Elessir Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Elessir Recovers Stolen Books and Saves a Bard Festival

Couple more sessions in my modded Skyrim featuring Elessir. Main action: recovering the stolen books from Fellglow Keep; slaying the dragon and Dragon Priest Krosis at Shearpoint; visiting the Augur of Dunlain and learning that the College of Winterhold needs the Staff of Magnus; recovering King Olaf’s Verse from Dead Men’s Respite; reinstating the Burning of King Olaf Festival; and slaying a bandit chief at Fort Fellhammer.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 8/25, 9/2/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 12-13

Friday the 25th

  • Picked up at Lakeview
  • Did some building, but was lacking money for logs, so didn’t get far with that
  • Slept and got up the next morning, got Lucien and Lydia on duty, and rode for Riverwood
  • Stopped at Guardian Stones and fished for the first time with this alt
  • Got directive to go to the Riften fishery
  • Caught pogfish, spadefish, and other fish not immediately useful to fishing quests right now
  • Mined the iron vein by the stones
  • Fished in Riverwood and near Whiterun crossroad
  • Killed a cave bear en route to Fellglow Keep
  • Had Hunter chasing a Fugitive encounter at the spawn point near the keep
  • Chose the ‘yes he went that way’ option for the Hunter, who ran off, and oops welp I guess I’m not giving him back his bow then ;D
  • Proceeded to Fellglow Keep, and took out exterior mages and flame atronach
  • Stopped to get all three goldfish out of the pond there for later important fishing purposes
  • Ran Fellglow Keep; got overloaded, but proceeded without much trouble for most of it
  • Freed the vampires and let them rampage, saw them raise a couple of the mages, hah; I think Elessir was darkly amused by this
  • Freed Orthorn and told him to get to safety since already got two followers, thanks
  • Reached the Caller and ran into some game functionality problems 😛
  • Since Orthorn was gone I couldn’t trade him to her for the books, and my Speech wasn’t high enough to pass the Speech check, so no choice but to fight her
  • Damn game froze up on me in the middle of combat with her three consecutive times, not sure what was causing it, if it was a matter of my being heavily overloaded or what
  • Last time through did not move out of the spot I was in and that seemed to help
  • Poisoned up the Bow of Shadows with a Poison of Damage Magicka Regeneration, and that seemed to take her out pretty quick, yep
  • Got the books, got the boss loot, and got out
  • Saw a wolf running around just outside–and a Blood Dragon
  • Went to check out whether that dragon was the Shearpoint dragon; answer, yes!
  • Threw some of my load onto Hildr to get (temporarily) under carry weight, then headed up to Shearpoint, and GAME ON
  • Last little bit of fight was surprisingly tricky, the dragon crashed but then disappeared, and I couldn’t figure out where it had gone
  • It showed up a couple minutes later once more airborne, so something got out of whack there, but we were at least able to kill it
  • Dragon Priest Krosis burst out of his tomb like he does
  • Hard fight! Lydia and I chased him a ways down the hill before we finally killed him
  • (Sorry about that arrow I accidentally hit you with, Lyds, but well YOU GOT IN MY LINE OF SIGHT)
  • Trudged back up to get the words of the Throw Voice Shout, fuck yeah; unlocked all three of them since I had enough souls for it
  • Hopped on Hildr and fast traveled straight to Whiterun so I could sell stuff
  • Boinged back to Lakeview for building; got Lydia off follower duty so I could have her buy logs
  • Built the Armory Wing and started on its furnishings
  • Slept, then next up: boinging to the College of Winterhold
  • Got some training with Tolfdir in Alteration, that let me level up to 26
  • Did a boatload of training with the trainers as they gathered in the Hall of the Elements
  • Once I had enough of that, reported to Urag with the books
  • He gave me the skill books as a reward and sent me back to talk to Tolfdir, who was still in the Hall of the Elements
  • Had the conversation with him about the books and about the Eye
  • Cue Ancano showing up to say he wants me to come with him
  • Went to go play out the conversation with Quaranir in the Arch-Mage’s quarters
  • Suspicious Ancano is suspicious!
  • Since the Arch-Mage would tell me fuck all about the Augur of Dunlain, went to go find Tolfdir again, who pointed me at the Midden
  • Killed a draugr, a couple of ice wraiths, and a couple of frostbite spiders while down there
  • Nabbed the fire salts and the ruby lying on the table by the Atronach Forge
  • Talked with the Augur as per previous playthroughs and got pointed at the Staff of Magnus
  • Came back up and talked to the Arch-Mage about the Augur; he told me to talk to Mirabelle about where the staff is, and gave me his Mage’s Circlet
  • Found Mirabelle in the Arcaneum and got the pointer to go to Mzulft
  • Slept in my apprentice quarters and got up for a new round of training
  • Sold a few things to Faralda to pay for Destruction training
  • Also got training from Colette in Restoration
  • Decided that was enough mage college, and boinged to Hendraheim to drop off a bunch of things
  • Put the Shield of Solitude on the shield rack in the basement
  • Put the Butterfly in a Jar on its display spot and the Krosis mask on its bust
  • Put all my bard books in my inventory in the bookcase there since that doesn’t have a visual display of books, and put other books on the empty bookshelf
  • Boinged from there to Solitude and hung out in the Bards College
  • Took my Poetic Edda exam, also took the lute oral exam
  • Did some practicing to get my bard score up to 20
  • Slept, then found Malukah and got her to evaluate me
  • Hurray I passed! Got her to tell me about spellsongs and point me at Viarmo
  • Went out to sell a few things to Beirand and Sayma
  • Found Viarmo and got the quest to go to Dead Men’s Respite; headed out that way
  • At crossroads near Stormcloak camp went past some Imperials, but also got a Blood Dragon
  • Team Dragonborn and Team Imperials all started fighting it
  • It buggered off temporarily but then came back, possibly attacking the Stormcloak camp?
  • Finally took it out; one confirmed dead Imperial but not sure what happened to the other two
  • LOL, three of the Stormcloaks came running up to gawk when I took its soul XD
  • Rode on from there through Dragon Bridge, and cut past frost river to go that route rather than past Robber’s Gorge
  • Killed a wolf once we left the road
  • Reached Dead Men’s Respite and started running the place; no problems whatsoever
  • Got the Ruby Dragon Claw and the book from the bard’s tomb
  • Helped Svaknir take out all the draugr and also King Olaf
  • Got Olaf’s weapon, a sword this time; the second word for Whirlwind Sprint; and the boss loot
  • Got out again, saddled up, and boinged straight back to Solitude
  • Sold a bunch of things to Sayma to get back under carry weight
  • Saved just outside the door to the Bards College for next time
  • Level ups taken for levels 26-29, mostly during the training at the mage college:
    • Level 26, Stamina bump
    • Level 27, Health bump
    • Level 28, Magicka bump
    • Level 29, Stamina bump
    • Perks taken: Apprentice Illusion, first Augmented Flame perk in Destruction, first Magic Resistance perk in Alteration, Recovery perk in Restoration

Saturday the 2nd

  • Started off by Bards College
  • Went in to report to Viarmo about the verse and helped him fill in the missing bits
  • Went with him to present the verse to Elisif; hurray, the festival is back on!
  • Bought a few clothes at Radiant Raiment
  • Did Angeline’s quest to get info on her daughter
  • Something killed the puppy wandering around Solitude, awww 🙁
  • Console resurrected it because I WAS NOT GOING TO LET THERE BE A DEAD PUPPY, so there
  • Got the quest to go convince Vittoria Vici to release the spices for Evette’s wine
  • Deeja the Argonian was very fuck off out of my face, down on the docks
  • On the way back up into Solitude chatted with Lucien about what he knows about Magnus and the Staff of Magnus; also gave him some training in Illusion
  • Came back inside the gates and told Evette her problem was sorted; got her quest reward
  • Reported to the Bards College for the festival; had to hit the console again to unstick the festival ending
  • Got the quest to get the flute
  • Slept in my Bards College bed, then got up and got the quests for the other two instruments
  • Was not however in the immediate mood to do that; wanted to go to Fort Fellhammer and take out the bandit chief, and begin the museum plot at Dawnstar
  • However, getting this done was a pain in the ass 😛
  • Take one:
    • Rode from Solitude eastward towards Dawnstar, through Dragon Bridge and past Frost River
    • Reached Morthal–and crash to desktop
  • Take two:
    • Thrown back to coming out of Solitude
    • Once again went through Dragon Bridge, and reached Morthal safely
    • Hoofed it over to Myrwatch so I could claim the place; left the Wabbajack there since I know I won’t be using it
    • Did a little enchanting and alchemy
    • Slept, then got up the next morning and called my horse over from where I’d left him
    • Set out eastward again
    • Came across bandits vs. conjurers fight at the crashed wagon along that road
    • Got in on the fight, but one of them killed me, I think a conjurer? 😛
  • Take three:
    • Thrown back to coming out of Myrwatch
    • Got the horse again and got back on the road
    • Once more reached the bandits vs. conjurers fight, but this time survived it
    • Only to then shortly thereafter get killed by a hostile Orc 😛
  • Take four:
    • Thrown back to coming out of Myrwatch again, and OKAY NEW PLAN
    • Tried to boing to Hendraheim to drop off stuff and do a supplies check
    • Immediately attacked by cave bear–and then a dragon showed up 😛
    • The dragon fought with us initially but then flew over to attack Lost Valley Redoubt
    • Tried to pursue it, but got killed by Forsworn 😛
  • Take five:
    • Thrown back to coming out of Myrwatch YET AGAIN, so OKAY ANOTHER NEW PLAN
    • This time I just fucking fast traveled to Whiterun to sell stuff ;P
    • Khajiit were present so did a bunch of my initial shopping with Ri’saad
    • Bought what iron I could afford
    • Boinged to Lakeview to work on the armory for a while
    • Stashed the alchemy ingredients I had on me
    • Did some smithing to burn through some of my backlogged materials
    • Took the Leather Scout armor off of Lucien so he’d use the dwarven robes I gave him, those seem way more appropriate for him; also gave him the Mage’s Circlet from Savos Aren
    • Made myself a different kind of tent since not really digging the large one; tried a small one with two bedrolls
    • Made a silver emerald ring as well
    • Left the Crimson Archer armor on a mannequin in the armory, also the Leather Scout Armor
    • Boinged back to Whiterun to sell the leather armor sets I’d made and also the large tent
    • Got back on the road again from there to ride to Fort Fellhammer
  • Encountered and dispatched en route:
    • Redguard who called me a milk drinker; this did not go well for the Redguard
    • Frost troll
    • Assorted wolves
    • Sabre cat
  • Reached and ran Fort Fellhammer, taking out the exterior bandits as well as the bandit chief
  • Got some neat loot off the chief: another Nordic shield, this time made of orichalcum, I am digging that design; also got most of a set of ebony mage gear
  • Mined all the iron veins down in the Fellhammer mine, then proceeded towards Dawnstar
  • Encountered en route:
    • Wolf pack
    • Zombies
  • Camped next to reindeer merchant Agrane Peryval
  • Lucien gushed about buying the reindeer, so I did so–only to confirm that yep, Convenient Horses has no idea what the reindeer is, damn
  • Bought a set of the Saturnalia gear just to see if it looks good on Elessir or not, and sold Agrane a bunch of my bandit loot
  • Headed into Dawnstar and saw the initial convo between Skald and Brina, yep, Skald sure is a dick
  • Got the bandit chief bounty payment off of him though
  • Since he mentioned the nightmare problem, tried that dialogue path with him to see if it went anywhere interesting; he only mentioned the priest of Mara
  • Went back out again and tried to head over to talk to Silus at the museum, but an ice wolf showed up and started attacking people; Team Dragonborn and nearby guards killed it
  • Tried to go to Silus’ museum/house but he came out hostile and started attacking me and Lucien, WTAFF
  • Tried several times to fix this both with console and with rolling back to previous autosave, no dice
  • Last time through, just fast traveled to the Whiterun stables from there to leave the area (and also to get Hildr back, because the reindeer looks cool but is not a useful mount)
  • Fast traveled with Hildr back to Dawnstar
  • Parked at the door to the inn and saved there until next time
  • Level ups for this session: made it to level 30, took Health bump, took Kindred Mage perk in Illusion


Just about everything I ran in this pair of sessions was familiar territory, so not much to say about that per se. But let me talk about the various bits of weird behavior I saw, as well as one or two bits of stuff that was less familiar to me.

The game locking up hard on me during combat with the Caller was frustrating, since I had no idea what was causing it. And I’m super paranoid about things going wrong in this playthrough, after Harrow’s run imploding and all. I don’t think I’m running anything that would cause problems in Fellglow Keep, either. I am running Noble Skyrim, but as that’s an architectural mod, it shouldn’t impact the Caller, surely?

But at least I did finally get it to work. Since I was overloaded, who knows, maybe that was also causing issues in that particular combat. Which is just yet another Memo to Me, that really, seriously, I need to cut down on that “grabbing everything in sight” habit!

Since I’m running Dawn of Skyrim in this run, this means that there’s confirmed puppies running around both Solitude and Whiterun. And while I was killing time waiting for the festival, I came out of Angeline’s shop and heard a pitiful sounding yelp. I had no idea what it was until I saw nearby that the husky puppy who wanders Solitude was dead. :O

I console resurrected it. Because goddammit, game, I am not going to let you throw me randomly dying puppy in the middle of Solitude!

(That bastard Jaree-Ra probably kicked it. I bet he was cranky that people kept ignoring him every time he goes “You should see me when you get bored, stranger!”)

Deeja, meanwhile, was very rude to me when I went past her down on the docks. Told me to basically get out of her face when I passed her coming and going. Listen, lady, if you want people to leave you the fuck alone, maybe don’t stand around in the middle of a public dock right in people’s way?

I have now reproed that issue with the Burning of King Olaf Festival never properly stopping in every single PC/Steam Deck run I’ve done since Shenner. I remain surprised that this isn’t patched in the USSEP. Also surprised that I can’t find a patch for it on Nexus in general.

I was a trifle disappointed to confirm that Convenient Horses has no idea what the reindeer sold by Agrane Peryval is. Sure did look neat riding it, though. Made me wish that I could ride an elk and be all Thranduil about it!

I see no signs of a Convenient Horses patch for the reindeer on Nexus, either. Dang. Maybe somebody will write one, eventually!

I hadn’t previously realized that I could ask Skald in Dawnstar about the nightmares situation in the city, though I suppose it makes sense that you can ask him about it. Little surprised though that talking to him didn’t give me an objective to go talk to Erandur.

Very weird experience trying to approach Silus in Dawnstar, too. This may or may not have been triggered by the presence of the ice wolf in the town–but regardless of the cause, it was alarming to try to approach his house and have him come running out hostile. He attacked Lucien and me!

I tried several times to hit him with StopCombatAlarmOnActor in the console, but could not get that to stick. And I tried hitting Lucien with it at the same time, since they kept attacking each other! But I couldn’t get them to stop.

Attempts to fix this by rolling back to coming out of Skald’s longhouse didn’t help, either. The ice wolf kept spawning, and Silus kept running out in attack mode.

Favorite Lucien lines

Commenting on our needing to locate the Staff of Magnus for the college, and Mirabelle pointing us at Mzulft:

“Of course. If anyone can find the Staff of Magnus, it’s the Synod. How could they resist something so shiny?”

Lucien has opinions on the Bards College requirements, too:

“Retrieving a lost poem from an ancient tomb seems like a strange entrance exam. Are all bards hardened graverobbers? Ah well, what do I know?”

Lucien sure seems to know a lot about the Synod!

“They’re awfully protective of their stuff, I can tell you that. Sharing isn’t really part of their philosophy.”

Next time

I know I said I want to try to avoid having Elessir and Finds-The-Way running the same things at the same time, but I don’t want to leave the instrument quests for the Bards College sitting too long on either character. So I’ve already run Elessir’s next session, and part of that will be hitting Halldir’s Cairn.

I also ran the nightmares plot in Dawnstar, just to get that out of the way too.

Probably going to try to hit the other two instrument quests next, and then swing around to run Mzulft.


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.