Skyrim,  Skyrim Together Playthrough

In Which the Dragonborns Retrieve the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller

Long overdue post, this was the last session we did in Skyrim Together, way back at the end of August! Action covered in this run: advancing the Thieves Guild plot; reporting to the Greybeards finally on High Hrothgar; going after the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller; meeting up with Delphine and killing Sahloknir at Kynesgrove; and returning the Horn to the Greybeards.

Play by play

  • Play date: 8/26/2023
  • Session number in this run: 10

Mercer Frey is a bastard and now the whole Guild knows it

  • Picked up again at the Ratway
  • We spotted Skritch the skeever actually out of his cage, although none of us had released him; he was parked in a suspicious position over the dead body of the pickpocket at the side of the room
  • Did convo with Karliah and proceeded into the cistern for the followup with Brynjolf, Delvin and Vex
  • Vex wanted to stab everybody as per usual, and in this particular instance, for values of everybody meaning Mercer; Delvin and Brynjolf talked her down; Brynjolf sent Delvin and Vex back to monitor the Flagon for any sign of Mercer showing his face
  • Kitty pickpocketed Delvin, and got up in a bunch of faces in the vault, sniffing around trying to find all the things
  • Brynjolf pointed us at Mercer’s house so we could search the place, and gave us the pointer as well to talk to Vex about Vald
  • Mel mistakenly thought Maven was Jarl so she headed up to Mistveil Keep to talk to her but found that nope, Laila Law-Giver is still in charge
  • Kitty picked all the pockets, including the Jarl

Oh right the Greybeards DID yell for us, we should probably go see what they want

  • We decided to not search Mercer’s house yet so as to level up further and get a better Chillrend
  • Instead, we decided to go to High Hrothgar and follow up with the Greybeards
  • Mel did however talk to Maven on the way out of Riften to get the objective to fish up the Quill of Gemination
  • The guards got alerted to somebody doing shenanigans, but unusually, this was not a generic thief; the body I found, in the little path area just by the gate, was a “Criminal”
  • I looted the Criminal, then Mel fast traveled to Ivarstead and we teleported to join her
  • Went straight to the 7000 steps
  • Mel got Klimmek’s quest to take supplies up to the Greybeards
  • I reminded us of the ten emblems to read to get the Voice of the Sky blessing to make animals leave you alone for 24 hours
  • Got animals at expected spawn points, though as per usual what animals we got varied for us
  • No trouble taking out that goddamn frost troll XD
  • Mel and I charged right past the 7th emblem, but fortunately Dara clued in and reminded us to come back
  • Made it up to High Hrothgar and Mel dropped off the supplies; Dara put an apple in the chest since she hadn’t gotten the supplies quest
  • Went in to talk to Arngeir and got the second word of Unrelenting Force
  • Went out to do the test to get the first word of Whirlwind Sprint
  • Got the objective to go get the horn of Jurgen Windcaller so we decided to do that
  • Came back inside from the courtyard and found a pile of Greybeards fallen over on the square in the middle of the room, LOLOLOLOL–left over from the ghosts during the test of Unrelenting Force
  • Spotted another dragon corpse flopping around just after coming out of High Hrothgar

Off to Ustengrav! Because a tomb is totally the best place to leave an important artifact of the Greybeards’ order!

  • Boinged to Whiterun stables so Mel could take the cart to Morthal
  • I sold a few items to Ri’saad, though he slid off and away from his tent as I was trying that ;P
  • Dara tried to take the cart but nope, still busted for her
  • I teleported to Morthal to catch up with Mel
  • As soon as we got there: CULTISTS! So we had to stop and kill them
  • I think here was where Mel accidentally killed my summoned flame atronach because she thought it was hostile? LOL
  • Noted to the others that the vicinity of Morthal is good for harvesting deathbell for Ingun’s ingredients quest
  • Mel stole a bunch of stuff in Lami’s alchemist shop
  • We all hoofed it from Morthal over to Ustengrav, and Mel took out the bandits and necromancer outside
  • I had a crash here and had to restart; game locked up on me as I was looting the dead bandits (including one of them who was in fact standing up even though he was dead)
  • Got down into Ustengrav and started running the place
  • Got the word for Become Ethereal off the word wall
  • Mel and I were able to mine the silver vein near the word wall, but we all had issues with the corundum vein
  • Mel made it through the pillar and gate puzzle; Dara and I had a bit more trouble with it
  • Once she did that we kept going, since Mel had already killed the spiders
  • Looted the boss chamber on the way out
  • Kitty: “Wow, I left a lot of gold here! I don’t remember doing that!” XD

We have to go all the way back to the inn in frigging RIVERWOOD? Gee, who owns that inn? Maybe she’s up to something!

  • Got out of Ustengrav and decided to fast travel straight to Riverwood next to meet up with Delphine
  • Noted with interest that I could not talk to Alvor to sell him stuff
  • Got into the Sleeping Giant and Mel initiated the conversation with Delphine–who had trouble getting through the door into the room Mel was in, LOL
  • Played through to Delphine telling us to go to Kynesgrove with her to kill the dragon that was going to come back to life there
  • Delphine swapped into her leather armor–but once we got outside, she had on her usual blue dress!
  • Dragon corpse flopped into view at the river; I got a soul off of it and then it disappeared, but it did not give a soul to Dara
  • Delphine and Mel were both ahead of me by then; we all decided we’d just fast travel to the Windhelm stables as the closest landmark to Kynesgrove
  • Did that, then hoofed it to Kynesgrove; cue freaking out innkeeper
  • Attempted to run the encounter of seeing Alduin resurrecting Sahloknir, but things got fairly fucked at that point, see below
  • What finally kicked Delphine out of combat mode was Mel disabling Alduin in the console, which finally made Delphine kick over into the “yep, I’m one of the last members of the Blades” conversation, and got us the objective to meet her back at Riverwood later

Windhelm is full of assholes that deserve punching, but hey at least somebody left a useful book lying around the inn

  • I pointed out that we were near Windhelm and therefore by definition also near Yorgrim Overlook, where there was easily gettable studded dragonscale armor
  • We headed into Windhelm to hit the Candlehearth Inn and read the relevant book
  • Got the initial scene with the assholes hassling Suvaris
  • Went into the inn and read the book on the table to start the Tilted Scales quest
  • While we were in there, Mel got the quest off the writer guy to take a book to Giraud in Solitude, and also beat up Rolff on general principles
  • iI aw a bunch of random clutter items sliding down the stairs

Studded dragonscale armor is MIA, Seducers bandits, not so much

  • Then we headed back out to hit Yorgrim Overlook, and killed a couple of wolves en route
  • We reached the overlook but getting the armor didn’t work 🙁
  • Mel killed Ulfnir Bone-Skin and got the key off of him, but the armor was NOT in the chest where it should have been
  • We killed the other two skeletons as well
  • Mel discovered the Seducers camp nearby and started fighting the bandits, so I ran over to help her out; bandits dispatched
  • Mel nabbed a bunch of the Seducer armor and also got the nymph out of the cage
  • Dara was lagging behind us though, and by the time she ran over to join us, the bandits were still active for her and they immediately killed her
  • So we got out of the area just to get Dara out of the way of these bandits

You gotta be a pretty badass Dragonborn to stand in High Hrothgar naked

  • Boinged back to High Hrothgar to turn in the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller and get the final word of Unrelenting Force
  • Which at least for me and Dara resulted in the visual of Mel standing naked amongst the Shouting Greybeards; probably the most excitement the Greybeards have had in decades XD
  • We were feeling pretty done at that point so adjourned to Whiterun for end of session selling of our crap
  • Elrindir was still super dead for me but I discovered that I could in fact resurrect his corpse and sell him stuff, fuck yeah
  • Dara however never had him dead! So she was good
  • We all left off there until next time (with a small epilogue on my part, see below)

Action at the Thieves Guild

As with all our previous runs in Skyrim Together to date, this session had its share of graphical weirdness.

Case in point: when we were getting ready to do the next stuff at the Ragged Flagon, we all noted that Skritch the skeever was out of his cage. None of us had actually released him. But he was poised like he was about to do unsavory things to the corpse of the pickpocket lying nearby. Which happened to render differently for all of us! Dara saw a generic Nord-looking dude, Mel saw an Orc, and I had a woman–unclear whether it was a Nord, an Imperial, or a Breton, but pale-skinned, anyway.

And when we reached Brynjolf, Delvin, and Vex in the cistern, at least in my view anyway, Brynjolf was not in Thieves Guild leathers! He had on his blue “Fine Clothes” outfit that he usually wears in the market! I suppose this is a refreshing change of pace from NPCs frequently being naked in this run. 😀

In standard solo playthroughs I’ve seen before that the doors to the Guild treasury are wide open long before you get to that part of the main plot. But once I actually get to this point in the Thieves Guild quest, when Brynjolf and Delvin go over to open them, the doors are legit shut. This time, not so much. We saw Brynjolf and Delvin do their animations to unlock the doors, and only then did we see doors appear, close, and then open again!

On the way out of Riften, we had a brief bit of weirdness with a “Criminal” showing up. Usually if the guards in Riften react to somebody doing shenanigans, it’s a generic “Thief” that spawns every so often, once you join the Guild. But this time through, something on the backend got a little wonky and spawned a Criminal, that’s usually the target of a Companions quest. Mel did sign us on with the Companions–but we hadn’t gotten that quest. So something on the backend seemed a bit wonky there.

This did not, however, stop me from looting the Criminal once the guards took him out!

High Hrothgar

Not surprising at this point, either, that we all saw different animals as we made our way up the 7,000 steps to High Hrothgar. The first animal encounter was a cave bear for Mel and me, and a frostbite spider for Dara. Second encounter, Mel and I got a snow bear, and Dara got an ice wraith.

There are definitely ongoing issues with quests syncing. Mel picks up stuff and it doesn’t sync over to me or Dara. For example, the quest from Klimmek to take supplies up to High Hrothgar. Mel got that quest but Dara didn’t, so Kitty decided to leave an apple in the chest along with the supplies. Dara says this was Kitty having a burst of generosity! “They’re showing me how to use my words. They can eat my apple.”

As I expected, we had no trouble whatsoever taking out that goddamned frost troll near the fifth emblem. That was very gratifying.

Upon arriving at High Hrothgar and meeting Master Arngeir, this is how the conversation went:

Arngeir: “But do you have the discipline and temperament to follow the path laid out for you?”


Mel: “We all joined the Thieves Guild before we got here.”

Master Arngeir did not however appear to mind that he was dealing with a pack of reprobates.

We got additional graphical weirdness when doing the test of shouting at the summoned ghosts. Dara and I did not see them as ghosts, they just rendered as normal-looking Greybeards, and didn’t disappear once we did the Shouting, either. This resulted in a rather alarming pile of dead Greybeards on that particular section of floor. 😀 Very much an “OHNOEZ WE HAVE KILLED THE GREYBEARDS nobody tell the Nords” moment there.


When we got into Ustengrav, we ran into issues with the corundum vein near the Word Wall. We got behavior where Mel could hit that vein only once, and then she triggered a crash. Dara and I had trouble activating that vein at all. This resulted in rather obligatory jokes about corundum conundrums.

The pillar and gate puzzle that always gives me issues in solo runs had a few issues here, too. I took the time to explain my issues with the puzzle to Mel and Dara, and how exactly the puzzle was in theory supposed to work. Mel made it through just fine. Dara and I took a few tries at it–but I bailed when I realized fuck it, I can just teleport to Mel! (Which is, to be sure, one way of getting past that damn puzzle.)

Dara however wanted to actually do it herself. She realized she couldn’t sprint properly because she was sneaking, but once she came out of Sneak, she went on through the puzzle.

One additional note I’ll put here about Ustengrav, which is noteworthy just because it’s an observation I’d made on my recent solo playthroughs: if you run Ustengrav right after getting the quest to find the Horn from Arngeir, and you’ve activated Voice of the Sky, then those spiders in Ustengrav shouldn’t attack you. But I’m pretty sure Mel did actually kill them in this session, which meant that was another thing being wonky compared to a standard solo run.

Since she had in fact actually killed them, though, there wasn’t anything for Dara and I to do there! So there was that. <3

Riverwood and Kynesgrove

When we went back to Riverwood to talk to Delphine about the horn, I had a bit of a surprise trying to sell stuff to Alvor the blacksmith. Which is to say: I couldn’t. He appeared to be mad at me!

I got this line out of him: ‘Leave me to stew. ALONE.’

To wit: yikes? I wonder if we accidentally killed his wife or his dog or something?

Once we got to Kynesgrove to confront Alduin and Sahloknir, things got fairly fucked. For me, Sahloknir did not render correctly at all. I mostly saw him as a rotating dragon on the ground, until Mel and I finally killed him.

Then we had an additional problem: Delphine and Lydia were still in combat mode. And Mel was seeing Alduin stuck in the sky overhead, though Dara and I did not see him. Mel leveled her Archery a lot just by shooting at Alduin–and by extension, that made me level up to 21, LOL.

We tried a bunch of different things to resolve this. What finally worked, though, was Mel disabling Alduin in the console. This made Delphine stand down, and we were able to proceed through her usual post-battle “I am one of the last members of the Blades” conversation. And we made it to getting the objective to go to the Thalmor embassy, and meet her back at the inn in Riverwood later to plan.

Still, we were worried about whether this will impact Alduin’s functionality later. Should we continue on with this playthrough, we’ll need to keep an eye out for that next time we see the big bad dragon. Which will most likely be on top of the Throat of the World, unless we see him resurrecting another dragon!

Windhelm and Yorgrim Overlook

All we did in Windhelm was mostly pop into the Candlehearth Inn to read the book in there to start the Tilted Scales quest–though Mel did take the time to punch that racist asshole Rolff on general principles, and also get the quest to take a book to Giraud in Solitude.

However, sadly, the dragonscale armor quest didn’t work. :/ We got to the location okay, but once Mel defeated Ulfnir Bone-Skin and got the key to the chest off of him, there was no sign of the armor in the chest at all. Takeaway from this is that the various special armor quests you can run for the AE are going to be problematic in this playthrough. Daaaaaang.

While we were there, Mel found the Seducers bandit camp just across the way, so she ran over to fight those bandits and I ran over to help her out. Dara was lagging behind us, though–so by the time she caught up with us, the bandits were still alive for her and quickly killed her. (Because yeah, the Seducers bandits are tough for a single Dragonborn to take on, as I know from solo runs!) We had to retreat from the area just to get Dara out of the range of those bandits.

This’ll be another thing we want to keep an eye on. The Saints and Seducers quest is large and complex, and it’d be nice if we could safely run it! But we’ll have to see. Since it’s also AE content it might be just as problematic as the armor quests, if not more so. Just because it is large and complex.

Additional general notes

All throughout this session, I kept having issues searching dead bodies to loot them. It seemed like the hitbox for where to activate each corpse to loot it was skewed out of place for me, somehow.

Also, flame atronachs we killed still looked fiery after we killed them, instead of looking like burned out cinders the way they usually do. This happened with the cultists in Morthal, and also in Ustengrav with the necromancers and conjurers we fought in the first rooms of the barrow.

On the other hand, this also let Mel get an up close look at flame atronach “faces” look like. So that was kind of neat for her!

Small Anna epilogue

I went back solo later to Yorgrim Overlook, just to see if I could figure out a way to resurrect Ulfnir Bone-Skin and finish the quest. Answer: no. I tried a couple of different ways, but couldn’t figure out a path that let me actually finish the quest properly and get the studded dragonscale armor.

So I eventually just forced a quest completion in my console, with this command, so it wouldn’t be lingering in my journal:

completequest ccBGSSSE060_MiscQuest

While doing this, I saw that the Seducers bandit camp thought I hadn’t cleared it. So I went over to do that, including re-freeing the Demented Elytra Nymph. This fixed an issue with the nymph phasing in and out while trying to follow me around, too.

After that, I returned to Whiterun, sold bandit loot, and re-saved in Breezehome for whenever Dara, Mel, and I play next.

Next time

Not sure yet! It’ll depend on what we’re in the mood for next time we all agree to play.


Here are my screenshots for this session:

Here are Dara’s:

And here are Mel’s:

Editing to add

  • 11/26/2023: 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.