Not that I'm telling you about the many deaths of Murderface McKenzie yet, because that comes a bit later.
So the last we heard, he was in Windhelm, wearing a full set of elven armor to say “fuck you” to the populace at large, who have a massive racist hate-on for the dark elves living in the city. Murderface is not a particularly politically astute person, it’s more that he enjoys pissing people off. He also doesn’t subscribe to any particular race opinions: in his experience, the world isn’t divided into Us and Them, it’s divided into Me and All the Rest of You Fuckers. So anything he can do that annoys the largest amount of other people, he probably will do.
I have noticed a tendency for him to feel slightly more warmly about the lower classes, kids and animals, but it doesn’t take much to lose his good opinion.
Anyway! So Murderface had an open quest: to follow up on rumors of a kid that was attempting the Black Sacrament to summon a member of the Dark Brotherhood assassin guild. This sounded interesting, so he went nosing around Windhelm, gathering rumors and observing the townsfolk, especially noting how a nanny told another kid not to go play with the subject of the rumors because he was cursed. He found the kid’s house and broke in.
In the background, he could hear the kid chanting the Sacrament over and over again, stopping every so often to whimper “I’ve been doing this for so long...I’m so tired.” Murderface nosed about the house and pocketed several gold pieces and some alchemy ingredients he came across before attending to the matter at hand. The kid was in a candlelit circle, with a set of human bones and some human body parts, stabbing a book with a knife over and over, chanting the Sacrament. He finally noticed Murderface, and was overjoyed, believing his summons had been answered at last by a member of the Dark Brotherhood.
Three possible responses occurred to Murderface: to try to dissuade the kid of his notion, to accept it, or not to say anything. He decided that it would be way cooler just to stand there impassively, and did so. The kid, Aventus Aretino, explained that he had recently been orphaned and the Jarl sent him to the orphanage in Riften, run by Grelod the Kind. However, Grelod the Kind was a terrible, abusive woman, so he’d run away back to Windhelm. Murderface can’t walk two feet without being attacked by wolves, bears, highwaymen, or bandits so I have no idea how the kid made it across the map...except that you can’t kill kids in-game, so perhaps they’re merely immortal until the age of 18 or something.
He had one request: kill Grelod the Kind. Murderface accepted the job, as he was rather impressed with the kid’s attitude and resourcefulness, but because he got diddley-squat the last time he accepted a job from a kid, he pointed out that assassinations don’t come cheap. The kid promised to give him his family’s last remaining heirloom, to which Murderface assented.
After that, he started out for Riften but got sidetracked by a dungeon quest because he needed cash to get the materials to make himself a mace and to enchant it--a woman miner needed a bandit leader killed. (During that dungeon crawl, he found Queen Freydis’ Sword, which a blacksmith had asked him to keep an eye out for. It was terribly anticlimactic.) After Murderface reported back to the miner, she said she used to be an adventurer and that she wouldn’t mind going out again, thus making herself available as a follower. Mindful of how deadly he’s been to his companions so far, Murderface declined for now.
At one point, standing at the entrance to a mine in the mountains and turning to survey the landscape (Skyrim really is very pretty), he caught sight of a mammoth spawning gracefully in midair and falling to the ground.
He then had to teleport to several places to sell all his loot (merchants have a limited amount of gold at one time), and to craft himself a new mace. This is an elven mace. Elves are right bastards.
That would be a cave bear Murderface has just taken care of.
Murderface ended up back in Whiterun at the end of the round of teleportation, selling, and smithing. Toby was watching at this point, and I mentioned an open quest in Whiterun that Murderface still had, which was to find a woman that Alik’r warriors were looking for, and to tell them about her. Toby said he’d have thought that Murderface would have found her by now, because she was disguised as a barmaid. I explained that you’d think so, but the problem is, bards are in pubs as well and Murderface doesn’t like bards. Toby allowed as how that would be a problem in this particular quest, yes..
So Murderface found himself possessed of an odd notion to go hang out in a pub. Once there, he discovered Saadia, the Redguard woman the warriors mentioned, who took him upstairs. Pleased at this turn of events, Murderface followed, but when they got to her room, she pulled a knife on him.
“Why does this always happen?” he thought to himself.
Saadia claimed that the Alik’r warriors are assassins who wanted to kill her because reasons, and asked Murderface to kill their leader. He agreed...well, a woman asks him to kill someone, what’s not to like about this arrangement? She's got to be terribly grateful to him for doing this, right? To find their location, he had to go speak to one of the warriors who’d been arrested and was in the jail beneath Dragonreach.
The imprisoned warrior said he’d give Murderface the info if his bail was paid. Murderface agreed, and paid it, and got the info. The guard then took his own sweet time to walk over to the jail cell and just stood there, so Murderface bumped into him a bit to pass the time and, to his surprise, sent the guard through the bars. The guard was unfazed by this and just stood in the cell, saying his random lines, while the prisoner paced in his predetermined pattern.
Aso, Murderface would like you to admire how badass he looks in his full suit of elven armor.
Off to the Alik’r hideout to kill Kematu, their leader! On the way, Murderface spotted a fox in the distance and, remembering that he couldn’t bring himself to bash a fox’s head in previously when it looked him in the eye, killed this one with a (suprisingly) well-aimed firebolt, and collected the pelt.
The Alk’r were in an underground bandit hideout. As he snuck in, Murderface overheard one bandit speaking to another, saying “Not sure I like these Alik’r warriors paying us to hide out here. They’ll be trouble.” He, very briefly, learned the truth of that.
Murderface’s targets were hiding deep in the cave, so that he had to wade through a partially-flooded passage and through a waterfall to talk to them. Kematu claimed that the woman betrayed her family and her city, and that the Alik’r were sent to bring her back to be tried for her crimes. Although Murderface had already made up his mind whose side to take (note that he didn’t care what the actual truth was), he didn’t commit to anything at the moment but instead politely backed out of the conversation so he could go set up a trap. Kematu said, as farewell, “Don’t set anything on fire, all right?” to which Murderface could only assume that news of himself was spreading.
Murderface waded back down the passageway and set up a fire rune--he’s been gaining new spells and talents as he goes, but I don’t bother to write down what or where--where he expected warriors to attack, then snuck quietly up the passage to plink arrows at the warriors, to draw aggro, as the gamers term it, and make them come after him. He backed up into the small passage behind the fire rune--luckily, he doesn’t set off his own runes or that would be a shitshow indeed--and waited.
And then he had to do it again because he’d gotten hidden too quickly and they reverted to the “What was that? Must have been nothing” routine that Toby and I find so hilarious. Characters with ARROWS STICKING OUT OF THEM will do that if you successfully hide. “Oh look, Bob’s over there, bleeding out, with an arrow in his eye! Must be my imagination!”
Once he properly aggro’ed the warriors, they swarmed after him and set off the rune with a satisfying explosion, and he was able to take the rest of them out, then loot their floating bodies afterward.
He carried the news of this triumphantly back to the pub, where he tromped up the stairs to Saadia’s room in expectation of a just reward, whereupon she promptly took one look at him and fell into his arms with a sigh, saying “My hero!”...nope, sorry, that was only in his head. She gave him 500 gold instead.
At least the day wasn’t a complete loss.
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