Finds-The-Way Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Finds-The-Way Escapes from Cidhna Mine

Still working on getting caught up on Skyrim posts. This is another one from mid-December, Finds-The-Way’s playthrough. Primary action here is finishing the quest to get the White Phial, running the Forsworn Conspiracy, and running Arkngthamz and meeting the ghost of Katria. With the obligatory German language geekery!

Play by play

  • Play date: 12/18/2023
  • Session number in this run: 42
  • Picked up again in Lakeview, and boinged to Whiterun to sell some stuff
  • Rode out from there and immediately got a dragon at the Western Watchtower, so stopped to kill it
  • Leveled up to 53, and took Merchant perk in Speech
  • Had to hunt around a lot for the Dwarven Horse afterwards, because the damn thing ran off and I couldn’t find it
  • Fast traveled back to the Whiterun stables to get it to come back to me
  • From there, rode out again, aiming for Broken Fang Cave so I could get Bloodthirst
  • Got cultists on the way, and dispatched same
  • Spotted giant once I mounted up again, very close by, but not close enough that I had to fight him
  • Stormcloak courier ran past me, then turned around and ran back the other way
  • Reached and cleared Broken Fang Cave; got the sword and assorted boss loot–including the spellbook for Conjure Ancient Deathpriest
  • That loaded me up pretty heavily, but rejiggered the load by swapping armor around
  • Boinged to Markarth to do the swath of quests queued up there
  • Came in late at night and told Iona to park it at the gate
  • Then I snuck into Ogmund’s house and stole the target items to satisfy both Sweep and Bedlam jobs
  • Muiri was out wandering around despite it being late, so I also talked to her to secure her quest for taking out Alain Dufont
  • Rented a room at the inn, then got up and talked to Lynea about her fishing lessons
  • Fished with her and got her amulet as her quest reward
  • Then headed to Reachwater Rock to try to fish up cave-based fish; got three of the four I needed
  • Also got a scorpionfish which I’ll need for later
  • Hit the iron and silver veins outside since they’d respawned
  • Boinged back to Lakeview for supplies check
  • Sofie asked for a gift and this time I was able to give her a couple of dolls! I think I did actually give her two but hey, making up for the last time
  • Returned to Riften, and checked in with Delvin and Vex on their jobs; bit of weirdness with resolving the special job with Delvin, see below
  • Had to re-roll with him several times before I got a new Bedlam Job in Markarth
  • Then talked to Vex, and tried to get her to give me another Sweep Job in Markarth which would let me move that city along faster, but no, could not get her to give me one
  • Wound up taking another job from her in Whiterun, robbing Amren’s house again, snerk
  • Talked to Vekel to resolve the journals quest (and of course he didn’t actually take the frigging books because known bug there)
  • Sold a bunch of stuff to Tonilia
  • Left Dark Brotherhood robes and Bloodthirst in Shadowfoot Sanctum
  • Went topside and resolved fishing lessons quest with Viriya; got quest to go fish up Ri’saad’s lost booze
  • Boinged next to the Throat of the World to hit the bank of Unmelting Snow
  • Then boinged to Stonehill Bluff to nab the Pulverized Mammoth Tusk
  • And then boinged to Windhelm to check in with Quintus and finish up the White Phial quest
  • Next up: returning to the Reach
  • Boinged to Hendraheim to get within range of the fishing spot for Ri’saad’s booze
  • Got a dragon just past Hendraheim and had to stop to take it out
  • Reached the right spot to fish up the booze and did so
  • Returned to Markarth and started running the Forsworn Conspiracy, partly to get it done and partly to get within easy grabbing distance of the Stone of Barenziah in the treasury 😉
  • This time through I actually stopped to talk to Eltrys after getting info on Margret and Weylin
  • Then ran the treasury and did indeed snurch the Stone of Barenziah
  • Also snurched all the stuff out of the pile of ashes that was all that was left of Thonar’s wife (what can I say, I am playing a thief here)
  • Tried to see if I could get Thonar to let me go kill Madanach for him, because I’ve still not run that option in the plot, but my grasp of German wasn’t quite solid enough to find the right dialogue choices (or so I thought, see below)
  • So Thonar told me to fuck off out of his house as per previous playthroughs
  • Tried to go back to talk to Eltrys again, but once I got to the point of running the treasury, that apparently set him up to be murdered at the shrine by the guards
  • Had to roll back slightly and go run the visit to Nepos’ house, because I didn’t want to leave out that part, and Iona and I killed the entire pack of them once they attacked us
  • Then I returned to the shrine and proceeded with getting thrown into Cidhna Mine
  • Ran that pretty much as per previous playthroughs
  • Passed Persuade check to go talk to Madanach
  • Also hit all five silver veins to get the ore for myself
  • Then proceeded with Madanach’s demands to go listen to Braig’s story, and then to take out Grimsvar
  • Notably, this time, as the other NPCs took him out for me, one of them hit him with fire, which means that guy was a mage
  • Broke out with the Forsworn anyway, as per usual, and let them all run ahead and rampage their way out of the city
  • This time noted that in addition to Thonar, they also took out Mulush, the Orc in charge of the smelter, so looted both of those piles of ash
  • Got a set of Markarth guard gear and assorted torches as well
  • After all that excitement, went in to talk to the Jarl and got his apology for my being thrown into prison
  • Tried to ask him if I could buy a house, but he blew me off on that, so proceeded to ask him for work
  • Got the quest to go take out a Forsworn leader, and again, was sent off to Deepwood Redoubt
  • HOW CONVENIENT, because I also had a quest to do the Word of Power at Hag’s End!
  • But first I wanted to finally go run Arkngthamz, so rode over to do that
  • Got a scavenger right near the bridge leading to Dushnikh Yal; he attacked me, notably even while I was on the Dwarven Horse
  • Took out the usual bear on the way to the Orc stronghold
  • Also took out a sabre cat right near the entrance to the ruin
  • Proceeded to run the place, and HI KATRIA
  • As per usual Iona got stuck on the pipes leading to the resonators
  • So I just ran the place with Katria, but did this with no real problems
  • Snuck by some of the Falmer but wasn’t able to elude all of them
  • Shot arrows at the five resonators as per usual
  • Number three gave me a lot of issues till I found the right angle to shoot at it, finally
  • But got all of them done in the right sequence, and got the aetherium shard, which put me at two
  • Retrieved Katria’s bow as well
  • Got lucky with the jump off the ledge, see below, and scampered up the pipes to get out
  • At which point I saw Iona coming back over to catch up with me from where she’d been stuck, and we both got out safely
  • Boinged back to Lakeview for supplies check, and saved there until next time


When I got back to Riften to report in with Delvin and Vex about their jobs at the top of this session, I noticed a bit of odd behavior when I kept trying to re-roll the special job with Delvin. On attempt number one, I had the dialogue option to tell him I’d resolved the special job in Windhelm. Then I asked for another job, which I didn’t want, so I rolled back to the prior save to try again.

The second time through, and on subsequent attempts, I did not have the dialogue option about finishing the special job. Even though I’d rolled back to a point just prior to taking that dialogue option the first time.

So apparently something under the hood in the game thought I resolved that properly anyway, even though I rolled back, and kept re-rolling until I got a Bedlam job in Markarth. Something for me to keep an eye on in any future un-modded playthroughs. (I’ll have to see how likely an un-modded playthrough with the Thieves Guild will be, really. Playing Thieves Guild with mods is a superior experience and I’m disinclined to do a vanilla Thieves Guild again. But I reserve the right to change my mind!)

I tried to see if I could get Thonar to let me go kill Madanach for him, because I’ve still not run that option in the plot, but my grasp of German wasn’t quite solid enough to find the right dialogue choices. Or so I thought. Apparently I had it wrong all this time–you don’t choose to kill Madanach in the treasury, you just do it once you’re in Cidhna Mine itself! So that at least makes me feel a little better about how I parsed the German. I’ll need to remember this next time I run that plot.

I also need to remember that I only get a couple of shots at going back to talk to Eltrys before the guards murder him at the shrine: just after looking at Margret’s room, and just after the brawl at the Warrens. I’ll need to see maybe if I can still run Nepos’ house and get in one more shot at talking to Eltrys, as long as I haven’t been to the treasury yet. We’ll see in my next playthrough, maybe.

This time, once I was thrown into the mine and had to take out Grimsvar as per Madanach’s orders, the other prisoners fought him for me as per usual… but one of them hit him with fire. Which means, as I noted above, that prisoner was a mage. Which underscores my whole objection to Cidhna Mine’s security! Because I mean honestly, if a prisoner can set somebody on fire, what’s to stop him from doing that to the guards?

You can argue, I suppose, that even if a magically gifted prisoner decided to fry a guard or two, that still wouldn’t guarantee them an escape. They’d then also have to make it out of the mine and out of Markarth in general. And it’d take a truly desperate fire mage, not to mention a truly gifted one, to be able to burn their way out of the city entirely on their own.

But that’s just assuming that the mage in question was working with Destruction magic. I still don’t buy that a mage suitably gifted in Conjuration or Illusion couldn’t bust right out of Cidhna Mine any damn time they wanted to. Cast a strong enough Mayhem spell, you could get the guards all killing each other. And cast Invisibility and Muffle enough times, you could walk right out of Markarth unchallenged.

Getting out of Arkngthamz had one minor difference this time, at the part where I have to jump down from the high ledge. Without actually meaning to, I landed on the far side of the water, on ground rather than in water, right near the pipe I needed to climb up. So I didn’t even need to worry about the strength of the current.

Which was kinda hilarious just because I was expecting to have that water be at least a little rough for an Argonian!

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • Bruchzahnhöhle: Broken Fang Cave
  • Zauberbuch: Uralten Todespriester Beschwören: Spell Tome: Conjure Ancient Deathpriest
  • Angellehrer: Fishing instructor
  • Familienerbstück: Family heirloom (i.e., the necklace I retrieved for Torsten Cruel-Sea in Windhelm)
  • Haus Alt-Hrol’dan: Old Hroldan Inn
  • Skorpionfisch: Scorpionfish
  • Glaswels: Glass Catfish
  • Düsterfisch: Direfish (lit. “darkfish”)
  • Dreibeiniger Spinnenfisch: Tripod Spiderfish
  • Nimmerschmelzender Schneehügel: Hill of Unmelting Snow
  • Den Göttern sei Dank: Thank the gods
  • Alter Flin: Aged Flin
  • Herumgeschnüffelt: Snooping/poking around (used in the line the Markarth guard gives you when he tries to warn you off asking questions in the Forsworn Conspiracy)
  • Schatzkammer: Treasury
  • Hüttenarbeitern: Smelter workers
  • Die Wohnkaserne: The Warrens
  • “Ihr schäbiges Stück Arenafutter.”: “You mangy piece of pit-bait!” (Dryston’s line to the Dragonborn after you beat him in the brawl by the Warrens.) (lit. “You shabby piece of arena fodder.”)
  • Einwohner: Inhabitant/native (used by Eltrys to describe the native Reachmen who respect Nepos the Nose)
  • Reichtümer: Riches
  • Agentin: Agent (female)
  • Kaiserreichsverehrer: Empire lovers
  • Einzumischen: To interfere
  • Feine Kleidung: Fine Clothes
  • Hinterteil: Backside
  • Haushälterin: Housekeeper
  • Dienstmagd: Maid
  • Die Verschwörung der Abgeschworenen: The Forsworn Conspiracy (i.e., the quest)
  • Cidhna-Mine: Cidhna Mine
  • Lebensunterhalt: Keep/livelihood (as in, “earn your keep”)
  • Gewalttätig: Violent
  • Lebenslängliche: Lifer
  • Bestie: Beast/animal
  • Zwergenruinen: Dwarven ruins
  • Unseren Lieblingsfremdling: Our favorite stranger/outsider
  • Stiefel der Alten Götter: Boots of the Old Gods
  • Helm der Alten Götter: Helmet of the Old Gods
  • Panzerhandschuhe der Alten Götter: Gauntlets of the Old Gods
  • Nord-Met: Nord Mead
  • Der Thron der Trauer: The Mournful Throne (lit. “the Throne of Sorrow”)
  • Almosen: Alms
  • Schandmaul: Backbiter (used by Degaine the beggar to insult passersby who don’t give him alms) (lit. “shameful mouth”)
  • Plünderer: Scavenger (NPC who loots dead Stormcloaks and Imperials) (lit. “looter/plunderer”)
  • Kaiserlicher Leichter Schild: Imperial Light Shield
  • Abenteurerin: Adventurer (female)
  • Kinetische Resonatoren: Kinetic resonators
  • Ewigkeit: Eternity
  • Klangschloss: Tonal Lock
  • Ein präziser Schnitt: A precise cut
  • Brucas Sprungschanze: Bruca’s Leap Redoubt
  • Eishauchtiefen: Chillwind Depths
  • Tiefenvolkkreuzung: Deep Folk Crossing
  • Anpassungssphäre: Attunement Sphere

I was surprised by the translation of Old Hroldan Inn, which came up when I got the quest to go recover Ri’saad’s lost booze from the river–because in German, there’s an apostrophe in there! This is not present in the English version of the game. So I’m real curious as to why the German game made that change. It’s documented on the German page for the inn on the Elder Scrolls wiki, too.

My best guess here is that it’s an aide to German pronunciation. But I’m not entirely confident of that, just because off the top of my head I can think of at least a couple of German words where the letters l and d are right next to each other. For example, the verb “melden” (to report), or the noun “Wälder”, the plural of “Wald” (forest). So it doesn’t seem likely to me that a German speaker would find “Hroldan” difficult to pronounce.

And I dunno, maybe the “Hr” at the beginning of the name throws things off? But that doesn’t seem likely either, given that Hoch-Hrothgar is also a place name that exists in the translated game, and there’s another “Hr” right there.

(But if I’m wrong, any German speakers who might read this are definitely welcome to correct me!)

I could not help but giggle a little at “Bestie” being a German word for “beast”. Not to be confused with “best friend”, of course. But it was funny to see Madanach using that word!

Next time

Finds-The-Way’s next post will feature a bit more hunting of aetherium shards, and anti-Forsworn action on behalf of the Jarl of Markarth. And some thievery as well, including getting the special job from Delvin for Whiterun!


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.