Ysani Playthrough

In Which Ysani Becomes Thane of the Pale and Winterhold

Getting all the side quests done to become thane of both the Pale and Winterhold took longer than I expected, so that became the overall main action of this session! But in the meantime, I also did preliminary Small House building at Heljarchen Hall, finished up the Alteration Ritual quest, and kicked the ass of Rolff Stone-Fist in Windhelm on general principles.


  • Play date: 2/26/2022
  • Session number in this run: 33
  • Boinged from Windstad to mage college; gave Tolfdir the heartscales; got Dragonhide spellbook!
  • Boinged to Windhelm
  • Bought five rounds of Pickpocket training from Silda
  • Sold most of the armor I’d made to Oengul; sold a few other pieces to Niranye
  • Broke into Belyn’s house again and left him another 3,000 septims (lol, the previous 3,000 were still there)
  • Boinged back to Riften to get payment from Vex; got what should be the last job for Solitude from her, excellent, I’ll get back to that
  • Boinged to Dead Men’s Respite to get at Brood Cavern
  • Dragon flying around, probably Eldersblood Peak dragon?
  • Found the Aspiring Mage; my dude, seriously, as the new Arch-Mage of the college, trust me when I tell you that yeah, it’s not you, it’s the staff, please give me that before you hurt somebody mmkay? (Persuade attempt successful)
  • Reached Brood Cavern; killed two bears outside the cave with Bound Bow
  • Mined an iron vein
  • THREE bears inside the cave! Had to call Réjean and André up for help with that, but still hit two of the bears with my Bound Sword to charge up a couple more gems
  • Got the Fine Cut Void Salts, also some nice loot from rather very deceased hunter by the chest, including more Daedric arrows
  • Mined a corundum vein inside the cave
  • Boinged to Lakeview to check on building needs since I got hold of some large antlers; built an elk head on the wall, also made another set of leather armor out of the bearskins
  • Boinged to Honningbrew and sold a bunch of armor and jewelry to Mallus
  • Stopped in Whiterun and sold remaining armor items to Elrindir
  • (Heh, Alik’r stuck at the gate actually alerted me to being ill with bonebreak fever from bears, stupid bears)
  • Hoofed it over the plains to Heljarchen and get in a bit of hunting and soul gem filling
  • Attacked by random Argonian in Dwemer armor; I’ll help myself to that, you attack me out of the blue, you forfeit your right to not lie there naked as well as dead
  • Made it to Heljarchen, built the small house structure and a few furnishings; I may leave Heljarchen in small house mode till Windstad is done, just for a change of pace?
  • Dropped off a bunch of stuff in the chest to free up inventory space to go hit Forsaken Cave again
  • Boinged to Forsaken Cave; barely made it past a frost troll! Killed by two snow bears inside the cave though 😛 Had to get the dremora boys to help me with them next time through
  • Started running the crypt in Nightingale mode after that
  • Filled up some gems nicely; lots of Bound Bow + occasional soul trap spell and Destruction + occasional dremora
  • Got out with the ring and a bunch of silver ingots and other tasty loot
  • Boinged to Dawnstar to conclude getting thaned
  • Gave the void salts back to Captain Wayfinder (in theory; he paid me for them, but didn’t actually take them out of my inventory? Known bug with this, apparently because I had regular void salts also in my inventory?)
  • Gave the book to Rustleif; got him to bump my Smithing 😁
  • Gave the ring back to Frida; got her to bump my Alchemy 😁
  • Leveled up to 52; took Matching Set perk in Light Armor just to boost my armor rating, ‘cause I’m in the territory now of getting way better numbers off actual armor than off of pure clothes
  • Reported back to Skald; hey Skald, can I be your thane? Awesome!
  • Hi Gregor! Welcome to Team Dragonborn! Also, follow me, i need your help, wanna go to Winterhold? I gotta become thane there too! Surprise, your new boss is on track to be thane of all the places, and did I also mention I’m Arch-Mage, working on taking over the Thieves Guild, and the Dragonborn? You’re gonna love working for me
  • Boinged to Hob’s Fall Cave; re-cleared the place and got the helm for the Jarl of Winterhold
  • Returned to Winterhold; slept at inn
  • Reported to the Jarl the next morning; hey Korir, can I be your thane? Groovy! And already had all three required favor quests, groovier!
  • Came out of longhouse though, and HI ANCIENT DRAGON! Helped guards kill it, but got overloaded with dragon bits
  • Sold stuff afterwords to Birna; bought her coral dragon claw, but still overloaded
  • Went up to college; got a round of training from Colette and two from Faralda
  • Bought Master Destruction Robe from Faralda for new working mage robe
  • Would have gotten training from Drevis except he had more spellbooks I didn’t have yet–including Invisibility, fuck yeah 🤩
  • Did some alchemy in the Arch-Mage’s quarters
  • And oh right there’s a Stone of Barenziah in here *yoink* (doesn’t really count as yoinking if it’s mine already, but well hey)
  • Headed out on foot to whirlwind sprint my way to Windhelm
  • Guard at Whistling Mine didn’t like me Shouting; hon, who exactly am I making nervous, it’s the middle of the night and it’s cold and snowy as fuck, but okay fine I won’t shout right here
  • Hostile creatures fought: snow bear, total of three wolves, two frost trolls
  • Hostile NPCs fought: Argonian assassin (really gotta go take out the Dark Brotherhood)
  • Made it into Windhelm
  • Oh hey look, it’s Rolff the Dunmer-hating asshole, assholing it up in the Grey Quarter! Rolff, your attitude sucks and I’m going to have to punch you in the face on general principles
  • After that, did a little enchanting at the table behind Niranye’s booth, then sold a lot of stuff to Niranye, Aval, Quintus, and Oengul, including the dragon bits from Winterhold
  • Also bought enough potions from Quintus to be able to boing to Heljarchen
  • Okay so Gregor, this is the steading I need you to defend, try not to get killed by bandits or giants, I’ll get you help ASAP okay?
  • Built out the entire small house furnishings while I was there since I had enough materials for it
  • Then boinged over to Whiterun to sell remaining things and check in on Lucia and doggie!
  • Lucia honey, I literally just got here in the middle of the night and I stink of frost troll, maybe right now is not a good time for tag? Go back to sleep, okay honey?
  • Saved for the night


So yeah, lots of general bouncing around through side quests this session.

Got the Dragonhide spell learned, which I’ll be real interested to try, but boy howdy do I not have the magicka stored up for this yet. I need to cut the costs of my Alteration casting reliably. The Arch-Mage robes help with that, but I still need the perk for halving the cost of casting Master-level Alteration spells. And some enchanted jewelry to slice magicka costs would probably be a good idea too. But that’s a thing I’ll need to work on when my enchanting hits 100 and I can do dual enchantments.

Likewise, I gotta work on bringing down the cost of Illusion spells so I can also cast Invisibility reliably. Mind you, ideally I shouldn’t need the spell given that I have a bunch of Invisibility potions at this point, as well as the Shadowcloak of Nocturnal ability. But the spell will be super-useful to have in my stealthy arsenal.

Most of everything in this run was familiar enough that I don’t have much new to say about it. But I will say this: it was very satisfying to come into Windhelm at the right time to find Rolff Stone-Fist doing his nightly dickweed run through the Grey Quarter. Just so I could stop and kick his ass.

Not that this actually does much, mind you. All that winning a brawl with him in-game will do is make him friendlier to you, even if you’re a Dunmer, or even if you’ve joined the Imperial legion. Because he’s a Nord, and kicking a Nord’s ass in a brawl = that Nord is now your friend for life? Nords gotta Nord, apparently. But bigots also gotta bigot, and kicking his ass doesn’t stop him from being a dickweed to the Dunmer NPCs in the game.

That said? Very satisfying to kick his ass. Particularly as little bitty Ysani, with her dainty little Nightingale-gloved fists. Looks like she’s learned a thing or two about unarmed combat from her housecarls. 😉

Meanwhile, I remembered that even if I mostly am having my dremora kick the asses of opponents for me, this doesn’t mean I can’t throw Soul Trap spells around and get my soul gems filled. So I need to keep this as a strategy, to just sneak up and throw soul trap spells while the dremora boys are wailing away on whatever’s in our way.

My Smithing has passed 90 now, so I’m closing in on 100 and unlocking Dragon smithing. Which means I better start stockpiling dragon bits so I can make an actual set of dragonscale armor! Possibly also some dragonplate for the housecarls. And I need to get the rest of the Smithing perks unlocked so I can get there.

Again: aware that as a mage in theory I shouldn’t be giving as much of a fuck about Smithing in this run. But I like Smithing, and it’s a good way for me to make money and keep leveling up. It’s also a good thing for me to set Legendary without too much impact to my other skills and my survivability in combat. Just need to make sure I have Ebony smithing learned when I make it over to Solstheim! Because stalhrim!

Relatedly, I’m definitely moving into more “spellsword” territory, and less “pure mage”. Partly because I’m to the point now that I need to be able to infiltrate certain places quietly, and followers are noisy. In which case I need to Nightingale it up. And that means being ready to use weaponry as well as spells if I need to.

I think I really like the flexibility of options here, though. Depending on the situation, if I know I’m not going to be able to sneak anyway (like, say, if I’m coming into a brightly lit area), then absolutely, mage gear it is, and calling in the dremora. But if I need to sneak through a draugr hive and snipe a bunch of draugr with my Bound Bow so I can refill some soul gems? Nightingale mode it is!

Language commentary

Two brief bits to talk about here. One is in regards to the aforementioned anti-Dunmer asshole, Rolff Stone-Fist. The French translation calls him Rolff Rudepoing. This is a pretty literal translation, with poing meaning fist. But the rude part is less what an English speaker might think–i.e., ill-mannered–and more in the sense of hard or rough. Which is in keeping with the English version of this douchebag’s name.

That said: he’s also pretty fucking rude in the English language sense! So I’ll claim the right to pull in that connotation for his name, too. 😉

The other bit I wanted to touch on is in regards to how the Pale, the hold where Dawnstar is located, gets translated into French. The French version of the game calls it Le Clos, and thinking about that suddenly made me realize what the Pale actually must mean in English.

Because I realized that English has the phrase “beyond the pale”! Most modern English speakers would expect pale to mean faintly colored, but when I remembered that phrase, I realized there had to be some other connotation there. So I looked it up, and saw that lo and behold, pale as a noun means basically, the area in which you have privileges and/or protection, or a bounded area in general.

So learning that, for the very first time in my life, makes the translation into Le Clos make a lot more sense. In both languages, it gets across the idea that the hold of which Dawnstar is the capital is enclosed, geographically speaking.

And this means a second time so far this run that playing Skyrim in French has taught me something new about English, and that’s pretty frigging awesome.

Last but not least, side note! While reading up about the Pieces of the Past quest, I had a deeper look at the wiki page for Madena, court mage in Dawnstar. Who, it turns out, is a Breton and a former Imperial battlemage, and who explicitly disavowed using Destruction spells after frying Thalmor with them in the last war.

I feel like she and Ysani could have some really intense arguments.

Next time

Now that I’m finally thane of both Dawnstar and the Pale, time to finally go get those bits of Mehrunes’ Razor! Sorry to say, Silas, but your days are numbered.


And, a special bonus video! This is the snippet of Ysani sniping a draugr in Forsaken Cave, taken when I realized she got a critical hit on the draugr–and that doing it in the dark in Nightingale mode, with the Bound Bow active, looked really really cool.

Ysani Snipes a Draugr

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.