Elessir Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Elessir Speaks to the Greybeards and Cleanses Meridia’s Temple

Four sessions covered in this one, this is a big post!

Lots of early playthrough action for Elessir’s run, with the main highlights being running the In My Time of Need plot (in favor of Kematu); acquiring the Bow of Shadows; acquiring and furnishing Breezehome; going to High Hrothgar and speaking to the Greybeards; running Shroud Hearth Barrow; picking up Lucien as my second follower; investigating the zombie ritual site (and triggering the subsequent random zombie hordes); acquiring Hendraheim; running the Daedra’s Best Friend plot; and last but certainly not least, running Kilkreath Temple to get Dawnbreaker.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 7/24, 7/28, 8/2-8/3/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 2-5

Monday the 24th

  • Picked up again near Warmaiden’s, after hours
  • Bought Candlelight, Magelight, and Muffle spells from Farengar; also got his quest to take frost salts down to Arcadia
  • Headed into the Bannered Mare to speak to Saadia; got her quest, though this time I took the more mercenary “if there’s money in it I’ll help you” dialogue option
  • Realized I didn’t have enough gold on me to pay the prisoner’s release fee in the dungeon, so went out to run the bandit bounty at Redoran’s Retreat
  • Ran that lair with no trouble and leveled up to 6; took Health bump and Novice Illusion perk (after realizing I didn’t have enough Magicka to actually cast Muffle)
  • Looted the hell out of the place after killing all the bandits, then hoofed it back into Whiterun
  • Now had enough money to hit the dungeon, so went in to talk to the prisoner
  • Got M’Sharra’s confession
  • Also remembered there was a hook for the Daedric Plate armor in there as well, so read the book for that
  • Talked to the prisoner and got him to point me at Swindler’s Den after paying his release fee
  • Went in to talk to Proventus and get him to pay me for the Redoran’s Retreat bandit; also got the note to start the Bow of Shadows quest
  • Went down to talk to Arcadia and gave her the frost salts; sold her my dragon bits from Mirmulnir
  • Got the business ledger copy off her desk
  • Sold some stuff to Belethor
  • Went into the Hall of the Dead, killed a few skeletons, and read the skeever note
  • Also nabbed the Stone of Barenziah while in there, but did not talk to the priest yet or look at the caravan note
  • Headed to the stable; found the dead stable hand, and got his note about the assassin and his spellbook of Detect Life
  • Got the wild horses map from Skulvar the hostler
  • Went ahead and tamed the Red Horse just to get a horse, may trade up to a better one later; tamed the horse on two tries
  • Convenient Horses launched its training quest, so did a little of that on the way to Silent Moons Camp
  • Took out the mudcrabs in the little pond nearby, then took out the outside bandits, total of six
  • Got the assassin’s diary and the loose ebony arrows in the target
  • Grabbed the various books and looted the Lunar Forge
  • Headed back out and mounted up
  • Practiced doing more ingredients gathering on the way back into Whiterun; did the last few along the road near the watchtower
  • Hit the silver veins near Silent Moons Camp, and the corundum vein in the middle of the plains
  • Got the horse under control only to discover I didn’t actually have enough money for the gear, oops
  • Then remembered I needed to get up to Dragonsreach and deal with the assassin, for important Bow of Shadows purposes!
  • Went up to Dragonsreach and did that, though Lyds got in the final blow
  • Got the reward from Proventus (heh, found him actually eating dinner with Adrianne!)
  • Got a new bandit bounty off of him, for Halted Stream, fuck yeah!
  • Did a bit of forging at Warmaiden’s to lighten the load; made some silver rings and a steel helmet for Lydia
  • Sold a bunch of bandit loot to Elrindir
  • Saddled up and headed to Swindler’s Den; saw Khajiit on the way out
  • Discovered Barleydark Farm
  • Attacked by wolf by the road but it ran off towards North Brittleshin Pass; finally killed it
  • Attacked by a couple other wolves once I left the road
  • Killed by sabre cat, thrown back to Whiterun
  • Take two: once again discovered Barleydark Farm
  • Saw a quest item fire off for freeing the Elytra Nymph, which I didn’t expect given that I hadn’t officially found the bandit camp there yet
  • Tried to go the route of killing Kematu, but he and his men handed me my ass on my first two times through
  • Third time through, decided sorry Saadia, I have to turn you in
  • Came back out of Swindler’s Den to find a wolf nearby barking a warning; Lydia went after it
  • Before I could follow, a Fugitive showed up and threw me Iron Gauntlets of Archery; then the Hunter showed up, and I gave him the gauntlets
  • Mounted up and returned to Whiterun
  • Finally finished getting gear for the horse, then sold a bunch of bandit loot to Ri’saad
  • Went into the city, got Saadia, and turned her in (sorry, Saadia!)
  • Registered the horse who got on record as being named Hildr
  • Went back into the city and tested out making some Ranger armor, which I didn’t care for
  • Leveled up to 8; took Stamina bump and Novice Restoration perk
  • Sold more things to Belethor
  • Gave a coin to Lucia (heh, weird hearing her call me ‘Mister’)
  • Made a bunch of potions in Arcadia’s Cauldron and sold a bunch of those to her
  • Returned to the Bannered Mare, rented a room and slept for the night
  • In the morning went to clear Halted Stream; this took some doing as the bandits kicked my ass the first couple of times through
  • Then I isolated the mage and took her down, which made it easier for me and Lyds to take out the remaining ones
  • Looted the hell out of the place and hit all the veins
  • Came out of the mine to find SURPRISE DRAGON, and since I was overloaded it took a while to take it out
  • Finally mounted up again on Hildr and returned to Whiterun, taking out a couple more critters on the way
  • Used the Transmute spell and made good inroads on making and then selling jewelry; sold a bunch of the bandit loot as well
  • Leveled up to 9; took Health bump and Novice Alteration perk
  • Not yet up to the 5K needed for Breezehome, so headed out to go get Lydia the silver armor
  • Killed an assassin near the Western Watchtower, Elessir’s first Dark Brotherhood assassin
  • Also spotted en route:
    • Farmers going to both the Legion and the Stormcloaks
    • Imperial squad
    • Thalmor (who warned me off, Elessir ignored them)
    • Dragon refugee farmers, gave them 5 gold
  • Made it into Rorikstead and then to Lund’s Hut
  • Finished combat training on the horse by attacking the skeevers outside the hut, then got into the hut and killed the other two skeevers
  • Cleaned out the chest with the armor in it
  • Came back outside and took out the Imperial captain and the wardens, with judicious amounts of FLAMES TO THE FACE
  • Overloaded at that point so did the horse whistle; mounted up and fast traveled right back into Whiterun
  • Made more silver at the smelter to improve the armor for Lydia
  • Who then told me ‘You look rather pale, could be Ataxia’
  • Elessir probably grumpily muttered that he was JUST FINE THANK YOU VERY MUCH and proceeded to work on improving the armor, which I then presented to Lydia–and then stumbled off to the Temple of Kynareth, still overloaded, and probably at this point also feverish because fucking skeevers; activated the shrine and fixed that problem
  • Came back out again and waited a couple hours till Belethor opened his shop; sold him a bunch of stuff until he ran out of gold
  • Sold remaining armor items to Adrianne and got her quest to take her father the sword for the Jarl
  • Went up to Dragonsreach and gave the steward the sword, and also bought Breezehome!
  • Unlocked it and stashed a bunch of stuff in the chest there
  • Saved until next time

Friday the 28th

  • Started off in Breezehome just after buying it
  • Got courier with the note about Hendraheim since I’d passed level 10
  • Went to go get Amren’s family sword from Valtheim Towers
  • Got the Old Orc at the spawn point by White River Watch; gave him a good death
  • Killed a bone wolf and a couple of regular wolves en route
  • Cleared Valtheim and looted the hell out of it, then returned to Whiterun
  • Did a bunch of inventory managing, selling stuff, and buying decorations for Breezehome
  • Then set out to go to High Hrothgar
  • Khajiit were out this time
  • Flyby dragon by Honningbrew Meadery
  • Another assassin at the spawn point this time, took her out
  • Lydia got aggro on a goat for no apparent reason?
  • Got killed by a sabre cat as I started to cut through the woods towards Ivarstead; thrown all the way back to the beginning of the session (REMEMBER TO SAVE, ME!)
  • Started over again and didn’t even make it past the damn stables this time, wolf showed up and I tried to help kill it, but hit a horse instead because it got in the way 😛
  • So rolled back again to the starting save, and THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM
  • Got courier
  • Hit the iron ore vein by Honningbrew
  • This time random Khajiit at the spawn point, and and a wolf that Lydia and I had to tangle with
  • Hit the iron ore vein just past that spawn point, then headed for Valtheim and cleared it again
  • Returned to Whiterun for inventory managing
  • Was able to almost fully furnish Breezehome this time
  • Also made myself a Thief Backpack since I damn well needed a backpack
  • Then set out again for High Hrothgar
  • Khajiit out again but I had only 10 gold at this point and couldn’t buy anything
  • Flyby dragon again by Honningbrew
  • Talsgar the Wanderer kicked some bandit ass at the White River spawn point, well done there Talsgar
  • Fought some bandits and then a skeever once I left the road
  • Hit the ruin with the Conjuration skill book
  • Hit the iron ore vein at the river
  • Killed the troll at the river, and looted the dead Stormcloaks and dead elk at its lair; also mined the orichalcum vein
  • Made it into Ivarstead and rented a room
  • Got bounty to kill a dragon at Lost Tongue Overlook, and the pointer to investigate the barrow
  • Rented a room and slept the night
  • Got Temba’s bears quest
  • Came outside and immediately saw people freaking out because a bear was loose in the town; guard killed it before I had to do anything though, but it killed another guard
  • Couldn’t find Klimmek at the bridge so was a little afraid the bear had gotten him, but I found him finally standing down by the river and got his quest to do the supplies
  • Started up the steps then
  • Killed by snowy sabre cat just past the second emblem–but THIS IS WHAT QUICKSAVING IS FOR, which I did goddamn do this time, so only rolled back a little
  • Second time through got the sabre cat
  • Used the combo of Axe of Whiterun + a Lunar axe from the Lunar Forge because I didn’t have better hand to hand weapons yet, and honestly kind of liked that
  • Sniped the frost troll from above at the fifth emblem, with help from Lydia on the ground; she came pretty close to dying, but did not die, and we killed the troll in time! Fuck yeah! \0/
  • Reached High Hrothgar and did the trial with the Greybeards
  • HI YES I SURE AM DRAGONBORN do we really have to do this outside? Y’all may or may not have noticed but it is COLD AS BALLS OUT HERE
  • Fast traveled back down to the town and cue the cultists! Took them out
  • Slept again in the inn
  • Stashed a bunch of loot with my horse
  • Saved until next time, prepared to hit the barrow

Wednesday the 2nd

  • Picked up in Ivarstead and went in for round one of Shroud Hearth Barrow
  • Took out Wyndelius and got his journal
  • Reported back to the inn to show the journal to the innkeeper and got the sapphire claw
  • Went back to run the rest of the barrow
  • Again, minimal looting! tried to keep it light so i could get out without being overburdened
  • Leveled up to 12 while running the barrow; took Magicka bump and first One-handed weapon perk
  • Got the Shout word and the boss loot
  • Came out of the barrow and got met by the courier with the invitation to dinner
  • Slept the night at the inn, then fast traveled back to Whiterun
  • Unloaded a bunch of stuff off Hildr, then smelted a whole bunch of gear I didn’t want
  • Made Elessir a full set of Bosmer armor, which looked cool on him 😀
  • Sold a bunch of stuff and slept the night at Breezehome
  • Got up and sold additional stuff to Arcadia, for money to buy the Alchemy lab for Breezehome
  • Got Proventus to sell me the Alchemy lab and overheard him telling the Jarl that one of the servants suggested fireproofing Dragonsreach in case of invasion by “air”; Balgruuf was not impressed by this, told him his job was to give him counsel and THIS WAS NOT COUNSEL, LOL
  • Leveled up to 13 while doing all the crafting; took Stamina bump and Animage perk in Illusion
  • Got Orcish Plate quest lead from the guard barracks
  • Started hearing signs of a dragon near Honningbrew, but this turned out to be dragon vs. giant up on the road behind the meadery; rode up there to check it out
  • Got attacked by mudcrabs and given the rattles (fucking mudcrabs!)
  • Dragon won the fight, but then started some shit with Uthgerd the Unbroken who’d come up the road behind us, so Lyds, Uthgerd, and I got into it with the dragon and finally took it out
  • Rode onward into Riverwood and sold a bunch of stuff at the trader
  • Just near the bandit camp got into a fight with a frostbite spider, a bone wolf, and a bear, a fight joined by Talsgar the Wanderer
  • Reached Falkreath and got the guard asking about the dog
  • Got in in time to visit the Jarl’s longhouse and introduce myself; got the quest to go take out the bandit leader in Bilegulch Mine
  • Went to the inn after that and picked up Lucien, then rented a room and slept
  • Got up the next morning and decided next quest would be checking out the zombie site
  • Derped around trying to find a route to it that didn’t involve going through Helgen, and also rode over a lot of improbable slopes to get to it, but this is what having a horse is for!
  • Finally found the place and got the attention of like five zombies at once before backing off and running past the entrance to Southfringe Sanctum
  • Saw a spellsword from there getting into a fight that might have been with Lydia and might have been with zombies?
  • Lydia and Lucien caught up with me and then we took out the zombies; searched the area for obligatory clues
  • Got Dwarven Unarmored Mage Robes off one of the necromancers and thought THIS WOULD BE PERFECT FOR LUCIEN
  • Looted all the zombies
  • Hit the silver veins near Southfringe Sanctum
  • Fast traveled back to Whiterun for loot management; did assorted smithing and smelting; also did some alchemy in Breezehome
  • Leveled up to 14; took Stamina bump and Apprentice perk in Lockpicking
  • Gave Lucien the dwarven robes and they looked good on him 😀
  • Bought a few spells from Farengar
  • Headed out to run Embershard
  • Found Old Orc who wanted a good death on the road to Riverwood and helped him out with that (again? Didn’t I already kill you?)
  • Bought fishing rod in Riverwood
  • Made to Embershard, killed outside bandit, then entered the mine–and the fucking game crashed
  • Threw me all the way back to Falkreath which cost me a good bit of this session 😛
  • Re-did talking to the Jarl, getting pointer to go to Bilegulch, getting Lucien, and heading out to hit the zombies
  • This time I got off the horse and told Hildr to follow me so I could use the Clairvoyance spell to find my way to the ritual site; this made getting to the zombies easier
  • Re-found Southfringe Sanctum, took out the spellsword who attacked us when we went by, and hit the two silver veins
  • Fast traveled back to Whiterun, and re-did a bunch of crafting and smithing
  • Lost the dwarven mage robes for Lucien due to the crash, so made him some Leather Scout Armor instead and gave him some better weapons
  • Re-did getting spells from Farengar
  • Did enough smithing to re-do leveling up to 14 and get to 15 as well; took perk in Sneak
  • Cleared 50 in Smithing
  • Saved at that point until next time

Thursday the 3rd

  • Picked up in Whiterun
  • Did additional smithing and selling and leveled up to 16; took Custom Fit perk in Light Armor
  • Took Advanced Light Armor perk and was at that point able to make Crimson Archer armor, boots, and gloves! Yay! Only had enough materials to make the armor and boots, but still looked badass 😀
  • Headed out from there with Team Dragonborn to go hit up Embershard
  • Ran the place without too much trouble; killed the bandit leader to get the bounty, and took out the smith as well; cleared the place of loot
  • Returned to Whiterun after to sell stuff
  • Boinged to Falkreath to pick up the bounty from Steward Nenya
  • Slept the night at the inn, then got up to go find Barbas and commence a circuit of all the plots I needed him for
  • Noted that Barbas once again went around Helgen this time rather than cutting through
  • Ran Haemar’s Shame; did have to fight opponents this time, Barbas didn’t quite cut the same swath as he did in Finds’ run
  • Cleared the place though and got Vile’s deal to go get the Rueful Axe
  • Found Redguard Light Armor on the master vampire, cool
  • From there, boinged to the Western Watchtower to ride towards the bandit camp
  • Got vampire masquerade encounter but with only one vampire that I could see; he was no match for Team Dragonborn
  • Ri’saad’s Khajiit went past us and Ri’saad had some snark about my being more careful with my spells; look, cat, I had to set that vampire on fire, you okay with that? Also, let’s do business
  • Proceeded from there to bandit camp
  • Ran into small zombie horde on the way
  • Cleared the bandit camp with mostly no problem–but got the bug again where the bandit leader’s corpse still had a quest marker on him because i hadn’t personally killed him; used the same console trick to fix that that I used in Harrow’s run
  • Right after that got another zombie horde
  • Saw that Barleydark Farm appeared to have lost a couple of dogs to a wolf, but the farmer was still alive anyway
  • Proceeded to Hendraheim and let Team Dragonborn handle the fight for me; claimed the house
  • Dropped off assorted things in the cellar as well as in the chest by the forge
  • Fought a bear as soon as I stepped back outside
  • Rode over to try to clear Bilegulch Mine
  • First time through a bit of weirdness, as Lydia and Barbas appeared to be fighting an invisible opponent as we were going up the stairs to the upper level
  • Killed by the bandit leader in the mine and thrown back to Hendraheim’s cellar; put everything away again, and did going to the mine, take two
  • Got another bear coming out of the house
  • Lyds and Barbs and Lucien took out a wolf
  • Made it to the mine and this time cleared the place
  • Leveled to 17 during this fight; took next base Light Armor perk
  • Got a couple more interesting pieces of armor
  • Hit all the orichalcum veins
  • Boinged back to Falkreath to report in and tell the Jarl I’d handled his bandit problem; he gave me permission to buy property in his hold and also offered me the thaneship
  • Took Runil’s quest to get his journal, this time from Moss Mother Cavern
  • Visited Edward’s grave to trigger that quest
  • But what I really wanted to do was go get Dawnbreaker, so boinged to Hendraheim as a checkpoint spot to get back on the road; from there rode towards Rorikstead
  • Got a flyby dragon
  • Got a not flyby assassin and took her out
  • Rode through Rorikstead; reached and fought the bandits on the other side
  • Made camp since I’d bought a tent, so I could get the Campfire skills stuff started up
  • Chatted a bit with Lucien and he gave me his resonant sphere
  • Looted remaining bandit loot, then rode northward
  • Avoided Robber’s Gorge
  • Checked out Frost River a bit just to doublecheck what was there, forge and smelter <3
  • Went through Dragon Bridge and onward to Kilkreath
  • Got the word off the Word Wall, got Meridia’s marching orders, then started running the place
  • Fought Herebane Sorenshield out on the balcony and got his stuff
  • This run took longer than I liked, got overloaded (see also: fight on balcony) and also turned around a few times, particularly after failing jumps while overloaded ;P
  • Finally made it down to Malkoran and even with a posse that was a tough fight; I got killed a few times
  • Also realized Lucien was stuck back at the last pedestal, and I had to unstick him
  • Finally killed Malkoran only to realize the bastard had fucking fried Lydia; this was NOT ACCEPTABLE because I was not leaving that place with my housecarl a pile of ash
  • Rolled back from that, unstuck Lucien again, and finally got the bastard with all members of Team Dragonborn intact
  • Then looted all the corpses and finally took Dawnbreaker off the pedestal
  • Elessir was not terribly interested in wielding the weapon in Meridia’s name, he’s a Dunmer, Azura is more his speed
  • Passed Talsgar the Wanderer on the way out
  • Also passed Ma’dran’s Khajiit coming out of Solitude on the way into the place
  • Cue Roggvir’s execution!
  • Hung around to sell assorted things at Bits and Pieces
  • Bought a Red Cowl from Radiant Raiment to go with my Crimson Archer gear, and made the Crimson Archer gloves up at Beirand’s forge
  • From there, rode out to get the Rueful Axe
  • Killed a couple of ice wraiths on the way
  • Took out Sebastian Lort with no problems, and oh hey look another set of dwarven mage robes! Note to self: give to Lucien
  • Fast traveled back to Haemar’s Shame to report in to Vile, give him back the dog, and get the Masque
  • Fast traveled back to Whiterun, only to realize that I’d left a cache of stuff at Hendraheim
  • Boinged back there to retrieve that, then back to Whiterun
  • Saved until next time

Some thoughts about Redoran’s Retreat and assassins

I had a gut reaction that Elessir, a Dunmer, must have been snarkily amused by the name of this place. This implies he has a beef against House Redoran. Kinda wondering if Redoran is, in fact, Elessir’s original House. The wiki says Redoran became the dominant power in Morrowind in the Fourth Era, so I could definitely see a scenario here where Elessir took a crack at taking down his local House leader–but the House did not have his back on this, because they were more concerned with keeping the peace. Which could have led him to flee Morrowind before Redoran could apprehend him.

No… hmm. I think Elessir was not part of Redoran directly, but rather, a vassal House that served Redoran. But let’s run with the rest of this idea, the conflict in the minor House being squashed by Redoran’s intervention. And Elessir running off before Redoran could capture him.

(Side thought: this also implies that Elessir is probably from a part of Morrowind that managed to survive the Red Year. I’ll call it as Blacklight, since that’s Redoran-controlled and the new capital of Morrowind as of the Fourth Era. And the rest of the coast is sparsely populated. This would also put Elessir in a good position to flee down the coast and try to cross the mountains into Skyrim, which is probably when the Imperials nabbed him.)

Relatedly, this set of sessions also saw Elessir’s first Dark Brotherhood assassin come after him, and thereafter, a couple more. Which also raises interesting questions about his backstory–because I can easily see whatever councilor in his House he tried to take down siccing the Dark Brotherhood on him. And since it’s the Brotherhood and not the Morag Tong, that too raises questions.

Such as: are the Morag Tong contracted to go after Elessir if he ever sets foot in Morrowind again? Or, after he fled, did it come out that his attempt to take down his House councillor was actually justified? Did that person become disgraced? Were they driven into resorting to the Dark Brotherhood because the Morag Tong refused to contract with them? I think I like that idea.

Also, I think it gave Elessir a fair amount of bitter satisfaction to take down three different Dark Brotherhood assassins. And I think he knows exactly who sicced the assassins on him.

Running In My Time of Need this time

I was thinking I was going to run this plot in favor of Saadia this time, just because, as I just wrote in Finds-The-Way’s playthrough, I tend to prefer running the plot for her if I have that option. And it would have made sense for Elessir. Since I’m basing him off a character I wrote, the original character would definitely have been sympathetic to the woman in this scenario. Especially if she’s accused of treason.

The problem with this theory: running the plot at an early enough level that Kematu and his men hand the Dragonborn his ass. Lyds and I were outnumbered, and the Alik’r warriors are a hard fight. I gave it a good ol’ college try, but eventually realized I wasn’t getting out of there without making good with Kematu, or just rolling back.

So I opted to negotiate with Kematu, and ultimately agree to help him. It felt appropriate to the spirit of this character’s namesake, because he’d be swayed by the pretty face and then crankily turn her in once he found out what she’d done. Even if he was sympathetic about being accused of treason.

That said, I feel he wouldn’t be interrogating his own motives too closely here if he could help it. Definite fodder here for brooding.

Weapons notes

I tried to switch up my weapons choices a bit, and actually wielded the Axe of Whiterun for a bit since this time through it was a one-handed axe again. And I paired it up with a Lunar axe from the Lunar Forge.

I actually kind of liked that, though I still prefer one-handed swords. Or daggers. Bladed weapons seem more Elessir’s speed, anyway. Dual wielding in particular seems his speed!

Mod notes

Right, forgot that Convenient Horses makes it unnecessarily complicated to buy gear for the horse from a hostler. Still not a fan of that, but it’s the only problem I have with an otherwise excellent mod.

I don’t think I realized during Harrow’s run that Convenient Horses also lets you tell your horse to follow you. I utilized this on the second attempt to go to the zombie ritual site, which was really helpful given that I can’t cast Clairvoyance on horseback. In general, though, not sure this is a thing I want on all the time! Because it means Hildr follows me everywhere, and if I’m in a town like Falkreath, he’ll even try to get up onto porches and up steps. And that’s kind of awkward.

Not sure if I’m a fan of High Poly Heads, but this may also be a problem of High Poly Heads in conjunction with Fine Face Textures for Men. I’m getting an overall visual impression that most of the male NPC faces have been homogenized, maybe in an attempt to make them look handsomer? Mostly so far I’ve noticed this with Belethor, who seems less craggy now than he does in vanilla Skyrim. And I feel like some of the dudes in this game should be craggy. Not all the male NPCs should be super-gorgeous!

Plus, I’m seeing discrepancies in facial skin tones vs. body skin tones. For NPCs, I’ve noticed this the most on Belethor and Ulfberth War-Bear, where their faces do not seem to be the same color as their arms.

But I have also noticed it on Elessir, if I’m in third-person camera view. His face is noticeably paler than his arms, and I find this visually distracting, enough that I’ve tried to make a point of getting armor on him that covers his arms.

I’d previously decided to not fuck around with my load order. But from what I’m seeing searching about the issue, common wisdom appears to be that any mod that just changes textures should be safe to install mid-playthrough. I have looked very briefly, without actually doing a fresh save, at SkySight Skins. But this did not fix the problem, and I couldn’t get Fine Face Textures’ version of Elessir’s face to load correctly with it. So I am not going to fuck with this further.

Meanwhile, I think but am not sure that this may be a change brought in either by Immersive Citizens or Cutting Room Floor: when I went to get the reward from Proventus for taking out the Bow of Shadows assassin, I found him actually eating dinner with Adrianne! I was surprised and pleased by this, just because Adrianne is his daughter, and that was a really nice little detail.

Another thing that might have come in with mods, though I don’t know this for sure: Lydia threw a line in reaction to my absorbing a dragon soul: “Are you… Dragonborn?”

I do not remember hearing her say this before. And it’s kind of hilarious that she did, because apparently she managed to miss the gossip shooting around Whiterun about the Dark Elf guy who killed the dragon at the watchtower? It took her until I killed the next dragon to clue in that I’m Dragonborn? LOL.

I was a little disappointed to discover that the weapons that come with the Bosmer Armor Pack mod I tried during Harrow’s run didn’t actually show up in Immersive Armors, even though the armor did. Which makes sense; it’s Immersive Armors, not Immersive Armors and Weapons. I really was kind of hoping to dual wield some Bosmer weaponry as Elessir.

I’m seeing when searching that Immersive Weapons is considered safe to install on a running playthrough, just don’t uninstall it. I tried this, again, very briefly, without saving. But I immediately saw that it broke the “Leather” section of the smithing menu, and so noped right out of there. Again, will not fuck with this further. I am not risking this playthrough.

Last but not least, I definitely like the Crimson Archer armor now that I have the ability to actually make it. It looks badass on Elessir. A little sad though that it doesn’t appear to include any kind of a helmet or hood. The standalone mod for this armor includes a cape, from what I saw on Nexus, but I’m not seeing any sign of it with the Immersive Armors version. I haven’t seen it showing up in any leveled lists, or in the forge menu when I try to smith stuff.

I’ll have to think about what would look good as an alternate helmet. I’m going with the Red Cowl for now, but that’s an item of clothing, not of armor. And I’d like to have the option of an actual helmet.

I also really rather like the Witchplate Heavy Armor. As I’ve said before, I’m not a Heavy Armor player in general. But while at first glance the Witchplate looks a lot like standard steel armor, I like the decoration of the glowing blue characters all over it. And some of the subtler details of the armor are in dark blue, too, which makes it look really cool.

I need to see about improving all of the pieces I’ve made for Lydia, and maybe getting them enchanted up, too, to keep her protected longer. And also to uphold the idea that armor called ‘Witchplate’ should, in fact, be magical.


Since this was a goal in Elessir’s run, I picked up Lucien as a follower as soon as I got to Falkreath. I still find Lucien delightful, though I must admit I do miss his banter with Inigo. That banter was the most awesome part of Harrow’s run before it imploded!

This time through I noticed that, despite claiming he sucks in combat, Lucien nonetheless immediately equipped the Leather Scout Armor I gave him. And the weapons. In fact, he switched off between magic, bow, and blades as circumstances seemed to dictate. He even wound up dual wielding swords!

“Oh, I’m just a simple scholar,” my ass. I think that boy got some sword training from his mother the Legion captain. ;D

Running Kilkreath

I’ve been trying to get better about lightly looting in recent Skyrim runs. However, this wound up not working out while running Kilkreath to get Dawnbreaker, in no small part because of fighting Herebane Sorenshield out on the temple balcony.

And this wound up having ramifications, more than usual when I’m tromping overloaded through a dungeon–because of the parts where you have to jump over onto certain platforms to activate the various crystals to direct Meridia’s light deeper into the ruin. While overloaded, I kept missing the necessary jumps.

Two lessons to be learned here:

  1. Don’t get overloaded, dammit, me
  2. And if you do get overloaded, use Whirlwind Sprint for those trickier jumps

And this time through, Malkoran actually surprised me. This many playthroughs in, and this was the first time I’d ever seen Malkoran pull some necromancer crap on my own follower. When I successfully killed him the first time, I saw that Lydia was a pile of ash. And I thought at the time that he must have fried her with a lightning attack.

Except, after the fact, I also remembered seeing her with that “I’ve been resurrected by necromancy” blue glow about her.

Which means she not only died in the fight, but Malkoran fucking raised her.

As he absolutely appropriately should as a powerful necromancer.

This was extra special not acceptable to the Dragonborn, or to his player! So I rolled back from that and killed him a second time, and made damn sure this time that all members of Team Dragonborn got through intact.

But I gotta say, it makes me respect Malkoran as an opponent all the more. It makes it all the more important to prepare before you head into Kilkreath to get Dawnbreaker. Next time I do it, I should put serious consideration into acquiring frost-resistant armor or jewelry for both me and whatever housecarl is with me at the time.

Next time

Elessir’s next session has already been played, and that one involved getting the thaneship in Falkreath and beginning the building of Lakeview, and going into Ustengrav after the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller. Which, of course, wasn’t actually there.

That session put him at level 19, so I think additional action likely to be covered in that post will be Bards College. And maybe also College of Winterhold. And maybe also joining the Guild!

We’ll see what I’m in the mood for next.


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.