Alarrah Playthrough

In Which the Dragonborn Goes to Valthume

Last night’s session was a shorter one as my Skyrim runs go, and I had time only for one goal: going to Valthume and getting the Shout word from the Word Wall there. And oh yeah: defeating my fourth dragon priest!

Spoiler alert: not a good dungeon for arachnophobes, though.


  • I’d saved my previous session while still at High Hrothgar, so doublechecked from there where to head next; Valthume turned out to be another ruin in the western part of the map, not quite as far west as Arkngthamz, but in that same neck of the woods
  • This dungeon had a ghost guarding it, Valdar, who warned me there was evil contained within, and that he was running out of strength keeping it suppressed
  • Valdar was delighted at my offer of help and urged me to bring him three special vessels from within the dungeon, so that he could do the proper ritual to summon the dragon priest Hevnoraak in a weakened state, which would allow him to be defeated
  • I got the three vessels, while Lyds and I killed a lot of frostbite spiders (including some giant ones) and draugr (including a high number of Draugr Deathlords)
  • Found dragon claw number five, the Iron Claw
  • The draugr deathlords kept dropping ebony gear, which would have been more tempting if I weren’t capable of making my own ebony gear at this point, but I grabbed a few examples of it to sell anyway
  • This was not a huge dungeon, so it didn’t take long to find all its nooks and crannies; returned to Valdar in the front area to bring him back the vessels
  • Valdar had me empty the vessels into a sconce and then sit on the nearby throne to summon Hevnoraak
  • Hevnoraak showed up and was unsurprisingly pissed that we’d ruined his resurrection, but I introduced him to my dragonbone bow a few times, with a potion of Slow, and that settled that
  • Valdar gave me his thanks, told me to keep the priest’s mask and staff, and evaporated for his final ghostly rest
  • And Lyds and I evaporated back to Whiterun, for the obligatory smithing and selling


This session was short as my Skyrim sessions go, in no small part because I had had to spend a good chunk of the day working on balancing the checkbook—and then it was the night before a work day, so I couldn’t stay up too late playing no matter how strong the temptation. So I kept myself to doing just one objective in this run, going to Valthume and clearing the place out.

I’d saved the previous session still on High Hrothgar after Lyds and I had gone to see Master Arngeir. So I checked how to get to Valthume from there, and saw that it was another locale I hadn’t discovered yet, in the southwestern part of the map. I fast traveled to the closest cleared barrow I’d already been to, which turned out to be fairly close. So Lyds and I didn’t have to travel much to actually get to our final destination, which also meant we didn’t have any interesting random encounters on the way.

Valthume was not a particularly notable dungeon in and of itself; it’s not tiny, but it’s also not the biggest draugr hive I’ve gone into, either. What I did like about it though was that this dungeon had a bit of extra backstory to it. When Lydia and I got into the place, we were greeted by a ghost named Valdar who told us he was guarding it and keeping an ancient evil contained within. But, he was running out of strength and feared he wouldn’t be able to keep it up much longer.

Naturally, I offered my help! Which he gratefully accepted, and he instructed me to bring him three special vessels from within the dungeon so that he could conduct a ritual that would summon the dragon priest Hevnoraak in a weakened state—wherein he could be properly destroyed.

This being what Lydia and I were there for, we set out to do that task.

Since the dungeon wasn’t particularly large, it didn’t take long to find all its nooks and crannies. There were a few hidden doors that stymied me until I checked the wiki and realized I’d missed clues about what to look for. Fortunately the various hidden doors all had handles to open them, which were easy enough to find once I knew that I actually had to look for them.

Things fought included frostbite spiders (including giant ones, so boy howdy is this not a good dungeon for the arachnophobic), skeevers, and draugr. Lots and lots of draugr. At least four or five Draugr Deathlords, in particular! I got most of them with bow shots from afar, though the deathlords sometimes took two shots rather than one. I was wielding my ebony arrows for this—I save the dragonbone ones for dragons!

The deathlords also had a fair amount of ebony gear on them. This would have been more interesting to me before I learned how to make my own ebony gear, if I really want it. But ebony armor is heavy, so I don’t wear it, and Lyds having her carry weight problem (that I still haven’t resolved, bah) means I can’t really easily get her to carry ebony gear right now. Still, I did grab a few examples of said gear just to take back to Whiterun and sell.

And finding the various vessels was also generally trouble-free. Other than the steps necessary to get through the hidden doors, and of course also killing the draugr between me and the objectives, I didn’t have to do anything special to get the vessels. And once I found the third one, I also found the Word Wall that was my primary objective for coming to this dungeon to begin with. The Shout it gave me a word for was Aura Whisper.

Just past the Word Wall, I also found the shortcut passage that would take me back out into the main area of the dungeon. I followed this, to return to the ghost and report that I’d found the vessels.

The backstory with the vessels, Valdar told me, was that Hevnoraak had used them to remove his own blood from his body, which he would use to resurrect himself as a supremely powerful lich. The way to stop him would be to empty the vessels, which would let him be resurrected in a weakened state—and therefore make it possible to destroy him. Valdar asked me to empty the vessels into a sconce by the nearby throne, and then to sit on the throne while he summoned Hevnoraak for the final showdown.

Hevnoraak showed up, unsurprisingly pissed that we’d ruined his resurrection plans, and engaged Lydia and me in battle. This being my fourth dragon priest to date, I had down the plan for how to take them out: potion of Slow on the bow to slow him down, and then keep the arrows coming. Took him out after a few rounds, at which point he disintegrated and I was able to get his mask and his staff.

Valdar urged me to keep those, thanked me for my help, and went off to his final ghostly rest. Hopefully he’ll get to hang out with Katria in Sovngarde!

And with that, Lydia and I returned to Whiterun. Did a round of selling and smithing, including dropping some tempering on the dragon priest mask collection I’m building up, as well as improving some items I then sold. I also got the Holy Ebony Bow I got from becoming a thane in Riften up to a point where it’s actually more powerful right now than my dragonbone bow, so this may be my new favorite bow for a bit until such time as I get more dragonbone to improve the dragonbone bow!

Next time

It has come to my attention that I completely missed a Word Wall down in Labyrinthian, and I’m clearly going to have to go back at some point and follow up on that problem. I also think it’s time to adopt little Lucia in Whiterun, just because Alarrah’s thinking, if I’m about to summon a dragon to Whiterun on purpose, what say I get the kid out of harm’s way, hmm?

And I’ve got to go tell Ulfric Stormcloak and General Tullius that they need to stand the hell down from the war. I expect this to not go over well. ;D

As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.