Beyond Skyrim: Bruma,  Elessir Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Elessir Investigates Serpent’s Trail and Alftand

More mid-December Skyrim catchup, this time with Elessir’s run. This is a short post, and mostly just features my first taste of the content provided by the Beyond Skyrim: Bruma mod, since I visited Serpent’s Trail on a quest for a Dawnguard schematic.

But I did also move the main plot along, and made it down into Blackreach to find the Elder Scroll there.

Play by play

  • Play date: 12/16/2023
  • Session number in this run: 41
  • Picked up again at Heljarchen Hall
  • Built a few things until I ran out of iron
  • Boinged to Lakeview for supplies check, and stashed a bunch of things to get under carry weight
  • Then headed off to hit Serpent’s Trail and get that schematic for Sorine!
  • Had to keep throwing clairvoyance to find the way there, and it turned out to be not far from Southfringe Sanctum (close to where Legacy of the Dragonborn also puts in a dungeon)
  • None of the smugglers were difficult to take out, including the ringleader at the end
  • Got the schematic and then looted the hell out of the place on the way out
  • Took out one last smuggler who was a mage, and who I’d missed coming in
  • Serana raised one of the smugglers once at the beginning of the lair, but then vanished on me partway through
  • Ran the rest of the lair with Lucien and periodic summoned dremora
  • Got back out again and returned to Lakeview for supplies dropoff
  • Then boinged to Fort Dawnguard to turn in the schematic and sell stuff to Sorine
  • Took five rounds of Archery training with her, which was expensive, but which also gave her a large pool of gold to play with so I could sell her stuff
  • Focused on weapons and armor mostly as I felt that’d be useful to the Dawnguard!
  • Then proceeded to play through the rest of Sorine’s schematics
  • Locations she sent me to were:
    • Faldar’s Tooth
    • Rift Watchtower
    • Redoran’s Retreat
  • Fast traveled directly to Faldar’s Tooth to run it
  • Took out a bunch of the exterior bandits
  • Did not have to go inside, as the quest marker sent me to the tower on the top of the structure
  • Boinged back to Fort Dawnguard to check in, sell loot, and get next schematic
  • Boinged right back to Faldar’s tooth to get within range of the Rift Watchtower
  • But this time got a Revered Dragon and had to fight that
  • Swam across the river to get to the opposite bank, since the dragon flew over there
  • Rift guard got in on the action (maybe the one who patrols Heartwood Mill?)
  • Found a live horse and dead bandit
  • Dispatched a trio of vampires en route to the Rift Watchtower
  • Then reached and cleared the tower
  • One more round of boinging back to Fort Dawnguard and selling loot
  • Lastly, boinged to Redoran’s Retreat
  • Quickly cleared it since I’d already been there, and got the last schematic
  • While in there, Lucien begged me to let him see the Elder Scroll
  • Returned one more time to turn that one in to Sorine
  • Did another loot dropoff at Lakeview
  • Then finally boinged to Alftand to begin running the place for the Elder Scroll
  • Got another round of vampires there; took them out
  • Ran Alftand pretty much as per previous playthroughs
  • Got overloaded fairly quickly
  • Not much stealth to be hand since I had both Lucien and Serana with me
  • Lucien took his turn to vanish on me, but caught up again later (I think maybe the corner with all the pistons might have knocked him down to a lower level of the ruin?)
  • Took out the centurion, then Sulla and Umana
  • And finally made it into Blackreach
  • Took out the Dwarven Sphere at Sinderion’s Field Laboratory, and picked up all the interesting loot in there
  • Kicked off the hunt for crimson nirnroot
  • Saved there until next time


The main thing I want to get into in this post is that this session saw my first taste of the content for Beyond Skyrim: Bruma! And even though I only went through the one smuggler lair, that was still pretty exciting.

Access to Serpent’s Trail was in the same general area as Southfringe Sanctum, and nice and subtle–just a cave entrance in the side of a hill. But the place turned out to be huge. And a very well populated smuggler lair, to boot!

In no particular order, here are some various things I appreciated in the place:

  • The overall layout and design, a nice change of pace from bandit caves in the vanilla game.
  • Finding all of the Bruma/Imperial clutter objects. There were Imperial-style weapons, including a couple of Ancient Imperial weapons. And some unusual types of wine, including “Shadowbanish”, which actually improved your night vision and which I did in fact try in a later session.
  • The multiple containers called “Smuggled Goods”, which overall added to the verisimilitude of the place being a smuggler lair. Mostly these containers held moon sugar and skooma, which made sense. But there was also Dwemer clutter. This was an excellent little detail, just because I learned about how the Empire proclaimed all Dwemer objects official property of the Empire–so this bolstered the idea that there’d be a lucrative smuggling trade of those objects in particular.
  • New random dialogue overheard from the smugglers. Such as: “Saw some College mages going past here the other day. Overheard ’em talking about a return trip. Thinking about an ambush…” Nice to not hear the smugglers bitching about having to drink mead. ;D

Also, before she vanished on me partway through the lair, Serana did raise one of the smugglers after killing him. And for the record, it was a trifle disturbing to hear him groan “Please, kill me… again…”

(Humanoids raised in the vanilla game can do this too, I think? But mostly whenever Serana raises a human or a mer or a fellow vamp, I just hear them making zombie noises. I do not often hear them saying actual lines.)

All in all not hugely plot important since my only reason to go in there was to get that schematic for Sorine. But that was a perfect excuse to get a preview of Beyond Skyrim: Bruma’s content, and I’m very glad I did it. Still thinking about when to actually go to Bruma and run that entire mod properly, though.

Lucien begged me to let him see the Elder Scroll when we were in Redoran’s Retreat. I’d seen him initiate that conversation during Harrow’s run. And heh, I still feel a little sorry for the guy with how disappointed he sounds when he doesn’t see anything by trying to read the thing.

I took the “Isn’t that risky?” dialogue option with him. Elessir is a pretty devil-may-care kind of guy, but he’s not stupid. And he’s less inclined to take chances when it comes to one of his companions than he would be if it were just himself.

Nothing else hugely out of the ordinary for my playthroughs, for this session. Alftand is familiar territory, and the main notable item there was going through with Serana and Lucien, a situation not conductive to stealth.

Notable Lucien lines

Lucien, while begging me to let him see the Elder Scroll, demonstrates that while he’s a very bright scholar, he still doesn’t necessarily have much in the way of wisdom even after traveling around for months on end with the Dragonborn:

“Oh, obviously I’m aware of the risks. Blindness, madness, and all that. But surely just a peek won’t hurt…”

And, Lucien speculating on the ramblings of the mad Septimus as we enter Alftand:

“So this is Alffand. What a fascinating place. The point of puncture, Septimus called it. Puncture into what, though? Can it really be Blackreach?”

Later, surprising exactly no one:

“I can’t believe it. Blackreach. It’s real.”

Old Septimus may be crazy, but he wasn’t wrong!

Next time

Elessir’s next post will feature running Blackreach and getting the Elder Scroll out of the Tower of Mzark; the chagrin of having to go back for the damned Lexicon, because I left it there (oops); returning the Lexicon to Septimus, and encountering Hermaeus Mora for the first time; going to the Throat of the World to bring the Elder Scroll to the Time-Wound; learning Dragonrend; confronting Alduin for the first time; and running Ancestor Glade.

In other words, all in a day’s work for a busy Dragonborn trying to save the world from two apocalypses at once!


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.