Dawnguard,  Merawen Playthrough

In Which Merawen Rescues a Future Sybil and Hunts Yet More Vampires

I had not planned to visit the Temple of Dibella during this run, or to do their Heart of Dibella quest, but events conspired otherwise! Because one of the side quests for the Dawnguard pointed me at one of the temple priestesses as a lead on finding a vampire–and I couldn’t get at her without doing the Heart of Dibella quest. But it was a new thing, so that was fun!

Also, there was more vampire hunting. And severe chastising of bandits who attacked me at Lakeview.

And, sadly, the loss of the blacksmith Ghorza in Markarth, killed by the Traveler NPC vampire. RIP Ghorza! 😢


  • Session number in this run: 44
  • Boinged to mage college to get training
  • Boinged to Lakeview for crafting; tried to chop firewood but had three bandits show up
  • They threw the “you picked a bad time to get lost, friend” dialogue line–fuck you, assholes, I’m not lost, this is my yard
  • (Stupid bandits, you be on fire now)
  • Made a whole bunch more arrows at my forge, and also enchanted a bunch of random things looted off the bandits
  • Dragonscale armor improved up to over 1,000 total rating!
  • Went to Markarth, got there around 11pm game time, sold stuff to Endon since I passed him on the street; slept at Vlindrel Hall
  • Went to Temple of Dibella in the morning to look for Anwen, the priestess who was supposed to be my contact for finding the target vampire
  • She was in the Inner Sanctum of the temple—not publicly accessible—so to get in there I had to start the Heart of Dibella quest, which required me to pick the lock and break into the place
  • Pissed off the head priestess who ordered me to go find their new sybil and if I could do that, they’d forgive my transgression; I agreed to do this
  • Also had Anwen approach me and ask if I needed something; I told her I was looking for a vampire; she said she didn’t know what I was talking about
  • Passed Persuade check (thank you Amulet of Articulation) and got her to hand over the letter pointing to where the vampire is hiding
  • Came out of the Temple of Dibella—and spotted the Traveler, yikes
  • He yelled DIE and attacked me, including summoning a gargoyle, which alerted the guards; Markarth City Guards came running
  • Also, Tacitus from the forge—and apparently Ghorza as well, though I didn’t see her in the melee
  • I didn’t hit the Traveler myself at all, the guards and Tacitus took him out
  • Went in the general goods store to buy things from Lisbet
  • Came out of the store to a Courier bringing me a Letter of Inheritance—and that’s when I realized the Traveler had killed Ghorza, well shit, RIP Ghorza 😢
  • Set out for Karthwasten on foot
  • Killed three Forsworn at Kolskeggr Mine
  • Heard but did not see or engage dragon
  • Got town leader at Karthwasten to tell me about his trouble with the mine; offered to chase off the sellswords trying to “help”
  • Also talked to Enmon to get lead on whereabouts of his daughter so I could rescue her
  • Reached Broken Tower Redoubt, engaged two Forsworn outside the tower; snuck through the tower and took out further Forsworn, including the Briarheart
  • Rescued Fjotra; poor kid kept going “agh! dead body!” Well, yeah honey, I kinda had to make them dead to rescue you
  • Tried to take the kid home to say goodbye to her parents but couldn’t frigging find them, so went ahead and took her to the temple to resolve the Heart of Dibella quest
  • Got Agent of Dibella effect by praying at her altar, and now I do 10% more damage to the opposite sex, awesome
  • Went back to Karthwasten to take care of their little mercenary problem
  • Killed by vampires just outside town; second time through I got them, thank you Stoneflesh spell and Stendarr’s aura, and dragonbone sword setting them on fire
  • Waited until daylight; put on Amulet of Articulation again; entered the mine
  • Mercenaries inside were all “we’re in control of this mine, no sudden moves”; convinced mercenary leader to leave without even having to threaten him, damn I do love this amulet
  • Town leader gave me 1200 gold for my trouble
  • Enmon thanked me for rescuing his daughter so yep guess we can headcanon that he and his wife know the kid is safe now ❤️
  • Fast traveled to Ilinalta’s Deep to get to North Brittleshin Pass; actually found South access first; snuck in in Nightingale Armor
  • Took out skeleton with crossbow, hit the vamp once but couldn’t do it a second time, so switched off to Dawnguard armor and dragonbone sword to take him out at melee range
  • Returned to Fort Dawnguard to report in to Gunmar; for next quest, he actually pointed me at Isran for once
  • Isran gave me another Jarl’s Justice quest, this time in Dawnstar
  • Stopped there for the night

Heart of Dibella quest

Started off the session with a little mage college training, since I’d just leveled up to 58 in the previous session and needed to get in the next round of training. Also stopped by Lakeview to get in a round of crafting—and, as it happened, fighting bandits who insisted on giving me shit in my own yard.

Then I headed over to Markarth to look for my vampire contact, Anwen. Who turned out to be a priestess of Dibella.

Fun fact: first time you set foot in the Temple of Dibella in Markarth, you can’t get at most of the priestesses, because they’re all in the Inner Sanctum conducting a ritual in which they try to find the new Sybil of their order. And the public is not allowed back there while this ceremony is going on.

Which meant I had to trigger that quest in order to get at my contact. And that meant I had to pick the lock on the Inner Sanctum, and risk pissing off the priestesses when they caught me.

Unsurprisingly, they were indeed cranky at me. But the head priestess informed me that if I went to retrieve their new Sybil and bring her to the temple, my transgression against them would be forgiven. I agreed to do this.

Conveniently, Anwen then showed up and asked me if I needed something. I told her I was looking for a vampire.

Initially, she claimed not to know what I was talking about. Anticipating this, I’d put on the Amulet of Articulation! So I tried and passed a Persuade check—getting her to fork over the letter from her vampire acquaintance. Clearly not that close of a friend!

Then I headed out to go to Karthwasten. Or, at least, I tried.

Because as soon as I left the temple, I spotted the Traveler. Who was coming directly at me along the stone path to the nearest stairs.

And who promptly turned hostile and attacked me as soon as he saw me. This provoked the town guards into immediately rushing him. Remembering what had happened the last time I’d tried to fight the Traveler inside a town, I specifically did not engage him and left him to the guards.

In the melee, I also spotted Tacitus, the apprentice from the town forge. At the time, I did not realize that Ghorza, the actual blacksmith from the forge, had also jumped into the fight.

But after I popped into Lisbet’s store to buy a few things and came out again, I got a Courier coming up to me with a Letter of Inheritance—and discovered that Ghorza had been killed, and had left me 100 gold. Aww. And also, well, shit. RIP Ghorza. I liked you. Not quite enough to roll back to a previous save to resurrect you, but I liked you! 😢

(Though, annoying though it may be to have the town blacksmith get killed by a vampire, it’s not quite as annoying as having had Wujeeta killed offscreen by a dragon. Losing Ghorza, at least, doesn’t cost me any quests or ability to become thane of Markarth. Just need to be sure to not rely on her apprentice Tacitus! Dude is not a good smith, after all. Hey Tacitus, you wanna hire me on commission? I can make dragonscale and dragonplate armor…)

After that little bit of excitement, I set out for Karthwasten on foot. And ran into the expected trio of random Forsworn as I passed Kolskeggr Mine. While fighting them, I heard but did not actually see or engage a dragon.

Once I reached Karthwasten, I had a chat with the town leader about his mine problem and offered to talk the mercenaries the Silver-Bloods had inflicted on them into leaving. Also talked with Enmon, the father of the young girl the temple was looking for, and discovered she’d been kidnapped by the Forsworn. I got a lead from him on where she’d been taken, and convinced him not to come with me, on the grounds that he was a fragile and breakable NPC and I really didn’t want him to fall down a lot and die.

Off then to Broken Tower Redoubt to rescue Enmon’s daughter Fjotra. Took out several Forsworn, both outside and inside this place, including the Briarheart. And I was a little surprised to discover that Fjotra was in fact a child.

A child who basically looks a lot like Sofie, the kid from Windhelm that Merawen had just adopted, in fact. So I feel like that made Merawen particularly partial to her.

Poor kid kept going “Agh! Dead body!” every time we passed one of the Forsworn I’d killed. Sorry, kiddo. I kind of had to make them dead in order to actually be able to rescue you.

Tried to take her back to Karthwasten so she could say goodbye to her parents, but I couldn’t actually find them. And I wasn’t going to try to break into their house just for that. So I headed on over to Markarth to give the kid over to the temple. The priestesses were very happy to receive her, and got a lot less cranky at me. I was invited to pray at Dibella’s altar to receive her blessing, too.

Which I did. This got me the Agent of Dibella power, which lets me do 10% more damage to the opposite sex. Awesome.

Once Fjotra had been safely delivered to the temple, I did however return to Karthwasten to follow up on that mercenary problem. Took me two tries—because the first time I got back, I was attacked and killed by another random vampire encounter.

Second time through, though, the combined might of the Stoneflesh and Stendarr’s Aura spells, and the dragonbone sword setting them on fire, took care of that problem.

I waited until daybreak, and then headed into the mine for a chat with the mercenaries. Who growled at me when they saw me: “We’re in control of this mine, no sudden moves.”

Their leader was initially not impressed with me, but the Amulet of Articulation helped out a lot with that, too.

Atar: “Give me a reason not to plunge a dagger in your chest.”

Me: “This whole town wants you out. Leave.”

Atar: “Dealing with a mob wouldn’t be good for my coin purse. Fine. We’re leaving.”

Thank you, Amulet of Articulation! ❤️

The town leader gave me 1,200 gold for my trouble. And Enmon thanked me for saving his little girl, so I guess I can safely headcanon that the parents were contacted by the temple to let them know their daughter was safe. Excellent!

Onward, then, to go take out another vampire.

Concluding the Hunting the Monster quest

This required me to fast travel to Ilinalta’s Deep and then hoof it to Brittleshin Pass, not too far of a walk. I came in through the South Brittleshin Pass access, and took out a few skeletons as well as the Master Volkihar Vampire without too much trouble.

Then I headed back to Fort Dawnguard to check in and resolve the quest with Gunmar. Asked him what I could do to help again, and this time he actually pointed me at Isran rather than Florentius—and Isran gave me another Jarl’s Justice quest.

This time, in Dawnstar. And with that, I saved for the night.

Next time

Off to Dawnstar to deal with the Jarl’s Justice quest. And since I’ll be in Dawnstar anyway, that’ll probably be a real good time to deal with that nightmares problem they’re having, too.

(And hey I may still get Heljarchen Hall and Gregor as a housecarl this game after all!)


Editing to add

  • 11/16/2023: 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.