Thursday, January 24, 2013

No.37- Climax and Reflection

All Images Clickable

 Back and forth, back and forth between Whiterun and High Hrothgar, thank goodness for fast travel! We popped into Whiterun near dusk, and it was raining with distant thunder in the background. Realizing the enormity of my near future endeavor, I stopped for a moment, looked up, and let the rain pat on my face. So much nicer than the frigid top of the mountain. Squeezing Lydia's shoulder, I watched the low hanging clouds drifted across the mountains and reflected upon the beauty of the world. I don't think I'd ever felt appreciation for this life as I did this evening, standing in the rain, despite the conflict and turmoil of Skyrim, realizing that it could all be over very soon. Life is an adventure with challenges and obstacles to overcome. I prayed I would rise to the challenge facing me.

Are We Ready?

Into Dragonsreach, we marched up to the Jarl and he told us he was ready to trap a dragon. The Jarl of Whiterun is a sly one. For all of his pretenses "it's been written in lore", there on the back porch of Dragonsreach was a giant yoke with no other purpose than to restrain a dragon. While I pondered, the Jarl got on my nerves asking every couple of minutes if I had a plan to call the dragon. My plan was to call the dragon with my newly learned Dragon Shout and then  knock it down with Dragonrend and remind everyone, we were capturing, not killing a dragon.

These Dragon Shouts are supposed to be different words, but they all sound the same to me, something like "A-WOOF"! Calling the dragon, I wondered if it had worked, but dragons fly fast and in a few minutes we heard the beating of large leathery wings. The belligerent dragon Odahviing appeared and attacked us. His mistake was hovering which all of the dragons I've fought and killed like to do. I hit him with Dragonrend and this grounded him, but as ornery as ever, he walked around snapping and following us into the large covered porch. Don't ask how I know you should avoid the teeth! Once inside, I hit the button and the giant yoke, fell on Odahuiing, snaring him. This changed him into a somewhat repentant dragon.

One Trapped Dragon

With a small band of witnesses, I asked where Alduin had retreated to. He agreed to tell me in hopes that I would release him. Alduin had retreated to Sovngarde, the spirit world where he had set a trap, to feed on lost souls seeking The Hall of Valor, the place where the spirits of Nord heros retreat to celebrate their lives.  The portal for Sovngarde is located in the ruin of Skuldafn and guarded by a Dragon Priest. When I asked Odahuiing to serve me, he declined, but as Skuldafn is only reachable by flying, he offered to transport me there. He also admitted he had lost faith in Alduin's Lordship and that if I defeated him, he would consider serving me.

Seriously, YAHOO!

They told me I was crazy, but I ordered Odahuiing released and he honored his word allowing me to ride on his back. When I realized that Lydia would not be able to accompany me, I gave her a hug and asked for her prayers. She agreed and with tears, waved good by. Launching into the night sky was the most exhilarating experience of my life, the altitude and speed, watching Skyrim pass beneath my feet on our way to Skuldafn to the North East. Once there, Odahuiing offered his dragon encouragement and departed.

Glorious Combat, That's Me On the Left!

I Hate Spiders

Soon after hostile Dragurs, dragons, and frack'n large spiders came at me, but I found my way to the portal, and with the help of my Flame Atronach, "Puff", defeated the Dragon Priest, activated the portal and found myself in a mystical land obscured in fog, Sovngarde, realm of the spirits.

Sovengarde, Spirit Realm

It was the fog Alduin had created so the spirits would become lost on their way to Shor's Hall, The Hall of Valor. I ran into several of them and offered to help by clearing the way using my Clear Skies Shout. If not obscured in fog, Sovngrde would be a beautiful place. After a long sojourn, I found myself at a dragon bone bridge and across the chasm was Shor's Hall.

Hall of Valor

 Guarding this bridge was Tsun who only allowed those worthy to cross and since I was alive, I had two strikes against me. I told him I was Dragon Born and he responded by challenging me to combat. I quickly learned I did not want to let this guy hit me. So in my normal frantic evade mode, launching pot shots and sicking Puff on him, although I did not defeat him, I was able to stay alive and this impressed him. He allowed me to cross the bridge.

Inside the Hall of Valor, I was directed towards the 3 Heroes who knew of my quest and volunteered to help me  with clearing the mist, by combining their shouts with mine and then defeating Alduin. Outside, it took several attempts for us to clear the mist permanently, but once we did, we heard Alduin's enraged voice as he came to smite us.

Alduin Grounded

Whipping out my Dragonrend Shout, I was able to ground him for most of the fight and in the end we prevailed and Alduin was consumed in a fiery explosion!

Death Throws


 We cheered and after a brief celebration, I thought I might hang out in the Hall of Valor for a while. But I was reminded by Tsun, I should not be staying in Sovingarde too long. So I bid a fond farewell to Tsun and the Heros, expressed the hope of seeing them again, but not too soon, and was transported back to the Mortal World atop the great mountain, the Throat of the World, in the dreary snowy landscape, surrounded by dragons!

Dragons in Mourning

My hand found my mace, but I quickly realized these dragons were not in a fighting mood, but were mourning. Yes, mourning, the lose of Alduin, but they knew it was necessary. Overcome with mixed feelings of success and sadness, I reflected that we mortal humans and dragons alike are so close to the God(s), but so far from them with our petty quarreling and violence directed at one another. I spoke with both Paarthurnax and Odahviing. They bid me a due and Odahviing offered me help whenever I needed it. I knew without a doubt that dragons are intelligent, marvelous creatures, that forgiveness is possible, and I would never be able to make The Blades happy by killing Paarthurnax.

Gathering my emotions, I walked down from the Throat of the World, first stop High Hrothgar to find out if after lifting the dragon menace, and possibly saving the Mortal Plane from destruction, had anything changed for the better in Skyrim? Probably not...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

No.36- Back in Skyrim Action

It's been a long rest since Sept 2012. My New Years resolution was to get back to Skyrim and save the day...

Paarthrunax Awaits (click to enlarge)

Having acquired an Elder Scroll that would aid me in the defeat of Alduin, Lydia and I hoofed our way up to The Throat of the World, usually a perpetual blizzard, but that day it was nice, and where Paarthrunax was waiting for us.

A Vision

Paarthurnax is the former side kick of Alduin, the World Eater, Nordic God of Destruction, bad dragon extraordinaire. To refresh your memory, skip back to entry No.34- Paarthurnax Who? Paarthurnax did not think the mortal plane should be destroyed, turned on Alduin, and became the leader of the Grey Breards, wielders of the Voice. Through the Elder Scroll, I saw a vision and learned a Dragon Shout which would help me defeat Alduin.

And as soon as I learned this Shout, Alduin himself appeared and launched into a hellacious fight. My new Shout served to ground Alduin for periods of time so we could kick some snot out of him (don't slip on the dragon snot), but when the advantage was ours and victory close at hand, somehow he was able to flee! ...but to where?

Got something for ya...

Through Paarthurnax, I discovered the palace at Whiterun called Dragonsreach, had once been used to catch a dragon, who might know where to find Alduin. The process consisted of learning a new Dragon Shout that calls the dragon. Seems like there is a Dragon Shout for every convenience. I want one that will get a dragon to bring home dinner and do the dishes The second step was talking the Jarl of Whiterun  into turning his meager palace into a dragon trap!

Kilt dragons? I've stopped counting.

I was up for the challenge and promptly headed for Whiterun!  Instead of fast travel we decided to take the mountain path down to Iverstad, and suprise, suprise, a dragon was circling the town. I think they are following me around... After a quick fight with the help of the locals, we headed North around the mountain and then West for Whiterun.

Return to Whiterun

Jorrvaskr- Home Sweet Home
Arriving in the wee morning hours, we stopped by Jorrvaskr to freshen up in my private suite and visit with our comrades, The Companions. It's always fun rousting the lads and lasses with the furry tendency, early in the morning by kicking their beds! They tend to snap, lol. 

I try hard to take a bath at least once a week, but I don't claim I'm 100% successful. At a week, I'm pretty ripe and perfume can take me only so far. Sometimes, I wonder if the Companions ever bathe? Remaining un-bathed is just not condusive to "snuggle time", hence I've never sought out A Companion boy friend.

Unfortunately, Skyrim most of the time is not suitable for bathing in the rivers and lakes, just too darn cold. And I've never been a fan of green lake water for bathing, too many little wiggly things and the clear water springs are always frigid. The trick is securing a tub. I keep a big iron, 2 person job locked up, which is filled with heated water off the fire. What better motivation to take a bath? As far as the others, who are less observant of bathing rituals, after a while I don't smell them so much.

Anyway, a quick breakfast feast, some good gossip, and before long it was time to head up to Dragonsreach.
Arm Twisting

The Jarl was surprised by the notion of using Dragonreach to trap a dragon, but resisted my suggestion because he could not afford to be distracted from the conflict in Skyrim. When I mentioned "World Eater", he shook himself and insisted that I organize a truce between the Imperials and the Stormcloaks, so he would not worry about being attacked (by Stormcloaks, since he had allied himself to the Imperials), while helping me catch a dragon. He believed that the Imperials would honor a council convened by the Greybeards at High Hrothgar, and it was up to me to convince them to host, and for General Tullius to appear.

Trivia: If you were into Battlestar Gallactica, you may recognize General Tullius's voice as actor Michael Hogan (Colonel Saul Tigh).

Imperial-Stormcloak Truce @

Running to the far reaches of Skyrim, to meet with General Tullius and Ulfric Stormcloak (separately of course), I succeeded and all of the participants endured a long journey arriving at High Hrothgar to convene negotiations, including The Blades and Elenwen, the Thalmore Representative. I am no fan of the Thalmore and agreed with Ulfric Stormcloak, that she should leave. She complied with angry words and stomped out. The less the Thalmore know the better.

With some wrangling and some exchanges in occupied territory, we got a truce hammered out, and I got what I needed to catch a dragon in Dragonsreach. The downside of this meeting was when Delphine of The Blades insisted that Paarthurnax pay with his life for his past role as a bad dragon. As a Dragonborn, I had mixed feelings and failed to commit to her position. I'm not on speaking terms with The Blades for now.

Skyrim Tip: See this MacRumors Skyrim Quick and Dirty Guide for tips on how to accomplish in-game things. Yes, Mac users enjoy PC Games! :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sept 3 Update- First it was Guild Wars 2 (beta) and now it is Planetside 2 (beta) interfering in my Skyrim questing. My sincere apologies. Hope to be back soon and Happy Labor Day!

Click on Pics to Enlarge!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

No.35- Search for the Elder Scroll

Hidden Beauty (clickable)

A couple of days had passed since the College party before the cobwebs cleared and I had the will and the strength to head North from the College out into the ice fields looking for Septimus Signus. Ideally he'd have information regarding an Elder Scroll which would tell me how to defeat Alduin.

Septimus Outpost

After donning my extra warm long johns, we descended from the College to the shore of the Northern Sea (Sea of Ghosts). Water, ice, a perpetual blizzard, and one wrong step could turn into a lethal frozen bath. I had a hard time imagining anyone spending a lot of time out here. After fighting off an extra large snow bear, out across the broken ice we trekked. Before too much frostbite, we found a wooden door at the base of an icy outcrop. Inside, a ladder took us  down into an excavation in the ice, where we found Septimus, who seemed a little "mad", preoccupied with an enormous Dwemer Lockbox buried in the ice. Dwemer artifacts are his hobby.
Big Lockbox
He agreed to tell us where to find the Elder Scroll. This scroll might tell me how to see back through time and learn how Alduin was cast adrift though time to arrive in Skyrim. At least, that seemed to be the idea. Septimus asked that I take a lexicon, an item that looked like a cube, with me to a large Dwemer ruin called Alftand on the Northern slopes east of the College. This dungeon should lead to a cavern called Blackreach, where I would find the scroll and inscribe it with the essence of its information so that might also show how to unlock the Dwemer lockbox.

Dwarven Centurion

From the snowy cold northern slopes of Winterhold, we descended into Alftand, and eventually discovered Blackreach after fighting a difficult Dwarven Centurion and solving a puzzle.


Don't Touch Any Buttons!

Blackreach turned out to be a unique cavernous wonderland and nightmare. An abundance of luminescent plants made it beautiful. An abundance of Falmer made it abhorrent! There were all sorts buildings and halls infested with groups of hostile occupants. With hesitancy, we spied another Centuiron, but thankfully this one remained stationary. We found the Elderscroll and inscribed the lexicon for Septimus.

Septimus Signus

Fast traveling back to Septimus, he was delighted to get the lexicon back. To open the Dwemer lockbox, he determined a variety of blood types would be needed, as you might guess from unwilling donors and enlisted my help to gather them. I said yes, but this would be after I took care of the Skyrim dragon problem. Next stop was the Time-Wound located at the Thoat of the World. There I would read the Elder Scroll and hopefull would find out how to defeat Alduin.
Prince Mora
As we were about to leave the ice cave, a swirling vision appeared before me, blocking the exit and an evil sounding voice enlisted my assistance! I discovered this was the Wretched Abyss, Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Fate, Knowledge and Memory who did not appreciate having a slightly "mad" Earthly emissary (Septimus) and wanted me to replace him. I did not have time for this and declined. I don't know if I'll get another offer.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

No.34- Paarthurnax WHO?

Enduring Dragon Breath
Significant Story Spoilers Follow 
After handling myself adequately at the Battle of Whiterun, General Tullius impressed upon me that to defeat Ulfric, Imperial forces must retake the Holds (regions) of Skyrim. My orders were to report to the Imperial Camp in The Pale, the snowy Northern Central region of Skyrim to meet with my now familiar Imperial superior, Legate Rikke who is always out there on the pointy end of the spear. She wanted me to intercept a Stormcloak courier to obtain a copy of Stormcloak orders for counterfeiting purposes.

Commander Legate Rikke, Pale Imperial Camp

But before I moved on her quest, I think I could make a convincing argument that while the Stormcloak Rebellion is a concern, having our World cease to exist takes precedence, don't you think? Based on these two issues, improving my combat skills, specifically the power and repertoire of my Dragon Shouts seemed like a good idea. My interest was focused on maximizing my Ice Form Shout, of which I only had one of the vital words. But more importantly, because I don't know how much time Alduin needed to "eat the world", I needed to educate myself about the special dragon word mentioned at Alduin's Wall in Sky Haven Temple, a Blades outpost.

Frostmere Crypt Map

Based on my lousy notes, I was not exactly sure where I picked up the first Ice  word, so fast traveling around the landscape, I visited the three locations where the applicable words can be learned, Mount Anthor, where I fought my first dragon, Saarthal, the ruin in close proximity to Winterhold (Mage College), and finally the most elusive dungeon for me to locate,  Frostmere Crypt.

The references I had seemed to show Frostmere Crypt on top of the mountain, where the Lord Stone can be found. In actuality it is to the South West of Dawnstar, but to the North of the referenced big mountain. If you look at this Skyrim Interactive Map, it's off there too. But if an equilateral triangle is imagined on it's side, pointing West, Hall of the Vigilant is the bottom of the triangle, Red Road Pass is the top, and the Western point of the triangle, North of the mountain is where Frostmere can be found.

Frostmere Crypt

I also found a quest clitch here. I ran into a woman named Eisa Blackthorn, but she would not talk to me. She offers the Pale Lady Quest, if you can get her to talk to you, or you can pickpocket her journal which is also supposed to reward that quest. I did not get it, but after clearing out this easy dungeon, I obtained the Pale Blade and found a glitch at the Dragon Wall inside. It did not appear to give me the Ice Form Word, but when I opened my Shouts page, there it was. Now I can freeze things solid! :)

Arngeir at High Hothgar

Wasting no time, Lydia and I zipped up to High Hrothgar, a perpetual blizzard local, to speak with Arngeir, (Grey Beard senior member) about the special dragon word pointed out to me at Alduin's Wall. After a ceremony to teach me a new word, Clear Skies, that well, cleared the skys and allowed Lydia and me to climb to the Throat of the World,  the apex of the great mountain located above High Hrothgar where we met Paarthurnax, the head of the Grey Beards. This turned into the most surprising and significant encounter I've experienced in Skyrim EVER.

After fighting the elements we arrived at the Throat of the World. An amazing sight greeted us, the presence of a great dragon! But instead of a fight, we were greeted by the ancient and wise soul named Paarthurnax! I could not have  imagined in advance, but it makes sense that the practitioners of Dragon Shouts would be led by a benevolent dragon. What followed was an incredibly informative discussion. First of all, I learned a new Word, Fire Breath and had to prove I was Dragon Born.

If you recall, my goal was to learn *the* word that would help me defeat Alduin. I was disappointed when Paarthurnax knew not how to teach this word. In ancient times it was created by mortals utilizing an Elder Scroll! I learned that Paarthurnax had lived at the Throat of the World, which was the top of the most sacred mountain in Skyrim for thousands of years waiting for the return of Alduin.

To know about Alduin requires some reading. However a quick summary is that Nirn is the mortal plane (where we live) whose existence is mostly attributed to a God named Lorkhan. Alduin is the Nordic God of Destruction, a great dragon, known as the "World Eater" who would destroy the mortal plane if he could. Paathurnax rebeled against Alduin in the distant past and taught the first mortal men (Hakon, Gornlaith, and Felldir) how to use Dragon Shouts to resist Alduin's efforts to eat the world.

He informed me in the previous battle, Alduin was not defeated, but cast adrift in time with an Elder Scroll. This was how he was beaten before. He also said something about time being broken and if it could be fixed, I might go meet the people who originally created the shout and learn it from them. Both Paathurnax and Arngeir suggested I check with the Lore Keeper at Winterhold Mage College, Urag Gro Shub.

Eternally grumpy Colette Marence
A quick flick of the wrist and Lydia and I were standing in the town of Winterhold, perpetual blizzard local, number two. Maybe we were shadowed, because an unnamed dragon appeared which we defeated quickly. With Lydia in tow into the college, we ran into insecure Colette Marence, the Restoration Spell Instructor. I tried to reassure her that she was a valued member of the Mage College staff, I bought some restoration spells from her, and emphasized, no, "they" didn't hate her. To impress upon her my sincerity, I invited her up to my Arch Mage's quarters for a night cap with me and Lydia.

Urag Gro Shub
While Lydia was entertaining Colette, I met with Urag Gro Shub in the College's library, who showed me the College's two Elder Scrolls references, but I found them incomprehensible. He suggested I head to the Northern Ice Fields to search for Septimus Signus, the mad Elder Scrolls scholar who might be able to help.

But this is for tomorrow or in a couple of days. With a slap on the back, I invited Urag, who was happy to join our party. Word got around and soon we had a mob in attendance rocking until early morning. By the way, think twice about inviting an Orc to where alcohol is served. Put a couple of honey meads in him and look out! :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

No.33- Stormcloaks Get Stormy

From March 2012: "Now I was forced to consider which was strategically more important to handle first, the long trek across Skyrim and way up the mountain to the practitioners of the Voice or into The Wolf Queen's catacombs? Decisions!"

Taking several steps towards our next quest, the world suddenly swirled away from me. Time passed... I awoke in a cabana at the South Beach Resort, Cryodiil, the recipient of a vigorous, full body massage. I would have never willingly agreed, but once again Lydia had saved me. I submitted to what turned into an extended, direly needed stress induced vacation, dipping my toes in the warm water of the gulf while sipping Martgueritas. Months later, guilt finally got the better of me. Dragging Lydia from her annoying infatuation with Pepe, the masseuse, we gathered our gear and made the long trek back to frigid mountains of Skyrim. There we mysteriously discovered the status-quo unchanged, as we left it many months ago, as if time had stood still awaiting for our return!

Without dwelling on the mysteries of the Skyrim space/time continuum, I launched back into mental-questing mode and decided the answer to my now ancient question, whether to seek the means to defeat Alduin or dive into the Wolf Queen Catacombs, would be neither at least for now. Instead, I was going to settle Stormcloak uprising once and for all!

First stop was to meet the Jarl of Whiterun and give him a message from General Tullius that it was time to choose, the Imperials or the Stormcloaks. Under the guise of my personal story, I'm happy to report that he chose the Imperials. He then handed me his War Axe to deliver to Ulfric Stormcloak, head of the rebellion in Windhelm, asking him to submit to the authority of the Imperial Legion or prepare for war.

Ulfric Receives Ultimatum

Lydia and I traveled under fair skies to Windhelm where we were greeted by snow flurries, symbolic of the greeting I would receive in the dismal Palace of the Kings. Upon being informed of his choice, Ulfric was disappointed in my decision, but remained civil as he returned the axe, telling us and the Legion to prepare for war. A man of honor, he allowed us to make a hasty retreat to Whiterun.
Battle for Whiterun, Ho Hum
But Ulfric wasted no time on his threat. Upon arrival at Whiterun, the alarm sounded and forces loyal to the Legion rallied outside Whiterun's main gate to meet the Stormcloak attack! Disappointingly, the Battle for Whiterun was not the grand spectacle I had imagined it would be, but really a sad, sad display of Stormcloak battle tactics, which started with a fiery bombardment, followed by a pack of Stormcloaks dribbling into our weapon's range at a rate which allowed us to decimate them in quick order.  Afterwards, the Jarl gave the Whiterun Victors a pep talk and encouraged us to finish the Stormcloaks wherever we encountered them. But because Ulfric decided to pass on this engagement, the outcome of the Rebellion was not yet certain.
Victor's Pep Talk

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

No.32- One Of A Kind Wall (Dragon 12)

Dragon Bridge, west of Solitude

After the revelation of Aduin's Wall in Sky Haven Temple, the Blades secret fortress, I agreed to meet Delphine and Esbern at Karthspire, a Dwemer ruin located in a river valley South West of Solitude in a mountainous area of Skyrim called The Reach. Sky Haven Temple was suspected of being located in the vicinity of Karthspire. However Solitude, the headquarters of the Imperial Legion and General Tullius was relatively close by and suddenly, I realized I had been carrying around the Jagged Crown for far too long. In a previous entry (No.29), I had seized this crown, preventing the Storm Cloaks from getting their hands on it. This was a perfect time to hand over the crown.

Lisette @

Lydia and I fast traveled to Solitude arriving there at night. Bestowing our presence on the lucky patrons of the Winking Skeever, we relaxed, drinking some brew, while being serenaded by the lovely and shapely Lisette, the local bard. After Lisette made several suggestions that we spend the night, I plunked down some gold for a spacious room and we invited her up for a night cap. The night turned out to be less restful than I had hoped, and in a short while daylight was peering in through our window along with the chirping of birds. After some moments of contemplating what a good life this was, I yawned whiling nudging Lydia. With persistence I finally got some life out of her. We arose to get ourselves presentable for the business of the day while Lisette burrowed deeper under the covers. Saying fond farewells to our favorite entertainer, I kissed her cheek, before heading down the stairs for a bite of something other than bard thigh...
Skeever Yumminess!
Feeling completely sated after a breakfast of goose eggs and skeever sausage we walked to the Solitude Castle in search of General Tullius. Compared to questing, this was easy, finding him adjacent to the map room. I turned over the Jagged Crown and Tullius seemed pleased. He responded by handing me a message for the Jarl of Whiterun. The essence of the message was that it was time to make a choice, Legion or Stormcloaks. More than not, Whiterun has been my home so I really hoped Balgruuf would choose my side.

Steward Falk Firebeard

Stuffing this message into my pocket, I had a niggle in the back of my brain realizing that some time ago, I had been summoned by Falk Firebeard, the steward of Elisif the Fair, Jarl of Solitude over at Solitude's Blue Palace regarding my previous action at Wolf Skull Cave. You may recall this is where we prevented the Wolf Queen, Potema from resurrecting herself. Turns out that Potema was still around trying to return herself to flesh and blood status.

Father Styrr in Solitude
Falk wanted me to fetch her bones from a catacomb to prevent this from happening and pointed me at Styrr the local priest who informed me that The Wolf Queen caused trouble 500 years ago and no one wanted her, the most infamous of necromancers, alive, much less returning to the throne, which as a direct Septon descendant, she would be entitled too. I slotted in this task at the No.2 on my important-things-to-do list after locating Sky Haven Temple with Delphine and Esbern.

I can say this for Skyrim, it's never dull!

Glimmering Falls in The Reach

Despite the shadows growing longer, Lydia and I left Solitude late in the day heading West, South-West for Karthspire. After passing out of the serenity of close proximity to Solitude, along the East-West road, we cut South into the wilderness. We were not disappointed coming across raging rivers and beautiful water falls plunging over jagged rocks, under a moonlit night. Along the way we fought hostile wolves, a bear, forged rivers, climbed mountains, tangled with bandits, and Forsworn until finally hitting the river that would take us to Karthspire.

Aftermath, Karthspire Camp

Walking up the shores of the running water, I had no idea of the firestorm we were approaching, until we were in the midst of it! We came across Karthspire Camp, a Forsworn encampment consisting of elevated platforms and walkways connecting both sides of the river.

Red Alert!

We had plunged into an undesirable three way, consisting of battle against effective Forsworn combat veterans and an aggressive Elder Dragon spewing frost across the landscape. Delphine and Esbern were there and immediately lept into battle upon our arrival. The Forsworn were mostly distracted by the circling dragon, while we kept our focus on them! One of the reasons this battle was tough was that I was surprised on multiple occasions tripping over Lydia's body. Stumbling over her after a night of debauchery was not bad, but I've been careful not to hit her with my Dragon Shouts during combat, and this was unacceptable! After multiple back-in-time spells (reverts-to-save), we finally eliminated the Forsworn and could concentrate on the Dragon who just happened to be the toughest beast to date.

Another Notch on my Belt

While it could not make one-breath kills, it was powerful and its health was legendary. I kept calling Lydia to me to keep her alive. One time, lacking situational awareness, the beast charged, seized me in its mouth, shook me like a rag doll, then spit me out against some rocks. Revert to Save, saved me multiple times that night! After tons of abuse,  the sucker finally laid down and died, whooshing me with it's soul! After such a fight, it felt especially good, tingling all over.

Karthspire Cavern

In fact, we all seemed invigorated and ready for more. Hiking up the mountain side to Karthspire Cavern, our party headed into this cool subterranean space with puzzles!

Karthspire Party

After a couple of not to challenging puzzles, we came to a large face engraved in a wall, behind an emblem inscribed into the floor that required the spilling of a Dragonborn's blood, my blood to open the door. Being a worldly person, I noted some similarity in appearance of this blood collector to one depicted in the original Hellboy Movie, but I guess it's mostly a good way to collect human blood sacrifices.

Authentication Via Blood

A few drops of my blood was all it took although I wondered if I'd ever get used to cutting myself if I wanted to visit Sky Haven on a regular basis? After hearing a disembodied "yummy" sound, the face pivoted back into the wall allowing us to pass into Sky Haven Temple, an ancient Blade refuge, fortress. Not having to fight our way in was a nice change of pace. Walking into a large hall, there was Alduin's Wall, an impressive pictorial representation of Alduin history! It revealed to Esbern that a Dragon Shout was required to defeat Alduin. Despite Delphine's protests, who would know more about Dragon Shouts than the Greybeards sitting high a top their snowy mountain?

Alduin's Wall

Now I was forced to consider which was strategically more important to handle first, the long trek across Skyrim and way up the mountain to the practitioners of the Voice or into The Wolf Queen's catacombs? Decisions!