Welcome to the Dragonborn DLC! (and the story equivalent of level 60ish)
Level sixty is about when I feel the Last Dragonborn is now obviously outclassing even the NPCs without a level cap. This “huh” moment – or just a little ahead of it – seemed like the right place to introduce the Last Dragonborn to the First Dragonborn. So welcome to Solstheim and our protagonist coming to realize how very unlike everyone she’s always considered her piers she really is. (Oh, shit, being dragonborn really does have broader implications than just “fated to try to kill a world-ending dragon”.) And to consider what she does, and very much does not, want that to mean. Let’s be honest, the role models the Last Dragonborn has on how to handle being a demi-god living in the mortal world are all pretty terrible.
- Miraak went power mad and became enslaved to Hermaeus Mora.
- Talos slaughtered whole nations worth of people and ended up the Underking (where does that get fun?) before ascending to godhood via the “steps of the dead”.1
- Alduin attempted to ascend to alternate godhood on the anguish of generations of mortals, but failed and was cast into un-time until he found a way out, and
- Paarthurnax is living in isolation on a mountaintop… yay.
Alexa’s not really interested in following in any of those footsteps.
Note on Footnote Notation
In reference to previous chapters in this work: Act 1, Chapter 6, Section 2 will be noted as A1:6, 2.
From a fiction perspective I feel you would get skill points from practice but that perk points would require the help of a trainer, or a book, as they (mostly) indicate acquiring a new skill not just getting better at an old one. This means that Alexa has managed to gain a few more skill points – through completion of quests, reading of books, and spending time with trainers – than she has “levels”.
Alexa’s skills at the beginning of Act 3 are:
- Alteration 90: expert, magic resistance (3), stability. (8/14)
- Conjuration 75: adept, mystic binding, soul stealer, oblivion binding. (6/16)
- Destruction 25: novice. (1/17)
- Illusion 85: expert, animage, hypnotic gaze, kindred mage, quiet casting. (8/13)
- Restoration 100 (legendary): all perks (13/13)
- Enchanting 60: enchanter (1), soul squeezer, soul siphon. (4/13)
- Light Armor 70: agile defender (4). (4/10)
- Lockpicking 80: no perks.
- Sneak 95: stealth (5), muffled movement, light foot, backstab, deadly aim. (9/13)
- Speech 90: haggling (1), allure, merchant, bribery, persuasion. (5/15)
- Alchemy70: alchemist (3), physician, benefactor, experimenter (1).
- Archery 100: all perks except hunter’s discipline and ranger. (14/16)
- One Handed 65: armsman (1), dual flurry (1), bladesman (1). (3/21)
- Smithing85: steel smithing, elven smithing, dwarven smithing, arcane blacksmith. (4/10)
Total Level: About 60 (because of legendary Restoration)
Total Perks: 80, several of which were learned from books or quests rather than teachers (see below).
Mage Skills: Alexa, except in the case of Restoration, does not have “dual casting” as she usually has her bow in her left hand while casting. She has been using armor spells on top of her light armor which is why she does not, as yet, have any “mage armor” perks but has all the “magic resistance” ones. It is also why her light armor skill isn’t higher, even after all that time with the Dawnguard and Companions. She has no natural skill with destruction magic, but gained some knowledge of the subject from one of Shalidor’s manuscripts. She had training in both Illusion and Alteration before coming to Skyrim. Alexa gained the first “Enchanter” perk from Enchanter’s Primer, and “Soul Squeezer” from A tragedy in Black, and “Soul Siphon” from a few days of studying with Sergius Turrianus. (Soul siphon would not have been difficult to learn as Alexa was already aware of the concept as it relates to other forms of magic.)
Thief Skills: She has “light foot” and “muffled movement” from her time with the Thieves Guild. Her time with the Thieves Guild, Dawnguard, and the Companions, has given her all her archery perks. Two “Alchemists” perks were gained before arriving in Skyrim, while her other alchemy perks were gained by study with Arcadia during her time as a Companion. Her speech skills were learned as a combination of her upbringing and her time at the Bard’s College.
Warrior Skills: Steel smithing was gained from Balimund while she was living in Riften (in return for fire salts). Dwarven smithing from the quest “Unfathomable Depths”, Elven smithing from Gunmar while working with the Dawnguard (so she could make her own arrows for Auriel’s Bow), and Arcane smithing from Eorlund Gray-Mane while with the Companions (so that she could repair her own armor). Light Armor perks were learned from Grelka and One Handed perks from Athis because Vilkas insisted she be able to use a melee weapon in case her enemies got too close.
Grand Master: Fiction-y way of saying “Legendary Restoration”.
“Sometimes the Divines acknowledge an individual as particularly skilled with magic…
These people are called ‘Grand Master’ mages.” (Alexa, A1:18, 5)
I decided to give Alexa a legendary skill, from a young age, because in-game dialogue makes it clear the main character of TES V: Skyrim was dragonborn from birth and simply revealed at the moment of the first dragon slaying. As such the Last Dragonborn was probably remarkable in some fashion before the start of the story.
But what – fictionally – makes a skill “legendary”?
After considering the other legendary mages in TES lore I concluded that a game-changing insight about magic, or a school of magic, and the ability to use said insight, is what makes a magic user legendary in Tamriel. So Alexa, at the age of twelve, came to understand something pivotal about the school of Restoration, which she then used in a way that caught the attention of both Kynareth and the Thalmor.
What her insight was has not been revealed but clearly has something to do with the method she used to heal Vilkas in A1:27.
Word Walls Read
Animal Allegiance (2) Aura Whisper (2) Become Etherial (3)
Clear Skies (3) Disarm (3) Drain Vitality (2)
Elemental Fury (2) Fire Breath (3) Frost Breath (3)
Ice Form (2) Kyne’s Peace (2) Marked for Death (3)
Slow Time (1) Soul Tear (3) Storm Call (2)
Summon Durnehviir (3) Throw Voice (3) Unrelenting Force (3)
Whirlwind Sprint (2)
Total: 47/78 rotmulaag
1. Bard’s College
- Became a member in 4E 194
- Completed all fetch quests by 4E 198
- Tending the Flames completed in 4E 201
- Still a member in good standing.
2. Aetherium Forge (Summer, 196 – Spring, 199)
3. Dark Brotherhood (Summer, 199) - Destroyed
4.Thieves’ Guild (Autumn, 198 – Spring, 199) - Divergent
- Sapphire became the third Nightingale
- Brynjolf became Guild Master
5. The Dawnguard (Spring, 199 – Spring, 200) – Dawnguard side
6. The Companions (Spring, 200 – Late Autumn, 201) - Divergent
- Elongated time between joining and the “Proving Honor” quest (about 8 months)
- Became close friends with Aela and Farkas
- Became Vilkas’ lover (Early Spring, 201)
It was not a particularly healthy relationship as their personalities were, basically, incompatible.
- Did not become a werewolf
- Broke up with Vilkas as an inevitable result of “A Night to Remember”.
- Left Jorrvaskr after “Dragon Rising” and moved to the College of Winterhold. (Late Summer, 201)
- Aela and Vilkas (rather than Aela and the DB) took revenge on the Silver Hand.
- DB sought out the Glenmoril Wyrd for Kodlak (Late Autumn, 201)
Learned, from them, the magic required to remove a beast-spirit from its host. (Game assumes DB who join the Companions are not mages but my DB is an extremely skilled one.)
- Traveled to Ysgramor’s Tomb with Circle and freed Kodlak, Vilkas and Farkas all in one day.
- Vilkas and DB apologized to each other for the manner of their breakup but did not get back together.
7. College of Winterhold (Late Autumn, 201 – Ongoing)
- Alexa has been fetching books (5/21) and Shalidor manuscripts (Destruction and Illusion) for Urag.
- Completed all follower quests.
J’zargo’s resulted in the discovery that J’zargo writes smutty short stories about the people around him. His story with Ancano as the main character has been serialized, much to his surprise.
- Started Arniel’s Endeavor – slightly divergent
Progression in this quest will not be locked to other College of Winterhold questlines.
- Became a Master of Alteration (completed ritual spell quest) between A2:35 and A2:36.
8. Daedric Quests:
- The Black Star (4E 191) - White Star, divergent starting point.
Mentioned in A1:08.
- The Mind of Madness (4E 195)
Mentioned in A1:08
- A Daedra’s Best Friend (4E 198) – Divergent
- Politely refused any gift from Clavicus Vile
(Barbas paid her back later by saving her life at the end of “Ill Met by Moonlight”).
Mentioned in A1:08
- Politely refused any gift from Clavicus Vile
- The Break of Dawn (4E 199) – Slightly divergent
- Received the “Blessing of Meridia” which is similar to the “Necromage” Perk
- Gave Dawnbreaker to Lydia in A2:10.
- Ill Met by Moonlight (4E 199) – Divergent
- Refused to kill Sinding
- Got mad and refused ring as well
- Pissed off Hircine in the process
- Was forcibly inducted into Hircine’s cult and given the rank of Beast Master
(Story recounted in the 4th section of A1:34)
- The Cursed Tribe (Early Summer, 200) – Slightly divergent
- Borgakh, not the Dragonborn, became the Champion of Malacath
- Pieces of the Past (Autumn, 200) – glossed over.
- “This sounds like a terrible idea…” option
- DB decided Silus Vesuius was crazy, came back later, stole all his Mythic Dawn paraphernalia, and disposed of it.
- Robes and scabbard are in the Dragon Shrine in Labyrinthian
- Commentaries were sold to the College of Winterhold
- A Night to Remember (Late Summer, 201) – Divergent
- Ended up married to Sanguine rather than Moira.
Recounted in A2:01
- Ended up married to Sanguine rather than Moira.
- Waking Nightmare (Early Autumn, 201) – Skull of Corruption destroyed.
- The House of Horrors (Early Autumn, 201) – Divergent
- Managed to escape cage w/out accepting quest (with help from Sanguine)
- Turned over dealing with the shrine, and artifact, to Ondolemar. (Putting religious sites out of commission is what Justiciars are good at, right?)
- The Taste of Death (Late Autumn, 201) – saved priest, killed everyone.
1. Main Questline – Slight divergence
- Has completed “A Blade in the Dark” but not “Diplomatic Immunity”
- Has already met Paarthurnax
2. College of Winterhold – Slight divergence
- Did not immediately start “Under Saarthal” after joining
3. Civil War – Divergent
- Left Helgen with Hadvar
- Has not joined either side
- Has obtained the Jagged Crown but did not give it to either side
- Is on uncertain terms with Legate Rikke and no terms at all with General Tullius.
- Is not on good terms with Ulfric Stormcloak (See A2:38)
4. The Whispering Door – Divergent
- Sword taken from Dragonsreach (Late Summer, 201)
- Dragonborn agreed to “play” with Mephala in exchange for removing her influence from the Jarl of Whiterun’s children. (A2:05, 4)
- Sword handed over to the College of Winterhold for “safe keeping”
- Ancano, unaware of what the sword is, began looking for it in Autumn of 201 (A2:15, 6)
5. Forsworn – Massively divergent
- DB became friends, and then blood-siblings, with Madanach’s grandson (and heir), Taran. (Summer, 196 – Spring 200)
- Walked Taran through becoming a Thane of Markarth. (Late Summer, 200)
- Taran completed “The Forsworn Conspiracy” and rescued his grandfather from Cidhna Mine – with a little help, at the end, from DB and Ondolemar. (Early Summer, 201)
- Taran is currently in contention to replace Madanach as King of the Forsworn. A situation that cannot be resolved until Hircine’s summoning day (5thof Mid Year).
6. Thalmor – Massively divergent
- DB has been on the run from the Thalmor since she was 15. (An explanation for the “Justiciar Execution Order” random encounter.)
- DB befriended Ondolemar, Commander of Skyrim’s Justiciars, in the hope that this would allow her to better gauge if, or when, the local Justiciars became aware of her presence in Skyrim. (4E 200)
- DB ended up using friendship with Ondolemar to get help for Joric, son of the Jarl of Morthal, resulting in Earmiel (original character) coming to Skyrim.
- “Missing in Action” completed by Sapphire and Ravyn Imyan. Hired by the Battle-Borns, through the DB, on behalf of the Gray-Manes. (Summer, 201)
- DB sent Ondolemar on a “pilgrimage” to the Chantry of Auri-El where Gelebor gave him a stern talking to about dragons, dragonborn, kalpa cycles, and the end of the world. (A1:41)
- Eolain, Earmiel’s twin (original character), arrived in Skyrim in the hope of convincing Ondolemar to help her fulfill the legal requirement the Dominion places upon all purebloods, of a certain age, to produce pureblood children, at regular intervals, no matter the race of their marital partner.
- DB, after Greybeard’s formal greeting, realized that simply hiding from the Thalmor was no longer a viable strategy. Asked Ondolemar to claim her as an “asset” so that, as her “handler”, he could run interference for her while she dealt with her fate. In return she promised to tell him everything she learned about the Dragon Crisis and to disappear once everything was done. (A2:20)
- Living at the College of Winterhold opened the DB up to the possible discovery of her real identity (the one with the outstanding execution order) by Ancano. Thankfully he was more interested in the possibility of profiting off her (he believed ongoing) research on aetherium than informing the embassy (or anyone else) of what he’s learned about some Breton student’s life before she came to Skyrim.
- Ancano learned that the Second Emissary’s new asset is the dragonborn and was – rightfully – miffed. (A2:33)
- Ondolemar admitted his feelings to the DB, which were reciprocated, but, due to political considerations and her marriage to Sanguine, further talk of a relationship, and what that would consist of, has been put on indefinite hold. (A2:34)
- DB has reason to believe that Earmiel is a spy, but for whom is still unclear to her.
- Dialogue between Earmiel and Eolain revealed that Earmiel is part of an anti-Thalmor resistance movement. (A2:36, 2)
- There is reason to believe that internal Thalmor political strife is heating up.
- Eolain has a plan.
7. Dragonborn DLC
- The DB is currently headed to Solstheim after being attacked by Miraak’s cultists in Winterhold.