Merriment and Mystery [Quest]

Faction: Ebonheart Pact
Province: Skyrim
Location: Eastmarch
Required Level: 36

Text of the Quest:

I wandered into Cragwallow, a small settlement used by the Skald-King's royal work crews. After a lot of hard work maintaining the roads, they're preparing to throw a party.

Frirvid Coldstone: Hail and well met.
Hero: What are you doing out here?
Frirvid Coldstone: Taking a break, waiting for some friends. I'm a royal road worker. Do you appreciate the flat, even roads throughout Eastmarch? You can thank us for those. We've earned a little relaxation. We're throwing a celebration in Cragwallow.
Hero: A celebration? That sounds like fun.
Frirvid Coldstone: You should join us! It'll be a night to remember. We even have a bard! He was passing by and agreed to perform at the party. Go talk to Berj Stoneheart, right up the road. He's our overseer. I'm sure he'll let you crash the party.
Hero: I'll speak to Berj about attending the party.

Berj Stoneheart: Another traveler wanders in. But you don't look like a bard.
Hero: I heard the royal work crew needs a break.
Berj Stoneheart: You've got that right! We work hard and we relax harder. You're welcome to join us. A bard wandered into camp right before you, so we'll have music as well as mead! A
Hero: nything I can do to help?
Berj Stoneheart: The cooks, Kalogar and Heggvir, are arguing over what to serve for the party. They're up near the main hall. Kalogar favors steaks. Heggvir wants to make goat stew. They want me to choose, but I hate to pick favorites. You decide.
Hero: Is the goat stew tasty?
Berj Stoneheart: Goat stew is delicious, full of meat, potatoes, and not too many vegetables. Heggvir is a pretty good cook. She'll probably need your help getting some of the ingredients for her stew, though.
Hero: Do you like steak?
Berj Stoneheart: Of course I like steak. I'm a Nord, aren't I? That's all Kalogar really knows how to cook. Bear steaks, usually. He'll probably need your help getting the meat.
Hero: Is the goat stew tasty?
Heggvir Sun-Hair: Taste this. I think it needs a pinch more salt.
Hero: Berj told me to decide which meal to serve at the party.
Heggvir Sun-Hair: Oh, did he? I'm sure he'd want something extraordinary for the party. Not just a slab of meat that's burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. Something worthy of a chef of my caliber. A savory goat stew would do the trick.
Hero: What would you need for your stew?
Heggvir Sun-Hair: One of the wild goats that wander around the area. They eat the flowers and sweet grasses during the spring and summer. It makes them so delicious.
Hero: Goat stew sounds fine.
Heggvir Sun-Hair: Wonderful! Here. If you feed this herb to a goat and pet it, it will follow you around like a lost puppy. Lead it back here and I'll take care of the rest. The amazing aroma of the simmering stew will have mouths watering throughout Cragwallow.

Heggvir Sun-Hair: Well, you did find a cute little goat for the main course.
Hero: Here's the goat you wanted.
Heggvir Sun-Hair: Look at it! So adorable. So plump. And so delicious! I'll start cooking right away. One more thing. Berj wants more mead. Would you talk to Ralduf Wolf-Kin? You'll find him by the storeroom where we keep the mead. He has the key.
Hero: I'll go find Ralduf.

Ralduf Wolf-Kin: What do you want?
Hero: The cooks said you have the key to the storeroom. Goodbye.
Ralduf Wolf-Kin: Key? What key? Oh, what's the use! It wasn't their fault. They didn't mean to take it! I won't say any more. I won't tattle on my friends.
Hero: I'm confused. What are you talking about?
Ralduf Wolf-Kin: The key is lost. But I know where it is. Sort of. One of my wolf friends snatched it off my belt. Swallowed it in one gulp. I refuse to kill them for a key. They are beautiful, noble creatures. A woman who once loved me treated them as kin.
Hero: You view the wolves as friends?
Ralduf Wolf-Kin: I do! If you had known Oda and seen her among the wolves ... well, you would look at them differently, too. She was blessed by Kyne and the wolves were always gentle around her. She taught me to respect them. Ah, my fair Oda.
Hero: Unfortunately, we need that key.
Ralduf Wolf-Kin: Do what you must then. They ran to the north. They're probably not far. Ah, my noble friends. I can't bear to watch this.

Berj Stoneheart: Looks like you've been busy!
Hero: Here's some more mead for the party.
Berj Stoneheart: Thanks for all your help. Now relax and have some fun. The party's already started! You know, we could use some music, though.
Hero: I thought there was a bard here.
Berj Stoneheart: Oh, there is. He's the one not dressed like a royal worker. He's upstairs, last I checked. Why don't you go up and ask him to play us a song.
Hero: Do you throw these celebrations often?
Berj Stoneheart: As often as we can! The Skald-King himself sends the mead to us on a regular basis. Likes to keep his workers happy. Good man, King Jorunn. Shor bless him.
Hero: Are there other camps like Cragwallow?
Berj Stoneheart: Here and there. These camps are well built and well maintained. Great places to rest when the weather turns ugly.

Valding the Bard: A fine gathering. A fine gathering, indeed.
Hero: Everyone's hoping to hear a song or two.
Valding the Bard: I suppose I have made them wait long enough. I like to build anticipation in my audience. Makes the reaction that much better.
Hero: So you'll play for us now?
Valding the Bard: Yes, yes. It's time. A bard must always gauge the audience. You want them relaxed, receptive. If they are too deep in their cups, they can't appreciate the wonderful tones of my lute.

Arvild Gray-Sky: I need to figure out what happened here. My friends deserve answers.
Hero: I don't know what happened.
Arvild Gray-Sky: I'm the overseer for the royal work crews in this area. When I left for Windhelm a few days ago, my workers were hale and whole. Now I come back to find many of them cut down and the rest injured and confused. I need answers!
Hero: I must have blacked out.
Arvild Gray-Sky: You and anyone else who survived whatever happened here. I need to report to the Jarl. How did you end up in Cragwallow?
Hero: The workers invited me to join their celebration.
Arvild Gray-Sky: My gut tells me you aren't responsible. No injuries, but you seem to be recovering your wits well enough. Help me investigate what happened. Talk to some of the survivors. Let's see if we can piece together recent events.
Hero: I'll talk to some of the survivors.

Jemaar Red-Boot: I want to catch whoever's responsible for this.
Hero: Did you see who attacked you?
Jemaar Red-Boot: One pint of mead. Not even. Half a pint at best. My memory is all hazy. I sang along with the bard. His lute was just enchanting! Next thing I know, I wake up, covered in wounds. It's a mystery!
Hero: But did you see anything?
Jemaar Red-Boot: Such a blur. I might have seen ... things ... moving around. Not quite human, but too small to be trolls. Not ice wraiths, either. Those things leave ice all over the place. Yes, that's it. We were attacked by small, not-quite human ... things.

Saborm Windcatcher: My head aches and everything looks blurry.
Hero: Arvild Gray-Sky asked me to investigate what happened. Goodbye.
Saborm Windcatcher: No, it was just a normal pie. Apple, I think. Oh. Sorry, I'm still a bit fuzzy. I think there might have been a brawl outside. Maybe someone got into a fight?
Hero: I'll find whoever did this.

Borahild Winter-Run: Why would anyone attack Cragwallow?
Hero: Did you see what happened?
Borahild Winter-Run: No, no. We were singing. The bard was playing. I think I saw you singing along, too.
Hero: Who was screaming? The attackers or the workers?
Borahild Winter-Run: It's all so confusing. But now that you mention it, perhaps it was more like shrieking. Like some kind of angry creature swooping in for the kill.
Hero: Can you remember anything else?
Borahild Winter-Run: No, I wish I could. That poor bard, I think I remember him yelling, too.

Arvild Gray-Sky: Everyone seems confused. Did you find out anything at all?
Hero: People remember having fun, then listening to the bard. Then they were attacked.
Arvild Gray-Sky: In a haze of memories, that bard and his music stand out like the sun on a clear winter's day. But where is he? I don't see a bard among the living or the dead.
Hero: We need to find that bard.
Arvild Gray-Sky: I agree. Search the area and see if you can find him. People remember music and the bard is missing. A coincidence? Maybe, but I don't like the sound of it. I'll stay here to help the wounded and keep watch over the camp.
Hero: I'll find the bard.

Vestrek Raven-Eye: There was nothing I could do.
Hero: I'm looking for Valding the Bard.
Vestrek Raven-Eye: I'm one of the royal workers. I followed the creatures that dragged off the bard. Rieklings, unless I miss my guess. They haven't been seen around these parts in years. There were too many of the foul creatures. I couldn't help him.
Hero: Where did they take him?
Vestrek Raven-Eye: Into that cave. I never even knew there was a cave up here. He was still alive when they dragged him in there. The goblins seemed excited about something.
Hero: Have you searched the cave?
Vestrek Raven-Eye: I'm a road worker, not a soldier. I'm not going to walk into a den of rieklings. That would be suicide! Whatever has the rieklings so riled up probably led to the attack on Cragwallow. I hope you can save the bard and figure out what's going on.
Hero: I'll search the cave.

Valding the Bard: Get me out of here!
Hero: Are you all right?
Valding the Bard: No, I'm not all right! These creatures dragged me here after slaughtering half the workers in Cragwallow.
Hero: You remember what happened. Why doesn't anyone else?
Valding the Bard: Well. About that. I'm not actually a bard. I found the lute. It's enchanted. I play a few notes and my audience falls asleep. They wake up later, a little confused, a little groggy, and missing some gold or an item or two. Perfectly safe.
Hero: People died because of your lute!
Valding the Bard: I had no idea it would attract rieklings. They placed it on that altar-thing over there. Their chief seems to like to look at it. He keeps coming in. Makes me nervous how he stares at me.
Hero: The lute should be destroyed. te
Valding the Bard: But it's... well, I suppose you're right. Go ahead and destroy it. Then we can get out of here. You're going to have to get the key from the riekling chieftain to let me out of this cage. You are going to let me out, aren't you?

Valding the Bard: You got the key? Open the cage!
Hero: I'm not sure what I should do with you.
Valding the Bard: What? You wouldn't leave me in here? I had no idea the lute would attract the rieklings! It never did before! And I never wanted the workers to get hurt. I'm not a violent person.
Hero: If you promise to surrender yourself to the royal workers. I'll open the cage.
Valding the Bard: I'm not a criminal! Well, not a dangerous criminal. All right. I swear by the snow on my mother's grave, I'll turn myself in.

Valding the Bard: I'm very sorry about what happened.
Hero: You promised to surrender yourself to the royal workers.
Valding the Bard: Yes, of course. I did promise. I don't suppose I could just promise to find a new line of work? Then we can just skip the part that requires me to surrender.
Hero: No.
Valding the Bard: All right, all right. I'll go back to Cragwallow and tell the royal workers what happened.
Hero: Tell them the truth.
Valding the Bard: I may not be the most honest Nord, but I promised I would surrender myself to the royal workers if you got me away from the rieklings. And I will. I never intended for anyone to get hurt. I'll stay away from enchanted items from now on.
Hero: Complete Quest.

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