The quest is the twelfth in the main questline of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The quest is particularly long, spanning five different locations, including two Dwemer Ruins. During the quest, much of the Elder Scrolls lore is revealed.
Speak with Paarthurnax and ask about the Elder Scroll.
To learn more about the Elder Scroll, visit High Hrothgar and speak with Arngeir, or speak with Esbern at Sky Haven Temple. Regardless of who is asked, both will say to visit the College of Winterhold.
College of WinterholdEdit
Upon arrival to the College of Winterhold one will be met by an Altmer named Faralda. If the College of Winterhold was not yet joined, the Dragonborn will be prevented from entering the college. There are several options to gain entry:
- Persuade: Persuading Faralda to gain entrance.
- Test: Taking Faralda's test by casting a random spell.
- Shout: Telling Faralda that they are Dragonborn and proving it by a shout.
Should the Dragonborn succeed in one of these actions, Faralda will allow entrance into the College.
Once access to the college has been granted, the Dragonborn needs to locate Urag gro-Shub, who runs the Arcanaeum inside the College. Then, he should be asked about the Elder Scrolls. Urag will place the two books written about them on his desk for the Dragonborn to take. If one has not yet started the side quest "Discerning the Transmundane," reading Ruminations on the Elder Scrolls will begin that quest. After telling Urag that the Ruminations on the Elder Scrolls is incomprehensible, he will say that the book was written by an expert on the Elder Scrolls, Septimus Signus. He gives the Dragonborn the last known location of Septimus.
Alternatively, one can simply go to Septimus Signus' Outpost, and avoid entering the College altogether.
Go to Septimus Signus's Outpost, the northern iceberg where Septimus has made his home. Climb down the ladder to find Septimus working on a Dwemer Box. Ask Septimus about the Elder Scroll, and he will say that it is hidden in the depths of Blackreach, a large underground Dwemer city that lies underneath the ruins of Alftand and many other Dwemer ruins. He will give an Attunement Sphere needed to gain entry to Blackreach, and the Blank Lexicon.
The next stage of the mission leads to Alftand, leading on to the ancient underground city of Blackreach. This portion of the quest can be difficult for lower-level characters, as Blackreach contains many Falmer and Dwarven Animunculi.
Alftand is located in the glacial mountains southwest of Winterhold. When entering Alftand, one will need to travel throughout large glacial tunnels. Follow the tunnel until reaching the Dwemer Ruins. When reaching the barred door, proceed to the passage that heads west up a ramp.
Continue north, and there will be two Dwarven Spheres. Kill or avoid them and head through the door and up to a Dwarven Spider–infested passage stretching south. This main passage leads east, above the room with the Dwemer Spheres in it. Dodge the pistons and continue on to the Alftand Animonculory.
AnimonculoryEditTravel through the Alftand Animonculory, past the spinning blades, to find a locked gate. There is a lever on the right by the big pipe and on the other side of the gate that is accessible from the far left position. Open the gate and proceed to a massive shaft in the Animonculory. Travel down this shaft and within it are four Falmer. Dispatch or sneak by them. Alternatively, use the Become Ethereal shout to jump straight to the bottom. Taking this course could potentially cause the Dragonborn to be overwhelmed by the number of Falmer at the bottom, and bypasses valuable items on the way down.
Midway down the shaft, one of the ramps is broken, requiring a jump down to the platform below. This could potentially result in taking some damage. To minimize damage, jump to the pipe on the right side to descend approximately halfway down prior to jumping. At this point returning to the levels above is only possible by continuing to another exit and re-entering Alftand.
Once at the bottom there is an entrance to a door preceded by fire jets. While it is possible to walk through the fire jets to the door, it is also possible to avoid taking fire damage by passing through a small gap between the pipes on the left side. Enter the door, which leads to a Falmer nest. Go through the nest, dispatching or avoiding the Falmer inside. Go though the door on the southwest. This leads to a bridge, followed by another looping walkway containing several Falmer and at least one Frostbite Spider.
Now enter the Alftand Cathedral. Battle or avoid the two Falmer. Travel up the stairs and activate the switch, then pass through the newly opened gate. There will be a Dwarven Centurion that must be defeated, as it holds the key needed to proceed. A simple way to defeat the Centurion is to lean in the left part of the gate, and firing an arrow at the Centurion. As it comes close, it will try to fire steam at the Dragonborn. Go far until the steam's range, and fire arrows from there. The Fire Breath Shout is also effective with the same strategy, but arrows make the fight go faster. Another option is to walk back down the stairs. The Centurion will follow. Let it try to catch up around the round "water well." A Frostbite spider will appear and start attacking the Centurion. Wait, and the spider will damage or destroy the Centurion. Next, proceed to the gate on the southwest where there will be two hostile adventurers, Sulla and Umanan, arguing. Engage or sneak past them to continue. If remaining concealed, they will eventually fight, leaving one survivor. Proceed to the Dwarven Mechanism and insert the Attunement Sphere. The floor will part, revealing stairs down to a hidden door and an entrance into the undercity of Blackreach.
- Note: At this point the elevator immediately behind the "Dwarven Mechanism" will lead back to Skyrim. This lift can then be taken back to this point if nearing or at maximum carry weight. This location is also a useful midway point for returning later to collect the various bits of Dwemer metal for converting to ingots.
BlackreachEditOne can exit Blackreach using the Dwarven Elevator just left of their location. There are several Dwarven Centurion along the road, but it is possible to avoid them. Dispatch or sneak by the Dwemer Sphere and the Falmer (a very easy way to dispose of the sphere is to activate the nearby crossbow before the sphere activates, as this kills it instantly), and follow the cobblestone path southeast to a button encased on a Dwarven head pedestal. Press it, and the elevator behind lights up, allowing access to the elevator to ascend and exit back outside. Open the gate to allow later entry from the Great Lift of Alftand.
Once inside the Tower of Mzark, one will come to a room with a number of alchemical ingredients and other items. The Oculory is through the door on the far side of the room. Go up the spiral ramp. Near the top is a level area with desks, ruined books, and a door to an elevator to the surface. Near the door is a dead body, Drokt. The Journal of Drokt is next to his skeletal remains.
Go up the ramp above the elevator door to the controls. The controls consist of a Lexicon Receptacle and four positioning buttons embedded in pedestals.
Activate the Lexicon Receptacle, so the Blank Lexicon rests on top of it. The two pedestals to the Receptacle’s left, the only ones currently active, open and close the Oculory lenses. Press the taller of the two pedestals (right of the pedestal with the lens chart on it in the middle of the buttons) until the pedestal with the blue button to the left of the middle one starts to glow. Move to this new pedestal (at this point, the Blank Lexicon may be glowing blue). The two pedestals to the left of the lens chart, the taller of which is now active, control the ceiling lens array. Press the button of the taller, left pedestal twice, until the button on the left of that (the smaller pedestal) begins to glow. Note, if the left button is pressed too many times, one may have to start over with the farthest right button pedestal (as a reset). Now press that button, and a large set of lens crystals descends from the ceiling and stops. The main crystal rotates and splits apart to reveal a tube-like carrying device, which contains the Elder Scroll.
Acquiring the scroll completes this quest. Retrieve the Lexicon in order to continue "Discerning the Transmundane."
|I met the master of the Greybeards, the dragon Paarthurnax. He told me that the ancient Nords used an Elder Scroll to cast Alduin forward in time. If I can recover that same Elder Scroll, I may be able to use it to learn the "Dragonrend" Shout directly from the ancient heroes.
|I met the master of the Greybeards, the dragon Paarthurnax. He told me that the ancient Nords used an Elder Scroll to cast Alduin forward in time. If I can recover that same Elder Scroll, I may be able to use it to learn the "Dragonrend" Shout directly from the ancient heroes. Esbern suggested that someone at the College of Winterhold might know how to find this Elder Scroll.
I met the master of the Greybeards, the dragon Paarthurnax. He told me that the ancient Nords used an Elder Scroll to cast Alduin forward in time. If I can recover that same Elder Scroll, I may be able to use it to learn the "Dragonrend" Shout directly from the ancient heroes. Arngeir suggested that someone at the College of Winterhold might know how to find this Elder Scroll.
|I met the master of the Greybeards, the dragon Paarthurnax. He told me that the ancient Nords used an Elder Scroll to cast Alduin forward in time. If I can recover that same Elder Scroll, I may be able to use it to learn the "Dragonrend" Shout directly from the ancient heroes. I've learned that a scholar named Septimus Signus might know where to find it.|
|I met the master of the Greybeards, the dragon Paarthurnax. He told me that the ancient Nords used an Elder Scroll to cast Alduin forward in time. Now that I've recovered that Elder Scroll, I may be able to use it to learn the "Dragonrend" Shout directly from the ancient heroes.
- Faralda will teach the spell that she asks to cast if the Dragonborn does not have it.
- The best choice may be to take Faralda's test, since if one does not know the spell she asks for, it can be bought from her for 30 , an immense discount that should be taken advantage of.
- The Dragonborn can go to Septimus Signus directly, skipping a portion of the quest.
- If the Dragonborn is in the middle of the quest "The Staff of Magnus," it is impossible to talk to Urag gro-Shub. The Staff of Magnus must be completed first.
- If one has already completed Discerning the Transmundane and thus killed Septimus Signus, then to do this quest, The Dragonborn can either travel to Blackreach and head back to where the puzzle is at the end of it- the Scroll should still be there, or, if the scroll was added to their inventory, skip the entire mission and speak to Paarthurnax to complete it.
- If the Dragonborn reads the Scroll anywhere other than the Time Wound at the Throat of the World, they will be blinded for several seconds.
- If other Dwemer ruins such as Mzinchaleft or Raldbthar have been cleared, they can act as a shortcut to Blackreach. They are all connected as long as an Attunement Sphere is in the inventory. This can lead to a faster way to get through for completion of the quest.
- The Dragonborn can skip the whole quest if they have completed the Dawnguard quest line.
- When Urag gro-Shub tells Dragonborn about the Elder Scrolls, he mentions that "All of it is true. Even the falsehoods. Especially the falsehoods." This is very likely a reference to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode The Wire in which the character Garak says "All of it is true. Even the lies. Especially the lies," when asked if the answers he gave during questioning were true. [source?]
This section contains bugs related to Elder Knowledge. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
|Click to see the list of bugs encountered|
| Elder Knowledge|
Complete "Elder Knowledge"
|Skyrim Main Quests|
|Act I||Unbound • Before the Storm • Bleak Falls Barrow • Dragon Rising • The Way of the Voice |
The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller
|Act II||A Blade in the Dark • Diplomatic Immunity • A Cornered Rat • Alduin's Wall • The Throat of the World |
Elder Knowledge • Alduin's Bane
|Act III||Season Unending • The Fallen • The World-Eater's Eyrie • Sovngarde |
Dragonslayer • Epilogue