Ysani Playthrough

In Which Ysani Seeks the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller and Becomes Thane of Falkreath

This was a nicely action-packed session, seeing the clearing of Treva’s Watch and the payment of the bounty for the bandit chief there, as well as venturing into Ustengrav in search of the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller. Plus, I have now fully furnished Breezehome, and become thane in Falkreath.

And I didn’t actively plan to initiate the Thieves Guild plotline this session, but it kinda worked out that way!


  • Play date: 2/2/2022
  • Session number in this run: 9
  • Ran Treva’s Watch
  • Forgot where the secret entrance was and had initial encounter with bandits outside on the walls, then realized I had the wrong quest marker active; fixed that and started sneaking through, but did not make it through the whole place sneaking like I did with Merawen
  • Got killed a few times by the bandit chief halfway through the place; had to armor up with swiped armor off bandits to make it through the rest of the way
  • Swiped steel plate armor off the first bandit chief and gave it to Lydia
  • Leveled up to 19 while taking out the second bandit chief, which was the one I needed for the bounty; took first Heavy Armor perk
  • Made it out to finish the place, talk to Stalleo, and conclude the quest
  • Boinged to Falkreath and sold veggies to Mathies for third favor quest
  • Dragon! But a flyby, never actually landed to engage with me and Lyds and the guards
  • Checked in with the Jarl and now I’m thane in Falkreath
  • HI RAYYA! Glad to meet you! Stay put for now, I’ll be back when I can make you a house
  • Sold a few things to Lod, then fast traveled to Western Watchtower
  • Khajiit outside Whiterun, so got a round of sneak training from Khayla
  • Did a little transmuting, smelting, and smithing at Warmaiden’s
  • Went into Breezehome and slept the night
  • Got all the interesting stuff out of the chest, including elven armor, as Ysani will have realized that she really needs that good armor, even if it’s elven armor, and having to wear it pisses her off
  • Sold stuff at Warmaiden’s and to Belethor
  • Got a round of One-handed weapons training from Amren
  • Went up to Dragonsreach and bought all of Breezehome’s furnishings
  • Sold spellbooks to Farengar
  • Crafted a few potions at Arcadia’s and also got a round of training from her
  • Took carriage to Morthal; saw initial worried townsfolk confrontation with the steward re: Idgrod and Falion
  • Stayed the night at the inn and went to Ustengrav in the morning
  • Fought initial crowd of bandits camped out by the barrow
  • Got some scaled armor with horn and hey that’s better than elven, Ysani now has her non-Thalmor-like armor!
  • Ran the dungeon to look for the horn
  • Leveled up to 20 and took first Light Armor perk
  • Got word for Become Ethereal
  • Fast traveled back to Whiterun for loot drop and crafting
  • Discovered that scaled horn armor I found isn’t actually able to be tempered? Booooooo
  • But for now I also bought a scaled helmet of waterbreathing, fuck yeah, and some scaled boots; now I just need the gauntlets and a different shield, and I am elf armor free
  • Did a bit of smithing and alchemy; sold assorted things to Adrianne, Elrindir, and Belethor
  • Went up to Dragonsreach and slapped a frost damage enchantment on the current elven bow since I had a black soul gem to spend
  • Sold Farengar a couple of the robes I wound up not needing to destroy
  • Recharged frost staff that Lydia had picked up
  • Set out to go hunt some bears for Temba and work my way to Riften
  • Valtheim Towers actually respawned and toll bandit demanded a toll again? Booooo. Paid her another 50 because I wasn’t in the mood to fight the bandits
  • Spotted bear in the water but it was too far away for me to chase down
  • Spotted wood elf trying to mine a clay deposit; did not engage
  • Killed a wolf, then killed by different bear; thrown back to just before fighting that last wolf
  • Fought group of bandits near fort I didn’t get a chance to identify for the map
  • Remembered to give Lydia back her frost staff
  • Last bandit ran and yelled for mercy, but lydia had less mercy than I did, and also just try explaining mercy to an atronach made of fire
  • Found that bear again and this time killed it with ice spikes
  • Killed second bear; mined iron ore vein
  • Reached Clearspring Tarn and killed a troll to clear the place; got the book Urag wanted, as well as the Bow of the Hunt
  • Proceeded towards Riften
  • Killed bear number 3, but then was killed by double bear attack
  • Re-killed bear 3
  • Passed little ruin with necromancer who warned me off, left her be for now
  • Re-killed bear 4, no bear 5 this time
  • Got close to Riften and spotted guards fighting a frostbite spider at Merryfair Farm, but they killed it before I got there
  • Reached Riften!
  • Passed the Persuade check to get past the guard who tried to hit me up for an entry tax; now is that any way to talk to your future guildmaster?
  • Went to the keep and got Anuriel’s payment for the bounty
  • Went to the forge and HI BALIMUND! Got his quest for fire salts, and sold him the orc sword I found at Clearspring Tarn
  • Attempted to decide what to do next only HI BRYNJOLF, who just up and walked up to me all “little light in the pockets, aren’t you, lass?”
  • Um okay I wasn’t actively planning on joining the Guild yet but okay fine let’s do this 😆
  • Amazingly, I actually successfully stole and planted the ring on Brand-Shei! (Sorry Brand-Shei, you’re a nice Dunmer and all)
  • Brynjolf offered me the next chance to prove myself for the Guild by getting into the Ratway in one piece
  • Guards confronted Brand-Shei while I sauntered very quietly off
  • Killed going past Faldar’s Tooth though, booooo
  • New plan! Different path out of Riften… nope, killed by double bear attack >_<
  • New new plan! Carriage back to Whiterun!
  • Smithed things and brewed potions and sold things
  • Leveled up to 21 again for the third time; took first Speech perk
  • Saved for the night


Slightly disappointed that I couldn’t get through Treva’s Watch with quite the same level of MISTRESS OF ABSOLUTE STEALTH that Merawen did! But this is what I get for running that dungeon way, way earlier in the game than I did with Merawen’s run. I just need more time to work up to that Mistress of Absolute Stealth level with Ysani. ;D

I have a bit more narrative fodder to work with here now in terms of Ysani’s armor. I’m still finding that if I’m not actively wearing armor, this raises my chances of getting killed. So I’m seeing a situation where Ysani got those bits of elven armor and then realized it kind of made her nauseous to wear armor that looks like what the Thalmor have.

But when she went out without armor on some of these adventures she’s started doing, she’s gotten hurt! (Killed in game terms, but in narrative terms, Ysani doesn’t know that! So I’m assuming hurt here.) So she knows she really needs that protection until she’s better at magically defending herself.

Now though she’s found scaled armor and has been able to afford pieces of that, too. So she’s working up to having that kind of armor.

I think she’d then destroy the elven armor if she could, but the game doesn’t let me do that! So I’ll have to settle for reselling it.

Ditto for the elven bow I have run now. Soon as I can upgrade, I’m ditching that bow! Thankfully, I’m almost to 50 on Conjuration, so I should be able to get the Bound Bow spell soon and not have to carry a bow at all. (Though I may be considering exceptions for the Nightingale Bow, or Auriel’s Bow, once I get to those! Or maybe Zephyr. We’ll see!)

And it has occurred to me that I could maybe slap the same kinds of enchantments on that armor that mage robes have, and that the novice hood has, to get the same kind of effect.

This is not ideal, in terms of my goal of being a pure mage. But right now But I’m also dealing with a game where I’ve set the Difficulty setting up to the fourth tier. So enemies are doing more damage to me than I’m doing to them—so I need to be protected against that.

Eventually, I’d like to be in a place where I can be wearing just all clothes and jewelry, with appropriate enchantments. I’ll need either master-tier mage robes or armor that’s been buffed up with the same kinds of enchantments. And I’ll need appropriate boots and gloves and maybe also a hood, with enchantments for resistances and buffs to Light Armor. Much will depend on how fast I can get my Enchanting up to snuff, and get to double enchantment status as well.

More practically speaking, though, I suspect that Ysani is going to wind up more spellsword than pure mage. Just because any way you slice it, enchanted armor is going to be able to protect her better than enchanted clothing, mostly. At least until I get to the point where I have enough perks active for the higher-tier Mage Armor action to work for me.

Not sure yet when I’ll get around to buying the property for Lakeview in Falkreath, we’ll see. Also not sure yet if I’ll bother to do any of the other Falkreath side quests. Leaving options open!

And heh, as I said above, I was not actively planning to engage with the Thieves Guild yet this time. But it worked out that way! My actual goal was to just show up in Riften and collect the bounty for the Treva’s Watch run, and then do a little shopping as well.

I hadn’t really realized that Brynjolf could walk up to you and make his pitch to get you into the Guild, though. I thought you had to actually approach him! But no, he can just come up to you.

So I went ahead and did that. That Brynjolf, he’s a charmer! ;D

It rather surprised me, though, that I was actually able to steal the ring out of Madesi’s strongbox and then go plant it on Brand-Shei. Apparently I’d gotten my Sneak high enough already to pull that off even in broad daylight? Maybe combined with me being smaller and in light armor? Dunno!

There are interesting questions here narrative-wise about whether Lydia knew what was going on, and what Ysani thinks about being asked to do something shady like this. I feel like she’s starting to get really uneasy about her increasing profile in Whiterun, Falkreath, and the mage college, and she’s getting to a point where she’ll feel like she needs to get a hell of a lot better at defending herself and at sneaking and hiding.

And I think she’s not above thievery, with the goal of making it a lot easier for her to fuck with the Thalmor as much as possible.

I’m envisioning Brynjolf sidling up to Ysani and making the pitch to her, maybe specifically while Lydia is distracted, maybe by checking out Balimund’s forge work or what armor Grelka has available? Whatever is necessary for making sure his recruitment attempt is not blatantly obvious to anybody else in earshot. (Particularly given that I saw Mjoll the Lioness behind him while he was talking to me, lol.)

I do feel a little guilty about getting Brand-Shei in trouble, particularly given that there’s a game bug that puts him into the Riften jail permanently. Yet another bug fixed in unofficial patches that I can’t install yet, augh! I am going to take the liberty of assuming for narrative purposes, though, that he got out when he was supposed to.

I got as far as Brynjolf telling me to make my way into the Ratway. Didn’t proceed to that point, yet; I want to make progress on the mage college plot before I swing back to engage with the Guild. Trying to run multiple faction plots at once in Merawen’s run was a bit much for me, and I don’t want to try that again here.

Language Commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • Cap de Treva: Treva’s Watch
  • Qualité: Used in the context of “by my right as Jarl”, when Siddgeir made me thane of Falkreath
  • Fallaise: Riften
  • La Souricière: The Ratway, literally “the mousetrap”
  • La Cruche percée: The Ragged Flagon, literally “the pierced jug”

It is not clear to me why Treva’s Watch got translated to Cap de Treva. Cap in French is a term I’ve encountered to date as basically meaning cape, in the geographical sense of “a bit of land that sticks out into the water”. Which would not seem to be relevant for the terrain right around this locale in Skyrim, given that Treva’s Watch is by a river, not a sea or even a lake.

Nor am I able to find any references that suggest that the French word cap could have the same sense I get off the English word watch here, i.e., a place where someone is standing guard. So this is an open question here.

Meanwhile, the use of the term “qualité” when Siddgeir made me thane of Falkreath is an example of why, if you’re going to poke around with languages, it’s important to dig a little further than just what Google Translate can do so that you’re sure you’re actually getting an accurate translation.

In the English lines for the game, if a Jarl makes you thane, then he or she will have a line that goes “by my right as Jarl, I name you thane”. When Siddgeir proclaimed me his thane, I noticed in the screencap that the term he used for “right” was “qualité”. Where I would have expected “droit”.

However, according to the French wiktionary page for this word, this is actually a legit usage. Specifically, definition number 5 on this page, where the meaning translates to English as “ability to exercise a right”.

Dara tells me that this usage of “quality” was a thing in old English, too. I like that the French translation pulls this in, since it adds a little bit of nuance and flavor that doesn’t come across in the original English line.

I got nothing, kinda, to figure out how Riften became “Fallaise” in the French translation. I’m not finding a direct translation for this, and only semi-close other references such as Fallais, which is an actual place in Belgium. And falaise with one l is the word for cliff in French, but I don’t know if that’s intended here or what.

I really like La Sourcière as the translated name of the Ratway, though Mousetrap comes across differently than Ratway, I think. “Ratway” is a pretty great description of the sewer tunnels in Riften, with the thieves and other ne’er-do-wells that live down there. But “Mousetrap” has an intriguing connotation of that part of the city also being an active trap for its denizens–or anyone who tries to venture down there without understanding what they’re getting into.

La Cruche percée is closer to the original intention of Ragged Flagon, even if not exact. And it lacks the rhyme-like cadence of the English name. Still though I like the connotation here of the titular jug being specifically pierced, which implies direct damage. As opposed to ragged, which just implies being hard-used.

Next time

Time to head off and get those lost books for the mage college, I think! And maybe also try to find six more bears.

(I could buy bearskins I think? But that seems like cheating!)


Editing to add

  • 11/21/2023: 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.