Ysani Playthrough

In Which Ysani is Recognized as the Dragonborn

This is another session in which a lot more went on than I can easily fit into the subject line of the post! So let’s run with being recognized as the Dragonborn by the Greybeards, since that’s the thing most relevant to the game’s main plot.

Other highlights of this session include advancing the mage college plot far enough along to go to Mzulft, following Delphine to Kynesgrove and slaying Sahloknir there, a fair number of challenges fighting both dragons and cultists, and questing into Dead Men’s Respite in search of King Olaf’s verse for the Bards College.


  • Play date: 2/4/2022
  • Session number in this run: 11
  • Went down into the Midden to find the Augur of Dunlain
  • Had the conversation with him about finding the Staff of Magnus
  • Went to go talk to the Arch-Mage about that; he pointed me to Mirabelle, and Mirabelle pointed me to Mzulft
  • Arniel Gane sat down on the bench next to her while we were talking, so I talked to him after, and got his quest to go find Dwemer cogs since I can do that at Mzulft
  • Headed out from college to head south
  • Killed by snow bear on road south of Winterhold; thrown back to coming out of college
  • Take two: got a cave bear this time and Lyds was able to kill it
  • Proceeded past Stillborn Cave
  • Killed three different pairs of wolves
  • Mined iron vein working my way south
  • Reached Windhelm
  • Passed Imperial courier who told me to go to Solitude if I wanted to join the Legion (dude, maybe right by the walls of Windhelm is not the place you want to be hanging out?)
  • Went into Windhelm to do a little crafting; smithed some leather armor at the forge
  • Spotted Suvaris Atheron being given shit by the local assholes about being a Dunmer
  • Gave a septim to Silda
  • Did Enchanting work and leveled up to 24; took first Sneak perk
  • Sold a bunch of stuff to Niranye, Aval, and also Nurelion in the White Phial; got the White Phial quest pointer
  • Made a couple more jewelry items at the forge; found the Khajiit on the way out so sold them the jewelry I’d just made
  • Southward into Eastmarch, past Kynesgrove
  • Found the Shalidor book at Witchmist Grove, ha; since I didn’t have the Night to Remember quest active there was a generic witch
  • Found another bear to fight so that’s bear number seven
  • Also got spotted by the Bonestrewn Crest dragon, first Blood Dragon sighted this game
  • It flew off from fighting us though and instead tried to take on the Steamcrag giant; this did not go well for the dragon!
  • Killed a couple wolves in between dragon rounds, too
  • So very not ready to fight a giant yet, so I snuck around to the other side of the camp to get within soul-nabbing range of the dragon, and to also nab its bones
  • Went up to Bonestrewn Crest to hit the boss chest and the Word Wall; loot and word nabbed! Including a couple of enchanted shields
  • Two iron veins mined here too
  • Wolf
  • Imperials with prisoner
  • Killed by sabre cat; thrown back to Bonestrewn Crest so I didn’t have to re-kill the dragon
  • Skeever
  • Wolf
  • Iron vein and silver vein
  • Got the sabre cat again but this time I dodged it well enough that Lyds took it out
  • Reached Mzulft; nabbed some stuff from the storeroom including first aetherium shard
  • Way overloaded so dropped some of the Dwemer ingots in a chest
  • Quaffed potion to fast travel back to Whiterun for loot drop
  • Sold enough stuff to buy Adept Destruction robe off of Belethor, awesome
  • Decided to go ahead and run the Blade in the Dark quest to get the Horn back from Delphine and go kill Sahloknir
  • Reached Kynesgrove and took out Sahloknir with bound blade, hah, got some cinematic video \0/
  • Delphine fessed up to being a Blade; cue the plan to go run the Thalmor Embassy; I am not ready for that yet, so hold that thought, Delphine
  • Off to High Hrothgar! Hi Arngeir! I brought you back your Horn! Cool, new Shout word
  • SHIT MY EARS can you guys maybe rethink this whole Shouting at me to recognize me as Dragonborn ritual? No? Had to ask
  • Boinged back to Whiterun for another round of crafting and selling
  • Destroyed necklace swiped from bandits for light armor enchantment, definitely need that
  • Tried to boing up near Solitude to run the quest to get Noster his helmet and this did not go well, as described below; had to bail on that plan and go run the Bards College instead
  • Boinged to Solitude
  • Talked to Octieve to get his quest to get him out of debt
  • Went to Bards College to start that quest
  • Talked to Irnskar to settle the debt; checked in with Octieve at the temple, you’re clear, old man; yay, training in Two-handed
  • Headed out from Solitude to try to go to Dead Men’s Respite, and that was unexpectedly lively, as described below
  • Reached Dead Men’s Respite; took a few false starts to make any progress on the dungeon, but finally successfully ran the place
  • Called up the frost atronach to help Lydia and Svaknir take on Olaf; got his ebony sword \0/
  • Also other tasty loot from boss chest, including the non-horned version of scaled armor, finally, and second word of Whirlwind Sprint
  • Boinged back to Whiterun for more crafting and selling
  • Leveled up to 26; took perk for casting Adept Alteration spells at half magicka, really need that for casting Ironflesh
  • Saved for the night

A Blade in the Dark quest

I hadn’t gone into this session expecting to move the main plot along, but the impulse struck, so I ran with it. The main priority driving me here was being aware that I could get the last word of Unrelenting Force by going back and giving the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller to the Greybeards.

This time through, notable encounters en route to Kynesgrove were:

  • Couple of bandits on the road to Valtheim towers
  • Valtheim had respawned again, but this time through I didn’t have gold to pay the toll, even the reduced 50 gold one, so the bandit attacked me–which provoked Delphine into rampaging through the place
  • Passed a Vigilant of Stendarr hunting a vampire, but we didn’t stop to engage, given the urgency of needing to get to Kynesgrove
  • Bear, and then a couple of wolves
  • Vampire masquerade–and boy howdy did they not like Delphine or my frost atronach

I did proceed to High Hrothgar to do the part where I give Arngeir the Horn and the Greybeards formally recognize me as Dragonborn. Which got me the third word of Unrelenting Force, which I figure I really need as a squishy mage.

Something else I want to call out here because I only just now found this out, and it’s awesome: I knew Alduin addressed the player during this fight at Kynesgrove, because he switches out of the dragon language he’s using with Sahloknir to snipe about the player not even knowing the dragon language.

But what I didn’t know is that he’s got a line right before that, in the dragon language, in which he basically says “So you’re the Dragonborn. I do not recognize you as dragon.”

I love this for two reasons: one, it is a delightful example of Alduin’s personality. I.e., supremely arrogant. And two, it’s the second indicator in this game that the dragons absolutely know that you’re Dragonborn. Mirmulnir could tell, and Alduin could tell as well. And what this says to me is, the dragons just know when you’re near them.

Likewise, I hadn’t known that Alduin’s final line to Sahloknir is to tell him to “kill these mortals”. HA. Alduin, you would have saved yourself a lot of effort if you’d just fried Delphine, my housecarl, and me right then and there. But no, you had to be all “I DO NOT RECOGNIZE YOU AS DRAGONBORN” and go about your business. 😉 Again, supreme arrogance!

Trying to get Noster his helmet

This was one of the sticky parts of this session, because it did not go well at all. My plan was just to boing to the locale, by fast traveling to Lost Echo Cave, and then going to the location of the helmet. This playthrough, that happened to be Steepfall Burrow. But I never made it there. Kept getting attacked and killed by a Blood Dragon! And each time, I got thrown back to coming out of Dragonsreach.

Third time through, paused to duck back into Dragonsreach and try to put some enchantments on my armor. Put Resist Fire on the boots, and Fortify Light Armor on the gauntlets, though neither of these enchantments was very good. And they didn’t keep the dragon from kicking my ass.

Fourth time through, I finally killed the dragon–but it killed Lydia. And this was not acceptable.

So I rolled back on purpose and decided to do a new plan. This lost me a level up to 25, but at least I still had my housecarl!

Tending the Flames quest

Doublechecking prior posts, I see that Delga joined the Bards College at roughly the same point I’m doing it for Ysani. Merawen, by contrast, did it a little later, past level 30.

Previous playthroughs, though, were not on Ysani’s difficulty level. Just getting to Dead Men’s Respite was a challenge, because the game was bound and determined to throw me a Blood Dragon. Had one attack me on the way from Solitude to Dead Men’s Respite.

And I had a trio of Miraak cultists at the same time. So yeah at this point, one of my suspicions about what it was going to be like to play on higher difficulty levels seems to be holding up: i.e., higher chances of battles in which I’m having more than one battle going on at the same time. :O

(I have yet to have two dragons at once with Ysani, but I suspect that’s only a matter of time.)

Noting also that in the aftermath of the dragon and the first group of cultists, I found a dead Stormcloak lying nearby–just because this fight was very near the Haafingar Stormcloak camp. But I hadn’t even seen the guy during the fight, as I was too busy trying to keep myself from getting fried!

A giant frostbite spider showed up at about this point during the journey. I actually managed to deliver the killing blow to that critter myself.

Also, got a second group of cultists even before I made it to Dead Men’s Respite. There must have been a Miraak convention in Dragon Bridge, maybe? Or Robber’s Gorge. Probably a damn good thing these cultists didn’t attack me all at once!

While fighting that second group, I managed to get behind Lydia and keep throwing healing magic at her. Because teamwork! And because being the party healer means I need to keep throwing support at the party tank. 😉

And once we actually got to Dead Men’s Respite, it took me a few false starts to actually get through the dungeon. The ability to call up a frost atronach proved very helpful in the boss battle, and I never had to directly engage Olaf myself. Got his ebony sword as well as the non-horned version of scaled armor out of the boss chest, finally!

And just as importantly, got that second word of Whirlwind Sprint. I need to remember that this Shout might save my ass in battle, if I need distance for those critical seconds to cast my spells.

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • Le Bâton de Magnus: The Staff of Magnus
  • Les Elfes noirs: The Dark Elves, i.e., the Dunmer
  • Silda l’Invisible: Silda the Unseen
  • La Fiole blanche: The White Phial
  • Strix: Witch
  • Bosquet de Sorbrume: Witchmist Grove
  • Mansarde: Attic (in the context of trying to rent the attic room at Delphine’s inn)
  • Le Vieux tertre aux dragons: The old dragon burial mound
  • Académie des bardes: Bards College
  • Répit des morts: Dead Men’s Respite, literally “respite of the dead”

Main challenge here was seeing how well I could parse of Delphine’s dialogue in French. In the interactions with her, I missed a lot of the detail but at least was able to read the subtitles well enough to get a rough sense of what she was saying. This is about where I am for comprehending live spoken French at speed–i.e., a lot of it still doesn’t click in my brain, but every so often a word or phrase I know will pop out and I can at least get a rough idea of what’s being said.

In the case of Skyrim, it does help that I have the subtitles on so I can read along, since I parse written French better than spoken. Mind you, the subtitles don’t always match what the characters are saying, but most of the time they do.

I’m pretty sure Bosquet de Sorbrume is a pretty literal translation? Bosquet does appear to be a small collection of trees, so that’d be the “grove” part of the name. And I know brume as meaning mist, from my vocabulary app. So that’d leave the Sor part of the name as probably derived from sorcière, i.e., witch.

Next time

Now that I have King Olaf’s verse, I need to return to the Bards College and deal with restoring the festival–so I can get to the part where I go find the instruments, bring them back, and get the skill bumps! That’ll be a significant chunk of play right there.

And I’ll see about trying to get Noster’s helmet again, because I want that Sneak bump from him, too.

I almost have enough fire salts to report back to Balimund, which would get me a Smithing bump as well. And even if I’m trying to focus on being a mage, my Smithing is still critical. I need to be able to craft the higher tier armors to get money!


Just one screenshot this time, Ysani in an Adept Destruction robe, along with the magicka-boosting circlet given her by the Arch-Mage.

However, I also have a bonus video of Ysani delivering the killing blow to Sahloknir! I love the whole boss move of jumping on a dragon’s head and stabbing it to death, and Ysani doing it with her Bound Sword is at least in the correct direction of being a mage about it. Even if I might have preferred killing him with lightning. 😉

Ysani Vs. Sahloknir at Kynesgrove

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.