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Skyrim:Chasing Echoes

Skyrim: Dawnguard: Quests: Main Quest
 
Explore Castle Volkihar.
Quest Giver: Dexion Evicus
Location(s): Castle Volkihar
Prerequisite Quest: Prophet (Dawnguard) or Prophet (Vampire)
Next Quest: Beyond Death
Concurrent Quest: Seeking Disclosure
Reward: Entrance to the Soul Cairn
ID: DLC1VQ04
Suggested Level: 10
 
Something is wrong with the moon dial...

Quick WalkthroughEdit

  1. Speak to Serana.
  2. Explore Castle Volkihar.
  3. Investigate the Moondial.
  4. Explore Castle Volkihar's Ruined Tower.
  5. Locate Valerica's Journal.
  6. (If not a vampire) Become a Vampire Lord or get partially soul trapped.
  7. Enter the Soul Cairn.

Detailed WalkthroughEdit

 
Half
Full
Cres
Locations of the missing crests on a map of Castle Volkihar Courtyard

Serana will speak to you after the Moth Priest reads the Elder Scroll, saying she may know where to find one of the scrolls. She thinks her mother, Valerica, may have information on it, and may even possess it. Serana believes Valerica may have left a clue in the courtyard at Castle Volkihar. Though you will not be able to enter through the Keep, Serana knows of a secret entrance you can use. If you have a follower at this point, you must dismiss them. Simply telling them to wait is not enough: Serana won't accompany you unless you send your follower home.

When you reach the castle, head northwest, along the coastline. When you reach the castle's old docks, you will be attacked by four high-powered skeletons. Use the secret entrance to the undercroft and fight your way through death hounds, skeevers, skeletons, and a feral vampire.

After dealing with the vampire, you will arrive at a stone archway with a raised drawbridge. Head up a set of stairs on the opposite corner of the room to find the lever needed to lower the bridge. Cross the bridge and take a left as instructed by Serana: this leads into an open area inhabited by death hounds. Climb the stairs in the southern section and pass through a tunnel, which leads to a room with a giant frostbite spider. You can snipe at the spider from the tunnel, as it's too large to enter the tunnel. Once you've dispatched it, pull a lever to lower another bridge, which gives you access to the courtyard.

The courtyard itself is abandoned and derelict, and Serana will immediately tell you there is something wrong with the moon dial. You will need to find the three missing pieces and place them in the moon dial in order for a secret entrance to open.

  • The Half Moon Crest can be found in the center of a pond lying against a rock in the northwest corner of the courtyard.
  • The Full Moon Crest can be found behind a patch of nightshade lying against the castle's exterior wall in the fenced off area identified as Valerica's garden.
  • The Crescent Moon Crest can be found up the stairs just to the right of the entrance to Volkihar North Tower lying on the floor beside a table and chairs.
 
Serana opening the portal to the Soul Cairn

Once all pieces are back in place, the dial will swivel to reveal steps leading down to the ruins below the castle. Fight your way past more gargoyles and skeletons until you reach a room with gargoyles and a fireplace. Serana will tell you there must be a secret entrance somewhere, and sure enough, you can either turn the candlestick near the fireplace or pull the chain behind the gargoyle to reveal a secret door. Note that pulling the chain will unleash the stone gargoyle. There is also a vampire royal armor near the shelf to the right.

Head through the secret door to Valerica's study. Here you will need to search for her journal, which is located on the central bookcase to the west of where you entered. After Serana reads it, she will tell you to find certain ingredients which can be found in the laboratory:

  • The Finely Ground Bone Meal is on the table by the entrance beneath the mammoth skull.
  • The Soul Gem Shards are on the first wardrobe up the stairs that lead east.
  • The Purified Void Salts are on a shelf with other ingredients, near the farthest point of the raised area of the room, on the balcony above the entrance.

All of these items are in silver bowls, and will be added to your miscellaneous inventory when you pick them up, as they are considered quest items. Note that "regular" bonemeal, soul gem fragments, and void salts will not work.

Once you have all three, place them in the vessel in front of the portal, which Serana is typically standing next to. She will then add her blood to the mixture, opening a portal to the Soul Cairn.

If you are vampire (whether by siding with the Volkihar or through "regular" infection when siding with the Dawnguard), you will be able to enter straight away. If you are not a vampire, you will suffer some health damage when attempting to use the portal. Serana will explain that to enter the Soul Cairn you must be "dead" and then give you a choice:

  • Allow her to turn you into a Vampire Lord.
  • Allow her to trap part of your soul in a soul gem.
    • This is the only way to enter the Soul Cairn without becoming a vampire and will add the Weakened Soul effect, which reduces your health, stamina, and magicka by 45 points (as well as their regeneration rates) while in the Soul Cairn.

Choosing either will allow you to enter the Soul Cairn.

NotesEdit

  • Before entering the Cairn, you can exit the laboratory through a door in the southern corner. This leads to the Castle Volkihar Balcony, a small outside area from which you can fast-travel and then return to the Soul Cairn without having to traverse the castle ruins and courtyard again. A foot chest near the door also provides easy access to a container to stash loot while fast-travelling.
    • If you exit before deciding whether to be become a Vampire Lord or have your soul captured, Serana will remain in the study, even if you fast travel. This presents a small window of opportunity to acquire two followers: leave the castle grounds, recruit a follower and return. Though your new follower won't enter the Castle, they will not be dismissed, and once you complete Beyond Death they will continue following you, as will Serana. This allows you to have two followers for the rest of the game.
    • If playing on survival mode that disallows fast travel, the Become Ethereal Shout can allow the balcony exit to remain a shortcut outside by jumping off the ledge. Otherwise the player will have to backtrack through the dungeons to go back outside.
  • Choosing to become a Vampire Lord and then returning to Fort Dawnguard will prompt Florentius, Sorine, or Gunmar to direct you to Falion, thus beginning the quest Rising at Dawn. Other Dawnguard members, including Isran, will regard you with caution and disgust. You will not be able to use the Dawnguard's services until you cure yourself.
  • While this quest or Beyond Death are active, you will be unable to dismiss Serana from your party. If you are on the Dawnguard side and a werewolf, it can be challenging to use Beast Form and have the Savage Feeding perk as Serana tends to raise corpses in battle. This prevents you from feeding unless you manage to feed on raised corpses after they die again but before they turn into a pile of ash.
  • From the courtyard you have access to two more zones of the castle - the east and north towers - which contain further loot.

BugsEdit

  • When asked to put the ingredients inside the vessel, they will be removed from your inventory, but the vessel will not be filled, and Serana will keep telling you to put the ingredients in, causing the quest to be unfinishable.
    •   It is possible to manually advance to the next stage of the quest by opening the console and typing setstage DLC1VQ04 75 .
    •   This can also be caused by multi-follower mods. Typing 'set playerfollowercount to 0' will let the quest continue normally. Once back out of the Soul Cairn set the value back to the number of followers you have.
  • When asked to speak to Serana after putting the ingredients inside the vessel, speaking to Serana does not advance the quest.
    •   It is possible to manually advance to the next stage of the quest by opening the console and typing setstage DLC1VQ04 90.
  • Dead Thralls cannot enter the Volkihar Courtyard. Entering the Courtyard can cause the thrall(s) to vanish from the game after returning from the Soul Cairn. Kill and leave the bodies of the thrall(s) in a safe place before entering the Courtyard.
  • When Serana asks for the journal, it might not be removed from your inventory.
    • It can be dropped or stored once you rescue her mother and return from the Soul Cairn.
  • You may not be able to enter the Soul Cairn.
    •   Open the console and type set DLC1VQ04SoulTrapped to 1.

Quest StagesEdit

Chasing Echoes (DLC1VQ04)
Stage Finishes Quest Journal Entry
10 Dexion's reading of the Elder Scroll has given rise to more questions than answers. The Moth Priest saw a vision of a weapon called Auriel's Bow, but Serana and I need to locate two more Elder Scrolls in order to unravel the rest of the prophecy.
Objective 10: Speak to Serana
20 Serana has indicated her desire to locate her estranged mother, Valerica, who had fled Castle Volkihar with one of the Elder Scrolls. She believes that Valerica may have left a clue to her whereabouts somewhere in the courtyard of the castle. In order to avoid detection by Harkon, we've decided to utilize a hidden entrance on the back side of the island.
Objective 20: Explore Castle Volkihar's Courtyard
Serana has indicated her desire to locate her estranged mother, Valerica, who had fled Castle Volkihar with one of the Elder Scrolls. She believes that Valerica may have left a clue to her whereabouts somewhere in the courtyard of the castle. In order to avoid detection by the castle's vampires, we've decided to utilize a hidden entrance on the back side of the island.
Objective 20: Explore Castle Volkihar's Courtyard
30
Objective 30: Investigate the moondial
35 Serana and I are trying to locate her mother, Valerica, who may have one of the Elder Scrolls. Our journey has taken us to the courtyard of Castle Volkihar where we've discovered a hidden entrance underneath Valerica's old moondial.
Objective 40: Explore Castle Volkihar's Ruined Tower
50 Serana and I are trying to locate her mother, Valerica, who may have one of the Elder Scrolls. Our journey has taken us beyond the courtyard of Castle Volkihar where we've discovered a hidden entrance underneath Valerica's old moondial. After exploring the ruined tower beyond, we've stumbled across an old alchemy laboratory. Serana is convinced her mother has hidden some notes that may yield a clue as to her whereabouts.
Objective 45: Locate Valerica's Journal
55
Objective 50: Speak to Serana
60 Serana and I are trying to locate her mother, Valerica, who may have one of the Elder Scrolls. Our search has taken us to Valerica's laboratory hidden within the ruined tower at Castle Volkihar. According to Valerica's notes found there, she has likely fled Tamriel and entered the Soul Cairn, a dimensional plane of Oblivion. In order to pursue her into the Soul Cairn, Serana and I need to recreate the experiment that opens the portal to this strange place.
Objective 52: Gather Soul Gem Shards (if not in inventory)
Objective 54: Gather Finely Ground Bone Meal (if not in inventory)
Objective 56: Gather Purified Void Salts (if not in inventory)
70
Objective 60: Place the ingredients in the vessel
75
Objective 70: Speak to Serana
90 Serana and I are trying to locate her mother, Valerica who may have one of the Elder Scrolls. In Valercia's laboratory, we've recreated an experiment she performed and opened a portal to the Soul Cairn, a plane of Oblivion. Serana believes strongly that her mother is inside this strange place and has indicated we should step through.
Objective 80: Enter the Soul Cairn
95
Objective 90: Speak to Serana
100 When attempting to step through the portal to the Soul Cairn, a hidden force that seems to be draining my life energy is preventing me from entering. I have two choices if I wish to enter the Soul Cairn. I can allow Serana to change me into a vampire, thereby "killing" me in effect. Alternatively, I can allow her to partially soul trap me which could potentially weaken me while I roam the Soul Cairn.
Objective 100 or 110: Become a vampire or Become partially soul trapped
200 Finishes quest  Serana and I have stepped from Valerica's laboratory on Tamriel to a plane of Oblivion known as the "Soul Cairn" in order to find her mother Valerica. Serana strongly believes if we can find her, she will be able to tell us the location of one of the Elder Scrolls we need to decipher the Tyranny of the Sun prophecy.
Unknown
Objective 120: Enter the Soul Cairn
  • The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 0, 1, 25, 40, 45, 80, 110, 111, 112, 115.
Notes
  • Any text displayed in angle brackets (e.g., <Alias=LocationHold>) is dynamically set by the Radiant Quest system, and will be filled in with the appropriate word(s) when seen in game.
  • Not all Journal Entries may appear in your journal; which entries appear and which entries do not depends on the manner in which the quest is done.
  • Stages are not always in order of progress. This is usually the case with quests that have multiple possible outcomes or quests where certain tasks may be done in any order. Some stages may therefore repeat objectives seen in other stages.
  • If an entry is marked as "Finishes Quest" it means the quest disappears from the Active Quest list, but you may still receive new entries for that quest.
  • On the PC, it is possible to use the console to advance through the quest by entering setstage DLC1VQ04 stage, where stage is the number of the stage you wish to complete. It is not possible to un-complete (i.e. go back) quest stages, but it is possible to clear all stages of the quest using resetquest DLC1VQ04.
Prev: Prophet (Vampire) or
Prophet (Dawnguard)
Up: Dawnguard or
Volkihar Vampire Clan
Conc: Seeking Disclosure
Next: Beyond Death