In Which the Dragonborn Goes to Ansilvund

Main themes of last night’s run were following up on pending quests for the College of Winterhold, the Arniel’s Endeavor quest, as well as side quests fetching books for the Arcaneum. Highlights:

  • Went to Solitude to finish buying furnishings for Proudspire Manor
  • Got Danica Pure-Spring to train me in Restoration since she’s in Whiterun
  • Dropped off the cogs with Arniel, and asked him if he needed any further help; he asked me to go talk to Enthir to get a thing he needed
  • Enthir sent me off to find yet another staff he’d sold to an unscrupulous character
  • Went to Brittleshin Pass, another place I’d cleared before, to get the staff
  • CARL SIGHTING! First Carl sighting outside Whiterun!
  • Brought the staff to Enthir, and got a warped soul gem from him to give to Arniel
  • Arniel took the gem but I couldn’t take any further quest action yet
  • Checked in with Urag at the college and got him to give me scrolls from his translation work on Shalidor’s writings
  • Also asked him if the Arcaneum needed any other books I could go fetch, and got another quest from him that pointed me at Ansilvund
  • Went to Ansilvund to find the book and cleared the place
  • Killed another Elder Dragon on the way back to the college again
  • Returned the book to Urag

First thing I did for this run was to bop up to Solitude so I could finish furnishing Proudspire Manor. My cash reserves have gone up significantly since I went Legendary on my Smithing! So I had plenty of cash to finish furnishing the place, including adding a children’s bedroom for when I get to a point of being able to adopt kids. I will probably set up headquarters at Proudspire just because a) it’s got the space, and b) it’s also not in terrain that’s bandit or giant bait.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, the houses you can build with the Hearthfire add-in code are neat. But in-character, I can’t help but think that Alarrah would have to consider where it’d be safe to actually raise kids once she adopts. And while Whiterun would be her first choice, Breezehome is NOT big enough for Alarrah and Lydia and children.

The game doesn’t really give me any mechanism to do anything useful with all of these houses. But I think my headcanon for what Alarrah would do with them would involve keeping her ownership of all these places, while authorizing all her housecarls to bring in family members and guards to help them protect the properties. Also, authorizing all her housecarls to offer refuge and protection to any people of the Holds that need it. Alarrah’s thane of all these places, she’d want to at least think about that kind of thing!

(The same will also apply to Markarth, Windhelm, and Riften, once I get to be thane there. I’ll get to those places soon enough!)

But anyway, on the way into Solitude, the fast travel random encounter this time wasn’t a dragon. It was vampires! Who were apparently just finishing up killing some Vigilants of Stendarr, and who tried to lure me over. They did not find me as easy to kill.

(I was a little afraid I’d actually accidentally killed one of the Vigilants myself as I only belatedly observed the nearby corpse. But the game didn’t increment the count of Murders in my stats, and my known bounty tally didn’t go up either. And the wiki says there’s specifically a type of random encounter where vampires are masquerading as Vigilants, because of already having killed them, and calling out to you to try to lure you over.)

Apparently, that kind of vampire encounter can happen when you’re traveling at night! And coming into Solitude at this late hour was a little odd just because of seeing so few people out. I saw one guard running past me with a torch. And that damned Argonian, the one who keeps hissing “You should see me when you get bored, stranger” every time I go past him, was still out. My dude, don’t you ever sleep?

Same question also applies to Jordis the Sword-Maiden, who was just standing around right in the middle of the living room at Proudspire, like she apparently does. The housecarls at my other properties do at least have beds they sleep in… and in theory Jordis is also supposed to have quarters in the basement. But last I checked her quarters didn’t spawn. This is apparently a known bug?

I bopped around a lot during this run, and was in and out of Whiterun repeatedly. The most notable thing I did in Whiterun this time was stop in at the temple of Kynareth, and ask Danica Pure-Spring to train me up in Restoration. I’d gone looking up who all the trainer characters are, and she’s apparently the Master level one for the Restoration skill!

Which meant I was able to drop five more bumps onto that for this level and make my Restoration skill slightly less stupid. I only recently discovered that you can train only five times per character level and I have NOT been doing that nearly as much as I should. But now that I’m involved with the college, I’ll be making a point of having their staff do that for me on my magical skills, and utilizing Danica as well for Restoration since she’s a higher level trainer even than Colette at the college.

Just about all of the rest of this run was involved with doing college things, as well. Followed up on this quest involving Arniel and his Dwemer cogs, which I brought back to him.

Which led to the next stage of the quest. I asked him if he needed any further help, which led him to sheepishly admit that there was an item he needed from Enthir, but he couldn’t get Enthir to turn it over.

And that sounded awfully familiar, because apparently everybody in this college has issues getting Enthir to give them things? He does seem shady as fuck.

This time Enthir was rather more polite to me now that I’m Arch-Mage, but he still didn’t give me the thing Arniel wanted. He told me that if I’d go get a particular staff he wanted, then he’d turn over what Arniel wanted.

(Enthir, in addition to being shady as fuck, does seem to have a problem with losing track of staves he sells to unscrupulous characters, too.)

And this time, the unscrupulous character he wanted the staff back from was another necromancer. Who was holed up in another dungeon I’d previously cleared: Brittleshin Pass.

I went there anyway to get the staff back. And on the way in, had another Carl Sighting! Came out of fast travel to find the dead dragon corpse flopping all over me, which was, to say the least, startling.

Mind you, I’m not a hundred percent sure this was still Carl, because this was the first time I’d seen him in a while and this was the first time I’d seen the ghost dragon corpse outside Whiterun or the surrounding plains. But then, this was also a session in which I spent less time in Whiterun, so I dunno, maybe Carl was trying to catch up.

Clearing Brittleshin Pass again was, at any rate, trivial. Only a few skeletons popped up to fight with me before I finally found the necromancer, who I was able to take out from a distance with my dragonbone bow.

That sorted, I blipped back to the college to settle up with Enthir.

I’m using the Shrine of Azura as my fast travel landmark to get to Winterhold now, since getting into Winterhold on foot from there is easy, and Winterhold has enough troubles with me dropping a dragon on top of them by fast traveling in! And I’m pretty sure that it was on this round of popping into Winterhold that I spotted another Companion NPC, this one named Ria, also on her way in there.

She told me to go to Jorrvaskr if I’m “any good in a fight”. Heh. I’m doing pretty well in that regard, sister, but I’m saving exploring the Companions quest lines for a different alt.

At the college, I got Enthir to agree to turn over what turned out to be a warped soul gem to Enthir. But I also triggered yet another bug, because he did not take the staff he wanted out of my inventory! So now I have a Staff of Tandil, which apparently throws Pacify spells around on lower level hostiles. Yay?

Gave the warped soul gem to Arniel, who thanked me for it. But I couldn’t get any further immediate action out of him for the quest, so I’ll need to check back in with him later.

In the meantime, I headed to the Arcaneum to have a word with Urag. Got him to give me scrolls he’d created from Shalidor’s work, and I asked him as well if there were any other books he needed. Which triggered another side quest to go hunt down a book for him, this time to a place called Ansilvund.

This turned out to be a combination mine and draugr hive, with added bonus necromancers and an interesting story involved with it. The boss opponent of this dungeon was a powerful necromancer, Lu’ah Al-Skaven, who went mad from grief after her husband died fighting for the Empire. She’d taken over this excavation site and was bent on raising an army of draugr to fight both the Imperials and the Stormcloaks.

Similar to Labyrinthian, where I kept hearing the Dragon Priest Morokei throwing me taunting creepy commentary on my way in, she kept throwing me commentary as I proceeded deeper into the place. And throwing me draugr, as well.

That said: despite putting up a fairly impressive amount of bluster, I didn’t have to work very hard to take her out. One shot with the dragonbone bow, from afar, did the job nicely.

Which also meant I never had to fight her two scariest draugr, who turned out to be involved with the backstory of the place: Fjori and Holgeir, two lovers who’d tragically died after falling in love while fighting each other. Their coffins never triggered, because I never got close enough to Lu’ah to make them pop out, thanks to killing her with a bow.

That let me proceed straight to the conclusion of the dungeon: the ghosts of Fjori and Holgeir appearing, and thanking me for releasing them from Lu’ah’s spell. They gave me a weapon called Ghostblade in gratitude, and that weapon turned out to be similar in appearance to the spectral weapons I’d seen wielded by the ghost draugr in Labyrinthian, too.

So now I have a ghost sword. Heh! The wiki says it can be tempered with ectoplasm, and I’m vaguely tempted to do this just to see how powerful I can make it. Just because being a ghost sword, it’s also very lightweight!

There was one other notable thing about this dungeon, which is this: among the loot you can get from it is a spellbook for the Transmute Mineral Ore spell. I already actually knew this spell, but I’d never used it, and it was only just on this quest that I finally realized what it was for: it can turn iron ore to silver. And it can turn silver ore to gold.

O RLY, said I, and proceeded to practice the hell out of this. :D I can get iron ore for a song, and I do need more silver and gold to make shrines in my various built houses! Plus, it’ll be practice for bumping up my Alteration.

All that said, it was then time to return to the college and get the book back to Urag. Fast traveled again to the Shrine of Azura, and this time HI THERE ELDER DRAGON.

It was not happy to see me. It was also not happy to see my ebony arrows.

Let it be noted for the record that Urag is also more polite to me now that I’m Arch-Mage. Slightly. He still makes cranky noises at me about not fucking up his books.

(Also, odd side note: I keep having college NPCs address me as Arch-Mage, but they’re pronouncing it Arc-Mage, which seems like an odd pronunciation issue in the voice lines!)

Next time: I’m almost to level 45, which means I’m closing in on 46 and the point at which I’ll be able to take on the quest Alduin’s Wall. I’ve also discovered that the final quest stage for Forbidden Legend will take me to a nearby point, so I think I may go do the rest of Forbidden Legend first and then swing over to Sky Haven Temple for the Alduin’s Wall quest!

But first: I want Lydia with me on that run since it’s main quest stuff, and before Lydia can come on a run with me again, I need to sort her inventory problem.

Which means I gotta do something with that Amulet of Mara, finally, and marry that girl. <3