Merawen Playthrough

In Which Merawen Finds the Aetherium Forge and Alduin’s Wall

This session was all about finishing up the Lost to the Ages quest, and finding the Aetherium Forge—and then returning to the main quest and finding Alduin’s Wall.

Mostly familiar territory and not too different from how Alarrah did both of these things. But I have at least a little commentary to make, so here we go!


  • Session number in this run: 34
  • Note: forgot to mention last time that i had a Courier reach me at Whiterun with a Letter from a Friend re: Northwind Summit
  • Sold stuff in Whiterun
  • Boinged to Lakeview to make Smithing potions so I could improve more armor and weaponry
  • Killed a couple bandits with Rayya
  • Made a couple more dragonbone bows for housecarls
  • Did more enchanting after making gold and silver ingots
  • Went to Honningbrew and Riften to sell stuff; went WTF at why I couldn’t get a “what do you have for sale?” prompt from Balimund at the forge
  • Wound up selling things to Brand-Shei instead
  • Boinged to Geirmund’s Hall to go find Bthalft
  • Spotted dragon en route, probably from nearby lair; did not engage dragon as it never landed
  • Engaged bandits at the ruins though!
  • Played out the same as for Alarrah, got the crown made, Katria gave farewell
  • Boinged back to Riften to sell loot to Tonilia and also Thieves Guild merchants
  • Boinged to Lakeview to drop stuff off (including weapons, want to use the Nightingale weapons but they aren’t a match damage-wise for the dragonbone stuff)
  • Went to Guardian Stones to set the Mage Stone
  • Put on Aetherial Crown; went to Steed Stone to get Steed Stone back and Mage Stone on the Crown
  • Fast traveled to Tolvald’s Cave to look for Northwind Summit dragon lair
  • Had to cut through previously discovered Northwind Mine to get to it; dispatched a few skeletons in the mine
  • Regular dragon, surprisingly, at the summit; killed it with Ice Spikes, since it was a fire-breather
  • Aura Whisper word off the Word Wall
  • Found a Adept-locked chest in one of the nearby wrecked buildings, unlocking that leveled me up to 52
  • Went to mage college for training; Conjuration guy was all “you look a bit peaked, are you sure you shouldn’t be home in bed?”
  • Okay fine, wolf or bear got me sick again, whee; potion of Cure Disease sorted that
  • Got Conjuration training; enchanted a few things in the Arch-Mage’s quarters; rested
  • Talked to Urag to give him Shalidor’s Writings
  • Got Restoration, Alteration, Illusion, Destruction training
  • Sent Lydia home at this point so I could boing to Markarth and pick up Argis to go to Sky Haven Temple
  • Sold stuff to Lisbet, then picked up Argis and headed over to Karthspire
  • Killed a Forsworn on the way, and several more when we found Delphine and Esbern, because apparently just walking into Karthspire is not an option?
  • Went through the temple as per previous playthrough
  • Got the pointer to go talk to the Greybeards about the Shout we need; also got Dragonbane and the Blades armor
  • And a bunch of gems out of chests, because Merawen ain’t gonna walk by chests without checking them out 😉
  • Delphine and Esbern said they would hang out in this new hideout, while I went to talk to the Greybeards
  • Sent Argis home, then blipped to Lakeview to improve and drop off stuff, and save for the night

Interlude number one

Boinged from Lakeview to Honningbrew to Riften, doing a run of making, improving, and selling things. The only notable items here are:

  1. Killed a couple of bandits with Rayya at Lakeview, only two this time, if there was a third I never found them
  2. For some damn reason I couldn’t sell stuff to Balimund, I never got a “what do you have for sale?” prompt off of him and I don’t know why? Maybe because he has a way of hanging out at his forge doing things even before sales hours are active, and I tried to talk to him before then?
  3. So I wound up selling things to Brand-Shei instead

Then it was off to Bthalft for the first major action of the evening.

Finishing up the Lost to the Ages quest

No particular variation here to how Alarrah ran the dungeon at Bthalft, but it was still fun anyway. I quite like this dungeon and the whole aspect of the super-deep lift that takes you down to a cavern nobody’s been to in like 4,000 years. Katria even remarks on it to the player, talking about how the air feels different.

(Which is kind of amusing coming from a ghost. Hon, you’re a ghost, you don’t have lungs anymore, how are you able to sense the air?)

Still though, after the initial bandits camped out at the entrance to this ruin, there aren’t too many enemies between you and getting to the Forge. At that point you do need to fight a bunch of Dwarven automata, including the Forgemaster centurion that pops out once you’re ready to actually get to the Forge itself.

Very bracing fight as there were multiple enemies in play at once, but nothing that the combined force of Merawen, Lydia, and Katria couldn’t handle.

So I got the Forge accessible, got the optional crafting materials nearby, and made the Aetherial Crown. \0/ And Katria, finally ready to rest, gave her farewells, bowed, and vanished. Enjoy Sovngarde, Katria! ❤️

Interlude number two

Did another boing through Riften and Lakeview to sell and/or drop off stuff, including a few of the weapons I was carrying.

I really want to use the Nightingale Blade and the Nightingale Bow, but they just aren’t a match for the dragonbone weaponry damage-wise, and I am having a devil of a time getting my Smithing boosted enough with enchanted items and/or potions in order to actually improve those weapons any further. I’m thinking about if I want to try this anyway, and have the weaponry as an adjunct to spells.

But anyway, now that I had the Aetherial Crown, I was able to get it primed with the Mage Stone effect, which meant the following steps as I learned in Alarrah’s playthrough:

  1. Go back to Guardian Stones with Crown off to hit the Mage Stone
  2. Put Crown on and go to Steed Stone
  3. Hit the Steed Stone to make that the active Stone, and to push the Mage Stone effect onto the Crown

So now if I wear the Crown I can have both Stones active. Which will be interesting to play with if I decide to run around in my Master Robe of Destruction.

Northwind Summit dragon lair

Once that was done, it was time for the evening’s next event: clearing the Northwind Summit dragon lair.

Turned out I had to cut through the previously discovered Northwind Mine in order to get to the dragon lair. I hadn’t been in the mine before, either in this playthrough or Alarrah’s, so discovering that the place was completely deserted was an interesting surprise.

Nothing in there except a couple of skeletons, which were easily dispatched. And I saw several non-mobile skeletons as well, presumably the former miners? And a bunch of abandoned mining equipment. Never saw any ore veins while I was in there, either.

(But apparently there were veins in there, according to the wiki; I just missed them? Ah well, they were iron veins anyway and Lakeview’s mostly built out, so I don’t need more iron right now.)

Presumably, the dragon lair at the summit has something to do with why the mine was abandoned! Because when I got up there, I found the lair was pretty much right in the middle of several abandoned buildings that miners had presumably put there.

I gotta wonder what the miners must have thought about the Word Wall being there. The wiki says that prior to the completion of the Dragon Rising quest, this place would have been guarded by skeletons—which are a lot easier to kill than dragons.

But when that dragon showed up, it must have made short work of the miners. 😮

It did not, however, make short work of me. Surprisingly, it was just a basic Dragon, not an Ancient or even an Elder or Blood. So Lyds and I were able to take it out quickly, and I did my part of this by throwing Ice Spike spells at it, because it was a fire-breather.

Got a word for the Aura Whisper Shout off that wall, and then broke into the Adept-locked chest in one of those nearby buildings. That bumped up my Lockpicking, and also got me to level 52.

Interlude number three

So then it was time to boing to the mage college. Got in my round of level 52 training, and this time, the Conjuration teacher, Phinus, remarked that I looked “a little peaked”, and shouldn’t I be home in bed?

Pfptpbt. Stupid whatever critter gave me another disease. Presumably one of those bears or wolves. Stupid bear and/or wolf. Sorted that out with a potion of Cure Disease, though.

And also stopped in to talk to Urag and give him the writings of Shalidor I’d gotten from Steamcrag Camp.

Alduin’s Wall quest

And with that, I sent Lydia home so I could boing over to Markarth, pick up Argis the Bulwark for his round of “guard the Dragonborn’s back” duty, and meet up with Delphine and Esbern at Karthspire to find Sky Haven Temple.

This didn’t have too much variation to how Alarrah played it, up to and including Delphine instigating combat with several Forsworn in the nearby camp.

I was kind of surprised that some of the Forsworn did not actually engage us, even though they were in clear visual range and could presumably see us fighting their comrades. These ones just stayed in “that’s close enough” mode some distance away, though. So I didn’t bother them.

Delphine and Esbern both are invincible NPCs as they’re critical to the main plot, but that doesn’t mean Delphine can’t take a beating in a battle. I saw her in “kneeling because I’m getting my ass kicked and I need to let my hit points recover” mode, so I threw her a couple of Heal Other spells just as a general point of courtesy.

Then we got into Karthspire and Sky Haven Temple. I do like the access points and traps that specifically need a Dragonborn to unset them, so it was fun to do those again.

And I got Esbern’s speech about what’s displayed on Alduin’s Wall, and the pointer to go talk to the Greybeards about getting whatever Shout the wall was talking about. Delphine told me she and Esbern would stay put, because hey, nifty new hideout.

I took the opportunity to case the place, and got Dragonbane as well as the Blades armor from the expected back alcove. \0/

And I also cleared all the chests I could find, which got me a boatload of additional gems. Thank you, Prowler’s Profit!

(Because hey, Guild Master of the Thieves Guild here, yo. I am not going by any chests without checking them out.)

And once that was done, I sent Argis home so I could return to Lakeview and save for the night.

Next time

Proceeding with the earlier decided plan of going onward with the main plot up until the point of getting the Elder Scroll. Which will also let me pick up the Clear Skies Shout.

And now that I have Dragonbane, I also need to get it improved up to Legendary so I can take best advantage of it! Which will require getting some quicksilver. I feel a trip to Whiterun coming on.

That ought to be plenty action for one session! Particularly given that the Discerning the Transmundane quest is a big crunchy one and will take some time to play through, even though I’ve done it once already and know how it’ll go. So we’ll see if I actually get that Elder Scroll in my next session, or whether that’ll have to roll over to the session for Saturday night.


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.