Looking for other Skyrim Speedway posts? Part One has links to them all!
Now loose on the delightful getaway island of Solstheim, Orc Orcersson has to battle the insidious mind control power of returned former evil Dragon Priest and current evil Dragonborn, Miraak. Well, he doesn’t HAVE to. But he should. This Miraak character is giving Dragonborns everywhere a bad name! What’s next, he’ll start assassinating Emperors?!
The Skaal inhabitants of the frozen north side of the island had a clue for Orc, a Dragon Word Wall where a Word of Power could be found called Bend Will. Huh, that does sound relevant to this situation! As a Dragon Word Wall, there’s a resident dragon but he’s busy being attacked by draugr, presumably on behalf of Miraak.
Orc takes no chances and eliminates everything on both sides as a Vampire Lord. The dragon is last to fall, but as Vampire Orc steps up to absorb the dragon’s power…
Miraak shows up, calls Orc the inferior Dragonborn and steals the dragon soul. What a colossal jerk, I’d forgotten he could do that. To stick it to that thief, Orc finds the Standing Stone near the Skaal village where some of the enthralled villagers are building a Miraak shrine or something.
I don’t really know what the deal is, but the Bend Will shout breaks Miraak’s control over it, which has got to be a good thing for us. The Skaal Shaman is overjoyed that the spell on the village is broken, but points out that there’s five other such stones on the island. Eh, Orc’ll get round to them sooner or later. In the meantime, the source of Miraak’s power must be the mysterious Black Book we found in his Temple. The Shaman doesn’t have a clue about that, but does know that there’s a Telvanni wizard, Neloth, living on the south coast of Solstheim.
The Telvanni are one of the Great Houses of Morrowind and undisputably the best one, because it’s comprised entirely of powerful, questionably sane, infighting-prone Mage Lords. They’re also renowned experts on all sorts of dangerous magics. We’re off to see the Wizard!
Despite the earlier reluctance, two more of the Stones are more or less on the way to the wizard, so Orc breaks them of Miraak’s influence too. Also on the way, Orc runs into a random dragon encounter. Unlike the ADHD-riddled dragons on mainland Skyrim, the dragons here are much happier to stay and fight rather than go chase after a rabbit half a mile away. The dragon goes down, Miraak stays out of it and so Orc absorbs his 20th dragon soul! We unlock the “Dragon Hunter” achievement!
Finally, we reach the Telvanni Tower.
Oh, didn’t I say? The Telvanni mages like to grow a huge, magical mushroom to serve as their magetower. I told you they were the best. We take the magical elevator to the top; in Morrowind, the towers didn’t have this feature. If you didn’t even know enough magic to fly, the Telvanni masters didn’t want to talk to you!
The wizard here is Master Neloth, a blunt person who clearly doesn’t much like being interrupted. He’s actually a returning character from Morrowind, where he was already cranky and old. His disposition improves a bit once he realizes Orc’s here with a Black Book. While he himself doesn’t give a toss about the plight of the people of Solstheim, he is quite interested in getting his hands on a new Black Book and so agrees to help us out. He even knows where to find one, a nearby sunken Dwemer ruin!
And indeed, in the very first room is the not at all ominous looking Black Book!
Sadly, before the Dwemer all mysteriously disappeared they forgot to turn off their traps. The book is protected beyond even Neloth’s magical power, so the only way to get it is to reactivate the boilers deep in the ruin to restore the opening mechanism.
It’s a nifty little dungeon, as you need to gather control cubes like the one next to Orc that turn various machines on and off, including taking cubes running the pumps keeping the place from submerging completely.
Neloth is a cool travelling companion, as a thousand year old wizard nothing fazes him except your incompetence, which is funnier to hear than I make it sound! Eventually, we’ve rounded up enough cubes to both start the boilers and activate the vault. Neloth gives us the honour of reading it first on the grounds of “it might be dangerous”, which is solid reasoning.
As before, reading it teleports us to this strange realm. This time though, something in the sky is keeping an eye on us. Well, several eyes actually, it’s none other than our old pal, Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora. Did you figure out the strange realm was his bachelor pad already? Yes, it seems we’re in Hermaeus Mora’s Apocrypha, an endless library stuffed full of forbidden knowledge that has ensnared many a seeker after knowledge. Hence the book motif. It’s one of the weirdest dungeons in Skyrim, with tentacles slapping at you, moving corridors and all sorts of odd geometry. Once we surmount his trials and reach the end of this little piece of his realm, ol’ HM reappears to have a little chat.
He’s quite impressed that we’re still after knowledge – seems this is suiting his plans- and gives us the second word of Bend Will. However, he won’t give us the third unless we give him something in trade and without all three words, we can’t face Miraak. Luckily, all he wants is the secrets of the Skaal.
They’re a pretty simple people so Orc isn’t quite sure why Hermy is willing to trade their seal hunting tips for the ability to bend dragons to his will, but he’s happy to go along with it. Hopefully the Skaal will agree?
Time Elapsed: 27hr 53m
Achievement Progress: 55/75
Next time: Ultimate power?