Posted at 11.47 on 4th December
Time played: 3 hours
Moving away from the strange Earth Stone as fast as possible, it's time for us to explore the rest of Raven Rock. In the centre of town we head into The Retching Netch pub, where we find Teldryn Sero who claims to be "the best swordsman in all of Morrowind." We're short of a follower at the moment so we hand over 500 gold to secure his services.
Downstairs we find the owner Geldis Sadri who tells us an amusing anecdote about how The Retching Netch got its 'interesting' name, before handing over 10 samples of his famous Sujamma drink and asking us to distribute them to potential customers in the area, kicking off a small side quest.
Back outside we head to the other end of town and locate The Bulwark, which we discover after entering is the barracks for the local Redoran Guard. Inside it's pretty sparse, but on some shelves at the far end we spot a full set of Bonemold armour just waiting to be liberated. After checking the guards aren't watching us we swipe the lot and slip in on, giving us a small increase in our armour rating.
The last location to visit in this area is the Raven Rock mine, which we head into and meet with an arguing couple. By speaking to them we learn the mine is owned by the East Empire Company, the largest trading company in Tamriel, and the man's great-grandfather was investigating a strange discovery on their behalf when he went missing almost 200 years ago.
The Company claimed his great-grandfather was lost in a rock fall, but the man thinks something more sinister is at work as the section of mine in question has since been locked off. He found the key in his great-grandfather's possessions but doesn't know where the entrance is, so we take it and agree to investigate.
Heading down the mine we fight off a handful of Frostbite Spiders before reaching what seems to be a dead end, however after a few swings of our warhammer we discover that the planks of wood blocking the way ahead are loose and we break through to the other side. There's a gate here which our mine key unlocks, and we press on further into the mine.
Here we face off against a number of Draugrs, at which point our follower Teldryn uses flame magic and summons allies to help in the fight - clearly we made a good choice in hiring him! We also find a deposit of Stalhrim, a new material, in the area but apparently we need an Ancient Nordic Pickaxe to mine it so we have to leave it for now.
Continuing on we find some soul gems set on altars which blast us with shocks when we get close, and we have to grab them to stop their attacks before our health is completely drained. Then we pass through an iron door and encounter several Draugr Deathlords, who use shouts as well as ebony weapons to assault us and prove tough opponents.
With our foes defeated we press on, avoiding several spike and arrow traps along the way, before following a narrow rock passageway which eventually opens into an expansive cavern with a large door covered in strange glowing runes on the far side. With no steps down from the passageway on our side we're at the point of no return, so with a deep breath we step forward and drop off the ledge...
Posted at 09.23 on 4th December
Time played: 1 hour
With the new Dragonborn DLC downloaded and installed, we're off on another Skyrim adventure. After heading to the nearest city it's not long before a pair of Cultists wearing strange masks confront us, announcing that the 'true Dragonborn' has sent them to deal with our 'lies' before launching into an attack.
Once dispatched, we search their bodies and read the Cultists' Orders, which tell us they have sailed from Raven Rock to kill the False Dragonborn (us) before we can reach Solstheim in order to please someone (or something) named Miraak. The note reveals their ship landed in Windhelm, so we head to the docks there straight away.
After locating the vessel we speak to the captain Gjalund Salt-Sage, who initially refuses to sail back to Solstheim due his previous experiences there. However after telling him the Cultists he brought over tried to kill us, he is persuaded to take us there to figure out what's going on and we set sail immediately.
As we arrive at the docks we get our first look at the settlement of Raven Rock, and its domed, almost chitinous buildings look quite different to anything we've seen before. We are greeted as an 'Outlander' and informed that we are now in Morrowind, where Raven Rock is a Dunmer (or Dark Elves) settlement.
Heading into the town we encounter a Redoran Guard wearing Bonemold armour, a new form of heavy armour with a scaly appearance - perhaps we will be able to craft some of our own once we progress further. Straight ahead of us are some stairs leading up to a large Temple, so we make that our first port of call.
Inside we talk to the Elder who tells us they are unable to use the Ancestral Tombs below as they are infested with Ash Spawn - this sounds like a quest to us, so we offer our assistance and head into the tombs. Immediately we are attacked by these new enemies, who not only have weapons that engulf us in flames but also launch fireball spells at us!
We try to put up a valiant fight but there are so many of them that we're soon overwhelmed, and after a couple of defeats we decide to put that quest on hold and explore more of the town. We ask everyone we meet if they know who Miraak is, and although they seem to recognise the name no-one can give us a definitive answer. Instead they give vague responses, referring in some cases to memories of dreams and visions - something strange is going on.
We head towards a large glowing object we spot in the distance, which is revealed to be the Earth Stone when we get close. Workers who seem to be in a trance-like state, repeating the same mantra over and over again, are constructing something around it. We move in and interact with the Earth Stone, at which point we black out.
When we come to, we find ourselves toiling away on construction with the rest of the workers and hear a deep voice speaking the same mantra they are reciting. Could this be the voice of Miraak controlling us all? By moving away we are able to break free from this power but it's clear that the others are not so strong-willed.
What is this strange force that's controlling the people of Raven Rock? Who, or indeed what is Miraak, and what are they trying to accomplish? Hopefully we will start to uncover answers to these questions as our quest continues...