Faanshi Playthrough

In Which Faanshi Discovers Guildmaster Treachery and Becomes Thane of the Reach

Ran Snow Veil Sanctum in this session, which got me to the big dramatic cutscene between Karliah and Mercer “Murderous Lying Bastard” Frey! And in the meantime, I also started Katria’s plot, bought Vlindrel Hall, and became Thane of the Reach.


  • Play date: 6/11/2022
  • Session number in this run: 24
  • Started at Riften and got Iona back on duty
  • Boinged to Dushnikh Yal to get near Arkngthamz–and a dragon showed up! Most of the stronghold ran out to fight it, and that was impressive to watch <3
  • Chatted with a couple of the Orcs; would have sold them dragon bits but didn’t find their alchemist among the crowd
  • Proceeded from there to Arkngthamz
  • Ran the place very quickly, what with Iona, Katria, and periodically summoned dremora at my disposal; got the first aetherium shard and other tasty loot; did not get overloaded, so was able to get out quickly via the leap off the final ledge
  • Boinged to Markarth to sell stuff once I was outside
  • Sold things to Lisbet and Ghorza
  • Went to go talk to the Jarl to look for work; got a quest from him to go take out a Forsworn leader at Red Eagle Redoubt; needed to go there anyway to get Red Eagle’s sword, so quest stacking time!
  • Attempted to leave Markarth twice; first time killed by Forsworn at Kolskeggr
  • Made it past them the second time and found Sundered Towers
  • Satisfied both quests by taking out the Briarheart at Sundered Towers, then went ahead to Rebel’s Cairn to finish out the Red Eagle quest
  • Once done, returned to Markarth; checked in with the Jarl and got his quest to get back his father’s shield, which conveniently pointing at Hag’s End, where I needed to go for a Word of Power
  • But not yet; instead boinged to Honningbrew and then Whiterun to sell stuff
  • Bought a bunch of iron, steel, and corundum
  • Boinged to Lakeview and built the structures for the armory and bedroom wings, and a few furnishings as well
  • Leveled up to 43 while smithing; took Stamina bump and first Speech perk
  • Then worked on alchemy and enchanting
  • Boinged to Solitude and sold stuff to Gulum-Ei and Sayma
  • Boinged to Windhelm Stables
  • Oh hey look, Khajiit! Sold stuff to Ma’dran
  • Then hoofed it with Iona to Snow Veil Sanctum
  • Started running the place; threw dremora ahead of me to take out any draugr
  • Leveled Conjuration up to 100 working on that \0/
  • Got the Model Ship; it had fallen off of its pedestal because of the melee between Mercer and my dremora and all the draugr, so we didn’t have to worry about the oil slick trap surrounding the ship, it had already triggered when I got there
  • Got the word for Disarm Shout
  • In the final room before Karliah, cheerfully let the Draugr Death Overlord beat up Mercer, too
  • Then found Karliah, and cue the “Mercer is a murderous lying bastard” cutscene, and my epilogue with Karliah; got her request to get Enthir’s help with the journal
  • Hoofed it into Winterhold
  • Fought three ice wolves, an ice wraith, a frost troll, and a snow bear en route
  • Also stopped at Journeyman’s Nook since it was nearby and cleared the place, and got Borvir’s dagger and the treasure map
  • Sold stuff to Birna to work on unloading
  • Then talked to Enthir in the inn and got directed to Markarth; time to go rob a museum!
  • Well, eventually, anyway; first boinged to Bloated Man’s Grotto so I could hoof it to Fort Sungard
  • Passed the two kids with dwemer scraps and paid them to tell me where Deep Folk Crossing is, thanks kids
  • Made it to the fort and threw Iona and the dremora at the Forsworn, and got the book for Ghorza
  • Boinged to Whiterun from there and sold a bunch of things
  • Also upgraded a couple of my weapons of choice as I came out of Snow Veil Sanctum with some seriously nice ebony weapons, 20 second soul trap enchantment on an ebony sword, yes please I’ll have some!
  • Boinged next to Lost Echo Cave so I could hoof it to Deepwood Redoubt
  • Threw dremora and Iona at those Forsworn, too; cleared the place without much trouble
  • Got the word for Slow Time \0/
  • Got the shield for the Jarl out of the boss chest; also got the Bloodthorn dagger and Whirlwind Sprinted over to the chest with more loot, and the Predator’s Grace boots
  • Boinged straight to Markarth from there
  • Sold stuff to Lisbet to unload
  • Sold stuff to Ghorza and also gave her the book
  • Returned the shield to the Jarl and got pointer for the thaneship, and a glass shield
  • Bought Vlindrel Hall and most of its furnishings
  • Started in on the favor quests
    • Ghorza’s was number one
    • Gave coin to Degain: two
    • Kerah’s quest to give a ring to Calcelmo: three
    • Banning’s quest to take spiced beef to Voada: four
    • Bothela’s quest to take the potion to the steward
  • Got payment for the beef and the potion, then bought the remaining furnishings for Vlindrel Hall
  • Dropped off the ring with Calcelmo and got his request to kill the spider so I can get into the museum
  • Went back and reported to the Jarl; hurray, I’m thane!
  • Went back to Vlindrel Hall; HI ARGIS
  • Dropped off some stuff and saved for the night


Started off this session by running Arkngthamz. This was pretty easy this time through, in no small part because of coming in with the ability to call up the dremora to take care of any chaurus and Falmer.

Notably, that pipe you have to climb up to get to the corridor that leads to the resonators did seem to get Iona stuck the same way I’ve seen it get Lydia stuck in previous playthroughs. However, I discovered that if I walked along very slowly to give Iona a chance to move, she did eventually jump off the pipe and come along after me. So I’ll need to remember that in future playthroughs.

Visiting Markarth this time was interesting on how I got more characters reacting to the Forsworn rampaging out of the ruins and killing all those guards. This got me commentary I’d never heard before out of three different NPCs. Thongvar Silver-Blood bitched about the Forsworn killing people in the city, and swore he’d have Madanach’s head. Kerah, the jewelry merchant, anxiously asked me to confirm that I wasn’t with the Forsworn, since I was apparently seen exiting the ruins with them.

(About which I am dubious! Who the hell saw me in the middle of the night? But okay yes fine, Kerah, your line is scripted, so. Also, I can’t imagine Faanshi would have actually taken issue with this to her face. “Khajiit has no idea what you’re talking about. She made sure to let all the Forsworn go first–no wait, is she saying this out loud? Ignore Khajiit, please.”)

Last but not least, Jarl Igmund actually outright apologized to me for my arrest. Three previous times I’ve played this plot, and I’m pretty damn sure I never actually got an apology for being arrested? I had no idea that that could happen. Excellent. This does make me rather more kindly disposed to Igmund. <3

After the prelude action of getting queued up to run for the thaneship of the Reach, then it was off to Snow Veil Sanctum. Which again played through pretty similarly to the first two times I’ve done this.

One notable thing though was that I saw Mercer get stuck on the stairs. Turned out having Iona with me was blocking him from proceeding to the door so he could open it, so I had to order Iona to stand out of the way. By extension, this also meant that after I had my epilogue with Karliah, I also had to go back and fetch Iona since she was still in wait mode. Fortunately she was still there! It hadn’t been enough time elapsed yet that she’d bailed and returned to Riften.

Yet again, I saw evidence that Mercer is an aggressive son of a bitch, and apparently also quite distractible! He snarked at me about taking the lead to proceed through the dungeon, only to then charge off to attack an approaching frost troll.

“Khajiit thinks you are very confused as to where you wish her to lead. Is the door not this way?”

As with Ysani’s run, I took great pleasure in letting Mercer have to fight all the draugr. I seriously considered activating one of J’zargo’s scrolls so I could set Mercer on fire by extension–but backed out of that plan as I realized that that would probably piss Mercer off and make him attack me. Still though, plenty satisfying to see him have to battle all the draugr and frequently get beaten down into recovery mode.

I did at least periodically throw him the dremora out of the goodness of my heart. But Khajiit may have occasionally been a trifle slower than she needed to be in doing so. 😉

Notably, this let me level Conjuration up to 100, woo! So in a few more level ups, I should be able to unlock the Twin Souls perk and be able to summon two dremora.

I also got to apply some knowledge from Ysani’s playthrough–i.e., that Snow Veil Sanctum is a lot closer than I’d thought to Winterhold, and very close to Journeyman’s Nook. So I hoofed it to Winterhold from the site, and stopped at Journeyman’s Nook on the way to clear the place and nab the treasure map there.

It also occurred to me for the first time, on this, my third playthrough through the Guild, that there is a person in the college who can in fact translate Falmer. I.e., Urag in the Arcaneum! We know this from the Unknown Books that you find in the Forgotten Vale, during Dawnguard. But Dawnguard came out after vanilla Skyrim, so I guess they didn’t want to go back and modify the Thieves Guild plot flow to account for this?

I guess you can handwave this by Karliah having explicitly told you to trust no one but Enthir about the information in the journal. So narrative-wise, I can’t take this to Urag, because that would have required cluing him in that his Arch-Mage is involved with the Thieves Guild, and handling super-dangerous information.

Still, though, I feel like this question should come up. Enthir’s presumably been at the college long enough to realize that Urag is also an authority on the Falmer language. So at the very least, Enthir should be able to say something to you along the lines of:

Enthir: “Urag gro-Shub can read this… but we can’t bring him into this. Gallus took a chance on me, and Karliah took a chance on you, but we cannot risk anyone else learning more about the Nightingales.”

Me: “Khajiit keeps hearing this word Nightingale. She thinks perhaps you should tell her more.”

Enthir, cagily: “Enthir thinks perhaps you should take that up with Karliah.”

Plus, it is fun to break into the museum. 😉 Which I will very much be looking forward to now that I have Quiet Casting and Invisibility, and should be able to saunter pretty easily through the place!

Meanwhile, was very gratified about how tasty the ebony weapons were that I looted off the draugr in Snow Veil Sanctum. Got another ebony sword, this one an Ebony Sword of Damnation, which had a way more powerful Soul Trap enchantment on it. 20 seconds rather than 4. Awesome. From what I see on the wiki, this is in fact the most powerful version of a Soul Trap enchantment you can find on pre-enchanted weapons.

And I did go ahead and secure the thaneship of the Reach, as long as I’m going to be hanging out in Markarth stealing stuff. It does continue to amuse me deeply that someone of, say we say, acquisitive bent nonetheless also has enough of an altruistic streak to secure thaneships. I suspect Faanshi keeps telling herself all she really wants to do is get rich enough that she can return to Elsweyr in comfort. Yet she keeps finding all these people who need her help.

And, well, Mercer Frey is a murderous lying bastard and needs to be taken down. Khajiit now takes this personally.

Next time

Gonna kill me a spider, then will probably have to send Iona home to Riften. Because then I’ll need to run the museum, and I will not be able to do that with her tagging along.

That will get me the Nightingale Blade when I return to Karliah and Enthir with the rubbing! And put me on track to becoming a Nightingale. 😀

However, the next quest will be the one where I break into Mercer’s house. And I am not to level 46 yet. So I’ll need to go take care of a few other bits of business before I can get the best possible version of Chillrend!

We’ll see what I’m in the mood for, once I’m done with the museum. Options that currently tempt are:

  1. The rest of the aetherium shards
  2. The Thalmor Embassy
  3. The rest of the Gauldur amulet fragments


Editing to add

  • 11/22/2023: 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.