Elder Scrolls Online,  Marwyth Playthrough

In Which Marwyth Investigates a Disastrous Heist

This is another catchup post as I work through my backlog of session notes. Here, I’ve got some sessions from mid-December with Marwyth, my ESO alt! Main action here is with advancing the Thieves Guild plotline, and finishing up the Shadowfen branch of the Ebonheart Pact plotline as well.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 12/8-12/9, 12/11, 12/14-12/15/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 65-69

Friday the 8th

  • Finally signed Marwyth up to be an Antiquarian so I can hunt for antiquities with her, too
  • Meanwhile, moved the Thieves Guild action along
  • Reported back to Abah’s Landing and showed up at the Thieves Guild
  • Picked up a side quest for Velsa off a note
  • Picked up another side quest for Walks-Softly off a note
  • And got a task to do some robbery action in Deshaan off the tip board
  • Checked in with Zeira about the main plot, and she sent me off to get the tailor I’d talked to before at his shop
  • But he’d been carted off by the Iron Wheel, and I had to track him through the city from the dye off his boots
  • While doing this, went through Velsa’s house and talked to her in her garden about her situation
  • She gave me some of her backstory as a former member of House Dres and how she’d freed a bunch of their slaves when escaping
  • Got objective to either report back to Zeira and say we couldn’t depend on the tailor, or go rescue him
  • Opted for rescue, which took me outside the city over near No Shira Citadel
  • Rescued the tailor, then headed for rendezvous point with Zeira
  • Tailor had a plan for sneaking in through a secret entrance
  • But I took a break partway through (dinner), and when I logged back in I was back at the rendezvous point with Zeira
  • I think it was during this session that I leveled up to 44?

Saturday the 9th

  • Tried to do some pickpocketing in Deshaan for the Thieves Guild side quest; this proved unexpectedly difficult
  • Did not want to try to hit the suggested areas on my map because those were all sizable population centers, and therefore full of guards (or even worse, Almalexia)
  • So I wound up doing a bunch of exploration in Deshaan
  • Found an overland route to get to the super exclusive magic academy, Shad Astula, which one page said was a good place to do pickpocketing because no guards
  • Except there were totally guards there so that page’s info seemed rather out of date ;P
  • Finally found a target NPC to rob near Deepcrag Mine
  • And later, another one at the village at the Vale of the Ghost Snake
  • But some of my attempts were unsuccessful and I didn’t want to push it
  • Also did adventuring, Thieves Guild stuff first
  • Returned to Abah’s Landing to go to the rendezvous point at al-Danobia tomb again and catch up with Zeira
  • Re-ran getting into the Tava’s Branch secret entrance to avoid the Iron Wheel
  • Killed assorted hostiles on the way in and looted assorted containers
  • Got to a point where the others were just magically there, which surprised me, but okay sure fine, narrative shorthand
  • Had to play through an area where Velsa kept her hand down on a lever while Zeira and I made our way along a path with dim light in the middle of darkness; this was the area where the last Thieves Guild members to try this had died
  • Zeira let slip that she had been the one with her hand on the lever the last time, and she’d left her post thinking the others were in danger, which doomed them all
  • But we also started finding signs that Nicolas was maybe not actually dead
  • At Zeira’s instructions recovered Tall Papa’s Ashes, and took those back to rejoin the others at an area with a wide chasm
  • But Quen had found an invisible bridge
  • I threw Tall Papa’s Ashes all over that to show where the bridge actually was, and we were all able to cross–after i took at least one mis-step though and fell off the damned bridge 😛
  • Was at least able to resurrect on the original side of the chasm and try again!
  • Reached a big scary looking multi-armed guardian who demanded we give it the passphrase, which none of us had, so we had to kick its ass, and that was a good challenging fight!
  • It split off a few duplicates before I finally killed it
  • And once we got past that we were able to get into a treasure room
  • There was a puzzle there I had to solve but I did not get what it wanted me to do, so had to look it up on the wiki
  • Got through that and reached the final area with more evidence that Nicolas had faked his death
  • Zeira sent me back out again to get back to Abah’s Landing
  • But i couldn’t figure out how to get Tall Papa’s Ashes to work to get me back across the bridge, and since I’d already fallen off the damn thing once, I didn’t want to try again
  • So I just ported back to Cliffshade, then wayshrined back to Abah’s Landing from there
  • Then went over to break into Nicolas’ secret desert retreat along with Zeira to get confirmation of what he’d done–and yep he sure did fake his own death
  • Zeira decided the Guild was totally going to fuck him over, and his ally the merchant lord Cosh as well; she gave me the final quest reward
  • After that, hit Shadowfen for some surveys and antiquity hunting
  • Also finally went to Loriasel to continue Ebonheart Pact action
  • This basically involved having to get into the ruin to take out the Dominion alchemist
  • On the way in, found a Khajiit Dominion soldier who was absolutely fucking done with the alchemist, and who was willing to help me
  • So I took her prisoner while following her instructions to activate some keystones; this took a while
  • Had to kill a bunch of lamias and also some undead Ayleids
  • While doing the latter, triggered a side plot involving a ghost of an Ayleid knight
  • Found his shield and some shards of his sword
  • Had to use them to convince him he was dead and to throw off the enchantment that had been forced on him by an enchanter (who was apparently now also dead?)
  • Killed the enchanter’s ghost and put the knight to rest, then resumed the primary plot
  • Found the overall layout of the place confusing and unnecessarily complicated, had to do a lot of backtracking to reach the eastern and western keystones
  • And according to the map there was apparently also a skyshard in there that I missed, but I didn’t muster enough giveafuck to find it
  • Finally reached the vicecanon I had to report to, who asked me about my prisoner
  • I had options at that point as to what to do with her
  • Took the merciful option and in fact asked the vicecanon—an Argonian who was justifiably pissed off about the threat to her people and their unborn children—to be merciful, the Khajiit had behaved honorably to me and I didn’t want her killed
  • So the vicecanon agreed to take her under protective custody and gave orders that she was not to be abused (good)
  • Then proceeded with the vicecanon into the final phase of this plot
  • Killed the alchemist, finally, when I caught up with him
  • But that threw me and the vicecanon into a dream of the Hist
  • Reached another complicated puzzle I had to solve, and wound up having to look up the answer for that, too
  • Then had to talk to three “Hist brothers” (who, despite their names, did not all sound masculine)
  • Convinced these entities of the truth of what had been going on
  • This convinced the Hist to send the vicecanon back out, but it took a little longer to talk to me, and thank me for my actions to repair the damage that the Dominion had caused
  • Then the Hist sent me back to the waking world too
  • Woke up on a ship about to go to Skyrim
  • Had final conversation with the vicecanon about what happened, and what would be happening next, to conclude the Shadowfen leg of the Ebonheart Pact plot
  • Leveled up to 45 at this point, woo!
  • Let the ship take me on to Skyrim, and specifically Windhelm
  • Had a little bit of confusion as I accidentally triggered the boat to Abah’s Landing oops XD
  • But once I got correctly back to Windhelm, found an NPC to talk to to pick up the beginning of the Eastmarch phase of this plot
  • That guy, a Dunmer acting as the Ebonheart pact envoy in Windhelm, briefed me on the situation and asked me to go speak with a thane
  • Returned to Cliffshade for final inventory managing

Monday the 11th

  • Did a run of robbing the ships in Daggerfall since I needed additional ingredients for a Provisioning writ
  • Derped around Deshaan for a little bit and tried more pickpocketing
  • Solo ran a dolmen, fuck yeah, unlocked Dark Anchor Demolisher achievement for that \0/
  • Finally picked up another skyshard and that got me another skill point, which I dropped right onto Pickpocketing, and that let me finish off the objective to pickpocket people in Deshaan
  • Did it at the Shad Astula academy and got very nice high percentages for stealing from unsuspecting students and instructors there (muahahaha)

Thursday the 14th

  • Attempted thievery in Shadowfen
  • Did one successful pickpocketing at a village, then an unsuccessful one at Stormhold
  • Ran like hell after that to let my bounty clear

Friday the 15th

  • Did a ship robbing run because I didn’t have enough ingredients for a Provisioning writ
  • Got additional ingredients from Gyllerah’s Artaeum run but had to finally buy flour and Blessed Thistle
  • Did a quick pickpocketing attempt in Shadowfen, and successfully robbed the guy at Mud Tree Village that I’d hit the first time

Making Marwyth an Antiquarian

As noted in my most recent Gyllerah post, I was surprised and pleased to discover that leads discovered are account-wide. So any leads Marwyth finds can also be scryed by Gyllerah, and vice versa.

Because I have made Marwyth an Antiquarian now. I did this mostly because it’s a very handy way to get excuses to explore new parts of a map. I feel like Marwyth may not necessarily care about antiquities per se. But the exploration aspect of it does appeal to her. And I suspect that even though she’s a member of the Thieves Guild, a way of making profit that isn’t illegal may appeal to her more than she likes to admit. Gyllerah may be rubbing off on her here.

And yeah–I’m still assuming Marwyth and Gyllerah do know about one another, even if they can never physically actually meet. They are continuing to know about and influence one another via their individual instances of Ezabi! 😉

For now, I am not actively planning to drop points on Marwyth’s Scrying and Excavation skill lines. I mostly wanted them available so she can at least do lower-tier leads if I feel like it.

(Having any discovered leads scryable by any of your characters makes no damned narrative sense to me, mind you. I’d say it would make more sense if the higher-tier antiquities were a one-and-done deal, but not all of them are! For example, the purple-tier treasures that are worth 5000 gold are a one-time find account-wide. But you can get multiple copies of the Mythic items!)

Velsa’s backstory

I was super pleased to learn more of Velsa’s backstory–and in particular, that she was a rogue member of House Dres who was opposed to her family’s engaging in slavery. And she had, in fact, freed a bunch of their slaves while escaping the House herself.

The description of what she did is worth calling out in full here:

“Decades ago, I was Velsa Arendis of House Dres. Yes, the one built on the spoils of the slave trade.

When I fled, I released dozens of slaves. Gave them gold from the house treasury. I regret not seeing the look on Mother’s face. But nothing else.”


As of this writing I have developed reason to totally ship Marwyth and Naryu Virian. But if I weren’t shipping Maryu (LOL), I’d be totally eyeing Marsa. Because Marwyth definitely respects the hell out of freeing a bunch of your bastard family’s slaves as an exit statement.

And heh, I also kind of loved Velsa giving me the tart compliment of “You’ve consistently demonstrated a lack of incompetence.” Gee, thanks, Velsa! I do try!

Pickpocketing for the Thieves Guild in Deshaan

Between Skyrim and ESO, I have come to the conclusion that I enjoy some aspects of playing a character with the Thieves Guild. Pickpocketing, however, is not one of those aspects. I never like trying to pick pockets in Skyrim, and I don’t particularly like it in ESO, either.

I suppose it’s because if I’m picking an NPC’s pocket, that makes it feel more like “ohnoez I’m taking something that doesn’t belong to me!” And okay yes, I know, that’s the entire point of the Thieves Guild. But that’s easier to ignore if I’m just swiping unattended objects. If I’m taking them right out of an NPC’s pockets, that’s apparently enough to twig my moral compass a bit.

All of this played into my discomfort with running pickpocketing side quests for ESO’s Thieves Guild. The suggested areas to do this were all population centers–and of course, population centers are full of guards.

It seemed particularly stupid to try to do any thieving in Mournhold. I.e., Almalexia Town. Marwyth is far enough along in her playthrough that she does have a moral compass of sorts. She is definitely no fan of the Tribunal, but she’s also now seen the power of Almalexia up close and personal. And after getting enough on Almalexia’s good side that Mother Morrowind even proclaimed her a Hand, Marwyth definitely feels like Almalexia wouldn’t hesitate to obliterate her if she got caught stealing in that city.

So I went looking for alternatives. I found one NPC I could rob near Deepcrag Mine, and another one at the village in the Vale of the Ghost Snake. But some of my attempts were unsuccessful, and I didn’t want to push it. I decided I needed more invisibility potions, and to bump up my pickpocket chances via the Legerdemain skill.

Helping Zeira investigate al-Danobia Tomb

I quite liked this part of the overall Thieves Guild plotline. The tomb was a tasty area to explore, with puzzles that struck the balance I like between “complicated enough to be interesting” and “not so complicated that they frustrate me”. The reveals about Zeira’s role in the previous failed heist and the status of Nicolas, the former Guildmaster, were not exactly surprising, but they were well done.

And I mean, after multiple times through on the Thieves Guild plotline in Skyrim, it wasn’t a shocker that the previous Guildmaster might be corrupt as fuck. ;D As of yet undetermined: if Nicolas was a Mercer-Frey-grade murderous lying bastard, or just a lying bastard! Convenient, too, that of course Nicolas left incriminating evidence in his secret lair.

This time, though, I did like that the current Guildmaster was not the corrupt one. Well, corrupt by Thieves Guild standards, anyway. And I did like that she pivoted straight to “we are totally taking this bastard down” as soon as it became clear that Nicolas had faked his own death.

As a side bonus, there was tasty snark out of Velsa, too, in the area of the dungeon where we had to do the thing with the levers. And I have some questions about how, exactly, the tailor Percius Loche knew where the secret entrance into the place was. Clearly, the guy has a bit more backstory to him than just “tailor with fabulous dress sense”. 😀

Ebonheart Pact action at Loriasel

The Loriasel ruin was the final phase of Ebonheart Pact action in Shadowfen, and I mostly liked this. The only quibbles I had with it were that I found the overall structure of the ruin unnecessarily large and complicated; I ran around a lot in various twisty directions trying to get places, enough that I found it distracting.

Also, the ghost of the Ayleid knight was kind of an asshole, at least in the sense of his automatically assuming I was a slave. Marwyth was definitely not impressed with that.

I did however like the part with the Khajiit prisoner. It was nice to see a character who was three hundred percent done with the Dominion alchemist’s bullshit, enough that she was willing to give herself up to the incoming Pact forces, i.e., me. Likewise, I liked that when I explicitly asked the vicecanon to be merciful to her, the vicecanon was willing to do that. Even though, as an Argonian, she was absolutely justified in being pissed off at the threat the Dominion had brought to her people and their unborn children.

Most importantly, though, the part with the dream of the Hist was cool. The plumes puzzle baffled me enough that I had to look it up on the wiki, because I didn’t get the clue offered in the vicecanon’s dialogue. (But the plumes sure were pretty!)

But once I got the solution and made it to the main part of the dream sequence, I really liked that. And that the Hist appreciated my help.

Pickpocketing followup

Once I started putting more points on pickpocketing, doing that side quest did get easier. Enough that I was in fact able to go hit that magic academy in Deshaan, even though the place does have guards.

(Apparently there’s a whole side plot involving getting actually accepted to the place, which I haven’t bothered to do yet. Though I kinda feel like either Gyllerah or Marwyth should try that at least once. Gyllerah is more likely, I feel. She has more active interest in magic than Marwyth does.)

I do however need to call out my amusement that Shad Astula had “shadow clucks” wandering around on their grounds. Which were spirit chickens! As of this session Marwyth hadn’t had any exposure yet to the Evergloam (more to come on this in upcoming posts), so she didn’t have any reason to think of Nocturnal at the time. But, well, shadow spirit chickens. I’m pretty sure they aren’t actually related to Nocturnal in any way, but I giggle now at the prospect of Nocturnal liking scrambled eggs with her mid-evening breakfast. Lolololol.

And in Shadowfen as well as in Deshaan, I wound up looking for fairly remote places to pick pockets. Just because I wanted to get the quest reward, but I found it too nerve-wracking to try to do the thefts in Stormhold or any other larger population center!

That one guy at the Mud Tree Village, though? I picked that one dude’s pocket multiple times. I hope he didn’t wind up thinking he was cursed or something. ;D

Next time

Marwyth’s next post will feature finishing up the plotline on Vvardenfell, beginning action on the Eastmarch leg of the Ebonheart Pact plot, and also some fun with the New Life Festival!


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.