In Which Merawen Becomes Thane of the Pale

This session was almost but not entirely a break from Dawnguard action, as I focused instead on action in Dawnstar—and on becoming Thane of the Pale. But while I was at it, I did also take care of Jarl Skald’s little vampire problem!

Highlights

  • Woke up from save at Fort Dawnguard; heard a clatter noise as I was coming out of save, and then saw a plate had clattered to the floor; wtf, plate? I didn’t touch you, I swear!
  • Went to Windward Ruins as fast travel locale near Dawnstar; flyby dragon, did not engage, made it to Dawnstar
  • The Khajiit were hanging out by the road outside Dawnstar, but just standing there, no tents? But this same caravan has tents at Riften, so WTF, guys? Aren’t you all cold at Dawnstar without your tents? (This is apparently a known glitch?)
  • Popped into the inn and spoke with Erandur to go ahead and do the Waking Nightmare quest
  • Followed Erandur up to Nightcaller Temple; attacked by three frost trolls this time, not three snow bears
  • Ran the quest pretty much like Alarrah did it; did not kill Erandur because fuck you, Vaermina
  • Returned to Dawnstar; rented a room and slept for a few hours
  • Went to go warn the Jarl he’s in danger; he demanded proof; played this pretty much the same as I’d done in Riften, went invisible, picked the advisor’s pocket, then got Skald’s permission to take him out
  • (Also, Skald still is a cranky old Stormcloak-obsessed asshole)
  • Asked Skald for work, he sent me to kill the giant at Blizzard Rest
  • Discovered Weynon Stones en route, reminded that this camp is right by Heljarchen; giant slain from afar, thank you crossbow and shock bolts
  • Returned to Dawnstar for another evening, then reported to the Jarl that the giant was dead
  • Got the offer to be thane if I helped his people; wandered around Dawnstar to talk to folks
  • Got quest from Frida to find the Ring of Pure Mixtures
  • Got quest from Rustleif to find a book for him, Night Falls on Sentinel
  • Got quest from Captain Wayfinder for the Fine-Cut Void Salts
  • Went to Brood Cavern for the salts
  • Swindler’s Den yet again for the book
  • Vampires and bandits outside the den; blew them up real nice with the crossbow and shock bolts; got through the entire lair without killing anybody inside \0/
  • Fast traveled to Forsaken Cave for the ring
  • Oh hi there Frost Troll OH SHIT HI THERE BLOOD DRAGON; killed both with Nightingale Bow and glass arrows
  • Switched off to Dawnguard armor and Stendarr’s Aura inside, because draugr! \0/
  • Cleared the place; got some of the re-spawned goodies, and also the ring
  • Back to windward ruins to go to Dawnstar
  • Met Frida en route to the inn, she was apparently out for a late walk? Got her to bump my alchemy, and also to snark on Skald, lol
  • Bought the smith out of all his materials, so I could sell him weapons and armor from loot; gave him and his wife the book
  • Gave the salts to the captain
  • Checked in with Skald and became thane
  • Got Gregor as housecarl, and following me
  • Also bought land for Heljarchen Hall, then saved for the night

Waking Nightmare quest

This played out pretty much the same way it had for Alarrah, so not much to say about that here aside from noting that the creatures who attacked Erandur and me outside the temple were frost trolls this time, not bears. Apparently that entrance is guarded by “leveled animals”, according to the wiki. So apparently trolls count as “animals”? Primates, I guess?

As with Alarrah, so with Merawen: I didn’t kill Erandur because the Skull of Corruption seems generally problematic, and killing a priest who’d specifically asked me for my help to save the people of Dawnstar from damaging nightmares is a shitty, shitty thing to do.

Also, Erandur is a Dunmer, and he’s a Dunmer who specifically wants to atone for his past wrongs. So Merawen’s arguably even more sympathetic to him than Alarrah was.

Jarl’s Justice quest

This went pretty much like it had for the Riften iteration of this quest:

  1. Warn Jarl he’s in danger
  2. Jarl demands proof
  3. Go invisible and sneak up on the “Visiting Advisor”
  4. Steal orders out of his pocket
  5. Come out of sneak and go hand the orders to the Jarl
  6. Get Jarl’s permission to take out the vamp
  7. Take out vamp

And it amuses me that the vampire was right there in the hall when I told Skald he was in danger. He had to have heard me. And yet he didn’t go “oh shit” and run off, or try to fight his way out, or anything.

Nor did he have the slightest idea of my presence when I snuck up and pickpocketed him. Apparently enhanced vampire senses are no match for the power of my invisible sneak!

Becoming Thane of the Pale

This played out slightly differently for Merawen than it had for Alarrah, just because I did one different favor quest this time: getting a book for the blacksmith Rustleif. Who, as it turns out, is anxious about making sure his forthcoming child by his Redguard wife Seren will be able to learn about Seren’s Redguard culture! So he asks the player to get a book for him that can help teach their future kid.

Which is delightful and I was happy to do that for him, not only because it’s always a good idea to get in good with the blacksmiths of Skyrim. I just love the idea of a Nord, for once, wanting to make a point of having education about other cultures available to his kid. ❤️

The other difference this time through, of course, was that I’m doing the Dawnguard quests concurrently with becoming thane of the Pale. Which means, random vampires without warning! Which is exactly what happened when I showed up at Swindler’s Den to look for that book.

This being the third time I’ve had to come back to this place for something this run, I amused myself this time by trying to see if I could do the whole lair without killing anybody. I wound up having to kill the bandits outside, just because they jumped into battle with the vampires and with me. But once I got inside, I was able to successfully sneak past all the re-spawned bandits and get out again with the book. Which also turned out to be a skill book for the One-Handed skill, so there was that bonus too.

And I’d already also run Forsaken Cave, but was quite happy to return to the place just because it is a rich source of silver ingots.

Plus, being a draugr hive, it also was a great place to fling Stendarr’s Aura around and play with the related effect from the Dawnguard Rune Shield. Got a few more points of Block that way!

Got all the favor quests sorted, and returned to Dawnstar to get the thaneship. Let it be noted as well that I’m amused by how nobody in Dawnstar seems to like their Jarl at all. Frida the alchemist snarks on him hardcore. And unsurprisingly, former Imperial legate Brina Merilis does not look kindly upon Skald threatening to execute her and her former subordinate Horik.

Note to self: when Merawen makes it to the Season Unending quest, see about handing Dawnstar off to the Imperials. Because Brina sure as hell seems like she’d be a better Jarl than Skald.

At any rate, got Skald to name me thane, and give me Gregor as my latest housecarl. Hi Gregor! Welcome to Team Merawen!

Bought the land for Heljarchen Hall, too. Which means I’ll need to find me another steward just so I won’t have to make Gregor patrol the place by himself!

Next time

I’ll get Heljarchen Hall set up. And I’ll need to think about who to engage as a steward! My options are somewhat limited given that several of the available people are members of the Companions, and I’m not doing that quest line with Merawen.

And I need to report back to Fort Dawnguard to let Isran know the vampire problem in Dawnstar is settled, and see if I can get that last quest from Florentius!

Screenshots

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