Posts about gaming

on the defiance of expectations in Epic Mickey

I love it when a game defies my expectations sufficiently to make me uncomfortable. If a game can make me feel discomfort, there's something worth considering there--something that merits deeper understanding. There are things that a game can say about the player that couldn't be said in any other medium, and sometimes the message is all the more effective when I'm caught vulnerably by my own assumptions.

My first experience with this kind of discomfort came during my first playthrough of Mass Effect 2. Near the end of the game Shepard--the protagonist and player character--has accumulated a band of compatriots toward a final mission to stop the Reapers; but just before that final mission, the ship's crew is abducted by the Collectors.

Mass Effect is a role-playing game, and understanding genre tropes is an important aspect of interpreting a work and its impact. Many fantasy role-playing games have a similar plot point: the hero has completed his preparations. He is near the end of his journey. The stakes have never been higher, and the situation is urgent: Meteor is about to crash into Midgar; Gannon is about to destroy Hyrule; or, as is the case in Mass Effect 2, the Reapers are preparing to consume all life in the galaxy.

But role-playing games have another trope: the side quest. These are typically available throughout the game; but the moment before the final climactic mission is the last chance in most RPGs to finish up any side-quests that have been left undone. In Mass Effect 2, side quests take the form of "loyalty missions"--character-specific missions that provide additional backstory and inter-personal context for the members of your cohort. Completing these missions also improves an invisible but important loyalty stat which affects how team members respond to Shepard.

I'm a bit of a completionist, so I took this opportunity before the final mission to complete all of these loyalty missions. I did this all while I poked fun at the video game tropes on display: the big bad, poised and ready to attack; we, the player character, traipsing about the galaxy on unrelated menial missions. After all: Meteor won't crash into Midgar until the plot is ready for it; Gannon never will destroy Hyrule; and the Collectors will wait around until Shepard is good and ready to face them.

But that's not what happens. When I finally did embark on the final mission to stop the Collectors and rescue the crew, we found only Dr. Chakwas alive.

They're gone. All of them. I'm the only one left.

I watched them die. They were... processed--rendered down into some kind of raw genetic paste and pumped through these tubes.

What took you so long, Shepard? You could have saved them if you'd gotten here sooner!

Dr. Chakwas' words are true. While I was taking my time maximizing a gamified loyalty stat, the game was monitoring my activities after the abduction of the crew. Leave immediately, and you may save them all; but the longer you wait, the more of them die.

With this, the game defies trope, and punishes the player for approaching the work as a simple genre piece. In reality, Shephard would never meander about, but would prioritize the mission and the retrieval of the crew. But it's just a game, right?

But it is the fact that it is a game that enables this experience. A character in a book won't die because you waited a week to read the last chapter; but in my Mass Effect, we lost the entire crew: named characters with backstories and interactions that had developed throughout the game. And the consequences don't end there, either: Mass Effect is a three-part series, and the death of these characters carries on even into the next game.

Mass Effect 2 expects you to care about its characters; and, if you don't--if you just play it like a video game, expecting it to behave like other video games--it punishes you for it by taking those characters away.

But even then, I never would have expected to feel this same defiance of expectation from Epic Mickey.

Epic Mickey could hardly be more different from Mass Effect. It's a third-person platforming character action game with light adventure elements. It's a children's game, contrasted with media hysteria regarding Mass Effect's "mature" content. More immediately, Mass Effect is a good game; and I definitely wasn't enjoying Epic Mickey.

But I have kids, and those kids were excited about Mickey, so I was playing through it as a social activity with them. I really wasn't taking it seriously: jump on the platforms; paint the environment with the magic paintbrush; mash "A" when characters talk to you; make "progress."

Not too far into the game, I ran into a character called "Small Pete," a rendition of a classic Disney character, "Pete," who often serves as the antagonist of a Mickey Mouse story.

I spent years getting' along with gremlins. Only had to knock 'em around on occasion. Then, the ONE TIME I crash my boat into their village, they seem to think I'm some kinda villain.

Not that I give two hoots what they think, but it WAS an accident. And my ship's log will prove it.

Those little monsters won't let me near the wreck to get it, though. Hmm... I'll bet they'd let you.

I was immediately suspicious of Small Pete's story (assuming I paid it any mind at all, beyond just mashing "A"); but we got a quest objective and moved on.

I continued jumping between platforms, tagging the environment, and mashing "A," until we met Gremlin Shaky.

Gremlin Shaky offers to trade a pin for Pete's ship's log

I smell treasure! You found it!

How's about you trade me that ship's log for a flashy new pin?

I still wasn't paying attention. Why would I? The platforming was mediocre. The characters were either flat or carbon-copies of each other. Each gremlin looks the same as all the others. So I interpreted this interaction with the same level of attention that I would pay to most collect-a-thon games:

"Oh, right. The ship's log. I guess I picked it up along the way. Pete wanted us to get that for him, right? What was that for, again? This must be the guy I'm supposed to give it to. And when I do I'll get a pin as a reward, eh? Ok, I guess it's a collectible, so I guess I'll do it."

Thank you very much. This will make excellent reading. Here's your pin.

But that wasn't all there was to it. Immediately after finishing the interaction I received a "quest failed" notification.

Quest Failed, find Small Pete's Ship's log

I kept playing, just accepting that I had failed the quest, and probably missed out on some minimal benefit. But something about the interaction bothered me. Small Pete seemed to be a character teetering on the edge of villany. He was willing to "knock 'em around on occasion"; but he seemed genuinely (if covertly) concerned with clearning his name. He wasn't a villain yet. He was a bully.

So you left my ship's log with those grubby gremlins, eh? Well, here's a little taste of what happens to those who cross me!

I had betrayed Small Pete. I hadn't done it out of malice. Worse: I had paid him no mind. He asked for help, and I ignored him. Eventually, I traded his name for a collectible pin I didn't even care about. In a literal sense, I had turned him into a villain: Small Pete had become a video-game boss, generating a combat encounter to punctuate the chapter.

I found myself considering what it would take to correct this mistaken path through the game's narrative. I had overwritten my save several times since I had given Pete's ship's log to Gremlin Shaky. I would have to start the game over from the beginning.

The very fact that I was considering it made me uncomfortable. I did not enjoy playing this game. But, for the sake of a fictional character as absurd as Small Pete, I was considering sacrificing some portion of my time in pursuit of his redemption.

I tell my kids that it's part of a parent's job to give them consequences that they can learn from and grow through, while protecting them from consequences that they can't recover from, if only for a time. In a small, but very real, way, Epic Mickey was that for me. I ignored a call for help. I was careless. A character was treated unjustly, and that injustice led him to embrace his own darker tendencies.

I never did go back and do right by Small Pete. In fact, I don't think I played the game again after that. I'm sure we were called down for dinner, and then distracted by another game I enjoyed playing more. But I still think about Small Pete, about the time I didn't pay enough attention, and about the consequences that might develop when I allow myself to become just a little bit more callous to the world around me.

session eleven | Oblivion

Nov. 13

I'm going to get wood for my mage's staff. It seems I have to go to a wood on the far side of Imperial City if I'm to obtain it. REally, these mages don't seem to have any trouble making everything into long and laborious tasks. I hope it shall be worth it.

On my way I discovered an invisible town with residents asking me to fix their problem for them. Of course. I suppose I shall return if I find I have nothing better to do.

I arrived at the cave for mage's staffs to discover the person I needed to find was dead and a necromancer in his place. I don't even know why I was surprised. No one in this place ever seems to have much of a handle on things. I found the man I needed dead, and also an unfinished staff. I guess there's nothing to do but take my news back to the University.

I took my staff back to the University and got a new fangled one which shoots fire! At least some usefulness has come of all this. I also sold off some more gear. I do wish there was a faster way to make money in this stupid country for someone like me who really doesn't have much time to settle down into anything in particular.

session ten | Oblivion

Fort Blueblood.

I have gone seeking after an amulet for the Leyawinn Recommendation for the Mage's guild. For Blueblood was full of Marauders and Mage's guarding the place. I am tired to continue on these annoying quests, but I hope that my goal will be well worth it. I found some chests of gold and fought off the inhabitants as I could.

Eventually I found that the body and Amulet I sought were guarded by a Mage angry with the leader at Lewalwinn. He wished merely to hide it from her in order to unseat her. How ridiculously petty and annoying. I am not sure why I should make a better Mage by completely tasks such as these for these people. At least the tasks are easy, if trivial and time wasting.

Now back to Dagail with her father's Amulet.

Dagail was very happy to receive the Amulet and to see an end to her visions. Yay for her, I suppose. One more recommendation is mine. On to the next banal quest for these useless people. I hope that becoming a mage does not make everyone so annoyingly trivial.

I sold off the Dwarven Armor which I had found in the Fort. I got a very nice price for it. I feel slightly mollified at that waste of time. I also went on to sell my other items and purchase.

I have reached the guild hall in Cheydenhall. I have been sent to retrieve a ring from a well behind the place. It is as if they had heard me complaining and decided to make their requests even more demanding and annoying. The guild leader is quite terse and seems to think this task is difficult. He probably threw zombies in the well or some such. This should be interesting, or at the very least, time wasting.

The ring was merely a trap to lure me into drowning in the well. It was a good thing that I had my magical water breathing necklace. I had to unburden myself of some of my things before I could pick up the amazingly heavy thing, but I managed it. Falcar, however, the good for nothing that assigned me the task has escaped without helping me as he said he might. I must either find a recommendation he left behind or seek the man himself to force his hand.

It seems that Deetre or whatever the woman's name is who ousted Falcar, is willing to write my recommendation herself. Upon finding black soul gems in the man's room and reporting to her, I was able to receive this promise and the assurance that it would be what I needed.

After I left the mage's guild, I found a man who's brother I had met awhile back. He rejoiced, not knowing that his brother was alive at all. He invited me to Chorrol to celebrate, and I intend to go and see if their is some sort of reward for supplying this information.

I went to Bruma. I found a woman there who sent me to quest after her and her lovers gold hoard. She wants me to get the location from him in jail and then reveal it to her. HA! More like get the location and never set foot near her again. Ah, gold.

Got the gold gold the gold! A guard in the jail double crossed everyone and killed off the woman for me. As both of the couple are out of the way, and a guard did all the evil I was free to help myself to the loot with no guilt or trouble. If only it had been more than a measly 40 coin.

Fjotreid in Bruma has an 81 point disposition with me. It is a good place to sell my goods.

On to the Bravil Mage's guild. I hope I shall not have to do to many more of these quests…I had to restore a staff that a lovestruck mage stole from his woman, blah blah blah. I Beguiled the man who bought it in Imperial city and bought it back. I hate that I gave up 200 good gold for this. This recommendation had really better be worth it now.

Now I'm helping the Mage Guild leader find a friend. Why do I do these things? He is trapped in a dream world and I must release him. What is the solution? It seems I most join him in the dreamworld. I am not sure why his friend could not do it, but this task is at least, interesting.

I got the man out of his dream. Blech, barely a reward. On to Arcane University!

session nine | Oblivion

I decided to check out Fort Carmala. There are zombies nailed outside the door, so the thought of what may be inside is chillind indeed--but I'm feeling adventurous. I found a dead treasure hunter inside the door, which cannot have been a good sign. Alas, upon entering I was set up on by zombies and vampires. There were so many I could not hope to fight them off and fled.

I returned to Skingrad where I was warned about that strange fellow who wanted me to meet him behind the chapel. I also talked to many in the mage's guild about that recommendation to the University. It seems I need to look in a cave to the northwest to find the man I need.

I turned the creepy man named Glarthir down and left for Bleak Flats cave. I found the cave infested with zombies. No wonder this man has not been in town for awhile! I hate those stupid things. They are so quick and hard to take down. He's most likely been trapped in this cave for awhile now. I can't even keep track of how many I have killed.

I found Erthor hiding in a corner of the cave. I wanted to steal his things and leave, stupid man hiding in a zombie cave and not even being able to take care of himself! I doubt he could have stopped me, but I seem to have gained an aversion to such things since I've started this quest. If I get arrested, the entire world could fall down around my ears and then where would I be? I best leave thieving for after the Deadre are taken care of. For now I shall be honest in only looting abandoned things and dead men. I returned to Skingrad with Erthor and gained my recommendation. Too bad there are so many left to get.

I continued on to Imperial City. I found Baurus, who told me that someone was following him. He led me to a private store room where he was attacked by his follower! I quickly killed the man which left Baurus free to talk. He directed me to the Arcane University to talk to Far- Meena about the Mystic Dawn cult. She told me to find more of the books about the cult (I had taken the first edition off the man I had killed). I went to the bookstore in town. The shop keeper told me they had the book, but that it had been promised to another. When that man showed up to claim the book, I followed him quietly out of the store. Unfortunately, he became aware of me; however, that did not damage my intimidation skills at all.

Gwinas gave up the book as soon as I told him the cult was behind the murder of the Emperor. I went back to to Baurus who led me to the secret meeting Gwinas had set up with the cult. After a long trek through sewers and killing a whole host of vermin and several goblins, we came to the place. I promised Baurus I would see him out alive, but he did not seem so certain.

I hid around a corner to watch the cult members show up, but they came from an unexpected place! Seeing that I would be quickly discovered, I took a shot at the leader and a skirmish began. Baurus and I managed to kill the cult members with both of our necks intact, but the battle was fierce. I can see why Baurus had been worried for his life as he took the worst of it. I found the 4th book and Baurus ran off without so much as a thank you. It was strange, after the way I had saved him... I made my way out of the sewers and back into the light of the Emperial City.

session eight | Oblivion

I dropped off more equipment at the castle and took the time and safety afforded by its walls (despite its history) to make use of the many herbs and other ingredients that I had collected thus far. With the alchemical equipment I had just plundered from the small ruin held by Diedre cultists. I prepared not a few potions for myself, and poisons for my arrows.

Wandering about outside for the remainder of the day, I happened upon another nirnroot. Perhaps I will satisfy the Skingrad alchemist after all!


Andi wanted to play Oblivion ever since she heard someone mention it on Loading Ready Run. I've wanted to play it, too; but neither of us wanted to put the isolated time required into finishing such a long, in-depth game. (Especially since I got it on Steam, so it's not something you can just sit down and play in the living room.)

Our solution has been to play together, on the same character. We're taking turns alternating playing and taking notes, and we're posting the results (for better or for worse) here.

session seven | Oblivion

We headed into Bruma with very little incident. Thank the 9. I thought for sure we'd be set upon again by something or other. Nothing has gone particularly smooth up to this point. In Bruma I stopped to sleep a bit and do some errands. I joined the mage's guild and learned of opportunities to join the Arcane University with the proper recommendation. I will have to visit every mage's guild in the country an do various tasks, but it might just be worth it.

I didn't dally long in Bruma as I was eager to drop off Martin and Jaufree. I felt so exposed with them tagging behind me. All of Oblivion would see them dead! The Blades were eager to receive us, and to receive Martin as their new Emperor. Martin himself seemed rather uncomfortable with the situation, but tried his best. I think he will except what has been thrust upon him, but he definitely hasn't had royal upbringing. He gave a simple, albeit awkwardly phrased, speech to the men. I think he will grow into it. I spoke to him after and he hinted at a somewhat dark past, but what is that to me? I carry my own secrets and yet I defend the entire Empire and carry their safety on my shoulders. I do not know if I will complete the task, but there is honor in that.

Jaufree invited me to join the Blades, but I have put him off for now. Maybe another day. For now, I have all the burdens I can handle. I decided to seek out nearby Frostcrag Spire for respite and peace before I move on to my next task. I think I may also try my hand at some alchemy. I stayed at Olav's for the night to rest and seek wisdom on all that has transpired.

The next morning I rode to Frostcrag. My horse is amazingly adept at finding ways up sheer cliffs! He climbs places when I think he should be tumbling straight down to his death! It was terrifying, but a very useful talent to have in a horse. Frostcrag Spire itself was a treasure! It is the perfect place for any mage. I should definitely work to advance my craft! The garden is quite extensive and I have managed to gather a rare root called Nirnroot. I should inquire more about it with alchemists. I warped from Frostcrag spire to the Imperial City. Upon asking their alchemist, I was directed to Skingrad about the Nirnroot. Afterwards, I decided to wander from the city for some adventuring.

I found a small ruin infested with Skeletons and full of Welkynd Stones. The skeletons were easy to kill and the stones very valuable indeed. It was a good find. I wandered from there to another ruin guarded by mages and the same sorts of creatures that the Diedre use. I decided they must be hiding something sinister, and possibly things of value. I think the Sorcerer's themselves were in fact participating in some sort of Diedre worship. The books and items they kept made my skin crawl. I managed to kill a slew of them, all untrustworthy folk and more of those creatures. I found many items of sorcery as I expected and items for potion making. I also wandered across a poor dead treasure hunter. I hoped that it was the sorcerer's I had killed who killed him, and hastened from the cave. I did a little underground swimming, but felt nervous the entire time. Something didn't feel right there.

I left the ruins, relieved to be in daylight, and went on to Skingrad. I inquired about the price of housing, but was turned away. People seem to be protective of their realestate in this town. I inquired about Nirnroot and was asked to collect 9 more samples in order to make an explorer's elixer of sorts. I shall think on it. It may be worth my right. I visited to Mage's guild for recommendation and was given more petty tasks. This recommendation is silly and based on the laziness of the local mages!

I sold many of my goods in town and did my best haggling. I shall have to try to get better yet. I moved on to Battle horn Castle to lighten my load and leave many of the valuables I have found on my journey. It is getting to be too heavy and I need to make room for new finds!

session six | Oblivion

I was almost out of arrows as we entered Kvatch; but there was no time to resupply: it's time to drive out the stragglers! I downed a few potions to recover from my brief delve into Oblivion, while we ran up the hill.

We prevailed against initial forces, besting a few scamps and a daedre. Savlian Matius led us into the chapel to search for survivors; hopefully also the heir.

Amidst the few huddled survivors I found brother Martin. I pulled him aside and tried to explain the situation, but he was noticeably shaken by recent events, and mostly heard a vague indication that the horror that had befallen him and his might be on his account. Before he knew what was happening, I'm sure, I had dragged him behind me, and headed out the door toward Weynon Priory.

Martius stopped me before I left, requesting further aid in retaking Kvatch; but how could I drop this task with Martius at my side? Not when I was so close to putting this whole mess behind me. No: I must head to the Priory.

On the way down the hill, we met a patrolman heading our way. I didn't dare to share with him the real purpose of our journey, but he had already heard of me time spent in Oblivion: how I had close the gate at Kvatch. He stayed with us for a time, and for once, I was glad of the presence of the guard. If only he knew that he may be escorting the future emperor... but no: we cannot risk exposure at this stage.

On the journey, Martin displayed considerable proficiency through a few minor skirmishes with beasts and the like. Nothing too threatening, but it was enough to redeem his display in Kvatch. I suppose the gates of Oblivion opening into your home would disturb most: he should not be judged on that alone.

Ernor met us on the road to Weynon Priory to inform us of an attack that was underway! Though the incumbents appeared as heavily armored soldiers, as they were struck down (as they were wont to do under our force) their armor and weapons vanished, revealing more of the same men that I had fought with the emperor!

We found Jaufree in the chapel, fighting of a band of assassins that had surrounded him. He led us to a safe house where he had stored the amulet of kings; but it had been stolen!

The Priory was no longer safe: we took mounts (I that of the fallen Prior Maborel) and headed to Cloud ruler Temple, where Jaufree hoped Martin might be safe.

session four | Oblivion

I headed toward Battlehorn castle where I assisted in defense from a pack of marauding bandits. For my troubles, I was given ownership of the fortification. How troubled must these people be, that they would turn their livelihood over to me for so small a thing? Of course, ownership comes not as a boon, but as an implied responsibility: now they expect me to restore this heap to its alleged once greatness, all by the weight of my own coin. And for what? To provide a cushy home for men that couldn't even defend themselves in battle?

And to top it all off, my horse rode off (taking my new armor with it) during the fight.

I spent some time examining my acquisition, but nothing changed my first impression. There is a blacksmith here, but he presumes to still charge for his services? Are his rates even any better than those in the market?

Back on foot once again, I headed back to Chorral to unload some of the spoils of the conflict on the market. On the way, I discovered a fallen mage in the road, his horse standing by the presumably fresh kill. He had a tome on him... a spell called "burdening touch" seemed interesting enough... but not much else. Typical enough for a mage, I suppose. The guard at Chorral didn't take too kindly to me riding into town on the mage's horse, though. The way I see it, he didn't need it any longer; but I still find little use arguing with the soldiers: they have their uses, too.

Rumors throughout the town seemed to be centered on this woman named Bruiant. I tracked her down, but her demeanor didn't mesh well with mine. By the end of it, it took some coin for her to quiet down. No matter: I don't see what all the fuss was about.

Twice robbed of my horse, I checked at the stables to see what was available; but all available were far beyond my means. I wonder if they'll take a money pit of a castle in trade?

Back in Weynon Priory, Brother Piner gave me a copy of "The warp in the West" and told me of the close relationship between his order and the Blades. Mundane stuff, really: it's not as though this wasn't already apparent.

By his father's request, I met up with Rallus Odiil to defend their settlement from marauding goblins or some other such monster. Though they fought valiantly, the brothers fell in battle: I alone survived to bring the news of the fight to their father. Valius took the news hard, and left to prepare for his sons' burial.

session five | Oblivion

I have decided to head to Kvatch to continue with my most important quest. I seem to be side tracked very easily. This could not have been illustrated any more clearly to me than in a cave I found on the WAY to Kvatch. The spoils were quite good, but the creatures inside were almost not worth the trouble. I believe the cave is known as the Wind Cave. It was absolutely crawling with Imps! Fearsome little creatures. I got into such a tizzy trying to rid the cave of them that they had me horribly exhausted and bleeding beyond a state I should have let myself get into in such a cave. Clean forgot about my healing potions! Oh well, I made off with some money and jewels and left. I also got some very nice new magical clothing which I believe will come in handy.

I left the cave and scouted across the wilderness trying to work on my potions ingredients store. I thought it would be a quiet trip, but no less than 3 bears pursued me in one afternoon! Not long after, I found a farmer who said the bears had been terrorizing his flock. He offered mea reward to kill at least 3 more and present him with evidence. I did that and more. Stupid things. Even after I'd killed six 2 or 3 more sill managed to find me. If I didn't thin the bear population enough after that, there's no hope because they are magical bears sprouting from the fields like daisies and will soon over run us all. Stupid beasts. The farmer only gave me a book, but I suppose knowledge is power and it wasn't much trouble at that. Blasted beasts were hunting me anyway.

I went on and found all sorts of ruins in the country side. Also, a few alters that gave me a sort of chilled, but good feeling. I stopped and prayed. I don't know if anyone was listening, but I guess it couldn't hurt and any extra aid, even the possibility of it, is appreciated. After a stretch of peace, I happened upon a large ruin of a chapel. It looked to be the sort of place that could hold some real value, so I thought I'd explore it a bit. I found some goblins outside frying fish. People in this part of the country call them "bitter-fish goblins." They smelled it too. I dispatched them without too much trouble and took some small trinkets from their stores. Then I went to explore the building beneath the ruins. Nothing could have convinced me to give up treasure hunting for awhile more effectively than what I found. ZOMBIES! I whole horde! It was awful! I always thought zombies would be hulking and slow, but these were lightening fast and stronger than anything I had encountered before them. I turned around and ran as fast as I could. I shook most of them off, but one followed me! It took forever to kill and hurt me something awful. I will have revenge one day! But for now, I think I shall leave the zombies to adventurers stronger than I.

I continued on to the plateaued city of Kvatch. Just down the main road leading up to the city, I found a man nearly out of his mind in terror! He grabbed me and told me of a terrifying tale of gateways opening into Oblivion. OBLIVION! It gave me shivers just thinking about the possibilities. Apparently there are already those who would stop Martin from reaching the throne. I was hoping it had not been discovered so soon. I ran up the road to find more frightened refugees, and at the top a smoldering window into Oblivion itself! Soldiers were doing everything they could to kill anything coming out, but the troops looked ragged and exhausted. In a moment of insanity I agreed to go into the portal to look for lost soldiers and to close the gate. I don't know what possessed me...

Inside, I found one lone soldier and a pit of hell every bit as bad as anything I'd ever imagined. The soldier agreed to help me as we were set upon by the devilish creatures within. The Daedre themselves were more frightening still! Huge beasts with bows and war hammers. It was a blessing to find out that my cold touch had particular effect on them. I don't know what I would have done otherwise. I spent most of my arrows getting through that nightmare and I feared my magic and sword skills would not be enough. At one point, I faced so many enemies that I jumped from a bridge to a small ledge over a terrifying height jut to get away. It was madness! I should have died! Remarkably, the stupid creatures tried to follow me and fell to the terrifying depths below. It was a miracle. I could never have defeated them all. Unfortunately, I lost the soldier who followed me (who I think also fell) and was unable to lead anyone out. But, I did close the gate. I more heroic feat I have never attempted. I can't believe I did it. I tried to take some of the fearsome weapons and armor I found on the Daedre within, but they were far too heavy. I did however, bring some of their hearts. A gruesome thing, but they must be invaluable in potions. Right?

The soldiers were glad to see my victory and led me to fight any straggling enemies in the city... I don't know how much help I'll be with so few arrows. I'll look to the cold touch again.