Finds-The-Way Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Finds-The-Way Raids the Thalmor Embassy and Visits Alduin’s Wall

Closing in on the home stretch, I’m almost caught up on all my playthrough posts, y’all! Here’s the most recent one for Finds-The-Way, and this’ll be a short-ish one. This is mostly all Main Quest stuff, which I’ve covered in depth on earlier playthroughs. So most of the content here will be German language geekery. But a little side action with buggy dog adoption!

Main action covered: raiding the Thalmor Embassy, rescuing Esbern from the Ratway, meeting Delphine and Esbern at Karthspire and running Sky Haven Temple, and running the Crypt of the Heart quest.

Play by play

  • Play date: 11/17/2023
  • Session number in this run: 36
  • Picked up again at Lakeview
  • Valve dropped a major Steam Deck update so I have a different color profile now! Awesome!
  • Meanwhile did some inventory managing to get ready to go to Riverwood, to kick off hitting the Thalmor Embassy; stashed a bunch of things that weren’t critical to carry
  • Boinged over to Riften and picked up the Nightingale gear from Shadowfoot Sanctum
  • Boinged back to Lakeview–and Sofie gushed at me about my dog, which was confusing, see below
  • Then set off–but crashed on the way to Riverwood, and thrown back to coming out of Lakeview
  • Killed a couple of wolves and saw a flyby dragon on the way to Riverwood, no crash this time
  • Sold wolf pelts to Alvor
  • Entered the inn and played through the “going to the embassy” convo 
  • Boinged to Solitude to meet up with Malborn
  • Gave him a bunch of necessary items, then let him go out ahead of me
  • Found Ma’dran’s Khajiit outside the gates so bought the Daedric Mail off of him
  • Proceeded to Katla’s Farm to meet up with Delphine
  • Took the party clothes and invite, then gave her my stuff and proceeded to the embassy
  • This time through I’m thane of Hjaalmarch, so got Idgrod to be my distraction ❤️
  • Proceeded through the rest of the embassy
  • Did not yet have Dremora lords to summon, so called up a bear and a couple of frost atronachs
  • But also re-discovered that oh yeah, Quiet Casting kinda nerfs the Throw Voice Shout, oh wells
  • So started calling up Staada a few times instead, and that got some attention, muahahaha
  • Let her cut a swath through the outdoor Thalmor including the mage by the door, then headed in to let her do the same to the indoor Thalmor
  • Kept nabbing a few things on general thievery principles
  • Played through getting the evidence, and taking out the two soldiers who captured Malborn
  • Looted everybody that Staada took out
  • Freed Etienne, and got him and Malborn safely out through the tunnel and past the frost troll
  • Got the Stone of Barenziah
  • Boinged to the Guardian Stones to head back to Riverwood
  • Came in just as a thief was cornered by a couple of the townsfolk and a guard; nabbed the stuff off the thief
  • Went into the inn to talk to Delphine; got the rest of my stuff and the pointer to find Esbern in the Ratway
  • Boinged to Heljarchen to drop off books, since my shelves at Lakeview and Shadowfoot Sanctum were full
  • Planted some food items in the garden spots there
  • Rode down past Tundra Homestead and stopped to plant more food items there
  • Rode to Honningbrew and sold a bunch of Thalmor loot to Mallus
  • Boinged back to Riften and headed into the Ratway
  • Sold assorted things to Tonilia
  • Talked to Vekel to get the pointer to where Esbern is, and went into the Warrens
  • Called up staada some more to take out round 1 of the Thalmor
  • Got Dravin’s bow
  • Made it to Esbern , had the convo with him, and got out again
  • Didn’t have to kill any of the Warrens inhabitants
  • Also, did not see any sign of Shavari! Not even walking the full lower level and coming up to the upper level by Shadr
  • Went out through the gates
  • Tried to fast travel to Riverwood, got an immediate dragon though and it fried me, ouch
  • Thrown back to coming through Riften gates, this time boinged back to Honningbrew
  • Got a dragon but it was a flyby
  • Rode Dwarven Horse on around to Riverwood
  • Went past a giant crossing the road but did not engage; did however engage with the wolf who tried to attack me
  • Safely reached the inn, and played through Esbern and Delphine’s reunion and getting briefed about Alduin’s Wall
  • Told Delphine I’d meet them there
  • Started riding out but crashed again; thrown back to coming out of the inn
  • Set off for the Reach, take two
  • Stopped at Lakeview to drop off things, then proceeded to the Reach
  • Got a Blood Dragon just shy of Karthspire, which was also attacked by a nearby trio of Thalmor, with whom I did not engage directly
  • Dragon crashed across the river; I tromped slowly over there to take it out, since I was overloaded
  • But by gods I got its soul and its dragon bits and its loot 😀
  • Killed a mudcrab that got snippy at me before I returned to the riverbank
  • Swam slowly back, and damn good thing I’m Argonian, didn’t have to worry about drowning if I got pushed along by the water!
  • Returned to the Dwarven Horse and decided to boing to Markarth to sell stuff
  • Sold as much as I could to get back under carry weight
  • Came back at Karthspire from the opposite direction
  • Took out an assassin, female Argonian, just shy of the bridge over to Karthspire (sister in scales, what do you have against me? Did I squash your brood or something?)
  • Reached Delphine and she and I started going at the Forsworn; Esbern was not immediately in sight, but he caught up
  • Took out most of the Forsworn as per usual, and got the corrupted heart from the hagravens
  • Then ran Sky Haven Temple and got directive to go pester Arngeir about the Dragonrend shout
  • Headed back out and returned the heart to the gravesite to get the Ebony Spell Knight armor
  • Returned to Lakeview–and found Gregor coming out of there again, snerk
  • Also found the girls fighting! HATCHLINGS! Settle down! Don’t make me throw you back in the lake oh whoops wait, you mammals don’t spawn in lakes do you?
  • Saved there until next time


One thing I want to note starting out for this post is not directly related to Finds’ playthrough: the Steam Deck dropped a major OS update, bringing in a bunch of changes for its original model now that the OLED version has shipped. And this meant that the color profile on my playthroughs has changed!

So I started off this session doing some color testing. I found that overall colors look warmer and more vivid. I’m going to see about doing some screenshot comparisons, just to be sure. It was a very nice change, to be sure!

Where I noticed it most clearly was heading into the Reach to meet up with Delpine and Esbern at Karthspire. Usually when I do anything in the Reach, I find it pretty monochrome. But there was more distinct green this time, and I very much liked that. It helped make the whole environment seem a little less bleak to me.

Mostly, running the Thalmor Embassy this time went as it usually does for me in current playthroughs, with one exception: now that Finds has Quiet Casting, I was not able to take advantage of the Throw Voice Shout to distract any nearby Thalmor before I threw a summoned creature at them. I really need to remember that the Quiet Casting perk also impacts Shouts!

And I don’t think I’m entirely happy about that. I mean, I get the logic here: the Voice is a form of magic, so it’s reasonable that a perk that lets you do magic quietly should also impact it. On the other hand, they’re called Shouts, not Whispers! And I feel like if I’m a Dragonborn who’s got the natural inborn ability to Shout like a dragon, I should damn well be heard.

But then, not being able to use Throw Voice any more really is the only time when this bugs me, so I guess I’m not too miffed about this. And the tradeoff of being able to throw my Muffle and Invisibility spells quietly is worth not being able to Shout insults into a far corner to get somebody to run over there, I guess. 😀

And really, this was only a very temporary setback! Since I didn’t have the able to conjure a Dremora lord yet, I called up Staada instead and let her cut a swath through the Thalmor both outside and inside Elenwen’s solar. Very satisfying.

The other main thing I want to write about for this session is stopping off in Lakeview, and having the newly adopted Sofie gush at me about having a dog. As adopted kids do, sometimes!

But here’s the thing that was deeply fucking confusing: I had no dog with me.

I doublechecked older posts, though, and was reminded that oh right, I’d had that Stray Dog that vanished on me while I was running the Remnants quest! The one that had disappeared when I dove down into the water in Purewater Run!

So apparently the game thinks that dog is still around? But it’s in SPACE, or something. And the game further seems to think it’s still my follower, if the kid activated the OMG MAMA YOU HAVE A DOG conversation.

The big mystery now is: where the hell is the dog? And will I be able to retrieve it? There is discussion about this on the Stray Dog page on the UESP wiki, so it seems like it might be possible. I’m going to experiment with this a bit next time I fire up Finds’ playthrough.

I’m given to understand that recruiting Meeko overrides any previous pet follower you might have, too. So the easiest way to fix this might just be to go recruit Meeko, and then see if the previous Stray Dog winds up at Lakeview? But if that doesn’t work, I can try the procedure on the wiki discussion thread to see about recovering the RefID for my Stray Dog, and then using the console to move it to me.

More on this in Finds’ next post to come!

Last but not least, I want to note that this time, coming out of Sky Haven Temple, I happened to look up. And I saw open sky! Which surprised me, heh. This many playthroughs in on Skyrim, and I’m only just now realizing that Karthspire is not a completely closed off cave!

And as I’ve said before, that I can still learn new things about this game after playing it so many times pleases me to no end. ❤️

Achievements unlocked

  • Diplomatic Immunity: For finishing that quest
  • Alduin’s Wall: For finishing that quest

Achievements count as of this post: 33.

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • Edle: Fine (as in jewelry, used by Madesi when making the pitch to sell me some of his wares)
  • Waldelf: Wood Elf (i.e., a Bosmer)
  • Gildenkurs: Guild rates
  • Daedrische Rüstung: Daedric armor
  • Einladung zu Elenwens Empfang: Invitation to Elenwen’s Reception
  • Thalmorische Botschaft: Thalmor Embassy
  • Zauberer der Thalmor: Thalmor Wizard
  • Botschafterin: Ambassador (female)
  • Ausrüstung: Equipment
  • Archivar: Archivist
  • Drachengeschichte: Dragonlore
  • 30. Eisherbst: The 30th of Frostfall
  • Wohnkaserne: Warrens
  • Rattenweg-Gehege: Ratway Warrens
  • Hefid die Taube: Hefid the Deaf
  • Tintenfass: Inkpot
  • Mittlerweile: Meanwhile/in the meantime
  • Der Tempel der Himmelszuflucht: Sky Haven Temple (lit. “the temple of heavenly refuge”)
  • Alduins Mauer: Alduin’s Wall
  • Karthspitzenlager: Karthspire Camp
  • Beldama-Schutzmutter: Beldama Ward Mother
  • Die Karthspitze: Karthspire
  • Blutsiegel: Blood seal
  • Atemberaubend: Breathtaking
  • Die Nord-Zungen, Meister der Stimme: The Nord Tongues, masters of the Voice
  • Unkompliziert: Straightforward, uncomplicated
  • Drachenfluch: Dragonbane
  • Elitebrustpanzer des Bannritters: First translation for Ebony Spell Knight Armor
  • Elitestiefel des Bannritters: First translation for Ebony Spell Knight Boots
  • Elitehelm des Bannritters: First translation for Ebony Spell Knight Helmet
  • Elitehandschuhe des Bannritters: First translation for Ebony Spell Knight Gauntlets
  • Daedrische Kettenhandschuhe: Daedric Mail Gauntlets
  • Daedrische Kettenrüstung: Daedric Mail Armor
  • Daedrische Kettenstiefel: Daedric Mail Boots:
  • Daedrischer Helm: Daedric Helmet
  • Ebenerzhelm des Bannritters: Second translation for Ebony Spell Knight Helmet
  • Ebenerzpanzerhandschuhe des Bannritters: Second translation for Ebony Spell Knight Gauntlets
  • Ebenerzrüstung des Bannritters: Second translation for Ebony Spell Knight Armor
  • Ebenerzstiefel des Bannritters: Second translation for Ebony Spell Knight Boots

I’m confused by the use of both “Wohnkaserne” and “Gehege” for the Warrens in the Ratway. From what I see on the Elder Scrolls Wiki, “Wohnkaserne” is also used for the Warrens in Markarth–but it makes more sense there. Google Translate tells me this translates roughly to “residental barracks”, and that’s definitely the correct connotation for the place in Markarth. In the Ratway, though, not so much.

But I only saw “Wohnkaserne” when I got the directive to find Esbern after talking to Vekel. The actual name of the zone is translated to “Rattenweg-Gehege”, though. And “Gehege” seems to translate to “pen” or “enclosure”, so I’m not entirely certain about that translation, either.

I rather like “Der Temple der Himmelszuflucht”, and how it translates to “the temple of heavenly refuge”. That sounds almost Shinto. And given the lovely balcony there I’ve seen in previous playthroughs, that tracks!

There is a translation inconsistency for the Ebony Spell Knight gear! When I picked it up at the gravesite, after consecrating Simon Rodayne’s heart, the armor manifested with all of the various names starting with “Elite-“. But once it was actually in my inventory, it was all listed as “Ebenerz-“.

And that’s weird. Not the first translation inconsistency I’ve seen in either this playthrough or Ysani’s playthrough in French. But in most cases, I can explain those inconsistencies as either “the translation team accidentally left this string in English” or “the original English strings are also inconsistent, so the translation team preserved that”.

Here, though, the translations I spotted are different enough that I gotta wonder what the hell. This is not an inconsistency that appears in the original English content. Also, I would normally think that both scenarios would be drawing on the exact same strings for consistency’s sake, but as I’ve seen here, this is clearly not the case for this particular content. And yet… even if I’m assuming two separate sets of strings to translate, I’m baffled as to why the translations would be so distinctly different.

“Elite” in German appears to be the same as in English. So you can argue that the Ebony Spell Knight gear, as the highest tier of this equipment available, is reasonable to label as “Elite”.

So my best guess here is, one person must have done the translation for how the objects in question are shown to the player when they first appear at the grave, and somebody else did them for how the objects are listed in the player’s inventory. And apparently these two people either didn’t talk to one another at the time, or else were not in accord as to how to properly translate “Ebony” into German.

(Which, kinda reasonable, just because Skyrim’s version of “ebony” is not the same as the “ebony” in real life. Real life ebony is a wood. Skyrim ebony is an ore.)

If I’d been QA’ing this build, though, I’d have flagged this. Not a shipstopper by any means, since it’s just a translation inconsistency. But still, it’s a very obvious inconsistency, and that kind of thing does make for a confusing experience for the player!

Next time

I’m going to first see about rescuing Finds’ still-hypothetically-available dog from whatever void it fell into! Then I should probably take her to go see Paarthurnax, and get Clear Skies.

But also, I need to start prepping her to go to Solstheim. Since Elessir is running Dawnguard, I’m going to vary it up a bit and send Finds off to Solstheim to run Dragonborn.

And before I do that, I want to doublecheck where Finds is on all her various side quests. If I’m going to Solstheim with her before I run Dragonborn, I want to be sure to run The Cause first, so she’ll have access to the Conjure Daedric Horse spell. I’ll need that, without having Arvak!


I’m keeping more screenshots than I might otherwise have done for this session, just because of the Steam Deck’s operating system update and its changing the color profile of the game. So I did a lot of test screenshots of stuff I’ve done before, such as the areas around Whiterun and the Guardian Stones and Lakeview. I was particularly struck about the sky looking bluer than it had before.

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.