Faanshi Playthrough

In Which Faanshi Climbs the Seven Thousand Steps

As one does upon finding out one is Dragonborn and being summoned by the Greybeards, Faanshi went on the strongly urged pilgrimage to High Hrothgar. Which, this time through, provided rather more challenging than previous playthroughs!


  • Play date: 5/11/2022
  • Session number in this run: 3
  • Began at Dragonsreach
  • Went down to the Bannered Mare to sleep the night; got a bounty for the bandit leader at Silent Moons Camp
  • Next morning, sold Belethor my dragon bits, and bought a spellbook of Conjure Familiar and more steel arrows
  • Returned to Dragonsreach and destroyed the iron sword and bracers I had for their enchantments
  • Sold Adrianne the Whiterun guard armor i had from the watchtower battle
  • Alik’r warriors stopped to offer to pay me for information about their quarry
  • Headed out for High Hrothgar
  • Killed en route: total of 6 wolves, one skeever
  • Paid 50 gold to the toll bandit at Valtheim Towers
  • Passed friendly hunter and dog en route to Ivarstead
  • Briefly engaged troll from a distance at the river, but not up close, did not try to get nearer to it
  • Reached Ivarstead, and chatted with the innkeeper; got the pointer to investigate Shroud Hearth Barrow; rented a room and slept the night
  • Got Temba Wide-Arm’s quest for 10 bearskins
  • Got Klimmek’s quest to deliver supplies
  • Headed up High Hrothgar
  • Animals killed: 1 regular wolf, 1 ice wolf
  • Ice wolf was a problem, it killed me twice, finally got it with combo of Unrelenting Force + Flames + Lydia, and blowing it down the cliffside
  • Frost troll past fifth marker, bigger problem! It kept killing me, and also finally killed Lydia, so rolled back from that and then just snuck around the damn troll, went around that entire hillside until we came back out on the steps past it
  • So that let us get up to High Hrothgar, and I ran the intro with the Greybeards
  • Got the second word of Unrelenting Force and the first word of Whirlwind Sprint, and the quest to go for the Horn
  • Tried once to go down High Hrothgar on foot, and the troll got me
  • Thrown back to coming out of High Hrothgar and at that point decided, fuck it, I’d fast travel back to Whiterun to run some lower tier quests and try to gear up
  • And, cue cultists! They killed me once; second time I let Lydia and the town guards handle them
  • Left the bodies tucked out of sight so I wouldn’t see townsfolk constantly going past them going ‘ohnoez what happened’
  • Then sold a few items to Elrindir, and smithed a few things at the forge
  • Leveled up to 8; took Health boost, and first Illusion perk
  • Saved for the night


Given what I’m setting up about Faanshi’s backstory, where she’s as snarly about bandits as Ysani was about the Thalmor, I probably shouldn’t have let the Valtheim Towers toll bandit off easy. But I’ll handwave it this time by presuming that she was anxious to make it safely to the Greybeards, since all these Nords are now on about her being their thane and Dragonborn and such!

Next time, though? The tower bandits will not be getting off that easily.

Meanwhile, heading up High Hrothgar, this was the first time through that I actively could not make it past that frost troll you encounter partway up. I was a level 7 character at that point, and the damn thing kept killing me!

After a couple of tries I learned from the wiki that you can get up on the rocks to the left of the ravine, and snipe at the troll from up there. This kept it from getting me, but there were still two problems.

One, I was not doing enough damage to that troll to count. It healed itself too quickly for me to keep up, given that all I had on me for ranged weapons were steel arrows.

And two, Lyds, bless her heart, tried to engage it at close range. This did not work out well for Lyds. She levels with the player, and even though she was better armed and armored, she still wasn’t a match yet for a level 22 frost troll.

And having a frost troll killing my housecarl on our very first adventure together was NOT ACCEPTABLE. So I rolled back to the prior save before that.

It would have been reasonable strategy to back off at that point and come back later when I’d leveled up some more. Likewise, I could have chucked the Difficulty setting back down. But I didn’t want to do either of those things! I’ve gotten through the first four playthroughs without adjusting the Difficulty so far, and I’d like to avoid that if possible!

And, well, I just wanted to make it up to the Greybeards to pick up that second word of Unrelenting Force, and the first of Whirlwind Sprint. Those are critical early game milestones!

So what ultimately got us past that troll: eluding it entirely. Because you can walk around that big rock formation to the left of that ravine, and if you do it right, you can come back out on the steps further along past the troll.

I’m seeing Faanshi grimacing, her tail twitching, and her saying to Lydia: “Stop. Khajiit does not think we should go that way. She smells troll on the wind. Come, friend. We will go this way instead.”

This meant that I couldn’t do the fifth marker and get the Voice of the Sky blessing, but oh well! I’ll be coming back later to bring back the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller, so I’ll just have to do that when I can actually take out that fucking troll.

It was nice to hear Christopher Plummer’s voice for Arngeir again. <3

Coming back out of High Hrothgar, my plan was initially to return to Ivarstead, so that I could run Shroud Hearth Barrow. But ultimately, after being killed by that troll yet again, I decided to fast travel right back to Whiterun.

Because I knew what was coming: the first encounter with the Miraak cultists. And I wanted Whiterun’s guard force on hand to help me deal with those bastards.

Who did in fact kill me once when I got too close to them and fried by fire–not clear whether it was because of a flames spell directly from a cultist, or from a summoned flame atronach. Second time through I just let Lydia and the guards handle the problem!

Next time

Going to see about running that Silent Moons Camp bounty!


No screenshots this time.

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.