Elessir Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Elessir Defeats the Wolf Queen, and the Dragon Sahloknir

Second of two Elessir posts I wanted to do today, to get caught up on his run. Main action here: retrieving a helmet from Rimerock Burrow; interrupting a necromantic ritual at Wolfskull Cave; going with Delphine to Kynesgrove and defeating the dragon Sahloknir; returning to Solitude and defeating the undead Potema in her catacombs; and taking her husband’s hunting horn to a Shrine of Talos at the request of Elisif.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 8/11, 8/15/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 8-9

Friday the 11th

  • Picked up again at Lakeview
  • Boinged first to Rimerock Burrow to pick up Noster’s helmet
  • Took out a generic Conjurer who’d spawned in there after my first visit
  • From there, rode towards Wolfskull Cave for Potema part 1
  • On the way, found a hunter who’d been turned by a vampire; talked to her while still on horse
  • Was not able to help the hunter, and she was shortly thereafter killed by an ice wraith
  • Had a bandit encounter on the way to Wolfskull Cave as well, so by the time we got there, I was overloaded
  • Stashed some stuff on Hildr, then took out the skeletons at the front of the cave and started running the place
  • Took out all the draugr (Dawnbreaker blew up a few of them) and necromancers
  • Ritual interrupted!
  • Got boss loot, headed back out, mounted up, and fast traveled to Solitude
  • Sold a bunch of loot
  • Reported to Falk at the Blue Palace and got payment for stopping the ritual
  • Boinged to Whiterun for supply run
  • Rode out from there for Ivarstead with intent to kill a few more bears on the way, and finish up Temba’s bear quest
  • Did successfully kill one bear on the way, but had to hit Honeystrand Cave right near Ivarstead for the final two bears
  • From Ivarstead, boinged to Riverwood to see Delphine about the Horn
  • Took some of the more hostile dialogue options this time on the assumption that Elessir would be rather angrier about the whole horn situation than some of my other characters
  • LOL, Delphine actually threatened me, more on this below ;D
  • Finally got her to head out to Kynesgrove
  • Lucien made his nervous commentary about going to fight a dragon, and I got snippy at him on the grounds that Elessir was probably still very surly about Delphine and took it out on him
  • Lucien snarked back, and I think Elessir respected him showing some backbone
  • Off we went to go to Kynesgrove!
  • Giant frostbite spider fight near White River Watch; one of them killed the other and it fell into the river, and Delphine killed the one remaining
  • Lost track of Delphine right around the Ritual Stone; headed onward with just Lucien and Lydia
  • Killed assorted critters en route, and a hostile random Redguard
  • Discovered Mixwater Mill and the Windhelm Stables for the map
  • Made it to Kynesgrove, and got the innkeeper running up yelling OH SHIT DRAGON
  • Ran up there to check it out, at which time Delphine showed up again
  • Cue Alduin resurrecting Sahloknir and snarking at me for daring to call myself dovah
  • We took out Sahloknir; cue Delphine being surprised! Talked through to the point of deciding to hit the Thalmor Embassy and needing to meet her back in Riverwood later
  • Started back down the hillside and looted a couple of nearby dead Stormcloaks–and ANOTHER DRAGON SHOWED UP, random Blood Dragon this time
  • Heard Lucien throwing lines about ‘we did this before, can do it again, yep, STILL TERRIFYING’
  • Dragon flew off though before we could kill it
  • Headed over to Windhelm to sell things
  • Saw initial conversation of Rolff and Angrenor hassling Suvaris
  • But the dragon showed up inside the city, and was pretty quickly slain, but not by me; nobody got killed that I could see
  • Slurped up the dragon soul
  • Sold a bunch of stuff to Niranye to unload down below carry limit
  • Ducked into the Candlehearth Inn long enough to read the book to get access to the studded dragonscale armor
  • Rode over to Yorgrim Overlook, which I had to re-discover since my previous finding of it got rolled back; killed more assorted critters en route
  • Took out the named skeleton warrior as well as the two random ones, and got the armor! Looks good on Elessir 😀
  • Boinged back to Lakeview for inventory managing
  • Improved the dragonscale since I had two dragons’ worth of bits now
  • Did a bit more building since I’d gotten more iron ore while out
  • Boinged to Hendraheim to drop off some stuff and saved there until next time
  • Level ups: forgot to record level 20, but also hit level 21, took Magicka bump, took Advanced Heavy Armor perk in Smithing

Tuesday the 15th

  • This session had issues getting started, more on this below
  • Explicitly hung out in Hendraheim for a little bit, talked to Lucien and gave him a round of training
  • Also got him to give me the line about being chuffed about being one of the few members of his family who’s ever done anything adventurous; was easier on him as Elessir than I was as Harrow, did not shoot him down this time 😉
  • After I did that, I was able to leave Hendraheim and proceed normally
  • Changed my prior plan and went to Whiterun to sell stuff
  • Popped into the Bannered Mare and performed there to get in some drum time
  • Got the invite from “Sam” to have a drinking contest, LOL
  • Delphine was actually in the Bannered Mare, and told me “Not here, I told you to meet me in Riverwood”; I think Elessir pointedly ignored her
  • From there, initially thought I’d go to the College of Winterhold; rode up past Whiterun along the road past Whitewatch Tower
  • But got a courier right near that tower, who gave me the note from Falk Firebeard about OH SHIT POTEMA
  • Kept riding for a short bit and spotted another courier, about at the same time that we found a regular wolf and an ice wolf
  • Courier got in on the fight but was sadly killed by the ice wolf; pretty sure it wasn’t the same courier as the one who gave me the Potema note, this one had the “investor” type note I’ve seen on other couriers out in the wilds
  • Decided to fast travel straight to Solitude, partly to see if i could, since I was feeling twitchy about the stability of the game; fast travel was successful
  • Reported to Falk about the Potema letter and got directive to talk to Styrr
  • Talked to Styrr at the Hall of the Dead and got directive to hit the catacombs and take out Potema
  • Went over there to do that; killed once, because as per usual I was overloaded by the time I hit the boss chamber
  • Second time through, hung back to minimize exposure to Potema’s shock blasts, kept summoning an Undying Ghost as my combat proxy, and taking potshots at draugr with the Bow of Shadows
  • This worked! Took out Potema’s shade and got her skull
  • Took the boss chest loot on the way out, also the loot in and around the chest just outside the final door
  • Climbed down to the road from there, did Horse Call to summon Hildr, mounted up, and fast traveled right back to Solitude
  • Sold things until I was back under carry weight
  • Went to the Hall of the Dead to report back to Styrr and give him Potema’s skull
  • Headed back to the Blue Palace to report to Falk
  • Found Dervenin so went ahead and took the quest for the Wabbajack
  • Reported back to Falk; got the Shield of Solitude, and the key to the Pelagius Wing
  • No sign of Elisif in court yet, so went down to the Pelagius Wing to run that plot
  • Got killed by the summoned dragon priest in Pelagius’ nightmares, but thrown only back to the Pelagius Wing so just had to re-do starting it; second time through did better
  • Stopped to chat with Sheo between the 2nd and 3rd quests, to see if he had any additional entertaining lines, and he did, awesome
  • Closed out the quest and got the Wabbajack
  • Checked to see if Elisif was on hand yet, and she was, so got her to give me the quest to take her husband’s horn to a Shrine of Talos
  • Got a courier with the note about the bonewolf and necromancer
  • But first went back to the bards college to work on drum stuff; Malukah said I needed more practice on drum before she could pass me
  • Went over to the Winking Skeever and performed there; this also got me a free sleep in the rentable room, so I took that
  • Returned to the Bards College in the morning; did a round of practice on the lute and flute as well, to nudge the practice count up high enough to make Malukah pass me on drum
  • Took and passed the flute test after a couple of tries, and got directive to go practice flute
  • Boinged to Lakeview to drop off some things
  • Rode from there to Riverwood
  • Lucien dropped a line about stopping to chat with Delphine, though I elected not to do that for now as I am not yet prepared to hit the Thalmor Embassy with this alt (and plus, Elessir’s still salty at her, LOL)
  • Just past the bridge out of Riverwood, got a Blood Dragon which was a surprisingly hard fight
  • Had to go a ways up the mountain path to Bleak Falls Barrow to get within range of shooting the damn thing, because it was flying very high overhead and was also not often stopping long enough for me to actually aim and shoot it
  • It did eventually kill me, and this threw me back to Lakeview
  • Fast traveled to Honningbrew from there, to get within range of riding over to the shrine
  • Got another dragon but this time just a regular one; killed it near Honningbrew
  • Rode over to the shrine; discovered Tundra Homestead for the map on the way
  • Killed bear not far from the shrine
  • Lorcalin and his soldier backup showed up; Lydia and Lucien took them out, and I threw a flame atronach down there to help them from up by the shrine, while I left the horn as per directive
  • Got directive to return to Solitude
  • But for now, parked back in Breezehome and saved until next time

Back to Rimerock Burrow

I’ve been trying to cycle through my Skyrim playthroughs in progress, just so that all of them get to advance. But for the session on the 11th, I made an exception–because Elessir’s session on the 10th, with all of its false starts, had been unsatisfying. So I wanted to be able to make more progress with him in particular.

First up: Rimerock Burrow. As I said in Elessir’s last post, I’d been kind of surprised to get a repeat visit to a barrow this fast in the playthrough, usually it takes a little longer! And I think I knew that a second visit to Rimerock Burrow wouldn’t respawn Sebastian Lort–but I’d forgotten whether I’d get some other hostiles there, given that I had just run A Daedra’s Best Friend. I wasn’t sure whether or not it would even have had time to respawn.

Answer: I did get a hostile! I got a generic Conjurer, and he was wearing Shaman armor from Immersive Armors, so I got to see what that looked like.

Unfortunately for the shaman, he wasn’t any more difficult to take out than Sebastian had been.

Bad day for a hunter

At this point I’ve had plenty of the random world encounter where a hunter runs up to you and is all “I’ve been bitten by a vampire! Do you have a potion to help me before I turn?”

This time, however, I discovered that if the only cure disease potions you have on you are ones you specifically crafted, that doesn’t count. You can only give the hunter potions you bought from an alchemist.

I had no option but to tell her I couldn’t help her. And she warned me to get out of her way so she could hurry off to find a priest before she turned.

And even more unfortunately for the hunter, shortly after I talked to her, she was a killed by an ice wraith.

Sniff. Sorry, hunter! Wish I could have helped you! 🙁

So why can’t I buy logs in Ivarstead?

It struck me as I was gathering my last couple of bear pelts for Temba that she’s got a mill right there in Ivarstead. But what she doesn’t seem to have is the ability to actually sell logs to you.

And for that matter, as I write this, it occurs to me that Jorgen in Morthal also has a mill where you cannot apparently buy logs–at least, not from Jorgen? According to the wiki, you can apparently buy logs in Morthal from Thonnir instead, which definitely seems like an odd choice.

But why isn’t Temba on the wiki’s list as someone to buy logs from? It doesn’t seem like a question of limiting sources of logs to one per Hold, given that there are two sources of logs in Falkreath.

Seeing Delphine about the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller

Given that Elessir’s namesake character would be very snarky at Delphine about the whole “stealing the Horn as a ploy to get the Dragonborn to come talk to her” plan, I chose to have him take some of the more hostile dialogue options this time through.

This provoked Delphine to say I’d be dead if she hadn’t liked the look of me when I came in, and LOL.

I do wish that could have been an option to play out, but it wasn’t! Because I can totally see this happening:

Delphine: “I’ll explain what I want when I want, got it? You’d already be dead if I didn’t like the look of you when you walked in here. But I had to know if the rumors about you were true…”

Elessir, grinning viciously and drawing Dawnbreaker, which provokes Lucien and Lydia to also draw weapons: “Would you like me to prove those rumors right now? Darlin’, if you think you can take me, you’re welcome to try. But I wouldn’t recommend it. I can Shout you into that wall behind you before you take a step. And my companions both have crossbows. Take your pick.”

Lydia, her crossbow already ready: “Take one swing at my thane and you’ll have a bolt through the heart, lady.”

Lucien, nervous but doing his best to sound brave: “Really, there’s no need for violence. Can’t we discuss this like civilized people? Please?”

Delphine, not being an idiot and realizing she’s outnumbered in her own inn’s basement: “Fine. But I’m not telling you anything else without proof.”

Elessir: “I’m not yet hearing the part where I have to prove a Divines-damned thing to you.”

Delphine: “Then we have a problem, don’t we? Because if you really are Dragonborn, you need what I know, and you’ll have to talk to me eventually. Now, or later, after the Thalmor start coming after you.”

Elessir and Delphine stare coldly at one another for a few more seconds, until Elessir, eyes narrowed, finally sheathes his blade and nods at Lydia and Lucien to stand down. Delphine doesn’t exactly relax–she’s too paranoid for that, and she’s aware she’s still outnumbered. But Elessir grudgingly goes on, “All right. Let’s try this again. Why were you looking for a Dragonborn?”

(Because, LOL, I also took the “I don’t have to prove anything to you” option in Delphine’s dialogue, which did in fact make her tell me I’d have to come back to talk to her eventually. And she’s not wrong, I do need to talk to her to actually progress the plot, LOL. So on the thought of Elessir going ‘okay fine’, I continued the conversation!)

And I am absolutely going to factor this into later, when I reach the point of Parthurnaax Lives, Goddammit. 😀

Once I finally got Delphine to lay out the plan for going to Kynesgrove, Lucien threw his line about being nervous about fighting an actual dragon. And while I went easy on him before, I did snipe at him this time, and tell him I didn’t have time for cowardice. I figured this was on the grounds of Elessir being very surly about Delphine–and taking it out on Lucien.

But I really liked Lucien standing up for himself in reply, and snarking back, “I’m sure it just wants to give us all a great big scaly hug!” Good for him. I think later on, Elessir probably apologized to him. In private.

Surprise dragon action after killing Sahloknir

Right after we took out Sahloknir, I got a surprise extra dragon! Which was only part one of the surprise action here–and yeah, that was pretty startling, just on the general grounds of not having seen that happen before, after nine previous times running Kynesgrove.

Part two of this surprise action was the dragon flying away again before we could kill it. But the combat music was still happening! And I’m not at all sure what the dragon’s AI thought it was doing.

At that point I thought I’d just head on into Windhelm and sell things, so I mounted up and rode over there to get Windhelm onto my map. I went in through the gates–and the combat music was still going.

I saw Rolff and Angrenor hassling Suvaris, and played through Suvaris talking to me afterwards. And since I’m a Dunmer this time, I got the “talking to a fellow Dunmer” version of that conversation.

But then the dragon actually showed up and crashlanded right into the city, wow.

This was not only the first time I’d ever seen a dragon crash into the interior of Windhelm, it also apparently crossed zones to do that. I didn’t know dragons could do that! It was quickly slain, but I’m pretty sure the guards killed it. I don’t think I got in a killing blow.

I saw Niranye coming at it with a drawn dagger, though. LOL. Hon, you need something a bit bigger than that. But nobody got killed that I could see, not even Windhelm guards.

Dammit game, don’t scare me like this

When I started playing on the 15th, the game damn well freaked me out. Because I started seeing that same problematic behavior that came up in Harrow’s run, and briefly in my Skyrim Together run as well: the “I can’t fast travel” behavior, as well as the “I get a crash a few minutes into a new session” behavior.

And I was all goddammit I just started this playthrough!

My plan was going to be:

  1. Hit Autumnwatch Tower to kill the dragon there
  2. Head over to Riften
  3. Run Lost Tongue Overlook
  4. Join the Thieves Guild

And I tried three or four times to get started. But it didn’t work out that way! I kept getting crashes when trying to interact with Lucien, or with Lydia, with setting a campfire–basically, any time I tried to get out of a menu.

I finally wound up rolling back to my last known good save, which was at Hendraheim.

But the good news here is, I did finally recover the session after doing that. I think.

What finally worked to get me started was to just hang out at Hendraheim for a bit, interacting with Lucien and giving him a round of training. And while I don’t know for sure, my theory at this point is that that allowed backend scripting in the game to finish whatever it thought it needed to be doing. Because once I did this, I was then able to leave Hendraheim and proceed normally.

Lesson to be learned here: when I fire up a new session, I need to take the time to hang out wherever I am for a bit, and let backend things do any necessary finishing before I try to go anywhere. Let’s see if this actually works. Because it would suck if I had to trash Elessir’s playthrough!

Getting the Wabbajack

This time through, I actually got killed by the dragon priest summoned as Pelagius’ last nightmare. Which just goes to show that even though this is a pretty softball quest, that doesn’t mean you should take it for granted!

And just to vary things up a bit, I stopped to talk to Sheogorath in between running the second and third quests to treat Pelagius’ mind. I was curious to see what would happen! Answer: you can get some more amusing lines out of Uncle Sheo. <3 So that was a fun discovery. I’ll have a few of those lines in the screenshots on this post!

Thing learned about the Bards College

So apparently, practicing both flute and lute was enough to nudge my Bard score up high enough to make Malukah pass me on the drum test? This is totally gaming the system!

Because the Bard Journal doesn’t care which instrument you’re practicing as long as you practice something, I guess. It does have only the one score in it, it doesn’t have a separate one for each instrument.

But, heh. It also means that you can’t get a jumpstart on flute or lute by playing those before Malukah tells you to, either.

I feel like this would be a good candidate for a patch to the mod, though.

For now, I’ll assume this is just the natural result of Elessir already having one of each instrument and also being pretty damned good with them in advance, thank you very much. 😉

Lucien lines

I think I’ve noted these lines before in Harrow’s run, but noting them here just because they did amuse me:

“Oh yes, score three for Team Lucien… not that we have to go with that, we can, we can think of other names, that’s fine.”

“What do dragon souls taste like? Do you taste anything at all? Lucien Flavius, asking the important questions.”

“Dark necromancers attacking innocents? Sounds like a job for a dashing hero and their handsome scholarly companion. Or, if they’re unavailable, us.”

And here’s one he threw that I don’t think I saw before!

“Do we, strictly speaking, actually need Lydia with us? I mean, I’m sure Dragonsreach could use another defender.”

If I didn’t know for a fact that Lucien’s relationship with the Dragonborn is explicitly intended by the mod creator to be platonic, I’d take this as an attempt to flirt. Particularly after Vilja having been so blatant about trying to get me to ditch Lydia in Harrow’s run.

But that said, I still snerked at this line! And imagine this:

Elessir, with raised eyebrow and broad crooked grin: “You told me back at Falkreath that you weren’t trying to flirt with me. Does this mean you’re changing your mind?”

Lydia, straight-facedly: “Dragonsreach has plenty of warriors to defend it. My duty is to defend my thane and all he owns with my life. That said, he is awfully handsome, and if you boys want a little alone time in the tent, I can keep watch by the fire.”

Lucien, turning beet red: “No no, I didn’t mean, I, um–“

Lydia, to Elessir: “Maybe Dunmer aren’t his type?”

Elessir, still grinning: “I’m terribly crushed.”

Lucien: “I DIDN’T MEAN IT LIKE THAT um ahem I’m going to go over here. And study this rock now!”

Next time

I just joined the Thieves Guild in Finds-The-Way’s playthrough, so I may hold off for now on doing it as Elessir. Instead, I want to take him back to Solitude and report in to Elisif, so I can work on becoming thane there. And probably also advance his progress in the Bards College, too.

College of Winterhold may also be forthcoming.


Editing to add

  1. 10/4/2023: Updated the screenshot gallery for this post, since the play I did on the 11th was actually on my VM, not on my Deck, and I’d forgotten to grab those screenshots.
  2. 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.