Kendis Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Kendis Becomes Thane of Haafingar and Fights the Mythic Dawn

Time for catchup with Kendis in Skyrim! Main action in this post: clearing Sunderstone Gorge; defeating the ghost of Potema in the Solitude catacombs; getting the Wabbajack; killing Crowstooth at Arcwind Point; questing through Varlais Cavern and then Red Scar Cavern, and triggering the Oblivion gate; questing in the Deadlands; saving Malborn from assassination; initial action to get the thaneship in the Reach; and lots and lots and lots of fishing.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 7/22, 7/25-7/26, 7/29/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 70-73

Saturday the 22nd

  • Started off at Lakeview
  • Boinged to Harmugstahl to run the plot to get the iron dagger
  • Got partway in and found that the spike puzzle wasn’t working
  • Rolled back to Lakeview and tried again; second time through it worked
  • Threw the dremora around a lot to take out spiders as well as the final mage; got the dagger and other loot
  • Mounted up on Yngvi and fast traveled from there to the Western Watchtower; rode over into Whiterun early in the morning
  • Khajiit on site so sold Ri’saad a bunch of jewelry after buying a bunch of soul gems off of him
  • Talked to Vilkas at Jorrvaskr to give him back the dagger
  • Started the Purify quest with Vilkas before remembering OH SHIT RIGHT I haven’t done Farkas yet, so had to roll back from Vilkas being my follower
  • Did take two of giving him the dagger, but still couldn’t get a quest off of Farkas
  • Slept for a few hours in my bed in Jorrvaskr
  • Got a quest from Aela to go take care of an animal who got into somebody’s house in Haafingar, another snowy sabre cat managing to get into somebody’s house
  • But first decided to go hit Sunderstone Gorge and learn the Word of Power there
  • Rode out on Yngvi
  • Encountered hostile Dark Elf fire mage near the Western Watchtower; let the dremora and the rest of Team Dragonborn mostly take care of her; got her loot, which was mostly ebony armor
  • Passed Imperials going the other way
  • Fought a couple of wolves at the crossroads leading to Sunderstone Gorge–and discovered for the first time that there’s an entrance into the Fort Sungard Oubliette just off the road there
  • Then headed over to run Sunderstone Gorge
  • Spotted a female hunter going after something but did not disturb her
  • The Arch Necromancer at the cave entrance, on the other hand, I disturbed the hell out of
  • Headed in to run the place, and managed the cluster of fire mages halfway through via Elixir of Resist Fire
  • No trouble at the end either
  • Got the word for Fire Breath off the Word Wall (but it auto-unlocked somehow)
  • Got overloaded on the way out, but still stopped for the four silver veins
  • Mounted up on Yngvi once we were back outside and started riding out
  • Found conjurer vs. bandits at the crossroads and interfered in the fight; looted all of them
  • Got a zombie horde and had to take them out; also saw Ri’saad’s Khajiit en route to Markarth and I think they’d taken out one or two of the zombies, found one further back east along the road
  • Spotted the Headless Horseman on the way back to Whiterun, and got there just before midnight game time
  • Sold a bunch of loot to Elrindir since this is an unmodded playthrough and unmodded Elrindir never frigging sleeps 😉
  • Slept the night at Breezehome
  • Determined that the target for the animal quest was actually right in Solitude; boinged to Solitude to go deal with that
  • The cat was in Addvar’s house, and I took it out without any difficulty (though it clipped into the floor and I had to wait for Gogh’s storm atronach to disperse before I could loot it)
  • Then realized oh hey no I did not in fact own Proudspire Manor yet, and that I had not yet run the rest of the Potema plot
  • Also, Dervenin was still wandering around complaining about his master
  • Went to the Blue Palace and talked to Falk Firebeard about the courier letter
  • Talked to Styrr in the Hall of the Dead, then went to the Temple of the Divines and ran the catacombs
  • Went pretty swiftly since I was coming in at level 56 and had two followers that could summon things
  • Got overloaded from loot on the way out, but ate a few food items to get under carry weight so I could fast travel back into Solitude
  • Reported back in to Styrr and then Falk
  • Resolved the quest and got the Shield of Solitude, which put me back over carry weight
  • Still too early for Elisif to be in court, so went out to sell things at the stores
  • Sold a bunch of things at Bits and Pieces to get under carry weight again
  • Got the quest from Dervenin for the Wabbajack on the way back to the Blue Palace
  • Got Elisif’s quest to take the horn to a Shrine of Talos
  • Talked to Falk about getting into the Pelagius Wing
  • Ran the Wabbajack quest as per usual, and HI UNCLE SHEO
  • Came back out of that with the fine clothes outfit on so of course I was overloaded again, but fixed that by putting my armor and jewelry and backpack back on
  • Boinged back to Whiterun and resolved the quest with Aela at Jorrvaskr, but still couldn’t get the werewolf quest from Farkas
  • Sold a few more things, then parked in Breezehome and saved until next time

Tuesday the 25th

  • Most of this session wound up getting retconned, because I triggered a bug that broke the Bones for a Crow quest, what with my posse killing Crowstooth too early at Arcwind Point 😛
  • Had to roll back from that and start doing that set of actions over
  • After rolling back, started off at Breezehome in Whiterun
  • Had Rulnik stand down at Breezehome to let him stay home with the girls
  • Also sent Gogh home just because I like the little goblin buddy, but he was a problem with the ranged attacks at Arcwind Point
  • Rode over on Yngvi to drop off the horn at the Shrine of Talos for Elisif
  • Got an Elder Dragon at Tundra Homestead–and noticed somebody was throwing fireballs at it
  • Ran over to try to figure out who it was; spotted mercenaries, and HA it was Taron Dreth throwing the fireballs
  • Didn’t get a chance to confront him, too busy with the dragon; it flew off out of range and I went after it to take it out, and by the time I killed it he and the mercenaries were gone
  • From there, fast traveled to Solitude
  • Checked in with Elisif and got her permission to buy property in the city
  • Threw a boatload of gold at Falk to buy Proudspire and fully furnish it
  • Sold what things I could, then fast traveled down to Lakeview to pick up Lydia to take her to Arcwind Point
  • Also dropped off a bunch of stuff to lighten the load, because honestly, do I need to carry two hundred soul gems? I think not
  • Saved there until next time

Wednesday the 26th

  • These notes are not entirely in chronological order because I boinged all over the damn place, so let’s do this by themes

Bones for a Crow

  • Decided to try to get to Crowstooth’s camp by not going through Darklight Tower this time, since I’d tried that the night before and had to retcon it, and plus I wanted to see if I could make it to the camp completely outside
  • Answer: yes, I had to get to the Ruins of Rkund first; not much there, just a wispmother and wisps, which Yngvi and I dispatched
  • Found the camp and fought the hostiles there
  • Tried multiple times to run the rest of Bones for a Crow, but could not for the life of me get Bjormund Wind-Strider’s body to spawn so I could get the damn armor
  • At one point Lydia got killed in the fighting and that was NO GODDAMN GOOD, rolled that right back because I AM NOT LOSING MY HOUSECARL OVER THIS GODDAMMIT
  • Finally at least killed Crowstooth and Alvasorr the Rat without losing my housecarl in the bargain, took out the dragon, and got the Drain Vitality word off the Word Wall

The Cause plot

  • Re-did boinging to the cultist camp near the Alchemist’s Shack so I could get the pointer to go back to Arcwind Point, forgot I hadn’t done that after I finally successfully killed Crowstooth
  • Returned to Arcwind Point and started running Varlais Cavern/Rielle
  • Had a bit of ‘oh shit did something else break in this run’ when I took out Norion the Undying and could not find his remains; re-did that fight so I could get the necessary items off of him
  • Made it through to the end bit with the fighting between the Vigil of Stendarr and the cultists, then got out again
  • Boinged to Fallowstone Cave to get within range of Red Scar Cavern, and put on the cultist outfit
  • Got an astonishing number of hostiles on the way:
    • Thalmor execution squad
    • Two different individual bears
    • Then a bear, a frostbite spider, and a wolf all at the same time
  • Very narrowly avoided pissing off Lydia, I think she got splash damage from the chain lightning spell; switched off to Ice Spikes from that
  • Finally arrived at Red Scar Cavern, where Yngvi immediately got into a fight with the guard at the mouth of the cave even though I was in the cult robes; went ahead and took out the guard
  • Ran the cavern pretty much as per previous playthroughs, up to OHNOEZ THERE IS AN OBLIVION GATE
  • Went into the Deadlands and took out the daedra and got their weaponry, also the Summon Daedric Horse spell
  • Came back out and fought my way out while the Vigilants were beating up on the cultists
  • Hey there Vigil survivors, y’all have fun defending this gate

Kicking Enchanting over to Legendary, and investing in all the merchants

  • Kicked Enchanting over to Legendary so I could get the perk points to spend
  • Threw some onto speech so I could unlock the Merchant perk to sell anything to anybody, also the Investor perk to throw money at merchants and bump up their gold balance
  • Also put points onto Smithing, Alteration, Destruction, and Restoration
  • Invested in all the investable shops in Whiterun
  • Tried to invest in all the investable merchants in Solitude, but Sibylle Stentor wasn’t awake and in court when I got there
  • Investing in Beirand, since he was first of the ones I invested in in Solitude, cleared the stuck “Help the people of Haafingar” quest that’s bugged in vanilla Skyrim
  • Boinged to Morthal to invest with Lami, fought dragon while there
  • Boinged to Dawnstar to invest with Rustleif and Seren, and Frida
  • Invested in Oengul, the White Phial, and Wuunfurth the Unliving in Windhelm; was going to invest with Revyn Sadri but I think I have to do his quest first
  • Invested in Filnjar’s forge in Shor’s Stone
  • Invested in the Pawned Prawn and the Scorched Hammer in Riften, and then later with Elgrim’s Elixirs once I followed up on bringing Elgrim a pygmy sunfish

Dragon in Morthal

  • Guards took potshots and I wound up chasing it over to the area just across the water where the fishing contest bandits ambush you
  • A couple other mage bandits spawned there, so I had to take them out as well as the dragon

Assassin in Windhelm

  • While running the Fangtusk bounty in Windhelm, spotted J’datharr hanging out on his own outside the stables, no sign of caravan, which meant I couldn’t trigger the damn quest to kill him correctly
  • Got Malborn to give me the quest, but without the caravan present, I couldn’t get the prompt to confront J’datharr
  • Boinged back and forth between Windhelm and other places a couple of times trying to get the caravan to show up; when they did, I still didn’t have the prompt to confront J’datharr
  • Wound up just pissing him off by throwing a Frenzy spell at him to get him to attack me
  • That let me report back to Malborn that he was dead, so he was free to get the fuck out of the city (let’s hope he actually doesn’t get eaten by a frostbite spider on the way to Morrowind)

Fishing action

  • Ran the bounty for Fangtusk near Windhelm
  • Large number of hostile critters in the area: a snow bear, a frost troll and multiple horkers even aside from Fangtusk
  • Somehow a snow fox got pissed off, but it ran off before Lyds or Yngvi or I could kill it
  • Once he was dead, turned in the Fangtusk bounty with Viriya; got her bounty to go to Markarth to give a fishing lesson
  • Also talked to Swims about getting arctic fish
  • Fished at the Windhelm docks to get the necessary arctic fish, then rode south from there to get to Steamcrag Camp; the wiki said I could get pygmy sunfish in the lake right by that giant camp
  • Stayed out of the way of the giant and got all three required fish in the lake
  • Boinged to Riften to check in with Swims
  • Gave Elgrim his pygmy sunfish (while investing in his shop)
  • Had to sleep overnight in Honeyside, then gave swims the arctic fish
  • Got his quest to get the underground fish, two of which I already had
  • Also got a bounty to get four salmon for the innkeeper at old Hroldan

Level ups

  • Leveled up to 57 during this action; took Magicka bump and Summoner perk in Conjuration
  • Went to College of Winterhold and got five rounds of training with Faralda
  • Sold her a boatload of jewelry since that training was costly!


  • Dropped off stuff at Bloodchill Cavern since I knew I wouldn’t be carrying Crowstooth’s weapon or Alvarsorr’s weapon either; left Alvasorr’s Falmer armor on a mannequin there too
  • Geared up in mage mode for a bit though I reverted to dragonscale armor while running the Deadlands
  • Tried to make an amber bow but it wasn’t as powerful as the dragonbone one yet
  • Since I dismissed Gogh that meant Lucia and Sofia now actually have a variety of interactions with me again
  • Though both of the times I saw Lucia while coming into Whiterun, she hit me up for money; gave her 100 gold the first time and 500 gold the second, because being the Dragonborn’s trust fund adopted daughter does have its advantages! XD

Saturday the 29th

  • Picked up at Breezehome
  • Boinged to Windstad to head over to Folgunthur
  • Fought Elder Dragon on the way
  • Ran Folgunthur without any issues
  • Got ivory claw, got word for Frost Breath, got Daedric armor as loot
  • Boinged to Lakeview to drop stuff off, including loot from the Deadlands
  • Boinged to Whiterun to sell things; found the Khajiit outside, so sold everything to Ri’saad that I wanted to sell, including the Daedric armor
  • Boinged to Ivarstead to get within range of Geirmund’s Hall; ran that also without any issues
  • Did Become Ethereal to jump down the first tunnel
  • Got another suit of Daedric armor, clearly the game wanted me to have Daedric armor
  • Got out overloaded but took the time to fish the fishing spot on the island; got the first of the salmon needed for salmon bounty
  • Boinged back to Whiterun from there to sell stuff
  • Lucia gave me a greater soul gem, what a nice kid! (Though I wanna know where exactly she ‘found’ a soul gem just lying around)
  • Slept the night at Breezehome
  • Got courier with Letter from a Friend pointing at Volskygge
  • Sold more things to get down under carry weight, then headed out again with Lydia to head west into the Reach
  • Passed Thalmor with prisoner, an Orc skooma dealer, and a female mercenary in ebony armor, but I was on Yngvi so none of them talked to me
  • Dog vs. skeevers at crossroads spawn point; Lyds got the skeevers
  • Could not talk to the dog presumably because I’d lost Meeko? Also, it seemed hostile; tried to heal it to see if I could, but then it came at Lyds and she had to kill it (sorry, doggo!)
  • Proceeded onward, reached and ran Reachwater Rock with no issues; took out the three spirit brothers and reforged the amulet; looted the place on the way out
  • Also fished the fishing spot and got a vampire fish, but did not get a tripod spiderfish, only realized later I should have been using the Argonian rod, oops
  • Fast traveled to Markarth; took inn room and slept the night
  • Talked to Lynea in the morning and did the fishing lesson, which also let me catch the remaining three required salmon
  • Got bitched at by Hogni about how many people died during the Forsworn attack
  • Sold a couple things to Ghorza at the forge
  • Headed to Understone Keep and chatted with the Jarl
  • Got him to give me a “go kill the Forsworn leader” quest which also happened to be for the same damn place I got the bounty for, Deepwood Redoubt; clearly the Jarl really wants that Forsworn leader dead
  • Meanwhile headed back out to take the salmon to Old Hroldan Inn; gave Eydis the salmon
  • Rented Tiber Septim’s bed for a nap, and cue the ghost
  • Got the objective to get the sword at Serpent’s Bluff Redoubt
  • Boinged to Lakeview and dropped off a bunch of stuff
  • Improved my amber bow and got it to do more damage than the dragonbone bow, so traded off; also, the amber bow is lighter
  • Dropped off the crossbow and sword while at it, and geared back up in mage mode
  • Leveled up to 58 while working on smithing; took Atromancy perk in Conjuration, and Stamina bump
  • Boinged to Whiterun to sell things; gave Sofie a sweet roll
  • Boinged to college for five rounds of Illusion training with Drevis; sold him assorted jewelry
  • Boinged down to Riften and got next fishing bounty from Viriya for getting Ri’saad’s booze back
  • Boinged from there to Hendraheim to start a circuit through the Reach
  • Dragon dropped right on us as we were closing in on the fishing spot for Ri’saad’s flin, so we had to take it out–then went right past Ri’saad’s caravan en route to Markarth, HEY WAIT COME BACK oh right I gotta give you the flin first
  • Went to fishing spot and fished up the flin, then jumped back on Yngvi and caught up with the caravan; gave Ri’saad the booze and got the Ring of Khajiit
  • Headed for Serpent’s Bluff Redoubt
  • Fought a sabre cat on the way; didn’t get a shot in and couldn’t loot it, because it clipped into the ground as soon as Lydia killed it (fell right under Yngvi’s hooves, that bug again)
  • Did however successfully loot a cave bear after we killed that
  • Called in Durneviir for his second Shout word and also to help with the attack on the Forsworn
  • Got in, took out everybody up through the hagraven, then got the sword and got out
  • Fast traveled back to the inn
  • Returned the sword to the ghost and got the bump in One-handed and in Block

Spike puzzle bug at Harmugstahl

I’m ten playthroughs in on Skyrim at this point. While I like to note that I’m still finding new, cool stuff, I am also still finding bugs that are new to me as well!

Like the spike puzzle that’s inside Harmugstahl, where you have to flip levers in a certain order to get all the spikes to retract so that you can proceed through a hallway. Apparently, according to the wiki, this thing just sometimes flat out does not work. I haven’t run this location as much as I’ve done other parts of Skyrim, so I’m kind of not surprised that it’s taken me this long to trigger this bug.

It was fixed by my rolling back and trying again, thankfully. Which meant I didn’t have to try to skip this quest entirely (and cost myself the ability to get the iron dagger for the Companions).

Still, the wiki doesn’t actually say whether this bug has been fixed in the USSEP. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it if Elessir’s run takes him into Harmugstahl.

Vilkas and Farkas: still werewolves

I accidentally went round two of purifying Vilkas of his beast blood before remembering that oh shit right, I hadn’t done it with Farkas yet. So had to roll back from that.

I still can’t get a new quest off of Farkas, though! Dammit, boys, are you going to make me leave you being werewolves for the rest of this game?

And speaking of learning new things about Skyrim

On the way to Sunderstone Gorge, I discovered entirely by accident that there’s a secret entrance into Fort Sungard accessible right there from the road. The crossroads that leads over to Sunderstone Gorge is a spawn point, as I’ve noted before. This time through, I got wolves. And one of them got knocked back towards the rock wall that follows the road at that point.

When I went over to loot the wolf corpse, I got a prompt to enter the Fort Sungard Oubliette! An entrance which has been there all this time but I never actually got close enough to it to see the prompt. And I’ve never run enough of Fort Sungard to find it from the other direction!

Now I kinda wanna run all of Fort Sungard just to follow up on this. 😀

A bit of oddness with the Word of Power in Sunderstone Gorge

I didn’t have any issues running Sunderstone Gorge this time, but I did hit a little bit of weirdness at the end of it when I reached the Word Wall and got the word for the Fire Breath Shout. Oddly, I did not have to spend a dragon soul on it, it auto-unlocked!

I couldn’t find any info about this as a known bug on the wikis I usually look at. I’m wondering though if I managed to confuse things a bit when I’d talked to Paarthurnax? Because there is a known issue with you being able to get an extra word for this Shout if you spend a soul on the one Paarths gives you before he actually grants you his knowledge of it. Maybe this is a variation of that bug?

How the hell does a Snowy Sabre Cat get into a house in Solitude, anyway?

I’ve written before in Kendis’ run that I find the Companions’ Animal Extermination quests kind of goofy, on the grounds of how the everliving fuck does a wild animal get into somebody’s house? And not get dealt with immediately by whoever is on hand?

These are Nords we’re talking about. I have a hard time buying that any self-respecting Nord is going to go “oh shit, there’s a sabre cat in my house, I better call the Companions” as opposed to just picking up a goddamn bow and shooting the critter.

And this is an even goofier premise if the house in question is in frigging Solitude. I can kinda buy it if it’s a house in a small farmstead or something, where they’re more vulnerable to a wild animal actually breaking into a building. But a walled city? And not only a walled city, but the actual frigging capital of Skyrim?

I have an even harder time buying that a Snowy Sabre Cat would a) manage to get into the city and b) break into somebody’s house without c) all the guards getting alerted and taking the damn thing out before it became a problem.

So I bitched about this to Dara, and she came up with a narrative for this that actually makes plausible sense. She suggested that the Snowy Sabre Cat in question was a rich asshole’s prize that escaped, and managed to rampage through Solitude before finally winding up caught in a house (in this case, Addvar’s). And the guards deliberately didn’t go in there because keeping order on the city streets is one thing, but actually facing a pissed off wild animal is another! And that as long as the critter was safely contained, they could keep it barricaded in there until the Companions could show up and take care of the problem.

Of course, this also means that Addvar’s family was kinda screwed for somewhere to sleep, but that part? Not the guards’ problem!

What makes this extra plausible for me: there’s an excellent candidate for a sabre-cat-owning rich asshole right on camera in Solitude. Erikur, I am looking straight at you.

Even with this as a narrative, though, I feel like it’s still a bit of a stretch. Just because calling the Companions means sending a message to Whiterun, so somebody has to go all the way there with the message. And then whoever the Companions send has to come all the way back. Which could conceivably take a few days! And that’s assuming that the person with the message doesn’t get waylaid by bandits or eaten by a dragon or what have you, and likewise for the Companion coming to deal with the problem.

You cannot tell me that Solitude, with the headquarters of the Imperial legions right there, does not have adequate weaponry to take down a rampaging beast in the streets. Even from a distance. Crossbows exist. Hell, Fihada sells a bunch of them!

And if the guards don’t necessarily want to get up and close and personal with a pissed off sabre cat, there are also at least two known mages in Solitude, Sybille Stentor and Melaran. Surely one or the other of them knows the Paralyze spell in the school of Alteration? Zap the cat mid-rampage, then shoot it with a crossbow. Problem solved!

Breakage of the Bones for a Crow quest

On the topic of bugs I hadn’t run into yet in Skyrim, I found another one in these sessions–and in particular, with the content brought in by the Anniversary Edition. The Bones for a Crow quest, which sends you to Arcwind Point, apparently has a risky bug involving the body of Bjormund Wind-Strider not spawning correctly up at the top of the tower. Which prevents you from looting that body to get the armor to resolve the quest.

And I ran into this one, big time. I tried to finish that quest multiple times, with no joy. This bug is apparently a known issue with this quest, and not fixable in vanilla Skyrim unless I feel like uninstalling and reinstalling the AE stuff, and then restarting the quest.

Which I don’t, not for armor I won’t even wear on a regular basis. I’ve gotten the dragonplate armor a couple of times, but I always wind up either handing it off to housecarls or stuffing it onto an armor mannequin. I don’t like to wear it myself, partly because I’m very rarely a heavy armor player, and partly just because it’s fugly.

Mostly, I’m just perturbed about this because I had the quest active in my journal, dammit, and I want to resolve it. It’s my “complete all active quests” gamer brain bitching here.

But I don’t have anything I can particularly do about it, unfortunately. I might try to come back to Arcwind Point later to see if I can find Bjormund’s body after the place respawns, but that’ll take a while. And I feel like my level of giveafuck may not bring me back here before I send Kendis off to fight Alduin and close out her playthrough. We’ll see.

People bitching at me about the Forsworn in Markarth

See, this is one of the reasons I just do not like Markarth very much: damn place throws me into Cidhna Mine. And then, after I break out with the Forsworn, everybody there bitches at me about how many people the Forsworn killed on the way out. Case in point, Hogni the meat merchant:

“Huh. Heard you broke out of Cidhna Mine with those Forsworn. Do you have any idea how many died?”

My dude, would you like to consider how many people, including me, were unjustly thrown into that mine to begin with? Or maybe the whole question of the Forsworn fighting to take back their homeland?


Then get the fuck out of my face.

Mind you, this doesn’t stop me from getting the thaneship in the Reach. Just because, as y’all know, I am a completist. And getting Vlindrel Hall and Argis the Bulwark as a housecarl is useful!

Next time

I’ll finish up Kendis’ current circuit through the Reach, and hit Deepwood Redoubt. Possibly also Volskygge, since they’re pretty close to one another.


Editing to add

  • 11/25/2023: Restored missing gallery.

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.