Thanks to being interrupted by a Jester with a broken down carraige, I was left to catch up with the three fools at the dungeon itself where really only one of them was of any use. The first twin was too sad and the second was afraid of spiders (what? lol) so it was up to Aela and I to reach the deep crypt past all the warriors of old. Once there the ritual for the cure simply involved tossing a severed head into a flame. Easy enough. Since I brought extra, I decided to cure myself too. By strange coincidence I find myself now the leader of this Companions guild that has a few too many members that I dislike. The three amigos stay for awhile to worship the dead while I head on back to Solitude to infiltrate a Thalmor party at their embassy. I like this mission already.
After slipping away from the guests I make sure to assassinate every single Thalmor guard, assistant, official, or general supporter I find. Backstabbing and throat slitting has never felt so rewarding. Those I could not reach I had to kill using arrows through a fence, but I made sure none remained alive. With the information I needed in hand I was assisted by my housecarl Jordis to escape using a one-way underground tunnel (which leads me to question as to how she got in there in the first place). She also is a good fighter assisting me in defeating another Forsworn stronghold, a blood dragon, two elder dragons, and vasals of Mehrunes Dagon. Phew! That's a lot of killing.
Back in Winterhold the Mages College has tasked me with gathering more intel on this giant floaty orb thing as well, so I decide that it would probably be prudent to bring a mage on this task and with the novice Onmund offering to help after I retrieved his family necklace I told Jordis to take a break and meet me back at the house in Solitude. She was happy to do so, but first she pulled out her axe and began an uprovoked chopping on the Thalmor agent Ancano. Before I can do anything, Onmund is shooting lightning at her, defending the Thalmor scum! What the hell man. ANY SUPPORTER OF THE THALMOR MUST DIE. With daggers in hand I tore Onmund into tiny little pieces, leaving what was left of his corpse lying on display at the center of the hall. Ancano unfortunately is immortal (I did try killing him on our first meeting, stupid game), so eventually I managed to calm Jordis down enough to get her outside and on her way home. By luck and skill, no one actually saw me killing my fellow student, so I waltzed onto choice number two - the khajit J'zargo who had in a very sly way tried to kill me earlier I think.
Then it was off to Windhelm, a city of snow, racism and murder. By sheer first impression I already had an idea of who was the murderer anyway but no one was asking me to help solve the crime so I did the usual "talk to everyone and punch a few people in the face" routine. Finally also "properly" met Ulfric Stormcloak, leader of the rebellion. He has spirit and I am inclined to join his cause, but not yet - there still be the dragon mystery to solve. Apparently he's also quite racist (so am I, I hate all races that don't bow down to me) so it is a minor flaw compared to the many that plague the defunct empire.