In Which Merawen Defeats the Wolf Queen for Solitude

This session was pretty much entirely driven by wanting to whittle down the side quests, for the Guild and otherwise–and also by realizing that holy crap, I have about 25,000 gold, that’s enough to buy Proudspire, maybe I should go get Elisif to make me her thane?

So I did the plot to defeat Potema the Wolf Queen and keep her from being resurrected. Also moved the Forbidden Legends quest along, and did a whole bunch of thievery and other side quests as well.

Also, pro tip: try to avoid reading scrolls that will set you and nearby enemies on fire, if you don’t also want to set your housecarl on fire and piss her off. JUST SAYING.

Highlights

  • Started off by taking care of a bit more Smithing in Whiterun, just to work on raising that skill
  • Then I boinged over to the mage college, only to realize I had other things I wanted to do before reporting back in there
  • Used Windward Ruins as fast travel landmark to handle the rupture Tolfdir pointed me at
  • Went to Greenspring Hollow to find the Shalidor’s Insights book; this was a hunter camp where the hunter had been killed, presumably by the two bears that attacked me
  • Went to go look for the other book Urag wanted, The Wild Elves, which was at Tumble Arch Pass; Shearpoint was the nearest fast travel point, so I killed the respawned Blood Dragon there, and took out the Dragon Priest Krosis while I was at it; did not get the soul off the dragon, presumably because it was respawned?
  • Then I finally did return to the college, getting training from four different trainers (and I did Faralda twice); bought a bunch of spellbooks from Faralda as well
  • Gave both books to Urag
  • Reported to Tolfdir that I’d handled the disturbance
  • Gave the ten Dwemer cogs to Arniel
  • Agreed to help J’zargo with his scrolls
  • Agreed to help Brelyna who turned me green
  • Went to Solitude to do the Bedlam Job, and thought about breaking into the Blue Palace to go for the Stone of Barenziah in Elisif’s quarters–but I felt like my ability to get through all the guards in the place might be questionable?
  • So I decided to run the Wolf Queen plot, just to see if I could improve my general status in the palace and make it a little less likely I’d get dinged if I try to get that Stone later?
  • Also just because doing the Potema plotline leads me to being able to be thane of Haafingar, and I have enough gold at this point to buy Proudspire
  • Did the Man Who Cried Wolf plot, but also just to finish the Bedlam Job, robbed the Fletcher shop just because there was a nice pool of darkness right near its door for me to commence the Sneak
  • Then I boinged over to Windhelm and re-robbed Viola’s house, to do my pending Sweep Job
  • Back to Riften, checked in on those two jobs, and got two new ones–another one in Solitude, which actually sent me back to Fletcher to forge numbers in the ledger, and also a Shill Job in Whiterun to plant a stolen item in Amren’s house (sorry about that, Amren!)
  • Got Lydia back on duty, and took her with me to go clear out the bandits at Fort Fellhammer, where I mined all the ore veins before finally taking out the bandit chief
  • Went to Winterhold to collect that bounty, but had to kill an Elder Dragon first when it buzzed the town; guards threw the “it’s like the old legends! Dragonborn!”
  • Went to Ivarstead next so that I could clear out Geirmund’s Hall and get the third piece of the Gauldur amulet; hit another iron vein on the way to that, as well as one within the dungeon
  • Accidentally turned Lydia hostile by using one of J’zargo’s scrolls at the wrong time, oops, sorry Lyds! Had to roll back to reset
  • Went back to Whiterun to drop off loot and dismiss Lydia (and plant the item at Amren’s house)
  • Got Courier note from Falk Firebeard to come back to Solitude and follow up on the Potema problem
  • Sold a few more things and then talked to Falk, and commenced part 2 of the Potema plotline; got instructions from the priest Styrr to go to the catacombs underneath the Temple of the Divines, take out Potema, and bring her skull back to Styrr to be sanctified
  • Ran that dungeon, and this time since I was alone, I actually used J’zargo’s scrolls to help me take out draugr and vampires so I could close that quest
  • Returned to the Blue Palace to tell Falk the deed was done
  • Talked to Elisif and triggered her quest to take her husband’s horn to a Shrine of Talos
  • And broke back into Fletcher’s to muck with Fihada’s register
  • Went back to the Flagon to get the fee for the last two jobs, and get new ones; now I have a Burglary Job in Riften and another Numbers Job in Windhelm

Mage college quests

All of this was familiar territory, really, but I did those quests again anyway because I enjoy them, and because they help raise the disposition of the college NPCs to me. And also, because Tolfdir pays well for the quests involving taking out leftover anomalies from the Eye of Magnus!

One new wrinkle this time through was discovering that using J’zargo’s flame scrolls too close to a follower will piss that follower off. I actually accidentally did this to Lydia, and she started attacking me!

Lesson learned from this: J’zargo’s little scroll quest is amusing, but boy howdy do not try to use those scrolls when you have a follower too close to you. :O

Also, the quests to get Urag his books dropped me into a couple of new places this time. I didn’t remember Greenspring Hollow from running Alarrah’s game. It’s a little hunter camp between Rorikstead and Whiterun, with a dead hunter and a whole bunch of pelts he’d gathered. The hunter was presumably killed by the two bears that jumped me when I came near the place to get the Shalidor’s Insights book.

I also didn’t remember the giant camp Tumble Arch Pass from Alarrah’s run, where I had to go to get the Wild Elves book. This camp was right near Shearpoint–so I used that as my fast travel landmark, and took out the re-spawned Blood Dragon while I was there. And, for that matter, the Dragon Priest Krosis, since Merawen is now powerful enough to take on Dragon Priests.

Other side quests

I’m also fairly sure I hadn’t visited Fort Fellhammer before? It’s not a huge fort, and much of its dungeon was actually a mine underneath the fort, where I mined several ore veins in addition to taking out the bandits.

But the actual bandit chief was in the fort proper, upstairs. And he was not at all difficult for Lyds and me to take out. Really, the more difficult part of this entire endeavor was killing the Elder Dragon that jumped us at Winterhold when I returned there to collect the bounty for the bandit chief!

Moved the Forbidden Legend quest along a little further by getting the third and final amulet bit at Geirmund’s Hall. Again, familiar territory so I won’t go into detail again about that dungeon. But it was nice to be reminded that yeah, Geirmund’s Hall is a fun dungeon, and the chamber for the boss fight is interesting with the whole aspect of little islands in a flooded room, where Sigdis Gauldurson manifests his clones.

Tumble Arch Pass was one of the smaller giant camps I’ve encountered. And I actually got the book out of the loot chest there without even alarming the giant, so I didn’t have to kill him.

Wolf Queen plot

This too was familiar but fun territory. The Potema plotline is exciting, with pretty high stakes, and it’s one you do need to run if you want to be able to buy Proudspire Manor.

Which is highly relevant to Merawen’s interests just because there is another Stone of Barenziah in there.

(And I’m given to understand that there’s apparently a bug where the key to Fletcher will actually work on Proudspire’s back door, but how the hell is Merawen supposed to know that? Fuck it, I’ll just go kill the Wolf Queen.)

Re-running this plot did remind me that Falk Firebeard is perhaps my favorite steward in the various Holds in Skyrim. He’s certainly the nicest and is actively welcoming to the Dragonborn whenever you set foot in the court.

Which okay, yeah, does make me feel slightly guilty that I’ll still need to break into Elisif’s quarters to steal her Stone of Barenziah. Still though I figure this puts me ahead of her other problematic thane, Erikur!

And speaking of thievery…

Thieves Guild jobs

This session saw me hit Fletcher twice, once for the Bedlam Job and once for the Numbers Job. Solitude has a lot of wealthy shops and houses, but I finally chose Fletcher for the Bedlam Job for the simple fact that its location makes it a little less blatantly obvious than the other shops. There’s a nice pool of darkness right underneath its side roof, where it’s easy to hide and trigger your Sneak. And it’s a short step from there over to the door. As long as you time it right and a guard’s not specifically making the rounds nearby–and you do it when Fihada’s not actually in the place, since he spends evening hours at the Winking Skeever–chances are good you can get into the place undetected.

By contrast, trying to break into Radiant Raiment, Bits and Pieces, or Angeline’s Aromatics seems a lot riskier just because they’re all down on the main thoroughfare coming in from the gates.

Still though, I may have to figure out how to break into Radiant Raiment on general principles just because wow those Altmer sisters are bitchy. Heh.

Meanwhile, I did feel guilty about planting a stolen item in Amren’s house. Amren is after all one of the nicer NPCs in Whiterun, and once you do the job for him to recover his family sword, he always greets you with “Divines smile on you, friend!” Um, yeah. Hi, Amren! Sorry for framing you!

(I’d be guiltier about this if the game actually served any real consequences to NPCs when you plant stolen stuff in their house. But it doesn’t, so I can at least take consolation in knowing nobody will actually ever hassle Amren for this. Though given that Vex told me this guy had pissed off Maven, it does make me curious what a guy in a completely different city did to piss off Maven Black-Briar? Unless she’s just cranky that he likes Honningbrew Mead.)

It’s also worth noting that I’m still getting side jobs in Windhelm, even though I’ve now reclaimed Windhelm for the Thieves Guild. And it was hilarious to have a guard go by me with the line “Maybe you haven’t heard, but the Thieves Guild is back. Windhelm is their city now, if you catch my meaning…”

Merawen, Inside Voice: Yes. I know. >:D

I do appreciate the extra opportunities to actually just learn Windhelm’s layout. I can now get to the Gray Quarter reliably. I’ve also been having to specifically avoid heading down the thoroughfare where the murder plot kicks in, just because I’ve been trying to avoid doing that… though I think I will eventually have to do that plot, too, if I want to get into the Palace of the Kings and yoink the Stone of Barenziah out of Ulfric’s quarters.

Plus, while I know I could turn down side jobs in Windhelm, it’s still useful to get the fee for doing them!

Anyway, now the tally on side jobs per city looks like this:

  • Markarth: One job so far
  • Riften: Three jobs, one new job pending
  • Solitude: Four jobs
  • Whiterun: Four jobs
  • Windhelm: Completed, reputation of Thieves Guild re-established! One extra job pending there

So I need to do one more each in Solitude and Whiterun, two more in Riften, and four more in Markarth to get to the reputation jobs in the rest of the cities.

Next time

Good question. I still have several side quests to accomplish. But right now I’m kind of in the mood to go ahead and deal with pending Solitude stuff. Doing the Wolf Queen quest unlocks permission to buy Proudspire, so I already have that and should be able to proceed with buying the place.

Doing Elisif’s tribute quest though should also let me proceed with becoming her thane. It’ll be interesting to see if I trigger the same bug Alarrah did–because I’ve already done enough favor quests in Solitude to hit the bar of five, so I may need to do another one just to clear that out.

I’m also eyeing Honeyside in Riften and whether or not I want to be thane there. Honeyside is a great house, particularly with the back door access you can get through and bypass the city gates. I’m not a hundred percent convinced Merawen needs a house in Riften, though? Because she’s got the bed and chest down in the Cistern, and now she’s also got access to Nightingale Hall. Arguably, Nightingale Hall will be even more secure than the Guild headquarters–because only she, Karliah, and Brynjolf will be getting in there. So it’s not like she’s lacking for places to sleep or store stuff in Riften’s vicinity.

That said: since she’s not welcome in the Bee and Barb, and since the game does not see fit to let me take over Mercer Frey’s place (side note: fuck that guy, I should totally get his house), there’s an argument to be made that having a house directly within Riften helps contribute to the veneer of Perfectly Ordinary Citizen.

And it would get me access to another alchemy lab and enchanter.

Arguably, I could also boing down to Falkreath and purchase the property to build Lakeview Manor. Now that I’ve built all the houses with Alarrah, I’m not completely sure I want to bother to do that again with all three buildable properties. But there are arguments for this, too:

  • Additional safe place to sleep that doesn’t require renting a room
  • Additional safe storage
  • Opportunity to hire different NPCs as stewards, to keep housecarls free to come follow me on dangerous quests if I want them
  • Additional places to house adopted children (because Merawen I think is probably going to adopt Sofie the flower girl, after seeing her enough times in Windhelm and particularly seeing her sleep outside in the cold, poor kid)
  • Opportunity to practice Smithing, I still need to get up to 100 to unlock Dragon Smithing, I needs me some dragonscale armor

And oh yeah–I still need to report in to Isran, and find that old guy in the Ratway as well….

Screenshots

No screenshots this time since most of my activity was familiar territory! And the things that were new to me weren’t as interesting to look at, just the back rooms at Fletcher where the business ledger I screwed with was.