Dawnguard,  Shenner Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Shenner Heads to the Forgotten Vale

Couple of sessions combined into one post, with the overall theme of “Shenner and Serana head to the Forgotten Vale in search of Auriel’s Bow”.


  • Play dates: 10/30-10/31/2022
  • Session numbers in this run: 70-71

Sunday’s play

  • Played just long enough to take Shenner over to Hendraheim where I dropped off a few things
  • Then hoofed it over to Bilegulch to get the next schematic
  • Naturally Serana raised bandits
  • Paused there after clearing the place and getting Sorine’s next schematic

Monday’s play

  • Picked up where I left off just outside Bilegulch
  • Hoofed it back towards the road
  • Jumped by Thalmor en route so took them out, and also a bear
  • Proceeded to the road and headed west
  • Killed assorted critters en route
  • Took fork headed more or less west towards Markarth
  • Passed Ri’saad’s Khajiit so stopped to sell them the loot off the Thalmor
  • And heh, saw other Thalmor going the other way 😉
  • Veered northward again when I reached the bridge headed towards Karthspire, but skirted around Karthspire and did not engage the Forsworn
  • Headed further north through Karthwasten
  • Fought a couple of spriggans and a bear who may also have controlled a troll, but may also have been fighting it? The troll was dead when I reached it
  • Also fought a trio of vampires at the same time
  • Found the Aspiring Mage NPC
  • Stopped at Mor Khazgur to trade with the Orcs since that’s right near Darkfall Cave
  • Then proceeded to Darkfall Cave
  • Gogh did make it in with me and Serana, so looks like he’s coming to Forgotten Vale
  • Noteworthy: the visual glitch i always get when coming out of the water, with the filmy overlay on the screen, did not repro this time
  • Reached Gelebor as per usual
  • Began running Darkfall Passage proper
  • Serana and Gogh got pissy at one another at one point, so I had to proceed further through the passage until Gogh got over it and resumed following
  • Called up Golden Saint warrior a few times to throw her at the Falmer
  • Also got a sample of blood to round out the five to eventually take back to Septimus!
  • Made it through to the Blackreach-y part with the shrine, and yep sure is gorgeous on the Mac 😀
  • Reached Forgotten Vale!
  • Killed initial vale sabre cat and frost troll, and cleared the silver ore vein by the frost troll’s lair
  • Saved there until next time


This pair of sessions was pretty much familiar territory, but here are the new things I can say about running Bilegulch Mine again, and Darkfall Cave:

One, having Gogh along did add a bit of a wrinkle when I got to the part of Darkfall Cave where you go across the rickety bridge, which then collapses out from under you when you try to come back. Serana came on over to the ledge with me, but Gogh lingered on the end of the bridge and I couldn’t get past him. So I wound up having to jump past him to a point further out on the bridge, to trigger its collapse properly.

Two, the bug I’ve seen a lot of once that bridge collapses and you eventually emerge in the river tunnel by the spiders, the one where a film of darkness glitches over the surroundings a bit, did not occur here. Most likely a bugfix patch fix, though I suppose it could also have been a question of running with better graphics? But probably it’s part of the bugfix patch. Regardless, very pleased to see that resolved here. <3

Three, at one point as we were fighting Falmer, Gogh got pissy at Serana. I think she must have hit him by accident during the fight? He started trying to attack her. And since they’re both marked Essential, it’s not like they could kill each other, but she’s also got a fuckton more hitpoints than he does. So she kept knocking him down into the bleedout state. I tried to heal him a couple of times, but that only resulted in Gogh leaping up and trying to attack Serana again.

Eventually, I had to move on ahead a bit and give Gogh time to reset, so that he could catch up with us as per normal.

(Look, little goblin buddy, I applaud your bravery, but the vampire is going to eat you for breakfast if you keep provoking her. Calm down, okay? And Serana, stop hitting my goblin buddy with ice spikes. I agreed to help you defeat your father, but Gogh’s had my back longer than you have, okay? Both of you play nice or I swear I’ll turn this cave around.)

Four, I think this happened after we fought the spriggan, but didn’t note it properly at the time and only was reminded when I checked screenshots: found the Aspiring Mage NPC that I’ve seen in other playthroughs. This time, though, I saw him actually wielding a staff. And this is confirmed on the wiki as a fix in the bugfix patch. <3

And offhand I think this might be the first time I actually got a good look at what a Conjuration staff actually looks like. I don’t normally play with staves, and the times I’ve gone up against opponents who have them, they’re generally Destruction staves. Sometimes Falmer-style, specifically, since Falmer mages are a common type I fight. The Conjuration staff style definitely reminded me of Sauron’s staff in the LotR movies, and certainly fed into my bribing the guy to give up the staff.

Because seriously, my dude, as the Arch-Mage of the College (even if my magical skills are still kind of mediocre), trust me when I tell you that yes, it’s not you. it’s the staff. Give me that thing and here, go buy yourself a horse or a goat or whatever you need to do something more constructive with your time!

Five, conveniently, reaching this point of the Dawnguard plot did finally mean I was able to nab a Falmer blood sample for Septimus. So now I’ve got the full set of samples.

And lastly, like with the Soul Cairn, the Forgotten Vale looks gorgeous on the M1 MacBook Pro’s screen. I was pleased to spot a couple more areas with complex shadows, as well as the same kind of additional detail on the snow that I spotted in the snowy areas of Solstheim when Shenner was still there.

Next time

I’ll make a push through the Forgotten Vale in earnest! This may take me one or possibly two sessions, we’ll have to see.

And now that I’ve got that fifth blood sample for Septimus, I suspect that in the immediate short-term, the Shenner plan is going to be:

  1. Finish up the Forgotten Vale and get Auriel’s Bow
  2. Do the final Dawnguard assault on Harkon
  3. Blip back to Septimus and give him the samples, and get the Oghma Infinium (which ought to be interesting given that I’ve now finished Dragonborn with this alt already)

After that, not sure yet. There’s at least one major plotline for the AE content I haven’t run yet with Shenner, which is the Forgotten Seasons one. But I’m not sure I’ll do that with her. I may save it for Faanshi now that the AE is available on the Switch.

Or, I may punt to trying to finish off the main plot with Shenner and get her to the point of standing down once she’s gone to Sovngarde. Partly because I want to start playing with Skyrim mods, and I need to finish at least one of my current playthroughs before I start a new one!


Editing to add

  • 11/24/2023: 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.