Swinging back now to clear more of my ESO play action out of the backlog. Here’s about a week’s worth of action with Marwyth the thief, featuring helping her fellow thief Quen learn more about her background, fighting the Maulborn in Obsidian Gorge and Mournhold, coming to the attention of Almalexia (yikes), and helping the dremora Lyranth fight against the cultists of the Waking Flame.
Play by play
- Play dates: 6/20-6/24, 6/26/2023
- Session numbers in this run: 22-27
- Writs and ship robbing!
Wednesday the 21st
- Bought another 10 inventory slots so’s I could rob the two ships all in one go
- Legerdemain leveled up to 12
Thursday the 22nd
- Went to talk to Velsa at Silver-Claw’s shop
- He told me she’d buggered off to No Shira Citadel, and asked me to go buy a disguise so I could sneak into the place
- For now though followed up with Quen about her side plot, which required me to meet her at Sulima Mansion–and break into the place, which required some sneaking and hiding in baskets
- Made it in though I also saw that at least one other player nearby was taking the violent approach with the guards 😉
- Inside the mansion I had trouble, got spotted a couple of times and killed by guards, I have got to get better at judging my sneaking routes
- Found a couple of things that Quen recognized from her childhood
- Finally made it to Lady Sulima, who apparently had a relationship with Quen’s father
- She told me Quen would always be welcome in her house but strongly suggested I leave discreetly via a secret exit to the street
- Decided this was enough thief action for now, and boinged off to Deshaan for more Ebonheart Pact action
- First up: meeting the forces at Obsidian Gorge
- Snerk, talked to the captain who was basically all “talk to this other guy literally standing right here”
- So I talked to that guy and got directive to find missing scouts in the area
- Started searching the place and found a wounded scout not far away, who asked me to find some fake shipping manifests the Maulborn were going to try to use to get shipments of the plague into Mournhold
- Also found a Nord mercenary lurking nearby who asked me to help him recover some lost items from the traders’ camp that the Maulborn had overrun, so worked on finding keys and then opening chests to get the items for him
- Got manifests by killing a few random Maulborn
- Returned to the mercenary, Kotholl, at which point he fessed up that he’d lied to me and that he needed to sell the trinkets I’d recovered to feed his family
- Told him he’d better be damn sure this is to FEED HIS FAMILY (subtext: otherwise I am going to come back and kick your ass, my dude); he was grateful and flustered and resolved the quest
- Returned to the main plague action
- Found another missing scout, Kanat, but he’d bled himself out with his own blade and was about to die, to keep himself from turning into a plague husk
- He told me the Maulborn were using wards to protect themselves from the plague, which gave me the objective to destroy their wards
- Took out the wards
- Fought a bunch of Maulborn, and also a bunch of husks in armor WELP I GUESS I FOUND THE OTHER SCOUTS
- Returned to Kanat, but he was dead; however, Captain Diril and also Varon (Naryu’s superior? Partner?) had shown up
- Diril sent me up to talk to Naryu and some archers to have them take out a bunch of crates to release the plague onto the Maulborn
- Had to fight off a bunch of Maulborn as they came at us, including their commander
- However, WELP SURE IS A LOT OF PLAGUE HERE
- Had to help Diril and a couple of his guards go after the alchemist that had created the plague
- Diril wondered why the hell I wasn’t plague-ridden after having run through a bunch of the sick
- Broke into the alchemist’s lair–but the alchemist released the plague into the room, and it turned the two guards, and then Captain Diril
- So I had to kill them all (yikes), and then the alchemist
- Went back outside and found Varon and the first scout, Mamyne
- Mamyne gave me the quest reward and sent me off to Mournhold with a message about what had happened here
- Reached Mournhold and got dinged coming in by the Ordinator who wanted me to go get registered
- Agreed to do that, but HOLD THAT THOUGHT gotta make a report first
- Reported to another Ordinator that Obsidian Gorge was safe for now; that resolved my ‘drop off a message’ quest
- Reported to the registrar who was all ‘yep you should go talk to Almalexia’
- Headed over to the temple and HI NARYU, then went in to talk to the goddess
- This played out more or less like I did it as Gyllerah, though this time through I didn’t pester her about the lantern
- Almalexia authorized me to investigate the Maulborn in her name
- Got the objective to go follow up with Naryu
- But first, hit the Fighters Guild to talk to Sees-All-Colors, and ran the Dwemer ruin with her; played out pretty much as per Gyllerah’s ruin
- Got pinged by Jofnir’s ghost, and OHNOEZ someone is conspiring against me
- Returned to the Guild afterwards and resolved quest with Merric
- Got messenger Mera as soon as I left the Guildhall, who asked me to meet Colors and Aelif at the hall in Stormhold
- Called a halt at that point for the night
Saturday the 24th
- After ship robbing and writs, boinged back to Deshaan for more Mournhold action
- Before I started in on RP, bought the Flaming Nix Deluxe Garret in that inn; this unlocked the Freeholder achievement on Marwyth! (Should doublecheck that with Gyllerah, I think it should trigger if I enter Flaming Nix as her)
- Talked to Naryu to move the Maulborn plot along
- This time I went the route of trying to follow the courier, which was unexpectedly difficult
- Finally trailed him over to near the Fighters Guild where he keeled over in the grass; stole his key and then headed out to get to the farm
- On the way out, got hailed by a guy I’d heard before, going on about how I matched the description of the one his mistress seeks
- So finally went over to see what he was on about, and OMG he worships Lyranth, fuck yeah I’m doing this quest 😀
- Talked to him and got him to show me Lyranth’s letter about wanting to talk to me, and marking a position on my map; however, did not pursue this immediately because I wanted to continue the Mournhold plot
- Remembered I had a fuckton of invisibility potions, so used them just to be sure I wouldn’t get intercepted by cranky House Dres guards
- Made it safely into the farmhouse and investigated the place; this played out pretty much the same way it did as Gyllerah
- Naryu caught up and we took the trap door down into the underground tunnels
- OHNOEZ the tunnels are full of Daedric wards that should not have been triggered by people who aren’t Morag Tong
- Played through to the point where Almalexia showed up and smote the fuck out of the Maulborn, and then bade me to go talk to the mage she rescued in the Mages Guild
- Got out and went over to the Mages Guild to do that
- Got the instruction to go report to an Ordinator again, who told me Almalexia still had need of my services; went over to the Tribunal Temple to check in
- Almalexia wanted me to get into the temple and take out a bunch of Daedra that had invaded it through portals, which I had to close
- Took out a bunch of watchers and dremora
- Almalexia granted me her blessing to get into the high temple, and told me to also get the blessings of Vivec and Sotha Sil, which required me to hit their altars and pray and pass their trials
- Vivec’s trial was a murder mystery and I had to figure out who the actual culprit was
- Sotha Sil’s was having to solve a riddle to repair a centurion and then destroying the centurion
- Successfully got the blessings and killed off all the Daedra, and Almalexia named me her Hand
- Agreed to pursue Magistrix Vox eastward, but later
- For now followed up on this plot with Lyranth
- Went back out to the square and got hailed again, by a woman this time, who had almost an identical greeting to the guy who’d hailed me about Lyranth the first time
- Turned out she was the sister of the previous guy, with a different Lyranth-related quest, so I did hers first; this required me to enter Fort Greenwall
- Found a suspicious keg in there next to drunken bandits; checked it out and found that the wine in it was strangely tempting, but I did not give in to the temptation; took a sample to take to an alchemist later
- Proceeded through the fort and killed a few more bandits
- Found Lyranth’s lair and pulled an enchanted blade out of her, then helped her locate the Dagon cultist who had infiltrated the place
- He was dead but had an incriminating letter on him
- Lyranth took us off to Greenshade to find a Waking Flame cult camp; attacked that and found evidence about what they were up to
- Lyranth whisked us back to the Marbruk Outlaw Refuge, and wanted further assistance; she planned to disguise me as the cultist she’d killed
- Decided I would follow up on that later though, as this was enough for the night
- Did inventory cleanup with both alts
Monday the 26th
- Returned to the Marbruk Outlaw Refuge to meet up with Lyranth, who sent me out to get her ingredients for making a potion to disguise me as the cultist she’d killed
- Found an alchemist, Aurien, just south of Bramblebreach
- Got a Tincture of Befuddlement for free from her, she apparently knew Lyranth or at least knew of Lyranth, and offered it to me to give her as a gift
- While in Aurien’s camp, found an NPC there named Benduin who was experimenting with lurchers to give them elemental qualities; offered to help him out with that
- He sent me out into the surrounding wilderness to bring him back ingredients
- Killed a bunch of thunderbugs and wasps, and harvested some rain flowers to get dew bugs off of them
- Came back and gave him the ingredients, and he grew me a guardian lurcher; decided to give it fire abilities, and he let me use it to fight a couple of the other lurchers
- This was only mildly interesting and didn’t seem to have any actual permanent reward, so meh, but at least it was brief
- Next, had to go hit the Orc stronghold I’d run as Gyllerah as part of the Bramblebreach plot, and fetch the other ingredient Lyranth wanted, a fluster fume plant
- Tried to sneak as much as I could but wound up killing a couple of the local Orcs
- Got out by teleporting straight home and then hoofing it back to the outlaw refuge
- Lyranth whipped up her potion, I drank it, and yep it sure did make me look like the dude she’d killed, including the armor he’d been wearing, LOL
- Her plan was to send me through a portal to the Waking Flame camp, pretending to be bringing her as my “prisoner”; this let us infiltrate the place, find out what was going on, and sabotage it
- We had to fight Havocrel Duke of Fire who was very big, very mad, and very fiery O.O
- He killed me a couple of times until I got the groove of fighting him and took him out
- Hightailed it out of there with Lyranth until we got far enough out of range that she could open a portal back
- Got final remarks out of Lyranth to finish up the quest
- Leveled up to 30
- Bounced back and forth between Gyllerah and Marwyth a couple of times, upgrading pieces of Marwyth’s gear and deconstructing the old stuff a piece at a time to get back the Rogue’s Soot where I could, to make new stuff
- Three skill points on this level up! Morphed a couple of my skills, including the Volley one for Bow, and now my rain of arrows is bigger and does more damage
- Then went to work on the second of the Lyranth prologue plots
- This required me to get to a map locale in Shadowfen, and I hadn’t been in there yet with Marwyth
- Went to Elden Root first but quest marker parked me over the cart by the guy with the Craglorn plot
- Doublechecked the wiki, realized I actually needed to be in Mournhold to get a navigator to take me to Stormhold, but I was overthinking it; soon as i reached Mournhold, I found a cart specifically labeled for this plot
- Took that and it landed me right at the Shrine of the Black Maw delve; did not clear this one and didn’t reach the skyshard either
- Found Lyranth immediately inside, killing a cultist without actually meaning to, very forceful interrogation techniques 😉
- She wanted me to use an amulet to deactivate some wards for her
- Opened the first ward to get into the target chamber, then had to get into three wards on chests to find target items; killed a few cultists while I was at it
- The scroll was not readable, so Lyranth had to work on that, and meanwhile tossed up a portal which took me off to another delve, Ne Salas in Grahtwood
- Ran into local plot for this one; Dominion soldiers were on hand and their leader complained about Covenant troops attacking them from within
- Got into the place and also found a Bosmer, Eveli Sharp-Arrow, who turned out to be a) kind of adorable, b) very talkative, and c) part of Lyranth’s plot
- Hit the skyshard in this place and took out the delve boss, Covenant Lieutenant Khari
- Chose to go ahead and proceed with the Lyranth plot rather than heading back to follow up with the Dominion leader outside, Cirmo
- Made it into the annex with Eveli
- Had to take out another cultist and loot another warded chest; this one I wasn’t actually able to get into, but Eveli did, and cue Lyranth catching up with us
- New chest had a signet ring and another encoded scroll
- Lyranth opened another portal for us to get out so that we could go talk to Eveli’s brother, Beragon, who could help us translate the scroll (which dropped all sorts of tasty backstory info)
- Eveli asked me to meet up with her in Riften to talk to another contact there, Renna
- But first I decided to swing back and find Cirmo to resolve his quest; had to hoof it on a roundabout route to the front of Ne Salas
- Hit a dolmen on the way, Long Coast Dolmen I think
- Found Sweetbreeze Cottage but did not stop to check it out
- Skirted around a bit of Elden Root that I think was the Aldmeri Dominion embassy part? Very High Elf architecture
- Finally made it back to the delve and reported in to Cirmo
- Returned to Beragon’s camp and used the cart there to get to Riften–which discovered Riften for Marwyth’s map, yay
- Found an anxious soldier at the gate who wanted me to help out with a giant attack, but hold that thought my guy, I’ll come back for that later
- Since I had a pending plot with the cursed wine, I found the alchemist for that first, and gave her the sample; she was relieved to hear I hadn’t drunk any of it, and asked me to go inform the Jarl’s housecarl of what had happened; did so and resolved that quest
- Hit the Mages Guild and found Eveli, who asked me to speak to Renna on her behalf
- Talked Renna into sending us off to the house of the guy we really needed to see, Farrul Lupus—the dead emperor’s steward
- We knocked at the door of the place and heard a cry for help, so had to pick the lock to break in
- Found the place was trashed, and Farrul Lupus was very, very dead
- Also found a note with a very familiar black handprint logo on it
- Renna freaked out that Farrus had been killed by the Dark Brotherhood, so Eveli and I left her be and talked under the docks to decide what to do next (note: lots more docks in this version of Riften)
- Eveli chatted about some dreams involving four specific animals (GOSH I WONDER HOW THIS IS PLOT-RELEVANT)
- Lyranth showed up again, and told us there was another cache beneath the Imperial City
- She fired up another portal and Eveli and I went through
- Apparently this is part of the city not considered part of PVP? Took out a whole bunch of cultists here
- Got cache items and found out that the Longhouse emperors had teamed up with Mehrunes Dagon
- Killed a couple higher tier cultists and finally found a shrine to Dagon
- Doombringer Eshil opened a portal to the Deadlands; went through that and chased after him
- Took Eshil out and a Daedric titan, Grazgoth
- Dagon grudgingly let us leave because we took out his champion, and opened a portal back to Tamriel for us
- Landed back at Eveli’s brother’s camp
- Lyranth was also there and we briefed her on what happened; got final remarks from her and Eveli to conclude the quest
- Will have to see how Lyranth’s quest links into Blackwood stuff?
Breaking into Sulima Mansion with Quen
This was a nice little character backstory plot. I liked the challenge of having to break into the mansion–though really, there wasn’t much actual point to breaking into the mansion, given that Quen and I didn’t actually steal anything! (At least, I didn’t.) But apparently Quen was trying to keep it surreptitious just because of being involved with the Thieves Guild and all.
I also liked the angle of Lady Sulima actually being friendly to Quen, and welcoming her to the house any time. And letting us go without a problem.
And ohhh, Quen’s reaction to the whole situation! She was rather whomperjawed by this entire affair:
“What’s wrong with me? I’m a High Elf. I’m not supposed to cry.”
Oh honey, Gyllerah would like a word with you.
Plague action in Obsidian Gorge
Let me say this first of all: this whole Llodos Plague plot does not make much sense to me, logistically speaking. I learned in Narsis that the Maulborn were infecting the lake with the mixture they’d created, which suggests to me that they were expecting to pass the infection via people drinking the tainted water out of the lake.
Yet in this stage of the plot, the plague had essentially become airborne, and multiple NPCs exposed to it turned into plague husks very quickly. So why bother infecting the lake?
Also, was there actually supposed to be a magical component to this? I’m having a hard time parsing how setting up wards was supposed to protect the Maulborn from the plague. A ward with a general area effect would presumably protect anybody in the area from it. So were these wards attuned to people who were Maulborn specifically? If so, how did the wards actually ping off of that?
Maybe if all the Maulborn were carrying amulets or something that were attuned to the wards, that could work. But I don’t recollect anything of that nature being specified in dialogue.
And I would have liked to see a bit more substance to the question of why, exactly, I was apparently not impacted by the plague. Captain Diril did call this out, and this was a damn good question! But I had no answer for him, because no answer presented itself in the action. Best I can guess here is that I got to be immune because I’m the Vestige, and the physical body I’m running around in is built out of Azure Plasm (and sheer ornery cussedness), and powered by skyshards?
Marwyth probably did pause a moment to go “Whut?” at this question, too. But given the urgency of the situation, it’s not like she had time to stop and reflect!
Aside from these quibbles, though, lots of good action here.
I liked the side plot with the mercenary, and also liked that he fessed up about lying about why he needed me to recover the trade goods for him. Marwyth, I feel, was not entirely unsympathetic to that. But I can definitely see her delivering him a Look as she told him he’d damn well better be using these goods to feed his family, just to drive the subtext of “because if not, I am going to hand you your ass” home.
Having various NPCs turn to husks very quickly certainly also upped the stakes. Good amount of YIKES in particular when Captain Diril turned. That’s some big zombie plot energy right there.
Action in Mournhold
And now we come to the part where Marwyth the Ashlander, who grew up amongst a tribe that believed that the Tribunal are false gods, has to actually meet one of those gods and receive tasks from her.
I’d already decided Marwyth was starting to wibble about her anti-Tribunal convictions by this point. Once she saw Almalexia in the flesh, I think that definitely pushed her into wibbling further. She didn’t commit fully to believing Almalexia is a goddess; some of Almalexia’s dialogue to her along the lines of “I need you to do X rather than taking care of it myself” left some seeds of doubt in her mind.
But she got a good enough look at what Almalexia can do, particularly the part where she ported into the sewers and put a stop to the shenanigans down there, that she now believes that at the very least, this being is packing some kind of mighty power.
Plus, Almalexia just looks luminous. Her appearance alone was enough to make an impact on Marwyth, I think. It certainly made her rather more reticent about talking to her than Gyllerah was, just because she was struggling hard between Almalexia’s clearly “divine” kind of appearance, and what she herself had been brought up to believe.
Most of the action in Mournhold, at any rate, was familiar since I’d done it already as Gyllerah. This time through, I decided to follow the courier to get his key rather than having Naryu seduce him, just to switch it up a bit.
But this was an unexpected challenge, because the damn courier kept spotting me. ;P So I kept having to return to Naryu to start over, and she kept snarking about my being an amateur. Fpbpt.
Finally, though, I established a rhythm of how far back to stay so the guy wouldn’t spot me, and also how fast to move so that I could keep up. And I figured this out before I got to the point of being actually cranky about it, so that was good.
I think maybe I could have better mitigated the problem by remembering to use potions of invisibility! Or equivalent Nightblade abilities. I really gotta remember that this alt can hide herself, at least for three-second bursts.
And I did at least remember to use my potions when infiltrating the House Dres Farmstead. I wasn’t in the mood to get intercepted by cranky House Dres guards. Pretty sure they would not have particularly cared that their own Grandmaster had named me the Hand of Dres! (And I also now have some questions about whether that Grandmaster had any idea what was going on on this farmstead…)
I was struck by a bit of a discontinuity in dialogue when Naryu led me down into the sewers. I got a line referencing the Morag Tong, which Naryu had not told me was her organization yet. Checking the wiki, I see that I apparently missed an opportunity to get her to fess up to me about that back at Obsidian Gorge. But here I will take the liberty of assuming that it was pretty fucking obvious what organization she was a member of, to a Dunmer who’s aware that the Morag Tong are shady as fuck in Morrowind. 😉
Still though I’m a little surprised that I got that line to make, without having had that prior conversation with Naryu. Apparently that part of the dialogue flow was clearly expecting the player to know already she was Morag Tong.
After that point, I got to plot that Gyllerah hadn’t run yet, and into some really meaty action to challenge Marwyth’s opinions on the Tribunal.
The game did not give me an opportunity to go “actually I don’t worship any of you”. So I must presume that Marwyth, now that she’s laid actual eyes on Almalexia, is now dubious about the idea of something like necromancy sustaining her. Just because she looks too damned radiant and holy.
But she’s also dubious that Almalexia had to have her kill Daedra for her. Why didn’t Almalexia herself do it?
And Marwyth was also super dubious about being named a Hand of Almalexia, for that matter. But I was not given an opportunity to decline! So I must assume that Marwyth opted to keep her damn mouth shut. She’s not necessarily sure Almalexia is a legit goddess, but it seems obvious that she is fucking powerful. And Marwyth is not foolish enough to overtly challenge someone a lot more powerful than her to her face.
And speaking of beings more powerful than Marwyth
After agreeing to pursue Magistrix Vox eastward, I amused myself with the side plots involving Lyranth. I was super delighted to have discovered those, since I’d been hoping to find out where Lyranth would show up again after encountering her as Gyllerah in Coldharbour.
And I was at first legit confused about how I got hailed by two different NPCs with quests about Lyranth. I wondered briefly if they were the same character, just manifesting in different genders. Sadly, no, which would have been interesting! But they were just brother and sister, and they were giving opening hooks for two different quests involving Lyranth. (As well as lines that indicated they were very, very ardent followers of Lyranth!)
So I did the sister’s quest first.
The main point of amusement for me in that quest was the part where Lyranth whisked us off to the Marbruk Outlaw Refugue–because LOL, hey, I know this place! It was good to see it show up in an actual plot, though the part of it where Lyranth and I chatted was further back, behind the fences.
But there were other little bits of amusement all throughout this plot. I liked the alchemist Aurien, who made a big deal of offering me the Tincture of Befuddlement for free, as long as it was going to Lyranth. It did not escape my notice that Aurien apparently had hoped to give Lyranth the potion herself. Somebody rather fangirls Lyranth, I think, if not outright worships her. LOL.
I also liked the side plot I stumbled across with the cursed wine in Fort Greenwall, since that let me learn about Riften’s attempt to put down a bandit problem by slipping them cursed wine. But the alchemist had overdone it a bit. LOL.
I had to snerk a bit about the second Lyranth plot, though, or at least the beginning of it. Lyranth greeted me in the Shrine of the Black Maw delve with a request to use an amulet to unlock wards for her. And my immediate reaction to this was, wait, you summoned me all the way here just to open some wards for you? You didn’t think to actually just bring a follower here with you who could do that?
But heh. Lyranth is a dremora and one supposes that her thought processes are not to be expected to align with those of mortals.
Couple of examples of said thought processes:
“So much greenery and animal life. How do you mortals stand it? Never mind. Rhetorical question.”
Well, if ash-ridden hellscapes are more your jam, you’d love it in Morrowind.
“For now, take this. I understand that your kind expects such treats after performing clever tricks for your betters.”
Gee, thanks. I can totally see why Rogatina and Rogatus adore you so much, Lyranth! It’s your winning personality, clearly.
Meanwhile, helping out the Dominion soldiers at Ne Salas also had some level of LOL. A need to fuck up the Covenant, you say? Let me help you out with this! And we’ll just ignore how I’m working for the Pact, y’all don’t mind that, do you?
I kind of adored the Bosmer character Eveli Sharp-Arrow. She was delightful. And she led me into the particularly interesting part of the second Lyranth plot: the hints it dropped about the backstory of Varen Aquilarios, the Prophet himself. The scroll we found as part of this plot mentioned “the traitor Varen”, and my eyebrows went way up at that. I also noted how the emperor in question was the husband of Clivia Tharn!
And now that I’ve looked it up on the wiki, I see that Varen did in fact overthrow this previous emperor, Leovic. And he married Clivia Tharn after doing so. Ha.
During this set of sessions was when I discovered Riften for Marwyth’s map, too. I feel that for no particular apparent reason, she was totally all .oO (I think I like this place). 😀
The final part of this second plot, the part where we got into the Deadlands, was pretty crunchy. And I was legit surprised that Mehrunes Dagon actually let us go after we took out his champion. But maybe I shouldn’t have been? Dagon is the Daedric Prince of Destruction, so maybe he had a bit of respect for anybody powerful enough to take out his designated champion. At least just enough respect to let us go once.
All in all both of the Lyranth prologue quests interested the hell out of me. With my current unhappiness with Zenimax I will not be buying the Waking Flame DLC any time soon. But I do have Blackwood so maybe at least I can follow up on this plot mileage by running that zone. We’ll see.
Marwyth’s next post will feature some Thieves Guild action, and also moving the plot along in Deshaan!