Ysani Playthrough

In Which Ysani Fights Her First Dragon

Now we’re getting the game underway in earnest, with Ysani Demers making it through investigating Bleak Falls Barrow and returning to Whiterun–only to have a huge surprise when she’s called upon to help fight off a dragon at the Western Watchtower.

Surprise, Ysani! You’re Dragonborn! Or, rather, “Enfant de dragon!”


  • Play date: 1/27/2022
  • Session number in this run: 3
  • Started working through the rest of Bleak Falls Barrow
  • Swiped only bracers and gloves off of bandits
  • Had to remember to take my time and alternate between spells and sword and bow, and to conjure my familiar when needed
  • Took multiple times to get past most opponents
  • Remembered to sneak a bunch and started leveling up pretty quickly, once I recalled the art of sneak sniping, then hide, then snipe again when the target loses track of you ;D
  • Found a pickaxe! Yay! I needed one of those!
  • Last draugr was tough! Took me five or six tries to get him! What finally worked: running like hell and repeatedly casting conjure familiar to let my wolf familiar fight with him
  • Finally got the Dragonstone and cleared the boss chest
  • Went out the back way and wound up near Anise’s Cabin; elected to not bother this little old lady for the moment
  • Mined a corundum vein, and also hit those two iron veins I missed on the way into the barrow when I found the steps again
  • Returned to Riverwood to turn in the claw; Lucan and Camilla are now quite happy with me <3
  • Bought every spellbook Lucan had, which netted me the Frostbite spell as well as Lesser Ward
  • Tried to head to Whiterun, but killed by a thief >_<
  • Did not have a thief second time through, but did have 3 Thalmor + prisoner, who I avoided
  • Made it to Whiterun; smelted my iron and corundum, and improved the steeel sword and the hunting bow I got from Bleak Falls Barrow
  • Dead guard in the square? WTF? What happened there? Another guard was checking out the body
  • Returned to Dragonsreach and dropped off the Dragonstone
  • Oh hi Delphine who I don’t know yet, nice that you’re impressed, thank you!
  • Cue Irileth with the news of OH SHIT DRAGON
  • Wait what you guys want me to help out with this wait why didn’t I just leave again? THIS IS NOT BEING LOW PROFILE! Well FUCK I guess I’m going to do this?
  • Off to the Western Watchtower! Where I proceeded to have my ass charbroiled and handed to me FIVE TIMES by Mirmulnir
  • Realizing that I am very squishy as a baby mage and needed better cover, sixth time through I took cover actually inside the tower, and popped out when Mirmulnir was in range to smack him with the Sparks spell
  • That actually worked and let me get in the killing blow on him
  • Noted a thing I did not have happen in prior playthroughs: Mirmulnir yelled “Dovahkiin” as he died
  • Oh hey look I can Shout wait WHAT DID I JUST DO
  • All the guards: HOLY SHIT elle est une Enfant de dragon!
  • Irileth: uh maybe you better go back to report in to the jarl and tell him what’s happened
  • Greybeards: DOVAHKIIN
  • Ah, there’s the Alik’r warriors looking for Saadia
  • Reported in to Dragonsreach
  • Balgruuf: Welp that was a hell of a thing, you better go talk to the Greybeards, and also, surprise! I’m making you my thane! Have a housecarl! Lydia, you’re on deck
  • Lydia: Hi, I’m your housecarl! I will protect you and all you own with my life!
  • Ysani: Given that everything I own is in fact literally on my body right now, this ain’t saying much?
  • Destroyed several items on Farengar’s enchantment table
  • Then went out to sell things; got some steel arrows at the Drunken Huntsman, and also upgraded my boots a bit, and improved said boots at Warmaiden’s
  • Sold dragon bits to Belethor who does sound about right in French, and who offered to buy my mother-in-law 😉
  • Nabbed some healing potions, and also leveled up to 7 while selling things to Belethor
  • Took Conjuration perk for Apprentice level spells at half magicka
  • Then popped into Arcadia’s and made a few more potions
  • (The crafted potions all had a – in the name, that’ll be helpful to tell them apart)
  • Went out to hit the Halted Stream camp to run the bounty
  • That took a while because trying to take out the bandits at the bottom of the mine was tough :O
  • Had to position myself well to have Lydia and the conjured wolf fight on my behalf, and remember to throw my ward to defend against the bandit mage
  • Cleared the place and hit most of the veins; overburdened though OF COURSE
  • Saved for the night


So a big, big theme of this session was, boy howdy am I very, very squishy playing a character who’s trying to focus on being a mage. This means I have to fight against three playthroughs’ worth of learned habit that tells me “there’s an enemy! Run up and hit it with my sword!”

When the enemy is a fire-breathing dragon, running up to it when I’m so squishy is a very, very bad idea.

It took me multiple tries to make it through Bleak Falls Barrow, and then multiple tries to finish the battle with Mirmulnir at the Western Watchtower. The takeaway I have from this is, until I’m much better equipped with mage armor perks, I really need to do these things:

  1. Conjure my wolf familiar as much as possible
  2. Now that I have Lydia, let her bash the hell out of anything I can’t get from a distance
  3. Cast Oakflesh all the damn time
  4. I have a ward spell now so I need to remember to use it against enemy mages
  5. Take advantage of cover! And sneaking!
  6. Do not be afraid to run like hell to get out of the line of fire if I need to

Even with all of this, I had to resort to actually using armor a couple of times, and that didn’t always help either. I tried wearing a couple of the pieces of armor I got from Bleak Falls Barrow while fighting Mirmulnir, but that wasn’t enough against dragon fire.

In Halted Stream Camp, though, I only finally made it through once I resorted to putting on some hide armor I swiped off one of the bandits.

So what this tells me is, I really need to have a set of fighting armor even if most of the time I’m going to be in mage robes. I’ll need armor just to get myself to the point where I can be in the mage robes.

All of this is beginning to give me an idea of Ysani’s overall frame of mind, too. If she specifically fled out of High Rock, and then fled execution at Helgen as well, her instincts are screaming at her to maintain a low profile. And yet, she did not actually run out of Dragonsreach at the first sign of trouble! Which gave Balgruuf the opportunity to recruit her for the dragon-fighting squad led by Irileth.

(Side note: this does make me wonder if it’s actually possible to run out of Dragonsreach at that point in the proceedings? Are you actually able to avoid being recruited for the dragon-fighting squad? Or is this a scripted event?)

Ducking into the tower to keep cover and only popping out when Mirmulnir was in range does seem to fit in with this state of mind for her, though. She’s small and fragile, but she can also throw fire and frost and lightning! So it makes sense to do this only when she can avoid getting fried by the pissed-off dragon.

This time through I did notice that Mirmulnir yelled “Dovahkiin!” as he died. According to the wiki, there is no audio file for this in the English build! You can only see that Mirmulnir yells this if you have subtitles on.

But in the French build, I specifically heard him yell it, so apparently they did record a file for it in the French build?

Which raises another real interesting question: how does Mirmulnir know he’s being killed by a Dragonborn? At this point in the storyline, I didn’t even have a Shout I could use in battle yet. I could only hit him with arrows or with magic. So is the dragon just reacting to the sheer raw force of a baby Dragonborn soul nearby?

And it makes the summons from the Greybeards a bit more entertaining, too. Because there’s another occurrence of the mysterious word “Dovahkiin” hard on the heels of the first, and also booming and very, very loud. That had to have freaked Ysani out as she headed back into Whiterun, and made her pause and wonder if another dragon was about to fall on her head.

Let it also be noted for the record that I am aware that I let myself get overloaded cleaning out Halted Stream Camp. I claim amnesty on how the place is loaded fulla good stuff and I really need the gold. 😉 But I need to get better at only picking up boots and gauntlets off of fallen enemies, just because those things are lighter! And because I always feel slightly guilty about leaving fallen enemies lying there naked.

Plus, since I’m not throwing any points into bumping up my stamina, this does mean my carry weight will be more constrained. So I gotta get a handle on this!

Still though all that iron ore I got will be super helpful to practice that shiny new Transmute spell I just got on. Alteration practice, baby!

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed as follows:

  • Hors-la-loi: Outlaw
  • Givrépeire blessée: Wounded Frostbite Spider?
  • Gemme spirituelle: Soul Gem
  • Champignons luisants: Glowing Mushrooms
  • Filon de fer: Iron Ore Vein
  • Trou de serrure: Keyhole
  • Force, Déferlement: Unrelenting Force
  • Mot de Puissance: Word of Power
  • Pierre de Dragon: Dragonstone
  • Filon de corindon: Corundum Ore Vein
  • Voleur: Thief
  • Fiston: Apparently this is a familiar version of “fils”? I saw the Jarl call the guard who reported the dragon attack this; I think the idea here is the same as an English speaker saying “son” or “sonny”?
  • Tour de Guet Ouest: Western Watchtower
  • Enfant de Dragon: Dragonborn (Literally, dragon child)
  • Guerrier alik’r: Alik’r Warrior
  • Les Grises-barbes: The Greybeards
  • La Technique de la Voix: The Way of the Voice

I was wrong about “housecarl” not being translated in the French build. Once I got a better look at the subtitles during the conversation Irileth has with the guards at the gate, just before we all go running to the watchtower, I saw that the term was spelled “huscarl”.

I looked that up and it is apparently a known variant of the word.

This suggests to me that maybe the French translators who worked on the game chose that spelling because “house” looks too much like English? That would make sense.

“Givrépeire” for Frostbite Spider is interesting. I can’t get a proper translation of that, just by poking around in searches. I get as far as “givré” being an adjective meaning “iced up”, which is kind of appropriate. But I’m not at all sure what “peire” is.

The term for the Unrelenting Force Shout is given as “Force, Déferlement” when you get the first Word of Power for it off the Word Wall in Bleak Falls Barrow. In your Shouts list—or Cris, in French—it is shown as just “Déferlement”. When I look this word up, the definition I find for it is “surge” or “flood” or “wave”. So I guess the idea here is “surging force”? Pretty close to the English even if not an exact match.

I’m a little surprised that “Enfant de Dragon” is the term they’re going with for Dragonborn, as opposed to, say, “Dragon-Né”? Since I’ve already seen that the translation of “Battle-Born” gives a bit of precedence for that.

Also a little surprised that the translation of “Alik’r Warrior” put a lowercase a on “Alik’r”. That seems like an oversight given that Alik’r is a proper noun?

Lastly, I saw the quest “La Technique de la Voix” trigger in my journal once I had Balgruuf tell me to go talk to the Greybeards. Literally, this translates to “the Technique of the Voice”. It interests me that the game used the word “Technique” here. I know a few different ways for “way” to get translated into French, but none of them quite get across the same meaning as this phrase does in English.

Also, the most obvious match for “way” is “Voie”, and that sounds almost identical to “Voix”, so maybe they just wanted to avoid repetition of sounds here?

(Sidebar: while searching for more info about this, I also saw that there’s a French version of the same Elder Scrolls wiki I’ve been using as a reference source. And that wiki translates the phrase to “L’art de la Voix”, the Art of the Voice, which I think actually comes across better. But I’m curious about the discrepancy of terminology here. I’ll have to see whether that version of the phrase shows up later.)

Les Grises-barbes as the term for the Greybeards is slightly unfortunate just because it sounds kind of like Greasebeards, and that’s not really a connotation you want for them. ;D

Next time

Now that I have that bandit problem sorted, I want to spend some time transmuting a bunch of that iron ore so I can work on making jewelry and getting my Smithing up!

Given that I’m going to have less emphasis on armor, I figure making a bunch of jewelry will be my best and fastest way to level Smithing for a bit. Bonus that transmuting the ore will let me level Alteration as well.

After that, I need to collect that bounty, and then see about whether Farengar has any additional spellbooks to sell me. I need that Candlelight spell! And Stoneflesh as fast as I can get it!


Back to some screenshots! Mostly ones to grab various amusing bits of French translation I wanted to preserve.

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.