(Don’t worry, he does actually get married in this post. I am not that cruel to you.)
...he had a whole wodge of jazbay grapes in his inventory that was FINALLY enough to fulfil a quest given to him long and ago, which he’d so far failed at because he kept accidentally eating the grapes when he was trying to store them so he wouldn’t accidentally eat them. He’d gathered a few, planted them in his little garden outside the lake house, then gathered those and planted them as well, and eventually this forward thinking paid off and he’d accumulated enough uneaten grapes for the quest.
So he teleported back to Sarethi Farm, harvested a bunch of nirnroot from the garden outside, and barged into the farmhouse. The farmer’s sister was sitting in the kitchen drinking and complaining about whatever came to mind--she wanted to be an artist, not a farmer--and he eventually found the (Dunmer--read: elf) farmer downstairs, where she was doing alchemy stuff. Murderface interrupted her and handed over the grapes, at which she expressed her astonishment that he’d actually done it. Gee, thanks, lady. He sold her the nirnroot he’d harvested from her garden and then, once she turned back to the alchemy table, spotted two more nirnroot on a shelf behind her, swiped them, and sold them to her as well.
“Honest pay for honest work!" she cried unironically as she handed him 20 septims.
And now, with that quest cleared off his register, he was free to take the next step in his life. He had decided that he was going to get married, but there was still an important question remaining: who was the lucky being?
In Skyrim, as the priest of Mara told him long ago, life is short and hard, and so people take comfort where they may. Which for some reason means marriage is based on deeds, and nobody will become your husband or wife unless you’ve done a quest or some other sort of deed for them, but on the other hand, if you’ve done that quest then they’re not particularly picky. Which Murderface finds all to the good, given that they seem to be considerably more picky when it comes to short-term companionship. That being said, now that he’s come to this moment, Murderface discovered that he did actually have some preferences in a life partner, and that this was going to be a tough decision.
So he ran down his options, listing out the pros and cons, in more-or-less the order in which he met them:
-- good fighter
-- worked well in a team with Murderface
-- funky eyeliner to take attention away from Murderface’s unfortunate facial tattoos
-- won’t marry Murderface unless he finishes the Companions’ storyline, which means becoming a werewolf, and Murderface is not really feeling the fur
Aela the Huntress
-- does not run away screaming when Murderface approaches
-- good fighter
-- like Farkas, unavailable unless a werewolf
-- does not much like Murderface
-- did not run away screaming from Murderface
-- quest for her already completed
-- did not seem particularly interested in Murderface
-- wants to be a merchant, but does nothing about it except hang around the town square complaining
-- ran away screaming from Murderface
-- a ferocious fighter
-- said things to Murderface that indicated her approval of him
-- not very good at evading traps
-- her quest (her brother’s quest, actually) is already finished so she’s eligible for marriage
-- did not seem particularly impressed when Murderface trapped her between himself and a counter and attempted to talk to her
-- annoying potential brother-in-law
-- two existing suitors so Murderface would have competition
-- annoying busybody, probably would not do well trapped out in the hinterlands
-- owns her own pickaxe
-- was nice to Murderface
-- quest already finished
-- potential in-laws don’t hate Murderface
-- wears that pickaxe everywhere, even to bed
-- accomplished farmer and alchemist
-- really annoying potential sister-in-law who wants to be an artist, which means Murderface is going to be supporting her if he marries her sister
-- really awesome mustachios
-- already installed in the lake house
-- appears to mean it when he says “What can I do for you, my Thane?"
-- the girls know and love him
-- need someone else to help him defend the homestead against bandits and other enemies
-- terrible food storage procedures liable to kill everyone
-- was kind of looking for a woman’s touch about the place
Mjoll the Lioness
-- follows Murderface around Riften, seemingly uncoerced
-- fierce fighter
-- always whinging about her lost sword
-- has a really annoying guy that’s following her around
-- quest (to go fetch her sword) not completed
-- accomplished smith
-- his quest is already finished
-- seems amenable to Murderface
-- already established in Riften, probably not happy to uproot his life and move out to the back of beyond
-- her quest (to bring her ten bearskins) is already finished
-- does not run away screaming from Murderface
-- is condescending and dismissive towards Murderface
-- already owns her own sawmill, probably not happy to move out to the lake house
-- fierce fighter
-- already bound to Murderface as housecarl so no need to do a quest
-- always silently judging Murderface
-- a housecarl assigned by the Whiterun Jarl, so presumably a fierce fighter, and no need for a quest
-- has talked to her in total for about one minute
-- also already installed her in his house in Whiterun
So, after more introspection on this matter than Murderface has ever done in his entire life, which partner did he choose to press his suit?
“Why?" I hear you asking. “Why this woman from the tiny little mining community of Shor’s Stone, when he could have the manly-thighed and mustachioed Valdimar? Or another of the fighting women, who would at least share a common interest with him?
Reader, Murderface McKenzie chose Sylgja for one reason very close to his heart: she was nice to him. And this was before he was anyone, so he knows it wasn’t because she was impressed by his Thanehood or Dragonbornity. That’s not something he encounters every day, and as such it’s a rare treasure.
Plus, her parents like him--he helped them over at Darkwater Crossing by clearing bandits out of a stronghold near there. They’re both miners, but her mother used to be an adventurer and wistfully spoke of her adventuring days, offering to travel with him, so Murderface knows that they don’t disapprove of his profession. I’m pretty sure that Murderface had a terrible home life and ran away early on, so the chance at what he considers a normal family is just too good to pass up.
Provided that Sylgja will have him, though. They’ve only spoken for, like, ten minutes.
Decision made, Murderface polished up his armor and teleported to Shor’s Stone. You probably don’t remember his sojourn there, not least because I devoted all of two paragraphs to it, but on the way to Riften he encountered this small mining community, with a couple of guards, a blacksmith, and three miners that include a human man and an orc man who bicker about housework like they’re married so I have headcanoned that, and Sylgja, a human woman. The mine periodically fills with frostback spiders, and Murderface had cleaned them out, then attempted to flirt with Sylgja by barging into her house and looking at all her stuff. She didn’t demand he leave or run screaming in horror, but instead asked him to deliver a packet of letters to her parents, who were miners at Darkwater Crossing. He did so, and she thanked him effusively, gave him an emerald necklace in payment, and said a few more nice things to him.
He went on to Riften afterwards, but Sylgja was never too far from his mind, at least during the times when he wasn’t attempting to sleep with anyone else.
He arrived in Shor’s Stone and went to her house, but it was locked tight. Assuming she was working in the mine, he headed over there. It turned out to be re-infested with frostback spiders, so he spent a few minutes hacking them to pieces, figuring that it could only help his suit. He also spent a few minutes mining ebony, because no point in passing up a bit of profit. (Yes, ebony. I told you about that already.)
Back out into the light of day, and her house was still locked. He poked his nose into the other two houses in the settlement, but she was nowhere to be found. For a while, he stood on her porch and waited in what he hoped was a non-creepy manner, but she was still a no-show. Eventually, hoping that she hadn’t been killed by bandits or frostback spiders, he sat down at the fire in front of her house to wait until she got home.
Murderface’s long, awkward wait.
As the afternoon wore on into evening, the other two miners and the blacksmith showed up to sit by the fire and shoot the shit. The blacksmith eventually asked Murderface “What brings you out to Shor’s Stone?" but Murderface was prevented from having to admit his romantic intentions by the in-game clock ticking over midnight at that moment, because the blacksmith, obedient to his programming, got up from his chair and went home without waiting for an answer.
Getting more impatient by the minute, Murderface decided to take action, so he picked the lock on Sylgja’s door. Turned out she was home, after all, and inexplicably still being nice to Murderface. “It’s a fine day with you around!" Sylgja cried as he broke into her house. Murderface’s heart melted a little more as he watched her continue getting ready for bed, strangely un-terrified of the armored man who appeared in her house after midnight.
Nervously, he engaged in a little small talk, asking her about the mine.
Sylgja replied in her sunny way, still not screaming and running from Murderface. He found that encouraging, and started to pull out the Amulet of Mara…
...as she cried “Welcome to Shor’s Stone!" and hopped into bed.
Murderface was not going to let this stop him! He dropped the Amulet of Mara around his neck and prodded her awake.
Sylgja sat up and asked “Is that...an Amulet of Mara? I’m surprised someone like you isn’t spoken for."
At that point, Murderface had an option to deflect with small talk about the mine, but he’d spent all day gathering his nerve for this moment and wasn’t about to let it go.
He shyly asked “Are you interested in me?"
“Well, yes! Why wouldn’t I be? Are you interested in me?"
Murderface’s heart sang! He confirmed his interest, and with that, they were engaged! In the morning, he’d head to the Temple of Mara to arrange the wedding.
Sylgja, ever practical, celebrated by going back to bed while Murderface stared at the wall next to it.
Assuming that as they were officially engaged she wouldn’t mind, Murderface got into the other side of the bed and went to sleep. (As there’s no getting-into-bed animation for the player character, it actually meant he stood and stared at the bed all night.)
When he woke up, she was gone. Choosing to believe she’d made an early start for Riften instead of sneaking out to escape this heavily armored dude who lurked outside her house for hours before breaking into her house in the middle of the night to propose, he exited, sort of hoping that the Shor’s Stone inhabitants would be around to see him leaving her house in the morning so he could casually drop the news that they were engaged, but no such luck.
He teleported to Riften and found the Temple of Mara. The priest welcomed him and set the wedding date for the next day. To ensure that nothing would happen to delay him or Sylgja, such as getting sidetracked by a quest or attacked by bandits, he opted to stand in the sanctuary for the next 24 hours (i.e. I used the Wait command).
Morning dawned bright and early, the temple filled with celebrants, Sylgja showed up and walked towards the altar, and Murderface was trapped into a cut scene for the wedding so I couldn’t look around and see who else showed. Neither of the happy couple bothered to dress up for the occasion. The groom was resplendent in his glass armor, the blushing bride wore her grubby work clothes and pickaxe. Murderface liked that she was proud of her mining heritage.
Wedding photos! From a 3rd person perspective above Murderface because the camera was trapped there and unable to move very much!
It was a short but meaningful ceremony. Murderface and Sylgja promised to love and support each other, exchanged rings named The Bond of Matrimony, and as soon as it was over, Sylgja made a beeline for the door. Murderface had to run to catch up with her and initiate the dialogue about where to live, so I wasn’t able to check the crowd to see if Valdimar had shown up. (The wiki claims that housecarls attend weddings.) Murderface did notice that his new in-laws had attended, as he had to roughly shove them out of the way to catch up to his wife. They didn’t seem to mind.
When he caught up to Sylgja on the streets of Riften outside of the temple, she offered up her house in Shor’s Stone as a possible domicile, but then said “You have children, right? We should live somewhere with room for them," which opened the dialogue option for Murderface to tell her to go to the lake house. She promised to meet him there.
Although he never actually remembered telling her he had children (I suppose she’d researched on him at some point, unless they had a private conversation after the engagement, while he was standing next to her bed all night), Murderface then teleported to his house.
And there she was. “Hello, love," she greeted him. “Welcome home."
NEXT TIME: Is there trouble in paradise? What do the kids and Valdimar think of this unannounced change in circumstances?
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