Dawnguard,  Ysani Playthrough

In Which Ysani Escapes the Soul Cairn

As hoped, this post covers play for Tuesday 3/22 and Wednesday 3/23, in which I finished up Ysani’s adventures in the Soul Cairn!


  • Play dates: 3/22-3/23/2022
  • Session numbers in this run: 57-58

Tuesday’s play

  • Picked up where I left off, near Morven Stroud’s camp
  • Killed first Keeper and got his dragonbone battleaxe
  • Got Conjure Wrathman spellbook
  • Cleared the Reaper’s lair
  • Spotted the soul farmer and his soul cows; HI SOUL COWS!
  • Found Jiub and agreed to gather his pages (though I’d already found a few!)
  • Got Arvak’s skull!
  • Found the Conjure Mistman spellbook

Wednesday’s play

  • Started with a nice crunchy game crash when going after the second keeper, the one with the dragonbone bow
  • Took me several tries to take out that keeper, see below for deets on that
  • Derped around until I found the Conjure Boneman spellbook
  • Found and was killed by the third Keeper, and reset back to the locale of that spellbook; got the Keeper the second time through though, via dremora
  • Did a bit more looting of a couple of extra chests
  • Arvak was immediately useful since i was already pretty heavily overloaded!
  • Made it to the chest with my soul gem in it, and the ninth of Jiub’s pages
  • Finally made it to Valerica, and happy fun mother-daughter reunion time!
  • HI DURNEHVIIR! I’m going to have to kick your ass now, nothing personal
  • Got the Elder Scroll from Valerica, and she made me promise to look after her daughter, yes ma’am, can do
  • And oh hey Durneviir, you’re not dead? You gave me a battle name, how nice of you! Why sure, I’ll summon you in Tamriel, no prob (just, y’know, I’ll refrain from doing that right around Whiterun, they’ll get antsy, you understand)
  • Got Jiub’s last page, then returned on Arvak to Jiub and got his book and his locket
  • Then rode Arvak back to the stairs back to the portal
  • Went out onto the laboratory balcony, and Arvak’d to Solitude from there; sold a bunch of things to Gulum-Ei
  • Arvak’d next to Honningbrew and sold a bunch of things to Mallus
  • Under carry weight at this point so fast traveled to the Thieves Guild; sold a bunch more things to Tonilia and first merchant on the left in the Flagon
  • Boinged to Heljarchen for dropping stuff off and also crafting; did a bunch of alchemy and enchanting
  • Leveled up to 61! Took another stamina boost, and also dual enchanting perk \0/


This time through on the Soul Cairn, I did pretty much what I did with Delga’s playthrough: i.e., following the wiki playthrough to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

And yet, even doing that, on my fourth playthrough on this game, I still found it very easy to get lost in the Soul Cairn!

Earlier observations re: Ysani’s general playthrough strategy were also applicable here—mostly. The three Keepers, the Reaper, and Durnehvir are the main fights to do in the Cairn, and for the most part, they were certainly all easier with dual dremora assistance.

The main exception to this was the Keeper armed with a dragonbone bow. That one was hard to kill, in no small part because I had to still fight down the urge to actually get close enough for melee range—and he did significant damage to me with his arrows. Plus, I had to re-do the battle a few times, because Serana and/or the dremora kept killing him in ways that either knocked him off the top of the tower, or else had his remains land somewhere mid-air that I couldn’t get to.

And goddammit, I wanted that bow!

Meanwhile, I think this was also the first time through the Soul Cairn where it occurred to me to wonder exactly how a trapped soul comes into the Soul Cairn with physical objects? Because both Jiub and Morven Stroud have physical objects with them that you can then take out of the Cairn! Likewise, Arvak’s skull!

So I have a conflict here between “whut?” and “honey, you should really just relax.” 😉

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • La Fille de Port-du-froid: The Daughter of Coldharbour (lit. “the daughter of the port of the cold”)
  • Cimetière: Boneyard (lit. cemetery/graveyard)

Four different characters were notable in this particular pair of sessions: Morven Stroud, Jiub, Valerica, and Durnehviir. All of them, I feel, did a splendid job capturing the overall flavor of the performances done in the English version of the game.

Next time

Out of the Soul Cairn now, but before I can return to Fort Dawnguard and move the plot along to the next big fun parts (Ancestor Glade, Darkfall Cave, and my beloved Forgotten Vale), I gotta go get that other Elder Scroll first!

Which means returning to the main plot. I’ll need to hit the College of Winterhold, track down Septimus, and prepare to go to Alftand!


No screenshots this time; I’ve already taken a bunch of screenshots of the Soul Cairn, anyway!

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.