered for the map; came in in broad daylight though
  • Stopped at the museum and spoke to Silus to get the quest for the Razor
  • Talked to Rustleif to get his quest for the book, and bought some iron off him while I was at it
  • Talked to Frida to get the quest for the Ring of Pure Mixtures
  • Tried to talk to Captain Wayfinder but he wasn’t on his boat? Oh wells
  • Located Beitild
  • Snuck around behind the closest building to her smelter
  • Jumped up onto the roof from behind the building
  • Poisoned my Scout Bow with a Potion of Frenzy, but actually did enough damage to her in one shot that I instantly took her out
  • Boinged back to the Brotherhood Sanctuary to report in
  • Found that Cicero had arrived to get a less than open welcome from Astrid and her people
  • Astrid cornered me for my first actual big contract: talking to Muiri in Markarth
  • Also spoke to Nazir and got his payment for his three side jobs
  • Chatted a little with Veezara and learned that he is a Shadowscale
  • Most notably chatted with Cicero–who remembered me from helping him with his wagon
  • Distinctly overheard him muttering to himself about Astrid absolutely being the one “in charge”
  • Left it for now though and returned to Lakeview
  • Got Lucien and Inigo back on duty, and saved there for the night

Thursday the 16th

  • Picked up at Lakeview
  • Boinged to mage college and did a bunch of training in the Hall of the Elements
  • Leveled up from 41 to 43; took Stamina and Health bumps, and two more perks in Illusion so I could unlock Quiet Casting
  • Got Invisibility spell from Drevis, fuck yeah 😀
  • Took five levels of Restoration training from Colette since I still can’t get her to train me in the hall
  • Ran low on gold so couldn’t fork over to get Conjuration training from Phinis
  • Boinged to Goldenhills and picked up farm profits from Illia
  • Boinged next to Windstad Manor
  • Nope still can’t build things I need to replenish the log supply (and Windstad still needs a steward)
  • Dropped off the critical building mats for building house stuff
  • Boinged to Lakeview to drop off remaining mats
  • Boinged to Riften; headed down into the Thieves Guild and sold stuff to Tonilia
  • Got five rounds of Pickpocket training out of Vipir in the name of getting closer to unlocking the Poisoned perk
  • Did a little fishing but didn’t get remaining fish I need
  • Saved for the night at that point

Team Dragonborn is in accord: Windhelm sucks

I cannot help but notice that both Lucien and Inigo are very, very vocal about how much they do not like Windhelm. Clearly, the creators of both of their mods had strong opinions about that particular city!

And both characters, to be sure, have strong reason to be extremely leery of it. Lucien is an Imperial and Inigo is a Khajiit, so neither of them are of a people that will be welcomed with open arms in Windhelm.

I myself have long held a “fuck Windhelm” stance, so this certainly fits in well with my play! So in this particular pair of sessions, and most likely through the rest of Harrow’s run, I will be spending no more time than absolutely necessary in Windhelm at all.

Ebony plate and dragonplate armors

Still not sure who’ll be getting the ebony plate armor now that I have it from fighting Tyra.

Likewise dragonplate armor, though right now I have only a pair of gauntlets. I am not convinced I want either of these armor sets on the boys, but they might be passed off to housecarls. Will have to see!

Getting my assassination on

I felt slightly guilty about making Lucien and Inigo wait at Lakeview while I went out on Dark Brotherhood business. They are great followers and I love having both of them along.

But here’s the thing, boys: neither of you are masters of stealth, and I need you to not be giving me away when I’m working.

So I had both of them wait for me at Lakeview, rather than actively dismissing them. I didn’t want to have to retrieve Inigo from Riften or Lucien from Falkreath. And once I had them on standby, I set out to carry out that first round of Dark Brotherhood contracts from Nazir.

Ennodius Papius was very easy. Just had to find him in the tent he was sleeping in outside of Anga’s Mill. Boom, done.

Narfi was likewise easy, though I felt a little nervous coming into Ivarstead with assassination on the agenda. So I didn’t fast travel directly to Ivarstead; instead, I landed at Shroud Hearth Barrow.

Which, conveniently, let me actually experiment with whether I could set up my tent inside said barrow. I did get an alert about it being illegal, which was interesting. I don’t know if that alert would trigger for any location that isn’t actively outside, or if proximity to Ivarstead had something to do with it.

I waited in there until dark. Mind you, I am well aware that nobody in Ivarstead would actually have reacted to my coming through in any meaningful way. But for roleplay purposes, it felt appropriate to be sneaky. So I came out again only when it was dark, and snuck around the edge of the town over to Narfi’s house.

I was able to take him out in a single bowshot. This briefly gave me a 40 gold bounty in the Rift, which was immediately erased because I’d also just killed the last witness. Which seemed kind of backwards? So apparently I got a bounty for assault but not for murder? Okay then!

Dawnstar was more of a concern, though. It’s a bigger place than Ivarstead, with more citizens, and I came in in broad daylight. So I did a little derping around to pick up other quests–notably, the quest to get the bits of Mehrunes’ Razor, because yes please Imma want that for stealthy assassination purposes.

I was seriously considering whether I was going to have to break into Beitild’s house by night, because there were too many NPCs immediately around Beitild for my comfort. But I also saw on the wiki that there was a possibility of sniping her from a nearby roof–and this approach actually worked.

I went around behind the building closest to the smelter, and was able to jump up onto the roof from back there. Which let me get to a vantage point where I could safely and stealthily snipe her.

Reporting back in to the Brotherhood

I’d noticed Nazir’s gallows humor in responding to your fulfilling his contracts while reading about him on the wiki, and yeah, that kicked in here in this actual play session. His humor does seem appropriate to the situation the organization is in. But I don’t think I actually like him very much.

(And it continues to be weird to enter the Sanctuary while it’s full of live actual assassins, too.)

Coming back to the Sanctuary to report in also triggered Astrid giving me my first real actual contract–which is going to talk to Muiri in Markarth and taking out Alain Dufont for her. Which means I finally get to actually have a separate reason to take down that bastard aside from going into Raldbthar in general.

Pre-emptively noting for the record, though, that I will not be doing the optional step in this quest of taking out Nilsine Shatter-Shield unless the mod takes active steps to persuade me otherwise. Because I also know from the wiki that the Shatter-Shields are already fairly fucked up from losing one daughter already, and if Nilsine also dies, her mother commits suicide. So not going down that path unless I have a damn good plot reason to do so.

The other major thing that happened when I showed up at the Sanctuary was that Cicero had arrived. Which meant I got to see his interactions with all the other assassins, and the power dynamics involved with a Brotherhood traditionalist–the Keeper of the Night Mother–going up against Astrid. I do already know this does not end well. But it’s going to be interesting to actually experience that now.


The second of the two sessions I’m covering in this post wound up being fairly short, just because of taking care of not-gaming things that night.

But it was good for training purposes! Went up two levels to 43, and very critically, got both the Quiet Casting perk and the Invisibility spell. And got in a bit of Pickpocket training as well, to get me closer to useful Pickpocket perks.

Next time

I’ve got the Invisibility spell now, but I really want the Conjure Dremora Lord spell in my arsenal before I hit the Thalmor Embassy! But I should be able to get that pretty soon. Then it’s Happy Fun Go Fuck Up the Thalmor time.

And I’m also now getting closer to being able to resume the Thieves Guild plot and proceed towards becoming a Nightingale!


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.