After playing Skyrim with two different characters over the past year (and change), I’ve finally bought the game for PC. And I love my Khajiit. My plan is to play as a sneak archer and add some mage play after completing the Companions quest line… maybe.
March 5, 2013
After nearing getting my head lopped off in Helgen, I followed the Imperial soldier, because frankly the Stormcloaks are racist and might not take kindly to a Khajiit irrationally fighting for the Nords.
I didn’t spend much time in Riverwood this time. I didn’t even know whether to help Ivan or the elf with his woman problems, because depending on who you talk to first, they can both be jackasses. So I escaped to Whiterun to talk to the jarl and find a companion for my questing. I also sold all of my clothes before making my own at the blacksmith forge.
At the inn, I got into a brawl with Uthgerd, who tried to evaporate after my victory.
March 17, 2013
Uthgerd and I have become good friends. We even had a couple of pretty cool adventures on our way to Bleak Falls Barrow. First, we went the wrong way and happened upon an old mage lady, who caught us stealing from her shack and forced Uthgerd to kill her. (I do not condone that.) After taking a 15-hour nap in our new house, Uthgerd and I found the correct path to Bleak Falls Barrow. On the way, we did some sightseeing and enjoyed the floating weapons display we discovered.
Bleak Falls Barrow was a breeze. But let me tell you something about Uthgerd: she kept stealing my kills! Maybe my draw is slow as an archer, but I could barely get in two shots on any single enemy. At least I got a couple of one-hit kills in when I was sneaking, because Uthgerd doesn’t attack until I do.
After returning to the jarl and his condescending court mage, I took on my first dragon. This is the first time I’ve done so at night, which was awesome – except after killing the dragon, I jumped from the tower and fell to my death. It was not a suicide attempt, just poor judgment.
But that’s okay, because everyone seemed much more impressed the second time I killed the dragon.
I worried that Uthgerd might have died in the attack, because she wasn’t around to carry all my dragon bones afterwards, but I found her in the tower totally not paying attention to me.
Since I didn’t have enough coin to buy Breezehome, I took Uthgerd to Riften, where I immediately got into the thieving action with Brynjolf. It was a success, but when I tried to steal some cheese from upstairs in the Bee and Barb, I got caught. Talen-Jei must have followed me upstairs really fast and called a guard using telepathy. I love Argonians. Bye bye, 9 gold.
August 18, 2013
I’m finally back in Skyrim! Today was a major success for me, because I officially joined the Companions. They’re a band of warriors in Whiterun who can transform into werewolves, and this is a quest line I have never pursued for long before.
First, I had to prove myself by defeating a Nord mage in Rannveig’s Fast, which is just west of Whiterun. He was trapping people and stealing their souls — he tried to do the same to Uthgerd and me — so we had to defeat a lot of subjugated ghosts along the way. It was a very cool quest I had never encountered before, and I have to say, while others may love their vampires or zombies, I’ve always been most into ghosts myself.
Next, I accompanied Farkas to Dustman’s Cairn, which was great for increasing my sneak and archery. With Farkas behind me for back-up (though he kept literally jumping in front of my weapon, between me and the enemy), I sneaked through the tombs and shot down the draugrs while they were still sleeping. You can tell when they’re still restless by the way they look; they’re usually a little heftier than the other skeletons, and they’re wearing some kind of clothing instead of being just naked bones. I must have killed about 10 of them with single arrow shots, without them even waking up.
During this quest, I also got to witness Farkas turn into a werewolf. I don’t care much about werewolves or for them, but now that I’ve proven myself and joined the companions, I know I’m about to undergo an initiation ceremony and join them… but that will come later.
First, I wanted to purchase a house. Skyrim’s domestic side is one of my favorites. I’m a sucker for buying and decorating houses; I can’t wait to get into the Hearthfire DLC content later in the game and build my own mansion.
For now, I’m stuck in Breezehome, the house in Whiterun. A lot of people love this house, and I’ve heard a lot of people marry the housecarl Lydia… but I do not like either very much. It creeps me out that Lydia is always sitting in my bedroom, and may I just say that gets a lot creepier when you have a hubby in there with you. Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with that yet. Breezehome is a cute enough house but feels very cramped to me, and I hate that there are no mannequins to dress. However, I was very excited to find that the weapons rack works! (I never got it to work on Xbox 360…) I adorned it with the Axe of Whiterun I received from the jarl and a conjuring staff I picked up somewhere.
Aside from getting my new house set up, I did a few other fun things. It might sound dumb, but I do have certain traditions in Skyrim that carry on from one playthrough to the next, no matter what. Things like:
I almost forgot how fun Skyrim can be. =)
SKYRIM — TAKE TWO
So my PC is on the fritz. I’m still trying to get through my Dragon Age II playthrough on it, but I may have to start that game over again on Xbox 360 after I replay Dragon Age: Origins for my birthday. We shall see…
But Skyrim on PC is definitely out, so I created a new Khajiit character named Sabe for an Xbox 360 playthrough. This can be my canon character and story now. I tried to keep her pretty much like Shaz up there, with some differences in followers. Like, I haven’t collected Uthgerd yet.
So far, I’ve put about 20 hours into the game and am around Level 22. I’m building my Hearthfire mansion at the moment, but to go back to the beginning…
Joining the Stormcloaks with Faendal
So far, Sabe has had some wonderful followers who have suffered ill fates after they met her. It’s like Sabe curses the people she spends time with — it’s really sad. Get ready for some tragedy.
After escaping the dragon attack at Helgen (where she was supposed to be beheaded for a crime she didn’t commit), Sabe goes to Riverwood and meets a Bosmer archer there named Faendal. I’ve always really liked Faendal. He and the town bard, Sven, are vying for the same woman, and they both write these crazy letters pretending to be each other so that their love interest will think the other one is a twat. Faendal’s is way less offensive than Sven’s, in my opinion — so I play along with Faendal’s treachery there and win him over as a follower.
After clearing out Bleak Falls Barrow with him, obtaining the dragonstone thingy, and slaying my first dragon to absorb the dragon’s soul and show that I am the dragonborn (you know that story by now…), I take Faendal with me to join the Stormcloaks. A part of me feels bad about this, because the Stormcloaks are predominantly Nords who have a long history of conflict with elves, and they really hold a grudge. In Windhelm, a city held by the Stormcloaks, the Dark Elves have to live in a separate quarter, and apparently the Argonians can’t even walk inside the city walls. It’s actually a pretty oppressive environment for outsiders. As a Khajiit, I should be an outsider too.
However, in the Companions there’s a Dunmer (Dark Elf) named Athis who says that somebody told him anybody can be born with the heart of a Nord. Which is pretty cool. That’s how I feel about my Khajiit, and I like to think Faendal came around to that too.
The reason I want to fight for the Stormcloaks is a.) because they’re the rebels and underdogs, which I like, and b.) because I really like the Stormcloak Officer armor with the bear head headdress. (Think about it: I can be a cat wearing a bear sitting on top of a horse!)
Anyway, the Civil War quests are great for beginners to Skyrim, because a lot of them have you joining your fellow soldiers and killing as many enemies as you can. You’re in a big group, so you’re not facing everyone alone. And over time, the percentage of enemy soldiers still standing dwindles. It only takes a few minutes to clear out an enemy fort that way.
But the fights aren’t always super easy. Sabe definitely has her healing equipped in her left paw. I’ve been working on her archery a little, but mostly she wields one-handed weapons — a sword in her right hand and a destruction or healing spell in her left hand. The spellsword route is how I started my very first playthrough of Skyrim, and I’d like to try to perfect it now. Conjuration is next for Sabe, so she can conjure a bound sword without even having to lug one around.
But back to the Stormcloaks… in one of the last big battles before Solitude, a lot of shit goes down. First, Faendal dies. I see him lying on the ground after the battle, and I feel so responsible. He was a loyal follower, and I wish he could have survived to see Sabe’s wedding someday. (Seriously, I like to collect followers so they show up to the wedding. That’s a real thing.)
The other thing that happens is that a horse randomly wanders around the battlefield, so I jump on her and take her to town. From then on, when I fast travel, she shows up! She’s there with me climbing mountains (very dangerous with a horse…) and recruiting a new orc follower (read on…). But after a few levels, she disappears. She stops showing up. I think she died somewhere along the way, which also makes me want to ;_;
After the Stormcloaks take Solitude and gain control of Skyrim — at least for now, it’s a slippery kind of control — Sabe heads to Whiterun and joins the Companions. They’re a band of fighters-for-hire, they don’t use magic, and they can transform into werewolves. It’s kind of a curse. Sabe becomes a werewolf with them, and now she can’t have a restful night’s sleep. I actually really want to get rid of the whole werewolf thing, which I think you can cure somewhere… Sabe never uses those werewolf claws. She’s a cat.
Which reminds me… Having a Khajiit in Skyrim is ridiculously fun, because enemies pull out the most terrible taunts. They’re always saying things like, “You’d make a fine rug, cat!” before attacking. One of my favorites is, “My cousin had a cat. Killed it, too.”
During the Companions quests, Sabe needs a new follower now that Faendal died for the Stormcloaks. I’ve always had my eye on Ghorbash the Iron Hand in other playthroughs but never tracked him down. He’s an orc follower in an orc stronghold southeast of Markarth. To be allowed into the orc stronghold, Sabe is required to go and get some special gloves or something for the orcs — then she’s deemed worthy. Inside the camp, Ghorbash is hacking away at a dummy, practicing his attacks, and he says he misses being an adventurer. Sabe doesn’t even have to brawl with him to earn his respect; she just persuades him to travel with her. He’s awesome.
The reason I like having a companion with me at all times is to carry things. The fighting helps too, but the carrying is even more important. I level up stamina regularly so I can hold more things at once, but it’s never enough. Sometimes I can’t even give any other items to my follower, because he’s carrying too much too. It’s ridiculous. There is just so much loot that is so worth selling, especially when you’re trying to save up for a house where you can store your stuff.
I eventually save up enough to purchase Breezehome in Whiterun, which is an adorable house but very cramped. It’s never been my favorite. There aren’t enough bookshelves, and there are no mannequins for displaying armor. But at least it’s a place to store everything. It’s right next to the blacksmith, making it convenient for storing ingots, animal pelts, and leather strips. And because it’s close to the entrance to Whiterun, it’s great for storing items you use a lot in battle but don’t want to carry all the time. Like, if you’re preparing for a battle in a Nordic ruin, you can stop off at Breezehome first and grab those special swords that deal extra damage against the undead — and then drop them off after the quest is over. I consider Breezehome my battle base.
The Companions quest line is a breeze, and it’s surprisingly interesting for how brief it is. It has some tragic moments. By the end of it, you do feel a part of the group, and Sabe wins over a bunch of the Companions as potential followers.
I think a lot of people like the twins, Farkas and Vilkas. Farkas has longer hair and is therefore a little hotter than Vilkas, but he’s really dumb and always going on about not having the brains in the family. Meanwhile, Vilkas is kind of bitchy and takes some time to win over. But I don’t plan on Sabe marrying either of them…
Here’s the Thing About Athis…
I don’t want to wear out any one follower, so Sabe has the Companion Athis tag along with her on a few quests. They do some random quests in Solitude, putting out a fire at a lighthouse and then tracking down the Argonian who hired them to kill him for setting them up and stealing all the loot. Stuff like that.
But here’s the thing about Athis. When I first started playing Skyrim, way back in the day like two years ago, I did online research about the different followers you can get, the houses, and the marriage candidates. I had my whole life planned out before I even finished Bleak Falls Barrow. And what I wanted was to live in the Markarth house with my husband, Athis. Yeah. I wanted the Dark Elf as my hubby.
But during that first playthrough, I didn’t finish the Companions quest line. I did the College of Winterhold first, and I hired Marcurio in Riften and discovered that he was a beast. He was also kind of bitchy, which I love, and so I married him instead. We lived in Markarth for a while, but Riften felt more like home. And then that Solitude house was too good to pass up…
I’m glad I didn’t stick to my “plan” that first time… but this time, I really wanted to find Athis and give him a shot. But before marrying him, Sabe takes him on those side quests to test him out. And let me tell you, he is not sexy. He has an old man voice. He looks okay — kind of scary, red eyes, war paint, but definitely cool — but when he opens his mouth, he sounds like he’s 100 years old. Which makes me think maybe he is 100 years old, and I just never noticed before. I’m not ageist, and I’m all for marrying who you love, but Sabe just does not love Athis. She doesn’t even really like him. He walks around saying things like, “Damn impressive,” in his ancient, slightly gravelly voice, and it’s just not working for Sabe.
So scratch that marriage candidate. In need of someone a little more fun, Sabe goes to Markarth and finds Cosnach. He’s a drunkard there, but when Sabe brawls with him, he agrees to follow her. He calls her his “favorite drinking buddy,” and on their first quest together, he throws on some Forsworn armor just for the hell of it. When Sabe heals him with the Healing Hands spell, he says, “Hey, I think my hangover’s gone!” I love him.
However, it’s clear from early on that Cosnach is very weak. Even when I put him in heavy armor, he falls down all the time. When Sabe joins the College of Winterhold and goes to investigate Saarthal, she basically has to do everything herself because Cosnach is limping on his knees and literally can’t keep up with her. Like, he ends up several rooms behind her, crawling at a snail’s pace even after Sabe heals him up.
College of Winterhold + Meeting Onmund
At least the College of Winterhold quest line is super fun. This is the first quest line I ever completed in Skyrim, so it brings back lots of fond memories. I enjoy being a student and the camaraderie that goes with it. The quests are also fun, and there’s a pretty scary-but-awesome quest in a Dwemer ruin coming up. (I loooooove Dwemer ruins, even though they freak me the hell out.)
Plus, I meet someone awesome here: Onmund. He’s a Nord student at the college, and he doesn’t get along well with his family. The Nords are not really into magic, so he’s definitely a rebel by being here. In spite of feeling lucky to be away from his family, he regrets selling a family amulet; he wants it back to remember them by. Once I get it back for him, he agrees to follow me, and off we go to Fellglow Keep to get started on the College of Winterhold quests for real. The funny thing is, Fellglow Keep is the first place I took Marcurio, and I ended up marrying him — so I think Onmund is the one for Sabe. It’s like fate.
It’s also extremely handy to have a mage follower on hand. Mages are beasts — they destroy everything before you even get a chance to see where the attacks are coming from. And the biggest plus is that they don’t get in your way. There is nothing more frustrating than having followers shout, “Hey! I’m on your side!” because you’re accidentally hitting them with firebolts trying to attack the enemies that are behind them. Ranged followers are so much better, believe me.
Onmund seems every bit as capable as Marcurio was; he doesn’t fall once, and he sometimes kills enemies before I even spot them. Which is helpful. I’m not going to complain about him stealing my kills and slowing my leveling… yet.
However, after Fellglow Keep, while I’m in Whiterun doing some smithing, I get a letter from a courier saying that I’ve come into some money and that he’s “sorry for your loss.” The letter is regarding Cosnach — he died and left me 300 Septims. How sad is that?! I always knew he was weak. I should have dropped him off in Markarth; instead, I left him in the College of Winterhold to pick up Onmund, which meant that Cosnach had to journey all the way across the map back to Markarth by himself. I should have known he might not make it. :cry:
I’m still in the middle of the College of Winterhold quest line, but I’ve taken a couple of scenic detours recently. One was in Markarth, where I investigated a haunted house and then went to find Molag Bal‘s mace. Molag Bal is a Daedric prince, and his mace lets Sabe fill a soul gem when she’s able to kill someone with it in three seconds. This is extremely perfect for Sabe, because she’s primarily a one-handed warrior and she’s been leveling up enchanting quite a bit in this playthrough, so she needs those soul gems filled. (Enchanting is super handy if you’re trying to make extra money off of looted armor and weapons.) The other detour was “Waking Nightmare” in Dawnstar.
But first, some backstory. Since purchasing Breezehome in Whiterun, Sabe has also purchased two other lovely abodes: Hjerim in Windhelm and Vlindrel Hall in Markarth. Vlindrel Hall is my favorite — Markarth is this beautiful dwarven city carved out of stone (one of my very favorite fictional settings), and that house is all gorgeous stonework with a kickass little library in one corner — but Hjerim has way more storage and display areas. I would say Hjerim and the Solitude mansion are the best houses in the game for displaying items, which is very important to me. I’m a major Skyrim decorator and want each house to have its own personality and show off different sides of my character and her adventures. I even organize my bookshelves by theme.
So what I really want now is to build my own mansion with the Hearthfire DLC. You can choose which wings you want to include on the house, and even though the customization is a tad limited, it’s still a big step up from the ready-made houses you get elsewhere in Skyrim. (Even though those houses are awesome.) There are three locations for the Hearthfire mansions. I built the Lakeview Manor one in my second playthrough… but I’ve always really wanted the one in the snow. I love the snow in Skyrim, but the only way to get the mansion in the Pale (Heljarchen Hall) is to become thane of Dawnstar. And to do that, you have to complete the quest “Waking Nightmare” and then kill a giant for the jarl. And to get “Waking Nightmare,” you have to be Level 22.
So the second I hit level 22, I was in Dawnstar picking up that quest. It’s got some Daedric stuff going on, and I wanted to kill the dude there and take the Daedric artifact for myself, but my Xbox wouldn’t let me complete the quest that way. (Stupid bugs.) So I had to give up a Daedric staff for the sake of getting my mansion in the Pale. I’m okay with that.
Heljarchen Hall is on a hillside in the Pale, sort of sandwiched between Dawnstar to the north and Whiterun to the south. It’s a great location, and on a clear day, you can see Dragonsreach from one of the mansion’s towers.
I’m still in the process of building all that, though. So far, I just have the cozy little mini-house and the great hall, which is gradually being decorated by the man I hired as my steward… Ghorbash the Iron Hand! I love having him around as my steward. He’s my favorite follower in the game so far (although Cosnach would have made a hilarious steward, right?!), and since I don’t want to actually marry him, this is a great way to keep him nearby and interact with him regularly. I feel like he’ll treat the property as his stronghold and enjoy that kind of guard duty.
I can’t afford to complete the mansion yet, and frankly I don’t have nearly enough loot to decorate it in full anyway. So I retrieved an amulet for the Khajiit named Kharjo and will be having him tag along with me on a few adventures before Onmund and I continue the College of Winterhold quest line…
Rain and Romance and Stuff
My mansion is built! The only problem is that when I left my dagger Nettlebane (from a very beautiful little quest you pick up in the temple at Whiterun) in one of the dagger display cases, it disappeared. Apparently the Hearthfire mansions eat things… and not all of the display cases even work to begin with. You have to lay things inside of them instead of activating them with the press of a button like you usually do. That’s probably why the cases eat things. So Nettlebane is gone for good, and I’ve decided to only put nice-looking, low-value items in the house.
At least the library doesn’t seem to eat books, because that’s my real pride and joy in the place. The shelves are already over half full! I had to schlep my books from all of my other houses to the Pale, which took a few trips because they are heavy. Even with my follower carrying things for me. I have all of the books organized, so there’s a shelf for religious books, a bookcase for history and culture books, a shelf for logs, lots of shelves for collections I am trying to obtain in full, eventually… I’ll have to take a picture when it’s all finished. It will be a thing of beauty.
I’ve also been working through the College of Winterhold questline with Onmund at my side. I love that guy. I love those quests, too. An all-around good time.
Anyway, today was all about ROMANCE!! Because I felt like it was about time to get married. I actually sat down today intending to play a different video game, but then I thought, No, let’s get married in Skyrim.
Onmund was all decked out in sexy dwarven armor when we traveled to Riften for the first time and barged into the Temple of Mara trying to find somebody to help us. I talked to the Dunmer priestess there, Dinya, who sent me on a quest to help true love find its course… or something like that. Onmund and I did this whole “Book of Love” questline together, because it’s so romantic.
First, we traipsed to Ivarstead in the rain and talked to a young woman there. She was in love with a dude who wanted to move to Riften. Her mother told us that she secretly didn’t mind that; she just wanted her daughter to be happy. But the girl’s father did not want her to leave Ivarstead… and also mentioned an old lover she had, implying that her daughter was still young and fickle about romance. So I went and talked to her old lover and convinced him to confess his love to her. It was actually really cool. They were in love, and this meant that the daughter would stay in Ivarstead with her parents after all.
Next up, we traveled to Markarth, also in the rain, to help Calcelmo find true love. He’s an older, scholarly man who conducts all this research in the ruins at Markarth’s palace… but apparently he also had a thing for Faleen, a warrior woman of some sort (I really don’t know who she is) at the Blue Palace in Solitude. He was in love with her in a bumbling sort of way and didn’t know how to talk to her.
So I chatted with her best friend, the royal housecarl and a ladies’ man in Markarth, and learned that Faleen liked poetry. I purchased a poem and whisked it to the Blue Palace so Faleen could read it, pretending it was from Calcelmo. She seemed very skeptical about the whole thing until she read the poem… and then she was hooked. The two of them make a very odd couple, but it’s cute to see an older man living happily every after with a warrior woman.
Finally, Onmund and I travel to meet a ghost woman who is looked for her ghost lover. It’s seriously a ghost love story. They think they’re still alive… but once they are reunited, they float up into the sky together. (I’m honestly not sure what that means, but I am guessing it’s a good thing for ghosts.)
When we return to Dinya, she tells us to talk to Maramel at the temple. He’s a priest… but he’s nowhere to be found there. I finally track him down in the Bee and Barb telling people the dragons are back because people have been sinful. He calls the place a “den of iniquity,” and the Argonian owners of the place (who are really chill about it, by the way) have to quiet him down a little.
That’s when I spot Marcurio — my hubby the first time I played Skyrim way, way back in the day. I don’t think I can even take him as a follower now. I just need to cut him out entirely. So I turned around right there and talked to Onmund and BAM! We got a proposal happening. =)
The first thing I wanted to do was shop for better clothes, but as soon as Onmund and I went
outside and started having a little moment, Brynjolf from the Thieves Guild totally interrupts us, saying that I look like a thief. But whatever, that’s Skyrim for you… so I go ahead and help him steal from Madesi and plant a ring on some other dude, not really paying attention to the “why” but just having fun with it. It goes without a hiccup. Brynjolf is impressed. When I return to Onmund, who was waiting for me along the sidelines, he says, “I’ll see you at our wedding!” Awwww.
We end up just throwing on some mage robes that we have lying around so we look halfway decent for the ceremony. It takes place on the 6th of Evening Star — apparently from dawn until dusk, but really it’s like 2 minutes long. Three people are in attendance: Lydia, Brelyna (from the College), and some guy named Pactur. Who the hell is that? And where was everybody from the Thieves Guild? It would have been nice of Kharjo could have been there too, but Khajiits don’t attend the weddings, I guess. In any case, at least I had some guests, and Onmund and I declared out love and decided to live together in my Markarth house. It was sweet.
Still, it felt really good to put our armor back on afterwards.