At first I thought the bards of Solitude would be more to my liking than the rest of the city. And being a bard would be a great way to travel while waiting to make my way back to Cyrodiil.
But the first thing they asked me to do was to recover a lost poem from a crypt! Doesn’t Skyrim have any end to these crypts? Well, I’d already managed Bleak Falls Barrow twice, so how hard could retrieving a poem from Dead Man’s Respite be?
I should have known better…the place was trapped, and had interlocking doors, with wandering undead and spiders. I managed to use the interlocking doors to trap the spiders and undead away from my path, all the while following what seemed to be a friendly spirit.
I recovered the poem, then followed the spirit into a large chamber filled with undead. I hid in the shadows while the spirit proceeded to kick undead butt. Once all the undead were, well, dead again, I was able to leave and return to Solitude.
Turns out the poem was incomplete, but with a little creative editing, we managed to fill it out nicely. The reading at court went well…it felt good to be at court again, even a backwater one like in Solitude.
After the festival, several of the Bard’s College professors asked me to recover lost instruments. I first went to the docks to see if any ships were bound for Cyrodiil, but the East Empire Company representative there was unhelpful. Back to the lost instruments, then.
I went to Falkreath, the city nearest an ancient drum I was to locate, and found myself in a city of the dead. Everyone there seemed obsessed with death, so I left quickly and made my way to Halldir’s Cairn.
I’m surprised my hair didn’t turn grey after that place! Nearly every step, ghosts would appear next to me. And these weren’t friendly ghosts, but hostile ones. My well practiced stealth skills were up to the challenge, though, and I managed to make my way unseen to the central chamber.
Apparently Halldir wasn’t as dead as everyone thought. His ghost still hunted the central chamber. I avoided him and recovered the drum, then left quickly.
Time to catch a cart to Windhelm, nearest to another instrument.
[Halldir’s Cairn was the first time I had to cheat to maintain non-combat status. Halldir locks you in the room with him, and I couldn’t find any way to open the door other than killing him. That was disappointing. So I used tcl to get through the door without killing him. It would have been nice to have had a non-combat option there.
Oh, and Dead Man’s Respite was a lot of fun non-combat style. Tons of ways to manipulate the environment to prevent the monsters from accessing you, if you’re creative.]