Harrowhark Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Harrowhark Slays Mercer Frey and Is Cured of Vampirism

Three session post this time, with main action being running the rest of Irkngthand, returning the Skeleton Key to the Twilight Sepulcher, getting the Nerveshatter hammer, finishing the Arms of Chaos plot, and last but not least, being cured of vampirism!

Play by play

  • Play dates: 3/19, 3/21, 3/23/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 50-52

Sunday the 19th

  • Picked up where I left off in Irkngthand
  • Ran the rest of Irkngthand in kind of a speed run! Because I had a whole bunch of loot in my inventory already, and didn’t want to get so overloaded I couldn’t get out again with carry weight potions
  • Leveled up to 54 partway through; took Stamina bump and another base perk in Enchanting
  • Tried to be as stealthy as possible but heh, as per previous playthroughs, Karliah and Brynjolf had a tendency of attracting the Falmer anyway XD
  • Eventually made it through to Mercer and called in a dremora to help me take him out
  • Got out again once the water rose and the ceiling opened up
  • Inigo and Lucien were in fact in the tunnel once we were out of the water!
  • Got the Nightingale Bow from Karliah, and her “you’ll have to do this by yourself” speech
  • Tried to boing back to Whiterun to sell things–only to be immediately attacked by guards., because I forgot I was still wearing the Gray Cowl of Nocturnal, oooooops
  • Rolled back to coming out of the tunnel, and swapped out to Hedge Mage hood
  • Did Horse Call to get the horses in, and used horse to fast travel to Whiterun this time
  • Happened to spot Durak before I realized he was still hanging out in Whiterun
  • Chatted with him and he asked me if I’d changed my mind about the Dawnguard
  • Took the “I haven’t noticed any vampire menace” line with him because LOL
  • And finally went ahead with “Killing vampires? Where do I sign up?”
  • Realized I wanted to check for presence of Khajiit, so went out through the gates
  • Khajiit were in fact on hand! And Lucien threw a line about rare curios, and should we have a browse? Because now I have extra dialogue installed for him 🙂
  • Sold about all of my extraneous loot to Ri’saad
  • Boinged to Hendraheim and dropped off the ruby claw
  • Remembered I wasn’t leaving masks at Hendraheim, so boinged off to College of Winterhold
  • Left Krosis mask there
  • Decided to check out the Secluded Cabin now that I know how to trigger the orb to get to that, more on this below
  • Boinged back to Lakeview for inventory management
  • Switched off to Nightingale armor to go over to the Twilight Sepulcher
  • Decided to go on foot, with Lucien and Inigo tagging along behind
  • Right by Cracked Tusk Keep, killed a bear–and then a Blood Dragon showed up, so we had to take that out too
  • At that point I was overloaded, so bailed on the going by foot idea, and called in the horses so I could stash stuff in Hjalte’s saddlebags and run the Sepulcher without being burdened
  • Went in and ran the place as per previous playthroughs; didn’t loot much at all
  • Chose Agent of Stealth again
  • Got back out and boinged back to Lakeview
  • Saved there for the night

Tuesday the 21st

  • Picked up at Lakeview
  • Headed out with the original intent to run more of The Cause, and then hit up Arcwind Point
  • Boinged to Alchemist’s Shack
  • Hoofed it up there to take out the cultists at the camp and search their tent for info
  • Got the objective to go to Rielle, and made it all the way to Arcwind Point
  • But taken out by a fire blast from the local dragon, ouch; thrown back to Lakeview
  • NEW PLAN! Boinged to Nightingale Hall instead, and headed to Crystaldrift Cave
  • Killed a bear on the way
  • Got in there and fought critters inside, only to realize that I didn’t have any amber and madness on me, so I couldn’t do the thing to get the hammer
  • Rolled back to Lakeview; ducked into the house to get the amber and madness, then did take two of going to the cave
  • Lucien got in a bemused line that kinda made me LOL, about whether putting amber and madness into those ashes was really a good idea, and i could just sometimes let these things go
  • Got the hammer, anyway, and also yoinked Galdar’s staff
  • Couple of Seducer bandits came in as per usual, so took them out and got their Dark gear
  • Boinged back to Riften to sell things
  • Lucien congratulated me on my new magic hammer and noted that it looked very pointy, and that he didn’t want to be on the receiving end of it 😉
  • Sold assorted things to get the carry weight down
  • Boinged back to Lakeview
  • Saved there for the night

Thursday the 23rd

  • Started in Lakeview
  • Grabbed crafting supplies and boinged to College of Winterhold to experiment with additional MCM abilities
  • Landed on the bridge on horses, and it was too crowded; fast traveled to Winterhold instead so I had room to dismount
  • And, Ancient Dragon! Inigo: “We have a dragon problem.”
  • So we took out the dragon, and then I tromped slowly up to the college with all my stuff as well as the new dragon loot
  • Dropped crafting supplies and alchemy supplies into appropriate places in the Arch-Mage’s quarters
  • Discovered that the teleportation orbs in the Hall of Countenance do require various grades of soul gem to use, which means the only one that doesn’t is the one that goes to the secret room in the Arch-Mage’s quarters
  • Did training in the Hall of the Elements
  • Got nearly up to level 55
  • Reached 75 in Restoration so Colette can’t train me anymore
  • Hoofed it back down to Winterhold
  • Popped into the inn on impulse to ask the innkeeper for a rumor–and surprise! There’s the pointer to go talk to Falion! This automatically triggered the Rising at Dawn quest
  • Boinged first to Windstad to see if I could use the stuff in the chest at the Arch-Mage’s quarters
  • Answer: yes, but only if I try to do so at a workbench or grindstone, resources did not invoke if I’m trying to build something at one of the house workbenches
  • Also, the automation didn’t pick up on materials it doesn’t know about, like amber or madness from the AE/Creation Club stuff, or things brought in by other mods, like hide laces from Campfire
  • Mounted up and rode over to Morthal from there
  • Killed a frostbite spider on the way
  • Mined corundum vein
  • Reached Morthal and found Falion
  • He agreed to de-vamp me, and told me to meet him at dawn in a summoning circle
  • Killed a little time by fishing
  • Reached the summoning circle and saw Falion had called up a frost atronach–to fight a mudcrab
  • He did the ritual, which was… kind of anticlimactic, really 😉
  • But welp, now I’m not a vamp anymore!
  • Popped into Myrwatch for a supplies check
  • Lucien liked the place, he threw lines about it being very similar to the Arch-Mage’s quarters
  • Oh good! Malachite ore!
  • Boinged down to Riften, came in at night, and saw another thief get shot down; looted him after
  • Headed down into the Guild
  • Talked to Face Sculptor and got her to give me a makeover
  • Sold assorted things to Tonilia, including the thief’s Guild armor
  • Bought Shadowfoot Sanctum from Vekel the Man as long as I was down there
  • Went topside and sold small items to Bersi
  • Bought a hagraven claw at Elgrim’s
  • Boinged from there to Goldenhills and looted my apiaries to get honeycomb
  • That let me do the next round of fortifying on the Hedge Mage armor, finally!
  • Boinged back to college to pick up some of the stuff I left there (the stuff I can’t use at house workbenches, also an ebony ore since I needed one for the next round of Hedge Mage armor)
  • Explored the various customizable cabinets and things in the Arch-Mage’s quarters
  • Did more training and leveled up to 55; took Health bump and Expert Lockpicking perk
  • Went out on foot to finish the Arms of Chaos plot
  • Spotted flyby dragon
  • Cast Candlelight and Waterbreathing spell to find the correct underwater chest
  • Surfaced to hear that dragon still flying around, but it didn’t attack
  • Hoofed it over to where I had to go to summon the dremora
  • Got three of them, which we then dispatched; got sigil stones and daedra hearts
  • Boinged back to Myrwatch
  • Made the two staves and the Warlock’s Mark to conclude the quest
  • Boinged back to Lakeview and nabbed a ruby out of the safes in the cellar
  • Next round of Hedge Mage armor fortifying! And this is definitely now my best armor
  • Still not really loving the Scout armor? Either on me or on Inigo; put Inigo back into the Nordic, and the Scout armor back on a mannequin
  • Boinged back to college and picked up the crafting things and ingredients; decided I did not actually like the automated functionality
  • From there, boinged to Whiterun and did a little smithing
  • Lucien dropped a bit of singing: “Toss a coin to your hero, oh valley of Whiterun, oh valley of Whiterun, ohhh… now that is what I call an earworm.” And hey I see you there, Witcher joke
  • Sold stuff to Elrindir, Belethor, Arcadia
  • Boinged back to Lakeview and stashed materials in assorted places
  • Put the Daedric Sword of the Inferno from the dremora onto a weapons plaque
  • Saved there for the night

Finishing the run through Irkngthand

This was, perhaps, the fastest yet that I’ve charged through Irkngthand to take out Mercer Frey. The main motivator for the speed run was that I was already loaded up pretty heavily with loot, so I didn’t want to try to overload myself to the point of not being able to easily use Fortify Carry Weight potions.

(Though that said, with Convenient Horses letting me summon my horse whenever I want, this is now less of a problem than it would be in a non-modded playthrough!)

As per previous playthroughs, I tried to be sneaky. But Karliah and Brynjolf kept up their fine tradition of tending to attract Falmer anyway, not to mention setting off traps. By which I mean: HOLY HOPPING DIVINES, BRYNJOLF, HOW DO YOU STEAL THINGS WITHOUT TRIPPING OVER YOUR OWN FEET I mean honestly.

Main notable thing about getting out of Irkngthand was, Inigo and Lucien did in fact show up in the tunnel once we climbed out through there. Which brings up the question of how those boys knew to find me there?

I am carrying around the little Dwemer thingamabob that Lucien gave me, so maybe he used that as a homing signal!

And oh yes, one other notable thing: in order to get through Irkngthand without overloading myself, I wound up having to do a mix of Hedge Mage and Nightingale armor, plus the Gray Cowl of Nocturnal. Because that kept my carry weight up high enough that I could move freely.

But that also meant that I completely forgot that I was wearing the cowl when I tried to boing back to Whiterun. And as soon as I showed up at the gates, the guards came at me. Oooooops.

So yeah, this marks the first time I’ve had that happen!

Fortunately, this was an easily solved problem. I rolled back to coming out of Bronze Water Cave, swapped out to the Hedge Mage hood, and then invoked the power of Horse Call to bring the horses in to catch up with me. Which I figure I can handwave narrative-wise by assuming that if the boys caught up with me in the tunnel, they did of course bring the horses.

Which let me get back to Whiterun to sell things. And, as it happened, talk to Durak again!

One more conversation with Durak of the Dawnguard

Entirely by accident, I re-discovered that Durak of the Dawnguard was apparently hanging out in Whiterun still. So I had an opportunity to have another conversation with him about joining the Dawnguard, whether I’d changed my mind, and helping defend against “the vampire menace”.

I already knew about the dialogue option you can take to say you hadn’t noticed any vampire menace; I just hadn’t taken it before. This time I did, though, just for the LOL factor of being an actual vampire, standing right in front of a big badassed vampire hunter, and saying, “I haven’t noticed any vampire menace.”

This had to have amused the fuck out of Lucien and Inigo. Though I can see Inigo explicitly having to cover Lucien’s mouth to keep him from blurting out something ill-advised, and not blow Harrow’s cover. ;D

What I didn’t know in advance was how Durak would actually respond to my crack about not noticing a vampire menace. Answer:

“You’re not paying attention then. Like most everyone else around here. Haven’t you heard that the Hall of the Vigilants was destroyed by vampires? They never took the threat seriously, and now they’ve paid the price.”

Harrow: .oO (I am not the only one in this conversation not paying attention.)

I did eventually go ahead and ask him how I sign up, which got the pointer to go talk to Isran at Fort Dawnguard as per usual. Which, of course, raises a critical question:

Why the hell would a vampire actually go to talk to a cadre of vampire hunters?

I’ve established pretty firmly at this point that Harrow is not above killing other vampires. She’s cleared Bloodchill Manor, Pinemoon Cave (twice now), Broken Fang Cave, and Haemar’s Shame. And any number of random vampire NPCs in the wilderness. (See previous commentary re: vampire and vampire thrall encounters.)

But she also wants to stop being a vampire. And since how to cure herself hadn’t as of the conversation with Durak come across her radar (but did shortly after! See below), I can kind of see her being just desperate enough to consider whether this kind of a last resort might be her only option at that point. It would certainly require a conversation with Lucien and Inigo.

Inigo: “I am not sure that it is wise for you to visit vampire hunters, given your current condition.”

Lucien: “Our blue friend has a point. Hunters, by definition, implies ‘people who are not interested in curing you’. And I think I speak for Inigo as well when I say I’d like you to not be riddled with crossbow bolts.”

Harrow, dryly: “That Orc didn’t seem to know what I was while I was standing in front of him in broad daylight. If he’s an example of the Dawnguard in general, they don’t strike me as exactly alert.”

Lucien: “You pass well…?”

Inigo: “I do not think you can rely upon that luck holding. But more to the point, why would you even want to go to speak to them?”

Lucien: <gestures pointedly at Inigo, in support of his question>

Harrow, silent for a long moment, before finally going on: “Don’t worry, boys. I’m not suicidal.” And she smirks a bit, as she sees a sudden flare of relief in both their faces, indicating she’s touched on a worry neither Inigo nor Lucien had wanted to voice. “First answer: even if I can’t find a cure for myself, I don’t want others like me threatening those I care about. You’ll note we’ve killed several vampires together already. What does that make us, if not vampire hunters?”

Inigo: “We have slain many who would threaten the people of Skyrim, whether or not they are vampire hunters. But I do not think the Dawnguard will be willing to take your history into account. Even if you are Dragonborn.”

Harrow: “Maybe not. Which leads me to my second answer for you: pure practicality. If there are vampire hunters active in Skyrim, sooner or later they will want to come after me, unless I find a cure for myself first.”

Lucien: “That won’t go well for them, even if Inigo and I aren’t around. You’ve gotten awfully good at summoning dremora lords.”

Harrow, smiling thinly: “Yes. And I won’t hesitate to call them again to defend myself, or either of you, or Lydia, or Rayya. It’d be better, if we were to discover that the Dawnguard can be allies to us. But if not… if they are to be foes… I want to know what we’re facing.”

Inigo: “Then this is reconnaissance.”

Lucien, as Harrow nods: “Then we’re in! As always, we have your back.”

But, heh, as it happens, this whole question got rendered moot because I finally got the rumor for going to see Falion. Which I then immediately followed up on. Because yeah, kinda got tired of being a vamp. More on this below.

Secluded Cabin from Immersive College of Winterhold

I finally got to investigate another feature added into the game by the Immersive College of Winterhold mod: the secluded cabin you can get to using the orb hidden in the wall in the Arch-Mage’s quarters.

I was a little bemused that that orb required using a Common Soul Gem, when the other orb in the Arch-Mage’s quarters, the one that takes you to the hidden room where you can store secret papers and dangerous artifacts, does not. I later confirmed that the other orbs present at the college, the ones in the Hall of Countenance, also require using soul gems by default.

Which means that the only exception to this rule appears to be the orb that takes you to the artifacts room. Maybe that doesn’t require a soul gem because it’s still a room directly on college grounds? All the rest of the orbs seem to require differing levels of soul gem, with the locations closer to the college requiring lower tier gems, and the more distant locations requiring higher tier ones.

I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, I like the idea that the college found a way to resurrect teleportation magic, but has to use soul gems to do it. Lore-wise, there’s teleportation magic all over the Elder Scrolls franchise, but any presence of it in Skyrim is brought in either via AE/Creation Club content, or via any other player-created mods.

We know from the lore that teleportation/portal magic was cracked down upon after the Oblivion crisis. So I definitely see it being plausible that mages might have wanted to not fuck around with that for some time after. But Skyrim takes place a couple hundred years after the Oblivion crisis… so it’s also definitely plausible that younger mages would start poking at it again.

Because we definitely know from Skyrim that if there’s anything a mage is totally not going to do, it’s “ignore magic that would help them do experiments, even if it pisses off everybody else in the province!” There is important magical research to be done, after all!

And I certainly would buy a mage in the last couple decades or so going “OMG, I can teleport if I use soul gems!”

Hell, I could even see Savos Aren being the Arch-Mage who discovered this, given that he’s got two of these orbs in his very own quarters when you show up at the college. One of which goes to a secret secluded cabin!

Given Aren’s history at Labyrinthian, it would not surprise me in the slightest that he set up that cabin specifically as his “go away and brood without anybody in the college bugging him” retreat. Which by definition would also have required him to have the ability to teleport there unobserved.

On the other hand, from the standpoint of player convenience, I find it slightly annoying to have to actually spend the soul gems. 😉 Which, I suspect, is why the mod explicitly makes that an option you can toggle in the MCM!

As for the cabin itself, I do really like it! It’s small and cozy, has a hell of a view, and seems like the perfect place to retreat to for when your Dragonborn Arch-Mage is just 1000% percent done with the world at large and just wants to go do some alchemy or enchanting. Or just soak in a hot tub on a mountaintop. The hot tub is a really nice touch. <3

Very curious as to where exactly the cabin is supposed to be, too. It does have a hell of a view, and when I looked at the screencaps I took, I could see what turned out to be Windhelm in the distance. From what I can see in the HUDs shown in my screencaps, the cabin is on a peak somewhere southwest of Windhelm, but close enough to it that Windhelm is still distinct and recognizable.

And the HUD in the screenshots also shows the symbol for a Dwemer ruin. This suggests that it’s somewhere in the vicinity of Raldbthar, in what the wiki calls the Shearpoint Range, a.k.a. the Pale Mountains. Given that the HUD also shows a dragon lair in the screenshots, and one which I’ve already visited, that also argues in favor of proximity to the Shearpoint dragon lair.

So now I’m super curious as to whether I can actually come down the mountainside from where that cabin is! And can I actually physically climb up to it? I am totally going to find out. 😀

And speaking of the MCM for ICOW

I finally got that sorted! A helpful person on the Nexus Mods Discord (shoutout to user Grayblood) recommended that I install a mod called Menu Maid 2 to fix the problem I was seeing with Immersive College of Winterhold’s MCM being missing. This fixed that problem right up. <3

Which also finally gave me access to the automated functionality the mod has available for containers in the Arch-Mage’s quarters. There are two options you can turn on if you want them, one which toggles retrieval of alchemy and crafting ingredients from any relevant craft station elsewhere in the game, and another one which allows you to tell specific containers in the quarters to be allocated to specific things. For example, “make this cabinet contain only clothes.”

So once I got the MCM active I played with those. Verdict: not honestly sure I like them?

While I think the option to designate specific containers in the quarters for specific items is a nice idea, I feel like this would make more sense to me as a player if I were planning on actively using the Arch-Mage’s quarters as a home base. Right now, for this playthrough, I’m definitely not.

(Though I do wonder if I’d like this functionality more if there was a way to turn it on for all relevant containers in the game!)

And I really want to like the functionality to pull materials out of the Arch-Mage’s quarters from elsewhere more than I do. This functionality in particular was the big point of my wanting to get at that MCM to begin with, so I could check this out.

So I was a bit disappointed to discover that there is a noticeable performance hit when I go to relevant crafting stations. It’s not huge, mind you, just 3-5 seconds maybe, but it’s definitely noticeable. Because the mod’s going over and pulling all the stuff you left in the Arch-Mage’s quarters, and putting it straight into your inventory. And when you stop using that crafting station, it does the same thing in reverse.

Once or twice in testing it, I don’t think it was necessarily a big deal. But I could see that becoming more annoying to me as a playthrough proceeded, particularly if I loaded up a whole helluva lot more resources in the Arch-Mage’s quarters than I did in this test. My Steam Deck’s pretty decent for playing Skyrim, but if I had too many more resources involved here, the performance hit would be harder.

So, regretfully, I turned both of these options back off.

I will have to think about the toggle for whether or not to use soul gems for the teleport orbs or not. And also, the setting for whether all the other teleport orbs just live right in the Arch-Mage’s quarters.

The teleportation orbs seem like a neat concept, really. But they seem to let you only teleport out. And really, they’re only saving you the effort of going down the stairs and out the front door of the Hall of the Elements, and fast traveling! So given the way I play, it doesn’t necessarily seem like the orbs would save me much.

Now, if I were playing with outright refusal to fast travel, or perhaps doing a Survival Mode run where fast travel is disabled anyway, then those orbs get a lot more interesting. Particularly in a Survival Mode situation. Because if Survival Mode is on, the ability to teleport out of Winterhold without having to go through Winterhold, and by definition freezing your ass off, is a lot more helpful.

For Harrow’s playthrough at the moment, though, they’re not as critical! So I’ll just mull on what I want to do with them.

Running the Twilight Sepulcher, and becoming an Agent of Nocturnal

Did this pretty much as per previous playthroughs, really. Nothing particularly different once I actually reached the Sepulcher, though I will note that the Vampire’s Sight ability was helpful through getting through all the darkest parts of the place.

Really, the best part of this was being able to call in my horse and give him some of the extra crap I was carrying, so I wouldn’t have to run the Sepulcher overloaded. Thank you, Convenient Horses. <3

Attempting to get to Arcwind Point

I tried to move The Cause a little further along, and by extension, also get to Arcwind Point–not only to run the Ayleid ruin there, but also to finish up the Dragon Plate armor plot.

Operative word being tried. I got fried by the dragon at Arcwind Point!

But maybe round two will go better now that I’m no longer a vampire, and less vulnerable to fire…?

Which leads me to…

Getting the vampirism cure

I legit did not plan to get cured of vampirism this fast after talking to Durak. But I was curious to see how long it would take me to get the pointer about Falion if I started talking to innkeepers for rumors!

And it happened on the very first try, when I hit up the innkeeper in Winterhold. So since the game seemed like it was handing me a hint, I decided to run with it!

Narrative-wise, I think I’ll assume that maybe Inigo and Lucien gave Harrow enough pause about investigating the Dawnguard (and perhaps getting herself shot) that she decided to hold off doing it a little longer.

She totally didn’t expect the topic to come up with Dagur in the Frozen Hearth, I think. Because really, there’s no casual way to say to an innkeeper “So hey, know anything about vampires?” Harrow did, I think, take some prompts from the example of Sybille Stentor–that if she wanted to keep functioning in society and not getting herself beheaded on sight, she had to keep as low a profile as possible.

Yet Dagur went straight to the whole “hey, there’s a guy in Morthal who knows about vampires and the undead” topic! Which triggered the Rising at Dawn quest.

So off I went to Morthal. With, I suspect, Harrow feeling rather more hopeful than she had in many, many weeks.

That said, all things considered, I found Falion’s ritual sadly anticlimactic. He didn’t even do any spellcasting gestures, he just intoned a few sonorous lines. Then the screen went black, and then boom, I was no longer a vampire.

I feel like that should have triggered at least a bit of a light show? Hell, if the whole idea here was supposed to be, offering a soul up to Oblivion in exchange for getting my own soul back, I feel like that should at least look a lot like absorbing a dragon soul?

This of course also raises the question of who, exactly, Falion offered the soul in my gem to. His ritual goes like this:

“I call upon Oblivion realms. The home of those who are not our ancestors. Answer my plea!

As in death there is new life, in Oblivion there is a beginning for that which has ended.

I call forth that power! Accept the soul that we offer!

As the sun ends the night, end the darkness of this soul, return life to the creature you see before you!”

None of this identifies what power would be sending my soul back to me.

Dawnguard demonstrates that souls that get trapped go into the Soul Cairn. So the Ideal Masters in theory would already have had that soul in the Cairn, and I’d have a hard time buying that they’d willingly give up a soul just so a vampire can stop being a vampire.

Likewise, I’d have a hard time buying that Molag Bal would take kindly to a vampire wanting to stop being a vampire, and accepting a “this soul for that soul” bargain. Molag Bal strikes me as more of a “fuck you, I want both souls” Daedric Prince.

Any way you slice it, though, Harrowhark is now no longer a vampire. And this will certainly make finally swinging around to run Dawnguard easier!

I feel like if I hadn’t had Lucien and Inigo in this playthrough, I’d have felt better about sticking with it. Maybe in a future playthrough, when I can explicitly set up a scenario where I don’t normally have followers, being a vampire might be sustainable longer.

There’s one other challenge though, and that is, I was honestly kind of getting tired with being a vamp, regardless. A couple of the abilities are cool. But I got pretty tired of the hard nerf to my stats during daylight hours. And given that a lot of my typical activity in the game is in daylight hours, well.

Talking to the Face Sculptor

I talked to Galathil the Face Sculptor after getting de-vamped, and had her do me a makeover. I did this mostly because I wanted a different haircut. And, character-wise, I feel like Harrow actually kind of wanted to celebrate being alive again. But I expect she also was still feeling paranoid about being too pale and gaunt.

Hence, going to the Face Sculptor to make use of her gifts!

I didn’t hugely change Harrow’s look, mind you. I did give her a slightly different hairstyle, and added a bit more color back into her face and lips.

Something that interested me this time though was Galathil’s reaction to me. I hadn’t twigged before that she explicitly reacts to the quality of the equipment you’re wearing, and if it’s under a certain threshold, she is quite condescending to you. This is what she said to me:

“I do not practice my art for free, however. I doubt you can afford my services. You have the smell of the vagabond about you.”

At which point Harrow doubtless smirked and handed over a bag of septims. Fuck you, lady! Make with the magic and stop snarking on my Hedge Mage Armor!

And speaking of the Hedge Mage armor

I got in two rounds of fortification, finally. And now the Hedge Mage armor has pulled ahead as my best armor!

I may swap out what colors it uses, again. Because I also feel like Harrow’s wanting to be a bit more colorful now that she’s no longer a vampire. If she wants to go all monochrome, she can always wear the Nightingale gear!

Finishing up the Arms of Chaos plot

This wasn’t too complicated. I did kind of enjoy doing the dive underneath the icy water to get the ring, since that gave me another opportunity to try out the Waterbreathing spell.

(Fun side question: how exactly does that work? Does it let you just absorb oxygen through your skin? Do you temporarily grow gills? Does it make a temporary bubble of air for you to breathe? Am I definitely overthinking this? Yes I am! But hey, that’s what an obsessively detailed playthrough blog is for.)

I note as well that going diving via that spell does add a bit of extra urgency. Because the spell does eventually wear off! If I’d gone down there with Volsung on or enchanted jewelry or an enchanted helmet, I would not have had to hurry. But as it was, knowing the spell would expire in 60 seconds definitely put me into a mindset of not wanting to fuck around.

Worth noting as well here that I did this dive after being de-vamped. Which meant that Harrow now had less resistance to cold than before. So that’s another reason to hurry through it! At least, purely for RP purposes. This not being a Survival Mode run, I had no actual danger from the water.

(If this had been a Survival Mode run, I’d probably have had to cast Flame Cloak before diving in, too.)

Fortunately, it didn’t take me long to find the submerged coffin with the ring in it. And, damn good thing it wasn’t locked! So I didn’t have to spend seconds getting it unlocked. So I was able to quickly come back up to the surface and proceed to the part where I had to go summon some dremora, and get sigil stones from them.

And by “get stones from them”, I mean, “kill the dremora”. Nice brisk fight!

Actually finally making the artifacts meant I had a reason to go back to Myrwatch as well, because there’s a staff enchanter there. And I was able to make both of the staves, as well as the amulet.

The staves are less interesting to me because I don’t tend to want to use staves in combat. But the amulet might be interesting, with its reduction of conjuration cost!

Definitely not a plot you want to finish up though until you’re able to take out dremora in a fight.

Next time

Good question! Feeling like I’d like to take another crack at Arcwind Point.


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.