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I’m playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim again, and I don’t care who knows it. Despite the fact I do truly believe it’s ridiculous how many times Bethesda has released this game in the last decade, I lined up with the other suckers , paid for my copy of Anniversary Edition, and spent the weekend back in the coldest reaches of Tamriel.
Maybe I’m a damn fool, but I don’t care. Every single time I replay Skyrim, I’m guaranteed to come across something brand-new. Something I never noticed was there before. And that’s not even factoring in the many, many mods, to be clear. The vanilla experience alone is still substantial enough, ten years later.
It’s the level of detail found across the world that’s really striking. Bethesda makes clever use of carefully placed items throughout its many locations to tell stories that even the many books and hundreds of lines of dialogue never even hint at. One such recent discovery makes Skyrim’s most evil character way, way worse than we originally assumed her to be.
Grelod The Kind is a name that will be familiar to most Skyrim fans. She’s the woman that runs the orphanage at Riften, and the first target of all players hoping to pursue the Dark Brotherhood questline. Grelod, we’re told, is abusive and cruel to the children of the orphanage - so much so that it drives one small child to perform a dangerous ritual to summon the Dark Brotherhood in an attempt to get rid of her.
The true extent of Grelod’s cruelty is never fully revealed, most likely because we kill her within a minute of meeting her. But a by the name of ape_swole recently spotted a disturbing detail in the Riften orphanage that strongly suggests she’s far fouler than we ever imagined.
As you can see above, a corner of the orphanage contains shackles and a bucket. The implication is clear, of course: Grelod punishes her charges by hanging them up for god knows how long. I’m also going to assume that they’re forced to use the bucket as a toilet, because… well, there’s no other reason that would be placed next to some shackles, right?
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have the sudden urge to go kill Grelod all over again.
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