Ysani Playthrough

In Which Ysani Sabotages a Mead Tasting and Commits Thievery in Solitude

This session was all about the Thieves Guild action, primarily main plot stuff, but also a little side action as well! And I’m getting far enough along on the main Guild plot to get to the really fun stuff.


  • Play date: 2/11/2022
  • Session number in this run: 18
  • Gathered a bunch of things at Breezehome
  • Bought more iron and corundum from Warmaiden’s
  • Sold some stuff to Belethor and Arcadia
  • Got in a little alchemy training with Arcadia
  • Boinged to Lakeview for a little building and dropping off stuff
  • Boinged back to Whiterun
  • Met up with Mallus in the Bannered Mare
  • Also talked to Saadia as long as i was in there to move that quest along
  • Headed out to the meadery
  • Got Sabjorn to give me the poison to go and poison the skeever nest
  • Killed once by the first skeevers; no problems the second time through
  • Used fire atronach for initial skeevers, then dremora for everything else
  • Dremora had no problems at all taking out Hamelyn without me having to ever get near him
  • Went up into the other building to drop poison in the mead vat
  • Came out of that building to see Lars Battle-Born–and also a FROST DRAGON, YIKES, which freaked out the kid; he crouched and yelled something I couldn’t catch
  • Had to run around a bit across the river and back before I could finally take out the dragon
  • Went back into the meadery to continue that business, and welp sorry, Sabjorn, sucks to be you
  • Now Mallus is in charge of the meadery and i have a fence!
  • Boinged back to Riften to report to Maven, who gave me an iron sword with a soul trap enchantment and told me to report back to the Guild
  • Brynjolf went THIS IS SUSPICIOUS and sent me off to Mercer, and Mercer ordered me off to Solitude to find Gulum-Ei
  • Time to go chat with a lizard! But first, gave the Honningbrew decanter to Delvin, and got a Bedlam job off of him for Riften
  • Sold a bunch of stuff to Tonilia, including Maven’s weapon (ditch it discreetly, won’t you, Tonilia?)
  • Went topside and sold dragon bits to Hafjorg at Elgrim’s Elixirs
  • Got her quest to get ore from Shor’s Stone’s smith
  • Got a round of Smithing training with Balimund
  • Headed out to go to Shor’s Stone
  • Ran into three, count ‘em, THREE bears
  • Called up the dremora lord and let him fight them while I ran like hell in circles nearby
  • Made it safely to Shor’s Stone after that, and got the ore sample
  • Also tanned the bearskins and made some armor to sell to the smith
  • Returned to Riften to give Hafjorg the ore sample
  • Also snuck into the warehouse to nab the skooma and moon sugar in there to satisfy the Bedlam Job
  • Returned to the Thieves Guild to report back to Delvin
  • Got another Bedlam Job from him, this time in Solitude, ha!
  • Also got a heist job from Vex, also for Solitude
  • Then boinged to Solitude
  • Went into the Winking Skeever to find Gulum-Ei; had initial conversation and got his request to go steal the Firebrand Wine for him
  • Strolled into the abandoned Thalmor Headquarters tower in Castle Dour and nabbed a whole lotta stuff to satisfy the Bedlam Job
  • Went to Blue Palace, nabbed the Firebrand Wine
  • Tried to break into Bits and Pieces but oops Sayma was awake so ROLL BACK ROLL BACK don’t want to fuck with Sayma directly
  • Then back to Gulum-Ei to give him the wine
  • Got a little info out of him, and soul gems, but proceeded to the part where I follow him to the warehouse
  • Suited up in Guild armor and followed him
  • Made it into the warehouse without alerting any guards on the dock; also made it through the warehouse, to my surprise
  • Nabbed the two sets of Noble Clothes off the shelves I went by, ha 😀
  • Getting through the cavern with the bandits was harder, though; had to send the dremora in for fighting and I got killed multiple times
  • Leveled up to 39 and took Advanced Armors perk in Smithing
  • Finally made it to Gulum-Ei and bargained with him for the remaining info on Karliah, and also to get him on board with being my fence
  • Made it back into Solitude in the right window of time where Kayd is the only person in Bits and Pieces; snuck past him, nabbed the item Vex wanted out of an upstairs strongbox, but also left 1000 gold
  • Snuck back out, though I had to wait for him to move off a bench in my line of sight first
  • Finally made it outside again and fast traveled straight to the Guild secret entrance
  • Checked in with Vex and got her payment
  • Checked in with Tonilia and sold her a boatload of stolen stuff; also bought back the Noble Clothes to clear the Stolen flag on them
  • Checked in with Delvin to get his payment for his job
  • Checked in with Mercer “Murderous Lying Bastard” Frey about how Solitude went down
  • Got his next orders to join him to hunt down and take out Karliah at Snow Veil Sanctum
  • Exchanged armor with Tonilia to get the carry weight boost
  • Exited out to the graveyard and boinged to Whiterun
  • Did a little buying of materials, improved a couple of bits of scaled armor I nabbed off bandits, sold the bits the improved armor will be replacing
  • Popped into Breezehome
  • Saved for the night

Dampened Spirits quest

I’d been kind of suspecting that I was going to have an easier time running this plot as Ysani than I did as Merawen, in no small part because I came into the plot with a much bigger magical punch. I was right. Only time I got killed running this plot was by the initial nastier-than-usual skeevers in the cellar of the meadery–and I let that happen only once.

Second time through, the flame atronach and the dremora lord cut a swath before me. And Hamelyn, the mad mage hiding out in the cave system under the meadery, never got near me. My dremora lord kicked his ass right proper.

One other difference here worth mentioning though is that Ysani’s already Arch-Mage. Merawen wasn’t yet, when she ran this plot. Which means discovering Hamelyn was kicked out of the College of Winterhold by the previous Arch-Mage probably hits her differently than it did Merawen! And Ysani’s got multiple things she could hold against Savos Aren. But kicking Batshit McSkeeverLord out of the college? Not one of them.

I’m a little sad I didn’t think to get a screencap of what Lars Battle-Born yelled when I came out of the boilery, only to find SURPRISE FROST DRAGON. As soon as the fight music started up, the kid shrieked and crouched down, but his line went by too fast for me to really parse it. I’ll have to see if any further children witness me fighting a dragon, I guess!

Also still a little sad for Sabjorn, here. As a player, I don’t particularly like the idea of sabotaging the man’s position at the meadery just because Maven Black-Briar plays dirty pool and wants to eliminate her competition. If there was a way to pay the guy’s bounty and get him out of jail, I think I’d do that. But since the game does not provide any such thing, I have just call it my headcanon that Ysani would slip the Dragonsreach guards the necessary gold.

That said? It’s not like Sabjorn is exactly good at his job. The man’s got dead skeevers lying right there in the main room, as well as live ones down in the cellar. The place has got to stink of skeever infestation. And he thinks it’s a good idea to invite the captain of the guard in for a tasting, with the meadery in that condition?

I remember being boggled the first time through this plot that he hadn’t plugged up the giant hole in the cellar wall through which the skeevers must have been coming. Was he doing shitty enough business that he couldn’t afford to get workmen in from Whiterun to bring stone and mortar and brick up that hole? In which case… again, not exactly good at his job.

Still though, “not good at his job” does not equal “merits being sabotaged by Maven Black-Briar”. So this is a thing that’ll just have to nag at Ysani’s conscience.

Side jobs for the Guild

I find it hi-fucking-larious that there is an entire Thalmor Headquarters tower in Castle Dour that I hadn’t known about before. A tower which apparently got abandoned in favor of the Thalmor Embassy, and which has no guards whatsoever in it.

Which meant I was able to stroll right into the place and nab 500 gold worth of stuff unchallenged. Awesome. And the place respawns, too! So I can come back later and walk off with more stuff if I want to. Lolololol.

There are real interesting questions here about why the Thalmor pulled out of this tower, though. Did Tullius kick them out? Was there unrest among the citizens of Solitude about their presence? Was it in reaction to Ulfric murdering the High King?

I found all sorts of things in the tower, which suggests that they pulled out pretty quickly. But there were also a lot of cobwebs, which suggests that it had been abandoned long enough ago that nobody’s been in recently to clean the place. Which in turn suggests that it was probably before Ulfric’s killing of Torygg?

And all in all I think Ysani was simultaneously delighted to steal stuff out of a Thalmor building, and disappointed that it didn’t deal any actual damage to them. 😉

Meanwhile, I also discovered that that warehouse in Riften that you have to hit as part of rooting out the skooma dealers can be hit later if you have a Bedlam Job to fulfill. Because this place does respawn, too!

I think Ysani finds the idea of stealing skooma out of the place distasteful, particularly given that visiting the place the first time gave her the in to get to be thane in Riften. So I suspect that while she handed the stuff off to Tonilia to sell, she probably urged Tonilia as well to get it sold outside of Riften, perhaps handing it off to the Khajiit. If I have to hit that warehouse again, taking it directly to the Khajiit will probably be how I’ll deal with it.

Also distasteful: stealing from stores run by NPCs I actually like! Which was why, when I broke into Bits and Pieces successfully the second time, I made a point of leaving 1,000 septims in the strongbox. So that it becomes less “theft” and more “buying after hours”, lol.

Because here’s the thing–I don’t think Ysani really enjoys thievery, not like Merawen did, even if she’s pretty good at it. She doesn’t necessarily want to steal from the population at large. She does however want to totally fuck up the Thalmor, and she wants the stealth skills necessary to pull that off.

So I think she’ll try to balance any acts of theft she commits against the general populace by surreptitiously leaving money in place of most items she takes. Unless the target is a Thalmor. 😉

Scoundrel’s Folly quest

Now we’re talking. I greatly enjoyed this quest in Merawen’s run, and it was fun here, too!

I wasn’t able to figure out how to get the map you’re supposed to be able to bring back to Delvin for a bonus. But this time through I did nab the two sets of Noble Clothes on one of the shelves, because in this warehouse is apparently the only place in the game you can get them! This is the same outfit worn by three of the Jarls: Balgruuf, Laila Law-Giver, and Skald. So unless you kill one of them, you have no other way of getting these clothes.

Nabbing these, I think, is one of the few times Ysani kind of did enjoy thievery. 😉 And I am totally wearing this outfit later if I find somebody to marry. And also if the peace conference winds up happening!

I was frankly surprised that I made it through the warehouse without getting spotted once. But my Sneak’s over 60 as of this writing, and that served me very, very well. Mostly didn’t even have to use the Throw Voice Shout, either. Just very judicious timing of when I moved from one hiding place to another, and also judicious nabbing of torches to increase the shadowed areas to hide in.

Getting through the bandit cavern was harder, since that did involve actual combat. But again, once I got into the groove of letting the dremora lord mostly handle this for me, it worked out. Not all the time–a few times I called up the dremora only to have the target bandit still come at me. So I need to get better at throwing Muffle when needing to get my Sneak on. And I need a Muffle enchantment STAT. The Nightingale Boots will solve that problem. But it’d be nice to have the enchantment anyway to put on other boots!

Still though I made it through, and now Gulum-Ei is on board as being a fence!

Language commentary

At multiple points during the Thieves Guild quest line, I’ve found I’ve had to doublecheck the wiki to remind myself what the various dialogue bits are–because Brynjolf, Mercer, and Maven have all thrown me dialogue too complex for me to easily comprehend in French. So far though I haven’t made any mistaken selections in my dialogue choices, so there’s that!

Only term of interest I want to call out for this time is “Siège du Thalmor”, which is what the game called the Thalmor Headquarters tower. The literal translation here would be “seat of the Thalmor”.

Next time

I think some prep work is called for before I go meet Mercer at Snow Veil Sanctum and discover his treachery! So I may take care of some side quest action before I go rendezvous with him.


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.