As a crazed expert on the Elder Scrolls, Septimus wrote the book, Ruminations on the Elder Scrolls, which attempts to describe the nature of the prophetic scrolls with obscure metaphors. He wrote the book while he was still a member of the College of Winterhold, departing after having read one of the Scrolls and becoming irrevocably mad.
Looking for Dwemer artifacts, he wandered out on the small glacial islands north-west of Winterhold. Here, he proceeded to attempt to access a Dwemer contraption. He was believed to be driven insane by his own genius, and the long periods away from people, although he admits reading the Elder Scrolls caused his madness.
After speaking to Paarthurnax atop the Throat of the World, the Dragonborn learns that an Elder Scroll is needed to learn Dragonrend, a powerful shout created by mortals for the purpose of knocking Dragons from the sky.
Urag gro-Shub supplies the Dragonborn with reading material on the Elder Scrolls, one of which is the book authored by Septimus. Suspecting that he is the most likely to know where an Elder Scroll may be, the Dragonborn locates him north of the College of Winterhold, at an outpost.
Once found and spoken to, he sends the Dragonborn to Alftand with a Lexicon, a device created by the Dwemer that allows one to safely transcribe the text of an Elder Scroll without going blind or insane.
Septimus believes that the Heart of Lorkhan is held within the Dwemer Oculory, but the Oghma Infinium is what is actually inside. The blood of a Dwemer is needed to open the contraption, but since there are no more Dwemer, Septimus says that the blood of every other Mer race will suffice, thus the blood of an Orsimer, a Falmer, a Bosmer, an Altmer and a Dunmer must be collected.
Exiting the outpost reveals that Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora seeks the object within the Dwarven Mechanism and has only tolerated Septimus' involvement with it because it served his own plot. The Dragonborn can choose to aid Hermaeus or decline the Lord's offer. Neither option directly affects the outcome of unlocking the mechanism.
Once acquiring and giving the blood samples to Septimus, he opens the contraption in his outpost and is extremely disappointed to not see the Heart of Lorkhan. He then disintegrates into a pile of ash as he approaches the Oghma Infinium. The Dragonborn can then take the Oghma Infinium.
- The name Septimus Signus is derived from Latin. In Latin, the neuter form "septimum signum" means "the seventh sign." His name may be inspired by the seventh seal, the words of sign and seal being similar in the language. In the Abrahamic apocalypse story, the opening of the seals (detailed in the Book of Revelations) leads up to more cataclysmic events and judgements.
- Skooma can be found in his cupboard where he keeps his books.
- His ramblings seem to indicate that he believes the Heart of Lorkhan is within the Dwemer lockbox.
- Septimus is voiced by Paul Eiding, who also voiced Galmar Stone-Fist and Felldir the Old, as well as the elderly characters in Fallout 3, another game developed by Bethesda.
- He may send out Hired Thugs if stolen from.
- The book that he wrote also appears in The Elder Scrolls Online, indicating that he was alive during the mid-Second Era.
This section contains bugs related to Septimus Signus. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- He may not disintegrate after approaching the Oghma Infinium.
- Solution: Kill him. The quest should continue as normal.
- If an item is taken from his outpost after his death he may send Hired Thugs after the Dragonborn.
- The Runed Lexicon, if taken from the pile of ashes after he is disintegrated, will still be marked as a quest item.
- If he stops to read the Oghma Infinium, and nothing else happens, there will be a "This person is busy" subtitle if he's approached. The Dragonborn can kill him and the quest will update.