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Diary of a Dragonborn Chapter 40: Mushrooms... Again?

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In which our hero visits a giant magic mushroom.
Previous: Chapter 39: Tentacle Monsters Ahoy!


The first thing I see out of the gate is a guard fighting a couple more of these ash monsters. After quickly dispatching the beasts, the dude introduces himself as Veleth, the guard captain at Raven Rock. He is either a real dumbass who decided to investigate the attacks on the town personally, OR there is so little for him to do back in Raven Rock that he was bored out of his gourd and decided to investigate the attacks on the town personally, OR he's just that cocky and confident in his abilities that he decided to investigate the attacks on the town personally, OR he's just a wandering brigand who decided to help himself to a dead guard's armor and call himself "captain" and who's going to be the wiser? Actually, scratch that last one, because I know for a fact he's a guard captain and not just a normal guard who got accelerated promotion due to the death of his predecessor or something, because he has a unique voice.


Mr. Unique-with-actually-pretty-damn-good-VA tells me to search for clues, because he can't be arsed to take a few steps thataway and find a convenient note on the cone-shaped stationary ash pile that was once a human-shaped mobile ash pile. He asks me to investigate further, and I agree that this is really something that should be taken care of by someone competent, i.e. someone with an actual military force backing him up and not just an itinerant Dragonborn. But since his idea of "proper military force" includes just himself and one mook, I guess it's up to me after all. But later, eh? I'm still circumnavigating the island.


The local wildlife is interesting. There are some insects that hide under the dirt and jump out, but they're not much more of a threat than your average frostbite spider. I found a Spriggan who apparently tried to emulate John Allerdyce with semi-disastrous consequences, and a bunch of bandits who are trying to shrug off the negative connotations of the word "bandit" and get some positive PR by calling themselves "reavers" instead. As a plan to increase their rep, it's about on par with pretty much every other plan of any kind that the average Skyrim inhabitant makes. I approach them, and we engage in a brisk debate about their choice of identification term. They argue that the word "reaver" implies the personality of an individual who roams around looking for a bit of fun, and not someone who, for example, attacks innocent travelers on sight. My argument is primarily etymological in nature, with references to various dictionaries. After hearing my persuasive speech, they are so overcome with the rightness of my reasoning that they remain lying down on the ground, some of them headless. Let's continue on, shall we?


A whole bunch of dirt, some burned trees, and a... meteor? I guess? Maybe something volcanic? I have been under the impression that the eruption of Red Mountain happened quite some time ago, but apparently it's still going on? That would explain the ashy ground and burned trees, I suppose. And the volcanic bomb, if that's what it is. Normally tephra like this cools before it hits the ground, but I'm willing to cut the devs gods some slack. Anyway, for the most part the southern coastline isn't much to look at, or wander through either. There's a fort, but I decided to keep away from it because I'm just sure it's full of bandits reavers too.


Eventually we reach a big-ass mushroom. Big enough that people are actually living inside. I hunt high and low in vain searching for Smurfs, but all I found were some Dunmer. Some dev god who made the world really had a hard-on for big mushrooms, I tell you. The master of this place is called, appropriately enough, Master Neloth, and aside from him there are a couple of other folks living here, including the arguing couple outside. Rather than get involved in a family squabble, I head on inside. The inside of the main mushroom consists of a vertical shaft that blows you up to the top (insert your own blow-job joke here), which is pretty damn nifty, I can tell you. I'd like some of this magic back in Skyrim so I don't have to walk around mountains. Neloth himself is a bit of a burke, but he's also so self-absorbed and supercilious that he's easy to just blow off (insert another blow-job joke here too). Back down the tower and out the door, and apparently the one guy's summon spell actually worked. Kinda. It's a Storm Atronach, and it's pissed off because he let it get all muddy. Talvas inveigles me to help him, and then buggers off back into the tower. After dispatching the thing, I head back inside and he gives me his staff (insert yet another blow-job joke here), and Stenvar and I decide to get out of this place before this giant Psilocybin affects us the same way it's apparently been affecting everyone else.


Heading north now, we encounter a Sun Stone, around which some more people appear to be either building something or possibly just randomly moving rocks about and whacking things with hammers. Just like the last batch, they seem disinclined to talk to me, and even the bandits reavers among them aren't hostile, just completely disinterested. So we keep moving. There's a dwemer ruin here, but apparently it is quest locked inaccessible. Further on up the coast we run into a group of Nords doing what Nords do best - camping out in the freezing wastes and drinking a bunch of booze. I briefly entertain a sense of superiority, but then Stenvar reminds me that I too am a Nord, I'm in the frozen wastes, and have I looked at my inventory lately? 30 stone of alcohol? Sheepishly, I trudge on.


We find a cave called Frossel, which must be a portmanteau of "frozen" and "fossil" and fits the name perfectly. It's full of little blue goblin dudes, some of whom are riding wild pigs. I turn to Stenvar and say that the place is very boar-ing, hoping to get a chuckle, but all he does is look at me sadly and shake his head. Chastened, I decide to explore the place, and Stenvar and I rip through it like a hot sharp thing through a soft melty thing. Aside from interrupting what appears to be a religious ceremony worshipping a horse and wagon (insert your own "cargo cult" reference here), the place is mostly filled with the mother fuckload of junk. I mean, it looks like these little guys bought out the entire stock of a dozen pawnshops back on the mainland and decided to accessorize their frozen caves with the lot. All in all, the picture painted of these Reiklings is that of a group of giggling lunatics who worship clutter. So, pretty much like everyone else, I suppose.


Back outside, we breathe the fresh air and I vow to never enter another one of these damn caves again. It wasn't a hard fight or anything, but for heaven's sake, I just slaughtered a bunch of otherwise innocent trash venerators! I can't even give the excuse that they attacked me first, like bandits and reavers and spriggans and wolves and rats and every fucking thing in the entire world outside of cities do - I invaded their home and proceeded to wipe them all out!


Suddenly very depressed, I trudge onward. East this time, since we've moved up to the top of the island now.


NEXT: Chapter 41, X Marks The Spot
Start at Chapter 1


Recommended Comments

Morrowind, Shivering Isles, Blackreach... they really do like their giant mushrooms, don't they? Makes sense to me. I mean, what else do you have that can be both "natural feature" and "home?" Caves, sure, but everybody already uses caves as dwellings. Trees, too, and the "tree house" thing is pretty common too. For the metal house market, you've got Dwemer ruins. So in a world limited by the number of relatively "realistic" shelter types (no force fields, houses of glass, or walls made of solid fire here), mushrooms are about as exotic as you can get.

Morrowind had giant arthropods could have their carapaces hollowed out and turned into homes (and, for that matter, transportation!), which was pretty cool.


p.s. I really do love that VA for Captain Veleth. Wish I could find out who that guy is, but UESP doesn't list him.

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