Character Profile – Yseld, Ynvar, and Thendrick


The Reachmen say his human heart was too big for his chest, so he traded it in for a smaller model. 

Unlike most NPCs, Thendrick doesn’t have an actor. He doesn’t have a single line of dialogue. His story is one told through his companions, Yseld and Ynvar. Nevertheless, I find him no less compelling.

This isn’t to say the trio are incomplete. Yseld has her quirks – she’s forgetful, indifferent, and at times aloof. She can turn a phrase, and maybe even turn a few heads. This is in sharp contrast to her sister Ynvar – who’s the kind of rough, unforgiving woman who eats scorpions and uses tarantulas to brush her hair. You might say she’s as hard as the very rocks that cover the Reach. And yet, while the two have depth both as individuals and as sisters, it’s their relationship with Thendrick that truly gives them character.

When I visit Ynvar and Thendrick, I’m reminded of those summer days as a kid. Maybe you met someone off at camp, and you were both a little bit shy, and a little bit excited, because it was so fresh and innocent and real. And when you go back to school in the fall and back to the real world, those summer days are like special little secrets you keep between the two of you, moments frozen in time.

I also think about how much of that innocence was lost as she grew older. As the war sharpened her edges, it left her angry, jaded, and mean. But Thendrick always believed that girl was still there. Sure, she never showed it, but that’s because it was something they shared between the two of them. He always remembered those words by the river, and the smile that came with it. It was their little secret.

And now, it’s a secret he takes to his grave.

When Thendrick transformed, you might say he lost more than his heart. He lost his innocence. Ynvar’s refusal to stop him is proof she had done the same. And yet while the story of Ynvar and Thendrick is inherently tragic, their secret still lives on through their hopes for Yseld. After all, she has her sister’s smile. Here’s hoping she never loses it.

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12 thoughts on “Character Profile – Yseld, Ynvar, and Thendrick

      1. I understand this, but shouldn’t there be some justification (at least, some lampshading) for the trio’s strange “pacifism”?

        1. They aren’t pacifists, they just don’t care if they run into some adventurer passing through. At no point do they tell you they refuse to fight you out of some bizarre pacifist dogma.

          Moreover, their location isn’t a Forsworn camp so technically you aren’t invading anything. I’m pretty sure I’ve passed by Forsworn on the road and they simply warned me without instigating a fight. Their job is to look out for invading forces from Markarth, not some passerby. You’re not a threat to them, unless of course, you attack, at which point they’ll most certainly retaliate.

          It’s the same way Madanach or his thugs talk to you when you get thrown into the prison. I’m sure you didn’t question why they don’t kill you on sight. You’re basically overthinking this.

  1. That’s why I put “pacifism” in quotes (as in, relative pacifism). UESPWiki mentions that some Bandits have the capability to tell you to back off, but doesn’t say so about the Forsworn. I’ve always thought that “we shall kill everyone who passes though, no matter who it is, until you cede our land back to us” is the Forsworn approach. UESPWiki claims, “Forsworn raids are specifically aimed at non-Bretons living or passing through the Reach. They differentiate from common bandits in that they will often waylay an entire caravan or settlement leaving no survivors, but taking little loot”, albeit they don’t provide an in-game quote for this sentence.

    Madanach and co. is basically an alliance of “brothers-in-oppression” at first, and basic gratitude for agreeing to this alliance when they are at their redoubt. Killing a prisoner condemned for life would definitely make no political point whatsoever.

    Oh, and don’t take my tone to be hostile or demanding or anything, I know that it can be hard to interpret on the Internet.

    1. Well, while I remember Forsworn not being hostile to me, perhaps that’s because I was playing a Breton.

      But even if that’s the case, and vanilla Forsworn attack everything, Yseld‘s presence alone explains why they wouldn’t attack you. She’s not even fully committed to the cause. The end of this very post points that out. To me, that makes it a non-issue.

        1. Yeah, given their narrative is based on the loss of who they were, in some ways, you can argue that their lack of hostility is proof that both Ynvar and Thendrick are still trying to hold on to that sliver of humanity that their counterparts have long since thrown away.

          In any case, it’s good that you brought it up, as I’m sure others will think the same, so having a record of this should alleviate some concerns.

  2. I actually don’t think that the Forsworn (excepting the Briar Hearts) throw away any of their humanity. They are textbook terrorists, true, but terrorists are very much not inhuman.

    1. Well, we’re basically talking semantics. Some people would consider murdering innocent passerbys an inhuman act, or say, torturing prisoners of war. Even if there’s a political or practical gain to be had, crossing a certain threshold can be interpreted as a loss of one’s humanity. The line is subjective, so arguing it is futile.

      But there is definitely a perception, real or not, that the Forsworn are “madmen” and “little more than beasts who won’t listen to reason.”

      And if they are indeed worse than bandits, that would only buoy that concept. So when I say humanity, I mean the type of actions that cross that line. In other words, if we’re using Teldryn’s interpretation of humanity, I don’t think he would apply “the beast” moniker to Ynvar, whereas he probably would to the nameless Forsworn.

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