Saturday, April 19, 2014

16th of Hearthfire – Meridia

Yesterday morning Lydia and I left Solitude as soon as it was light enough to see where we were going. Once we reached the statue of Prince Meridia at Mount Kilkreath, there wasn’t really much question of seeing what she wanted. It was more “about time you came, my temple is being desecrated, get in there and clean it.” So, we went in. Meridia sent a ray of light to guide us and to open the doors the necromancer Malkoran had closed behind him.

Meridia's guiding light
And Meridia wasn’t exaggerating when she said her temple was desecrated. In every room, every hallway, there were corpses and corrupted spirits; the spirits, I assume, once residing in the corpses, and not being happy about no longer living in flesh. It took us some time, but with Meridia’s light guiding us, we at last managed to get to the central chamber and Malkoran. As usual, Lydia was amazing, holding off Malkoran and his shades while I peppered them with arrows and magic. Once Malkoran was dead, Meridia spoke to us and commanded me to retrieve her ‘artifact’. It turns out it was the sword Dawnbreaker.
It’s morning now, and we’ve ridden through the night to reach Whiterun. Meridia’s last words have been echoing through my mind since we left her temple:

Take the mighty Dawnbreaker and with it purge corruption from the dark corners of the world. Wield it in my name, that my influence may grow."

I think Lydia may be more of the champion Meridia wants than I am, so as soon as she comes back with food and drink for us, I’ll ask if she wants the blade.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

14th of Heartfire – Solitude

Actually getting to Solitude took longer than I expected. No dragons this time, but lots of terrain. When we started from Folgunthur this morning it looked like Solitude was quite close. I could see the city in the distance, and though it was higher than the ruins, it didn’t look too far away. Turns out there’s a fjord below Solitude, so we had to ride around, all the way south to Dragon Bridge (And I am very curious about that name), then back north. Of course, I also took a wrong path when we were getting closer, so we had to backtrack, much to Lydia’s amusement. Allie and I were not amused, because rain.
The Execution of the Innocent
Our entry into Solitude wasn’t the greatest either. We arrived through the city gates just as a city guard was being executed. Turns out he was the one that opened the gates for Ulfric Stormcloak after Ulfric had killed High King Torygg. I get the impression that this was something the Imperials had ordered; from what I heard the guard didn’t even know the High King was dead when Ulfric escaped the city, so he was only doing his duty, obeying a Jarl. It appears as if the Imperials are trying very hard to turn the people of Skyrim against each other.

The mood of the city was tense. There are those that support the Empire, those that support Jarl Elisif, and those that support the Stormcloaks, and I fear that this is a smouldering fire that will turn into an inferno. They seem suspicious of strangers as well, so Lydia and I will be heading out first thing tomorrow morning. We’ve decided to at least see what Prince Meridia wants from us. Of course, asking a Daecdric Prince to make an offer and then turn it down may be a bad idea.

Monday, February 10, 2014

14th of Heartfire – Gauldur

I’m sitting outside the ruins of Folgunthur now, looking at Solitude in the distance. After being named Arch-Mage, I spent the next day resting in the Arcanaeum, picking through books almost at random until I came upon one describing the legend of Gauldur.

Archmage Gauldur was a powerful and renowned conjurer who lived in Skyrim during the opening days of the First Era. His aid and counsel were sought by many. A major source of his power was his magical amulet. 

Though Gauldur was wise, wealthy, and honourable, his sons Jyrik, Mikrul, and Sigdis Gauldurson resented living in their father's shadow. They killed Gauldur in his sleep and split the amulet between them. Consumed by power, the three brothers laid waste to the surrounding villages until High King Harald sent Archmage Geirmund and a company of battlemages to stop them, which they finally did after a great effort and many casualties. Because of the destruction caused by Gauldur's family, King Harald ordered the Gauldur name struck from all historical records. But despite this age-long campaign to wipe out all mention of Gauldur, whispers of the legend survived, although bards still refused to tell the tale four thousand years later.

Something about the description of the amulet tickled a vague memory, so, running to my quarters I searched through the rings and amulets I’d collected until I found what I was looking for: An amulet I picked up under Saarthal. It looked very much like the one described in the story, and since Lydia was pointedly mentioning that sitting at the College didn’t accomplish anything, we headed out the next day.

The fort I mentioned on the way to Labyrinthian, Fort Dunstad, had now been occupied by Stormcloak troops. They were suspicious at first, but when I, very patiently, I might add, explained that Lydia and I were the ones that removed the bandits, they most graciously let us rest there. 

The Word Wall of Folgunthur
When we arrived at Folgunthur we found evidence of someone else having been there as well, and that not too long ago. We found further evidence inside, with the frozen bodies of people along with the broken bodies of draugr. It appeared that the draugr had been victorious, though, since those were the ones we had to fight. We soon found the leader of the ones that had come before us, one Daynas Valen, who had also been searching for the amulet. He had been overwhelmed by the draugr, but he had given some more clues where I should look for the last piece of the amulet (once I’d found the one that was deeper within Folgunthur, of course).

In the deepest chamber of the ruins I experienced that bloody tug of a word wall again. Of course, that happened at the same time that the remains of Mikrul burst out of his chest. I’m afraid that Lydia carried that fight, what with me being so distracted by that thrice cursed word pull. We prevailed, though, and I got both the second piece of the amulet and another word in my head. Oh, and I also found a rather peculiar gem. Me being me, I picked it up, and a voice started talking to me out of nowhere. Turns out that the gem belongs to the Daedric Prince Meridia, and she wants me to help her. Now, I’m not convinced that cavorting with Daedra is a good idea, and Lydia agrees with me. Still… I know that Meridia hates the undead, so at least in one point we’re in agreement, and having a Daedra owe you a favour can’t be bad. Right?

We’re heading to Solitude today. We’ll just visit briefly, then head south towards Ivarstead, where the last piece of Gauldur’s amulet is supposed to rest. And it just so happens that Ivarstead is right on the doorstep of the Greybeards…

Sunday, February 09, 2014

11th of Heartfire – Arch-Mage

Ylva the Arch-Mage. I’m not sure I deserve this.
Ancano shielding the College
 This morning Lydia and I left Whiterun before first light, hastening back to the College. Once we arrived there… Ancano’s shield enveloped the entire college now, and Tolfdir told me that Miss Mirabelle had died while making sure the rest of the College students and staff got away. I kinda liked her. She was the one that welcomed me to the College.

Using the Staff of Magnus, I was able to pierce Ancano’s shield long for me, Lydia and Tolfdir to get through, and we headed straight for the Hall of Elements. Ancano was still casting some sort of spell against the Eye, but he had changed. He was almost transparent now, and he mocked us, saying that he had become invincible. He did something to the Eye that paralyzed Lydia and Tolfdir; I don’t know why it didn’t affect me. I suspect it was because I held the Staff of Magnus, Of course, I tried attacking Ancano, but my attacks passed through him as if he wasn’t there. Then he started really showing off his power. He did something else to the Eye, and it unfolded. I’m sorry, that’s the only way I can describe it.

However, the Eye was fighting back, and some magical constructs materialized in the Hall, like the ones that attacked Winterhold, and they started attacking Ancano. With the time this gave me, I realized that there must have been more of a reason to get the Staff of Magnus than just to get through Ancano’s shield, so I summoned its power and aimed it at the Eye. Slowly, the Eye started foling in on itself, and Ancano’s power was waning. With the magical constructs attacking him, he was soon weak enough for me to attack him and finish him off. As he died, the spell he cast on Lydia and Tolfdir faded, and they were able to help me destroy the last constructs.

As Lydia, Tolfdir and I looked at each other, slowly realizing that we had won, the Psijic monks arrived. They called me Arch-Mage and said that, because of Ancano’s actions, it would be for the best if they removed the Eye of Magnus. They thanked me for what I had done, gathered around the Eye and promptly disappeared. Along with the Eye.

Ylva the Arch-Mage
It seems that Tolfdir and the other surviving mages agree with the Psijic monks that I should be the Arch-Mage now, so… Well, I’m the Arch-Mage. I don’t agree, though. The Arch-Mage should be someone with greater knowledge of magic than I have, greater knowledge about anything, really. I guess my only option is to start learning. But tonight I sleep in my new quarters, and tomorrow I will sleep late. That, at least, I know I deserve.

10th of Heartfire – Labyrinthian

Lydia and I rode out from the College as fast as we could, barely reaching the Nightgate Inn before it became too dark to carry on. We were up again before the sun rose, and as soon as we’d eaten we continued east towards the mountains. We were delayed a bit, though. Near where the Hall of the Vigilant stood (apparently burned down after a vampire attack) there’s an old fort on the road. The banner of The Pale was flying over it, so we thought it safe to pass through. Couldn’t have been more wrong.

Bandits had taken over the fort, and by the time we had cleared out the place it was time to rest again. I was coughing, and a fever was building, so despite our haste we took the time to brew me a potion then settled in for the night in the fort inn. The next morning my fever had broken and we were on our way again, reaching the ruins of Labyrinthian around midday. 

Labyrinthian isn’t a nice place to be. The wind is blowing constantly, there’s little proper shelter, and the doors of what buildings that still have roofs are long gone. Of course, we did keep warm by fighting off all the trolls. It didn’t take us too long to find the place we needed to go to, though. It appears the Arch-Mage had been here in his younger days along with other apprentices from the College, and their… I don’t know if it was their ghosts or echoes of their spirits, but we got a glimpse of what they did when they were here. Not much, but enough to learn that they’d gone through Labyrinthian searching for something.

We kept getting more glimpses of the past as we worked our way through the labyrinth. The place is aptly named. We had to backtrack several times, fighting draugr at every turn. What we learned of the past showed us that the apprentices were fighting for their lives as well. They were being picked off one by one, being forced deeper and deeper into the ruins, the path behind them blocked by either draugr or whatever was hiding in the depths. The place was still well defended when Lydia and I broke our way through. As if draugr and animated skeletons weren’t enough, the place was also riddled with traps. Oh, and an animated bone dragon. Fat lot of use my bow was against that one.
Holding the Evil of Labyrinthian

I’m not sure how many hours it took us to find our way, but we finally came to where the last of the apprentices were. It would appear that the Arch-Mage was the only one that got out alive, leaving his last living companions behind to hold the power of Labyrinthian in torpor. They were still there, powering the shield surrounding… I don’t know what he was. What I do know is that he was powerful, and that whatever held the apprentices and their shield broke when Lydia and I entered. They all attacked us, forcing me to kill the apprentices, although I do not think that much of their selves were left.

And Lydia is awesome. As I dealt with the apprentices, she ran up to the, I’m just going to call him a sorcerer, and held him back until I was able to join the fight. And a long fight it was. That sorcerer was very powerful. Not quite powerful enough to stand against Lydia and me, but it was close. And now I have the Staff of Magnus, and Ancano doesn't want me to have it. A Thalmor agent had followed us, and as we were leaving he attacked. He said that Ancano had sent him to kill me. I need that deal with Ancano as well.

Whiterun Sunset

We didn’t get out of Labyrinthian until midday today, and not wanting to sleep in the troll infested ruins, we made our way to Whiterun. I’ve had a nap, and we’ll sleep at the Bannered Mare tonight. Tomorrow we will go back to the College. For now, though, I’ll just sit on the wall of Whiterun and think about what I want. The more I learn about people trying to get powerful, the more it seems as if they need to sacrifice a lot to do so. I’m not sure I’m willing to do that.