Dawnguard,  Faanshi Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Faanshi Gains Auriel’s Bow and Defeats Lord Harkon

Double session post! This sees Faanshi finishing up Dawnguard, by finishing her run through Forgotten Vale, getting Auriel’s Bow, and then taking it back to the Dawnguard to rally them to accompany her and Serana to Castle Volkihar. And take down Lord Harkon!


Sunday’s play

  • Play date: 8/14/2022
  • Session number in this run: 51
  • Picked up where I left off in the Forgotten Vale, and still no sign of Serana
  • Discovered there are three chests under the ice, not two, when I doublechecked the wiki; hit all three of them, also two satchels amidst a bunch of submerged skeletons
  • Moonstone vein
  • Returned to Wayshrine of Resolution, and popped through one of the portals briefly to get Serana caught back up
  • Then came back and proceeded along the bridge
  • Orichalcum x 6
  • Periodically summoned storm atronachs or dremora for fighting since Falmer up on the bridges overhead kept noticing us, then started working my way along the bridges
  • Serana kept getting behind me, but she did at least catch up
  • Emerald frost giant
  • Found Unknown Book Vol. 3
  • Orichalcum x 2
  • Moonstone x 3
  • Sicced dremora on a few chaurus and Falmer
  • Made it to Glacial Crevice and took the underwater shortcut
  • Ran next section of the cavern in invisible muffled mode, and Serana eventually caught up with me in there, but I still ran the rest of it invisible and muffled in the interests of speed
  • Made it out to the other side near the diamond frost giant
  • Saved there for the night

Thursday’s play

  • Play date: 8/18/2022
  • Session number in this run: 52
  • Back to the Forgotten Vale! Picked up where I left off, near the diamond paragon giant
  • Took out that giant as well as several Falmer near his lair
  • Shot at the giant with my crossbow, just to actually try to get in more XP, Faanshi is now falling behind Shenner in terms of level!
  • Quicksilver vein x 4
  • Then proceeded through the Falmer settlement
  • Got the third of the Unknown Books
  • More quicksilver and the final Wayshrine
  • Took four tries to get through taking out Vyrthur though
  • Had to rely on the dremora and upon shooting frozen Falmer and chaurus with the dragonbone bow, which ultimately did better damage than the crossbow; plus I could fire it faster
  • Mostly died during the big melee but once in the final fight with Vyrthur
  • Finally defeated Vyrthur, and had Gelebor convert all my elven arrows to Sunhallowed
  • Super overloaded and could not fast travel out, or summon Arvak
  • Wound up briefly trying to get out through Darkfall Passage but realized that was dumb; boinged back to the last Wayshrine, and dropped several-non critical items in a Falmer tent there to get back underweight so I could fast travel
  • Boinged to Lakeview!
  • Found four, count ‘em, four of my housecarls on site as both Valdimar and Gregor had shown up there; apparently they were having a “has anyone actually seen our thane lately?” convention?
  • Did a little smithing and alchemy and crafting to try to level up
  • Then boinged to Honningbrew and sold a bunch of stuff to Mallus
  • That let me level up to 58; took Stamina bump and Matching Set perk in Light Armor
  • Boinged to Thieves Guild; took five rounds of Pickpocket training from Vipir the Fleet
  • Sold a bunch more stuff to Tonilia and also to Herluin the alchemist
  • Headed next to Fort Dawnguard to check in and go HEY WE GOT THE SHINY BOW
  • Off to Castle Volkihar!
  • Killed once in opening battle, didn’t even make it past the drawbridge
  • Made it through the second time and mostly let everybody else handle the battle, while I ran straight for Harkon
  • Made heavy use of dremora and Auriel’s Bow, and finally got the bastard killed off
  • Dawnguard casualties: Celann (RIP sir, you fought valiantly)
  • Boinged with Serana to her mother’s lab to go into the Soul Cairn and fetch Valerica
  • Had to do it twice because the game crashed the first time 😛
  • Sold most of the soul husks I had on me to Morven Stroud to get armor items to sell
  • Converted the rest to a soul husk extract with Valerica’s help
  • Got her out of the Soul Cairn and settled back into her lab
  • Bid Serana farewell for now
  • Boinged to Whiterun; sold some things to Warmaiden’s and Belethor’s
  • Saved for the night


Even though this is all familiar territory to me as of this playthrough, I did at least find a couple of new things!

Namely: I’d missed that there were three chests under the ice on that lake in the middle of Forgotten Vale, where the two dragons are. I’d somehow missed this on previous poring over the wiki, on the first four runs I did. So this time through I made sure to hit all three chests, and that also let me find the two satchels lying amidst a bunch of submerged skeletal remains, too.

It was a little weird that Serana vanished on me like that, but fortunately this was easily fixed by popping through one of the portals at the Wayshrine of Resolution, and then back again.

Other than that, the main thing to note is that it was definitely harder to get through both the fight with Vyrthur and the fight with the Volkihar clan, running on Master Difficulty. Even with both dremora summoned, the crowd of frozen Falmer was a problem. I couldn’t let any of them get near me, otherwise I was doomed.

But, well, that’s what range weapons are for!

Same deal with the fight at Castle Volkihar. First time through, when I tried to lead the charge, I ran smack into why being in the thick of the melee was not a good idea.

Khajiit must remember that she is slender and squishy, and let her dremora do the fighting for her!

I didn’t actively plan to go into the second session all the way through the fight with Harkon; my original idea was just to finish running Forgotten Vale. But it occurred to me that the actual final fight at Castle Volkihar doesn’t actually take that long, and neither does the epilogue of going to the Soul Cairn to let Valerica know she can come home. So just for the sake of resolving this phase of Faanshi’s playthrough, I went ahead and did both. Which now concludes Dawnguard for this run!

Next time

I still have Shenner on Solstheim, so I’m not yet ready to send Faanshi over there. Instead, I’m going to start working on getting the rest of the Stones of Barenziah, since I still haven’t done that with this alt!

So I’ll need to take stock of which Stones I don’t have yet–and go steal the ones that will require stealing! And figure out who I want on follower duty to get the ones in dungeons! I think Faanshi needs a reunion with Jordis the Sword-Maiden. <3


Editing to add

  • 11/23/2023: Restored missing gallery.

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.