Skyrim Black Books guide: become Hermaeus Mora’s best pal in no time

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Hermaeus Mora is a tricksy Daedric Prince who takes the word ‘know-it-all’ to a whole new level. As the Daedric Prince of knowledge and memory, he’s scattered his powerful Black Books over the island of Solstheim from Skyrim Special Edition, and because you’re an insatiably curious Dragonborn, they’re ripe for the plucking - as long as you can handle the challenges that lie within. Reading each book will teleport you to a different area of Apocrypha, Hermaeus Mora’s realm, and has its own set of tasks, enemies, and puzzles to beat. Here’s exactly how to conquer each book and reap the rewards inside each one, ranging from skill point increases to a summonable Daedra merchant. No, I’m not joking. 

Black Book: Filament and Filigree

First off, complete the Unearthed quest. To begin that, find a treasure hunter called Ralis in a camp just outside of Kolbjorn Barrow, which is south-east of Raven Rock. He wants to dig down into the ash to explore the Norse ruins below, and luckily you’re around to help. Talking to him will kick off the Unearthed quest, and bear in mind that you’ll have to invest a total of 6,000 gold in Ralis’ archaeological dig (which will eventually lead you to the Black Book), so make sure to save up some beforehand. Once you’ve finished the quest you’ll find the Black Book at the end of the final tunnel in the ruins. 

Making your way through the section of Apocrypha that Filament and Filigree teleports you to is pretty simple, as there aren’t any puzzles, but you’ll want to make sure you’ve got plenty of health potions if you’re a low level as there are a fair few enemies. Kill the Lurkers and Seekers waiting inside (watch out for the Lurker waiting in the pool at the top of the final set of stairs), then make your way up to the end of the passageway and choose your reward upon reading the book. Up for grabs is either:

Secret of Strength: For 30 seconds power attacks cost zero stamina
Secret of Sorcery: For 30 seconds spells cost zero magicka
Secret of Stealth: Take half damage for 30 seconds

Black Book: The Hidden Twilight

Like the other books, to access this Black Book first complete the Reluctant Steward quest for Neloth, the master Dunmer wizard who lives in Tel Mithryn (the giant mushrooms near to Raven Rock). He’s a bit of a jerk, but go with it. Once you’ve finished the quest, Neloth will unlock the room in his living quarters that holds the Black Book. 

Once you’ve been sucked into Apocrypha, Hermaeus Mora will introduce himself to you. You’ll have to find all the chapters to the book in order to get to the end, so glance below to see our walkthrough of the path you’ve got to take, or read the description that's just below the video. 

To start off, listen to Hermaeus Mora's speech, then use the scrye, walk through the gates before you, and open chapter 2. Follow the corridor all the way around, then you'll find yourself in a large central area. Take out the seekers (they'll replicate themselves when they're at low health, so focus your hits on the first one you started to attack). Once they're dead, go up onto the raised platform on the left of the central area and follow the ramp up. Activate the scrye that's at the top on the right of the magicka font, and carefully make your way across the extending bridges. Once you're on the other side go right down the ramp where you'll find chapter 3. 

Follow the corridor (again) until your get to the font of magicka. Turn right and follow the ramp that leads up to the top of the archway you just came through, and activate the scrye on top of it which will extend the staircase on the platform below. Watch out for the seekers below, then make your way across the platform and kill the lurker on the other side. Go onto the middle platform to the right of the central area (the one with the ramp), and activate the scrye on the top. That'll open the gates to the central area. 

Make your way up the first step of stairs once you're through the gates, then turn right and go up the concealed stairs and the ramp they lead to. Activate the scrye, which will open the gates below you, and go through the second set of gates. Take out the seekers in the area to your right with all the columns, then go right again until you get to a wall and head right once more. Go forward down the extending corridor and go into chapter 6. chapter 5 is mainly filled with loot, so unless you want to fill your pockets you can skip it.

Go straight forward, and turn right so you'll be able to see two books on pedestals in front of you. Go first to chapter 7, kill the seeker, and activate the scrye, which will make the bridges descend in distance. Go back to Chapter 6, then go to Chapter 8, where you'll kill another seeker and cross the bridges. A lurker will spawn on the left hand side of the gates, so kill it then use the scrye at the end. Go through the gates, and you'll reach Hidden Twilight where you’ll get to choose between three perks: 

Mora’s Agony: Summons a field of writhing tentacles to poison foes
Mora's Grasp: Freezes target for 30 seconds, making them immune to all damage
Mora's Boon: Completely restores Health, Magicka, and Stamina

Black Book: The Sallow Regent

Head to White Ridge Barrow to get your hands on this tome. A word for arachnophobes: there are a lot of spiders here. Make your way right to the end of the Barrow, fight the Dragon Priest, then below the balcony at the end you’ll find the Black Book. 

The Sallow Regent is a tricksy book, as the darkness will damage your health. Have the candlelight spell handy, as it’ll save a chunk of your health from getting shaved off. If you don’t have the magical acumen to cast Candlelight, equip Whirlwind Sprint and leg it through the dark sections, and make sure you have a ton of health potions ready to glug. Apart from that, just follow the path, destroy any beasties in your way, and you’ll find yourself at the end of the book in no time. You’ll be able to choose from:

Seeker of Might: 10% more effective combat skills
Seeker of Sorcery: 10% reduction in cost of all spells
Seeker of Shadows: 10% more effective stealth abilities

Black Book: The Winds of Change

Find Raven Rock Mine (located in Raven Rock, obviously), and make your way right to the end, into Bloodskal Barrow. Defeat the Dragon Priest Zahkriisos, then enter the Black Book. Fight your way through the world, and keep an eye out for the tentacles that jump out from the water towards you. They hurt. 

Send any Lurkers that come your way to their watery graves, then you just have to decide which perk you’re going to pick as there’s no puzzles to work your way through. Up for grabs:

Scholar's Insight: Reading Skill Books gives an extra Skill Point
Companion's Insight: Attacks, shouts, and destruction spells do zero damage to followers
Lover's Insight: Do 10% more damage to and get 10% better prices from people of the opposite sex

Black Book: Untold Legends

Untold Legends is found right at the end of Benokngerike, a Nordic ruin in the northern region of the map just to the southeast of Saering’s Watch. Inside you’ll find a lot of Rieklings, so fight your way through until you get to the Word Wall, and the book will be right behind it. This time making your way through Apocrypha will take a while, so watch below for a quick walkthrough of what to do to reach the end, or look below the video to read our walkthrough.  

Start off by going straight down the corridor, turning right, following it all the way down, then following it all the way around to the left. Head down the steps, and go into chapter 2. 

Start off by going straight over the bridge, watching out for the lurker that will spawn on your right just after the second archway. Get to the end of the bridge, turn left, and enter chapter 4. 

Go straight forwards until you reach a large area with a gated platform in the centre. Kill the seekers floating around, then go up the stairs on the middle right-hand side. Activate the scrye, then go through the gates and activate the next scrye inside. That'll open the gates on the middle left-hand side, which you should head into next. Activate the scrye inside that chamber, then head to the central area as its gates are now open. Yup, you guessed it - activate the scrye inside the chamber, then head straight forward and up the steps towards the book, and enter chapter 5. 

Head straight forward down the tunnel, which will twist to the left. Kill the lurker, then head through the exit just behind the pool it spawned out of. Head down the corridor, activate the scrye, and make your way through the gates. In the columned area turn left and go down the tunnel, which will twist to the right this time. Kill the second lurker, and do the same thing as before, heading down the corridor behind it. Activate the scrye, go through the games, and this time turn right and head down the corridor, which will lead you (finally) to Untold Legends.  

At the end, choose between these three perks: 

Bardic Knowledge: Summons a spectral drum, improving stamina regen
Black Market: Summons a Dremora merchant for 15 seconds
Secret Servant: Summons a Dremora butler to carry your excess items

Black Book: Epistolary Acumen

You’ll only be able to access this Black Book if you’re almost at the end of the main questline, as its location is linked to the Path of Knowledge quest, which is the second-to-last one in your mission to take down the main bad guy Miraak. After speaking to Storn Crag-Strider at the Skaal village to the north of the island, he’ll tell you to go and talk to Neloth at Tel Mithryn, who is in the south east of Solstheim. The Dunmer wizard knows where to find the Black Books, so he’ll send you to Nchardak, a Dwemer ruin east of Solstheim near Tel Mithryn. According to his research inside you’ll find Epistolary Acumen inside, so all you need to do is make your way through the ruins and then right at the end you’ll get your mitts on the Black Book. Reading it will trigger the Gardener of Men quest, so watch the video below to see how to navigate Apocrypha and find all the chapters, as this one is a fairy long trip into Hermaeus Mora’s realm.  

Activate the scrye, and make your way into the twisting bridge. Go all the way down it (past the page whirlwind), and jump out onto the platform with the scrye on it. Use the scrye, which will lower the bridge in front of you, jump back into the tunnel and then jump onto the now-lowered bridge. Go into Chapter 2. 

Activate the scrye at the end of the long tunnel, and kill the lurker and seekers waiting for you in the arena. Once they're dead use the scrye underneath the font of magicka. That'll open the gates behind you, which you should enter and go into Chapter 3. 

Follow the stairs all the way up, killing any seekers in your way, and step into the twisting bridge. There will be a lurker and seekers on the two other platforms, but you can ignore them. Run to the end of the tunnel, use the scrye, and go through the gates. Head down the end of the extending tunnel past the piles of books, take out the seeker, and follow the corridor down to the left. Jump out of the tunnel down onto the extending bridge, and watch out for the lurker waiting for you. Jump off on the platform with the scrye on it, use the scrye, then follow the path all the way round and through the room with the big pool in the middle. This next corridor is filled with seekers, so you'll want to kill them all before going any further. At the end of all that bloodshed go through chapter 4. 

Use the scrye straight in front of you, and you'll finally be able to get to Epistolary Acumen. At the end you’ll be offered the choice of three perks:

Dragonborn Force: Unrelenting Shout does more damage and may disintegrate enemies
Dragonborn Flame: Whenever Fire Breath kills an enemy, a fire wyrm is spawned for 60 seconds
Dragonborn Frost: Frost Breath can freeze enemies solid

Black Book: Waking Dreams

Once you’ve been through the fairly traumatic events to get your hands on this book, open it and get reading. It’ll teleport you to Apocrypha to fight Solstheim big bad Miraak in his temple. Once again, getting through this book will take a while so glance at the video below to see how it’s done. Remember to pick up the four books from their pedestals on your way, as they unlock the gateway to the final area where you’ll find Miraak ready for a fight. Have a look below for the fastest way to get through Apocrypha and confront Miraak, or read the guide just below the video.

First up, head straight forward and jump into chapter 2. Make your way up all the stairs, keeping an eye out for seekers, and make your way across the bridge. Climb up the stairs directly in front of you to get to the pedestal with the book Boneless Limbs on it. Once you pick it up the stairs in the distance will extend, which you'll want to go up. Go through the gate, and jump into chapter 3. 

Head straight forward, turn right, and kill the seekers floating around. Go forward and to the left up the stairs which will lead you to another book on a pedestal: Delving Pincers. Go back down the stairs, turn left down the corridor you started in with the book at the end of it, and go into the chamber on the left-hand side which will now be open. Inside is - yes, you guessed it - a scrye, which you'll use before walking down the tunnel that expands just behind it. Go all the way through it, up the ramp, and turn right. Go over the bridge nearest to you and head towards the area with a font of magicka just in front of it. There you'll find the book Prying Orbs on a pedestal, which you should take. Gates will open in the distance, so go through them to get to chapter 4. 

Head down the steps, and kill any seekers in the way. Head over the bridge and down the stairs, and go through the tunnel straight in front of you. Just past an altar with a health potion the tunnel will suddenly shrink, but don't worry. Go back and turn left down the tunnel with the page whirlwind in the middle, and exactly the same thing will happen. Go back (again), and turn left, and now the tunnel will start moving. Exit, kill the seeker, and go up the two sets of stairs. Take the book Gnashing Blades from the pedestal. Go back down both sets of stairs, then turn right down the tunnel. Follow it all the way down, past the glowing suspended and altars. 

Behind the glowing suspended light the tunnel will extend, and you should follow it before turning left. Head over the bridge (watching out for the tentacles), up the stairs, over another bridge, ad up the stairs until you get to the scrye. Activate it to make the gates opposite you on the lower floor open. Jump down from the bridge, go through the now-open archway, and make your way down the corridor. Keep going straight forward (ignoring the left-hand turn), until you come to a large open area with a pool in the middle. First use the scrye on the right-hand side of the area, which will cause a lurker to spawn. Kill the lurker, and go down the short tunnel on the same side as the scrye you just activated, and use the scrye at the end of it. That'll open the gates just in front of the pool the lurker came out of. Go through them and up all those stairs, and go into chapter 5. 

Follow the tunnel all the way around until you get to a massive open area with a green glowing structure in the middle of it. Now you’ll have to match up four pedestals to their respective books to open up the way to Miraak, so:

Delving Pincers goes on the one that looks like (yup, you guessed it) pincers

Prying Orbs goes on the one marked with an eye

Boneless Limbs goes onto the one carved with tentacles

Gnashing Blades goes onto the one with teeth drawn on it

Approach the central pillar to find the final chapter, which will lead you to an area with Seekers studying a Word Wall. Kill them, then approach the Word Wall to learn the final word in the Dragon Aspect shout which you’ll need to battle Miraak. Make sure you’re prepared, as your final confrontation with Miraak will be a long fight. Now use your Bend Will shout on the dragon Sahrotaar as he lands beside you, and fly him to Miraak’s Temple (he’ll give you a quick tutorial on how dragon flying works on the way). Kill Miraak, and bear in mind that close-quarters combat works best (as his ranged spells are incredibly powerful), keeping an eye out for the four dragons whose souls he will absorb to regenerate health when he’s just about to die. Mages be warned: his electricity spells can and will deplete your Magicka. 

Once he’s dead, search his body and use the nearby book in the middle of the room to reset your skill points in exchange for one dragon soul. Handily, you can return here as many times as you like so there’s no limit to how many times you can respend your skill points - as long as you have enough dragon souls, of course. And now that Miraak won’t steal those souls from right under your nose, you can harvest as many as you wish!