And now, back to Gyllerah! This is a week’s worth of sessions from mid-June, in which the main action was my moving the Ebonheart Pact further along for Gyllerah’s run through Cadwell’s Silver; running the prologue quest for Necrom; and also beginning the prologue quest for Morrowind, which got me some hefty action in Stormhaven.
Play by play
- Play dates: 6/15-6/21/2023
- Session numbers in this run: 239-245
Thursday the 15th
- Writs and crafting
- Went to High Isle to run brief map fragment quest, just had to drop map fragment off with a guy in an inn; he had prompts to ask him if I could get the rest of the fragments, but decided to hold off on that until later
- Returned to Bleakrock to run the rest of the village evacuation; played through as far as defending Dhalmora
- On the way to the fort, took side quest involving helping farmers stranded by the Covenant attack get safely back into Dhalmora
- This time through chose to help the folks in the fort rather than the folks on the dock (sorry, Captain Rama)
- Had to shut down a bunch of portals Covenant forces were coming through, and then kill the Covenant general coming through another portal in the keep
- Got asked to report to Holgunn in Davon’s Watch, but held that for later
- Boinged back to Cliffshade and finished out level 26 gear set for Marwyth
- Rearranged my weapons for Gyllerah’s primary build, decided to reincorporate using a bow and offensive Templar abilities, I missed being able to fling my Aurora Javelin around!
Friday the 16th
- Boatload of antiquities to try to bump up the gold balance again
- Ran Reaper’s March antiquities in particular because I hadn’t done any there yet and that promised to be profitable (and it was)
- Bought Xivkyn Helmets style and Elegant Lining to run a small master writ
- Did a bunch of crafting to clear out the inventory
Saturday the 17th
- Writs and some crafting
- Bought a few armor items from Guild traders to use for master writ research
- Went to Elden Root to go talk to the Undaunted to see about spending the 18 keys I had
- Got 18 mystery boxes which were a bunch of armor pieces of various sets, some soul gems, and gold
- Took a daily rewards quest which sent me back to the Ilessan Tower delve in Glenumbra; recovered 10 stolen heirlooms and killed the bandit leader there
- Took a quest from the Fighters Guild HQ in Elden Root to try out the dailies for destroying Dark Anchors
- Had to take out three of them in in the Alik’r Desert and holy crap were they swarmed
- I did get access to all three loot chests though, and resolved the Fighters Guild quest
- Overlapping with getting the Fighters Guild quest, got hailed by an NPC I didn’t recognize: Leramil the Wise
- She turned out to be bringing the prologue quest for Necrom; I didn’t have Necrom at this point, but went ahead and started her quest
- Leramil wanted me to help Hermaeus Mora by recovering a thing called a glyphic; agreed to do this, but came back to it after doing the Fighters Guild thing
- Leramil had opened three portals, and asked me to choose one to go through
- Selected Rootwater Grove because I’d already been to Ondil, and the Hoarvor Pit just sounded gross
- Landed at Rootwater Grove after taking the portal
- Greeted by an NPC freaking out about Daedra and got objective to talk to a priest; also got the controller prompt to use a tome that Leramil had given me
- Followed a trail of runes past a bunch of pissed-off spriggans, imps, and lurchers
- Made it into the Emerald Glyphic vault, which was overrun by Dusksaber vampires
- Took out all the vamps and made it to a guardian of the glyphic, who realized I was the one Hermaeus Mora was sending
- The guardian turned over the glyphic to me, as well as a letter for Leramil, and warned me about Leramil’s motives
- Used a tentacle talisman to return to Leramil, who was in Reaper’s March and so far not yet being suspicious
- Got objective to meet with a couple more Hermaeus Mora followers to locate the Shrine of the Golden Eye, to which I had to bring all three glyphics (but, later)
- Had to swing back to Rootwater Grove to take care of the other plot I came across there, involving the first NPC who’d freaked out at me
- This plot also led to talking to Hermaeus Mora, but turned out to be a side plot clearly intended as support material for the Greenshade portion of the Aldmeri Dominion plotline
Sunday the 18th
- Ran one round of antiquities on Eyevea, which got me up to 30,000 gold
- So was able to finally get the Outlaw Helmets style page! Made that item for Marwyth’s level 26 gear
Monday the 19th
- Most of my writs, but lacked cheese and Alchemy reagents
- Boinged off to Davon’s Watch to run plot there
- Ran into a beggar who asked me for money or gems, but had a rather unique way of phrasing it
- Yep, Tanval, summoning Balreth is STILL A BAD IDEA WHY ARE YOU SUMMONING A BONE MONSTER IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO PUT IT BACK
- Burned down siege stuff on the beach
- Then got sent off to Ash Mountain to check in with Garyn and work on the whole “putting the bone monster back” problem
- Diverted to Ebonheart to run Alchemy survey right by Sotha Sil’s shrine just north of the city
- Bought cheese from a Guild trader and did my last two writs
- Discovered Ebonheart apparently does not have a writ dropoff location, WTF THIS IS SUBOPTIMAL
- Wayshrined back to Alinor to turn those writs in
- Parked back in Cliffshade
Tuesday the 20th
- Antiquities in Western Skyrim
- Boatload of crafting
- Bought a few more style pages so I could use some of the backlogged weirder materials in my crafting stash
- No other significant action
Wednesday the 21st
- Got 100,000 gold on daily reward so bought two more rounds of bank space!
- Did a little fishing and resource gathering on Artaeum to be able to finish off the final writ, provisioning
- Did some master writ action which required me to do antiquities on Artaeum, so I could get enough money to buy Gloomspore Chitin and the style page for Blackreach Vanguard hats
- Made the hat for the writ and improved it up to purple, but needed two more Dreugh Wax to take it to yellow
- Then ran the rest of the Eye of Fate plot, which required me to go find a few contacts in Reaper’s March
- Found one of them already dead, and Leramil showed up by portal and encouraged me to search the place for clues
- Found a second contact who pointed me at a third contact
- Leramil stayed behind with this second guy, Bassian, to help him translate a note I’d found in the first guy’s place
- Went off to find the third and final contact; finally reached Naraheida’s camp and she was also dead
- Dralys Athren, who’d warned me about Leramil before, was already there
- Leramil showed up as well, and the two of them had conflicting information about which entrance to take to get into the secret shrine
- Went off to hit the place but wound up having to back out because of needing to idle for dinner
- First time I went to Dralys’ exit but when I came back for a second route, decided Dralys was pushing the idea of Leramil as a traitor just a bit too hard, which struck me as really fucking suspicious
- The game put me back at the beginning of the delve, so I had to start it again and went to Leramil’s exit on the second attempt
- Fought a bunch of bandits on the way through
- Reached the final room and surprise! Dralys was the actual traitor!
- Killed him and reclaimed the other glyphics
- Put them in place and Hermaeus Mora manifested
- He gave me the pitch for helping him save Apocrypha and by extension, Nirn, and offered me a contract to sign when I agreed to help him
- Leramil gave me a final spiel about going off about my business until she contacted me again (by which of course she meant “when the player actually installs Necrom”), so back off to my business I went!
- Moved on to trying to run the Missing Prophecy plot
- This required me to go to Wayrest to talk to Rhea, an oracle of Azura
- She told me about having visions, about oracles being kidnapped, and that Azura wanted to speak to me
- She sent me off to Pariah Abbey–and oh hey I remember passing this place
- Reached the place and saw the NPCs I remembered from before going OH SHIT OUR ABBEY IS ON FIRE; this triggered a couple other side plots, but I wanted to talk to Azura first
- Went inside and talked to her as she spoke through her statue; she asked me to kill 20 daedra to collect essences to try to rescue her oracles
- Overlapping plots all throughout this so I’ll break out each plot separately here
Zone quest action
- Meanwhile I helped out the abbeyfolk with how they were under attack
- The Midnight Union were attacking the abbey and Sister Safia had me grab a bucket to put out some fires; Safia also sent me off to find Brother Hakam and Abbot Durak
- Found Hakam dead and got a Scroll of Return off of him
- Investigated the Cave of Dreams and found Abbot Durak down there unconscious, defended by Master Altien; gave Altien the scroll so he could get Durak out
- Altien gave me a Scroll of Summoning so I could go deal with the biggest of the fires in the area–which summoned a storm atronach, coooooool. Fire sorted!
- Went into the abbey to check on the situation
- Learned that they were kind of fucked about getting Durak to wake up, because they’d been all taking potions to keep them from dreaming (and being vulnerable to Vaermina, i guess?)
- So I had to do it, and they gave me a Dreamstride potion
- Entered Durak’s dream to try to wake him up; had to kill some dream versions of baddies to find a key to unlock his bindings and free him
- We safely woke up, but ohnoez! A Dream Shard had been stolen!
- Which meant the abbey couldn’t make more of the Dreamless Potions–which put King Emeric in danger
- So the abbot asked me to go warn the king, but since this was Stormhaven zone level stuff I put a pin in this and will return to it later
- Meanwhile #2, also talked to Brother Gerard, who reported that the Supernal Dreamers (Vaermina cultists) had opened a portal to Oblivion in Moonlit Maw, and a bunch of scamps were infesting the area
- Went in there to check out the situation
- Found Master Muzgu imprisoned in there and partly possessed by a Daedric spirit; was given the choice of having to kill him, or go get a dreaming cultist to sacrifice in his stead
- Wasn’t exactly thrilled about either of these options but less thrilled about outright killing the priest, so went to go get a cultist to sacrifice for him
- This freed Muzgu and I had to jump through the portal to take out the watcher behind it, which ended the threat
Back to Azura plot
- DARK ANCHOR BREAK! Dolmen fired off not too far away, so ran over there to get in on that action
- Then resumed plot
- Talked to Rhea back at the abbey to report in, and OHNOEZ! She got yoinked up into a portal right in front of me
- But also dropped a letter, because she totes saw this coming (useful to have precognition sometimes), and wrote out a warning for me and more info about her visions
- Got objectives to rescue three other oracles, which required me to hit delves in Bangkorai, the Rift, and Stonefalls
- Hit the delve in Bangkorai first; had to kill a fuckton of spiders on the way in, yuk
- Found a very distressed Orc mage in there, who lamented at me about a pretty Breton convincing him to steal a book for her, and then using it for a ritual and telling him to fuck off, essentially
- Promised to get the book back for him
- Broke up the ritual, and learned that the Breton and her cohorts had been trying to figure out how to turn back time but had gotten stuck in a time loop of only a couple of hours
- Took them out and retrieved the book
- Also found the portal to rescue the first of the missing oracles, and was able to pull him out with Azura’s crystal
- On the way out talked to the Orc again who had apparently also been in the time loop, because he didn’t remember me
- Gave him back the book, to his relief
- Decided to hold off on the other two delves though, and returned to Cliffshade for the night
Defending the fort in Dhalmora
I’ve been dawdling behind Marwyth’s progress, because I didn’t want to really run Stonefalls exactly the same way Marwyth did, so quickly after she did. Fortunately the Stonefalls plotline gave me a few opportunities to switch things up a bit.
When it came time to help defend Dhalmora from the Covenant, I explicitly chose to help the folks in the fort this time rather than the folks at the docks. (Even though I felt kind of guilty for bailing on Captain Rama like that!) Which meant that I got to see that side of the plot. It involved my having to go close a bunch of portals that the Covenant forces were coming through, and eventually, I had to kill the Covenant general coming in through another portal.
This was not a hard fight. I suspect it would have been a lot harder if I’d done this as a lower level character. But hurray, I saved the fort!
And also, I took a little side quest helping four Argonian farmers make it safely back into Dhalmora. These farmers had been stranded in various places due to the Covenant attack, and all I had to do was find them and tell them they could make it safely back into town. Not much to this, but nonetheless it was satisfying, just for the sake of helping out the Argonians. (I’m carrying a strong residual instinct from Skyrim, I think, to want to help out the characters most likely to be oppressed by the dominant culture!)
One last note about being sent off to Davon’s Watch to report to Holgunn: I had a random encounter with a beggar who actually outright asked me for money or gems, though she had a very odd turn of phrase about it. Apparently Indel Swollen-Foot is an example of a recurring encounter you can get for an achievement? Vaguely surprised I haven’t seen her before.
Trying out daily quests
This far in on Gyllerah’s ESO run, and I am only just now getting to trying out the daily quests available to the Undaunted and the Fighters Guild! I need to remember that these are options, on days where I want to play but I’m not feeling motivated to get in actual quest progression. A minor daily quest to go beat up bandits in a randomly selected delve is excellent for days like that.
And wow, the Dark Anchors in the Alik’r Desert were swarmed during that session. Tons of players hit them as soon as they fired off. I barely got in any hits at all. And coming in with sword and bow was the wrong approach, I think. I should have been in healer mode, because the player crowd was so big that I had a lot of trouble actually figuring out where the baddies were and where the players were. This was definitely a situation where I should have been just running circles around the anchor and healing everybody in sight.
I also realized for the first time that baddies at an anchor apparently disintegrate into fire when you take them out. I’m not sure why it took me that long to figure this out.
It was also weird to me that the anchors fired off very quickly; I never saw the Worm cultists sacrificing themselves. I wonder if this was just a matter of the player swarm just taking out the cultists to trigger the anchor early.
Eye of Fate quest, round one
I had already noted Leramil the Wise showing up in quest hub locations, but as of this set of sessions, I went ahead and took her up on her quest. The first round of this basically involved going after the emerald glyphic for her, and getting a warning from the glyphic guardian that her motives might be worth questioning. Particularly since she didn’t worship Hermaeus Mora.
I had two immediate reactions to this:
- A High Elf mage being not entirely on the up and up? THE DEUCE YOU SAY.
- And if she doesn’t worship Hermaeus Mora, who exactly does she worship?
Because lady, if you worship Molag Bal, I got news. I literally just handed him his ass in Coldharbour, and I got no patience for his bullshit. Consider yourself warned.
But put a pin in this, because I did this quest in a couple of pieces and will swing back to this in a moment.
Meanwhile, the other Hermaeus Mora plot
Visiting Rootwater Grove actually triggered a second quest involving Hermaeus Mora–which turned out to be a little plot clearly intended as supplementary material to the Aldmeri Dominion plotline, because the quest reward off of that was Herma-Mora forking over info to me about Hectahame and Naemon and Pelidil.
Y’all may recall that I’ve run that plot already. So having this pop into my playthrough at this point in time definitely was jarring. Yet another example, I guess, to show that Gyllerah’s not quite as stabilized in time as she might have hoped!
Summoning Balreth is still a bad idea no matter which Vestige is running the plot
Proceeding through the part of the Stonefalls plot played, again, pretty much like Marwyth did it. And my impression of this part of the plot was pretty much the same as before, to wit:
Tanval, why the actual fuck did you summon an actual Bone Colossus without knowing if you could put it back? Is the Pact really hurting that badly for troops that it has to resort to major acts of necromancy? I MEAN HONESTLY.
(Now that said, in Tanval’s defense, it does shortly after this point in the plot become obvious that the Covenant sure as hell is also throwing necromancy around, soooooo….)
The other thing I want to note about this part of this set of sessions is that I discovered to my surprise that Ebonheart doesn’t have a writ dropoff area. Which surprised the hell out of me. I mean, I know of course that not every place in the game has them. But given that Ebonheart is supposed to be the city the Pact is named for, it would seem to me that it’s therefore a major enough place that it warrants a writ dropoff.
But from what I see on the wiki, it looks like each area of the map has only one place where writs can be dropped off. And Davon’s Watch is the place in question for Stonefalls.
And I guess since Davon’s Watch is the major starting city for the Pact, I suppose that’s why it got to be the place with the writ dropoff?
Eye of Fate quest, round two
When I went back for a second helping of the Eye of Fate quest, one thing stood out pretty heavily: Dralys Athren, the guy I’d first met in the Emerald Glyphic vault, was really pushing the idea of Leramil being a potential traitor. Hard enough in fact that I thought that was really frigging suspicious.
And, of course, I was right. The guy turned out to be the actual traitor.
As for Leramil herself, swear to gods, she reminded me of Moira from Overwatch. Which, mind you, I do not actually play. But I’ve seen Dara and Paul play it often enough, and I’ve read enough of Dara’s Overwatch fanfic, that I have a very good idea of the character.
This woman struck me as an Altmer version of Moira. She had a similar sort of lanky, pale build, and red hair. But most of all, she had a similar sort of detached and possibly amoral refinement about her.
Since this is a plot featuring an appearance by Hermaeus Mora, I naturally must mention that Daedric prince too. He certainly seemed very similar to how he shows up in Skyrim, both visually and in how he interacts with the player.
Looking it up, I’m a little surprised to discover that they did not get the same guy to voice ol’ Herma-Mora in ESO that they did in Skyrim. Skyrim’s Hermaeus Mora was Wes Johnson, and ESO’s is David Shaughnessy–though Shaughnessy, I see, did have a presence in Skyrim! He was Knight-Paladin Gelebor in Dawnguard!
Now that I know this, I can also say that Shaughnessy did a fine job sounding a helluva lot like Johnson’s performance in Skyrim. But this will also explain why he didn’t sound entirely the same to me. I’d chalked this up as this content being ten+ years after Skyrim, so of course the same actor would possibly sound a bit older. But no, it was just a completely different actor.
Meanwhile, I was simultaneously a bit baffled yet satisfied by the whole idea of Hermaeus Mora offering me a contract. I did get dialogue options to raise suspicious questions along the lines of “If I sign this contract with you, what exactly am I agreeing to?” And, well, good. The player should have the opportunity to interrogate Mora on this. Particularly if you’re an experienced enough player to have gone several rounds with Daedric Princes before.
But I was also generally kind of amused by the idea of signing a physical contract with him. I mean, it’s not like Hermaeus Mora has hands, so he couldn’t sign it himself. And I didn’t see any sign of his magically imprinting the thing with his seal or anything like that… which, come to think of it, is possibly a plot point. So when I play Necrom I damn well better keep an eye out about that.
Point being, though, what happened to that contract after I signed it? Did Mora zap it back into Apocrypha?
All in all, as prologue quests in ESO go, this was pretty straightforward and entertaining enough. The real interest is going to come once I actually start running Necrom in earnest.
(Which is going to come now that I’ve bought it. But not sure when yet.)
The Missing Prophecy quest, and side quests as well
Speaking of Daedric Princes, since I was in a mood to chug through prologue quests, I finally started the Missing Prophecy one that serves as the prologue to Morrowind. This sent me off to speak with Rhea the Oracle, who told me Azura wanted my help to identify a threat to Rhea and her fellow Oracles.
I liked this one! Rhea was entertaining, both in my initial encounter with her and in the followups.
And it was definitely fun to speak to Azura in this plotline. This is in fact the first I’ve interacted with her in ESO, I think. I’ll be intrigued to see when I see or hear more out of her.
The situation turned out to be more complex than I’d anticipated, though. I got in action involving the Azura quest, but also the main Stormhaven zone quest as well! I ran back and forth a lot trying to satisfy objectives for I think three different overlapping quests: killing Daedra for the Azura one, putting out fires and healing people for a side quest, and trying to help wake up the abbot for the zone quest.
And here’s one thing that stood out to me: what was up with the potion I was given being called a Dreamstride potion?! I thought that whole idea was part of the Vaermina cult in the nightmares plot in Dawnstar, in Skyrim! Did Azura’s cult steal the idea off of the Vaermina cult, or vice versa?
Also interestingly, the potion I was given in this plot didn’t do the same thing as the one in the Skyrim nightmares plot. This one actually sent me directly into Abbot Durak’s dreaming consciousness, as opposed to letting me see past events through the eyes of another. So this seemed maybe like a question of Bethesda just reusing the term?
Though if that’s the case, I think the term actually better fits here, since I was actively striding into Durak’s dreams.
Given that Stormhaven zone quest action was super critical here, and I got thrown kinda right into the middle of that plot line, I did not elect to pursue it past the point of the abbey. I’ll swing back to this plot eventually, once I get Gyllerah to the point of running Cadwell’s Gold.
I definitely wasn’t a fan of the side quest that required me to either kill the priest who’d been possessed by a Daedra, or else go get a cultist to sacrifice in his stead. Neither of those options were palatable to me. And thinking back on it, I think I probably should have gone with the “killing the priest as a mercy blow” option, really. At the time I was less happy about that option than I was about sacrificing a cultist. But thinking back on it, I think there’s an ethical call to be made there to respect the priest’s wish because he asks you to kill him, and that way you don’t have to go find somebody else and kill them instead.
Okay fine, you’re sacrificing a Vaermina cultist and there’s a bunch of evidence in this plot that they are not the good guys here. But still.
I’ll have to think on this more and see which way I wind up having to do this if I play this out as Marwyth.
And when I finally swung back around to the Azura quest action, that got me the directive to go rescue oracles (including Rhea) in various delves. I chose the one in Bangkorai first, and that got me yet another side quest. That delve had a nice little local quest, and as I noted above, it turned out to be a time loop plot.
But a small time loop, which was a nice angle on that trope! Well done, local delve plot.
And I hope that Orc mage makes better choices in the future about which of his colleagues he chooses to try to romantically pursue.
One last note: I only realized, while writing up this post, that Abbot Durak shares a name with Durak in the Dawnguard in Skyrim. And they’re both Orcs! Though Skyrim’s Durak certainly seems to be rather more martial than ESO’s.
I’ll do another week or so’s worth of sessions in Gyllerah’s next post, and expect that to feature:
- A bit more moving of the Ebonheart Pact storyline along
- Finishing the Azura plot
- Running the prologue quest for Northern Elsweyr, featuring everybody’s favorite asshole mage, Abnur Tharn