Skyrim: The Final Descent
- Speak to Crescius Caerellius.
- Find out what the East Empire Company sealed away.
- Retrieve Gratian Caerellius's journal.
- Escape Bloodskal Barrow.
- Return to Crescius Caerellius.
Once a prosperous East Empire Company mining outpost, Raven Rock's plummet has been a striking one. Now a House Redoran colony, the settlement is virtually forgotten by all except its handful of bleak residents—most of whom lost their jobs when the local mine was depleted.
You'll hear the gloomy residents talking about their frustrations openly, and this mood persists even after freeing the citizens slaving for Miraak during Cleansing the Stones. Councilor Lleril Morvayn will put words on the problem: "It used to be one of the richest ebony mines in Morrowind, but it dried out years ago. Now, we're barely holding on out here. Without the mine, Raven Rock doesn't feel like it can last much longer."
80-year-old ex-miner Crescius Caerellius is in agreement with Councilor Morvayn's observations, although he suspects the closing of the mine to be caused by more than just lack of ebony ore. When you visit Raven Rock Mine, you will find the aging miner in heavy discussion with his concerned wife Aphia:
Crescius: "Damn it, woman! I said to leave me be!"
Aphia: "Crescius, last time you explored the mine you almost fell to your death. I'm not spending the rest of my days as a widow!"
Crescius: "And I'm telling you that I'll do whatever it takes to find my great-grandfather's remains. He's down here, I can feel it."
Aphia: "That was almost two centuries ago. There may be nothing left to find."
Crescius: "Just let me go, woman!"
Aphia: "Crescius, you're an obstinate old fool and you're going to get yourself killed."
After the discussion, ask either of them about what they were arguing about, although Crescius will be the one to start the quest. All three available options will lead him to say, "But mark my words, these mines hold a secret that could put Raven Rock back on the map." When asked to elaborate he reveals his conspiracy theory: "A secret the East Empire Company swept under the rug two centuries ago. It killed my great-grandfather, and left Raven Rock with a worthless and tainted mine." He will then tell you about his great-grandfather Gratian Caerellius, who used to be an explorer for the East Empire Company. He died in Raven Rock Mine almost 200 years ago, due to a 'rockfall' according to the company, but Crescius claims to know better. As it turns out, he recently found some of Gratian's old stuff, including a key and an unsent letter to the company, concerning a strange discovery inside the mine. After Gratian supposedly died from the rockfall, the company locked off a certain section of the mine in the process of drying it out. Crescius is therefore convinced that the company keeps something hidden in the depths and will hand you the key to what he believes is the forbidden section of the mine, along with the letter sent to his great-grandfather by the East Empire Company. During his trek through the mine, Gratian kept a detailed journal and you will soon find that you are following in his footsteps:
Into the Depths
Make your way down the narrow ladder into the mine. The fall in the center of the room is a long one, so take great care to stay on the path. Make your way slowly down to the first huge ledge and fight a frostbite spider and a skeever. From the ledge, two paths are available. The tunnel leads to a dead end with yet another angry spider, so proceed down the woodworks and find the tunnel to the northwest, past several crates and barrels with the East Empire Company logo, as well as some flammable gas and more spiders. Knock down the wood planks blocking the path and claim the contents of the East Empire Company strongbox near the iron gate.
Unlock the gate with the key and proceed forward to discover what the East Empire Company tried to hide, namely a crypt full of draugr; three of them will awaken from their slumber and attack. Proceed forward, avoiding the spike wall trap on the way, and deal with the numerous leveled draugr in the next chamber. Make sure to prepare yourself before entering the room with the metal grate floor, as there are eight draugr seated on thrones around the walls of this room, at least five of which are still active. If your Lockpicking skills are good, unlock the master-level lock on the boss chest in one of the alcoves, then proceed through the iron door to the west. You will arrive in a chamber with two draugr resting on thrones, an alchemy lab, a stalhrim deposit, and several ingredients scattered around. Use caution as you approach the northern tunnel, as there are two spellcaster traps at the top of the incline which will shoot lightning bolts at you. Finally, open the iron door at the end.
Walk of the Dead
The next chamber is huge and in multiple levels. Prepare for another hard fight against several draugr enemies, including two deathlords that you will have to fight while another draugr shoots arrows at you from afar. Note that these two are always deathlords carrying ebony weapons, regardless of your level. Keep an eye on your health at all times and proceed forward carefully while taking care of the first deathlord, then rush up the slopes to the overhanging bridge and dispose of the next one and the archer. At this point, you can backtrack to the bottom of the room and find a locked entrance behind the waterfall leading to a small section of the upcoming area Bloodskal Barrow, which contains another deposit of stalhrim. Return to the bridge in the previous zone and unlock the chest underneath the arcane enchanter for some minor loot, then activate the handle adjacent to the enchanter. This raises the iron gate to the south. Take a left for a copy of the spell tome for Ice Spike, as you approach the woodworks to the west, there is a locked chest with minor loot behind the stairs at the base, walk around the pillar to find it. Then proceed up the woodworks to the west. At the top you will face yet another spellcaster trap, so cross the bridge as quickly as you can and knock the mean-spirited soul gem off its pedestal. Directly behind the pedestal is a hidden room with some minor loot. Make your way to another bridge, a long way above the waterfall, and watch out for several dart trap-triggering pressure plates on the other side. The locked chest to the north only contains minor loot. Locate the narrow passageway next to the pressure plate and follow it as it twists and turns, then uncover the second huge secret of the mine:
A huge chamber opens before you with two waterfalls leading into a stream that disappears underground. Jump down carefully from ledge to ledge to avoid too great a fall. The area has several dead draugr and at the end of the stream where it disappears underground is a minor chest.
The skeletal remains of Millius lie at the foot of the stairs leading to the huge round door with strange carvings, and the remains of Gratian Caerellius lie in a pool of blood closer to the round door, seemingly ripped apart postmortem. Examine the bones and you will find Gratian's Journal with its in-depth description of the failed expedition and how they were ultimately attacked by draugr, along with the unique, valuable Bloodskal Blade, which releases energy blasts when using power attacks. Claim both the journal and sword and read through the journal for Gratian's 200-year-old theories on how to solve the puzzle:
Solving the Puzzle
Stand at a distance facing the door. You will see a bright red horizontal line on either side of the door that seems to be pulsating. Choose one of the lines. Line your cross-hairs up directly with the pulsating red line. Begin moving to the left or right in line with the bright red light and hold in the trigger in order to do a horizontal power attack and send a blast of energy at the line. (This will not work if you are sneaking). A section of the wall around the door will recede back into the archway and a new section will take its place, revealing a new pulsating red line, this time a vertical one. Line your cross-hairs up and, remaining stationary, send a vertical power attack at it. Once you've activated all the lines around the archway as they appear (the order doesn't matter), a final vertical gash will appear illuminated down the center of the door. Unfortunately, the wounded Gratian never mustered the strength to solve the puzzle and the last entry of his journal reads:
With the door open, a path leads further into the mine, with numerous swinging blades traps. At the end of the swinging-blades hall is a lever; pulling it will stop the blades swinging behind you and open the gate in front of you, revealing yet another huge chamber. This one is partially flooded and with a tempting chest on a ledge. As you move eastward in the room, whether on the chest ledge or along the edges of the water, the dragon priest Zahkriisos will emerge from the middle of the pond about halfway between the chest and the word wall at the eastern end of the room. He will immediately attack you. In addition to being able to conjure Seekers from Apocrypha, Zahkriisos excels at lightning-based magic, so much so that at a high enough level, he can dual-cast Lightning Storm—a master-level spell—along with Thunderbolt. He also knows the spells Greater Ward and Ebonyflesh. Pick the fight with the strong boss and, when all is said and done, claim his mask and a boss-leveled amount of gold. Then turn your attention to the word wall at the east end of the room, which teaches you a word for the shout Dragon Aspect. Lastly, locate the tunnel in the northwestern area, a now revealed entrance with a boss-leveled chest and a Black Book on a pedestal, specifically The Winds of Change. You can read it now and start the Apocrypha quest of the same name or you can leave it on the pedestal and return later.
Escape Bloodskal Barrow
Behind the Black Book is a wooden spiral ramp leading up to a door which takes you right into Bloodskal Barrow, a small lair inhabited by reavers. Head through the first tunnel and activate the chain to make the rock wall disappear, then sneak into the room. One reaver may be using the alchemy lab in the opposite corner and the boss will be watching the cooking pot in the center, giving you the opportunity for a sneak attack. Dispose of them all and make sure to locate the chest near the beds in the northwestern area, along with the rare book Deathbrand which adds a map marker for Haknir's Shoal at level 36 or higher. A crypt lies to the west and is guarded by another reaver, so defeat him and make your way through the spooky surroundings until you finally reach a door leading out to a mountaintop in Solstheim, a long way north of the original mine entrance back in Raven Rock.
A New Beginning
Dispose of the many reavers outside the Bloodskal Barrow entrance and search the area for treasure. Travel back to Raven Rock and find old Crescius Caerellius, who has left the mine and picked up his old routine again. When you tell him that he was right all along and hand him his great-grandfather's journal, he will be overwhelmed with joy: "Let me see that! Ha, I knew it! Gratian's death wasn't because of a rockfall, it was just a story to keep people away from the tombs. Now that I have his journal in hand, I can get some closure from the East Empire Company. Make them pay for lying to everyone." When you wish him the best of luck he will say: "Thank you. Now, I believe I owe you a little more than a debt of gratitude for all that work you did. Here... it's not much, but it's the best an old, retired miner can do." He will then hand you a small amount of leveled gold as reward.
After the quest is finished, Raven Rock will improve remarkably and start flourishing again as a mining town. Several people will start working the mine on a daily basis, Crescius included as the new foreman, and the mine itself will see four new inhabitants working there around the clock. A few new sections of the mine will also open up and you can now mine for ebony. Lastly, even Councilor Lleril Morvayn will be grateful and name you a citizen of Raven Rock with: "Your contributions have earned you citizenship here, friend. I'll always consider you one of us." When asked about what the reopening of the mine means to Raven Rock, he will say the following: "With the mines open, Raven Rock has become a significant colony of the Dunmer people again. I've been able to convince my superiors at House Redoran to send me the resources they've been denying now that we're deemed more important. Soon, we'll have a steady supply of workers and materials to keep things going for years to come."
Additionally, almost the entire population of Raven Rock will comment on the reopened mine and the many benefits:
|Adril Arano||"You might think it's all perfume and roses now that the mine's open, but all I see is a new security problem on our hands. Making sure those shipments of ebony make it safely from the mine to the shipping docks is my new order of the day. And with Solstheim crawling with reavers and Azura-knows what else, I can't risk any attacks on Raven Rock."|
|Bralsa Drel||"Couldn't be better. The sections that are being opened up have revealed some huge deposits of ebony. Old Crescius has a nose for exactly where to dig. If they'd only listened to him years ago, the town wouldn't have been in such dire straits. At this rate, I'll be able to put a roof over my head in just a few months."|
|Captain Veleth||"I've had to muster some more men to protect the mine, but I don't really have a problem with that. Second Councilor Arano is concerned that once word reaches the reavers that the mine has reopened, they might think about paying us a visit. I say let them try. My men are ready for them."|
|Crescius Caerellius||"I've been made the foreman of the mine thanks to everything you did down there. It's good to get the old nose working again. I missed sniffing out the ebony deposits and getting my hands dirty. Best of all, Aphia isn't so cross when I go down there any more!"|
|Fethis Alor||"Things are picking up... for now. All I'm wondering is how long it'll take for House Redoran to begin ignoring us again if the mine runs out of ore for a second time."|
|Geldis Sadri||"How do you think? It's a blessing. I've got regular paying customers again, thirsty workers at the end of the day, and more coin than I can count."|
|Glover Mallory||"I've always had a steady stream of work thanks to the Redoran Guard, so it hasn't affected me much. However, I've seen the smile on people's faces and there's hope around here once again... something we've been lacking for a long time."|
|Lleril Morvayn||"With the mines open, Raven Rock has become a significant colony of the Dunmer people again. I've been able to convince my superiors at House Redoran to send me the resources they've been denying now that we're deemed more important. Soon, we'll have a steady supply of workers and materials to keep things going for years to come."|
|Rirns Llervu||"Bralsa's been nice enough to show me how to swing a pickaxe. She's an old hat when it comes to digging up ebony. I may not be an expert at it yet, but it's good to be back to work and have some coin in my pockets."|
- The Bloodskal Blade may not be able to emit the ribbons of energy, which will prevent the player from advancing the quest. This appears to happen if the player enters the mine (or possibly just enters Solstheim and gets close enough to the mine entrance), then leaves for 30 days, which causes the mine to reset and the Blade to be replaced by a non-functional copy.
- This bug is fixed by version 4.1.7 of the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch. (details)
- Once this has occurred, there is no way to fix the blade itself. In order to open the door anyway, you can use console commands to equip the spells directly to your hands:
player.equipspell 0401AEAE leftfor the horizontal version
player.equipspell 04033A27 leftfor the vertical version
- Millius' remains may not appear.
- Bloodskal Blade may not appear.
- Townsfolk may disappear after quest completion.
- The passage with planks may render the planks still present if the mine is left and Dragonborn is unable to pass again.
- The Dragon Priest at the end may not attack and only strafe around the player and followers. This makes the "battle" much easier.
- Arrows that hit the planks in the mine may not knock them down; instead they become lodged in place and attacking them with a melee weapon does not hit the affected boards loose.
|The Final Descent (DLC2RR03)|
|Stage||Finishes Quest||Journal Entry|
|15||I've stumbled across Crescius Caerellius inside of Raven Rock Mine. He's convinced that the mines of Raven Rock contain a secret important enough for him to risk his own life to discover. He appears to have more to tell, so I should listen to what he has to say if I want to learn more.
Objective 5: Speak to Crescius Caerellius
|20||I've stumbled across Crescius Caerellius inside of Raven Rock Mine. He's convinced that the remains of his great-grandfather, Gratian Caerellius, are at the bottom of the mine and that the East Empire Company has falsely designated his ancestor's death as an accident. He's tasked me with exploring the mine on his behalf to locate the remains, and perhaps discovering what killed Gratian Caerellius.
Objective 10: Retrieve Gratian Caerellius's Journal
|30||I've located the skeletal remains of Gratian Caerellius. In his satchel, I've discovered an old journal. In order to return it to Crescius, I'll have to discover a way to escape Bloodskal Barrow.
Objective 30: Escape Bloodskal Barrow
Objective 20: (Optional) Read Gratian Caerellius's Journal
|50||After locating the remains of Gratian Caerellius, recovering his journal and escaping Bloodskal Barrow, I should bring the evidence of my discovery to Crescius Caerellius.
Objective 40: Return to Crescius Caerellius
|200||I've located Gratian Caerellius's remains and uncovered the truth regarding his untimely death deep inside Bloodskal Barrow.|
- The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 0, 10, 25, 40.
|The Final Descent (DLC2RR03Priest)|
|Stage||Finishes Quest||Journal Entry|
Objective 10: Slay the Seeker in Bloodskal Barrow
- The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 200.