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Diary of a Dragonborn Chapter 46: Sky Haven Temple

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CHAPTER 46: Sky Haven Temple
In which our hero frigging CUTS himself! As if other people aren't lined up to do that already!
Previous: Chapter 45: Whatever You Say


A wise man once wrote: "A quest may not simply be abandoned; unicorns may go unrescued for a long time, but not forever; a happy ending cannot come in the middle of the story.” Of course, he was writing a fantasy book, this is a fantasy game the real world, but the principle still stands. Just because I was given a mission to meet up with someone after a trip that should have taken maybe a day or two and actually took months doesn't mean that anyone has the right to question why it took so long. Luckily, nobody does.


I head to out to meet up with Esbern and Delphine so we can go find Alduin's Wall. When I arrive, though, I get the vague impression that all is not as it should be. Something about the situation doesn't sit right with me. Call it a hunch, but I feel like something is missing or out of place. After spending an hour or two carefully analyzing the physical evidence and consulting with Stenvar, I finally deduce the problem - I'm in the wrong damn place. This is High Hrothgar, not Karthspire. Note to self: never fast travel while inebriated. I head out once again to meet up with Esbern and Delphine, this time in the right location.


Esbern and Delphine are nowhere around when I get to Karthspire. I shouldn't be surprised, due to the aforementioned several months of separation - they've probably been and come and gone. Still, I guess I might as well head on inside, after dealing with a whole bunch of Forsworn that have taken up residence here. Halfway through the battle, who shows up but, yes, Delphine and Esbern and Esbern's ever-present Frost Atronach. Huh. Maybe they just arrived too after having taken a side-jaunt somewhere else for a long period of time. I'd hate to think that they've been waiting for me to show up for months now... not because I'd feel like an asshole for leaving them hanging so long, but because I'd feel like an asshole for voluntarily associating with someone dumb enough to sit on their ass for months because the bossman didn't show up to the scheduled meeting. When the boss is gone, that's when you're supposed to steal office supplies, not eagerly wait for him to return so you can get back to work like a loyal dog. The thought of Delphine and Esbern squatting in some hole, eating moss and bugs to stay alive, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, just waiting for me to appear so they can hooray get back to murdering natives and robbing temples makes me very depressed.


We trudge on into the cave, pausing only to wipe the Forsworn blood off our boots and reload the game after a cell-change CTD for some reason. Inside we find a few more Forsworn, but not very many. Eventually we come across an ancient Nord puzzle again, but this one is different. Not in mechanics or execution, mind you, but the rotating pillars have different symbols on them than they normally do. I'd call this a win for architectural innovation. The builder probably won a prize for creative thinking.


After a brief sequence of puzzles and moving objects that make me want to quit this game and go play Tomb Raider are easily bypassed, we find a giant stone head on a wall, that looks like nothing so much as a cross between Patrick Stewart and an elderly Benedict Cumberbach. On the floor there is some sort of circular thing also reminiscent of a Nord puzzle - the architect really loved his free license here, I can see. Esbern and Delphine encourage me to stand in the center and slice myself open to activate the Blood Seal, and I decline. I mean, really now - if I cut myself, considering the amount of booze I've been imbibing recently, I'll probably bleed ethanol. Gods know what that'll do to the magical lock that only detects Dragonborn blood. I'll lay twenty septims on it exploding violently.


However, nothing much seems to be happening without me deliberately injuring myself, so I guess I've got no choice but to add another scar to my collection. I try to center my cut on the hole made by the spike back in Dimhollow Crypt, so as to minimize my permanent disfigurement somewhat. I kneel down and slice open my hand with an iron dagger, ignoring the fact that I don't have an iron dagger in my inventory, and also ignoring the fact that I'm wearing enchanted Daedric gauntlets and an iron dagger would have about as much effect on that as a mosquito trying to bite through a brick wall. I bleed into the circles, which rotate around a bit, and the head of Pete Postlethwaite recedes into the wall. Esbern and Delphine encourage me to go through the door first, and this is the upper limit here, people. "Rotate these pillars, Dragonborn." "Move through this nightingale floor of fire traps, Dragonborn." "Cut your hand open for us, Dragonborn." "Go through the dangerous door and trigger any snares to make the way safe for us, Dragonborn." Fuck off, all of you, I'm not your goddamn catspaw.


But I go ahead and do it anyway, because what other choice do I have? Ignoring the little voice in the back of my head that says "your other choice is not to go through the door dipshit," I walk on in.


Delphine and Esbern take their sweet-ass time walking up the steps, lighting torches and examining the carvings, which gives me the opportunity to raid the temple of anything of value. Too bad there's nothing there of value. Some heavy armor that might have been nice twenty levels ago, and a sword that probably wouldn't have been any good even then. Other than that, there's nothing here. Which is one of the best things about the place - the ancient Blades, when they abandoned the temple, took everything of value with them, which actually makes sense. This stands in sharp contrast to the normal Nord way of doing things, which is to very deliberately bury masses of valuables in with the dead, so the dead can finally get out and have some fun in the afterlife without having to worry about money like they did when they were alive. Sounds legit.


Anyway, Esbern finally locates the wall, and he explains the meaning of the pictures. Don't ask me what they mean, though, because although "he explains the meaning" did happen, it didn't make any sense to me, possibly because of the masses of booze I've been ingesting. Delphine asks me if I know of any shout that can bring down a dragon, but I only know of one way to bring down a dragon - make nasty comments about its weight. That'll bring anyone down, I feel. She sends me off to High Hrothgar, which is where I was in the first place, but I guess I can't blame her for my banged-up sense of direction, so off I go back to see if any of the old dudes know of a shout that can kill off a dragon. I'm sure that Arngeir will be just overjoyed to teach me the best way to murder that which he revers and worships!


Next: Chapter 47: Control Weather is a 7th Level Spell
Start at Chapter 1


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I notice that I'm talking about Mace drinking alcohol a lot. The reason is:



If you notice, he's also been ever-so-slowly sliding down into evil. From "I'll never fall so low as to be a thief" to "I'm now the master of the Thieves Guild" and things like "I hate killing butterflies" to "I gleefully rip the wings off every moth I can find," that kind of thing - he is gradually becoming more and more fatalistically accepting of his place in the world, to whit, a mass murderer and general bad guy. His constant inebriation is a subtle method of trying to drown out his subconscious knowledge of his descent. I have very carefully planned out his character arc from a do-gooder who's scared of his own shadow to a badass evil dude who gleefully takes orders from Daedric Princes, and you're seeing the midpoint.


Or, maybe, it's just that as a writer I like making him drunk from time to time, so I can take advantage of his vulnerability. Uh, in writing.

You decide, kids!



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but I only know of one way to bring down a dragon - make nasty comments about its weight.


That works for me every time as well. Love to see a grown dragon cry bwahahaha

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