Looking for other Skyrim Speedway posts? Part One has links to them all!
We left off last time with Orc betraying the vampire hunters he met all of once to throw in with the vampires. He also betrayed the Companions by exchanging his werewolf blood for that of a Vampire Lord, but what they don’t know won’t hurt them. We also have a magical cup o’ blood for our new vampire pal, Harkon.
Harkon is pretty pleased with the Chalice and doesn’t care in the slightest about the vampires we killed to get it. “Just vampire politics” apparently. I have no idea how there’s any left, to be honest. Regardless, he lets us in on his grand plan: enact a prophecy to defeat the vampire’s greatest enemy….THE SUN.
After all the vampires he’s carved through in the short time helping out Harkon, Orc might have the opinion that a vampire’s worst enemy is in fact each other, but it’s rude to interrupt. Anyway, to read the Elder Scroll Harkon needs someone who can interpret it, one of the Empire’s Moth Priests. Orc can read Scrolls as well -he read one on top of a mountain and had a vision through time itself not long ago at all!- but maybe he can only read stuff that’s directly dragon related? The Moth Priest will know.
Before leaving, lets take a quick trip to the dungeons to minimize the daylight problem by feeding on some vampire cattle.
This turns out to not be cows with fangs, but kidnapped humans mind-controlled into docility and forced to live in bone-filled pens. Let me tell you, Orc will be having a long talk with the Thrallmaster about the benefits of organic free-range farming as soon as he gets a moment!
Serana suggests that the College might know of such things so Orc asks the Archmage, who is Orc. Archmage Orcersson doesn’t know, so we instead ask the carriage driver outside Whiterun who says he dropped one off in Dragonbridge.
Dragonbridge is a quaint little hamlet near Solitude with a fancy bridge. The Moth Priest isn’t there though, he’s been kidnapped by vampires. Other vampires, not us (who also plan to kidnap him). Also the Dawnguard are there and are fighting the other vampires. It’s all a touch confusing so Orc is relieved once everyone except the Moth Priest is dead. The first vampire group have enthralled him and trapped him in a magical prison.
Orc releases him from his magical prison, then enthralls him. Good work all, back to the Castle.
In front of all the vampires, Orc orders his new thrall to read Serana’s Scroll. He rambles on about prophecy for a bit, then says that it’s a two-part prophecy and we need another Scroll to get the full thing. And no, it’s not on Orc’s Scroll which is all about dragons.
Serena at this point pulls Orc aside and says she has a good idea where it might be that she doesn’t want to share with Harkon: her mother Valerica might have it. We head off to an abandoned courtyard of the castle to search for clues as to where she might be hiding.
This moondial is missing several key pieces in a pattern that convinces Serana we’re on the right track. Repairing it opens a hidden door that lets us in to the forgotten wing, where after fighting through the gargoyles and skeletons that infest such places we find Valerica’s old lab and a diary that says she has fled to the Soul Cairn. Obviously, the next step is to reopen the portal and go after her.
Simple! Nonetheless, achievementworthy!
The Soul Cairn is a weird place. It’s where powerful souls end up after they’ve been trapped in Soul Gems and used in enchanting. It is also extremely purple.
Despite being who knows what type of dimension, summoning Dremora Lords still works fine in the Soul Cairn, so Orc doesn’t have to bother with fighting any of the skeletons roaming the place himself. There’s a few side quests and loot rooms around the place, but Orc only does one, finding the skull of Arvak, a very good horse.
Finding it lets you summon a purple flaming skeleton horse to ride, which is pretty baller and might well come in handy, especially with the daylight stamina problems Orc has now.
Shortly after, we locate Valerica, who has been trapped behind a magic barrier by the strange entities that run the Cairn.
She’s not too happy to see us (not that you can really see her face in this screenshot!), but tells us how to break the barrier by killing 3 Keepers of the Soul Cairn. The Keepers are just big skeletons with especially glowy eyes and were pretty easy with Orc, Serana and the Super Dremora Brothers all attacking. Once all 3 are down, the Dragon Warden showed up to see why the barrier was down, but he’s even easier to fight and also dissolved to nothing afterward. Valerica is reunited with her daughter and hands over the Elder Scroll. She also gives a ton of background info. Hold on tight.
Here’s as short a version as I can manage: a very long time ago Serana’s family were Molag Bal worshippers who undergo the rite to turn into vampires. It’s implied that this was thousands of years ago and that they were some of the first to do so. As such they are original vampires, hence why they can turn into Vampire Lords while the more common Skyrim vampires can’t. They discover the prophecy about defeating the sun exists, and Harkon becomes obsessed with it. Valerica works out that the prophecy is going to involve the sacrifice of an original vampire and (correctly) assumes it will be her or Serena. She seals Serena with one Elder Scroll away in the cave we rescued her from in Part 19 and then flees to the Soul Cairn with the other Elder Scroll, where she’s been trapped for however many hundreds of years. Harkon spends this time doing nothing in his castle, by the sound of things.
It’s a bit of a dysfunctional family, for sure. Anyway, all 3 of agree that Harkon’s plan is bad and should be stopped, the best way of which is to fulfil the prophecy ourselves so he can’t.
It’s time to wave goodbye to the Soul Cairn, although Valerica drops the nugget that apparently we will be able to come back whenever we want as a tiny part of our souls have been absorbed, replaced by the essence of the Cairn. I doubt this is a problem for Orc, who has like a dozen dragon souls to use as spares. Also we’re not coming back I am done with this place.
With the new Elder Scroll, we head back to our tame Moth Priest to get the next part of the prophecy. Unfortunately for us, when we ordered him to read the Scroll last time…we neglected to tell him to take precautions. The power of the Scroll has blinded him and now he can’t read anything. Luckily enough, he is able to offer a simple solution: ask moths to read it for us.
Uhhhh huuuuuh. We’ll see if THAT works next time.
Time Elapsed: 20hr 52m
Achievement Progress: 40/75
Next time: Moths read us a story.