Ysani Playthrough

In Which Ysani Destroys the Dark Brotherhood

Acquired three different Stones of Barenziah this session, grabbing both of the ones to be had in Windhelm–and capping off the session by running the questline to destroy the Dark Brotherhood! Which got me access to a third stone!


  • Play date: 3/4/2022
  • Session number in this run: 39
  • Did some more building of furnishings at Heljarchen; improved the dragonbone weapons and did a bit of armor improvement as well; left remaining building materials in outside chest
  • Hoofed it down the plains; passed a single Vigilant just hanging out with a lit torch
  • Made it to the meadery and sold Mallus a bunch of jewelry
  • Boinged to Windhelm; sold Ma’dran of the Khajiit more jewelry
  • Bought five rounds of Pickpocket training from Silda, and since she was at the Palace of the Kings external brazier, that got the palace onto my map
  • Slipped over into the Shatter-Shield house and got their Stone; left them 1,000 gold
  • Tried to trigger Blood on the Ice quest but no sign of it? Might have reset the pointer? Or may not triggered the right counter yet?
  • Confirmed Susanna the Wicked is still alive, saw her in Candlehearth Hall; also popped into the Hall of the Dead to see if I could see any sign of Arivanya having been killed; answer, no
  • So tried to just get into Wuunferth’s quarters in the palace to get his stone; waited the right amount of time till he wasn’t in the room
  • Got spotted by a guard putting gold into his dresser though, lololol, because I forgot to sneak while doing that; see below
  • The important thing is, though, I got the Stone
  • Next, went to go find Aventus Aretino and launch the Innocence Lost quest; played out similarly to previous playthroughs
  • Boinged back down to Riften; got there during the day, so did a little alchemy and enchanting in Honeyside; also took an afternoon to evening sleep
  • Hit the orphanage after nightfall
  • Oh hey look another incompetent thief! At least if the guards are busy fighting that guy they aren’t paying attention to me, lalalalala
  • Took Grelod out with one shot from the Nightingale Bow from the corner
  • Gave the kids a chance to go YAY SHE’S DEAD (not that that’s the slightest bit dark or anything), then once they were actually out of the way, then snuck out in invisible mode past freaking out Constance
  • Boinged back to Windhelm to tell Aventus Grelod is dead; now seriously, kid, get the hell out of this house for your own health, okay?
  • Boinged to Heljarchen for a bit more smithing work, also to have a sleep and trigger Astrid kidnapping me
  • I’m not leaving this shack till somebody dies? Right then, I nominate you
  • Took out Astrid; did not take her armor this time just because I’m going to try for the Ancient Shrouded Armor later
  • Freed the captives
  • Came out of the shack and saw a Blood Dragon circling overhead but it didn’t trigger fight music, so i ran off to the west to get far enough away to fast travel to Solitude
  • Got a courier with notice that the kids at the orphanage are now up for adoption; gosh, I wonder what brought that on? 😀
  • Told a guard I killed Astrid, got directed to go to dragon bridge, did so and reported to Commander Maro; got his request to go wipe out the entire Brotherhood
  • Boinged to Lakeview to stash the heavier dragon weapons, also the dragonscale armor for now till I have enough soul gems and dragon scales to improve it properly
  • Then headed out for the Sanctuary; cleared the place with dremora boys; got the word for Marked for Death; took Nazir’s clothes only because they’re unique, left everybody else’s alone; did take the set of clothes off a shelf though
  • Got the Stone of Barenziah
  • Came back out and quaff-traveled back to Dragon Bridge to report to Maro
  • Then quaff-traveled to Solitude and sold heavy loot weapons to Gulum-Ei; accidentally sold him the dragonbone dagger i’d made and wound up having to buy it back and blowing my reward gold, oh wells
  • Saved there for the night


My original plan for visiting Windhelm this session was going to involve running the Blood on the Ice quest, just to give myself a legitimate reason to actually be in the Palace of the Kings to visit Wuunferth. Didn’t work out that way, though. I couldn’t get the quest to trigger, and confirmed that Susanna the Wicked was in fact still alive at Candlehearth Hall.

Spent a little time as well wandering around in the Hall of the Dead to see if I could find out if Arivanya from the stables had been killed, since she’s needed for this quest. No sign of any coffins with NPC remains in them, though.

It’s not clear to me whether I didn’t get the quest because I hadn’t been in Windhelm enough times, or if I was in Windhelm too many times without actually going through the crime scene. According to the wiki page for the quest, there’s a known bug where you can actually trigger Susanna coming back to life. I’ll have to see whether I trigger the quest on a subsequent Windhelm visit, I guess.

All of which led me to having to decide to just go straight into Wuunferth’s quarters to see if I could get his Stone of Barenziah. Which was mostly easy, with one bumpy exception!

You would think that the Guildmaster of the Thieves Guild, if she were trespassing in a wizard’s quarters that open out onto a corridor regularly patrolled by palace guards, would damn well stay in Sneak the whole time she was in there.

Once Wuunferth was out of the room, I remembered to sneak while yoinking his Stone. I did not remember to sneak while slipping 1,000 gold into his nearby dresser. And that got the attention of a guard at the door. Oops.

Talked her down though, with the whole “I’m with the Guild, how about you look the other way on this?” bribery routine. Which only required me to do a bribe of 0, even? So I didn’t actually technically even bribe her? Which was pretty impressive given that I didn’t have the Amulet of Articulation on, even.

Lesson learned: it still counts as alerting the guard even if you’re putting something into the piece of furniture, rather than taking it out!

Also, my gold has a Stolen flag on it? Don’t know if that’s relevant? I suspect not. But it would be interesting to know if the few gold coins I snurched at one point that had a Stolen flag on them are impacting my ability to use that gold for anything. It doesn’t appear to be impacting my ability to do purchases, with fences or regular merchants.

All in all though I think Ysani will be making a point of avoiding telling anybody about that little incident. ;D

Regarding running the plot to kill Grelod the Kind and then destroy the Dark Brotherhood: I’ve written already about how I wish you could actually adopt Aventus, or get him out of that house at least for his own mental health. I’ve also written before about having some serious concerns about exactly whose body he was using to perform the Black Sacrament!

To that, I also want to add that I just have to giggle about how Astrid arranges to kidnap you because she’s pissy about you sniping a kill out of the Brotherhood’s hands. Look, honey, this kid was doing the Black Sacrament for how long trying to get one of you people to show up and help him out? None of you showed. I don’t think you all have any grounds to bitch about me stealing your contract!

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • Le Sacrement Noir: The Black Sacrament
  • Orphelinat Honorem: Honorhall Orphanage
  • Grelod la Douce: Grelod the Kind
  • Héritage de la famille Aretino: Aretino Family Heirloom
  • Pierre de l’Apprenti: Apprentice Stone
  • Pondragon: Dragon Bridge

Most of these are straightforward translations, but there are a few remarks I can make here.

Honorem, strangely enough, seems to be Latin? The only matches I’m getting for it on fr.wiktionary.org and reverso.net are Latin, anyway. The word I know for honor in French is honneur, and hall would translate over to salle. Maybe the translators thought Honneursalle didn’t work as a name?

As an adjective, douce means soft, not kind, so Grelod’s moniker isn’t a direct translation. But it’s close enough to still have the same ironic idea here, I feel. However, what I didn’t know before looking this up for this post is that douce can also be a noun, an affectionate term that can be used for a woman. Which I feel would also be a nice little spike of bitter irony for this character. I expect the noun version of the word is what’s intended here, given my understanding of French grammar.

Héritage in French can mean what an English speaker would expect it to mean, i.e., a cultural legacy. But it can also mean what the game intends for Aventus’ payment he gives you for killing Grelod, i.e., heirloom.

Pondragon is how they translated Dragon Bridge, and I expect this is anothe portmanteau, since bridge in French is pont. So they could have just knocked the t off the end here.

Still though, I keep trying to read this as Pendragon!

Let it also be noted for the record that “le chef de le Confrérie noire” means very different things to an English speaker and a French speaker. 😉

Next time

19 Stones of Barenziah down, five to go! The ones remaining:

  • The one in Elisif’s quarters in the Blue Palace
  • The one in Proudspire Manor
  • The one in Rannveig’s Fast
  • The one in Sunderstone Gorge
  • The one in the Thalmor Embassy

Of those, that’s only one more I need to actively steal, since the others are in places I don’t have to trespass into. (Mind you, I say this in the sense of ‘in character’, since the game never marks any of the Stones in red in general, which indicates I’m actually perfectly fine to take them as far as the stealing mechanics of the game are concerned!)

Getting at the one in Proudspire could be done by breaking into the place. But it’s not like I’m not going to buy Proudspire! It’s too useful a headquarters to have in Solitude. So by extension, this means I gotta work on getting the thaneship in Solitude, since I haven’t done that yet. Which will also let me work on getting in good with Elisif and lower the risk of my sauntering into her quarters.

Which means I think I’ll do Rannveig’s Fast and Sunderstone Gorge next–just because hitting those places and getting the loot from them will let me build up a cash reserve for buying Proudspire! Then I’ll start working on running the Potema plots and getting Elisif’s thaneship.

All of which is probably not all going to happen in the next session, but I may make good inroads on it? We’ll see!


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.