Wednesday, December 7, 2011

(34) - Swindlers Den - Journal entry -

Turdas 17th of Hearthfire 4E201

We woke up after an undisturbed sleep in Fort Greymoor. Agnis already had a breakfast prepared for us, bread with tomato and eidar cheese. I could tell why every occupant of Fort Greymoor would keep her around. We left the fort early as the sun was still behind the horizon, tracking around the North side of the small mountain West of the fort.


Lydia and I had just killed off a pack of three wolves when a fugitive ran up to us. He handed me a bow, telling me to save it for him, and threatening me he'd kill me if I didn't take care of it for him. Then he ran off as quickly as he had appeared. It wasn't much later when a hunter ran up to us asking about the refugee. I simply acted like I didn't know what he was talking about and he disappeared as well. I didn't feel like making their business my own anyway, and simply shrugged it off.


A bit later I saw two deer, and just as I was skinning them we got attacked by two mages. I'm not sure what we did to provoke their attack, but it was a bad choice on their part as we killed them quickly. Just after that I saw a wolf, but just as I was aiming an arrow at its chest it seemed distracted by something else, forcing me to run after it. My luck, because the wolf actually went to attack a bandit guarding a cave entrance. Since by now we had entirely covered both sides of the small mountain, this had to be Swindlers Den, and we finished off the bandit as soon as it had killed the wolf.


Swindlers Den


Pretty soon after entering the cave we were confirmed in our suspicion that this was indeed Swindlers Den, as we overheard two bandits talking about how they had been paid to hide some Alik'r in the back of the cave. We started to work our way through the occupying bandits, clearing cavern after cavern from increasing numbers of bandits. Though the 5 bandits in one of the last rooms put up quite a fight, they were pretty lousy at their chosen profession, as there was hardly any noteworthy loot to be found.


Passing under a waterfall we finally found Kematu, guarded by 6 additional Alik'r. We were still standing knee deep in water, as they had us surrounded with seven man on high ground, swords drawn. I had little choice but to talk to Kematu. According to him Saadia had sold Hammerfell out to the Aldmeri Dominion, and he asked me to return to Whiterun and lure Saadia out to the stables just outside the city. Being in a really bad position, and not liking my fighting chances, I agreed. Next to that I had noticed that after all fighting of the last week, my magical enchantments on both my bow and my axe were starting to fade away quickly, I really felt I would risk my life unnecessarily if I had chosen to fight the Alik'r then and there.


Lydia and I left the cave, and started to make our way back to Whiterun. About halfway there, I got jumped by a very agile Argonian assassin. I managed to kill him, though I depleted the last enchanted powers of my axe while doing it. On him I found a note stating;


As instructed , you are to eliminate
Gwenneth Gut-Ripper by any means
necessary. The black sacrament has
been performed - somebody wants this
poor fool dead .


We've already received payment for
the contract. Failure is not an option.


~Astrid

Isn't that great, if not some servant is trying to get me killed over a book, I now had an unknown person sending an assassin after me. This whole event was smelling of the dark brotherhood to me. I had no clue who was behind this though.


Dead Assassin

Arriving at Whiterun I noticed the Khajiit traders had returned, so I sold them a bunch of loot until they ran out of gold. Just making it in before closing time, I managed to sell the rest at the shops in Whiterun.
It was already getting dark when I went to the Bannered Mare, and found Saadia in her room. I managed to convince her that her cover was blown, and she needed to get out of town. As soon as she arrived at the stables outside the main gate, Kematu hit her with a powerful paralyzing spell, and told me she would be transported to Hammerfell, to be judged for her treason. He handed me 500 gold as a reward. Though the reward was good, I'm still not sure if I did the right thing for Saadia, for all I know I have led her to her own beheading. It was the right thing for me though, I had little choice, and I don't want to find a small army standing at my bedside when I wake up in the morning...

Saadia laying paralyzed at Whiterun stables


Back at Breezehome I prepared a dinner of venison chop, salmon steak and sweet rolls for desert. Then I went to bed early for some reading. First I read 'an explorer's guide to Skyrim'. It was written by an Imperial who was more boasting about his own explorer capabilities then making an interesting description of Skyrim. Needless to state the book failed to impress me. After that I read 'Nords of Skyrim', which was at least better written.
I can't help but wonder what will happen to Saadia. Perhaps I'll find out one of these days... 

Monday, December 5, 2011

(33) - Fort Greymoor - Journal entry -

Middas 16th of Hearthfire 4E201


I woke up early, Lydia was still sleeping as I was stuffing three days worth of food and potions in my knapsack. Just to be safe. When Lydia was awake we just had a fast breakfast of boiled cream treats, then left Whiterun heading West. It was still dark and somewhat cloudy, but Fort Greymoor is pretty hard to miss.


Fort Greymoor in the background


We lowered our weapons when we approached the fort, and to be honest I expected to see Imperial guards as the map in Dragonsreach had indicated. Well I was wrong, and almost took an arrow in the knee, were it not for my tight fitting elven armor. There were actually outlaws at the fortress, but I had failed to spot so in the dark. After Lydia and I killed four of them the quiet returned. I expected way more resistance, but it turned out the thugs had placed practice puppets on the fort walls to create the illusion of a larger armed force.


We killed one more thug on a tower in the back, then made our entrance to the inner parts. The first section we entered was obviously a prison section, where we killed three more outlaws. There was no one alive in the prison cells. In the back of the prison there was a dead troll on a table. Even though it was dead, I had never seen one up close, except for it's skeletal remains. I was so pre-occupied with the creature that I almost failed to see the spellcasting bandit hiding near the dead troll. Luckily Lydia did notice, and she killed the bandit with her arrows before I could even grab my axe.


Dead troll and fried bandit 


After the prison we entered the main fortress, where we were attacked immediately by a highwayman. (Last time I saw highwayman armor was in Cyrodiil) In a nearby room there was a lone and very dead Imperial soldier, must have been a scout I guess. We killed three more outlaws on our way to a large central hall with dining tables. The seared slaughterfish and baked potatoes were still steaming on their plates, so Lydia and I ate in turns as the other watched over the hallway we hadn't cleared out yet. In another room, seemingly the kitchen area, we killed three more bandits, leaving just an old servant alive, named Agnis. She told us she had served whoever had occupied the fortress over time, whether it were Orcs or vampires. We left her to clear up the mess we had left behind, leaving the fort through a sewer gate.


Fort Greymoor interior


There was still plenty of daylight left, and though I still had no clue to the whereabouts of Swindlers Den, There was only one small rocky hill nearby, so this seemed like the only place to find a cave directly West of Whiterun. I decided to first check out the South side of the rocks. There was no cave to be found, however I did find a dead bandit, his horse still standing at his side. Well free horses are hard to come by, so I mounted the sturdy animal, and it was surprisingly calm, even though I was wearing full armor.




Slowly I rode the horse to the West end of the rocky hill in order for Lydia to be able to keep up. Still no sight of a cave, but we did discover a shrine of Stendar. Since Imperial legionnaires consider Stendar to be their patron, I had no remorse taking the gems and strongbox who had been left there as offerings. Just as I had taken the valuables a mammoth with his giant companion appeared from behind a rock, and both Lydia and I ducked behind the shrine, keeping out of sight long enough to attract no attention.


Unfortunately, as we emerged from behind the shrine, my newfound horse was nowhere to be found. We searched for longer then I had traveled with the animal, but it seems I lost it just as suddenly as I found it. By now it was starting to get dark, so we retraced our steps back to Fort Greymoor. Agnis, the servant was so nice to prepare us a leg of goat roast, and you could tell she had a lifetime of experience with preparing it, it was delicious. There's no time left to read anything, though I did find a few books today, as I want to leave early again tomorrow. I'll just finish my mead and go to sleep. Tomorrow we'll check the North side of the rocks.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

(32) - Saadia - Journal entry -

Tirdas 15th of Hearthfire 4E201

I woke up very late this morning, so I decided on staying in Whiterun for the day. I had collected quite a few ingredients the past few days, so after a simple bread and goat cheese breakfast with Lydia I gave the alchemy table another try. I made a few health draining poisons again, and though not as bad as my first try, they still didn't turn out very potent. The potion of cure disease was a success though, much easier to make.

I still had some loot left that I hadn't been able to sell yesterday, so I visited a few shops to get rid of it. None of the shopkeepers had anything interesting for sale though, so I decided on heading out to the Bannered Mare to drop off Lydia for the day. She didn't mind. In the inn a guy named Sam Guevenne challenged me to a drinking contest, and promised me a staff if I'd win. I declined of course, I had no interest in his 'staff', and if I'd lose he'd probably make me polish it too, no thank you.


Bannered Mare

I went to the kitchen area to see if there was anything good for lunch, when I saw a Redguard woman stirring a pot there. That's when I remembered the two Redguards I had met at the entrance of Whiterun on my first day here, getting refused entry by the guards. They had mentioned looking for a Redguard woman in hiding, and the person in front of me was the only Redguard woman I had seen so far in Whiterun. The woman introduced herself as Saadia, and I told her about the men looking for her.

She was visibly shaken, and asked me to follow her to her room to speak to her in private. As we arrived at her room, she immediately drew a dagger and threatened me. Lucky for her I was able to calm her down telling her I didn't mean her any harm, and she sheathed her dagger and started explaining the situation. She told me she was a noble and her real name was Iman. The men I had spoken to were nothing but bounty hunter thugs called Alik'r, their leader called Kematu. Then she asked me to kill Kematu so they would stop pursuing her. I agreed, though I'm still not sure what I will do once I meet the character. I suppose I want to hear him out first too. Saadia / Iman told me one Redguard thug had been imprisoned, and he probably could tell me something about Kematu's whereabouts.

I agreed on investigating, but first I ate a dinner of cooked beef with some alto wine before heading out to Dragonsreach. I used the side entrance of the Reach, and quickly found the captured Alik'r. He wasn't very talkative, so I promised to bail him out of jail. After doing so he told me I could find Kematu in a cave West of Whiterun called Swindlers Den. Unfortunately one of the guards misplaced his cell key, so I guess the Alik'r will have a prolonged stay after all.



Whiterun Prison

I had no clue where exactly this cave was, so I headed up in Dragonsreach to check out the map in one of the rooms that I had seen near the Jarl's quarters. Unfortunately there were no caves indicated on the strategic map, just cities and fortresses. To the West of Whiterun I notice Fort Greymoor on the map, no doubt the fort I had passed on my way back from Dustman's Cairn. I think I'll go there tomorrow, if there's a cave with Redguard thugs nearby I'm pretty convinced that guards of the Fort can tell me more about it.


Strategic map at Dragonsreach

I picked up Lydia from the inn on my way back home, and we ate some cabbage potato soup with grilled leeks, and had a few ales together. I sent Lydia to bed early, as she already seemed to have had a fair share of mead at the inn.

I just finished reading 'Ode to the Tundra Striders', describing the wandering giants with their mammoth herds. The book kind of confused me, because it was written from the standpoint of a giant, yet the writing itself was very noble and weighty. Oh well, at least it had the interesting info that giants apparently hunt for skeevers a lot, so if I ever come across an empty giant camp, I should make sure to search it for some skeever tails for making poisons. Time to sleep now, I want to head West early in the morning and see if I can find Swindlers Den.


Friday, December 2, 2011

(31) - Shimmermist Cave - Journal entry -

Morndas 14th of Hearthfire 4E201

When I peeked out of the door of Korvanjund it was still dark, but the skies were clear and an abundance of moonlight refracted of the snow. Good enough for me, so I woke up Lydia for a quick bread and tomato breakfast. Leaving Korvanjund we headed South, making sure to stay close to the rock face of the nearby mountains. In the moonlight I recognized Loreius farm, so I was pretty sure we were indeed heading in the right direction, towards the only area left to search for Shimmermist cave.

Just as I noticed a lightly trodden path towards a crack in the rocks, two bandits made the mistake to attack us. There was no mercy for them.
We followed the path up as the sun shone its first rays upon the mountainside, and indeed it led to a cave entrance. Once we entered it was unmistakably the cave I had been looking for; our legs disturbed a thick layer of mist hanging in the caverns, lit by the shimmering light of glowing mushrooms lining the walls. I killed a skeever from a distance with my bow, had this been the odd creature which the city guard had been talking about?


Shimmermist cave entrance

Well, I soon found out it wasn't. The corridor we were in opened up into a large cavern, and on top of a stone structure I saw an elf-like creature, skinny, but it's claws clearly showing against the backlit cave walls. I readied an arrow, and let it fly. The creature ran up to us, but our axes were ready, and it died quickly. When I touched its skin, wanting to search its body for possession, the intense cold radiating from it immediately made me realize what it was; a Falmer! My grandfather had told many tales about them in my childhood, and what seemed like fables and fiction at the time turned out to be very close to the truth.


A dead Falmer

I asked Lydia to light a torch, and had a good look at the Falmer. Its eyes seemed to have disappeared complete, yet it had been totally aware of our whereabouts after my initial shot. It still had elven features, but these once snow elves had clearly evolved into something adapted to living in these scarcely lit caves. I took both a bow and a sword off it, and both seemed to be made of scaly, tough natural materials. A bit further on I found a helmet and more weapons with the same properties. We also discovered we weren't the first to enter these caves, as we found the bodies of three unfortunate bandits as well.

We continued in, and in a next cavern, its ceiling lit by sparkling light emitting rock fragments,  we sneaked close to two more Falmers. I prepared two arrows with a moderate poison, giving one to Lydia. Both Falmers never got close, falling dead riddled with arrows. One of them had a shield clearly made out of animal chitin. I soon realized from which animal as we discovered lots of chaurus eggsacks in the next corridor. These were nasty poison spitting animals, and we managed to kill three of them in a row, thanks to our sharp axes and good tactics.


... an unlocked door.

We came upon an unlocked door, and behind it I could hear the rhythmic sound of machinery and hissing steam. I signaled Lydia to stay put, as I had a fair idea what I would see next; Dwemer ruins indeed, with the machinery still in tact and running. I peeked around the corner, half expecting to see Dwemer next, but was relieved to see a Falmer working at a table in the distance. My relief was short lived, because the falmer seemed to be barely bothered by my arrow, looking around shortly and then resuming his work at the table.

This was an exceptional strong and hardy Falmer, so I prepared several arrows with slow working poison. I hit the Falmer one arrow at a time, then retreated, waited for him to resume working, then hit him with the next arrow. After 5 arrows, the accumulating poison started to show its effect, and the Falmer finally became alarmed, and seemed to have sensed my whereabouts. I backed up to where Lydia was, and we killed him with our axes, barely managing to do so.

After a few sips of potion of health we stepped into the room trembling of the working machinery, straight into a large metal creature. It was a walking machine shaped like a man, but twice the size, steam hissing from vents and hinges. Lydia and I stumbled backwards into the hallway in fear, which turned out to be our luck. The machine followed us in, barely fitting under the ceiling. It raised it's hammershaped arm, only to get it stuck in the narrow corridor.



Lydia and I kept hitting the mechanical abomination relentlessly, blunting our axes on its seemingly impenetrable outer shell. Finally something inside it broke, and the giant machine fell over backwards slamming on the floor, scattering parts all over. I collected a bunch of the parts, gears, levers, and some rotating device as tokens of my victory. After all it had no tongue to cut out. After looting the remainder of the room we emerged from under a waterfall near the cave's exit. I can tell you I was pretty relieved to breathe the fresh outside air again.



We found our way back to Whiterun just before dusk, and I sold many of my knapsacks contents. Especially the Falmer artifacts sold well, and I avoided any questions about where I had found them. I kept a few falmer items myself; one Falmer bow I stored in the weaponrack at Breezehome, and I attached a Falmer axe on the plaque above the door. Both Lydia and I were lucky to have lived, and to replenish our energy we had an extensive dinner of vegetable soup, cooked beef, venison chop and honningbrew mead.
I'm to tired to read after writing all this, I can only hope the Falmer will not haunt my dreams.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

(30) - Searching in Vain - Journal entry -

Sundas 13th of Hearthfire 4E201


I woke up early this morning, so I took the time to make a fresh apple pie. Beats horker meat for breakfast. I left at dawn with Lydia on my side. It's good to have her with me, and though she is vastly different, it reminded me of my time with Leanawen. I miss her.


I wanted to go North-East from Whiterun, as I wanted to look for that cave the guard had mentioned. Last time we ended up at Fellglow Keep, which I guess was to far to the East, so this time I took a more Northern direction. I decided on jumping off the Western wall of Whiterun, to track around it. We took a bit lower route as normally, and we came across a camp which had previously been out of sight because it was under an overhanging rock. There were a cart and a horse standing at the camp, and I could just see the camp's occupants run off chasing a wolf.


Outlaw camp at Whiterun


Lydia and I waited at the camp for their return, our bows ready. Good we did so, because they turned out to be two outlaws attacking us without warning. Both never managed to get close as we riddled them with arrows. We were just looting their camp, holding not much more then food, a book and a bit of gold, as three additional outlaws surprised us sneaking up on us from behind. Luckily they were far from the most skilled outlaws I had fought so far, so they were no match for our axes. As soon as we had left the wolves were already fighting over their corpses.


We headed for Whitewatch tower, then turned to the North East, killing a wolf at the foothills of the North-Eastern mountain range. It started to rain, badly reducing visibility and turning the now snowy underground into an unpleasant mush. Through the thickening pine tree forest I descried a stone structure, with stairs leading downwards into a large rift in the ground. Lydia and I snuck closer, and we could hear people talk. Judging from their conversation they were definitely thieves, and the place was called Korvanjund. Never heard of it before.


Korvanjund


We managed to kill two thieves with a ranged surprise attack, and a third one who had ran up to us died at our axes as soon as he cornered around a nearby boulder. After descending the stairs we found a closed gate at the lowest point, but it had a very complex lock, and I gave up on unlocking it after breaking 5 lockpicks in a row. Above it was a regular unlocked door, granting access to an entrance hall, with bedrolls and a fire with cooking pots, but a hallway in the back had been blocked by a cave in. We used the occasion to warm up some grilled chicken breasts I had taken, and finished lunch with a few apples.


Heading out again I decided to head East a bit, with two rows of mountains at each side, searching both sides for a cave entrance. Not to far in we got attacked by two frostbite spiders, I'm happy to say. I took my time filling a few empty vials with their venom, as my homebrewn poisons left much to be desired. We soon came across another giant camp, which I gave a wide berth. Not much later an ice wraith attacked us. I remembered seeing one in my youth in the distance but never fought one before. It would make freezing attacks, causing spikes of ice to form on the ground. Nothing we couldn't handle though.


Snow sabre cat


The snow sabre cat we stumbled upon later was a different  story. It was powerful, agile and aggressive. It was a good thing it was distracted by a horker when we came across it, so I could weaken it with a poisoned arrow before it managed to get close to us. Alone I would have had a hard time fighting this magnificent creature, but with the two of us we managed to kill it fairly quickly, and without getting a scratch ourselves. I skinned the sabre cat, and also cut some meat from the already dead horker.


Failing to find the cave, and with the sun already going down, I decided to go back to the bandit hideout at Korvanjund. As we retraced our steps an icewolf attacked us. You could tell the animals here in the snow were more hardened then the ones on the tundra, but again, with the two of us we managed alright. I had just finished skinning the wolf when a spriggan jumped us. I knew this creature only from stories and tales, but once getting attacked by a walking tree, it was quite obvious that it indeed was one. Luckily this one was particularly weak, leaving me wondering why it had attacked us in the first place.


Spriggan attack


I could not find a camp or lair where the spriggan had come from, so we continued heading back to Korvanjund, where I made some apple cabbage stew on the fire. With still some time left I decided on reading a book I had taken from the outlaw camp near Whiterun called Aevar Stone-Singer. It was a tale about an ordinary young Nord doing extraordinary things, and it made me think of my own fate. For the past days I had been thinking a lot about what I should do. Find the Greybeards? Search for the place mentioned in that mysterious letter from 'a friend'? Or just continue to build on supplies and gold before undertaking any long trips?


Apple cabbage stew anyone?


Anyway, non of that really matters right now. I'm getting frustrated by not being able to find Shimmermist cave. I feel I'm too far North now, while I was too far East earlier. The cave must be somewhere in between where I traveled today, and where we went yesterday. Tomorrow I'll go find out if I'm right.

Monday, November 28, 2011

(29) - Fellglow Keep Dungeon - Journal

Loredas 12th of Hearthfire 4E201


We woke up after an undisturbed sleep at the sleeping quarters in Fellglow Keep. After a bread and cheese breakfast we made our way to the other side of the keep towards the entrance of the dungeons below. We could hear a faint sound of chanting and rattling bones behind the door, so we made a stealthy entrance, reaching a room lined with stone tombs. The mage there was clearly not expecting anything hostile to come from this way, as he was standing with his back towards us as we entered. One well aimed arrow was enough to silence his chanting for good.


... a room lined with stone tombs.


However, when his body slammed to the ground, several lids on the tombs opened and at least 4 skeletons rose from the grave. They were no match for our bone shattering axes. After searching the room for valuables, and taking another book from a stand, we continued through a corridor. In a next room two mages got startled by our presence, and as we retreated around a corner they ran up to us. I guess they shouldn't have, as they set off two traps riddling them with arrows. All it needed was a single swing of my axe to fell their bleeding bodies.


In the room after that, another two mages oblivious of our presence, and I killed the first one with two well aimed arrows before he could even rise up from his bench. The second one was harder, and several times my elven armor trembled with sparks as he sent a continuous stream of shocking energy towards me. Lydia managed to run up to him with her battle axe, then it was over. Inside the room we found a dead man in a hanging cage, judging from his facial features clearly a vampire. This was my first real life encounter with a vampire, and I was relieved it was a dead one. I scraped some dust of his dry skin, collecting it in an empty bottle, as I knew this was a valuable alchemy ingredient I could easily sell.




As soon as we went through the next corridor we could hear wolves cry, so we proceeded with caution, surprising another mage in the next room. Luckily the wolves were locked up in one of three cages, which I opened up using levers in the middle of the room, leaving the wolves for Lydia to handle. In a next room we managed to surprise another two mages, and they fell quickly as we rushed upon them with axes drawn, giving them little time to use their magic. The room was obviously a torture room, and it seemed like the mages had continued its use, as there were dead Khajiit and vampires as well as a dead Nord laying around in distorted poses, covered in blood. I looted what I could, shielding my mind from the idea what horrors they must have endured.


... levers in the middle of the room,...


The next room only had, one mage in it, no match for the two of us, and looked more like a prison. Each holding cell had dead vampires in it, though I gave all a hew with my axe to make sure they were before gathering more vampire dust. The following rooms and hallways were all partly flooded, and contained nothing more but a few pesky, but easy to kill skeevers. Once we left through the last door to return to the inner courtyard of Fellglow Keep, we found a little surprise waiting for us.


As our eyes adjusted to the bright outdoor light, three well armed hirelings jumped us. In contrast with the robe wearing mages who had not been prepared for our attacks, this fight was of a different order. This time it was us being unprepared, and we had a hard time blocking their attack. I even had to run off shortly in order to not become overpowered, but managed to slay two of the assailants from behind after they had all turned on Lydia, who had little choice left then to hold up her battle axe in defense. After defeating the last of the three, I searched their bodies, and found a contract on one of them. It stated:


Here is the agreed upon amount. I
expect you to faithfully carry out my
request to teach a lesson to the thief
Gwenneth Gut-Ripper. You need not
kill her, but I have no qualms about it if
you deem it necessary.

-- Gerda


So it seemed I had been spotted on my little extra reward trip through Dragonsreach after all, by a servant nonetheless. I was kind of surprised she had taken matters in her own hand instead of reporting me to local authorities. I guess she had feared me getting off lightly due to my status of Thane, and wanted to teach me a lesson this way. I guess it could have been that one of the books I stole was hers, I hadn't paid much attention from who's quarters I had gathered my 'reward'. I would need to think about what to do about this, if anything at all.


View towards Whiterun


Lydia and I dragged the bodies of the hired thugs out of sight, then ate some warmed up rabbit haunch and baked some potatoes at the still smoldering fire in the Keep's courtyard. The trip back to Whiterun was uneventful, and we arrived at sunset. I hurried along the stores, selling off loot before closing time, arriving at Arcadia's Cauldron last. Before selling my found potions, she offered me a cure disease potion recipe for sale. I bought it, as I had seemed to be a magnet for rockjoint, especially during my first weeks of my return to Skyrim. It stated I should mix mudcrab chitin and vampire dust together. That was lucky, the area around Whiterun was abound with mudcrabs, and I had just gathered masses of vampire dust in Fellglow Keep.


Arriving at Breezehome we ate a dinner of freshly seared slaughterfish, followed by a spicy venison stew. I dismissed Lydia, handing her a few bottles of mead, and I tried my luck at the alchemy table. The mudcrab chitin I had still laying around was crushed easily, and mixed with the vampire dust the potion was much easier to distill then the health draining poisons I had tried to make two days ago. At the end of the evening I had a nice stock of cure disease potions cooling in their flasks on the stone floor.
I just finished three bottles of mead (or were it four?) while writing this, so I think I'll sleep well...

(28) - Fellglow Keep - Journal entry -

Fredas 11th of Hearthfire 4E201

Lydia wasn't feeling at her best this morning, so we started off with a light fruit breakfast before heading out of Whiterun towards the North-East. I hadn't been in that direction before, next to that we might come across that Shimmermist Cave the guard had mentioned to me yesterday. It was a lovely clear day, and after passing the farms we followed the West bank of the river towards the North-East. It wasn't long after we left the main path that we got attacked by a wolf and a sabre cat within minutes of each other. The sabre cat wasn't near as hard to kill as it had been two days ago; with the clear weather we saw it charging at us from afar, and we managed to get a good few arrows in before finishing it off with our axes.

Not much later I noticed another sabre cat right alongside the river, and it was sleeping. Then I noticed it was next to a chest.  Lydia was getting exceedingly trusted with my way of fighting, as I only needed a few hand signals to point out the sleeping cat and get her to get out her bow. After having snuck closer we both simultaneously released our arrows. The sabre cat never managed to get close to us before making it's last steps. The chest's contents were disappointing though, just a few gold and dust inside.


...a steep rock formation.

Continuing on we soon found our way along the riverbank blocked by a steep rock formation. We managed to find a pass up and over it, but had to wait for a lone mammoth to clear the path ahead. Once it had walked off we managed to run behind its back unnoticed. Once clearing the pass we came across what looked like a once abandoned fortress, its outer walls crumbling. However there was a fire burning in one of the towers, and as soon as we came closer, a mage appeared on top of a tower, shouting; 'Fellglow Keep is ours, stay away or die!'.


Fellglow Keep

Of course Lydia and I gladly accepted the friendly invitation, making use of cover to get close enough to two mages to attack with our axes, then using arrows to get rid of a flame atronach towards the back of the old fortress. After making sure the area was clear of enemies we warmed up some horker meat on the fire, and I cut up a fresh tomato and carrot salad to go with it. With renewed energy we ignored some stairs leading into the ground towards the underground part of the keep, and decided on entering the keep itself through the front doors.

After entering the large room, with a flight of stairs leading up, and doors at both sides, there were no enemies to greet us. We could however hear hammering from up above, and the smoke lining the ceiling indicated that there had to be someone working at a forge. The mage was so busy hammering he never saw Lydia coming, who near to cleaved him in half with a single blow of her axe. We managed to retrieve a key from his bloody corpse, and I also found a strange unusual gem in a small box, which I carefully tucked away in my knapsack.


Fellglow Keep entrance
 Heading back to the first room we continued right through some open doors, killing another mage, then reaching a large hall. We killed the conjurer there, and I took the book she had been reading. In a nearby chest I found an imperial bow, buzzing with sparkling energy. Even though Imperial, the enchantment on it seemed very powerful, therefore being a match for my orcish bow. I took it. In the back of the large hall I found a corridor leading down towards the lower dungeons, but I didn't want to venture there, as it was already getting late, and I wanted to make sure the keep itself was clear so no-one could run up on our backs.

We retraced our steps to the entrance room, then opened the doors to the left, revealing the sleeping quarters of the keep. There were two mages there, but their powers were weak, and they were fleeing into a dead end corridor where we ended their misery quickly. Then we took our time looting everything of value, up to the mages robes.


Sleeping quarters

We actually took a bit too much time, for I had planned to return to Whiterun, and come back to explore the Fellglow Keep Dungeons the next day. When we stepped outside it was already dark, and since I didn't want to run into mammoths and sabre cats in the darkening night, I opted for spending the night in the keep.
We returned to the sleeping quarters in the Keep, and barraged the door with a table, just to be sure.
We just ate some cold mammoth steak with goat cheese, which actually was tastier then it sounds. Off to sleep now, so we can have a look at the lower dungeons early tomorrow.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

(27) - A Day Off - Journal entry -

Turdas 10th of Hearthfire 4E201


I woke up late again this morning, not surprising I guess after yesterday's hectic day. After breakfast I told Lydia to do whatever she wanted today, as I wasn't planning on leaving town. I think she went straight for the inn.
Being alone I wanted to give the alchemy table a try. I had a few ingredients for the poison recipe I had bought recently. Unfortunately I don't seem to have a natural talent for alchemy, it took me a long while to grind up the skeever tail and small antlers, and it was quite messy. Eventually I managed to refine some sort of poison from it, but its color seemed bland, and the smell wasn't nearly as strong as I had been expecting. I'm afraid the poison isn't very potent, but I hope the result will improve with practice.






A bit frustrated I decided to go sell yesterday's loot instead, and I actually made some good gold, both Arcadia and Belethor ran out of gold because of the large quantity of things I had for sale. After that I walked towards Dragonsreach to go collect the reward for killing the bandits at Silent Moons Camp.  On my way I got talking with a guard, who told me he had seen some strange small creatures at a cave to the North-East, called Shimmermist cave. I might go and investigate one of these days.


After entering Dragonsreach I quickly found Proventus Avenicci and asked for my reward, showing the bounty letter I obtained in Riverwood. He gave me 100 gold. That seemed like typical Imperial cheapness to me again, considering I fought a sabrecat, a dragon as well as a black bear in order to fulfill the task. So I asked for more, but Proventus wouldn't budge, saying he might as well have done it himself if the reward had been higher.




Proventus Avenicci


I must admit I was kind of upset. Being a thane and all I was allowed to wander the Reach freely, so I decided on upping the reward a bit myself. Careful to stay out of sight, I managed to find some more 'reward gold', and I also slipped a few seemingly interesting books in my knapsack. In my attempts to stay out of sight of the guards I ended up on a balcony, which granted me an especially stunning view of Whiterun. I exited Dragonsreach through the basement which had a separate door for guards to use in order to avoid any questions about my prolonged walk through the Jarl's place.




Whiterun seen from the Jarl's balcony


Satisfied about my reward now, I went back to Breezehome to put away my books, and had a very nice venison stew. At least I'm better at cooking then at alchemy. I spent the majority of the afternoon on sharpening my axes, and cutting firewood. I got a bit carried away with the woodcutting, so I sold some surplus firewood to Hulda at the Bannered Mare. She actually paid me a good price for it too. Lydia was at the inn too, and she seemed to be having a great time, so I just let her be.


Back at home I ate some vegetable soup and salmon steak, and decided on spending the evening on reading some books; 'Lost Legends', which was quite intriguing, and 'The Woodcutter's wife', which was kind of good too, though it had a bit of a sad ending. The last book I read was 'A Minor maze', but I didn't really understand the riddles inside. I guess mazes aren't my thing. I just heard Lydia stumble upstairs, I guess it's bedtime. I hope she won't have a hangover tomorrow. Oh well, at least she had fun.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

(26) - Silent Moons Camp - Journal entry -

Middas 9th of Hearthfire 4E201


It was raining as I was sharing a bread and tomato breakfast with Lydia this morning. Afterwards I quickly grabbed two days worth of potions and provisions, as I wanted to leave before dawn.We turned right after the main gate, cutting across the tundra heading North alongside Whiterun's walls. We had to tread carefully, as the mossy rocks were slippery, and visibility was poor. We had just climbed a small hill, and I was straining to see through the rain to get my bearing, when something suddenly ran up to us, knocking me over.


Poor visibility


I immediately recognized the smell of the wet sabre cat's fur, and scrambled for my axe and shield, still laying on the ground. Luckily Lydia was with me, and she hacked away at the oversized cat while I blocked its snapping mouth with my shield, my elven armor preventing its claws from ripping me apart. Only after Lydia finished off the sabre cat was I able to regain my footing. That sure was a lucky escape!


The fight had disoriented me, and only after a while I saw a red shimmer protruding the dark rain filled haze. I recognized it as the bonfire at the giant camp which I had seen days earlier, so at least now I knew we were indeed heading North as I had intended. We came across a stream, and decided to follow it towards the North-East, killing a few oversized mudcrabs along the way. Then, barely visible in the rain, Lydia pointed out a camp, with wooden reinforced walls.


Halted Stream Camp


Just as we managed to descry some silhouettes on the walkway behind the wooden walls, the doors of the camp swayed open, and 4 bandits came running at us swords drawn. I barraged them with arrows as Lydia darted at them, impressively swaying her enchanted battle axe about. The bandits had little chance and soon we were searching their camp, looting any food and valuables. A skinned mammoth carcass was laying in the centre of the camp, so it seemed these had been poachers. In the back of the camp I discovered a set of doors leading to a cave entrance  marked as 'Halted Stream Mine', and I waved Lydia over to investigate.


We both stealthily entered the cave, sneaking upon a bandit outlaw busy mining some ore, oblivious of our presence. A simultaneous attack of our bows brought him on his knees really quick, and I finished him off with my ancient Nord war axe of cold. The place was littered with mammoth tusks, which I all loaded into Lydia's backpack. The cave continued past a gate, which I unlocked with a key I had found on the outlaw.


Poacher's lair


In the next room , we managed to kill three more bandits, one of which seemed to be their leader judging from his age and elaborately adorned armor. They were indeed poachers, as there was a freshly killed mammoth corpse in the middle of the room, and we found an abundance of mammoth tusks as well. I was just wondering how they had gotten the mammoth in there, when I noticed a large corridor in the back of the room. It led up to a large pit which had been hewn out in between the rocks, lined with large wooden spiked beams. So this was how they caught their game, a mammoth sized pitfall. I skinned the deer that had found its death in the trap, then we retraced our steps and left the camp.


Deathtrap


I climbed a hill for a vantage point to see where about we were, and I could just make out Whitewatch tower to what should be our East. I headed West with Lydia for a bit, killing a wolf and an elk on the way.
Taking shelter under an overhanging rock we ate some horker loaf and apples, and I tended to a wound the wolf had caused me. After continuing West we stumbled across a large circular stone structure, set at the foot of the mountains. We both snuck behind what looked like the backside of the building, when I heard a roar up above. Then things went very fast, and I must say both Lydia and me were lucky to survive.




A dragon soared straight at us, scorching us both with large waves of fire as it flew overhead. Both Lydia and I tried our best to hit it with our bows, but the enormous creature barely seemed to be bothered by our arrows. Then suddenly the dragon seemed to be distracted by something and flew off to the other side of the stone structure. I hugged the wall and went through my knapsack looking for some potions of health.


Just as I was gulping down a potion, I heard another roar, a different one. I completely froze in fear as a large black bear came charging around the corner straight at me. I couldn't move, while flashbacks to the bear attack in County Cheydinhal plagued my mind. Thank Talos Lydia was quick to react, striking the bear with one after another arrow, and just before the bear reached me it turned its attention to Lydia. Finally regaining my senses I grabbed my axe and charged the beast from behind, only managing to kill at after it had badly injured Lydia.

I cursed at myself, and quickly handed Lydia two potions of health to stop her wounds from hemorrhaging. And just as we both stood there, unarmed, our hands full of health potions, I heard yet another roar. As I turned around a bandit came charging at us, brandishing a huge hammer. It was like all energy from my body gathered when I released the shout; YOL!!!! The bandit blasted backwards, engulfed in a ball of fire, being instantly killed. Both Lydia and I took out our axes, now we both understood what had distracted the dragon!


We circled around the stone structure, scaling some rocks, and choosing a high vantage point on the building. Below us we could see a group of bandits fighting the dragon. Both Lydia and I started to barrage the dragon with arrows, and as soon as we noticed the dragon started to grow weaker, we turned our attention to the bandits. The dragon took advantage of his turn of fate, and flew up, passed straight before us, then settled on top of the stone structure. As my shield got struck by arrows my attention turned towards the bandits once again, I grabbed my axe and shield, and jumped down below, charging at the remaining bandits. Lydia soon followed, and the already badly injured bandits fell quickly. When the battle was over I turned to look for the dragon, but it was nowhere to be seen, and only the constant dripping of the rain could be heard.


Silent Moons Camp


After catching our breath we both scaled the stairs leading up to the stone building, and just as we reached the top part, large strands of energy protruded from the building, entering my body. I recognized what was happening, I just had absorbed another dragon soul! That meant the dragon was actually dead! I scaled the roof of the structure, then I saw what had become of the dragon. It had actually fallen through a large opening in the roof on top of a forge, which had by now burned most of its body away.


The Moon Forge


After entering the forge area, I found several weapons glowing with enchantment. I also looted a chest, and on a table I found a book; 'The Moon Forge Book'. After leaving through the book I understood that weapons forged here would have additional powers when being shone upon by the moon. That's when it hit me, this had to be Silent Moons Camp. I remembered the bounty letter Orgnar had given me at Riverwood's Sleeping Giant inn, it was still in my bedside end table. I asked Lydia to remind me to look at it when we would be back home again.


We left the forge towards a door I had seen on our way up the stairs. As we entered we got attacked by three bandits, but they were no match for us.  After having searched the bandit lair I lockpicked a door, and we scavenged the entire place thoroughly for loot, and there was plenty; weapons, potions, food gems and jewelry. Both Lydia and me were pretty tired from the constant hours of fighting, so we settled around the fire and ate some seared slaughterfish and salmon steak, washing it down with some wine we had found.


Whiterun viewed from Silent Moons Camp


Once back outside we looted all bandit corpses we could find, and went around the back of Silent Moons camp to skin the bear we had killed earlier. By now our backpacks were overloaded with loot, and we struggled back across the waterlogged tundra towards Whiterun. When we arrived at Breezehome it was already well after sunset. We sorted the loot, stowing away what I wanted to save, and gathering all other stuff for selling tomorrow. Lydia has just gone to bed, and I've had a look at the bounty letter. It says the bounty can be collected at Proventus Avenicci in Dragonsreach. Ha! How convenient! Looks like I'll be adding some gold to my money pouch again tomorrow...



Friday, November 25, 2011

(25) - Back to Whiterun - Journal entry -

Tirdas 8th of Hearthfire 4E201

Lydia and I barely had the time to finish our bread and egg breakfast this morning at Half Moon mill. Hert's hospitality had vanished completely as she was visibly annoyed with our presence. When we hasted ourselves to get out, I noticed a small shack near the saw mill that I hadn't noticed in the darkness the day before, and I decided to have a peek inside.

At first it looked simply that the shed was used to chop up meat, as I saw several chunks of venison and beef. Then I suddenly noticed the human remains. In between the meat was a bloody human skull and blood soaked clothing. Under the chopping table there was a human ribcage with still fresh fleshy remains on it. I quickly gave Lydia a hand sign to get out, and we were fast to leave the premises. I had been so right to let Lydia stay awake the whole night, or else we might have ended up on that chopping table ourselves.


Shed at Half Moon mill

I discussed the scene I had just witnessed with Lydia as we followed the path to the North, cutting through the mountain range that separated lake Ilinalta from the Whiterun valley. Having reached the valley we turned East, past a cave entrance we decided not to investigate. After killing an elk we got attacked by a pack of three wolves. Both Lydia and me got a few nasty bites, and we shared a potion of health as well as a potion of cure disease to be on the safe side. Fortunately I was stocked up well on potions of cure disease, as every Silver Hand I had killed in Dustman's Cairn seemed to have a vial of it upon them.


Outlines of Whiterun in the distance

The hunting picked up from there, as we managed to kill 2 rabbits and 3 more deer before we had a lunch of seared slaughterfish and rabbit haunch at the Western guard tower. The last part of the trip was uneventful, and we made it safely into Whiterun's protecting walls. Just as we entered Whiterun Adrianne Avenicci waved me over, and told me she had something for sale I might be interested in. Well, she was right, as she had a most wonderful Elven armor on sale, including helmet, gauntlets and boots. The shiny and lightweight armor was a perfect fit for me, so I couldn't retain myself; I bought the full set, only leaving me with a handful of gold.


Elven armor

Lydia had been yawning all the way back, and though it wasn't even dinnertime yet I sent her off to bed to catch up on some sleep. After salting the meat and tucking away the hides I warmed up a bit of left over venison stew, and to distract my mind from the disturbing sight I had seen at Half Moon mill, I decided on reading a bit at the fire. I ended up reading 'The Beggar Prince' and 'The Armorer's Challenge', which I both enjoyed thoroughly. I'm still not decided on my plans for tomorrow. With the little gold I have left, I wish I knew of any bandit camps nearby. Perhaps I can have a look North of Whiterun tomorrow, see if there's anything to raid or loot, and map some hunting grounds at the same time as well. I guess I'll decide tomorrow.