Dawnguard,  Ysani Playthrough

In Which Ysani Finds Auriel’s Bow

This is another double session post, covering play done on Wednesday 3/29 and Thursday 3/30. Put these two sessions together, because both of them together basically were the entire run of Forgotten Vale this time through! And since this is now the fourth time I’ve run Forgotten Vale, individual sessions in it didn’t quite have enough new material for a single session to stand on its own.


  • Play dates: 3/29-3/30/2022
  • Session numbers in this run: 65-66

Wednesday’s play

  • Started running Forgotten Vale
  • Wayshrines reached: Sight, Learning, Resolution
  • Frost giants reached: amethyst paragon, sapphire paragon
  • Unknown books found: Vol. 1
  • Emergency loot drops done: one, out to Heljarchen, where I dropped off a boatload of stuff in the outdoor chest and also ingredients into the barrel
  • Discovered to my annoyance that there’s a bug with crimson nirnroot if you try to stash it in a container, it throws off the quest counter in your journal 😛
  • Serana got stuck by the sapphire giant’s lair so had to go back and get her after visiting the Wayshrine of Resolution
  • Saved at sapphire giant lair for the night

Thursday’s play

  • Picked up from frost giant lair and crossed back into the next valley
  • Went with Serana down onto the frozen lake
  • Mined a total of six moonstone veins
  • Fought Voslaarum and Naaslaarum; took them down with storm atronachs + Serana + my own lightning; actually fell into the lake once during the battle! But was able to get out quickly and resume the fight
  • Got word for Drain Vitality off the Word Wall
  • Fought ice wraith near the waterfall
  • Dove for first underwater chest, but abandoned the second one because too damned dark underwater; had to derp around to get out, too dark to easily find the hole again
  • Found two skeletons with the elven sword and two potions of fire as well
  • Went back across the bridge and headed down to Falmer tents; Serana and dremora got in fight with nearby Falmer
  • I proceeded along the stream to get to the orichalcum veins–but killed by chaurus; thrown back to first of the veins
  • Second time made it through
  • Backtracked to two tents then went up onto the stone pathways from there
  • Passed upper entrance to Sharpslope Cave
  • Found three pouches and gold vein
  • Took out the emerald paragon frost giant
  • Reached Glacial Crevice–and drowned in it 😛
  • Took another try before I found the underwater shortcut correctly; emerged to find a fucking chaurus in the water, and had to scramble out before I could fry it with fireballs
  • Started Muffle + Invisibility sneak past a Falmer, then Serana caught up
  • Started sneaking with her past remaining Falmer in this section
  • Leveled up to 63 by casting Muffle + Invisibility, and also by sneaking!
  • Took additional fire damage perk in Destruction
  • Made it out of Glacial Crevice back out into Forgotten Vale proper
  • Took out the diamond paragon frost giant and a couple Falmer nearby
  • Whole bunch of quicksilver veins after that, as I ran the gauntlet of Falmer tents to get to the home stretch
  • Got Unknown Books Vol. III and Vol. IV
  • Made it to the final wayshrine and proceeded to the Inner Sanctum
  • Quaffed a potion of Fortify Restoration to bump up the bonuses on my Carry Weight gear
  • Took out the ruby paragon frost giant
  • But again ignored the frozen Falmer and Chaurus, since I was already carrying a lot of loot
  • Instead went more or less straight to finding Vyrthur and doing the confrontation with him
  • Vyrthur defeated! Auriel’s Bow obtained! Final dialogue with Gelebor exchanged! Final “yep we sure are going to have to kill your father with this bow” dialogue with Serana done!
  • Boinged back to Fort Dawnguard to report in to Isran, and saved for the night


In principle I should say that after four runs through the Forgotten Vale, you’d think I wouldn’t have much new to say. But with these two sessions combined, I still had enough noteworthy and/or entertaining things to point out!

First notable thing was actually when I bopped back to Heljarchen for the emergency loot drop. Because I discovered yet another bug I hadn’t known about before: that if you have crimson nirnroot in your inventory, and the quest to find thirty samples is still active, you apparently can’t put the samples in a container. If you do, it’ll fuck up the counter on your quest marker in your journal. And if it gets bad enough you’ll fuck up your ability to fulfill the quest cleanly.

I had planned on stashing the crimson nirnroot I had until I could get back to Blackreach to get the rest. My theory had been that if I had it safely stashed in my ingredients barrel, I wouldn’t accidentally eat it, or sell it, or use it in a potion.

Good theory! Except then when accidentally grabbing it out of the barrel, I noticed the count of samples was off. So now I’ll have to carry those three samples around with me till I get back to Blackreach, and I’ll need to get a few extras maybe to be sure I have enough to a) give to Avrusa, and b) clear the quest out of my journal correctly.

Second thing: diving for those two underwater chests underneath the frozen lake is problematic for me as a player if I go diving for them at night. Even with a light spell active over my head–because the Candlelight spell does have a limited time frame! And if it expires while I’m still underwater, I’m screwed and have to derp around looking for the hole I dived through.

(This is not a procedure recommended unless you’re wearing Volsung or something else enchanted with waterbreathing. Because drowning is not fun! As I learned later in the session!)

Third thing: chaurus blow up nicely when you throw fireballs at them. 😀

(Side note to that: really gotta get the Destruction bumped up further so I can take advantage of those higher-tier spells I bought off of Faralda!)

Fourth thing: so yeah, I drowned in Glacial Crevie so that was fun. Forgot to put Volsung back on when diving for the underwater shortcut to bypass most of the cavern! Got a few warning gurgles but had no time to get back to the surface once that happened. Plus, dark under that water, too, so I had trouble navigating.

Lesson to be learned here: keep your means of waterbreathing ON!

Lastly, re: reaching the Inner Sanctum: as with Merawen’s and Delga’s playthroughs, I didn’t bother with the frozen Falmer and chaurus in the initial rooms of the place. I did go after the ruby paragon giant, but let that and the little treasure room next to that spot be my only distractions before proceeding to face Vyrthur.

And to be sure, the battle with his minions certainly was a bit more even when I was able to keep calling up the dremora to fight on my behalf! Still didn’t stop the scripted ceiling falling on my head bit from happening! But it was kind of amusing nonetheless to wake up from that and see not only Serana trying to wake me up, but also one of the dremora behind her looking down at me. I’m amused by the thought of the dremora being slightly bemused by how squishy his mortal mistress appears to be.


Language commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • L’Autel de la Vue: Wayshrine of Sight (lit. “the Altar of the Sight”)
  • L’Autel du Savoir: Wayshrine of Learning
  • L’Autel de la Résolution: Wayshrine of Resolution
  • L’Autel de l’Éclat: Wayshrine of Radiance
  • Grotte de la pente raide: Sharpslope Cave (lit. “Cave of the steep slope”)
  • Fissure glaciale: Glacial Crevice
  • Chapelle d’Auriel: Auriel’s Chapel

Y’know, almost done with the Dawnguard plot at this point, and it was only while running Forgotten Vale that I finally realized that Serana has been spelled Sérana in French all this time. With the small screen I’m playing on, the difference between e and é is very easy for my eyes to miss!

If you don’t speak French, note that this does actually change how her name is pronounced. The vowel changes, at least in my English-speaking ears, from a short e to more of a long a. So ‘Say-RAH-na’, rather than ‘Seh-RAH-na’.

The five ghostly prelates at the various Wayshrines, not exactly actual characters even in the English build of the game, aren’t terribly notable in French either. The main difference I noticed with them was that their voices sounded slightly less echo-y. But that struck me as just a minor difference in how their lines might have been recorded and engineered, when the actors performed them.

Vyrthur, on the other hand, was more distinctive (as is appropriate, since he’s the secondary antagonist of the entire Dawnguard plotline). This struck my ear as one of the few times in the French build where the overall timbre of the actor’s voice didn’t seem to match up with the English actor’s. Vyrthur in French had a much coarser-sounding voice than I expect out of elves–though I’m going to have to doublecheck him next time I play through in the English build to be sure. I may just be conflating how my ear thinks he’s supposed to sound with how the Thalmor do!

(Because, well, severely haughty elves and all.)

Next time

Time to tell the Dawnguard that hey, I got the shiny sacred bow! So let’s go kill some vampires with it!

And once Harkon is sorted, I can go retrieve Valerica from the Soul Cairn. It’d only be polite!

Time permitting, next item on the agenda after that will be to get that crimson nirnroot situation dealt with!


Editing to add

  • 11/21/2023: Restored missing gallery, and added play date and session number markers.

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.