Delga Playthrough

In Which Delga Becomes Thane of the Reach

And, finally, the conclusion to the efforts to become Jarl Igmund’s thane! Thaneship of the Reach achieved, along with the retrieval of a statuette, the killing of a spider, the exploration of a ruin, and the summoning of Durnehviir out of the Soul Cairn.


  • Play date: 1/1/2022
  • Session number in this run: 63
  • Picked up where i left off in Markarth, and went down to kill the spider Nimhe for Calcelmo
  • At this point I was 4/5 for favor quests for the Reach, including:
    • Already had helped Ghorza
    • Gave a coin to Degaine
    • Took the Daedra heart to Moth, Ghorza’s brother
    • Dropped off Kerah’s ring with Calcelmo
  • Killed the spider, but also went ahead and did the Lost Expedition quest into Nchuand-Zel, which required finding the four missing journals to find out what happened to the expedition
  • Trudged out of the dungeon with a boatload of Dwemer metal
  • Made it back out to Calcelmo, reported that the spider was dead, also that I’d found the expedition journals; this cleared me for 5/5 and gave me the ability to return to Igmund to be thane
  • But I decided to go get the statuette first
  • Tried to leave Markarth three times but each time intercepted by a dragon encounter that kicked my ass: first a Revered Dragon, second an Ancient, and third a Blood Dragon, which I finally killed
  • Initial fight with the Revered Dragon involved summoning Durnehviir, but that got rolled back when the Revered Dragon killed me
  • Finally headed towards Serpent’s Bluff Redoubt
  • Non-hostile NPCs encountered: Thalmor + prisoner
  • Hostile creatures encountered: one regular bear, one wolf, one cave bear
  • Mined: three iron ore veins
  • Found Moldering Ruins which turned out to be very near my target; killed a couple of vampire thralls there
  • Reached the Redoubt nearby
  • Summoned Durnehviir again and this time that worked, spectacularly so
  • That let me get into the ruins where the statuette was; inside, I had to kill a couple more Forsworn and a hagraven
  • Got the statuette and other boss treasure, and an Enchanting skill book that let me hit 100 😀
  • Headed back towards Markarth
  • Killed bear at unmarked camp of Talvur and his Breton lover
  • Found Old Hroldan Inn
  • Continued on towards Markarth
  • Passed 3 Imperials + prisoner
  • Summoned Durnehviir a second time to help me fight a round of cultists
  • Hung out a bit outside Markarth just watching Durnehviir fly around and roar; he never actually vaporized that I could see? Just flew around my general vicinity up until I went into Markarth, and I even saw his shadow briefly in the square before I went into the general goods shop to give Lisbet her statuette
  • And oh yeah: on the way into Markarth, got a courier with a Letter from a Friend for Rannveig’s Fast–though it took two tries for the courier to actually show up? He showed up the first time but only delivered his opening line by the farm near Markarth, and then showed up again and gave me the actual letter as I got closer to the Markarth Stables
  • Got Lisbet’s payment and gratitude
  • Headed over to the keep to tell the Jarl I’d helped his people; he declared me thane and gave me a Blade of the Reach (which actually appears to be an axe, but who’s quibbling? Not me)
  • Argis the Bulwark now on housecarl assignment!
  • Dropped off a bunch of things at Vlindrel Hall
    • Filled the ingredients barrel by the alchemy table
    • Dropped off assorted materials in the chest
    • Dropped off assorted armor and clothes in the wardrobe
    • Put the ebony shield from Moth on the mannequin with the ebony armor from the Jarl
  • Headed out to the college for training; got training from all five trainers, also sold a bunch of enchanted jewelry, one spellbook, and a couple of staves
  • Spotted a dragon while crossing the courtyard between training, but it was a flyby and never came down to attack me
  • Headed out on foot to go do the Pale Lady quest
  • Killed en route: three frost trolls
  • Passed a living horse lying next to a dead bandit, and the horse very much looked like it wanted my attention, but sorry horse if I ride you you will totally get eaten by a bear
  • Encountered first pyromancer vs. cryomancer fight this game, the cryomancer won, and I took him down
  • Overheard what sounded like the Khajiit fighting something? But didn’t see them
  • Hi Fort Dunstad! Carry on, soldiers
  • Made it to Frostmere Crypt
  • Paused partway through running the place to save for the night

The Lost Expedition quest

I think I’d known in previous playthroughs that this expedition was a thing, but I never did actually run the quest before. This time I went ahead and did it, for the sake of doing a new thing.

Nchuand-Zel is pretty large, but not particularly distinct as Dwemer ruins go. Multiple zones, and lots of various levels and twisty little ramps and passages, all full of Falmer. So easy to lose track of where you are in the place!

No wait I’m wrong: there was one notable thing about this dungeon, and that was an actual tree in part of it. This is called out in one of the journals, as an oddity the expedition was trying to explore, as the tree looked to them like it came from around Whiterun. They speculated in the journals about whether it was some kind of gift, or a display of power. Me, I just got ‘White Tree of Gondor’ vibes off of it!

Other than that, the most distinctive thing about this quest was how, after you find the four journals, you get the objective of turning back on the ruin’s automatic defenses. This does strike me as potentially lethal for any newer expedition that might want to come down here–by which I mean, Calcelmo and his nephew and any researchers they send down.

But it did also result in the delightful sight of a centurion stomping after a bunch of very surprised Falmer, and not coming after me. Which did make for a nice change of pace. 😀

And naturally, I wound up getting overloaded getting out of there because of grabbing a boatload of Dwemer metal objects. But I didn’t have too far to trudge before getting to a smelter to melt everything down!

(Damn good thing Calcelmo is given no opportunity to bitch at you for taking artifacts out of the dig site, I guess?)

Adventures in getting the fuck out of Markarth

It turned out to be surprisingly difficult to just get the fuck out of Markarth after that, when I decided to go get Lisbet’s statuette for her.

I thought I’d go over to Serpent’s Bluff Redoubt on foot, just to see what would happen. “What would happen” apparently turned out to be “repeated dragon encounters that kicked my ass”.

First time through was another Revered Dragon, which proceeded to fry me. I even tried summoning Durnehviir to help me fight it, but it still fried me even as Durnehviir was going through his spiel about teaching me the first word of the Soul Trap Shout.

Second time through was an Ancient Dragon, which also took me out.

Third time through, the game threw me a softball, i.e., a Blood Dragon. That one I actually successfully killed.

The takeaway here: I need to get one or the other of my armor skills back up to better fight the higher tier dragons. :O

Serpent’s Bluff Redoubt: Durnehviir vs. the Forsworn

This turned out to be more fun than the average Forsworn camp, but entirely because this time I did successfully summon Durnehviir. And he helped me mop up the place!

I was particularly amused by one of the Forsworn yelling “I’m not staying around here to fight a dragon!” Wise woman.

Her compatriots, however, did not share her wisdom. Durnehviir promptly chomped a lot of them, and for good measure, even summoned his own helpers out of the Soul Cairn. He’s got a Shout, it turns out, that lets him summon a wrathman and a mistman and a boneman all at once. I only spotted two of the three, but they jumped into the fray and helped the dragon cut a swath through the place.

I did have to kill a couple more Forsworn and a hagraven inside, but that posed no problems. I recovered the statuette, as well as additional treasure out of the boss chest. And I got an Enchanting skill book that let me bump the skill to 100. 😀

Durnehviir vs. cultists

Wound up summoning Durnehviir a second time on the way back to Markarth, just because I’d forgotten I still had his Shout queued up when I meant to hit three cultists with Unrelenting Force.

But this worked out delightfully, just for the amusement factor of throwing a summoned necromancer dragon at Miraak cultists. And throwing Durnehviir at cultists was even more amusing than throwing him at Forsworn.

“What’s that about my being a false Dragonborn? Yeah, my friend the dragon here would like to have a word with you about that.”

What I learned from this session is this: summoning Durnehviir is a lot more fun when you call him in for combat help. Probably also more fun for Durnehviir, because not only does he get to fly around and roar in the sky, he also gets to enjoy some battle!

Next time

Gotta finish running Frostmere Crypt. I’m less interested in the Pale Blade per se and more in just getting that Ice Form word off the Word Wall!

Then I’m going to work my way back towards Markarth, and do Rannveig’s Fast, and then Valthume.


Editing to add

  • 11/20/2023: Restored missing gallery, and added play date and session number markers.

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.