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.


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.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

(24) - Hunting Trip - Journal entry -

Morndas 7th of Hearthfire 4E201

This morning we indulged ourselves with an apple pie and boiled cream treats breakfast. I packed a bunch of potions, and enough food for two days, as I wanted to go on a hunting trip, going South-West along the mountains. The sun was just rising as we left Whiterun's main gate. We had just passed the West watchtower when we saw a wolf chasing a deer. Unfortunately I only managed to hit the wolf, and the deer escaped into the mountains.  One wolf skin richer we continued along the mountains, enjoying the grand view across the tundra on this lovely clear day.

It wasn't long after when a frightened woman ran up to us, her face covered in dirt and dried blood. She explained that she had been captivated in the towers near Mistwatch, and had managed to escape. This was already the second woman I met with this story, perhaps I should investigate one of these days...
We pointed the woman in the direction of Whiterun, then continued on our way, evading a Giant's camp at the base of the mountains.

A bit further on we managed to kill a few goats, an elk and a skeever. I must say Lydia was doing pretty well with her bow, she can hit a moving target in a way I've only seen Leanawen do before. We had a rest on some rocks, eating some bread and rabbit haunch. When we moved on I noticed some clearly man made rock pillars. There were some turning stones with symbols, and a caged cellar nearby, with a chest visible at the bottom. I tried a few combinations with the turning rocks, but there were no clues on how to set them in the right position, so we failed and moved on.

Soon after we hit a path towards what I knew was Brittle Shin Pass. I had traveled the underground pass before in my childhood, perfectly safe then, but one of the Whiterun guards had mentioned it was dangerous to do so now. Lydia seemed interested, so I decided to have a look with her anyway. After entering we stumbled upon two walking skeletons, but they fell quickly when our arrows shattered their bones. After entering a large cave, I saw something I hadn't seen before. A stone pillar, with a gem floating slightly above it. As I moved closer to investigate, the gem started shooting frozen shafts of ice at us! It was clearly some sort of magical defensive device, so Lydia and I retreated, discussing our next course of actions.

Hovering gem at Brittle Shin Pass

Under cover of a nearby rock wall I managed to hit the gem off it's pedestal with a well aimed arrow, rendering it harmless. It turned out to be a soul gem, which I took. After climbing a wooden spiral staircase,  and killing two more skeletons, we came across the one responsible for the enchanted defense mechanism; a necromancer. Though he did cast some magical defenses on himself, Lydia distracted him well enough for me to attack him from behind, and the battle was soon over. I took an intricately carved staff of fire bolts off him, and found four books in his dwelling which I took as well. After killing two more skeletons, and evading a hard to notice floor trap we finally emerged at the other side of the mountains, lake Ilinalta before us, right next to Ilinalta's deep.

Hert and Lydia at Half Moon Mill

By now the sun was already setting, and winds were picking up, so I decided to walk along the lake and head for a couple of buildings we could see just across the water. Darkness had already set in when we arrived at what turned out to be Half Moon Mill. Outside we met Hert, the mill owner, and she was quick to invite us in her home to stay for the night, as the weather was worsening quick. Though she seemed friendly, and even prepared us a dinner of baked potatoes with grilled leeks, I didn't really trust her. Perhaps it was the eagerness with which she had invited us, or the way she kept watching us while cooking. I just told Lydia to stay awake and watch over us while I go sleep. One of the advantages of having a housecarl I guess, sorry Lydia.

(23) - Provisions - Journal entry -

Sundas 6th of Hearthfire 4E201

I wanted to take things slow today, so Lydia and I slept in, then took our time making a nice breakfast of warm bread with tomato and molten Eidar cheese. It's great to have my own place again! I could use some more supplies though, so I decided of making a trip around Whiterun along the farms today. I don't have much gold left, so it's better to buy some food at the source rather then in town.

Once we had left the main gate we first went to Pelagia farm, the place where I'd helped kill that giant. After crossing the river in a shallow we visited Chill Furrow farm. I got us a good amount of potatoes, vegetables and wheat. And add some venison to that too, as an elk venturing too close to the farm met its match in my bow. Just when we returned to the path we came across a refugee, with a strange affliction, his skin turned red and bluish, his veins popping to the surface. He seemed reluctant to talk about it, just mentioning he was on his way to Highrock, if I wanted to know more I should talk to Kesh at Peryite Shrine. Well, I wouldn't be going there anytime soon, I just hoped his affliction wasn't contagious, so we quickly parted ways.

Whitewatch tower

Just North of Whiterun we came across another guard tower, called Whitewatch tower according to the guards there. Just as we were talking three bandits attacked, but the guards made short work of them. At the relative safety of the guard tower, Lydia and I had some lunch, pheasant roast and a a honeynut treat I had taken with me from home. I had spotted another farm just to the North, and just as we were about to leave, I heard a roar echo between the mountains surrounding us. High above us circled another dragon!
We readied our bows while the guards ran around, almost panic struck. The dragon had other plans though, and flew off in North-Eastern direction, disappearing behind the mountains.

We headed off for the farm, killing a deer and a fox on our way, taking the time to skin them. Shortly after we arrived at the Farm, owned by Vantus Loreius. His wife wasn't very talkative, but Vantus sold us some more food for a good price. Just down the road at the farm I spotted a broken down horse drawn cart, it's apparent owner walking around it gesturing wildly.

Loreius farm

Vantus told me the owner was a crazed jester, who had already asked him 5 times for help with repairs. Vantas tried to convince me to come up with a made up story to report him to a nearby patrolling guard so he could get rid of him. Well, since he had done nothing wrong I refused and in the end I managed to convince Vantus to just help him repair his cart. Seemed like the best solution to me, and I didn't feel like falsely incriminating someone just to get rid of him. We headed to the jester named Cicero to inform him that Vantus would help him out. Well he indeed seemed to be not entirely mentally sane as he handed me 400 gold for helping him to convince Vantus to help him out. We quickly headed back towards Whiterun before he would realize that 400 gold was a bit over generous.

Circling around the West side of Whiterun we made our way back to the main gate, gathering some firewood on our way. At Whiterun I bought some more meat from Anoriath at the marketplace. Then I went to Arcadia's Cauldron to see if I could get some more information on making poisons. It would be really nice if I could make use of my newly bought alchemy table, and make some myself. I was in luck, as she was selling a damage health poison recipy, and I bought it. Back at home I had a look at the recipy, and it stated I needed to grind up some small antlers and mix it with pulverized skeever tails. Unfortnately I don't have any skeever tails, and only a few antlers, so I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for those.

With my cupboard now filled with fresh food, I salted the meat I bought, and made us a very nice venison stew.  The rest of the evening I talked with Lydia, while enjoying some wine. Though her loyalty is very appearant to me, she didn't want to talk about herself much, so I ended up in bed reading 'The Bear of Markanth'. It was about Ulfric Stormcloack, but written by an Imperial, so hardly written objectively. I decided to toss it into the fire before going to sleep.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

(22) - Breezehome - Journal entry -

Loredas 5th of Hearthfire 4E201

I woke up pretty late this morning, and still tired.  So I started off the day with some bread and goat cheese, and a few sips of a potion of health. I had forgotten Lydia was still carrying a bunch of loot about for me, and I only had sold my heavy stuff yesterday, so I had plenty left too. So the next thing we did was go by all the shops, selling everything I didn't want to save myself. Once we were done, I counted my gold, and I almost couldn't believe it. We did so well on the selling, especially the Breton paid us well, that I had over 7500 gold. I could buy the house!

We immediately left for Dragonsreach, where we quickly found Proventus Avenicci. I bought the house! It's called Breezehome, not far from the city entrance, and thankfully that means at good distance from Jorrvaskr. Next to that, I had more then enough gold to have it fully furnished. I even bought an alchemy table, because last weeks experiences taught me you can't have enough poison with you, it really saved my life in Dustman's Cairn. I still haven't come across any good alchemy books though, I guess I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled, so I can have a go at making some poisons myself eventually.


Lydia and I ate some vegetable soup and roasted horker meat at the Bannered Mare, while workers carried all furniture to the house. To celebrate I bought myself some decent regular clothes, and soon after I stepped into my new home for the first time. I can't begin to explain how happy and excited I was, no longer the need to carry books around, and I could now change clothes without having to drag my armor with me in my knapsack. I love the house!

Gwenneth at Breezehome

After getting the fire going I went through the house with Lydia, cheering of joy I must admit. As there was a spare bedroom as well, Lydia was overjoyed too when I said she could live with me. With the help of Lydia I started to unpack our knapsacks, and storing my belongings. And there was so much storing space! Eventually I decided on storing things the following way;

Living room:

Weapon Plaque: Fine Skyforge steel war axe
Weapon Rack: for my preferred weapons of choice, currently an ancient Nord war axe of cold and an Orcish bow
Book shelves: history books
Cupboard: all fresh food in need of preparation

Weapon rack

Dining area:

Cupboard: prepared food, salted fish and meat and all wine and mead

Living room with dining area in the back

Alchemy and writing room:

Book shelves: skill books, and any books on Skyrim
Chest: potions and poisons
Apothecary satchels: ingredients

Alchemy and writing tables


Weapon plaque: empty
Cupboard: dragon bones and scales
End table: soul gems


Weapon plaque: iron shield with two crossed greatswords
Dresser: clothes and armor
Chest: hides, leather and ingots
End table (left): jewelry and gems
End table (right): novels, letters, any other books and my journal


And of course the spare bedroom would be Lydia's domain. I've put some clothes and gold in her end table. She may be my housecarl, but I don't want to treat her like a slave. She'll risk life and limbs for me, and I'll definitely reward her for that. It was already evening when we were finished, and roasted some venison over the fire. I dismissed Lydia, and she went to bed early.

It feels so good to be writing this in my own bed, in the relative safety of my own house. Finally I'll be able to travel light again, taking just what I think I'll need for the trip. I have so many questions that need answering, so many places to travel, so many things to inquire about. But first, I will make sure this house becomes stocked to the brim with provisions, potions, whatever I think I might need on my travels. My home will be my castle! Tomorrow I'll make a start on getting all shelves and chests filled...

Monday, November 21, 2011

(21) - Dustman's Cairn - Journal entry -

Fredas 4th of Hearthfire 4E201

The sun had already been setting when Farkas and I entered Dustman's Cairn. We came into a large room, immediately noticing a dug corridor through a breached wall. After looting a chest we continued through the corridor, and soon we had to slay 3 impressively strong draugr. It was a good thing there were two of us. The corridors were pretty narrow, so Farkas would lead the attack, while I backed him up with my bow.

After passing a wooden door, and traveling through caverns we entered a large cave with two iron gates. One gate was open, leading to a small room, while a gate to another corridor was closed. After having scavenged the room, I found a lever in the small room. I thought it might open the other gate, and there was only one way to find out. When I pulled the lever the closed gate did indeed open, but at the same time the other gate closed, locking me into the room, with Fargas still in the large cavern.

A large cave with two iron gates

Just when Farkas ironically told me how smart I had been, 5 people came rushing in, surrounding Fargas with weapons drawn. I was sure I was about to witness Fargas' death, when the most amazing thing happened. Before my very eyes, Fargas changed shape... into a large standing wolf like creature. I had just witnessed Fargas changing into a werewolf! With brute animal force his claws ripped the 5 attackers apart, while I watched helpless from behind the iron bar gate. As soon as it was over Fargas, or whatever it was, walked out of sight and shortly after I heard a mechanical rumble, and the gate closing me in opened.

When Fargas came walking back he was back in his human form. Even though I was glad to be alive, I didn't know how to feel, I felt exited and disgusted at the same time. Fargas explained he was indeed a werewolf, and some but not all Companions were werewolves too. When I asked they expected me to become a werewolf too he answered; "not until you join the inner circle." He also explained the men and women he slaughtered were members of the Silver Hand, people who were actively hunting werewolves.

I had little choice but to follow Farkas further in, as we soon were attacked by more Silver Hand members, and I must say especially the heavy armor wearing warriors of the Silver Hand were very tough to fight. I often had to resort to letting Farkas fight up close while I supported with my bow, then apply one or the other poison to my axe to come in for the finishing blows, often finding Farkas at the end of his strength.
Often we had to rest, eat and revert to potions before being able to continue, and as corridors and rooms followed one after another, we managed to slay 4 more Silver Hand members, as well as a few draugr.

In some alcove filled rooms I managed to kill all draugrs in their niche with my bow before they awoke. I also found and looted several chests on the way. More rooms followed, and a lot more Silver Hand members. It seemed like especially their warriors increased in strength as we progressed, and some we only managed to kill by using potions of paralysis and frostbite venom.

 Eventually we reached some shiny metal doors, according to Farkas leading to Dustman's Crypt. Before proceeding I shared some fruit with Farkas, and he ate it as eagerly as I did. After killing one more Silver Hand we reached a caged walkway crossing over a large room. I snuck across with my bow ready, and managed to injure some Silver Hand members below without them discovering they were getting shot from above. We both stealthily proceeded, and I managed to kill a few more draugr in their sleep before finishing off the 3 Silver hand members I had injured shortly before.

A caged walkway

We entered the large room with the walkway , from below now, and stumbled upon a locked door, with a lock so intricate I wasn't able to pick it with my limited skills. After a thorough search of the room I was lucky to find the key, as well as some additional loot. We pressed on through this time more natural caverns, where the skeevers attacking us were no more then a minor nuisance compared to the Silver Hand we had been fighting along the way.

After more caverns, some filled with frostbite spiders, others guarded by draugr we reached another shiny metal door. Behind it we could hear low echo's of chanting, and we both decided on another break, catching our breath and having some venison roast before continuing. I looked into Fargas' eyes, and I guess he could see the fear and confusion in mine, as he again tried to explain that not all members of the Companions were werewolves, just the select inner circle. However I had already made my decision. If we would exit this dungeon alive, this would be my last mission for the companions.

A corridor lined with sarcofaguses

Once we had passed the iron door we entered a corridor, lined with several upright sarcofaguses. In the distance a room opened up, with a for me familiar sight; another dragon word wall. After going through chests and urns, I approached the wall. A word lit up and filled me with energy as I learned it; "YOL".
The shout energized immediately with the soul of the dragon I had killed the day before. Which was a good thing, because as soon as I turned around, one after the other lid fell of the lines of sarcofaguses, and Farkus and me soon found ourselves fighting over 15 draugr. I used my shout immediately, resulting in a large blast of fire, and soon one after the other draugr fell to the ground, their dried flesh ablaze.

Dragon word wall

After killing the last draugr, we found one of the sarcofaguses led to a hidden corridor, and after pulling a lever on a wall a rock moved, and we found ourselves near the entrance again. When we emerged into Skyrim's fresh air again, it was already well past noon. Silently we walked back along the path towards Whiterun. Tired, beaten up, and especially me, overloaded with loot. We passed a fortress that I had only seen from afar earlier when we met a farmer, leading on a painted cow. He explained he was going to bring it to the giants as an offering, in order to keep the rest of his herd safe. He kind of let slip something about not minding an escort to the giant's camp, but I was in no shape to do so, so I sent him on his way.

After returning to Whiterun, Vilkas was awaiting us at Jorrvaskr, leading me to a sort of inauguration ceremony in my honor. I just let them be, not informing them about my plans not to pursue my career at the Companions. Killing for gold is one thing, but turning into a werewolf, no thank you. After the ceremony they sent me off to Eorlund, to collect a weapon as a reward. First I quickly slipped inside Jorrvaskr to collect my journal, then I went to the skyforge. The steel war axe was a display of perfection, but not really capable of a lot more damage then the Ancient Nord war axe of cold I already was using.

The Companions ceremony

I thanked Eolund, though I think he noticed my disappointment. Let's hope he mistook it with me being too fatigued to be enthusiastic about his smithing. I went to the shops, and sold off the most heavy loot at Belethor's. I couldn't find Lydia at the inn, but Hulda told me she had returned to Dragonsreach as I had been gone without a word for two days. I fetched Lydia there, then went back to the inn and paid for a room. There's no way I'll spend another night at the Companions. Their secret is safe with me, as I have no desire to be hunted down by werewolves, but I don't want to risk ever suffering from the same affliction.
Looks like I'll be looking for a new job tomorrow...