Elessir Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Elessir Acquires Auriel’s Bow

Another Skyrim catchup post, the last one of my 2023 sessions. This is Elessir’s playthrough, and a super short post, because this one just basically covers his hitting the Forgotten Vale with Serana and Lucien.

Play by play

  • Play date: 12/28/2023
  • Session number in this run: 43
  • Picked up again at Lakeview
  • Boinged off to College of Winterhold and did a bunch of training
  • Took four rounds of paid training from Drevis to max him out on how much Illusion training he could directly give me
  • Then bought a single round of Destruction training from Faralda
  • Leveled up to 63 during all of this; took Magicka bump and third available perk in basic Enchanting
  • Afterwards got more bumps in Destruction, Alteration, Illusion, and Restoration off of the general training session
  • Made the Conjure Ayleid Lich spellbook finally
  • Boinged to Lost Echo Cave to get within range of Darkfall Cave
  • Marked Volskygge and Deepwood Redoubt en route, also fought some vampires
  • Started running Darkfall Cave as per previous playthroughs
  • Made it all the way into Forgotten Vale, but was overloaded pretty frigging quickly
  • So after the first two wayshrines, boinged back to Lakeview for emergency loot dropoff number one
  • Had extra convo with Serana about what would have happened with Gelebor if I’d accepted Harkon’s gift
  • Later had to do a second emergency loot dropoff at Lakeview, just after killing the twin dragons, because of course I wanted ALL THE LOOT
  • Fast traveling out also required summoning Arvak, and THANK YOU SKYRIM PATCH for making it possible to summon Arvak in the Vale now
  • Took out the twin dragons, and it did only require one go to take both dragons out, go team
  • Remembered to use the Waterbreathing ring I’d made to get through Glacial Crevice, and snuck through the tail end of it, mostly
  • Made it to the end to confront Vyrthur in the inner sanctum, and again this took only one go
  • Since I called up a daedroth to fight Vyrthur, it knocked him clear off the balcony
  • So after I got Auriel’s Bow and got Gelebor to bless all my elven arrows, I had to find the body, see below
  • From there, boinged back to Lakeview again to prep for going to talk to Isran and arranging the final assault on Castle Volkihar
  • Did a bunch of smithing and alchemy, and a little enchanting, mostly to make sure I could get Auriel’s Bow up to Legendary
  • Saved there until next time


Something I learned in this session: if I’m running Immersive College of Winterhold, the training sessions in the Hall of the Elements apparently do not check if you’ve maxed out how much training you can take from any of the trainers. Because I maxed out how much I could pay Drevis for Illusion training during this session–but I was still able to get Illusion bumps by standing near him during the general training.

Good to know!

Mostly this session was familiar material, with a few notable exceptions. The first of these was a conversation I had with Serana about what Gelebor would have said to us if I’d accepted Harkon’s gift. I.e., would he have been willing to recruit us to kill his brother if we’d both been vampires.

Serana basically went “ohhhh”. This was clearly an addition of the Serana Dialogue Edit mod, and I like it. Because it’s a real interesting question to consider. When you first meet Gelebor, he doesn’t actually know that Vyrthur is a vampire; he just knows his brother has been “corrupted” somehow. Which raises questions about how the hell could Gelebor not tell, and how often he actually ever interacted with his brother, if he only saw him from a distance. Or if Vyrthur explicitly told him to fuck off at some point.

Gelebor does not seem to react to Serana being a vampire, though. And that gets back to my earlier wondering about how so many NPCs in Skyrim seem to be scared of vampires, yet nobody seems to be able to identify them by sight, even when vampirism has obvious physical effects. So at least in terms of actual game mechanics, if Serana and I had both been vampires, we clearly would not have alarmed Gelebor all that much.

But from a story perspective, I am still amused by the idea of how the final scene with Gelebor would have gone once he clued in about both Serana and the Dragonborn being vampires. Would we have had to convince him that yes, we were trustworthy even though we were both vampires just like his brother? Would we have had to enthrall him to get him to turn over the bow?

(And as I write this, that does make me wonder how it plays out if you’re running Dawnguard in favor of the vampires. As I understand it by the time you make it to Forgotten Vale you’ve committed to overthrowing Harkon anyway, so maybe you could still take the tactic of convincing Gelebor you’re trustworthy even if you’re a vamp…)

Second was actually courtesy of one of the recent updates to Skyrim issued by Bethesda. One of the changes they implemented was making it possible to summon Arvak in the Forgotten Vale–and I gotta say, I am three thousand percent on board with this change. Thank you, Skyrim patch! This meant I could carry everything on me out at once, and reduce the number of trips I had to make in and out.

This may be the latest in a playthrough I’ve ever run this portion of Dawnguard, since Elessir was up to level 63 as of this point. By extension, this meant that Voslaarum and Naaslaarum spawned as Revered Dragons. Which did make that fight a bit more crunchy and interesting!

And, a little surprisingly but maybe not so much, it required only one go to take both dragons out. Both Serana and Lucien unleashed lightning on them. Way to go, Team Dragonborn!

Last but not least, during the fight with Vyrthur, I called up a daedroth to take him on. And that daedroth actually knocked him clear off the balcony!

So after I was done with talking to Gelebor and getting Auriel’s Bow, I had to figure out how the hell to find the body. Because I wanted his armor, dammit!

This required some judicious use of Become Ethereal, climbing down over the balcony railing, and jumping down. I made it down to the lake, pretty sure it was the same lake I fought the dragons on, but I wasn’t entirely clear on the positioning.

One more thing I’ll note here. Relationship Dialogue Overhaul, one of the mods I’m running, brought in a change that lets you recruit Gelebor as a follower once you finish the Touching the Sky quest. And honestly, I’m not on board with this change. Gelebor outright tells the player it is his duty as a Knight-Paladin of Auriel to guard the chantry–so I can’t see him being willing to bugger off from that, even if the Dragonborn asks him to. And I can’t see any Dragonborn I’d play actually thinking it appropriate to ask him to. Especially if I’ve already got two or more followers with me anyway!

I think the only narrative way I could see this being reasonable is if Gelebor was convinced that leaving the chantry to search the world for other Snow Elves might fall within the scope of his vows. The Dragonborn could, I think, actually pitch that idea to him. But I’m not convinced that Gelebor would actually buy it, really. I’d almost expect him to be of the mind that if there are any other Snow Elves out there in the world, it would be his duty to keep the chantry safe for them as a refuge. And I could see him asking the Dragonborn to specifically send any Snow Elves they might happen to find to him, just so that he could ensure them a refuge.

Notable Lucien quotes

While we were running Darkfall Cave, Lucien discovered the linguistic problem with trying to yell battle taunts at chaurus, namely, what the hell the plural of “chaurus” is:

“Die, chaurus! Or is it chaurus? Or perhaps chaurus… Never mind.”

And while we’re fighting the final frost giant, the one inside the Inner Sanctum, which has the Ruby Paragon:

“The bigger they are, the harder they fall… but also the harder they hit. Watch out!”

Next time

Elessir’s next run will feature the assault on Castle Volkihar, and side helpings of fishing and thievery.


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.