Dragonborn,  Merawen Playthrough

In Which Merawen Slays the Dragon Priest Ahzidal and Clears Kolbjorn Barrow

Short session as anticipated, because Sunday night session. Basically only had time to do the final stage of the Kolbjorn Barrow quest, and read the Black Book found there.


  • Session number in 64:
  • Geared up in Blades armor to return to Kolbjorn Barrow
  • Unarmed Khajiit who tried to punch me, Jenassa took him out; kitty, how did you think that was going to go?
  • Found all of Ralis’ incriminating journals at the site, plus a lot of dead miners
  • Headed into the barrow; got the word for the Cyclone Shout
  • Got the two remaining Ahzidal artifacts, the armor and helm
  • Took out Ahzidal when Ralis summoned him; got his mask
  • Ralis snapped out of it; I spared him and let him flee
  • Cleared boss chest on the way to the Black Book, Filament and Filagree
  • Cleared that Apocrypha level, and took the Secret of Arcana power
  • Did the stalhrim deposit by the stairs on the way out
  • (Missed stalhrim deposit before getting to Ahzidal but oh wells, not interested enough to go back for it, there will be more stalhrim)
  • Returned to Raven Rock to drop off/sell stuff before next outing
  • Headed out again, and found a netch hunting party on the way to Tel Mithryn; let them have it without joining this time
  • Brought Elynea her hagraven claw
  • Headed towards Vahlok’s tomb
  • Unmarked camp with dead Dark Elf, presumably killed by the three rieklings that attacked us there
  • Reached Vahlok’s tomb and went on in; found Tharstan and began to search the place before saving for the night


Played out the tail end of this quest pretty much the same way Alarrah did—i.e., sparing Ralis’ life and letting him flee.

I’m still kind of feeling like this is the ending to this quest that sits better with me. The other option, telling Ralis you can’t let him go unpunished, smacks a little too hard to me of the Dragonborn being judge, jury, and executioner.

Mind you, I also know that if I took that option, Ralis would just flip out and attack me. So even if I’d said “I can’t let you go unpunished” in the context of “I’m going to have to haul you off and hand you over to the Redoran Guard”, as opposed to “and I’m going to have to kill you now”, I’d still have to kill him in self-defense.

Still though it feels to me like mercy is the more appropriate option here.

And for Merawen in particular, I also kind of feel like she’d be more inclined to be charitable to a fellow Dunmer than she would have been to anybody else. The Dunmer people have, as of Skyrim’s current game time, been through some shit. And if in Ralis’ case he’s got “a Dragon Priest broke his brain” on top of everything else the Dunmer have been through since Red Mountain blew, Merawen’s gut reaction to that is “shit, would I have done the same?”

She’s done a lot to survive, not the least of which is thieving all over Skyrim and taking over an entire guild of thieves. So her moral ground to stand on here is not entirely stable.

Still though, like Alarrah, Merawen no doubt will want to keep an eye on this guy. And if he shows the slightest sign of being a further problem, then absolutely taking steps to deal with that. She’s got all his journals, too. And what that spells to me is leverage.

Moving on from that, I also did start the quest to run through Vahlok’s tomb. I didn’t get very far into it, just far enough to find Tharstan and get the initial puzzle about the trapdoor over the fire pit, which expects you to drop some of the draugr lying around in to it.

Didn’t go much past that though just because it was getting late on a night before a work day, so I needed to save at that point and get to bed!

Next time

Picking up where I left off and running Vahlok’s tomb is on the agenda for the next session.

After that, we’ll see? As I’ve written before I still have a lot of things to do before I finish off Solstheim in general and the main Dragonborn plot in particular. So we’ll see what I’m in the mood to do next.


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.