Ysani Playthrough

In Which Ysani Robs a Museum, Translates a Journal, and Investigates Arkngthamz

More Thieves Guild action in this one—but not quite as much as I wanted, because I realized that I’m now poised to get Chillrend. And I want the level 46+ version of it, which means I have a few more levels to get through before I’m ready! So I also scampered off to fire up the Lost to the Ages quest!


  • Play date: 2/15/2022
  • Session number in this run: 22
  • Killed the spider Nimhe for Calcelmo
  • (Did not bother to get the note by the dead Imperial soldier to trigger the Lost Expedition quest)
  • Returned to Calcelmo to tell him the spider was dead and got the key to the museum; also bought spellbooks off of him for Banish Daedra and Revenant
  • Went out of Understone Keep to stop by Ghorza’s forge and sell her a bunch of stuff; also got her quest to get the training book for Tacitus, will deal with that more later
  • Sent Iona home to Riften because important breaking into a museum business to attend to, which I attended to! See below
  • Boinged back to Winterhold; met with Karliah and Enthir in the cellar of the Frozen Hearth; got Enthir’s read of the journal and Karliah’s request to meet her at the Ragged Flagon; also got the Nightingale Blade \0/
  • Went up to the college for training; got five rounds of training in Restoration with Colette
  • Leveled up to 43; took perk for casting Adept Destruction spells at half cost
  • Took five more rounds of training with Colette in between selling her stuff to pay for it
  • Off to Riften! Went down into the Ragged Flagon to meet up with Karliah; cue the Guild-wide freak out and anger at Mercer; got Brynjolf’s instructions to raid Mercer’s house
  • Handed off the Model Ship and Dwemer Cube to Delvin
  • Got Vex’s pointers about how to get to Vald
  • Boinged between Lakeview and Whiterun to do crafting, smithing, buying of materials, and selling of things
  • Got Nightingale Blade improved up to Perfect; racked the previous Ebony Sword so I’m not carrying around multiple weapons
  • Got Lydia on active duty, then boinged to Reachwater to head for Arkngthamz
  • But first, ANCIENT DRAGON! Fought it with Lydia + storm atronach + Slow Time + Bound Bow; threw a shitton of healing at Lydia to keep her from getting fried; dragon slain!
  • Proceeded towards Arkngthamz; killed cave bear and sabre cat en route
  • Reached Orc stronghold Dushnikh Yal; got the quest to get the Forgemaster’s Fingers, will deal with that later
  • Fought trio of cultists near the ruin, and another sabre cat by the entrance
  • Ran the ruin, see below for details
  • Leveled up to 44; took perk on Restoration tree to regenerate magicka 25 percent faster
  • Boinged back to Whiterun to sell assorted things; got training from Arcadia in Alchemy to cover level 44
  • Boinged back to Lakeview and built a few more minor things, also did some alchemy
  • Saved for the night

Hard Answers quest

This time through, running the Dwemer museum was a little more challenging than it had been for Merawen! Primarily, I think, because my Sneak wasn’t quite as awesome at this point than Merawen’s was. So I had a little trouble getting past a couple of checkpoints.

The initial “public” part of the museum, the part I was authorized to be in after talking to Calcelmo, went fine. Even the part where I went into the alcove with the Stone of Barenziah, where I dropped into Sneak to nab the stone. 😉

(Sidebar: Ysani is definitely not as committed to thievery as Merawen was, I think. But that said, she’s not exactly anti-thievery either, and those Stones are super shiny! And I think Ysani may find thievery more tempting than she’d like to admit, even if she’s claiming to herself that she’s in it just to empower herself to fuck with the Thalmor.)

After going through the front part of the museum in “Perfectly Normal Authorized Person Don’t Mind Me While I Nab This Shiny Stone Lalala” mode, the next challenge was getting past the first two private guards in the laboratory. First one wasn’t a problem. The second one, the one by the locked door, was.

Took me three tries, I think, to make it past her safely. And what worked in particular was getting her out of the damn way via the Throw Voice Shout, since I was real short on Invisibility potions.

(Additional sidebar: really need the Invisibility spell. Also Quiet Casting. Gotta work on getting that perk next couple level ups.)

Second checkpoint was what to do once I got past that locked door. There are two options at this stage: try to elude the guards in the corridor with the spinning blades, or, bypass them and go through the corridor with the poison gas a few levels down.

With Merawen, I didn’t bother with the poison gas. I kind of wanted to try it this time, just because it was a new thing to try! But I rapidly figured out I wasn’t going to get it to work. The trick of trying to move the dead guard onto the nearby plate to shut off the gas wasn’t working for me; I couldn’t drag the guard into place fast enough to avoid the gas impacting me.

Plus, when I started coughing and trying to throw healing spells, I got noticed! And that was no good, so I rolled back from that and tried the other approach.

Which, really, is what I should have done to begin with. Because sneaking past the guards in the spinning blades corridor was also trivial with the Throw Voice Shout, and, it was a much shorter route to getting to where I needed to be.

Triggered the explosion with the valve again to get Aicantar to run out of the room, so I could get through the next part. There, I also nabbed the Dwemer Cube. Because again—Ysani’s not as immune to the allure of thievery as she’d like to think she is!

But I made a point of not stealing anything else—mostly. I did have to swipe a piece of charcoal and a roll of paper to make a rubbing, because those were needed to advance the plot. Narratively speaking I think this means that Ysani probably now specializes in grabbing high value, small items when she can, to minimize the impact she makes on a location she hits.

Once I got that rubbing, I barely made it out. A guard spotted me just as I was diving for the door to the balcony—but he didn’t reach me in time, and he didn’t follow me through the door. HA! So I was free to escape down the waterfall, make it to safety, and fast travel off to Winterhold to rendezvous with Karliah and Enthir.

The Pursuit quest

This played pretty much as it had done with Merawen. Met Karliah at the Ragged Flagon, and went straight to the part where we had to confront Brynjolf, Vex, and Delvin in the Cistern.

(Notably, the vault was now actually locked as the plot required it to be, even though I’d specifically observed it was standing wide open earlier in the game!)

Got as far as the Guild accepting Gallus’ journal as proof of Mercer’s treachery, and Brynjolf giving me the quest to go break into Mercer’s house. I would have proceeded further, except I realized I didn’t want to break into Mercer’s house until I’m level 46, just to guarantee I get the best version of Chillrend.

So I put a pause on the Guild plot, and had an interlude of crafting instead! And also deciding this was an excellent time to run the Lost to the Ages plot!

Lost to the Ages quest

I already had the first aetherium shard, since I’d nabbed it at Mzulft. But this session, I finally made it to Arkngthamz to meet Katria’s ghost and officially launch the plot.

Notable thing about running this dungeon this time through was that Lydia got stuck on the pipes just before the gate to the first resonators. I’m pretty sure this happened on previous playthroughs too, though I didn’t note in the previous posts. This time through I didn’t bother to try to get her to come down, because I knew I’d have Katria following me and the ability to summon up the dremora lord when I needed him. So I wasn’t going to hurt for backup.

That same problem cave from previous playthroughs, where chaurus kept killing me before, was a problem here too. This time through I just had to remember to stay the hell out of the way until I was damn sure the coast was clear, and to periodically re-cast spells or shoot arrows from behind cover when needed. Because the dremora is a lot less squishy than I am, and Katria is already dead!

Surprisingly, despite having had a lot of practice with the Telekinesis spell earlier in this run, I still couldn’t get the damn thing to work to get me Zephyr off the log. I don’t know if this was a matter of my not rolling my pointer over the correct tiny spot to make the spell pick up on the object, or what? So yet again, I had to resort to just stepping out far enough onto the log to get the thing.

Katria was still grateful though. ❤️

Used my Bound Bow to hit all five resonators, and got Katria on board with finding the remaining shards. Did not take quite all of the loot in the treasure chamber, just to limit my carry weight and to make sure I could still get out unencumbered. Which I did! And Lydia, as expected, did catch up with me as soon as I exited the ruin.

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • Les Rossignols: The Nightingales
  • Le Mausolée du crépuscule: The Twilight Sepulcher, lit. the Mausoleum of the twilight

Of these, I already knew about rossignol being the French word for nightingale, thank you very much Quebecois trad music! So no surprise seeing that term used here for the special high-level triad of thieves in the service of Nocturnal.

I think I also already had the individual words used here in the translation of Twilight Sepulcher, though I hadn’t yet realized that they would be the specific terms used by the game! Still though, no surprise here either.

Next time

I still have two levels to go before I can raid Mercer Frey’s place, but I have several options to choose from to spend my time! There are still several places I’m not thane of yet, and several side quests I can run as well. I’ll see what I’m in the mood for!


No screenshots this time.

Editing to add

  • 11/21/2023: 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.