The body above there isn’t Lydia. But I probably should’ve taken it as an omen of things to come. I mean… There is weapon jutting out of his chest. And he is really quite dead. Presumably the two things are linked. In any case, I failed the heed the signs and continued onward into… *checks notes* …Volunruud.

The dead guy above had left a brief journal. In it, he suggested perhaps coming back with hired help. … But then he went on to suppose that the dead at rest here wouldn’t perhaps mind if he poked around a little bit. *sigh* Of course, as it turns out — I have little room to judge. I was given a quest off the back of the journal, and decided to see it through. You know; since I was there anyway. Not that this was related to anything the Companions asked me to do. Or anything remotely close to High Hrothgar. No, I was just out… wandering. Looking around.

To be fair, I partly went inside because outside was looking a bit like this:

Grey skies can still have a certain beauty to them — but I’m sure the driving rain isn’t so pleasant to be out and about in.

Whatever the reason — my task had become to collect two ceremonial weapons from within the barrow. Weapons which also pulled double duty as keys to the locked depths of this place.

Guarding each of the ceremonial weapons were Draughr of unusual strength compared to what I’d been up against so far. But neither posed too much challenge for the dynamic duo of Lydia and I!

So soon enough, we stood before the opening into the next section.

After unlocking the door — and being honest; not really giving much thought as to why it might’ve been locked — the quest updated to reflect I now needed to take out Kvenel the Tongue.

Turns out… This Kvenel fella? Quite a tough customer. And a ghost. With a tough Draughr also offering additional protection. My damage barely registered. Lydia seemed to be faring not much better. Still- with time, whittling this guy down seemed imminently possible.

But time wasn’t something Kvenel seemed overly inclined to give us. His own hits registered for huge chunks of my health when turned on me. And if we got out of range, he would summon a Frost Atronarch to keep us company.

Suffice to say — Lydia… didn’t make it.

I won’t lie. I was very tempted to reload and tell her to hang back. But this is my game world’s story now. It happened. So there was only really one remaining course of action… Avenge her!

Not actually the final battle. This was the first of the Ceremonial Weapons keepers. Not the front Draughr — the one at the back. Apparently I just forgot to take screenshots for the second half of the delve. Oops.

In any case, as I said before — Kvenel the Tongue was not going down without quite the battle. It was a matter of many potions consumed. Much running away and dancing around pillars. There might’ve even a bit of exploration around Kvenel’s leash range. Although incidentally, leash range isn’t an exact science as it turns out. Or else possibly Kvenel just had enough of my BS at some point, as he decided to race down the hall after me, with my big burly Orc emitting surprisingly high pitched squeals the whole way to the main chamber.

I had just enough potions and tricks up my sleeve to see the battle through though and collected my prize — two named weapons that deal frost damage on hit.

Worth Lydia’s life? Well… No. Probably not. Add insult to injury is the fact that I probably won’t even use these weapons are they’re 1Hers.

Heading back to where I first encountered Kvenel though, I did at least find a dragon wall and learned a new word revolving around Life. Might I one day bring Lydia back? Perhaps. I don’t know. For now the hope will have to do.