Dragonborn,  Merawen Playthrough

In Which Merawen Does Circuits Around Solstheim

This session was all about the side quests on Solstheim, and I think I pretty much did two rounds all around the island, getting in all the places I wanted to go.


  • Session number in this run: 59
  • Started session by grabbing a few jewelry items out of my chests
  • Courier with next note from Ralis showed up when I came outside
  • Headed up west coast of Solstheim
  • Found Deathbrand chest, found and dispatched two reavers there
  • Got Deathbrand armor out of the chest
  • Troll that had killed a spriggan by the time we reached it
  • Jenassa killed a bristleback; there was a second one, but it didn’t get close enough to attack
  • Passed family of netch, and boats that were probably for the sailors at the Water Stone that I still need to clear
  • Rieklings vs. mudcrabs at last Deathbrand chest; got gauntlets and key to the barrow with the hoard
  • Riekling camp outside Bristleback Cave
  • Found chest covered in riekling spears and paint, which had another Ancient Nord Pickaxe in it
  • Passed two horkers close to Northshore Landing
  • Convinced the Thalmor at Northshore Landing to retreat
  • Proceeded eastward around the island; saw Skaal hunter shooting at a horker
  • Found Glacial Cave; mined a malachite vein; got another East Empire pendant out of a chest
  • Fought random Nord woman with mixed armor (banded/ebony) and Orcish war axe
  • Investigated island off the northeast corner of Solstheim with a structure on it, turned out to be rieklings
  • Reached Haknir’s Shoal again
  • Found Frossel
  • Found unmarked island with giant nirnroot plants north of Frossel; found dead alchemist and boat there, looted boat; dispatched spriggans and spriggan earth mother
  • Returned to Skaal village to talk to Baldor
  • Got Tharstan to ask me to watch his back at the tomb he wants to investigate
  • Got Baldor to teach me about forging stalhrim
  • Bought more stalhrim armor pieces from him and a few pieces of stalhrim as well
  • Bought things from Edla, including a fourth netch jelly to take back to Milore
  • Talked with Wulf to get his quest about his brother
  • Chatted a bit with Frea
  • Fast traveled to Tel Mithryn; Talvas was still struggling with his book
  • Apothecary was still locked, so I went in to talk to Neloth; got him to tell me his steward Varona was missing; agreed to look for her, and also to sample an ash spawn for him
  • Came back out and Talvas begged for help; destroyed the ash guardian he’d summoned for him, and got a staff from him; he pointed me at Elynea to find Varona
  • That apparently let me into the apothecary? Elynea gave me the quest to help her heal Neloth’s mushroom house, and also pointed me back at Raven Rock to try to find Varona
  • Bought several ingredients from her but she didn’t have a fifth netch jelly; sold her several of my potions
  • Found Varona and yep she sure was dead; reported back to Neloth, got ordered to bring him a new steward
  • Headed back towards Raven Rock; encountered another random Argonian starting some shit, and dispatched same
  • Stopped at Kolbjorn Barrow for next visit there, and to locate missing miners and take out new wave of draugr; got Ahzidal’s Ring of Necromancy as well as the Boots of Waterwalking; gave Ralis his 3,000 septims
  • Back to Raven Rock for a loot break
  • Sold some things to Glover, Milore, and Fethis
  • Got Drovas on board as steward
  • Fast traveled to Bristleback Cave to go to Stalhrim Source
  • Verified the Thalmor were gone from Northshore Landing, so it was safe for me to loot the place
  • Killed multiple mudcrabs, including “Old Salty”
  • Looted a lot of fish barrels with salt piles and assorted types of fish in them; also looted several chests and an East Empire strongbox; mined an ebony vein
  • Cleared little island with two stalhrim deposits and a Daedric battleaxe
  • Went looking for the Stalhrim Source
  • Fought ice wolf, also rieklings at what I think was Broken Tusk Mine? One of them came after me, including one on a boar, but oddly the one on the boar just followed me rather than attacking
  • Lost track of Jenassa at this point, I think I got ahead of her
  • Worked the Stalhrim Source and got loaded up on stalhrim
  • Found White Ridge Barrow (the place where you can make spiders)
  • Found Hrothmund’s Barrow
  • Found Benkongerike
  • Made it to the headwaters; fought a spriggan matron and a spriggan earth mother; soaked the taproots I had
  • Headed back towards Tel Mithryn; fought ash hoppers
  • Fought an ash spawn, and extracted sample for Neloth
  • Reached Tel Mithryn, but fight music started up and oh shit hi there Revered Dragon
  • Started fighting it while taking shelter under one of the mushrooms; it kept hitting me with Drain Vitality Shout
  • Dragon buggered off partway through the battle and started fighting a couple of lurkers, probably out of the water around the Sun Stone
  • Dragon took out one of the lurkers; I took out the dragon, and then the other lurker
  • Made it to back to Elynea and got her to tell me what to do with one of the taproots, while she kept the other two
  • Went over to Neloth and got him to compensate me for bringing him the ash sample, and also Drovas
  • Got permission to use his staff enchanter, and also got him to give me the Briarheart Necropsy quest
  • Returned to report to Elynea that i’d planted the taproot; got her reward
  • Summoned Arvak to return to Raven Rock; Jenassa finally got caught up
  • Mogrul tried to shake me down for Drovas’ debt; made him take half
  • Returned to Severin Manor for crafting; built out the rest of a full set of stalhrim light armor, also a stalhrim sword and bow, and improved them all up to Legendary
  • Gathered a boatload of things for selling in Raven Rock
  • Tried to book passage to Windhelm but I was overloaded and paying the boat captain didn’t work, so I went outside the city and summoned Arvak; that let me fast travel to Windhelm
  • Sold a bunch of things to Niranye, Oengul, and Quintus
  • Boinged over to Solitude and sold a bunch of stuff to Gulum-Ei
  • Went to Proudspire to crash for the rest of the morning, and check on the kids and Jordis; Sofie gave me a flower <3
  • Saved for the night

General commentary

Lots of side quests on Solstheim touched on here, as follows:

  1. Unearthed (Kolbjorn Barrow quest)
  2. Deathbrand
  3. A New Source of Stalhrim
  4. Lost Legacy (quest to guard Tharstan in Vahlok’s tomb)
  5. Filial Bonds (quest to find Wulf’s brother)
  6. Reluctant Steward (find Neloth a new steward after Varona is killed)
  7. Telvanni Research (ash spawn sample quest)
  8. Healing a House
  9. Briarheart Necropsy

The ones in italics are the ones I actually resolved in this session. So yeah, lots of quests flying all around!

Just about all of this was familiar territory. The Filial Bonds and Telvanni Research quests were not familiar. I don’t think I triggered the Filial Bonds one, possibly because I never talked to Wulf as Alarrah?

And from what I see on the wiki, the Telvanni Research one requires you have a Conjuration of at least 40. I think Alarrah’s Conjuration was high enough when I hit Solstheim with her, but maybe not? As of that skill trees vid I took for her, her Conjuration was last at 58. But I also remember throwing money at Talvas as Alarrah multiple times to buy Conjuration training from him.

Anyway, I did two passes around most of the island with all this activity. And I did explore a couple of mini-islands that were new to me—the one with a riekling structure on it, and the one with the giant nirnroot plants that give you three samples of nirnroot rather than one, when you harvest them. That was pretty cool.

(I feel like though that the game missed an opportunity. Those plants should have been chiming way louder than regular nirnroot. Or possibly in a much deeper pitch. That would have been neat!)

A few locations I passed but did not engage with are ones I’ll want to swing back to later—White Ridge Barrow, Benkongerike, Glacial Cave, maybe Hrothmund’s Barrow, depending on whether I feel like doing Thirsk Mead Hall again and if so if I feel like doing it in favor of the Nords. (I haven’t decided this yet.)

I don’t think I’ll bother to swing back to Frossel or Broken Tusk Mine, though. They’re both riekling lairs and I kinda feel like the rieklings are too adorable to kill. And neither of those locales has anything critical to plot needs!

I now have a full set of both Heavy and Light stalhrim armors. I’m ambivalent about this. I really want to like stalhrim armor in general, most of it looks cool, in both the Heavy or the Light sets. Except for the helmets. I really am not a fan of the horns on either the Heavy or Light helmets.

And okay yeah sure I could wear the stalhrim armor bits I do like and wear some other kind of helmet, but I like having the Matching Set perk, so!

Still though I also have the Deathbrand armor set, which is also stalhrim. And it’s specifically Light Armor and loaded with several useful enchantments. Real interesting question as to whether I still get a Matching Set perk if I have a shield with the Deathbrand armor. I’ll have to try that out. If that works I may have to give the not-Deathbrand Light stalhrim armor to Golldir or Illia!

Also, I would just like to note for the record that I’m aware that the armor mannequins wandering around is a known problem in all player-owned houses. In Severin Manor in particular, though, it creeps me the fuck out, because the little open area where you have four different armor mannequins is particularly prone to those mannequins moving around. And since they’re just a few steps over from your BED, that’s just a delightful way to get to sleep in that place, let me tell you!

Next time

I’m going to do a circuit through a few places in Skyrim, selling merchandise I’m hauling around, and stopping somewhere to see if I can take out a Briarheart. Likely target locale for this is probably going to be Lost Valley Redoubt since I know there’s a Word Wall there I haven’t cleared yet.

I think I’ll also check in at all the houses and see if there is additional extraneous loot lying around I can get rid of.

I’m also closing in on level 63, so if I roll over it’ll be time for another stop at the mage college for additional training!


Editing to add

  • 11/17/2023: 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.