In Which Merawen Has a Very Eventful Session

This session saw a whole lot of action all over the place. Cleared dungeons all over the place, killed two different dragons, met several Guild NPCs, and most importantly, finally concluded that burglary job Vex sent me on!

Deets behind the fold!

Highlights

  • Poked around a little to see if I could find the route up to Eldersblood Peak again; didn’t find it, but did loot clothes off the dead Khajiit near Brood Cavern
  • Went to Orotheim to take out the bandits there
  • Swung back through Morthal to get the bounty for that
  • Boinged back to Riften to sell things, and build up gold to pay for training; also visited the training chests in the Thieves Guild headquarters to work on lockpicking; also found which bed in the headquarters is mine
  • Met several Guild NPCs, including Rune, who told me the backstory of his name; got Sneak training from Delvin and Pickpocket Training from Vipir the Fleet
  • Also found the back way into the Thieves Guild headquarters :D
  • Sneak still wasn’t good enough to head back to Solitude for the burglary, so I headed northward to derp around and see if I could build up my Sneak as well as find bandits and/or dragons to kill
  • I knew there was a dragon lair somewhere north of Shor’s Stone, so went in that direction; wound up in the hot springs area south of Windhelm, and slew the dragon that lives at Bonestrewn Crest; got a word for Frost Breath off the Wall
  • Got another illness off a sabre cat I fought with, so I had to pop into Windhelm to a) sell the dragon bones, and b) get a potion of cure disease from the apothecary
  • Went through Kynesgrove after that; spoke with Roggi Knot-Beard at the inn and got his quest to go recover his family shield; spoke with the innkeeper Iddra and got a bounty letter from her to go after a bandit leader
  • Got the shield back from Cronvangr Cave and boy howdy is that not a good dungeon for arachnophobes, so many spiders
  • Ran into the random band of revelers on the way to the bandit lair; they were happy to give me mead, lol
  • Bandit bounty turned out to be at Stony Creek Cave, which I ran a couple of times as Alarrah, and which was the location of Finn’s Lute for the Bards College, so now I have that too
  • Notably, also found my first Unusual Gem there, and the quest to take it back to Vex
  • Popped back into Windhelm to sell more loot and also go get the bounty payment from Ulfric’s steward
  • I’d found an Elven shield as dungeon loot but also bought an Elven Helmet and Elven Gauntlets off the blacksmith at Windhelm
  • Headed west after that, on foot, just to work on my Sneak
  • Found Ironbind Barrow, and was reminded by the wiki that oh yeah that’s the dungeon with the weapon with the Fiery Soul Trap enchantment, as well as the two NPCs for the Coming of Age quest! So I ran that dungeon and got the weapon, as well as another word for Become Ethereal
  • Found Meridia’s Beacon in the boss chest for this barrow! \0/
  • Went north from Ironbind Overlook once I got out of the dungeon, because I remembered there was a tiny Dwemer ruin up there and I wanted to find and loot it
  • Also spotted another dragon, so I followed that one and slew it; tracked back to the Mount Anthor lair and got the Ice Form word off its Word Wall
  • Had to drop some of the heavier weapons I’d gotten out of the barrow to get under the max inventory weight again, and not be overburdened; swung south through Wayward Pass
  • Headed west again, to keep working on the Sneak; finally got it up over 50, so decided it was time to return to Solitude
  • A guard recognized my Thieves Guild armor on the way in, so when I rented the room at the Winking Skeever, I made a point of changing into some of the clothes I’d looted from earlier, just to look a little bit more “completely innocent citizen, nothing to see here, move along”
  • Sold some things to both Sayma at Bits and Pieces, her husband Beirand at the forge, and Angeline at the apothecary; got or crafted a total of four invisibility potions, as well as one for extended invisibility
  • Got my first letter from Calcelmo re: bringing him dwarven artifacts, since I bought dwarven arrows from Beirand
  • Took a nap back at the Winking Skeever; then, once it was late enough, returned to scope out Addvar’s house, get my sneak on, and gear up in the armor
  • Was able to pick the lock on the front door and get in, only to discover oh shit Addvar’s wife Greta is awake; she actually spotted me even though I was sneaking, and yelled at me to get out or else she’d call the guards
  • I got out! And had to go consult the wiki to figure out when the house is actually empty; answer, between 3pm and 6pm
  • So I had to wait for 3pm, at which point I broke back into the house, found it empty, found the thing I was there to steal (the Golden Ship Model)
  • Fast traveled right off the house’s front porch, to get the fuck out of Solitude ASAP
  • Boinged right back to Riften, got back into the headquarters; handed the Golden Ship Model off to Vex for payment, and also got her to evaluate the gem, so now I know it’s a Stone of Barenziah
  • Got a round of Lockpicking training off Vex as well

Commentary

So yeah, this was a pretty action-packed session as I boinged all over the place doing assorted clearing of assorted dungeons, most of which were familiar to me from Alarrah’s run. This time though, the interesting differences are how they work for me in the context of this character and her background.

Merawen’s starting to meet enough Nords who are apparently perfectly willing to be friendly to her that it’s starting to be a counterargument to the blatant hostility in Windhelm. This is not to say that she trusts this, mind you. Ralof and his family in Riverwood, the people in Whiterun, Roggi in Kynesgrove… and, of course, Lydia… are all friendly. But I think she’s got some measure of paranoia that even the friendly Nords might turn on her.

Brynjolf is also a friendly Nord, but in his case, he’s the one that pulled her into the Guild. So she’s aware he’s probably just friendly because of wanting to get her into thievery.

That said, she’s also starting to feel a little more comfortable among the Thieves Guild NPCs. None of them are exactly welcoming per se, they’re clearly expecting her to work for her place, and she actually kind of respects that. It also hasn’t escaped her notice that several of the Guild members she’s met aren’t Nords.

She’s a little surprised by Rune, though. Dude was outright friendly, told her his backstory, and even called her “sister in crime”. Aw. <3

(And from what I see on the wiki, that’s about all there is about Rune—you can’t engage him as a follower, and he’s not involved in any quests. Which seems a little sad, it’d be nice to help him figure out where he came from!)

Killing two different dragons in this run means Merawen has now killed four dragons. I don’t think she consciously sought out the latter two, even if I as player did so. But I think she may be subconsciously seeking them. Dovahkiin translates to not only “Dragonborn” but also “born hunter of dragonkind”. In Merawen’s case, I take the liberty of interpreting that a little more literally!

So she’s finding herself climbing around on rocky crags, and if she hears roaring in the distance, actually trying to get to where it’s coming from. Part of her is going “why the fuck am I doing this?” while the rest is going “that, go kill that now”.

And all of her is going “I cannot believe that actually just happened” every time she kills a dragon and takes its soul.

She’s probably trying very, very hard to not think about it too closely. So far though she’s also been able to discover that the bones and scales she can get from these kills are valuable. So since she’s in a mercenary frame of mind right now—she did after all join the Thieves Guild—she’s probably fooling herself into thinking she’s killing dragons just so she can get gold from it.

Ditto fighting bandits. Granted, there is a very, very fine distinction between “bandit” and “thief” in Skyrim. But bandits typically actually assault and kill people on the roads to get their items, whereas the Thieves Guild is trying to make a point of not killing anyone. That’s an important enough distinction that Merawen finds bandits distasteful.

(Though I think she’s also trying to balance her personal karma by going after bandits, too.)

I really like the hidden back entrance into the Thieves Guild headquarters, stashed inside a tomb near Riften’s Hall of the Dead. Lol. That hidden access is still loud though! Makes me a little paranoid when trying to access that entrance during daylight hours!

Let’s see, what else… Windhelm is definitely not a place Merawen likes to enter, but she’s also realized there are at least a few elves in there who could benefit from her gold. And there’s the beggar woman who can help train her in Pickpocketing. So she’s still periodically willing to get in there if necessary, but only if she has to come in to sell loot.

(Which of course is eventually going to mean I’ll trigger the murder plot, but I’ll think about that when the time comes!)

Solitude unnerves her. Not only because it’s chock fulla Nords, but also because it’s Imperial territory and she’s not over the fact that the Imperials damn near executed her. She’s not going to be forgiving that any time soon.

Also, Solitude is just big and fancy. This girl’s an Ashlander out of Vvardenfell. She’s not used to big, fancy cities!

The letter from the Jarl of Falkreath unnerves her. Who the hell is this guy and why has he heard of her? Has she not been hiding her tracks well enough? (A question Merawen wouldn’t be asking herself if she realized that hey, doing these bandit killing jobs, as well as killing that dragon near Whiterun, is not exactly helpful for keeping a low profile.)

Likewise, who the hell is this Calcelmo guy in Markarth? Why did he know immediately that she bought dwarven arrows in Solitude? What spy does he have watching her movements?

So yeah, I don’t think Merawen will be following up on either of those letters immediately, until I get quests that actually take me to Falkreath or Markarth.

And boy howdy was it suspense-inducing trying to figure out how to do the burglary. I was surprised to learn that the house I needed to hit was owned by Addvar and Greta—and that Greta is actually the sister of Rogvir, the guy who’s executed at Solitude’s front gates the first time you come into the city.

Also, I couldn’t help but notice, reading about this family on the wiki, that they aren’t exactly swimming in cash. So I take a little issue with the game asking me to go rob them—since the Thieves Guild is supposed to not be robbing the poor. But I suppose that “the poor” are, beggars or anybody else living on the streets. Even if Addvar and Greta and their kid are not living richly at the moment, they do still have a house in one of the most secure cities in Skyrim, and that puts them a head above a lot of other folks.

Still though I suspect this kind of thing may eventually lead Merawen to wanting to leave a few small gifts of gold here and there, to anybody she robs, by way of unspoken apology. Heh.

I was also slightly surprised that Greta actually spotted me when I broke into the house, even though I was sneaking. I guess because I was in her house, and she knows the place better than I do!

Also, it was a little nerve-wracking to keep waiting for the coast to be clear before I snuck up to the front door of the place. Guards are very common in Solitude, and the mad beggar who triggers the Wabbajack quest in the Blue Palace kept wandering by!

Paul tells me I give the guards more credit than they deserve. But still I figure it’s probably best to maintain a policy of not actually picking the lock in broad daylight until I know for damn sure I’m not going to be spotted. ;D Which is why I wasn’t willing to tackle it until my Sneak was at least 50!

I’ve started collecting enough enchanted weapons in loot that I need to think about access to an enchanter. Right now my best thing to do with these weapons is sell them—because I need the money, and because I don’t have much in the way of storage space right now. But now that I have the battleaxe from Ironbind Barrow, with its tasty, tasty Fiery Soul Trap enchantment, I need to destroy that and learn it so I can get it onto a lighter weapon. :D

I now have a mix of Elven and Leather armor. I’d wear the Thieves Guild armor all the time—except that the guards in cities will periodically actually tell you they recognize the armor and know you’re in the guild. There does not actually seem to be any game penalty for this; the guards don’t follow you around, or anything of that nature.

But purely in-character, I figure Merawen would be paranoid about wearing the armor in broad daylight. So she only breaks it out if she’s actually actively working a job.

Plus, her non-Thieves-Guild armor is a little bit better protection anyway, for now. I can’t improve the Thieves Guild armor yet, because it’s got enchantments on it, and I don’t have Arcane Blacksmithing unlocked yet.

I could go back to Whiterun to use the one in Dragonsreach, sure—but so far, in character, I’m not feeling like Merawen is willing to do that. So I need an enchanter I get to elsewhere. The Ratway in general doesn’t have one, and neither does the Thieves Guild headquarters. So my immediate best option is probably going to be, finding out where the one in Mistveil Keep is in Riften, or else running a dungeon known to have one.

Next time

I need to start scoping out how to do the Goldenglow Estate job. And in the meantime, I may need to run a bounty quest in the Rift just to get an excuse to go to Mistveil Keep and find the enchanter while I’m in there!

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