An Illusionist in Skyrim, part 9: Real Warriors

Tom Francis at

This is the diary of me attempting to play Skyrim using only Illusion magic: I'm not allowed any weapons, armour, or magical items, and I can't attack anyone directly. The first entry is here, or you can see all entries to date here.

Back on the road, we're still a long walk from *clears throat* Korvanjund. But the coast is clear, and we arrive in one piece by nightfall. There's a group of Imperial soldiers gathered outside the ruin, so I run up to them. Legate Rikke is addressing the men, and Hadvar, the man who saved me from Helgen while I hid behind furniture, is among them.

"I'm glad you're here," he says. "I'll feel a lot better going into that place with your at my side." I've done absolutely nothing to earn his bizarre confidence in me, but actually he's right: he will feel better, because I now have Courage, a spell that brainwashes people into feeling good about risking their lives for me.

We're here for the Jagged Crown, but the Stormcloak rebels got here first. They're halfway through the ruin, so we've got to storm it to stop them before they get to it.

"Let's show them what real warriors look like!" Rikke yells. I straighten my dress and stroll forth.

The troops rush ahead and clash with the Stormcloaks on the steps leading down to the ruins. I can't do much to help except Courage them - I'm basically a cheerleader.

As soon as we get inside, a group of Stormcloaks come at us. Before we clash, I hit one with Calm spell. He stops, annoyed, and says "Hey!" - then wanders off while his friends are slaughtered.

I see Belrand smash one in the face with the hand of his axe, then choke him with it, then leap into the air bury it in another, killing him with one blow. If the Stormcloaks had thought to hire some dude from a bar, they'd be winning this war.

Belrand's still nice enough to leave Calmed Stormcloaks alone, but the Imperials have no such scruples - the one I pacified is slaughtered before the spell wears off.

I've levelled up enough on the journey here that my Calm spell works on everyone, so I feel safe to scout ahead a bit. I dash past several groups of Stormcloaks, Calming anyone who gets close but mostly slipping by without a fight.

I only stop when I hit a door with an ancient combination lock. The solution's engraved on a claw right in front of it, but before I can start rotating the dials, a Stormcloak catches up with me. I hit him with Calm, but now I've got to unlock this thing before it wears off.

In my haste, I accidentally jam the claw-key in before I've aligned the dials correctly. There's a rush of air, and poison darts shoot from both walls behind me in rapid volleys. None of them hit me. Several hundred of them hit the Calmed Stormcloak who was ambling cluelessly around behind me. He collapses. Problem solved!

Next:a close shave