Finds-The-Way Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Finds-The-Way Becomes a Nightingale

Everything in this post is stuff I’ve played before in previous Skyrim runs. But even though the action was familiar, I still had a couple of surprises I’d never seen before! Read on for the details. As well as German language geekery, since this is part of my ongoing playthrough in German, starring Finds-The-Way!

Main action run: acquiring the remaining pieces of the Gauldur amulet, and reforging it; taking out the Golden Saints bandits near Karthwasten; taking out the mad conjurer Thoron in the Solitude sewers; robbing Mercer Frey’s house in Riften; and last but definitely not least, becoming a Nightingale!

Play by play

  • Play dates: 11/5, 11/8/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 32-33

Friday the 5th

  • Picked up at Lakeview
  • Boinged first to Whiterun to sell stuff
  • Then boinged to Folgunthur to run the place–and got an Ancient Dragon!
  • Damned thing flew all over the place before Lydia and I finally killed it, and at least I’m pretty sure it didn’t start trying to raze Morthal
  • Then ran Folgunthur without any issues
  • Got the ivory claw
  • Took out Mikrul Gauldurson and got his amulet fragment and sword
  • Got the word for Frost Breath off the Word Wall
  • Clearing this dungeon got me the Delver achievement for clearing 50 dungeons!
  • Then boinged to Alchemist’s Shack to get within range of Geirmund’s Hall
  • Rode over there and hit the fishing spot; got Swims’ Lucky Fishing Hat
  • Then ran Geirmund’s Hall
  • Took out Sigdis Gauldurson and got his amulet fragment and bow
  • Boinged to Whiterun to sell stuff, round two, including dragon bits
  • Then boinged to Hendraheim to get within range of the Reach–and got ANOTHER dragon!
  • Dropped off the Blackblade and the Blackbow in the weapons rack there
  • Then rode out into the Reach
  • Got flyby dragon shortly after I left the house but no other notable encounters along the road
  • Reached Reachwater Rock and ran the place with no problems
  • Got the reforged amulet and hit the boss chest on the way out
  • Hit the nearby silver and iron veins
  • Boinged to Blind Cliff Cave to get within range of Karthwasten
  • Got a zombie horde! Seven of them–who had apparently also killed a couple of Vigilants of Stendarr, as I only discovered after Lydia and I took them all out
  • Then rode over and attacked Kinthal’s Golden Saints bandits camp
  • Took them all out with a bit of effort, had to throw heals on Lydia to bolster her as she was working on taking out a mage bandit throwing hard magic at her
  • Boinged to Solitude finally to sell stuff
  • Parked in Proudspire; left what golden armor I couldn’t sell on one of the mannequins in the basement, and left some books on a bookshelf
  • Saved there until next time
  • Leveled up once in this session, from 43 to 44 but got very near to 45, so closed in hard on it being time to go hit Mercer Frey’s house

Monday the 8th

  • Picked up again in Proudspire Manor in Solitude
  • Had a bunch of building mats on me, so boinged off to Windstad to try to do building–then realized I’d left more building mats at Lakeview, oops
  • Boinged off to there and picked up my mats from the cache there, then boinged back to Windstad and built a bunch of things
  • Then boinged to Heljarchen and built more things until I ran out of iron
  • Boinged back to Solitude, and popped into the Winking Skeever to sell things to Gulum-Ei
  • Came out again and got SURPRISE MELEE IN THE STREET WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, which resulted in a named NPC death, see below
  • Proceeded to head down into the sewers to try to take out Thoron
  • Surprised by how many bliss bugs I found this time! :O
  • Also surprised that I managed to take out Thoron in one go! :O
  • Looted all the loot, got all the weird ingredients, the Sword of Jyggalag, the Sheogorath-Shaped Amber, and all the various Golden and Dark gear bits lying around
  • Came back out again and sold things at Bits and Pieces
  • Got the courier with the note from Staada
  • Went back out to get the Dwarven Horse from the stables, and rode over to find Staada
  • Also found a set of Seducer bandits as soon as I started talking to her, so we took the bandits out
  • Gave Staada the sword and got her helmet
  • Returned to Solitude and sold more things, since now I had a bunch of Saints and Seducers loot to offload
  • Boinged to Lakeview
  • Did some crafting because I leveled up to 45 pretty much as soon as I started running the sewers, and made it about halfway through level 45 doing that, so I wanted to make a hard push to 46
  • Made a bunch of jewelry and then enchanted it, and got to level 46!
  • So boinged down to Riften
  • Got a second courier with the note about new wares from Ri’saad
  • First went through the Guild, and got five levels of Pickpocket training from Vipir the Fleet, which put me at 50 (woo! Time for Extra Pockets perk!)
  • Also sold things to Tonilia
  • Checked in in Shadowfoot Sanctum and realized that I had left a fuckton of building mats there
  • Headed back out to try to hit Mercer’s house
  • And got a third courier, inside the Ratway even, this time with the note that launched The Cause
  • Discovered however that I had not yet actually cleared Vald’s debt
  • So had to go find Maven in the inn and get her to ask me to get the Quill of Gemination for her
  • Went out through the gates to do that even though it was getting late
  • Got a dragon and quickly dispatched it
  • Threw a Candlelight spell and went diving for lost quills–which is definitely easier as an Argonian!
  • Got the Quill and returned to the surface
  • Slept at Honeyside, then got up in the morning and went to Maven’s house to interrupt her breakfast and give her the Quill
  • Got the document for Vald, and went over to give it to him; got him to let me into the yard
  • Shot down the ramp as per usual, and got in through the back door–and SURPRISE! There was a random Riften thief in there :O
  • The other thief ran off into the other room, and surprised the bandits that guard the house
  • I heard sounds of fighting, and sounds of the traps down in the tunnels firing off
  • I stayed sneaking in the first room for a few moments, then finally started running the house myself
  • Nabbed all the stuff in Mercer’s bedroom
  • Came down the stairs—and because I had Lydia with me, the bandits spotted her before they spotted me, so we actually had to kill them (but hey, Brynjolf did give me permission!)
  • Once we took them out, ran the rest of the house unchallenged and nabbed more stuff
  • Headed down into the tunnels and got past all the traps
  • Found the thief dead in the corridor leading down to Mercer’s locked office–surprised he made it past the swinging blades!
  • Got in there and nabbed the plans, Chillrend, the Bust of the Gray Fox, and the other loot
  • Got back out into the Ratway
  • Random Vagrant NPC got alerted to us, but she didn’t find us before we got back into the Flagon
  • Sold Delvin the Bust of the Gray Fox, then sold Tonilia more of the loot from Mercer’s place
  • Then headed into the cistern to report to Brynjolf
  • Played through talking to Karliah about meeting her at Nightingale Hall, then went out to do that
  • Got Nightingaled up! And the armor looks good on Finds 😀
  • Chatted with Brynjolf about taking over the Guild later, and got directive to meet him and Karliah at Irkngthand
  • For now picked up the building mats I’d left at Shadowfoot Sanctum
  • Realized I still had pending Fishing business to attend to, so hit the various fishing spots in Riften
  • Finally got the last of the Rainy Weather fish I needed
  • Talked to Swims and gave him the fish and the Lucky Fishing Hat
  • Also talked to Viriya and got the quest to go to Morthal for the Fishing Contest
  • Talked to Nivenor and got the key to her and Bolli’s house, to move the Gray Cowl plot a little farther along
  • Boinged off to Heljarchen to use the building mats there
  • Had to dismiss Lydia so I could get her to sell me logs (and I needed her dismissed anyway, since I couldn’t have her with me running Irkngthand)
  • Built out a bunch more of Heljarchen’s Main House stuff
  • Then boinged back to Lakeview, and saved there until next time

Surprise melee in the streets of Solitude, and RIP Jawanan

So here’s a thing: I knew from previous Anniversary Edition playthroughs, and in particular previous running of the Saints and Seducers content, that pissed off bandits from both the Saints and Seducers groups could come after you after you kill their leaders Kinthal and Svarig.

What I did not know, however, was that they can come after you inside cities.

Three Golden Saints bandits had shown up, presumably coming after me. But before I could even get to them, or them to me, every citizen and guard in range started fighting them. I saw multiple citizens get killed, and decided this was not acceptable.

I tried to roll back–but it happened again.

So I did a second rollback attempt and tried sleeping inside the Winking Skeever, and getting up the next morning–but nope, the game was bound and determined to throw me an encounter right there in front of the inn.

That time through, at least, I only lost one named citizen that I could see–so RIP, Jawanan! You fought those bandits valiantly. I hope you get to fletch all the arrows you want in the Far Shores. Or Sovngarde. Wherever you want to wind up as a Redguard who’d been living in Skyrim, anyway!

Extra thief in Mercer Frey’s house

Here’s another thing I knew: that if you’re running the Thieves Guild, you can have random encounters of thieves in either Riften or Riverwood. I’ve seen them in both places, usually getting cornered by all the nearby guards and some number of nearby citizens, if any are in range.

I did not know these thieves could also spawn in houses. But yep, the wiki confirms this, and apparently this time I just happened to get lucky!

Which meant that when I broke into Mercer Frey’s house to run the place, I was super surprised to see another thief had gotten in there ahead of me!

I was surprised enough by this that for a few seconds I didn’t actually know how to proceed. The other thief bolted out of the room pretty much as soon as Lydia and I came in, which suggests that there could not have been any time for actual dialogue between us. But I expect Finds was shocked as fuck to find that some other thief had managed to get into the house, and after all the trouble she’d gone to to get past Vald and everything.

And LOL, it makes no narrative sense that the thief could have come in the same way I had–because if he had, Lydia and I would have seen him. But this does raise the question of how the hell else he could have gotten in! Some possibilities:

  1. He was actually one of Mercer Frey’s hired guards, and decided to just loot the damn place after deciding Frey clearly wasn’t coming back to Riften
  2. He was an accomplice of one of the hired guards, who let him in
  3. He was bold enough to try to come up into the house from the Ratway, which would have meant getting past all the traps down there–but would also have meant that he was either not skilled enough or just not observant enough to realize that he missed the office room with the very best loot

Any way you slice it, I could see him trying to get out of the house the back way while Lydia and I were trying to get in. And our arrival freaked him out and sent him bolting back the way he’d come–which of course alerted the guards.

And I’ll say this–it sure was a hell of a distraction. ;D

If I hadn’t had Lydia with me, I think I would have been able to waltz right down into the tunnels without getting spotted. But I did have Lydia with me, so the bandits actually spotted her before they spotted me. Unfortunately for the bandits. So for once I did actually have to take out opposition while running this house! But hey, Brynjolf did give me explicit permission for that, so that was okay.

I found the thief again dead in the corridor leading to Mercer’s locked office, which says he actually made it past the swinging blades and the battering ram. I’m legit surprised by this! And also legit confused therefore as to what actually killed him. Presumably the trap on the door into the office, even though I still had to deactivate that trap myself?

Achievements unlocked

  • Delver: For clearing 50 dungeons

Achievements count as of this post: 29.

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • Feuer und Dunkelheit: Fire and Darkness (the book found in Folgunthur by the dead adventurer)
  • Elfenbeindrachenklaue: Ivory Dragon Claw
  • Draugrsklave: Draugr Thrall (lit. “Draugr Slave”)
  • Frostatem: Frost Breath (the Shout)
  • Sarkophagdeckel: Sarcophagus Lid
  • Geirmunds Halle: Geirmund’s Hall
  • Glücksanglerhut: Lucky Fishing Hat
  • Schlüssel von Fürst Geirmund: Key of Lord Geirmund
  • Wasserwindfelsen: Reachwater Rock
  • Smaragddrachenklaue: Emerald Dragon Claw
  • Helm der Goldenen Heiligen: Golden Saint Helmet (lit. “helmet of the golden saints”)
  • Handschuhe der Goldenen Heiligen: Golden Saint Gauntlets (lit. “gloves of the golden saints”)
  • Schild der Goldenen Heiligen: Golden Saint Shield (lit. “shield of the golden saints”)
  • Stiefel der Goldenen Heiligen: Golden Saint Boots (lit. “boots of the golden saints”)
  • Lila Schmetterling: Purple Butterfly
  • Lila Schmetterlingsflügel: Purple Butterfly Wings
  • Grüner Schmetterling: Green Butterfly
  • Schuppenfäule: Rot Scale
  • Dornenhaken: Thorn Hook
  • Schreiender Schlund: Screaming Maw
  • Flammenstängel: Flame Stalk
  • Ausgehöhlter Stumpf: Hollow Stump
  • Glückseligkeits-Käfer: Bliss Bug
  • Monarchfalter: Monarch Butterfly
  • Schwert von Jyggalag: Sword of Jyggalag
  • Ihr müsst diejenige sein, die diese Notiz geschickt hat.: You must be the one who sent this note.
  • Staadas Helm: Staada’s Helmet
  • Bericht über Atronachen-Schmieden-Experimente: Report on Atronach Forge Experiments
  • Gegenstand/Gegenstände hinzugefügt.: Added item(s). (seen when receiving a note from a courier)
  • Ring des Ablegens: Ring of Disrobing
  • Der Anlass: The Cause (the quest)
  • Einfaltspinsel: Simpleton (what Maven calls Vald when you tell her you want her to forgive his debt)
  • Schreibfeder: Quill pen
  • Schreibfeder der Wiederholung: Quill of Gemination
  • Gut Riftwald: Riftweald Manor
  • Verdächtige Vitrine: Suspicious Cabinet
  • Eisspalter: Chillrend (lit. “ice splitter”)
  • Büste des Grauen Fuchses: Bust of the Gray Fox
  • Grüner Schmetterling im Glas: Green Butterfly in a Jar
  • Die Augen der Falmer: The Eyes of the Falmer
  • Gildenmeister: Guildmaster
  • Nachtigallhalle: Nightingale Hall
  • Hauptquartier: Headquarters
  • Uneingeweihte: Uninitated
  • Nachtigallrüstungsstein: Nightingale Armor Stone
  • Nachtigallhandschuhe: Nightingale Gloves
  • Nachtigallkapuze: Nightingale Hood
  • Nachtigallrüstung: Nightingale Armor
  • Nachtigallstiefel: Nightingale Boots
  • Gnade: Grace/mercy (what Karliah asks Nocturnal for)
  • Akzeptabel: Acceptable
  • Der Skelettschlüssel: The Skeleton Key
  • Argonierangel: Argonian Fishing Rod
  • Kleinigkeit: Token
  • Angelherausforderung: Fishing challenge
  • Schlüssel zu Bollis Haus: Key to Bolli’s House
  • Honrichsee: Lake Honrich
  • Ausdauerregeneration: Stamina Regeneration

“Elfenbeindrachenklaue” for “Ivory Dragon Claw” startled me, just because that word breaks down to “Elfenbein” being the word for Ivory. And I was not expecting that! I’ve seen the word “Bein” before, but just by itself, meaning “leg”. And “Elfen” I know as the plural of “Elf”. So the word taken as a whole reads to me like “Elves leg dragon claw”, and well, what?

But nope, “Elfenbein” does indeed translate to “Ivory”. I learned something today! (Source)

I’m confused by the translation of “Reachwater Rock”, though. This doesn’t appear to be a literal translation, as near as I can tell. A casual read to my eye wants to translate it back as “Windwater Rock”, with “wasser” being “water”. And to be fair, that does seem in character for the local terrain. I’m presuming that the translation team didn’t know what to do with “Reach” as part of this name, but I have no way of knowing for sure.

And heh, I got that line Jaree-Ra sometimes throws to the player in Solitude, where he says:

“You look new. I’m new, too. I think we could be friends.”

The German version of this looks like this:

“Ihr seht neu aus. Ich bin auch neu. Ich glaube, wir könnten Freunde sein.”

Either way, though, I’m thinking Finds might actually have been torn between being pleased to see another Argonian in Solitude–and wary of him, because she knows Shady as Fuck when she sees it. Since she is after all Shady as Fuck herself.

I did previously know the word “Schmetterling” for “butterfly”. I did not know “Falter”. But apparently they are synonyms! (Source) And if this is the case, I can see at least one reason why German uses “Monarchfalter” for “monarch butterfly”. Because that does appear to be the general word for a monarch butterfly in German, not just the word used in Skyrim. (Source) Just because if they used “Monarchschmetterling”, that’d put a “ch” sound right next to a “schm” sound, and that seems like it might be tricky to pronounce? Using an “f” sound instead flows much better off the tongue.

Dang, “Atronachen-Schmieden-Experimente” has dashes in it so I’m a little reluctant to call it our new champion for longest German word observed in the game! If I allow dashes, though, it definitely wins at 32 characters! If I don’t allow dashes, it ties at 30 with our previous contender.

I learned another something today! Namely, what the hell “gemination” means, because I don’t think I ever bothered to look that up. It means “repetition” or “doubling”, and is often used in the context of the doubling of a consonant in a word. Which means that it’s a very appropriate word to use for Maven’s enchanted quill–and by extension, the German translation of “Wiederholung”, literally “repetition”, is also a nice sound translation.

Skyrim: fun to play, and educational! I particularly love it when playing in another language teaches me something not only about that language, but also about English. ❤️

Chillrend’s name in German, “Eisspalter” seems to literally translate to “Ice Splitter”. Which to me doesn’t seem like quite the same connotation as the English name, which is one of “rending the opponent with cold”. Still, though, a sword sharp enough to split ice also sounds pretty badass, so I’ll accept it!

And a third thing I’ve learned in composing this post: apparently “Lady” is a valid word in German as well as in English. (Source) Caught this in Karliah’s invocation of Nocturnal, which looks like this in German:

“Ich rufe Euch, Lady Nocturnal, Königin der Dunkelheit und Gebieterin der Schatten … hört mich an!”

You’ll note here that to an English speaker’s eye, “Lady” leaps right out of this sentence. But nope, it’s still valid German!

(I’ll also note the translations of “Queen of Murk/Darkness” and “Mistress/Empress of Shadows”, though, just because they’re cool.)

Next time

In Finds-The-Way’s next post, we’ll have the inevitable handing Mercer Frey his ass in Irkngthand; returning the Skeleton Key to the Twilight Sepulcher; adopting Lucia; running the Guardian Vault and getting Dawnfang & Duskfang; committing some crimes in Windhelm, but also adopting Sofie; and taking out Tyra Blood-Fire!


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.