In Which Merawen Acquires the Spellbreaker Shield

This session was mostly all about running the quest called The Only Cure, which is the Daedric quest for the Spellbreaker shield, the reward given you by Peryite. More on this, and other action, behind the fold!

Highlights

  • Gathered up my things and got the hell out of Markarth for a while
  • Sold a few things to Endon on the way out
  • Swung north to investigate which Standing Stone was the one I saw on the road that way
  • On the way up found a bear and an Ancient Dragon
  • Killed both but apparently hit a Stormcloak Soldier with my fireballs, oops?
  • Rolled back to coming out of Markarth; this time switched off to mage gear
  • Found bear and dragon again, killed both with fireballs while throwing Steadfast Ward
  • Standing Stone turned out to be the Lover Stone
  • Three Forsworn by Kolskeggr as per usual, apparently you assholes didn’t hear I freed your king for you?
  • Tried to reach unknown tomb symbol across the river; had to fry a slaughterfish that attacked me in the water
  • Found the way up the ridge and discovered Four Skull Lookout
  • Cleared the place of three bandits, including one who tried throwing fire at me and who yelped “Death is highly overrated!” when I got his health bar down far enough; sorry dude, I have the superior fireballs
  • Came down the slope and crossed back across the river
  • Found an Orc working a clay deposit, who appeared to be another skooma/sleeping sap dealer; bought moon sugar from him since i can use it for potions
  • Bear and wolf on my way up the next hillside
  • Found the unmarked tree location with a dead Bosmer and some random loot, and a chest
  • Found the Shrine to Peryite and spoke with Kesh the Clean, who sent me to get four ingredients for incense, one of which I already had on me (the flawless ruby)
  • Boinged to Windstad to check my stock of stuff; smithed a few things and said hi to my new bard there; made the silver ingot I needed, and grabbed a deathbell off a shelf
  • Boinged to Solitude to sell some stuff and see if Angeline had vampire dust
  • Nope, so boinged to Whiterun; also nope, but I sold the things I smithed at Warmaiden’s
  • Boinged to Dawnstar; no vampire dust there
  • Boinged to Windhelm; no vampire dust there
  • Boinged to Thieves Guild; finally! Ragged Flagon alchemist had vampire dust!
  • Returned to shrine and got Kesh to make the fumes
  • Peryite: “This elf worshipper of mine betrayed me, go kill him.” Me: “Uh, what did he do to deserve to die?” Peryite: “I SAID GO KILL HIM. Or not, I don’t give a fuck, I can find some other mortal to do it.” Me: “Okay fine…
  • So I went to Bthardamz to take out Orchendor
  • Two of the Afflicted attacked me outside, and that turned out to be not as gross as I expected? Visually, at least, not much different than the Lurkers in Apocrypha spewing tentacles at you
  • Leveled up to 75
  • Started throwing Muffle and Invisibility to work on my Illusion skill
  • Made it past spinning blades trap without triggering the blades
  • Snuck around the three Afflicted praying at their glowing green vapor bin (thank you Invisibility + Muffle spells)
  • Switched off to Nightingale Armor on general maximum sneak principles
  • Snuck past four more Afflicted; reached spears at top of ramps blocking way; realized I had to go to the balcony with the lever and therefore still deal with those same four Afflicted, damn
  • Tried to get the one closest to the lever away via Throw Voice, but all four spotted me when I threw the lever and I had to take them out
  • Mined a nearby gold ore vein as long as the coast was clear
  • Two Dwarven Spheres guarding a chest; took them out with fire
  • Found two Afflicted killed by a spinning blade trap before I even showed up
  • Kept working my way through Lower District and Study parts of the dungeon; also skipped the Dwelling part
  • Avoided some of the afflicted but not all of them, as it is hard to pass Sneak checks in bright light, even when I’m maxed on Sneak
  • Wound up switching back to Nightingale bow for combat as archery was more effective at making sure the Afflicted didn’t get close enough to me to do their vomit attack
  • One-shotted the centurion at the top of stairs that led to Orchendor \0/
  • Also one-shotted Orchendor; took his key and a few other things, and got the fuck out
  • Once outside, set Flame Cloak spell on myself a few times, just because I felt like needing some purification! Because eww
  • Found dead body of Lynoit of the Dawnguard, aww; RIP brother, and well done taking out those three vampires you must have fought; looted his stuff so it remains in Dawnguard hands, especially the orders about where the Dawnguard caches are
  • Summoned Arvak and rode up to the shrine; reported back in to Peryite, who gave me Spellbreaker
  • Called up Arvak again so I could fast travel to Solitude, sell stuff, and go home
  • Arvak’d to Shrine of Meridia and rode over to Solitude from there to avoid fast travel dragon
  • Ssold a bunch of stuff to Gulum-Ei and got unburdened
  • Talked to Octieve just outside the Winking Skeever and got his favor quest to handle his debt with Irnskar
  • Went back to Proudspire and declined playing a game with Sofie because honey, aren’t you up past your bedtime? Go to bed!
  • Saved for the night

General adventuring commentary

After the whole Forsworn Conspiracy issue, I feel like Merawen wanted to be the fuck out of Markarth for a while. So she’ll have told Argis to keep holding down the fort at Vlindrel, and buggered off about her business, any business, just as long as that business is someplace else.

So I did a little bit more checking out of locations I hadn’t checked out before, just looking for any black symbols on the HUD indicating a place I hadn’t discovered yet. That got me the Lover Stone and Four Skull Lookout, neither of which were particularly interesting in and of themselves. But it did at least give me an opportunity to fight a few critters, an Ancient Dragon, and some bandits.

At that point, also, I decided I’d go ahead and try the Daedric quest for Peryite, which gets you the shield called Spellbreaker.

The Only Cure quest

When I did Alarrah’s run, I declined to run several of the Daedric quests. Most of them were because they expected you to take actions I find reprehensible—namely, killing followers/friends loyal to you (the quests for both Boethiah and Mephala), and also, beating up a priest that pissed off Molag Bal. And I’d also skipped the one involving cannibalism (Namira).

Peryite’s quest I’d skipped more for the issue of his followers, the Afflicted, having a vomit attack. And, well, eww.

However, this playthrough, I decided to risk it. In no small part because it was a thing I hadn’t done yet, and I’m hunting around hard for something new to try before I retire Merawen’s run!

I was a bit relieved to find that the Afflicted’s vomit attack wasn’t quite as gross as I was expecting. Gross in concept, absolutely. But at least in terms of execution on screen, within tolerable range. The reason for this was, I’ve already played through Dragonborn twice at this point—and the Lurkers you encounter in that plot, both in Apocrypha and at the All-Maker Stones, have their tentacle attack that they spew at you.

And the attack by the Afflicted came across kind of similar to that, at least visually. I just had to not think too hard about how these plague-ridden people were barfing in my direction. 🤢

Parallel to that, though, I’m on the fence about the whole point of this quest. Peryite’s demand to the player is that you go and kill a worshiper, Orchendor, who’s betrayed him. You do get a dialogue prompt to ask Peryite exactly what this guy did that he deserves to die, so that’s good at least. But Peryite does not answer your question. He just basically says “go kill this guy because I said so”.

(Compare and contrast this with, say, Meridia, who also wants you to go kill a guy to get Dawnbreaker. But in that case it’s very, very clear that the guy deserves Meridia’s ire because he’s killing people and corrupting their dead corpses to infect her temple. No qualms whatsoever about killing that guy.)

Also, I didn’t really want to kill any of the Afflicted. Peryite only specifically ordered me to kill Orchendor. So killing anybody else in the place just seemed kind of cruel. They’d been afflicted by Peryite’s so-called “blessing”, but they’d apparently all come there voluntarily, or at least semi-voluntarily? There are definite cult vibes with these people, and in one part of the dungeon that I skipped, you can even overhear one of the Afflicted talking to her sleeping brother about how she really wants the hell out of the place.

Still though, taking out any of those folks felt to me like having to kill them for nothing more than having the misfortune of being between me and the guy Peryite told me to kill.

I tried to avoid them as much as possible. This didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped, though. I’m maxed out on Sneak, but even max Sneak can fail if you’re trying to move through a brightly lit area. Or if you have to take an obvious action, like, say, throwing the lever that opens the spikes on a gate you have to get through.

So any time I failed to sneak, I had no choice but to fight the Afflicted who saw me. And I can’t exactly blame them for attacking me! Here’s this stranger intruding on their space, of course they’re going to be hostile.

This feels morally different to me than, say, wiping out all the bandits in a bandit lair. In a bandit scenario, the bandits are, well, bandits. They’re there to attack innocent citizens, rob, kill, and in at least in some cases, rape them. It’s way easier to justify taking out bandits, since you’re basically able to say “I’m doing this for the good of Skyrim”.

The Afflicted, though, are a murkier situation. Peryite claims to the player that they are vessels for his “blessing”, and that they are intended to spread it to others through their touch. Which, you can argue, is a direct threat to Skyrim and its citizens.

But what Peryite says and what the player actually sees on camera are possibly two different things. Up until you do this quest, the Afflicted aren’t a thing you see as random NPC encounters. According to the wiki, you can see random Afflicted coming to attack you after you finish the quest. But they don’t go around attacking other random NPCs. Just you. And you can easily argue that they’re doing that because they’re pissed off, rather justifiably, that you came into their space and killed their brothers and sisters.

So all in all, not a quest I will probably do again in playthrough number three. Spellbreaker seems like an interesting idea in concept, a shield that can protect you from both physical and magical attacks. But the quest is too morally murky for me to take satisfaction at acquiring it.

In Merawen’s narrative in my head I think I see her doing this just because for her, if a Daedra tells her to do something, it’s probably best to go along with it—even if she doesn’t necessarily want to. Because pacifying a potentially hostile Daedra might mean she keeps his or her wrath off of her loved ones.

Peryite is not one of the House of Troubles. But I think the Daedric Prince of Disease might be enough of a threat in the mind of a Dunmer who grew up in the Ashlands of Vvardenfell that she’d want to not piss him off if she can avoid it.

Still though, as that Dunmer’s player, I didn’t find this quest exactly satisfying.

Oh, and also? Playing a quest where the Daedric Prince of Disease specifically, on purpose, infects Bretons with his “blessing” with the goal of spreading it to others is especially unsatisfying during a real life pandemic.

Note: this is under no circumstances Skyrim’s fault.

However, this is still part of my experience as a player playing this game right now, in this real life time frame. So yeah. Won’t be running this one next time.

Next time

I’ve reached level 75. Which means I’m five levels away from 80, which is the point you need to get to if you want to do the confrontation with the Ebony Warrior.

I should be able to get in another 30 levels of training by then. Which means I could at least in theory do one of the mage college upper tier quests. Whether I can do more is going to depend very heavily upon whether I can exercise enough magic to get skill boosts during adventuring, as well as during training.

I’m out of Daedric quests to do that a) I haven’t done already or b) are interesting enough that I want to do them again. Ill Met by Moonlight, the quest for Hircine, is not one I’ve done yet as Merawen but it’s not interesting enough to me to try again. (I will however be revisiting that one in playthrough number three, since that’s more relevant to somebody who’s a Companion, and by Companion I mean ‘werewolf’.)

That said, triggering the favor quest for Octieve in Solitude reminds me that there might actually still be little favor quests I could do in various places. I think I may seek those out and see about doing them.

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