Ysani Playthrough

In Which Ysani Returns the Skeleton Key

This is a double session post, covering play done on both Sunday 2/20 and Monday 2/21. I was able to play on Sunday night but only for about 30 minutes, due to having to work on some network stuff on my house LAN, and that wasn’t long enough for a post. So, covering both sessions in this one!

Main action of this post: Ysani reporting to the Twilight Sepulcher, to return the Skeleton Key to Nocturnal, and restore her favor to the Thieves Guild.


  • Play dates: 2/20-2/21/2022
  • Session numbers in this run: 27-28


  • Set out from Lakeview to go to the Twilight Sepulcher
  • Attacked by giant as soon as I went out the front door, but Rayya was right there and I summoned the dremora, and that solved that problem
  • Hostile creatures encountered: two skeletons, frostbite spider, bear
  • Non-hostile NPCs encountered: Hunter on a horse
  • Hostile NPCs encountered: cranky necromancer at a creepy altar
  • Surprise other faction NPCs encountered: Vilkas of the Companions! Somebody just before him as well, going the other way, that might have been Ria? Didn’t get a good look at her
  • Vilkas was just hanging out on the path though, suspiciously near the Twilight Sepulcher; do the Companions know something? HI VILKAS NOT JOINING YOUR FACTION TODAY I HAVE OTHER BUSINESS, perfectly non-shadowy business in this perfectly innocent looking cave entrance you’re standing suspiciously near, lololololol
  • Made it to the Sepulcher and had opening conversation with ghost of Gallus
  • Paused there and saved for the night


  • Picked up where I left off in the Sepulcher, and grabbed the journal from the corpse over by the far wall to trigger the clues about what to do
  • Started running the Pilgrim’s Path
  • As with Merawen, did not try to loot much or fight with the sentinels if I could avoid them; they are just other Nightingales trying to do their agreed upon job after all
  • Gave the key back to Nocturnal; actually had to do that bit twice because I stepped on the wrong symbol to choose my agency of Nocturnal, oops (because I wanna be invisible for 120 seconds once a day, yep yep yep)
  • Once I got that sorted, went through the portal to go back outside
  • Ran into and defeated cultists! Killed two of them with Chillrend, the third with Réjean the dremora 😀
  • But lost that encounter when I was killed by an Ancient Dragon though, and thrown back to coming out of the Sepulcher D:
  • New plan! Boinged to watchtower to go to Whiterun, because sorry House Gray-Mane, I gotta break in again
  • Got a fast travel dragon but it was dragon vs. giant, and the dragon didn’t want to fight me; it beat the giant, and also killed a tower guard; I looted the giant then headed into Whiterun
  • Shopped at about all the vendors, including the Khajiit parked outside
  • Also went to Dragonsreach to enchant some things, and sold at least one enchanted item to Farengar
  • Then went to go see about paying a surreptitious call on the Gray-Manes; successfully robbed them again and left 3,000 gold as well
  • Boinged to Riften; got Vex’s payment; got another job from her for Solitude (Bryling’s house); got Delvin to give me Whiterun’s special job
  • However, boinged to Lakeview rather than going back to Whiterun
  • Did a few remaining decorations and picked up Lydia for housecarl duty
  • Boinged to Honningbrew to sell stuff to Mallus
  • And I think it was here, after Speech leveling up while selling stuff, that I made it to level 48; took Quiet Casting perk 😀
  • Went on foot from there towards Raldbthar
  • Spawn point near Fellglow Keep had a mammoth vs. two sabre cats, which is apparently a known animal encounter; the mammoth had won that fight, and it did not like me and Lyds getting close to the dead sabre cats; I got to only loot one of them, since I didn’t feel like fighting the mammoth
  • Proceeded on to Raldbthar
  • Let Lydia and Réjean the dremora handle the exterior bandits and most of the interior ones as well, with a couple of minor differences this time through, see below
  • Lydia and Réjean also did very well taking out assorted Dwemer machines, and Ldia actually made it through the spinning blade trap! :O
  • Got to the point of Raldbthar Deep Market, where overall enemies change from bandits to Falmer
  • Will I get Lyds past that second blade trap? We’ll find out!
  • Saved here for the night

Running the Twilight Sepulcher

For whatever reason, running the Twilight Sepulcher this time, I did not have a quest marker to show me the proper directions to go. I didn’t document this problem in Merawen’s run, so I don’t remember whether I had that issue with her playthrough?

But that said, it didn’t really slow me down making it through, as long as I periodically checked the wiki to doublecheck which directions I should be going in.

As with Merawen’s run, I kept the looting to a minimum and tried to stay out of the way of any and all Nightingale Sentinels spotted. Just because it seems extremely rude to me to be coming into the Sepulcher and attacking the spirits of fellow Nightingales!

(I can kind of buy that if all the other Sentinels besides Gallus are in a fucked-up state due to the Ebonmere being broken, which would explain them not recognizing me as a fellow Nightingale. Doesn’t mean I want to actually attack them unprovoked, though! And this does raise the curious question about whether the Sentinels would return to a normal state if you came back to the Sepulcher later. I suspect probably not, but it’d be nice if they did.)

Also, I gotta giggle about running into Vilkas of the Companions shortly before arriving at the Sepulcher to begin with. I’m not running the Companions this playthrough, but I’m kinda partial to that guy now that I’ve run that faction at least once!

Thievery break

Robbing House Gray-Mane again let me finish off the side jobs necessary in Whiterun to get the special Guild job there, so I’ll be doing that soon.

But it also let me realize that the Gray-Mane family plot to go rescue one of the sons from the Thalmor may be another thing I need to do this run. Just because now that Ysani’s broken into their house twice, she’s been in a position to see Avulstein hiding out there. And she’ll have heard Fralia lamenting her other son being missing, in the public market.

So I think for the sake of doing a thing I haven’t done yet in the game, and also on general “because this is fucking with the Thalmor” grounds, Ysani’s going to have to go rescue the missing Gray-Mane son!

I can see her wanting to do that as well as unspoken penance for having had to rob the family twice, for that matter. 😉

Running Raldbthar

Had a few minor differences in running Raldbthar this time through.

Notably, rather than charging directly into the room with Alain Dufont and a couple of other bandits, I instead went through a master-locked gate nearby and got up onto a balcony overlooking that chamber. From there, I conjured Réjean the dremora and let him kill the henchmen.

He did not kill Alain Dufont, who I saw actually get out of the way. And I didn’t bother to kill Dufont myself, since I knew from previous experience that I wasn’t ever going to use Aegisbane. And that I had no way of returning it to the Shatter-Shield family in Windhelm.

This did result in a little hilarity, though, as Dufont reacted to the deaths of his henchmen by calmly returning to his chair while announcing that he would find whoever was responsible for that killing.

(My dude, I don’t think you’re looking hard enough. Because hi, I’m right here!)

Also, Lydia actually made it through the first spinning blade trap, the point in previous runs where I’d had to have followers stand guard rather than risking killing them! Thus demonstrating the wisdom of outfitting your housecarl in ebony armor and giving her a boatload of healing potions.

This means though that I now have to get Lydia past the second blade trap in this dungeon. And assuming that works, it’ll also mean Lydia will be following me through Falmer territory, which reduces my likelihood of sneaking past all the Falmer.

I suspect there will be a lot of Lydia and Réjean killing Falmer in my immediate future.

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • Les Compagnons: The Companions
  • Sentinelle des Rossignols: Nightingale Sentinel (lit. sentinel of the Nightingales)
  • L’Aquenoire: The Ebonmere

Of these, the first two are pretty much straightforward direct translations. The third, however, may not be so straightforward to most English-speaking users, at least in the United States.

Both parts of “Ebonmere” as a name presume that your English vocabulary includes those words:

  1. Ebon meaning “black” (source)
  2. Mere meaning “lake” or “pool”, as per what’s apparently primarily British usage (source)

But given those both of those, then Aquenoire approaches being more straightforward. Noire is easy enough, i.e., black. Aque seems a little less forthright, as I can’t come up with a direct translation of that. But French does have the word aqueux/aqueuse (masculine and feminine forms), basically meaning watery. So taking the first few letters of that and putting ‘noire’ on the end seems reasonable to me to get the implication of water across.

(An actual French speaker would have to say whether they’d get the same point, though!)

I also noticed some discrepancies in how the various Nocturnal special abilities got translated—because they were called one thing at certain points in my conversation with Karliah, and another thing at other points. But on the other hand, I’m not convinced this is entirely the translators’ fault, because the abilities are inconsistently named in English, too.

Depending on which wiki I look on, and whether or not I’m looking at what Karliah’s actual dialogue lines are, the abilities in English are:

  • Agent of Shadow, a.k.a. Agent of Stealth
  • Agent of Subterfuge
  • Agent of Strife

However, in French, there’s conflicting names for all three:

  • Agent de la Furtivité, a.k.a. Agent d’invisibilité
  • Agent du Subterfuge, a.k.a. Agent de la ruse
  • Agent de l’assaut, a.k.a. Agent du Chaos

Only conclusion I can draw here is that these were translated at different points by different people, and nobody ever checked for consistency of translation?

Last but not least I spotted what might have been an actual translation error, when I got to the point where I had to use the Skeleton Key and re-open the Ebonmere.

When you land in that well with the Key and you get a little cutscene, you’re then given the instruction on screen to use the key to open the Ebonmere. However, in French, what I actually saw was “Verrou l’Aquenoire”. And if I understand verrou correctly here, that actually means lock, not open.

Which strikes me as a pretty critical thing to get wrong in the translation, and I’m kind of surprised that one made it through. (But only kind of, because as all veteran Skyrim players know, the game does have a history of being buggy as fuck, and translation errors certainly fall into that same history!)

Next time

Going to finish running Raldbthar, which should get me the last aetherium shard! Then I can go find the Aetherium Forge and make the Aetherial Crown. <3

And that will let me pick up the other Standing Stone ability I want for this mage-themed character. Which will probably be the Atronach Stone!

Once I’ve done that, the next major item on the agenda is going to be finishing out the Thieves Guild action. And in parallel, working up to the Thalmor Embassy!

Before I hit the embassy, though, I think a couple more thaneships are in order. I’d really like to have a couple more options for distractions in the party, and a couple more friendly Jarls would be helpful!


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.