Finds-The-Way Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Finds-The-Way Finally Finds the Dark Brotherhood

I have fallen behind on my playthrough posts again, in no small part because I’ve been in a headspace where I’ve been way more interested in just straight up playing. But I have continued to take notes for blog fodder! So here’s some catchup dating from mid-December. This is the Skyrim session in which Finds-The-Way finally gets to encounter the Dark Brotherhood. ‘Bout goddamned time, says Finds!

And there’s Thieves Guild action in there too, and the obligatory German language geekery.

Play by play

  • Play date: 12/12/2023
  • Session number in this run: 40
  • Big busy session! Picked up again at Lakeview
  • Did some console testing to confirm that yep, Sofie sure did have a whole bunch of flower baskets in her inventory!
  • Made her drop them and got 198 of the things
  • Did a circuit through Windstad and Heljarchen to see what else needed building, not much else, both houses are pretty well built out and just missing a couple extra decorations
  • Stopped in Whiterun to sell things, including the 198 flower baskets
  • Then boinged to College of Winterhold to commence some adventuring action
  • Got a dragon pretty much as soon as I showed up, and took that out after it crashed on the Hall of Countenance as per usual
  • Took one round of training each from all five trainers, and sold them various item to unload as best I could
  • Talked to Urag and got the pointer to go search for Septimus to get a lead on the Elder Scroll, then headed to Septimus’ outpost to do that
  • Mined four iron veins on the way
  • Reached the outpost, talked to Septimus, and got pointer to go to Alftand
  • But first boinged to Windhelm, and checked in with Aventus to let him know Grelod was dealt with
  • Got his reward of the plate
  • Paid a coin to Silda
  • Broke into Clan Cruel-Sea’s house to run the Sweep Job there; had to enter twice, because first time through I got in too early and didn’t want to risk the family seeing me
  • After that, boinged to Dawnstar to run round 1 of ALL THE MUDCRABS
  • Came in via Windward Ruins and rode past Agrane’s camp, which meant triggering a huge number of hostiles
  • Got two giants and a mammoth vs. bandits, and got to see the giants wallop the bandits and send them flying, that was cool
  • Also saw a Blood Dragon flying around nearby
  • And the bandits from the nearby beach camp got in on the melee as well
  • I took out the bandits, but the giants took out the dragon
  • Did not try to engage the giants
  • Got the loot off the dragon though and the dragon soul, then looted the bandits camp
  • Rode over to the beach and called up Staada to help me fight all the mudcrabs
  • Did it in a circle since I was overloaded and didn’t want to chase them, but the mudcrabs apparently were fine with obliging me in that 😉
  • Once the beach was clear, hit the nearby quicksilver vein
  • Also hit the fishing spot and fished it with the Argonian rod; got three of the four arctic fish I needed, as I discovered later
  • Next stop: Solitude
  • Sold a bunch of things to Gulum-Ei
  • Then got the expected courier finally to warn me the Dark Brotherhood had their eye on me
  • Then strolled into the Thalmor HQ in Castle Dour and robbed the fuck out of the place for Delvin’s Bedlam Job
  • Boinged back to Riften to turn in the jobs
  • Got another Windhelm job from Delvin, and a Whiterun job from Vex
  • Sold stuff to Tonilia
  • Went topside and got Iona on housecarl duty, and slept in Honeyside
  • Aaaaaaand woke up in the Abandoned Shack as expected
  • During my entire conversation with her, heard noises that strongly suggested there was a dragon outside
  • Killed the skeevy as fuck Khajiit
  • Astrid invited me to come find the Brotherhood in their sanctuary in Falkreath, and gave me the key to get out of the shack
  • Saw Iona spawn right at the door as I came out
  • Confirmed as soon as I got outside that there was in fact a dragon flying around, but it appeared to be a flyby, so I didn’t have to fight it
  • Next stop: Silverdrift Lair
  • Ran that place with Iona, and got fairly heavily loaded up from loot there too
  • Got the word off the Word Wall, and the final items needed for the Gray Cowl quest
  • After that, since it was very nearby, went over to run Ironbind Barrow
  • Ran the place slowly since I was overloaded the whole time
  • Killed a bunch of spiders and draugr, and picked up what loot I could
  • Killed Beem-Ja once he revealed his intentions, and left Salma to brood on her own
  • Got the word off the Word Wall, and the Steel Battleaxe of Fiery Souls
  • Then went out the back way, and hit the little unmarked Dwemer ruin to get the loot there
  • Killed the two ice wraiths
  • Then had to figure out a way to get the hell down from there since I didn’t want to go back through the barrow, and I was overloaded so couldn’t fast travel
  • Finally made my way safely down the mountain into Wayward Pass
  • Used the “drawn bow while sneaking” track to move as fast as I could to get back to where I’d parked the Dwarven Horse at the barrow’s entrance
  • Next stop: back to Windhelm, where I sold a bunch of the loot I was carrying
  • Talked to Torsten Cruel-Sea
  • Got pointer to Niranye and returned to the market to talk to her; passed Persuade check to get her to tell me the deal with the Summerset Shadows
  • Set out for Uttering Hills to go take them out
  • Spotted distant dragon flying around that was probably Viinturuth but didn’t go after him yet, already carrying too much
  • Didn’t much bother with stealth and made a direct assault on the place; took out every Shadow we encountered
  • That drew Linwe out to come fight us on the stairs down into the main level of the hideout
  • Called up staada repeatedly to help with the fighting
  • Triggered a minor bug with the optional objective to burn the banner not activating, this apparently can be caused if you kill Linwe before you get to the banner? But I was still able to burn it nonetheless
  • Took out a couple of stragglers, then looted the place and got out
  • Returned to Windhelm to give Torsten back his daughter’s medallion
  • Sold things to Niranye on the way out
  • Boinged back to Riften, checked in with Delvin, and confirmed the arrival of the first new merchant
  • Sold more things to Tonilia
  • Got new job from Delvin in Whiterun to pair up with the Sweep Job I already had from Vex
  • Stopped in Shadowfoot Sanctum to drop stuff off there, and saved until next time


As I wrote about in In Which Finds-The-Way Slays a Thalmor Assassin and a Cruel Headmistress, I triggered a bug with Sofie generating a whole bunch of flower baskets in her inventory and making it impossible for me to give her gifts. I already wrote about the solution in that post, but this session was the one where I actually did that console investigation.

Yep, she sure did have a lot of flower baskets! Fortunately, they were easy to sell. Hope Belethor was able to get rid of them quickly. ;D

“Everything’s for sale, my friend, everything! If I had a sister, I’d sell her in a second! And if you buy anything at all in the shop now I’ll even throw in five flower baskets for free!”

Belethor, probably

Just to vary things up a bit, the dragon that showed up at the College of Winterhold periodically flew off towards the town. I was a little afraid I was going to have to run down there and fight it, but no! Which was good, since a particularly ambitious dragon could easily wipe out the whole damn town. Or at least it could if the Jarl’s family weren’t all set Essential. LOL.

Robbing the Thalmor headquarters in Castle Dour this time let me find a little detail about Solitude I hadn’t actually known before. Namely, there’s a path I can take from the door of the headquarters along the wall, and which leads down to ground level right by the gate out of the city. So I can bypass the main street of the city entirely doing that. Neat.

As of this session, I also realized I hadn’t been keeping proper track of how many jobs Finds had run for the Thieves Guild. I only discovered she’d already run five jobs in Windhelm when I was walking out of the Flagon–and Delvin threw me the special job in Windhelm without my even talking to him directly. Well, that was at least convenient!

Also, boy howdy is this one of the areas where I really do prefer the features of the Thieves Guild For Good Guys mod. Because after having a taste of better organization of those random jobs, it’s tedious as fuck to run them in an unmodded game now.

Having Iona spawn right outside the Abandoned Shack as soon as I finished talking to Astrid pretty much underscores for me how goofy it is that Astrid somehow manages to kidnap you out of whatever bed you’re sleeping anywhere in Skyrim, and is not intercepted by whichever active follower you have at the time.

Mostly, anyway. At least in the case of Honeyside, there is a plausible scenario here. That being: Iona’s bed is downstairs from mine, and if she’s asleep when I am, I can buy that Astrid snuck in through Honeyside’s rear entrance and took me out the same way. That way she’d at least have a real good shot at avoiding being spotted by any of the Riften guards.

Or hell, for that matter, it’s also plausible she bribed Riften guards to make sure Honeyside’s back entrance wasn’t under watch when she came in.

And it’s also plausible that Astrid might have hit Iona with some sort of paralysis-poisoned dart so she had time to make off with me without my housecarl’s interference.

But given that Iona did in fact catch up with me, Iona couldn’t have been incapacitated all that badly!

All of this falls over harder though if I try to apply it to any other city besides Riften. Like, say, Whiterun. Or Solitude. I have a way harder time buying it in any city that isn’t the hive of scum and villainy that is Riften. 😀

Second interesting bit about running the encounter with Astrid this time was that all throughout my conversation with her, I heard dragon noises from outside. Which told me that a) a dragon must have spawned when I was moved there, and b) I could in fact hear noises from outside. Which makes me wonder whether, if Iona had gotten into a fight with something outside the shack, would I have heard that going on? Or did Iona not spawn in the location at all until I actually exited the shack?

Though, I also wonder whether a dragon vs. giant encounter might have also triggered noises I could hear from inside the shack.

Learned a new thing about Ironbind Barrow this time, too. Namely: even if you don’t actually talk to them first, Salma and Beem-Ja will totally follow you into the place and the quest with them will start anyway. So I don’t necessarily think Finds would have deliberately snubbed them per se, particularly if she saw that Beem-Ja was in fact one of her own people. But I was curious about what would happen if I didn’t talk to them, which is why I did it that way.

I think I’ll assume for narrative purposes that Finds did at least give them some sort of basic greeting. She may have had her skeevy-as-fuck detector going off with Beems, but maybe not loudly enough to make her avoid him and Salma entirely?

I was a trifle disappointed to not get the objective to burn the banner in the Summerset Shadows hideout. But heh, tripping across yet another unfamiliar bug is what a Skyrim playthrough is all about, I guess? I burned the banner anyway, objective or no objective. On general principle! And at least I was still able to do it. 😀

And, LOL, as soon as I ran the job at Uttering Hills Cave, the guards at Windhelm were all “WELP guess the Thieves Guild owns Windhelm now!” Yes. Yes we do.

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • Blumenkorb: Flower Basket
  • Sicherheitsvorkehrungen: Security/safety precautions (used by Urag when informing the player that if he had an Elder Scroll, it would be kept under the highest security)
  • Septimus Signus’ Außenposten: Septimus Signus’s Outpost
  • Schwarzweite: Blackreach
  • Silda die Ungesehene: Silda the Unseen
  • Ein hypothetischer Verrat: A Hypothetical Treachery (the book)
  • Wilde Schlammkrabbe: Frenzied Mudcrab (lit. “wild mudcrab”) (i.e., the ones near Dawnstar)
  • Wir wissen Bescheid: We know (note from the Dark Brotherhood)
  • Arktische Äsche: Arctic Grayling
  • Seesaibling: Arctic Char
  • Seeteufel: Angler (lit. “sea devil”)
  • Thalmorhauptquartier: Thalmor Headquarters
  • Sagt mal: Tell me (used when a guard in Riften asked me if he’d seen me coming out of the orphanage, and no sir, no you did not, that was clearly some other Argonian)
  • Hinterhältige: Underhanded/devious/conniving (used by Astrid to describe Vasha the Khajiit, after Finds killed him)
  • Kiefernwald: Pine Forest (the part of Falkreath where the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary is located)
  • Verlassene Hütte: Abandoned Shack
  • Entwaffnen: Disarm (the Shout)
  • Ahnenschwert des Eisklingen-Clans: Ancestral Sword of Clan Ice-Blade
  • Riesige Frostbissspinne: Giant Frostbite Spider
  • Kriegsherr Gathrik: Warlord Gathrik
  • Überfürsorglich: Overprotective (used by Salma to describe her father)
  • Stahlstreitaxt der Seelen: Steel Battleaxe of Souls (what the game actually used for the Steel Battleaxe of Fiery Souls)
  • Eisenbundblick: Ironbind Overlook
  • Oengul Kriegs-Amboss: Oengul War-Anvil
  • Kapitän Einsam-Sturm: Captain Lonely-Gale
  • Torsten Grausam-Meer: Torsten Cruel-Sea
  • Aktivposten: Asset (used by Niranye to make the pitch that she could return to her position as a fence for the Thieves Guild)
  • Hehler: Fence
  • Höhle bei den Flüsternden Hügeln: Uttering Hills Cave (lit. “cave at the whispering hills”)
  • Schatten von Summerset: Summerset Shadow
  • Medaillon: Locket
  • Kampfgefährtin: (Female) comrade in arms
  • Dreingabe: Bonus (used by Delvin when he congratulates the player for the extra bonus touch of burning the banner of the Summerset Shadows)

When you go to talk to Septimus and ask him to tell you where the Elder Scroll is, in the English version of the game he has a line “One block lifts the other.” This then leads to him telling you you have to do something for him in exchange. In German, they used “Eine Hand wäscht die andere.” This translates to “One hand washes the other.” So not a direct literal translation, but definitely the same idea, and I like it.

Another line of Septimus’ stood out to me as well. In the English build he does have a way of breaking into rhyme:

“Under deep. Below the dark. The hidden keep. Tower Mzark.”

This is what that line becomes in German:

“Tief unten, an entleg’ner Stelle, in des Dunkeln Mark. Im Schutz verborg’ner Wälle, beim Turm von Mzark.”

Clearly, a lot more syllables! And what also stood out to me here was the words that are being contracted, “entleg’ner” and “verborg’ner”. These are “entlegener” and “verborgener”, respectively. So with that knowledge, this entire line translates back to English like so:

Deep down, in a remote place, in the dark marrow. In the shelter of hidden ramparts, near the Tower of Mzark.

You’ll note there’s a bit of extra rhyming going on there, too. And here’s my theory: “dark” in German is “dunkel”, which obviously does not rhyme with “Mzark”. So if the translators wanted to keep the idea of Septimus getting all rhyme-y here, they needed something that would rhyme with “Mzark”. This feels like a good effort to me, but not entirely successful–just because the last phrase, “beim Turm von Mzark”, is four syllables. And “in des Dunkeln Mark” is five. So the overall poetic rhythm of the line is a little off.

And the translators get rhyme-y with a line of Septimus’ that doesn’t do that in English. Like with this line:

“Delve to its limits, and Blackreach lies just beyond.”

This is the line in the German game:

“Steigt ins tiefste Tief’ hinunter, Schwarzweite liegt sogleich darunter.”

Again, we see the line getting an e dropped, this time off the end of “Tiefe”. And rhyming with “hinunter” and “darunter”. The German line translates back to this in English:

“Descend into the deepest depths, Blackreach lies immediately below.”

If you give a coin to a beggar, they always say “Thank you! Divines bless your kind heart!” I happened to notice this time through that that line gets a little longer in German, as well:

“Oh, vielen Dank! Mögen die Göttlichen Euer gütiges Herz segnen.”

This translates back to English as:

“Oh thank you! May the Divines bless your kind heart.”

Here’s the German version of the courier’s line when he brought me the note from the Dark Brotherhood:

“Ich weiß nicht. Ein unheimlicher Kerl, schwarze Robe. Sein Gesicht konnte ich nicht sehen. Hat mir aber ein hübsches Sümmchen gezahlt, um Euch das zu übergeben.”

Google Translate thinks this translates back to:

“I don’t know. A scary guy, black robe. I couldn’t see his face. But he paid me a pretty penny to give it to you.”

Which is a pretty good match to the original English:

“Don’t know. Creepy fella, black robe. Couldn’t see his face. Paid me a pretty sum to get that into your hands, though.”

And I’ll call out “Kerl” here as the word used for “fella”.

I’m curious about the very short message on the Dark Brotherhood note, though. In the English game, that note simply says “We know”. You would think this would simply translate straight over to “Wir wissen”, since “wissen” means “to know”. And “Bescheid” by itself means “information” or “notification”, but “wissen Beschied” is apparently a standard German phrase meaning “to know about”. So this is apparently how the translation handles the strong implication of this note that “we know specifically what you did”. Because the German phrase is used in connotations where you know about a specific thing.

Getting into the names of various fish, Arctic Grayling and Arctic Char, respectively, translate to “Arktische Äsche” and “Seesaibling”. Which look nothing alike. I’d think that since both fish have “Arctic” in their name, they’d both have “Arktische” in German, but I guess not? The latter word breaks down though into “See” and “saibling”, which translates back to English as “sea char”.

“Seeteufel” likewise surprised me. Twice. The fish in question is called an “Angler” in the English game. And my basic German sees “sea devil” as the translation given here. Weirdly enough, though, Google Translate thinks this translates to “monkfish”. And here’s the thing: if you image search for “monkfish”, you get some pretty good matches for what the fish actually looks like in the game. But I also can find some results when I search for “angler fish”, which pointed me at the anglerfish. Which looks even more like what you see in the game. And if I look a little further on the Wikipedia page for anglerfish, I see that monkfish are in fact a subgroup of those. Furthermore, the page for monkfish outright says they are also called sea devils.

End result: the German translation is good!

“Sagt mal” apparently is used in German similarly to how an English speaker would say “Say” or “Hey” or “By the way”.

Noting for the record: this post marks my finding out that the part of Falkreath Hold that contains the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary does in fact have its own name. It is the Pine Forest, hence “Kiefernwald” in German.

When I ran Ironbind Barrow and Beem-Ja revealed his true colors, this was his line:

“Ich sollte Euch für Eure Dummheit danken.”

This translates back to English as:

“I should thank you for your stupidity.”

Which is a slight rewording from the original:

“Fool. I should thank you.”

Why the translation team didn’t want to use “Dummkopf” here, I don’t know?

When I got the Steel Battleaxe of Fiery Souls, I noticed that the German translation of it was only “Steel Battleaxe of Souls”. The enchantment was right, that was the important thing, but the name of the weapon was wrong. It’s not clear to me though if this was an error, or a deliberate omission. What words I can find for “fiery” in German, and which seem most relevant, don’t seem to be terribly long: “feurig” or “glühend“. But either of these would have had to be made plural to properly go with “Seelen” for “souls”. So maybe they didn’t want to use the extra character count?

And as I noted above, LOL, here’s the line that the Windhelm guards threw as soon as I finished the Uttering Hills job and got Windhelm under the control of the Thieves Guild:

“Vielleicht habt Ihr es noch nicht gehört, aber die Diebesgilde ist wieder da. Windhelm ist jetzt ihre Stadt, wenn Ihr versteht, was ich meine …”

I assure you, Windhelm guard, I definitely heard. ;D

Rune in the Thieves Guild greets you in the English game as “brother in crime” or “sister in crime”. But in German, for Finds, he used “Kampfgefährtin”. Which translates over to “female comrade in arms”. Apparently there wasn’t a similarly tidy word to use for “sister in crime”?

Next time

Finds’ next post will feature officially joining the Brotherhood, getting Bloodchill Manor, and general other adventuring and thieving shenanigans. Stay tuned!


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.