Dawnguard,  Merawen Playthrough

In Which Merawen Proceeds Through the Forgotten Vale

Session number two on the great trek through Forgotten Vale! This was a short session, being a Sunday night one. And as expected, I didn’t make it out of the vale yet.


  • Session number in this run: 51
  • Headed back across river by the sapphire paragon giant’s lair
  • Reached the stairs near the paragon portal, headed up those stairs into the next valley
  • Made it to the Wayshrine of Resolution and Prelate Nirilor
  • Followed stairs down to the frozen lake
  • Looted skeleton and got potions of Resist Fire
  • Followed western edge of lake around to moonstone veins
  • Twin dragons Voslaarum and Naaslaarum fought and defeated
  • Got the word for Drain Vitality off the Word Wall on the lake
  • Leveled up to 60! Dropped another perk point on Heavy Armor so I could improve the rating on the Blades armor \0/
  • Looted the two underwater chests
  • Proceeded back around the lake back towards the Wayshrine of Resolution
  • Went back across the bridge and headed towards Falmer territory
  • Passed pair of Falmer tents with gate behind them
  • Did the orichalcum veins down along the river, also fought multiple chaurus
  • Did not go in lower entrance for Sharpslope Cave
  • Swung back to pair of tents; fought a couple of Falmer there at the gate
  • Discovered Serana had gotten stuck in the river, and I had to go back and get her out by crossing in different ways so she could follow
  • Worked back through the gate and up the sloping ramps and bridges from there
  • Killed more Falmer; Serana raised one
  • Started instituting “do I really need this loot?” protocols to keep from getting overloaded; dropped several lower value weapons and armor pieces into a handy nearby Falmer chest
  • New policy: leave any food items, also hides unless they’re vale deer or vale sabre cat; gems, gold, ingredients, or potions I will take
  • Made it to third frost giant with the emerald paragon
  • Worked my way some ways past that, after several tents and bridges
  • Saved for the night


Since this was a Sunday night session, and those are always shorter ones for me, there was only so far I was going to be able to get. As anticipated, after two sessions, I have not yet made it out of Forgotten Vale.

I did make good progress in this session, though. See above in the Highlights section for specifics; suffice to say here that I have thus far encountered and dispatched three of the five frost giants, and I’ve found four of the five wayshrines. But there’s still a considerable ways to go before I get to the final wayshrine, and to the Inner Sanctum.

Mostly, this is playing out the same way Alarrah did it. Notably, as with that run, I elected to not bother with Sharpslope Cave. My stance on mining the shellbug in there for chitin hasn’t changed—because I have zero interest in making a shellbug helmet, and even less interest than that in whacking the creature with my pickaxe just to get its chitin off of it.

Unlike with Alarrah’s run, though, I’ve started trying to be a bit more judicious about what loot I pick up. I’ve already done one loot drop break back to Solitude, and I’d like to see if I could maybe avoid a second one.

So I figure that if i’m going through territory that the Falmer are living in, it makes sense to not actually take their food, for example. That just seems extra mean, given that I’m already having to fight with them. Likewise most of their crafting materials, given that I have a boatload of my own crafting materials back at Heljarchen Hall.

Plus, what the hell would I do with chaurus chitin, anyway? It’s not like I’m going to be using either Falmer armor or Falmer weaponry.

However, I reserve the right to make off with vale deer or vale sabre cat hides just because they’re neat. Also, I will totally take alchemy ingredients.

And, hi, master thief here, so I feel kind of morally obligated to make off with any gems or gold I get my mitts on!

Armor and weaponry, not so much. Unless it’s very high level and/or enchanted. Because my chances of running into random armor better than what I already have, or better than what I can make, are not good. No sense in my lugging heavy armor and weaponry around unless I’m actively using it.

This time through, Serana seems more buggy than I remember her being from Alarrah’s run. She’s gotten stuck in endless loops trying to follow me into a river, and then climbing back out onto the nearby bank. And as of when I saved last night, she got stuck in sneak mode even after I came out of Sneak myself.

One more thing I’d like to note that’s relevant to Merawen’s run vs. Alarrah’s: I suspect seeing these ghost prelates at the various wayshrines hits Merawen a little harder than it did Alarrah, and this is why: these ghosts are serving Auriel after their deaths, yet do not seem to retain any consciousness. They’re just on autopilot.

Contrast this to what Merawen saw in the Twilight Sepulcher. There, she was able to see that Gallus retained a decent amount of his sense of self while settling in to serve Nocturnal and guard her sepulcher. The other Nightingale Sentinels… not so much. Though it’s also made clear by the events of the Darkness Returns quest that the other Sentinels were impacted by the closure of the Ebonmere.

Still though that’s a thing that probably lingers in Merawen’s thoughts, i.e., how much of herself will remain when her mortal form dies. I think it’s an open question to her as to whether she’d prefer being on autopilot like the prelates, and to some degree, the other Sentinels… or whether she’d prefer to keep her consciousness even if she must spend an unknown span of time serving Nocturnal in the Sepulcher.

Next time

Yet more Forgotten Vale! I have a whole bunch of Falmer territory to make it through, so I may or may not make it all the way to the Inner Sanctum in the next session.

If I do make it all the way to the Inner Sanctum and the confrontation with Vyrthur, then I think I’ll want to try to hit the paragon portal on the way out. I want Auriel’s Shield, just to see if it’s useful in the assault on Castle Volkihar. And I’d like to get all of the four unknown books to bring them to Urag, for when I next show up at the mage college.

I’ve just barely cracked into level 60, so hopefully I won’t get too close to 61 before I finish out the Vale! Once I’m done, then I’ll also need to pop to the mage college anyway for level 60’s training. And I’ll probably need to stop at Solitude for another loot drop.


Editing to add

  • 11/16/2023: Fixed missing gallery, and added a session number.

As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.