Ysani Playthrough

In Which Ysani is Challenged to a Duel

The subject line on this post only captures part of what I did in this session, but I’m using this for the subject line because it was the main new action: i.e., being challenged to a wizard duel in Whiterun!

But I also cleared Shriekwind Bastion, killed the dragon at Mount Anthor, and proceeded through the mage college plotline.


  • Play date: 2/3/2022
  • Session number in this run: 10
  • Derped around Whiterun for a bit
  • Bought non-enchanted scaled helmet from Elrindir, and bought corundum from Warmaiden’s so I could improve it
  • Got another round of One-handed weapons training from Amren
  • Went up to Dragonsreach to destroy the enchanted scaled helmet so I could get the waterbreathing enchantment
  • Enchanted a bunch of crafted jewelry, and sold several bits of those to Farengar and Belethor
  • Headed out on foot to go to Shriekwind Bastion
  • Passed three Thalmor; did not engage though it sure was tempting ;P
  • Also along the lines of ‘fuck the Thalmor’, hit the hidden shrine of Talos on this walk and stole stuff off the corpse of the Thalmor agent there
  • (Did not disturb the bodies of the slain worshippers)
  • Made it to Shriekwind Bastion and started running the place mostly with no problems; beat up on initial vampire, skeletons, and thralls with Lydia + atronach + Dawnbreaker
  • Got ahead of Lydia though and this was a problem for the boss vampire, who kept handing me my ass; finally went ‘so go back and FUCKING FIND MY HOUSECARL’ so that I could throw both her and the atronach at this vamp, which finally worked
  • Got the second word for Elemental Fury
  • Fast traveled back to Whiterun
  • Did a little more shopping and Belethor actually had scaled gauntlets, so now i have a full armor set of scaled \0/
  • (But I still need the non-horned scaled so I can temper that)
  • Got two more rounds of One-handed weapon training from Amren
  • Set out to Fellglow Keep to get those lost books
  • Marked Chillfurrow and Battle-Born farms for the map
  • Spotted a couple of wolves fighting down a deer from a distance, so threw Stoneflesh + atronach; atronach took out wolves when I got closer
  • Leveled up to 22; however, killed by a sabre cat almost immediately after, augh; thrown back to coming out of Whiterun and re-did everything from that point onward
  • However, I damn well killed those wolves and that sabre cat again, and re-leveled up to 22
  • Made it to Fellglow Keep and ran the place; let the vampires out so they could take out some of the mages for me; since I had lydia with me, having Orthorn as a follower was not an option so I sent him on his way
  • Actually had to fight the Caller this time as I think I failed the Persuade check? A bit challenging to parse in French! She called up two atronachs, so Team Dragonborn was kinda evenly matched against Team Caller, but we eventually prevailed! 😀
  • Got the books and cleared the boss chest; acquired tasty treasure of an ebony greatsword, fuck yeah; hey Lydia, you’re getting a present 😀
  • Stopped at the enchanter and alchemy tables in this dungeon on the way out, to destroy a pair of dwemer boots with a frost resistance enchantment, and also to burn through some of my carried ingredients and get the carry weight down
  • Back to Whiterun for loot dropoff and selling and crafting! Slept the night at Breezehome
  • Did a little shopping at Warmaiden’s, got a pair of boots with fire resistance enchantment
  • When i came out, new thing happened, random dude in fur armor came up and challenged me to a mage duel; fucker got pissy when I told him he’d have to do something else to stroke his ego, and attacked me anyway
  • Also got pissy at me when I refused to fight him any more than absolutely necessary, and kept throwing wards
  • Hrmfph no guards came up to help me fight this asshole, but at least my housecarl kept shooting at him with arrows; not sure I was near enough to any guards to trigger their assistance?
  • Well at least he hit first so it was self-defense, so I didn’t get dinged for a murder bounty, and later determined that my standing with the college was safe
  • Went up to Dragonsreach and destroyed the boots so I could get that fire resistance enchantment
  • Dropped a Soul Trap enchantment on the ebony greatsword and then gave it to Lydia! Also gave her my elven bow because of expecting to get Bound Bow spell, now that my Conjuration had passed 50
  • Boinged to the college
  • Checked in with Urag and gave him the separate book he’d asked for, and also the three quest books
  • He gave me skill books as quest reward, which let me level up to 23; took first Alchemy perk
  • Slept the night in my apprentice bed
  • Got up the next morning and bought Bound Bow spell from Phinis, also Conjure Frost Atronach 😀
  • Did not buy training from him because I didn’t have the gold
  • Went to go check in with Tolfdir in the Hall of the Elements; did next phase of the quest where Ancano interrupts Tolfdir rhapsodizing at me about the Eye of Magnus
  • (And Ysani’s all ‘there is a fucking Thalmor here, and I can’t kill him, because if I do apparently that’d make me the asshole?)
  • Conversation with Quaranir and pointer to the Augur of Dunlain
  • Sold a few things to Faralda and got Destruction training from her
  • Went to go kill the dragon at Mount Anthor
  • Did that and then got promptly killed at Dwemer ruin with skeletons. this is apparently the Altar of Xrib, near the Sightless Pit; triggered the skeletons waking up when I picked up a fallen hide shield, OOPS
  • Had to re-kill the dragon! Got shrine of Azura on the map, though I didn’t get close enough to have Aranea get in on the dragon fight
  • Did however find the slain refugees near Mount Anthor
  • And killed a snow bear, which let me get another pelt to take back to Temba
  • And got the Word for Ice Form off of the Word Wall
  • Returned to Winterhold to collect the bounty
  • Stayed at inn for the night just because it was closer, and surprised to see Quaranir there
  • Collected bounty the next morning
  • Went back up to the college
  • Bought Ironflesh spell from Tolfdir, and ooh I can get Telekinesis as soon as I have gold 😀
  • Saved for the night


Having backstory for Ysani that’s heavy on the Thalmor drama gives me a bit of a new angle to approach certain aspects of the game. Case in point: passing those allegedly non-hostile Thalmor squads on the roads.

I think that once Ysani is sufficiently powerful, it’s going to be her favorite game to walk up to those guys and go “I think people ought to have the right to worship whoever they want!” Which will be immediately followed by “Ooh hey HE MAD”. And given that Lydia and I have already successfully fought off one Thalmor hit squad, I think this ought to be a thing I can start amusing myself with soon. ;D

Relatedly, this also puts a new nuance to the mage college plot given that there is a Thalmor agent right there in the college. And Ysani has to put up with Ancano being there, because he’s a very visible presence. But that doesn’t stop her from very much wanting to fry the guy. I’m going to take even more pleasure than usual in fighting him at the end of the plot!

Also, this will totally inform her decision to join the Thieves Guild in a “will being one of you let me fuck with the Thalmor? SIGN ME UP” kind of way.

Meanwhile, I’m pleased that I’m four playthroughs in so far and I’m still having new things happen. Case in point: the random NPC who came up to me in Whiterun and challenged me to a mage duel.

I had seen mention of this particular random encounter on the wiki, which can be triggered if you have any school of magic at or above 50. (I’m slightly surprised I never triggered this with Merawen!) In English, this NPC is named simply ‘Challenger’. The French translation lists him as ‘Adversaire’.

And basically, this guy is a dick. You have no choice but to fight him; you’re given an option to decline the duel, but he won’t take no for an answer, and he attacks you anyway if you try to back out. And then he gets pissy if you do anything but fight him with magic.

I was antsy about getting into a fight with this prick in Whiterun, since the wiki was not clear about whether fighting him would get me in trouble with the guards for assault and/or murder. Plus, there was a risk of it threatening my membership with the college, as well. Hoping to evade both of these risks, I went with attempting to refuse the guy’s demand for a fight—and also just because I liked the dialogue option there, that you tell the guy he’ll have to find some other way to stroke his ego.

And it wasn’t enough for this guy to challenge you to a fight, as well. He also gets pissy at you if you try to engage with the battle in any way except hitting him with magic. At first I tried not to fight him, and instead threw a bunch of wards to try to keep him from killing me while Lydia pelted him with arrows. (And I was also hoping that the guards would come running, if they saw me being attacked.)

The challenger got snotty about that, and about Lydia trying to shoot at him, too. He kept yelling at me that this was a magic duel and that I was supposed to fight him with magic. So not only does he insist on challenging you to a duel and attack you anyway if you decline, he also gives you shit if you try to defend yourself in any way aside from his personal rules.

He killed me once. Second time through I went okay fine, summoned up my Bound Sword, and stabbed him with it.

That magical enough for you, asshole?

Sheesh. I think anyone who’s ever had to fight off someone screaming “DEBATE ME” on the Internet will sympathize with how it felt to have to fight this guy off! And how satisfying it was to actually finally stab him.

And since he hit me first, it counted as self-defense, and I didn’t get dinged with a murder bounty. Even more importantly, I didn’t damage my standing with the college. (Honestly, I was kind of more concerned about that than about incurring a bounty in Whiterun!)

Lastly, the other new thing I can think to mention is that I was surprised to see Quaranir in the Frozen Hearth inn in Winterhold. I had no idea that he hangs out there during the mage plot, once you have your initial chat with him. I’m pretty sure he’s only there for the duration of the plot? Because I’ve never seen him there in previous playthroughs after the college plot is done.

Clearly I will have to double check if he’s still there later, once I’m Arch-Mage!

Let it also be noted for the record that I’m a little jealous of Quaranir’s neat-looking robes! Once I get my Steam Deck and have a version of the game I can install add-ones for, I’ll be totally looking for the mod that gives you cooler mage robes. ❤️

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • L’Augure de Dunlain: The Augur of Dunlain, pretty much a straight up translation
  • L’Hyposcole: The Midden
  • Specialiste: Adept

Translating the Midden over to L’Hyposcole is an interesting call. If I read that translation right, “hyposcole” is very literal. It basically translates to “under school”. Which is exactly where the Midden is, in relation to the mage college.

However—and this is a thing I didn’t know before—what a midden actually is in the real world is a refuse heap, often at archaeological sites. It’s not clear to me if there’s really a French equivalent word? I’m not finding one on the sources I usually check.

So my theory here is, maybe the localization team just went with a very literal name for the place, i.e., l’Hyposcole. I cannot fault that logic.

Also related to the mage college, I’ve started seeing Adept-grade robes and hoods being sold by the college trainers. I’ve also seen that Adept gets translated to Specialiste. Again, an interesting call. The word adepte does exist in French, but not with the definition an English speaker would expect; in French, it means ‘follower’ as opposed to ‘highly skilled practitioner’. So I can see why they’d have to use a different term here.

Next time

It has occurred to me that I’m now level 23 and I have yet to run the Bards College! I’m tempted to run off and do that, though I’m not sure I want to do that vs. just charging onward through the mage college plot.

I think I’ll lean towards the mage plot, just because that’ll let me get down into Eastmarch and head towards Mzulft. Which will also let me find the location of Shalidor’s writings, the other pending side quest I have for Urag.

Hopefully also this’ll let me find some more bears for Temba’s bearskins quest.


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.