I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the little plot bunny I had the other day, about a Dunwall newspaper struggling during the plague.
There’s a perfectly-shaped hole for it in the world, and there’s a little detail at the beginning of the game that’s prodding me in the brain,…
"Yes, little elf?"
"Would you care to explain why the main road out of Haarfingar, as so marked on that totally accurate map you bought off ‘some man in the Winking Skeever’, leads into a blank wall of rock?”
"I really couldn’t say, little elf. Maybe he was drunk when he drew it."
"… let’s go back a little ways. I think I saw a pack of wolves back there, and I could really set something on fire right now. Oh, and stop calling me little elf.”
"As you say, middle-sized elf."
"I hate this country.”
While the Khajiit caravaneers were kind enough to rescue Vathari from freezing to death and then lead her to Solitude, they’ve got no plans to head any further east. After finding out she’s not going to get home by sea, Vathari decided to head into the city to see if anyone else is heading to High Rock. She didn’t really expect to walk in during an execution, of all things. And while she’s scraped together enough coin to buy a meal and a room for the night, all the death she’s seen over the last couple of days - bodies in the water from the shipwreck, Thalmor leading a man to his death, and now a man being publicly beheaded - are bound to result in an unsettled night. She’s spent most of her life in alchemical laboratories or quiet fields studying fungus, so all of this is coming as something of a shock to the system.
And this is the point that Vathari discovers that the Empire has commandeered all ocean-going vessels for the war effort.
Just wait until she discovers that they’ve closed the borders too. :3
It has been a very, very long day.
So Vathari is alone and so cold and wandering around lost in the dark and has just been attacked by a wolf and the poor thing is terrified witless, but she’s finally found a road. So she struggles on, hoping that maybe there’s a town nearby, or even just a guard tower: something, anything out of the wind and with the possibility of a fire.
But what’s that? Footsteps on the road? Oh, please don’t let it be bandits. Please, let it be a guard or someone who can help her.
… oh great, now she’s started to hallucinate, on top of everything else.
"Cats are like witches. They don’t fight to kill, but to win. There is a difference. There’s no point in killing an opponent. That way, they won’t know they’ve lost, and to be a real winner you have to have an opponent who is beaten and knows it. There’s no triumph over a corpse, but a beaten opponent, who will remain beaten every day of the remainder of their sad and wretched life, is something to treasure."
-Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad
"Refuse to believe life ends here. Too wasteful. Have more to offer. Mistakes to fix. Cannot end here. Could do so much more."
I don’t think there’s a scan-acquired sidequest in ME2 I like quite so much as exploring the wreck of the MSV Estevanico on Zanethu. I love derelict hulks and abandoned buildings, and the freighter’s gutted, creaking frame, balancing precariously against a sheer cliff, is perfectly eerie. I wish it were larger - I could play a whole mission in something like that. No enemies, just the moaning of the wind, the squeal of metal on metal and the danger of the whole thing coming down on your head.
"The Council will never trust Cerberus. They’ll never accept our help."