Merawen Playthrough

In Which a New Dragonborn Arises

Since I wasn’t in the mood to delay between my first Skyrim run ever and my next playthrough, I went ahead and fired up a brand new character last night!

Character number two is Merawen the Dunmer. And as with Alarrah’s playthrough posts, so too with Merawen’s: all highlights and details and screenshots behind the fold!


  • Session number in this run: 1
  • Got through Helgen a lot faster now that I know what I’m doing
  • Chose to follow the Stormcloak Ralof out of Helgen this time
  • And this time I actually managed to follow him the whole time, including along the road to Riverwood, so he witnessed my choice of the Thief Stone when we got to the Guardian Stones
  • Followed Ralof to his family in Riverwood, and got his sister Gerdur’s leave to take anything I needed from their home within reason; also got her to urge me to go tell the Jarl in Whiterun that Riverwood needed protection
  • Took a quick snooze at the inn (hi, Delphine, I’ll talk to you more later), and stopped at the forge to do the smithing tutorial, and also just to see if I could start building up some armor and weaponry
  • Hastened over to Whiterun, and was confronted at the gates by the guards, but allowed to proceed to Dragonsreach once I said I was bringing word that Riverwood called for help
  • Jarl Balgruuf thanked me for coming to him and gave me studded Imperial armor, so now I have examples of both sides’ armor, and uh yeah I think I need more neutral armor than that
  • Balgruuf also had me talk to his wizard (hi Farengar!), to trigger the quest to go get the Dragonstone out of Bleak Falls Barrow
  • Went back to Riverwood to find the Riverwood Trader shop and trigger the Golden Claw portion of the Bleak Falls Barrow quests, and got the shopkeeper’s sister Camilla to show me the way to the barrow
  • Made it up to the barrow and started killing bandits; leveled up to 2 and have additional better weaponry, thinking about one-handed vs. two-handed
  • Also have a long bow and plenty of iron arrows, so have been able to start working on my archery
  • As a Dunmer I have a couple of Destruction spells right out of the gate, so I can throw Sparks and Flames, and i’m going to be utilizing that as much as possible
  • Left off about to enter Bleak Falls Temple

Merawen’s Background

The vibe I got off of her during the character creation UI is that she’s probably older and surlier than Alarrah by a few years. From what I know now about Tamriel’s timeline, she’s too young to have personally experienced the eruption of Red Mountain–but she was probably born to parents who either did personally experience the eruption, or else lost their own parents to it.

I was identified as a “refugee” during the character creation sequence, and the Imperial soldier Hadvar promised my remains would be sent back to Morrowind. So I’m going to interpret this as, Merawen probably fled out of Morrowind after losing her last family member there, who probably died after health problems brought on by prolonged exposure to the ash coming out of the mountain. And Merawen, young and reasonably strong still, was just desperate to get somewhere with clean and breathable air.

Unfortunately for Merawen, she chose to cross the border into Skyrim and got nabbed by the Imperials! I don’t think she would have come in via Solstheim, or else she’d have landed in Windhelm and would probably already be holed up in the Gray Quarter there. She may even have tried to come across via more illicit means–either bribing a smuggler craft to give her passage, or even stealing a small boat herself.

Escaping Helgen

This time through Helgen, actually knowing what I’m doing with the game controls, I was able to make it through a lot faster and quickly choose whether to follow Hadvar (the Imperial soldier) or Ralof (the Stormcloak soldier) as I made my escape. My choice this time was to follow Ralof out, partly because I wanted to see what the Stormcloak side of the escape was like, and partly out of feeling generally disinclined to keep myself at Imperial mercies given that those assholes did just try to cut off my head. 😉

Ralof, to his credit, gave me no shit for being a Dunmer and even encouraged me to sign on with the Stormcloaks, asserting that you didn’t have to be a Nord to fight for the freedom of Skyrim. Now, I don’t think Merawen’s in a position to know yet that the Dunmer are a persecuted lower class in Windhelm–but as her player, I do know that the Dunmer are a persecuted lower class in Windhelm. So I can’t quite help but go “oh you sweet summer child” at Ralof, who has a certain level of unconscious privilege here given that he is, after all, a Nord.

I did like actually getting to see Ralof’s reunion with his family play out, since that was new material for me. And Ralof’s sister Gerdur gave me leave to take whatever supplies I needed from her, within reason. (So I did take a little food from her and a healing potion, but tried not to go overboard.)

Gerdur also urged me to go to the Jarl in Whiterun and tell him Riverwood was going to need help. I didn’t see a reason to delay doing this–in no small part because this time, I didn’t need to linger in Riverwood to just get the feel of the game. So I went ahead to Whiterun to take care of that.

And this time I had no trouble at all killing a couple of wolves on the way. 😉

Informing the Jarl

Going to Whiterun for the first time played pretty much like it had for Alarrah. I got there, got permission from the guards to head on in and talk to the Jarl in Dragonsreach, and got the Jarl’s gratitude for bringing me word about what I’d seen. He gave me some studded Imperial armor by way of that gratitude.

Which means that now I have armor from both sides of the war, lol. I’m currently wearing the Stormcloak armor just because that’s what I nabbed on the way out of Helgen, but until I have the opportunity to either nab or create some better and neutral armor, it might be useful to have the ability to switch off.

And given that I’m expecting to play Merawen as a thief/mage, and possibly also an assassin, she’s going to go down the Light Armor path same as Alarrah. Which means I’m probably going to want some leather armor ASAP.

Also got the Jarl to draft me to go get the Dragonstone for his wizard Farengar, which let me go ahead and start Bleak Falls Barrow.

Bleak Falls Barrow and the Golden Claw

Went back to Riverwood to check in there and find out for sure how to get to Bleak Falls Barrow. Which let me pop into the Riverwood Trader and initiate the Golden Claw portion of that quest, and get the shopkeeper’s sister Camilla to show me the way to the barrow.

I made it up to the barrow, and leveled up to 2 while killing the first round of bandits. And by this point, I also had a long bow and a bunch of iron arrows, as well as the axe I’d brought with me out of Helgen. But that first round of bandits let me get a steel sword and battleaxe, and as of when I saved last night, I was trying out the battleaxe to see if I’d like it.

Given that I had a couple of Destruction spells at my immediate disposal, I also queued up the Flames spell so I could start throwing that around in close combat. Very satisfying to be able to set bandits on fire and then whack them with the axe. 😀

I left off just about ready to enter Bleak Falls Temple.

Next Time

Continuing the Bleak Falls Barrow questline, and hopefully being able to return to Riverwood with a bunch of loot to sell so that I can start building up a cache of gold. And hopefully taking that Dragonstone back to Whiterun.


Editing to add

  • 11/15/2023: Fixed missing gallery, added a session number, and corrected headings from H3 to H2 to better match styles on later posts.

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.