Dragonborn,  Merawen Playthrough

In Which Merawen Tells Sapphire About Her Father, and Slays a Dragon in Solitude

This session turned out to be focused entirely on a jaunt back to Skyrim proper. I’d gone over intending to do a circuit of all the houses and sell things, but a couple of surprises turned up!

Not the least of which was my very first incident of having to fight a dragon right inside Solitude.


  • Session number in this run: 67
  • Loaded up on stuff to take back to mainland
  • Arvak’d to Windhelm
  • Sold a bunch of stuff to Niranye and Oengul
  • Boinged to Riften
  • Gave Sapphire her father’s letter, and she gave me an exquisite sapphire that’s been her token and good luck charm
  • Also got her to give me her backstory but not her real name; her backstory is pretty brutal
  • Sold a bunch of stuff to Tonilia and also the Ragged Flagon alchemist
  • Boinged next to Whiterun
  • Fast travel dragon but did not engage, it didn’t land
  • Went into Whiterun to sell things to Belethor and Arcadia
  • Dropped off a bunch of books at Heljarchen
  • Boinged to Lakeview and picked up my Guild Master Armor on general principles
  • Also the stalhrim dagger I left there
  • Picked up some of the gem stash and the letters and keys left there, to move those to Solitude
  • Boinged to Falkreath to sell stuff at general store and apothecary
  • (Also, brother of general store guy is still a dick)
  • Boinged to Markarth; sold stuff to Endon
  • Slept the night, then sold stuff at Hag’s Cure
  • Got mini-quest to take “Stallion’s Potion” (lololol) to the steward in Understone Keep; he thanked me for my discretion
  • Boinged to Solitude and HOLY SHIT Revered Dragon attacking right inside Solitude
  • Guards and Viarmo from the Bard’s College got in on the fight
  • Dragon crash landed right near Bits and Pieces yikes
  • Boinged to mage college; got some new spells from Colette
  • Also got training from Colette, Tolfdir (did him twice by accident), Drevis, Phinis
  • Sold Tolfdir, Drevis, and Phinis some of the spiders from White Ridge Barrow
  • Got new rupture quest from Tolfdir for Morthal
  • Saved at college for the night to follow up in Morthal next time

Hey Sapphire, guess what, your father is on Solstheim

As part of the circuit of going to all the places and selling all the things, I made a point of stopping by the Thieves Guild to a) remind them that their Guild Master exists, and b) sell a bunch of stuff.

And I let Jenassa come down into the Ragged Flagon with me. Because goddammit, she’s my wife. And I say she gets to know what her spouse is up to.

Aside from selling things, the main thing I wanted to do there was also to bring Glover’s letter to Sapphire. She was really appreciative of that, and wound up giving me an exquisite sapphire that she’d been carrying around as a good luck charm.

She also wound up giving me her backstory—which was pretty brutal, involving her being raped by the bandits who destroyed her home.

That was unexpectedly stark for a conversation to have with an NPC in Skyrim. I mean, don’t get me wrong—the game doesn’t exactly flinch from brutal topics. But I was a little surprised that the dialogue path went from “now will you tell me your real name?” straight to “let me dump my entire brutal backstory onto you!”

Also, I was slightly surprised that the provided dialogue paths seemed to emphasize asking Sapphire for her real name to begin with. I’m not sure why the player is supposed to care what Sapphire’s real name is to begin with. Because, hello, Thieves Guild. If a member of the guild wants to conceal her true identity, why the fuck does the Guild Master care? Our priority is, is she a good thief.

And Sapphire herself emphasizes that she doesn’t know the player, anyway. Her disposition is good with me at this point, but that’s not the same thing as actually being a close friend. Yet she still unloads her backstory on you.

Which made me be all “Uh, hon, I’m not sure I needed to know all that? I’m your Guild Master, not your therapist.” Seriously, I’d have been fine with her going “Yeah, no, you may be my Guild Master and all? But I’m not comfortable sharing that piece of myself with you.”

And speaking of TMI…

When I landed in Markarth, after selling stuff to Endon, I also decided to pop into the apothecary there and offload a bunch of my extra potions.

That apothecary is called Hag’s Cure. I chatted with Bothela, the feisty old lady at the counter, about the name of the place—and that led me to a mini-quest in which she asked me to take a certain potion over to the steward in Understone Keep.

A potion which, I might add, was called “Stallion’s Potion”.

And when you show up in Understone Keep to deliver the potion to Raerek, he gets quite awkward and hastily offers you gold for your assistance and your “discretion”.

O. M. G. Wow, did I not need to know the steward of Markarth has trouble maintaining his sex life. 😆

I told Paul about this little encounter and his immediate response to that was “my discretion’s going to need more gold”. Lolololol.

Welp that was uncomfortably close to my children

Boinged over to Solitude after that. And came right out of fast travel at the Solitude gate to HI SURPRISE REVERED DRAGON RAR.

A dragon attacking right inside Solitude. This was the first time I’d ever had a dragon drop on me there.

Not the first time I’ve had it happen in any of the holds, to be sure—but up till now, I’d never had a dragon attack me inside a major hold. The minor ones, absolutely. I’ve had dragons show up at Falkreath, Winterhold, Dawnstar, and Morthal before.

But Whiterun, Riften, Markarth, Windhelm, and Solitude? Not so much!

The closest I’d gotten to that was the dragon that attacked me in Alarrah’s run, right outside the Whiterun gates. That was in fact the incident that prompted my play policy of always using the Western Watchtower as my fast travel marker for going to Whiterun.

But that was also outside the Whiterun gates, not inside them.

With Riften, in this playthrough, I’ve certainly had multiple dragon attacks—but again, just outside Riften, not inside it.

So yeah that was exciting. Particularly given that it was Solitude, the biggest hold in all of Skyrim. The guards got in on the fight, and surprisingly, so did Viarmo from the Bard’s College. And of course, Jenassa jumped into the fray as well. Lots of arrows flying. And as near as I can tell, nobody died! Go team Solitude! \0/

The dragon crash-landed right by Bits and Pieces, and given that this was in fact Solitude, a whole lot of NPCs gathered around to gawk. And it was Taarie from Radiant Raiment who delivered the “holy crap you took its very soul” line.

I sure did! Remember that next time you give me shit about my outfit, okay?

And given that this was uncomfortably close to Proudspire Manor—i.e., where my children are—the next priority was to hasten home and check on them and Jordis. They were of course okay, since they were out of the line of fire, and I’ve never seen Jordis actually leave Proudspire anyway unless she’s actively following me.

Still though I think Merawen probably made a point of hugging both Sofie and Runa. And telling Jordis that “oh yeah by the way? Totally just had a dragon attack down by the shops. How are you doing on weapons? Do I need to leave you more money to get anything repaired or crafted?”

I also feel like it’s distinctly likely that Merawen, Jenassa, and Jordis discussed this situation in depth for a while. Just so that Jordis would know that her thane still has unfinished business on Solstheim before she can properly return to Skyrim. And that looking after her thane’s children is absolutely fabulous of her and a great help.

Though really I kind of wish that Skyrim allowed you to do things like hire tutors for your children and such. Proudspire is right next door to the Bard’s College, and Runa has expressed interest in singing! So at the very least I wish I could have Merawen pay the Bard’s College to send somebody over to give the girls singing and/or instrument lessons.

And really, taking care of kids isn’t exactly the right thing to foist off on your housecarl, either. She’s a housecarl. A warrior. Not a nanny or a governess. Jordis the Sword-Maiden is absolutely the correct person to engage if you want to teach your kids to fight. But if you want to teach them math, or history, or about other cultures, or how to take up a trade? You need other teachers for that.

And it’d be nice to be able to do that! Kind of like skills training for your kids, only without the mechanics of skills being involved. Just something to provide additional background color in your house.

Hi there mage college, yes, your Arch-Mage still exists

Bopped over to the mage college finally, after all that excitement, to get in level 65’s round of training. I screwed it up slightly because of asking Tolfdir for two rounds of training by accident, but that was okay—I just had to elect to skip Destruction this time, as that school of mage is mostly ahead of the rest.

And I noted with pleasure that my Restoration had gotten high enough that Colette started offering me fancier spellbooks. So I purchased a few new spells from her.

Sold a bunch of stuff to all the trainers as well, including handing out some of the spiders I had from White Ridge Barrow. My headcanon on this being, Merawen might have gone, “I found somebody making these creatures on Solstheim. I want you all to figure out how to neutralize them. Especially the yellow ones. I can bring you more specimens if you need them. And also, no using them on people. Period.

While I was selling things, I also got Tolfdir to give me another “go close a rupture” quest, and this one was situated in Morthal. So I saved there for the night without going back to Solstheim yet.

Next time

Guess I’m heading to Morthal to deal with that rupture issue!

And it also occurs to me that I am not yet thane in Morthal. I don’t feel a super-huge need to build Windstad Manor this time; I have more houses than I need regardless. On the other hand, it’d give me something else to spend money on, and if I elect to set my Smithing Legendary, it’d give me another opportunity to work on building the Smithing back up.

Plus, I did kind of like the vampire conspiracy plot in Morthal. It’d be kind of hilarious to run it as a level 65 character. Movarth is apparently a leveled opponent, but the wiki says he levels up only to 53. So yeah. I can totally take him.

After that, it’ll be back to Solstheim. Getting down to the wire on things left to do there—I still want to run the Fahlbtharz dungeon, and then maybe try to swing back to Kagrumez to see if I can get that missing Reaver Lord to spawn. But then I need to finish off the main Dragonborn plot.


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.