Looking for other Skyrim Speedway posts? Part One has links to them all!
Previously on the Skyrim Speedway: Orc kills dragons, becomes a werewolf, reunifies a province and dresses up in snazzy clothes, then throws it all away to sink into the swamp of poor writing and boring quests that is the Thieves’ Guild. Unless we throw that away to become a wizard….
Orc does not. Tempting as it is to abandon this idiocy, we need every achievement in the game so we have to get to the end of this thievery-free guild questline. It’s better to just get these things over with.
On the other hand, we’re right next to Azura’s Shrine, where we can pick up another daedric artefact. Maybe a quick diversion…
Azura’s Shrine is a giant statue of Azura up a mountain. The Head (and only) Priestess of Azura there has been expecting us. We in turn expect her to be expecting us, because Azura is the Daedric Prince of Prophecy. Orc is informed that as her prophesised champion, of course we can have her artefact: Azura’s Star. The slight catch is that a powerful necromancer has stolen it in a bid to make his soul immortal. We need to go chat to one of the college mages to find out where, so off to Winterhold!
The town of Winterhold is literally just this one street and the College in the back there. Luckily for us, the guy we need is in the town pub rather than studying. He tells us that the necromancer went mad, killed some mage students, fled with his followers and is currently hiding out in a sunken castle the other side of Whiterun. If I were you I’d get used to this basic setup, it happens to the Mage’s Guild a LOT.
Fortuitously, we also advance the Thieves’ Guild quest in the pub as the contact for that is also drinking rather than studying. If you remember, we need to translate a diary and he points us to our old pal Calcemo in Markarth for that.
Orc clears up a couple of minor delivery quests to the Whiterun Catacombs as well as discovers another Standing Stone on the way to the necromancer’s lair – progress towards some of the longer term achievements. I took a shot at the Stone because one of the Moons was looking nice.
Sadly for the necromancers, they neglected to raise anything stronger than a skeleton to defend them, and they all get eaten by a werewolf. It’s not all smooth sailing though, the dude we’re here to kill is a skeleton (of the non-moving type) and the Star is broken. We have the option of turning it over to the College mage, but I don’t want to annoy a Daedric Prince so we give it back to the priestess. Azura herself appears to tell us we can either wait 100 years for the Star to fix itself, or she can send us in to fix it by removing the necromancer’s soul.
Luckily, this can be achieved by macing the soul in the face. The Star is ours!
That was a fun diversion but it’s back to work. In Markarth, Calcemo has a translation book for the exact language we need, but is reluctant to hand over decades of work even though we helped him find true love! He does allow us into his Museum, from which we promptly break into his private laboratory. Just like any good lab, this is huge, mazelike and filled with traps and armed guards in full armour. Orc sneaks past them all no problem and decides that the a scholarly language guide is nothing compared to a charcoal rubbing of a stone covered in a dead language.
The only way this makes sense is if the game designers decided they didn’t want you to have to steal a book. During the Thieves’ Guild questline. Yeah. Anyway, with intellectual property and/or copyright infringement achieved, we give it to the mage back in Winterhold. The diary proves that Guild leader Mercer Frey is a bad man, which we knew already.
The next step is to accompany Karliah as she presents it to the guild. They’re sceptical of course, but the diary says Frey has been stealing from the Guild! Lo and behold, when the vault is opened to check it’s empty!
I just want to point out at this juncture that the diary belonged to the previous guild leader who was murdered by Frey 25 years ago. Apparently, no-one in the guild has needed anything from the vault since.
Obviously, we now need the track down Frey who has disappeared. We also need to kill him, because he’s clearly stolen more than the Guild ever could. Orc breaks into his house and discovers plans to steal the Eyes Of The Falmer, giant gemstones in a long- abandoned dwemer fortress.
Karliah also reveals that reason Frey could do things like open the vault undetected is because he stole the Skeleton Key of Nocturnal, another Daedric Prince and patron of the Thieves’ Guild. Like it says, it unlocks anything. According to Karliah, this includes the ability to unlock the hidden potential of people which is clearly bullshit, because after you recover it it can’t even open Dragon Claw doors. Anyway the only way to fight that sort of “power” is to trade our souls to Nocturnal in the secret clubhouse of the secret club within the Guild. Sure, whatever. I’ll do it for the cool-looking armour.
Suitably “empowered” by Nocturnal, we head to a big Dwemer ruin whose name I can’t remember. It looks pretty though, all glowy and cave-y.
Once there, we have to fight through several areas filled with bandits, dwemer constructs and falmer before reaching the Statue of The Falmer, which has a Mercer Frey on it busily stealing the Eyes.
Or just taking the Eyes I guess, you can’t really steal something if it’s long lost and the rightful owners have been dead for centuries. Anyway, we murder him fairly fast and take both the Eyes and the Skeleton Key off him. We then all escape the statue room- which in the finest traditions of Competitive Archaeology has started to collapse around us- and return to the surface.
This throws an interesting wrinkle into the plan. The quest is to return the Skeleton Key to Nocturnal, but it’s a Daedric artefact so I want to hang on to it for now, at least until we get the achievement for owning 15. Looks like the Thieves’ Guild is on hold for now!
I say Thieves’ Guild. During the course of what we’ve done so far, Orc has only actually stolen:
- a ring (but only to frame someone else)
- 2 legal documents about mead production
- Copied a stone carving without permission?
- a used plan to raid a ruin from an abandoned house?
Frankly, those last 2 are a bit tenuous and now we plan to actually return a stolen item to its proper owner! Meanwhile, Frey stole everything the Thieves’ guild made for 25 years AND a legendary artefact from a powerful Daedra.
He may be dead, but Frey is the real thievery champion here.
Time Elapsed: 9hr 35m
Achievement Progress: 25/75
Next time: Deals with the Devils?