bark BARK bArK bark BARK bArK bark BARK bArK bark BARK bArK bark BARK bArK bark BARK bArK bark BARK

Where do we stand now? Oh, yes--I was going to spam you with Murderface posts all weekend, posted two in one day, and then didn’t post any more because I got distracted by doing ebook covers whose deadlines were upon me. :)

We left Murderface on the road to earn the cash needed to upgrade his house so he could adopt a kid. On his final commission for this bout of looting, from a blacksmith who wanted him to catch a stray dog, a job Murderface thought would be a matter of a few minutes and easy coin, the dog started talking to him…

...and it wasn’t just Murderface’s normal experience of things talking to him. He hadn’t eaten anything for HOURS. This dog seemed pretty serious.

Missing from this photo: the INCESSANT BARKING. (The eye is the Sneak meter--you’ve been detected by the dog while in Sneak, so the eye is fully open.)

The dog told Murderface his name was Barbas. Barbas said to Murderface, "Skyrim is now host to giant, flying lizards and two-legged cat-men, and you're surprised by me? Yes. I just talked. And am continuing to do so."

Barbas had a point.

Anyway, Barbas was the companion to a Daedric Prince known as Clavicus Vile. They had a spat, Barbas took off, and now he needs Murderface’s help in getting back. Well, fine. But first to Whiterun to take care of business. A few bouts of smithing, enchanting, alchemy-ing,and selling later and Murderface was able to finance his home renovation. He marched up to the steward and commissioned it, forgetting that he had some stuff stored in the study, so he ended up losing bunch of alchemical ingredients and a few books.

Nobody else seemed to notice the dog, even when Murderface ran directly at them and said LOOK AT MY DOG. (okay, it was me saying LOOK AT MY DOG, but still.) Toby’s opinion is that Barbas is some sort of manifestation of supernatural energy and only visible to the player character, but he was visible enough to whoever told the blacksmith about the stray dog.

One the way to the shrine of Clavicus Vile, Murderface passed the shrine of Meridia. Remembering the large gem stuck in his inventory that he hadn’t been able to sell, he figured he’d drop it off. Like anything is ever that simple for Murderface.

As soon as he put the gem onto the pedestal, Meridia manifested in the form of a glowing white ball of energy, and levitated Murderface up into the sky to have a chat. The chat mostly consisted of her telling Murderface that he needed to retrieve the token of her truth, a sword that a necromancer was using to power his work raising the dead to fight for him. Murderface agreed because at this point-ten thousand feet above Skyrim--he would have said anything Meridia wanted to hear.

He had to enter a network of caverns--Skyrim is so riddled with caverns that the entire place is at serious threat of sinkholes and subsidence--and turn on a series of light beacons that pointed the way to the final confrontation, and then he died a couple of times as he worked out the best plan of attack for the boss fight. He ended up setting a scroll of Bane of the Undead on the necromantic minions, then hung back in the doorway and shot firebolts at the necromancer as the minions’ hit points burned away.

It was a profitable pillage, at least, as there were many, many burial urns full of gold pieces. He saved the sword, Dawnbreaker, for last and as he touched it, he was transported back to Meridia’s temple, to hover once more in midair as Meridia monologued at him.

The substance of this particular monologue was how Murderface would now be her champion and go forth, wielding Dawnbreaker to fight back the darkness and corruption in the world. Being afraid of commitment, his response was “Uh….no.” Meridia merely chuckled and made some metaphor about how the plant cares not for the rays of light that bring it nourishment, and that as long as he carried Dawnbreaker, her light would touch the world.

(I shall note that Dawnbreaker now occupies a decorative weapons rack in Murderface’s house. He won’t sell it because it sets undead on fire, but he’s kind of leery of touching it too often.)

There was also a Word Wall nearby and Murderface learned another part of a Shout. He still has no idea what this magical language thing taking up residence in his skull is, and won’t learn until he finally kills a dragon.

What I haven’t explained to you so far is Barbas’ part in all this. He’s a great companion from the killing standpoint--he’s a great fighter and effectively immortal so Murderface can’t kill him accidentally--but there is NO END TO THE BARKING. And Barbas constantly bumps into you, so if you’re trying to sneak and carefully aim an arrow there’s no telling if he’s going to bump you into view of your enemy or not. Or if he’s going to bump you into the path of Meridia’s beam, which injures you, or knock off cliffs, or push you into small corners and trap you there until you whack at him with your axe to make him move.

Murderface could not get rid of him fast enough.

On the way to get rid of the damn dog, Murderface ran into Brother-Bob, the dude from Whiterun whose brother was held prisoner, and who he’d promised to meet some time back and forgot about. Oops. Murderface made some excuses, probably “I gotta see a Daedric Prince about this dog first,” and took off.

This was one of Brother-Bob’s companions, who’d been sitting there so long he’d merged with the rock.

Murderface killed a bear on the shore a little way away from Brother-Bob, which disappointingly sank into the ground and disappeared before he could loot it.

On a mountain path, a guy ran into Murderface, gasped, “Quick, hold this! Don’t tell them which way I went! I’ll get it later!” and forced a Dwarven War Axe of Depletion into Murderface’s inventory, then took off down the path. A little while later, a hunter came running up to Murderface. He explained he was in hot pursuit of a thief who’d stolen his Dwarven War Axe of Depletion, and had Murderface seen anyone matching that description?

Murderface’s conversation options were “Nope, no one,” “Here’s your axe,” or “He went that way.” Murderface opted for the latter because hey, free Dwarven War Axe of Depletion, and scurried off up the road before the hunter caught the thief and realized what happened to his axe.

Barbas and Murderface finally reached and fought their way through the dungeon, talked to the statue housing the Daedric Prince, got sent on ANOTHER damn quest to get a Rueful Axe for reasons, and got back to the Prince. Clavicus Vile told Murderface he could keep the Rueful Axe if he killed Barbas. It was tempting, he had to admit, given how annoying that damn dog was, but again--nobody tells Murderface what to do, if he can at all help it, and so he refused. Barbas then talked the Prince into rewarding Murderface with his mask, which gives him +20 Speech and better prices with merchants. Not too shabby!

On his way out of the cave, a dead bear fell out of the sky onto the path in front of him. Murderface looted it, assuming that if it wasn’t the same bear that fell through the ground earlier, it was the karmic equivalent.

Yet more enchanting, selling, etc. Murderface learned Soul Trap, so he bought a new Skyforge steel axe, improved it as much as he could, and put Soul Trap on it. Now, if he kills a creature within 4 seconds of hitting it with the axe, he can trap the soul in a soul gem. Soul gems are what fuel enchantments, and you use them to refuel your enchanted weapons. Yup, Skyrim’s magical economy runs on life.

Now that his house in Whiterun was all kitted out, Murderface had one last stop to make before Riften. He bought a doll and a girl’s dress for his future daughter.

Down in Riften, Constance quizzed him again on his living arrangements, and took his word that he’d added a child’s room. She congratulated him and assured him that he’d be a great parent.

Would you trust this guy with your child?

That’s the mask of Clavicus Vile, which Murderface donned to do all his selling and forgot to take off while at the orphanage.

That’s how he normally looks. Worlds better, right?

Anyway, so once at home, Murderface gave Runa the doll, which she immediately commenced cuddling. He then gave her the dress, and fell right into a glitch in the game in which, occasionally, if you give a child a clothing item they will remove the old one but not equip the new one.

This is just wrong!

Murderface, horrified, had to run to the chest that held the kid’s things and re-gift her the dress, at which point she put it on. (I also note that he gets the Gift of Charity for supplying clothing to his own daughter, which also doesn’t seem quite right.)

It had been a long day. Runa, after excitedly thanking her new dad for the clothing and telling Murderface he was the best, retired to her room and fell asleep.

Murderface watched her quietly for a while, then silently shut the door and trudged upstairs--it took him a couple of tries because the ladder is kind of tricky--and went to bed himself.

Next time: an unexpected addition to the family!

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Tags: gaming, skyrim
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