The crap weather continues as I slowly clank my way south to begin my new quest: to rid myself of wolf parasites that have infested my joints. Man. Picking flowers to cure wolf cooties. Did Aragorn have to deal with this kinda shit?
Right away, I can tell this isn’t going to go very well. The landscape is green and grassy, but there aren’t a whole heck of a lot of ingredients around. I gather what few I find, but nothing that bears the disease-curing properties I so desperately need for my knees and elbows.
I pass through Harlun’s Watch, a small, seemingly pointless village with no shops or inns, head down to the Reed River, where I hope to find more plants around the water’s edge. Nothing doing. I discover a cavern called Vahtacen, and poke around inside, hoping to find mushrooms. Instead, I find torchlit passages and a number of Welkynd Stones, which are semi-valuable and good for recharging your Magicka. Hmm.
I’d kind of like to swipe these, but I’m not much of a dungeon-scouring thief. I decide to poke around further to see who these stones belong to. If it’s some sort of leathery bat monster, I won’t feel so bad. I spot an Argonian woman walking around in a chamber deeper into the caves. She doesn’t look like a bandit, more like a mage — robes and no armor. Still, I don’t want to chance talking to her, and decide not to swipe all her stones.
Sometimes it really sucks not being adventurous.
Back outside, I spot some deer. Maybe venison cures disease? Can’t remember. Can’t hurt to check. Can’t hurt me, anyway. I manage to take down a deer with a single critical bowshot, which is pretty cool except that it wasn’t actually the deer I was aiming for. I was aiming for a running deer, and he just happened to run right by a stationary deer as I loosed my misguided arrow. Well, if anyone was watching, they wouldn’t be able to tell. Venison, unfortunately, doesn’t cure my ills, but it makes a nice snack.
The weather gets worse as I make the long, slow, wet slog back up to the city, having found nothing of real use. The next morning, after selling my take, I head north, aiming for Lake Arrius. The weather is better, but again, even though the vegetation is lush and green, there ain’t much to pick. I discover Wind Range Camp, which appears to be abandoned. Excellent. If I can bed here tonight I won’t have to walk all the way back to the city, and can spend some more time exploring.
A few moments later, however, a bandit shows up. He somehow spots the ugly dork in highly reflective steel armor crouching nearby, and we clash. I’d cleverly poisoned my blade while I was waiting, and I stick him once. He turns green as the poison eats away at him, and soon he’s weak enough for a single slash of my blade to take him down. I loot his body, finding a few gold coins and a copper ring. Also, while fending off his blows, my block skill increased, meaning the next time I sleep I’ll gain a level. At least the day isn’t a total waste.
There’s not much going on around the lake but a waterfall and a wolf. After killing the latter and collecting the pelt (and a gold coin the wolf was somehow carrying), I head back. Another fairly fruitless expedition. Very few ingredients to pick, and none have the properties I need. I’m getting a little frustrated. The east coast of Cyrodiil is a huge letdown for the traveling alchemist.
I’m nearly back to the city when suddenly I burst into flames. Eep. Imp. After cutting him out of the air, I arrive back in the city, a little banged up. I think I need to upgrade my self-preservation skills. I sell some potions, decide to spend a couple hundred on a Cure Major Wound spells from the Mage’s Guild, and head to bed, where I attain my fifth level.
I briefly consider going with Luck, because frankly, I could use some, but in the end I choose to raise my Intelligence, Personality, and Endurance. It’s been about thirty days since I landed in Anvil, and I’ve finally reached level five.
I decide to bum around town the next day, since I haven’t been to the castle yet and I’d like to see if they have a house for sale. I could use a day without bloodshed or drama, as well. It’s at this point that I notice I’ve not only failed to cure my current disease, but I’ve also somehow acquired a new one.
Witbane is a disease that drains your intelligence, and (according to the Oblivion Wiki) it can be contracted from dogs and zombies, neither of which I’ve been in contact with. Puzzling. Wolves, I’ve seen plenty, but no dogs. Unless I picked it up a few days ago from that dog-trainer lady, I have no idea when I might have contracted it. There aren’t even any toilet seats in Cyrodiil. So, now I’ve got two types of canine-related diseases, and no cure for either of them. Spiffy. Won’t be long before I’m chasing cats and eating my own poop.
I head to the Mage’s Guild again, and find one ingredient with disease-curing properties: a mushroom called Elf Cup Cap. Well, I’m halfway there, at least. Now, I just need another ingredient to mix with it. Or, I could just ditch this alchemy nonsense and take up religion, which is sounding more appealing every day.
I make my way to the castle, where I notice a bunch of indoor planters. I spot some mushrooms growing among the plants, and, as is my habit, I start stuffing them into my pockets. They won’t cure my diseases, but that’s no reason not to pick ’em.
I do this for a bit before I notice that the little “hand” icon is red when I hover it over the mushrooms, which indicates items that, when taken, are considered stolen. I’m not just gathering mushrooms, apparently, I’m pinching them.
Yoikes! I’m no thief! On the other hand, the guards are standing right there and haven’t arrested me. Just a glitch, perhaps? Either way, I continue harvesting the mushrooms. If they’re a little lax on crime in Cheydinhal Castle, it works for out me.
I continue crawling around the bushes inside the castle, taking all the mushrooms I find. Eventually, I pop out near the throne.
The count is sitting on one throne, while on the other sits a little bundle of flowers. Hell, this castle is crawling with ingredients! Why did I bother with walking around the woods, putting myself at risk, when I could stock up right here? Without thinking twice about the red “hand” icon I’ve been seeing for the past few minutes, I snatch the flowers, just as I realize they are tagged as “bouquet of flowers”. Meaning they’re not an ingredient, but instead an object. Meaning I haven’t harvested the flowers. I’ve stolen them. From the castle throne room. Off the throne. Right in front of the Count. And his guards.