So a big part of this session involved getting both Ulfric Stormcloak and General Tullius to agree to show up for the Graybeards’ peace conference. But I also did a bunch of side things, and I think most importantly for Alarrah’s general long-term life plans, I finally adopted Lucia, the orphan who’s been begging in Whiterun!
Highlights and details all behind the fold!
- Built stuff at all three of the built houses
- Checked in at the college to get Conjuration and Illusion training
- Went to Labyrinthian again to doublecheck if I’d gotten the Word Wall there already, and I had, oops, oh well, also got some extra loot while there
- Also checked out Lost Valkygg while I was there
- Went back to Whiterun to fetch Lydia for the expedition to talk to Ulfric Stormcloak and General Tullius; killed a frost dragon on the way in, which got me dragon bits to rebuild my supply of dragonbone arrows, woo!
- First time actually talking to Ulfric in the entire game and getting a proper look at him; surprisingly easy to convince him to come to the peace conference as soon as I said “Alduin has returned”
- Also surprisingly easy to convince General Tullius to come to the peace conference, though he was clearly skeptical of it working
- As long as Lydia was in active follow mode decided to take care of the pending side quest to take a dwarven arrow to Calcelmo
- Cleared out Kolskeggr Mine on the way and boy howdy was that lucrative
- As soon as I entered Markarth, triggered the first NPC encounter that launches the quest The Forsworn Conspiracy, which I declined to pursue for the moment
- Got a room at the Silver-Blood Inn and overheard chatter about the murder
- Got up the next morning to follow up with Calcelmo and also got stopped by a Vigilant of Stendarr trying to get information about an abandoned house; declined to pursue this, as I knew it was the opening hook for a Daedric quest I don’t particularly want to do
- Dropped off the arrow with Calcelmo, for which he gave me eight gold, lol
- Boinged back to Whiterun, and this time killed a blood dragon by the watchtower, which got me more dragon bits
- Decided it was time to expand the number of people living in Breezehome! So cleaned out the chest and bookshelves in the alchemy nook, and then went up to Dragonsreach to pay the steward to convert said nook to a child’s bedroom
- Adopted Lucia! Who happily moved into Breezehome with me and Lyds
- Once Lucia was settled, grabbed several more items out of my primary storage chest to move them to Heljarchen and Lakeview (notably, a lot of the books)
- Got jumped by bandits coming out of one of the houses and okay sure assholes, surprise for you, maybe, about how bad an idea it is to try to attack the Dragonborn on her own property
- Bandits safely settled, returned to Whiterun; this time there was no dragon at the tower but there were Khajiit, so I bought a doll from them to give to the kid
Miscellaneous stuff, round one
Before I committed to going to Windhelm and Solitude to pester Ulfric and Tullius about the peace conference, I wanted to take care of a few miscellaneous things first. This included building things at all three properties, Heljarchen, Lakeview, and Windstad. I’ve decided to go ahead and build out the extra wings at all three places, and vary it up just to see what the various types of extra wings are like.
After getting some building done, I popped over to the college to get in my Illusion and Conjuration training for level 53.
And then I revisited Labyrinthian–because I was feeling paranoid about whether I’d completely missed the Word Wall down there. I hadn’t mentioned it in my writeup of that dungeon, and after discussing Labyrinthian with Paul, I realized I couldn’t remember at all if I’d gotten the Shout word or not.
Turns out that I had and I’d completely missed that Shout in my list of Shouts. So I didn’t need to go back down there after all. But that was okay, since I grabbed a few extra loot items while I was there.
And since I was at Labyrinthian anyway, I also explored the nearby related dungeon, Lost Valkygg. Which is supposed to be considered a separate dungeon, but which is accessible from the same exterior area as Labyrinthian, so it might as well be part of the same overall complex.
Valkygg was a pretty standard draugr barrow, not nearly as large and complicated as Labyrinthian. The draugr are leveled so the boss draugr was another Deathlord, but at this point Alarrah can pretty much pat them on their spiky helmeted heads and go “aren’t you cute”.
And there were a couple of interesting loot items, an Ancient Greatsword of Scorching and an Ancient Helmet of the Unburned. Not quite interesting enough to me to keep, though they might have been more interesting to me at lower levels. But I did grab them and sell them later.
Went back to Whiterun to drop off loot and pick up Lydia–and got a Frost Dragon when I came out of fast travel at the Watchtower. And at this point, every single time I fast travel to the tower, I always pause a few moments and do a full pivot view of the surrounding terrain, just to see if a dragon shows up. A lot of the time, one does. Which does make me have to wonder how many dragons drop on the watchtower when I’m not fast traveling to the place!
Got the dragon dealt with, which got me more dragon bits to restock my supply of dragonbone arrows!
And once I got the dropping off and selling of loot accomplished, I switched over to the dragonbone armor and picked up Lydia, so we could go recruit the major players to attend the peace conference.
Talking to Ulfric Stormcloak
Going to see Ulfric Stormcloak did of course require going to Windhelm and stopping by the Palace of the Kings. When Lyds and I got there, it was late enough that I had to stop by Candlehearth Hall and book a room, since I wasn’t going to try to walk into the palace and expect to talk to Ulfric at stupid-o’clock in the morning.
Apparently Ulfric is always there, at least in my play through? I don’t know if he shows up at any of the battles if you’re playing on the side of the Stormcloaks.
It’s weird though to be walking into his palace and hear him and his subordinate continuing the exact same conversation every time I come in. This time they actually got through with the “attacking Whiterun” plan, up to the point where I came up and got Ulfric’s attention.
He threw me an opening line to the effect of “who the hell are you and why are you approaching me without a summons”, ha. But he paid closer attention when I told him I was at Helgen–and he did actually remember spotting me there. Interesting.
However, the initial dialogue prompts with him were clearly oriented around getting me to join the Stormcloaks, because I did not initially get a prompt to tell him about having a message from the Graybeards. And I did get a prompt to tell him that I could have gone anywhere after Helgen, but came to Windhelm to fight the Empire.
Which… no. But I had no other option to take in the conversation, and that led me down the path of Ulfric trying to blow me off and go check in with one of his commanders so they could figure out how to assign me.
Then he and his subordinate tried to walk off. At which point I was HEY WAIT COME BACK HERE and I went after them.
Trying the A command on Ulfric a second time finally got me the proper prompt about having a message from the Graybeards. About which Ulfric was respectful enough, though he was dubious about the whole peace conference idea until I finally said “Politics be damned, Alduin has returned.”
That got his attention–and this was my dialogue hook to try a Persuade check, which I passed, thank you high Speech skill! And apparently Ulfric is versed enough in dragon history to know exactly how bad that is. So he agreed to come to the conference, though not without a snarky final shot about giving Tullius one last chance to retreat from Skyrim with his tail between his legs.
One down, one to go!
(I still feel like Alarrah should be more alarmed about Ulfric’s plans to take over Whiterun, though. As a player though I am now also feeling better about still making Whiterun my headquarters, because Jarl Balgruuf being aggressively neutral fits in well with how I’m playing Alarrah in this whole run.)
Talking to General Tullius
Then it was off to Solitude to have a word with General Tullius at Castle Dour. And again, got in there at an awkward hour, though this time it was at least after sunrise. Still a little early, though, so I stopped at Proudspire to have a nap of a couple hours before heading to the castle.
Walking into Castle Dour plays the same way walking into Ulfric’s palace does–because Tullius and his subordinate are also discussing Whiterun, but from the opposite standpoint.
Still though I was able to walk right up to the general and get his attention. He also tried to blow me off at first, but this time I immediately had the dialogue hook of having a message from the Graybeards.
He was more skeptical than Ulfric about the entire idea of a peace conference, but I got a Persuade check with him too, and I passed it. This got Tullius to grudgingly admit that he could barely move troops around without dragons divebombing them, and he knew the Stormcloaks were having the same problems.
So he, too, agreed to come to the peace conference.
Which basically meant Alarrah got to show up to tell both of these guys “If you’re done being stupid”, and both Ulfric and Tullius going “We had more, but go ahead”. :D
Miscellaneous stuff, round two
I was not quite in the mood to proceed straight to reporting back to Arngeir and getting the peace conference going. So instead, I took care of more miscellaneous things.
Starting with, deciding I’d take care of this pending side item of bringing another dwarven artifact to Calcelmo in Markarth. In this case, it was a dwarven arrow.
Objectively speaking, it wasn’t really worth it–one dwarven arrow by itself is not worth much and Calcelmo only gave me eight gold for it. Not to mention there’s the whole aspect here of “dude, if you’re that interested in dwarven arrows, I can make you more! You want a hundred of them? CAN DO”.
But that said, it also gave me an excuse to stop by Kolskeggr Mine on the way and clear the place out. That was lucrative, because there are a whole bunch of gold ore veins in that mine, and I came out with over 50 gold ores.
Going into Markarth to meet with Calcelmo proved a trifle dodgy, though, because I got opening quest hooks for two different quests I did not want to pursue. The first of these was for the Forsworn Conspiracy quest that eventually sees you thrown into Cidhna Mine, and while I might eventually want to do that plotline, I don’t want to do it now. Not when I’m closing in on the end game with Alduin.
Also, from a purely IC perspective, I figure Alarrah does not like Markarth and did not want to stay there a moment longer than necessary. So even though Eltrys gave me the note that told him to meet him at the Shrine of Talos (and he was all “oh my no that’s not my note, it totally fell out of your pocket”), Alarrah elected to ignore the invitation.
She also elected to dodge the Vigilant of Stendarr who kept trying to question passers-by about an abandoned house. I know this is also an opening hook for a Daedric quest, the one for Molag Bai, which I specifically don’t want to do on the grounds that it ends in you having to beat the shit out of an old priest–and yeah no. Not doing that. So I told the Vigilant that I didn’t know anything about the abandoned house, which had the added benefit of being true, since I did not in fact know anything about the house.
He thanked me for my time, and I went on about my business. Dropped the arrow off with Calcelmo (and got eight gold, as I mentioned, lol). And then boinged back to Whiterun.
Back to Whiterun
Got another dragon coming out of fast travel at the Watchtower, this time a Blood Dragon, which Lydia helped me take down. That got me some dragon scales I was able to spend on improving my dragonscale armor. \0/
At this point though I decided it was finally time to adopt a kid. So I dropped Lyds off at Breezehome, and then popped into the alchemy nook to clear out the chest and bookshelf in there…
At which point I also noticed that Lydia had tried to sit down in there and it did not go quite as well as I think Lydia expected. Because she was sitting in the middle of the table. Lolololol.
And despite my wife apparently having an issue identifying appropriate furniture (what the hell, game? lol), I was still able to make a few potions as well as clear out the bookshelf and chest on the opposite wall. Because I wanted to make sure I’d not lose those items for my next objective.
Which was, going to Dragonsreach, finding the steward, and paying to have the alchemy nook converted to a child’s bedroom. I was able to do this after hunting around Dragonsreach a bit to find said steward.
And then I went back down to find Lucia. Who was adorably overjoyed when I told her I could adopt her and that I had a house in Whiterun. After she confirmed I was sure about this and it was totally okay and that yes, I wanted to adopt her, she happily called me Mama and ran off to Breezehome.
I kind of wish that the game had given me an option to actually discuss it with Lydia first, because I figure it’d be nice to confirm with your spouse if you’re about to bring home a kid. But since the game doesn’t do that, I have to assume it as headcanon that Alarrah actually cleared it with Lydia first.
Granted, with Lydia being accustomed to thinking of Alarrah as her thane and going along with whatever she ordered for so long, Lydia probably would have just gone “as you command–er, uh, I mean, if you really want to, love”. But still, it would have been nice to have the ability to ask!
As it stands, I figure Alarrah did this now specifically because of having had an eye on Lucia for a while. And thinking that if this batshit plan to use Dragonsreach to capture a dragon goes horribly, horribly wrong, then making sure Lucia was at least safe and under Lydia’s care was a thing she wanted to do.
Also, I was surprised to see that the alchemy nook, once it was converted to a child’s bedroom, actually had two beds in it. Which means I do in fact have room in Breezehome for a second kid.
For now, though, I got Lucia settled. And once she was in Breezehome she told me I could have any of the things she’d gathered in her chest. Aw. What a sweet kid. <3
Then I blipped off for a little while to revisit both Heljarchen and Lakeview to drop things off. I got the Blades armor I’d collected onto one of the mannequins still available at Heljarchen, and I set up some dwarven armor on one of the mannequins at Lakeview, just to have an example there of dwarven armor I’d actually made vs. looted. And I dropped off a bunch of books in the library wing I’d built at Lakeview as well!
I have a bunch of duplicate books, but the game doesn’t really give me a good way to organize them to weed out the duplicates. And I know I have a few other books scattered around the other properties, too. I’m enough of a book nerd that I will probably in fact have to conduct an audit of my books just to see how many books I own and get them all properly organized. Because books.
But that can wait until after Alduin is settled!
Back to Whiterun once more after that, and on the way in this time there were no dragons. But there were Khajiit, so I stopped to say hi and buy things, and made a point of buying a doll to give to the kid.
And then settled in and saved for the night!
Pretty much to the point now of needing to report back to Arngeir to get the peace conference underway properly! But there will probably also be more building and crafting and selling of things, just because I really enjoy doing all of that. And possibly also some “run around plains with magically conjured bow” time, to work on both the Archery and the Conjuration!