Ysani Playthrough

In Which Ysani Goes to Whiterun and Bleak Falls Barrow

Still in the very earliest stages of this playthrough! Made it to Whiterun to bring word to the Jarl that Riverwood is in trouble, and then got the quest to go to Bleak Falls Barrow and find the Dragonstone.


  • Play date: 1/26/2022
  • Session number in this run: 2
  • Continued en route to Whiterun
  • Fought wolf, with both an attempted arrow shot and Flames spell; took it out with Flames
  • Healed up with magic
  • Killed by a mudcrab! Well that’s embarrassing 😀
  • Started back at beginning of session
  • Did get a wolf again, this time killed it with familiar
  • Did not get a mudcrab, made it all the way to the crossroads
  • Made it to Whiterun, passed Persuade check by saying I had news about Helgen and dragons, guard let me in
  • Saw Idolaf Battle-Born talking with Adrianne about all the work that needed doing for the Imperials, and not being able to pull in Eorlund Gray-Mane
  • Passed Olfrid Battle-Born
  • Made it to Dragonsreach and presented myself to Irileth before she let me speak to the Jarl
  • Declined to bitch about the Empire being about to cut off my head
  • And I think I distinctly heard a NOT “Falkreath” name in that discussion, will need to confirm the name of that hold later
  • Low profile is my middle name! Ysani ‘Low Profile’ Demers
  • Have found at least a couple of instances where the spoken lines did not match what i was reading in the subtitles
  • Guard lines I’ve recognized so far:
    • “What do you need?”
    • “They say Ulfric Stormcloak murdered the high king…” (This one did not match what I heard actually said)
    • “Let me guess, someone stole your sweet roll!” (snerk, sounds surprisingly less smartassed in French)
  • Found the Khajiit outside Whiterun! I hadn’t noticed them on the way in
  • Stopped to sell stuff to Ri’saad
  • (Nobody tell the Jarl I sold the heavy steel armor he just gave me, but well really kinda don’t want that heavy shit loading me down)
  • Female Khajiit sounded like a Khajiit but Ri’saad not quite so much?
  • Headed back towards Rivebois
  • Oh hey Talsgar! ‘Talsgar le Vagabond’ 😀
  • Sleeping Giant Inn in Riverwood is translated pretty much straight over
  • Rented a room; chatted with both Delphine and Orgnar
  • Got a bandit chief bounty from Orgnar, the rumor pointer for Aventus Aretino, and a pointer to the College of Winterhold!
  • Did a little alchemy at the alchemy table in the inn to start working on my potions
  • Then went over to buy stuff at the shop and get the quest to get back the Golden Claw
  • Bought a spellbook for Oakflesh once I realized which spellbook it was, then went to let Camilla guide me to finding Bleak Falls Barrow
  • Killed a wolf on the way up
  • Hi bandits at tower! Meet my wolf familiar!
  • Hi bandits outside the temple! My ghost wolf friend really likes you
  • Hi bandits inside the temple! Leveled up to 2 fighting them, took first perk in Conjuration
  • Killed by the spider near the bandit leader that I need to free, dammit
  • Thrown back to beginning of coming through the temple, and lost leveling up to 2 and 3, augh
  • But midnight, so had to save for the night


Bit of a shaky start, this? But not too bad compared to Merawen. Delga got farther along in her first session. But Ysani, like Merawen, is going to be a sneakier character with range fighting, so at lower levels that necessitates a bit more care than just running up to bandits, wolves, and spiders, and smacking them.

It does feel weird though to not specifically whip out a sword and engage opponents in melee range. I need to take the time to remind myself to focus on throwing the spells around!

I’d managed to level up to 3 before that last death that undid those level ups. Still though, when I redo them, I will follow the plan of putting most of my emphasis on bumping up my magicka, with a side emphasis on health.

And I’ll be actively trying to not keep every scrap of loot I come across, hence selling that armor from Balgruuf as soon as I found the Khajiit. Sorry, but he wasn’t my Jarl! And I need the gold more than I need bulky armor!

Which is not to say I’m entirely without armor—because I did keep the Imperial light boots I confiscated on the way out of Helgen. And I made myself some bracers at Alvor’s forge. So that’ll at least protect my arms, feet, and legs.

At least to the point where I’m able to start taking advantage of Mage Armor perks. Strategy suggests I should unlock those as soon as possible. But until I can do that, and until I have some suitably enchanted clothing and/or jewelry to give myself some needed resistances, I’ll need to have at least some armor for a bit.

Language commentary

I’m starting to take note of various interesting bits of vocabulary, and especially anywhere I can catch that isn’t a direct translation of terms in English.

Here’s an example: the ubiquitous “mountain flowers” that you can find all over Skyrim, in four different colors if you know where to look. Right around Whiterun, you can find the red, blue, or purple ones.

However, I was surprised to see that the French build translated “mountain flower” as “lys des cimes”. When I looked this up on Google Translate, it said this translated to “crown lily”. But: I’m not convinced that was an accurate translation.

Because when I look up “cime” on reverso.net, I see a definition along the lines of “mountaintop”. Which puts the translation more like “mountain lily”, and that’s a lot closer to what the English build of the game calls these flowers.

It interests me though that they chose to say “lys des cimes” as opposed to “fleurs des cimes”. There’s plenty of screen space to say “fleurs” for the text in question, so it can’t just be a question of “we wanted to use a shorter word”.

In Whiterun, I’ve started seeing the various known NPCs, and that’s starting to get me some of the translated names as well. The Battle-Born clan has become Guerrier-Né, which is a close but not exact translation. “Guerrier” is “warrior”. So the clan name here becomes “Warrior-Born”, which is not exactly the same phrase as “Battle-Born”, but close enough that it’s still a good match.

I caught the opening conversation between Idolaf and Adrianne, in which Eorlund Gray-Mane is also mentioned. But I didn’t pay close enough attention to what the Gray-Mane clan gets translated to! I’ll need to keep a further eye out for that.

And oh yes: I also did catch a line from one of the guards to Irileth, as she musters them to go deploy to Riverwood. They still call her “housecarl”. So it looks like that term does not get translated in the French build.

Some other terms I caught:

  • La Confrérie noire: the Dark Brotherhood
  • L’Académie de Fortdhiver: the College of Winterhold
  • Tertre des Chutes Tourmentées: Bleak Falls Barrow (or, rather more literally, Mound of Tormented Falls?)
  • Fort-Dragon: Dragonsreach (or, Dragonfort? Fort Dragon?)
  • Sombrage: Stormcloak

I’m interested by the translation of “Winterhold”, there. It looks like to me that they just smooshed “Fort d’hiver” into a single word and dropped the apostrophe. I’ll need to keep an ear out for the next time I hear Winterhold mentioned, just to doublecheck how they’re pronouncing this translated name.

Noting as well that it seems ‘Fort’ is going to get used more than once where the English names use different terms (like ‘Hold’ vs. ‘Reach’). It’ll be interesting to see what gets used for Mistveil Keep in Riften or Understone Keep in Markarth.

“Sombrage” as the French replacement for Stormcloak is definitely interesting. Trying to find a proper translation for this is challenging. According to this page on the French wiktionary site, the word can mean one of two things: either the act of ploughing a field, or the sinking of a boat. I’d assume that for purposes of the Nord culture, the former would be the expected definition here. But if that is indeed the case, that puts a very different connotation on Ulfric’s surname, and the name of his army.

Dara raised the intriguing point that fear of uprisings from the lower classes, to this day, is still an undercurrent of European politics. With that in mind, this suggests an intentional connotation here of the Stormcloaks, les Sombrages, as the “people of the land”.

Next time

Right now my immediate plan is much the same as how the other characters started their runs—at least going as far as the first dragon attack on the Western Watchtower, and maybe going as far as going after the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller.

However, what happens after that, still considering. There’s a lot I know I want to do in this run, but there are questions here about order of doing things, and good target levels, and when to target getting the best weapons. (Chillrend and the Nightingale weapons, I am looking at you!)

So I’ll probably do what I did with previous runs and at least go through the opening stages of the game up through going after (and failing to acquire) the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller. At that point, I should be good to head for the mage college.

So in the next session, at least, this’ll probably mean finishing up Bleak Falls Barrow, and seeing how far after that I get.


I took a bunch of screenshots, but they were mostly for referring to long enough to get terms to talk about in language commentary! Though I may start grabbing screencaps of guard dialogue, just because that’s fun to record. And I want to see if I can get specific examples of any lines of dialogue where I can tell that the spoken dialogue and the subtitles are different.

For now though nothing too hugely interesting in this session screenshot-wise, so no screenshots this time.

Editing to add

  • 11/20/2023: 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.