Looking for other Skyrim Speedway posts? Part One has links to them all!
In the penultimate instalment of the Skyrim Speedway, Orc was faced with a choice: release a dragon to take him to the remote temple of Skuldafn, trusting that he wouldn’t betray us, or fail to reach Alduin?
Obviously, failure here is not an option. Alduin is the World-Eater, and the world is where Orc keeps all his stuff!
Clearly, the only option here is to….
…wait, Orc has a Shout that forces dragons to do what he wants. It was a big part of the Dragonborn questline! He doesn’t need this particular dragon, he can just take any old dragon to Skuldafn!
Uh, we’ll just say no other dragon knows the way. Yeah, that’s vaguely plausible.
Over the protests of the guards, Orc orders Odahviing released.
Hmmm, actually, wait here one sec. Orc has something to do.
Something vampiric. Orc needs lifeblood to finish the Vampire Lord perk tree and a vast killing spree across the Whiterun steppe yields up a lot of it! Bandits, deer, giants, mammoths, bears, mudcrabs and a dragon all get their essence drained to power up Orc’s… vampirity? Vampireness? Vampnosis? One of those, for sure.
After not too long at all, the killing is complete and the achievement “Vampire Mastered” is in our hands. There’s only one accolade left!
Back to the Whiterun palace. Odahviing has patiently waited here for Orc instead of just taking the opportunity to scarper, which was very nice of him! The flight to Skuldafn is a short fade to black; it predates actual flying on dragons being added in the Dragonborn expansion. Once there, Odahviing tells us good luck and that he’ll be waiting to serve either Orc or Alduin, whoever comes out alive. He may be a little mercenary.
Still we’re here, the final dungeon! Orc fires up the Dragon Aspect shout in honour of the occasion, also because it’s a powerful shout and a whole bunch of Draugr Deathlords and dragons scaled to level 90 hurt quite a bit. There’s an extensive tomb section as well as the outside featuring a fair few of the patented Draugr ‘rotate these things so they match the picture next to them’ and one of the ever popular dragon claw doors!
Eventually though, we reach the Dragon Priest guarding the portal and kill him. Sovngard awaits!
Orc has arrived in the afterlife of valiant warriors, dressed to impress. Shor’s Hall is in the distance, but in between is a very foggy valley: Alduin’s soul snare, where he traps and devours the souls of newly arrived heroes. Orc heads in, and almost immediately runs into a few old friends! It’s Kodlak, devoted Harbinger of the Companions who Orc succeeded and then basically abandoned the role and Ulfric, former rebellion leader whose ambitions (and skull) Orc crushed on behalf of Ulfric’s mortal enemies!
Ooof, awkward. Just sidle past without making eye contact, Orc. Sovngard is fairly empty for us, depending who dies during the game a fair few characters can end up here. There are a bunch of nameless Stormcloak/Imperial soldiers whose function is to be snatched by Alduin right in front of you though!
What a showboater.
Orc fairly quickly reaches the end of the foggy valley, but there’s a test. Only those who can hold their own in combat against Tsun the gatekeeper may pass over the bone bridge to Shor’s Hall. He asks us by what right we challenge him and out of the list, Orc goes with “Dark Brotherhood Listener”. Sneaky assassination is not a popular choice in the afterlife for valorous souls, so Tsun is quite dismissive about it to Orc’s face! In retaliation, Orc cheats on his combat test by having the Super Dremora Brothers do it for him.
Does Tsun look unhappy about it to you? Too bad, technically we passed. To the Hall!
Oh hey, it’s Ysgramor himself. There’s a few other heroes of legend in here, including the 3 Ancient Nord heroes who fought Alduin on the Throat Of The World the first time around. You may remember that, it’s from when Orc learned the Dragonrend shout by tearing open time itself with an Elder Scroll? Man, both the plot and visuals of this game are tending very heavily towards ‘Heavy Metal concept album’ right now.
Shor himself isn’t home. I don’t think he’s come up before, but if you haven’t worked it out already, Shor is basically Odin to the Nords, chief god of their pantheon. As the gods in the Elder Scrolls series are/were (very likely) real, he also shows up in other pantheons under the name Lorkhan and might possibly be dead; his heart at one point was buried inside Red Mountain and it’s speculated his body might be the planet, or maybe one or both of the moons. Theology is complicated!
What we know for certain is that he has a vacant throne in his Hall.
Is that…appropriate, Orc?!
Anyway, messing with the possessions of gods won’t defeat anything, so Orc heads outside with the 3 Alduin fighters from the past. Their plan is to combine Shouts to clear the fog, forcing Alduin to fight. Orc agrees with this, as long as he gets to name the team.
Orc Orcersson And The Orcettes, ready for battle!
The plan goes off without a hitch. Once the fog is finally cleared, Alduin has nowhere to hide and 4 experienced dragonslayers make short work of him; Orc doesn’t even need to change back into armour.
The threat to the world is ended.
Orc must now leave Sovngard, but is guaranteed to return when he eventually dies. Suck it Nocturnal and all the other entities Orc pledged his eternal allegiance to, its endless partying for this green champion’s soul!
Teleported back to the real world, Orc is greeted by a convention of dragons, now freed of Alduin’s influence. The game is over, the final achievement “Dragonslayer” is now ours.
Time Elapsed: 32hr 58m
Achievement Progress: 75/75
Well, this turned into something! I enjoyed both the playing through and documenting of this Skyrim adventure a lot more than I thought I would and got surprisingly into the story of Orc Orcersson, the hero with the lowest effort name imaginable.
Considered as a speedrun, it’s probably a failure. I overshot my own estimate by about 8 hours and given the loose limits on acceptable cheating, someone with a really good grasp of console commands could probably have accomplished what I did in something less than 20 minutes. Looking back, I didn’t actually cheat all that much. Obviously the powerlevelling and equipment spawned in helped a lot, but mostly I played the game normally; flying, teleporting and removing enemies were fairly rare occurrences. Honestly, I could have shaved off easily 5 hours or so simply by noclipping to the end of every quest dungeon but I actually wanted to play them through. Also, a real time-focused run wouldn’t have spent so long setting up pretty screenshots!
Still, the speedrun was only ever an excuse to play some Skyrim with a set end goal, the real point of this was to increase my motivation to mod Skyrim. I’m not sure how well it’s succeeded at that because I mostly just want to play more Skyrim! However, as I’ve said repeatedly, another playthrough will definitely have a lot of mods on it, which puts me in a bit of a Catch-22 as I got quite used to the Special Edition improvements. Skyrim SE has a fancier graphics engine, a few nice interface improvements (saves sorted by character!) and above all crashed only once! On the other hand, modding for the SE edition is stalled waiting for some key tools, so most of the mods that make big changes are still for Original Skyrim only. I reckon I’ll just have to distract myself with other games until this resolves itself.
As for what’s next for this blog, I don’t have an immediate new project lined up. Perhaps I’ll document another game, perhaps I’ll find something else, maybe I’ll be busy with real life? Who knows!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading along with Orc’s travels. I may not know what’s next for me, but I do know what’s next for him. See that tower in the far distance?
That’s the White-Gold Tower in the Imperial City; it’s where the Emperor lives. See how Orc’s dressed? His dream is to be that Emperor.
And if assorted dragons, undead, wildlife, rival dragonborns and mudcrabs couldn’t stop Orc so far, then I reckon there’s no-one who can stop him from achieving his dreams.