In which something actually happens!

The story so far: Murderface has received a bounty for 100 gold, so hired Jenassa, a mercenary, for 500 gold and headed off to wipe out a nest of necromancers. Not that he remembered they were necromancers. There seems to be a budding romance between Murderface and Jenassa that may not be entirely in Murderface’s head.

When last we left our intrepid murder hobo, he’d just killed an orc pusher and looted him of his drugs and paraphernalia. And they ran into a cow. Murderface tried to pet the cow, and the game wouldn’t let him, so then he tried to jump on top of the cow and he kept sliding off. Eventually the cow got bored and wandered off. (Assassin’s Creed III lets you pet AND feed animals. JUST SAYING.)

Murderface and Jenassa struck out once more for Sunderstone Gorge. They got less than a hundred yards down the road--which took a while because Murderface kept disappearing offroad to harvest lavender as he can use it to make potions and sell them for money without doing any real work--when they found a dead khajit, the feline race in Skyrim. He was lying face down next to his wagon and dead carthorse, and the random ragdoll physics of the game had left his tail sticking straight up into the air, swaying gently in the breeze, which is kind of creepy when you think about it.

A not-very-good picture that may show you what I mean:

Neither he nor his wagon had much in the way of valuable loot, so after emptying his purse--hey, he wasn’t going to need the money--Murderface and Jenassa headed on down the road.

To be almost immediately brought up short by a very live horse.

Yes, it’s dark there. Night fell while Murderface was examining the khajit and wagon and then stood idly staring off into space while I left to get something to drink, forgetting to pause the game. Also that’s the last picture for this post so enjoy your multimedia experience while you have it.

Anyway, we eventually figure out that the horse was the possession of a dead peddler--not kidding, even though the peddler was dead the horse was marked such that if you tried to ride it, the game would accuse you of stealing and put a bounty on your head. You can kind of see “Steal Horse” in the image if you squint. The peddler was well worth looting, including having a number of ingredients that Murderface hadn’t eaten yet, so after a short while Murderface and Jenassa staggered off towards the gorge again.

Once they went offroad into the trees, trying to find the cave entrance into the gorge, Murderface got jumpy. I had him crouch down and use Stealth for part of the journey (it also increases your XP and your Stealth ability). As they were creeping along, a figure loomed up suddenly in front of them. Murderface screamed, set it on fire, and bashed its head in with a mace. Examining the body, he discovered that he’d just killed an innocent hunter, and realized there was a hunters’ camp nearby. I was about to load my previous save game and do that over when I realized that it was a totally Murderface thing to do. Besides, Jenassa didn’t care.

A bit later, creeping along again, something attacked Murderface and he heard and saw arrows whizzing past him from behind. He turned around, rushed toward the figure behind him, and set Jenassa on fire. Eventually he realized that he’d been attacked from behind by a skeever--a large ratlike creature--and Jenassa had been shooting at it, hence the arrows.

Shortly after, they met another hunter and Murderface failed to mention his previous unfortunate encounter, purchasing a few supplies instead.

Then they found the entrance to Sunderstone Gorge! There was a trigger plate on the ground that Murderface and Jenassa snuck by without setting off, and spotted a novice necromancer tending a (mystic, Murderface shortly discovered) fire. He ran towards her, intending to bash her head in, when he was surprised by a skeleton running at him. Doubly surprised because he'd forgotten they were necromancers and was expecting plain old bandits.

Combat was extremely confusing there for a minute or two, because I couldn’t ever get Murderface pointed in the direction I needed, so he was setting everything on fire around him and whaling away randomly with his mace. He seemed to be being attacked by more and more opponents.

Eventually, everything subsided and I worked out what happened, although not the proper order. These things happened, in whatever order they happened:

  • Murderface killed the necromancer

  • Murderface or Jenassa killed the skeleton (if ‘killed’ is the right word)

  • Someone set off the trigger plate, resulting in a rockfall

  • Murderface kept accidentally walking into the fire, which was mystic, and thus set Murderface himself on fire when regular fires in Skyrim don’t affect him (I’ve walked him through enough fireplaces and hearths to know that)

  • The fire on Murderface triggered some sort of combat noise and, I think, put Murderface into combat mode until the fire burned out

  • The dark shapes of the rocks from the rockfall falling around him and rolling about combined with the combat state and noise made him (coughmecough) think they were enemies, hence causing him to continue whaling about him and flame his surroundings and therefore blunder into the fire again

Taking stock of the situation, Murderface discovered...one dead, dismembered skeleton whose hand had landed some feet away and which was lazily beckoning to him in a really creepy manner, one dead necromancer, one still-burning mystic fire that accidentally set him on fire again, a bunch of rocks, and … one dead Jenassa.

Alas, Jenassa! Too soon, too soon. Was it Murderface’s fault? He’s set so many people on fire, and killed innocents by accident. Perhaps he destroyed his one chance for happiness in an uncaring world.

Murderface decided that she would want him to continue his mission, wiped a tear or two away, and headed into the depths of the entrance cave.

To make a long story short, because reading about how he crept slowly through a cave and looted it and I saved the game every five feet because I wanted to replay as little of it as possible if he died is rather boring, he killed a bunch of necromancers, set a bunch of fire traps off with arrows, did a lot of looting, and found a mammoth tusk. He remembered a lady back in Whiterun wanted one to start her merchanting career. Now that Jenassa was dead, he had to set his hopes in another direction, so he collected the tusk.

Toby was watching me play by this point, and as Murderface left the caves by the entrance he came in, we did a CSI assessment on the scene of Jenassa’s death and Toby pointed out that because of her position, it was likely Jenassa set the trap off herself by stepping on the trigger plate, and thus Murderface’s conscience was cleared.

He respectfully looted Jenassa’s body--it was his second-best armor and an expensive warhammer--staggered outside under the weight of all his ill-gotten gains, and teleported back to Whiterun. (You can fast-travel to locations you’ve discovered, which is why he had to walk to the gorge but could teleport back.)

In Whiterun, he turned in his bounty for a paltry 100 gold, and couldn’t sell much of his stuff because the idiot shopkeeper had run out of money. He then teleported to Riverwood, the small settlement he’d come across when he first entered Skyrim, to sell his stuff. It was the middle of the night when he got there and everyone was asleep, so I left him standing aimlessly in front of the blacksmith’s forge and called it a night.

Next time: More quests! Murderface gets lost! Murderface temporarily abandons his quest to go make stuff!

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Tags: gaming, skyrim
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