Speak to Serana to get things started. When she asks where her mother might be,
being wrong in your initial choice has no real effect besides some
Head outside and around to the alternate entrance on
the left side of the castle. From here, the quest is straightforward until you
reach the courtyard. You’ll have to find all of the missing crests and place
them in their appropriate spots on the sundial. The three missing pieces are in
the immediate vicinity of the courtyard and are easy to spot (they glimmer).
Adding the pieces opens up a secret path leading
underneath the courtyard. (If you’re curious about the towers surrounding the
courtyard, they are fairly small rooms containing some skeleton enemies and
some valuable jewels, ingots, and jewelry.)
Continue on until eventually you find yourself in a
room full of gargoyles. Once you’ve defeated them, Serana will mention
something about a secret passage. Go over to the fireplace and turn the unlit
candlestick on the left.
Once inside Valerica’s Study, talk to Serana. You’ll then have to find her mother’s
journal. The small red book is on the top shelf of a bookshelf in the southern
corner of the room. Show it to Serana, and you’ll begin a quest to gather some
materials. The materials are outlined in your quest notes and are all in the
room with you.
Once you’ve put the materials in the vessel, the
portal to the Soul Cairn will open.
you are a Dawnguard member, you’ll have to make a choice before entering the
Soul Cairn. As Serana will explain, the area is hungry for life. A normal human
cannot survive inside. If you allow
Serana to turn you into a Vampire Lord, you can enter without being harmed.
Just make sure to complete the “Rising at Dawn” quest (the standard quest to
cure vampirism, started by speaking to Falion in Morthal) before returning to
non-vampiric alternative is to allow Serana to perform a partial soul trap ritual
on you. This will weaken you inside the Soul Cairn, but you will remain human
Enter the Soul Cairn and reach the waypoint with
Serana in tow and she’ll begin talking with her mother. Your new goal is to
kill the three Boneyard Keepers as a means to lower the barrier and gain access
to Valerica. All three Keepers are marked on your map, so simply follow the
Once you’ve defeated the keepers, return to Valerica,
speak to her, then follow her into the boneyard. Here is where you’ll have to
take on Durnehviir the dragon. It’s not a particularly difficult fight, but the
bonemen that spawn can complicate things. Valerica and Serana will handle most
of the bonemen, but because of the sheer number that spawn, you’ll still have a
handful on your tail as you try and deal with Durnehviir.
After the battle, grab the scroll and speak to
Valerica. It is now time to leave this place, but if you want to take on some
of the side quests before you do (though you can always return to the Soul
Cairn), move onto the side quest section.
As you leave the boneyard, Durnehviir will teach you
the “Curse, Summon Durnehviir” shout, which summons Durnehviir into battle to
Dragon Elder Scroll
The second scroll you need is the Dragon Elder
Scroll. If you have already completed the quest “Discerning the Transmundane”
from the vanilla Skyrim quest bank, you will already have the Elder Scroll in
your possession. If you happened to sell it to Urag gro-Shub, go to the College
and buy it back.
“Discerning the Transmundane,” seek out Septimus Signus in his outpost north of
the College of Winterhold (pictured above). The quest is lengthy, but at the
end, the scroll will be yours.
Now that you have both scrolls, you can complete this
quest. Return to Volkihar and speak to Dexion. He’ll give you your next quest.
You’ll have to travel all the way to Ancestor Glade,
which is southeast of Falkreath. Once inside, grab the knife, then gather bark
from one of the surrounding trees. Once you have it, run around the area
looking for moth swarms. Once you’ve gathered seven, stand in the light, select
the Blood Elder Scroll, and read it.
Your next destination is Darkfall Cave, just south of
Mor Khazgur. Move through it until you
find Gelebor, who will give you a complicated task before helping you get
Auriel’s Bow. Continue forward through the portal into the Darkfall Passage.
You’ll have to move through the passage until you hit
a wayshrine. Draw water from the basin and pass through the portal behind it to
arrive in the Forgotten Vale. Here is where you’ll find three more basins
(marked on your map) to draw water from.
The final basin is in the Glacial Crevice. To reach
this area, head towards the marker on your map. (You’ll notice that it
indicates the final basin is in an area beyond the Forgotten Vale.) Work your
way upriver to reach it.
Pass through the Glacial Crevice and you’ll emerge
onto the Forgotten Gale - this time closer to the last wayshrine. Make your way
through the Falmer village. Once you’ve reached the final wayshrine and filled
your basin, turn around and enter the giant temple in the distance.
Pour your water into the basin near the main entrance
to gain access to the temple. Once inside, you’ll come across several doors
that require you to place your ewer on a nearby altar to open the path. Once
you do so, pick up the ewer (so that you can use it again) and make way through
the doorway before it closes. There is always another altar on the other side,
so don’t worry about becoming trapped.
Proceed until you reach Vyrthur. After speaking with
him, all of the frozen beings in the room will reanimate and attack you. Defeat
all enemies, then follow Serana up to the balcony. Here you’ll have to face and
defeat Vyrthur. Finally, you will be allowed to take Auriel’s Bow and complete
Speak to Serana. Instead of taking the portal back to
Darkfall Cave, simply fast travel out of the area (you are outside at this
point) and to Castle Volkihar. Once inside, enter the cathedral and speak to
Harkon. You can wait for the lengthy dialog, or just attack - either way, a
battle will ensue.
Harkon is a difficult target because he will slowly regenerate his health
throughout battle and uses his bat form to teleport around the room. If you
have some means of stunning him (such as high-level dualcasting), by all means
He’ll also summon skeletons and gargoyles to fight
alongside him. You may want to avoid spending time dealing with these and
instead chase Harkon around the room. The longer you are distracted, the more
he will heal.
Once he takes a certain amount of damage, he will
return to the center of the room and surround himself in a red healing aura. At
this point, whip out the Auriel Bow and fire it as quickly as you can so as to
stop his regeneration.
Notable loot from Harkon’s corpse includes Vampire
Royal Armor, which is great for mages as it not only offers the ‘magicka
regenerates 125% faster’ perk, but it provides defense, unlike robes. You’ll
also get Harkon’s katana, which, while fairly weak, absorbs 15 points of
health, magicka, and stamina if wielded by a vampire. Serana can also become a
permanent follower at this point if you wish. She hangs out at the castle
If you are a Vampire Lord and have some elven arrows,
you can now ask Serana to coat them with her blood. If you use Auriel’s Bow to shoot
these arrows at the sun, you can turn it red, nullifying the negative effects
it has on you as a vampire (for the rest of that day only).