Dragonborn,  Faanshi Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Faanshi Defeats Ahzidal, Miraak and Alduin

As predicted, I spent another couple of sessions finishing up Faanshi’s playthrough so I could free the Switch for running Survival Mode! This therefore is Faanshi’s last session post, covering both of the sessions I did with her.

Main actions in this pair of sessions: defeating Miraak in Apocrypha, Ahzidal in Kolbjorn Barrow, and Alduin in Sovngarde!

Play by play

  • Play dates: 12/6-12/7/2022
  • Session numbers in this run: 70-71

Tuesday’s play

  • Dropped off a bunch of things in Severin Manor, then headed out to the Skaal village
  • Mage fight at Old Attius Farm
  • Took out an ash hopper, otherwise reached the Skaal village with no problems
  • Broke down my campsite on the way in
  • Sold a few things to Baldor, then went over and had a word with Storn
  • Time to talk to Herma-Mora, Storn, and this one apologizes in advance for what he’s about to do to you
  • Cue the sacrifice of Storn, and Frea telling me to go kick Miraak’s ass
  • Went into the Waking Dreams book to commence the ass-kicking
  • Made it to the point of confronting Sahrotaar, only he iced me and I was thrown out of the book
  • Once back in the village, kept hearing both Serana and Frea in combat mode, but couldn’t actually see them, or anything obvious nearby attacking me either; could not re-read the book because the game thought I was in combat
  • Rolled back to prior autosave, which was me arriving in the final chapter just before the dragon
  • Re-did the initial confrontation with the Seekers, and this time hit the dragon properly with Bend Will when he landed
  • Got him to agree to take me to Miraak
  • Tried the targeting thing from dragonback for once but I don’t think I have the hang of it
  • Got Sahrotaar to take me to Miraak without delaying too long attacking other baddies
  • Commence the battle!
  • Used Dragon Aspect Shout just to try to even the stakes a little, and also re-summoned the dremora
  • Battle played out as per prior playthroughs, and cue the tentacle stabbing of Miraak
  • Spent some time on the skill trees and pulled perks back off of Smithing and Alteration; dropped them on Light Armor, One-handed, Archery, and on Extra Pockets under Pickpocketing–all in the name of getting better prepared to tackle Alduin
  • Returned to Skaal village and had final dialogue with Frea, and sold a few more things to Baldor
  • Boinged back to Raven Rock and gathered everything in Severin Manor
  • Sent Serana back to Fort Dawnguard
  • Called up the dremora merchant and sold him things
  • Tromped outside and got the courier with the last Kolbjorn letter finally, but I didn’t want to go to Kolbjorn while heavily overloaded
  • Sold other things to Raven Rock vendors
  • Called up Arvak and boinged to Windhelm, and from there to Riften
  • As soon as I landed in Riften, got attacked at the Thieves Guild entrance by the graveyard thief that starts the Gray Cowl quest; bunch of Riften guards killed him so I didn’t get a bounty or anything
  • But that was an awfully large number of witnesses to watch me go into into the crypt! This one requests that you leave her in peace, shh, do not heed the noise you are about to hear
  • Bought Shadowfoot Sanctum from Vekel
  • Sold a bunch of things to Tonilia and all four of the Flagon vendors
  • Dropped off a whole bunch of things in Shadowfoot Sanctum now that i own it
  • Went back out and quaffed a potion to let me fast travel to Windstad, which was not where I built out the library wing, but hi Iona! Do you remember what this one looks like?
  • Boinged next to Heljarchen, oh good yes this is where I put the library; dropped off a metric crapton of books into the shelves
  • Fast traveled back to Solstheim to queue up for that last round of Kolbjorn for closure purposes
  • Saved until next time

Wednesday’s play

  • Picked up where I left off on the way to Kolbjorn
  • Dark Elf at Old Attius Farm
  • Grabbed Ralis’ journals and a few other items from the camp before it vanished
  • Headed in to run Kolbjorn
  • Picked up the gauntlets that I’d missed on previous runs
  • Killed the draugr at the area with the stairs
  • Got the armor
  • Summoned the dremora merchant and sold him stuff just to lighten the load
  • Made it down to the final area and nabbed the helmet
  • Headed in to confront Ralis and Ahzidal; however, killed by Ahzidal
  • Second time through not thrown back far, just back to the stairs
  • Tried to summon the dremora merchant again, but his status had reset weirdly, so I couldn’t sell him stuff, he didn’t have renewed gold
  • So was overloaded for take two with Ahzidal; stayed in Sneak mode and kept throwing the dremora at him until they got him
  • Then confronted Ralis and let him off the hook
  • Searched assorted draugr and ash piles; got Ahzidal’s mask
  • Cleared the boss chests on the way out
  • But declined the Black Book because a) overloaded, and b) it felt like a good actual fuck you to Hermaeus Mora
  • Came back out and was surprised that the camp hadn’t actually vanished? Spotted Ralis heading off so maybe I got up there before the camp had had time to reset? Maybe because I didn’t run the Black Book?
  • Summoned Arvak and boinged to Windhelm
  • Sold a bunch of stuff to Revyn Sadri and Niranye
  • Went outside Windhelm, found Khajiit! So sold stuff to Ma’dran
  • Boinged next to the college; slept the night
  • Got five rounds of training with Faralda
  • Sold a boatload of things to all the trainers, and bought what spellbooks I didn’t have yet to actually get them enough money to buy all my things
  • Sold a bunch of things to Enthir and nabbed some of the spellbooks off of him that Faralda didn’t have
  • Boinged down to Riften; sold things to Tonilia
  • Dropped off Ahzidal armor items, a bunch of gems, and Ralis’ journals at Shadowfoot Sanctum
  • Took the water exit out to come up near the docks and went ashore
  • Boinged to Throat of the World to fight Alduin, round one; went well this time! practice on the Deck helped! Got him down and kept him down with Dragonrend, and kept shooting at him while he was pontificating
  • Got Paarthurnax’s convo re: trapping a dragon
  • Boinged to Whiterun stables to doublecheck if the Khajiit were there, answer, nope
  • Went up to dragonsreach to talk to the Jarl
  • Boinged to High Hrothgar
  • Found Arngeir in back oddly, coming through a door labeled as “Skyrim” so really not sure where that door went?
  • Got Arngeir on board with the council
  • Boinged next to Solitude
  • Sold a few things to Gulum-Ei
  • Forgot I had to drill down into the conversational trees with Tullius or Ulfric to get to the part where I tell them I’ve shown up with a message from the Greybeards
  • But finally got Tullius and then Ulfric on board with the peace conference
  • Boinged back to High Hrothgar for happy fun council time!
  • Hung out just long enough to see Delphine and Esbern come in
  • Ran the peace council as per usual, and scampered off before Delphine could get pissy about Paarthurnax
  • Boinged back to Whiterun and Dragonsreach
  • Ran the capture of Odahviing and got him to take me to Skuldafn
  • Got killed twice by Draugr Deathlords Fus-Ro-Dah’ing me down too much of a drop down stairs
  • But finally made it through to Sovngarde; ran that and took out Alduin \0/
  • Returned for dragon epilogue, and boinged home to Lakeview and family <3
  • Heh, Runa greeted me with a boar tusk! What a nice kid!
  • Faanshi is officially retired at level 66


So yeah, this pair of sessions was basically me trying to finish up Faanshi as fast as possible, because I didn’t want to try to play two sessions at once on the Switch. This led me to make a few decisions that went directly against habits set by previous playthroughs!

One: I strongly considered not bothering with the last stretch of Kolbjorn Barrow. But I was already invested in that plot, so I wanted to go ahead and finish it up. But before I did, I boinged back to Skyrim to get rid of a lot of my stuff, or else stash it in the newly purchased Shadowfoot Sanctum.

Two: I did actually bother to purchase Shadowfoot Sanctum because it felt in-character appropriate, even though I wasn’t actually going to play Faanshi any further. I did not, however, choose to engage with any of the other quest prompts the AE threw into my inventory–all the various courier notes, or the note pulled off the thief who attacked me in Riften.

This definitely made my Skyrim Completist brain go “BUT BUT BUT QUESTS”. I had to assure that portion of my brain that it is, in fact, okay to not play a quest even though the game wants you to.

Also, let me note that it was rather hilarious to be jumped by a thief right at the entrance to the Thieves Guild. Clearly, the guy didn’t recognize his own Guildmaster.

And I envision Faanshi being rather unsettled by the high number of guards who then promptly killed the guy! “Ah, this one thanks you for your assistance, but hopes that you will now leave her in peace? She wishes to pray here for the soul of the departed.” .oO (And this one also hopes that you will disregard the noise she is about to make triggering the secret entrance.)

Three: I specifically did not bother with the Black Book in Kolbjorn, which also made the Skyrim Completist portion of my brain protest! But I didn’t run it for three reasons:

  1. I wanted to finish up
  2. I was overloaded again, thanks to not being able to sell stuff to the dremora merchant the second time through
  3. And honestly, running the finale of Kolbjorn after defeating Miraak, and getting Frea’s advice to not let Hermaeus Mora pull me further down his path, made it feel actually appropriate to deliberately skip the Black Book.

Other thoughts:

I think I probably dismissed Serana a little early, given that I went ahead and sent her back to Fort Dawnguard prior to running Kolbjorn; it would have been nice to have her backup there. But I got through okay with the dremora, so it was all good!

Recently running the fights with Alduin on the Steam Deck was helpful for running them on the Switch–because I discovered to my satisfaction that I was able to apply the same precision to slamming Alduin fast with Dragonrend, here. So for both the battles, on the Throat of the World and in Sovngarde, I was able to get him on the ground and keep him there. Which makes fighting him a lot easier, if he doesn’t have time to start dropping flaming meteors on your head.

And it is still very satisfying to pelt Alduin with arrows while he’s pontificating about how you can’t kill him. “Keep talking, worm. If this one cannot kill you, she is going to make you very uncomfortable with her arrows.” *TWANG*

Little bit of oddity this time, going to High Hrothgar to talk to Arngeir about having a peace council. I found him in back of the building, near the gate on the steps that lead up to the path to Paarthurnax. That gate appears to have some bugginess? And I saw Arngeir come out of a door there, which I hadn’t ever realized was there. I need to investigate that a little further next time I get a character up there.

I keep forgetting, every single time I run the peace council, that I have to drill down into the conversational prompts with both Tullius and Ulfric to get to the part where I tell them I’m here with a message for the Greybeards. This made me boing confusedly back and forth between Solitude and Windhelm a couple of times before I remembered. Hey, Future Me: try to remember this for Harrow and Kendis’ playthroughs, mmkay?

The main notable thing about getting to Sovngarde this time was that I got killed a couple of times by Draugr Deathlords–not in direct combat, but because they were throwing Unrelenting Force Shouts at my dremora, and I got hit by them and thrown hard down stairs, enough of a drop that it killed me. Ow.

I’m not convinced that this would have killed me if I’d not been running on Master difficulty? But it might have. What it taught me for this particular playthrough though was to be damn careful to get to a place where, if I got Shouted at, I wouldn’t fall to my death.

And while blipping back into Whiterun, I was a little surprised to see Lucia hanging out in the Wind District. I’d thought I’d actually adopted her, but no–I went back and checked Faanshi’s prior posts, which reminded me that I had in fact adopted Sofie and Runa. So no Lucia this time. Sorry kiddo!

For now, though, Faanshi made it to Sovngarde and took out Alduin. So I’m having her stand down at level 66. Definitely one of my faster playthroughs, but I was done being her. She can go live in peace with Jordis the Sword-Maiden!

Next time

I’ll do Faanshi’s final wrapup post, and then it’s on to Kendis, and a run in Survival Mode!


No screenshots this time.

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.