Because seriously, fuck those guys!
- Grabbed the dragonscale back off the mannequin in Hjerim because i didn’t actually want to leave it there
- Went around Windhelm selling a few things to Niranye, Aval, Revyn
- I think somewhere in here I leveled up to 51? Took Custom Fit perk for Light Armor
- Wound up triggering Revyn’s favor quest to return a ring he’d accidentally bought that had been stolen from Viola Giordano
- I knew Viola was out walking around, so I went and lockpicked her house, and stuck the ring into the dresser closest to her front door
- Returned to Revyn to tell him I’d returned the ring
- Picked the lock on the Aretino residence to have a word with Aventus; took the quest to kill Grelod the Kind
- Took the cart down to Riften
- Did a little alchemy at Honeyside and slept the night
- Sold a bunch of things at the Pawned Prawn and also to Balimund; restocked on my store of iron
- Went to the orphanage in broad daylight this time
- Actually talked to Grelod and did the line ‘Aventus says hello’; she got hostile and talked about beading the shit out of the kid, and she also had a line about ‘you don’t scare me’
- Hit her with a Fear spell twice, and then to my surprise an Imperial guard came in and killed her? I was expecting the beggar Edda! So WTF game?
- But apparently this still counted as me fulfilling Aventus’ contract? So I returned to Windhelm to tell him she was dead and he gave me his family plate
- Boinged to college for mage training; got in Conjuration training, and sold Phinis some Conjuration robes
- Popped into Arch-Mage’s quarters and put robes and staves and assorted bits of jewelry away in wardrobe and chest
- Did a bit of enchanting to make magic-themed things to sell to the trainers
- Slept to see if I could trigger Astrid kidnapping me; answer: yes! Even though I hadn’t gotten the note from the Dark Brotherhood yet
- Woke up in the Abandoned Shack
- Let Astrid make her pitch up to the part where ‘you don’t leave this shack till someone dies’; CAN DO, LADY
- Took Astrid out and freed the captives, then headed for Solitude
- Killed en route: two chaurus, troll, total of six mudcrabs (four of which were at an unmarked flooded barrow with a chest in it), two frostbite spiders
- Wound up by Fort Snowhawk, then fast traveled to Katla’s Farm by Solitude
- Told guard I killed the leader of the Dark Brotherhood
- Courier then ran up with notice about the orphanage being under new management
- Went to Dragon Bridge to report the killing; commander sent me off to wipe out the assassins
- And, ANCIENT DRAGON, right at the bridge of Dragon Bridge; helped the guards and soldiers take it out, though it killed at least one Solitude guard
- Started Whirlwind Sprinting south because way overloaded
- Discovered Robber’s Gorge for the map but did not engage
- Non-hostile NPCs encountered: three Thalmor; noble on horse + Imperial escort; Vigilants of Stendarr hunting another Volkihar vampire; Imperial soldiers + prisoner going the other way
- Hostile NPCs encountered: Bandits, including one that tried to shoot at me but with whom I did not engage; vampire masquerade trio who actually took out the noble and escort
- Hostile creatures encountered: sabre cat
- Spotted bones of both Nahagliiv and Vuljotnaak still lying around, as well as the nameless dragon near the Western Watchtower
- Made it very slowly to Whiterun and sold a bunch of stuff to Elrindir
- Fast traveled to Falkreath
- Went to the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary and cleared the place; got overloaded again so tromped slowly back to Falkreath
- Sold enough stuff at Gray Pine Goods to be able to fast travel to Dragon Bridge; checked in with commander and told him yep I sure did kill all of the assassins; he paid me 3K
- Boinged to Windstad to do some more building, and saved there for the night
Innocence Lost quest
This time through, doing the Innocence Lost quest, I wanted to try a thing I saw mentioned on the wiki: that if you throw a Fear spell on Grelod the Kind, you might be able to get her run out into the town. At which point Edda, one of the two beggars you can see begging in the market, will actually run up and kill Grelod for you.
I wanted to do this for a couple different reasons. One, even though Grelod is a screaming abusive bitch to her charges, she’s still a weak old lady and I am not comfortable with just smiting her on the spot. So if there was a different way I could try this, I wanted to investigate it. Two, rather intrigued by the idea that Edda would actually come up and kill Grelod. Says real interesting things about Edda’s backstory and whether she has any history with being at Honorhall. The wiki isn’t decisive on that score, but there’s certainly strong implications that Edda has it in for Grelod.
Makes me wonder how many other denizens of Riften grew up in Honorhall in the last 20-30 years, and how long Grelod’s had a tyrannical hold on the place!
All of this meant, though, that I needed to try a different approach to the orphanage this time. I came in in broad daylight, as opposed to sneaking in at night. This had a few immediate effects:
- Constance trying to warn me off by saying I really shouldn’t be there; this didn’t feel like a trespassing warning, more like a “my boss is being a bitch and maybe you shouldn’t see this” warning
- Tried to actually talk to Grelod to see what would happen
- Had to follow Grelod out into the side yard by the orphanage, where I also had all four children clamoring at me to get them out of the place
I figure that in the spirit of Delga being a cinnamon roll, she’d at least try to talk to Grelod first and gauge first hand the truth of Aventus’ claims. And it certainly does support Aventus’ case that you see Grelod abusing her charges the instant you walk into the place.
Also how, if you tell Grelod “Aventus says hello”, she will get furious and start ranting about beating the shit out of the kid if she sees him again. She also threw me a line “You don’t scare me.”
And at that point, even Delga the cinnamon roll has her limits. She tried to give this woman the benefit of the doubt. But after seeing first hand what a horrible person she is, I feel like Delga then thought, “Okay, fucking fine, I’ll put the fear of Malacath into her.”
And I hit her with a Fear spell. Twice.
At this point though we were still in the side yard. I was expecting to see Grelod bolt and maybe go running out into the square? But she didn’t. She cowered in the corner of the yard.
And at that point, an Imperial guard charged through the door and just took her out, right then and there.
Which surprised the hell out of me! I mean, I was already kind of dubious about the idea of Edda coming in there to attack Grelod, but at least the wiki warns that this is a possibility. This, however, was just ‘random Imperial guard’.
The conclusion to draw here is that maybe this is a consequence of Riften having been taken over by the Empire? I already know of other buggy behavior there, such as not being able to become Maven Black-Briar’s thane. It would be interesting to try this again in a playthrough where Riften is still controlled by the Stormcloaks.
Meanwhile, from a narrative perspective, I have to kind of struggle to figure out why a guard did the deed. But it’s not entirely impossible! “Constance or one of the children ran for help” is the immediate obvious explanation for why a guard showed up to begin with.
Why he then attacked Grelod rather than the armed and armored Orc standing nearby is another matter entirely! Possible thoughts there:
- Maybe the guard also had a history as an orphan in Honorhall and knew first hand that Grelod was abusive
- Maybe Constance or one of the kids finally point-blank fessed up that Grelod was abusive
- Maybe Constance or one of the kids fibbed a little and said “Grelod is attacking the thane! She must have gone crazy!” (Because even if I’m not Maven Black-Briar’s thane, I was Laila Law-Giver’s thane, and that might still hold at least a little weight?)
- The guard knew I’m the legate who was responsible for handing the Rift to the Empire and was trying to do me a solid? Hell, he could have been one of the other NPCs that helped take over Fort Greenwall!
All in all though this apparently still counted as satisfying the quest, even though I didn’t actually kill Grelod myself. So I was able to return to Aventus to tell him that the deed was done.
Now though I kind of feel like I better adopt two kids from Honorhall this time though! I kind of like the idea that one or more of the kids tried to run off to get a guard to come help. And if nothing else, for Delga Cinnamon Roll purposes, I feel like she’d be more moved to take multiple kids in from this place than Alarrah or Merawen were.
Destroy the Dark Brotherhood! quest
This part of the proceedings, on the other hand, played out very similarly to the first two playthroughs. I.e., went to Dragon Bridge, got Commander Maro to give me the assignment to go wipe out the assassins, and did so.
Had another instance of making an opponent flee from me, this time, too. Namely, Gabriella. (She’s a Dunmer in the Brotherhood, I looked her up, and she was apparently also an archer.) So I had to give her a chance to run off and recover herself enough to directly engage me.
I also note with interest, after reading about the various Brotherhood NPCs, that Astrid’s husband Arnbjorn was a werewolf and a former Companion! Had I come in here while still a werewolf myself, I feel like that would have put an extra edge of interest on my having to confront him. Because I’d have smelled the wolf on him, I think.
I think it’ll be time to go find that Aetherium Forge with Katria!