Kendis Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Kendis Slays a Cannibal, Acquires Mehrunes’ Razor, and Quests for Mara

Three session post, which has Kendis questing all over the damn place and working on a bunch of side quests. But I’ve also got a bunch of commentary here about glitches, because the last couple of Kendis sessions have been unusually buggy in my Skyrim experience–and given how buggy Skyrim has been for me during all my playthroughs, that’s saying something.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 3/22, 3/24, 3/27/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 50-52

Wednesday the 22nd

  • Picked up just outside Valthume
  • Boinged to Markarth to sell stuff to Ghorza, sold her about all of the loot I got out of Valthume
  • Also got her quest to get Tacitus the Smithing book
  • Went into Understone Keep to follow up on the Hall of the Dead thing
  • Saw the opening argument between the priest Verulus and Thongvar Silver-Blood
  • Talked to Verulus about what’s going on in the Hall of the Dead; convinced him to let me go check it out
  • Got a little sidetracked with the wrong quest marker being active, but then made it correctly to the Hall of the Dead
  • Went in there and heard Eola start giving her “WHY HELLO THERE FELLOW CANNIBAL” lines
  • Took incorrect dialogue option with her and found it tried to send me off to run the full quest. but not really in the mood for that, so rolled back to coming into the Hall of the Dead
  • Take two, I went straight to telling her to fuck off; she went hostile, and did not survive long once I threw Iona, Gogh, Gogh’s storm atronach, and a dremora in her face
  • Brother Verulus came running in, and I told him the problem was now sorted
  • Swung back over to sell a couple other items to Moth, then headed back outside
  • Fetched Yngvi and rode out to try Hag Rock Redoubt again
  • This time, ran the place without too much trouble
  • Didn’t bother with stealth, see previous commentary re: stealth not really being Kendis’ thing 😉
  • Did not see the giant spider stuck in the tent, got a troll instead?
  • Reached and ran Dead Crone Rock, took out the hagraven, got the pommel
  • Got the word off the Word Wall, and boss loot from the chest
  • Ignored the Stone of Barenziah, not running that with Kendis
  • Boinged straight back to Dawnstar from there
  • Brought the parts back to Silus, who was all HURRAY and said he’d meet me at the shrine
  • Tried to follow him over there, but got sidetracked when he veered off to attack a snowy sabre cat
  • By the time I was done killing it he was out of sight, so I followed the quest marker to get over to the Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon
  • Killed a frost dragon en route
  • Made it up to the shrine and gave Dagon his pushback
  • Took out Dagon’s summoned dremora; one of them got knocked off the cliff
  • Took out the dremora inside the shrine; had to do it twice because one of the gold ingots clipped into the snow when I tried to loot a chest, and I WANTED THAT INGOT DAMMIT 🙂
  • Came back outside and went down the steps to find where the other dremora had fallen, so I wouldn’t miss out on that daedra heart!
  • Boinged to Whiterun and sold additional things
  • Rode over to Tundra Homestead and got a zombie horde! Took them out
  • Put the Hevnoraak mask and the iron claw into the display room in that house
  • Boinged back to Lakeview and saved there for the night

Friday the 24th

  • Picked up at Lakeview
  • Boinged to Whiterun to sell some things
  • Rode out from there to go to the shrine for The Cause plot
  • Passed a trio of Thalmor (no prisoner) en route
  • Little further ahead, came upon a vampire masquerade
  • Got off Yngvi and called in the dremora for help; the fight was very short, LOL
  • Then the Thalmor caught up and started snipping at me about being careful about what spells I cast in public; did not otherwise engage
  • Veered off the road at that point to head towards the shrine more directly
  • Swung wide around the giant and mammoth nearby
  • Reached the shrine and took out the assassins
  • Rode from there back to the road to keep heading west
  • Got a hostile random Breton in ebony armor coming at me
  • Near Hendraheim, hit what might have been a vampires vs. bandits attack? I saw the bandit chief, but as I was fighting her, I also saw the red draining attack that suggested a vampire had run over
  • But I was killed so fast I didn’t see for sure
  • Thrown back to just finishing up at the shrine; take two of riding west
  • Got a trio of cultists
  • This time Iona and Gogh kept up with me better, since I didn’t ride quite so fast
  • Encounter near Hendraheim this time was a farmer who’d turned into a werewolf and killed his wife
  • Proceeded westward from there
  • Killed hostile random High Elf at the bridge that leads off to Karthspire
  • Fought vampire and death hound near Arkngthamz
  • Reached Arkngthamz and heard something attack Yngvi just as I went in through the doors (which turned out to be a sabre cat, as I discovered when I emerged again)
  • Ran the place as per usual, HI KATRIA
  • With Katria, Iona, Gogh and periodic summoned dremora, nothing was particularly a problem in this run
  • Iona and Gogh did have problems keeping up, as I’ve seen followers do in previous playthroughs
  • Got the second aetherium shard, and Katria boinged off to find the other two
  • Managed to get out without being overloaded! Go me!
  • Rode over to Markarth to sell stuff
  • Thought about checking in to get thaneship started, but it was after hours by the time I was done selling things, and I didn’t feel like renting a room at the inn
  • Boinged back to Lakeview
  • Decided to set Smithing Legendary
  • Got nine perk points back and dropped most of them on Enchanting and Alchemy, and a couple on Destruction to unlock the Apprentice and first Augmented Shock perks
  • Geared up in the Arch-Mage’s robes because Kendis’ whole backstory is “come to Skyrim, be a mage”, so felt like I should damn well be doing some magery
  • Did a bunch of enchanting and alchemy; made better jewelry for carry weight and alchemy bonuses
  • Decided to use the Saturnalia boots and gloves with the robes, so enchanted the boots with Frost Resistance and the gloves with Fortify Magicka Regen
  • Leveled up to 48 in the middle of all this crafting; took Health bump, and dropped a perk back on Steel Smithing to unlock that again
  • Did enough smithing to get back up into the 30’s; did enough enchanting to hit 90
  • Attempted to go to Whiterun to sell things, but triggered a very weird bug where, when I came out the front door of Lakeview, NOTHING RENDERED, more on this below
  • Did finally manage to make it to Whiterun and sell things, though I had to restart the game to try to clear up the graphical glitching
  • Restarted the game to see if these issues would clear up
  • Went into Breezehome long enough to sleep and say hi to fam
  • Got up the next morning and sold assorted things
  • Boinged off to the college
  • Sold a bunch of enchanted jewelry to Colette and Faralda
  • Got five rounds of Destruction training from Faralda
  • Parked in Arch-Mage’s quarters and saved there for the night

Monday the 27th

  • Picked up from Arch-Mage’s quarters
  • Boinged down to Riften
  • Checked in with Viriya and got next fishing bounty, Mila’s goldfish quest
  • Slept at Honeyside
  • Then checked in with Dinya at the Temple of Mara about finishing the Ivarstead quest
  • Got the directive to go to Markarth and talk to Calcelmo
  • Boinged over there to do that
  • Talked to Calcelmo to convince him I was there to help
  • Got Yngvar to doctor up the poem to give to Faleen
  • Went to go talk to Faleen and got her permission to come to the throne by claiming I wanted to buy a house (which, true, just not right this instant)
  • She blew me off at first but then when I gave her the letter, was all HOLY CRAP CALCELMO
  • Returned to Riften to check in with Dinya again
  • Got directive to deal with with the dead lovers
  • Boinged to Goldenhills to deal with that since it’s near the monument–aaaaaaand Ancient Dragon!
  • Giant hung around nearby watching while we all took out the dragon, which was kind of LOL; did not bother the giant since he wasn’t bothering us
  • Got some boosts to Destruction since I threw lightning at the dragon
  • Saw another dragon flying over in the vicinity of Rorikstead, figured it must be Nahagliiv so ran over there to check it out
  • It was not Nahagliiv, it was Alduin! But he was resurrecting Nahagliiv, who then did emerge, so we took him out too before he became a problem
  • Finally headed over to the monument and talked to the ghost of Ruki, who begged me to help her look for her husband Fenrig
  • Got directive to find Fenrig’s ghost and hoofed it off in that direction
  • Got yet another dragon on the way, this time a Blood Dragon
  • Took it out but by now was loaded up with three dragons’ worth of bits, so had to switch off to the dragonscale armor, back from Arch-Mage robes, so I wasn’t overloaded anymore
  • Found Fenrig’s ghost and convinced him to follow me back to Ruki; reunited them and let them vanish into the sky together
  • Boinged back to Riften one more time to report in to Dinya
  • Got the Agent of Mara power, yay
  • Boinged off to Whiterun to try to follow up on the Mila goldfish bounty–only to discover Mila was still stuck in place, and this opened up a whole new can of glitch, more on this below too
  • In between trying to un-glitch Mila and her mother Carlotta, boinged briefly to Solitude
  • Got the helmet quest from Noster, finally
  • Went to the Blue Palace and launched the quest to go clear out Wolfskull Cave
  • But was still bugged by the Whiterun situation, so boinged back to follow up; did not go well
  • So as a backup plan I will launch Dawnguard and see if I can deliberately trigger the traveler

Kendis the Cannibal Exterminator, reporting for duty

So yeah I didn’t really seriously want to run the Taste of Death plot. But since I stumbled across the initial pointer for it anyway, I went ahead and ran the initial encounter with Brother Verulus, and the initial encounter with Eola in the Hall of the Dead.

I already knew Thongvor Silver-Blood was an asshole from previous playthroughs. And in Kendis’ playthrough in particular, certainly his whole “TYPICAL IMPERIAL LIES” attitude isn’t going to make any friends with Kendis. But at least I get the satisfaction of that asshole not getting to be Jarl, because I’ve already won the war in favor of the Empire. 😉

I also already actually knew, or should at least have remembered, where Markarth’s Hall of the Dead is. Answer: it’s right by the door you come out of at the end of the escape from Cidhna Mine. But I got a little thrown off course because I had the wrong quest marker active, and was briefly all “wait, why the fuck is the Hall of the Dead outside of Markarth?” before I realized what was wrong.

And like I said in Kendis’ last post, a werewolf really kind of doesn’t have much ground to stand on when it comes to being horrified by people who choose to be cannibals. She has, after all, eaten the hearts of those she’s taken down in combat. That said? I think Kendis was horrified anyway. And will have to take a long hard look at her own revulsion, and what it means that she’s revolted by being mistaken for a cannibal if she’s still allowing herself to have the wolf blood. Especially when she knows for a fact that there’s a way to purify herself.

Parallel to Kendis’s reaction, I’m still just generally revolted by the whole idea of this plot to begin with. And particularly how Eola just arbitrarily assumes you’re walking into the Hall of the Dead because you’re a cannibal like her. How the hell can she tell? She can’t! She throws a line about how you smell of steel and blood, but where does she get that from? From what I see about her on the wiki, it’s not like she has any preternatural senses–unless Namira is communicating this to her somehow?

But even if she were getting it off of Namira, how does she jump from “smells like steel and blood” straight to “cannibal”? Lady, do you know how many bandits and Stormcloaks I’ve killed? Of course I smell like steel and blood!

And I mean, seriously, somebody walks into the Hall of the Dead and you jump straight to “this person must be a cannibal!” How the hell do you know I’m not a priestess? Or coming in here to pay respects to an ancestor, light incense, give a few coins to their burial urn, or what have you?

Hell, for all you know, I’m coming in here to do a little extermination, because I hear the Hall of the Dead has a pest problem–oh wait. That’s exactly why I’ve come in here. <stabby stabby stabby>

Aheh. Anyway. I did actually deliberately re-do the encounter in the Hall of the Dead, specifically so I could take Eola out right there. Because I didn’t want to have to play out the rest of the plot, in which I’d discover who all else in Markarth is a secret cannibal. Because ew.

Finale of Pieces of the Past

Played out getting the Razor as per previous playthroughs. Because why yes I will take shameless advantage of the “keep Silus from asking you to spare him by standing in the exact right place by the altar” bug, for as long as it persists!

Sorry Team Dragonborn had to kill you, Silus, but Iona and Gogh get really cranky if they see people trying to attack me, just saying. Oh wait, you can’t hear me, you’re dead.

I was pretty impressed actually that during the fight with my dremora, one of Dagon’s dremora got knocked off the cliff. I had to come down and find where he’d fallen! Because I wasn’t going to miss out on that daedra heart.

I also discovered a minor clipping bug with one of the chests inside the shrine. I picked up an ebony ingot out of that chest first, which caused a gold ingot to clip down into the surrounding snow. So I re-did entering the shrine and killing the two dremora inside, just so I could get at that ingot. Because fuck Mehrunes Dagon, that’s why!

And now I have the Razor. I think I’ll go stab some Mythic Dawn cultists with it.

Taking out assassins at Stendarr’s shrine

Rather odd little encounter with passing Thalmor, just after I took out the vampire masquerade. They caught up with me, just after I’d called up my dremora and let it take out the vamps.

All three Thalmor started throwing this line:

“You really should be more careful with the spells you cast.”

And they did it like five or six times in rapid succession, which was weird.

(And hey, I didn’t see you Thalmor assholes helping me kill these vampires, so kindly fuck all the way off. No, farther than that, I can still see you.)

Running Arkngthamz

Not much new to comment on here. I did notice that both Iona and Gogh had trouble following me, as per behavior noticed in previous playthroughs. I’m pretty sure Iona got stuck on that same pipe I’ve seen make housecarls stuck before.

Gogh also had trouble following me, though he caught up with me after I jumped down off the ledge at the end. So I’m pretty sure he must have had trouble following me along the initial pipes.

And Iona did catch up with me once I went out the front entrance, too.

Also, I saw literally as I went into the place that something attacked Yngvi. When I came back out again, I saw that what attacked him had been a sabre cat. Which Yngvi had killed! Because unicorn vs. sabre cat is not going to go well for the cat.

I don’t think I’ve actually called this out in previous playthroughs, so I’ll say so here: it is interesting to me that Katria boings off across the world in search of the rest of the shards, once you conclude the run through Arkngthamz.

Which says, explicitly, that Katria is not bound to Arkngthamz even though that’s the place she died.

So I guess from a narrative perspective, Katria has the freedom to roam Tamriel because it’s in service of the thing that’s still keeping her around. I.e., the need to validate her work as her own. She already had a pretty good idea of where the other shards were, as per her journal. So maybe that’s enough to let her spirit go and look for them and wait for you until you show up.

Time to go mage mode

It occurred to me that Kendis’ entire backstory here was coming to Skyrim explicitly so she could study to be a mage. Which made me feel like I should damn well be better emphasizing magic in her playthrough! Especially now that she’s Arch-Mage!

So I set Smithing Legendary. And dropped most of the perks from that on Enchanting and Alchemy, but also a couple on Destruction to start beefing that up better for combat purposes.

And I started running around in the Arch-Mage robes, just because they are the best immediate options I have right now for mage gear. I decided to pair them up with the Saturnalia boots and gloves, though. Just to go purely clothing. I enchanted the boots and gloves, though!

I should take a weapons inventory though and decide if I want to really go hardcore mage mode and not bother to carry around swords and bows for a while. I don’t think I quite want to go that far. I’m not that good at throwing lightning bolts with this alt yet!

Very glitchy graphical bugs

After all the crafting I did at Lakeview, I triggered what was arguably the most alarming graphical glitch I’ve seen to date in Skyrim: coming out of the house and seeing absolutely nothing.

No terrain. No stable. No trees. No workbench. No housecarl or Gogh or Yngvi.

I could hear things. And I could at least still get to the UI. If I turned in a circle at the door, I could see the controller prompts to talk to Iona or Gogh, or to go back in through the door. And I could see the HUD. But no actual graphics were loading.

Since I did still have access to main UI, I was able to find the door and go back into the house. And the house did render. Mostly. One side of the door was fucked up, though.

I went back outside again, and the problem reproduced.

At this point, I tried a couple other things. I could get into the map, which meant I could fast travel. So I tried to do what I’d wanted to do in the first place: go to Whiterun and sell things.

It was reassuring to see Whiterun render as usual… again, though, mostly. I went into the Drunken Huntsman to sell things to Elrindir, at which point I saw that the door on the inside of the Huntsman also rendered weirdly. It looked like a big wooden wall rather than a door.

I finally restarted the game, and I think that cleared up the problem. But it definitely alarmed me. And so far, between this and the weirdness I’ve seen with Lucia and Sofie and Rulnik, as well as the weirdness with Mila and Carlotta (more on this below), this has been my glitchiest playthrough on the Switch to date. I am growing very dubious about the stability of the Anniversary Edition on this device.

Finishing the Book of Love quest

For Monday’s play I was very much in the mood for something low-key, so running the rest of the Book of Love quest was about right.

This worked out more or less as per previous playthroughs. Or at least, previous playthrough, because I’d only previously run this plot with Ysani.

One thing I didn’t call out during Ysani’s run though is a slight bit of concern that you convince Faleen to accept Calcelmo by handing her a forged poem. So, boy, wow, I sure hope Calcelmo actually is good at poetry! Because otherwise, Faleen is in for an unpleasant surprise.

Though maybe he’s got a handy stock of ancient Dwemer love poems he can use on her?

The mostly amusing thing about this part of the play was fighting not one, not two, but three different dragons while doing the part of the quest with Ruki and Fenrig’s ghosts. And I had to kind of giggle at the giant just hanging out nearby after we all killed the Ancient Dragon near the farmhouse. Was honestly surprised the giant didn’t turn hostile, in fact! Maybe he was just curious to see what we were doing?

Mila and her mother stuck in place in Whiterun

I’d already noticed in previous Kendis sessions that Mila was standing around in the same place in Whiterun, and not moving. I had hoped that perhaps getting her goldfish quest active would un-stick her.

Answer: not so much.

I was able to give her the goldfish, but what was supposed to happen next was that she’d run off to her house and put the goldfish in a trough next to it. This did not happen! And this was a goddamn problem, given that it blocked resolving Mila’s quest.

Which meant, by extension, blocking proceeding in Viriya’s half of the Fishing quests. So it was clear to me at that point that I’d have to take additional measures.

First thing I tried: I nudging her gently along by walking into her. This didn’t work. It did make her move, but she remained stationary wherever I nudged her to.

Then I discovered what I hadn’t noticed before–that Mila wasn’t the only one stuck. Her mother Carlotta was also stuck in place, just behind her stall! And after a bit more searching, I found references to this possibly being a buggy result of Carlotta’s quest to get the bard Mikael off her back.

And given that that’s pretty damn far back in Kendis’s playthrough at this point, I did not want to try to roll all the way back to that. I’d lose way too much progress!

But of course just about all the posts I found about this basically assumed you’re on PC for access to console fixes. See all previous commentary re: not having access to the console on the Switch. AUGH.

So I had to try to figure out whether I had any means to budge both Carlotta and Mila back into moving normally again.

Second thing I tried: hitting them with Fus Ro Dah.

Which boy howdy did not go well. This of course pissed off all the guards, who promptly attacked me. I got sent to Dragonsreach to pay my bounty, which I did. Only to discover after I got out again that Iona and Gogh were still in active combat with other guards. Yikes.

So that clearly couldn’t stand. I rolled back from that point.

Third thing I tried: Fus Ro Dah again, but this time while sneaking and invisible, which is what I should have damn well done in the first place.

Still didn’t work, though. Carlotta and Mila were budged, but they still remained stationary where they were moved to.

Closest I got to a potentially workable solution was a forum post that recommended spawning a wolf and teleporting it in, which would kick everybody in the area into combat mode. Though again, that assumes you have the console.

The idea I can work with here though is to try to at least provoke the marketplace into combat. And if I can’t port in hostile creatures via console, the best way to make that happen is probably going to be trying to invoke the Traveler during Dawnguard.

Which, mind you, is not guaranteed to work. I’ve had prior playthroughs where I didn’t get the Traveler at all when I entered cities. But the only other options I can think of are a) the wizard asshole who tries to challenge you to a magical duel, or b) a dragon.

The wizard asshole isn’t common, I have maybe only seen him a couple of times total in any of my Skyrim playthroughs. And I have never seen a dragon attacking inside Whiterun. So I can’t count on either of these showing up at all.

Traveler it is, I guess.

But I may just be completely fucked for finishing the Fishing quest line in this playthrough, anyway. Or at least, Viriya’s half of it!

Next time

Playthrough choices appear to have now gone directly towards going ahead and starting Dawnguard.

And I was thinking I’d try to go ahead and de-wolf Kendis… but I think if I’m about to run Dawnguard, I’ll hang onto being wolfy a little while longer. Just because it’s instant protection from being infected with Sanguinare Vampiris!


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.