Dawnguard,  Ysani Playthrough

In Which Ysani Saves a Moth Priest and Returns to Castle Volkihar

Moved the Dawnguard plot further along in this one, by saving Dexion Evicus, recovering a schematic for Sorine, and then returning with Serana to Castle Volkihar in search of her mother.

With a hefty side helping of surprise mercy to some Thalmor who don’t know how close they came to getting stabbed by pissed off dremora. 😉


  • Play date: 3/19/2022
  • Session number in this run: 54
  • Got Sorine’s first crossbow quest, which targeted Embershard Mine again
  • Serana did not follow me out of Fort Dawnguard, probably because I had Jordis along as a follower already?
  • Went to the college to track down the Moth Priest, and got Urag to give me the location clue
  • Also bought the rest of the top tier conjuration spells from Phinis
  • Hoofed it out of the college, through Winterhold, and towards Dragon Bridge
  • Mines veined: corundum, orichalcum
  • Hostile NPCs encountered and dispatched: trio of vampires (non-Volkihar); female Orc just past Wayward Pass
  • Hostile creatures dispatched: frost troll; five, count ’em, five snowy sabre cats
  • Non-hostile NPCs encountered: Khajiit thief (did the “gosh no I don’t have any money” Persuade check on him again, lol); generic Nord who threw the line about my being a milk drinker who should return to my mother
  • Locations noted for the map: Weynon Stones, Windward Ruins
  • Encountered trio of Thalmor with prisoner who kept managing to follow my path, and periodically snarking on me throwing magic around; decided to not actually slaughter them, as tempting as it was, though I did try at least a little to see if wandering along beside them would piss them off at my proximity! Apparently not?
  • Also, a dragon dropped on while that was happening, and the Thalmor did see me absorb its soul! One of them even reacted, but no more than any other NPC? You’d think the Thalmor would pay more attention to the Dragonborn absorbing a dragon soul right in front of them ;D
  • Finally split off from them near Windstad
  • Two more iron veins mined
  • Couple of random already dead draugr dropped onto a rock as I closed in on Windstad
  • Dropped off a bunch of stuff at the house, including the Dawnguard armor, just because the Nightingale is still way better
  • Respawned bandits at Ustengrav; let Jordis and the dremora handle them
  • Found Kjenstag Ruins, and I don’t think I’ve found this place before? Apparently there is ghost action to be had here, but I arrived during the day so missed it; looted the chest though!
  • Additional hostile creatures encountered: two frostbite spiders, one chaurus
  • Passed Fort Snowhawk but did not engage
  • Found Meeko’s Shack and HI MEEKO WHAT A GOOD DOG! Not going to have you follow me, though, you would get totally killed
  • Made it to Dragon Bridge, and got a guard to tell me where the priest had gone
  • Found Dexion’s ambushed caravan, then rescued him from Forebears’ Holdout
  • Dexion read the scroll but reported we had to get the other two
  • Serana pulled me aside and we discussed going to find her mother at Castle Volkihar, but she refused to let me bring a follower, and asked me to dismiss Jordis so that she could meet me there
  • So I sent Jordis back to Heljarchen
  • Sold a few items to Gunmar
  • Boinged to Guardian Stones to get to Embershard Mine to get Sorine’s schematic; ran the place in Nightingale mode, sneaky and invisible! Got in and got out without having to kill a single bandit! Not even the one out front! 😉
  • Boinged next to Castle Volkihar, but according to the map i actually got there before Serana; saw her moving on the map to catch up with me
  • When she arrived, went with her around back to the back entrance
  • Fought the various skeletons and sicced dremora on them; also the Sun Fire spell from Sorine, though that really only started being effective when I dual cast it
  • Once all the skeletons were clear, entered the crypt with Serana
  • Saved there for the night


Not too much to say here about these Dawnguard events that I haven’t covered already, though I’ll admit to being startled when Serana didn’t follow me out of Fort Dawnguard after delivering her line about wanting to come with me. Only later did I realize that had to have been because Jordis was actively following me at the time? I think.

I went ahead and tested out the Dawnguard armor by reflex, I think. But saw that I’m still hampered actually improving it properly, since I haven’t started recovering Smithing perks yet. Which means my Nightingale or dragonscale armors are going to be my best bets for a while. And the dragonscale’s heavier, so I’m still favoring the Nightingale gear.

In no small part because it lets me do surgical strikes on places like Embershard, and get in and get back out again without anybody spotting me! 😀 Casting constant Invisibility spells didn’t hurt, either. One bandit came close to finding me, but I got him distracted well enough by being quiet and still, and then by doing the Throw Voice Shout to get him out of the way long enough for me to vamoose.

Boy howdy was the urge strong to fuck with the Thalmor when I ran across that trio with the prisoner. I wound up not doing so just because it didn’t seem interesting enough to bother with in that immediate moment–and also, I guess, because I was already fairly heavily laden with gear. If I’m going to take out a Thalmor squad, ideally, I need to be able to swipe and sell all their stuff!

Still though it’s worth noting that this particular set of Thalmor actually did follow along the same path I was taking west, for quite a few minutes. I deliberately encouraged this for a bit, just to see if they’d get pissed off at me for hanging around them–but no dice. One of them did give me shit for casting spells and giving magic a bad name, which is apparently a generic line that a haughty male elf can throw you if he sees you casting a dangerous spell.

“What,” she said innocently, casting Conjure Dremora Lord twice in a row, “this old thing? I’m just feeling lonely on the road and you guys don’t exactly seem the conversational types.”

At this point, really, a proper narrative would have had the Thalmor freak the fuck out. Because surely every Thalmor in Skyrim at this point should have been alerted to be on the lookout for a small Breton mage with the capability to summon Dremora Lords!

Also, it was kind of hilarious that they also didn’t react to seeing me absorb a dragon’s soul, since a frost dragon did in fact drop out of the sky on all of us while we were walking along. The Thalmor immediately engaged it in battle. So did my dremora. And I got in a few final hits, slurped up the soul, and saw at least one of the Thalmor throwing a standard NPC reaction line.

But seriously, I should think that being eyewitnesses to a small Breton woman absorbing a dragon’s soul should have put those assholes on way higher alert than it did. 😀 That plus calling up dremora right in front of them should have made them real interested in Ysani, but apparently this particular bunch didn’t get the memo yet?

The Thalmor also killed the fifth of the five snowy sabre cats that tried to charge at me, or, okay fine, us, since we were a loose group at that immediate moment and arguably the cat was charging us all. But for the sake of argument, since that cat did get pretty close to me, I can hand-wave it and decide that Ysani was feeling merciful to this particular set of Thalmor. Just because they kept her from yet another sabre cat fight.

(Let it also be noted that that last sabre cat, perhaps because it was charging a rather large group, actually wound up clipping into the road when the Thalmor killed it! I didn’t keep the screencap just because I’ve screencapped clipping animals before. But still, kind of startling when it happened.)

Next time, though, we’ll see whether I get the non-hostile Thalmor, or the outright execution squad!

Meanwhile, once I caught up with Serana at Castle Volkihar, the skeletons behind the place were a good target for the dremora. They’re tougher than normal skeletons, and it took me a bit to kill them. I was trying out the Sun Fire spell, since I got that from Sorine in the previous session (forgot to mention!). It didn’t really get effective though until I threw it with both hands–I think I may need to get the Necromage perk and bump that up! But it still helped considerably to have the dremora going after them too.

I expect them to be equally useful inside the castle, as well as in the Soul Cairn.

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • Pierres de Weynon: Weynon Stones
  • Ruines de Folvent: Windward Ruins
  • Ruines de Kjenstag: Kjenstag Ruins
  • Cabane de Meeko: Meeko’s Cabin
  • Refuge des ancêtres: Forebears’ Holdout
  • Concentration Tellurique: Weystone Focus

Several of these are straightforward translations, but a couple of them, not so much.

Folvent interests me just because it suggests fol (mad) + vent (wind), i.e., Madwind Ruins. Which is not quite the same idea as Windward Ruins, at least to me? But it’s actually a more evocative name in a way! Because ‘Windward’ suggests just ‘this place is windy’, but ‘Madwind’ is more ‘this place is windy to stupid and crazy degrees’!

The Weystone Focus carried by Malkus, I suppose, must have been a bit tricky to translate? When I do a search for the word weystone, I find almost no references that aren’t actually related to Skyrim. So since it’s not a word with a common meaning in English, presumably the French translators had to come up with something that at least conveyed something of the same idea.

Tellurique, it turns out, is the translation of the English word telluric, which means terrestrial/of the earth. A word I’d never heard of before, which means playing Skyrim in French has twice now taught me a brand new word in English!

Concentration in French is more or less the same as in English. Which means Concentration Tellurique more or less becomes Telluric Focus, which to me as a player has the connotation of “earth power focus”. And I daresay that gets close enough to the concept. So well done there, French translators!

Next time

Time to trek through the dark, bloody mess that is the back rooms of Castle Volkihar, to get to Valerica’s laboratory and the portal to the Soul Cairn!


No screenshots this time. What screenshots I took this session were mostly just to make a note of various interesting French terms, or otherwise were things I’d taken screencaps of before (like the sabre cat clipping into the road).

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.