Dammit, I ate the grapes

Last time, Murderface brought an axe to a wizard’s duel and was disdained by Valdimar. This time, he stumbles into yet another murder mystery.

Sometime between last time and this time, Valdimar placed the final piece of required furniture in the girls’ bedroom at the lake house that would allow them to move there. Murderface immediately teleported to Whiterun. It was the middle of the night, so he woke the girls up and told them they were moving, to which they agreed and then immediately climbed back into bed. He rummaged through their stuff and took all the things they’d shoplifted, er, “found" that seemed useful or valuable, then went outside and waited until daybreak to sell it.

As he trudged up the hill towards the shops, a local woman, Ahlam, whose days mostly consist of hanging around complaining about her husband (she does have a point--he spends his days toadying up to the Jarl and ignoring her), spoke. “Are you married? You look the type. Make sure you treat your wife with the respect she deserves."

Hmmm. You know, she had something there. Murderface never considered himself the marrying type before, but now he’d got two houses, a housecarl, and children. He was practically a family man. And he’d been carrying the Amulet of Mara around in his inventory for days without really thinking about why he hadn’t bothered to stash it at home. And it seemed that nobody was up for the temporary fling he’d been hanging after ever since he got to Skyrim.

That was a lot to think about. So he went and killed a giant instead, then teleported to Dawnstar, barged into the Jarl’s bedroom, and woke the Jarl up to collect the reward. It felt less dangerous.

The Dawnstar Jarl must like his fires hot. This dude felt cold and crouched down to rub his hands and warm himself several feet away from the fire.

Nearby, Murderface found a quicksilver mine. I think it might have been infested with bandits because I vaguely remember fighting bandits in a mine, but I didn’t make a note of it because I was more interested in noting down QUICKSILVER. MINE. So bandits or no, Murderface set to mining quicksilver with no special protective gear on, which is par for the course with Murderface and probably explains a lot.

He attempted to next go exploring to find a place called Yngvild, to find the Helm of Winterhold--he doesn’t remember what it is or who asked him to go find it, but he scribbled a note down that said “Helm of Winterhold-Yngvild" and stuck it in his quest journal, and it seemed like it might be profitable. Naturally, he immediately got sidetracked by a murder mystery.

He came upon the Frostflow Lighthouse, which looked deserted at first glance and had a dead horse outside. Inside, there was a dead woman lying next to an axe of a make he’d never seen before. (He left it where it was, as it was nowhere near as good as his current axe.) He could hear the eerie sound of chaurus, which are basically these giant vaguely scorpion-like bugs, moving about somewhere in the place.

As Murderface was now an experienced investigator who’d solved 100% of all the crimes he’d looked into, he decided that this was a challenge that he could meet and began his investigations by looting the woman’s corpse and then poking through all her stuff. He cunningly deduced, by reading the journals from members of her family that clearly spelled out the entire situation, that the woman and her husband had purchased the lighthouse and moved there. Their children were unhappy about it, and the kids heard weird noises in the cellar. Blah blah blah reasons, family strife and disharmony, dad heading into the cellar to confront whatever it was, whatever. The cellar was locked, but Murderface eventually found the cellar key in a burial urn on the mantelpiece, next to a jar with a torchbug in it, which he picked up to get the torchbug thorax, which is an alchemical ingredient. He couldn’t open the jar so he stuck it in his inventory and forgot about it. On top of the lighthouse he found a chest he couldn’t open without a key, and the lighthouse’s flame.

In the cellar, he found two chaurus that he dispatched with the bow that traps lesser souls, and a giant hole in the wall that led to icy tunnels in the glacier. Murderface didn’t really want to go down into the ice tunnels, but he’s got a Plan. His Plan was to keep enchanting stuff until he got his level to 100 (he was at 85), which would allow him to grab the perk that allows you to place TWO enchantments on an item instead of just one. He recently had obtained the Fortify Carry Weight enchantment, which allowed him to enchant wearable items in a manner that allowed the wearer to carry more weight, so he could grab more loot, so he could sell more stuff, so he could make more money. He liked his current fighting and sneaking perks, and didn't want to lose them for the Carry Weight perk, so he needed to be able to dual-enchant for maximum plunder.

Murderface doesn't understand the finer nuances of economic systems like capitalism, but with two houses, a housecarl, two growing daughters, a carriage driver, a riding horse, a carriage horse, a cow and three whole chickens to support, the catacombs of Skyrim don’t stand a chance.

So to fulfill his plan he needed to enchant stuff, and to enchant stuff you need soul gems, and to get soul gems as cheaply as possible you need to buy or steal empty soul gems and then go kill stuff to trap the souls. (He didn’t have the sort of gems that will trap higher souls--humans and elves, mostly--but other creatures are fair game.) Plus that juicy chest on the top of the lighthouse was calling his name, but the key was on the dude who went into the cellars and never came back. So a dungeon crawl through a glacier was on the menu.

Not too far in, Murderface was attacked by this ugly mug (who died in a crouch):


It was a falmer. Falmer are a corrupted race of blind snow elves (due to being tricked by the Dwemer generations ago, or so goes the lore). Murderface does not like. Murderface likes draugr. You know where you stand with draugr. Falmer are just creepy.

He crept through the tunnels, killing falmer and chaurus. He came upon the bodies of the kids and, eventually, the father. He put the pieces of what happened together by reading the journal that the daughter left behind--falmer came up through the cellar, attacked the mother, and took the kids, locking them up in the tunnels for nefarious purposes. The father went after them. He couldn’t save them--the son was killed, but he managed to slip a dagger to his daughter before he went further into the tunnels. He was killed and she, sensing there was to be no rescue, killed herself after carefully explaining it all in her journal in case someone showed up one day.

Murderface’s murder investigation track record: now 4 for 4. Will he be promoted to detective one day?

Having come this far, he determined to see this dungeon crawl through to the end. Although when you’re up to your ‘nads in glacial meltwater and creeping through an icy tunnel infested with giant bugs and weird-ass elves, you begin to question your life choices.

Murderface had been carrying around a bunch of scrolls that he never remembered to use in the heat of battle. One of them was Mayhem, which, if cast on enemies, caused everyone affected by it to attack anything within reach. He came out on a ledge that overlooked an area with two chaurus milling about and decided it was a good time to test it out, as they couldn’t come up on the ledge to attack him. He forgot they spat poison, and had to retreat down the tunnel in a hurry. After healing himself and waiting for a bit, he crept back up and discovered to his satisfaction that one of them was dead and the other was injured, and an arrow finished it off.

The final confrontation was with a giant chaurus, but it didn’t take long because Murderface was ridiculously over-leveled for this area. He discovered the doomed father’s remains in the giant chaurus’ corpse along with the key to the lighthouse chest, and recalled that the mother’s diary had mentioned that the man had expressed a desire to have his remains placed into the flame at the lighthouse, so he stuffed the bloody corpse bits into his inventory and headed back out.

Up at the lighthouse he looted the chest, considering the contents a reward for his hard work deciphering the clues and solving the mystery, and tipped the man’s remains into the fire. That granted him the Sailor’s Repose boon, which permanently increased the effect of his healing spells by 10%, and his trip through the glacier netted him over 200 chaurus eggs that he estimated were worth 10 septims each (although things never sell for the amount the game tells you) so it was a profitable journey overall.

When he got home to the lake house, the girls had shown up.

Somewhere in the interim, Valdimar had also begun furnishing the armory with chests, weapon display stands, and mounts of dead animal heads. Murderface decided to display some of his named weapons, and installed the swords he got for being Thane of Falkreath and Morthal onto a stand, along with a shield he’d picked up somewhere and hadn’t bothered to sell. Unfortunately the stand seemed to suffer from some sort of dimensional instability, as every time Murderface came back to look at his swords, they’d moved higher up the wall and were threatening to vanish into the ceiling and be lost forever before Murderface snagged them and put them back into a chest.

I was tempted to go outside and see if they were sticking out of the balcony floor, but that would mean long loading times and the danger that they’d completely vanish before I got back. (After poking about the interweebs, weapons racks are kind of buggy. Just don’t put anything on them you might want back at a later date. Murderface might have to forge a couple of cheap swords to put on it.)

And because Murderface, he accidentally ate the jazbay grapes he was collecting for a quest while he was trying to store them safely so he wouldn’t accidentally eat, sell, or use them. (I admit it: I yelled GODDAMMIT I ATE THE GRAPES, which cracked Toby up. He says he watches me play for moments like that, the way I watch him play games for the things he says.) Earlier, Murderface planted some jazbay grapes in the garden plot outside, and if he ever bloody remembers to go harvest the damn things, he should collect the grapes he needs before too long.

One new thing eaten! Wisp wrappings. Murderface has tried out almost all the available ingredients in Skyrim, so he’s eating fewer new and weird substances, but I suspect there are some long-term effects from his history of indulgence.

Only one play session behind now! And in that one, Murderface discovers a necromantic plan! At least there’s draugr instead of falmer. Also, a bunny and Murderface fails to set the house on fire.

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Tags: gaming, skyrim
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