The Many Deaths of Murderface McKenzie

Back to the Many Deaths of Murderface McKenzie. In the previous entry, Murderface accepted a hit on an orphanage owner named Grelod the Kind from a ten-year-old boy. Is he going to fulfil his commission?

Oh come on, this is Murderface, who’s got the attention span of a ferret on meth. And there’s a lot of territory between Whiterun and Riften!

Back in Whiterun, after failing to get laid by a grateful Saadia for rescuing her from a group of evil mercenaries*, Murderface returned to the alchemist’s shop and discovered to his joy that Arcadia, the proprietor, now allowed him to pilfer things worth less than 50 gold from beneath her nose and sell them back to her. He left her shop almost completely denuded but with a pocket jingling with gold

*The game actually leaves it somewhat open as to which side is telling the truth, but after perusing various forums filled with people who have nothing better to do than to chase down every single clue and argue about them, the evidence tends to support the mercenaries’ side of the story about her betraying her city and them being sent to arrest her and bring her back for trial. Had he known, Murderface would not have actually cared, due to the whole situation not being in front of his face, and a woman asking him to do things for her. (It’s called a role-playing game, after all!)

And speaking of full pockets, Murderface was carrying too much crap around. The guards’ repeatedly advising him about an empty house for sale in Whiterun stuck in his mind and he began to think about saving up for a little bit of property of his own. He could set down some roots and become a respectable murder hobo, sure, but mostly he needed a place with a roof to dump all his crap where it wouldn’t be kicked about by patrolling guards or forced back into his inventory by passers-by who saw him drop it. But that sort of thing cost money, 5000 gold to be precise. Back out to kill bandits, loot cultural treasures, and fence his technically-stolen goods, but this time with a noble purpose in mind! Time to start walking to Riften. Again.

In the last post, I mentioned that Murderface stopped by a mining camp on his way to Riften to slaughter Grelod the Kind on the word of a traumatized kid and picked up a commission to wipe out some bandits. That was technically correct, except that it happened at this point in time because I misread my notes, er, Murderface is not that good with the concept of linear time, thanks to his substance-abuse problem. Besides, one dungeon crawl pretty much blends into another. The life of an adventurer: travel the land, meet new people, kill them, loot their bodies, day after day. Ho hum.

The reason I’m bothering to bring it up is that this particular bandit chieftain had gone a bit off his rocker. They’d built a fighting pit down in their cave lair, and he was in it, roaring challenges to all his crew and probably a bunch of people and animals he was hallucinating. After Murderface trashed the rest of the bandits and killed a saber cat that, if I’d played it right, would have gone into the pit and taken care of the bandit chieftain but instead got too close to Murderface and turned on him, he had to take the chieftain out himself.

There were short walls woven of sticks and branches around the pit that allowed the chieftain to retreat to a spot that was hard to reach with arrows, so that Murderface was forced to jump into the pit and fight him face-to-face. Murderface was promptly decapitated. He resurrected and tried again, and was run through with the chieftain’s sword. Annoyed at this turn of events, I steered him along the walls until I found a place where he could stand and throw firebolts at the chief in perfect safety until the guy burned to death.

Murderface’s return to the mine to collect his reward was the point in the previous post when the woman miner revealed she had been an adventurer once and offered to accompany him, and he turned her down, citing his partners’ short lifespans. Also, he had just enough self-awareness to understand that “I’m going to Riften to kill a woman nicknamed The Kind who owns an orphanage because a kid asked me to” might not go over all that well. So he settled for attempting to be the Mysterious Stranger who tips his hat and rides out of town, but probably failed.

Back on the road to Riften he got sidetracked again by a fort full of bandits. The bandit standing outside torqued him off by shouting “If you’re not here to pay a ransom, then get out of here!” as Murderface walked close enough to get the fort to show up on his map. Murderface is of the opinion that nobody tells Murderface what to do (unless it’s a woman...or someone paying him a lot of money...or a kid…), so set to whaling away, setting bandits on fire, and after the dust cleared discovered that he’d somehow managed to get lost in the open, rectangular-ish yard of the fort. With a bit of pacing, he discovered the entrance he’d come in by and also discovered that he, or someone else, had also killed a goat in the fray.

He teleported to civilization to sell stuff and empty his inventory in preparation for the next bout of looting, and when he teleported back he arrived next to two large bears who were not happy at that turn of events, and who gave him Bone Break Fever during the fight. Luckily, he had several vials of the Potion of Cure Disease with him in case of accidental vampirism* and that took care of it.

*If you get attacked by one, you can get it. Cure Disease works to get rid of it. Accepting lycanthropy does the same thing. Murderface has options.

Creeping through the fort, he ran into a peasant man looking for his wife, who’d vanished some months ago. Peasant-Bob said he’d heard these bandits kidnapped people and held them for ransom, and thought she might be there, but he was too scared to go on. It was a job for a large, strong, powerful, handsome, yet modest, adventurer of renown like Murderface. (Actually, he said “I’m no warrior, like you,” but that’s what Murderface heard.) After the conversation, Murderface ransacked the room while Peasant-Bob repeatedly insisted, thanks to proximity-triggered speech cues, that until he found his wife there was nothing more to discuss.

Murderface spotted a bear trap while he was sneaking up a spiral staircase, and as he was advancing to trigger it, a khajiit bandit heard him and ran screaming down the stairs at him, directly over the bear trap, setting it off. Murderface finished the bandit with one stroke and mused for a while at that turn of events, then left, forgetting about the trap entirely. (FORESHADOWING. A SIGN OF QUALITY LITERATURE.)

(And that is a Bloom County reference and if you get it you are (a) old and (b) my people.)

At the end of the dungeon (fort?) crawl, Murderface stopped to examine a bookshelf. (Reading books can update your map or upgrade various attributes.) Skyrim’s proximity-based conversation trigger struck again, and the voice of the unseen bandit leader on the other side of the wall floated by. Turns out, she was Fjola, the wife of Peasant-Bob, and had left him because she couldn’t stand living with him any longer, taking up banditry instead. She didn’t really want the dude dead, so she gave Murderface her wedding ring and said she didn’t care what he told the guy, just so long as he stopped looking for her, and to report back to her when he’d gotten rid of Peasant-Bob.

On the way back, Murderface accidentally tripped the bear trap, which had somehow reset itself. (PAYOFF.)

After Murderface limped back to Peasant-Bob, he did have the option of telling him that he’d seen no sign of Fjola except for this ring, but in true Murderface fashion, he picked the option that had him saying “She’s dead. Here’s her ring.” Peasant-Bob mourned her death for a couple of seconds, then handed the ring back to Murderface, walked out of the room and stopped, saying that until he found his wife he had nothing more to discuss. At that point, there was, I assume, a glitch in the Matrix and Fjola came running around the corner in full aggro, and attacked Murderface. He had to kill her in self-defense, because I, er, I mean, Murderface forgot that as an Imperial he has the Voice of the Emperor spell/attribute that he can use to calm others for 60 seconds once a day.

I don’t remember if Peasant-Bob is dead or not, nor who killed him if so. Murderface is now stuck with Fjola’s ring in his inventory because it’s a quest item and you can’t get rid of or store quest items while the quest is still active, and since he killed her before reporting back to her...oh well. Murderface had made plans to maybe give that ring to some lovely lady once he’d managed to get one to actually pay him some loving attention, because abandonment, lying, banditry, and murder counts as romantic in Murderface’s personal world, and now he’s stuck carrying it around himself. He looted her body and returned to Whiterun to sell stuff.

(I’m going to go back there one day and see if the game un-glitches, but I think he’s stuck with it.)

He was carrying too much crap to teleport, so had to drop some stuff, fast-travel to civilization and sell, then return to pick the rest up. After the usual round of smithing, enchanting, alchemy, and selling, he had...5066 gold coins! Enough to buy the house of his dreams!

Murderface set off immediately up to the keep of Dragonsreach, to hunt down the Jarl’s steward and shove money in his face. He went out onto the Great Porch, where he’d seen the guy before, but it was 11 PM and nobody was out there. He stood there until 9 AM, and while guards showed up, the steward didn’t. One of the guards helpfully explained that if he wanted to buy property in town he should see the steward up at Dragonsreach.

Suppressing the desire to bash the guard with a mace, Murderface went back inside and bumped into the steward. Once Murderface shoveled 5000 gold coins into his pocket, the steward handed him the key to Breezehome, a book that detailed the upgrades Murderface could purchase, and congratulated him. But did not offer to show him the house before purchasing it or even tell him where the house was. (Not that I think the necessity for an independent home inspection prior to the sale would occur to Murderface. He’d just go kill whoever it was sold him a bum house.)

After consulting the gods (i.e., I looked it up in the Skyrim wiki), Murderface discovered that his new house was conveniently located next to the home and shop of the blacksmith Claudia Christian, and headed off to take possession.

And here it is! It’s dirty, dingy, and someone has left their boxes of crap all over the place, but it’s all his!

Murderface is no longer a murder hobo. He is now a murder HOMEOWNER.

Next time: Murder most dire and Murderface Holmes is on the case!

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Tags: gaming, skyrim
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