I got to Aridell okay and did a few quests there, but because I didn't know how to fight very well, I decided to run around and find cool locations.
I know that the lady that does Alchemy in Aridell wanted a speical book, and in my exploration found that item and gave it to her (hope I don't need it) and had to do some quest to get the sexlet (spelling) amulet thing for the Cartopher (spelling) guy in the pub.
I found Blackwater, and found the dead body and did that quest. Which brooked the main quest with Litith.
In terms of the identification of the amulet, the Goblin in the vault place identified it for me and I got the note about the brothers quest.
But I did as your last point said and simply deleted the save games and started again.
Level 8 and a wicked carto dude and I have to restart. If I didn't like the startup of the game so much, I swear I wouldn't bother with the game lol.