Elder Scrolls Online,  Marwyth Playthrough

In Which Marwyth Goes to Vvardenfell

Back to my alt Marwyth in ESO! Main action of this post: beginning the overall Daedric War storyline, starting with running the Missing Prophecy prologue quest, and then proceeding to the start of the action in Vvardenfell. Where Marwyth–Ashlander by birth and Tribunal-denying heretic–is really not at all comfortable with being in a position where she has to work on behalf of Vivec. ;D

Play by play

  • Play dates: 7/26-7/27, 7/29-8/4, 8/9
  • Session numbers in this run: 47-56


  • Writs and/or ship robbing
  • Sharing resources with Gyllerah
  • Figured out which collectible to get rid of in Cliffshade so I could put the new chest for Marwyth’s stuff there

Sunday the 30th

  • Found a Thieves Trove while robbing the Hotspur–which gave me a Zeal of Zenithar event box, even though I didn’t actually run the event with this alt!
  • Spent some Seals of Endeavor on the Rotmeth Hangover Bed-Head hairstyle which was available, and which looks really cool on Marwyth; adjusted her armor colors to match it 😀
  • Realized I did not have a pending new Thieves Guild plot hook? Need to follow up on that, but later
  • For now started running the Azura plot with Marwyth to prep for running Vvardenfell with her
  • Talked to Alessio in the Parchment & Horn in Marbruk, and he sent me off to Wayrest
  • Did not have Wayrest on my map so had to work to actually get there with this alt
  • Boinged to Davon’s Watch and took ship to Daggerfall–which turned out to be the Hotspur, LOL, weird being on that ship and not robbing it
  • Also weird that I didn’t have to pay anybody for passage?
  • From there had to hoof it eastward into Stormhaven; discovered several locales and wayshrines along the way
  • Evaded most hostiles but did kill a small number en route
  • Finally made it into Wayrest and met with Rhea in the inn there
  • Then had to hoof it to Pariah Abbey which I had also not yet discovered with this alt
  • Ran all the same side plots there that Gyllerah had done, but did most of the side plot activity before actually heading into the abbey
  • This time I killed the priest who asked me to kill him, rather than sacrificing a cultist for him; brought him some poison he asked for
  • Explicitly did not get the hook to go talk to High King Emeric yet about the missing shard just to keep that off Marwyth’s quest journal until later
  • Played to the point of Rhea getting kidnapped and getting the directive to hit the three delves
  • Leveled up to 37 during all this
  • Finally returned to Cliffshade for inventory managing and handing off of resources to Gyllerah
  • Logged out for the night

Wednesday the 2nd

  • Tried to do more of the Azura oracles plot and hit the delve in Bangkorai to rescue the oracle there
  • But first hit a spot in northern Bangkorai on an island where I had three copies of the enchanter survey there
  • Tried to make my way south and that took for fucking ever
  • Kept being blocked on getting southward and fighting hostiles in various places, but at least I did find a bunch of chests, so yay?
  • Finally made it to the delve and ran it, which worked out pretty much like it did when Gyllerah ran it, including the local delve plot with the Orc mage

Friday the 4th

  • Ran the other two delves to finish up the Azura plot, Faldar’s Tooth and Mephala’s Nest
  • On the way to Faldar’s Tooth, ran across a side plot at Skald’s Retreat which turned out to be under the control of Vaermina
  • All the skalds hanging out there were asleep except for one guy who was a drunkard
  • I had to get various dreaming bards to teach me bits of a song that guy could use to wake them all up; meanwhile also recovered some scattered books and killed assorted hostiles
  • Vaermina snarked at me a couple of times but did not seem to pose any obvious threat herself
  • The island is saved! The skalds all pledged to sing of me in all the taverns of Skyrim, awesome <3
  • Headed on to Faldar’s Tooth from there
  • Freed the two brothers who were trapped in Faldar’s Tooth but didn’t yet return to Riften to close out their quest; also didn’t happen to hit the keg of cursed wine
  • In Stonefalls, came at Mephala’s nest from the opposite direction this time than how Gyllerah did it, just to vary it up a bit
  • Got enough skyshards to get another skill point; also leveled up to 39
  • Dropped a point on a Bow passive and another one off the skill advisor
  • Then boinged to Stormhaven to check in with Azura at the abbey
  • (Apparently I forgot to finish taking notes for this session at this point–but I did finish out the Azura plot, and went to Stormhold so I could get to Cold-Blood Cavern and do the rest of the quest; not terribly different than how Gyllerah did it, and as I recall, I had to get to Stormhold first and hoof it from there over to Cold-Blood Cavern since that was the closest landmark)

Wednesday the 9th

  • Hunted some springboks on Summerset to get the game I needed to finish off Provisioning writ
  • Then boinged to Vvardenfell, hit Seyda Neen, and started running the “save Vivec” plot
  • Had to help a canon right as soon as I came off the wayshrine
  • Azura popped into a woman and basically was all THIS OUTLANDER IS GOING TO SAVE YOUR BACON; outlander in question: ‘Wait wut?’
  • Had to go to the Andrano Ancestral Tomb and help another canon there get to the summoning chamber to speak to a spirit of one of his ancestors
  • Killed Daedra in the tomb, then spoke Vivec’s questions to the ghost the canon summoned
  • After helping that guy, agreed to meet him in Vivec City and help him give his report to Vivec himself
  • Vivec’s archcanon was surly at me but grudgingly put up with Vivec going THIS ONE IS GOING TO HELP YOU NOW
  • Fetched a blessing stone from a nearby ziggurat construction site; had to rescue a couple of workers out from under collapsed debris before the overseer would let me have the stone
  • Reported back to Vivec’s palace to help him and the archcanon do a ritual about what was bothering the fuck out of Vivec
  • Oh hey look, foreshadowing about the Daedric war plot!
  • Vivec admitted to me that he was losing divine energy and tasked me to speak with the archcanon again to find places to investigate further
  • The archcanon sent me off to Balmora, Ald’ruhn, and a tower whose name I didn’t recognize, so headed out to do those things, aiming for the tower first
  • Heard an NPC yell for help just before reaching Suran, and paused there until next time

Running the Missing Prophecy quest

Hard on the heels of running this plot as Gyllerah, I still had a pretty clear idea of how this whole plot worked in mind. So I charged through it reasonably quickly on the days I played it, and there wasn’t too much difference in how Marwyth ran it vs. how Gyllerah did.

The first main difference in how I did it this time was that when I found the priest possessed by a Daedric entity, I took the option to kill him rather than bring him a cultist to sacrifice. As I wrote when running this as Gyllerah, I wasn’t terribly comfortable with either option. But after the fact, I realized I didn’t like the idea of sacrificing somebody else, even if that somebody else happened to be a Vaermina cultist.

So this time through, I had Marwyth bring him the poison he asked for, and administer it. I see her as thinking, well, the guy explicitly asked her to help him die, so she’s going to respect his wishes. And give him the poison so that he can die as quickly and as mercifully as possible.

Second difference: I avoided getting the pointer to go talk to High King Emeric, just because I did discover as Gyllerah that a bunch of the action at Pariah Abbey is not only related to the Azura quest, it’s also related to the zone quest in Stormhaven in general. And I’m trying to avoid too much piecemeal zone activity, just because it vexes my sense of narrative. I don’t know whether Gyllerah or Marwyth will make it into Stormhaven for zone action first; we’ll see. For now, I didn’t want that objective occupying a slot in Marwyth’s quest journal.

Let me note for the record as well that it was incredibly frustrating trying to navigate my way from northern Bangkorai down into southern Bangkorai, just to get to the delve there. I got turned around four or five different times just trying to find a viable path southward from Evermore, even when sticking to the roads. Mind you, I like some degree of going overland just to see what I run into–but eventually I want to actually, like, y’know, be able to make it to my goal.

Skald’s Retreat quest in the Rift

This, this right here, is why I like some degree of going overland when I’m trying to reach a goal. Because every so often you’ll stumble across an awesome little side plot, and the one at Skald’s Retreat in the Rift was an excellent example.

I’d seen the Skald’s Retreat wayshrine near Riften, but had not clued in that Skald’s Retreat was an actual nearby island. And turns out it’s so named because there is, as you might guess from the name, a nice little retreat for skalds of Skyrim to come and hang out and do skald things.

Only in this quest, they’ve all been knocked into enforced slumber. This smelled to me like a Daedric plot the instant I saw signs of what was going on, and I was right. Moreover, entirely unsurprisingly since dreams and nightmares are her thing, it turned out to be Vaermina at work.

And given that I’d literally just run the Missing Prophecy quest in which I’d had to help defend Pariah Abbey against Vaermina cultists, I felt secure in assuming Marwyth was feeling pretty salty about Vaermina. ;D So I dug into solving this little problem for the skalds.

I really liked as well that the one skald who was able to save the day was the one previously ridiculed for being a drunkard. Getting all the little bits of lyrics for him to perform was fun, and I liked that he got his shit together and gave a decent performance of said lyrics to wake up all his compatriots. Plus, the skalds promised to sing of me in all the Skyrim taverns. Nice. <3

The only quibble I had with this plot, really, was that Vaermina herself did not seem like much of a threat. She was just a voice periodically snarking at me. And I never got any real sense of menace off of her like I do off some of the other Daedric Princes. (Of course, she’s got the same problem in Skyrim, too.)

OH, and this is particularly awesome: I see on the wiki that Skald’s Retreat is in Skyrim. But under a different name: Goldenglow Estate. 😀 And that location I am very familiar with. This delights me! I love that they took the time to think about what that one island has on it in ESO’s time frame vs. Skyrim’s!

Beginning the Vvardenfell zone quest

I’m coming into this with the assumption that after she ran the Missing Prophecy quest, Azura probably directly leaned on Marwyth with some visions about having to go to Vvardenfell. Because visions are Azura’s thing. And I figure Marwyth would probably need some Daedric prodding to get her to voluntarily set foot on Vvardenfell to begin with.

And things certainly started off with a bang, with my having to talk to the canon about helping her right off the bat–and a woman in the little group there getting abruptly possessed by Azura. Who promptly was all HEY THIS OUTLANDER IS GOING TO SAVE ALL YOUR ASSES.

And the outlander in question going, “Who wait what fuck she’s not going to make this easy on me, is she.”

That said, I did find the initial conversation with Canon Valasa kind of annoying. After Azura made her appearance and Valasa had commentary about that, I couldn’t get out of talking to her (and therefore proceeding to the next part of the quest) without having to ask several really basic kinds of questions that I feel like Marywth should know, goddammit. Like, for example:

  • Who is Lord Vivec?
  • What are Daedra?
  • What is Red Mountain?

This is yet another of those things where I intellectually understand why ESO might have given this character these dialogue choices: i.e., to be accommodating to players who are coming in cold and who might not in fact know these things. But if you’re an experienced enough player to know Morrowind lore and have a background laid out for your Vestige, especially if you are playing a frigging Dunmer, I feel like you shouldn’t have to get through really simple questions like this just to proceed to the next part of a quest. There should have been an option to get out of the conversation and cut right to the part where you head off to the ancestral tomb and help out the other canon there.

Mind you, I also take some issue with every single person on Vvardenfell calling me “outlander” even though I am, in fact, a Dunmer. To be fair, I have not settled on exactly what part of Morrowind Marwyth is originally from. So technically speaking, she could be an outlander as far as Vvardenfell is concerned. But she might not be! How the hell would any random other Dunmer be able to tell by looking at her that she’s not a local?

Accent, maybe? Or, as I proposed on our Guild Discord when chatting about this, maybe the Vestige just throws off an “I sure am not from around here” aura to everybody in Tamriel. Because you get treated as a foreigner no matter where you go! Gyllerah gets this too, even on Summerset where you’d think an Altmer would actually fit in.

Vivec also called me an outlander to my face. Which seems particularly weird, because he’s one of the Tribunal gods for fuck’s sake, so he ought to be perfectly capable of realizing “hey, this one is a Dunmer, she’s one of mine!”

Even Azura called me an outlander, when she possessed Tanisa Drothan! And since Azura’s all about visions and foresight and such, I’d take issue with the idea that Azura doesn’t know exactly where Marwyth is from.

So for narrative purposes this suggests to me that by definition, Marwyth explicitly can’t be from Vvardenfell in particular. Right then. Ashlander tribe somewhere in mainland Morrowind it is!

And I’ll close this part of the post by saying that this was in fact the first time I’d interacted with Vivec in any ESO game–because I still haven’t reached that part of Morrowind. And I rather liked him! I was amused by how he periodically kept muttering to himself “I’d better write that down”. Given that one of Vivec’s big things is that he’s written down a bunch of sermons for his worshippers, that seemed like a very writerly mannerism to give him. And also–a very mortal kind of mannerism! (I’d say human, but, well, Vivec was originally a mer, not a man, so!)

And of course he took immediately to confiding in me, the incoming outsider he asked to see, about what’s going on with him. To a casual observer, maybe a bit too immediately–but at least in Vivec’s case, unlike a lot of NPCs all over Elder Scrolls games who pour out their life stories to the player, you can make a case for him already having a good sense of your ability to help him, if he’s been in communication with Almalexia.

I did have to snerk a bit at his archcanon taking issue with my presence there, and Vivec immediately shooting him down on the matter, too. Which the archcanon grudgingly accepted, because, well, here’s his god saying this person is going to help me now. And the archcanon was not about to argue with his god!

Also snerked at this line of Vivec’s:

“Without my power to stop it, the moonlet will crash into the city and kill hundreds — perhaps thousands — of innocents. And that would just be the start of Vvardenfell’s woes.”

Mmmmm, foreshadowing!

Here’s another crunchy line as far as Marwyth’s personal narrative is concerned:

“Listen well and speak not a word! My divine energy, it drains away. Whether from illness or foul malady, I know not. You must travel the land and seek answers on my behalf.”

The back of Marwyth’s mind came to a screeching halt at the entire idea of Vivec’s divine energy draining away. We’re talking major cognitive dissonance here, because this seems to her like validation of everything she grew up believing: i.e., that the Tribunal are false gods. Because how the fuck would a true god be somehow losing divine energy?

Between this and Almalexia making her go into the temple and kill Daedra for her rather than doing it herself, Marwyth at this point is very, very much thinking that the Tribunal aren’t acting like what she believes gods ought to be acting like. They aren’t omnipotent and they are not all-powerful.

Which triggers another layer of cognitive dissonance for her, to wit: why the fuck is she helping them?

Azura clearly expects her to, for starters. And that is a thing she’s listening to. It didn’t escape her attention that Azura described Sotha Sil as “one who fancies himself a god”. What that tells her is, even if the Tribunal aren’t real gods, they’re apparently not so objectionable to Azura that the Daedric Prince of Dawn and Dusk believes them unworthy of aid.

Plus, Marwyth has seen evidence at this point that Almalexia and Vivec, at least, seem to genuinely care about Morrowind and its people. Which certainly puts them in a less actively malevolent category than, say, Molag Bal.

So I think Marwyth’s now to the point of being grudgingly willing to help the Tribunal. But she is definitely not worshipping them.

Lastly, I’ve noted it before but will note again here: I also really like that Vivec City is clearly a work in progress in ESO’s timeframe. Since I have been to Vivec City in Morrowind, it was really neat to be there for plot purposes finally in ESO, and see the bits that were still under construction as well as the bits that were finished. I got the same vibe off of the place that I did off of going to Balmora–i.e., “this is definitely the same place as in Morrowind, but with so much more detail”. And that’s awesome. <3

Next time

Marwyth’s next post will feature picking up some side plots in addition to the main Vvardenfell plot–one of which I really liked, and the other of which, not so much.


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.