Finds-The-Way Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Finds-The-Way Joins a College and Infiltrates a Warehouse

And now, some catchup with my Argonian in Skyrim, Finds-The-Way! Main action in these two sessions: joining the College of Winterhold and playing through to the point of needing to go to Mzulft; and also, hitting the East Empire Company Warehouse in Solitude to move the Thieves Guild plotline along.

Also, I got a surprise dragon literally during a conversation, and I rearranged Finds’ appearance with the Face Sculptor in Riften!

Play by play

  • Play dates: 10/1, 10/3/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 22-23

Sunday the 1st

  • Picked up again just outside the Solitude gates
  • Decided to head to Winterhold and get Finds going with the college
  • Took the cart over since Finds hadn’t gone to Winterhold yet
  • Showed up in Winterhold, and saw Birna arguing with her brother Ranmir about his drinking
  • Went past them to approach the bridge where Faralda was on duty–and a dragon showed up :O
  • Took out the dragon but there were two immediate side effects:
    1. Ranmir ran up to it, yelling (not exactly sure what he was yelling because he was of course doing it in German), and of course immediately got himself fried
    2. Birna got stuck on the porch in front of her store
  • I was able to talk to Birna and get the Coral Dragon Claw from her, but she did not have the prompt to sell stuff; left her be for the moment, and proceeded on into the college
  • Faralda asked me to throw Magelight for her this time; CAN DO, mammal
  • Unlocked achievement for joining the College of Winterhold!
  • Proceeded on in to talk to Mirabelle, but slowly because I was now overloaded from dragon bits
  • Dropped a bunch of stuff in the barrel in my room in the Hall of Attainment to unburden myself
  • Also since it was late, went ahead and slept to make it a more reasonable time for Tolfdir’s class and for going over to Saarthal
  • Got up in the morning, swapped over to apprentice mage gear, and proceeded on over to join Tolfdir’s class
  • Played through that as per usual and got directive to head to Saarthal
  • Fought en route: one wolf, and three frost trolls
  • Reached and ran Saarthal as per usual, but this time I was coming in at level 32, so got a few upper tier draugr
  • Deathlord in the first cluster of draugr took me out a couple of times before I finally pushed through that part
  • No significant issues once I was past that point, and the fight with Jyrik at the end only took one go
  • Got Tolfdir’s request to return to the college
  • Got the word for Ice Form and boss chest loot on the way out
  • Returned to Winterhold, and saw Birna still stuck on her store porch; found the correct console command to send her on about her business
  • It was late though so I couldn’t try to go into her store and sell her stuff
  • Went back up to the college and talked to Savos aren in the Arch-Mage’s quarters
  • Got his directive to go talk to Urag about researching the orb in Saarthal
  • Came out of the Arch-Mage’s quarters and found Faralda, who warned me about Ancano looking for me (which was kind of hilarious given that Ancano had literally just walked by me without deigning to interact with me, Thalmor agents, SO ALERT)
  • As long as I was talking with Faralda, got five rounds of Destruction training off of her, then went to bed
  • In the morning, cleared my stashed stuff out of the barrel in the apprentice quarters
  • Headed over to speak to Urag and got directive to go find Orthorn in Fellglow Keep
  • On the way out of that, Ancano finally showed up to give me the third degree
  • <mutters “Fuck you, you Thalmor bastard” in Jel>
  • Tromped slowly down to Winterhold to get my horse 
  • Sold stuff to Birna who was now properly back in her store
  • Boinged to Lakeview to drop off a bunch of things, including dragon bits
  • Boinged to Whiterun to sell some things
  • Got some ebony to improve weapons and upgrade Lydia to an ebony battleaxe
  • Also got her a glass bow to improve her range weapon capabilities
  • Rode over from Whiterun to Fellglow Keep
  • Killed a wolf
  • Lydia got a little sidetracked and stopped by the smelter at Tundra Homestead, but started following me again when I swung back on Kara and got her attention
  • Passed some Stormcloaks at the spawn point near the keep; did not engage
  • Reached Fellglow Keep and took out the external ice mage and flame atronach
  • Parked at the entrance into the keep and saved there until next time
  • Ended the session on level 33

Tuesday the 3rd

  • Started off parked at the door to Fellglow Keep
  • Ran that mostly as per prior playthroughs
  • Difference this time was that I never talked directly to Orthorn, so he did try to follow me out
  • But he got fried by a mage throwing lightning around, so RIP Orthorn
  • This time through I didn’t have to fight the Caller, I passed the Persuade check to get out with the books
  • Returned to the college to check in and took some training with Phinis
  • Checked in with Urag and gave him the books back
  • Got his directive to go talk to Tolfdir about the Night of Tears book
  • Headed down to do that, and cue interruption by Ancano
  • Played through the conversation with Quaranir; suspicious Thalmor is suspicious
  • Savos refused to tell me about the Augur of Dunlain, so went right back to Tolfdir, who pointed me at the Midden
  • Headed down there to find the Augur
  • Managed to slip off the ice bridge while fighting an ice wraith, so had to go the longer way
  • But otherwise had the usual conversation with the Augur
  • On the way out jumped down off the bridge deliberately to check out the chest I could see from there, and climbed back up to the bridge to get out again
  • Reported back to the Arch-Mage that we needed the Staff of Magnus
  • He gave me his Mage’s Circlet and sent me off to talk to Mirabelle, who was standing outside
  • And while I was talking to her, a frost dragon showed up
  • Lydia started fighting it in the background, while I kept on with Mirabelle’s conversation, and finally got done with that
  • At which point i ran over to help Lydia take out the dragon
  • And now I had the directive to go to Mzulft
  • But I was actually in the mood to jump over to Thieves Guild plot instead, so I boinged back to Lakeview to drop off stuff and had Lydia stand down
  • Boinged to Solitude
  • Talked to Gulum-Ei and got his directive to go steal the Firebrand wine, which was easy as per usual
  • Returned to him and got his soul gems, but also his brush-off
  • Let him go and then followed him to the docks after changing over into my Thieves Guild gear
  • Made it into the warehouse and used Bow of Shadows mostly to sneak my way around the place
  • Nabbed the Noble Clothes and the Fur-Lined Boots
  • Broke out a 50 second Invisibility potion at one poin, just to safely make it up to the building with the map to take back to Delvin
  • Reached Brinewater Grotto, and had a bit of a rough start with that as I got killed a couple of times
  • Third time through, relied more on the flame atronach
  • Snuck through the spider tunnel and let the spiders do some of the work of softening up two of the bandits for me
  • Then remembered: HEY I AM AN ARGONIAN, so I dropped down into the water and mostly stayed underwater the entire swim over to where Gulum-Ei was
  • Caught myself a direfish by hand while down there
  • Surfaced near the final bandits and took them out with help of flame atronach
  • Then had conversation with Gulum-Ei and got him to fork over the intel on Karliah, and got him to agree to be my fence
  • Looted all the nearby chests
  • Had to kill one of the three horkers on the way out
  • Ate enough food to fast travel down to the Thieves Guild and check in
  • Talked to Mercer about what I’d found and got his orders to meet him at Snow Veil Sanctum
  • Talked to Tonilia and got my better Thieves Guild armor
  • Sold her a bunch of stuff, and bought back the Noble Clothes and Fur-Lined Boots
  • Then talked to the Face Sculptor; this unlocked an achievement, yay!
  • Lost the horns and feathers, and also turned Finds’ scales a darker shade
  • Gave Delvin his map, and got a Windhelm Bedlam Job from him
  • And after a second try, also got a Windhelm Sweep Job from Vex, for later
  • Boinged back to Lakeview to get Lydia back on duty, and do more inventory managing
  • Did a bunch of smithing to get my smithing stats up and burn through some leather
  • During all this smithing, leveled up to 34
  • Also did some alchemy and enchanting
  • Boinged to Whiterun to sell things
  • Saved by my horse out by the stables until next time


I had a bit of a false start for the session on the first. I’d actually tried to run Finds the day before, but I was doing it on the VM–and discovered that for some goddamn reason, my VM install wasn’t letting me switch languages. I followed the same steps as on the Deck to do it, and the installer did switch to German. But when I launched the actual game, it was still in English. So I switched back to the Deck to keep going.

Next surprise: having a dragon show up just as I arrived in Winterhold for the first time, and was on my way up to talk to Faralda to get into the college! So of course I had to stop and fight it.

(I feel like Faralda should have damn well given me access to the college right then and there. She was in visual range to see me summoning a flame atronach!)

And the timing of the dragon’s arrival meant that Ranmir hadn’t yet gone into the Frozen Hearth for his drinking! Instead, as soon as the dragon landed, he ran up to it with raised fists. He was yelling… something… but I don’t know what, since he was of course yelling in German. And of course he got himself immediately fried.

My dude, I don’t care how drunk you are, you’re not going to kill a dragon with harsh language! But, WELP, I guess this is one way to keep him from spending all his time drinking in the inn. 😆

This being an unmodded run, when I played through Tolfdir’s class and headed over to Saarthal, only Tolfdir and Brelyna headed over there on foot. Which is still weird to me given that Onmund and J’zargo catch up as soon as you go through Saarthal’s front door. Presumably they bugger off to wherever followers go when they lose track of you!

When I came back from Saarthal, I saw that I’d also triggered an issue with Birna because of the dragon showing up when I arrived in Winterhold. She got stuck on the porch in front of her store. And while I was able to talk to her at that point and get the Coral Dragon Claw off of her, she didn’t actually go anywhere else and I could not buy anything out of her usual store stock. She was still there on the porch when I returned from Saarthal, too.

So I had to look up what to do about this. Apparently the under the hood quest for Birna’s conversation with her brother got stuck when the dragon showed up, from what I saw on this UESP Discussion page. The solution that worked for me was firing up the console and entering this command:

StopQuest 000B2174

Most of the mage college action after that point was fairly standard as per my previous playthroughs. But the one funny bit was when I had to go outside to talk to Mirabelle–and a frost dragon showed up literally in the middle of our conversation. Lydia started fighting it in the background while we were talking, LOL. Just out of curiosity about whether I could safely do so, I attempted to finish the conversation with Mirabelle before turning to fight the dragon. So I totally envision this:

Dragon: <spews frost all over the courtyard>


Me: “Hang on a sec, be right there with you, okay Mirabelle what was that about the Synod being… where?”

Mirabelle: “Mzulft. Maybe we should help your housecarl with that creature?

Me: “Got it, thank you. Now let’s keep Lydia from getting frosted!”

At which point I did run over to help Lydia take out the dragon that had so rudely interrupted our conversation. 😆

The main point of interest for me in running the warehouse and Brinewater Grotto this time was this: as an Argonian, I had a much easier time getting through Brinewater Grotto than usual. Because it meant I could go underwater through most of that entire place! Highly recommended as a means to speed-run Brinewater, unless you’re specifically just in the mood to fight a bunch of bandits!

I talked to the Face Sculptor mostly just to clear that out of my list of Miscellaneous Quests–but also because I decided Finds was a little pissed off about how none of the armor in Skyrim is made to accommodate Argonian heads. So she’s been going around all this time trying to jam badly shaped hoods or helmets onto her head, and having them press down on her horns and feathers, and that just has to be uncomfortable.

Plus, if her scales are darker, that’s better for stealth.

So this is a practical decision on her part, even though she’s vexed she has to do it. And I feel like once she finally goes home to Black Marsh, she’s going to want her horns and feathers back, dammit, and she’ll want to be green again! She’ll probably have some gold set aside to pay the Face Sculptor again just to do that as one of her last acts before leaving Skyrim. ;D

Achievements unlocked

  • Gatekeeper: For joining the College of Winterhold
  • A New You: For paying for the services of the Face Sculptor in Riften

Achievements count as of this post: 22.

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • Einlass: Entry
  • Weisheit: Wisdom
  • Akademie von Winterfeste: College of Winterhold (lit. “academy of Winterhold”)
  • Halle der Leistung: Hall of Attainment (lit. “Hall of Achievement”)
  • Schutzzauber: Wards (lit. “protection spells”)
  • Verteidigungszauber: Defensive spells
  • Faszinierende Ausgrabung: Fascinating excavation
  • Knochenpfeil: Bone Arrow
  • Saarthal: Ausgrabungsstätte: Saarthal: Excavation Site
  • Verzauberungsnutzen: Enchantment utility/usefulness
  • Der Psijic-Orden: The Psijic Order
  • Die Insel Artaeum: The island of Artaeum
  • Der Erzmagier: The Arch-Mage
  • Das Arcanaeum: The Arcanaeum
  • Die Schule der Wiederherstellung: The school of Restoration
  • Akademieangelegenheiten: College business (lit. “academy affairs”) (23 characters!)
  • Kreatur aus Legenden: Creature of Legend (the quest for finding the unicorn)
  • Vulkanglasschwert: Glass Sword
  • Nord-Armbrust: Nordic Crossbow
  • Eisfurchenhof: Chillfurrow Farm
  • Festung Dämmerlicht: Fellglow Keep
  • Eismagier-Lehrling: Apprentice Ice Mage
  • Festung Dämmerlicht: Kerker: Fellglow Keep: Dungeon
  • Schuppenschwamm: Scaly Pholiota
  • Das Gelbe Buch der Rätsel: The Yellow Book of Riddles
  • Hut: Hat
  • Ziegenkäseecke: Goat Cheese Wedge
  • Eine Testperson: A test subject
  • Bündel von Nordranken: Nordic Barnacle Cluster
  • Schäbige Robe: Ragged Robe
  • Das Schwert des Roten Adlers: Red-Eagle’s Sword
  • Sturmmagier-Lehrling: Apprentice Storm Mage
  • Sturmmagier-Novize: Novice Storm Mage
  • Die Ruferin: The Caller (note, this is the feminine form of ‘Caller’)
  • Beschwörungstechniken: Summoning techniques (used in Phinis’ line inviting the player to let him know if you need help with Conjuration magic)
  • Die Nacht der Tränen: The Night of Tears
  • Missverständnis: Misunderstanding
  • Müllgrube: The Midden (lit. “garbage pit”)
  • Fackelwürmchenbrust: Torchbug Thorax
  • Das Auge von Magnus: The Eye of Magnus
  • Der Stab des Magnus: The Staff of Magnus
  • Eine Kiste Feuerbrand-Wein: A case of Firebrand Wine
  • Investition: Investment
  • Lagerhaus der Ost-Kaiserlichen Handelsgesellschaft: East Empire Company Warehouse
  • Salzwassergrotte: Brinewater Grotto
  • Nest mit Schlachterfischeiern: Slaughterfish Egg Nest
  • Meinen Vorgänger: My predecessor
  • Schneeschleierzuflucht: Snow Veil Sanctum
  • Bildhauer: Sculptor
  • Diebstähle: Thefts (as in, Delvin Mallory’s Fishing Jobs)
  • Bilanzfälschungen: Balance sheet falsifications (as in, Delvin’s Numbers Jobs)
  • Raubzüge: Raids (as in, Delvin’s Bedlam Jobs)

I am vaguely startled to discover that I’ve been misspelling “the Arcanaeum” all this time, ever since I started playing Skyrim! And I only just discovered this because of thinking the German made it look weird with an extra “a” in the word, and then looking it up and discovering that nope, it’s Arcanaeum in English as well as in German!

I’m not going to bother to go back and correct all my previous posts where I misspelt the name. But I’ll be making an effort to get it right moving forward.

I’d been wondering for a while what the hell German Skyrim calls Oblivion, and now I think I have an answer, courtesy of this line of Urag’s in the college:

“Es ist irgendwie mein eigenes kleines Reich des Vergessens.”

The English version of this line is:

“It might as well be my own little plane of Oblivion.”

So I need to see whether “Vergessen” is the official term for Oblivion in German Skyrim. The s on the end in Urag’s line, I think, is just because of the case of the noun in this specific sentence.

Let me note for the record: “Schneeschleierzuflucht” is hard for an English speaker to say! But fun to try. 😀

Also let me note for the record, I actually found a line that is actively wrong in translation! Which is this:

“Ich müsst der Gesichtsformer sein, von dem ich gehört habe.”

This is a line I had to say to the Face Sculptor when she greeted me in the Ragged Flagon. The problem with this is, the sentence starts with ich, and ich is the German word for I. Not you.

I’m one hundred percent sure the sentence should be starting with Ihr, which is the polite form of you. And since it’s also a three-letter word starting with i, this strikes me as a very easy mistake for a translator to have made. I’m a little surprised it’s still in here, though.

And now I’m totally going to have to check that line next time I greet the Face Sculptor in a playthrough. Kendeshel hasn’t been to see her yet, so I’ll check the original English line with her run!

Next time

Finds is at level 34, so I’ve got a while yet before I can get to the optimum level for raiding Mercer’s house and getting the best possible Chillrend. So charging ahead through the mage college is most likely, I think, though I may do some side questing as well to whittle down the journal.

I don’t want to try to hit the Thalmor Embassy until I’m ideally able to cast Invisibility, and also Conjure Dremora Lord. So I gotta work on leveling my Illusion and Conjuration, too. For which mage college stuff will be helpful.

Same, re: running more of the Thieves Guild plot. I want Invisibility in my arsenal before I hit the Dwemer museum.


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.