Dragonborn,  Ysani Playthrough

In Which Ysani Uncovers a Threat on Solstheim

This post covers play done on Wednesday 4/13 and Thursday 4/14.

Why all the double session posts? Two reasons:

  1. Four playthroughs in, it’s harder for me to find new material to post about, and
  2. I’ve been having to go to bed earlier because the day job’s getting me up earlier, so I have less time to play on weeknights.

So it’s taking me longer to get enough useful material to make a post. Hence putting up a post every couple of sessions.

Anyway, main action here: beginning the run on Solstheim! And diving right into the main Dragonborn plot!


  • Play dates: 4/13-4/14/2022
  • Session numbers in this run: 78-79

Wednesday’s play

  • Began investigating Raven Rock
  • Oh hey who’s this smith who has a Guild shadowmark by his forge, hmm? Talked to Glover and got the quest to go get his Ancient Nord Pickaxe, and the quest to go find Esmond Tyne and get the bonemold formula
  • Met up with Neloth who was surprised I was not chanting and creepy; got him to point me at the temple of Miraak
  • Popped into the Retching Netch and chatted with Geldis Sadri; got his quest to hand out his sujamma samples
  • Rented the room to sleep for the night, and BOOM I’m at Miraak’s temple
  • So found Frea and started running the place once cultists started attacking us, and Argis caught up once we passed the first door

Thursday’s play

  • Concluded running Miraak’s temple with Frea and Argis
  • Got first word of the Dragon Aspect shout
  • Leveled up to 69 during final fight before reaching the Black Book; took another Health boost, and and Speech perk for selling any item to any merchant
  • Bit of alarm when I lost track of Argis in that fight! But he caught up when I came back out of the Book, and whew don’t scare me like that, husband
  • Frea led us off to speak with her father, who gave me the quest to go get the word of Bend Will off the wall at Saering’s Watch
  • Hostiles encountered en route: Earth Mother spriggan, snow bear, couple of ice wraiths
  • Non-hostiles encountered: Skaal hunter with dog
  • Found Benkongerike before finally reaching Saering’s Watch
  • Got the Serpentine Dragon killed, and that bastard Miraak sniped the soul from me, like he does
  • Also took out assorted draugr
  • Got first word of Bend Will shout, then used it to go clear the Wind Stone
  • Reported back to Storn, who pointed me off to Neloth for more info about the Black Books and gave me the quest to clear the rest of the Stones
  • Stopped to chat with Baldor on the way out and sold him a bunch of loot to get less burdened, and ooh hey he has stalhrim armor! Yes please I’ll have some, and some of that loose stalhrim too
  • Headed south to Tel Mithryn
  • Hostiles encountered: another frost troll
  • Passed Bujold’s Retreat on the way and heard initial chat between Bujold and Kumar, but did not stop to engage
  • Spotted another hunter once I was past Nchardak
  • Stopped to clear the Sun Stone and wake up a bunch of very confused reavers, as well as Tel Mithryn’s cook Ulvas Romoran
  • Saved for the night


And with this post, Dragonborn is officially underway for Ysani Demers!

Played it pretty straightforward, talking to a couple of the locals out of the gate about Miraak, and also getting the big interesting conversation with Glover Mallory in particular done. Just because he is the pointer to some of the more interesting side quests!

Also went over to investigate the Earth Stone, which let me meet Neloth as well and get him to point me at the Temple of Miraak. Though as it happens, I went there anyway just by virtue of the whole “sleeping in a bed on Solstheim can move me to the Temple” thing!

So yeah, diving into the deep end plot-wise. And all of this is familiar territory at this point so I don’t need to go into it in detail here, aside from the language commentary below.

For Ysani in particular I can at least say that while running the Temple of Miraak, it was definitely useful to have the dremora in a couple of spots where both draugr and cultists tried to swarm me, Frea, and Argis. And definitely glad I brought Argis along, as well as loading him up with healing potions.

Not sure yet whether I’m going to go Team Nords or Team Rieklings for what to do about Thirsk Mead Hall. We’ll see!

Also, I’m pretty sure this is the first time I got a decent look at Ulvas Romoran.

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed (lots of them, just because diving headlong into Solstheim means new territory to cover, linguistically):

  • La pioche nordique antique: Ancient Nordic Pickaxe
  • Riekelins: Rieklings
  • Pierre de la Terre: Earth Stone
  • La taverne du Netch éméché: The Retching Netch (lit. “the tavern of the drunken Netch”)
  • Chaman: Shaman
  • Pierre de l’Arbre: Tree Stone
  • Livre noir: Black Book
  • Village skaal: Skaal Village
  • Storn Marche-Roc: Storn Crag-Strider
  • Cap de Saering: Saering’s Watch
  • Dragon aptère: Serpentine Dragon (lit. “wingless dragon”)
  • Asservissement: Bend Will Shout (lit. “Enslavement”)
  • Pierre du Vent: Wind Stone
  • Rôdeur sentinelle: Lurker Sentinel
  • Refuge de Bujold: Bujold’s Retreat (lit. “Refuge of Bujold”)
  • Choucard: Scathecraw
  • Racine de trama: Trama root
  • Pierre du Soleil: Sun Stone

LOL, the Retching Netch is basically translated to the Drunken Netch, or maybe the Tipsy Netch, in French. (Source) (Source) Admittedly, that translation choice fits the story of how the place got its name. And I guess the rhyme doesn’t really jump languages well? But now I’m thinking it’d be interesting to take another look at how Sadri tells the story of how the place got its name, to see whether his translated dialogue actually still talks about the netch barfing or not!

Frea’s name is spelled with an accent in French, i.e., Fréa. Presumably to make sure her name is pronounced with the same long A sound that her name is given in English.

I was really curious coming into Dragonborn on the French build about how Neloth would come across. And, sadly, Neloth appears to be another character whose French voice actor is doing a perfectly acceptable job, but just suffers for the sheer lack of not being Dwight Schultz. The French voice actor’s delivering a much more restrained performance to my ear, so the character doesn’t come across nearly as full of himself and pretentious as he does in English.

Which is pretty hysterical, given that this is, after all, the French build.

Frea (or Fréa as it happens) on the other hand sounds pretty much absolutely correct. Formal, serious, thoughtful, and honorable.

I am baffled as fuck about the translation of Serpentine Dragon to Dragon aptère, though. Aptère translates to wingless. (Source) (Source) And in English, the term apterous means not having wings.

But here’s the part that baffles me: in Skyrim, Serpentine Dragons have wings. You see them repeatedly all over Solstheim. There’s the one at Saering’s Watch, and the named one, Sahrotaar, that you see serving Miraak until you throw Bend Will at him later. And they all fly. Their name comes not from them looking completely snakelike, but rather, just because their heads are snakelike.

Maybe the translators didn’t know that? If they didn’t, that’d at least make aptère a reasonable translation. Because you could legit make that leap if you’re thinking of Asian dragons, rather than European ones.

Huh, the Bend Will Shout in French really kind of underscores how this Shout is pretty damned morally dubious! Because it makes it even more explicit right there in the name: Enslavement.

Choucard, the translation of scathecraw, is an open question for me here. Choucard is apparently a regional French word that can mean owl, but that doesn’t seem relevant to this particular context? But if it’s a portmanteau, I’m not sure what the second component word might be. Chou is cabbage, which would be relevant to scathecraw being a plant (and okay fine maybe vaguely cabbage-like if you squint real hard). For card, though, no real clue.

Next time

I think I’ll actually swing back to Raven Rock rather than going to talk to Neloth next, even though I left off near Tel Mithryn. I want to get to the point of claiming Severin Manor for important loot dropoff purposes!

First on the agenda though will be clearing the Earth Stone, since that makes good narrative sense. Ysani’s actively seen that Stone and it would be reasonable for her to decide that’s higher priority than talking to Neloth about the Black Books.


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.