Kendeshel Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Kendeshel Fights for the Imperials and is Inducted as a Companion and a Bard

This is a big chonky post, covering two days’ worth of action in my Legacy of the Dragonborn playthrough. Main items of interest here are beginning to find recruits for the Explorer’s Society; helping Whiterun fight off a Stormcloak attack; recovering a fragment of Wuuthrad for the Companions, and being formally inducted into their number; returning Olaf’s Verse to the Bards College and being formally inducted into their number as well; taking Fort Dunstad for the Empire; and recovering missing instruments for the Bards College; and finding the Minor Lord’s Mail.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 10/7-10/8/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 16-17

Saturday the 7th

  • Started off at the museum 
  • Got on the Dev Aveza and headed to Whiterun
  • On the way up to Dragonsreach, found Patero Marassi just standing around in the open in Whiterun, and recruited him for the Explorer’s Society
  • Reported to Dragonsreach with the message from General Tullius
  • Handed the missive off to Balgruuf, got him on board with letting the Imperial troops come in for support, and got the axe from him to take to Windhelm for Ulfric
  • Side note: not entirely sure when but definitely somewhere early in the session, I diverted over to Goldenhills long enough to drop off the elytra there, because having two loud pets following me around was too much
  • But anyway, took the airship to Windhelm, which gave me gangplank access down onto the long walkway leading to the gates
  • This was my first setting foot in Windhelm with this alt, so got the opening scene with the asshats hassling Suvaris, and told her nope I do not hate the Dark Elves
  • It was fairly late but headed over to the Palace of the Kings anyway to talk to Ulfric
  • He and Galmar were actually off in a side chamber so I had to divert in there to talk to Ulfric, which was an interesting switch from prior civil war playthroughs i’ve done
  • Also saw Captain Lonely-Gale just hanging out in the same room, so apparently he has pull in Ulfric’s court…?
  • Handed over the axe and got Ulfric’s line about my being brave to bring that message, and too bad I chose the wrong side
  • Headed back out for the airship because didn’t want to stay in the inn, on general fuck Windhelm grounds
  • I did however go into the inn just long enough to get quest prompts
  • Read the book to get the dragonscale armor (and took the book as well for the museum)
  • Also found the journal to get the quest to go to Cronvagr Cave; did not find the writer whose journal that is, so I could also get his book to take back to the Bards College; I’ll have to swing back for that later, after I finish off the war
  • Spotted the asshats by the fireplace but declined to beat the shit out of Rolff for now; I’ll have to swing back to take care of that later, too
  • Also found Sofie huddled by the fire, lamenting not selling any flowers, and adopted her on the spot; hey kid, wanna get out of this city? I can help you out with that
  • Returned to the Dev Aveza and went straight back to Whiterun because fuck Windhelm, and also, at least RP-wise, didn’t want to leave the ship alone for any longer than necessary! It’d be really fucking awkward if my airship got commandeered by the Stormcloaks
  • Parked over Whiterun and reported straight back to Dragonsreach
  • The Legate had shown up there to plan with the Jarl, and I got in just after the scout who was all OH SHIT THE STORMCLOAKS ARE ON THEIR WAY
  • So the Legate sent me off to the front lines
  • Geared up in Imperial gear because now OFFICIALLY ON DUTY, and joined the fight
  • This went easier with the Time Break spell! Was able to kill Stormcloaks a lot faster this time through
  • At least twice I saw a GIANT STORMCLOAK coming at us; after I killed one of those, saw him tagged as TestJeremyBig
  • Otherwise this battle went similarly to previous two civil war runs
  • Took the airship back to Solitude to report in to General Tullius
  • Got off the airship to head up to Castle Dour and got a dragon, first of three in this entire session
  • GODDAMMIT DRAGON, YOU ARE KEEPING ME FROM REPORTING TO MY COMMANDING OFFICER, OUT OF MY WAY
  • Dispatched the dragon, and reported to my commanding officer; got promoted to Quaestor, and given Ebony Sword of Fire
  • Thank you, General, don’t mind if I do! (Though really my ancient Dwemer sword is doing more damage, still)
  • Got his orders to report to Legate Rikke in the Pale and help her out there
  • Reported back to the museum to check in and drop off a bunch of stuff
  • And also look for Lydia because no sign of her, WTF; no sign of her on the Dev Aveza either o.O
  • Returned to Whiterun and looked for Lydia in Breezehome and Dragonsreach, nope, not there
  • Finally paused on the way out of Dragonsreach and yoinked Lyds back to me via the console
  • Next up: went to Jorrvaskr to check in with Farkas about the Hired Muscle quest, and got pointed at Skjor, who gave me the quest to go to Dustman’s Cairn
  • Farkas displaced Lydia as my follower, and this time she actually legit returned to Breezehome as she should have done
  • Went out on foot with Farkas–because I also realized I didn’t have my horse with me, because I’d been flying back and forth in the airship
  • Passed some Thalmor with a prisoner on the way; did not engage
  • Checked to see if Fort Greymoor was now in Imperial hands: answer, yes!
  • But that also meant I had to swing back around to get to Dustman’s Cairn properly, because I keep forgetting where the road leading to it is
  • Reached and ran it fairly easily with Farkas, particularly with the Time Break spell and being able to summon multiple atronachs at once
  • Took out a bunch of silver hands and draugr
  • Got the word for Fire Breath off the Word Wall, and got the fragment of Wuuthrad
  • Leveled up to 36 somewhere in here, I think; took Health bump and fourth Armsman perk in One-handed
  • Came back out again–and saw, to my surprise, my horse trotting towards me, LOLOLOL
  • Mounted up and rode back into Whiterun and parked Heidrun at the stables, but also turned off the Follow mode
  • Headed in to report back to Jorrvaskr, and inducted officially into the Companions <3
  • Returned to Breezehome to get lydia back on duty
  • Flew back to Solitude to check in again at the museum and drop off items, particularly a few extra things I got out of Dustman’s Cairn
  • Bit fuzzy on order after this point so doing this in sections

Bard’s College

  • Checked in at the Bards College and turn in Olaf’s verse
  • Did the rearranging of the verse with Viarmo as you do, and went with him to present it in court
  • Also noted this time that Varnius was present, but even after the Viarmo scene was over, he didn’t step forward to do his report to the Jarl, see below
  • Reported back to Jorn and told him the festival was on, was told to come back when it was dark
  • Grabbed my Explorer’s Society armor in the museum, since that seemed a fitting formal outfit to be inducted as a bard (and played with the outfit system in my Safehouse bedroom while I was at it)
  • Did induction as per usual, including having to kick the festival into being done via the console
  • Got Pantea’s quest for her flute
  • Had to come back later and get the quest for the lute, and derp around Solitude looking for Giraud to get the quest for the drum

Museum/Other Solitude stuff

  • Did more museum stuff and put things on display, which kicked me over the 500 mark
  • So Auryen showed up and gave me Razak’s Tuner; put that on display, because it sounded fairly cool in theory but in actual practice I know I don’t like blunt weapons much
  • Headed out again and got DRAGON NUMBER TWO for this session, yikes; this one killed Irnskar Ironhand
  • Fast traveled onto the airship and LOLOLOL Heidrun teleported in with me

Back to Whiterun

  • Returned to Whiterun and finally knocked down the miscellaneous quest item to report back to Balgruuf, who was all ‘you should totally live in my city’
  • Uh, sir, I do live in your city, I’m your thane, remember? Did you get knocked on the head during the battle? Please have the healers check you and also, wear a damn helmet when you go outside. Sir. Irileth, back me up on this!

Dawnstar

  • Next up: returned to more civil war action, and took the Dev Aveza to Dawnstar
  • Came in late, took room at the inn
  • Heard Erandur trying to assure the people about the nightmare situation
  • Slept and got up to head out when it was light
  • Discovered Agrane Peryal’s camp got moved closer to Dawnstar, just west of it
  • Talked to him and bought two sets of the Saturnalia gear, one to wear and one to put on display in the museum
  • Bought the reindeer, just to get the bill of sale to put on display as well, and also to have a mount to ride local to Dawnstar
  • Rode over to the Imperial camp in the Pale to report to Legate Rikke
  • On the way found a shrine to Jyggalag and activated it to get the display up for it in the museum
  • Got Rikke’s directive to intercept a Stormcloak courier and get their orders, and rode off to Nightgate Inn to take care of that
  • On the way found another shrine, this one to Syrabane, which had a dead worshipper at it, see below; activated that shrine too to get the display for it
  • Killed assorted other critters on the way, and hit a couple of iron ore veins
  • Reached the inn which also let me mark Heljarchen for the map
  • Found Eriana inside that inn, and recruited her for the Explorer’s Society; sent her back off to Solitude to report in there
  • Talked the innkeeper into cluing me in about the whereabouts of the courier by taking the “yep his life is TOTES in danger” tack, and declining to specify “from me” 😉
  • Sold a few things to the Heljarchen blacksmith on the way out to get back under carry weight
  • Then headed off to try to take out the courier–but actually didn’t have to, because a snow bear beat me to it, LOL; took out the snow bear, and got the courier’s stuff
  • Since I was in the immediate vicinity, also hit Yorgrim Overlook to get the studded dragonscale armor, fuck yeah
  • Mounted back up and fast traveled back to the Imperial Pale camp
  • Reported to Rikke with the altered orders, and got directive to take them to the commander in Dawnstar
  • Fast traveled back in, which triggered arrival of frostbite spiders; saw Agrane running towards the town to get the fuck out of their way
  • Took out the spiders, then told the reindeer that Agrane’s camp was its home, so it has someplace to boing back to when I change mounts
  • Then headed into Dawnstar; came in very early so just waited a couple of hours
  • Saw initial convo between Brina and Skald, and yep Skald sure is still a dick!
  • Ambled casually into the longhouse to talk to the Stormcloak commander
  • Message for you, sir! Yep, I sure am TOTES A STORMCLOAK, just undercover! Wink wink nudge nudge
  • Then ambled off to “get a drink at the Windpeak”, and by “get a drink” I mean “report back to Legate Rikke”
  • Received orders to go take Fort Dunstad! CAN DO!
  • Geared up in Imperial armor, and charged in with the other Imperials and Lydia to take the place
  • Once again this worked way better than prior runs, thanks to being able to throw Time Break
  • Lydia did a fair amount of asskicking as well, way to go there Lyds
  • Returned to Dawnstar to get the airship, then flew back to Solitude to report to Tullius
  • Dropped off more things at the museum
  • Came back out again and got YET ANOTHER FUCKING DRAGON, third of the session
  • Took it out, and made it up to report to Tullius; got promoted to Praefect, and orders to go help Rikke in the Rift
  • While I was in there, peeked at the letter to Tullius to kick off the Gift of Kynareth quest
  • Saved back at the museum

Sunday the 8th

  • Spent some time learning on the Legacy discord about how to patch a cell height problem in the game cell that contains the museum exterior; this was the reason described to me as to why I was getting so goddamn many dragon spawns in Solitude
  • Made what seems to be a functional patch, and included it as a new mod in my load order
  • This session was to test whether anything exploded as a result of this
  • Tried it first on the VM where a simple “go outside of the museum and walk around Solitude” test was successful
  • Came outside of the museum and got no sign of any new dragon; did see the head of the dragon I’d killed the night before clipped into the ground, but that’s kinda standard for rendering of dragon skeletons, LOL
  • Did a bit of shopping in Bits and Pieces, and returned to the museum with no problems
  • Saved at that point, then took the same patch and deployed it on the Deck
  • Picked up from there with the save I’d done on the VM
  • Commenced a full push through getting all of the Bards College instruments
  • Took the Dev Aveza to Whiterun
  • Told Snippy to stay in the hold of the airship
  • Implemented my plan to find whatever wild horse was closest to the various cities, and use those as my “local” horses, so that I can use the airship to travel large distances and the horses to travel short ones
  • Caught and tamed the wild Red Horse near Whiterun; registered him at the stables and he got named Heimdall
  • Headed out on Heimdall with Lydia following, and rode through Riverwood and on around to Lakeview to check in there; HI RAYYA! I’m still alive!
  • Did a check on whether I could do any building of stuff there, realized I still haven’t built out all three wings of Lakeview yet
  • From there, rode over to hit Halldir’s Cairn
  • Bandit fort over the road had respawned, so I had to take out those two bandits
  • Reached and ran Halldir’s Cairn with no issues
  • Having three atronachs on deck at once made taking out Halldir easier, and freed me up to do more hand to hand combat with him this time; took him out and got his staff
  • Found an Unnoticeable Strongbox which contained a Soul Ring with a tasty enchantment, see below
  • Also got Rjorn’s Drum and other boss loot
  • Leveled up to 37 somewhere in the middle of this barrow
  • Jumped down the exit hole without breaking my neck, well done, me!
  • Came out late at night and rode back to Lakeview–which was a bit of a mistake, because I ran into not one but two zombie hordes, JFC SO MANY ZOMBIES
  • Did however make it safely back to Lakeview; slept and got up in the morning
  • Rode from Lakeview on around to the western watchtower, and from there, cut off the road and aimed for the camp of the Alik’r mercenaries, so I could go after the Lord’s Mail
  • The mercenaries did of course immediately attack me, so I took them all out and looted their stuff
  • The Lord’s Mail was explicitly tagged as a “replica” but still cursed
  • Returned to Whiterun anyway and then took the Dev Aveza to Dawnstar
  • Figured it would be polite to check in with Dawnstar’s new Jarl now that Brina is in charge; bought the land for Heljarchen Hall from her, and got her pointer to become thane
  • Already had two of the three favor quests fulfilled, but not sure HOW? But I’ll work with this!
  • Coming out of the town to go get my reindeer, I got the only dragon I had to fight this session
  • Between me, the Khajiit (who were on site) and the town guards, took it out pretty quickly
  • Right on the heels of that, saw a giant stomping over from the direction of Agrane’s camp, so had to take that out too
  • Finally was able to fetch my reindeer; mounted up and headed off to find Hob’s Fall Cave
  • Killed assorted critters en route but made it safely there
  • Hob’s Fall Cave also not much of a problem with three atronachs XD
  • All of the spells in the spellbook chest were ones I can put on display in the museum, but I also didn’t know them yet, so went ahead and read them all; I’ll need to see about getting extra copies
  • Found a cloak called Himir’s Hide underneath the table in the boss chamber
  • Got Pantea’s Flute and got the hell out 
  • Saddled back up on the reindeer and boinged back to Dawnstar
  • Parked the reindeer back at Agrane’s camp
  • Returned to the airship and did another round of inventory managing and such
  • Headed off to Riften, which discovered Riften for the map for me
  • Came in during the daytime and went out through the front gate
  • Hoofed it a little ways towards Stony Creek Cave, only to realize where the hell is my housecarl
  • Tried to go back into Riften, and confirmed that oh hey look the guards aren’t trying to pull the “visitor’s tax” scam on me
  • Still no sign of Lydia, so I just fast traveled right back to the Riften stables
  • That dropped Lydia into place, but it also brought me the reindeer, oops
  • Went ‘okay fine’, mounted up, and headed to Stony Creek Cave
  • Killed assorted bears and wolves en route
  • Stopped at Shor’s Stone to mark it for the map
  • Marked Shor’s Watchtower for the map and nabbed some Riften pieces of armor from the dead guards there
  • One of the bears I killed turned out to be fighting the White Spotted Wild Horse, so now I know where that horse is! Stopped to try to tame it and change up what I was riding
  • Took the reindeer and Lyds on over to Stony Creek
  • Tried to go in there–aaaaaaaaand crash to desktop, AUGH
  • Last save had me coming out of Riften, so did take two of going to Stony Creek, this time by myself
  • Called up atronachs as necessary to help me fight critters
  • Re-marked Shor’s Stone and Shor’s Watchtower for the map
  • Re-appropriated some Riften armor pieces at the watchtower
  • Reached the spotted horse and tamed it, and rode it to Stony Creek Cave
  • Fast traveled to the cave to bring Lydia back in
  • This time I got in there safely and ran the place
  • Got Ruin’s Edge, the Bliss Bug in a Jar, and other loot from the back
  • Definitely a fun room to turn loose a squad of atronachs XD
  • Took out the remaining bandit in the side chamber, and got Finn’s Lute
  • Fast traveled from there back to Riften
  • Registered the White Spotted Horse at the stables, and it got dubbed Alvis, LOL
  • Returned to the airship and flew back to Solitude
  • Checked in at the Bards College and turned in all three instruments
  • That bumped me up to level 38 and halfway to 39, even
  • Returned to the museum and turned in a bunch of things for displays; this kicked me over the 550 mark
  • Auryen showed up to give me the Sword of Ancient Tongues, which appears to be highly plot relevant
  • Saved there until next time

Finally beginning to recruit for my Explorer’s Society

I actually had to doublecheck Legacy’s wiki for how to recruit people for the Explorer’s Society, as I think I mentioned before. This required me to go read a note Auryen had left on one of the tables in the Guildhall, and that triggered five small objectives to go find the people in question.

In the first of these two sessions, I actually found the first of the five! Patero Marassi was just standing around in the open in Whiterun, so he was super easy to find. And it helps as well when you’ve played Skyrim often enough that it’s immediately obvious when an unfamiliar NPC shows up in any given area.

I’m simultaneously amused by this guy and not entirely liking him. He came across to me as a little too snarky, and the dialogue with him played into that. But we’ll see how he continues as a character once I move this part of the proceedings further along.

Later on in the same session, I was pleased to find Eriana as well, in the Nightgate Inn. She was easier to recruit than Patero; really, all I had to promise her was the ability to sell to people outside the Guild as well as in. So that took care of recruit number two.

Going to Windhelm

I gotta say, having an airship certainly put a bit of a different spin on playing through the part of the civil war plotline where you have to take Balgruuf’s axe off to Windhelm and present it to Ulfric. It sure as hell meant I could get there faster, for starters.

And get back pretty damn fast as well. As I understand it, it’s supposed to take just a few hours game-time going from point A to point B, regardless of where you go on the map. I should doublecheck this! I want to know if it’s really going to save me time if I take the ship from Solitude to Whiterun vs. taking the carriage or fast traveling. But regardless, it certainly makes it plausible that I could get from Whiterun to Windhelm and back again within a day’s time.

Which strains the timing of this whole exchange a bit, but just a bit. Because Ulfric tells the player to return to Whiterun and tell Balgruuf to “expect visitors”. When you return to Whiterun, assuming that you report straight back to Dragonsreach, there’s already an Imperial scout there reporting that the Stormcloaks are on the way in.

So Ulfric’s forces had to already be in play, no matter how fast you got to Windhelm and back again. For purposes of this story, therefore, I’ll assume that Kendeshel doing her transportation by air did let her get back before the attack actually started, and avoid having to exhaust a horse galloping all the way back.

Meanwhile, this was also the first time I took the airship to Windhelm, and indeed the first time I set foot in Windhelm at all with Kendeshel. So not only did I get to see how Windhelm gets gangplank access off the ship (vs. how Riften and Whiterun and Dawnstar do it, which is to say, with a ladder), but I also got the opening scene of Rolff and Angrenor being dicks to Suvaris.

Since I’m running Immersive Citizens, I’m pretty sure this was why Ulfric and Galmar were off in a chamber just to the side of the throne room discussing their plans. I liked this, this was a nice switch from Ulfric always being on his throne when I set foot in the Palace of the Kings.

I also happened to spot Captain Lonely-Gale just hanging out there in the same room, despite it being significantly after hours. The UESP wiki says he was in theory supposed to become Brunwulf Free-Winter’s steward if Ulfric is deposed, so I suspect this was a change brought in maybe by the USSEP, or Cutting Room Floor. And I’ll need to see if he does in fact become steward once I’m done with the war.

Definitely feeling like Kendeshel was not impressed by Ulfric being all “you were brave to bring this message, too bad you chose the wrong side”. And too smart to just mouth off to his face about how “Look, motherfucker, see my ears? I’ve got elf blood. See my skin? I’m also part Redguard. Do I look like somebody your Stormcloaks are going to welcome to their cause? Also, I’m only here because you warmongering assholes are getting in the way of my important relic finding, and since you won’t stop this war, I’m going to stop it FOR YOU. P.S. You can’t have Whiterun. The Dragonborn has SPOKEN.”

But she was totally thinking it. 😀

And since I ducked into the inn in Windhelm just long enough to get quest prompts, that gave me an opportunity to find Sofie and adopt her on the spot. Really, I wish I could have just taken her onto the ship with me, rather than assuming as the game does that she traveled to Whiterun entirely on her own. I’m going to headcanon that I did exactly that. Just because I love the idea of Sofie going OMG OMG when I take her on board the ship, and fly her off to Whiterun to live in a nice little house with a new sister and a doggo.

Because seriously, game, are you going to expect a kid to make it all the way from Windhelm to Whiterun on her own? With a war going on? That’s a bit much!

Battle for Whiterun

The actual battle had a couple of notable differences this time. The Time Break spell definitely helped. As I wrote about in Delga’s and Kendis’ playthroughs, I’ve had trouble with the actual battles in the civil war just because of so many opponents to keep track of at once. Being able to throw that spell a lot was a great help in being able to focus on one opponent at a time.

But also, I got a surprise: because a couple of times, I saw that some of the Stormcloaks rushing the city were humongous. And when I killed one of them and rolled my crosshair over it, I saw it identified as “TestJeremyBig”.

I did a bit of internet searching on this, and found that this may be getting caused by Zak’s Imperial Female Guards and Soldiers. The forum posts on that mod’s page on Nexus mention this issue and describe a possible fix. So now that I know how to do simple patches in xEdit, I may actually be able to correct this. Though I’m trying to decide if I want to, just because giant Stormcloaks are kind of hilarious. 😀

Other than these two items, though, the battle otherwise played similarly to the first two times I played it. Including the part where I couldn’t talk to the Jarl while he was on his way back into the city, and the city as a whole being still stuck in combat mode even after we fought off the invaders.

I popped briefly into Breezehome and found both Lucia and Sofie in there being terrified, poor things. They kept yelling “Make it stop!” I’ll assume that this actually happened before the battle ended. And that Kendeshel took the time to hug both of them, especially Sofie since she had just adopted her, and assured them that Whiterun was going to be safe. And that their new momma, the Dragonborn, was going out personally to hand the Stormcloaks their asses.

Surprise rage of dragons

The post I linked to above about learning how to make simple patches in xEdit was in fact prompted by the session on the 7th–because that session is the one where I got not one, not two, but three different dragon attacks in Solitude. Which was definitely a bit much. To borrow the quest title from ESO, we’re definitely talking a rage of dragons, here.

I’ve since deployed that patch to the Deck to see how well it holds up, and I got no dragons in the play on the 8th–at least, not in Solitude. I did get one in Dawnstar. In Kendeshel’s play on the 11th (post for this to come shortly), I did get another dragon in Solitude. So I’m not sure yet how well this patch will actually address the problem. This’ll be a judgment call I’ll have to make after getting several more sessions in, and observing behavior over time.

The second dragon in Solitude on the 7th actually killed a named NPC: Irnskar Ironhand. RIP, sir! Thane Bryling will have to get herself a new housecarl.

And the crowd that gathered to gawk after that particular battle included little Svari, who threw the line “In all my years, I’ve never seen such a thing.” Which is always hilarious coming out of a kid. XD

Honey, you are what, ten years old at most? I should think you’ve never seen such a thing before unless you’ve been real fucking quiet about seeing dragon fights, or unless perhaps you are psychic. .oO (Note to self, confirm whether Svari is, in fact psychic, in which case the College of Winterhold might want a word with this child!)

Lydia wandering off

I’m not sure yet what’s causing this behavior, but as of the session on the 7th, Lydia started mysteriously disappearing on me. This started as of when I ran the Battle for Whiterun, so maybe something about that kicked her into a weird state, I don’t know.

I had to keep an eye on her during play on the 8th and on the 11th. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s happened at least twice now, and I’ve had to retrieve her via the console. For benefit of Future Me, these are the commands I want:

prid 000A2C94
moveto player

She was otherwise functioning normally, so that part’s good, at least. I may need to do further research on this problem if it keeps happening, though. Or else have her stand down in Breezehome and look after the kids. We’ll see.

Running Dustman’s Cairn

Dustman’s Cairn definitely benefited from being able to cast Time Break and call multiple atronachs at once. The whole run went way easier than it had for Kendis, that was for sure!

And this of course led me to being formally inducted into the Companions. I’ll swing back around eventually to continue that plotline, I’m sure. But I gotta get the civil war stuff done first.

After being inducted (and I do still like that ceremony, it’s great dialogue), I asked Kodlak to confirm if the Companions really are werewolves, as you do. And also got his gentle snark about seeing Eorlund Gray-Mane for a better weapon.

LOL. +1 to Diplomacy for not saying to Kodlak’s face that my Ancient Dwemer Sword, which has a “set things on fire” enchantment on it to boot, is going to do way more damage than Skyforge steel. I don’t care how good a smith Eorlund Gray-Mane is!

Heidrun following me around

While coming out of Dustman’s Cairn, I was surprised to see my horse actually approaching! I’d legit forgotten that I’d left the Convenient Horses option to have your horse actively follow you still on. So even though I’d been bopping around in the airship, presumably Heidrun’s guiding code finally locked in on me enough to have the horse find me at Dustman’s Cairn.

This was amusing, but I also turned off that option once I returned to Whiterun. I need to remember that this option is useful only if I’m needing to get somewhere and want to keep the horse with me, but I need to be off the horse for some reason. Like, casting Clairvoyance to figure out where the hell I’m going. And right now that use case is usually limited to “finding the zombie ritual site” towards the beginning of a playthrough.

Otherwise, it just breaks my immersion a bit to find my horse is clever enough to find me anywhere. Especially if I’m flown off someplace on my airship!

Relatedly, I found that if I fast travel directly onto the Dev Aveza, which you can do because it has a map marker, whatever horse I rode last will port in with me. Which is also simultaneously convenient and immersion-breaking, just because I have a real hard time imagining how I get a horse onto that airship. Especially in places where my access onto and off of the ship is by ladder rather than gangplank.

I suppose you could always assume I just levitate the horse up there? 😀 But heh, I will just need to be careful about avoiding fast traveling directly onto the ship unless it’s absolutely necessary, I think.

Bards College stuff

Main thing I want to note here is that I observed, while doing the scene in the Blue Palace where Viarmo presents the verse, that Varnius was waiting nearby. I’d never noticed him before when doing this part of the Bards College plot. What this tells me is, if I do Bards College before I’ve done Potema, Varnius will be parked there anyway and ready to go. Presumably for the next time I enter the cell with Elisif’s court–because I couldn’t get him to trigger his intro scene just by going downstairs and coming back up again.

I’ve said it before, and will say it again here: I love how I’m nearly a dozen playthroughs in on Skyrim and I can still learn new things about it. <3

Action in Dawnstar

One of the first things I noticed visiting Dawnstar for the first time in this run is that Legacy moved Agrane Peryval’s camp closer to Dawnstar, to a point just a little ways west of it.

I quite like this change. It makes sense to me that he might want to live a bit closer to an actual town, even if he’s a bit of a hermit and mostly just wants to hang out with a reindeer. Because even an antisocial hermit type might want to be near a town just for practicality’s sake! It’s fucking cold in Skyrim, after all. And being closer to the town means he’s in range to yell for help if his camp is attacked by something. Or run in for shelter–which I have now seen him do at least twice, as of this writing!

One could argue that it’s very odd for Agrane to be antisocial if he goes around wearing his Saturnalia gear all the damn time. But hey, maybe he’s got such a fixation on Saturnalia that it actually made it awkward for him to normally hang out in Dawnstar?

And the place doesn’t actually have a stable, so he’s got to keep tabs on that reindeer!

(Hi, I’m an author, backstories at the drop of a hat, five septims please. :D)

This gave me the opportunity to also buy the reindeer. I have been reluctant to do so in prior playthroughs, but this time, I did it for museum display purposes and also to have a mount to ride that’s local to Dawnstar.

And this, in turn, led me to discovering three things:

  1. Riding around on the reindeer does look pretty cool
  2. Convenient Horses does acknowledge the reindeer, though it won’t let me change its equipment
  3. The reindeer makes horse noises

It is extremely frigging distracting for the reindeer to be making horse noises, enough that it pulls me away from it being otherwise cool to ride it. I’m not the first Skyrim player to find this off-putting, either, from what I see in searching. So far I do not see any sign of a patch to address this issue on Nexus, though. I may have just found my third candidate for a thing to learn how to patch. Snerk.

I wish I could give Agrane extra money for continuing to take care of the reindeer for me! I think I’ll headcanon that technically Kendeshel did buy the critter, but also pays him extra to take care of it for her, since Dawnstar doesn’t have a stable. And heh, if Agrane’s just got the one reindeer I feel like he probably raised it from a fawn or something. I’m not sure Kendeshel really wanted to take it away from him!

Shrine to Syrabane

Riding around dealing with the plot to intercept a Stormcloak courier let me find two more shrines, one to Jyggalag and one to Syrabane. And the one to Syrabane had a bit of extra detail: a dead worshipper at it, an Altmer called Corelas. This guy had a journal lying near him that explained his backstory: a wannabe Arch-Mage who was apparently not nearly as good at magic as he thought he was, and who failed Faralda’s entrance test to gain access to the College. He derped around in the wilds of Winterhold for a while, desperately trying to figure out how to cast Flames so he could at least incinerate some rabbits to feed himself, until he finally stumbled across Syrabane’s shrine.

The journal doesn’t say outright, but it’s heavily implied that he killed himself under the delusion that Syrabane would become his teacher. Ouch.

Forging Stormcloak orders, and taking Fort Dunstad

I used pretty much the same strategy I’ve used on prior war playthroughs about the Stormcloak courier: i.e., going to Nightgate Inn and talking the innkeeper into giving up info about the courier, by claiming his life was in danger. The innkeeper does not need to know that the danger is in fact from me. ;D

This time through, though, I didn’t even actually have to kill the guy! Because a snow bear beat me to it! I parked myself on the road to Windhelm and thought it was a tad strange that the quest marker for the courier wasn’t actually changing sizes–and as I got closer, I saw the bear in question. So I took out the bear, and nabbed the courier’s orders. Thank you, bear, you did a service to the Empire, sorry I have to kill you. But you are trying to eat my face.

And once I got to the part involving taking Fort Dunstad, that was yet another spot where having Time Break and the atronach squad proved super helpful. Dunstad didn’t know what hit it, LOL. And I gotta wonder how many Imperial soldiers started going “Holy shit, the Dragonborn is amazingly fast!”

Snippy is cute but not cute enough to keep constantly following me

The session on the 8th is where I told Snippy to stay in the hold of the Dev Aveza. Because while he’s awfully cute, he’s also extremely vocal with all of his BB-8 style noises. And he’s very loud and clattery whenever he’s moving to follow you.

This is very distracting when I’m trying to be all sneaky-like. And honestly, the one thing that Snippy can do that I find pretty useful, i.e., recharging soul gems, is not useful enough to me that I want him loudly clattering along behind me everywhere I go.

So narrative-wise I’m going to assume that Kendeshel leaves him on the ship. This will mean she has him nearby if she wants him, but doesn’t have to take him everywhere.

Practically speaking, I’ve also since noticed that if I leave Snippy alone long enough, he will eventually disappear. Where he disappears to, I’m not sure? Maybe all the way back to the treasure chamber in Bkhalzarf? But he’s easily retrievable with the controller thingamabob. So I’m going to ignore his periodic disappearance.

I’d leave him on the AHO, ’cause really that seems like a more in-theme place to leave him. But that’d also presuppose that I have any interest in setting foot on the AHO again. And as I’ve written already… yeah, not so much.

Halldir’s Cairn

It was a bit of a breaking of pattern to not find a Nordic dig site at Halldir’s Cairn, and I did in fact check the wiki to verify I hadn’t missed one. I hadn’t! Which was fine–I appreciate, again, that Legacy does appear to be varying that up. It helps keep me alert!

And yet again, having the atronachs was helpful, especially in the final fight with Halldir. It certainly made the fight more even, given Halldir’s ability to duplicate himself. You’re going to clone yourself, asshole? Here, meet Snap, Crackle, and Pop, my flame atronachs!

The extra thing I did find in this barrow, though, was an “Unnoticeable Strongbox”. Snerk. Not that unnoticeable if I actually spotted it, now is it? This turned out to contain a “Soul Ring” with a very tasty enchantment on it, bumping Health and Magicka and Shock Resistance.

I think that thing got put on display automatically, but seriously, this thing I may consider making a replica of. That’s a very tasty enchantment.

Gift of Kynareth quest

This is another one where the quest reward already had an equivalent in Legacy, so they had to patch it. The patched version of this quest delivers the “Minor Lord’s Mail” as its reward, but otherwise functions the same as in the base, unmodded Anniversary Edition.

At least on first glance. If I’m reading the wiki for LotD correctly, though, there’s still some changes to this item’s behavior that I’ll encounter later when I get to the relevant Legacy quest.

So more on this to come.

For now, at least, taking out the Alik’r mercenaries at that camp was another instance of Kendeshel the Redguard rebel having no goddamn patience for any of her countrymen making a habit of stealing stuff.

Look, you assholes, I left Hammerfell for a reason! Stop being dicks. Okay then, fine, I’ll stop you myself.

Action in the Rift

The session on the 8th saw my first visit to Riften with this alt. And I got to see how the ship looks and acts when I’m parked over that city! This is another one where I have to use a ladder to get down off the ship–so it’s definitely another one where it’s just not plausible that my mount shows up with me on board if I fast travel straight to it!

More notably, after turning around and coming back into Riften at the gates, I did not trigger the guard trying to shake me down for the “visitor’s tax”. Interesting. Not sure if this was actively turned off by Legacy, or what. I could also see this just getting bypassed in the code by my first arrival in Riften having been by air, rather than coming in by land. So my first attempt to enter the gate was not actually my first attempt to enter the city.

The Sword of Ancient Tongues

Last but not least, I kicked over the 550 mark in my displays, which triggered another artifact reward from Auryen. But this one turns out to be special. He told me he’d had the blade restored by Eorlund Gray-Mane, and that it had massive power that could only be unlocked by the Dragonborn.

The wiki says this blade will kick off an important new quest for Legacy. I am deliberately not looking up any further information, to try to avoid spoilers! For now, I shall enjoy the distinct aroma of Plot Relevance to Come.

Next time

Kendeshel’s next post is going to feature her finally joining the College of Winterhold, as well as furthering the cause of the Empire in Skyrim’s civil war. Stay tuned!

Screenshots

Editing to add

  • 11/26/2023: 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.