Merawen Playthrough

In Which Merawen Retrieves the Remaining Aetherium Shards

This was a short session, partly because “work night” and partly because every so often I do in fact need to do Adulting type things, like pay bills!

(Also, there was a new What If…? to watch, which was highly entertaining, and I don’t want to try to game during MCU-related TV!)


  • Session number in this run: 33
  • Boinged up to Solitude to sell stuff and pick up Jordis for this round of follower action
  • Sold a bunch of stuff to Angeline, Sayma, and Gulum-Ei
  • Gave Jordis a shiny new ebony war axe
  • Used Cragwallow Slope for fast travel and pissed off a conjurer when we showed up; Jordis took her out
  • Spotted the Bonestrewn Crest dragon flying around
  • Spotted Vigilant of Stendarr vs. a vampire, Jordis helped kill the vampire
  • Found Steamcrag Camp, a giant camp, the target locale to get Shalidor’s writings—only the giant was right by the chest
  • Told Jordis to stand by out of the way, and tried to figure out how to deal with the giant—but the nearby flying dragon actually solved the problem for me
  • The giant and his mammoth got into a fight with the dragon and actually killed the dragon
  • So while the giant was distracted I cleaned out the chest 😀
  • Boinged off to Karthwasten to aim for Deep Folk Crossing, to get the Aetherium Shard there
  • Ancient Dragon showed up and Jordis and I killed it, first time through for once; also kept it away from Karthwasten
  • Took out a couple of bandits who’d killed a peddler; I had spells queued so I hit the bandits with Lightning Bolt
  • Got to Deep Folk Crossing all right, and found the third shard; Katria manifested and said she’d meet me at the next locale
  • Fast traveled directly to Raldbthar since I’d found it already
  • Bandit threw the “that’s close enough” warning; sorry, my dude, but I do need to get closer, and you are in my way
  • Running Raldbthar went a little easier than it had done for Alarrah; managed to do it without killing any Falmer!
  • Got the fourth Aetherium shard; went to Whiterun as nearest home base, to send Jordis home and save for the night

Steamcrag Camp

I didn’t know going into the hunt for Shalidor’s writings this time that I was going to land at a giant camp—but I suppose I should have predicted that, given that the quest marker was parked just a little ways east of Bonestrewn Crest on the map, and “giant camp” was pretty much all that I’d seen passing through that area before.

This did make getting to the chest a little challenging. Because giants are kind of on my “don’t really want to kill them unless absolutely necessary” list, and this giant in particular was just hanging out, not being threatening to any nearby holds or anything. So I didn’t really want to shoot him if I could avoid it!

Amusingly, I didn’t have to. I set Jordis into wait mode a little ways out of the way, and then snuck over towards the chest. As I did that, and as I also tried to stay out of the giant’s line of sight, the dragon flying a short ways away overhead actually got alerted.

That dragon came over and got in a pretty impressive fight with the giant, spitting frost at him as well as the mammoth who also stomped over to get in on the battle. I was safely out of the way, up on the shelter of some rocks, so I got to watch the whole thing play out.

And, giant + mammoth vs. dragon = dead dragon. Yowza.

This served as a perfect distraction, though, so while the giant was over there smashing the dragon, I took the chance to jump for the chest and clean it out!

Agent of Stealth, baby. \0/ (Though I didn’t even have to resort to invoking the Shadowcloak of Nocturnal!)

I elected to not return to the college quite yet to give Urag the writings, since I wanted to save my next trip to the college for level 52 training. And as of this point, I was still level 51.

Deep Folk Crossing

So instead, I boinged over towards the area where I was pretty sure Deep Folk Crossing was, to search for the third Aetherium Shard.

Karthwasten was the nearest fast travel landmark, so I landed there, and then hastily scampered a little ways out of the town to see if a fast travel dragon would spawn.

It did. And, yet again, Ancient Dragon.

This time through I actually managed to kill it the first time, with Jordis’ help. And we were far enough away that the dragon didn’t threaten Karthwasten. Very satisfying!

After that, getting over to Deep Folk Crossing was cake, really. Ran into a couple of bandits that had taken out a hapless peddler, but the bandits were no problem. And we ran into zero Forsworn.

Got that third Aetherium shard as well as a bit of Dwarven loot, and got Katria’s ghost showing up going “yay you got it, I’ll meet you at the next one”.


Fast traveled directly over to Raldbthar, because I’d found that location before. Helpful that it was right next door to Irkngthand, really!

This being another dungeon I’d run before, I took it faster this time through.

Of the initial crowd of bandits, both outside and inside the place, the notable one is Alain Dufont. Still a little sad that I can’t take Aegisbane from him and actually return it to the Shatter-Shield clan in Windhelm, outside the context of the Dark Brotherhood quest line, though.

(Also, it’s a two-handed weapon so it’s not like I’m going to use it. It has frost damage and slowing the target action on it, but that’s stuff I can get if I break out Chillrend, really. So my only real options are to figure out if I want to give this weapon to a housecarl, or maybe sell it to a fence.)

The second thing I was reminded of going through this dungeon was the nasty blade trap partway through! So I had to do the same thing with Jordis that Alarrah did with Lydia: i.e., park her in wait mode so as to not have her killed by the blade trap. And make sure to come back and get her on the way out.

This meant I had to run the latter half of the dungeon solo. And since the latter half of the dungeon basically meant Falmer, I ran as much of it as possible in Sneak. And that became a rather fun challenge of, can I make it through the rest of this dungeon without killing a single Falmer?

Answer: yes! But it actually took me two tries, as well as burning through a lot of my backlog of Invisibility potions! More on this in a moment.

The third thing I was reminded of is that I did like the gear problem you have to solve in order to get to the final spot in the dungeon: i.e., four gears with various bits stuck in them, which you have to clear in order to be able to drop the bridge that gives you access to where the Shard is stored.

Also, I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve fought a centurion in this game! A thing I’d noted in Alarrah’s post about this, too, this was also her first centurion. Not the first centurion Merawen has seen—but the first one she’d actually had to fight.

Had to kill it twice, though. Because after the first time through, when I tried to get out and get past the Falmer I’d eluded before, I was not successful at doing that. I got overwhelmed by three Falmer, one of which was a Warmonger, and those put up very strong fights.

Second time through, I was able to take out the centurion with a Sneak shot. \0/ Which let me get through to the Shard, have another interaction with Katria, and get various bits of loot before trying to make it past the Falmer a second time.

The thing I had to remind myself of was this: keep those potions of Invisibility flowing, and also, try to stay the fuck out of the way of any Falmer on narrow walkways or bridges. Because if they crossed my hitspace, chances would be high that they’d actually detect me. Because at that point, if nothing else, I’m close enough for them to physically sense my passing even if they can’t see me.

Second time through, also, I did not go entirely undetected. I know a couple of Falmer actually spotted me. But this time, I actually outran them, and was able to get to points where I could safely quaff another Invisibility potion and let them lose track of where I was.

So I managed to make it back to Jordis without having to kill a single Falmer. I’m pretty happy about that!

And, just as importantly, I got that last Aetherium Shard. And even though I was lugging a lot of loot, I was able to handle it by wearing the Guild Master armor, Volsung, and a Fortify Carry Weight ring I’d crafted earlier, in a round of enchanting. Plus a potion of Strength.

Once that was done, I fast traveled to Whiterun as the nearest major locale where I could sell stuff, and rest up. I sent Jordis home at this point, and popped into Breezehome to save for the night.

Next time

Time to go find that Aetherium Forge! And I’ll probably have Lydia on deck for that, as the closest housecarl I have to the Rift.

I’ll have to see whether I can actually make it through that locale with the whole “try not to kill Falmer if I can help it” challenge. I’m dubious about my chances of that!

Once I get the Forge cleared, I’ll make the Aetherial Crown again, because that’s the one of the three possible items that I’d actually use.

And once I have the Crown, I’ll need to figure out what Stone perk to drop on it. Right now I’ve got the Steed Stone active. I’ll probably need to go back to the Guardian Stones,and hit the Mage Stone to make that my active Stone. Then return to the Steed Stone, with the Crown on, and make that the active one and give the Mage Stone perk to the Crown.

Then, if I’ve made it up to level 52 by then, it’ll be time for another round of training at the college.

And then, I think, it’ll be time to go get Argis the Bulwark on deck for Reach-based action—and go find Delphine and Esbern at Sky Haven Temple.


Editing to add

  • 11/15/2023: Fixed missing gallery and added a session number.

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.