Kendis Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Kendis Becomes Thane of Eastmarch

Double session post, in which the main two items of interest are Kendis getting the thaneship of Eastmarch, and finishing up renovations of her brand new Dwemer-themed home.

With a side helping of punching the daylights out of Rolff in Windhelm, because punching Rolff is a thing that all just and right-thinking Dragonborn should do. Preferably on a regular basis.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 3/6-3/7/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 42-43

Monday the 6th

  • Started at Honeyside
  • Sold a few things to Balimund and Bersi
  • Went out to get Yngvi and mounted up; rode around to the back of the city to head to Avanchnzel
  • Near Largashbur, found goblins vs. bear; took out both
  • Spotted what I think may also have been a trio of Imperials nearby? Not sure if they were fighting the goblins or what, didn’t get close enough to see them
  • Did not see any obvious sign of a problem at Largashbur (but more on this below)
  • Made it to Avanchnzel
  • Not long after entering Avanchnzel, got the alert that the first round of renovations was done at Nchuanthumz and that I should go back and make the renovator fix another area of the house
  • Meanwhile, ran the place without any issues; got only lightly overloaded, which is some measure of restraint for me, I feel ;P
  • Used Become Ethereal to get past the spinning blade trap
  • Took out the centurion at the end with Lydia + Golden Saint warrior
  • Put the Lexicon back and got the Smithing bonus
  • Boinged back to Riften
  • Got courier with not one, not two, but three Letters of Condolence from Largashbur deaths; Gularzob, Garakh, and Ogol all dead, yikes >_<
  • Also got Letter from a Friend since I used Become Ethereal in Avanchnzel; this pointed me at Angarvunde, will swing back there later
  • Boinged to Nchuanthumz to check out what had been done to the place; found better bedroom, the enchanter table area, the alchemy area; no sign of a forge yet but did see other nice furniture
  • From there, boinged to Windhelm just to check on the thane situation–and discovered wait what, Lucia and Sofie are now in Hjerim? And apparently unstuck
  • l have opinions about this, see below
  • Rode out briefly to Anga’s Mill and sold Aeri my firewood, but that didn’t count as a favor quest
  • Returned to the city
  • Got Hillevi Cruel-Sea’s quest to take nightshade extract to Wuunferth; that counted as a favor, good!
  • Then I went into Candlehearth Hall and punched Rolff’s lights out
  • Reported to the Jarl that hey, I helped your people
  • Hurray, I’m thane!
  • HI CALDER WELCOME TO TEAM DRAGONBORN! And guess what, you are now in charge of watching my kids until they’re ready to get the fuck out of Windhelm
  • Paused there for the night

Tuesday the 7th

  • (This is a little out of order as I only took notes after the session and not during)
  • Started off in Windhelm
  • Did a bit of shopping there to offload some stuff
  • Then went to Heljarchen for a massive round of building, since I was carrying a lot of materials; built the Kitchen, Bedroom, and Storage wings, and started in on most of the furnishings
  • I think I leveled up to 43 somewhere during that building? Pretty sure I took a Magicka bump and the Unhindered perk in Light Armor
  • Did two rounds of this, because I had to grab assorted extra materials from Lakeview, and also had to get Lydia to buy me some logs
  • Partway through the building, rode down to Whiterun to do shopping
  • Saw a dragon attacking Halted Stream Camp, and it was kind of interesting just to watch that from afar; probably should have intervened, but y’know what, fuck those guys, they kidnapped Jervar, after all!
  • However, Lyds and I did have to fight two sabre cats while we were keeping an eye on the dragon
  • Did both remaining rounds of renovations with Nchuanthumz
  • Evaluated the second round; that showed me where the forge was, and also more beds and shelves and things
  • Third round’s completion overlapped with my taking Farkas to kill a dragon, and I still need to go fully check the place out now that it’s done
  • Returned to Whiterun to follow up on Companions jobs
  • Got Farkas to give me the ‘go hunt a dragon’ job again, so took that, and took Farkas to Lost Tongue Overlook while Lydia went back to Lakeview
  • This time he actually got to fight the dragon! Go Farkas!
  • Overloaded, but went to Crystaldrift Cave anyway to get the Nerveshatter hammer
  • Killed multiple bears en route
  • Called up Golden Saint warrior to help with critters (two more bears and two frostbite spiders)
  • Put an amber and a madness ore in the ashes and got Nerveshatter
  • Two Seducers bandits showed up, and the Golden Saint and I killed them
  • Headed over to Gromm’s Pass to run the goblin quest
  • Ran the place with no particular issues, went pretty much like when I did it with Shenner
  • Now I have a bucketload of steel-blue entoloma, and also GOGH!
  • Returned to Whiterun and Jorrvaskr, and Farkas hadn’t shown up again
  • Got new Companions job from Vilkas to recover a stolen heirloom, which will require me to go to Robber’s Gorge
  • Boinged back to Lakeview and parked there for the night

Orcs of Largashbur: squishiest Orcs in all of Tamriel

I really, really need to remember that in an unmodded game, once I run the Cursed Tribe quest, going within range of Largashbur is pretty much a death sentence for the remaining Orc NPCs there. Oops. Sorry about that, Gularzob, Garakh, and Ogol. Hopefully the other Orcs in Skyrim won’t start calling me “Kendis, Destroyer of Strongholds” in Orcish.

Three letters of condolence at once from a courier is kind of a punch, too. Then he handed me the Letter From a Friend which wanted me to go to Angarvunde, I pretty much see this conversation happening:

Courier: “I’ve been looking for you. Got something I’m supposed to deliver–your hands only. Let’s see here… I’ve got some letters and a lot of gold. Something about these being your inheritance? Oh, and sorry for your loss. Also, another one, not sure who from—”

Kendis: “Wait. Back up. My loss? Who died?”

Lydia (stage whispering): “My thane, the courier isn’t supposed to read your mail.”

Kendis (opening the letters): “Wait wait what, three of the Orcs at Largashbur? What the hell? Did more giants come back?”

Lydia: “They must not have pleased Malacath…?”

Kendis: “Evidently not.” To the courier: “Okay, okay, fine, what about this other letter?”

Courier (helpfully): “Not sure who that one was from. He wouldn’t say. Just that he was a friend of yours. That’s it! More deliveries to make, see you around.”

Kendis (as the courier walks off): “This better not be another notice of dying Orcs, you’d think the Jarl would at least put them all in the same letter… oh. Another Word of Power letter.”

Lydia: “Another one? Where does this one want you to go?”

Kendis: “Angarvunde.”

Lydia: “Won’t going there require going past Largashbur?”

Kendis: “If we come in from Riften, probably. In which case we better go check and see if anybody’s actually left alive there. And if so, for Divines’ sake, help them move.”

Followup visits to Nchuanthumz

I did finish up the furnishing of Nchuanthumz during these two sessions, and it was kind of cool to be able to come back there and see a bunch of stuff in place.

Which is pretty frigging impressive given that all of that work in theory is being done by a single renovator spider. Who apparently also has the ability to find fresh food items, lolololol.

That said: still not seeing anything to change my mind about the place being almost too damned big. It’s positively palatial compared to any of the other player houses you can get in the game, either in the vanilla game or in the content brought in by the Anniversary Edition. And hell, the sheer size of the place seems to even dwarf some of the Jarls’ keeps, for that matter!

Dead Man’s Dread comes close to it in terms of space. But both Nchuamthumz and Dead Man’s Dread have the same problem of being out in the middle of fucking nowhere.

I suppose that if you’re explicitly playing a misanthropic and/or evil and/or at least incredibly introverted Dragonborn, this might actually be a selling point? But I know enough about myself as a player at this point that I have a hard time seeing myself in any of those RP scenarios. Your mileage may vary!

One other thing worth calling out: I also see so far that Nchuanthumz seems to not be very well lit either. There is lighting but it’s not consistent, and a lot of the little nooks and crannies and shelves and things aren’t clearly lit. Part of this may be that I already know that the Switch build runs dark. So I may also run getting Nchuanthumz in Harrow’s run, just to compare the lighting levels.

(And heh, Harrow might actually take better to having this place than Kendis would. A vampire certainly has more reason to have a remote place to live!)

Surprise! Kendis’s kids are in Windhelm now!

Boinging off to Windhelm to check on the thane situation there threw me an unexpected curve ball: discovering that Lucia and Sofie were in Hjerim and apparently now out of their state of being stuck.

I was expecting to have to manually move them, after getting Kendis married so that I could unlock the decision tree of where to have the family settle. But apparently this was not required. Because the notable thing about this is, Hjerim was the first home I acquired since adopting both of these girls that actively had children’s beds in it. So apparently just satisfying that condition at all was required for the game to kick the girls out of their stuck state.

But here’s the problem with this: now they’re in frigging Windhelm.

And Lucia even threw me a line about Rolff telling her it wasn’t safe to be in the Gray Quarter. Given that Rolff is a racist Dunmer-hating asshole, he is the last person in this game that I want giving any advice to the Dragonborn’s children. Fuck Rolff.

Just on those grounds alone, I made a point of punching his lights out once I finished up the thane situation. I expect that Kendis, as a Redguard, probably had some harsh words for this guy while punching him.

“Where the hell do you get off telling my children they aren’t safe around Dunmer? Are you going to tell them that about anybody that isn’t a Nord? Are you going to tell them they aren’t safe around me? I have news, asshole. I’m the fucking Dragonborn. You try spewing your racist drivel at my children ever again, and I swear to goddamn gods, I will give you an up close and personal demonstration of Unrelenting Force. I will Shout your bigoted ass all the way into Morrowind. You will have to live surrounded by the Dunmer for the rest of your miserable life, and pray that they are kinder to you than you’ve been to their kin here. Fuck off.”

And then later, I expect Kendis had a word with the children as well.

Kendis: “Children, I want you to disregard what Rolff had to say about the Gray Quarter. The Dunmer are much more honorable people than he is, and he just hates them because they aren’t Nords.”

Lucia: “But he said it wasn’t safe!”

Sofia: “Before Momma adopted us, I did live here. And I sold my flowers at the door to the docks, right by the Gray Quarter. The Dunmer were actually more likely to buy my flowers than anyone else here.”

Kendis: “Yes. And I’ve been through the Gray Quarter multiple times. The Dunmer who live there are just trying to live their lives. They moved here because the Red Mountain erupted and destroyed their homeland. That’s why they moved here. And the Divines smile upon those who help strangers in need. A lot of the Nords in this city have forgotten that. Do you understand, Lucia?”

Lucia: “I think so. It’s like what you did. Because you did give Sofia and me a family again.”

Kendis (smiling a little): “Yes. Exactly like that. I’m not a Nord, but I didn’t want to just ignore the need both of you had, just because you’re Nord children.”

With all this in mind, I cannot think of any legit narrative reason why Kendis would have actively chosen to bring the children to Windhelm, even if she is establishing a house there and a thaneship. She doesn’t trust the place, since she’s aware that a lot of the locals are very likely extremely fucking cranky about losing Ulfric. (For example: Oengul and his assistant Hermir.) So even if the city’s theoretically more stable now under Imperial control, that doesn’t mean she thinks it’s safe enough to have children present.

About the only thing I could think of is maybe Sofie explicitly asked to come back for a visit, because she did live here. Maybe she wanted a chance to make sure anyone who bought any of her flowers before survived the war. So I’ll allow that maybe Kendis grudgingly agreed to let them have a visit, now that the city has been secured for the Empire.

And now that she’s also thane and has Calder as her housecarl, she’ll entrust Calder with the task of watching over them. And authorizing him to punch Rolff however many times are required if he comes near either of the girls again.

Which brings me to…

Getting the thaneship in Eastmarch

I still had two pending favor quests to satisfy to get Brunwulf Free-Winter to proclaim me thane of Eastmarch. Trying to find a favor quest that satisfied this seemed strangely problematic, though.

Getting Freydis’ sword did not answer the criteria, and I don’t know why. Maybe because Oengul was pissy at me at that point about Ulfric being dead?

Likewise, giving a coin to Silda didn’t count either.

What did finally work was doing Hillevi Cruel-Sea’s delivery of nightshade extract to Wuunferth. And then, well, punching Rolff. 😀

It continues to amuse the hell out of me that winning a brawl does in fact count towards a favor being thane anywhere. I just wish punching Rolff would actually reform his behavior! Or, alternately, that you would have the ability to keep punching him any time you saw him being a dick in the Gray Quarter.

I see with further deep amusement that there are five different mods on Nexus that explicitly remove Rolff’s Essential flag and/or any penalties for killing him even in public. One of these mods even offered to update later to let you resurrect him just so you could kill him again, though sadly, that mod hasn’t been touched since 2018. ;D

(My immediate gut reaction to finding out he’s marked Essential was, “Why the hell is he marked Essential?” According to the wiki, this is apparently because he’s a potential target for Delvin’s Fishing Job in the Thieves Guild. Some of the mods I mention above take care of deactivating this, too!)

But at any rate, now I’m thane in Eastmarch! And Calder is on Team Dragonborn!

And he can keep an eye on the kids until such time as it’s time to get them out of Windhelm to wherever I move them next! Thinking about that. It may be Heljarchen, or maybe I’ll just park them back in Lakeview, which is where I wanted them to begin with.

Next time

Kendis is definitely lagging hardcore behind Harrow in leveling up; she’s only at 43, while Harrow is 50! So Kendis isn’t ready get to go clear Karthspire and get Dragonbane.

But what this also tells me is, I really ought to take her to go have Happy Fun Fuck Things Up for the Thalmor Times. 😀 I need a bit more Conjuration oomph, though. Kendis is not yet to the point of being able to summon storm atronachs or dremora lords, and a good dremora lord is pretty much mandatory for Happy Fun Fuck Things Up For the Thalmor times.

So I should work on training up her Conjuration skill! (And man, am I missing not having the ability to run mods in this playthrough.)


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.