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Diary of a Dragonborn Chapter 25: Pretty Spry for an Old Guy

Content Consumer


In which our hero rescues one old person and kills another old person.
Previous: Chapter 24, The Case of the Empty Vault


You'd think that, as head of not one but two major factions in Skyrim, I'd want to settle down and just run one of them. Shame I've picked the two dumbest factions to head, so no, I'm gonna go ahead and keep delivering mail and killing rats for anyone who asks me. And the last rat I was asked to kill was an old lady in the local orphanage.


Normally I'd go into a short sarcastic rant about this, but really she deserves it. I'm doing all these kids a favor. What I don't get is how nobody outside the walls heard her loud, quavering scream as my axe cleaved her head from her shoulders. The only people who heard it were the kids and the boss lady's assistant, and only the assistant seemed mildly perturbed. The kids just seemed to take it in stride, cheering and laughing for a bit then going back to burning bugs with magnifying glasses or skinning their knees or walking on my lawn or other things young whippersnappers do these days. A quick jaunt to Windhelm and I've got a snazzy new platter for my table, which I am gonna sell at the earliest opportunity, it's probably had, I dunno, human bodyparts on it or something. That Aventus kid is messed up.


So... next I guess is to find Esbern for Delphine. He's living in (sigh) the sewers. As if I haven't had enough of that lately. There's just something about living in Riften that makes people want to dive underground and cover themselves in shit. I'm getting Esbern and then getting out of this place permanently, just in case it starts happening to me.


Underground, I fight my way through some inexplicably-present Thalmor, kill a cannibal chef, and knock on Esbern's door. He opens a little shutter in the door, and I manfully resist the urge to throw a smoke bomb in and then slam the shutter closed again. He actually lets me in without question as soon as I tell him the Thalmor are after him... apparently Delphine's secret code phrase was unnecessary. And this makes total sense. I mean, if you're being hunted by a shadowy cabal of evil elves, why wouldn't you open your door to the first bastard who knocks on it without requesting some sort of ID? If you can't trust heavily-armed wandering strangers, who can you trust?


He tosses some exposition my way, and I bat some right back at him. He gets flustered when I tell him that I'm the Dragonborn... in much the same way that Delphine only grudgingly accepted my authority as head of the order (I guess that's how this works?), Esbern likewise seems hesitant to accept me as his new boss. But after wandering around aimlessly for a minute muttering about how he needs to take his books with him, he proceeds to leave all his books on the shelves, desks, and floor, and just walk right out with me. Cool.


We're assaulted by Thalmor again, and Esbern actually turns out to be pretty handy in a fight. Well, not Esbern himself, actually, but the big mobile wall of ice he summons seems to have a fun time knocking Thalmor about. I think I'll keep ol' Esbern around, if he can consistently summon Frost Atronachs to aid me... I mean us... in battle. Maybe I'll just keep wandering Skyrim for a bit, and take him back to Riverwood later, after I'm done using his magical talents to aid in the pursuit of my own goals.


Just outside the sewers, Esbern's Atronach decides to take a break and sit in the doorway, unmoving, and it takes a very long damn time for the thing to melt before I can get through myself. You know what? Nevermind, fuck Esbern if that's how he's going to play it. I don't want him around if all he's going to do is kill a few of my enemies then proceed to block my way. Two steps forward and two steps back is not progress. We're going to Riverwood.


Here in Riverwood, Esbern walks into the inn, and I follow. Inside, he starts talking to thin air, saying how it's 'good to see you again.' At first, I think he might be addressing me, and considering how he just saw me outside I start to wonder whether or not he's getting senile on me, and then off in the distance I hear somebody's voice murmuring back. Apparently Delphine is down in her "open-secret" cellar again, and the two of them are talking to each other through the floor. These people...


Esbern trots downstairs to Delphine, and I follow. He spends some quality time pumping more exposition into the air, but really, to call it exposition is an insult to exposition everywhere. He's apparently been taking lessons from some Psijic monks, because everything he says is sort of cryptic bullshit, and the only thing that I get out of it is that there's a secret written on a wall somewhere and we need to go find something that was lost but not lost, just forgotten... at this point I stuff a few wads of Tundra Cotton in my ears to avoid having to listen to any more of this crap. In the blissful silence, I take the time to make some potions at Delphine's alchemy table, and when I turn around Delphine is sitting there staring at me. I reluctantly pull the cotton out of my ears, and she says we've got to go to Sky Haven Temple and find Alduin's Wall.


Delphine and Esbern head on upstairs, whereupon Delphine bequeaths the entire inn to the barman, who responds with overwhelming happiness cleverly concealed beneath a veneer of boredom. You'd think going from a position of low-level peon up to corporate owner in the blink of an eye would affect him just a tiny bit, but no. Maybe the inn has termites or is heavily mortgaged or something. I don't know, and I don't care, and considering that Delphine just dropped this place, that means... yes, it means I WON'T HAVE TO COME BACK HERE ANYMORE! Happy day!


Outside, Delphine and Esbern take off for Sky Haven Temple. I'd tag along, but I really don't want to at the moment. I've been eying an entry in my journal that says to talk to the leader of the Companions for a while now, so I figure now's a good time. I'm off to Whiterun. Me and my Wicker Basket. Bet you'd forgotten about that, didn't you!


Next: Chapter 26, This Place Has Really Gone To The Dogs
Start at Chapter 1


Recommended Comments

I was expecting some sort of major repercussions for killing an ostensibly innocent, unarmed old woman. Instead nobody ever said anything about it. Welcome to Skyrim, where murdering a defenseless elderly citizen in cold blood is waved off, but gods forbid you steal some rich merchant's wooden bowl. Life is cheap in this province, I guess, but wooden bowls are priceless.

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I was really nervous when I first did that and NOTHING.  The Riften guards do occasionally say something about you being seen coming out of the orphanage but that's it.  This murder is fine, apparently.


Recently mountaineered/blinked my way up to Sky Haven Temple without going through the magic Prometheus door.  The game did not like it.


And as for life being cheap, the bounty for killing a horse is the same as for a human.  At least there's some justification for a pony-play mod right there.

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Didn't you ever get Riften guards who ask if it was you they saw sneaking out of the Orphanage after Grelod's death?  I make a note of these guards and kill them. Loose ends and all that. :P


But yeah, yet again no consequences.

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I think that question is the comment I was referring to but it's rhetorical, in that you have no conversation option for answering it, do you?  Am generally slightly chaotic good so don't kill guards, and Skyrim has none of the roof-hopping verticality of Bruma, Skingrad or Anvil (?) so going all GTA in a city is never that much fun as it was at times in Oblivion.

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jordisslave - We posted almost simultaneously there. My post was actually in response to Content Consumer - I didn't even see yours until now. :)


"Chaotic good"? Did/do you play Dungeons & Dragons? I loved that game.


As for my character - she's something of a mixed blessing. Yeah she'll save the world a few times, but the survivors pay a heavy price. Especially if they're rude. :lol:

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I always played Lawful Stupid.

Whenever my Chaotic Neutral party members would need to, for example, torture a confession out of a goblin assassin, they'd say "look over there, a poor citizen in distress" and I'd charge off into the night.

Then one day we ran across an enchantment that put exact duplicates of each of us in a room together... they all ended up slaughtering each other, while me and my mirror image vowed to defend and protect each other until death.

So I had the last laugh.


As for the Riften guards, I often did get the "wasn't that you I saw" line from them, and it always seemed to be lacking to me that they never actually did anything about it. "I have solid proof that you did an evil act! Be on about your business, citizen." Sort of like how if you reach the top of the Dark Brotherhood, sometimes guards will say "Psst! I know you! Hail Sithis!" That's just sloppy writing, I feel.

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That's interesting. Guards saying "Hail Sithis!" never bothered me because, presumably, every one in Skyrim knows I'm an assassin in the DB. The "sneaky" way they pay their respects always gives me a chuckle actually. The way the DB main quest line is set up (not Nazir's side quests) there are witnesses who can place me at a murder scene on or about the time of any given murder even if they didn't see me doing the deed. That's what bothers me. Witnesses. Also, Commander Maro already knows who I am and what I'm up to even before "To Kill an Empire" starts. Why does he wait around for a failed assassination attempt before moving against me? In a world where a guard will fight me to the death over a 40 g fine, nobody makes a move against me even though I'm a known assassin actively pursuing the murder of the emperor? {sigh}

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Witnesses I am fine with... when you smack your horse and it turns you in for assault, you get used to the idea that everything in Skyrim is a potential witness. Who knows, maybe the moss on the rocks reported my crimes.

What I take issue with is the guards hailing in front of me... like they're devout followers of Sithis.

If the cult were that far-reaching and wide, we'd be the Morag Tong, and not relegated to hiding in the shadows all the time. And I as the head of the DB would know that there were guards out there on my side, unless Nazir or someone is keeping secrets from me, in which case he's next in the torture room.


And I never thought about it before, but yeah, Maro's decision to wait until the assassination attempt goes through is kind of a dick move... in my personal headcanon, I've decided that he did it on purpose to get rid of the emperor's imposter.

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...Kept reading "DragonBorn" for DB and was thoroughly confused for a bit.  I have the opposite problem with witnesses sometimes; when I use Frenzy on random Thalmor on the road my own Atronach seems to count as a witness to the assault, as do Giants, Elk or Sabre Cats in the area.


Didn't know about Chaotic/Evil/Good/Lawful etc until Yahtzee mentioned something on Zero Punctuation once, no history of D&D although I did do some Steve Jackson books once, not that complex.  I like "Lawful Stupid", I think in actuality I am Chaotic Good Quicksave


A quick search yields loads of these:


Which are usually entertaining and explained the idea to me. 

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That alignment chart is pretty accurate... for how players should play their alignments.

I've seen problems, though, when people take them to extremes.

That is, for example people often confuse Lawful for Good... obeying the letter of the law to the exclusion of the good.

Uh... I'm talking about D&D players, here... just for clarification.


Here's my take on the alignment spectrum, for many (but not all!) D&D players, how they play their alignment (wrongly, in my opinion):


Lawful Good: If an evil person sets an orphanage on fire, but this is not specifically prohibited by law, I am morally obligated to do nothing and watch the children burn.


Neutral Good: By definition, anything that I do must be a good thing, because it's me doing it. That includes, just for the sake of argument, setting an orphanage on fire. Maybe the kids would have grown up to be evil!


Chaotic Good: I'm just a happy-go-lucky guy wandering through life and doing whatever seems best at the time. If I see an orphanage that's caught fire, I will sacrifice my life to put it out.


Lawful Neutral: I am an extremely boring person and I'll play my character that way, thank you so very much, if you don't mind. You say the orphanage is on fire? Let me get out my appointment book to see if I have an opening to save some kids...


True Neutral: Well, this is my first time playing D&D, and I don't understand this whole "alignment" thing, so I'll pick True Neutral because it looks easy. Setting orphanages on fire is bad, right? Does that mean that I have to be for it, or against it?


Chaotic Neutral: I am an evil bastard who really should be playing Chaotic Evil, but I want to justify my actions from time to time so I guess this is the next best thing. I like setting orphanages on fire.


Lawful Evil: I will do everything possible to gain power (however I define power)... and if I don't get it, I will attempt to kill... everyone. If I don't get my monthly tribute from the orphanage, I will set it on fire.


Neutral Evil: I don't see any difference between Chaotic Evil and Neutral Evil, so when I rolled my character this morning I flipped a coin to see which I would get. I might not actually have any real desire to set orphanages on fire, but "Neutral Evil" is written down here on my character sheet, in ink, so I guess that's today's task.


Chaotic Evil: Because I picked "Chaotic Evil" as my alignment, I am required to play an insane, self-destructive character. No exceptions! I laugh when I see orphanages burning.

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And here I thought my female character might be rather bad for recruiting 5 or 6 beautiful women who wander from town to town with me, making the world pleasant by getting undressed and breaking laws against prostitution.  I have had to bribe quite a few guards to look the other way by... you guessed it... getting undressed and breaking laws against prostitution.


Of course, since the women are all trained fighters, we wade through dungeons shallow creeks.

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