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Chasing Echoes

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Chasing Echoes
Dawnguard-castle
Quest Giver Serana
Location Castle Volkihar
Prerequisite Prophet (Vampire) or Prophet (Dawnguard)
Next Quest Beyond Death
Type Main Quest
QuestID DLC1VQ04
Chasing Echoes is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard.

Background

Serana has indicated her desire to locate her estranged mother, Valerica, who has fled Castle Volkihar with one of the Elder Scrolls. She believes that Valerica may have left a clue to her whereabouts somewhere in the courtyard of the castle. In order to avoid detection by the castle's vampires, she's decided to utilize a hidden entrance on the back side of the island.

Speak to Serana and ask her what's on her mind. She believes she knows where to start looking for one of the missing Elder Scrolls that Dexion mentioned.

She believes her mother, Valerica, will know the whereabouts of the Elder Scroll, but she has no idea where she is. The last time Serana saw her, she told her she would go someplace safe where Harkon would never find her. Serana can't imagine where this could be, however through some additional dialogue Serana deduces that Valerica is hiding within Castle Volkihar itself.

If the Dragonborn has a follower, Serana will refuse to lead them any further than the docks, until the follower is dismissed. Asking the follower to wait at a location away from the castle will not suffice.

Walkthrough

Castle Volkihar can be infiltrated via an unused dock on the north-western side of the island. To get there, the player can either climb over the rocky terrain to the dock or swim round. The platform is guarded by several armored Skeletons. After defeating the skeletons, proceed into the undercroft.

Castle Undercroft

The undercroft is guarded by Death Hounds, armored Skeletons, and a Feral Vampire who has been banished to live here. Her Journal Fragment gives a little more insight. Fighting through the enemies leads to a canal with a raised wooden bridge. Before pulling the lever, there is a Destruction skill book A Hypothetical Treachery as well as the book The Aetherium Wars on the nearby table. Serana will comment that her father installed various security measures throughout the castle for her own safety. To lower the bridge proceed to the left and up the stairs, where there is a semi-hidden adept level chest, with random loot behind the spiderweb on the right. Proceed forward, where the lever is guarded by a Giant Frostbite Spider. Once the lever has been pulled, go through the door, and straight across there will be another platform with a skeleton on the ground. Use the Whirlwind Sprint shout or Bats Night Power, to get across onto the platform, once there to the left there will be a chest with random loot. Then return to the bridge that will lead to the courtyard.

Courtyard

The courtyard garden lies in a decrepit state and Serana comments that her mother would never have allowed it to fall into such disrepair.

Serana: "We've made it to the courtyard. Oh no... What happened to this place? Everything's been torn down... the whole place looks... well, dead. It's like we're the first to set foot here in centuries."

"This used to lead into the castle's great hall. It looks like my father had it sealed up. I used to walk through here after evening meals. It was beautiful, once."

"This was my mother's garden. It... do you know how beautiful something can be when it's tended by a master for hundreds of years? She would have hated to see it like this. Wait..."

"Something's wrong with the moondial here. Some of the crests are missing and the dial is askew. I didn't even know the crests could be removed. Maybe my mother's trying to tell us something?"

In the center of the courtyard is a moondial with various phases on the moon depicted around it. Serana mentions that there are some pieces missing. The three missing pieces can be found scattered around the courtyard:

  1. Half Moon Crest: In the small lake near the moondial.
  2. Crescent Moon Crest: On the east balcony near the table.
  3. Full Moon Crest: In the fenced off garden area below the previous crest.

Once all the pieces are placed around the moondial, it will rotate and a secret stairway entrance to the Castle Volkihar Ruins will be revealed.

Castle Volkihar Ruins

Volkiharinterior 03

The decrepit interior of Castle Volkihar.

This part of the castle is blocked off from the rest. It's in a very poor state and is teeming with armed Skeletons and Gargoyles bursting out from gargoyle statues. Head up the stairs into a dining room where several skeletons will be seated around the table. They will awaken when approached. Once they are defeated, head south up the balcony into a room filled with cobwebs and spiked traps. At the far end of this room the gargoyle statue comes to life and attacks. Once the gargoyle is eliminated, head into the next room to encounter two more Skeletons, once they have been dealt with, off to the left will be an adept level door with some lockpicks gold and gems. Continue up the long flight of stairs, where there will be another gargoyle who will attack.

Head up some more sets of stairs, to find another adept level locked door, once picking the lock to the right will be a chest with random loot inside. Proceed up the stairs, and past several armed skeletons where you will come across another smaller dining area. There will be a medium size room with a gargoyle by the back wall. Behind the statue is a chain that needs to be pulled to open the iron gate to the next area. Once the chain is pulled, the gargoyle will attack. Head through the iron gate and up long flight of stairs where yet another armed skeleton and gargoyle will attack.

The next choice is to either pull the chain to raise the iron gate into the next area or pick the expert level lock on the nearby door. Either option will lead to the same point, but the door is a shortcut that also gives the option of fighting the next set of enemies in a more controlled manner, rather than all at once. The door also leads to a small armory where a selection of Ancient Nord weapons, and a few enchanted weapons can be taken. Choosing the iron gate route will lead to a decrepit cathedral of sorts. A raised platform is found at the far end where a leveled chest can be found to the left of a ruined statue of Mara which is against the back wall suggesting that this area of the castle once was a temple of Mara.

Volkihar-mara-statue

The ruined statue of Mara.

Head through the halls and over the bridge suspended above the cathedral to the next area. This next room is fairly sparse with the exception of the Vampire Royal Armor that is on a shelf to the right next to two coffins. In addition, there are several Gargoyle statues that will attack when approached.

The room will seem to be a dead end, but Serana will comment that there should be a secret entrance somewhere nearby. The entrance can be found by turning a candle stick on the back wall, on the left-hand side of the fireplace. Following the hallway leads eventually to Valerica's Study.

Valerica's Study

Serana: "Look at the place. This has to be it! I know she was deep into necromancy. I mean, she taught me everything I know. But I had no idea she had a setup like this."

"Look at all this. She must have spent years collecting these components. And what's this thing? Im not sure about this circle, but it's obviously... something. Let's take a look around. There has to be something here that tells us where she's gone."

"My mother was meticulous about her research. If we can find here notes, there might be some hints in there."

The most prominent feature in the study is the large group of circular stone rings in the center of the room. Serana asks the Dragonborn to locate Valerica's Journal to give any insight into her whereabouts. The journal can be found on the bookshelf to the right among several other books.

After reading it, Serana mentions that three ingredients are required to open a portal to the Soul Cairn. All three ingredients can be found within the well-stocked laboratory.

Once all the ingredients have been found, place them in the chalice overlooking the stone dial. Serana will add her own blood to the mixture in place of Valerica's and the circular stone rings in the center of the room will begin to rotate, eventually revealing the portal.

The Choice

Chasingechoes

The portal to Soul Cairn

Proceed towards the newly opened portal. If the Dragonborn is not a Vampire, the portal will begin to leech some health. Serana comments that this is because the conditions to enter the portal are such that there are only two options.
  • Either allow Serana to transform the Dragonborn into a Vampire Lord, or
  • Allow her to trap part of the Dragonborn's soul into a soul gem.
Vampire Lord Soul Trap
Choosing to become a Vampire Lord will prompt Serana to bite the Dragonborn, immediately granting full vampirism. Once the ritual is complete, the Soul Cairn may be entered. If the Dragonborn is in the Dawnguard faction, the hero will discover upon return to Fort Dawnguard that the other members recognize the vampirism, and will recommend a cure. Note that becoming a Vampire Lord cures the Dragonborn of Lycanthropy, if they have it, but Aela the Huntress  can be asked to reconfer the ability (see this page for more details). Choosing to allow the soul trap will prompt Serana to cast a Soul Trap spell that immediately transfers part of the Dragonborn's soul into a soul gem. This adds the Weakened Soul ability which reduces the Dragonborn's health, stamina and magicka by 45 points while in the Soul CairnOnce the ritual is complete, the Soul Cairn may be entered.

Journal

Journal Entry
Dexion's reading of the Elder Scroll has given rise to more questions than answers. The Moth Priest saw a vision of a weapon called Auriel's Bow, but Serana and I need to locate two more Elder Scrolls in order to unravel the rest of the prophecy.
  • Objective: Speak to Serana

Dawnguard: Serana has indicated her desire to locate her estranged mother, Valerica, who had fled Castle Volkihar with one of the Elder Scrolls. She believes that Valerica may have left a clue to her whereabouts somewhere in the courtyard of the castle. In order to avoid detection by the castle's vampires, we've decided to utilize a hidden entrance on the back side of the island.

  • Objective: Explore Castle Volkihar's Courtyard

Vampire: Serana has indicated her desire to locate her estranged mother, Valerica, who had fled Castle Volkihar with one of the Elder Scrolls. She believes that Valerica may have left a clue to her whereabouts somewhere in the courtyard of the castle. In order to avoid detection by Harkon, we've decided to utilize a hidden entrance on the back side of the island.

  • Objective: Explore Castle Volkihar's Courtyard
  • Objective: Investigate the moondial

Serana and I are trying to locate her mother, Valerica, who may have one of the Elder Scrolls. Our journey has taken us to the courtyard of Castle Volkihar where we've discovered a hidden entrance underneath Valerica's old moondial.

  • Objective: Explore Castle Volkihar's Ruined Tower

Serana and I are trying to locate her mother, Valerica, who may have one of the Elder Scrolls. Our journey has taken us beyond the courtyard of Castle Volkihar where we've discovered a hidden entrance underneath Valerica's old moondial. After exploring the ruined tower beyond, we've stumbled across an old alchemy laboratory. Serana is convinced her mother has hidden some notes that may yield a clue as to her whereabouts.

  • Objective: Locate Valerica's Journal
  • Objective: Speak to Serana

Serana and I are trying to locate her mother, Valerica, who may have one of the Elder Scrolls. Our search has taken us to Valerica's laboratory hidden within the ruined tower at Castle Volkihar. According to Valerica's notes found there, she has likely fled Tamriel and entered the Soul Cairn, a dimensional plane of Oblivion. In order to pursue her into the Soul Cairn, Serana and I need to recreate the experiment that opens the portal to this strange place.

  • Objective: Gather Soul Gem Shards
  • Objective: Gather Finely Ground Bone Meal
  • Objective: Gather Purified Void Salts
  • Objective: Place the ingredients in the vessel

Serana and I are trying to locate her mother, Valerica who may have one of the Elder Scrolls. In Valercia's laboratory, we've recreated an experiment she performed and opened a portal to the Soul Cairn, a plane of Oblivion. Serana believes strongly that her mother is inside this strange place and has indicated we should step through.

  • Objective: Speak to Serana

When attempting to step through the portal to the Soul Cairn, a hidden force that seems to be draining my life energy is preventing me from entering. I have two choices if I wish to enter the Soul Cairn. I can allow Serana to change me into a vampire, thereby "killing" me in effect. Alternatively, I can allow her to partially soul trap me which could potentially weaken me while I roam the Soul Cairn.

  • Objective: Become a vampire
  • Objective: Become partially soul trapped
  • Objective: Enter the Soul Cairn

Serana and I have stepped from Valerica's laboratory on Tamriel to a plane of Oblivion known as the "Soul Cairn" in order to find her mother Valerica. Serana strongly believes if we can find her, she will be able to tell us the location of one of the Elder Scrolls we need to decipher the Tyranny of the Sun prophecy.

  • Quest complete

Bugs

This section contains bugs related to Chasing Echoes. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Confirm all bugs with other editors on the talk page before adding them below.
  2. Always try reloading an old save first, before asking for assistance.
  3. Do not discuss possible bug fixes or origins. Leave those and all other first-person-anecdotes on the talk page, not the article.
  4. Always add  360  ,  PS3  , and  PC   to clarify which system the bug appears on.


Start a Discussion Discussions about Chasing Echoes

  • Yet another Chasing Echoes bug report - Serana Disappeared!

    2 messages
    • Yes, you read that right, Serana has disappeared mid game. She was walking around being amazed at the stuff in the portal room/study place and ...
    • Also, I have tried reading through the whole diary and collected all the ingredients to put into the chalice, but they won't actually go in...
  • PC bug in chasing echoes.

    4 messages
    • thank you for your advice. Unfortunately though, after reloading my save and typing in console comands nothing really happended. The crests w...
    • if nothing else you can use console commands to just add the moondial items into your inventory.  its' a last-chance mechanism when nothing e...

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