Kendeshel Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Kendeshel Takes Windhelm for the Empire

This is a single session post, because I want to give myself space for commentary for Kendeshel finishing up the civil war in Skyrim–and also, for having significant plot kick in for Legacy of the Dragonborn. Side helping here of running more of the mage college plot as well.

Spoilers here for the Legacy of the Dragonborn mod: services available from particular NPCs, the beginning of the “Shattered Legacy” plot, and some hints about backstory for Auryen.

Play by play

  • Play date: 10/14
  • Session number in this run: 19

Taking Fort Kastav

  • Picked up again with Hadvar right outside Fort Kastav
  • Sent the purple elytra off to wait for me someplace else just because, as previously mentioned, not grooving on loud pets following me around
  • Got the plan from Hadvar about sneaking into the fort, and took Lydia over there with me
  • Actually failed to sneak into the fort, but it didn’t seem to matter, got in anyway
  • Killed a couple of sentries, freed the prisoners, and rushed out into the courtyard to take the place
  • Spotted a couple more giant Stormcloaks during this fight
  • Took the fort, hurray! And got directive to return to Solitude to report back to Tullius
  • Did so, and got Tullius’ orders to report to the Eastmarch camp
  • But first stopped in the Guildhall to speak with Latoria, and unlocked her ability to do things with ruined books
  • Took the airship back to Riften, and reported to the Eastmarch camp to talk to Rikke
  • Got her orders to go help the Imperials take Fort Amol
  • Rode over on horseback to get there, and helped the Imperial forces take the fort
  • (LOL more sightings of TestJeremyBig)
  • Reported back to Rikke after that fort was taken, and got the order to proceed to Windhelm
  • Got a little sidetracked by confusing quest markers, and also saw a “Windhelm Military Camp” on the map that i wasn’t used to
  • Finally just activated the correct quest markers and reported to Windhelm as previous
  • Tullius did his rousing speech and we all charged in to kick Stormcloak ass
  • I didn’t spot any TestJeremyBigs this time
  • Threw Time Break a few times in close quarters which helped, but also focused on opening the path to the Palace of the Kings
  • Made it through to the palace, and confronted Ulfric and Galmar with Tullius and Rikke
  • They of course refused to surrender, so FIGHT ON
  • Killed Galmar fairly quickly
  • Ulfric actually let out a Shout during the battle!
  • Agreed to stab Ulfric myself once we forced him to surrender
  • Slowly tromped out of the city since it was morning by then, and I was overloaded
  • Returned to the stables and retrieved my horse, then decided to ride back to Riften
  • Stopped at Northwind Mine and ran the place, and made it up to the summit to kill the dragon there
  • Got the word for Aura Whisper off the Word Wall
  • Stopped in Shor’s Stone and talked Azadi out of trying to pick a fight with me
  • Took the road through Fort Greenwall because now I CAN! ‘Scuse me sentries, Imperial legate coming through
  • Reached Riften and took care of the dickweeds in the warehouse
  • Went to Mistveil Keep to report in, and now of course Maven was Jarl
  • Got her orders to go take out the skooma dealers at Cragslane Cavern
  • Also bought Honeyside via her son Hemming who was now steward
  • Rode right back out again, got to Cragslane, and ran the place; very easy with the atronachs
  • Returned to Riften and got Maven to give me my “cut” er uh “reward” LOL
  • Got courier with the initial letter from Fijeh for the Interception quest
  • Started trying to fulfill favor quests to see if I could pull off getting the thaneship
  • Helped out Shadr with his Sapphire problem
  • Gave a septim to Snilf the beggar
  • Helped Hafjorg with the ore sample, which required riding back to Shor’s Stone again
  • Returned to Maven but no sign of thane option, so at least bought all the furnishings for Honeyside
  • Headed back to Largashbur to run the rest of The Cursed Tribe with this alt, too
  • This time, when in Fallowstone Cave, HOLY CRAP I found the Phantasmal Chest :O
  • Had a crapton of things to turn in at the museum at this point, so airshipped back to Solitude
  • Handed Latoria a bunch of ruined books to play with
  • Wandered around the museum a lot to manually place assorted things, partly because I was curious about where they all went
  • The display prep station took the Ring of Masser out of my inventory even though I think it’s still a quest item? So I think that code may not be entirely happy on the Steam Deck
  • Eventually got everything placed, including Stormlord armor I took off of Ulfric
  • And I took the Ring of Masser back, just because i want to see whether I want to keep the ring and buy the armor from Ma’dran, or what
  • Thought I’d stop there, but the lack of resolution on the bounty quest bugged me; also I was worried about whether I’d be able to become thane with Maven as Jarl or not
  • Boinged off to Windhelm, just fast traveled in this time because I was in a hurry, and it was late
  • Could not find Anuriel in the Palace of the Kings throne room, but I did find Laila Law-Giver and just got the bounty payment from her; she called me a dog, but was otherwise fairly non-hostile
  • She did not have any interesting dialogue regarding having bought Honeyside and becoming thane though
  • Popped into the White Phial to see if Nurelion had any fire salts; answer: no
  • But I did get the White Phial quest from him
  • Boinged back to Solitude
  • Checked in with Latoria, and she gave me some Scrolls of Fury off of the ruined books I’d given her
  • Checked Angeline’s shop but she had no fire salts
  • Boinged next to Whiterun, and checked in in Breezehome
  • The girls were having a fight; GIRLS, GIRLS, settle down, don’t make me turn this house around
  • Checked Arcadia’s shop, but she also had no fire salts
  • Decided to run Fellglow Keep because I could get fire salts there to finish out the set of 10 for Balimund
  • Came out of Whiterun—and NPC Byron showed up, why HELLO THERE, Legacy plot!
  • He was being pursued by Morag Tong, and gasped out a plea to me before he keeled over and died
  • The Morag Tong attacked me; Lydia, a Whiterun guard, and I all fought them and dispatched them
  • Found a bloodstained note and a shard on Byron, and got directive to go talk to Auryen about them
  • But first I wanted to run Fellglow
  • Discovered Alvis the Riften horse was at the Whiterun stables. along with Heimdall the Whiterun horse; mounted up on Heimdall, which caused Alvis to head out back for Riften
  • He stopped to fight a wolf near the bridge, and I rode after him and stopped to try to loot the wolf
  • But this broke my game somehow, my UI locked up, not sure what happened there
  • Restarted and came back to coming out of Whiterun, and had to re-do the encounter with Byron and the Morag Tong
  • This time had to fight a dragon right around Honningbrew and the bridge
  • Once that was done, finally rode over to Fellgllow Keep
  • Got bandits vs. conjurer fight at the nearby spawn point
  • Last bandit tried to warn us off, but look, you asshole, I have to go by you to get over to that keep, and if you have a problem with that, okay, then guess i’m going to have to fight you too
  • Took that bandit out too, then proceeded to run the keep, and did indeed get adequate fire salts
  • Got killed once playing through
  • Reproed the issue I had in Harrow’s run where the vampires I turned loose all got pissy at my bunny
  • Read The Doors of Oblivion partway through and was prompted to follow Hermaeus Mora, which was admittedly tempting, but held off on that for now
  • Told Orthorn to get out and get to safety
  • Passed the Persuade check to get the books from the Caller
  • Returned to Rriften and gave Balimund his fire salts
  • And oh thank Divines, that did give me the directive to report back to Maven, who made me thane
  • And this got me the Daggers of Riften, awesome 😀
  • Returned to the museum to report back in, and talked to Auryen about the shard situation
  • And since I also had a prompt for that, I asked him about the sword in his office
  • He told me that was his own personal sword, and that he does in fact have skill with the blade as well as the book
  • Left off in the museum until next time

Victory at Fort Kastav

When last we left Kendeshel and her iteration of Team Dragonborn, Hadvar’s entire Imperial squad had been killed by the Seducers bandits camped out just south of Fort Kastav. (We shall hope Hadvar doesn’t take this too hard, man’s trying to deal with his first positions of command, after all!)

Fortunately for Hadvar, Kendeshel showed up, along with her well-armed housecarl and the ability to call her very own squad of angry atronachs. So I got the plan from Hadvar about sneaking into the fort, and snuck over there with Lydia to try to pull this off. Really, though, given that he’d just lost his entire squad, it would have made more sense for Hads to just sneak in with me! But that wasn’t an option, so.

As it happens, I actually failed to sneak into the Fort. I saw the objective for that fail just before I made it to the trap door; I think one of the fort’s lookouts must have spotted me? But nobody actually got to me fast enough to prevent me from getting in, so that specific objective failing didn’t seem to matter at all.

And really, at this stage of things, Kendeshel doesn’t have much need for stealth when she can just call up Snap, Crackle, and Pop to set things on fire for her. 😉

Once we reached the “get out into the courtyard and take over the fort” part of the plan, I spotted a couple more giant Stormcloaks tromping around. I realized at this point that I was definitely going to finish out the war in this session, so I wouldn’t have to worry any further about this particular issue. Maybe. (Elessir is also running Zak’s Imperial Female Guards and Soldiers, anyway, and I haven’t seen any giant Stormcloaks in his run!)

So it doesn’t seem like it’s worth my time to try to create a patch for the problem, at least in this run. Whether I will need it for a future run remains to be seen. There’s at least one other “make female Imperial guards and soldiers” mod out there I want to try, so who knows, maybe the third one will get the job done without funky bugs? I’ll find out!

Latoria and the ruined books

This, so far, seems like the most useful service any of the NPCs you get as part of the Explorer’s Guild can give you. I just really like the ability to do something with the umpty dozen ruined books you can find all over the game!

And Latoria’s charming anyway, as a Khajiit who really wants to learn about magical things but is too nervous to delve into dangerous areas herself. I can relate!

Since unlocking that service, I’ve availed of it a couple of times. I hardly ever use scrolls in Skyrim, and Kendeshel has in fact amassed a lot of them. But this may turn into a way to get extra copies of all the rare spellbooks I can put on display. And that is useful.

Victory at Fort Amol

Running Fort Amol, as I’ve observed in my two prior civil war playthroughs, is a lot like running the other forts. And Eastmarch doesn’t have any separate plot to run before taking the fort–because of course the big point of Eastmarch is to take Windhelm.

I did have what I’m pretty sure will be my last sightings of TestJeremyBig, though!

Victory in Windhelm

Heading on over to Windhelm was a bit more difficult than usual this time, just because I got sidetracked by confusing quest markers. And I also spotted a Windhelm Military Camp marker on the map, which I don’t remember seeing before in the previous war playthroughs. But apparently it’s a vanilla game thing, not a thing from mods. I guess I just never noticed it in Delga’s and Kendis’s runs?

Anyway, once I finally got to Windhelm, we did the thing. I didn’t see any TestJeremyBigs, which was probably for the best, since the fight to take Windhelm is in very close quarters!

I threw Time Break a couple of times, which was definitely helpful. But mostly I focused on clearing the way to the Palace of the Kings, so that Tullius, Rikke, and I could get in there and take out Ulfric and his second-in-command.

Ulfric did in fact let out an Unrelenting Force Shout during the fight! I went back and doublechecked, and did not see mentioned in either Delga’s or Kendis’s runs that Ulfric Shouted when they fought him. So this, I think, actually marks the first time I’ve ever seen Ulfric Shout.

And I daresay Kendeshel was not impressed. You want to have some words, asshole? C’mere and let me show you how the Dragonborn Shouts.

I cheerfully agreed to kill him this time, too. Because Kendeshel has no patience for Ulfric Stormcloak’s bullshit.

Action in Riften

Once I made it down to Riften, of course Maven Black-Briar was Jarl at that point. Which wound up causing a bit of confusion, since I’d started the quest to take out the skooma dealers while Laila Law-Giver was still Jarl. And for that matter, I’d also taken the bounty for the dragon at Northwind Summit from Anuriel, not from Hemming Black-Briar.

And I found that I could not check in with Hemming about having killed the dragon. I wound up having to return to Windhelm to try to find Anuriel, but she wasn’t in the throne room when I showed up. I collected the bounty from Laila Law-Giver instead. Who was surprisingly willing to hand me money, even though she also called me “dog” when she greeted me!

I was at least able to proceed with taking out the skooma dealers, with no problems. And I gotta say, even though I really rather dislike Maven Black-Briar, I have to LOL at the quote she gives you when you report back to her that the skooma dealers are taken care of:

“Here, this should suffice as your cut of the… or rather, a reward for your actions. Now, if you’ll excuse me…”


And I was able to finally get Maven to name me thane, after bringing Balimund his fire salts. There are a lot of favor quests you can run in Riften to get the thaneship, enough that I lose track of which ones there are. And some of them that would count as thane favors in other Holds don’t count in Riften, like giving a beggar a coin!

Getting the Riften thaneship meant I got the Daggers of Riften, which are great. I had seen already in this playthrough that Legacy of the Dragonborn gives you much more interesting weapons for achieving thaneships, and the daggers are no exception. They give you a chance at striking a paralyzing blow when you fight with them. And I slapped a Fiery Soul Trap enchantment on one, and a Shock Damage enchantment on the other. These are now Kendeshel’s primary weapons. 😀 I am grooving on dual-wielding them.

The Phantasmal Chest

This time while running Fallowstone Cave, I found an extra surprise brought in by Legacy: the Phantasmal Chest!

I’d already heard of this thing via Legacy’s Discord server, as well as seeing hints about it in loading screens while actually playing. I was legit not expecting to find it in this run, since your chances of finding it are variable at best! But I got lucky in Fallowstone Cave, apparently!

And I should have realized something was going on, too, when I entered the cave and heard noises I don’t normally hear while in there, a sort of chiming that I mostly know from visiting the Temple of Kynareth in Whiterun. I didn’t consciously twig to that as a clue, though.

And I only found the chest because I took the ninja way out of the cave, after killing the giant. I was doublechecking whether there was a path out that wouldn’t require me to jump while overloaded! Answer: there was, and the chest was on that path!

It was very, very shiny! Once I activated it, I got a spell to summon it back. I tried this out once I got out of Fallowstone, which brought the chest back long enough for me to loot it. And it had some very, very tasty loot in it, indeed.

What I don’t know is, whether the chest is a thing that can show up again in your run once you find it. Or if you can put stuff in it, and expect that stuff to stay there once you summon it later. I don’t think I need that chest given that Kendeshel has the Stash Supplies spell, but it’d be an interesting thing to test.

Beginning of the Shattered Legacy quest

Shattered Legacy is one of the major quests in the Legacy mod, and I was just waiting for it to kick in, after Auryen gave me the sword. And it finally found me, as I was coming out of Whiterun to head off to Fellglow Keep.

And it was certainly a surprising encounter! An NPC called Byron ran up to me, but he was wounded–and some Morag Tong were in hot pursuit of him. He gasped out a plea to me before he died. And that left me, Lydia, and the Whiterun guards to fight the assassins.

Once I returned to the museum and checked in with Auryen about the shard, he immediately went O.O and theorized that it could be a shard of the Amulet of Kings. And that he’d have to research it immediately.

Since I also had a prompt for it, I asked him about the sword in his office. He explained that it was his personal sword, and that he did indeed have skill with the blade as well as the book. And isn’t that just a fascinating little tidbit!

Auryen, my dude, you just keep unfolding like a flower.

Next time

Kendeshel’s next post will feature a hard push through the rest of the College of Winterhold plot–including becoming Arch-Mage! And a side helping of running Avanchnzel as well, just to clear that off my list.


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.