Skyrim,  Skyrim Together Playthrough

In Which the Dragonborns Try Very Hard to Deliver a Beacon

This session of Skyrim Together Reborn saw Dara, Mel, and me getting our asses kicked (but finally prevailing!) at Shearpoint… and then trying extremely hard to get the Break of Dawn quest started. With epically complicated results.

Play by play

  • Play date: 4/15/2023
  • Session number in this run: 6

Overall instability issues

  • Crashing issues for Dara and me through much of the opening stretch of this session; we oddly had simultaneous crashes
  • Mel also had her computer lock up pretty hard a time or two
  • Discovered my F12 key on the keyboard wasn’t actually working to take screenshots

Getting from the Thieves Guild to Shearpoint

  • Picked up at the Thieves Guild in Riften
  • Confirmed that Dara and Mel still see me as naked if I wear Leather Scout Armor, but I wound up losing that set of armor because of having to restart from save a couple of times anyway
  • Mel talked to Brynjolf to get all the background info on Gulum-Ei for the quest in Solitude
  • We decided to head out on foot and go overland to Shearpoint to kill the dragon there
  • Went out the back gate of Riften
  • Discovered Snow-Shod Farm for the map
  • Went by Largashbur, and went over to help them out with the giant attack, but the orcs basically told Mel to fuck off, so, well, we fucked off!
  • Mel got ahead of us and got jumped by three bears
  • While Dara and I were catching up I also found a hunting party of goblins
  • Kept throwing my familiar ahead of me to help out in combat, and Dara kept seeing it showing up as “Kitty’s Familiar”, not “Luciriel’s Familiar”, so that was interesting
  • Passed a couple of Vigilants of Stendarr; one of them told Mel she was “bloated with disease”, which clued Mel in she’d probably picked up a disease off one of the previous bears (stupid bears)
  • Then we ran into more bears, which gave Mel Bone Break Fever; we decided to go to Ivarstead and see if there was an alchemy table in the inn there
  • Dara and I kept seeing these critters as other things, I kept seeing frostbite spiders instead of wolves
  • Reached Ivarstead but we discovered they had no alchemy table in their inn, so Mel had to use her last Cure Disease potion
  • Mel talked to Wilhelm the innkeeper about the nearby haunted barrow, but we declined to hit Shroud Hearth Barrow for now; instead we proceeded onward
  • Ran into some vampires on the way out of Ivarstead; Mel got infected with Sanguinare Vampiris off of one of them
  • We stopped at the Alchemist’s Shack and looted the place for ingredients
  • Dara and Mel both fed Thistle the bunny a carrot, so now we have Thistle the bunny following us ^_^
  • Dara and Mel both also made more potions of Cure Disease because clearly we were going to need them
  • Just after the shack, we triggered a cluster of encounters:
    • Ice wolves that only I could see, they didn’t spawn for Dara or Mel, so a bit of Luciriel fighting her inner demons here, LOL
    • Noble with horse + Imperial escort encounter
    • Vampire masquerade encounter, which triggered a second infection of Sanguinare Vampiris for Mel, which she handled with a potion
  • Traveled on past Haemar’s Shame, Helgen, and Riverwood
  • Wolves attacked in the main street of Riverwood and they did actually look like wolves this time!
  • Proceeded onward from there, and went north across the bridge near Honningbrew Meadery
  • Found Tundra Homestead; hoofed it from there over near Fellglow Keep
  • We fought the exterior mages there and their flame atronach, then headed up to fight the dragon

Fighting the dragon at Shearpoint

  • Had another crash that threw me all the way back to the Thieves Guild; went topside from there and just fast traveled to Honningbrew, then saved near Tundra Homestead so I’d drop there in case I crashed again ;P
  • Lydia started catching up with me here
  • Meanwhile Mel got ahead of us on the dragon fight, and Krosis burst out of his coffin
  • All three of us died multiple times through the course of this combat, we agreed we had definitely come in under-leveled, but by gods we eventually took out the dragon and the dragon priest
  • Dragon rendered weirdly for me, it was stuck in place and moving a little, but I couldn’t kill it

Off to Solitude!

  • Given the weirdness we’d encountered going overland we decided we were just going to boing from Shearpoint to the Whiterun Stables, and try to take the cart to Solitude; this worked for Mel, this did not work for Dara and me; we used the STR UI to teleport to Mel and catch up
  • Cue the execution of Roggvir! Which Mel decided to interrupt by getting up onto the stage; the guards got pissed at her and attacked and killed her
  • Roggvir’s dead yet still undecapitated body wound up sprawled in front of Radiant Raiment
  • After that little bit of excitement we decided that was quite enough of Solitude for the moment

On the way to Meridia’s temple

  • Went back out again with the intent to hoof it over to Meridia’s temple and go after Dawnbreaker
  • Took a short break; I derped around just outside Solitude and went up the stairs that led up to the top of the exterior gate, just because I’d never been up there
  • Dara returned and we resumed heading over to Kilkreath
  • Found the Old Orc who wanted a good death near the crossroads
  • Mel did not agree to give him his good death but picked a fight with him anyway, which pissed him off, LOL; you wanted a good death, what the hell are you bitching about, old orc dude?
  • Also found the noble on horse + Imperial on the other side of the crossroads, combat broke out there too, but I didn’t see over what
  • Mel took the horse XD

Actually at the temple

  • Hit the Word Wall for Elemental Fury near the temple
  • I triggered the quest to go to get the beacon when I went up on the platform with the statue, which pulled Meridia in Ball of Light form down to the ground; Mel tried to interact with her, but it didn’t work, and Mel also saw her as a naked Altmer
  • Mel tried to advance the quest with the debug console, but was not successful
  • We triggered three copies of the “go find my beacon” quest, pointing at three different locations
  • Since I had a copy of the beacon in my inventory, we went to the chest on the balcony outside the temple
  • Once Mel got the chest unlocked I stuck the beacon in there so she could retrieve it; she placed it at the statue, and that sent us all airborne to talk to Meridia
  • But we got stuck in the air, because the scene didn’t finish and we had no way to return to the ground
  • Mel used the console to get back down to the ground but died from the fall; when she was back, we teleported to her
  • Then we discovered none of us could draw our weapons, yikes
  • Also, we couldn’t get into the temple; it was blocked by a rock wall
  • Then pissed off Thalmor showed up and none of us could fight them
  • Saw at one point that an Imperial soldier was fighting one of the Thalmor
  • We did a hard rollback from that to prior saves; mine threw me back to the crossroads just by the Old Orc

Going to Shriekwind Bastion for the beacon

  • NEW PLAN! Mel got the quest to get the beacon, which pointed at Shriekwind Bastion
  • Boinged back to Solitude to take the cart to Falkreath
  • Dara and I both triggered the quest from the Falkreath guard to ask Lod about a dog, but we didn’t deal with that for now
  • Instead we hoofed it north-ish out of Falkreath; Dara and Mel had quest markers but I didn’t, so I kept using Teleport to catch up
  • Ran Shriekwind Bastion
  • Mel got Lydia acting like a proper follower, finally, and gave her a helmet!
  • Mel also got yet another Sanguinare Vampiris infection, because this was apparently All the Vampires Infect Mel Day
  • Then we discovered the damn beacon was not in the boss chest, AUGH

Back to the temple yet again

  • Boinged back to Kilkreath
  • Vigilants vs. Vampire encounter triggered nearby, and Mel got the surviving Vigilant to cure her
  • Brief weirdness with Lydia acting like she stopped following Mel, but fortunately this was temporary
  • We did one more round of transferring my copy of the beacon into the chest, so that Mel could try to place it at the statue, and this time HOLY CRAP IT ACTUALLY WORKED
  • We all three went skyward, and I made a point of telling Dara and Mel NOBODY MOVE in mid-air
  • Meridia’s dialogue with Mel finally proceeded correctly and we were returned to the ground
  • And now the temple door was unblocked \0/
  • We finally called a halt there for the night, we all saved, and resolved to pick up again with kicking Malkoran’s ass next time we play

Paying an owed debt of crashes, apparently?

First thing I want to talk about for this session is that we got lulled into a false sense of security by the previous session! Because this time, we all had crashing issues. Dara and I frequently locked up at the same time–which was a new twist. We’re still not sure what might have happened there, unless it was some sort of issue on the server side, being testy at client connections?

This threw me back to the Thieves Guild in Riften at least twice, though I certainly had a few extra crashes of my own that weren’t simultaneous with Dara’s.

Mel also had her computer lock up pretty hard a time or two, which caused her to have to reboot and fucked up her ability to save at all for a while, either quicksaves or actual hard saves. She wound up having to save while disconnected from the server, which did work, and she reconnected after restarting the game off of that save.

And I discovered my F12 key on the keyboard wasn’t actually working to take screenshots, which was disappointing! So something is fucked there. It’s probably related to how I was trying to stream off the Steam Deck up to the Mac, and may be related to how I had issues taking screenshots in ESO when playing in MacOS as well.

But I’m just not quite sure what to do about it yet. I will need to investigate that further.

Fortunately Dara and Mel got plenty of screenshots to share in this post!

Clearly Largashbur didn’t need all that much help this time

For the record, we did actually want to run the Cursed Tribe plot at Largashbur. But when we showed up and helped the Orcs fight off the initial giant attack, the Orcs told Mel to fuck off. So we fucked off!

But here’s the part of that that interested me: what usually happens here, when Ugor tells you to fuck off, Atub usually intervenes and initiates mandatory conversation with you, so that the Cursed Tribe can start. Yet we didn’t actually see her, I think. So not sure what went wrong there.

That said, this certainly wasn’t the most unusual thing in this session!

(And it might be interesting, if we come back later, to find if we can actually still do the plot.)

A very bad day to be traveling through bear and vampire country

As we determined later once I had Dara and Mel sanity check my notes for this post, Mel just kept getting hit with disease after disease!

  1. Got a disease (Ataxia, I think?) off of first three bears; cured by the Vigilants
  2. Got Bone Break Fever off another round of bears, cured by Cure Disease potion since we confirmed there was no alchemy table at Ivarstead
  3. Got Sanguinare Vampiris off of vampires, cured once we stopped at the Alchemist’s Shack and Dara and Mel were able to make more potions
  4. Got Sanguinare Vampiris off a second set of vampires, doing the “pretending to Vigilants of Stendarr” thing just past the Alchemist’s Shack

And all of that was just traveling from Riften over towards Whiterun. It doesn’t even count the third Sanguinare Vampiris infection Mel picked up later at Shriekwind Bastion! The game was doing its damndest to try to vamp her out, apparently.

Upon reflection, maybe we weren’t quite ready for Shearpoint yet

The good thing about closing in on Shearpoint to fight the dragon there was that Lydia started catching up with me. She was in a weird state where she was acting like she was following me, but if asked, claimed I already had somebody else following me. Yet she kept following me around fairly consistently after this point.

Which meant we had her around for the fight with the dragon at Shearpoint.

And the bad thing about that fight: we totally came in under-leveled. If it had just been a question of the dragon, or just the dragon priest, we might have done better. But it was both the dragon and Krosis, and so we had our asses handed collectively to us. I in particular kept getting one-shotted by Krosis via ice spikes, and by the dragon via flame blasts. This is what I get for being the party mage!

(Side note here: it’s worth noting that as of this writing, I’ve now done some group action in Elder Scrolls Online, where I explicitly practiced being one of two healers for a group of 12. Being that formal is probably taking it a bit more seriously than Skyrim Together warrants! But that said, it does suggest for me that I need to consider getting hold of easy ways to heal Dara and Mel in fights like this. I’ve done similar things in prior actual Skyrim playthroughs, throwing heals on my housecarls and such. It might have helped!)

Last thing I’ll note here: the dragon was rendering weird for me. It was acting like it was still alive, but it was more or less frozen in place and I couldn’t actually kill it. This seemed like behavior similar to what we saw when we killed a dragon near the Eldergleam Sanctuary.

And by gods, we did eventually finally kill the dragon and the dragon priest. So we all got the Throw Voice Shout. \0/

Skyrim carts: definitely not made for three Dragonborns

We decided at this point that after all the weirdness we’d had getting from Riften to Shearpoint, we were just going to boing to the Whiterun Stables and then take the cart to Solitude, so we could get it onto our maps.

Good theory. In actual practice, though, we discovered that the cart was not going to work for us! Mel was able to take the cart to Solitude. But when Dara and I tried, it did not move us. We remained stuck in Whiterun, with the driver throwing his dialogue lines for setting off on a journey. And we couldn’t hire him separately, either.

Fortunately, that’s what the Teleport function in the Skyrim Together UI is for! So we were able to boing to Mel in Solitude to catch up with her.

At which point, of course, we triggered the scene involving the execution of Roggvir. Which Mel decided she was going to interrupt! She jumped up onto the stage just to see what would happen. Answer: the guards attacked and killed her!

And Roggvir’s not-actually-decapitated body wound up sprawled in front of Radiant Raiment. LOLOL.

The epic saga of how we kept fucking up getting into Kilkreath Ruins

This was the point at which we began the really epic part of this entire session: just trying to get Meridia’s statue to accept the beacon, so that we could get into the Kilkreath Ruins and try to go after Dawnbreaker! Which was way more complicated than it ever is in standard Skyrim.

Getting over there to begin with was easy enough. We did trigger two different encounters right at the crossroads nearby: the Old Orc who wants a good death (and two dead sabre cats right by him), as well as the Noble on a Horse and his Imperial escort. This was rather livelier than standard Skyrim expects, since Mel picked a fight with the orc without agreeing to give him a good death, which pissed him off! (Unjustifiably, I feel. He was expecting Malacath to send him a good death, I don’t think he should quibble about whether the good death asked permission first. :D)

Also, Mel nabbed the horse. Though I’m pretty sure she also lost the horse, because we all kept having crashes, so who even knows.

We then made it to the temple and nabbed the word for Elemental Fury off the nearby Word Wall. But that was the easy part. What came next was the epically difficult hard part!

A lot of these incidents overlapped with each other, so this recounting isn’t exactly in chronological order. Grouping commentary instead by general theme.

Surprise NPC Meridia

Something I did, maybe because I automatically triggered the quest to go get the beacon when I went up on the platform with the statue, pulled Meridia down out of the sky and stuck in her ball of light form near the base of the stairs. Mel kept trying to interact with her, and couldn’t get that to work.

Also of note here: Mel also saw her as a High Elf! I think we accidentally triggered the NPC form of Meridia that the game’s backend uses to deliver her dialogue? Which for some damn reason shows her as a naked Altmer, LOL.

Debug console not coming to the rescue

Challenge number two: Mel tried to advance the quest with the debug console, two different ways, but neither of these were successful. Using the setstage command with the debug console just gave her two different copies of the Break of Dawn quest in her journal. And likewise, trying to give herself a copy of Meridia’s Beacon didn’t work. So we all tried to roll back from that.

Getting yoinked into the sky, round one

We all wound up triggering our own copies of the “go find my beacon” quest from Meridia–but each of them pointed us at different locations on the map. Which seemed suboptimal. So we punted to a backup plan.

Since I was the only one with a copy of the beacon in my inventory, we went over to the chest on the balcony outside the temple. Once Mel got that unlocked, I stuck the beacon in there so she could retrieve it. And then she tried to place it at the statue.

Again, good theory. All three of us were sent skyward to talk with Meridia. But then we got stuck. Meridia’s conversation did not progress to the point where she was supposed to put the Dragonborn back down on the ground, and we had no way to get back down ourselves!

Mel tried invoking the console to get herself back down to the ground, but this caused her to die from the fall. Once she was back from that, Dara and I tried to use the Teleport command to get down to her.

This did work. But then we discovered to our alarm that none of us were able to draw our weapons. Just as importantly, we couldn’t get into the temple, either. It was blocked by a rock wall, another sign that the quest wasn’t really ready for us yet. Of interest here: the wiki page for Kilkreath Ruins indicates that we should have seen a door there that was just locked. But given that our game was in a pretty fucked state at this point, not surprised that we got something else!

Our theory at this point was that the game thought we were all still in the scene in the sky with Meridia, even though we’d broken out of it.

And what made the situation worse: we got attacked. Pissed off Thalmor showed up, and none of us could actually fight them! I spotted at least six hostiles according to the HUD, and they fried me multiple times while I was frantically trying to run away. It might have been a Thalmor execution squad, with extra Thalmor spawning because there were three of us?

And at one point, I also saw an Imperial soldier fighting one of the Thalmor. This might have been the escort from the aforementioned Noble With Horse, I dunno.

We wound up doing a hard rollback from this situation, because yeah, generally fucked. Mine threw me back to the crossroads just by the Old Orc.

Diversion to Shriekwind Bastion

NEW PLAN! We decided to have Mel go up onto the platform alone, as she was the party leader, and let her get the official quest to go fetch the beacon, since the game thought she didn’t have it. This required us to go to Shriekwind Bastion, just north of Falkreath.

Which, in turn, required us to get to Falkreath. So we boinged back to Solitude to take the cart from there. And now we knew that the cart couldn’t handle all three of us, but we also knew the workaround. Mel took the cart, and then Dara and I used Teleport to catch up with her.

Once we were in Falkreath, Dara and I both triggered the quest from the guard leading us to ask Lod about a dog–which is of course the pointer for running A Daedra’s Best Friend. We declined to follow up on that for now, though. Instead, we hoofed it north-ish through and out of Falkreath.

Dara and Mel both had quest markers pointing at Shriekwind Bastion. I did not, so I had to keep using Teleport to catch up with them. But this did work well enough, and eventually we finally reached the barrow. And ran it!

This was the point at which Mel was finally able to get Lydia acting like a proper follower, too. So we had Lyds along in this dungeon, and Mel gave her a helmet she found too.

I must note here that it was a trifle difficult to tell Lyds and Mel apart after that point, though! Because their gear was very similar. We’ll have to see if we can improve Lyds’ gear. Or Mel’s!

Running Shriekwind resulted it yet another infection of Sanguinare Vampiris for Mel. And we also discovered that Mel’s quest marker was a lying thing that lied a lot. Because the damn beacon was not in the boss chest.

Back to the temple, one! More! Time!


We boinged back to the temple to try yet again. This triggered an encounter with Vigilants hunting a vampire–which was convenient, because that gave Mel a chance to cure her latest infection.

And after that, and a brief blip of weirdness with Lydia temporarily acting like she’d left Mel’s service, we tried the plan of putting my copy of the beacon into the outside chest so that Mel could take to the statue.

This time, it actually worked.

And when we got skyward, in a fit of paranoia, I warned Dara and Mel to not to try to move. I was keying off of prior experience with the broken cutscene at the Throat of the World–the bug where if you move, the damn scene doesn’t play out correctly. I don’t know if we needed to do the same workaround here, and had no way to know for sure.

But the scene actually played out correctly this time! And we made it safely back to the ground, and found that the temple was now opened to us! GOOD ENOUGH.

Next time

Next time Dara and Mel and I play, now that we’re actually finally in Kilkreath, it’ll be time to charge through the place and try to kick Malkoran’s ass. We’re running the USSEP, so we won’t be able to trigger the duplicate Dawnbreaker bug.

But we’re also running Skyrim Together. So it’ll be interesting to see how many copies of Dawnbreaker we wind up with!


As mentioned above, I had issues taking my own screenshots. But here are Dara’s screenshots:

And here’s Mel’s:

Editing to add

  • 11/25/2023: Restored missing galleries.

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.