Thursday, December 6, 2012


After my unfortunate endeavours in Dawnstar I got on the first boat out of there. It was a rickety old tub owned by a sailor named Harlaug, but it didn't matter, as I just wanted to be as far away from Dawnstar as soon as possible.

Arriving in Solitude didn't lighten my moot however. I arrived at the docks and marvelled at the beauty of the city from below, however upon entering that elation was quickly forgotten. A crowd was gathered inside the city gates, and it seemed a man was about to be executed. The guard captain claimed that the man had let Ulfrik out of the city the night he killed High King Torygg. He was found guilty of high treason and sentenced to death. And amid both the protests and reassurances of the crowd the deed was carried out swifty. It seemed like such a high price to pay for opening a door, but who am I to judge? Still, it has become clearer than ever now how this war is sending Skyrim right to hell. Men being beheaded over small misendeavours? This is not what I thought my homeland to be. This certainly makes my meaning to be here moreso however, as now more than ever do I wish to speak with General Tullius.

Of course as with Ulfrik, I had to wait before I could speak with Tullius, and so I was going to have to stay in town for a few days. There's a lot to see but not much to do it seems, so since then I've been catching up on some much needed rest at the Winking Skeever, the local inn. It think tomorrow I may visit the Blue Palace, I hear it is magnificent. Until then however, I think I will sleep some more; Divines know I need it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Waking Nightmare

It's been a long time since I've written, but seemingly I've been away for quite some time.

After I reached Dawnstar I decided to rest from my adventures for a few days at least before heading onward to Solitude. I bought a room at the local inn and spent some time helping the miners. The Jarl was old and sour, and had a deep hatred for the Empire, however the townsfolk were more accomodating and friendly.

While there I heard rumours of shared dreams, nightmares that many of the locals were having. I didn't believe it until I started having them too; a dark tower with only the faintest light of balefire to give sight, and a skull, evil with a powerful presence. I decided to look into it, as I was loath to leave just yet, and came across a Priest of Mara named Erandur. It was strange, as I had never seen him before, and it was as if he only appeared when I started looking for him. He told me that the nightmares were being caused by the Daedric Lord Vaermina, emanating from a shrine nearby called Nightcaller Temple. He said an artefact inside was responsible and that it needed to be shut off. He asked me to help him, and so I agreed; though there was something off about him, I really wanted a good night's sleep.

At Nightcaller Temple Erandur told me of how the temple was once a shrine to Vaermina but it was attacked by Orc Barbarians. He said that in their plight the cultists realised a substance called the Miasma which put everyone inside the temple into an ever-lasting sleep. He theorised however that over time the gas would disperse and the effects would slowly wear off, and so we should be careful. Inside we came across a spiral tower, the same tower that was in my dreams, and looking down there was the skull. It stood atop a staff that was emanating a blue light. Erandur called it the Skull of Corruption, and said that its reactivation must indicate that some of the Cultists have reawoken. It was at this point he also confessed to once being a cultist of Vaermina but escaped before the Miasma. Guess I as right about him then. Still, he has told me when he could have further kept his secret, so I decided to continue on to see what would happen.

True enough, there were both cultists and Orcs starting to wake up, and in their confusion attacked on sight. Erandur proved an able fighter, and we managed to fight our way through most of the tower until we came across a sort of magical gateway. Erandur tried some magic to open it, however he deduced that the only way past would be to enter a controlled state of unconscoius akin to the Miasma; he called it the Dreamstride and said that unlike the Miasma you would be able to control reality within the Dreamstride. He said the only way to enter the Dreamstride was to drink a special potion called Vaermina's Torpor, and he was unsure if there would be any left at the shrine after so long.

We decided to check around and after some more fighting we found a bottle. Erandur claimed that he would be immune to its effects due to his time serving Vaermina and that I would have to drink it. Like all things on this quest, I was unsure, but decided to go with the punches. It was a blue-purple liquid with little to no taste. Upon drinking it there was a blinding light, as if the sun itself was rising before my eyes. Upon being able to see again, things had changed. There were many more cultists now, however these ones were not attacking me. Everything also seemed very vibrant but yet blurry. It was strange, almost like I was dreaming. As I surveyed m new surroundings, two cultists approached me, and addressed me as Brother Casimir. I tried to explain I was not this Brother Casimir, however no sound came from my voice. The two cultists however continued to speak with me as if I had answered their call. They said that the Orc invasion had begun and it was time to release the Miasma. They told me to do it, and though I didn't move, I could feel a presence ushering me onward. I proceeded ahead, guided by this presence, until I came to a lever on the side of a brazier...and then I woke up.

Awaking from this dream was unlike anything I had felt before, and indeed I was not in the same place where I had taken the Torpor. In fact, I was standing in the exact spot where I was in the dream before I awoke. I could see the lever I had pulled to release the Miasma, however there was a cup also with a Soul Gem inside. Beyond that was the magical barrier and on the other side I could see Erandur. He suddenly noticed that I was there and started pointing to the brazier. Guessing that he didn't want to put us into a long dark sleep, I took the Soul Gem from the cup and the barrier dissipated. Erandur approached me and said I had been gone a long time; though the dream felt like minutes, it had apparently been days. And right when I thought this whole experience couldn't get any more strange.

Down another staircase, we finally came to the main chamber, and the Skull of Corruption. It was only now I noticed two elves standing next to it, and as they approached I recognised them as the two cultists who spoke to me in the Dreamstride. They spoke to Erandur like they were all old friends, and it was only then that I began to understand; Erandur was Brother Casimir. Their names were Veren and Thorek, and they were more surprised than I when Erandur revealed he planned to destroy the Skull, not just disable it. They were of course greatly opposed, being that they were still devoted to Vaermina. And just like that, they attacked. Roaring fire and crackling lightning filled the room as Veren and Thorek displayed their abilities as mages. Thankfully they weren't the only ones magically gifted and Erandur managed to hold off their spells while flanked them. Attacking from the rear I ran my sword through Thorek and in his distraction at his friend's death Veren failed to see Erandur come at him and cut him with his blade. These elves seemed like good men, just blindly devoted to a seemingly evil deity. And yet as I thought this another voice entered my head. It spoke of Erandur, and told me that he would kill me once I helped him destroy the Skull, and though I didn't believe it, seemingly without control I struck him down. The voice released me then from its control and I realised that it must have been Vaermina herself, protecting her heirloom. And protect it she did, as I had neither the means no any idea how to destroy the Skull. She offered it to me to keep safe, and since there was nothing else I could do, I decided to take it. Good lives were lost, but at least Dawnstar's nightmares would lift.

I left Nightcaller Temple with a heay heart, and immediately boarded a small boat to Solitude, not eager to stay near the memories of what just happened. Whatever the reason for the act, killing makes a man weary.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gods, Knights and Giants

On the road yesterday I bumped into a group of men in hoods and robes. They were coming down the hill from a lodge and immediately approached me. They introduced themselves as the Vigilants of Stendarr, a religious group in the service of Stendarr, the God of compassion and righteousness, who have set out to hunt down 'abominations' as they called them, primarily Daedra of all varieties. They were pretty stern about the whole thing, and when they insisted I relax at their lodge before continuing on my journey, a part of me wasn't sure if this was out of kindness or a will to interrogate me about what I may have seen.

Anyway, they didn't interrogate me thankfully (not that it would have come to anything). I got fresh food and refreshments for the road, as well as a bed for the night. While there I also read an interesting book called The Knights of the Nine, which chronicled an ancient organisation in Cyrodiil who ventured out to collect the Relics of the Crusader, the weapons and armour of Pelinal Whitestrake. I had heard legends about them back in Cyrodiil, but I didn't think they had actually existed. It mentions their originals back before the War of the Red Diamond, however a Vigilant named Carcette told me that the order was temporarily revived at the time of the Oblivion Crisis.

I was back on the road this morning after the first good night's sleep I have had in awhile now. I was very grateful for the Vigilants' hospitality, even if they were the tiniest bit creepy. I wasn't on the road long when I saw a sight quite unlike anything I had ever seen. Just off the road near Red Road Pass were two Mammoths. There were amazing looking creatures, as tall as the trees, and herding them along was a Giant, just as big. The ground trembled at their movements and despite being so big, they were so peaceful, or at least there were. This awe inspiring sight was disrupted by a sound of the wind followed by a volley of arrows that felled one of the Mammoths. The Giant went into a rage as a group of bandits came into view, arrows cocked and ready. As the Giant charged one group another came from the roadside (oblivious to my presence thankfully) and took down the other Mammoth with arrows and axes. The real problem came after the Giant had killed the lot of them, and saw me watching from the roadside. My heart almost stopped and I started running. The Giant was relentless and he kept chasing me. However I came to a rock face which I managed to climb and get away from the Giant. He was almost tall enough to reach me, and started throwing rocks at me, but he seemed too clumsy to scale the rocks. Unfortunately he gave no indication that he was going to leave me alone, and so it was kill or be killed. A final arrow in the throat put him down, though I took no joy from it. It's like I said before; the whole world's gone to hell and left us behind in it.

Anyway, I managed to get some supplies from the bandits and I'm now sitting near a Shrine to Dibella at roadside, writing this entry. I can see Dawnstar up ahead and will be glad to get in from the cold once again, and hopefully forget about how this encounter turned out.

Until dawn breaks once again...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On the Road...

I'm on the road again after leaving Windhelm. Despite my protestations that something was wrong, Jarlief was more satisfied to hold onto my original testament that Wuunferth was the Butcher of Windhelm. I still hope that I was right in the first place, but not knowing was killing me, and so I felt it was time to leave.

Having heard Jarl Ulfrik's claims on the war, I thought it would be a good idea to hear the other side of the tale; I decided to head toward Solitude to go and speak with General Tullius. I've started to notice that for someone who doesn't want to get involved in this war, it is a fate I am slowing driving myself to, whether I want it or not.

I left Windhelm bearing due West, and passed through a mill before coming to my current stop. I am staying at the Nightgate Inn, a small lodging off the road toward Dawnstar, not a day's walk from Windhelm. It's a small place, but homely and quiet, so it will do for now. There are only two other guests staying here, a Nord named Fultheim, and a reclusive Orc who seems to spend all his time locked away in the expensive basement room. I can see the mountain from my window, and there is a lake just outside and down the hill. Solitude is still a great distance away, and I'm thinking about stopping over at Dawnstar along the way to rest and resupply.

But for now, I think some relaxation has been earned.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The House of Curiosities

I don't really feel like writing much today. I've been to Hjerim, and the sight was not pretty. Behind a bookcase I found a hidden room filled with body parts and all manner of books on magic and necromancy. I also found a strange amulet. I decided to ask around town about it for a few days before presenting my findings to Jarlief. I haven't slept much, as with the investigation taking so look I've been staying up and looking around town at night, hoping to find a simpler answer to this puzzle.

Somebody eentually mentioned that there was a curiosities shop in town that dealt in strange artefacts, and so I took it there. The owner, Calixto, was a strange sort with something twitchy about him. He said that it was the amulet worn by all court wizards. He also tried to get me to sell it to him, but that's beside the point. Given the magical tomes and the amulet, everything pointed to the court wizard at the Palace of Kings. I took my findings to Jarlief, however as they took Wuunferth the court mage down to the dungeons, I couldn't help but get the feeling that something was wrong...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Butcher and the Stormcloak

I fully intended on writing again once I had talked to the Jarl, but as it turned out, I have had little time.

A day after my last entry Rolff came to see me and said I would be in court with the Jarl the next morning. I was interested to hear what he had to say, given that anywhere I went he was all people seemed to talk about. I had no interest in the civil war personally, but it is my homeland, so I felt I should at least hear him out.

The morning after I attended court at the Palace of Kings, the palace that Ysgramor himself built so long ago. It still stood splendid as I'm sure it did back then. At at the end sat Ulfrik Stormcloak. As I entered he was talking with Rolff brother Galmar. They were discussing the war aloud and didn't seem to notice me enter at the other end of the Great Hall. Galmar was very passionate about the war, and openly urged Ulfrik to be more aggressive. I'm sure I heard Whiterun mentioned at some point. Ulfrik seemed a whole lot more collected however.

After Galmar left Ulfrik's steward, Jarlief, beckoned me to step forth. I was addressed in the traditional Nord way, even by a Jarl. Apparently he remembered me from Helgen, and he was grateful to know that Ralof made it out alive. He certainly seemed like he believed in what he was fighting for when I mentioned the war, unlike Galmar who seemed just blood-thirsty in my eyes. He certainly wasn't the monster the Imperials would have us believe he is, but there was something troubling in his eyes, or so it seemed to me at least. The look of a hidden tyrant, or a concerned countrymen? He told me about the Stormcloaks and the induction, and was surprisingly very respectful when I decidedly declined his offer to enlist. Like I said, I'm not entirely interested in becoming part of a civil war.

Before I left, he asked me to speak to Jorlief about a local matter that he was hoping I would help him with; he said an outsider with a sense of purpose as mine would be profitable in these circumstances. I agreed, and as it turned out, it had to do with the scene I stumbled across the other night. As I mentioned before, there's a lot of prejudice in this city, so everybody is pointing the finger at someone else, making it very hard for the guards to investigate. Jarlief asked me if I could look into it privately, and see if I could make heads or tails of what was going on.

Since then I've being doing some research at the palace to learn about Windhelm, and I've been talking to a lot of people, particularly at the inn where I'm staying, trying to learn about who might have the right mentality to be a serial murderer. Eventually a lady named Viola Giordano gave me a missive she had been handing out, warning people of this Butcher character. She directed me to Clan Shatter-Shield. Apparently their daughter was one of the first murders. I spoke to Tova, the mother, who was incredibly distraught, but knew nothing except some rumours about a local residence called Hjerim. I decided to check this out for myself and so I got the key from Jarlief. It is late now, however I plan to check it out in the morning.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


It's been a day now and still no word from Rolff. Maybe this will take longer than I thought. In the meantime I'm spending a lot of time in the warmth of Candlehearth Hall, learning a little about the city.

It seems there is a large congress of Dunmer refugees living in a section of town known as the Grey Quarter. They fled here after the Argonians overran Vvardenfell, which was in a weakened state after the eruption of Red Mountain. That was 194 years ago now, but the refugees remain, unable to return to their homeland. I here they initially fled to Solstheim, but somehow ended up in Windhelm eventually.

There are also a large enough number of Argonians living in Windhelm, or rather outside it, as they have been relegated to the docks. They work there, fishing and tending boats, however favour for them does not seem to grow despite this. Nobody has said much about why they are there.

There are a lot of problems with racism in the city. The Nords certainly don't seem to care much for the Dunmer, and the Argonians are disliked even more by them. When I think about it, it seems my people don't like anybody else much actually. Then again, to be fair, the Nords are not the only guilty parties; there is clear disdain from the Dunmer toward the Argonians, though I suppose this is to be expected given that the Argonians are the ones who drove the Dunmer from Morrowind in the first place.

So I get to soak this all in while I wait for the Jarl to speak with me. Good times.