With the end of October came the end of the Arcade Activist team’s Extra Life gaming marathon — for the most part. Though the official marathon day has come and gone for this year, official event donations will continue to be accepted through December. The more, the merrier!
While the Arcade Activist “team” experience didn’t go precisely according to plan (most likely in large part due to the last-minute nature of the plan itself), games were played and money (and awareness) was raised, and after all, every little bit counts. As promised, I kept a log of my personal marathon experience, which ran a total of 24 hours and 40 minutes. Without further ado, allow me to introduce Dar’Izra, a young female Khajit with a quick tongue and quicker hands who found herself scooped up by Imperial soldiers following a criminal misunderstanding. (Times and dates have been translated into our time, rather than Skyrim time, for the sake of convenience and clarity.)
(BE YE WARNED: This log contains spoilers, especially with regards to the Thieves Guild questline and several secondary quests along the way. Know that before you begin reading.)
Dar’Izra, in all her feline glory.
Within a week of arriving in Skyrim I found myself in chains. I should have let that stupid Nord alone, I know, but when I saw her purchase that ridiculously gaudy necklace and then slip it into her pocket as if it were but a cheap trinket, I couldn’t resist. But to go from petty theft to war crimes — what sort of country is this? I take one pretty little bauble and the next thing I know, I’m to be executed for treason!
And then, of course, there was the dragon. Extinct, impossible, and yet, it came. In a way, it saved my life, interrupting the execution and allowing me to escape with some fool by the name of Ralof. I’m not sure how grateful I can be, however, considering how close I came to becoming dinner.
Now I’ve done it. Killed a bard, and his mother to boot. I didn’t mean to — I honestly didn’t mean to — but he caught me picking his pocket and started to call for a guard and I panicked and ran him through. His blood still dripped from my dagger as I pawed through his pockets and then made a dash for the house, expecting an empty sanctuary and instead finding myself face-to-face with a rabid crone with a death wish. She threatened me, attacked me, and wound up dead for her troubles. I have never killed before.
On the bright side, Ralof and his silly wife let me take all their food, their gold, everything. Not that they had much to give, but it’s a start. I might not starve after all. I am on my way now to Whiterun, to pay my bounty (anything to avoid jail, or worse, execution) — apparently no one knows I’m a killer, but they know of my theft — and to deliver a message to Jarl Balgruuf about the dragon. I am no man’s messenger girl… but with any luck the pay will be good enough to buy me some proper protection, or at least more food.
Whiterun. Brief blacksmithing lessons with an intriguing woman by the name of Adrianne Avinichi. I’ve decided to begin a new hobby — key-collecting — and hers has made a lovely addition to the collection. On to Dragonsreach to see Balgruuf.
The security in this city, especially in Dragonsreach, is amazingly lacking. After delivering my message (for a pittance of a reward, in my opinion), I proceeded to do some spring cleaning for Balgruuf and walked away with heavier pockets and a lighter heart. The Jarl’s personal quarters were especially good fun to clear out. Afterward I explored the town for a bit, popping into Arcadia’s Cauldron, the Bannered Mare, and the Drunken Hunstman for some practice (both alchemical and — well, less legal hobbies, shall we say) and added a great many keys to my swift-growing collection. I believe Skyrim may be growing on me.
Goodness. I took one little key from that wench Adrianne and upon my next visit I find armed thugs waiting to welcome me back. I’m no warrior, and between you and me (whoever you are, anyway), I’m a little amazed to be alive. But the thugs lie dead, pockets emptied, and I do not. Perhaps that is how it works here. Kill or be killed.
At any rate, I’ve come across interesting rumors of a group known as the Nightingales — mysterious master thieves said to comprise a special sect of the very definitely real Thieves’ Guild in the east — so I have decided to make my way to Riften, to see if I can carve out some semblance of a life for myself here in this mad little bedragoned kingdom.
Riften. It didn’t take me long to find the Guild — or perhaps the Guild, in the guise of a man named Brynjolf, found me. At any rate, I’ve pulled a little stunt which has granted me the honor of a visit to thief central. While the concept of a rogue guild seems admittedly odd, I look forward to seeing such a sight for myself. Perhaps I have found kindred spirits at last.
I helped a woman named Svana Far-Shield mess with her fool of an aunt. I may be a thief and a(n accidental) murderer, but now and then saving a damsel in distress does make for a nice change of pace. And the food she rewarded me with — a veritable feast! I am full to bursting.
Her kindness has been a gift after the battering I received underground earlier. After surviving the trials of the Ratway, I found my ragtag future brothers and sisters in crime concealed in the cistern of a beggar’s bar. They… intrigue me.
I need invisibility potions. I’m not good enough yet to go without.
My first job involved the Goldenglow Estate, and while matters could have been worse, I did get a bit carried away with the fire situation, and Maven Blackbriar (who apparently runs everything in this joint, to some extent) is not pleased. I don’t look forward to making it up to her; she’s the sort of person I’d much rather be robbing than working for, but I suppose at this stage beggars can’t be choosers.
As a pick-me-up, I stopped by the local Temple of Mara and picked more than a few things up on my way out. I also managed to (properly) complete a quick burglary job for fellow guild-sister Vex — in broad daylight, no less — which further brightened my day. Now I’m off to Whiterun to see if I can pull off a numbers job for Delvin Mallory, another of my newfound associates.
Discovered Shor’s Stone and a watchtower populated by dead guards. I paused a moment to wonder what took place before scavenging — most profitable. I also got into a bit of a scuffle with a mad wanderer, I believe his name was Talsgar? Serves him right for that look he gave me. Just because I bear little resemblance to Nords and Redguards and Bretons doesn’t mean I am not a person too.
Whiterun. Numbers job went swimmingly. A man approached me with an offer to join the Dawnguard — a vampire-hunting guild, by the sound of it — but I declined. I am no soldier; war is not my specialty. At Maven’s request, I met with Mallus Maccius to discuss a job involving Honningbrew Meadery. An unsavory job, by the sound of it, but who was I to argue with boss lady?
It was — unsavory, that is, but not for the reasons I expected. A surprise in the form of a madman named Hamlyn waited for me in the meadery basement. I should like very much to repay Mallus for that little bit of trickery with the point of my dagger, but he is in charge of the meadery now and Maven is pleased, and it is not the time for revenge. Now I am to make for Solitude to shakedown some Argonian named Gulum-Ei.
Solitude. Another shifty Argonian named Jaree-Ra offered to split a great treasure with me if I would help sink a ship. The sailors will live, or so he promises. I hope he is not a liar — for their sake, and for his. If he wrongs me, I will not stand for it. I did as he asked — put out the lighthouse fire — and, cold and starving as I was, broke in to seek shelter, warmth, and food, and found myself attacked by the lighthouse keeper. A fellow Khajit. I regret his death more than those that came before, but I am no necromancer, and I did need the food and rest.
I dealt with Gulum-Ei as asked, and uncovered some hints about what has been going on in the guild. Something to do with Mercer Frey, and a woman named Karliah…
That liar Jaree-Ra. The sailors all died, and he and his fool of a sister thought to betray me with a deadly trap. Their loss — quite literally. Killing Jaree-Ra himself was the only difficulty; he’d holed up with a monster of a man named Captain Hargar, and it was all I could do after murdering the Argonian to escape from the Captain and the cave with my life. I’ll be back though, once I am stronger. This is a debt that must be paid.
To that end, I have traveled to Winterhold, to begin lessons in magic. Nothing fancy, but I hear there’s an invisibility spell that can be learned, and surely that could come in handy in my line of work. My fellow students are — well, as lost as I am, I suppose, but it was nice to meet a fellow Khajit (one I doubt I’ll have to kill). J’zargo makes for interesting company.
After picking many a pocket (and adding many a key to my collection) in Winterhold — including the Jarl, most amusingly — I am on my way to Snow Veil Catacombs to meet Mercer Frey and go after this Karliah, who, I’m told, is a traitor and a killer, and must be stopped. I thought killing was not the Guild way, but Mercer seems convinced we have no other option.
Mercer Frey will die, and by my hand if the fates are kind. Betrayer. Murderer. I will not stand for this, and neither will Karliah, who is the real wronged party here. Mercer killed her love Gallus and would have killed her too, given half the chance. I will return to Winterhold to find Enthir, and hope he has answers for us to help us stop Mercer before he ruins everything.
Enthir has been somewhat helpful, at least, and pointed me in the direction of Markarth. Upon arriving, the first thing I witnessed was a murder. Joy. I killed the killer before he committed the act twice, and then proceeded to pick the pockets of both the criminal and all witnesses in the area. My hands don’t even shake anymore at the sight of blood. I suppose it means I am growing stronger.
The man I came to meet, Calcelmo, is a stubborn old man, but his museum (which I have need to get into) is well-guarded, and so I found myself doing him the favor of spider-slaying. Not my specialty, but I succeeded, and gained a museum key for my efforts. Things at the museum didn’t go quite as planned, though I got the job done, and after fleeing the city on a stolen horse I am on my way back to Enthir, who will, hopefully have more answers for me.
If you’ve read this far, you may (or may not) be curious as to what happened next. To keep a long (and ongoing) story short, Dar’Izra has, at the time of this writing, righted the wrongs of Mercer Frey, defeated Mercer in battle, become a Nightingale, and lately has become entangled in several daedric quests at once. She grows more bloodthirsty by the day, and I fear her mind is not in the rightest of states. The talking dog that has insisted on accompanying her for one particular quest for the daedric lord Clavicus Vile probably hasn’t been helping matters. But, for better or worse, she is on her way to taking over the Thieves’ Guild — and it seems the Dark Brotherhood may have its eye on her as well. Only time will tell what will become of this particular Dragonborn.
Thank you to anyone and everyone who helped out with Extra Life 2014 — your effort, no matter how great or small, makes a difference. Keep reading, keep gaming, and above all, keep giving.