Event Build: The Sinistral Ascendant

Skyrim Character Build: The Sinistral Ascendant


The Sinistral Elves of Yokuda are one of the most mysterious races in the Elder Scrolls lore. Little is known about their history, their culture, or even their appearance, as they have been considered extinct for millenia. Everything that we do know about them was recorded by the ancestors of the Redguards, the Yokudans, who are believed to have been the direct cause of their extinction. At the height of their power, the Sinistral Elves are said to have controlled an empire spanning across Yokuda that was more than four times larger than that of Tiber Septim on Tamriel. This, however, was not to last, as the Yokudans rose up and, with the help of their gods Leki and HoonDing, declared war on the Sinistral Elves in a conflict that would rage for centuries and ultimately result in the extermination of their entire race and the sinking of the continent of Yokuda. It was believed that any Sinistral Elves who survived the war died with Yokuda as it sank below the waves… until now.


Born and raised in an ancient city on Yokuda whose name has been lost to history, the Sinistral Ascendant remembers very little of their early upbringing. They were raised in a time of war, as the conflict with the Yokudans had been raging for centuries beforehand and would doubtlessly continue to do so for centuries more. As was Sinistral tradition, the young Ascendant was taught the ways of the sword, specifically of the curved scimitar, an invention of the Sinistral Elves that long predated its adoption by the Yokudans. The Ascendant was also trained in the basics of what the Yokudans referred to as “Eastern” magic. These magics involve the alteration of the physical world and the summoning of otherworldly entities; all valuable tools in the war against the Yokudans. The Ascendant was trained for years, in preparation to head to the front lines and fight their ancient enemy.

In 1E 792, the Ascendant officially joined the fight against the Yokudans. Much had changed in the past few years, as the once-disorganized Yokudans had now rallied behind a leader chosen by their god Leki, and an avatar of HoonDing, Diagna, had brought advanced Orichalcum weapons from a distant land to arm the Yokudans. The war had taken a dire turn for the Sinistral Elves, who had been pushed back deep into the inner regions of their empire, and were now fighting for their very survival. A great battle was now being fought over the Orichalc Tower, the heart of Yokuda, that would ultimately determine the fate of both races forever. The Ascendant fought bravely and just as it seemed that the Sinistral Elves may have had their enemies routed, the Yokudan’s elite mystical fighters, the Ansei (also known as Sword-Singers), joined the fight. Wielding mystical swords, just like the Sinistral Elves themselves, they were the only Yokudans who could defeat the elves in one-on-one combat. 

The Sinistral Elves and Ansei fought ferociously, and the intensity of their battle was so great that soon fissures tore the ground, shooting arcane fire into the sky. The very land of Yokuda began to give way, and the Ansei used their power to turn the destruction to their advantage. Entire Sinistral armies and cities were swallowed by earth, flame, and sea. The Ascendant attempted to escape, but suddenly found themselves falling into a chasm of purple flame. They felt their body begin to tear and contort, their soul begin to warp. They closed their eyes, accepting their fate…

When the Ascendant came to, they were sure they were dead. The landscape around them was whiter and colder than anything they had ever seen, and the sky was dark. They heard yelling from behind a ridge, and fearing that the Ansei somehow had followed them, the Ascendant attempted to draw their scimitars, but was overwhelmed by weakness and could only just make out a group of men bearing down on them as their vision faded to black…



Though details about the physical features of the Sinistral Elves are scarce, several things can be implied from what we do know. They likely look different from all other modern races of elves, due to them coming from a previous Kalpa cycle, as possible direct descendants of Lorkhan. That being said, they would probably look most similar to the Altmer, as they both descended directly from the Aedra. It is believed that they have darker skin, decorative tattoos, and piercings like their Yokudan counterparts, owing to their similar cultures and shared homeland. They also supposedly had bright red hair and piercing eyes. 

The best way to recreate this look in Vanilla Skyrim is to choose an Altmer, give them the darkest skin possible, red hair, the reddish-orange eyes, and one of the Altmer-unique war paint options (also in red). What you end up with is an elf that looks relatively distinct from the standard High Elf, which when combined with the unique aesthetic that will be achieved with the outfit, will make for a relatively convincing Sinistral Elf.


Though initially disoriented by their sudden and inexplicable leap forward through time, the Sinistral Ascendant eventually comes to terms with their circumstances. They believe that Lorkhan has sent them forward in time to prevent the end of this Kalpa cycle, which is foretold to be brought about by Alduin, The World Eater. Alduin bears some striking similarities to the Yokudan god of cycles, Satakal, which the Ascendant internalizes for additional motivation for embracing their blessing as Dragonborn and stopping Alduin. They hope that if they can prevent the end of this Kalpa, there may still be hope to one day bring their people back into existence, and thus will stop at nothing to see Alduin defeated permanently.

The Sinistral Ascendant does not meet the traditional definitions of either good or evil and is perhaps best defined by their dominating nature. They will do good things, such as defeat Alduin, Harkon, and Miraak, but solely for the purpose of preventing the end of the world and maintaining their own power as the worldly hand of Lorkhan. That being said, the Ascendant is not above completing basic tasks for others, having been raised as a soldier who knows how to follow orders. They will also sympathize with those who have suffered loss, as the pain of slowly learning that their homeland and their entire people are gone sinks in. This pain may manifest itself in the form of violent rage on the battlefield.

The Main Questline, Dragonborn, and Dawnguard are all priorities for the Sinistral Ascendant, as will be joining the College of Winterhold. The Ascendant will support the Blades in their crusade against the dragons, and will not hesitate to slay Paarthurnax after learning what they can from him. The Ascendant will also be interested in ancient cultures, having to catch up on thousands of years of history in a single lifetime. Thus, they will gladly delve into Dwemer ruins, Nordic tombs, and even realms of Oblivion in order to learn everything they can about them, with the hope of potentially learning what exactly happened to Yokuda and their people. For this reason, the Ascendant will also help out Neloth on Solstheim when they eventually meet, as they have a mutual interest in studying ancient magics and forgotten cultures. This will be especially true while studying Heart Stones, as these are believed to be fragments of the heart of Lorkhan himself.

The Companions, Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood, and Civil War quest lines are all seen as below the dignity of the Sinistral Ascendant, who is far too proud to become a simple mercenary, pickpocket, or cutthroat. Likewise, they will not taint their elven blood with Vampirism or Lycanthropy. That being said, the Ascendant is never one to turn down a good fight, and thus may do some bounty hunting or mercenary jobs early on while reestablishing themselves and re-learning their combat and magic skills, which were dulled by the Ascendant's disorienting leap forward in time.

Due to the Sinistral Elves’ connection to and even reverence for Lorkhan, the Sinistral Ascendant will be in a unique position to deal with both Aedra and Daedra as they see fit. They will not worship either and will instead rely on their own power and knowledge.

General Information and Stat Allocation

Race: Altmer

Standing Stone: Lover Stone (Lv 1-20) - Lord Stone (Lv 20-40) - Atronach Stone (Lv 40+)

Stat Spread: 66% Health, 33% Stamina - Though this build will use magic, a unique combination of racial bonuses, enchanted gear, spells, and powers means that Magicka investment is unnecessary. Playing primarily as a warrior, Health and Stamina are priorities.

Recommended Difficulty: Expert and below, though Master is possible for skilled players. It is also recommended to prioritize leveling the Enchanting skill early, regardless of difficulty. The build will play more as a warrior in the early levels, so prioritize health investment and damage output early and incorporate spell-casting later with enchanting. 


Skills (Level 50 Perk Spread)

One-Handed: Much like their Yokudan enemies, the Sinistral Elves were masters of the sword, supposedly having even created and perfected the use of the scimitar long before the Yokudans did. The Ascendent will fight with a Scimitar or Bound Sword in each hand. Perks (11): Armsman (5), Dual Flurry (2), Dual Savagery, Fighting Stance, Savage Strike, Critical Charge

Alteration: The Sinistral Elves were skilled mages, able to shape light, wind, and stone, bending their form to their will. The Sinistral Ascendant will utilize offensive spells like Ash Shell, defensive Mage Flesh spells, and utility spells like Detect Life/Dead and Candlelight. Perks (9): Novice - Expert Alteration, Magic Resistance (3), Stability, Atronach

Conjuration: To the Yokudans, there was nothing more vile or terrifying about the Sinistral Elves than their talent in the animation and summoning of otherworldly entities. The Sinistral Ascendant learned the basics of Conjuration during their training to fight the Yokudans, allowing them to summon mystical swords that could trap the souls of mortals and banish arcane beings. Following their studies with Neloth, the Ascendant will also be able to directly tap into the heart of Lorkhan and summon vengeful Sinistral Spirits (roleplayed Ash Spawn) and Ancient Desert Atronachs (roleplayed Ash Guardians). The Ascendent will utilize the Bound Sword, Conjure Ash Spawn, and Ash Guardian spells. Perks (10): Novice - Expert Conjuration, Necromancy, Dark Souls, Twin Souls, Mystic Binding, Soul Stealer, Oblivion Binding

Destruction: As stated previously, the Sinistral Elves were able to shape wind and stone with their arcane abilities. The Sinistral Ascendant will utilize Whirlwind Cloak for this purpose. Perks (3): Novice - Adept Destruction

Restoration: As stated previously, the Sinistral Elves were also able to shape sunlight through magic and use it both offensively and defensively. The Sinistral Ascendant will use a wide variety of healing and sun damage spells in combat, particularly against the undead. Perks (8): Novice - Adept Restoration, Regeneration, Respite, Recovery (2), Necromage

Enchanting: The Sinistral Elves were skilled craftsmen and artificers, and thus were able to imbue their equipment with magical properties through the binding of captured souls. Perks (8): Enchanter (5), Insightful Enchanter, Corpus Enchanter, Twin Souls

Dragon Shouts

Cyclone: Send forth a howling Yokudan desert tornado to ravage your foes.

Dragonrend: Enforce your will over Dragons, bringing them down to fight on the ground.

Marked For Death: You lay an ancient Sinestral curse on your foe, draining their life force.

Slow Time: Mastery of ancient, unnatural magics allows you to bend space and time.

Unrelenting Force: You shape the wind using your Thu’um, with deadly precision.

Whirlwind Sprint: Moving as fast as the desert wind, you dash towards your enemies.

Weapons and Apparel

Bloodscythe & Soulrender: Though they are not of Yokudan or Sinestral make, this pair of ancient and powerful scimitars will be the primary end-game weapons of the Ascendant.

Bound Swords: The Sinistral Elves can manifest mystical swords out of Aetherius like their Yokudan enemies. Use the Bound Swords to fill soul gems and recharge your scimitars.

Redguard Hood: The Sinistral Ascendant will wear a red turban, as their culture was the first to do so, not the Yokudans. This is only obtainable by killing Nazir during “Destroy the Dark Brotherhood”. If you’d rather not use the Redguard Hood, then a matching circlet can be used instead. Enchantments: Fortify Destruction & Conjuration

Telvanni Robes: These bright and alien-looking robes perfectly suit the theme of a wandering desert mage, with a beneficial +75% Magicka regeneration enchantment to boot.

Dawnguard or Elven Gauntlets: Depending on which look you’re going for, either fits the build. The brown leather straps of the Dawnguard Gauntlets match the Telvanni Robes, while the Elven Gauntlets fit thematically and further distinguish the build’s unique look. Enchantments: Fortify One-Handed & Fortify Magicka

Dawnguard or Elven Boots: Depending on which look you’re going for, either fits the build. The brown leather straps of the Dawnguard Boots match the Telvanni Robes, while the Elven Boots fit thematically and further distinguish the build’s unique look. Enchantments: Fortify One-Handed & Stamina Regeneration.

Sinistral Amulet: A self-enchanted Golden Jeweled or Golden Ruby Necklace. Enchantments: Fortify Destruction & Restoration

Sinistral Ring: A self-enchanted Golden Ruby Ring. Enchantments: Fortify Conjuration & Restoration

Heart Stones: A healthy supply of Heart Stones should be kept at all times, symbolizing the Sinistral Ascendant’s connection to Lorkhan, and by extension, to their lost people. They are also required to prevent conjured Ash Guardians from immediately turning hostile to you.

Greater Powers & Black Book Abilities

Highborn: Your elven ancestry allows you to rapidly regenerate Magicka once per day.

Sailor’s Repose: Your connection to the power of light grows a little bit stronger.

Dragonborn Force: Your mastery over the Thu’um and wind magic is now deadly.

Mora’s Boon: Once per day Lorkhan, not Hermaeus Mora, saves you from death itself.

Secret of Protection: For a brief time, once per day, your ancestors grant you protection.

Seeker of Sorcery: All magical spells are a bit easier to cast, thanks to your ancient blood.

Companion’s Insight: Your focus in combat prevents you from damaging your allies.

Bardic Knowledge: You keep your Sinistral heritage alive through songs of war.


General Gameplay

The Sinistral Ascendant plays primarily as a dual-wield skirmisher, utilizing speed, mobility, and elemental cloaks to move around the battlefield with unmatched ferocity. They will cast Mage Flesh spells, along with either Whirlwind Cloak or Stendarr’s Aura before charging into combat. Ash Shell and the summoning of mystical allies should be used in larger fights.

Special Moves: Songs of Yokuda

Song of the Wind: Bardic Knowledge + Whirlwind Cloak + Dual Power Attacks: a battle hymn from the Sinistral Ascendant’s time fighting the Yokudans, they are able to channel their control over wind and sand, enveloping them in a tornado-like cloak.

Song of the Sun: Bardic Knowledge + Stendarr’s Aura + Dual Power Attacks: a battle hymn from the Sinistral Ascendant’s time fighting the Yokudans, they are able to channel their control over sunlight, enveloping them in a cloak of light that sears the flesh of the undead.

Song of the Swords: Bardic Knowledge + Bound Swords + Dual Power Attacks: a battle hymn from the Sinistral Ascendant’s time fighting the Yokudans, they are able to manifest mystical swords from thin air, allowing them to trap the souls of their foes to recharge their scimitars.

Special Moves: Ancient Secrets

Secret of the Desert: Cyclone + Conjure Ash Guardian: drawing upon their ancient ancestors, the Sinestral Ascendant summons forth a tornado, and from it, an ancient spirit of the Yokudan deserts springs forth, devastating your enemies with wind, stone, and flame.

Secret of Lorkhan: Mora’s Boon + Secret of Protection: the Sinistral Ascendant’s connection to Lorkhan and to their lost people grants them ultimate mystical protection once per day.

Followers & Housing

Though the Sinistral Ascendant is not above enlisting the help of a follower when needed, they will not seek out any long-term companionship, neither friends nor spouses. For housing, the Ascendant has a few options, namely Breezehome, due to Whiterun’s similarity to the open plains of Yokuda, and Vlindrel Hall, due to its elegant stone and metalwork.

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  • this would need several mods doesn't it?

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