Faanshi Playthrough

In Which Faanshi Slays Mercer Frey and Returns the Skeleton Key

This session was all about the Thieves Guild action, with the final confrontation with Mercer Frey at Irkngthand, a couple more side jobs done for the Guild, and last but definitely not least, return of the Skeleton Key to the Twilight Sepulcher. And Faanshi’s becoming a full Agent of Nocturnal. \0/


  • Play date: 6/20/2022
  • Session number in this run: 28
  • Started running Irkngthand!
  • Got a little turned around in the part where Brynjolf asks you if you want to take the high or the low path; tried to do the low path, since Khajiit wished to be stealthy!
  • Killed once by Falmer in the area with the centurion; tried to sneak through the stream but got too close to a chaurus cocoon, it burst open and trying to take that critter down alerted the Falmer
  • Second time through I was also not successful in sneaking along the stream, because Brynjolf and Karliah managed to alert the Falmer
  • And the fight went on long enough that the Falmer apparently activated the centurion, yikes, so I kept throwing the dremora and trying to stay the fuck out of the way
  • Next tough bit: the torture chamber; tried to get past the two Falmer there via Throw Voice but bumped into a third one coming down the corridor from further along, and then BATTLE ON
  • Nearly got killed at that point but pulled through with assorted healing potions and dremora calls
  • Made it to the big camp past that and sneaked through the first part without alerting any Falmer; second part not so much; scampered through the third part and finally got to Mercer
  • Mostly threw the dremora at him once he sicced Brynjolf on Karliah, but I did get in the last strike on the bastard
  • “Khajiit relays the greetings of Nocturnal, and hopes you enjoy explaining yourself to her in the Evergloam.” <STAB>
  • Got out once the water rose and got us up to the tunnel that opened up
  • Got the Nightingale Bow from Karliah and quest to return the Skeleton Key <3
  • Got out and fast traveled to Irkngthand, but oh good, didn’t need to go up to the top to get Lydia, she just showed up at the front with me
  • So instead fast traveled to Lakeview
  • Built out more things in the storage wing; made some armor to sell out of extra materials; also did some alchemy and a little enchanting; got Lydia off duty so i could buy logs to make things with
  • Then did a selling (and stealing!) run
  • Boinged to Solitude; sold things to Gulum-Ei; snuck into the Blue Palace and yoinked Elisif’s Stone of Barenziah to satisfy Delvin’s Bedlam Job
  • Boinged to Whiterun; sold a few things to Adrianne, Belethor and Arcadia
  • Then tried to break into Amren’s house but Saffir was in there
  • Waited invisible for eight hours, then got back into the house
  • Saffir was asleep; Braith was not, but fortunately the kid didn’t spot me
  • Stole the three items for Vex’s Sweep Job (sorry Amren, you’re nice, but this is business)
  • Got out and then boinged to Falkreath
  • Hoofed it to the Twilight Sepulcher; went invisible past Cracked Tusk Keep; narrowly avoided a spriggan
  • Got into the sepulcher and ran the place as per previous playthroughs, including no quest marker, still not sure WTF is up with that
  • Only difficult bit was getting through the fourth trial area with the two sentinels on guard around a pit; made the mistake of trying to get past them to loot the pit, which worked on the way into the pit but not on the way out; they killed me, and I was thrown back to the area where I had to stay out of the light and in the shadows
  • Second time through from that point, just didn’t bother to loot the pit at all and bypassed dealing with those last two sentinels
  • Got Nocturnal’s rather dubious praise 😉
  • “Khajiit is pleased but surprised to see Karliah here. Did you not say you could not stand to face Nocturnal? This one presumes you changed your mind?”
  • Chose Agent of Subterfuge this time just for a change of pace
  • Got out and then boinged to the Thieves Guild
  • Checked in with Delvin and gave him the Left Eye of the Falmer; 3200 gold, tasty 😀
  • Got payment for the Solitude Bedlam Job, and a new Bedlam Job for Markarth
  • Checked in with Vex and got payment for the Whiterun Sweep Job, and got another one for Whiterun
  • Paid Vipir the Fleet for five rounds of Pickpocket training
  • Did a little Lockpicking practice on the training chests
  • Went topside and saved for the night


Running Irkngthand this time through went fairly similarly to how Ysani did it: i.e., I tried to sneak past Falmer as much as I could, only to find that Karliah and/or Brynjolf kept alerting them and provoking them into combat!

For the most part, I let Karliah and Brynjolf fight any Falmer they pissed off, though I periodically threw the dremora into the fray just to do my part. I knew, though, that I’d probably be one-shotted by any Falmer that got close enough to actually hit me. Which did happen at least once.

And as I did with Ysani, I pretty much let my dremora do the bulk of fighting with Mercer Frey at the end.

Which, of course, got me the Skeleton Key as well as everything else that he was carrying. And at this point, I gave into a small amount of temptation and kept the Key long enough to go run the Guild jobs in Solitude and Whiterun.

I note that the wiki does in fact recommend that you hang onto the Skeleton Key until you have achieved the Unbreakable Lockpicking perk. And I must admit that that is really tempting. On the other hand, the whole point of Mercer Frey’s treachery was his claiming the Skeleton Key for his own. So it seems really morally dubious for you to go “y’know, I’ll hang onto this for a while”, rather than taking it straight back to the Twilight Sepulcher.

And I know, yes, yes, I’m commenting about moral dubiousness while playing a thief. 😉 But as you do get a chance to point out to Mercer yourself during the confrontation with him, “At least I still have honor!”

So it just didn’t seem right to hang onto it for more than one session. Hence going ahead and running the Twilight Sepulcher as the second half of this particular play!

(That said: I really ought to look into getting that Unbreakable Lockpicking perk.)

As to the Twilight Sepulcher–had the same thing happen here that I did with Ysani, with no quest marker active through most of the run through the place. I’m pretty sure I did have it at least at first when I came in to talk to Gallus? And I am pretty sure I did in fact have the quest active in my journal.

But I’m not absolutely certain of that.

Still not sure if I’m going to run the Guild with Shenner, so not sure if I’ll be in a position to check this with her run. But I’m more tempted to do so now!

And oh yes: with Merawen and Ysani, I chose the Agent of Stealth option in their playthroughs. This time through, I chose Agent of Subterfuge for a change of pace–and because I’m already able to become invisible on demand, now that I have that spell. Plus, I have Quiet Casting.

And I really want to try Agent of Subterfuge when I’m running the Thalmor Embassy. >:D

Next time

Now that I’m done with taking out Mercer Frey, I need to finish up the rest of the pending Guild jobs so that I can become Guildmaster. So a couple of those are likely next time. Notably, Whiterun’s about to be done. So once I do that, I should be able to take the special job for Olfrid Battle-Born.

Likely high chance of Thalmor Embassy action in a forthcoming session soon, as well!

Thieves Guild job status

CityJobs ScheduledJobs Done


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.